'Up w/Chris Hayes' for Saturday, September 8th, 2012
Read the transcript to the Saturday show
UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
September 8, 2012
Guests: Rep. Jerrold Nadler, John McWhorter, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Joe Weisenthal, Jared Bernstein, Nancy Keenan, Stan Greenberg, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Jessica Valenti
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris
A suicide bomber killed six civilians near NATO headquarters in the
Afghan capital of Kabul this morning.
And Illinois congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr., has been released from
the Mayo Clinic after being treated for bipolar depression at the clinic
Right now I`m joined by MSNBC contributor, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto,
senior analyst for LatinoDecisions.com and a fellow at the LBJ School of
Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Democratic congressman, Jerrold
Nadler of New York, coming back to the table fresh off his time in
Charlotte this week.
John McWhorter, professor of Linguistics and American studies at
Columbia University and a columnist in the "New York Daily News," and the
legendary Joe Weisenthal, deputy editor at BusinessInsider.com, also
returning to program.
JOE WEISENTHAL, BUSINESSINSIDER.COM: Thank you.
HAYES: Great to have you here.
On Thursday, a few hours before President Obama was to give his speech
accepting the Democratic nomination for president, he got a phone call from
one of his chief economic advisers informing him of the jobs numbers for
the month of August. The numbers, as we all found out yesterday, weren`t
very good. Just 96,000 jobs added to payrolls.
The one month`s numbers are often revised and can bounce around quite
a bit. The average monthly job growth for 2012 is now lower than it was
for 2011. It`s easy to imagine the president sitting with the drafted
speech and thinking about how to modulate its tone knowing what the jobs
headlines would be the next day.
Throughout the entire campaign, the president has had to walk a fine
line between hope and reality, or maybe more accurately, he has had to
thread the two together to explain how one connects to the other. The
Obama campaign had projected that his speech on Thursday night would be a
chance for the president to layout an economic plan for the next four
years. Mr. President stepped on stage in Charlotte and readjusted
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The truth is it will
take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up
over decades. It will require common effort and shared responsibility and
the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt
pursued during the only crisis worst than this one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I love that line in the shadow (ph) of FDR and bold --
persistent experimentation, because it opens up the possibility of trying
things. And that to me is what so maddening about how we dealt with the
jobs crisis, particularly, on the last two year since Republicans took over
the House and that we`ve just have not been trying anything.
Congressman Nadler, you were in the hall. How did you find the speech
in terms of the way that it attacked head on what is clearly from a
political perspective the chief weakness for the president, which is the
unemployment rate, which is the economy and the recovery?
REP. JERROLD NADLER, (D) NEW YORK: Well, the president says we could.
And that is, that we look at the progress we`ve made and how far we`ve
come. I mean, we lost eight million jobs, the catastrophe, the depths of
the catastrophe is not really appreciated. We lost eight million jobs.
We`ve been gaining an average of a -- take us two years about 175,
160,000 jobs a month, which is not what we want, but it`s a solid progress
compared to the 700,000--800,000 jobs we were losing a month when the
president that came in, and the Republican congress has blocked every
attempt to continue this. I mean, the real and coming the day after
President Clinton laid his seven (ph) slashing --
NADLER: -- a much greater detail --
NADLER: I think the president did what he had to do. But I think the
key and the key to all this which hasn`t been stated for quite with this
much clarity I`d like to see but I think --
HAYES: You`ve got the floor.
NADLER: But I think after seeing President Clinton speech, I think it
probably will be is the whole -- the whole thing is really very simple.
When the president took office we were losing 700, 800,000 jobs a month. A
month. We did the American recovery act which we no longer call the
stimulus bill, because of Republican propaganda.
We did American Recovery Act. We did -- we saved the car industry.
We did few other things and turned it around so that -- so that we were
gaining 250,000 jobs a month by the beginning -- by the middle of 2010.
250,000 is -- we turned around a million jobs a month, and then the
president realizing that the stimulus was designed to be 1-1/2-year, two-
year stimulus bill.
He said, all right, we`ve got to continue this. We got to -- continue
and accelerate the job recovery, and we offered the American Jobs Act of
2011, and the Republican in Congress killed it and every single other
attempt to keep their recovery going. So, the real -- the real narrative
is, the Republicans created the catastrophe.
The president and the Democratic Congress started fixing it and turned
it around. The Republican Congress stopped the progress, which is why --
which is why I`m not at all surprised the job growth in 2011 was greater
than average job growth in 2012, because we`re still working up with the
Democratic Congress and the President Obama accomplished, and now, they
have blocked every attempt to keep this going.
JOHN MCWHORTER, DAILYNEWS.COM: And the Republicans are under the
impression that somehow they would have done something to give us more jobs
faster in some way that they have an alternative.
But it`s clear that what they`re really expecting is for jobs to be
created through more passive sorts of processes that would take a very long
time as well, and so, obviously, they don`t have a better case either.
VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, LATINODECISIONS.COM: It`s about the
external shock, and I thought this is very interesting after a seeing Obama
speech. I pulled up Bush`s speech from 2004.
HAYES: I just read that, too.
SOTO: And you know, the similarities are striking.
SOTO: Not in content, obviously but in style.
SOTO: Where as Bush 2004 was saying, look, it`s the tear issue. It
was an external shock. We didn`t make this happen, but we`ve got a plow
through it. Obama, this external economic shock wasn`t my fault.
I came into it, but we`ve got to plow through it, and at the same
time, as I was very interesting, the parallel (ph) of how Bush hate Kerry
on his the economic weak spot, and Obama was hitting Romney on his one
policy weak spot. So, I`m just seeing a lot of similarities between 2012
HAYES: I felt the same way. Actually, I went back and read that
speech, and because it is about crisis, it`s about inheriting crisis, and
then it`s about leadership through that crisis and about acknowledging the
fact that things aren`t great right now, but they`re improving and we`ve --
NADLER: The big difference is obvious --
HAYES: Yes, I mean --
NADLER: The big difference is that Romney is proposing to repeat
exactly the same --
NADLER: -- policies that created the crisis. No one in 2004 saying
lets get al Qaeda to hit us again.
HAYES: And, I will say the other obvious difference is that the
reaction to dealing with the crisis was far, far, far, far better more
efficacious in the case of the Recovery Act, the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-
Frank, than invading Iraq, which was the major response -- Joe.
WEISENTHAL: I think one of the things that`s frustrating is that
there all this a good explanations for what`s happening, so there is the
fact that the Republicans block the second attempt to the stimulus. There
is another aspect that you could really see in this jobs report which is
that the global slow down is really hitting the U.S.
So, you have manufacturers head one of their worst months in a while,
but actually, like domestically oriented service things, food service.
Retailer actually had best month in a long time. So, you really see the
And in fact, it`s actually a testament to the U.S. economy that the
recovery in U.S. is far better -- obviously, it`s a way better than in
Europe, Brazil, China, or slowing down hard.
WEISENTHAL: U.S. recoveries actually impressive on a global scale.
WEISENTHAL: So, what`s frustrating --
HAYES: --creating on a curve that U.S. recovery gets an "A," no
WEISENTHAL: And so, what`s frustrating is I actually thought Clinton
did a good job the night before saying, look, its not great, but here`s the
argument for the recovery. And yet, when -- I guess, the president doesn`t
feel he can do that because when he gets accused of abdicating
So, it`s kind of this either or thing. You can`t really make excuses
for it even though us sitting around here can explain it very well.
NADLER: And the fact is also, it`s rare and light that you get a
control of experiment.
NADLER: You got to control the experiment on the Republican Romney
policies now in Great Britain --
NADLER: -- in France, not in France, but in Spain, Ireland, and the
catastrophic. The Europe is clutching economically or parts of it
precisely in those countries where they`re following the policies that Bush
did here and that Romney wants to reinstate.
MCWHORTER: It`s clear, though, (ph) that Obama starts to explain
these things (INAUDIBLE), I think. The idea that there`s an explainer in
chief who can do it forehand is a nice idea, but it`s at the point where it
doesn`t start doing it himself he`s going start looking even weaker than he
was. And I don`t think that it would kill the election for him to --
SOTO: -- ownership, and that`s what really struck me. And I know
(INAUDIBLE) struck about this where we started them saying Obamacare, we
are owning this messages, and I think that is a pivotal point. Now, the
president has to personify that more, but at least, the party is gelling
around, and I think they`re running away like in 2010.
HAYES: And the most concrete - the most concrete example of that, I
would say, and I thought this was surprising. If you went back and we were
sitting at this table in January 2009, you said four years from now, when
the president is at the convention, what will figure more prominently in
the messaging and the case the president`s making?
The American Recovery Act, which has just passed which was -- or the
auto bailout? I would have definitely said the Recovery Act. I mean that
was where all the emphasis a lot. It was huge bill. It was kind of a
remarkable piece of legislation as we chronicled on the show with Mike
Grunwald whose great new book, "The New New Deal" goes through it.
But it is certainly the case the auto bailout has gotten way more
attention -- was much more front and center in this convention. I want you
to show a bit of the speech about that and then talk about the role the
auto bail place because I think it has this kind of concreteness that
almost nothing else --
HAYES: Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I`ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they`ve
never bailed another American car. And today, they can build them fast
enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that`s back on the top
of the world.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: I`ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back
to America, not because our workers make less pay, but because we make
better products, because we work harder and smarter than anyone else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And that was the president talking about the auto rescue. Joe
Biden, of course, talked about the other rescue. In fact, he talked about
it. He basically said there are two policies that you should judge the
president`s record on, the ordering the raid -- ordering the raid on Osama
Bin Laden`s compound and the revival of GM.
I want to talk about the auto bailout and what that -- what the
symbolism in politics about are? And I want to bring in Jared Bernstein,
one of the people who are sitting in the room during much of the
deliberations over how to deal with the economic crisis right after we take
HAYES: I want to bring in MSNBC contributor, Jared Bernstein, former
chief economist and economic policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden,
now senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. And we
played that -- that moment from the speech about the other rescue, and the
other rescue was really front and center.
I want you to answer the question if we gone back to January of
February 2009 and you had to predict which of the two policies, the
Recovery Act or the auto rescue, would feature more prominently in this
convention, what would your prediction have been?
JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC FMR. CHIEF ECONOMIST, V.P. BIDEN: Mine would
have been the same as yours, even though, by the way, neither were polling
all that great --
BERNSTEIN: -- particularly the auto bailout -- it was always a head--
kind of a head scratcher for me that actually polled worse than the TARP at
the time, believe it or not. So, I was- I don`t think I`ve ever heard a
senior official spend as much time touting the benefits of the auto bailout
as the vice president did the other night.
And you know, it`s interesting to a lot of people. I`ve been one of
them. I`ve been saying, boy, this is really a great intervention. I think
the word "iconic" was used earlier in the sense of the auto industry, and I
I also think it`s such a class (INAUDIBLE) study between the kind of
interventions that you heard about in the DNC week versus the antipathy to
those type of interventions in the RNC week.
HAYES: And you also have the concreteness. At one point, Jennifer
Granholm in a speech that got my attention as much for its delivery is its
content that just went through listing the number of jobs in different
states. And, that concreteness, I think, is also part of what is so
remarkable about the political case for the auto rescue.
BERNSTEIN: Yes. I think one of the things that people don`t know
enough about is the supply chain that would have come down had the GM and
Chrysler essentially liquidated because there simply wasn`t the kind of
private investor financing available at that time, and it was something
that meant so much to us.
When I was working for the vice president, we actually went to -- I
don`t remember exactly where it was, but instead of going to one of the big
auto companies at the end of the production line, we went to bunches of
suppliers and try to explain the sort of job creation that was going on
There are far more people that work on the supply chain that work in
the end of the line factory. So, it`s a very big communities (ph). And
you said something a few minutes ago that kind of took me back about being
in the room. I really was there in the oval office when the president was
just, you know, had to make a call, had to make a decision on this.
And as the vice president said the other night, he was getting advice
on both sides. This was not a slam dunk by any stretch of the imagination.
HAYES: We were talking before about the Recovery Act which is
something Jared that you were closely associated with and then the second
round of stimulus that was proposed by the president called the American
Jobs Act, blocked by the Republican Congress. Congressman Nadler, you made
a good case about that obstruction and its effects.
But, the American Jobs Act did not appear in the president speech.
And, it wasn`t like, Joe, I mean, you`ve been someone who`s been banging
the table over Business Insider for more stimulus, more efforts by the
Federal Reserve, by Congress, by the president, by everyone to address the
Did you feel the president addressed it enough? Did he -- was their
enough of a clarion call, enough of the drawing the distinction between
what the Republicans are obstructing and what he is proposing?
WEISENTHAL: No. Actually, this one of the points that I was
frustrated by which is this idea that we have a jobs crisis and we have a
debt crisis. I think we don`t have a debt crisis and I would say if we`re
going to allocate our priorities, it should be 99 percent towards jobs and
half of percent towards debt maybe and not mention. And so, half percent
for his --
WEISENTHAL: I mean, I guess, I understand the politics for deficit
cuts (ph) whatever. One my favorite economists, Richard Koo, has this
great line. He says to talking about the national debt is like talking
about, you know, someone has a heart attack that are being rush into the
hospital and the doctors badgering them about their insurance as they`re
going in. Makes no sense.
Fix the crisis you have right now. And I wonder, like, it just seems
terrible salesmanship to argue for stimulus or argue which he kind of did
in this vague sense of we`re going to reinvent -- do nation building in the
U.S. and stuff. Well, also conceiving this broad point that we have this
fictitious crisis which doesn`t exist.
BERNSTEIN: One little addition to that. I very much agree with those
sentiments. And in fact, given how low interest rates are right now in
terms of government borrowing, the debt markets are actually kind of
shouting out for more of the kind of jobs measures in the short term that
would help the boost growth at a time when borrowing cost are so low that
the contribution for the deficit relative to growth makes it a very good
deal for the government.
NADLER: I totally agree with what Jared and Joe said, but let me
injected politics (ph) here.
HAYES: Please. You are politician.
NADLER: Yes. From an economic point of view, from the point of view
of the welfare of the country, we shouldn`t even be talking about debt
deficit right now. We have negative or practical (ph) purposes, negative
We have been borrowing more money, hiking the deficit in order to
invest in infrastructure, in roads, in bridges, in highways, in hospitals,
in education, in things that will make the economy more competitive, will
generate jobs right now and make us more competitive in the future.
And when the times get good, then you pay down the debts. And that`s
a standard economics, which we learned in college. Unfortunately, you got
most of the press the entire Republican Party and part of the Democratic
Party saying, you got this terrible deficit crisis and what we are to do
right now, we got this fiscal clip coming up, we`ve got to (ph) eliminate
the entire sequestration which was (INAUDIBLE).
You know, the Republicans were saying get rid of the defense
sequestration and double down on the social services. Romney points out
quite correctly that if you sequester all those funds on the defense side,
you`re cutting jobs. Yes, but you also cutting jobs when you sequester the
NADLER: (INAUDIBLE) just admit that the sequestration was a mistake,
was came through a public blackmail that will throw the country into chaos
by not paying our bills on the debt ceiling. Just eliminate that entirely
and do a number of other things. But the politics dictate --
NADLER: And unfortunately, because we haven`t laid a predicate over
the last four years by explaining to the American people that the jobs,
other real crisis, the deficits, which is hyped only because of the
recession, because of the unemployment.
BERNSTEIN: It is interesting that you just blew by something very
important. Everybody is Keynesian all of a sudden, right? All the
Republicans are essentially talking the Keynesian book on the spending
BERNSTEIN: They`re just doing it on defense, but, come on.
NADLER: Only on that. Everything else is not Keynesian.
HAYES: Right -- John.
MCWHORTER: But there`s more about politics, and this is getting to
what you were talking about Chris, which is that if we would have expected
people to be more interested now in terms of pitching (ph) an election, the
stimulus rather than the bailout, then this would be a country that had
better educational policies than it has and note how little that was talked
about i.e. not at all at these conventions.
We would have to have a populist that actually understood some of the
basics of economics, but to stemming (ph) this not to seem like such a
dried subject as important as it was whereas the bailout is a story. You
could make a movie about it.
MCWHORTER: You could giving (ph) a job back (INAUDIBLE) one fail
whether or not it was good to allow people to come back when they have rest
(ph) their companies. All of that is easier to sell if you`re trying to do
something to swing voters.
And so, actually, I would have predicted 3-1/2 years ago that when it
came down to what you were going to make speeches about with music playing,
it would be about saving big companies and giving (INAUDIBLE) job rather
than something more abstract which is the stimulus, even though to me, it
was more interesting.
SOTO: And remember, this was the demographic that he needs most. The
president has a solid base with the Black and Latino community, but that
(INAUDIBLE) demographic is the one that he`s referring (ph) the most with.
And here, he can put the names that face the electorate which is crucial in
Ohio, Pennsylvania, and swing states.
HAYES: The president also talked a lot about this sort of future
agenda, which I thought was remarkably consistent, actually, with 2008.
We`ll take a look at that. And I want to talk about a line about from Bill
Clinton`s speech about what`s causing the jobs crisis that actually made me
panic a little bit, about what is in the mind of Democratic policymakers
right after this break.
HAYES: You know, there`s this story about Barack Obama on the
American right which is that he was this stealth candidate. Essentially,
he wasn`t vetted, that he was this (INAUDIBLE) leftist with this
nefariously grandiose visions of bending the trajectory of American freedom
towards tyranny, socialism, and a European state.
And what`s remarkable is how the inverse of that is true in so much as
the domestic policy agenda, this is not true, I think, about civil
liberties and foreign policy, but the domestic policy agenda that he said
on the campaign over a very long campaign is precisely what he did when he
got into office, more or less.
And there`s a remarkable amount of consistency, actually, in the basic
economic domestic policy vision. And this is -- we went back and sort of
compared the 2008 convention speech and the 2012 convention speech, and you
can get a sense of that. Just take a look.
OBAMA: No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter
because they don`t have the money.
We will keep our promise to every young American. If you commit to
serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a
I`ve cut taxes for those who need it. Middle-class families, small
I will cut taxes, cut taxes for 95 percent of all working families
because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes
on the middle class.
We`ve opened up millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration last
three years and we`ll open more.
As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean
coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear.
HAYES: Now, some of those policies I, myself, don`t like, in fact.
Clean coal is a ridiculous fiction. And we`re not going to drill our way
out of the crisis that is headed towards the planet, but you can`t say that
it wasn`t consistent.
I mean, there really is a remark -- I think it was so interesting that
the dominant story about this speech was the difference between 2008 or
2004 and 2012 when, in a lot of ways, and this is, I think, true of the
figure of Barack Obama in so many ways, there`s been a kind of remarkable
He is who he is, and he`s had the vision that he`s had and, you know,
the sort of basic squarely in the middle of Democratic coalition politics -
SOTO: And the bedrock was also of healthcare reform, and in that
clip, we didn`t show that, but he ran on that. You know, that was what
anchored his campaign, and he delivered on it.
SOTO: You know, and for a long time, Democrats were running away from
it, but they`ve finally come back to embrace it, and you can link that to
the economy whereas in this time of social need it`s become even more
MCWHORTER: (INAUDIBLE) for example would say that that was part of
the socialism, though. Even if Obama was being opened about it, that this
was a major problem even --
NADLER: The dominant reality of our politics today is two things.
The Republican Party has become extremely, I would say, radically right-
wing party on social issues and on economic issues. The Democratic Party
has become a very liberal party and on social issues and a much more
conservative party than it used to be on economic issues.
If this were 30 years ago, if Obama were not essentially a centrist,
the party weren`t very centrist now, we would have taken Medicare and
expanded it in a single payer system to the entire population instead of
essentially in 1993 Republican plan for providing insurance through the
private sector through the insurance companies. This is not socialism.
BERNSTEIN: Yes. I know, it is really remarkable. I mean, for
example, most think that the president raised a lot of people`s taxes.
BERNSTEIN: And of course, it`s not exactly the opposite in a pretty
big way. I`d also say -- echoing Jerry, the extensive which you see things
move to the right -- you can see that in the regulatory discussion. Who in
their right mind would argue that, at this point, financial markets can
BERNSTEIN: And so the president who I think is pretty pragmatic and
centrist on many of these ideas and gets behind financial regulation. That
becomes an issue that`s going to tear the financial markets down. They
can`t possibly survive it if they have to pay any attention to anybody
looking over shoulder (ph).
They can regulate themselves. Well, you know, we saw what that did.
So, I do think it`s very much a move to the right, yes.
HAYES: Yes. And there`s this -- the overlay on that, right? I mean,
the president -- the way the president`s campaign wants to talk about it is
not left/right for a lot -- whole host of reasons, and obviously, any
nomination speech at a convention is aimed towards the middle.
I mean, Mitt Romney`s speech was, you know -- there was very oblique,
very oblique references to social issues, you know? He didn`t even say
something marriage between a man and a woman. He said institution of
The president`s speech summarily (ph), squarely focused to the middle
of the electorate and the choice that they`ve set up isn`t this left/right,
right? It`s forward or backward. And this is -- I want to give a taste of
that, the basic contours of this forward/backward argument.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I`ve cut taxes for those who need it. Middle-class families,
small businesses. But I don`t believe that another round of tax breaks for
millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores or pay down our deficit. I
don`t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid
will grow the economy or help us compete with the scientists and engineers
coming out of China.
After all we`ve been through, I don`t believe that rolling back
regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand or the
laid off construction worker keep his home. We have been there. We`ve
tried that, and we`re not going back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s a very effective argument to me, but what`s interesting
here is you have two plains upon which this is happening. There`s the
long-term vision, which is why there`s a consistency, 2008 and 2012, long-
term vision of building an American that can out innovate, outcompete, this
is the phrase that the present people using. What is a long-term
trajectory of the American economy, right?
Rebuilding it. Then there`s the short-term jobs crisis which
continues to burn across the land essentially unaddressed. And I think
that I understand the political decision to focus on that long-term vision
because you`re talking about second term, but it remains the case that the
most pressing part of our politics is just there and not being addressed.
And I want to talk -- I want to return to how we can address it, how
to think about the politics and that going forward after we take this
HAYES: All right. We -- we`re talking about the president`s speech
this week at the DNC and also the ways in which he was making economic
case, and there`s a sort of long-term case and a short-term case, and I
want to return to the short-term, because I think that`s the thing that
gets less emphasis.
And I don`t think it`s because -- I don`t think it`s emphasis because
the president of the Democratic Party cares about it less. In fact, I
think they care about full employment in the near term far and far more
than the Republican Party does, but because of, A, the politics at the
moment, and, B, the fact that the real solutions are things that have been
politically cut off by the kind of conversation we`ve had.
And before you can talk about how to solve the jobs crisis, there`s
got to be a theory about why we have a job crisis, which is, I think, a
massive financial crisis followed by a recession, a lack of demand, right?
But Bill Clinton had this line in his speech the other night which I
thought the speech was remarkable and fantastic and everyone said it.
There`s one line, though, that gave me a little bit of worry when he said
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need a lot
more new jobs, but there are already more than three million jobs open and
unfilled in America, mostly because the people who apply for them don`t yet
have the required skills to do them. So even as we get Americans more
jobs, we have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are actually
going to be created. The old economy is not coming back. We`ve got to
build a new one and educate people to do those jobs.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There`s two -- roughly two theories about why we have a job
crisis. Cyclical, right, which is that we had a huge recession and there`s
a lack of demand and we need to boost demand and a structural story, which
is kind of the story Bill Clinton was telling which is there`s a mismatch
between the skills that are needed and the skills Americans have.
And so, that`s a deeper structural problem and just plowing money into
demand is not going to fix it. And if you think that, then you don`t think
there`s much to be done in the short term, which is what worried me about
that Bill Clinton moment. Joe, I want you to respond because you`ve been
fighting this a lot and then I want to hear from you, Jared.
WEISENTHAL: Yes. There`s this tendency, I think, among like really
smart people in Washington D.C. to think the problems are really big, and
we need, you know, big solutions about people (ph) skills whatever. But
the fact of the matter is that the jobs crisis is cyclical. It`s the fact
of weak demand. There`s a lot of evidence for this.
Edward Lazear who`s a conservative economist at the Hoover Institute
actually just came out with a paper at the Jackson Hole Conference last
week where he -- he pointed out the simple fact. He said, the industries
that lost jobs the hardest during the down turn have gained jobs back the
fastest back during the upturn.
And we`d experience some big shift in the economy. We would have
expected to see that. There`s other research that shows that in the
counties where there`s the most household debt going into the crisis, those
have had the worst economic comebacks. Again, it all suggests that the
issue is lack of demand, over indebted, household sector, and so forth, not
some big idea about how we need to completely retool America --
HAYES: Well, Jared, you`re on the inside, and I want to hear, is it -
- are they -- does the structural theory have purchased among people that
are close to president is that -- or do people inside that white house see
it as a demand problem, as a cyclical problem.
BERNSTEIN: Demand, cyclical, including the president. Look, that`s -
- in a 50-minute speech, that`s the one thing the former president got
wrong. In fact, if you actually look at those numbers in a typical
economy, there`s twice that many unfilled job openings. That`s just
frictional. Nothing to suggest structural at all.
And in fact, college unemployment rates are quite elevated, which is
another reason why you won`t believe that. But, listen, in terms of the
short-term, you`re absolutely right. But with fiscal policy as Jerry
Nadler was talking about, that kind of demand fiscal stuff is off the table
right now. I see only two things in the near term that could help that
might be possible.
One is the Federal Reserve, which is kind of outside the system. We
haven`t talked about that, but they could help and probably this week they
will. But the other is solving the fiscal cliff, I actually think that
that would be something that would really help the economy, and it`s
something we should do yesterday.
There may be enough political grown-ups in the room to accomplish that
sometime in the next few months.
HAYES: I just want to finish this off by saying the Democrats do have
-- we should just hammer this home. There`s an American Jobs Act, there`s
a bill sitting on Congress that is a short-term demand side solution or at
least a way of addressing the cyclical jobs problems. There is nothing as
far as I can see the Republicans about that in the short term.
NADLER: The Republicans say nothing. All they say is -- it was
remarkable in Romney`s speech. He always said is, reduce the debt and that
will create jobs.
NADLER: How wide --
HAYES: Romney actually has --
NADLER: That`s not working in Europe.
HAYES: Right. And let me say, low-hanging fruit, we`ve lost 600,000
public sector jobs in these jobs crisis. If (INAUDIBLE) continue to keep
pace with the population growth, we would have about a point lower --
NADLER: -- we deliberately thrown away 600,000 public service jobs.
HAYES: So, there is low hanging fruit. Jared Bernstein, former chief
economist and economic policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, thank
you for joining us this morning and Joe Weisenthal, deputy editor at
BusinessInsider.com. Thanks a lot, man.
WEISENTHAL: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Democrats revel in the culture wars when we get
HAYES: All right. Watching the Democratic National Convention over
the past week, it was hard not to notice the gleefulness with which the
Democrats engaged on the issues of culture war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Women are more than
capable of making our own choices about our bodies.
OBAMA: Controlled healthcare choices that women should be making for
JULIAN CASTRO, (D) SAN ANTONIO MAYOR: When it comes to letting people
love who they love and marry who they want to marry, Mitt Romney says no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Romney, my family is just as real as yours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not just dreamers. Democrats value all
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Obama
believes that even those dreamers, those kids didn`t choose to come here,
they have chosen to do right by America, and it`s time for us to do right
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The rhetoric has been much by movement in the platform. For
example, the 2004 Democratic platform left the issue of marriage equality
to the states saying, in our country, marriage has been defined at the
state level for 200 years, and we believe it should continue to be defined
Just eight years later, the platform now reads, we support the right
of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections
under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to
secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. Its new positions
have been so normalized over the past year as it seemed inevitable.
So, it`s easier to forget that just eight years ago, just eight years
ago, the conventional wisdom was that the culture wars benefited
Republicans. In fact, Republican offered is pushed anti-gay marriage
ballot initiatives in swing states to turn out their base. And just four
years ago, actually just four months ago, President Obama`s official
position was still that marriage was defined and should be defined as
between a man and woman.
On immigration, it wasn`t until June of this the president announced
he would use his executive power to enact a D.R.E.A.M.-like immigration
policy. What happened and what does it say about politics in this country
and shifts in the electorate. The Democrats now seem so confident they
have the upper hand on issues of choice, marriage equality, and
Joining me is Nancy Keenan. She`s the president of Naral Pro-Choice
America, also a speaker on the stage in prime time during this week`s
NANCY KEENAN, PRESIDENT, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: It`s great to have you here.
KEENAN: Wonderful to be here.
HAYES: So, those are three issues, marriage quality, immigration, and
choice. Better the classic wedge issues going all the way back to the memo
that Patrick Buchanan wrote to Richard Nixon in the 1970s, which is we can
cut the country in half and I think we`ll get the bigger half. And he was,
at that point, talking about law and order and bussing, particularly.
But the idea being there`s these issues where you want to heighten the
contradictions, you want to focus on dividing people because we`ve got the
majority on our side, and Democrats have acted politically for a long time
on these issues in kind of defensive crouch thinking the Republicans are
And I just think the most striking part of this convention was the
total reversal. And I want to go to you on the issue of choice and women`s
health more broadly. You`ve been working on this issue for a while. What
has happened? What was -- do you agree with me? It was different at this
convention and if it was, why?
KEENAN: Well, I think that, first, around the issue of choice, that
American public has remained steadfastly pro-choice. And all the polling
shows that you don`t see that it changes dramatically. I think what
happens is that the political landscape changes a bit. When we had in the
late 1980s and early 1990s, president -- then Governor Bill Clinton, and a
lot was at stake.
Casey (ph) was being debated in front of the Supreme Court. People
were paying attention to choice. The president then running for president,
Bill Clinton, was talking about it a lot. And so, we saw this surge of
interest in the issue of choice. Democrats won. The issue fell off the
radar screen after, that.
But then we see a spike at the state levels, and so we see the anti-
choice rhetoric gear up with the state level and we tend to have a pro-
choice president. So, it`s not the things have changed. I think other
priorities take place to people`s lives.
They`re watching, you know, whether it`s their jobs, whether it`s
something else, but the minute this becomes something in front of the
Supreme Court, it raises it up and people begin to have much more attention
in what`s at stake if it were to be repealed.
HAYES: So, your theory, there`s kind of pendulum back and forth to
battle (ph) being waged and the issue rises and falls in prominence as
opposed to some kind of -- because I think on the marriage equality, it
feels to me like a steady margin in one direction, right?
KEENAN: Yes, but let me talk about that. I mean, look at the
difference. We have this demographic of millennials under 30 years old.
The issue of gay marriage was something they wanted, something that they
didn`t have and they wanted. The issue of reproductive choice and the
access to reproductive health, it`s something that they have.
And so, the energy around that isn`t, oh, I need to protect it. Its
like lets stand up for the status quo, you know?
SOTO: I think the story is also the dynamic between the federal and
state level. Yes, it is cyclical, but what happened in 2010 is we had this
way of Democratic coming to the state legislatures. So now, the state
legislatures are 53 percent Republican.
NADLER: Republicans can be (INAUDIBLE).
SOTO: And so, then what we`re seeing is a lot of abortion-related
restrictionist policy. So then we see the backlash in terms of the
Democrat asserting themselves. And I do think it`s going to continue for
awhile, because redistricting happened under 2010 state legislature.
HAYES: We`re showing this remarkable chart that Rachel has shown them
during some of our primetime coverage, which is state abortion restriction
initiatives which just absolutely spike after those 2010 elections, but
then interestingly come down quite a bit, which I think talks -- speaks to
the politics of the issue.
And I just want to share some polling real quickly, too, because I
mean, basically, abortion is one of these questions where I think the
majority is pro-choice as a legal constitutional matter, but the responses
of people really go all over the place depending on how you phrase the
But it`s been very consistent. I mean, unlike the marriage equality
issue, I think the polling on choice has been pretty consistent since 1975
more or less. And so, yes, you see there the Gallup, you know, legal under
circumstances, under the -- any circumstances in the pro-life edition (ph)
of the Republican Party, which is illegal in all circumstances essentially
with 19 percent in 1975, 20 percent now. There has not been a lot of
growth in that.
NADLER: I think there`s been a couple of changes.
HAYES: Hold that thought for one second, because I want to -- I also
want to bring in Stan Greenberg who`s been polling on this for several
decades as well right after we take this break.
HAYES: Congressman Nadler, you had a point that I -- sorry to break
NADLER: Yes. Quickly, I was going to say that the polling hasn`t
changed on the issue. Most people are pro-choice but not totally under all
circumstances. For years, the right-wing managed to frame the debate about
seemingly extremist questions such as partial birth abortions.
NADLER: But the Republican Party has now become so right wing on the
subject and so extremist that now they`re talking about extremes on the
other side, prohibiting abortions in case of rape or incest or the health
of the mother or even the life of the mother.
SOTO: Or the personhood amendment or even one step further back where
before contraception that --
NADLER: And therefore prohibiting contraception. So, when you`re
dealing with these issues, of course, it seems extreme, and it is extreme.
HAYES: Stan Greenberg, pollster, who has been -- good morning. Great
to have you. You`ve been working -- polling this issue for a while, and
I`m curious, when you look at choice specifically but then broader this
kind of portfolio so called cultural issues, are we seeing movement in the
polls that explains the rhetoric and the more forward leading rhetoric we
saw on the stage?
STAN GREENBERG, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: I think it`s actually a very,
very big -- that`s a bigger issues than you`re describing it, and I think
you set it up for that, you know, answer. You know, in part it`s about,
you know, women and young people and kind of more affluent suburban voters
and drawing them, you know, more to the president.
It`s in part the extreme positions that are taking, but it`s much,
much, much bigger question about what these two coalitions really have
developed as and stand for.
GREENBERG: A world view associated with Democrats, it`s diversity,
it`s tolerance, it`s women`s rights, its different -- it`s a family, it`s a
little more secular pro-education science. There`s a world and when that
world view is fighting about that, Democrats have a much, much bigger
advantage. When you`re just talking about spending and budgets and
deficits and very material things, then you get a 2010 election. And so,
now, we`re looking at different kind of election.
HAYES: John, how does this strike you as someone who had been sort of
on the American right in a way or associated with the institutions for a
MCWHORTER: Sympathetic to the American right when it comes to
specifically to race questions where I think a lot of their positions would
have been liberal in 1960.
I would say that the dog that hasn`t barked in this convention is the
Black issue and I have to speak to it, because I think if a war is
something that people win and lose, then the right has won on issues such
as, for example, welfare reform where the latest news on that is Obama
being accused of trying to peel (ph) it back and the defense, and the
proper one is that he is looking to bolster people being put into work
rather than staying on welfare which means that the right wins on that one
in terms of affirmative action. This doesn`t happen to be the year for
MCWHORTER: It`s coming up. But, frankly, I think the right`s going
to win on that one as well. We`re not going have the kind of affirmative
action that was classic in the 1980s and 1990s. So, it`s not necessarily
that the Democrats completely taken control of the culture wars (ph),
because in some parts of them, and I would say on the Black one, it`s
certainly true. It`s the other side that has won, which is why we`re not
HAYES: Although, this question about what these two coalitions
increasing it look like, I think, is really, really the key hear of the
matter. So, I want to talk more about that and particularly the decision
to not just embrace the executive authority for a D.R.E.A.M. Act like
program but to put someone on stage who is herself undocumented and what
that means about the policies of that issue right after this break.
HAYES: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Here with MSNBC contributor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, New York
Congressman Jerry Nadler, John McWhorter of "The New York Daily News",
Nancy Keenan of NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Democratic pollster Stan
And we are discussing the prominence and -- the prominence of cultural
issues in the Democratic Convention and the way in which Democrats seem to
be on offense of many of these issues that have been accustomed to seeing
them in the defensive crowd, particularly just eight years ago when it was
culture war issues were very prominent in the electorate and it seemed that
the Republicans had the upper hand and were the aggressor and Democrats
were back on their heels.
One of those issues is choice which we talked about. You at the
podium, Nancy Keenan.
One of the issues is immigration, which is a really -- one of those
issues that gets people very hot in the cheeks. That makes people very
passionate, and sometimes in which the loudest voices get the control the
And the Democrats took what I thought was an incredibly gutsy,
admirable move which was to put a woman on the stage who herself came to
the country undocumented and talking about the president`s decision to
allow women -- children, people such as hers to apply through an
administrative procedure to get a temporary status.
This is Benita Velez talking about her struggles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENITA VELEZ, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: I graduated as valedictorian of
my high class at the age of 16, but I`ve had to live almost my entire life
knowing I could be deported, just because of the way I came here.
President Obama fought for the DREAM Act to help people like me, and when
Congress refused to pass it, he didn`t give up. Instead he took action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We should note that the president has a two to one margin on
immigration policy among the electorate. So, this is -- this is what
And, Victoria, how are you interpreting this? To me, it`s pretty
remarkable because I think this again, one of those issues that when you
think about the classic Democratic quest for the white working class voter,
which is always front of mind in the generation of Democratic consultants,
that this is the kind of thing that`s going to be toxic to them.
VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it was a very bold
move to put Benita on the stage and I applaud the president and the DNC for
doing that. But we can`t lose sight of the fact that it took this long to
address it. The issue of immigration has been here for a long time, more
specifically the problem of immigration as these millions of kids, millions
of people who don`t have their status regularized.
So, you know, it`s a bittersweet pill because it reminds us of the
frustration. Why didn`t he pass the DREAM Act? I`m not saying even
comprehensive immigration reform. That would have been hard, I know he`s
trying to get health care. But why didn`t he pass the DREAM Act?
HAYES: Well, he couldn`t pass -- Democrats voted against --
Republicans voted against it --
SOTO: During his first two years. So during his first two years --
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Because of the filibuster.
SOTO: Look, but he promised. So, I`m just saying that there`s a
HAYES: That seems an unfair attack. The fairer attack to me seems
the executive decision to ramp up deportation, which he`s completely in an
administrative decision --
SOTO: But he made the promise that he would regularize status. He
didn`t make an electoral promise that I`m going to decrease deportation.
It`s always known if you`re going to address immigration, you want to
regularize status and enforce the borders.
He made a promise. You know, politically, it wasn`t feasible, I get
that. But the DREAM Act was politically feasible early on.
HAYES: You`re up, Congressman.
NADLER: I wish it were. I was and I am in Congress when we pushed
the DREAM Act very hard. We pushed the DREAM Act very hard. We passed it
in the House. It was defeated by a Republican filibuster in the second.
SOTO: Second part of the administration.
NADLER: The fact is the Republicans, even in the first part of the
administration, as long as you have one or two Democrats, Senator Nelson of
Nebraska, there was always one or two Democrats, Republicans except with on
rare occasions could block anything because of the filibuster and certainly
since Senator Kennedy died and Scott Brown replaced him, on all occasions.
HAYES: Stan, the polling here, I was -- when we looked to the
polling, there`s 2-1 support on immigration. I was pretty surprised that
that margin was that wide. Is that normal? Is that of recent vintage in
terms of a Democratic advantage on this issue?
STAN GREENBERG, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, first of all, if you ask
about the DREAM Act, we actually have, you know, we ask for "L.A. Times,"
that kind of plurality of whites, you now, are against. But overwhelmingly
Hispanics are for it -- and overwhelming and with intensity.
And I really do think this is -- this is really about -- on the one
hand talking about our values, which include rights and inclusiveness, but
it`s also about an unbelievable impact of having a Republican presidential
candidate taking positions that could alienate a generation and also create
a motivation to participate in this election that we have not, you know,
So this has the ability to be defining and I think highlighting it at
the convention along with a whole range of cultural issues in a way that
shows the Democratic Party to be diverse, open, tolerant, and say this
election is more -- more than about the economy.
SOTO: And don`t forget that there`s a Republican sector that supports
immigration. So Jeb Bush says his party is being stupid on immigration.
So there is still that fact.
GREENBERG: I just want to emphasize -- I just want to emphasize that
during the primary, if you want to see the biggest lead you saw for the
president, it was during the Republican primaries when social issues,
cultural issues were dominant.
What the Democrats were doing were saying cultural issues matter in
this election can impact it.
NADLER: I think something very long term, that long terms politics is
very important here.
The issue of jobs is obviously a transcendent issue but the
Republicans are framing it that, you, Mr. President, are not competent.
We`re competent. You`re not competent. That`s short term, because whether
the president is reelected or not, in 2016, we`re going be running somebody
else, and that person maybe more or less competent as foreseen by the
But the social issues, especially immigration, are long-term defining.
And as Stanley said, they`re alienating a generation. Yes, there are
people in the Republican Party, like Karl Rove and Jeb Bush who understand
this but because they`re alienating a generation and because of that, the
Demographics against the Republican Party. That`s why they`re going into
voter suppression to stop an emerging Democratic majority which they are
generating because of these social issues.
HAYES: So I want to lay out two theories here because it seems like
we have two possibilities on the table. And we should probably maybe
distinguish between these issues.
Nancy, I want to hear your feedback on this, right?
So, one theory is the electorate itself, the center of the American
electorate is moving in the direction of the Democrats, right? That
there`s progress, and the evidence on, say, marriage equality, that`s true.
Or it could with the case the electorate isn`t moving towards the center of
the Democrats. That is that the right and the Republicans are moving away
from the electorate, which I think on the issue of choice and particularly
birth control, it has been more of the case. And what I noted is for all
of the invocations of women`s health on the stage, the word abortion was
almost nowhere to be found in any of speeches except for the notable
exception of yourself who mentioned it several times.
What does that say to you about where the Democrats view themselves on
that issue, how confident they are that the electorate is moving towards
NANCY KEENAN, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: Well, I`ll go back to that
electorate is with the Democrats on the issue of abortion and protecting
women`s reproductive rights. I think the issue that they don`t speak
abortion. I mean, look, they talked -- almost every speaker did speak
It`s my job as president of NARAL to talk about the issue very
specifically abortion, but I also think that this comes down to women`s
votes. So whether it`s immigration, whether it is marriage equality,
whether it`s the issue of reproductive choice, women out there, I think,
are going to make the difference in this election, especially the
And the issue that -- you have a mother that wants her child to be
able to go to college. The immigrant child that was brought to this
country, to be able to go -- women care about the issue of choice and are
outraged that they now want to make contraception not available. And so,
the issue around is extreme.
HAYES: Right. Just the subtext here which I want to highlight is
that the thing you`re saying is the potency of it, when you talk about
contraception, right? The potency of it is a backlash response to extreme
overreach by the right.
KEENAN: That`s right.
JOHN MCWORTHER, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The term itself, say, abortion
can drift way from what it refers to, such that a person who`s very much in
favor of a certain policy might avoid using that term to avoid those
resonances, but that doesn`t mean that they are opinions have changed.
Abortion is certainly one of those --
HAYES: Stan, were you surprised or not surprised by the nonappearance
of the word abortion? And, in fact, what you would counsel in your memos
to people that were doing --
GREENBERG: I wrote the memo and one of the points, I said, you know,
let`s not forget the position on cultural issues because, you know, the two
positions, particularly contraception but then most recently legitimate
rape. They`ve taken positions where you can see voters kind of step back
and say they`re not really taking these positions.
Contraception was the first piece off this, because overwhelmingly
Catholics, you know, favor and use contraception. And they just could not
understand that that was part of the public debate, and really was a shift
when they began to raise those issues. So, I think actually both
hypotheses here are true, the electorates moving. But on these two issues,
they`ve taken such extreme positions they they`ve opened up a space for the
KEENAN: But let`s be clear --
NADLER: But the -- I agree with Stanley. But the situation is
different on abortion and on gay rights for example because on abortion,
the position of the people has been largely the same. On gay rights, it`s
been moving and changing more rapidly than on anywhere of the social issues
we`ve seen in memory.
There`s been a tremendous shift and it`s a generation shift but it`s
also a shift within generations. People under 35, what`s the issue with
gay marriage? I mean, why do we care about it? Obviously, it should be
But the people as a whole -- this is a long-term shift because as
people know -- it was famously mentioned that Justice Blackmun, I think, on
the day of the Bowers decision which said that -- which allowed laws
against consensual sodomy, against being gay, said to his gay law clerk,
don`t know anybody who`s gay.
Today everyone knows somebody who`s gay, a cousin or brother or
somebody. And that`s what`s changing.
MCWHORTHER: Even there, that the proper way of putting it is one
should be able to marry who one pleases, we`re talking about gay marriages.
HAYES: Gay. Although -- Kal Penn did say, my friends can get gay
married from the stage.
Well, I want to show the totality of invocations of marriage from both
the nominee and the Republican Party and his running mate right after we
take this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: As president, I`ll protect the
sanctity of life. I`ll honor the institution of marriage.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Not only a defender
of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is all we got, the Republican convention from the two
people on the ticket on marriage. Not even, you know -- not even going out
and saying one man and one woman which is what George W. Bush said in his
own convention back in 2004 and that language was prevalent in 2008 as
So, that to me is a greatest indicator of where things are on this
Stan, the polling on this issue seems to be -- Congressman Nadler just
said it`s the most remarkable shift we`ve seen. That`s my sense as well.
GREENBERG: I`m in awe of it. I`ve watched it in election after
election. Look, I remember in 2004 when, you know, John Kerry, we had a
Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts, constitutional amendment -- we had
Bush running on a constitutional amendment, you know, on marriage. I
wrote, you know, a memo after the election based on a poll that it was one
of the issues that cost him maybe even Ohio.
Now, you have the president of the United States, you know, supporting
marriage equality, a larger majority of the country in favor of it. And
you want to understand why the right is concerned about the culture war.
They do think -- and they may be right -- that they`re losing the culture
They`re looking at the diversity of the country, they`re looking at
issues related to marriage, and they see everything at risk, and they could
be right because the country has gone way beyond it, particularly on
SOTO: Because it`s generational. So, it`s not just that we`re seeing
that generational shift of seeing or approving gay marriage but also among
the minorities who traditionally may be more conservative. With regards to
gay marriage, they`re also supporting it. They`re saying, OK --
SOTO: But I`m going with the party that does so.
GREENBERG: It`s starting to move.
KEENAN: I think it`s also because there was a face put to it. There
was a point that the personal became political.
KEENAN: It`s my mother, my sister, my brother, my cousin. It became
a face to someone that loved and wanted to get married.
HAYES: And think that was something very effectively done at the
convention. Zack Walsh (ph), the son of two women who are married. Benita
Velez, who is herself a part of the cohort of folks who are undocumented
came to the country`s children. Sandra Fluke, actually, with a huge
primetime speaking slot that -- you know, I mean, talk about -- it doesn`t
get any more prominent basically introducing the former president of the
KEENAN: And Sandra Fluke.
GREENBERG: Really, a real message.
KEENAN: She was the face --
GREENBERG: A real message and also --
HAYES: Please, Stan, go ahead.
GREENBERG: It`s a real message, but it`s also a generational piece
and she, I think, was the voice of it because as we said with the -- you
know, with Hispanics and Latinos, that with young people, when they look at
gay marriage, when they look at climate change, and they look at these
issues, they say, who are -- what is this party, the Republican Party and
what they believe.
You know, in is about winning young voters back and winning women
back, but it`s also, I think, much bigger and will have enduring effects
because you just won`t have young people thinking the Republican Party is
relevant to their lives.
KEENAN: This is where Sandra, you know, to be talking about
contraception, to be denied an opportunity to speak on a panel, all white
men talking about birth control and saying it was not relevant that she had
an opportunity to speak.
This is -- this was for young women, I believe, our Anita Hill moment.
This was a moment --
KEENAN: -- where you said, oh, my God, they`re talking about my birth
control? Well, where before we knew in the movement who live and died with
this, we knew they were as much about anti-contraception as they were about
being anti-choice, and all of it in between.
HAYES: Let me respond to that. I want to channel the argument from
Republicans on this for a second which is the right will say that basically
this anti-contraception jihad has been ginned up very cynically and
strategically by people such as yourself, by the Democratic Party, because
they understand the popularity of contraception and because they want that
as a political issue when, in fact, you have one video of Rick Santorum
saying contraception is not good and you have this one opposition to the
one directive coming out of HHS, about contraceptive covered as
preventative care on the Affordable Care Act that basically Republicans say
that`s it. And Mitt Romney says I don`t want to talk about it. I`m not
going to do anything on contraception as president.
How do you respond to that?
KEENAN: Well, you have Mitt Romney talking about supporting a
personhood amendment which would not only outlaw birth control, it would
outlaw stem cell research. And yet, it outlaws abortion care.
So, the point that they think that our side is bringing it up, they
are the ones that went on the attack on contraception. They`re the ones
that have been advocating for abstinence-only sex education and not
allowing young people, if you will, to have accurate information and to
make good decisions about their reproductive health. So --
NADLER: And they are the ones who made a big deal -- they and the
Catholic Church leadership who made a big deal of religious liberty out of
this contraception thing when, in fact, 28 percent had a --
NADLER: -- similar requirement no one ever mentions.
GREENBERG: They`re suing the president and they`re trying to make it
an issue all across the country. They`re acting on this. This is like --
Romney may not want to talk about it, but the fact that they have this in
the platform is part of them acting on it in the Congress, acting on it in
state legislatures, governors. This is a real issue in practice.
They just don`t want to talk about it. So we`re absolutely right to
HAYES: Democratic pollster and co-author with James Carville of the
book, "It`s the Middle Class Stupid!" -- Stan Greenberg, thanks for joining
us this morning.
GREENBERG: Thank you.
HAYES: The first lady called herself the mom-in-chief. What does
that mean? That`s next.
HAYES: To our conversation about birth control, we should also note
the Senate Republicans Blount and Scott Brown co-sponsored an amendment
they push for a vote for that would essentially override the HHS`s decision
and also allow people that are employers to deny contraception coverage for
any reason, both spiritual or moral, or anything else. So, that was
actually a substantive piece of policy advanced by the Republicans put on
the agenda --
NADLER: By moderate Republicans.
HAYES: By moderate, so-called moderate Republican Scott Brown, of
course, in a very highly contested race against Elizabeth Warren of
All right. First Lady Michelle Obama delivered an incredible, moving
speech Tuesday night, that managed to weave together a narrative that
combined her love for her country, with her love for her husband and her
kids. She talked about working hard, about doing what you`re supposed to
do with honesty and integrity, with gratitude and humility. And she did it
with tears in here eyes. These are the values, she said, that she and the
president are trying to pass on to their children.
But in the political environment in which the role of mother has
become contested politically terrain, the line of the speech that most
stood out to me was this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: At the end of the day, my most important
title is still mom-in-chief.
My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director
and CEO of MomsRising.org.
You were down in Charlotte. You spoke at a meeting of the women`s
caucus, I think the same morning that Michelle Obama was speaking. What`s
your reaction to that line? What does that line mean to you?
KRISTIN ROWE-FINKBEINER, MOMSRISING.ORG: I love that line. That line
was like a modern feminist statement. One of the reasons for that is that
80 percent of women do have children by the time we`re 44 years old. But
too often, women have to hide the fact that we have children, we hide the
pictures in our offices, we don`t talk about our children in the
professional world because there is significant wage and hiring
discrimination against moms.
So to have the first lady stand up there and say my job and one of the
important parts of my jobs is mom-in-chief is a significant boost to the
women out there who are struggling.
HAYES: Did you interpret it the same way?
ROWE-FINKBEINER: Yes, I did. I mean --
HAYES: Did you really?
KEENAN: Yes. Well in the sense of saying, yes, I thought it was
honest and I thought it was fundamentally for women. They wake up every
day and you can go to work and you can work two jobs, you try to make ends
But fundamentally what you want is best for your children. That`s
what she was saying. And she was speaking to the American women out there
who are juggling two jobs, who are trying to find a way to get the kids to
soccer and maybe get the car tuned up.
And so she was talking to Middle America out there. And she is a mom,
and she adores those children. She wants to protect them on some level and
so to me, she is the mom in chief and she spoke to the American public
around that issue economically and emotionally.
MCWHORTER: There`s something I`m unclear of on this. It disturbs me.
I was equally disturbed me when she spoke in 2008, because no matter how
hard I try -- I understand what you`re saying intellectually. There`s a
very important issue -- what I saw was somebody with legal training, who
had a high-powered career, who is a situation where for understandable
reason she has to be the prisoner to the career of her spouse for four and
maybe eight years, and present herself to the country as primarily a
parent. And most people are parents and that`s important and we do need to
have legislation that supports it.
But the idea is she has to downplay all of the other things that she
is. And she has to and I get it, but I just look at her as a high-powered
career person who is not a man, where the primary image of her for us and
the one where we`re all supposed to well up is that she`s married to a
person and we give her an ovation for being married to a person who we
like, and she has to talk about the fact that she`s a parent and that`s
primary. That is to all of us parents to an extent.
But if we were getting past the sexism in the past, I would like it to
be equally prominent that she was doing something on her own and she`s
having to hold it off because of external circumstances.
HAYES: I should note that people noted the introductory video of her
did not talk about the fact that she`s an attorney and her job is a
hospital administrator in the University of Chicago hospital and some of
the things she`s done in her career prior to coming to the White House.
ROWE-FINKBEINER: I think downplaying women`s intellectual success is
an incredible problem in our society and that actually gets to the root of
the reason why saying mom-in-chief was actually a feminist statement,
because it`s putting out there front and center that mom-in-chief is
something that a lot of women do. It`s unpaid labor. And it`s not
recognized and we`re penalized for it so significantly that we have to hide
Now, one thing I want to do is what is going on in the background?
What`s the context of this statement?
We have a new time in history. Three quarters of moms are in the
labor force. Half of them are the primary bread winners and for the first
time in history half of the entire paid labor force are women. But we do
not have the economic policies in place to actually make sure that we have
economic security. We have a quarter of children living in poverty.
So in that sense, we had Michelle Obama also in her speech speaking to
economic security policies and speaking to the passage of the Lilly
Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. We didn`t have her bringing forward
her professional credentials in the way that I would like but I stand by
the fact that the mom-in-chief is an important feminist statement because
we need to acknowledge that that work is important work.
NADLER: It was taken that way.
HAYES: I want to just -- in a second, I want to bring in Jessica
Valenti, who just wrote a book about having kids and the roles that
mother`s play symbolically and actually and what the expectations of them
are because there`s this ongoing discussion about all having among moms.
And also, an amazing bitter sound of Mitt Romney`s mother talking about her
views on these two different roles, right after we take this break.
HAYES: Nancy, you had a point you want to make about -- not just
about the first lady and her role as mother, but female politicians more
KEENAN: That`s right. And when you take a look at the Debbie
Wasserman Schultz, Senator Kristen Gillibrand, that actually have young
children. And that time and time again, in this political arena, in the
political sphere they`re asked, well, can you do this job and really take
care of your children and I think that`s a double standard.
KEENAN: Huge double standard. And it is done all the time for women.
Never is that same question asked of male politicians.
NADLER: And that`s because on the one hand women in the work force in
very large numbers but on the other hand, they`re still the primary
caretaker of children and we haven`t adjusted to that and we don`t support
them properly with daycare.
HAYES: I want to bring in feminist and dotcom founder and new mom
Jessica Valenti, who has a new book out called "Why Have Kids: A New Mom
Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness."
It poses a question why smart women would choose to have kids at all.
In it, she writes, quote, "Decades after the second wave of feminism, the
argument over how best to care for children still almost entirely falls on
women`s shoulders," as the congressman was just saying. "Men aren`t simply
excused from the conversation, they`re actively excluded by a culture and
politics that still promote the idea that the only appropriate caregiver,
the only natural parent, is a mother."
Jessica, there`s a lot of really profound great questions in this
book. I mean, as someone who just has -- a new father myself, that cut
pretty deep. When you saw this mom-in-chief line from the first lady, did
you have the same reaction as some of the folks at the table?
JESSICA VALENTI, AUTHOR, "WHY HAVE KIDS": No. I hated that line. I
slunk back in my chair when I saw that line.
MCWHORTER: I`m not alone.
VALENTI: I don`t doubt that Michelle Obama values her children more
than her work. I think all parents do. That line wasn`t about family
love, right? It was about making a strong women more palatable in a sexist
world. And it gets really exhausting.
I`m sick of women having to temper their ambition by these constant
caveats that we`re moms first, right? There`s this cultural expectation
with women, first of all, that we all want to become parents and that when
we do become parents, it`s going to be the most important, most wonderful,
like most wonderful, moist fulfilling thing we`re ever going to do and that
we`ll always be moms first and I`m just -- I`m so over it.
ROWE-FINKBEINER: I think one of the most important things here is
when we push so strongly against traditional gender roles, we actually
shoot ourselves in the foot in the long run. To not talk about motherhood
in the political context, in a powerful strong way hurts us all.
Right now, one study found that women without children make 90 cents
to a man`s dollar. Women with children make 73 cents to a dollar. Single
moms make about 60 cents to a man`s dollar and women of color make less
What`s happening here is a lack of a public discussion about
motherhood, a lack of political discussion about what policies we can move
forward for both moms and dads, not just moms, to help move our culture
forward, our society forward and build our economy.
MCWHORTER: And we need to have a conversation about fatherhood as
MCWHORTER: We can ask men, how can you do your job if you have four
children at home.
HAYES: I have to say, as someone who, you know, so -- I went on book
tour this summer and I was on the road a lot. And I was not a good father
during that period of time. There`s no -- I was not around and my wife had
to do a lot. She carried the entire burden.
And I thought to myself, you know, if you`re a politician, you`re
basically doing this all the time. I mean -- and that`s just like -- that
just baked in the cake. People basically just assumed that away.
I thought I`m not seeing my kid. I`m only not seeing my kid, I`m just
actually not carrying any load here. Like I have -- I am now doing things
that mean that Kate, my wife, has to carry that burden and it was a short-
term thing but I just -- I saw this window into a world in which this is
the norm and it made me think about --
NADLER: It`s part of a much larger disconnect because our society is
developing unevenly as most societies do. You see this in a number of
ways. On the one hand, we want women in the work-force and we want them to
have opportunities. And the other thing, we don`t accept -- we don`t even
accept a man who is a house husband who is look at as strange.
And we also don`t provide proper support in terms of daycare and so
forth to enable women not to -- to be able to function in the workforce,
and, finally, when some of these issues you can`t even talk about, because
when was daycare a big political issue?
And coming back to our welfare discussion, a mom who`s on welfare must
not stay at home with her kids.
NADLER: Because then she`s not --
HAYES: She`s not working.
NADLER: She`s a loafer. She`s not working.
Whereas, Ann Romney should stay home with her kids. It`s a wonderful
HAYES: Jessica, you talk about this expectation about childcare in
VALENTI: Yes. Well, I just wanted to get to something you were
saying, Chris, about this expectation of who takes care of the children.
The idea that women are the designated parent is literally not just a part
of the culture but it`s a part of the policy. When the Census Bureau
counts as what counts as child care, women count as the child care. Any
hours that father puts in is counted the same as baby-sitting and I think
So when you take care of your kid, that`s baby-sitting according to
HAYES: I once heard a father say, someone I knew say -- casually say
I can`t do that. I`m baby-sitting that night. And I remember someone else
being like, no, no, no, you`re not baby-sitting. You`re parenting.
There`s a difference.
I want to talk more about this and I want to talk about the shocking
research to me that`s in this book about the relationship between happiness
and having kids. It`s not at all what you might expect -- right after
HAYES: You wanted to get a point in responding to Jessica as we were
talking about this sort of expectation that`s just built in about who
shoulders the burden of child care and also the way that has market
ramifications in the economy.
ROWE-FINKBEINER: Exactly. What we`re looking at is what happens to
gender roles and what happens to pay when you become a parent, and the
impacts on men and women are very different. So there was a research done
at Cornell University that was done with equal resumes and it found that
people who noted they were a mother on resume were offered $11,000 lower
starting salaries than non-moms, but dads on the other hand were offered
$6,000 more than people who didn`t have kids.
So we`re having market pressure, we`re having cultural pressure, and
we`re also having societal pressure and at the same time, we`re not
addressing these issues in Congress in the way that we should. Right now,
child care costs more than college in many states. We`re not talking about
that. This is a significant economic crisis and we have people having
babies off the cliff and says having a baby is a leading cost of a poverty
in this nation, which is very, very important that we need to address.
MCWHORTER: Jessica, can I ask you a question?
MCWHORTER: I am the father of an 8-month-old and luckily I can afford
daycare. And so, after three months, my wife went back to work. She
experienced a certain amount of passing guilt about that and I had never
experienced that up close before in talking to various women friends that I
have, that we have. I found that that is common, that women often have
that sense of guilt before going back to work.
Is that in your view culturally conditioned? I was struck by this.
Utterly struck. Is it culturally conditioned or is it perhaps -- and I
know we`re not supposed to say this -- or is it perhaps biological? I
VALENTI: You`re not going to get the biological answer from me, no.
I think it`s culturally conditioned.
HAYES: Basic womb throbbing, you know?
VALENTI: Yes, exactly. The ovaries go crazy.
No. This is -- this is about women being taught from the time they`re
little girls, right, this is what you`re meant to do, you`re always going
to want to do this. And it`s also this problem of seeing parenting as a
private domestic issue as opposed to a larger political issue and the
problem of Americans in particular thinking that the best thing for their
children is a singular caretaker, most often mom, right?
We kind of look at daycare as the last option available to us, when
really it`s a wonderful option. It`s a -- you know, great socialization
for kids but we`re stuck on this idea as mom is the best caretaker.
MCWHORTER: I was inclined toward your view but I just wanted to hear
something from someone else.
HAYES: I want snow a little bit of sound that was a very I think
different image of mother. Motherhood and the symbolism of motherhood was
very powerful at the Republican convention. It`s very much spotlighted.
Here`s Ann Romney speaking about how she views the role of mother and
its centrality in American life and culture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S WIFE: It`s the moms who have always had to
work a little harder to make everything right. It`s the moms of this
nation, single, married, widowed, who really hold this country together.
We`re the mothers. We`re the wives. We`re the grandmothers. We`re
the big sisters. We`re the little sisters. And we are the daughters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There`s two things there. It`s moms who always have to work a
little harder to make everything right -- absolutely a true descriptive
statement about American life but not a good aspiration for how things
should be. Also the idea of love so deeply only a mother can fathom, the
love we have for our children which, you know -- I don`t know. I think I
love my kid as much as my wife does. I know that -- I know everybody`s
shaking their head, no, mother`s love, mother`s love.
I want to talk about that, sure, and get to this happiness question
right after this break.
HAYES: We have -- there`s some evidence you talk about in the book,
Jessica, that I found so striking about happiness. And when you asked
people, why are you going to have a kid. We`re no longer of an age where
you have children to be kids be farmhands or care for you in your old age.
You ask why people are having kids and they say the joy of being a parent.
And I think if someone would have asked me, it`s something I would have
And the evidence is pretty robust across a whole bunch of studies that
people get less happy, report lower levels of happiness after they have
children. I was really surprised to learn that.
VALENTI: Yes, they do report less levels of happiness. And what I
thought was really interesting was that a lot of that unhappiness can be
traced, especially when a new baby comes along to the unequal division of
labor that happens once parents have a kid and the woman is kind of taking
over the -- most of the child care responsibilities and she starts to feel
a little bit resentful.
But I think the bigger question is why do we expect our kids to bring
us happiness? You know, that`s a lot of pressure to put on one little
person. This idea of joy is such a new one and such an unrealistic
expectation, really, I think.
HAYES: But if we don`t expect kids to bring us happiness, then what`s
the answer to the question you pose in the book? I mean, because that to
me was sort of the profound end of this. And, in fact, it`s not just an
individual thing. I mean, what we see as countries grow more developed and
there`s less as they create, for instance, social insurance systems to take
care of people in their old age, as women are more educated and have more
ready access to contraception, uniformly essentially across the board we
see birthrates go down.
And we sort of question, where is all that headed in the grand sense
VALENTI: Sure. I think a better answer is we should be having kids
for the love of it, not for the joy of it. You know, love is messy and
complicated and sometimes you hate the person you love and sometimes you
want to put them in a time-out. But it`s not always joyful but it`s more
ROWE-FINKBEINER: I think the love of it is very important. I also
think that Jessica spoke to an important point when she talked about the
source of the unhappiness, the unequal division of labor, the pressures of
motherhood. And just to go back to the personal, the personal is so
political, and I think that motherhood is the challenge of the modern
feminist movement that we have to address.
People cannot get to the glass ceiling because they cannot hurdle the
maternal wall, but one of the issues that we need to get there starts with
what happens when you have a baby. Over 177 countries have some form of
paid leave for moms. In the U.S. we have nothing.
So people are having babies and a cultural pressure cooker that has
significant economic implications on the mom and the dad. And we have to
address that. In fact, if countries that have access to family paid leave,
access to affordable child care, access to sick days. The wage gap that we
talked about earlier in the show actually narrows. So we find it`s not
just good for raising healthy kids, who do pay for our Social Security so
that we can retire at an elderly age, and who do provide the economic
foundation of our future, but also so then we can build the --
VALENTI: Part of the problem, sorry, I was just going to say part of
the problem is we don`t have the will to get it done. We don`t see moms
mobilizing around these issues in the way that they mobilize around
consumer issues online. I mean, I absolutely think about that. I don`t
see the will there. I hope that you do.
KEENAN: I think this part of connecting the personal and political
and whether or not young women or women in general see the importance of
the policies that affect their economic lives happen in the state
legislatures of the governors and the congressional level. And if women
only represent 17 percent there, our voices at that table sometimes are not
in the issues raised, whether it is the cost of childcare, whether it is
having the parental leave and the time off after having a child. The
access to birth control has made for women the opportunity to enter that
workforce at full force, to determine when they are going to have children
And I think, again, the connecting the personal to the political here
and understanding the impact on valuing families, valuing children, valuing
whether or not we are going to have children or not is something that has
to be also connected to the political because it has such an affect on our
HAYES: I want to play a bit of sound that we found. It`s not widely
known that Mitt Romney -- everyone knows Mitt Romney`s father was governor
and ran for president, but his mother was a politician as well. I think
she ran for Senate in Michigan.
And this is her talking in a fascinating, complex and nuance way about
the role, the relationship between the personal and political and
motherhood as a politician running for office. This is Lenore Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LENORE ROMNEY, MOTHER OF MITT ROMNEY: She`s told she shouldn`t put
her time there, she should be driven away here there and every place, but
not make a contribution any place. And therefore, children are not
important we`re told to raise. Let someone else do it in the daycare
centers or let someone else do it in the schools and they`re not doing it.
If you were told the most important thing you could do was to raise
your children so they would become happy, well-adjusted citizens who are
contributing, and that you would get credit for this, you would do it,
wouldn`t you? But if you were told, this is no kind of a job, you`re
trapped, you`re enslaved, you`re not getting a wage for this -- good grief,
what kind of a wage do you want? But to have your child happy and able to
contribute and make a contribution, and I`m just telling you we are going
about it in a wrong way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s an amazing moment because she`s sort of defending the
role of mother as a stay-at-home mom and the dignity of the work and then
someone running for office in a same breath. It`s a fascinating moment.
Jessica Valenti, author of "Why Have Kids" -- thank you for joining us
VALENTI: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: A quick update on something I said last Saturday, talking
about the slow decline of newspapers. We talked about the last newspaper
standing in any one town enjoys outside influence for a while precisely
because all the competition is gone, addressing whether the publishers are
inclined to indulge their own political -- their personal politics in their
paper`s reporting. I repeated the great phrase nobody buys a bike and
doesn`t ride it.
It turns out I attributed the phrase incorrectly. In fact, "Chicago
Sun Times" columnist Neil Steinberg coined the phrase. We apologize for
the error and thank him for the aphorism.
We blew right through "now we know" which is a little thing that we do
at the end of the show usually because I thought that conversation was so
So, thank you all for being a part of it. My thanks to Kristin Rowe-
Finkbeiner from MomsRising.org, New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, John
McWhorter from "The New York Daily News," and Nancy Keenan from NARAL Pro-
Thanks so much for getting up definitely have you back.
Thank you for joining us today for UP. You can join us tomorrow,
Sunday morning at 8:00. It`s going to be a great show. It`s packed with a
bunch of stuff.
We`ll have congressional candidate Tulsi Gabbard, a political rising
star after military service in Iraq turned her from a Republican to a
And "Nation" magazine national security correspondent Jeremy Scahill,
we`re going to talk about foreign policy played at the Democratic National
Convention. We`re also going to talk about the question for the next two
months, which is how to win a campaign? What actually works? There`s a
lot of conventional wisdom out of it. What actually works?
Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP," Melissa
asked which donkey showed up in Charlotte, Eeyore of Winnie the Pooh, or
the uber optimist donkey from Shrek. That`s "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" coming
We`ll see you tomorrow morning here at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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