Guest: Randy Brogdon, James Corcoran, Sam Stein, Rev. Al Sharpton, Tony
Blankley, Joan Walsh, Clint Van Zandt, Mark Potok
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW from
New York tonight.
These stories are hitting my hot buttons tonight.
We have elected lawmakers. They are publicly joining forces with anti-
government militias? They are encouraging people to rise up against the
Much more on that coming up in just a moment.
John McCain has a new Web ad taking on whack job conservative J.D. Hayworth
for obsessing over man horse marriage and vampires.
A teenage girl grabs the microphone at a supermarket and orders all blacks
to leave the store. This comes as conservative activists are accusing
black lawmakers of lying about being spit on and called the “N-word.”
I‘ll talk to the Reverend Al Sharpton about that at the bottom of the hour.
You won‘t want to miss it.
This is the story, though, that has me fired up tonight. And it‘s one of
Elected officials in Oklahoma are encouraging Tea Party groups to form a
militia. You heard me right.
Tea Party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma legislature
say that they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend
against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state
sovereignty. They think that universal health care and the stimulus
package are infringing on the Second Amendment rights.
Now, to be clear, here‘s what the Second Amendment is all about. It says,
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to security of a free of state,
the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
It‘s all pretty basic stuff, isn‘t it?
Folks, the purpose of the Second Amendment was not to protect Oklahomans
from President Obama. He‘s not threat to the security of that state. But
for some reason, this is not obvious to everyone, like Al Gerhart, the Tea
Party leader of something called the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance.
He writes, “Is it scary? It sure is. But when do the states stop rolling
over for the federal government?”
“Scary” is kind of an interesting word here, isn‘t it? The Tea Party
protests don‘t—they didn‘t stop health care, and so now they‘re turning
Tea Party leader J.W. Berry of the Tulsa-based Oklahoma for Tea, well, he
tried to push a state militia through his newsletter recently, and he
writes, “Buy more guns, more bullets. It‘s not a far-right crazy plan or
anything like that. This would be done with full cooperation of the state
Now, folks, this is—not to be overboard—but kind of Civil War talk,
isn‘t it? I mean, it‘s amazing that this is happening in a state that lost
168 people in an anti-government bombing just 15 years ago.
This has moved way beyond a fringe movement, in my opinion. Elected
officials are feeding on this nonsense.
State Republican Representative Charles Key of Oklahoma said he believes
that there‘s a good chance of introducing legislation for a state-
authorized militia next year in the state of Oklahoma. This man was
elected to represent the very city that was bombed by Timothy McVeigh?
This is insanity, in my opinion. It‘s about way more than health care.
Nobody—you know, you think about this. Nobody tried to form a state-
sponsored militia when Bill Clinton raised taxes back in the ‘90s.
And there wasn‘t really—I didn‘t see any run on guns when the Bush
administration signed into law, with the help of the conservatives in the
Congress, the Patriot Act. That‘s back when they were tapping our phone
Now, if this goes through, this could be, I think, a very slippery slope.
People in the heartland are getting sucked into the anti-government hate.
All this is being fueled by what? Well, comments like this --
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: I want people in Minnesota armed and
dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back.
Thomas Jefferson told us having a revolution every now and then is a good
thing. And the people—we, the people, are going to have to fight back
hard if we‘re not going to lose our country.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: OK. Nobody‘s going to lose the country. It just might be run a
little bit different because of things we call elections.
So could Minnesota be next? Do people in Michigan want to have their state
sponsor their militia?
How about Montana or North Dakota? They might jump on board. You never
know. They both have a history of anti-government groups.
There is something else I believe in the Constitution, and it has something
to do about the right to vote every couple of years. You can stage a
peaceful revolution? Is this going too far? I think it is. And they‘ve
got to reel it in.
Tell me what you think in our telephone survey tonight. The number to dial
My question tonight is: Do you believe the rise in militias in America will
lead to violence? Press 1 for yes, press 2 for no. I‘ll bring you the
results later on in the show.
Now, joining me now is Oklahoma state senator Randy Brogdon. He is also
Republican candidate for governor in the state of Oklahoma.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time on this
RANDY BROGDON ®, OKLAHOMA STATE SENATOR: Ed, thank you for inviting me
to be on today.
SCHULTZ: Yes, sir.
Would you support a state militia, a state-authorized militia? Would you
BROGDON: Well, let me bring you a little civility to this conversation,
first of all, and let you know what my comments were in this very large
article written by the AP.
I simply reaffirmed our Second Amendment rights. I made the statement that
every one of us have the right to keep and bear arms. And there‘s a lot of
people around this country that despise that thought, and they would love
nothing more than to take those Second Amendment rights away from us. So,
I believe it‘s important that we do have this quiet revolution, like you
called for during your monologue, and call the people back to a practical
application of our founding principles.
I still believe in limited government. I still believe in personal
responsibility and the expansion of freedom. That‘s what I‘m calling for
here in the state of Oklahoma.
SCHULTZ: OK. All right. Well, the Second Amendment rights is one thing,
but an organized militia, as authorized by the state legislature, would you
BROGDON: No. Let me be very clear.
The people that you named earlier in your monologue, you said that those
were elected officials. Neither one of those are elected officials. And
as a governor, I‘m not calling for a state militia. I am calling for the
restoration of our founding principles.
SCHULTZ: OK. So you would not go along with the Tea Party? You‘re asking
for Tea Party support as you run for governor, but you would not go along
with what their leaders are calling for, which is a state-authorized
BROGDON: Well, Ed, what you need to be aware of, right here in the state
of Oklahoma, back in 1941, our Oklahoma constitution has already allowed
for a state guard, and that is to complement our National Guard. You know
as well as I that our National Guards around this country are deployed
overseas and they are leaving a lot of the states vulnerable.
Here in Oklahoma, we have tornadoes, we have severe ice storms and things
like that. And when our National Guard is gone we are left vulnerable.
SCHULTZ: I understand all that, senator, but—
SCHULTZ: -- this story came from the Tea Party. You‘re seeking their
They want a state-sponsored, authorized militia that would be able to be in
place against the federal government to protect states‘ sovereignty. Now,
I think you‘re going to have to be pretty clear on this. You‘re either
going to support that to get their support, or you‘re not going to be in
favor of it.
This is so totally different from the Second Amendment rights. This is
about bearing arms, an organized group that would be able to bear arms
under state law against the federals.
BROGDON: Well, here in the state of Oklahoma we appreciate our Second
SCHULTZ: OK. I get that.
Now, what are people in Oklahoma afraid of? Is it the health care bail?
Is it the stimulus package? Because that seems to be what has gotten the
ire of the Tea Party supporters in your state.
BROGDON: Yes. Back April, last April, when I announced for governor—
this is before I think we even had the first Tea Party—they were just
starting to rally for the cause. And Obamacare certainly was a catalyst
But I have been talking about constitutional liberty for the last eight
years that I‘ve been serving in the state Senate. My message hasn‘t
And there have been a lot of people that are in the Tea Party, lot of
people in the 9/12 movement, a lot of people outside the Tea Party that
just appreciate freedom and liberty and our constitutional rights. They
are supporting this.
SCHULTZ: Well, the 9/12 movement throws the word “revolution” around a
lot. And now you‘ve got the Tea Party leaders in your state that want a
Now, Senator, you‘ve got to be clear on this. You‘re either going to
denounce this kind of bearing arms, which I think, respectfully, you‘re
confusing the right to bear arms and the right to organize, against the
federal government because they passed a health care bill.
BROGDON: Well, I‘m not sure how you‘re applying the health care bill to
the Second Amendment. I‘m not catching—Ed, I‘m not catching that—
SCHULTZ: Well, a militia bears arms. You know? That‘s what they do.
This would be an organized group, as would be sponsored and authorized by
the state legislature in Oklahoma. And I guess, who would they bear arms
against, the National Guard?
BROGDON: Well, no.
SCHULTZ: The state patrol?
BROGDON: Yes—no. Let me get back to the basics. Let me tell you what
I‘m calling for. What the Tea Party‘s calling for and what individuals may
be calling for is not what I‘m calling for.
I‘m calling for the restoration of our constitutional liberties. This has
worked for 234 years.
My goal as the governor of this state is to protect the people here in the
state of Oklahoma on the constitutional authority that will be given to me.
SCHULTZ: All right. Do you think we‘re hearing dangerous rhetoric in this
BROGDON: We‘re hearing rhetoric from both sides of the aisle, certainly.
SCHULTZ: Both sides?
BROGDON: -- rhetoric from both sides of the aisle. We are also seeing
unprecedented, unconstitutional acts being perpetrated on the citizens of
this state from the halls of Congress.
As the governor of this state, I will stand in the gap. I will not allow
unconstitutional bills to be pushed down to the state of Oklahoma. I will
SCHULTZ: Well, then it sounds like you would support a militia then.
SCHULTZ: That‘s what it sounds like.
BROGDON: Ed, what it sounds like is I will support the Constitution of the
BROGDON: The president is not, many members of Congress are not supporting
the Constitution they‘re violating.
SCHULTZ: But the Constitution also says, Senator, that the president of
the United States would be heading up that militia. So I think it sounds a
little confusing to I think a lot of folks right now. I hope you‘ll be
clear on this in the future.
And I appreciate your time.
SCHULTZ: And good luck to you in your gubernatorial chase.
BROGDON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Some Americans feel all the anti-government rhetoric could lead
to violence. Just weeks ago, the FBI raided a militia in Michigan that was
going to target law enforcement.
Now, if you think this hasn‘t happened before, you better think again.
Look at what went down in 1983.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: Police in the northern plains in Canada tonight are
hunting for at least two gunmen wanted for killing two U.S. marshals in a
blazing shootout last night. It happened in Medina, North Dakota. And as
Roger O‘Neil reports, the men who got away are members of Posse Comitatus,
a militant anti-tax group.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well that manhunt for Gordon Kahl ended in another shootout in
Arkansas. Nobody followed the story more than my next guest, who was also
following domestic terrorism.
Let‘s bring in James Corcoran, the chairman of the Communications
Department of Simmons College. He is also the author of “Bitter Harvest:
Gordon Kahl and the Rise of the Posse Comitatus in the Heartland,” and the
co-author of “Gathering Storm: America‘s Militia Threat.”
Mr. Corcoran, good to have you with us tonight.
What feeds this kind of angst or feeling that just is an undercurrent in
this country now? Compare this to what you covered decades ago and where
we are right now.
JAMES CORCORAN, CHAIRMAN, COMMUNICATIONS DEPT., SIMMONS COLLEGE: Well,
generally, Ed, it‘s this feeling that they‘re losing control, that somehow
they‘re losing control of their government, and somebody else, another, is
taking it from them. And we saw that in the ‘80s with Gordon Kahl. He
felt that the government had been infiltrated by a Jewish-led conspiracy,
that paying taxes was akin to paying ties to the synagogue of Satan, and
that they were going to put them under some one-world rule.
SCHULTZ: Now, do you see any parallels of back then and in the ‘90s, when
you wrote the book after the Oklahoma City bombing, to what‘s being said
and what‘s being done today and the actions of the people?
CORCORAN: Well, I see some eerie similarities to what‘s going on today and
what was talked about in the ‘90s leading up to Oklahoma City. I mean, the
rhetoric that we hear is basically creating this climate of fear, this
climate of anger, this climate of hate.
And it just strikes me that, you know, when you start—back in the ‘90s,
I mean, government lawmen were compared to jackbooted government officials,
compared to the Nazis. You had commentators suggesting that if ATF agents
came to your door and they were armed, they would have body armor, so shoot
for the heads.
And today we‘re hearing almost the same kind of rhetoric. We have people
who are going to have a rally in Washington on the 19th, the day of the
Oklahoma City bombing, where they‘re asking their participants to come
armed so they can show the corrupt officials in government, to right their
ways before we come a police state.
So we have this, you know, same kind of rhetoric that just builds and
builds and builds. And when you start talking in the extreme, as we have,
and the extremists, the real extreme elements of our society, seems to feel
that their opinion is the prevailing opinion, my God, you can‘t put that
genie back in the bottle, Ed.
SCHULTZ: No, you can‘t.
James Corcoran, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate you being
on the program.
CORCORAN: My pleasure.
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
And a programming note as we approach the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma
City bombing. “The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist,”
hosted by Rachel Maddow, will premiere next Monday, April 19th, at 9:00
p.m., right here on MSNBC.
Coming up, if my last two guests haven‘t convinced you that the anti-
government crazies have to be stopped, get a load of this. One half-baked
Idaho man fired a shot because a Census worker came over to the house.
And “The Newtster” thinks he‘s found a way to shut down the government and
blame it on President Obama.
I‘ll shut him down in the “Zone.”
All that, plus McCain‘s talking vampires. And “Mr. Tan Man” feels reveals
his way into my “Rapid Fire.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
That‘s Boehner, by the way, “The Tan Man.”
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
The labor movement is losing one of its strongest leaders. Andy Stern is
stepping down as president of the Service Employees International Union.
Stern says he‘s achieved his goal of helping make comprehensive health care
reform a reality. But this isn‘t just about Stern.
Labor needs to find its voice in the halls of the Congress again. It needs
to find a new champion in Congress to take the place of the late Senator
He was the most fierce and strong advocate for labor that the Congress has
seen in the last 50 years. Senator Kennedy was a constant and proud
defender of working Americans. And so far, no other lawmaker is producing
or providing a voice like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We still cannot get a $2.15 over
two years. Over two years.
What is the price, we ask the other side? What is the price that you want
from these working men and women? What cost?
How much more do we have to give to the private sector and to business?
How many billion dollars more are you asking, are you requiring? When does
the greed stop?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Apparently it doesn‘t.
Joining me now is Sam Stein, political reporter for “Huffington Post.”
Sam, good to have you on tonight.
Andy Stern, of course, meant a lot. He was with the union for 38 years, 14
years as president. Doubled in size, very solvent, paid off a lot of
loans. Lead with a strong leadership team. But there has not been anyone
in the Senate that has broken out as of late that they can count on, all
unions can count on, for a clear voice.
Who‘s going to do that and when is it going to happen?
SAM STEIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, “HUFFINGTON POST””: Well, I think there‘s a
lot of people in the Senate who philosophically are right alongside where
Ted Kennedy was. The problem is they don‘t have the charisma and they
don‘t carry the message like he did.
Take, for instance, the battle over unemployment benefits that just
happened over this past recess. You talk to Harry Reid‘s office, you talk
to a bunch of Democratic senators‘ offices, they all thought it was
unconscionable that the Republicans could hold this up. They all were
adamantly opposed to what the Republicans were doing, but you didn‘t really
see their voices out there booming like Ted Kennedy was for a minimum wage
And that‘s part of the problem, is that the passion isn‘t there. But the
In terms of names, Sherrod Brown is labor ally, he‘s a progressive, as is
Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont. And Jeff Merkley, a freshman
from Oregon, is also up there. But again, you know, none of them are yet -
they‘re all very young in the Senate, and none of them have sort of
stepped forward to take over that position that Kennedy left.
SCHULTZ: Here is the frustration, I believe, of union membership and
leadership in this country, is that the Democratic leadership is void of a
voice. It‘s like they‘re afraid to step up and just get after it the way
Ted Kennedy did, when every election cycle we have seen victories in Ohio,
in Pennsylvania, in Missouri, in Montana in ‘06, President Obama winning
nine Bush states. None of that would have happened without union support,
yet we see the Democrats just kind of tiptoe around and they stick their
toe in the water when it comes to really going to the firewall for these
folks. And I think this change of leadership right now comes at a pretty
tough time when the Democrats are going to need some help in the midterm.
What do you think?
STEIN: No, I think you‘re right on. And I think one of Andy‘s great
frustrations towards the end was that he didn‘t see the results, all this
work and effort that he and other unions had put into electing these
Democrats hadn‘t been paying off.
I mean, you had a 60-vote majority and they couldn‘t get health care
passed. And it‘s no surprise that one of the big projects he was
undertaking was filibuster reform.
He thought that that was what was holding things up, because you can only
elect so many Democrats, so many supposed labor allies. And so that was
obviously a frustration for the labor movement.
But we also have to keep in mind that they were able to succeed in getting
health care passed. Now, the bill was watered down greatly from its
conception, but they were able to succeed where Ted Kennedy wasn‘t. And we
can‘t just dismiss that as an accomplishment of SEIU, AFL-CIO and others.
SCHULTZ: Sam Stein, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.
STEIN: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, it‘s been 14 long years since “The Newtster” got
hammered for making the biggest mistake of his life. So he figures now
would be kind of the perfect time to, well, do it all over again.
He‘s next in the “Zone.”
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, “The Newtster” is not sticking with
his game plan to make Republicans be the “party of yes.” He wants to win
control of the Congress in November, but then he tells Republicans not to
fund Democratic bills. That sounds like an awful lot of “no” to me, and
it‘s a sure-fire way to shut down the federal government.
Today, Newt was speaking at the Heritage Foundation, and a Think Progress
blogger asked him if conservatives should go as far as to orchestrate a
government shutdown. Gingrich didn‘t rule it out, but he said if he did,
it would happen to be President Obama‘s fault.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER: As long as the Congress passes an
appropriations bill, the president would then have to decide to sign it or
veto it. You know, I‘m not for shutting the government down. I wasn‘t for
shutting the government down in ‘95.
But I was for drawing a line in the sand and saying we weren‘t going to
allow the president to coerce us into doing things we didn‘t believe in.
So, it‘s perfectly legitimate for the Congress to say, I can‘t, as a matter
of good faith to the very people who elected me, give you money to do
something they elected me not to do. Now, if the president then wants to
force a crisis, you‘d have to see how the crisis worked its way out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But, but, but, but, but, if, if—so Newt wants a hypothetical
Republican Congress to play a game of chicken with President Obama.
Well, 15 years ago he tried that with President Clinton and he lost. The
government ground to a halt and everybody blamed Newt.
Gingrich, himself, even admitted that was a failed strategy. And now he
wants the Republicans to try again.
I think it was Albert Einstein who said the definition of insanity was
doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
With “The Newtster,” it‘s not just insanity, it‘s “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, the man who pushed the fake ACORN pimp video is now calling
civil rights icon John Lewis a liar. The Reverend Al Sharpton will be here
with reaction to that. And we‘ll also talk about the 14-year-old New
Jersey girl who faces charges for trying to clear all the black people out
of a store.
All that, plus Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback of the Steelers, spirals
into the “Playbook” tonight.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, here on MSNBC tonight. Thanks
for watching. Today, we learned about another disturbing incident of black
Americans being harassed by a white teenager. This time a 14-year-old girl
grabbed the microphone at a New Jersey supermarket and shouted for, quote,
all blacks to leave the store. A 16-year-old boy did almost the same thing
at a Wal-Mart last month.
I think there is a connection between those incidents and racism that
we‘ve seen in Washington and in our political discourse in this country. A
civil rights hero, Congressman John Lewis, says he was called the “N” word
by Tea Party protesters at the Capitol during the final weekend of the
health care debate. Another black lawmaker was spat on.
All Americans, regardless of politics, should be able to come to the
conclusion and come together and condemn those disgusting actions. A lot
of people pretty slow, aren‘t they? Instead, conservative activists are
accusing—accusing the black lawmakers of lying. It is unconscionable.
For more on this, let‘s bring in Reverend Al Sharpton, president of
the National Action Network. Rev, good to have you with us tonight.
REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: What‘s your response to lawmakers, who have got immense
credibility as public servants, being labeled liars after going through
what they experienced that Sunday in Washington?
SHARPTON: You know, I think it‘s insult to injury. I mean, to act as
though John Lewis, who‘s an icon in American history, not only in African-
American history, would just make something up, that Congress people would
just make something up, is just absurd. I think that clearly if these
conservative elements or leaders on the right had any kind of credibility,
they would denounce the actions and move on. To just say, well, prove it
or you‘re lying is almost to trivialize the gravity of this kind of
I think that when there has been accusations of misbehavior on the
other side of the fence, people have been quick to say we don‘t condone
violence, we don‘t condone that kind of behavior, even if we have been
falsely accused of it. Why this kind of tentativeness, and now turn around
and attack people who have said they were the victims? I think this is a
very mean-spirited kind of reaction.
SCHULTZ: And do you think that it sets the table to give those who
don‘t know any better the license to grab the microphone, and embolden them
to grab the microphone and say all blacks out of the store?
SHARPTON: Well, I think it certainly feeds into people that have
biased and bigoted feelings to feel they can now go out and express
themselves and not consider themselves to be some sort of extremist or
fringe, because they‘re seeing that it‘s not only accepted by some circles,
defended or excused by some circles.
So I don‘t think you‘re making a big leap there, Ed. I think one
would have to say, where‘s all of this kind of language coming from? I
think that the more we try and act as if any of this is something that you
have to prove rather than automatically denounce, it only empowers the
worst instincts in some people who have some latent bigotry that‘s now
SCHULTZ: What do you say to a 14-year-old that does that? And the
parents? That‘s got to come from home.
SHARPTON: That‘s got to come from home or the environment. And I
think that‘s what you say to them, is that here‘s a 14-year-old child. I
mean, we love to say that we‘re in the post-civil rights era. Where did a
14-year-old learn this from? And where did teenagers learn this from?
We act as if there were some people that sat down one day and said
let‘s have a civil rights era. People will respond to racism and bias as
long as is necessary. People responded to the lack of civil rights laws
until they got them. We will continue to have civil rights until we no
longer need them. It doesn‘t go by era. It goes by need. As long as this
kind of behavior happens, there will have to be those organized to resist
this kind of behavior.
SCHULTZ: Reverend Al Sharpton, always a pleasure. Looking forward to
tomorrow at the National Action Network National Conference.
SHARPTON: We‘re looking for you. We‘re looking forward to you.
SCHULTZ: All right, my man. Thank you.
Now let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories
tonight. John McCain has a hilarious new web video blasting Tea Partier
J.D. Hayworth for being obsessed with President Obama‘s birth certificate
and man-house marriage.
House Minority Leader John Boehner says repealing health care would be
the Republicans‘ number one priority if they win back control of the
Congress in November.
And our panel weighs in on conservative activists accusing black
lawmakers of lying about being spit on and called the “N” word.
With us tonight, Joan Walsh, editor in chief of Salon.com, and also
joining us for the first time on THE ED SHOW, Tony Blankley, syndicated
columnist, who was also the press secretary for former White House—House
Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Tony, what do you make of elected officials questioning the
credibility of those who have been in the Congress for a long time about
how they were cursed at, how they were called the “N” word and spat on, and
yet there are some in the Congress who say, show us the tape, it didn‘t
TONY BLANKLEY, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, I think all acts of racism
should be condemned, whoever‘s doing it. And I also think that politicians
are politicians, and I don‘t know what the facts were. If the facts were
that they were cursed upon, then people should condemn them for it.
We understand what this drill is. This is a drill, the conversation,
the repeating of the non-proven event is an effort to increase the energy
on the left side of the equation, because that was the problem in the
election coming up, that the conservatives are more energized than the
left. So these kind of messages, these claims—look, racism has been a
charge that‘s been thrown around for 50 years. And when it‘s valid, it‘s a
SCHULTZ: So when a black congressman says he was spit on, it‘s really
not a story? We can‘t validate it?
BLANKLEY: Let me finish. I was a prosecutor eight years. You can
have two people both telling the truth as they understand it and telling
different stories. The reality is that you don‘t always know what‘s going
on. You don‘t always hear well. you don‘t know what‘s happening in
events. All I‘m saying is if it happened, it was wrong. And if it didn‘t
happen, people were mistaken if they—
SCHULTZ: Joan, that cuts to the chase. The credibility of a
congressional member who has a long history of civil rights activists all
the way back to the ‘60s is now still being called a liar.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: He is being called a liar. Tony didn‘t quite
BLANKLEY: I absolutely did not go there.
WALSH: Are you questioning whether John Lewis heard the “N” word?
Are you questioning that?
BLANKLEY: If he said he heard it, he heard it. All I‘m telling you,
as a prosecutor, talk to any lawyer who does trial work and they‘ll tell
you that people—I‘ve been involved in—
BLANKLEY: That‘s why there‘s a conflict of evidence, because people
think they see and hear things. And in large crowds, they can hear a lot
of things. I believe that he believed that he heard that.
WALSH: I believe that he heard it. And that‘s—I‘m going that far.
John Lewis is a civil rights hero. And for someone, the likes of Andrew
Breitbart to call him a liar? He‘s not fit to shine his shoes. And the
funny news event that happened today is that this video—once again,
Andrew is burned by his videos. This video that he put up purporting to
show that he was not called the “N” word actually happened after they left
the Capitol, not when they were shouted at before.
So the right is trumping this up. The idea that any black Congress
people are making this up to energize the base, that‘s despicable.
SCHULTZ: It would seem to me that someone would no know whether they
were spat on or not. Let‘s go to the John McCain story and let‘s play this
video, Friends of McCain, the new web ad. And get response. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m J.D. Hayworth and I‘m running for U.S. Senate
to take on the most pressing challenges facing Arizona, America, and,
indeed, the entire human race.
First, I‘m committed to exposing the secret Kenyan birthplace of the
president of the United States.
J.D. HAYWORTH, CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE FROM ARIZONA: The president
should come forward with the information. That‘s all. Why must we depend
on the governor of Hawaii?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Second, I‘ve stood up against a grave threat of
HAYWORTH: If you really had affection for your horse, I guess you
could marry your horse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: J.D. Hayworth says expanding state laws to allow
gay marriage could lead people to marry a horse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Is this a good strategy by McCain, Tony?
BLANKLEY: It‘s pretty funny. I—I mean, it‘s in a Republican
primary. I don‘t know that it helps a lot. I think it‘s a pretty clever
commercial. And I‘m a friend of J.D.‘s and a friend of the senator‘s. I
don‘t think it‘s going to be a decisive advertisement in the campaign. I
think there are much more fundamental issues.
McCain is trying to campaign fundamentally to tell the voters that he
is more conservative than a lot of people think he is. That‘s the center
of gravity. He‘s trying to obviously disparage his more conservative
opponent. J.D. is obviously more in line with the philosophy of the
Republican electorate in Arizona. But, on the other hand, Senator McCain
is a great hero and a wonderful man, and his character is going to count
for a lot.
SCHULTZ: Joan, what do you think?
WALSH: I think that J.D. Hayworth is a crackpot and McCain is right
to call him on it. He needs to get the facts out that this guy really
believes that stuff. I swear to God, I fell for that ad for about 15
seconds because that‘s how crazy J.D. Hayworth is. I think it‘s a great
strategy for McCain. He‘s acting like the maverick he now says he never
was. I am kind of confused.
SCHULTZ: Boehner says that if the Republicans get the House back,
they‘re going to repeal health care. Can they do it? Will they do it? Is
that a good strategy?
WALSH: Go ahead. Take my daughter off my health plan. Go ahead.
They‘re not going to do it. A lot of them have come to the conclusion
that‘s political suicide. There are better things to do. It‘s done. Take
back the Congress. Take back the White House. Maybe you change some
things. But the idea of wholesale repeal is just rhetoric and it‘s
BLANKLEY: Look, now we‘re talking about actually a serious issue.
Fifty eight percent of the public—
SCHULTZ: Well, I don‘t know—wait a minute now, questioning the
credibility of a longtime civil rights activist and congressional member is
a pretty serious story now, Tony.
BLANKLEY: This is maybe the central issue of the congressional
campaign, whether the Republicans run for full repeal and whether that
works or not. I‘ve looked at all the polling. Right now, 58 percent of
the public wants it repealed; 32 percent want it—that‘s CBS and Gallup.
These are not right-wing numbers.
I happen to think that‘s a good issue. We‘ll find out. The Democrats
will try to say—point out the things that are favorable about the bill,
lack of precondition, the 26-year-olds and the rest. We‘ll see. I think
the public is pretty firmly in place. The law has become less popular by
SCHULTZ: It hasn‘t gone in effect yet. And most people haven‘t read
the damn thing. The fact they‘re going to take health care away from
people and—they can‘t repeal the whole thing.
BLANKLEY: This is going to be a great test.
WALSH: It will be interesting.
BLANKLEY: -- political landscape entirely differently. On my side of
the aisle, we see this as an opportunity. On your side, you see this as a
SCHULTZ: Yes, we will.
WALSH: I don‘t see it as a vulnerability.
SCHULTZ: Joan Walsh, Tony Blankley, good to have you with us tonight.
Thank you very much.
All right, nuts like CNN‘s Erick Erickson has been telling people to
cling to their shotguns when the Census folks knock on their door. Well, a
psycho in Idaho beat him to the punch and pulled the trigger. That‘s next
on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, our first incident. Number one,
that‘s the number on the board. The effects of all the righty fear
mongering about the Census are now playing out on Main Street. It‘s
getting pretty scary out there. Some crackpot in Idaho fired a shotgun
into the air to scare off a Census worker who came to his door last month
trying to deliver, just deliver the questionnaire.
The trigger-happy nut job faces up to six months in prison and 1,000
dollar fine for exhibition of a deadly firearm and weapon.
Let‘s bring in former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt.
Clint, good to have you with us tonight.
Before we get going on my question, I just want to play a collection
of psycho talk, because I think this really feeds what‘s going on out
there. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE MALKIN, REPUBLICAN COMMENTATOR: The Democrat party has long
seen the census as a way to ensure a permanent ruling majority.
MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: They used the U.S. Census
information to round up the Japanese and put them in the internment camps.
ERICK ERICKSON, CNN ANALYST: I‘m not filling out this form. I dare
them to try to come throw me in jail. I dare them to. Pull out my wife‘s
shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door.
They‘re not coming on my property.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Clint, put it together for us tonight. What do you think?
CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Red flag in front of a bull. There
are always people that—the fringe of the fringe, that kind of sit on the
edge of the abyss. It‘s people like you just showed that walk by and give
them a shove to push them over the edge.
Look, the census has been around since about 1790. We do it every ten
years. We use it as a way to distribute 400 billion dollars in aid. Hey,
I want my state, I want my county, I want my schools to get their share of
that aid. For me to cross my arms or cross my eyes, and shut down my
brain, and say, no, I don‘t want to avail myself and my children of that
type of money, well, what that winds up—it cost you and I, Ed, and every
other American 1.5 billion dollars to send Census workers out because
people are either too lazy or too paranoid to answer those ten questions
that, in the long run, is going to aid them and their community.
SCHULTZ: Well, when people sit home and they watch somebody on TV,
they expect to hear something responsible. And they grab the audio. They
have the emotion stoked, so to speak. Is this just a classic example of
how some people will respond to what they see and hear?
VAN ZANDT: Well, it is. There are people who are paranoid, Ed.
There are people who are afraid of government, men in black, sun glasses,
black suits, black helicopters circling over our cities. You know, 99.5
percent of that is untrue. You know, 25 years as an FBI agent, we weren‘t
involved in conspiracies against the American people.
But there are people today who believe that those conspiracies are
alive and well, that they start at the White House. They work their way
And, Ed, these Census workers are just citizens making about 15 bucks
an hour, who many of them are out of work, and just out there trying to
help government, trying to help their local men and women who live in the
same community, and they‘ve been stabbed. They‘ve had dogs sicked on them.
They‘ve been thrown off property. Why? Because they‘re trying to do a job
and trying to make sure that this 400 billion dollar government pie, well,
that it‘s cut up and we each get the piece we‘ve got coming.
These people who are spewing this rhetoric about the Census, you know,
they ought to take a pill.
SCHULTZ: They‘re coming from the halls of Congress. You heard the
sound bite from Michele Bachmann. She‘s standing there, right there in the
Rotunda, doing an interview and gives a sound bite saying they use the
Census to round people up during World War II. It draws a connection.
Doesn‘t it touch and stroke the emotions of those who are sitting on the
edge of their seat, that law enforcement is concerned with to start with?
VAN ZANDT: Well, it really does. You know, as I—the term I use is
the edge of the abyss. In law enforcement, as an FBI agent, I dealt with
right-wing, neo-Nazi, paramilitary, religious, survivalist groups. There
are philosophies out there, theories that government is coming, they‘re
going to take your guns, they‘re going to use the Census to do all these
When people put that rhetoric out there, all that does is scare the
hell out of people, and make them do the worst possible thing, which is not
support themselves and their family by simply trying to get money coming
back into their community.
The Census has been around for hundreds of years. It started in Rome
centuries ago. It works. It‘s not used to round up enemies of the state.
SCHULTZ: Clint Van Zandt, great to have you with us tonight. Thank
One final page in my playbook tonight, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback
Ben Roethlisberger will not be charged with sexual assault after an
accusation by a Georgia college student last month. This is the second
sexual assault incident that has plagued Ben in recent years. Just this
morning, “the New York Daily News” reported another alleged victim has come
forward. She claims she was sexually assaulted by Roethlisberger six
months ago in Las Vegas, but decided not to press charges. Roethlisberger
flew to New York this morning to meet with the NFL commissioner to discuss
the situation. So far no disciplinary action has been taken by the league
against the Steeler quarterback.
Coming up, the rise of anti-government militias is off the charts.
Some fear we might have another Oklahoma City on our hands waiting to
happen. More on that with an FBI profiler next. You‘re watching THE ED
SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, the rise of Tea Party
militia in Oklahoma may be unique in that it has the support of some
elected officials in the state. The militia movement is alive and well all
across the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center found 85 new militias
cropped up in 2009. In 2008, there were 42 militias. In 2009, there were
Joining me now is Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mr.
Potok, doesn‘t it take it to a new level when you now have state
representatives endorsing the possibilities of an authorized militia? What
do you think?
MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: I think it‘s a fairly
amazing development. It is, I think, perfectly legal under the
Constitution for the state to consider concocting a militia. After all,
many states do, and they do very good things, in terms of helping handle
disasters and so on. The reality is that they are apparently talking about
forming this militia in order to block certain moves from the federal
government. So while it may be legal, this really—at the end of the
day, this is a question that was decided already, at Gettysburg.
SCHULTZ: Why are we seeing—why are we seeing an escalation of the
groups? What is it that is hitting their hot button?
POTOK: Well, I think there are a number of factors. I think that the
changing racial demographics of the country, without question, are a part
of it. I think there is also a great deal of anger over federal spending,
over bailouts that never seem to reach the common man. I also think that
there‘s been a tremendous amount of fear whipped up by the very kinds of
people you were talking about earlier, the Michele Bachmanns of the world,
the Glenn Becks of the world.
So, you know, there are thousands of people out there who literally
fear that health care reform means death panels which decide whether
grandma lives or dies.
SCHULTZ: Is it as bad as it‘s ever been in this country? What do you
POTOK: I‘m not sure I can speak authoritatively for that. For me,
the point of comparison is the run-up to Oklahoma City, which I covered
very seriously as a reporter. I would say that the situation feels worse
than that. Certainly the anger out there is broader based. It‘s leaking
into all kinds of groups. We see it leaking into the Tea Party movement,
as well as the actual radical right group themselves, growing at a
SCHULTZ: Mr. Potok, thanks for joining us tonight for your insight.
Tonight in our telephone survey, I asked do you believe the rise in
militias will lead to violence? Ninety six percent of you said yes; four
percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. Be sure to tune in tomorrow
night. Congressman George Miller will be here to give us the latest on the
congressional investigation into the mine tragedy in West Virginia.
And be sure to check out MSNBC on Sirius XM Radio. We‘re now airing
live on Sirius Channel 90 and XM 120. Chris Matthews is next with
“HARDBALL.” We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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