Guests: Matt Snyders Chris Van Hollen, Ron Christie, Markos Moulitsas, Jack Rice, Midge Hough, Dan Hough, Roy Sekoff, Michael Graham, Steven A. Smith, Laura Flanders, Lizz Winstead
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to THE ED SHOW, live from Minneapolis tonight.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, I want to talk about the biggest turkey in the Congress, Michele Bachmann, the Republican congresswoman who represents Minnesota‘s sixth district here in this state.
Now, folks, say what you want about her. She is a Republican lightening rod and some consider her the number one enemy of the left.
The sixth district in Minnesota has 96 percent white population with a median income of $57,000, which is really good for this part of the country. The roads are filled with anti-abortion and pro-gun billboards. There are huge megachurches in this part of the country.
I guess you could say that this is Bachmann country.
A lengthy profile on Bachmann ran in a Minneapolis weekly named “The City Pages,” and it gets right to the heart of who she is and how she plays the game. The title, “Going Crazy,” which, of course, is a play on Sarah Palin‘s book title, “Going Rogue.”
Bachmann is an up and comer in the Republican Party. No question about it. And now it was announced that she is going to be the featured speaker, or, should we say, one of the big speakers, at the National Tea Party Convention in February, second only status to keynote speaker Sarah Palin.
According to the University of Minnesota, she appears on cable shows, primarily Fox News, on an average of once every nine days. Now, you may remember when she burst on the national seen on this interview on MSNBC‘s “HARDBALL” last October.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, “HARDBALL”: How many people in the Congress of the United States do you think are anti-American? You‘ve already suspected Barack Obama. Is he alone, or are there others? How many do you suspect of your colleagues as being anti-American?
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would.
I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they‘re pro-America or anti-America? I think people would love to see an expose like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And that Put Michele Bachmann on the national scene. She‘s become a regular in our “Psycho Talk,” but make no mistake, she is a political force to be reckoned with. Bachmann knows how to bring in the cash.
I‘m going to talk to the author of “The City Pages” profile in just a moment. He spent a lot of time researching her method. He says Bachmann‘s strategy is very simple.
First, say something really outlandish, spectacularly insane. Then the public reacts. And then, of course, the fact-checkers get into action. They call her out on the crazy.
Next, the Republican Party frames her as a victim of the liberal media. And then, of course, conservative wallets open up and the money just pours in.
Well, who do you want to go against, liberals? Get your cell phones out tonight.
Who would you rather see on the Republican ticket in 2012, Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin?
Text “A” for Bachmann and “B” for Palin to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the program.
Joining me now is Matt Snyders, who wrote the cover story on Bachmann for the “Minneapolis City Pages.” You can check it out, CityPages.com.
Matt, good to have you with us tonight.
I read the article on the plane, and I thought it was pretty entertaining, very factual and to the point.
I want to ask you, people in her district who oppose her, do you think they fear her or do they just dislike her?
MATT SNYDERS, “MINNEAPOLIS CITY PAGES.” I think it‘s a combination of both. Obviously, anybody on the left, to the left of Joseph McCarthy in the sixth district, is going to have their qualms with Michele Bachmann.
As far as fearing her, I guess you could fear her in the sense of what she represents. She does have a knack for rallying a lot of ugly components in human nature of fear and anger. And she has a talent for framing it as something that is pro-American.
What she represents, I think, is a segment of the population who is very used to being in the majority. And the political climate has shifted democratically since 2004. We saw that in 2006, 2008 elections, and I think they‘re feeling a little bit in a corner, the country‘s losing them.
And I think because they feel like they‘re painted in a corner, you see kind of this outlandish statements and kind of this year and just general angst that‘s kind of gripping her and her supporters.
SCHULTZ: Now, Matt, if you take a look at the makeup of Minnesota‘s sixth district, you would think that she‘s pretty safe, but you document in your article that there are actually two Democratic challengers. There‘s going to be a primary, I understand. Both of them are raising a lot of money.
Does she raise money actually for both sides? Does she have that effect?
SNYDERS: She definitely does. We saw that in the last election, when she was on your program, or on your channel, on “HARDBALL,” when she—you just played the clip, the anti-American statement.
That, in turn—people saw that across the country and are a little bit upset and outrage poured in about $750,000 into her challenger‘s coffers in the span of about four days. And it happened—October 17th was her appearance, just three weeks before the election.
So, the window is a little bit too short for the money to make a huge difference, but, nonetheless, it shows us that her statements raise money for both sides.
SCHULTZ: What does it say, the fact that she‘s going to be at this Tea Party Convention, number one? And also, how are the national Republican leaders responding to Michele Bachmann behind the scenes?
SNYDERS: Well, I talked to one Republican strategist who said off the record, or anonymously, that she does raise a few eyebrows within the GOP establishment.
On one hand, like we said, she does a great job of rallying the base and getting a lot of money to pour in. On the other hand, she does have a detrimental effect on the credibility of the GOP.
You know, some of her positions aren‘t necessarily that crazy. For instance, scrutiny on the bailouts, or wanting to have more accountability in the Federal Reserve. But those positions are compromised when they come from a person who‘s accusing the president of being anti-American and so forth.
So, the Tea Party appearance in February 4th in Nashville, I think it‘s somewhat unsurprising because her and Palin are kind of cut from the same cloth.
SCHULTZ: Yes. She has always—you know, Matt, she has always played the victim to the media. She‘s always blamed the liberal media.
I understand that she would not do an interview with “The New York Times,” and you were not allowed to interview her. You had to submit questions.
Is that correct? And how did you feel about that?
SNYDERS: It was obviously disappointing, but we figured it was better than nothing. She wanted an e-mail format, a Q&A format, and so we went that route.
And, you know, obviously she‘s prone to making gaffes and saying very outlandish and factually dubious claims, so I think she wanted to parse through each question and make sure she gave a measured answer. So, how she approaches the print media and how she approaches the mass media is very different.
SCHULTZ: Matt Snyders, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
It is just one congressional district that obviously we‘re going to be paying attention to a year from now.
Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen joins us tonight. He is the chairman of the DCCC, and he‘s got a smile on his face because Michele Bachmann‘s opponents raise money.
She‘s definitely a live wire that gets attention. Is this good or bad for your party? What do you think, Chris?
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), DCCC CHAIRMAN: Well, Ed, she is a lightening rod, which means that the people who are running against her will be able to raise lots of money. But more importantly, her voice and that of others on the far right have essentially hijacked the Republican Party. They have become the spokesmen and women for the Republican Party.
You‘ve got Michele Bachmann, a member of Congress. You‘ve got Glenn Beck. You‘ve got Rush Limbaugh.
Essentially, those voices have taken over and dominated the Republican Party to the point that they represent the views of the party because you don‘t have leadership, Republican leaders in Congress, challenging them. They allow these remarks to go unchallenged. They endorse them, in many cases.
And if you want to try and capture the Independent voter, that‘s not the way to do it, because Independent voters do not want ideologues, they do not want purity tests. They want problem solvers. And that kind of rhetoric makes it very clear that that‘s not a party of problem solvers.
SCHULTZ: It‘s interesting that Michele Bachmann is an accomplished attorney. I mean, she is a very smart person, and she has loyal, I would call them, followers.
Could she spring up, in your opinion, on the national scene for the Republican Party? Because you mentioned the people like Limbaugh, and also Beck and Lou Dobbs. I mean, they seem to prop her up any time she says something pretty outlandish and endorse her, almost to the point as if she‘s (sic) coaching her.
Do you think she has national potential?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, she does have strong followers. There‘s no doubt about it.
She organized a rally on Capitol Hill several weeks ago where you had all sorts of people coming out. We saw the signs in the crowd, pictures of the death camps in Nazi Germany, some very extreme elements that turned out.
There‘s no doubt about it, she has a very strong following. I think the danger for the Republican Party, as it was expressed, is that she and others become the voice of the Republican Party. And by virtue of the others by default, really, that is what has happened, because you have a Republican Party that has no sort of ideas and solutions of their own.
On health care, for example, the only proposals they put forward are ones that the insurance companies love. When it comes to try and deal with the financial crisis, they‘re opposing legislation that would prevent us from being held hostage by Wall Street once again, so they‘re in bed with the special interests.
So, they really don‘t have any voices out there that resonate with sort of commonsense American voters. And so, to the extent that she continues to have this merry band following her, the more the better.
SCHULTZ: Dick Armey is now in the act. He just won‘t go away. In fact, he has started a Web site, ReadTheStimulus.org petition, and you had quite an interesting exchange with him recently at a House Oversight hearing.
Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN HOLLEN: You would have voted yes? I just want to make sure I understand.
DICK ARMEY, FREEDOMWORKS: I don‘t know.
VAN HOLLEN: You don‘t know?
ARMEY: I haven‘t looked at the package. I didn‘t look at the package. I never wrote it on something I didn‘t read.
VAN HOLLEN: You keep saying “If there were.” Did you read the economic recovery bill?
ARMEY: No, I didn‘t.
VAN HOLLEN: You didn‘t?
ARMEY: I had no reason to read it. I wasn‘t going to vote on it.
VAN HOLLEN: Well, no. Mr. Armey, you‘ve been commenting an awful lot both here and in the press about the economic recovery bill.
VAN HOLLEN: We ask members of Congress to read it when they vote on it and are considering it. You‘ve said a lot about it, so I‘m a little surprised to learn that you haven‘t read it.
ARMEY: Well, look, if my neighbor‘s got a dead cat stinking up his yard, I don‘t have to know how it got there to know it‘s a dead cat stinking up the yard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Now, Congressman Van Hollen, I think this is a very profound moment, because here you have Dick Armey out there pushing people like Michele Bachmann and raising money, yet he‘s not doing the due diligence of exactly what‘s going on. And I think also empowers people like Michele Bachmann to go out and say outlandish stuff.
Is this going to work with the, say, malcontents who might be motivated enough just to vote for change the other way? What do you think?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, you‘re exactly right, Ed. I mean, here‘s the guy that‘s leading, in part, the Tea Party movement. He‘s leading the whole effort that says read the bill. And what became very clear when we asked him some questions, I asked him some questions about simple things that were in the bill—for example, a tax relief for individuals and small businesses—it was pretty clear he didn‘t know what was in the bill.
SCHULTZ: So they‘re just rabblerousing in many respects. They‘re rabblerousing in many respects, and they‘re going to hook on to any type of congressional member who will go out there and just fire and fire for effect to get attention? Crazy business.
VAN HOLLEN: Well, that‘s right. Look, they‘re playing this game as if they know what‘s in this legislation. And boy, you, the American people, better be scared about it.
It turns out they don‘t know what‘s in the legislation. All they‘re doing is trying to scare people, and I think people are going to wake up to this.
I mean, when they see that the leader of the Read the Bill movement doesn‘t read the bill, doesn‘t know what‘s in the legislation, they‘ve got to ask themselves, who are these people who are following (ph) it? At least I hope that raises questions.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Van Hollen, great to have you on. Have a happy Thanksgiving. Thanks so much.
VAN HOLLEN: You, too. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: For more, let me bring in Ron Christie, Republican strategist.
Ron, I want to play this sound bite for you. This is Michele Bachmann talking about the health care bill.
Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: This is cradle-to-grave government takeover of the Pelosi health care nightmare known as this bill. I think people have no idea what‘s coming down the pike. This is the crown jewel of socialism, this bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: She seems to play the fear card pretty well, Ron. Is she going to be effective on the national scene? What do you think?
RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, Ed, I don‘t know if I‘d call it the fear card. I would look at it based on the facts.
I mean, you just asked Congressman Van Hollen in his conversation with former majority leader Dick Armey whether he‘d read the bill. I have read the House bill and I‘ve read the Senate bill, and there are a number of very disturbing provisions in either of those pieces of legislation that give pause for normal Americans who take the time to read these bills and say, why is the government taking such a concerted effort to take the choice away from my doctor, my provider, and allow government panels and government individuals to make my health care decisions?
SCHULTZ: Do you think it‘s the crown jewel of socialism? Do you think it‘s the crown jewel of socialism?
CHRISTIE: Ed, I do believe it‘s the crown jewel of socialism, and I‘ll tell you why.
For one thing, I believe that Americans right now, if you look at the polls and you look at the majority of the American people right there, right now, they enjoy their doctor, they enjoy their provider. If you get into the details of this specific legislation, specifically as we look to the government panel that dealt with mammograms, Americans do not want a government panel between them and their doctor and their health providers.
SCHULTZ: Great polling point, Ron, but I‘m trying to get to the point of Michele Bachmann.
Michele Bachmann is out there saying things. So, you believe that she‘s really not saying outlandish things? She‘s going out there saying that a kid is going to go home from school and have an abortion and come back to school that day. She said that on the House floor.
Do you really think that could happen?
CHRISTIE: Ed, I‘m not talking specifically about abortion. I‘m talking specifically about a government takeover as it relates to health care. I think Michele Bachmann...
SCHULTZ: This is where I get so frustrated, is that that is just a right-wing bullet point. There is no government takeover. The fact is it‘s going to be a choice.
SCHULTZ: The point I‘m trying to make here and trying to bring up is...
CHRISTIE: Ed, how can you say there‘s a choice?
SCHULTZ: ... Michele Bachmann.
CHRISTIE: Ed, I would love to talk about Michele Bachmann.
SCHULTZ: I want to talk about Michele Bachmann.
CHRISTIE: I would love to talk about Michele Bachmann with you.
SCHULTZ: OK. Good. Good, because that‘s where I want to go, because...
CHRISTIE: My point about Michele Bachmann is there‘s a certain demonization of strong conservative women in the media. You look at Michele Bachmann, you look at Sarah Palin, these are very strong women.
Michele Bachmann was the first representative Republican elected to the United States House of Representatives from the state of Minnesota. She‘s a stalwart, she‘s a mother of five.
SCHULTZ: Who‘s demonizing her?
CHRISTIE: She has been—the media.
SCHULTZ: Who is demonizing Michele Bachmann?
CHRISTIE: Excuse me, Ed. Let me finish—Ed, many members from the media.
SCHULTZ: You know, Ron, I gave you a special time on this—buddy, look, we‘re going to have to—you know, I want to answer, who is demonizing Michele Bachmann? What do you mean conservative women are being demonized?
CHRISTIE: Oh, let me see, where do I start, Ed, when it comes to conservative women being demonized? You look no further than the cover of “Newsweek” magazine, where they have a very interesting cover of Governor Palin. You look at the, “Oh, is Governor Palin wacky?” “Oh, Michele Bachmann,” an article in which I said very specifically to your bookers, Ed, that I didn‘t want to talk about, where they said, “Oh, she had very bright eyes and her face was caked with mascara.”
There is a very sexist element out there that relates to strong Republican women. You don‘t see that as it relates to Democratic women.
SCHULTZ: Let me make one thing perfectly clear—OK, Ron. All right.
Ron, let me make one thing perfectly clear, and I want our audience to know.
I am not blindsiding you tonight by talking and Michele Bachmann. You knew damn well what we were going to talk about coming on this program.
It was about Michele Bachmann. It was about her possible prowess on a national level for the Republican Party. I‘ve asked you direct questions about it, and you want to go down the road about sexism.
She‘s raising money. She‘s being asked to speak at the National Tea Party Convention, but apparently you don‘t have a comment on that and now we‘re out of time. Got to run. I appreciate your time.
CHRISTIE: Oh, I do have a comment on that. Actually, I do have a comment on that.
SCHULTZ: Well, I‘m out of time. I‘ve got to move on. Good to have you with us.
CHRISTIE: As always, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, the Chicago Tea Partiers have crossed the line. They viciously heckled a mother trying to tell the story of her daughter-in-law‘s death at a town hall meeting. She will join me at the bottom of the hour.
Plus, now we know why John Boehner doesn‘t have time to get reform passed. He‘s playing golf. He‘s hot on the back nine.
We‘ll have some shocking numbers when we come back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
President Obama is finally going to announce his plan for the war in Afghanistan next Tuesday from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. But he needs to keep in mind that the number one priority should be right here at home. Democrats are starting to worry that paying for more troops in Afghanistan will hamper our ability to recover from the recession.
On a conference call yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this:
“I think we have to look at the war with a green eyeshade on. There is unrest in our caucus about: can we afford the war?”
Let‘s turn to the founder and publisher of “The Daily Kos,” Markos Moulitsas, and also former CIA agent Jack Rice. And you can check him out on JackRice.com.
Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight.
Markos Moulitsas, I want to know—the blog traffic has been pretty heavy. The base really can‘t believe that the president is going to commit this many troops at this expense.
Does this somewhat blindside the base? And how do they feel about it?
MARKOS MOULITSAS, FOUNDER, “THE DAILY KOS”: I don‘t think there‘s any blindside to it. I mean, this is a very difficult issue.
You know, let me make clear from the start, I hate the Afghanistan Taliban because they‘re anti-woman, they‘re anti-gay, they‘re anti-progress, science. It‘s the exact same reason I really hate the Michele Bachmanns of the American Taliban. So, there‘s no love lost for those people.
But the fact is that, you know, we have priorities here at home. And there is no real strategy that we‘ve seen yet that would indicate that this expense in blood and treasure would lead us to hopefully any kind of what you‘d call victory in Afghanistan.
SCHULTZ: Markos, is there a rush to judgment on the part of the left? I mean, the president has to make his case to the American people. Or is this not one that‘s going to be accepted on any terms by the progressive base?
MOULITSAS: Well, we‘ve had nine years in Afghanistan already. I mean, there‘s no rush to judgment. We‘ve been judging now for almost a decade.
And the fact is that we‘ve seen strategy after strategy fail. And not just us. I mean, go back to the Soviets before us.
I mean, Afghanistan is sort of a pit for great powers. And the last thing we need to do is see the United States fall into that trap when, really, we should be focused about domestic security and the security of the American people. And issues like health care are number one on that front.
SCHULTZ: Jack Rice, what does the president have to do to get a successful conclusion in Afghanistan? How does he and the United States get a successful conclusion? Will 35,000 more troops do it?
JACK RICE, FMR. CIA AGENT: No, it went. The fact is, is what we have decided is we have tied ourselves to an incompetent and illegitimate regime in Hamid Karzai. That‘s a fact. Whether we put 10,000 or 30,000 or 100,000 more troops in, it doesn‘t make a difference.
By the way, one little twist to this. One of the things that apparently is going to happen is we‘re going to focus in on the cities. We‘re going to abandon the countryside. That‘s been our strategy under General McChrystal.
You know who else tried that very same strategy? The Russians. The Soviets did the same thing, and then they determined they couldn‘t do this either.
By the way, this is absolutely true. The Brits invaded into Afghanistan twice and lost. The Soviets have done this.
Nobody has ever successfully taken Afghanistan. And frankly, I have a hard time believing that the Americans are going to be any different.
SCHULTZ: Here is the president yesterday giving us a preview of what his decision‘s going to be and what the speech is going to be like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After eight years, some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done, it is my intention to finish the job. And I feel very confident that when the American people hear a clear rationale for what we‘re doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals, that they will be supportive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Markos, what does the president have to say to convince the left on Tuesday night?
MOULITSAS: He would have to say that he needs to pull out the troops from Afghanistan and focus on domestic concerns. God knows we don‘t have the money...
SCHULTZ: Will he lose support? Well, if that‘s the case, will he support In the midterms? I mean, will the Democrats pay a price for this decision?
MOULITSAS: Well, I think the midterms are really going to be a referendum on the totality of the Democratic response to all the problems facing our country. Afghanistan is one of those issues, health care is another one. I think if they fail on health care, they fail on Afghanistan, we‘ve got some real problems as a party in 2010.
SCHULTZ: All right.
Jack Rice, Markos Moulitsas, thanks for joining us tonight.
Coming up, former White House press secretary Dana Perino had a major memory malfunction in front of Hannity the other day. His reaction to it lands both of them in the psycho zone.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Sean Hannity talks a lot about his intellectual honesty on the radio, but last night, for the second time in less than a week, he let a wild lie just slip by unchallenged.
Former Bush press secretary Dana Perino was criticizing the Obama administration‘s response to the Fort Hood shootings. Then she threw out this whopper...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA PERINO, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You know, we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush‘s term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Where was Dana Perino on September 11, 2001? The Bush administration spent years exploiting the attack which happened on their watch for political gain. They used to use all the talk about the two wars, right? They‘d talk about that. Then, of course, they would scare Americans into voting for them in 2004. But now Perino chooses too ignore it, then Hannity, the guy who holds 9/11 freedom concerts, let it go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERINO: We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush‘s term. I hope they‘re not looking at this politically. I do think we owe it to the American people to call it what it is.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If you say Allahu Akbar before the shooting, and you reached out to al-Qaeda 20 times, it‘s a pretty good indication you‘re a terrorist sympathizer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Hannity let the most blatant lie I‘ve heard in a long time go completely unchallenged. This is becoming a pattern. Remember, last week, he completely ignored it when Sarah Palin came on his show and repeatedly confused Iran and Iraq. That kind of negligence makes Sean Hannity just as guilty as Palin and Perino. They are in Psycho Talk.
Coming up, tea party psychoers, party-goers, took things way too far when they attacked a grieving woman at a town hall meeting. She‘ll be here to tell us exactly what happened in just a moment.
All that, plus, Steven A. Smith is in the house. He‘s going to tell us about John Boehner spending all this time on the golf course.
Lizz Winstead will also be joining us tonight, telling us what cheating senator showed up in the lingerie department. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. It‘s recess and the Tea Party mobs are back in force. Republican lawmakers say these crowds are just people exercising their civic right to oppose the health care bill. Maybe some of them are. But a lot of them have absolutely no shame. Their conduct is deplorable.
Case in point, a town hall held by Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski in Chicago two weeks ago. A woman, Midge Hough, stood up to talk about how her daughter-in-law and unborn grandchild, who had recently died. They had no insurance. The Tea Party protesters shouted her down and laughed at her. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIDGE HOUGH, SHOUTED DOWN AT TEA PARTY: I‘d like to tell you a story.
Nine weeks ago, my 24-year-old daughter-in-law died along with her seven and a half month baby that was unborn.
You can laugh at me. That‘s OK. I get it. But I lost two people.
And I know you think that‘s funny. That‘s OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Midge Hough and her husband, Dan, join me now on THE ED SHOW tonight. Mr. and Mrs. Hough, good to have you with us. You went to that town hall meeting expecting to tell a story and have an impact, I assume. Were you shocked at how the crowd responded to you? Midge, your response and how did you feel when you sat down?
M. HUFF: I was shocked, Ed. I knew that I could expect some disruption, but not that. I was there to thank Representative Lipinski and to tell them how badly we need the public option and tell Jen‘s story. The room was filled with hate and I was just shocked by that.
SCHULTZ: Dan, were they just on a mission? It could have been any kind of a story that had gotten up there. What was your impression of all of that?
DAN HOUGH, HUSBAND OF MIDGE: Well, the meeting started off, Representative Lipinski started to talk about why he did it, and he got a lot of cat calls and shouts—why voted for the bill I should say—and his concerns about the bill.
But as soon as the first question session started—the questions started, he called one gentleman, who would not let himself be denied the first one. It was madness from then on, with the shouting and holding up little Constitutions and just ratcheting up the whole level of emotion in the room.
SCHULTZ: Midge, do you think lives would have been saved in your family had this health care bill been in place?
M. HOUGH: Ed, without question. Without question. If there had been affordable health care, Jen and the baby would probably be with us now. There were no options for us. We checked everything out.
You know, people say, go to ERs. Go to free clinics. And I can tell you firsthand, you see what happened with the ER. And the free clinics are underfunded and overburdened. So this girl did not have an option. We tried to get her insurance, and because she was pregnant, it was considered a preexisting condition.
SCHULTZ: Did anyone, Midge, come up to you after the meeting and apologize or say anything to you at all with how you were confronted?
M. HOUGH: Yes, actually, afterwards, there were about three people who came up to me and gave condolences. But I don‘t think they were with the party. They seem to have been just neighborhood or townspeople there for Lipinski.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Hough, if people can‘t understand that compassion is need in a scenario like this, what does it say about these protesters? I mean, when you stand up and spill your heart and talk about how your family has been affected by the lack of health care in this country, and you‘re heckled down, this is a level of discourse I don‘t think we‘ve seen in this country since the civil rights movement.
What would you say to someone who would have a compelling story to tell, going to one of those meetings?
D. HOUGH: Well, I think you still have to tell it. And you‘re right. You should—you see the comments. There‘s a video on Youtube, and it‘s been seen 90,000 plus times, of this, that we put together. Because I wanted people to see what happens at these meetings. And the comments are so extreme on both sides now. The rhetoric is so white hot.
But even at the meeting, later on, people stood up and said, what are we going to do if we have this kind of health care reform and there‘s another 15 or 20 million people that get health insurance. I‘m just going to have to wait longer to see a doctor.
You wonder, what kind of person is it that says, I don‘t want more people to have coverage and have access to health care, because it will make me wait longer to see my doctor. That‘s incredibly cold and, honestly, I don‘t understand it. That‘s not the America I grew up in. That‘s not the values that I was taught or we were taught. So it‘s sort of an alternate reality. I‘m not sure what‘s behind it, other than a very partisan sort of politics pushing these people to the extreme.
SCHULTZ: It was unbelievable. Midge and Dan Hough, in your sorrow in the wake of what has happened to your family, god bless you, and may you, at best, somehow have a happy Thanksgiving. We‘ll be thinking of you.
M. HOUGH: Thank you, Ed. Appreciate that.
SCHULTZ: What is this country coming to? Joining me now is Roy
Sekoff, founder editor of the “Huffington Post.” Roy, I‘m all about protests. But I‘m also very sensitive to people who want to get up a tell a real life story where lives are involved. What should elected officials do when stuff like this happens? Your thoughts.
ROY SEKOFF, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”: Well, Ed, it‘s just despicable. These are the people who would heckle eulogy at a funeral. You can just feel the hatred.
There‘s an understandable anger in America. There‘s a lot of misery. There‘s a lot of suffering. We get the sense that the fix is in, that Wall Street is winning, that the lobbyists are winning. But they‘re turning—people like Beck and Michele Bachmann are turning this understandable outrage into this ill-directed hatred. It‘s frightening, what we see with all the Nazi analogies and the attacks on Obama, and then this on the Hough family.
The most outrageous part was that the Tea Partiers claimed that this, the story that the Hough‘s told, was an isolated incident. We know that‘s not the case. There was that study that came out from Harvard in September that says 45,000 people a year die because they don‘t have access to health care. Every day on the “Huffington Post,” we are trying to put a human face on the consequences of the lack of health care. The stories, Ed, they come every day, each more heart-wrenching than the next.
So the idea is that, of course, we‘re open to debate. There‘s nothing wrong with discussing what is the best way to help these people. But to deny that this is even an issue, to deny that we are desperately in need of reform is just outrageous.
SCHULTZ: Roy Sekoff, always a pleasure. Thanks for joining us tonight. The Senate is set to start debating the health care bill on Monday, but there is an alarming report from “Bloomberg” today. Health care may get bumped to next year because Congress has to work on legislation set to expire at the end of this year.
For more, let me bring in our panel tonight, Laura Flanders, author of “Blue Grit,” and host of GritTV.org, and Michael Graham, radio talk show host on WTKK in Boston.
Michael, it—there are some inherent things that the Congress has to deal with and it is money. The stall tactics by the Republicans, are they working and is this working out for the conservatives in this country who want to stop health care reform?
MICHAEL GRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Obviously, I hope it is stopping this disaster that is health care. The story of the two folks you just had on is incredibly moving. Yet nobody has explained how the disastrous Obama-care monster, two trillion dollars, is going to solve those problems.
The “Huffington Post” talks about people dying right now. There are people dying under government-run systems in Canada and the UK while they wait for health care. It still may be the best system we can get, but nobody denies that either. So anything that can stop us from following the Europeans into their disaster, OK by me.
SCHULTZ: Laura, is it that many people dying in Europe and also in Canada, as he just mentioned?
LAURA FLANDERS, GRITTV.ORG: No, the statistics are crazy, and you know that, Ed. The story is so moving of what happened in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, because you have the spectacle of people in pain being laughed at, people in need. And the Houghs are not the only grieving parents this Thanksgiving eve. You‘ve got parents and people all across this country grieving for lost ones whose lives could have been saved had we got better health care, more accessible, higher quality for everybody.
I go back to what Alan Grayson said on this network yesterday. He said the longer the Senate stalls, the more Americans are going to die. It‘s not a problem of just what‘s happening in these Tea Parties. The lack of respect for people‘s needs and wishes in this country, it‘s happening in our Congress. It‘s not a government takeover of health care. We have our government taken over by people who believe in no government. And they‘re going to prove that government change can happen, because that‘s what they were elected to do. They‘re a wrecking crew. We can‘t let them wreck our chance for change.
GRAHAM: How can you say they‘re ignoring the people when only 31 percent of the people in the latest poll support this plan, and more than 50 percent say they don‘t? It‘s absolute insanity. Another planet.
FLANDERS: The point that Ed just raised, the House has passed 100 bills that are languishing because of Senate inactivity. That stop the stalling in the Senate petition from Alan Grayson is critically important. We are seeing a handful of naysayers basically derail our whole process.
Americans voted for change.
GRAHAM: Do you not have access to the polls? Are you literate? Do you own a newspaper? Have you not seen the polls on President Obama‘s performance on health care, on the overwhelming rejection of this? Independents don‘t like it. Republicans—a handful of the far—
SCHULTZ: Michael, I don‘t know where you‘re getting your information.
SCHULTZ: We have had polls for the last eight months. The jury is
definitely back. The American people want health care reform. I must tell you, Michael, if that family had been north of the border, two lives would have been saved. Appreciate your time. No but about it. That‘s just a fact. Good to have you with us tonight.
Coming up, if you‘ve ever wondered how Republican Senator John Boehner keeps up all that tan, he spends a lot of time out on the golf course, because it‘s paid for. Steven A. Smith will explain all of that when we come back here on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, House Minority Leader John Boehner isn‘t letting all his rhetoric on fiscal responsibility stop him from living large on the golf course. Less than a week ago, he was really whining about the cost of the length of the Senate health care bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: This is over a trillion dollars. It‘s the same nonsense that passed the House. It‘s 2,074 pages. Give me a break.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But it turns out he has plenty of time and money for golf outings. Check out these numbers, folks. His political action committee has spent more than 20,000 dollars at—wow—Robert Trent Jones course in Gainesville, Virginia. If you play golf, you know what that is. They spent just under 30,000 at the Jack Nicklaus designed Muirfield Village Golf Course in Dublin, Ohio.
And there is more, 30,000 at the Ritz Carlton‘s Tiburon Golf Course in Naples, Florida. That‘s 82,000 dollars on golf outings just this year.
You know why the populist movement is alive and well in this country? People are sick of this stuff. Let me bring in commentator and journalist now for the “Philadelphia Enquirer,” Steven A. Smith. You didn‘t get in on any of those rounds, did you? I certainly didn‘t.
STEVEN A. SMITH, “THE PHILADELPHIA ENQUIRER”: No, no.
SCHULTZ: You know, when people give money to politicians, they go
off and play golf. I mean, put some rhyme and reason to this. They say it‘s a fund-raiser.
SMITH: There is no rhyme or reason to it. The exact numbers are about 82,998 dollars for golf outing. Me personally, I really don‘t have a problem with it on its surface, but when you consider the minority leader, how he complained about the president going overseas to pitch the United States for the Olympics, when you heard him complain about the trip to China, the trip to the Middle East, when he talked about the president had other priorities, and there were other things to do, but you‘re back here playing government from Ohio to Florida, at these posh locations or what have you.
It definitely comes across a bit hypocritical. Especially in light of the fact you were saying this about the president of the United States while you were playing golf.
SCHULTZ: You know what gets me, Steven A, is that no matter how you cut it, golf is recreation and it‘s entertainment, unless you play it professionally. The bottom line here is what ever happened to the days where a guy goes out and pays for his own round? Now, Boehner is taking money and he‘s going out and being entertained. If you want to get technical about it, there‘s no difference between that and Tom Daschle‘s car that got him in trouble.
SMITH: I agree with you. I agree with you. There‘s no question about it. But at the same time, if you‘re a high-ranking official, you know perks are going to come with it. So it never surprises me. Again, I‘m not focused on that, as much as I‘m focused on the hypocrisy that‘s behind everything that‘s been transpiring. Because, anything, if this president plays golf, if this president goes on a trip to Broadway with his wife, if this president goes overseas, if he does anything, then you have this minority leader speaking out against him.
Now, I thought you were just going to work and coming home, because you were complaining about having time to read the bills. When you put this much time and energy on the golf course, and he is known as one of the better golfers in the House, the reality is it does look a bit hypocritical. There is no way to get around that.
SCHULTZ: All right, it‘s Thanksgiving tomorrow. Three quick games. we‘ve got Green Bay and Detroit. How do you call it?
SMITH: Green bay. What are you talking about Detroit? They‘re allergic to winning unless they‘re playing the Cleveland Browns.
SCHULTZ: Oakland and Dallas?
SMITH: Dallas, because Oakland are scrubs too. Even though they
just beat Cincinnati, they‘re still not a very good team. But they were right to bench Russell. He isn‘t getting it down, hasn‘t put forth the level of dedication. But I‘m picking Dallas.
SCHULTZ: And the Giants in Denver. I think the Giants got to start getting together.
SMITH: Denver‘s been struggling. But unless Kyle Orton comes back and plays behind center for them, they‘re not going to win, because their offense is absolutely nothing without him. Pretty plain and simple.
SCHULTZ: You got news tonight on Allen Iverson? What‘s happening there?
SMITH: He‘s announced that he‘s going to retire. I don‘t totally believe him. I believe that he‘s feeling that way at this moment in time, wants to spend time with his wife and kids. Been feeling hurt by lack of teams opening their arms and their locker rooms to him. I think ultimately, he‘ll come out of his doldrums, and, if the right opportunity comes his way, he will change his mind and come out of retirement. But he issued a statement to me about an hour and a half ago that he plans on retiring.
SCHULTZ: Steven A, great to have you with us. Lizz Winstead and Club Ed is coming up next. Stay with us. We‘re right back on THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Time now for Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show” and the brains behind Wake Up World. You can check out Lizz‘s Wake Up World Christmas show in New York City on December 8th. Wendy and I are not going to miss it.
LIZZ WINSTEAD, “WAKE UP WORLD”: Yeah, right.
SCHULTZ: Yes, happy Thanksgiving. Say, the shopping season is upon
us right now. Who‘s out shopping?
WINSTEAD: What‘s interesting, Ed, is before I get to that, I just have to confirm, from the last segment, that Laura came back to the make-up room and she was actually reading something. So she is literate. I just wanted to let the viewers know that Laura is literate.
Who‘s shopping at Christmas? I would say not many people. I would say the people who can afford to shop are people who can afford 80,000 golf sprees. So it‘s not you and I, but those that can afford that. Because it is funny. There‘s been so much contemplation about whether or not his catcher‘s mitt like face was actually sprayed on or if it‘s actually Sunkist. It turns out it is actually leathered from the massive amounts of golfing he does.
SCHULTZ: He said he hadn‘t met anybody for the public option. I would imagine on a Republican golf course, he wouldn‘t. What about Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, they‘re going to be the Tea Party speakers? What a combination.
WINSTEAD: Is it even legal to have that much stupid in one room? Seriously, to have Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin speaking at your event, it sounds like you lost a bet. Not like you chose to go there. It sounds like something you would do to avoid a prison sentence. Do I have to go to Gitmo, or do I have to go see Bachmann and Palin. I guess I‘ll go see them.
SCHULTZ: I want you to talk, Lizz, on a serious note, if you can, about the Feeding America website. There is going to be a lot of people in America that won‘t have a great Thanksgiving.
WINSTEAD: That‘s true. And Feeding America, it‘s one of the great organizations. Every year, I throw a big dinner and every year I am thankful for what I have. So I‘ve been saying it every year, when you finish your last minute shopping, buy something extra. You can go to Feeding America.org. You can see where in your local community you can get on there and get stuff to them. Just remember that money donations can give seven to ten times more food than they can actually through donations, but either one is great.
SCHULTZ: Lizz Winstead, always a pleasure. Folks, have a great thanksgiving. We‘ll see you next week here on THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
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