UP with STEVE KORNACKI
November 3, 2013
Guest: Evan McMorris-Santoro, Elahe Izadi, Lynn Sweet, Perry Bacon Jr.,
Tim Kaine, Bill Whalen, Joy Reid, Rebecca Abou-Chedid, Michael Hanna
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Unprecedented obstruction over judicial
nominees. It`s too bad "Schoolhouse Rock" never tackled this.
At the start of this Sunday morning, there is some news that happened
overnight that we can report to you. New York Senator Chuck Schumer was
the keynote speaker at last night`s annual fundraising dinner for the Iowa
Democratic Party. It`s the first in the nation caucus state of Iowa.
Schumer used the venue to make news not about his own presidential
ambition, but about those of someone else.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D) NEW YORK: This candidate is perfectly suited to
succeed in the Iowa caucuses. So let`s all stick together and make sure
that Ted Cruz is the Republican candidate in 2016!
SCHUMER: Now, with Ted Cruz at the top of the ticket, fooled you, didn`t
I? We`ll be certain that the keys to the White House will stay in
Democratic hands. I am urging Hillary Clinton to run for president!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
SCHUMER: And when she does, she will have my full and unwavering support.
Run, Hillary, run. If you run, you`ll win and we`ll all win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Chuck Schumer is always full of surprises. Well, Schumer`s
endorsement of his former New York City colleague is front page news in New
York City this morning. The calendar might say November 3rd, 2013, but
this is another reminder of the invisible primary phase of the 2016 race, a
phase when key party leaders, donors and an opinion shapers start making up
their minds is well under way. We`ll have much more on that in the months
But, first, if you think the three years since President Obama signed the
Affordable Care Act into law have been turbulent, period marked by
relentless and unanimous resistance from the opposition to establish law,
consider this. President Franklin Roosevelt rolled out the series of
programs he designed to combat the Great Depression, programs to build
things, to grow things, to establish the union rights and retirement
programs for some federal workers. When FDR established the New Deal, he,
too, was met with fierce opposition. Not just from members of the other
party, but from the courts. During Roosevelt`s first term as president,
the Supreme Court declared parts of his New Deal program unconstitutional.
Naturally, that did not sit well with FDR. So, he sent Congress a bill
that would give the president the authority to appoint one new Supreme
Court justice for every sitting justice over the age of 70. And since
there were six justices over 70 years old back then, that would mean six
new justices. Presumably all of them Democrats. FDR had lost the New Deal
rulings six to three, but on a 15-member court with six new Democrats, six
new FDR appointees, he probably would have won those rulings, nine to six,
just like he would probably then have won every ruling going forward. Of
course, FDR didn`t come out and say that this was all a plot to gain
permanent control over the court. He claimed the justices were overworked.
He said they were too tired to get all their work done. Never mind that
the court`s docket was empty. It was a flimsy argument that FDR was making
and one that made it easy to accuse him of packing the court.
That`s what people called it back then, court packing. And FDR didn`t get
away with his court packing scheme. The provision was stripped from the
final bill, but it did leave us with that term, court packing. A term
whose meaning has stood pretty much undisturbed across the decades. Until
now. The D.C. Court of Appeals is probably the most important federal
court below the Supreme Court. There are 11 other regional circuit courts,
but this is the one that hears the challenges to all of the D.C. stuff, to
all the controversial parts of laws that come out of Congress, that come
out of D.C.
The D.C. Court of Appeals has 11 judgeships, right now three of them are
empty. Of the eight seats that are filled, they are split evenly, among
judges appointed by Republicans and judges appointed by Democrats. It is
four to four. President Obama has tried, and is trying to get those three
empty seats in the D.C. Appeals Court filled. And this week, the Senate
Judiciary Committee voted on a straight party line vote to move the
nomination of Robert Wilkins out of committee and to the full Senate.
That`s where the two other nominees already are. They are waiting for up
or down votes on their nominations.
Now, on Tuesday, Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to get the first of those
three nominees that up or down vote. He called a vote to end debate on the
nomination of Patricia Millett and Democrats needed at least 60 votes to
break the filibuster, but then they fell short. The final vote was just 55
to 38. That means that only two Republicans voted to end the filibuster
and to advance her nomination.
Now, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it`s Pat Leahy of
Vermont, he warned that the rejection of Millett could force Democrats to
use the so-called nuclear option. To change the rules of the Senate so
that a nominee like Millett would only need 51 votes. Simple majority to
be confirmed. Republicans like Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch, meanwhile,
are hauling out that old new deal era charge, and they are accusing
President Obama of court packing. They want to keep the current eight
seats evenly divided at four to four forever, but at least until a
Republican is president again. This is not at all what court-packing looks
like. FDR was trying to expand the Supreme Court by adding six brand-new
seats. The President Obama is merely trying to fill the vacancies that
already exist, on a court that is having a huge impact on his agenda. On
Friday, the D.C. circuit court struck down the birth control mandate in the
Affordable Care Act in Obamacare. It ruled that even though birth control
is considered basic preventive care, that even if employers are not
purchasing the contraception directly, asking them to provide such care is
a violation of the employer`s religious freedom.
This is a real time demonstration of why Democrats really want to see new
judges on this bench. Why they`re so eager to fill the existing seats.
And it is also a demonstration of why Republicans don`t. Anyone who
watched "Schoolhouse Rock" as a kid knows there are three branches of the
U.S. Government, the executive, the legislative, the judicial. It turns
out that right now the executive and legislative branches are waged in a
battle to do all they can to tip the scales of justice.
Well, to talk about this, I want to bring in Lynn Sweet, she is the
Washington Bureau Chief for "The Chicago Sun - Times," MSNBC contributor
Perry Bacon Jr., he`s also the politics editor at the thegrio.com. Evan
McMorris-Santoro, he`s White House correspondent with buzzfeed.com and
Elahe Izadi, she is national political reporter for "National Journal."
So, I guess I want to start with this, the idea of court packing. Because
we`re hearing it over and over again from Republicans, you have Chuck
Grassley`s actually introduced legislation that would permanently shrink
the size of the D.C. Circuit that would just do away with these three open
seats. It is just amazing to me hearing that rhetoric and knowing the
story of FDR, knowing the origins of the term court packing. I`m baffled
at face value when I hear that, how anybody could look at trying to fill
three vacancies and say this is court packing. Is there an argument here
that I`m missing?
PERRY BACON JR. MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You`re not.
BACON: To put it bluntly, you are not. I mean - this rhetoric has been
used in the past. I looked it up the other day. Harry Reid actually
accused in 2003 said Ronald Reagan and George Bush had packed this very
same court full of conservatives. This rhetoric has been used in the past.
People know it is kind of incendiary and they get it and that`s why they`re
using it. That said, this is totally different, of course, because we`re
talking about three appointments. Obama is not trying to increase the size
of the court. He`s trying to fill appointments that are already --
vacancies that already existed. That`s it. This is a purely political
argument on both sides where the president knows the more Democrats on this
court, the more likely not only about the health care law, but also he
wants to change environmental law and that will ultimately come down to --
he wants to use the regulatory powers to change environmental law in the
country, that will ultimately be decided whether those things are
appropriate through this court. This court is very powerful, it`s where
John Roberts said. So, this is a really important debate and I understand
why both parties are pressing their arguments to the nth degree.
KORNACKI: Right. This is traditionally, this circuit court is the feeder
system to the Supreme Court, traditionally. So I think a lot of senators
look at this -- parties look at this and say, well, if anybody is getting
nominated to this now, five, ten years from now, that could be a Supreme
LYNN SWEET, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": Right. And one of the justices, and now
Merrick Garland has been on the short list, but you know what? If there is
a Democratic president, they`re going to find a Democratic nominee to the
court, Steve, as a Republican president will. It is not - it`s a big
country. OK, that they happen to go to the appellate court is almost
beside the point. I just so agree with Perry. The point is we have
vacancies, the number of seats in all these appellate courts throughout the
country are set by the Senate. They are not messing around with the other
circuits, they are focusing on this one. With what seems to be a flimsy
pretext of case load, which we know fluctuates all the time.
KORNACKI: Well, let`s play -- this is John Cornyn who is on the Senate
floor, when was this? This was last Thursday, and he was making the court
packing charge, and laying out the Republican cases. I`ll give you a taste
of it. This was John Cornyn this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R ) TEXAS: If our friends across the aisle continue to
move ahead with their court packing gambit, they will make this chamber
even more polarized than it already is. I only hope they choose a
different course. If this is why we`re committed on this side of the aisle
to stopping these nominations to these unneeded judges, and these courts,
in this court, and making sure that judges are placed where they are
needed, so they can engage in the fair and efficient administration of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And the other thing that is striking here, though, is, you know,
we can think back eight years to 2005 when George W. Bush was president and
there were a number of nominees to this court that Democrats were objecting
to, very conservative nominees and there was a big stand still there.
There is ultimately a compromise and those judges were confirmed. Do we
expect that it is going to end up where there ultimately be a compromise
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, BUZZFEED.COM: Well, that`s the issue, I think that
for the Republican Party, right? Coming off the shutdown that we just had,
the whole government shutdown issue, the Republican Party took a lot of
hits for being obstructionist and unreasonable, and I think that the White
House and Democrats can portray this as another round of that. It will be
tough for the Republicans. But, you know, the Republicans on their hand,
they think this is a -- this is where you draw the ideological lines.
These fights for these judges are where like a lot of the social battles
happen, as you`re talking about with the birth control, things like that.
And you get these judges in there, that`s where you`re going to do the
actual sort of social conservatism that you want to do is on the judge
level. So, they try to put those guys in there. That`s where they really
feel like these fights are happening. So, the battle really is between
whether or not they can portray this -- Democrats can portray this as an
obstructionist fight by the Republicans or if Republicans can portray it as
standing their ground and shoring their base back up.
KORNACKI: And Elahe, I mean Republicans have, just by maintaining the
status quo, the lower they can do - we got some examples of it this week
with some of the rulings coming out of that court. This week, this is --
we talk about who has the White House, who has the Congress. But by having
the sort of balance of power right now that exists on the federal court
system - that gets Republicans a lot of what they want. They can`t get it
legislatively, but they can get it through the courts.
ELAHE IZADI, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Yeah, and that`s the charge that this is
why this battle is being waged on this ground because they only hold the
house right now. And if they`re able to maintain the balance right now in
the court at four and four, then they`re able to ensure that what they can
achieve legislatively, they can at least protect or achieve through the
courts. And the court packing argument, the reverse argument is that by
preventing Obama to appoint three additional judges on that court is almost
like reverse court packing, that you`re preventing, putting additional
judges on there and that`s the reverse political argument.
SWEET: What is happening, though, the White House, you know, when you`re
looking at the roll call for the Millett, it is 55 yes party line, 38 no,
as you said. There is an internal campaign very quiet going on looking for
those five more votes to do it. Some Republicans are getting pressure from
influential Republicans within their states to see if they could get it.
So in this quest .
KORNACKI: Who are some the Republicans there?
SWEET: Well, I think one of the likely targets, of course, is from
Illinois, the home -- where I cover. A former U.S. attorney appointed by
Republican Patrick Fitzgerald has written a letter and the letter looks
just all proper, she is very qualified, and the letter was written to
Senator Durbin and to Senator Kirk. But the target here is the Republican.
SWEET: So those are examples of what the White House is also trying to do
behind the scenes, to, you know, you leave no stone unturned in this.
Because it is essentially a political argument, packing, not packing.
Whatever you want to call it. They also are trying to see if they could
find these five votes.
KORNACKI: Well, yeah, Senate Democrats could end up looking at the nuclear
option, we`ve heard about this before, we`re hearing about it again. And
we`re going to talk with a senator, Democratic senator about that right
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PAT LEAHY (D) VERMONT: If the Republican caucus finds that despite
her amazing stellar legal reputation and commitment to our country that
somehow a filibuster is warranted, I believe this body is going to have to
consider anew whether rules change should be in order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Senator Pat Leahy Thursday. This week, filibusters by
Senate Republicans against President Obama`s nominees could provoke
Democrats to again threaten to change the rules of the chamber. Joining us
now from Richmond, we have Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat from
Virginia, who in the last few days called the Republican blocking of
Patricia Millett an abuse of the filibuster. Senator, thanks for joining
us this morning. So, we have what you - how you have characterized what is
happening in the last few days and we have this threat that Pat Leahy just
sort of, you know, laid on the floor there about changing the rules. Is
that something that you as a senator would support right now? Would you
support in the face of what is happening changing the rules of the
filibuster in the Senate?
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Steve, I would, and let me tell you why.
You got my historian wheels turning by talking about court packing and FDR.
This is really even bigger than that. You know, there is a discredited
legal theory called nullification that goes back into the 1800s. If there
is a law that`s on the books, and you can`t change it legislatively, and
you can`t change it by winning at the ballot box, and you can`t even get
the courts to rule your way, then Congress or states have taken steps to
try to nullify laws and that happened with respect to slave-related laws in
the 1830s, that happened with respect to integration in the 1950s and `60s.
What we`re seeing now in Congress is basically a set of nullification
behaviors. If we don`t like Obamacare, but we can`t beat it legislatively,
let`s defund it. Let`s actually shut down the entire federal government
because we don`t like it. And another nullification strategy is what I
call the decapitation strategy. We don`t like an agency or program or we
don`t like the fact that law says there should be 11 D.C. circuit judges,
so what we do is we just don`t approve an agency head. Mel Watt got turned
down for the Federal Housing Authority the same day as Patty Millett got
They tried to block the NLRB from having a quorum because they didn`t like
the agency. That unlike the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, so,
for years they wouldn`t confirm an agency head. This is all nullification
behavior. The nullification of existing laws is a very serious threat to
our democracy, and so I think we can`t let an abusive Senate procedural
rules basically nullify the law that says they`re supposed to be 11 D.C.
circuit judges or they`re supposed to be a federal housing authority with a
head. Pattie Millett, as you pointed out, extremely well qualified, served
in the Solicitor General`s offices of both Democratic and Republican
administrations, bipartisan support, military spouse, she`s done everything
while raising her kids and her great professional career while her husband
was in the military, deployed to Iraq, at least on one occasion, and yet
they`re blocking her to try to nullify the law that says the D.C. Circuit
has 11 judges. Very troubling.
KORNACKI: OK, sir, so I take that point and I hear that from a lot of
Democrats. But we have been down this road before, very recently, just a
few months ago.
KORNACKI: And every time we go down this road, I hear a number of senators
like you, right now, it is Democrats who are upset about this, saying what
you`re saying right now, and that we also end up hearing that there is
almost, like, a generational split in the Senate, where the more veteran
long serving senators, they have been around, when Republicans have
controlled the chamber, they value the filibuster, they don`t want to
change the rules. So, if you guys are going to change the rules, you need
sort of unanimous Democratic support, a close to unanimous Democratic
support to do this. Do you think that exists right now or somebody, so to
speak, old bulls going to sort of stand in the way?
KAINE: Well, Steve, you know, what we have seen from the beginning, I`m
ten months in the Senate now, is there is a lot of resistance to making
these changes, especially from folks who have been in the Senate for a long
time. Democrats and Republicans. But with each new sort of outrageous use
of the filibuster to block good candidates, what you see on the Democratic
side is more and more people saying, you know what, we really have to
consider this. Because, again, if the rules are being abused, in a way
that is basically an attempt to nullify existing law, then those rules,
which are not in the constitution, they`re purely a matter that the Senate
can decide what the Senate rules are, you`ve got to make changes to not
allow laws to be nullified. You know, and another factor about Millett
that I think is important to just put on the table, again, I`ve only been
there ten months, but here`s what I notice about the D.C. Circuit, the
second highest court in the land. I came in and Caitlin Halligan, a woman,
a colleague advocate, very talented, was on the floor for consideration and
she was filibustered and blocked and one of the reasons asserted was the
court didn`t have enough of a work load. Within a few months, Sri
Srinivasan, a spectacular appellate lawyer from Virginia, I introduced him
at the judiciary committee, he got approved by the Senate 93 to nothing, no
mention of the work load issues. Now Patty Millett is on the floor.
Wonderful appellate advocate. Suddenly the work load issues get brought
back again. Well, we can`t approve her because the court doesn`t have
sufficient work load.
Is there a double standard for putting women on this court? Remember, that
Republican senators more than 75 percent of them voted against both Sonia
Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to go on to the Supreme Court and now they`re
using kind of a pre-textual argument to block Caitlin Halligan, to block
Pattie Millett that was nowhere to be found when we approved Sri Srinivasan
just a few months ago. And so, I have a little bit of a concern that there
is also a double standard with respect to women candidates on this second
highest court in the land.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Hi, senator. This is Evan McMorris-Santoro from
Buzzfeed. You actually said right what was my question was going to be - I
saw that in your statement about women nominees. Are you really saying
that Republicans do not want women on the bench?
KAINE: You know, again, I`ve only been here ten months, but I`m just
really struck in ten months we had three D.C. Circuit appointments. In
other courts that are thought to be lower courts, we have in a bipartisan
way approved women candidates. But at the Supreme Court, Sotomayor and
Kagan, more than 75 percent of Republicans voted against both of them, and
then on this court, just in ten months we had a woman candidate up, Caitlin
Halligan, well, the work load is not sufficient, we`re going to have to
block her. Shri Srinivasan, male candidate, comes up, nobody raises the
question about work load, we pass him 93 to nothing. Pattie Millett comes
up, we block her and the Republicans insist it is because of work load
These are three individuals who are very able appellate advocates. It is
hard to distinguish between them. None of them were sitting judges. So,
they all had records as great appellate advocates, but the work load
pretext was only raised with respect to the two women candidates, it wasn`t
raised with respect to Shri Shrinivasan. That, you know, look, I practiced
civil rights law for 17 years, I did a lot of cases in the employment area.
When you see an argument being used to treat somebody badly and that same
argument isn`t applied evenly to others, you got to ask a question.
KORNACKI: All right, and Lynn?
SWEET: Senator, it`s Lynn Sweet from "The Sun Times." Two quick
questions. No one really thinks that the nuclear option would be used,
that`s the rule to change the rules, so a simple majority can confirm.
SWEET: Do you think so, and then hold that thought for a moment. You
know, President Obama is stumping in Virginia today, there`s the big
governor vote coming up, who is going to win and what is the impact of
Obama being out there?
KAINE: Well, let me take them in reverse. I think we have an excellent
chance in Tuesday in winning not only the governor`s race, but also the
attorney general and lieutenant governor`s races in Virginia. Virginia now
with Ohio and Florida thought to be one of the three critical battleground
states, kind of right dead center, but in recent years we have been going
for Democrats in presidential elections. And I think we`re going to have
success on Tuesday if we do what we know how to do, turn out voters. The
president coming to Arlington for the ticket today will really help with
voter turnout. We feel good about what we see. I think the election, if
it works out the way I suspect it will, it is going to be a repudiation of
the sort of no compromise Tea Party strand of the Republican Party. There
is Republicans who aren`t in that mode, but in Virginia, and in many places
now, it is the no compromise Tea Party wing that is taking control. And I
think that brand of government, which Virginians saw and experienced with
the shutdown is going to get rejected on Tuesday.
And then with - back to the, you know, what rule reforms, look, I`m not an
expert on the Senate rules and they`re complicated. Would we do a complete
elimination of the filibuster? Probably not. The filibuster has had a
venerable part of the tradition of the Senate. But the problem is the
filibuster was reserved originally for only the most extreme issues when
people would take the floor and stand on their feet to try to convince the
nation and their colleagues that the Senate was about to go the wrong
direction. It is being overused in dramatic ways, and it has become part
of this nullification strategy. If we can`t get rid of a law we don`t
like, we`re going to use the filibuster to defund, to decapitate, or we`ll
even use procedures to shut down the entire government of the United
States. We can`t let Senate rules be used as a mechanism for what I call
KORNACKI: All right, I want to thank Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, for
taking a few minutes and joining us this morning. I appreciate it.
KORNACKI: And we will pick this right up after this.
KORNACKI: All right. Talking about the filibuster, about the nuclear
option threat. Perry, I know you had something you wanted to say.
BACON: We didn`t talk about this much, but the more shocking thing was Mel
Watt was filibustered - it`s very unusual for a member of Congress.
BACON: You know, this is very new, like Congress usually respects their
own members more than anything else. Like John Kerry sailed through as
Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton did before that. Chuck Hagel, the
Defense Department, got through eventually too. That was even more
surprising to me in some way and shows me how the Democrats fought over
executive nominees earlier in the year, but it really haven`t won and the
Republicans are still sort of pushing that argument and saying we dare you
to change the rules and Democrats so far, reluctant to do so. I`ll be
curious if Mel Watt ever gets appointed to this job.
KORNACKI: It`s hard to believe that the corm is breaking down in the U.S.
IZADI: Yeah. And in that position, you are effective are the regulator
for Fannie and Freddie Mac. So -- or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And
there is a question of whether Republicans are going to allow any
Democratic appointee to fill that role, because they like the acting
director now. There is a number of bills that have been proposed to reform
how those -- how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are regulated and to abolish
them altogether. So, I`m curious as to whether anyone will really be
SWEET: Another - they have been blocking filling this, so I don`t think in
this case the usual Congressional courtesy rule is - prevails.
SWEET: Because Republicans, especially with so much action going on, this
is a highly -- this role is so important because they write regulations
dealing with the home mortgages. So I think you could even appoint anyone,
but a member of Republican senator and it is not going to happen.
KORNACKI: And the other -- we didn`t get into this too much, look, let`s
say they did the nuclear option right now and Obama could start getting his
nominees through with simple majority votes, the issue is still that the
Republicans have basically decided in all of these to be unanimously
opposed. And if you get the nuclear option and you, the Democrats still
have 51 votes, it is OK, you can get them through. But what happens if you
have a Democratic president and a Republican Senate and the same -- then
you can`t get anybody confirmed no matter what. That`s the big
catastrophe, I think, we`re headed towards. That might be a few years down
the road. Anyway, America`s biggest state gave us Nixon, it gave us
Reagan, it gave us the first genuine conservative uprising, but the
California GOP is now gasping for life. Is this what the future of
American politics looks like? That`s next.
KORNACKI: We have a shocking upset in yesterday`s "Special Legends
Division" edition of "Up Against the Clock" with five time "Jeopardy"
champion, Rush Holt, the only member of Congress to take on the
supercomputer Watson and win. Falling short against former Congressman Tom
Davis. But here is a question that stumped all of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: 200 point question. "We`re going to be on permanent defense for
the foreseeable future." Is the bleak assessment of a Republican
strategist writing in a memo revealed this week about his party`s prospects
in what major state? Time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I bet Watson wouldn`t have known that either, but the answer to
that question was California, the Golden State. Where that lead to
Republican memo made big news this week as Republican Party in America`s
biggest state just dying off. That is up next.
KORNACKI: You may not have heard the name Pete Wilson in a while, but he
was a big deal in American politics for a while. The biggest Republican
name in the biggest state in America. The U.S. Senator from California,
then the governor of California, even a candidate for president in 1996.
But in 1994, Wilson`s career was in grave peril. He was running for re-
election as governor and he was the underdog. And then he embraced this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Governor Pete Wilson sent the National Guard to help the border
patrol. But that`s not all.
GOV. PETE WILSON (R ) CALIFORNIA: For Californians who work hard, pay
taxes and obey the laws, I`m suing to force the federal government to
control the border. And I`m working to deny state services to illegal
immigrants. Enough is enough.
ANNOUNCER: Governor Pete Wilson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Hardline immigration rhetoric. It is, of course, standard fare
in Republican primaries today. As anyone who remembers Mitt Romney`s self-
deportation line can attest, but in 1994, this was something kind of new.
In a way Wilson and his fellow California Republicans pioneered its modern
use. 1994 was the year they put proposition 187 on the ballot, which
sought to ban illegal immigrants and their children from receiving state
services including health care and public education. And it was political
gold, proposition 187 passed, and Pete Wilson came from behind to win by
double digits. It was also, for Wilson and California Republicans, the
beginning of the end.
As California was a changing state, in the midst of a demographic overhaul.
California of 1994 was barely one quarter Latino, today that number is
around 40 percent, back than fewer than ten percent of the state was Asian-
American. Today it is nearly 15 percent. 27 percent of the state`s
residents are foreign born. California is now one of the only states in
America where whites do not make up a majority of the population. And for
that rising population, that new California majority, that was their
introduction to the Republican Party.
Because the template that California Republicans created in 1994 was so
successful, it was adopted by Republicans everywhere. And so, the message
that that new California majority received in 1994 has been continually
reinforced by Republicans across the country for the two decades since.
And that wasn`t the only consequence of 1994 for California Republicans.
Because 1994 was also the year of the national GOP revolution. Newt
Gingrich and new house majority, the contract with America, you remember
it, it was a defining event for suburban swing voters across the country.
And especially in California. Swing voters who had been fine with voting
Republican, who liked the party`s economic platform, but who were also more
moderate and liberal on cultural issues. What those voters saw in the rise
of Gingrich and the GOP Congress was a new different Republican Party, a
far more conservative, Southern and religious infused Republican Party. A
party they weren`t comfortable with anymore. Put all of that together and
a generation later, America`s biggest state, which is once a Republican
friendly swing state, it was the state that gave rise to Richard Nixon and
Ronald Reagan, it`s the home of Orange County, where the original
conservative suburban uprising began, that state has been transformed into
a top to bottom Democratic bastion.
It voted for President Obama by 24 points in 2008, 23 points last year,
every state wide office is controlled by Democrats. And last year
Democrats even gained a veto proof two-thirds majority in the state
legislature. This is why one California Republican strategist in a memo
that leaked out this week offered this assessment to his clients. He said,
"Over the last two decades, California`s working class has slowly migrated
out of the state, Latinos and women voters are completely disenfranchised
with the Republican Party. There are only a few pockets of conservative
voters left in the state and they are only able to help carry the day for
Republicans in ultralow turnout elections."
We`re forever hearing that California is the future of America, so is this
a glimpse of the future of American politics? Here to help answer that, we
have buzzfeed`s Evan McMorris-Santoro, he is still with us. MSNBC
contributor Joy Reid, managing editor of Grio.com. Lynn Sweet with the
"Chicago Sun-Times," and Bill Whalen, he`s a California Republican media
consultant whose clients have included former Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. He was also
head speechwriter for Governor Pete Wilson in the 1990s. And he`s now
research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
And Bill, thanks for joining us. I guess I`ll just start with you, our
resident California expert, California Republican on the panel, when you
look at where your party in California is now, and where it was, where we
started this about 20 years ago, when Pete Wilson was governor what has
BILL WHALEN, HOOVER INSTITUTION: The Hispanic problem is part of the
problem, no doubt about it. But it is a threefold problem for Republicans
and it is a cautionary tale as Republicans go nationally. You`re having an
election on Tuesday in Virginia, in which the Democrats are expected not
just to win the governorship, but sweep pretty much up and down the ticket
with maybe one office, I believe, the exception. Why are they doing this
in Virginia? Because they have tapped into three blocks that Republicans
had problems with. Hispanic voters, women voters and millennial voters.
If you look at Republicans in California right now, it is the same exact
formula. This is how Barack Obama was elected in 2012, it`s how Terry
McAuliffe should be - will probably be elected on Tuesday and it`s what put
the Republicans in a hole in California as well.
The Hispanic problem is - yes, a serious problem for California,
Republicans. The women`s vote is just as crucial. 53 percent of the
national vote being women. Pete Wilson was a prochoice Republican in 1994,
conservatives didn`t care about it, but in the bigger picture, they
accepted his other viewpoints, took him along as a candidate. 1998, we ran
a very pro-life candidate Dan Lungren who made abortion the centerpiece of
his campaign and guess what, he lost by 20 points, a million women walked
away from the Republican Party. We got some of them back with Arnold
Schwarzenegger. I think he got a majority of the women`s vote when he ran
for re-election in 2006. But they`ve walked away. Hispanics have walked
away. And the Millennials. And what you`re seeing here, especially with
Hispanics and Millennials being the fastest growing segment in the
population, the question is what happens to the future of the Republican
Party and it is pretty simple. It`s Darwinism, adapt or die.
SWEET: And we have seen that in the House. In one of the broader House
immigration bills, two Republican House members from California are among
the three Republicans in the House who`ve signed on to this broader bill.
WHALEN: They come from districts anywhere from 40 to 55 percent Hispanic.
They see the writing on the wall that they cannot stay in office long-term.
If they, you know, if they alienate this growing part of their base. So,
it is the problem the Californian Republicans have to deal with, but it`s
also a problem that national Republicans have to deal with. And why is
that? Purple states turning light blue. I`m a native Virginian, I grew up
in Virginia, I moved to California 20 years ago. The Virginia I left 20
years ago was a fairly Republican leaning state. Last time it voted for a
Democrat was LBJ in 1964. Obama carried Virginia twice. The Democrats
have got a sweep. Virginia is now like blue state.
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: But it`s interesting, though, because despite
all of that, there are still be strong powerful incentives. You see it in
the House. For Republicans to continue to sort of placate the part of the
Republican Party that is really angry about those changes and they really
see sort of the cultural shift in the country and the demographic shift in
the country, as sort of a war on them. So the Republican Party at the same
time intellectually they understand what you`re saying, that they have to
appeal to Millennials and to women and to minorities, there is this
powerful, powerful incentive for Republicans in the House and elsewhere to
appeal to that working class white voter who feels disenfranchised by the
change in the country.
KORNACKI: And in California, so we think - I mean historically to go way
back in California, the story of Orange County and Orange County was the
bastion of - not just - this wasn`t just like anti-tax conservatism, it was
like John Birch style conservatism in the early `60s, really took hold in
this fast growing county. I think it voted for Goldwater, I believe, or
came close to voting for Goldwater in 1964, even as he`s getting trounced
nationally. And I still see strains of that in parts. I think there was -
and I can`t remember where it was, but it was sort of an inland California,
a few weeks ago, there was a story about a mayor in a town who had approved
a gay rights - it was gay pride month in this town. And there was an
uprising in the town and the mayor was actually taken out of office. And
so, that sort of strained of sort of far right conservatism, still exist in
these pockets of California.
WHALEN: Ronald Reagan rises to power in 1966 in California, riding on a
host of social issues, there is frustration with student protests at
Berkeley, there is reaction to the Watts riots the year before and Pat
Brown, and the Governor Jerry Brown`s father, he was seeking a third term.
So, he`s kind of right for the plucking. So, Reagan rode that tide of
discontent. This is not the California of 1966 right now, that same
pattern doesn`t work. And the problem for Republicans in the state is
this. The Republicans right now are 29 percent of voter registration in
California and declining. Independent voters what we call, decline to
state, they`re now 20 percent and climbing. The two are going to pass each
other in the night pretty soon. The kneejerk reaction of the dug-in
conservative Republicans in California is at all times go for social
Two things that are driving them crazy right now are guns, there is a
faction of the Republican Party that wants to have local recall contests
against Democrats who voted for - for gun rights legislation in Sacramento.
And then the other issue that has their motor running right now is
transgender bathrooms, and there will be probably be an issue on the ballot
talking about transgender bathrooms in 2014. Now, that`s an interesting
issue to look at, but if you`re trying to reach .
KORNACKI: Wait, explain that transgender bathroom issue.
WHALEN: Transgender bathrooms is the idea that in a public school, you can
allow boys to go into girls rooms if they are transgender.
WHALEN: So, it allows - you know, (INAUDIBLE) homosexuality. This
obviously drives social conservatives crazy. But you`re trying to win an
election in California, you don`t run with those issues at the top of the
ticket. You have to talk economy, you have to talk education, you have to
talk environment. And the social conservatives don`t seem to get that.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: What`s interesting to me about this is, why isn`t it
that the Republican Party in that sense is able to sort of be - looked like
New Jersey for example, as opposed to be more like Virginia. I mean I
noticed in the article about this memo, the guy who wrote the memo, right,
and he is talking about how bad everything is with Republicans and how they
need to change, he moved to Texas.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: He was in Texas now with Rich Perry trying to get people
to bring their businesses from California to Texas. So he didn`t actually
do much to reform the party, he just got out of there. Why are .
WHALEN: He did and this is part of the problem. We had .
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: But why are they doing more? I mean there are examples,
right, of Republicans doing OK in blue states.
WHALEN: There are.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Why aren`t they .
KORNACKI: It is a good question. I want to hear Bill`s answer, right
KORNACKI: So, Bill, Evan was just asking about why Republicans in
California wouldn`t take their cues more from a state like New Jersey,
where you see with Chris Christie is on the verge of doing. And I wanted
to circle back to you had been talking earlier about what you said was sort
of the Hispanic problem for Republicans. Just to clarify what that meant,
you`re just saying in terms of this is a problem for the Republican Party,
that it is struggling to relate to and communicate with Hispanic voters?
WHALEN: It`s a problem for the Republican Party writ large. Mitt Romney
got - what - 29 percent of the Hispanic vote, I think, in 2012, a number
that`s going down, Hispanic voters are going up. And mark my words, just
as the Obama campaign very effectively drove a wedge between Republicans
and Hispanics, women and Millennials in 2012, they are doing it, Virginia
2013, Hillary Clinton, should she run, will do it in 2016. Republicans
have three years to get their act together or not.
KORNACKI: You know, the other thing, when I look at the flip side of this,
we`re talking about the Republicans sort of collapse in the state of
California. It`s amazing, too, what the state has emerged in terms of
being a Democratic bastion. The opportunity that exists right now for
Democrats have this two-thirds majority in the state legislature in
California. You have a Democratic governor. Jerry Brown who knows a thing
or two about being governor of California. In California, sort of
emerging, for years, it was - it was the incubator of Reagan, it was the
incubator of Nixon and now it`s evolving maybe into a new role on the
Democratic side where it is sort of a laboratory for -- potentially a
laboratory for Democratic ideas.
REID: You know, absolutely, you have the Attorney General there, right,
who is considered a major star in the party, you know, Dianne Feinstein,
who is potentially a future governor of California. And it is interesting
that now it is a default state where Democrats can now not worry about
owning the state and just worry about sort of growing great political
minds. And also it is sort of an object lesson too, in a shift in the
business community. I mean Silicon Valley is sort of big business
community in California, is seen as part of the Democratic wing as well.
So, I mean, I think for Republicans, California is sort of the future. But
Texas isn`t far behind. I mean as has gone California now, I think in 20
years, Texas could be the same issue for them because of .
WHALEN: I`ll say 2024, but I think what is interesting about California is
this, first of all, the state that probably spends more money per capita
than any other state in America on the pursuit of worship in youth has the
oldest governor in America, next year Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer
will be the oldest Senate tandem in the United States Senate and, yes, you
have a two-thirds legislature that`s Democratic controlled, but Jerry Brown
as a (INAUDIBLE) paddle left and paddle right. And on some days the
legislature loves him when he signs something like the transgender bathroom
bill. The next thing, you know, Brown is signing a fracking bill in
California and the legislature is wildly upset with him. So, Brown is a
good example of how, yes, one party control can be effective if the
executive is rather balanced and constructive.
KORNACKI: And Brown is such a fascinating picture - such a fascinating
character because he just - he reinvents himself every ten years. I
remember when he was doing the 800 number in `92 and it was the people`s
crusade against business in power.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Let me ask you what is keeping him from running in .
KORNACKI: This is my question. He is 78 then. I say -- I say it is not
KORNACKI: But what we`re looking at, you know, we say -- we always talk
about sort of California as the future, and so one of the big stories as we
have been talking about here is the demographic changes in California that
have alienated a rising population from the Republican Party. And this is
a story that is playing out elsewhere. We saw it in Virginia, this is
potentially the remaking of American politics in a way.
SWEET: It is one other thing that I know Bill had -- probably has
something to educate us on, California changed how it does districting.
And that also is an impact, so you don`t have the bastions of safe
districts where you can have in a sense farm teams for both parties.
WHALEN: We did two things actually. First of all, we took redistricting
out of the hands of the legislature and turned it over to our citizens`
commission. So, no more gerrymandering. No more clever - funny math. The
second thing we do, is we created a top two primary system so that if we
are all five of us are running, the top two people advance. It doesn`t
matter what party you belong to. So, in some parts of California, two
Republicans on the ballot in November, there is some parts of California
two Democrats on the ballot. In theory, this makes candidates more
centrist, less leaning on their bases to get nominated, but, you know,
we`ll see how that works out. But in terms of California, the big picture,
Jerry Brown is in a rather interesting political position. He could run in
2016, sure, nothing is stopping him except that he`s done it before and I
KORNACKI: But he - quickly, so he`s up for re-election. This is the first
-- do Republicans even have anybody they`re really going to run against
WHALEN: We have three people running against him you`ve probably never
heard of before, one is a former lieutenant governor, who is very
controversial within his own party, for previous stances. Second is a
first time candidate Neel Kashkari, who used to be the number two under
Hank Paulson in the Treasury, worked on TARP for George W. Bush and then
the third is someone named Tim Donnelly who is - claim to fame is he got
arrested carrying a gun into an airport.
WHALEN: So, guns versus (INAUDIBLE) TARP.
KORNACKI: Worked on TARP. That`s going to go over real well with the Tea
Party base. Well, I`m glad we got the Jerry Brown 2016 trial balloons out
there. This has been my goal for the last few years.
KORNACKI: Run, Jerry, run. I want to thank Lynn Sweet of the "Chicago
Sun-Times." I want to thank Lynn Sweet of the "Chicago Sun-Times".
Do you know who the White House is -- who the White House -- excuse me --
is really up against, as it scrambles to fix the healthcare website and
make Obamacare work. The answer is Ronald Reagan and we`ll explain why
KORNACKI: We all know the immediate challenge the White House, its allies
and anyone who supports the Affordable Care Act are facing. Get that
website up and running, get a lot of insured people, especially a lot of
young and healthy uninsured people signed up for the exchanges. Make the
risk pull big enough so that prices are affordable, so that more people buy
in and then more insurers decide they want to get in and that the law
works. That`s the challenge right now and that`s the story that will be
playing out over the next few months. With the launch of the health care
law, will law itself be a success? But the stakes are actually much bigger
than that. And if you really want to understand them, you need to go back
more than 30 years to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: In this present
crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Those were among the first words that Ronald Reagan uttered as
president. They`re words that defined the new more activist, more
aggressive brand of conservatism that he represented. Brand of
conservatism that grabbed control of the Republican Party along with him
and that has not let go since. They are also words that resonated and that
continue to resonate powerfully with millions of Americans. Words that
built the Reagan-Bush coalition of the 1980s that fueled the Republican
takeover of Congress in the `90s, that brought George W. Bush to power that
animated the Tea Party movement today. Skepticism of an outright hostility
to the federal government. The idea that it is just one big bloated
bureaucratic mess that can`t perform the simplest task without wasting huge
sums of time and taxpayer money, that sentiment runs deep. And it is not
just the Republican base that has these feelings. A poll earlier this year
found that 28 percent of Americans, only 28 percent, have a favorable view
of the federal government. Message that Ronald Reagan articulated in 1981,
has had Democrats on the defensive for decades. A recognition that a lot
of Americans are in the big picture suspicious of government is what gave
rise to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council in the 1980s, which
produced the Clinton presidency, which produced the defining line of Bill
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AAMERICA: The era of big
government is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But the public`s attitudes toward government are complex. Yes,
ask them if the federal government is too big and they`ll say absolutely.
But then start asking them about the major programs the federal government
oversees, like Medicare, like Social Security, like the Department of
Defense. And attitudes shift dramatically. Suddenly, the public is quite
happy with what the federal government is doing. Which gets us to the much
bigger challenge that the Affordable Care Act represents. Because this
isn`t just about whether the White House and its allies can make a law
work. It is a test, it is perhaps the defining test for the Democratic
Party, a party that enacted the Affordable Care Act without any Republican
support, and a party that is now trying to implement it with almost no
And there is a basic philosophical difference between the two parties
today, it is that Democrats believe the federal government can do big
things. Should do big things. And there is no bigger, more singular test
of that belief than the Affordable Care Act. If they fail that test, it
will validate powerfully what has been the central conservative message
since Ronald Reagan came to the national stage. Every new program, every
new initiative that any Democrat proposes in the future would then face the
same kneejerk cynicism. Well, it couldn`t make health care work, so why is
it going to be any different with this? This is also a huge opportunity
for Democrats. Because conservatives who spent years now attaching every
single anti-government talking point they know to Obamacare.
In their own way, they have also made this a test. They`ve spent decades
insisting that the federal government can`t do anything right, and should
never be entrusted with overseeing something so sensitive, something so
important as the health care system. But what happens if Democrats do make
the Affordable Care Act work? If just like Social Security and Medicare and
the Department of Defense, it becomes another major federal undertaking
that voters decide works well, that voters decide they like. If Democrats
can show that big government really can and really does work, will
Americans start to change their minds? Will the words that Reagan spoke 32
years ago finally start to lose their punch?
Here to discuss this, let`s welcome back Evan McMorris-Santoro of Buzzfeed,
MSNBC contributor Joy Reid of the grio.com, Perry Bacon Jr., also with the
grio.com and Hoover Institution`s Bill Whalen. And Joy, I wonder, how do
you look at the -- in terms of the bigger picture of what is unfolding over
the next few months with health care, how do you look at it? Because there
is obviously concern if you`re a Democrat that, wow if this fails, there
are huge consequences, but I see there is also a flip side here that if
this works, this could maybe change our politics in a meaningful way?
REID: Yeah, I mean it could sort of reconnect people to the idea of what
government does. But I want to add one quick thing to your setup, which
was a great sort of walkthrough of the history of it. I mean I think we
have to remember that when Ronald Reagan got elected, in 1980, what the
federal government had been doing for the previous 20 years, had a lot to
do with desegregation, school bussing, things that sort of ticked off a
certain core part of the new emerging conservatives, sort of Reagan
Democrats and the conservative base, which is largely concentrated in the
South. So, when Ronald Reagan goes down in the (INAUDIBLE) County in
Mississippi and launches this campaign, when he talked about the
government, the federal government, that was understood in the cultural
context. That the federal government had come to not mean the New Deal,
that saved their parents, but it had come to mean the big federal entity
that was giving minorities things at the expense of them.
KORNACKI: Redistributing yours to give to the other. Right.
REID: That was redistributing. Right. And so, the sort of redefinition
of government as sort of prodding the welfare state, for minorities, for
poor people who were mainly black and brown, I think that was part of the
context that Reagan sort of subtly introduced into the conversation. That
said, and Perry has written great pieces about this, I was last week at the
Urban League`s Urban Ideas Forum, that they do every year, talking about
health care. And what is happening on the ground with health care, is that
it is grassroots organizations like the Urban League and others that are
implementing health care reform and not the federal government. People are
going to these local community neighborhood centers to get this health
care. And what the Obama administration doesn`t really want to discuss is
that health care reform is largely helping poorer people. And I think that
that is sort of the tension here, is that a lot of people are afraid that
what health care reform really is, is the next welfare program.
KORNACKI: Well, so the -- the sort of the attitude that Joy is describing
behind Reagan`s message in 1980, as we saw, you know, through the Clinton
presidency, at least the DLC, you know, the Democratic Party tried to
respond and did respond in a lot of ways to sort of co-opt a lot of
Reagan`s message, how much of that, how much of what Joy is describing is
still prevalent in our politics -- how prevalent is it today in our
politics right now?
BACON: I think it is very prevalent. We have one party that says the
government is bad all the time, the Republican Party. We have a Democratic
Party, we have a lot of candidates, too, who say the government is bad. It
doesn`t work very well, it`s inefficient, Joe Manchin, folks like that from
West Virginia. So, you see that argument, on one side, is being very
heavily engaged, so I`m not sure if Obamacare works at the end of the day
that people`s view of the government will change. I think you already had
this notion where the sensitive report about this, 149 million people in
the U.S. get some kind of government benefit, Veterans, Medicare, Medicaid,
go through the list. But people still think the government is not good, it
doesn`t work for them, because no party is -- the Democrats rarely say the
government is good. They say Medicare is good. They say Medicaid is good.
And when you look at studies, Pew did the study and asked people, they
listed 19 different government programs and asked, which of these programs
would you be willing to decrease funding for, they couldn`t find the
majority of people to support any, zero of 19. We`re talking in no program
KORNACKI: You mean four days, I always find in those surveys, people seem
to think that like half the government`s money is spent on foreign aid and
that`s where the big blow is.
BACON: 48 percent of people said - 48 percent said, decrease foreign aid.
So, not even a majority there, just to be clear.
WHALEN: Perry raises a great point. Look, Republicans have to acknowledge
that there is a role for government. You just can`t bash government.
Chris Christie will be re-elected on Tuesday. Chris Christie turned to
FEMA first thing when Superstorm hit last year. So, there is a role for
FEMA. I`m the son of a man whom the government bailed out of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, saw in him officer material, he gained an RTC scholarship,
the government - my father in that respect. So, there is a role for
The disconnect is this, do you trust the government to run something? It
is not with Obamacare. It`s - two issues here. One is, what Obamacare
pretends to do, but the second is how it goes about doing this. You have
the former CIO of the government saying that, look, they employed 1960s
technology. Instead of using a cloud, they used 800 different servers,
they have 55 different vendors involved in this. Nobody would dare create
a system that way, but yet the government decided to do it that way.
Ronald Reagan famously said, the nine scariest words in English language
are, I`m from the government, I`m here to help. People read the Obama care
nightmare stories right now, and it reinforces a belief out there, maybe
not an entirely true belief at times, but a belief, nonetheless, that the
government, given its, you know, control of something, will inevitably
screw it up.
KORNACKI: I would - you know, there is something about, like, a
bureaucracy in general .
KORNACKI: . does screw things up. Whether it is government bureaucracy or
big private companies, because I worked in enough big private companies
where it takes three weeks to get somebody to say, yeah, we`re working on
that, the memo will be out there, you know, next week.
What I wonder, Bill, though, is how - you know, if the issues were --
you`re sort of describing there with the website get resolved and I do
believe they can be resolved, I don`t know if they will, I think they can
be resolved and I think they can get the kind of enrollment numbers they
need to make this thing work, what does that do to that old Reagan line,
though, about government is not the solution. It is the problem. This
will have proven that government actually did solve a problem.
WHALEN: Well, you may have proved - you may have proved it bitterly,
though. I`m not sure if it`s going to necessarily change people`s just
instinctive reflection that I don`t trust the government. We talked on the
other segment about traps for Republicans in terms of being stuck with
various groups. Here is another trap for Republicans. It is so tempting
to get involved in the politics of the pejorative at all times, mock the
president, mock Hillary Clinton, mock Obamacare, but has there been a
Republican alternative to Obamacare put forward in one document you can
read. Have the Republicans come on and talked about marketplace reforms,
you know, changing your health care and lawsuit abuse, things like that?
No, that`s the party of no right now. So, as we talk about moving the
Republican Party forward, it is not just enough to trash Obamacare, you`ve
got to have an alternative.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Republicans have been arguing for big government quite a
bit over the past few months. Let`s start out with the sequester in which
the sequester happened and Republicans and Democrats were arguing strongly
we have got to get those inspectors back, got to get that expensive air
traffic control system going so we don`t have lines at airports. We saw
even during the shutdown, Ted Cruz, small government personified, right?
Outside the White House yelling to get reopened large, free, federal parks
that people can go and visit. Some of the biggest, most successful laws on
the conservative side of things right now are these really big and
expensive and serious regulations of abortion clinics that are being used
to bring down the access to abortion, critics say. There is a lot of
things Republicans want government to do.
KORNACKI: The government that their constituents want and lack. It is the
government that their constituents -- it reminds me, an inflammatory
example, but I always thought, George Wallace we think as the very
conservative politician, very conservative segregationist Democrat from
Georgia, ran as an independent, and his message was very conservative, but
if you looked at George Wallace on economic issues, he was actually very
liberal. What he -- he was a pro-segregation liberal, which meant he
wanted big money spent on his people and not anybody else.
REID: And using the power of government, right, to keep children from
going to the university or students going to the University of Alabama. I
think Evan makes a key point. Republicans, they aren`t against government,
but sometimes they aren`t honest with their base about what the government
is or does. In the case of the national parks, you actually had
conservative commentators arguing that the closure of the government should
not have closed the national parks, that somehow Barack Obama, that
President Obama had just decided on fiat to close the parks and it had
nothing to do with the government, because the government doesn`t run the
And it doesn`t make sense that on the abortion issue, they`re arguing for
very big government, literally government intervening in the decisions of
women whether or not to have a child. There is no bigger government than
that. I don`t think Republicans are against government. They`re against
government they perceive as helping people that aren`t them.
KORNACKI: And Bill wants to get in and will as soon as we come back from
this commercial message.
KORNACKI: Talking about how voters look at the federal government, what
they think it can do or should do and what role they think it should have.
You can compare polling from the start of the Obama presidency in 2008.
Back then, 51 percent said the federal government should do more. 43
percent said it was doing too much. The numbers have flipped over the last
four years. In a 2012 exit poll, it was now 51 percent saying too much and
43 percent saying it should do more. Bill, I rudely interrupted you before
the last one so please, what were you going to say?
WHALEN: (inaudible), yet somehow Mitt Romney lost that election.
Joy raised a really great point, I thought, about the abortion debate for
the pushback from pro-choice against pro-life is the issue of intrusion,
you`re intruding upon people`s personal choices. For conservatives, the
pushback against Obamacare is now you`re having the government intrude into
your life when it comes to your health care choices. And getting a notice
in the mail saying your health care policy is no longer applicable, it`s
void, it is being doubled, tripled, what have you, I think this is the next
thing to look forward to as we move beyond Obamacare and the next
controversy, what can government do next to come into your life, and one
thing we kicked around in California, what you are going to see sooner or
later is the idea of universal preschool for kids, taking your 4-year-old
kid, 5-year-old kid and putting them into a state run system before they go
REID: One push back on the insurance. First of all, it`s not as if before
the Affordable Care Act passed, your health insurance premiums never went
up. Like they go up all the time. This is something that`s been routine
in the insurance markets forever. Right? And number two, the idea that
only government could say to the insurance industry, you cannot charge
women more because they`re women and have babies, for insurance, you cannot
say that if somebody had a pre-existing condition, they have to pay 400
percent more for their insurance. The government is the only entity that
can do that.
The intrusion on your personal liberty is the government regulating the
type of junk insurance that you can no longer sell people. Only the
government can do that. So how it is an intrusion for essentially the
federal government to regulate a minimum standard for the kind of insurance
that companies can sell you, that`s being sold as an intrusion of personal
liberty, but it is sort of a false sale.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That`s a more perfect succinct summation of that than we
heard from the White House almost the entire time.
WHALEN: When the president of the United States tells me my insurance
policy will not be changed, I can keep it, and then I get a letter in the
mail saying my insurance policy has now been canceled.
KORNACKI: We`re talking about, you know, and you talked earlier about the
lack of a Republican alternative to this. I think part of it is what
Obamacare essentially is, is what the Republican alternative used to be.
Back in the Clinton days, when Clinton was pushing for national health
care, you had this sort of Heritage Foundation conservative think tank plan
floating around that said, hey, we don`t like the way President Clinton is
trying to get to universal coverage here. Here is another way to get to
universal coverage. It maintains the private system. The only way to
maintain the private system is to have this mandate, this thing that
compels the individual, whether they want it or not, to buy health
I think the -- seems to me the jam that Republicans are in is if you`re
going to be against Obamacare because there is a mandate and you don`t want
the mandate and you are against single payer, which I haven`t seen the
Republican come out for that, then there really is no feasible alternative
you can propose that will get you to affordable universal health insurance.
REID: It is the defense of the right of insurance companies to sell you
junk insurance. I defy anyone to show me the letter that says your
insurance policy is just gone. The letters people are getting are saying
this policy no longer complies with federal law. If you do nothing, you`ll
be converted to this policy. This policy, which is compliant, which costs
you x, or if you don`t want it, you can then go on the marketplace and buy
something else. That is what is happening, because if you have a non-
compliant car insurance policy, then the company that sells you your car
insurance will send you a letter saying this policy no longer complies with
federal law, here is this one. That is what people are getting.
And I think these ideas -- there are mythical cancellations of all health
insurance. People should read their policy, because if they`re getting
canceled, it is because it doesn`t cover mental health screenings, doesn`t
cover mammograms, doesn`t cover prostate exams. It`s because if you were
to ever use it, it would be canceled because you`d reach a cap. All of
these things that if you ever actually tried to use that junk insurance
policy, it will be a nightmare. The federal government has now said it is
illegal to sell people junk policies, and if you have one, it has to be
converted to a --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: What you`re arguing basically is that people who said,
you know, the president said into the camera, if you like your insurance,
you can keep it. You`re saying, hey, actually, you didn`t like your
insurance. You don`t know. But you didn`t like it.
REID: You never used it.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That`s a tough sell. He should have said, I guess,
something more along the lines of the insurance you have is awful, and
we`re going to get rid of it and change it.
KORNACKI: This gets the -- I want to get to this side of it as well.
We`re talking about, you know, what -- this absolutely could still work and
what happens if it works and how does that change the political debate
going forward. But Perry, the flip side is, hey, look, we don`t know right
now if the website is going to get up and running, if they are going to get
the enrollments they need, if that risk pool works. If it doesn`t, then
that whole message we`re talking about, the Reagan message of government is
not the solution, government is the problem, that`s going to be reinforced
BACON: We should make sure (inaudible), we don`t think the government
should lead an invasion of a Muslim country. We probably agree on that.
We don`t think the government should estimate how much a stimulus would
work and predict unemployment will be very low. That`s probably not a good
idea. I learned that a couple of years ago. I probably don`t want
Kathleen Sebelius to invest in a company in which (inaudible) she ran a
website for. We have learned a few things in this process already. I
think there will be some doubt about the government running a website in
particular. And we get to see this process lay out. Ultimately the
results are going to make a big difference. I do think it will be hard for
the Republicans to get rid of the ban on pre-existing conditions
(inaudible). Certain things will be hard to repeal. But the overall
effort, we just don`t -- we`re very early in a six-month process. We just
don`t know what -- until we know the results, we don`t know how it will
affect government policy going forward.
WHALEN: It will make it hard ultimately for the easy sell. We live in an
instant gratification society. Instant messaging, overnight delivery, and
we also are at an age where we, as voters, fall prey to the idea that
things can be done rather simply. This is part of the Obama message of
2008. Yes, we can do things simply. George Bush promised a simple
solution to Iraq. Obamacare promised a simple solution. These things
don`t pan out. So if you want to push a government message, I think from
here on you`d have to be more a little more realistic with people as to the
difficulty and the sacrifice of what you`re undertaking.
KORNACKI: I do wonder about the longer term. How we think of Medicare
right now, how we think of Social Security. Even seeing a similar
evolution with Medicare Part D, it was so contentious and very partisan
when Medicare Part D was passed, Medicare Part D not being used as a
talking point by Democrats now the way it was six or seven years ago. That
seems to be something that gained bipartisan acceptance. You add all that
together, I just wonder if that changes attitudes toward the government, if
you can add health care to that.
BACON: People like Medicare Part D, but they don`t like the government.
Those numbers haven`t changed. I`m not sure where we get to the point in
America until the Democratic Party -- if Hillary Clinton says every day
that government is good, and runs a campaign and wins, that`s one thing. I
suspect she`ll say I`m going to defend these programs from Ted Cruz, Chris
Christie, Rand Paul, and we`ll talk about the programs, and I`m still --
people all the time, the famous keep your hands off my Medicare, that
message gets through. People don`t understand what the government does. I
think the public may be broadly sort of wrong about you can`t say I want to
cut the government but can`t pick any program I would actually--
KORNACKI: If the public is ultimately happy with that contradiction, if
the public is ultimately happy with we`ll re-elect Clinton because he
defended Medicare, and he said that the era of big government is over,
maybe they`re happy with that. I don`t know. Thanks to Perry Bacon of the
thegrio.com, Bill Whalen with the Hoover Institution, buzzfeed.com`s Evan
This weekend, a political satirist was pulled off the air. We`ll have the
jokes that led up to that decision, next.
KORNACKI: He`s been called the Jon Stewart of Egypt. Bassem Youssef. He
even sat down with the real Jon Stewart last year. Stewart asked the
Egyptian comic about doing political satire in such an unstable
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASSEM YOUSSEF, COMEDIAN: It is actually -- it has been quite a ride, and
what we do is -- has actually -- we broke ground in the television
programming, because now people say, wow, he actually says what we want to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Well, Youssef was taken off the air this week. We`ll tell you
why and what it means for where post-Mubarak Egypt is heading. That`s
KORNACKI: There are plenty of people who believe the grilling that Health
and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius received this week on
Capitol Hill about the botched rollout of the healthcare.gov website, there
are plenty of people who believe that was nothing compared to the drubbing
she received in a less formal setting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, HOST, DAILY SHOW: We`re going to do a challenge. I`m going
to try and download every movie ever made, and you are going to try to sign
up for Obamacare, and we`ll see which happens first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The nightly whipping the new health care law is receiving on
Comedy Central is more than a set of embarrassing punchlines for the
administration. Good chunk of the "Daily Show`s" young audience, which is
rich in 18-to-34-year-olds is exactly the demographic the Obama
administration needs to enroll if the law is going to succeed. Good
political satire isn`t just funny or entertaining, it is also subversive.
And it`s that subversive quality that has another government questioning
whether a man many call the Jon Stewart of Egypt should be allowed to stay
on the air. Bassem Youssef came to international prominence last year with
his own weekly skewering of his country`s new leader, Mohamed Morsy. After
Hosni Mubarak`s three decades of secular authoritarian rule, Morsy was
elected president with the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood. And Bassem
Youssef wasn`t a fan.
KORNACKI: Youssef has been hugely successful. He has 30 million viewer
for his weekly program. But what Youssef doesn`t have is the full range of
free speech protections of a vibrant, democratic society. He opened his
show in January hoping things would go better for both himself and Egypt`s
struggling democracy in the new year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASSEM YOUSSEF: (SPEAKING ARABIC)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: In March of this year, Youssef received a warrant for his
arrest, but with his network backing him, he was not put on trial. But now
Egypt has a new leader, Morsy is out, and the comedian is back in hot
water. Bassem Youssef was on hiatus when Morsy was ousted by the military.
The military is in control again and killed nearly a thousand Islamist
protesters in Cairo in August. There is a new general, Abdul Fahd Al-Sisi,
in charge. Many in the middle class have embraced the new leader. Ultra-
nationalist fervor has swept the nation. There are symbols of the general
and his army on everything from jewelry to cupcakes to bridal gowns. So
amid all the support for Al-Sisi, all the swelling of national pride,
viewers tuned in last Friday for Bassem Youssef`s season premiere under the
new regime, wondering if the famous comedian would critique the new guys.
I turned out he walked a fine line, criticizing the patriotic fever, but
not taking direct aim at Egypt`s military leader.
KORNACKI: Even this was still too much, and the government launched an
investigation this week against the host for harming national interests and
sewing sedition. Minutes before Youssef`s show was set to air this Friday,
network executives pulled the pretaped show. Statement released by the
network cited violations of contractual terms. It is not totally clear
what caused them to preempt the show at the last minute.
You can tell a lot about a nation and its laws by the way it treats its
comedians, its funny men, its satirists, who shroud political commentary
with humor. What happens to Youssef may be a bellwether for Egypt`s
tumultuous foray into democracy.
Back at the table with me now is Elahe Izadi with "The National Journal"
and also a stand-up comedian. Joy Reid at the Grio.com. Michael Hanna is
the senior fellow at the progressive think tank the Century Foundation.
And Rebecca Abou-Chedid, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project,
which trains progressive leaders on national security issues.
So I guess we can start with where things stand, just to understand. We
talk about the new general in charge right now, and this sort of
nationalist wave of support he`s receiving. How popular is it, where is
that support coming from, and where does this comedian fit into that?
MICHAEL HANNA, THE CENTURY FOUNDATION: Well, if there were free elections
tomorrow, and there might be in coming months, and Sisi, General Sisi stood
in those elections, he would win in a landslide. The Muslim Brotherhood is
more isolated than it ever has been. But, of course, it is hard to know
how long this set of circumstances can last. The overall situation of the
country is not going to get better, and that includes the economic
And so this is probably something of a bubble, but the real sentiments of
ultra-nationalism you touched upon, they`re real, and they`re deep seated.
I think they speak to a broader yearning in Egyptian society for some kind
of leadership, some kind of a vision. An idea of Egypt, a country that
really has been rudderless and stagnant, and in a kind of malaise, really,
for decades. And so you see this broader yearning now for people that want
an easy solution. They want things to be better. Things have been bad.
And they have gotten much worse. The past three years have been really
tumultuous, and the sort of promise of democracy that people talked about
during the initial uprising in Tahrir has really evaporated for everyday
citizens and for many, you know, some of the high-minded principles that
activists talked about haven`t borne fruit in terms of improving their
So you have seen, particularly since the military intervention and the coup
that ousted Morsy, a real groundswell of hypernationalism, and also state
propaganda that has fed this along. So you are faced now with a situation
where the bounds of discourse as we were -- as you were talking about have
really shrunk, and someone like Bassem Youssef now, even with his sort of
implicit criticisms of the military, is somehow seen as being transgressive
and going too far.
KORNACKI: And Rebecca, can you talk about, so 30 million viewers a week.
We always talk in this country about, oh, Jon Stewart`s influence on
politics and he might have, I am guessing, a million, 2 million viewers,
roughly speaking. We`re talking about 30 million people tuning in and
watching this guy. He played - can you talk about the role he played, the
importance he`s played in what ended up happening to Morsy and what the
military is sort of so afraid of right now?
REBECCA ABOU-CHEDID: Sure, so one of -- 30 million viewers in a country
that has 80 million people, that`s almost 40 percent of the entire
population is watching this program.
KORNACKI: Like Super Bowl numbers here.
ABOU-CHEDID: Absolutely. And really what Bassem Youssef was able to do is
he was able to create an identity in this post Mubarak era where the
biggest and most important thing I think in Egypt was the lack of fear,
that for once citizens felt like they could say what they want and talk
about politics publicly, and that`s what he embodied.
So the space he`s filling right now, he`s trying to challenge this binary
that you have to either be -- you`re either an infidel or you`re a traitor.
This kind of hypernationalistic or hyper-pro Brotherhood binary that people
find themselves in. He`s trying to challenge both of those, and I can see
why for -- from the military`s perspective, that is, you know, he is seen
as a subversive. He has credibility that probably nobody else in Egypt has
to do that.
But really what he`s also challenging is that democracy is not just
elections, democracy is also a free press. And it has to -- there are many
institutions all put together that form a democracy. And so it is
interesting that it is not necessarily even the military that has pulled
him, it is his own station. But that`s because many people are saying that
the show that was pulled, he was criticizing his own station rather than
actually going against the military. But we see that part of a free press
is that ability to challenge all parts of your society.
KORNACKI: When that arrest warrant we mentioned was reported, back in
April, this was Jon Stewart who -- here it on his show, they both appeared
on each other`s shows. This is Jon Stewart`s reaction to the Jon Stewart
of Egypt having an arrest warrant issued. Here`s how he talked about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Is there anything else Bassem may have done here, perhaps
concerning the president himself?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The show mocked him when he was awarded an honorary
degree in Pakistan and also took aim at the president`s less than fluent
STEWART: Making fun of the president`s hats and less than fluent English?
That was my entire career for eight years. Do you have any idea? That`s
all I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And, you know, obviously here in the United States, if you had a
Jon Stewart or a stand-up comedian or something, an arrest warrant issued
like that, there would be this huge outrage and huge shock, although I`m
trying to think back to a generation or two generations ago when there
were, you know, the Smothers Brothers, for instance, there is a tradition -
- instances in this country where comedians went too far over the line in
terms of what the standards of a network were, what the federal censors
were comfortable with, and I`m wondering -- trying to place what is
happening in Egypt in terms of the evolution of our country toward the
freedom we enjoy now and see if maybe we can -- maybe this is a natural
starting step in that direction.
IZAHI: Well, maybe I`m biased, but I think comics are kind of at the cusp
of pushing the boundary of what is permissible discourse, always, in any
society. Also, an effective comedian is going to be able to satirize and
poke fun at any institution or person in power. If you had a comedian who
was a true believer and didn`t poke holes, Jon Stewart still makes fun of
President Obama. If he were not to go on his program and not make fun of
him, I don`t think many people would find him funny anymore, and comedians
thrive on funding where there`s hypocrisy and poking holes in what people -
- the lines people are pushing.
And I think there is a really great power in that, that you`re able to kind
of look in the face of something that you consider horrific or unjust and
laugh at it. And it is a mark of leadership to be able to take those
jokes. In this country, we have a dinner that is televised every year,
where the president is standing right there, sitting right there, as a
comedian is making fun of him. And if the president didn`t laugh at those
jokes, it would be seen as a sign of weakness in this country.
KORNACKI: He gets to give it back too. I remember Donald Trump a couple
of years ago --
REID: It is interesting because I think part of the reason that can happen
here is stability, and I think that you really pointed to that early on, is
that in a country where there is sort of a stable change of government
every four years, where it is not accompanied by a revolution, where you
know there is going to be a stable turnover of government, there isn`t as
much reason to fear any one particular government because they`re
I think in Egypt, what is fascinating is we`re from the outside looking in
watching a country struggle from having been a dictatorship basically,
essentially, to really trying to struggle their way toward both freedom and
stability at the same time. So democracy is a great idea, but if you are
the person that is living, the average middle class person living in Egypt,
you actually want stability too, and permanent revolution is really not a
great idea. So I think that there is sort of a discomfort with anyone
challenging the military, which was, remember, both considered to be in a
lot of ways the hand maiden of the revolution.
You had these -- the people putting flowers into the tanks and into the
guns of members of the military, they were seen as the one stabilizing
force that sort of brought about the essential beginnings of freedom and
then are the guardians of it when people decided the person who inherited
it, Morsy, was not actually a democrat, small d, but he was seizing power
on behalf of the Islamists. The military has such great credibility that I
think in a country that is yearning for stability and democracy, it is sort
of a difficult line for him to have to cross.
KORNACKI: I can remember being 8 or 9 years old, watching the inauguration
of George Bush Sr., I could hear the commentators on TV were marveling at
the peaceful transition of power, and I am thinking, that`s -- they`re just
killing time here, what a weird thing to say. And then as you start to
look around the world and get -- you realize, it is very unique what we
have here and special.
REID: Think about the year 2000 when the Supreme Court decided the
election, the reaction to that, the protests if you look at the wide shot
in Washington, when George W. Bush was inaugurated, tremendous amount of
protests, a lot of anger, a lot of anger that persisted for years after his
election, but there wasn`t that second piece, there was no violence. You
still had a peaceful transition.
KORNACKI: The guy who was ruled against by the Supreme Court, Al Gore,
stood there in the House as the electoral votes were counted and as George
W. Bush became president, and said I don`t like it, but I got a rule for
this and Bush became president. We`ll pick this up on the other side
because there are supposedly elections coming up in Egypt, new elections.
We`ll talk about what they will mean right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOUSSEF: We cannot give in for the pressure. We can`t just say, we will
be -- we will tone it down, because if you choose to tone it down today,
you will be forced to shut off completely tomorrow. This is this phase
that we are covering our own freedom. We didn`t get rid of Mubarak to
compromise on freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Bassem Youssef on "Morning Joe" back in April. The
next sort of step in Egypt`s post Mubarak political development supposedly
is elections. I guess sometime next year the military is promising to hold
some kind of elections. The whole question is always, you know, will
enough parties, will enough participants be allowed to participate so that
the country accepts this is a legitimate election, this is a legitimate
outcome? How confident are you, how confident should Egyptians be that this
will be a real democratic election they`re about to have?
HANNA: I`m not confident at all. The first step is going to be a
referendum on a constitution that is currently being drafted. And that
might happen in January, February. They are a little bit behind schedule.
And then a succession of elections, parliamentary and presidential. And I
think the contours of those elections, who gets to participate, I think
these are up for grabs at the moment. And something that is being
discussed at the highest levels of the Egyptian government, and it is an
I think when we think about change in Egypt, the timelines now are slightly
more expanded, I think the generals and the military have an idea of a
managed system that incorporates some aspects of democracy, but with
limits. And, of course, the role of the Islamists, particularly the Muslim
Brotherhood and their supporters, is still a question mark. And many of
those leaders are in prison, are getting ready to go on trial. The former
president, Mohammed Morsy`s first trial date is tomorrow. And so how can
one craft an open and inclusive electoral process when a good number of
political leaders are in prison, you know? That`s obviously a tough sell.
KORNACKI: We`re also talking about the popularity at least for the moment
that General Sisi has sort of tapped into, is he somebody who plausibly
could run and win in this election next year?
ABOU-CHEDID: There is a lot of question about if he`s going to run for
president. He keeps saying that he hasn`t. But there is also people who
say until they know for sure he isn`t, they`re not going to throw their
hats in the ring. So people really are kind of stuck on that. But I think
it is important we don`t only focus on elections. Because if we don`t have
an agreement in a country about what happens after elections, what it means
to win an election, it means compromise. It means not getting everything
you want. It means not just majoritarian rule, but respect for the losers
and the minority rights.
That conversation hasn`t been concluded in Egypt. So having another
election is not going to solve the problems that we saw after the first
election. The problem wasn`t that the brotherhood won, it was that in
their view elections ended democracy, it wasn`t the start of democracy.
They didn`t know how to actually govern democratically, and I think that
right now you have an environment that is very us or them. That`s not very
good for democratic rule where you have to compromise and you can`t be
alienating the other as not Egyptian or not part of kind of your society.
So that`s what I really worry about. That we`re going straight to
elections again when elections really wasn`t what caused all of this
upheaval over the last two years.
REID: And there`s the small matter of an election not being durable and
resulting in the military removing the president. There`s that small
matter too, and the disincentive that that might provide for people to
participate in a democratic society.
KORNACKI: And do we have a sense, what does the United States want here.
It`s not our election, but we have interests over there, clearly there is
lots of communication taking place between the United States and the rulers
there right now. Do we have a sense of what outcome the United States
thinks would be in its best interests? The best interests of the
HANNA: We exude a certain sense of ambivalence with respect to Egypt. And
the sort of past dependency of the relationship, the status quo overtakes
reality, often. And so the sort of threshold issue is stability. I mean,
before we can talk about any kind of regional security interests, stability
has to be the foremost concern, and obviously, there is a great deal of
concern about the security situation in Egypt. And so there`s a lot of
worry about where things are headed. And I think an understanding of the
limited role that the United States has in shaping these events.
And this hasn`t been helped, frankly, by the sort of mixed messages that
have been sent and the lack of clarity regarding U.S. policy that I think
not only has Egyptians confused, but frankly, has people here that follow
these issues quite closely, confused. So that lack of clarity, I think,
has been a problem.
I think at the moment the U.S. wants flexibility. The administration wants
to be able to perhaps have a national security waiver in terms of how it
deals with a future Egyptian government. And it doesn`t want to be penned
in. But I think this isn`t a sustainable process. At some point, we`re
either going to have to recalibrate this relationship, and think about the
mix of aid and how it`s delivered. And where we are now, I think, is a
problematic one, and something that I think really needs to have some sort
of conclusion in the near future.
KORNACKI: All right. And we will be looking, too, to see if Bassem
Youssef is back up on the air anytime soon talking to those 30 million
people watching, 40 percent of the country. That`s amazing to think about.
Anyway, what should we know today? We`ll ask our panel and give you answers
right after this.
KORNACKI: All right. It`s time to find out what our guests think we
should know for the week ahead. We`ll start right over here.
HANNA: Watching Secretary Kerry`s visit to the region. He`ll be traveling
to -- he`s starting off in Egypt, but also going to Saudi, the Emirates and
Israel, and a chance, I think, to ease the nerves of some allies who are
concerned about the direction of negotiations with Iran and other regional
issues, like Syria.
KORNACKI: All right. Rebecca?
ABOU-CHEDID: There`s an excellent film by an Egyptian American director
Johan Nuzaim (ph) called "The Square." She`s been filming since the
beginning of the revolution in Egypt. It won the jury prize at Sundance
and you can find out screenings in your city at thesquarefilm.com.
IZADI: Senate is going to vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.
It bars workplace discrimination against people based on gender identity
and sexual orientation. And the thing to know is that this is not already
a law, apparently. There is some polling out that shows a number of
Americans think that this is already illegal.
KORNACKI: They just assume they couldn`t, right. Joy.
REID: A perfect one for Steve. Charlie Crist, lifelong Republican, turned
independent in 2010, will announce his run for governor of Florida as a
Democrat tomorrow. Big question is, does he represent the leading edge of
a reversal of the Reagan Democrat trend? Lifelong conservative Republicans,
exiting the Republican Party, first to become independents, potentially as
Democrats in swing states.
KORNACKI: I`m turning the table, because you`re a Florida expert, put you
on the spot. Do you think Charlie Crist is going to be the next governor
REID: Charlie Crist will be the next governor of Florida.
KORNACKI: OK, take it from Joy, she knows that state. I want to thank
Michael Hanna, Rebecca Abou-Chedid, Elahe Izadi, and Joy Reid. Thanks for
getting up and thank you for joining us.
Coming up next is Melissa Harris-Perry, who will be a contestant on "Up
Against The Clock" next Saturday. Be sure to tune in for that at 8:44ish.
But first today on MHP, an election day preview. What this Tuesday will
tell us about next year. Stick around. Melissa is here next. We`ll see
you next week here on "UP."
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