Guests: John Hofmeister, Ed Overton, Jennifer Palmieri, Todd Harris, Rick
Murphy, Raul Grijalva
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Arizona rising.
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews from Washington. Leading off tonight: Struck down. We begin with a huge political story. Acting on an Obama administration suit, a federal judge in Phoenix today blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona‘s new immigration law, preventing police from questioning the immigration status of someone they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally. The decision is a short-term victory for opponents of the law, but much of the reaction is angry, and we‘ll have it at the top of the show.
The political consequences of this decision are huge. This is a fight that the Obama administration picked and may deeply regret at some point winning. Let me be blunt. I think this is a disaster for Democrats and a big win for the right. This will make the tea partiers‘ point that Washington has become too powerful at the expense of the states.
Plus, were there crimes at the bottom of the BP oil disaster? That‘s what the Obama administration‘s so-called “BP squad” is seeking to find out.
And preemptive strike. The DNC is on the attack, saying tea party—the tea party itself and Republican Party members are the same thing. It‘s a new Web video featuring what it calls the Republican Party‘s “contract on America,” an old Mafia term. We‘ll get into that one.
Finally, from the Volunteer State, a candidate for governor who‘s volunteering that everyone should get a gun, that—not everyone with a permit, everyone gets to carry gun, and if you murder someone, you get murdered. Talk about being the raw (ph) seed (ph) of the hurricane. Check that out in the “Sideshow.”
Let‘s start with the immigration ruling today out of Arizona. It couldn‘t be hotter. Pete Williams is NBC‘s chief justice correspondent. Pete, thanks for joining us. Another one of those barn-burner decisions.
This is a lower court decision.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Right.
MATTHEWS: It basically, what, guts the Arizona law?
WILLIAMS: It says to Arizona, You can‘t enforce the two most controversial parts of the law. The most controversial part said every policeman in Arizona, when he detains anybody, traffic stop or arrest, if he has a reasonable suspicion to think that they are here illegally, he must check their immigration status and must hold them until he gets word from the federal government.
What Judge Susan Bolton said today that interferes with the way the federal government wants to enforce immigration law. That approach is preempted by federal law, so Arizona couldn‘t do that, that checking everybody would so massively overwhelm the system that it would interfere with federal priorities, which are to find—to search through the needle in the haystack, basically, to find people who are here who‘ve committed crimes or are potential terrorists. So she said, It‘s preemptive, you can‘t do it.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a real functional question. When a policeman in Arizona right now, before the new law—or any other state...
MATTHEWS: ... they pick up a guy. He may have—seem like he‘s illegal, maybe his dress, language, features (ph), whatever, and they think he‘s illegal. But more importantly, they look at his driver‘s license and it looks phony, or something doesn‘t seem right about it, something that—maybe the—if it‘s a driver‘s license with a face on it, doesn‘t look right or it looked like it had been tampered with.
MATTHEWS: In that case, what do they normally do without this law? Do they then say, You‘re probably here illegally and let it go or, You‘re probably here illegally, but I‘m not going to get into it?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think it depends on the police department because they all have different approaches, and that‘s one of the issues here. But you‘ve raised an interesting question. There‘s probably nothing in this ruling today that would stop a policeman who wants to do just what you have sketched out from doing it voluntarily. What the judge said is the state can‘t require police to do this. But I think you‘re going to see some police departments say, OK, then we‘re not, and some say, Well, we‘re going to do it voluntarily anyway or we‘re going to do it case by case.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, I understand why Arizona did this, and (INAUDIBLE) getting into the politics. But I have to say one thing. I want your point of view on this. A police officer would be put in tremendous jeopardy, it seems to me, if the person in that car knows they‘re illegal. It‘s not a guesswork to them. A person being stopped who is in this country illegally knows it...
MATTHEWS: ... knows the jeopardy they face if a police officer stops them.
MATTHEWS: Wouldn‘t that put a tremendous moral pressure on that person, a moral predicament, Do I let myself be deported, separated from my family, or do I knock this policeman down and run away or drive away or something?
WILLIAMS: Well, in fact, that is one of the arguments that some of the police organizations who opposed this law used. They said it will unnecessarily put police in jeopardy in these situations. But again...
MATTHEWS: Sure. Stop a car with people who may be armed.
MATTHEWS: They may have real strong attitudes about not being separated from their family, and they‘re going to say, No way is this guy going to stop me, this one guy.
WILLIAMS: Although I think it has to be said, the scenario you‘ve sketched out happens all the time in border states and will continue to happen in Arizona. What the judge said today is, though, that the state cannot require policemen to do it all the time.
MATTHEWS: OK. Hey, thanks a lot, Pete, for this.
WILLIAMS: You bet.
MATTHEWS: Thanks a lot. Pete Williams, chief justice correspondent for NBC News.
U.S. Congressman Paul (SIC) Grijalva is an Arizona Democrat and the Arizona state representative Rick Murphy‘s a Republican. Mr. Murphy, to start with, what do you make of this decision by the court to back up the Obama administration and basically gut the Arizona law before it takes place?
RICK MURPHY ®, ARIZONA STATE REP.: Well, Chris, it‘s not surprising, really, at all. Frankly, we expected that that would happen in the lower court simply because it‘s—you‘ve got a federal bureaucrat with a lifetime appointment backing up a liberal administration. It‘s not surprising that this ruling came down the way it did. It‘s actually surprising that it wasn‘t going to go any further and strike the whole thing down. We pretty much suspected that we were going to have to wait and win at the Supreme Court level in the first place.
MATTHEWS: Well, you‘re a politician, sir. You‘re using language like “bureaucrat.” Well, you‘re a politician, if you want to get into that. Who‘s who here. I‘m a television guy. Let me ask you this. What‘s going to be the reaction of the people in Arizona when they go to vote this year? Are they going to find some way of expressing their anger and go vote for J.D. Hayworth against McCain? How are they going to express their anger coming out of this decision?
MURPHY: Well, Chris, I think there‘s going to be a huge backlash. The people in Arizona have overwhelmingly demonstrated that they want the border secured and that they want illegal immigration laws enforced. The federal government hasn‘t done it. This ruling states that it would interfere with the way the feds are taking care of the immigration issue. That‘s precisely the point. It would interfere with their lack of enforcement on this issue, and that‘s exactly what we want.
MURPHY: We want it enforced.
MATTHEWS: Congressman Grijalva, what‘s your view of this decision by the lower court? Do you think it‘s going to stand up in the Supreme Court?
REP. RAUL GRIJALVA (D), ARIZONA: Yes, I, too, expected it. I think, from what I understand, this is a well-crafted, well-written, well-reasoned opinion, and I think it‘ll stand—I think it‘ll stand the appeals.
MATTHEWS: What do you think is going to come of this politically in your state? Do you think that the voters are going to keep trying? Do you think other states are going to keep trying...
GRIJALVA: Well, I...
MATTHEWS: ... to get some kind of law enforced? They don‘t feel the federal government is enforcing the law, so they‘re taking the law to the state level.
GRIJALVA: Yes. Well, the issue with this—this law was the
overreaching, the supremacy clause of the Constitution, and that‘s what
gutted this—this law and that‘s what it violated. And you know, we all
all of us swear to uphold the Constitution. I hope my—I and the rest of the other elected officials in Arizona understand that part of our swearing is that we will implement a law that is constitutional. If this law is—the first level is unconstitutional, I think we should all collectively be relieved that we‘re protecting the Constitution.
MATTHEWS: Let me show you the recent or the most recent NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll on the Arizona law. It asked all Americans, “Are you for or against this law?” And 61 percent of the American people say they support this measure. What‘s your reaction to that?
GRIJALVA: I think...
GRIJALVA: I think everybody that supports—everyone that supports -
not everyone that supports this law is a racist or a bigot. There‘s a lot of frustration, a lot of anxiety. And I agree, the Congress should have moved on the issue of immigration reform a long time ago.
But we‘re running out of excuses. Here‘s the deal. If we‘re going to talk about an enforcement process, let‘s do that and let‘s do enforcement. But beyond enforcement is part of the solution to the immigration—broken immigration system. Some people want to keep it broken so they can take advantage of it politically.
MATTHEWS: That‘s what I think. That‘s what I think. I‘m agreeing with you. I think people—they like it exactly the way it is.
Let me go back to Representative Murphy. You‘re one of the tough customers on this, and I understand why you are. I think it‘s a politically popular position, and in many ways, I understand and support your frustration with the federal law.
Here‘s a simple question. It seems to me that if we‘re going to have a deal to fix this problem, it‘s going to involve three pieces. One, obviously, border enforcement, two, a way for employers to avoid breaking the law, some kind of ID system they can use, and third, some kind of dealing (ph) with people who‘ve been here and built their lives here. We‘re not going to have a pogrom and send out 20 million people out of the country. Do you agree that those three parts are necessary?
MURPHY: Not right away. First of all, Chris, people don‘t trust the federal government anymore because this is what was talked about more than 20 years ago, the last time there was an amnesty, and people don‘t trust the federal government to follow through. Until and unless there is enforcement of the current law, nobody really believes that any new law is going to be enforced, either.
MATTHEWS: OK, you want the other side to act first.
MURPHY: Absolutely. There needs to be...
MATTHEWS: Do you want an ID card?
MURPHY: There needs to be...
MATTHEWS: Do you want an ID card?
MURPHY: Well, there‘s already an ID card. The fact of the matter is...
MATTHEWS: Oh, it‘s not useful. It‘s not—it‘s not reliable.
MURPHY: Well, you‘re right, it isn‘t.
MATTHEWS: Do you think we have a—well, why don‘t—do you want a reliable system, where an employer knows whether they‘re breaking the law or not, or not? Or you just want to—are we all just going to BS this system and enjoy the fight?
MURPHY: Well, right now, Chris, we need to stop the process where we allow and turn our heads and wink at illegal immigrants stealing the identification and the identities of legal American citizens...
MATTHEWS: How do we stop that?
MURPHY: ... and ruining their lives? By enforcing...
MATTHEWS: I‘m with that. How do we stop that?
MURPHY: By enforcing the current law and deporting people who are here illegally and not giving them sanctuary to have jobs and live their lives here.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you this. Do you want a reliable ID card that prevents people from being hired illegally in this country right now?
MURPHY: I‘m not in favor of a national ID card...
MATTHEWS: Of course you‘re not!
MURPHY: ... if that‘s what you‘re talking about.
MATTHEWS: Because you‘re one—you‘re one of the BS artists in this world...
MURPHY: No, absolutely not, Chris.
MATTHEWS: ... that doesn‘t want to enforce—no, you do not want to have a—look, every bartender has a right for an ABC card or a driver‘s license says, You don‘t get served in this bar if you‘re not 21 because I‘m not going to jail and I‘m not paying a fine. But when it comes to employment and cheap labor, you want to be able to give a bye to an employer to hire somebody at the cheapest possible wages, which is what you pay somebody...
MURPHY: Absolutely not, Chris.
MATTHEWS: ... who just got here. OK, why not have an ID card for working here, if you have to have one for drinking here?
MURPHY: You already have one. Every state has one. It‘s called a driver‘s license. In most states...
MATTHEWS: But you just said you don‘t want an enforceable ID card.
MURPHY: That‘s not what I said, Chris. I don‘t want a national ID card.
MATTHEWS: Why not?
MURPHY: That‘s not necessarily the same thing.
MATTHEWS: Why not? Why not?
MURPHY: Again, a lot of people in this state and other states don‘t trust the federal government. There shouldn‘t need to be a national ID card. There‘s no reason that the state cannot, in a parallel fashion, enforce the current immigration laws, and that‘s what this bill would have done.
MATTHEWS: But are you telling me there‘s no illegal hiring in Arizona?
MURPHY: There‘s a lot less than there used to be because we have an employer sanctions law that is in place.
MATTHEWS: So all the people working—all the people working in your state are working legally.
MURPHY: I didn‘t say that at all, Chris. What I said is we need to actively enforce the law, and we need to penalize those people who are getting jobs or who are hiring people illegally or who know that they have false papers.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. But obviously, this ID card system is not working, and you don‘t want to make it any tougher.
MURPHY: I don‘t agree with that, Chris. I don‘t think that a national ID card is the answer.
MATTHEWS: OK. Fine. Let me go to Congressman Grijalva. Are you for some kind of national recognition of when people are in this country legally or not, some way that an employer can safely know that he or she is hiring somebody legally? And that is, of course, the main magnet for people coming to this country.
GRIJALVA: Yes. I think there has to be...
MATTHEWS: The president wants one.
GRIJALVA: ... verifiable, foolproof identification so an employer—which we will need tough employer sanctions when we reform this law—will be secure in who they‘re hiring, will not bring sanctions upon them. I thought you outlined it well. There have to be employer sanctions, has to be a registration where people—we know who they are and we know that they‘re law-abiding.
GRIJALVA: And then there has to be enforcement. You know, the problem is there‘s an insatiable appetite to do nothing. Every time we try to reach a solution, it‘s “amnesty.” Every time we do this...
MATTHEWS: I know.
GRIJALVA: ... there‘s always an opposition to it. It‘s time people worked on a solution, acted like grownups. We have a problem and a crisis. Let‘s find a solution instead of provoking a fight.
MATTHEWS: You know how you can find out—you know how you can find out whether people are serious about this? You say, Would you like to have this if it‘s going to stop the problem? I have to tell you, Representative Murphy, you would rather not have a national ID card than solve this problem. That‘s your choice. If it came down to it...
MURPHY: No, that‘s not accurate, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, help me out then. What do—are you—you are saying, We‘ll do it your way, which is sort of relying on driver‘s licenses, which have never been successful—and by the way, how many states issue phony driver‘s licenses? It‘s unbelievable. That was a thing that got Spitzer in trouble. I mean, this is, like, what goes on. You know that. It got Hillary Clinton in her campaign, it came up, the issuing of phony driver‘s licenses.
MURPHY: Well, Chris...
MATTHEWS: You know what goes on. Virginia does it. A lot of states do it.
MURPHY: Chris, you‘re setting up a straw man where if I don‘t agree with your position, then I don‘t want a solution...
MATTHEWS: No, no. Let me just tell you this...
MURPHY: ... and that‘s just not accurate.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you this. What‘s the chief reason people come to this country? Isn‘t it to get a job?
MURPHY: It‘s either to get employment or it‘s to get the free benefits that we provide. We have way too big of a welfare state...
MURPHY: ... and we need to crack down on that, as well.
MATTHEWS: You are—OK, you‘re a hopeless right-winger. You‘re hopeless because the reason people come to this country is to get a job, and the first thing they do is try to get a job. And as long as there‘s a way to get one illegally, they‘re going to come to this country. You don‘t agree with that. Everybody listening knows that‘s the reason!
MURPHY: Well, Chris, the reality is there are lots of reasons people come here, and one of the reasons is...
MURPHY: ... because we haven‘t secured our border and we are...
MURPHY: ... allowing the drug cartels free access to the southern half of our state.
MATTHEWS: OK. Change the subject. OK. OK. Here‘s the problem. You‘re not serious. Thank you, Congressman, for joining us. Congressman Grijalva, thanks for joining us.
GRIJALVA: My pleasure.
MATTHEWS: You‘re serious. Mr. Murphy is not.
Up next: The ruling today is a big win for opponents of the Arizona law, but it could prove to be bad for the Democrats politically, especially this November. When we return, let‘s find out how the politics of this fight changed now.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) Well, the U.S. Electoral College, of all things, may be on the endangered list. Massachusetts passed a measure aimed at making the Electoral College of the United States irrelevant. Under the new law in Massachusetts, Massachusetts will give its 12 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. The governor has to sign it, but he said in the past he‘ll support it. The law supporters have been going state by state to push the measure. And once state‘s accounting to 270 electoral votes approve it, the Electoral College will be obsolete because those states are going to vote for the popular winner. So far, states currently accounting for 73 electoral votes have approved the measure—
Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, Washington state and now Massachusetts.
We‘ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Well, here we go. We‘re back. What does the Obama administration‘s successful court challenge today over Arizona‘s immigration law mean for the Democrats? They won the court battle, but will they win the political battle?
Let‘s bring in MSNBC political analysts Pat Buchanan and Eugene Robinson, who, of course, is a Pulitzer Prize winner for “The Washington Post.” Pat, this—let‘s talk about the politics to this. I think we know where you stand. I‘m somewhere close to you on some of the issues of enforcement. I want it done through the employer, actually, rather than the government.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: But here—here, this question—we‘ve got an NBC poll which is still pretty fresh. I don‘t think many people challenge it, a “Wall Street Journal”/NBC poll. It shows 61 percent support the Arizona law. I think a lot of people probably figure it‘s a bit egregious, but they‘re still for it. So then the question is, Pat, what‘s it going to do to the chances of Democrats holding the Congress? I think it may blow the chance of the Democrats holding the House because of the anger it‘s going to cause. That‘s my hunch. I‘m sticking to it.
BUCHANAN: Well, I think you‘re exactly right. It‘s going to cause real anger and passion and energy and fire on the people that support (INAUDIBLE) tough law on illegal aliens. With regard to the Democratic Party, Chris, I think it will split it. The Blue Dogs and the people who are in states where this is a hellish problem—and there are more and more states—I think they better stay away from endorsing what the court did for the simple reason, as you say, you‘ve got 2-to-1 support the law, even though the law was described in the national media as neo-fascist or Nazi, and that‘s an enormous number of people. And the people who are energized are the people who are going to come out to vote.
So if I were a Democrat, a Blue Dog Democrat, I would take, you know, the position, A, I believed was right, but B, I believed was political and necessary to take in my district. I would be skeptical of this. I would say, Look, if the federal government‘s not going to enforce law, I understand why states are trying to enforce it themselves.
MATTHEWS: OK. Here‘s the problem, Gene. The Obama administration brought this suit. They‘re the ones that brought down this Arizona law.
EUGENE ROBINSON, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, but
MATTHEWS: How do they walk away from a court decision and say, Well, I don‘t know anybody involved in that? The president of your party‘s involved in that.
ROBINSON: Well, the administration clearly doesn‘t walk away from it.
ROBINSON: But I agree with Pat, actually. I think that Democrats who
who would find it politically inconvenient to come out and back the court decision...
MATTHEWS: Where‘s the will—let me try to...
ROBINSON: ... don‘t have to—they don‘t have to talk about the court decision.
On the other hand, there are Democrats in districts that have large Latino populations that may not be terribly passionate otherwise this year who might be more energized by, you know, talking about immigration. Immigration does win some Democrats‘ votes.
MATTHEWS: Here‘s the latest poll. I think this really cuts it pretty close.
In a June NBC poll, we found that 45 percent of the country is com—
I love the way they write this—comfortable with a candidate who supports the Arizona law, 38 percent not comfortable.
Pat, I will bet that divides sharper as the weeks go on. I expect—this is a bet...
BUCHANAN: All right.
MATTHEWS: ... I‘m going to make right now—that the people who support the Arizona law are going to make a lot more noise about this than the people that like that court decision.
BUCHANAN: Oh, sure.
MATTHEWS: The noise is going to come from the right from here to November.
BUCHANAN: Well, sure.
MATTHEWS: And nothing is going to get in the way of it that I can see.
BUCHANAN: But I wouldn‘t just call it the right, if you‘re talking 61 percent of the country in some cases, Chris.
MATTHEWS: You‘re right.
BUCHANAN: But there‘s no doubt about it. The people who won the case are going to say, yay, we won. And the fellows that are cheering—I understand, down in Mexico City, they‘re having great demonstrations in favor of this victory. I don‘t think that‘s...
MATTHEWS: Pat, is that one of your over-the-top statements, or did you just...
BUCHANAN: ... in the research
MATTHEWS: Do you have a report?
ROBINSON: Made that up. You made that up, Pat.
MATTHEWS: Do you have dateline integrity on this, Pat?
BUCHANAN: Chris, in the research you gave me, it was right in there.
They are demonstrating in Mexico City...
BUCHANAN: ... their great victory.
But you‘re dead right. The energy and fire are coming from the people who are going to say, look, we had a bad first quarter. We have got to fight on and we‘re going to win this battle. You have got a majority there.
Those are the people who are energized, not the people who say, great, we won that court case.
MATTHEWS: Well, my question—I thought I handled it pretty well and rather deftly with Mr. Murphy, the state rep who pushed this thing down there.
MATTHEWS: I got down to this question. And Pat and I disagree on this. I don‘t know where Gene stands. But let‘s get to the politics of the Democrats. What are they going to do about this? They can‘t just sit there and say we won, because nobody is happy with the immigration law right now.
MATTHEWS: Nobody is happy, except for farmers maybe who like the cheap labor or whoever is hiring these guys. The first day in, nobody works harder than the guy who just got here. He works his butt off. And he‘s cheap. So those people would like them.
ROBINSON: Right. Well, as a practical matter, what are they going to do. And I think the answer is not much.
I don‘t think there‘s going to be a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
MATTHEWS: There isn‘t the endgame.
MATTHEWS: This means—and this means we‘re going to be fighting about this through November.
ROBINSON: There‘s going to be a fight there. But...
MATTHEWS: Let Gene talk.
ROBINSON: Realistically, though, nationwide, how many people are going to vote on this issue?
ROBINSON: And where are those people?
MATTHEWS: OK. OK.
MATTHEWS: Let me—let me ruin your day.
MATTHEWS: Let me ruin your day, Gene. I might ruin your day with this.
ROBINSON: ... poll is accurate.
MATTHEWS: I think there‘s more to this than just ethnicity or even national identity, which I feel, and we all do, I think, about our country, having a border that we protect...
MATTHEWS: ... even if we‘re liberal about it, just have some sense that it is our call as a country who comes in here. The country is allowed to say—every country is allowed to say who comes in it. That‘s a right of a country. That‘s definitional.
BUCHANAN: Let me get back to the politics, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Go, sir.
BUCHANAN: I mean, Gene says, well, how many are going to vote on it?
Not too many people vote on guns, but they will—that is a—quote—
“voting issue.” It‘s like life. It is a voting issue.
And that is what is going to happen, quite frankly. And here‘s what
Obama ought to—why doesn‘t the president do this, said, you give people
because, in a number of cases, I understand he is enforcing the law.
ROBINSON: He is.
BUCHANAN: People are going back. For heaven‘s sakes, why don‘t they stand up, Chris, and say...
MATTHEWS: They are enforcing the law.
BUCHANAN: ... you guys are right, we are going to enforce it, we‘re going after these employers, we‘re going one after another after another? That would do more than anything else to help his people.
MATTHEWS: One issue I think we haven‘t gotten and we have to get to before the end of this segment is this. The biggest argument of the Tea Party, right or wrong, is the federal government‘s has gotten too damn big. It kicks the butt of the states and localities. It‘s gotten much bigger than even Hamilton had in mind. It‘s ruling this country.
Here you have a case of a relatively popular, in fact, popular Arizona law trying to deal with illegal immigration. Along comes big government led by Eric Holder and the president of the United States and says—and stomps it, and stomps Arizona, and said you can‘t even defend...
BUCHANAN: It‘s insane.
MATTHEWS: ... yourself or your own border, which is on Mexico.
Gene, your thought. Isn‘t this going to hurt—or build the case for the Tea Partiers?
ROBINSON: That plays right into the Tea Party narrative. It does. And so to the extent that the Tea Partiers are not already passionate and exercised and ready to get out to vote, this will make them more so.
MATTHEWS: Rick Perry is going to love this.
MATTHEWS: Let Gene finish.
ROBINSON: If you want to look at the policy, this is actually a case of the administration looking for a sensible, moderate, middle-way policy and getting hit from both sides, because, of course, they are not going to satisfy the people who want, you know, concertina wire and electrified concertina wire and Dobermans along the border and—but ,at the same time, they have sharply increased enforcement along the border.
BUCHANAN: What the federal government is saying, you in Arizona cannot enforce the law that we refuse to enforce in Washington, D.C.
MATTHEWS: That‘s the way it sounds.
BUCHANAN: That‘s the message that inflames Arizona and all those other states that agree with Arizona.
MATTHEWS: The only thing I don‘t like about Arizona law is, it puts Officer Krupke, the regular cop out there who has got to stop a car...
MATTHEWS: ... which may be dangerous, the guys may be armed—who knows—they certainly are going to have an attitude about being stopped. They would know under this law that he was coming to kick them out of the country, because he would be required by law, under this new law, to walk up to that car and...
MATTHEWS: ... say, I want to see your I.D. card. And if it looks even slightly suspicious or you do, I have to check you for deportation.
And that‘s a frightening prospect for one cop to stand up to a whole car of guys. And that‘s just a thought. And I do worry about that.
BUCHANAN: I agree, Chris. I agree with the idea that maybe cops need discretion when they are walking up there. They should have—certainly have the right to do it. The question is, should they make the decision if they say, maybe, look, this is a bad-looking crowd, let them move on?
MATTHEWS: Yes, this isn‘t my day.
Anyway, thank you, Pat Buchanan. Thank you. I love it when you get real and Irish on the street right there.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Gene—that‘s where I try to sometimes be.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Gene.
That was a—I guess we have decided this ain‘t a great day for the D‘s. It may be right for their values, but not for their votes.
Up next: Is it possible to win a campaign in New England after knocking Red Sox legend Rick—Curt Schilling? I said—Curt Schilling. There he is, the bloody foot and his famous bloody sock. There it is.
Look at it.
Rhode Island Governor candidate Lincoln Chafee may have made a mistake.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the “Sideshow.”
First, let‘s go to the Volunteer State, the great state of Tennessee. Here‘s a guy running for governor with some powerful ideas about getting rid of gun permits, letting everyone carry, getting rid of muddy vacant lots by planting grass on them, then selling those lots to pay for gas.
Oh, come on, listen to this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASIL MARCEAUX ®, TENNESSEE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I‘m BasilMarceaux.com, your candidate for governor.
I would like to recall all permits and registration for guns. Everyone can carry guns. If you kill someone, though, you get murdered, and you go to jail. And I would like to put—plant grass or vegetation across the state where any vacant lot and sell it for gas, so we can use it for our expenses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, say this for Basil Marceaux. He‘s not sitting on a couch complaining and doing nothing.
Anyway, my favorite expression, it‘s not what you got; it‘s what you do with what you got. And he‘s out there.
Next: a campaign pledge discarded. Republican businessman Ron Johnson is running to challenge Senator Russ Feingold out in Wisconsin. In a bit of a stunt, he told reporters earlier this month that he‘s going to sell his stake in British Petroleum to help finance his campaign.
Fast-forward two weeks. BP‘s stock is on the rise, and Johnson‘s changed his tune. He now says sale of his BP stock isn‘t imminent -- -- quote—“I think that will eventually happen, but I‘m going to do it based on market conditions.”
Well, the only thing this guy possesses more than BP is B.S.
Finally, Lincoln Chafee takes on Red Sox nation. Rhode Island‘s independent candidate for governor took a whack at Boston hero Curt Schilling by suggesting that the Red Sox pitcher faked that famous bloody sock in the 2004 playoffs. It started when Chafee criticized a state loan guarantee to Schilling‘s video came company—quote—“I think it goes back to the principal, Curt Schilling, and the trust that state officials have in him to deliver. I just remember his own teammates didn‘t like him. They thought he was a bit of a salesman. I remember one of his teammates said he painted his sock, the bloody sock. He painted it.”
Well, the last part just isn‘t true. None of Schilling‘s teammates said that. Politically, you have to wonder. Rhode is filled with Sox fans and that means loyal Schilling fans. Chafee‘s campaign manager tried backing off his candidate‘s claim, saying that Chafee respects what Curt Schilling has done on the field.
Well, coming up, 100 days after the massive oil spill in the Gulf, and there‘s word the oil, at least on the surface, is dissipating much faster than initially thought. That‘s good news, but there‘s still a long way to go. We Gates hear from the experts about what that means for the ongoing cleanup, also the possibility of criminality and why we had this catastrophe.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Julia Boorstin with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”
Stocks slipping today on some lackluster earnings and a disappointing Beige Book report from the Fed. The Dow Jones industrials snapping a four-day winning streak with a 40-point decline. The S&P 500 falling seven points and the Nasdaq dropping 23 points.
Investors feeling cautious today on a mixed bag of regional economic reports from the Federal Reserve. The Fed sees manufacturing activity expanding in many regions, but slowing in some and actually on the others in decline.
Retailers did report increasing sales, but shoppers are focusing on necessities, and sales of big-ticket items are slowing.
Meanwhile, on the earnings front, Boeing, the single biggest drag on the Dow today, after posting a drop in profits and issuing a less-than-rosy outlook. And Visa reporting after the closing bell, turning in better-than-expected growth in profits and revenues. Shares are moving slightly higher after hours.
That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We have got some good news tonight. The oil slick on the Gulf surface
down there is dissipating more quickly than expecting. It‘s evaporating
apparently much more faster than expected. And you can see where the oil
has gone in a series of maps made by “The New York Times.” There they are
by “The New York Times.”
On June 16, BP had started a second containment system. By July 1, strong winds had pushed the oil into marshlands and coastlines. And just two days ago, oil has been broken up into smaller patches.
So, does this mean the days of oil washing ashore are coming to a close and is it a positive indicator of what‘s going on below the water‘s surface, which is a big question?
Ed Overton is an environmental science professor at Louisiana State University, LSU, and John Hofmeister, my friend, is president—was president of Shell Oil.
Let me start with the professor.
What are your signs or what evidence do you have—do you have to draw on as to how bad the long-term environmental or conservation damage is going to be here as of now, Ed?
EDWARD OVERTON, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, Chris, we‘re still in the middle of this spill, so we don‘t know for sure how long it‘s going to last and the total environmental damage.
And we won‘t know for—for a while, but it‘s certainly good news
that the visible oil is removed from the surface. I think the oil—the -
the Gulf area has been acclimated for 87 days, has really been degrading bacteria. The bacteria have been degrading the oil. All of a sudden, there‘s no new oil out there, so those bacteria are looking around for supper, and they find the oil that is there and are rapidly degrading what‘s left of the residual oil.
MATTHEWS: So, maybe the—our planet is going to save our planet, in other words? The way things work ecologically is going to help us.
OVERTON: Absolutely. This is—this is Mother Nature‘s scheme of things. We have overloaded the scheme of things with 30,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil each day. Now that‘s not happening, and the natural processes are taking shape.
I hope they are going to remove the oil. Doesn‘t mean that there‘s not going to be some additional impacts coming onshore, but the frequency and the magnitude will dramatically reduce over the next several days and several weeks.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to John Hofmeister on the—on the legal question.
I am impressed that, on the front page of “The Washington Post” this morning, I read that the Obama administration—it may be having a tricky day on immigration, which I do believe they may have stepped in something. On this, I think they may be smart. It‘s called the BP squad.
It‘s made up of people from the FBI, the Coast Guard, the EPA, all working to see if there‘s possible criminality in the decisions which were made by management, whether bribes were taken or given to MMS, the administering agency within Interior.
What‘s your sense of the prospects of finding a crime beneath this spill, John?
JOHN HOFMEISTER, AUTHOR, “WHY WE HATE THE OIL COMPANIES: STRAIGHT TALK
FROM AN ENERGY INSIDER”: I have said from day one, Chris, that we really have to find out the truth, wherever it takes us. However ugly, however embarrassing, however awful that truth may be, we have got to get to the truth, so we don‘t let it happen again.
I still believe that these were individuals who were making poor judgments, bad judgments, incompetent judgments. I really have some reservations with what I know at this point, only reading the papers and hearing the news reports, that it has bordered into criminality. But, then, I‘m not a lawyer.
I think it‘s, you know, perhaps a good show to put on a great force down in New Orleans, but whether they will ever find any criminal behavior, it‘s a long way from here to there, in my opinion.
MATTHEWS: Well, what is your value judgment? I have one. I think, if somebody makes a deliberate business decision to cost our planet in order to make money, they ought to be punished, and criminally. It is a criminal thing to hurt this planet. I don‘t want to sound like too much of a tree-hugger, but I am, and like everybody ought to be, on this simple question.
If somebody has to make a decision and they say, put in seawater instead of drilling mud because it‘s cheaper, but they know there‘s a better chance that well is going to blow, that‘s a bad decision, and a bad person made it. Now, they may have made it with pressure from above, for profit or a timetable. But what‘s your view of that? You‘re the expert.
HOFMEISTER: Well, we have to find out exactly who decided what, on what conditions.
MATTHEWS: Why are they hiding this from us?
MATTHEWS: Why don‘t we know now, after all these months, as to who made these decisions? Why won‘t BP tell us?
HOFMEISTER: Well, I think there‘s—there are a couple of individuals that have taken the Fifth Amendment, as I understand it. And so, they have that constitutional right. I think they could shed a lot of light on this but they have to be willing to do it. I think that the investigation will be pursued.
I hope it‘s pursued to the nth degree, because they have tarnished the entire industry, Chris, which operates safely and effectively for decades. And this really has to come—but, unfortunately, we may be in court for years. This could well become, you know, daytime TV for years out into the future.
HOFMEISTER: And if it‘s a criminal case, you can be sure it will last for a very long time.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Professor Overton.
This whole question about social cost where a company or management makes a deliberate decision to pass costs on to the public, in this case, to the devastation of the Gulf of Mexico, to make more money—what is your view about that in terms of criminality?
ED OVERTON, FEDERAL CHEMICAL HAZARD ASSESSMENT TEAM: Well, Chris, there‘s a—there‘s a big difference between a criminal act and a stupid act, and, you know, I‘m not—I‘m not a lawyer either, but it looks to me like this was—this was stupid rather than necessarily criminal. I mean, if laws are in place on the books, they may well be, I don‘t know about that.
But—but, clearly, I think as we go forward we might tighten up the regulations such that when you take reckless acts that have consequences like a spill of this magnitude, people ought to think twice before making reckless decisions.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s take a look at Tony Hayward‘s parting words. Here‘s the guy that was head of BP, the British fellow that went off to the yachting race. Of course, he was too busy to do what he had to do, went off catching the yachting—one of the worst PR decisions in history. That isn‘t criminal, it‘s just stupid in that case.
Quote: “I like this because this is the best part of the Brits. Whether it‘s fair or unfair is not the point. I became the public face of the disaster and was demonized and vilified. BP cannot move on in the U.S. with me as its leaders. Sometimes you step off the pavement and get hit by a bus.
Did I make mistakes? Of course I did. But would I have changed fundamentally what BP did, and the role I played in it? I think the answer is no.”
Very British, John Hofmeister. I like that about the British. When something goes wrong in British cabinet or British government, somebody says, “I‘m out of here. I resign. I‘m back to my club.” They have a couple of drinks and it‘s over, but you don‘t have to look at the guy anymore.
Your thoughts about this. Is this the best of the British, they leave?
HOFMEISTER: Well, I think he‘s speaking from the safety of the cocoon of the U.K. where BP is viewed very differently than it is here in the U.S., and I think—you know, there are many things he did fine, just fine as a CEO.
HOFMEISTER: But Americans will never forgive or forget what happened in that Gulf of Mexico—also on the heels of Texas City, also on the heels of the Arctic pipeline burst.
HOFMEISTER: So, there‘s a whole record here that the Americans have really had to live with which the British have not.
MATTHEWS: OK. I just want—don‘t want to read some day in the paper, in the British‘s honors list that he‘s Lord Hayward. You know, Churchill, my hero once said, “I want to see fewer peerages and more disa-peerages.”
Anyway, thank you, Ed Overton. And thank you, John Hofmeister.
Up next: a preemptive strike from the DNC. Their new Web video argues that there‘s no difference really between the Republican Party these days and the Tea Party. But guess what? The Tea Party is more popular. We‘ll get to that one with our strategist.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Guess what? Oklahoma, the Sooner State, is set to elect its first ever woman governor this fall. Last night, Congresswoman Mary Fallin won the Republican primary and Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins won the Democratic nomination for an all-female general election.
How many times in U.S. history before this year have two women faced off in a governor‘s race? Just twice. And this year, it‘s happened already twice—in New Mexico and now, in Oklahoma.
HARDBALL will be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, the Democratic National Committee today launched an initiative
an offensive you might say—that looks to connect the Republican Party
the regular Republican Party—with the more extreme elements of the Tea Party.
Here‘s a look at DNC‘s new web ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)
SUBTITLE: What is the influence of the Tea Party and its candidates on the Republican Party? They are now one and the same. And so is the blueprint for how they would govern.
I. Repeal health insurance reform.
II. Privatize Social Security or get rid of it.
III. End Medicare as its presently exists.
IV. Extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil.
V. Repeal Wall Street reform.
VI. Protect those responsible fro the oil spill.
VII. Abolish the Department of Education.
VIII. Abolish the Department o Energy
IX. Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.
X. Repeal the 17 Amendment.
Get the facts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. I want to go back and watch “The Last of the Mohicans” after that music.
Anyway, joining me now to discuss the DNC strategy and the Tea Party politics, Jennifer Palmieri from the Center for American Progress. This lady knows her politics. And Republican strategist Todd Harris. He‘s probably giggling.
Now, I thought it was an interesting list there. What did you make of the attack on the Republicans saying they‘re all Tea Party types, all one big, combined?
JENNIFER PALMIERI, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: First of all, to be on the attack and offensive probably feels—it‘s a smart thing to do and feels good.
MATTHEWS: So, good for morale.
PALMIERI: I think it‘s good for morale but I think it‘s also that the Republican strategy is to make this a referendum on sort of the state of the economic recovery and this is defining what the—
PALMIERI: -- sort of defining the choice.
MATTHEWS: Which of those attacks, Jennifer, do you think is going to sting, really sting? Now, getting rid of health care reform. That‘s probably going to sell with the Republicans and middle-of-the-road people. They don‘t like health care now as it‘s portrayed.
How about privatize Social Security? That looks like the one that might hurt.
PALMIERI: Privatizing Social Security, privatizing Medicare, that seems to be—that seem to be the two.
MATTHEWS: How about extending the Bush tax cuts? Does that bother people?
PALMIERI: It does bother—yes, the—
TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, liberals.
PALMIERI: Well, it actual bothers folks—extending the Bush tax cuts for rich people, that actual—yes.
MATTHEWS: OK. You‘re laughing. Which of these sting you? Which of these do you think hurt your party?
MATTHEWS: Admit it. Which one hurts? Privatizing Social Security, it hurts in Florida.
HARRIS: Yes. But no one is talking about doing that. I mean—hold on.
PALMIERI: No, no, Paul Ryan is for that.
HARRIS: Look, we can have—
PALMIERI: He‘s part of the House leadership.
HARRIS: If we want to have a real conversation about entitlement reform which is, you know, the Democratic answer is to do absolutely nothing and let it go bankrupt and scare people along the way. But the problem with this Web spot is that the Democratic Party—
PALMIERI: People call it ad.
HARRIS: It‘s not. The Democratic Party‘s lack of a message is now bordering on like schizophrenia, because I was sitting at this table on this show two months ago and we were talking about how the Democratic National Committee was saying all these nice things about the Tea Party Movement in an attempt to suck up to Tea Party voters.
And now, they‘ve decided that that didn‘t work. So, now, they‘re going to come out and basically issue this huge broadside saying that they‘re all—that they‘re all crazy.
PALMIERI: They picked a side. That‘s what fair—
MATTHEWS: Do you think it would be smarter to say that the Tea Party people are somewhat deranged? I mean, these are different ideologically.
HARRIS: Yes, just say it.
MATTHEWS: People disagree about it. But I don‘t think going after the opposing Wall Street reform is credible.
Here‘s a question. You got people, like Sharron Angle, who say they want to have Second Amendment remedies, if you don‘t like Congress, like pull a gun out and shoot the Congress. You got people, like Bachmann, who want McCarthy—Joe McCarthy tactics.
MATTHEWS: You got a lot of crazy screw balls out. They‘re not screw balls necessarily, it‘s people.
PALMIERI: No. Right.
MATTHEWS: But their ideas are. Why don‘t you—why didn‘t your party go after the screw balls and say the Republicans are in bed with these nuts?
PALMIERI: Well, I think that was the point—
MATTHEWS: But this doesn‘t do that.
PALMIERI: Apparently you think they could have executed that better.
PALMIERI: But they—I don‘t think you get more unpopular with privatizing Social Security and Medicare. But they have—
MATTHEWS: You can‘t defend your screw ball wing, can you?
HARRIS: Look, both parties have ample supplies of screw balls, both sides.
PALMIERI: Not so much on our side these days.
HARRIS: Oh, please. Please. The fact is the only people this cycle talking about repealing the 17th Amendment—
HARRIS: -- is the Democratic National Committee.
MATTHEWS: They want to give right to life to senators.
PALMIERI: Mike Pence is the chairman of the Republican Caucus and he‘s part of the Tea Party Caucus. This is where the Republican leadership, Michele Bachmann, is likely to be a committee chair.
MATTHEWS: All the birthers joined—all the birthers are joining.
MATTHEWS: How can you—that you‘re laughing. You‘re laughing at the nuts (ph). You got these crazy ladies and men in the attic, and you say, don‘t go up in the attic. That‘s your solution.
HARRIS: Look, Marco Rubio who probably—who was on the cover of the—
MATTHEWS: Who‘s his consultant?
HARRIS: Right. Exactly. Marco Rubio was on the cover of “The New York Times” magazine with the headline “The First Senator from the Tea Party Movement.” I‘ve never heard Marco talked about repealing the 17th Amendment. He doesn‘t talk about it. Marco doesn‘t talk about ending Medicare. He says we need entitlement reform.
PALMIERI: But Sharron Angle does, and Rand Paul does, and you have like House Republican leadership—
MATTHEWS: You want Tea Party support four candidate?
HARRIS: Of course.
MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s the point. You got to defend them.
PALMIERI: Yes, that‘s the problem.
HARRIS: Look, the average person who shows—“The New York Times” did a huge survey of the Tea Party Movement.
MATTHEWS: Can you get nine votes without defending nuts?
HARRIS: Hold on. Hold on.
MATTHEWS: I mean, I‘m asking a philosophical question.
HARRIS: The overwhelming majority—I‘m not going to defend, you know, if someone is racist and shows up at a Tea Party rally, I‘m not going to defend that. But the overwhelming majority of people who are involved in the Tea Party Movement are upset about spending, they‘re upset about the health care takeover, and they‘re frustrated because they feel like their government is not listening to them. That‘s what is driving people out to these rallies and if the Democrats want to piss a little of those people—
MATTHEWS: -- your side here. Does it offend you as a Republican, a sane Republican, that your candidate to defeat Harry Reid, the head of the Democratic Party in the Senate, believes in people using gunplay if they don‘t like Congress?
HARRIS: Well, look, I didn‘t see what her quote is.
MATTHEWS: She said, use Second Amendment remedies if you don‘t like what Congress is doing.
MATTHEWS: She‘s your candidate to knock off Harry Reid?
HARRIS: Well, I wouldn‘t agree with that statement, but I hope she does knock off Harry Reid. And I bet that if you had her on the show, she would say that she was not advocating for people to take up arms.
MATTHEWS: Well, what else did she mean?
HARRIS: I don‘t know.
MATTHEWS: He‘s so charming. He‘s so charming, he giggles when he gets stuck. When you get stuck, you giggle.
HARRIS: I know. I‘m not stuck. Look—
MATTHEWS: OK. In your car (ph).
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, guys. It‘s great to have you back.
Jennifer Palmieri, thank you, and Todd Harris.
When we return, let me finish with some thoughts about the big news, that injunction led by the president against the Arizona immigration law. They won the day. Will they win the battle?
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this federal injunction against the new Arizona immigration law.
First of all, it is a killer issue politically for the Democrats this fall and a huge windfall for the right. It will anger even those people who believe the Arizona law went too far. It will dramatize the main case raised by the Tea Party people, that the federal government in Washington has become too powerful, that the rights of states have been terribly abridged. That is the political consequence and it will be felt mightily this November.
I say this realizing a critical problem with the Arizona law. The policeman who stops a suspected illegal immigrant would under the new Arizona law be required to check out that person‘s immigration status. Standing next to that stopped car, he would be at a horribly unfair disadvantage. He might suspect the person of being in the country illegally. The immigrants would certainly know it and might well decide to fight it out rather than face deportation and separation from his or her family.
It is not hard to imagine the desperate moral calculation this would trigger. But the plain fact that most Americans recognize to their distress is that the federal government has not been serious about enforcing the immigration laws. Arizona, whatever you may think of its law, is at least attempting to deal with that situation. That, too, is a fact—cruel as it might come across.
I wish Americans were fair-minded about immigration. I wish the politicians were honest about it. The right panders by suggesting we throw the millions of illegal immigrants out of the country knowing full well that would be a catastrophe. The liberals refuse to get serious about enforcement.
This is one case where government in this country has simply failed.
And that means the politicians have failed.
The deal is there to be struck. Find a way for people who have made their lives here to become full, assimilated Americans like every other immigrant over our history and find a way to stop the illegal hiring of people who have no right to be in this country. Do both or get out of the way—because only by doing both will there be a deal.
And without a deal, this problem will grow and grow, the divide in the country will cut deeper and deeper, and the only winners will be the exploiters, those interests love this issue because the more heat it raises on illegal immigrants, the more it cheapens their labor and delivers the vote. And that, too, is a fact.
That‘s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
Right now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW” with Ed Schultz.
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