UP with STEVE KORNACKI
July 6, 2014
Guest: Gabriela Domenzain, Wesley Lowery, Katon Dawson, Amy Howe, Ruth
Milkman, Eliot Cutler, Matthew Dallek, Ann Lewis, Joe Regalbuto, Lizz
Winstead, Brian Thompson
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: The immigration crisis at the border is
dividing Americans and it`s dividing Washington even further.
Good morning. And thanks for getting up to spend some of your 4th of July
holiday weekend with us. When there are two sides to a story, we try to
make an effort on this show to hear from both perspectives. That`s why
we`re beginning this morning with something that was not just one of the
biggest things to happen this week, a situation that is still playing out.
In fact, it`s a story that was also one of the most heavily covered. But
in that coverage one side of what happened hasn`t been mentioned all that
much, not to say that it hasn`t been talked about at all, but it hasn`t
come up nearly as often as this did. You may have already seen these
images of what happened last Tuesday when Homeland Security tried to
transfer undocumented immigrants from Texas to Southern California. They
were blocked by protesters in the city of Murrieta, California. They had
to turn back and divert to another facility 80 miles away. That was the
scene on Tuesday.
But anti-immigration protesters actually were not the only people who were
waiting at the Murrieta City Limit for the buses. Because supporters of
the undocumented were there, too, right on the other side of the street.
Police decided to put up barricades to keep the two sides apart. The anti-
immigrant protesters may have been the loudest and might make for better
television, I guess. But lots of people in southern California were also
there to say welcome to the new arrivals. We`ve been contacting service
organizations to see what they can do to "offer shelter, food and
transportation to the undocumented immigrants." Earlier this week, the
mayor of Murrieta said he feared people weren`t seeing the full picture.
Quote, "showing a bunch of angry people isn`t really a true reflection of
Murrieta. What didn`t make news is the outpouring of help from all the
faith organizations and non-profits. We had them here ready to go." On
Friday, Homeland Security officials were transferring some more
undocumented immigrants to Murrieta. And this time, those two groups of
protesters clashed. And officers ended up arresting five people outside a
border patrol facility.
This new crisis on the border not only has serious humanitarian
implications. It also has serious political implications. Hard-line
opponents of immigration reform are claiming it is a direct result of
President Obama`s deferred action program, which has allowed many
undocumented children to remain in this country. This is only hardened
their resolve to derail any congressional attempt at immigration reform
this summer, this year. And that leaves the ball in President Obama`s
court to take action on his own which he vowed this week to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I take executive
action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue and Congress
chooses to do nothing. And in this situation, the failure of House
Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security. It`s bad for our
economy and it`s bad for our future. I don`t prefer taking administrative
action. I`d rather see permanent fixes to the issue we face. Certainly
that`s true on immigration. I`ve made that clear multiple times. I would
love nothing more than bipartisan legislation to pass the House, the
Senate, land on my desk so I can sign it. That`s true about immigration.
That`s true about the minimum wage. That`s true about equal pay. There
are a whole bunch of things where I would greatly prefer Congress actually
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Gabriela Domenzain was the director of Hispanic Press for
Obama`s re-election campaign in 2012. She`s now a principal with a Raven
Group, a progressive communication firm. She joins us from Baltimore.
Wesley Lowery is a political reporter with "The Washington Post" and Katon
Dawson is the former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. You
have a primary down there, but you - as a party. Wesley, so, I`ll start
with you. So, I mean this has been talked about, we`ve sort of been, I
guess, telegraphing this for a while. If immigration reform can`t get
through Congress, then the president steps in and then takes some kind of
executive action. Now this week he signals that`s what he plans to do at
the end of the summer. What is the expectation for the scope of what he`s
going to try to end up doing here?
WESLEY LOWERY: You know, we are still really looking at it, and it`s
unclear exactly what President Obama might do with his executive action. I
mean first he`s got to deal with the current border crisis with so many -
the children coming from the Central and South American countries that are
coming here. And part of that will be probably tied in with congressional
action that he`s asking for that may or may not happen over the summer.
But a lot of that also will be the executive action, either ordering more
resources down to the border, opening more facilities for these children
coming in. But the president has also asked now for suggestions from this
- from immigration groups he`s been working with as well as some groups
from the left and in theory from Republicans as well as too what type of
executive actions. And I`m sure that President Obama already has a pretty
clear idea of what he`s going to do, I don`t necessarily know what that is,
but he`s at least attempting to have this idea of transparency. And that
we are going to, you know, telegraphing, hey, I`m going to use executive
action for this. Tell me what we should do, tell me how we should handle
this. And he`s trying to get himself some cover, because executive action
in this type of -- Republicans like to call it imperial presidency, the
idea of him using his powers as president of the United States is something
that certainly riles up the right. And so, even on something like
immigration that the left wants to see get done, it`s certainly going to
have - it`s going to be a two-edged sword.
KORNACKI: Yeah. Well, I want to pick up that point in a minute. But
Gabriela, we`ll start with in terms of the executive action that the
president is now saying he`s going to take, let`s say you had - you got a
chance to talk to the president about this. He said, Gabriela, what is it
you would like me to do here, what is your wish list? What do you tell the
president? What do you specifically want him to take his pen and do?
GABRIELA DOMENZAIN, OBAMA 2012 HISPANIC PRESS DIR.: Steve, that`s such an
unfair situation, and it`s an unfair situation that the president is in
right now. I mean also, this doesn`t come out of a vacuum. This comes out
of one of the most thorough and extensive reviews of our immigration
policies that have been conducted by Secretary Johnson. Let`s remember
that he met in Washington, it was obviously covered this, not only with
immigrant rights groups, but with extremely restrictionist groups that are
completely on the opposite side, and someone say are false equivalency to
the immigration groups that he met with. So, this isn`t out of a vacuum.
This is out of finally -- though the president has been trying for so, so,
so long for Republicans to get on board, they had all the political cover
to get on board, whether it was evangelicals, whether it was police groups,
conservative, you know, members all over the country.
KORNACKI: Right. Right. So they`re not on board, it doesn`t look like
they`re going to get on board this summer. And that`s why we`ve arrived at
this moment. So, I`m just asking, we are trying to, you know, he says that
he wants to - Johnson and Homeland Security, he wants Holder and the
Justice Department to be giving him recommendations here. I`m just
wondering from your standpoint as an advocate of this .
KORNACKI: What would you specifically like him to do?
DOMENZAIN: I mean I think that one of the things that I think about often
when I think of these groups of folks that are over 60 percent of them have
been here for over a decade, right? So I think that the communities, in
which these people belong to, the amount of time that they`ve been here,
obviously if they haven`t broken any laws, if they`re from mixed status
families. We are talking about 4 million families that have both
undocumented and documented people in their families. All of these human
levels have to be taken into consideration.
KORNACKI: All right. So, Katon, let`s look at the Republican Party on
this now. So, Gabriela mentions that the opening existed. I mean the
story of the 2012 election afterwards was wow. Republicans never thought
that this sort of Obama coalition of non-white voters, particularly Latino
voters was going to show up in the numbers they showed up. They were going
to break for the Democrats the way they broke for the Democrats, and so the
message to Republicans was now you have got to do something on immigration.
The message couldn`t be clearer. Here we are two years later. It didn`t
happen. What happened? What happened to make that vacuum?
KATON DAWSON, FMR. SOUTH CAROLINA GOP CHAIRMAN: From the Republican point
of view, the president really never went all in on immigration. He didn`t.
He never - in his first term he never shoved - dulled the chips in and said
this is what I`m going to do. It`s a priority. The Affordable Care Act
became the priority, not immigration. Runs in 2012, we don`t do well.
Certainly the Republican Party to win a national election is going to have
to do better among all types of groups. But the news out of this is, the
number you showed earlier, Steve, 65 disapprove, 31 approve of the way he`s
handled it. So, the president`s now got himself in a box. Now, he doesn`t
have to run for election again. But a lot of his friends are.
KORNACKI: But don`t` - and we`ll be - we`ll talk about the implications of
executive action on this. But I did for the Republicans, they`re in a box
here though, aren`t they? Because I mean the big picture story of American
politics is the country is changing, the country is becoming more diverse.
And they are on the wrong side of that divide if they don`t do anything
DAWSON: Well, and we tried. George W. Bush tried. And the penalties
became, and John McCain and my friend Lindsey Graham who saddled up to try
to get something done as a Republican effort. It failed. It caused a lot
of dysfunction in our party that`s probably still there. I have seen it,
Steve, the message has changed within the groups I`m in. The only thing
that I find universal amnesty is the one that causes all the rile. What`s
going to cause the rile next week among the Tea Party types is the $2
billion that president`s put up, it`s the executive action. They feel
legislatively he`s not doing the right thing. So, what he`s doing is, he`s
taking his base from the 65/31 a little confused. Our base is united
against him. So, if you`re looking towards the midterms, the president is
the gift that keeps on giving on this one.
KORNACKI: Gabby, I here you want to get in there. Go ahead.
DOMENZAIN: I just - I mean - I just don`t think that, you know, the 65/31
number is a little bit confusing. What advocates have done and what the
president is speaking about this over and over and over have done, is shift
the American population on issue after issue, whether it`s, you know,
minimum wage, whether it`s all kinds of issues, the Republican Party is no
longer where the majority of Americans are. The majority of Americans,
even in conservative districts, even in conservative districts that are
going to be key to Republicans maintaining the power of the House in
November, Americans -- over 60 percent of them support comprehensive
immigration reform. And until we see that happen, things like are
happening on the border right now are going to continue to. Because our
immigration system is reactive and not preventive. And that`s also
something that Republicans aren`t talking about, about the Senate bill.
Remember when the CHC member left negotiations, then left the CHC because
of the punitive and border security measures of this immigration bill?
This immigration bill had money to stop and prevent exactly what`s
happening on the border right now. Right now our border isn`t reacting in
a way that we need to for humane purposes or for economic purposes. And
until Republicans start messaging with us and really, really start talking
to the fringe groups that we see cause headlines in Murrieta, this isn`t
going to change. But they`re on the wrong side of the American people now.
And that`s in no, no, no small part due to the fact that the president and
advocates have been working every single day to educate people about the
KORNACKI: Well, when we look at that number that Wesley, I`m curious what
you see in that 65/31 number. Because Republicans think - we can talk
about the demographic challenge that the Republican Party faces.
Republicans think - we can talk just sit there and- about the demographic
challenge the Republican Party faces, but Republicans make here and now in
this moment, they have an opening because they can say look at what`s going
on on the border right now. They`re saying and I know Democrats dispute
this and a lot of people dispute this. But they are saying the president`s
deferred action program created or fed into a crisis at the border and,
therefore, that should stall momentum on executive action to do more on
immigration. Do you think in the court of public opinion they can have
some ground to cover them?
LOWERY: Voters and the times, unfortunately, political reporters and all
of us as observers have very short memories on these things. When we talk
about these types of things. Often we buy the argument that is in front of
us versus the historical argument, or whatever they are in the long game.
And I think that`s an argument, when it remains to be seen if Republicans
can effectively make that argument that this current crisis at the border
has to do with this program. I think Democrats have made a relatively
compelling argument that no, this was something that has been coming down
the pipeline. Even think what Perry said a few weeks earlier this week,
we`ve seen this coming for two years. Well, then you can`t make that
argument. But it remains to be seen, though, in voters, especially in 2014
here, in a midterm year, it`s a lot easier to blame the current president
no matter who that president is for a current problem than it is to try to
extrapolate that into some long-running issue or a long-running structural
problem, especially in our partisan politics. We love to say you`re the
president right now, why haven`t you solved this problem or this problem is
on you. And I think immigration is one of those issues where it stretched
for so long to begin with, it`s an issue we needed to reform so many of our
laws here and our immigration system for so long, that in some ways the
responsibility does fall on whoever is currently in the Oval Office. Then
President Obama wanted to use his political capital solely to pass
immigration reform, it would have been done by now. But he is - he`s had
other priorities, he`s had other things he needed to do, and I think that
when we look at that number, that 65 number, part - a lot of that is
discontent from people on the left who are unhappy .
KORNACKI: Yeah, and that`s ..
LOWERY: That`s how he`s handled immigration.
KORNACKI: And that`s - we have to squeeze a break in here. But that label
that some on the left that some supporters have stuck on him, the deporter-
in-chief, I want to get into that, how that feeds into this number and how
that feeds more broadly into this debate. We`ll pick it up after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R) TEXAS: An executive in government, the president of
the United States or the governor of the state can`t go it alone. You`re
not going to be successful. And I hope that all of us will share with the
president that we`re willing to sit down and work with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Texas Governor Rick Perry at a House Homeland Security
Committee hearing in south Texas on Thursday. We`re back now. And so,
Gabriela, I kind of teed this up at the end of the last segment there. But
this term that some supporters of immigration reform have sort of put on
the president, the idea that he`s been deporter-in-chief, I wonder, when
you look at that frustration that exists sort of on the left and you look
at the record of the Obama administration on deportations the last, you
know, five, six years, a lot of people would look at that and say what the
Obama administration was trying to do was buy itself political space. So
that hey, look, we are tough on deportations, we are tough on the border,
Republicans, you can trust us, you can buy in and you can work with us.
When you look at where we are now, do you think the Obama administration
made a mistake in that approach?
DOMENZAIN: I think that everybody miscalculated this, including advocates.
I think that that`s what the most interesting about what I`m hearing and
what I`m hearing reported by advocates themselves. They thought that
Republicans were going to come to the table. They had the chamber, they
had evangelicals, they had police officers, right? And so, I think that if
the one Republican talking point that`s been completely consistent over the
past - since 2007, the last attempt, it`s been border security. So what
did the president do? The border is more secure than ever, there`s more
apprehensions, 2 million deportations, and that political will that he was
really seeking in good faith to create with Republicans, even with leaders
in the Republican Party, you know, like, you know, the Chamber of Commerce,
you know, like Mario Diaz-Balart, Eliana Ross Leighton, just didn`t exist.
And so now, the reality is that you have 2 million people that have been
separated from their families and communities and that this is going to
continue even though you accept that these 11 million people, that there`s
no tenable way to deport them all and that we have to give them a way to
become productive and full members of society, pay their taxes and get rid
of the people that might have committed serious crimes.
KORNACKI: So, Katon, why hasn`t your party, is this is - you want tough on
the border, you want border security and you look at the track record of
this administration, why hasn`t President Obama gotten any credit from
Republicans on that?
DAWSON: Well, you know, for the 2 million people he`s deported, it`s
interesting that nobody`s giving him credit for upholding the law on that
side, very seldom, well, I give the president credit for something, but .
KORNACKI: Why? So why?
DAWSON: Well, you know, he`s an unlikable figure in my party. He`s an
easy target. I think from the last clear-up is you found a fairly popular
governor in Texas who is a willing participant, he`s asking the president,
he`s asking the president when to come to Dallas next week, to come to the
border and see what it looks like physically. The president is doing two
fundraisers, I think in Dallas. So there`s a willing conservative that
crosses all lines saying, you know, I`m willing to do business with you.
That border down there is 1200 miles, it`s a big, big border, it`s from
Hilton Head, South Carolina, to the front of Maine if you were to build the
fence. That isn`t one of the answers that you see a lot of the far right
says let`s just wall it out. It`s a very complex problem. Republicans
have tried one time before. Again, they tried in the Senate and passed the
bill out. It`s going to be contentious. Nothing is going to be done until
after the midterms. The Republicans are going to see in 2015 that
opportunity is there.
KORNACKI: You think in 2015, because what I`ve been hearing from people,
is not 2014, not 2015. It`s 2017. After the 2016 -if the Republican Party
won`t do this in the wake of 2012, they are not going to do this suddenly
and around the 2016. Especially if they have a good midterm this fall.
DAWSON: Well, they`re going to have a good midterm. We are going to win
the Senate. We are going to .
KORNACKI: How to give them an incentive - suddenly. They`d be like, well,
look, we didn`t do it and we won!
DAWSON: I`m at enough Republican meetings that cut across the Tea Party to
center right Republicans, that I hear two things I hear, guest worker
program, which a couple of years ago was unacceptable, this current crisis
of children and people, and it`s like Mike Huckabee saying he was running
for president. We live in a country where nobody is trying to break out,
everybody is trying to break in. That really kind of hits to the core of
it. Everybody wants to come here. Now, what I see from the debates, is we
have got Honduras, we have got Guatemala, we`ve got these - the countries
are so failing. That`s another whole problem of - these people are packing
up their children to come to the United States.
I can`t say whether this has helped or hurt the situation. The face of
this political pawns that have become children is going to change some of
this debate after this problem is solved when it is. But it`s going to be
on the news with you and everybody else for a while. Because the tragic
situation here is we don`t really know what`s happened to the children
before they get here. And that`s the next story, is these are gangs and
criminal activities, people paying money to come to America and you and I,
all of us would. We`re all immigrants. And we are all children of
immigrants, but it`s a difficult, difficult problem. And Republicans in
2015, if they`re ever going to get any credit politically for doing
immigration reform and changing it, 2015 is going to be the time they get .
KORNACKI: Yeah, I mean I just - I have a hard time seeing it if it hasn`t
happened now, how it happens before. They lose - you know.
DAWSON: If we ever want to win the White House.
DAWSON: If we ever want to win the White House.
KORNACKI: And that`s what people have been saying since November 2012.
DAWSON: Even if we don`t get credit from that community, and we don`t -
there`s another community.
You have to get off the table.
LOWERY: You have to get (INAUDIBLE) off the table.
KORNACKI: So, Wesley, give me your sense of just - in the immediate
future, between now and the election this November, executive action from
the White House. Is there anything else on the horizon?
LOWERY: No, there`s nothing else on - I can`t fathom anything else on the
horizon. I mean Congress is potentially not going to do anything else at
all between now and then. Potentially highway funding bill. But I mean,
it`s very hard to see anything other than an executive action coming from
the Obama White House. The situation on the border will continue to play
out here. And I think that a lot of this comes back to, when we talk about
the inability to get something done, a lot of it does come- it comes back
to the relationship the Obama White House has or doesn`t have with leaders
on the hill. This is something we`ve been talking about for a long time.
And I do think, you know, President Obama did put forth a good faith effort
to attempt to crack down on the border. But you can do that, you can do
that, but if your relationships on the hill are so severed the way they
are, and if you have this type of vitriolic relationships the way President
Obama does with a lot of the people on the right and the House Republican
leadership, it doesn`t matter. Speaker Boehner can come to the microphones
every week and say, well, half of my caucus still doesn`t trust the
President of the United States to uphold the law. And frankly, he can say
that with a straight face. That`s not to say that these members have real
valid concerns or not, but there are members of the Republican caucus who
actually don`t believe the president of the United States wants to uphold
the laws. In that case, how is it ever going to be a tenable situation
where they`re going to be able to work towards a compromise? And I think
that`s what we`re seeing play out. Well, President Obama certainly did
things to try to bring Republicans to the tent on this, it just seems to me
that the relationships are so severed that I don`t know that a package like
this was ever - was ever really going to happen.
KORNACKI: Yeah, I know, but I think what you`re describing, too in a lot
of ways describes a lot of what`s happened in Washington for the last five
or six years. That`s been the story of this era of our history. And my
thanks to Gabriela Domenzain for getting up this morning.
DOMENZAIN: Thank you.
KORNACKI: Team up. Sure. Team up declared this story the most surprising
segment pitch that I approved this week. And producing it was an education
for all of us. All of the bloody, glory details next.
KORNACKI: So, I learned something new this week. This ominous headlines
about the fight now taking place over the Export/Import banks stirred my
curiosity. Quote, the Export/Import bank is one of the most important
Republican fights in years and what the Export-Import bank fight says about
the state of conservatism. These are just a few of the big headlines we
saw this weekend. All these headlines raised one overriding question for
me. What`s the Export-Import Bank? Because until this week, all I really
had to go on was this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are meeting a friend of ours for lunch who works
here in the building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Art Vandelay (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which company?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know. He`s an importer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Import?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And exporter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s an importer/exporter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: At the risk of oversimplifying things, it turns out the Export-
Import Bank has been around for a long time. When we looked it up, we
found out that it`s a relic from the New Deal as America was trying to dig
itself out of the Great Depression. The agency`s essential job is to
support U.S. exports, sometimes by giving loans to foreign buyers so they
can purchase American goods, sometimes by protecting other people who give
those loans in case they aren`t paid back. So, that`s what it is. Why are
people fighting over it right now? Well, it`s a favorite target of the Tea
Party right. They want it to go. They argue that among other things, by
supporting loans to some companies and not to others the banks are
essentially deciding which companies will thrive and which won`t, that it`s
anti-free market. The bank only exists as long as the Senate authorizes
it. And that authorization is up for renewal this fall. So, the right
sees the opening it`s been looking for to kill off the bank. That
sentiment is coming from people like Jeb Hensarling, he`s the chair of the
House Finance Committee, Paul Ryan and Rand Paul are also against re-
authorization as is the new House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN MCCARTHY: I think Ex-Im Bank is one - something government doesn`t
have to be involved in. The private sector can do that.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: So, straight forward question, you can -
you can say it right here. You would allow the Ex-Im Bank to expire in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Next stance seems to be the perfect way for McCarthy to position
himself as less moderate, than the guy he just replaced. He`s breaking
ranks with the establishment by siding with the Tea Party over Eric Cantor
who is a champion of the Export-Import Bank. And Cantor is in alliance
with the establishment Republican groups like the Chamber of Commerce and
the National Association of Manufacturers. In less than 90 days
authorization for the bank is going to expire. So, how far is the Tea
Party willing to go to get its way on this one? Well, when I`m having
trouble understanding things like this I`d like to turn to MSNBC policy
analyst Ezra Klein for answers and luckily for us, the editor-in-chief from
Fox.com is standing by in Washington to talk me through it hopefully in
very simple words that I can understand.
So, Ezra, I`m not Art Vandelay, I`m not an exporter or importer, I don`t
really know how to - the works for people like me, tell me and tell us how
the Export-Import Bank, how do we feel it in our lives? Why is it
important to the world we live in?
EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC POLICY ANALYST: It`s not that important to the world you
live in. It`s a very important political fight over not that important
policy issue. So, the Export-Import Bank, as you mentioned, what it does
is it basically gives loans or guarantees loans to foreign companies in
order to get them to buy American goods. And so, this ends up looking a
little bit weird. So, what the Export-Import Bank will do is it will take
an Indian airline and it will give them money to buy Boeing jets. And
that`s not a random example. The reason - part of the reason, anyway we`re
having a discussion over it is that Delta hates the Export-Import Bank
because it`s effectively subsidizing Delta`s foreign competitors in order
to sell Boeing jets. And their lobbyists are going full force at it.
That`s part of how this whole thing got started. What is interesting about
it - well, to just say one other thing, the Export-Import Bank supports
around two percent of the American exports. It`s there, but it`s not that
big. And nobody even knows if you took it away, how much of a hit you
KORNACKI: Yeah, if it goes away, this not one of those issues where, like,
oh, my god, the economy is going to lose, you know, growth is going to
collapse and we`re looking at more joblessness and everything. We don`t
know anything about that.
KLEIN: No. I mean if it went tomorrow, right, and one thing that should
be said is dangerous here. What`s happening right now is that the Export-
Import Bank needs to be reauthorized in September. So, one way - this
actually is a place where Congress could actually make a big change by
doing nothing. They could collapse the whole thing essentially overnight
by not reauthorizing it. If you want to get rid of the Export-Import Bank,
and those are good argument for why you might. You`d want to phase it out.
Because it is supporting tens of billions of dollars` worth of exports.
And there are a lot of jobs riding on that. Now, again, it`s not the end
of the world. You don`t want to make everything (INAUDIBLE) on Washington,
but just knocking things down overnight is not a wise way to make policies.
So, it`s something you do want to keep notice of here, is that even if you
are somebody who wants to end the bank, you can do it in a stupid way or
you can do it in a smart way.
KORNACKI: Well, yeah, so - let`s talk about that then. So, in terms of
the politics of this, I mean because the thing that I`ve -- the specter of
a shutdown has been invoked. As I read about this a little bit, the idea
that, hey, this is the new thing the Tea Party really wants to kill. It
was Obamacare last year. It will be the Export-Import Bank this year. And
they`d be willing to risk some kind of a government shutdown to make that
happen. Is there anything to that?
KLEIN: I mean we`ll see, right? I didn`t think they were going to shut
down the government over Obamacare either and they dared. Although it
would be a very odd thing to shut down the government over an export-
support system nobody has heard of. The fascinating political thing here,
is that you`re seeing a war between the sort of populous libertarian Tea
Party wing of the Republican Party and the establishment big business of
the Republican Party. So, the Export-Business Bank - I`m sorry, The
Export-Import Bank is heavily supported by the Chamber of Commerce, by the
National Association of Manufacturers, they just put out a letter that was
signed by more than 800 businesses including one in every congressional
district in the country supporting the bank. And so, this is a really big
fight. And the on the other hand you have these folks who have sort of -
they call it social reform conservatives, or Tea Party populous, it`s
different groups a little bit. But what they believe, and I think this is
the key of why this is actually a fight worth paying attention to. What
they believe is when Republicans get into power, they are too cautious
about trying to tear down big parts of the state. And one of the reasons
they`re too cautious about trying to take down the welfare state, is it
when they begin trying to take down something like Medicare or Medicaid or
whatever it might be, all of a sudden all these different businesses that
rely on the state, because they have contracts with it, come out of the
woodwork and say, if you try to take down this government program, you`re
going to be putting people out of work in your district. And then
Republicans back off.
And so, there`s an understanding or a belief or theory in certain elements
of reformed conservatism right now that, if they`re going to ever be able
to govern in a way that`s going to shrink the state, that`s going to make
the state more conservative recognizably, not have these sort of -- not do
what George W. Bush did and expand Medicare or what George H.W. Bush did
and sort of make peace with the welfare state, then Republican Party needs
to learn how to fight the businesses and be angry at the businesses that
work with the state.
KORNACKI: So, this is an important symbolic fight in a way, this is a
chance for the Tea Party to prove, hey, we actually can win one, we
actually can dismantle something, we actually can be big business. That`s
a really interesting way of looking at it. Ezra Klein from Box.com, thank
you for getting up this morning and for explaining this a little bit. I do
actually understand it a little bit more now. I appreciate that.
KLEIN: Thank you for having me.
KORNACKI: There was another controversial decision dammed by the Supreme
Court on the last day of the session. This week it hasn`t gotten as much
attention as Hobby Lobby. But we`ll try to fix that. That`s next.
KORNACKI: Almost all of the attention on the Supreme Court this week was
on the Hobby Lobby decision. That all of that attention obscured the other
contentious ruling handed down on the last day of the session, another five
to four decision from the court`s conservative majority and another ruling
that puts the employment benefits of a set of workers who are
overwhelmingly women at risk. The case Harris v. Quinn was about union
fees paid by home care workers who were employed by the state of Illinois,
the people who bathe, feed and care for poor seniors and the disabled in
their homes. Home care worker Pamela Harris who`s paid from state Medicaid
funds to care for her disabled son said she didn`t want to pay fees to the
union that represents home care workers in the state. Public workers have
been required to join the union or contribute to their political activities
for nearly four decades, roughly half of all states including Illinois
require public workers to pay what they call fair share fees to the union
to cover the cost of negotiating better wages and benefits. These fees
prevent workers from free riding, from getting a bump in earnings, enjoying
the work that union does in their behalf without paying for the cost of the
negotiations. But on Monday for the first time the court said these home
care workers cannot be compelled to pay collective bargaining fees. Its
decision that strikes the very heart of how public unions function.
Home care is the third fastest growing occupation in the United States,
more than nine in ten of home care workers are women. And most of them,
the majority are African-American, Hispanic and Asian. You might remember
President Obama spent a day with a home care worker represented by the ACIU
union when he campaigned for president in 2007.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I`m ready to work. And also .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are ready to work.
OBAMA: I can work while I`m talking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Span it around. Where is that booth?
OBAMA: At his home I prepared breakfast for him. I helped to make the
bed. I cleaned the house, did some laundry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the center is doing a good job. He acts
like he knows what he`s doing anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He ended up doing the mopping, the sweeping and he
did the laundry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s working the hell out of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But home care workers might not be the only people affected by
Monday`s court decision. Writing for the majority Justice Sam Alito state,
quote, "No person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a
third party that he or she doesn`t wish to support." So public sector
unions as a whole dodged a bullet on Monday, but does Alito`s opinion lay
the groundwork for future rollbacks? To discuss the implications of this
week`s ruling, I`m joined by Attorney Amy Howe, she`s the editor - and
editor of Scotusblog.com and here in New York Ruth Milkman, a labor and
employment expert, now professor at the City University of New York. So,
Amy, I`ll start with you. Just - if you could explain the sort of - what
is the court saying here? Because this doesn`t apply to all public
employees. This only applies to a certain group of them? So, what exactly
is the court saying and how is it drawing that distinction?
AMY HOWE, SCOTUSBLOG.COM: OK, so in 1977 there was a case called Abood
versus Detroit Board of Education, and that was a case, in which the
Supreme Court, the different Supreme Court than we have now said that
public sector employees can`t be required to join a union. But if they
don`t want to join the union they can still be required to pay what`s
called an agency fee, the cost associated with collective bargaining. And
so, that`s been the law for almost 40 years. A couple of years ago another
labor case, also written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court
suggested that maybe it might be time to overrule that case and effectively
invited someone to come to the Supreme Court and make that argument. And
so, that`s what the home health care workers who didn`t want to join the
union in Harris versus Quinn were doing. They were saying we shouldn`t
have to pay -- not only should we not have to join the union, we shouldn`t
even have to pay the agency fees. When you`re a public sector employee, in
essence everything is political, it`s not just collective bargaining.
And the Supreme Court didn`t do that. They said that these particular home
health care workers in Illinois weren`t full-fledged public employees, they
were sort of public employees-lite because they worked in someone`s home,
they worked for their clients or their patients, even though they were paid
by the states. But there`s a principle called stare decisis, which means
that courts aren`t going to overrule old cases just because they think
they`re wrong. It`s generally better that the law is settled than that
it`s correct. But the law can be overruled, if there`s a really strong
argument that it`s wrong or that it`s stale or there`s otherwise a good
reason to overrule it. And so, what the court`s decision on Monday did was
it didn`t overrule the 1977 Abood case, but it really laid the foundation
for doing so. The Supreme Court .
HOWE: . pointed out all of the things that were wrong with the Abood case
and really left the door open for a full-fledged .
HOWE: Union to come in and say we shouldn`t have to pay the agency if .
KORNACKI: Which seems to be a recurring story with this court whether they
are ruling themes narrow and then we find out a couple of years later or
whatever that it was a little broader than that. But so, so, Ruth, in
terms of these home care workers and in terms of their representation by
SEIU, what is this going to mean practically speaking now that this ruling
came down? They don`t have to pay- home care workers don`t have to pay
these fees, if they don`t want to. Is this going to just - is this going
to gut the ability to represent home care workers? Or is it narrow?
RUTH MILKMAN, CITY UNIVERSITY OF NY: It`s narrow for the moment as Amy
said. But it jeopardizes the future of organizing in this sector, which as
you mentioned is one of the fastest growing sectors and one of the most
disadvantaged sectors in the workforce. These are women of color primarily
doing very basic work. Until they were unionized they were paid the
minimum wage. That was in 2003 in Illinois. And their pay has doubled
almost over the period since then. They also have health care benefits
they didn`t have before.
KORNACKI: This is because of the union representation.
KORNACKI: So, I wonder then, in the light of that, is the ruling is
basically saying these fees are voluntary, you don`t have to pay them, but
you can. Isn`t there a strong case to be made for these home care workers
that they can look at and - hey, look, my pay doubled, it`s worth this
small contribution to get that? Do you think most will see it that way?
MILKMAN: Well, maybe. They`re very scattered, right, just by definition.
These are people working in private homes. It`s not that easy to go visit
them and discuss this matter with them. And so, that`s why the agency fee
makes sense. You know, the free rider problem that you mentioned before
which has again been the law of the land as Amy said for almost 40 years
since the decision in 1977, is designed to address this exact issue.
That`s what agency fees are about. The law requires that unions represent
all the workers in a bargaining unit, whether or not they`re members,
whether or not they pay dues. This case was brought by a group called the
National Right to Work foundation which has been gunning for unions for 40
years or so. They`ve been very successful in decimating private sector
unionism. In the public sector until now, employers have not been
particularly viciously opposed to unionism as they are in the private
sector. So, private sector unionism is about 30 percent - I`m sorry, about
six percent of private sector workers today are union members. And in the
public sector it`s about 30 percent. Quite a bit higher. So, those are
the unions left standing and the Right to Work foundation is interested in
getting rid of them. That`s what this case is really about.
KORNACKI: And yes, I just - quickly, Amy, you were sort of saying this
stuff in your answer a minute ago. But do you think we`re going to be
talking a couple of years from now, a year from now, whatever it is, the
court revisiting this and expanding this. And so, it`s not just about home
care workers, it`s about all public employees.
HOWE: I do. My understanding is that there`s already a lawsuit pending
against the California Teachers Association. And so, that could quickly
work its way up to the Supreme Court. And then the question is whether or
not there are five votes to overrule the 1977 decision altogether. I think
that many people thought there might be this time around, but at the oral
argument Justice Antonin Scalia seemed to be expressing some doubt about
whether or not the court could overrule that decision now. But could it in
a few years ago - a few years from now? Perhaps.
KORNACKI: All right, so it`s the same postscript we apply to the Hobby
Lobby. Stay tuned. My thanks to Amy Howe of Scotusblog.com, professor and
author Ruth Milkman.
Edward Snowden has released more documents about the NSA`s data collection.
We are getting our very first look at what they say just this morning. We
have the details for you straight ahead.
KORNACKI: "The Washington Post" lead story this morning is a big
investigative report that is certain to prompt a lot of discussion and
reaction in the days to come. The newspaper reports the NSA is
intercepting data from many more ordinary users than from its intended
targets. Nine out of every ten account holders were not the people the
agency was trying to target. And nearly half of the surveillance files are
from Americans. Former NSA analyst Edward Snowden provided the documents
to "The Post." However, the article also points out how much valuable
intelligence has been picked up in the sweep. Quoting from the article
here, "There are discoveries of considerable intelligence value in the
intercepted messages." Among the most valuable contents, which "The Post"
will not describe in detail to avoid interfering with ongoing operations,
are fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double
dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that they fell on a
friendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S.
Katon Dawson is back, former chairman of the Republican Party in South
Carolina, and so is Wesley Lowery from "The Washington Post." So, thank
you, Wesley, you gave us something to talk about this morning. You know,
this is one of those - I`m still sort of digesting the article. I read it
first thing this morning. And it`s - I`ve struggled the whole time we`ve
been talking about the NSA and Snowden. I`ve struggled with how to think
about it, because on the one hand, I value my privacy a lot and I think
everybody I know values their privacy a lot. When you read about these
things, it can be - it can be really disturbing. On the other hand, what
this article is pointing out, some very real examples of serious threats to
the country that were probably dealt with because of this. I mean there
was apparently the intelligence here led directly to the capture of a bomb
builder, also to a suspect in a 2002 Indonesian bombings. All the stuff I
just read. And so, I mean, I`ve always thought it`s a balancing act where
you can`t have all of one and none of the other.
LOWERY: Of course, I mean I think that if there`s one lesson to be taken
away, and I recommend that everyone really read that piece. I read this
piece today a few times. I think the main thing to take away, though, is
how many months later, a year later from the initial Edward Snowden leaks
and documents, it remains not a black and white issue. It remains such a
nuanced and complicated issue. You know, initially you want to frame him
as a traitor or a patriot. Even this guy, he needs to be hung for treason
or he needs to be on the $1.00 bill was essentially the kind of partisan
way we described initially. And it really isn`t that way. I mean I think
as we read today`s piece, you know, yes, "The Post" -- my colleagues at
"The Post" document specifically specific threats that were averted,
specific captures that were made, specific investigations. Oh, and by the
way a bunch of other stuff that we can`t even tell you about because the
government asked us not to. But meanwhile, it also raises a lot of other -
just questions about privacy and about freedom and about how we interact
and what the government has. The fact the government has databases that
are accessible to private contractors like Edward Snowden that include baby
pictures and love letters and private interaction.
KORNACKI: I mean that`s one of the things that the article is talking
about here, is that not only some very, very personal, intimate
communications are being collected, but also stored and kept. And there`s
no explanation for me why that would be the case.
DAWSON: And one of the things when somebody as intelligent as Wesley has
to read it twice and you have to read it twice, this tells you this is
really deep. And we were walking out, I change my mind on this about every
30 minutes. I want my privacy like you, but once you start seeing the
whole crux of this and national security and as dangerous as the world is,
you certainly want to collect the information. You want the government to
do it. It will become political again about your rights and your privacy
rights. And it always changes as soon as we have a terrorism act, whether
it be Boston, whether it be 9/11. And everybody`s opinion changes. I`m
over the opinion as a conservative Republican that I just don`t have to
know everything. But I want my politicians and my president to know it
all. And I think there`s a value there. You just - George Bush told us
years ago, guys, whoever is president that gets this national security book
is going to change their opinion when they read what we see.
KORNACKI: So, Wesley, in Washington, in the political world this week,
what do you think the fallout from this is going to be?
LOWERY: I think this is really interesting. And I think there`s going to
be in a lot of ways I think it`s going to reinvigorate some of the
conversation we`ve been having previously, certainly, I`m expecting, I`m
looking forward to running into Rand Paul in the Capitol building later
this week. There are going to be people who are going to be very upset by
this. And it`s going to be a lot of the more libertarian-leaning
Republicans I think, in Congress. The question just remains, I think that
this is one of the things, and I try not to weigh in on the Snowden stuff
as much and really let my much smarter, better prepared, better sourced
colleagues write on it. But I really do think there`s a lot of value
whether he did it the right way, (INAUDIBLE), a lot of value in the
information that`s been brought out here. Because this is a conversation
we could not have even had. We wouldn`t even had the information knowing
that these databases and private information was being collected, whether
to weigh in it or not or to know the specifics or not. Unless this .
KORNACKI: And that`s - I would say, too, here, not to - you know, you`re
from "the Washington Post." I`m not just saying this to be a good host.
But "The Post" did this the right way, I mean this is the - it looks like,
you know, the information came to them, they didn`t just throw it up there,
they didn`t just publish it. It looks like they really took their time, it
looks like they withheld a lot of stuff here and really tried to strike
that balance. And that is I think how journalists are supposed to balance
LOWERY: And publish things - Certainly, the government wouldn`t want us to
LOWERY: It wasn`t just OK, you said we can`t publish this, so we won`t,
OK, government. There`s certainly seem - I`m sure there was months of back
and forth on this. And I think that`s important. Balancing the public`s
right and the job of journalism in democracy to inform the public about
things that sometimes the government doesn`t want us to know about.
LOWERY: And also balancing national security issue.
KORNACKI: It`s a valuable article. Go read it if you haven`t seen it this
morning. You`re going to be hearing a lot about it this week. This will
do that. My thanks to Katon Dawson for being here this morning and Wesley
Lowery. Paul the Page, is the most colorful governor in America. We`ll
have more ahead grabbing disclosures just this week, but will his latest
troubles be enough to keep him from winning re-election in Maine? Our
state by state look at how the Republican takeover in 2010 is holding up.
One of the candidates in that race will join us at the top of the hour.
KORNACKI: So, if you`re going to be the governor of any state, it`s not a
good headline when you reportedly associate with members of what the FBI
considers to be a domestic terrorist movement. And it`s in especially bad
headline when the group is a far right group and you`re the Republican
governor of the state that voted for President Obama by 15 points. Along
those same lines, it probably wouldn`t help if you said that President
Obama hates white people. But Paul LePage, Republican governor of Maine
has done all of that and a lot more. This week`s news that he met with
members of what is called the Sovereign Citizens Movement, which has been
linked by the FBI to the murders of a half dozen police officers is only
the latest in what has been a four-year parade of startling revelations by
- and announcements by, excuse me, LePage. And yet, even though Maine is a
blue state that hasn`t gone Republican in a presidential race since 1988,
even though it`s that blue, LePage could very well win a second term this
fall. You can see there that he`s locked in a virtual tie with Democratic
Congressman Mike Michaud and if you`re wondering why LePage`s Democratic
opponent isn`t way ahead, well, Democrats point to this guy. He is the
third candidate in the race, independent Eliot Cutler, who`s running at
about 15 percent in the polls. Democrats think they`ve seen this story
before. Four years ago Cutler also ran as an independent, he ended up
doing better - far better than the Democratic nominee. But with the
opposition divided, LePage was able to win that election with less than 40
percent of the vote, a 10,000 vote margin over Cutler. Now there are
Democrats who are urging Cutler to drop out of the race and to support
Michaud. Bowdoin college government professor Christian Potholm told the
"Wall Street Journal", "If Cutler would have dropped out, he would be a
hero to Democrats." Michaud`s campaign manager even says, quote, "A vote
for Cutler is a vote for LePage. The wave of Republican governors, who
were elected in 2010, Paul LePage faces on paper, at least, the longest
odds this year.
Maine voted for Obama as we said by more than 15 points in 2012. No
incumbent governor will run anymore Obama friendly state - no incumbent
Republican governor will run anymore Obama from the state this fall. So,
LePage`s best and probably only chance of survival is if the opposition
remains divided. So will it. Here to talk about his campaign is Eliot
Cutler, he is the independent candidate for governor of Maine. Eliot,
thanks for joining us this morning.
ELIOT CUTLER, (I), MAINE CANDIDATE FOR GOV.: Good morning, Steve, good to
KORNACKI: So, and we should point out, we invited Congressman Michaud. We
also invited the governor. And we invited all three - Congressman Michaud
wanted to make it, I guess there was some issues .
CUTLER: We have two empty chairs here.
KORNACKI: Well, he wanted to make it. So, I want to give him credit for
that. And we`d love to have him on the time. But we have you here.
KORNACKI: And I mean I`ll hit you with a question you must get probably
more than any other on the campaign trail. I mean you look at that poll,
you look at poll LePage`s record and you look at - the Maine voter who
looks at Paul LePage and says my priority this year is to get Paul LePage
out. Isn`t there a case to be made for let`s unify the opposition here?
CUTLER: Not really, not in Maine. You know, we have a history of electing
independents, we`ve had ten gubernatorial elections in the last 40 years,
Independents have won three and almost four of them. We are pretty
Independent in Maine. We are Independent voters. And I think the real
issue in Maine is not only whether we show Paul LePage the door, that`s
going to happen. The real question is do we elect the best person to
replace him. That was also the question in 2010. Maine people like
choices. And I think that it`s understandable that the Republicans and the
Democrats would like to have just two candidates in the race. I get that.
But that`s not what most voters want. Voters in Maine are like people in a
small town where everybody, most of the people in town would like to buy
sensible lace-up brown shoes or black shoes and there are only two shoe
stores in town. And one of the stores sells nothing but bright red sandals
and the other one sells nothing but bright blue big rubber boots. Voters
are disappointed in choices.
KORNACKI: But isn`t there a case to be made -- I mean and I understand
from your situation it must be frustrating to hear Democrats say this.
Because you ran so much stronger than Democratic candidate in 2010, so I
imagine you might be sitting there saying, hey, if you want to unify the
opposition, then you get out of the race. I`m the one who almost won in
2010. I could imagine that. But at the same point when you look at those
- the results from 2010, it is true, right, if it had been a one-on-one
race with somebody against LePage, LePage doesn`t get it in the first
CUTLER: Sure. But that`s, that`s a defense of a system that`s broken
right now. Most voters in Maine are disenchanted with both parties. In
the last Senate election when the Democrat won 12 percent of the vote --
KORNACKI: Angus King.
CUTLER: When Angus King won, we had open U.S. Senate seat, and we had
Democrat nominated by the Democratic primary, Republican nominated from the
Republican primary. Both of them went into the general election together
with the votes of less than five percent of the registered voter of the
state of Maine. Maine voters are disenchanted with the two political
parties just like most voters in America are.
KORNACKI: Is it - is it something, though, I mean again, and Paul LePage
isn`t an ordinary incumbent. I think it`s safe to say. Paul LePage has
made national headlines, as we say. This week it`s with this sort of far
right group it has been marked as a domestic terrorist movement by the FBI.
What happens if, let`s say, we`re in October and the polls look like they
look right now. Paul LePage has a real chance of winning with a plurality
of the vote, because the opposition is divided, and you are where you are
in the polls right now. Does part of you - Is there a point where you will
look at this and you will say the priority has to be getting Paul LePage
out of office and if - I don`t want to be the guy to get him the second
CUTLER: Steve, I love the state of Maine. I don`t think that Paul LePage
is a good governor. I don`t think Michaud will be a good governor. Maine
has had 11 straight years of decline in our economy against the rest of New
England. We`re in desperate trouble. We are the old estate in America and
getting older faster than just about any other state. We need to make some
real structural changes in Maine. We need to do a lot of things we`re not
doing, we need to fix the way we think, we need to fix the way we work.
Mike Michaud is not going to do that, he`s a backbencher - he`s a
backbencher in the Congress of the United States which is the last place in
the world he should look for innovation and bold leadership.
KORNACKI: You - so your background is you worked in OMB in Jimmy Carter`s
presidency. You were an aide to Ed Muskie, a long-time senator from Maine.
So, your background is sort of on the Democratic side.
CUTLER: Oh, I was a Republican briefly after I was a Democrat.
KORNACKI: So, what - from something like - I mean we understand what
separates you from LePage. What separates you from somebody like Michaud?
CUTLER: Remember, one is experience. I have a world - literally, a word
of experience in and out of politics and government, in business that Mike
Michaud doesn`t have. He has no experience managing anything, and the
government of the state of Maine is the biggest single enterprise in the
state. We have no plan, we have no vision. We have no strategy, and Mike
Michaud isn`t bringing those to the table. That`s the first differenced.
The second difference is, that I am a person of strong principles. I`ve
been a committed person of values and principles all my life and you can`t
say that about Mike. And third, I refuse to take money from special
interest PACs. And Mike Michaud has taken $1,000 a day every day he`s been
on the Congress of the United States including Saturdays, Sundays and
holidays, from big sugar, big tobacco, (INAUDIBLE), everybody. And I don`t
think that money in politics is the solution to America`s or Maine`s
KORNACKI: You - you say that, the first question I asked, you said Paul
LePage is not going to get re-elected. How can you be so sure of that?
CUTLER: Because Maine voters are tired and embarrassed and they know that
we need change. Last time .
KORNACKI: When you see a poll he`s nearly at 40 percent right now. And
that`s the number he won with last time. There are people who stuck with
him for four years. They see something in him.
CUTLER: Oh, I think - look, I think Paul LePage will get 30-something
KORNACKI: That means there`s a chance he can win.
CUTLER: Look, there`s a chance you could win.
KORNACKI: Well, I`m not on the ballot.
CUTLER: But my point is, that there`s a chance that anybody can win.
Polls in June and July, and you know this because you`re a political wonk.
You know that polls in June and July, particularly in three-person races,
particularly in three-person races are not at all predictive. They`re
horribly unpredictive. Last time I didn`t get to 20 percent in the polls
until October 12th. At this time I was still in single digits. Maine
voters aren`t paying attention. And the last poll, maybe one of the better
polls published, shows that 66 percent of Maine voters haven`t made up
their minds who they want to vote for. That`s a huge undecided pool. And
Maine voters, like most voters in America don`t pay much attention until
about the 1st of October. The Democrats` whole strategy, Steve, is to get
voters to vote before the debates begin. There`s a reason that Paul and
Mike aren`t here with me today. They don`t want to debate.
KORNACKI: Well, no, no, I do want to point out, Congressman Michaud did
want to be here. I do want to give him credit for that. But what you are
saying also, it is true about your race in 2010, and I remember this with
Angus King in 1994 when he got elected governor of Maine.
KORNACKI: It`s true. The independent candidates who won in Maine
generally do start out far behind.
CUTLER: Come on, come on.
KORNACKI: This is a question to watch, as this race - for people who want
to get Paul LePage out, as the governor of Maine, who is in that second
slot, when you get to late October.
CUTLER: It`s who, but it`s not just who is going to get him out, it`s who
is going to be a good governor to replace him.
KORNACKI: All right. Eliot Cutler, independent candidate for governor of
Maine, I appreciate you coming on, appreciate your coming in today.
CUTLER: Up next, the changing shapes of presidential legacies, that`s when
KORNACKI: You probably saw the headlines on Wednesday. A new Quinnipiac
poll shows that a plurality of voters, 33 percent think that Barack Obama
is the worst president since World War II. Obama edged out his predecessor
George W. Bush for that distinction, although it does come with an
asterisk, virtually all the voters ranking Obama as the worst president are
Republicans. So, that numbers really speaks to the intensity of the
opposition he faces. Still, the poll comes as Obama`s approval ratings
continue to lag and too low to mid 40s, not to the disastrous depths that
Bush was plunging to at this point of his presidency, but also hardly the
lofty heights that Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan achieved in their second
terms. What the worst president ever poll really tells us is how
shortsighted these assessments tend to be, how presidential legacies take
shape over decades, even generations.
The Gallup poll from last year shows that presidential approval ratings
generally tend to improve after a president leaves office. JFK, Gerald
Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, have all benefited from this. So,
it`s even true for one of our nation`s most notorious presidents, at least
it was for a while. This summer marks 40 years since Richard Nixon
resigned the presidency, he is on the verge of being impeached for
obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress. And he
left office, not surprisingly, with the worst poll numbers ever seen by a
president. He spent the next few years in seclusion, but then he steadily
walked his way back into public life, this time as a respected elder
statesman. More than a decade later, this was the cover of "Newsweek"
magazine, a 1986, it`s hard to imagine now, but look at this, a smiling
Richard Nixon. He`s back. The rehabilitation of Richard Nixon. By 1992
it was even safe to celebrate Richard Nixon at the Republican National
Convention again. Nixon`s rehabilitation was a one-man achievement,
though. It died with him in 1994. And his historical reputation has slid
downward ever since, back to the bottom of the pile.
But his story is a reminder of how fluid presidential legacies can be, how
long it really takes for a lasting impression to take hold. To put that
new poll in Obama - about Obama in even more context, consider this, when
Quinnipiac took this same exact poll back in 2006, eight years ago, the
same time during George W. Bush`s presidency, found it the most unpopular
president since World War II was George W. Bush at 34 percent. Basically,
where President Obama is in the current poll. Richard Nixon got 17 percent
back then, along with Bill Clinton who scored 16 percent. Take a look at
that same poll now eight years later. President Clinton gets only three
percent of the worst president ever vote. And presumably all those
Republicans who ranked Bush 43 the worst in `06 are now scoring Obama the
worst. Both times the current presidents.
So, that tells us plenty about the overheated nature of today`s partisan
warfare. But when this period does fade into history, how will we remember
the Obama presidency? What will history make of the time we`re living in
now and how are these things determined anyway? Well, here to help shine
some light on that is presidential historian Matthew Dallek, he is the
author of "The Right Moment, Ronald Reagan`s First Victory, and The
Decisive Turning Point in American Politics." He`s currently with George
Washington University`s graduate school of political management. Ann Lewis
who was among other jobs the director of communications for President Bill
So, Matthew, you do real history, presidential assessments histories sort
of for a living. So, I`ll start with you. Obviously as I was saying,
these things do take shape over time, and really a long period of time. But
one thing I wonder is when you look at a president`s popularity when he and
someday she is in office, how much does that affect how historians look at
them. When President like - you know, President Obama has basically been
stuck between the low 40s and the low 50s, his entire presidency. Reagan
got up near 70 at one point, Clinton got near 70. How much does that, the
real time analysis of the voters, how much does that affect history?
MATTHEW DALLEK, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: It can affect it to some
extent. But I think the crucial point is the point that you make, that
these legacies take years and oftentimes decades to really unfold. So, if
we look at Harry Truman, when Truman left office, he was reviled. What`s
happened in the past two decades? He`s seen as an architect of the
containment strategy that allowed us to prevail in the Cold War. Ronald
Reagan in early 1983 was at 35 percent approval. In 1987 at the height of
Iran contra he was at 47 percent approval. And where is he now? The best,
the greatest president according to that poll. So I think we miss much
more than we see if we`re looking at how voters make these kinds of
DALLEK: You know, we have to wait decades.
KORNACKI: Right, and I mean the Bill Clinton presidency is a good example
because he went from the depth of 1994 to getting re-elected, you know, the
66 percent, I think, in 1998 around this time. How have you seen since
Bill Clinton left office, it`s been, you know, 13 years now or so, how have
you seen his legacy take shape in that time?
ANN LEWIS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Oh, it`s a good
question and worth discussing. But let me go back for a moment. Steve,
you said these polls should come with an asterisk. I just want to say that
asterisk should say consumer warning. Because what you`re getting is such
a heavy dose of highly charged partisan judgment, especially around
President Obama. Now, what we saw with President Clinton is you are right,
by the middle of his second term people were thinking he`s doing a good
job, he`s working hard. And perhaps ironically maybe it should be a
lesson, the harder the Republican Congress tried to beat up on him, the
more people reacted. Wait a minute, that guy is working for us, give him a
chance. So, that really boomeranged, which is why, again, in 1998 Bill
Clinton`s party is the first party to gain seats in a presidential midterm.
KORNACKI: In the same year that he`s impeached.
KORNACKI: And how does - see, so, and I can remember growing up, looking
back at American history as a student in middle school and high school,
Andrew Johnson, the only president actually to be impeached and Richard
Nixon who resigned on the verge of impeachment, and we look at that is the
standard. If that happens to a president, it just has to be a failure
history. History is going to look at Clinton`s impeachment differently.
LEWIS: Very differently. People now look at that impeachment as the
(INAUDIBLE) of the time. This is a political effort, this is a party that
can`t beat him. They`ve tried to beat him and failed. And so now they`re
trying to misuse the Constitution to get him out of office. That`s wrong.
And American people have a very strong sense of fair play.
So, two things going on: here`s Bill Clinton, he is working really hard,
the economy is going in the right direction, we`ve got a lot to be proud
of. And here are these guys over here in the Congress, and all they want
to do is knock him off. So, his numbers went up, their numbers went down.
I don`t think either of those was a coincidence. And, of course, because
both Bill Clinton in office and then after office became so active, I think
that`s a second point I would urge which is when you look at presidents, I
think we now have three stages. One is when they first get elected and
there were all these high hopes. The second is what could be the low point
at some point during their career. The third is what will they do post
presidency? And I would say that`s certainly true of Bill Clinton and the
work of the Clinton global initiative. But go back and look at Jimmy
Carter and some of comments about President Carter.
KORNACKI: Right. The model of those presidencies, right.
LEWIS: We really - maybe we weren`t so thrilled with him when he was in
office, but when we really like some of what he`s done since.
KORNACKI: And it helps to, and that seems to leave office at a relatively
young age. To have a long and kind of robust post-presidency. Well,
Matthew, so, I mean we put all out there about how long these things take
to sort of - take form. But is it too soon to give an initial estimate of
how history might look back at President Obama and his time in office? I
mean we know he got health care reform through. That`s the headline,
right? I mean 100 years of trying and failing and he got it through. What
would an initial early, early estimate kind of look like?
DALLEK: Well, I think with President Obama there are a few things to
watch. The first, as you mentioned, is health reform. If in 20, 30 years
from now, the so-called cost curve is bent. If the number of uninsured
Americans is dramatically down and his Obamacare program is still basically
intact, it`s going to be hard to imagine he`s going to be rated the worst
president. Same thing with the economy. We just saw the job numbers are
6.1 percent down from a high of ten percent. What happens I think in Iraq
and Afghanistan and the war on terror? I think all of these forces will
come into play. There`s another point, though, which I think is important
and reflects the current poll numbers, which is that arguably one of
Obama`s biggest disappointments, biggest failures is that he was so
successful in 2008 at arguing that he was going to bring the country
together, that he was going to overcome the red and blue divide. Well,
here we are years later, clearly that hasn`t happened. He faces a strident
opposition in the House, and I think that disappointment and that general
kind of anger at Washington is fueling a lot of what you see in terms of
these numbers, not just for Obama, but also for Bush. And then a final
point and this is why I wouldn`t put much stock in that poll, the fact that
Richard Nixon is at 13 percent and that Obama is at, you know, mid 30s,
George W. Bush -- that makes zero sense. I mean not just Watergate, but
the kind of core deception in the Nixon administration and the fact that he
was forced out of office, he was about to be impeached, to me there`s no
comparison, and it suggests that our memories are pretty short and that if
you want to do a more accurate poll, I think we should ask voters to list
the worst and best presidents, but without the current president and the
previous president on that list.
KORNACKI: And you talk about the expectations and the hopes that sort of -
at the beginning of the Obama presidency, that`s kind of, you know, a more
united country, I think that we`re here where basically every Republican is
now trained to say President Obama worst president ever, or at least worst
president since World War II, sort of shows you the reality of what he was
up against. That`s why I think - the headline from that poll is, this is
the nature of the opposition he`s faced. I think it does tell something
about that. My thanks to professor and historian Matthew Dallek for
getting up and joining us this morning.
Coming, up, the report that was released on the eve of the July Fourth
holiday, when most of the press was already on vacation, a classic news
dump that hasn`t stopped us from delving into it. It involves Chris
Christie. The details are next.
Someone once defined politics as who gets what, when and how. In the Chris
Christie administration`s Bridgegate scandal the when was the focus this
week, when and if New Jersey governor can put the scandal behind him.
Christie certainly is acting like it`s behind him appearing on CNBC after
this weeks` Hobby Lobby Supreme court ruling to discuss how Republicans can
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The Republican candidate should tell
people what they feel, that issues that people ask you about. If you get
asked the question, answer it. That`s all. And then .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you should do in terms of what we`ve been
talking about this morning, just the ruling that came down from the Supreme
Court yesterday. Was the Supreme Court right in its decision?
CHRISTIE: Who knows is the Supreme Court right? And the fact is that when
you`re an executive, your Supreme Court makes a ruling and you`ve got to
live with it unless you can get the legislative body to change the law or
change the Constitution. The point is why should I give an opinion on
whether they`re right or wrong? In the end of the day, they did what they
did. And you know what? I don`t think that`s the most central issue that
we need to talk about this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would agree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Question of when also came up late Thursday. That was the eve
of the July Fourth holiday, it`s when the press and basically the whole
country was already on vacation. And that`s when Christie and New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo chose to release a report on potential reforms for
the Port Authority. That`s the bi-state agency that carried out the lane
closures on the George Washington Bridge, lane closures that were carried
out by a Christie appointee. That scandal has raised issues of corruption
and mismanagement at the Port Authority. There are now federal and state
investigations into the agency`s conduct. Governors Christie and Cuomo who
effectively control the Port Authority through appointments, said they
would make reforms. But Thursday`s report, it was a rather small five-page
document simply acknowledged some of the agency`s problems and pledged to
address them about six months from now. Andrea Bernstein of WNYC reminded
us the last time Christie and Cuomo put out a joint release before a summer
weekend, it was to announce toll hikes, massive toll hikes on Port
Authority bridges and tunnels. So, for more on this report and all of the
other happenings in the Bridgegate saga, we turn to Brian Thompson, veteran
New Jersey reporter for WNBC. Brian, you were - and I`m guessing is for
the same reason as - listening to Chris Christie talk about the Hobby Lobby
ruling and saying why should I give an opinion on what the Supreme Court
does? And in New Jersey politics there has been no more outspoken basher
of the New Jersey state Supreme Court than Chris Christie.
BRIAN THOMPSON, WNBC REPORTER: Yes, so it appears that the closer you get
to run for president the more careful you have to be.
THOMPSON: That`s all that boils out. There`s no question Chris Christie
has always been opinionated, and he has always been very willing to give us
opinion, especially about the New Jersey State Supreme Court. And all of a
sudden, U.S. Supreme Court issues a controversial ruling and .
KORNACKI: The politics are a little different. And suddenly - what, I
speak up? I wouldn`t think of doing that. Well, so this report on the
Port Authority, classic news dump, I mean it doesn`t get any more news
dumpy than, you know, July 4 holiday weekend, the night before July 4th.
Any - what is the news - there`s obviously not much news in the report.
What is it specifically - is it just the idea of having the bridge in the
news that they`re trying to avoid here?
THOMPSON: Yes. One would assume so. That means about six months from now
would be about right before New Year`s Eve, wouldn`t it?
THOMPSON: But no, there wasn`t a lot of news in it, but you have - if you
read between the lines and you see where they`re going, they`re really
going in a multitude of directions. And it`s too much for us to explain
right here, with one exception. They`re not going with any kind of clarity
toward the one direction that will make the one reform that would make any
difference to the future of the Port Authority. And you have to remember,
not just Chris Christie and his politicizing of the agency, he just did
what many governors before him had done. He had bought into what New York
governors had done, and they were using the Port Authority as a big piggy
bank for whatever financial reasons they may want to use it for, big
projects, avoid tax hikes, you name it. That`s all the Port Authority has
been for about the last 25 years or so. And from that standpoint, the only
way you`re going to get reform in my opinion is to divorce the 12 board of
director members, governors of it, commissioners, from being direct
appointees of the two governors. New York gets six appointees to the
commission and New Jersey gets six appointees.
KORNACKI: So, right now the governors effectively have the control .
THOMPSON: So, if you an appointee of the governor and you serve at the
pleasure of the governor, what are you going to do?
KORNACKI: You`re going to do what the governor tells you.
THOMPSON: You`re going to do what the governor tells you. Steve, you,
sir, can be a Port Authority commissioner.
KORNACKI: Well, I`ve seen the money that come with that, the benefits that
come with that. I wouldn`t mind working there.
THOMPSON: No, you wouldn`t.
KORNACKI: But - so, let me ask you, the other phase of this is, this
coming week was supposed to be originally another hearing New Jersey state
legislative committee looking into this. And the new witness, the subpoena
had gone to is Regina Egea, she is the head of the Authorities Unit, and
the key there was that Bill Barone any on the 13th of September last year
when the closure sort of came to a head and Pat Foye from New York site
sent this e-mail and said federal and state laws, I think are being broken
here, the person in the governor`s office who Bill Barone forwarded that to
was Regina Egea. Now, it`s not going to be this - this coming Tuesday, it`
been moved about the week out, to the 17th. But what are you expecting to
hear? What are you interested in hearing from Egea?
THOMPSON: Well, you know, what I want to hear from all of these people,
quite frankly, and there`s a whole list, there`s a dozen or so. But what
you want to really hear from them and I`m not sure quite frankly the
committee is prepared to ask this question, even the Democrats, is I want
to hear more about the culture of that office, because nobody has been able
to show any kind of link, beforehand knowledge of Governor Christie with
this decision made by Barone and Wildstein and Bridget Kelly. And so I`m
not looking for that at this point. What I am looking for is to understand
the workings of this office and how they politicized or continued the
politization of the relationship between the governor`s office and the Port
Authority and how that was allowed to happen and whether or not she can
shed light on that, that`s what I think the committee has to nailed her on,
if it`s going to get anywhere on this thing.
KORNACKI: And we`ve got - just the headlines, there`s 13 more subpoenas
that went out a few weeks ago.
KORNACKI: But the Pat Foye from the New York side, he`s supposed to come
down and talk to them. Phillip Kwan who perhaps helped Bill Barone with
that testimony, that very misleading testimony before the assembly last
year, he`s supposed to testify. Mike DuHaime, closest political adviser to
Chris Christie who supposedly let Christie know on the morning - When
Christie last December came out and said, hey, nobody on my team knew
anything about this, DuHaime was apparently on the phone at that morning,
saying, hey, you might want to know that Wildstein is saying that Bridget
Kelly knew about this at the time. Bill Stepien had some knowledge at the
time. So, these are all people who are going to be coming, and this is the
drama, this is going to be the story of the summer in Trenton. I guess, so
Brian Thompson, one of your many appearances here this summer.
KORNACKI: I appreciate the time as always. Thank you for coming in. From
the pop - from pop culture to the politics. The `90s are back. We`ll get
into our time machine, it`s on the other side of the break.
KORNACKI: Are the `90s back or did they never leave us? Our latest
reminder of the decade`s endurance came this week, courtesy of Seinfeld,
the iconic NBC sitcom about nothing aired its first episode 25 years ago
this week. It wasn`t a hit at first. NBC actually passed on the pilot at
first. The network eventually gave Seinfeld the rest of the money it
needed to complete season one. And after a long hiatus there was a season
two. That second season got off to a rocky start when it was delayed a
week by the start of the Gulf War in January of 1991. But by season four,
"Seinfeld" had entered the top 30 in the Nielsen TV ratings. And the rest
was history. You know, Yada, yada, yada.
It can feel like the `90s are everywhere around us. Monica Lewinsky has
resurfaced lately with a piece in last month "Vanity Fair." You can`t go a
day without hearing about the Clintons. Bill Clinton won the White House
in 1992. If Hillary runs and wins, then gets reelected. It won`t be until
January 2025 that Clintons leave the White House. 32 years after they
first got there. Let`s not forget the vice president in the 1990s, Al Gore
who political analyst Mark Halpern floated this week as a potential 2016
presidential contender. As the major Republican name on the `90s, two,
Bush, Jeb Bush, the son of George H.W. and the brother of George W. is now
exploring a presidential campaign of his own. I might as well throw this
guy in, too. Vincent A. Buddy Cianci Jr. He transformed the city of
Providence, Rhode Island back in the `90s, became a national name and was
sent away to federal prison, but now he`s back and he`s trying to win his
old job in an election this year. It`s not just politics, it`s not just
Seinfeld. A slew of `90s television shows are set to be remade. Remember
"Boy Meets the World," or "The Teletubbies" or "The Magic School Bus." Or
"Reading Rainbow" or "Power Puff Girls." I lived through the `90s, I don`t
actually remember all those.
KORNACKI: They`re also coming out with a sequel to "Independence Day."
Although this one will not have Will Smith in it. So, what were the `90s
about anyway? How have they shaped us? How are they shaping us? The
world we live in today. Well, back here with me we have Ann Lewis, the
communications director at the Clinton White House back in the `90s. Lizz
Winstead is also here, she was a co-creator of the original "Daily Show"
back in the `90s and in Los Angeles we have Joe Regalbuto, he played Frank
Fontana on the world-running 1990 sitcom, the politically controversial,
we`ll get to that in a minute, sitcom "Murphy Brown." So, thank you all
for joining us. And thank you, especially, Joe for - just for getting up
so early out there. So, Liz, I`ll just - I`ll start with you. The `60s
were about protests. The `60s were - the `70s were about malaise. That`s
the word, I guess you think of when you sum up - the `80s were about greed.
What were the `90s about? Do we - were they about nothing, like
"Seinfeld?" Or were they about something?
LIZZ WINSTEAD, CO-CREATOR "THE DAILY SHOW": For me the `90s were about
watching media explode. All of a sudden cable networks became crazy. And,
you know, "The Daily Show" was allowed to be created because we were not
only observing politics and media makers, but we were also watching what
happens when you have too many cable networks with too many things, hours
to fill and then doing it really badly.
And so, for me, it was just .
KORNACKI: So, was cable news sort of -- when "The Daily Show" was created,
I think it was 1996.
WINSTEAD: `96. And so, what the landscape was, is there was basically
CNN. Fox came in October and then MSNBC came about a month after we
launched. But the evening landscape was just crazy like magazine shows.
They were everywhere. It was like, your mattress, what you don`t know
might kill you.
WINSTEAD: You know, and local news was - any time there was a swing in
black and white footage that was just going back and forth. You know, baby
was abducted. It was just constantly faking and scaring us. And so, when
we launched, it was like, I said to Comedy Central, you know, it`s not
enough to just cover the politics and the politicians. It`s really about
becoming what the media has become? And let have them be a character on
the show. So, for me that was a big part of it.
KORNACKI: And that, and so, so, Joe, to bring you into this, I mean I
think everybody remembers "Murphy Brown." But just as a refresher, I think
"Murphy Brown," which ran from I think it was `88 to `98 on CBS, a ten-year
run, back in 1992, it became one of the major issues in a presidential
election in 1992 and what kicked it off was the "Murphy Brown" character, a
television news woman, a single woman, she became pregnant by the Jerry
Gold character. I think she was. But she was not going to marry him, she
was going to raise the child on her own. And Dan Quayle, vice president at
the time gave this speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN QUAYLE: t doesn`t help matters when prime time TV as "Murphy Brown," a
character who supposedly epitomizes today`s intelligent, highly paid
professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers and bearing the child
alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, Joe, just if you could, take us back to that moment. Do you
remember where you were when you first heard about that speech?
JOE REGALBUTO, ACTOR AND DIRECTOR: You know, I don`t remember exactly
where I was, I just knew it was a storm, I`ll tell you. It was so big. We
didn`t -- there we were just trying to do our comedy show, make, get a
couple of laughs. And all of a sudden he comes out with this speech. And
I`ll tell you, it put a tremendous amount of pressure on this show because
we had to respond to that. Everybody was waiting. We ended up that next
season getting just a gigantic rating because everybody wanted to see. But
you know, you couldn`t go far enough for the left. You couldn`t - you
know, you went too far for the right. We were in a very tricky situation.
We didn`t want to be a political the sort of ball that`s going to get
thrown around. We wanted to do our comedy show, but yet we were forced
into this. It was remarkable.
KORNACKI: The episode you ended up doing at the start of the next season,
the scene that I always remember was you, your character, talking to the
Murphy Brown character, basically saying, don`t take this guy seriously,
it`s Dan Quayle.
REGALBUTO: It`s Dan Quayle. I know. All the promotion and everything, I
kept seeing myself going "It`s Dan Quayle." That was the first time
literally that on stage we had to put metal detectors from that point on.
I mean everything changed from there. We had Newt Gingrich on the show. I
mean people came on the show. All the news reporters, politicians. It was
remarkable. But from that time it was a trickier balance that we had to go
KORNACKI: And Ann, was that a turning point, the "Murphy Brown" episode
itself. And the `92 campaign, I also remember Bill Clinton was on "The
Donohue Show." That sort of seems like that was a pivot point where this
merger of the media, the media world and the political world that Lizz is
talking about, that`s when it happened.
LEWIS: I think that`s exactly right, it was the `92 campaign. Bill
Clinton was using again alternative media any way he could get to connect
with people. Saying it now, it sounds like foreign, possibly common sense,
right? Of course, you`re a candidate and you want to get out there where
the people are. But at the time this was really unusual. And so Bill
Clinton was out there. He did talk shows. He did the kinds of programs -
and by the way, the kinds of programs that women watched, 1992 was in many
ways the year of the woman. A lot of women got elected. A lot of women
voted. So, yes, when the second piece, I would say, and I was thinking
about this again, as we talked - it is the year, in which we saw
relationships other than married people. Right? Whether it is Seinfeld or
Murphy Brown or a whole series of programs afterwards, not everybody comes
two by two. The world is not Noah`s Ark. So, you started seeing different
kinds of programming, yes on television, yes on cable. And finally, I
would say, it was, of course, also the decade of the Internet. So you had
cable and then you had cable coming back on the Internet. So clearly it
was a 24-7 news climate.
KORNACKI: Yeah, that`s interesting. We`ve got to squeeze a break in here.
But I want to pick it up on the other side with sort of how the cultural
moors have changed. It`s basically been a generation now, so how they`ve
changed and how what sort of the roots of the `90s what they`ve sprouted
into today. We`ll pick that up on the other side.
KORNACKI: All right, back talking about the `90s and how we`re still
feeling them today. So, Lizz, Ann sort of started to raise the point
there, I mean I think we`re talking about this "Murphy Brown" episode from
1992. And sort of cultural context of that was, it was still, if you want
to make it very political, this is still a Democratic party that was
worried about a lot more culturally conservative voters.
KORNACKI: And this sort of - This was what Republicans saw an opportunity
to make Democrats the party of Murphy Brown.
KORNACKI: We have culturally come a long way from that.
WINSTEAD: Have we? I mean because what`s interesting is, that happens,
then cut to now where like an outspoken single woman who is on Twitter or
on the Internet is now, not only has the vitriol of Dan Quayle, but of
every single other person who has access to somebody with an opinion. And
so, for me it feels like, you know, we`ve kind of moved backwards in some
ways with more information and more media. Now, the more you put something
out there that`s alternative lifestyle oriented you`re slammed for it.
KORNACKI: It`s a lot easier to hear from angry people, the people who hate
you. It`s a lot easier .
KORNACKI: I guess the thing -- when I say things have changed and we`ve
moved on, I`m thinking politically, I look at the Democratic Party of, you
know, Bill Clinton, there was always - it was always the fear of people
said, like, you know, whether it was don`t ask don`t tell in `93 or Defense
of Marriage Act in `96. It was hey, don`t want to go too far here on these
cultural issues because there will be a backlash. And now this is
Democratic Party like in the wake of Hobby Lobby.
KORNACKI: From Hobby Lobby, really, it`s embracing, hey, this is our
coalition, this is the future, no bones about it.
WINSTEAD: Well, I think so. I mean I think any party that doesn`t embrace
the concept of birth control will lose.
WINSTEAD: I think this is the general boiling it down to that, yeah, I
think that cultural issues means you`re just looking at your entire
constituency and saying you matter and you matter to me.
KORNACKI: It`s a different - it seems like a Democratic sort of
constituency the coalition is a little different now, but so Joe, let me
bring you back in here on what "Murphy Brown" sort of represented, not just
the issue of the single mother, but just Murphy Brown as a sort of cultural
phenomenon in the 1990s, how it connected politics and entertainment.
Could a show like that work today? Could "Murphy Brown" work in 2014?
REGALBUTO: Well, I would think almost better than ever. You know, people
are hungry to get on, they thought we were an actual news show very often.
You know, that people wanted to come on, even after that Dan Quayle
literally wanted to come on the show, but only if he got to do a prepared
speech that he wrote. No, it`s a written show.
KORNACKI: Dan Quayle wanted to deliver a speech on "Murphy Brown"?
REGALBUTO: He wanted to come on, but he wanted only under certain
conditions he wanted to say what he wanted to say, and we said, well, it
sort of doesn`t work that way.
REGALBUTO: Also, if you recall, you know, I think one of the things that
our executive producer Diana English always said was, the people that she
was friends with were very different than our typical "Father Knows Best"
or this show or that show. Her friends were single mothers, there were
divorced parents, there were gay, there were, you know, so there was a
whole realm of people that were friends that you didn`t see on television.
KORNACKI: And did you - So, Dan Quayle, I`m curious about this. So, Dan
Quayle didn`t want to come on the show in some way. What was between the
White House and the producers of the show, maybe even - and he was actors,
what was the interaction like? That was an interaction back in `92? Were
they talking to you guys at all?
REGALBUTO: You know, there was some talk the producers, really, it was a
big, a tough nut to crack. It determining what we were going to respond or
how we were going to respond to his show and his speech. So, there was a
lot of waiting, as I said earlier, this hard to satisfy everybody. But
there was - there was a lot of back and forth. What`s the attack of the
show, what are we going to do and, again, still preserve "Murphy Brown",
which was not a political commentary speech. We just happened - I mean we
had JFK, JFK Jr. on the show, Walter Cronkite, Dole was on there.
Geraldine Ferraro came on. I mean it was a remarkable time personally to
meet all these people.
KORNACKI: Yeah, and I remember, I can still picture her office on the show
and there were all the magazine covers in the background and I remember how
many of them actually were, you know, "Time" magazines were actual
magazines of the show because they crossed over to news so much. I want to
thank actor and director Joe Regalbuto for getting up. It`s so early out
there, I really appreciate you coming on this morning.
REGALBUTO: It`s daylight, it`s nice out here today.
KORNACKI: Oh, OK, then I don`t feel guilty any more. All right.
KORNACKI: What should we know today? Our answers with the panel after
KORNACKI: All right. It`s time to find out what our guests think we
should know for the week ahead. Lis Winstead, I`ll start with you.
WINSTEAD: All right, it`s a shameless plug. An organization that I
founded about a year ago parts justice, is now launching its website on the
15th. It is a big interactive map that focuses with humor on the really
creepy reproductive laws in all 50 states. So, we`re taking that .
KORNACKI: You want to give us - what is the web address?
WINSTEAD: It is Ladypartsjustice.com.
KORNACKI: All right. Ann.
LEWIS: Well, Congress goes back to work this week, I use the term work
LEWIS: But here`s what should be on the agenda - has to be on the agenda,
it`s a highway trust fund. Bottom line, the highway trust fund is running
out of money. If Congress doesn`t take action, we`re going to see tens of
thousands of construction jobs, badly needed infrastructure project start
coming to a halt. This is real job loss. This makes a real difference
where people live. It is up to the Congress to act. And let us be clear,
Highway Trust Fund, interstate highway system, this isn`t a Barack Obama
project, this isn`t even Bill Clinton project. This was President
Eisenhower. So, we are going to see if this Congress can at least bring us
up to the `50s?
KORNACKI: All right. It is - I`ve been watching Ann Lewis, a quick plug,
will be back with us in two weeks for a family edition of "Up Against the
Clock." If you want to know she`s playing with, Google and find out who
her brother is. There is your tease. I want to thank all of today`s
guests for joining us today and this weekend. We`ll be back next Saturday
and Sunday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Up next, Melissa Harris Perry is
back here today. Today on MHP there`s nothing narrow about the Supreme
Court`s Hobby Lobby decision, how it could have a historic impact on the
rights and health of women across the country. Stick around to that.
Melissa is next.
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