Guest: Jennifer Granholm, Gene Sperling, Kate Michelman, Jonathan Alter,
Heidi Harris, Sam Stein, Mike Allen, Lori Sturdevant
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: I‘m Ed Schultz. This is THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: Good evening, Americans.
Live from Washington, it‘s THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
The end of an era. What will emerge from the ashes of General Motors?
I‘ll ask Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm in just a moment.
Sonia Sotomayor heads to the Hill. Will the Republicans make her confirmation hearings about the race?
Also, the never ending Senate campaign. Norm Coleman just won‘t quit.
Will the Minnesota Supreme Court actually buy his argument at this point?
Plus, “Psycho Talk.” The Republicans are up in arms over the Obamas‘ date night.
All that and a great panel.
But first, tonight‘s “OpEd.”
General Motors, the crowned jewel of American manufacturing, is now in the hands of the American people. Now, we didn‘t ask for it. We‘re just going to go along with it to see whatever we can save.
We own 60 percent tonight. We can‘t run it. We can‘t tell them what they can make or how they are going to make it. But we‘ll back up the deal.
Now, there isn‘t anybody in the private sector that would take that arrangement. It‘s called the—I guess you could say having a gun put to your head.
Let‘s look at it this way. What do you say you and I do a business deal? You put 60 percent of the money up and I‘ll try to pay you back.
Now, I‘m going to be running the show. And by the way, what I failed at previously is exactly what we‘re going to be trying to do the second time around.
Would you take that deal? Nobody in the private sector would. The president doesn‘t want to be an automaker. He stated that clearly today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we are not doing, what I have no interest in doing, is running GM. The federal government will refrain from exercising its right as a shareholder in all but the most fundamental corporate decisions.
When a difficult decision has to be made on matters like where to open a new plant or what type of new car to make, the new GM, not the United States government, will make that decision. In short, our goal is to get GM back on its feet, take a hands-off approach, and get out quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, Obama is doing this to save jobs. That is, what is left of American manufacturing jobs.
Now, decades ago, when you invested in General Motors, you had a blue chip stock. I mean, you had a piece of America. There was confidence there. But then it kind of changed because people were scratching their heads back in the ‘80s when General Motors was making record profits, and then they got the bright idea that they were going to take the jobs to Mexico and everything was going to be a lot better.
You see, the labor costs would be much lower and the shipping arrangements could be made, and the product would really come back the same -- question mark. Tonight, General Motors is broke, folks. And the president of the United States has a deal for us?
If it doesn‘t work, you can think that Michigan and Indiana and Ohio are going to be in the balance in 2010, 2012. The RNC is already jumping on that.
Here is what Michael Steele had to say about that today: “No matter how much the president spins GM‘s bankruptcy as good for the economy, it is nothing more than another government grab of a private company and another handout to the union cronies who helped bankroll his president campaign. President Obama will now own 60 percent of GM, and his union buddies will almost own 20 percent. And what do the taxpayers get? They‘ll get stuck with about a $50 billion tab.”
Now, today the president spoke to the millions of employees directly affected by this. He warned us, we can‘t become a country that doesn‘t make things.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I want to say a word directly to all the men and women watching today, wondering what all this will mean as far as their own lives are concerned.
I know you‘ve already seen more than your fair share of hard times. But I want you to know that what you are doing is making a sacrifice for the next generation, a sacrifice you may not have chosen to make, but a sacrifice you were nevertheless called to make so that your children and all of our children can grow up in an America that still makes things, that still builds cars, that still strives for a better future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: This is big political dice the president is throwing on the table. The president needs to come back to the American people and explain, where are these Americans going to work?
Joining me now from the state of Michigan, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.
Jennifer, good to have you with us tonight.
I know that this is really a tough story that plays in your state, but is this the best way out, in your opinion, Governor?
GOV. JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), MICHIGAN: Well, if it weren‘t for this bankruptcy reorganization, we would be talking about a bankruptcy liquidation, and that,, of course, would have been much more devastating. So, for us, even though it‘s really hard—I mean, there‘s no sugarcoating it. There‘s seven plants in Michigan that are affected, about 8,600 employees. And this after a whole string of job losses that we‘ve seen since the year 2000.
But we now know that we have an administration that‘s going to stand behind the domestic auto industry and the domestic manufacturing sector. He doesn‘t want—the Obama administration doesn‘t want to run the auto companies, and that‘s a good thing. But on the back side of this bankruptcy, we think we‘re going to have a stronger, leaner, meaner GM.
SCHULTZ: Governor, how do you feel about the fact that the United States Treasury, the American taxpayer, now owns 60 percent of General Motors, yet we can‘t run it, we can‘t ask any questions? It‘s just taxpayer dollars being thrown out there to people that arguably have got us in this position.
Are you confident that this company can turn around and be a viable force in the industry again?
GRANHOLM: Well, I am. I mean, auto industry—excuse me—General Motors is not going to be certainly run by the Obama administration, but because the administration owns a good chunk of it, I think that‘s one reason why the UAW and the administration insisted that there be a greater percentage, for example, of domestic manufacturing done in the United States for U.S.—the U.S. market. And that‘s a good thing.
So, nobody wants the government or the taxpayers to be on the hook for this industry for any length of time. But if they can reposition themselves in bankruptcy to emerge more competitive, pay back the taxpayers, be a standalone company, that‘s good all the way around because it just means, Ed, that we‘ve got a strong manufacturing sector. And that, as you and I have discussed in the past, is so important to America.
SCHULTZ: What is going to be the fate of the people that are losing their jobs? I mean, the unemployment numbers, not only in your state, but in Ohio and also in Indiana, are going to go up because of this.
GRANHOLM: No doubt.
SCHULTZ: Where are these people going to go to work? What‘s the plan? What‘s going to happen now? What‘s the Obama administration got to do to address that, in your opinion?
GRANHOLM: Well, and this—you‘ve got to play both offense and defense. Defense being that you‘ve got to make sure you‘ve got a safety net to be able to help people transition, meaning that you‘ve got to be able to offer them retraining. You have to make sure you have a strong unemployment insurance system so that people can still put food on the table. But ultimately what you want to do is bring in new job, new sectors.
That‘s why here in Michigan we have been totally focused on looking at that excess capacity from factories all across the state and luring those who might manufacturer wind turbines or wind turbine components or solar panels or anything related to the smart electric grid. We really, frankly, Ed, want to be the state that is the poster child of transforming from Rust Belt to Green Belt. We want to lead a green industrial revolution, because we‘ve got the workforce, we‘ve got capacity, we‘ve got the infrastructure, we have universities that are second to none. And believe me, a work ethic that is second to none.
SCHULTZ: Well, certainly there‘s no pity coming from you, Governor. And you‘ve been a good leader on this. But we hear a lot about green job recovery.
Do you think that your message has gotten to the Oval Office? And do you think the president is going to put as much effort into green job technology in Michigan as he has at throwing $30 billion at GM to see if they can make cars again?
GRANHOLM: Well, I sure hope so. You know that the administration has put an awful lot of stimulus dollars into, for example, the development of the battery, which will power the electric car. And that battery right now is manufactured in Asia, and that‘s the only place where it‘s mass produced.
Well, if we want to be energy independent as a nation, then we have a critical national need to produce that battery here in the United States, and the electric vehicle that goes with it. So, the stimulus package has put a whole bunch of money, $2 billion worth of investment, for battery.
We‘re going after that big time. I‘m sure other states are, too, but we think we have the best packages and best companies that are seeking to do it. That‘s just one example.
Obviously, the effort with respect to weatherization and the products that will be made in this country to weatherize your home, whether it‘s glass or insulation or efficient stoves and furnaces, those products need to be made. We want to make them. We‘ve got the workers to do it, and now we‘ve got a federal government that‘s I think is insisting on some of that production occurring in the U.S., which is very important.
SCHULTZ: Governor Granholm, good to have you with us on THE ED SHOW tonight. Thanks so much.
GRANHOLM: Appreciate it, Ed. Thanks for having me on.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Gene Sperling, counsel to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and member of the Auto Task Force.
Mr. Sperling, thanks for joining us tonight.
Got to ask you right off the top here, you know, Ford is selling cars pretty well. In fact, they announced today that they are going to increase their production in the third quarter by 10 percent. So that‘s the free market at work.
Are we going down the right road saving General Motors, giving them a chance to play another day? What do you think?
GENE SPERLING, WHITE HOUSE AUTO TASK FORCE: We would not have been going down the right road had we simply told GM that, here‘s your check, we just don‘t want to prevent your failure. What President Obama said to us was that, before we give GM an additional dollar, we had to know they had a plan for success. And it‘s a tough road, it‘s tough restructuring.
We know a lot of workers, we know a lot of retirees, we know a lot of dealers are going to pay a real sacrifice for this. But what is coming out is a new GM, a GM that, as Governor Granholm said, is leaner, is more flexible, can make a profit, even in down times when there‘s only 10 million cars sold.
That is a GM that can be viable economically in the future without government assistance. And as they are now planning, to actually increase production in the United States, or the percentage of production in the United States, for the first time in 30 years. And, you know, it‘s tough to get a company to say that they‘re going to be able to break even at 10 million jobs, but that not only shows that they can survive bad times, it shows that there will be the prospect for a new GM to be doing new hiring, adding more to growth, adding more to wages and incomes, if we get better times and they can follow through on the strategic plan that they‘ve put forward.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Sperling, the American taxpayer is sitting out there tonight saying, OK, we‘re throwing $30 billion at this company that didn‘t get it right the first time. Now we‘ve got 60 percent of it, but we can‘t tell them what to make and how to make it.
Who would take that deal in the private sector? The American taxpayer feels like they‘ve got a gun put to their head on this deal.
SPERLING: No, I think what the American taxpayer should understand is that when President Obama, when this administration feels that there is a necessity for us to take the exceptional action of giving assistance or even taking ownership in a private sector company, we only do that by first taking our fiduciary duty to the American taxpayer seriously by looking and saying, do they have—will they have a strong board going forward? Will they have a strong plan for economic viability, so that they can make a profit making cars and creating jobs without government assistance as quickly as possible?
And it‘s only when they—it‘s only when they met that task. Only when they met that task that President Obama put forward money.
Now, once we do, Ed—and this is the hard part—once you created that structure or you‘re assured of that structure, you‘ve got to let private managers and a private sector board have the ability to try to run a company without interference in their day-by-day operations. There is no other way to get them back on their feet, viable, and get money back to the American taxpayer for their investment than by giving them a chance to operate as a private sector company.
SCHULTZ: Well, hopefully it will all work out.
Mr. Sperling, good to have you with us tonight.
SPERLING: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: The Auto Task Force, you‘re on that. I wonder how detailed your task force has been in suggesting maybe they should make a car that gets better mileage than foreign cars. We‘ll talk about that at another time.
Thanks so much.
SPERLING: OK. All right. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Coming up, did hate-filled rhetoric, some of it coming from the other network, lead to the murder of Dr. George Tiller? We‘ll talk about it next on THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Kansas doctor George Tiller was gunned down yesterday in the foyer of his Lutheran church in Wichita, Kansas. Tiller has been the target of extreme anti-abortion groups for decades for performing late-term abortions, which are legal in this country.
His death was not an isolated incident. Tiller‘s clinic was bombed in the 1980s, and in the 1990s Tiller was shot in both arms. This month, the clinic was vandalized.
Tiller wore a bulletproof vest and drove an armored car. He was afraid for his life, and had good reason to be. But on talk radio and on Fox News, commentators like Bill O‘Reilly went after Tiller with dangerous language.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS: In the state of Kansas, he is a doctor, George Tiller, who will execute babies for $5,000.
Tiller, “The Baby Killer,” as some call him...
Dr. George Tiller in Kansas, known as “Tiller the Baby Killer.”
Dr. George Tiller known as “Tiller the Baby Killer.”
“Tiller the Baby Killer.”
If you want to kill a baby, you hire Tiller. You‘ve got to pay him 5,000 up front and he‘ll kill the baby.
Dr. Tiller has blood on his hand. I wouldn‘t want to be these people if there is a judgment day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, freedom of speech is a hell of a thing in America. Freedom of speech doesn‘t mean that you can just go out there and say whatever the heck you want. It‘s a responsibility. And I think O‘Reilly, to refer to Dr. Tiller in these terms, was dangerously inflammatory.
Joining me now is Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Kate, good to have you with us tonight.
KATE MICHELMAN, FMR. PRESIDENT, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: Well, thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Do you think that the kind of rhetoric that has been specifically used on the Fox Network, as we just played that clip, and also on talk radio in America, do you think that that set the table for this tragic incident yesterday?
MICHELMAN: Well, I don‘t think there‘s any question that inflammatory, incendiary rhetoric creates a climate where someone like this person who killed Dr. Tiller yesterday feels justified in taking action unto his own, taking the law into his own hands. I don‘t think there‘s any question that intolerance and disrespect for differences of opinion—I also think a lack of respect for women is involved here. But the rhetoric, the inflammatory rhetoric, does create a climate of possible danger. I‘ve always believed that over the years as I watched health care providers and women threatened constantly.
SCHULTZ: Kate, what about this sound bite? This is after the murder. This is coming from Randall Terry, who has been a longtime activist in this arena. Here‘s what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDALL TERRY, ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVIST: The pro-abortion groups, the Obama administration, the pro-abortion element on Capitol Hill, are going to try and take this moment and browbeat us into surrendering our best weapons of rhetoric, our best weapons of our actions, protests, and our most effective images, those of the dead babes. We must not surrender a single inch.
He was a mass murderer. We have to say that over and over again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What‘s your response to that, Ms. Michelman?
MICHELMAN: Well, it just sickens me to hear this. You know, I‘ve been listening to Randall Terry for a long time, and I will admit something to you, Ed. And I was trying to decide whether I would say this or not tonight as we talked.
I‘ve been a little nervous about what will happen now that we have an Obama administration, a president who respects the right of women to decide when it‘s time for them to become mothers and who respects the right of privacy, who respects the right of doctors to practice medicine as they deem appropriate and necessary for their women patients. And the anti-choice movement, in the past, when they‘ve lost power in the White House, in the Congress, they sometimes have resorted to more violence. And I have been a little worried about this...
SCHULTZ: So you think this is going to continue? You think this kind of activity is going to continue?
MICHELMAN: No, I certainly hope it‘s not going to continue. But I have been worried.
I mean, Randall Terry is not a person who represents the majority of people in this country. People in this country want women‘s choices and decisions respected, but they would like to see us as a nation invest more in helping to prevent the need for abortion through sex education and through contraceptive care and through emergency contraception. And the same people often—not everyone, but often, the very people who are violently opposed to a woman‘s decision to have an abortion are the same people who oppose the use of birth control or comprehensive sex education or emergency contraception.
SCHULTZ: Well, that sound bit from—I have to tell you, Kate, that sound bite from Mr. Terry, he almost endorses the killing, in my opinion.
MICHELMAN: Exactly. Exactly.
SCHULTZ: I mean, he almost endorses the killing, and I think that‘s really dangerous.
MICHELMAN: No question, Ed.
SCHULTZ: I really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much for joining us, Kate.
MICHELMAN: You‘re welcome.
SCHULTZ: We‘ll obviously follow the story.
MICHELMAN: You‘re welcome.
SCHULTZ: Next up on THE ED SHOW, “Psycho Talk.” The president and his wife go to a Broadway show. The righties go crazy. This is the party that claims to be for family values but they don‘t t like a man taking his wife out on a date?
It‘s coming up next on “Psycho Talk.” Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In “Psycho Talk,” the RNC, Republican National Committee, has a new target—Obama‘s date night in New York City.
On Saturday, President Obama took time for his other roles as a father and husband. First, the couple spent the morning watching their daughter Malia‘s soccer game—no word as to who won. Then Saturday night, the president fulfilled the promise to his wife.
He said I‘m taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished. Now here comes the right wing sound machine.
The Republican National Committee fired off this statement: “As President Obama prepares to wing it into Manhattan‘s theater district on Air Force One to take on a Broadway show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills.”
First of all, the Obamas took a Gulfstream-type plane, smaller and less costly.
Secondly, the president faces two wars, a banking crisis, an economic crisis, a housing collapse, auto bankruptcies. Can the list get any longer? By the RNC‘s reasoning, the president should probably never take any time at all to do anything with his family.
Once again, we face GOP memory loss. Remember the last guy that was in the Oval Office? You know, we used to refer to him as the vacation president.
President Bush made 149 trips to Camp David, 77 get-aways to Crawford
that was to chop wood—another 11 visits to his parents‘ compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.
So let‘s do some math here now. Let‘s recap the dinner for two at the Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Let‘s see here—we have $120 for tickets. Yes. We have two tickets to a Broadway show, $195. Gulfstream 500, motorcade, police protection, $1.3 million.
Let‘s see now. Having a president who‘s not a moron, priceless.
The RNC‘s political posturing is “Psycho Talk.”
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. On Friday, you know, I was high-fiving, putting my hands together, clapping for Texas Senator John Cornyn for calling out the Drugster and Newt Gingrich. Cornyn said Rush‘s attacks on the first Latina Supreme Court nominee were terrible and wrong.
Maybe I spoke too soon and too fast. Republicans have not been exactly falling over themselves to condone the Drugster. So here is Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL ®, MINORITY LEADER: We‘ve got a country full of people with their opinions, many of whom have big audiences. They‘re certainly entitled to their opinions. I‘ve got pet better things to do than be the speech police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I wonder what big guy with the big audience he‘s talking about, McConnell is so terrified to offend. Republicans know that they don‘t have the votes to block Sotomayor‘s nomination. But they‘ve made it clear that race will be a focus of Sotomayor‘s confirmation hearings. Is the GOP going to try to have it both ways?
Now—joining me now is Jonathan Alter, senior editor of “Newsweek” and author of the “Defining Moment, FDR‘s 100 Days and the Triumph of Hope.” Jonathan, good to have you with us tonight, as always.
JONATHAN ALTER, “NEWSWEEK”: Hi, Ed.
SCHULTZ: First of all, what did you make of the White House pretty much backing off the story on Friday, and Robert Gibbs talking about it and then the president talking about it in an interview with Brian Williams, this shift here. What do you make of that?
ALTER: Well, they were simply stating the obvious, which is that on the particular quote that was being used against Sonia Sotomayor, she poorly choose her words. She didn‘t really convey what she thinks and what literally hundreds of opinions have conveyed. So I think it was smart for them to put a little distance between themselves and that particular statement.
But it was hardly a racist statement. And the idea that somehow we‘re comparing her, as I guess Limbaugh did, to David Duke, it‘s just almost beyond the pale.
SCHULTZ: What do you make of the fact that Senate minority leader wouldn‘t back off the comment either? Cornyn did but the rest of them let it go. Almost silence gives consent. Does this set the tone for what is going to be a very confrontational process?
ALTER: Well, I think it will be somewhat confrontational, but they don‘t have the votes to stop her and they know that. And they are also checked by the fact that, look, they‘ve got some problems with Latino voters. A lot of them have Latino‘s in their state. I think they may be a little bit more careful than some people are anticipating right now.
But the bigger problem, Ed, for Mitch McConnell and the Republican party is when are they going to say enough Rush Limbaugh and his ilk do not run our party? When are they going to have that moment where they say, look, this is a mission kamikaze that we‘re on right now, if we continue down this road, where this blow hard is running our party?
Now, look, sure, he has a big audience and a lot of the so-called Ditto Heads vote in a lot of those Republican primaries. So you can understand why they don‘t want to totally alienate him. But they do have to indicate to the American public that they are in the center and not on the fringes. And they haven‘t done that yet.
SCHULTZ: Now, Jonathan, tomorrow, Judge Sotomayor will be going to the Hill. How important is this first visit to the Hill? And do you think that this will be an opportunity for Republicans to maybe take the first step as to what this process is going to be like?
ALTER: I think she‘ll be greeted cordially by the Republicans, as well as the Democrats. It‘s an important visit, because, like anything else in life, first impressions count. And she needs to get off on the right foot in these hearings, and that courtesy call begins that process.
Look, the only way she‘s not going to be confirmed, Ed, is if she steps in it in these hearings. If she says something that is so profoundly stupid that it sets off another kind of feeding frenzy. It‘s unlikely that there will be something else from her background that surfaces at this point.
Her record is quite well known. So it‘s more how she performs in those hearings. By all indications, she‘s a brilliant woman. It‘s highly unlikely that she‘s going to say anything stupid. So I think this could be a fairly anti-climatic set of hearings.
SCHULTZ: Jonathan Alter, always a pleasure. Good to have you on THE ED SHOW again tonight.
Time to bring in our political panel, political reporter for the “Huffington Post,” Sam Stein, chief White House correspondent for “Politico,” Mike Allen, and radio talk show host Heidi Harris.
Sam, let‘s start with you tonight. This horrific event that took place in Wichita, Kansas, of course, puts abortion back on the front page. Will that be a big part of the confirmation hearing?
SAM STEIN, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”: It‘s going to play a role. Her record on abortion is fairly thin. We know that through looking through her judicial decisions. Obviously, now it‘s in the news. People are going to talk about it.
But there is a precedent established that justices or nominees to the court don‘t talk about cases that they could end up deciding on. Expect her to be evasive about it. Certainly it‘s going to be a topic addressed.
SCHULTZ: Heidi Harris, there‘s no doubt that the conservatives have taken some real personal shots at Sotomayor, about her intelligence, questioning how smart someone who is ahead of her class at Princeton is. What senator do you think is going to be the toughest on the judge? And do you think that they will go so far as to question her integrity in that regard?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You know, that‘s a good question. I don‘t know who will be toughest on her. I think you can ask some fair questions about some of the statements that we talked about last week on your show, talking about how she might be, as a Latina woman, better to judge a case, better than a white man. That will definitely come up.
I think it will depend. It really will. I‘m not sure how hard they are going to be with her. I think that Jonathan Alter was correct. It depends on what she may say. If she buries herself, making the wrong kind of statement at confirmation hearings, that‘s what—they are going to basically feed off of that, and then maybe go after her from that perspective.
I don‘t think Republicans want to beat her up. But I think there are some very logical questions that she needs to answer about her judicial philosophy. That‘s all I care about.
SCHULTZ: Mike Allen, is this going to be easier than we think?
MIKE ALLEN, “POLITICO”: I think it is. I think the press is intentionally ignoring the fact that Republican senators are being extremely quiet about this. And I can tell you from private conversations, it‘s not just that they are keeping the powder dry. They are doing that. They are turning over the rocks. They are doing the research.
But they have no desire to make this a holy war. They recognize where this is going. So, yes, there are these people on the outside who, for their own purposes, whether ideological or financial or whatever, are trying to gin this up. The press will play along because it makes stories. But these hearings will be tough, aggressive. They will be meaty. They will be substantive. But they will not be ugly.
Only outside the capital, and certainly you‘ll get all the color you want out there.
SCHULTZ: What do you think, Sam?
STEIN: It‘s a valid point. We talked to about three GOP strategist who specialize in Hispanic outreach, and they were absolutely stunned, outraged, and scared stiff about what was happening with Rush Limbaugh‘s rhetoric. But they noted that you‘re not seeing it from elected officials. They‘re cognizant of the role that Latinos play in elections.
Don‘t expect Republican senators to go hard at this nominee. They know what the politics are at play here.
SCHULTZ: Heidi, there are some new numbers that I want you to respond to. A Gallup poll is now showing that 11 percent of Republicans are not white. That‘s 89 percent white; 60 percent of Republicans identify themselves as conservatives.
What do you make of these numbers? Does the GOP really have a tough road ahead?
HARRIS: Oh, no question about that. The GOP has to try to bring more people into the party. It‘s interesting, because my producer on my radio show is 28 years old. He‘s a Latino male and an Obama supporter. I asked him the other day, on the air—I said, what do you think about Sotomayor? Do you think it would be unfair if the Republicans went after her? Would it bother you? Would it turn you against Republicans.
He said no. It would be perfectly fair if you stuck to the issues. I don‘t think this hearing is going to get ugly because the Republicans cannot win. It‘s not like they can derail her nomination. So they might as well be as polite as possible. What other power do they have in the situation?
SCHULTZ: Mike, do you agree with that?
ALLEN: Absolutely. Republicans want to show that they are doing their due diligence. But they recognize that if they are ever going to come back in national elections, just because of the sort of stats you mentioned right there, they need to do better with Hispanics. They have no desire to confirm, cement stereotypes about their party. They have no desire to further alienate minorities.
And so it will take a while. They are saying it may even take the past president‘s desired deadline of early August. Maybe it will take into September. But I agree with my colleagues here on the panel that they know where it‘s headed. And they‘re not going to throw good credibility after bad.
SCHULTZ: Well, I am amazed that the leadership of the Senate would not go so far as to condemn Limbaugh‘s rhetoric.
ALLEN: Come on, look at what happened when they condemned Limbaugh before. They are just trying to stay out of the fight. It would have just turned things up if you then start a war between the leadership and Limbaugh.
SCHULTZ: All right. Panel, stay with us. We‘re coming right back in a bit.
Coming up, just 209 days since the election and Norm Coleman still won‘t quit. He took his case to the Minnesota Supreme Court today. Will they finally put an end to this never ending campaign? It‘s next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: OK, in my playbook tonight, this has got to be the end of the road, end of the game. The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments from Democrat Al Franken‘s attorney and Republican Norm Coleman‘s guys. Five justices, one hour of arguments; this could and must be the final play.
You‘ll remember a lower court ruled Al Franken the winner by 312 votes. Joining us now is Lori Sturdevant, editorial writer and columnist for the “Star Tribune” in Minneapolis. Lori, thanks for joining us tonight.
You were there today in the courtroom. I‘m anxious, as a Minnesota resident, what was the mood like? This has gone on for so long, so many days. The legal money is phenomenal that‘s being thrown at this? How tense was it, if at all, today in that court room?
LORI STURDEVANT, “MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE”: A very impatient Minnesota electorate. That court room was full of very curious and very impatient people. But we are Minnesotans, after all. We keep our cool. We don‘t get too excited, visibly any way.
But we are in round three here in Minnesota. We had the canvassing board back in December and January. That was a five to zero ruling in favor of Al Franken. We had then the three judge panel, the trial court round. That was round two. It was a three zip ruling for Al Franken. We are in round three today.
SCHULTZ: What happened today? What case did Norm Coleman make today?
STURDEVANT: The case that the Coleman campaign is hanging its hat on is that some places in Minnesota local election officials allowed more absentee ballots to be counted. They were looser in their standards in which absentee ballots met the rules that the legislature had specified for absentee voters and which ones didn‘t.
And since some places were a little more lenient, the Coleman campaign argues that every place should be more lenient. It‘s a little like saying that because somebody in front of you was speeding down the road and didn‘t get caught, you should be allowed to speed, too.
SCHULTZ: So where is—what‘s the timetable now? We expect the Minnesota State Supreme Court to rule any hour, I guess you should say. And then, of course, it‘s going to be up to the governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty. Is there any indication that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Al Franken that Pawlenty will go along with the ruling?
STURDEVANT: Apologize about the ear piece. It has just caused a little trouble. Governor Pawlenty has said that he will go along with what the Supreme Court orders. And state law is fairly clear that at the end of the state‘s election contest process, an election shall be issued to the winner. So we‘re expecting that the governor will do as reasonable Minnesotans expect, that he will follow the law.
SCHULTZ: OK, and if that happens, then it would be up to Norm Coleman to make a decision whether to take it to the United States Supreme Court. Or would that over at that point?
STURDEVANT: The issuance of an election certificate should allow for the seating of the winner at that point. We presume that would be Al Franken. That would still leave Coleman free to pursue a federal court case. The Senate might chose to seat Al Franken provisionally while a federal case would proceed. But the interest here in Minnesota is to get a second senator seated. That‘s, I think, the interest of the national party as well.
SCHULTZ: All right, editorial writer of the “Star Tribune” joining us tonight, Lori Sturdevant. Lori, good to have you with us tonight. Thank you. It has been a long road, no doubt about that.
Up next, General Motors files for bankruptcy.
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OBAMA: Today‘s news carries a particular importance because it‘s not just any company we‘re talking about. It‘s GM.
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SCHULTZ: Will bankruptcy save this great American company? That‘s next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us right here.
SCHULTZ: Before my time, but that‘s the way it was. It‘s an end of an era. GM has filed for bankruptcy. Fifty years ago, this would have been absolutely unthinkable. At its height, General Motors represented 10 percent—ten percent of the national economy.
But it was more than that. It was an American icon. Remember the ‘69 Dodge from Dukes of Hazzard? “Night Rider‘s” Pontiac Firebird? The Camaro, the Impala? What about the 442? They didn‘t put that in the story. Even the Ghost Busters drove a Cadillac.
GM probably wouldn‘t return to its former glory. That‘s not going to happen. But today, President Obama said he hoped it would find a new role as a vital force in America.
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OBAMA: I am absolutely confident that, if well managed, a new GM will emerge that can provide a new generation of Americans with a chance to live out their dreams, that can out-compete automakers around the world, and that can, once again, be an integral part of American‘s economic future.
And when that happens, we can truly say that what is good for General Motors and all of the work there is good for the United States of America.
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SCHULTZ: OK. Our panel is still with us tonight, Sam Stein, Mike Allen, Heidi Harris. Heidi, what about this? Is this the best available option for American jobs to just throw them 30 billion dollars and say, you‘ve got to go bankruptcy? We‘ll give you a chance to play again? Are you OK with this move tonight?
HARRIS: No, I‘m not OK with it. Listen, I‘m in Vegas. I know a sucker‘s bet when I see it. This is ridiculous. It‘s more money down the hole. I love when Obama says, if they are well run. How many chances do we give them to run well? They are obsolete, basically, at this point. They have not run well. They don‘t make the cars people want. Whether it‘s a big car or not, obviously people are not buying them in droves before this all happened.
They‘ve had numerous chances. No, it‘s not the government‘s job to bail them out in any way, shape, or form, even through bankruptcy.
SCHULTZ: Why do we have a line in the sand, Sam Stein, for General Motors, but we don‘t for Wall Street?
STEIN: It‘s a good question. Obviously, the Obama administration has been way more hands on with General Motors than they have with any of the other banks. That said, they feel very confident that they have a plan to get them back on their feet, a leaner, better General Motors, a new GM, as the president says.
You talk to these progressive economists, a lot of them say this was probably the only course of action that we had. You see a lot of the voices that would have opposed this, including Governor Granholm, who are now on board, including the unions as well, which shouldn‘t be understated.
SCHULTZ: Mike Allen, what about the political fallout of this? In Michigan, in Ohio, in Indiana, I hear, well, we‘ve got green jobs on the way. These folks—these 21,000 people that are going to be out of a job from the factories coming up, this round of layoffs that they are going to have, what are these folks going to do? And what responsibility now is on the Obama administration‘s table now that they‘ve decided to go the route of bankruptcy?
ALLEN: Ed, you have been on this story for months. And you‘re absolutely right. I‘m not sure that the president had any choice here. But, Ed, he now owns a lot of very unpopular decisions still to come. The it administration was very adamant that it was the car companies, not them, making decisions about dealerships. Now that we‘re effectively the owners, that‘s going to be called into question.
I think Sam made a very astute point about the normal voices of opposition that you would think who are not here now. Look, Ed, you can call this leaner, but this company is going to be radically down sized from where it is today. There‘s a lot of pain to come, pain from even people who have nothing to do with the automobile industry. Hundreds of automobile dealer ships.
And Ed, I know that you know that the ripple effect of that to the little league teams that aren‘t going to be sponsored, to the churches that are not going to be able to make their budget, churches in these towns that are going to layoff pastors, because people in their parishes are not making money. It‘s very—still unfolding in one of the most politically sensitive parts of the country, as you pointed out.
SCHULTZ: No question about it. I mean, these folks in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, they went for Obama. Now, Heidi Harris, what‘s the jobs program here? This has got to be somewhat of a political opening for the Republicans if the Democrats don‘t deliver. What do you think?
HARRIS: Well, absolutely. I don‘t think GM is going to succeed at all. I don‘t think most Americans are going to say, I want to buy a GM car, especially not from the government.
ALLEN: A little tiny car too, that‘s the problem. They don‘t want to buy these little cars. Americans have voted with their feet and their pocket books.
SCHULTZ: Let me point out to the panel tonight that Ford—the Escape is selling extremely well. You‘ve got Ford over there tonight. They‘re saying that they are going to actually increase their production level by 10 percent in the third quarter. Sam Stein, what about that?
STEIN: Listen, GM needs to make a product that people want. It comes down to supply and demand. If they aren‘t going to sell cars and people aren‘t going to buy them, then it‘s not going to be a successful venture no matter how many times you give them money or how much bankruptcy they go through.
It really comes down to creating a car that people want, that is fuel efficient, that meets modern technology. Until that happens, I don‘t know what the future is for GM.
HARRIS: You have to look at—go ahead.
SCHULTZ: Go ahead.
HARRIS: I‘m looking at the larger issue, of the fact that government shouldn‘t be bailing out companies that don‘t succeed. That‘s true capitalism. Where‘s our bailout for those of us in the radio business? How many thousands of people have lost their jobs because of the economy? How many people in Las Vegas, thousands. The casinos are bankrupt. Where is our bail out. You‘ve got to pick and choose who you bail out? That‘s bad policy.
SCHULTZ: Let me answer that. The reason being that we cannot lose our manufacturing base in this country and it‘s got to be a philosophy that either we make something—it just can‘t be paper shuffling and it can‘t be a service oriented type economy. So, again, Heidi, let me ask you, what‘s the jobs program for these thousands of people that are going to be put out of work because of this bankruptcy?
HARRIS: I don‘t know. What happened to people that used to make type writers? I don‘t know. They can get other jobs. Not only that, we‘re not going to lose our manufacturing base. If GM goes bankrupt, there are other people making cars.
SCHULTZ: You‘ve got a ripple effect that could affect up to seven million people, plastics, rubber, upholstery, across the board. So I think this story will go on for months. Sam, final word.
STEIN: There‘s a more valid point here, which is that this could hurt Obama as much in those states where they manufacture cars as it does in the states where they don‘t, where people think we‘re putting money down a hole that we don‘t know the end to. When is this going to stop? Obama could take a real hit on this one.
SCHULTZ: Great panel tonight. Thank you.
ALLEN: Ed, I‘ve got to tell you. I‘ll drive a Volt if you will.
SCHULTZ: All right. We‘ll have to do that probably later in the week there, Mike. We‘ll answer that question. That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow in New York, same time, 6:00 pm Eastern time on MSNBC. For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com, or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com. Chris Matthews, “HARDBALL,” MSNBC is next.
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