Guests: Luis Gutierrez, Eric Burns, Arlen Specter, Todd Webster, Heidi
Harris, Roy Sekoff, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Hubert Williams
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW from New York tonight.
These stories are hitting my hot buttons tonight.
The Arizona legislature wants President Obama to show his birth certificate if he wants to be on the state ballot in 2012. Well, that‘s on the heels of a harsh anti-immigration bill, but it‘s not about race. It‘s much more than that.
And that‘s coming up in just a moment.
Fox News is proving to be one of the Republicans‘ most potent fund-raising forces. Shocking new details on how much Fox contributors have raised and where they‘re going to do it to get the money.
Plus, Michael Steele‘s in hot water again after the RNC‘s latest spending report. They spent more than $700,000 on office supplies? Who‘s got that account?
But here‘s the story that‘s got me fired up tonight.
Arizona is on the verge of an immigration meltdown. And the governor at this hour holds all the cards. What she does could have national impact.
Now, the Latino community feels like, well, they‘re being targeted. The back community is saying welcome to the party, it‘s been happening to us for years. Law enforcement is concerned about resources and how this is all going to play out on the streets of Arizona. And now congressional members are calling on the administration to get it in gear and get it done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Is this a racist law that‘s on the verge of being signed into law in Arizona? What do you think?
REP. PAUL GRIJALVA (D), ARIZONA: Absolutely. I think once you single out a group of people—and this law is based on appearance, it‘s based on accent of your language, it‘s based on those parameters. You can only single out a certain group of people for that criteria. That‘s people of color, it‘s Latinos, and it‘s someone that speaks with an accent that is not considered English.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, Democratic leadership is now saying they‘ll do illegal immigration this year. This, of course, wasn‘t the plan, but the Arizona meltdown is forcing the hand of the majority party. It‘s also opening the door for the righties to work over the administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: The state of Arizona is acting and doing what they feel they need to do in light of the fact that the federal government is not fulfilling its fundamental responsibility to secure our borders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And, of course, he didn‘t get challenged in that interview.
It gets worse. The same state house in Arizona just voted to require any presidential candidate to prove citizenship and show their birth certificate. Really? Do they need to follow the Birthers at this point?
Folks, this is nothing but anti-Obama rhetoric turning into right-wing legislation. This is really overboard, in my opinion. It‘s dividing Americans and it sets the table for racial profiling, and all it does is pit race against race.
It‘s dangerous. It‘s immoral. Although according to a new Rasmussen poll, 70 percent of likely voters in Arizona are supporting this measure, even though 53 percent of the voters are worried that immigrants‘ civil rights could be violated.
Now, we are entering, I think here, a new era, an era of what we could call confrontational legislation. If the righties throw it up there enough, who knows? You might get a lawmaker to go along with it and get a few others in a coffee or Tea Party to say, hey, what do you say we do that? We don‘t like Obama anyway. You know, if the president of the United States, if he were ever a community organizer, now is the time.
And one thing about this conversation that we‘re having in America right now is that have you noticed everybody is an expert on illegal immigration? Everybody knows what we have to do and we all sound tough, but I think as Americans we need to understand that there is a real human element to all of this.
The folks that are coming across the border, they want to go to a better country. They want to work for a living. They want to provide for their families. They might want to do everything you‘re doing with your life.
And, yes, we are being overrun. The latest number shows by the Department of Homeland Security that there are 460,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona, or politically correct language, I should say that they are undocumented workers.
We‘re afraid to have this conversation, aren‘t we? The fact is they are here in this country, and they are illegal. And we‘ve got to do something about it.
You can blame Bush, you can blame Obama. Blame everybody, because we‘ve just never gotten this right as a country.
We‘ve never really had a concerted effort, OK, we‘re going to fix this. We have plenty of laws on the books, but for some reason we just exit when it comes time to enforce them. It puts law enforcement, I think, in an untenable position. Now they‘re passing laws that law enforcement might not be able to deal with.
Later in this program I will have an interview with a man who is an expert in all of this, and he‘ll tell you what law enforcement across the country is really concerned about.
What I‘m concerned about is that it‘s pitting Americans against Americans. Do you think Osama bin Laden is sitting in some cave somewhere saying, ha, ha, look at that, they‘re fighting amongst themselves?
We are a compassionate country. My feeling on this, my opinion is that there has to be some level of amnesty.
It‘s going to turn out to be like the health care bill. We‘re not going to get everything we want in this when it comes to illegal immigration, but we can‘t delete the resources of law enforcement to all of a sudden have them go be ICE agents when they‘re supposed to take care of neighborhoods.
And Arizonans, I think you‘re an a slippery slope here if you think you can just take law enforcement guys off the street, make them ICE agents, and make sure that you‘re going to have the same protection in your community that you‘ve always had. Oh, you ready for your taxes to go up to add more cops? Because that‘s what you‘re asking for.
Now, what you‘re really asking for legislatively is that President Obama will ride in as the community organizer and save the day for everybody, something that George Bush didn‘t do, something that Clinton didn‘t do, something that Bush didn‘t do, something that Reagan didn‘t do. I mean, it goes back a long way.
But now, all of a sudden, here we go. Because we don‘t like Obama, damn it, he‘s got to show us his birth certificate or he can‘t get on the ballot. Oh, by the way, we‘re going to really put it on his shoulders this time because he was the community organizer.
You know what? This guy‘s probably going to pull it off. I‘m going to make a prediction tonight that I think this year, in 2010 -- yes, we had the heavy lift of health care—I think you‘re going to see this Congress do the heavy lift and do what‘s morally right when it comes to legislation for illegal immigration in this country.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think, folks.
Tonight‘s text survey question is: Does President Obama have a moral obligation to push for immigration reform this year? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me now from Illinois is Congressman Gutierrez, chairman of the Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force. He is urging the president of the United States to intervene if the governor of Arizona fails to veto its anti-immigration bill.
Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you so much for having me, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Is this going to motivate Congress to address this issue this year? What do you think?
GUTIERREZ: You know, I think, Ed—I think you‘re on the right track, because notice that today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid issued a joint statement in which they said that they‘ll put immigration reform ahead of energy policy reform in this Congress. And they said we want to get it done in 2010.
If you listen to Harry Reid, two weeks ago when I was with him, there was a large pro-immigration rally out in Las Vegas. I was with him that Saturday. He said let‘s not let this process of selecting the next Supreme Court nominee be an excuse on immigration reform. So I think we‘re headed in the right direction.
We know that the president is calling on the phone and talking to Republicans, reaching out to them so that he can help build a broader coalition. I think that‘s a step in the right direction. And it‘s what the president needs to do.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, characterize this Arizona law. Is it overboard, in your opinion?
GUTIERREZ: Let me tell you. From someone who understands what it‘s like to get chosen based on the color of one‘s skin and the accent of one‘s voice, I‘m going to tell you what‘s going to happen.
Look, when the police intervene with me or with any American citizen, it should be based on their behavior, on their conduct, not on the country of natural origin, on the color of their skin. What this law says is choose these people.
Because, come on, Ed, you and I both know that between the two of us, we‘ve got a funny feeling who‘s going to be asked by the police in Arizona to prove they‘re a citizen and that they‘re legally in the United States. They‘re not going to ask someone that looks like they came from Poland or Ireland or Germany or England. They‘re going to ask people who they share a border with, with Mexico. They‘re going to ask people in Mexico.
SCHULTZ: Are you concerned that this will have a domino effect and other state legislatures will follow suit on this?
GUTIERREZ: You know, again, you‘re right. Here‘s what‘s going to happen.
You know, they started Proposition 187 in California. We had the Sensenbrenner bill here, where they wanted everybody to become a police. They wanted to convert this country into a police state.
But here‘s what‘s going to happen in Arizona. Hazleton, Pennsylvania, a little town, they passed some anti-immigrant legislation in terms of housing and who could live—it cost them $2.4 million to defend themselves against one lawsuit. So you‘re going to have lawsuits, you‘re going to have a greater burden.
And ultimately, you know who the big winners in all of this are?
Those who want to divide our country and weaken the very fabric.
GUTIERREZ: Because you know what? Think about the drug dealers in Arizona. They‘re going, oh, thank you very much.
Think about the human smugglers in Arizona. They‘re saying, thank you very much.
Think about all that criminal element who hide among the undocumented, the illegal workers. And now those illegal workers aren‘t going to be able to help the police. That‘s the front line that the police need, the public, and the confidence of the fate of the public in them serving and protecting them. If you turn them into immigration agents, go to L.A., go to Chicago, go to New York, and ask those police commissioners of large cities what their policy is, and they say we have a policy we do not become immigration agents because it divides the community from the police department.
SCHULTZ: Folks in Arizona, they are begging for a tax increase to pay for this.
Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time tonight.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you so much for having me.
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
There is a moral issue to all of this as well. Reverend Jim Wallis, who is the president of Sojourners and author of the book “Rediscovering Values on Wall Street, Main Street and Your Street,” Reverend Wallis calls the Arizona bill a social sin.
Reverend, good to have you with us tonight.
Why is this a social sin? And how is the faith community going to respond to this law if the governor signs it?
REV. JIM WALLIS, PRESIDENT, SOJOURNERS: Good to be here, Ed.
The governor of Arizona must not sign this law. And if she‘s thinking about it, she should talk to clergy first who asked me to come out there this week and see what was happening. I mean, this law, as you reported very well, will require law enforcement officers to go after people they suspect of being undocumented.
Now, this is the problem when you haven‘t done what you said well for a long time, a broken immigration system that serves no one. We are a nation of laws, but this system is broken and must be fixed this year. The president and the Congress must now fix a broken immigration system, because, Ed—
SCHULTZ: Well, how about morally speaking here, though? Is it—
SCHULTZ: I mean, if people are breaking the law, that‘s immoral, isn‘t it?
WALLIS: Yes, but you do enforcement without reform and it‘s cruel.
WALLIS: Enforcement that breaks up families is impossible for us to accept as clergy. Enforcement without compassion breaks our laws.
In fact, when Jesus said, “I am a stranger and you welcomed me, and as you‘ve done to the least of these you‘ve done to me,” that‘s a commandment. And this law would make obeying Jesus against the law. This law would make loving your neighbor illegal.
SCHULTZ: Is the Latino community going to churches right now? What have you seen down there? Are they nervous about this?
WALLIS: Well, I was down there yesterday, and they‘re going to churches because there are raids going on. People are afraid to be in their homes or at their workplace.
And guess where they‘re going? They‘re going to church. And it‘s becoming a sanctuary. And if law enforcement wants to invade churches to hunt down undocumented people, this is the beginning of bad things in America here.
I mean, you know, harboring and transporting illegal immigrants they say will be illegal. Now, it‘s the church‘s mission to harbor and take care of and be with those who are vulnerable, take them to work. Is taking illegal immigrants to church going to be illegal now?
I was at a clinic yesterday, and a midwife, a doctor, is serving uninsured people. Now, many of them are undocumented. She would be charged under this law for being with undocumented people. If you‘re with people who are undocumented, you can be arrested.
This is wrong. This will divide us. This is the wrong direction for America.
SCHULTZ: I agree with you. We‘ve got to be smarter than this.
SCHULTZ: And this is really overreaching, and it‘s going to put law enforcement in an untenable position.
Reverend, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
WALLIS: Great to be here. Thanks for doing this, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Coming up, since the RNC likes to blow fund-raiser bucks on bondage clubs and Hawaii beach meetings, Fox News, well, they‘re picking up the slack. My next guest is going to tell you all about that.
And Blanche Lincoln is refusing to return money to a company charged with fraud even though she‘s throwing the book at them? Question mark on that. I‘ll get to the bottom of this with The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel, coming up.
Kenya‘s throwing a Tea Party. And Harry Reid‘s challenger clucks her way into the “Zone.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
If you somehow still think you‘re getting fair and balanced news from the nut jobs across the street, tonight we have proof the boys across the street are a fund-raising arm for the Republican Party. The numbers don‘t lie.
Our friends at Media Matters did the research, and over the past few years, at least—count them -- 20 Fox News hosts, contributors and analysts have raised money or campaigned for Republicans. It‘s happened over 300 times in 49 out of 50 states. Only Wyoming is left out.
It probably has something to do with “Shooter,” don‘t you think? I guess the folks there are so far right that they don‘t feel like they need Fox‘s help.
Well, it‘s not just the usual suspects on Fox who are doing this.
Reporter Neil Cavuto was a big Bush donor, which is fine.
My issue is when they go on the air or when they go on the stump and they‘re actively raising money for candidates. Tell me where the fair and the balance is in that?
Let me bring in Eric Burns, president of Media Matters.
Eric, good to have you with us tonight.
You know, I‘ve got no problem with anybody who wants to write a check for somebody personally. But when you go on the air, and you‘re—well, for lack of a better term, you‘re being the huckster and you‘re promoting your Web pack, I mean, it‘s pretty clear what the mission is, isn‘t it?
ERIC BURNS, PRESIDENT, MEDIA MATTERS: Oh, there‘s no question, Ed.
This is endemic to the network, as you said in the lead-in.
More than 20 Fox personalities, 300 instances have been either raising money, endorsing or campaigning for Republican candidates or causes. And I‘ll tell you, just a handful of those folks, some of the marquee talented Fox, just this year alone—and it‘s only April, mind you—have raised shy of $50 million for GOP candidates and causes this year alone.
SCHULTZ: All right. Sean Hannity, let‘s talk about him. He‘s a big-shot over there.
I mean, does he actually help candidates raise money to defeat Democrats?
BURNS: Well, he certainly helps the NRCC. He headlined, you know, a fund-raiser in March and raised $7 million for the GOP just in March alone.
I‘ll tell you, one of the things that we see, Ed, is there‘s a lot of cross-promotion going on here between the candidates that Fox is supporting and the news talent. So, when Sean Hannity, you know, for instance, goes in and does a fund-raiser for the NRCC, oftentimes, in over 30 instances we documented, he and others will be cited as Fox News contributors or Fox News hosts by those candidates in their committees in the endorsement.
SCHULTZ: There he is promoting his psycho sister.
OK. Let‘s go to Huckabee now.
Huckabee has got his own show as well, and, of course, he has plugged the Huck PAC on the air.
SCHULTZ: Now, doggone it, if I start promoting Big Eddie‘s North Country Lodge, nobody better give me any smoke on this. I mean, this—I guess I‘ve never really paid attention to the money connection for candidates.
Why aren‘t the Democrats complaining about this?
BURNS: Well, they should be, and every reporter in America should be. And I applaud you for doing this segment, because you‘re one of the folks that are on this story, and it‘s a huge story, because what we‘re seeing is a news network operating as a political operation, as I‘ve said time and again. And really, this is just definitive, irrefutable proof.
Mike Huckabee, for instance, yes, he‘s been fund-raising for his PAC on the air at Fox for a while. In 2009, his PAC supported 30 different Republican congressional candidates. He‘s endorsed 11 more this year.
Dick Morris, the same thing. He‘s raising money on the air, on Fox.
He‘s targeted 31 Democratic members of Congress for defeat.
SCHULTZ: Is it just anything goes in cable? I mean, could—
BURNS: No, I don‘t think so.
SCHULTZ: -- you imagine if some of the main anchors of the networks were to do something like this?
BURNS: Oh, well, I mean, I think there would be a public outcry. But, at the same time, there‘s a desensitization to this with Fox because they do it so often and so aggressively.
You know, I don‘t think we‘d see MSNBC ever do this. Clearly you know that. I don‘t think we‘d see this on CNN.
We see this one place in journalism in America, one place only, and that‘s Fox News. And you have to wonder, when you have a famed, well-known Republican hit man, Roger Ailes, running a news network, this is what you going to get. Because I‘ll tell you, money is power in politics, Ed. You know that.
And clearly, Roger Ailes is building quite a power base for the radical right. And you have to wonder, with Fox‘s involvement with the Tea Party organization, more than 100, you know, paid sponsor spots and advertising spots for the Tea Parties, sponsoring Tea Party promotions, then you look at this bombshell, 300 instances of Fox News personalities campaigning for, donating to Republican candidates, you really have to wonder if they‘re trying to replace the Republican Party. And I can definitely tell you that I think Fox News has become a more popular brand with the radical right in this country than the Republican Party has.
SCHULTZ: Eric Burns, great to have you with us tonight. And I should announce on this program, if I ever did do that, I would be fishing for a living.
Good to have you with us.
BURNS: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much. You bet.
They just won‘t stop at Fox, will they?
Coming up, Harry Reid‘s competition is flying with the cuckoos. She wants you to bring a chicken as a form of payment the next time you go to the doctor.
Now, folks, look, this is—well, it‘s really “Psycho Talk.” And that‘s next.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, the front-runner for the Republican nomination to run for Senate in Nevada, Sue Lowden, is back in the “Zone.”
Now, she got there the first time for suggesting that people barter with their doctors to bring down the cost of health care. Well, back then we kind of gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed that she meant, well, we should negotiate the price of care with doctors. Right?
Well, yesterday, Lowden, she went on a local news show in Nevada and doubled down on her bartering plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUE LOWDEN ®, NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: But let‘s change the system and talk about what the possibilities are. I‘m telling you that this works.
You know, before we al started having health care in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say, “I‘ll paint your house.” They would do—I mean, that‘s the old days of what people would do to get health care with their doctors.
Doctors are very sympathetic people. I‘m not backing down from that system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All that tells us is that in the olden days, people couldn‘t afford health care then either. And if we‘re paying doctors like they did in the olden days, should we expect the same quality of care or technology that they got back then? I guess leeches are underused these days out West.
Folks, this is the candidate who is leading Senator Harry Reid in the polls? What‘s happening in this country? So things better turn around pretty soon, or else Nevada‘s next senator is going to be guilty of some serious “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, America‘s law enforcement is already overstretched and underpaid. I‘ll tell you how the new Arizona law, if it‘s signed by the governor, could and will make you even less safe.
Listen up, Republicans. You simply cannot trust Michael Steele with your money. You won‘t believe the cash he blew on the beach in Hawaii.
And Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania took it to Senator Arlen Specter on this show last night. The good senator takes the floor in just a moment. You won‘t want to miss it.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Tonight, well, we‘ve got a Supreme Court nominee coming up by next month and this is going to be a battle royale. That was the word from the White House today. President Obama says he hopes the Senate Republicans would cooperate to get a new justice seated soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I nominated Sonia Sotomayor I have to say that all the individuals who are sitting here—
Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Jeff Sessions and Patrick Leahy—worked very cooperatively on what I considered to be a smooth, civil, thoughtful nomination process and confirmation process.
My hope is, is that we can do the exact same time—same thing this time.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And what are the chances of that happening? The Republicans are already making demands that the nominee be a moderate even though the retiring Justice Stevens is a strong liberal. They‘re also talking about dragging out the process through the summer.
For more let me bring in Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter. He currently sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. A committee he once chaired.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Thanks for the invitation, Ed. Nice being with you.
SCHULTZ: Yes, sir. You‘ve got a lot of experience in this. And in the wake of a very controversial ruling by the Supreme Court recently that says that corporations can give unlimited amount of funds to campaigns, there‘s a lot of people in the progressive community in this country that want the president to put a strong liberal in there.
Your reaction to that? What about that?
SPECTER: I think—I think it‘s very important for the president to stick to his guns and appoint somebody who is strong, who can do intellectual battle with Justice Scalia because the Supreme Court has become an ideological battleground.
And this business of conciliation, I think, is unrealistic. And the president is going to be in office long enough so that he may have enough appointments to have five people who are attuned to his ideological approach. That‘s what he ought to do and stick to his guns.
SCHULTZ: So your advice to the president would be, pick a liberal?
SPECTER: Well, I wouldn‘t categorize it in terms of liberal/conservative/moderate. I would categorize it as someone who sticks to precedent. Chief Justice Roberts promised under oath he wouldn‘t jolt the system. Well, for 100 years corporations couldn‘t advertise.
Now that‘s not really liberal or conservative or moderate. That‘s following the precedence. That‘s following stare decisis. Now Chief Justice Roberts promised that he would defer to congressional fact finding. Only Congress hears witnesses and finds facts. When the Voting Rights Act came up he did a 180-degree turn in reverse.
So if we have somebody who follows the precedence and doesn‘t make those extreme changes on judicial activism I think we‘ll have somebody who will be right in line with what the President Obama wants.
SCHULTZ: You think this will be tougher than the Sonia Sotomayor hearings? Will this be a real battle in the dog days of summer?
SPECTER: I think it will be tougher than Justice Sotomayor. Things have hardened considerably. We‘re going to have to take this case to the people. We find that there has been some give on Republican leadership in the last day or so on regulation of Wall Street in the face of tremendous public pressure.
SPECTER: And I think that‘s what it‘s going to take to get a reasonable approach on this one.
SCHULTZ: Senator Specter, your primary opponent last night was on this program, Joe Sestak. And he says that you‘ve been ducking him in debates.
Are you going to debate him? Is that true? Do you think it‘s not necessary? Where do you stand on that?
SPECTER: Well, it is not true. We had a debate, a Democratic and state committee with the women‘s group. We were on a joint stage with the bloggers in Pittsburgh. The tradition in Pennsylvania is to have one debate.
Two years ago when he was running for a seat in Congress, his opponent wanted a series of debates. He said one debate.
Look here, it‘s tough to get your name known and to establish yourself. I travel to every one of the 67 counties almost every year and takes a lot of work.
Let him earn his own name recognition and his own publicity. I‘ve agreed to the traditional debate. Televised statewide. That‘s what he did two years ago in the face of a demand by his opponent. That‘s the standard.
Listen, Ed, I‘m very much available. Available earlier today on MSNBC. Earlier available for news conferences. Go out and face the people. Face the newsmen. Answer the whole raft of questions. Harrisburg, the day before yesterday.
My views are well known. But why should I publicize an opponent?
SCHULTZ: It‘s all about promotion, isn‘t it, Arlen?
SPECTER: What‘s that?
SCHULTZ: It‘s all about promotion, isn‘t it?
SPECTER: Well, it‘s about—it‘s about making your case.
SCHULTZ: I got you.
SPECTER: It‘s about getting Arlen Specter known.
SPECTER: I‘m not going to mention the other guy‘s name. It‘s a lot of tough, hard work to get yourself known, to get your views out there, and why should I give him the exposure? Let him earn it.
SCHULTZ: Senator, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
SPECTER: Thank you, Ed, always a great pleasure.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
SPECTER: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: For more let‘s bring in Roy Sekoff, founding editor of “The Huffington Post.”
All right, Roy, how strong should President Obama go to get a liberal to satisfy the base on this and to really balance out a court that has bent to the right of the last eight years?
ROY SEKOFF, HUFFINGTON POST: Oh, absolutely, Ed. He‘s got to go bold. But as you said, bold does not necessarily have to mean fighting the old culture wars. I don‘t think it‘s left versus right anymore. It‘s the powerful versus the powerless. That‘s the debate that we‘re going to have right now.
It‘s going to be the average guy. Is that who you‘re going to support? Are you going to support these corporations that are running our lives?
I mean here‘s the key thing, Ed. When Obama was a senator, he voted against the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts, and he did so, he said he thought he was very qualified but felt that way too often, far too often he had supported the interests of the powerful over the weak.
SCHULTZ: What about diversity?
SEKOFF: I think that‘s—what‘s that?
SCHULTZ: What about diversity, Roy? What about that?
SEKOFF: Well, I—I think diversity would be having somebody who‘s not a corporatist on the court. That‘s the kind of diversity we need now. We need somebody who‘s not going to say, yes, corporation, they‘re the same as people, they have all the same rights, they can give unlimited money to affect—you know, our politics, these special interests.
I think that‘s the kind of diversity we have. We don‘t have enough of that, Ed. Too many times these hearings end up being about—you know, all Roe V Wade all the time. But I don‘t think that‘s the seminal issue that we‘re having right now as the middle class is slowly disappearing.
SCHULTZ: Well, how about getting someone who‘s got maybe a broader background, and not all legal, maybe some real-life experiences, maybe even somewhat of a business background? Is that important do you think?
SEKOFF: Yes. I think it‘d be terrific. I mean as many perspectives as we can have.
You know, Ed, I think the first part of your interview with Senator Specter was actually really remarkable. Here‘s a guy who was once one of the leading lights of the Republican Party, and he was saying that the Republican Party, that the right nominees on the court are now radical ideologues.
Well, when a former Republican can say that you know how far things have shifted. So yes, we need as many perspectives as we can.
SCHULTZ: Roy Sekoff, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us tonight.
SEKOFF: Good to be here, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Now let‘s get some “Rapid Fire” response from our panel on these stories tonight.
Proof that bailouts work. How about this? General Motors announces it has repaid all its government loan money five years ahead of schedule.
The Arizona state legislature passes a bill that says President Obama, well, will have to show his birth certificate if he wants to be on the state ballot in 2012.
Michael Steele under fire again after filing reports show that the RNC dropped more than 300 grand on a conference in Hawaii and more than 700 grand in office supplies?
With us now, Democratic strategist Todd Webster, and also with us tonight, Heidi Harris, radio talk show host in Las Vegas.
All right. Let‘s—Todd, I know you‘ve worked in offices all your life—all your professional career. What do you spend 700 grand on?
TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, it‘s—that‘s a heck of a good question. Michael Steele could probably answer that for us. The reality is that George Bush and the Republican Congress got rid of any pretense that Republicans could be fiscally responsible. Now you‘ve got Michael Steele making sure that nobody forgets that.
If you look at what the DNC had at the start of this term 14 months ago, they have now tripled their cash on hand. The RNC has cut its cash on hand in half. So a Tim Kaine and the DNC are in a stronger position than Michael Steele and the RNC.
I hope Michael Steele runs for president on the Republican ticket.
SCHULTZ: All right. And Heidi, do you have to go to Hawaii to raise money for the righties? What‘s happening here?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO SHOW HOST: You don‘t have to. But obviously there‘s a lot of schmoozing that goes on both sides, the left and right, with the donors.
But listen, I‘m not going to defend $700,000 worth of copy paper. Personally I use mine twice so I try to be fiscally responsible. And the conservatives have to be a little more fiscally responsible if they want donors to be encouraged. That‘s a big deal.
SCHULTZ: Heidi, is Michael Steele out of the woods? Is he home free now? Has he weathered the storm, you think?
HARRIS: I don‘t know. You know every time there‘s—there‘s something new that happens. I mean so far he has and so far a lot of people think he‘s doing a good job. But you know they‘re going to have to be accountable to donors and anybody who donates in any way or anybody who is a volunteer.
They‘ve got to be accountable and feel like their efforts are being used responsibly. That goes for the Democrats and the Republicans.
SCHULTZ: All right. The Arizona state legislature passed a law. And this is the response from the White House about how the president‘s got to be showing his birth certificate.
This is Bill Burton. He says—White House spokesman Bill Burton said, “I can‘t imagine Arizona voters think their tax dollars are well served by a legislature that is less focused on their lives than in fringe right wing radio conspiracy theories.”
Heidi, you have to admit this birther thing started on right wing radio and now has worked its way into legislative process. Your thoughts?
HARRIS: Well, I‘ve got to tell you, Ed. I am not a fan of this. I think it‘s a waste of time to demand that Obama put up a birth certificate before he‘s on the ballot in 2012. Come on, seriously? And no one believes that‘s going to happen.
SCHULTZ: What do you think, Todd?
WEBSTER: Well, I think it‘s ridiculous. But I think that there is some pattern over the last few years of Republican politicians from Arizona having a problem with black leaders.
If you look at John McCain who voted against the MLK holiday, if you look at Governor Evan Mikam who refused to recognize the MLK holiday, that that is unfortunately been par for the course.
The bigger issue here is getting comprehensive immigration reform passed. And that‘s where we all ought to be focused --
SCHULTZ: All right.
WEBSTER: Focusing our energies.
SCHULTZ: And, Heidi, you called it “government motors.” No, it‘s not. Come on now. You‘ve got General Motors paying the loan back. This is—Heidi, this is how socialism works. We help people out when they‘re in trouble and we save jobs. What do you think?
HARRIS: Is that what it is? Sure. Hey, listen, if they‘re paying it back, that‘s great. Chrysler did the same thing. I was not for the bailout. But if they‘re going to pay it back I‘m happy. That works for me. That‘s OK.
SCHULTZ: OK. So you‘re OK with doing this in the future if it happens again?
HARRIS: No. I‘m not OK with doing it in the future.
HARRIS: Dozens and dozens of companies have gone out of business because they haven‘t made products people want to buy. And if somebody else runs into this problem, so sad, we have no money left.
SCHULTZ: Todd, this model was brought forward by the Obama administration. Ron Bloom was the architect of all this. Is this a big victory? What do you think?
WEBSTER: Well, no question. There was political risk involved in this. President Obama and his team deserve credit for having done it. It‘s great for American workers. It‘s great to preserve a critical industrial sector in this country, and it‘s further demonstration the recovery is working, that Obama—economic policies are working and that we‘re not out of the woods yet but we‘re on the right track.
SCHULTZ: I tell you what, it saved hundreds of thousands of jobs. The credit markets have dried up. The only place General Motors and the car industry can go is the taxpayers.
And I think that the General Motors folks are pretty grateful that the American taxpayer stepped forward and the Republicans were on the wrong side of that issue. Heidi Harris, --
SCHULTZ: -- Todd Webster, good to have you with—yes, shocking.
Good to have you with us tonight.
WEBSTER: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, Republicans and their Wall Street sugar daddies are starting to trash the Frank Luntz talking point and are bending towards financial reform? Something seems fishy here. The “Nation‘s” Katrina Vandal Heuvel will tell us if you can trust these guys. Next in THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think. Tonight‘s text survey question is, does President Obama have a moral obligation to push for immigration reform this year?
Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. We got the results coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my “Playbook” tonight, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and 40 other brain wizards of the Senate—the party of no—they‘re trying to dupe you into thinking that they‘re opposing the finance reform bill because it would lead to more Wall Street bailouts.
But really Republicans are just in the pocket of big business. The “Washington Post” today, “The Nation‘s” Katrina Vanden Heuvel compared that GOP lie to the fraud that got Goldman Sachs in trouble with the Securities Exchange Commission.
She wrote, “There are disturbing parallels between the securities fraud charges outlined in the Securities and Exchange Commission‘s civil lawsuit against Goldman Sachs and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell‘s fraudulent case against financial reform. Only in one case the apparent victims were sophisticated investors and the other designated saps are the American voters.”
Katrina Vanden Heuvel joins us live from “The Nation” tonight.
Katrina, thanks. I think you said a lot in a short paragraph there.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION: Well, I—you know, Senator McConnell is perpetrating a fraud against the American people. When he goes out there shamefully—shamelessly talking about how this Senate reform bill knew tough rules of the road, regulations we need after big Wall Street banks ran our economy off the road, cost Americans seven million jobs, he talks about how this is going to lead to endless bailouts for banks?
No, it‘s creating a fund to liquidate banks which will be paid for. The tab is going to be picked up by banks this time. And at the same time as he‘s talking about the problems with his financial reform, he‘s off in Wall Street trying to raise money from the very people, the big banks, who instead of investing in communities and creating jobs, Ed, are pumping up swarms of lobbyists to delay, to gut, to disembowel the reforms we need to become a healthier, more secure economy after these last couple of years of pain and crisis.
SCHULTZ: Arkansas senator Blanche Lincoln is a player in this as chairman of the Senate Ag Committee. And it‘s just been reported that she has canceled her fundraising lunch with Goldman Sachs‘ executives which was scheduled to take place on Monday.
What do you make of this?
VANDEN HEUVEL: Well, I make this SEC civil lawsuit against Goldman—it‘s hard to know, I‘m not a lawyer. I don‘t know where to go, but boy, is it costing Goldman a lot already? And it should and it should shame these big banks into waking up to the kind of casino gambling shadow economy that they have been playing with.
And these derivatives which Blanche Lincoln surprisingly, Ed, has—she has put forth an amendment to crack down on secret derivatives trading.
VANDEN HEUVEL: They are the time bomb and—ticking time bomb in our economy. And I just want to point out, you‘ve got some good senators trying to improve a bill which, you know, is what we need, but Senator Sherrod Brown trying to cap the size of banks because we need a financial sector which serves us and not vice versa.
Senator Bernie Sanders trying to put a hard cap on credit card interest rates. Serious practices. So you‘ve got some good things going, but the lobbyists, the lobbyists, Ed, 125 former legislators and aides swarming.
VANDEN HEUVEL: If ordinary people want to fight organized money, go to ourfinancialsecurity.org. There are actions around this country over the next few days and weeks for people to show that they want their economy back, the real economy to work again.
SCHULTZ: All right. Katrina, what‘s that Web site one more time?
VANDEN HEUVEL: Oursecurity—forgive me. It is ourfinancialsecurity.org. And it‘s for citizens who want to take back their economy.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Katrina Vanden Heuvel of “The Nation.” We‘ve got to have to have you back. I want to get your take on a Supreme Court pick. We‘ll have that later on in the week.
Thanks so much.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, if you want to—you want to make sure that the police protection you have is very good, and that they can go after dangerous criminals you better think twice about Arizona‘s plan to crack down on illegal immigrants.
A top cop will explain just what it really means when it comes to resources. That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: And finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, the right wing‘s obsession with illegal immigrants could be putting your family and neighborhood at risk if other states follow suit like Arizona.
A new report from the Police Foundation shows that cops are being forced to enforce immigration laws at the expense of crime control. Police officers should be out looking for murderers, not green cards.
For more let me bring in Hubert Williams. He is the president of the Police Foundation.
Mr. Williams, good to have you with us tonight. I know that your organization has conferenced, you have surveyed and studied this issue. What does it mean when states step forward and open the door for local law enforcement to do illegal immigration work? What‘s it do to resources?
HUBERT WILLIAMS, POLICE FOUNDATION PRESIDENT: Well, the big issue here, Ed, is the bond between the police and the public. Crime control and public safety requires the cooperative support between the police and the public.
Immigration enforcement creates such fear in the minds of the populous, the minds of the immigrant community, that they will not cooperate with the police. They won‘t even speak to the police.
How can you police a community if people won‘t talk to you?
Police chiefs across the country for the past several decades have been struggling to improve relationships with the communities and the neighborhoods they serve. Because they know that that relationship is what will provide information, help them identify perpetrators, get the evidence and convict criminals.
SCHULTZ: So if you‘re going to redirect resources to something else, something has to give. Or you‘re going to need more help.
WILLIAMS: Well, you‘ve got big problems now with serious violent crime because of the drug trafficking, kidnappings and human smuggling going on. This law that Arizona has passed is going to exacerbate the ability of the police to do their jobs because they‘re going to be taken away from crime control responsibilities and given federal responsibilities to enforce immigration laws.
That‘s the federal government‘s role. It‘s in the Constitution of the United States. Local police are to protect the people in the neighborhoods they serve.
SCHULTZ: So this is going to put residents on the fast track to get more funding to resources. I mean, it‘s very clear. Something has to give here. I mean, the Arizona folks could be walking right into a tax increase.
WILLIAMS: Well, it‘s interesting to note I don‘t think the law has been thought through very carefully because when the police start arresting all of these people that are in the country illegally, where are they going to put them?
WILLIAMS: Who‘s going to pay for it? $39,000, $40,000 a year the taxpayers pay to house one prisoner. One prisoner. Lots of states across the country are looking at ways to reduce that number.
SCHULTZ: Now your organization has been studying this for a few years. I mean, this is the consensus of police chiefs around the country, correct?
WILLIAMS: Absolutely. We met with law enforcement officials, elected public officials. We met with people in immigrant community. One woman told me—told us that she wouldn‘t even go out of her house to buy milk for her baby when the immigration enforcement people are in town.
WILLIAMS: Is that the role for local police? Why is it that the founders of the country put that responsibility in the federal government and why would the state of Arizona want to thrust the financial burden of doing this job on to municipalities and the fact—I‘m sorry.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Williams, we‘ll have you back. Out of time. I appreciate the conversation tonight.
WILLIAMS: OK, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Our text question tonight. I asked does President Obama have a moral obligation to push immigration reform this year. Seventy-seven percent of you say yes, 23 percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. Chris Matthews and “HARDBALL” is next. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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