Guests: Curtis Dubay, Bob Shrum, Dennis Kucinich, Robert Greenwald, Karen
Hanretty, Todd Webster, Joan Walsh, Chris Berg
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
These stories on the table and hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour.
You know, I really hope the Democrats have the guts to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich and not cave in to the Republican attack machine. Not now. Now is not the time to get weak knees. The Treasury needs the money.
I‘ve got commentary on that coming up in just a moment.
President Obama is about to make history by going on “The View.” But he‘s under fire from some Democrats who think it degrades the office.
I‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response” on that tonight.
And today Republicans in the Senate, well, they stood united with big business like they always do, against regular working Americans when it comes to corporate campaign spending. I think it‘s un-American. It‘s the wrong approach. And I‘ve got a top lawyer from Citizens United in the hot seat tonight talking about that later on in the program.
But this is the story that has me fired up tonight.
The president, he went face to face with Republican leadership behind closed doors today. And on the agenda, the Bush tax cuts.
Gosh, what are we going to do?
Democrats are about to step on to a political mine field, in my opinion. They need to step up and show some intestinal fortitude, guts, whatever you want to call it, and end the Bush tax cuts for the top two percent. We have had enough.
The Republican Party is ready to go to the firewall on the issue over the August recess.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA: And House Republicans will fight this tax increase with everything we‘ve got.
REP. ERIC CANTOR ®, MINORITY WHIP: There is one party who believes that now is the time, as Mike just said, to raise taxes in the depth of a horrific recession, and there‘s one party that doesn‘t.
REP. CATHY MCNORRIS ROGERS ®, WASHINGTON: On January 1, 2011, America is facing the largest tax increase in our history.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER: And I think the American people understand that you can‘t raise taxes in the middle of a very soft economy. And if they attempt to raise taxes, they will wreck the little bit of a recovery that we have in fact seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Is that an admission that there is a recovery, Mr. Boehner?
Well, that‘s another subject.
The bottom line is they want you to believe that letting the Bush tax cuts expire is a tax increase. You know, if the Republicans wanted them to last forever, they should have made it the law when they had the House, the Senate and the White House back in 2005.
Now, let‘s just hold it here for a second. The Republicans are saying that, hey, this is all about a tax increase. No, it‘s not.
It‘s the law they put into effect. It‘s the law that they signed. It‘s the law that they pushed under President Bush. It had an expiration date.
Now they are coming back and saying, well, it‘s a tax increase. No, it‘s not. People in the top two percent are going from 35 percent to 39 percent. Ninety-eight percent of Americans are not going to be affected.
So who are those sound bites protecting?
President Obama has promised not to raise taxes on individuals making up to $200,000 a year and families making up to $250,000.
This is how Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner put it --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: What the president believes—and I believe this—is the right thing for the country, the fair thing, the responsible thing for the country now, is to make sure we leave in place and preserve tax cuts that go to more than 95 percent of working Americans. I think it is fair and good policy to allow those tax cuts that only go to two percent to two percent of the highest earners in the country to expire as scheduled.
The country can withstand that. The economy can withstand that. And I think it‘s good policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: As scheduled. How correct he is.
That‘s what the Republicans agreed to when they had the majority, but, you see, they had this game plan that this was going to be a great political football just before the midterms. Yes, they do think that far out. It‘s generational fight.
Now, I believe it‘s time for the most selfish generation in the history of the country to step up and show just how much they value America.
Joe Biden—and this is not new stuff. The Democrats were on the campaign trail saying we‘re going to have to do this when this happens because we‘re going to need the money.
Joe Biden had it right during the 2008 campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle class people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anybody making over $250,000 --
BIDEN: Is going to pay more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- is going to pay more?
BIDEN: You‘ve got it. It‘s time to be patriotic, Kate. Time to jump in. Time to be part of the deal. Time to help get America out of the rut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So who do you stand with? Biden took all kinds of heat for saying that at the time, but he was spot on. Look where we are now.
For the last decade, the richest two percent in America have been living high on the hog, and the middle class, of course, has gotten what? And of course we‘re in the middle of two wars that nobody wants to pay for, financial collapse that we‘ve got to recover from, and now record levels of unemployment. That, of course—Republicans don‘t want to help those folks out either.
Nobody, no one in the last decade, has asked the top two percent income earners in this country to do anything. No sacrifice whatsoever.
The Republicans and their buddies in the Tea Party have been running around this country screaming about deficits for the last 18 months. They act like they love America, but they just don‘t like picking up the dinner tab, do they? They are cheap as hell.
Republicans also made millions of unemployed wage earners wait because, you know, they were just so concerned about this $34 billion relief package because it wasn‘t paid for. But they never paid for a dime for the Bush tax cuts, did they? They never had that figured out. It was supposed to stimulate the economy.
Now, pay attention to these numbers, folks, if you can. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this is what they show—the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts added about $1.7 trillion to deficits between 2001 and 2008. And over the next decade—you want to leave them in? -- making the tax cuts permanent would cost $4.4 trillion.
The Republicans have no shame. They have no sense of economic patriotism at a time when the country needs it. And when it comes to taxes, that‘s really all they are about.
Their mission has been to privatize everything in this country. They want to starve local, state and federal governments of any kind of revenue that give service to this country, especially when it comes to job creation.
In the meantime, Democrats, which surprises me, Democrats like the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, he‘s getting some weak knees about pulling the trigger on these taxes that are supposed to go into effect because that was the law. The top two percent are the folks that would pay more, and I think it‘s time for Senator Conrad in his leadership position and other politicians to set their own self-interests aside and do what‘s right for the country.
I know where Senator Conrad comes from, and I can tell you they are all uptight about those rich farmers. They are uptight about the taxes going up.
Hey, the Republicans made the law. Now they want to change it, and now they are using it as a tax issue as we go to the midterms.
Now, don‘t you find it somewhat interesting that—and we‘re going to have this story later on in the show. A big battle on the House floor today about Afghanistan and war funding, $33 billion.
Republicans, they don‘t want to pay for it. They don‘t want to pay for it, but they want their tax cuts. And they will blame the Democrats for butchering the economy if the top two percent don‘t get what they want.
Now, the Republicans are out there time and time again saying that we‘ve got to have tax cuts, but it‘s not for the middle class. “Middle class,” two words that Republicans never use.
All the breaks go to the top. And when is this country, the majority of Americans, going to realize, that giving tax breaks to the top two percent, it doesn‘t create any more jobs? All it does is concentrate the wealth.
We‘ve got some more statistics coming up for you later on in the show that are staggering as to who exactly is thriving in this economy while the middle class gets gutted.
Tell me what you think in our telephone survey tonight, folks. The number dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.
My question tonight is: Do you think the Democrats have the guts to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans? Press the number 1 for yes. Press the number 2 for no.
We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me now is Curtis Dubay, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.
Mr. Dubay, good to have you with us tonight.
Do the extension of these tax cuts, the position of the Heritage Foundation, do the extension of these tax cuts create jobs?
CURTIS DUBAY, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Yes, absolutely. Well, I shouldn‘t say they create any more jobs. These are policies that have been in place for a decade now.
SCHULTZ: Well, wait a minute. What is it? Either they create jobs or they don‘t. You just contradicted yourself.
If we extend the Bush tax cuts here, will it create jobs?
DUBAY: It will prevent jobs from being destroyed. If—
SCHULTZ: But it won‘t create jobs, right? I‘m talking about job creation.
DUBAY: We‘re not changing the tax code. This is the tax policy that‘s been in place for a decade now. We‘re not cutting taxes.
We‘re keeping in place the policies that have been there for a decade.
If we increase taxes, we will destroy jobs.
SCHULTZ: No, no, no. We‘re not increasing taxes. We would be following the law that the Republicans passed.
Did they not pass it?
DUBAY: Well, they passed it under reconciliation which we learned so much about during the health care debate.
SCHULTZ: But they did pass it.
DUBAY: But what matters is what current policy is. The current tax code has been in place for a decade.
SCHULTZ: The Republican majority passed the Bush tax cuts, correct?
DUBAY: It doesn‘t matter who passed it.
SCHULTZ: If you can‘t answer that, Mr. Dubay, come on now. Who passed the damn law? Was it the Republicans or the Democrats?
DUBAY: I just told you. It was passed under reconciliation in 2001 and 2003.
SCHULTZ: It was the Republicans.
SCHULTZ: And now the Republicans want to go back and change the law they passed. Is that correct?
DUBAY: The current policy has always been—
SCHULTZ: It‘s not a policy. It‘s a law. It‘s a law. Now be honest about this.
DUBAY: The current tax system expired because it was passed under budget reconciliation laws.
SCHULTZ: By the Republicans.
DUBAY: But that‘s a quirk—that‘s a quirk in law because it was passed under reconciliation.
SCHULTZ: Wait a second here. This is what the Heritage Foundation does. I‘m trying to give you a chance to be correct on the figures here.
DUBAY: You‘re trying to make a political point when I‘m not interested in that.
SCHULTZ: The Republican majority passed the taxes. The Republican majority passed the Bush tax cuts.
SCHULTZ: It had a sunset date, correct? Yes or no?
SCHULTZ: OK. Now the Republicans are trying to change the sunset date. Correct?
DUBAY: No. They‘re trying to keep the taxes that‘s been in place for a decade now and prevent a massive tax increase.
SCHULTZ: No. But they have to change the sunset date.
DUBAY: Well, forget the sunset date. They‘re trying to make it permanent, which would be good policy.
SCHULTZ: You know, to have a good conversation, Mr. Dubay, you‘ve got to—if you want to call it a tax increase, that‘s fine. But the law‘s going to expire, and that law was made under Republican reconciliation. And now they‘re coming back trying to change that.
Yes or no?
SCHULTZ: OK. I appreciate that.
DUBAY: I just want to move forward here.
SCHULTZ: It took you a few minutes for you to get to that.
All right. The next thing is it‘s about job creation in this country.
DUBAY: I agree with that.
SCHULTZ: Will—if we do change this, if the Democrats cave in and go ahead and change this, the law that the Republicans made, will it create jobs?
DUBAY: Well, like I said before, it‘s not going to create new jobs because this is the tax policy that‘s in place. But if we allow them to expire and the taxes to increase, we will destroy jobs.
SCHULTZ: OK. All right.
So you just admitted that there‘s no guarantee that if we allow the top two percent in this country to continue on with the tax breaks that they have, that it‘s going to create any more jobs, which—
DUBAY: You‘re missing what I said.
SCHULTZ: No, I heard exactly what you said.
SCHULTZ: I heard exactly what you said.
DUBAY: We‘re trying to prevent a massive tax increase—a job-destroying, economy-slowing tax increase. I‘m not arguing that extending current policy will create jobs. I‘m arguing that if you allow the taxes to increase, we will have a lot fewer jobs.
Good to have you with us, Mr. Dubay. Appreciate your time tonight.
For more, let‘s bring in Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. He‘s also a professor at New York University.
If the Republicans can convince me that they will create jobs, a guarantee, and not have a theory, heck, I‘d go along with it. I‘m in the top two percent.
Bob Shrum, what‘s the argument here for the Democrat?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, listening to Curtis, you‘ve got to think if you were a Republican, you probably shouldn‘t be talking about job destruction outside of a confessional because they‘ve set a world record at it.
We know what the Bush tax cuts did and didn‘t do. We know that for two and a half years after it was passed, there was no new job creation. We know there was a total of three million jobs created during all the Bush years, compared to 23 million under Bill Clinton.
We know that the Congressional Budget Office says that of the 11 possible things we could do to help the economy, extending the Bush tax cuts for people at the top finishes dead last. It‘s less than one-fifth as effective as passing unemployment compensation extension or investing in infrastructure.
This isn‘t about economic policy. This is about a right-wing ideology of comforting the comfortable and coming up with any excuse possible to pass a tax cut.
SCHULTZ: Bob, how in the world can the Democrats lose on this one? Ninety-eight percent of Americans aren‘t affected by it. I think this could backfire on the Republicans as they go to the midterms because, clearly, the Republicans are favoring the top two percent, and clearly they can‘t guarantee that jobs are going to be created if they go along and extend these Bush tax cuts.
SHRUM: Yes. It‘s going to have almost no impact on jobs, and far less impact on almost anything else we could do.
I don‘t understand what people like Kent Conrad think they are doing. I guess you‘re talking about his wealthy farmers in North Dakota. You know, you can‘t stand there and say deficit, deficit, deficit all the time, and then suddenly say I want to pass a policy that‘s going to add $1 trillion to the deficit in 10 years just from the Bush tax cuts for those at the top, and a total of $4 trillion from all the Bush tax cuts.
President Obama and the Democrats need the guts, us you put it earlier, to go out there, to make their case, to say we‘re for middle class tax cuts, we‘re not for giving huge tax breaks to people at the top. Because if we give those huge tax breaks to people at the top, we‘re not only waging an unfair economic policy, we‘re not going to help this economy. And right now we‘ve got to help this economy.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Bob Shrum, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
SHRUM: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, progressive have spoken when it comes to who they want to see President Obama take on in 2010. The answer is not “The Newtster.” It ain‘t “The Mittster” or “ Slick Rick.” It‘s “Caribou Barbie.”
My thoughts on that.
Plus, “Rapid Fire Response” coming up.
BP‘s Tony Hayward is getting shipped off to Siberia so he can get his life back, but he‘s taking millions with him—not people, dollars. And he stands to make millions more.
Is this BP‘s way of making sure people feel whole?
Congressman Elijah Cummings will rip into that one in a moment.
All that, plus Dennis Kucinich is in the house to talk about the war funding; Brett Favre is in the “Playbook” tonight; and my favorite “Fox & Friend” lands in the “Zone.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. More commentary coming.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.
Two months after whining to the media about wanting his life back, BP CEO Tony Hayward, well, he‘s going to get his wish.
This morning, the company announced that he‘s going to be stepping down on October 1st. Then they‘re going to be shipping him off to Siberia to run the company‘s joint venture with Russia.
But Hayward is not leaving empty-handed. You know the story.
BP is paying him a year‘s salary of $1.6 million, and another $1 million a year in pension payments. Pretty damn good deal. But while Hayward flies east with a golden parachute, the folks affected by the oil spill are increasingly desperate to get their livelihoods back.
This is heresy for me to say this as a television host, but I have to tell you that I am totally offended by the way BP is running an advertising campaign to hoodwink low-information voters and Americans across this country that they are just doing a great job of taking care of this oil spill while there are Americans down there, American workers, who have been told that they are going to be made whole.
Yet, Mr. Feinberg, the pay czar, he‘s telling us, well, the $20 billion, it isn‘t in the bank yet and we don‘t want to write checks because we don‘t want them to bounce.
When I spoke at the Netroots convention in Las Vegas on Thursday night, this is exactly what I was talking about. The Democrats, the majority party, they have a responsibility to speak up daily to the folks down there who are getting screwed by BP, but sitting home watching all the nice TV commercials knowing just how hard they are working to clean this whole thing up.
Look, I care about one thing. Is BP getting writer‘s cramp every time they have to go to the checkbook for somebody? Is this the restitution that the Congress was told was going to be made whole? Is this what they are all about?
And where is the White House in this? Somebody talk to me. Talk to the American people about this $20 billion fund.
This is wrong. This is morally wrong. For us to sit back and be hammered by a PR campaign while Americans down there aren‘t getting the checks—and I suppose if they get some representation by some of the attorneys that we‘ve had on this program, I guess that would be a frivolous lawsuit, wouldn‘t it? That‘s what the Republicans would call it.
So where‘s the shakedown, “Smokey” Joe Barton? What do you have to say?
Have you visited throws shrimpers? Have you visited those guys on the boats down there that aren‘t getting paid? Have you spoken to any of the attorneys other than seeing them on TV saying, hey, we‘re getting screwed?
No. I‘m getting the feeling that the people in the Congress, they are sitting there watching the same TV commercials that you and I are seeing and they are saying well, you know, BP, they are really a standup organization. They really got rid of Tony Hayward.
I don‘t care about Tony Hayward. Nobody cares about Tony Hayward. You think those folks down there in the Gulf give a damn about Tony Hayward and his millions going to Siberia?
No. They want BP to start writing some checks and don‘t get writer‘s cramp. That‘s what this story is about across the board.
Democrats, where are you?
Coming up, resident “Fox and Friends” Steve Doocy flapped his trap about evil success this morning. Well, that puts him in the zone. And I have to admit, I really don‘t like this guy, so I‘m looking forward to the next segment on THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Fox & Friends‘ Steve Doocy.
His specialty is being the goofy, stupid sidekick to the beauty queen, Gretchen Carlson. But Doocy, he went solo this morning in an interview with Congressman Mike Pence, and he made his pal Gretchen awful proud, making fun of Democrats for wanting to axe the Bush tax cuts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE DOOCY, CO-HOST, “FOX & FRIENDS”: The Democrats say, well, we would like to extend the Bush era tax cuts for middle class, but those evil, successful people at the top three or four or five percent, the so-called rich Americans, we‘re going to continue to tax them at a higher rate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The so-called rich. Now, who the heck are you talking about, Doocy, folks like Bill O‘Reilly who is halfway through a contract worth an estimated $10 million to $12 million a year? So he‘s the so-called rich?
Or “The Beckster”? He‘s ranked at $32 million between March 2009 and March 2010.
Or is it Sean “Slant Head” Hannity, the so-called rich guy? He‘s working his way through a five-year $100 million radio contract.
We can‘t tax them, can we?
Doocy needs to think about expanding his research beyond Republican talking points. Mocking Democrats for wanting to make the top two or one percent pay their fair share is “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, Republicans like John McCain, well, they won‘t fund unemployment benefits. And they pretend it‘s because they are really worried about the deficit. But when it comes to pumping billions of dollars into wars we shouldn‘t be fighting, then they say no problem.
They spend like crazy, don‘t they?
Congressman Dennis Kucinich will bring the straight next on the debate in the House today.
And I‘m keeping up my crusade for the middle class in this country. You won‘t believe just how many hard-working Americans are living hand to mouth.
Folks, we can do a heck of a lot better in this country.
All that, plus a wannabe congressman literally bets his house on a whim. And the president of Iran attacks an octopus in my “Playbook.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The Battleground story tonight and it is a battle. The war over the wars. The House just passed a war supplemental that would send $37 billion more to Iraq and Afghanistan. This comes as Americans are reeling from a disturbing revelations from both fronts in Afghanistan, the new wikileak details about the Pakistani government, rerouting U.S. aid to the Taliban. And just today, news that the United States can‘t account for 95 percent of the money in the Iraqi oil fund. Nearly $9 billion. They don‘t know where it is. This is the money that according to the Bush/Cheney crowd was supposed to pay to rebuild Iraq. You should also know that so far, the United States just committed more than 53 billion taxpayer dollars to the reconstruction effort.
For more, let‘s bring in Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, he introduced a resolution today to get the United States military out of Pakistan. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. The vote just went down. What is going on? We talk about how the infrastructure of this country is being sacrificed for a policy in Afghanistan that nobody knows what it is or nobody can‘t define it, yet we just keep pouring billions of dollars into this thing. Is this going to hurt the Democratic Party? What do you think?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO CONGRESSMAN: Well, I think that the democrats who are elected to end the war, not just in the Iraq, but, you know, they were elected by an American public, that was war weary in 2006, we have a lot of explaining to do to our constituents if we continue to support wars while we say we want to get out. You know, leaving 50,000 troops in Iraq will hardly be the end of that war. Escalating in Afghanistan is only going to dig us deeper, and now we‘re expanding our footprint in Pakistan. So, I have serious concerns about how the public may view the democrats‘ commitment to get us out of war.
SCHULTZ: I mean, there was no hesitation. Even after the leak of the documents comes out which is absolutely monumental, the vote, it‘s like it didn‘t even affect the vote or the conversation, or did it? Your thoughts.
KUCINICH: Well, I think that we‘ll probably see an effect in the next few months and years. Congress is generally the last to discover the trends that are moving across the country. And I think that Congress will see, with the American people being starved for capital, for their businesses, not having the resources to create employment, with us looking for funds for child nutrition and not being able to find them, with people‘s retirement security in many places in jeopardy. I think the American people are going to start asking, you know, what are you doing, promoting war everywhere?
SCHULTZ: Congressman, I have to ask you about your demeanor on this tonight. Are you worn out about war funding, because you—you have been so passionate about what has to be done. We have to get out of this region of the world because it‘s not making us safer. Is this a tough fight for liberals?
KUCINICH: It‘s a necessary fight for all Americans who care about whether, you know, our country is going to survive. Am I worn out? Not a chance. I‘m pacing myself, Ed. This is going to be a long drawn out battle to try to take this country, which is now addicted to war, into a direction where we proclaim that our domestic agenda is our first concern. We have an obligation to defend our country, but what we‘re doing now is we‘re making America more at risk. We‘re fueling occupations. Our occupations are fueling insurgencies. We‘re getting deeper into Afghanistan, and through all of our time there we‘re worse off and the mission there is worse off.
SCHULTZ: So, this money today in your opinion, big mistake.
KUCINICH: Look, the war is a big mistake. Afghanistan is a big
mistake. Iraq is a big mistake. Our foot print extending in Pakistan is a
big mistake. The way we deal with Iran is a mistake. North Korea is a
mistake. I mean, you know, what are we doing here? We‘re going to lose
our country to wars and to this headline momentum which war brings. It‘s
like, we don‘t even have thoughts of what peace looks like anymore and
that‘s why we‘ve got to start focusing the American people on the necessity
of taking care of things here at home. We don‘t—we have a diminished
capacity to do that, Ed, the more we spend monies for war and another $37
billion today, so we can keep the wars going? Come on
SCHULTZ: I think there‘s going to be a lot of people out there in the Netroots world, they‘re going to say, nothing has changed. Nothing has changed at all. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Appreciate your time.
SCHULTZ: For more. Let‘s bring in Robert Greenwald, at Brave New Films, he‘s the director of “Rethink Afghanistan.” If there‘s one hard working citizen in this country who has been spot on about Afghanistan, viewers, it is this man. Mr. Greenwald, your thoughts on the leaking documents and how that might change the equation, if at all?
ROBERT GREENWALD, “RETHINK AFGHANISTAN” DIRECTOR: Well, the leaking documents, Ed, when you read even part of them are really an American tragedy. It‘s a moral tragedy. It‘s a strategic tragedy. You read about 16-year-old girls being raped. Deaf person being shot at. You read about American soldiers quoting Afghanis who say in Afghan in general, the perception is that the current government is worse than the Taliban, and it just undercuts any conceivable idea, any rational reason for us to invade and occupy that country.
SCHULTZ: Well, where‘s the base of the Democratic Party? I mean, they rubber stamped another $37 billion, yet we had this long vote. They can‘t get a jobs bill, but they can get war going. I mean, I think that there‘s going to be a lot of Americans out there that are really going to turn on this, and who is going to pay the price?
GREENWALD: Well, I think that the Congress men and women who voted for the war today should be ashamed on a moral level. They should be ashamed on a practical level. They should be ashamed at not really protecting us or our dollars or our lives or our health care, and I think it will come back to haunt each and every one of them.
SCHULTZ: From your reporting, do the documents surprise you?
GREENWALD: They surprise me in the scope, the number of civilian casualties, the extraordinary amount of graft and corruption. You know, it‘s one thing to read general statements, Ed, but when you look at the wikileaks and you see incident after incident throughout the country, throughout the years, it just piles up on you, and it‘s truly like reading a Greek tragedy.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Greenwald, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much, Robert.
GREENWALD: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Now let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories tonight. Sarah Palin is the candidate for 2012, according to progressives. Netroots Nation did a straw poll asking who progressives preferred to run against President Obama. Palin thumped Romney, Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty.
And President Obama will do something unprecedented this week when he chats it up with the ladies on “The View” on Thursday. It‘s the first time a sitting president has ever done a daytime television talk show, and some democrats, like Governor Ed Rendell, think it‘s a big mistake.
With us tonight, Democratic Strategist Todd Webster and Republican Strategist Karen Hanretty. Let‘s talk about Sarah Palin. If you had to pick someone, Karen, would it be Sarah Palin? What do you think?
KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: To run against President Obama, no. She would not be my pick. I don‘t think—I just maintain that Sarah Palin is not serious about running in 2012, and I think that‘s going to be a big letdown for the Netroots crowd.
SCHULTZ: It certainly is, but here‘s the numbers, 48 percent of them want Palin. Eleven percent want Ron Paul, ten percent Santorum and also Romney, and at nine Gingrich today, Pawlenty at seven, Huckabee and Mike Pence only at one percent. So, that‘s how it breaks down. Is this—how do you view this, Todd Webster?
TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, Sarah Palin, look, is a fascination to the Tea Partiers and to the tabloids, but for mainstream America, she‘s the kiss of death. Just last week in New Hampshire, the republican senate candidate Kelly Ayotte had a 12-point lead over her democratic opponent Paul Holtz, Palin comes in to New Hampshire, endorses Kelly Ayotte and she drops by nine percentage points and now it‘s a three-point race. I think, what‘s even more interesting in the fact that Sarah Palin would be a dream candidate for President Obama to run against is a progressives concerned, the most concerning candidate would be Mike Huckabee who is a populist, who is a folksy, the sober lining there is that Huckabee will never able to get the republican nomination because Wall Street and the big corporations don‘t like his economic populism.
SCHULTZ: Karen, let‘s put the money aside. Who do you think would be the toughest competitor for President Obama?
HANRETTY: You know, I‘ll be honest, Ed. I don‘t see that tough competitor yet. I think—I‘m putting aside the personalities. Here‘s the candidate I want is someone who is going to go out there and talk about actually what you were just talking about earlier which is the fact that this country is not investing any real money in infrastructure. You had this big stimulus bill that was passed by Congress. Three percent of that went to transportation infrastructure, three percent. We‘ve got roads crumbling, you know. I‘m the type of conservative that thinks, you know, it‘s not bad to spend government money if you‘re going to build things that are going to be around for 30 years from now, but we‘re not doing that.
We‘re not—we don‘t have any real serious discussion about job creation. They have got this ridiculous manufacturing bill going through one of the committees today that creates a task force to think about and then report on how to create jobs four years from now. There‘s no real discussion in this country about what it takes. You talk about it, should we raise taxes? Should we lower taxes? That‘s not the discussion we should be having.
SCHULTZ: Don‘t you think so, don‘t you think that jobs bill being filibustered by the republicans.
HANRETTY: This jobs bill is not—but that‘s not the real answer to creating jobs in America.
WEBSTER: Karen, we need to send you up to Capitol Hill to get you to talk to the republican caucus to get them to support investments in infrastructure and roads and bridges and transportation in this country and maybe some unemployment insurance for the people who have been.
SCHULTZ: All right.
HANRETTY: But you wouldn‘t need the unemployment insurance if Congress was doing their job, and what Congress needs to do is pass these free trade acts with South Korea and Panama and Colombia because.
SCHULTZ: And that would lead to more outsourcing, Karen, you know that.
HANRETTY: No, it wouldn‘t, no Ed, listen to me. If you‘re going to manufacture—if you‘re going to manufacture anything in America, who are you going to sell it to? But we have to be a manufacturing society, not just simply a service society.
HANRETTY: I know that the liberal elite, and I don‘t put you in this category, I‘m talking, the liberal elite who write in that, you know, the columns in the “Washington Post” and the “New York Times,” they want us to be a society that is, you know, Google and Amazon and Starbucks and, you know, that‘s not what America is.
SCHULTZ: No, I agree. I totally agree. We have to make something.
HANRETTY: We should sell in America and we should sell it all over the world.
SCHULTZ: The trade agreements we have right now do not favor manufacturing in this country and they put certainly outsourcing...
HANRETTY: Then let‘s get trade agreements that do. Then let‘s get manufacturing agreements that do.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s change subject. We got to get this one in. This is Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania saying, it‘s a mistake for the president to go on “The View” this Thursday. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: I think there‘s got to be a little bit of dignity to the presidency, and that you wouldn‘t go on.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What are you saying, Ed?
RENDELL: What a horrible thing.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Ed Rendell, what are you saying?
RENDELL: Well, I think there are some shows. I wouldn‘t put him on Jerry Springer either, right? Look, you can—I think the president of the United States has to go on serious shows, and “The View,” I think, you can make a case that “The View” is a serious show but it also rocks and rolls a little bit. And I‘m not sure he has to go on “The View” to be open to questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Todd Webster, what‘s the strategy here for the president?
Why is he doing this? First president to do a daytime talk show.
WEBSTER: Willie Sutton famously said that the reason he robbed banks is because that‘s where the money is. From a media strategy, he‘s got to go where the audience is and reach out to new voters and new viewers, and I think it‘s absolutely warranted. I think, what‘s even more interesting today is that it was announced that he‘s now playing a starring role in the Madden 2011 video game where if you win the championship, you get to go to the White House with your team and pull out the Jersey, so they are using new media smartly.
SCHULTZ: Karen, is it beneath the office for the president to go on that show?
HANRETTY: I don‘t know that it‘s beneath the president to ever talk an audience of people who are, you know, they are voters out there. The problem is President Obama is bizarrely finds himself in a real, I think, branding or marketing dilemma, Ed. This man that they built up so well over the past few years, and all of a sudden he‘s got really bad poll numbers. No one really believes what he says anymore, and it‘s almost like he‘s been reduced to going on “The View.”
SCHULTZ: Well, he‘s simply going after the soccer moms and the numbers look like this. Fifty six percent of them voted for him for president. Now, 45 percent now approve of the job that he‘s doing, also support for the President Obama among white women, 48 percent voted for him, 35 percent, I mean, it‘s very clear if you follow the numbers. He‘s doing this for a reason, not just to be a nice guy in an audience.
HANRETTY: But it‘s because he‘s on defense. He‘s playing defense right now.
WEBSTER: It‘s a smart media strategy. George Bush went on Oprah as did Al Gore. Sarah Palin is on the cover of “Runners World.” You go where you can get the.
SCHULTZ: All right. Todd Webster, Karen Hanretty, always a pleasure.
HANRETTY: Now you‘re comparing Obama to Sarah Palin.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
Coming up, the middle class in this country is in danger of total extinction. And some explosive study says 61 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. I refuse to let the middle class be ignored any longer. My commentary in the Playbook is next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And it‘s still not too late to let us know what you think. The number to dial tonight is 1-877-ed-msnbc. Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, do the democrats have the guts to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans? Press the number one for yes, press the number two for no. We‘ll bring you the results in a moment. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in my Playbook tonight, middle class America, well, it‘s in danger of extinction. The gap between the rich and the poor is soaring. I wrote about in my book, between 2001 and 2007, 66 percent of income growth in the United States went to the top one percent of Americans. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent of income earners own less than one percent of the country‘s wealth. One of the major reasons for the growing gap is corporations outsourcing jobs to foreign labor markets who will work for pennies on the dollar. In China, a garment worker all makes 86 cents an hour. You want to work for that? In Cambodia, it‘s 22 cents an hour. Compare that to the U.S. federal minimum wage of 7.25 an hour. That is what American workers are up against in bad trade agreements, and it‘s killing the middle class. This is exactly why I wrote my book, “Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics are destroying the Great American Middle Class.”
For more, let me bring in Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of Salon.com. What party, what political movement, Joan, is going to appeal to the people that have been suffering?
JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF SALON.COM: You know, I would hope that it would be the democrats and it traditionally has been the democrats, but, you know, Obama inherited a terrible economic situation, and he hasn‘t been able to do much more than kind of try to stop the bleeding. But, you know, Ed, you were talking earlier about the idea of rescinding the tax cuts and I really want to zero in on what you just said. What‘s happening with the top one percent of earners in our country? As you said, they grabbed two-thirds of the rise in income. They own 83 percent of all stock owned by Americans, 83 percent. You know, they keep getting richer, and these trends actually really began under Ronald Reagan.
It‘s amazing to look at the history. You go back, 1981 is the beginning of record debts, tax cuts for the rich, family income drops, income inequality soars, and you also see household savings down, household debt up which is how we wound up in this crash, so these are trends that the republicans brought on. You see these graphs. There‘s a little bit of improvement under Bill Clinton and then everything goes back to the plunge of the middle class when George Bush takes over. It‘s crystal clear. You can see it, you know, on graphs, and it‘s just not something that‘s well known by the American people while we‘re being pitted against each other by republicans.
SCHULTZ: You know, Joan, you take these numbers and then you see what happened today in the senate. We‘ll talk about this in a moment in our next block, but how pockets are going to be lined, you know, for politicians, the transparency isn‘t going to be there.
SCHULTZ: We are on the fast track to a have and a have not society.
WALSH: We are there.
SCHULTZ: And how do we turn that around as a country? It‘s about the country. It‘s about Americans with disposable income to move the economy.
WALSH: You know, Ed, I think that we both know that the history of wealthy people and the movements of wealthy people have really struggled to pit us against one another.
WALSH: You and I spent a lot of last week talking about the Shirley Sherrod case which was tragic, which, you know, FOX ran with it, and it‘s an old strategy to demonize black people, to make white people afraid, and it‘s worked throughout history. It‘s worked—it‘s broken up immigrant groups.
SCHULTZ: But don‘t you think it gets a heck of a lot more serious when the money is involved and people know they are getting the shaft economically and it‘s not fair. That is bad remedy for America, I think.
WALSH: It‘s a terrible remedy for America. We‘re all worried about the lives of our children, and we don‘t—you know, I think that—that democrats have not been great at articulating this place we‘re at, and providing remedies. I hope they do better in the months to come.
SCHULTZ: Joan Walsh, yes, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.
WALSH: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Couple of final pages in the Playbook tonight. I‘m proud that we‘re taking THE ED SHOW on the road to help some hard working Americans in need. Next Wednesday, August 4th, we‘ll going to be broadcasting from a free health care clinic in Washington, D.C. You can register as a patient or donate your services by giving time to these free clinics, and you can go to freeclinics.u.s.
On a lighter note, Paul, the octopus, better watch out, because, well, you remember Paul, he‘s the octopus who kept predicting the outcomes of the World Cup games. Iranian President Ahmadinejad just slammed poor Paul in a recent speech he gave. He said that Paul was just an example of methods of propaganda and superstitions of the west, and that those who believe in Paul cannot lead nations. Just an octopus picking some games, man. Give me a break.
Coming up, senate republicans are trying to hide. Where they are getting all their money for elections. Late today, they blocked yet another bill which would have shed sunlight on campaign donations. A conservative who thinks money equals free speech is going to scrap with me next, right here on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight, first the republicans defending giving multi-national corporations the power to essentially buy our elections. Now they are fighting to allow them to actually do it in secret. This afternoon the senate republicans stood together to block the disclose act, an effort to bring some transparency and accountability to the disastrous citizens united ruling which will allow corporations via shadow organizations to pour an unlimited amount of cash into our elections. The only way to check and balance special interest money is to let the public know where the campaign dollars, where are they coming from? And where the consumer dollars are going? But if the republicans and the Congress get their way, you won‘t even be able to do that.
Joining me now is the Assistant General Counsel for Citizens United Chris Berg. Mr. Berg, good to have you with us tonight. Where are the democrats wrong on this, in your opinion?
CHRIS BERG, CITIZENS UNITED, ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL: Well, I think, part of your intro, the premise here, it‘s little wrong. This bill is not about shedding some light on the campaign finance spending. This bill is about silencing speakers, it is about looking at broad classes of American people who after the Citizens United decision are allowed to speak and it‘s about putting barriers into the speech and their exercise of their political rights.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Berg, you know as well as I do that this is not a freedom of speech issue. This has nothing to do with content of a commercial. This is all about where the money is coming from. Why wouldn‘t Americans, what would be the harm for Americans to know who is funding a campaign?
BERG: Well, they already do know who is funding a campaign.
SCHULTZ: No, they don‘t.
BERG: Thousands and thousands of pages of FEC rules and regulations on the books.
SCHULTZ: So this is—it‘s totally transparent the way it is right now. We‘ve got unlimited funds that can go in and it‘s totally transparent as it is right now, right?
BERG: Well, I‘m not sure that unlimited funds are going in. I think it‘s—it‘s distorting, the reality of what‘s going on and the six months since Citizens United was decided, corporations, mom and pop shops, labor unions and non-profits have been allowed to speak. We‘ve been able to see.
SCHULTZ: That is totally false Mr. Berg, you know that‘s not true. This is not an issue of freedom of speech. This is about knowing where the money is coming from, and the American voters ought to know if there‘s foreign money going into campaigns or efforts to change policy in this country.
BERG: Foreign money can‘t go into campaigns.
SCHULTZ: Well, it‘s going to be going on the promise.
BERG: 441e prohibits foreign money from coming into campaigns.
SCHULTZ: So, you believe that the democrats—that this is protecting freedom of speech.
BERG: I believe that the disclose act is an effort to protect incumbents. When I sit and take a look at what this does by the way of raising paperwork burdens, raising filing burdens, putting a 14-second disclaimer in a 30-second ad, this.
SCHULTZ: It‘s about transparency and where the.
BERG: It is not.
SCHULTZ: We‘ll going to have you back and talk more about this because I think, this is going to destroy our democracy. This is going to be able to rig the system big time. Great to have you with us, Mr. Berg. We‘ll do it again.
BERG: Thank you very much, Ed.
SCHULTZ: In our telephone survey, I asked you, do you think the democrats have the guts to end the Bush tax cuts? Forty nine percent of you said yes, 51 percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now. We‘ll see you tomorrow night back here at 6:00 Eastern on MSNBC.
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