Guests: Bob Shrum, Richard Grenell, Joy Reid, Susan Del Percio, D.L.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GUEST HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to
THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed Schultz.
Today, the president called America`s Olympic heroes just before he
destroyed Mitt Romney for his gymnastics on taxes.
This is THE ED SHOW -- and as Ed would say -- let`s get to work.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How many of you want to
pay another $2,000 to give Mr. Romney or me another tax break?
DYSON (voice-over): Tax hikes for the middle class, tax cuts for the
wealthy. Mitt Romney`s camp is spinning hard after the president hammers
him over brand new analysis of his tax plan. Bob Shrum and Michael Steele
are here with reaction.
Today, the Obamacare birth control mandate is officially in effect and
let`s say Republicans are overreacting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know in your mind you can think of the times
when America was attacked. One was December 7th, that`s Pearl Harbor day.
The other is September 11th, that`s the day of the terrorist attack. I
want you to remember August 1st, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom.
That is the date that will live in infamy.
DYSON: The big panel weighs in on a new era in women`s health.
And comedian D.L. Hughley`s new book about race and politics is
causing quite a stir.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s really provocative.
DYSON: The great D.L. Hughley joins me live tonight.
DYSON: Governor Mitt Romney`s tax plan went to that strange foreign
land called independent analysis and came back looking like a loser.
Unfortunately for Mr. Romney, the truth is out. His tax plan would slash
taxes for the very rich and raise taxes on the poor and middle class.
The independent study by the Tax Policy Center bent over backwards to
view Romney`s plan in a favorable light, but concluded that the net effect
of Romney`s plan would be this -- millionaires would get an $87,000 tax
cut, but 95 percent of Americans would suffer a $500 tax increase on
average. It could be worse for families. The study shows that making
Governor Romney`s tax plan revenue neutral would require eliminating tax
preferences for middle and lower income families, reducing their after tax
income by an average of $2,000, according to the Tax Policy Center.
President Obama campaigning in Ohio today was quick to seize on this
damning new information.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Just today, an independent nonpartisan organization ran all
the numbers on governor Romney`s plan. This wasn`t my staff. This wasn`t
something we did. Independent group ran the numbers. They found that if
Governor Romney wants to keep his word and pay for this plan, then he`d
have to cut tax breaks, the middle class families depend on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Ran the numbers.
The president talked about some of the middle class tax breaks that
would get slashed under Romney`s plan, like mortgage interest, employer
provided health care, medical expenses, education and child care.
President Obama also pointed out just how great the disparity would be
under Romney`s tax plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In order to afford just one $250,000 tax cut for somebody like
Mr. Romney, 125 families like yours would have to pay another $2,000 in
taxes each and every year. How many of you want to pay another $2,000 to
give Mr. Romney or me another tax break?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Now you know the Romney campaign hit back.
A spokesman saying, President Obama continues to tout liberal studies
calling for more tax hikes and more government spending. Funny thing,
though, when Governor Rick Perry was still in the race, the Romney campaign
was more than happy to cite the analysis of the Tax Policy Center and they
didn`t say anything about it being a liberal study there.
In a press release from November, objective third party analysis
showed Governor Perry`s plan would raise taxes on millions of American
families buzz he doesn`t seem interested in the discussion. This time
around, it looks like Mitt Romney isn`t interested in the discussion
Meanwhile, there`s still no Republican love for a middle class tax cut
in Congress. Today, House Republicans defeated a one-year extension of
middle class tax cuts. This is the same bill that Democrats passed in the
Senate and that President Obama would gladly sign into law. You can bet
President Obama will highlight Republican intransigence all the way to
The president got good news on that front today. He`s leading Mitt
Romney in three key battleground states by healthy margins.
In Ohio, President Obama leads Romney by six points and he`s hit the
50 percent mark.
Even in Florida, generally considered a tougher state for the
president, he leads by six points, 51 percent to 45 percent.
And in Pennsylvania, President Obama leads by double digits.
All three polls were of likely voters.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Tonight`s question: does Mitt Romney`s tax plan make any sense for the
middle class? Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. Or go to our blog
at Ed.MSNBC.com. I`ll bring you the results later in the show.
I`m joined by Democratic strategist Bob Shrum and MSNBC analyst and
former RNC chairman, Michael Steele.
Chairman Steele, let me begin with you.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMA: How are you doing, sir?
DYSON: How are you, my friend?
DYSON: Romney`s policy director calls the study bias and said it
ignores the explosion of economic growth under a Romney administration, but
it took into account significant revenue assumed by his plan from economic
growth and the numbers still don`t add up. I don`t want to say this is
Bush-like fuzzy math, but can the Romney campaign so easily dismiss this
STEELE: No, I don`t think necessarily they can. I think they have to
take into account particularly if the study -- if they referenced this
particular organization in the past as legitimate and, you know, stand up
with respect to analysis given about someone else`s work, that you know,
they in turn should have to come back and be able to say, look, these are
I believe the campaign is prepared at least the folks I talked to
today, are prepared to go out and show where the study is off base, the
numbers it doesn`t take into account with respect to the growth expected
from the middle class business community, which are largely small business
owners who own businesses, $250,000, $300,000 annual income. How those
businesses will grow and prosper, how they`ll be a part of creating jobs.
I think -- I think they plan to do that. I don`t know how they plan
to roll it out. But I think this kind of took them a little flat-footed in
terms of the Obama campaign coming so squarely at the jaw on this issue
with respect to Romney`s plan and particularly in light of, you know, his
argument for taxes for all. They have narrowly sliced this thing, I think
pretty effectively. So, it will be interesting to see what they do, Romney
campaign comes back and respond more broadly or more specifically with
respect to the impact of their tax policy.
DYSON: Brother Shrum, it looks like a cut man is necessary in the
Romney corner because he`s been hit pretty severely. And keep in mind, the
Romney campaign cited the same group when they attacked Governor Perry`s
plan. Do you think President Obama can make the case that Romney`s so-
called across the board tax cut would really mean a tax increase for the
middle class families?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Sure. And I find myself in the
rare position of mostly agreeing with Michael Steele.
Look, people are going to have the reaction, what else are you going
to expect from a guy who took a $77,000 deduction for his wife`s dancing
horse? I was going to say this was a wonderfully Republican idea, but
that`s not fair. Under George W. Bush, there was a tax cut for everybody.
Now, the rich got more, but everybody got a tax cut.
I think it`s devastating if it is sustained that you have to have the
average family paying $2,000 a year more so that the wealthiest people in
the country can get a tax cut.
Look, this is all part of a narrative. And the president all along
has refused to let this campaign simply be a referendum. The narrative
started with Bain job destruction, offshore tax havens, tax returns, the
refusal to release them, which I think makes Romney particularly vulnerable
on this issue.
And he`s really asking a fundamental question. Who stands up for you,
who stands up for the few? Who is fighting for the middle class and who is
I don`t want to discomfort Michael, but he`s absolutely right. They
have to get out there. They`re going to have to have real facts and
numbers, and they`re going to have to sustain them in the court of public
opinion if they`re not going to get trapped in this.
DYSON: Brother Steele, it`s not only about the narrative, but it`s
also about the narrator. So, the authenticity of the person making the
claim goes to their integrity and their suitability for the highest office
in the land.
It`s true that Romney`s plan would cut certain tax loopholes for the
wealthy, but the net effect for them is still highly favorable. The net
effect for the middle class families is not because certain tax breaks
would be slashed, like mortgage interest. So, without getting too far into
the weeds, this doesn`t sound like a plan that would be easy for Mitt
Romney to defend, does it?
STEELE: I think it does. Again, I`m not into the minutia and detail
of his plan specifically, but I think the Romney team can make a broader
argument about how you raise revenues in the country, who you go to get
those revenues, how do you sustain that revenue growth over a longer period
of time to help bring down the nation`s debt and deficit.
So, I think he can lay out his argument relying largely on the growth
that will come from an explosion of opportunity. You`re cutting for
example, corporate tax rates, you`re cutting the capital gains tax rate,
the impact that has immediately on small business owners to free up capital
reserves they have that they`re sitting on and not putting back into the
economy for jobs and investment. I think they can very clearly make that
And the counterargument with respect to the president`s own plan is,
look, the president is talking about increasing taxes on the wealthy.
That`s only going to raise you $800 billion. How does that begin to get at
the overall growth and explosion of $5 trillion that he has put on the back
of small businesses and future generations?
So they`re going to be competing battle lines that are going to be
drawn here. Obviously, I think the president, as I said earlier, has
struck boldly, I think he struck effectively, and Romney coming off his
European trip will now have to spend a little bit, get back on the game in
the front of taxes, and growth in the country, and I think that they can
make the argument very effectively both for what he wants to do and what
the president hasn`t done.
DYSON: Yes. Well, I`m sure he would say that`s $800 billion than
Romney would put forth.
Mr. Shrum, h more from President Obama today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Here`s the thing, he`s not asking you to contribute more to
pay down the deficit. He`s not asking you to pay more to invest in our
children`s education or rebuild our roads or put more folks back to work.
He`s asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Now, given what Mr. Steele`s, you know, insightful analysis
has been here tonight, Mr. Shrum, President Obama isn`t just painting this
as bad for the middle class. He`s showing how it`s completely unserious as
a means of deficit reduction, and he`s doing a pretty effective job, no?
SHRUM: You know, I agree with that. I understand why Michael isn`t
into the details of this. If he got into the details of the Romney plan,
it would be as vulnerable and difficult as the details that are obviously
hidden in those tax returns.
Secondly, there`s a mythology here, by the way f you cut taxes,
capital gains taxes, marginal tax rates for the wealthy, that somehow or
another, that`s a great engine of job creation. This is a lie, calling the
wealthiest people in the country the job creators.
Look, under Bill Clinton, we had a 39.5 percent marginal tax rate. We
had a slightly higher capital gains tax rate and we created 22 million jobs
-- the largest number of jobs creating in any eight-year period in American
history. So, why don`t we go back to fundamental tax fairness, also try to
raise some revenue by making the wealthy pay their fair share and we`re
going to be a lot better off. Finally, by the way, most of that $4
trillion figure that Michael cites is a result of the Bush economic
DYSON: All right. Mr. Steele, you want to respond very briefly?
STEELE: Wrong answer. It`s not a result of the Bush economic
SHRUM: It sure is. Everybody lost their jobs. Everybody lost their
STEELE: It`s the result of this administration coming out the door --
let me finish, Bob, -- coming out with a trillion dollars on the nation`s
credit card before we began.
SHRUM: That was to keep people from being fired, to keep the economy
from going into depression.
STEELE: We`re still seeing an -- Bob, I let you talk, let me talk.
SHRUM: Michael, you`re so wrong I`m not going to let you talk.
DYSON: Let Mr. Steele finish.
STEELE: Let me tell you where you`re wrong. Deal with it.
SHRUM: All right. I will deal with it.
STEELE: The reality of the facts are that --
SHRUM: The reality of the facts?
STEELE: The real facts, Bob, OK, are that this administration spent
SHRUM: That`s wrong, that`s wrong. A lot of it is automatic
STEELE: Let me finish my point.
SHRUM: It`s a lie.
STEELE: It`s not a lie. The debt was $10 trillion on the day he was
inaugurated. What is it today? Almost $6 trillion. Who spent that money?
Who spent the money?
SHRUM: Because of the Bush economic collapse. It went into
unemployment compensation --
DYSON: All right, gentlemen, I`m going to have to call that a draw or
draw that to an end. Bob Shrum and Michael Steele, thanks so much for your
Remember to answer the question at the bottom of the screen and share
your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow and on Facebook. We want to know what you
Coming up, Mitt Romney`s European vacation was either a disaster or a
strong conservative statement depending on your point of view. Former
Romney`s spokesman Richard Grenell and "The Nation`s" Ari Melber debate the
candidate`s trip, next.
DYSON: Coming up, the final word on Mitt Romney`s overseas adventure
with "The Nation`s" Ari Melber and former Romney national security
spokesman, Richard Grenell.
A Texas Tea Partier thanks Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck in
his victory speech last night. We`ll explore the lingering Tea Party
effect on the country with Sam Stein.
And later, comedian D.L. Hughley is raising eyebrows with his
provocative new book. I`ll ask him all about it tonight.
Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using #EdShow.
We`ll be right back.
DYSON: Mitt Romney`s overseas visit came to an end just as much head-
scratching as it began. To cap off the trip, Romney pinned an op-ed for
the conservative "National Review" to address his comments about Israeli
and Palestinian cultures.
Quote, "During my recent trip to Israel, I had suggested that the
choices a society makes about its culture play a role in creating
prosperity and that the significant disparity between Israeli and
Palestinian living standards was powerfully influenced by it. In some
quarters, that comment became the subject of controversy, but what exactly
accounts for prosperity if not culture?"
It`s an interesting statement considering it`s the opposite of what
Romney told FOX News the day before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I`m not speaking about it, did not speak about the
Palestinian culture or the decisions made in their economy. That`s an
interesting topic that perhaps could deserve scholarly analysis, but I
actually didn`t address that. Certainly don`t intend to address that
during my campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Was it Fats Waller who said, "One never knows do one"?
Romney`s muddled message is indicative of his foreign policy as a
whole. After a week abroad, what do we really know about Mitt Romney`s
foreign policy ideas? We know he believes culture accounts for prosperity.
He says he believes Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. And he was
endorsed by anti-communist Polish statesman Lech Walesa.
Aside from those red meat bullet points for conservatives, what to we
know for sure about foreign relations under Mitt Romney? Did he tell us
what he would do if the Syrian regime collapsed or if Europe`s economy fell
off a cliff or if we experience d growing tensions with China or North
Korea or a terrorist organization?
Some people are focusing on the gaffes of Mitt Romney`s trip, but we
should focus on what he didn`t say. So, let`s get to it.
Let`s bring in Ari Melber of "The Nation" and Rich Grenell, excuse me,
former Romney national security spokesman, now a partner with Capital Media
Welcome, gentlemen, to the show.
ARI MELBER, THE NATION: Thanks.
DYSON: Rick, there was a bright site to your former boss` trip
overseas. Can you tell us if there was a bright side to it or are we
delusional right here?
RICK GRENELL, CAPITAL MEDIA PARTNERS: I would say that you`re
delusional actually with all due respect. First of all, thanks for having
me and thanks for having a good debate here.
You know, I think that if you really look at what a lot of political
reporters are jumping on to say were gaffes, I think it`s way overblown,
and I don`t think it`s good for our democracy. Let`s just take the first
instance in London. Here you have a very respectful Mitt Romney saying to
NBC News that he was concerned about the press reports. And that`s really
what he said.
And we saw the media completely jump all over that, only after the
British media kind of made a heyday and I`m experienced with the British
media and this is what they do. They like to have a lot of fun.
And then I also saw after the London mayor specifically said, Mitt
Romney, a man named Mitt Romney thinks -- a man named Mitt Romney is
wondering if we`re ready, is what he said. And immediately, the British
media and American media called that a slam on Mitt Romney. All he did was
say, wondering if we`re ready, and are we ready? It was not even a slam.
It was so overblown --
DYSON: You don`t think it was a signification, some guy named Mitt
Romney? You don`t think even for the British outside the pale and
signifying on him.
GRENELL: I`ll give you it was a little bit, but I saw so many press
reports saying the London mayor slams him. I saw a lot of reports saying
the British are upset.
I mean, look, I spent eight years at the U.N., if that`s the biggest
problem in a very respectful Mitt Romney says he`s concerned about press
reports on security issues, I think we really made too much of this from
the political reporters.
DYSON: You don`t think I`m being delusional and you think he had a
good trip over there.
Let`s turn to Ari Melber. Do you think Rick has a point or is he
missing the more insightful analyses we might make of the foreign policy
ARI MELBER, THE NATION: Well, I would look at it in three ways.
Number one, when you are president, you have to deal with the foreign
press. So whether they are fair or not, that is one of the layers of
international diplomacy because you`re dealing with foreign governments and
their peoples, their populations and what they get from the media, whether
it`s state run, fair or unfair.
So, Rick may be right that some of the stuff would upset any
policymaker, any candidate, but that`s part of the job.
Number two, were some of the gaffes given too much attention as
opposed to the very serious foreign policy challenges we face? Yes. So
I`ll concede that to Rick, and I think people who work for politicians and
diplomats often have that frustration, but that in and of itself doesn`t
tell us anything about what Mitt Romney is doing abroad.
That brings me to number three and the real point and we can focus on
it now, what Governor Romney said was that, in Israel, for example, the
United States policy should be to treat Jerusalem as the capital. Now,
that`s a foreign policy position, but it`s also a political position.
If you look at what`s going on in Israel, that is not one of the
priorities in Israel right now. That`s a country that has on its borders
two huge kinds of geopolitical crises. Egypt, a country that has been a
dictatorship and is the number one ally of Israel on its border now having
faced an election and a lot of change and having the Muslim Brotherhood
come into power, Syria dealing with the civil war. You`ve got real
problems in Israel and you`ve got Netanyahu administration looking at those
issues, and then you have a candidate come in and focus on something that
seemed to a lot of people more of a political appeal back home in the U.S.
I`ll leave it to others to decide what was motivating Mitt Romney, but
on that substantive matter, Rick, I have to question why that was the
priority and not the border issues.
DYSON: Let me bring Rick in. So, Ari is saying three things here.
First of all, that when you look at --
GRENELL: I heard him.
DYSON: The gaffes aside, that you have to look at the policy, you
have to deal with the press, and thirdly, deal with the substantive
characterization here of what is going on in terms of foreign policy. Do
you think getting beyond the grasp, Mitt Romney told us what he would do
say if the Syrian regime collapsed and some other crisis is going on or if
Europe`s economy fell off a cliff, if we experience growing tensions with
China, North Korea, terrorist organizations, can he answer that? Did he
give us any indication what might happen?
GRENELL: There was a lot of questions in there.
DYSON: Syria, China, north Korea, and the collapse of the European
GRENELL: Let me first go back and say that I think Ari is exactly
right on all these points. I would say on the Jerusalem point, it`s
probably not the number one priority as Ari said. I agree. But he was
very clear about this is something that he would do. He would move our
embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
It`s an interesting, also, that Bill Clinton agrees with that. He had
that same policy, and Barack Obama had that policy when he was candidate
for about 24 hours. And then he walked that back.
So if anybody is playing politics, it`s really the Obama campaign,
which is trying to distract on this issue because the Bill Clinton
administration, as well as Mitt Romney candidate have been -- they have
both been very clear.
MELBER: Just to be clear, Rick, to be fair, you mean the Bill Clinton
political campaign, during Clinton`s tenure, they did not move the embassy?
GRENELL: They didn`t move it, but he made it clear that Jerusalem
should be the capital of Israel.
DYSON: Let`s not -- let`s not micro-focus. You`re talking about
Israel alone. What about North Korea, China, a crisis of Syria. Did he
give us any substantive foreign policy insight into the Romney
GRENELL: He has. I would go back to the fact that most of the
reporters were talking about not getting invited into a fund-raiser.
DYSON: Forget them. I`m asking you to tell me what he would do.
GRENELL: He was clear that what he wouldn`t do is exactly what Barack
Obama did, which was send a U.S. ambassador back to Damascus only to pull
him back, only to send him back again and pull him back again. This is a
DYSON: What would he do, not what Obama did. What would he do?
GRENELL: He wouldn`t do that. He would be clear and consistent. We
wouldn`t have a U.S. ambassador sitting in Damascus while the leader of
Syria is killing 7,500 people. That`s one thing.
DYSON: We`ll invite you back on Rick and Ari. Thank you so very
There was a big Senate contest in Texas last night. So why is Sarah
Palin taking a victory lap? Sam Stein of "The Huffington Post" explains.
And today, millions of women gained access to expanded health care.
One Republican compares that to Pearl Harbor. Joy Reid and Susan DelPercio
DYSON: Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz scored a major upset
in a run-off election for the open U.S. Senate seat in the Lone Star State.
A Tea Party favorite who rails against the United Nations, Social Security,
and Sharia law, Ted Cruz is a shoo-in to win the Senate seat in the very
red state come November.
Last night, he thanked the people who made it possible, conservative
talk radio, billionaire advocacy groups and their certain half-term
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED CRUZ (R), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: I want to thank the national
leaders who have stepped forward, first and foremost, Governor Sarah Palin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Sarah Palin used the occasion to address the masses in the way
she knows best. She wrote on her Facebook page, "this is a victory both
for Ted and for the grassroots Tea Party movement."
So who was Cruz`s opponent? Some screaming liberal, some political
neophyte? Actually, it was the lieutenant governor, Republican David
Dewhurst, a man who is, by the laws of the state, the most powerful
political figure in Texas. Dewhurst`s four-point election platform called
for the repeal of Obamacare, eliminating the power of the EPA and the
National Labor Relations Board and rejecting green energy initiatives.
This is hardly a socialist agenda. But Cruz was backed by the big
money Tea Party groups like Freedomworks, the Club For Growth and the Tea
Party Express. And he was endorsed by the highest profile Tea Party
affiliated senators, a fact that was not lost on Ted Cruz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: I am incredibly honored and humbled to be the only candidate in
the country who all four of them are supporting. They`re supporting me
because they need reinforcements. They`re outnumbered by Democrats and
they`re outnumbered by fellow Republicans who won`t stand and fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: There`s very little doubt about the Tea Party`s ability to
stand and fight. Whether or not it can govern is another question
Let`s bring in "Huffington Post" political reporter Sam Stein.
Welcome to the show.
SAM STEIN, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Thanks for having me.
DYSON: How big of a blow is this to the Republican party. This is a
big gust of wind for the Tea Party, no?
STEIN: Well, short term, I think it`s not a blow, but in the long
term, it could pose real problems for Mitch McConnell along the lines of
what we have seen John Boehner have to do with his Tea Party caucus. You
know, David Dewhurst`s real crime was not that he wasn`t moderate, it was
that he was constructive. By that I mean he passed primarily Republican
legislation in Texas.
And people thought of that as not the type of law making that they
wanted to bring to Washington. Freedomworks talked about Cruz`s victory.
They said, this is the next step in the hostile takeover of Washington,
D.C. They don`t want to have constructive governance in the Capital
building behind me. They want to bring things to a halt. And I think
that`s why they ended up siding -- or at least the energy was behind Ted
Cruz, in the end.
DYSON: Given the paradigm shift from to constructive obstruction,
does the continuing influx of Tea Party lawmakers make Congressional
gridlock an insurmountable reality here?
STEIN: Yes. I mean, you think things were bad this past year, they
could conceivably get much worse. We`re dealing with a reality in which
the Senate could be controlled by Mitch McConnell. The presidency could
remain in President Barack Obama`s hands. You have a truly divided
government, where it`s the Congress with Republican control, presidency
with Democratic control. But within those Republican caucuses, there are
the moderates, a dwindling number, and then there are the Tea Party
Let`s keep in mind, there`s been several major moderate retirements
announced. And in each case, those moderate lawmakers go out by
complaining about sort of the bitterness, the acrimony within their own
party and within Congress as a whole. I think it just gets worse the more
you see people like Ted Cruz elected, in part because that`s the platform
they`re promising. They want to bring things to a halt.
DYSON: If the people within the Republican caucus itself, so to
speak, in the broader Republican circles, are fed up at the intransigence
of the Tea Party, does it bode well for a person like Ted Cruz? Is he
going to be a major player on the national stage?
STEIN: Sure. And part of the reason he was elected was because he
had that dynamic to him. He was an eloquent speaker. He had a great
story. He obviously is Cuban-American decent. He`s the type of dynamic
figure that I think could be a fast riser in the Republican party. The
question is, when you get to Washington, do you benefit by being someone
who works within the confines of governance and passes legislation? That
was the traditional path. You would get bills with your name on it.
You pass landmark pieces of legislation and you attach your reputation
to that. Or are you the type of guy who holds things to a halt, who tries
to change the dynamic? That`s what you`re seeing, for instance, with
Senator Jim DeMint, who has built his reputation essentially by saying I`m
going to blow up the traditional Republican party and recast it as the Tea
DYSON: Yes. And even further on the margins are the Dick Lugars and
the Bob Doles and the Kay Bailey Hutchisons, for that matter, who seem now
to be Neanderthals within the Republican party. Speaking of which, of
course, a newer version of that party, Sarah Palin, used her victory lap to
take a swipe at Dick Cheney for saying her vice presidential nomination was
a mistake. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: Seeing how Dick -- excuse me,
Vice President Cheney, never misfires, then evidently he`s quite convinced
that what he had evidently read about me, by the lame stream media, having
being written -- what I believe is a false narrative over the last four
years, evidently Dick Cheney believed that stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Now, calling the former Veep by his first name was a
deliberate attempt there. That was no mistake. Are establishment
Republicans still worried about Sarah Palin?
STEIN: Did she say Dick? She meant Vice President Cheney, obviously.
First of all, let`s put this to rest. Dick Cheney is right. The election
results are the election results. It was a bad choice. She didn`t help
out John McCain as much as they thought -- as much as the McCain people
hoped she would.
As for your question, I mean, Sarah Palin has had an enormous effect
on the course of these primaries. I think her influence is felt when
you`re talking about the really activated base versus the more moderate,
established types. She`s very good at ginning up support. She has a
legion of followers who will donate, who will rally to the candidates and
policies of her cause.
So yes, she has an enormous influence over the party. And she will
continue to have it. I think when she steps into the electoral field,
that`s when she gets into trouble.
DYSON: All right, Sam Stein, thank you so much, my friend.
STEIN: Of course.
DYSON: There`s a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED
SHOW. Stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s outrageous that this administration believes
it`s within their power to force people to violate their right of religion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: A new era in women`s health begins today thanks to Obamacare,
but not everyone is celebrating. The big panel ways in next.
Comedian D.L. Hughley is turning heads with his new book on politics,
"Race and Much More." He joins me live tonight.
And the great Gore Vidal is dead at the age of 86. I`ll pay tribute
to a man who called us the United States of Amnesia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: But today, August 1st, we come
here -- we come here to fix this microphone. We come here for a very
specific reason, because today is the day that religious freedom died.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Religious freedom is dead in America? At least according to
the Republican party. Why? Because today, 47 million women gained access
to expanded health care coverage at no additional cost. In fact, women
will save money by eliminating out of pocket expenses.
Insured women enrolling in a new plan or renewing their existing one
are now eligible for several additional health care benefits under the
Affordable Care Act. That means guaranteed coverage for a wide range of
free preventive services like yearly checkups, gestational diabetes
screenings, testing and counseling for HIV, HPV and sexually transmitted
infections, contraception coverage without copays, breast feeding support
and domestic violence counseling.
Religious employers are exempt from offering contraceptive coverage to
their employees. Yet, according to one Tea Party congressman, women
gaining access to free preventive care is akin to a terrorist attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: I want you to think of something, because I know in your mind,
you can think of the times that America was attacked. One is December 7th.
That`s Pearl Harbor Day. The other is September 11th. And that`s the day
the terrorists attacked. I want you to remember August 1st, 2012, the
attack on our religious freedom.
That`s a date that will live in infamy along with those other dates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Wow, that was not a Fireside Chat by FDR. I`m joined by Joy-
Ann Reid, managing editor of TheGrio.com, and Republican strategist Susan
Del Percio, to whom I shall turn first. Is expanded health care coverage
on par with a terrorist attack, for real, though?
SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, I promise. No. End it
there. I mean -- and there is a point to be made. They say there`s a
religious carve-out here, but it`s really not the case. And you know, the
work around really still does put a lot of religious institutions in a
bind. That being said, preventive care of any sort, as far as I`m
concerned, is a great thing. All of these things that are being done for
women are fantastic, especially in a day and age where Viagra is covered.
So we`re talking about preventive health care, saving lives, versus,
you know, some other things that are covered. So I have no problem with
that. I do have a problem with how they handled the religious exemption
DYSON: Yes. The only thing is I think they should cover more Viagra
in it. President Obama offered a compromise, Joy-Ann Reid, to religious
institutions on this. Why isn`t that enough?
JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: Well, you know what, it`s interesting.
Because what we have seen here is there is a segment of the religious right
that is arguing for what they call originalist religious liberty. But what
they really are saying is they want religious institutions to control
public policy, which is the opposite of what the founders wanted. Right?
They wanted there to be religious liberty, meaning the separation of
church and state. But they seem to be arguing that religious principles
should govern public policy here. That`s just wrong. This is about the
control of women. This is about saying we don`t want women to have free
access to free health care because of our religious beliefs.
DYSON: What about that, the principles of the founding fathers that
are often appealed to by our Republican and conservative brothers and
sisters, often get twisted up in trying to govern as opposed to allowing
everyone to have room to breathe. What do you think about that?
DEL PERCIO: Don`t get me wrong, we`re talking about great people who
did wonderful things. And the Constitution is fantastic. And everyone
always turns to it. But you have to remember, this was created by a bunch
of white men, rich white men. Women counted as nothing. Anyone else who
wasn`t white counted as nothing. So I don`t always necessarily go back to
that as the premise of how we should make all of our decisions.
DEL PERCIO: But that being said, in this case, people do -- you can`t
disregard the feeling of a lot of people, whether it`s the church or any of
the religious institutions. You can`t discard that. And the work around,
frankly, did not get the job done.
I will say politically, they did a great job handling it, you know, as
far as that came from. But this was not a true work around. This did not
address those concerns, which are very valid.
Although I do agree with Joy. I don`t want government and religion
mixing that much. But at the same time, though, government should not have
that oversight over religion either.
DYSON: Let`s shift to a very important topic. Today was National
Appreciation Day for Chick-Fil-A. Mike Huckabee did a victory lap on Fox
News earlier. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: This is a big day, not for Chick-Fil-
A but for America and for people who believe that the First Amendment
applies to everybody, including Christians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: We have 45 seconds. If you ain`t doing a victory lap there
for Popeye`s, I`m not interested. But the point is, what do we make of
this? Is this something about freedom of expression or is it about the
REID: I think this is a misinterpretation of what the First Amendment
means. The First Amendment does not say you have a right to have a
franchise of Chick-Fil-A wherever you want. There`s no one who has
prevented the head of Chick-Fil-A from saying whatever he wants or for
believing whatever he wants.
DYSON: Twenty seconds.
DEL PERCIO: To punish someone for their beliefs and to go after them
in this way, and then to use government again to bar them from doing --
getting zoning permits, et cetera, is really quite a dangerous step.
DYSON: Maybe we`ll make the colonel give us his secrets next for his
11 ingredients as well. Joy-Ann Reid and Susan Del Percio, thank you so
Coming up, legendary author Gore Vidal is dead at the age of 86. I`ll
pay tribute to the literally juggernaut in tonight`s Dyson-ary. Stay
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE VIDAL, AUTHOR: I`m not joking when I refer to our country as the
United States of Amnesia. Although I was corrected recently by Studs
Turkel out of Chicago. And he said, Gore, it`s not the United States of
Amnesia. It`s the United States of Alzheimer`s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Welcome back. That was the late author Gore Vidal who sadly
passed away yesterday. His book, "The United States of Amnesia," got me
thinking. So in tonight`s Dyson-ary, I`ll show you what the word amnesia
really means to Republicans.
First, let`s look at the definition. "Amnesia, loss of a large block
of interrelated memories, complete or partial loss of memory caused by
brain injury or shock."
Recently, the Republican party has come down with some nasty cases of
amnesia that coincidentally harm the president. First, the individual
mandate. Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans widely
supported the idea. Governor Romney himself established universal health
care in Massachusetts with an individual mandate.
Now he and the rest of the Republican party are running on repealing
the president`s health care law.
Second, infrastructure spending. Before the president took office,
Republicans wanted to improve our roads and bridges just like everyone
else. Now, the GOP has blocked a number of infrastructure bills that would
have created countless jobs.
And finally, tax cuts. Tax reduction has always been a pillar of the
Republican platform. But earlier today, House Republicans blocked an
amendment to extend tax cuts to people making less than 250,000 dollars a
So let`s turn to the Dyson-ary to find out what the word amnesia means
for Republicans. Amnesia, loss of a large block of interrelated memories,
complete or partial loss of memory when it helps we, as Republicans, harm
So Republicans may have amnesia, but I don`t. I`m going to remember
Gore Vidal. I`m going to remember all of the progressive ideas he fought
for. And I`m going to keep the fight going.
Tonight in our survey, I asked you does Mitt Romney`s tax plan make
any sense for the middle class? Seven percent say yes; 93 percent say no.
Coming up, comedian D.L. Hughley has a new book out. He joins me next
to talk President Obama, Mitt Romney, and race in America. You don`t want
to miss this. Stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: It would have been awfully hard to
fraudulently file the birth notice of Barack Obama being born in Hawaii.
That doesn`t mean there aren`t some other explanations on how they might
have announced that by telegram from Kenya. The list goes on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: That was Congressman Steve King, at it again, trying to keep
the Birther myth alive. Whether it`s the dog whistle politics of
Birtherism or unprecedented Republican obstructionism, the GOP has tried
its best to degelitimize President Obama.
Author and great comedian D.L. Hughley is taking on everything from
the GOP`s political strategy to the myth of post-racial America in his new
book "I Want You To Shut The Bleep Up."
This is what he says, "the reason Obama`s having these kinds of
problems is because the people who love him aren`t forcing him to do what
he needs to do. Conservatives have no problem if you don`t do what they
want. They will do something to you. It`s quid pro quo. It`s no secret
and there`s no trick. They treat him harshly because he`s black.
"Conversely, liberals treat him with kid gloves for that very same
This man is trying to start some stuff on this show. Joining me now
is author and comedian D.L. Hughley. This will be -- he will be at the
Wise Guys Comedy Club in Salt Lake City this Friday through Sunday. Salt
D.L. HUGHLEY, COMEDIAN AND AUTHOR: Yeah.
DYSON: You`re going to be in Salt Lake City?
HUGHLEY: Me and the other black people in the witness protection
program, and Karl Malone`s kids.
DYSON: Look, you said the election of the first black president has
given folks the idea that race relations have improved. Tell us how that`s
the case. Why is it that the election of this man?
HUGHLEY: It would be foolish to believe that they haven`t. But it
would also be foolish to believe that we have utopia. Look at -- just this
segment right now, when in history has someone questioned the -- whether
Barack Obama was born in America or not, one thing is for sure, he didn`t
do it. He was just being born.
DYSON: He didn`t determine it.
HUGHLEY: He didn`t type -- if he did that, he would be in MENSA and
not the president.
DYSON: Well, Romney does believe in retroactivity.
HUGHLEY: I think that it`s silly. But I also think the statement I
made earlier, who have you ever seen great that didn`t have an external
driving force? And they weren`t a critic, they were someone who loved
them? A parent or a coach. Name me someone who became great without being
pushed to it.
DYSON: Let me ask you this: a lot of black people take tremendous
umbrage and offense at any person, especially a black person, that is even
gently or constructive critical of the president. You just indicated
that`s a problem.
HUGHLEY: Name me a woman that would be with a man who promises
something and didn`t deliver. If you told your woman you`re going to do
all these things and you never deliver, pretty soon, she wouldn`t give you
quarter. And I think there are ways to gently criticize people.
I think he`s done some incredibly brave things. I haven`t seen a
piece of legislation this important since Lyndon B. Johnson. No president
has been this brave. The Affordable Health Care Act was the bravest thing
I have ever seen in my lifetime a politician do. That doesn`t mean that I
can`t also have legitimate criticism.
DYSON: What are some legitimate criticisms?
HUGHLEY: I think that by allowing the Republicans -- the first thing
I saw, I thought that when Joe Wilson called him a liar and there was no
response that it fundamentally changed the course of his presidency. I
think that had he said, I`m the president of the United States, you don`t
have to respect me, but you have to respect this office, remove him from
the premises, we have a different presidency.
I think that they started -- when you grow up, you have a bully, at
that moment, you understand this cat is trying to take your lunch or you`re
going to keep it. Fundamentally, it was that kind of fork in the road.
And I think it became different.
DYSON: You also say in your book about stereotypes that obviously
some of these things can be extremely offensive, but in the main, it
contains information about the other person that we`re too politically
correct to admit.
HUGHLEY: I know more people that are like the stereotype that I
attribute to them than I don`t. They always go, well, you know, I have the
friend, that friend is the exception, not the rule. Like to me, Chick-Fil-
A, this controversy, it`s appreciation day, which is hilarious, like
Americans need an excuse to eat fast food. You`ll never see a broccoli
The great thing for me is that I hope conservatives eat Chick-Fil-A
every day. And that way they`ll appreciate the Obamacare program. But
it`s a quandary because, Mike, I dig fried chicken. I dig -- this Chick-
Fil-A, whatever they did to this is amazing. So now I have -- I dig the
chicken sandwich. I hate their stance on gay marriage.
So my compromise is I`ll have the chicken but not the bun.
DYSON: Or eat at Popeye`s maybe.
HUGHLEY: Right. Two dudes on MSNBC talking about fried chicken.
This is so horrible. It`s so horrible.
DYSON: I`m not running from that. I don`t like watermelon, but I
darn sure love some fried chicken and macaroni and cheese.
HUGHLEY: I won`t eat it in front of white people. Got a feeling
saying they`re looking at me, saying they love it.
DYSON: D.L. Hughley, thank you so much. That is THE ED SHOW. I`m
Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
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