'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, March 16, 2012
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Guests: Jan Schakowsky, Paul Rieckhoff, Lewis Black
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Ed, thank you very much. You know, if you are
worried how much green wearing tonight in your show, when they put your
show segments on the web, just have them PhotoShop your tie green.
ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: It`s amazing what we can do.
MADDOW: That`s right. Technology can help your luck.
SCHULTZ: Have a great weekend.
MADDOW: You too, Ed. Thank you.
And thanks to you at home for joining this hour.
This is what it`s like to be in Republican governance right now -- not
to be a Republican candidate for office, but to be a Republican governor
who is in office and responsible for making policy.
If you are, for example, Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas and you
governed the way that he has governed, signing into law some of the most
extreme anti-abortion measures in the country last year, with more on the
way this year -- if you are Sam Brownback, your Facebook page right now is
full of questions like this, quote, "Do you have a crossword puzzle book I
can have for in between pregnancies? Seeing I can`t do too much walking
around holding this aspirin between my knees."
Or this one, "Governor Brownback, I just need to ask one more
question, "Do you think it`s true that 100 percent of pregnancies in the
state of Kansas were caused by men? And if so, do you have a proposal to
deal with them? Thank you so much for your time and expertise."
How about this one? "Governor, I am currently four years in
perimenopause, what`s the best option for my husband to get sex from now
on? Since sex with me would be pointless. And he is, after all, still
ripe with untold millions of children that should not go to waste."
Or this one, "Governor Brownback, I have a rash on the back of my
hand. Please let me know when I can come or and you can look at it and re
describe medication for it. It`s very uncomfortable. Thank you. I look
forward to hearing from you."
Folks at BuzzFeed posted a round up of some of the best comments from
Governor Brownback`s Facebook page this week. These were some of my
favorites, but there are hundreds of others like this. And even those, the
ones up there still are just the ones the governor`s staff hasn`t deleted
yet, but they have been deleting as fast as they can.
Governor Brownback, however, is not alone in having a Facebook page
full of satire/protest, right now. Here`s Virginia Governor Bob ultrasound
McDonnell`s Facebook page. Quote, "Hi, Bob. I just wanted to let you know
what`s going on since you have been concerned about my reproductive organs.
This is day two of my period. So, sometimes soon, I need to report that an
egg was denied its right to achieve personhood. Is there a forum for that,
or a number I should call?"
How about this one? How does forcing women to have ultrasounds create
jobs? Or this one, "Mr. McDonnell, thank you for your deep and abiding
interest in the nether regions of America`s women. Is it safe to assume
that your office will be involved in GYN investigations of all women, or
will you be targeting only those in peak child-bearing years?"
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, he is dealing with the same
treatment. Quote, "So proud to have a governor willing to take over my
personal health-related decisions, not all women can be so lucky."
This is what it`s like to be a Republican governor right now, when you
have governed the way this year`s Republican governors have governed.
Governor Corbett of Pennsylvania woke up this week to the Democrats
sending out a blast e-mail petition about him. It said, quote, "If you`re
a woman who opposes mandatory ultrasounds, Republican Pennsylvania Governor
Tom Corbett has a suggestion for you. You just have to close your eyes.
Close your eyes? Does Governor Corbett have no shame?"
Does blankety blank have no shame? It`s like boiler-plate partisan
hyperbole, right? That was about no shame.
But, you know, Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, the governor seriously did
say that thing about closing your eyes, how you should close your eyes if
you don`t want to look at the screen that`s been forcibly positioned in
your sight line during a state-mandated medical procedure that he, Tom
Corbett, governor of Pennsylvania says you have to have. He wants to make
The forced ultrasound bill that has been kicking around the
Pennsylvania legislature is one of the most extreme in the country. It
includes language like that likely mandates transvaginal ultrasounds in
most cases, because of the time of pregnancy for most abortions and what
the ultrasound has by law to show.
The bill forces doctors to position the screen in front of a woman`s
sight line, while the procedure is being performed, and it requires a print
out of the image to be filed away in the woman`s medical records even if
she doesn`t want that.
This bill is stalled in Pennsylvania in part because the state medical
association is telling Republicans to butt out of the doctor`s office.
But since it stalled and not like on his desk or anything, he doesn`t
have to make decisions about it right now, Governor Tom Corbett of
Pennsylvania could jus avoid talking about this. But no, asked about the
bill this week, he just decided he was going to go for it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I wouldn`t change it. As long as
it`s not obtrusive, but we`re still waiting to see.
REPORTER: Not obtrusive? I mean, making them watch -- does that go
too far in your mind?
CORBETT: You got to make anybody watch? OK, you just have to close
your eyes. But as long as it`s exterior, not interior. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Ladies, ladies, relax. Men at work here. Don`t mind
Governor Tom Corbett`s state governor physically probing you against your
will and shoving a screen in your face, just close your eyes.
And there`s two things that are important here. First thing that`s
important here is that he says it`s not -- it`s external not internal. He
doesn`t know what to do with his hands for that one. But he`s wrong. It
would actually require transvaginal ultrasounds. Something else is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORBETT: But as long as it`s exterior, not interior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It is interior. The way the bill is written, it would
require vaginal probe ultrasounds for most women.
Republicans in Kansas -- it`s fascinating, we`re seeing people talk
about these ultrasounds, these ultrasound bills, as if none of them are
transvaginal ultrasound. Remember, that`s what they tried to say in
Virginia. Republicans tried to say that we`re not requiring that.
Democrats called them on it and the governor weighed in and said you
have to change this bill, but the Republicans keep explaining that they
don`t know what is in their bills. They`re not doctor. They are not OB-
GYNs. So, they tried to get detailed but it just shows the ignorance of
these medical procedures that they are mandating as politicians, which is
kind of the point.
Republicans in Kansas this week dropped their own twist on the forced
ultrasound -- a requirement doctors would be directed by the state to
employ a Doppler handheld fetal monitor on a patient even if it was against
the patient`s wishes and against a doctor`s medical judgment.
But guess what Kansas left in their new anti-abortion bill when they
passed it out of committee this week. They left in a script written by the
legislature that a doctor has to say to a patient, a script that includes
saying that abortion is linked to breast cancer.
Abortion is not linked to breast cancer. So says the American Cancer
Society and the National Cancer Institute. But why would you listen to
idiots like that when you can get your cancer information from Kansas City
Republican state representatives instead? They say there is a link. They
heard that somewhere.
And if and when they pass this bill and Sam Brownback signs it, in
Kansas, doctors will be violating the law if they don`t read their patients
seeking abortions a false medically in at accurate script written by the
state legislature. The justification for this, State Representative Joe
Patton says, quote, "We want women to be fully informed." Fully meaning
including the false information.
Oh, but wait, there`s more. Fully informing Kansas women not only
means lying to them about cancer, under law, you have to lie to them about
cancer. But it also means lying to women in order to trick them into doing
something the woman doesn`t want to do.
This is so strange. This new Kansas Republican bill would block you
from being able to sue your doctor, if your doctor lied to you about your
pregnancy. As long as your doctor lied to you about your pregnancy because
he or she thought that telling you the truth about your pregnancy might
make you want an abortion.
So, in Kansas, under a bill named designed to sound like they are
empowering Kansas women, it is now both mandatory for your doctor to lie to
you about one aspect of your future health and it is legally protected for
your doctor to lie to you about your current pregnancy. If you are a woman
and you are pregnant. The government knows best.
I don`t know why they say Republican policy would be so alienating to
women this year. Wow. The "It`s OK for your doctor to lie to you" bill is
actually picking up popularity among red states. In Oklahoma and in a few
other states, anti-abortion legislators have already made it legal for your
doctor to lie to you provided you are a woman and you`re pregnant, because
you can`t handle the truth, woman, you have to hand that over to the state
Arizona has an "it`s OK to lie to women" bill that passed the Arizona
state Senate, steaming its way through the Republican-led legislature en
route to Governor Jan Brewer`s desk.
Also, in Arizona, a Senate committee has approved along party lines,
obviously, a measure that the liberal blogs are calling the "tell your boss
why you`re on the pill" bill. And while that kind of sounds like a very
liberal bloggy thing to say, it quite accurately describes what this bill
does. This has already passed the Republican-led House in Arizona.
This blows my mind. The bill would permit employers to ask their
employees for proof of medical prescription if the employee seeks
contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes. So, Arizona Republicans are
going to make you tell your boss if you are having sex but you`re taking
precautions not to get pregnant. See what the boss says about that. It`s
the law. You have to say.
Over in Virginia, Democrats sent my friend, governor ultrasound, Bob
McDonnell, a letter this week, asking him if now that his state government
is forcing Virginia women to get ultrasounds they don`t want and don`t
need, would he please consider not also forcing them to pay for it?
Governor`s office said, no, we`re happy forcing this thing on women and
forcing women to pay for it at the same time.
Republicans in the Virginia legislature also had a chance this week to
not force Virginia women to pay for the ultrasounds that the Republicans
are forcing them to get. Republicans in the Virginia Senate also said no.
Bob McDonnell and Virginia Republicans really want women to pay for
the forced procedures themselves. And Bob McDonnell is actually very mad
about it. He`s mad about Democrats suggesting there`s something wrong with
forcing women to pay for something that they don`t want that the state is
His office is putting out a statement saying this was partisan and
petty. Statement ends with this, quote, "I hope they are having a good
You know, who wouldn`t be having a good time, governor ultrasound,
upon learning your governor has not only ordered you to have this medical
thing done to you, but he`s ordered you to pay for the privilege.
Governor McDonnell`s snippiness however, highlights his temperament
but also an interesting divide right now among Republicans on this issue.
Republicans in states are frankly just full steam right now on this stuff.
Women, the state is going to mandate ultrasounds for you. Your doctor
is going to lie to you by state order. You have to tell your boss in
detail about your sex life. It`s the law. You have to.
We are cutting off access to all that slutty birth control you want to
use. If you can think of it, they are doing it in Republican states.
But then at the national level and for state level politicians who
want to be thought of as guys on the national level -- hi, Governor
McDonnell -- the implications of how all this sounds to women may finally
be starting to scare them off, a little. Maybe.
"The New York Times" reporting that the anti-contraception bill, the
Blunt-Rubio bill, the Republicans were so fired up a few weeks ago, that
Scott Brown was going to run on in his race for reelection in the Senate in
Massachusetts, that the Republicans were going to see sail through the
House of Representatives which they control, that`s dead, at least for now.
Republicans have decided not to move on it.
Quote, "It has been kicked up to the leadership and they want a
cooling off period." Yes, I would imagine they do.
In analyzing the Republicans` new birth control back-pedaling,
"Talking Points Memo" brings us this bit of reporting today, quote, "One
GOP strategist pegged the problem to Rick Santorum, who has become a
national poster boy for right-wing views on women`s health."
Quote, "We have definitely failed to make the contraception fight in
an advantage. I think Debbie Downer being the primary guy out there
talking about this is part of why.
Debbie Downer is an adorable nickname for Rick Santorum but here, come
on. You guys may think this is a Rick Santorum problem, but you wish at
this point. This is in every red state in the country problem.
Even if Rick Santorum did not exist, God for bid, you would still have
to be trying to explain Bob McDonnell and Kansas forcing doctors to lie to
women about breast cancer and Arizona trying to force you to tell your boss
why you`re on the pill, or Pennsylvania and their forced vaginal probe
This is not a Rick Santorum problem. This is a Republican problem.
This might be the Republican problem of 2012.
Joining us is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.
Congresswoman Schakowsky, it`s great to see you. Thank you for being
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you, Rachel.
I have a great idea.
SCHAKOWSKY: I think every woman voter should be required to see these
13:00 of what you said before you vote. What do you think?
MADDOW: See, if I was -- this is why I`ll never run for office I
would be the kind of tyrannical governor, who would say that, yes, that`s
the law and I`m going to make you watch.
SCHAKOWSKY: But that it will be free. You won`t have to pay for it.
MADDOW: That`s fair enough. That`d be the moderate thing about me.
SCHAKOWSKY: That`s right.
MADDOW: In terms of what is happening with this in Washington, do you
think that at the federal level at least, and for state level Republicans
who have federal ambitions, do you think they are changing their mind about
this, that they`re having second thoughts?
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, I think they are certainly has been a backlash. I
don`t know if they`re getting e-mails quite as clever as some of the
governors you read from wonderful women who are writing those clever
things. But I definitely think that women have been expressing themselves
in no uncertain terms that they are not going to accept going back, they`re
not going to accept these ridiculous restrictions.
I mean, imagine the idea of having to tell your boss that you -- using
birth control not to control birth, but for some acceptable medical
condition it`s ridiculous. And so, people, women see on the horizon at the
federal level, too, that this may just be the beginning and we`ve got to
stop it right now. And Republicans are beginning to get a little scared.
MADDOW: It is really interesting, though, to see the divide between
Republicans in the states and the kind of I think Republican awakening that
you are hinting at there. Certainly that we`ve seen in terms of
Republicans backing off some of these issues in Congress. I mean, the Jan
Brewers and Bob McDonnells and Tom Corbetts of the world -- they are really
steaming ahead with this.
I mean, Sam Brownback said when he was asked about this current bill
that`s going through the legislature, if he would sign it and he said, I
haven`t read it, but I`m sure I will. I`m paraphrasing what he said. I
said that I would sign anything pro-life that got to my desk.
MADDOW: I wonder -- do they have a different calculus on these
SCHAKOWSKY: You know, for the moment, they do. But you`ve had on
your show and others have some of these wonderful state legislators, women,
who are speaking out and I think that what you see happening at the federal
level is going to catch up with these governors at the state level as well.
The absurdity of some of these proposals and laws now -- we have many
of them enacted in law. When women have to be subjected to these kinds of
non-medical, the suddenly we`ve got OB-GYN legislators telling doctors what
to do. I really do think there will be a backlash at the state level, too,
that`s going to -- I think unelect some of the legislators who have
proposed these crazy laws and I think the governors, too, will feel the
heat. I can`t imagine anything else.
MADDOW: I know that this morning I was told you were at a protest
with Planned Parenthood supporters outside of Mitt Romney`s campaign stop
in Rosemont, Illinois. What was that like?
SCHAKOWSKY: Yes. Well, that`s in my district, and we decided to help
greet the Romney supporters, if not Romney himself, we had the president of
Planned Parenthood of Illinois and myself, and about a dozen women holding
signs that says, "Keep your mitts off our birth control," and lots and lots
of media out there with us -- just to continue to send the message that
women are simply not going to go along with Mitt Romney who said that he`s
just going to stop funding -- what did he say?
He`s going to end Planned Parenthood, get rid of it, those were his
words. And just kind of a flip comment, oh, yes, we`re going to get rid of
it. Meaning, he was going to defund the $75 million, which is 0.002
percent of the federal budget from Planned Parenthood.
MADDOW: Heading in the Illinois primary, it has been strange to see
Mr. Romney trying to out-flank Rick Santorum on the right, saying Rick
Santorum is too liberal on the issues like reproductive rights and Mitt
Romney wants to be seen as more right wing than Rick Santorum on these
issues? What do you think that`s gong to do to the Illinois vote?
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, you know, the problem for Mitt is he needs to
double down on this, because in 2002, he actually sought the support of
Planned Parenthood, when he was running for governor. So I think he feels
like he needs to prove himself by even moving more to the right.
It will be very interesting to see, Rachel, how this plays out in
Illinois. We have a somewhat of an upstate/down state difference in the
voters. But the other thing about Illinoisans and Chicagoans is they like
authenticity. You know, we`re a pretty straightforward bunch here, and I`m
not sure if Mitt Romney, with the fakeness that he projects, it will be
attractive to the voters here.
MADDOW: Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois -- thank
you so much for your time tonight. I really appreciate it.
SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. Not all Friday nights are created equal. A candidate for
the all time single most ridiculous, hysterical, upside down paranoid
attack on the president of the United States we have yet seen from the
right is coming up.
Plus, the one and only Lewis Black is our special guest for the
Stay with us.
MADDOW: It is absolutely stupid that we live without an ozone lawyer.
We have men, we`ve got rockets, we`ve got saran wrap -- fix it.
That`s Lewis Black. He`s going to be here in the flesh coming up
MADDOW: The family of the U.S. soldier accused of Afghan civilians
past this weekend, mostly women and children, has hired an attorney to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s very close-knit very loving family. His wife
is an executive. She is an intelligent person. Kids are normal, no
domestic violence, no critical financial problems. I do know he had a
concussive head injury, that often brings on PTSD. I know that his two
tours in Iraq were horrific, and he saw people killed literally standing
next to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The Army staff sergeant who`s accused in this case has been
flown to the United States from Kuwait. His name ways made public this
But even before the release of his name, there has been a frenzy of
reporting about who he is and what about him might explain why he allegedly
did this horrific thing. The coverage of the incident has been intense in
this country, and it has been interestingly intensely focused on him as an
individual, his whereabouts after the crime.
He was airlifted out to Afghanistan and flown to Kuwait. Kuwaiti
reportedly flipped out that he was in Kuwait, so they flew him to United
States. He`s going to be at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
We have learned about his personal history, three deployments to Iraq,
this was the first to Afghanistan. He has spent 11 years in the Army.
He`s 38 years old, his wife, his two children, where he grew up.
We have learned about his injuries, his combat record. Unnamed
military officials are describing what about him specifically on this night
specifically might have led to this specific crime.
From the perspective of the American public learning about this crime
and trying to make sense of it for us is reflected by our media, it has
been all about the suspect as an individual.
In Afghanistan, it seems to have been almost exactly the opposite. In
Afghanistan, it not about what are the particulars of this one soldier that
made this happened. In Afghanistan, what has been seen about this crime is
not what is important about this one individual -- in Afghanistan, frankly,
they do not even believe that he acted as an individual.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN PRESIDENT: The story of the village elders
and the affected is entirely different. They believe it`s not possible for
one person to do that. In his family, in four rooms people were killed,
children and women were killed and then all brought together in one room
and then put on fire. That one man cannot do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: U.S. officials insist it was one man acting alone.
In the first reported pieces from the scene of the massacre, villagers
who survived described there being a helicopter and maybe other Americans
at the scene. Reporters talking to those witnesses right after this
happened, interpreted that as probably describing Americans who showed up
to investigate and respond after the incident happened.
But there was some initial confusion in witness statements about
whether this was a lone wolf incident. And that tiny smudge of fuzziness
has now become the whole story in Afghanistan.
This is what Americans do. This wasn`t just one rogue person. This
is what Americans are doing here. As Hamid Karzai put it, this is the end
of the rope.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARZAI: It is by all means the end of the rope here.
REPORTER: End of the rope in?
KARZAI: The end of the rope -- this form of activity, this behavior
cannot be tolerated. It`s past, past, past the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Of course, Americans also say this can`t be tolerated.
Since the massacre, Karzai has said that he wants American troops
withdrawn to bases and no longer essentially interacting with Afghan
civilians by next year. And that could logistically be feasible if the
United States decided to do that. That would essentially put U.S. troops
in the position U.S. troops were in Iraq in rough the last year of the Iraq
conflict, when they were still in country but mostly they were packing to
leave. They were still in danger but mostly, they are preparing to go --
mostly preparing a logistical exit, which is a big deal when you have been
there with that many people and that much material for a decade.
Now, anything that Hamid Karzai says should be taken with a giant
grain of salt. President Karzai, frankly, makes grand statements and pulls
them back, often makes very confrontational anti-American statements and
then pulls them back. He is seen as somewhat unpredictable and somewhat
untrustworthy by Americans with whom he negotiates, it`s thought as soon as
troops do leave Afghanistan, he may be overthrown.
So, his loyalties and his interests are complicated. But what is
perhaps more important here is not what he thinks or what he says. But
what Americans feel and what Americans are saying starting to say about the
war on the basis of this incident, in which we are mostly focused on the
individual alleged perpetrator.
We are focused on the soldier, this troop -- excuse me -- this
veteran. We are focused on the human cost of deployment in four combat
tours. The human cost brain injuries, of year 11 of combat in Afghanistan.
Accidents in which civilians have been killed have not changed
Americans views of whether or not this war should be fought and how much
more of it should be fought. But this incident in which civilians were
allegedly deliberately killed by an identifiable person who we want to know
as much as possible about, may be changing the course of the war forever.
Joining us is Paul Rieckhoff. He`s the founder and executive director
of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America -- Paul, thanks for being here.
PAUL RIECKHOFF, IAVA: My pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: Let me ask you if anything I just said seems to you, wrong or
off or if you think that -- does any of that rub you the wrong way?
RIECKHOFF: There is a lot in there.
RIECKHOFF: But I think what we have to understand is that it is an
incredibly complicated situation. It` a very emotional situation. It`s a
terrible situation, and it`s coming at an incredibly complicated time.
And so, what I and a lot of other veterans and military folks are
encouraging people, especially in the media to do is take a big deep
breath. Let`s think about this. Let`s understand the facts, let`s not
speculate, let`s not jump to stereotypes, because we`re still unpacking
this by the minute. News is coming in.
So, you know, I think it emphasizes a lot of cleavage that exists
between the military and our civilian population. It exaggerates a lot of
the differences between us and the Afghan people. But, right now, we don`t
know a lot of what`s happening.
We were encouraging people not to rush to stereotypes about our
troops, about our veterans, about the Afghans, and really unpack this
thing, because it`s going to be a short story. This is going to go on for
MADDOW: And you have been -- right out of the gate, you and IAVA,
were are very, very clear that there should not be stereotyping of Iraq and
Afghanistan veterans as if having served in these wars means you are
damaged or unstable in some way. Were you anticipating that people would
do that or do you see people doing that -- do you think it`s already
RIECKHOFF: It`s already happening. I mean, "The New York Daily
News" here a couple days ago had a headline that said, "Sergeant Psycho."
RIECKHOFF: You know, an incident like this folds into those pre-
existing stereotypes that this country has about a group of people they
generally don`t understand. So, we`re pushing back and saying, whoa, we
don`t know if he had a brain injury, we don`t know if this guy had PTSD,
and even if he did, that doesn`t excuse any of this, that doesn`t
necessarily explain any of this. You know, a lot of rampages have happened
in other places and you may never know what happened here.
And I think we have to understand, like the shooting in Fort Hood or
even what happened with Gabby Gifford, we may never know what happened.
And I think we have to go in the conversation at least thinking about that.
MADDOW: What do you think about the fact this is getting a lot of
people`s attention, that it is resonating. I mean, there`s a lot of
incidents in which -- and it`s not a good thing, in which Afghan civilians
are killed inadvertently and the United States apologizes and it wasn`t
what`s meant to happen, but it happened.
This one, because it appears to have been a deliberate act, and again,
we don`t know for sure, it has caught the nation`s attention. And it is
good to have the nation paying attention to the fact that we`re at war, but
does it worry this is the reason why?
RIECKHOFF: Yes. I mean, it`s about time everybody paid attention.
And it really needs to take this for people to understand what traumatic
brain injury is or what PTSD or that people are going for multiple tours.
I mean, I know guys who`ve done four and five tours. And they`ve come back
and they`re going to school, and they`re in jobs and they`re doing well.
You know, this is really unleashed a lot of attention around our
community. But did it really have to take something like this before
people realized how much are people are going through over there? Maybe
that is something that can start a bigger conversation. But in the
meantime, understand, this is not your average person. It`s a very small -
- you know, maybe only one person of a larger population of 2.3 million
people who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We`ve got to push back against those easy stereotypes that people are
sometimes jumping right into.
MADDOW: How do you toe the line between advocating for the real
concerns about PTSD and traumatic brain injury without encouraging
stereotyping? How do you -- how do you as an advocate make that case?
RIECKHOFF: I think you understand it. I mean, there are plenty of
people with traumatic brain injury. There`s a guy on our staff named Nick
Colgan (ph) who stood with the president because he`s been such a success
story. Bob Woodruff, you know, national media personality, has traumatic
brain injury, and he`s an incredible family man, doing great things.
You know, there is not necessarily a cause here. So, let`s understand
TBI, let`s understand PTSD, let`s understand ridiculous demands that we`re
putting on our troops and their family, and that can be a good thing there.
But let`s also separate all the other arguments and break them apart.
You do a great job of this. I mean, a couple of years ago, we were
calling it forgetastan. Everybody is talking about Afghanistan now and
that`s probably a good thing, but let`s make sure we don`t lump it in one
oversimplification for the media.
MADDOW: Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of Iraq and
Afghanistan Veteran of America nice to see you, my friend. Thanks a lot,
RIECKHOFF: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. It turns out that hoping for a less mean-spirited
and more generous society makes you a total jerk. It`s coming up.
MADDOW: It`s been just over a year since Governor Scott Walker
stripped union rights in that state. At the time, Republicans in the state
senate had a solid 19 to 14 majority. Then two Republican senators got
recalled from office for supporting the union stripping. That left the
Republicans with just one-vote margin in the Senate.
Now, four more Republican senators are up for recall. Those elections
will be in May or June, depending on primaries. But then, today, in a
surprise move, one of the four Republican senators up for recall resigned
from office effective right away.
So, now, Republicans no longer control the senate in Wisconsin. They
are down to even 16-16 split, and that`s with more Republican recalls still
to come including, possibly the governor himself.
MADDOW: It was all going too well. The economy was starting to get
back on its feet. The unemployment was coming down, the stock market was
hitting record levels, his opponents were slinging mud at each other on the
campaign trail in a particularly nasty way and it seemed to be sticking.
It was all going too well. Did you see what happened today? An old
quote from President Obama`s past has resurfaced and it could change
everything for this year`s presidential election. It is from 1990, Barack
Obama at the time a community organizer in Chicago. He gave an interview
published in a newspaper called "The Illinois Daily Herald," talking about
And a quote that he gave during that interview has sent the right wing
into all caps OMG, not LOL hysterics. They say this is the proof they have
been searching for four years that Barack Obama, obviously, hates America.
The 22-year-old quote appears to have been first posted this week by a
conservative blog called "Ironic Surrealism." But since then, it has
rocketed around the right wing blogosphere at ludicrous speed.
Look at the headline for that quote here, "Face it, he hates you.
Obama in 1990: we`re going to reshape mean-spirit and selfish America."
Or this one, "Young Obama at Harvard: transform mean-spirited
This one, "1990 Obama interview: America is mean-spirited."
This one, too, "Obama in 1990: America too mean-spirited on race."
Yes, you get the idea. This is awful for Obama, right? This quote, I
mean, they say it`s so bad -- this must be how you get bingo in a game of
Barack Obama hates America bingo.
Do you want to know the awful thing President Obama said 22 years ago
that`s ruining his chances for reelection?
Brace yourself. Ready? Quote, "Hopefully more and more people will
feel their story is part of the larger story of how we`re going to reshape
America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous."
Is this the smoking gun? Apparently, this is the smoking. As the
commentator Steven Struka (ph) noted at our "Maddow Blog" today: according
to the right, when America asks President Obama why should we vote for you?
President Obama can reply, well, off the top of my head, I saved the auto
industry and took out bin Laden. Well, yes, but you once said you wanted
people to be nicer to each other!
Seriously? This is what they`re all upset about? Yes, seriously,
this is what they`re all upset about. Wow. And actually, even though it
is the right wing blog world that is upset about this quote this week, the
FOX News Channel business thing, their business sub channel, was trumpeting
this quote as far back as November. They were using it as exhibit A for
why President Obama, according to them, lost independent voters.
Remember, this is the smoking again. He`s asked a question about
racial minorities and race relations in America and he responds by saying,
quote, "Hopefully, more and more people will begin to feel their story as
somehow part of this larger story of how we`re going to reshape America in
a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous."
That is what the right says proves how much Barack Obama hates
If you`re thinking that quote maybe reminds you of something else? It
may be this famous saying by America`s most famous communist,
authoritarian, radical, left wing, lesbian, jihadist, professor, Kenyan
(BEGIN VIDEO CLI)
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We`ve come far, but I think
we need a new harmony among the races in our country, and we`re on a
journey in a new century and we`ve got to leave that tired, old baggage of
Where is it written that we must act if we do not care, as if we`re
not moved? Well, I am moved. I want a kinder, gentler nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Kinder, gentler -- is he saying we are ungentle and unkind?
Remember how mad everybody was when George H.W. Bush showed how much
he hated America with the kinder, gentler nation stuff? That he hates
America outrage for George H.W. Bush was dwarfed only by the further
outrage when that radical son said basically the same thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: So today, I`m outlining the
next steps of welfare reform, the next actions we must take to build a more
just and generous nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Come on, why does America have to get more just and more
generous? We`re unjust now? We are un-generous now? Why are you trying
to change everything?
Why does George W. Bush hate America so much? Remember the outrage
against them? Remember the "Face it, America, he hates you" headlines
against the Bush family when they said stuff like that? Yes.
Maybe the great comedian Lewis Black remembers that. He`s here
tonight for the interview, that`s next.
MADDOW: Last night in the part of the show that we call the
interview, we were very lucky and excited to have Oklahoma Republican
Senator James Inhofe here. That was the interview and then some.
Tonight, we`re very luck y and excited and probably the exact opposite
direction, tonight, the one and only Lewis Black is here. His newest
comedy rant, "In God we rust" premiers tomorrow night in EPIX H.D.
Lewis Black, it`s very nice to have you here.
LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN: Thank you.
MADDOW: So, President Obama in 1990 said that he wanted to move --
wanted to work toward a world, country, that was less mean-spirited, and
more generous. The right says that means he hates America.
I think it sounds like I want a kinder and gentler America, which is
what George H.W. Bush said.
BLACK: That`s then. That language doesn`t apply anymore. That is a
different Republican Party because we have moved on, there is a new
Republican Party, and they seem to have -- that language doesn`t work for
It`s a new Republican Party. It`s -- there is a -- it`s like -- I
mean, I think of it like if you were in the communist party, toe the line,
here`s what they think, that`s the deal, screw him, that`s the deal, you
can`t -- are you going to use those words, or those words don`t work?
Whatever words he uses, don`t work for them.
MADDOW: But do you think we`re at the point some were some -- I mean,
I feel like it`s not that weird. It wouldn`t be that much of a joke for a
Republican candidate to come out and say, actually, we need a less gentle,
meaner country because we need to be because that`s what --
BLACK: Well, in a way, when Eric Cantor, he`s the one that really
gets to me. When Cantor said, we`re going to help -- we`re not sending
money to help Vermont after the hurricane --
MADDOW: Oh, yes.
BLACK: -- until we take, until we reduce the budget. That isn`t the
way we work. America works exactly -- you know, we kind of have to
remember that. You know, because even if the government forgets it,
whatever they do, when something horrible happens, all these people get in
their cars and drive there to help other people. It`s astonishing!
MADDOW: Do you feel like there is among the Republicans who are
trying -- I mean, the Republicans don`t have a leader for -- there hasn`t
been anybody since George W. Bush who`s emerged as the person who would
lead the Republicans. They had trouble with McCain, and anyway.
But isn`t there anybody that`s the id of the new Republican Party? As
you see it, when Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or one of these guys talks,
do you feel like, ah, he`s speaking for this new Republican Party, he is
the one who --
BLACK: There`s not -- there`s like this -- they`re speaking to -- I
don`t think either of them -- they`re speaking to the people that they
think really are kind of like the baseline. You know, it kind of started
with the Tea Party and that`s the drum beat. So, Newt kind of speaks to
them, and Santorum has always been on that kind of whatever it is he`s on,
that social issue thing, where you know, we have to toe -- you know, he`s
not -- you know, he wants a free America, but you`d better do what he says
The social conservative thing took a surprising step to the front of
the stage. Nobody thought this was going to be the economy election. But
even before the economy looked for sure like it was getting better, which
it kind of looks like now, they started talking about contraception and all
the abortion stuff that`s going on in the states. I mean, they are running
with this stuff like no time since Roe versus Wade. I don`t know why this
stuff has come up for them now.
I can`t -- the political calculus for why to run with this doesn`t
make sense. So, it`s got to be something else.
BLACK: I think it`s -- some people have acid flashbacks, and they`re
having a flashback to what they consider to be a better time before, before
everything got out of control, and people, you know, and women became
empowered. Now we`ve got -- you know, and what they`re doing, I mean, what
I don`t understand, and I think it`s a great thing, is they`re literally --
you know, there was the point that women reached, and now what they do is
up in the Pandora`s box again, ha, ha, ha, good luck now.
Good luck that you`re coming up with this stuff now? It`s like, we
can`t go back? It`s done with. This is stuff -- I`ve been through this
for the last 40 years of my life. We`re not doing it again. I`m not going
through this again.
MADDOW: Yes, so, how does this end, though? I mean, I keep thinking,
it`s over. They`ve woken up to fact that they`ve gone too far, but you
open up the paper, it`s a new thing every day. In Arizona, a new law on
its way to the governor that will force you to tell your boss what you`re
using contraception for, by state law.
MADDOW: This is an idea.
BLACK: It`s not passed.
MADDOW: Your job -- it`s passed one house of the legislature in
Arizona, it`s Republican controlled, and the other house, it`s a Republican
governor. Your boss has the right to know.
BLACK: Well, there maybe -- it`s possible there is a God in heaven
and they do pass it, and that building will be struck down. There will be
a thunderbolt. You can`t do that!
And how could -- imagine how many bosses really are going to do that.
BLACK: I mean, it`s not like -- people don`t care. They`re fighting
a wave that, it`s too bad. There`s more people kind of like want people to
do whatever they want to do, as long as you don`t bother them. That`s what
the country is based on.
That`s why we left the other neighborhood. That`s why there`s
immigration. It`s like, I can`t take this anymore, I`ve got to go
someplace where people aren`t going to bother me.
And now, they`ve started to bother people again.
MADDOW: You know what else this country`s built on? Cocktails. I`m
doing a cocktail moment at the end of the show today. Would you mind
having a cocktail with me?
BLACK: Oh, you have no idea.
MADDOW: Lewis Black. The cocktail moment is next.
I have to get ready. Hold on. Go wait. I have to go. I have to get
MADDOW: Boy, are we overdue for this! "Cocktail Moment." It`s
Friday, it`s St. Patrick`s Day Eve. It`s almost time for prisons, all
great reasons for a cocktail. In this case, with Irish whiskey because of
the whole St. Patrick`s things.
Lewis Black is here. We`re going to make a Cameron`s kick. You don`t
hate whiskey, do you?
BLACK: No, not after this week. No, I don`t hate whiskey.
MADDOW: I have a new rule now that I`m old, no spirits on school
BLACK: I agree with that.
MADDOW: Because I`m now old and I can`t process cocktail information
the next morning.
BLACK: But imagine there was that time when they just drank that
night and then woke up the next morning and started again. It did work!
BLACK: I`m sorry I missed that.
MADDOW: The three martini lunch thing. Like, I understand like the
golden age of drinking at work or whatever, but were all of those people
22, or was there just nothing of use done in the afternoon?
BLACK: Or they just, like, you know, plowed on through it and didn`t
-- you know, they kind of got through their work really quick.
MADDOW: Plowed being the operative term.
OK, so, what this is, Cameron`s kick, it`s an ounce of scotch, in
which case we`re using a nice P.D. scotch.
MADDOW: You can use whatever you want, depending whether you like
that smoky flavor.
And equal amount of Irish whiskey. In this case, we`re using Jameson,
which is delicious, and it`s because we`re on St. Patrick`s Day.
MADDOW: There`s an ounce each of both kinds of whiskey. Then you
want a half ounce of lemon juice and a half ounce of a crazy ingredient
that`s very hard to pronounce but is spelled o-r-g-e-a-t, orgeat, or
something French sounding. Anyway, it`s almond.
BLACK: Is it really?
MADDOW: Yes. It`s great, actually. It`s really, really good. It`s
the kind of thing -- you know, French people drink it as soda. They put a
glass of ice and they dump some stuff in there and soda water on top.
Anyway, it`s almondy. In this case, it`s all homemade, so it`s gooey.
BLACK: Ooh, nice.
MADDOW: Oops, I`ve gone over a little. I have to go back to -- oh,
there we go. There we go. And so, that gives it the sweetness, the lemon
gives it -- here`s scurvy. And then whiskey gives it the reason to live.
There aren`t very many good scotch cocktails. Do you drink scotch on
BLACK: I drink scotch on its own. It`s not -- it`s like, it`s not
cognac cocktails. It`s drinking liquors that just don`t work --
MADDOW: That are harder to mix than others. I don`t know, if you`re
into scotch at all -- let`s see.
MADDOW: This is from the "Savoy Cocktail Book", so it`s a classic.
MADDOW: And I think I`m running out of time, so I can`t get the rest
out of the shaker, so quick. And if I wasn`t running out of time, I`d put
an orange twist on it, but we`re out of time --
MADDOW: -- but we have to go to prison.
Cheers, Lewis Black.
MADDOW: Thank you for being here. Congratulations your new show.
BLACK: My pleasure. Thank you.
MADDOW: Details about Lewis` new show on Maddowblog.com.
It`s not bad.
BLACK: Is it good?
MADDOW: Yes, it worked. Yes!
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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