December 11, 2012
Guests: Charles Williams; Gary Peters; Gretchen Whitmer; Lisa Brown; Nancy Keenan, Richard Wolffe, Cynthia Tucker, Abby Huntsman
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, breaking news. Republican power grab in Michigan.
Republican governor Rick Snyder has just signed bills designed to cripple
unions and take away workers` rights even though earlier this year he said
such a move would be quote, "divisive and inappropriate."
Snyder signed the bills despite protests from more than 10,000 people
who descended on the state capitol in a massive push back against this
shameless power play from the Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Right the work is wrong! Right the work is wrong!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He lied to us. He lied to us on numerous
CROWD: Veto! Veto! Kill the bill! Kill the bill!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The protests were passionate and grew tense. In this video
from the state`s ACLU, you can see police actually using pepper spray on
some of the demonstrators. The issue in Michigan is the Republican
legislature ramming through a so-called right to work bill with no warning
and no hearings.
But the fight is bigger than Michigan. It`s a fight about worker
rights and civil rights across the country. This country, the American
people, rejected this kind of extremism on Election Day. But Republicans
didn`t get the message. GOP lawmakers ignored the huge outcry in the halls
of the capitol to pass two bills they hope will devastate both public and
private sector unions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICKI BARNETT (D), MICHIGAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE: They have been shut
out completely. The people have been shut out of this discussion.
BARBARA BYRUM (D), MICHIGAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE: It has been said
that absolute power corrupts absolutely. And this is absolute evidence.
BRANDON DILLON (D), MICHIGAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE: So what this is,
is a victory for people like Dick de Voss, Mitt Romney, the Koch brothers,
and other corporate CEOs who believe that the path to prosperity in
Michigan is paved with lower wages and lower benefits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This is a stunning slap in the face for unions in Michigan.
The birthplace of the modern labor movement. In 1936 autoworkers in Flint,
Michigan, staged a sit-down demanding their rights. It lasted 44 days and
they won. General Motors recognized the united auto workers for the first
And in 1965, Michigan`s Republican governor George Romney worked with
unions to sign historical bills recognizing the right to collective
bargaining. Nearly 50 years later, the GOP is trying to undo all that
progress. A massive power grab by a Republican party that just lost an
So, who is behind this? This power grab didn`t just happen out of the
blue. In fact, we are learning that this has been planned and orchestrated
by a group of billionaires and far right conservatives who have made
threats against politicians and literally bullied their way into getting
what they wanted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB KING, UNITED AUTO WORKER: Dick de Voss and extreme right wing
control what`s going on in the state. And the Koch brothers` Americans for
Prosperity, was in there. And there was a lot money, all pushing for the
legislation, threatening the governor, threatening different
representatives. They were threatened that they would have a primary
challenge from the tea party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Threats, intimidation on democratic moves. Right now,
Michigan is the center of the right wing attack on workers` rights and we
must fight it.
Joining me now is democratic congressman from Michigan Gary Peters.
He met with Governor Snyder yesterday. And from Lansing, Michigan, state
Senator Gretchen Whitmer, the democratic leader of the senate and the
Reverend Charles Williams. President of the Michigan chapter of the
national action network and senior pastor of the historic King Solomon
Baptist church in Detroit.
Thank you, all three for joining me tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great to be with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Congressman Peters, let me start with you. The governor
Snyder has signed this bill. Now, in a last few moments, what`s the next
REP. GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN: Well, as you mentions, this is
absolutely outrageous. What we`ve seen in the last hours, compete about
face from a governor who said this should not be part of the agenda to sign
this and to do in the lame duck without any hearings. And then, what I
think is particularly outrageous. What our next step could have been as we
could have gone to a referendum. Put it on the ballot for the voters to
make a decision particularly in a state like Michigan which has been the
center of the labor movement from the very beginning. And instead, they
did a very tricky maneuver. They put a small appropriation on that bill
and under Michigan constitution if you have appropriation, you can`t go to
So, this is very sneaky, last minute. They knew that they are going
it to the next legislature. We have Democrats that would be joining the
state house. They weren`t going to pass it in the new legislature, so they
jammed it through here in the lame duck and they put something in to make
it very difficult to have a referendum. But, it is certainly not over.
This is going to be a contentious issue going forward.
SHARPTON: Can this be overturned? Can he be recalled?
PETERS: You could. That is one of the options. You could see a
recall movement on the governor to recall him. You could also see a
constitutional amendment, perhaps an initiative. So, there are a number of
options. But I think one thing is very clear. Particularly with the
demonstrations we saw in Lansing here today is that folks aren`t going to
let this slide by. They`re going to be aggressive. They`re going to be
out there and letting all of those legislators who voted for this know that
this is absolutely despicable action. It is a reckless action that is
going to harm working class families in the state of Michigan.
SHARPTON: Senator Whitmer, you`ve been out there today. Let me show
you this. Governor Snyder today said this. Let me let you listen to this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: I ask them not to go forward. The
reason I said is, is you`re going to start a divisive discussion regarding
collective bargaining first, but it is also working in the right to work.
Then this right to work discussion continued to escalate and was becoming
divisive. So, the way I viewed it as on the table. It`s a hot issue.
Let`s show some leadership. So, I stepped up to say when I review it. And
I think it`s a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, senator, the governor is saying here because there`s a
referendum on the ballot that he told them not to do it. This brought this
up. It`s almost like he`s blaming labor for what they did in a lame duck
session with no hearings?
GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-M), STATE SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: Exactly. I
mean, give me a break. This governor just last week when he announced this
about face said that this was good public policy. Now he`s admitting that
this is about political retribution. This is anti-worker, anti-family,
anti-woman. And they`re doing it in the most anti-American way. It is
absolutely repulsive that this governor is such a coward he had to announce
it from behind locked doors, cut off debate, lock people out of the
capitol, and now he`s signed it behind a wall of armed police officers.
You know why he`s doing that? Because he knows the public disagrees on
this one and he is dead wrong.
SHARPTON: Behind a wall of police officers. Reverend Williams, you
and other civil rights groups joined labor at the end of the day, what was
it look up there?
REV. CHARLES WILLIAMS, MICHIGAN NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Well, first
of all Reverend Sharpton, let me thank you for your leadership around this
issue in terms of bringing the national civil rights table together. We,
here, in Michigan national action network, we`re on the front lines of this
issue simply because it`s not just about the folks who are in unions but as
about the folks on the outside of unions.
And so, we`re going to fight this to the very end. And we`re going to
not let governor Snyder get any rest until we return the working people
back their rights that they had before governor Snyder signed this
SHARPTON: Senator, we hear language of Alec, the GOP`s war on
workers, we hear the language very similar to Alec when we see Michigan`s
proposed right to work billing mirror the Alec language practically word
for word the Detroit free press says. We know there`s Koch brother moneys.
Do you expect, as Reverend Williams say, people around the country now to
rally in Michigan to possibly deal with a recall or whatever options are
available that congressman Peters referred to?
WHITMER: I think so. I think we`ve got to hold these guys
accountable. You know, this governor won`t answer my phone call. He will
ignore 13,000 people here at the capitol this morning. But you know whose
call he will answer? The Koch brothers. That`s wrong. That`s not what
democracy is all about. We are a land of the people and the people will
make our voices hear. Maybe we lost this today, but this fight is not
SHARPTON: Congressman Peters, explain to the people watching around
the country what happened. A lot of people just can`t understand how this
could have happened so quickly. I mean, like, overnight. The blinking of
an eye. All of a sudden you see bill passed the state Senate, bill passed
the house, governor signs it. I mean, before we even understood what was
PETERS: It is -- it`s hard to explain. And it is particularly hard
to explain because we have a governor who repeatedly said this was not on
his agenda. This would be very divisive for our state. He continually
said that for a couple years. And immediately after the election had a
really sharp about face and then, just jammed it through without, as you
mention, without any hearings, without any public input.
I was able to meet with him and other members of the congressional
delegation. He sat and listened to us but barely responded. And when he
did respond, in fact, I was amazed by the lack of understanding he has
about this issue. So, it is hard to explain. It is something the people
in the state of Michigan will have to wonder how a governor could do this.
How a state legislature could do this. And that`s why we need to not give
up this fight and push back.
SHARPTON: Is he a puppet of the Koch brothers, of the Amway fortune?
I mean, is he just somebody that is working for other interests?
PETERS: Could be. You know, there is an interesting thing about it
is that we saw as he announced this there was a $2 million ad buy financed
by outside groups with these TV ads. This was an orchestrated attempt to
do this. It was planned well in advance and they sprung it quickly before
anybody could really react.
SHARPTON: Reverend Williams, does this affect people in your church?
People that attend? Regular people? This is more than just union bosses.
How does this affect ordinary average people in Michigan?
WILLIAMS: Well, you know Reverend Sharpton, first of all, right to
work means no rights at work. And so, we unequivocally understand that
these laws are only to break and bust collective bargaining agreements. We
understand that is only going to make it so the wages are lower.
And as you know and as the statistics show and have shown throughout
the years is that seven out of the ten states that are right to work states
are the poorest states in the country. I mean, this is absolutely
ludicrous. And when you talk about the Koch brothers and you talk about
all of the right wing alignments, this is the same governor that when we
fought against him to not sign voter suppression laws, National Action
Network fought against that, he decided not to sign it.
And so, I believe we can change his mind but it`s going to take
fighting. And we are going to -- if he doesn`t return Senator Whitmer`s
calls, then, we will just have to make house calls.
SHARPTON: All right. We`ll Congressman Peters, State Senator Whitmer
and Reverend Charles Williams, will be staying on this story. Thanks so
much for your time tonight.
PETERS: Great to be with you.
WHITMER: Thank you.
SHARPTON: The Michigan power grab you may not know about. An attack
on women`s rights is happening now in Michigan and it must be stopped.
Republicans lost in translation. Congressman Allen West says he lost
because the Democrats cheated. Yes, well, you lost. And no Santa for you
And Scalia versus Beck, winner takes all. The fight that even has the
GOP afraid. Anyone got any popcorn? Stick around for that.
You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will.
Today, the "Politics Nation" community was focused on workers fighting
back against the Republican power grab in Michigan.
Dennis says, I`m mad and I`m not even from Michigan. These
Republicans need to stop these stealth attacks on labor.
Donna says Ohio is with you, Michigan. Don`t stop the fighting.
Agnes says, I hope this is a wakeup call to those who continue to
elect Republicans on the state level, because they passed devastating bills
to workers rights, voters rights, and women`s rights.
Agnes is right. In fact, Republicans in Michigan are pushing anti-
choice bills right now. It`s a big story. And it`s coming up next.
But first, we want to hear what you think of this issue or any other.
Please head over to facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to
join the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who`s house?
CROWD: Our house!
CROWD: Right to work is wrong! Right to work is wrong!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Republicans in Michigan aren`t just going after workers`
rights. Women`s rights are in their sights as well. The power grab that
has thrown the state into crisis includes an effort to sneak through some
of the most restrictive anti-choice bills in the country. One bill that`s
already passed and is headed to Governor Rick Snyder`s desk would ban
insurance plans from covering abortions unless people actively opted in.
Other bills would force some clinics to close their doors, limit
abortion access for women in rural areas, and allow doctors to refuse to
perform abortions because of personal beliefs. And it`s not just Michigan.
Immediately following the big GOP defeat in this election, Republican
lawmakers all over the country got right back to what they do best. Trying
to pass anti-choice legislation.
In Ohio, lawmakers reintroduced a controversial heartbeat bill that
would ban abortions as early as six weeks.
In Texas anti-abortion groups are pushing lawmakers to pass a fetal
And Arkansas Republicans want to ban abortion at least 20 weeks.
Republicans in Michigan and these other state hope we don`t notice
what they`re doing. But that is not going to happen.
Joining me now is Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, pro-choice America
and Michigan state representative Lisa Brown. This summer she made
national headlines for speaking out against the GOP bills attacking women`s
Thank you both for being with me tonight.
NANCY KEENAN, PRESIDENT, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: Thank you,
SHARPTON: Let me start with you --
LISA BROWN (D), MICHIGAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Let me start with you, Senator Brown. Michigan and
abortion providers, 83 percent of Michigan counties have no abortion
providers. This is unthinkable in many places.
BROWN: Yes. Michigan, you know, is a very diverse state. We have
many rural areas. You know, the legislation that the Republicans are
trying to push through makes it even harder for women to have access to
health care. And when we close clinics, well, you are not just talking
about abortion services. You`re talking about preventive health care
services like cervical screenings and pap smears and things like that.
Preventive health care.
It`s unbelievable the restrictive legislation that is trying to be
pushed forth, as you said, it`s in lame duck. You know, we saw what
happened in the elections, and they said, oh, the clock is ticking on the
amount of time that we have control. We`ve got to do this while we can.
The war on women continues.
SHARPTON: Now, so we`ve heard about labor. But what is happening
with women? Because I`m looking at one of the bills -- the amendments that
the Republicans are proposing there would allow people to claim a fetus
over 12 weeks old as a dependent and receive an estimated $160 tax break.
But just last year they eliminated a $600 per child tax credit deduction
and slashed earned tax income credit for children which sent 9,000 Michigan
children into poverty.
BROWN: Yes. Yes, that`s right. That`s right, reverend. You know,
this is another way to define personhood. The sponsor of the bill said
that wasn`t her intention, and, of course it is. How can it not be? And
you know, sure enough, she did vote to cut that tax credit for children who
are actually on our planet. You know, breathing and eating.
This legislation is offensive. It`s -- again, it`s -- you know, it`s
this right to life agenda that does nothing to move Michigan forward. And
it is the right to life agenda just being pushed forth.
SHARPTON: Nancy, you`re a --
BROWN: And you see the hypocrisy.
SHARPTON: You`re a warrior all over the country on these issues. You
have in Michigan now. You cut money for children that are born and
growing. And then you use -- you almost manipulate using fetuses to make a
point against women`s right to choose. And all over the country it seems
that the GOP is focusing on a state level, 24 state legislators are
completely controlled by Republicans. And these laws are popping up or
these proposed laws and amendments are popping up all over the country like
the election never happened.
KEENAN: That`s right. I don`t think they got the memo, Reverend.
The fact of the matter is this flies in the face of what Americans value.
That is freedom, privacy, right to health care in this country, and the
state legislature through under the cover of darkness while there was a
debate going on around right to work, passed some anti-choice legislation
that will deny insurance coverage even in the case of rape and incest for
women who want to access that care. Let`s keep in mind, insurance
companies, vast majority of insurance companies, this is how they do
business. It`s covered right now. This takes it away. So, yes.
SHARPTON: Even in the case of rape and incest.
KEENAN: That`s right. It is so extreme, even in the case of rape and
incest which is unbelievable. The war on women does continue. And
fundamentally elections matter. Elections matter.
Now, we elected a pro-choice president in Barack Obama. We`ve
defeated some anti-choice members in congress, but state legislatures and
governors are critical. We are seeing about them denying access to women
all over this country.
SHARPTON: Now Nancy, when you look at the fact 45 states have
introduced 472 measures restricting women`s right to choose this year
alone, do you see the Michigan move as a labor and women at the same time
women not being talked about as much as you say in the cover of darkness
they`re trying to move this anti-woman, this war on women move again like
the election didn`t happen state by state and if they can do it quietly,
that`s even better?
KEENAN: Well, that`s exactly what they do. I mean, they are stealth
about this. If they walked up to your door and said I`m running for the
state legislature and I am pro-life and I`m going to deny women access to
care in this country. I`m here to tell you, they will be rejected
outright. Buy, they kind hide behind it. Oh, it is not our agenda. We`re
going to do economy, we are going to do jobs, we are going to do good
things for the state. And they get there. It`s like a bait and switch.
They get there and the first thing they do is attack a woman`s right to her
SHARPTON: Lisa, what is going to happen from here? What is the
future in Michigan? How do we fight back in Michigan?
BROWN: Well, we continue to fight, reverend. And, you know, we had
demonstrators, we had thousands of people here on the capitol steps today
fighting against right to work. We had women here, you know, demanding
that they have the right to privacy, the right to choose. And that`s what
we need to continue to do.
You know, we are a democracy. And a democracy is a government based
on representation. We have elected officials here who are not representing
the people that elected them. And that`s a real problem. We need to hold
You know, we didn`t take up the bills today in the house, but, you
know, I have a feeling we`re going to be taking up some of these bills
tomorrow. And we need to be very vocal, and as I said we need to hold
people accountable. These representatives just as you heard, you know,
they`re not going around saying hey, this is my agenda. It`s I believe in
small government. Well, you know, telling a woman what she can and cannot
do with her body is not small government.
You know, they talk about jobs. This house bill 5711 would actually
result in a loss of jobs because clinics would close. And women would have
nowhere to go for health care. You know, everything that Republicans can
say they`re against, you know, big government, privacy, all those things is
the exact opposite that`s in this legislation.
SHARPTON: Nancy Keenan and Lisa Brown, I`m going to have to hold it
there. But we`re certainly going to stay on this. Thank you for your time
tonight. And we will keep on top of this and watching this to fight to
expose their agenda.
Ahead, the GOP has no problem with tax breaks for the rich and money
for big oil. But aid for those hit hardest by hurricane Sandy? That`s
where they draw the line.
SHARPTON: Justice Scalia versus Glenn Beck. Who wins this fight may
have long-lasting effects on civil rights in this country. That`s coming
SHARPTON: First the GOP lost the election, and now they`re just
losing it. Here is don`t let the door hits you on the way out Congressman
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK LEVIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You are a national treasure. Do
you have a further public service in mind potentially?
REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: Well, the most important thing everyone
has to understand is that my voice is not going to be lost. I`m a warrior
and I`m a statesman and I`m a servant of this republic. And I`m not going
away just because of a Congressional race where he seems to have to cheat
to beat me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Poor Mr. West, he spent $18 million and all he got was an I
didn`t win t-shirt. The truth is the GOP has offered a million reasons for
why they lost. It was urban areas, the skewed polls, the wrong tone. But
here`s a hint. It`s their policies. Here`s a republican consultant
admitting that voter ID laws should be used to help the GOP win elections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT TRANTER, REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN CONSULTANT: A lot of us are
campaign officials or campaign professionals and we want to do everything
we can do help our side and sometimes we think that`s voter ID. Sometimes
we think that`s longer lines, whatever it may be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Forget about running on a message. Some in the GOP are
looking to cheat their way to victory. And then there`s Senator Jeff
Sessions. He says, forget cutting subsidies to big oil or targeting big
business. He`d proposed legislation to cut food stamps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Why not cut something else? There are other
things that could be on the table before you pick a program that is feeding
the nation`s poor children. I mean, I don`t think --
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: I`m not picking a program. I`d say
all programs need to be examined in this government. This government is
wasting money every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Feeding the nation`s poor children. Well, that`s wasting
money, apparently. And according to New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett,
so is disaster money for Hurricane Sandy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: New Jersey doesn`t get that -- even if it`s a
little bit wasteful for heaven`s sake. (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So one person`s stimulus is another person`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Helping his own constituents recover from a devastating
hurricane is wasteful? The GOP might be at a loss for why they`re down and
out, but I don`t think anyone else is.
Joining me now is Richard Wolffe, vice president and executive editor
of the MSNBC.com. And Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and
visiting professor of journalism at the University of Georgia. Thank you
both for coming on the show tonight.
RICHARD WOLFFE, VP AND EXECUTIVE EDITOR, MSNBC.COM: Thanks, Reverend.
CYNTHIA TUCKER, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING COLUMNIST: You`re welcome.
Good to be here.
SHARPTON: Richard, let me start with you. How can the GOP plan to
appeal to mainstream voters when they no longer seem to even care about
WOLFFE: Yes. You know, caring isn`t just about making people feel
good. One of the interesting things for conservatives on the other side of
the Atlantic in the UK where they`re out of power for a long time was that
they realized they couldn`t be the mean party anymore. And the danger for
Republicans as heartfelt as it may be for them to worry about deficits and
the survival of this country`s economy and the federal government, as
meaningful as that is for them, if they are only the party of cuts then
they do not speak to the greater aspirations of the people they want to
vote for them.
And that`s why they end up pulling the stunts about voter ID or
anything else. And of course, they are more than stunt, they are deeply
offensive and antithetical to everything this country stands for in terms
of democratic rights. But they actually need to move beyond an agenda of
looking tough and sounding tough and frankly heartless to many people who
richly deserve and need the help of the federal government.
SHARTON: Now, Cynthia, GOP consultant Mike Murphy wrote in "Time"
magazine and I`m quoting from what he wrote, "The republican brand is
dying. We repel Latinos, the fastest-growing voter group in the country
and our nativist opposition to immigration reform that offers a path to
citizenship. We repel younger voters who are much more secular than their
parents with our opposition of same-sex marriage and our scolding tone on
social issues. And we have lost much of our once-solid connection to the
middle class on kitchen table economic issues." That`s a devastating
analysis from a GOP consultant, Cynthia.
TUCKER: And quite true. I mean, Murphy was right on every point that
he hit. But that message isn`t getting through to most leading Republicans
in office now. Many of them simply haven`t gotten the message. They still
want to bash Obama supporters as grifters and moochers. And people who are
accepted gifts. They are not rushing to embrace immigration reform. They
seem willing even now to die on this hill of defending tax cuts for the
rich. It`s just absolutely inconceivable.
And even those who understand that the party needs to change its tone
are just talking about a different wrapping. Marco Rubio talks about
basically saying the same things in Spanish. Saying the same things a bit
more nicely. But they`re not talking about changing their policies. They
still don`t have any policies, Reverend Al, which speaks to the needs and
aspirations of ordinary Americans.
SHARPTON: Now, Richard, when you look at Glenn Beck. Part of the
GOP`s problem is the split between the extreme and the mainstream. Here`s
beck railing against Republicans today. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I`m really sick of these
Republicans who are just progressive Republicans who try to talk down to
everybody and tell us how smart they are and how everybody else is just so
stupid. I don`t speak for the Republicans. I don`t want to speak for the
Republicans. I speak for me. I tell you how I feel. I don`t want to
speak for the Republicans. I wish the Republicans would stop speaking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Are far right voice it is like this the problem?
WOLFFE: Yes, I don`t know what progressive Republicans he can
identify. I mean, I`d be interested to line them up in a room. It would
be a lonely party. But, you know, OK, yes. Glenn Beck was one of the
leading voices in that whole Tea Party movement. There`s a reason why he`s
no longer on another cable news channel. Because he was even too extreme
for them. You know, if he has helped take the Republican Party to this
position, then he`s helped them be delusional. They thought that would
help them by winning in 2010. Take them back to the White House.
There are smart people in the Republican Party who recognize that has
been a fool`s errand. That that has not taken them closer to power. Yes,
they`ve got the house. But if that`s the limit. If that`s the high water
mark of what they`ve got, then this cycle is going to turn again and it`s
going to turn badly for them. So, you know, Glenn Beck may run -- may lead
the charge to some primary challenges. But he most definitely is not their
future and that`s what interesting about the Republicans debate right now.
SHARPTON: Cynthia, buzz feed has a major piece on how the party has
to move beyond FOX News and right wing media to reach people. It quotes
republican strategist who says, quote, "FOX is great, but those viewers
already agree with us. How else are different demographics going to get to
know you if you never reach out to them?" Does the GOP have to reach
beyond their echo chamber?
TUCKER: Well, of course, it does. The echo chamber has been
disastrous for the GOP. That`s one of the reasons they were so stunned on
November 6 when they lost. Because in the echo chamber they were rejecting
facts on FOX News they were confidently predicting Mitt Romney`s victory
and they were not open to any other opinions or any actual facts for that
matter. So it`s been disastrous for them. But, you know, Reverend Al,
they have spent decades now, not just years, bashing the mainstream media
as being biased against them. As being too liberal. As not actually
talking about facts.
And so it`s going to be very difficult for them now to come back and
reach out to mainstream media outlets. Because this is what they have told
themselves for decades. Just like they`ve spend decades, by the way,
bashing people of color. So, it is very hard for them to get out of the
habits they have spent decades forming.
SHARPTON: I got to leave it there. Richard Wolffe and Cynthia
Tucker, thanks for your time tonight.
WOLFFE: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, Justice Scalia versus Glenn Beck. You won`t
believe who`s actually taking the moderate position in this fight.
Plus, what does this creature have in common with the President? Stay
tuned. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: It`s time for POLITICS NATION today in taxonomy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s right. POLITICS NATION science geeks. And tonight,
we have a remarkable discovery to share with you. Let`s travel back 65
million years to the land of dinosaurs. Ladies and gentlemen, meet
Obamadon. That`s right. He`s that small blue/green lizard down in the
left-hand corner. Scientists just today named him after the President.
Obamadon means Obama`s teeth in Latin. And researchers say they think the
lizard had a smile that resembled the president`s. Huh?
Not sure I see it. But anyway, just last week this species of fresh
water fish was named for the President Obama too. Amazing. But perhaps we
should take a closer look at those creatures around Obamadon. Whoa. Hold
on. Check out this find. It`s Limbaughasaurus. His enormous roaring
mouth is a dead giveaway. And those little ones, those are the
Boehnerraptors, of course. They love to run. Hopefully not over any
nearby cliffs. We`ll keep updating you on the latest pre-starts
discoveries. I hear the next fossil dig is for the origins of those
outdated GOP policies. And that`s today in taxonomy.
SHARPTON: Republicans are still having a hard time catching up to the
changing face of America. And you see that playing out with their struggle
over gay rights. Support for marriage equality is on the rise. Up 13
percent over the past four years alone. But Republicans aren`t getting the
message. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was asked to explain his
published comparisons between sodomy and things like bestiality and murder.
Justice Scalia answered quote, "If we cannot have moral feelings against
homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other
things? I don`t think it`s necessary, but I think it`s effective."
It`s effective to compare feelings about homosexuality to murder?
That`s the moral lesson from a man responsible for upholding the
constitution? But not all conservatives are on the same page as Scalia.
Here`s what Glenn Beck had to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Let me take the pro-gay marriage people and the religious
people. I believe there happens to be a connecting dot there that nobody`s
looking at, and that is the constitution. The question is not whether gay
people should be married or not. The question is why is the government
involved in our marriage?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Suddenly Glenn Beck is the voice of reason in the GOP? It
looks like Republicans have a big problem. Joining me now is Abby
Huntsman, host and producer of Huff Post live. Abby, thanks for being here
ABBY HUNTSMAN, HOST AND PRODUCER, "HUFFPOST LIVE": Thanks for having
SHARPTON: What is your reaction to Justice Scalia`s comments?
HUNTSMAN: You know, it`s really not all that surprising, Reverend.
I`m sure you remember the Lawrence versus Texas case back in 2003 when he
was the only justice on the bench that held the position that banning
sodomy was unconstitutional. So, that being said it`s clearly not all that
surprising. The bigger picture here though is really talking about equal
rights for gays and gay marriage in the 21st century. Frankly the
Republican Party is on the wrong side of history on this one. And
strangely, I actually think that Glenn Beck makes a good point. Ken
Mehlman, he used to be the chairman of the RNC, he wrote for the Op-Ed for
the Wall Street Journal after this big loss this last election.
So, after making the point that, in fact, you know, conservatives do
not need to lose their core convictions in order to embrace gay marriage.
And in fact, what`s more conservative than less government and more
freedoms for Americans? So, it`s strange to think that the Republicans, in
fact, should be leading on this issue. But the problem is they`re not.
And if you look at recent polls, I saw one recently also in the "Wall
Street Journal" that showed young adults between ages 18 to 29, 62 percent
supports gay marriage.
SHARPTON: Sixty three. Sixty three.
HUNTSMAN: And that`s up 45 percent ten years ago. That`s just one
indication of where the country is moving.
SHARPTON: Yes. I`m looking at the polls. And let me show you this.
Not only are they on the wrong side of history, they`re on the wrong side
of public opinion. Sixty five percent of Democrats support same-sex
marriage in a recent Quinnipiac poll. Forty nine percent of independents.
Republicans only 23 percent. Seventy three percent of Republicans say they
oppose same-sex marriage. But when you look at the poll you referred to,
18 to 29-year-olds 63 percent, same sex marriage 65, and older, only 30
percent. So there`s a generational gap here. And a gap between most of
the public and the Republicans.
HUNTSMAN: There`s absolutely a generational gap. I`m the first to
say that. And in time, the Republicans either realized that either needs
to embrace this issue or they`re not going to win moving forward. But
going back to President Lincoln, I mean, Republicans have always stood
strong on liberties. I mean, they really should focus on parts of the
party that made them strong on that smaller government. And that`s
fiscally responsible and strong national security. As it relates to civil
liberties, let the religious institutions decide whether or not that they
think they support gay marriage. Let`s give the right to the state. Let
the states decide. And we`re seeing more and more states are actually
moving in support of gay marriage.
SHARPTON: Now, you know this personally because your father was one
that supported LGBT Community. And he`s on record for supporting civil
unions. He said quote, "I think there`s such a thing as equality under the
law on marriage. I`m a traditionalist. I think that ought to be saved for
one man and one woman, but I believe that civil unions are fair and I think
it brings a level of dignity to relationships. And I believe in reciprocal
beneficiary rights. I think they should be part of civil unions as well."
Conservatives attacked him for this. How do you respond?
HUNTSMAN: He was one of the first Republicans to come out and say
that. The funny thing about that, Reverend, is he was governor of Utah,
the most conservative state and everyone knows in the country. And he was
re-elected with almost 80 percent approval, 80 percent of the vote. So,
obviously he appealed to conservatives. So, I go back to, you know, just
because you support gay marriage does not mean that you`re sacrificing the
core conservative principles that the party stands on.
You know, I think my dad was one of the first to come out, but it`s
going to take leaders like my dad within the party, individual leaders that
are willing to be bold and take a stand and say, I support gay marriage, I
support civil unions. Doesn`t mean I`m not a republican. Doesn`t mean I`m
not conservative anymore. It`s going to take individuals like that to move
the party in the right direction.
SHARPTON: Abby Huntsman, thanks for your time tonight.
HUNTSMAN: Thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: The battle in Michigan isn`t just about workers` rights,
it`s about civil rights as well. And it`s starting a nationwide fight.
SHARPTON: The fight in Michigan reminds me of one of the strongest
statements against anti-union laws that I`ve ever seen. Quote, "We must
guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as right to work. It is
a law that robs us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to
destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining." Who said
this? The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. way back in 1961. Dr. King
was an important vote for workers rights as well as civil rights.
In fact, the reason he was in Memphis when he was assassinated was to
support striking sanitation workers. The truth is workers` rights are
civil rights. We have to fight to protect them both. In about a month,
this nation will pause to celebrate Dr. King`s birthday. I`m sure
governors that are signing these right to work laws and legislators that
are voting for them will be going making pious and solemn statements at
King celebrations. They need to read what King said about workers` rights.
They need to understand how it is intertwined into the fabric of the
freedom and civil rights movement of this nation. That people that work
should be protected at least as much as you protect the top two percent.
Some of them will learn how to quote Dr. King`s dream. Others of us will
be fighting to fulfill it.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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