'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
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THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
November 19, 2014
Guest: Ben Ray Lujan, Cristina Jimenez
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
Do you remember a guy named Randy Scheunemann? Randy Scheunemann, he
was the top policy adviser to the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008. That`s
him, the guy with the beard there.
He doesn`t have that memorable a face -- I don`t mean that in a bad
way. I just mean, he doesn`t -- you don`t see him and instantly know who
he is. He also has a names that is kind of hard to pronounce, definitely
hard to spell.
Honestly, Randy Scheunemann has never been a super famous guy in
politics. He did really pop in the news one time that you might remember
because it was a scandal in that presidential campaign. When John McCain
was running for president, you might remember that Russia started a war
with the nation of Georgia. You might further remember that John McCain,
as a candidate for president, came out when that war started and said, "We
are all Georgians now."
John McCain was pledging, basically, that if he were president, the
United States would act as if we were Georgia. We, America, would go to
war with Russia on behalf of this other country.
And at the time that John McCain presidential candidate was pledging a
war with Russia because we are all Georgians now, at the time that he was
doing that, the lobbying firm of his top foreign policy adviser Randy
Scheunemann had just been hired and put on the payroll by the nation of
Georgia. That`s the one time you might remember Randy Scheunemann. The
guy whose lobbying fee is very easily -- might have gotten the United
States military into a shooting war with Russia.
But McCain did not win the presidency and Randy Scheunemann went back
to a standard Washington foreign policy guy. And you don`t hear much about
him anymore. You haven`t heard much about him since then -- until this
Until this week, a really, really weird story about Randy Scheunemann
was broken by "The Daily Beast". It turns out, Randy Scheunemann belongs
to a private skiing club in Montana. I did not know there was such a thing
as a private skiing club. I thought like, you know, you buy a lift ticket,
then you go ski on a mountain with other people who are skiing on the
mountain and that`s skiing.
I -- apparently, there are places you can do it privately without the
riffraff and Randy Scheunemann apparently belongs to one of those. And on
the ski left, at his private skiing lift, "The Daily Beast" and a number of
other outlets now report that Randy Scheunemann got into a fight. He got
into a fight on the ski lift with a white supremacist, specifically with
this guy, who is sort of America`s foremost white supremacist.
This is a guy named Richard Spencer. He was recently forcibly
deported from Budapest when he tried to organize and international white
supremacist conference and the nation of Hungary caught him trying to sneak
into their country even though they had banned him. He calls for the
creation of a white homeland. He runs an organization called the National
Policy Institute, to try to advance the goal of a white homeland. His
group is based in Whitefish, Montana.
He`s also founded a few online white supremacist magazines and Web
sites, including this one which is called Alternative Right.
And apparently making a career as a white supremacist leader these
days is a pretty remunerative thing. At least the dude is making enough
money to belong to the same private ski club that Randy Scheunemann does in
Montana. Who even knew there were private ski clubs? Anyway, there are.
And apparently, the two of them got on a fight on the ski lift.
Insults were exchanged, punches were threatened. And the reason it
all broke in the news this week is that private ski club in Montana, it`s
called the Big Mountain Club, they apparently in this fight between two of
their members felt they had to decide between them, which of these two guys
was going to be allowed to stay as a member of their private ski club.
Randy Scheunemann, Washington policy adviser guy, adviser to John McCain,
or the Aryan Nation white supremacist guy who is trying to build a homeland
for the endangered white race from his home base in Montana.
The Big Mountain Club in Whitefish, Montana, decided they`d go with
the white supremacist. They kicked Randy Scheunemann out and kept the Ku
Klux other guy, yes!
And so, now, in the wake of that, you have Whitefish, Montana, City
Council meetings that have suddenly gotten very crowded. They look like
this, totally packed with local residents who apparently realize they have
the leader of a white nationalist movement living in their town getting in
fights on their ski lifts.
Local anti-racist effort has sprung up in Whitefish. They`re trying
to figure out some way to force this guy out or maybe pass an anti-
discrimination ordinance that would annoy the guy enough that he might
leave on his own. There`s big to do in Montana.
But what happened in that ski lift fight between the Washington
establishment guy and the kook out there white wing fringe guy -- I mean,
despite the fact that amazingly the kook right wing fringe guy appears to
have won, what is amazing about that story being in the news right now is
that that ski lift fight is basically a tiny snowy pageant version, like
the winter passion play version of what`s happening in Washington right now
between the mainstream establishment Randy Scheunemann types and the fringy
guys who keep beating them in fights.
The white supremacist guy who got in the fight with Randy Scheunemann
is basically organizing for an international race war, or at least telling
people to prepare for the international race war that he certainly thinks
is coming, and he definitely hopes is coming. He wants to build a white
If you look at the online racist forums and magazines that he started,
some of it tries to appear sort of academic, sort of pundit-y, right? This
new variety of white supremacy tries to play at trying to appear like they
are mainstream. Sometimes, though, the real thing just slips through.
This is one of the blog posts at Alternative Right, this thing that
Richard Spencer founded. This is a post they put up on Holocaust
Remembrance Day last year. As you can see they`ve titled it Holocaust
And then under a picture of a stack of corpses, people killed in the
Holocaust, the post says sarcastically, "I cannot believe it has crept up
on me again. Today, I discovered it`s Holocaust Memorial Day and I`m fresh
out of onions." The implication is how am I going to force myself to
pretend to cry over the Holocaust which may or may not have happened? Yes.
This is Alternative Right. This is the guy who fought with Randy
Scheunemann on the ski lift in Montana and who the town of Whitefish,
Montana, is now freaking out about him running his white supremacist
business out of their town.
Another person who has written at Richard Spencer`s Alternative Right
is this guy. His name is Jason Richwine. You see the post is called model
minority? This is Jason Richwine`s posts at Alternative Right.
This one happens to be about how Hispanics are inherently disposed to
criminal behavior. He argues in this post that you can statistically
control for all other factors and you still end up with this racial innate
truth that Hispanics are just more criminally minded than white people are.
This is Jason Richwine. He also does this pseudo academic white
supremacist stuff in other places. He wrote a doctoral dissertation called
"IQ and Immigration Policy", at Harvard in which he tried to make the
academic case that non-white people are just genetically inferior when it
comes to intelligence. And therefore, he argued, immigration policy should
basically be managed to keep America as white as possible if we know what`s
good for us.
Quote, "The average IQ of immigrants in the United States is
substantially lower than that of the white native population. And the
difference is likely to persist over several generations." Quote, "No one
knows whether Hispanics will reach IQ parity with whites, but the
prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low IQ children and
grandchildren is difficult to argue against."
Then, he goes on to Richard Spencer`s Alternative Right and explains
how Hispanics are inherently criminal, then in his career somehow he
crosses over into supposedly respectable right wing thing tank land and he
continues making the same case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON RICHWINE, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Race is different in
all sorts of ways. Probably the most important way is in IQ. Decades of
psychometric testing has indicated that at least in America, you have Jews
with the highest average IQ usually followed by East Asian, and then you
have non-Jewish whites, Hispanics and then black Americans. These are real
differences. They`re not going to go away tomorrow. And for that reason,
we have to address them in our immigration discussions and our debates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You can just rank the races by intelligence. Black people
and Hispanic people are just inherently stupid -- inherently stupider than
white people, at least. This is just the facts. These are real
Generation to generation to generation, it`s never going to go away.
It`s racially inherent. So, you ought to think about that when devising
your immigration policy. Think about race because you want to make sure
that you don`t have -- it`s disgusting, right?
In the 2012 election, Republicans did poorly. President Obama got re-
elected, Democrats picked up seats in the House and Senate.
One of the Republican senators who was not up for re-election that
year in 2012 but who was still seemed to be a very safe seat and a probably
former leader in his party, was Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina.
Right after the 2012 election, Jim DeMint of South Carolina surprised
everyone by quitting the United States Senate. He quit right in the middle
of his second term because he said, instead he had wanted to go run the
Heritage Foundation. Screw this Senate thing. I want real power.
You might remember after the 2012 losses for the Republican Party,
they did an autopsy report where they decided that the party should reach
out to more minorities and even though the people who wrote the autopsy
report were not supposed to consider any specific policy measures, they
said they couldn`t resist, they unanimously recommended that the Republican
Party endorse and champion immigration reform.
Jim DeMint said to heck with that, he quit the party and went to run
the Heritage Foundation, which he then turned into the main conservative
institution fighting against that, fighting against immigration reform and
specifically taking on the mission of making sure that no elected
Republicans would actually support immigration reform. He would not only
draw the line, he would hold the line.
And to start that process once he was in his new job, Jim DeMint hired
good Old Jason Richwine as a senior policy analyst at the Heritage
Foundation, and got Jason Richwine to be one of the two authors on this
Heritage Foundation report on why it would be a terrible thing, a fiscally
disastrous thing for America to reform immigration law. Jason Richwine,
the guy who posted the white supremacist Web sites, who says you can rank
groups according to their IQ. Black and brown are inherently criminal and
they`re at the bottom racially speaking when it comes to intelligence.
Jim DeMint had him look at what immigration reform would mean for our
country. And it turns out, when Jason Richwine looks at something like
that, he thinks it`s a bad idea. Jason Richwine decided that immigration
reform would be very expensive for our nation.
He crunched the numbers and decided that it would cost the American
taxpayers $6.3 trillion. Trillion. Trill -- 6 point -- it would be the
cost of going to the moon and back a thousand times. That`s what his
calculating machine says when he was asked to calculate the cost. That
said, his calculating machine was built in a beer hall in Bavaria in 1923,
so maybe it doesn`t count that well anymore.
Thanks to reporting first at "The Washington Post," then some other
places, it pretty quickly came out that Jason Richwine, this guy who the
Heritage Foundation had hired to write this report, had a long history of
white supremacist writings.
And when that all came out, Heritage did not fire him. They allowed
him to quietly resign.
It was an interesting thing sort of in terms of the history of all
this. I`m not sure it seemed all that important at the time but now, it
seems important. They never rescinded the Jason Richwine report. This is
still the Heritage Foundation`s official analysis of immigration reform in
America and what it would cost based on Jason Richwine`s eugenicist
methodology. And, of course, it suggests that the reason it would be so
costly is immigration reform is because immigrants are a terribly costly
thing to our nation because they`re inherently racially interior to white
people and they`d never contribute economically to this country because
they`re essentially, you know, sort of subhuman, at least sub-white.
They`ll always be economic parasites because, you know, brown.
That is the Heritage Foundation position on immigration reform. They
never rescinded that report. They never fired the guy either. He did
And the Heritage Foundation is implacably opposed to any immigration
reform because of what they think of immigrants. And the Heritage
Foundation has won the argument with the Republican Party on this. You
remember after 2012, the Republican Party was going to embrace officially,
was going to embrace and champion immigration reform.
There are now only two years later no Republicans in positions of
power in national politics who are in favor of immigration reform. Jim
DeMint has won on that.
And now, that President Obama has today announced that he will move
forward on his own to reform as much of the immigration form as he can
without Congress, now that President Obama has today announced that
tomorrow night, in a primetime address, he will announce and describe and
make the case for those policy changes, now, Jim DeMint and his group no
longer have to fight to try to hold Republicans in line in terms of being
against immigration reform. They`ve already done that. They`ve already
won that fight with the Republican.
Now what they have to do is lead Republican strategy for how to fight
President Obama who is going to do this. And what they decided they want
is a government shutdown. No blank check for amnesty.
A lame duck Congress has to pass legislation by three weeks from today
in order to keep the government open, keep the government funded.
Jim DeMint and Heritage say the government should not be funded unless
the president is also blocked from taking executive action. And they know
what they`re doing here in terms of this as a tactic. The last time we got
a government shutdown was this time last year. It was because of Jim
DeMint and the Heritage Foundation. It`s because they -- they really made
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Heritage Action to defund Obamacare town hall
is in full swing. So far, it`s getting massive turnouts everywhere it pops
up. The guy behind all this and the nationwide tour, the president of the
Heritage Foundation, the former senator, Jim DeMint.
JIM DEMINT, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: So, Heritage Action, we`re going to
be doing dozens of town halls around the country. And I`m convinced, the
more Americans know about Obamacare, the more they`re going to stand with
those of us who want to stop it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Who want to stop it magically by shutting down the
You might remember this from the last shutdown. The Heritage
Foundation even did stuff like basically movie trailers to try to build a
national movement to support the shutdown effort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEMINT: But if Obama would not accept a funding bill for the
government that fully funds the government because it didn`t have his
failed law in it, then he would be shutting down the government. And
that`s a case we`re going to take to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The fight against Obamacare. It`s not over.
You might remember during the 16-day shutdown, the last one we had,
remember, they would hold these votes, these periodic votes about whether
or they should reopen the government. Heritage Foundation was whipping
those votes. Look, key vote, telling Republicans they`d be rated on their
Heritage Foundation scorecard as to whether or not they defied Jim DeMint
and the Heritage Foundation and voted to reopen the government.
Heritage Foundation was giving the Republicans orders -- vote no when
you have a chance to reopen the government. And they kept the government
shut for 15 days.
Most of the time, the Republicans did just vote no, sometimes instead,
they would out of fear cancel the vote. Look at this. Quote, "FOX News is
told that a decision by Heritage Action to come out against the emerging
bill drove some Republicans to oppose the plan and help therefore helped
sideline the proposal." Heritage said we shouldn`t do it so we stopped
trying to do it.
We got a 16-day government shutdown last year because Jim DeMint and
Heritage said they wanted it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R), GEORGIA: Quite frankly, Heritage Action came
out against any compromise and the Republicans could not come together.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Heritage Foundation and Jim DeMint are the people who
organized the last government shutdown. And Republican leadership said
they didn`t want a shutdown then either. Right?
Back a year ago the Republican leadership was like, we don`t want a
shutdown. Of course we`re not going to shut down the government. This is
the last thing they want.
Same way they`re saying now, they don`t want another shutdown. But
you know what? Last time around, these kooky guys on the ski lift made
them do it. Won the fight. Got to metaphorically stay in the private ski
club, the kooky guys did, not the establishment guys did.
And now, the Heritage Action folks, the Jim DeMint side of the fight,
they are trying to make Republicans do it again. Even as Republicans say
they don`t want to, they`re trying to force them to.
This is Heritage now telling Republicans that they should fight
immigration reform the same way they fought Obamacare this time last year.
Shut down the government. No blank check for amnesty. Don`t fund the
government. Shut it down over President Obama`s immigration actions.
Republican leadership, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, almost all the
rest of the leadership, is out explicitly saying, we don`t want a shutdown
-- just like they said this time last year. They had Hal Rogers, who`s the
chair of the appropriations committee in the House, come forward and say,
he thinks he has a plan. He`s come up with a way to defund just the parts
of the government that specifically relate to what President Obama about to
announce on immigration. You could keep just defund those small parts of
the government but keep the rest of the government open and running.
Today, the Heritage Foundation laid down the marker on that and said,
oh, no, Republicans, that`s not good enough. Nothing short of a full
shutdown is good enough. They said this rescission policy that Hal Rogers
has come up with, that, too, would be a blank check for amnesty.
So, this time last year, the Republican establishment fought the crazy
shutdown people and the crazy shutdown people won and we got a government
shutdown. That was over Obamacare.
Now, the fight is over immigration reform, but it is still the fight
between the same Republican leadership and the same crazy shutdown people.
And the crazy shutdown people this time on this issue are really crazy, I
mean, to the point of publishing reports about immigration reform that come
with their own pointy little white hat that has eye holes in it.
Jim DeMint and the shutdown chorus on the substance of this, on the
policy on immigration, they are really, really, really out there, on the
get deported from Budapest eugenicist fringe.
That alone should make them less powerful on this issue. And the
Republican establishment is supposed to have more leverage now against this
kinds of guys, since they have increased the size of their majorities in
both the House and increase their numbers in the Senate, enough to take
But you know what? Every time recently when we have seen the kook
fringe and the establishment fight each other on the right, every time
we`ve seen Randy Scheunemann and the white supremacist guy fighting on the
ski lift, it has been the kook guy who has won the fight.
Is the Republican establishment now stronger, so they`ll be able to
stand up to these guys this time? Are we going to have a government
shutdown from the Republicans in reaction to what Obama is going to
announce tomorrow night, two weeks since the election, three weeks until a
shutdown? Ultimately, who is going to call the shots here? Who is running
Watch this space.
MADDOW: One the even of his big announcement about immigration reform
tomorrow night, President Obama tonight invited 18 Democrats from Congress
to come to the White House for dinner and for a conversation about that
plan that he`s about to unveil.
Among the lawmakers there tonight was Congressman Ben Ray Lujan of New
Mexico. Congressman Lujan has just been named the new chair of the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, DCCC, which means it will be
his job over the next two years to oversee the effort by Democrats to win
back control of the House.
Congressman Lujan joins us live from the White House, having stepped
out from this meeting.
Congressman, thanks for braving the cold for us. I appreciate you
REP. BEN RAY LUHAN (D), NEW MEXICO: Rachel, it`s a pleasure to be
with you here. It`s not too cold out.
MADDOW: Oh, good. Actually, I was going to say, you don`t look --
you`re not chattering your teeth yet, so I don`t feel guilty yet.
So, what can you tell us? What can you -- what beans can you spill
about what you`ve learned about the president`s announcement for tomorrow?
LUJAN: What we learned tonight is an important briefing about the
actions that the president will be taking with comprehensive immigration
reform -- you know, actions that were taken by presidents since Eisenhower,
presidents like Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush who took action to keep
families together. At the time, George H.W. Bush took action, it kept 40
percent of those who were undocumented together.
And what the president laid out was a very clear plan. It`s going to
be bold, but it`s going to be tough. It`s accountability, paying taxes,
background checks, getting line. You know, contrary to what Republicans
are saying, I think Marco Rubio said it best when he said that the
environment that we have today is de facto amnesty.
What the president is doing is not amnesty. It`s accountability.
MADDOW: In terms of what the White House and what you guys are
expecting from the Republicans, does the White House and do you guys in
Congress on the Democratic side have any expectation of what Republicans
are going to try to do to stop this and what the sort of counterstrategy is
going to be from the Democratic side?
LUJAN: Well, this is the first step. And the president`s taken an
important step, but it`s the first step. I hope that House Republicans use
the rest of this year to move comprehensive immigration reform because it`s
House Republicans that have been stalling this bill for 510 days.
Republicans have a chance to act. But sadly, we`re hearing more and more
talk from Republicans about a government shutdown.
And I`m certainly hopeful they`re listening to the American people
because the American people do not want the government shut down.
MADDOW: You have an important new job in Democratic politics. You`re
going to be in charge of maximizing the number of House seats for Democrats
in the next election. Thinking with that sort of electoral hat on, I have
to ask you, if you think that it would have been a better political move
for the White House to do this before this last election, anybody who might
have been protected by the president not acting in a pro-immigrant way, it
seems like they lost anyway.
Should this have happened earlier? Could it have been politically
helpful for Democrats?
LUJAN: Well, you know, House Republicans would constantly say the
president should or should not act. And they turned this into a political
This is about keeping families together. I`m certainly hopeful that
we can talk about that more going forward as opposed to what the political
and the politics that Republicans were throwing at us on this.
Look, Rachel, it`s important that the president take this action but
even more important that House Republicans move forward and get something
passed. We have a few days left and we need to get it passed. But in the
end, I think the American people are going to watch closely and they`re
going to see who is for them and who is against them.
MADDOW: Congressman Ben Lujan of New Mexico, thanks very much for
talking with us about this. And congratulations on your new gig, sir.
LUJAN: Thank you, Rachel. Look forward to talking to you again.
MADDOW: Indeed, thanks.
All right. Much more to come on this busy news night, including a
best new thing in the world that people that work on this show have been
begging for, for three years now. Three years they`ve been asking for
this. They`re finally getting it. It`s a good one.
Please stay with us tonight.
MADDOW: This morning, the incoming class of House freshmen held their
office space lottery. New members all lined up, they drew a number to
assign first dibs on office space in the new Congress come January when
they`ll all be sworn in. The lower the number, the better your pick of
Now, there is a superstition apparently about this lottery. The
superstition is that incoming members of Congress in the past who performed
some kind of stunt before drawing their lottery number, thereby increased
their luck. So, that`s the superstition. That`s the back story.
This morning congresswoman to be Gwen Graham`s name was called, then
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ready?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Graham has drawn number six.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Brand-new Florida Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Graham`s
staffer busts a full-on back flip, the stunt, and then she pulls a six,
which is a really good number. So, she`ll get a really great office. And
presumably, she`ll get bonus points of some kind for the staffer doing the
back flip wearing slacks and dress shoes.
But I have to tell you, as awesome as that is, that is not the best
new thing in the world today. We have something that nosed that out for
best new thing. I swear, it`s even better.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am a DREAMer and I live in fear that my mother
will be deported. President Obama, will you include her in your
administration relief? Will you include my mother?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hold on. Hold on.
Hold on. Hold on.
You`re a DREAMer, and I gave you relief administratively and we`re
going the work on the next one. The Republicans are blocking immigration
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was taken two days before Election Day. It was shot by a
group called United We Dream.
United We Dream is one of the more active voices on the immigration
reform movement. And by active, I mean directly active.
For months, direct action immigration activists have been pushing hard
for reform even after Republicans in the House dropped the ball on
immigration reform as legislation earlier this year, even though President
Obama has been their ally on the substantive need for immigration reform
and House Republicans were the ones that blocked it, United We Dream and
other activist groups made a decision to keep their pressure focused on
Congressional Republicans never did act, but tomorrow night, the
president will make his official announcement of his plan to reform the
immigration system by executive action.
So, how does that feel to the folks who have been pushing President
Obama on this for months and months and months now? He`s been saying he
agrees but they`ve been pushing and pushing and pushing. Now, that it`s
actually going to happen, how`s that feel to them?
Joining us now is Cristina Jimenez. She`s an immigration reform
advocate. She`s co-founder of United We Dream.
Ms. Jimenez, thanks very much for being here.
CRISTINA JIMENEZ, UNITED WE DREAM: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: I feel like saying congratulations on what`s about to happen,
but I guess I should ask if you feel vindicated, if you feel like what the
president`s about to do is in part a reaction to the pressure you guys put
JIMENEZ: Definitely. I think for us, Rachel, this is the result of
months and years of organizing, of advocating, of the courage of people who
are undocumented, directly affected by immigration laws who have come out,
shared their stories, like myself, like my parents and many who have
organized across the country.
Really, the announcement that is planned for tomorrow is the result of
all of that work for many years, not only of young people but all of our
communities. So, it is a victory to see that all of our effort has led the
president to take this decision. Certainly, not everything we had hoped
for and we have advocated for but it`s something we`re proud of to see how
undocumented communities have pushed for this happen.
MADDOW: In terms of that decision, obviously, it`s a statement in
itself to have people who are legally vulnerable because they`re
undocumented, because they have undocumented family members, to see people
put themselves in a position of both naming themselves, coming out, putting
themselves in a position where they could be arrested, that is a brave
thing to do and it`s a statement in itself.
There`s also the strategic decision to go not just be on that comfort
level, but to also really target President Obama who all the while said he
agreed with you.
How -- how did you arrive at that decision and why did you know that
would pay off? Why not spend all of this time -- I know you protested
people like John Boehner, too. But why not put all your pressure on the
JIMENEZ: Rachel, you know, actions are louder than words. And we
have realized that this discussion and this debate about immigration has
been a political football for both parties. And it`s not until today that
we actually see some actual action behind the words.
And so, you know, we had been advocating for legislation to happen.
Ultimately, we know that it is going to be a permanent legislation that
allows our communities and people like me to become citizens, one day
because we`re eager to be part of the fabric of society.
We`re already part of it. We want to contribute. And that`s been the
goal. But it was very clear from Republicans that they were just not on
JIMENEZ: They blocked immigration reform. The Senate passed a
bipartisan bill last year, and, you know, Speaker Boehner and the rest of
the GOP in the House did not move the bill.
So, for us, when we look at our work in 2013, we said we don`t see
Republicans moving. We have to strategically visit shift our efforts and
get the president to do what he has legal authority for.
MADDOW: That`s interesting.
So, you saw the Republicans as a brick wall that really wasn`t -- at
least after the Senate, after the House Republicans decided they weren`t
going to move, they were a brick wall that wasn`t worth pushing your heads
on. Instead, push for where you might get a response.
JIMENEZ: Because we are having -- over 1,000 deportations happening
every day. Under President Obama, more than 2 million people have been
deported. That was the pain, that was the urgency of our community.
We could not wait to be a political football between the two parties.
So, we decided to focus on the president. And we`ve now gotten him to the
point that he`s going to make an announcement that will benefit families.
And, you know, Rachel, it would be a bittersweet moment for us,
because there`s going to be many DREAMers, immigrant youth across the
country, and families that will now benefit from the program.
MADDOW: Oh, it will certainly be a limited action. I mean, by
necessity in some parts and also by choice. I mean, there will only be a
solution when Congress can pass something.
And if Congress does pass something, literally legislation that passes
through both houses and gets to a president`s desk to sign, I have a real
feeling the reason that will happen is because of you guys. You guys are
one of the most effective direct action groups I`ve ever seen in my
So, congratulations on your work. I know you really wanted this.
JIMENEZ: Thank you so much, Rachel, and the work keeps going.
MADDOW: Yes, Cristina Jimenez is co-founder of United We Dream.
We`ll be right back.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, the new NBC poll, the new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll
that came out. If this poll were a medical test, the resulting diagnosis
would be schizophrenia. I mean, no offense to schizophrenia.
Look at this. Do you favor the basic idea of reforming the
immigration system? Do you favor a pathway to citizenship for undocumented
immigrants? The answer, yes, 57 percent of the country favors that.
OK. How about if we achieve that goal the way President Obama says he
wants to? Do you favor a pathway for undocumented immigrants that also
requires them to pay a fine and any back taxes and to pass a background
check, like the president want? Do you want that?
The answer: yes, with an exclamation point -- 74 percent yes. We love
that idea. As a nation, we love what the president wants to do to reform
immigration policy. Great. That seems very simple.
Now that the president is going to act on immigration policy, let`s
ask about that. Do you favor what the president is about to do? No.
No. We love this policy. We hate this policy. How dare this
president does what we want?
Here`s my other favorite. They asked people what the newly elected
Congress should do in Washington. What do you want them to do?
And this is the list of ranked policies -- policies ranked in terms of
what people want the new Congress to do. Look at the top five. The top
five most popular policies the American people want this Congress to pursue
are: number one, lowering the cost of student loans, also increase spending
on infrastructure, raising the federal minimum wage, approving more money
to fight Ebola, and limiting carbon emissions to fight climate change.
Those are the five most popular policies on the whole list of things
that Congress should do. The top five are all things that the Republicans
who were just elected to lead the Congress are adamantly opposed to.
So, as a nation, we just elected a Congress that has pledged to fight
tooth and nail against the policies that we most want to see enacted.
And here`s the best part. When asked are you happy with what you just
did, are you happy with electing this new majority that`s pledging to stand
against everything you want, does that seem like a good thing? The answer
is yes. Yes, very happy with the result of the election.
So, Americans want very specific things for the country. And we`re
also delighted to elect the people who will stop the country from getting
It`s almost like people don`t really know what`s going on in politics.
Or they don`t really know what decisions are being made and by whom in
Washington. It`s almost like the public isn`t that well-informed about who
wants what, what`s going on with policy and politics that even on issues
that they say they care about. It`s almost like we don`t know.
In totally unrelated news, did you see that none of the broadcast
networks are planning on carrying the president`s speech tomorrow night, on
this big change on immigration policy? None of them. This thing that
everybody has been freaking out about for the last two years, the biggest
thing brewing in American politics for a mile, NBC is not going to carry
the speech, CBS isn`t carrying it, ABC isn`t carrying it.
We`ll carry it. We`re going to have a special coverage of the
president`s prime time address starting at 7:45 Eastern Time tomorrow
night. I`ll be anchoring it with Chris Hayes and lots of other folks.
But if you didn`t want to watch us and you wanted to watch on the
really low numbers on your cable box, they`ll be doing, you know, game
shows and reality shows and stuff instead. No network coverage of the
And that does happen. I mean, networks do occasionally give a
president the one-finger salute. Less than three weeks before the midterms
in 1982, the RNC tried to buy a big block of primetime national TV time for
President Reagan to give a campaign speech. The networks in 1982 said no
So, then the Reagan White House said, OK, the president won`t give a
campaign speech. Instead he`ll give a nonpartisan address on the economy.
NBC and CBS went ahead and aired that but ABC said no that year. ABC
stations chose instead to run shows like "Entertainment Tonight" and "PM
That wasn`t the only time that President Reagan got blanked on TV.
One of the things, it`s interesting, when you read the Reagan diaries, one
of the things that President Reagan said frustrated him, than anything else
when he was president, was that he couldn`t get the public to agree with
his position on Nicaragua. He really wanted to get involved in that civil
war. He wanted to arm the rebels, trying to overthrow the government. And
Congress said no to that. Ultimately he ended up doing it secretly and
illegally and getting caught for it.
But he was frustrated about that. He knew he was a great
communicator. He believed he could move the country to his way of thinking
on almost anything but on this issue of Nicaragua, which was really
important to him, no matter how much he talked about it, the country hated
Well, twice during his presidency in 1986 and again in 1988, the
Reagan White House scheduled national primetime TV addresses for the
president to talk about how much he wanted to arm the Contras in Nicaragua,
both times the networks all refused to air that Reagan speech.
In 1987, President Reagan asked for time to give another primetime
speech about his disastrous Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork. The
networks also said no to that speech.
Under Poppy Bush for the first time, the networks stopped carrying all
presidential conferences as a matter of course. In 1992, when Poppy Bush
was on his way to losing his re-election effort, the networks all said no
for the first time ever to covering a presidential press conference because
what President Bush was going to do was basically hold a campaign event and
they felt they had no obligation to defer to him on that. Well, in that
election, of course, Bill Clinton beat Poppy Bush to become president, but
then once he was president, Bill Clinton paid the price for that precedent
having been set that now sometimes networks wouldn`t cover presidential
press conferences and appearances.
In 1993, and again in 1995, President Clinton wanted to do big, you
know, saturation coverage televised presidential press conferences, one on
his economic plan, one on the issue of welfare reform. Both times almost
all the networks said no to carrying that.
For our current president, as recently as April, the networks said no
to a White House request for air time so President Obama could talk about
the success of sign-ups for Obamacare. Liberals lament that the success
for Obamacare, 7 million people signing up for insurance in the first
rollout of Obamacare, people lament that that go so much less coverage than
the various troubles with the Web site and all the other glitches. Well,
part of the reason why is that when President Obama wanted a big primetime
platform to do a formal major address proclaiming the success of the new
law, the networks all said no, and instead chose to air "NCIS" and "The
Voice" and "Marvels: Agents of Shield."
Well, now tomorrow night again, the networks are saying that they have
way more important things to do than show President Obama`s speech. Unlike
some of those other times that I justice mentioned, President Obama is
going to go ahead and give the speech in primetime anyway. It won`t be on
the networks. But we`ll see it here when he does it.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: OK, best new thing in the world today starts with a prank.
You probably heard about this week, there`s a small town in Germany which
played a role in Nazi history that it`s still living down to this day,
basically one of the top Nazis who served Hitler was once buried in this
little town. Enough said about that.
But because of that history, neo-Nazis in Germany like to gather in
this town to march in honor of the dead Nazi. And the town does not honor
the dead Nazi. The town is not neo-Nazi. And, frankly, lots of regular
people who live in that town are sick of the neo-Nazi showing up there to
march every year.
So, you may have seen this, this week. This year, they transformed
the march which is supposed to support the neo-Nazi cause into its
opposite. As the neo-Nazis marched through the town, they started to see
weird signs like this one who said if the furor only knew. They didn`t
knew why, but along the road of the march, there were these messages
painted on the ground in the intervals that said things like, "thank you
for raising 5,000 euros."
And the Nazis did not know it before they showed up for this march,
but as they marched, I think it started to dawn on them at some point, at
least the brighter among them, that they had inadvertently been tricked to
participating in a walk-a-thon, for every meter they walked along the march
route, they were raising money for something.
The payoff came at the end when they learned that their march for the
neo-Nazi cause, in honor of a dead Nazi, had actually been turned into a
fundraiser for an anti-Nazi group, for a group that exists to persuade neo-
Nazis to defect and escape from that life.
The neo-Nazi marchers had advertently been tricked into raising 10,000
euros, about 12,000 bucks, for a group called Exit Deutschland, which is a
great prank and a very satisfying story and that`s why it got worldwide
coverage this week.
But here`s the thing. This isn`t the first time that Exit
Deutschland, this group that helps people stop being Nazis, it`s not the
first time they have turned something pro-Nazi into its opposite.
Three years ago, when I had roughly the same haircut and definitely
the same jacket, we first reported on another cool version of this same
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: About 600 white supremacist skinheads turned up to Nazi
rockout to bands like Radical and Burning Hate. The first 250 skinheads to
show up to the racist concert got this free t-shirt. It says in German,
hardcore rebels, national and free.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Is that ringing a bell? Free t-shirt with a neo-Nazi message
handed out at a skinhead concert. The idea was you would take the t-shirt
home, wear it around and hopefully you Nazi scumbag, you`d eventually wash
that t-shirt and when you did wash that t-shirt, the pro-Nazi design would
wash off to reveal a completely different message. And also contact
information for how to get out of the neo-Nazi life.
So, this is what happens when you wash it. We actually got one of the
shirts and it has been sitting around in our offices since 2011, just
waiting for us to have an excuse for us to wash it and see if it works.
And honestly, and three years is a long time to have a potentially
inflammatory neo-Nazi propaganda sitting around in our cubicle farm for
just anybody to find and deeply misunderstand.
So, today, we put our offensive t-shirt on producer Nick Tutz (ph),
who is a very good sport and is in no way sympathetic to neo-Nazism. Then
we had Nick take off the shirt and throw it in the wash to see what would
For the record, we also do not ordinarily ask Nick to do our laundry.
But as I said, he`s a very good sport. But the result is, it worked. The
original message is gone. Now it says in German, what your shirt can do,
you can do also. In other words, your shirt can change to stop being pro
Nazi, and so can you. It says below it in small print, it says, you know,
call this number basically to get help, tells the shirt owner where to go
if they want help getting away from their neo-Nazi friends.
Exit Deutschland tells us since they started this t-shirt campaign
three years ago, we broke that story three years ago, since them, they say
the number of people who have contacted them to try to get out of the scene
And now, this new march prank, the accidental walk-a-thon, which has
become an international hit, as far as news stories go, this will bring
them some more money and possibly more candidates for their services.
So, from pro-Nazi march to anti-Nazi walkathon and far hard core Nazi
t-shirt, to helpful and unexpectedly practical help in stopping being a
Nazi, it`s all very smart.
But you know what, it`s the fact that we finally washed the damn t-
shirt and it doesn`t live on producer Tricia McKinney`s (ph) desk skiving
everybody out anymore, that honestly is the best new thing in the world
today. Our office now has 100 percent less of what appeared to be Nazi
regalia. Yay! I`m sorry, it took us three years to get rid of that.
But that does it for us. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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