All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, May 1st, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
May 1, 2014
Guests: Hunter Walker, David Frum, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Moynihan
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
Hayes. And happy May Day.
On this May Day, two big stories about the minimum wage in America.
In Seattle, a victory. Political and business leaders today
announced they have reached a deal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour
-- the highest in the United States to be phased in over the next few
Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., a vote on a national minimum
wage hike to $10.10 though garnering a majority vote of 54-42 fell short of
overcoming a Republican filibuster.
So, what explains the difference aside from the obvious politics that
Seattle`s a pretty liberal town and that the U.S. senate can`t get a single
piece of legislation through without a super majority thanks to
Republicans` routine abuse of the filibuster?
But another part of the difference is that in Seattle, there is
sufficient pressure from the left. In November of last year, Kshama
Sawant, a socialist, an avowed socialist, was elected to Seattle City
Council. She backed efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and
she leads a grassroots group called 15 Now.
A business coalition in Seattle countered. And while they agreed to
the headline figure of $15 an hour, they wanted some key qualifiers like a
temporary training wage, a phase-in period, for health care, commissions,
tips, and bonuses to be counted in total wages. The deal announced by
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today was a compromise, and he had this to say
about the achievement.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MAYOR ED MURRAY (D), SEATTLE: Cities have often been the incubators
of democracy, and Seattle I think will prove itself when this process is
finished in council to once again be an incubator of democracy, to be a
city that once again does great things. By showing how we as a city can
lead the conversation in the nation to address this growing problem in our
society, the growing problem of income inequality.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: In Seattle, pressure from the left is not unlike the original
movement that brought us the 40-hour workweek that started the May Days
that we now, well, kind of celebrate but don`t really.
In so many crucial areas of progress, demands that at first seemed
unreasonable, we shouldn`t have to work all the time every second of every
day, demands that even seemed preposterous become more reasonable over
In Washington, though, this dynamic plays out largely in reverse.
That is, the right demands the preposterous and stakes out the most extreme
position and then attempts to drag the middle toward them. As Brian
Beutler of "The New Republic" points out in a piece about that minimum wage
filibuster, Republicans don`t want to deal on this issue because from where
they stand, tolerating the existing minimum wage is a concession.
Republicans don`t often publicly admit that they would like to
abolish the minimum wage, although Senator Lamar Alexander confessed it to
Senator Bernie Sanders last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: Let me jump in. I don`t
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: You do not.
ALEXANDER: I do not.
SANDERS: All right. So, you do not believe in the concept of the
ALEXANDER: That`s correct.
SANDERS: You would abolish the minimum wage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, Senator Tom Coburn said there should be no national
minimum wage at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: We don`t know what the minimum wage
should be. How did they pick $10.10? Why not 22? Why not $100?
I don`t believe you ought to interfere in the market. If there`s to
be a minimum wage, my theory is if Oklahomans want a minimum wage, we ought
to have it. I don`t believe there ought to be a national minimum wage.
That`s my position. I`m the only member of the Republican Party that`s
still here that voted no on the last one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Under those conditions you get what we got today, or
yesterday, a filibuster against even allowing a debate and a vote on the
The GOP is the party so often pushing out the edge of what`s
possible. They`re the ones taking preposterous demands that then somehow
become integrated into the national conversation. And if there`s one thing
to learn from Seattle, or to learn from the original May Day, it is that
sometimes what starts as a preposterous demand becomes the center if you
say it long enough and if you organize and if you fight to make it happen.
In Seattle, the ones making those seemingly preposterous demands were
speaking from the left.
Joining me now is Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat from
Massachusetts. She`s author of "A Fighting Chance," which is out now.
Senator, I read your statement, your floor statement about the
filibuster of the minimum wage raise that happened in the Senate. You`re
impassioned and angry I think it`s fair to say.
My big question is why do Republican senators think they will pay no
political cost for that vote yesterday?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: You know, I don`t know why
anyone, frankly, would be voting against the minimum wage. And there are
multiple ways you can look at this.
But the way I think about this is I can think of 14 million reasons
to raise the minimum wage. And that`s the number of children whose
economic fortunes would be lifted if the minimum wage moved to $10.10 an
hour, children who would have more, who would be in homes that are more
secure, a million adults that would be lifted out of poverty if we raised
the minimum wage.
And you would think that Republicans would be interested in this
because the more self-sufficient people can be then the less money that all
of the taxpayers have to spend on supplements, on Medicaid, on food stamps.
This is about people who work full-time, who are out there really busting
their tails trying to support themselves and their families and just
raising the minimum wage enough that they can make that happen.
HAYES: So that`s -- I agree with you. I think you and I agree on
the argument of the merits.
My question is, you know, you`re a U.S. senator. You`re in D.C.
legislating. So when you`re thinking, well, you and your fellow colleagues
in the Democratic Caucus, how do we get the four more votes to break the
filibuster we need? Bob Corker voted yesterday.
I mean, if the arguments on the merits aren`t persuasive, what is it?
What is the mechanism of leverage that you or any Democrat has in the
United States Senate right now to bring over the four votes you need to
break a filibuster?
WARREN: Well, you know, Chris, the way you framed this question is
why is it they believe they don`t have to pay a price? And I think what
that really goes to, it`s what I go to and talk about in the book "A
Fighting Chance" is this question about how the game is rigged here in
And that what you hear from in the halls of Congress are all the
people who`ve got money and power right now. The big corporations that say
hey, we think it might affect our bottom line. We might not be able to do
as big a return to our shareholders or we may have to cut our CEO`s bonus
by just a little smidge in order to cover our workers on minimum wage.
And so, Washington is a place that too often is responding to those
who already have money and power. And they`re not the ones who need a
raise in the minimum wage. Let`s face it. People who are working at
minimum wage don`t have the same kind of army of lawyers and lobbyists that
the big corporations do.
HAYES: You know, this gets to what I like best about your book,
which was that someone who is still in some senses seeing Washington from
an outsider`s perspective despite the fact you are now a member of one of
the most exclusive clubs in the country.
And you tell this story that -- I`m going to quote this anecdote
forever. It`s about meeting with Larry Summers.
You say, "Harry leaned back in his chair, offered me some advice. I
had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider.
Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don`t
listen to them.
Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their
ideas. People, powerful people, listen to what they have to say. But
insiders also understand one unbreakable rule. They don`t criticize other
HAYES: What was your reaction to that?
WARREN: Well, I got the message. I think I had been warned. And I
got the message and just decided that`s not what I think is right.
For me, this really is the fundamental question about how Washington
is going to work going forward. Is it really just going to be a game of
insiders? Of people who`ve got money and power and they`re able to
influence those on the inside to continue to write rules that work for
them? Or are we really going to have a country and a Washington and
policies that work for everybody else? And the only way that`s going to
happen is if everybody else`s voice gets heard and their votes get heard.
So, this is fundamental power of Washington and how we`re going to
write the rules going forward. That`s what this book is about.
HAYES: So here`s the question. You -- to get from point A to point
B, point A, which is the rules are rigged, to point B, which is a more
fully democratic republic in which people on the minimum wage`s voices are
being heard, right? You individually decided to run for Senate. Now,
you`re in the Senate, making these votes. But in a broader structural
sense, when you talk about the game being rigged, you were very critical of
the 2005 bankruptcy reform bill, passed -- a bipartisan bill.
There`s lots of things that happen in a bipartisan way that benefit
banks and don`t necessarily benefit working people.
HAYES: Has that gotten better over time? Is Democratic Party more
accountable now, say, to working people than it was back in 2005 when so
many of those Democrats voted for that bankruptcy bill?
WARREN: Well, look, it`s hard to do the comparison over time because
the answer is sometimes when things work out very badly and sometimes when
they work out well. Because one of the stories I tell at length in here is
the idea about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an idea that we
would build this agency that would help level the playing field between the
big financial institutions and ordinary families so they wouldn`t get
cheated on credit cards and mortgages.
The big banks hated that agency. I mean hated.
HAYES: Oh, they tried to kill it every single way -- knives, guns,
WARREN: You bet. It`s all there. And they were spending more than
a million dollars a day lobbying against financial reforms and the consumer
agency was right at the center of it`s -- that was the thing that had to
go. And yet, remember how this story comes out. Spoiler alert, this story
We got the consumer agency. Not only did we get the consumer agency,
we got a tough version of the consumer agency --
HAYES: So why?
WARREN: Oh, but one more part. A consumer agency that has already
gotten out there and returned more than $3 billion directly to American
families who were cheated by big financial institutions.
HAYES: So, why did you win that fight? Why did we win that fight?
Why did American consumers win against big banks when they lose so many?
WARREN: Because this is one where I think we got organized on the
outside. We got groups together. We got individuals together. We
peppered people when they came home. Senators were home and congressmen
were home. With questions from their constituencies.
We got organized and, and we fought. We fought hard.
One of the stories in the book is about the day I learned that the
agency was dead and what the response was on our side. And that was how
many days before you make it public that it`s dead. The answer: three
weeks. We said, OK, we`ve got three weeks to make this happen. And boy,
that`s what we did. Man the barricades, we were ready to fight.
Because you know, Chris, that`s part of it. You can`t get what you
don`t fight for.
HAYES: I think what you just said, what you just articulated I think
gets to one of the reasons that a lot of people look to you as a kind of
leader in the Democratic Party. And I`m not going to ask if you you`re
going to run for president. You`ve been asked that question. You`ve
answered it to my satisfaction.
What I want to know from you, though, is why do you think people keep
asking you? Which is to say, why do people want you to run for president?
How do you understand the thing that it is in you or your message that is
making folks want you to run?
WARREN: I think this fundamentally is about the issues. I think
it`s about the underlying understanding that most Americans have that the
game is rigged and that it`s rigged against them. And that we`ve got to
have our voices heard on the other side. That we can`t hand this country
over to the biggest financial institutions, to the biggest corporations, to
the billionaires who keep writing one rule after another that just tilts
the playing field a little bit more -- whether we`re talking about student
loans, whether we`re talking about minimum wage, whether we`re talking
about Social Security, whether we`re talking about accountability when the
banks break the law.
All of those people understand over and over. The game is rigged.
We`re running out of time. It`s up to us to fight back, to level the
playing field, to give ourselves, to give our kids a fighting chance.
HAYES: Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who I first
discovered when she wrote "Two Income Trap" many years ago which I bought
in a used bookstore because it was blurbed by Teddy Kennedy. Thank so
WARREN: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up: Gerry Adams, the leader of the Irish political
party Sinn Fein who has received the support of many politicians over the
years, has been arrested for one of the most controversial murders of the
troubles in Ireland more than 40 years ago. You will not believe what led
police to him. That story is next.
HAYES: The Republican Party is desperate to brand itself because no
one actually knows what it means right now when people say this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a Republican.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a Republican.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m a Republican.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The GOP`s identity crisis, ahead.
HAYES: This evening police in northern Ireland have in their custody
for a second day a man who they`re questioning about the brutal murder of a
mother of 10. A man who can boast congressmen, presidents as allies, who`s
been welcomed into the United States by the late Ted Kennedy, marched in
New York City with Congressman Peter King, shaken hands with the sitting
president, been invited to celebrate St. Patrick`s Day at the White House,
as the guest of that president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Sinn Fein is not feeling so alone these days in its
struggle against the British. Gerry Adams, its president, is here and on
President Clinton`s guest list for a St. Patrick`s Day party. He will also
meet House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Gerry Adams not only has ties to American politicians but
also to the American people, who`ve celebrated him as a hero and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Gerry Adams was invited to the St. Patrick`s Day parade
because to most Irish Americans he is a hero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gerry!
REPORTER: Struggling to free northern Ireland from British rule.
But Adams has been called a terrorist by others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yesterday, that same Gerry Adams, the president of the Irish
political party Sinn Fein, was arrested for questioning in connection with
one of the most notorious cold cases in the Western Hemisphere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Police in Northern Ireland use this station to question
the most serious terror suspects. Gerry Adams spent last night and today
in custody here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In recent years Gerry Adams, currently a member of the Irish
parliament, has come to be seen as an elder statesman of sorts -- a man who
helped bring an end to the horrible troubles in northern Ireland.
He`s also a man with very deep ties to the IRA. Sinn Fein was once
considered the political wing of the IRA.
Adams is now being held in connection to the IRA murder of a woman
named Jean McConville, a widow and mother of 10, over four decades ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mrs. McConville was taken from her home in Belfast by an
armed IRA gang in 1972. They suspected her of passing information to the
British army. Thirty years later, her body was found buried under this
beach in the Irish republic. The murder has long proved problematic for
the leadership of Sinn Fein.
Gerry Adams, seen here in the beret and spectacles, of an IRA funeral
in 1970, has always denied any involvement in the killing or indeed ever
being a member of the IRA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yesterday, before Gerry Adams turned himself in, he once
again reiterated his innocence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERRY ADAMS, PRESIDENT, SINN FEIN: I will tell the PSNI that I`m
innocent totally of any part in the abduction, the killing and the burial
of Jean McConville.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It was Gerry Adams and the Irish Republican movement`s ties
to the United States that helped broker an end to years of violence and
bloodshed in Northern Ireland. Ironically, it could be those ties that
could bring Adams down, because in 2000, Boston College started an oral
history of the troubles. They began interviewing former IRA members with
the understanding explicitly the tapes would not be released as long as the
participants were alive.
Now, after nearly three years of legal battles several of those tapes
are in the hands of police, and it is the content of those tapes that
implicate Gerry Adams in the murder and disappearance of Jean McConville.
In one such interview comes former IRA commander Brendan Hughes.
In that interview Hughes says that it was only Gerry Adams who could
have ordered that murder, he was the only person who could have done it.
Joining me now, Michael Moynihan, columnist for "The Daily Beast."
Michael, this story is remarkable in a whole bunch of directions.
Before we get to Adams, before we get to the murder case, the actual narrow
question of these tapes, the Belfast Project in Boston College was the
British authorities joined the Department of Justice basically said you
have to turn these over. They countered and said this is an impingement on
academic freedom, we`re conducting historical research on the condition
this stuff will be kept secret, and they lost.
MICHAEL MOYNIHAN, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: And they don`t have
legal standing apparently. This is an amazing thing, and it`s depressing
because we want -- I think this impinges on academic freedom and people
want to be able to do these sorts of things and be able to get this sort of
information. Unfortunately, on these tapes there are people admitting to
crimes and people implicating other people in crimes.
You know, what we`ve had, what we`ve heard actually is -- are tapes
based on the original agreement because Brendan Hughes is dead.
MOYNIHAN: Dolores Price also has implicated Gerry Adams. Both of
whom, by the way, I should say are great opponents of the peace process and
big opponents of Gerry Adams. So, it confuses things quite a bit.
But there`s a lot of material here. And it`s really unfortunate and
there are a lot of scared people that have agreed to these terms and now
the terms are no longer valid.
HAYES: So, these tapes have been acquired. Adams is in for
questioning. What is the significance partly of this case? Is this
something people have been whispering for a while, that Adams was connected
MOYNIHAN: Oh, sure. I mean, look, Adams has always said he`s not a
part of the IRA, which is a laughable assertion. Guys like Ed Maloney who
wrote the secret history of the IRA, involved with this project at Boston
College, these guys say, of course, he was. I mean, he was in the army
council and all these things.
But you know, the thing about this murder, you have 3,600 people
murdered up until around 2000, stray murders here and there. What is
really horrifying about the Jean McConville murder is just the
circumstances of it. One person`s murdered and again, 3,600 people.
You have a woman who is the sole caregiver of 10 children. She`s
beaten up the night before her abduction, beaten bloody and she`s come home
the next day. She`s accused of ratting on the IRA to the British forces.
They come back the second day and grab her in front of her children.
And her son said to the "Belfast Telegraph" she was squealing as they
dragged her out, and these 10 children said we don`t know what`s going to
happen to her. They were all put in foster care. She was never seen
again. The IRA admitted complicity in the murder in 1999. 2003, the body
was found. She was shot in the back of the head and buried on a beach. So
HAYES: There`s something --
MOYNIHAN: There`s something particularly heinous. Yes.
HAYES: And it gets to two things that strikes me. One is, Gerry
Adams was a controversial figure when the peace process was being made.
There were people in the street yelling terrorist, terrorist, terrorist.
And then also the uncomfortable fact that peace comes about with people who
have been horrible things. F.W. de Klerk before he won the Nobel Peace
Prize was administering the terrorist apartheid state of South Africa.
MOYNIHAN: Yes, I mean, look, it was shocking to people because it
was so close. In 1983, there was the Shankill bombing where the IRA bombed
a store in Shankill Road and a really horrifying thing.
A few weeks later one of the bombers died in that and Gerry Adams was
seen in 1993 carrying the casket of the bomber. So, we only have this five
years later. I`m not a fan of Gerry Adams and I`m not a fan of some of his
allies in the U.S. like Peter King who is opposed to terrorism unless it`s
So, at the same time, you`ve got to give Adams a certain amount of
credit because when I was in Northern Ireland and I was in Belfast a couple
years ago talking to some guys who are, you know, real IRA guys, continuity
IRA guys, and dissident republicans they call themselves, and if you
mention the name of Gerry Adams in their presence spittle-flecked anger and
they say that man is a traitor. He`s a sellout.
And keep in mind the troubles are for the most part over but there
was a murder two weeks ago in Belfast committed by dissident republicans.
So it still goes on.
HAYES: Has there been in northern Ireland a process like the now
sort of famous and much aped truth and reconciliation process in South
HAYES: And how effective has it been?
MOYNIHAN: Well, look, I mean, so many of these guys that are brutal
hardened killers -- and I`m not even -- let`s be clear about this. We talk
a lot about the IRA in the U.S. because I`m from Massachusetts and in
Boston you have people morayed (ph) cops raising money for. That`s why we
don`t criticize so much the UDA, the UDF, Protestant paramilitary groups.
But the thing is there`s guys in there, Johnny Adair, all these
really brutal, brutal people, and they`re all let out in the Good Friday
agreement. These are guys that are serving triple life sentences.
So, there`s a truth and reconciliation committee in the sense that so
many killers who weren`t even close to serving their sentences were
released. If Gerry Adams were to be convicted of something like this it
would apply to the Good Friday agreement.
HAYES: So, there`s an agreement that basically means he probably
MOYNIHAN: Two years would be the most he could serve. Yes.
HAYES: That`s really remarkable. And also a remarkable reminder of
how intense, horrific, and dramatic and dramatically watched that period
HAYES: And also about the -- a period of time and a place that
looked intractable and did get to someplace much better which I find
Michael Moynihan from "The Daily Beast", thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, who is the worst governor in America? One person
is leading the pack tonight. I`ll tell you who it is, next.
HAYES: Oklahoma state lawmakers are pushing a resolution to halt
executions in the wake of the embarrassing and horrific botched execution
Governor Mary Fallin so strenuously pushed for. An execution which the
state used for the first time a novel cocktail of drugs they initially
refused to release to the public. An execution that was being conducted
over the initial objection of one of the state`s highest courts and
resulted in a 43-minute-long debacle in which the prisoner at issue
eventually died of a heart attack.
The Oklahoma governor is not particularly well known outside her
state. But if you look into Mary Fallin`s record, you will see she is
outside of the national political spotlight, making a very strong case for
herself as worst governor in the United States of America. And that`s
before the rank incompetence and contempt for due process she demonstrated
with respect to this particular execution.
This is someone who signed a bill banning cities from raising the minimum
wage, refused the Medicaid expansion that would have covered 150,000 people
in her state, and slashed education funding. She ordered the National
Guard in her state to deny same-sex couples benefits, and then, get this,
dropped benefits for all spouses of National Guard members to avoid serving
Families of children killed in Oklahoma tornadoes last year are suing her
administration because they believe the state is being insufficiently
transparent about storm preparedness.
And on top of that, she just signed a tax on using solar energy. And while
all this happens, you know what`s happening to Oklahoma? It`s turning into
earthquake central. Here`s a chart of Oklahoma earthquakes.
Now, you may be wondering, well, what major fault line does Oklahoma sit
on? And the answer is, well, it doesn`t really. The best explanation
anyone seems to come up with is the massive increase in fracking in the
state. According to "The Stillwater News Press," when asked if she would
support a ban on injection wells, Fallin said -- quote -- "I think we need
to leave that up to the experts. It`s something the experts need to give
us their advice on and let them make that decision."
In this case, I admire her caution, her desire not to rush into a decision
that might prove hasty or backfire or catastrophic. Of course, it would
have been nice if she`d applied that same discretion to the solemn duty of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE")
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": As a human being, you seem like a
very nice guy to me.
And, you know, I guess, if you are an alcoholic, which, you know -- listen,
you know, if you`re drinking enough that you can try crack in your 40s and
you don`t remember it, maybe that`s something that you might want to think
about like talking to somebody.
ROB FORD, MAYOR OF TORONTO, CANADA: I wasn`t elected to be perfect, Jimmy.
I was elected to clean up the mess that I inherited. And that`s exactly
what I have done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Two months ago, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford wasn`t exactly interested in
committing to anything when confronted with his obvious substance abuse
problems on American late-night television.
The relatively good news today is that Mayor Ford checked himself into
rehab for alcohol addiction. The unquestionably bad news is what finally
put him in there. Canada`s "Globe and Mail" newspaper says it has obtained
a second video of the Toronto mayor smoking crack cocaine.
While NBC News has not independently confirmed the tape`s authenticity, it
allegedly shows Mayor Ford in his sister`s basement last Saturday, last
Saturday, smoking crack. But there`s always more with Rob Ford.
"The Toronto Sun" says it has audio of the mayor making some brutal remarks
about fellow politicians at a bar on Monday night. Again, no independent
confirmation from NBC News, but in one clip a bar patient reportedly asked
Mayor Ford his opinion of Toronto City Councillor Karen Stintz, who also
happens to be one of the women running to replace Ford as mayor.
Ford`s response, "I would like to `bleeping` jam her, but she don`t want
Karen Stintz confirmed her disgust with the mayor today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN STINTZ, TORONTO CITY COUNCILLOR: Rob Ford`s comments are gross. Rob
Ford is not Toronto. Toronto is tired of being gripped in this sad, sad
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Hunter Walker, politics editor for "Business
Insider," and someone who`s reported extensively on the Rob Ford
phenomenon, traveled to Toronto to give the famous Talking Points Memo
Golden Duke Award to Ford. Had to settle to giving it to Doug Ford, his
Sad, sad mess. My sense is that Toronto is kind of a little bit ready to
move on past the Rob Ford era. What is yours from the reporting you have
HUNTER WALKER, "BUSINESS INSIDER": Well, yes and no.
His unfavorables have consistently been the highest of anybody in this
mayoral race. And voters are heading to the polls in October. But the
first polling after this trifecta of new stories is due out tonight. And I
got a preliminary look at this from Fordham Research Inc., and it shows
that 30 percent of people are willing to vote for Ford if he comes back
clean from rehab.
Now, his favorability has dropped. His approval rating is way down. He`s
now dropped from second to third. But 30 percent is right about what he
would need to pull off a win.
HAYES: So the most fascinating thing about the Ford -- the Ford
experience, the Rob Ford experience, you know, at first, I think it was
funny, and then it got less and less funny as it went on, as you saw that
this is a person who really was in the grip of pretty clear substance abuse
-- was the enduring political staying power he seemed to have, that there
was some strange connection between Rob Ford and the people of Toronto.
And what you`re saying is that has not completely been extinguished -- just
extinguished even with this.
I talked to Olivia Chow today, who`s the front-runner now, and...
HAYES: She will run against him to replace him as mayor.
WALKER: Exactly. She`s a former member of parliament.
And she was saying that she can`t really explain. She said it`s hard to
say why people are still supporting him, but that the downtrodden in
Toronto really have pegged their hopes on him. And his technique has
always been being a really brilliant retail politician.
He gave everyone his phone number, and he prior to his scandals would
answer those calls. And if you had a pothole, you had a very local
problem, he would be there.
HAYES: And here`s the strange thing. The socioeconomic strata from which
he seems to be deriving his enduring support are working-class poor folks
in that area.
What originally propelled him to power were the sort of more affluent
suburban areas that got incorporated into municipal Toronto. He ran as a
kind of Tea Party, tax-cutting, property taxes kind of guy.
WALKER: Right. He really has -- there`s two halves to what they call Ford
HAYES: Ford nation.
WALKER: And one is actually the immigrant community in Toronto, which is
ironic, given the history of racist and ridiculous comments he`s allegedly
And the other is what you were talking about, the sort of suburban
commuters. And Ford and his family are millionaires. They run a very,
very large business that even has branches here in the States. So it`s
HAYES: Right. And they come from money, and they`re kind of this --
they`re not the Kennedys, is too much. But they are this well-known big
deal family. They have got money. They have clout. People know about the
WALKER: Absolutely. How could you miss him?
HAYES: Right. Right.
But I`m saying, even before Rob Ford became the Rob Ford of the crack-
smoking tape, the Fords were well-known.
WALKER: Right. His brother`s a city councillor. He was also a city
councillor prior to being mayor. And his father was a very, very prominent
HAYES: So what`s the plan here? He`s going to do 30 days in rehab. And
you think he`s going to -- he`s saying he`s going to come back out and run.
The thing I would say is, if he doesn`t get clean, you know, it`s clear
that his judgment is impaired enough that there`s going to be more
recordings and more tapes, right, because if he doesn`t get clean and he`s
doing this kind of thing, no one`s going to keep the lid on that anymore.
I mean, based on these numbers I have gotten a preview of tonight, even
these three new stories have not been the straw that broke the camel`s
back. So it does seem like he`s going into a 30-day program at an
undisclosed location, probably here in the States.
It does seem like he intends to come back. As long as he does so before
July, there`s really no way he can be removed from office. And it does
seem like he still has somewhat of a base that just doesn`t care about any
of the tapes we have seen so far.
HAYES: Is it a wide-open -- is it a sort of open jungle primary system, or
is it -- is he going to have to get a plurality to win against the people,
or is it possible they will split the vote?
WALKER: It is. That`s part of where he`s in luck here. There`s Olivia
Chow, who`s sort of to the left of him, and then there`s John Tory, who`s
kind of a fellow conservative. There`s Karen Stintz, who we saw before.
HAYES: So you can imagine a scenario in which the other people split the
anti-Rob Ford vote and Rob Ford nation unites to keep the guy in power.
Hunter Walker from "Business Insider," thank you.
WALKER: Thank you.
HAYES: All right.
A former Republican presidential candidate is telling the party to raise
the minimum wage, extend unemployment benefits. Don`t hold your breath.
But it does raise a question, just what are Republicans running on this
HAYES: Coming up: Here is the Republican Party`s 2014 platform. Ready?
Obamacare, Benghazi. Just what are the Republicans planning on doing if
you vote for them? The biggest mystery in politics -- coming up.
HAYES: Say what you want about the tenets of the Tea Party. At least it`s
Back in 2010, when a voter went to the polls and cast a vote for a
candidate with an R next to his or her name, that voter actually had a
pretty good idea what they were voting for, two things. Republicans were
going to kill Obamacare and they were going to slash government spending.
That was a message.
And it was pretty damn clear. After Republicans took over the House, they
certainly tried pretty hard to kill Obamacare, and they failed. But they
succeeded in imposing austerity and cutting federal spending. And now the
budget deficit has fallen to levels not seen since before the recession.
So now fast-forward to 2014 and try to answer this question. What exactly
does the Republican Party stand for now? What are you voting for if you
vote Republican in the midterm elections? No one seems to know.
Even when it comes to the issues Republicans have talked about more than
any other over the past four years, Obamacare, you just can`t get a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were to take the Senate, how would Obamacare
change? I understand the point you`re making, but again, on repeal and
replace, what part of the law was acceptable?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously, you have been a vocal critic of Obamacare,
fought against it on constitutional grounds, tried to get it defunded.
People are asking now, what is the Republican alternative?
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: We are about proposing
real health care reform, that it will be patient-centered and a plan that
we will put forward this year. Our committee chairmen are working on the
issues in terms of the kind of reform that we want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The plan has yet to materialize.
Joining me now, Sam Seder, MSNBC contributor, host of "MAJORITY REPORT,"
David Frum, senior editor at "The Atlantic," former speechwriter for
President George W. Bush.
David, what am I voting for if I`m vote forget a Republican, particularly
in a Senate race? And I`m voting for this Republican, particularly in a
state with a retiring Democrat, I`m possibly going to be giving control of
the Senate to Republicans, what am I going to get?
DAVID FRUM, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I
think it is only a matter of time before some national Republican announce
that what you will get is a tax cut. As you mentioned...
HAYES: That`s a great prediction.
FRUM: Well, think about -- the Republicans have since 2008 been a party of
fiscal austerity and balanced budgets.
That tends not to be popular medicine. As you just pointed out, the
deficit is shrinking rapidly, which means for the first time in a decade-
and-a-half, there`s fiscal room. Tax rates, especially on high earners,
are at the highest levels seen since the early 1980s.
And that is a real source of pressure on the Republican voting base and the
Republican donor base. One more thing to bear in mind. The famous Contract
With America, the clearest platform that anybody ever introduced to run on
in an off-year election, was not announced until the fall of 1994.
So although it feels like the election is close, there is time for an
articulation of more of a platform for the Republicans.
HAYES: I think the tax cuts predictions is strong. What you said about --
I thought was an interesting statement, that the high marginal rates are
putting pressure on the GOP voting base and the donor base, which actually
strikes me as a pretty accurate statement.
What do you think you`re voting for if you`re voting for Republicans? What
is the Republican message?
SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: ... tax cuts.
HAYES: But they`re not running on tax -- that`s the thing. And I`m not
being facetious. I`m not being MSNBC cable news host here.
HAYES: I couldn`t answer the sentence, could not answer the sentence, if
you vote for the Republicans to take over the Senate, you are going to get
SEDER: Well, to be fair to you, you did answer it, I think, during the
bump. It is -- I think they`re going to continue, or at least their voters
think the message is, we`re going to repeal Obamacare.
And I think the voters are getting the message, we`re going to get to the
bottom of Benghazi. You know, for the vast majority of the country, these
issues are settled.
HAYES: That`s right.
SEDER: For the base of the Republican Party, this is what animates them
day in, day out. You just need to take a step into this sort of fever
swamp of what`s circulating on their e-mails, and that`s what you see.
It`s that over and over again.
HAYES: David, is the Obamacare -- Obamacare and Benghazi, which are the
two things I hear most about, or the news cycle tends to be dominated if I
flip over to FOX during my day at the office, that strikes me as partly not
any kind of mastermind strategy. Partly, there`s probably genuine passion
around it, but also a political decision that these midterms are really won
with the base, that they won it with the base in 2010.
HAYES: There`s 50 million voters who vote in the presidentials who don`t
show up in the midterms, and the most important thing for them is to get
the people who are hard-core Republican partisans out.
Benghazi is a radio talk show and TV issue. It`s not going to motivate
even very much of the Republican base. A big part of it is, first, there
are a lot of unanswered questions, and, second, it is an early lever
against Hillary Clinton.
FRUM: One of those things that is powerful about it is, it`s really a 2016
issue more than a 2014.
Obamacare is a massively redistributive program. It takes money, or
threatens or promises to take money from core Republican constituencies,
the more affluent of the elderly and taxpayers. It`s financed with very
redistributive taxes. And it`s financed through the insurance system with
a tax on, again, Republican constituencies, people in better health.
And it delivers massively to Democratic constituencies. And what has been
unique about this time is, normally, Americans are very optimistic about
the future and they`re prepared to borrow against it, but in the straitened
circumstances since 2008, American politics has become very zero sum.
So if you`re someone on Medicare, if you`re a member of the affluent
elderly, you think, this has to come from me. It`s not coming from the
future. It`s coming from me. And that`s why Obamacare remains such a
potent issue, even as Democrats say -- tell themselves, well, it seems to
be working for our people.
The better it works for Democratic voters, the more frightened Republican
voters become that this will be at their expense.
HAYES: That is a refreshingly, cynically honest look at the politics of
Obamacare and redistribution.
SEDER: Yes. And I think...
FRUM: It`s not cynical.
There`s something -- it`s -- look, politics is about who gets and who pays.
And Obamacare is the biggest alteration of the rules about who gets and who
pays that the United States has seen since the early 1980s.
SEDER: Yes. I`m not even convinced, frankly, that it`s quite that
I honestly don`t -- I think that Obamacare, it wouldn`t really matter what
it did. I think with the name Obamacare at least implanted on -- this is
what animates the conservative base. And we can say it`s just talk radio,
but show me a politician in the Republican Party who will say something
about Rush Limbaugh, and not be on that program the next day to apologize.
SEDER: That is what animates the Republican base.
HAYES: Although the thing I would say about this, and, David, to your
point, is that I keep asking myself, Americans for Prosperity, why are they
so obsessed with Obamacare? That`s what they`re running their ads on, even
as I think the polling shows there`s less and less traction there.
And I think David`s right about, in that the Koch brothers hate Obamacare,
and the folks that fund the Americans for Prosperity because it is
fundamentally redistributive in the way that David describes.
I want to talk about what a Senate dominated by the Republicans, with a
Republican majority, looks like right after we take this break.
HAYES: Reuters reports that Senate Republicans plan to use the upcoming
confirmation hearings of President Obama`s nominee to be the next health
and human services secretary, Sylvia Burwell, to attack Obamacare.
Why? Well, it`s not about policy, per se. Republican strategists say it`s
because the hearings could yield rich material for television ads and
social media campaigns for the midterms, with one adding, "One gaffe, and
they lose the news cycle," which sounds like a quote from "Veep."
A Republican-controlled Senate will also make it very hard for the
president to fill judicial nominations, including quite possibly vacancies
on the Supreme Court.
Still with me, Sam Seder and David Frum.
Sam, the Supreme Court vacancy issue, if I had to crystallize one thing
about the stakes of a Republican-controlled Senate, it`s that the
possibility of a Supreme Court vacancy in the next two years is non-
negligible. And it`s very hard to see what the heck that confirmation
process looks like with a Republican majority in the Senate.
I mean, I think they have already shown their willingness to sort of
stonewall when it comes to sort of executive appointees. And I would add
also, there`s a lot of federal judgeships to be filled too. So, it`s not
just the Supreme Court, but...
HAYES: That`s a good point. Once the nuclear option was engaged, right,
they filled a lot of those openings because the filibuster no longer
pertains. You go back to a Republican-controlled majority Senate, and all
that stuff gets bottled up again.
And so I think it`s -- I would say it`s one of the most definitive things
that we can expect with a -- if you see a Republican Senate. And they`re
just -- I think they`re just going to punt. I don`t think -- and I don`t
think they will get punished for it, per se.
HAYES: David Frum, if Mitch McConnell called you the day after Election
Day having taken Republican control of the Senate, and said come talk to my
caucus about what we should be using these next two years to do, what would
you tell them?
FRUM: Well, my advice would not be acceptable.
My advice is that restoring the defense budget would be my personal highest
priority. The sequester puts enormous pressure on America`s ability to
maintain a stable world order. We`re seeing the price of it in Ukraine.
The smart play, however, from Senator McConnell`s point of view, is to go
to work on the tax issue, and not to get -- not to get bogged down in the
politics of austerity. I think that`s what he`s going to do.
One more thing to bear in mind about why the Senate will be so much more
dysfunctional after 2014, of the top six Republican presidential aspirants
most mentioned, four of them are in Congress, and three of them are in the
FRUM: That`s very unusual for Republicans. Normally, the candidates are
in the states. And so...
HAYES: Yes. So every single thing the Senate does, there`s a kind of
"Game of Thrones" quality to who`s going to get credit, who is voting with
who, who is outflanking who on what bill, on what every proposal, every
Remember the old joke, the people on the other side of the House are your
opponents. Your enemies are all on this side of the House.
HAYES: Right. That`s right.
And that`s particularly true -- that is actually a very good point about
the dynamic -- particularly I think of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz -- in how
that -- how a possible majority would play out, and even without a
David`s point pertains in either way.
I think you`re going to see a lot of fractures there. That doesn`t -- that
isn`t to say that they won`t occasionally be able to pass something. I
mean, and Harry Reid is going to really move to the forefront here. Right?
The question is, is, how often is President Obama going to be required to
I imagine Harry Reid will have no problem filibustering quite a bit,
assuming Mitch McConnell doesn`t take one more step in terms of a nuclear
option, which isn`t off the table.
HAYES: Well, that would be amazing. If the slippery slope that everyone
warned about, right, gets slid down and Mitch McConnell says, all right,
you started to blow it up, we`re going to finish blowing it up and get rid
of it, which I actually personally would root for, because I think the
filibuster`s a bad institution in and of itself. I think it`s anti-
I can`t, David Frum, see them doing that, however, because I think Mitch
McConnell or whoever in the Republican Party actually understands the same
thing I do, which is that the filibuster is fundamentally a conservatizing
force in American politics.
FRUM: It`s also a force that enhances the power of any individual senator.
And at some level, each senator`s top interest is that senator personally
remaining a very giant, big deal. And in a world without all of these
crazy Senate rules, senators become like almost members of the House.
FRUM: They just -- they become part of the majority.
HAYES: And there`s nothing a senator has more contempt for than a member
of the House of Representatives, as I have learned in many off-the-record
SEDER: I will say, one of the things that scares me, as a progressive, is
the Telecommunications Act of 1996, welfare reform 1996, the...
HAYES: The Effective Death Penalty Act.
SEDER: Yes, the repeal of Glass-Steagall. All of those things happened
with President Clinton with a Republican-controlled Congress.
And I am very worried that that -- that President Obama will bring back
things like chained CPI or the grand bargain.
HAYES: Yes, I`m particularly -- I think that particularly is true around
issues like telecommunications or banking regulation, which aren`t big --
kind of big issues a lot of people pay attention to.
HAYES: It`s much easier to get bad legislation on that that lobbyists
MSNBC contributor Sam Seder, David Frum from "The Atlantic," thank you,
FRUM: Thank you.
SEDER: Thank you.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2014 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>