PoliticsNation, Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
October 15, 2013
Guest: Simone Campbell; Michelle Cottle; Elijah Cummings, Goldie Taylor,
Ryan Grim, Jimmy Williams, Joe Madison
REV. AL SHARPTON, POLITICS NATION HOST: Thanks. Thanks, Ed, and
thanks to you for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead breaking news, the republican implosion just 30 hours
away from a debt ceiling disaster. And the Tea Party is playing games,
acting like a boat to aboard financial ruin is just a harmless stunt.
Maybe you`ve seen those YouTube videos showing what happens when Mentos
candy mints are put into a bottle of diet Coke.
That`s what Republicans are doing tonight. The chaos in the GOP is
spilling over and threatening to blow up our economy. Right now, House
Republicans are ignoring the potential deal over in the Senate and instead
trying to charge ahead with their owned plan designed to appease the tea
But just moments ago, they called off that vote. It`s been postponed
indefinitely. Apparently because they didn`t think they had the votes to
pass their own plan. Republicans have been playing games all day, and now
they have nothing to show for it.
President Obama says enough is enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The problem with the
House is right now, I think, the House Republicans still believe that they
can get concessions for doing their job and making sure that the American
people aren`t hurt. What I`m suggesting to the congressional leaders is
let`s not do any pasturing. Let`s not try to save face. Let`s not worry
about politics. Do what is right. Open the government and make sure we`re
paying our bills and we could do that today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Instead of working on a solution, tea party lawmakers are
openly mocking the Senate deal. That could be the only way forward out of
the mess they`ve created. One tea party congressman sneered about the
Senate surrender caucus. Another puffed, seems to be an oxymoron, the word
Senate then plan. A third called it a quote "mushy piece of blank."
These people are supposed to be the leaders of the nation. These
people are the ones making decisions that could affect millions of
Americans. It`s time for Speaker Boehner to end this crisis now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, can you guarantee to the
American people Congress will not go past the deadline and push us into
default us into default?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Listen, I have made
clear for months and months that the idea of default is wrong and we
shouldn`t get anywhere close to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We shouldn`t, but we are. And Speaker Boehner and his tea
party extremists are the reason why. This is not some little prank that
you pull and post on You Tube. This is real. It`s serious.
Just moments ago the Fitch credit rating agency warned the U.S. rating
for native downgrade. It`s time for John Boehner to step up and stop
Republicans from blowing up our economy.
Joining me now is Congressman Elijah Cummings, Democrat from Maryland
and Michelle Cottle.
Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Good to be with you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Congressman, 30 hours from the beginning of a default, and
House Republicans pull their bill after the right wing heritage action
group urged a no vote. I mean, what do you make of this?
CUMMINGS: Well, Reverend, if you look at the heritage memo they sent
to Republicans, it is all about the Affordable Care act. They are still
upset with it they`re trying to destroy it. And basically, what they`re
saying is, look, the bill that Boehner is presenting does not have the kind
of provisions that we want -- it doesn`t address the Affordable Care Act
and kill it, so we don`t vote for it.
So, you know, basically what`s happened is that the Republican Party
has allowed the tea party to control it in the Congress. And sadly, they
and, of course, the heritage foundation, they are controlling everything.
And at the same time threatening -- they`ve already shut down the
government for 15 days, Reverend, 15 days at $1.6 million a day and over $2
billion already. And then at the same time, Reverend, they are threatening
the full faith and credit of our country and that would do --.
SHARPTON: Wait, we are 30 hours away, but Boehner had a bill and then
all of a sudden they pull it back. I mean, 30 hours before we go into
default with Fitch looking at downgrading us. They`re playing these kinds
of games, Congressman?
CUMMINGS: It`s totally irresponsible. It`s un-American. And it`s
letting down the people of our country. I mean, they have got to put
country before party, country before tea party.
SHARPTON: Michelle, this heritage action and the tea party, I mean,
what is their strength, what is their power? How can they maneuver,
manipulate, if I could use that term, the speaker of the House like this?
MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK:
Well, look. With a lot of the congressional districts and a lot of these
people were sent here with the promise they were going to defund Obamacare.
And what they are worried about is a primary as they don`t stick by this.
There`s very little incentive for them to compromise. And what heritage
action promises is that if you don`t stick by the kind of most intransigent
line here, we are going to make you pay come election time. And that
terrifies a lot of these guys.
SHARPTON: Now, Michelle, you know at one point they were saying that
they were going to consider plan to pass on bill and then run out of town.
I mean, we`ve been hearing games like children in a schoolyard rather than
leaders dealing with a critical economic crisis all day long.
COTTLE: Exactly. I mean, basically that`s one. I`m going to take my
toys and go home if you don`t give me what I want here. But I ink at some
level they have to know that that would be terrible. This would be
terrible PR. I mean, they`ve been working really hard to convince America
that they`re not the reason this has happened. That it`s Obama or Senate
Democrats who have caused this shutdown and I think that would kind of put
a nail in it.
SHARPTON: But Congressman Boehner, Congressman Cummings, Boehner has
said he doesn`t want the shutdown. So what can he do? I mean, is he that
easy -- I mean, the default. We`ve already had the shutdown 15 days. But
is he that lame as a leader? Is he that week as a leader? I mean, he says
I don`t want it, but we`re right there.
CUMMINGS: I think Boehner is worried about losing his speakership, to
be frank with you. And he could easily bring this bill, a clean bill to
the floor today. As a matter of fact, the Senate has already passed a bill
to open up the government. He could bring that to the House tonight and we
could have the government open in the next hour, literally. But he refuses
to do that.
I think basically he`s afraid and Michelle made a good point. A lot
of his members are saying that they are afraid that somebody`s going to run
against them from the right. And if you look at the Heritage Foundation
memo that was sent this evening, it says we are going to score this. We`re
going to score this against you. And if you vote for this bill that
certainly is unacceptable to Democrats in the Congress, but if you vote for
it, we`re going against you.
SHARPTON: But this is frightening, Congressman, because we`re being
told that we could end up with a downgrading of this country`s credit.
That we could be where we can`t pay bills and services. We`ve already shut
down at a cost of $2 billion so far as you say. And the speaker can`t do
anything? You want to hold a title that means nothing, a crown with no
throne? This is ridiculous.
CUMMINGS: What the speaker can do is lead and he needs to do that.
And I think he really needs to say to this tea party crowd, look. You
know, our country -- you`re putting our country in a situation where not
only will you bring down our economy, not only will you destroy jobs, not
only will you effect the economy of the world, we just simply can`t do
This is our watch. We need to do better. Let`s make this happen.
And then take the Democratic votes that he has and that`s all of them, and
then take the Republicans who have agreed that they want a clean bill to
open up the government to do that and then to address the debt ceiling, of
SHARPTON: Michelle, let me ask you a question because let`s not
forget this is all about the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. And here is
a clue about why the House bill funds the government until mid-December to
one day we are going to put up and then runs out.
According to "the Washington Post," Paul Ryan argued the House would
need the deadline as leverage for delaying the health care law`s individual
mandate and adding a conscience clause. That clause would allow employers
and insurers to opt out of birth control coverage. They want to have this
whole fight all over again about Obamacare.
COTTLE: Exactly. And this is precisely why Obama has been hesitant
to niggle over details on this kind of thing, you know, whether or not it
is going to cover, you know, you are going to get negotiations with whether
or not senators have to get this sort of thing with their health care
coverage, because he doesn`t want to be held hostage why Republicans decide
to pick and choose whatever they want and don`t want to be in this law.
SHARPTON: We are 30 hours, 29 1/2 hours away from an economic
disaster, and they`re going back to women`s health. This is amazing.
Congressman Elijah Cummings and Michelle Cottle, thank you for your
CUMMINGS: Thank you very much.
SHARPTON: Ahead, what was really behind that confederate flag at the
White House? We`ll reveal the 40 years of Republican rhetoric that led to
this national embarrassment.
Plus, why right wingers are ramping up their impeachment hysteria with
Sarah Palin on board. There`s nowhere for these folks to go but down.
And Supreme Court justice Scalia talking today about the blacks. You
heard that right, the blacks. A jaw-dropping comment today on affirmative
Also, what`s on y mind? E-mail me. Friend or foe, I want to know.
"Reply Al" is ahead.
SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Today our facebook family had a lot to
say about that confederate flag at the tea party protest outside the White
Teresa says when I saw this I was reminded of the most shameful time
in our history. And I for one do not want to see this type of racism ever
Luis says how can you call yourself patriotic and still wave this flag
that represents racism, hatred, and treason?
Coming up, more on this ugly scene and what led to it.
But first, tell us what you think of this story. Please head over to
facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation
that keeps going long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: We`ve entered the third week of the government shutdown, 15
days in, and real Americans are hurting. But these guys don`t care about
people worrying about making ends meet. They`ve shown a complete disregard
for ordinary people.
As hundreds of thousands suffer, members of Congress are raking in
their six figure salary even if they don`t know it.
Iowa Congressman Steve King said, quote, "I don`t know if I`m paid or
not. I haven`t looked. I have not." This guy has no clue if the money is
there? You can be sure the furloughed workers living paycheck to paycheck
are aware. Today, a group of religious leaders went to Capitol Hill
literally praying to Congress would end this shutdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NETWORK: May our walking
these halls and praying with Congress be the bridge that you need for
healing and for some sanity and caring for all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Singing "Amazing Grace," they visited the office of House
Republicans to tell them how much the shutdown is hurting real people. The
pain is front page news across the country.
In Arizona, veterans are worried they won`t get their benefits.
In Iowa head start programs are scrambling to stay open.
In Florida, it`s taking longer to get approved for a mortgage.
In Kansas there are plans to withhold checks for the women, infants,
and children nutritional program.
The longer this shutdown goes on, the more ordinary people are
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Coffee shops` financial success is
dependent on tourists to visit the Shenandoah national park in the fall.
And the two weeks at the park and skyline drive has been shattered,
business has dropped off significantly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now with the disease that I have, hasn`t
progressed too far yet. It`s so early in its stage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: And it`s hoped science can keep the
disease at bay through an experimental protocol involving a critical bone
marrow transplant offered through the national institutes of health, a
treatment being delay until the government reopens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Victor Santorin (ph) says controllers will get
half a paycheck Tuesday. He contents FAA furloughs are impacting safety.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, every day this goes on, it just peels away at
the margin of safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The Republicans responsible for this mess show a complete
disregard for real people.
Joining me now is Sister Simone Campbell. She`s the executive
director of Network, a national catholic social justice lobby. She led
some of the prayers this morning in the capitol.
Thank you for being here, Sister Simone.
CAMPBELL: It`s an honor to be with you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: I want to start by asking you about the breaking news that
House speaker Boehner pulled back a vote on his own bill after a powerful
tea party group came out against it.
CAMPBELL: I find that shocking. The peace we were praying for today
with speaker Boehner`s office and many of the offices was that there would
be the courage to stand up to these extremist interests and to make sure
that the common good is cared for. Hearing from low wage workers who work
as contractors with the federal government, who are on minimum wage and
have no other income, they`re worried about how they`re going to eat
I mean, it`s shocking that we just deal with it as policy and
politics. But these are real people suffering, families suffering and it
SHARPTON: Now, I mean, I think that the thing that really bothers me
and as I was watching the footage of the prayer, ecumenical, is like this
is not a game. We`re talking about real life here.
CAMPBELL: Absolutely. It is not a game. And this has gone on so
long that the terror that is being created in the working poor in our
nation is huge. They -- mothers are not getting what they need for their
children. Food is not being given to kids. That`s wrong in the richest
nation on earth. We need to wake up to the fact that working people are
struggling because of the shutdown and end it.
SHARPTON: And they want to shut it down over the affordable care act
that was already passed. The "Huffington Post" put together things members
of Congress have been doing instead of finding an end to the shutdown.
They grandstanded at the World War II memorial that they closed down. One
berated a park ranger telling her she should be ashamed of doing her job.
And another group put on white lab coats to complain about the cuts to the
national institute of health that their shutdown caused. I mean, they have
had a lot of time for photo ops. Did any have time to talk to you today or
the workers who haven`t got their paycheck to any of them?
CAMPBELL: We did not talk to any of the members of Congress today.
We talked to their staffs. Several of their staffs told us that their
member really wants to get a deal, wants to get something done. But we
didn`t get a commitment to any of them that they were going to stand up.
Our prayer today was for their courage to act for the common good.
It`s for all of our benefit to end this.
SHARPTON: Now, over the weekend, many the right held the -- attended
the values voter summit -- value voters summit. And they kept slamming
programs that help people. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOCTOR BEN CARSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Obamacare is really, I
think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.
SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: It`s time to rethink our dysfunctional
welfare system that holds poor families down.
ALLEN WEST (R), FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: We`re moving away to a
dependency society. You don`t believe that; look at all the street corners
that accept EBT cars.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We need to encourage work, not
dependence. But our people want jobs. They don`t want a safety net as a
way of life.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: This egregious system that will
be ultimately known as death care must be defeated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, are Republicans happy about this shutdown because
they`re so opposed to government programs?
CAMPBELL: That`s the only thing that makes any sense. I think they
want to use this as a moment to grandstand. But what they totally miss,
Reverend, is that in business week today, there was an article about
McDonald`s, the fast food program, that McDonald`s employees work at
minimum wage or low wages and they -- McDonald`s uses $7 billion of our
safety net program for their workers. Low wage workers are just that.
They`re workers. And this statement totally missed the fact about hard
working Americans trying to raise their families.
SHARPTON: I`m out of time, but I want to ask. You`ve been critical
of Congressman Paul Ryan in particular his budget cuts. And he`s very much
in the middle of things again writing op-eds about how to end the shutdown,
speaking out at the meetings at the White House. I mean, what do you make
of his involvement?
CAMPBELL: Well, I think he wants to find a deal, but I think he does
-- he`s got a mind for the numbers but he doesn`t have a mind for the
people. He doesn`t have a heart for the people. And that`s the piece that
he needs to open up to and if he has a heart for the people, he can use his
fine mind and find a solution that can get us out of this.
SHARPTON: He has a mind for the numbers, not a heart for the people.
Sister Simone Campbell, thank you very much for your time tonight.
CAMPBELL: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, more on that confederate flag outside the White
House. Why it shouldn`t be a surprise.
And affirmative action hits the Supreme Court. And Justice Antonin
Scalia is talking about, quote," the blacks." My response is coming.
SHARPTON: Who really runs the Republican Party? It`s the Republican
who said he wanted to, quote, "break Obama." Who is he? And how is he in
charge? The answer is surprising and it`s next.
SHARPTON: Continuing with our breaking news, just minutes ago Speaker
Boehner pulled back the Republicans` own bill. The bill that would have
ended the shutdown and avoided default. His spokesperson released this
statement at 4:35 today. The House will vote tonight to reopen the
government and avoid default. And less than an hour later, nothing. No
bill, no vote, nothing. So why the change?
Because the real boss spoke up. Remember him? Former Senator Jim
DeMint. He left the Senate back in January to pull strings behind the
curtain. Running the right wing Heritage Foundation, he is one of the
early leaders in the destroy ObamaCare movement. You know the guy who said
this about healthcare in 2009.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If we`re able to stop Obama
on this, it will be his waterloo. It will break him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It will break him. Three years later, and look what`s
happening? It`s breaking Boehner. Here`s the translation. John Boehner,
I`m your boss. You better hold the line on this or else.
Joining me now are Goldie Taylor and Ryan Grim. Thank you both for
coming on the show tonight.
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Pleasure.
SHARPTON: Ryan, incredible events unfolding. How scared of Jim
DeMint is Speaker Boehner that he pulls his own bill?
GRIM: I mean, he clearly must not have had the votes after Heritage
told people to vote no. And, you know, the way this works is that Heritage
Action which is the, you know, corporate/grassroots right wing organization
decides that certain votes are quote-unquote, "key votes."
GRIM: Which means that those are the ones they`re going to count when
it comes time for re-election. All the other votes are kind of freebies.
So, you know, as long as you vote the right way on the key votes, then
you`re OK as far as Heritage is concerned. So they said this afternoon
this is a key vote and we want you to vote no. And boom, everybody
apparently told the speaker`s office that they were going to vote no. The
reasoning is amazing. Heritage said that because this does not undo
ObamaCare, you have to vote no. In other words, the group that is
controlling the Tea Party at the eleventh hour is still insisting that
there can be no deal unless it undoes ObamaCare.
SHARPTON: But Ryan, you`ve been on the hill all day. Any sense that
this was coming, that this was going to transpire?
GRIM: You know, it`s been a roller coaster. In the morning there`s a
huge amount of pessimism. Then things started to pick up as it looked like
the House was going to put something together that they would send back to
the Senate and then there would be a little bit of fight over whether or
not, you know, this would be included. But then this just blew everything
up. People are shock at this point. You know, they thought, OK, we`ll
going to have this vote tonight, then the Senate will deal with whatever
they get from the House side and we`ll take it from there. Now it`s gone.
This means Boehner has tried everything possible which means he has two
options left. Either default or turn to the Democrats.
SHARPTON: Goldie, when he had announced as I just read at 4:35 the
spokesperson, they were going to have the vote. They were going to deal
with the shutdown, avoid the default. DeMint comes out with the Heritage
Action, says don`t vote. He backs down. Last week Jim DeMint wrote a
letter to President Obama on ObamaCare. He writes, we believe the law
should be fully repealed, but at minimum both sides should agree not to
fund the law for one year. A time-out that would halt the law`s most
harmful effects before they start. And it seems like he`s been able to
just call the shots here which is frightening given the position he has to
the far, far right.
TAYLOR: Well, one of the things that Jim DeMint knew was that being a
senator was much less powerful than leading the Heritage Foundation.
Certainly, Heritage Foundation, he is able to coalesce a critical mass of
votes, enough that it takes to stop legislation coming in and out of the
house. And clearly he shown himself to be that powerful today with Speaker
Boehner. But I`m not willing to let Speaker Boehner off the hook. He has
had the option for a very long time to put a clean cr on the floor of the
House and he has steadfastly refused.
And so, I don`t think it is just that Boehner is afraid of, you know,
the people at Heritage. I think he is beginning to line up with them along
with the other 30 or 40 Republicans who do so more regularly. And so I`m
not as willing to give Speaker Boehner the kind of discount that maybe some
of my colleagues are. In effect what Heritage has done is they`ve strapped
dynamite to the bridge on the way to reconciliation in opening up this
SHARPTON: Now, you know, Goldie says, Ryan, that is more powerful to
be head of the Heritage Foundation than a Senate. When you have protege in
the Senate like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Senator Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz, you
don`t have to be a senator. Your protege is doing the Senate work while
you can do the bullying and call the shots. But let me really, before you
respond to his proteges doing the work, let me underscore. He said he was
going to break President Obama. He has not broken President Obama yet at
all. He maybe has broken Boehner. The president has not at all blinked.
GRIM: Yes. That`s right. You know, the troops that lost waterloo,
they retreated, they went home. That was it. You know, he fought --
DeMint fought that battle. He thought it was going to be Obama`s waterloo.
It was his. But here it I guess, he wants to have another one. You know,
I don`t see what the end game is for DeMint or for the tea -- I mean, the
end game is fine for DeMint. You know, he`s now making a million dollars a
year at Heritage Action and incidentally he`s under a lobbying ban which
means he`s not supposed to be lobbying the United States Senate. You know,
he did a tour recently with Ted Cruz who is a senator. But you know,
whatever. That`s kind of a different matter, but I don`t understand what
the Tea Party`s end game is here. OK. You`re not going to defund
ObamaCare. You know, that`s not going to happen. So what exactly are you
trying to accomplish here?
SHARPTON: Well, you know, Goldie, before we get into the end game,
Ryan says that he`s toured with Ted Cruz. Listen to how Ted Cruz talks
about his mentor Mr. DeMint.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Kids all over the world wear superman
pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas. And let me tell you, Chuck
Norris wears Jim DeMint pajamas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So I mean, he holds him in high esteem.
TAYLOR: It seems that he does. I think that Jim DeMint probably
wears the clown pajamas, that`s what it really sounds like.
TAYLOR: I think, you know, at the end of the day, it comes down to
this, yes, he does have this minions of proteges as you were across the
U.S. Senate. He has a number of them in the House that he seems to control
the strings off. But he also has a very direct line to the very extreme
end of the GOP grassroots. And they are not backing down on the fight
against ObamaCare. They intend -- well, they hope to intend to either
impeach this president, delegitimatize him in some other way or kill this
law, and they will fight or die trying. And so, I think that is, you know,
where we sit. In firms terms of how we`re going to get this government re-
open in the face of that, it is going to take some very rational fair
minded Republicans if there are any left who will stand up and call this
for what it is. It is pure election chicanery and it has to stop now.
SHARPTON: Well, Ryan, here`s part of what the reasonable Republicans
are dealing with. The Heritage group has vowed to go after those that are
not far right enough. It announced a $550,000 defund ObamaCare ad
campaign. In 100 republican-controlled districts to pressure Republicans.
This is one of the things I think that is being considered by the so-called
reasonable Republicans. What`s the end game of doing that in these 100
Republican-controlled districts, Ryan?
GRIM: I mean, it`s a war for the sole of the Republican Party. And
they want to annihilate any vestige of moderation or even, you know, old
school conservatism. You know, there`s a much more kind of radical
activist conservatism that`s on display here. And that`s what they`re
trying to accomplish. You know, the thing is -- you know, you can debate
about how much damage will be done by defaulting. There`s no question that
a significant amount will be done. So, that means that these folks are OK
GRIM: So you have to ask why is it that they`re OK with that? And I
think some of it is they hate this president so much and they`re so
convinced that this country is headed in some socialist communist direction
that they really do have to destroy it and hurt it. And sort of sharpen
the contradictions in kind of almost Marxist kind of way so that they can
kind of hasten their version of some radical right wing revolution. It`s a
very strange spot for them.
SHARPTON: Well, that`s a great segue into my next block here because
that`s exactly where I`m going. The hatred of this president.
Ryan Grim and Goldie Taylor, thank you both for your time this
evening. And don`t forget, DeMint has not broken this president. We`ll be
SHARPTON: This weekend we saw a very disturbing image at the White
House. A protester waving the confederate flag. In front of the home of
the nation`s first black president. It was a grim reminder of a shameful
period in our history. But it wasn`t surprising. Because this kind of
display is what Republicans get from their so-called southern strategy.
A plan to win elections using racially charged and racially coded rhetoric.
When President Johnson signed the civil rights act of 1964, he said,
quote, "We`ve lost the South for a generation." It didn`t take long for
Republicans to exploit that idea. Notorious GOP strategist Lee Atwater
laid it out. How Republicans could exploit racial views without being
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE ATWATER, REPUBLICAN SOUTHERN STRATEGY: You start out in 1954 by
saying (bleep), by 1968 you can`t say (bleep). That hurts you, backfires.
So you stay stuff like forced bussing, states rights and stuff like that.
All that stuff you`re talking about are totally economic things and blacks
get had hurt worse than whites.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The Southern Strategy was born. Republicans began using
those not so coded messages to their advantage. Running shameful political
ads specifically targeting those views.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: His revolving door prison policy gave weekend furloughs to
first degree murderers not eligible for parole. One was Willie Horton who
murdered a boy in a robbery stabbing him 19 times. You needed that job.
And you were best qualified, but they had to give it to a minority because
of the racial quota. For racial quotas Harvey Gantt, against racial
quotas, Jesse Helms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This sort of resentment has been stoked by the right.
We`ve heard for decades of talk about welfare queens, makers versus takers,
and states` rights. It`s that resentment that has led Republicans to
question the President`s citizenship, to reject his healthcare law, to try
and gut the safety net. And it inspired the ugliness we saw this weekend
in front of the White House. The southern strategy is a losing strategy
for the GOP. And it`s time for Republican leaders to reject it.
Joining me now is Jimmy Williams and Joe Madison. Thank you both for
JIMMY WILLIAMS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you.
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM PATRIOT HOST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Jimmy, it seems that the frustration and the hatred towards
this president was on disturbing display. A confederate flag rally.
What`s your take?
WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I`m from the South. I`m from South Carolina.
And I got to be honest with you, that is one of the most offensive things
I`ve seen in my life. That guy, first of all, that guy in my opinion is
trailer trash. I don`t know where he`s from, but he needs to go back and
stay there. He can fly his flag at his house. I don`t care where he
lives. That`s fine. But to take that flag and fly it in front of the
White House that has in it the first African-American president of this
country is patently offensive.
It is blatantly and overtly racist and it has zero to do with Southern
Heritage and Southern Pride. I have ancestors that fought in that war, the
civil war. They died for their cause. Guess what, they lost. I`m over
it. The south needs to get over it. And that to me is one of the most
awful things I`ve seen in the five-and-a-half year of Barack Obama`s
SHARPTON: But Jimmy, let me ask you. There were Republican electeds
there. There were Republican leaders elected there. Have you heard any of
them denounce that flag?
WILLIAMS: Oh, no, no, no. In fact, in their minds if you just don`t
address it, then it doesn`t exist. The racism doesn`t exist. You
mentioned this issue of what Atwater did on the Southern Strategy with key
words. Forced bussing, states` rights. You know, this whole theory of
states` rights, that is nothing more than when you hear conservatives say
things like big powerful federal government. We`d rather have the power
back in the states. Really? I suppose they then probably just bristled
the idea of the 1964 civil rights act which you mentioned which by the way
said, you can`t tell black people they can`t come into your store. You
can`t say they can`t stay at your hotel. Because by the way, those were
SHARPTON: Joe, we`re back to states` rights with voter situations,
they want it with immigration. States rights is states` rights and it`s
always been antithetical to civil rights.
MADISON: You know, what`s ironic, today is the date that the United
States Supreme Court I believe in 1888 or 1877 in essence overturned the
1875 civil rights law. And said -- it actually nullified the 14th
amendment saying just what you said. That an individual does not -- the
federal government does not have a right to tell an individual that they
can`t discriminate against someone.
MADISON: And that`s on this date. The reality is this. Not only did
that flag this weekend, but Joe the Plumber --
MADISON: Joe Plumber issued a statement on his blog saying that what
really is America is that the Republican needs a white candidate. Now,
here you say that Republican leadership. But here`s what I --
SHARPTON: Say we need a white Republican president. He printed an
MADISON: And it was written by an African-American Tea Party.
SHARPTON: An African-American Tea Party --
MADISON: Now, if I were Mr. 9-9-9 or I were a black Republican, I
would be mad as hell right now. They are the ones that also should be
holding their party accountable in saying all of a sudden, the Republicans
are these, the Republicans are that. How dare he say that and then you
don`t even have Blacks say anything about it?
SHARPTON: Jimmy, when you go back to what you said, you`re from South
Carolina. When you go back to Lee Atwater, where the strategy was play
race, don`t make it explicit, but that`s what you`re doing. Is that what
we are seeing in the venom that has been directed at President Obama? A
21st century Southern Strategy. We`re talking about a president who`s been
questioned in terms of his citizenship, his birth has been called
everything. Is this part of the Southern Strategy to play to some base
race instincts in parts of this country?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think it`s a modern day Southern Strategy. But I
don`t think it`s just a Southern Strategy. I mean, I think you and Joe
would both agree, racists aren`t confined just to the south. There are
plenty of racist all over this country. Don`t forget the bussing riots in
Boston, for God sakes. But yes, it is a modern day sort of extension of
that. Listen, you can smell it. Remember Potter Stewart (ph) said, I`ll
know pornography when I see it. You know when you see racism because
people do things like they question your integrity, your morality, your
religion, your birth.
They question it as if you don`t belong here. As if the president of
the United States doesn`t actually belong here. You heard Larry Klayman
what he said to that same group of people.
WILLIAMS: What he said was he wanted the president who worships to
the foot of Allah to get up off his knees and walk out with the White House
with his hands up as if he`s some sort of common petty criminal. Now, he
doesn`t have to call Barack Obama the "n" word. He doesn`t need to.
SHARPTON: That`s right. That`s right.
WILLIAMS: It`s just as overt as anything I`ve ever seen.
MADISON: Now, this is abstract language and we know it. But let me
go back to your right. Remember Malcolm X said if you live south of the
Canadian border, you live in the South.
MADISON: But the reality is this.
But the reality is this. I`m going to tell you what the next step is
going to be. They`re going to lose on this ObamaCare. They`re going to
lose on the default. The next step -- and I made a point this morning --
the next step is going to be articles of impeachment. That`s going to be
the next step that they`re going to use.
SHARPTON: Well, they`re already beginning the rhetoric of
impeachment, but I just think it is interesting that we`ve seen Atwaterism
MADISON: And Atwater apologized on his death bed to Ron Brown for
making that statement.
SHARPTON: Yes, he did.
WILLIAMS: Here`s where they`re going to try the impeach this thing.
If they in fact we do the default, if Boehner can`t get these votes out of
the House. And we actually begin not paying our bills in defaulting, if
the president uses, the 14th amendment to start paying the bills, I
guarantee you articles of impeachment will be introduced in the House by
these crazy right wingers and they will move forward on that.
SHARPTON: Well, we will be following this closely. Jimmy Williams,
Joe Madison, thank you both for your time tonight.
MADISON: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, Supreme Court Justice Scalia talked to the
blacks. You heard that right. The blacks. His jaw-dropping comment today
on affirmative action is up next.
SHARPTON: Today at the Supreme Court, the justices heard arguments
about affirmative action. A critical case that could affect diversity and
education across the country. But it was Associate Justice Antonin Scalia
who said something that really shocked a lot of people. He said quote,
we`ve held that the 14th amendment protects all races. I mean, that was
the argument in the early years, that it protected only the blacks. But I
thought we rejected that. The blacks? Talking about the blacks? Is this
the kind of tone deaf language we should be hearing at the nation`s highest
court in the year of 2013? We`ve come to expect it from Justice Scalia.
He`s the one who called voting a quote, racial entitlement in arguments on
the voting rights act earlier this year. We`ll keep watching him and this
important case. And the court -- as the court`s term continues.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, political courage. It takes discipline,
sacrifice, and hard work. The higher the price, the bigger the return.
Speaker Boehner has a lot of work ahead of him. He`s too worried about the
price of standing up to the Tea Party. In my new book "The Rejected
Stone," I write about the price you need to pay to become great. If you`d
like to read an excerpt, please go to our Facebook page.
Facebook.com/POLITICSNATION and find details about the book.
My next book signing is in Baltimore tonight. I hope to see you at
empowerment temple in Baltimore at 7:30 p.m. Remember, it takes skill to
be good, but it takes sacrifice and discipline to be great. Everybody
that`s a good politician does not become recorded in history as great
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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