Guests: Pete Williams, Mark Potok, Matt Kibbe, Tony Perkins
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: One man‘s anger.
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight:
suicide bombing in Texas. Since September 11, no image has been more closely associated with terrorism in the minds of Americans than that of a plane flying into a building. Today in Austin, Texas, a man with a history of grievances against the IRS crashed his single-engine plane into an office building where 190 IRS employees work. Only the pilot was killed. At the top of the show, we‘ll look at who the pilot was and at the long manifesto he left behind.
Meanwhile, here in Washington, “Welcome to the vast right-wing conspiracy.” That was the proud and ironic opening line at the conservative political action conference. The biggest moment was the surprise appearance by former vice president Dick Cheney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I think Barack Obama is a one-term president.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was a hoot. We‘ll talk Cheney and the CPAC in just a moment.
Let‘s start with the latest on that suicide plane crash in Austin, Texas. NBC News chief justice correspondent Pete Williams is here with the latest. Pete, a sad, tragic tale.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Indeed so, Chris. I think the working theory, it seems pretty clear to law enforcement tonight, that this was a man with a long, really 30 years of grievance against the Internal Revenue Service who took that anger into violence today. They say that Joseph Stack began this day by trying to set—in fact, successfully setting fire to his house in Austin, and then getting in the plan—driving to an area airport, to an airplane that he owned, that was registered to him, to his software engineering company. He took that plane into the air and then flew it directly, it appears, into a building, a commercial building that houses offices, about 190 employees of the Internal Revenue Service.
Now, it is by no means the biggest concentration of IRS employees in the Austin area, but it was one that perhaps he was familiar with, had flown over before. We are still waiting for a final word on how many people were injured or whether there were any fatalities other than the pilot himself.
Joseph Stack, who, as I say, left a suicide note, basically, a long list of grievances against the federal government but specifically concentrating on his problems with the Internal Revenue Service, decades of tax problems. They seemed to get worse in 1986 when the tax law was changed, which affected people like him, consulting engineers, consulting software engineers. He was hit by that. He was hit by changes in the economy that affected his ability to get work in southern California where he was a software engineer. Then he came to Austin.
So he documents in this list this long series of problems and grievances. He says the government actions against him over taxes, with both the state and federal governments, by the way—his license to do business was suspended three times in California for failure to pay taxes. He says these twice wiped out his retirement savings. He talks about getting a divorce.
All of this mounted up, Chris, and then toward—as this sort of comes to a head, he talks about general grievances with the federal government. He doesn‘t like the fact that big companies get bailed out but the middle class, he says, gets hit. Finally, he says, “I can‘t stand it anymore.” And he concludes his note by saying, “Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, you have my pound of flesh.” So this would appear to be his suicide note, Chris.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you so much, Pete Williams from NBC News.
Let‘s turn now to Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremists across the country. Mark, thank you for joining us. I looked through that long manifesto myself, as Pete did and you‘ve done, and I saw a lot of grievances not just against the government, the IRS, but the Catholic church, General Motors, labor, management. My God, he went through—he didn‘t like the city of Austin. I mean, his gripes were limitless, it seemed, although there was a lot of thought that went into it. I must say, his emotional situation and his intellectual situation were much different. He was a very angry man but capable of putting down a lot of information here about his problems. Your thoughts?
MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: I think that‘s really true. It was an incredible laundry list of grievances that seemed to go on and on. But at the core of it really was this IRS business. He kept coming back to the idea that these were really wicked people.
And Chris, the thing I noticed in particular was he talked about going to what sounded a lot to me like radical tax seminars and that kind of thing. He talked about being part of a movement trying to repeal the tax laws, and so on. And that, I think, it‘s worth saying, is kind of a core part of the militia movement, the so-called patriot movement, this idea that the IRS is illegitimate, that the federal income tax is illegitimate.
And at the end of this—in addition to what Pete Williams said, at the end of the screed, he talks about, you know, nothing changes unless there‘s a body count. And of course, that is the same idea that Timothy McVeigh went out of this world with.
MATTHEWS: Yes. So you see a connection between the line of thought here, which is anti-government, anti-IRS, with what happened in Oklahoma City, Mark.
POTOK: Well, I mean, let me say, I—we know nothing of this man. We did not have him in our files. We found absolutely nothing in the way of real background in the movement, or association with any group. But yes, as a general matter, his ideas seemed connected to at least some of the core ideas of the radical right.
And I go back again to that idea of him going to these seminars. I‘ve been to them myself, as a reporter back in the ‘90s, at the height of the militia movement, and that‘s the idea, that the government is really wicked, that they unconstitutionally and illegally passed the federal government income tax amendment, and it‘s all gone downhill from there.
MATTHEWS: You mean amending the Constitution to allow direct taxation, you mean? The very act under Wilson...
POTOK: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: ... I believe, of having an income tax. Let‘s take a look at an excerpt from the note the man, Joe Stack, left after—well, he left before he killed himself. “I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let‘s try something different. Take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”
You know, I only want to demur from what you say because we don‘t know
you admit you don‘t know the facts, except you say he did go to these seminars, right? Explain these seminars on tax. Are they seminars to help you fill out your forms, or what are they, just to get you angry? And name the organization, if you can.
POTOK: Well, they are basically to propagate the idea—and there are variations on the theory—that the federal income tax is completely illegal.
POTOK: You know, there are variations on the theme. It was either passed illegally, or somehow—you know, there are just a whole bunch of theories about why it‘s not so.
POTOK: These seminars tend to be—you know, they‘re held in normal middle-class hotels and draw pretty normal crowd, at least from my own personal experience. But you know, some tiny number of people who get into this world decide that they‘ve got to do something violent.
It is probably worth knowing, Chris, that in 1995, not long after the Oklahoma City bombing, a man attempted to blow up what I think is the very same building in Austin, the IRS building in Austin back in ‘95. In addition, there were attempts to blow up IRS buildings by people on the radical right in Michigan, and in Las Vegas, as well. So this is kind of a traditional target of the radical right.
MATTHEWS: What would you like the FBI to do in this case? And what will the Southern Poverty Law Center do to try to find the roots of this man‘s politics, if that‘s the right word for it?
POTOK: Well, I think that we have to really sit back and wait and see what the authorities find. You know, certainly, we‘ve done some looking, but they‘re in a far better position to really investigate this crime. And I imagine that we will start to hear from people who knew the man, perhaps people who were involved in meetings, and so on.
So you know, I think my own personal interest, or our interest at Southern Poverty Law Center, is to see, you know, was this man really an artifact of any real movement...
POTOK: ... or was he just a person filled with rage at all the bad things that life had dealt him?
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think—it‘s fair, Mark, I think, when you go through his manifesto—and of course, the man was obviously troubled, to say the least, to go to this step of killing himself and blowing up—burning his house down and trying to blow up a building, which certainly could have killed a lot more people, didn‘t kill anyone except himself.
But his grievance list was so long. It was against the Catholic church, General Motors, labor management, a labor union in one case, the city of Austin. It‘s really quite broad in its indictment of our society. Anyway, but thank you. I hope you find out some information useful to us all. Mark Potok, thank you for coming on, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, tonight.
Coming up: The conservative CPAC conference is under way in Washington, and one of the biggest bursts of applause when former vice president Dick Cheney declared that Barack Obama would be a one-term president. Well, Mr. Cheney has a few things to answer for, like his record of eight years in office, which may be in somewhat of a contrast to some of the pure beliefs of the tea baggers and the conservatives. He does not have a clean record when it comes to the excesses and, let‘s say, the abuses of big government. We‘re going to talk about that with two conservative activists who were at the convention.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: The sky‘s the limit here. I think 2010 is going to be a phenomenal year for the conservative cause.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CHENEY: And I think Barack Obama is a one-term president.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Now, there‘s a good throw-away line for that crew. Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was former vice president Dick Cheney getting a hero‘s welcome at the conservative political action conference here in Washington. Well, does Cheney really represent conservative values? Is he the guy to woo and wow the tea party crowd, for example?
Matt Kibbe‘s the president of FreedomWorks. That‘s the Dick Cheney operation—I‘m sorry, Dick Armey operation. And Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council.
Gentlemen, I want to try to find some common ground, and maybe I won‘t find any, which would probably give me a tickle. Number one, Dick Cheney is for getting rid of “Don‘t ask, don‘t tell.” I assume he‘s on a state-by-state acceptance of same-sex. So he‘s for basically—he says fine with them if they do it, and “Don‘t ask, don‘t tell” seems to be getting rid of itself because of Mullen and the others pushing it. His daughter, of course, is a lesbian, and he‘s been quite public and he‘s quite proud of his position.
Is he a good conservative, Matt?
MATT KIBBE, PRES., FREEDOMWORKS: You know, from our group‘s perspective, we‘ve had plenty of disappointments with the Bush/Cheney administration, and you know, we‘ve focused on...
MATTHEWS: Well, what about that applause he got there from your crowd out there?
KIBBE: Well, you know, I wish we would bring a new generation of guys in front of the activists because they‘re sort of disappointed with these guys.
MATTHEWS: Well, who invited the troll to the party?
KIBBE: I don‘t know. Someone...
MATTHEWS: OK, let me go to Tony Perks. Tony, thank you. I think I know your values, and they‘re pretty traditional. Are you happy with all this cheering for Dick Cheney and his openness for gay opportunity and gay service, and gay marriage even?
TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, I mean, that‘s not what his applause was about. His applause was about changing the make-up here in Washington, D.C. But let me say this, Chris. The movement you‘re seeing in the grass roots...
MATTHEWS: So we‘re quickly changing the subject from the question?
We‘re quickly changing...
PERKINS: No, no, no, no, no, no! No, no!
MATTHEWS: ... the uncomfortable reality...
PERKINS: No, no, we‘re not. No, no! Listen. Let me finish. The reaction we‘re seeing across the country is not just from the last 10 months, it‘s from the last 10 years. And the enthusiasm you see of people wanting to participate in government and change the make-up of government is just as much—because the Republicans were bad governing as the Democrats are. So this is not isolated reaction just to Barack Obama. It‘s to the Republicans, as well.
MATTHEWS: But Tony, you probably voted...
MATTHEWS: You probably vote Republican generally, and most of the people in that room probably vote Republican generally. And yet the president we had before, George W. Bush, was the one who was president when we had the financial crisis, was president when we started this whole bailing-out thing that started up on Wall Street that everybody hates. And yet you guys all cheered Cheney as if he‘s coming to your meeting today with clean hands.
PERKINS: No, no, no...
MATTHEWS: That‘s my problem. My question, rather.
PERKINS: I can‘t speak—I can‘t speak for everybody else. I wasn‘t cheering. I mean, I think this administration has some serious issues, the past administration, the Bush administration, when it came to their fiscal responsibility.
PERKINS: I think that they did do a better job when it came to the security of the nation. And I think—look, that was a good line for this crowd. And certainly, this crowd wants to see a change in the White House, as well as in Congress. But you‘ll also note that there is strong—there‘s strong and fierce competition between establishment Republicans who were a part of the big spending, the big government, and conservatives who want to see limited government, personal responsibility and a strong national defense.
MATTHEWS: Well, it just seems like a lot of the faces I‘ve known from the conservative movement going way back, Matt, like—I just saw David Keane (ph) there. He‘s not exactly a fresh-faced kid. He‘s been a part of this conservative movement for 30, 40 years at least. What about Ed Meese the other day signing one of these manifestos? These aren‘t the new kids on the block.
MATTHEWS: They‘ve been around—and all the troubles that happened, Iran-contra, the deficit going up, the debt doubling, the bail-outs, all that happened on the watch of this crowd.
KIBBE: That‘s right. But you also saw Marco Rubio...
PERKINS: Some of us are new to the process.
KIBBE: ... and you saw a lot of these...
MATTHEWS: OK. OK, let me—let‘s take a look at a new guy, Marco Rubio. You just mentioned him. Let‘s hear from him today at the CPAC convention, Marco Rubio in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: 2010 is not just a choice between Republicans and Democrats. It‘s not just a choice between liberals and conservatives. 2010 is a referendum on the very identity of our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, let me ask you about that identity in your conservative movement. Tony, let me ask you about this question, and then to Matt, the same question. Dick Cheney, for example—and I‘m going to mention him because he got that rousing welcome today. He basically has been quoted as saying that Sarah Palin was a reckless choice back when he was—well, when he was getting quoted. He also thought that deficits don‘t matter politically back when he was vice president.
So I want to go to you on that question again. Why did he get such an incredible applause when he walked in there, when he was part of the deficit problem, he‘s been dumping on Sarah Palin, along with George Will and the old conservative establishment? It seems like the old crowd are still calling the shots. Your thoughts?
PERKINS: Well, I wouldn‘t say that.
I mean, he was a—he was a—he was a surprise guest. He came in.
People weren‘t expecting him. He walked on stage and they applauded him.
I think end of story.
I mean, look...
PERKINS: ... he is not calling the shots. He wasn‘t a candidate for president, and there‘s a reason why. He would have done worse than—than the Republican candidate they picked.
Well, let‘s take a look. Here‘s—on Palin, here‘s George Will today. I want you to respond to this. George Will is erudite. He‘s exquisite in his use of the language. He has been the most successful conservative columnist for, what, 40 years now.
And here he is—quote—this is about Palin—“She is not going to be president and will not be the Republican nominee, unless the party wants to lose at least 44 states.”
So, you guys have just erased Dick Cheney. He‘s yesterday.
MATT KIBBE, PRESIDENT, FREEDOMWORKS: Right.
MATTHEWS: Is she tomorrow?
KIBBE: I don‘t know if she is or not. I think she still has to prove herself. And I think she‘s going through that process now. But I really...
MATTHEWS: What, by giving speeches for six figures? Is that how you prove yourself?
MATTHEWS: No, seriously, is that going back to the chalkboard? Is that going back to school and learning something?
KIBBE: Oh, I thought that was—I thought that was a bad idea.
MATTHEWS: Why is she out there giving speeches before she knows what she‘s talking about, is my question?
KIBBE: Yes. I thought it was a bad idea to take that much money to talk to the Tea Party movement...
MATTHEWS: Yes. Yes, $115,000.
KIBBE: ... because the Tea Party movement is about citizens.
Yes, that‘s—and it didn‘t fit the culture and the nature of this new movement of citizens that are—that are standing up from all across the political spectrum.
And I think what‘s going on—and you see it with Marco Rubio, that no one thought that Marco was competitive six months, a year ago.
KIBBE: And the Tea Party has built this platform, this stage, on fiscal responsibility. And guys like Marco Rubio are climbing up onto that stage.
MATTHEWS: Well, it...
KIBBE: That‘s the next generation.
MATTHEWS: I agree with you. I think that is a great issue. And I think debt is an issue.
And I‘m watching Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. I hope they get something done with that commission.
MATTHEWS: But you just heard—and I want Tony to respond to this—a much more fundamentalist approach there from Marco Rubio. He was not talking about getting the books straight. He was talking about going back to the old documents, the old scriptures of our founding.
MATTHEWS: This is pretty fundamentalist stuff here.
MATTHEWS: It‘s a real critique of everything the Supreme Court has done for 50, 100 years...
MATTHEWS: ... including the civil—approving the civil rights bill, no prayer in school...
MATTHEWS: ... maybe even separate but equal. All those rulings, it sounds like we‘re trying to wipe off the books.
KIBBE: I think all he‘s saying is pretty commonsense. And maybe we could have legislators that actually read and understood the Constitution when they took office.
MATTHEWS: Well, I think, go back to it—you want to take it literally, the Constitution?
PERKINS: Yes, they would read the bills.
MATTHEWS: I mean, if you want to go back to it, we have got—we have got—we have got to do a lot of erasing in history—of history, Tony, if you start going back...
PERKINS: Well, look, Chris, look...
MATTHEWS: ... to a fundamentalist approach to the Constitution.
PERKINS: Why? I mean, why not go back to what works?
But here‘s the thing. People want to make fun of Sarah Palin. They want to write that she will never have a chance.
Why is it she draws the biggest crowds? Why does—why are people motivated when she speaks? It‘s not necessarily Sarah Palin. And I don‘t want to take anything away from her. But it‘s what she represents. She‘s a—she‘s not going to be cowed. She‘s not going to kowtow to the Republican establishment or any establishment. She‘s going to speak her mind.
PERKINS: And I think that‘s what you see happening across the nation.
People are speaking their mind. They‘re tired of government as usual.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK.
It reminds me of something we used to say in the ‘60s. I have got something to say, and I‘m going to say it now. Phil Ochs, I think it was.
Anyway, thank you, Matt Kibbe.
A different point of view than you, I think.
Tony Perkins, thanks for coming on, as always.
Matt Kibbe, thank you.
KIBBE: Thank you.
PERKINS: All right.
MATTHEWS: And good luck to Dick Cheney—or not Dick Cheney—Dick Armey. Why would I make that mistake?
KIBBE: Yes, why are you—why are you doing that?
MATTHEWS: I like him. I like Armey a lot.
Coming up: We have heard a lot about secession from people like Texas Governor Rick Perry. Now we have got the final word from the United States Supreme Court on whether a state has the right to secede.
By the way, Lincoln gave that answer back in 1861. That‘s next.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the “Sideshow.”
First up: flirting with disaster.
Freshman Congressman Jason Chaffetz—he‘s the Republican from Utah -
was confronted by conspiracy theorists at a town hall this week. Catch how he goes along with the bearded fellow who is pushing the truther line that 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you given any the thought to—to the possibility that it was a falsified terror attack on 9/11?
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ ®, UTAH: Well, I mean, I know there‘s—there‘s still a lot to learn about what happened and what didn‘t happen. And we should be vigilant in continuing investigate that, absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Appreciate that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I suppose Mr. Chaffetz got the word from a friendly source later on that he had gotten himself boarded up on the cloud cuckoo express by that line, because, last night, he put out word that he is, in fact, not sympathetic to such conspiracy theories about September 11, that he‘s not, in the parlance of today, a truther.
Next: a throwback. Down in South Carolina, Republican State Representative Mike Pitts has introduced a bill that would ban federal currency, the money we use now, and replace it with gold and silver coins.
So, let‘s get rid of checks and credit cards and paper money, as he would like us to, and all ride around in buckboards, carrying our money in satchels. Let‘s all go back to the 19th century.
These guys are unbelievable.
Finally, here‘s another voice in the debate over secession, a much more important one. Back in 2006, four years ago, a screenwriter was developing a script in which the state of Maine tries to leave the union and become part of Canada.
He wrote all nine Supreme Court justices asking them to weigh in on whether a state can actually secede from the union. Justice Antonin Scalia provided a lone response. He wrote—quote—“The answer is clear. If there was a constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede, hence, in the Pledge of the Allegiance, one nation, indivisible.”
Do some of the Tea Party attendees want another civil war? Is that new definition of being a patriot, your readiness to tear up the U.S.?
Now for the “Big Number” tonight.
Last week, New York Councilman Larry Seabrook pled not guilty to federal charges of extortion of fraud—among the accusations, that he submitted a doctored receipt for a bagel sandwich and soda. The original bill was $7. What did Seabrook change it to for reimbursement? According to the federal government, $177 for a bagel and soda.
A New York pol‘s $177 bagel breakfast, which makes me think this man might not be too honest—tonight‘s “Big Number.”
Up next; John McCain‘s challenger. Former U.S. Congressman J.D. Hayworth is taking on McCain from the right, and he‘s coming to HARDBALL next—back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth officially launched his primary challenge against Senator McCain this week. We have invited Senator McCain to join us whenever he can, and we hope that is soon.
J.D. Hayworth joins us now from the CPAC Convention here in Washington.
Congressman, thank you for joining us.
I‘m going to ask you to go after the toughest issue of your campaign, the difference you have with John McCain over torture. Now, everyone knows he experienced torture personally at the hands of the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War.
How do you claim a better knowledge of the issue of torture in combat, in warfare?
J.D. HAYWORTH ®, ARIZONA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: No, I‘m not claiming a better knowledge of the issue.
And I appreciate—I think we all appreciate John‘s service and quite literally his sacrifice. But what we cannot deny, based in the fullness of time and seeing published accounts, that utilizing enhanced interrogation techniques stopped four 9/11-style attacks.
And the fact is that—that John and others who felt strongly on the issue held up a key appropriations bill to basically confer upon enemy combatants fighting under no flag of any signatory to the Geneva Convention the rights of the Geneva Convention.
And, moreover, though I‘m sure it wasn‘t John‘s intent, when he talked about closing Gitmo, I think that opened the door for the leftist extension of some illogic to see President Obama and the attorney general say, well, let‘s take these enemy combatants and try them in federal court.
HAYWORTH: So, I don‘t believe it was John‘s intent, but I believe, sadly, in a lot of ways, he has served as an enabler of President Obama‘s very reckless policies.
When you meet with military men who have been—and women who have been in combat and have faced possible capture, do they support your position that it is OK to water-board?
HAYWORTH: I can‘t speak for anyone else. And, again, I would point out...
MATTHEWS: I mean military, just generally, the people in the military. How about people in the military generally?
HAYWORTH: Well, you are asking me to canvass the military?
All I know is that our men and women take an oath to the Constitution of the United States to defend us against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And I am not interested in polling the military. I‘m interested in letting the military protect us.
I think there are some problematic concerns in terms of stipulating that we are going to—to use the Army field animal—manual. I think, in essence, Chris, what we are seeing is that terrorists are teaching to that test. They know that we will this far and no more.
MATTHEWS: I see.
HAYWORTH: And I don‘t believe that is an advantage for us.
MATTHEWS: Another question is this whole question of whether people who are gay can openly serve in the military. Where are you on that one?
HAYWORTH: I believe that don‘t ask, don‘t tell has been the policy.
I see no reason to change it.
MATTHEWS: Does it bother you that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mr. Mullen, is for changing it?
HAYWORTH: Well, again, I have some concerns about the position of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. I disagree with it. But, obviously, he is entitled to his opinion.
I just believe that we should not use the military for social engineering at this time. The military is there to protect us. And I believe these other issues are really, if not superfluous, they detract from the simple focus of the mission of our military, to protect the American people.
MATTHEWS: OK. Last question on that. If a person is gay and they want to join the military and fight for their country, what should they do?
HAYWORTH: Well, I think we have seen for the past 10 years, they keep private matters private, and they are free to join.
Let‘s go to some other questions here. This whole question of illegal immigration—and I believe we ought to have laws and enforce them. That‘s my position. Don‘t pass a law unless you intend to enforce it.
We do, however, have this problem of a lot of people who came in this country illegally, who are not documented—here illegally. Let‘s be blunt about it. What do you do with those millions of people who have kids they have raised here, they have brought their parents in, they have learned English, they‘re—they are here? For all practical purposes, they have become Americans, if not officially.
What do you do with them?
HAYWORTH: Well, Chris, you have laid out a narrative that, if that were in fact the case for everyone, it would be a very different situation than what we have right now, because the fact is so many who come here illegally apparently are not interested in assimilation.
But let‘s start with a point of agreement. You said enforcement is the key.
MATTHEWS: Yes, that‘s what I believe.
HAYWORTH: I authored the enforcement first Act of 2005 and 2006. But, when you fail to enforce the law, you end up with a situation we have now.
Now, that is in stark contrast to what has been going on in Arizona, where the state has moved when the federal government has been inactive. And we do have law enforcement officials enforcing the law. And perhaps you read within the last year the governor of our neighboring Mexican state of Sonora was actually upset that so many Sonoran citizens were returning home. Simply stated...
HAYWORTH: ... you will recall the broken windows theory of policing.
When you enforce the law...
MATTHEWS: Actually, I believe in that one, too.
HAYWORTH: ... there need not be mass deportations, yes.
MATTHEWS: But what do you do? Would you do mass deportations?
HAYWORTH: No, we don‘t have to. When you enforce the law, people will follow the law, Chris. That‘s a straw man argument.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. Well, it‘s an argument for—a lot of people would like to send back everybody who is not in this country legally. They would like to send them back where they came from. And you‘re not one of those people, you say?
HAYWORTH: When you enforce the law, people leave of their own volition. We have seen it in real life in Arizona.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK.
HAYWORTH: But it is a matter of enforcing the law and dealing with effective border security, because border security is national security. It‘s unconscionable.
We are almost a decade after 9/11, and our back door is wide open, and as our windows and even our northern border with Canada.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well...
HAYWORTH: We have to have real border protection.
MATTHEWS: Well, I am further over than you, because I want to have national I.D. cards. I want to know if everybody here is here illegally. I want to know if they‘re here illegally right off the bat.
Let me ask you about this question. You have opposed one of the Cabinet nominations. You didn‘t like Eric Holder. Is that from square one, from the very beginning, when he was nominated? Because you have no problem with Napolitano, with Hillary Clinton, with Tim Geithner.
MATTHEWS: But you‘ve got a particular...
HAYWORTH: Whoa. Whoa. Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
MATTHEWS: According to your document you have put out—I‘m just going by what you‘ve put out.
HAYWORTH: ... Janet Napolitano.
MATTHEWS: Correct me. Which Cabinet appointments do you oppose?
HAYWORTH: OK. OK.
Well, I believe in the fullness of time, as I said when she was nominated, Arizona‘s gain is the nation‘s loss. I don‘t believe Secretary Napolitano is effective. And we have seen that. I have real problems with Attorney General Holder. I thought that his testimony in front of the Senate was problematic that he—quote—“learned from his mistakes.”
I don‘t think he has at all. In the fullness of time, I think he has embraced a radical type of expansion of rights for enemy combatants that only serves to endanger our country.
MATTHEWS: But why did you only put Eric Holder on your list? I mean, I‘m just looking at your document. You have one guy—or one person—you say shouldn‘t have been nominated—I mean, shouldn‘t have confirmed.
You singled him out, Eric Holder. Why?
HAYWORTH: Well, I didn‘t know that—that—I‘m not sure of the document you are talking about, but I‘m not sure it was supposed to be encyclopedic.
But I think it‘s common knowledge that Eric Holder had serious questions in terms of his background, in terms of the pardons in the final days of the Bush administration—or the Clinton administration, as associate attorney general.
And, for those reasons, as well as a myriad of others, in terms of his outlook for foreign policy and this absurd notion of expanding rights of citizens to enemy combatants, he should have never been selected as attorney general. And, as a U.S. senator, I would have opposed that nomination.
MATTHEWS: Do you think, if we got the Straight Talk Express bus back again, and we all—all the journalists back in Washington who all supported John McCain in 2000 got on that bus again and drove around in Arizona supporting John McCain, do you think that would help your campaign?
HAYWORTH: I think it would, because—well, with all due respect to John, we can see so many reversals on so many positions.
John is campaigning as a conservative, but he‘s legislating as a liberal. And I think, for purposes of accurate labeling, they might want to rename that bus the double-talk express.
MATTHEWS: OK. So, you are a conservative. And John McCain is a what? What label would you put on the senator from—from Arizona?
HAYWORTH: At the very least, John McCain is a moderate who calls himself a maverick.
MATTHEWS: And moderate is a bad word?
HAYWORTH: Well, moderate—there are places for everyone on the political spectrum.
But let‘s take, for example, his vote on the bailout, $700 billion for the banks, another $150 billion in earmarks, the spending he claims to oppose.
HAYWORTH: John called it an obscenity, but he voted for it anyway.
HAYWORTH: Bottom line, when it comes to fiscal discipline, with all due respect, John is in no position to lecture any of us on saving money.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. Last question.
You have a good, strong point against the bailouts. George W. Bush started the bailouts. John McCain went along with them. Barack Obama went along with them. They started it in a fiscal crisis which occurred right before Barack Obama became president.
Would you accept the endorsement of George W. Bush, who was the father of the bailouts?
HAYWORTH: I disagree wholeheartedly with a bailout, but I always welcome endorsements, because politics is the act of addition.
HAYWORTH: You know that, Chris. You win with more votes than your opposition.
MATTHEWS: OK. I know. You look like—I think you are doing well out there, because you are looking very happy, J.D.
Thank you so much for joining us, Congressman J.D. Hayworth, running against John McCain in a highly, highly contested primary in Arizona.
Up next: much more from the CPAC Convention and what conservative leading lights like Senate Scott Brown, Mitt Romney, and Marco Rubio are saying today—almost Senator Marco Rubio, not quite there.
“The Politics Fix” is next.
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: How‘s this for irony? George W. Bush blames the gerrymandering of congressional districts for the sharp partisan tone of Washington, gerrymandering done on his watch. The former president says more competitive House districts are needed, so that politicians have to work harder at their campaigns.
But it was Bush‘s party in 2001, led by Tom DeLay and Karl Rove, that redrew the map of states like Ohio, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, to create more safe districts for Republicans. And now Bush himself says that‘s wrong and that‘s what is wrong with Washington.
HARDBALL returns after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ CHENEY, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: For my whole life, he has taught me to stand up for what I believe in and to fight for what‘s right. And, often, before big speeches like this one, I ask his opinion and I seek his advice.
Well, today, instead, I brought him with me.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. That‘s former Vice President Dick Cheney‘s daughter welcoming her father, a surprise appearance today at the exuberant CPAC conference.
Time now for “The Politics Fix” with MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard, and Melinda Henneberger, who is editor in chief of the PoliticsDaily.com.
Let me ask you first about this event. I can‘t tell whether it‘s new breed, old breed. I‘m seeing Cheney show up there, part of eight years of mayhem in terms of fiscal irresponsibility, responsible, if you blame the person in charge, for the financial disaster of the fall of 2008, everything, and yet—and then Cheney also the guy who supports gay marriage now, state by state to decide this, and getting rid of don‘t ask, don‘t tell.
So, where are they? What unites CPAC and the conservatives? You‘re sort of connected to that crowd, aren‘t you?
MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That—that they are not liberals and they‘re not Democrats. That‘s the only thing that connects them.
It‘s almost—I hate to use the term, but it is like a mongrel party trying to decide what its actual identity is. You have the old-school crew, the Dick Cheneys of the world. You have...
BERNARD: ... libertarians that are members of the party. You have young people.
MATTHEWS: And then you have neocon hawks.
BERNARD: You have neocon hawks. It is a little bit of everything.
People talk about the Republican Party being fractured. This is a perfect representation of it, not the fracturing part, but the fact that you have a little bit of everything.
MATTHEWS: Here is Mitt Romney.
Melinda, you can respond.
Mitt Romney, Mr. Excitement, he came in there...
MATTHEWS: I‘m not knocking him, but he came in there today riding on the wings of Scott Brown, trying to take advantage of that wind.
MATTHEWS: Here he is, former Governor Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY ®, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: But, by the way, you probably—you probably didn‘t hear the news this morning, late-breaking, that the gold medal that was won last night by American Lindsey Vonn has been stripped.
ROMNEY: Yes, it was determined that President Obama has been going downhill faster than she has.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: How do I know he didn‘t make up that joke?
MATTHEWS: I mean, how do I know that some staffer came up with that joke for him?
MELINDA HENNEBERGER, POLITICSDAILY.COM: I don‘t think I can respond, because, on the inside, I am laughing too hard.
HENNEBERGER: But, no, I mean, Mitt Romney gave a really dull speech.
And he‘s won the straw poll at CPAC for the last four years, because he really organizes to win CPAC. And these people don‘t even like him.
MATTHEWS: Yes. So, what‘s it worth?
HENNEBERGER: This is definitely not his crowd. So, it‘s worth bubkes.
But the interesting thing today, I thought, at CPAC was them really trying not—we are not trying to co-opt the Tea Partiers. We love you. We are you. You are—I mean, that is a really risky strategy, some of the stuff that John Boehner was saying today, that, you know, we‘re your natural home.
See what he gets, you know, if they did come around, whether he wouldn‘t...
HENNEBERGER: ... I have got more than I have bargained for.
MATTHEWS: Well, his natural home is a golf course where they‘re allowed to smoke, I think.
MATTHEWS: Here‘s Dick—here‘s Dick Armey.
HENNEBERGER: The tanning bed, maybe.
MATTHEWS: God, that‘s funny.
Here‘s Dick Armey today at the CPAC Convention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK ARMEY, FORMER REPUBLICAN HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: The central purpose of this presidency is for the government to be in control and redistribute income.
ARMEY: And they are willing to sabotage the performance of the American economy in order to get that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, he‘s got a good point. Why is he dressed like a pit boss in Vegas?
MATTHEWS: I don‘t know.
MATTHEWS: He‘s in a Runyonesque costume with the white shirt—white tie and the dark shirt. Anyway, just a thought.
No, he has a good point there. He—it‘s—the Democrats do believe in redistribution, people with a little more money paying for the health care of people with a little less money, right, people who are healthy paying for the health care of people who are less healthy.
But that‘s what the Democrats believe in. Why knock it? I mean, that‘s what he—Democrats don‘t believe in everybody for themselves.
BERNARD: I‘m not knocking it. I just don‘t think it‘s—it sounds a lot more noble coming from you.
A lot of people look at it as sort of Peter Pan or Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor, rather than..
BERNARD: ... finding out a better way to run the government.
MATTHEWS: Well, it‘s called a progressive income tax. It‘s also called the safety net. And that‘s how we do it in America. You know, if somebody gets really hurt...
BERNARD: Well, it‘s not perfect.
MATTHEWS: You know, the people driving the ambulance are healthy, and the people they‘re helping are unhealthy. That‘s redistributing wealth. The guy who is healthy is going to help a person who is lying on the street hit in a car accident. You help the person who needs help.
MATTHEWS: Is that redistributing good health?
MATTHEWS: How far do we go with this? How far do we go with this?
MATTHEWS: The cop stops the bad guy from hurting the good guy. Is that redistributing? Everything is redistributing. It‘s always somebody helping somebody else.
MATTHEWS: That‘s how we live.
BERNARD: Well, let me just tell you, let‘s look at a different way.
MATTHEWS: The alternative is cowboys and Indians, everybody for themselves, nobody gives anybody a break.
BERNARD: No. Somebody said it to me very differently the other day. And it‘s just as noble as what you‘re saying in terms of Christianity and the way you just put it.
BERNARD: Somebody said to me the other day, you know what? I have got a guy who makes $250,000 a year who pays my salary. If you increase his taxes, I lose my job.
What do you say to that person when you talk about redistributing wealth? How do you explain to him that it‘s OK for him to lose his job if his employer, who makes $250,000 a year, has to pay higher taxes? He doesn‘t like redistri...
MATTHEWS: That‘s the Republican argument. That is a Republican variation on...
BERNARD: That is a free market argument.
BERNARD: That person doesn‘t like the redistribution of wealth, because then he is unemployed.
HENNEBERGER: Well, Dick Armey is a cowboy, so he would like that system of...
MATTHEWS: Does he believe in unemployment insurance, Dick Armey?
HENNEBERGER: Probably not, no.
MATTHEWS: Does he believe in Social Security?
HENNEBERGER: But I am happy to see Dick Armey is having so much fun in his next career.
MATTHEWS: You know what‘s funny? You know, when you cover these debates, everybody who watches this show gets involved in arguments at home, just like this, over a dinner table or somewhere.
It just seems like we are having the most fundamental arguments now, secession from the union, whether you‘re allowed to secede from the union, nullification, whether a state can ignore a federal law.
They are going back to the most basic ideas of the Constitution. I just wonder why is this going on, this fundamentalist period.
HENNEBERGER: But it‘s OK to have those basic arguments, but I wish we were having honest basic arguments.
I mean, I think that putting words on it like not just redistribution, but socialism, you know, we‘re arguing about terms that have nothing to do with what‘s going on in America today. And I think that‘s the reason that you see this kind of alienation with these Tea Party people.
MATTHEWS: Well, here‘s—here is a guy that knows how to talk to the people. This is Scott Brown, who just got elected with a—a barn coat. He wore John Kerry‘s coat to get elected.
MATTHEWS: And he talked about riding a truck. In fact, he road a truck into CPAC today. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SCOTT BROWN ®, MASSACHUSETTS: And, for the big government spenders, I‘m sure my election doesn‘t make them feel good at all. But, for those who are interested in restoring the real checks and balances in Washington, and bringing accountability and transparency back to our government, you know, it feels wonderful. It feels like a new day dawning, and I am so excited to be part of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I think he has got perfect pitch.
BERNARD: Yes, he does.
HENNEBERGER: Yes, he does.
BERNARD: I absolutely agree with you on that. He has got perfect pitch. He is very appealing for a lot of different reasons, just...
MATTHEWS: He‘s good-looking, too, right?
BERNARD: Well, he is good-looking.
BERNARD: The “Cosmo” ad didn‘t hurt. But, also, people...
HENNEBERGER: Oh, come on.
BERNARD: People are really concerned with this—quote, unquote—
“recovery” that we have.
MATTHEWS: No, I‘m serious. I shouldn‘t have said good-looking, because he has really perfect pitch about the need for accountability and transparency. That sells with everybody.
MATTHEWS: Your thought?
And he is so authentic. You don‘t know what he‘s going say next, and it could be something really off-the-wall. And we like that. We want to know that...
MATTHEWS: And I don‘t think he‘s going to go far-right either. I think he‘s going to stay Senate—a senator for a long time up there, if he—if he hews to that kind of talk about transparency.
We will be back with Michelle and Melinda in just a minute to talk about that airplane—oh, that terrible airplane crash.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: We‘re back with MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard and PoliticsDaily.com‘s Melinda Henneberger for more of “The Politics Fix.”
Melinda, this crash, we don‘t know all the details, but we know that a guy who had real problems with the IRS over the years...
MATTHEWS: ... crashed his plane into an IRS building where there were 190-some people working.
Luckily, only he was killed.
Well, the—the scary thing about this long five-page suicide note, manifesto, he called it, I thought, was its lucidity. I mean, whenever people commit suicide and you ask why, why, you know, really, the only answer to why is—the only true answer is depression.
But when I read this note, I thought, you know, this is a frighteningly lucid note with all—a real—in some parts, a real indictment of our government.
HENNEBERGER: And the most moving line to me was when he said, “No politician has ever cast a vote with the likes of me in mind,” just this complete feeling of alienation, of working so hard to be understood, to do the right thing, to pay his taxes, to learn more about how to be a good citizen, from what it sounded like, and feeling that, at every turn, the care of his government was for bailing out GM, was for bailing out banks, was for bailing out the—the rich, at one point, he says cronies of George W. Bush.
HENNEBERGER: ... for people who have done the wrong thing, instead of for the little guy who has tried.
And the frightening thing, too, him calling for more suicides, until, he says, the body count gets high enough so it can‘t be whitewashed.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me you one line, Michelle, before we—I mean, I think this is a unique situation.
They always says suicides come when something changes in your life you can‘t deal with. It‘s not sadness. It‘s a change you can‘t deal with.
Here‘s a line: “But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought, I decided that it would be irresponsible not to get professional help—a very big mistake.”
So, this guy has got a complicated situation here.
BERNARD: You know, he has got a complicated situation.
Part of the situation he talks about in the manifesto was the year he did not file an income tax return. He—but, I mean, if you look at the manifesto—and, I mean, God bless his soul, it‘s not an indictment of him, but many, many people have problems with the cities where—where they live, in the cities where the unemployment rate is higher than in other cities with the government, and they don‘t kill themselves.
This was a—a...
MATTHEWS: And they don‘t try to kill others.
BERNARD: And they don‘t try to kill others.
And God—thank God nobody else, as far as we know, was hurt in this plane crash. But, if you read the manifesto, as well-written as it was, this is a guy who had a problem in every aspect of his life, in every city that he lived in.
He didn‘t file a tax return. The government didn‘t tell him not to file a tax return. And, really, the only people he has hurt with his suicide is his family. The government is not your mother. It‘s not your father—father.
And I guarantee you that there is no one at the IRS tonight that‘s going to have a hard time sleeping, but his wife will have to live with this for the rest of her life.
MATTHEWS: This has been HARDBALL.
Thank you very much, Michelle Bernard.
MATTHEWS: This topic is going to continue.
Thank you, Melinda Henneberger.
Join us again Monday night at 5:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL.
“COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN” starts right now.
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