'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, June 29th, 2013
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UP with STEVE KORNACKI
June 29, 2013
Guests: Sam Seder, Jeremy Bird, Molly Ball, Dan Lashof, Michael Tomasky
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Supreme Court`s decision this week to
substantially weaken the Voting Rights Act has serious implications that
will be sorting through for days, for weeks, for months, maybe for years to
come. But Tuesday`s ruling also overshadowed a crucial civil rights
decision handed down just the day before, one that has the potential to
significantly erode, maybe even end affirmative action as we know it.
The Senate could say it is one long, slow bleed in the case of Fisher
versus the University of Texas at Austin, which involved the White student
who was rejected for admission to the school, claiming racial
discrimination. Nothing that the court did week will have an immediate
effect on affirmative action at Texas or any other school.
Simply kick the case back down to the lower court with instructions to
reexamine the admissions policies, which currently use racial background as
one of many factors, much stricter standard, just as Anthony Kennedy wrote
the majority opinion declaring, quote, "Consideration by the university is,
of course, necessary, but it is not sufficient to satisfy strict scrutiny.
The reviewing court must ultimately be satisfied that no workable race-
neutral alternatives will produce the educational benefits of diversity."
In effect, however, this will create a higher bar for any university trying
to justify race conscious admission`s policies. It raises the possibility
of a firm rejection of affirmative action if and when the Supreme Court
takes up a case like this again. The vote was 7-1 this week actually
crossing a broad swath of the court beyond its usual 5-4 ideological
boundaries Liberals Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor join the courts for
Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented. And Justice Elena Kagan
recused herself from the case reportedly due to her past involvement as
solicitor general in the Obama administration.
Right now, I want to bring in Sam Seder, he`s the host of the online radio
show, "The Majority Report," Molly Ball, staff writer covering national
politics at the "Atlantic" magazine, MSNBC political analyst, Joan Walsh,
editor at large at Salon.com, and MSNBC contributor, Perry Bacon Jr. the
senior political editor at our sister site, TheGrio.com.
So, a lot of things to talk about here. I guess, the thing that jumped out
at me first, though, on this was the margin. You know, a 7-1 decision by
the Supreme Court. When we look at the liberals who joined with Scalia,
who joined with, you know, Roberts, who joined with Thomas, you know,
Perry, it did surprise me to see that this was 7-1.
PERRY BACON, JR., MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It felt like the liberal decided they
were kind of relieved that this (INAUDIBLE) overall. So, they joined an
opinion that didn`t strike it down, but certainly, as you noted, limited.
And so, it goes back to the district. It goes back to the appeals court.
But as you noted, this is not -- if you think of this program, Texas said
where 75 (ph) percent of students work -- we have this 10 percent program.
But the other 25 percent, we`re going to set a race as part of a lot of
factors as well. This is a pretty narrow affirmative action program, and
still, the court would not say we agree with it. People say it was a punt
this week, but I really think it really wasn`t a punt, but really the court
starting this gradual slow way eroding every possible way a university uses
KORNACKI: You know, let`s talk about exactly how things work at Texas,
because you mentioned there`s the top 10 percent of programs. So,
basically, anyone from any public high school in Texas who finishes in the
top 10 percent of his or her class gets admission to Texas. It actually
has done good things in terms of the overall diversity of the student body
You know, what, for instance, Roberts, I think, what Thomas, what Scalia
were saying was basically this is an example of sort of race neutral, you
know, policies at their best. What Ginsburg was saying in her dissent was
actually, let`s not kid ourselves. The top 10 percent program in Texas is
very much race conscious because there`s basically is de facto segregation
in the public high schools in Texas.
So, you know, by saying top 10 percent from many high school, you`re going
to have a ton of high schools that are basically the majority, largely
African-American, and it`s going to be -- it is really a race consciously
SAM SEDER, MAJORITY.PM: That`s right. I mean, because what it does is it
actually acknowledges desegregation that exists in those schools and it
says that we`re going to get diversity because we have primarily white
schools or primarily African-American or Latino schools, and because of
that, we`re going to insist on taking kids from all of those schools.
So, that`s baked into the cake and she`s basically saying this is a
delusion to say that it doesn`t exist that way. And, you know, it`s -- I
mean, I agree with Perry this is not a punt. This is the beginning of --
maybe not the beginning, but this is part of that conservative majority`s
desire to get rid of affirmative action.
And I`m not convinced that there wasn`t some brokering going on here to
sort of forestall a deeper assault on affirmative action, and you know,
which Roberts traded for a sense of more cohesion on the court.
KORNACKI: We heard a little bit of this last year, sort of the speculation
about the politics within the court. It`s such a mysterious place. I
mean, we don`t even have cameras there. We have these like weird artist
renderings. That`s how close we get to actually understand what goes on in
the court. But we have -- you know, so many sensitive issues have been
decided in the last year are going to be decided the next year by the
It does -- I always look to me like when you look back at Bush/Gore in
2000, I think to a lot of people, that kind of ruined a lot of the
illusions we had about the court as being totally above politics.
Political consideration is not -- they`re clearly it`s on the justice`s
minds one way or the other.
And it does sort of raise the possibility, Joan, when you look at
everything that the court has been dealing with the last few years that
maybe justice -- you know, Chief Justice Roberts is sort of spreading out
these rulings a little bit to sort of, you know, so it`s not all happening
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Yes, it feels that way. I don`t know for sure that
he`s doing it, but I certainly thought that on the Voting Rights Act.
There was a sense of relief at first that they didn`t strike down Section
5, but then, they struck down Section 4, which means that Section 5 doesn`t
really apply to anybody.
And you know that Roberts has been working to gut the Voting Rights Act or
did work to do that under the Reagan administration. So, there was this
weird sense that it -- you couldn`t come out and say oh, my God! They
struck down Section 5, but, really, they did. So --
KORNACKI: And what`s your sense, Molly? What is the next step as this
gets returned to the lower court. It doesn`t -- you know, the affirmative
action and policies at Texas are not -- you know, they still are, you know,
in place right now, but what`s your sense of how this is going to play out,
you know, going back to the next court, to the lower court.
MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Well, there`s a lot of hope, actually, on the
part of the university and on the part of civil rights advocates that the
affirmative action program is going to survive, that it is crafted
carefully enough that it can meet the higher standard that the court has
And as much as we`ve talked about this as being sort of a slippery slope to
eroding and ending affirmative action, there was actually a huge amount of
relief in the civil rights community from this decision, because they
really did think that you had here a conservative court that wanted to end
affirmative action and could have issued a sweeping decision that said that
any racial consideration is not OK.
That would have ended affirmative action everywhere and for everything.
And the court didn`t do that. And they did, in fact, recognize diversity
as a legitimate goal for universities to be trying to achieve. So, there
was a sense that a bullet was dodged by affirmative action.
KORNACKI: Well, yes. I mean, my sense to it was you know -- you know,
Scalia issue, his own, you know, his own statement. He made it very clear,
look, if I had my way, we would strike down affirmative action completely.
Clarence Thomas issued like (ph) a 20-page opinion on this two where he
said the same thing, and he likened the arguments of affirmative action,
the arguments of segregationist and slave owners.
So, clearly, you had the most conservative to the court (ph) ready to
react. You know, my view on why it was set and the one was, you know, it`s
this whole thing about Kennedy being the swing vote, right, and I think if
you`re sort of the liberal justices, you`re looking at this and saying,
well, if we can get Kennedy to not quite go where Scalia, not quite go, you
know, where Thomas is going, let`s settle for that for right now.
BACON: The problem being, this will later on -- the "New York Times" sort
of laying out that Roberts sort of build his big coalition in one case and
says, oh, look, you said 7-1 here. So, you`ve already said we need much
more scrutiny on affirmative action. You liberals have agreed with me.
So, now, the next case is they`ll use that majority to sort of buttress the
next case which is affirmative action even (ph) farther.
So, there is a little bit of a danger into the liberal signing on to these
opinions that they fundamentally, I don`t think Sotomayor agrees of much
the actual logic in the Kennedy opinion, because her comments in
affirmative action are much more pro-affirmative action than the opinion
So, I wonder if this is necessarily the liberals joining and making it seem
an overwhelmed majority of the court. It does not like the Texas plan of
action had good long-term plan if you actually believe in affirmative
WALSH: I also thought it was an interesting, because as Molly says, the
Texas plan is really crafted pretty well, and in the reporting, which I
don`t really know how that factors into the Supreme Court decision, but in
the reporting on Abigail Fisher (ph), like a lot of White kids who think
that affirmative action caused them their place in elite universities, it
pretty much did not.
And I saw this during a lot of reporting on California, you know, in the
1990s before affirmative action was ruled out where people really fought
that they should have gotten into Berkeley. They could have gotten into
Berkeley, and then when -- when you ended affirmative action that kids with
those grades still weren`t getting in, because there aren`t enough spaces.
But the Texas program really did seem crafted well and she really seemed
like a terrible plaintiff.
BACON: We should note this, Steve, the court is following public opinion
in a lot of ways. It`s considered a -- this case is following most -- gay
marriage support is going up and that`s why the court (INAUDIBLE) gay
marriage. Affirmative action support is going down, and so, nexus (ph) in
the public. So, nexus (ph) with the court is not very surprising. They
are actually -- a lot of people in the country, even Democrats, are very
weary of affirmative action. And that`s, of course, --
KORNACKI: And I think that`s based to what Joe was just saying --
obviously, if you look at the polling or affirmative action, lots of, you
know, racial disparities. But you look at -- there`s, I think, a mind-set
that exists among a lot of White people that, you know, affirmative action
is going to take something away from me.
The infamous, the worst political ad I ever saw was Jesse Helms in 1990
running for re-election in North Carolina. The White hands tearing up
determination -- the job rejection and they say, you wanted that job, you
needed that job, they needed to give it to minority because of affirmative
action. Through what worse (ph) of these ads in 1990 that worked?
Anyway, we`ll talk about one of the courts leading liberals should retire
sooner rather than later and why it`s very important this week. That`s
KORNACKI: So, we`re talking about how the Supreme Court has, you know,
shifted, you know, to the right pretty significantly here in the last few
years. The one dissenting opinion on the affirmative action case, as we`re
just talking about, came from Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And this is -- it`s a
sensitive topic, but I do think this is a topic worth raising.
You know, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 80 years old. And you know, if Ruth Bader
Ginsburg were to leave the court, you know, three or four years from now,
and it happens to be a Republican in the White House, then, the most
liberal member of the court, you know, that seat is then taken by a
Republican, a Republican or a conservative who could then potentially be on
the court for 20, for 30, for 40 years.
It could have radical sort of long-term implications. I want to play a
clip here of Ruth Bader Ginsburg kind of talking about the idea of -- this
was back in February. She was talking a little bit about the idea of
retirement. She`s also talking about the idea of what the confirmation
process for Supreme Court justice is like these days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUTH BADER GINSBURG, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE Supreme Court: i hope for
the day when we will get back to where the system was when I was nominated
and when Stephen Breyer was nominated. I was nominated in 1993, Justice
Breyer in 1994. There was a true bipartisan spirit prevailing in our
I was confirmed 96-3, and I have said frankly, nowadays, I wonder if the
president would even nominate me because of my long affiliation with the
American civil liberties union.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, I mean, there`s an issue, first of all, in our politics
today could somebody with the sort of liberal background that Ruth Bader
Ginsburg be nominated by a democratic president. But the issue that occurs
to me also was right. How every Supreme Court nomination now, what we`ve
seen really in the Obama era is almost every nomination, just like Chuck
Hagel, for the defense department, now becomes almost like a tribal loyalty
test for the other side, right?
You`re going to fight this nomination. You`re going to oppose the
nomination. And the question is, are you going to actually filibuster or
you`re just going to vote no? And you`re being reasonable if you just vote
no. And it raises the possibility to me if you talk about Ruth Bader
You know, let`s say she decided two years from now to retire. In 2015,
late 2015, something like that, a year before a presidential election,
given the politics of the Senate today, would Republicans just say, OK,
we`re going to stall for a year, try again our own president in there and
try to get our own justice.
I mean, is there -- it`s sort of an urgency to an 80-year-old Supreme Court
justice timing retirement around presidential terms.
WALSH: I have such a hard time saying that this woman who`s been such a
battler and who`s battled cancer, shouldn`t have control of her own life
and shouldn`t make the decision that she thinks is best for her and the
country. If she wants to stay on, she should stay on because I really
don`t think we would even right this minute. If she retired right this
minute, we would not get anyone nearly as liberal as she is, for good
reasons and maybe for not so good reason.
The White House has put through more moderate candidates hoping that they
will get less opposition. It doesn`t always work. And so, to lose a
liberal like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and have her replaced by someone who is
not so liberal, but is OK, you know, better than Scalia or something, I
just am -- I`m very uneasy about it.
SEDER: The reality is is that every single Supreme Court pick probably
since the Eisenhower administration has been more to the right than the
person they`ve replaced. I mean, down the line. So, I mean, there`s an
inevitable trend there. And you know, there are cases this past week which
got very little attention, but things like the court really restricting the
ability of people to take corporations to court in class actions.
I mean, these are issues that, you know, no longer sort of have this sort
of supposed liberal/conservative divide. They`re all in general agreement
in terms of what power corporations have. But, you know, getting to the
politics of it -- look, the reality is, that Republicans are going to
obstruct no matter when. And there`s no doubt they`re going to do it. If
it`s closer to the election, they`re going to obstruct maybe more.
Although, there could be some type of backlash to that. I mean, I think at
this point, you know, President Obama has challenged the Republicans who
obstruct his appointments to the D.C. circuit court, and this is going to
be, I think, where this is supposedly going to come down to a head. So,
you know, I think -- I would -- I would rather call for Scalia to step
KORNACKI: But Molly, I
KORNACKI: -- Democrats and liberals in D.C. -- you know, I always think --
back in 2000, it got reported. I don`t know if this is true -- I suspect
it. They got reported in 2000 that Sandra Day O`Connor when it looked like
George W. Bush was going to win the 2000 election, on election night, she
said, well, thank goodness, now I can retire. There`s going to be
Republican president to replace.
That`s not confirmed. That was always kind of reported. But what do
Democrats and liberals in D.C. think about this? What do they say about
this? Do you sense that almost like try to send a message to Ginsburg like
please, make sure the seat doesn`t get filled by President Chris Christie
or something like this?
BALL: I haven`t heard a lot of panic on that score, and I think part of it
is that Democrats are feeling quite confident, especially in their ability
to win national elections these days. I mean, we`re having this huge
national conversation about the future of the Republican Party and whether
they`re going to be able to make a comeback and appeal to voters
So, I think there`s a sense that they are going to have a hard time winning
a presidential election. Now, some of that may be a little bit of hubris
on the left, because once you actually have candidates and you`re actually
in a campaign, things change. But I think for that reason, there is not a
lot of freaking out about our incoming Republican president and what he`s
going to do to the court.
KORNACKI: All right. After this week`s historic Senate vote, the future
of immigration reform now depends on the Republican-controlled House.
KORNACKI: The Senate passed the most significant overhaul of immigration
laws in new generation on Thursday. This morning in South Africa, the
president pushed for swift action in the House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do urge the House to try
and get this done before the August recess. There`s more than enough time.
This thing has been debated amply.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The legislation to the Senate passed a path (ph) to citizenship
for undocumented immigrants in the country while beefing up border security
and employer verification programs. Fourteen Republicans joined all 54
Democrats to deliver a resounding 68 votes for the bill in the upper
chamber. The pro-reform Republicans in the Senate are well aware of the
long odds that the bill faces in the House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: To our friends in the House, we ask for
your consideration and we stand ready to sit down and negotiate with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Earlier in the day, House speaker, John Boehner, reiterated his
position that the House`s own efforts would not be affected by what
happened in the Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH) HOUSE SPEAKER: The House is not going to take up
and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We`re going to do our own bill,
and for any legislation, including a conference report, to pass the House,
that`s going to have to be a bill that has the support of a majority of our
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Members of the House Republican conference, meanwhile, continue
to ratchet up the pressure on Boehner to keep that promise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK, (R) CALIFORNIA: The American people elected a
Republican majority of the House of Representatives where a leader of that
majority to use his authorities to circumvent that majority would be cause
for removal in my judgment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I have no inside information on this. I have no, you know,
great sources in the Republican leadership in the House. I`m also terrible
at predicting things, but I`m going to go way out on a limb and I`m going
to say I don`t believe what Boehner is saying here about I am not going to
put this on the floor from majority of the Republican Congress isn`t (ph)
going to vote for it. What I believe is going to happen and it will be
spectacularly, horribly wrong, and watch this clip to be played to
But I believe is going to happen is something like happen with plan "B"
right before the fiscal, the fiscal clip deadlines at the end of December
where the Republicans will ultimately come up with some kind of, you know,
very, very conservative bill that no Democrat will possibly vote for.
There will be a meltdown and wouldn`t even be able to get the majority of
votes in the House floor.
And then, in the chaos that ensues, Boehner puts something like the Senate
bill on the floor, and that`s how we get immigration reform. I`m going to
put that out there. That`s what I think is going to happen. But again,
I`m an idiot. I don`t know.
BALL: Well, I don`t have a prediction. I do think there`s a lot of
uncertainty right now. I think it is not the case that some mysterious
path has been choreographed that we just don`t know about. I don`t think
Boehner knows what`s going to happen. We do have what was once a Gang of
Eight negotiating in the House, and then Raul Labrador left, and now, it`s
a gang of seven.
Negotiation sort of stalled after he left, but from what I understand, they
have gone back to work and they do so have some hope that they will produce
an actual House version of the legislation, but then, what gets done (ph)
in the committee? You have a very conservative committee chairman in the
House. Is there anything that can get to the floor, much less passed, then
go to conference?
There`s a lot of uncertainty. The immigration reform proponents believe
that their only hope here is to mobilize, is to go to these Congressmen`s
districts during either next week`s recess or the August recess and really
put a lot of heat on them. And now that the Senate is done, and you had
this large bipartisan majority, they won`t be able to sort of escape
KORNACKI: And that works both ways, too, right?
KORNACKI: I mean, we always remember, we think back to 2009, the summer
2009 and health care and all of the Tea Party activists, you know,
intimidating, I guess, members of Congress. It seems like this could go
one of two ways.
WALSH: That`s my fear. I mean, that`s absolutely what I expect to happen,
but the reverse of what Molly is saying is that the antis are going to turn
out and anybody that they perceive as wavering is going to have a town hell
(ph) as Todd Akin put it back in the day. So, you know, I`m really --
BALL: We`ve seen that already, right? And we still have people go and
yell at McCain --
BALL: -- meeting in Arizona. And McCain can sort of take it. He`s used
to it. He gives as well as he gets. The question is, these other members,
do they sort of get indigestion the first time some Tea Party person --
SEDER: Well, and the differences you`re talking about House members is
opposed the senators. And the Senate is running an entire state, and the
House is running inevitably in a gerrymandered district that favors that
type of polarization. Frankly, I`m not convinced that the Voting Rights
Act being gutted doesn`t cut against immigration, because there is a lot of
Republican politicians who are saying, well, we`re going to have new lines
drawn or we`re going to have voter suppression that`s going to end up
I mean, when you look at a state like Texas, I mean, not necessarily there
were many Texas Congressmen in play, but you`re talking about
disenfranchising a lot of Latino voters and you`re talking about -- so, I`m
not convinced that, frankly, the incentive structure for those Republican
Congress people doesn`t cut against this and even more so after this --
BACON: Speaking of incentive structures, we rarely as people in Washington
do something against their self-interest, but if you`re a House Republican
and probably against yourself, finish to above this immigration bill, you
know, your biggest thing is for House Republican is to be primary by more
conservative person. It is good for the overall party.
It is good for a president (ph) took at it. Marco Rubio, we`re looking at
(ph) Paul Ryan (INAUDIBLE) pass immigration. It probably is not helpful
for Tom McClintock or other members of the House Republican -- the members
of the House Republican leadership. So, that`s the challenge. I mean,
Boehner can talk about this all he wants to, and they -- people off the
They believe this would be helpful to the party overall to get this passed,
but I`m not sure how you get the votes, and at this point, we passed sort
of four times this year, I think, where Boehner has violated (ph) the sort
of Hastert rule. I don`t think -- the members are looking for that now.
They`re basically asked him to promise not to do that again. It`s going to
be hard for him. What you laid out is working around members. Two months
ago, I said that`s what`s going to happen. I`m not so sure now --
BACON: They`re watching MSNBC, too. We`re debating --
KORNACKI: Are the House Republicans watching MSNBC or Fox?
KORNACKI: Well, the thing that I wonder about the Hastert rule is I think
if we read it literally, then I totally agree like, yes, Boehner would
never put it up. If there`s an extra wrinkle, you know, average Republican
Congressmen from a very White very conservative district says, yes, it`s
not in my interest to vote for this.
But I also recognize that if i want my party ever to win the White House,
it`s in our party`s interest to do it. So, I hope that Boehner puts it
down the floor. I, of course, will vote no on it, so I won`t get a primary
challenge, but hopefully, 30 or 40 of my colleagues vote yes and all the
SEDER: I think that`s in play, but I mean -- it seems to me that Boehner
(INAUDIBLE) in the corner by making a big issue of the Hastert ruling.
When he made that announcement two weeks ago, he specifically did not what
comes out of conference will be subject to the Hastert rule. He didn`t say
anything about it. Now, he`s gone a little bit further and I think to a
certain extent, you know, I think he`s got to be worried about his
KORNACKI: Let`s say they come up with, you know -- the judiciary committee
is coming with this piece meal approach that probably whatever comes out of
it will not be palatable for democrats. Let`s say this becomes, you know,
the plan that Boehner puts on the floor and there`s another one of the
spectacles where, you know, we see this happen every few months.
The republicans can`t pass their own bill. I wonder if in that context and
there`s so much chaos, that`s where Boehner is something as opening (ph) to
say, look, I know what I said that things have changed. Now, we have to
think about the Senate bill.
BALL: Well, let`s talk about the self-interest of the Republican members
of Congress, because even if there are grassroots activists who don`t like
the immigration bill, why does Boehner like this? Sure, he thinks it`s
good policy, but the chamber of commerce wants this bill. Business
interests want this bill. Republican donors want this bill. The
evangelical committee wants this bill.
They also have a lot of sway in Republican primaries. So, there are a lot
of interests. And you do see Republicans having to do this dance to play,
say, the agricultural interests in their home state. They don`t want those
people to think that they`re just going to blindly oppose any kind of
immigration reform, because a lot of those business interests do really
want it and are putting pressure from the --
SEDER: But the problem is, where do those business interests go? I mean,
those business interests are not going to support in a primary someone to
the left of that existing House member, and they`re not going to support
the Democrats, and you -- as a Republican Congressman, you have to be out
of your mind to assume that we`re going to lose this. I mean, they`re
going to be upset with me, but there`s still -- I`m still going to get that
money. I mean, that`s the problem.
KORNACKI: We talk about -- we traditionally talk about, you know, the
money coming from the big donors, from the business community, and of
course, you look at the story of somebody like Ted Cruz coming to office,
fueled by all the small dollar donors, these sort of grassroots networks,
they can neutralize -- there are so many different variables.
Anyway, I made my prediction. Probably valid. There it is, anyway.
America is getting more diverse by the day, but the Senate is about to get
less diverse. A lot less diverse. That`s next.
KORNACKI: Long-time Democratic Congressman, Ed Markey, won his race as
expected in Tuesday special election in Massachusetts for the U.S. Senate.
It brings to a close the five-month Senate career of William "Mo" Cowen who
was appointed earlier this year to replace now secretary of state, John
Kerry and who, by the way, will join us on set for tomorrow`s program.
Cowen`s departure from the Senate will slash in half the number of African-
Americans currently serving in the Senate from two to one. In all of
modern history, there have only been six African-Americans who have served
in the U.S. Senate and half of them weren`t even elected. They were
appointed to their seats. Two others also served way back during
reconstruction, almost 150 years ago.
After Markey has sworn in, the only remaining African-American in the
Senate will be Tim Scott. He`s Republican from South Carolina. He was
appointed earlier this year, and he`s going to be running for a full term
in 2014. In his farewell address on Wednesday, Cowen talked about how slow
progress has been when it comes to diversity in the Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MO COWAN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: With my appointment and coincidence with
the appointment of Senator Scott, two African-Americans are serving in this
body concurrently for the first time in our nation`s history. Senator
Scott and I are respectively the seventh and eighth Black senators to serve
in this body.
Well, I believe this number to be far too few. I am also hopeful that it`s
a sign that these United States will soon be represented by a more diverse
population that more closely reflects the diverse country that we are and
the diversity of opinions that exists across and within our diverse nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, my second bold prediction of the day, this one I actually
feel more confident is there will be a second African-American to the
Senate this fall, Cory Booker in New Jersey, but still, that will be two
out of a hundred. And Perry, when you look at it, we have a Black
president. We have four or five dozen African-American members of the
house, and one in a week, African-American senators. I mean, what do you
make of how that`s come about?
BACON: It`s still really hard as an African-American politician to win in
a big state race. We only have one Black governor, Deval Patrick of
Massachusetts. This is not an accident. It`s really hard. A lot of the
members in CBC districts are pretty liberal. The seat is very liberal.
Don`t have big fundraising bases, so they have a hard time when this --
there are races. But it`s really galling at this point.
And it also really matters in terms of policy as well. If you think about
the Voting Rights Act this week, you know, was struck down, who is the
Senate is going to take that out? If you watch how -- look, the female
senators are handling sexual assault in the military? The female senators
are really driving an issue because there`s 20 of them and they can speak
Like when, you know, on an issue like the Voting Rights Act, Cory Booker,
if he was here, kind of has to represent all the Black senators, because
he`ll be the only Black Democrat. If there were five or 10 Black
Democrats, you could imagine a lot of issues being handled very different
in the Senate. But it`s hard to imagine that number -- reaching that
number anytime in the next 10 years over where we`re going.
KORNACKI: And I think I saw Tim Scott, the Republican from South Carolina
this week was not out there and saying I`m outraged by the Voting Rights
decision. He was saying, you know, the exact opposite and that sort of key
to his Republican appeal in South Carolina.
SEDER: Yes. I mean, I think another, you know, issue, I think it really
gets down to money. I mean, I think this is a real problem, and not just I
think it`s a problem for progressive candidates. They don`t have the same
type of corporate base, and it`s a problem for African-American candidates.
I mean, you have a Senate who`s basically full of millionaires.
And, you know, one thing about a millionaire is they know other people with
millions of dollars. And, so, it`s -- it`s a real problem, and I think the
-- the lack of people who can speak to issues like the Voting Rights Act
and other issues that they can speak with an emotional connection to it in
a way that maybe others can`t, I think is -- I think we feel that.
BALL: We`re talking about the Voting Rights Act. I mean, one thing that
the Voting Rights Act facilitates is the packing of minorities into
majority/minority districts. And so, then you get a situation where, in a
lot of cases, they are very liberal Democrats, because they`re being
elected from very liberal majority/minority Democratic district, and then
it`s very difficult for them to run a state-wide race where you do have to
generally be more moderate, in fact, to the middle a little bit.
So, there are a lot of Democrats who are not such big fans of at least that
part of the Voting Rights Act, because it does make it harder to get
broadly viable minority candidates.
KORNACKI: Yes. We had, you know, Jamelle Bouie of "American Prospect" on
the show a few weeks ago, and he was talking about Cory Booker`s appeal.
And, you know, Cory Booker not in Congress. Obviously, it comes from a
majority Black city. And the interesting thing about Cory Booker`s
popularity in New Jersey I`ve always found is, he is more popular outside
of the city of Newark than he is inside of Newark.
His base is a lot more sort of the suburbs. There was a long-serving Black
Congressman from Newark named Donald Payne who occasionally would talk
about wanting to run for or thinking about running for higher office. And
I remember the Democratic leadership in New Jersey would always, you know,
we`re not going to run Donald Payne, he`s unelectable (ph). But Cory
Booker seems like the mostly electable --
WALSH: I like Cory Booker, but he went for the constituency, the counts,
which is Wall Street --
WALSH: -- in addition to African-Americans. So, he`s been very, very
strategic in the way he`s risen and that puts him in a special category.
SEDER: Yes. I mean, he`s hedge fund of a candidate or the hedge funders
candidate. And you know, this is a guy who was one of those people who
came out in front and said don`t make -- dont criticize Mitt Romney for
being a --
SEDER: Absolutely. And this is where a lot of his backing is always come
from, from Wall Street. I mean, this guy is as much of a Wall Street
candidate as anyone and I think that`s why we see him have that broad
support, because it really comes from the wealth.
BACON: I mean, -- Booker just a little broader, though. We look at the
Voting Rights Act decision. We look at affirmative action. I think we
even -- the country overall sort of Obama won. Obama was a senator and
then he won two elections. We overestimated how much racial progress we`ve
made in some ways. And I think if you read Roberts` opinion, particularly,
in the Voting Rights Act, it`s like, you know, we have a Black -- you know,
All of these -- you know, Blacks vote the higher numbers than the Whites in
a lot of states, therefore, everything is great. And I think that is --
the Senate numbers tell you what`s really going on in politics which is
that African-Americans really struggling to advance in a lot of key races.
You only have -- you know, we don`t -- a lot of viable candidates for
BACON: The pipeline isn`t really there either. I mean, that`s a real
challenge. It`s not just about today. That`s not clear to me when these
numbers are going to go up or increase by a lot. We still are talking
about Cory Booker and Barack Obama are very singular examples and very
unusual people in politics who are actually viable African-American say
White (ph) candidates right now.
KORNACKI: Right. The pipeline is the big issue there. I want to thank
Sam Seder, host of the online radio show, "The Majority Report."
Chris Christie is set to win a landslide in a deeply blue state. He has
New Jersey Democrats to think for it. That`s next.
KORNACKI: Two things happened within about 45 minutes of each other on
Monday night, and they`re very much related. First came in Trenton, New
Jersey, in the state capitol. It`s where the state legislature, the
Democratic-controlled state legislature essentially rubberstamped Chris
It did this, even though the Democrat who is running against Christie this
year, a Democrat who is a member of the state Senate, Barbara Buono, railed
against the budget from not investing in women`s health care and early
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. BARBARA BUONO, (D) NEW JERSEY: As he looks ahead for 2016, this
governor has left the people of New Jersey behind. And I ask my colleagues
not to follow -- not to follow suit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But the vote for Christie`s budget was 52-25 in the assembly,
and it was 29-11 in the Senate. Now, the second thing that happened Monday
night, it was less than an hour later. A report on "The New York Times"
site breaks says that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, that`s the
federal agency that mostly let the biggest names at the biggest banks off
the hook after the 2008 meltdown is preparing a civil case against Jon S.
Corzine, a civil case which it ascends (ph) issue.
Corzine was running MF Global, a brokerage house that made some very bad
bets when it lost more than a billion dollars in customer money in 2011 and
shut down. Jon Corzine is also he is Chris Christie`s predecessor as
governor of New Jersey. All right. Now, let`s think about these two
pieces of news from it. If you are a Democrat anywhere in America, you`re
dismayed by what`s happening in Trenton, because it`s a sign of how
politically strong Chris Christie has become.
There are two reasons he was able to pass that budget with such ease.
First is that he`s really popular right now, like untouchably popular, a
nearly 70 percent approval rating in the latest Quinnipiac poll. Barbara
Buono, his opponent, can decry the budget all she wants, but she`s running
about 30 points behind Christie in polls.
He`s just got an upper hand in a way that few governors anywhere in the
country do right now. The second reason Christie is working his will in
Trenton. It is on course to win a re-election landslide and has become a
national political star and has a real chance to be elected president in
2016. That reason is because he has a lot more Democratic friends in New
Jersey than you might realize.
The Democratic friends who were with him long before superstorm Sandy
decimated the shore and made Christie a symbol of unity last fall. There
are Democratic friends who quietly helped him win his first race back in
2009, who helped him craft his agenda, who give him all sorts of bipartisan
cover on sensitive issues like pension reform.
There are Democrats who help make him palatable to voters in what remains a
very blue state. This is what brings us to the Corzine half of the story.
Obviously, if you`re one of the investors who lost money with MF Global,
you`re probably not too happy with Corzine. But the only reason he was
running MF Global, in the first place, was because he got booted out of
office in New Jersey in 2009.
And while Corzine himself was ultimately responsible for that loss, the
roots went a lot deeper, because the full story of Jon Corzine`s political
demise and of Chris Christie`s unlikely ascent is the story of what happens
when the dominant party in a one-party state gets lazy and greedy. For 15
years, from the mid-1990s until the end of last decade, New Jersey
Democrats just couldn`t lose an election, no matter how hard they tried.
And believe me, they tried. Robert Toricelli had to drop out at his Senate
re-election bid five weeks before the 2002 election after a wave of
devastating revelations about lavish gifts from a South Korean businessman.
And the Democrats still won the seat. Jim McGreevey (ph) seemed headed for
a federal indictment. Forget the gay American stuff (ph). There was some
bad stuff going on in that administration, but he walked away, and voters
elected a different Democrat instead.
It was easy to explain. In 1994, Newt Gignrich in a heavily southern and
religious band of Republicans grabbed control of Congress and culturally
liberal New Jersey responded by painting itself deep blue. When George W.
Bush was elected in 2000, that process intensified. Powerful Democrats in
the state stopped caring about what their nominees really stood for and
started worrying about what they`d get out of the deal.
This is the story of Jon Corzine`s rise. In 2000, there was an open Senate
seat. He`d just been pushed out of Goldman Sachs and he wanted redemption.
So, he flopped down $63 million and he consulted (ph) any party leader or
organization or activist who wanted it got a cut, and he won the election.
The McGreevey resigned in 2004. His administration had been rocky.
Trenton needed a steady hand. And fortunately, it had one, Richard J.
Codey. He was the state Senate president, and he was next in line to be
governor. Codey was from the old school. He was a self-deprecating Irish
man, a believer in the new deal in a great society. He was mortician. He
was a basketball coach.
He got coalition politics. Public loved him. I think I`d call him the Tip
O`Neill of Trenton. He wanted to run for a full term as governor in 2005.
But there was one big thing that Codey didn`t have. Jon Corzine`s wallet
and that`s all that mattered. In New Jersey, powerful county machines
still call the shots in party primaries.
And one by one, Corzine picked them off. Really, he bought them off until
there was no one left willing to stand with Codey. Nomination went to
Corzine and so did the election. And then it all went bad. Corzine had no
idea how to work with the legislature. The economy collapsed, so did his
alliances of convenience with the party`s power brokers. He lacked Codey`s
The insecurity (ph) soared. Voters found no comfort in their governor. By
the time election day 2009 rolled around, Corzine`s money mattered for
nothing and he lost to Chris Christie by three and a half points. And
there it was. Christie had the platform he`d been craving his whole life,
the platform to make noise, to grab the spotlight, to bluster, to bully, to
force his agenda, to become the national political figure he now is.
And Corzine had nothing left to do but to head back to Wall Street and to
make some very bad vets. As you watch Democrats try desperately this fall
to make the New Jersey race interesting, just remember, they did this to
Things are turning out a little differently for another start Republican
who won national fame back in 2009. That`s next.
KORNACKI: It`s hard to believe that once upon a time, just a year a two
ago, actually, Virginia governor, Bob MacDonald was being talked up as a
rising national GOP star. Maybe first spot on Mitt Romney`s 2012 ticket or
even for a shot at the White House on his own in 2016. These days, all the
talk about MacDonald involves something else, a federal investigation to a
series of gifts he and his wife reportedly received from a wealthy donor,
Johnny R. Williams, Sr.
It`s the CEO of a dietary supplement maker named Star Scientific. On
Tuesday, "The Washington Post" reported that Williams had purchased a
$6,500 Rolex watch for MacDonald, which the governor did not disclose in
his annual financial filings.
I want to bring in Jeremy Bird. He`s the national field -- was the
national field direct for President Obama`s re-election campaign in 2012
and now a senior adviser to battleground Texas, democratic organizing
operation and a founding partner of the grassroots organizing firm, 270
Since MacDonald story is fascinating to me, because, yes, we were talking
about him last year as being maybe on the short list of Mitt Romney`s
running mate, talk of him running maybe against Mark Warner for Senate in
2014, talk of him running for the presidency in 2016. You know, Virginia
one of the sort of quintessential swing state. This is a Republican who
had appeal to the Christian right, who could win state wide there. And,
Molly, it looks like it`s just -- it`s collapsing before our eyes.
BALL: It`s all falling apart. I actually am a Virginian, and I have to
say that something like the Rolex, you know, there`s this drip of
revelations up to now, stuff about other gifts, his daughter`s wedding, the
executive chef, alleging that there were all kinds of favors that the
family was taking from the mansion. And the cumulative weight of this and
especially a powerful symbol like that Rolex, it just looks tacky.
KORNACKI: Well, the Rolex, then there`s also, apparently, his wife
suggested -- this poor Johnny Williams Sr., this dietary supplement -- I
KORNACKI: I mean, she suggested, oh, maybe you could take me to Bergdorf
Goodman for a shopping spree -- $15,000. I mean, this -- I don`t know if
he`s got anything out of this deal. I`m sure he`s looking for it, but I
mean, he has poured so much money, it looks, into the MacDonald family.
It just seems so -- I guess, Jeremy, I mean, you know the state really well
as a battleground. There`s a governor`s race going on there this year.
It`s probably the top political race of the year. You know, MacDonald is
not on the ballot, but do you think this sort of thing affects that race?
JEREMY BIRD, BATTLEGROUNDTEXAS.COM: Well, it hugely affect it, because if
you look at their current nominee, their Republican nominee, Ken
Cuccinelli, he has the same problems with Johnny Williams. He took $18,000
at least that we know of in gifts, didn`t disclose at least $5,000 of it,
forgot to disclose. He has $10,000 or more than $10,000 worth of stock in
Johnny Williams company.
And then, as attorney general, he`s actually supposed to regulate companies
like Johnny Williams. They owed the state of Virginia $1.7 million in
taxes. They sat on it while Ken Cuccinelli was investing in more stock
there. It is totally going to affect the governor`s race now because it`s
not just about Bob MacDonald, it`s also about Ken Cuccinelli.
KORNACKI: I`ve really -- I just -- I don`t get it. I`ve seen stories like
this where I alluded to the Toricelli one in that -- just a minute ago. I
see these politicians who, you know, they have power, they have real power
in Washington, in their state capitols. You know, they`re paid well enough
certainly. And they have the potential when they leave office to make
We can talk about all the unseemly but legal ways they can do this. I
mean, I don`t understand what it is that would make a politician say, oh,
yes, $6,500 Rolex watch, good idea, let`s not report it.
WALSH: There are so many unseemly but legal ways they can make money
later. It is pretty ridiculous. But I think it also speaks to a sense of
entitlement and the sense that either you`re above the rules or you`re not
going to get caught or who among us hasn`t had someone buy them a $6,500 --
WALSH: -- or take our wives or spouses on a shopping spree. I mean, that
really -- that one really got to me. Who takes somebody -- I mean, the
gender stuff is icky. It`s just -- it`s all kind of icky and tacky and the
Cuccinelli connection is what really hurts.
BACON: We talked about the invisible primary before the real primary (ph)
starts just two years where everyone is fundraising and duking it out. Bob
MacDonald lost the primary in year one. this is like, he was going to run
for president, I think in 2016, and now, he almost certainly cannot be a
viable national candidate. It`s just based on four -- five articles in
election (ph) --
KORNACKI: It`s part two for Virginia politicians. George Allen lost the -
- primary with (INAUDIBLE) and now he has it with MacDonald -- anyway,
state senator, Wendy Davis`, dramatic filibuster in Texas this week may
foreshadow a bigger progressive shift in the south. That`s next.
KORNACKI: So, we`re talking about an amazing scene out of the Texas state
legislature this week. I think you all saw it yourselves.
I`m here with MSNBC political analyst Joan Walsh, MSNBC contributor Perry
Bacon, Jr., Jeremy Bird, with Battleground Texas, Democratic organizing
operation, and Molly Ball from "Atlantic" magazine.
So, on Tuesday, Texas Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis spoke for more
than 11 straight hours without even be able to eat, drink, sit, or even
lean on anything, to filibuster one of the most extreme pieces of anti-
abortion legislation in the nation. The bill will outlaw abortion after 20
weeks and create new regulations on providers that would likely mean the
end for most of Texas` abortion clinics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDY DAVIS (D), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: At the end of the day, what this is
going to do is create fewer and fewer options for women to exercise their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Davis hoped to speak until the legislative session ended at
midnight, which according to Texas legislature rules would have prevented a
vote on the bill. Republicans raised points of order throughout her
filibuster and claimed she committed three violations of the chamber`s
strict filibuster rules, enough to end her filibuster.
That is when Davis` Democratic colleagues and the hundreds of activists
filling the Senate chamber took over. With 15 minutes until midnight,
State Senator Leticia Van De Putte challenged the presiding officer for
failing to recognize a previous motion she tried to make on the floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LETICIA VAN DE PUTTE (D), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: At what point must a female
senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male
colleagues in the room?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That cheering and applause continued uninterrupted for at least
15 minutes. The Republicans scrambled to call for votes before midnight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT DUNCAN (R), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: If we could have order in the
chamber so that the members can properly cast a vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But midnight came and went without a vote, leaving Davis and her
allies to celebrate an emotional if temporary victory.
Next day, Republican Governor Rick Perry called for another special 30-day
legislative session to begin Monday. So, we have not I think seen the last
of this issue and then Rick Perry was talking to a right to life group a
day after this happened basically, he had some comments about Wendy Davis
and said he will keep pursuing this.
But, you know, like everybody else, I stayed up late watch this happen and
try to figure out, you know, sort of the broader implications of this
really in Texas. Texas is a red state. You know, it is a state that gave
us Rick Perry, it gave us Ted Cruz. It keeps voting George W. Bush.
And here is an issue dealing with abortion, a heavy pro life vote in Texas.
But there was something about watching this woman stand up against the
power structure in Texas. It was sort of inspiring about it. And I wonder
if it`s the sort of thing that captures people`s attention in a rare way.
WALSH: I think it did. I think it does, and I think it really matters.
Also the day we got the bad Voting Rights Act news. So, progressives were
really dispirited. And then, you saw it on Twitter. I wasn`t watching it
for a while, but people were mentioning it on Twitter, and the live stream
came around, and I couldn`t go to bed until 3:00 in the morning.
And so, I think there is that sense that pro choice forces have been ground
into the dirt in Texas. And that specific -- that it`s hurting women`s
health generally, and some of us are old enough to remember the Texas of
Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan and have a dream that Texas could be a blue
So, there were a lot of forces coming together to make it a galvanizing
night for progressives and I hope more than a night.
KORNACKI: Was it something, you know -- Molly, was it -- do you see it
something that fires up or wakes up the progressive base, or something that
bleeds over and in effect affects voters who aren`t pro-choice, who are
Democrats, who looked at this and woke them up more generally. How do you
BALL: Something inspiring about the image of sort of the little guy
standing up against the majority powers against him or her. I mean, what
Joan was saying sounds exactly what I heard conservatives say about when
they saw Rand Paul do his filibuster. And I see conservatives in places
like Iowa come running after him and say, you are the first one who stood
up to Obama like that. And for them, it`s not about the issue, not about
drones in the case.
WALSH: We don`t care about that.
BALL: But about the image on that sort of lonely crusade, willing to go to
extremes, sort of put their body on the line to stand up for something that
they believe in.
And then when you do have the other state senators` comments, or Rick
Perry`s comments the next day saying she is just a teen mom, it`s
unfortunate -- any time have you women seem going to be belittled and
condescended to, I think it`s very powerful. They may not win on late-term
abortion, that`s not necessarily a popular issue, but they do win on the
image of standing for women in general.
KORNACKI: So, what happens to that, Jeremy? So, the Democrats have talked
for years, for decades, about making Texas blue, and there are some
demographic factors that go into that. We can talk immediately at 2014,
nobody know positives are sure if Rick Perry will run against. The
Democrats need a candidate. Last Democrat to win statewide was Ann
Richards, right, in 1990.
There is talk about Wendy Davis in 2014. Do you -- is there a movement for
Wendy Davis to run for governor in 2014?
BIRD: Well, there is a lot of that. You see it one line and you see some
folks talking about it. What we`re talking about with Battleground Texas
(AUDIO GAP) this is a long-term process. I mean, this is a state we lost
by 17 points in 2012, but it`s also a state where the demographics really
are favorable to Democratic entities. It`s like FreedomWorks put in $8
million, committed $8 million to Texas this week. That`s why the RNC
committed $1.2 million to Texas.
You don`t see the same thing happening with the Democratic National
Committee. They`re not putting $7 million into California or New York.
Demographics are shifting. Republicans know that. That`s why they are
putting their money there.
And so, the question is, how quick can the shift happen? How quick can we
catch the electorate up to the population? I think this week was helpful
for that because what you saw there was I think three things.
One, you saw the Republican extremism. We`ve seen it in a lot of ways.
You know, two years ago, when Wendy Davis stood up, it was on more
Republican extremism, which is the $5 billion they took out of public
schools. So, this has been going for a while. I think the nation actually
saw it this week in the way that they hadn`t seen before.
You saw, the bench that you see, whether all the state senators standing up
there. There`s a bench of Democratic leadership and the activists, and an
activist base is growing. We`ve seen it across the state.
All things coming together. This week just put a spotlight on things, the
question, how quickly can we speed up the process to make it --
KORNACKI: So, to put numbers on this, Democratic issue, this is really
striking. First thing, these are demographics of Texas, according to 2010
census. So, it`s already, you know, it`s a majority, minority states, 45
percent white, 38 percent Latino, 12 percent black and 4 percent Asian.
But look at the turnout 2010, same years, 2010 Texas gubernatorial
election. It was 67 percent white, 17 percent Latino, 13 percent black, 1
You know, Perry, I have seen this trend for a while and been asking myself
when is the dam going to break, so to speak? But, you know, as Jeremy,
look, it is still voting 16 points for Republican in the presidential
Why do you think it`s taken so long for the numbers to catch up?
BACON: I mean, in general, Latino voters are not trending as strong as the
population. Latino voters are not voting they could be and their turnout
was pretty low. That`s part of what is going on in Texas, also happening
in California, too, where the Latino group is helping Democrats. The sort
of main factor of the demographics.
Also the Obama campaign, they didn`t put a lot of time or money. They had
all of the money in the world, they could probably have lost by only eight
points in Texas there, let`s a little bit of a margin there. I remember
being in a meeting with David Plouffe in 2011. We mentioned we ought to
think about Texas, we all laughed at him. And they didn`t.
It was clearly on their mind, something that down in the line, maybe 2020,
when Democrats can really think about running a winning campaign there.
Also striking about this weekend in terms of issues themselves, Republicans
are very confident about abortion views. Think about the gay marriage
decision, hard to find a Republican to reply on the record, especially in
Congress, about how do you feel about gay marriage?
But on abortion, you`re seeing all across the country, they very
confidently they can be aggressive pro-life party and win elections. And
it`s striking how they view that issue is they can put this on the floor.
Rick Perry is loud and proud about this, which is a late-term abortion
bill, which is surprising considering how much criticism he has nationally
received for it.
WALSH: Well, keep it up.
KORNACKI: Joan wants to get in and she will as soon as we come back from
KORNACKI: All right. So, Joan, you were about to say?
WALSH: Well, I about to say that one of the things going on in Texas not
only as Perry said, Latino vote underperforms so to speak, but Latino women
are particularly less likely to turn out than Latino women in other states.
A lot of attention paid to why is that and how to educate, mobilize,
And I think the other interesting thing is where these things come together
is that young Latino women at least are the most pro-choice segment of the
electorate. So, it`s not -- abortion isn`t just kind of a coincidental
issue that happens to come up. It`s actually very important to mobilizing
this electorate. It`s very important that it was Senator Van De Putte who
later triggered that popular outcry, which in the end carried the opponents
over the midnight line.
And I think it`s very -- that`s why it`s important what Jeremy is doing,
because with enough education and enough mobilization and enough outreach
and concern, this could turn around faster than --
KORNACKI: This is a broader theme, too. You talk about demographic change
in Texas. We talk a few week ago about demographic change in some of the
Southern states. We look at like Virginia, used to be a Republican
bastion. Florida, North Carolina, Obama won almost twice.
But, Molly, you wrote something very interesting this week about the Deep
South. And in my mind, I`ve written off the Deep South as this is one
that`s never going to go Republican, like Mississippi, Alabama, states like
this, and you have a different take. Just curious if you can share that.
BALL: Sure. What I wrote about was, in particular, a municipal election
in Mississippi that happened a few weeks ago, where the Republican Party
targeted four cities that are sort of Republican strongholds in
Mississippi. They were going to hold or flip them. And Democrats won all
four. So, Mississippi Democrats have been talking about it as blue
If you look at the demographics in these Deep Southern states, Obama lost
Texas by 16, 17 points, he only lost Georgia by eight points. He did
better than any Democratic nominee in 30 years in Mississippi and Georgia
and South Carolina. And had -- and he didn`t campaign in any of the
states. In North Carolina, where he did campaign a small amount, although
they mostly wrote it off, he lost by two points, and, of course, won it in
So, the demographics in these Southern states are actually changing faster
than demographics in Texas. And they could come on line a lot sooner for
KORNACKI: I want to ask Jeremy about this, because if you look it like,
let`s take Mississippi as an example. If you break down the vote along
racial lines in Mississippi, I think we have 2012, 2008, among black
voters, 96 percent for Obama. But look at among whites, it`s almost the
same, 89-11 for Romney, 80-10 for McCain in `08.
And, Jeremy, one case I made -- a case skeptical case I`ve heard. Excuse
me, I didn`t make it myself, but I`ve heard this. A skeptical case about
what you guys are doing in Texas is that -- the more that you are able to
mobilize Latino voters, the more you are able to mobilize black voters in
Texas, you`re going to see almost what you`ve seen in the Deep South, in
Mississippi and in Alabama, where white voters are going to become that
much more Republican. Is that a risk?
BIRD: Well, I think the -- it`s certainly a risk. But I think the better
comparison is to Florida. Florida is much more similar to Texas. And U.S.
hugely diverse, Texas, there`s a large Asian-American population that
doesn`t get talked about much, there`s a large black population, there`s a
large Hispanic population. What Republicans are doing there right now is
alienating all those groups and women, you know, particularly.
But what you see and what we did in Florida, for example, is you put
together a winning coalition. We have to in Texas win more white voters in
rural areas. We have to do what Barack Obama did in Appalachian Ohio,
which is you don`t have to win some of those counties, but instead of
getting 25 percent, you`re going to get 32 percent.
The big key in Virginia for example, was not only did Democrats started
doing better with African-Americans, started doing better with Asian-
Americans in the north, also started winning women in the suburbs.
So, I think, and particularly what you saw this week and it wasn`t just --
really in the last session in Texas, things like the Lilly Ledbetter Act in
Texas, right? Republicans were completely opposed to that in Texas. That
is further alienating women in the suburbs. And that`s the kind of
coalition I put together in Texas.
It can`t just be about Hispanic voters, it can`t just be about black
voters, it can`t just be about Asian-American voters, it has to be about
youth. We have to put together a coalition that also includes suburban
women and white rural folks that we need to get from 25 percent to 32
KORNACKI: And the other interesting opportunity, Perry, that strikes me is
the story of the south going conservatives, the story of the South going
Republicans, it was a reaction of generally white voters to the national
But now, we`re sort in a new phase where Republicans control almost
everything in the south and reaction to Republican leadership looks like
and that`s sort of what the Wendy Davis thing spoke to this week because
that`s what Republican leadership in Texas, that`s one thing that it`s
BACON: We talked about this a little bit, the racial factor. We talked
about this about to end. I mean , sort of the anti-Obama vote and there is
in Obama to vote in some way. So, I`d be curious to see if Hillary Clinton
in some ways able to change numbers in the South a little bit better.
I know people in Kentucky and Tennessee having her on the ticket will make
it easier in the South then with the Obama --
KORNACKI: Given the nomination of Hillary.
BACON: That were the parts that it did, I think there are some factors
here to look at. Yes.
All right. I will say thanks to Jeremy Bird. He`s formerly with the Obama
reelection campaign, now pretty much involved in Texas.
President Obama has found a way around Congress on climate change and we`re
going to talk about it next.
KORNACKI: President Obama took a huge step forward on climate change this
week, using his executive powers to order the EPA to crack down on carbon
pollution that coal fired power plants pump into the air. It`s expected
that it will take the EPA about a year to formulate a new rule and to begin
implementing rules. None of this will require Congressional authorization.
It will help that if the EPA had a confirmed an administrator, but Senate
Republicans are still sitting on the Obama`s nomination of Gina McCarthy to
head the agency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Unfortunately, she has been held up in the Senate. She`s been held
for months, forced to jump through hoops no cabinet nominee should ever
have to, not because she lacks, because there are too many in the
Republican Party right now who think the Environmental Protection Agency
has no business of protecting our environment from carbon pollution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: In the speech on Tuesday, the president lamented the lack of
bipartisan cooperation on the environment, recalling the politics around
the 1970 Clean Air Act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: That law passed the Senate unanimously. Think about that. It
passed the Senate unanimously. It passed the House of Representatives,
375-1. I don`t know who the one guy was. I haven`t looked that up.
I mean, you can barely get that many votes to name a post office these
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: We looked up who that one guy was. It was Nebraska Republican
Glen Cunningham, the youngest mayor in Omaha history. A little fun fact
I want to bring in Dan Lashof. He`s director of the climate and clean air
program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. And Michael Tomasky,
special correspondent for "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast", and editor of
"Democracy", the journal of ideas.
So, Dan, I will start with you on this. A lot to talk about here. We have
a basic issue of no EPA administrator, of Gina McCarthy`s nomination being
held up by Republicans. Obviously, everything President Obama announced of
what he would like the EPA to do is going to meet a lot of resistance among
Republicans. So, I imagine it would complicate efforts to get her
If she isn`t confirmed and it becomes a protracted process that takes
months to do, how much will that cut into what the president is trying to
do in terms of regulating carbon?
DAN LASHOF, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: EPA has an acting
administrator, Bob Perciasepe, who is a great guy, and if necessary, he can
carry this out. EPA will be acting under the Clean Air Act, which was
passed in 1970s. So, they don`t need Congress to pass any new laws, what
they need to make sure Congress doesn`t get in the way and presidential
leadership will be critical to make that happen, as well as public support
for the standard, which is very high.
KORNACKI: Talk about the big legislative push a couple of years ago was on
cap and trade. They got through the house in a watered down form, died in
the Senate in a more watered down version.
I have heard people make the case what Obama is trying to do through
executive action would be a lot more dramatic and a lot more consequential
than the watered down cap and trade bill would have done.
LASHOF: Well, I think in the short term, what President Obama can do under
current law is similar to what would have happened under the legislation.
The key to that legislation was that it actually set the country on a long-
term course to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050. We have to get back to
legislation to get there, which is where we need to be.
But in the short term, there is a lot the president can do in his current
(INAUDIBLE). In the heart of that is EPA standards which would for the
first time set carbon pollution limits for power plants. Right now, they
can dump unlimited amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. And as the
president said, it`s wrong, it`s dangerous, it has to stop and will with
KORNACKI: So, Michael, it`s -- I guess one question, what took them so
long to do it? Why in year five? I tried Congress for four years, 4 1/2
years, and now, there`s nothing left to do but go to executive action?
MICHAEL TOMASKY, NEWSWEEK/THE DAILY BEAST: Well, there are a few theories
about that. You know, he has a few things on his plate. That`s one.
Another is he didn`t want to do this before re-election in part because of
Ohio, because this is going to affect Ohio and Ohio is a crucial state. I
don`t think that`s a crazy theory, but he`s done it, he`s done it. They
are a very admirable goals, I don`t really understand the liberal criticism
that this doesn`t go far enough.
I mean, we all know Congress isn`t going to do anything. He`s going as far
as he can. I think it`s a pretty good push.
The thing I was disappointed in the speech is this: a lot of industry -- a
surprising amount of industry is ready to play ball on this stuff. Leaders
-- some leaders in utility CEOs, some leaders of energy companies, they
know this day is coming. They are ready to go on carbon regulation, on
I think most American people don`t know that. They just think that the
Republicans are representing corporate America`s interests, but the
Republicans aren`t representing corporate America`s interest. Corporate
America is kind of, you know, fairly moderate, very much so compared to
Republicans, who are way over here.
I wish Obama had taken this opportunity to let the American people know
KORNACKI: And Sheldon Whitehouse, senator of Rhode Island, sort of made
the case that executive actions, you implement, you basically change the
game by changing the regulations and put new restrictions in place, you`re
going to be giving an insensitive to the executives, to the industry, to go
to Congress, and say, OK, let`s find a way to make this more workable, more
manageable for us, Molly.
And I have hear the same argument that Michael has made, that basically,
you know, the industry not nearly as resistant to cap and trade like the
Republicans would suggest. Where is the fierce Republican resistance to
this coming from? Is it just -- is it as simple as this is an Obama
priority, and therefore Republicans are against it, or is there something
more philosophical to it?
BALL: I think it is largely philosophical. I think you do have Republican
grassroots and Republican members of Congress who really don`t believe in
And really saw the coal industry`s reaction to the Obama administration,
the way they played in 2012 campaign. The drama in Ohio, where really
Obama won the coal country voters, by convincing that Mitt Romney hated
coal even more. He wasn`t being the environmental president when he went
to southeast Ohio.
But the decline has already started. The decline in the coal industry, and
the decline of the coal fired power plant has already -- that ship has
already sailed. So, in a lot of ways, we have an industry that`s resigned
to a status quo that`s already come on line and they`ve realized that they
can`t fight it any longer.
KORNACKI: So, what is, Joan, if you look at the political fallout for this
potentially for Obama, he`s never going to have to run again. But you talk
about coal country in Ohio, you talk about West Virginia, talk about the
possibility that rates might go up for some consumers like in the Midwest.
You know, are Democrats, we can debate what price Democrats paid in 2010
for pursuing cap and trade.
But do you see any similarities here.
WALSH: I think there are definitely risk. I mean, we all know that. But
I think there`s a strong environmental constituency here. People know it`s
the right thing to do and I think he couldn`t left office without making
this a major initiative.
So, you know, I`m less worried about politics, West Virginia was off the
table, we talked about Texas. Sadly, we`ll get Texas back before West
TOMASKY: I would accept that.
WALSH: I know, I know. I`m less worried about the politics than I was.
KORNACKI: Dan, I wanted to ask one thing before (INAUDIBLE), but I want to
set this up, by there was a sort of a surprise in Obama speech this week
about the Keystone pipeline. We sort of play that and then ask you about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that
doing so would be in our nation`s interest. And our national interests are
served only if the project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The other big decision the president is facing, approve or not
to approve the Keystone pipeline. And I saw somebody said that statement
in his speech is Rorschach test because people have interpreted, you know,
opponents of the pipeline said, wow, he`s not going to do it, and
supporters have said, no, he`s laying the ground work. How did you read
what he said this week?
LASHOF: Well, it was a big surprise in the speech. We didn`t expect him
to address it at all, a decision teed up for later in the fall, after the
State Department reviews hundreds of thousands of comments are viewed on
the draft impact statement. Their draft impact statement said the Keystone
pipeline won`t increase carbon emissions. But EPA actually weighed and
said, "That is an inadequate draft."
Wall Street has been very clear that without the Keystone pipeline, the tar
sands party in Alberta, I mean, in Canada is over. It will increase carbon
emissions. So, we think this does mean that president will reject it.
KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank Dan Lashof of the Natural Resources
Two new polls say Anthony Weiner no joke, and that the nation`s biggest
city has its messiest mayor`s race in more than 30 years in its hands.
KORNACKI: New poll jolted the New York City mayoral election this week
with former Congressman Anthony Weiner taking the lead in the Democratic
primary. Tuesday`s "Wall Street Journal"/NBC New York/Marist poll found
Weiner beating city council`s speaker, Christine Quinn, 25 percent to 20
percent. This is the first time Quinn has fallen from the lead in that
Poll also showed Bill Thompson, he is the Democrat who ran against Michael
Bloomberg in 2009 and nearly pulled up a huge upset at 13 percent. The
public advocate, yes, that job actually exists here in New York, the public
advocate Bill de Blasio, with 10 percent and John Liu, the city comptroller
at 8 percent.
Next day, another poll showed what amounts to a three-way tie. Quinnipiac
Survey putting Quinn at 19 percent, Weiner at 17 percent, and Thompson at
16 percent. Some New York politics watchers are starting to draw parallels
to 1977. It`s a wild race that played against the back drop of son of Sam
killings. And it was immortalized in the book, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the
Bronx is Burning."
In that race, seven Democrats ran in the primary, and top vote getter, Ed
Koch, didn`t even crack 20 percent.
So, it is fascinating that, you know, when Weiner first got into the race,
running at 15 percent and conventional wisdom was, well, that`s what game
recognition will get you, that`s the ceiling. It`s all downhill from here.
I don`t know if this says more about, wow, Anthony Weiner really is a
talented retail politician, or if this just says, wow, the candidates he`s
running against are really uninspiring and underwhelming.
But he has made himself clearly into a contender into mayor of New York,
which is kind of amazing.
WALSH: Well, I think it is name recognition. I think it is kind of a
backlash against who`s going to tell us who our leaders should be. I`m on
record, you went on record before with the prediction, I`m on record saying
he will not be the mayor of New York. I admit I could be wrong about that.
But I think none of the other candidates has caught fire or put together
the kind of coalition that they need to, but there is constitutional a lot
of time, and he loses in a head-to-head with Quinn. Once we get the --
KORNACKI: That`s the other issue. In New York, if nobody gets 40 percent
in the primary, they go to runoff for the top two. They tested in "The
Journal" poll this week, they tested them. Quinn versus Weiner, if they`re
the two in the runoff, 44-42, Quinn. Bill Thompson versus Weiner, 42-41.
You know, I`m fascinated by the idea of a Bill Thompson/Anthony Weiner
runoff, because in 2009, Anthony Weiner, this is before all the Twitter
does happen, Anthony Weiner had a decision, should -- Bloomberg had the
limits rule change, Christine Quinn helped him with that.
And Weiner had a decision, do you run anyway? And he basically backed out.
Didn`t want to do it. I don`t think he thought he could win.
Bill Thompson went ahead and he ran. Bill Thompson and Anthony Weiner in a
runoff, Bill, he can say I took on the tough fight, you backed down from
BALL: Can I just say, I do not understand what New York Democrats are
thinking. Only in New York, a tough talking alcoholic/bulimic lesbian, and
to colorless and boring for voters.
BALL: Not exciting enough. We need the dirty selfies guy. That`s what we
But I think look, Anthony Weiner is a talented retail politician. But I
have had had a lot of New York Democrats tell me the story in the poll is
the surge by Bill Thompson, because voters looking for a liberal
alternative to Christine Quinn and a lot of confusion about who that will
be. She is seen as the Bloomberg candidate, a lot of New Yorkers don`t
And so, Thompson, once the Weiner bubble pops, I guess if that`s not too
horribly mixed metaphor, they will say, gosh, we can`t do this, that`s
ridiculous. We`ll be a laughing stock and more gravitate to Thompson if
his momentum continues.
TOMASKY: I think there`s also something much more basic going on. I live
in Washington now, but I lived in New York for nearly 20 years. I covered
a lot of New York City and state lection campaigns. And New York was
extremely ethnic and extremely identity politics.
And in New York City primaries, there are three main voting blocs, African-
Americans, Jewish voters, and women. So, who is leading this poll? An
African-American candidate, Jewish candidate, and woman candidate. Really?
That`s the New York --
KORNACKI: And to pick up on that point, there`s also been talk that
polling in New York has struggled in recent years to account for African-
American and increasingly Hispanic participation, which is one of the
reasons that Bill Thompson caught people by surprise. This is the headline
of "The Daily News" today, controversial stop and frisk program here in New
York City, and Bloomberg actually said we`re actually stopping too many
And if you look at Bloomberg`s poll numbers in the city, he does worse
group is African-Americans. He does worse with nonwhite than he does
whites, and it seems the candidate most associated in the race with Mike
Bloomberg is Christine Quinn., who gave him the third term.
BACON: That`s what I thought in this poll, that Christine Quinn, a front-
runner, not a front-runner at all. She has to distinguish herself.
But I`ve heard she is not going to do a job embracing Bloomberg fully or
distance yourself. You got to pick one of the other. Al Gore wouldn`t
pick, if he wanted to be Bill Clinton`s successor. (INAUDIBLE)
Quinn not doing a good job distinguishing what her message. Is she really
different than Bloomberg? Is she a third term Bloomberg? Finishing out
that question is a key thing in her winning or losing.
KORNACKI: Which answers Molly`s question of how she became the boring
candidate in the case.
Darrell Issa`s crusade is crumbling apart before our eyes. That`s next.
KORNACKI: For two months, we`ve heard how the IRS applied extra scrutiny
to groups supporting causes when they apply for tax-exempt taxes. But an
internal IRS document first revealed by the "Associated Press" this past
Monday shows that the agency also flagged terms like "progressive" and
"green energy" organizations and "medical marijuana", terms associated with
left of center causes as it decided whether groups deserved tax exempt
IRS principled deputy commissioner Danny Werfel confirmed new revelations
on Thursday J. Russell George, treasury inspector general that carried out
the IRS probe that indicated conservatives have been singled out, insisted
that his investigation found no evidence that the IRS have used the
progressive identifiers in scrutinizing groups for political work between
May 2010 and 2012.
Congressional Democrats are now calling into question the validity of that
account. New revelations, notwithstanding, public attitudes toward the
story seem to be increasingly breaking on partisan lines. In May, 37
percent thought the IRS controversy lead to the White House, while 55
percent said IRS officials have acted on their own. And after a steady
drumbeat of politicians and the media crying scandal, a poll released last
week showed 47 percent of Americans think the White House ordered a
crackdown, and 49 percent believer the IRS acted on its own.
I have to say, when it first broke, when the first reports two months ago,
I didn`t think this was a White House scandal, I said this was a scandal.
This was an agency scandal. It looked like the IRS really had as an agency
targeted conservative groups, I think I jumped the gun completely based on
what I saw this week. It looks like, there be some debate here about
whether Democrats, there was a little bit more scrutiny that happened to be
applied to a conservatives, but clearly, based on the documents that came
out this week, there was a lot of scrutiny applied to liberal groups as
BACON: It looks like the IRS is concerned about the growth of 501c4 and
501c3 groups that are not supposed to be political in nature but really
truly are. The more I read about this, the more I think that the IRS is
concerned about the right things, and that these groups are popping up.
More Tea Party groups than there are progressive, and it looks like there
was more scrutiny of Tea Party groups, and that`s bad. The IRS focused
more on one party than the other is not great.
But it looks like their actual concern is that there are probably are some
groups that are not following the intent of the sort of nonprofit law in
America and that`s probably should be the focused two months ago, instead
of this what Obama had to do with something he had nothing to do basically.
KORNACKI: We had Darrell Issa, the chairman of the oversight committee,
leaking out stuff selectively, fanning the flames as much as he could, this
was the scandal that led to the White House, took down the president, all
sorts of things and any rational discussion, the points that Perry just
raised, it`s possible impossible to have right now because Darrell Issa has
basically set this up as, is this going to topple the Obama administration
or not. It`s completely oversold it.
WALSH: I blame us in the media. I think I had a day or two I took it too
seriously. I`m not going to even concede your point, because I don`t even
think we know there was more scrutiny.
BACON: Yes, there may have been more. I should have said, right.
WALSH: Here`s the thing. There may have been more of their applications.
They also tended to be more consistent in using Tea Party and patriot,
whereas typical of the left, the left was all over the map, with
progressive and occupy and green energy and God knows what else.
So maybe there wasn`t as easy a target to look at and put cases together
and scrutinize, say what`s going on here.
And to some extent, I blame Democrats too, because Democrats are so scandal
whipped that it had to be said immediately this is wrong and conceding
that. Well, it sounds like they did target conservatives more than
liberals. The only group that was denied status for new groups and lost
status was old groups was emerge, which elects Democratic women. That`s
the only group that actually suffered real, tangible harm.
KORNACKI: What I`m wondering here is there going to be -- you know, the
media has some complicity in this. And again, I`m one of the first people
that said at the beginning, oh, this is absolutely an agency scandal, so
I`ll probably, you know, I can take that back. But I`m wondering, is there
a sense from the media now -- are they going to correct a little bit in
terms of how -- I saw a Dana Milbank column, for instance, Dana Milbank of
the "The Washington Post", that really went hard after Darrell Issa, his
history of overselling scandals.
I look at poll numbers now were sort of polarized. I`m wondering if the
media is going to sort of correct in light of the new information and maybe
this thing will no longer be seen as a scandal in half of the eyes of the
BALL: Well, look, I personally have not done my own investigation into
this story, so I will wait for all the facts that come out before --
KORNACKI: That`s probably smarter, yet.
BALL: But in terms of the politics of it, let`s say Darrell Issa is right.
Let`s say this goes all the way to the top. Let`s say this absolute was
what Republicans believe it was, which is a sign of a controlling,
totalitarian administration, persecuting conservatives. What does it get
Republicans are worried this is going to be a sugar high for the Republican
Party. Drives down Obama`s ratings, sure, what did destroy Clinton get for
the Republican Party in the late `90s? The Democrats won the midterms in
`98, and then, you know, arguably the general election in 2000. The next
candidate for president is not going to be tainted by the scandal.
WALSH: Can I take issue a little bit with Molly here? Because I said that
very thing. They overreached with Clinton, and they got punished in `98.
But you know what? They boxed up his agenda, they kept him from getting
anything done with the mandate that he had for the second term. And they
can do that to Obama, too.
So, it`s not -- yes, maybe they`ll get punished in 2014, I certainly hope
so as a Democrat. But there`s something here that talk about a culture of
intimidation. Talk about the culture of we`re going to impeach this
popular Democratic president and this other popular Democratic president
who`s scandal-free, who was clean as a whistle, personally and politically,
as far as we can tell, we`re going to tie him up in knots and make sure he
cannot move his agenda, because all we talk about on all the cable shows is
scandal. Is there a scandal?
TOMASKY: But, Joan, I`m not sure they can drag this out that long. I
really don`t think they can drag this because all they have --
WALSH: There will always be something, Michael.
TOMASKY: There is a finite number of witnesses here. There is only thing
Darrell Issa can do, interview witnesses who are IRS employees in
Cincinnati and in Washington. There`s a very finite number of those
people, in fact, the number is 20.
They interviewed around half. You know, around half to go. So, a handful
to go and interviewing them over the next couple of months, and unless
someone produces some smoking gun, that points at the White House, the
investigation is over. That`s it.
So they can`t go very far, but to get back to your point about the polls,
it`s probably going to take public opinion a long time to catch up with
KORNACKI: Right. It`s amazing, it`s inversely related. This thing fallen
apart and more people have bought into the idea that there is something to
Anyway, what do we know now that we didn`t know last week? My answers are
KORNACKI: So what do we know now that we didn`t know last week?
We now know that former Democratic Senator William Hathaway of Maine has
passed away. He died Monday at his home at the age of 89. Hathaway`s
election to the Senate ended the career of his opponent, the nation`s first
female senator, Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican.
According to "The New York Times," upon beating Smith, Hathaway`s own
mother told him, quote, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself." Among
Hathaway`s accomplishments in the Senate was introducing legislation that
lead to military academies to accepting women. It seems safe to assume his
mother would be proud of that.
We know that while Rick Santorum isn`t packing his bags and heading to
Hollywood just yet, the former senator and failed presidential candidate is
getting into the movie business. This week, Santorum became the new CEO of
the faith-based Dallas film company, Echo Light Studios. Santorum
acknowledged that he`s not the most obvious choice to lead a movie company,
what with his lack of any relevant experience, but that he`s not deterred
from the task in front of him.
He wrote, quote, "For too long, Hollywood has had a lock on influencing the
youth of this country with a flawed message that goes against our values.
Now we can change that. Echo Light Studios has the resources and
commitment to produce, finance, and distribute faith-based and family-
We know that Hollywood better watch out, but that we can`t quite say the
same for Washington, at least not yet. We now know how House Republicans
are planning to deal with the bad image their policies and rhetorics have
created for them with women. According to rollcall.com, members of the
House GOP have come up with a plan to increase the number of women in their
ranks. Right now, 8 percent of the House GOP is female, compared to a
third of house Democrats.
Rather than changing its policies, though, the House Republican plan is to
ask Republican women to run for Congress. As freshman Republican Ann
Wagner told "Roll Call", quote, "Women need to be asked, they have to be
encouraged." Fellow freshman Susan Brooks said, more often than not, they
fear they are not qualified and they can`t raise money -- which is
something that many women have not been involved in.
And finally, we know that soon to be former GOP Congresswoman Michele
Bachmann was very unhappy with the Supreme Court`s rulings in favor of gay
marriage and that Nancy Pelosi really doesn`t care what Bachmann thought
On Wednesday, Pelosi was asked about Bachmann`s comments and had this to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Congresswoman Bachmann put out a statement and she essentially
said that the decision today cannot undo God`s work. How do you guys react
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Who cares?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Exactly. Moving on.
I want to find out now what my guests know now that they didn`t know when
the week began.
And we`ll start with you, Joan.
WALSH: I think we know now that Texas has some really tough liberals led
by Senator Wendy Davis and that they think that women`s issues are good
issues to run on. So, it will be interesting to see what the next year
KORNACKI: And if she runs in 2014, interesting to see that too.
BACON: I think we know Rick Perry is relevant. We thought he was a
laughingstock after he lost the presidential primary so badly, but he`s in
some ways the most important conservative in the country. Looking at what
he`s done on abortion, looking at how he`s blocking Obamacare, he`s a big
impediment to liberal agendas in Texas. And Texas is second biggest state
of the country, of course.
TOMASKY: I learned that some past lopsided votes of Congress are very
important to Scalia and others not so much.
KORNACKI: Fair point.
BALL: Going with the Supreme Court theme -- I think we learned that the
gay marriage train is not going to be stopped anytime soon. Not only did
California get gay marriage this week. In fact, just yesterday, gay
couples started being married, but the language in the DOMA decision leaves
a door open and advocates are now saying they believe they can get gay
marriage nationwide within five years.
KORNACKI: It is amazing, right? Because when DOMA was passed in 1996,
they`re the first poll I ever saw on gay marriage. It was like 21 percent
support or something. It is amazing so few issues can public opinion move
So it`s something we`ll be talking about a lot more on the show tomorrow,
by the way, too.
My thanks to Joe Walsh of Salon.com, Perry Bacon of TheGrio.com, Michael
Tomasky of "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast", and Molly ball of "The
Atlantic" magazine -- thanks for getting UP.
And thank you for joining us today for UP. Join us tomorrow, Sunday
morning at 8:00, when I`ll have Democratic senator, yes, he`ll still be a
senator, Mo Cowan of Massachusetts, former presidential candidate Pat
Schroeder, and Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York.
And coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP," this week
in voter suppression, Supreme Court edition. How five justices have put
our very democratic process in jeopardy. That and why Melissa thinks the
president should be scrambling jets to find Edward Snowden. That is
"MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY." She`s coming up next.
And we will see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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