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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guest: Chris Hayes, Michael Nowakowski, Rick Perlstein               

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  Good evening, Lawrence.  Thanks very much.

And thanks to you at home for staying with us tonight.

Lots to come this hour.           

The whole idea of paying for health care with food is really starting

to catch on.  It‘s not just the one Senate candidate in Nevada who wants

people to pay their doctors with chickens.  It‘s starting to seem like a

whole fully-fledged health reform proposal now.  Thank you.

And as Arizona‘s governor considers whether to sign or veto the

papers, please—legislation that would make it a crime to not carry

immigration documents on you at all times, one congressman has now

suggested that he can spot who‘s an illegal immigrant and who‘s not based

on footwear.

That is all ahead.

Plus, the NFL draft, a puppet apology, and Rick Perlstein, the author

of “Nixonland” on Michael Steele‘s candid, possibly, historic admission

about the Republican Party‘s racial southern strategy.

It‘s all coming up over the course of this hour.

We begin tonight, though, with President Obama and Democrats in

Congress apparently on the march toward chalking up their second big

legislative win in as many months.  Tomorrow, it will be one month since

President Obama put pen to paper and signed into law the most sweeping

changes to this country‘s health system in nearly a century.  Now, the most

sweeping changes to this country‘s financial system since the Great

Depression and the “great deregulation” of the ‘80s and ‘90s appear to be

in the offing as well.



of updated common sense rules to ensure accountability on Wall Street and

to protect consumers in our financial system.


OBAMA:  I‘m here today specifically—when I speak to the titans of

industry here—because I want to urge you to join us, instead of fighting

us in this effort.


MADDOW:  Join us instead of fighting us.  Mr. Obama, as you heard,

directing that message to Wall Street executives in attendance today in his

speech today at Cooper Union.

But he might as well have been talking right to congressional

Republicans when he said that.  As with the health reform battle of the

last year and frankly, everything that‘s been brought up in this Congress,

Republicans right now are blocking this.  They‘re even blocking starting

debate on Wall Street reform.  They have a standing filibuster on even

talking about Wall Street reform.

But unlike the health reform fight, President Obama and the Democrats

have apparently decided to not go along with the delaying tactics this

time.  Those delaying tactics that almost allowed Republicans to kill

health reform.  And also unlike health reform, Democrats, apparently, have

decided to take a rapid response approach to misinformation about what‘s

actually in the bill.  They‘re not going to get death-paneled this time



OBAMA:  What‘s not legitimate is to suggest that somehow the

legislation being proposed is going to encourage future taxpayer bailouts,

as some have claimed.  That makes for a good sound bite but it‘s not

factually accurate.  It‘s not true.

A vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts. 

That‘s the truth.  End of story.  And nobody should be fooled in this




MADDOW:  That‘s the truth, end of story.

Just 10 minutes before President Obama attempted to close the book on

that whole permanent bailout claim—there was the top Republican in the

House, John Boehner, rolling that very same talking point out again for the

umpteenth time.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER:  While the president says

he wants to reform Wall Street, the bill that we have in front of us will

actually provide permanent bailouts for Wall Street and enshrine too-big-



MADDOWE:  Permanent bailouts.  If that‘s not over-the-top not true

enough for you, Mr. Boehner then doubled down.


BOEHNER:  This is not what the American people want.  They want

sensible reforms that will fix the problem.  They don‘t want a government

takeover of the entire private sector.


MADDOW:  Not only is Wall Street reform a permanent bailout, it‘s also

a government takeover of the entire private sector.

You over there with the hot dog cart, that hot dog cart now belongs to

the Department of the Interior.  Move it!  The entire private sector?

Republicans tried the strategy of totally over-the-top, debunkable and

debunked but nevertheless repeated criticism when they tried to stop health

reform.  They tried that.  That was their strategy against health reform—

and you might remember, they lost.

Now, they‘re trying that same strategy with Wall Street reform, too.

And this time around Democrats are reacting differently.  They‘re

apparently more than happy to call Republicans out on it.

Just minutes after President Obama‘s New York speech today, Senate

Democrats convened a strange press conference—a strange press conference

on Wall Street reform, that was strange because at their press conference

they showed video.  They showed video presentations of Republicans saying

things that aren‘t true about Wall Street reform.  They actually played




allows—not only allows for taxpayer-funded bailouts for Wall Street

banks, it actually institutionalizes them.  We‘ve taken a good look at the

Dodd bill that came out of the banking committee on a party-line vote, and

one thing you can say for sure about it: it provides for an endless

taxpayer bailout of Wall Street banks.  If you look at it carefully, it

will lead to endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street banks.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL), MAJORITY WHIP:  So, if you listen to this

comment by the minority leader of the United States Senate, you wonder if

he‘s read the bill.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  On the health care bill, we

allowed too many lies to get out there without rebuttal, because we thought

they were so obviously untrue.  But we‘ve learned our lesson.  And the

minute these things come out of the mouths of some of our Republican

colleagues, we rebut them and we rebut them again and again.  And,

fortunately, these lies are not taking hold.


MADDOW:  No one knows exactly what‘s going to happen in November‘s

elections.  Historically speaking Democrats should expect to lose some


Democrats appear, however, to have decided that good policy is good

politics.  They didn‘t just decide they‘re going to rebut Republican

criticisms behind closed doors.  They held a press conference to say

they‘re going to do this.  They want to run publicly and emphatically on

fighting the Republicans, on not delaying stuff that needs to get done, and

on getting stuff done.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER:  No matter how hard you try

to distort and distract this debate, Wall Street reform is coming.  No

matter how many secret meetings you hold with Wall Street lobbyists, we

know we answer to the American people.  No matter how long you try to delay

the inevitable, we‘ll never let a crisis like this happen again.


MADDOW:  The first vote on the Wall Street reform in the Senate is

already scheduled.  At 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Democrats will bring Wall

Street reform to the floor.  There will be a motion to break the Republican

filibuster and proceed to debate on the bill.  And it will be the first

real test of the supposedly unified opposition to reforming Wall Street.

If Wall Street reform does get stopped, and I don‘t think it does get

stopped.  If it actually goes ahead—if they are able to stop Wall Street

reform, it will not be because of the Democrats going along with the

Republican delay strategy, like they did on health care.  If Republicans

are going to be able to stop Wall Street reform, they‘re not going to be

able to use the same suite of tactics they used to stop it with health


Joining us now is Chris Hayes, Washington editor for “The Nation”


Chris, thanks very much for joining us.  Good to see you.

CHRIS HAYES, THE NATION:  Great to be here, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Where are your glasses?

HAYES:  I left them in my bathroom.


HAYES:  And I realized when I got in the car that I didn‘t have them. 

So, you‘re out there somewhere.

MADDOW:  Are you—can you not see distance?  Or can you not see

things close up?

HAYES:  I cannot see distance.  But I am quite aware there‘s a camera

somewhere off in the horizon.

MADDOW:  If I‘m trying to do anything subtle, I‘ll emphasize it a lot



HAYES:  Please.  Yes, perfect.

MADDOW:  -- so you can tell what it is that I‘m doing.

HAYES:  Perfect.

MADDOW:  -- Chris.

OK.  All right.  The first vote on Wall Street reform is on Monday.  I

understand not giving into delay tactics and just pushing ahead, right?

HAYES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  That said, this is an issue that is good politics for

Democrats from a political standpoint.  Is there actually a case to be made

that they shouldn‘t rush ahead—that they should draw this fight out all


HAYES:  That‘s an interesting idea.  I mean, I think the timeline is

such and the substantive policy changes are important enough that they need

to get it done, right?  And I think they think, politically, an

accomplishment is better than something that doesn‘t get accomplished and

is blocked.

But I think you raise a good point.  I think the other subtext that‘s

really important to note here is that it‘s not entirely clear to me that

everyone in the Democratic caucus is on board.  And I think that part of

what you‘re seeing is a little bit of using the Republicans as the kind of

scapegoat for rallying the votes internal to the caucus.  So, I‘m not quite

sure they would necessarily be able to get the votes even if they plunged


MADDOW:  And who do you think are potentially problematic Democratic


HAYES:  Well, it‘s sort of the usual suspects.  I mean, there‘s been

rumblings of Nelson out in Nebraska.  That‘s the only name I‘ve heard, but

I‘ve also heard whisperings of people that I‘ve been talking to on the Hill

that they—that there‘s a lot of concern about the derivatives

legislation that came out yesterday because it‘s actually really hard.  And

we‘re going to see whether it‘s going to survive into the final bill.

So, I think that setting up this conflict is productive and useful for

Dodd and the leadership because it‘s allowing them to kind of rally the


MADDOW:  John Boehner, Chris, rolled out this new talking point today

that Wall Street reform represents, he said, “a government takeover of the

entire private sector.”

HAYES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  What is he—what‘s with this?

HAYES:  This is a government-issued tie, just so everyone knows.  I‘m

trying to prepare myself for the takeover of the entire private sector.  I

stood in line for this.

No, I mean, look, I think—I literally think this is what happened. 

I think John Boehner had one of those moments where his brain blanked and

he reached into some sort of like lizard brain part of Republican talking

points where everything is a government takeover of everything else when

the Democrats do it.  And that‘s what came out.

But, look, this is—you know, this is the same—I mean, this is—

and Rick Perlstein will be on later.  He can—he can walk you through the

august history of this fear of government takeover and encroachment, et

cetera, et cetera.  I think if they can‘t convince people of this super

disingenuous claim that this institutionalizes bailouts, Boehner was

previewing the next claim which is that this is going to somehow, I don‘t

know, socialize the banking industry or whatever sort of, you know, status,

next critique they‘re going to offer.

MADDOW:  I‘m sure it will be something about gay marriage if we let

this go on long enough.

HAYES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Is there—this is maybe a crazy question—but is there

any chance that Republicans stop filibustering, that they stop

filibustering Wall Street reform, that they let it proceed with a majority

vote?  I mean, in part it seems like they‘re edging toward a strategy in

which they say they actually do want maybe even a bipartisan vote on this. 

Would that ever mean it‘s a 51-vote majority and not 60 -- or is that crazy


HAYES:  Well, that‘s a really interesting question.  Here‘s my


My feeling is that what‘s happened is the norm in the institution has

been established, that there‘s no distinction between the procedural vote

and the vote on the legislation.  And so, it‘s no longer become the case

that people out of a general sense that an issue should be debated will

vote procedurally to end a filibuster but vote against a bill.  And what

that means is that everything ends up de facto, needing 60 votes for both.

And so, I don‘t see that norm being undone because I think—it‘s one

of these things where there‘s just kind of, you know, institutional

inertia.  Now, that that‘s been established as what everybody does, it‘s

hard for me to see anybody walking that back.

MADDOW:  I hear you.

Chris Hayes, Washington editor of “The Nation” magazine—I should

also mention I also just received a postcard in the mail yesterday

notifying me of my new gift subscription to “The Nation” courtesy of Chris

Hayes.  Thank you very much for that, Chris.

HAYES:  Congratulations.

MADDOW:  If it was meant as a bribe, you get anything you want for it.


HAYES:  Thanks, Rachel.  Enjoy the magazine.

MADDOW:  Oh, I will.  I always do.

HAYES: OK.  Bye.

MADDOW:  All right.  Still to come, puppet apology.  Also, the man

with his own private football stadium who is pleading poverty in arguing

against regulation for his part of the financial industry—this story is


And then later on, another politician proposes paying your doctor in

food.  This proposal tastes just like chicken but it is not.  It‘s

different food stuff.

That‘s all coming up.


MADDOW:  What you‘re looking at here is the oil rig off the coast of

Louisiana that caught fire two nights ago from which 11 workers are still

missing.  Seventeen workers were medevaced off the site, some of them with

severe injuries.  These shots were actually taken while the rig was still

afloat, although it was burning and at one point listing to the side.

Since then, today, this rig has sunk, creating what federal officials

say is the potential for a major oil spill.  When it blew up, that rig was

doing exploratory oil drilling 50 miles of the coast of Louisiana.

You may recall that a decades‘ old moratorium on offshore drilling and

other parts of the country long considered to be too environmentally

fragile to bear the risk of offshore drilling, that moratorium was just

ended by President Obama.  So happy Democratic president, happy huge

Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress—and Happy Earth Day.


MADDOW:  President Obama‘s speech in New York was the big A-list

headline on Wall Street reform today.  But today‘s real legislative action

was about part of the financial sector that‘s fought really hard to not be

nationally regulated at all.  And that‘s because what they do is something

that‘s commonly thought of as loansharking.  They don‘t call themselves

loan sharks of course, they call themselves “payday lenders”—which makes

them sound less like cartoon villains but doesn‘t really change what they

actually are.

Here‘s how payday lenders market themselves.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  She loves our quick and easy payday advance


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Between paydays, I go to my neighborhood Check

Into Cash.



MADDOW:  You‘ve got a cash crunch or a money mayday, you hip hop to

your payday lender and they‘ll give you cash.  They give you cash as they

sort of advance on your next paycheck.  And when your next paycheck comes

in, you better hope you can pay off that loan and the fee they charged you

for that loan—because if not, maybe then you‘ll be taking out another

loan.  Roll the amount you couldn‘t pay back, plus that fee you couldn‘t

pay back, plus a new fee into a new bigger payday loan, and hope that maybe

on your next payday, you‘ll be able to pay back even more.

If on your next payday you can‘t pay back even more, why not just roll

it over again?  Original loan amount, original fee, second fee, third fee,

roll it altogether.  How much do you owe them now?

This is how payday lenders end up raking in up to 400 percent interest

on their loans.  They make these little loans seem so simple—but just

like with loan sharks, just like with the most predatory credit cards, you

slip up, it rolls over, and pretty soon, you are very deep under water—

as in 400 percent annual interest under water.

According to the most generous estimates of how payday lending works,

only about 25 percent of payday-lending customers pay off their loans on

their next paycheck on time—which is exactly how these companies like

it.  How else are you going to get somebody up to 400 percent interest

unless you can roll them over?

Payday lending is so bad that a few years ago, the military asked the

government to crack down on payday lending to our troops and cap interest

rates paid by members of the Armed Services because so many military

families and young soldiers were being preyed upon and financially ruined

by payday lending.

Congress did actually cap payday lending interest rates for troops. 

But us civilians, we‘re still swimming with the sharks.

Now, this guy who came in at the very end of that commercial that we

showed you, his name is Allan Jones.  He‘s the CEO of the first nationwide

payday lending chain, which is called Check Into Cash.  Unlike his

customers, Allan Jones is not exactly living paycheck to paycheck.

According to “Tennessee Business Magazine” in 2005, Allan Jones was

one of the 20 richest people in the great state of Tennessee, worth maybe

half a billion dollars.  Here‘s an aerial view of what we believe is his

400-acre spread in Cleveland, Tennessee, while it was still under


According to “Tennessee Business Magazine,” his home has, quote, “an

air-conditioned muscle car garage, highlighted by his $300,000 Maybach; an

on-site greenhouse with a full-time horticulturist; a three-story tree

house; and a regulation-sized football field with lights, a scoreboard and

supporting field house and stands.”

He has a full regulation-size fully-lit football field and stands in

his backyard.  He once hosted the country‘s first private college football

game.  Not private as in these were private colleges, but private as in it

was held in Allan‘s yard.

Want to see Allan Jones‘ boat?  This is “The Janie,” named after his

wife.  It‘s actually his second yacht.  He bought this for a reported $24

million after his first yacht burned down.  And at least for a while, you

could rent this yacht for $25,000 a day, plus expenses.

So, this is the face of payday lending.  And he actually wants to be. 

The reason that we have all this information about Allan Jones‘

ostentatious wealth is because he likes to show it off.  Allan Jones is not

hiding his half billion dollar light under at a bushel.  He‘s putting

himself in TV commercials.

He‘s blogging now about the poor payday lending industry and how it

shouldn‘t be regulated when financial reform happens.  His argument is that

payday lenders are poor.

This was his first blog post: “Despite rhetoric, payday lenders earn

minimum wage.”  He says, quote, “It‘s a store that earns $8.96 each hour

they‘re open “raking it in?”  Believe it or not, some elitist people in the

mainstream media think so.  Break down the profits of the nation‘s largest

payday lender and it becomes clear that this industry isn‘t raking in heaps

of money.”

Jones then divided monthly earning statements from other payday

lending companies by the number of stores and the number of hours they‘re

open.  He decides that the whole industry is only making minimum wage—or

less.  This is hardly raking in the cash.

He says, “It‘s hard to feel like a predatory lender when you make

about the same wage as the average employee at Burger King—a company

which, by the way, netted $200 million last year.  Whoppers are clearly

more profitable than payday loans.”

So, payday lending king Allan Jones, maybe going to have to sell the

Maybach, right?  Or the yacht?  Or the 433-acres in Jackson Hole, Wyoming? 

Or maybe get back some of those campaign donations he‘s given over the

years to his friend and Senate banking committee member Bob Corker—maybe

just to make ends meet?

Right now, payday lenders like Allan Jones are not regulated by the

federal government at all.  It‘s left to the states.  Some states have

effectively banned payday lending.  Some have capped interest rates that

payday lenders can charge, which has effectively driven them out of

business in their states.  One of those states was North Carolina, home of

Senator Kay Hagan, who now says she wants to do the same thing for the

whole country.

Senator Hagan introduced a bill today which is called the Payday

Lending Limitation Act.  And it would keep creditors from lending money to

borrowers have taken out payday loans six times in 12 months—people

caught in the trap, in other words.  It would give borrowers more time to

pay back their debts and it would put the payday lending industry under

federal oversight.

The Community Financial Services Association of America represents

payday lenders, founded naturally by Allan Jones.  They told us today, in

response to Kay Hagan‘s proposed legislation, quote, “We oppose this.  It

limits consumer choice.  We‘re regulated by the states like all nonbank

lenders.  The federal government has bigger concerns than $345 loans.”  At

400 percent interest.

And, you know, he has a point.  That is not the kind of thinking that

puts Maybach‘s in Allan Jones‘ garage.

Next week, the Senate takes up financial reform in earnest.  So, as

you watch the payday lending industry marshal its forces to plead poverty,

to try to stop the threat of them actually finally being regulated—just

remember this face and his private football stadium and 400 percent

interest to people who don‘t have enough money to make it to their next


We‘ll be right back.


MADDOW:  So, you‘re walking down the street in Arizona.  Observe a

group of people standing on the street or sitting on benches or walking

around or whatever.  How do you know which of those people you should

reasonably suspect is in this country illegally?

Good news.  California Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray has

thought about this.  He has an idea.


REP. BRIAN BILBRAY ®, CALIFORNIA:  We have the policies that there

are things that you indicate that even go beyond the color of your skin,

the hair, that looks at the fact—the way you dress.


MADDOW:  Did you know that there‘s illegal-looking hair?

Personally, as a person who‘s never thought of myself as a good hair

person, whose mother immigrated here from another country, I will admit to

feeling self-conscious upon learning that there is illegal-looking hair. 

The expert here, Congressman Bilbray, was on “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews

last night and he‘s explaining here how law enforcement officials can

identify by sight but not by race, people who are worthy of suspicion.


BILBRAY:  They will look at the kind of dress you wear.  There‘s

different type of attire.  There‘s different type of—right down to the

shoes, right down to the clothes.


MADDOW:  You can be shaken down for illegal-looking shoes?  Should I

be more paranoid than normal?

Congressman Bilbray went on to describe that law enforcement would

decide who‘s in the country illegally mostly by behavior.  You know, by

people acting illegal-ish. 

He was weighing in on Arizona‘s strict immigration bill that was

passed by the State House and the State Senate.  It‘s the Support our Law

Enforcement and Safety Neighborhoods Act, a very feel-good name for a bill

that, at its core, would make it a crime to not carry papers documenting

your citizenship or your immigration status. 

Papers, please.  Arizona police officers would be told that they

must stop and demand documentation from anyone they suspect to be an

illegal immigrant.  Anyone caught without papers, arrested. 

What counts as reasonable suspicion that somebody‘s an illegal

immigrant?  Proponents of the law keep insisting it has nothing to do with

race.  They‘ll just be looking out for, you know, your illegal-seeming hair

and shoes. 

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who is up for re-election this fall,

has until Saturday to veto the bill or sign the bill or let it

automatically become state law without her signature. 

There have been protests all week including nine college students

who chained themselves to the fence outside the old state capitol building

on Tuesday.  They said would refuse to leave until the governor vetoed the


Police cut their chains and arrested them on charges of

disorderly conduct.  When they were let out at about 1:00 in the morning,

more than 100 supporters were waiting for them. 

Also opposing the “you don‘t look American” bill are members of

Congress, clergy, local and national newspaper editorial boards, civil

rights groups, human rights groups, law enforcement organizations - all

calling on Gov. Brewer to not make history here, to veto this bill. 

The man who sponsored the bill is Republican State Senator

Russell Pearce.  Once upon a time, not that long ago, Senator Russell

Pearce was considered in Arizona to be a bit of a political outlier,

someone thought to be too way out on the fringe even for members of his own


For example, in 2006, then-State Representative Pearce forwarded

his supporters an article that was written by a white supremacist group

called the National Alliance.  The article accuses the media of pushing the

view of, quote, “A world in which every voice proclaims the equality of the

races, the inerrant nature of the Jewish holocaust tale, the wickedness of

attempting to halt the flood of non-white aliens pouring across our


Russell Pearce sent that out to his supporters by E-mail.  He did

eventually apologize for that, said he hadn‘t read it closely before he

sent it on.  But before Arizonians could forget about the anti-Semitic,

creepy E-mail, Mr. Pearce attended an anti-immigration rally, not in a

racist, white-supremacist kind of way. 

No, this was an honest, wholesome, bigotry-free political get-

together where a politician like Russell Pearce could hang out with his

supporters and his constituents and like-minded folks who really are not

racist at all.  They just care about the issue. 

See, here he is with some guy who has what looks like a lot of

patriotic flair on his lapels, just hanging out at the rally.  Arizona

State legislator, Russell Pearce and - who‘s he hugging?  Oh, yes.  That‘s

noted white supremacist J.T. Ready, seen here at a proud Neo-Nazi rally in

Omaha, next to all the guys in swastikas. 

Again, Gov. Brewer has until Saturday to decide whether or not to

sign the anti-immigration “papers, please” bill literally written by the

anti-Semitic E-mail forwarding, picture-with-a-Neo-Nazi-guy guy.  Good luck

with your decision, governor. 

Joining us now is the vice mayor of great city of Phoenix,

Arizona, Michael Nowakowski.  Mr. Nowakowski, thanks very much for joining

us.  Appreciate your time. 


for having me on the show. 

MADDOW:  Let me ask you what your proposed - what your position is on

this proposed bill, what impact you think it would have on the City of


NOWAKOWSKI:  You know, I‘m against the bill.  The economic impact on

our city is just going to be outrageous.  I mean, we have people that are

boycotting the State of Arizona.  We have a governor in Sonora saying not -

asking the citizens of Mexico not to come shop on our border towns. 

And that would ruin those border towns because that‘s where most

of the grocery - the Mexican citizens cross over the border to buy their

groceries in the United States. 

MADDOW:  In just the last 10 minutes, Mr. Nowakowski, we learned that

Gov. Brewer just gave a press announcement.  She just announced her plan

that she says to deal with the issue of illegal immigration. 

According to what we‘ve just been told, the governor focused on

National Guard patrols, aerial surveillance, $10 million support for local

law enforcement in the border region.  She made no mention of the pending


Do you think that Gov. Brewer is going to sign this bill?  Do you

think she‘s going to veto it?  Do you have any indication of how it‘s going

to go? 

NOWAKOWSKI:  You know, I believe she‘s going to sign it.  But if she

listens to all those young people and listens to the community, she‘ll veto

that bill.  And if she‘s thinking of the best interest of Arizona, she‘ll

veto that bill. 

MADDOW:  I know, sir, that you sent a letter to the Phoenix City

manager requesting that everyone, regardless of ethnicity, show proof of

citizenship to avoid racial profiling charges when stopped by police.  What

was the idea behind that letter?  What‘s your proposal there? 

NOWAKOWSKI:  You know, Rachel, we‘re going to get sued.  Someone is

going to end up suing us because we‘re going to break federal law on racial

profiling.  I want to break this - if the governor signs this law into

effect, we‘re going to break state law for not arresting or asking

individuals for their citizenship. 

So we need to be fair.  How do you - how do you identify an

undocumented individual or an illegal alien?  Does it - like the

Congressman said, by their shoes?  By the way they dress?  No way.  There‘s

no way can you tell an individual. 

I mean, Hispanics come from all different walks of life.  You

have light color, dark hair, curly hair - it‘s what they call a mix of all

different cultures.  So the only way - the only way is by racially

profiling people. 

So I‘m asking our city manager to ask the police officers at the

City of Phoenix to ask everyone, everyone for their proof of citizenship. 

So this way, we can‘t get sued for racial profiling.  We don‘t have the

funding.  We just took a $240 million budget cut and we just don‘t have the

funding to deal with all these lawsuits that could potentially happen. 

MADDOW:  Mr. Nowakowski, I know that Phoenix is a very diverse city. 

My dad spent some time growing up in Arizona.  I‘ve spent some time in

Phoenix and I feel like it‘s both racially diverse and politically diverse. 

One thing that‘s puzzled me is why conservatives are OK with the

idea of demanding papers, please, from everybody, of having such an

intrusive law enforcement mandate. 

Police officers aren‘t even allowed judgment in this.  They are

mandated under threat of being sued that they must stop people and demand

documentation from them.  It‘s such a big government proposal. 

One of the things that surprised me is I haven‘t heard more

resistance on the right to just this in terms of its intrusiveness.  Has

that sort of objection arisen at the local level? 

NOWAKOWSKI:  You know, at the local level, we just had our county

attorney, Rick Romley, which is a very strong Republican, ask the governor

to veto the bill.  You know, so we have Republicans.  We have Democrats.

We have Independents and business owners asking the governor, please, to

veto the bill. 

And now, I‘m here asking her here, please, to veto the bill,

because it‘s not good for the State of Arizona and especially not good for

the City of Phoenix. 

MADDOW:  Phoenix Vice Mayor Michael Nowakowski, thank you very much

for your time tonight, sir.  Really appreciate your perspective on this. 

NOWAKOWSKI:  Well, thank you, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  I will confess that when I first heard other people describe

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden‘s idea to barter for health

care, I wasn‘t completely overwhelmed by the hilarity of it. 

Then I saw her talk about it, then I was overwhelmed by the

hilarity of it.  But now, there‘s this. 



doctor.  Bring a chicken to the doctor.  Bring a chicken to the doctor. 


MADDOW:  Yes, I didn‘t get any work done today.  Turns out Sue Lowden

is not the only politician when thinks we could fix this darn health care

system if we‘d all start paying the podiatrist with burlap bags full of

parsnips.  There are more proposals like this.  We‘re getting to the bottom

of it with the dancing chicken ahead.


MADDOW:  Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden‘s modest health

care proposal continues to reverberate in a couple ways.  For one thing,

it‘s now art - YouTube sensation quality mash-up art. 


LOWDEN:  You know, before we all 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.  To bring a chicken to the



Bring a chicken to the doctor.  Bring a chicken to the doctor. 

Bring a chicken to the doctor.  Bring a chicken to the doctor.  Bring a

chicken to the doctor.  I‘m not backing down from that system. 

Bring a chicken to the doctor.  Bring a chicken to the doctor. 

Bring a chicken to the doctor.  I‘m not backing down from that system. 

Let‘s change the system and talk about what the possibilities are.  Bring a

chicken to the doctor.  Bring a chicken to the doctor.  Bring a chicken to

the doctor.  I‘m not backing down from that system. 


MADDOW:  That was a very talented chicken.  I bet she could get a

boatload of Lipitor for it at the old poultry for medication general store. 

But it has also been brought to our attention by the folks at

“Talking Points Memo” and “The Nashville Scene” that Sue “Pay Your Doctor

in Chickens” Lowden isn‘t the only Republican searching for a GOP

alternative for health reform, a GOP alternative based on paying for

medical care with food stuffs. 

This is the most amazing thing.  The first man you‘re going to

see in this clip is a Tennessee Republican in the state legislature.  His

name is Mike Bell.  The second man in the clip is Democrat Joe Towns. 

And in this brief piece of state legislative perfection, it is

Joe Towns who is probably playing the role of the man who says what you are


REP. MIKE BELL (R-TN):  We‘ve got communities all over the state. 

I‘ve got one close to me that is a Mennonite community, some of the

healthiest people you have ever seen.  They pay cash when they go to the


They work out arrangements with the hospitals if their children

have to be hospitalized.  They pay their bills.  We‘ve got other people who

do the same.  And again, this is an individual choice that we‘re talking

about, representative towns. 

REP. JOE TOWNS (D-TN):  So you‘re saying that they pay cash? 

BELL:  Absolutely. 

TOWNS:  For organ transplants and cancer and heart cases?  They‘re

paying cash? 

BELL:  I said they were paying cash or working out other arrangements. 

I know for a fact - I know somebody in the medical field who has been paid

with vegetables from the Mennonite community just south of me. 

I saw somebody else shaking their heads when they see - they know

of other communities around the state who do the same. 

TOWNS:  Well, that‘s an anomaly.  That‘s not how the system works. 

That‘s not a capitalistic system.  I can‘t take a sack of vegetables down

to the utility company to pay my utility bill and my house note.  Nobody‘s

going to take vegetables for a payment in the world. 

That‘s an anomaly.  We can‘t run a country on vegetables and

horse trading like we used to.  The country doesn‘t run that way. 


MADDOW:  You know, if you combine the currency proposed to pay for

medical care by Republican Sue Lowden and Republican Mike Bell, you are

halfway to making a very nice chicken soup.  Which would probably do more

to cure what ails you than trying to convince Kaiser Permanente to accept

some gingersnaps in exchange for your echo cardiogram.


MADDOW:  So a quick correction.  Last night, we reported on the

Supreme Court justices and their apparent lack of understanding about the

basics of computers and E-mail and pagers and the like. 

Since there are no cameras in the Supreme Court, we decided the

best way to dramatize the transcript was Supreme Court finger puppets. 

See, there‘s the teeny, tiny little puppet head of Chief Justice John


Right at the end of the piece, we quoted Justice Antonin Scalia

exclaiming with incredulity that wireless communication doesn‘t just go

from electronic bing to electronic bing, it goes through wireless service


While you were hearing that quote from Justice Scalia, though, we

accidentally showed this little guy, Justice Samuel Alito, which is in fact

a totally different dogmatic, right-wing Supreme Court justice - totally

different puppet. 

If you‘re wondering, Justice Scalia‘s freakishly tiny finger

puppet head looks like this.  See?  Different.  If you combine them with

Kennedy and Roberts, you can see that I only need five more until I have

them all. 


MADDOW:  An extraordinary admission from the chair of the Republican

National Committee speaking Tuesday at De Paul University.  Michael Steele

told students, quote, “For the last 40-plus years, we,” meaning the

Republican Party, “had a southern strategy that alienated many minority

voters by focusing on the white male vote in the south.” 

What makes those words remarkable is they come from the leader of

a Republican Party that‘s long denied employing a race-based southern

strategy to win elections.  Despite the fact that Republicans gained votes

in the south during Richard Nixon‘s 1968 presidential campaign and turned

to southern states into reliable Republican electoral votes, the party has

not usually acknowledged that it had anything to do with the calculated

whites-only appeal. 

To quote Pat Buchanan, a self-acknowledged a co-architect of the

Nixon strategy, quote, “The charge that we built our Republican coalition

on race is a lie.”  Not according to RNC Chairman Michael Steele, it‘s not. 

Mr. Steele also alleged that Republicans used their southern

strategy for decades, well into the Reagan years and beyond.  That view at

odds even with Republicans who have tried to address the party‘s history of

race and politics. 

Former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, for example, told the NCAAP in

2005 that the Republican Party had alienated voters and had even tried to,

quote, “benefit politically from racial polarization.” 

But Mr. Mehlman said that had happened in the ‘70s, ‘80s and

‘90s.  He promised that the Republican Party was, as of the 2000‘s,

committed to inclusion.

But in Michael Steele telling this week, Republicans have pursued

a southern strategy, he said, for 40 years, which would be right up through

the 2008 election.  Not a shocking assertion that the Republican Party

might have capitalized on racial polarization in search of power during its

history.  But it is a doo-woop moment to hear the chairman of the party now

admit it in public. 

Joining us now is Rick Perlstein, senior fellow at the Campaign

for America‘s Future and author, most recently, of the book “Nixon Land:

The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America.”  Rick, it‘s great

to have you on the show.  Thanks for joining us. 

RICK PERLSTEIN, AUTHOR, “NIXON LAND”:  Oh, glad to be here, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  The southern strategy is something that gets talked about in

politics a lot.  But the details are always a little wooly.  What really

was it specifically? 

PERLSTEIN:  It was something very, very specific, actually.  Not a lot

of people remember that basically, after the new deal, black voters in

cities like Chicago, New York, Cleveland, were actually considered the

swing voters in American politics.  There were enough of them who kept this

kind of vestigial Republican loyalty from the Civil War years and the idea

that the Republican Party was the party that freed the slaves. 

That the idea that you had to get enough of these voters away

from their economic commitment to the Democratic Party into the Republican

in the presidential election basically determined how states like Ohio and

Illinois and New York would go. 

And what started happening in 1964, first with Barry Goldwater

and then with 1968, was the Republicans basically made a very conscious

decision that if they appealed to white voters in the south, they didn‘t

need these black voters in the north anymore. 

So there literally was, we don‘t need black voters anymore.  So

how can we get white voters instead?  It was very, very specific and very

deliberate.  They knew exactly what they were doing. 

MADDOW:  Did architects of the southern strategy express regret or

remorse for it at all in the way that Michael Steele seemed to this week? 

PERLSTEIN:  Well, the fascinating thing about it is, it seems to

happen at regular intervals.  I mean, one of the architects of it in the

Nixon years was a guy named Harry Dent.  And after he retried, he became a

preacher and he apologized for it right before he died. 

Lee Atwater became Republican Party chair.  He apologized for it

kind of when he was on his death bed.  You can almost say when these guys

get ready to meet their maker, they tend to man up and own up to the

strategy.  Even Ken Mehlman was kind of out the door and, you know, kind of

writing his resume for history when he said it was happening. 

So you know, it says interesting things about, you know, what we

can expect from Michael Steele, whether he‘s, you know, heading out the

door or whether he is trying to extend his tenure by, you know, basically

setting up a deal where if you kick me out, maybe it‘s just because I was a

truth-teller on this civil rights issue. 

MADDOW:  Rick, you have written epic, seminal histories of modern

conservative politics. 

PERLSTEIN:  Thank you. 

MADDOW:  Is there a revisionism effort among conservatives who pretend

this didn‘t happen?  Will what Michael Steele said be upsetting to people

who want to say that this never actually existed in history? 

PERLSTEIN:  Oh, it will be profoundly upsetting.  I mean, we saw from

Pat Buchanan, like you say, the idea of - basically, you know, even Glenn

Beck now is trying to claim Martin Luther King is his forebear. 

You know, the idea of the civil rights movement, the idea that

African-Americans were oppressed and had to be liberated is very essential

to basically every American‘s conception of what a moral citizenship looks

like.  So it‘s very awkward for the Republicans to try and kind of deal

with this as it comes up every five, 10 years. 

MADDOW:  Rick Perlstein, senior fellow at the Campaign for America‘s

Future and the author of “Nixon Land,” which is required reading for

everybody in the whole country.  Thank you so much for joining us tonight,

Rick.  It‘s good to see you. 

PERLSTEIN:  Love to be here. 

MADDOW:  Coming up on “COUNTDOWN,” Michael Moore on the fight for

financial reform and lots of other topics.  Next on this show, smack dab at

the beginning of baseball season, a very exciting day for football and for

robots and for football-playing robots.  Stick around.


MADDOW:  All day long, there‘s been these little bursts of crowd noise

outside my office window here at Rockefeller Center - right outside my

window, because tonight is the NFL draft.  That‘s across the street from

our office. 

Today was the build up to the NFL draft.  It was very, very

exciting by proxy to be in my office while everybody was making that much

noise.  So we sent Kent Jones out to check it out. 


KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Rachel.  Inside Radio City

Music Hall, thousands of people are waiting to see which college football

stars are going to end up with their favorite pro-team, so it‘s a very big


But out here, since last night, me and my guys have been getting

our football buzz on for two days.  Yes, that‘s right.  Now, I‘m not sure

what‘s going to happen in the next two days, but I do know this - my

beloved Kansas City Chiefs -


Will still be the chiefs.  I (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


MADDOW:  Thank you, Kent.  If any NFL team in the draft is looking for

a kicker, we do have an excellent “Moment of Geek” prospect from San

Francisco.  His name is Ziggy. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Fire in the hole. 



MADDOW:  It‘s good.  Ziggy is a 340-pound compressed nitrogen-powered

football-kicking robot, built for the robo games, Robo Expo.  And if you‘re

wondering, Ziggy is accurate.  Maybe not Adam Vinatieri accurate, but

pretty accurate.

Watch him again.  Owners, before you pass on Ziggy, consider this

he will never drink.  He will never hang out in clubs.  He will never

change his name to Ochocinco.  He‘s clutch - I mean, literally he‘s got a


That does it for us tonight.  We‘ll see you again tomorrow night. 

“COUNTDOWN” starts right now.  Have a good one.




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