'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, June 1, 2012
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Guest: Steve Bullock
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: All right. Happy Friday night to everybody at
home. I want to thank you for being with us.
In 2010, as you know, the midterm elections went red in a huge way.
Not just at the federal level but way more importantly than the Beltway
acknowledges, the country in 2010 really went red in the states.
Republicans gained hundreds and hundreds of seats in state legislatures
after the 2010 election. There were more Republican state legislatures in
the country than at any time since 1928.
And in majority of states, Republicans controlled majorities in the
state legislature. In 16 states, Republicans had the whole legislature and
the governorship. They had total control.
And right away, among this new class of Republican, it kind of seemed
like they were all pursuing the same agenda. There were slight variations
among the states, but they really seemed to be pursuing a lot of the same
things at the same time all at once. They wanted to make voting harder for
starters, with 180 bills trying to make voting harder just since the start
of last year.
Last year, they introduced 600 new bills to roll back abortion
rights. They enacted 92 of them. That was a record. They moved to give
tax dollars to businesses. Even in states that had big budget deficits and
couldn`t afford to be giving money to anybody, they found lots of money to
give business interests.
And after the red tide elections of 2010, new Republicans who seemed
to be acting in concert, doing all the same thing. They went after union
rights in a really big way. In Michigan and Tennessee and in Maine,
Republican governors with Republican legislatures just could not wait to go
after union rights in their states.
In the great states of Ohio, the FOX News personality and Wall Street
guy John Kasich, who is the new governor there, he put John Kasich stamp on
the anti-union agenda. In some other states, they would exclude cops and
firefighters when they went after union rights. That`s because cops and
firefighters are sympathetic figures. And so, who wants to alienate the
voting public by going after their rights.
But Ohio Republican governor John Kasich did not feel that way about
cops at least. Not at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Have you ever been stopped by policeman
who was an idiot? I had this idiot pulled me over on 315. Listen to this
story. He says to me, he says, he says, "You passed this emergency vehicle
on the side of the road, and you didn`t yield." He`s an idiot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Unlike some of his fellow Republicans in the class of 2010,
Ohio governor, had no qualms about going after cops and firefighters. He
didn`t think anybody would mind that.
When Ohio Republicans wrote their law to strip union rights in the
state, they included uniformed officers, too. They were also going to get
hit, just like everybody else. Now, the protests over this in Ohio weren`t
memorable. They were big protests.
But, you know, it`s interesting to be covering this at the time it
was happening. I mean, given what John Kasich was going and given how big
the protests were elsewhere in the country when all other Republican
governors were doing it, the protests in Ohio were big but they were not
I mean, in Michigan, people at the capital in Lansing said the
protests there over stripping union rights, those were the largest they had
ever seen in Lansing. The protests in Wisconsin were so big they shook the
whole country for months.
But while the protests in Ohio were significant, they were not
ginorma-mega-ultra big. I mean, the country did not stop to watch what was
happening in Ohio. While the protests were going on at the time, we kept
hearing from labor activists and Democrats on the ground in Ohio that the
reasons that the protests weren`t maybe as big as you might think they
would be, the reason they weren`t putting their resources into organizing
the largest possible protests is because they actually had something else
to do. They had another plan for reacting to the stripping of their union
I mean, thanks to Ohio law, people who supported union rights in that
state had another option besides protests. Ohio`s constitution let them
put the law that stripped union rights up for a citizens` recall, before
that law went into effect. Ohio Republicans did pass this law but union
rights were not stripped. There was a hold on it. The state`s union still
Ad in prepping for the recall of that law, the union could play a
role in organizing and funding and making their case against the new law.
They gathered thousands more signatures than they needed, they put the law
up for a vote. They did get out the vote efforts like nobody`s business
and in November Ohio went to the polls and they struck down that law by
more than 20 points.
So, what happened in Ohio is that Ohio Republicans tried to kill the
unions and they failed. In this year`s presidential election, Ohio is
going to be a swing state -- again like it always is -- but the Democratic
ground game will be in place with strong unions ready to help fund ads and
knock on doors and get out the vote, like they always have. Democrats`
greatest allies live in Ohio.
In Wisconsin, it has been a very different story. In Wisconsin, the
new Republican governor there, Scott Walker, and the new Republican
legislature there specifically didn`t include the law enforcement and
firefighters unions that had supported Scott Walker in the 2010 elections.
They carved those union rights of those workers out. That was nice for
them. But it also has the effect of splitting the opposition in terms of
people who liked union rights in the state of Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, the pushback to try to save union rights included, of
course, huge protests, huge protests -- mostly at the capital in Madison
and also all over the state. They went on for a very, very long time.
Also in Wisconsin, the minority Democrats in the Senate fought back
as hard as they could. They fled the state to deny the Republicans a
quorum. They kept Republicans from passing the union stripping bill for
three weeks while they remained in an undisclosed location that was not so
secretly, actually just Illinois.
But in the end, Republicans found way to jam this union stripping
bill through on just a few hours notice. They just declared it done. The
reaction in Wisconsin to what the Republicans did was electric. Protesters
stormed the capital, filled the rotunda in the dark of night.
Unlike in Ohio, supporters of union rights in Wisconsin didn`t have
the Ohio option. They did not have the option of stopping that law with a
recall. The way the Wisconsin state constitution is set up, they couldn`t
gather signatures and put the law on hold and put it up for statewide
recall before the state decided whether or not it would go into effect.
Instead in Wisconsin, they used the one option they had. They
decided to put the governor up for recall. That election, their attempt to
recall Governor Scott Walker is going to happen on Tuesday.
Here is the most important thing we have learned since this whole
fight started -- since this fight started with all of these Republican
governors winning in 2010, with all of these legislatures going red, with
the Beltway ignoring it because it was in the states and people only like
to cover stuff that happens in Washington, D.C., here is the most important
thing we have learned. Wisconsin`s law went into effect. It has served
the purpose the Republicans intended for it. They have succeeded in
effectively killing the unions in Wisconsin.
This shows union membership nation wide from the 1950s down to the
present. The decline you see has been driven by one factor, by
corporations getting their way, getting nonunion work forces in the private
sector. But even with this precipitous decline in union membership over
the decade, still nearly one in eight American workers belongs to a union.
And that`s because public sector unions have held on. They have
remained stable, even as membership in private unions has gone to the
floor. That public sector unions have remained relatively strong, has
really big implications for Americans who work for a living. I mean,
specifically for those that work as teachers and bus drivers and so on,
that makes a very big difference on whether those working people are
working for a living wage and have safety in their job that they want to
bargain for and all that stuff. But that also supports all working class
So, the strength of public sector unions have been important
economically in this country to people who have to work for a living. The
fact that unions still exist supports everybody`s wages and everybody`s
But the fact that public sector union still exists also has a very
blunt political implications. We`ve shown this chart a bunch of times on
this show. Every time we show this, we`ve got people saying, why don`t you
show that chart more often?
So, here it is, popular request. These were the heavy weights when
it came to outside spending in the 2010 election cycle. These were the 10
groups that spent the most money on the election that year. Six of the ten
spent big time on the right.
They spent on the Republican side. They were lead by the corporate-
funded U.S. Chamber of Commerce, far and away, the biggest spender in 2010.
Almost all of the groups spending on behalf of the Republicans in 2010 were
corporate-funded groups like that, business groups, right?
The only major spenders on the other side, the only major spenders in
behalf of Democrats in 2010 were unions. And that was it. They made up
only three of the top ten spenders. The only thing that Democrats had were
If you kill public sector unions in Wisconsin, you can kill unions
altogether in Wisconsin, and you can therefore kill this key source of
Democratic strength. It`s true around the country. They`re doing it in
In Wisconsin, Republicans set out to kill the unions and that`s what
is they have done. Look at this headline in "The Wall Street Journal".
Look at this, "Wisconsin unions see ranks drop ahead of recall vote."
It`s kind of stunning. Look at this -- this is the membership for
Wisconsin`s second largest union of public sector workers, AFSCME. This is
before the union stripping law. Here is that same union`s membership
We don`t have the stats on all the public unions in Wisconsin, but
what we have looks the same. This is the membership of the American
Federation of teachers in Wisconsin before the union-stripping law went
into effect and this is the membership now in the teachers union, a year
after Scott Walker`s law took effect. That`s what they have been able to
do in a year.
Now because they could not stop the implementing of this law, the
Democratic side in the Wisconsin recall effort doesn`t have the means to
compete politically that they usually have, the unions play a political
role to the extent that unions are going away, they can play less of a
political role. It`s a big reason why the Republican side has had a
spending advantage in this campaign that at times has reached 25 to 1 --
$25 on the Republican side for every single dollar on the Democratic side.
This recall election on Tuesday even so is really close. I mean,
Democrats might yet pull it off. They say that the ground game is key.
Who used to be best at the ground game? Unions.
Killing off the unions is what Republicans want to do in every state
of the country. That`s why Scott Walker is the poster boy for the
Republican Party this year.
Republicans understand that this is the way they can win, not just
now, not just in the current election cycle but forever. Republicans get
this, and they want it to happen in every state in the country.
Republicans get this.
Do Democrats get it? Do Democrats understand what`s at stake here?
Joining us now is my friend, Ed Schultz. He`s the host of "THE ED
SHOW" on MSNBC and he is somebody who definitely, definitely gets it.
Ed, thank you so much for spending part of your Friday night with me.
I really appreciate, man.
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, Rachel. I appreciate it very
MADDOW: How much does it matter for Democrats in Wisconsin that what
we know about union membership since this law went into effect shows that
unions have had their teeth knocked out? They`ve already been decimated.
How do you think that affects their chances in the recall next week?
SCHULTZ: Well, I think it`s certainly hindered their ground game a
bit. But there`s a mental aspect that goes with this right now, and that
is -- the people of Wisconsin have seen terrible cuts in education that
they are philosophically against. When I`m around the state, I hear it
time and time again. I hear it on the radio.
They don`t believe this is the right way to balance the budget. On
the other hand of it is, is what you pointed out, how they are chipping
away at the infrastructure of the voting bloc. They are chipping away at
the infrastructure of the social networking, the door to door, the boots on
the ground, because this is really the only thing the Democrats really have
when it comes to getting the vote out and fighting against all this money
that`s being thrown into Wisconsin.
Rachel, I think it`s fair to say that Scott Walker is a very
challenged candidate. He`s a very challenged when it comes to his
credibility and some of the things that have unfolded under his leadership.
I think the Republicans are sitting there thinking, you know, if we
can keep this guy in office, just think what we can do with good guys.
Just think what we can do when we have really good candidates that aren`t
in trouble, that aren`t under investigation.
And I think the Republicans and the corporate infrastructure is
making a lot of mistakes and also making a lot of gains in Wisconsin. This
is a template. They`re learning how to do this. And as they learn how to
do it, they are chipping away at the Democrat infrastructure.
That`s why from a mental standpoint for boots on the ground, this is
so important, because there may come a point when Democrats say no matter
what we do, we can`t fight this. That`s why this entire election cycle,
not only on Tuesday but through November is going to be vitally important
for this country.
MADDOW: Ed, part of the reason I wanted to talk to you about this is
specifically is because you are a national figure. You`ve got national
radio show. You`ve got your national television show. You`re talking to
people all over the country. You`re responsible for covering things all
over the country.
But you have been on Wisconsin, forgive the phrase, but you`ve been
on Wisconsin every single day relentlessly since this fight started,
covering it every single way that you can. And I wonder, from that dual
perch that you have, somebody who`s focusing on Wisconsin but talking to
people nationwide, you have a lot of great contacts with Democrats
nationwide, do you feel like Democrats realize why Wisconsin is important?
I mean, if Republicans get their way and they`re able to break the
unions in more states, does the Democratic Party understand how that`s
going to affect the party in every state in the country in swing states for
every year to come?
SCHULTZ: Oh, I think they do. I think liberals ands progressives in
this country understand the ramifications of not a good outcome on Tuesday.
I think they realize the importance of this. I think Democrats and
liberals understand the workings of what their up against.
And they`re frightened in many respects. They are afraid of what the
result is going to be. And we`ll find out if fear is a motivator.
But I think the Democrats in Wisconsin, in their heart, feel like
they have done everything they can to cover all the bases. It`s an
onslaught of commercials against information in a 16-month period. And
they feel confident if they can get their people out they will be able to
set example for the rest of the country to prove it can be done.
So, I think this is a pivotal moment. I`ve been on this story
because fundamentally, I knew what the Republicans were trying to do.
Fundamentally, I knew that this was the last great voting bloc that the
conservatives in this country wanted to take down. If they can get in
there and really put a big hole in the flood gate and open up the flood
gates, it`s going to be hard to turn around. It really is.
Eighty percent of union membership in this country is concentrated in
16 states. The Republicans feel there`s no better place to go than the
birthplace of unions to set the table and set the record straight for the
way they want to run the country and make it a right to work state. That
really is their mission, to make every state in the union a right to work
I do think in answering your question that Democrats in this country
get it. They are watching Wisconsin. This is a big development.
MADDOW: Yes, and there`s a reason that every Republican boldface
name in the country has been in Wisconsin taking Scott Walker`s side. They
not only want him to win the recall, they want to use the Scott Walker
template around the country to destroy the last vestiges of unionization in
this country and thereby run the table in every election that they can.
And you put the spotlight on that for Democrats more than anybody in
the country, man. So, I know you`re going to be there in the next few days
doing pretty intensive coverage. Thanks for staying up late on Friday and
helping me cover it tonight, Ed. I really appreciate it.
SCHULTZ: Thank you, Rachel. You`ve been on it as well. I think
this is vitally important for the country, no question about it. A real
turning point. Thank you.
MADDOW: Thanks, man. I appreciate it.
All right. You can catch a full hour of Ed every weeknight, of
course, right before this show, 8:00 Eastern on MSNBC. And as we head
toward the recall election on Tuesday night, Ed will be doing live shows in
Wisconsin, including big shows that are open to the public. You want to
check out the Ed Web site which we have linked to our blog tonight.
There`s not going to be anymore intensive and interesting coverage on that
story anywhere else in the country than right here with the Ed Schultz
All right. Even if Republicans do run the tables in Wisconsin, let`s
say they defeat Democrats in every recall election on Tuesday, I have to
say there`s something else going on in the battle of corporate control of
politics. One state is trying to do something about it in a way that has
gotten really no national attention but totally deserves it, and that`s
MADDOW: I mentioned a minute ago that every time we show this thing,
and we show it a lot, we get all sorts of feedback from people saying, why
don`t you show that more?
I got to tell you, we show it all the time and nobody else shows it
ever. But, apparently, it blows everybody`s minds when we show it. We`ll
keep showing it because it is true and it is kind of shocking. But maybe
if we show it the rest of the year, it will sink it. I don`t know.
What this shows is outside spending in the last election, the biggest
outside spenders in the last elections. And for the purposes of talking
about partisan politics and what`s happening in Wisconsin and what`s going
to happen in 2012, the important thing is that all of the biggest spending
on the Republican side is funded by corporations and all of the biggest
spenders on the Democratic side are all unions.
So, Republican getting rid of unions means they get to run the table.
If they kill unions, there will be no big outside spenders on elections
except the spenders who fund them. So, they win every election, every
state, every year forever.
It`s like if you were in a pinewood derby race and one year what you
decided to do in the off season was remove the other guy`s supply of wheels
for the rest of his life. So, yes, you`ll still have a race every year,
you and that other guy. You always race against it, it`s just that every
year from here on out, your car will have wheels and his will not. So, you
will win every year.
The wheel blockade in that analogy is a good investment for you. So,
that`s why the chart blows everybody`s mine, right? It shows the dynamic
at works when it comes to who is giving money.
You want to know who isn`t giving money? Who doesn`t factor into
this at all, who essentially makes no splash whatsoever in money in
politics? You. And by you I mean you my fellow individual human.
In an average midterm election, right -- so like at the time
corporations and unions are fighting it out to fund their favorite side in
the election, like they were in 2010, in an average midterm election,
midterms, right, in 2010, the proportion of human beings, individual
Americans choosing to give money to a political campaign is roughly 1
percent. That`s it.
So, if money decides what happens in politics, individual Americans,
99 percent of individual Americans are having no influence on politics
whatsoever. Why would you bother? I mean, in this election cycle, two
guys, two brothers who inherited an oil and chemical conglomerate from
their dad, they`ve said that the two of them alone are going to spend $400
million trying to defeat President Obama.
Well, we`re not dumb. I mean, if someone else is going to spend $400
million, why would you bother spending what you can afford? Five bucks or
50 bucks or even 500 bucks.
What it`s going to do. That`s not like messing with your opponent`s
pinewood derby car. That`s like running your pinewood derby car against a
Lamborghini. Why would you bother? You don`t go out to water the plants
in a rainstorm? You don`t do stuff that`s not going to make a difference.
As Republicans try to dismantle union rights state by state, in
Wisconsin, in Indiana, in Ohio, everywhere they can, they are eliminating
the Democrats abilities to keep up with them in big money politics.
Without the unions to compete with them, the corporations and the
Republicans the corporation supports will just run the table.
One way the Democrats and people who have to work for a living can
fight back against that is by fighting for union rights. So, trying to
recall Scott Walker and recalling John Kasich`s union stripping law in
Ohio, stuff like that. Trying to play defense and hold onto their ability
to compete when it comes to big money. That is the way to play defense on
The other way, though, is to play offense. To change the game so
it`s no longer just big money. So, it`s not just those big organizations
competing with each other but rather the 99 percent of Americans that are
on the sidelines now are off the sidelines and into the game.
Imagine if the system was set up that way, set up in a way that
regular humans contributions weren`t rendered all but meaningless by all of
the giant, corporate and billionaire money. Imagine that.
That`s not impossible. And no, I`m not drunk. We haven`t had an
early cocktail moment today. Maybe it`s possible. At least it`s more
possible than you might have heard.
Because have you heard about how Montana factors into all of this?
Montana might be one way out of this national disaster that we are in right
now with our politics. That`s next.
MADDOW: So the guy who is here for the interview tonight is somebody
has just been whacked by one of the rarest things in America today, he has
been hit upside the briefcase by something we were not sure existed in this
Our guest tonight is Steve Bullock and she just ran headlong into a
living example of bipartisanship. Who knew that still existed? Two U.S.
senators, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat, and John McCain, Republican, have
joined forces together across the aisle to both take Steve Bullock side in
case at the United States Supreme Court.
Steve Bullock is the attorney general for the great state of Montana.
And Montana has done something that just might offer the country a way out
of the mess we have gotten ourselves into in this past couple of years.
Before the Citizens United ruling a couple of years ago, almost half
of the states in the country had laws restricting corporate spending on
state elections. But when Citizens United removed the corporate ban on
federal election spending, the states followed. Every state reverted back
to the "Wild, Wild West" of rich guys and corporations just buying the
government they preferred. Every single state in the Union abandoned its
own corporate spending regulations after Citizens United except for one.
Except for Montana.
For 100 years, since 1912, Montana has had a law that limited how
much corporations could spend on state and local elections. It`s called
the Corrupt Practices Act. Back in the early 1900s, Montana was a mining
baron`s playground. Gazillionaire mine owners would spent $1,000 per voter
in order to try to win the election -- the elected officials that they
wanted. They sponsored parades and speeches and fireworks. They
distributed free cigars and free drinks. They gave out $5 bills to win
people`s loyalty and buy votes.
Montana thought this was a lousy system, and so they changed it.
They passed the Corrupt Practices Act in 1912. For 100 years, it has been
the law. And when Citizens United happened, Montana said it is still our
They said that was about federal elections. This is about us, our
state in Montana. We know our history and we are sticking with the law we
know we need.
Say hello to American Tradition Partnership, though. I know their
logo has a waterfall and some trees in it. But this is not an
It`s an anti-environmental conservative interest group that is not
based in Montana. They, in fact, sued the state of Montana saying the
Citizens United ruling made the Corrupt Practices Act invalid. It should
be struck down. They shouldn`t be allowed to stick to their old state law.
Citizens United meant that they can`t.
Montana`s attorney general, Steve Bullock, disagrees. He has
personally fought as attorney general to keep Montana`s election laws the
way they are, thank you very much. He`s fought it in district court and
then again in the state Supreme Court, and he has won. The Montana Supreme
Court sided with the state`s attorney general saying Montana has got its
own reason to hold on to its law. It`s history what the state has been
through justifies the state having tight restrictions on what corporations
can spend in the state`s elections.
I mean, after all, you were talking about a state where the average
state Senate candidate today spends $17,000 getting elected. That`s it.
That`s what Montana has been protecting with its restrictions on corporate
If the corporate spending limit is gone in Montana, and some big
corporation decides it wants to determine who sits in that Senate in the
state, 17 grand is going to get you nowhere. That`s going to change in a
So, does Montana get to keep its law? Does Montana get to be the one
toe-hold, the one ray of hope, the one place in the country that holds out
as this conservative majority on the Supreme Court tries to hand every
election in the country over to big money? What`s going to happen with
Montana wants to hold out. Are they going to hold out? We don`t
The fake environmental, water fall conservative group asked the court
to keep Montana from enforcing its law and hear the case. The Supreme
Court agreed to the stay. So, that means they temporarily suspended
Montana`s law. That means the 2012 election cycle is going to be the first
election in 100 years where the state can`t limit corporate expenditures.
But check this out -- the corporate also said this, quote, "Montana`s
experience, an experience elsewhere since this court`s Citizens United
decision makes it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent
expenditures by corporations do not give rise to the corruption -- excuse
me -- do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption." You
see these quotes there around, "do not give rise to corruption or the
appearance of corruption."
The justices who wrote the order there are quoting their own Citizens
United ruling. They are basically saying Montana`s experience proves, hey,
maybe we got that Citizens United case wrong.
That`s why people who pay attention to this stuff say that Montana`s
attorney general has a pretty good shot at chipping away at one of the most
reviled Supreme Court rulings in history. If this Supreme Court takes up
this case, Montana and now the 22 states who say they are on Montana`s side
in this, they could offer us our first glimmer of hope getting out of this
mess that they`re in if the court picks it up.
Joining us for the interview tonight is Steve Bullock. He is the
attorney general of the great state of Montana. He`s also a Democratic
candidate for governor in the state, running to succeed the current
governor, Democratic Brian Schweitzer.
Mr. Attorney General, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
It`s real pleasure to have you here.
STEVE BULLOCK, MONTANA ATTORNEY GENERAL: It`s great to be with you,
MADDOW: You are the expert on these things. You`re inside this
fight. I`m definitely just the observer. So, let me know if I got that
right in terms of explaining Montana`s law and what you think is at stake
BULLOCK: Yes, you did get that right.
It`s interesting. In 1906, a newspaper said the greatest living
issue that confront us today is whether the corporation shall control the
people or the people shall control the corporations. After that, we did
make some changes. We`ve had a history in Montana, the last 100 years,
where elections are noticeably different. And now, that`s jeopardized with
the Corrupt Practices Act being put on hold for now.
It`s also an opportunity to revisit the fundamental underpinnings of
what that Citizens United decision is.
MADDOW: In terms of that 100-year-old law being on ice essentially,
being stayed by the Supreme Court while they decide what to do, that means
that this election year, where you`re running for office, you`re running
for governor, is being run under different rules than Montana`s been used
to for a century. Have you noticed a difference? Can you see a difference
between past elections when corporate spending had a limit and now, when
you can`t limit it anymore?
BULLOCK: That`s right. In our primary is just actually next
Tuesday. We`ve seen spending in judicial races, supposed independent
expenditures in legislative races and the statewides. And we don`t know
who the wizard behind that curtain is that is making the expenditures. But
there`s a lot of them coming in and we can only expect more as we go
through these elections cycle.
MADDOW: Do you think that Montana is different from other states in
terms of how money can corrupt the Democratic process? Do you think that
Citizens United will have a similar affect all over the country or is there
something unique about how it`s going to affect Montana?
BULLOCK: Well, I do think it can have an impact all across the
country. Citizens United dealt with federal elections and the presidential
election. It doesn`t take a copper king to buy a $17,000 state legislative
race. And there`s a whole lot of difference offices -- county assessor,
local judges at the state level are elected. So, it really just the amount
of money and also the different offices that are up, you know, that can be
elected unlike the federal system, it can really impact all of it.
Now, I think that`s one of reasons why 22 states joined us. Those
are some very blue states but also some real red states saying let states
be the master of their own elections and decide how we want to make sure
that everybody can participate.
MADDOW: So many people who have an interest in politics for whatever
reason coming from whatever place, despair because of Citizens United.
Despair that regular humans can have any effect what`s going on in
elections because of this unlimited and unaccountable money that`s flowing
through the states.
I think that`s why people, as they are learning about the Montana
case, they`re learning about this case that you`re arguing, they`re sort of
grasping onto this as ray of hope as maybe a way out of this.
When you do talk to other attorneys general in other states, is it a
partisan thing? I mean, do people express the things you`re expressing
here regardless of ideology? Is this something that`s splitting
Republicans and Democrats in a way that we should better, just as regular
humans watching this happen?
BULLOCK: Well, that`s be it talking to my fellow attorneys general
or talking to folks, you know, across this whole state when I`m out either
working or campaigning. I don`t think it`s a partisan issue. It`s really
an issue about the integrity of our elections and whether people are going
to be able to participate and feel like their participation matters.
Montana has had really high levels of individual participation, voting,
things like that.
Everybody, be it in Montana or elsewhere, I think really feels that
could be jeopardized given the Citizens United decision. If it`s not
revisited and put some side boards on it.
MADDOW: Steve Bullock, the attorney general of Montana, Democratic
candidate for governor in the state -- thanks for joining us tonight for
the interview, sir. It`s good to have you here.
BULLOCK: Thanks for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: Now, if the Supreme Court does decide to hear that case,
it`s the one way Citizens United could be undermined. If the Supreme Court
does decide to hear that case, the oral arguments would likely be in
November. What else is going on in November 2012?
All right. So, right now in Washington, what is everybody working
on? Jobs, jobs, jobs. Kidding. That`s next.
MADDOW: We have an astrophysicist at the show. The phrase neener-
neener comes to mind because I`m not kidding. And how us having an
astrophysicist can help us all understand the most important political
thing that`s going to happen in the news next week is coming up on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are really tough numbers.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These job numbers are
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: These jobs numbers are
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Why don`t they pick
up the bills and pass them and help the American people, instead of playing
politics over there?
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Americans woke up to some gut check news. Unemployment rate
went up by a tenth of a point. It`s now 8.2 percent.
The economy did add new jobs this past month, but it added less than
half as many jobs as economists were expecting it to.
In terms of why this is happening, well, part of it is that
government jobs, public sector jobs continue to be the major drag on
unemployment. Every time somebody talks about shrinking government,
because they care about jobs, what they mean is they`re going to fire
somebody that works for the government. So, it means people lost their
jobs. We lost 13,000 government jobs in May.
The only reason we still added jobs overall is because of the private
sector -- private companies adding jobs but not enough.
But overall, take a look at the great Steve Benen`s famous job growth
chart, formerly known as the bikini graph. And you can see that job growth
is slowing down.
Yesterday morning, Politico.com reports that the Republican House
speaker, John Boehner, held a closed door meetings with Republicans in the
House. "Politico" quotes him as telling his caucus, quote, "Let`s call
bullpuckey, bullpuckey. This election is about jobs, jobs, jobs." Only he
didn`t say, bullpuckey, he said a word that also begins with bull and only
has two syllables and it`s one that I cannot repeat on basic cable.
But he says, jobs, jobs, jobs. Jobs are the agenda. Jobs are the
only issue that matters. Jobs are all we are working on. Jobs is our only
So says John Boehner to House Republicans yesterday. You want to
know what House Republicans did work on yesterday? Say it with me now,
Just a few hours after the big rousing jobs, jobs, jobs speech,
Republicans went to the House floor to work on what they work on, which is
yet another Republican anti-abortion bill. An anti-abortion bill they have
put on an expedited legislative fast-track to make sure they could bring it
to the floor. Because of that expedited process, the bill needed a two-
thirds majority to pass -- that did not happen. So, the bill failed.
Don`t let this make you think that Republicans are giving up their
laser like focus on jobs by which I mean abortion.
Ahead of yesterday`s big anti-abortion vote, that bill sponsor,
Republican Trent Franks of Arizona, told "The Hill" newspaper that
Republicans might, could, maybe bring the bill up again later, under
regular rules this time so it would only need a simple majority to pass.
In fact, he said yesterday`s defeat of the big Trent Franks anti-abortion
bill was all part of Republicans master plan to keep the whole focus of the
Congress on jobs by, which I mean abortion.
As reported in "The Washington Post" even before the vote yesterday,
Congressman Franks conceded in an interview that his anti-abortion measure
would probably fail, but he said, "I think we`re doing the right thing
strategically by forcing Democrats to vote against it."
So, we know it will fail but we like making Democrats vote on
abortion any way. It just feels good.
Also, it passes the time. Jobs, jobs, jobs. When Republicans took
over the House, H.R. 3, as in H.R. 3, as in right at the top of their
policymaking agenda was an anti-abortion bill.
Last year, with Republicans newly in charge, the House held more
votes on abortion bills than it had in a decade. This year, this election
year, this jobs, jobs, jobs election year, Republicans are introduced five
new, five more anti-abortion bills on top of what they did last year.
What is it that you were saying about bullpuckey, Mr. Speaker?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: Why don`t they pick up the bills and pass them and help the
American people instead of playing politics over there?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Why don`t they? Jobs, jobs, jobs. Excellent point, sir.
MADDOW: Halley`s comet. Halley`s comet Susan says -- Halley`s
comet. I`ve always said Halley. I`m going go with Halley -- Halley`s
If you`re old enough to remember your mom and dad hauling you out of
bed so you could squint at Halley`s comet in your pajamas or if you just
read about Halley`s comet in science class, then you have heard of Edmond
Halley, a British astronomer, famous for figuring that the long list of
people reporting over the centuries that they had seen a come, were not
actually all people seeing different comets. They were people seeing comet
as it came around again and again on a regular schedule. That he figured
out, he figured out that comet`s orbit, he figured out where the comet was
in space and when it would come around again. That is the idea that Edmond
Halley became famous for.
But he had bigger ideas even than that. Way back in 1716, same dude
realized that human beings were going to get an amazing chance, an amazing
chance to figure out where we are in space. We knew already that we were
on a planet and that our little planet went around the sun, but we could
not yet be sure about where we were in the sole oar system. We didn`t know
how far apart the planets were from each other, we didn`t how far we were
from the sun.
In 1716, in Edmond Halley`s lifetime, that part of life on earth was
still very much a mystery. Here`s what he figured out, the Venus -- the
planet Venus, second from the sun, a nearly twin planet to our own earth.
Every so often, the orbit of Venus and the orbit of us line up in
such a way that we can actually see Venus between us and the sun. We`re
third from the sun, Venus is second from the sun, and we can see it once in
a really, really rare while as it scoots between us and the sun that we
both go around.
Our boy Edmond Halley predicted that if we measured that, if we
counted how much of time it took for this movement of Venus across the sun,
which we can see, we could figure out how far we are from the sun and how
far we are from other planets and how far those other planets are from the
sun. We could figure out how big the whole kit and caboodle is. We could
calculate in a cosmic sense where we are, all from the transit of Venus,
that briefest transit across the giant sun of little itty-bitty Venus.
From such a little thing comes such a huge thing to know. How big
the universe that we`re in is, or at least our solar system.
The transit of Venus happens only rarely. Edmond Halley died without
ever seeing one, didn`t happen until half a century after he published his
theory. But his theory is right. The transit of Venus does teach us all
that stuff. And it is a rare event, the last time it happened before this
century was in the 1800s. But it is about to happen again.
And wince we are the kind of TV show that has a really friendly in-
house astrophysicist to explain all of this, we are all in luck. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUMMER ASH, IN-HOUSE ASTROPHYSICIST: So Venus transiting the sun is
going to look like that.
LAURA CONAWAY, TRMS PRODUCER: Like a little raisin or a tick.
ASH: Right. Tiny, tiny, tiny. You won`t be able to see this with
your eyes. You can see it with telescopes. You shouldn`t try to see it
with your naked eye ever. It will hunt you down and hurt you.
But Venus will actually kind of move across the disk of the sun, and
this is so cool because it only happens every 120-ish years.
It happened in 2004 so if you missed that, you really have to see it
again this year. And it`s not going to happen again until 2117.
CONAWAY: So Tuesdays is your big chance.
ASH: Tuesday is your big chance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Tuesday is your big chance. That`s Laura Conaway, our
producer here talking to the great Summer Ash, who is our in-house
astrophysicist friend. On our blog, on Maddow blog, we`re going to keep
you posted on our blog where you can watch the transit of Venus on Tuesday
without burning your eyes out of your sockets.
Of course, the fact it`s happening on Tuesday means it`s also
happening on the day of the Wisconsin recall election when with voters are
going to decide whether Republican Governor Scott Walker gets to finish out
his term after he stripped union rights in the state and thereby all but
wiped out the strongest unions in the state, which is all but wiped out the
only answer Democrats have to compete with the corporate money that funds
Republicans in elections.
Scott Walker has led the nation in losing jobs. He has scorched the
civility out of Wisconsin`s civic discourse. On Tuesday we`ll learn if he
faces electoral consequences now before his first term is up. Since what
he did in office is kind of a shock to those who voted on the election. He
didn`t run on any of the stuff he ended up doing.
The Scott Walker recall on Tuesday is the second most important
election in the country this year, before the presidential election. And
Democrats have been so dramatically outspent. It is going to be a really
hard election for them to pull off on Tuesday. We do not know what`s going
But, you know, that Walker recall is not the only recall election
that`s happening on Tuesday. Activists in Wisconsin also put four
Republican senators up for recall at the same time, for going along with
Scott Walker`s agenda. Each of those Senate races matters almost as much
as the one for Walker himself.
After a round of recalls last year and a resignation this year,
Wisconsin Republicans have lost their majority in the state Senate.
They`re at an even split with Democrats with one seat empty and one
Republican who sides with the Democrats on union issues. Scott Walker
couldn`t pass the union stripping thing in this chamber now if he had to do
And if Democrats win even one of the four Senate recalls on Tuesday,
they`re going to take back the Wisconsin Senate. They`re going to be able
to stop Scott Walker from doing anything else, even if he does remain
Wisconsin`s governor on Tuesday.
Here`s the thing about tiny little local races like Wisconsin`s
Senate recalls on Tuesday. We have almost no information about how those
races are going. If you look back at polling from mid-April, you`ll see
Republican incumbents with strong leads in every race, except for this one
in the district that includes the town of Racine.
This one, the race was almost tied. This is the same district where
the Democratic National Committee chairwoman this week told volunteers they
need to eat, sleep and breathe the recall to get the Democratic candidate
This is the same district where a group thought up by Karl Rove is
spending money to defend the Republican senator, this is the same district
where the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity group is going to
be ending their totally not about the recall/totally about the recall bus
tour of Wisconsin it they`re doing this week. They`re going to three of
the four senate districts that have the recalls with the grand finale in
A Republican`s one-party rule of the state hangs in the balance. The
political world is focused on the question of Scott Walker, waiting to see
whether he stays or goes as Wisconsin governor.
But the Senate races? Your guess is as good as anybody`s. It is an
exciting prospect for it Democrats who really can only gain here. If every
one of those Senate recalls go against them, they`re exactly where they are
now. But if one of them goes their way, they win a lot.
It`s a scary prospect for Republicans who really only have ground to
lose here. If everything goes their way, they stay where they`re at. They
lose one, they lose the Senate.
What`s going to happen in those little races in Tuesday is going to
tell us all a lot about what`s going to happen in the state of Wisconsin in
November. It`s going to tell us a lot about what`s going to happen to all
of these newly red states who went so radically red in 2010 from the tiny
little barely perceptible motion of these little Senate seats across the
sun on Tuesday, all of us political geeks will be able to calculate so, so
much about where our political world is right now and where we`re heading.
That does it for us tonight. We`re going to see you again on Monday
Until then, I hereby sentence you to several hours at least in NBC
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