Guests: Chris Larson, Craig Fry, Nina Turner, Steven Janus, Paul Rausch,
Tracy Radich, John Nichols, Laura Flanders
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
This is what‘s on the table tonight:
You‘ll remember these folks, the Wisconsin 14, the Hoosier 37 --
Democratic lawmakers trying to desperately stop a radical Republican agenda that is now viral, and in Ohio and in New Jersey. Yes. It‘s national.
Governor Scott Walker is a slick political opportunist getting a national reputation on the backs of wage earners. But he‘s got his facts wrong and I‘ll prove it.
And Glenn Beck could fix this entire mess in a hurry according to a congresswoman from Minnesota who represents the Tea Party. That‘s in “The Takedown” tonight.
I have a special commentary for the folks of Wisconsin. Way to go.
This is the story that has fired up first tonight: Republicans are pulling out all stops to fundamentally change your earning potential in America. It‘s all about them.
What we‘ve watched unfold in Wisconsin is much bigger than a union story. You got governors like Scott Walker and John Kasich and Chris Christie. They have put the 30-year Republican attack plan against American wage earners—I guess you could say—on steroids. They won‘t stop.
The battle lines have been drawn clearly in the state of Wisconsin. Tonight, Governor Scott Walker laid down this threat in a statewide address earlier this evening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN: I am asking the missing senators to come back to work. Do the job you were elected to do. You don‘t have to like the outcome or even the vote, but as part of the world‘s greatest democracy, you should be here in Madison, right here in this capitol.
The missing Senate Democrats must know that their failure to come to work will lead to dire consequences very soon. Failure to act on this budget repair bill means at least 1,500 state employees will be laid off before the end of June. If there‘s no agreement by July 1st, another 5,000 to 6,000 state workers, as well as 5,000 to 6,000 local government employees, would also be laid off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Nothing heavy-handed about that. Governor Walker, let me tell you some, folks, he‘s never going to back down and negotiate a deal with the Wisconsin 14.
Walker‘s “my way or the highway” style has infected Republican governors, I guess, all over America. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who quarterbacks a lot of this, has a Democratic revolt of his own on his hands. The Republicans in the Indiana House are pushing a bill to destroy rights for public employees.
Republicans control 60 seats in their statehouse and only three of the 40 Democrats showed up to vote today. The Hoosier 37 are on the lam and headed for state lines. The same way the Wisconsin 14 did last week.
Late this afternoon, Daniels tried to bring the lawmakers back by saying now is not the time for the “right to work” bill. He went on to say, “I‘m not going to divert a single trooper from their job of protecting the Indiana public. I choose to believe our friends in the minority having made their point will come back and do their duty.”
Do you trust Daniels?
Daniels is the same guy who stripped collective bargaining from his state back in 2005. We will ask some of the Indiana Democrats if they trust him this time in just a few moments.
Former FOX News host and current governor of Ohio, John Kasich, is following the Walker playbook. You see, I call it the Walker playbook because he seems to be a little more aggressive that Christie. Ten thousand protesters were temporarily locked out of the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, today. Eventually, about 1,000 were let in to protest a bill that would eventually end collective bargaining for state employees and hammer rights for local workers.
So, Ohio Democrats can‘t do anything to stop Kasich and his cronies. In Ohio, you see any bill only requires just a simple majority. And Republicans have the numbers. They hold 59 of the 99 House seats and 23 of the Senate‘s 33 seats.
Now, over in New Jersey, Chris Christie introduced his new budget today. He says New Jersey has a—has to face—I‘ve heard this somewhere before. Where have I heard this? They have to face a new normal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ®, NEW JERSEY: We must continue to cut government spending to restore a chance of prosperity for New Jersey‘s families. But as a result of the decisions we started a year ago, we have changed the paradigm. We have established a new normal. In the new normal, we will shape the budget to make it more sustainable each year and address priorities that will make New Jersey more successful each year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Christie hasn‘t asked rich people in this state to face any kind of a new normal. But his new budget would force public employees to more than triple their health care contributions from 8 percent to 30 percent. Sound fair to you?
Christie loves to bully the working class because he thinks it inspires other radical governors to do their dirty work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: As I promised last year, if we did the hard things, New Jersey would be a leader in our nation for fiscal discipline. This year, look at how other states are following New Jersey. In Wisconsin and Ohio, they have decided there can no longer be two classes of citizens, one that receives rich health and pension benefits and all the rest who are left to pay for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Rich health and pension benefits? Now, clearly, you have to admit there is a little national envy going on here, isn‘t there? Well, it really started in New Jersey and now other states are doing it.
Christie thinks—look at this—he thinks if you‘re a teacher, if you‘re a police officer, or a firefighter, damn it, you‘re rich. But if you‘re a millionaire hedge fund manager, heck, we‘re not going to get any money out of you. You ought to keep every single dime in your pocket. That‘s Christie‘s new normal.
Wake up, America. This is what the Republicans are all about. This coordinated attack on labor is really about everybody who picks up a paycheck. And it isn‘t just about the top 2 percent getting scot-free. It‘s what they want to do.
These Republican governors want to join the other two 22 right-to-work states in America.
Now, hold it right there—right to work. You might be wondering, what does that mean? Right to work means employers have the right to fire without reason. It means corporations have the rights to have, and the workers really don‘t have any of the rights. It‘s all the power in the workplace.
It also means that the right to work for less. That‘s right. You see, if you‘re not together as a group saying, hey, you know we‘re really worth this much, what do you think wages are going to do in America? That the average worker in a right-to-work state makes about $5,333 a year less than workers in other states. That‘s not just union workers. That‘s everyone who picks up a paycheck.
Last fall, we had a huge conversation, did we not, in this country about the rich? Because they are the job creators—remember those Republican sound bites? This is not a time to raise taxes on people who have the money because they‘re the ones that go out and create the jobs.
Now, the same Republicans want to take $5,000 out of the wage earners‘ pockets as if that‘s not going to hurt the economy.
Let‘s talk about new normal. Here‘s what collective bargaining has delivered for American workers. And I love the fact that we‘re having this national conversation. Collective bargaining has delivered a 40-hour work week, the right to have the weekend off, worker safety standards, health care, pensions—how about some vacation time? Oh, by the way, no minimum wage, right?
The new normal that Chris Christie in New Jersey is talking about is Republicans taking this country back to the 1800s. And, of course, the only thing stopping them are the brave public servants in Wisconsin who have had the guts to protest and they have ignited a firestorm across this country when it comes to us thinking about whether we care about workers in America.
I would like to say tonight to the people of Wisconsin—one week ago tonight, this show started this coverage. No one else in the media was talking about it. Now, you can‘t turn on cable TV and watch any show without hearing a conversation and somebody weigh in on unions, on workers rights, on budgets, on governors.
You know, but we haven‘t been leading any stories with just how good it is at the top 2 percent in America, have we? Well, we got to make sure we leave those people alone, I guess.
Wisconsinites, be so proud of what you have done. You have grabbed the national stage because you didn‘t give up. You have now got the governor sitting in the governor‘s mansion in Wisconsin wondering if, gosh, am I going to have to blink on this?
And you‘ve got other governors saying, well, let‘s just do it. Let‘s go after it. We probably won‘t get this kind of pushback in Wisconsin, and other states that they‘re seeing in Wisconsin.
I guess Wisconsinites have proven that you can make a difference if you don‘t give up. And nothing is lost until you do give up. Just remember that.
This is not only an attack on unions. This is an attack on every wage earner in this country. And it‘s an effort to concentrate the wealth.
Just look who is behind the governor of Wisconsin. It‘s the Koch brothers.
Is this the America you want your grand kids to grow up in? Limited opportunity, only a few people get all the opportunity that generations in the past used to see as their normal? Is this the new normal that you want -- the gutting of public education, the vilification of teachers in this country? Because oh, by the way they‘re overpaid and they have rich pensions? I mean, it‘s almost embarrassing if you know anything about how the teachers live in this country.
I won‘t give up this story if I run every viewer away from the 10:00 Eastern Time slot on MSNBC. I wrote two books on this. I talked about this back in 2004, and here we are in 2011 and it‘s finally arrived—a national conversation about how we value American workers, the middle class.
Gosh, I bet you could turn on the TV anywhere now and hear the word—the term “middle class.” Middle class. Middle class.
You don‘t hear the Republicans talking about it at all, because you see the middle class doesn‘t line their pockets. So, it‘s just easier to try to dominate them and manipulate them politically and that‘s exactly what they‘re trying to do.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight‘s text survey question is: Are GOP governors‘ actions against unions part of a strategy to undermine middle class? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
To look at this nationwide battle, let‘s bring in Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson, Indiana State Representative Craig Fry, and Ohio State Senator Nina Turner.
And let‘s begin with Senator Larson tonight.
Senator, Governor Walker says that if you don‘t come back, you‘re going to be responsible—you and your other 13 colleagues are going to be responsible for a bunch of people losing their jobs. What‘s your response to that?
STATE SEN. CHRIS LARSON (D), WISCONSIN: Right. Well, first of all, Ed, thank you very much for bringing attention to this back in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is a place where we started a lot of the labor movement and created a lot of workers‘ rights. Actually, we‘re celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Bay View massacre where people marched in order to gain the 40-hour week and gain the weekend. We‘re celebrating that in a couple months.
So, we really started things off back then and it looks like we‘re starting things off across the country now.
Walker‘s ploy where he is again trying to pit the middle class against itself by going after workers‘ rights has only united us like never before. People who are coming out—
SCHULTZ: OK. But he says, the governor—the governor says that you‘re going to be responsible for job losses if you don‘t go home. What‘s your response to that?
LARSON: Right. This is his choice. I mean, he—the only options that he‘s given us is he‘s either going to go after workers‘ rights or he‘s going to go after the workers themselves.
The real choice is saying, no, we don‘t need to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires. What we need to do is have everyone work together at the table and not stop—to stop pitting the middle class against itself. So, the answer is none of the above. The ball is in Walker‘s court at this point.
SCHULTZ: Representative Fry, do you trust Mitch Daniels when he says now is not the time to take right to work off the table? What do you make of this? Do you trust Governor Daniels in Indiana?
STATE REP. CRAIG FRY (D), INDIANA: Well, we have a group of Republicans in Indiana that are different than a lot of Republicans. They‘re radical. They‘re extreme.
When we ought to be concentrating on balancing the budget and taking care of 300,000 people out of work, we‘re fighting this fight. We ought to be concerned about a public education system and we have to care about the middle class workers.
SCHULTZ: You say they‘re radical and extreme in Indiana. Well, are they not that way in Wisconsin? I mean, this is the new Republican Party, isn‘t it, to attack workers?
FRY: Well, that‘s what‘s happening now. But when we talk about education in Indiana, we‘ve made great progress over the last 20 years, and not only are they trying to reform it in their terms but we see it as dismantling and killing our educational system in Indiana, and then they attack the working class. Because it‘s important to understand here that all these bills, we have about a dozen bills out there that are attacking the educational system—
FRY: -- and workers. It‘s tearing the guts out of it.
SCHULTZ: When will you return? When will you and your colleagues return?
FRY: Well, we‘re in caucus right now. We‘re going over about 150 amendments on the budget bill. That‘s the priority. And it‘s going to take us a few days, Ed.
SCHULTZ: OK. Senator Turner from Ohio—what are you going to do to stop collective bargaining from being butchered in your state? Because that clearly is what Governor Kasich wants to do.
STATE SEN. NINA TURNER (D), OHIO: Well, we are working very hard in the state of Ohio, Ed. And as you highlighted, folks or citizens of the state were locked out of the People‘s House. In Ohio, we call our state house the People‘s House and it‘s certainly unconscionable that they would be treated this way.
You know, this is an attack on middle class and working class families, our police officers, our teachers. They are our neighbors and our friends. And I thought—I never thought I would live to see the day that our state would declare war on its public sector employees. It is totally unconscionable.
And although my Republican colleagues here do not need the Democrats for a majority, certainly, we will continue to speak out and speak out loudly to shaken—to awaken the sleeping giants and be the moral consciousness of this state.
You know, a good friend of mine always says never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Well, the truth of the matter is it is unfair to lay the structural budget deficits in the state of Ohio at the feet of our public sector employees.
SCHULTZ: Well, they not only want to do that in the three states we‘re focusing on tonight, but in Ohio, they are determined to end collective bargaining. And how—how are you going to stop them from doing that if you don‘t have the numbers?
TURNER: Well, you know, Ed, if we don‘t have the numbers, we can put an initiative on the ballot and that will require us to go out and collect signatures and let the people, the citizens of the state of Ohio have the final say. You know, in a recent poll—
SCHULTZ: Are you prepared to do that?
TURNER: We are absolutely prepared to do that, Ed. And also, a recent poll in the state of Ohio shows that over 50 percent of the citizens in this state do not support eliminating collective bargaining in the state. So, this bill needs to be done away with. We need to go back to the table.
TURNER: Bring the entire—all stakeholders to the table and let‘s talk about what it means to balance the budget. Let‘s talk about what we need as a state, but never should we attack our public sector employees in this way.
SCHULTZ: Senator Turner, Senator Larson, and Representative Fry, I just want to tell the three of you that the country is watching Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio. And if you folks cave in to the right wing, it‘s going to be a hell of a lot easier for other state bodies to do the same thing. The country is watching this story—and if the Democrats can‘t fight for wage earners, where‘s the party? Where‘s the heart and the soul? And I think all of you can give me a little nod if you agree with me on that.
I mean, this is really about the heart and soul of the progressive movement and workers rights in this country and if we as a party, as a movement, as a philosophy of people and Americans, if we can‘t stand for this now, when is it going to happen? It might not.
Good luck to all of you and your caucuses and you stay where you have to stay. That‘s my advice.
Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen. I want to know what you think.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): On the front lines, workers caught in the middle. We‘ll talk to them about what they‘re fighting for and how their way of life is under attack.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we want?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we want?
SCHULTZ: In tonight‘s “Takedown,” one leader of the Tea Party in Congress says they have the answer to our nation‘s budget problems—Glenn Beck and his chalk boards? I‘ll take an eraser to that idea.
The false equivalency between the Tea Partiers and the workers protesting—one is fighting for their house, the other for their corporate overlords.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can‘t take people‘s rights away and expect them to just, you know, stand back forever.
SCHULTZ: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is still running fast and loose with the facts. We‘ll set him straight.
And next: real workers with families and bills and on a fixed income from Wisconsin and Indiana and Ohio. They are the ones being asked to sacrifice. So, we‘ll hear what they have to say tonight.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: Workers have rights. They have workers‘ rights and economic rights. Their rights in a democracy, that you are the last line of defense in a democracy. That workers have a right to organize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, I‘ve been wondering where the Democrats have been. That was Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich showing some passion last night in the state of Washington. Solidarity protests have been taking place from sea to shining sea since the attack on workers began in Wisconsin a couple weeks ago.
Workers were out in full force yesterday in Las Vegas. There were more protests today in Rhode Island, Vermont, Iowa, Michigan, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. In Boston today, hundreds, maybe thousands showed up at the statehouse to rally for Wisconsin workers.
They were even protesting across the street at FOX News. So, I took a camera over there this evening and we‘ll show you a little bit of that tape a little bit later in the broadcast.
But, first, I want to get back to the reason why all these people are rallying. It‘s what Congressman Kucinich was talking about. The rights of real people are at stake here in America right now.
Middle class Americans stand to lose money and their voices if these bills get passed in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio. And you can only wonder, is your state next?
Tomorrow night, so tonight I should say, here we go with Wisconsin:
Steve Janus, an employee of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. From Indiana, the union steelworker Paul Rausch; and in Ohio with us tonight, Tracy Radich, a sixth grade teacher.
Mr. Janus, let me ask you first. Well, we‘ll let me ask all three of you. Give me a show of hands if you agree with the legislation in your state. OK. I agree with you. I got no hand signs on this one at all.
Mr. Janus, what does this mean? What do you stand to lose?
SGT. STEVEN JANUS, WISCONSIN DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS: First of all, thank you, Ed, for having me on the show and giving all of Wisconsin‘s public employees a voice on your show. What we stand to lose is—
SCHULTZ: You deserve to tell the story, no question about it. I want to know, what do you stand to lose personally?
JANUS: Personally, we‘re going backwards in our health and benefits. We have made concessions in regards to our pension increases. We are paying additional increases for our pension. We are paying additional health insurance premiums. We‘ve never disagreed to pay those increases.
What we are basically losing is our collective rights on a local level across the state in every regard to how things are done in the workplace. It‘s not about wages. It‘s not about benefits. It‘s about how we get to speak with our management teams and all of our labor leaders.
SCHULTZ: Steve, there are reports out there that the national guard has toured the facility where you work at, the state prison facility. What do you know about that?
JANUS: I know that the National Guard is touring numerous facilities throughout the state in preparation for whatever Mr. Walker has in store. This was actually preplanned weeks ago for whatever reason. He saw this coming down the pike and we don‘t understand why, if he is going to—if he wants to talk about how to fix the budget, why did he talk to the National Guard first?
SCHULTZ: Paul Rausch is a steelworker from Indiana.
Mr. Rausch, you‘re in a private union. How would this proposed legislation in Indiana affect you?
PAUL RAUSCH, STEELWORKER: Ed, it would affect us in a great many ways. Me, personally, as a steelworker, I rely on my union to bargain for me at the collective bargaining table with my employer to get me a fair and honest contract. We do that through solidarity, through 100 percent participation, and with funding from our union dues.
What they‘re trying to do to us here in Indiana through this right-to-work legislation is basically offer current members or future employees who don‘t want to pay union dues for that representation to merely free load and that weakens my future, my future income, and my future benefits.
SCHULTZ: Tracy Radich is a sixth grade math teacher from Columbus, Ohio.
Governor Kasich wants to kill collective bargaining. Why do teachers need collective bargaining? Let me play devil‘s advocate here. Why do you need collective bargaining?
TRACY RADICH, OHIO MATH TEACHER: Because the union is the voice for the teachers and the teacher is the voice for the student. Who knows better what our students need in the classroom than a teacher? And in reality, whatever my working conditions are, those are my students‘ learning conditions. And we need the best conditions possible for those students.
SCHULTZ: OK. So, if this goes through, you think that something really bad will happen to education in Ohio?
RADICH: Oh, yes. This is the beginning of the destruction of public education in Ohio. This is a bill that makes a lot of things that we negotiate and talk about now and collaborate on illegal, and this will be devastating for education.
SCHULTZ: Can I ask you, Steven Janus, and actually all three of you -
do you see a separation in society taking place here when it comes to economics—the justice, injustice, the fairness in economics? What do you make of it? Steven, what do you think?
JANUS: Well, to be quite honest with you, I don‘t understand why our governor needs to come after the hardworking middle class Americans in this state. We‘ve made our concessions. We‘ve agreed to everything he‘s ever wanted in regards to what we need to do economically. He just simply wants to put it out there that he wants to destroy the unions and what he has to consider is—
SCHULTZ: Paul Rausch, do you think that‘s the situation in Indiana as well? It‘s all about breaking up the unions?
RAUSCH: Absolutely, Ed. I think it‘s the same agenda all across the country. The real goal here is to eliminate what has historically been and currently is probably one of the last remaining voices that‘s willing and able to speak truth to power. They‘re trying to—
SCHULTZ: Tracy, what are your fellow teachers saying? I mean, are they as passionate as the teachers in Wisconsin? I mean, I just came back from Wisconsin and these people are absolutely to their heart and soul. They are on fire for this issue.
How would you describe your fellow teachers in Ohio?
RADICH: Oh, they are absolutely on fire about this issue and they would like to be here in Columbus every day protesting, just like in Wisconsin. But, you know, they‘re back in the classrooms doing their job. Everybody is doing everything they can throughout the state of Ohio, contacting legislators and really fighting on this issue.
SCHULTZ: Steve Janus, Paul Rausch, Tracy Radich—thanks for joining us tonight.
JANUS: Can I ask you one more question?
SCHULTZ: Sure, Steve. Go ahead.
JANUS: Has anybody asked—has anybody Mr. Walker what is his intention with the National Guard? Everybody keeps avoiding that. Why is the National Guard being involved right now when he wants to discuss a budget bill?
SCHULTZ: Well, it is definitely out of their job description. I‘ll give you that. That‘s a story we can follow up on tomorrow.
JANUS: Yes, it is.
SCHULTZ: I find it very interesting. It has to be a coordinated effort. On one hand, he‘s telling the senators to come back and work and come to the table. But the fact of the matter is, he‘s got the National Guard out there inspecting job sites in case you folks are fired. It‘s amazing.
JANUS: Wisconsin leads the nation in the safest prison system and we are the model for everybody. So I sure hope that everybody takes a page out of all of this.
SCHULTZ: Three Americans that are not professional talking heads but have come out and spoken very well tonight about what real Americans are facing in our country. Thanks to all three of you.
The Tea Party protesters in Wisconsin are financed by people who aren‘t getting a cut in their take home pay. So no one should be equating them with the middle class workers whose income is about to drop.
Tea Party congresswoman thinks Glenn Beck should take a crack at this country‘s financial problems? Yeah, right. You know, since she is such a genius at the chalk board, Takedown is next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight. It‘s time for the Takedown. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann out of Minnesota gave the clearest indication yet that she is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Speaking to a group of 200 Republicans of South Carolina this weekend, Bachmann told them she was, quote, “all in for 2012.”
And then she gave us all a taste of what we can expect from her stump speeches when she does hit the campaign trail. On the national debt she says “when you add up the tax burden on today‘s kids—and I believe this is a low estimate—they are looking at, in their peak years, at having 70 percent of their income to pay their tax bill.”
Well, “the Washington Post” fact checked Bachmann‘s claims and concluded “the bottom line, when you get your calculator and add all of this up, total taxes of about 25 percent, rather than 75 percent in Bachmann‘s telling.”
Bachmann also said we have the highest corporate income tax rate in the world. Not so. According to both CNBC and the Tax Foundation, Japan, my friends, actually has the world‘s highest corporate tax rate.
But here is the big doozie in them all: Bachmann has a unique solution for balancing the federal budget. “We need to simply tell people the facts, like Glenn Beck with his chalkboard. That man can explain anything. I think we give Glenn Beck the numbers, he can solve this.”
Give Glenn Beck the numbers and he can solve this? Lady, Glenn Beck can‘t even spell on that chalkboard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: We were going to talk about these things. We were going to talk about Obama, the left, internationalists, graft, Acorn style organizations, revolution, and hidden agenda. O-L-I-G-A-R-H, one letter is missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You got it, big guy. Actually two letters are missing. You need a C and a Y if you want to spell oligarchy., but who cares about public education? But there you go, Michele. Looks like you found your new budget director.
That‘s the Takedown. She‘s been a first grade English teacher for 17 years. And we want you to meet her because she is what this Wisconsin story and the story across the country is all about.
But next, the governor who is eager to cut her pay. Stay with us.
We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight. Even before his so-called fireside chat earlier tonight, Governor Scott Walker was on a national media blitz that took him on Fox, ABC, CBS, and even here on MSNBC.
Here he was today on “MORNING JOE” saying no one has brought him any compromise deals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: Have union representatives told you that they‘re willing to concede on the pension issue and also on their health care issue? Is that off the table now as far as you are concerned?
GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN: They‘ve told the media that. They haven‘t told me that directly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But there is a reason no one has offered him a compromise directly. He won‘t let them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC ANALYST: With regard to the pension and health care give backs that we‘ve read about in the press, as we‘ve indicated, you just said that they have not told me that directly. Have you asked anyone directly to sit down with you and tell you that?
WALKER: No, and I have not.
WALKER: Because I‘m not negotiating over a budget.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Walker won‘t even listen to compromises coming from his own party. The conservative friendly “National Review” points out “Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz”—no relation—“a moderate Republican, is trying to craft a deal with the public sector unions that would temporarily eliminate collective bargaining. Governor Walker rejected the idea. No, he said. We can‘t do a short-term fix.”
His answer is no because Scott Walker is officially a political tool of the National Republican Party. He no longer serves his state. He is a media weasel of sorts, who has stacked his political opportunities on the backs of wage earners in his own back yard.
Let‘s bring in a man who knows Scott Walker well, John Nichols, Washington correspondent for “The Nation.”
John, good to have you with us tonight. He is threatening to get rid of workers, and he‘s giving dates of when it‘s going to happen. What do you make of Walker‘s threats of the layoffs? And what should the next move for the Democrats be?
JOHN NICHOLS, “THE NATION”: Well, this whole two-week period has been threat upon threat upon threat. And it‘s not particularly surprising that the governor would now go to that next stage, to claim that if the Democrats don‘t come back, they‘ll somehow be harming public workers.
The fact of the matter is, the governor says that he would start layoffs in June. That would seem to be—leave enough time to have a little bit of discussion. So I don‘t anticipate, having talked to some Democratic state senators just in the last few hours, that they‘re going to come high tailing it back here because Scott Walker says he is going to lay somebody off in June.
SCHULTZ: The polls are showing that people are not siding with the governor of Wisconsin. Public opinion on laws taking away collective bargaining power on public employee unions, 61 percent opposed, 33 percent are in favor. That‘s a “USA Today” poll.
And now he is on this media tour. He‘s on every show except this one, which is fine. What do you make of the media tour?
NICHOLS: Look, Scott Walker is clearly cornered. We talked about this on Friday night. This is somebody whose political aides—and remember, this bill was crafted by the political people, not the budget people. The budget people said that Wisconsin had a surplus in January. And moderates—you call him a moderate. He is actually very conservative. Dale Schultz, a state senator, has said this can be worked out.
The fact of the matter is the political people came in. They told Scott Walker that he‘d probably face one demonstration, a little bit of grumbling, and then this issue would go away.
SCHULTZ: So they misread it.
NICHOLS: And he‘d pass his bill. They dramatically misread it. And now Scott Walker is out on TV.
SCHULTZ: Can he back down? Will he back down, in your opinion?
NICHOLS: Well, I think that if Scott Walker listened even to the mainstream of his own Republican party in Wisconsin, he would back down. The problem is he is listening to national political advisers. He is listening to the right wing that‘s talking about him as the hottest player on the right.
“Human Events,” the conservative newspaper, refers to him as the new hero of the Republican right. He‘s starting to sound an awfully lot like somebody who is more interested in pushing aside Chris Christie and becoming Ann Coulter‘s favorite candidate for president, rather than doing good for the workers of Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: John Nichols, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
The Koch Brothers wanted a showdown with labor and they got it. When we come back, we made to order protesters versus the real protesters. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: They were one of the biggest contributors to Scott Walker‘s campaign in Wisconsin. So now the Koch brothers are making sure their investment pays off. Over the weekend, the billionaires put their Astroturf group Americans for Prosperity to work, and bussed in hundreds of Tea Partiers to Madison to do the bidding of corporate America. And yet some folks in the mainstream media are equating the workers in Wisconsin to Tea Partiers, calling them the Tea Party for the left?
They couldn‘t be further from the truth. Here‘s what the Tea Partiers have been rallying for: corporate profits, lower taxes for the rich. They want Wall Street deregulation, and they don‘t care if health insurance companies drop people. They call it a government takeover.
The folks in Wisconsin aren‘t fighting to get rich or on behalf of the rich. They are advocating for themselves and their families, not corporate America. They don‘t have a communications arm, except me, helping them along, which brings me to the folks across the street.
Glenn Beck is not too happy about workers fighting for their rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Protests become contagious. Can you deny this anymore? They‘ll cascade. They will sweep the Middle East. And they will begin to destabilize Europe and the rest of the world.
Tell me what the hell Madison is. Show that picture up in front of New York right now. Tell me what this is. What the hell is this? What is it? It‘s the unions poking, pushing, prodding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Yeah, poking, pushing, prodding. Since they were just across the street, I said, hey, what the heck, let‘s get a camera. I went over there and talked to a few of them about taking over the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fox and Tea Party are one and the same. You don‘t have the Tea Party without Fox. And especially as someone from Wisconsin, I feel it is deeply in my bones as possible what Fox News is doing to my state. The senator, Feingold, that we lost and now the fact that they‘re taking away collective bargaining?
In fact, I have friends of mine calling and saying they don‘t know how they‘re going to be able to survive on a teacher‘s salary? It‘s as un-American as it gets.
SCHULTZ: Why outside Fox?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this is a great location. Fox is a megaphone for the kind of ideology and the philosophy that is anti-union and against the middle class. I think of them actually as being anti-patriotic and anti-American, because as you know, America was built based on the middle class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Laura Flanders, host of “Grit TV.” She‘s the editor of the book “At The Tea Party.”
Laura, good to have you with us tonight. You come to us from Columbus, Ohio.
The Tea Partiers versus the workers rallying; give us the difference.
LAURA FLANDERS, “GRIT TV”: Well, it‘s a little bit different, Ed, as you know, because you and I both ran out to Wisconsin to cover what was happening there. I‘m now in Columbus. Huge difference.
The Tea Partiers are very amorphous bunch of folks. I‘ve been hanging with the Reverend Jesse Jackson. He calls them the turkeys at their own Thanksgiving. They are after amorphous goals, Ed, small government. They don‘t even know what they‘re about, half of them.
The folks in the streets outside the capitols, inside the rotunda, here in Ohio, also in Wisconsin, they are very clear what this is about. It is about good jobs, strong communities, the right to organize. And they understand that what is happening in Wisconsin in particular is a kind of laboratory for the right.
They weren‘t bussed in. The Tea Parties were bussed in by those Americans for Prosperity. That‘s a group that has received some 300,000 dollars in the last year just in Wisconsin from the very same right wing foundation that Scott Walker had the CEO of that foundation as his campaign chair, Michael Grieb (ph).
This is a very big national test case that‘s happening in the Midwest. And people know there is a thin, blue union line between poverty and the middle class for Americans. And that is a word that is getting out. It‘s not a destabilization that‘s happening here in America, like Beck says. It is a revitalization.
A revival is happening here. And it‘s a revival of real talk about real jobs and real American tradition.
SCHULTZ: Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity tells the “New York Times” that before Walker was sworn in that the Koch Brothers, their operatives, had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown.
So are you on board that this has been all part of a master plan? I mean, heck, the Republicans have only been in power for not even a couple months. We‘re not even at March first yet. And they got the definition on steroids.
FLANDERS: Much more going on here than just Scott Walker. Look at who is behind him. It‘s not just the Koch Brothers. The Heritage Foundation has one of its senior fellows in his cabinet now. He‘ll be the guy basically deciding on Medicare and Medicaid payments, if all of these changes go through.
And don‘t forget the influence of the right wing foundation, the Bradley Foundation. They were behind the effort to do away with welfare, hurt the very poor. And now they‘re targeting the unions. We‘ve seen the roof really be raised on the super rich, and the floor dropping out from beneath everybody else.
SCHULTZ: Quickly, what do you expect in Columbus, Ohio tomorrow and through the week?
FLANDERS: More of the same. You have the National Guard out there in Wisconsin. Here in Ohio, people had to fight to be let into their own, the people‘s house, the state house. We‘ve been covering it all week.
SCHULTZ: You think it‘s going to go all weekend long, the enthusiasm is just as high there as it was in Wisconsin?
FLANDERS: Luckily, the plan from the right is not just about one piece of legislation. It‘s many. And this fight goes on.
SCHULTZ: Laura Flanders, good to have you with us tonight.
I‘ve told you those folks in Madison really moved me. The scene was one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed in my career. When we come back, a teacher at the very heart of it all, and my final thoughts about how much it really matters.
It still matters. And it will matter for months on end. The story won‘t go away. Stay with us. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, they teach our kids. They teach our families a lot. They keep our communities safe. And in return, they make millions of dollars and live in the lap of luxury. Well, at least that‘s what the right wing would want you to believe. But you and I know the truth.
Last week, I got a more personal look at the life of a teacher in Madison. Here is the story.
SCHULTZ: We are just a few blocks away from the capitol where the rally is taking place. We found this typical Wisconsin middle class neighborhood. And we have stumbled upon a teacher‘s mansion.
Her name is Susan Stern. She has been a first grade teacher here in Madison for the last 17 years. I want to take you inside tonight and show you who the governor of Wisconsin expects to pay more to balance the budget of the state if there is a budget problem.
(voice-over): This is what passes for a grand foyer in this teacher‘s mansion. The formal living room, complete with an adjoining office. After a quick visit to the gourmet kitchen, we sat down in the dining hall to discuss Governor Walker‘s plans for the middle class.
(on camera): What does all this mean to you? This proposal, this bill that wants to change a lot of things when it comes to health care and pension?
SUSAN STERN, WISCONSIN PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER: Teachers have been talking about how they‘re going to have to take second jobs if this passes, and it‘s going to be hard to pay their bills and what are they going to do? Will they have to leave the teaching profession?
But it‘s about our voice. It‘s about right to be able to bargain collectively. And think about what we teach kids at school. I teach my kids to use their voice and to stand up for their rights.
And we talk about fair and not fair. That‘s really big in first grade. And they can relate to that.
SCHULTZ: Would it make things tougher?
STERN: It would make things really tough. And, you know, whenever there is a change in finances, our family would need to look at, OK, how are we going to cover our bills now? How are we going to take care of the house? How are we going to take care of the kids?
SCHULTZ: All of that comes into play?
STERN: All of that comes into play. And we‘d have to take a look at that.
SCHULTZ: So this would affect your discretionary spending.
SCHULTZ: It would change your lifestyle?
SCHULTZ: So this is a huge cause to you.
STERN: Yes. I mean, the right to bargain and the right to have a voice is everything.
SCHULTZ: And of course today on his radio show Rush Limbaugh said those people out protesting are militants, agitators, bottom feeders, and free loaders. We thought you‘d like to meet one of the teachers that was out there.
Tonight in our text survey, I asked you are GOP governors‘ actions against unions part of a strategy to undermine the middle class? Ninety two percent of you said yes; eight percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night. Have a great one.
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