All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
April 3, 2014
Guests: Ken Vogel, Charles Pierce, Keith Ellison, Kevin Alexander Gray,
Rebecca Traister, Rita Williams Ewing
JOY REID, GUEST HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Joy Reid,
filling in for Chris Hayes.
Right now across the country, groups aligned with the Republican Party
are spending tens of millions of dollars to try and turn the Senate red.
Democrats are being bombarded by TV ads funded by outside groups, while
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been trying to sound the alarm.
For the past several months, Senator Reid has repeatedly gone after
the Koch brothers. Even hosting 14 facts about the Koch brothers on his
Senate Web site. It`s all part of a concerted effort to make Charles and
David Koch famous.
As of last week, Americans for Prosperity, a group funded in part by
the Koch brothers spent over $16 million on ads going after Democratic
Senate candidates. Overall, they`ve spent more than $30 million already in
at least 8 states. For little perspective on what that money buys, take a
look at the number of TV spots AFP has aired versus the pro-Democrat Senate
majority PAC. More than twice as much.
And yet a majority of Americans still have never heard of the Koch
brothers. An additional 11 percent have no opinion on them.
Harry Reid has been trying to change that, and last night, he appeared
to score a victory on that front courtesy of the "Wall Street Journal"
which published an op-ed from Charles Koch defending himself as a man who
has devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable
people to improve their lives.
Meanwhile, Charles Koch claims he`s been attacked and maligned for
business efforts by collectivists. A term he mentioned at least four times
in the piece. Koch claimed that "instead of encouraging free and open
debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They
engage in character assassination. I should know, as the almost daily
target of their attacks."
It`s a tactic, he writes, that, quote, "Saul Alinsky famously
advocated in the 20th century and that so many despots have practiced."
Now, remember, Charles Koch is against character assassination but
comparing people who disagree with his political spending to despots,
that`s apparently all good. To hear Charles Koch, tell it, he`s simply a
victim of an administration that believes that you are incapable of running
your own life, but those if power are capable of running it for you.
Now, Charles Koch may be feeling like a victim, but he`s certainly not
a man without allies. If you want to know what tens of millions of dollars
buys you, today, you only had to look to the Senate. And Republican
Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, the top industry contributor to Senator
Moran`s campaign committee over the past five years was Koch industries.
And today, Senator Moran took to the Senate floor and read in full Charles
Koch`s "Wall Street Journal" op-ed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JERRY MORAN (R), KANSAS: Instead of encouraging free and open
debate, collectivists strived to discredit and intimidate opponents. They
engage in character assassination Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the
20th and that so many despots have infamously practiced. The central
belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are
incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of
running it for you. This is the essence of big government and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: In hitting back at his critics, Charles Koch may have finally
made a name for himself and exposed his world view to a much wider swath of
the country. And that means that for Harry Reid, today was a very good
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: Today was brought to my attention that
they had an op-ed piece, and the reason that I felt so good about it, I
think I must be getting under their skin. They wrote an op-ed piece in the
"Wall Street Journal" telling everybody that I was a collectivist. That`s
a code word for you know what.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is Ken Vogel, chief investigative reporter for
"Politico" and author of "Big Money" set to be released this summer.
OK, Ken, so what is the end game here? Charles Koch, the Koch
brothers have been secretive over the years. They spent a lot of money but
hadn`t been out front personally.
What do you think is the reason for Charles Koch coming out so
publicly like this in an op-ed?
KEN VOGEL, POLITICO: Well, Joy-Ann, I think they had been worried and
they have been worried for years about these Democratic attacks. In fact,
my sources tell me that they do polling fairly regularly as election cycles
heat up on whether these attacks are getting traction, and as we see from
the public polls, still most Americans don`t know who the Koch brothers
are, let alone what the Koch brothers make.
So, if they actually wanted to boycott and hit the Koch brothers where
it hurts in their bottom line, it`s unlikely they would have much success
by boycotting, say, some of the brands that are under the Koch industry`s
umbrella like Dixie paper products or Brawny paper towels. Those are not
associated with the Koch brothers.
Nonetheless, they continue to be nervous about their public image.
And so, this is just one piecemeal step this "Wall Street Journal"
editorial that seeks to push back.
I would be surprised if we saw a whole lot more of that because,
again, they don`t have a lot to worry about at this point from these
Democratic attacks actually hurting them.
REID: I mean, they may not have a lot to worry about at the moment,
but Harry Reid wants people to know about them and know who they are. I
just want to play you a little bit of sort of the best highlight reel of
Harry Reid`s attacks on the Koch brothers. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. REID: We heard about the evils of Obamacare, about the lives
it`s ruing, and Republican stump speeches and ads paid for by oil magnates,
the Koch brothers. Mr. President, these two brothers are trying to buy
The brothers inherited a small oil company. They inherited this
company from their dad and built it into a multinational corporation. It
refines oil, makes carpets. There`s nothing un-American about that.
But what is un-American is when shadowy billionaires pour unlimited
money into our democracy to rig the system. Mr. President, I`m not afraid
of the Koch brothers. These two multibillionaires can spend millions of
dollars of their money rigging the political process for their own benefit,
but that doesn`t mean we have to lay down and take it.
Person who ran for vice president last go-around from the Republican
ticket is the chairman of the budget committee, and he`s coming out with a
budget. It`s a blueprint for a modern Koch -- how would we say this?
Kochtopia. Kochtopia. Yes, that`s it. K-O-C-H-T-O-P-I-A.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Kochtopia. I mean, look, the Koch brothers are worried that
Harry Reid might be successful at making them the name and face of the dark
VOGEL: Yes, I think that is certainly his goal. And within that,
there`s sort of two points. Two potentially, with Democrats, I thinks in
talking to them see as achievable ends. Number one, that it might
discourage either the Kochs or other very wealthy conservatives from
spending money, taking advantage of some new flexibility afforded by
Supreme Court decisions to spend huge sums in politics. I don`t see that
happening because the Kochs, we saw these same times of attacks in 2012 and
2010. It did not encourage them. In fact, they doubled down.
The second thing might be more achievable and that is to sort of raise
the specter of Republicans being the party of billionaires, to be able to
use it against them in subsequent elections when, perhaps, income
inequality will be a top Democratic plank in their platform. And so, to
sort of link around, you know, to put as an albatross around the necks of
Republican candidates the fact they`re backed by billionaires, maybe that
could have some success.
But, again, we haven`t seen either of those really working thus far at
the ballot box.
REID: All right. Well, you know what, I think Harry Reid figuring
out you have to run against somebody, right, and doing sort of a version of
what Republicans did with Nancy Pelosi in the 2010 cycle.
Ken Vogel from "Politico" -- thank you.
VOGEL: My pleasure.
REID: All right. Joining me now is Charlie Pierce, writer at large
for "Esquire" magazine and political blogger for Esquire.com.
OK. So, Charlie, as a tactic, I mean, the Koch brothers obviously
spending lots of money to influence elections, to influence the outcomes in
politics, but Charles Koch claiming, you know what, all he wants to do is
get a little freedom. Did that ring true to you in that op-ed?
CHARLIE PIERCE, ESQUIRE.COM: No, absolutely not. This is a guy who
says he wants to get a little personal liberty but is funding voter
suppression all over the country at the state level, which is where the
mischief really gets done.
Americans for Prosperity most recently meddled in a mass transit issue
in Nashville. These are -- you know, a liberal sparrow does not fall from
the sky that these people don`t know about.
REID: And, of course, this is also a group that the two brothers,
Charles and David Koch, have funded, ALEC, et cetera, who have been
involved in voter ID.
One of the tactics from the Koch brothers is actually now encouraging
their employees, Koch industries employees to get out there and become part
of the PR machine to remake the Koch image. Sent out an e-mail urging
employees to share the op-ed piece by the boss just as that Senator Moran
What do you make of that as a tactic, try to get an army of Koch
employees to say the Kochs are all right?
PIERCE: Well, I think it`s funny, considering elsewhere in the op-ed
he was explaining how Koch industries really don`t have any problems with
unions and what percent of their workforce is unionized. Of course, this
is the kind of thing that would never happen in a union plant. This is
REID: I mean, one argument Charles Koch makes in the op-ed is, you
know, he tried to get out their message about liberty and freedom through
education but were forced into going into the political process over the
last few years. I guess because collectivists bullied them into it.
What do you make of that?
PIERCE: Well, I thought that whole thing was interesting because if
you were wondering whether or not the two Koch brothers had learned enough
from their father who was, you know, a chartered member of the John Birch
Society, you can wonder no more because that entire paragraph comes out of
the old Birch literature in the 1950s and 1960s. It`s just updated now
with the fortune that they built upon the fortune when they were born.
REID: And, you know, it`s interesting that you mentioned the Bircher
sort of language, because I was struck by the extent to which this op-ed
piece in "Wall Street Journal" really kind of sounded like all of the Tea
Partiers in my Twitter feed. A lot of the same language, the Saul Alinsky
stuff, the collective stuff, the language sort of Tea Partyism. Did it
strike you, they`ve begun to -- at least Charles Koch sounds really exactly
like kind of the Tea Party they fund.
PIERCE: Well, it`s interesting because I think this goes back to what
Harry Reid`s trying to do with the -- you know, the use of the Koch
brothers in a political context. Conservativism -- modern conservatism,
movement conservatism have been really good at creating conjuring words for
their base that really, you know, all they have to do is say them.
Alinsky, Benghazi, ACORN.
I`m sure the people at ACORN who used to work for ACORN are finding it
hilarious that Charles Koch finds himself put upon as a political symbol.
The right has been very good at creating political symbols that are
durable for political purposes within their own base. And I think that`s a
little bit -- Harry Reid is trying to turn Koch brothers into a conjuring
spell for Democrats. And I think he`s doing it.
REID: And just lastly, you know, you said speaking to the base,
obviously this was on op-ed that doesn`t seem to be aimed at persuading to
people who don`t believe the Koch brothers to be awesome. It definitely
was speaking directly to the base.
How does that counter what Harry Reid is trying to do which is trying
to speak to the larger public about who the Koch brothers are in his
PIERCE: Well, I think that, you know, there`s a fine line between,
you know, rousing the rebel and educating the base. I think Harry is doing
a little bit of both. The difference between the two, of course, is that
Harry is starting from a deep hole because he doesn`t have the megaphone
and he doesn`t have the right wing media bubble to magnify and to
strengthen the conjuring words like Benghazi or Alinsky or ACORN. He
doesn`t have the media infrastructure yet to do that, but I think he is
REID: All right. Charles Pierce from "Esquire" -- I think the phrase
of the day is the conjuring words. Thanks a lot.
PIERCE: Thank you, Joy.
REID: All right. Coming up, there are rare moments in TV when the
perfect guest for the story just happens to be the host of the show. Chris
Hayes will join us live from paternity leave.
Don`t go away.
REID: The Senate Intelligence Committee voted overwhelmingly today
11-3 to declassify the findings of the executive summary report on the CIA
and torture under the Bush administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Hopefully, the
declassification can be done in as little as 30 days. I think it is very
important that this summary be released and it has to be declassified
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: I voted in favor of the
declassification for this reason. We need to get this behind us.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
REID: President Obama supports the declassification but the CIA,
which has been accused by Chairman Feinstein of spying on Senate
Intelligence Committee computers, will weigh in on what would actually be
released to the public. And we`ll keep an eye on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: What I think this
means is freedom of speech is being upheld. You all have the freedom to
write what you want to write. Donors ought to have the freedom to give
what they want to give. I`m all for freedom. Congratulations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Yes, congratulations. Go, freedom.
For an establishment Republican like John Boehner, yesterday was a
very good day. The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts
continued its assault on laws designed to prevent big money interests from
corrupting the democratic process. With a 5-4 ruling in McCutcheon versus
the Federal Election Commission that struck down limits on how much an
individual can give in aggregate to political campaigns and committees.
It was the most significant rollback of campaign finance laws since
the 2010 Citizens United decision which said corporations and unions can
spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. The McCutcheon
decision keeps in place caps on how much a person can give to any one
candidate, a party committee, or other political committee. But it
eliminates the overall cap on contributions to candidates and committees
over a two-year period.
Before today, that aggregate limit was $123,200. As of today, that
limit is history. A single donor can give millions of dollars directly to
candidates and party committees every election cycle. In fact, they only
need to write a single check to a joint fund-raising committee which can
then distribute the money across the country. And that goes to the crucial
aspect of all this.
Until now, someone who wanted to dump millions of dollars into an
election cycle had to funnel their cash through outside spending groups.
Like the Koch brothers` backed Americans for Prosperity. Now, thanks to
the Supreme Court, wealthy donors can distribute millions directly to a
political party which gives the donors more direct influence over the
And also boosts the parties, especially the GOP, which is now expected
to see an influx of cash that might have otherwise gone to the outside
groups. That`s why John Boehner was so happy and congratulating everybody
about freedom. Boehner surely must be looking forward to the possibility
that the ruling could actually make his party more functional since
Republican Party leaders will have access to lots more money they can use
to control, meaning the leadership, the speaker, to try and control their
Now, of course, that doesn`t change anything for you, unless you`re a
billionaire or a House Speaker hobbled by the Tea Party. McCutcheon makes
it easier for conservative interest to dump money into the political
process in order to pass laws that hurt workers/social programs and
maintain tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.
In the words of Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the dissent in the
case on behalf of the Supreme Court`s liberal wing, "If the court and
Citizens United opened a door, today`s decision may open a flood gate."
But at least John Boehner`s happy.
Joining me now, Congressman Keith Ellison, Democrat from Minnesota.
So, Congressman, your reaction to the ruling in terms of what it might
mean for governance inside the House of Representatives. Will it in a
weird way help John Boehner get control of his Tea Party caucus?
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: You know, I think it will make the
polarization even worse because you`ll have one person who can just
bankroll the whole Republican caucus and insist that all of them abide by a
certain political line. I mean, the fact is now you have some variation
among the Republicans. You`ve got far right Tea Party types and some what
I call Republican country club types.
But now, you can have the far right types like the Koch brothers who
insist on the most extreme right wing swing for everybody to abide by their
party line if they want to get a check and, yes, they`re in a position to
give everybody a check given the explosion of these limits. So I think --
REID: Go ahead.
ELLISON: I was going to say, I think it`s going to make things worse.
I think this is a continuation of Citizens United and Vallejo, and it`s
just really, just we`re lurching toward plutocracy. I think American
people, if we don`t organize, we don`t push back, we`re going to end up in
an oligarchy. We don`t have it now, but I can see it if we don`t start
organizing and roll this situation back.
REID: What would you say to people who say, you`re a member of the
House Progressive Caucus. There are is certain things you would like to
see done, things like minimum wage, things important to your constituents.
Wouldn`t this mean that now you should just go out and find some liberal
billionaires willing to bankroll the entire Progressive Caucus? What would
you say to that argument?
ELLISON: What I`d say is we`re trying to empower the average voter.
We`re trying to take voters, regular folks making a living on $35,000,
$40,000, $50,000 a year, maybe a family, up to $125,000, regular working
and middle class people. We want their voice to matter more. Not some
I think it would be a poor state of democracy if we could find some
liberal billionaire to fight against their conservative billionaire. What
it would mean, it would minimize ordinary people who really should be
driving this democracy. It would be really too bad. Now, of course, it
does start a sort of financial arms race, now, doesn`t it?
Now, the big thing is not to go out and get as many votes as you can,
but to go out and get as many billionaires as you can so we can spend even
more money than we`re spending right now in politics. I just think it`s
And, by the way, the Supreme Court seems to be awfully concerned about
the "freedom" of about 250 people in this country. I mean, the fact is,
how many individuals can write up to $123,000? I mean, only a very few and
so now, you know, they`re going to -- they got the freedom, I guess, to
drop $1 million, $2 million, $10 million, why not?
ELLISON: I mean, you know, so that`s it.
REID: It turns out you say how many people can afford to write that
kind of check? It turns out in 2012, it was about 1,200 people -- 1,218
elite donors who gave $155.2 million. And just to give that some
perspective, there were 4 million approximately total small donors who gave
$313 million. And in the post-McCutcheon world, those same donors could
have given $459 million, meaning 1,200 people could have essentially given
more money than 4 million people.
ELLISON: You know what, given the backdrop of extreme income
inequality that we live in today, that`s exactly what`s going to happen. I
mean, McCutcheon doesn`t take place in a vacuum. It takes place at a time
since the recovery began, 93 percent of the wealth generated by this
society has gone to the top 1 percent. It takes place within extreme
income inequality not seen since the early part of the last century.
It`s not like we all have the same amount of money or there`s rough
equality in income. No, there`s dramatic differences in income, and what
it means is the people who have the most income are going to have the most
speech and that`s why this is a sad day.
I tell you, you know, some folks` idea of freedom is freedom to own
everything, boss everybody around, turn elected public officials into
employees. I mean, this is the kind of thing I think is extremely
dangerous to democracy, but I do believe that our superior numbers can
overcome all this money. Still takes a person to cast a ballot, and I`m
not talking about a corporate person. I`m talking about a real living,
breathing person. And so, we do have hope to rescue our democracy, but we
better wake up and start doing it.
REID: Indeed. A hopeful note. Thank you so much, Congressman Keith
Ellison. Thanks for being here.
ELLISON: Thank you, Joy.
REID: All right. Coming up, remember the current lieutenant governor
of South Carolina? No?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In South Carolina, a longstanding problem with the
Confederate flag flying at the statehouse has finally been resolved thanks
to the heroics of forward thinking State Senator Glenn McConnell (ph).
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: The flag was a problem. You changed it. How did
you do that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first flag that went up was cotton. We
changed it to a nylon flag. The flag out there now is weather resistant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds like progress to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Yes. That guy, he`s got a sweet new gig at a college. The
REID: There`s a liberal arts college in South Carolina that just
chose a new president. Not something that would normally make news.
Except that the candidate has no experience in higher education. But he is
a proud decades-long defender of South Carolina`s confederate history.
Glenn McConnell, a Republican who as president pro temp of the South
Carolina Senate, automatically became lieutenant governor in 2012 when the
prior lieutenant governor resigned is now set to become the president of
the College of Charleston on July 1st. This despite student protests now
stretching into a second week, despite a unanimous no-confidence vote by
the student council, despite a unanimous no-confidence vote by the school`s
faculty senate, and despite one major donor bolting from the college`s
foundation board and other donors expressing concern about McConnell being
The College of Charleston had been making headway in diversity
recruitment in recent years, and so, the strong negative reaction to the
choice of McConnell has its roots in the public, his public embrace of the
Confederacy. Here`s the Senate President Pro Temp Glenn McConnell in 2010
dressed in a Confederate general`s uniform posing with mock slaves in a
Southern experience event hosted by the South Carolina Federation of
Here`s McConnell posing in a store full of Confederate memorabilia
owned by his family until 2009. The Southern Poverty Law Center has noted
that, in 2009, McConnell appeared on a white nationalist radio show, where
he criticized the NAACP for attacking a compromise on where the Confederate
flag should be flown on statehouse grounds.
There`s also the matter of how the college`s board of trustees arrived
at this selection. Sources with close ties to the search have said
McConnell was not even among the 15-member committee`s top five candidates.
But the board of trustees said in a statement: "With three excellent
finalists, it would be surprising if all of our campus and community
constituencies could agree on who should be the top choice for the
presidency. Our job as the board was to make a choice between outstanding
candidates, and I`m confident the board made a careful and thoughtful
And McConnell responded to the controversy by saying, "In government,
so many times people take advantage of disagreements to try and pull people
apart and get headlines."
Joining me now is writer and civil rights as activist Kevin Alexander
OK, Kevin, what in the world is going on in South Carolina now that
this is the selection that was made by this college?
KEVIN ALEXANDER GRAY, WRITER: Well, obviously, it`s politics, and
then you have to look at the history of this state.
This state`s history is based on the Confederacy, based on the
enslavement of Africans. You talk about July the 1st, which happens to be
my birthday. We signed the Declaration of Independence on the 4th because
South Carolina refused to sign it. One of the founders of the College of
Charleston refused to sign the declaration until the anti-slavery clause
was taken out of it.
So a lot of what happens here in this state, a lot of what happens in
Charleston, you know, of all the Africans that came into this country at
rate at a half-a-million, 40 percent to 60 percent came in through
Sullivan`s Island. So, everything about South Carolina, from the streets
to the buildings, to the statehouse grounds are memorials to the
Confederacy and this whole cult of the lost cause.
And the people that venerate the Confederacy refuse to accept the fact
that even during the time of enslavement, people argued about how morally
wrong it is. Instead, they talk about history and they talk about
veneration, when it was really about the expansion of slavery across the
REID: And you know what? To your point, I want to play you a little
sound of then-Senator McConnell sort of fending his position and really
couching it in this sort of relativistic version of history. Take a
listen, and I`m going to get your response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, NBC ANCHOR: As you know, this ceremony is not without
controversy. I think 14 Southern governors were invited to attend, many
concerned about honoring eight men who were essentially fighting to keep
How do you respond to those critics who say these men really shouldn`t
GLENN MCCONNELL (R), SOUTH CAROLINA STATE SENATOR: Several ways.
First of all, half this crew isn`t from America. Only one-quarter of
the crew is from the South. So, it begins to show you the complexity.
Secondly, all colonial soldiers fought for 13 slave-owning colonies in the
form of a slave-owning nation, and I don`t see anybody backing away from
Lastly, the Union side in the war preserved a system that deprived
women and American Natives of the right to vote. So, what we have to do is
we view American history in the context of our evolution, to put into
practice the words of the Constitution. And it`s a very erroneous way is
to use contemporary views to try to judge people of a past time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And I should note that that was a 2004 ceremony honoring the
fact that they had exhumed these bodies from raising the Hunley submarine.
What is your response to that?
GRAY: And they spent millions of dollars doing it, and they continue
to spend millions of dollars on slave tourism.
You have to understand, Charleston is about slave tourism, and from
the slave market to the Hunley. And so part of it is about economics. We
-- when we criticized McConnell, a lot of people called us race-baiters.
Like, so you honor the Confederacy, but we`re the race-baiters. And
then they say we`re backwards because we keep looking backwards in time,
when they`re wearing Confederate uniforms and playing soldiers.
So it`s all part of this rap that they have always had about heritage,
not hate. They really only read the history books that glorify what it is
that they did to create this whole slavocracy that we live under now,the
whole idea of states` rights, the whole idea of interposition and
nullification, and where we are in American politics today, the
Southernization of American politics, based on the politics that come out
of this state and from the confederacy. And they honor that.
REID: And, Kevin, can you talk a little just about this sort of
strange coexistence between people who do still sort of look to this
Confederate lore, and even some African-Americans, people who would oppose
those positions in the state?
There`s one supporter of this gentleman, a guy named Robert Ford, who
is African-American, a Democrat. Can you explain this weird coexistence
that takes place in South Carolina?
GRAY: Look, I won`t dignify Robert Ford by calling him an Uncle Tom,
because Uncle Tom was a hero.
But, look, there are people like myself -- I was president of the ACLU
-- set that flag on fire when they debated that flag, because to me and the
people of African heritage in this state, that flag represents slavery.
And those people that would defend that flag, be they black or whatever,
are buying into a system that was created on the vicious treatment,
inhumane treatment of human beings.
And so whatever Robert says -- Robert -- one of the compromises that
Robert offered was to put the red, black and green flag on the statehouse
grounds next to the Confederate flag, like we ever fought under that flag.
And a lot of it is the good old boy politics. When you have someone, like
Robert, who says what you want him to say, you keep them around.
REID: Wow. If there wasn`t a South Carolina, I think we`d almost
have to invent it. Extraordinary story.
Thank you so much, civil rights activist Kevin Alexander. Thank you.
Kevin Alexander Gray. Sorry.
And coming up, an inconvenient truth for Hobby Lobby that makes their
religious stance on birth control look like convenient moral outrage.
REID: You may recall the story of Hobby Lobby.
The company led by founder and CEO David Green has taken the Obama
administration to the Supreme Court over the ACA`s mandate that company
health insurance policies cover all contraceptives. The Green family
claims providing emergency contraceptives violates their religious beliefs.
Now, I should add this was not a problem for Hobby Lobby until the ACA
mandated it. Until then, their health insurance did include emergency
contraception. Now, it turns out that not only was Hobby Lobby covering
Plan B right up until the time. They were essentially making Plan B.
The company`s retirement plan invests in manufacturers of the very
contraception drugs they`re now protesting, according to "Mother Jones."
Documents filed for 2012, the same year the Green family filed their
lawsuit, show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held
more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that
produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices and drugs
commonly used in abortions.
Through matching contributions in 2012, Hobby Lobby contributed $3.8
million to its employee savings plan. Now, you might be thinking, OK, the
Green family couldn`t possibly know that the funds that make up their
employees` retirement plans, what`s in them.
But the law actually requires them to. The Green family has taken
this case to the highest court in the land precisely because they want to
micromanage minute details about their employees` lives, including what
drugs they can obtain with their insurance cards. They care about the
details. They refrain from business activities forbidden by their
religious beliefs and therefore avoid promoting alcohol, do not sell shot
glasses, do not allow their trucks to back-haul beer.
That costs them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in foregone
profits. But we are, of course, talking about a billion-dollar company run
by a billionaire religious fundamentalist, spread across much of the U.S.
with stores in all 48 continuous states and still growing with more than
If you needed any more evidence that this is just convenient moral
outrage, know that there are faith-based investment options for companies
like Hobby Lobby which screen for companies that make abortion drugs or
support stem cell research. Hobby Lobby chose not to make them when making
In 2012, David Green wrote about his company -- quote -- "We believe
people are more important than the bottom line."
Hmm. But what if the bottom line is hypocrisy?
REID: You know that thing where men who have really important jobs --
and I`m talking about careers that go right to the heart of what matters in
this country, like playing professional baseball -- how sometimes those
men, let`s call them the New York Mets player Daniel Murphy -- are married
to women who are just so selfish that they decide to give birth on opening
day, which, of course, causes Murphy to miss this very important game day
in order to be there for the birth of his son, which, of course, is
madness, because if there`s anything more important than experiencing the
joys of parenthood, it`s playing second base.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Assuming the birth went well, assuming your wife
is fine, assuming the baby is fine, 24 hours. You stay there, baby`s good,
you have a good support system for the mom and the baby and get your ass
back to your team and you play baseball. That`s my take on it.
What -- there`s nothing you can do, anyway. You`re not breast-feeding
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quite frankly, I would have...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would have said C-section before the season
starts. I need to be at opening day. I`m sorry. This is what makes our
money. This is how we`re going to live our life. This is going to give my
child every opportunity to be a success in life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I mean, who does that? What kind of wife has a baby on a very
important day for her husband at work? And what husband then takes a full
three days off to be with that baby?
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MIKE FRANCESA, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I have no problem with being
there. I don`t know why you need three days off. I`m going to be honest.
I mean, you see the birth and then you get back.
I mean, what do you do in the first couple of days? Your wife doesn`t
need your help the first couple days. You know that. You`re not doing
much those first couple days with the baby that was just born.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
REID: Joining me by phone, another man with a very important job who
had the audacity to take paternity leave, the host of this very show, Chris
Chris, man, I got to start by asking you, man, where are your
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: I know. I know. I`m really disappointing, you
know, the team that is going to play.
Let`s just be clear. There`s actually -- a pretty a nice, tight
analogy here between cable news and baseball. They play 162 games. OK?
HAYES: So he`s going to miss three games, which is, by the way, in
the collective bargaining agreement that the union negotiated, so he is
within the three days that the union negotiated getting beat up for 162-
And let me tell you, the Mets are terrible, and they have way bigger
problems than Murphy being out for the first three days.
REID: I got to play you sports radio host Mike Francesa, because you
know what? He really does understand the need for all that paternity
leave. I have got to play you this from WFAN yesterday and get your
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
FRANCESA: One day, I understand. In the old days, they didn`t do
that. But, one day, go see the baby be born, and come back. You`re a
Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse. I`m being honest. I
don`t see why you need -- what are you going to do? What, are you going to
sit there and look at your wife in hospital bed for two days? I mean, what
are you going to do?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
REID: I mean, for missing three games of 162, indeed, what is he
going to do? What are you, indeed, sir, going to do with all of that time
with a baby?
HAYES: Well, my first thought when I heard that was, he`s taken,
REID: Off the market.
HAYES: I mean, first of all, I don`t know even where to start.
One thing is, you know, childbirth can be a pretty intense experience.
I don`t know if Mike Francesa is aware of how the whole sort of thing works
physiologically, but maybe his wife wanted him to be there, because you`re
sort of physically a little weakened by what happened.
Also, you know, there is this kind of macho culture, in which the
fatherhood is this kind of remote sort of undertaking, where, you know, the
kind of domestic sphere belongs to the woman. Maternity is the kind of key
relationship with the child and the mother. The father is a distant
You heard it in Boomer`s comments, right? This is how we`re making
our money, right? The father is out there providing. The mother is at the
home caretaking. I`m sorry, but it`s crap. It`s crap.
Like, it is Neanderthalish, like, ridiculous confines of this
patriarchal view of what the relationship is between the genders. And it`s
incredibly imprisoning for men. Like, this is thing that just drives me
crazy about this. It`s like, take some time with your fricking kid and
take some time with the partner in your life who brought the kid into the
And, like, that is actually being part of being a man. That is part
of being a full human being and a caring person. And, also -- and let me
just say there`s this labor aspect, which I mentioned in the beginning,
which is, like, don`t listen to the propaganda that tells you, you can`t do
it, particularly if your workplace has a policy that says you can.
Like, don`t listen to the kind of -- the institutional side-eye you
might get for it, which is what we`re seeing right now. Right? The
collective bargaining is there. And we`re seeing this force be brought to
bear on Murphy outside of what the actual contours of that legal agreement
between the union and management is, because it`s another way of the bosses
trying to keep you down. That`s what it is.
And do not mistake it for anything else.
REID: And what seems extraordinary is that Major League Baseball only
instituted this three-day paternity leave policy before the 2011 season.
Really quick, Chris, what -- baseball and sports are sort of the last
bastion of this kind of idea that part of being a man is also this
depravation, right? You show up even if you have had somebody in your
family pass away, but you still show up and play the game. Your wife has
had a baby, you put it aside, you come and play.
What is that about? And why is sports sort of the last bastion of
being able to promote that openly?
HAYES: Because the entire -- and I say this as, like, a sports fan,
someone who borders on obsessive at times about my sports love.
But the whole way that sports functions as a business is for everyone
involved to kind of suspend disbelief in -- and everyone collectively to
create the fiction that it`s important, when it is not important. It just
is simply not important. It doesn`t matter. It does not matter if the
Mets lose three games. It doesn`t matter at all in the world.
Murphy`s kid is going to grow up. Fifty years from now, how did the
Mets do in the first three games of the season in the 2014 -- no one will
know the fricking answer, I guarantee you, OK? So the way that the
business operates is for everyone to engage in the collective fiction that
it does matter, and if anyone punctures that, it`s massively threatening to
the entire setup.
REID: Indeed. Well said, Chris Hayes, the host of this show, and,
more importantly, a new dad with a beautiful new baby.
Thanks so much, man. Really appreciate you taking the time out.
Enjoy your paternity leave.
HAYES: You are doing a great job tonight, if you don`t mind my
saying, Joy. And thank you.
REID: Thanks so much, Chris. Really appreciate that.
All right, and we will have more on this, in all seriousness, straight
REID: We`re back talking about paternity leave.
And joining me now is Rebecca Traister, senior editor at "The New
Republic," and Rita Williams Ewing, ex-wife of former Knicks basketball
player Patrick Ewing, and she`s author of "Homecourt Advantage" and a
Massage Envy Spa franchisee.
All right, guys, so really quickly, what do you guys think of -- I`m
going to start with you, Rebecca -- this idea of men taking paternity leave
being a side of weakness?
REBECCA TRAISTER, "NEW REPUBLIC": It`s obviously -- as Chris said,
But I also want to talk a little bit about these questions that you
heard them ask. What`s he going to do? He`s going to sit there and look
at the baby? What do you do besides breast-feed, right?
This is actually at the core of a bigger system of how you divide the
labor of parenting. And when you have a new baby, neither -- in a
heterosexual union, neither person knows what to do with it. But if the
man isn`t there, the woman learns how to do it and then she`s the one who
does it forever.
It`s how you set up a whole system of how domestic labor is organized.
Not just for those first few days or hours or weeks, but on for years. And
that`s how we get an unequal system of parenting. So this kind of issue of
male presence and participation in the parenting and family structure, this
isn`t just -- what happened in those first few moments extends way beyond
that and it`s part of a much bigger gender system.
REID: And, again, inside of the professional sports leagues,
obviously, the role of the wife that is supposed to play is very gendered
and is very traditional and is sort of forced upon the woman, because the
man is essentially penalized in the culture for trying to step outside of
RITA WILLIAMS EWING, CO-AUTHOR, "HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE": Well, you`re
And it`s funny, because, back when I did co-author my book, "Homecourt
Advantage," with my partner, Crystal Anthony, we actually had a scene in
the book where one of the women found out that one of the players of the
New York Flyers...
REID: Go with it.
EWING: ... had cheated on her.
And the guys were on the road trip. And they were on the bus leaving
the arena they had just played at.
And the team gathered around this one guy who was devastated. He was
a new player, rookie player. He was devastated because his girl found out
he cheated. And they were all up in his face telling him, you provide.
You gave her the best house. She drives the nicest car. She wears the
finest clothes. She`s going to come back to you with her tail tucked
between her legs because you do for her, you do for her, which goes back
to, as long as these guys, the mentality is if you`re providing, the buck
does stop here, literally.
They think that it`s all -- that that`s part of their culture,
unfortunately. I was one of those women, my first daughter, my first born,
Patrick happened to be home. And I was -- my doctor induced labor. Why?
So that he could be there for the birth.
Now, had it gone back to if we as a culture, a society understood you
cannot trivialize childbirth and the process and what it takes, it is not
just a pop them out, nip and tuck, you`re done.
EWING: It is a process.
And women need support and recovery. And if you can have your partner
there, I think it`s the very beginning of what you`re saying. You`re
laying the foundation for better lives, better families, healthier
functioning people, better society in general.
REID: And it`s interesting, but sort of the way the men in this
situation are sort of both the purveyors of it and in a sense the victims
of it, because then they`re denied the leave and the opportunity to be with
TRAISTER: And they`re denied the comfort of knowing how to care for
their children, how to dress them, do diapers.
When I had my daughter, all I did, I did the breast-feeding. My
husband did everything else. And he had to teach me how to put on a diaper
about two weeks later, when I emerged from my room.
TRAISTER: But that gave him expertise. And that`s the beginning of
sort of an equal division in which -- in which everybody gets to both
shoulder burdens and enjoy the pleasures and love of family.
TRAISTER: Even in professional sports?
EWING: Absolutely in professional sports. It makes them a better
person, a better husband, a better father.
My hat goes off to Daniel. I have a feeling they`re going to stay
married a lot longer...
EWING: ... a whole lot longer than most athletes do.
REID: Yes, a lot more important maybe than showing up for one game
out of, what, 162.
REID: I think he has made really the right decision.
Well, I thank both of you for being here, of course, Rebecca Traister,
and as well as Rita Williams Ewing. Thank you very much.
And, of course, that is all for this evening on ALL IN WITH CHRIS.
I`m Joy Reid, in for Chris Hayes, who`s doing exactly what he should
be doing, at home with his baby.
And I will be back on MSNBC tomorrow and every weekday at 2:00 p.m.
Eastern with "THE REID REPORT."
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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