Guests: Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Lizz Winstead, Cliff May, Robert Reich, Richard Wolffe, Joe Madison, Matthew Continetti, Jack Rice
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: I‘m Ed Schultz. This is THE ED SHOW.
Good evening, Americans. Live from Washington, D.C. it‘s THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
The Republican Party will do anything to stop President Obama‘s momentum. Bringing Cheney out of his bunker was just part of their obstruction plan. I‘m calling their bluff on that one.
There‘s a civil war in the Democratic Party over health care.
Progressives are refusing to back down over a public option.
Michelle Bachmann hates taxes, except of course when it comes to the money that goes to her Congressional office. That‘s going to be in my “Play Book” tonight.
Plus “Psycho Talk:” Michael Steele‘s talking about health care police?
All that, a great panel and “The Daily Show” creator Lizz Winstead.
But first, tonight‘s “Op Ed.” Tomorrow, President Obama will mark his fifth month in office. For five months he‘s faced nothing but attacks and obstruction from the right. The GOP, you know that, they have no ideas; their only hope is to obstruct the Obama agenda. They‘re running pretty much a shameful, cynical obstruction campaign against the president.
Here‘s the obstruction plan and I have felt this for a long time.
There are basically five points to it. This is all part of the plan.
The Minnesota Senate race has dragged on for 228 days. The Democrats have been denied another vote in the Senate. Rightists have just been bank rolling Norm Coleman‘s effort to keep it alive. The GOP knows this is a marathon it‘s not a sprint. They want to drag it out, play every legal option they can to slow down the Obama agenda. And of course once the fall starts, everybody‘s going to start running for the midterms.
The time for real reform is right now. And even the Republicans know it‘s now or never.
Number two, the Righties have mobilized Dick Cheney to be the attack dog. It‘s good to see a guy who had five deferments finally answer to the call of duty. Cheney‘s job basically is to go out and just do mud slinging on President Obama. The GOP lawmakers know they can‘t touch this guy, the president of the United States, because he‘s too popular. So they send out a security hawk who basically has nothing to lose and no political future.
Number three, what Righty lawmakers would do is attack the president on the economy, and that‘s what they‘ve done. Accused him of being the big spender, the party of the Iraq war that walked us right into it on faulty intelligence, the party that cost this country nearly $1 trillion is now attacking the president of the United States on spending? Really unbelievable. Not to mention President Obama is using the money to fix the economic catastrophe left behind by a guy named Bush.
And number four, part of the plan I think is the Righties to just go out there and say that government has never been able to do anything and they‘re not going to be able to do anything in the future for you. Looking at the last Republican White House I can see why they feel that way. The GOP is using the bailouts to make the government the bogeyman.
But the Righty attack on the auto bailout, folks, that has just been a straw man. I‘ve talked about this a lot. The money that went to Michigan is pocket change compared to the money that has been thrown at Wall Street. That is a double standard.
Now they‘re scaring Americans saying, look out for socialism. Here it comes. There‘s just a bunch of socialists over on the left.
I think that if the GOP lawmakers are so convinced that the government is broken, maybe they shouldn‘t work there. Capitol Hill‘s a great place. It‘s the only place in America where you can publicly trash your employer and still keep your job. Not a lot of that going around today in the private sector.
And finally, Nancy Pelosi: vilify the speaker. Connect her to torture and they‘ve done a pretty good job of that. I guarantee you‘ll see all of that in Republican campaign commercials next fall come time for the mid term. Slow them down. Take a five-point plan. The conservative agenda is to slow down the Obama agenda. Get into the dog days of summer and tell them that the government‘s the bogeyman.
Joining me now is Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of “The Nation.” And I have to say Katrina, I think, I feel this undercurrent out there that progressives in this country are getting a little bit let‘s say impatient. Do you think that President Obama‘s administration has fought off what I think has been a complete plan of obstruction? What do you think?
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, “THE NATION”: First of all, I think it‘s interesting that he remains popular, very popular. Despite the obstructionist campaign by this male, stale, and pale party.
But you know, real change is not going to come from the city you‘re sitting in, Washington, unless people outside Washington are doing their bit, are mobilizing.
I think Obama needs to get outside Washington and speak as he did during the campaign. He‘s a great communicator. Speak about the ideas, the changes he believes in. Ask people to rally in support. Get their legislators off their back sides in D.C. And get out of Washington and do that.
And then the progressives who are mobilizing, there is an infrastructure that didn‘t exist in the Clinton period, that formed during the Bush disasters: Health care for Americans now; Americans for financial reform. These are groups, hundreds of groups around the country, community organizations which should mobilize to get a serious, robust public plan. It‘s good that the house came forward with a good piece of legislation just hours ago.
And get consumers at the regulatory table so they don‘t get shafted again as they did in these last months and years.
SCHULTZ: Katrina, don‘t you think that the big initiative for the president domestically obviously is health care? That‘s what I think. I hear it everywhere I go across the country.
If the Republicans can derail the public option, will it be a victory for them?
VANDEN HEUVEL: Absolutely. Listen, Bill Crystal, former advisor to Dan Quayle and editor of “The Weekly Standard,” he wrote a memo in ‘94. You maybe remember, Ed. They fought tooth and nail to keep health reform passing in the Clinton years.
The country‘s changed since then because they knew that if people got health care from a Democratic administration it would cement support for that party.
SCHULTZ: For years.
VANDEN HEUVEL: We need to fight.
Listen, you and I are for single payer. That‘s not on the table. But we need to fight for a robust public plan. You‘ve seen the polls; 83 percent, 76 percent public support for a public plan.
Don‘t let Max Baucus, profiler in cowardice at this moment, or others like Olympia Snowe, hold up reforms people in this country are demanding. That‘s why Obama needs to go to Maine, for example, and get Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe back on his side and tell Max Baucus people are seeking these changes. You, Blue dog Democrats, get off your blue dog duffs and do something for this country.
That will be something powerful that people, by the way you talk about anti-government feeling. If government can improve the actual conditions of people‘s lives, if they feel it, that changes the dynamic for generations to come.
SCHULTZ: Do you think that the Franken/Coleman race and the way they have played every legal option, do you think that‘s been part of the plan? And what would that senate seat mean to the Democrats?
VANDEN HEUVEL: Of course. I mean, it‘s ugly what‘s been going on in Minnesota. But it would mean a hell of a lot. The other thing, let‘s remember, Ed, Senator Kennedy, lion of the senate, has been ill. He‘s out of play. Senator Byrd has not been well. We‘ve been playing with 57, really. We have not had 60.
Then as I said earlier, you‘ve got some senators who—we need to expose this too, the progressive media. Democrats are taking lots of money from health care interests. That‘s where health care for Americans now and other groups...
SCHULTZ: It is unbelievable how some of these Democrats are just bailing out on the progressive community that put them in power. No question about it.
Now, finally I want to ask you, what about Tom Daschle? What has he been smoking? I say that jokingly...
VANDEN HEUVEL: Maybe he‘s out in California already and doing the legalize marijuana bit, I don‘t know. Tom Daschle, he was going to be Obama‘s point man. Did I read it correctly at 6:00 a.m. the other morning that had been he took public plan off the table before it was even fought for?
This is why we need to remind legislators why we put them in office. And people, mobilize around the country to tell their legislators, do something to improve the conditions. And you know what, the financing is there. The public plan will keep costs down and open access.
And even though the right says this, you know, the compromise here Ed on the public plan, is it will open doors. It is an opportunity. The key is not to have a public plan that is so weak that it forecloses the opportunity of moving forward to give even more health care to more people.
SCHULTZ: Katrina, great to have you with us tonight.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much, great work at “The Nation.”
So how does President Obama, how does he navigate through all of this resistance and really getting some done, and can the Republicans derail his big initiative?
Joining me now is former labor secretary to President Clinton, Robert Reich. Mr. Reich, good to have you on tonight. Also the author...
ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: How are you, Ed?
SCHULTZ: I‘m doing fine. I‘m a little frustrated right now but we‘ll get through it. I think the Democrats are getting a little weak-kneed on some issues. Maybe I‘m overplaying that, I don‘t know. What do you think?
REICH: Well, I think—they do happen to need strengthening. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said in the election of 1936 when somebody came up to him and said, “Mr. President, if you‘re re-elected you‘ve got to do this, and this, and this, and this.” He said, “You must make me. I want to do it but you must make me.”
And I want to emphasize that the public has got to take an active role here. If we want, for example, as Katrina Vanden Heuvel was saying, if we want a public option that really will keep the private insurers‘ feet to the fire and keep them honest, the public has got to be active.
You‘ve got to call your representatives and senators and people have got to rise up. Because nothing—I‘ve been in Washington, Ed, nothing good happens unless the people are activated. Because if they are not activated, then it is just the lobbyists and the lawyers and the public relations people working for corporations.
SCHULTZ: If you‘re counseling President Obama right now, what do you tell him? What do you want him to do right now?
REICH: He‘s got to get out on the hustings with regard to this public option on health care. It‘s the one single way to keep costs down because private insurers on their own, without having to compete against the public option, they are not going to—they have no incentive to keep costs down and also improve quality.
He‘s got to...
SCHULTZ: What about the price tag -- $1 trillion? Some say it‘s going to be more than that. How does the president navigate through those numbers and get this thing passed and get his people on board with him?
REICH: Two ways. Number one, you know that that $1 trillion figure came from the government, that is, the Congressional Budget Office. And they made that figure—they estimated that without a public option on the table.
In other words, that figure comes from assuming that there is no way of controlling the private insurers. If you put the public option in that kind of projection you‘re going to get a much, much lower cost for this entire health care project, for the entire health care proposal. That‘s number one.
SCHULTZ: What do you make of Daschle bailing out? What do you make of him causing some trouble and saying it ought to be scrapped?
REICH: I‘m disappointed. I think there are Democrats out there who are getting weak-kneed, who are saying, look, we have got to have some Republicans on board. But you don‘t have to have Republicans on board. You need 51 votes in the senate. And this is a big issue.
You know, I can‘t stress this more importantly. The issue is happening right now. The concrete is being poured. We are going to be living for the next 30 years with, either a health care plan that is kind of a watered-down, non-health care plan that gives subsidies to the insurance companies and pharmaceutical industry, or a health care plan that is really working for the people. This is the opportunity right now.
It‘s the next couple of weeks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Finally, Mr. Reich, the budget director today, Peter Orszag, says it‘s going to be a $1.8 trillion budget deficit. How is the president going to get his agenda through without coming up saying we‘re going to have to raise taxes to make this thing work?
REICH: Well, he does it in two ways. Number one, he‘s got to say in the short term; that is in 2009, 2010, we‘ve got to run a deficit in order to get people back to work. Because consumers are not buying and business is not investing. Government is the spender of last resort. You need that position in the short term. They are good.
In the long term, though Ed, he‘s got to be able to say, “We‘ve got to control health care costs and we may—we may if we don‘t get control health care costs—we may have to raise some taxes on the rich.”
SCHULTZ: I think we‘re going to have to raise some taxes.
REICH: The rich are richer than they‘ve ever been.
SCHULTZ: I will take issue with you there, I think it‘s not may, I think it‘s got to happen if we‘re going to make this stuff work for the American people.
REICH: And look Ed, there are some easy ways of doing it. And one of the easiest is simply to limit deductions for the very, very rich. I mean, that is—that‘s fair. And it should be back on the table.
SCHULTZ: We will visit again. Thanks so much. Robert Reich, with us here on The Ed Show.
REICH: Thanks Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, House Republicans are accusing President Obama of being confused on Iran. I think it‘s pretty clear the Republicans are advocating a confrontation.
More on that next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, “Psycho Talk.” At the bottom of the hour, Michael Steele visits the zone again. The head of the RNC says the health care police could be between you and your doctor. That‘s what I‘m concerned about. They‘re going to lock you up if you haven‘t had your flu shot.
It‘s coming up on “Psycho Talk.” Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to “THE ED SHOW.”
Iran‘s supreme leader called for opposition street protests to stop today and said the leaders of the opposition will be held accountable if they don‘t. Ayatollah Khamenei said terrorists are hiding among the protesters and blamed terrorists for recent violence.
Both the Senate and the House passed resolutions today in support of Iranians who embrace freedom and condemn the violence in Iran. The White House said the president supports the resolutions and they don‘t conflict with his position. But House Republicans set on urging another country‘s political struggle to score some cheap political points for their party—so much for unity. The GOP had to take another opportunity to go after President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA: The American cause is freedom. And in this cause the American people will not be silent. Here or abroad. If the president of the United States won‘t express the unqualified support of our nation for the dissidents in the streets of Tehran, this Congress must.
REP. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART ®, FLORIDA: The president of the United States has been silent and confused. The Congress of the United States, consistent with the traditions and the values of the American people, has been clear. And today, it has spoken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Cliff May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Mr. May, good to have you with us tonight.
What do you want the president to do here? I‘m hearing criticism from the House Republicans but I don‘t hear them saying what he should do. What do you think?
CLIFF MAY, PRESIDENT, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: I‘m not critical but I do want to advise to the extent I can. I think the bipartisan resolution from the house and senate today that you referred to was pretty good.
It didn‘t deplore violence in sort of abstract terms in a passive voice. It said the violence that the government of Iran, the rulers, are inflicting on the protesters, these protesters want freedom, they want to pick their own leaders, they want to practice their religion freely and they‘re getting their heads cracked. We should be clear when we see people like this in the street, we should be clear where our sympathies lie. It‘s with the people being oppressed, not the oppressors.
SCHULTZ: We don‘t want confrontation, do we?
MAY: Confrontation is taking place. The question is whose side are we on? I understand, and I‘m not going to disagree with you here, that we want to be careful here. Already you‘ve got some of the rulers in Iran, some of the mullahs who are running the place, saying, “Oh, this is a conspiracy from the U.S. and from the Zionists and all that.” They‘ll say that no matter what.
If you is and I say and the president says that Ahmadinejad is 100 percent right, you should crack more heads, they‘ll still blame us and the Zionists. I think America because—based on our values—we should be clear where our support is.
This president is so articulate that he can say it very clearly. I don‘t think he‘s been terrible. I think he could be better than he is been. I think you think that too secretly.
SCHULTZ: I think his silence speaks volumes. And I think it‘s a part of leadership, that for the first time since World War II, we‘re not injecting ourselves into their issues and we might get some good out of it. That‘s where I am.
MAY: You think the silence is a good response?
SCHULTZ: I think it shows an ounce of respect to people that have not been respected by the last administration.
MAY: I think our respect should be for the kids in the streets getting their heads cracked.
SCHULTZ: We‘ve got a resolution.
MAY: I‘m in favor of that and I‘m glad...
SCHULTZ: We have spoken.
MAY: We have spoken, we should continue to speak consistently. We should continue to speak with integrity for the people who are rising up. Look, this is a huge thing going on right now.
MAY: I don‘t know if it‘s going to succeed. If the Iranian people now have a chance to embrace some freedom which they haven‘t had for 30 years—I‘ve been following this revolution—we should certainly make it clear to ourselves and to others—Sarkozy‘s been pretty good in Europe—that we know what we‘d love the outcome to be.
SCHULTZ: Some conservatives are talking in a very provocative manner, almost like we should militarily inject ourselves into this thing.
MAY: If there are I‘m not sure I‘ve heard them. And if you have some clips, I‘ll watch them; I‘m probably not with them. I‘m saying we should be subtle and careful and diplomatic but there should be no confusion. We are not for the Gestapo out there with the clubs hitting the kids on the head.
SCHULTZ: Here‘s—I want to play this sound bite—this is former secretary of state Henry Kissinger. This is his position on what‘s going on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: You know I was a McCain supporter. And—but I think the president has handled this well. I don‘t see how President Obama could say less than he has. And even that is considered intolerable meddling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Quick reaction?
MAY: This is what‘s called the realist school. This is when Brent Scowcroft the Republican went and drank champagne after Tiananmen Square with china‘s rulers. I think it‘s an odd thing if Democrats now say, “Yes, we‘re all Kissingerians now and it‘s Republicans like me who suddenly are for liberalism and Wilsonianism and the kind of spirit that John F. Kennedy was for.
SCHULTZ: Mr. May, good to have you with us tonight.
MAY: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.
Up next on THE ED SHOW, “Psycho Talk:” more fear mongering on health care. Michael Steele says the health police are coming.
You don‘t want to miss this. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Oh, the leader of the Republican National Committee lands in the “Psycho Talk” zone tonight. Michael Steele is fear mongering on health care big-time. Earlier this week I got after Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, accusing the government of planning to get between you and your doctor.
I‘ve been thinking a lot about, I‘ve been wondering just how exactly they‘re going to get between me and Dr. Glatt after 30 years of good health care out of Fargo.
Well, folks, now I know the game plan. Steele broke the news this morning. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: The government will know whether or not I‘ve had my physical at the appropriate time. And then probably some health police will come knocking on my door telling me that I‘m now costing the system money because I haven‘t, you know, gone and done my preventive care.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The health police are going to come knocking on your door.
He also claims that a national ID card is going to be formed out of all of this. Folks, that is absolutely bogus.
I mean, don‘t get sucked into this fear mongering nonsense. The amount of propaganda that is coming out of the GOP these days is unbelievable. They‘ll stop at nothing to stop the public option.
So far we‘ve heard that Obama wants to take your guns. That the president wants to put your kids in education camps. Now we‘ve got the health police that are going to be coming to your front door. What, to get between you and your doctor when it‘s time for that colonoscopy? What are they going to do with that?
Although maybe Steele is on to something. I want the health police to round up all these Republican crazies for mental evaluations. Because anyone who thinks Obama‘s going to have a health care police outfit SWAT Team could be knocking on your door is really suffering from a severe case of “Psycho Talk”.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. It‘s not too often that politics and fatherhood are in the same story. Today, they were. Heading into Father‘s Day weekend, President Obama talked about fatherhood this afternoon at the White House. I think it‘s long overdue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Now, there‘s no rule that says that you have to repeat your father‘s mistakes. Just the opposite. You have an obligation to break the cycle and to learn from those mistakes, and to rise up where your own fathers fell short, and to do better than they did with your own children.
That‘s what I‘ve tried to do in my life. When my daughters were born, I made a pledge to them and to myself that I would do everything I could to give them some things I didn‘t have. And I decided that if I could be one thing in life, it would be to be a good father.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Left, right, center, how in the world could you ever argue with that? I think it‘s called leadership. This president said what I‘ve experienced as a dad. Always think about it going into Father‘s Day. There is no greater thrill in life than to see your kids and your step-kids do well.
In politics, we hear a lot about family values. There‘s no greater value in life than being a dad. Being there, being a part of it, enjoying every stage of the development in the growth of a human life. If President Obama can reach some fathers in our society to take responsibility, we‘ll be a better country for all of it.
Joining me now is Richard Wolffe. He covered President Obama on the campaign trail, spent a lot of time with him, and writes in his new book, “Renegade: The Making of a President.” Richard, did you recall any conversations today that you had on the campaign trail when you heard President Obama talk about fatherhood today? I know you spent a lot of time with him. But this really came from the soul today. Is this the president?
RICHARD WOLFFE, AUTHOR, “RENEGADE: THE MAKING OF A PRESIDENT”: Yes, it is. Look, there were times on the campaign trail and in his previous campaign for the Senate where he would choke up with emotion. And that‘s, as you can tell, pretty rare for this guy, who‘s very cool under fire and in the public eye. But he would get emotional talking about his daughters, missing his daughters.
And of course, that‘s related to something he was talking about very
frankly today, which is the fact that he didn‘t know his father. You hear
all these crazy stories about his father doing this, that and the other
with him. He didn‘t know his father. So those moments when he speaks from
personal experience about not having a father or trying to be a good father
and the reason he was getting emotional, by the way, was because he wasn‘t there. He was out campaigning.
And he talked about that again today as well, that to be a good father means sometimes putting aside your work, even though you‘re working for your family.
SCHULTZ: Is this a hard subject for him to address with the African-American community? What do you think?
WOLFFE: Well, we‘re not used to hearing politicians, never mind African-American politicians, speaking like this. But this is something he has done before. In, I think it was 2005, he gave a Father‘s Day speech which was so powerful—in fact, he didn‘t really write it down. But it was so powerful that the “Chicago Tribune” basically reprinted it verbatim over several pages.
So he has a tradition of delivering this message of saying, turn off “Sportscenter,” be a good father because that‘s the measure of a man. It‘s not about conception, it‘s about being a father. So, you know, this is a consistent message for him. But, again, hearing it from the White House, from the president, from an African-American president, talking not just about black families, but about everyone.
But also directing things to families in the inner city. That is a very powerful message.
SCHULTZ: Well, in recent years, it‘s been kind of a rough day at the office for conservatives when it comes to family values. The cynics might say that the president is being a political opportunist here. What‘s your response to that?
WOLFFE: I don‘t think this is about politics. I mean, look, there are times when good policy is the same as good politics. But this is a message that he has delivered before. It‘s a message all Americans, all people of good faith and good values, should believe in.
But the family values thing does start with families. And this family that we‘re seeing in the White House has had its ups and downs, as I say in the book. But they are in a strong place and a strong example for people.
SCHULTZ: How much—you write about this in your book. How much division was there between Michelle and Barack about the big decision to run for the presidency?
WOLFFE: She was concerned about a number of different things: whether he could still be a good father. Could he have weekends off? You know, would he be there for the girls, for the parent-teacher conferences and the ballet recitals, and that kind of thing. And their concern was very much about the impact on the kids.
And Michelle‘s concern as well was this just an ego trip. Was the presidential campaign an exercise in vanity or did they have a real plan to win? So a lot of this was very personal. She did take some convincing. Not least because she didn‘t really get involved in his other campaigns a whole lot. In fact, it was only the Senate campaign in 2004 that she really put her toe in the water.
SCHULTZ: Richard Wolffe, great to have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much and it‘s a fabulous book you wrote, my friend. Thank you.
WOLFFE: Thank you, Ed. I appreciate it.
SCHULTZ: Republicans like to talk about family values. This week, we‘ve seen two very different sets of values. On the left, President Obama holding a candid conversation about fatherhood. On the right, a senator who‘s thrown more than a few stones during his career, trying to dig himself out of a shady affair with a married staffer.
I think it‘s pretty clear who‘s winning this week anyway when it comes to family values. For more on that, let‘s bring in our panel. Joe Madison is an XM radio talk show host. Also Matthew Continetti, an associate editor with “The Weekly Standard.”
Joe, let me ask you, is the president going to make some headway on this?
JOE MADISON, XM RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: In reference to the fatherhood?
SCHULTZ: Absolutely. Communicating to the American people, because we have so many challenged fathers in our society who have got a tough set of circumstances.
MADISON: And they‘re getting tougher. I mean, I did a show today where you have fathers who, for the first time, find themselves unemployed. The recession now has hit. They‘ve lost jobs. No fault of their own. These are fathers who may have been with their families. These are fathers who may have paid their child support. And now they find that they can‘t.
And you have mothers who are now saying, I‘ve lost my job; I need that money. These are difficult times for families. And I think his remarks were right on.
The only thing I want to add, Ed, is be careful that we don‘t stereotype one group of fathers. It‘s just as difficult for you in Fargo to be a father as it is for me in Washington, D.C. or a father in Detroit. We can‘t—men have a big responsibility, and it‘s tough being a dad in our society.
SCHULTZ: No question about it. He talked about being a role model today, and I thought to myself, you know, there‘s been so much division, the left, the right, the agenda, and everything else. Matthew, I think this is something that the conservatives are going to be able to embrace.
MATTHEW CONTINETTI, “THE WEEKLY STANDARD”: Absolutely. Right? Obama talks about bringing bipartisanship change, changing the tone in Washington. No one‘s against fatherhood. No one‘s against responsible parenting. So this is definitely an issue where you could have bipartisan cooperation.
SCHULTZ: In a sense today, I thought the president was a little stern saying, look, you know, you‘ve got responsibilities; you‘ve got to stand up. I thought there was a real personal connection there.
CONTINETTI: This is one area where Obama‘s talk of a responsibility society I think is dead on. He does talk about how individuals have obligations, not only to themselves, but to their families, and to the broader society at large.
It‘s when he gets to fiscal responsibility that I think his responsibility talk is a little bit exaggerated. But in this regard, Richard Wolffe is absolutely right. This is not about politics. It‘s about families.
MADISON: The only thing I want to add is, first of all, children are little ego sponges. You know what they want, attention. That‘s what fathers have to do. If they don‘t have a dime in their pocket, you can give your children attention.
Look, we‘ve all made mistakes. I‘m not sitting here an angel. Lord knows, I‘ve made mistakes. You do want to be a better father than your father was. You want to grow in that position.
However, let‘s also be very honest. Public policy impacts families.
SCHULTZ: No doubt.
MADISON: And I would also say, parties and institutions have got to put aside this family values. Institutions don‘t have family values. Individuals do.
SCHULTZ: Is there political gain here for the president?
CONTINETTI: Well, listen, he spent a lot of time under fire this week in Washington. I mean, whether it‘s the whole debate about Iran or whether it‘s the debate about health care—his regulatory plan is coming up against some criticism. Most of that criticism is coming from Democrats in the health care and the regulatory reform stuff.
So this right here, this is taking a break. This is Obama. This is him talking about his personal story, about individual responsibility. I think he‘s solid.
MADISON: What a good example. I mean, just to see this guy with his family—I mean, I‘m seeing young men now who are talking about emulating him. All of a sudden, they‘re pulling their pants up over their hips. It‘s cool to be smart. You know, now he‘s an excellent role model.
SCHULTZ: He talked about books and television and time spent with sons and daughters.
SCHULTZ: And when he came to our neck of the woods on the campaign trail, he told a story about the first time he went into the Lincoln Bedroom. He had never been in there before. Went in there and looked around, and there was a TV in there. He thought there would be more books. He thought, we have to have more of a focus on young people reading in our society, reading and paying attention to detail.
And I think, today, that message resonated with me. You know, you‘ve got to pay attention to detail. I think he was a star today.
MADISON: Ed, can I make one other point? Please, guys. And this is something—this has been said in our community as long as I‘ve been on the face of the Earth. Thank god, he‘s got the bully pulpit. But every minister I know has said this. Most people in my community, speakers at dinners, whether it‘s NAACP or Urban League; they‘ve all said this for decades. They‘ve always said it. This is not new.
SCHULTZ: Well, a lot of people are paying attention to what this guy is saying, and I‘m glad he said it.
MADISON: It helps to be president.
SCHULTZ: There‘s no question about that. Stay with us, fellows. We‘ve got more coming up. Coming up, the outrageous amount Michelle Bachmann is spending in taxpayer dollars to operate her Congressional office. She‘s out there accusing President Obama of being a reckless spender? Look in the mirror, Congresswoman. You can‘t put lipstick on this one. It‘s next in my playbook. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, it has been a tough year for businesses across the country. Most of them have had to cut costs big-time. But it‘s a different story here in Washington. Members of the House of Representatives saw their office budgets increase by seven percent compared to last year.
Did you get an increase in the office? This budget I‘m talking about is called the Members‘ Representational Allowance, MRA. And it‘s supposed to cover the daily office expenses like payroll, travel, stuff like that. This year‘s MRA is 1.5 million dollars per office, left, right, center, whatever. That‘s what it costs. And that‘s 100,000 more than last year.
Now, this is the kind of stuff that drives taxpayers absolutely crazy. That‘s a seven percent hike bigger than the cost of living adjustment on Social Security checks this year. In the middle of a recession, with businesses and families all over America scrambling to pay their bills, every Congressional office gets to jack up its operational expenses?
Do they know what‘s happening inside the beltway? Congress is acting like they‘re exempt from this economic crisis. And I have to call them out on one of the biggest spenders tonight, a regular psycho talker on this show. That‘s right, it‘s Minnesota‘s own Michelle Bachmann.
Now, she just ripped through about 380 grand the first quarter of this year, 2009. And that‘s over 100,000 dollars more than the average member of Congress spent. A huge chunk of that money went towards mass mailings to her constituents.
Michelle, I do know for a fact that they do have e-mail in Minnesota. So come on, 100 grand more on junk mail? Republicans keep hammering the president about fiscal responsibility. Then when they have Michelle Bachmann coming out and burning through cash quicker than anyone else in the Congress, a lot of times we call the Congresswoman here being a psycho talker. Today she‘s earned the title psycho spender.
Coming up, why Attorney General Eric Holder is a political genie. Comedian Lizz Winstead takes on our new detainee policy next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. It‘s time for Club Ed on Friday, where we look back at the week‘s highs and lows, with a guest who can find the humor in even the most serious stories. Joining me now is comedian Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show” and the brains behind “Wake Up, World.”
LIZZ WINSTEAD, “WAKE UP WORLD”: Ed, I like your tie.
SCHULTZ: You like this one?
WINSTEAD: I do. You look good in raspberry.
SCHULTZ: Compliment my wife, she‘s in charge of the wardrobe. I just put on whatever they tell me to put on. You know how it is.
All right, you‘re going to be doing a comedy stint coming up here in New York City on June 26th and 27th. You can get tickets online at ComicsNewYork.com. I, of course, am going to be there.
SCHULTZ: I don‘t want to miss your performance again. We‘ve got serious stuff happening over in Iran. Now, this Twitter in Iran has really taken off. But I don‘t think it‘s reached that serious level here in the United States, has it?
WINSTEAD: You know, it‘s so interesting, Ed, because you look at Iran and you look at Twitter. The Iranian citizens are Twittering about an election that is really—what‘s the outcome really going to be for them no matter what? But the fact that they put themselves out there, they Twitter and a revolution starts happening. Hundreds of thousands of people take to the street.
In America, when they Twitter, it‘s about the fact that they don‘t like the Spam-a-licious Hot Pocket. There‘s no revolution happening with the way Americans Twitter. They‘re on the couch. They‘re Twittering about Miss California or those infidels that have 800 children that are breaking up.
It‘s really pathetic. Shame on America. When you look at what Twitter can do and what we use it for, it‘s like—it‘s really sad. Wake up, people. We should be Twittering about health care. We should be taking to the streets about the environment. All of it.
SCHULTZ: That‘s what I thought. I thought, gosh, Lizz, I think you‘re on to something. Maybe we should be Twittering the Congress to get a public option or something, I don‘t know.
WINSTEAD: That would be nice, wouldn‘t it. The fact that this public option was not in the initial bill is shocking. I think that, you know—the insurance companies got their wish. There‘s not single payer but there is single profiteer, which is the insurance companies.
SCHULTZ: What do you make of this Baucus dude from Montana screwing thing up for a lot of Americans?
WINSTEAD: Oh my god. You know what? I have no words. I have no words.
SCHULTZ: OK. Now, let‘s talk about detainees. Now, this is the attorney general, Mr. Holder. He says, terrorism suspects indefinitely detained by the United States would be granted opportunities for due process, both before and during their detention. What‘s he talking about on that one?
WINSTEAD: Ed—Ed, what does that mean? If you are indefinitely detained, what part of due process is going to work for you? That indefinite part kind of screws everything up. He sounds like the worst genie ever, that would grant you three wishes, but he gets to pick the wishes.
It‘s like, wish number one, you will be indefinitely detained with due process. Wish number two, you will be in prison forever with due process. With number three, oh, maybe you will always be in prison. I mean, it‘s like insane.
SCHULTZ: Well, speaking of that, I see that former President Bush is out talking again. What do you think?
WINSTEAD: I think, you know—President Bush and Senator Ensign—you look—any time these people speak, the opposite is really what‘s going on. You know, I mean, it‘s like I don‘t even understand why Bush wants to open his mouth with the track record, why Cheney opens his mouth, why Cheney‘s daughter opens their mouth. Why don‘t they just go retire so that possibly we will forget and history will forget the damage. I don‘t get it.
SCHULTZ: Lizz Winstead, we‘ll see you at the Comics in New York on June 26th to 27th. You can get tickets right online at ComicsNewYork.com. Great to see you on another Friday night.
Time to turn to our political panel tonight. Joe Madison is an XM radio talk show host. Jack Rice is going to the correspondents‘ dinner tonight, so that‘s why he is all duded up in a tuxedo, embarrassing the rest of us, being under-dressed on THE ED SHOW on a Friday night.
MADISON: I thought he was serving dinner.
SCHULTZ: You know what‘s happening here, this guy‘s a former CIA officer. He‘s doing a James Bond movie tonight. That‘s what he‘s doing.
JACK RICE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I‘m going to make tips.
SCHULTZ: Matthew Continetti with us tonight. He is also the associate editor of “The Weekly Standard.” All right, gentlemen.
MADISON: You see what you‘ve got here.
SCHULTZ: I tell you what, I‘m coming out—Next Friday night, I‘m coming out in gym shorts. All right, Bush is back out on the campaign trail, I guess you could say. Joe, are we going to see more of the former president?
MADISON: Yes, and you‘re going to get a book. Understand what‘s going on. Look, Cheney‘s writing a book right now. Bush is writing a book right now. This is great publicity—
SCHULTZ: Ed‘s writing a book right now.
MADISON: Oh, OK. Are we going to see more?
SCHULTZ: What do you think, Jack?
RICE: Come on, it‘s part of the pre-release book party. We have seen Cheney wouldn‘t shut his mouth. For eight years, we never heard a thing; he‘s in some undisclosed location deep underground. Now he won‘t shut up. Can‘t he go hunting? Can‘t he do something?
SCHULTZ: But Matthew, he addressed Gitmo this week. When he spoke in Erie, Pennsylvania, the president got serious on us, and he basically made judgment, you know, there‘s folks we don‘t want to let out.
CONTINETTI: That‘s right. Yes, it‘s part of that Cheney idea of trying to defend what they were up to the past eight years, and pointing out it‘s harder to do, to shut down Guantanamo, than it is to say I want to shut down Guantanamo.
I actually disagree with my esteemed panelists. I think we won‘t be hearing that much from Bush.
CONTINETTI: We will when the book comes out. I‘m sure he‘ll do a little publicity. He‘s always said his role is to step into the background. I think he‘s happy in Texas. I know liberals want him to stay there. I think that‘s where he‘ll be.
MADISON: You believe what he says?
SCHULTZ: President Bush, if he—he said he—Jack, he said he wasn‘t going to second-guess the president, and that‘s exactly what he did when he came out in Erie, Pennsylvania.
RICE: Of course he did. That‘s exactly what he did. It wasn‘t just on security. He talked about Social Security. He talked about health care. He talked about all the major issues. He turns around and he undercuts the president. This is exactly what we‘ve seen from Dick Cheney the entire time.
If we look at where we have been in the past, this is just another example of the Republicans trying to justify the failures of the last eight years, and paper over what the Democrats are trying to accomplish.
SCHULTZ: Budget Director Mr. Orszag today came out and said, 1.6 trillion dollar budget deficit. How do we navigate gate through that and get health care? Joe?
MADISON: I don‘t know. You may end up—in all seriousness, people are talking about now taxing cigarettes, taxing soda. I think I heard you say that this might be what we want to do. These are the things that are making us unhealthy.
So there‘s some room for play there. But this may be, and I mean this seriously, the Achilles heel of this administration. They‘ve got to sell, how do we pay for this? It‘s going to be a difficult sell.
SCHULTZ: And that‘s where I‘m at. I wish the Democrats would just come up and say, look, we are going to raise your taxes, but we‘re going to improve our medical service system in this country. Matthew, what do you think?
CONTINETTI: Obama can get the health care through. But he needs to break a campaign promise to do so, and that is not raise taxes on the middle class. All the ideas you see, whether it‘s taxing health care benefits—they want to cap it so it‘s only high earners, well, their benefits will be taxed. That‘s not enough to fund the plan. They‘re going to have to tax everyone‘s benefits.
Or you have a value-added tax, a national sales tax like they have in Europe to fund health care. That‘s a tax on the middle class.
SCHULTZ: What about the Bush tax cuts?
CONTINETTI: It‘s not enough money.
RICE: At least it‘s a start. We go down that path. I had an old producer once and this is what she told me, when you have to make a tough decision, it‘s time to put your big girl panties on. I mean it. The Democrats need to put the big girl panties on. They need to find some backbone, and step and up say, Republicans, you either step up with us, or we‘ll go without you, and we just simply drive forward.
MADISON: But it‘s not going to happen. The reality is the first party that says, we‘re going to raise your taxes is the party that‘s—
SCHULTZ: That‘s when the polls start going down. I hear you.
Gentlemen, great to have you here with us tonight. That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. Coming up right now is going to be “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. The place for politics, right here on MSNBC. Have a great weekend. Have a great Father‘s Day. I can‘t wait to get home to tee it up with the boys this weekend. And it‘s great being a dad. Have a great weekend.
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