All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, April 24, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
April 24, 2014
Guests: Jon Ralston, Timothy Simons, Christine Greer, Robert George
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Just a few short weeks ago, very people outside of his immediate family
knew who Cliven Bundy was. Now all of America is getting to learn about
his views. And, boy, are those views something else.
CLIVEN BUNDY, RANCHER: What a beautiful day. And, you know, I`m all
excited. All of these cameras, the media must have something to tell me.
HAYES (voice-over): By now, you probably know a thing or two about Nevada
rancher Cliven Bundy. If you watch FOX News, you know him as a patriot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s going on? Tell me the problem?
BUNDY: Well, I guess it`s a range war. That`s all I can say.
HAYES: One man army of hope, fighting off the creep of big government.
BUNDY: My statement to the American people, I`ll do whatever it takes to
gain our liberties and freedom back.
HAYES: He also wears a cowboy hat.
But from the beginning, there were some issues with Bundy`s side of the
story. Issues like he owed the government over $1 million in fees and
fines. His cattle have been trespassing on federal land for two decades.
His parents bought the land in question in 1948, not 1877.
And Cliven Bundy himself doesn`t believe in the federal government.
BUNDY: I don`t recognize the United States government as even existing.
HAYES: Yet conservatives continued taking Cliven Bundy`s side in this
battle with big government.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I have a problem with the federal government
putting citizens in the position of having to feel like they have to use
force to deal with their own government.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: We have to balance the needs of a turtle and
the need of man and the needs and the rights of property owners.
SEN. DEAN HELLER (R), NEVADA: What Senator Reid may call domestic
terrorist, I call patriots.
HAYES: But that belief in Bundy was shortly tested after "The New York
Times" published a report last night quoting the man himself. Pro tip,
it`s probably a never good idea to start a sentence with the words "I want
to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro."
As "The Times" reports, Bundy said that to one reporter and one
photographer and then recalled an experience he had driving past a Nevada
public housing project.
"And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they
do? They abort their young children. They put their young men in jail,
because they never learned how to pick cotton.
And I`ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves picking cotton and
having a family life and doing things or are they better off under
government subsidy? They didn`t get no more freedom. They got less
Bundy`s supporters were quick to defend their man. The Facebook group
Bundy Ranch posted, "We all know that with the media words are taken out of
context, meanings are twisted and they can take anything and turn it into
what they want it to be."
Meanwhile, Bundy himself appeared on the Alex Jones radio show to say "The
Times" got it wrong.
ALEX JONES, RADIO HOST: Are those quotes accurate? You told me that
that`s not exactly what you said.
BUNDY: No, that`s not exactly what I said. I did say that they`re
aborting -- the young women are aborting their babies and the young men are
in jail. When they was back in the South, they were in the front of their
porch as a family unit and they had chickens and gardens to take care of
and their men were out working. I didn`t say nothing about picking cotton,
but they were out working.
JONES: Wow, sir. I`ve got to stop you. This is bombshell. This is
bombshell. You`re telling me you did not say pickin` cotton?
BUNDY: No, I did not say picking cotton.
HAYES: It would be unbelievable, had Bundy not been standing in the
presence of a video camera. Within the hour, Media Matters posted the
BUNDY: I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro. When I -
- when I go -- went -- go through Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas, and I
would see these little government houses, and in front of that government
house the door was usually open and the elder people and the kids and there
was always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch.
They didn`t have nothing to do. They didn`t have nothing for their kids to
do. They didn`t have nothing for their young girls to do.
And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what did they
do? They abort their young children. They put their young men in jail.
Because they never -- they never learned how to pick cotton.
And I`ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves picking cotton,
having family life and doing things, or are they better off under
government subsidy? They didn`t get no more freedom. They got less
HAYES: After the video was released, Bundy went on a different radio show,
and it just got worse.
BUNDY: I said I`m wondering if they`re better off under government subsidy
and their young women are having abortions and their young men are in jail
and their older women and their children are standing -- sitting out on the
cement porch without nothing to do. You know, I`m wondering, are they
happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they
were slaves and they was able to have their family structure together and
the chickens and the garden and people had something to do?
And so, in my mind I`m wondering, are they better off being slaves in that
sense or better off being slaves to the United States government in the
sense of subsidy. I`m wondering. That`s what it -- the statement was
right. I am wondering.
HAYES: Maybe all of those conservative icons and Republican politicians
should have thought twice before they embraced a scofflaw deadbeat crank.
Because really, who could have predicted?
HAYES: Joining me now is Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston, host of
"Ralston Reports," which is broadcast on Nevada NBC affiliates.
Jon, are you as shocked, absolutely shocked that Cliven Bundy has these
views as I am?
JON RALSTON, NEVADA POLITICAL JOURNALIST: Yes. And we`re sounding just
like all these conservatives tonight, Chris. We`re acting like Claude
Rains in "Casablanca." they`re shocked to discover that this guy happens to
be a racist and your very apt description of him as a deadbeat crank. This
is just -- it`s so embarrassing to see people like Sean Hannity and Dean
Heller now do their faux outrage that they can`t believe that this guy was
actually like this.
And then the last clip that you played was the most telling, Chris, because
what did he say after all of this? The statement was right. And really,
he was just wondering. He didn`t say it. He wondered, you know, like we
wonder whether people who are oppressed under dictators might have been
better off under the dictators. And, of course, how we think about slavery
as being able to tend to your garden --
HAYES: Something to do. Something to do!
RALSTON: Benign. Come on.
HAYES: Here`s the thing. I am amazed that people didn`t see this coming.
Everyone -- you`ve been coming on our air, we`ve been watching this thing.
This guy -- this guy -- if I was being paid to give advice to people on the
other side of the ideological spectrum from myself, I would say, guys,
steer clear of this guy.
And you know Nevada politics. You kind of know the Bundy story. And I
think you`ve been amazed that people have allowed themselves to become
associated with the Cliven Bundy story when in context, the guy really is
way out there and really a crank and not someone anyone wants to be
RALSTON: Yes, very few politicians, although there were some, Chris, that
decided that discretion was the better part of valor, didn`t embrace this
guy, didn`t say that all those supporters out there, as Dean Heller did,
But I`m much more concerned now that -- not that the "12 Years A Slave"
didn`t come to the Bunkerville drive-in for the Bundy family to see it but
that now all these folks are saying this is distracting from the real
issue, which is the BLM and Harry Reid.
No, it`s distracting, all right, from the issue that you brought up before.
This guy`s a welfare cowboy. He`s not a victim. He`s not a hero. He`s
been made into a hero by the likes of Dean Heller and Sean Hannity and Rand
Paul and others who are suddenly doing their best imitation of scalded
So, the guy`s a complete crank and a racist and he`s an anachronism in many
ways, Chris. The fact is they never should have embraced him based on the
facts, based on the facts themselves.
HAYES: Here`s what really got me. He keeps talking. These folks are
living under subsidy. That`s the word he used. These folks are living
OK. This is per unit, per cow calf combination, per month cost of grazing
fees on federal land. The amount that he won`t pay, $1.35. The market
price in the Western United States per cow calf per month is $16.80. The
federal government so subsidizes federal grazing fees to the tune of 15-
plus bucks per cow/calf a month, and even that welfare is not good enough
for him to take.
RALSTON: That`s right. Because he`s standing up for a greater principle
here, Chris, which is that the federal government of the United States does
not exist and that his freedom is being oppressed.
Think about the intellectual gymnastics it takes to be standing up for
freedom and yet saying that African-Americans should still not be free.
That`s a real tough way to make an argument, right?
And, of course, this is not that much money. It`s of course accrued now
over 20 years. Many other ranchers pay these fees.
But that`s why this is so astonishing, that people are now doing their
Claude Rains act and acting like they`re shocked that this guy is way out
HAYES: Jon Ralston, who is host of "Ralston Reports," always a pleasure,
RALSTON: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: All right. Joining us, MSNBC political analyst and Georgetown
University professor Michael Eric Dyson.
Well, Michael, where do we start on this one?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Well, look, last time
I checked, slavery was a government subsidy. Slavery was a government
program. So, the juxtaposition in Mr. Bundy`s mind between on the one hand
picking cotton and on the other hand being subjected to so-called
government subsidies ostensibly under welfare is really a false choice.
And you know what strikes me, Chris? This man is 67 years old. We didn`t
say 97. We didn`t even say 77. We said 67.
Imagine all the 67 to 70-year-olds out there exercising authority over the
lives of people of color, even over poor white people who have the same
pernicious beliefs about African-American, Latino, and other poor people.
This is one of the most I think ridiculous revelations about the soft
underbelly of racism and the hard, if you will, surface of bigotry that co-
exist. And I don`t see -- I`m not calling him a racist. But I don`t see a
great deal of difference between Paul Ryan`s comments about lazy inner city
people who really just don`t want to work and this guy suggesting that they
abort their babies and they somehow instead of picking cotton in slavery
are being subsidized by the government.
There is a continuum of racialized beliefs that has to at least acknowledge
the connection between on the one hand, the arguments about race that are
implicit and the arguments on race on the other hand that are quite
HAYES: And it`s not shocking that he has these views in this sense. If
you, like I have, spend time reporting on the kind of folks that are the
sort of folks that show up to the Bundy Ranch, which I did when I was a
print reporter, or you go on the internet and you hang out in the parts of
the Internet where they are putting up support Bundy stickers and gifs on
their page. It`s not going to take too long to get yourself to some
attitudes like -- racial attitudes like the one Cliven Bundy expressed.
HAYES: So in that respect, a lot of people are saying, yes, guys, what`d
DYSON: I mean, or be a black person or a person of color or a woman or
somebody who just speaks their mind and gets all the vitriol, the e-mails,
the hate mail, the threats because we dare speak our minds.
Look, Chris, you`re absolutely right. This is in one sense I`m going to
defend Mr. Bundy, shock, shock. I`m going to defend him against all those
who would pour upon his head and heap upon his body their outrage, even
their calumny, their associated, if you will, just vigorous aggressive
denunciation of him.
Hold on now because he is expressing explicitly what many people hold close
to their breasts. He is having the nerve or perhaps the ignorance to
articulate out loud what many other people hold very closely and will never
say. So what we have to do here then is not simply to scapegoat this man
but to talk about him as a lynchpin or even a flash-point, if you will, to
mix metaphors, to talk about him revealing many racialized attitudes that
are deeply entrenched in American society.
HAYES: You know, I thought about -- and our segment producer Todd Cole had
found this. This was a little bit of a firestorm in 2011 during the
Republican primary. There was a marriage vow from Bob Vander Plaats,
family leader, that was signed by both Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.
And it`s actually -- this is actually a bit of a trope on the far right.
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families yet sadly a
child born in slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother
and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born
after the election of the USA`s first African-American president.
That was signed by Santorum and Michele Bachmann. They had to take their
names off it. You go through it -- Jemele Bouie has a great piece in
"Slate" -- the idea that black families were more intact under slavery than
they are under the ravages of government welfare today, that was not
invented by Cliven Bundy.
DYSON: Yes. That`s pretty remarkable. Given the fact that to be married
was illegal -- first of all, let`s begin there. And then slaves had to --
that`s where you get the tradition of jumping the broom because they had to
integrate into their own communities the fabric of their own moral
existence their affirmation of one another as being married because the
state refused to recognize them being married. That`s why they could take
father and mother and separate them and children.
But here`s the point about the black family -- even when black slaves
escaped slavery, Chris, they stayed in the nearby proximity to their loved
ones because they loved them so much they didn`t want to be separated by
them -- from them. This is why the anthropologist Carol Steck (ph) calls
it fictive kin.
Even when they didn`t have blood lines to which we were tied to other
people, we fabricated and generated in the best sense of that world play
uncles, play daddies, play mamas. We established beyond blood and biology
connections of intimacy that affirmed our connection to one another.
And here it is, that the black family existed as an illegal institution in
America because America wanted to expropriate the labor of black people and
in order to do so it had to deny us the legitimacy of our familial
connection. So, isn`t it ironic that now people who are not only
anachronistic but amnesiacs, who forget the fact that the state itself
determined that marriage was antithetical to the perpetuation of slavery.
HAYES: That`s right.
DYSON: So, the problem is -- what we have to do then is acknowledge that
the black family from the very beginning has been a project the government
has argued against.
HAYES: MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson -- great thanks,
DYSON: Thank you, sir.
HAYES: Coming up, the people who align themselves with Cliven Bundy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Who the hell is on this guy`s side?
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Have you thought about why you think your case has
resonated so much with the American people?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Cliven Bundy moonwalk. What conservatives are doing now en
masse, that`s next.
HAYES: Sunday nights, Sunday nights are super competitive for TV attention
spans. But this, this I tell you is an excellent contender.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If you take just the amount of sea level rise and you factor it
into what the sandy storm surge was, this study says you`ve got about 25
square miles of flooding that wouldn`t have happened. So my question to
you is within three years from now there`s another one of these storms that
takes out another 7,000 homes. It`s like at what point does this become
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Washington is not real life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is true. And that is from one of the episodes I did for the
Showtime series "Years of Living Dangerously." It airs this Sunday, 10:00
p.m. Eastern. And in it I go toe to toe with Republican Congressman
Michael Grimm. And there`s quite a twist at the end. Definitely check it
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now that they`re taking your cattle that are fearful that this is
another Waco situation, Ruby Ridge has come up in some articles, what do
you mean by range war? How far are you willing to take this?
I`m trying to understand what their thinking is. Do either of you know?
BUNDY: They want total unlimited power over the people of the United
HANNITY: We have rapists and murderers and bank robbers and pedophiles out
there, and they`ve got 200 agents, you know, surrounding your ranch.
BUNDY: I stand for proportionality.
HANNITY: Proportionality. More than anyone else, Sean Hannity and his
proportional coverage with FOX News along with Alex Jones` "Info Wars"
built up Cliven Bundy into a media hero. And Bundy became such a hero that
a whole bunch of politicians rushed to his defense as well.
Politicians like former Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Rand Paul, Senator
Ted Cruz, Governor Rick Perry, Texas attorney general and gubernatorial
candidate Greg Abbott. And Bundy`s home state Senator Dean Heller, who
called Bundy`s supporters patriots.
So, today, after Bundy`s slavery apologetics were made public, the news
cycle has been dominated by the great Cliven Bundy walk-back of 2014.
First up, Senator Dean Heller. Senator`s spokeswoman saying "Senator
Heller completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy`s appalling and racist
statements and condemns them in the most strenuous way."
Senator Rand Paul through his spokesman said, "His remarks on race are
offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with them."
Senator Ted Cruz, you`re up next. Through his press secretary, Cruz said,
"Those comments are completely unacceptable."
And there`s Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who jumped on the Bundy
rhetoric bandwagon using similar language about government overreach, to
trumpet his own problems with the BLM in a letter to that agency. And so
now, predictably, a spokeswoman for Mr. Abbott, Laura Bean (ph), said the
letter was, "regarding a dispute in Texas is in no way related to a dispute
in Nevada," of course.
Governor Rick Perry said Bundy is a side issue, and nothing yet from
Huckabee, which brings us to Hannity, who responded today on his radio
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HANNITY: His comments are beyond repugnant to me. They are beyond
despicable to me. They are beyond ignorant to me. And my level of anger
is about -- you know, go back and listen to Democrats, every election year,
they want to say Republicans what? Or conservatives what? That
conservatives are racist.
So, people that for the right reasons saw this case as government overreach
now are like branded because of the ignorant, racist, repugnant, despicable
comments of Cliven Bundy.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is my MSNBC colleague, the host of "DISRUPT," Karen
Finney. She`s former director of communications for the Democratic
National Committee and also a font of adjectives herself when necessary to
distant herself as strenuously as possible.
All right. Just from -- this is kind of like a nerdy like D.C. thing, but
from a coms person. You`re the coms person for Cruz, Abbott, Paul, and you
get that "New York Times" thing. A reporter says, you got a comment on the
old "better off after slavery" thing?
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, "DISRUPT": That`s when you go back to remember
when I said before you go all in with this guy, let`s figure out who he is?
I mean, seriously, as you --
HAYES: Right. You do your due diligence on the front end.
FINNEY: Exactly, if you`re -- but what I love is that every single one of
those people with the exception of exception of Hannity you that mentioned
did it through a spokesperson. Not a single one of them went on camera and
said out of their own mouths, here`s -- this was repugnant, this was awful,
this was disgusting. That`s very D.C.
HAYES: Well, explain that to me. I actually didn`t even notice that.
What is that about?
FINNEY: So, what that means is on the one hand there is tape of the
comment made by Rand Paul or whomever saying, you know, this is a patriot
or, you know, they`re surrounded by patriots or, you know, government
overreach. But then you go back and clean it up with the spokesperson on
So that in print, and sort of in the national print, but you get your local
-- you still get your --
HAYES: That is fascinating. So you don`t have to -- so that`s why I
described it in the tease as a moonwalk, right? It`s not quite a moonwalk
because they`ve got to look like they`re still going forward.
FINNEY: Still anti-gig government but --
FINNEY: But I`m not a racist.
FINNEY: Seriously, think about how powerful and courageous it would be if
any one of those men would have gone on national television tonight and
HAYES: That is such a good point.
FINNEY: Rand Paul himself, who had to take a little time to think about
it. And said, this is repugnant, this is horrible. And even said -- you
know, what we made a mistake, we shouldn`t have jumped on this bandwagon
without knowing more --
HAYES: The problem is, that tape is that tape endures, right?
HAYES: And that tape might anger the wrong people.
FINNEY: It might indeed. The one thing I will say is I am pleased that
for once Sean Hannity can`t accuse the left of inserting race into the
HAYES: That was the other part of it. My reaction -- I know. My reaction
last night was there goes those liberals, inserting race into everything,
FINNEY: That`s right.
HAYES: Do you think -- how do the politics of association play out here?
Because I think one of the things -- what we`re seeing here is the kind of
touching the stove lesson. And it hasn`t been learned, I think, because
the stove, to extend the metaphor, which is the raw hot energy of the right
wing base, it`s what powers everything.
HAYES: So, they keep getting close to it and sometimes a little too close
and they get burned, but there is no point at which they see it as enough
of a kind of -- as costing them politically.
HAYES: To really actually do anything to separate themselves.
FINNEY: And that`s why you have a spokesperson put out a paper statement,
so that you kind of can have it both ways, right? So that on the one hand
the people to whom you know this appeals, not necessarily saying they`re
racist but who --
HAYES: No, Bundy, that`s right.
FINNEY: You`re still in good with them. But to those who are genuinely
appalled like, I don`t know, moderate voters, independent voters, you`ve
put your statement out. You`ve done your due.
And that`s kind of the dual task these guys are -- they`re trying to have
it both ways, essentially. And the other thing is, they`re having no
accountability and responsibility for the fact that a lot of the things
that Bundy talks about, you know, sort of taking on the government and
armed and fighting to the end. It`s a lot of the same kind of rhetoric we
hear from these guys. And they fed it.
As you said, they built him up. They threw gas on this fire. And then
they`re like oh, oopsie, I didn`t know a match was going to ignite it.
HAYES: Right. And we were looking around today, and some people -- I have
not yet found if Paul Ryan said anything about this. But if he didn`t,
that is to the credit of Paul Ryan and his staff. I`m serious.
Like someone was smart enough to do some Googling. Someone was smart
enough to say -- right. Exactly. That person deserves a raise today.
We`re going to be talking a little later about the internal dynamics of a
Karen Finney, who spent some time in one of those. Thanks so much.
FINNEY: Oh, yes. Thanks.
HAYES: Karen Finney, you can catch her show "DISRUPT" weekends at 4:00
All right. Coming up, the guy everyone loves to hate on "Veep."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you here to spy, John?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not here to spy. I work at the White House. So I
can just walk in and say I`m from the White House. What the (EXPLETIVE
DELETED) are you doing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The guy who plays that guy, Timothy Simons, will be here, right
here, sitting next to me and towering over me, ahead.
HAYES: Great news tonight. Vice News correspondent, Simon Ostrosky who`s
been doing such stellar reporting in Ukraine often on this very show is
free after days of imprisonment by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Shortly after his release earlier today, he described what had happened to
him in Slovyansk, a city currently held by pro-Moscow militiamen.
SIMON OSTROVSKY, VICE NEWS, SLOVYANSK, UKRAINE: They had my photograph at
a checkpoint that`s just down the road from here. And so the guy at the
checkpoint saw my picture, saw my face and then they pulled me out of the
car all hell broke loose. Spent four days in a basement with like three or
four other guys. They kept bringing in new people from the street.
Drunks, like drug -- like people who were high and then activists and
people from other parts of Ukraine.
They said that basically I`m a lying journalist and that`s why I was there.
And they sort of beat me up as an introduction to the whole situation.
Blindfolded me, tied my hands behind my back. Then eventually they untied
my hands and tied them in front of my body. And then they untied me
totally and then basically I was just hanging out in the room with the
I guess, I was targeted because they`d written about me on the internet and
also we`d been looking into whether there were actual Russians involved in
what`s going on here for the two days prior to me being captured and I`d
been phoning them and actually requesting interviews from them on that
subject. So maybe that`s why they decided that it was time to stop me.
HAYES: The man who was holding Simon Ostrovsky is the self-proclaimed
people`s mayor of Slovyansk, who claims he was in the Soviet Army. He
accused Simon of spreading false information. Said he was holding him as a
hostage during negotiations with Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine armed forces
closed in on Slovyansk today using deadly force for the first time killing
five separatists and gaining several checkpoints before the militia took
several back again.
Tonight, the separatists and the Army are in a tense standoff outside of
town. Vice News correspondent, Simon Ostrovsky has left the area. We are
absolutely thrilled he`s safe and sound and out of the hands of the pro-
Russian separatists in Slovyansk. And we look forward to having him back
on this show as soon as he`s able to join us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s that stubby thing you`ve got there? West wing
man.net? I never heard of this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, man, you`re embarrassing yourself. That`s the
hottest gossip site in D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what`s it got on the Maddox thing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing yet but he will. If it ain`t on west wing man,
it ain`t nothing, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s you. Isn`t it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who told you that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just did, you dummy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right, here`s the thing. Pop culture loves, loves stories
about Washington. But those stories are usually done in one of two
registers. Earnestness --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s time to get up off the mat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is more important than re-election. I want to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to talk to the staff. I`m going to take them off
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a strategy for all this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have the beginnings of one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to try that for a little while.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Or complete and total cynicism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every kitten grows up to be a cat. They seem so
harmless at first. Small, quiet, lapping up their saucer of milk. But
once their claws get long enough, they draw blood. Sometimes from the hand
that feeds them. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain,
there can be no mercy. There is but one rule. Hunt or be hunted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But the problem is that both earnestness and complete and total
cynicism, both imply a level of competence that is completely, completely
and totally out of proportion to what is actually going on in real life on
a day-by-day basis in D.C. politics. Which is why I love HBO`s "Veep."
Because the show`s bumbling, prat falling, preposterousness actually gets
closer to the ad hoc nature of how politics is really done than anything
I`ve ever seen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold up. Hold up. Hey there. Alicia, whoa. My web
site is ryantology.net and I`m a storyteller. And I want to tell real
stories about real people. Unlike John Steinbeck in that regard, you know,
or Denzel Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to ask me a question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Tell me your story. Question mark.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And joining me now is the man who plays Jonah Ryan on "Veep,"
Timothy Simons. It`s great you have to you here.
TIMOTHY SIMONS, PLAYS JONAH ON HBO`S "VEEP": It`s great to be here.
HAYES: I was reading and I heard this from friends of mine in D.C., that
Jonah, your character, who is loathed, basically, by everyone around him --
HAYES: -- has become a shorthand in D.C. for a certain type of people.
People ask like he`s a total Jonah. How many Jonahs are going to be at
SIMONS: Yes. Yes.
HAYES: How did you get this character so right about a certain kind of
person that operates in D.C.?
SIMONS: Honestly, I didn`t get there as far as like the D.C. specific
things. I didn`t get there without the help of Armando and Simon and Frank
Richton, you know, our sort of crowd of people that know more did about the
D.C. Scene going into it. I think the things I brought to it were just
sort of like the shamelessness that he operates under and the complete
cluelessness about what he actually is.
HAYES: It`s a combination of shamelessness and cluelessness. And there`s
this combination you encounter in D.C. All the time, which is people who
are just doofy dorks and ambitious but think they`re cool bros. It`s that
combination. There`s just total lack of self-awareness about everything
SIMONS: Yes. And I feel like that`s sort of in his interest. He`s very
into the metal scene and he also has -- he kind of throws in this hip-hop
flavor every once in a while. He really does think I think that he`s on
sort of the cutting edge of culture and that he could hold his own with
HAYES: So you moved to L.A. in a moving van with your wife, I think,
HAYES: And you just kind of started going to auditions and before you had
much experience you got cast in the show.
SIMONS: Yes. Well, this is my first television gig. I went to college
for this. I just was doing it for about 12, 13 years with very little
success until this point.
HAYES: That is a great story, though. You know, I remember watching a
Harrison Ford interview where he talked about it as like being on a bus and
just being on it long enough until enough people got off.
SIMONS: Yes. And that is sort of the thing. It really was like I just
kind of -- I mean, I`ve never liked any other job as much as I`ve liked
this one. So it really was just like I never -- just kind of never gave up
on it, I suppose. But it was foolish. Like it was a lot of bad decisions
were made that led to this. Like even moving out to L.A. was probably a
terrible idea that my wife, Annie, and I were in -- we were in a moving
truck and we just did it. Yes.
HAYES: And do you -- is it as much fun to make "Veep" as it looks like it
is? Because the show is so effervescently funny and enjoyable to watch.
Is it fun to do?
SIMONS: It is. Absolutely. Our cast and the ensemble has been really
strong. I think even since the pilot. We got along really well personally
as soon as we showed up. And I just think that as an ensemble we clicked.
And that just sort of makes everybody better. If you have an off day, you
have six or seven other people that can pretty much catch you if you do
anything wrong, which I think has added to --
HAYES: How much time does it take to shoot an episode?
SIMONS: We actually shoot an episode in five days. We have enormously
long scripts. We shoot anywhere between 47 to 55 pages. We`ll shoot 15
pages a day. Which if you don`t know is quite a bit. And then the reason
the show moves so fast is they just edit it down to its bare bones, and
that`s why it ends up so quick.
HAYES: You`re in a bunch of other things. You`re in a film that is in --
that was in the Tribeca Film Festival. You`ve got a whole bunch of
projects coming out. What is it like to -- you said you were in it for a
while and it wasn`t working out and then it just seems to me Hollywood has
this intense like updrafts of, you know, like someone is floating around
and they get caught in the updraft and you`re doing all this stuff. How do
you make sense of that?
SIMONS: Honestly, I don`t know the answer. I`m still trying to figure it
out. I don`t know.
HAYES: Like you`re clearly very talented, right? You`re good at what you
did and you were doing it for years and it wasn`t working. And now it`s
really, really working. And do you just think there was some switch that
went off or was it magic or did you figure something out?
SIMONS: I don`t know. Honestly, I think I just found myself in the right
place at the right time. And I`ve always kind of believed that if a role
is yours it`s going to find you. And there were -- I think in my life
there were a bunch of roles that I thought were mine that weren`t. And I
think this is one of those ones that just came up. And you know, this one
HAYES: A relentlessly annoying doofus cool bro.
SIMONS: Yes, exactly. I`m perfect for it.
HAYES: Perfect. Timothy Simons from "Veep." really a pleasure.
SIMONS: Thank you.
HAYES: All right, coming up, how rancher, Cliven Bundy`s, comments
illuminate a broader truth about the political coalitions in the Obama era.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLIVEN BUNDY, RANCHER: I did say one thing. Because the media may be
twisting things a little bit, and maybe they don`t, but it gives Americans
the opportunity to discuss this. And this thing about slavery and about
negroes and about government subsidies and slavery that they put people in
when they get them -- that needs to be discussed. If America`s ready to
discuss it, let`s do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, I agree with you, Cliven Bundy. It does need to be
discussed. The slavery apology unleashed by anti-government rancher,
Cliven Bundy, this week comes amid a very heated ongoing debate in this
country right now about how central race is in the Obama era of American
politics. Now, for a lot of liberals what`s playing out right now in the
Cliven Bundy saga is the realization of their worst suspicion.
Liberals` worst suspicion is that there happens to be a pretty tight
connection between the kind of views Cliven Bundy holds on race and the
anti-government rhetoric that`s become the nucleus of the Tea Party, the
rhetoric that made Bundy a hero to a certain part of the conservative base
in the first place.
The president himself spoke to this connection and its historical roots in
an interview earlier this year with the New Yorker`s David Remnic, quote,
"You can be someone who for legitimate reasons worries about the power of
the federal government, that more power should reside in the hands of state
governments. But that`s also wrapped up in the history of states rights in
the context of the civil rights movement and the civil war. It`s important
for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are
posed by that history."
Conservatives of course believe that kind of thinking is ridiculous,
slander even. Those who point out the connection between anti-government
and racially charged sentiment are playing the race card. But there`s
actually some data that`s important to this conversation.
"New York Times" is out this week with an eye-opening analysis of the
demographic shift in the south that has meant that, quote, "Democrats has
become the party of African-Americans and the Republicans are the party of
whites." From the high plains of West Texas to the Atlantic coasts of
Georgia, white voters oppose Mr. Obama`s re-election in overwhelming
In many counties 90 percent of white voters chose Mitt Romney. Nearly the
reversal of the margin by which black voters supported Mr. Obama. The
erosion of white southern Democrats is so stark the "Times" writes that
it`s "an reversal of post-reconstruction presidential elections when Jim
Crow laws rendered blacks ineligible to vote and Democrats won the so-
called solid south by similar margins."
That kind of regional racial polarization is not, I would say, liberals
playing the race card. It`s evidence of American politics growing racially
polarized. Joining me now Christina Greer, assistant professor of
Political Science at Fordham University, MSNBC contributor, Sam Cedar, host
of "Majority Report," and Robert George, editorial writer for the "New York
Robert, conservatives do get touchy when you try to say -- or when as the
liberals say I suspect there`s something going on in the conceptual
structure of this certain kind of anti-government, I want my sheriff to be
force the laws, not the federal government, and these kind of racial
attitudes, that they want to say these are separate and they just happen to
live in some people side by side. How do you feel about it?
ROBERT GEORGE, EDITORIAL WRITER, "NEW YORK POST": I think there may be
some element of race that`s going on there. Right. However, what often is
happening, and you can go back 20 years to the Clinton administration, you
start seeing much more anti-government rhetoric coming from the right when
there is a Democrat in the White House than when there`s a Republican. We
can go back to -- well, actually, Ruby Ridge was actually going on during
George H.W. Bush.
GEORGE: Waco. Oklahoma City.
GEORGE: So forth. So that`s definitely there. Is it the fact that
there`s an African-American in the White House, is it somewhat more -- a
little bit more of an element of that? That may be part of it, but I think
more of it has to do with the fact that the south is -- has problems with
an overreaching federal government. That I think is the central issue.
HAYES: I think this point about Democrats in power create this -- like
Cliven Bundy wouldn`t be a hero to the right on Fox News if George W. Bush
was in power. That is true. I also think, Christina, that basically what
ends up happening, people focus a lot on Obama is black and is this anti-
black animus directed at Barack Obama.
But in some ways it`s broader than that, in the sense that the Democratic
Party is identified with the interests of African-Americans, in the minds
of so many, that that is producing as much racial polarization and voting
behavior, you don`t even need the crowning achievement of the black
president to make that voting behavior look that way.
CHRISTINA GREER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Well, there are
a few things, though, Chris. Right? We know that Bundy wouldn`t be a hero
if he were anyone other than a white man. Right? So no one would be
celebrating him if he took up arms and he was a black woman or a white
woman even. Right? To say nothing about a Latino man or a black man.
Let`s just say that has nothing to do with Obama, right?
We know you can`t have militias screaming about the government if they`re
not white men. That`s just not feasible. But for the last 30 years,
African-Americans have solidly voted for the Democratic Party especially on
the national level. We know the numbers are weaker on the local levels.
But we know that African-Americans vote for Democrats roughly 90 percent
for the presidency.
So the same way many, you know, Tea Partiers said, well, blacks only voted
for Obama because he`s black. No. Blacks vote for Democrats. The lot
that they`ve chosen. Whether that strategy is going to pan out in the
future, we`re not exactly sure. Right? But we also know as the data has
shown us that whites actually vote for whites too. Right?
So we know that whites actually voted for McCain because he was white.
Whites actually voted for Romney because he was white. People actually
voted against their own interests. So we do see a sort of racialized
voting happening. It`s not just about black --
GEORGE: The question I think is fair enough to ask, if blacks voting for
Democrats, is that considered racial -- is that purely racial voting or is
it voting for their political -- and if whites are voting for Republicans
is it racial or --
HAYES: Or their interests.
GEORGE: Or their political interests.
HAYES: That`s an interesting question. And Sam, I want you to react to
some political polling about how different demographics view the role of
government right after we take this quick break.
HAYES: All right, we`re back with Christina Greer, Sam Seder and Robert
George. Robert just made this point about can it just be the case that you
have this sort of racial polarization on both sides, both sides, and white
voters are voting for the Republican Party, which they see as representing
their interests, and that there`s nothing sort of racially suspect about
that, it just happens to be the case that the philosophical views are
cleaving in this way and that gives you this map, which put up for a
second, which was in the "Times," which is where Obama won 20 percent or
less of the white vote in 2012 as estimated.
SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I`m sure there`s some measure of tribalism.
People want to vote for someone who think that they share experiences. But
when you talk about -- the interesting thing about what Bundy said, which
is what I think is getting overlooked, is to a large extent he`s making the
same argument that Paul Ryan was saying about the hammock. The safety net
has become the hammock. It`s really undeniable. We can laugh about it,
but that`s what he was saying. They are trapped in this hammock here and
the notion --
HAYES: Big government has seduced them into laziness.
SEDER: Big government is not only evil insofar as they`ll show up and make
me pay to have my cattle eat on public land, but they will also -- they
will also sort of seduce a certain segment of the population and put them
into a hammock and control them in that way. And so I think, you know,
these are two sides of the same coin as far as I can --
HAYES: So here`s the racial breakdown on attitudes towards government.
Government -- the percentage of Americans who think government is not the
solution to our problems, government is the problem, 42 percent of white
people think that. But a lot of other demographic groups that`s just not a
very prevalent opinion, 17 percent of black people, 16 percent of Asians,
25 percent of Hispanics. That`s where the race and ideological rubber hit
the road. The question is, is that accidental or not?
SEDER: Well, you`re talking about people who have been privileged in this
SEDER: White people have been privileged in this country since its
inception. So they obviously want there to be no equalization in any shape
or form --
HAYES: Well, some --
GREER: But we also know that this country as a whole, especially when we
talk politically, is essentially ahistorical. We have no concept and
construct of the past. And all of the various mechanisms that have created
inequality that we sort of flesh out today. Right? So many right-wingers,
especially tea partiers, refuse to recognize that they are the original
welfare kings. Right? They`re the ones who went to public schools.
They`re the ones who have the G.I. bill. They`re the ones who lived off of
the fat cat government for so long. They`ve gotten everything.
HAYES: Cliven Bundy is grazing his cows on public land and not paying.
You don`t have to go back that far.
GREER: Now they want to shut the door on everyone else. It`s like you
have benefited from everything. And now it`s time to shut it down.
GEORGE: I was going to say there is a legitimate debate to be had about
the impact of welfare, particularly on the African-American community, and
that`s been going on back since Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote about it in
the 1960s. In fact, Bill Clinton, welfare reform, and so forth.
HAYES: Yes. We ended it.
GEORGE: I think he mended it, if I`m not mistaken. Look, that`s
legitimate. Bundy of course is a complete and total -- is a complete and
total kook. The hashtag had I today on Twitter was clivetalking. Because
he`s conflating a whole bunch of stuff in terms of welfare, slavery, and
things like that. Obviously, there is a legitimate debate to be had on the
size of government and particularly what some of us feel has an invidious
impact on African-Americans. But just because there`s a kook that --
HAYES: Here`s the problem.
GEORGE: Invalidate the debate itself.
HAYES: I agree. But as a political fact it is the case that when you get
into the parts of the internet that are most likely to support Bundy, you
get into the parts of the internet where people are most likely to say
HAYES: Christina Greer from Fordham University, MSNBC contributor, Sam
Seder and Robert George from the "New York Post." Thank you all. That is
ALL IN for this evening. The "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now. Good
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