Guests: Fred Risser, Mark Miller, John Nichols, Joe Schiavoni
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans! And welcome to THE ED SHOW from Madison, Wisconsin, tonight.
At the front lines: workers fighting for their rights and their livelihood here in the great state of Wisconsin.
I have to tell you, folks, that I have never been more connected emotionally to a story in my entire career. There‘s something about the heartland, there‘s something about the voices that I heard today, there‘s something about Wisconsin. This is ground zero for labor in this country.
We are on the front line for the ideological fight for America. Madison, Wisconsin, at this hour, protests here in this city are still at a fever pitch. The Wisconsin Senate Democrats have left the state and Governor Scott Walker—well, he did not get his union-busting bill today. The story, I think, is far from over.
We affectionately call them the “Wisconsin 14,” a group of 14 Senate Democrats left Wisconsin for Illinois earlier today. Without them, the Senate doesn‘t have the three-fifths attendance that it‘s going to need to take a vote. That‘s the key.
Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald called the cops and tried to round up the senators and bring them back for a vote. Fitzgerald‘s brother, Jeff, is oddly enough is the leader over in the assembly. They‘ve got something going here, don‘t they?
And just last week, Papa Fitz—well, the father, was named head of the highway patrol. You can‘t make this stuff up. Papa Fitz let his boys down as the “Wisconsin 14” now are on the lam as Governor Walker is absolutely furious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN: I continue to work and I‘m calling on the members of the state senate to show up and do the job that they‘re paid to do as well. On behalf of the people who pay their salaries, show up to work. They get paid to come to work and they should be coming to work. You can‘t have conversations if you‘re not at work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Walker is acting like a typical schoolyard bully. The Tea Partying governor is upset because Democrats exercised their constitutional right to protest. The “Wisconsin 14” isn‘t responding to Walker‘s threats. They‘re standing with a different group of passionate people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘ve been a Wisconsinite all my life and I feel Walker is taking away all of my rights.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My health care benefits are getting cut, my money is getting cut, how am I going to pay my bills?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the workers in this state and across this country that have fought for years for the right to collective bargain, they work hard. We are Americans. There is no difference between public and private. We‘re here to say to everyone in this country that if you go out and you work hard and you‘ve earned your pay, you deserve a little bit back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Those people aren‘t asking for more money. They‘re not greedy. They‘re not screaming to get more benefits.
They‘re fighting to hold what they have earned. They‘re fighting to hold on to the American dream. The protesters just want fairness. They want the right to negotiate, the right to hang on to their hard-earned money.
No matter what you hear, folks, this state is not broke. That‘s a myth.
And the public workers should not have to pay for Governor Walker‘s phony crisis.
The attack on labor is years in the making and these people will be the next—the victims if Walker gets his way.
Look at this crowd. Look at this crowd. This is as American as it gets. This is democracy.
This isn‘t Cairo. We‘ve been doing this for over 230 years. This isn‘t Cairo. This is America.
Everyone from the Catholic Church to gay rights organizations are banding together. These are professional people who just want a little respect—teachers, students, law enforcement officials, firefighters, union brothers and sisters from all over the state. It‘s just not Madison, it‘s just not the university, it is middle class workers all over this state standing up for all Americans.
I‘ll say it again, where are you, Mr. President? These people need you to stand shoulder to shoulder with them tonight.
Some members of the United States Senate are starting to show some leadership. On this issue, Dick Durbin released this statement late this afternoon: “Wisconsin‘s teachers and state workers should not be badgered by a governor who refuses to sit down and work out a fair compromise. This time around, this Chicago Bears fan is rooting for the Wisconsin workers that it has.”
This is what we need from the president of the United States. This is what these workers want to hear.
Now, the president did make the statement yesterday, but it was interpreted by many that he left the door open for these cuts. No. There should be no cuts for these middle class workers whatsoever. This is where they are going to draw the line and say no. And that‘s why those 14 Democrats left this state to stand up for these Americans.
Democrats are starting the good fight as these 14 state senators who showed solidarity and leadership with this crowd, they are leading the way.
The right-wing media is trying to vilify the Wisconsin 14 as criminals. In fact, Governor Walker is over on fox beating them up right now. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and that nutjob Beck are calling this crowd—you‘re being called, by the way—you‘re being called freeloaders.
SCHULTZ: You‘re being called un-American.
The only radicals in this state are the heartless Republicans and their new attack dog, Governor Scott Walker.
I am not going to let this story go. We‘re going to be back here tomorrow night. This is the biggest story in America if you‘re a wage earner.
There‘s no bigger story. This is ground story—ground zero for every single American worker. And these people in this state need to be heard.
I went into the capitol tonight, and the first lady I talked to was a teacher and she started to cry before she could even say anything to me.
I had a firefighter grab my hand tonight—a big firefighter, a hard-working guy. He grabbed my hand and almost crushed it because he wanted to get my attention. And he came this close to me, and he said, “Ed, this isn‘t fair. We‘re Americans. This isn‘t what our government is supposed to do to American citizens.”
The passion here in Madison really has a chance to re-invigorate, re-ignite, jump-start—whatever term you want to use—to begin a rebirth of the liberal—and I‘m going to use that word—liberal, because liberals fight for workers. Liberals fight for middle class Americans.
SCHULTZ: Liberals fight tooth and nail legislatively by the rules, by protests, by peaceful protests. This is how liberals do it. They don‘t do it with fake rhetoric. They don‘t do it by being phonies. They don‘t do it by taking money from two brothers that want to see this country go hard right. These are hard-working Americans that are being wronged by a governor, being wronged by a legislative session, being wronged by an agenda that is going to hurt this state and hurt this country for years!
I will never forget that handshake that I got from that firefighter tonight. And I wish every American could be here in Madison.
Get your cell phones out, folks. I want to know what you think about this story tonight. Tonight‘s text question: Are Wisconsin Democrats doing their job by refusing to vote? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Now, joining me now from an undisclosed location is Wisconsin State Senators Frank Risser and Mark Miller and nine other Democratic state senators who are standing up in solidarity for the workers of Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: Ladies and gentlemen, at your undisclosed location, may I say that this crowd is behind you 100 percent and I get a sense that wage earners across this state think you did exactly the right thing today by not caving into this governor and standing your ground.
I want to introduce this country to a gentleman named Frank Risser. He is the longest-serving legislator in the United States of America. He was here back in 1956 when they passed collective bargaining.
Mr. Risser, great to have you with us tonight.
I want you to give us your thoughts at this hour as you see this unfold, Fred.
STATE SENATOR FRED RISSER (D), WISCONSIN: Thanks, Ed.
You know, Wisconsin‘s a great state. We‘ve got a great liberal tradition of service by our state and public employees. You know, we were the first state to adopt and implement social security back in the early 1900s. We were one of the first states to adopt and implement collective bargaining for state employees back in the 1950s. And I was happy to be part of that program.
We‘re here today to slow down the steamrolling process that our young governor has adopted. He‘s attempting in five days to eliminate and do away with what the state has accomplished in 50 to 100 years. What we‘re going to do is we‘re going to slow this process down. We‘re going to give the people of this state an opportunity to talk to their representatives, to talk to the executives, to let the public know what they feel about it, and to slow up what this outrageous, dictatorial, new governor is doing to us.
SCHULTZ: Senator Fred Risser, what is it going to take to have you come back with your fellow senators? Are you coming back tomorrow?
RISSER: I doubt that we‘ll be back tomorrow. But we‘ll be back some time on the—after we have given the people an opportunity to make known their feelings to their various legislators and to the state. Our effort here is to give the people a chance to be heard. The governor, as I say, in less than five days, he‘s attempted to run through and eliminate what has been put together in 50 to 100 years.
SCHULTZ: Senator Mark Miller, I would like to ask you tonight, what do the Democrats want?
SCHULTZ: What are you willing to accomplish with this governor, if anything, at this point?
STATE SENATOR MARK MILLER (D), WISCONSIN: Ed, you are there in Madison, Wisconsin. We wish we were there with all those people who are demonstrating for what they want their governor and their elected representatives to do.
But they‘re not being heard. Tens of thousands of Wisconsinites—good, solid, hard-working Wisconsinites—are demonstrating just to be heard and they are not being heard.
We are—we have left to let them know that we hear them. We hear them and we want them to make their voices loud and clear so that others who are in a position to vote on this and make a difference will hear them also. It is—
SCHULTZ: Senator Miller, may I ask, directly, have the 14 colleagues
you and your 13 colleagues, have you determined what it‘s going to take for you to come back and get to work? What bar has to be met for you? What criteria that as to be met for you folks to come back?
MILLER: You know, Ed, it‘s not useful to negotiate and set those things out in the press because that‘s not the way you get things done. Negotiations take place across the table with people talking face to face, and that‘s what the governor has not done, but that‘s what we intend to do with the governor.
SCHULTZ: Senator Fred Risser, how would you describe Governor Walker?
RISSER: Well, the governor has been governor for less than two months and, already, he has tried to take away a lot of the prerogatives of the legislature. In fact, earlier this week, he decided to take over the rules-making process and take it away from the legislature. Now, he‘s attempting to take away from the legislature not only the collective bargaining rights, but he‘s taking away rights for some of our elderly and our Medicaid program.
And he‘s doing it by himself. I don‘t know why some of his own party doesn‘t slow him up, but we‘re going to do everything we can.
MILLER: Ed, in Wisconsin, we‘re a hard-working, common sense people. We come from solid, working class stock—people who broke the sod and made Wisconsin what it is today. We‘re not extraordinary except in the fact that we raise our families and work extraordinarily hard. We‘re known for our work ethic.
And it‘s—and we are known for the fact that we have figured out how to resolve workplace issues. We have the place—we have the procedures in place to be able to work these things out so that we have labor piece. The governor—
SCHULTZ: Senator Miller—Senator Miller, is there a budget crisis in Wisconsin? Yes or no?
MILLER: No, there‘s no budget crisis in Wisconsin. We had—two years ago, we had a much worse crisis.
SCHULTZ: And do you believe, Fred—do you believe, Fred, that this is part of a bigger plan to take down unions and organized labor and collective bargaining in America?
RISSER: There‘s no doubt about it. He has introduced a bill, and he says it‘s to correct a deficit that doesn‘t exist. But in the bill, he spent most of his time trying to gut collective bargaining, for not only state employees, but for all municipal employees, for teachers, for everyone. And it‘s just part of his plan to gut—to gut the rights of our working middle class.
SCHULTZ: Senators Fred Risser and Mark Miller and other courageous Democratic state senators gathered there tonight—I want to thank both of you. You‘re courageous. The nation is watching you. This is an attack on labor and the ground zero, I think in the minds and opinions of many Americans, is here in Wisconsin. Keep up the great work.
Remember to answer tonight‘s text question there at the bottom of the screen. I want to know what you think.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Who‘s really behind all this? Not just Wisconsin Republicans, it‘s the Koch brothers, too. We‘ve got the smoking gun.
And it‘s not just happening here. Public workers in Ohio are fighting back, too, against a Republican governor who talks about them like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH ®, OHIO: He‘s an idiot!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: In tonight‘s “Takedown”: Republican revisionism, Wisconsin style.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It‘s actually borderline going to get violent.
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: Riot on the streets.
REP. PAUL RYAN ®, WISCONSIN: It‘s like Cairo has moved to Madison these days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: From Madison, Wisconsin, this is THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz.
And right here, middle class Americans, everyday workers, are standing up for their livelihoods and for their rights. The battle isn‘t just between workers and the Wisconsin governor. It‘s between regular people and the moneyed interests in this country. We have the story.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, live from Madison, Wisconsin.
No, the Badgers aren‘t playing tonight. It‘s a heck of a lot more serious than that.
Folks, if you think this plan to destroy union labor is something Governor Scott Walker thought up all by himself, you are sadly mistaken. And we have the proof. Before these protesters made their way to the capital, conservative political action groups started spending money to actually keep them away. The anti-tax group, Club for Growth, paid for this television ad last Friday, smearing the labor unions here in Wisconsin.
And when the labor supporters still showed up in force, these anti-labor groups tried to get their people to shut down the protesters. THE ED SHOW obtained in an e-mail from the Club for Growth Wisconsin sent out to its members on Monday. It read, “Your immediate action is need for the governor‘s plan to pass this legislature this week.” Americans from Prosperity and Wisconsin Club for Growth are providing buses from various locations.
You may recognize Americans for Prosperity. That‘s a Tea Party front group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers.
As for the Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of their main organizers is R.J. Johnson. And you may wonder, well, who the heck is R.J. Johnson? Well, according to the “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,” quote, “A key adviser for the Club for Growth is R.J. Johnson, who also worked as a political strategist for Governor Walker‘s campaign.”
So, in the face of a grassroots labor movement, millionaires and billionaires are doing the governor‘s dirty work for him. This isn‘t Governor Walker all by himself. And Walker says the unions are being unfair.
Joining me here in Madison tonight is John Nichols, political reporter for “The Nation” magazine.
John, great to be with you. Brother, you have done the job for the American people.
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Thank you. Thank you. I want to tell you, Ed, thanks for covering this story. You were on it before anyone else.
SCHULTZ: Well, this is America. This is—this is middle class America. This is what THE ED SHOW has always been about.
And I knew when I started my national radio show seven years ago that this moment, this fight was coming for America. The attack on the middle class started about 20, 25 years ago. It hit a fever pitch during the Bush years, but now, we‘re really feeling it on the kitchen tables of American workers.
NICHOLS: And, Ed, if I can just say to you, with their free trade deals, they came for the private sector. These very same people, the exact same people by name who came for the private sector with their free trade deals are now coming for the public sector with their hits on pensions and benefits.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s talk about the Koch brothers, these groups that we talked about. How big of an influence are these outside groups in this dispute in Wisconsin?
NICHOLS: Well, they‘re the definitional players, in a sense. Or at least they were the definitional players. I‘ve known Scott Walker for 20 years. I‘ve known him very, very well. His dad pastored my in-law‘s church down in Wausau, Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: Is this who he is?
NICHOLS: This is not who Scott Walker is. Scott Walker was a mainstream Republican for a long time. He‘s a conservative, no doubt about it.
SCHULTZ: What turned him radical?
NICHOLS: I think what‘s happened is that there is a national—not national—I should say “I think,” I know. There is a national strategy to get these newly-elected Republican governors for political reasons to destroy the labor unions, which are the only forces that can talk back in a Citizens United case.
SCHULTZ: So, you‘ve known this man on the screen for over 20 years and you say that this is not Scott Walker. He, in a sense, is a puppet to the big boys trying to kill labor in this country?
NICHOLS: I‘m embarrassed to say that for Wisconsinites because we‘re not a puppet state. But the fact of the matter is what he is doing is the dirty work of Washington think tanks and hedge fund managers who fund groups like the Club for Growth.
SCHULTZ: Is this onslaught of money going to be in other states on local and state issues?
NICHOLS: Absolutely. Look, the Citizens United ruling, which allowed corporations and their allies, the wealthy to spend whatever they want on politics, has freed them up to do a lot. But they‘re determined to take down the labor unions, because labor unions can coordinate and campaign and push back with people power.
So, the fact is, you will see this nationally. And people should be aware that literally within minutes of Scott Walker making his announcement, the TV ads went up. This is a coordinated strategy, not just in Wisconsin, but for the whole country.
SCHULTZ: Was it a predicted political move for those senators to walk out today and not give the governor the vote?
NICHOLS: It was not. Look, the fact of the matter is—
SCHULTZ: Why did they do it?
NICHOLS: They looked out the window of the capitol, Ed, and they saw these crowds. One of the senators said to me, “I had to decide, was I going to play the game we always have, or was I going to go with the people?”
SCHULTZ: And where do we go from here? Where does this story go from here?
NICHOLS: Well, this story will keep playing out here in Wisconsin. There are moderate Republicans who have been resistant to this. The question is if three Republicans say they want to compromise, we can change this deal.
SCHULTZ: How solid is the reporting tonight that there are two Republicans that are wavering on this?
NICHOLS: There‘s no question. Two Republicans came forward with an alternative plan that would have been protected collective bargaining rights. Now, they still need one more, but the fact of the matter is, this can be worked out. If Scott Walker just stops listening to the folks in Washington and New York, the hedge fund managers, the billionaires, and starts listening to Wisconsinites, we can get a deal.
SCHULTZ: I talked to Harold Schaitberger tonight, the president of the International Firefighters Association, they‘re not a part of it. This is total solidarity. They had been cut a deal or been promised protections by Governor Walker, but they are here in full solidarity.
They are saying this is coming on fast and furious with all the different states that are doing anti-labor law legislation and they‘re almost overwhelmed be by it. Is this the theme for 2012?
NICHOLS: It sure should be, Ed. And, you know, we talked last night about President Obama. You know, President Obama says nice things about labor. But he has to get stronger on this. Democrats in general have to get stronger on that theme.
SCHULTZ: And Dick Durbin from Illinois did get strong today. These senators went to Illinois. He quickly made a statement.
SCHULTZ: I think that‘s what the Democratic leadership has got to be.
John Nichols, great work.
NICHOLS: Thank you, Brother. Good to be with you.
SCHULTZ: John Nichols of “The Nation” with us here tonight.
I went to the heart of the protests today and talked to the workers who have been in the capitol for the past three days.
But, coming up next, the right wing is lying about what‘s going on here in Madison, Wisconsin. They‘re talking about riots and violence.
Stay with us for “The Takedown.”
SCHULTZ: You are looking live at a wonderful crowd here in Madison, Wisconsin, on THE ED SHOW here on MSNBC. It‘s the fight for American workers. Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for joining us tonight.
There‘s been a lot of mischaracterizations, I think, about this crowd, about this protest. And Representative Paul Ryan served up one of them this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN ®, WISCONSIN: He‘s basically saying, I want you public workers to pay half of what our private sector counterparts are, and he‘s getting, you know, riots. It‘s like Cairo has moved to Madison these days.
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You are about to see this president start embracing the uprisings in this country. You will see him say, with these riots on the streets or these marches. You will see him say it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chanting kill the bill, recall Walker. It‘s actually borderline going to get violent, it sounds like.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: If this brave Republican governor can stand up to the immense amount of power and thuggery, essentially by these unions, it bodes very well for other states.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That is all hogwash, folks. Time for the Takedown. And we‘re taking issue with Congressman Paul Ryan‘s lies about his neighbors here in Wisconsin.
Here‘s the truth about the public employees in this state, my friends:
they make 4.8 percent less in total compensation than private sector workers with similar jobs. You get that, congressman? Fifty nine percent of full-time Wisconsin public sector workers are four-year college graduates, but they make 25 percent less, on average, than their private sector counterparts.
So Paul Ryan lied about how much these employees make. And he doesn‘t have any problem lying about how they behave. Just look at all of this violence. I mean, look at this violence! I mean, can you believe that I‘m actually here tonight! There‘s just so much violence?
I mean, I don‘t know where there‘s a safe place in Madison, Wisconsin, with all this rioting that‘s going on. I mean, look at these thugs! Look how dangerous these schoolteachers are! Look how dangerous these nurses are!
The right wing conservative broadcasters in this country, followed by congressmen like Paul Ryan, are insulting these Americans who are doing it orderly, peacefully, properly, and doing the American thing.
You know what, somebody should be checking with the police department to see how they‘re dealing with all these crazy folks out here, huh? Madison police spokesman Joel Despain said, “we want to thank the protesters for their decorum and would urge everyone to continue to remain peaceful.”
And they have. Maybe Paul Ryan‘s been in Washington too long. Maybe he‘s out of touch. Maybe he listens to the Beckster too much. That might explain why he thinks his fellow Wisconsinites are rioters.
Come back to Wisconsin, Paul, and get your facts straight on the plane ride out here. That‘s the Takedown.
And this just in, Nancy Pelosi just Tweeted me here on THE ED SHOW, and she says to me, “I stand with the students and workers of Wisconsin. Impressive show of democracy in action.”
See all these people behind me? They‘ve all got a story. It‘s the American story, working hard, playing by the rules, but now coming under attack. And these people are fighting back.
We‘ll meet with them next right here on THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW in Madison, Wisconsin. “Illinois middle class backs this PAC.” Where was that other sign that I saw? There was another sign here. “Wake Up, America. Thank you, Ed Schultz, 2012.” I‘m not running. No, that‘s not going to happen. Where you from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New Lennox, Illinois.
SCHULTZ: Why you hear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand up for the middle class, not just in Wisconsin, but Illinois and all through America.
SCHULTZ: Are you going to succeed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we are. Absolutely.
SCHULTZ: What do you think of the Republicans and what they‘re doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m very disappointed with what they‘ve done to us. This is unthinkable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
SCHULTZ: You‘re feeling about this crowd, how long will this last?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until it‘s over. Until they repeal the bill or throw it out or amend it or give us our rights back.
SCHULTZ: You won‘t give up?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.
SCHULTZ: Why are you here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m here for the kids I teach that are here.
SCHULTZ: Where do you teach?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I teach at East High School. I teach math here on East Washington Avenue. Two miles up the road that way.
SCHULTZ: How do you feel about not being in school and being here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I miss my kids at school. But I am so proud of them and they‘re getting a bigger lesson right here, right now than we could ever teach.
SCHULTZ: Do you have to do this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to.
SCHULTZ: Why are you here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m here to support my teachers like Miss Paulson and support every union worker.
SCHULTZ: How old are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m 17.
SCHULTZ: Do you understand—conservative broadcasters in this country have vilified teenagers, saying you don‘t know what‘s going on. What do you say to that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I say that‘s BS because I know exactly what‘s going on and I know --
SCHULTZ: Do you think she knows what‘s going on?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she knows exactly what‘s going on.
SCHULTZ: She said that you know what‘s going on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think everyone here knows what‘s going on.
SCHULTZ: Has it been fun doing this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it‘s a civic duty. I think everyone should be out here making their voices heard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is like the ‘60s all over again!
SCHULTZ: Tell me about the ‘60s.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only there‘s more diversity in this crowd than there was in the ‘60s.
SCHULTZ: Are you proud of these people?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very much so.
SCHULTZ: How do you feel?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel great! We‘re making history. We‘re making change. It‘s necessary.
SCHULTZ: What do you think will happen? Do you think the Democrats will come back and win this battle with the governor?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. We don‘t quit. We do not quit.
SCHULTZ: You won‘t quit?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We won‘t quit.
SCHULTZ: So this is going to go on just like it went on in other parts of the world when people wanted political resolve?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe so.
SCHULTZ: How do you feel about this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel excellent about it. I‘m out here supporting my teachers. I‘ll tell you something, I hated school, but I love my teachers. So I‘ve got to be here for them.
SCHULTZ: It‘s a lot of young people here. A great cross section—
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course! And we know what we‘re doing.
You know, this is America right here. This is America. These are firefighters. These are nurses. These are teachers. These are care givers.
This—how can any governor—how can any governor favor the wealthy and expect these people to pay more in this economy? How can you—how could you take away from people and expect a state to flourish?
You know what we need in this country? We need sacrifice by those who have gotten all the breaks in the last ten years in this country. We‘ve taken it all from these people. And these people are standing up for America.
And I think every working American respects what these people are doing and respects what those senators did today. They‘re not going to cave into the right wing. They‘re not going to cave into a radical agenda.
And I am so proud to be here as a broadcaster tonight, because this is what you don‘t see in mainstream American media.
SCHULTZ: From capital grounds in Madison, Wisconsin, it is THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. This is Wisconsin, but there is another story developing in Ohio. Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich is trying to pull the same stuff as Scott Walker is doing in his state. Last month, he had this to say about a law enforcement officer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH ®, OHIO: Think about this, have you ever been stopped by a policeman who was an idiot? I have this idiot pull me over on 315. Goes back to the car, comes back, gives me a ticket and says you must report to court. If you don‘t report to court, we‘re putting a warrant out for your arrest.
He‘s an idiot!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But he only apologized for his remarks today, after someone posted them on Youtube. The contempt, the utter contempt for public servants is absolutely obvious. And it comes just as Ohio workers are fighting the same battle Wisconsin is fighting.
Governor Kasich and Republican legislators are trying to deprive workers of their right to organize. But just like in Wisconsin, Ohio workers are fighting back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Kill the bill!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We work hard to help the community. Our goal is to be strong and to be well. It‘s only fair to collective bargain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Let‘s go now to Ohio, where State Senator Joe Schiavoni is fighting the same battle Wisconsin Democrats are fighting. Senator, good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
Have you guys been watching what is unfolding here in Wisconsin this week?
JOE SCHIAVONI, OHIO STATE SENATOR: Absolutely, Ed. We‘re getting the same thing over here in Ohio. We‘ve had hard work, proud police, fire, bus drivers, teachers, and all other state employees doing the same thing here at the statehouse.
We also had a handful of Tea Partiers as well.
SCHULTZ: Did you think it was going to be this intense? Did you think that the Republican agenda of these Republican governors was going to be so coordinated and just so determined?
SCHIAVONI: Well, you know, they took over power, and they want to move their agendas. But it‘s not going to be that easy, because we have people that are down here in full force, not only from my area up in northeast Ohio, the Youngstown area, but throughout the state.
And people came in today and they were very reasonable, and they were just trying to explain, hey, we don‘t want anymore money. We‘ve already taken concessions. We just want our job, so that we can adequately pay for our household and send our kids to school and put food on the table.
They weren‘t asking for anything else. And that was their main concern. Every single person I talked to said, Joe, we just want to keep our jobs. That‘s it.
SCHULTZ: Do you think what the state senators here in Wisconsin did was the right thing to do? What‘s your opinion of it? And do you think it would ever unfold the same way in Ohio?
SCHIAVONI: Well, I think in Wisconsin, it‘s a little bit different of
a situation, because by them walking out, they didn‘t have a quorum to
vote. We‘re so deep in the minority here, it‘s 23 to 10, that our walkout
they could still have a vote and move forward with the bill.
But it‘s not going to be as easy as they thought here, because, you know, everybody has police, fire, teachers, bus drivers, any kind of state employees in their district. And they were down here in full force today. And I think they‘re going to have a hard time voting for the bill in its current form.
They want to take away all collective bargaining rights from state employees.
SCHULTZ: Senator, what happens if the Republicans win in your state and win here in Wisconsin?
SCHIAVONI: Oh, I think it will end up on the ballot. And it will be a ballot initiative. We‘ll get the signatures. And we‘ll fight it that way. There is no way that I‘m going to let the people in my district—you know, we‘re going to put every single ounce of energy we have together. I mean, we‘re traveling around the state. All the senators are going around the state, talking to people.
On Monday, I‘m going to have an event in Youngstown. We‘re hoping to have thousands of people up there. I would love if you‘d come make a little road trip and come visit us up there.
SCHULTZ: Well, I‘m more concerned, quickly here, with your thoughts about Governor Kasich. Did you think he was going to be this aggressive and this radical against labor?
SCHIAVONI: I did. I mean, he said it right in his campaign. He said right off the bat that—he said things like, if you strike, you‘re fired, get on the bus or we‘re going to run you over.
And he talked about all of these things throughout the campaign. And I don‘t know why people are shocked now. I know some people—we get a lot of people in my office, people saying, I‘m a Republican and I‘m ashamed -- or I‘m a Democrat that voted for John Kasich; I‘m ashamed of myself for what I did because of what‘s going on now.
SCHULTZ: Ohio State Senator Joe Schiavoni, thank you for your time tonight. Keep up the fight.
When we come back, my final thoughts on American history in the making tonight here in Madison, Wisconsin. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Amazing, the emotion, the passion, the enthusiasm, the love, the love of neighbor, the love of community, and the determination.
Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. We have been really on top of this story all week long, on the front lines of the Republican agenda that has really been going after the middle class in America.
We led with this story on Wisconsin on Monday night here on THE ED SHOW. And no one else was talking about it. We led with this story on Wisconsin Tuesday night when nobody was talking about it. We did the same thing on Wednesday night when everybody finally caught up with it.
And here we are today. Because this is not about Wisconsin. This is about our country, our future. Tonight, I went into the heart of the protest and talked to the people who have been here at the capitol for three days.
SCHULTZ: Tell me why you‘re here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m here because I value what I do. I‘ve been teaching over 25 years, and I deserve respect for what I do. And I don‘t deserve to have my rights taken away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walker wants to take away my rights and everybody else‘s rights. And I just won‘t let that happen.
SCHULTZ: A threat to your voice?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it is. I believe it is.
SCHULTZ: Is it worth the fight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
SCHULTZ: What‘s your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lauren.
SCHULTZ: Lori, why are you here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to support all my teachers, because I like them a lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not just teachers but firefighters and police officials and municipality workers, and all those folks coming out with a common voice to say, you know what, this is not—this is not about budgets. This is political payback. And we‘re here to say, you know what, that type of stuff‘s got to stop.
SCHULTZ: If you had a chance to talk to Governor Walker face-to-face, what would you say?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would ask him, what is he trying to really do? Because it is not about balancing the budget. It is not about closing a deficit. It is about destroying what we have done and busting unions. And that is not right.
SCHULTZ: How long are you prepared to do this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I‘m going to be here all night. And I‘m not going to go back—
SCHULTZ: But what about tomorrow and what about next week?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m not going to leave until this is done.
CROWD: Thank you, Ed! Thank you, Ed! Thank you, Ed! Thank you, Ed!
Thank you, Ed!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: It has been a day where I have seen a wild range of emotions from people here in the heartland, people who only want the basics. They want a chance. They want a chance to talk to people who have got more power than they have.
They want to talk to people about what they want and what they want to work for in America. I‘m going to have a lot more to say about this in the coming days, because it‘s not just Wisconsin. It‘s all over the country.
It‘s two Americas that are developing before our eyes. It‘s the two-class system. Do we have a middle class in America anymore? Do they have a chance?
And this is a real challenge, I think, for the progressive movement and the Democratic party in this country to redefine themselves. Do they stand with these people or do they play politics in Washington and just do the same old stuff?
Tonight, in our tech survey, I asked you, are Wisconsin Democrats doing their job by refusing to vote? Ninety one percent of you said yes; nine percent of you said no. That‘s THE ED SHOW from Madison, Wisconsin. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, we‘d like to direct you to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.
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