Guest: Patrick Leahy; George Miller, Darrell Issa, Tom Tancredo, A.B.
Stoddard, Todd Webster, Jonathan Alter
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: I‘m Ed Schultz. This is THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: Good evening, Americans.
Live from 30 Rock in New York City, it‘s THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Why is anyone still listening to Dick Cheney? He‘s talking about President Obama being weak? That‘s pretty funny for a guy who left office with a 13 percent approval rating.
Ted Kennedy is promising a health care bill by June. Will it pull the plug on outrageous insurance costs?
And Republicans, of course, have no ideas for the future, so they are rewriting the Great Depression.
Plus, “Psycho Talk” from Michele Bachmann.
But first, tonight‘s “OpEd.”
Former vice president Dick Cheney is attacking President Obama again.
The right is just exploding. The right-wingers are going crazy on this. Obama drives him absolutely nuts because, of course, his approval rating is still very high.
They hijacked the country for eight years, exploited 9/11, sold a phony war to us on Iraq, betrayed our Constitution and our values with torture. They really drained our bank account. Our resources are damn near gone.
And now, when the Democrats are in power, we can do nothing right. The president of the United States can do nothing right. So they‘ve decide to label him weak.
Now, they said that we were too scared to stand up for America, too scared to stand up for the country. They said that we wouldn‘t keep the country safe. And when I say “we,” I mean liberals, progressives, Democrats in this country.
We elected Barack Obama. The American people rejected everything that Dick Cheney and George Bush stood for. And the policies of fear are now gone, but they always seem to be able to rear their ugly head.
That‘s why Obama just drives these people nuts. He‘s doing things right, because he‘s the exact opposite of what these guys stood for.
Now, apparently, Mr. Cheney didn‘t get the message, because he‘s out there pushing the same old fear tactics on you know where, the Fox Network.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD CHENEY, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I find disturbing is the extent to which he‘s gone to Europe, for example, and seemed to apologize profusely in Europe. Then to Mexico and apologize there, and so forth. And I think you have to be very careful. The world outside there, both our friends and our foes, will be quick to take advantage of a situation if they think they are dealing with a weak president or one who‘s not going to stand up and aggressively defend America‘s interests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: We actually could move “Psycho Talk” up to the first segment tonight.
Now, speaking of keeping us safe, make no mistake here, no question about it, I want this on the record. Here‘s what our president said today about protecting America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wake up every day thinking about how to keep the American people safe. And I go to bed every night worrying about keeping the American people safe. But the thing that I consider my most profound obligation is keeping the American people safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What else do you want, Americans? Does Barack Obama have to get down on his knees every day and bow to the American people? What is it going to take to convince the conservatives that this man loves the country? He‘s been elected, he‘s got a high approval rating, and we are behind him.
Here‘s what bothers me as an American. And I don‘t want to get angry about this or anything, but I think Americans are on their edge right now when it comes to Dick Cheney.
About once a month this guy steps up and starts browbeating the president of the United States because they lost the election. That‘s what it comes down to.
I think that Dick Cheney wants this country to get hit again for political gain. I believe that he thinks in his mind, if we can think—make them think, the enemy, that we‘re weak because Obama can‘t stand up for us, we‘re going to get hit. And then, of course, we can paint the picture that the Democrats just can‘t get the job done on national security. I think Dick Cheney is that mean.
I also think that we need to remind Americans we got hit on his watch.
He had access to the presidential daily briefing on August 6, 2001.
And Mr. Cheney, you didn‘t do anything about it. We got hit on your watch. You were in the briefings back then. The counter-terrorist intelligence people in our government were trying to work with you and you ignored them.
Now, Hannity, that must have been a really tough interview for you, huh? A couple of softballs thrown up there?
But now we‘re getting to the devil in the detail, because there is a big development today. The president of the United States says that he is going to leave the door open to possible prosecution of the Bush administration officials who devised harsh terrorism-era interrogation tactics.
What does this mean? This means that Dick Cheney could get prosecuted. This means that we might have to drag this country through all of this. And you know what the media is going to be focusing on.
This is what they left us. This is the mop-up job that has to be done by this president and this administration. The guy‘s got the weight of the world on his shoulders, he‘s diplomatically trying to reach out.
We‘ve got more troops in Afghanistan. He‘s fighting terrorism. He‘s trying to work on the economy. He‘s trying to create jobs. We‘re trying to go energy independent.
The list goes on and on. And you know what the conservatives are doing? They are trying to put him up against the wall, put his back to the wall, claiming that he can‘t keep the country safe.
Is this the best thing that the conservative movement can come up with? Is Dick Cheney once a month going out there, rearing his ugly personality and his hatred for the country?
I challenge you, Mr. Cheney. Stand up in your next interview and say you don‘t want to see Americans get hit for political gain, because I think that‘s where you are.
Now, let‘s go to the story.
Now that we have possibly got some prosecutions coming and some investigations, no better person to talk to than the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, my friend Senator Pat Leahy from Vermont.
Pat, I‘ve got to cool down a little bit here, if I can.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I loved it.
SCHULTZ: Senator, does this really open the door for an investigation and possible prosecution? Does this change, does the pendulum swing now that the president has said this today?
LEAHY: Well, I think it does. And, of course, I‘d say to Dick Cheney, that if he feels this strongly about it, feel free to come before my committee under oath, and let us ask him some questions.
Frankly, a number of Republicans have told me privately that they cringe every time he‘s on TV. He‘s one of the least popular people in the country. And they hate to see that as the face of their party.
But I think this does open it up. I agree with the president that the lower-level players who were told this is OK, this is the law, follow the law, I‘m not as concerned about going after them as I am the people who knew they were misstating the law, who knew they were giving the wrong directions, who were willing to set the White House and those around the White House as being above the law.
I grew up to believe in the United States of America, nobody is above the law. Not the president, not the vice president, not somebody working for them.
SCHULTZ: Senator, what do you think Dick Cheney‘s strategy is that, once a month he comes out and takes basically cheap shots at this newly-elected president inside 100 days? I mean, this guy is the most quoted and the most visible former vice president in the history of the country.
What do you think his strategy is? What is he trying to accomplish?
LEAHY: I don‘t know what he‘s trying to accomplish, but I notice when they had the reunion, when former President Bush had the reunion down in Texas of all the people around him, the one person noticeably absent was Dick Cheney. I think that—I‘m not sure what he‘s doing.
He just seems to be irrational in some of the things that he‘s saying. And I think it is, as you say, almost like, gosh, if we get hit again, they‘ll prove my point. But I applaud you for stating we got hit the first time on their watch.
This is the administration that on September 10th wanted to cut almost in half our counterterrorism funding. On September 10th. On September 12th, they wanted to double it.
I don‘t want to hear any lectures from Dick Cheney about keeping this nation safe.
SCHULTZ: How aggressive will the Senate now be that President Obama says the door is opened? What‘s the next step? Is it all on the desk of the attorney general. Mr. Holder, at this point?
LEAHY: Well, I think a lot of it‘s on the desk of Mr. Holder, but I intend to continue my investigations.
SCHULTZ: What are you going to do?
LEAHY: Well, for one thing, we now have amended the (INAUDIBLE) opinions. I want to find just who directed anybody to write this kind of garbage. And we‘ll find that out.
The Intelligence Committee is doing their own on the intelligence side. Obviously, I‘d like to have a full-blown nonpartisan commission look into the whole thing, bring it all out at once, not in a partisan hearing, but in open hearings like we did after 9/11.
SCHULTZ: Well, that‘s the big question, Senator. Can you get bipartisan support? And then the president said that today, if there could be a hearing or an investigation on the Hill with bipartisan support. Are there any Republicans that would go along with this, or is this going to be a partisan issue?
LEAHY: So far, there are no Republicans. And if we don‘t have Republicans go along with the commission, we‘re going to have to do it ourselves.
SCHULTZ: Would you? Would you do it yourself?
LEAHY: Oh, yes. I‘ll keep asking these questions.
This is not going to go away. Some people said to me turn the page.
I said, I‘d kind of like to read the page before I turn it.
SCHULTZ: Now, what about Judge Bybee? You said today in a release that you think that he should resign. How adamant are you about that?
LEAHY: Let‘s understand, with Judge Bybee, if he—if the Bush/Cheney administration told the truth about him, and he told the truth about what he did, he never would have been confirmed by the Senate. He never would have become a judge.
I think the only decent and honorable thing for him to do now that these facts have come out is to resign. Resign for the good of the judiciary. I mean, what he‘s done is a total blot on him, and it reflects on the rest of the judiciary. He should do the decent and honorable thing, and step down.
SCHULTZ: And if he doesn‘t resign, what‘s the next step, if anything?
LEAHY: Well, that would of course be up to the House. I‘m not going to—I‘m not trying to pass the buck there. I haven‘t thought that one through.
But he never would have—if he had told the truth to begin with, he never would have been confirmed. What he ought to do now is the decent and honorable thing and step down.
SCHULTZ: Senator Leahy, great to have you with us tonight. Always a pleasure.
LEAHY: Thank you. Thank you, sir.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Dick Cheney—I‘ve wanted to say this for a long time—this guy is nothing but a trash-talking coward from the sideline. And it‘s unfortunate that no one in the Republican Party is denouncing what he‘s saying. They‘re just going along.
President Obama is moving forward with his agenda. Today he signed Senator Ted Kennedy‘s National Service Bill. It provides nearly $6 billion to expand the popular AmeriCorps program. It will also help students earn money for college through their volunteer work.
Congressman George Miller joins us. He was at that signing today. He is the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee.
George, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. GEORGE MILLER (D), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE EDUCATION AND LABOR COMMITTEE:
SCHULTZ: This is probably one of the most positive things that has been out there in a long time. And we‘re going to do something for our young people to engage, teach them public service, and they can get a reward out of it.
How important is this?
MILLER: It‘s very important. It‘s very positive. It‘s very exciting. It goes to the core of American value and American culture, our history.
Americans have been volunteering to help their families, to help their neighbors, to help their communities from the time the first Americans stepped on shore. And we know when we saw the rivers flood in Iowa, 80,000 volunteers showed up. AmeriCorps gave up, I think, hundreds of thousands of hours in volunteer time. In Katrina, the volunteers were there before the federal government was there.
And what we see is, with President Obama‘s plan and Senator Kennedy‘s plan, we will be able to develop a continuum of service from middle school to high school to college. We‘re going to provide people—they will get college stipends for their volunteer work, for young people, and a summer of service.
For older students and older adults who want to go into AmeriCorps for a year, they will get a $5,000 education allowance. For senior citizens who want to volunteer, they can earn $1,000 and they can give that to their grandchildren or to a foster child who they want to help get an education.
It‘s going to be very exciting, Ed. It was a great ceremony today.
The kids were so excited about it.
SCHULTZ: Now, the conservatives have taken this a step further, and it‘s been a segment on our “Psycho Talk” here on the show, that this would be some type of mandatory service, that there would be some special camps that kids would have to go to.
Can we get some clarification on this, Congressman?
MILLER: Well, yes. I think the member of Congress that said that just—she just went over the edge. But she‘s been around on the dark side of the moon several times on some of these issues, where this is really the best of America.
This is about people volunteering and being able to also participate in helping to finance their education, to help their families out that way, to help themselves out. This is why it‘s one of the most popular programs ever created by the federal government, because what happens to communities.
SCHULTZ: And we should probably point out that there‘s no brainwashing involved in this program at all, is there? I mean, this is a straight-up deal, right?
MILLER: This is old-fashioned American values. This is—you know, she got educational opportunity all mixed up somehow with education camps. She‘s living somewhere in the past.
SCHULTZ: Can we get health care done this year? I know this is a big deal with you. And now Senator Kennedy, over on the Senate side, says we can get something on the floor by June. Do you feel that confident over in the House?
MILLER: I do. The three chairs and the three committees working as one committee. We‘ve been making very substantial progress. It‘s been going very well.
So I think we can hold on to our schedule. We‘ll be meeting with the majority leader, Steny Hoyer, this week to discuss what our schedule will be, are we still on track for getting this done by the summer break. So I‘m encouraged.
SCHULTZ: OK. Congressman, great to have you on the program tonight.
Appreciate it so much.
George Miller with us.
MILLER: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Next up, Wall Street screws up. Now, we bailed them out. Now they may be ripping us off?
There are 20 -- count them -- 20 fraud investigations under way involving TARP money. Twenty. These guys just can‘t stop.
Interestingly enough, the Obama administration has been quiet on this today.
We‘ll talk about it when we come back. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW
Three trillion dollars. That‘s the amount the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve are spending to dig the U.S. economy out of the recession and shore up the country‘s banks.
All right. Now, where is all of the money going?
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, testifying on the Hill today, said that he‘s heard from callers from around the country that credit is still tight. Where else has he heard that? The big banks are getting the big bucks and they‘re not lending as much as they should be.
Also today, we found out through the government-appointed bailout watchdog that more than 20 criminal investigations into bailout fraud have already started. Insider trading, public corruption. What?
Mortgage modification, fraud securities? Fraud—what the heck is going on with your dollars and my dollars? Who is looking out for the tax dollars in this deal? Can we get the banks to tell us exactly where all the money is going?
Joining us now is Congressman Darrell Issa. He is a ranking member of the House Committee of Oversight and Government Reform.
Congressman, right straight up tonight, do you know what these fraud investigations are all about? How serious are they?
REP. DARRELL ISSA ®, HOUSE COMMITTEE OF OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT
REFORM: Well, they are serious, but unfortunately the legislation was ripe for this. Nearly $700 billion has been handed out in a different way and a different deal with every recipient.
And, you know, your question, your lead-in question, was superb, because what we really want to first of all do is not tell people that they must lend more. As a matter of fact, the first step we should be taking is, if a bank wants to give us the money back and stand on its own two feet, we ought to let them. That‘s the first thing that would bring confidence back to the banking system, is if they knew banks were playing with their own money, rather than what we have right now, which you‘re very aware, banks that want to go out and get private money are being told, well, go get the public money first. It‘s basically free from the normal risk.
SCHULTZ: Mortgage modification fraud—explain to our audience exactly what that is. Is somebody skimming off the top here?
ISSA: In a nutshell, you should never have to pay to have a mortgage modification done. You can use a lawyer, you can use intermediaries. But basically, you should be able to go directly to the people you‘re paying money to and say, I want to modify my loan. What is your process? And they all will have some process.
What‘s happened is the Internet and other organizations that have sprung up to say, send us $1,000, send us $10,000, and we will get your mortgage run down. And, of course, people with very little money, they‘re upside down in their homes, often are desperate enough are desperate enough to send the dollars in, only to find out that the service is a bunch of literature sent to them.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, we really don‘t know how the banks are doing business, do we? I mean, isn‘t this just an admission that we‘re really trusting Americans in the financial sector to be American and not to rip us off? Aren‘t we?
ISSA: To a certain extent we are, but let‘s remember that the bank regulating system—we‘re talking about conventional banks—is completely intact. It‘s working. It knows what it needs to close an insolvent bank, it knows when there‘s bank fraud.
What we‘re having trouble with is the $700 billion thrown both at banks and bank-like organizations. It‘s normally thrown at the holding company or even a non-bank. That money is the money that‘s very much footloose and fancy free. And as and we learned in previous hearings, tens or hundreds—and it actually is hundreds—of billions of dollars has left the country. It‘s gone to pay off credit default swaps to foreign banks.
SCHULTZ: Wow. Are you surprised that the president hasn‘t commented on this yet?
ISSA: Well, I‘m surprised that President Obama, who campaigned as an agent of change, has fallen into every bad habit started under Paulson and the Bush administration. Understand, this was a bipartisan mistake in the last Congress, with the last president, and it just continued virtually unabated with this one.
And one of the problems for those of us who lobbied against the TARP is we don‘t want to say I told you so. We want to say let‘s stop digging the hole.
Let‘s start at least getting the money back from strong banks who say they don‘t need it because they really don‘t. Let‘s get the private market functional again. Let‘s continue to provide confidence to the market. But just throwing money at the market actually distorts the market. It doesn‘t bring confidence.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, I can tell you, Congressman, I don‘t think the American people have any appetite for any fraud or any of the stuff that‘s going on.
SCHULTZ: I appreciate you coming on the program with us tonight talking about it.
ISSA: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.
ISSA: My pleasure.
SCHULTZ: And I think we should hear from the president on this.
What‘s going on?
Next up on THE ED SHOW, “Psycho Talk.” More TEA party madness from Michele Bachmann. She thinks Democrats are running scared. Hear why next in “Psycho Talk.”
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Have you heard some of the crazy things that are being said by conservatives?
It‘s time for “Psycho Talk.”
Oh, I tell you what, she‘s still at it. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is becoming a regular here in the “Psycho Talk” zone.
Here media blitz continues this week. She was on the Glenn Beck show last night talking about the TEA party protests. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: I think on the Democrat side, I think they were afraid, actually, because this was an organic movement. This wasn‘t something that was created by some master community organizer or planner. This happened from the ground up, where maybe 16 people would go and meet up, or maybe 5,000 would meet up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: OK, Congresswoman and her TEA partiers.
They seem to be having a hard time understanding the terms “organic movement” and “grassroots.” Here‘s a little lesson.
Organic movements are not orchestrated by lobbyists and Fox News. Now, a week before the protests, ThinkProgress.org documented that lobbyists run think tanks. Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works were the principal organizers of the TEA party events.
Think Progress wrote, “The two groups were heavily staffed and well funded to provide all the logistical and public relations work necessary.”
You‘ll remember former Republican majority leader Dick Armey, who now leads Freedom Works. And then there was Fox, which repeatedly billed the event as Fox News Channel Tax Day TEA Parties. Remember that? And placed their anchors live from various TEA parties.
Now, you can‘t blame Bachmann or the GOP for thinking TEA party protests might have been organic. If you don‘t have the experience of organizing a demonstration without free PR from Fox News and funding from corporate lobbyists, you might know the difference.
That‘s why she makes it again into “Psycho Talk.”
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. He just won‘t go away. The former vice president is back, criticizing the new president of the United States. Cheney says he‘s disturb by President Obama‘s overseas diplomacy. He told Fox News President Obama could learn a thing or two from the Bush era.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It‘s important that the United States not come across as arrogant. But it‘s also important that we not come across as weak or indecisive or apologetic. We did, during the Bush administration, take some very tough, bold action, in terms of trying to deal with and defend our nation, as well as our allies, against the terrorist threats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know what bothers me about all of this, Mr. Cheney? Why don‘t you just get some time with the president of the United States and do the statesman like thing? If you really think that we‘re going to get hit, if you really think we‘re in terrible danger because Barack Obama is the president of the United States, why don‘t you go behind closed doors and give him A, B, C?
Why play this out in the public? What is to be gained by that? Let me bring in our panel, former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, and Democratic strategist Todd Webster, with us tonight, and the “Hill‘s” A.B. Stoddard.
Congressman, we‘ll start with you first tonight. Why is Dick Cheney, once a month, coming out and now stronger than other saying that this president is weak? What‘s to gain by that, if anything?
TOM TANCREDO, FMR. CONGRESSMAN: Why not? Why shouldn‘t he do it? If he observes it that way, if that‘s what he thinks, why should he not say it any time he gets the opportunity? And by the way, I have the feeling that the president is not going to ask Dick Cheney to come in and talk to him about this or anything else.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, I really do—hold on.
SCHULTZ: Tom, come on. I think that if Dick Cheney wanted to get President Obama‘s attention, he could easily do it. What is the purpose of playing this out in the public and telling the world that we‘re weak now? What‘s the upside?
TANCREDO: Even before this issue came up in the way it has, Cheney asked for those documents to be released. This was sometime back in March. This whole thing hadn‘t even played out in the public. He was asking that the documents be released that showed that, in fact, some of these tactics that were used paid off, in terms of getting information that eventually led to some—the possibility, anyway, that—
SCHULTZ: Let me be very clear. Congressman, you think that Dick Cheney should continue on saying what he‘s saying? Is that what I‘m hearing?
TANCREDO: Well, sure, why not. It gives you grist. You can get on your own psycho talk about some of the things that you said about him just a bit ago.
SCHULTZ: You know, this is a guy that did shoot a guy in the face and didn‘t apologize for it. We‘ll come back to you, Tom.
TANCREDO: Why do you want him to stop?
SCHULTZ: Because I think it hurts the country. I think it hurts the morale of the country. I think he‘s a big divider. I also don‘t think it‘s good to go out and tell the enemies of this country—and we have them—that hey, we‘re weak. That would maybe gin up the motivation on their part to want to take this further.
TANCREDO: Are you kidding me?
TANCREDO: How can you possibly say that when the president of the United States is giving them information as to what our tactics are in order to get them to talk? That‘s crazy.
SCHULTZ: No, it‘s not crazy. The president of the United States campaigned on that we would not torture and he would close Gitmo. The American people knew exactly what Obama was going to do. And now he‘s done it. And you‘re saying that he‘s doing the wrong thing, going against the American people. And you said bad-mouthing the American president is good?
TANCREDO: Did the American actually people know that he was going to turn over our tactics and techniques to get this information? I don‘t remember him talking about that. I don‘t remember him saying he was going to make all this public, so that al Qaeda could know how to do it.
SCHULTZ: We got to make you a special segment here. You and I are just going to totally disagree on this. The fact is, the American people don‘t want torture. The jury is out on that. So we‘ll move on. I want to bring in A.B. Stoddard on this. A.B., why is Dick Cheney doing what he is doing? What‘s the upside on this?
A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”: Well, I think you have a point, Ed. Obviously, President Bush is remaining silent and not going on Fox News or any other network, CNN, to give interviews about Obama‘s performance in office these first three months.
Dick Cheney is strenuously attempting to defend his record. As you pointed out, if he had vital national security concerns, he could bring them up with anybody in any branch of government at any time, and they would likely listen.
But he is out to defend his record. He‘s not out to help the Republican party. Senator Leahy is right. The Republicans everywhere—and you‘re right, they don‘t want to say it publicly. But they want Dick Cheney to retire to an undisclosed location and play golf and never come back. At this point, he is literally working for the DNC every time he goes on TV. They won‘t have to raise any money this cycle if he just keeps talking.
SCHULTZ: Todd Webster, what about the Republican party? They are not distancing themselves from the kind of things that Dick Cheney is saying. Up side, down side, what is it?
TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, give them time because I‘m sure that they would. But I don‘t think that any American needs lectures on patriotism from a man that got seven deferments to get out of the Vietnam War. But I think what Barack Obama did, declassifying these memos, is important, because among the disasters that this administration inherited was America‘s standing around the world, that here is a country, a shining city on a hill, an example of moral authority throughout the rest of the world.
In fact, we were brought in to write the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declarations on Human Rights. We can‘t being the ones torturing our enemies. It puts our own soldiers at risk, and it‘s not the way that we reclaim our moral authority.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Tancredo, do you want us to go back to torturing? Am I hearing that correctly?
TANCREDO: What‘s your definition of torture?
SCHULTZ: Water boarding. There you go.
TANCREDO: Let me ask you this. By the way, when I was asked during the presidential campaign whether or not I would have water boarded somebody to get the information leading to our—the possibility of stopping a nuclear device from going off in the United States; the answer is, I‘m looking for Jack Bauer at that time. Absolutely, I would do it.
I‘ll tell you this, if something does happen, it‘s just—if something does happen in this country, and it‘s perpetrated by someone who we could have gotten perhaps some information about by using these techniques and stopped it, who should we blame? The Boy Scouts? Who‘s responsible for that?
SCHULTZ: Let me ask you this. Would you be—of course, you probably wouldn‘t support this. But how would you feel if the word got out tonight that the Iranians had water boarded Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old woman from the middle of the country. Would you understand that‘s why the Iranians—hey, they‘ve got to do it?
TANCREDO: Much more horrible things than water boarding. And we certainly know about it. So—
SCHULTZ: So they torture there, right?
TANCREDO: And none of it was done to protect—pardon me?
SCHULTZ: Don‘t you think that this puts our American people in captivity in a vulnerable position? And this is exactly why the president is trying to regain the moral high ground? It hasn‘t hurt our military. We‘re not any less safe tonight because we‘ve decided to close Gitmo and we don‘t torture people anymore.
TANCREDO: You know, it‘s been eight years—it‘s been eight years since an attack occurred on our soil.
SCHULTZ: On Bush and Cheney‘s watch, you‘re right.
TANCREDO: And there‘s a reason for that. There is a reason for that. Let me suggest that the possibility is because we have used those kinds of techniques. Just a possibility.
SCHULTZ: Well, probably because we spent billions of dollars protecting the country, too. Todd, what‘s your response to this?
WEBSTER: I think having Dick Cheney out as a spokesman for the Republican party, the more the merrier. If he would be out there for the next two years, that would be terrific. But if you look at men who have worn and women who have worn the uniform of this country, John McCain, Jim Webb, other patriots, other heroes, they say that torture is not a reliable way to get information out of people. I respect John McCain and Jim Webb‘s view on this.
SCHULTZ: What do you think John McCain‘s response is to this, A.B. Stoddard? I‘m surprised that the media hasn‘t gone to John McCain and said, hey, this is a guy you went again. You could have been president of the United States. Do you think we‘re weaker now because this is being erased from our past and we‘re going to go in a different direction?
STODDARD: That‘s an interesting question. I mean, John McCain has been awfully silent, particularly in light of what happened at the end of last week, with his former campaign manager and daughter calling on his party to embrace same-sex marriage. John McCain is somewhere hoping that the cameras won‘t follow him right now.
SCHULTZ: Panel, stay with us. Much more coming up. Congressman, I will think about putting myself in psycho talk, just to satisfy you conservatives over there.
Coming up, Republicans are trying to blame FDR for Depression. They think it will help them fight the president‘s stimulus plan. Say what?
SCHULTZ: In my playbook today, the Republicans want to rewrite history. And by write, I mean write. The parties of no ideas is passing around a book how FDR‘s New Deal didn‘t work. The book is called “The Forgotten Man.” It‘s a history book critics call revisionist and misleading.
Well, the Republicans are looking for any way to support their claim that President Obama‘s recovery plan for the economy won‘t work, that it isn‘t working. And if that means rewriting history, they are going to do it. Joining me now is Jonathan Alter. He has his own book on FDR‘s new deal. It‘s called the “Defining Moment, FDR‘s 100 Days and the Triumph of Hope.” Alter is also a senior editor at “Newsweek” and an MSNBC analyst.
Who‘s book is right? Yours or hers?
JONATHAN ALTER, “NEWSWEEK”: That‘s an easy one.
SCHULTZ: Jonathan, good to have you here tonight.
ALTER: Good to see you.
SCHULTZ: Are they so far and so behind that when it comes to, I guess, scratching out the playbook on where to go next, that they are going to go to an author like this that wants to go back to FDR? Isn‘t this rather strange?
ALTER: It‘s very comforting to them to believe that FDR failed. There are only a few problems with it. Like, he didn‘t fail. Did he end the Depression right away? No. But unemployment was at 25 percent and he cut it down below 10 percent. Did make some mistakes, but kept us moving towards recovery.
Here‘s the key thing. I saw Mitch McConnell on TV a few weeks ago and he was—I‘ve been reading the history books—he was talking about this revisionist book—and it turns out that the New Deal big spending programs did not end the Depression. And it wasn‘t until World War II that the Depression ended.
And narrowly speaking, he is correct. It was not until the eve of World War II that the Depression actually ended. But why did it end? Because of tax cuts? Balanced budget? The old-time Republican religion? I don‘t think so. It was because of massive government spending on the military.
Now, this is what they don‘t want you to understand, because they want to make it seem that Roosevelt failed, because he didn‘t apply conservative solutions. The reason that he didn‘t succeed earlier is he didn‘t spend enough. And economists who have studied the period are pretty clear on that.
SCHULTZ: Do you think that FDR not opposing Hitler early on had something to do with helping the economy, to get that military industrial complex going, that he needed that to help the economy get out? What your take on that?
ALTER: No, I think he was genuinely disturbed by the gathering war clouds in Europe. And then when Britain need our help, we provided arms for them. And then the machinery of war started going. And we started spending a huge percentage of our GDP, much, much more than we do today, went to deficit spending.
But the interesting thing is that people talk here all the time nowadays about how Obama‘s spending means we‘re burdening our grandchildren and great grandchildren. It only took a few years after World War II, when we were spending much, much more, for us to work it off and go back into a balanced budget.
So there will be time to balance the budget. But in the middle of a recession is the absolute wrong time to try to balance the budget. You‘ve got to spend, spend, spend. And that‘s what Obama is doing.
SCHULTZ: I don‘t think this is too much of a reach to draw this parallel when you talk about rewriting history. I find it amusing that Dick Cheney is out there on the talking head campaign trail rewriting history. He‘s no expert on security. We got hit on their watch. He had all of the information at his fingertips and they didn‘t act on September 10th. And look what happened.
So I think there‘s a parallel there. But I want to know, what do you think Cheney is trying to accomplish by going on this—about once a month, he rears his ugly face and tells everybody that, hey, we‘re not safe. In fact, he went so far this time as to say this president is weak.
ALTER: You know, I‘ve got four words about Dick Cheney: no class, big time. This is not a responsible move. I think you hit the nail on the head in the prior segment. If he wanted to go and speak to the president about some of these things, urge him to release some documents, so that it would be politically convenient for the Bushies, that showed what we obtained through torture; fine, let him go make that argument.
But by going public, he just further discredits himself. It‘s not just the short-term political hits that helped the Democratic party. It‘s in the eyes of history, this is really a low rent move for him to go out there and do this. And he has shown himself—he‘s gone from being a figure of gravitas, which he was for many, many years, a real serious heavy weight, not just physically, but in the capital, to now really a deeply irresponsible historical individual, not just because of what he did in office, but because of what is doing afterwards.
SCHULTZ: Jonathan Alter, telling it like it is on THE ED PROGRAM.
Thanks so much, Jonathan.
ALTER: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.
All right. Coming up, will a health care bill help Americans getting killed by outrageous insurance costs? Is this really going to happen? We‘ll talk about it when we come back with our panel on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Again and Again, I‘ve heard it from folks all over the country; something needs to be done about health care today. Well, it‘s going to take a little while. But a development today; Kathleen Sebelius was finally voted out of committee and is on her way to confirmation as secretary of Health and Human Services. No thanks to its Republican members; only two Republicans crossed over to support Sebelius. GOP members are standing in the way of swift action on health care. And they say that they just don‘t want to spend a whole lot of money on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY ®, IOWA: Can this senator, just for himself, assume, since I haven‘t heard anybody on the panel suggest we need to spend more money, that maybe that‘s your conclusion, that we don‘t need to spend more money?
Can I conclude that? Well, then I think somebody ought to tell me, yes, we‘ve got to spend a lot more money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, back with me now is our political panel, Tom Tancredo, Todd Webster, and A.B. Stoddard. A.B. Stoddard, it sounds to me like he‘s not in favor of the 634 billion dollars the president has budgeted for health care. A.B., do you think we can get something done on health care this year in ‘09?
STODDARD: Well, I think people are working very hard. And actually Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa, a Republican, is working very hard on this issue with Democrats. So let‘s give him some credit for that. The news out today, though, is not good, that Democrats are fighting among themselves about the fact that some of the more moderate and conservative Democrats and the Obama administration, perhaps, could be open to moving ahead with a plan that doesn‘t include a public government option.
This obviously has infuriated the left. They‘re running scared and they‘re squabbling between the different factions in the party. And this makes the entire goal harder to reach, but also puts pressure on the deadline of trying to do this by August.
SCHULTZ: Todd, there are Democrats out there who are not happy that the Obama people have taken single payer off the table. What about that?
WEBSTER: Well, let‘s look at the facts of where we are. There are 47 million Americans who have no health coverage. We are the only wealthy industrialized country that does not provide universal coverage. And yet we have a higher infant mortality rates, a lower life expectancy, and yet we spend 2.4 trillion dollars a year. We spend more on health care than any industrialized, than any country on the face of the planet.
The only answer is a single payer system. We already have it in this country. One out of eight Americans already is enrolled in a universal program. It‘s called Medicare. They‘ve been able to successfully cut the insurance companies out of that equation. And the result has been better health care for American seniors.
Why not expand that to every American? It would help me, as a small business owner. It would help Detroit, who spends more on health care than they do on steel, 1,500 dollars for every car that runs off the lot.
SCHULTZ: Tom, tell us—and I promise I won‘t put this in psycho talk for tomorrow‘s show. I want an answer from you. What is the Republican plan for health care in this country? What is it?
TANCREDO: Well, I can tell you this, that the single payer option is off the table. The idea of making some—making a better system out of what we have I think is on the table. But not moving to—you know, you mentioned earlier about the fact that there was a concern among Democrats.
TANCREDO: Certainly that is true. And I do not think that they are going to get as far as they wanted to because there‘s five words they are actually getting. The five words that are sinking in, even to Democrats, we don‘t have the money. And you have the president of the United States telling his cabinet they have to save 100 million dollars. It‘s like saying, every office is going to have to save at least one box of paper clip this year.
SCHULTZ: What is the Republican plan?
TANCREDO: The people are worried about the money and you can‘t do what they want to do without spending an enormous amount of money, and with no assurance that we‘re going to have a better system. If it was, why in the world would you have Canadians still coming to the United States to get quality health care?
SCHULTZ: Well, here‘s what I think. I don‘t think the American people care how much it costs. They want everybody covered. They want the insurance companies reeled in. And they want the government involved in this. That‘s what we voted for. But you are right. It‘s not positive that the Democrats are—they are already starting to form the circular firing squad on this. And I don‘t think it‘s good and I think it‘s going to be tough to get something done in ‘09.
TANCREDO: It is, yes.
TANCREDO: Thank goodness.
SCHULTZ: Yes, for profit. I got you. Todd Webster, A.B. Stoddard, thanks so much for joining us tonight.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz and I‘ve got an email address now. Send me your emails at Ed@MSNBC.com. For more information on THE ED SHOW, you can go to Ed.MSNBC.com or you can check out my website at WeGotEd.com. And get text alerts as well. Just send the word Ed to 622639. “HARDBALL” is coming up next.
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