updated 12/15/2010 11:50:15 AM ET 2010-12-15T16:50:15

Guests: Bernie Sanders, Donna Edwards, Bill Press, Michael Medved, Al

Sharpton, Jonathan Alter

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.

These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour and at the table at this hour. 

Well, President Obama wanted this tax cut deal.  Now he owns it.  The Senate just passed the first stage of his tax cut compromise with the Republicans. 

Folks, I think this is a disaster.  I think it‘s the wrong thing for the country.  My commentary on that in just a moment. 

Plus, Senator Bernie Sanders spent nearly nine hours on the Senate floor protesting this tax cut deal with the rich.  He‘ll be coming up live for more in just a moment. 

A right-wing attorney general in Virginia has convinced a Bush-appointed judge that health care reform is unconstitutional.  A big fight on the horizon.  And the Republicans orchestrated this ruling, and now they‘re celebrating their work.  We‘ve got “Rapid Fire Response” on that. 

And Sarah Palin‘s big humanitarian trip to Haiti lasted less than two days.  And it included exclusive access for a Fox News crew.  How interesting.  She basically parachuted in for a photo-op. 

And this just in.  Of course the Giants and Vikings play tonight in Detroit.  Brett Favre, he‘s been put on the inactive list, so the streak stops at 297 games. 

Our technical crew here, don‘t diss me during the show.  I still love the Vikings. 

But this is the story that has me fired up tonight. 

Congress is another step closer to blowing a $900 billion hole in the deficit by lining the pockets of Americans who are in the top two percent of income in this country.  Now, late this afternoon, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a test vote on President Obama‘s tax cut compromise with Republicans. 

The president late this afternoon, moments ago, just addressed it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I am pleased to announce at this hour the United States Senate is moving forward on a package of tax cuts that has strong bipartisan support.  And this proves that both parties can, in fact, work together to grow our economy and look out for the American people. 

Once the Senate completes action on this bill, it will move over to the House of Representatives for its consideration.  And I‘ve been talking with several members of that body. 

I recognize that folks on both sides of the political spectrum are unhappy with certain parts of the package, and I understand those concerns.  I share some of them.  But that‘s the nature of compromise, sacrificing something that each of us cares about to move forward on what matters to all of us. 

Right now that‘s growing the economy and creating jobs.  And nearly every economist agrees that that is what this package will do.  Taken as a whole, the bill that the Senate will allow to proceed does some very good things for America‘s economy and the American people. 

First and foremost, it is a substantial victory for middle class families across the country who would no longer have to worry about a massive tax hike come January 1st.  It would offer hope to millions of Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own by making sure that they won‘t suddenly find themselves out in the cold without the unemployment insurance benefits that they were counting on.  And it would offer real tax relief for Americans who are paying for college, parents raising their children, and business owners looking to invest in their businesses and propel our economy forward. 

So, I urge the House of Representatives to act quickly on this important matter, because if there‘s one thing we can agree on, it‘s the urgent work of protecting middle class families, removing uncertainty for America‘s businesses, and giving our economy a boost as we head into the new year. 

Thanks very much, everyone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  There you have it.  The president comes out, gives a two-minute talk, no questions asked, all to tell you how determined he is to move forward in on this. 

The discussion in his mind is over.  This is where we‘re going. 

Today‘s vote was only a test though.  Harry Reid has scheduled the final vote on the compromise for tomorrow. 

Now, the president and the Senate feel emboldened by the two new polls that are showing wide support all of a sudden for this deal.  A new poll showed 60 percent of Americans want the tax cut compromise to become law.  A new “Washington Post”/ABC News poll shows 69 percent of Americans support the tax package, 75 percent of Republicans back the deal, 68 percent of Independents, and even 68 percent of Democrats support the plan. 

You know, I don‘t want to be the fly in the ointment here.  I‘m a 30-percenter tonight.  I‘m out.  I don‘t believe it. 

I mean, I think this is a huge gamble for the country.  I think it‘s a huge gamble for President Obama and the Democrats.  And I don‘t trust the rich, that they‘re going to take this tax cut, and you know what they‘re going to do to help out this president?  They‘re going to go create jobs. 

I don‘t buy it.  They never have.  And I think they never will. 

If this $900 billion bet fails, it could be a generational game-changer, and that will plague the Democratic Party for years to come.  This is also the beginning, in my opinion, the end of Social Security as we know it. 

They‘re all about attacking the New Deal.  That‘s what the Republicans want, and we‘re going right down that slippery slope. 

You mean to tell me that in a couple of years on this Social Security reduction, or in a year from now, they‘re going to come back and say, hey, what do you say we raise it back?  If it has any measurable success at all, the Republicans are going to say, let‘s leave it the rate the way it is.  Now we‘re going to have another fight over it. 

The Republicans have backed President Obama into an untenable position in this argument.  I know the president is 100 percent committed to the middle class and those Americans who have lost a job through no fault of their own, but I think this deal is with the devil.  It‘s wrong. 

For the long-term fiscal sanity of Americans and for the health of this country, I just don‘t like this China thing.  I don‘t like borrowing $420 billion to give a tax cut to the top two percent.  There‘s something morally wrong about that.  I don‘t care what the polls show. 

John Boehner can‘t even bring himself to use the word “compromise.”  Lesley Stahl tried to nail “The Tan Man” on “60 Minutes” last night.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER:  We have to govern.  That‘s what we were elected to do. 

LESLEY STAHL, “60 MINUTES”:  But governing means compromising. 

BOEHNER:  It means working together.  It means—

STAHL:  It also means compromise. 

BOEHNER:  It means finding common ground. 

STAHL:  OK.  Is that compromising? 

BOEHNER:  Let me make clear, I am not going to compromise on my principles, nor am I going to compromise the will of the American people. 

STAHL:  And you‘re saying, “I want common ground, but I‘m not going to compromise.”  I don‘t understand that.  I really don‘t.

BOEHNER:  When you say the word “compromise,” a lot of Americans look up and go, oh, they‘re going to sell me out.  And so finding common ground I think makes more sense. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Boehner might be a big crybaby, but he knows exactly what he‘s doing with this issue.  Common ground, what does that mean?  Well, that means Boehner wants the president to do things his way—his way or the highway. 

Compromise means he has to give something up.  He‘s not going do that. 

The White House has no problem with the word “compromise.”  David Axelrod proved it on Sunday. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID AXELROD, SR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISER:  The nature of compromise is that you have to accept some things that you don‘t like in order to get the things that you do. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AXELROD:  The nature of compromise is that you have to accept things that you don‘t like in order to get things that are very important. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AXELROD:  We didn‘t particularly like the treatment of the estate tax for the wealthy estates, but compromise, by its very nature, includes things that you don‘t necessarily like. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Interesting point there.  What is it about this whole package that the Republicans don‘t like? 

They like it all.  They‘ve got everything they want, and then some on the estate tax, if the House doesn‘t move. 

Liberals want President Obama to fight the Bush tax cuts as hard as Senator Bernie Sanders did on the Senate floor on Friday.  But the White House wants to move past this issue and go on the attack against Republicans next year. 

Robert Gibbs talked about Sanders‘ nine-hour Friday filibuster today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I think the president will be the first to agree that there are aspects of this that he doesn‘t like, as I‘ve said before and as he‘s said before.  Our preferred method was to make permanent the tax cuts for the middle class.  The votes weren‘t there in the Senate to do that.  And rather than threaten our economic recovery, the president believed that this bipartisan agreement was the best way to go. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And I agree with that.  I agree that‘s exactly where the president is.  I think he is committed to the middle class.  He was not going to give any ground on that. 

This has nothing to do whether I support President Obama or like President Obama or am going to really advocate for him in the next election cycle.  I mean, I‘m a fan.  I‘m a fan.  But I think the president is making a huge political miscalculation here. 

He is precisely the right president, and this is precisely the right time in history to step up and ask the American people to sacrifice.  If he doesn‘t, this tax compromise will follow the president through his last days in office. 

He owns it.  His signature‘s on it now.  And that‘s exactly what the righties want. 

If the top two percent sit on their money the way that they have over the last couple of years, it will cripple the economy and kill any chance of lowering the unemployment rate in this country.  And at this point, Nancy Pelosi is really the person that‘s holding all the cards. 

She has to decide if she wants to compromise with the party that‘s demanding common ground.  She has to decide if she wants her legacy as Speaker of the House to end with a vote to extend the Bush tax cuts, the very policy that ran us into the ditch.

Speaker Pelosi, liberals, I think, want you to fight until the finish. 

Give it some more drama.  Maybe even don‘t even bring it to the floor. 

Would she be so bold to do that? 

There was one other political note that I wanted to throw in here tonight on this conference that was taking place here in New York today, the No Labels conference.  Boy, it sounds really good, doesn‘t it?  You‘re a better American because you‘re not taking a stand.  You‘re wishy-washy on a lot of stuff.  You don‘t like the labels. 

Let me tell you something, folks.  You know why we got into this trouble?  Because there are absolutes.  And one of the absolutes of the conservative mantra in this country is that they want low taxes.  They like to have stuff off budget. 

We had two wars off budget.  We had tax cuts for the top two percent. 

And now look where we are. 

The absolutes on this centrist crowd that‘s out there, this No Labels crowd, can you tell me exactly from the middle of the road what your position is on Social Security?  Can you tell me if you believe that every American should have health care?  And, oh, by the way, since the surge was a year ago, what is the centrist position on Afghanistan? 

We are living in political times that call for absolutes.  And it‘s up to liberals to stand tall on principle that this is how we‘re going to turn this country around and change this country. 

For the record, I‘m in the 30 percent crowd tonight if you want to believe the polls.  I think this is going to be a devastating mistake, and I want to be wrong.  I mean, I really want to be wrong. 

I want to come back a year from now, when there‘s another million jobs that have been created and the economy‘s turning around, and the treasury‘s starting to get a little bit more solvent, even by a dime.  But I don‘t believe it. 

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think. 

Tonight‘s text survey question is: Do you think the Republicans will ever compromise with President Obama?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

This man brought to this show tonight for respect.  Joining me now is Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  He spoke Friday for nearly nine hours against extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich. 

Senator, thank you for the fight.  You said on this program last week that you were going to do everything in your power.  You did.  You‘re true to your word. 

What about tomorrow in the final vote?  Will you stand up for round two? 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT:  Well, of course.  I voted against this agreement today.  I will continue to vote against it. 

I think there is no question that we could have reached a far, far better agreement, one that does not give billions and billions of dollars in tax breaks to people who don‘t need it and then force our kids and our grandchildren to pay that off by an increasing national debt.  We could have had a much better agreement. 

SCHULTZ:  The vote is still open, 82 in favor, 12 against.  Why did so many Democrats in the Senate go for this? 

SANDERS:  Well, you have to ask them, Ed.  I think what they will probably tell you is they were given a take-it-or-leave-it proposal by the president, something that they had no part in negotiating.  And they looked out, and they said, you know what?  We‘ve got a lot of unemployed people in this country whose unemployment compensation is going to expire.  We‘ve got to protect them. 

Yes, we‘ve got to extend tax breaks for the middle class.  And, of course, we‘ve got to do that. 

But I think apropos of what you‘ve said a few moments ago, what the president, in my view, what all of us should have done, is gone around the country, rallied the American people, and say, really, do you think we should be lowering the estate tax for the top .3 of one percent?  Do you think we should be continuing low rates on dividend and capital gains taxes?  Do you really think that billionaires need a tax break? 

I think we win that debate, and then we come to the table with the Republicans on the defensive.  Not us. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, finally tonight, do you really think this might be a bridge too far—I don‘t think it is—a bridge too far to say that this is the beginning of the end of Social Security as we know it? 

SANDERS:  I just spoke this afternoon to one of the leaders of one the largest senior citizen organizations in this country, and she worries very much that when you start diverting $112,000 of payroll taxes away from Social Security, this could be the beginning.  Our Republican friends like this idea.  And they will extend, I fear, that concept.  It is not good for the future of Social Security. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks for fighting.  I appreciate it. 

SANDERS:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, the weeper of the house.  “The Tan Man” loses control on national TV again?  I mean, this guy really needs to get some help and get a hold of himself, doesn‘t he? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER:  Making sure that these kids have a shot at the American dream like I did, it‘s important. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, the guy can‘t be around schools.  That‘s too bad. 

Also coming up, Sarah Palin‘s grandstanding tour in Haiti is over, folks.  And I‘ve got pictures to prove that she‘s exploiting people for media attention. 

Plus, a Bush-appointed judge rules against President Obama‘s health care law, and “The Beckster” is freaking out over global warming. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. 

Stay with us.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight. 

The fat cats on Wall Street are raking in massive profits as 15 million Americans are just struggling to survive.  Bloomberg reports this year will be the second best ever for Wall Street.  And last year, the financial industry shattered records, thanks to the bailout which was paid for by the taxpayers. 

But here‘s what really gets me going on this story.  They‘re hoarding the money away for themselves right now. 

In September of this year, they were sitting on $1.9 trillion in cash and other assets.  The Federal Reserve said that cash accounted for 7.4 percent of the company‘s total assets, the largest share since 1959. 

Why? 

Well, meanwhile, Main Street is still hurting.  Where‘s the money?  Small businesses are desperate for loans to expand to hire, but the cash just isn‘t there. 

On Friday, I was standing in the back of the room of the White House Briefing Room when President Clinton came in, and I asked him about the tight credit markets.  I think this is the story. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Mr. President, is there anything else that can be done in your opinion to loosen up the private credit markets that have been so tight?  I mean, if people can‘t get their hands on capital, how can they be the entrepreneurs that they want to be?  And this is something that the Republicans have fought all along. 

What‘s the next step? 

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  What I believe is going on is, first of all, the business community has not come forward as aggressively enough, the small business community, and this bill did preserve all those small business incentives that were enacted by the Congress in the previous two years.  There‘s like 16 different measures, you know, that give incentives for small businesses to take loans and loan guarantees and that kind of thing. 

It appears to me that the community banks, at least, are somewhat uncertain about how the financial reform bill which I supported applies to them and what the cost of compliance might be. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  He is spot on.  President Clinton knows exactly what he was talking about. 

President Obama‘s administration has done more for small business than any administration over the last 50 years.  But the banks still are tight with the dollar.  The problem may be a lack of information on both sides. 

President Clinton thinks that there should be a nationwide education effort targeted at small banks to show them how to use what the government is offering. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  I think it is really, really important just to do an aggressive, 100 percent information drench.  I mean, I would go so far as to do it bank by bank by bank by bank, so that everybody knows exactly what they have to do, exactly what it costs, and how quickly this can all be resolved.  And then I think it‘s important to make sure that all of these community banks and the people who might borrow from them understand where the small businesses of America are and where the manufacturers are with the various loan guarantees and credits and deductions that are available under these laws. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  White House officials that I talked to want the next two years to be about the message.  President Clinton knows that knowledge is power, and if they can get a clear message to the small banks, it could be a big boost to the economy and a much-needed shot in the arm. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  We too often assume that when a law passes, people know it passed and they know what‘s in it, and they know how it applies to them.  That may not be true in this case, because there‘s been so much activity and so much debate about it that was a debate that occurred in the context of a campaign rather than in the context of, let me tell you how this works, come here, let‘s figure out how to get you a loan. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  President Clinton knows a lot about this stuff, but to set the dynamic perfectly, back in the ‘90s, when Clinton was on a run with the economy, 22 million jobs, you know, it was a heck of a lot different to go into a bank and got a loan.  Loans were a heck of a lot easier to get than what they are today, and the economy today is a lot different.

It was 15 years ago.  And President Obama has to deal with the load of a lot of different problems, including the Republicans blocking him every step of the way.  And I‘m not so against the thought that there is this intangible out there that the financial sector wants this president to fail. 

That‘s what I‘m afraid of.  I‘m afraid that the bankers in this country, the community bankers in this country, aren‘t sitting there saying, hey, you know, we really like this President Obama guy, he came in and did something on Wall Street and gave some regulation.  They don‘t like that, and they‘re afraid of the future.  And I think they‘re going to be sitting on it. 

I don‘t think the president can do any more than what he‘s done in this $900 billion package.  The conservatives have gotten everything they wanted on this deal. 

It‘s up to loosening up the money.  So what‘s the president going do?  He‘s going to meet with CEOs, big-timers, later this week, and ask them, now what do you want me to do? 

More on this tomorrow. 

Coming up, “The Beckster” is using a massive Midwest snowstorm to mock global warming.  Hey, I‘m going to crank up the heat on this one on the clown.  Does he have an idea how we could fix the Metrodome?  Probably not. 

“The Zone” is next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, all of the wintry weather across the middle of the country is giving the righties their yearly excuse to rail against global warming.  Here we go again.  And as usual, they‘re ignoring all of the facts, like a NASA study saying 2010 will likely be the hottest year on record. 

Well, the Fox News family, they‘re all wound up about the Minneapolis Metrodome collapsing under 17 inches of snow.  Fox‘s Web site jumped right into it, mocking global warming with its headline, “Paging Gore...  Metrodome Collapses Under Snowstorm.”

Then, of course, Glenn Beck and his stooges on the radio tackled the winter storms with a dose of their trademark sarcasm. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  You know what I was going to do?  I was just going to hang out at the beaches there, you know, right there on the great lakes and just kind of hang out.  And then maybe go catch a football game in Minnesota. 

By the way, could I just ask for maybe the name of the person in charge of checking the structure out in—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In Minneapolis? 

BECK:  -- in Minneapolis?  I mean, you know, just the guy who is checking the stadiums and the bridges. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

BECK:  Shouldn‘t they both hold up?  I mean, you didn‘t know that there was going to be snow? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, they did, but it‘s the most snow they‘ve had, which is interesting from a global warming perspective, but the most snow they‘ve had in what, 50 years? 

BECK:  Well, it‘s only proof that global warming is happening. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right.  Of course it. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  First of all, laughing about the tragic Minneapolis bridge collapse is unacceptable.  Thirteen people died.  It isn‘t funny.

And let me tell you something about the Metrodome.  I‘ve covered dozens of games in that stadium over the last 30 years.  It ain‘t global warming.  The Metrodome is a dump, always has been, always will be.  It has caved in four other times. 

So, for “The Beckster” and his friends at Fox to use the Metrodome collapse as their push, their annual push, bogus right-wing talking point about global warming is just warmed over “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, does the tan man, does he have some emotional issues that we really need to talk about?  He lost control on TV again over the American dream?  How come he always cries about himself? Congresswoman Donna Edwards sounds off about what it‘s going to be like working with the incoming speaker.  

The pressure on the drugster‘s getting cranked up.  Reverend Sharpton‘s crusade against his hate speech is heading to the FCC.  We‘ll get rapid-fire response.  

Plus, the righties are going gaga over President Obama‘s health care law, and Michael Steele, well, he just might hang around.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The “Battleground” story tonight, don‘t cry for him, folks, don‘t do it.  Too many questions need to be answered.  Interesting how John Boehner always seems to cry when the subject turns to him.  As he did multiple times during his “60 Minutes” profile last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, OHIO:  I can‘t go to a school anymore.  I used to go to a lot of schools.  I see all these little kids running around.  Can‘t talk about it.

LESLEY STAHL, HOST, “60 MINUTES”:  Why?

BOEHNER:  Making sure that these kids have a shot at the American dream like I did, it‘s important. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s talk about this.  Was he crying when federal funding didn‘t go to local school districts across America for no child left behind?  How many tears were shed on that one, Johnny?  Boehner got so worked up that he had to stop the tape and then came back for a sit-down at his family bar with Mrs. Boehner.  And then he started to cry again. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STAHL:  What set you off that time?  Because she‘s proud of you.  He cries all the time?

DEBBIE BOEHNER, JOHN BOEHNER‘S WIFE:  No.  No but he‘s going through an emotional period, too.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Boehner is crying over his new job.  Let me ask you, folks, do you think he cries for the unemployed in this country or the people in America who saw their jobs shipped overseas?  Is that what the American dream that he‘s crying about?  How about the American dream of owning a home or the millions of Americans that have been forced to leave because of foreclosure?  After losing their job, couldn‘t keep up with the payments, do you think that he‘s crying about that?  If Boehner wants to see tears, we can find plenty of them in America.  And it doesn‘t have to be with his dream.  It‘s a reality of what he and his party stands for and what they have done to this country over the last eight years. 

I think Boehner seems almost guilt-ridden over his rise to power.  Interesting how his parents were Kennedy Democrats.  I wonder how they would feel about the income disparity in this country.  Would his parents be proud that he is willing to throw working families under the bus, to stand up for the tax cuts for the  rich, or that he advocates repealing the health care reform bill and allow insurance companies to once and for all  just kick sick people off the roles.  Is that the plan that he wants for America?  Any tears for that one?  I mean is Boehner crying because he‘s a ruthless politician and that he‘s really not the personal his parents raised?  I mean, here‘s what Mrs. Boehner says.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STAHL:  This is not any ordinary job.  Whoever would have thought that he‘d be in this position?  

DEBBIE BOEHNER:  Somebody who‘s gone from mopping this floor to being speaker of the house. 

STAHL:  Yes.  Doesn‘t happen every day. 

BOEHNER:  Welcome to America.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Yes, gosh, what do you think they would have done to Nancy Pelosi if she had gotten all worked up?  They would said that she‘s unstable, couldn‘t do the job.  Ooh, yes, welcome to America where the republicans are using the unemployed to extort another tax cut for the rich and John Boehner is about to be rewarded for it.  Just what he‘s going to be like to work within Congress.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland, a vice chair of the Progressive Caucus.  Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight. 

REP. DONNA EDWARDS, PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS:  Great to be with you, Ed.  

SCHULTZ:  Do you think John Boehner might have some emotional issues?

EDWARDS:  Well, You know what, I‘m not going to begrudge John Boehner his tears over sending to the House leadership but the question is, what are we going to do for the unemployed whose benefits expired on December 1st?  What are we going to do for homeowners who are losing their homes?  What are we going to do for middle income tax payers who are feeling the bite at the prospect of their taxes going up in the beginning of the year? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  You‘re spot on but doesn‘t the question beg?  Doesn‘t the question beg that you know, is he going to feel this way about 15 million people?  I mean, this is the worst economy since the depression.  Any tears for these folks?  No, it‘s tax cuts for the top two percent.  I mean I think that‘s a very valid point.  And does that give you any indication of what it‘s going to be like to work with the Republicans now that they‘re going to have the majority in the House? 

EDWARDS:  Well, this is where I think the problem is with the current tax deal proposal because on the democratic side of the ledger, the president file the ledger where protecting middle income families are looking out for the unemployed and then we‘re tacking on, half a trillion dollars worth of debt to our children and grandchildren and come next year when Republicans are in control under Mr. Boehner‘s leadership they‘re going to say, you know what, the deficit‘s going skyrocketing.  We‘ve got to start cutting and they‘re going to go after Social Security and Medicare, earned income tax credit and all of these things that we really care about and so there‘s a disconnect between Mr. Boehner‘s tears which I really appreciate and value the emotion of going into this—heading new job but there‘s a disconnect between that and the experiences of working families.  

SCHULTZ:  What is your response as a lawmaker when he says, he rejects the word compromise and says we need to find common ground.  What‘s your interpretation of that?

EDWARDS:  Well, my immediate response is, I understand that he rejects the word compromise because whether it was health care or energy or saving teacher‘s jobs or a stimulus package to get the economy jump started, the Republicans including Mr. Boehner didn‘t compromise a bit because they didn‘t give one single vote to anything on the agenda over this last two years and the next two years under their leadership, it‘s not going to be any different.  

SCHULTZ:  Congresswoman, thanks for joining us tonight.  I appreciate it so much. 

EDWARDS:  Thank you.  

SCHULTZ:  I think Smokey Robinson had a song that was out “Tears of a Clown,” this fits. 

Now let‘s get some rapid-fire response from our panel on these stories.  I want to know, where are the Tea Party outrages about the tax cuts?  The tax cuts for the rich could explode the deficit by $900 billion over the next decade if the GOP gets its way, so where‘s the outrage?  Where‘s the march?  Where are the protests?  I thought the Tea Party folks were against all of this? 

The GOP orchestrated a scheme on health care reform, a right-wing attorney general in Virginia has successfully convinced a Bush judge in Virginia that health care, this bill is unconstitutional.  Now all of the righties are coming out to celebrate.  And the—will the FCC pull the plug Rush Limbaugh‘s racist tirades?  Reverend Al Sharpton is pushing hard for it. 

With us tonight, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press and also nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved.  The vote today, gentlemen, $90 billion, Bill Press, are you a 30 percenter or are you with the polls that say, this is the right thing to do?

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Look, I don‘t care whether it‘s two percent.  I‘m with the people who think this is a bad deal, Ed.  And it‘s going through the Senate, but you‘re right about the Tea Party.  If they really—this just proves how phony the Tea Party is and I think this is a problem for them.  Because they‘ve become own lock stock and barrel by the Republican Party.  You know, if they really cared about federal spending and the deficit, they would have protested the Bush tax cuts in the first place, they would have protested the expansion of the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, they didn‘t, and now they‘re silent when the Republicans have made this deal.  This is bigger than the stimulus package.  

SCHULTZ:  Michael Medved, what happens if this doesn‘t work and what is your measurement, what‘s the conservative measurement of success on this $900 billion package?

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, measurement of the success is going to be seen with the unemployment rate, the general state of the economy, but point about this is, there is a difference between the governments taking money out of the private sector, and spending it on government programs.  And the government allowing more money to stay in the private sector.  The Tea Party has always been about the size of government.  When you leave tax rates low and then cut tax rates further, like this wonderful payroll tax that Republicans and Democrats can agree on, that tax reduction is going to stimulate the economy and it‘s going to allow people to keep more of their own money and shrink government.  

PRESS:  Michael, that is double talk.  This is $900 billion added to the deficit.  We can‘t run away from that. 

MEDVED:  It‘s not spending.  

PRESS:  We can‘t afford it, that‘s exactly what it is. 

MEDVED:  No, it‘s not spending.  

PRESS:  And if the Tea Party believe in anything, they ought to be marked massed right tonight in front capitol protesting this.  

MEDVED:  What Tea Partiers believe in is smaller government.  The best way to shrink government is to shrink the amount of money government takes out of the private sector and that‘s exactly what‘s happening with in deal.  

SCHULTZ:  Nine hundred billion dollars, Michael, $900 billion.  You know as well as I do, they were really squawking about the government spending.  The record deficit. 

PRESS:  Exactly.  

SCHULTZ:  They said that government was running away with it.  If this doesn‘t work, Mike, we may have to fault.  I mean, this is—if this doesn‘t work, this is a bad deal for America.  We‘re walking the plate.  

MEDVED:  Ed, it‘s wonderful to hear you taking the deficit seriously. 

See, this is the point.  

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS:  You have both sides of the Democratic Party, both sides of the Democratic Party, each one is taking a republican. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Gentlemen, quickly, I have to get to this right-wing judge.  

PRESS:  Go for it.  

SCHULTZ:  They are saying that right-wing judge ruled today in Virginia, upheld the ruling by the attorney general, saying he was successful in convincing this judge that the health care bill is unconstitutional.  Bill Press, is this trouble for the president‘s package?  

PRESS:  I don‘t really think so.  Look, this is the third ruling.  Two out of three judges have said, the law is constitutional.  The other thing is, Ed, you mention about this judge, he not only was appointed by George  Bush, he owns stock in a company called campaign solutions which ran the campaigns of John Boehner, Michele Bachmann and John McCain, all of which were about saying the health care law was unconstitutional.  He made over $100,000 in the stock on that company.  

MEDVED:  OK, it‘s very. 

PRESS:  He should have recused himself.  

MEDVED:  It‘s very, very tough for anyone to find a provision in the constitution whereby you can require people to actually get a service from a private company.  And that‘s what‘s wrong with the Obama plan.  

SCHULTZ:  This is the first step.  

MEDVED:  And by the way, Ed, you attacked him for it, you wanted a public option.  

SCHULTZ:  I did want a public option, there‘s no question about it.  But I also think that the pre-existing condition and 30 million more people getting coverage is a great thing. 

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

MEDVED:  No impact on that, it just has an impact on the individual mandate.  

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, we‘ve got run.  Michael Medved, Bill Press, great to have you with us.  

MEDVED:  All right.  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll be right back with racist extremism in South Carolina.  The Reverend Al Sharpton is our guest.  Do they really want to succeed and have a big party about it?  We‘re right back.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think.  Tonight‘s text survey question is, do you think the Republicans will ever compromise with President Obama?  Text A for yes.  Text B for no to 622-639.  Results coming up.  Stay with us.      

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my “Playbook” tonight, conservatives in South Carolina are celebrating the destruction of the United States.  One week from today, a South Carolina group called the confederate heritage trust will hold a succession gala to honor confederate leaders who launched a civil war in this country, for $100 a ticket, partygoers can enjoy a stage, play enacting, the signing of the ordinance of succession.  That will be followed by a three-course dinner featuring Carolina Crab Dip and Shrink and Grits and dancing with a live band.  The dress code is modern black tie, period formal or pre-war militia. 

So, next Monday shipping that julep in the uniforms of army that fought against the United States, southern conservatives will honor people who shed blood to protect slavery.  They will honor people who would rather die than see a black man become free.  I‘m disgusted that this is 2010 and we‘re still here doing this stuff.  Americans actually gathering to toast those values?  Of course a representative for one of the groups sponsoring the events says that it‘s not about slavery.  A commander for the sons of confederate veterans says, quote, it‘s part of our nature and our culture and our heritage.  I don‘t really get upset about it or pay attention to the naysayers.  This people are celebrating a time when they were not part of the United States of America.  I wonder how they would feel if anyone else was hosting a party on American soil to cheer a war on America. 

Joining me now is Reverend Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network.  Reverend, great to have you with us tonight.  

REV. AL SHARPTON, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK:  Thank you.  

SCHULTZ:  I‘m somewhat shocked by this story.  I don‘t know if this is the first one or if they‘ve always done this before.  Your thoughts on it.  

SHARPTON:  Well there have been other types of celebrations, but I think it is horrendous.  First of all on two levels.  One, they‘re celebrating treason.  These people actually fought and killed and died, some of them, to try and overthrow the United States government.  And then when that didn‘t succeed, they succeeded and tried to form a separate government on American soil.  Secondly, it was based on slavery and slavery based on race.  So you have one level, how can any patriot not condemn this and at another level anyone who believes that racism and bigotry is wrong.  So, I think that all people that are real patriots as well as those who don‘t believe in racism in South Carolina ought to not only not attend but they ought to condemn that.  Can you imagine anywhere in the world that people would sit around and celebrate, people that declared war and actually killed people against their country.  

SCHULTZ:  What do you think about Charles Joseph Riley (ph), his reaction to this is, “to me it‘s certainly not a celebratory event, it‘s a rather solemnly observed the moment in our history that I think most Americans if they could rewrite it, they would write it differently.  It wouldn‘t have the South Carolina leaving in the separation and of the United States of America.”  What do you make of that?

SHARPTON:  I mean, I think that he could have been stronger, but I think that clearly it should be denounced and repudiated.  We‘re not talking about people that had a political debate in the South Carolina legislature.  We‘re talking about people that succeeded and that fired guns and people died.  We‘re talking about a deadly war, the most deadly war, and we‘re talking about it based on the fact they wanted the right to own human beings as property.  There‘s nothing more horrendous and outrageous than that.  

SCHULTZ:  To your knowledge, will anybody protest this event?

SHARPTON:  I think that there are some conversations I‘d been getting from some of our people on the National Action Network in South Carolina, also in NAACP chapters and others.  The question is not, who‘s going to protest, the question is, why all of us should be outraged at this same type of feeling could even be alive in the 21st century where people would even think this is something to celebrate.  

SCHULTZ:  Reverend Sharpton, always a pleasure.  Good to have you with us tonight.  

SHARPTON:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, Caribou Barbie spent the weekend getting photo-ops in Haiti with Greta Van Susteren of FOX.  She thinks we‘re dumb enough to fall for this dog and pony show?  That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.                            

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And finally tonight, Sarah Palin breezed through her grandstanding tour of Haiti this weekend.  She choppered in with Greta Van Susteren and her FOX News cameras, and stayed for less than 48 hours.  Now, some people don‘t like that I‘m criticizing the Palin trip to Haiti but her trip wasn‘t about the people of Haiti, it was all about Sarah Palin and her presidential ambitions documented exclusively by FOX News. 

For more let‘s bring in Jonathan Alter, national affairs columnist for “Newsweek” and MSNBC political analyst.  No matter how you look at it, it‘s another controversial trip and a conversation piece for Sarah Palin.  Good or bad?  What do you think?

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, look, it‘s great anytime anybody shows compassion and keeps Haiti on the map and she did do that, but what really surprised me here, Ed, was that she wasn‘t more pr savvy.  Because what we‘ve come to expect from her in the last couple of years is a real shrewdness about how to use the media, and if she had really wanted to have an impact and really want to do improve her image, she would have gone down there for about two weeks with no cameras at all until maybe the end of her time there.  And then she would have looked like she was you know there for all of the right reasons.  So she really didn‘t handle this in the best way from her own perspective.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, speaking of the media, why only one network?  Why not more?

ALTER:  Well that‘s a pattern with her now.  We‘re going to be seeing more of that if she decides to run for president, it‘s going to be fascinating.  She‘s breaking a lot of new ground here.  And she‘s kind of developing this idea that, you know, all she needs is FOX and we‘ll see whether it works.  We‘ll see whether she can get the republican nomination, just by talking to the network that is most closely associated with the Republican Party.  It could work for her in the primaries.  I don‘t see it‘s working for her in a general election but we‘re on uncharted territory here and who knows. 

SCHULTZ:  What would be the measure of success on a trip like this other than the media talking about it and bringing attention there but she‘s there for 48 hours.  She doesn‘t have the power to bring in on an official capacity any kind of moral relief to Haiti and then you‘ve got millions of Americans here in America who are home unemployed, going through a tough time, the worst economy since the great depression and she shows very little compassion.  In fact, she has criticized unemployment benefit extensions.  What about that?

ALTER:  She has but, you know, look, I don‘t fault her for going to Haiti and she did say on television that she encouraged good Samaritans to come down there and use their time, contribute their money.  That‘s all positive.  This country has—has terrible problems.  And the cholera epidemic there is something that is very deserving of our attention and she helped to shine a light on that even in 48 hours, so that‘s fine.  Give her that but it‘s just not a very convincing display on her part and you know what Bill Clinton has done, for instance,  going down there repeatedly operating under the radar most of the time, most of the time, no press coverage at all.  That‘s the kind of commitment to Haiti that we want to see from our public officials and former public officials and we didn‘t get that with Sarah Palin.  

SCHULTZ:  Jonathan Alter, always a pleasure.  Good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks.  

ALTER:  Thanks, Ed.  

SCHULTZ:  Tonight in our text survey I asked, do you think the Republicans will ever compromise with President Obama?  Eight percent of you said, yes.  Ninety tow percent of you said, no.  Vikings and Giants tonight.  The technical crew here in New York, they‘re all a bunch of Giant fans.  I‘m still rooting for Brett Favre.  In fact, I want him to come back next year. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copyright 2010 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.  All materials herein are protected by

United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,

transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written

permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,

copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>

PASTE THE TRANSCRIPT HERE