updated 1/25/2011 9:40:27 AM ET 2011-01-25T14:40:27

Guests: James Hoffa, John Nichols, Mike Papantonio, Laura Flanders, Amy

Holmes, Rev. Al Sharpton

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Rachel.  And thanks for bringing me in tonight.

MADDOW:  Absolutely.

SCHULTZ:  I‘ll be here every night.  Thanks so much.

MADDOW:  Yes.

SCHULTZ:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW.

           

Tonight, I want to thank you for watching.  I know many of you have watched my show for the last two years as we‘ve had a team that has put together a very successful run at 6:00 -- in fact, the best of the history of this network.

Now the time slot has changed, but I want to assure all of you tonight that the mission stays the same.  I promise you that I‘m going to come here every night at this hour and fight for Americans who feel like they don‘t have a voice.  If you‘re a wage earner, I‘m your guy.  I‘ll spend this time fighting for equal rights, workers rights, women‘s rights, and social justice—all of the main themes that I‘ve always done on THE ED SHOW.

And I know a lot of you are worried and I mean worried.  It‘s in the blogosphere that this network is going—to be going in a different direction.

Time out.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Nobody has told me to tone it down and no one has told me, “Hey, this is what you have to say.”

So, for those of you who have watched this show in the past, and for those of you who are seeing it for the first time, I want to thank you.  I‘m proud that this show is on primetime across the country, 7:00 on the West Coast, and adjust accordingly and I‘ll be here every night.

Now, that we‘ve got that squared away—these are the stories hitting my hot buttons tonight.  On the table:

With Republicans at the gates after their takeover of the House, it‘s time for the president to stand up for progressive values that basically got him elected.  When he goes before the nation at tomorrow‘s State of the Union address, we‘ll need to hear him pledge, going to protect Social Security, and, of course, the New Deal—the foundations that made this country great.

Mr. President, you need to do that directly.  My commentary on that tonight.

Eric Cantor is not just the new House majority leader.  He is a major voice of the Republican Party, but he won‘t distance himself from the birthers.  And he refuses to condemn the birther talk as crazy talk.

And when Congresswoman Michele Bachmann talks about the new slavery, she may or may not be speaking to the Tea Party but she sure isn‘t speaking to the best part of America.  Now, Bachmann is setting herself up for a presidential run as she gives her own response to the president‘s State of the Union tomorrow night.

This is the story that has me fired up.  First tonight, folks, less than 24 hours away, President Obama will lay out his vision to help America lean forward.  We need to get there on jobs, don‘t we?  The president previewed his State of the Union speech in a video message to supporters over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We‘ve got millions of our fellow Americans who are out there struggling every day—don‘t have a job or haven‘t seen a raise in a long time, paycheck is shrinking at a time when costs are going up.  And so my principal focus, my number one focus, is going to be making sure that we are competitive, that we are growing, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future.  And that‘s what is going to be the main topic of the State of the Union.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Well, now, over the next two years, President Obama faces a mountain of economic challenges—two wars and a reckless Republican Party who wants to make him a one-term president.  They‘re against the guy.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has an entirely different vision for America.  He calls it, “cut and grow”?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER:  When the president talks about competitiveness—sure, we want America to be competitive.  But then when he talks about investing, I think even someone from the White House this week had said that this is going to be a cut and invest White House.  We want to cut and grow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Cut and grow.  Have you ever—have you ever been in business where the boss comes in and says, “We‘re going to cut and grow,” meaning we need to do more, multi-tasking?

All right.  That‘s good business talk.  But the bottom line here is:

they take this word “investment” and then they think that we‘re going to raise your taxes.

Not the case.  Not the case at all.  Don‘t you think we should take some money out of wars and put it into infrastructure?  That‘s an investment, Mr. Cantor.

Cantor and his buddies are after the New Deal.  They want to cut government, you know, out of existence, and grow the gap between the super rich and the rest of the country.

Now, the Republican roadmap for America—we‘re going to hear a lot about that.  This is going to divide this American economy and is going to run it right off a cliff because it‘s going to leave a lot of Americans behind.

Now, I think it‘s crucial for the president‘s base to see him draw a line in the sand—that‘s a term we use a lot during the health care debate—on Social Security.  Please, Democrats, please.  Don‘t tell me you‘re going to negotiate on this.  Medicare and Medicaid, we‘re going to be negotiating on that, too?  Well, maybe not.

This afternoon, liberals got some good news.  “The Washington Post” reported President Obama has decided not to endorse his deficit commission‘s recommendation to raise the retirement age.  Hallelujah.  And otherwise reduce Social Security benefits.  This is exactly the kind of fight liberals want to see out of the president of the United States on Tuesday night.

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse put it this way: “Ultimately, the president is demonstrating to the American people and to the Republicans a willingness to fight and win on issues that are core issues for him.”

Not just for him, Senator.  For the whole doggone country.  The president needs to do even more to defend the institution that made this country great, like American wage earners are at a crossroads, you think?  They see Wall Street putting up record numbers and corporate profits rolling in at an all time high and at the same time, millions of Americans have seen their jobs shipped overseas.  And wages are stagnant.  How does the president do that alone?  That‘s a heavy lift.

Republicans, where do you stand on this?

The—you know, the president needs, I think, to lay out a 21st century manufacturing strategy for America.  Why?  Because the numbers are bad.  We have lost 40,000 factories.  They have closed in this country over the last decade, 40,000.  Forty thousand factories closed over the last decade.  And I think it‘s time for the president to lay out a roadmap for turning that number around.

The president is expected to call for targeted investments to create jobs, to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.  Do you know that 60 percent of the schools in this country are over 50 years old?  Sixty percent of the schools in America are over 50 years old.  Do you think we can do a little bit better than that?  And the Republicans right around and say, well, we‘re putting too much money into public education.

Really?  Resources?  No.  We‘re not doing enough.

Now, look, that doesn‘t work for the Republicans‘ cut-and-grow agenda at all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR:  I think that the vision the president laid out over the last two years is one very much focused on increasing government spending and trying to spawn action from a Washington-based perspective.  And what the people have said is, enough, we‘ve got to shrink government, we‘ve got to cut spending, and we need to really look to the private sector to grow jobs.

DAVID GREGORY, MODERATOR, “MEET THE PRESS”:  But he‘s saying—

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You know, I don‘t think this guy has any idea what he‘s talking about.  I really don‘t.

My friends, let me ask you tonight—where is the outcry to cut Social Security?  Have you seen it or heard it?  Where is the outcry to privatize Medicare?

The Republicans don‘t care about the American people when they come up with this rhetoric.  They just want to make this president fail and put him on the defensive.  That‘s why the president needs to fight on Tuesday night.

Now, understand there‘s going to be a lot of discussion about tone in this country and working together—but how can you work with a group that wants to roll back progress we have made?  The Republican Party actually wants to take health care away from people who are sick as if we make no progress whatsoever.  The president has to address that tomorrow night.  We cannot turn back.

Joining me now is the general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, James Hoffa.

Mr. Hoffa, good to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time at this hour.

The president tomorrow night has to come up with a jobs plan far greater than one we‘ve seen already.  Do you agree with that?

JAMES HOFFA, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS:  Absolutely.  Right now, the biggest problem we have is jobs.  We‘ve got 10 percent unemployment, 8 million jobs have disappeared since our recent recession, and corporate America is sitting on $2 trillion.

What we‘ve got to do is to come up with a challenge to corporate America to say, stop sending jobs overseas, start building factories here, start keeping jobs here.  Bring those jobs back.  Bring those call centers back.  Bring all those different things back here.

It can be done.  We have the most skilled work force in America.  And we‘re ready to do the job.

And what we‘ve got to do is challenge corporate America.  And that‘s what he should be doing, he should be talking about this to say, look, you made $2 trillion because you closed plants in America.  You moved them over there and you put the money in your pocket.  Now, it‘s time for you to take these trillions of dollars and invest it back in America.

That‘s the way we‘re going to get this country moving again.

SCHULTZ:  But the Republicans and corporate America has pushed for the low wage earner.  And this is why the jobs have gone overseas.  And this White House has not been the best friend of labor.  Do you agree?

HOFFA:  I agree, but, you know, he‘s tried.  But what he‘s got to do is he lost focus, you know, in the first year with health care.  Health care is very important.  But jobs also are important.

Right now, what I‘m proposing is that we have a pledge of allegiance, a corporate pledge of allegiance, to have these corporations say I won‘t close any more factories.  I want to rebuild America.

You know, I want to be on the president‘s commission.  If I‘m going to do that, why aren‘t they signing this pledge?  And I‘m going to make sure that this gets over to the White House and that people start signing this.

You want to be part of the solution, let‘s start keeping jobs in America, let‘s start bringing jobs back and let‘s have a climate that OKs that we can start going to the new markets and selling American products made here in America by Americans.  That‘s what we need.

SCHULTZ:  Well, this president has been big business friendly as of late.  And the bottom line is many of these CEOs are beholden to a stock price, and the best way to cut expenses is to go right to labor.  So, I mean, there‘s a real conflict here.

I mean, how are we going to rebuild America and create these jobs if we‘ve got an environment like this and a culture like this?  How does labor view this?

HOFFA:  We‘ve got a changing environment.  We‘ve got to embarrass these corporate barons sitting on the $2 trillion to say, isn‘t it enough?  When are you going to stop hoarding the money and putting it back to work in America?

You know, you are American citizens.  Most of these are American corporations.  You owe an obligation.

You know, it used to be in the old days what we called about a social contract.  That‘s been thrown out the window.  We‘ve got to get that back to tell these corporations, we‘ve got to embarrass them, we will do that, to tell them, you owe an obligation to this country to put America back to work.  You‘ve got the money.  Start doing it now.

SCHULTZ:  But, Mr. Hoffa, have you ever seen the political climate in this country as far as the Republicans are concerned—so anti-labor as they are right now?

HOFFA:  Well, you see it everywhere.  They have a plan right now.  The Chamber of Commerce is attacking labor in 13 states, right to work everywhere.

We‘re going to meet them but they really have an agenda and all these

Republicans that you‘ve been talking about are part of that agenda because

labor is the last standing organization that stands for American workers

that are on the Hill, that are working every day to make sure workers get a

fair shake to get good wages, to get health care, to get pensions.  We‘re

the only ones out there and we‘re the last bastion that they want to attack

--

           

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

HOFFA:  -- because we are the only ones fighting for the American middle class and people who are workers.

SCHULTZ:  Truer words have never been spoken.  Mr. Hoffa, good to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time.

HOFFA:  Congratulations on your show.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s good to be here.  Thank you, sir.

Coming up: Republicans have chosen Congressman Paul Ryan to respond to the president‘s State of the Union address , but Paul Ryan wants—folks, listen to this—he wants a middle class tax hike.  And another—you mean another tax cut for the wealthiest Americans?  That‘s right.  And he wants to replace Medicare with vouchers.  Have we heard that before?

And then there‘s Eric Cantor who wants to take a stand, who won‘t—who will not take a stand against Republicans who still say that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen.

Plus, Michele Bachmann will give her very own response to the president because the Tea Party apparently just needs to have a vehicle.

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.  Lots more coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Coming up: Social Security, Medicare, the progressive tax.  What‘s at risk if Republicans follow the lead of Paul Ryan who gives his rebuttal to the president tomorrow night?  And Eric Cantor has no problem accusing Democrats of crazy talk, but when his fellow Republicans do it—well, looks like it‘s OK by him.

Stay with us.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Well, the GOP roadmap for America‘s future—folks, let me tell you what a trip down this road is going to be like for this country.  The end of Social Security as we know it, privatizing Medicare, cutting taxes on the rich while raising them on the middle class—is that what you want?  Because this is the Republican vision for this country.  And you know what? 

They‘re not even hiding it.  They‘re not even bashful.

They‘ll deliver it in plain English after tomorrow‘s State of the Union address.  But keep in mind, a recent poll out for “The New York Times” and CBS News shows that Americans would rather cut military spending than touch Social Security or Medicare in any form.

And yet, the Republican leadership has gone in all about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

CANTOR:  We‘ve got a serious fiscal train wreck coming for this country if we don‘t deal with these entitlements.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER:  I‘ve said to my constituents over the last couple weeks as they brought up particular areas of interest, don‘t assume that we can tackle this without impacting something you like.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SCHULTZ:  You know what?  Do you like war?  Because that‘s where it‘s all gone.  They haven‘t been paid for.  They‘ve been off budget since day one until the Democrats got in in 2006.

And, of course, the Medicare prescription drug bill, you know, they don‘t want to do the accounting on that.  You know, and all these tax cuts that weren‘t supposed to impact us at all.

The guy who built this roadmap is Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.  Now, this is—what I just told you about was the old roadmap.  This is the new roadmap.

And the Democrats—they‘ve got to be pushing back on this.  The spokesman for Senator Harry Reid is saying, quote, “Republicans are not only endorsing Representative Ryan‘s extreme plan but giving him unprecedented power to carry it out.”

Joining me now is John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation” magazine.

John, good to have you with us tonight.

OK.  So, we‘ve got this guy from Wisconsin named Ryan from the middle of the country.  His name recognition isn‘t great, but he has really got a dude of a plan, doesn‘t he?  Who is this guy?

JOHN NICHOLS, “THE NATION” MAGAZINE:  Well, Paul Ryan is a very Reagan-esque figure and folks are going to like him.  He‘s going to come off very well.  You‘re not going to hear the Sarah Palin/Michele Bachmann lock-and-load kind of rhetoric.

Ryan will come on very smooth, very appealing, but you‘ve got to go beyond the style and listen to what he says.  What he is going to say is that he wants to take Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and essentially squeeze any of the life out of them so that they end up as, at best, welfare programs, and maybe not even that.  This is a guy who believes in privatization.

SCHULTZ:  The best thing the Democrats can say to the American people, I think, is if you live on a fixed income these folks are coming after your fixed income, right?

NICHOLS:  There‘s no question of that.  And the best way to understand Paul Ryan is to understand he represents a town called Janesville.  Janesville, Wisconsin is an old factory town.  They used to have a big GM plant.  And yet, in a town that so relies on a federal government that ought to be protecting U.S. workers like President Hoffa of the Teamsters was talking about, Paul Ryan has always voted for free trade deals that shift U.S. jobs overseas.

SCHULTZ:  He‘s also taken half a million dollars from the insurance industry as far as donors are concerned, which is a boatload of money for a congressman in the middle of the country.  His road map has been described as a very dark vision for America, except the super rich.  He actually wants to raise taxes on the middle class.

What about that?

NICHOLS:  Well, he wants to balance the budget and get rid of the deficit without putting any bit of pressure on Wall Street or the super rich.  The only way that‘s going to happen is by putting more of the burden on the working class and also by squeezing the amount of funding that‘s available for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Bottom line is if Paul Ryan gets his way, you won‘t have balanced budgets and you won‘t get rid of the deficit.  What you will do, according to independent analyses, is balloon the deficit.  We‘ll actually end up in a worse financial situation but Wall Street and the super rich will be better off.

SCHULTZ:  And to be very clear, when we talk about tax cuts again for the super rich, those making over $250,000 a year, they want that rate to go down to 26 percent, not at 33 percent.  They want to bring it down even further.  They say that this is going to create jobs.

So, this guy is all about the same thing Reagan was about—anti-labor, free trader, take it from the corporations, give the tax cuts to the rich, a two America society.  I mean, it is very clear.  And this is the guy they‘re putting up in front of the country tomorrow night after President Obama lays out his vision for the country for the next year.  It‘s amazing stuff.

NICHOLS:  They‘re setting him up.  They are setting him up to be the counterpoint to Barack Obama.  People should listen closely to Paul Ryan and Democrats should push back hard.

SCHULTZ:  As they say, follow the money, this way—

NICHOLS:  That‘s exactly right.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Now, you can follow the cuts.  John Nichols of “The Nation”—great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

These cuts are going to hurt people.  You take Americans out there who are living on a fixed income.  Many people retired.

You know what they have?  Maybe a small pension.  It isn‘t going to get any bigger.  And then they have that Social Security check.

And because our finances in this country are where they are, it‘s people like Paul Ryan and the Republicans, they want to go to those people who have paid into Social Security for generations?  They want to take it out of their hide?  You don‘t think that‘s cruel?

I do.  It‘s morally wrong.

Coming up: how Eric Cantor uses civility as an excuse to protect his fellow Republicans even when they insist that President Obama is not a U.S.  citizen?  That‘s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching.

Well, the new age of civility was on full display yesterday on NBC‘s “Meet the Press.”

Despite repeated prodding from David Gregory, Eric Cantor, the new House majority leader, refused to indulge in name calling.  In fact, Mr.  Cantor was so discreet he would not even use disparaging language to talk about words, let alone people.  Mr. Cantor was asked about the fact that even though we‘ve seen all President Obama‘s birth certificate, some House Republicans still say they don‘t know whether he‘s an American or not.

Cantor‘s not asked whether birthers are crazy, just whether the idea itself is crazy talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREGORY:  There‘s been a lot of talk about discourse, about how you all can get along a little better and do it a little more civilly.  And I wonder, this is a leadership moment here.  OK?  There are elements of this country who question the president‘s citizenship, who think that his birth certificate is inauthentic.

Will you call that what it is, which is crazy talk?

CANTOR:  David, you know—I mean, a lot of that has been an issue sort of generated by not only media but others in the country.  Most Americans really are beyond that and they want us to focus—

GREGORY:  If somebody brings that up just engaging in crazy talk?

CANTOR:  David, I don‘t think it‘s nice to call anyone crazy, OK?

GREGORY:  All right.  Is it a legitimate or an illegitimate issue?

CANTOR:  I don‘t think it‘s an issue that we need to address at all. 

I think we need to focus upon—

GREGORY:  His citizenship should never be questioned in your judgment, is that what you‘re saying?

CANTOR:  It is—it is not an issue that even needs to be on the policymaking table right now.

GREGORY:  Because it‘s illegitimate?  I mean, why won‘t you just call it what it is?  There are a lot of Republican leaders who don‘t want to go as far as criticize those folks.

CANTOR:  I think the president is a citizen of the United States.

GREGORY:  Period?

CANTOR:  Yes.  Why is it that you want me to go engage in name-calling?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  So, even though he is now the official leader of the House Republicans, he won‘t denounce their birther talk because as he said, calling something crazy talk is the same as calling the person who says it crazy.  And that‘s just not nice?  So he would never, ever do it?  To Republicans, anyway.

Roll the health care clip if we can, please.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR:  You‘ve seen the cost estimates.  They‘re astronomical.  The latest estimate that is being discussed here on the House plan is $3 trillion.  That‘s after the $1.6 trillion estimate of the Senate plan.  Obviously this is crazy talk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, yes.  Doggone it.  Of course, we found that clip online. 

So who knows if it‘s fake or not, if Mr. Cantor even stands by it anymore.

Can we find out what Web site that was?  We‘ll work on it.  Let‘s see if I can make out that URL here—YouTube.com/userEricCantor?

Well, there you have it, big guy.  Questioning the president‘s citizenship?  Not crazy talk?  But spending money to keep Americans healthy?  Now, that‘s crazy talk?

OK.  I get it.

Coming up: the guest lecturer at the Tea Party Caucus—well, look at this—it‘s Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Then something that is truly bugging me.  I mean, the dude stood on the sidelines while his team lost the NFC Championship game.  Buddy, get in the game.  I got commentary on that.

And Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who was looking like a presidential candidate, but under the banner of the Tea Party.  That‘s coming up.

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The Battleground story tonight supreme politics.  After Justice Clarence Thomas failed to report his wife‘s income on financial disclosure forms, tonight the “New York Times” reports good news.  Thomas has amended those disclosure forms.  Turns out his wife‘s employment at a right wing think tank was, quote, “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of filing instructions.” 

Yes, folks, this guy is on the Supreme Court.  Thomas acknowledged in seven pages of amended filings that he erred by not reporting his wife‘s past employment and income.  Well, Virginia Thomas, an avowed Tea Partier, earned nearly 700,000 dollars, of course, over the years—over the course of five years while working for the good old Heritage Foundation. 

Now, last week, the watch dog group Common Cause criticized Thomas for the omission. 

Meanwhile, Justice Scalia lent his expertise to the Tea Party Caucus earlier today.  Scalia spoke to the group about the separation of powers at a closed door meeting.  Three Democrats also attended the session.  He was invited by the group‘s founder, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

And other constitutional scholars, they are expected in the coming months to show up and speak.  Scholars like Sean Hannity.  Doesn‘t get any deeper than that.  Andrew Napolitano, as well as David Barton, professor where?  At Glenn Beck University. 

Joining me now is Mike Papantonio, host of the nationally syndicated “Ring of Fire” radio show.  You have to have a bigger smile on your face than that. 

What is this Supreme Court doing?  What are they thinking?  Now they‘re saying that they‘re not going to show up at the State of the Union tomorrow night.  First of all, Mike, there is so much here. 

Let‘s go down the road of Clarence Thomas.  Is this a big deal?  This guy can‘t figure out forms and report income properly?  What do you think? 

MIKE PAPANTONIO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Ed, dishonesty doesn‘t go away simply because you put a black robe on it.  Clarence Thomas‘s failure to comply with the law and disclose that his wife made 700,000 dollars income from the Heritage Foundation, that wasn‘t a mistake, Ed.  He didn‘t do that by mistake. 

He did it because he was concerned that the money trail led to the conflict.  The conflict being that what you have at the Heritage Foundation is really the talking position for every ultra conservative movement in America.  Look, they‘re the far right talking point. 

What happens is you have a Supreme Court judge that‘s actually reviewing amicus briefs that are submitted by organizations like the Heritage Foundation. 

So there was no mistake.  It was intentional.  He meant to cover it up.  Look, Ed, you don‘t get a form every year that says, listen, report what your spouse‘s income is and say I did that by mistake.  I forgot to do that.  I simply overlooked it. 

He did this between 2003 and 2007.  But the bigger story—here is the real problem.  The bigger story is that you have Scalia and Alito and Thomas showing up behind closed doors meetings, talking to people like the Koch Brothers about what their agenda is. 

Then we‘re seeing that agenda show up in their opinions.  The Justice Department needs to look at this seriously.  The Justice Department needs to do the paper trail between the meetings that Alito and Scalia and Thomas had and what was the effect of the decision that they reached in the end. 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah. 

PAPANTONIO:  Look, these people are not above the law.  And they think they are.  Unfortunately, in America right now, the Supreme Court has nobody really holding them to task about things like this.  These stories are very ugly and I think we‘re seeing the beginning of it. 

SCHULTZ:  They‘re trying to switch the subject.  That‘s why they‘re making a show by not showing up at the State of the Union tomorrow night, because of course President Obama called them out on the Supreme Court ruling that dealt with corporations and unlimited funds to campaigns and issues. 

Now, why isn‘t there more outrage, in your opinion, from the left on Scalia speaking at a Tea Party group?  I mean, you can‘t get any more political.  You mean to tell me that the Tea Party is a think tank?  Come on.  They‘re as political as you can get. 

PAPANTONIO:  Ed, here is the problem: while progressives have been worrying about what happens in Congress, about Congressional elections, Senate elections, what‘s happened is you‘ve had the right packing the courts at every level, all the way from the federal appellate level, lower court, all the way to the Supreme Court. 

The reason they‘ve done that is they understand that‘s where the power is.  When a president makes a decision on health care, that Supreme Court can take that decision away.  When the president makes a decision about climate change, this court can take that away. 

So while we‘ve been worried about what‘s happening in Congress, in those elections, they have been secretly packing the court.  You‘ve had the Coors brothers, the Koch brothers, just—the Heritage Foundation, every right wing cabal in the world has focused on the judiciary.  And we‘ve sat there like dummies allowing it to happen.

And Scalia, Alito, Roberts, all of these characters are the end product of that. 

SCHULTZ:  Mike Papantonio, telling it like it is again on THE ED SHOW. 

Great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks, Mike. 

PAPANTONIO:  Thanks a lot, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel.  Our topic, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor will not denounce Birther talk. 

With us tonight, host of “Grit TV” on Free Speech TV, Laura Flanders, and also co-host of “America‘s Morning News,” Amy Holmes.  Great to have both of you with us tonight. 

I‘m taken, after all the discussion, Laura Flanders, in this country about the president‘s citizenship, you have the new leaders of the Congress over in the House—they simply will not come right out and say, this is not an issue.  Forget it.  Forget the Birther movement.  We‘ve got other things to do. 

He just stops at the water‘s edge.  Why is that? 

LAURA FLANDERS, “GRIT TV”:  You know, you‘re pointing out a good thing.  It is very hard for these folks to reach across the aisle.  Perhaps it‘s because their arms are so full of their bear hug with the Birthers.  I mean, the point here is—well, among other things, distraction.  Made in the USA.  The president is, almost nothing else is. 

That‘s the point.  Where are the jobs, Mr. Cantor?  That‘s what Americans really need to hear.  This is just an effort to keep people distracted and be a good little Birther boy, that you‘re wanting to be taken seriously as a politician, but as no foe of the Birthers either.  You can‘t have it both ways, Mr. Cantor. 

SCHULTZ:  Amy, what did you think of that exchange we played earlier?  Why won‘t the Republican leadership flat out say forget all this.  He is an American citizen.  It just seems like they stop and then turn and ask the media why are we talking about it? 

AMY HOLMES, “AMERICA‘S MORNING NEWS”:  Well, I think Laura is right, actually, that this is a distraction, and the media wants it to be a distraction away from the very jobs issues Republicans and Democrats are trying to address.  Look, Eric Cantor, in that exchange with David Gregory, made it clear that the Birthers are a fringe element, that they have no place in mainstream Republican party. 

SCHULTZ:  I didn‘t hear him say the word fringe.

FLANDERS:  He didn‘t say fringe and he didn‘t say crazy. 

HOLMES:  He said it over and over that this has nothing to do with the Republican agenda.  The Republican agenda is moving forward.  Now, he could sit around and denounce all sorts of views across his party that he disagrees with. 

SCHULTZ:  But, Amy, there are people in his caucus—hold on, now.  There are people in his caucus that believe that the president is not an American citizen.  And he will not denounce that. 

HOLMES:  Dennis Kucinich, who you have as an honored guest often on your show, believes in UFOs.  We also had Hillary Clinton, who went down to the Senate floor in 2002 waving around the “New York Post” saying Bush knew about 9/11. 

SCHULTZ:  We are not talking—Amy, you‘re changing the subject. 

You‘re very cleverly changing the subject. 

(CROSS TALK)

HOLMES:  We never hear Democrats asked to denounce a large element of their own party that believes President Bush was behind 9/11. 

(CROSS TALK)

FLANDERS:  -- without challenging the authority of the president.  That‘s serious stuff.  It has historical resonance, obviously racial resonance when you start doubting about who is really an American.  That‘s why this is so hard to let go of. 

SCHULTZ:  Amy, hold on.  Both of you, hold on just a moment.  I want to stay focused without examples that have absolutely nothing to do with this story.  The fact of the matter is that Republican leadership will not turn to people in their caucus, Amy, and say, knock it off.  This isn‘t what we‘re about.  They just will not denounce it.  Why won‘t they denounce it, Amy? 

HOLMES:  Ed, what they have done is they‘ve sidelined those people, that Eric Cantor said over and over there is no place in the Republican agenda for this belief.  This belief system, it will not be advanced by Republicans or Republican leadership.  He said this. 

But where this story I think is relevant is that Democratic leadership is never asked to denounce members of their own party who were insinuating that President Bush knowingly murdered 3,000 fellow Americans.  And we are talking about a sitting United States senator from New York who is now the secretary of state.  She has never been asked to clarify why she went down to the Senate floor with “the New York Post” that said, “Bush Knew.”

(CROSS TALK)

SCHULTZ:  All right.  That is so far out of bounds. 

FLANDERS:  This is the Vince Foster of this administration.  Again, let‘s go back to the real questions on the table here.  The questions have to do—well, frankly, talk about tables.  What else did Eric Cantor say this weekend?  He said that not cancer research, not Medicare, not Medicaid, not Social Security, none of it is of the table.  That‘s what we need to be talking about. 

If he needs to pitch to his base, he needs to pitch something more than just this sort of who is an American talk against the president. 

SCHULTZ:  Laura Flanders, Amy Holmes, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

Coming up, tonight‘s playbook.  I got a lot to say about Jay Cutler. 

What was he thinking?

And Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and her strange ideas about slavery.  Reverend Al Sharpton will join me on that story tonight.  Words that must be challenged.  That‘s next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, I‘m sure many of you watched the football games yesterday, the AFC and NFC Championship Games.  Jay Cutler standing on the sideline watching his team lose the NFC championship game.  Why?  Well, because he was hurt.  He sprained his knee.  It was a grade two MCL tear, usually classified as a sprain.  It takes three to four weeks of rest.  No surgery required. 

At least not yet.  Now, look, I‘m not a huge Bears fan, but I am a football fan. And I think that these guys that make millions of dollars have a responsibility to lay it on the line all the way until they‘re carried off the field. 

He was standing there.  He was walking around.  They have a thing in football called a Lenox Hill Brace (ph), you know, one of those big knee braces with metal on the side.  You could—there is no way you could move your leg.  OK?  You could move it this way, but not side ways. 

I thought that the Bears ran the shotgun.  You mean to tell me that Cutler was hurt so bad—so bad that he couldn‘t get one of these braces on and stand in the shotgun and use that arm that he brags about all the time? 

Well, I‘m not alone.  Darnell Docket, defensive lineman for the Arizona Cardinals Tweeted “if I‘m on Chicago team, Jay Cutler has to wait until I‘m—until me and the team shower, get dressed, and leave before he comes in the locker room.” 

Maurice Jones Drew, pro bowl running back of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tweeted “hey, I think the Urban Meyer rule is in effect right now.  When the tough gets going, tough quits.” 

Derick Brooks (ph), former linebacker of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tweeted, “hey, there is no medicine for a guy with no guts and heart.” 

I can guarantee you there are a lot of players around the NFL who are saying man, that guy ain‘t playing for me.  What about the city of Chicago?  What about that hard culture of the working folk in Chicago?  Did they deserve better? 

It‘s the last game of the season.  Everything is on the line.  Based on the way Collins played, I‘m sure Cutler, as good as his arm is, he could have played a heck of a lot better than Collins. 

So where do the bears end up?  They turn to a third teamer who‘s had no work with the first team, guy barely took a snap in practice.  Goes out there, Caleb Hainey (ph), and puts some points on the board. 

He‘s walking right there.  You mean to tell me he couldn‘t put a brace on and suck it up and go out and play hard?  No.  No, Cutler, I‘ll save it, what I really think of you, but I think you did the Bears a disservice. 

When I turn to the NFC and the AFC championship games, I want to see guys lay it on the line.  Cutler didn‘t do that. 

Now we find out that Tom Brady was playing with a broken foot.  We know that Brett Favre has played in the past where he could barely walk, but he went out there because he did it for the fans. 

Cutler did nothing for the fans yesterday but disappoint. 

One final page in my playbook tonight.  Rahm Emanuel is off the mayoral ballot in Chicago.  Appellate judges ruled Emanuel did not meet the one-year residency requirement necessary to run for mayor.  In a press conference today, Rahm Emanuel promised to take his case all way to the state supreme court.  However, time is not on his side, as the election takes place on February 22nd, and early voting begins next week. 

Coming up, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann will give her own response to the president‘s State of the Union message.  But as she courts the Tea Party, maybe she should be careful about throwing around the word slavery.  The Reverend Al Sharpton joins me next on that.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  How unique in all of the world that one nation that was the resting point from people groups all across the world—it didn‘t matter the color of their skin.  It didn‘t matter their language.  It didn‘t matter their economic status.  Once you got here, we were all the same.  Isn‘t that remarkable? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s tough to figure out what the heck she is talking about sometimes.  But that was Michele Bachmann in Iowa on Friday, getting her history out of the wrong end of a combine, I guess you could say.  Apparently, our founding fathers didn‘t discriminate against people of other colors? 

No, Bachmann is worried about the other kind of slavery, that Barack Obama wants to inflict on the nation.  Today, Bachmann took bipartisan criticism for her choice to rebut to the president‘s State of the Union Address tomorrow night. 

Paul Ryan is giving the official Republican response.  Bachmann has agreed to do a Tea-buttle at TeaPartyExpress.com.  Yes, back in 2008, then Senator Barack Obama did the same thing.  Kathleen Sebelius gave the Democratic response.  Senator Obama taped a webcast. 

That said, he was running for president.  Is Michele Bachmann running for something?  I think she is. 

Back in Iowa on Friday, warning of a new kind of slavery, she sure sounded like it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN:  It‘s an underlying issue in the struggle of our time, is the slavery of a different kind.  Now, the media might twist what I‘m about to say, but it doesn‘t bother me at all.  Because it is a slavery.  It is a slavery that is a bondage to debt and a bondage to decline. 

That‘s what that slavery entails.  It‘s a subservience of a sovereign people—we‘re a sovereign people—to a failed, self-selected elite.  That would be our fate. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is Reverend Al Sharpton, the president of the

National Action Network.  Good evening, reverend.  Good to have you with us

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK PRESIDENT:  Good evening, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Your response to what you just heard? 

SHARPTON:  You know, I think it‘s amazing that one hand, she tries and totally distorts the history of this country, that we‘ve made a lot of progress.  It really robs us of really celebrating a lot of where we‘ve come and where we still need to continue to go. 

Then, on the other hand, tries to paint social policy that will be voted on and many cases, in terms of the health care package, already voted on by the Congress, and tries to act like that‘s some form of slavery. 

Slavery was when people were owned as property, when they had no rights, no input at all.  And I think that her using this word in such a reckless way, after clearly not recognizing the real history that we had to deal with slavery in this country, shows that Ms. Bachmann is probably not ready for a race for president or anything else. 

When you look at how the Republicans are trying to say that they‘re going to be civil, all the appeals that have been made about civil and people sitting together, and you have her, at one hand, distorting history and, on another hand, using this term in a very loose way—you have Rick Santorum saying the president, because he is black, should be pro-life. 

I think that clearly the civil kind of dialogue and manners that everyone has been calling for the last two weeks is escaping major parts of the Republican party. 

SCHULTZ:  Certainly the two things she is talking about don‘t parallel.  Does the slavery message work outside a room of right wingers in the middle of the country? 

SHARPTON:  I hope it doesn‘t work in the room with right wingers.  I mean, clearly, anyone, right, left, or in between, should know the definition of slavery is not when you disagree with a policy voted on by elected legislators, and where people have input.  That is not slavery. 

And when you deal with the fact that we have had an ugly history of slavery, that the country has moved forward from, we are still dealing with existing biases—but clearly, to try and use that term in such an irresponsible way makes one really wonder why anyone would listen to her with seriousness when she clearly does not know the weight and power of the words she is using. 

SCHULTZ:  I agree with that, but she raises a bunch of money, millions of dollars in her last election.  She also says America is under attack.  And she compared this country to the Titanic headed for an iceberg.  Now, the bottom line is she wants to and voted to repeal health care, which is hurting Americans.  She was in favor of tax cuts for the rich and even wants to go further than that.  What attack is she talking about, in your opinion? 

SHARPTON:  I have no idea.  I think that she‘s had every forum in the world to explain it, because if she is talking about the elite and at the same time talking about tax cuts to the rich, who is more elite than the rich she wants to give tax cuts to? 

SCHULTZ:  Isn‘t that the truth?  Reverend Sharpton, always a pleasure. 

Great to have you with us tonight. 

SHARPTON:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com or check out WeGotEd.com, my radio website. 

Tell me you what think on Facebook.com/EdSchultzShow, or talk to me on Twitter at Twitter.com/WeGotEd. 

Hope you enjoyed tonight‘s show.  We‘re back tomorrow night in this new time slot, 10:00 Eastern time, THE ED SHOW here on MSNBC.  “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night. 

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