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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Thursay, July 21, 2011

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Eugene Robinson, Rep. Barney Frank, Armond Budish

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining us for the next hour.
This is one of those days in news and politics when it simultaneously feels like nothing is happening at all. After all, again, today, Congress still can‘t decide whether or not to destroy the economy, still working on making the decision on that one. That was true yesterday. That is still true today.
So, in one sense, Groundhog Day, right? Nothing is changing.

From another sense, though, things are happening so fast now in news and politics that they almost seem a little blurry. You almost don‘t trust what you are reading about Washington on days like today because things are moving so fast they are starting to get counterintuitive.
For example, it still seems almost impossible that the role of the House Progressive Caucus this week, the role of the most liberal among all the Democrats in the House, has been to circulate statements, letters, and speeches by Ronald Reagan in support of the progressives‘ position on raising the debt ceiling.
First, House Democrats released a Reagan radio address, where he castigated the irresponsible brinksmanship of Congress not raising the debt ceiling and thereby getting the country close to default. Then House progressives sent to every Republican in Congress a Reagan letter to Senate Republicans from 1983.
In the letter, President Reagan says, quote, “The full consequences of a default or even the serious prospect of default are impossible to predict, and awesome to contemplate.” Ronald Reagan, among liberal Democrats, is probably in competition only with George W. Bush for least liked among the modern U.S. presidents.
But liberals in Congress this crazy week are willing to put that aside, if the voice of Reagan can help bring Republicans to their senses on how unbelievable it is that they really are still debating whether or not to destroy the economy.
In the midst of all of this is Republican presidential politics. Jon Huntsman and his campaign manager are parting ways today. Sarah Palin, though, she is still not running, placing second to Mitt Romney in a big national poll today. And the Republican jockeying just one layer under presidential jockeying is, of course, what‘s going on in the vice presidential sweepstakes.
Chris Christie boosters sprinting to the nearest phone today to leak to Politico.com that yet more business leaders want Chris Christie of New Jersey to run for president, but alas, he will not—hint, hint—call him to be vice president.
Marco Rubio, a potential vice presidential candidate announcing as if we have been waiting for it, that he will make his first out of his home state speech as a senator next month at the Reagan Library in California. Is that a thing?
The new awkwardness of course with how fast things are changing in Washington is that Marco Rubio has said as recently as this past weekend he probably will not vote to raise the debt ceiling.
Back in March, he wrote an op-ed titled “Why I Won‘t Vote to Raise the Debt Limit,” and that will be weird baggage to drag to the Ronald Reagan Library next month as liberal Democrats circulate all of Ronald Reagan‘s statements that anyone who doesn‘t vote to raise the debt ceiling is all but a traitor.
There‘s also the glorious parading (ph) spectacle of Virgin‘s governor, Republican Bob McDonnell. Bob McDonnell has had a wobbly takeoff as a national Republican figure. Just days after he was inaugurated as Virginia‘s governor, the National Republican Party Bob McDonnell forth as the face of the party, as their, essentially, equivalent to President Obama.
As Governor McDonnell stood before a perfectly, professionally selected focus group tableau of diverse Virginians to give the Republican Party‘s response to the President Obama‘s State of the Union Address.
Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BOB MCDONNELL ®, VIRGINIA: Good evening. I‘m bob McDonnell. Eleven days ago, I was honored to be sworn in as the 71st governor of Virginia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Looks presidential, right? And for a glorious few days, Bob McDonnell was the Republican Party‘s answer to Barack Obama. He was for a few days in January of 2010 the next generation of the GOP.
The launch as I say, that was a bit wobbly. It had emerged during Bob McDonnell‘s campaign for governor that as a hardcore movement social conservative, in his late 30s, he had done a graduate degree at televangelist Pat Robertson‘s Regent University. And his masters thesis had argued that conservatives should use public policy to help God crack down on things that God does not like—things like homosexuals and fornicators.
I‘m quoting there about the fornicators. It‘s not me describing people as fornicators. I wouldn‘t say that. That‘s what Bob McDonnell said.
See? It says right there—cohabitators, homosexuals, or fornicators. All very bad.
The whole idea being there—the whole idea of there being even a new fresh modern face of the GOP like bob McDonnell, that whole concept, doesn‘t jibe very well with the Republican Party being God‘s soldiers against fornication, right? This was only made worse by the Republican attorney general who campaigned with him and was elected with Governor Bob McDonnell, Ken Cuccinelli.
Once he was sworn in, he started using the powers of his office in Virginia to crack down on things like those beautiful ancient Buddhas carved into the stone cliffs. I‘m sorry. Totally different story.
Now, Mr. Cuccinelli took it upon himself to crack down on the immodest state seal of the commonwealth of Virginia, which showed a depiction of the Roman goddess of virtue showing some of her top parts. That‘s it on the left.
Mr. Cuccinelli circulated to his staff a different version of the state seal, the one you see on the right, which as you can see, covered the lady up more modestly.
So, yes—a bit of a rocky launch in terms of Bob McDonnell and the new Virginia being seen as a newfangled, modern update of the Republican Party to match Barack Obama. I think Ken Cuccinelli is sort of unstoppable about stuff like this, but Bob McConnell ahs tried to keep a lower profile. It seems like he has been hoping to be seen non-controversial and upstanding and focused and disciplined enough to be considered for vice president.
But something is going on with Bob McDonnell right now by wanting to be vice president and this fight in Washington over whether destroying the economy might be a good idea, and the potential destruction of the economy on purpose which is now upon us, something is happening with Bob McConnell that shows how all of these things comes down on the heads of individual people in Republican politics.
Check out poor Bob McDonnell now. Here he is a couple of months ago being interviewed by the conservative Web site and magazine “Human Events” about the debt ceiling fight. Listen to what he says here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDONNELL: The only way that it‘s appropriate to increase the debt limit is if there is a tangible, written, irreversible set of structure reforms in the spending in the United States government. If we don‘t achieve those goals, then I don‘t see any gain in increasing the debt limit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We do not achieve those goals. If we do not get those changes he says that he wants on spending, then what‘s that last key part again?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDONNELL: I don‘t see any gain in increasing the debt limit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don‘t see any gain in raising the debt limit. Why do it? I mean, do it if you can use it to get some other changes in government that you might want, but otherwise, you don‘t see any gain in increasing the debt limit. I don‘t see any reason to do it.
Why raise the debt ceiling? I don‘t see any reason to do it—so says the governor of Virginia. Try to get something in exchange for it. But if you can‘t --
In this fight, in what‘s going on in Washington right now, I think you can sort of say we are all in this together. We are all lemmings thundering toward the same cliff at this point.
If the U.S. defaults on our debt for the first time in history, it is an economic catastrophe that the economists tell us will put the country back in recession, definitely. It will possibly put the country into a depression. And it conceivably could cause a global financial catastrophe that will dwarf what happened at the end of the Bush presidency. And we would be doing this on purpose.
And as we are all heading toward that disaster, that‘s the kind of disaster that‘s not—that‘s not the thing that some people get out of, right? This is not the kind of disaster that some people do well in. This is a disaster.
But this week, the ratings agency Moody‘s Investor Service, as we are all thundering toward this same cliff, Moody‘s decided to pluck five states out from among all of us lemmings, to bring them forward to the head of the pack of lemmings running towards the end of the cliff, to let those particular five states see over the edge of the cliff and into the abyss, to see what the abyss looks like.
Moody‘s warned Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Bob McDonnell‘s Virginia this week that if and when the U.S. credit rating gets downgraded because Congress chooses to default on the debt, when that downgrade happens and the economic apocalypse starts, when that happens, those five states are going to get downgraded at the same time because those states are so intertwined with the federal government‘s economy and they‘re going to go down right away, too, they will be over the cliff first.
And remember, Bob McDonnell‘s opinion about whether or not to raise the debt ceiling going into all of this was this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDONNELL: I don‘t see any gain in increasing the debt limit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That‘s how he had felt. Once he got the warning this week that he was first off the cliff, boy, did he change his tune.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDONNELL: It‘s a national embarrassment for the United States of America to be getting two weeks from defaulting on its obligations.
They‘ve got to get this done immediately or the uncertainty for the business community is going to be just devastating to our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The warning from the ratings agency which will be what will happen to Virginia, which would ultimately happen to all of us, it‘s going to happen to him first, that warning turned Bob McDonnell right around. He went from saying, go ahead and default, what do I care? Go ahead and default, unless you can maybe get something out of it. To saying—seriously, are you going to default? You are crazy to even think about it.
After one ratings agency apparently changed Bob McDonnell‘s mind this week, another ratings agency made a request to please address as many freshmen Republicans as possible today.
Did they give those freshmen Republican members of Congress enough of a peek into the abyss to turn them around too?
Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts. He‘s the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, and co-sponsor, of course, of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill that passed one year ago.
Congressman Frank, it‘s nice to see you. Thanks for being here.
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thanks. Rachel.
MADDOW: Can you give me your understanding of where the current negotiations are on the debt ceiling?
FRANK: Yes, I don‘t know. I mean, I can be very honest with you.
There‘s a lot of going back-and-forth.
Look, we have this problem. There are a substantial number of Republicans in the House who have a serious problem with reality. A large number of members of the House Republican Caucus agree with Michele Bachmann that we shouldn‘t raise the debt limit, which would be of course an economic disaster, which even Ronald Reagan understood was crazy.
Another substantial chunk don‘t agree with Michele Bachmann, but they are afraid of losing a primary to someone who does agree with her.
So, we have this reality problem, and I do not know what will happen.
These are people who are in the medieval term invincibly ignorant.
It is, of course, the case—and I have to keep emphasizing this. I voted already once to raise the debt limit because I think we have this obligation. But the notion that the right wingers are doing me a favor to raise the debt ceiling is simply wrong. I voted against the war in Iraq. $1 trillion. I voted against tax cuts for millionaires. I didn‘t vote for Bush‘s drug program which was unfunded.
So my debt limit, I got a couple trillion left to go. I am prepared in the interest of national stability to vote for it. But this notion they can extort this and tell us that old women living on $19,000 a year shouldn‘t get any increase in the cost of living so they can subsidize millionaires and waste money in Afghanistan, no, that‘s not going to coerce me into voting for it.
On the other hand, I do think that some of the few remaining serious Republicans understand that they will get blamed for this. So, I think there is some pressure to do that.
One other point I want to mention, Rachel, which deeply angers me, these are people, the Tea Party people, who came to be the constitutionalists, they are in the process of launching the most fundamental assault on the American Constitution, fundamental principle we have ever seen, and that was majority rule. The great breakthrough in the 18th century was self governance.
And if you read the Constitution, the assumption is majority rule in Congress. It‘s majority rule in the states. In no part of the U.S. Constitution are you required to get more than a simple majority of both Houses to do anything.
There‘s a 2/3 required for treaty only in the Senate. That was special with foreign powers. There‘s a 2/3 requirement to amend the Constitution or to impeach someone.
But regular legislation everywhere in the Constitution takes a majority, and these people probably have no faith in democracy. They are afraid that the temporary majority won‘t hold, because you need 60 percent to do this and 67 percent to do that.
Let‘s be clear what that is. It‘s a repudiation of the great contribution America made in the 18th century to the world, the notion of majority rule in a democracy.
MADDOW: Congressman Frank, I know that the Senate is planning on staying through the weekend to work on that proposal that you were just describing there, this “cut, cap, and balance” thing. I know that the meetings are happening day and night in Washington right now to try to come to some sort of resolve, some sort of resolution.
You understand the markets as well as anybody in Congress because you have been regulating them. Do you feel like we are out of time in terms of whether or not the markets are going to freak out and do us some real economic damage?
FRANK: Well, it‘s not either or. The later it is, the worse it will be. And I have to say, I‘m a little torn.
The ratings agencies have been in the last 10 years the most incompetent entities around, but they are facts. And they—the rating agencies to me are like stopped clocks. They may be right twice a day, and it this is one of those times because, clearly, if the U.S. government defaults, it doesn‘t just hurt the government. The notion that governments will stand behind their debts is very important in keeping interest rates down so we can build bridges, highways and schools. And these irresponsible people are jeopardizing.
So, again, we are getting very close to the point where there will be real damage. There‘s probably going to be some incremental damage coming forward. And as I said, it‘s not an either or date.
But there is no question that it will be very damaging. There was an article today that the housing market will suffer because that is so much tied to interest rates. People who—small businesspeople who have been doing business who are owed money by the federal government—the federal government owes a lot of money to contractors—they won‘t get paid. They in turn won‘t be able to buy supplies.
It is just unimaginable, except for people who as I said are only occasionally in touch with reality.
MADDOW: Congressman, one question for you about the Dodd-Frank Act. The Wall Street reform act that bears your name, signed into law a year ago. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created as part of that act, is in business starting today. It‘s still being fought and trying to be undermined by Republicans.
At this point, do you feel like its future is still uncertain, or do you feel like it is here for good?
FRANK: It‘s here until and unless the Republicans win everything in 2012. Look, here‘s what they have done, Rachel, briefly, in the last few months.
First, they tried to—they are trying to postpone any new regulations of derivatives and they specifically want to stop us from dealing with speculation that‘s driving up energy prices. Secondly, they don‘t want to provide the money that the Security and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission need to regulate all of these things.
Yesterday, incredibly to me, they put a bill through our committee over our objection that would take any liability away from a rating agency if they made misstatements in a prospectus. So, if you bought a stock based on what the ratings said in the prospectus, you couldn‘t sue them no matter how cockamamie, to use a technical term, it was.
And today, they tried to put the bank regulators who never did anything about consumer protection, whose failure to do that was the reason for creating the consumer agency, back in charge.
So, yes, none of those are going to go anywhere in the Senate, and the president wouldn‘t sign them if they did. They are hurting by not funding these entities.
So, the answer is this: these agencies will go well unless they are elected (ph).
Can I just one thing that‘s very important? Because one of the things we got now is this effort to say that almost all government is bad. The notion is less government spending is automatically good.
You know, I have been in this business a while. I have never seen a tax cut put out a fire. I have never seen a tax cut fix a highway, or do medical research that we need.
Here is the danger the right-wing faces with the consumer bureau that Elizabeth Warren did such a good job with, although she was inappropriately not rewarded by the president. It‘s going to be a case—here‘s the deal: their argument is the big bad government is a threat to us. The Consumer Protection Bureau as most Americans understand is the government protecting them from abuse by private financial institutions.
And they are terrified that the public will see that there is value to a public institution that can prevent them from being abused by private institutions because it undercuts the whole rationale that the government is always bad, always a problem. And that‘s why we are fighting so hard for it.
MADDOW: Congressman Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, ranking Democrat on the financial services committee—thank you for your time tonight, sir. I really appreciate it.
FRANK: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Texas governor and going to run for president guy, Rick Perry, made a very surprising decision today that is going to upset some of his most ardent supporters. I‘ll tell you about it with a smile when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MADDOW: There are two things happening in Rick Perry‘s political life that are on a collision course.
The first thing is that he plainly is going to run for president. He is leaking to the press that his wife wants him to run. She is actively encouraging him to do it. He just met with George W. Bush‘s big money fundraisers in Austin.
He has not dissuaded a former Republican Party official and some former Newt Gingrich campaign aides from forming a Rick Perry super PAC and trying to get him on the ballot in the Ames, Iowa, straw poll. He has called Iowa Republicans and New Hampshire Republicans to lobby them personally.
He also addressed hundreds of voters via satellite hook up in South Carolina, which, of course, is also an early voting state.
Rick Perry really seems is running. And even though Rick Perry may have wanted to stay out of the race for a while longer, as Wayne Slater reported on this show last night, national fundraising is the biggest hurdle Rick Perry is going to face at this point—it‘s really can‘t wait much longer. He has to prove he can raise money and time is ticking for locking down big Republican donors before they flee to other candidates.
So, that‘s the one thing happening in Rick Perry‘s life that is on a collision with another thing. He‘s got this time pressure to get into the Republican race for president. Got to go. Time to jump. Got to get in.
The other thing that is about to hit that first thing is this. It‘s his big stadium prayer event next weekend in Houston, which probably seemed like a good idea at one point. But now that he is this close to announcing that he wants to be president—and frankly everybody is wondering if he‘s going to be a contender or if he‘s going to be a Rick Santorum, Rick Perry is saddled by timing with this prayer event. And with all of the pastors who are signed on to the Rick Perry prayer event.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
C. PETER WAGER, NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION: Since the night that the president emperor slept with the sun goddess, the stock market in Japan has gone down and never come up since.
JOHN BENEFIEL, HEARTLAND APOSTOLIC PRAYER NETWORK: The Statue of Liberty—you know where we got it from? French Freemasons. Listen, folks, that is an idol—a demonic idol right there in the middle of New York harbor.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Rick Perry said this week that just because pastors like those guys endorse his event and he‘s got their names and their pictures and their affiliations prominently featured on the Web site for the event, that doesn‘t mean that Rick Perry endorses them back.
Then he removed the big link at the top of the events webpage to the list of those event endorsers.
Now, today—today, in an extraordinary “who me” moment from Rick Perry, a spokesman from Rick Perry says that the governor may not even speak at his own event. He may not speak at the prayer rally. He may just attend—which will probably come as a surprise to the people who have looked at the group‘s Web site. There it is, right at the top. Hi, governor.
Or to those people who have watched Rick Perry‘s video inviting everybody to come to his event, or to the nation‘s 49 other governors, who Rick Perry invited to come to his event. Or maybe to his own PAC, which is advertising it as a Rick Perry event.
But, now, that more people are looking at him—now, supposedly it‘s not Rick Perry‘s event anymore. Can‘t say might speak at it. He mighty stop by. Was he invited?
For reference here, just to be clear about who Rick Perry is trying so desperately to get out of bed with in time to announce he is running for president, this is the group with which he is running this prayer event. This is not just an endorser. This is the national spokesman for the group with which Perry is running this event, that Perry is now trying to disown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BRYAN FISCHER, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION: I‘m not going to say anything I am not convinced is true.
Homosexual soldiers basically have no limit to savagery and brutally, they were willing to inflict in whoever Hitler sent them after. So, he surrounded himself, virtually all of the storm troopers, brown shirts, were male homosexuals.
This is going to be a pogrom. This is going to be virtual genocide for people of faith in the military, perpetrated by the homosexual lobby.
The homosexuals cannot reproduce. So they have to recruit. It‘s the only way to swell their numbers.
Counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity, have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.
Permits in my judgment should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America. Not one.
We should not allow Muslims to serve in the U.S. military, and we have got to raise questions about whether we can afford to allow Muslims to immigrate into the United States at all.
I do question the patriotism of groups like Planned Parenthood. They are subverting morality.
Liberals in the United States of America hate the Declaration of Independence.
President Obama is half white, and half black. Herman Cain is all black. He is authentically black. He is the real black man in the race.
The president‘s been a fascist. He says I‘ve been a fascist from day one.
President Barack Obama nurtures this hatred for the United States of America, and I believe nurtures a hatred for the white man.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: The American Family Association, ladies and gentlemen, sponsor of Rick Perry‘s stadium prayer event—even if he doesn‘t want it to be thought of as Rick Perry‘s stadium prayer event anymore.
Joining us now is Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist to the “Washington Post” and MSNBC political analyst.
Gene, I‘m sorry to have gotten all of that Brian Fischer all over you.
Allow me to have your suit cleaned.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, I‘ll send you the bill. And, Rachel, but I‘m concerned about you, watch out from Juju (ph) from that demonic idol in the harbor, not far away from you sit. I‘m worried about you.
MADDOW: But the problem is that I find the demon in the harbor to be so alluring—I am thinking about sleeping with the demon, which, of course, will depress my stock market.
(LAUGHTER)
ROBINSON: Right. Is that a form of recruitment?
MADDOW: Well, you know, I can‘t reproduce. You know how it is, Gene.
(LAUGHTER)
MADDOW: All right, all right. So, Rick Perry, these are the people who Rick Perry is trying to crawl out of bed with, right now, in time for him to run for president. Not as a Rick Santorum candidate, sort of a religious right also ran, but as a real contender.
Do you think he has a chance to be a real contender?
ROBINSON: Well, I do think he has a chance to be a real contender because he‘s been governor of Texas for years and years, and it‘s a big state. It‘s got lots of money. The state hasn‘t completely crumbled, since he‘s been governor.
That‘s quite a base to run from—as a certain George W. Bush proved a few years ago.
So I think he immediately—plus, you know, what do Republicans think about the field they have right now? They‘re not thrilled.
MADDOW: With the George W. Bush reference that you just made, I have to ask you, we talked a couple of nights on the show about Douglas Feith, famously denounced by Lawrence Wilkerson, I think he said seldom in my life have I met a dumber man. All these people who served in the Bush administration the Iraq war era the blamed Douglas Feith for everything. He‘s sort of the fall guy.
Rick Perry called Douglas Feith and had him advise him on foreign policy. We now also know that Rick Perry has called Donald Rumsfeld, as well as the guy that was fired at Guantanamo when he read the list of law firms and said that law firms should lose all their business because they have the temerity to represent people at Guantanamo.
ROBINSON: Yes.
MADDOW: He sort of is scraping the bottom of the barrel of disgraced George W. Bush former staffers to give him advice on foreign policy. What do you read into that?
ROBINSON: Well, I think you can read something about, shall we say, Rick Perry‘s perspicuity of maybe his awareness of current affairs on the national scale.
I mean, this—you know, he is the governor of Texas. He‘s got his choice basically. If you‘re governor of Texas, you can convene respectable and knowledgeable advisers about any subject that you want. And the fact that he hasn‘t I think tells us something about him and about his capacity for higher office.
MADDOW: Picking those Bush advisors and being a governor from Texas after the last Republican governor from Texas, would that put the Republican Party in the position of finally sort of having to reckon with the legacy of George W. Bush and the Bush economy and whether or not they like it or they were going to keep running from it the way they have for the last couple of cycles?
ROBINSON: George W. who? What legacy?
They have spent three years running away from George W. Bush‘s legacy as fast and hard as they can, because after all, they denounced him as not a real Republican. You know, he ran up the deficit. And he got us in all these foreign involvements the Tea Party people are suspicious about. In fact, a lot of Tea Party people don‘t like the Patriot Act and all that stuff he did.
So, look, the last thing Republicans want is for people to look at their candidate and see George W. Bush II.
So they are going to try to get rid of that association however they can. Now, can they get rid of it if the guy is Perry? You know, he is a Texas governor with a swagger and cowboy boots. There‘s a certain similarity there that you really can‘t escape.
MADDOW: See, I think—all of your argument makes sense to me, and I think I disagree. I think I see the Republican Party getting ready to turn around and embrace George W. Bush, but this election season is that it‘s going to last a year. And, so you and I get to fight about it all year long which is going to be really fun.
ROBINSON: Me, too.
MADDOW: I appreciate it, Gene. Thank you very much.
ROBINSON: Good to talk to you.
MADDOW: Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for “The Washington Post,” and, of course, an MSNBC political analyst.
OK. Big news on civil rights tonight—a historic announcement scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at the Pentagon. Why bury an historic civil rights announcement on a Friday afternoon in July? I will never understand why they schedule these things like this.
We got details ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MADDOW: A month before he passed away, former West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd announced he would vote to repeal the U.S. military‘s “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” policy. His vote was critical. He sat on the armed services committee.
But Senator Byrd‘s vote came with conditions. He said it hinged on writing into the legislation a 60-day delay in the actual repeal after certification that the military was ready for repeal. The certification would have to come from the president, the secretary of defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Now, two of those three necessary certifications we are told will come tomorrow, when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Joint Chiefs of Staff will certify that the Pentagon is ready to repeal the policy. The president is scheduled to meet with Secretary Panetta and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs at 2:45 tomorrow, and maybe at that point, the president will give his certification too.
If that happens, all three people who need to certify that the military is ready will have certified it. And if that happens, then there will be an inexplicable wait. They‘re ready, but they still can‘t do it for no reason. It‘s just a pointless delay your civil rights 60-day wait in honor of Robert Byrd. May he rest in peace.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MADDOW: We did get some signs today, nothing definite, but some signs that Congress and the White House are maybe closer to a deal to not have Congress destroy the U.S. economy on purpose, to not have the United States of America default on purpose.
Even if that‘s true, here‘s your little asterisk, your little footnote. One very important part of the government—even if there is a deal miraculously—one very important part of the government will still be on the brink. It‘s the agency that regulates air travel in this country, and it has just one day left to live. I really mean it. One day.
Tomorrow night, unless Congress reauthorizes, the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA will start turning off the lights.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood saying that 4,000 FAA workers will be furloughed, $600 million worth of construction projects will freeze instantly tomorrow night, which means a bunch more jobs will disappear.
Secretary LaHood says a shutdown could cost the government $200 million a week in lost tax revenue that the FAA would no longer be authorized to collect through things like airline tickets.
Since September 2007, when the last authorization for the FAA expired, since then, Congress has passed 20 short-term extensions -- 20. The 21st is proving to be doozy because this time, Republicans in the House led by John Mica of Florida are insisting that they be allowed to strip existing union rights from people who work in transportation.
Unless Democrats cave on that, Republicans say they‘re going to start killing off small airports one by one, starting with ones like this one in Ely, Nevada. And after that, the whole fight will start again over union rights in September.
This is a fight that is maybe going to kill airports, and it is definitely going to grab the whole air travel system around the neck as soon as tomorrow.
But it is not as much about planned specifically as it is about union rights, and how Republicans have decided that stripping union rights is the hill they are going to die on this year.
Do we have that John Kasich footage? We have that? Exemplary.
This is Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican freshman governor just elected in November. John Kasich has spent his first year in office doing what Republicans in Congress are now insisting on—stripping union rights.
This winter, the governor proposed a law that strips union rights in Ohio. He proposed it. Thousands of people protested. And then the Republican legislature passed the bill called SB-5. Governor Kasich signed it.
You want to see how his success with SB-5 is working out for him? A new poll by Quinnipiac University puts the approval rating for John Kasich at 35 percent, three points lower than it was in May when he tied Florida Governor Rick Scott for least popular governor in America. He has gone down three points since then.
The situation for John Kasich is so bleak that this is how the nonpartisan pollsters Quinnipiac described his situation. These are nonpartisan pollsters. Quote, “Ohio Governor John Kasich is sinking slowly into the quick sand of voter disapproval.” And, “Governor Kasich‘s name remains mud in the eyes of the Ohio electorate.” These are nonpartisan pollsters.
After Governor Kasich signed SB-5, people who support union right in Ohio started collecting signatures to put it on the ballot for a citizens repeal. Last month, they delivered box after box after box of petitions.
Today, the Ohio secretary of state announced that over 900,000 of those signatures were valid. That‘s nearly four times the amount needed to qualify the referendum. This means that there will be a referendum. It‘s going to be on the ballot. The vote happens in November.
In this Quinnipiac Poll, it says that Senate Bill-5, SB-5, in Ohio is about as unpopular in Ohio with voters as Governor Kasich is now. When they ask Ohio voters whether SB-5 should be kept or repealed, Ohio voters say they would like to repeal that bill by a 24-point margin. In May, it was only an 18-point margin.
Ohio‘s governor and his union stripping adventure are sinking into the quick sand of voter disapproval—and maybe not all that slowly.
Joining us now is Armond Budish. He is Democratic minority leader from the Ohio House of Representatives.
Representative Budish, thanks very much for joining us again. It‘s nice to have you back here.
STATE REP. ARMOND BUDISH (D-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Thank you.
My pleasure to be back.
MADDOW: This new poll suggests that Ohio‘s union stripping bill is becoming more unpopular. People aren‘t just getting over it. They are getting more upset about this. What do you think accounts for that?
BUDISH: I think as people learn more and more about what this union stripping bill does, they get more and more angry. This is—Senate Bill 5 is about allowing—you know, not allowing people anymore to come together and bargain for fair wages or for, you know, safe places to work.
When people find out what this bill really does, they hate it. And I think you‘re seeing that in the polling, and we certainly saw it in the signature collection -- 900,000 valid signatures, 1.3 million signatures total, from every nook and cranny of Ohio.
Democrats, Republicans, rural, urban, wealthy, poor, everybody—it seems like everybody hates Senate bill 5 because they don‘t like injustice.
MADDOW: We are also seeing that Governor Kasich‘s numbers are tanking. We thought that they had bottomed out when he was tied with Rick Scott for most unpopular governor in the nation. It turns out the floor is even lower than that. He is still sinking.
Do you think that‘s being driven by the anger over the union stripping bill or broader issues?
BUDISH: I think it‘s about the union stripping bill, but also the radical extremist ideology that‘s being pushed down people‘s throats in Ohio. We just passed—they just passed, I should say, a budget which cuts billions of dollars out of education. You combine that with Senate Bill 5, you‘re looking at class sizes of 50 or more here in Ohio. You‘re looking at elimination of after school sports and music and arts and gifted programs, unless local school areas raise their property taxes.
So, you‘re seeing over and over again a decimation of the middle class. The budget cut, a billion dollars from local governments. What that means is—it‘s going to mean our communities are less safe. Local governments are going to have to cut police officers, cut firefighters, or raise local taxes again.
This budget was “pass the buck” budgeting, pushing the tough decisions down to the local communities. And it‘s going to be horrific coming forward.
MADDOW: We‘re looking at some parallel politics in Washington on union-stripping issues. Of course the rest of the country always follows Ohio politics to a certain extent because Ohio has been such an important swing state in presidential politics. As the rest of the country looks at Ohio getting so mad at its governor and so mad to be repealing this union-stripping thing by 20-plus points in this latest poll—how do you think the rest of the country should understand how this will play into the state as a presidential political battle ground?
BUDISH: I think it‘s going to have huge impact. As we‘re seeing, it‘s already having a huge impact on the governor. I think it‘s going to impact the U.S. Senate race we have here, a major race—Senator Sherrod Brown is up for re-election—and the presidential race.
And we‘re seeing that in the same poll you cited earlier. President Obama beats his Republican opponents, every one of the potential leading opponents, in that poll.
MADDOW: Armond Budish, Democratic minority leader in the Ohio House of Representatives—thanks for your time tonight, Armond. It‘s nice to see you again.
BUDISH: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: All right. Still to come—the weird honor of being insulted by national politicians so they can raise money off of you. It turns out it can be kind of fun. Me and Rick Santorum, it‘s coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MADDOW: We have some sad news to report tonight about our show and about our staff. One of our colleagues, a staffer on our show, died today after sudden illness. Amanda Munoz worked on our staff as a graphics playback operator. That means she makes the words and pictures we show on the show appear when they‘re supposed to appear.
That‘s one of the tech jobs that we have here, and the tech jobs on our show are really hard jobs. Amanda was great at it. She was a great person. She was really well-loved around here.
Amanda leaves behind many friends, as well as her parents Jim and Nancy, and her husband Carlos. Amanda was just 31 years old when she died today.
Amanda, we will miss you.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SARAH PALIN ®, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: A gal walked up and asked him where he was from and he said, “Alaska!” And then, all of a sudden, the clerk turns beet and the veins pop out in her neck, kind of like Rachel Maddow does sometimes—
(LAUGHTER)
DICK ARMEY, FREEDOMWORKS: The last time Doc Coleman (ph), the senator from Oklahoma, who has practiced medicine all his life, the last time he and I were together, I had the amazing opportunity to watch him receive a lecture on health care from a woman named—Maddox, a television personality, who I‘m told has a PhD in something that doesn‘t matter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m not going to wait for the MSNBC lineup to put on their hard hats and stand on an oil rig and do a promotional ad asking this tough question about potential loss of blue collar American jobs. I don‘t like it.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, 41ST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don‘t like it. I think the cables have a lot to do with it. I‘ll take you back to when I was president, we got tons of criticism, but it didn‘t seem day in and day out quite as personal as some of these talk show people. And it‘s not just the right. There are plenty of people on the left. Rachel Maddow, I mean, here are a couple of sick puppies.
(MUSIC)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just last week, Zack was on an ultra-liberal radio show from New York City hosted by a cross-dressing lesbian where he told her that social values are no longer that important. Social values do matter to those of us in Ohio even if they don‘t matter to his ultra-liberal friends in the rest of the country. Paid for by Bob Ney for Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: That last one, the cross dressing liberal lesbian in New York City one, that one meant the most to me, I think, because that was 2006. That was from Bob Ney, who not long after sending out that robocall in the 2006 election had to go to prison in the Jack Abramoff scandal. It was oddly wondering and flattering to have one of his last political acts be calling me, me! A radio host a cross-dressing ultra-liberal lesbian from New York City. I made it to a Ohio Republican robocall?
The poor lady who had to read the robocall script for him, what did she think when she got to that line, I wonder.
Anyway, that meant a lot to me. But, now—now, the struggling presidential campaign of Rick Santorum has taken a page out of the Bob Ney on his way to jail handbook. Rick Santorum does not have great prospects for winning the Republican presidential nomination. As an incumbent senator in his last election, he lost by 18 points.
This last quarter of fundraising when Mitt Romney raised more than $18 million, when Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman even Tim Pawlenty raised more than $4 million each. When Herman Cain, head of a mafia-themed pizza chain, and Newt Gingrich, the man who‘s entire campaign leadership quit raised more than $2 million each, during that same time, Rick Santorum barely cleared to half mil.
But now, he is trying to raise his desperately needed cash with an appeal to supporters about what turns up on the Internet when you Google the word Santorum? Do you have Googled Santorum, just word the Santorum?
Rick Santorum‘s new fundraising letter apparently is trying to make sure that everybody does that. The letter opens up with a description of last week‘s Bill Maher show on HBO, which featured the Seattle columnist Dan Savage as a guest when Rick Santorum had said that homosexuality was the equivalent man on dog sexual activity, you may recall it was Mr. Savage who took it upon himself in response to Google bomb the word Santorum so when you look it up on line—yes.
Mr. Santorum‘s fundraising letter reads, quote, “Instead of focusing on the issues and having an intellectual conversation, they broke into vile attack against me. I refuse to repeat these disgusting sexual explicit references because these ridiculous attacks are far too inappropriate. Savage in his perverted sense of humor is the reason why my children cannot Google their father‘s name.” Still the fundraising letter.
“To this day, liberals like Rachel Maddow serve as Savage‘s lackeys on national television, pushing his smut. That is why I need your support today and your contribution of $25, $50, $100 or $250 to my campaign. With your help, we will make this country great again.”
If you were a supporter of Rick Santorum who had not yet heard about the whole Google Santorum problem, if you received that letter, you know, “my children cannot Google their father‘s name,” what would you do? Would you run to your paycheck, outrage by the mere mention of these liberal names? Dan Savage, Bill Maher, Rachel Maddow? Would you race to your checkbook to blindly scrawl out a check for $25, $50, $100 right away?
Or would you out of curiosity Google Santorum? To see what all the hullaballoo was about. Imagine the fundraising committee discussion about this.
All right, what we know we will accomplish by doing this is that every one of our most core supporters across the country will be told in effect, go Google the word Santorum. So, if they didn‘t know about the Google problem before, we‘re telling all of our supporters about it now.
That‘s not the risk. That is the certainty. But measure that against the uncertain fundraising power of using the names of one with a sex advice column in Seattle, and a comedian with a once-weekly show on cable, and the 9:00 lady on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just last week, Zack was on an ultra-liberal radio show from New York City hosted by a cross-dressing lesbian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It is very flattering to have people try to raise money off of the sheer outrageousness of the mention of your name or your description, especially when you‘ve never met those people and you think of them as kind of a bigger deal than you. It‘s flattering. It‘s also hilarious.
So, Rick Santorum, knock yourself out. It worked out great for Bob Ney.
That does it for us tonight. Now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW.” Have a great night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
END
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