The Ed Show for Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Guests: John Nichols, Robert Greenwald, Eric Boehlert, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Sen. Sherrod Brown
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
This is what‘s on the table tonight:
Poll numbers sliding for three radical Republican governors. That‘s our lead story tonight.
New comments from President Obama about the exit strategy in Libya.
Even while more U.S. forces are joining the fight, what‘s that all about?
Robert Greenwald is here to talk about it.
And, one year ago, don‘t you remember the conversation? Republicans said it would be Armageddon if this health care reform bill passed. Well, since Armageddon never came, and since a lot more people are being covered, we thought we‘d talk about it tonight.
And, the Glenn Beck channel, believe it or not, it could be a reality.
I have some programming ideas. It‘s all coming up.
But, this is the story that has me fired up first tonight, folks:
American voters are having, I think, buyers‘ remorse with radical Republican governors in key parts of the country when you look at 2012. If the elections were held tonight, Republican Governors Scott Walker, John Kasich and Rick Snyder, they would all be out of a job.
Last November, Walker in Wisconsin defeated Tom Barrett 52-46 percentage-wise. Walker would now lose to Barrett by seven points.
In Ohio, John Kasich—well, he defeated incumbent Ted Strickland 49 to 47. And at this point, Strickland—well, I guess you could say he would just smoke Kasich by 15 points.
And in Michigan, Rick Snyder, very radical, very anti-public education, walked to an 18-point victory over Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero last fall. In a hypothetical do-over—I like do-overs—Bernero would now beat Snyder, 49 to 47 percentage-wise.
Now, in less than five months, has the light bulb gone on? Voters have quickly pivoted away from these radical Republican governors. This shift is taking place because Walker, Kasich and Snyder‘s radical priority list is being played out right in front of our eyes and it‘s getting attention.
Scott Walker, he didn‘t run on ending collective bargaining for public employees, but now that he‘s shown his cards, he stands a real chance of being recalled. Now, 57 percent of Wisconsin voters oppose Walker‘s radical policy. Only 39 percent support it.
In Ohio, Kasich ran on job creation and low taxes—you know, the normal Republican thing. Now, he wants to sell state prisons, the state liquor licenses, and maybe even turn over the Ohio turnpike to the private industry. Well, but his attack on collective bargaining is really tanking him in the polls -- 54 percent of Ohio voters are against Kasich‘s attack on labor, and only 35 percent support it.
Now, former Gateway CEO, Rick Snyder, sold Michigan voters on the fact that he was a job creator. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SNYDER ®, MICHIGAN: Fifty percent of the jobs lost in America in the last 10 years were lost in Michigan. How did that happen? Politicians gave us the worst business tax in the country. And regulations that made creating jobs almost impossible.
I‘ve created thousands of jobs. We‘ll dump that tax. Thin the regulations. And jobs will come back.
C.J. LEE: Rick is our one chance for jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: One chance for jobs? How many jobs have they created?
We‘ll get to that story in future shows.
Michigan has been killed by Republican policy that led to thousands of jobs being shipped overseas. Ever heard of manufacturing in China? When Snyder was on the board at Gateway, they shut down plants in America and shipped those jobs to China.
Snyder‘s plan for labor? Well, you know what it‘s going to do? It‘s going to bring Chinese wages back home to the great state of Michigan. I bet they can‘t wait for that. Almost 60 percent of voters in Michigan are against Snyder‘s plan to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights.
Now, get this number—if 300,000 people sign a petition in the state of Michigan, Snyder could be recalled as early as June. I tell you, it‘s in the air, isn‘t it?
All of these governors got elected by talking about jobs and the economy. Obama wasn‘t any good. They had all the answers. Well, now the pushback is very clear. And I think that this is a political turning point. I think that this is a moment that voters aren‘t going to forget, because it‘s a consolidated, concerted effort by these right-wing Republican governors to butcher—to butcher—labor in this country and in their states.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think about this. Tonight‘s question: can Democrats capitalize on reaction to the radical GOP governors in the 2012 election? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639 -- or go to our new blog tonight at Ed.MSNBC.com. And I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me now is John Nichols, Washington correspondent for “The Nation.”
Is this a political turning point in American history? I mean, you can‘t tell me that all of a sudden there‘s a group of Republican governors that are tanking in the polls, there‘s demonstrations abound in all of these states. What do you think, John?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, I think there‘s no question, Ed. In fact, we‘ve already reached a turning point. It‘s just a question of how big a turning point it is.
One of the things that doesn‘t get noticed as much is a flip side of those very bad poll numbers for the Republican governors. At the same time that you‘re seeing Governors Snyder, Kasich and Walker fall down into the low 40s, high 30s in their approval ratings in some cases, President Obama‘s ratings are going up. In Wisconsin, he now has a 53 percent to 55 percent approval rating.
You also see that in some of these states, Democratic officials who are kind of going down in their numbers, have had great big bumps. Sherrod Brown, the Democratic senator from Ohio, has had a 10 percent increase in his poll—his approval ratings since the fight began in Ohio.
Something significant is going on there, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You know, this might be the best thing that happened to the Democrats coming up for 2012. You have got 20 states across America on a legislative level, on a local level, that have introduced bills to restrict or eliminate collective bargaining. You know, 80 percent of union workers in this country are concentrated in 16 states. And they‘re not holding back at all.
Is this going to backfire? Is this an opportunity for the Democrats in your opinion?
NICHOLS: Well, there‘s simply no question, it is an opportunity. One of the real questions is whether they take full advantage of it. It‘s pretty clear that in some of these battleground states like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, perhaps Indiana, that there‘s already been a huge shift. And something appears to be locking in, that‘s very positive for the Democrats.
At a national level, it‘s clear that President Obama does have to say more and to have more clearly aligned himself with the cause of unions and working class Americans. And I think in that sense, he really ought to borrow a page from Franklin Roosevelt. Back in 1944, two years into his presidency, Franklin Roosevelt went to Wisconsin, to Green Bay, Wisconsin, and he gave a speech in which he referred to people who were pro-Wall Street, as economic Tories.
He essentially made it a clear American choice, if you were a patriot, you were on the side of the working folks. If you weren‘t a patriot, you were on the side of the big banks and the big corporations. That was a huge turning point for Roosevelt. And from there on out, that‘s when he really started to see some of his incredible gains, both for Democratic congressional candidates, and, of course, his landslide re-election in 1936.
SCHULTZ: John Nichols, always putting it in historical perspective and very well. I appreciate your take on this tonight and insight to all of it. I think this recall thing has got major legs. Thanks, John.
For more on the national political impact of the story, we‘re joined tonight by Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and part owner of “The Nation.”
Katrina, is this a bellwether moment for Democrats? Now, we‘ve talked a lot on this show about a disgruntled base. But the other side is so radical. This just might be what the Obama administration, the re-election team needs and the Democrats need. What do you think?
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION MAGAZINE: I think the extremist slashnomics (ph) of these arrogant governors is clearly exposing that we‘re witnessing an agenda that is designed to rollback the rights of working people in this country, not just labor unions, but the rights of working people. And they want to gut, they want to kneecap, they want to crush the middle class.
My colleague at “The Nation,” John Nichols laid it out well. I think he also pointed to an issue which is, how can the Democrats really take advantage of this? Yes, there is overreach. And the Democrats, good people like Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow will benefit.
But how do we reset the debate to take into account what the vast majority of Americans tell us they want in polls, which is a real focus on jobs and the economy, Ed. Not just balancing deficits—which by the way, they Republican governors don‘t care about. They want to use that as a cover to bash labor and gut the middle class.
SCHULTZ: In looking at the Republicans right now, these governors are radical. And they have been focused, on point, and relentless. You‘ve got to give them credit for that. They haven‘t backed off at all.
But which one of the Republican national candidates running for president is going to be willing to stand up and say, you know, I think this guy Walker went too far in Wisconsin, I think Kasich is reaching too far, I‘m going to distance myself and go more moderate? I don‘t think the Republicans are going to do that, aren‘t they?
VANDEN HEUVEL: I don‘t either, Ed. And I think you‘re kind to, you know, say that it‘s great they‘re relentless. I think they‘re cruel. I think they‘re cruel, mean-spirited.
They don‘t really care about people. They don‘t talk jobs. They don‘t talk about recovery. And they‘re bashing people at a time when this country desperately needs a sense of a fair deal for people.
Listen, we came out of a recession caused by Wall Street and they‘re in hawk to Wall Street. So, I don‘t—I don‘t see a Republican governor standing up. Maybe Scott Brown, but he‘s not going to be running.
What I see is a 30-year national strategy on the part of this party, well-funded to destroy the rights of working people and to destroy labor and to destroy middle class and get their way. And, listen, you know, we‘re witnessing the trouble, the pain of that, and Democrats need to step up and need to look really hard.
Now, people are going to be—and you‘ve talked about this on this program, Ed, April 4th, the national day of action.
VANDEN HEUVEL: One nation for jobs, for education, for justice. That‘s where people power will come in play. And also, Ed, Libya and Afghanistan—if we get boots on the ground in Libya, if we don‘t find a way to pull out of Afghanistan in a responsible way—
SCHULTZ: I do agree with that.
VANDEN HEUVEL: -- we need to bring that money back into this country, to reinvest in a country that is living on the carcass of the industrial base of the New Deal. We can do better.
SCHULTZ: No doubt. I‘ve got a commentary on just that coming up later in the show. If we do put boots on the ground, and why can‘t we invest in American workers.
You know, in the first part of your answer there, Katrina, your explanation of where you are and where this country is, and I totally agree with you—you mentioned ruthless, cruel. Well, let me just—this was just handed to me, talking about the radical agenda.
There‘s a group of Republican House members that have introduced a bill that would deal with striking workers, and would make them ineligible for a number of government provisions under the law and would eliminate them from possibly the Food Stamp program. Now, people would be striking, because they want a better life.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Yes.
SCHULTZ: They want a better chance. But this law—and it will probably get ramrodded through the House. It won‘t go anywhere in the Senate. But this is who they are.
VANDEN HEUVEL: This is who they are. This is clear. This exposes, this reveals—listen, this is a party, these House Republicans, these extremists want to take this country back—back to a time when even Charles Dickens couldn‘t have imagined such a stealth, cruel bill.
Aren‘t we about giving people a right to—an opportunity to work and make a living for their families? Don‘t they deserve a fair deal?
This is despicable politics. And I think every American should understand—first of all, that strikes, we haven‘t had many, but that‘s a right. That is a right.
SCHULTZ: That‘s right.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Under the National Labor Management bill. And we come upon the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, I hope your viewers will look that up, 146 women died because they were stripped of their rights and safety regulations.
VANDEN HEUVEL: We are witnessing a possibility of these House extremists taking us back to a time when we didn‘t have child labor laws, or safety or clean water or clean air, and they want to strip people of their rights? Their rights?
SCHULTZ: That‘s who they are. Katrina Vanden Heuvel, always a pleasure.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
Remember to answer tonight‘s text question right there at the bottom of the screen. We want to know what you think.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president is talking exit strategy for Libya. So, why are more American forces joining the fight?
Tonight‘s “Takedown,” remember all the right-wing fear about health care reform?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This health care bill will ruin our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You‘re going to die soon.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: This will change our country forever.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: It‘s over. This is socialism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, it‘s one year later. And I‘ve got a second opinion.
Plus, Glenn TV? Is the Beckster starting his own network? Boy, do I have some programming ideas for him. You don‘t want to miss them.
SCHULTZ: And be sure to check out our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. There, you‘re going to find links to my radio at WeGotEd.com, Twitter and Facebook.
Coming up next: Republicans want you to think you‘re paying $3.55 for gas, because supply and demand is the way it is. Man, it‘s the free market at work. Now, if you believe that, wait until you see today‘s numbers on our gas supply.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.
All right. Let‘s talk a little bit about the economy and what‘s going to happen if gas goes through the roof. Or should I say through your wallet. I mean, if you really want to know the truth about why you‘re paying $3.55 a gallon for gas on average, and really, who‘s getting rich of it, everyone from Nancy Pelosi to Bill O‘Reilly is on record now. Wall Street speculators unchecked are driving up the price by getting into oil futures.
But Republicans, the Wall Street champions, they say no. It‘s unrest in the Middle East. It‘s all about Libya and Egypt. That‘s what‘s really affecting supply. Really?
Well, there‘s a new report out today on oil supply. It says gas supplies are down slightly, which would explain why gas prices are a little higher. But it also says that crude oil and heating oil supplies, they‘re up. Supplies are up. But their prices also went up.
So, what the heck‘s going on here?
Here‘s the report‘s chart for the price of gasoline over the past year. Look at the big picture. It started climbing last fall, before—before the Mideast exploded with turmoil.
And if it‘s all about supply, prices should, what, go down when supplies go up. But look at supply. See that? There was a huge surge in supply this year. But prices—well, they spiked anyway, didn‘t they?
Now here‘s what future prices look like compared to the price you paid. So when they blame Libya for falling supply, even though it produces less than 2 percent of the world‘s oil, not our oil, the world‘s oil, ask them about lower demand, since the earthquake in Japan, the world‘s third largest oil consumer. Ask them about that.
The Republican strategy to help Wall Street and big oil has been to really defy the small businesses that are out there begging for curbs on speculators. Even though the Dodd-Frank reform bill called for more regulation of Wall Street speculators, Republicans want to cut the funding for the CFTC, the agency that would be in charge and give the oversight.
And last night, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, along with 47 other Democratic senators, wrote to Republican congressional leaders, Mitch McConnell and Speaker Boehner, calling on them to abandon those financial cuts to the CFTC.
And Senator Brown is here tonight with us.
And I appreciate it. Senator, good to have you with us.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Thanks, Ed. Good to be back. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: There is going to be a change of the guard as far as personnel is concerned on the CFTC. Mr. Dunn‘s going to be leaving.
How important is it to get somebody in there who‘s going to be aggressive on reels in speculators? Your thoughts.
BROWN: It‘s important. It‘s important, because as you know, whenever there‘s a fire at a refinery or whenever there‘s outage in a pipeline, whenever there‘s any unrest in the Middle East, the oil industry and the speculators use it as a chance to spike prices, to drive up prices. And, you know, when Republicans were in control, the—and their allies on Wall Street, they clearly just operated in the dark. They never went after the speculators.
That‘s why we wrote into the Dodd-Frank bill, we gave the government, the CFTC, the tools, if you will, to go after these speculators. So, we bring transparency. They would have to tell us—we‘d know how many speculators were in the market, what they were buying, the quantity they were buying and selling.
And that‘s why we need to enforce it.
BROWN: So, the president needs somebody strong on this commission, in addition to the chairman now. And we need to make sure it‘s funded.
And that‘s what they‘re trying to do. The Republicans are trying to block a strong commission and they‘re trying to block funding for enforcement.
SCHULTZ: Senator, I think a lot of us could make the case that this is a recovery that is headed in the right direction. But it‘s fragile. And if gas prices go where they could go, unchecked, and speculators running rampant in the market, if we see $4 a gallon gas and go through what we went through in 2008, this recovery could be tanked.
Isn‘t this a critical juncture right now for the Democrats to make sure this gets done?
BROWN: Yes, it‘s a critical juncture for the country, especially importantly. And I was at the gas station talking to people in Norwood, maybe two weeks ago, a couple Sundays ago, a suburb of Cincinnati. And there‘s real fear among small business people, among people looking for work, people who are working, that $4, $4.25 gallon gasoline will cause the recovery to stumble. We can‘t afford that in this country.
SCHULTZ: So, we need Wall Street to be reeled in by the CFTC, the Republicans don‘t want to fund that commission. What happens next?
BROWN: Well, we insist it be funded. First, the rules that we gave them, the tools in Dodd-Frank are not fully done yet. The rules aren‘t fully promulgated yet. The Republicans are trying to block that.
Once we get those rules in place and they‘re pro-consumer, and with people—you know, they go after the Elizabeth Warrens and people like this that want to actually enforce the rules, want to protect consumers. The Republicans‘ goal is to stop them from serving in government.
If you can‘t stop them from serving, you take away—you blunt their rules, the tools they have. And if you can‘t do that, you cut their funding. And we‘ve got to make sure this is funded.
SCHULTZ: OK. It‘s not supply and demand, agreed?
BROWN: Of course—of course, it‘s not. When you take Libya‘s 2 percent of the world‘s oil, of course.
SCHULTZ: OK. It‘s not supply and demand. So, it truly is the function of our lawmakers to protect the middle class. That‘s how I view it.
And as you said, the Dodd-Frank bill, they‘re to do that, it has some tools. But we need some leadership right now. I asked Senator Sanders on this program last week if he knew where the president was on position limits. He said he didn‘t.
Where do you stand on position limits? Where should the president stand on position limits?
BROWN: I think the president‘s moving in the right direction on this. I think that he wants to put somebody strong to replace Dunn on the commission. I think he‘s empowered Gensler as chairman of the CFTC to be aggressive. I know he‘s fighting for the budget as we are to make sure once the rules are in place, that the budget is enough, that they can go after—you know, bring them out of the dark, these speculators, and make sure that they in fact can go after what they need to.
It‘s not just oil prices. It‘s grain prices. Speculators can make a lot of money at the expense of small business, and consumers, and the entire economy as you point out.
SCHULTZ: OK. Senator, I‘m going to switch gears on you and ask you a question about Libya, if I may.
SCHULTZ: The president has stated very clear, no ground troops. If by some chance that were to happen, how politically damaging would that be for this country? And for his presidency?
BROWN: He can‘t do that. We can‘t be at war at the same time, in essence with three, or if you count the launches into—the drones into Pakistan, four in some sense, Arab countries. The president said no ground troops. The president said short-term. The president said—
BROWN: We‘ve got to turn it over to our allies who are in there with us, to continue if it has to be continued. We cannot do ground troops.
SCHULTZ: Does he have to come talk to the Congress?
BROWN: And he has to talk to the American people and to the Congress. The American people, and explain why we‘re doing this. It may be the right thing, but he‘s got to explain it, and it‘s got to be short-term.
SCHULTZ: Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio—good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
BROWN: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: One year ago today, President Obama—it was revolutionary stuff—he signed the health care reform bill into law. The Republicans said it would be Armageddon. One year later, we‘re all here. But Republicans say the end times are near. Guess what, “The Takedown” is next.
SCHULTZ: And it‘s time for “The Takedown.”
One year ago today—don‘t you love anniversaries—President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law. But before he put his pen to the page, Republicans were talking about the terrible consequences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: What‘s in this legislation? The end of America as you know it.
HANNITY: If we get nationalized health care, it‘s over. This is socialism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a message for you. You‘re going to die sooner.
BECK: We are talking here, America, about the end of our way of life.
BACHMANN: Socialized medicine is the crown jewel of socialism. This will change our country forever.
BOEHNER: This health care bill will ruin our country.
BECK: If we don‘t stop this insanity now, they will fundamentally transform America.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, I have to admit, I forgot all of that good entertainment was out there a year ago. When you look back on it, it‘s just good for the family archives, isn‘t it?
With all that Doomsday talk, you would think that we wouldn‘t have been able to look out the window today and see this.
Pre-existing conditions, they‘re all gone. And that did look like downtown Manhattan to me, huh? But no, America‘s still here. We have not ceased to exist as we know it. The Affordable Health Care Act didn‘t bring about the end of the days, you know?
And as the president said all along, full coverage of the health care law is not going to kick in until 2014. But in the past year, just for the record, more than four million Medicare beneficiaries received rebate checks. More than four million small businesses received tax credits because of their health care coverage decisions.
Two million uninsured children were protected from being denied health care for pre-existing conditions. Remember, they said it was the end of the country as we knew it. And nearly 2.5 million young adults are covered under their parents‘ plans until age 26. I suppose that will ruin the country, too, huh?
As for public perception, new poll out, recent CNN poll shows 37 percent of Americans approve of the law; 13 percent say it needs to do more; and 46 percent oppose it, because it‘s too liberal.
So we‘re divided. But look at it this way, 50 percent of the country disagree with Republicans and think the law is fine as it is, or not liberal enough. Of course, I wanted universal health care. I‘m in that smaller percentage.
But that didn‘t stop Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney from taking shots at the law this day. He says “if I were president, on day one, I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obama-care waivers to all 50 states, to return to maximum possible authority to the states, to innovate and design health care solutions that work best for them.”
Well, you see, the Mittster, he leaves out the part about how he created a health care solution for his state that basically is a carbon copy of the Affordable Health Care Act that President Obama signed. But he also doesn‘t say that the White House already announced support of the state waiver system.
Mittster, you‘ve got to follow the news, buddy. Romney is so tied up in knots over all of this, he would be smart just to stick to proclaiming the end of the world, like his Republican cohorts and talkers. After all, if the world ends, he can stop hiding from his biggest achievement as governor of Massachusetts. That‘s the Takedown.
Even Fox News isn‘t extreme enough for Glenn Beck. So if he started his own channel, just how extreme would it be?
And the president promised that we would be leaving—leading the fight in Libya for days, not weeks, and leaving soon. Well, tonight he‘s talking exit strategies. The latest from Libya is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Another rebel showed me he isn‘t actually armed at all.
(on camera): It‘s a toy gun. This is just amazing. He just handed me his gun. I didn‘t realize until he put it in my hand, it‘s actually just made of plastic. It‘s just a toy.
(voice-over): Three explosions 50 yards away.
(on camera): We were doing the interviews. Incoming round just landed in this area. The rebels are now starting to flee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That was NBC News chief attorney correspondent Richard Engel in Libya on the front lines with the rebels today. Today, American Stryker forces continue to take off from an American carrier in the Mediterranean Sea, headed for Libya. And today, the first Arab warplanes joined the fight.
Qatar has sent five jets. United Arab Emirates is expected to send 12 more. The Pentagon says the United States is flying 65 percent of the missions over Libya. That‘s down from 87 percent when air strikes all started.
The president is once again pledging that there will be no ground invasion of Libya. He also shared his exit strategy with Spanish language station Univision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Land invasion is out of the question, what‘s the exit strategy?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A land invasion is out of the question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Completely?
OBAMA: Absolutely. The exit strategy will be executed this week, in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment. We‘ll still be in a support role. We‘ll still be providing jamming and intelligence and other assets that are unique to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Just as the president says we‘re pulling back, more American forces are joining the fight. In my hometown in Norfolk, Virginia, today there were emotional good-byes as the Baton Amphibious Ready Group deployed ahead of schedule to relieve forces already in the fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As family members say farewell, sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Baton begin a deployment that is already full of uncertainties.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have they given you any idea of what you may be asked to do when you‘re out there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, we don‘t know. We‘re just going to do what we‘re supposed to do. And that is protect our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one can say for sure right now just how involved the Baton Group will be in the Libyan conflict, not even the commander of Amphibious Squadron Six, Captain Steven Yoder.
CAP. STEVEN YODER, COMMANDER, AMPHIBIOUS SQUADRON SIX: That‘s correct. Right now, we‘re a flexible option.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Combat Marines from Camp Lejeune will be aboard the ship providing the option of ground forces, something President Obama has publicly stated he will not authorize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining us now is filmmaker Robert Greenwald of New Brave Foundation—Brave New Foundation Films. Robert, good to have you with us tonight.
You and I, I think, are probably on a different page here. I think Gadhafi‘s a terrorist. I believe he killed Americans. That‘s all I need to know. And I support the president on this. I think he needs the benefit of the doubt here. How do you see it?
ROBERT GREENWALD, BRAVE NEW FILMS: Well, I see a series—first of all, Gadhafi is terrible, is a murder, and has done awful, horrible things. The question, Ed, is when do we intervene, in which countries do we intervene? What is the price we‘re willing to pay?
And I think there‘s a couple of fundamentals that we all need to think about. And it‘s not a simple issue. Number one, a billion dollars. Do you, do others think that we should be spending what looks like will be a billion dollars on this intervention?
Number two, the legal question. Is there any reason that the president didn‘t go before Congress and ask for approval? And there‘s a reason that that‘s in the Constitution. It‘s to prevent these sudden, quick things from happening.
And then the third, and the most important one I think, Ed, is military solutions to complicated political problems. How do you deal with tribal societies? How do you make our country more secure? And how do you actually protect civilians rather than make it worse for them?
SCHULTZ: So how do you figure the U.N. Security Council vote, the ten nations that came together that wanted to do this, and five abstentions, as expected? But the key is they didn‘t block what the other ten wanted to do.
I mean, this truly is a coalition. The French have got issues. The Brits are in it heavily. The president, I have to say, has been very consistent and accurate that we‘re doing what he said we were going to do. If he goes out of that realm, there‘s probably going to be some political ramifications, and he‘s going to be under a microscope politically on this. So why not go along with the way the president has it lined out?
GREENWALD: Because I think we have to ask the question about is there a military solution to this problem, fundamentally. And are we prepared to spend these enormous sums of money? And what difference will it make?
There‘s lots of reports, Ed—I agree, we want the president to succeed. We want him to be successful. But are civilian lives being saved? And what‘s the toll it‘s taking on that footage that you showed of Americans who are going over there now? And that‘s far from clear at the moment, right?
We don‘t have all the answers, by any means. But I think it‘s so, so important to ask the hard questions.
SCHULTZ: The hard questions are being asked by some in Congress. Do you think the president has to address the Congress and the American people?
GREENWALD: Oh, absolutely. You know, going to war used to be like a really serious deal. Now that we don‘t have a draft anymore, and we‘re able to use high-tech weapons, it‘s become far too easy. Not only does the president have to address Congress, he has to ask for their approval.
We‘ve asked for the Security Council approval. We‘ve asked for other governments‘ approval. It‘s critical that he do that. And then what we should have is, as Senator Webb and several others have said—we should have a debate in the Senate and the House. Do we want to go to war? Is military action justified?
We‘ve had no debate on this. That‘s a tragedy, whether you support it or you don‘t support it.
SCHULTZ: What about the humanitarian effort and the intervention in that regard, and setting all of this up, protecting those civilians with this military action?
GREENWALD: Well, for sure, we all want to protect civilians as much as possible. The question is, is it, in fact, accomplishing that. As there was a quote in the paper about somebody in Libya who had said, “we need an intervention that‘s around tanks and around snipers. We have virtually no air force.”
So it may not, in fact, be making civilians any safer going after the air force. But also, what about the number of civilian casualties? Again, I‘m not passing judgment on that, Ed, yet, because it‘s too soon to tell. But we know there are civilian casualties. So some civilians who we‘re going in to protect are being killed by the efforts, the mistakes that always happen in these situations.
That‘s why I would argue we must start to think of other solutions to save lives. We‘re not going to save lives by bombing people and occupying countries.
SCHULTZ: Robert Greenwald, I respect your opinion. And I have a commentary coming up later on in this broadcast about how we find money for everything except our own people. Thank you, Robert, Good to have you with us tonight.
Democrats are still trying to help those at the end of the unemployment lines, the 99ers. Republican leaders in the House have agreed to a meeting. What the heck does that mean? There‘s a catch to all of this. That‘s next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Thanks for staying up with us tonight and watching. I appreciate it. Have you noticed that radical Republican lawmakers, they just never seem to have time for the unemployed in this country? They fight unemployment insurance at every chance they get, always trying to attach another tax cut for their benefit and their constituents, the top two percent.
You know what they‘re big on? They‘re big on private‘/public partnerships, because if they can make money on the deal, they have, you know, big ideas like selling off prisons, liquor licenses, reducing financial commitments. It‘s always good to nail public education. The Republicans are really good at that. They do a great job of it. And they love doing it, it seems like.
And Republicans, to me, at least never seem to have any ideas, or ask, you know, what can we do with 15 million unemployed Americans? Isn‘t there some private/public partnership we could come up with that we could create, or invent or invest in? Aren‘t people worth anything anymore? Don‘t we have enough entrepreneurs in this country that would say, you know what, there‘s 15 million Americans out there; there‘s got to be somebody out there that we can make a dollar on?
We just made a billion dollar investment—and there‘s one of the missiles right there—in Libya, with military action. And we did it at almost the drop of a hat. Now, I‘m not against it. But you have to understand that we made an investment because we want citizens of another country to have a chance at freedom.
But we just don‘t have any ideas for the 15 million Americans who are unemployed in this country. And all they want is a chance to get back into the economy.
I think we have a distorted priority list in this country. We can find money to do just about anything, can‘t we? Except when it comes to our own people.
The Republicans are masterful at presenting and supporting schemes that line the pockets of their friends on Wall Street. But you know what? They‘re zero when it comes to ideas putting Americans back to work. Where are the ideas? You‘ve got to have an idea before you have a job, don‘t you, Boehner?
Unemployed Americans, they don‘t want a handout. They want a job. They want a chance. They need to be invested in. And it‘s going to take that private/public partnership to get it done. That‘s what they need, one of those, you know?
Barbara Lee of California and Bobby Scott of Virginia, a couple of Democrats, are banging at the door of the Republican leadership. And Boehner and Cantor are saying, all right, we‘ll meet with you in a few weeks about long-term unemployment. And of course, anything that—anything and everything is going to have to be tied to a tax cut or to a budget cut to make room for whatever the Democrats want to do.
Representatives Lee and Scott, you see, what they want to do is they want to extend 99er benefits for 14 weeks. And it would cost 16 billion dollars. It‘s well intended. But that‘s not the story.
We know that there is suffering out there with the unemployed. But this is, in my opinion, the story. Those guys, right there, the Republicans have the power in the House. They aren‘t creating jobs. They don‘t have a plan. And the Democrats need to put Boehner, this guy, on the defensive.
They have to take responsibility for this power that they have. They have to come up with some private/public partnerships, or something other than a tax cut. They can‘t, and they won‘t.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The American people are wondering, where are the jobs. American families and small businesses are struggling. They‘ve seen this economic stimulus package pass, but they‘re asking the question, where are the jobs.
I‘ve been asking the questions over the last three or four months, where are the jobs.
The American people are asking the question, where are the jobs.
The American people are still asking the question, where are the jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Yeah. Where are the jobs, Mr. Boehner? This man is speaker of the House. He has the exact same power that Nancy Pelosi had. He was asking the question when she was speaker, and now I think the Democrats have to ask the question with Mr. Boehner. The question is, not where are the jobs.
The question is, Mr. Boehner, do you as speaker of the House bear any responsibility whatsoever for creating jobs in this country? Is there anything that you could do with your power as speaker of the House that would set the table for more job creation in this country? Isn‘t there one of those famous Republican private/public partnerships you can come up with?
Or are you too busy playing golf? You know, President Obama filled out his basketball bracket a hell of a lot faster than John Boehner plays 18, if you know what I mean.
Glenn Beck TV? Could it happen? As Beck contemplates launching his own network, I‘ve got some programming ideas for you, next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Big news in the world of high-profile relationships. Glenn Beck and Fox News are reportedly on the rocks. Who knows if it‘s true. Sources tell the “New York Times” that Beck is contemplating launching his very own television network. Wow, he‘s a big dude.
Here‘s what we know: Beck‘s contract with Fox is up in December. The “Times” reports that Mr. Beck‘s company, Mercury Radio Arts, has been staffing up. Senior Fox News executive Joel Cheetwood (ph) is expected to leave the mother ship to join Beck‘s company.
For more on this, let‘s go to Eric Boehlert, senior fellow, Media Matters. Great to have you with us tonight, Eric. Could he pull this off?
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: It‘s possible. I mean, I think it‘s—him running his own network or taking over a cable channel, as was suggested in the “Times,” I think that‘s a bit of a pipe dream, a little bit of hype. I think it‘s an attempt to save face on Beck‘s part, in terms of the mounting evidence that Fox might not have him back when his contract is up.
Look, that‘s because the business model for Beck‘s TV show doesn‘t work. I mean, it gets good ratings, but there‘s no advertisers. There‘s 200, 300, 400 advertisers that don‘t want anything to do with him or his show. How is he going to run a 24/7 network when he can barely fill 60 minutes?
SCHULTZ: I‘m just guessing that he‘s being muzzled by Fox News, that he really would like to—oh, really. I think he wants to say more things. He wants to do more outlandish stuff. That he‘s kind of embarrassed them. But he doesn‘t care. He can still make a dollar on it.
Keep in mind, there‘s probably a lot of advocacy money out there that would support a Glenn Beck TV, because there‘s a lot of righties out there that like what he does.
BOEHLERT: I could see him filling 60 minutes on an independent show and getting some of that Koch Brothers money and things like that. But a cable channel, there‘s no way. Can you imagine him being any more irresponsible than he is on Fox News right now?
Again, it goes back to the fact that this business model doesn‘t work. And Fox looks at the ratings and they realize when Beck‘s on vacation, they basically get the same ratings in that time slot. Why not put someone in there who won‘t scare away advertisers.
SCHULTZ: So you think it‘s too heavy of a lift. Oprah‘s having challenges. If she can‘t do it, who can.
BOEHLERT: She‘s an iconic, well loved figure. Glenn beck is basically despised.
SCHULTZ: What about the Koch Brothers? And what about people like them who want this kind of radical talk on the air, that seriously has no boundaries?
BOEHLERT: Well, again, I think on the radio, maybe an hour or two on TV. Yeah, I mean, look, never underestimate the amount of right-wing money in terms of pushing an agenda and finding media outlets to do it. No one‘s ever gone poor looking for that money. And this could be an outlet for him.
He might find more acceptance on the web and things like that. But again, I think he‘s trying to save face. Fox News appears ready to show him the door.
SCHULTZ: Eric Boehlert, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it.
Tonight in our text survey question, I asked, can Democrats capitalize on reaction to radical GOP governors in the 2012 election? Eighty nine percent of you said yes; 11 percent of you responding tonight said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now. Looking forward to speaking with the United Auto Workers tomorrow in Detroit. Be back here tomorrow night for the show. We‘ll see you then.
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