The Ed Show for Monday, February 28th, 2011
Read the transcript to the Monday show
Guests: John Nichols, Bob Richardson, Jim Palmer, Peggy Lautenschlager,
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
This is what‘s on the table tonight:
Dictator—or rather—Governor Scott Walker trying to stifle protests as he shoves his radical agenda down the throats of wage earners. My commentary on that, and God bless those policemen.
It‘s not just Walker. The other Republican governors across the nation chime in and act out. They‘re not siding with the middle class either.
And those very wage earners are willing to share in the sacrifice. But not when the sacrifice isn‘t being shared by the millionaires. I went to a rally in Trenton, New Jersey, on Friday and I‘ll show you some of those comments with commentary as well.
This is the story that still has this country captivated and me fired up tonight: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is denying thousands of tax-paying Wisconsin residents their constitutional right to enter the state capitol. Walker locked out protesters because he‘s set to give his budget address in the capitol tomorrow and he must be afraid about what the wage earners of Wisconsin might have to say about all of that?
Well, at this hour, 60 protesters remain inside the rotunda after capitol police asked them to leave on Sunday. They have access to a bathroom. That‘s good to know. But their food supply is dwindling. The AFL-CIO said they‘re planning to seek a temporary restraining order to open the capitol as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Governor Walker is trying to paint a very different picture of what‘s actually going on in Madison with the national media. This is how he described the protesters on “Meet the Press.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN: We have had a civil discourse. We‘ve had—you know, a week ago 70,000 people. We had more than that yesterday, and yet, we haven‘t had problems here. We haven‘t had disturbances. We‘ve just had very passionate protesters for and against this bill, and that‘s OK. That‘s a very Midwestern thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh, yes, a very Midwestern thing. Governor Walker, it‘s not a Midwestern thing to lock people out in the cold and it‘s not a Midwestern thing to vilify working men and women because they want the right to organize and speak up for themselves.
President Obama ended his nearly two-week silence on this issue when he spoke to a collection of governors at the White House this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don‘t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon. And we need to attract the best and the brightest to public service. These times demand it. We‘re not going to attract the best teachers for our kids, for example, if they only make a fraction of what other professionals make. We‘re not going to convince the bravest Americans to put their lives on the line as police officers or firefighters if we don‘t properly reward that bravery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Now, all of that right there, Mr. President, all you have to do is go to Madison, go to Indianapolis, go to Columbus, go to Trenton, and say that the way you do in those passionate speeches and give these Americans hope that you won‘t bail out on the middle class.
To the president‘s credit today, he knocked it out of the park in a very professional manner with these governors. Of course, Scott Walker wasn‘t in the crowd, but his ears had to be burning. His office released this statement after the president spoke:
“I‘m sure that President Obama simply misunderstands the issues in Wisconsin, and isn‘t acting like the union bosses in saying one thing and doing another.”
Excuse me, Mr. Walker?
Walker‘s move to shut down the capitol are completely over the top and might even be unconstitutional. The Wisconsin Constitution states, quote, “The legislature cannot prohibit an individual from entering the capitol or its grounds.”
This isn‘t just about the protesters. Even a member of the Wisconsin assembly was denied access to the capitol today. You see, she‘s a Democrat. State Representative Kelda Helen Roys was locked out because she didn‘t have her ID with her.
Now, it‘s just a Midwestern thing to kind of recognize who the elected official is and just kind of let them in, don‘t you think, Governor?
Her Facebook page reads, “Outside the east wing of the capitol. Have three times been denied access for refusing to show my state ID, now with firefighters being refused entry as well.”
Well, Governor Walker has been really pretty much paranoid about giving his budget address in the capitol ever since the protests started. He was first scheduled to give it last week and then Walker tried to move it to an off site location, kind of a fundraiser thing. That, of course, backfired and the governor had to schedule the address at the capitol for Tuesday.
This is what he doesn‘t want the people of Wisconsin to hear. “Walker‘s budget would put Medicaid completely in the hands of a hard right wing human services secretary in Wisconsin. It allows no bid contracts for state owned power plants. It repeals a rule requiring municipal governments to disinfect their water. The bill requires a 2/3 super majority in the legislature to pass any type of tax increase.” Whatever happened to the simple majority?
“And it makes Wisconsin voters”—this is what really gets the old folks in the rural areas of any state, the law would force voters to show a voter ID card if they were going to be able to vote. “It immediately also eliminates $1.8 billion in new wind power investments.” So much for energy independents. “And it would convert 37 state employees from civil servants to political appointees.”
Now, why in the world would the governor be concerned about that?
That list doesn‘t even include—get this—the $900 million that he wants to cut from public education. Think about that -- $900 million out the door. Doesn‘t care about kids. It‘s all about his budget, all about out doing the big guy in New Jersey.
If the Wisconsin 14 return, they will give a green light to Walker and his dangerous budget proposal.
The protests in Madison are now entering their third week. And you‘d have to come to the conclusion they are showing no signs of slowing down. Enthusiasm is still high. They‘re out doing Egypt the old Democratic way.
Over 100,000 people showed up to push back against Walker over the weekend. Those protesters need the Wisconsin 14 to stay on the lam as long as they can. Wisconsin‘s future is riding squarely on the shoulders of those 14.
And I think, America, scratch your head, scratch your brain just a little bit. Have you ever seen anything like this in America in your lifetime? I mean, and who knows how this is going to end? But I‘ll tell you what it is doing.
Now, this is just maybe—I‘m guessing a microcosm of what is going on across the country. I went to the rally on Friday afternoon in Trenton, New Jersey, because I was curious to get into a crowd to see what they actually had to say other than watching some videotape. I mean, I knew what they said at Madison but I wanted to know what they said in Trenton, New Jersey.
And there was about 100 protesters who, of course, were against the unions and for all of the budget cuts they possibly can get and lower taxes. Now, I don‘t know if they were Tea Partiers or not. I don‘t know if it was the Tea Party crowd or whoever it was, but I took a microphone and I went over and I interviewed them objectively—I might add—and just asked the questions.
And my personal observation of this is that we are becoming a country that we‘re mad if somebody else has something that we don‘t have. I don‘t know. I want my neighbor to have a really good year. I want the guy down the street to have a hell of a year, and I hope his kids score 40 points in the next basketball game.
What happened to that America?
We now are vilifying people for earning something. And, of course, the people in this crowd, why in the world should I have to pay for their health care?
You‘re not. They‘re earning it. They‘re working.
They‘re out there teaching kids. They‘re outputting out fires. They‘re out protecting the streets. They are librarians. They are people that aren‘t getting paid as much as you folks in the private sector.
But for some reason, they have captured all of the right wing bullet points and now, it‘s time to vilify anybody who‘s a public servant.
Well, conversely, the president today telling those governors, you know, we want good people in public service. And these are good people. They‘re so good that they are willing to share in the sacrifice to a T.
When I was going through the crowd on Friday, those wage earners were saying, you know, we understand what the governor has to do. We just don‘t like the way he‘s doing it. They‘re vilifying us. Where is the shared sacrifice? We‘ll show you the tape later on in the program.
But what bothers me about all of this is that—who are we becoming as Americans that we want to begrudge someone else if they have something? And I thought, coming back to New York after that—you know, if we had universal health care in this country, half this damn problem would be off the table. The unions wouldn‘t have to be fighting for a full coverage.
Full coverage—that‘s a heck of a benefit today. And that really gets them upset. Because, you see, if someone over in that anti-crowd doesn‘t have health care, they‘re not going to try to get health care.
They‘re not going to advocate to try to make it right for everybody to make it accessible for everybody. No. It‘s a hell of a lot easier to go over and pick on the people who have got it and have worked hard for it and negotiated for it and agreements have been made. That‘s what the problem is with the aftermath of all of this is that we will be a country that needs to do a lot of healing because we are identifying the haves and the have-nots and we don‘t want to help the have-nots anymore.
This is a country that is changing its soul and we are watching this unfold, and it is sad. To think that a governor thinks a solution is to keep people out of the capitol is amazing to me. I mean, don‘t we want those Egyptians to be able to go into the capitol? Don‘t we want those Libyans to be able to set up their own democracy?
And what are we doing, when the righties and the powerful don‘t get their way? Hell, let‘s shut them out. We‘ve seen it work in other countries.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight‘s text question: Should Governor Walker stop trying to limit the activities of peaceful protesters? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
For more, let‘s turn now to John Nichols who has been stalwart reporter on all of this, Washington correspondent for “The Nation” magazine.
John, the big question now is: will the protesters—will they have access to the capitol tomorrow? Will they be able to get in and do what they are supposed to be able to do in Wisconsin?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, this is a huge question, Ed. And it‘s one that Wisconsinites are talking about from the top of the state in superior down all the way to Kenosha on the Illinois line. We grew up in a state which always had an open capitol. There‘s been a sense that you could walk in at any time. We don‘t have police officers guarding all the entrances. My daughter has grown up playing in the capitol here in Madison.
SCHULTZ: Not tomorrow.
NICHOLS: There is a real concern here. Well, I tell you—maybe our state representative may get it open. State Representative Mark Pocan led a group of firefighters to a capitol entrance today and demanded to be allowed in and to bring his constituents with him. Finally, they allowed him to come in.
Representative Pocan and others will attempt tomorrow to convene an open hearing by the laws of Wisconsin. If a hearing is in session, all doors must be open and all citizens must be allowed in. So, we‘ll see whether the law still stands in our state.
SCHULTZ: Is Governor Walker afraid of these protesters?
NICHOLS: He—you know, I‘ve known Scott for 20 years and I never thought of him as a fearful man, but I think he has been shaken by the reality of what‘s happened in this state. On Saturday, more than 100,000 Wisconsinites came in a snowstorm, in 15-degree weather, to spend a whole day begging him, pleading with him, to accept the compromise deal that the unions have offered.
And I want to tell you, Ed, these people who came, they are the people who should frighten the governor. They‘re not just trade unionists. They‘re not just the traditional allies of trade unionists. I met farmers who did their chores in the morning and then drove down in their trucks to be a part of these demonstrations.
I mean, this was a remarkable outpouring of people from every corner of Wisconsin and every cross section of our life. And the governor I think has been shaken by it. But his reaction has been so very inappropriate.
Instead of listening to the people, instead of inviting dissenters in as many previous governors have, Republican and Democrat, this governor has tried to shut people out to the point of closing the entrances.
SCHULTZ: And, John, the budget—the devil is in the details. What‘s in this budget that is really crippling to the state of Wisconsin in your opinion?
NICHOLS: Well, if the governor‘s budget proposal, which will come out tomorrow, does include what we‘re told, it will be devastating for our public schools. You know, we have a deal in Wisconsin where we pay our taxes into the state and a lot of our funds then come back to our school districts and local government.
What the governor is proposing is nearly $1 billion cut in public education funding. That will be devastating to our urban schools especially, but also to rural schools.
He also is apparently going to propose drastic cuts in funding for counties and cities. What that means is that our social services are going to go into deep decay.
This is going to be devastating for our state. And I‘m not surprised if the governor doesn‘t want the people of Wisconsin in the capitol when he proposes this budget.
NICHOLS: My sense is the outcry would be a louder roar than we‘ve heard up to this point.
SCHULTZ: John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation”—always a pleasure to have you with us on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.
Remember to answer tonight‘s text question there at the bottom of the screen. We want to know what you think.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): To serve, protect, and join the fight in defiance of Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin police in a show of solidarity with protesters. One of those officers joins me.
Tonight‘s “Takedown.” It‘s not just Walker. These Republican governors are attacking the American worker, too.
In Washington, the president‘s advice to budget challenged governors is clear.
OBAMA: I believe that everyone should be at the table. The concept of shared sacrifice should prevail.
SCHULTZ: We went to Trenton to see what the people of New Jersey have to say to Governor Christie.
SCHULTZ: Governor Walker says he wants to create jobs. They just have to be the right kind of jobs. We‘ll talk about the real life impact of his policies.
Wisconsin police are standing by their union brothers and sisters, but how far are they willing to go? That‘s next.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.
Watching the coverage over the weekend, I just couldn‘t help but wonder, you know, what are the cops going to do? Officers of the peace—you know, they‘re exempt from Governor Walker‘s union-busting budget plan. But that doesn‘t mean they‘re staying silent. Hundreds of off-duty police officers and deputies from across Wisconsin joined the protesters—joined the protesters this weekend.
And today in Madison, county police were thankful to have the support of the officers from around the state.
The president of the Dane County Deputy Sheriffs Association, Bob Richardson, sent out this letter to members: “While public safety may have been exempted from the initial bill proposed by the governor, we will be negatively affected in the long term. Please make an attempt to attend and to show our solidarity with our others—with those others currently flying the flag for labor rights.”
Joining me now is Deputy Sheriff Bob Richardson, and also, Jim Palmer, the executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.
Gentlemen, thank you for your time tonight.
Bob, what are your fellow officers saying to you as they come in from around the state? How determined are they to be part of this?
BOB RICHARDSON, DANE COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFFS ASSOCIATION: Well, Ed, I think people have been extremely supportive. All the officers we‘ve talked to both on duty and off feel that we‘re doing the right thing. We have a lot of members here that are off-duty protesting, as you see behind us. We also have several hundred members that had to work this event over the last couple weeks.
So far, to a T, everyone we‘ve talked to agrees with what we‘re doing and how we‘re doing it.
SCHULTZ: And, Jim Palmer, what have you asked of your union brother and sister across the state? What do you want them to do?
JIM PALMER, WISCONSIN PROFESSIONAL POLICE ASSOCATION: Well, you know, Ed, most law enforcement officers tend to be very conservative in their own personal values, but they know the difference between right and wrong. And they recognize that what Governor Walker is trying to do to strip the collective voice from so many devoted public employees is wrong.
What we‘ve asked our members to do over the weekend is asked them to come to Madison from all across the state and sleep amongst the protesters at night, just to show our solidarity and to show not only the state but the rest of the country that law enforcement cares about other people and we‘re going to stand with the rest of Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: Well, Mr. Palmer, let me ask you. What happens if the governor insists that the capitol police remove everybody in there and you‘re in there? Are you willing to take handcuffs for this?
PALMER: Well, I think our members without question are going to obey a lawful order. There is no question about that.
I believe that cooler heads will prevail, just as you saw over the weekend. Governor Walker originally intended to close the capitol Friday afternoon. That didn‘t occur. They intended to throw people out yesterday evening. That didn‘t occur. And it‘s clear that when it comes down to it, the law enforcement professionals are allowed to run the show and we‘re very thankful for that.
SCHULTZ: OK. Well, let‘s go back to Friday. Bob Richardson, isn‘t that insubordination not following through on an order to shut the capitol down and the police officers go in and join the protesters? What do you make of that? That‘s almost unheard of.
RICHARDSON: Well, Ed, I don‘t think actually that it was insubordination because the final order to actually evacuate the capitol by using force was never given. At the last hour, so to speak, the command post apparently had a change of heart or received different orders from the governor‘s office. The Department of Administration and the protesters were allowed to stay.
PALMER: And, shortly, Ed—shortly after our statement on Friday and our call to our members to join the protesters at the capitol, the order to close the capitol Friday afternoon was changed. So, we‘re thankful for that. And we think that‘s going to continue. It ought to continue.
SCHULTZ: So, if it was changed. Can we read that as the governor backed down?
PALMER: Absolutely. I think it was a total capitulation and again, we are very fortunate we have such outstanding law enforcement officials who are overseeing this operation, and it‘s good to see that the adults can come in and have their voices heard when need be.
SCHULTZ: Bob Richardson, you first and then Jim Palmer.
How long are you gentlemen willing to be a part of this and stay out there?
RICHARDSON: As long as it takes, Ed. There‘s no doubt. Every member I‘ve talked to and every other officer I‘ve talked to up here, while there is a negative impact no doubt especially for those working 12-hour days, seven days on or seven days in a row, they‘ve all expressed a desire to stay here to see this thing through to the finish to do what‘s right.
PALMER: And Bob is absolutely right. Bob is absolutely right. One of the most overwhelming things for me is to see officers who are working these long shifts. When their shift ends, they‘re going home or they‘re changing into their civilian clothes and they‘re coming back with the “Cops for Labor” or the “Deputies for Democracy” sign.
It‘s just been overwhelming and we are very fortunate. I‘m very fortunate to represent these men and women.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Palmer, would you go so far as to say that communities in Wisconsin will be less safe because of this if it goes through, if the governor gets his way?
PALMER: I don‘t think there is any question about that. No one enters the law enforcement profession in the names of wealth, but anything you can do to make that profession less appealing in the way of changing the benefit structure—I think you absolutely are going to change public safety. And that‘s something that we have to be very aware of and I think the public ought to be aware of it as well.
SCHULTZ: Bob Richardson, Jim Palmer, thank you for joining us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Appreciate it so much.
Governor Walker keeps getting asked about those troublemaker comments and he keeps on coming up with new excuses. Tonight, we‘ll talk to the former Wisconsin attorney general about legal problems the new governor faces.
This is the Republican governor of Maine. When the GOP leadership handed out the talking points for praising Scott Walker, it looks like he forgot to get the memo or it just didn‘t register. Find out what he said. “The Takedown” is next.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. It‘s time for “The Takedown.”
Republican governors made a big show out of defending Scott Walker on TV this weekend. Let me know when this starts to sound repetitive to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
GOV. HALEY BARBOUR ®, MISSISSIPPI: It is about the fact that Wisconsin, like many states, is broke. And the idea is, OK, let‘s make a very narrow agreement over wages and for one year is going to solve the problem. Governor Walker understands, as every governor understands, it is not enough just to kick the can down the road to next year because these problems snowball. They cascade.
GOV. NIKKI AHLEY ®, SOUTH CAROLINA: We appreciate our public employees but our job as governors is to look after the taxpayer. And he is doing exactly what he promised to do. He is trying to trim his budget. He is trying to make the tough decisions that the people of Wisconsin wanted him to do.
What I think is a shame is the fact that you‘ve got Democratic senators who represent the people of Wisconsin that are so cowardly they left their own state.
GOV. JAN BREWER ®, ARIZONA: You have elected officials in the legislature, and I served in the legislature for 14 years, and part of leadership, that they would leave their job. No one should walk out. They are doing exactly what we ask the public employees not to do and that is to strike. And it is wrong.
GOV. MITCH DANIELS ®, INDIANA: Across America, Chris, we‘ve had a huge inversion. There may have been a time a century ago where public employees were mistreated or vulnerable and many—and underpaid. If that was ever a problem, we have over-fixed it.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
SCHULTZ: So let‘s see here. Wisconsin‘s broke. Walker is doing his best to trim the budget. Check that. Democratic senators are cowards. We got that checked right there. Public employees, they got it way too good. Better check that one off the list too. We got that.
It sounds like everyone is on the same page with the GOP talking points. Doesn‘t it? Unless you happen to be a little known Republican governor way up in the northeast, away from the national TV cameras. Here‘s what Maine Governor Paul LePage told “Politico” this weekend when asked—when they asked him about Governor Scott Walker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PAUL LEPAGE ®, MAINE: He‘s got a big challenge. And, quite frankly, once they start reading our budget, they‘re going to leave Wisconsin and come to Maine, because we‘re going after right to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All right. Well, Paul LePage wants to turn Maine into a right to work state, which would help stomp out union dues, which is exactly LePage‘s goal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEPAGE: A person who does not want to work under organized labor and wants to work should have the ability to do so without the threat of having to join and having to pay dues to organized labor. It‘s that simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, that‘s not true according to the “Maine Sun Journal.” “Private sector workers cannot be forced to join a union under the Freedom of Association Clause in the First Amendment.”
But we know why Governor LePage really wants to end union dues, the same reason all these Republican governors want to bust unions. Just ask Karl Rove.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Every one of those 602,000 people had literally perhaps several hundred dollars worth of union dues going into the political coffers of their union to spend on politics.
So yeah, you keep having a couple hundred thousand people each year—if a half million people leave the labor movement every year, and pretty soon you start having crimp in the political budgets of these unions. It has a direct effect on the presidential election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Don‘t you think it‘s kind of funny we didn‘t hear anything like that on the Sunday talking shows? If only they had booked Paul LePage.
That‘s the Takedown.
The president urges bipartisanship when it comes to infrastructure investment. But it is already too late.
And the legal and ethical complaints against Governor Walker with the former Wisconsin attorney general. That‘s next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we were thinking about with the crowds was planting some trouble makers.
WALKER: You know the—well, the only problem with that—because we thought about that. My only fear would be if there was a ruckus caused, is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has got to settle to avoid all these problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Governor Scott Walker still on the hot seat for admitting he thought about injecting goons into a peaceful Wisconsin protest. Well, tonight, a former Wisconsin attorney general is saying that is not all Scott Walker has to worry about on the legal front. I‘ll talk to the former AG in just a moment.
First, Scott Walker, he keeps trying to explain away those trouble makers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel it‘s appropriate for the governor of the state of Wisconsin, even for a moment, to consider planting trouble makers in protests in order to change the political debate?
WALKER: Clearly in our case we rejected it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it seriously considered?
WALKER: Well, every day we get people that bring up ideas to us. That was one that we universally rejected. It was one of those that, again, people listened to the call, listened to my statements, have brought up the fact that people have brought up all sorts of ideas. But that is the worst possible thing that can happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Folks, I got to tell you, I‘d really like some names. Can he just—he just throws it out, people, you know—people—we talked to some folks and they suggested it. Give me some names, dude.
So you considered the worst possible thing that could happen before you dismissed it. And as the governor said to the fake Koch Brother, the only reason he ditched the trouble maker plan was because he was worried that the politics, well, would probably backfire.
Now that‘s—of course everyone is now listening about it. Walker says he decided not to use trouble makers because of the strategy and ethics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: For us that doesn‘t make any sense. It doesn‘t make any sense from an ethical standpoint. It doesn‘t make any sense from a strategic standpoint.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Yes, strategy. Strategic standpoint. Joining me now is Peggy Lautenschlager. She is the former Wisconsin U.S. attorney and former Wisconsin state attorney general under Democratic Governor Jim Doyle.
Ms. Lautenschlager, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
PEGGY LAUTENSCHLAGER, FORMER WISCONS ATTORNEY GENERAL: It‘s an honor to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Problem number one, as you see it, for Scott Walker at this hour, legally.
LAUTENSCHLAGER: Well, I think there are a number of issues here. A lot of them are potential legal issues. But I think there are a couple that are important.
Number one is the law in Wisconsin is still collective bargaining is the name of the game. And until the governor is capable of repealing that law, he has an obligation to bargain collectively with the public sector unions. What we‘re seeing today is that the governor not only has denied sitting at the bargaining table, an unfair labor practice in Wisconsin, but as well, the governor said today, through his press spokesperson, that he didn‘t have time for collective bargaining.
LAUTENSCHLAGER: So we have that issue.
SCHULTZ: All right.
LAUTENSCHLAGER: Let‘s start with that.
SCHULTZ: I want to talk about his possible legal problems. I mean, what problems could he face admitting that he was thinking about putting hoods in a crowd, I mean for lack of a better crowd? How do you see this?
LAUTENSCHLAGER: I don‘t know that it‘s necessarily a legal problem. But it certainly is a moral and ethical problem. For the incumbent governor, an elected official of a state, to acknowledge that he considered advocating violence for a political purpose that served himself, and himself only, is really pretty sad.
And I think that the voters of the state—you know, we saw it in a poll that came out today where he wouldn‘t have won the election if it were held today, because people expect more from their elected officials. This isn‘t Watergate era anymore.
SCHULTZ: How much of an ethical or legal problem is this? Let‘s go back to the conversation where he accepted an invitation to go to California. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I tell you what, Scott, once you crush these bastards, I‘ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.
WALKER: All right. That would be outstanding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What about that?
LAUTENSCHLAGER: Well, you know, Ed, I think that that tells you where his mind is at. We may not have an act that‘s prosecutable there. But it tells you this is a guy who feels like he should be able to get favors for doing something that billionaires want him to do.
SCHULTZ: But that‘s illegal. Isn‘t that illegal as the governor of Wisconsin, that he cannot use his office for any pleasure or personal gain, correct?
LAUTENSCHLAGER: That‘s correct. But, unfortunately, he hasn‘t gotten to California yet. And I don‘t know if he will. But, you know, we‘d like to send him there maybe. I‘m not sure what Jerry Brown would think.
But, you know, we‘ve got that issue. And then of course we have the issue where he has asked them to put money into the districts of Republican state senators who might face election challenges if they take a vote with him, because those senators know that the Wisconsin public doesn‘t favor this Draconian legislation which he has introduced.
SCHULTZ: Now AFSCME—in the state of Wisconsin, AFSCME today filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. What can you tell us about that and what does it mean?
LAUTENSCHLAGER: Well, what it means is we‘ve done two things actually. And this is late breaking news. I happen to be the lawyer for the Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24. We filed against him for an unfair labor practice of refusing to bargain collectively. We did that today in front of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.
But also at day‘s end, we filed a petition to seek a temporary injunction to keep our capitol open to the people who own the capitol. We hope to have a hearing on that in the next day or two.
SCHULTZ: Well, would it be early tomorrow morning that you could get it to the bench in front of a judge?
LAUTENSCHLAGER: We‘re hoping to get it as soon as possible. We have two possible judges who might be assigned the case. They said I should get on the phone with them at 8:00 in the morning. We need to serve our Department of Administration, Scott Walker‘s arm in keeping the capitol closed.
LAUTENSCHLAGER: And hopefully we‘ll have a hearing on it tomorrow or the next day. We want that capitol open, so people can have their voices heard.
SCHULTZ: Well, I‘m sure the conservatives will be whining about activist judges in Madison when you get that thing squared away. I want to ask you about the Milwaukee City attorney today issued a legal opinion that Walker‘s bill violates the state Constitution. Have you seen this opinion? And does it hold any merit, any water? What do you think?
LAUTENSCHLAGER: I have only skimmed through the opinion. I‘ve discussed it with people who I respect as lawyers, who understand our Constitution far better than most. And I think that they were very impressed with his opinion.
The other thing you should keep in mind, too, Ed, is that Grant Langley is not one of these so-called liberals who everybody is talking about in Madison. He is a very conservative fellow who is respected for his thoughtfulness, even by those who are liberals, because he is so thoughtful. So even he‘s coming out and saying something about this.
SCHULTZ: Peg Lautenschlager, thanks for your time tonight here on THE ED SHOW. Appreciate it.
Coming up, the president calls for shared sacrifice? Well, I hit the streets to ask union workers whether they‘re ready. You will want to hear their answers. Stay with us. We‘re right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As we make these decisions about our budget going forward, though, I believe that everyone should be at the table and that the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail. If all the pain is borne by only one group, whether it‘s workers or seniors or the poor, or the wealthiest among us get to keep or get more tax breaks, we‘re not doing the right thing.
I think that‘s something the Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, they didn‘t in the lame duck session. The Democrats caved in on the Bush tax cuts. That of course was President Obama today, speaking to the nation‘s governors at the White House. Among those governors was New Jersey Republican Chris Christie. The irony was that President Obama was asking for shared sacrifice from a man who just last week said that he would not raise taxes on millionaires.
On Friday, after Governor Christie refused to raise taxes on millionaires, I went to a rally in support of unions there and in Wisconsin. And I found out that it‘s working people who are the ones who are willing to sacrifice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What if he were to tax the rich? What if he were to add—
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You mean not repeal the millionaires‘ tax in New Jersey?
SCHULTZ: You‘d go along with shared sacrifice?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Of course.
SCHULTZ: But the way it is now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It‘s not shared. It feels like it‘s not shared sacrifice.
SCHULTZ: If there was a shared sacrifice, would you go along with it? I mean, like it seems like the rich get the breaks. What if they were to be taxed a little bit more, would you go along with that and take some sacrifices yourself?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. Yes. I mean, if actually the wealthy in this country actually got taxed, if, you know, the millionaires tax got passed, taxes on the super wealthy in this country? Yeah we‘d all take a hit. But they‘re not getting it. They get tax breaks every day.
So we feel it‘s hypocritical. They get the tax breaks and we are the ones that get screwed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government talks about shared services and shared sacrifice. How do you share sacrifice if you want to give tax breaks to corporations, to the millionaires, but you want to lay off police, fire, and teachers?
That‘s not fair. That‘s not shared sacrifice. Everybody needs to get some skin in the game if we‘re going to do this together.
SCHULTZ: And you think the top two percent got off Scott free?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. And they are the ones that created this thing in the first place.
SCHULTZ: Could you take some cuts if it was a shared sacrifice?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If everybody has got skin in the game, we‘ll get in the game. Absolutely. You start at your millionaire friends, make them pay some more taxes, and we‘ll make some sacrifices as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, they‘re unselfish. All of those people—and I must have interviewed 20 of them on Friday, I went through the crowd and I asked them, are you willing to take some cuts? Do you understand what Governor Christie is trying to do?
Yeah. They do. They understand the numbers. They understand the business of the state. And they‘re willing to take some cuts. But they are not willing to sit there and be the only people taking cuts. I‘m glad that we‘re finally talking about shared sacrifice.
Now, of course, the Republicans will come back and say, wait a minute. They‘ll give you all kinds of percentages about how over-taxed millionaires are right now and they just cannot fork out anymore money because they‘re the job creators.
Well, if that‘s the case, where the hell are the jobs? The fact of the matter is that it‘s the have and have not society. And even those who are struggling and those people that work on fixed incomes, they‘re the real Americans. They‘re willing to bite the bullet even further.
But you think the millionaires are? You think the top two percent is? No. They‘re strong-arming all these politicians, making sure they get the right people in office who aren‘t going to touch their income. You tell me what‘s American about that.
And why should we get more money out of rich people? Because the country needs it. Just like we needed Americans to hit the beach at Omaha Beach. Because there was a real threat. And there is an economic threat to this country right now that we could lose the America we love if we all don‘t chip in.
And the only party that is out there saying that oh, we have to have the untouchables is the Republican party. Why?
So I go over and I interview the other people who are for all the cuts and all the people who are feeling like these union folks are getting something for nothing. You know, they actually don‘t even work. So let‘s vilify them.
These folks are mad because they think that they are paying for it, as if they‘re a bunch of free loaders. The political divide in this country is dividing our main street. And it‘s dangerous and it is sad.
And I was so proud of the president today to talk about shared sacrifice. But I have to say, the Democrats got weak knees during the lame duck session of the Congress when they could have stood up to the Bush tax cuts. But, of course, it set the tone that oh, we got to leave the top two percent alone.
You cannot deny the fact that the income disparity in this country is rude to the lower income folks, as opposed to who has really made gains in their personal lives economically. It is the top two percent.
But, unfortunately, right now, they seem to control our politicians.
He killed jobs because they weren‘t the right kind. The real life impact of Scott—of Governor Scott Walker‘s decision to reject a high speed rail project. That‘s next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: He campaigned on creating jobs. But before he even took office, Scott Walker made the decision to kill thousands of jobs, simply because they weren‘t the right kind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: To me, the jobs I want are jobs that are sustainable. I don‘t just want jobs that are created in the short term based upon a government subsidy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That was Governor-Elect Walker back in December, defending his decision to reject 810 million dollars in federal money for a high speed rail project by connecting Milwaukee to Madison. The project would have increased tax revenue for the state and created at least 5,500 jobs.
Fellow Republican Governors John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Scott of Florida soon followed Walker‘s lead, also rejecting federal funds for infrastructure investment. Today, the president called out the political maneuvering.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This hasn‘t traditionally been a partisan issue. Lincoln laid the rails during the course of a Civil War. Eisenhower built the interstate highway system. Both parties have always believed that America should have the best of everything.
We don‘t have third rate airports and third rate bridges and third rate highways. That‘s not who we are. We shouldn‘t start going down that path.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But why should governors like Walker get all the credit? Today, Congressional Republicans proved they, too, are concerned about the right kind of jobs. A new report from Moody‘s shows the GOP proposal to cut spending would also cost 700,000 American jobs.
Joining me now is Susan Schmitz. She is the president of the Downtown Madison Inc., a group of Wisconsin business owners. Great to have you with us tonight, Susan.
How devastating was it that this high speed rail project was killed?
SUSAN SCHMITZ, DOWNTOWN MADISON INC. PRESIDENT: It was extremely devastating. Because it was not only a connection to Milwaukee. This was a connection to Chicago, to connect this region to the rest of the country. And that is what economic development is about. And that‘s what jobs are about.
It was even more than just the jobs that are created by building this. It‘s the jobs that can—that are able to come to this region. We have a major university here, UW-Madison, doing unbelievable research, biotech, high tech kind of jobs. Talk about good jobs. It‘s those kind of jobs. And in order to have those kind of jobs in this region, we need to be connected to the world.
SCHULTZ: What about the Spanish company Talgo (ph) that set up shop in Wisconsin to build train cars and now they are contemplating moving to Illinois? What do you make of that?
SCHMITZ: Yeah, well, those are good jobs, too. They‘re all good jobs. So I‘m not sure what the governor is talking about—the kind of jobs he‘s talking about. I mean, all these jobs are good.
SCHULTZ: Well, today, the ten senators from the northeast asked the Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood to get those rejected funds. So not everybody is rejecting them. But did you think that this was going to happen? I mean, did the governor campaign on rejecting these funds because the stimulus package was well into high gear when he took office?
SCHMITZ: Yeah, he did run on this. And, unfortunately, I think a lot of folks in this region weren‘t sure he‘d really follow through. I think they thought that it was far enough along. I think it was kind of a punch in the stomach to all of us. I think it surprised a lot of folks that he would do this. But he did campaign on it and now we get it.
SCHULTZ: Susan Schmitz, thanks for your time. We appreciate it.
Tonight in our text survey, I asked should Governor Walker stop trying to limit the activities of peaceful protesters? Eighty three percent of you said yes; 17 percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “THE LAST WORD” for Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.
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