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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Thursday, June 21, 2012

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Jonathan Capehart; Nicolle Wallace

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you as well for joining us this hour.

Listen. In 1994 the year I graduated from college in the great state of
California where I`m from and where I went to college, the streets of
California for a while looked like this all over the state, massive,
massive protests. The state frankly torn apart that year by something
called prop 187. It was more or less the Arizona papers please laws of the

Proper 187 was a ballot initiative that essentially said that people who
were in California illegally, there as illegal immigrants, could not use
even basic social services. They could not go to the hospital, for
example. You could die on the streets instead. If you were a kid, you`d
be ripped out of school.

Prop 187 was supported by California`s thence Republican governor Pete
Wilson, and California voters passed it at the ballot box. And that
brought forth a long and loud and very, very, very emotional political

But it also brought forth some truly excellent political satire. A guy
calling himself Daniel D. Portato, like deport, get it, deportado? He
founded a fake political group called the HALTO. HALT, Hispanics Against
Liberal Takeover, and then just naturally put an O on the end of it. So,
if it is not halt, it`s halt-o.

The Daniel D. Portado character also founded a group called Hispanics for
Wilson as in California`s Republican governor, Pete Wilson, supporter of
the search grade school sport illegal children and toss them out on the
street flat.

The chairman of this group has Hispanics for Wilson was described as quote,
"formerly Governor Wilson`s top Latino official, his landscaper and
personal groomer." The group said they would support Republican governor
Pete Wilson in his anti-immigrant efforts by pledging to quote, "retrain
white collar workers and middle management in the agriculture, restaurant
and hotel maintenance arts once illegal immigrants are displaced from
highly sought after fields."

They said they would create self deportation centers which will encourage
all Hispanic residents of citizens regardless of citizenship that is,
especially their elderly relatives to return to their countries of origin.
The whole membership of the Hispanics for Wilson promises to voluntarily
leave the country when Governor Wilson wins the fall election.

Self-deportation centers. Again, this was a part of a fake press released
from a hysterical group. And it was dispatched to news organization during
the prop 187 fight in California back in 1990s. This was a Hispanic group.
They all pledged to never speak a word of Spanish again except for adios
amigo when they were self-deporting. They also did radio ads pushing the
self deportation jokes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Immigrants, are you tired of being push around in
America? Well, don`t on your serape. Do something about it. Join the
conservative political action group, HALTO, Hispanics Against Liberal take
over. Find the chairman of HALTO, Daniel D, Portado. What is self-
deportation, you ask? Think of it as a permanent vacation. Just imagine
in one easy step you could avoid all this crazy anti-immigrant harassment
in America. How? Self-deportation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Self-deportation us a trademark of Hispanics Against
Liberal Takeover. Subject agrees to voluntarily repatriate to native land
or Mexico whichever is nearest. All self-deportations are final. No
exchanges or refunds. Tickets are one way only.


MADDOW: Tickets are one way only. Subject agrees to voluntarily
repatriate to native land or Mexico whichever is nearest.

It`s political satire at its very best, right? And like all of the very
best political satire, it`s close enough to something that seems like a
perversion of the truth that some people actually didn`t get the joke like
for example California`s Republican governor Pete Wilson who was a specific
target of that satire. He did not get the jock.

In an interview with "The New York Times" columnist on this William
Sapphire in 1994, Mr. Wilson explained without irony that the goal of prop
187 was, in fact, self-deportation. You will self-deport. He used the
exact the phrase that was being used as satire without him without
understanding its satirical origins.

But the prop 187 episode was an important moment in Republican politics.
Not just because it was literally a moment of self-parody but important
about what it said about where the Republican Party was headed.

Now, there have always been nativists and anti-immigrant movements in the
United States. But, prop 187 was the start of the modern Republican Party
trying on super anti-immigrant policies for otherwise mainstream and
ambitious Republican p politicians. So, when George W. Bush tried to be a
Republican moderate on immigration, the reason he got no legislation passed
on the subject, he couldn`t through his own party, is because he ran up
against that other post-prop 187 Pete Wilson wing of his own party.

Pete Wilson himself was essentially lost to history and forgotten after his
role in the prop 187 cons-immigration in California, and for all the
fallout that it caused, for all that he did to rip the state apart and
drive this divide down the state`s population on the issue of immigration,
for the generations worth the damage that Pete Wilson did to the Republican
Party`s relations with Hispanics, ultimately prop 187 never went into
effect anyway, it was ruled unconstitutional.

Then Pete Wilson retired or something and became largely forgotten until,
until Mitt Romney dug him up. For his presidential campaign this year,
Mitt Romney went trolling through the dust bin of Republican history and lo
and behold he found Pete Wilson there.

Mr. Romney went and found Pete Wilson from whatever he`s doing now and
brought him on board as his special honoree California campaign chairman.
Mitt Romney also brought on board a man named Kris Kobach who is
essentially this year`s Pete Wilson in Republican problem.

Kris Kobach is the guy who even though he`s from Kansas, he`s the secretary
of state in Kansas, even though he`s not from Arizona, he`s responsible for
writing Arizona`s papers please law and anti-immigrant laws in the number
of other states. The papers please law in Arizona, of course, has torn
apart that state as well since it was first proposed and signed into law.
The papers please law is a lot poll which are we are now awaiting a Supreme
Court ruling on its constitutionality.

As that rule approaches, interesting Spanish language media in Arizona have
really pulled out all the stops. They have been winning long form no
commercial break broadcasts in Spanish in Arizona trying to prepare people
for that Supreme Court ruling and what it is going to mean for Latinos in
that state because that law has been so divisive and so emotional then.
That hugely controversial, hugely divisive legislation in Arizona,
constitutional or not, is seen by presidential candidate Mitt Romney, he
says, as a model for the nation.


seek them out and find them and arrest as Sheriff Arpaio advocates?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think you see a model in


MADDOW: We should have known from his snuggling up to Kris Kobach and
dragging Pete Wilson out of the past that he was going to do this. But
Mitt Romney, I think, still sort of surprised some people when he
positioned himself in the Republican primary this year as the most anti-
immigrant of all the primary contenders. He was like this year`s Tom


ROMNEY: The question is, if I were elected and Congress would have passed
the dream act, would I veto it? And the answer is, yes.

KING: Should there be aggressive, seek them out and find them and arrest
them as Sheriff Arpaio advocates?

ROMNEY: You know, I think you see a model here in Arizona. We hired a
lawn company to mow our lawn, and they had illegal immigrants working
there. And when that was pointed out to us, we let them go. We went to
the company and we said, look, you can`t have any illegals working on our
property. I`m running for office for Pete`s sake. I can`t have illegals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you say don`t want to round up people and deport
them, but you also say you have to go back to home countries and then apply
for citizenship. So, if you don`t deport them, how to you send them home?

ROMNEY: Well, the answer is self-deportation.


MADDOW: Self-deportation invented by brilliant Latino satirists in
California making fun of anti-immigrant Republicans, now being embraced
apparently completely without irony by anti-immigrant Republicans. Pete
Wilson was that guy in the 1990s. Mitt Romney is that guy right now.

And as we await the Supreme Court ruling on the papers please law, which
Romney says should be a model for the nation, Mr. Romney today spoke before
a Latino political group about what it is like to run for president as the
son of Mexican immigrants.


ROMNEY: Throughout my campaign I`ve often had the chance to speak about my
dad, and how proud I am of him. He was born as God he said to parents,
American parents living in Mexico. When he was five, they left everything
behind and started over in the United States. His dad, my grandfather, was
a builder, and he went bust more than once.

My grandfather didn`t make much money. There were times in my dad`s life
when he lived in poverty. But my grandfather had big hopes for my dad and
tried to help him as best he could. My dad didn`t finish college, but he
believed in the country where the circumstances of one`s birth were not a
barrier to achievement.


MADDOW: And by these circumstances of one`s birth, what Mitt Romney means,
at least when he is speaking to a Latino audience, is that his people come
from Mexico. Substantively though, in Mr. Romney`s speech today he still
would not say whether or not he agrees with the new policy that President
Obama just initiated which allows people brought here as kids to get work
permits to be able to stay here and work here legally.

Republicans have been sort of are tied up in knots in terms to trying to
figure out how to respond since the president announced that policy change
on Friday. Republicans seem to have settled at least for now on
criticizing the president, not for the policy itself, but for having done
it himself as president instead of asking Congress to do it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s disappointing that President Obama even though he
had a democratic Congress for the first two years of administration
promised the country and particularly the hiss pang community he would
enact comprehensive immigration reform. He didn`t do it when he had the
chance and now at 11th hour, he come us up with the executive order.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Was there any attempts to
work with the Congress? No, there was none. And the point is, is that we
have to do a comprehensive immigration reform plan.


MADDOW: That`s exactly wrong. That`s exactly opposite to what really
happened. I mean, the Republicans are trying to say here, or at least
trying to avoid saying whether they agree with the president`s policy.
They`re just saying he should have done it through congress, and never
tried to do it through congress. That`s exactly wrong.

When Democrats controlled both houses of congress, they actually passed the
dream act. That`s Nancy Pelosi when the Democrats controlled the house
passing the dream acts with a big smile on her face because she`s happy
because it was a democratic idea and President Obama supported it and most
of the Democrats cheering. They passed it in the House, then it went to
the Senate, and Democrats were, in fact, in control of the Senate.

And they passed -- sort of passed the dream act there, too, in the sense
they got 55 votes for it, which ought to be five more votes than you need
to pass something in a majority rules body. The reason it didn`t actually
pass through the Senate and become law is because Republicans filibuster it
even though Democrats had a majority.

Republicans blocked Democrats from passing the dream act with the majority
she had, even though Democrats had lined up 55 votes. So, Republicans are
saying it`s an outrage that President Obama never tried to take this
through congress. They make it sound like they wanted something like this
to go through congress. They`ve been waiting for the opportunity.
Republicans did not want that. Democrats went for it and Republicans
stopped it from going through congress.

And so, now, President Obama found a way to get it done anyway. President
Obama, himself, will tomorrow be addressing that same Latino political
group that Mitt Romney addressed today. He has the disadvantage, of
course, of not himself being a son of a Mexican immigrant, but he has the
distinct advantage of having a specific, observable policy on this issue.
And of not having an alliance with the most virulently anti-immigrant
elements of modern Republican politics hanging around his neck like

Johns us now is Jonathan Capehart. He is an opinion writer for "the
Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor.

Jonathan, it`s nice to have you here. Thanks for being here.


MADDOW: Let me ask you about the Republican history on these matters.
Republicans Senator Orrin Hatch was an original sponsor of the dream act.
When it goes up for a vote in the Senate, he skipped out. He did not vote
on it at all.

Is Orrin Hatch kind of a parable or microcosm for understanding Republican
politics on this now?

CAPEHART: Republican politics on this now today. Remember, when President
Obama was elected when he was on inauguration day, Republicans were already
meeting and discussing how they were going to make Barack Obama a one-term

If you look back at the history of things that the president has tried to
do, adopting some Republican ideas adopting some Republican plans and
plenty of complaints about the president bending over backwards to work
with Republicans to get things done only to have sand kicked in his face
time and time again for trying to reach out it to Republicans to get things
done. Republicans just decided that if we were for it before Barack Obama
but Barack Obama wants to work with us on it, then we`re going to oppose
Barack Obama on whatever it is he wants to work with us on.

You know, Rachel, it in May of 2010 Lindsey Graham put out a statement
criticizing the president for reaching out to Republicans, other
Republicans other than him, to work on an immigration reform plan. And
that had befuddled the White House because they were doing this because
Lindsey Graham urged them to work on immigration reform in a bipartisan

So, this is part of the GOP amnesia on immigration reform and dream act in
particular that is just unbelievable in just how boldly and boldly they are
trying to sort of erase people`s memories of history.

MADDOW: Jonathan, you writing about that Lindsey Graham episode from a
couple of years ago today, was the reason I wanted to talk to you about
this today. Because it does seem --it`s the exact opposite of what`s going
on right now. What Lindsey Graham was saying at the time was how dare you
reach out and try to start a conversation with Republicans on this. You
know it can go nowhere.

CAPEHART: You are right.

MADDOW: Now, you have John Boehner, Marco Rubio, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt
Romney, all of them saying how dare you go forward on this without coming
to us? As if we were willing to do something on this.

I think the substantive question here is, is it possible that these
politics actually are going to make Republicans want to do something on
immigration, or is this a pure bluff?

CAPEHART: Look, who knows. I mean, the idea we can predict what
Republicans are going to do on a substantive matter, particularly on this,
is, you know, I don`t want to really go there.

But look, the Republicans are in a bind and particularly Mitt Romney is in
a bind. He was supposed to at this point now being the presumptive nominee
of the Republican party was supposed to be pivoting to the center, moving
to the center, etch-a-sketching his way to the center if you will on a
whole host of issues, immigration being one of them.

But the idea that on last Friday the president does his dream act maneuver.
Two days later Mitt Romney goes on face the nation and is asked five times
by Bob Schieffer whether he thinks the president did the right thing. Mitt
Romney doesn`t answer. He doesn`t give a concrete, clear, focused answer.

So folks figured well, on Thursday, he`s speaking to (INAUDIBLE). Surely
he`s going to talk to Latino elected officials and tell them definitively
where he stands on this issue. And last I checked, he may have mentioned
it, but he did not say specifically where he agreed with the president,
what he would do differently, whether he would keep it.

To this day we don`t know exactly where Mitt Romney is on what the
president did, and if you remember a couple of days ago, Senate minority
leader Mitch McConnell, when he was asked about this, he said, well, you
know, I think Mitt Romney is going to tell us where we could be on this
issue on Thursday when he speaks to Nalao (ph). I think Mitch McConnell is
probably so wondering what they are supposed to think about this.

MADDOW: I think they are just hoping for this issue to go away again so
they that they stop getting pressures for an answer on it. But lots to see
it as it evolves in coming days.

Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for the Washington Post, MSNBC

Jonathan, thank you for being with us.

CAPEHART: Thank you so much, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. Gun owners, are you a gun owner? Has President Obama
come to your house to personally pry your firearms out of your fingers yet?
The latest on the metastasizing cooking right wing conspiracy series that
is now the operational lodge logic on one-half of the partisan divide in
our great country and the efforts to make you believe it. That`s next.


MADDOW: Wednesday, July 1st, 2010 was a very big day for the Obama
administration. President Obama that day signed into law one of the
signature achievements of his entire presidency. It was just four months
after signing health reform into law, but the new president put pen to
paper once again and he signed into law, Wall Street reform.

Two years after Wall Street imploded and nearly took the rest of us down
with them, President Obama and Democrats p in Congress finally brought some
rules back to a banking industry that had run amuck.

After signing the bill into law, the president announced to those in
attendance, it`s done.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010, a huge day for the Obama administration. A
bill like that is the kind of thing presidencies are made of, and this is
right here is how "NBC Nightly News" opened its show on that historic


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From NBC news world headquarters in New York, this is
"NBC Nightly News" with Brian Williams.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening. A short time ago
in Washington, the secretary of agriculture entered a press conference and
apologized to a low level employee who he had fired after a short piece of
video came out that hardly told the full story.


MADDOW: On the day that President Obama signed Wall Street reform into
law. The news media, as well as the Obama administration, were consumed
entirely by something entirely else. Shirley Sherrod. Remember the
Shirley Sherrod scandal?

Shirley Sherrod was an agriculture department employee who was thrust into
the spotlight after a highly selectively clip on her was posted online by a
conservative Web site. That clip was then played on a constant loop on FOX
News and on conservative blogs. The clip appeared to show an African-
American government official admits to denying assistance to white farmers.
The clip made it seem like the government was employing an openly proud
reverse racist, an anti-white people bigot.

While the rest of the news media was covering, you know, news, FOX News and
right wing blogs and right wing talk radio were running with this story
like it was Watergate on steroids.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news tonight about an agriculture department
official caught on tape making racially charged comments to NAACP audience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that is simply unacceptable and Miss Sherrod must
resign immediately. The federal government cannot have skin-colored
deciding any assistance.


MADDOW: That wasn`t just FOX News on television. It was also FOX News
online proclaiming that this is racism plain and simple. This is a big
story. Why isn`t the rest of the news media paying attention?

Around the same time the rest of the news media did start paying attention
to what was happening over on FOX, the Obama administration also perked up
and reportedly pressured Shirley Sherrod to resign before her story
appeared on Glenn Beck`s FOX News show that night. And Shirley Sherrod did
resigned almost immediately. And by now, you know how this story ends,

All of the non-FOX News outlets who ran with the deceptively edited video
that have been looped endlessly on FOX ended up very, very, very sorry that
they did so.

She was not a racist. She had not denied anyone to anything on the basis
of their skin color. She was talking about racism. She was not being a
racist herself. But because of a made-up crusade on a right wing Web site,
they got broadcast on FOX News and that somehow got treated credibly by
other media and then by the Obama administration, a life-long public
servant had her career destroyed. And one of the Obama administration`s
signature achievements got totally drowned out as they were ultimately
forced to apologize for being suckered into the whole mess.

The great FOX News conspiracy about Shirley Sherrod, the racist, that
nobody else was covering, was, in fact, a paranoid delusion of the
conservative movement and the conservative media machine.

And so now, we find ourselves, a couple years later, facing another test
for the news media. Do you take the bait again? Do you follow the latest
FOX News conspiracy theory?


REP. JOHN MICA (R), FLORIDA: People forget how all this started. This
administration is a gun control administration. They tried to put the
violence in Mexico on the blame of the United States so they concocted this
scheme in actually sending our federal agents sending guns down there and
trying to cook some little deal to say that we`ve got to get more guns
under control. That`s how this all started.


MADDOW: That was Republican congressman John Mica of Florida on FOX News,
obviously, advancing the latest conspiracy theory on the right about this
thing you might have heard of called Fast and Furious. We talked about it
on the show last night.

And again, if you`re unfamiliar with the Fast and Furious thing you are
forgiven. Fast and Furious refers to a law enforcement strategy that
started during the Bush administration. It was a program to let sketchy
gun sales go through in hopes of following the guns across the border could
lead the ATF to Mexican drug king Pens so they can arrest.

The idea was born in the George W. Bush administration. It was an
ultimately viewed failure. The Obama administration shut it down. But on
the right, on FOX News, this whole thing was actually a secret plot by the
Obama administration to create gun violence in Mexico.

So, they wanted that for a political reason because having lots of gun
violence in Mexico would make people feel bad about gun violence and
stirring up anti-gun feelings in this country would allow the Obama
administration to enacts their ultimate plan which is to eliminate the
second amendment and take away everybody`s guns.

And if you think that is freaking cuckoo for cocoa puffs, then you probably
will not be surprise to learn that this grams cocoa mini conspiracy theory
appears to have originated from this militia blogger guy from Alabama, the
same guy incidentally who incited conservatives to break the windows of
Democratic party offices around the country during the end of the health
reform fight.

While the rest of the country was focused on, you know, news and stuff,
this militia blogger dude promulgated the idea in the conservative econ
chamber that the Obama administration was allowing bad gun sales as a
secret plot to destroy the second amendment. He started getting cited on as an authority on the Fast and Furious investigation. He was
identified as an online journalist on FOX News television in their coverage
of this scandal. And this whacky conspiracy theory is what the whole Fast
and Furious thing is all about.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK RADIO HOST: The whole point, don`t forget, the whole
point of Fast and Furious was to create mayhem in Mexico among drug cartels
with American-made weapons easily procured so you and I would stand up in
outrage and demand tighter gun laws.

It was deceitful. It was sneaky. It was going against the will of the
American people. It was liberalism on parade. It`s who these people are.
They want tighter gun laws.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Who are they thinking of? Could it be
what they were thinking of was, in fact, to use this walking of guns in
order to promote an assault weapons ban? Many think so, and they haven`t
come up with an explanation that would causes us not to agree.

REP. TED POE (R), TEXAS: Rather than investigation in dangerous operation,
the federal government is doing what it does best, creating gun control
regulations to solve a problem it created.


MADDOW: This is not some weird, boggy offshoot of what the Fast and
Furious scandal is. This is what the Fast and Furious scandal is. This is
it. It is a conspiracy theory on the right that President Obama is
secretly trying to take away all your guns. That`s what it was. They
created this program was actually started by George W. Bush as a means of
upsetting people about gun violence and their abolishing the second

If you watch FOX News, as your source of information, you marinate daily in
conservative media and that is your source of information about the world.
This has been drilled into your head over and over and over again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were the guns actually out there because the guy is
against second amendment and would like more gun roll in the country.

KATIE PAVLICH, AUTHOR, FAST AND FURIOUS: The political agenda behind this
entire thing was to blame American gun shops for cartel environments in
America in order to push one and more regulations on this country.

WILLIAM LA JEUNESSE, LOS ANGELES: The president told Mexican TV Fast and
Furious was a mistake, some say it was innocent, others believe it was
allowed to happen to justify tougher gun laws in the U.S.


MADDOW: Others believe it was justified. Others are - others. Just like
with the Shirley Sherrod story. FOX News has been very upset that they
haven`t yet been able to bait the rest of the real media into following
this crazy conspiracy theory of theirs yet, and they are starting to
overtly bait the mainstream media into covering it and they are starting to
lash out and blame people who do not cover it yet.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: "NBC Nightly News" is playing some
serious catch-up, because the network news show has only mentioned the
failed gun tracking program, "Fast and Furious," once for a few seconds
since the scandal broke last year.

Keep in mind Attorney General Holder has testified before Congress no less
than nine times.


MADDOW: That was a host named Bret Baier on FOX News last night. He`s
supposedly one of the straight news, no opinion anchors on FOX. That`s the
same Bret Baier incidentally whose news program has been identified the
militia-blogger guy, the throw-bricks-through-their-windows guy whose
conspiracy theory this is. He`s been identifying him as an online
journalist helping out with their coverage of the "Fast and Furious"

This is a test. This is a test. We have been here before. We know how
this ends.

News media of America, you are getting baited to cover this story that FOX
and the right have cooked up in their own special cockamamie marinade for
more than a year now. Are you going to swallow this one, too?


MADDOW: Something weird happens once, it is an one-off, an aberration.
Twice is interesting, maybe a fluke coincidence. But three times? Three
times? Come on, something is going on here.

Three times is at least a trend, and right now Massachusetts Senator Scott
Brown is way past trending. That story is ahead. Stay tuned.


MADDOW: All right, open question. Do political parties matter? Does the
Republican Party specifically matter? Not Republican politicians or
Republican voters or the Republican nominee for president, but the party as
an organization? Specifically, does the Republican Party matter in the

I think it is an open question and a really interesting one. Every four
years we think for a second that what happens in the states matters, right?
Right, because of the presidential primary system. But once that each
party has a nominee we tend to ignore the states again until the next time
people from far away places start parking their buses in the parking lot of
Ross`s restaurant and ordering magic mountains like the old Iowans from way

But while the Republican Party has chosen its nominee for president this
year and the press corps has forgotten again about the states, something
really interesting has been happening in the states.

We`ve talked before about how even after Mitt Romney locked up the
nomination, Ron Paul has continued winning the majority of delegates in a
bunch of states. Just last weekend Ron Paul won most of the delegates in
Iowa to go with his wins in Nevada, and in Maine, and in Minnesota, and
maybe Louisiana once Louisiana figures it out.

Republicans in Idaho and Oregon are holding their conventions this week,
and the Ron Paul folks say they are trying for a couple of more wins in
those states.

You`re going to see a lot of Ron Paul delegates at that Republican
convention this summer that`s supposed an all-in thing for Mitt Romney.
And now more than 100 of those delegates are suing the Republican Party,
they say, to be allowed to vote their conscience, to be allowed to show up
at the Mitt Romney coronation and cast dissenting votes that count, that
are actually binding votes, that count against Mitt Romney`s nomination.

But here`s the other thing that`s going on, again with basically zero
Beltway attention, in the states. Ron Paul loyalists are not just winning
the majority of delegates in some of these states since Romney clinched the
nomination. They are also taking over the Republican Party itself as an

A Ron Paul loyalist is now the chairman of the party in Iowa, so is the
organizer who watches over the party`s presence in Iowa`s counties which is
something that really matters in Iowa. Ron Paul folks have taken over the
party in Alaska, electing a Ron Paul supporter as their new chairman. Ron
Paul folks have taken over the county party in Nevada where three-quarters
of the state`s population resides. The Las Vegas part of Nevada.

They also replaced Nevada`s two members of the Republican National
Committee. They voted down the Mitt Romney supporters and picked Ron Paul
supporters instead. In Maine Ron Paul loyalists took over the state
convention, electing a new Republican National Committee woman and taking
over dozens of seats on the state committee.

And so I ask again, does the party matter? Does the Republican Party
matter in the states? Because now that the Ron Paul revolution has
overthrown the Republican Party in at least four states and taken over at
least portions of the party in half a dozen states and counting, you know
what they`re doing with their new power? They`re changing what those state
Republican Parties do.

So if it does matter, what Republican Parties do, you should know, they are
about to start doing something different. Exhibit A, Virginia, where Ron
Paul supporters have won a lot of new spots on the Republican state
committee this year. Last week the newly Ron Paul populated committee
voted to change the way the state picks nominees for top Virginia offices
like, say, governor.

They used to pick the Republican Virginia nominees by holding a primary.
Now they`re going to pick them at the Republican state convention starting
next year. Now by their nature party conventions tend to attract the hard
liners and the hard core, right? You`ve got to -- you`ve got to show up,
you`ve got to sit through a lot of speeches, sometimes it goes on for days,
it`s always really boring.

Back in 2010 hard liners in Utah were able to oust the relatively moderate
Republican Senator Bob Bennett at the state convention. At this year`s
convention hard liners forced Utah`s other Republican senator, Orrin Hatch,
into a primary?

Consider also the otherwise staid and seersucker world of Connecticut
Republican politics where twice now wrestling executive Linda McMahon has
emerged from conventions with the party`s endorsement for Senate despite
pleas from the party leadership to please choose someone more moderate.

And so again, I ask whether the many state Republican parties matter? Does
it matter what those parties do, and what does it mean that the Republican
Party establishment in important states is losing control of what those
parties do now?

Joining us now is someone who knows. Nicolle Wallace, former
communications director from the Bush administration, senior adviser for
the McCain-Palin campaign, and importantly, the author of "It`s
Classified," a novel that just came out in paperback, a novel that I found
very enjoyable and I think you should read.

Nicolle, thank you for being here.

for having me.

MADDOW: So you have -- listen, this is not -- I don`t want to have a
partisan discussion about right and wrong here. I`m interested in the
tactics here. Running campaigns that have to work through the parties.
Now you got to count on the party for something, right?


MADDOW: Even if it`s a national -- at the national -- at the national
level. Is what -- is the stuff that the parties are responsible for doing,
is that stuff that somebody else could do, if the party decided they didn`t

WALLACE: Well, you spent a lot of time here talking about the consequences
of our changed campaign finance laws. And there are certainly party
functions that could be -- some of the most important things -- one of my
first jobs in politics was for the California Republican Party, and I`ll
forever be grateful to the California Republican Party for giving me one of
my first jobs in politics.

I couldn`t tell you now, you know, what you described about Congressman
Paul`s folks going in, I think you first have to answer the question that
you laid out there at the end. Do the state parties matter before you can
answer the second, and what are the consequences of Paul`s supporters going
in and taking them over? Because if the answer to the first is no, then
the answer to the second is --

MADDOW: What is the answer to the first? I mean, can -- do state parties
do something important?

WALLACE: Well, historically they always have. First of all, they put
politics at a much more accessible level than our national parties. Not
everyone can go to a national convention. But a state convention is much
more accessible. And, you know, we tend to look at politics and
politicians in a cynical way for justifiable reasons. But a lot of people
get involved in politics at a pure community and civic interest and

And so you can`t discourage those people or suggest that the state parties
no longer going to be an outlet for their enthusiasm or their activism.
Because that -- that is forever been the most important reason for the
state parties to be strong and vital.

MADDOW: So you can`t suggest that it`s not going to be consequential.
Sure, come along and place but it doesn`t matter what we do here, because
we`re going to get overridden by the people in Washington who think we`re
crazies, right?

WALLACE: Well, and you can`t -- and you can`t, I think, understate the
peril to doing away with the state parties. I mean they have historically
been the place where grassroots activists go to begin to learn. That`s
where political professionals go and have some of their first jobs. And
you learn how to knock on doors and turn out bodies to go to voting booths
and vote. Because in this country that`s still how we vote.

And so there`s something so fundamental understanding what a state party
does, to understanding and appreciating and knowing how to function and
thrive in our -- in our democracy if you`re a political professional. You
have to understand that, you know, people don`t have to vote. They have to
be inspired to get out and vote.

So just understanding sort of the mechanics and the structural way to
motive voters to vote for a candidate in a congressional district and how
that -- so I think the consequences of the state parties going away are

MADDOW: Well, they`re going away, though. What they`re doing is they`re
going -- they`re going insurgent. I mean Clark County, Nevada Republican
Party, right, is supporting Ron Paul and overtly not supporting Mitt
Romney. Right? There was the -- somebody from the executive county -- the
executive board at that county Republican Party, which again, is three-
quarters of the population in Nevada, put up a billboard deriding Mitt
Romney as the second coming of George W. Bush.

I`m sure that`s offensive to you, it`s not what I mean, and saying that Ron
Paul is actually the second coming of Ronald Reagan. There`s the
billboard. I mean that is not --


MADDOW: -- what -- you can`t look to those folks and say, OK, he help us
elect Mitt Romney. So what does the Romney campaign do? Who do -- how do
they try to win Nevada?

WALLACE: Well, look, I think they have to have a thick skin about it. It
appears that they have. And I think that you have to appreciate that in a
democracy, and we don`t live in a dictatorship where everyone falls in
line, and certainly four years ago the most --


MADDOW: A party is a dictatorship.

WALLACE: Well, four years ago -- four years ago the most dramatic
convention that I`d seen in a long time, and I`ve been -- I`ve been doing a
lot and I`ve been to both parties` national conventions for the last two
cycles, is the Hillary people. There was a lot of drama there, what are
they going to do at the convention? And -- just because you --


MADDOW: There were no Hillary Clinton, like, coups in the states, right?
No -- there was no Hillary Clinton --

WALLACE: That`s why they didn`t take over the state parties. But this
opportunity or appetite to take over a state party is glorious. I mean how


WALLACE: They cared the most, they worked the hardest and they took over a
few state parties. We`ll see if it has the consequences of derailing Mitt
Romney`s chances in those states. But the fact that we can still do that,
and I can`t imagine they did that with a lot of money. They`re activists.


WALLACE: The one thing about Paul`s supporters is they`re true believers.
No one pays them to go and do anything. So if they were able to stay over
the state party, good for them. I think that, you know, the fact that
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are going to be there probably every day until
Election Day is going to overtake the story about the state parties as the
bigger and more interesting.

MADDOW: But (INAUDIBLE) what they`re able to do with what they got.

WALLACE: It`s amazing.

MADDOW: I think it`s interesting.

WALLACE: Good for them, right?


MADDOW: We are on the same page again. Beware, America.


WALLACE: (INAUDIBLE) democracy, right?

MADDOW: Exactly. Enthusiasm for people being into it.


MADDOW: I`m with you on that.

Nicole Wallace, of course, was a senior adviser to McCain-Palin, is a
former communications director for the aforementioned George W. Bush. But
listen, "It`s Classified" is just out in paperback and that`s very
important because that makes it very light to carry and it is a perfect
beach read and it`s really amazing.

WALLACE: Thank you.

MADDOW: Nicolle, thank you. I really appreciate it.

WALLACE: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Maybe the biggest, highest profile Senate race in the next
elections, Massachusetts. Wall Street watchdog Elizabeth Warren against
Republican incumbent Scott Brown who takes a ton of money from Wall Street.
Really interesting, right? Interesting enough if that were the whole
story. But Scott Brown keeps making it way more interesting in very
unexpected ways. And that story is next.


MADDOW: Perhaps you have heard the term "humblebrag." You may have
encountered it in its natural environment on Twitter, #humblebrag. It`s
also a Twitter feed created by a comedian who writes for the show "Parks
and Recreation."

A humblebrag is something a person says that is seemingly humble, but it is
actually them bragging. Dane Cook, famous comedian, last year Tweeted,
"Being famous and having a fender bender is weird. You want to be upset
but the other driver is just thrilled and giddy that it`s you. So it`s
humble, I get in car accidents just like normal people, and it`s bragging
because I`m so famous that even when somebody should be upset to be in a
car accident with me, they`re delighted to meet me. Humblebrag."

Here`s another. Joe Jonas, one of the three brothers in the Jonas Brother,
quote, "Totally walked down the wrong escalator at the airport from the
flashes of camera. Go me."

So, humble, I walked down the wrong stairs, and brag, I`m really famous and
paparazzi follow me everywhere. It`s a humblebrag.

Or this one. "Yes, I know, bad hair but good fish." Humble as in my hair
looks funny. Bragging as in I caught a really freaking huge fish, size of
a Buick.

For the record, the fish was a 35-inch long striped bass, it was dinner and
breakfast for six people, and I caught it while I had bad hair.

So that`s the humblebrag. Doesn`t necessarily make you a bad person.
You`re just doing two things at once. You`re multitasking.

Now for your consideration a new term. Fumblebrag. Which we require
specifically to understand the latest otherwise inexplicable strangeness
from Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. Running for re-election this year
against Elizabeth Warren.

This morning, here was Senator Brown on a local radio show in Boston.


SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: Each and every day that I`ve been in
a United States senator, I`ve been either discussing issues, meeting on
issues, in secret meetings and with kings and queens and prime ministers,
and business leaders and military leaders, talking, voting, working on
issues every single day.


MADDOW: I`m sorry, well, you do what? What do you do in secret? What`s


BROWN: I`ve been either discussing issues, meeting on issues, in secret
meetings with kings and queens and prime ministers.


MADDOW: It`s a brag. I`m very important. I meet with royalty. Kings,
queens, prime ministers even secretly. But it is also a fumble because
what in god save the queen`s name are you talking about, Scott Brown?

A few hours after that interview aired, Senator Brown`s spokesman clarified
his boss` brag, quote, "Senator Brown was referring generally to private
meetings with foreign and domestic leaders."

Really? Private meetings with kings and queens? No. Further
clarification, he misspoke when he said kings and queens.


MADDOW: This is not Scott Brown`s first fumblebrag. A few months after he
became a senator, he sent out a fundraising letter to constituents saying
that a TV show host was running against him for his Senate seat.

"Friends, it`s only been a couple of months since I`ve been in office and
before I`ve even settled into my new job, the political machine in
Massachusetts is looking for someone to run against me and you`re not going
to believe who they`re supposedly trying to recruit, liberal MSNBC anchor
Rachel Maddow."

So brag, I`ve already gotten an opponent. A big scary liberal with a TV
show. And fumble, obviously I was never running for Scott Brown`s seat.
He never even bothered to check with me about it. And so that whole story
became all about why Scott Brown made that weird thing up.

He had another doozie of a fumblebrag after the killing of bin Laden. The
Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden last year reportedly took pictures to
confirm that it was him who they killed on the very day. We learned that
the president would not release those pictures to the public, Scott Brown
went on TV in Boston and said actually he`d already seen the pictures.


BROWN: I`ve seen the picture, he`s definitely dead, and if there`s any
conspiracy theories out there, you should put them to rest, OK?


MADDOW: So brag, I`m a United States freaking senator. Even though they
have not released these pictures to the public, I have obviously seen the
pictures of bin Laden`s body. Brag. Fumble? The picture Senator Brown
saw wasn`t in some closed door classified meeting with the White House or
the Pentagon. It was on the Internet. It was an Internet hoax that
everybody saw but that nobody else was gullible enough to think it was a
special secret real thing they were being shown because they were so

A fumblebrag is when you`re trying really hard to seem important but it
goes horribly, horribly wrong because you`re horribly, horribly wrong. It
doesn`t make you a bad person, it just makes you a new meme. And when you
do it all the time, it makes you a very embarrassing senator.

Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a very
good night.



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