Guest: George Miller, Roy Sekoff, Sherrod Brown, Katrina Vanden Heuvel,
A.B. Stoddard, Laura Flanders, David Lazarus, Lionel
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW
from New York tonight.
These are the stories that are hitting my hot buttons tonight. And I
love this story.
Thousands of college students across the country, man, they‘re in the
streets, they‘re protesting. They don‘t like these outrageous tuition rate
hikes. George Miller, chairman of the House Education Committee, will join
me in just a few moments.
Senator Blanche Lincoln has a bizarre response to her new primary
challenger in Arkansas. She has put up a commercial telling the party
faithful she‘s not afraid to vote against the Democratic agenda.
And Sarah Palin wants her own reality show. I thought that‘s what we
were watching all along. Well, whatever.
But first, the story that‘s really got me fired up tonight.
You know, I love it when people get involved, and the march is on.
Thousands—who would have thought this—thousands of college students
and professors across the country are going to the streets today, 33
states. These 122 events are going on coast-to-coast on campuses and at
There‘s no war protests going on here, but they are at war. They‘re
at war with tuition increases, classes being dropped and professors being
cut left and right. This isn‘t in the deal is it? This is America.
The California State University system has been hammered—I mean
hammered—by a billion dollars in budget cuts. In the state of Georgia,
a legislative committee proposed $300 million in cuts to state college
system, and on top of $100 million cuts in the past two years.
Now, the state-run universities, well, what the heck? They‘ve got to
make up the shortfall. So you know what they do? They just put it right
back on the backs of the students and the faculty.
Now, at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech and Georgia State,
the increase would drive annual in-state tuition up more than $2,000 to
almost $8,200 a year. Now, in the state of California, some state school
tuitions will skyrocket some 32 percent.
Students are rebelling because they are faced with a real dilemma here
drop out of school or just go deeper into debt? It‘s that dream thing,
Folks, this is what the race to the bottom-line mentality, this is
what has happened to this country. The Republicans have been absolutely
slaves to tax cuts at absolutely any cost. Got to have a tax cut.
They wanted to drown government in a bathtub. They don‘t give a damn
about education. They hate public education.
Forty-fix states right now in this country are in the red. And when
you don‘t raise taxes, you can‘t afford to pour millions of dollars into
higher education. They have—what we have here is the have and the have
not culture, which is destroying our state university system all over this
Now, today, two-thirds of college students borrow money to go to
college. And their average debt load is more than $23,000 by the time they
graduate—if they graduate. A lot of kids get out of school still with
the dealt with no degree. That kind of debt is just absolutely crushing,
especially in this job market.
Now, the dream of getting out of school, getting a job and buying a
House, oh, it‘s still there in America. But it‘s getting a heck of a lot
I guess could you say that the new normal is upon us. The dream just
gets a little tougher.
President Obama is trying to do something about it. Now, remember,
the proposed 2011 fiscal year budget for higher education includes $77.8
billion. That is a 7.5 percent increase over the 2010 budget.
But keep in mind, he is trying to do something about it, and so is the
Democratic House. Because back in September, the House passed legislation
to end bank-based student lending and move to a 100 percent direct lending.
But it‘s, of course, one, just one, of the 290 bills that the House passed
that is now stuck over on the Senate side because the Republicans, eh, they
don‘t like it.
Tell me what you think on our telephone survey poll tonight, folks.
The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.
And my question tonight is: Should there be a cap on tuition at state-
funded colleges and universities in this country? Press “1” for yes and
press “2” for no. I‘ll bring you the results later on in the program.
Joining me now is California Congressman George Miller, chairman of
the House Education and Labor Committee.
You know, Congressman, I appreciate your time tonight.
This is a very important story. I know we have been hammering on
health care. We‘ve got the budget and everything else.
We have got kids in the street in this country that are saying we‘re
getting a raw deal. And it is getting a heck of a lot tougher to educate
the next generation, and they get out with a bunch of debt on their back.
Let me ask you some basic, fundamental questions about funding, if I
may, George. Did the stimulus package have anything to do with help in
REP. GEORGE MILLER (D), CALIFORNIA: Sure it did, because the stimulus
package provided a huge amount of money to the states for all kinds of
general assistance, much of it directed at education, much of it directed
at general assistance to try to help the states at a time of deficits. And
so that allowed them to provide additional assistance to colleges and
universities if they chose to do that.
Some governors did and some governors haven‘t. And now, of course,
the states and local governments expect even worse fiscal years this year
than they had—than they had last year.
But the general trend, Ed—and you‘re right on this—the general
trend is that the states have been walking away from their obligation to
fund their public institutions in the various states. And the federal
government comes along and we add additional money to fight cost of
colleges, and the states take it out the bottom and we put it in the top.
That system‘s got to stop. And we have started taking steps to stop
We did it in the last higher education bill. We said if you don‘t
continue to fund your universities at the—I think its 2006 level, then
don‘t come asking us for additional federal dollars.
But the most important thing is when the students get done protesting
the universities and the governor‘s office, they should go to the banks,
because the banks are in Washington, D.C., today, tonight and tomorrow, and
every day until the end of this year trying to kill the student aid bill
that we passed in the House that would provide $40 billion in additional
grants, not loans, to hard-working families to pay for the education of
their children. And it would provide an additional sense (ph) in trying to
keep interest rates low.
We took $87 billion in subsidies away from the banks to give to
students and to their families to improve education. And the fact of the
matter is now, in the Senate, the banks have got a full-court press on to
stop this bill from passing. It‘s the president‘s highest education
SCHULTZ: Well, back in April, last year, when I first came to MSNBC,
Dick Durbin told me that the banks own the Senate. And I think that we are
seeing that right now. But we‘re also seeing—
MILLER: Well, but these students could change that dynamic.
SCHULTZ: Well, I hope so.
MILLER: These students could change that dynamic.
SCHULTZ: Because right now, you have got a younger generation that
voted for change that is in the streets right now across the country. This
is the face and the effect of trickle-down economics in this country.
When you allow tax cuts to go to the top two percent, when you have
unfunded mandates, when you have a Medicare prescription drug bill that is
not accounted for, when you go to war and it‘s off the budget, this is what
you get. This is our infrastructure that is crumbling before our eyes,
because back in the ‘60s, kids weren‘t in the streets. Back in the ‘70s
and ‘80s and ‘90s, they weren‘t in the streets doing this.
Where is the breaking point on this, Congressman?
MILLER: Well, I think you‘ve arrived at it. Families are stressed.
Individual students are stressed.
Students that had jobs to help them pay for their education in many
instances have lost hours or lost those jobs. And so education is a much
more difficult thing for families and for students. But the point is that
there‘s help on the way if you can get the banks out of the way.
SCHULTZ: Well, are you—
MILLER: That‘s the point here.
SCHULTZ: -- going to get any Republican help on that?
MILLER: Ed, think about $87 billion that this president said he wants
to provide for working-class families to send kids to school.
SCHULTZ: He is trying to do it.
MILLER: Eighty-seven billion dollars. It‘s the largest—
SCHULTZ: And you‘re not getting any help from the Republicans on
this, are you?
MILLER: We haven‘t gotten much help at all. We didn‘t get any help
in the House, and we haven‘t gotten much help—and I don‘t see any help
coming in the Senate.
You know, they objected on 60 votes, so now we‘re going to try to do
it with the health care by majority vote. But it‘s still tough. There‘s
people in there shilling for the banks, trying to kill this bill so the
banks—imagine, we are going to continue to pay them a subsidy to loan
MILLER: Think about that.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.
MILLER: Hell, you can make money just going to bed at night if that‘s
the racket you‘re in.
SCHULTZ: Well, that is the racket they‘re in.
Great to have you with us.
MILLER: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: George Miller from—
SCHULTZ: -- yes, California.
I was go going to say San Francisco, give you a hometown plug.
MILLER: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: All right. George Miller with us.
Thanks so much.
All right. Now, you know, this isn‘t a Tea Party. This isn‘t a bunch
of people that are walking around with signs that‘s anti-government.
These are people that are out there saying, look, we‘re getting
screwed. Where‘s my chance? Where‘s my break?
This is what it‘s all—all they are asking for is—these aren‘t
dumb kids. They know what‘s going on. These aren‘t kids that are asking
for a handout.
You know what they are asking for, Roy Sekoff, founding editor of “The
Huffington Post,” with us tonight? They are asking for a chance. They are
asking for a chance at the great American dream.
I‘ll tell you what, this is a hell of a lot more influential than any
Tea Party, I can tell you that.
Roy, what do you think?
ROY SEKOFF, FOUNDING EDITOR, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”: First of all, Ed,
I want to salute you for covering the show—this at the top of the show,
this story. It‘s a huge story and it‘s largely being ignored by the
We‘ve had it on the top of the home page at “The Huffington Post.”
And our college section has been covering this extensively.
But it‘s really being ignored a lot, because you know what it does,
Ed? This shines a spotlight and raises the question, what is our priority
as a nation? Are we going to have a generation that‘s about creativity,
that‘s about innovation, or are we going to spend our money just bailing
out Wall Street? Are we going to spend our money fighting two unnecessary
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
That‘s the question that we‘re being asked right now, and the answer
is not a very good one.
SCHULTZ: Here‘s what I think is so interesting about this, is where
the Tea Party—if you want to draw a parallel, the Tea Partiers say,
well, socialism. Well, you know, it‘s government takeover. They get out
there, I‘ve got to have my gun on my hip. All that kind of stuff.
These kids can say, hey, 32 percent increase in tuition fees, OK?
Double-digit increases in all my years in college, and I can‘t get the
access to money to do what I want to do. And the banking and the credit
and all of this is awfully tough.
I‘ll tell you what, this is America. This is America, middle class,
lower middle class kids that are speaking up, saying we‘ve got to get this
SEKOFF: Right. But if we‘re looking at America in 2010, we‘re seeing
the unbelievable, unrelenting influence on money, on our politics. This is
what we‘re seeing again and again.
We just heard the representative say it, right? It‘s the same thing
we heard on health care. It‘s the same thing we‘re hearing on banking
The lobbyists are carrying the day, Ed, and that‘s the dangerous
thing. I mean, just think about one thing—the amount of debt that the
states have, the budget gaps, is huge. But if you took the $180 billion
that we used to bail out AIG --
SEKOFF: -- every state in the country would have those gaps closed.
SEKOFF: So what is our priorities, Ed? What are we going to be? Are
we going to be, you know, a third world nation? Is that where we‘re
heading? As you say, the slide to the bottom?
SCHULTZ: Roy, in California, this is right up Jerry Brown‘s alley,
SEKOFF: Well, you know, Ed, it‘s really—as you say, particularly
Jerry Brown‘s father, when he was the governor, it was the golden age of
education. People moved to the state of California so they could use the
public educational system.
Now we have people with 30 percent increases. They are dropping
classes, they are furloughing professors.
It‘s outrageous. And I really do think that the students taking to
the streets, nonviolently, you know, can make a difference. And I think we
need to keep sending the signal that, you know, we are fed up and we‘re not
going to take in anymore.
SCHULTZ: Roy Sekoff, founding editor, “Huffington Post.”
Good to have you with us tonight, Roy. Thanks a lot.
SEKOFF: Good to be here, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
It is the story that America should be talking about. The next
generation needs the same kind of shot that we got when we were kids.
Coming up, New York Congressman Eric Massa is at the center of a
controversy over alleged sexual harassment of a male staffer. NBC‘s Luke
Russert will bring us the latest from Capitol Hill on this, what is
developing to be a bizarre story.
And Senator Sherrod Brown plans to introduce a public option bill in
the Senate. Hey, that‘s change I can believe in. He‘ll join me at the
bottom of the hour.
Plus, you won‘t believe who Sean Hannity thinks is smarter than the
president of the United States. I‘ll put the dunce cap on him in “Psycho
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
The Republicans, remember when they were floundering back in 2006? It
was the ethics scandals that helped bury them in the November election.
And no scandal was more damning than the one involving Congressman Mark
Foley and underage male pages.
Now it‘s the Democrats that are on the defense.
Freshman Congressman Eric Massa is under an ethics investigation for
allegedly sexually harassing a male junior staffer. Majority Leader Steny
Hoyer is doing damage control, saying leadership referred the Massa
complaint to the Ethics Committee within 48 hours.
Congressman Massa has flat-out denied any wrongdoing. And so far,
Republicans have held their fire on this. But more details are bound to
And for more on this, let‘s turn to NBC‘s Luke Russert, on Capitol
Hill, who is reporting on this story.
Luke, what is the status of this now?
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Right now, Ed, we received word
from the House Ethics Committee around 2:20 today that there is indeed a
full investigation now into what exactly occurred between Mr. Massa and a
male staffer over the last few months, or the past year, since he has been
up here on Capitol Hill.
That now means that there are lawyers involved. There‘s investigators
involved. And we‘ll know a lot more information in the coming weeks or
months, or as the committee wants us to know.
This is the same type of investigation that happened to Charlie Rangel
which ended up ending his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means
Committee. They really, really do get involved, and they really, really,
really pry for the information.
SCHULTZ: Luke, do we know how many staffers? Is it just one staffer
who‘s bringing forth an allegation, or is it a number of them? Do we know
RUSSERT: Well, let me preface this by saying that everything we have
heard is rumor. Really, the Speaker‘s lobby on this issue is like a high
school locker room. People have all sorts of ideas.
SCHULTZ: Yes. But there is—but I want to be very clear. Officially,
to the Ethics Committee, there has been only one person come forward?
RUSSERT: Correct. Correct.
RUSSERT: Officially, the Ethics Committee, correct. There‘s only
SCHULTZ: Yes. OK.
Now, the congressman says—he has made it very clear, has he not,
that he hasn‘t done anything wrong, and he is stepping out because he is
battling cancer? That‘s his side of the story right now, right?
RUSSERT: The congressman says that he is retiring because he‘s a
former cancer survivor, the cancer has returned. He says that this
incident is not sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. And, in fact, he
simply used “salty language” because he was in the Navy for over 20 years,
and that his salty language could have been found offensive by a staffer.
So, he‘s saying that it‘s a language deal. He is apologizing for it,
sometimes the salty language gets the best of him.
Others are saying that it‘s a lot more than that. That he was, in
fact, indeed, involved in a compromising situation with a male staffer and
harassment. Like I said, it‘s all rumor, but that‘s what several sources
close to the New York delegation have told me—Ed.
SCHULTZ: OK. This is the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, her
reaction when asked about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: Asked my staff, have there
been any rumors about any of this before? There had been a rumor, but the
but just that. They did not report to me because, you know what? This
is rumor city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, one other thing that‘s very interesting is that the
majority leader, Steny Hoyer, in an interview, brought up Mark Foley‘s
name, and almost drawing a parallel to this story, which gives indication
that this could be very damaging and very in-depth.
Luke, your take on that?
RUSSERT: It was certainly interesting, Ed, for Majority Leader Steny
Hoyer to say some folks feel like we have been down this road before, where
we saw what happened with Mr. Foley on the other side. One Republican I
spoke to said the reason the GOP hasn‘t pounced on this is because they do
believe in that old adage, those who live in glass houses shouldn‘t throw
stones right now at this moment.
But it‘s something that was on the mind of the press corps. Some
Democrats have said privately to “The New York Daily News” that, “He‘s
going to Mark Foley us so much.”
So, it is something, especially when Democrats do not want to come
forward, is any idea of a cover-up of the leadership. That is what did
(ph) it to Denny Hastert in ‘06. He looked like he was trying to protect
If anything, Democrats will say, look, Steny Hoyer heard about this on
February 8th, it was within the Ethics Committee within 48 hours, we did
not in any way cover this up.
SCHULTZ: Now, politically, the tough play here is that Congressman
Massa ran for this seat in New York because of his health care experience,
and he wanted health care for all Americans. Now, in the case, here‘s the
Speaker of the House collecting votes, counting heads in a very crucial
Is he going to stay on the job, or could this had possibly snowball
where he would have to resign and cause a headcount problem for the
RUSSERT: All indications are, as of right now, he is going to retire
in 2010. So he is going to finish out his term.
RUSSERT: However, if more staffers came forward, if an investigative
reporter found out something and this snowballed, he could very much
resign. But the Ethics Committee usually takes weeks, if not months, to
complete an investigation.
He—Mr. Massa is far and away—by far, he is innocent until proven
guilty. But keep in mind, he was a no-vote the first time around. A lot
of Democrats have said they think he would switch with. Now, especially if
he is going to retire, most likely he would do that if he was sincerely
caring about health care.
SCHULTZ: Luke Russert on Capitol Hill.
RUSSERT: Thank you very much, Ed. Have a good one.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
And I just want to point out tonight that Congressman Massa, who has
been on this program numerous times, I find him to be of the highest
character. He has been very critical of the former Bush administration
officials, especially Dick Cheney.
This is one guy that has never backed down, and this is a guy who has
been very aggressive supporting the veterans. And it‘s interesting that
only one person has come out with an allegation. He is innocent until
proven guilty. Let‘s let the Ethics Committee do its job.
Mr. Intellectual Honesty, Sean Hannity, shows that he is not as smart
as his Fox buddy, Sarah Palin, next in “Psycho Talk.”
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, our intellectually dishonest
representative from the right-wing network across the street, Sean Hannity.
Last night on his show, he had his great American panel discuss Sarah
Palin. One great American suggested that Hannity only liked Palin because
of her looks. Hannity shot back that it was actually her intelligence he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: I think she‘s brilliant. I think she‘s
gutsy. I think she‘s courageous. And I‘ll tell you what—I think she is
smarter than Barack Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OK, Professor Hannity. You want to talk intelligence? Let‘s check
out the transcripts. And the degrees, I might add.
President Obama got a bachelor‘s degree from Columbia. Then he went
on to Harvard Law School, where his grades put him on the “Law Review,” and
he was elected by his peers to be editor. Oh, yes, then he graduated top
of his class. You know?
All right. Sarah Palin, what did she do?
Well, she kind of snuck in there and kind of eked out an undergraduate
degree in communications after bouncing around at five—what, six
colleges? I don‘t know, over six years?
Then her brilliance was really on display in the 2008 campaign with
that blank stare when she was asked about the Bush doctrine, and her
fervent assertion that she was responsible for keeping an eye on Russia.
You know, they might be coming over the top.
Hannity saying that Sarah Palin is smarter than Barack Obama is simply
Coming up, 35 United States senators have now signed on to the public
option letter. My guest is going to take it one step further by pushing
for an up-or-down vote. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown joins me next, right
here on THE ED SHOW.
And Senator Blanche Lincoln, hey, she is firing back at liberals with
a new television commercial. The Nation‘s Katrina Vanden Heuvel will tell
us what she thinks of the Arkansas senator‘s chances and strategy.
Plus, Sarah Palin is shopping a reality TV show in Hollywood. You
can‘t make it up, can you?
That‘s why you watch THE ED SHOW, and we appreciate it, right here on
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, therefore, ask
leaders in both houses of congress to finish their work and schedule a vote
in the next few weeks. From now until then, I will do everything in my
power to make the case for reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: President Obama promising that he would drive this thing
into the end zone, and that he is making on that promise—making good on
it. Now, he met with Blue Dog Democrats at the White House today, helping
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi round up the 216 votes needed to pass both the
Senate‘s health care bill and what‘s termed as a fixes bill.
Then it‘s the Senate‘s turn to pass the fixes bill, and maybe even a
vote on the public option through reconciliation. Joining me now Ohio
Senator Sherrod Brown. Senator, great to have you with us tonight.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be back, Ed. Thanks.
SCHULTZ: I‘m told that the president today told house progressives
that he is for a public option, but he doesn‘t think that the votes are
there, so let‘s get this thing done now, and come back later on for the
public option. That‘s where you come into play. What would you do and
when will you do it?
BROWN: Well, I don‘t know yet. And I don‘t know yet because—I
mean, I‘m talking to progressives in the House, to strong supporters of
public option. I have worked with them really along through this whole
process, from the Energy and Commerce Committee to the floor and since. If
the bill starts in the House, the reconciliation bill, and comes to the
Senate and, you know, the president and House and Senate leaders have said,
don‘t amend it because they just want one vote in the Senate, not to go
back to the House, that‘s different situation.
So, I don‘t know. But I do know this, that if we have any way of
getting the public option in this bill, I‘m fighting to do that. If we
don‘t get it in this bill, then we are still not going to quit. Ted
Kennedy always said that health care reform never really ends. And so, you
know, by the time these exchanges are set up, which is still two, three
years away, we have time. I‘m not putting it off until then. I‘m just
saying that whatever we need to do—and I need the president on board to
help push this, and Senate leadership has shown its support. I know the
House leadership support it is.
But I don‘t know this process yet, because it is pretty unprecedented
to pass a bill and then to fix it with reconciliation.
SCHULTZ: All right. Well, you can‘t ignore 35 senators signing onto
a bill. You can‘t ignore that. And I know you‘re not. But where are the
rest of the democrat on this? What is the holdup? What are they afraid
of? Are they afraid of political backlash that may be in their backyard,
that the public option doesn‘t play well? What do you think?
BROWN: Well, several reasons and none of them are particularly
satisfying to your listeners or, frankly, to me. Some senators don‘t sign
letters like that. Some would rather not be out front, although that is
hardly out front, because there is already 35 of us. A handful of—Tom
Harkin—Chairman Harkin has said that if this comes to a vote—he‘s
been saying this for three months or six months, and I think the same—we
get between 53 and 56 Democrats, something along those lines. I still
think we get upwards of 50. I don‘t have any idea exactly what number.
But if it is an up or down vote—
But it depends on what—people are looking to the president, in
part, and that keeps some people off the letter. Is the president just
saying he is for it, or does the president really want us to do it? This
is pretty complicated. As I said, because we haven‘t ever quite done
anything like this, I really can‘t be more specific, as much as I would
But the commitments are still there from a whole lot of us. There is
a strong core of support. The public option it does all the things—you
know what it does. It keeps the insurance companies, who are always a step
ahead of the sheriff—we need to come down hard on them and rein all of
SCHULTZ: It does. I want ask you finally, senator, quickly, are the
Democrats committed to reconciliation, yes or no?
BROWN: Yes, absolutely. They are committed to health care, and they
are committed to reconciliation.
Let me make one other comment: a friend of mine that was—worked in
the Senate 40 years ago, 45 years ago during Medicare, I was talking to
him. I said, this shouldn‘t be this hard, several months ago. He said,
yes it should. He said, Medicare—anything do you this big is hard to
do. It‘s - you‘ve got interest groups weighing in.
You know, now it is the Tea Parties. Then it was the John Birch
society that said you got—it‘s a socialist takeover, and a revolution,
and whatever terms they used. It is hard, but we are going to do it. We
are going to ensure 30 million people. And that is a hell of a victory for
this country, once we do that in the next month.
SCHULTZ: The preexisting conditions being erased, that would be a big
victory as well.
BROWN: Huge victories in this.
SCHULTZ: We‘ve had a big turn. The tide‘s coming in. A couple of
weeks ago, I don‘t think would you tell me that the Democrats were
committed to reconciliation.
BROWN: We are. We are.
SCHULTZ: A big hurdle here. Senator, good to have you with us. I
appreciate your time tonight.
BROWN: Thanks always.
SCHULTZ: Down in Arkansas, Senator Blanche Lincoln has a curious
response to getting a primary challenger out of the way. The left has
mobilized behind Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, raising five
million dollars for him in less than a week. But Blanche Lincoln is
apparently hoping to win a Democratic primary by claiming she‘s, well,
really not a Democrat. Here is her new campaign commercial boasting all
about her no votes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BLANCHE LINCOLN (D), ARKANSAS: I voted against giving more money
to Wall Street, against the auto company bailout, against the public option
health care plan, and against the cap and trade bill that would have raised
energy costs on Arkansans. None of those were right for Arkansas. Some in
my party didn‘t like it very much. But I approve this message because I
don‘t answer to my party. I answer to Arkansas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of “The
Nation.” Katrina, nice to have you tonight. Good to have you on the
program. What is your response to Senator Lincoln‘s response to challenge
to the two—on one of the big issues, which is health care reform that
would have no government involvement.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”: First of all, she did vote for
the bank bailout. Second of all, she talks about not answering to her
party. She is not answering to her constituents. I mean, Ed, what you are
seeing in Arkansas is Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, who is very popular
down there, launching a populist campaign, and speaking to constituents who
feel Senator Lincoln hasn‘t represented them on a whole range of issues.
She is one of senators Sherrod Brown , very politely, didn‘t refer to,
because she is pro-corporate. She consistently votes with the Republicans.
And she has voted against the interests of working families and the middle
class. For the middle class, the public option would be a critical factor
in taking on insurance companies.
So I think there is a chance here, Ed. As you know, and what we have
seen with the public option revival, as our editor—Washington editor,
Chris Hayes wrote about, this CPR for the public option—there is a
terrific network of progressive net-roots activists who not only are
raising small donations to oppose Blanche Lincoln, and support her
opponent, but who are also working to get 35 senators. That doesn‘t happen
out of nowhere. Maybe there will be 40, maybe 45 to fight to keep that
public option alive, as it should be.
SCHULTZ: I tell you, this is going to be something interesting to
watch, because the unions are in this heavy now.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Yeah.
SCHULTZ: And I‘m told they may go deeper into their pockets to
challenge her and to support the lieutenant governor, in a state where
there‘s under two percent of union representation and workers. That‘s how
bad they want to change and push back on the banks. And she, of course,
has been favorable to the big bankers. Is this the beginning of really a
new era in politics, where the grassroots, the net-roots, are so powerful
that they will raise money and actually target people in their own party to
get them out?
VANDEN HEUVEL: It‘s a beginning, Ed. And you nailed it. Labor,
working with progressive net roots, working with citizens who want to
change the balance of forces, primaries. Look at the public option letter.
Kristen Gillibrand was going to face a tough primary. No longer. But she
signed that letter, as did Michael Bennett in Colorado, because they sensed
the base rising, and the populist sentiment in this country.
So I think it‘s a very exciting turning point. And I think if we
could get five, six primaries going to show a new balance of power, you
could see a new kind of politics emerge that would distance ourselves from
the beltway inside, DCCC, and like the Progressive Change Committee could
play a bigger role, Democracy for America. This is a moment. It is a
possible turning point.
SCHULTZ: I love it. It is democracy at work. It is the grass-
rooters getting after it, and making sure their voices are heard. And one
quickly, do you think that the lieutenant governor, Halter, is a real good
Democrat and deserves this progressive support? Or is he just the
beneficiary of all the dislikes of Blanche Lincoln?
VANDEN HEUVEL: No, he is taking on the banks. I think he understands
the need to—what you said earlier. Senator Durbin says the banks own
this place, talking about the Senate. He would come in and not let the
banks own the place, and not let the special interest wall of money just
challenge what‘s good for middle class working families.
SCHULTZ: Thanks, Katrina.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Always a pleasure. Great work at “The Nation.”
VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Turning now to the other side of the aisle; Michael Steele
and the RNC, well, they have made another major embarrassing goof, putting
together a 2010 game plan where they encourage fear mongering and insult
their—their own donor base. “Politico” got a copy of a presentation
which was made in Florida back on February 18th.
Here‘s page 29, entitled “Motivation to Give.” It says, “regular
Republicans can be motivated by fear and reactionary instincts, while major
donors can be motivated by ego.”
Well, from page 30, Republicans admit that if they had power, they
would sell influence in the White House, House and Senate. But since they
don‘t, they are selling the idea that donors can, quote, “save the country
from trending toward socialism.”
From page 31, the Tea Party‘s favorite sign, President Obama as the
Joker, plus pictures of Nancy Pelosi as Cruella Deville. I have a hard
time reading. I can‘t believe they actually think this is a strategy. And
of course, Harry Reid as Scooby-Doo.
I think the bottom line here is this: don‘t put this in print. And if
you do put it in print, don‘t leave it behind in a hotel lobby.
For more, let‘s bring in our panel, Laura Flanders, who is the author
of “Blue Grit” and host of GritTV.org, and A.B. Stoddard, associate editor
and columnist for “The Hill.”
A.B., would this strategy work? If the RNC spends so much time and
effort putting this together, do you think it would work and be effective
in the midterm?
A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”: Well, Ed, one of the problems is the RNC
has been having some trouble attracting attentions from the big, wealthy
donors. They have been raising most of their money, since Michael Steele
took over, from small dopers. And those big donors are giving to other
places, like the NRSC and the NRCC, which are helping Senate and House
candidates, Republican candidates, in those races, in those two chambers.
And of course, the Republican Governor‘s Association.
So money is going to other places. That is the problem with the RNC
with an embarrassing incident like this. They‘re already having trouble
with those wealthy donors, bringing in contributions from them. With this
being exposed, obviously, that becomes even more of a problem.
SCHULTZ: Laura, I guess their strategy is to turn it around, attack
their own donors, and make them out to be a bunch of fools, and say where
they are vulnerable, to shake them down at the office, so to speak.
LAURA FLANDERS, GRITTV.ORG: I don‘t know. Maybe there are some high
donors out there that would give the big bucks to be informed that Scooby-
Doo is a socialist. I don‘t know those people, but maybe the RNC does.
The problem with all this is it is about political pollution. And whether
it works or not to elect anybody or raise any money, what it does is muddy
up the atmosphere. And in an era of a two-minute news story, you are going
to have half of that time taken in this ridiculous debate about what is
SCHULTZ: OK, I want to get a take from both of you on the Democrats.
Nancy Pelosi came in, said she was going to drain the swamp. Here are the
Democrats looking at three stories staring the American people in the face,
Charlie Rangel, you got the governor of New York, and also Eric Massa, the
congressman. A.B., this is not god for the Democrats. How do you clean it
up? And how fast do they have to do it? And will it hurt them?
STODDARD: This is—again, these are echoes of 2006. It‘s not
exactly the same, but there are certainly some similarities. You have the
parties sinking in approval, in public approval polls. You have them
embracing an unpopular policy, which, Ed, unfortunately is health care
reform. And then you have these ethical clouds over several of their
If they manage to resolve these quickly, and there are no more of
them, this might not be a big theme in the elections. Voters will make up
their minds this summer, and that narrative will be hardened by August.
In the case of the Republicans in 2006, you had all these things
popping up as close to, with Congressman Mark Foley of Florida, one week to
the election. So if they can clean this up, that might not be a problem.
But health care reform, a lot of other stuff is very unpopular. The fact
they couldn‘t pass other things, energy reform, reg. reform—the
Democrats are—you know, the wind is against them.
SCHULTZ: Laura, your response to that?
FLANDERS: I think the important factor here is that this is a detail.
The bigger concern for Democrats is what they heard at the AFL-CIO
convention, that working Americans are frustrated by the lack of advance on
labor issues, passage of EFCA and so on. They are looking at Brookings
Institution numbers, 100 million Americans—that is like one-third of all
families—living at twice poverty or less. What is going to happen with
those families this Summer? Where are the kids going to work? What‘s
going to happen this fall?
You touched on it at the top. Those are the important issues. I‘m a
FLANDERS: I think people are going to mobilize around real issues
SCHULTZ: The middle classers are getting a raw deal. That is how
they feel right now. Laura Flanders, A.B. Stoddard, great to have you with
us tonight. Thank you.
Coming up, more trouble for Toyota. Scared consumers are coming
forward and reporting that cars they bought—the ones they brought in for
repairs are still speeding out of control. I will get to the bottom of
that in the playbook, right after this.
SCHULTZ: And in my playbook tonight, Toyota is struggling to reverse
the PR nightmare caused by their recall of millions of vehicles, after
reports of unintended acceleration. In hearings last week on Capitol Hill,
testimony indicated that the problem could be electrical. But Toyota
insisted it was just loose floor mats and defective gas pedals. And they
say they have already fixed one million of the recalled cars and trucks.
The problem now is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
is getting complaints that those repairs simply aren‘t working. Some
vehicles that have supposedly been fixed are reportedly still speeding out
of control. For more on this, let‘s bring in David Lazarus, business
columnist for the “LA Times.”
Mr. Lazarus, just last weeks, you have got the Toyota executives
saying they take full responsibility and they are going to fix this. And
apparently, they haven‘t. Where do we go from here?
DAVID LAZARUS, “THE LA TIMES”: Well, let‘s put some context on this,
Ed. First of all, Toyota recalled about eight million vehicles for this
unexpected acceleration problem. That‘s a whole lot of cars, at a cost of
tens of millions of dollars.
Now NHTSA, since then, has received fewer than two dozen reports of
fixed cars still having the problem, relatively a drop in the bucket. But,
as you just said, indicative, perhaps, of a larger problem. Toyota saying,
it is sticky gas pedals or it‘s these nasty floor mats. It couldn‘t
possibly—possibly be the electronic throttle control system, which would
be a serious problem, a very major piece of computerized technology, would
cost a fortune to have to replace this.
What is interesting is Toyota has been swearing up and down that the
electronic system had nothing whatsoever to do with this. So you would
think that they would feel like they are a pretty good engineering ground
in saying that. These new reports, though, just add more fuel to
lawmakers‘ fire who say, I don‘t think you fixed it.
SCHULTZ: Here is an exchange with Patty Murray and Ray Lahood, the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: Some Toyota owners say they are
still having trouble with unintended acceleration after their recalled cars
were repaired. I wanted to ask you this morning what advice do you have
today for consumers?
RAY LAHOOD, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: We are suggesting to people, if
your car is not working properly, take it to the dealer and have them
address or fix—
MURRAY: That is what they did, they took it in.
LAHOOD: They need to take it back. They need to take the car back if
it is not running—if it is not running properly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Is that gonna fly with Congressional members, you think?
Eventually, this is leading right down the road of tougher standards, I
think. What do you think?
LAZARUS: I would think that is the case. It is all going to depend
now on the volume of complaints that com for the vehicles that ostensibly
have been fixed. Now it could be that a lot of these dealers are just
boneheads and keep mucking up the job. If that is the case, Toyota has
another problem on its hands.
If these complaints enter into the triple digit area, then NHTSA is
going to step up and say, you need to do more. And then I think we are
going to see more regulatory oversight, either coming from Congress or
coming from NHTSA.
SCHULTZ: David Lazarus, good to have you with us tonight. Thank you
Coming up, Sarah Palin did her best to call Barack Obama a celebrity.
Now she is trying to break her kids and hubby, Todd, into Hollywood.
Nationally syndicated talk show host Lionel might have the name of a good
agent for her. That‘s next THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Finally tonight, Sarah Palin
is making her way through the comedy circuit. She did some comedy on “The
Tonight Show” earlier this week. Now, of course, she is shopping
Hollywood. That‘s what she is doing, in pitching a reality TV show. It‘s
described as “Planet Earth”-type docu-drama about Alaska, featuring her
family. I can‘t wait to see how this is all gonna work out.
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Lionel joins us. All
right, Lionel, I know you are thinking heavily about this.
LIONEL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Every day, Ed.
SCHULTZ: What should they call this docu-drama?
LIONEL: Great ratings. Let‘s get down to brass tax. I know you hate
SCHULTZ: I don‘t hate her. I just don‘t think she is smart.
LIONEL: You talk about her all the time. She is smarter than a lot
of people, my friend. Let‘s look at what‘s on reality TV right now. We
have toddlers in tiaras. What is that called, pedophilia, child abuse.
Then you‘ve got Bride-zilla, a testament to the dissolution of the
institution of American marriage. Great.
Then we got “Keeping up With The Kardashians,” the Slatterns (ph) and
the gramalkins (ph) and the MILF wannabe mom.
Now, take that compared to a woman—I know nobody likes her—small
town, mayor of a small town, governor of a big state, vice presidential
nominee, best-selling author, millionaire, loved by all, and she has a
family, and they are together, and they‘re not divorced, and she doesn‘t
curse. For the first time—just think about this, Ed—talk about
American values—a family can sit down and watch a reality show and not
say, not now, Eddie. Oh, no, not now.
I think it is genius. Let me tell you something, I don‘t know what
you think people need in terms of IQ to be in public office. But as long
as it is above a soap dish, and right around a dart, you‘re in like Flint.
So I think this is going to be a huge, huge hit.
SCHULTZ: I don‘t disagree with any of that. I just don‘t think she
is qualified to be president of the United States or vice president.
LIONEL: She is not going to be president of the united states, Ed!
SCHULTZ: You never know. Let me tell you something, this lady‘s ego
is through the roof. She wants to control things. And this is her way to
do it, to line the pockets for the campaign. Look, I think that she still
has political aspirations.
LIONEL: Oh, listen, Ed, but think about this, though, the reality
show, Sarah Palin and family—I mean it is no “Locked Up Raw.” What is?
I‘m telling you right now, this is a woman who, for some reason has figured
us out. Every week, we keep talking about her.
SCHULTZ: Well, she is in the news.
LIONEL: You are right about that, Ed. She is in the news.
SCHULTZ: Tonight in our telephone survey, I asked you, should there
be a cap on tuition at state-funded colleges and universities? Ninety two
percent of you said yes; eight percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED
SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com, or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com.
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