updated 4/19/2011 10:25:29 AM ET 2011-04-19T14:25:29

Guests: Robert Reich, David Cay Johnston, John Nichols, Laura Flanders

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.

Well, the Republicans finally voted to kill Medicare.  And do you think I‘m going to be quiet about that on Bill Maher?  I don‘t think so.  It was a shout-fest.

This is THE ED SHOW.  Let‘s get to work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

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SCHULTZ:  The voucher program is going to cheat people in the latter part of their—

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN:  It will not.

SCHULTZ:  It will.

STEELE:  It will not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ (voice-over):  Friday, it was me and Michael Steele on Bill Maher.  Today, Republicans are mounting a new offensive to kill Medicare.

Sarah Palin goes to Madison and the grassroots activists drown her out.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m standing no more than a hundred yards away from the stage where Sarah Palin is speaking.  I can‘t hear a single word she is saying.

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SCHULTZ:  And tonight, an ED SHOW exclusive, my endorsement of the Republican presidential candidate.

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SCHULTZ:  Oh, you‘re going to want to see that.

But this is the story that has me fired up first tonight: the Republicans—they‘re on the move.  They‘re on the attack.  They‘re after the New Deal.  It‘s finally on paper just as we‘ve called for years.

House Republicans passed their blueprint for burning America‘s social safety net on Friday.  Now, that evening, I had the opportunity to be on “Real Time with Bill Maher” and debate former RNC chair, Michael Steele.  I had a lot of fun.

Now, the conversation I had with Steele pretty much lit up the internet all weekend long.  So, let‘s take a look at how it was played out.  It‘s just a big shout fest.  I mean, we almost came to blows.  It was unreal.

“Huffington Post,” “Ed Schultz, Michael Steele have shouting match on Bill Maher.”  There was some other stuff.  Gawker, “Watch Ed Schultz and Michael Steele Yelling Each Other on Real Time.”  And then, of course, another outfit, Mediate, they were saying “Bill Maher, Ed Schultz, Michael Steele Have Shout fest Debate on the Budget.”

Now, you see, the word “shout” is in there a lot.  What do you want me to do?  I have done town hall meetings all over America.  I have talked to middle classers who tell me they are financially under attack and here comes the final blueprint from the Republicans via Paul Ryan that, yes, they are going after Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security.  How can you not get cranked up if you believe in the institutions that made this country great?

Let me show you what the Web sites missed.  Steele gave this I thought amazing answer on Paul Ryan‘s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program.  Take a look.

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BILL MAHER, “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER”:  What happens to a person if this plan is enacted who uses the $15,000, which, by the way, if they‘re in an assisted living facility, they‘ll go through it in three months.  You know, what happens to them?  What do they do when they use up the $15,000 by this time of the year?

SCHULTZ:  They get inferior care.

MAHER:  What happens the rest of the year?  What happens to them?

SCHULTZ:  They‘re SOL.

MAHER:  What happens?  I‘m just asking.

STEELE:  We don‘t know yet because—

MAHER:  That‘s right.  We don‘t know.

STEELE:  All right.  All right.  Look, seriously can we just have an intelligent conversation without all the noise for a second?  This is just the beginning of the framework, just as people disagree with parts of what the president has -- 

SCHULTZ:  A voucher program—

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  I‘m listening.  OK, now, it‘s my turn.

STEELE:  OK.

SCHULTZ:  A voucher program is privatization.  A voucher program is going to cheat people in the latter part of -- 

STEELE:  It will not.

SCHULTZ:  It will.

STEELE:  It will not.  What evidence do you have to say that?

SCHULTZ:  You go to a doctor right now when you‘re on Medicare, it‘s paid for no matter what the treatment is.  Under your plan, that will not happen.  And I am saying -- 

STEELE:  How do you know that?  How do you know that?

SCHULTZ:  It‘s in your plan.  A voucher program will not be all encompassing.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  I want this on record.  You are saying a voucher program is better than Medicare?

MAHER:  It‘s a number.

SCHULTZ:  Are you willing to say that?

STEELE:  I‘m willing to say this if we‘re going to give it a try.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  No, no.

STEELE:  Absolutely.

MAHER:  OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, Mr. Steele, first the former head of the RNC—first, he doesn‘t know but he wants to have an intelligent conversation.  And then, secondly, we just have to give it a try.

Oh, what the hell!  Let‘s just wing it.  What do you say we just wing it with this health care thing?

I don‘t care what any Web site has to say.  What Republicans—when they spit that kind of garbage out, Democrats have every right to fight for protecting the institutions that made this country great.

Now, in fairness, we invited Mr. Steele to come on the program tonight.  He had some other things happening.  But he did agree to come on this program on Thursday night.  I don‘t think you‘re going to want to miss it.  The former RNC chair is going to have a lot to defend if I have anything to say on the program.

So far this year, let‘s take a good look at this.  Republicans—well, they have attacked what?  Public pensions, public education, collective bargaining, unions, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the entire social net has been on the table.  Why?  Because they want more tax cuts.

Now, I‘ve spoken with thousands of working Americans who want the Democrats to fight back against the attack on the pocket books.  The middle class is sick of the Republicans steam-rolling in the debate and I think they‘re just screaming out for justice.  Somebody‘s got to stand up and say something like loud—like I did the other night.

This is no time to play nice with conservatives the way they‘re playing with the numbers.  When it comes to protecting Medicare for the American people, as Democrats, we have to fight hard.  But you know what?  The people are on our side.

I‘m a liberal.  It‘s a liberal program and people poll big time.

Last month‘s NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll found that only 16 percent of Americans want a complete overhaul of the system known as Medicare.  “USA Today”/Gallup poll this week shows that—well, 13 percent.  There‘s a whopping number for you.  They want a complete overhaul.  The numbers aren‘t there, folks.

What do you think the Republicans would be saying if they had those kind of numbers?

Democrats need to hammer Republicans with these numbers.  Democrats also need to remember just how hard and how long the party fought to get Medicare.

LBJ‘s words on the day he signed the Medicare bill back in 1965, I think they still ring very true today.  He said, “No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine.  No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years.  No longer will young families see their own incomes and their hopes eaten away simply because they are carrying out the deep moral obligation to their parents and to their uncles and to their aunts.  And no longer will the nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.”

You know what?  When I read that today I thought the only Democrat I‘ve heard say anything like that is the president.  Where are the Democrats—and I mean all of them?

They ought to be reading that comment and just hammering every microphone and camera they get in front of saying that, first of all, the big three are off the table.  We can do everything we want with the budget by not touching any of these programs—Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.

But, for some reason, we have fallen into the trap of the conversation that—oh, yes, we can cut it.  The only person that is on the right track in my opinion on this and a forceful manner is the president when he gave a speech last week.  He said we‘re not going down the road of the voucher program.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  But let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society.  I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs.  I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves.  We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  LBJ couldn‘t have said it any better.  JFK couldn‘t have said it any better.

And we as liberals in this country have to realize that it‘s not hard to stand up to the Michael Steeles of the world or any other righty out there that‘s spewing out a bunch of stuff about having an intelligent conversation, but we got to wing it.  We really don‘t know yet.  Let‘s just do it for the money?

See?  Back in that generation, it wasn‘t all about the money.  It was about people.  People made a difference back then.

Where are people, Democrats now?  What do we want?

You see, this blowing up the federal budget deficit to the point of no return has brought us right where the conservative movement has wanted us to be for decades.  Here, at the base line of getting us, liberals, to talk about—yes, let‘s cut it.  And they speak from a position of strength.

Listen to Senator Tom Coburn, a member of this “gang of six.”  Did you know that a “gang of six” is thinking about coming up with a plan to get rid of the big three?

Oh, yes.  They‘re really going to raise taxes.  No they‘re not.  Republicans are never going to vote to raise taxes.  It‘s doctrine for them not to raise taxes.

But listen to the way Mr. Coburn positions the Republicans in this argument.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COBURN ®, OKLAHOMA:  There is a good chance we‘ll be able to come up with a bipartisan agreement that people can swallow.

You can‘t criticize Paul Ryan‘s plan until you have one that accomplishes the same thing.  The president‘s doesn‘t come close that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Really?

Now, he says he thinks they‘re going to come up with a bipartisan agreement.

Now, this is on the heels of what I had just put up here about the big three that they‘ve gone after collective bargaining and, of course, the big three.  On the heels of a record number of filibusters in the Senate, all of a sudden, they‘re going to do a deal.  Who?  The Democrats are going to do a deal?

We‘re buying into their lingo.  We‘re buying into their jargon.  We‘re buying into their vernacular the wrong way.  We should be saying: It‘s of the table.  Now do you want to talk?  It‘s off the table.  What has been great for the American people for decades.

Senator Mark Warner, I got a lot of respect for you, but, buddy, you‘re playing right into what they‘re talking about.

Listen to what Warner from Virginia has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA:  What we‘re trying to do with the bipartisan group is say, let‘s actually start with something that takes a lot of the ideas from the Simpson/Bowles commission, puts everything on the table.  And let me assure you, we‘re going to make everybody mad with our approach—Democrats, Republicans, independents—because we are touching every part of the problem, all the entitlement programs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Is that an announcement, Senator, that there‘s going to be a tax increase on the top 1 percent and 2 percent people in this country because you‘re going to be hitting everybody?  Is the mission for senators in Washington to make sure that people get mad at you and it‘s a big, fun game?

Hell no.  This is about doing it for the people.  And there is no poll out there that says that this is what the people want—the erosion of these institutions that have supported middle class families.

Folks, do you realize what a voucher is?  A voucher means you‘re not going to get anywhere near the care.  Your mom and dad—they‘re not going to get anywhere near the care that your grandparents had if this goes through.  That you—the young folks of America—are going to be fencing for yourselves late in life.

And you know what?  This program works.  It‘s the Republicans who want to tear it down.  Of course, they want to run everything.

Let‘s see how it worked out their last year when Bush was in office in 2008.  We spent $2.3 trillion on health care in 2008, the last year that they had the Oval Office.  Most of the money, 31 percent went to hospital care, 21 percent went to physician clinical services.

Where do you think the old folks are in this?  Where do you think Medicare and Medicaid is?  It‘s over here and that‘s what they want to cut.  Why?

Well, they want more tax cuts.  They want to make sure that they can create more jobs, get more wealth, get this economy going.  It‘s a red herring.

But what grates on me is when a good lefty like me stands up and gets after it—well, it‘s a shouting match.  You‘re damn right it‘s a shouting match.

The country ought to be shouting about this.  The country ought to be shouting about the fact that there are six members of Congress who think they have the answer.  They do not have the poll numbers on their side.  They don‘t have the formula for making a voucher program any better for middle class families.  Middle class families have been under attack and the attack is going to continue if the Republicans take control.

The good news is for us, they have finally put it on paper and we know exactly who they are.

And when I was in Madison, Wisconsin, last week—I saw the tears rolling down the eyes of quite a few Americans and I was surprised.  It was a very moving crowd.

So, I know that this is just a moment of awareness.  I know that this is going to change for the better, not for the Republicans and the rich.

Get your cell phones out, I want to know what you think tonight. 

Tonight‘s question: Will Democrats stop the GOP‘s push to gut Medicare?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639, or you go to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.

And we are going to be talking about who is getting all the breaks on this Tax Day?  You won‘t want to miss that.

Joining me now is Robert Reich, former U.S. labor secretary under the Clinton administration, is currently the professor of public policy at U.C.-Berkeley‘s Goldman School of Public Policy and blogs at RobertReich.org.  And, of course, his latest book, “Aftershock,” is now available in paperback.

Mr. Reich, good to have you with us tonight.

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY:  Good evening, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Paul Ryan says that his plan for Medicare is not rationing. 

I want your response to that.

REICH:  Well, of course, it‘s rationing.  I mean, his plan for Medicare actually reduces by about $6,000 to $7,000 per Medicare recipient.  This is what the Congressional Budget Office has said.  What they would ordinarily get.

I mean, this is a huge rationing program.  And then you ask yourself where do those $6,000 and $7,000 go?  Well, they go into the pockets of very wealthy Americans because Paul Ryan is going to reduce the taxes of the super rich.

I mean, this is a transfer program from Medicare recipients to the super rich.  It‘s all now down in their blueprint.  It is now signed.

It‘s not going to be sealed and delivered because I think the president and Democrats now are going to be able to rally the public against this.

SCHULTZ:  Well, that‘s a big call.  You think they are going to rally themselves?

I mean, we know where the public is.  There is no outcry from the American people to change what has been good for families in this country since 1965 and it took the Democrats 22 years to get it passed in the first place.  It was a heavy lift and it‘s worked.  It saved lives.  It saved people‘s bank accounts.

But the question now Mr. Reich: do you think the Democrats have gotten the intestinal fortitude to beat back this effort?

REICH:  I think they do now, Ed, because they see the polls.  I mean, there‘s nothing like seeing polls to give Democrats or anybody intestinal fortitude.  Unfortunately, that‘s what a lot of politicians need, and they see how unpopular Paul Ryan‘s plan is.

Most of the public wants Medicare.  Most of the public wants Social Security.  Most of the public understands that these are the foundation stones for our social compact.

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of the gang—what do you make of the “gang of six”?  Are they credible?  Can they add to the discussion?  Or are they going to screw it up?

REICH:  Well, I haven‘t seen what they come up with, but I hope the Democrats on that so-called “gang of six” don‘t feel that they have got to go into the so-called “center”—which is half way between the goal posts set by Paul Ryan and this goal post set by Barack Obama.  I mean, you know, the center is not simply where the halfway point is between the extreme right and the moderate, central, slightly left of center or you might say Barack Obama is slightly right of center depending on your point of view.

But that‘s not where the center actually is.  The center is where most independents, most Americans, most Democrats are particularly on the issues of Medicare and Social Security.

SCHULTZ:  The left, right, center, blue, green, when you start taking stuff from the American people and you see the tax breaks go to the top 2 percent and top 1 percent, and the push of the corporate tax rate to go from 35 to 25, it‘s going to anger a lot of Americans.  I think there‘s going to be a lot of shouting.  I‘ll be on the front lines doing that.

REICH:  Absolutely.  And the point is, it‘s not necessary.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s not necessary.

REICH:  You get control of the long-term budget deficit by cutting corporate welfare, by raising taxes on the super rich and by getting some control over health care costs.  Not Medicare costs.  Health care costs.

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll get everybody covered.  You will bring the costs down.

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

REICH:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen.  We want to know what you think.

The Republican presidential field is getting pretty crowded but I know who I want to challenge President Obama for the White House.  My endorsement—you know, hey, maybe I‘ll turn back the Republican tonight.  That isn‘t going to happen.

But if I were, and, of course, I‘m not—but if I were, who would I want?  As a Democrat, as a liberal, who do I really want?  I‘ll show you later in the show.

And when the Republicans go to stop making stuff up when it comes to tax cuts, we‘ll ask David Cay Johnston about all of that.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Be sure to check our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  There, you‘re going to find links to my radio Web site at WeGotEd.com, Twitter and Facebook.  Sign up, let‘s get after it.

The tax war heats up here on this Tax Day.  And Republicans are still using—still using fuzzy math, while the richest of the rich make more, but are taxed less.  That‘s next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Thanks for watching tonight.

In the fight over taxes, Democrats have simple fairness on their side.  They have simple math on their side, and polls show that Americans favor ending tax cuts for the wealthy.  So, Republicans are forced, I guess you can say, to make stuff up and they do a pretty good job of that, don‘t they?

Like Congressman Joe Walsh, Republican of Illinois, talking about how tax cuts increased revenue to the government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOE WALSH ®, ILLINOIS:  Every time we‘ve cut taxes, revenues have gone up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Every time?  Republicans just love that saying, don‘t they?  Every time we‘ve cut revenues, we‘ve cut taxes revenues, have gone up?  I doubt it.

But when the Bush tax cuts went into effect, revenues went down.  Even taking into account the economic impact of 9/11, there was no reason to believe that the Bush tax cuts helped to raise revenue.

Even seven years later, revenues were lower than before the Bush tax cuts went into effect.  But if you follow what the Republicans are saying, we should keep lowering taxes.

And it sure is good news for the wealthiest Americans, isn‘t it?  The effect of tax rates for the 400 richest Americans—well, they‘ve dropped since 1995 -- and, boy, they went out and just created a ton of jobs, didn‘t they?

No, they did not.  It‘s a fallacy.  It‘s a failed policy.

But their income soared over those years.  They were living large. 

And they were taxed less.

So, tell me about all of the fairness, folks.

Let‘s bring in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and columnist for “Tax Notes,” David Cay Johnston.

Mr. Johnston, good to have you with us tonight.

Can we generate more revenue by reducing taxes?  I mean, this is what the Republicans love to say.  Can you please confirm something that they love to say and it‘s obvious that tax cuts do not increase revenues?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, COLUMNIST, TAX NOTES:  Not the tax cuts that they put in place.  The federal government is taking in 27 percent less money from the corporate income—from the individual income tax than it did in the recession year of 2001.  Since 2001, the income tax has fallen 27 percent, and there‘s more of us.  So, per capita, it‘s down 32 percent recession year to recession year, and it‘s never gotten close on a per capita basis to getting back to 2001, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Well, the Republicans continue to talk about the deficit as a dire fiscal crisis.  I mean, how bad does it have to get for them to consider raising taxes, or is this just doctrine with them?

JOHNSTON:  Oh, they intend to make it dramatically worse.  Remember, they extended the Bush tax cuts for two years.  They got Obama to do that.  That made it worse.

And, now, we have the Ryan plan, Ed—and the Ryan plan makes it very clear the Republicans have now identified the major problem in this country that they see and the solution to that problem.

The problem isn‘t jobs.  It isn‘t the deficit.  The problem is the rich don‘t have nearly enough, and we need to give them a one-third cut in the taxes on their earned income, and we need to pay for that by taking it from the sick, the disabled, the elderly, the poor, from children.  That is from those people with no power, no ability to do anything about their circumstances—because that‘s our problem, Ed.  The rich don‘t have nearly enough.

SCHULTZ:  You know, Mr. Johnston, I just don‘t know how the Democrats could not line up to defend these people when it is so clear what their target is.  It‘s an economic target what the Republicans have in this country and that‘s the elderly, seniors, the disabled, students, the vulnerable, and the jobless.  Also, they can get more tax cuts what they say are going to create jobs.  It isn‘t going to happen.

JOHNSTON:  I don‘t think their plan will pass.  But it‘s important to understand what they‘re proposing.

SCHULTZ:  Exactly.

JOHNSTON:  You know, Congressman Ryan requires his staff to read Ayn Rand, whose fictional hero, Howard Roark, is a man who blew up a building because it wasn‘t built exactly to his specifications as the architect.  I mean, that‘s the kind of society we want where our leaders say, not only are we taking from the sick and poor but we‘re going to hold out as a model people who commit felonies like blowing up buildings.  We really need to dig into understanding the kind of people who would put forth these ideas.

SCHULTZ:  David Cay Johnston, thanks for joining us tonight. 

Appreciate your time.

Coming up: the Republican blueprint for democracy.  Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan, well, he is leading the way.  Could it happen in your state?  The Republicans are still holding the debt ceiling hostage even though their big business buddies are telling them—well, they have to raise it.  So, why aren‘t Democrats just calling their bluff on this?  “The Takedown” is next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s time for the Takedown.  Republicans are playing games with the economic safety of this country and the rest of the world.  That‘s the word from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who spoke yesterday about the consequences of failing to raise the federal debt ceiling. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIMOTHY GEITHNER, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY:  We tip the U.S. economy and the world economy back into recession, depression.  I think it would make the last crisis look like a tame, modest crisis.  It would be much more dramatic. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Son of a gun.  Sounds pretty serious, doesn‘t it?  But Geithner went on to say that he‘s just not worried. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEITHNER:  I want to make it perfectly clear that Congress will raise the debt ceiling. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You‘re sure about it. 

GEITHNER:  Absolutely.  They recognize it.  They told the president that on Wednesday in the White House.  I sat there with them and they said we recognize we have to do this, and we are not going to play around with it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Did you hear that?  He said the Republicans have already met with the president.  He said that they will raise the debt ceiling.  Here‘s why they have to do it: because the business interests that contribute to their campaigns have told them it would be economic suicide if they don‘t. 

Well, “the Washington Post” reported that financial lobbying groups like the United States Chamber of Commerce are meeting with Republican lawmakers to push them on raising the debt limit.  But GOP leaders are still playing hardball. 

Through a spokesman, House Speaker John Boehner said “the American people demand that any increase in the debt ceiling be accompanied by spending cuts and real reforms so we can keep cutting.” 

That‘s all they want to do is cut everything to help the American people.  Tea Party Congressman Allen West went on ABC yesterday and said he wants more tax cuts for the rich.  You think? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALLEN WEST ®, FLORIDA:  Now is a great time to cut our corporate business tax rate in half, bring it from 35 percent down to 22 percent to -- 20 to 22 percent. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Twenty to 22 percent?  Senator Jim DeMint has threatened to filibuster the debt ceiling vote unless a balanced budget amendment is added to the Constitution.  So why are Republicans making ridiculous demands when they‘ve already said they will raise the debt ceiling? 

That‘s what they told the president.  It‘s because the president has given them room to negotiate.  Speaking to the Associated Press on Friday, President Obama said this about the debt ceiling vote—he said “I think Speaker Boehner is absolutely right that it‘s not going to happen without some spending cuts.” 

OK.  Why are the Democrats offering spending cuts?  Keep your mitts off the big three, folks.  The Republicans have already admitted that they are going to increase the debt ceiling.  So what is there to negotiate?  If people like Jim DeMint want to play chicken with the economy, let them answer to their friends in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

I mean, this is like the slam dunk for the White House, isn‘t it?  If the Democrats give away spending cuts when they don‘t have to, I can just hear the bass rumbling again.  It‘s going to be them they‘re going to be after next. 

And that puts them in the Takedown tonight. 

Sarah Palin thinks Republican leaders in Washington caved to President Obama.  So she challenges them to fight like a girl?  That‘s coming up a little later on in the show. 

Now get this, a town elects a government, local government officials.  The state says that government, well, they‘re not any good.  So they decide to put somebody else in charge.  Yes, this is happening in Michigan because the righties passed a law to allow them to do it. 

How are people reacting?  That‘s next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Thanks for watching tonight and staying with us here on MSNBC on THE ED SHOW.  Here‘s how democracy works in Rick Snyder‘s Michigan.  He was recently elected governor.  It doesn‘t matter who you are or who you voted for.  It doesn‘t who your neighbors are, who your neighbors voted for.  We got a new way of doing it in Michigan, folks. 

The state has the power to strip local governments of decision making powers and put whoever they want in charge.  That is exactly what has happened in the city of Benton Harbor, Michigan.  Can you believe it?  The city is believed to be the Republican-backed legislation‘s first victim. 

The law signed by Snyder last month gives his administration the power to declare any town or school district in a financial emergency.  The state then puts in a so-called emergency manager in charge.  The emergency manager has the authority to suspend the role of local officials elected by the people. 

Of course, the people don‘t matter in Michigan right?  The emergency manager also has the authority to terminate union contracts.  How interesting.  Sell assets, by the way.  Sell some property.  And of course slash services to the citizens. 

In Benton Harbor, local officials now have the power to do basically three things.  They can call a meeting to order.  They can adjourn the meeting and approve the minutes of the meeting, and that‘s about it.  Needless to say, they are outraged. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS KNOWLES, BENTON HARBOR, MI CITY COMMISSIONER:  This is really an insult.  You talk about piracy, the government has done it in the state of Michigan.  The people have been extracted by way of not having a voice.  And so now has the government. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And of course, as the “Detroit News” reports, emergency managers are in place in two other Michigan cities, as well as in the Detroit Public School System. 

Meanwhile, Forbes.com reports Governor Scott Walker wants to get into the act.  He wants to do the same thing in Wisconsin.  A website claims that Walker is working on a bill similar to the Michigan law.  Today, Walker shot down that report, calling it completely bogus. 

Do you believe him?  Now it‘s time to call in Washington correspondent of “The Nation,” John Nichols. 

John, good to have you with us tonight.  Welcome first to Michigan. 

Welcome second to Wisconsin. 

This is a situation where a governor has got the legislature behind him.  They passed the law.  He can appoint someone to ride herd over the finances and the city.  How radical is this? 

JOHN NICHOLS, “THE NATION”:  It‘s incredibly radical, Ed.  Because in especially the upper Midwest, there is a strong tradition of local government control at the town, village, and city level.  People really do respect their local governments, and they trust them. 

Now in economic hard times, these local governments do struggle.  But people have the power to vote out somebody they don‘t want.  There is simply no reason that a governor would step in and remove local officials, except to empower his political allies or to make things happen that wouldn‘t happen if it was left to the control of the people. 

SCHULTZ:  Does Walker want to do this in Wisconsin? 

NICHOLS:  Well, in a sense, Walker already is doing this.  Now, he may not implement the same sort of law as Rick Snyder in Michigan, but Governor Walker has proposed in his budget to take away the power of local school boards to make decisions with regard to charter schools, to take away the power of town boards, which really cover most of Wisconsin‘s land, to set their debt limits, and to really take away most of the authority of local government to make decisions about labor contracts. 

So the truth of the matter is the governor of Wisconsin is already doing many of these things.  He hasn‘t gone the full martial law approach that Governor Snyder has in Michigan, but we see the outlines of it here in Wisconsin. 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah.  No doubt.  Well, I tell you what, the people in Michigan are furious about this.  And it‘s going to take another election cycle to get Democrats in for them to turn this around.  This is some pretty dangerous stuff.  It makes the governor pretty much the ruler of the state and the community, who can oversee the appointed person they put in there. 

All right.  To Wisconsin right now, I understand that Luther Olsen, a Republican, is now going to be challenged in a recall because they delivered far more signatures than they needed for the recall.  Where does that stand right now? 

NICHOLS:  It‘s a pretty incredible thing, Ed.  Luther Olsen represents the district where the Republican party was founded in Ripon (ph), Wisconsin.  And tonight activists rallied in Ripon, the birth place of the Republican party, to announce that they had gathered well over 20,000 signatures on petitions to recall Senator Olsen. 

They‘re recalling him because he voted for Governor Walker‘s anti-labor and consolidation of government agenda, with the budget repair bill.  And they will tomorrow file far more than enough signatures.  This is a big deal because Olsen‘s is a rural district, and this is one of the places where—remember, he was re-elected in the last election without opposition. 

Now he has tens of thousands of people calling for his recall. 

SCHULTZ:  Twenty thousand people on the list, and they need 14,000. 

And of course they have to be verified.  And then of course, the election -

recall election would be scheduled. 

           

That‘s Republican number three on the list that they‘ve got enough signatures for, as we continue the watch on the recall in Wisconsin.  Thanks, John.  Good to have you with us tonight.  John Nichols of “the Nation Magazine.” 

NICHOLS:  Thanks, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  These three men have all declared their intentions to explore a presidential run.  Will one of them receive my endorsement?  I‘ll tell you my choice for the 2012 Republican nomination next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for joining us tonight. 

This is the moment I‘ve been waiting for.  We‘re only a little more than 18 months away from the next presidential election.  But it‘s becoming very clear to me that one Republican candidate, I‘ll tell you what, stands out from the rest of the field. 

There is already 11 republicans who have officially announced presidential exploratory committees.  And at least a dozen more suspected candidates are in the mix. 

So let‘s narrow this group, this crowded group down, if we may.  Here is the one candidate that I want to see break away from the pack and secure the party‘s nomination for the 2012 republican presidential nomination.  I am endorsing—sorry, dude.  You only get one balloon. 

In my opinion, I mean, there is no better candidate to represent the current state of the Republican party, is there?  I mean, watch Donald Trump go after GOP big shots like Karl Rove and Congressman Eric Canter for suggesting that his candidacy isn‘t serious. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  The idea that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, you know, making that the centerpiece of his campaign, means that he‘s just now, you know, a joke candidate. 

DONALD TRUMP, “THE APPRENTICE”:  Obviously Karl Rove didn‘t do very well the last couple years in the Bush administration, because, hey, whether you like him or not, George Bush gave us Obama.  And I‘m not happy about it. 

REP. ERIC CANTOR ®, MAJORITY LEADER:  No, I don‘t think he is really serious, when we launch a—see a campaign launched on the Birther issue. 

TRUMP:  I think it is a very bad thing for Canter to have done, because I will tell you, people love this issue especially in the Republican party. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Come on, liberals.  Admit it.  This is what we‘ve been waiting for for a long time, for the righties to start shooting at one another verbally.  Trump is even taking shots at other Republican candidates. 

Watch him throw cold water on the Mittster‘s campaign, Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  Mitt Romney is a basically small business guy, if you really think about it.  I have a much, much bigger net worth.  I mean, my net worth is many, many times Mitt Romney. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Many, many, many times more than Romney.  But Donald does more than attack other Republicans.  He‘s also has big policy ideas.  I mean he‘s got big policy ideas like how to lower gas prices. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  You tell OPEC, fellows, that price is going down.  Let me tell you, it‘ll go down if you say it properly. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You know, that‘s what Bush said.  Bush said he was going to jaw bone them in the Middle East, and he was going to—you‘re copying him, Donald. 

And if that isn‘t good enough, get a load of his foreign policy doctrine.  This is how Trump would have handled Libya if he had been president. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  Either I go in and take the oil or I don‘t go in at all.  We can‘t be the policemen for the world. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Just take their oil? 

TRUMP:  Absolutely.  Take the oil.  I‘d give them plenty so they can live very happily.  I would take the oil.  In the old days—

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We can‘t—

TRUMP:  Candy, in the old days, when you have a war and you win, that nation is yours. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  I‘m sure the Russians or the Chinese or the Brits wouldn‘t have anything to say about that.  America just goes right in and takes the oil.  Huh? 

I‘m not the only one endorsing him.  In the latest survey of likely Republican voters from the Public Policy Polling, Donald Trump, folks, he is in the lead with a whopping 26 percent of the vote.  That is nine points ahead of his nearest rival. 

It‘s the oil, isn‘t it?  How great would it be to have a Republican candidate who is hated by the Republican party leaders?  Who spends his money and campaign efforts making all of the serious candidates look weak, and who has taken positions in the past like this? 

In one of his books, Trump announced his support for universal health care.  See why I‘m going to endorse him on the right?  Single payer system, you can‘t beat it. 

Even a tax hike on wealthy to pay down the national debt.  They don‘t know this guy. 

Those three things are radioactive to the Tea Party voters and the righties will never get on board with it.  So if you want to watch the Republican party implode and have fun doing it, maybe have a block party or something, and the Democrats just coast to victory with Barack Obama term number two, folks, this is the pick. 

That‘s right.  He should be the Republican nominee for all lefties in America.  Donald Trump, you‘re hired, buddy. 

Sarah Palin‘s brand?  Now she‘s slipping big time.  So she goes to Wisconsin to try to get something all stirred up, as if that‘s needed.  She succeeded in drawing so many protesters, it was hard to have just a few people who were there supporting hear what she was saying.  That‘s next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Finally tonight, now that Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has done just about everything he can to crush collective bargaining in the state and stomp all over the middle class wage earners, Sarah Palin went there, I guess you could say, to rub it in or to get some good pub. 

That‘s right.  Sarah Palin is so desperate to stay relevant, she is trying to ride the coat tails of Wisconsin‘s radical right wing governor whose own popularity is in the dirt.  Now the governor, who quit after two years, went to the state of the governor who could conceivably be recalled inside of the first two years he‘s in office. 

Palin speech before the Tea Partiers was notable because the event was organized by AFP, Americans For Prosperity, which of course is financed by the Koch Brothers.  Palin couldn‘t—she couldn‘t even be heard by the people who were not close to the podium because of the chants of protesters drowning her out, as reported by the local NBC affiliate WMTV. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m standing no more than a hundred yards away from the stage where Sarah Palin is speaking.  And I can‘t hear a single word she is saying.  If she wasn‘t on the big screen, I wouldn‘t even know she was up there at the moment. 

The people here are loud.  They are shouting and booing her down.  And that‘s just the way they like it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Reporter Zach Schultz (ph), I should mention.  No relation by the way.  So maybe that explains why Palin was shouting through the entire speech. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  You saw the obstruction and the destruction.  You saw these violent rent a mobs trash your capitol and vandalize business. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  The obstruction she is talking about was, of course, the rhetoric the Wisconsin 14 -- she was talking about the Wisconsin 14.  She mentions mob mentality and what not.  But it was the Tea Party organizers who bussed people in from every state, it seemed like, to help her out there. 

For more, let‘s go to Laura Flanders.  She is with Grit TV.  Laura, I guess I just want to know is Sarah Palin damaging her brand? 

LAURA FLANDERS, GRIT TV:  I don‘t know what kind of brand she has

left.  I think this is a candidate who—I don‘t know, put it charitably -

peaked too soon.  But what a clown card this GOP selection is.  You have got  the—your fired guy and the quitter.

           

But Palin—you know, this was not the top most favorite place to be in America if you‘re a Republican.  Saturday, rainy day in Madison, Wisconsin, surrounded by the good folks that you know and I know so well.  This I think is the sign of a loser, someone who is scared and who is doing it for the money. 

SCHULTZ:  Where is her support?  Who are her supporters right now?  She was on the ticket with McCain.  You would think that someone that ran for vice president would have—

FLANDERS:  Her supporters are the Koch Brothers.  Her supporters are Americans For Prosperity.  I mean, those are her supporters at this point.  Unfortunately, they‘re making all the difference and forcing us to cover her.

SCHULTZ:  Is she irrelevant at this point, politically?  Can she muster a run? 

FLANDERS:  I think Michele Bachmann is champing at her heels.  While there is no question that you have the Trumps out there, who are—the Trump fans, who are hoping that he‘ll get the spotlight from Palin, I think that surely Palin is somewhat panicked.  Who exactly is her base? 

SCHULTZ:  Who is coaching her?  And what kind of grade would you give them? 

FLANDERS:  I think she‘s getting a D at this point.  That line about fight like a girl?  It‘s not pretty.  And her take on what has been going on in Wisconsin is just laughable.  She talked about Governor Walker as a defender of jobs and pensions. 

This is the guy—this is reality turned upside down.  This is the guy that would fire thousands of people.  They would lose both their jobs and their pensions. 

She talked about solidarity on Saturday.  Somebody this week called her the Koch Brothers union maid.  And I think that‘s about right. 

SCHULTZ:  But the Tea Party—I thought the Tea Party was in every state. 

FLANDERS:  Yeah. 

SCHULTZ:  And this is Walker running this bill through to kill collective bargaining.  He‘s attacking unions.  The Tea Partiers ought to be just loving this guy. 

And then Sarah Palin, one of the most visible people in the country in politics, shows up and they have to bus people in. 

FLANDERS:  I think you are raising an important and interesting point, that the Tea Party don‘t seem to be gathering around Palin if they have some options, if they have Bachmann, if they even Trump, is clearly where Trump is going for support. 

I think that while we‘re all focusing on this because it‘s kind of amusing, the reality is that we‘ve seen this before.  Whether you‘re talking Trump or Palin, these kind of Fred Thompson candidates that come out early, get all the attention.  At the end of the day, we‘re still up against the Republican party. 

SCHULTZ:  Maybe she is going to announce, because her website, SarahPAC, has a new look to it.  You know how that all works. 

Laura Flanders, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much for joining us. 

Tonight in our survey, I asked will the Democrats stop the GOP push to gut Medicare?  Eighty two percent of you said yes; 18 percent of you said no. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, we‘d like to take you to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. 

“THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.  Thanks for watching.

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