ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
December 13, 2013
Guest: Josh Barro, Jeffrey Sachs, Chris Murphy, Nancy Giles, John
McWhorter, Jordan Carlos
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
And one of the biggest stars of the North Carolina Republican Party is
in very hot water tonight. After an interview he gave to "Politico", Thom
Tillis, North Carolina`s Republican speaker of the house, is the
establishment back candidate to take on Democratic incumbent, Senator Kay
Hagan in her quest for re-election.
Next year, Tillis told "Politico" that he thinks, quote, "For the most
part, what I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining
coming from losers."
North Carolina has perhaps the most aggressive right wing government
in America, thanks to a Republican governor, statehouse and senate that
have run through a voter ID law that prompted the Justice Department
lawsuit, passed and signed a law, a restrictive antiabortion bill, passed a
tax plan redistributing wealth to the rich, and cut education by half a
Hard right shift sparked a movement called Moral Mondays in which the
people he deems losers made their opposition known on a weekly basis. It
has also led to a collapse in the arrival rating of Pat McCrory and the GOP
controlled state legislature while providing a boost Democratic Kay Hagan
in her quest for re-election to the Senate.
But this is a story that is about more than just one North Carolina`s
intemperate comments because the attitude embedded in these comments
extends far beyond his state`s borders.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are 47 percent
of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right,
there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government,
who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a
responsibility to care for them, who believe they`re entitled to health
care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That`s an entitlement and the
government should give it to them.
HAYES (voice-over): To many, that was the moment that lost Mitt
Romney the 2012 election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damage control. Mitt Romney fighting back over
that secretly recorded videotape and what he said about the 47 percent.
HAYES: And if it wasn`t that gaffe that cost Mitt Romney the
election, the belief that the country is divided into virtuous, productive
maker, up against the lazy, vicious takers and that`s where Romney`s
running mate comes in.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Right now, about 60 percent of the
American people get more benefits in dollar amount from the government than
they paid back in taxes.
We`re coming to a country getting more takers than makers in America.
We can become a society where the net majority of American are takers, not
makers. We can quickly become a country of takers versus makers. A
majority of takers versus makers. Takers versus makers.
We are on this ticking point where more and more are becoming takers
and makers in America. It`s a function of a tipping point of more and more
people becoming takers versus makers in America.
HAYES: But those weren`t just slip ups. Those were the two most
powerful Republicans at the time expressing what has become the central
tenant of modern conservatism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re throwing the handouts out
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically two classes, victims, that is taxpayers,
productive people. And parasites.
NEAL BOORTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The moocher class out there.
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: There are 50 percent of the voting public
who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things.
HAYES: Remember, the rant that launched the Tea Party that gave us
our current political mess wasn`t about big banks or government waste. It
was about foreclosure victims.
RICK SANTELLI, CNBC: The government is promoting bad behavior.
HAYES: The battle hymn of the Tea Party movement was specifically
about the government bailing out the, quote, "losers".
SANTELLI: How about this, president and new administration? Why
don`t you put up a Web site to have people vote on the Internet as a
referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the loser`s mortgages.
HAYES: But you see, the conservative movement is strongest
politically when it manages to convince average working Americans that it`s
actually on their side.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The biggest divide we have in this country
is between entrenched politicians in Washington of both parties -- and the
HAYES: Conservatism is at its most effective at its most populous,
but during the Obama era, we`ve seen a movement increasingly convinced that
it might not be on the side of a majority of Americans. That maybe, just
maybe, it represents a dwindling minority of hard working Americans against
a sea of lazy, welfare seeking masses.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Mr. President, I don`t oppose your
plan because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I
want to protect my neighbors -- hard working middle class Americans who
don`t need us to come up with a plan to grow the government. They need a
plan to grow the middle class.
HAYES: And the contempt and cruelty of this message has real policy
implications. Like kicking 1.3 million people off of unemployment
insurance for no reason. Rejecting the Medicaid expansion, denying health
insurance to nearly 5 million people just out of spite. Cutting $40
billion from the food stamp program, kicking an estimated 5 million people
including children, elderly, disabled and working people off the program
without skipping a beat.
The modern Republican Party is one that is convinced in its deep, dark
heart, that it does not represent the majority of Americans. And its
quickly becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.
HAYES: Joining me now is Josh Barro, politics editor for "Business
Josh, I really think there is a real specter of 47 percentism that
continues to haunt the Republican Party. We`re seeing it play out and I do
think it`s wrong and cruel, but I think its emanations are just disastrous
JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: Well, yes. I mean, the flipside
implication of the 47 percent speech is that the most share of the vote
Republicans could ever hope to get is 53 percent.
BARRO: You can kiss landslides good-bye I you decided that nearly
half the population is against you and if you really think there`s no
possible way to sell your ideology to just more than barely half the
country, you have to think about is it really the people of the country
have gone to hell and that they are wrong and so you`re just have to fight
back against them, or maybe is it that you`re proposing something wrong
because it`s impossible for you at any election cycle to come up with a
broad majority of the electorate to be on your side.
HAYES: You know, I think -- I remember encountering this during the
wilderness years of the Bush administration, where being on the wrong side
of who`s in power can precipitate a dark, inward turn in which you
basically want to kind of write off large sections of the population, and
you think they`re just you know, war thirsty, you know, sheeple who are
kind of mindlessly following and that`s a really counterproductive position
for a political party to take.
Because ultimately, in a democracy, you have to come to people where
they are and I think that I really have seen a change in the last eight
years in the kind of ear of the Republicans in talking to Americans where
they are, particularly around economic dislocation.
BARRO: But I think these things change and they change because they
have to change. When you have a two-party system, the incentives are to
try to win elections, and you lose enough of them, you eventually figure
out what I need to do to change substantively to win.
I think you saw that with the Democrats. There was this period as you
say during the Bush administration when it looked like they were doomed,
and they lost connection with public on foreign policy, and then the screw
turned and, you know --
HAYES: Because it turned out they were right on the biggest
BARRO: Right. Or -- so that`s one way that things can come around
and maybe Republicans are hoping that`s what`s going to happen, a few more
years of Democratic governance and people will wake up and realize that
they`ve been sold a bill of goods, or you get what happened in the 1930s.
You had the New Deal and Republicans hated it and hated it and run election
after election against it and they realized they were going to keep losing.
And then, eventually, you had to have Dwight Eisenhower basically come
in and say the party has to change and accept Social Security in order to
win and they did that. And then they got back to being competitive with
the Democrats again.
HAYES: Right. Basically, the turn that has to be made and I think
Obamacare is the key issue on this, right? The turn that has to be made or
will eventually have to be made is essentially embracing this new aspect of
the welfare state.
BARRO: Well, I think there are two things. I think, one, it`s not
just about Obamacare. It`s about recognizing the fact that you`ve had this
growing income inequality over three decades. And so, economic policy
prescriptions that were right in 1980 are no longer correct today. But
there`s been a shift in economic circumstances over the last few years
that`s just been very unfavorable to the Republicans agenda. There`s talk
about makers versus takers is about the idea that when you gave out
generous government benefits, it discourages people from working and
Now, you can argue about that prescription in times of full employment
and a strong economy, but it`s just totally incorrect in a situation where
you have unemployment in a range of 8 to 10 percent or even now, when we
have nearly three job seekers for every job that`s opened. Their economic
prescription is just so wrong.
Now, eventually, I expect we`ll get back to a full employment
situation and there won`t be this great imbalance between Republicans and
Democrats on whose economic prescriptions are better than the others.
But at the pace the economy is improving, it could be that large
number of years --
HAYES: But there also, the other aspect and when you talk about this
gentleman in North Carolina talking about losers and whining, right, is it
there`s also -- there`s a kind of a contempt. You don`t want to --
contempt is a very dangerous thing to show in politics. Contempt is
something you want to like martial very specifically and very carefully and
kind of husband. It`s not something you want to be spouting about.
And you see these emanations of contempt often and I think that
contempt is -- it gives a terrible message to people.
BARRO: I think so, and it`s especially problematic now, in a time of
economic distress --
HAYES: Exactly. Right.
BARRO: -- to show contempt for people experiencing economic distress.
HAYES: Exactly, because the idea is what is your theory of the case?
Did American people suddenly get much lazier? Did they suddenly get much
less willing to work, or was there a massive crisis that has destroyed the
Josh Barro from "Business Insider" --
BARRO: Thank you.
HAYES: -- thank you.
All right. Joining me now is Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth
Institute and professor at Columbia Institute. He`s also author of "The
End of Poverty", which sounds promising, economic possibilities for our
First of all, on the question of makers/takers, is that a useful
economic framework to be thinking in?
JEFFREY SACHS, EARTH INSTITUTE: It`s a very crude one and a very
cruel one as well. We`re all takers by the way when we`re young.
HAYES: Right. That`s a good point.
SACHS: And we`re all takers when we`re old, also, and when we need
help and many times of our life, we`re takers and we`re also makers. And
so, the idea that somehow society is divided is a very cruel idea and a
very unhelpful one because people need help at certain times.
A child living in a very poor family, is that a taker or a child that
needs help to get decent nutrition, decent health care, a decent chance to
get an education. We never had that kind of harsh attitude towards people
in need before and it certainly isn`t part of our values and I don`t think
it`s part of America`s values by and large. This is really a -- I believe,
a small, very rather vicious minority.
HAYES: You know, there`s two kinds of ways to talk about say
marshaling argument against extending emergency unemployment insurance.
One way marshaling argument is it will be self-defeating because it will
keep people out of the labor market and end up hurting the people you want
to help. And I`ve seen some Republicans make that argument.
I actually don`t think the data bears that out at all. You`re the
economist, you can tell me.
SACHS: I agree with you.
HAYES: OK, good. We`re on the same page on it. The other argument
is fundamentally a moral one, is that these people are undeserving of the
help, right? That fundamentally, they deserve to be where they were and if
they wanted to get up off their keisters and get a job, they could. And I
feel like actually, that`s really what`s animating a lot of our politics.
SACHS: Although I think the moral argument, of course, is the
ultimate issue, is it`s a moral one and these people need help, and that`s
the basic point. I was in the Vatican last week, the pope has made this
wonderful statement about the need for more mercy in this world -- more
decency, the whole world`s watching.
Some of the things he said, I brought this statement that people
aren`t looking and he talks about the globalization of indifference.
Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling
compassion at the outcry of the poor. I think that`s the deeper point
right now, which is that there is a kind of neglect to just people being
thrown away, but most Americans are not like that. And I think that this
is why it`s not playing, why it`s not winning.
And now, Chris, we have to acknowledge the fact that it`s been 30
years of this and the truth is that since Ronald Reagan, there has been a
dominant trend of cutting back, cutting back, cutting back. We`re not done
with that yet. We are a little bit aghast when we see that rhetoric and we
should be, and this is certainly not our moral feeling. But we haven`t
changed direction yet.
HAYES: Well, and here`s something I want to sort of say to turn the
conversation around because I think we all have an embedded -- even
liberals, well, you can`t just do something like say, write people checks
and actually, it turns out you can just write people checks.
In Brazil, there`s a program called (INAUDIBLE) in which they have
been essentially cutting checks from the government. There`s basically two
conditions for poor families. They have to take their kids to check-ups
and they`ve got to take to school, and that`s it.
And you know what? It doesn`t kill people`s incentives to work. What
it has done is lift a lot of people out of poverty.
SACHS: Of course, it enables kids to go to school, keeps them
healthy. It makes the society more productive. And the idea that you just
throw away the bottom quarter or the bottom third or maybe the bottom half
because so many people are suffering of society and think you have a great
country, this is absolutely absurd.
The idea is to help make everybody productive and for that, you have
to take some sense that if people are down and out, they need at least that
hand up to get back into the game and not be excluded from the economy.
And this is a basic idea that we used to have in this country. This
was a common and correct idea for decades. It went away, but it is the
prevailing idea in most of the world.
HAYES: In people`s hearts and most of the world -- I think in
people`s hearts in this country, too.
Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University -- thank you very much.
SACHS: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, a shocking scene of utter chaos and madness on the
Senate floor today.
Or well, not so much. We will explain why the doomsayers about the
Senate gone mad were wrong, ahead.
HAYES: All right. Quick game Iners, how many truly diverse primetime
network television shows can you think of off the cuff? I get "Scandal"
and, well, it gets a lot harder after that. Later in the show, we`ll be
talking about the unbearable likeness of television.
Right now, I want to ask you a question. How do you think greater
diversity on TV would have on impact on what kind of society we have?
Tweet your answers @allilnwithchris, or post at Facebook.com/allinchris.
I`ll share a couple at the end of the show.
So, stay tuned.
HAYES: The Senate adjourned today without passing the budget deal
that just sailed through the House. The deal is now expected to be taken
up on Tuesday. And that`s not to say the Senate hasn`t been productive.
You will recall just a few days ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
pushed the button on the nuclear option, getting rid of the filibuster for
executive nominees, and non-Supreme Court judicial nominees. And Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened to let loose the gates of hell.
So, over the last few days, Republicans have used procedural quirks to
drag things out, forcing the Senate to go through a couple of all-night
sessions in one giant anticlimactic yawn. But today, Majority Reid took to
the floor to say that he and McConnell had a productive discussion, there
was an agreement on how to spend to the rest of the Senate`s business
before it adjourns next week.
Meanwhile, here`s what the Senate has gotten done since the nuclear
option was invoked. On Tuesday, it confirmed Judge Patricia Millett of
U.S. court of appeals for the District of Columbia, and Melvin Watt as the
next head of the very, very important and powerful Federal Housing Finance
On Wednesday, it confirmed five judges and two other administrative
Today, the Senate confirmed Heather Higginbottom as deputy secretary
of state for management and resources by an overwhelming 74-17 vote, and
Deborah James as Air Force secretary by a 79-6 vote.
Senate is likely to vote on more nominees next week, which would
include the rest of the D.C. appeals court, Janet Yellen`s nomination as
the new Fed chair, Jeh Johnson`s nomination as homeland security secretary,
and Ann Patterson`s State Department nomination.
So, that is what our new post nuclear holocaust waste land looks like.
A Senate that can get through nominations through relatively
noncontroversial nominations to the executive branch and to the judiciary
despite the continued warnings as recently as this afternoon of payback.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Also would like to point out to my
colleagues, particularly those who are new who really drove this change in
the Senate rules and I want to tell you this -- I`ve been here long enough
that what goes around comes around. And what goes around will come around
and to their deep regret some day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from
So, Senator, dire warnings that everything would grind to a halt, the
body would never be the same, you will live to regret this.
How are you feeling two weeks after the nuclear option has been
triggered and you guys got a lot of stuff done the last few days?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Yes, we stayed in session
overnight and I had to preside late at night. So, I`m a little tired, but
that`s about it. It`s been a temporary inconvenience.
And, you know, guess what? There`s no outrage out on the street about
this because people are pretty used to majority votes, right? It`s how the
PTA decides what to sell at bake sales, how my family decides whether to
have pepperoni or plain, right?
So, supermajorities are the creature of the United States Senate, one
that really is a fairly new development in terms of the frequency that they
have been used. And so, the reason why outrage is kind of exclusive to a
handful of Republican senators is that out there, there is a collective
yawn that a majority is actually what is now taken to rule in the United
HAYES: Are you surprised at all by some of the noises you`ve been
hearing to some of your Republican colleagues about the Paul Ryan/Patty
Murray budget deal? From the House, we saw this shocking margin.
I mean, I don`t think anyone expected necessarily that it would pass
by the number of votes, only 94 votes against, only 60-something
Republicans against. But we`re hearing people like John Cornyn, Lindsey
Graham, Jeff Sessions, a whole bunch of people, of your Senate Republican
colleagues say they`re not going to vote for it, they`re opposed to it
(ph). Is that surprising to you?
MURPHY: I don`t think it`s surprising in the sense that this is a new
reflex for the Republicans to be for a budget. So, I think it`s a little
difficult for them all of a sudden for an entity as something that they`ve
traditionally been voting against. And, of course, a lot of these guys do
have either immediate or potential right wing primaries. This is still
going to be an issue in a lot of those races.
But overall, I think a lot of us were surprised to see that big margin
in the House. Paul Ryan carries a lot of weight in that caucus and I think
there`s a big part of him that saw it as a personal embarrassment as
chairman of the Budget Committee, he wasn`t able to deliver a product. In
the end, this thing goes going to pass, I`m confident of it, because
Republicans in the Senate understand that they can`t be seen as more
radical than Republicans in the House.
HAYES: Right. And they also can`t -- I mean, my sense is that if
nothing else, the sort of free vote for them to take is to vote against it
once it clears filibuster. But the filibuster is the thing you get to know
to shutdown and know (INAUDIBLE) at this point, I think.
MURPHY: Yes. And I don`t know how many Democrats will be there. But,
virtually, all the Democrats will be there. You only need a handful of
Republicans. This thing`s going to pass. They know they can`t own the
shutdown of the government in January. The story will play out the exact
same way. I don`t know how we`ll get there, but we`ll get there.
HAYES: You`re in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I have
to say -- I`m not just saying this because you`re here. I think you`ve
been one of the more kind of finely calibrated, thoughtful spokespeople on
American foreign policy, critics of it, and also talking about where we are
in the world.
I want to ask you ask a question about this insane "A.P." story, about
a man named by Robert Levinson, who is an American who we do not know his
whereabouts. He disappeared, in an island of Kish, near Iran. It`s
believed he`s taken by the Iranians. A new story showing up, this was a
horribly bungled CIA operation.
Does this complicate the picture of where we are with negotiations
with Iran? What do you make of this story?
MURPHY: Well, I don`t think there`s any chance that the Iranians
haven`t known who this guy is for a fairly long time. So, they came to the
table on these negotiations, knowing who he was and possibly knowing where
he is. And we are going to take a little while to figure out the true
But no, I think the bottom line is it doesn`t complicate our
negotiations. But here`s what it does reaffirm -- it reaffirms that our
surveillance and espionage programs are covert operations around the globe
have become out of control. We are now fighting wars in a covert manner
that we used to do overtly. We clearly have surveillance programs that we
can`t defend any longer and we have to have an open conversation in this
country about the scope of covert operations and the inability of Congress
to oversee it and the fact that all these things we do in secret don`t
actually end up being very secret.
You`ve got to have cost benefit analysis that say, let`s assume that
somebody finds out about this spy, let`s assume somebody finds out that
we`re tapping a world leader`s phone, is it worth it?
HAYES: Right. Speaking of things that can`t be held in secret, there
was a drone strike in Yemen yesterday. It appears to have killed a wedding
convoy. It appears at the reportings suggests it was targeted at a group
of al Qaeda associated militants who were in that wedding convoy. The
numbers ranging from 11 to 17 dead, but the most I`ve seen from the
reporting is five of those were al Qaeda militants. So we can assume
number of civilians just in a wedding convoy.
The irony to me here is that this comes on heels of an attack on
Yemeni government installations by al Qaeda militants who said attack was
in retribution for drone strikes.
HAYES: This seems like madness to me. How does this -- is this
helping, is this doing anything other than moving our hands as Americans
very, very bloody indeed?
MURPHY: Yes, and it`s not just Yemen, right? It`s 10 years of drone
strikes in Pakistan that have made that part of the world more dangerous
for the United States. And for an ally which possesses a nuclear weapon.
I understand the world that we live in and I`m not somebody who says
that there are no circumstances in which you are going to have to take out
a very bad guy from the air.
But, clearly, but when you`ve done this through the CIA rather than a
more open process, things have gone badly wrong. And, you know, my
opposition to intervention in Syria, my hope for a diplomatic solution in
Iran is due to the fact we need to understand that a blunt instrument of
military power, whether it`s with invasions or with attacks from the sky
just doesn`t work well in the information age in which people can turn what
we`re trying to do we think for good into an avenue to recruit jihadists
against us very quickly.
HAYES: Senator, you`re in our studio tonight because you were on your
way from Washington, D.C. to Newtown, Connecticut. That`s a place you
represented in the United States House of Representatives. You`ll be
attending a memorial tomorrow, on the Newtown shootings. I want to ask you
what you are going to tell your constituents tomorrow about what Washington
has failed to do in the year intervening right after we take this break.
HAYES: An awful, gripping but chillingly familiar scene today.
Students filing out of a school after a shooting, in a Denver, Colorado
suburb, approximately eight miles from Columbine High School.
Approximately 12:33 local time, a shooter entered Arapahoe High School with
a shotgun, asked for teacher identified by name. He shot two students,
according to Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson. One student is in
serious condition. The other had a minor gunshot wound. Both are
hospitalized. The shooter killed himself, it appears.
This comes a day before the nation is set to mark the one-year
anniversary of the school shooting in Newtown Elementary.
I`m back here with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, who represented
Newtown in the House for three terms and will be attending the memorial
I imagine that there`s a certain amount of emotional girding that
everybody in that area has to do for tomorrow. What can you tell your
constituents about what Washington has done or failed to do in the year
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: It`s going to be a very small
private service tomorrow. Newtown is just exhausted.
MURPHY: They really have no reason to have a big public ceremony.
Listen, that`s a lot of things to tell them, but I think I`m going to
tell them that we were wrong; we were wrong in that we thought Newtown
changed everything. It changed public opinion. I don`t think public
opinion is ever going back to being agnostic as to whether we need to
change gun laws.
But it didn`t change Congress. And what I have become convinced of
over time is that our mission now is to build up a national political
infrastructure around an issue that enjoys 70-80 percent of support across
America, so that we win this fight in the long term.
And I frankly think the families of Newtown are with me on that
because they didn`t turn into advocates for four months. They turned into
advocates for the rest of their life. And so they`re willing to put in the
time that it takes to honor these kids` memories.
HAYES: How do you relate to folks who have gone through something
like that as a politician? In some ways, it`s impossible, right? It`s
impossible to put yourself in their shoes. It`s impossible to be
emotionally present and large enough to encompass that magnitude of grief
and yet at some level, you do represent them. Like, you have some
correction to them.
MURPHY: Yes, I have different levels of connection.
I`m their age. I have two little kids at home. My oldest is about
the same age of the kids who died. I was there at the firehouse as they
were told that their kids weren`t coming back. And I guess here`s the
strange thing for me. I have never been emotionally disconnected from
issues, but, strangely, what those families think about the job that I`m
doing, how they think about the job that I`m doing matters more than almost
And to be so directly connected to how a small group of people think
about your job performance is unique. I talk to them all the time. They,
I think, appreciate the level of advocacy they have had, even if it hasn`t
resulted in a bill yet. But that`s a very peculiar situation to be in..
HAYES: You ever have a moment in this past year on the gun issue
where it was like, whoa, this, this -- the people on the other side of this
are not kidding around? Like, I didn`t even realize. Like, yes, people
say the NRA, the NRA this, and then you see it up close. And was it
surprising to you?
MURPHY: Yes, one moment.
I remember exactly where I was. I was walking out of Grace
McDonnell`s funeral, and I saw the NRA`s statement that they gave that
following Friday, in which their response was not one of contrition, barely
one of remorse. They basically said the way to solve this is to put more
guns in our school. And that was a wakeup call.
I thought that that press conference that Wayne LaPierre was going to
have was at least going to have a few suggestions that would be in line
with what the families were talking about. And I knew that day that we
were in for a different kind of fight.
And what you discover over time is that the NRA has fundamentally
changed. They now have a business model with the industry that involves a
paranoia about government, that involves selling a large number of guns to
a small number of people. And so, over time, I have understood why the NRA
came out the way that they did a week later, but I was shocked that Friday.
HAYES: I think we all were shocked. We all watched that Wayne
LaPierre press conference and couldn`t -- really couldn`t believe what we
But it only makes sense when you understand two facts about gun
ownership in the country. The percentage of households with guns is
declining and the number of guns in the country is going up.
HAYES: That`s more guns in fewer hands.
MURPHY: What is more shocking, though, is that it worked, right?
MURPHY: Because we all watched that.
HAYES: And that`s a great point. Oh, this is huge disaster.
MURPHY: What a mistake. How could he say this? Everybody
understands that this isn`t the way to go.
And yet, over time, the operation that they have built is significant.
And, unfortunately, amongst some of my colleagues on the Democratic side
and certainly amongst Republicans, that NRA stamp of approval has become
some sort of strange proxy for conservative credentials. That`s something
we can solve ultimately. There are other ways for people to prove that
they`re conservatives. We will win this fight, but we need to be able to
give cover to people that vote the right way.
HAYES: Senator Chris Murphy, it`s always a pleasure. Thank you for
HAYES: Thanks. We appreciate it.
All right, "Click 3" is next.
HAYES: All right, because it`s Friday night, we have whipped up a
very special pop culture segment for you featuring one of the most popular
shows on TV right now, "Scandal." We`re also going to talk about "Saturday
Night Live" and Beyonce. You do not want to miss this.
First, I want to show you the three awesomest on the Internet today.
We begin with a tribute to the songs to 2013 reduced to one handy-
dandy minute. According to his YouTube channel, Chad Neat (ph) puts out a
one-minute mash-up popular music on the first Monday of every month. This
month, Chad reduced the 20 most overplayed songs of 2013 down to 60
exciting seconds. And it is outstanding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Definitely check out the rest of the stuff on Chad`s YouTube
channel. It is really, really great.
The second awesomest thing comes to us from Mexico, because "Click 3"
believes it`s always interesting to learn how government works in other
You have Congressman Antonio Garcia Conejo of the Democratic
Revolution Party making a speech about a new energy bill under debate in
the assembly. See, kids, Congressman Conejo is against the bill, which is
why he has just taken off his pants there, the strip-tease filibuster to
try to hold up debate on the law, which would allow foreign private energy
companies to drill for oil and gas in Mexico for the first time.
It`s a demonstration of how it would be stripping the nation. Get it?
Hey, it`s a better reason that Ted Cruz had. And he didn`t read "Green
Eggs and Ham." In the end, despite Conejo`s heroic stand, the bills passed
with a sweeping majority. On the bright side, I bet that photographer got
himself a few keepers.
The third awesomest thing on the Internet today comes from the queen
bee. The revelation of Beyonce`s double secret album dropped last night,
generated over 1.2 million tweets in a 12-hour span. In fact, one of my
show`s producers was actually on Twitter when the album dropped, and she
said it was great.
For some on Twitter, last night was a religious experience, like this
fan who said, "I would like to thank not only God, but also Jesus for
letting Beyonce, his only daughter, come down to earth."
For others last night, it was downright fertile. The Web site Jezebel
collected all of the pregnancy tweets that resulted from Beyonce`s
surprise. Some users predicted the phenomenon. "These Beyonce videos are
going to get somebody pregnant." Others were suspicious. "I think I`m
getting pregnant just listening to this Beyonce album" and "Beyonce trying
to get me pregnant."
Others didn`t even need a test. "Beyonce got me pregnant." "Oh, I`m
pregnant with Beyonce`s baby." "I`m pregnant. You the daddy, Beyonce."
You see a bunch of Sasha Fierce-looking children in nine months, you
heard it here first, although according to Tracy Morgan, there`s one other
celebrity with Beyonce-like powers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRACY MORGAN, ACTOR: You smell good, Holmes. What you got on? You
got on some good stuff, man.
Girls love you, man.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MORGAN: You`re a man, man. You can get anything pregnant.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You can find all the links for tonight`s "Click 3" on our Web
HAYES: One of the most popular network shows on the planet now is
ABC`s "Scandal." It`s a show that stars a black woman playing a character
who is having an affair with a white man who just happens to be president
of the United States.
And close to 10 million people watched last night`s fall finale, which
was, by the way, amazing. It`s both a premise and a following that would
have been all but inconceivable on prime-time network television 20 years
ago, even 10 years ago.
It`s a show created by a black woman, Shonda Rhimes, starring a black
woman, Kerry Washington, and it is a legitimate pop cultural sensation and
the first network TV drama with a black woman as the lead since -- get this
-- "Get Christie Love!" back in 1974.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: What makes someone like you become a cop?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I will tell you, you tell me. What makes
somebody like you become a tramp?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Thirty-nine years later, we have a black man in the White House, but a
black lead character in a prime-time TV landscape that remains
frustratingly white is still the exception.
While daytime TV has become fairly diverse, from Queen Latifah to
Michael Strahan, Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, the network
executives of prime time seem to be less committed to recruiting black
talent. Of the 14 scripted shows that landed in the top 25 in last week`s
prime-time ratings, with a coveted 18-49 demographic, just a smattering of
black characters, mostly in ensemble casts.
And Kerry Washington`s Olivia Pope is really the only black lead, even
though, as "Scandal" has shown, prime-time diversity is a good business
model. A study out of UCLA looked at more than 1,000 shows on more than 60
cable and broadcast networks and found that more viewers were drawn to
shows with ethnically diverse lead cast members and writers, while shows
with less diversity attracted smaller audiences, which may be part of the
reason why "Saturday Night Live" facing criticism for the absence of a
black woman in the cast is finally getting around to filling in that gap.
The show`s creator, Lorne Michaels, reportedly holding a special
audition Monday night on the "SNL" stage for seven or eight candidates.
And as many as two performers could potentially be considered to join the
show next month.
A step in the right direction, considering "SNL" has had only four
black women as regular cast members in its 38 years, and none since Maya
Rudolph left the show in 2007. If all goes well, maybe next time Kerry
Washington of "Scandal" fame hosts, she won`t have to do a sketch like
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The producers at "Saturday Night Live" would like
to apologize for the number of black women she will be asked to play.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We made these requests only because Ms.
Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent and also because
"SNL" does not currently have a black woman in the cast.
As for the latter reason, we agree that this is not an ideal
situation, and look forward to rectifying it in the near future, unless, of
course, we fall in love with another white guy first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is John McWhorter, professor of linguists and
Western civilization at Columbia University, contributing editor of "The
New Republic" Nancy Giles, contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning" Jordan
Carlos, stand-up comedian who played a recurring character on "The Colbert
Report" and is now featured in "Guy Code," "Girl Code," and "Guy Court" on
Great to have you here.
So, why is prime-time TV like that? You have been in the industry a
NANCY GILES, SOCIAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Yes. And I used to act.
And, in fact, I come from Second City in Chicago. I grew up in
Queens, but I was one of the few black women at the time -- this is back in
the early `80s -- that was at Second City. It`s so interesting to hear
this brouhaha about "SNL" because the exact same language was used as to
why I didn`t make it to the main stage company.
I was a touring company person. I wasn`t ready, they said.
HAYES: Literally that word, which was the word that was used.
GILES: You aren`t ready, yes. That was one. And it`s almost code
for when you go to written television shows that people have said also,
well, it`s so hard to wait for you. That`s another codeword.
GILES: And I love the fact...
HAYES: What is this strange creature?
GILES: And I love that they said in that sketch that if they fall in
love with another white guy first, because, frankly, there is this strange
line in comedy I find between the white Ivy League-educated witty guys,
even like a Jon Stewart. I tried to get an audition on his show years ago,
and I auditioned for "Saturday Night Live" more than 20 years ago, when
they weren`t ready even then.
There is this line that they think they have a certain kind of humor
that has wit and intelligence that I don`t think they believe black women
have. Some black men, they will let in the group, but not black women.
HAYES: Particularly when we`re talking about comedy, so I think drama
and comedy -- but comedy, it`s such a matter of taste of who is funny and
taste is so defined by your life experience and where you`re coming from.
And so if you don`t find someone funny, that could be just be because
there`s something where you`re not relating, but that is very much a
product of where you`re at and where that person is at.
JOHN MCWHORTER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: There`s something to be added
here though about the comedy issue and that particular kind of white guy
recreationally, witty, educated humor.
MCWHORTER: I love the word recreational.
But the thing is, think about the comedy lineup on NBC, say, about two
years ago. I`m going to do devil`s advocate here, "Community," "30 Rock,"
"The Office," "Parks and Recreation." Those are shows with that kind of
post-"National Lampoon" self-reflexive kind of humor.
There is on all -- or was on all of those shows more than one black
person. None of them were stereotyped.
HAYES: "Community" was awesome in that.
MCWHORTER: And I saw that as a kind of progress. I mean, those
things would have been unthinkable a few years before.
HAYES: Do you think -- has there been progress, do you think?
JORDAN CARLOS, COMEDIAN: Absolutely progress, because there`s more
space other than the big three in which to get your message out there.
We can kind of online shows like "Awkward Black Girl," which is a
wonderful -- and then you don`t need this like network brand or approval to
get your message out there. I love "Hollywood Husbands." That`s a great
from Kevin Hart. That`s on BET.
HAYES: Right. So, actually, the sort of, the kind of post-broadcast
entertainment environment is actually creating places where you can find
I also want to talk more about this. I also want to talk about what
is going on sort of the drama side and also the fact that Beyonce`s album
HAYES: Because I want to talk about that after this break.
HAYES: Earlier in the show, we asked you if diversifying television
would have an impact on the world around you.
We got a ton of answers posted on our Facebook and Twitter pages, like
Joe from Facebook said: "I once heard that one of the reasons why it`s so
difficult is that there`s no profit in it. History has perhaps proven that
Jackie (ph) from Twitter says, "Yes, diversity on TV, in the
government should be everywhere. That`s what this country really looks
HAYES: We`re back. I`m here in John McWhorter, Nancy Giles, and
Jordan Carlos talking about diversity on prime-time television.
There was a really good piece in Salon about this, citing the UCLA
study about this sort of business case. It was also talking about how we
pay attention to diversity in front of the camera. We don`t see the stats,
but actually it`s much worse often behind the camera.
"Without understanding culture, power and history, diversity is
vicious," Daniel Jose Older writes. "It`s blackface. Television has often
given nothing but that, cheap stand-ins and tokens to up their number and
check off boxes."
You played this character on "Stephen Colbert" that was like a meta-
joke about tokenism?
CARLOS: Yes, I did do that. Yes.
CARLOS: I played a writer.
So, they did not have a writer of color, so they had me on to play a
writer. Now, I pointed out in "The Washington Post," and, eventually, I
burned bridges. It was pretty bad.
HAYES: Oh. So, actually, you were on, you were on, and then you
pointed out the fact that there was not any writer of color on the show.
CARLOS: I did. I went and got righteous and went crazy.
CARLOS: But the simple point is that, eventually, yes, there should
be plurality in the writers room. Obviously, there should be plurality in
the writers room.
However, if you choose to be -- and it is show business. If you
choose to be in this business, something you do have to understand and not
get upset about is the way that things are.
HAYES: What do you mean by that?
CARLOS: The way things are is, if you went to Harvard, we`re in "The
Harvard Lampoon." If you had time in college to screw around and do comedy
and not work at whatever you were doing, you may come from a rarefied
HAYES: Right, and not work at your -- right.
MCWHORTER: This is just something to put in here.
Why can`t we be kind of black nationalists about it? What`s wrong
with Tyler Perry? We talk about -- we used to say, well, there`s nobody
behind the camera, nobody who can green-light a movie. He does these
movies. He cranks out practically one every three days.
HAYES: He`s also the only other black show runner in television right
now, aside from Shonda Rhimes.
MCWHORTER: It`s a whole empire of things that you can look at.
GILES: Look, here`s the beauty...
HAYES: Jordan Carlos is saying, why are you assuming I`m hating on
MCWHORTER: A lot of people say Tyler Perry is not good enough because
the stuff isn`t smart, because it`s not "Raisin in the Sun."
What does that mean? What does smart mean?
GILES: Guys, we get it.
It`s just that, look, we have got more than one voice out there, which
is the beauty part, because I can remember when Spike Lee first hit the
scene, it sort of felt like to me if you were black and you didn`t dig
Spike Lee, you were an Uncle Tom. If you were white and you didn`t dig
him, you were racist.
GILES: And there are more people. More voices help.
HAYES: Spike Lee very much -- Spike Lee occupied this role that was
another role that other people occupied, like the black leader. It was
like the black filmmaker, capital T., capital B., capital F.
GILES: With someone like a Tyler Perry, and other people, Kasi
Lemmons, we have got a lot of different people now and we can be as good or
bad as white people. Only, there are just not enough opportunities.
CARLOS: We talk about black people. What about Asians?
HAYES: And Latinos?
GILES: I know. Yes.
HAYES: All right. So, I`m abruptly changing the topic of
conversation, because before the show is over, the Beyonce album, all I`m
saying is, the next...
HAYES: You`re making fun of me for saying the album dropped.
HAYES: Everyone says the album dropped, the same way that everyone
says it`s a sweeping overhaul and the unmitigated gall.
GILES: We were just saying there was a time when people would say the
album was released.
HAYES: First of all, the fact that she made this album in total utter
secrecy, the fact that she shot videos with hundreds of people on set,
hundreds of people, thousands, no, it didn`t leak. It came out. No one
knew. No one at the record company knew. This is my thing.
MCWHORTER: That`s smart.
HAYES: The next head of the Office of Director of National
Intelligence should be Beyonce, because that is the -- seriously, that is
the next level Edward Snowden, like homeland spycraft.
GILES: How did she get that to happen? People who run into her at
clubs, they`re posting pictures on Facebook and Twitter and stuff. It`s
HAYES: And it blows my mind too because it`s a testament to how much
that industry has changed, where the entire game is outsmarting the
pirates, right, making sure her album doesn`t leak, because every time it
leak, that`s money that -- you know, there was this amazing stuff about how
Kanye had like a nuclear football.
No, he did for the last album.
HAYES: The master was in a suitcase that had a titanium nuclear
football or something, because -- no, because there`s millions of dollars
on the line.
GILES: It`s great the artists are getting the money directly, as
opposed to the record companies kind of filching it. I have to say that.
HAYES: That industry is -- I wonder sometimes if TV is headed where
the record industry is headed, which would mean a lot less money in it, but
a lot more interesting things happening.
That`s my 10-second version of what`s happened in all pop culture in
the last little bit of time.
CARLOS: ... can keep secrets, though. That`s what we do.
HAYES: I don`t like generalizations like that. I don`t like
generalizations like that.
GILES: He blew it. He shouldn`t have said that.
HAYES: You know who can keep a secret? Olivia Pope can keep a
John McWhorter from Columbia University, Nancy Giles from "CBS Sunday
Morning," comedian Jordan Carlos, thank you all.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now.
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