All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, November 15th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Friday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
November 15, 2013
Guest: Howard Dean, John Nichols, Wendell Potter, Kshama Sawant, Goldie
Taylor, David O`Brien, Dave Zirin
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
Hayes and a very happy Friday.
You might have done a double take if you saw "The New York Times"
front page news analysis today. The paper of record headlining its lead
story online, quote, "Health law rollout stumbles draw parallels to Bush`s
Of course, Obama`s Katrina is such a lame, played out right wing meme
that it was already a "Daily Show" punch line all the back in 2009. Daft,
semantically bankrupt phrase, you hear any time anything goes badly in
America since 2009.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: It`s been called Obama`s Katrina.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this going to be Obama`s Katrina?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama`s Katrina. It`s crazy.
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: It`s like no matter what happens during the
Obama administration, there`s the perfect Bush (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up for
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Could health care be Obama`s Iraq?
HANNITY: Is this as some are suggesting, Barack Obama`s Enron?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unemployment rate from 9 to 11 could be Obama`s
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are we now watching Obama`s mission accomplished
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`ve got their, you now, "heck of a job,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Obama`s my pet goat moment.
STEWART: The crazy part is, it`s conservatives and Republicans that
are in the biggest rush to make the comparisons. Remember that terrible
thing that Bush did that we thought for eight years to convince you wasn`t
bad but actually good?
Well, now we use those very incidents as the low-water mark for your
HAYES: The Katrina comparison specifically deserves a five-second
rebuttal. You do it by showing this handy chart from Media Matters of
deaths in Katrina, compared to those from the Affordable Care Act rollout.
So, no, "New York Times," not Katrina. Obamacare is very much its own
thing. It`s a long brutal battle to make more real the promise of a decent
society for all.
If you`re anything like me, you`ve watched the last several weeks
unfold with a potent mix of rage, frustration and exasperation. I would
confess that as I follow the coverage and immerse myself in the stories
here at the studio every day, I find myself pissed off at just about
I`m angry at a White House that failed to properly implement the
single most important law they`ve ever passed or that anyone has passed in
a generation, that handed their ideological and political enemies
ammunition which they are now gleefully firing off at anything that moves
including stalwart allies and politicians who backed the White House and
vouched for the law with voters.
For those of us on the single-payer left, the entire spectacle is
particularly maddening since many of us spent years noting the drawbacks,
complexities and Rube Goldbergian nature of the entire Romneycare mandate
and subsidies model. Those of us who worried that without a public option,
insurance companies would use the law to manipulate and panic consumers.
Those of us who worried about that but ultimately embraced and celebrated
and rejoice at the ACA as a massive step forward in the long march for
I`m also angry at mainstream media that due of a combination of
gullibility, privilege and sloppiness has managed to elevate the stories of
a very small sliver of the health insurance market into a national panic.
While largely allowing the names and faces and fates of the millions of
poor people who will be denied health care by Republican governors to
remain anonymous and untold.
But most of all, I`m quite simply appalled as I watch a Republican
Party and conservative movement not even pretend to hide their glee and
schadenfreude over problems with the law they have done everything in their
power to sabotage, destroy, and discredit. A law that at its base makes
sure that tens of millions of our fellow citizens are delivered from the
terror and anguish and hardship of a morally bankrupt status quo to a
modicum of security and care.
Jonah Goldberg comes out and says, quote, "If you can`t take some joy,
some modicum of relief and mirth in the unprecedentedly spectacular
beclowning of the president, his administration, its enablers, and to no
small degree, liberals themselves, then you need to ask yourself why you`re
following politics in the first place, because, frankly, this has been one
of the most enjoyable political moments of my lifetime."
I read that, and I thought, what the hell is wrong with you? That`s
why you`re in politics? That`s why you follow it? To point and laugh at
beclowning? To work out some weird adolescent inferiority complex?
I mean, don`t get me wrong. It`s bracing to see conservatives stop
pretending to even care about the plight of the people they were pretending
to care about for expediency`s sake just a short while ago. This is true.
Even conservatives I like, even Philip Klein, a conservative reporter
I like and follow, he tweeted this today, "Great news from Alaska, Parnell
won`t expand Medicaid. This is how it`s done, John Kasich." Great news.
No health care for up to 40,000 poor Alaskans. That is great news for
Those of us committed to a humane future of mutual support and
solidarity and compassion, that is what we are up against.
And, finally, I`m angry at Democratic politicians who are starting to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: It`s really disappointing to all
of us, to the people that we serve, that it hasn`t been rolled out better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The provisions that need to be fixed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many Americans don`t feel well-served.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been frustrated from day one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I will never forget the morning of January 20th, 2010. A
fight for health reform was not over. The House`s more liberal bill still
needed to be reconciled with the Senate`s more conservative version. But
Scott Brown had just declared victory in the race to replace the late Ted
Kennedy. And that cost Democrats their filibuster-proof majority in the
I was walking on Capitol Hill to my office, and here was this horrible
depressing blanket of quiet. It felt like a day of a funeral.
I ran into a member of the progressive caucus from the House and he
was walking on the street, looked like he had been crying, stumbling around
in a daze, and he shook his said and said, well, it`s over, and he walked
What happened next from what I`ve been able to report myself is that
basically Nancy Pelosi met with her caucus and told them to get it
together. That they would pass the law as is, no matter what it took, and
for Democrats tempted to abandon the mission, she and others reminded them
it was too late to distance themselves from the law. Everyone had already
voted for the thing.
The same is true now. There is no separating yourself from this law.
That goes for all of us on the left.
If you think the ACA can go down and leave you unscathed, you are
sorely mistaken. We are all on the same boat.
This law has had near death experiences more times than I can count.
I have covered a dozen of them, and it`s not just bad luck or that the law
is cursed or the people pushing it aren`t good at their jobs. It`s because
Health care is 20 percent of our economy. There are trillions of
dollars on the line, and shareholders and companies and workers and doctors
and medical device manufacturers and hospitals and patients. People,
health care is something every single person used.
And every time in every country, a society has decided to reform the
delivery of it, it has been done against the kicking and screaming and
sabotage and backlash and rage of entrenched interest and reactionaries.
There is a reason almost a century`s worth of presidents and congresses
tried and failed to pass health care reform. There is a reason passing and
maintaining the Affordable Care Act has been so arduous, because it is the
most ambitious piece of social legislation in this country in a generation.
And so, amidst the deserved criticisms and bad press and the
undeserved hysteria and shameful gloating, one thing is clear. The only
path left for those of us committed for health care for is forward. No
retreat, no surrender, no going back. The only way out is through.
This won`t be the last battle. Others will come, and there will be
more after that, and there`s ever, ever going to be some calm, final
equilibrium where everything works and no one is trying to take health care
away. There is only struggle today, tomorrow, forever, because nothing
worth doing ever came without.
Joining me now is former governor of Vermont and former chairman of
the DNC, Howard Dean. And John Nichols, my colleague at "The Nation",
where is Washington correspondent. He`s also co-author of "Dollarocracy:
How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America".
Well, Howard, I`ve been interested to hear your comments as you`ve
been tracking this. What`s your reaction to the news today about the House
getting about 30-plus Democrats to vote for this bill that is going to
allow people to keep their old plans and the president meeting with
insurance executives? How are you seeing all this?
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Pretty much the way you are. A
bunch of Democrats going wobbly and getting nervous. I looked at the list
of people who voted, some of whom I like and some of whom are actually
fairly progressive, but they`re all in tough districts.
So, this is what they do in Washington. Look, my view, Chris, is much
more long-term than this. I, like you, prefer at least a public option,
and I have to say that had we had even just a public option, we wouldn`t be
having this problem because I signed up for Medicare last month and it took
me 10 minutes.
DEAN: We wouldn`t have this problem, but we do. So I agree with you.
This can work. The vote was essentially to go and use the private sector
to expand health care.
The Swiss do it, the Dutch do it. This can work, and it will work.
But the Web site is a problem, and that`s led to other problems.
And I`m just exactly where you are. My folks are saying to the folks
in Washington is get a grip.
DEAN: Sign people up. If you have to do it over the phone or on
paper, do it. And once this gets signed up, once people get signed up,
they`re going to like this plan and this problem is going to be over.
HAYES: John, you and I, I think, are both members of what we might
call the single-payer left. I have seen some rumblings of discontent
saying, well, you know, we said this is going to be complicated. Health
insurance companies are not to be trusted. All of which I agree with.
But I do think it`s important progressives understand we`re bound to
this law. This law is the best shot we have at getting about 30 million to
40 million people health insurance. We`re bound to it. We are bound to
its success or failure.
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, I think you`re right, Chris, in a lot
of levels. You know, there is a humanitarian side to this that we ought to
put up front and center. And that is that this law is about getting health
care to tens of millions of people who don`t have it. And if it is not the
law you or I would have written, that does not mean that we shouldn`t be
engaged with the process of making it work.
Remember, if you really do believe in health care for all, if you
believe in say, a Medicare for all model, you have to understand there are
steps that take you places.
In the 1930s, I would have been in favor of an old-age pension that
guaranteed every person over the age of 65 had, you know, all that they
needed in their senior years. Instead, we got a very limited Social
Security program. But to say that, wow, we should have opposed Social
Security because we could have gotten something better, I don`t think
that`s the way it works.
And one final thing I would say is all of these plans have always,
always been hard to do.
NICHOLS: Social Security was a fight. Medicare, Medicaid was a
fight. The Americans with Disabilities Act, you go back and read the
stories from 20 years ago, and there`s so many similarities with people
saying, oh, this is going to bankrupt everybody. It`s going to be a
crisis. Look where we`re at today.
HAYES: Howard, the other thing I found remarkable watching everything
unfold is you started to see Republicans be like, now, we have to talk
about what our alternatives are. It`s just so patently disingenuous, I
want to pull my hair out.
Your alternative was Romneycare, the thing that we passed. And it
HAYES: -- Lucy and the football, right? I mean, if anyone actually
came around and said, OK, we`re going to pass your thing, then that would
DEAN: Well, the thing about this is so interesting is that the
president`s ratings are at an all-time low, and they`re still 30 points
higher than the Republicans` ratings.
The Republican Party is a negative party. They have no constructive
solutions to talk about. The ones they do talk about are half crazy most
of the time.
And so, they`re not really -- you don`t take them seriously. This
bill that they passed, today, was a joke. All it did was gut the health
insurance. They might as well have just passed for the 47th time a bill
about abolishing Obamacare.
They`re not serious people. Some of them are serious people. They
don`t behave as if they`re serious people and the American people know it.
So, we`re in this on our own to fix it. It ought to be fixed.
DEAN: This tech problem is not anything special. Lots of tech
rollouts get all screwed up, and it`s not a surprise that this one did.
But it can be fixed if people are willing to work hard to do it.
HAYES: Yes. And that, John, that`s part of what is so remarkable
about this particular political circumstance, is that there just is no --
you know, the president said this the other day, in normal times I can get
on the phone to the speaker and say, let`s fix this. You heard a lot of
people make mention of the Medicare Part D expansion, which a lot Democrats
didn`t like it, but worked with the administration to fix it.
There just is no help on the other side, right? I mean, there is
HAYES: There is nothing coming from the other side. There is no
investment in seeing this work.
NICHOLS: Well, it`s more than that. There`s a huge investment in
making it fail.
NICHOLS: The fact of the matter is that hundreds of millions of
dollars have been spent on political campaigns, on messaging, on legal
strategies, all designed to make this Affordable Care Act fail.
And at this point, it`s become not a fight about health care
implementation, and frankly not a fight about Web sites or the access.
Those are things that, as Howard Dean says, can be fixed.
What this is really a fight about is politics. And there is a
political party in the United States that is hugely invested in making this
fail. And they`re certainly not going to blink at this point. The
question is whether the party that`s invested in making it work will blink.
HAYES: I have to say that I just am -- I find myself happy that I to
work every day invested in success rather than failure. I just -- I just
think that in the sort of macro sense of this, in what is good for one`s
soul and one`s outlook, getting people health care, which is at the root of
this whole thing, that is the project. The project has been opposed. And
so, the project has to be seen to its completion by hook or by crook.
Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean --
DEAN: That`s the interesting thing, Chris, that --
DEAN: It`s so fascinating to see this because what it means is
there`s still one party that`s trying to move forward. Maybe we haven`t
got the right solution. Maybe people are upset, but we`re the party that
believes America can do better. The Republicans are the party that
essential are rooting against America, and it`s killing them. They are not
benefiting at all because of our problems.
HAYES: Former DNC chairman Howard Dean and John Nichols from "The
Nation" -- thank you, gentlemen, both.
Coming up --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get a bill from my insurance company telling
me that the ambulance ride was not going to be paid for because it wasn`t
preapproved. I don`t know exactly when I was supposed to pre-approve it,
you know? Like after I gained consciousness in the car, before I got in
the ambulance, or I should have grabbed my cell phone off the street and
called while I was in the ambulance, or -- I mean, it`s just crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What millions of Americans already known about insurance
companies the Obama administration is now finding out. I`ll explain ahead.
HAYES: Today, just 24 hours after announcing his fix to Obamacare,
the president met with the nation`s top insurance company executives at the
White House. But insurance companies didn`t just get attention from the
president today. They also got a nod from the House, in the form of a bill
called the Keep Your Health Plan Act.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bill is passed.
HAYES (voice-over): Today, House Republicans and a few dozen
Democrats passed the Keep Your Health Plan Act. A bill that doesn`t
guarantee you can keep your plan, but does allow insurers to keep offering
plans that aren`t up to ACA standards. And even offer new ones.
REP. FRED UPTON (R), MICHIGAN: The debate today on whether to support
the bill comes down to a very simple question. Why not?
HAYES: It`s an embrace of the status quo that has allowed insurance
companies to sell junk insurance for years, bankrupting millions of
And right now, those companies are celebrating. Talking Points Memo
writes, "The Affordable Care Act was designed to make sure all Americans
had a certain level of insurance." But "TPM" has learned the U.S. health
group is actively telling consumers they don`t need that minimum level.
Company representatives are telling people they`d be better off without it.
In other words, some insurance companies are using the confusion
around Obama care to scam people.
And other insurers are sending letters canceling plans without
explaining to people the full scope of the law. As "The Wall Street
Journal" reported back in September, in Kentucky, Humana disclosed only in
a footnote that policy holders have the option to enroll in rival plans on
the exchanges. Meanwhile, the state of Arizona rejected Aetna`s request to
distribute an advertising brochure because the ad contained, quote,
"several misleading and possibly untruthful statements."
And it continued. In Washington, the state`s insurance commissioner
told "The Wall Street Journal", two insurers neglected to tell consumers
they could switch carriers or shop on the marketplace.
All the cancellations and confusion prompted the president to speak.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hear you loud and
clear. I said that I would do everything we can to fix this problem, and
today, I`m offering an idea that will help do it.
HAYES: Insurers were less than enthusiastic with the fix, and today
in response, they were treated to a meeting with the president.
OBAMA: I appreciate all these folks coming in. We`re going to be
soliciting ideas from them. This is going to be a collaborative process.
We want to get this done.
HAYES: Right now, insurers say they`re willing to work with the
PAT GERAGHTY: There`s a lot of work to be done, but we think we can
reinstate our policyholders.
HAYES: But let`s remember who we`re working with here. It`s the same
industry that privately gave tens of millions of dollars to oppose the
Affordable Care Act. At the same time, they were publicly supporting it.
The bottom line is this, the White House is now in an arranged marriage
with insurance companies, but this latest episode should teach them once
and for all what millions of Americans already know too well -- Insurance
companies are not to be trusted.
HAYES: Joining me now is Wendell Potter, a former head of
communications at the insurance company Cigna and author of the forthcoming
e-book, "Obamacare, What`s In It For Me: What Everyone Needs to Know About
the Affordable Care Act".
Wendell, if you had to guess, there was no press inside the meeting
between the president and health insurance executives. If you had to guess
what was going on in the meeting, what would you say?
WENDELL POTTER, FORMER HEALTH INSURANCE EXECUTIVE: I would say that
the president was saying, look, guys, we have to work together. This law
will help you in the long run. It will help keep you guys in business. So
let`s do something for at least those you serve for a little while. At
least let`s get through this next month.
The problem is, of course, the president felt boxed in to do this
because there was some members of his own party, particularly in the
Senate, but also in the House, who were caving and who were making it
necessary for him to take this step. Plus, his own administration was not
doing such a keen job getting the Web site up and running.
So, unfortunately, the president had to do this. I`m sure he had to
do it and did it very regretfully.
HAYES: Do you think the relationship between -- how would you
describe the change between the relationship between the federal government
and insurance companies before Obamacare and the federal government and
insurance companies now that Obamacare is being implemented?
POTTER: You know, before the Affordable Care Act was passed,
insurance companies really pretty much had their way with members of
Congress. And they clearly still do. Hence, we saw the law -- the bill
that was passed in the House side, which fortunately will go no further
than that, but they have also had a lot of Democrats in their pockets as
well, too. We lost the public option because of that.
They did have to go along with a lot of changes in how they do
business, and it might be a good reminder the reasons why I left my job in
the industry after 20 years, I couldn`t in good conscience keep working for
an industry that was expected to promote junk insurance as real stuff --
POTTER: As real coverage. But at least they have to abide by some
new laws and regulations that will make them a bit more, in fact, quite a
bit more consumer friendly.
HAYES: Here`s, I guess, my question. Do you think the heads of the
major insurance companies in this country have internalized into their
corporate structure, into the way they`re plotting the future for that
industry and for those companies the Affordable Care Act and what it means
and the fact that it is here to stay? Or is there some part of them in the
back of their mind that`s thinking about the exit door, thinking about
pulling the parachute and bailing?
POTTER: Some of them will bail, and here`s why. As long as these
policies are profitable, they`ll stay in it. This is all about making
money. They`re in this to make money.
When their shareholders decide this is not the best way for them to
make money, they will move. They will shift to other subsidiaries of
theirs. And keep in mind: these big corporations have many, many
divisions. And some of them are more profitable than selling health
insurance right now.
I think you`ll see some of the big companies will sooner or later get
out of the business, which will be a good thing. I think they might even
cede the territory to the nonprofits once again. I hope so, anyway.
HAYES: That`s very interesting, because part of the question here,
the broad question about this relationship between the White House and the
insurance industry, which at this point is incredibly inextricably bound to
each other at a basic logistical level, like our computers have to talk to
your computers. We`re doing a lot of things together in cooperation.
One of the questions is, the success of the Affordable Care Act should
mean that industry is less profitable, right?
POTTER: Well, it will. Their profit margins will be squeezed on
basic health insurance. And I think that that`s why we`ll see in my view,
in the years to come, and not so many years, a real change in this
industry, a change that will be to the benefit of the consumer. So, in
that regard, the Affordable Care Act will have a great effect on how we get
coverage in this country.
HAYES: Wendell Potter from the Center for Public Integrity, thank you
so much for your time tonight. I really appreciate it.
Coming up --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good evening. You`re watching King 5 News at
5:00, and we begin with a political shocker in the making.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Socialist challenger Kshama Sawant has just gone
ahead of the incumbent city council member, Richard Conlin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It looks like Seattle, Washington, may have just elected their
first socialist to city council in at least a century, and she`s she`ll be
my guest, next.
HAYES: Socialist has been a scary dirty word in American politics for
a long time. Lately, not so much. A 2011 Pew Survey found 18 to 29-year-
olds have a more positive view of socialism than they do capitalism. And
politicians are learning the word doesn`t pack the same punch it once did.
A certain one-time community organizer has seen the word used against him
pretty much since day one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you think he`s a socialist?
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely.
O`REILLY: You do?
PERRY: Yes, I do.
O`REILLY: A hard-core socialist.
PERRY: I think Barack Obama is a socialist.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: He said it himself, we need to spread
the wealth around. Now --
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is that socialism?
MCCAIN: That`s one of the tenants of socialism.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Because Barack Obama is a
socialist. He believes in socialism, and redistributing wealth.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I will continue fighting to
defeat the president`s agenda of socialism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: America re-elected that socialist. And New York City recently
elected Bill de Blasio mayor by a nearly 50-point margin despite his
opponent attacking him as a democratic socialist. And now, a right wing
New York Post coming out of this subtle cover image on the day before the
election. Now, an actual avowed socialist is on the verge of getting
elected to the city council in Seattle in an upset over a Democrat who`ve
been in office for 16 years. Economic professor and occupy organizer
Kshama Sawant has been declared the winner of the seat by the Seattle Post
Intelligencer, the election votes, "Results have not yet been certified."
Sawant ran on a platform of raising minimum wage to $15. Supports
attacks on millionaires to help fund education and public transportation,
she argues that capitalism, quote, "has failed the 99 percent." If she
holds on, Sawant she will be the first socialist elected to the Seattle
City Council in at least a century.
Kshama Sawant joins me now. I guess my first question for you is, the
word socialist has a very fuzzy meaning, I think, in the year 2013. How do
you understand that word? How should I understand that word when I hear
KSHAMA SAWANT, CANDIDATE FOR SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL: I think we should
think about socialism as a society as a human organization that actually
works for all of humanity. And I think the best way to understand
socialism is to use capitalism as a counter` point because right now, we
have capitalism, and you know, your earlier discussion about health care
shows you how defunct capitalism has proven itself in solving even regular
day to day problems like health care, education, access, transportation,
the poverty rate is going up in the wealthiest country in the world, you
know, in the United States.
Socialism is a way to actually make society work for the vast majority
of people who do all the work, who provide all the productivity, but
capitalism is a problem where because it`s an economic system that makes
sure all the gains from production are consolidated by a very tiny elite at
the top, and everybody else is losing out. There`s a race to the bottom.
That is why the occupy movement came up.
HAYES: Yes, I mean, I think the particular brand of financialized
capitalism we have in America, particularly in the last 40 years since the
1970s, that is absolutely the case for. I guess my question is, what do
you see as in concrete terms, what does the alternative look like? For a
very long time obviously, there were actual countries that called
themselves socialist. Those didn`t go so well. A lot of them are no
longer in existence. When you talk about concretizing this idea, what does
that mean? What is your platform that you`re running on?
SAWANT: The platform that we`re running on, as you mentioned earlier,
you know, fighting for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle. Running on an anti-
austerity platform, so we need a progressive taxation in the state of
Washington. I`m not sure how many of your viewers know Washington has the
most progressive tax system in the entire nation. So, the poorest people,
the middle-class people pay the most, the highest proportion of their
income in taxes. And we have a problem of affordable housing. There is a
crisis of affordable housing in the city. And this city, Seattle, is a
beautiful city. It`s a very wealthy city.
But it is fast becoming unaffordable for the vast majority of people.
And if you look at the absolutely spectacular results of our campaign, it
shows you that this is not a fringe issue. This is something that the vast
majority of people are thinking about. And it`s not just Seattle. Look at
the dysfunction in Washington. You know, 60 percent of people recently
polled showed -- said that the two-party system is not working for them and
they need an alternative.
HAYES: So, how did you actually -- so, given the fact that you were
running as an alternative, you`re running with the labor sources, and
you`re running against a democratic incumbent in a city that is very
heavily democratic, in which the democratic party has lot of power and
control, what kind of campaign did you run? How did you succeed in
apparently unseating this incumbent? What was the campaign like?
SAWANT: Yes, first of all, you`re absolutely right, Chris, that this
is a Democratic Party city. The city is controlled by the Democratic Party
establishment, and that`s much the same in many other cities around the
country, and the most major metropolitan areas, and the way our campaign
was different was that we are truly a grassroots campaign. We did not take
a dime from big business. We did not seek the endorsements of the
Democratic Party establishment.
We ran a truly independent socialist campaign, a pro-worker and pro-
environment campaign, and we were able to raise over $ $120,000 purely
through grassroots contributions and we mobilized a volunteer base of over
350 volunteers. As we speak, there are new volunteers pouring into our
campaign office saying I want to continue helping the effort for $15 an
hour. And I think, that shows you the power of the grassroots, and really,
this is where the secret to social change lies.
HAYES: Kshama Sawant, who is poised to become the first socialist
city council member in Seattle in a century. Thank you so much.
SAWANT: Thank you.
HAYES: We`ll be right back with Click Three.
HAYES: Something happened this week in Atlanta, Georgia, that has the
whole country talking. The new shocked pretty much everyone who lives
there and it`s a giant hustle in the making. I will explain coming up.
The first, Click Three is back, and I want to show you the most three
awesome things on the Internet today. Beginning with the story that will
melt the heart of even the most -- this is Miles. He`s a five-year-old and
battling leukemia. His dream is to battle bad guys just like his favorite
superhero, Batman. So the Bay Area make a wish foundation decided to turn
San Francisco into Gotham City for a day, and Miles` dream became a reality
accompanied by a grown-up version of the caped crusader, Mile hopped in his
very own bat mobile -- with a booster seat. And took to the streets of San
Francisco. Bat kid savored the day on more than one occasion, and he did
not disappoint, foiling the plans of his enemies in the process.
Even a special newspaper was printed to commemorate the day. The
massive outpouring of joy and support for Batkid was proof that as batman
himself says, real heroes make themselves visible every day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Just showed you that it`s full of people ready to
believe in good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The hero`s mission is to unite people and promote the virtue
of being good to one another, Batkid is truly the hero we deserve. The
second awesomest thing on the internet today, I`m buying whatever the NBA
is selling in this holiday ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Turn it up, Katie. That sounds good right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Don`t mess this up.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Dunk that.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Please tell me the camera was on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If you`re already calling fake on this NBA leap stunt, the NBA
is well ahead of you, releasing a huge video showing how the clip was made.
The players were all filmed individually and the six separate shots were
then merged to create the final product. So, yes, a little green-screen
action was involve, and to that, I say so what. It`s clearly the best
basketball commercial since the heyday of air Jordans.
And the third awesomest thing on the internet today, Jean-Claude Van
Damme is not known for his great acting, but he`s remembered worldwide for
his killer splits. Sometimes they were peaceful and sometimes they were
painful, but all of -- in comparison to the one he did for a Volvo
commercial on top of two trucks while they`re moving in reverse,
inexplicably set to Enya (ph).
HAYES: The ad is trying to highlight the Volvo`s position of steering
or something other, but it`s the split by the 53-year-old that everyone is
talking about. Just think about it. Jean-Claude Van Damme finally
performed a split more impressive than he used to punch the other dude in
the junk. You can find all the link for Click Three tonight on our
website, all at ChrisHayes.com. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia being demolished almost ten
years ago. And while the building is long gone, the people of Philadelphia
are still paying for that stadium. The good people of Philly won`t be done
paying for that stadium, which is part of the initial $25,000 million bond
authorized way back in 1964, until sometime next year. And that`s because
the best hustle going in North America today is not selling junk insurance.
It`s not even selling crack in Toronto. The best hustle going in North
America is shaking down a city for money for your sports team. In the most
recent shakedown comes from the Atlanta Braves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We have made the announcement that we intend to
build a new stadium on the intersection on the intersection of I-75 and
285, and our new stadium at that location will be available for opening day
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the deputy
chief operating officer for the city of Atlanta reportedly told the Braves
during a meeting to negotiate a new stadium lease. Quote, "It`s not as if
you could move anywhere." That encounter, which Atlanta City officials
deny, we`re told is what prompted the outreach to nearby Cobb County.
While most teams are building stadiums inside city limits, the Braves are
choosing white suburb over a predominantly block city.
The chairman of the Republican County in Cobb County said the solution
is all about moving cars in and around Cobb from surrounding counties from
our north and east from where most Braves fans travel on and not moving
people into Cobb by rail from Atlanta. Catch his drift. Well, guess what
people in and around Cobb County? Here`s where your tax dollars are going
to go. The new ballpark will cost a total of $672 million. The Atlanta
braves will be responsible for $372 million. All the residents of Cobb
County will be responsible for $300 million plus interest, which is a hefty
chunk of change for a city with an $86 million budget deficit that will
reportedly lead to the loss of 182 teachers. Like I said, the best hustle
Joining me now is Goldie Taylor, contributor to MSNBC and the
Grio.com. David O`Brien, reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution,
and covers the Atlanta Braves, and David Zirin, my colleague at The Nation
where he is sports editor. David O`Brien, how did this whole thing go
down, and did it take people by surprise?
DAVID O`BRIEN, ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: Oh, it took everyone by
surprise. But in this day and age, it was miraculous that they were able
to keep it secret as well as they did, until literally it was announced
that morning. Last week on Monday. You know, there were only, from what I
was told, there were only five or six people in the Braves organization
that were a part, we`re privy to the negotiations, and fewer than that in
Cobb County. So they kept it close to the breast, close to the chest, and
they never -- it never got out. You know, they didn`t take it to the
populous. And they didn`t open it up for debate.
HAYES: Goldie, what has reaction in Atlanta been?
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think the reaction has been
fairly mixed. I mean, I think there`s some angst on behalf of the city of
Atlanta residents who, you know, really looked forward to keeping the
stadium right here, downtown. I think there`s some angst among Cobb County
residents and people who live on the north end of the perimeter in terms of
traffic and transportation issues that already exist at that corner, at
that juncture. And so, I think that there are some concerns on both sides
of the table in terms of financing, in terms of transportation and a number
of other issues, and I think there`s also some excitement among the
populous that they are indeed getting a new stadium. Atlanta loves new
things. You know, and I`m with the mayor on this.
HAYES: That`s part of the problem. That`s exactly why the hustle
works so well. Is because people love new stuff. That is part of the
HAYES: I want talk about why the hustle works and whether we are ever
going to see the end of this particular hustle with Dave Zirin and the rest
of you right after we take this break.
MAYOR KASIM REED (D), ATLANTA: The bottom-line is that the city was
presented with a choice. And that choice was encumbering between $150
million to $250 million in debt. And not having money to do anything else.
So if we bonded $200 million in debt, we would have bonded more than we
have in all of our cash reserves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Read explaining why he refused to be
shaken down by the Atlanta Braves organization and cough-up taxpayer money
to keep them in the City of Atlanta. We`re back.
I`m here with Goldie Taylor, Dave O`Brien and Dave Zirin. Dave Zirin,
why does this hustle work? I mean, it`s one of these things where you
can`t find a single economist professor on the left or right to support it.
You`ve got studies that show that subsidizing stadium actually reduces
income. There is no good ideological practical policy argument for this,
and yet it happens time and time again.
DAVE ZIRIN, THE NATION: That`s right. And it`s because politicians
are bought off and the people in charge are the very one percent. You
know, the owners of the Atlanta Braves, they are called Liberty Media.
They`re worth $26 billion. That means they could find cash between the
cushions of their executive couch and pay for a new stadium. This does not
work. Every economist you talk to, I used to argue this with people on
sports radio. You can`t find someone to debate this with anymore because
it`s like debating whether or not the earth is flat or the sky is green.
And I`ll tell you something, you go through the industrial heartland
of this country, you go on a tour together, you could go to Cleveland,
Milwaukee, Detroit, and what you see in place after place are these
gleaming stadiums and the death of industrial jobs. And I`ll tell you
something, it connects to why your previous guest, Kshama Sawant was able
to, at the socialist be elected to the city council of Seattle. Because
Seattle residents were sold the stadium cool-aide and what they got for
were low-income jobs and gentrification.
HAYES: And then they lost their team after all that. And Dave
O`Brien, I want to ask about the politics of this, also. I mean, the mayor
refused to be shook down, essentially. And I`m curious how this is playing
right now politically. Like what -- is he facing, because Dave aren`t just
said, well, you know, this is about the one percent, which I it`s partly
true. But also, there`s a lot of people who seem to want to pay for new
stadiums, despite the fact that I can`t imagine why.
O`BRIEN: Well, it should be noted that Kasim Reed just was part --
was trumping the Atlanta Falcons` push for a new stadium, which is going to
cost at least $1.2 billion.
O`BRIEN: That price tag is rising all the time. And they have
allocated $200 million of tax money for that. So it`s not as if he`s
standing up against the man here. You know, and refusing to contribute.
HAYES: Yes. That Falcons stadium is one of the biggest boondoggles
that`s going in the stadium hustle anywhere, right, Goldie?
TAYLOR: Yes, but it`s also a very different deal, and where those
revenues are coming from, and what would have happened with the Braves is
that taxpayers would have had to foot the bill for that rather than pay for
some infrastructure -- desperately need. The deal with the Falcons is done
in a very, very different way. And so I think, this put them both
together. The fact of the matter is, the sprawl that`s happening in
Atlanta. You know, Atlanta really is more than just a city. It`s a ten-
county metro area.
So, the notion that this stadium is moving out of Atlanta really is a
little bit of a misnomer. It`s going about 10 or 12 miles to the north. I
think the problem here is that you`re leaving a hole in downtown Atlanta.
What the mayor has said is he`s going to turn this into an opportunity.
He`s going to develop that area so that he can bring middle-income people
back into the center of the city. I think this is a challenge and also an
HAYES: There`s some subtext. I get what you`re saying and I have
been to Atlanta a number of times. You know, the sort of stark dividing
line between what is in the city and what is out of the city, it doesn`t
quite apply in this case. But there is something, there`s a sort of -- it
does seem to me, and maybe I`m reading into this something that isn`t
there. There`s a little bit of a racial subtext it seems to me, moving
from a city --
Dave, make the case that there is. And Goldie, I`ll let you say that
TAYLOR: Yes. But the area that they`re moving to is Marietta, which
is fairly diverse I`ve got to tell you.
ZIRIN: This is the first time in 40 years that a baseball stadium has
moved from the city to the suburbs. They`re releasing whole maps online
that show that their fan basis suburban. I mean, seriously, it doesn`t
take Bull Conner to figure out the messaging here.
HAYES: Well, but also part of the problem here, Goldie, is that they
also released a map showing that most of its ticket holders come from the
TAYLOR: Let me tell you something --
HAYES: Yes, Goldie.
TAYLOR: Well, let me tell you something about how this all works.
You know, to get into major league baseball, major league baseball is
increasingly more brown. They`re recruiting more and more Hispanic
players. You`re going to get fewer black people in the grand stands if
we`re not on the field. There`s no Willie Mays, there`s no -- there`s not
Terry Pendleton out there. And so the fans are going to reflect what they
see on the field. And you got more and more whites in Northern -- of
Atlanta buying the tickets in fact. Yes, the baseball team went there. I
think that, you know, to say this is a black/white issue, really goes to
the heart of what major league baseball is and what it`s becoming.
HAYES: This is a great point actually.
O`BRIEN: You know, that`s not particularly accurate when it comes to
the Braves. They have an all-black outfield with the Upton Brothers and
Jason Heyward. They have -- you know, at we`re forgetting here is that the
ZIRIN: That is true.
TAYLOR: I also know the Braves are trying to get more and more black
audiences that they have.
ZIRIN: The city has developed the area around Turner Field in the
last 18, 19 years since the Olympics happened. If they had developed the
area, the team would probably not be moving. There`s nothing there.
HAYES: I have walked around that area and it is sort of shocking.
It`s kind of husk remnants of the Olympics.
TAYLOR: Tell me about it, I live there.
HAYES: MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor, David O`Brien from the
Atlanta Journal Constitution, Dave Zirin from The Nation, that is ALL IN
for this evening.
The "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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