updated 1/5/2011 11:42:36 AM ET 2011-01-05T16:42:36

Guests: Leo Gerard, Jan Schakowsky, Chris Van Hollen, Heidi Harris, Karen

Hunter, Alan Grayson, Joan Walsh

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

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

hour 

Well, the Republican attacks against American wage earners, well, they have already started.  And I think this will be a major story in 2011. 

The assault starts with John Boehner, and he just goes after unions, bashing, bashing, bashing.  And governors like Chris Christie and John Kasich, well, they are right in line. 

My commentary on that, and the president of the United Steelworkers International, Leo Gerard, coming up in a moment. 

John Boehner becomes Speaker of the House tomorrow, but already, the Republicans have broken two campaign promise on spending and congressional reform.  Congressman Chris Van Hollen calls him out tonight on those issues. 

And conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Dick Cheney‘s hunting buddy, who was also a teacher for Michele Bachmann‘s Constitution class, says the Constitution does not protect women against discrimination.  How enlightening. 

I‘ve got “Rapid Fire Response” on that tonight. 

And Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, he will be here live to tell Democrats what they need to hear about fighting Republican attacks in the next session of the Congress. 

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

We‘re learning more about the Republican Party‘s plans to go on a full-scale attack against American wage earners.  Hold it right there.

Ask yourself the question—I‘m a wage earner.  Am I a wage earner? 

You‘re at war and you probably don‘t even know it.

Mark my words, John Boehner and the minions in the House, this will be the worst enemy the American worker has ever seen this next session of the Congress.  Ever.  That‘s what their focus is, the Republican repeal agenda. 

In my opinion, they will never create one job.  Not one. 

Beyond the damage “The Tan Man” can do in the House, Republican governors all across the country, well, they are plotting systematically to destroy unions piece by piece.  The march is on.

Chris Christie has set the standard for Republican governors to really bully wage earners with his attacks on unions, and it started in his interview with “60 Minutes.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ®, NEW JERSEY:  I‘m the first person to expose them for what they have been doing to the public.  And this is what I say to public sector unions—listen, you can boo me now, but I‘m the first governor who‘s walked into this room in 10 years and told you the truth, and here is the truth.  If you don‘t partner with me to get this done, in 10 years you won‘t have a pension, and that‘s the truth. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  No, that‘s a threat.  It doesn‘t have to work his way. 

You see, what he did was turn around and give those folks making over $400,000 a year more money.  Christie‘s “My way or the highway” style has been the template for other right-wing governors across the country. 

Let‘s go to Ohio.  Former Fox Mews host and incoming Republican governor John Kasich is—well, he‘s taking Christie‘s thug-like tactics to a whole new level. 

Now, according to “The New York Times,” Kasich wants to strip 14,000 state finance childcare and home care workers, wants to strip their right to unionize.  He wants to put it into a law.  You can‘t do it. 

He also wants to eliminate a requirement—a requirement—that the state pay union-scale wages to construction workers on public contracts.  Oh, let‘s hold it right there. 

What do you say we go to Minnesota and build a lousy bridge so it can fall and kill 13 more people?  Do these people even care about public service? 

Kasich also wants to ban—he wants to ban teachers from striking.  A PATCO action from the Reagan years, right? 

This is how he put during his speech in December --  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV.-ELECT JOHN KASICH ®, OHIO:  If they want to strike, they should be fired.  I really don‘t favor the right to strike of any public employee.  OK?  That‘s my personal philosophy.  They‘ve got good jobs, they got high pay, they‘ve got good benefit, a great retirement.  What are they striking for? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Great?  Really?  Great? 

There‘s no way on earth a governor from a state like Ohio should want to fire anybody for anything, because, you see, that state has been bleeding jobs for the last decade. 

Well, this goes way, way, way beyond attacking the wage earners.  This is killer politics.  And I wrote do about it, called it just like it is.

Republican governors in 10 states, they want to ban private sector unions from making their members pay dues or fees, which, of course, would give serious financial trouble to unions.  Whether it would bankrupt them or not remains to be seem. 

AFSCME president Jeremy McEntee thinks that this is nothing more than a big political get-back for unions supporting Democrats in the last election.  He said, “I see this as payback for the role we played in the 2010 elections.  Now there‘s a bull‘s-eye on our back, and they‘re out to inflict pain.”

Well, they have already done that, haven‘t they?  But I think this is more than payback. 

This is an assault on wage earners who President Obama is going to need in 2012 because, you see, he believes paying people.  Back in 2008, President Obama carried --0 well, look at them—New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin. 

Now all of those states, folks—pay attention—are controlled by Republican governors who want to cripple the unions before they get a chance to go out and knock on doors and do the grassroots work for the president to get him re-elected in 2012.  This is the freight train they are trying to stop because they know how powerful the voters can be. 

Well, Republicans, you see, they love to lie about the political influence that organized labor has in this country.  Now, as an information consumer, in this commentary tonight I want you to capture this one thing, if nothing else.  Unions contribute one-tenth of one percent of their money that corporations put into campaigns. 

Now, think about that, one-tenth of one percent.  You‘ve got the corporate money over here, you‘ve got the organized labor money over here.  Let‘s put in terms of worker. 

How would you feel if a person was doing the same exact job in your workplace and he or she is earning 99.9 percent more money than you?  Would you go to the boss and say, hey, can we get some fairness here? 

This is the disparity when it comes to funding campaigns.  And, oh by the way, that was before the Supreme Court ruling. 

Chris Christie and John Kasich, they are spitting on the same American people they just love to bond with during the election season.  Oh, we‘re for you. 

Let me tell you, if they are successful, it will ultimately affect everybody in this country who, I guess you could say, takes a shower after work, the wage earners.  I think America is better than this.

And basers, liberals, you might not have liked what happened in the last session, but if you don‘t mount the counteroffensive against these people who I believe don‘t like American workers, it‘s going to get a hell of a lot worse.  You see, this repeal and reform agenda, just remember it‘s really about gut and butcher. 

They want to gut everything the Democrats did.  They want to gut everything that was passed.  And they want to start all over for the corporations. 

We‘ll have a story later in this program tonight about how Darrell Issa actually went to the corporations and said, what do you want me to reform?  That‘s coming up a little bit later. 

But the Republicans, I think, in my heart, the word “hate” is pretty tough, but we‘re damn close.  What is it?   What is this disdain they have for the American worker? 

Why is it that rich Republicans get pissed off when somebody gets a raise?  Because it affects their bottom line?  What is it about Republicans that they just can‘t bring it to themselves when it‘s time to vote on a measure about buying American? 

This is going to be a real lesson for America the next two years, but it‘s also going to be a wakeup call for liberals.  We are either in this fight and we‘re going to push back against these people—they have already said that the president of the United States is corrupt, and I don‘t know where the White House is.  There‘s no word on where they stand on that.

You think Karl Rove‘s White House would have stood back and allowed somebody to say, well, we think you‘re corrupt and not say something about it?  Where‘s the offensive? 

I can guarantee you it‘s going to be here every night at 6:00 Eastern Time, because I know what these people are up to, and I know what they are all about.  They are about a low-wage society. 

Concentrate the wealth at the top, and keep it all for the rich folks.  Gut the jobs, send them overseas, destroy labor, and, oh, by the way, vilify anybody that thinks about organizing. 

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

And tonight‘s text survey question is: Do you think Republicans really know what the American people want? 

Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.

Joining me now is Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers. 

Mr. Gerard regard, great to have you with us tonight. 

LEO GERARD, PRESIDENT, UNITED STEELWORKERS:  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  I want you to address first the organized labor money when it comes to fees, dues, versus corporate money.  We need to clarify this, because I am sick and tired of hearing right-wingers on the air all over America tell us that the unions are buying elections. 

What are the numbers? 

GERARD:  First of all, when they say that, they know they are lying, and it‘s an out-and-out lie. 

In reality, the labor movement spends about one-tenth of one percent of what the total corporate money is, rich person money included.  And in our care, in the case of the labor movement, we have to go to our members individually and ask our members to contribute individually to our PAC funds, whereas you go to a CEO, and the CEO just decides how much money they are going to contribute, then he‘ll also tell the rest of his executives that they should contribute at the max, because bonus season is coming up. 

So, that‘s just an out-and-out lie.  But I‘ll come to the point that you made earlier, Ed, as well.

For 30 years now, the Republicans have been on an agenda to drive a low-wage economy.  That‘s the reason for a lot of these rotten trade deals.  That‘s the reason why we are having the attacks on workers right now.  And to judge the moral standard of the country is not by what you do for the wealthiest and the most powerful, it‘s what you do for the least wealthy and the least powerful.

And as a result of this agenda for the last 30 years, we have the largest s disparity between the rich and the rest of to us that we have had in—since record-keeping. 

SCHULTZ:  How do you combat this effort, Mr. Gerard, that these Republican governors are making in these key states to vilify workers, to go after their pension, to go after their wages, and in some cases, as I stated, in Ohio, to make it illegal for teachers to even strike? 

What about that? 

GERARD:  Well, I think, first of all, we have got to go out and tell the truth. 

Teachers aren‘t overpaid.  They are, in fact, overworked.  Public sector workers aren‘t overpaid.  They are, in fact, overworked. 

When you go to try and get a public service now, you stand in line and you have to wait just like if you are at McDonald‘s ordering a Big Mac.  And the reason that is they fed the rich tax cut after tax cut after tax cut, while the real living standards of workers both in the public and the private sector has been flat and/or declining. 

And when we talk about pensions, Ed, let‘s go back to the deregulation of the financial sector, the deregulation of the accounting.  And let‘s calculate how many trillions of dollars of pension money has been lost with Enron, with WorldCom, with Tyco, with the savings and loan scandal, and now recently with the Wall Street collapse. 

No working person caused that.  What caused that was a Republican agenda, supported by some conservative Democrats, to deregulate the financial sector. 

SCHULTZ:  What—that‘s a great point.  I mean, Wall Street butchered a lot of these pensions.  And, of course, Christie, that‘s his culture and that‘s where he comes from.  But he seems to be the poster child for Republican governors to follow this template to go after unions and to make it harder for workers in this country to organize and to have a voice. 

What‘s the game plan, Mr. Gerard? 

GERARD:  Well, their game plan is to try and basically eliminate unions or marginalize unions, because they see the labor movement as sort of the last thing standing between them and complete corporate dominance.  I call it corporate oligarchy.

And the fact of the matter is, when you look at what Wall Street has done, it‘s the economic equivalent to leaving 3-year-olds alone in a candy store.  You know if you leave them there long enough, they‘re going to eat enough candy to get sick.  When you come to pick them up, they‘re going to throw up on your shoes.

I‘m sick of Republicans and Wall Streeters throwing up on the shoes of our members.  And what we need to do is bring a broad coalition of progressives—

SCHULTZ:  No doubt.

GERARD:  -- religious community, civil rights community, and we need to come together.  You know what?  We‘ll win, because the truth is on our side.

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Gerard, always a pleasure.

GERARD:  The truth will set us free, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  It certainly will, and we‘re going to get it out every night and defend the wage workers of this country, because this is not only an ideological war, this is a war of finance.  That‘s what this is, and holding people down.

Mr. Gerard—

GERARD:  And Ed, can I make one more point? 

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

GERARD:  There‘s 40,000 factories—

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

GERARD:  -- that got closed during the Bush regime. 

SCHULTZ:  Forty thousand in the last 10 years. 

GERARD:  Those factories paid taxes to local communities.  Those taxes paid workers.  Those workers paid taxes when they worked there.  Those jobs went to China and to other place, and those factories aren‘t there. 

SCHULTZ:  And what‘s the Boehner crowd going to do about that? 

Mr. Gerard, great to have you with us.  We will do it again. 

GERARD:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, new information today about Congressman Issa‘s politically motivated mission to bring down President Obama.  He is now asking—he is asking big Republican campaign contributors, say, tell me what you want me to investigate. 

Is he a puppet?  I‘d say so.  Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky sounds off on that next. 

“The Tan Man” becomes the Speaker tomorrow, but already, he and the Republicans have broken—how many? -- two campaign promises.  Their hypocrisy on trying to repeal health care is just amazing. 

Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen joins us live on that. 

Plus, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the Constitution does not protect women from discrimination. 

It makes you feel good all over, doesn‘t it? 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.  A lot coming up tonight. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

So here we go.  Big business, what did they do?  They forked over a lot of cash to get the righties elected last year. 

All right.  That‘s the way it is.  But now it‘s payback time. 

Incoming House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, this guy has taken his witch-hunt against the Obama White House to a new level.  Now, get this—he is now asking oil companies, drug companies, business lobbyists for advice on what regulations, you know, to get rid of?  What do you guys want me to do?  I will do whatever you want me to do.  That‘s basically what he is saying. 

He sent big business, all his buddies, this letter: “I ask you for your assistance in identifying existing and proposed regulations that have negatively impacted job growth in your members‘ industry.  Additionally, suggestions on reforming identified regulations and the rulemaking process would be appreciated.” 

So, not only tell me what you want me to go after, but tell me how you really want me to do it.  It‘s called prostitution—political prostitution. 

He sent the letter to more than 150 trade associations, private companies, and think tanks.  How do you want me to do my job? 

You know, why isn‘t Congress Issa—why isn‘t he asking 15 million unemployed people in this country, what do you think about job training?  What do you think we ought to do? 

Why isn‘t he asking 50 million people in this country without health insurance, what would you like the Congress to do?  Do you really want us to go after this bill, try to say it‘s unconstitutional? 

Maybe he should have asked them if they really want to be spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan.  When do we get to vote on that? 

Darrell Issa doesn‘t give a damn about people, it‘s very clear.  He is all about himself.  He just is going to go right to the power brokers of America, the big corporations, the big donors, the big contributors, and ask for direction.  He openly does it.  He wants to deregulate wherever he can to send the wealth straight to the top. 

For more, let‘s bring in Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. 

Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight. 

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS:  Thanks, Ed.  Happy New Year. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Happy New Year to you. 

He‘s asking for direction, going right to the big corporations, asking, OK, what do you want me to do? 

How do you take that as a representative? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  You know, Darrell Issa has to know that this has nothing at all whatsoever to do with creating jobs, that the big corporations right now are sitting on a pile of money.  They had record profits, and yet they failed to create jobs.

And so the hypocrisy of this—and so, what we really have to ask, does Darrell Issa want them to tell the Congress that they want to go back to sweat shops so people are hurt and abused at work?  Do they want the oil companies to be able to pollute our Gulf of Mexico, or anywhere they want, without any kind of regulation?  Or serve hamburgers to kids that might kill them, or pollute our air so that our kids get asthma? 

I mean, is this the kind of thing that Darrell Issa wants to go back to, the good old days where corporations ran roughshod over all Americans and actually caused enormous damage to our environment and to the health of Americans?  It sounds that way. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

Congresswoman, to go on the offensive, how much more information do the Democrats need? 

I mean, it‘s very clear how they are going to favorite corporations.  You know, this is more than calling balls and strikes.  This is just giving the game over to the people that want to run America. 

SCHAKOWSKY:  You know, you‘ve got to hand it to Leo Gerard talking about workers and what the real problem is in our country.  And the fact is that, right now, the wealthiest of Americans, the super rich, are calling the shots. 

Darrell Issa seems to like it that way.  This is very dangerous for our economy. 

When middle class people are falling behind, when jobs are not being created that actually give people a living wage, this is not good for even the biggest businesses who aren‘t going to have their customers in order to revive our economy right now.  And so, we are heading in absolutely the wrong direction, and with Darrell Issa it is full speed ahead. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Asking the oil companies and the drug companies what they want him to do as far as regulations is really the fox guarding the hen house, if there ever was.  I mean, I have never heard of a politician openly sending a letter out telling me how you want me to do my job, I will do whatever you want me to do, and I will attack wherever you want me to attack. 

SCHAKOWSKY:  You know, this myth that what is good for business is good for America, didn‘t we learn that at the crash of Wall Street, that they are not interested in the well-being of the American people?  And if there aren‘t rules of the road, if there aren‘t regulations that at least moderate the greed that we have seen just exploding before us, then I think that our economy is going to go into the tank again. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Well, corporations are all about profit.  They must love these regulations that have been put in place, because you very profoundly stated what kind of money they are sitting on right now. 

Congresswoman, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

SCHAKOWSKY:  Thank you so much, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, former Bush press secretary Dana Perino proves Republicans will whine about anything.  She is freaking out about—light bulbs? 

I‘ll shine some light on that one in “The Zone,” next.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, former Bush secretary Dana Perino regularly joins the kids over on “Fox & Friends” to run her mouth on the latest righty talking points.  Does a pretty good job of it. 

Now, she kicked off the new year by fear-mongering about the death of the traditional light bulb. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA PERINO, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  In 2007, I remember when the energy bill passed in the lame-duck session, and President Bush signed the bill.   It was a comprehensive bill.  And included in it was a ban on incandescent light bulbs. 

I started panicking because I thought, I hate those new lights, I hate them.  They look blue and they drive me crazy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The pigtails, right. 

PERINO:  Plus—yes, the ones that are pigtails.  Plus, if they break, their mercury content is so high, it can be quite dangerous.  So, for moms out there, they should be worried about that. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Uh-oh.  All the mothers out there, you better watch out. 

You may have to stop letting your kids play with the light bulbs. 

Of course, Perino is completely wrong again.  The bill she is talking about does not ban incandescent light bulbs, it eliminates inefficient light bulbs. 

Light going on? 

So, no one‘s going to force you to buy the dreaded pigtailed lights.  But Perino‘s not only making stuff up about a ban on light bulbs, “Smoky” Joe Barton—remember him, the guy who apologized to BP over the response to the oil spill?  He was hollering not long ago about light bulbs. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOE BARTON ®, TEXAS:  We prohibited in a few years the sale of incandescent light bulbs.  The traditional incandescent light bulb, I believe you can get four for $1.99.  The little squiggly pigtail ones were one for $9.99.  So I think repeal that—that law right off the bat. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, who‘s got facts on their side?  Those little squiggly things, they just last a hell of a lot longer. 

Well, here we go again with repeal.  It‘s all the Republicans can talk about these days, and “Smoky Joe” was even talking about a law Bush signed.  These guys will repeal anything. 

As for Dana Perino, for her to slam that same law based on completely false information is worse than a shot in the dark.  It‘s just plain old “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, “Bat Crazy” Bachmann at it again.  She is making up more lies about health care reform, and her Republican friends are showing what hypocrites they really are. 

Congressman Chris Van Hollen fought harder than anybody in the Congress for reform.  He sounds off in “The Battleground” story tonight. 

Chief Justice John Roberts—get this—the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, swore in John Boehner‘s staff this morning in a private ceremony?  Just like the country club.  What‘s that all about? 

I‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response” on that. 

Plus, Alan Grayson joins me with a report card for the Democrats.  

And I will tell you why I‘m officially off the Brett Favre band wagon, I should have said it last night, it is really over.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.  Now I know why I left New York.                    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  In the “Battleground” story tonight, House Republicans campaign on two main principles last year.  Let‘s see congressional reform, oh we got to reform.  And fiscal discipline, we are worry about the budget.  And they are abandoning both of them before they even take the oath of office.  Their first order of business was setting a date to vote on health care repeal bill.  And they are going to vote on it without holding any hearings.  Just week after just ripping into the Democrats for ramming through the 9/11 health care bill for the first responders without any hearings.  Beyond that, Republicans are cranking out the same lust they spread about a bill a year ago and nobody does it better than the pride of Minnesota, Michele Bachmann. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  Obama-care will bankrupt the country and so you‘ve seen that the more the people learn about Obama-care, the less they like it.  It is very costly, it is unwieldy, so we will put forth a clean, repealed bill of Obama-care and you will continue to see us make that fight because that‘s what the American people want us to do. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Will bankrupt the country.  That‘s—that‘s not true.  It‘s a flat-out lie.  The health care bill will bankrupt the country?  These at line the righties keep throwing out over and over again about the health care, will increase in the deficit, it is complete hogwash.  It‘s a lie.  The CBO estimated the health care law will reduce the deficit by $143 billion through 2020.  That‘s reducing the deficit.   And folks, it‘s going to be reduced even further than that, another $1.2 trillion over the following decade.  

So you see if Republicans repeal this law, that deficit reduction goes away and they will end up increasing the deficit by more than $1 trillion.  But of course hold it right there they will say, well, we can‘t trust the CBO.  We can trust them when we want to go to Iraq and Afghanistan but we can‘t trust them when it comes to health care in America.  The righties may be taking control of the House, but folks, nothing has changed.  They are still a bunch of hypocrite. 

Let me turn to Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.  Congressman, correct me if I am wrong tonight, the CBO scored the health care bill to save money.  Correct?

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND:  You are absolutely right, Ed.  Look, the Republicans said that they were listening to the American people, that they were going to change their ways and what we are finding out is in the very first week of the new Congress, they are going to do two things, one, they are not going to focus on jobs and the economy, they are going to focus on repealing new health care protections that the American people have.  And number two, they are going to short circuit the process, they‘re not going to go through the democratic process, they‘re not going to go through the hearings, and as you just said and I think the American people are going to be very surprised to learn this, they are going to authorize themselves, through the chairman of the Budget Committee to pick their own number out of the hat to substitute for the CBO number as to the impact of repealing health care on the deficit. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Monopoly, that‘s what it is, that old board game, you know?

VAN HOLLEN:  You know, if you don‘t like what the referee tells you, they don‘t like the call on the field by  the guy who is the neutral arbiter, you throw the referee off the field and you make up your to own number.  This is the triumph of political accounting.  This is the new Enron sort of style approach to the budget that we are going to see, I guess from our republican colleagues.  And I think people will be very surprised to hear that they are doing this because the CBO and I think listeners need to do this is our referee down here, sometimes we like what they say, sometimes we don‘t like what they say, but as you pointed out, they have indicated that the health care reform bill will save over $100 billion on the deficit over ten years and over $1 trillion over 20 years.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, Harry Reid, I remember over in the Senate, he kept saying, well we got this provision, we got to wait until we get it scored by the CBO and we have to wait another three days, you know how that went, that whole process, the whole minutiae of it, the sausage making is what they call it.  But looking at what these folks want to do, they offered plan, they just want to get rid of it and its political theater because Reid said over in the Senate, it is never going to hit the floor.  

So why are the Republicans doing this, in your opinion?  Why are they playing this theater game with the American people?

VAN HOLLEN:  Well this is a sop to some of the folks on the very far right because they created this impression that if you elected them, they were going to come in and get rid of a health care reform and other things when I think people know very well that this is a political charade and this is a waste of time in that sense.  The scary thing is that, you know, if they—if they ever, you know, people focused on what the impact would be, it would take away a lot of the rights that people are just beginning to learn they have.  People can stay on their parents‘ insurance policy at the age of 26.  You can‘t discriminate against kids based on pre-existing conditions.  So our hope is that even though they are doing this political theater that it will help make people even more aware of the new patient protection rights that are in this bill and make people question even more why the Republicans want to do the bidding of the insurance industry once again. 

SCHULTZ:  So, the bottom line here is that the American people need to know that repealing this, and this is what the Republicans want to do, they are going to deny Americans coverage because this bill opened up the door for millions of Americans to get coverage with a pre-existing condition?  That‘s how heart less they are and also point out the fact that they do not have anything on the table to remedy that.  It‘s all about erasing what you guys did in the last session. 

VAN HOLLEN:  That‘s exactly what it is.  And, you know, with respect to seniors, beginning January 1st of this year, seniors who fell in that prescription drug doughnut hole where they can no longer afford to pay for their prescription drugs, they now, as a result of the health care bill, get reduced prices for their drugs.  The Republicans say, too bad, we are going to go become to the time when you were the doughnut home. 

SCHULTZ:  Seniors can‘t line the pockets of politicians.  Heck, they are out in the woods now, now that they got the corporate boys doing all their work, they don‘t need the seniors.  Congressman, great to have you with us tonight, always a pleasure. 

VAN HOLLEN:  Good to be with you, Ed.  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories.  Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the constitution does not protect women against discrimination.   In an interview, in a legal magazine, he said 14th amendment does not apply sex discrimination.  I guess we are not all created equal after all, huh?

And John Boehner‘s trying to—what is he trying to do, fix his reputation?  Good luck.

This morning, well, he had Chief Justice Roberts swear in his staff.  And tonight, he is skipping a ritzy fund raising Republican Party for freshmen.  Tan man, you can‘t fool us.  

With us tonight, Karen Hunter, journalist and publisher.  Also with us tonight, Heidi Harris, radio talk show host out of Las Vegas and we got to say, she is the author of the new book, “Cocktail Waitress Wisdom, Life Lessons Learned While Carrying a Tray in Las Vegas.”

HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  That‘s right. 

SCHULTZ:  Heidi, is that you on the front cover back in the day?

HARRIS:  That‘s me—you know, that is actually me pretty recently with a real bad wig on, I couldn‘t afford a model, Ed.  What can I tell?  Fish nets are great. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Now, you were a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas, right?

HARRIS:  Years ago, yes I was.  

SCHULTZ:  OK.  How in the heck did you ever become a republican?  You were working out there for a living, working hard, they don‘t like you workers out there?

HARRIS:  You know, because I‘m a hard worker, I understand the value of a dollar.  That‘s why I‘m a conservative. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Karen Hunter, great to have you with us tonight as well.  I want to know, this comment by Mr. Scalia from the Supreme Court, how troubling is this, in your opinion?

KAREN HUNTER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, I guess in Scalia‘s world, Plessy versus Ferguson should have also been upheld and maybe we shouldn‘t have been abolished.  It‘s very disturbing.  But what I‘m optimistic about, because we can‘t do anything about him being in a court.  He is there for life along with Clarence Thomas and a few other questionable characters, is that we have a president of the United States who is willing to appoint people to balance the scales and I believe that the Supreme Court should look like America.  So, I‘m happy that Sotomayor is there to fight the good fight and Elena Kagan is there to fight the good fight, and a few others who have been there before them to fight the good fight, because it‘s very disturbing that we have someone sitting on the bench who believes that women should not be treated equally in America in 2011.  Wow. 

SCHULTZ:  He was asked by a print journalist about the 14th amendment and he said, “If indeed the current society has come to different views, that‘s fine.  You do not need the constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society.  Certainly, the constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex.  The only issue is whether it prohibits it.  It doesn‘t.”  Heidi, your take?

HARRIS:  I think he is very clear about that, he is not saying that women don‘t have rights.  He is saying legislatures do whatever they want to, I don‘t see it in the 14th amendment, anything about women mentioned.   It‘s equal protection.  I mean, it‘s equal protection for all of us.  I don‘t have a problem with what he said at all.   I think I love him. 

HUNTER:  Wow!  Look, my tongue just bled from me biting a little bit especially during that earlier exchange but I mean, Heidi, at the end of the day, you know, if this man is sitting on a court, then that means, it you‘re waitressing and a man is also in your restaurant, that he has more rights than you do under Scalia‘s what he just said.  

HARRIS:  No, no, no, that is what you are missing that, Karen, he never said that. 

(CROSSTALK)

HUNTER:  He didn‘t say it he implied.  

HARRIS:  No, no.  He did he not say that, he said, it‘s not in the constitution.  See, conservatives will say, legislatures can do what they want to the constitution says this.  Liberals will say, I, as a judge, am going to interpret the constitution anyway I want to for my own political gain.  I love what Scalia said, he didn‘t say the states don‘t have rights to pass laws, he said, it‘s not in the constitution. 

HUNTER:  There are lots to thing that were in the constitution including, I was three-fifths a man according to the constitution, at one point, that wasn‘t in the constitution for me to be treated equally as human being in this country.  Thank God we have people on the courts who are using good common sense and humanity to—excuse me, to interpret the laws and I appreciate that. 

HARRIS:  Well, that is why what the 14th amendment was supposed to remedy, that‘s a lot of it was about reconstruction, as you very well know and it remedied that to a very large extent, there shouldn‘t be discrimination against the  nothing racist, there‘s nothing about women in there.  I don‘t know...  

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  Karen Hunter, Heidi Harris, great to have you with us tonight, it‘s a hot topic and I was surprised by the comment myself. 

Coming up, Congressman Alan Grayson, well, he was never afraid to tell it like it is.  He is going out with a bang tonight with a report card for the Democrats.  And David Letterman has the answer for all of John Boehner‘s crying.  Wait until you hear this one.  It is all coming up in the Playbook, next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think, tonight‘s tech survey question is, do you think Republicans really know what the American people want?  Text A for yes.  Text B for no to 622639.  Results coming up.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my “Playbook” tonight, liberals in America are about to lose the ultimate warrior for their values in the House of Representatives.  Congressman Alan Grayson‘s take to—take no prisoners style rubbed some people the wrong way, so much that he became a target in the last election.  But passion and style that he showed on the House floor, he really spoke for millions of voiceless Americans.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA:  If you get sick in America, this is what the Republicans want you to do.  If you get sick, America, the republican health care plan is this.  Die quickly.  Let‘s give some thought as to what the high and mighty might actually do with that money.  They can buy this gorgeous Hermes bag, a Burkin, for $64,800.  They can buy 20,000 jars of their favorite mustard, Grey Poupon.  Thank you, Republican Party. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Grayson isn‘t sugarcoating anything about his time in Congress.  He told the “New York Times” that members of his own party need to start acting like Democrats.  

For more on that, joining me now is Florida Congressman Alan Grayson.  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.  I have got a lot of communication from people saying that they you want to stay active.  I hope you do, I know you‘re a family man and you‘ve been away from your family the last couple of years, doing the work of the people, but I hope you stay active.  But your remark about the Democrats has caused quite a stir.  Where did the Democrats go wrong in representing the people and what do they need to do to correct it?

GRAYSON:  We need to fight for ordinary people, for the benefit of the Democratic Party‘s constituencies and the benefit of ordinary people.  We needed to do things, to practical things, to keep people in their homes, as I tried to do in Orlando in our mandatory mediation program.  We needed to do things that improve people‘s chance of keeping their jobs.  During the great depression, Roosevelt had a jobs program that put four million people to work in a matter of months.  Where was our jobs program?  Now, it‘s a good thing that we avoided a second great depression, there‘s no question about that.  It‘s also good thing that we achieved universal health care in America, that‘s a great thing but we could have done more and the Democratic Party‘s main constituencies felt disappointed and that‘s why they didn‘t vote on November 2nd.  

SCHULTZ:  How do you think labor unions should feel right now?

GRAYSON:  Well, I think they have to understand that there‘s no place else to go but they have to fight to make sure they get whatever they can get from a democratic leadership that doesn‘t always give them what  they deserve.  The labor element of the party was disregarded for the past two years.  

SCHULTZ:  They were told to step aside, Employee Free Choice Act because they were going to do a health care.  They did health care and now look where they are.  There‘s a lot of broken noses on the—in the labor movement right now.  And now, of course, the president is talking about Bill Daley as chief of staff and Gene Sperling, the chief economic advisers.  If Sperling comes in, it is more Wall Street.  What‘s your reaction to this?

GRAYSON:  I think that the current economic team gives the president advice that runs the span all the way from one end of Wall Street to the other.  There‘s nobody who‘s giving the president economic advice who can be called a progressive.  There is nobody who is giving the president advice on the military that could be called a progressive.  There‘s nobody that‘s giving advice to the president on social matters that can be called a progressive and this is one of the fundamental problems.  The White House is packed, the executive branch is now packed with blue dogs and other people who just aren‘t comfortable in taking steps to help people with a conscience.  

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, thanks for speaking up.  I think you did a hell of a job.  They targeted you because you do speak up and I hope you stay active.  We will stay right here with you.  I appreciate it so much. 

GRAYSON:  Thank you, Ed.  

SCHULTZ:  Some final pages in the playbook tonight.  David Letterman and NBC‘s Brian Williams, he was on the show last night, they were talking about incoming Speaker John Boehner when Letterman threw out some advice about the tan man‘s frequent crying. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, NBC ANCHOR:  The guy will cry like he is on drugs.  This guy can‘t get an elevator, he starts to sob.  I‘m not suggesting he is using drugs, I‘m suggesting—I‘m—what I‘m suggesting is there has been trauma in this man‘s life that he has struggled with and that‘s why he is always sobbing.  I‘m suggesting that he needs some sort of counseling. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  I think Dave might be on to something here. 

And Glenn beck is scaring off radio stations right here in New York.  Radio station WOR, one of the biggest signals in the region dropped Beck because of low ratings?  Is the crazy man losing a touch on the radio?  I just want to know if “Time” magazine is going to put this on the cover. 

And finally, now we know why Brett Favre left the Jets.  He is being sued by two former massage therapists for the Jets.  They claim he sexually harassed them by asking—this is a family show, OK?  The Jets say, no, no, no, that‘s not what happened.  No merit to any of this stuff.  Here‘s the bottom line.  It‘s over.  The career is of over.  Your friend, Big Eddie is off the bandwagon.  Retire. 

Coming up, I‘m not done with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  He says, women are not protected by the constitution?

And the perfect fit for Michele Bachmann‘s constitutional class?  OK. 

That‘s next.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Finally tonight, more on right wing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and his comment that the constitution doesn‘t protect women from discrimination.  Well, back in 1971, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the equal protection clause protected women from discrimination.  Scalia might need to take a refresher course on the constitution he is sworn to uphold.  Later this month, he is scheduled to be a guest speaker at Michele Bachmann‘s conservative constitutional seminar.  Should be a dandy. 

For more on this, let‘s bring in Joan Walsh, editor at large, salon.com.  Is this who they really are, Joan? What do you think?

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR AT LARGE, SALON.COM:  Yes.  No doubt about it, this is who they really are.  I mean, Ed, thanks for noting, yes, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the 14th amendment does apply to women.  So, I think we‘re safe.  Because otherwise, you know, it wouldn‘t apply to Jews, it wouldn‘t apply to Latinos, it wouldn‘t apply to black women, by the way, apparently, if you really believe that it was only to establish the citizenship of former slaves, which is a worthy goal.  I‘m glad we did that.  But subsequently, Supreme Court has applied it to all of us.  That‘s a really, really important guarantee of our rights. 

But, you know, the really ironic thing to me, the disgrace here is that Scalia used the 14th amendment when he ruled in Bush versus Gore in 2000 and made his buddy, George W. Bush, our president.  He used equal protection to say that Bush was not being protected by Florida using different waves as counting ballots in different counties.  So, if this supposed to apply to the citizenship of black men, only me, I don‘t see how this rich white guy got his—got the presidency based on equal protection.  It is so ideologically.  It is ridiculous.  

SCHULTZ:  This is a hero of the Republican Party, this is the model that they want to put on the Supreme Court.  How offended are you by this and how—not to overstate it, how dangerous is this?

WALSH:  You know what, it is not dangerous, I‘m sorry, because it is ridiculous.  He is writing more than half the country out of this protection.  The other, you know, I think really specious thing that he keeps saying is, hey, if you don‘t want discrimination against women and if you‘ve got support, write the laws and pass the laws.  Well, do you know what that means, Ed?  That means, if you want discrimination against women in Mississippi or some state, then you can write those laws and pass those laws.  Our rights are fundamental, but you know what, this is a minority crackpot position.  I‘m sorry, he is said to be respected on the bench.  He is an ideologue and he is a bully and this will not stand.  We have nothing to worry about here. 

SCHULTZ:  Joan Walsh, salon.com, always a pleasure.  Great to have you with us tonight. 

WALSH:  Thank you.  

SCHULTZ:  Tonight in our text survey, I asked, do you think Republicans really know what the American people want?  Fifteen percent of you said yes, 85 percent of you said no.  Now tomorrow, the gavel goes into the hands of John Boehner.  So, now we, as liberals can ask, what are you going to do about jobs?

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  Chris Matthews, next with “HARDBALL,” here on MSNBC, the place for politics.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night from New York on THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for joining us.

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