'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, August 19, 2011
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Guests: Chris Hayes, Jose Antonio Vargas
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Happy Friday, everybody. Thank you for staying
with us for the next hour.
We have news tonight of some very, very dirty political tricks that
appear to be being played in Michigan.
Also, an attempt to put the remarkable candidacy of Michele Bachmann
And I think the most ambitious "Debunktion Junction" in the long and
storied history of "Debunktion Junction.`
That is all ahead tonight in this hour.
But here`s where we start. One of the great dorky ideas in
linguistics is you can`t really think about a thing well until that thing
has a name. It`s sort of a function of us being word-based, language-based
And I am starting to think my favorite, underappreciated mime of the
Obama era in American politics, which is: Republicans being opposed to
their own ideas now -- I`m starting to think that remains an
underappreciated mime because it doesn`t have a name. So, I think we
should name it. I think we should call it the "great flabbergasting."
There`s something about Barack Obama and his brand of Democratic
politics that so flabbergasts Republicans that he causes them to turn
against themselves and develop vitriolic opposition to their own positions.
I mean, this week alone, right, we`ve been talking about President
Obama proposing action on new trade deals and on patent reform. He`s been
talking about these things on his bus tour. These things are literally in
the Republican jobs plan released earlier this year. Everybody overuses
the word "literally," but in this case, literally it`s written in their
jobs plan. President Obama is introducing something in their plan and they
have responded by going, where`s your plan? I hate that plan.
This has been the Obama era -- I shouldn`t even call it the Obama era
in Democratic politics -- this is the Obama era in Republican politics.
It`s flabbergasted Republicans against their own ideas.
They are for a bipartisan deficit commission, so is Obama. So, now,
they are against it.
They support pay-as-you-go rules in Congress -- so does Obama. And
so, now, they are against that.
They support cap and trade, including Sarah Palin on tape, remember?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John McCain proposed legislation calling for
mandatory cap from global warming gases or CO2 emissions. Do you agree on
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: I support his position on
that. Absolutely. He`s got a good cap and trade that he supports and
details are being hashed out even right now. But in principle, absolutely,
I support all that we can do to reduce emissions and to clean up this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Republicans support cap and trade. It is a Republican idea.
Obama supports it, too. And so, now, Republicans are against it.
The individual mandate in health reform as a means of getting
everybody covered, not only is that Mitt Romney`s implemented idea from his
time as governor in Massachusetts, it is a Republican idea, full stop,
dating back to the 1990s when people first came up with the idea. So, this
Republican idea, Obama is also for that. And so, now, Republicans see
their own individual mandate idea as the end of the world over and over and
over again. It is Republicans against their own ideas.
This is the Obama era in politics, the great flabbergasting. We
should have known it was coming during 2008 presidential campaign with the
first and most blatant of these from the eventual Republican nominee, John
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During this campaign, you, like your rivals,
have been putting the first priority, heaviest emphasis, on border
security. But your original immigration proposal back in 2006 was much
broader and included a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who
were already here. At this point, if your original proposal came to a vote
on the Senate floor, would you vote for it?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It won`t, it won`t. That`s why we
went through the debate --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it did.
MCCAIN: No, I would not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: No, I would not. No, I would not support my own immigration
plan. I would vote no on my own idea.
To be clear, this is not his party`s immigration plan, not just a plan
that he voted for once upon a time. This is his own plan that he wrote, he
authored it, he would vote against it.
You have to give John McCain credit, he was an early Obama era
flabbergast. Back in 2003, John McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act
which would grant legal status to immigrants who complete two years of
college or who served in the military. The DREAM Act was a Republican
idea. It was originally introduced by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of
Utah. The 2003 version of the DREAM Act, it had 13 Republican co-sponsors,
including the aforementioned John McCain.
President Obama gets elected in 2008. He also supports the DREAM Act.
And so, flabbergast. It is their own idea, now they are opposed to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The DREAM Act, offering a path to citizen to those brought
to this country illegally as children, went down to defeat. Backers are
unable to break a Republican-led filibuster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I think mostly Republicans are just not embarrassed about
stuff like this anymore. They are so not embarrassed about it that they
don`t even explain the flip-flop. They just say they are outraged by the
idea of the DREAM Act and just hope nobody notices that it was their idea
in the first place.
But the way that some other Republicans, like John McCain, for
example, have tried to weasel out of that U-turn, was by saying that there
wasn`t enough border security in place to move forward with the idea they
used to like, that there were too few deportations, there`s too porous a
southern border. And so, those things get sorted out. Nobody has any
business talking about granting legal status to immigrants who are already
Immigration is so central to who we are as a country. It is so
fundamental to how we became the country that we are, that we have exact
statistics on deportations going back to 1892. In 1892, I can tell you,
the United States of America they deported 2,801 persons precisely.
And because we keep detailed records of these things, and we have for
a long time, I can tell you with great specificity that Barack Obama is
deporting more people than any other president in American history, by a
lot. By the time, George W. Bush left office in 2008, he had deported
about 349,000 people that year.
The very next year, President Obama`s first year in office, he kicked
it up to nearly 400,000. We have never deported more people in this
country that we have since President Obama has been president.
He`s also beefed up border security like no other president before
him, including George W. Bush.
So, does that mean we can have the comprehensive immigration reform
I mean, that is what Republicans said. They said we can deal with
this as soon as we deal with enforcement. They like the idea of dealing
with immigration, but not until we had enforcement.
We have never dealt with enforcement the way we have during this
presidency. So, now do we get immigration reform? They said we could.
No, of course not. This is the great flabbergasting.
And even President Obama himself knows that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have gone above and
beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported
broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All this stuff
they asked for, we`ve done. But even though we`ve answered these concerns,
I`ve got to say I suspect there`s still going to be some who are trying to
move the goal posts on us one more time.
You know, they said we needed to triple the border patrol. Now, they
are going to say we need to quadruple the border patrol. Or they want
higher fence. Maybe they`ll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in
They`ll never be satisfied.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: They`ll never be satisfied because it`s not about what they
are asking. It`s about keeping you from doing anything.
And he gets it clearly. That was a speech President Obama gave back
in May. Since then, we`ve had the current governor of Texas get into the
race for the Republican presidential nomination and suggest that if this
president was really serious about the border, he`d have drones flying over
the border,. Governor Perry, there are already drones flying over the
Here`s an article about it from September -- excuse me, from 2009.
You step up deportations and they demand deportations. You fly drones on
the border, and they demand drones on the border. How do you argue with
The Obama administration today, knowing what they know about arguing
with Republicans on this issue and doing what they have already done on
this issue, the Obama administration today took the next obvious step and
stopped waiting for Republicans to make good on their word. The Obama
administration today enacted administratively what looks to be everything
they could on immigration reform right now short of getting something
through the Republicans in Congress.
The Obama administration has announced plans to suspend deportation
proceedings against undocumented immigrants who posed no threat to national
security or public safety. The Department of Homeland Security will
undergo a review of 300,000 cases of people in deportation proceedings and
will allow those deemed a low priority to apply for work permits to stay in
the country temporarily.
This dramatic policy change has essentially two major impacts. And one
of them is political. This has a political impact to President Obama, the
When he was sworn into office in January 2009, President Obama held a
74 percent approval rating among the Hispanic community in this country and
amongst, after he was sworn in, that actually went up to 85 percent.
Now, this week, according to the latest Gallup poll of Hispanic
voters, that approval rating is all the way down to 49 percent, nearly the
lowest point of his entire presidency for that group of voters. Protestors
turned up this week all across the country at Democratic Party offices, not
to cheer President Obama on, but to protest his deportation policies.
So, this sort of change in policy on this particularly issue does have
the potential to help President Obama with a community he really does need
help with, heading into his reelection campaign for 2012.
Add to that, the vitriolic reaction from Republicans today against
this policy change, and that gives Latino voters a very nice, stark choice
between the two parties.
So, that`s number one. This decision does have real world political
implications. But more importantly, this policy shift has the potential to
have a very large and very practical impact on tens of thousands if not
hundreds of thousands of real people in this country who have been staring
down the barrel of deportation.
Undocumented immigrants who served or have served in the United States
military, college kids, the spouses of American born gay or lesbian
citizens, anybody who is not a convicted felon or a threat to national
security, as well as children who are brought here by their parents at an
early age and have never known another home.
This policy could change all of those people`s lives and families
Joining us now is Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning
journalist, formerly of "The Washington Post." Mr. Vargas came to the U.S.
as a child from the Philippines. He lived his entire adult life here.
He`s been extremely successful both academically and as a journalist.
Back in June, he decided to write about his secret life in America as
undocumented immigrant. He`s the founder of the Web site
Jose, it`s really nice to see you again. Thanks for being here.
JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, DEFINEAMERICAN.COM: Thank you so much for having
MADDOW: Does this change of policy affect you personally? And can
you tell yet for what you know of it?
VARGAS: Well, actually, no, it doesn`t affect me personally. I mean,
I`m not on deportation proceeding. Although I have to tell you, all of us,
you know, 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, when there`s
one good piece of news, even though it`s affecting only 300,000 people,
it`s good news for everybody. So, this is good news for everybody.
But at the end of the day, it doesn`t affect the majority of the
undocumented immigrants in this country. Even the majority of dreamers in
this country, you know, people who would -- students who would benefit from
the DREAM Act, or DREAM Act eligible kids.
MADDOW: It`s one thing to reprioritize deportation proceedings, where
the administration has done. It is another thing, as you, for the federal
government to provide a pathway towards becoming a citizen or a legal
resident. This doesn`t affect that at all.
VARGAS: Which is why it`s really laughable and just very
intellectually dishonest, you know, for conservative Republicans to just
cry backdoor amnesty or for them to say the president going after the will
of the American people. The will of the American people is people were
people are hungry for immigration reform.
While Washington, while -- you know, Senator John McCain, Senator
Orrin Hatch, you know, while people play political football with our lives,
this is something that Americans, undocumented immigrants, and American
But, at the end of the day, given the political reality here in
Washington, the fact that no one can agree on a compromise, you know,
people are basically still in limbo.
Mind you, this -- what happened yesterday when this policy was
introduced, this could change if Obama was not reelected -- is not
reelected to be president in 2012. So, lives are still in limbo.
MADDOW: In terms of the potential calculus here and the room to
maneuver that the administration has, as you heard in the introduction
there, I felt like the Obama administration has made it pretty clear that
they felt like the investment they made in border security and also the
hugely stepped up number of deportations should d have bought them some
political room to move in terms of making immigration reform possible.
Do you think they did buy themselves room to maneuver?
VARGAS: Well, I think the Obama administration tried to be as
forthcoming, you know, with what their plans are, although mind you, I
mean, the Obama administration has gotten a lot of heat from immigration
groups because of a program called Secure Communities that is literally
dividing families apart.
One of the things that American citizens might not understand is a lot
of undocumented immigrants live in mixed status families -- meaning an
undocumented immigrant married to an American citizen who then might be --
you know, because of Secure Communities, those families could be separated,
but I think what`s interesting here, is, as you mentioned, you know, the
president is preparing for reelection.
Governor Perry is the governor of Texas, you know, a huge Hispanic
population, a huge immigrant population. At the end of the day, the Latino
vote is something that they both desperately need.
And this is not something -- given the kind of grassroots activities
happening online, happening especially among DREAM Act kids who re
organizing online and offline, this is an issue that is not going to go
away. I think this is -- in my mind, this is going to be one of the key
issues of this campaign.
MADDOW: If the president wants to prioritize immigration reform
further either between now and the campaign or just whenever he can, with
this Congress and with the politics of immigrant and the Republican caucus
being what they are, is there anything else he can actually accomplish? Is
there -- did he do as much as he could do administratively? Is there
anything else he can do?
VARGAS: At this point, people feel as if this is as far as the Obama
administration is willing to go. And you got to give him credit. You
know, this was unprecedented in a way that they were able to, you know,
form this joint committee, from people from DHS, the Department of Homeland
Security, and the Department of Justice. But what I think what`s missing
here is really the truth and honesty from congressional leaders on the
other side of the aisle, on the Republican side of the aisle.
I mean, we are talking about an issue that is not just political but
personal for a lot of people. One out of six Americans is Hispanic. Many
of them, you know, have undocumented family members or co-workers.
And mind you, not all undocumented immigrants are Hispanic. I`m
Filipino myself. I mean, this is an issue that affects Filipino Americans
in this country.
So, what`s fascinating here and what`s really sad in a way is that as
all this political and electoral posturing happens, you know, people`s
lives are in limbo.
And all the stereotypes, like, for example, I`m sure you heard about
the hero in New Mexico, the 22-year-old guy that saved the life of the 6-
year-old girl, who happens to be an undocumented immigrant, he`s married to
an American citizen. That`s a mixed-status family. I mean, under certain
laws, this guy you know, this hero, in Albuquerque, might get deported --
hopefully because of this new law yesterday, that`s not going to happen.
But this is the kind of reality that we`re dealing with.
MADDOW: Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and
founder of DefineAmerican.com, that`s doing some incredible advocacy on
immigration reform issues -- Jose, thanks again for joining us. It`s good
to see you.
VARGAS: Thank you so much for having me.
MADDOW: I know many regular viewers of this show are also fans of the
show that airs right after this one. No, not "THE ED SHOW," "LOCKUP." I
know you like "THE ED SHOW," too, but on Fridays, it`s "LOCKUP," right?
Until today, I haven`t had a solid, newsy reason to really talk "LOCKUP"
during the show, but now I have a beauty. Let the synergy begin.
That is just moments away.
MADDOW: To all my friends in Michigan, if you get a robocall that
starts like this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
VOICE: This an identity theft alert.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: If you get a robocall like that and you`re in Michigan, that
is an alert all right. It is an alert, though, that somebody may be trying
to stop you from exercising your rights as a citizen. Dirty tricks coming
MADDOW: If you are in Detroit and you want to go to Canada, which
direction do you go? Actually, you go south, counterintuitive, I know, but
Ontario comes down and sort of cuddles Michigan on top of Lake Erie there.
So, in order to cross the Canadian border from Detroit to get to
Windsor, Ontario, you sort of drive south across the Detroit River,
One way to get there is to drive across the Detroit River on the
Ambassador Bridge. The Ambassador Bridge is privately owned by a Detroit
billionaire. And that billionaire is very, very much opposed to the idea
of local officials -- to the idea that local officials on both sides of the
border have that there needs to be a second bridge. A second bridge, of
course, would be competition for this guy.
And so, the owner of the existing bridge does not want that second
bridge, and in Michigan, like in lots of places, when big power and big
money are involved in a decision like that, things can sometimes get ugly
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheets of paper meant to look like eviction
notices showing up in this neighborhood Monday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do what you`re going to do and stop playing
games with the people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fake notices asking residents like Cheryl
Maddox to protest the new international trade crossing project.
CHERYL MADDOX, RESIDENT: Stop scaring the people, stop trying to
intimidate the people, help the people. Stop playing politics.
JENNIFER JONES, RESIDENT: It`s an underhanded, sleazy way of getting
people to fight against the bridge.
REPORTER: In the fine print, it says they were the work of Americans
for Prosperity, a group against the bridge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For them to pull a stunt like this -- I mean, if
you can`t argue something on its merits, then you don`t have a viable
REPORTER: Neither the group nor the bridge company responded to our
request for comments.
JONES: The amount of stress this is going to cause people, it should
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It may not be illegal, but it is slimeball politics, those
eviction notices -- slimeball politics, Michigan style. That was a video
report from the Detroit Free Press. They do really excellent video
reporting at their Web site. Congratulations to the Free Press folks.
The Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity is the group
that sent out those fake eviction notices in Detroit to scare people into
opposing a public project that might cut into a revenue stream of a
billionaire monopolist. And they spent the rest of their day twirling
their mustache and cackling easily.
Meanwhile, Michigan is facing upheavals that have roiled other parts
of the Midwest that had big Republican elections last year. In Wisconsin,
backlash against Republican Governor Scott Walker and the Republican
legislature there, of course, led to recalls of state senators, two
Republicans lost their seats in those recalls, trimming the Republicans
down to a one-seat majority in the Senate, a one-seat majority that doesn`t
actually support the governor on his stripping of union rights in
Over in Ohio, backlash against Republican governor John Kasich and the
Republican legislature there has led to a recall campaign against Ohio`s
union stripping bill itself. A recall/referendum that has so much support
Governor Kasich and the Republican this week cried called uncle. They said
they are now willing to compromise on the law if Democrats and unions would
call off the vote, which polls say is likely to pass by a mile.
The group`s response to the offer today was: yes, right. They said
they`d be delighted to sit down and talk with the governor about a fresh
start and a new compromised law, all the governor has to do first is get
the Republicans to recall the old law or he can just watch while the voters
of the state of Ohio do so on November 8th.
In Michigan, the backlash against Governor Rick Snyder and the
Republican legislature of Michigan has motivated a recall campaign there,
too. But their recall campaign is 26 times over, there are 26 recall
petitions circulating now in Michigan to recall the state`s draconian,
democracy-override measure called the Emergency Financial Manager law.
There`s one to recall the legislative sponsor of that measure.
There`s one to recall Governor Snyder himself, and to recall more than a
dozen other officials.
And as if Michiganders haven`t been subject to enough dirty tricks
already this year, this one that we learned about today to me sounds like a
new one. Michigan`s Eclectic Blog has posted this audio of a robocall, a
robocall that has been reported in Michigan in the midst of these recall
signature gathering efforts against Republican Governor Rick Snyder and his
emergency financial manager law and other officials.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
VOICE: This is an identity theft alert. Petitions are being
circulated door-to-door and at public locations throughout the county that
require your name, your address, and your signature. The state of Michigan
does not require a license or a bond for signature gatherers and anyone can
collect signatures regardless of their police record.
Be very careful who give your personal information to, particularly
your signature. In many cases, copies of these petitions, with your
signature are sent overseas for processing.
Be on the alert for fraudulent attempts to get your personal
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Don`t sign any petitions, any recall petitions, no matter
what you do, be afraid.
Also, if the billionaire doesn`t get what he wants on the bridge
project, you`re going to be evicted, be afraid.
Nobody claims credit for the message on this call. When you call the
number that the message purports to come from, this is what you get.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
VOICE: Thank you for calling back. If you are not interested in
receiving future calls regarding our special promotions and would like to
be placed on our do not call list, please press one. Please allow up to 72
hours to have your number removed from our referred marketing list. Thank
you and have a nice day.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Our special promotions -- don`t sign anything, Michigan.
That`s all you get when you call there. You can opt out of future
calls, but, you know, nobody ever claims credit for things like this. They
do tell you one thing, though: in Michigan, someone facing recall is scared
enough of what Michigan thinks of them that they are turning to something
as disgusting and cheap as this to try to keep people from making their
voice heard. That`s what this teaches you.
MADDOW: There was a little sort of under-noticed moment on the not
quite campaign trail this week in Iowa that at first glance seemed to be
kind of just a snippy confrontation between a citizen and a politico. In
this case, between a woman who said she`s an Alaska president, and Todd
Palin, who is the husband of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Now, at first glance, this is just a mano-a-womano, almost personal
snip fest between the two of them. Very tense. But then Todd Palin said
something here in this little snip fest that I actually think in retrospect
is key to understanding at least why a lot of the people who are running
for president right now are, in fact, running for president.
Listen to what Todd Palin says here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re from Alaska. We were sick when she quit.
TODD PALIN, SARAH PALIN`S HUSBAND: What would you recommend? What
would you recommend doing when you got $600,000, $700,000 of debt hanging
over your head, and you still have all these people filing complaints
against you? What would you do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you go for the money, obviously. That`s
what she did. Everybody in Alaska thinks she sold out.
PALIN: When you have that much money over your head. What would you
do? Hundreds of thousands and dollars in debt. You got all this debt
going to be there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not there anymore, is it? You got quite
the deal. Sell out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The husband of Sarah Palin telling a woman confronting him in
Iowa this week that his wife stopped being governor and started doing what
she`s doing now -- this is part of her new Iowa-specific campaign ad out
today, her husband Todd Palin said she started doing this and stopped being
governor so she could do this instead because she had a lot of bills to
pay. And that actually explains a lot.
Not just about Sarah Palin but about what everybody is doing in the
Republican presidential field right now. That is ahead.
MADDOW: This channel, MSNBC, was founded as a cable TV channel in
1996. But it was not until about 10 years into MSNBC`s life that this
channel really began to solidify its place in the market and really started
to take off.
In the interim years in that first decade, one of the things that
MSNBC did that people do not believe this company did, one of the things
that MSNBC did that seems patently impossible in retrospect but I know for
a fact that did indeed happen, one of the things MSNBC did in its first
decade, was it broadcast a TV show for 23 weeks that was called "Alan Keyes
is Making Sense."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
ALAN KEYES: Also, a reminder the chat room tonight is busier than the
court office at the court.
There are some other folks who believe that the mere fact that I
raised that question proves that I`m some kind of a nut.
Maureen, hold up. Maureen, stop there, please. Don`t talk over me.
Don`t talk over me.
We`ll cut your mike up if you don`t stop when I start.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Clips from "Alan Keyes is Making Sense." That`s the name of
If you have to insert in the name of the show the host is making
sense, it tells you something about what the people think the appeal of
that host might be. You will know that a new truth-telling but worried
overlord has taken over this network this show`s named gets changed to
"Rachel Maddow`s Blazers Sure Fit Good."
But it was "Alan Keyes is Making Sense" that I thought first thing
when Michele Bachmann did this on the campaign trail in Iowa this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Before we get
started, let`s all say happy birthday to Elvis Presley today. Happy
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Michele Bachmann said that not on Elvis Presley`s birthday,
but on the day that Elvis Presley died.
Then there was this from Michele Bachmann during a radio interview
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BACHMANN: What people recognize is that there`s a fear that the
United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China,
rise of India, rise of the Soviet Union.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Soviet Union.
You may also remember Michele Bachmann on the campaign trail saying
she was proud to be from Waterloo, Iowa, because that`s where John Wayne
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: Well, what I went them to know is just like John Wayne was
from Waterloo, Iowa, that`s the kind of spirit that I have too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The John Wayne is from Waterloo, Iowa is not John Wayne the
movie star, but rather John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer, executed in the
Michele Bachmann also earlier this year gave a shout-out to Lexington
and Concord for their work in the Revolutionary War. She did this while
she was in New Hampshire, not as a shout out to a neighborhood state or a
generic yea, New England, or an even more generic yea, America -- she did
it when she was in New Hampshire because she thought the Massachusetts
towns of Lexington and Concord actually were towns in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common
is our extreme love for liberty. You`re the state where the shot was heard
around the world at Lexington and Concord.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: No. You know, people make mistakes. I make mistake all the
time, constantly. Candidates make mistakes.
Candidates do not usually make this many mistakes, though. And here`s
the thing whether or not gaffes like this, repeated constant gaffes like
this from Michele Bachmann are important politically for her. Michele
Bachmann, as far as I can tell, like Alan Keyes, Michele Bachmann is making
sense. Her candidacy makes sense.
There`s a reason why more than a gadfly, less than a contender
conservative candidacies are an important part of the way Republicans run
for president. When Alan Keyes ran for president in the year 2001, one of
the concrete outcomes of that was him getting a TV show on the cables,
which not only paid him, of course, but also helped him maintain his
influence. He ran for president again in 2008 and runs for Senate every
time you turn around.
He even moved to Illinois at one point to run against Barack Obama for
Senate in 2004. Running for office is a career strategy for Alan Keyes.
Pat Robertson ran for president in 1998 when he was already a very
successful televangelist. Pat Robertson came in second at the Iowa
caucuses. He got lots of attention before parlaying all of that into all
sorts of ways to make money and maintain his influence, he even spoke at
the Republican Convention that year.
His television empire grew. Since then, he has published about a
dozen books, plus the thing about the diamond mine he owned with the
dictator in Liberia. Plus, he has his age-defying shake recipe that he
says allows him to leg press 2,000 pounds whenever he wants, even though
Like Alan Keyes, being more than a gadfly but less than a contender,
as a candidate a very good thing for Pat Robertson`s career.
It was also good for Mike Huckabee. Mike Huckabee won the Iowa
caucuses. Was he ever going to win the Republican nomination? Who cares,
when all was said and done, what he was, was a FOX News commentator with
his own show called "Huckabee" with Mike Huckabee. He`s published four
more books since his presidential run, plus audio books. He`s got his
history revisionist history DVDs for kids.
One of the reasons Mike Huckabee said he wasn`t going to run this time
is he said he`d be walking away from a pretty good income.
There is a reason that there is not a broad Democratic Party parallel
here. I mean, there are individual Democratic candidates here and there
who have tried to do the same thing, but the Republicans do this wholesale.
Every year, a lot of their candidates are following this path, and that`s
because the conservative movement that overlaps with, but is not the same
thing as the Republican Party, the conservative is in constant need of
conservative celebrities. They`ve created this market and they needed a
product to sell to that market.
Becoming a conservative media celebrity is really a remunerative
things, speaking tours, and the publications and the books clubs, and the
direct mail, and the giant TV network and smaller TV networks, and the
religious TV networks -- the conservative movement needs celebrities,
people who whether or not they have won political offices are famous for
They just need to be well known. They need name recognition. They
need to stay conservative headline grabbing things.
And a presidential campaign is a great platform to do that. It`s a
great place to build the brand, as they say.
Whether or not every twist and turn and mix up between the serial
killer and movie star is a newsworthy thing this year, I think that`s up to
the individual news agency to decide on about Michele Bachmann`s candidacy.
But whether or not the more than a gadfly, less than a contender
candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum and Herman Cain --
whether or not those folks stay in the race, that isn`t really a judgment
call, that isn`t really a mystery. That, like Alan Keyes, is making sense.
Joining us now is Chris Hayes, editor at large of "The Nation"
magazine and soon to be host of his own MSNBC weekend show starting next
month -- Chris, it is good to see you. Thanks for being here.
CHRIS HAYES, THE NATION: Thanks for being here.
I think all cable news hosts should be showed the clips from the "Alan
Keyes is Making Sense," in case anyone`s head starts too big that they have
a cable news show.
MADDOW: The title of the Alan Keyes show, the name of the show is
"Alan Keyes is Making Sense" is one of the most profound things to have
ever happened in cable news.
HAYES: It`s pretty sweet.
MADDOW: I was trying to think about the parallel. I mean, I went
with "Rachel Maddow`s Blazers Fit Well."
HAYES: Which is adorable and self-deprecating. I don`t know if it`s
MADDOW: You know, I was trying -- I mean, if you try to advance your
critics, their argument with the title of your show. I don`t know. It`s a
challenge to all of us.
All right. Are you going to be telling me I`m underestimating Michele
Bachmann at my peril in this campaign?
HAYES: Rachel, I really think you`re underestimating Michele Bachmann
Well, here`s what I think you`re underestimating. I do think you`re
underestimating the megalomania and self-delusion of people that run for
president of the United States. I mean, it`s unclear to me how self
conscious the strategy is. I think you`re exactly right about the broad
structure of the incentives and monetary -- intense monetary incentives for
people on the right who run for president, and the Sarah Palin phenomenon
itself sort of blew open the barriers.
But I do think, and it`s impossible to kind of get a sole X-ray, but I
do think her hearts of hearts, Michele Bachmann thinks she has a chance of
being the next president of the United States.
I think her husband probably thinks that and I think the small knit
circle of advisors around probably think that too. And I think all sorts
of people who have no chance of actually being presidents of the United
States manage to convince themselves that they will, in fact, be president
of the United States.
MADDOW: Why don`t we see -- and tell me if you disagree with the
premise, but I don`t think we see the same thing happening as much with
Democratic presidential candidates. I think there`s an odd here and there,
but I do feel like it happens wholesale with Republicans, and it really is
an odd thing when it happens with Democrats.
Do you think it`s true that there isn`t balance here on both sides?
HAYES: I think there`s an imbalance on the scale, and I think that`s
just largely about the fact that conservatism in America is a multi-billion
industry. I mean, self consciously conservative conservatism, there`s a
whole universe of platforms.
I mean, there are people, Rachel, who -- there are radio talk show
hosts that almost no one who is watching this program have heard of, who
have millions of people who listen to them every day. I mean, you can go
to the "New York Times" best seller list and see four or five right wing
authors on "New York Times" best seller list. Sometimes people I have
never heard of, and I sort of think about this and cover this for a living.
So, there is an entire universe and entire industry and it dwarves the
scale of whatever there is in the left. And this is not to say -- I mean,
look, I write for "The Nation" magazine. That`s how we make money, selling
subscriptions to liberals. There`s nothing wrong with it per se. It`s
just the size of it is so large. And also, I think there is a question, at
a certain point, whether people are doing this for the right reasons,
whether they are sort of ideological warriors or whether they are -- this
is essentially a racket and it becomes harder and harder to see the two
MADDOW: Whether or not, what it tells us about them as individual
candidates and the potential trajectory of them as candidates and what it
says about whether they are delusional people or good people, or bad
people, and all that, that is sort of the most personally interesting part
of it, but I think it also has a political impact. And I wonder if it
might be possible, even sort of informally just separate off, to hive off
the people who really are running just as a racket, just to build their
brand and get other jobs, to set them apart from the people who are really
running to be president, because the presence of the brand builders makes
the actual presidential context just that much more stupid and craven.
HAYES: I totally agree, yet what would be the hypothetical decision
procedure one could plausibly apply to the field to do that separation? I
mean, you know, Michele Bachmann is polling quite well, thank you very
There are -- I mean, there are certain candidates who were excluded
from the last stage in the last FOX News debate, Gary Johnson, who is a
very successful governor of New Mexico and Buddy Roemer, who we had on "THE
LAST WORD" last week, who is not only a governor of Louisiana, but he was a
congressman -- you know, people with credible records who are not on the
stage. I don`t think are running to be celebrities, but if you say well,
Herman Cain is just running for this reason, Herman Cain saying, no, I`m
running to be president of the United States, and I have the fundraising to
It`s very hard to think of how you would go about making that
separation, but I agree that it does produce a circus atmosphere for sure,
particularly in the early stages of the Republican primary.
MADDOW: Chris Hayes of MSNBC and "The Nation" magazine, obviously,
cleaning up. Thank you so much for your time.
HAYES: That`s right. Thank you, Rachel, mostly "The Nation." Yes.
MADDOW: Yes, I understand, filthy looker.
All right. It is Friday night, so we are especially grateful you`re
spending an hour watching this show, it`s Friday. But as our Friday
viewers know, right after we are done, it is the time for the show that is
about the prison, right?
But before we`re done on the show, we have a new story for you about
the show about the prison -- also about me, also about the Republican
governor of Florida. This is our whole show`s staff`s favorite story of
the day, if not the week, if not the month, coming up.
MADDOW: Historians, I have to ask you to take note here, this is I
believe a phrase never before spoken in the annals of the television
network or cable, "LOCKUP," Rick Scott, and me. Coming up.
MADDOW: There is a big bunch of news today in the big, underreported
change the country story of this year in the states that is the story of
Republican governors and legislators radically curtailing abortion rights.
In Arizona, as of today, women can no longer get abortion services
anywhere in the state except that two locations in the Phoenix area and one
location in the Tucson area. That`s it. Planned Parenthood had to cut all
their other services in the state of Arizona after an appeals court lifted
an injunction on a 2009 Arizona law that imposes new mandates on abortion
provider services and consent-based waiting periods.
De facto banning abortion news also tonight out of North Carolina
where a judge just stopped that state`s defunding of Planned Parenthood.
The Republican-led legislature in North Carolina stripped all state funding
of the organization and their budget this June. Planned Parenthood filed
the lawsuit against that decision. And a federal judge just ruled tonight
that funding must be continued until that lawsuit is decided.
Washington is not much noticing what is happening to abortion rights
in this country this year since comparatively not much of it has been
happening in Washington itself.
But I`m telling you -- 2011 will go down in history as the year where
we pulled back on abortion rights on America since Roe versus Wade.
ANNOUNCER: Due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is
MADDOW: We put the train in the prison. All right. "|Debunktion
Junction," the prison edition.
True or False? Florida Governor Rick Scott pulled the plug on a new
series of the MSNBC prison show "LOCKUP" in Florida because I teased him on
the air? Is that true or false?
False. The production team that makes the "LOCKUP" series recently
signed a $110,000 contract with the Florida Department of Corrections to
film inside the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution. Not Florida paying
"LOCKUP," but "LOCKUP" paying Florida to film in their prisons.
Florida`s Department of Corrections put out a big press release last
week touting the benefits of having "LOCKUP" come in. The head of the
department, Ed Bus (ph), who had worked with "LOCKUP" team in his previous
job as the head of the prisons in Indiana said, quote, "I have no qualms
about them coming into our prisons. I`m proud of our staff and how well
our facilities are run and I hope this will help Floridians understand the
challenges we face with our inmate population as well as the benefits
prison provided their communities through our programs and re-entry
efforts." Press release, all sounds good.
A few days later, the "LOCKUP" production team starts filming inside
the Santa Rosa correctional institution in Florida, and then suddenly, this
week, on Wednesday, Florida`s Republican Governor Rick Scott pulled the
plug on the whole project. His stated rationale, "The secretary of the
Department of Corrections did not have the authority to grant this contract
and failed to vet the contract with the governor`s executive staff before
Governor Scott`s spokesman adding, quote, "The feeling is it was
outside the scope of the Department of Correction`s purview to engage the
state in an entertainment related contract. Right now, the "LOCKUP"
contract is locked up. And I don`t know if it`s going to be unlocked.
It`s not going forward at this point." Word play.
In reporting on the canceled "LOCKUP" contract today, the "Bradenton
Herald" newspaper said this, quote, "It`s probably just a coincidence but
MSNBC`s liberal night-side anchor, Rachel Maddow, has been a persistent
critic of Scott and his policies."
Persistent critic. I prefer to think of it as principled pointer-
outer. But I understand.
And that is left us to either prove or debunk this that I`m why
Governor Rick Scott canceled this contract. He had to prove or debunk that
he is that thinned skinned.
So, we look into today. First, we learned that the Florida Department
of Corrections told the production company "LOCKUP" was not only the media
project that the state getting the heat (ph) from the governor. They said,
quote, "Other contracts were pulled, too. It wasn`t just yours."
What those other projects were, we do know. But it appears that
"LOCKUP" was not singled out, which suggests that I was not part of any
cause and effect situation in Florida.
And then, further tonight, Governor Rick Scott`s spokesperson e-mailed
us to our query, flatly denying even the suggestion that, ye oldie
primetime cable news needling led to the kibosh on the prison show in the
Sunshine State and Florida losing more than $100,000 in income.
The spokesperson said, quote, "We weren`t aware of any affiliation
with Maddow, not that it would have mattered. That would indeed be petty.
The contract was cancelled because the secretary of corrections did not
have the authority to sign it. It was entertainment related and outside
the scope of his agency."
There you have it. We had nothing to do with it. This is a full-on
debunktion provided you believe him.
And that concludes our allotted time on the network tonight. And now,
because Florida or no Florida, the show must go on. Now, as you know, it
is time for "LOCKUP." And this is how I watch it every week. I don`t want
to talk about it. Have a good night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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