The Ed Show for Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Guests: Jacquelyn Haworth, John Nichols, Rep. Tim Ryan, Major Jay McDonald,
Rev. Al Sharpton, Eric Boehlert
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
This is what‘s on the table at this hour:
Governor Scott Walker, he is tearing up education with his new budget.
And the Wisconsin 14, they say, “We don‘t want any part of it. No thanks.”
My commentary on that in a moment.
Senator Jim DeMint says that collective bargaining has no place in a representative democracy? Well, you know, we‘ll have to say something about that tonight. And compare him to other countries that think the same way. That‘s in “The Takedown.”
FOX News suspends Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, because it looks—it looks—like they‘re running for president. But Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin—well, no problem, they can still stay on the payroll.
This is the story that has me fired up first tonight: A member of the Wisconsin 14 says that Governor Scott Walker is at war with the people of Wisconsin. This is how State Senator Lena Taylor put it on my radio show today.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STATE SEN. LENA TAYLOR (D), WISCONSIN: We are standing firm. We are analyzing what we need to do, because we are reading this 1,300-page budget that he has done, where he is devastating Wisconsin. He‘s gone from a war on workers to a war on the people of Wisconsin.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: It sounds like they‘re coming home, huh? I doubt it.
Taylor, the senator, from Milwaukee, hit the nail on the head. Tensions are high all over the Badger State, after Walker laid out his plan on Tuesday evening. Protesters surrounded Republican Senator Glenn Grothman as he tried to enter the capitol after an appearance on this network last night.
College students all over Wisconsin are protesting to this -- 15 percent to 20 percent tuition hikes. Walker has that in his bill. What‘s he picking on the kids for?
And the head of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association calls Walker‘s budget, quote, “A direct attack on public education in Milwaukee.”
Governor Walker stepped out in front of the cameras again today, and put the blame on the Wisconsin 14. Walker sounds like a broken record.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN: By allowing the Democratic process to move forward, they will give us an opportunity to have a vote and ultimately to move that bill forward so that our local governments and our schools have the tools to more than avoid those sorts of reductions. Give those local governments the tools, without giving them any tools to offset those reductions so that our local governments and our schools have the tools—local governments the tools. We‘re going to give them the tools. Give local governments those tools.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Yes, the tools. The tools to just shovel the teachers right the hell out of the classroom. We don‘t need them, right?
Walker is talking about this tool: his attack on collective bargaining. With no more collective bargaining, the local governments—well, they‘re going to be able to destroy unions, and do Walker‘s dirty work for him all over the state. When you look at the devil in the details in this bill, it‘s pretty clear Walker‘s main target is public education in Wisconsin.
Walker is cutting nearly $900 million from public schools. I have to say that every night -- $900 million out of the public school system. At the same time, he wants to massively expand the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, which, of course, is the nation‘s largest and oldest school voucher program for low-income families. Consume that, Americans, please.
For example, currently a family of four is only eligible for the program if they earn less than $39,000 a year. Well, Walker wants to eliminate the income gap, and open it up to programs for rich kids. Get rid of that cap. Just open it up to rich kids.
Now, currently, enrollment in this program we‘re talking about is capped at 22,500 students by the state of Wisconsin. The governor‘s plan, Governor Walker—well, he would make every school kid in Wisconsin eligible to get a voucher. You see—if Walker gets his way, Wisconsin taxpayers will pick up almost 70 percent of the tab to send rich kids to public schools. Got it now?
This is the most dangerous part of Walker‘s budget—private schools, private schools. You know, they don‘t have to let everybody through the door. Mike Langyel, the head of the Milwaukee teachers association, said, quote, “In a time of budget cuts, the governor is going to subsidize the tuition of wealthy families by removing the income caps, so that will be an added burden to state government.” Pretty basic thinking there, isn‘t it?
He went on to say that private schools will, quote, “choose the students they want to educate and leave the rest of them behind.”
Now, you believe me when I say that the Republicans are all about class warfare when it comes to income and who gets taxed? But now we‘re into education. And—oh, by the way, we‘ve already had the health care thing, right?
Governor Walker is trying to crush public teachers unions in his state so that he can basically make education a pay-to-play business.
Now, I wish they would ask this in a poll question. Do you think that Wisconsin is now ground zero for this attack? But you see? This is hitting teachers all across America.
And I was really touched last night after the show, I got a lot of e-mails, I got a lot of phone calls about my commentary on teachers, and I received response from teachers all over America.
This email from a retired teacher in Ohio I think sums it up best:
“For those experts on what makes a teacher, I have some advice. Be prepared to inform a class of 30 kids, 30 10-year-old children that a classmate was hit by a car and killed the night before, and then be able to deal with the grief as well. Be confident to ask the 6-foot 14-year-old angry boy for the knife that you have been told he has, and then watch him pull it out of his six-inch dagger from his boot. Put it on the desk, and then begin to cry.
Know the right words to tell a child that her mother lost her battle with cancer and has died. Encourage a child, encourage a child with bruises to be truthful on how he got them. Be prepared to comfort a child whose parent was arrested for domestic abuse. And then continue to teach the basics.”
Not once have any of these governors ever explained to their constituents that they really know what comes through the door. And that‘s why I said that last night in the commentary. You know, in public education, when the doors open, everybody‘s welcome, and every situation that you can imagine comes through the door.
Are you professional enough to handle all of that? Do you think these American professionals deserve to be vilified and made out to be a political football, or a bargaining chip? Can we give them some respect?
No, not in the eyes of Christie. He‘s brushing all of them over there in New Jersey that, well, we can‘t get rid of the bad teachers.
Who is a great teacher under the circumstances that I just read in that e-mail that came from a veteran teacher. Who‘s perfect at that? How do you judge whether you have the proper result when you have to deal with those kinds of social issues? And we all know that when you open the doors, every background comes through—the talented, the gifted, and the tough home life.
But you see? We don‘t have respect for teachers the way we used to because they haven‘t had a voice, and their only voice is collective bargaining. So, someone can stand up and tell the rest of the country what it‘s really like in the classroom of public schools, while all these governors around vilifying these teachers saying that they‘re really nothing but trade bait in a political debate when it comes to the budget.
We‘ve got a lot of work to do in this country, and I‘m not giving up on it. Next week, I‘m going to be in my hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, and I‘m going to go to my high school, because I have faith the teachers that I had in high school aren‘t there anymore. But I‘ll bet you anything that Maury High School probably has some great teachers. And I‘m going to introduce you to some of them next week when I‘m in Norfolk, because I have confidence that public education can work.
And you know what? Back when I was going to school, it was forced busing for racial equality. We had a lot of things happening back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. There were war demonstrations going on all the time. People were at each other‘s throats. We were wondering if it was OK to go to school with black kids and we got through it, because we had great teachers. We supported education back then.
But you see? Over the decades, things have changed. We‘ve allowed teachers to become this political pawn and trade bait in a budget debate in this country, in each state. And it‘s wrong.
Somebody‘s got to say it. I‘ll be the one to do it, because I have faith that these professionals in the classroom, they care. They care day in and day out. And they live their profession.
So, I wasn‘t planning on having this person on the air tonight, but we got this e-mail, and I kind of like just having Americans on the program and not these pundits all the time, if you know what I mean.
I would like you as a viewer to know that we bring real Americans to the program who aren‘t professional TV people.
Joining me now is the person that sent me that e-mail: Jackie Haworth, a retired educator from the state of Ohio.
Jackie, thank you. That was very kind of you to do that. And it just underscores what we‘ve been talking about, that people like you who have spent time in the profession, educated to be in the profession, to do the job, you do care, and you showed in that e-mail that you do and very thoughtful. And I appreciate you sharing it with our audience, because when people send me stuff, you‘ve never where it‘s going to end up. Thank you.
Why did you send me that e-mail?
JACQUELYN HAWORTH, TEACHER: Well, I‘ve been watching what‘s been going on in Wisconsin. Living in Ohio, I‘m not real happy with the direction Ohio is taking. My husband and I just returned from a rally in Columbus.
And we watched your show last night, and I heard your passion, and I heard your voice speaking what I‘ve been feeling all along. And you dedicated that to your mother.
And as a teacher, that touched me so much. I can‘t express how much that touched me. And I just was moved to write to you, to thank you for being our voice.
I mean, when teachers try to say things, sometimes we‘re called crybabies. We‘re whiners. And it‘s very nice to hear someone else speak up for us as well.
SCHULTZ: How do you feel about the vilification of public schoolteachers that‘s taking place in this country, in this budget debate? How do you feel about that?
HAWORTH: Well, I‘m angry. But you know what? I‘m also very sad about it. It‘s hard not to take the words and the slurs that I‘ve been hearing personally.
You know, I‘m not lazy. I went to school at 7:00 in the morning and often didn‘t get back until 7:00 or 8:00 that evening. And I‘m not greedy. I did not go into education for money. In fact, I don‘t know any teacher who did.
The rewards we had were the light bulb moment when a student finally gets something. Or sometimes a note left on a desk at the end of the day, where you open it up and it says thanks or, thanks for caring. And sometimes you might get, I love you if you‘re in elementary. A lot of times you get little notes like that.
Those were the rewards that keep teachers in education. The students keep teachers in education. The students‘ love, the students‘ drive, the compassion. It‘s the—it‘s the relationship between the teacher and the student. That‘s what keeps us in education. It isn‘t the money.
And I would wish that these critics would spend one week, just one week, spending it as a teacher, and doing all the duties that a teacher has to do, a classroom of 30 different personalities. Some of them wanting to disrupt the class, some of them needing extra help, some of them bored.
I wish that one of these critics would do that, and maybe during that week, maybe that person might get that light bulb moment from another student and all of a sudden realize, oh, that‘s what a teacher does. That‘s what a teacher is. I understand now.
Or maybe that critic might say—whoa, whoa, this is a little too hard. It‘s too hard. I can‘t do this. I don‘t know how anybody can. But I sure do respect this profession a little bit more now.
That‘s what I wish.
SCHULTZ: And, Jackie, correct me if I‘m wrong. It didn‘t used to be this way, the attitude towards public teachers, did it?
HAWORTH: No. No. I started education, and I had respect. People would find out I was a teacher, and it was a respectful way of living.
They understood that we were there to help and to serve. And it wasn‘t like we were pitted against each other. I don‘t like what‘s happening with the middle class now. It‘s like we‘re being pitted against one another.
And it‘s—the governors are doing this, pitting the working class.
And it‘s like divide and conquer.
HAWORTH: And when that happens, you know who‘s going to lose—it‘s the middle class.
SCHULTZ: Jackie Haworth, thank you for your time tonight. You speak for millions of teachers across America. And your words resonate with so many Americans. Thank you so much for joining us.
Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen. Should public money pay for rich kids to go to private school? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639, or go to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Tonight‘s “Takedown”: nationalizing the right‘s assault on union workers. Jim DeMint says collective bargaining has no place in democracy.
FOX News suspends two of the 2012 GOP hopefuls on its payroll. Two down, and a lot more to go.
And speaking of hopefuls, President Christie? The governor says he could beat President Obama in 2012. He‘ll explain.
SCHULTZ: Be sure to check out our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. There you will find links to WeGotEd.com, Twitter and Facebook.
Scott Walker has a problem with outsiders getting involved with the Wisconsin protest, unless those outsiders, of course, spend millions of dollars defending him. That‘s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: The people are here, the thousands of protesters, union protesters, at least those from Wisconsin, there are plenty others coming in from across the country, but those from Wisconsin have a right to be heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh, yes, leave it to Scott Walker to complain about outside voices when he‘s about to launch a bus tour paid for by the Koch brothers‘ Americans for Prosperity group.
And Walker hasn‘t had any problems with the outside voices buying all these ads that are on the airwaves across the state. Here‘s an ad paid for by the Republican governors association, which has taken millions of dollars from the Kochs and Rupert Murdoch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Governor Walker is leading, balancing the budget without raising taxes, so Wisconsin will be open for business again, and asking state employees to contribute to their own benefits, just like everyone else. In Wisconsin, leaders don‘t run away from tough problems, like the Senate Democrats. Instead, they stand and lead like Governor Scott Walker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And here‘s the big money of the Republican National Committee attacking President Obama and unions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Families are struggling. State budgets have run dry. And the federal debt is skyrocketing.
But Obama and the union bosses are standing in the way of economic reform, intimidating taxpayers, leaving classrooms empty.
They made this mess. Let‘s clean it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, pro-worker groups, they are fighting back. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America are sponsoring a new ad in Wisconsin. And they‘re not using outsiders to tell the story. The people in the ad are real Wisconsinites.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD SCOBY, GRAPHIC DESIGNER, MIDDLETON, WI: It will probably cost us between $400 and $500 a month in income. I try not to think about it. Just be out here on the square. It‘s not selfish. It‘s just survival.
KRISTINE FANTETTI, SECRETARY, WHITEWATE, WI: I‘m just a secretary, and this bill that Walker‘s proposing is going to cost me over $3,000 a year, not to mention more down the road when we lose our collective bargaining rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me tonight is John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation” magazine.
John, great to have you with us.
We have now a war of dollars. Will the progressive groups be able to compete with all the outside dollars funding the pro-Walker ads? What do you think?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Absolutely not, Ed. We have to be honest with ourselves. This is the biggest battle that the corporate interests in this country have waged in years. They‘re telescoping their money into one state. And progressive forces aren‘t going to be able to win the TV war.
But tonight, I was out in Union Grove, Wisconsin, my hometown, and I saw 200 members of AFSCME and their supporters from the community hold the first labor rally ever in Union Grove and the first march down Main Street. So, it‘s going to have to be people power versus all the corporate money power.
SCHULTZ: After all the scrutiny that Governor Walker has given people who have helped from outside the state, here he is turning around, taking money from an outside group to do a bus tour. How is that playing with Wisconsinites?
NICHOLS: Well, I‘m actually very intrigued at where they take the bus to. Because the fact of the matter is, I‘ve been around the state today, in only Republican districts, and I have seen rallies and marches in small towns, small cities by public workers, teachers, and their many, many community supporters.
So, I think wherever that bus goes, it will be met by great masses of Wisconsinites who say, look, we know our state. We know what our challenges are and we‘re ready to meet them. So, why don‘t you take your bus back to Wall Street?
SCHULTZ: John, what‘s happening with the governor defying a court-ordered injunction that the doors of the state capitol be open because it‘s in the state‘s constitution? Now, this is a photo of Democratic State Representative Fred Clark bringing his desk outside the capitol to meet with his constituents.
SCHULTZ: What is the situation with the capitol right now? Is it open? And what‘s the ramification of the governor defying this injunction?
NICHOLS: Ed, before I came here to talk to you tonight, I took a walk around the capitol. It is not open. Citizens do not have access to their capitol.
There are as many as 50 Wisconsinites sleeping in sleeping bags in front of the door to the capitol tonight. They wanted to get in. Traditionally, they would have been able to. They are locked out. There are thousands who have been out today asking to get in.
Democratic legislators, including Fred Clark, but also Peter Barca, the minority leader of the assembly, and Cory Mason, took their desks outside. They met with hundreds of constituents on the lawn, people who said they wanted to get in and could not do so.
SCHULTZ: Yes. But the governor is defying a court-ordered injunction. How does he get around that?
NICHOLS: Well, today, there was a court hearing all day long. Former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager who you had on the show the other night brought dozens of witnesses, including members of the legislature, legislative aides and citizens to testify that they were not allowed into their capitol. They‘re before a judge throughout today. The hearing will resume tomorrow.
Presumably, or hopefully there will be a formal ruling sometime tomorrow from this judge, and if you heard the testimony today, there is simply no way that a reasonable judge couldn‘t say—
NICHOLS: -- that this administration is in violation of that order.
SCHULTZ: And quickly, John, as this standoff continues, who‘s winning, who‘s losing? Some of the polls out there are showing that the governor is losing faith with the people. The people are losing faith in him big-time. And the numbers are turning against him.
Do you agree with that?
NICHOLS: Absolutely. That‘s why the Republicans are putting all this money into TV. The fact of the matter is, polling data shows that among union families and people just across the state, there‘s tremendous movement away from the governor, and, in fact, if the gubernatorial election was held today, Scott Walker would lose in a land slide.
SCHULTZ: And recall talk will be down the road, I‘m sure. John Nichols, thanks for joining us tonight. I appreciate your work.
Newt Gingrich is about to announce a presidential exploratory committee. And he‘s not the only FOX News personality getting ready for a run.
Plus, the Tea Party‘s loudest and maybe most respected voice in Congress says that public unions have no place in a democracy? We‘ll show him the dictators and tyrants throughout history who actually agree with Jim DeMint. That‘s in “The Takedown,” next.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. It‘s time for “The Takedown.”
Jim DeMint, he is one of the most outspoken Tea Party voices in the Senate. So, it‘s no surprise that he launched a major attack on public unions on right-wing radio.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. JIM DEMINT ®, SOUTH CAROLINA: It‘s a bigger issue than people think, and it‘s something I‘m going to work a lot on, because I really don‘t think that collective bargaining has any place in representative government.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Any place in representative government. Collective bargaining has no place in representative government. That puts DeMint, if you think about it, in some pretty interesting company.
Here are some of the countries that outlawed labor unions—China, Burma, the United Arab Emirates, North Korea, Hitler‘s Germany, Stalin‘s Russia, Mussolini‘s Italy, Franco‘s Spain, Napoleon‘s France, and, of course, Iraq, both under Saddam Hussein and Paul Bremer. Oops.
If DeMint still thinks collective bargaining is anti-American, maybe he better ask some actual Americans. There just happens to be a new NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll out that asks if it‘s acceptable to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees.
What do you know, 62 percent said it‘s mostly or totally unacceptable. When asked if public employees have the same collective bargaining rights as private employees, 77 percent said yes. Only 19 percent said no. Oops, we‘ve got to fix that.
With the facts not on his side, DeMint high tailed it over to Fox News today to continue the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEMINT: My beef is not with the workers themselves. They have every right to unionize in the private sector. My beef is with the union bosses, and expectations that they have some right to decide what government employees should be paid, and how our government should be run. That‘s the job of elected officials.
Taxpayers are waking up and finding the people who are supposed to be serving them in government are making more money than they are and getting better benefits, and don‘t even want to pay a fraction of their health care or pension costs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All right. Hold the phones here, folks. DeMint said so much nonsense right there that I need to take a different approach. Now, I‘ve been saying this stuff every night for three weeks. Now, Jim DeMint, I‘m going to say it all again, but real slow, so you can understand.
Most union members make less than their private sector counterparts. Another news flash: union members fund 100 percent of their pensions. And most importantly, union members, you know what they are? They are taxpayers.
But Jim DeMint, you see, he can‘t be that dim. He knows what this is all about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEMINT: The unions are the most powerful political group in the country today. Their power in politics is unprecedented. And without the unions, the Democrat party fades away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, lie to the people, bust the unions, destroy the Democratic party, that‘s what this is all about. Never forget that. And that‘s the Takedown.
Governor Chris Christie says he could win the presidency, but he knows in his heart that he‘s not ready. The GOP presidential round up coming up.
Plus, the Ohio Senate votes to limit workers‘ rights. Wait until you hear how Republicans made sure that they absolutely had the votes to get her done. That‘s next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Let‘s go to Ohio, because today the Ohio Senate voted to dramatically limit workers‘ rights. But as of this morning, Republicans, they didn‘t have the votes to get Senate Bill Five out of two different committees. So how did they do it?
Listen to this, the Senate Bill Five demolishes collective bargaining for 360,000 public workers. It bans workers from striking, and ends independent arbitration. That‘s a big one.
That last point really steamed Republican lawmaker, State Senator Bill Seitz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. BILL SEITZ ®, OHIO: Folks, you all remember the old line, you can‘t fight city hall. Under this bill, public employees can‘t talk to city hall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Holy smokes, he‘s talking like a Democrat. Seitz was a member of the Senate Labor Committee. He was set to vote against the bill in committee. Seitz would have split the vote six to six and prevented it from reaching the Senate floor.
So here comes the boss. Senate President Tom Niehaas, he removed Mr. Seitz, and replaced him with a Republican who supported the bill. The final vote, just the way they wanted it, seven to five.
The bill then headed to the rules committee, where yet another split vote was expected. Well, Republican Scott Oelslagger—well, he also has voiced opposition to the bill. So here we go again. Here comes the boss, President Niehaas removed him as well.
Just like that, Senate Bill Five found itself on the Ohio Senate floor. Democrats picked up six Republican votes against it. But, of course, they need seven. The bill rolling back workers‘ rights passed by one vote, 17-16. It now goes to the state house, where the GOP holds a real majority of 59 to 40. The Democrats have no chance to protect workers.
Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan. He represents Ohio‘s 17th congressional district. Also with us tonight, Major Jay McDonald. He serves the police department of Marion, Ohio, and is the president of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police.
Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. Congressman Ryan, what do you make of this, that the Republicans play so heavy-handed to yank committee members around to get this done? I mean, this is almost unheard of. Your thoughts?
REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: Well, a huge power grab. And this is all in the context of not having any shared sacrifice in the entire state. So while they‘re muscling this through, pulling guys on and of committees to get this thing passed, they‘re also passing an estate tax cut for the wealthiest people in the state.
The top employees for the governor have gotten a 50,000 dollar a year raise, while they‘re trying to take it out of the hide of teachers, police and fire.
So you take the heavy-handedness. And what you also see, they‘re willing to go to that same extent for the wealthiest people in the state. And it‘s just blatantly unfair.
These folks have continuously made sacrifices. In the last years, the budget, the state workers gave up 20 furlough days unpaid. They paid more into their pension. They didn‘t take a pay increase. They all did this by negotiation, not by this heavy-handed tactics that we‘re seeing today. It‘s blatantly a power grab by the Republicans in Ohio.
SCHULTZ: Major McDonald, how do you feel about what is unfolding in Ohio and the way it politically came down?
MAJ. JAY MCDONALD, MARION, OH POLICE DEPT.: Well, I couldn‘t agree more with Congressman Ryan. Absolutely it‘s political gamesmanship to remove senators for—to ensure a winning vote. This bill dramatically affects my members, all 26,000 of them, and the almost 400,000 public employees. And they say it‘s for the budget. And that‘s blatantly not true.
SCHULTZ: What will it do to the police force?
MCDONALD: It does lots of things. But one of the things I‘d like to focus on is it prohibits us from bargaining about basic safety equipment. There is a line that was inserted in a 99-page amendment package that came yesterday, that specifically bars public employees from bargaining over equipment.
And for police officers, that means bullet resistant vests. That means the latest technology to keep my members safe. That means cars that don‘t burst into flames when struck from behind. Those kinds of things that dramatically affect my safety and my members‘ safety and our ability to protect ourselves. We now no longer have a voice in trying to obtain that—those pieces of equipment that are so vital to our very safety.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Ryan, there are absolutes to this bill, no question about it. You just heard it from the major. What about Governor Kasich? Doesn‘t this taint his credibility to sign a bill like this that has been so strong armed?
RYAN: I think so. Right out of the gate, there‘s no doubt about it. He‘s only been in office for a few weeks now. And to come and lurch this far to the right and appeal to the Tea Party folks, appeal to the most extreme element of the Republican party—let‘s be honest here, Ed, this would be like Democrats saying that corporations could no longer exist, not that maybe they should pay more in taxes or treat their workers more fairly, but they should be abolished. No more corporations.
Now, there may be some element on the left that may want that to happen. But ultimately, that‘s not reasonable. So for the governor and the Republicans to lurch this far to the right for this big of a power grab is going to be very damaging. And I‘ve never seen—I‘ve been doing this about 10 or 11 years now—the amount of anxiety among our people, but the way this has unified the Democratic base, the working families, both union and non-union alike, both public sector and private sector.
Because the building trades folks know that they‘re next with prevailing wage and project labor agreements. And until we have no middle class, no one to buy the cars, no one to buy the houses, no one to pay taxes, that‘s ultimately where we end up. And again, with the estate tax cut, and all of this specialized treatment for those people who work closely with the governor, while he‘s cutting the salaries of the secretaries and those people that work in the mail room—this is going to be a total blowback.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio and Major Jay McDonald, thanks for your time tonight on the program, explaining exactly what‘s coming down.
Mike Huckabee is doubling down on his courtship of Birthers. Yesterday, he said the president was raised in Kenya. You won‘t believe what he said today.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight. Now, last night in the Takedown, we busted Mike Huckabee for trying to appeal to Birthers without offending anyone else. Huckabee, he was at it again today. And we got him again.
Huckabee‘s original fib came on right-wing radio when he was asked about Barack Obama‘s shady past. Mike Huckabee said he was troubled by Obama‘s past and repeatedly said the president was raised in Kenya.
Today, Huckabee returned to right-wing radio to try to shake his Huck-a-Birther taint. He failed miserably.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I‘ve said many times publicly that I do think he has a different world view. And I think it‘s in part molded out of a very different experience. Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings. Our communities were filled with rotary clubs, not madrassas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Pay attention, Mr. Huckabee. You‘re smart enough to grasp this. As Media Matters points out, the president spent his youth in Hawaii and Indonesia. Honolulu, well, that city had a Rotary Club since, dog gone it, 1905. And Barack Obama wrote in one of his books about being a Boy Scott troop as a child in Indonesia. He didn‘t go to a madrassa.
According to the “Washington Post,” Obama went to mostly Muslim school for less than a year. They wrote, “he spent most of his four years in Indonesia studying at a Santa Fransiskus Asisi, a Roman Catholic school run by—at the time by a stern Dutch priest. Classes began and ended each day with Christian prayers.
Huckabee, as a Baptist minister, can‘t you identify with that kind of thing? Upbringing? Surrounding? Well, Huckabee doubled down again on his point with O‘Reilly tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUCKABEE: This is not a kid who grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and playing little league baseball.
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He‘s not a traditional guy.
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SCHULTZ: Well, now, that‘s a good point. He didn‘t play the traditional sports like baseball. He got stuck with soccer and basketball. You know, varsity basketball, his team was the Hawaii state champion in 1979. His nickname was Barry O‘Bomber. I guess he was just awesome from three-point range.
So if it‘s not at sports, and it‘s not at schools, what exactly make him out not to be a traditional guy? Why don‘t you just come out and say it already. Mr. Huckabee, you as a Baptist preacher, are you lying? Do you need to get down on bended knee at the altar and say that you have fallen prey to all the right-wing bullet points that are lies?
Come on, preacher, go to confession.
Coming up, Newt Gingrich‘s lawyers are sorting out some legal issues before Gingrich can announce a presidential exploratory committee. The very latest on that, next.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight, I really wanted to call this breaking news, because today Fox News suspended Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum because they have, quote, “signaled possible runs for the presidency.” But of course, keeping the higher standards of integrity, Fox News is not going to get rid of Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee or John Bolton. They must have a special deal.
Even though Mike Huckabee is promoting his new book called “Simple Government.” Maybe Fox is just faking journalistic integrity by dumping a couple of lesser popular TV personalities. A Fox spokesman, very serious, said “former Senator Rick Santorum intended to participate in the Republican primary debates.”
That was reason enough to put him on the 60 day leave. Now, in Gingrich‘s case, Fox News said that he was in the middle of setting up a presidential exploratory committee. Gingrich actually delayed his announcement while his lawyers sorted out a few issues, like the fact that he was planning to fly to an announcement—to an event on a corporate jet which might have violated campaign finance laws.
Who, Newt? Never.
But a jet gives you a pretty good clue as to whose interest Gingrich will be going to bat before. Gingrich‘s announcement will come tomorrow, according to a spokesman, but he will stop short of forming an exploratory committee for now.
Outside of Fox News, there‘s Governor Chris Christie, who said he‘s not ready, but he knows he could win.
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GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ®, NEW JERSEY: I just look at the climate, and, you know, say, do I have a possibility. I didn‘t say I would win. I said I thought I could win.
You have to believe it in your heart and your mind that you‘re ready. And I don‘t. I don‘t believe I‘m ready. I‘ve been a governor for 13 months. I was U.S. attorney for seven years before that. I just—it‘s hard to express why don‘t you feel ready. It‘s a feeling. It‘s hard to describe feelings sometimes.
But in my heart, I don‘t believe I‘m ready to be president. So why would I run?
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SCHULTZ: So why would he keep talking about it? Let‘s bring in senior fellow of Media Matters, Eric Boehlert, and National Action Network president, the Reverend Al Sharpton.
Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. Eric, Fox News suspending two people who I guess they‘re thinking about running for president, but maybe Sarah Palin isn‘t thinking. How does Huckabee and Palin escape this one?
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS: That‘s a good question. I mean, what the suspensions tell us is that Fox News is much more of a political operation than it is a news organization. I mean, they continue to cultivate these candidates. They give them a national platform. They give them a cushy salary. They give them a safe haven.
Where did Mike Huckabee run to today to play damage control on this Kenyan nonsense. He ran to Bill O‘Reilly and Fox News. Also, they give them, as Media Matters calculated last year—they gave these would-be candidates something like 80 hours of air time that if you calculate it, came out to about 50 million dollars of free air time.
So it‘s very telling that it looks like about half of the Republican candidates for the White House are entangled in Fox News contracts.
SCHULTZ: Reverend Sharpton, is there a valid distinction between Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich? What do you think?
REV. AL SHARPTON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Clearly, there‘s no discernible distinction, since neither of them have formally announced even an exploratory committee, or even a candidacy formally. So then how do you weigh when both of them seem to be seriously flirting with running? A step away from making it a legal challenge.
I remember in ‘04, when we all were in the Democratic primaries, they were saying even if I preached at churches before I had an exploratory committee, it was campaigning. Now they‘re all over television actively campaigning, actively bringing their positions, and saying why they are qualified to lead the nation, and the president isn‘t.
But that‘s not called campaigning when all of them are doing the same thing. You take two out, leave the others in. There‘s no real clear pattern of how they‘re making these decisions.
SCHULTZ: Reverend Sharpton, you‘ve been down that road before. And as a reverend, what do you make of Mike Huckabee‘s comments about the president being from Kenya, and being in a madrassa, all the things that have been debunked that are flat out lies? What do you make of that?
SHARPTON: Well, I think that there‘s no question that to say the president was in a madrassa and wasn‘t in the Boy Scouts, that‘s just totally a lie. But I also think that in a country that prides itself on being a melting pot, and trying to bring together a blanket with different pieces, to talk about a traditional childhood—traditional to who?
What makes the country great is that it that it is different in different communities, different areas. We try to blend it to make it one nation. So what is traditional to Mike Huckabee may not be traditional to you, or me, or someone else. Does that make us less American? I think that‘s divisive. And that‘s the America we‘re trying to get away from.
SCHULTZ: Eric, what do you make of Governor Christie always talking about the presidency? He‘s not running. He‘s not ready, but he sure talks about it a lot.
BOEHLERT: He sure talks about it a lot. Look, I think he‘s addicted to his great press. The Beltway press has fallen for this guy, even though, you know, a poll last month said he would lose to New Jersey to Obama by 18 points. He gets this Valentine in the “New York Magazine” this weekend. He is flirting with it. He says he‘s not ready, but he can‘t stop talking, because the press is giving him—you know, this great run.
We‘re going to continue to see the charade. These sound bites, how can you possibly run when you keep saying you‘re not ready. But again, I blame the press a little bit. They just cannot stop writing how wonderful and authentic this guy is. If you look at his numbers in New Jersey, they‘re not that great.
SCHULTZ: What do you make of all that, Reverend Sharpton?
SHARPTON: I think you‘re right, Ed. I think it‘s like you‘re trying to keep yourself in the play by saying, no, no, no, when you really want people to say go, go, go. And I think that it is really trying to flirt with the public at a time that we have serious issues.
I think that he‘s absolutely right, that the press is playing this up. I‘m not ready, I‘m not ready, I‘m not ready to be on THE ED SHOW. Do you have any time tomorrow night?
SCHULTZ: I sure do. For you, anytime, reverend. Great to have you with us tonight. Eric Boehlert and Reverend Al Sharpton with us tonight. Thanks so much for joining us.
Tonight in our survey, Governor Scott Walker wants to cut public education, but increase public funding to private schools, even for rich kids. So I ask you, should public money pay for rich kids to go to private school? four percent of you say yes; 96 percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz.
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