July 10, 2014
Guest: Clay Jenkins, Kevin Appleby, Kevin Appleby, Clarence Page, James
Lipton, Ted Johnson
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: John Boehner, you`re better than this.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this terrible reality President Obama now
faces on the American border. He`s got 50,000 kids basically deposited
there, all seeking asylum. They come from dangerous places like Honduras
and El Salvador, really poor places like Guatemala. And now this president
faces the brutal job of either finding a way to accept them here, which
will create an instant and perhaps more powerful magnet on more tens of
thousands being shipped here, or working to send them home to countries
Obama knows and has now publicly confessed are hell-holes.
This is not a job he ran for, but is, as we all now confront the
reality with him, most definitely the job this president now has. Adding
to the nastiness of the situation already overflowing with nastiness is the
cheap-shot, below-the-belt behavior of this country`s supposedly loyal
Why? You have to ask it. Why can`t Boehner sit out this one
political dance? Why can`t he say that on this crisis, this moral crisis
now looming before us, we Americans can stand together, give these kids the
legal hearings they`re entitled to, consider their claims for asylum and
treat them like innocent, needy kids in the meantime?
And why can`t Boehner do this one thing? Are his right-wing allies so
threatening, so hateful? Is his desire to rub the president`s face in it
so compulsive? Can`t he take off one day from the political dance of death
to which his least attractive allies are calling the tune?
Is there really a philosophical difference, anybody listening right
now, between the Republican and the Democratic response to this particular
crisis of these particular children? Wasn`t it George W. Bush himself who
signed this law giving these particular kids their right to an asylum
hearing in the first place? That`s my big question tonight. Why the
Judge Clay Jenkins was part of the group of local leaders that met
with President Obama just yesterday down in Texas. He`s the highest
elected official in Dallas County down there. And of course Eugene
Robinson is sitting with me. He`s the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist
with "The Washington Post."
Judge, you heard what I said. Why the diddling around with this? Why
the politics? On this particular case, the law is clear. These kids at
least deserve a hearing. In the meantime, they deserve to be treated like
kids who are innocent until proven guilty of something. Why can`t the
Democrats and the Republicans -- well, let`s go at it -- the Republicans
play ball here, pass the money needed to handle this situation and get it
CLAY JENKINS, DALLAS COUNTY JUDGE: I don`t know. If the Texas
delegation -- and we`re the most affected state in the union by this. If
they would stand up to secure our borders and to treat these kids with some
compassion and we stood unified and voted for that supplement, it would
pass and we could do it next week.
And I hope that we will because you`re absolutely right. There is no
real difference. We all believe that we need to secure the border. We all
believe that we need to improve conditions in these countries where these
children will be returning to, most of them. And we all believe that
children here in America deserve compassionate care and a humanitarian
There`s no good reason for Congress not to do their part.
EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well,
no, absolutely. And in fact...
MATTHEWS: What`s Boehner gain by dumping on the president at this
very critical moment?
ROBINSON: He gains absolutely nothing. Frankly, I think he gains
nothing. I mean, I think he intends -- he may be afraid of the far-right
base of the Republican Party...
ROBINSON: Well, they love to get riled up about immigration. Now,
what do they want to do in this case? Not follow the law, apparently,
because the law specifics...
MATTHEWS: Bush`s law.
ROBINSON: Exactly, the law signed by George W. Bush. It specifies
what has to happen with these kids. I mean, it`s not optional. They have
to get hearings. You know, given the current backlog it could take up to
Now, so does Boehner -- does Congress want it to take longer as the
numbers mount, or does he want to -- you know, part of the money that the
president`s asked for, for example, more immigration judges, that`s going
to make it a speedier process? Does he not want to put more border patrol
agents on the border? I don`t understand what the...
MATTHEWS: I think it`s almost like a...
ROBINSON: ... what the objection is.
MATTHEWS: ... perversion of Nancy Reagan, "Just say no," a
perversion, just say no to everything Obama wants to do.
Anyway, the urgency of the situation (INAUDIBLE) deteriorating
conditions down there on the border, the flood of these unaccompanied
children, the explosive politics of this particular crisis apparently lit a
fire under John Boehner, who now must deal with a disorganized and
immigrant-fearing caucus of Republicans, who are leaving town in just about
Even though he`s put public heat on the president, Boehner might well
be seeking a deal behind closed doors. As Politico reports, Speaker John
Boehner told Republicans in a closed meeting yesterday -- why was it
closed? -- yesterday morning that the House should act on a supplemental
spending bill that deals with the border crisis before the House adjourns
this August. Anyway, according to multiple sources -- and that`s two weeks
Anyway, today Speaker Boehner exploded with criticism aimed at the
president, attacking both Obama`s plan to address the crisis and his past
actions when offered relief -- which offered relief to children who came
across the border. Here`s Boehner going at it politically.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I can tell you this,
though. We`re not giving the president a blank check. This is a problem
of the president`s own making! He`s been president for five-and-a-half
years! When is he going to take responsibility for something?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back to -- let me go back to Judge Clay
(sic) on that. It seems to me there ought to be some reckoning here. You
could say it`s Obama`s fault because he`s been easier on deporting kids of
a certain age. OK. But apparently, the big the draw down there is the
reality if they get these kids to the border, they`re entitled to a hearing
so you (ph) could take two years, and perhaps during that time, they could
find a way (ph) to residence (ph) in our country.
There`s a number of magnets, if you will, for kids to be sent up here
by their parents from countries where it`s a hell-hole to live in.
JENKINS: Well, you know, what difference does it make whose fault it
is? we`re leaders. We all have a role to play. Congress`s role is to
pass that supplemental appropriation so that we`ll have the tools that we
need to end this humanitarian crisis.
Our role here in Dallas County is we`ve offered facilities and
compassionate care for 2,000 children, so we can double the capacity that
the federal government now has at their Air Force and military bases
throughout this country just in our county.
Surely, on this, on the issue of securing our border and treating
children like human beings -- surely, on this, they can come to the table
and we can get this passed.
MATTHEWS: What`s the -- can you speak for the community down there?
I mean, you`re an elected official. Can you speak for the community down
there in Dallas? I know it`s a conservative city. It always has been.
But what`s the view of the people of what we should do as a country with
JENKINS: Well, the view in Dallas County has been overwhelmingly that
these children are not others, they are children like your children and my
children, and that they deserve to be treated with human compassion. And
so from the faith community, many of whom are conservative and vote
Republican, I haven`t had a single minister or rabbi or faith leader of any
sect not be in favor of this who`s contacted me.
Now, I have been contacted by thousands of people from across this
country who feel that these children are others, had them called "human
garbage" that should be thrown away. But that wouldn`t be the mindset of
the overwhelming majority of the people who live here.
MATTHEWS: You know, I guess the question is what we`re going to do.
Anyway, right now, Speaker Boehner is leading the GOP attack on President
Obama -- no surprise there -- which also included red-hots like Texas
governor Rick Perry, who met with the president yesterday -- we all watched
that -- in what looked like a cordial display of bipartisanship between the
two politicians, the president and the governor.
But then when the governor, Rick Perry, got on Fox News last night, on
"Hannity," here we went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I think about the criticism that George
W. Bush received when he didn`t go to New Orleans, Katrina. This is no
I want him to come to the border because I think he really needs to
see how the interaction with these different law enforcements and the
addition of the National Guard could secure that border. And I think if
the president would see that with his own eyes and he would act on it --
you can`t talk about it. You have to act, Mr. President. That`s what
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It`s interesting, Gene, to watch these politicians suit up,
isn`t it? Here`s the guy that got in trouble for the "oops" because he
couldn`t remember the names of the agencies he wanted to get rid of. He
used to wear those flashy blazers with the gold buttons on them all the
time. It looked too much like a croupier, whatever the hell he looked
like. And now he`s wearing glasses to look a little more sophisticated, so
he doesn`t look like the "oops" guy.
But then -- and then he looked pretty good yesterday. He was meeting
president almost as equals there, like peers. And then he goes on
television, on "Hannity," he can`t resist it.
ROBINSON: Well, he`s apparently running for president again, so...
MATTHEWS: That`s part of the act.
ROBINSON: So that`s -- you know, that`s...
MATTHEWS: So part of the act if you run for president, dump on Obama.
ROBINSON: Exactly. I mean, that -- you know, how -- what -- how can
it hurt him among Republican primary voters to dump on the president...
MATTHEWS: Well, a little class wouldn`t hurt, would it?
ROBINSON: I mean, that`s the way they do it. Look, a little class
wouldn`t hurt. I guess it wouldn`t.
MATTHEWS: Late today, Arizona senator John McCain, along with his
fellow senator, Jeff Flake, took their shot at compromise. They announced
a plan to introduce legislation that would, among other things, change the
2008 law which gives extralegal protections to unaccompanied children
coming from Central America.
It talks about things like alternatives to detention, like ankle
monitors to make sure people show up to their immigration court hearings.
And it increases the number of refugee visas for countries like El
Salvador, Honduras and Ecuador, where violence and gangs run rampant.
What do you make of that, Judge?
JENKINS: These -- I`ve been down, and I`m one of the few people
who`ve actually seen these children. And these are children. They are
children like any other group of children. But they -- these children are
terrified. They`re dirty. They`re a thousand miles away from their
parents. And right now, they`re living in cells, where there are 30
children, that were designed for six adults. They`ve all got to go to the
bathroom in front of each other.
What those children need is they need to be moved to someplace like
Dallas County temporarily so that people can show them that they`re valued
as human beings, that they`re loved and that they`re not prisoners, they`re
Putting an ankle bracelet on a child so that the child is made to feel
like a criminal is one of the most inhumane things that I can think of
doing to a small child. And I think the people that are proposing that are
people that still see these children as something different than what they
are, which are children made in the image of God, just like every other
child here in the United States.
MATTHEWS: What wonderful words you just spoke there. I can`t beat
that. Thank you, Judge Clay Jenkins, for joining us from Dallas County.
And Eugene Robinson, as always. It`s hard to keep up with that eloquence.
ROBINSON: He was good. That was good.
MATTHEWS: Well-stated reality of American values.
Anyway, coming up: The big question hanging over this crisis at the
border, why are they here? What prompted this sudden flood of children
crossing over into the United States? We`re going to get some firsthand
report from the ground, down where these hellholes these kids were sent
from, how bad they were that their parents were willing to pay money and
risk this long trip through Mexico to the United States to get away from
the hell their parents are stuck to live in.
Also, "The Wall Street Journal," of all places, is calling the impeach
Obama movement -- you`ll love to hear this, of all places, "The Wall Street
Journal -- they call it insanity. Still, there`s an un-merry band of
conservative out there who caught the fever. Even Joni Ernst, the hog
castrator from Iowa -- she`s a Senate candidate out there -- she`s checked
in with the gang of impeachment pushers.
Anyway, check out today`s Emmy nominees, by the way. They`re all
shows about politics. Could it be because politics has gotten so bad, it`s
gotten to be good television?
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the big coming battle for the United
States Senate in this country and our powerful commitment here on HARDBALL
to cover it.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Despite the stunning defeat of House Majority Leader Eric
Cantor, incumbents are actually having a very strong election year. That
could be dismaying to some.
Take a look at this. According to the University of Virginia Center
for Politics, out of the 275 House incumbents running for reelection, 273
have already been renominated by their parties. The exceptions, Cantor, of
course, and also Republican Ralph Hall (ph) of Texas, just those two. And
18 of 18 senators running for reelection have all been renominated.
Well, since World War II, an average of 1.6 percent -- that`s less
than 2 percent -- of House incumbents have lost their primaries. Seems
like they`re getting stronger in there. Anyway, 19 more states are holding
primaries this year. But to match that historic record, four more House
members would have to lose their primaries in 2014.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. What would compel a mother to
send her child off and alone on a thousand-mile life-threatening journey to
the U.S. border? It would have to be something godawful, you`d think, and
it is. Life in the Central American countries from which these children
flee is brutal, terrifying and often deadly.
This anecdote, which leads "The New York Times" page on page one
today, gives a glimpse at the horror. A 7-year-old boy in a gang-ridden
town down in Honduras hops on his bike to search for his missing older
brother. Within days, both boys are found dead, the older brother, just 13
years old, shot in the head, the younger brother who went to find him has
been tortured and beaten with sticks and rocks at a gang hangout known as
the "Crazy House" -- a 7-year-old boy tortured to death.
Well, this weekend, NBC News`s Stephanie Gosk reported from the heart
of gang-ridden Honduras on the desperate situation that`s driving these
children to flee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To understand why
young people from Central America are leaving without their parents to go
to the U.S., you have to come here, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, one of the
most dangerous cities in one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
We`re in a neighborhood right now that`s controlled by four different
gangs. This small space here is a neutral area. But they tells us down
any of these roads, it`s literally a no-go zone. Every young person that
we`ve spoken to here says they want to go to the United States because of
MATTHEWS: Stephanie Gosk joins us now on the phone from Flores,
Guatemala. And Kevin Appleby is the director of migration policy for the
U.S. Conference of Bishops.
Let`s go right now to Stephanie. Stephanie, give us a sense -- the
president yesterday was sort of twisted in his contradictions. He was
saying the parents shouldn`t send their kids on these trips up here through
these coyote -- these people that bring them up here, these smugglers of
young people, because it`s so dangerous to make the trip.
A few minutes later, during Q&A with reporters, he said, But look at
how dangerous it is where they are. Put those two dangers together, the
danger of getting to the United States the way they do -- being smuggled --
and the hell they face at home.
GOSK: Well, that`s it. I mean, that`s the conflict. You`re facing
the worst of two evils in this case, and you`ve got -- most of the people
that we spoke to in San Pedro Sula, the kids, the teenagers, said they`d
rather risk it and head north to the U.S. than stay where they are. They
know the situation where they are, at least in this particular neighborhood
of San Pedro Sula, controlled by gangs. They can`t go from one territory
to another territory without fear of being beaten up.
One 15-year-old we spoke to, his 10-year-old brother was shot and
killed. His 16-year-old brother is in a gang and has an AK (ph) in the
house. I mean, this violence is an everyday part of their lives.
But I`d like to broaden it out a little bit more because when we talk
about the reason why these kids are being driven up to the U.S., there
really is a multitude of factors that go into this. The kids that I spoke
with said they`re also disheartened by the fact that they don`t have much
of a future. There aren`t really a lot of jobs.
And then they look around them and they hear stories about neighbors
or friends or the guy down the street that has gone to the U.S. and didn`t
come back, was allowed to stay, or at least that`s the way it`s perceived,
even though that person, or a friend might be going through a deportation
So there are a lot of issues in play right now, but you can`t
underestimate the importance of how violent it is in these places,
especially in Honduras, and that being a factor in this whole crisis.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Kevin Appleby.
It seems to me the United States has a challenge here, and that is to
treat people humanely who get here, but not to encourage other people from
exploiting our laws. The United States, like any country in the world, has
its right to its border. The American people set the policy. The
government implements it.
That`s the law. That`s how we live in this society. The question is
how much of this can we take? What do we do?
KEVIN APPLEBY, U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS: Well, Chris,
first of all, this is a refugee flow. It`s not an illegal immigrant flow,
which it has been characterized as.
These children have international protection claims. They have the
right to asylum. They have the right to an immigration judge. We have to
uphold our international obligations. We have signed the Refugee
Convention. And we have domestic law which protects these kids.
We are looked on around the world as a leader in immigrant rights, in
refugee protection. If we turn these kids back, if we send them back to
the hellholes as you describe it, what signal is that going to send to
countries in the Middle East that accept millions of refugees a year at our
request or in Africa? We have to be the moral leader on this issue. This
is a big moral test, a big test of our moral character in this country how
we handle this issue.
MATTHEWS: Well, how about the children who are coming up for economic
reasons? How are they different from the kids coming from Mexico or people
APPLEBY: In all these flows, they are mixed flows.
Every refugee flow, not every child or every person is a refugee. The
United Nations has said that these children, that up to 60 percent of the
children have a refugee claim. So, yes, there are going to be some that
are coming for economic reasons. But we have a responsibility to look at
this group, filter them and say who needs protection and who doesn`t.
We`re not saying that every child gets to stay. In fact, many of them
are returned, but we have to look into what their claims are and we have to
give them due process.
MATTHEWS: But what`s going on, though? Let`s not talk about it as if
it`s not organized. There are groups of what they`re called coyotes,
they`re cartels. Who knows. Why is it all happening right now? Why
90,000 this year?
Honduras has been a lousy country politically for all of our lives.
Maybe we had a role in it with the United Fruit and all our messing around
with that place down there with the CIA over all the years. Our hands
aren`t clean. But those countries aren`t suddenly terrible countries, are
APPLEBY: Well, I`m not denying that smugglers, for example, are
giving rumors or encouraging and preying upon these families saying let me
take your kid, they are going to be able to stay. That`s a factor.
But violence is the straw that stirs this drink. Five years ago,
these gangs may have controlled neighborhoods. But now they control
communities and they even control cities. And the governments there are
failed governments. They don`t have the ability or the resources or the
will to protect their citizens.
MATTHEWS: What are the worst? Kevin, what are the worst governments?
Name them. What are the worst countries down there that can`t govern
themselves? Because that`s the problem.
APPLEBY: I would say Honduras, Honduras definitely. It`s got the
highest murder rate in the world.
Frankly their police are corrupt there. They are in collaboration
with some of these gangs. I would say the other countries, El Salvador
probably has some of that as well, Guatemala less. But there are
governments here that just aren`t protecting their children for political
will reasons, but also because they don`t have the resources to and also
because some of their officials are in cahoots with some of these criminal
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Stephanie on the ground down there.
Stephanie, what`s the future look like down there? Because I think
the United States will probably find a way, even in a bipartisan way
eventually after everybody has settled their scores on this thing,
including Boehner -- you can see this with John McCain starting to come up
with at least something of a compromise. They will deal with the existing
number of people here.
But what happens if the flow continues? Is it going to keep
continuing 90,000, 100,000 a year? Is it ever going to end of these kids?
Because once word gets out that we are treating the first 50,000 OK, in
fact, well, that word gets back down there, the traffickers spread the
word, hey, it`s looking good up there, it is just going to keep growing and
growing. What`s going to happen.
GOSK: Well, look, in being down here, you really get a good sense of
the fact that this is a responsibility that is as much part of a country
down here as it is the United States to deal with it.
There are real problems and within the governments that have to be
resolved to change the situation on the ground, to improve the economy.
You were talking about corruption. We visited a town on the
Guatemala/Mexico border. This is really something the U.S. government
should pay close attention to, because you basically have a system that`s
facilitating, not only turning a blind eye, but really facilitating the
flow, illegal flow of immigrants up through Mexico, a town where there are
coyotes in the streets negotiating out in the middle of the day alongside
Guatemalan military outposts.
We saw a transaction take place right in front of us. Four Honduran
kids, a couple of them teenagers, they made a deal with a coyote.
MATTHEWS: What`s it cost?
GOSK: ... away from them was a member of the Guatemala military.
It`s called El Norano (ph).
And it`s right on the border. You go down the San Pedro River into
Mexico. And it`s in a well-established route that hundreds, thousands have
taken into Mexico.
MATTHEWS: Do you know what it costs for a coyote to transport a kid
to the United States?
GOSK: We were told $7,000 by a couple of people.
MATTHEWS: Where does that come from?
GOSK: Well, exactly. I can`t imagine everyone is able to pay that,
if anyone is able to pay that. I would imagine there is a kind of scale.
But it`s definitely a lucrative business.
MATTHEWS: That doesn`t make any sense, Stephanie. I have been
hearing these numbers, $5,000. I see these people, dirt poor.
Let me come back to Kevin. Maybe he knows.
How do you come up with $7,000 in a dirt poor country to pay for your
kid to get taken in a dangerous manner to be taken to the United States?
Not a nice way to go.
APPLEBY: It`s just like we do with any of our budgets. They don`t
pay automatically it up front. They might give the mortgage to the house
to the smuggler or they might sell their property. They might go to other
family members and collect the money.
You have to consider they are in desperate circumstances. We talked
to one mother. And she said, I would rather my child die on the way to the
U.S. than die on my front doorstep.
APPLEBY: So, they will do anything they can to cobble this together.
It`s not that they pay it up front. They might have to pay it in different
increments, but they do find the money.
MATTHEWS: Well, thanks so much.
Stephanie Gosk, great reporting in Flores, Guatemala. You have been
in difficult, scary neighborhoods. Take care of yourself.
Kevin Appleby, thanks so much for your expertise and your goodwill.
We will be right back. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. And time for the "Sideshow."
When former President Richard Nixon decided to record thousands of
hours of his White House conversations, he never thought that those tapes
would ever get beyond his personal control, that they would one day be part
of the public record.
Well, the recordings cover everything, as we know, capturing the good,
the bad and the ugly of our country`s 37th president. There he is there.
And now historians Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter has catalogued and
transcribed several of those recordings for a new book, "The Nixon Tapes,"
it`s called, out later this month.
Well, an advanced audio clip from their research was released today in
"Vanity Fair" magazine. It reveals Nixon`s views on homosexuality.
On the one hand, Nixon acknowledges that a person`s sexuality is
determined by birth, and not by choice. That`s certainly a break with the
right wing in many cases and their religious dogmas. But, on the other
hand, Nixon says homosexuality should not be encouraged nor embraced by
society. I`m not sure what that means. But let`s listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me say something
before we get off the gay thing, I don`t want my views misunderstood. I am
the most tolerant person on that of anybody in this shop. They have a
problem. They`re born that way. You know that. That`s all. I think they
My point is that Boy Scout leaders, YMCA leaders, and others bring
them in that direction, and teachers.
And if you look over the history of societies, you will find, of
course, that some of the highly intelligent people, Oscar Wilde, Aristotle,
et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, were all homosexuals.
I`m not going to have a situation where we pass along a law
indicating, well, now, kids, just go out and be gay. They can do it. Just
leave them alone.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You can`t get enough of that guy.
Anyway, up next, the cries of impeachment keep coming, speaking of
Nixon, and not just from the red hots on the right. You`re watching
HARDBALL, the place for politics.
PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. Here`s what`s
President Obama told Israel`s prime minister by phone today the U.S.
is willing to facilitate a cessation of hostilities. The president
reaffirms Israel`s right to defend itself after attacks from Hamas.
Police say the suspect in a Texas shooting that left two adults and
four kids dead was related to at least one of the victims. Ron Lee Haskell
was charged with capital murder this morning.
And Eileen Ford, founder of the iconic Ford modeling agency, has died
at the age of 92 -- and now we are going to take you back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The notion of impeaching President Obama has become happy talk on the
extreme right. And now there is video of Iowa Republican U.S. Senate -- or
U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst. Yes, she`s the castration candidate.
Well, she`s floating an Obama impeachment. This is Ernst in a
candidate forum this January when running for her party`s nomination. She
responded to a hypothetical question from the moderator in that case about
what should happen if the Supreme Court ruled President Obama had committed
an abuse of power, however that would work, due to his use of executive
orders. Well, here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONI ERNST (R), IOWA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: He is continually using
executive order. He is making appointments without authority. So, yes,
absolutely, he is overstepping his bounds.
And I do think that, yes, he should face those repercussions. Now,
whether that`s removal from office, whether that`s impeachment, but as a
U.S. senator, absolutely. As a U.S. senator, though, we have to push that
issue. We can`t be silent on things like that. And he has become a
He`s running amok. He`s not following our Constitution. And,
unfortunately, we have leaders who are not serving as leaders right now.
They are not stepping up. They are not defending the Constitution. And
they are not defending you and me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Proving in Republican primaries in certain parts of the
country, you can say absolutely anything and it sounds credible.
Quote -- just to remind of what she just said -- "He`s become a
dictator. He`s running amok." Yes, dictator.
Well, that video was obtained from a source who got it to The
Huffington Post recently. And perhaps realizing her language in that video
is not exactly typical of a U.S. senator, Ernst later walked it back in a
statement to The Huffington Post itself -- quote -- "I was asked a question
involving a hypothetical about what I thought should happen if the Supreme
Court ruled that the president had committed an abuse of power. To be
clear, I have not seen any evidence that the president should be impeached.
I obviously do not believe the president is a dictator."
She said he was a dictator.
"But his repeated use of unilateral action sure makes him look like
I don`t know what that adds up to.
Anyway, and Sarah Palin was out there pushing impeachment on her
Facebook page recently. Here she is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Enough is a enough of the
years of abuse from this president. His unsecured border crisis, for me,
is the last straw. It makes kind of the battered wife say, no mas, that`s
It`s time to impeach. And on behalf of the American workers and legal
immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politicians,
any candidate on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for
articles of impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I love the no mas part, such sympathy for the Spanish-
speaking people of the world.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, it`s not just Palin and Ernst. Republicans like
Arizona`s Jon Kyl and South Carolina`s Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of
South Carolina have also thrown out that word impeachment.
What does this kind of talk say to Democrats? That`s interesting.
Joan Walsh is editor at large of course of Salon and an MSNBC
political analyst. She`s laughing already, I see. And Clarence Page is a
columnist for "The Chicago Tribune."
I don`t know what it is. Is this the new standard of macho in the
Republican Party where you have to be, oh, I don`t want to just sue the
SOB, if I`m a Republican, I want to get rid of him?
MATTHEWS: What is this, especially the castrator who may well be
elected out there in Iowa? She`s running a strong race. Your thoughts.
JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Me. I`m sorry.
MATTHEWS: That`s you.
Well, Joni, Joni Ernst, she got ahead of her skis. She was saying
back in the Republican primary in January, Chris. And now the Republican
establishment, such as it is, has come together and is trying to say no mas
with this impeachment talk.
But the interesting thing, when they tried it -- John Boehner now in
"The Wall Street Journal," they try to reel it in. Right. But what
they`re doing is -- they are not saying there are no grounds to impeach
him. They are just saying it would be a political disaster.
And Boehner is pushing ahead with...
MATTHEWS: Ahead of the skis, I know that is the new phrase the
president prefers. Fine with me, these new phrases.
But it`s also, to use an old fart`s expression, let`s say this, the
cart before the horse? How about some reason to impeach?
MATTHEWS: How about some evidence, Clarence?
CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, "THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE": Yes.
MATTHEWS: These people don`t -- feel free -- no reason to come up
with any evidence.
PAGE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: They just say -- in fact, Joni Ernst, I don`t know her very
well. I have heard the castration line.
MATTHEWS: But she says, oh, I can`t think of any reason to impeach
But she just said he`s a dictator.
PAGE: Neither can Sarah Palin. She didn`t give any reason in
PAGE: She named some issues, some policy disagreements. She sounds
like Boehner and the rest. Well, they don`t like his policies, so let`s
This has become the default position.
MATTHEWS: Is it -- I always wonder whether it`s just because he got
elected. That`s why we impeach -- that`s the impeachable offense, was
WALSH: Twice. Twice.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, "The Wall Street Journal" you mentioned, an
editorial just today referred to what they call the impeachment delusion.
Now, if you get to the right of "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page,
you are in trouble.
Anyway, "The Wall Street Journal editors wrote, quote, "Impeachment is
also inherently a political process that at the current moment would
backfire on Republicans. Impeachment fails to address any of the problems
that Republicans are upset about. Republicans aiming to rebuild a
governing majority should be making a systemic case about the failures of
Democratic governance that includes slow growth -- well, that`s impeachable
-- and stagnant incomes -- that`s impeachable -- fewer health care choices
and higher costs, growing world disorder -- you don`t get to impeach a guy
for that -- and more. Trying to impeach Mr. Obama now is firing at the
wrong target, at the wrong time, with the wrong ammo."
Joan, I don`t know why they used ballistic metaphors. I`m against
them, but it`s always firing at somebody with something and ammo.
MATTHEWS: And I guess that`s how they think. It`s the currency of
WALSH: And Sarah Palin talking about being a battered woman, that was
really kind of offensive, too.
No, you know, I think that it`s all a political calculation. That`s
what`s kind of disturbing about it, even though I applaud their common
sense. I`m glad they`re not going to do it. It would be terrible for the
What`s happened is, they are looking at the polls. They`ve got a
chance -- not a slam dunk to take the Senate. And they are saying, we
don`t want to jeopardize this with an impeachment battle that would be
hugely unpopular with the American people, and would also galvanize the
Democratic base, you know, on some level. You kind of say, you know, do
that and you`re going to have Obama voters surging to the polls in 2014.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think you -- you leapt into the truth there by
saying the reason they`re not -- they are worried about using words like
impeachment right now is they think they are in good shape politically.
They freeze the ball, and they don`t want to be called whackos just as they
are about to, as you say perhaps, cake walk into the Senate.
Anyway, late today, House Speaker John Boehner unveiled a draft
resolution of his on his lawsuit. He`s suing the president. And it`s all
about Obamacare -- big surprise. The suit focuses on President Obama`s
executive actions relating to the employer mandate of the Affordable Care
Act, when he waived the mandate and penalties for failing to comply with
On Tuesday on FOX News, Sarah Palin blasted Speaker Boehner,
suggesting his little lawsuit against the president was weak stuff to begin
with. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Americans, Congress, those
who are concerned about protecting our Constitution and using the one tool
congress does have to halt what is going on, this lawlessness coming from
the top -- the one tool they have are articles of impeachment, let`s get
going on that. And it`s not necessarily, Sean, a lawsuit being filed by
Congress because you don`t bring a lawsuit to a gunfight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You don`t bring a lawsuit -- again, a ballistic reference.
Why all the references to guns all the time?
Anyway, yesterday, MSNBC`s Luke Russert asked about Palin`s comments.
I know Luke wanted to get something going here and he did. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUKE RUSSERT, MSNBC: Speaker Boehner, former V.P. candidate Sarah
Palin called your movement to bring a lawsuit up against president,
"bringing a lawsuit to a gunfight" -- that actually President Obama should
be impeached. What`s your response to Governor Palin?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I disagree.
RUSSERT: What about the folks in your conference who privately talked
BOEHNER: I disagree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That face. It`s just so unbelievable. It`s so sad.
I like the guy. I just do like him. He seems like, why do I have
this job sometimes?
PAGE: Me, too. I grew up in his district, you know?
No, he -- that`s the face of a basketball coach watching the head
cheerleader trying to direct the game because here he is, speaker of the
House, here`s Sarah Palin, no elected office, but she has this tremendous
platform of hers. She speaks directly to the right wing of the party which
is the base of the party. He can`t disrespect her, at the same time, he`s
saying, what are you doing? You`re killing us out there?
MATTHEWS: You know what? He got elected speaker of the House, Joan.
Let`s get the reference points back to how our government works. He
was elected to Congress many times. He was elected speaker of the House by
peers many times.
MATTHEWS: And this person who walked away from being governor of the
state after half of the time because she`s bored with it, or she`s under
investigation. And she gets on her Facebook page. Her Facebook web page,
whatever the hell you call it. She has equal status, as Luke Russert
pointed out in the national debate.
Isn`t that are where we are now?
WALSH: Yes, he --
MATTHEWS: You don`t need to be elected to Jack. You can just say
ridiculous things and you`re somehow the viceroy of what`s macho. Your
WALSH: It makes him very sad. Poor John Boehner.
But I also have to say, he`s playing with fire with this lawsuit, too.
He`s trying to harness, you know, the anger and hatred of his base with a
lawsuit instead of impeachment. But it`s kind of impeachment light. He
may not have standing.
So, there is nothing cynical about what he`s doing, too, Chris. I
don`t have that much sympathy for him.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Joan Walsh and Clarence Page.
And we`ll be right back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You hear some of them
"Sue him," "Impeach him".
CROWD MEMBER: Yes!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: Really? For what?
You`re going to sue me to do -- for doing my job? OK.
I mean, think about that. You`re going to use taxpayer money to sue
me for doing my job, while you don`t do your job.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Up next, the Emmy nominations are out and once again
politics, believe it or not, is the winner.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We are back.
Well, the Emmy nominations for the best shows on television are out
now. And once again, Washington, D.C. is playing a leading role.
Among the nominations are a slew of political shows. "House of
Cards", "Veep", "Homeland", "Scandal", "The Good Wife", "The Americans",
and "The Newsroom" all scored big nominations.
But Americans have little faith in government right now, let`s face
it. Only 7 percent of registered people have confidence in Congress,
according to a recent Gallup Poll. Seven percent, that`s it.
Despite the antipathy toward politics and Washington, we can`t seem to
get enough of our Frank Underwoods and Alicia Florricks.
James Lipton is host of Bravo`s "Inside the Actor Studio", which I
love, and Ted Johnson is senior editor with "Variety," which I would read
if I were in the business.
But, let me start with you, Ted. I tell you, I have people -- a
senator, friend of mine, was out campaigning and he told me after we had
dinner the other night that the people ask him out in the road, is "House
of Cards" real? I mean, you realized (ph) what they`re saying? Is it real
that members of Congress throw people before metro trains and kill
reporters they don`t like, and Spacey`s character, or do they put people in
cars and turn on the exhaust pipe in their back seat to kill them? And
people say, is that real?
Do people confuse that with the horrendous, well, the bad behavior of
TED JOHNSON, SR. EDITOR, VARIETY: I don`t think most people do. I
think the fans of these shows, and there`s a lot of fans in Washington, I
think they look at these shows and think, this is kind of an escapism. A
lot of people don`t quite understand why there`s this gridlock in
Washington, why things aren`t getting done. And they`re looking for
And one of the things is just to say, well, you know what, so be it.
I`m going to just escape in this program and --
MATTHEWSD: Yes, but this guy gets things done. That`s what I think.
I have a differential view.
I think they like this guy, Frank Underwood, because he does get
things done by killing people, but he really does get them done. He gets
rid of reporters.
James, he gets rid of reporters -- I`m sure a lot of politicians would
like to kill me occasionally and people that don`t like what I say. But,
you know, you can`t get away with it, whereas Frank Underwood gets away
with it. Is that what people like?
JAMES LIPTON, HOST, "INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO": You`re asking me?
MATTHEWS: Yes, sir.
LIPTON: I don`t think people like it so much as -- look, I think we
live in a very particular and interesting time. Pope Francis has defined
it very well for us. We`re in a period of, I think, Ayn Rand`s social
Darwinism, the survival of the fittest, the devil take the hindmost.
In 1906, William Wordsworth wrote, the world is too much with us late
and soon. Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.
I don`t think anybody could define our time better than that.
However, I don`t think it`s escapism. I think people are running toward
something. They`re really troubled and I think television is offering them
what they hope are some answers.
Escapism was what people went to in the depression, in the Great
Depression, in the 1930s, when Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire danced us
through the 1930s. When Frank Capra gave us "Mr. Smith goes to
Washington." "It Happened One Night.", "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", and the
aptly named, "Wonderful Life."
The -- that I think was escapism. People went to picture palaces.
That`s when people couldn`t face what was going on. And so --
MATTHEWS: Well, what draws them to the --
LIPTON: -- movie is often an alternative. But now, they`re giving
them something that they -- that has at least the veneer of reality.
MATTHEWS: Well, back to you, Ted. And, James, listen to this.
"Homeland," "Scandal", "House of Cards", "The Good Wife", "The Americans",
which is about communist agents in this country who are Americans or
playing them, "Newsroom", a pretty high-minded show about journalism.
And my question is, what is drawing people to what`s now called D.C.
noir, like film noir, downbeat, and even the music that shows like "House
of Cards" are so down, Ted.
JOHNSON: Well, I will -- I will actually kind of counter what James
said and that is that Hollywood continuously produced legal dramas. They
produced police procedurals. I think -- medical dramas.
MATTHEWS: Yes, true.
JOHNSON: I think these political shows kind of broke out of that for
a number of reasons. One is that there are so more options now. There`s
cable, there`s Netflix. And I think that these shows, I think these ideas
were around for a long time. It just used to be that programmers would
say, we don`t want to touch politics. We don`t want to get involved in
Finally, it took some people taking some chances, and as you
mentioned, D.C. noir, it started this whole new genre of story telling, and
I think that it`s very compelling story telling. As we saw within the
group of Emmy nominations.
MATTHEWS: I agree. I watch these stuff.
James Lipton, sir, I`ve always loved you. You`re good to come on the
Ted Johnson, great (INAUDIBLE).
Of course, I`m rooting for "Newsroom." My son is on it. He plays
Martin Stallworth, one of the young producers. He must win.
And when we return, let me finish with looming battle for control of
the United States Senate -- our big story coming this fall.
And this is HARDBALL -- the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this huge battle coming this
fall for control of the United States Senate.
The stakes are stunning. If the president loses the Senate, he will
have both houses of Congress working to stop him. To render the last two
years of his term into a graveyard for everything Barack Obama and a lot of
Democrats believe it -- creating jobs, reforming immigration, rebuilding
the country economically, protecting women`s and minority rights.
Well, the Republicans need a six-seat pickup to win the Senate and
right now, they have a strong chance to pick up seats in Montana, South
Dakota, and West Virginia.
Then come the 10 nail-biters, all could be extremely close, each could
go either way.
So, here we go, from across the country -- Alaska, Colorado, Iowa,
Michigan. From north to south, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Kentucky,
Arkansas, Georgia, and Louisiana. Will there be a sweep where the
Republicans win seat after seat, in state after state, and a national
rejection of President Obama?
Or will there be, as there often are, candidates who hold their stand,
even in the worst of winds because voters have come to trust not just them,
but their families? I`m thinking of Begich up in Alaska, Pryor in
Arkansas, Landrieu in Louisiana, second-generation Democrats with deep
roots in their states.
Again, it`s not just the races but the stakes. If we wake up the
Wednesday after the first Monday in November and see the Democrats have
lost the Senate, expect an all-out final assault on President Obama.
Everything he`s done, everything he hopes even now to do, and worst, expect
government dysfunction like we`ve never seen it.
And I can tell you this -- we`re going to be out there covering this
battle for the Senate with special fury starting this fall. Week after
week, in state after state, we`re going to let you know exactly where the
race is headed. You know it matters.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. Thanks for being with
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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