Guests: John Feehery, Jonathan Capehart, Errol Louis, Mark McKinnon, Richard Wolffe, Jane Hamsher, Wes Clark Jr., Sam Seder, Chris Larson
CENK UYGUR, HOST: Good evening, everybody. I‘m Cenk Uygur.
Have I missed anything while I was gone? Oh, we had a bit of a Weiner scandal, did we? Fascinating.
Well, here‘s what I think of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: It is a shame! A shame!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Nonetheless, my new defense of Anthony Weiner‘s career is our lead story tonight. I am undaunted.
But first, we should acknowledge something important. I was wrong. I was convinced that Congressman Weiner had been hacked and that he had not sent that picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEINER: He is wrong! The gentleman is wrong!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: I know. I know. I just said that.
But are you ready for this? I think there is no reason why he should step down. Undaunted.
Of course, Republicans disagree. The head of the RNC, Reince Priebus, says Weiner should resign. And today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor agreed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC CANTOR ®, MAJORITY LEADER: I don‘t condone his activity.
I think he should resign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: But I have a message for Eric Cantor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEINER: The gentleman will sit! The gentleman is correct in sitting!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Look, was what Weiner did creepy? Yes, of course. We all agree to that. Was it illegal? In my opinion, no.
Now, look, if he wound up using public resources for the cover-up, that might change the equation, and of course we‘ll have to see about that. But does any of this have anything to do with the congressman‘s views on taxes or the budget or any other issue? No.
Remember, he was the principal congressman that led the charge to get health care for our 9/11 responders when the Republicans were blocking that bill. So, does it affect what I think of that bill if I knew that Congressman Weiner was sending out dirty pictures at the same time that he was pushing for it? Absolutely not.
Now, it‘s not just Republicans going after Weiner, unfortunately, as they like to do, of course. Democrats don‘t have his back either. Even Nancy Pelosi threw him under the bus, calling for an ethics investigation. Today, Harry Reid also declined to throw Weiner a lifeline.
Here is what Reid was said when asked if Weiner should resign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I know Congressman Weiner.
I wish there was some way I can defend him, but I can‘t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Why? Because, oh, my God, it‘s a sex scandal. Everyone, run for the hills!
Look, I, on the other hand, have been consistent on this. I don‘t give a damn about their sex lives unless they broke a law, abused their power or, somehow affected their jobs.
I didn‘t think the other shirtless wonder, Chris Lee, who was a Republican, by the way, should have stepped down either. Neither one of them broke any laws. They just got caught in embarrassing sexual situations.
There they are, the shirtless wonders.
There is no reason that their sex lives is our business. Look, I get it. It‘s a fun story. I‘m also guilty. I also have fun with these stories, especially when it comes to hypocritical family values Republicans. I know that.
But in the end, as long as no laws or rules are broken, I say, let him go! Let him go!
Now, there‘s some chance that other people in the country disagree with me, so let‘s have a conversation.
Joining me now is Jonathan Capehart, editorial writer for “The Washington Post,” and an MSNBC political analyst. Also with us, Errol Louis, political anchor for NY1 News network in Weiner‘s hometown. And John Feehery, a Republican strategist. So we‘ve got a full boat here.
All right. First of all, John, let me start with you, since you might be one to disagree. We‘ll find out.
I say, look, whether it‘s Chris Lee or Weiner, if it doesn‘t affect their jobs, I don‘t really care. Where am I wrong there?
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I‘m not sure if you are wrong.
What I would like to see here, Cenk is a nice, long investigation by the
Ethics Committee, find out if he used official resources, find out if this
these pictures he sent were part of a consensual relationship or not. I think that‘s a big part of this.
I mean, obviously, what he did was creepy. I think that in many ways, it‘s completely disgusting.
I understand that one of the rules of the House is you have to always work to bring credit to the House, and this obviously doesn‘t bring credit to the House. I think that‘s a problem.
FEEHERY: But, you know, I do think that is something that the Ethics Committee is going to take up. I think that you are right, Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker, has thrown him under the bus, and I think his long-term political prospects are very uncertain, or worse, probably over. I think there‘s a lot of happy New York congressmen now who are going to take up parts of his district in redistricting, and Anthony Weiner‘s career is effectively over.
UYGUR: OK. That‘s a very strong statement there at the end.
Look, I‘m amused by the idea that the House has some sort of reputation to protect.
UYGUR: I‘m more worried when they sell us out on the actual issues rather than on some sex thing.
But Jonathan, let‘s talk about that, right? Because when it gets to sex, Washington goes crazy. Right? And that‘s the one thing that seems to have the most effect.
I mean, you can torture people, you can do illegal invasions of countries, hundreds of thousands of people die. Who cares? Oh, my God! There‘s somebody‘s junk! Oh, everybody panic. Right?
So, Jonathan, so what are the rules here? And according to the Washington rules, is Weiner done for?
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, I think it all depends. And I think you hit the nail on the head in your introduction in that in your equation, things will change if the Ethics Committee finds out that he did, indeed, use government resources to carry on all these virtual cyber twists that he had.
You know, does it sort of shame—fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. He fooled us last week when he said that he was punk‘d, he was pranked, he was hacked, he was whatever, that that photo was not of him. That became shaky when he told Luke Russert he couldn‘t say with certitude that the picture was indeed not him.
And then, yesterday, he tells us, yes, it was me, and, in fact, I did a whole lot of stuff on Twitter, Facebook, e-mail. You name it, I did it.
Yesterday, he told us that he didn‘t believe that he used government resources and he wasn‘t resigning. If we find out through the Ethics Committee, which Nancy Pelosi was right to call the investigation, and he was right to say he would cooperate, if the Ethics Committee comes back and says that he did indeed use government resources, he has to go.
UYGUR: Yes, you know, I‘m not sure I even agree with that, but we‘ll get back to that in a second. Because there is a question of whether he used a government phone for dirty sex. I mean, come on.
OK. All right.
But Errol, look, he is in New York. He was thinking of running for mayor. You‘re from New York.
What‘s the latest there? You got any polls or any indication of whether realistically, when he goes up either for re-election, or if he goes to run for mayor, still, he has got a prayer here?
ERROL LOUIS, NY1: We did an overnight poll, and by a very slim
majority, New Yorkers—and this is all New Yorker, not just his district
say that they think he ought to stay. So that‘s—
LOUIS: -- he is no longer considered the front-runner for mayor in 2013. He had raised more money than anybody else. He was considered the front-runner. He had run before. And there‘s no way that‘s going to happen now.
And that‘s, in large part, because the mayor controls the school system here. Parents aren‘t going to want somebody like that in charge of their kids, period. Period.
UYGUR: You know what? I think that‘s crazy, to be honest with you, but—
LOUIS: But you know what, Cenk? Cenk, here‘s what‘s not crazy. The mayor of New York—and this is not hypothetical, this is real—we have had three major terrorist attacks here, right? One destroyed the World Trade Center, one was an attack on the World Trade Center, and a little over a year ago, somebody detonated a truck bomb in the middle of Times Square.
Now, the person who is in charge of the police force and in charge of our security here needs to be somebody who‘s truthful, not reckless, not impulsive.
UYGUR: Oh, come on, Errol.
LOUIS: And he fails all of those tests.
UYGUR: No way. No way. That‘s why I was giving you the quizzical look.
What does the terrorist stuff have to do with this guy sexting some girl and saying, oh, yes, I‘m hot for you? I mean, what, was Rudy Giuliani not hot for anybody? The guy had how many mistress and wives, et cetera, et cetera?
What does that have anything to do with security?
LOUIS: It didn‘t serve him well. It ended up being a scandal, in fact, how he handled it. But I‘m just telling you what New Yorkers think.
UYGUR: And he was the hero of 9/11.
LOUIS: What I‘m telling you is that New Yorkers take this stuff very seriously. And I don‘t think that when it comes to their kids, their safety, and so forth, they want somebody who‘s got the kind of failings of character. I mean, listen, the guy lied to everybody he could talk to for an entire week.
UYGUR: Of course he did. Of course he did.
Look, here‘s the thing, right? And let me go a little further out?
And John, let me go to you next on this question. And I want everybody to get on this, so I‘m going to come back to you on this as well, Jonathan.
Look, when you get into some sort of sexual issue whether it‘s the sex thing, or whether it was Bill Clinton with the intern, you know what you do? You lie. OK?
Nobody comes out and says, oh, by the way, I would like to tell you all the terrible things that I have done sexually. OK? Nobody in the history of mankind has ever done that OK?
So, I mean, he lied. So what? You know how many times when I was single and I had—you know how many times I lied to them? What does that make me not responsible on any other issue?
FEEHERY: I hate to tell you this, his political career is over. He doesn‘t know it yet, but it‘s over.
He‘s not going to be mayor. His colleagues don‘t want him to be there anymore. Most of his colleagues want him to leave. They certainly don‘t want to take any kind of campaign contributions from him.
They want him out. And this is his Democrat colleagues, not his Republican colleagues.
CAPEHART: And Cenk --
UYGUR: Hold on. Hold on.
FEEHERY: How I do get the same deal as Eliot Spitzer and then get a talk show on a rival network? That‘s what he‘s thinking about?
UYGUR: All right.
Hold on. Jonathan, I‘m going to get to you in one second. Hold up, dawg. I‘m going to let you finish in a second. OK?
But John, you‘ve got to answer this question. If you‘re going to say all that stuff, OK, I hear you. So, today, you are calling for David Vitter, the man who slept with multiple hookers, to step down, right?
FEEHERY: I‘m not.
UYGUR: He broke the law. He broke the law. Why aren‘t you calling for it?
FEEHERY: We also don‘t have any pictures.
UYGUR: Oh, we don‘t have pictures. So you need to take pictures?
FEEHERY: This is about politics, Cenk. This isn‘t about my morality, it‘s about politics. And he‘s not going to win as mayor. His political career is over. That‘s just the way it is. We‘ve got pictures.
UYGUR: So why does a Republican senator get to sleep with X number of hookers in town, right --
FEEHERY: But we don‘t have any pictures.
UYGUR: -- and he gets a standing ovation when he comes back? You know the Republicans gave him a standing ovation? They‘re like David Vitter, be with the hookers!
FEEHERY: That‘s why Chris Lee quit right away. That‘s the way it is.
There‘s nothing we can do about it.
UYGUR: Oh, nothing we can do about it? That‘s just the hypocrisy in Washington?
FEEHERY: Well, listen—
CAPEHART: Cenk, the point I wanted to make about Congressman Weiner that John touched on that I think is very important and is a distinction here is that Congressman Weiner is standing all by himself, not just at the podium yesterday, but among his colleagues in Congress. You played the clip from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying he doesn‘t know what to tell him.
And the other thing is we look at the other member of Congress from New York who got into some serious ethical trouble, Congressman Rangel. I mean, this is a former chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee who had undeclared income, hadn‘t paid taxes on rental income, all sorts of other things, which is just not—you can‘t do that as chairman of Ways and Means.
He was censured by his colleagues, but he is personally liked by his colleagues. Remember that dramatic moment when the vote in the well of the House, where people would say, I personally like Charlie Rangel, but I‘m going to have to vote to censure him?
Congressman Weiner wouldn‘t have that same thing. There‘s no one who is willing to stand up to say they personally like him. And when you‘re in trouble like this, you need friend he is. President Clinton had friends.
UYGUR: I know. I get it. And look, see, Jonathan, that‘s a great point, right? And I think you are entirely right about that.
But isn‘t there something awfully goofy about the way our politics works that --
CAPEHART: Of course.
UYGUR: -- it doesn‘t matter if you lie, cheat and steal, right?
UYGUR: And you rob taxpayers. It doesn‘t matter, OK?
But if you‘re involved in any kind of big sex scandal, where he didn‘t even have sex, and the other guys don‘t like you as much, the club doesn‘t like you as much, well, then you‘re a goner.
LOUIS: The problem is—Cenk, the problem isn‘t the sex. The problem is if he were charged—let‘s say he was charged with something where some money found its way to a place where it wasn‘t supposed to go. Everybody would say, well, he deserve his day in court and we‘ll have a process. But in this case, there is no process, because he admitted to a whole bunch of bad stuff.
So we are basically at the day where he got convicted after doing a whole bunch of like right before he admitted everything that he had done. And, you know, there‘s not a lot of room for forgiveness there, frankly.
And it is telling that he doesn‘t have people standing with him.
Look, I think the bottom line is he swore an oath to his constituents, he swore an oath to his wife. The people who hired him and the woman who married him, it‘s their call what to do with this guy, it‘s not up to any of us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that‘s true.
UYGUR: All right. Listen, we‘ve got to leave it right there. It‘s a great conversation, and I‘m perfectly aware that I will probably lose to debate. But I‘m right there. I have been consistent on Schwarzenegger, Chris Lee, and Weiner here as well. If they don‘t break the rules, their sex lives has nothing to do with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or non-sex lives.
UYGUR: All right. Jonathan Capehart, Errol Louis and John Feehery, all of you, thank you so much for your time tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Cenk.
UYGUR: All right.
When we come back, 10 years ago today, George W. Bush signed his tax cut law for millionaires. Since then, Americans have been suffering. It was an unmitigated disaster.
We‘ll show you the indisputable failure of the central Republican
economic strategy. You don‘t want to miss that
And what is Mitt Romney‘s surprising strategy for dealing with Sarah Palin? We‘ll tell you that as well.
Stay with us.
UYGUR: We are back to celebrate a dubious anniversary. Ten years ago today, the first Bush tax cults were signed into law, starting a decade of pain for the average American taxpayer and huge gains for the richest among us.
With one stroke of the pen, President Bush set America on a path towards economic injustice, inequality and bankruptcy. The Bush tax cults have added $2.6 trillion to the deficit. Last year, just the top one percent of richest Americans got 38 percent of the benefits of those tax cuts.
Through 2007, the last year for which we have numbers, the richest got 65 percent of the income gains. But wages fell for everybody else. Overall earnings dropped 2.3 percent.
So what happened to trickle-down economics? Our wages went down. The income for the rich went way up. And our deficits exploded.
We tell you all this today, because this fight is long from over. Republicans still view this as the winning economic model we must adopt going forward.
Are they crazy? They want to cut corporate taxes and slash spending at a time when we need government investment in America more than ever.
One of the problems is that President Obama has been fighting this battle on a Republican territory. The only debate we are having is over how much to cut in spending and how much of a tax break to give to corporate America, which, again, I think is crazy, and which is why the president‘s poll numbers on the economy, I think, are sinking.
A new “Washington Post‘ poll shows 59 percent of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy. Those are his worst numbers yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I‘m not concerned about a double-dip recession. I am concerned about the fact that the recovery that we are on is not producing jobs as quickly as I want it to happen. We have set a path that will lead us to long-term economic growth, but we have still got some enormous work to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Now, to turn around the economy, President Obama needs to stop fighting on Republican ground and go on the offense. He should stop arguing about how much to cut and start arguing about how best to create jobs.
All right. Now let‘s have a conversation about that.
Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe and former Bush adviser, Mark McKinnon, who is, of course, cofounder of the No Labels group.
All right. Welcome both.
Mark, I‘m going to start with you.
I just don‘t get it. I mean, just tell me, what is it? How can this last 10 years of tax cuts be such a disaster economically and Republicans with a straight face can tell us the answer is more tax cuts?
MARK MCKINNON, FMR. BUSH ADVISER: Well, let me say a few things.
First of all, from the No Labels point of view and the current budget debate, I support our view, which is that everything should be on the table and everybody should be at the table. But on the issue of the Bush tax cuts, you know, there is a conventional notion that the fiscal meltdown that we experienced was a result of tax policy, when that wasn‘t the case at all. It was a result of housing regulation, which President Bush tried to strengthen and Democrats opposed.
And by the way, I supported the Democratic position at the time. I thought that was—I agreed we should make housing easy, but we made it too easy. But let me just—
UYGUR: No, no, no, no. No, Mark. I‘m sorry, that‘s just not true.
MCKINNON: Can I finish? May I finish? Can I just finish?
OK. We can disagree about macro-fiscal policy, but here are the facts on the tax cuts.
In 1999, taxes were the highest percentage of GDP that they have been since World War II. The recession started in 2001. The tax cuts were enacted in 2011.
The top rate for taxpayers, the top one percent, was raised. It was raised. The top bracket for lowest-income earners was eliminated, meaning five million new people paid no taxes at all. Half the people in this country today don‘t pay any federal income taxes.
Then we had, after 9/11 -- then we got hit by that. Then we had 46 straight months of job growth until we had the housing speculation and the bust. So that‘s my point of view. And we can disagree about it, but that‘s what I believe.
UYGUR: Mark, I mean, look, there are some things we can disagree on, there are some things we can‘t disagree on. The collapse did not happen because we had too much regulation of the housing market. We had no regulation. They would go in and make any kind of liar loan they wanted because they got a higher—
MCKINNON: I agree with that. President Bush wanted more regulation.
UYGUR: No, he didn‘t. Oh, Mark, come on! I really respect you on a lot of fronts here, but that ain‘t true. That ain‘t even close to true.
MCKINNON: The Republicans wanted more regulation.
UYGUR: In 2004, for example, Bush said, hey, you know what? The SEC should lift all leverage limits, so that allowed them to put unbelievable derivative bets on that housing market. They took away terrible regulations.
MCKINNON: They were trying to strengthen the regulations on Fannie and Freddie, and Barney Frank and the Democrats bought that. I worked for Fannie, I know. I was there and I thought it was the right policy at the right time. I was wrong. The Republicans were right on housing policy.
UYGUR: All right.
So, look, Richard, let‘s talk about Obama, OK? Because Mark has a fascinating theory about how all those tax cuts somehow weren‘t at fault over these last 10 years, but here‘s what we know.
For example, we lost 1.1 million jobs in that last 10 years -- 1.1 million jobs. How could President Obama be having this conversation?
I mean, shouldn‘t he say, look, I‘m not interested in your wacky theories about how we should do more tax cuts for corporations? Which you know the president is having a discussion over. I‘m not interested in your wacky theories about spending cuts in the middle of a terrible economic situation.
Why is he entertaining those thoughts?
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, for a start, the federal deficit is unsustainable. So someone‘s got to deal with this at some point. And you‘ve got start a conversation now.
But you‘re right. In the short term, the idea of massive spending cuts isn‘t going to help job creation. In fact, it‘s going to mean that you are cutting jobs—we saw in the last month alone, if you‘re cutting government jobs, the private sector growth is not enough to soak up the difference.
I just want to get back to the current debate about tax cuts and job creation, because the Bush anniversary is actually important here.
For a start, I was on the campaign trail in 2000 with my old friend, Mark, there, and the rationale for the Bush tax cuts then was that there were $3 trillion of projected surplus, $1 trillion of it was going to go in tax cut, because as then-Governor Bush said, it was the people‘s money, not the government‘s money. The problem is that things changed very quickly.
There was a recession, there was 9/11, there were wars. And the tax cuts stayed in place throughout that period. Job growth was anemic, at best. In fact, you can make the case that it was totally insufficient.
So tax cuts alone didn‘t create jobs, they haven‘t created jobs in the sense of what the tax cuts were in the Recovery Act or in the last round of the lame-duck tax cuts we just saw at the end of last year. Tax cut does not do it on its own given the scale of the shock the economy has faced.
But clearly, you have got deal with deficits moving forward. It‘s different though. Deficit, job creation, they‘re not directly connected right now.
UYGUR: So, Mark, let‘s address that point, right? Because even if you think it was for other reasons that the economy suffered, right, the idea was that if you do these giant tax cuts, well, then it‘s OK because the economy will pick up.
But it didn‘t. It didn‘t. We lost 1.1 million jobs. You saw on the graph that we put up there where the huge part of our deficit are these tax cuts. And we created this giant deficit, et cetera.
So how could more corporate tax cuts, as proposed by the Republicans, possibly be the answer?
MCKINNON: Well, as Richard just pointed out, there were a lot of external events, but there was 46 straight months of job growth after those tax cuts.
And the real issue I think we all agree on is that where we are going to really get the budget going again is through growth. So we have a debate over what policy is going to stimulate growth the most, but it‘s not going to be—the way that we are going to get there is not through—revenues are going to help, tax cuts are going to help, but it‘s growth.
So, whatever policies stimulate the most growth is going to work. And that is a legitimate debate to have. But I believe that giving more money and maintaining tax cuts, generally speaking, although as I said, everything is on the table, is a greater engine for growth.
UYGUR: All right. I hear you guys. I wish we had more time to talk about it, because, you know, I think when you talk about stimulating growth, I don‘t know how you do that by cutting spending.
But we‘re going to have to save that—that‘s a conversation we‘re going to have on another day when we have you guys back on.
Richard Wolffe and Mark McKinnon, thank you so much for your time tonight.
MCKINNON: Look forward to it. Thanks.
WOLFFE: You bet.
UYGUR: All right, guys.
All right. When we come back, Tim Pawlenty has a hilarious new budget proposal, and that is our “Con Job of the Day.” You‘re going to want to see that, next.
UYGUR: In our “Con Job of the Day,” we have Tim Pawlenty‘s comical new budget proposal. Pawlenty unveiled this economic plan for America today, and it‘s got a lot of rainbows and unicorns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM PAWLENTY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let‘s grow the economy by five percent instead of the anemic two percent currently envisioned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Wow, five percent growth sounds great. I wish we could get that. And even better, Pawlenty is calling for this level of growth over a 10-year period.
Fantastic! Can I get a pony with that?
But why in the world do you think this is remotely doable, Tim?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAWLENTY: We have done it before. And with the right policies we can do it again.
Between 1983 and 1987, the Reagan recovery grew at 4.9 percent. And between 1996 and 1999, under President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress, the economy grew at more than 4.7 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: So, let‘s get this right, you‘re saying that because during two of the fastest growth periods in modern history, the economy grew at a rate of less than five percent for a few years. It‘s possible to grow the economy at a higher rate for an entire decade. Well, that sounds absurd, but hey, I‘m willing to listen, how would you do it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAWLENTY: We should start by overhauling the tax code, we should cut the business tax rate by more than half. I propose reducing the current rate from 35 percent to 15 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Of course. We have a whole different of course segment today, but I couldn‘t resist. Of course, this giant tax cuts for corporate America, that‘s always the republican answer. Look, we just showed you in the last segment how huge tax cuts have totally hurt our economy, not helped, besides which, taxes are lower now than they were at any time under Clinton or Reagan. So, if low taxes were the magic answer, why aren‘t they creating such great economic growth now? None of this comes close to adding up.
In fact, Ezra Klein for the “Washington Post” who wrote a great analysis of this plan today called Pawlenty‘s plan a quote, “joke.” And you shouldn‘t be surprised. Pawlenty loves to brag about how he balanced the budget in Minnesota when he was governor. But his short-term fixes, left the state with what is now the fourth largest deficit in the country. Pawlenty may try to sell himself as the great fiscal truth teller, but what his really selling is tired old voodoo economics and that‘s our con job of the day.
UYGUR: Welcome back to the show. Now to talk about some of today‘s biggest political stories is our Power Panel. Jane Hamsher, founder and publisher of—OK. Sorry. Founder and publisher of firedoglake.com. Wes Clark Jr., Young Turks co-host and Sam Seder, political commentator and host of “The Majority Report.”
All right. First question tonight. Should Democrats barbecue Weiner? Nancy Pelosi‘s calling for an ethics investigation. Harry Reid says, he can‘t defend Weiner and democratic lawmaker Betty Sutton is donating $1,000 she got from Weiner to charity. Sam, I‘m going to start with you. Should they throw him under the bus and run for the hills or should they defend him?
SAM SEDER, HOST, “THE MAJORITY REPORT”: Frankly, I think they should defend him. I mean, he hasn‘t broken any laws. He hasn‘t broken the public trust. He is maybe—maybe, we don‘t even know broken the trust with his wife but that‘s between him and his wife. You know, you said it earlier in the program. They have got a senator in the Republicans who broke the law, who paid prostitute to dress him up in diapers and we are talking about this guy who did stuff that I wouldn‘t necessarily do, but he hasn‘t broken any public trust.
UYGUR: All right. You know, before we go on, if want to clarify one quick thing, -- was admitted to being with hackers in D.C. The diaper story is not confirmed in my opinion. I know a lot of people believe that. OK, that is a different story. I just want to be clear on that.
SEDER: OK. Fair enough.
UYGUR: So, all right. Now, look, Jane, when it comes to political damage though, Democrats think that this is doing a lot of political damage. So, is there point where you cut him lose?
JANE HAMSHER, FOUNDER, FIREDOGLAKE.COM: I think they have cut him loose. You know, when Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are giving the statement to the press that they are, it is clear that they want him out of the way. And he is grabbing the headlines and keeping people from talking about Paul Ryan and his disastrous Medicare plan, which had the Republicans on the run. But I think Weiner‘s biggest problem is the fact that he‘s just painted a target on his back for being redistricted out of office. It was probably, you know, New York is going to lose two seats and it will probably be one republican and one democrat. And Weiner is in the area where they are going to be looking to lose that democratic district anyway. And so, he really—even if he manages to withhold, you know, withstand the press storms, he still is awfully vulnerable on that front. So, he may just be in a situation where there is nothing he can do, they have the trump card.
UYGUR: Wes, they say he lied. Is that good enough to run him out of office?
WES CLARK JR., CO-HOST, “THE YOUNG TURKS”: Well, I don‘t think he needs to be run out of office for it, I mean, he didn‘t lie under oath and if you are going to eliminate politicians who lied to the press, I don‘t think we‘d have anybody sitting in Congress or the White House these days.
UYGUR: Fair enough. All right, finally here, Sam, again, if it‘s doing damage, and I don‘t know, maybe you think it is not doing damage to the Democratic Party, is there a point where you say, well, look, technically, maybe he spoke on the house phone instead of OK, let‘s just get rid of the bad headline?
SEDER: I tell you what‘s doing damage to the Democratic Party, is the idea that they are talking about cutting Medicare. And, you know, so, the idea that we are spending a couple of days talking about Anthony Weiner that is going to pass one way or another. This is going to hurt the Democrats or hurt their messaging one way or another. The bottom line is, they want to help themselves, they can start thinking about the middle class and the American public.
UYGUR: I hear you on that. Actually, you know, you brought up a good point. We actually have a little video of Weiner going after Republicans, I want to ask a question base on that, let‘s watch it first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: There is a saying here in Washington that a gaffe is when the Republicans actually say what they think. The Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of an insurance industry. Make no mistake about it, every single republican I have ever met in my entire life is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry. If Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes, it is a shame! A shame! The rules are not a big thing for them to follow because this is why it‘s hard. It‘s a big book. So, I brought you this. “House Mouse, Senate Mouse.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: All right. Wes, if they lose a guy like this, and they throw him under the bus while they are doing it, does it feed into the idea the Democrats are weak and they are not going to stand up for their guys?
CLARK: No, no, no, no. Look, I don‘t think they are throwing him under the bus. I think he did he a really good job of putting himself under it and he completely humiliated himself. It‘s not up to Congress to say, oh, you have got to resign. The question is, can he get re-elected? Probably not.
SEDER: All right. Fair enough.
CLARK: It‘s only one democrat in the entire house that can stand up and say, what‘s going on in this country, then the Democratic Party is in serious trouble.
UYGUR: All right. All fair points. Let‘s move on to the next question. Is Mitt the man in the GOP? A new “Washington Post” poll shows Mitt Romney beating President Obama in a presidential matchup by three points among registered voters. Jane, what do you think here? Is President Obama in good shape or bad shape compared to Mitt Romney? You know, because a lot of people in Washington think, oh, Obama is in great shape, the Republicans are a mess. But you see this poll, and, you know, can Romney win this thing?
HAMSHER: Well, you know, Romney‘s running on being not Obama. And his main, you know, asset right now is a lack of negatives. You‘ve got the president who has remarkably strong poll numbers relative to how badly people think he is doing on the economy. And nobody has really started to hit him on that yet. So, that is really where he is going to be vulnerable. I don‘t think that his real threat is Mitt Romney. His threat is the economy and then the republican is only going to be as strong as the economy is weak.
UYGUR: Sam, is being not Obama when you have unemployment near nine percent good enough?
SEDER: It‘s pretty close. And I guess, you know, time will tell. I mean, I don‘t know if Mitt Romney is even going to make it out of the republican primary, but I think Jane is right. The bottom line is, how is the economy in another 12 months? Do we have jobs for Americans? I mean, at the end of the day, that is going to be the real question.
UYGUR: And Wes, when you look at those numbers, are the Republicans looking at that and going well? Maybe this is our guy, I mean, geez, look at these numbers against Obama.
CLARK: Look if they were smart, the Republicans only have two viable candidates for the national election and that‘s Huntsman and Romney. Now, my guess is those—neither of those two will make it out of the primaries.
UYGUR: You don‘t think so? Jane, does Mitt Romney get it out of the primaries?
HAMSHER: I don‘t know. I would be interested to know why Wes thinks that he wouldn‘t make it out. It‘s such a poor field that it seems like most people will buy it, if nothing else.
CLARK: No, no, it seems like a poor field. But at the same time, when you have Romney out there, and he‘s constantly going against his own record as governor and other things he said in the past, it is like he is, you know, humiliating himself on a daily basis as to what he really believes. I think he is their best candidate because he is very middle of the road.
HAMSHER: He is. But you‘re right, he is terrifically vulnerable for having flip-flop and just been anything. The DNC ads that are currently running against him are devastating.
UYGUR: All right. Sam what do you think? What is your sense? Does a guy like Romney make it out or do they nominate someone totally crazy? I mean, not that Romney is that sane, if you ask me.
SEDER: Right. There are two factors I think that Romney is going to deal with. One is that first republican debate, where every republican out there credits him with Obama‘s affordable care act. That is going to be a big problem for Romney. And as much as he dances around it, he can‘t really escape that. The second one is that I think Huntsman is really focused on Romney. I think Huntsman is running for four years, from 2016 and I think that he‘s looking to take Romney out because he knows that if Romney wins the nomination, Huntsman has no chance in 2016. And so, I think those are the two factors that Romney got against him. And, you know, his record in general.
UYGUR: All right. I hear you guys. Look, you guys are a little more sure, but even you‘re not that sure, but I‘m—I have no idea what‘s going to happen in that republican primary. And I can‘t wait to find out. But I think at nine percent unemployment, I agree with Howard Dean, almost any Republican stands a chance against the president, unfortunately because a lot of times the binary decision for voters, are you going to rehire the guy, you‘re not going to rehire the guy. So, we will see how it turns out. Jane Hamsher, Wes Clark, Sam Seeder, thank you all for joining us tonight.
We really appreciate it.
SEDER: Thank you.
UYGUR: All right. Now, the fight against Scott Walker and the Republicans is back in Wisconsin. More evidence that they are running scared. Wait until you hear the secret audio of the Republicans.
And those Koch Brothers are more shameful than we thought. We‘ll show you why they might be directly responsible for the high gas prices you are paying at the pump.
UYGUR: Now, for the latest installment of our “of course” segment. Former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh has gone on the payroll for the Chamber of Commerce. Can I say it now? All right. We‘ll give you the details first. His new job is basically to go around the country with any card and convince Democrats that President Obama‘s small amount of proposed regulation of business is totally evil.
Chamber President Tom Donahue says, they will talk about quote, “The Dangers and Costs of Overregulation.” So, why is a so-called democrat locking arms with one of Bush‘s top guys and pushing the chamber‘s pro-corporate agenda? Seems weird, right? If you ever thought Evan Bayh was actually a democrat. But remember that before leaving the Senate in 2010, Bayh wrote a “New York Times” op-ed titled, “Why I‘m Leaving the Senate?” In it, he blasted the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, quote, “The threat of a limited amounts of negative advertising from Special Interest Groups will only make members more beholden to their natural constituencies and more afraid of violating party orthodoxies.” What a joke.
The Chamber of Commerce was the biggest winner of that ruling. And now, he has become their lobbyist. But anyone who is paying attention knew what a joke and corporate hack Evan Bayh was all along. He fought to make sure the stimulus was as small as possible. He fought against the public option. You name a progressive priority and he fought against it as he bragged about being such a wonderful centrist. And most of Washington ate it up. They loved Democrats who hate their own base. And then right after Bayh retired, what was the job he took? FOX News contributor. Evan Bayh is now working for officially for FOX News as a corporate lobbyist. After working for those guys as a democrat in disguise, as senator for all those years. Here‘s what I have to say to that, of course.
UYGUR: Well, everyone is distracted with Weiner‘s in Washington, the
re-election is going on at the state level. Again, in Wisconsin where they
know how to fight against power, protesters are heading back to the state capital to take on Governor Scott Walker‘s budget.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: They are really concerned about our future careers. The future of public education.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We need to show our legislators that we were going to show again that we are still here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Dozens are camped outside the capital when a tent city, they are calling Walker-bill, demanding protection for public employees and the middle class as the republican legislature cuts taxes on business and slashes education funding. Democrats are also stepping up their efforts to stop the GOP‘s agenda in Madison. Six republican state senators are currently facing recalls in special elections next moment. And a district GOP party chairman has been caught calling for conservatives to run spoiler Democrats to force primaries and give republican incumbents more time to campaign. Of course, when in doubt, always go to your GOP dirty tricks first. But Republicans are really running scared this time. Dan Hanky Panky Kapanke, one of the six lawmakers up for recall, knows he‘s got a tough battle ahead of him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. DAN KAPANKE ®, LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN: We‘ve got tons of government workers in my district—tons. From La Crosse to Prairie du Chien and to Viroqua and to Ontario and to Hillsboro, you can go on and on and on. We have to overcome that. We got to hope that they, kind of, are sleeping on July 12th or whenever the Election Day is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: That‘s awesome. Did you hear that? He hopes that the workers are sleeping on the day of the election. So that he can get away with taking away their rights. Now, you‘re going to let them do that? Remember, with 19 Republicans and 14 Democrat of the state senate, Democrats only need to win three of the six seats up for grabs to win back control of the state Senate and put the brakes on the republican war on the middle class in Wisconsin.
Joining me now via Skype is one of the leaders hoping the Dems can win back our control, of course, democratic state Senator Chris Larson.
STATE SEN. CHRIS LARSON (D), WISCONSIN: Thanks for having me, Cenk.
UYGUR: Great to have you here. So, first, let‘s talk about the chance of winning back at least three out of those six races. How does it look right now?
LARSON: Well, it was looking pretty good. I mean, the momentum is definitely on the democratic side. We have had tons of people of volunteers coming out to get the signatures, they got those, got them on the ballot, they‘ve been announced for all six Republicans and they‘re going to decide if they are even going to go forward with the three against the Democrats tomorrow. But the energy is definitely there, it‘s definitely palpable on the ground where we‘ve got a chance to pick up those three seats.
UYGUR: Well, here is the key thing, if you flip the Senate over to the Democrats, what happens then? Can you roll back some of this stuff or at least can you put the brakes on any new proposals?
LARSON: The biggest thing is we can put the brakes on any new proposals that Walker puts down. And our indications are that they are not showing any signs of stopping. These Republicans are just rubber stamping every extreme proposal he has put forward. They are not stopping anything. So, by winning this time, we will be able to put a check to what Scott Walker‘s trying to do, where he has just gone straight to the bottom, pushing these policies that are taking our state in the wrong direction. But in order to reverse them, we will have to recall him, which we are looking to do next year.
UYGUR: So, let‘s talk about the budget battle, because it‘s not just about collective bargaining rights as you point out. What‘s going on the budget there on the state level? What is the republican priorities and how would you guys do things differently?
LARSON: It was pretty bad. It‘s pretty stark contrast, where earlier this year, and they kept on saying, Republicans kept on saying we are broke, we are broke, we have to cut workers‘ rights, we have to cut education funding. We have to cut health care for low income and people with disabilities, we don‘t have a choice. But then all of a sudden, last week, late on Friday, the last possible minute, they snuck in these tax breaks, they totaled over $100 million for their Special Interest Groups that help them get elected. They pushed this stuff through at the same time, they are increasing class sizes for kids. So, they just showed it is not a matter of we are broke it, it is that their priorities aren‘t with the state, they are with corporate interests. And so, there is a clear contrast for what Democrats would do and how we would stand with the people, not special interests.
UYGUR: Are you guys planning to emphasize that in campaign ads or however else you might do it and saying, hey, look, this is about tax cuts for their benefactors. And that Kapanke video or audio is amazing, where he says, I hope the workers don‘t show up. If they show up, I‘m in a lot of trouble. If they don‘t, it is great. We‘ll not be able to take away their rights. How do you take advantage of him, you know, basically admitting what we thought all along?
LARSON: Well, that‘s not even the half of it. He goes on to talk about—they go on in that meeting to talk about fake candidates and Republicans came out. Today, the leader of the republican—the Senate Republicans came out and endorsed the idea of running fraudulent Democrats against the Democrats who are challenging the Republicans in order to delay the inevitable, us throwing them out of office. So, they basically endorsed this Nixonian tactic to put fake candidates on the ballot, which is just despicable, but they are just in the open about this. They are not even trying to be shy about it, which is you why hear Kapanke saying things like that in the open, saying, I hope that every somebody asleep, I hope they are not paying attention to what we are doing.
UYGUR: All right. Wisconsin state Senator Chris Larson, thank you for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.
LARSON: Thank you.
UYGUR: All right. Now, when we come back, the Koch Brothers are worse than we thought. We will tell you how these multibillionaires are costing even more money than you realize and then bragging about it.
LARSON: We have told you a lot about the Koch Brothers before, they are the conservative oil billionaires who finance the Tea Party and other radical republican groups across the country. Now, a Think Progress investigation reveals these guys are also the ones who helped to invent speculation in the oil markets which is, of course, now hurting you at the gas bunk. In 1986, Koch traders introduced the first oil derivative to Wall Street. Thanks a lot, guys, we appreciate it. That, of course, jump started the speculation mania that we see today. And honestly, I didn‘t even know that until now. So, the Koch Brothers started that apparently. A few years later, the Koch Brothers also organized a lobbying group to deregulate their profitable new toy. Then in 2000, they finally won passage of the notorious Enron loophole vastly deregulating the oil speculation market which then led to huge speculative oil price bubbles of 2008 and 2011. And you remember what happened those years. Gas prices went sky rocketing up. Why? They are making all the money off the speculation and we are paying the price. And in 2009, Koch industries bragged that it was one of the five biggest oil speculators in the entire world.
Now, even Goldman Sachs has admitted that at least $27 in the price of crude oil is driven up by speculators, which translates to about 75 more cents per gallon at the gas pump. Now, one of the Koch Brothers‘ front groups, Americans for prosperity, has launched a campaign to somehow blame President Obama for high gas prices. Oh, that‘s rich. They are claiming energy regulation is the real problem, not the speculation driven by Koch traders on Wall Street. What a joke. At industry get-togethers, they brag about inventing oil speculation. These speculators cost you 75 cents per gallon, that goes straight from your pocket to their pocket. Then they add insult to injury by pretending that the thing that could stop them which is regulation of that speculation is what‘s causing the high gas prices in the first place. Just when you thought the Koch Brothers couldn‘t get anymore evil, they find a way of surprising you again. Congratulations.
All right. Thank you for watching. You can always, of course, follow me online theyoungturks.com or on YouTube at The Young Turks, of course.
All right, “HARDBALL” is up next.
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