Skip navigation

All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 12, 2014

Guest: Zainab al-Suwaij, Dana Goldstein, Dan Savage, Molly Ball

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
Hayes.

In just a few hours from now, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is coming
home. The freed Taliban prisoner of war is flying from the U.S. military
hospital in Germany to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio,
Texas, and is expected to arrive some time after midnight. But a
homecoming awaits him.

Bergdahl has been called without any definitive evidence thus far, a
deserter, a traitor, possibly a jihadi in the formulation of one FOX News
headline. This is what he will wake up to tomorrow after five years of
being held by the Taliban, in what we can only imagine to be horrific
circumstances.

Much of the anger directed at Bowe Bergdahl from pundits and
demagogues isn`t actually at Bowe Bergdahl. It is anger at this long
period of war and what the end of it looks like. What the end looks like
is five Taliban commanders heading back to Qatar and eventually back to
Afghanistan, as the U.S. prepares to end its combat mission.

What the end of this period of war looks like today are scenes in
Iraq, a country that may be disintegrating before our very eyes again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES (voice-over): This is what is happening in Iraq right now.

Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing their homes after a Sunni
militant group seized key towns in northern Iraq and pushed on towards
Baghdad. The militant group goes by the acronym ISIS, the Islamic State in
Iraq and al-Sham, and wants to make a new caliphate out of Iraq, Syria,
Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. ISIS is formed in April
of last year, growing out of al Qaeda in Iraq. But it is so extreme that
al Qaeda has now disavowed them.

The group, which claims to have militants all around the world in its
ranks, including from the U.S. and Europe, has had great military success
in Syria, and now in Iraq too. In January, they seized the town of
Fallujah, the site of some of the most brutal fighting between American
forces and insurgents in 2004. Then, on Tuesday, Iraq`s second largest
city, Mosul, which fell to American forces within months of the 2003
invasion, also surrendered to ISIS.

Two divisions of Iraqi soldiers, around 30,000 men, fled, abandoning
their weapons and uniforms when just 800 insurgents overran the city.

ISIS then imposed a harsh legal code in Mosul, telling women to wear
wide clothes and only step outside if absolutely necessarily.

Fighters have looted millions of dollars in military equipment across
the north, prompting desperate measures from the Iraqi government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, the Iraqi air force bombed what appeared to
be their own bases and aircraft hangers in Mosul, in what seems to be a
scorched earth policy.

HAYES: To the north, the Iraqi army has deserted the town of Kirkuk
and Kurdish forces have taken over. While to the south, ISIS fighters
occupied parts of the oil-refining town of Baiji. They rode into Saddam
Hussein`s hometown of Tikrit, seizing that as well.

Now, they`re pushing on to Baghdad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: March to Baghdad, Al-Rashid, the Baghdad of the
caliphate. We have a score to settle. There is an old balance with it,
and we must make it even.

HAYES: In Baghdad, Shiite Muslims are lining up to join the army,
while the Shiite-led army is asking for government help.

In Washington, President Obama left on the table the potential of
airstrikes against ISIS.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t rule out
anything, because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists
are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria, for that
matter.

HAYES: Vice President Biden spoke on the phone with Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki this morning, to express solidarity with Iraq.
And Secretary of State Kerry promised the U.S. is taking action.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are deeply concerned about what is
happening in Iraq and we are not concerned and waiting.

HAYES: But the assurances from the White House are not enough for
Republicans.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s not like we
haven`t seen, over the last five or six months, these terrorists moving in,
taking control of western Iraq. Now, they`ve taken control of Mosul.
They`re a hundred miles from Baghdad.

And what`s the president doing? Taking a nap.

HAYES: Eleven years after President Bush took the nation to war in
Iraq, the chaos in that country and the region that many warned of now
seems all too real.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES: Joining me now, NBC News foreign correspondent, Ayman
Mohyeldin.

Ayman, can you tell us who ISIS is and how they have become so
apparently fearsome and strong over the last several months.

AYMAN MOHYELIN, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. I mean,
certainly, ISIS is a group that was, as you mentioned in that report,
founded late last year after they broke away from al Qaeda. Now, there are
several components to the group itself. One of its largest components have
been former Iraqi army members, soldiers, members of the Sunni Arab
community inside Iraq itself. They have been able, over the course of the
last year or so, grown their ranks, grown their numbers by tapping into
social resentment in the Sunni Arab communities of the western part of the
country, and that has allowed them to grow.

But they now also have, in addition to that, foreign fighters that
have come in by the hundreds and who have joined their ranks. We`ve seen
documentations, as well as heard from firefighters that have come from
Europe, including places like Chechnya, Central Asia, as well as North
Africa.

So, they also have that, but their numbers are predominantly made up
of this Sunni Arab community, that inhabits both the western part of Iraq,
as well as the Syrian population, the Sunni Arab/Syrian population.

So, those are the ones that really make the rank and file of ISIS.

HAYES: So, what is next here? They now control Mosul. They control
Tikrit. They are marching towards Baghdad. I guess the first question is,
are they capable of taking Baghdad?

MOHYELDIN: Well, the short answer to that really is no. To take
control of Baghdad would be extremely difficult. They don`t have the
numbers. Keep in mind, ISIS is about 3,000 to 5,000, maybe as many as
8,000. To really to try to take a city in the millions and control it
would be very difficult, given the fact it is the central power of not only
the Iraqi government, but also some of the more dominant Shia militias, who
really want to confront ISIS.

Now, what is ISIS capable of doing in the coming months? They can
certainly hold on to some of the territory they have, because they do have
a groundswell of support of those populations, but they could drag Iraq
into a full-blown confrontation in sectarian warfare. We`re not there just
yet.

This is still a bit of a political crisis, but ISIS wants to confront
the Shia population of Iraq in a full-on battle so then it can turn around
and recruit more Sunni Arabs across the Arab world. This is something
they`ve been propagating for the last several years and they now want to
fulfill that fight and try to pitch this fight as a fight between Shias in
Iraq and Iran, as well as the Sunni Arabs across the region. It`s been
their M.O. for the past several months.

HAYES: And it seems the Maliki government, in being as harsh and
brutal as they have been towards Sunni populations and Sunni dissidents and
even peaceful Sunni protests have played into ISIS` hands.

Can the Maliki government do anything militarily here without further
alienating precisely those parts of the population they need to bring back
into the fold to build some kind of unified state?

MOHYELDIN: Well, militarily, the one thing they can do is try to
mitigate some of these arms that are falling into the hands of ISIS. We`ve
already seen the Iraqi air force today, try and carry out air strikes on
some of the American-built air bases that the Iraqi army took over after
the Americans withdrew. And they`ve tried to destroy some of the aircraft,
some of the Humvees, some of the heavy weapons that are now falling into
the hands of ISIS.

But in terms of engaging in a full-on battle, it certainly does not
favor the Iraqi army. For two reasons, one, they would have to fight an
urban warfare, where again it`s not something they`re very well-trained in.

And more importantly, if they are going to deploy troops from Baghdad,
from the central government, to confront the Sunni Arab populations, they
would be fighting against a groundswell support of the of the population.
And the population right now is very disengaged with the Shia-led
government in Baghdad.

So, they don`t want to try to alienate them any further with more
military strikes.

HAYES: NBC News foreign correspondent, Ayman Mohyeldin -- thank you.

In Washington today, Speaker Boehner was certainly not the only one
using the events in Iraq to attack President Obama. Some are citing the
growing jihadist strength in Iraq as a latest example of the failings of
the Obama administration`s foreign policy and the need once again for U.S.
intervention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There is no scenario where
we can stop the bleeding in Iraq without American air power. The Iraqi
army is on the verge of collapse. I would urge the administration to get
all of our people out now.

I think the people in the ISIS have as part of their agenda to attack
our homeland. The next 9/11 is in the making.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Joining me now, Zainab al-Suwaij, cofounder and executive
director of the American Islamic Congress. She was born in Iraq, fled the
country in 1991, just returned from a visit to Iraq three weeks ago.

Zainab, when you hear an American politician calling for airstrikes in
Iraq, what is your reaction?

ZAINAB AL-SUWAIJ, AMERICAN ISLAMIC CONGRESS: It`s not -- it certainly
is not happy news to hear, but it`s unfortunate. The situation in Iraq is,
in the past week or so, it`s been not really encouraging to see what`s
going on in there. And how, the insurgent and these jihadists took over
Mosul and Tikrit and other parts of the country.

HAYES: Zainab, let me ask you this, how did we get here? I mean,
from your perspective, the disintegration that has led to this point, when
you -- yes, please?

AL-SUWAIJ: I think the situation is with the government of the weak -
- how the government was weak, not being able to include everyone, even
though the Sunni population in Iraq, they voted, they had seen the
parliament. I mean, the head of the parliament is a Sunni Arab from Mosul.

And -- but there are a lot of negotiations and there are a lot of
problems also. And these kind of problems led to the situation, where we
are right now, where the al Qaeda and these jihadists took advantage of and
came to Iraq to fight what they call a war or a jihad against the Shiites
and they made it, they betrayed as a fight, Sunni/Shia fight.

HAYES: Having been there recently, how intense is the feeling of
sectarian division in the country right now between the Sunni minority and
the Shia majority?

AL-SUWAIJ: It depends where you are in the country. Most in the
urban cities, you don`t hear much about it. But in certain areas, that`s
been tense or been neglected, you hear a lot about that.

Also, and which group you belong to. If you belong to certain
political group or certain political party, then you certainly align --
people align themselves with these political parties. That`s always
sectarian or depends on which sect that they are from.

On a daily basis, you see life is normal. But you see a lot of us
also suffering, depends which area you are in, whether you are Sunni or a
Shiite.

HAYES: Do you -- just to be clear, the origin of the group that is
now terrorizing much of Iraq, ISIS, they were formed in the caldron of
violence and chaos that was the American occupation in the country. I
mean, they did not exist before the American invasion and occupation
happened.

AL-SUWAIJ: Well, they used to have roots in Iraq, and after the fall
of Saddam`s regime, things -- the attacks have changed. Before, when
Saddam was in power, they came to certain parts of Iraq and tried to
suppress their ideologies in terms of how they control women and how to
cover them and men as well with their Salafi jihadist ideology. But
Saddam`s power was much more strong, and they could control them at that
time.

After the fall of Saddam`s regime, they formed, especially, they are -
- when the government become mainly Shiite, so these kind of -- their acts
become more as a holy war or a jihad against the Shiites, because they do
not allow you the same ideology that they have. Now, in recent months or
in the past couple of years, they get more stronger in fighting in Syria.

HAYES: Yes, because the Syrian jihad there has so exploded across the
border between Iraq and Syria.

AL-SUWAIJ: Exactly. And this Iraq, Iraq was -- took a part of this
and the Iraqi governments and people to fight there.

So, it`s become more a clear picture for people that they want to get
back. I think with the resistance that`s happening in Ramadi and Fallujah
in the -- since past last year until now, that also took place, and the
failure of the Iraqi government in terms of overcoming that and led into
what we have right now, in terms of they didn`t really communicate with
them.

HAYES: Or bring them into the fold.

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: Zainab al-Suwaij, from the American Islamic Congress -- thank
you so much.

AL-SUWAIJ: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, former Congressman Barney Frank will join me to
talk about how he got into this mess in the first place.

Plus, a guaranteed winner in the category of the most awkward thing
you heard all day, NPR`S Terry Gross interviewing Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I have to say, I think
you are being very persistent, but you are playing with my words and
playing with what is such an important issue --

TERRY GROSS, NPR: I`m just trying to clarify so I think you can
understand --

CLINTON: No, I don`t think you are trying to clarify.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: I`ll tell you what they were talking about and we`ll play the
whole exchange, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Coming up, with Iraq chaos back in the news, it`s an
opportunity for discredited neocons to tell us what we should to do. I
have something to say to them, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: All of that success, where the surge
succeeded, we see this all now torn asunder because of a policy of
withdrawal without victory. And when those withdrawals and that policy was
being orchestrated, the senator from South Carolina and I and others stood
up and said -- please don`t do this. Please leave a small force behind in
Iraq.

Because the president of the United States declares a conflict over
does not mean in the eyes of the enemy that it`s over. Conflicts end when
the enemy is defeated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: John McCain met the grim news out of Iraq today by doing what
John McCain does best, calling for U.S. military force in other places in
the world. If only the president had listened to John McCain and prolonged
the U.S. military intervention in Iraq.

But before you take John McCain`s "I told you so" speech too
seriously, I`d take a moment to appreciate some of the other pearls of
wisdom he`s dispensed on Iraq over the years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: The second phase is Iraq. There is some indication, and I
don`t have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax, may, and I say, may,
have come from Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, is that right?

MCCAIN: And if that`s the case, that`s when some tough decisions are
going to have to be made, too.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Are you one of those who holds up an
optimistic of the post-war scene? Do you think the people of Iraq or at
least a large number of them will treat us as liberators?

MCCAIN: Absolutely.

Well, you make a good point as far as the cost of war is concerned.
But since we don`t know, because wars are so unpredictable, how much that
cost is going to be -- that`s going to be a heavy burden on the American
taxpayers.

But post-Saddam Hussein Iraq is going to be paid for by the Iraqis.
They have billions of dollars of income. They have vast oil reserves.

There is not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and
Shias. So, I think they can probably get along.

We`re going to win this victory. Tragically, we will lose American
lives, but it will be brief. We`re going to find out massive evidence of
weapons of mass destruction, and we`re going to find the incredible
brutalities that this dictator has inflicted upon the Iraqi people.

And so, I think he`s going to be justified. I`m confident that he
will be justified.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: I am confident that all those things that
you`ve predict are going to come true and a lot of people that have been
laying out the case against us are going to be very embarrassed.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HAYES: Joining me now is MSNBC contributor and former congressman,
Barney Frank, Democrat from Massachusetts.

Congressman, your reaction to the words from Senator John McCain
today, of "I told you so," regarding Iraq?

FMR. REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: First of all, let`s be
clear. He is there, legitimately getting credit for being an advocate of
one of the single biggest mistakes, I believe, the American government has
ever made on a policy level -- the deliberate invasion of Iraq. All of the
justifications were false. Weapons of mass destruction, I had forgotten
that they were blaming him for anthrax, the Shia and Sunni getting
together. They were completely wrong.

Secondly, I have kind of an initial point that Lindsey Graham and John
McCain and the others ought to take. If they are going to want us to send
more military involvement into Iraq, they`ll want to stay in Afghanistan
far longer than the president wants to, they want to get involved
militarily in Syria. They think we didn`t do enough in Libya, where are
they going to pay for this?

These are people who, in other guises, talk about how terrible the
deficit is. So, let`s be very clear, to this whole section of Republicans,
this notion that they`re worried about the deficit goes out the window. At
the very least, if they would have the intellectual courage of their
convictions, they would be talking about how many hundreds of billions more
over a period of years we would need not to put it on the deficit.

Third, and here`s the key point, what Graham and McCain are talking
about, let`s be very clear, is the indefinite occupation of both
Afghanistan and Iraq by a substantial number of Americans.

HAYES: Exactly.

FRANK: When McCain says a few Americans, nonsense. You`re not going
to send a few Americans into a difficult situation like that. Now, we`re
into Vietnam all over again with a handful of advisers. They will be in
the midst of the battle.

So, the question is, does America have some obligation or self-
interest in permanently maintaining a status quo in both Afghanistan and
Iraq that otherwise isn`t attainable? And I don`t think we do.

HAYES: And I`ve been reading report after report that talks about the
situation in Iraq, in which it characterizes the Iraqi state as having been
constructed in such a way, in the wake of the total annihilation that was
the 2003 invasion occupation. It could not function in the absence of
Americans. And rather than a condemnation of the entire project of Iraq,
that is seen as validation of the idea of essentially unending the
occupation.

HAYES: Exactly. And by the way, Afghanistan, too, you know, in the
case of both Iraq and Afghanistan, these are not external powers. You
know, I now think that George Bush Sr. was right when we expelled Saddam
Hussein from Kuwait. That was a smaller country being expelled by a larger
foreign power. He did that well.

On the other hand, within Iraq and Afghanistan, we were talking about
entire civil wars. There is no outside force that`s determining this. And
I am sorry that one side is losing versus the other, although I must say,
in Iraq, it`s sometimes hard to find the good guys.

But I -- the alternative, what they are talking about is an indefinite
American presence at the cost of tens and tens of billions of a year.

And, by the way, one other thing for these great geopolitical people -
- one of the major losers, if there is this Sunni surge in Iraq, that
destabilizes it is Iran. Now, much of the time they are talking about how
Iran is our greatest threat. But Iran is a Shia country. And the Iraqi
government Maliki is the Iranian`s ally.

So this is, in fact, a much greater loss for Iran, what`s going on
here, than it is for America. They don`t mention that.

HAYES: Remarkably, if I`m tracking John McCain and Lindsey Graham`s
ample calls for intervention in various foreign policy and sending of arms,
we would be essentially fighting on every side of all conflicts currently
happening in the entire region. I mean, they want us, essentially,
involved on all sides of a conflict that has --

FRANK: Well, yes. I mean, if Iran is your major enemy, Maliki was
Iran`s great ally. And again, let`s go back to this basic point. How do
they pay for this? How many literally hundreds of billions.

And this notion by McCain that this is going to mean more terrorism in
the U.S. First of all, we should be very clear about this point, there are
terrible people out there who want to kill Americans and we need to defend
ourselves against them. But we can`t plug every rat hole in the world. If
we shut down Afghanistan, there`ll be an Iraq, if they`re not in Iraq,
they`ll be in Yemen, if not in Yemen, they`ll be in Mali, they`ll be in
Nigeria.

And yes, we can maintain, and I`m for a sensible drone policy to try
to deal with them, if we can find out who they are. But we will also be
defending ourselves at home. But if you`re worried about Americans dying,
if you follow what McCain says, you`re going to send Americans back into
combat in Iraq, one of the worst examples in American history of a terribly
unsuccessful, brutal combat. And you`re not going to do it with a handful
of people. They`re not going to be scared off.

So, you were talking about many, many more Americans dying if that is
the single biggest thing you`re concerned about than any other under any
scenario.

HAYES: Do you think the epic historical nature of the horror and
tragedy that was the Iraq war in every direction, is understood properly in
Washington, having served in Washington during the time, the run-up to the
war, during, and after the war?

FRANK: Well, it is by some. It obviously was by the president and
the people around him. By the way, among the people I do not hear
clamoring for us to go back in are the people who would know best what`s
involved, the American military.

You have -- sometimes you`ll hear American military people saying,
well, we should not reduce in Afghanistan as well. I haven`t heard that
the American military thinks it`s a good idea for them to come back in,
into Iraq.

I think the answer is among some of the Republicans, not for two
reasons. First of all, whatever President Obama does, they`re going to
criticize. You know, can I just say one point here, Chris?

HAYES: Yes.

FRANK: For years, many people on both sides have said, we don`t want
a president unilaterally sending the troops into battle. We don`t want a
unilateral executive commitment of people into war. They have to go to
Congress.

The first president to do that was Barack Obama when he said, I think
we should bomb Syria, because they use chemical weapons, but I won`t do
that without congressional authorization. Congress said no. He abided by
it, which people have been saying presidents should do, and they attack him
for that.

HAYES: Yes, former Congressman Barney Frank, always a pleasure.
Thank you.

More on that incredible interview between Hillary Clinton and Terry
Gross, we will play you a big chunk of it. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: It is one of the most controversial pieces of policy the whole
nation over. Parents, teachers, communities, even people that are on the
same political side disagree on it. A huge new ruling spells an uncertain
future for it. I will tell you what it is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: If there`s a single cardinal principle that has guided the
self-described education reform movement in its rise to power over the last
decade or so, it`s the idea that bad schools and unequal educational
opportunities have one root cause: bad teachers.

And if you follow that logic, there`s one thing that keeps those bad
teachers in place, dooming their students to failure. It`s called teacher
tenure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: First, we have to examine
tenure.

JOHN STOSSEL, FOX NEWS: It`s disgusting to have tenure in the first
place. Why do they have it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once these teachers get in, it`s almost impossible
to fire them for performance.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: It`s no exaggeration to say we
basically pay teachers based on how long they have been breathing.

CHRISTIE: I am tired and I think you are tired of paying a king`s
ransom for failure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: This week, a California judge handed a huge victory to the
opponents of tenure, tentatively striking down California`s tenure rules,
some of the strongest in the country.

In an opinion that practically reads like a brochure for education
reform, the judge ruled that tenure has a negative impact on students`
education, particularly for poor students of color, and therefore violates
their civil rights.

Quote: "The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.
The challenged statutes impose a real and appreciable impact on students`
fundamental right to a quality of education and impose a disproportional
board on poor and minority students."

There`s a genuine debate to be had about tenure rules and how
California schools can better serve their students. According to the
Department of Education analysis released in 2011, California was one of
the top five states in the country for low-performing schools.

The real kicker though in this is who brought the case in the first
place. It was organized and bankrolled by a group called Students Matter,
founded by tech multimillionaire Dave Welch and underwritten by top dollar
donors, just the latest victory in the financial class` ongoing war in
teacher protections in this country.

Joining me now, Dana Goldstein, staff writer at The Marshall Project,
author of "The Teacher Wars," which comes out next September. It`s
available for preorder. I have the good fortune to have read it. It`s
fantastic, so go preorder it.

OK, first of all, let`s start simple. What is tenure?

DANA GOLDSTEIN, THE MARSHALL PROJECT: Great first question. It`s a
promise of due process.

So once a teacher earns tenure rights, if a principal or a school
wants to get rid of them, wants to fire them, they have to make the case.
They have to bring it before a neutral arbitrator. They have to present
evidence for why this teacher is bad at their job. And the teacher,
importantly, has the right to representation in that hearing.

HAYES: Why does -- you have got a great history of why -- why does
tenure exist? Why do teachers have this protection?

GOLDSTEIN: So, tenure dates back in the United States to 1909.

And at the time, school reformers, college presidents, accountability
hawks, like we have today, they looked over at Germany and they thought
German teachers were a heck of a lot better than American ones, and they
said, oh, look, Germany has tenure. That provides teachers with an
incentive to do this low-paid job.

HAYES: Wow.

GOLDSTEIN: This job pays poorly. We have to give teachers something
else to convince them to do it. You know what? We will offer them
security, legal security.

HAYES: And that would be an incentive to get good people to come in
and teach.

GOLDSTEIN: That was the idea, yes.

HAYES: You also make the point that it was a protection against
essentially patronage hiring, right, that you have got this big bucket of
jobs, and it`s like, I will give my cousin or this person, we will throw
him in the classroom.

Teacher tenure made it hard to do that.

GOLDSTEIN: Yes, that`s what happened back at the turn of the 20th
century, and cities like New York City and Chicago, the alderman would get
his sister-in-law the teaching job. And that sister-in-law was a terrible
teacher.

So that was one thing tenure was supposed to protect against.

HAYES: OK.

What do you think on this ruling of California tenure, which is very
strong, even, you know, among the 50 states, probably one of the strongest?

GOLDSTEIN: You know, it`s complicated.

California`s currently offering teachers tenure after only 18 months
of work. And that is bad policy. We know it takes two, three, probably
more like five years to really tell how great a teacher can be. So 18
months is really not long enough.

That said, I think the ruling is based on some really faulty premises.
It`s based on the idea that when you fire these bad teachers in these low-
income schools, there sort of automatically will pop up a whole lot of
better teachers to take the place, and there`s a lot of evidence on this
question, and that`s not true.

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: Yes, what does the evidence say on this question? I always
wonder about this. Right? OK. Let`s say we wave the magic wand, we get
rid of every bad teacher in America. The next day, who is standing at the
front of that classroom?

GOLDSTEIN: A lot of other teachers that are probably not that great,
especially in poor kids` schools.

The Obama administration actually tried an experiment. They offered
1,500 teachers who were proven effective $20,000 -- this was a lot of money
-- to leave their school and go teach in a poorer school with lower test
scores, and only 25 percent of the teachers took the deal. So 75 percent
of the teachers passed up this great opportunity to get a lot of money.

Why did they pass it up? Because those schools are struggling.
They`re not awesome places to work.

HAYES: They`re very hard. It`s very hard to teach in a really under-
resourced and in a community that`s struggling with all sorts of issues.

What do you think about the broader idea that essentially the things
standing between us and education nirvana are the bad teachers and how hard
it is to fire bad teachers?

GOLDSTEIN: It`s a really faulty idea.

Basically, what we have done is created a teaching job that is not
that attractive to the sort of people we say we want to be teachers. So,
we say we want the most ambitious college graduates who have options to go
into any other career to teach. But then, basically, what we have done is
we have created a system that`s very based on standardized testing, that
doesn`t offer teachers a lot of leadership, doesn`t offer them a lot of
creativity.

HAYES: Yes.

GOLDSTEIN: The amazing thing to me, when I was reporting my book, is
how many amazing teachers still take us up on this bargain because they
love kids, they`re passionate about the work, and they`re great at what
they do.

But we could have more of them if the job itself were better, and
that`s what this decision, the Vergara decision, doesn`t get.

HAYES: Totally ignores, yes.

Dana Goldstein, the book again is "The Teacher Wars." You can
preorder it now. It really is an exceptional book. I highly recommend it.

GOLDSTEIN: Thanks.

HAYES: All right.

Coming up, the most awkward interview I have heard in a very long
time. It stars Hillary Clinton. We will have that for you next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Everyone`s favorite forgetful Texas governor, Rick Perry, was
back in the news today, this time for some comments on homosexuality during
an appearance at the Commonwealth Club in, of all places, San Francisco,
where he informed his audience that one has the ability to decide not to
follow -- quote -- "a particular lifestyle."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was asked whether homosexuality is a
disorder.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I may have the genetic coding that I`m
inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that. And I
look at the homosexual issue as the same way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Rick Perry has correctly been the target of a fair share of
ridicule for comparing homosexuality to alcoholism.

Even in a roomful of Perry supporters, his statements reportedly
elicited a murmur of disbelief. You have to remember, this is the sort of
thing we have heard from Republicans forever.

It`s just that, in 2014, most of them are trying not to say anything
outwardly offensive, because they are aware of how quickly public opinion
is moving away from them.

That doesn`t mean the Republican base doesn`t still hold some pretty
retrograde views on homosexuality. A new Pew poll out today shows that
while Republicans have gotten better on the issue, almost half still
believe that homosexuality should be discouraged by society. And according
to a May Gallup poll, only 30 percent of Republicans back same-sex
marriage.

But even the anti-gay forces know the writing is on the wall, which is
why the GOP has made a tactical choice to not attack homosexuality the way
it did 10 years ago, when George W. Bush backed a constitutional amendment
to ban gay marriage, although, as we learned this week, not every
Republican has gotten the memo on this strategy.

Rick Perry`s Texas Republican Party just adopted a platform that
supports so-called reparative therapy designed to turn gay people straight.
And this fine gentleman, Oklahoma Republican Statehouse candidate Scott Esk
was found in a Facebook post to have endorsed stoning gay people to death,
writing, "I think we would be totally in the right to do it."

He elaborated in a phone interview.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SCOTT ESK (R), OKLAHOMA REPUBLICAN STATEHOUSE CANDIDATE: What I will
tell you right now is that that was done in the Old Testament, under a law
that came directly from God. And in that time, there was -- it was totally
just. It came directly from God.

I have no plans to, you know, reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do
have, you know, some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAYES: Just to be clear OF what the definition of stoning is, it`s
when a mob of people kill somebody BY smashing them with rocks.

Esk thinks we`d be totally in the right to do that to gays, but don`t
worry, he has no plans to make it the law. So let`s call that the silver
lining.

Still, the continued bigotry against LGBT folks among conservatives
and Republicans is only one side of the coin. The other side is the
incredible speed with which Democrats and Democratic politicians have
evolved on this issue over the past decade. President Obama himself did
not even embrace same-sex marriage until just two years ago.

And, today, that Democratic evolution was at the center of the most
awkward and intense interview I have heard in a long time between National
Public Radio`s Terry Gross and potential 2016 presidential candidate
Hillary Clinton.

Here`s a little bit.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think
you`re trying to say that, you know, that I used to be opposed and now I`m
in favor, and I did it for political reasons. And that`s just flat wrong.

So let me just state what I feel like you are implying and repudiate
it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAYES: That`s just a small taste of that absolutely amazing
conversation on NPR today. We will play you much more when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: OK.

Before the break, we played a little bit of the incredibly awkward
exchange on NPR today between Terry Gross and Hillary Clinton over whether
Clinton had always backed same-sex marriage, but kept her support quiet, or
whether Clinton legitimately changed her mind on the issue.

Have a listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TERRY GROSS, NPR: So, just to clarify, just one more question on
this. Would you say your view evolved since the `90s, or that the American
public evolved, allowing you to state your real view?

CLINTON: I think I`m an American. And I think that -- I think we
have all evolved, and it`s been one of the fastest, most sweeping
transformations I`m aware of.

GROSS: No, I understand, but a lot of people already believed in it
back in the `90s. A lot of people already supported gay marriage.

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: Not that -- to be fair, Terry, not that many.

GROSS: I`m pretty sure you didn`t answer my question about whether
you evolved or it was the American public that changed...

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: I said I`m an American, so, of course, we all evolved. And
I think that that`s a fair -- that that`s a fair conclusion.

GROSS: So your opinion changed? So you`re saying your opinion on gay
marriage changed, as opposed to you just felt it was...

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: Somebody is always first, Terry. Somebody`s always out
front, and thank goodness they are.

But that doesn`t mean that those who join later in being publicly
supportive or even privately accepting that there needs to be change are
any less committed.

You could not be having the sweep of marriage equality across our
country if nobody changed their mind. And thank goodness so many of us
have.

GROSS: So that`s one for you changed your mind?

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: You know, I really -- I have to say, I think you are being
very persistent, but you are playing with my words and playing with what is
such an important issue.

GROSS: I`m just trying to clarify so I can understand.

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: No, I don`t think you are trying to clarify. I think you`re
trying to say that, you know, I used to be opposed and now I`m in favor,
and I did it for political reasons. And that`s just flat wrong.

So let me just state what I feel like you are implying and repudiate
it. I have a strong record. I have a great commitment to this issue, and
I am proud of what I have done and the progress we`re making.

GROSS: You know, I`m saying -- I`m sorry. I just want to clarify
what I was saying.

No, I was saying that maybe believed in this all along, but, you know,
believe in gay marriage all along, but felt for political reasons America
wasn`t ready yet and you couldn`t say it. That`s what I was thinking.

CLINTON: No, that -- no, that is not true.

GROSS: OK.

CLINTON: I did not grow up even imagining gay marriage, and I don`t
think you probably did either.

This was an incredibly new and important idea that people on the front
lines of the gay rights movement began to talk about, and slowly but surely
convinced others of the rightness of that position. And when I was ready
to say what I said, I said it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAYES: Joining me now, syndicated columnist Dan Savage, Molly Ball,
staffer writer for "The Atlantic," and Ezra Klein, editor in chief of
Vox.com and an MSNBC policy analyst.

Dan, I will begin with you. I don`t get why she just didn`t say what
Barack Obama said, which is like, yes, of course I evolved. Lots of people
evolved, and I was evolved. She basically sort of implies that, but never
comes forward and says it.

What was your reaction to it?

DAN SAVAGE, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I thought it was a hilarious
interview, because Hillary seemed on once to be angered at the suggestion
that she ever opposed and angered at the suggestion there was something
wrong that she changed her mind.

This is, I think, evidence of how quickly the mood is changing on this
issue and how quickly people are marching out in support of marriage
equality that Hillary Clinton seems really reluctant to admit that she
opposed marriage equality ever.

And Terry Gross is trying to pin her down on that, and she just
squirmed and squirmed. And the difference here, I think, is really ironic,
when you compare it to Barack Obama, because Obama pretended to oppose
marriage equality, and nobody believed him. We treated him like we
believed him.

He had supported marriage equality in the `90s, came out against it
when he was running for president, and then evolved. And that was totally
politically calculated.

At least Hillary`s opposition, I believe, when she opposed marriage
equality, was sincere, as opposed to the president`s. And her evolution is
much more genuine and honest, and I think she should be lest hesitant to
discuss it and unpack it.

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: That`s very well said.

Molly, it struck me that this was a reminder of some of the ways in
which Hillary Clinton, as a candidate, particularly back in 2008, wasn`t
necessarily the best at being clear on things.

I remember this famous moment with an immigration -- driver`s license
for undocumented workers, where she got tripped up. She seemed to say in a
debate that she was both for and against it, and I immediately flashed back
to that moment.

MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": Absolutely. That`s a great moment to
remember.

She seems to be a politician who is always scrambling for the nearest
safe patch of land. And in some cases, there isn`t one. And could see her
saying, no, I`m not saying that, but I`m also not saying the other thing
and I`m not saying anything else either.

At some point, you do have to say something. You do have to say where
you stand. And especially -- we have been hearing all this hype that she`s
more comfortable in her skin now, she`s going to be able to be a more
authentic candidate, one that doesn`t sound so calculating.

Well, that doesn`t seem to be the case from this interview, where she
seemed to be sort of spinning madly in every direction.

HAYES: So, we showed some of that Pew data on polarization around
this issue.

And, Ezra, I wanted to talk to you about this other result, which I
found so fascinating. All right, we think about abortion, we think about
marriage equality, we think about size of government, other issues as being
polarizing.

But this is a question. They just asked people, do you prefer to live
where houses are smaller and closer together, but things are within walking
distance? Not the kind of things you get arguments -- into arguments over
the dinner table with family members; 77 percent of consistent liberals say
yes; 22 percent of consistent conservatives say yes.

And it just struck me that we are so polarized in this country, the
polarization has these roots deep enough into how we even want to live,
what kind of neighborhoods we want to be.

EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think you -- I think this report is
so great.

I really think it`s one of the most important documents in sort of
2014 American politics. So this idea of polarization, what I think this
report shows is that we`re having this kind of tremendous convergence of
different kinds of polarization.

So when people, I think, think of polarization, they often actually
use it as a synonym for extremism. They hear about polarized America...

HAYES: Right.

KLEIN: ... and they think it`s about a fight. But it isn`t.

You have all these different kinds of polarization that can be
different. You can Republicans and Democrats, so party polarization. Then
you can have liberals and conservatives, so ideological polarization, and
those two things can be really different. But they`re not now.

Now liberal and Democrat and conservative and Republican are, for most
people, the same. Then you can have political engagement polarization,
right? There can be a difference between the kinds of people who are
involved in politics and who aren`t.

Now that is mapped on to ideology and party. And now you get into the
kinds of things you`re talking about, where you want to live, what kind of
-- if you want to be in a city or a rural area, if you want to be with
people who are of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, or you want to
be with people who share the same religion.

You have such a tremendous mapping of all these different kinds of
polarization on top of each other, that the distance between people becomes
so far, it becomes essentially unbridgeable.

HAYES: And we see -- Dan, we see that of course in the map that when
-- if you ever do a county-by-county map of elections, you see the blue
cities, and that relates, right? There`s this relationship between kind of
living in cities, liberal values, percentage of people that are out, LGBT
folks. All these things have kind of clustered together.

And I wonder whether gay rights is kind of an exception to that or it
actually just proves the rule.

SAVAGE: It proves the rule.

Like, the Democratic Party is the party of urban America. There`s no
such thing as a blue state. There are red states with big blue cities in
it that can flip the whole state, Illinois. Washington State is a red
state with Seattle and King County, and it puts the state safely in the
Democratic column.

I don`t think that Pew poll really tells us anything we don`t already
know. Democrats like and live in cities and conservatives dislike and
avoid cities.

HAYES: And so, Molly, I wonder if that, if -- what that means for the
way that American politics is going to evolve in the end of the Obama era
and the post-Obama era, because it does seem that the kind of two Americas
and the redness-blueness has gotten worse, just as a structural fact about
Americans, what they watch, what they listen to, how they want to live, in
these six years.

There doesn`t seem to be anything that`s pushing it in the opposite
direction.

BALL: Well, I want to go back to what Ezra was saying, because I
think it`s really important and to understand what he was saying correctly,
because a lot of people are getting this report wrong.

Like he said, a lot of people think of polarization as meaning
extremism, but in this case, it is a sorting phenomenon. It is the fact
that people are increasingly being sorted into ideologically consistent
parties. And so, you know, there`s no particular reason why what you think
about gun control or gay marriage ought to have anything to do with what
you think about economic policy.

But, increasingly, we are having partisans sorted into camps according
to their beliefs on every single issue, and the parties becoming more
ideologically -- ideological. And this is driven more by Democrats
becoming more uniformly liberal than Republicans being uniformly
conservative.

HAYES: Yes.

BALL: That was the case before. But the conservative elements have
been purged from the Democratic Party, and more -- and America is more
liberal, and those people are more likely to be Democrats.

On the gay marriage issue, it`s really interesting. The parties are
both trending in the same direction. And if you look at the chart on gay
rights in this poll, it is a straight slope downward on the part of
Democrats and Republicans alike.

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: That`s the one place, Ezra, where it looks like there`s a
convergence.

Do you see any other points of convergence or anything countervailing
to those trends of sort of self-sorting?

KLEIN: No, there are no points of convergence beyond that.

That is -- literally, they do 10 issues, and that is the only one that
shows convergence. By the way, we should say -- we shouldn`t overstate the
progress. It`s been tremendous, but 43 percent of conservatives say you
should still have society discouraging homosexual behavior; 22 -- or 20
percent of Democrats say the same thing.

There`s both room for optimism and room for depression in there. But
this goes to what you were talking about with people wanting to live in
different places. You really get into a place where people just stop
talking to each other. So you just have people going more and more and
more to their side.

HAYES: Right.

Dan Savage, Molly Ball, and Ezra Klein, thank you all.

That is ALL IN for this evening.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

<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.>






Sponsored links

Resource guide