ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
December 17, 2013
Guests: Andrea Bernstein, Kavita Patel, Alana Rocha, Elizabeth Warren, Anthea Butler, Sam Seder, Father Bill Dailey
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Over the past several months, we have watched the right wing cycle
through a series of increasingly desperate Obamacare scare stories. Now
they have settled on their latest one. Go after Obamacare the way they
went after ACORN.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": The Obamacare navigators, you know,
the embedded men and women tapped by the White House to help you enroll in
a new health insurance plan, they`re now at the center of what appears to
be a massive scandal.
HAYES (voice-over): Navigators, they are people trying to help other
people get health insurance. No, really, that`s it. Navigator is the name
given to people paid by the federal government to work with community
groups and government agencies to help uninsured Americans get insurance,
nothing more, nothing less.
But the right wing has decided that these people are the vanguard of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is basically just another form of community
organizing paid for with your tax dollars, ACORN revisited, if you will.
HAYES: Keep in mind we are talking about trained counselors who are
helping uninsured people get insurance.
Enter James O`Keefe. Remember him? He`s the right-wing activist who
staged the infamous ACORN sting, tried to seduce a CNN anchor on film, and
pled guilty to entering a federal building where Louisiana Senator Mary
Landrieu`s office was located under false pretenses. Bottom line, nothing
he does is credible, ever.
But that hasn`t stopped Darrell Issa from bringing up O`Keefe`s latest
video and bringing it along on his anti-Obamacare road show. You see, over
the past several weeks, Issa has traveled from Gastonia, North Carolina,
out west to Apache Junction, Arizona. And, finally, last night, he ended
up in Richardson, Texas, holding official congressional hearings about
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: As we all know, an online exam
also can be taken by somebody else pretending to be the navigator.
HAYES: Last night`s hearing, Obamacare implementation. Who are the
ISSA: We cannot have a repeat of the ACORN-like activities that led
to too many people believing that there was something for nothing.
REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: The American people are losing
confidence in their government. I mean, we can look to Fast and Furious,
we can look to Benghazi, we can look to the IRS scandal, we can look to the
broken promises, if you like your health insurance, you can keep it,
HAYES: The committee then moved right along to an audiovisual
ISSA: I would have you look at the screen.
BILL O`REILLY, HOST, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR": Enter the conservative
project Veritas group, veritas meaning truth.
HAYES: Yes, that was a clip of Bill O`Reilly being screened at an
official congressional hearing. But, wait, it gets better.
O`REILLY: The project Veritas undercover talked to a few of these
navigators in training.
HAYES: The good news is, the attacks on Obamacare are increasingly
resembling the right wing e-mail forwards from which they have sprung. The
bad news is no matter how misleading, right-wing members of Congress
working with right-wing propagandists is dangerous.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last night, the Democratic-controlled Senate
voted 83-7 to deny ACORN access to millions of dollars in federal housing
HAYES: But for Darrell Issa, the only reality that does exist is the
one reflected on FOX. He basically said so last night when he told a local
health official: "You need to watch more FOX, I`m afraid."
But I have an idea for a different hearing Issa could be holding in
Texas, a state with six million uninsured people, including over one
million children, whose governor refused to expand Medicaid. Instead of
telling officials to watch more FOX, how about doing what the navigators
are doing and try to get the people of Texas insured?
HAYES: Joining me now, Alana Rocha, a multimedia reporter for "The
Texas Tribune" who`s been covering this story.
Alana, my understanding is, you were at the hearing last night, and,
man, does it sound like a strange, strange scene. Paint the picture for
ALANA ROCHA, "THE TEXAS TRIBUNE": Well, it lasted about two-and-a-
half-hours and it was on the stage there at a performance hall in
Richardson, in the Dallas area.
You had the five Republican lawmakers, one Democrat from the Texas
delegation. And it was mainly focused on the navigators, but there was an
opportunity in the opening remarks from each of the congressmen on both
sides of the aisle to posture a little bit as far as the Republicans
outlining other aspects of the law that they don`t like, and Marc Veasey,
the sole Democrat, taking the opportunity to call out Governor Perry, if
you will, and say, we need to be talking about a more pressing problem and
that is expanding Medicare -- or Medicaid, rather, as you just alluded to.
HAYES: Who`s going to a field congressional hearing on the evil
Obamacare navigator? Just, it just seems like a slightly strange thing for
a citizen to up and do on a Monday night. Who was in the crowd?
ROCHA: Well, it was actually in the afternoon, and so you would think
the maybe it`s an even sparser crowd because people are working.
But mostly people in the audience were of an older age, but you did
have the Texas Organizing Project, a grassroots activism organization that
helps low-income Texans there protesting -- or rallying, rather, outside of
the hearing before it got started and calling it a dog and pony show.
But it was pretty sparsely populated there in the audience, but a very
engaged audience, applauses on both sides of the aisle when you heard
different remarks from the different lawmakers.
HAYES: In terms of the Medicaid expansion in Texas, how much of this
is a live political issue? I mean, Texas has more -- if I`m not mistaken,
more uninsured people than any state in the union. It certainly has the
highest percentage, if I`m not mistaken.
And a huge amount of those people are now looking at no relief from
this law which has been so demonized by Republicans there. Is that a live
political issue in the state or is it sort of being applauded by the
Republicans who run state government?
ROCHA: Well, I have heard it more on the ground as far as I went down
to the Valley, the Rio Grande Valley, recently and met with some of the
people signing up at the community health centers there. And a lot of them
say that people will come in who don`t fall within that ideal window as far
as where the subsidies kick in or that it`s affordable for people, the
working-class Texan to afford health care, and they just can`t help them
and they`re priced out of the market, one side or the other.
It`s a frustrating thing for the community health counselors and the
navigators on the ground dealing with these people. So it`s an ever-
HAYES: As a reporter, have you seen the nefarious navigators wielding
their nefarious ways as they nefariously try to get people health
ROCHA: I haven`t personally. When I went down to the Valley
recently, I thought I was going to meet with navigators.
And actually at these community health centers, the people there that
sign them up are application counselors. And they don`t leave there.
People come to them. And they make appointments through the patients that
they serve at these clinics.
HAYES: I want to -- the Texas congressional delegation is a rare
bunch, I would say. It`s a state that has produced a particularly, let`s
say, ideologically extreme group of Republican members of Congress,
particularly in the House.
Is this essentially them playing to their base? I mean, this is kind
of a layup for them, to have this kind of dog and pony show.
ROCHA: Well, they mostly did stick to the navigator issue, but for
instance, Michael Burgess took the opportunity to tell a story of how he`s
tried to sign up on healthcare.gov and has not been able to complete the
process and submit a payment, and just kind of highlighting that aspect
that had nothing to do with the focus of the hearing.
But they all stuck to the guns pretty much.
HAYES: I think we need to find from Texas a good navigator to walk
him through the process. Alana Rocha from "Texas Tribune," thank you.
Joining me now, Ezra Klein, MSNBC policy analyst, editor of Wonkblog
and columnist for "The Washington Post." Dr. Kavita Patel, she worked on
the Affordable Care Act as senior adviser to Valerie Jarrett in the Obama
administration, and now a fellow at the Brookings Institution.
And, Kavita, my understanding is you have done training of these
terrifying community organizing vanguard of Obamunism, the navigators.
Tell me, what is the secret to their takeover of the American state?
DR. KAVITA PATEL, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, it`s a really well-
kept secret, Chris. They`re really just trying to sign people up for
So, it`s been really interesting to talk on the ground. I`m from
Texas, full disclosure, born and raised there. And talking to actual
navigators a and people who are actually doing the work that we have all
been talking about, which didn`t really come out in the hearing, to be
honest, they went through the requisite 20 -- not even just the 20 hours of
The navigators I have talked to are people who know the health care
system, are from nonprofits in the communities, community health centers.
And they actually have gone through, you know, a longer period of health
care training that will help to get people signed up.
But they have been telling me that a lot of what they`re trying to do
is just meet the demands. There`s so many people asking questions that, if
anything, they have just been overwhelmed with work.
HAYES: Ezra, one of the interesting challenges in implementing the
law right now is the fact that unlike, say, trying to find voters where
there is a voter file, there is no unified file that says these are the
people that don`t have health insurance, you can go find them.
So there`s a key role to be played here by someone to kind of bridge
the gap between people that need the insurance and the insurance product
EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
The Republican approach to a lot of this has been essentially that you
should have basically no regulation of insurance companies. But you should
regulate anybody who is helping anybody get insurance almost out of
KLEIN: The navigators, I wouldn`t phrase them as being such a
critical part of finding the uninsured.
That`s been much more a product of modeling and heat mapping and
polling and calling and partnering with local groups. What the navigators
are there for is actually the very sickest. So, it isn`t that hard to get
if you can get them to sign up.
Somebody who`s young and healthy and computer-literate and makes
$65,000 a year, if they`re going to sign up for health care, they don`t
need a ton of help to do it. They know these programs. But folks who are
really sick, who aren`t that experienced with bureaucracies, who aren`t
that experienced with computers, who aren`t that wealthy, who don`t know
how to use e-commerce Web sites all that well, who don`t shop on Amazon all
the time, they actually need a lot of help.
KLEIN: And they`re the people who both need insurance the most and
need these navigators the most.
So if you knock more and more navigators out of the game, these are
the people who get hurt, the people who are really and who are hard for the
health care system to help even normally.
HAYES: Kavita, there is an ACORN parallel here, which is that ACORN
was an organization that had a lot of institutional troubles that had
nothing to do with James O`Keefe and whatever.
But at the end of the day, a lot of what they were doing was just
helping poor people get services, helping people to register to vote,
helping them get government benefits to which they were entitled. And when
they were taken out of the picture, it just hurt those people. It just
hurt a whole bunch of poor people who were absolutely entitled to
government services who then weren`t getting them.
PATEL: Not only that.
I think just in addition to the ACORN parallel, just to piggyback onto
what Ezra said, it`s also hurting people. Remember, non-English speaking
populations are probably going to be hurt the most. And in states like
Texas -- we saw this with ACORN, it was disenfranchised populations,
populations where English wasn`t their primary language.
And I just think it`s ironic in a time when I think health care access
is one of the greatest civil rights triumphs of at least my time and
generation, that we`re actually going to make some of these disparities
worse for certain ethnic minorities.
HAYES: Kavita, follow up on that.
I always wonder, when you`re sitting in the White House, you`re
crafting this big, very complicated piece of legislation, is there ever
someone being like, you know what? I bet you they`re going to go nuts over
the navigators, or is it always kind of like a surprising flower that pops
up every day of what conspiracy theory or what attack will have currency?
PATEL: Well, I will say that nothing surprises me anymore,
But in going through the large team -- remember, this was such a
monumental lift from so many people. Everybody knew there would be
problems with signing up and transitions into Medicaid and expansions. Not
knowing the constitutionality of the whole thing was causing everybody more
However, I will tell you the patient navigator piece, it was a lot
more of a, oh, yes that`s a good idea, because it makes sense. Who would
think explaining how to sign up or, as Ezra put it, getting to the sickest
people was a bad idea? It is a little surprising.
HAYES: Ezra, you had a post up on Wonkblog today that was basically
saying all these doomsday scenarios about a death spiral for Obamacare,
that is not going to happen. Where do you see the state of the law right
KLEIN: Yes, I should say that was a great Sarah Kliff post.
But the state law right now is that you are having a very rapid
improvement in healthcare.gov. You`re also seeing that not only in
anecdotal experience, not only in the enrollment numbers. You`re also
seeing it in insurers that are beginning to unleash what we expect to be at
least $500 million of advertising over the next year, advertising they had
wanted to begin a couple weeks or months ago, but didn`t because they
thought they shouldn`t drive people to an exchange where they couldn`t
actually read the form it generated.
So you are beginning to have the machinery and the institutional
support around the law begin to activate, because all of a sudden actually
getting somebody to the point where they might sign up is a good thing, as
opposed to a bad thing.
That said, we`re in a place where the law is running far behind
enrollment expectations. Nobody quite knows what the risk pool is going to
look like, and in truth nobody will really know until March, because all
experiences we have had with these kinds of things before is that people
won`t sign up for the most part until they have a penalty looming over
them, and that`s really at the end of March.
So it will be a bit hard to really give a good progress report until
we know what happens in that sort of final sprint of sign-up.
HAYES: Everyone watching this, if your open enrollment at your
company right now expires soon, put that in your calendar and do that on
MSNBC policy analyst Ezra Klein, Dr. Kavita Patel, thank you.
And, coming up, Senator Elizabeth Warren has just introduced a bill
that would prohibit employers from requiring prospective employees to tell
their credit history when applying for a job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Today, highly qualified
applicants with bad credit can be shut out of the job market. This is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: She will be my guest ahead.
HAYES: There was a bad development for Governor Chris Christie today
in the George Washington bridge scandal. We will bring you the latest
HAYES: Did Chris Christie or his political appointee cronies shut
down part of the world`s busiest bridge in order to punish a political
A month ago, that question was only being asked in local New Jersey
media, then the national media. Now the question is being asked on Capitol
Hill. Last night, we brought you this amazing story of the traffic-gate
scandal currently ensnaring New Jersey`s governor.
It`s already prompted two hand-picked Christie appointees to resign,
among them, Christie`s high school buddy David Wildstein. At issue is an
allegation from the Democratic mayor of the New Jersey town of Fort Lee,
which sits at the entrance to the George Washington Bridge that Christie`s
appointees made a -- quote -- "punitive decision" to close two of the three
access lanes onto the bridge leading from his town.
The closure of those lanes last for four days in early September,
causing a traffic nightmare for Fort Lee residents, half-hour commutes
taking four hours and kids showing up late to their first day of school.
Christie`s appointees claimed they closed the lanes in order to do a
traffic study. But here`s the thing. The head of the agency that oversees
the bridge said he has heard nothing about a traffic study. And that left
Democrats to draw one conclusion: Christie`s allies closed the access
lanes to get back at the Fort Lee mayor because the mayor had conspicuously
refused to endorse Christie for reelection. Sheer political payback.
Christie has denied that allegation, even tried to turn them into a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I worked the cones, actually.
Unbeknownst to everybody, I was actually the guy out there. I was in
overalls and a hat, so I wasn`t a -- but I actually was the guy working the
cones out there. You really are not serious with that question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Funny. But the scandal isn`t going away.
Democrat Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the chairman of the Senate
Commerce Committee, sent a letter to the Department of Transportation
seeking a federal probe of the matter, citing his concern about "what
appears to be political appointees abusing their power to hamper interstate
commerce and safety without public safety."
If the Department of Transportation gets involved, it will be the
third body to investigate the scandal. And there could be a fourth. A New
Jersey state lawmaker plans to introduce a resolution in the Democratic-led
state Senate on Thursday asking the U.S. Congress to investigate.
The reason this scandal is exploding is simple. No one can explain
why Christie`s allies ordered the lanes closed if it wasn`t for petty
political payback. And until Chris Christie offers a plausible
explanation, the story is not going to go away.
Joining me now, Andrea Bernstein, metro editor for WNYC News, who has
been covering this story and covering it quite ably, if you don`t mind me
ANDREA BERNSTEIN, WNYC REPORTER: Thank you.
HAYES: OK. How big a deal would it be if this gets to the Capitol
BERNSTEIN: Well, it`s a big deal at any point when the story doesn`t
And I think that is what is the huge surprise for New Jersey and these
officials, who seemed to believe that they could do this and no one would
notice, that they instructed officials within the Port Authority not to
tell the director, not to tell the mayor of Fort Lee, not to tell the media
affairs office and the press.
So, there seemed to be a belief that they could just contain this, and
it became as a big surprise when first "The Wall Street Journal" and then a
number of other outlets began to pay attention, because it`s a really bad
idea to mess with people`s traffic.
HAYES: It`s a really bad idea to mess with people to get back at
their mayor to begin with.
I mean, I should say, we don`t know that was the motivation.
HAYES: We don`t know. We don`t know, absolutely, yes.
BERNSTEIN: But what is clear from my reporting and from others`
reporting is that the official who directly ordered this, David Wildstein,
who goes back with Chris Christie to high school, was someone who was very
much feared in the agency.
And the feeling inside the Port Authority was that he was representing
the governor. He was just a leapfrog away, was the number two official.
And then, when he said it, whether Christie ordered it or not...
HAYES: It was interpreted inside as this is coming from the governor.
HAYES: And at one point, when this is proposed, the people that
actually run the bridge say to him, that is a terrible idea, like, this is
going to be massively disruptive.
BERNSTEIN: To say proposed is sort of extending what was a fairly
BERNSTEIN: I mean, what the head of the bridges and tunnels -- and
the head of bridges and tunnels testified was that they learned the Friday
before that this was going to happen, which they said was at variance with
their normal procedures, and that they shouldn`t do anything to stop it.
I want to give some context here, because you think to yourself -- you
see this story at first, and you think to yourself, OK, the charges being
made is that this is the payback for a Democratic mayor who wouldn`t
endorse Governor Chris Christie. You think to yourself, well, he`s a
Democrat. Chris Christie is a Republican.
I think people need to understand how important Democratic
endorsements were in Chris Christie`s reelection. There was a number of
Democratic lawmakers across the state who endorsed him. It was part of the
appeal of Chris Christie in a state that went for Barack Obama by a huge
BERNSTEIN: Absolutely. He had a name for them, Christiecrats.
New Jersey in presidential elections for more than a generation has
always been blue. It`s not a foregone conclusion that a Republican
governor could win. But he played it very, very well. I mean, he
obviously got a big boost from Sandy.
And no one would -- could give us particular evidence, but there was a
lot of sort of sense among Democrats, and they kept saying we have a sense
that there`s a naughty and a nice list with Christie, and we have to play
HAYES: I have heard -- I have heard New Jersey politicos the term
naughty-nice, just precisely those words about who is on what list, and
that if you were -- if you made nice with the governor, you were -- things
were going to be all right, and if you didn`t make nice with the governor -
- and that is the governor`s reputation.
Again, we don`t know what happened here, right?
HAYES: Part of the reason this is becoming a story is that you have
got two of his appointees who have resigned, which, if nothing was done
wrong, I don`t know why they`re resigning, but also because there is a
perception among everybody who works in New Jersey politics that the
Christie administration will punish you if you are a wayward.
BERNSTEIN: That`s the impression.
And, again, we have no evidence. And what Christie said in his rather
lengthy one-hour-plus press conference in which he got to the point where
he was talking about the Super Bowl and baseball scores, because he just
wanted to outlast everybody, but he kept saying, well, the politics is on
the other side. This is national Democrats trying to make an issue. He
even said, we`re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.
Well, and that is the other side of this, is that we`re going to see
this played to the hilt by Democrats because...
BERNSTEIN: We are.
HAYES: Yes, because it is a perfect opportunity. There has been an
attempt -- ever since Chris Christie burst on the national scene, part of
the attack from his political opponents and from the Democratic Party is
that the guy`s a bully. That has been part of it.
And it started with the YouTube clips of him yelling at teachers. And
that was part of the kind of personality attack they used on Chris
Christie. This guy`s a bully. And this fits in with that. And I think
we`re going to see a lot more of it from Democrats.
The people felt and voters sort of felt, reflected in the polls, that
he was a bully, but he was their bully.
HAYES: Yes, exactly.
BERNSTEIN: The problem is that this is now creating traffic. It`s
preventing people from getting to work. It`s creating a potentially
dangerous situation, where the executive director of the Port Authority
said, thankfully, no one died because...
HAYES: First-responders couldn`t get from point A to point B in the
town of Fort Lee.
That`s the sort of different kind of bullying that people maybe don`t
like. I mean, I still that, overwhelmingly, polls show that many New
Jerseyans feel that Christie is on their side and that he`s a straight
talker. The problem is, is that this begins to make it look like he plays
favorites perhaps for his own political gain. And that mucks up the
HAYES: The other thing is, there`s a simple whodunit. It`s just a
Why were these lanes closed -- ordered? The first answer was a
traffic study. No one can produce any evidence that such a thing existed.
So, if it wasn`t a traffic study, you got to come up with an answer. When
they come up with an answer and it turns -- if it proves to be innocuous,
we can all go away and go cover something else.
HAYES: But until they come up with an answer, it`s a story. It`s a
Well, and the Democrats have now made clear that they don`t intend to
let that go. There are still seven subpoenas out in the New Jersey
Assembly. There`s Senator Jay Rockefeller. I mean, the Port Authority is
a bistate agency, New York and New Jersey, which means, to make most
things happen, you do have to have Congress get involved.
BERNSTEIN: And in a long time of covering the Port Authority, I used
to joke I could never get anything out of them unless there was an act of
BERNSTEIN: Maybe we`re now at that point.
HAYES: Andrea Bernstein was WNYC, thank you so much.
BERNSTEIN: Thank you.
HAYES: Senator Elizabeth Warren is being hailed as the leader of the
Democratic Party`s economic populist wing. I will ask her if there really
is such a thing as an Elizabeth Warren Democrat ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you pay for mortgages or rent, your auto
loan, your insurance, your utility deposit, and even if you will get a job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pulling a credit store is an easy way to find out
more about an applicant`s background.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s become one of a tool of the things that they
have at their arsenal when they`re screening applicants for somewhat, you
know, sometimes very competitive positions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We are in the midst of a growing national debate about what
the president has called the defining challenge of our time, growing
inequality. It`s causes and it`s negative effects for our society, our
economy and our democracy.
And, one of its most pernicious aspects is the way in which we set up
traps to keep people on the bottom on the bottom. Our prison industrial
complex cycles through millions of people releases them. Lets them out
into the world where they often find the first job application they
encounter asking if they have a criminal record, which makes it hard to
find and get a job, which makes it of course more likely they will go back
Another example of this kind of obstacle to mobility is the use of
credit scores, which employers are increasingly using as a way of weeding
out job candidates. So, someone has a string of bad luck, if family health
emergency has to pay for a loved one`s catastrophe, goes through a
bankruptcy and their credit score goes south and then they cannot get a job
because the potential employer asks for that credit score.
What do you think that is going to do with their credit score in the
future, their future employee ability, their future ability to contribute?
One of Washington`s most eloquent voices in inequality, Senator Elizabeth
Warren is introducing a bill to ban that practice.
Joining me now is Senator Warren. Sen. Warren, you have got a piece
of legislation on precisely this issue, and I guess the first question is,
why should not employers be able to look at the background and record of
the people that they want to hire for a job?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR: First of all, let`s
just look at the data. There has been studies now that have shown that
there is little or no correlation between someone`s ability to do a job and
their credit rating. But the principle reasons behind it is -- Look, this
is one of those things that is just about what is basically fair.
People ought to be able to get out there and compete for a job based
on whether or not they can do the job, not based on whether or not they can
pay their bills or whether or not they have had a problem in the past, a
divorce a job loss, a death in the family, the kinds of things that cause
people to have financial problems. Compete on the skills for the job,
that`s all this is about.
HAYES: It seems to me this is part of a broader theme in your
previous legal scholarship and in your work as a politician, which is areas
in which it seems the system appears rigged or unfair or finds a way to
trap and make life worse for people who given a fair shake could actually
do a lot better?
WARREN: Yes, if you put your finger right on it. This is one more
way in which the game is rigged. So, think about it this way. If you are
rich and you get divorced, it is not going to hurt your credit rating. If
you are rich and you have a medical problem, it is not going to hurt your
credit rating. If you are rich and you end up quitting your job or losing
your job, you walk out with a whole lot of savings. You walk out with a
nice package, it`s not going to hurt your credit rating.
But, how about family who is work hard every day, who live a lot
closer to the economic margin. Those are the ones who get hit with a
problem with a medical problem, with a job loss -- and boy, it is not only
the hit. It is the financial fallout from that hit. And, here is the
deal, it stays on their credit report for seven years, in some cases even
So, what does that really mean? This is a problem that hits hard
working families who are struggling to get back on their feet. It is not
one that hits the rich. And, I think that is just wrong. I do not think
it should happen.
HAYES: You know, it seems to me right now there is a convergence of a
lot of the issues you have championed both as a scholar and in public life
and where the zeitgeist is both in the national conversation about
inequality and social mobility in the president talking about it and where
the democratic and liberal base is on this issue. I mean there is one
activist group out there that refers to the Elizabeth Warren wing of the
Democratic Party. Is there an Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic
Party, are you its leader?
WARREN: This is not about me. This is about the issues, about what
is happening to America`s families, America`s middle class, America`s hard
working families have been hammered on for a generation now. And, it is
not just one problem. It is one after another after another.
They have been hit with flat wages or even slightly declining wages
and all the core expenses of being middle class, of housing, of health
care, of what it costs to keep a child in daycare. Send a kid to college,
to medical care. All of those costs have shot through the roof.
That has put a squeeze on these families. They send as many people as
they could into the workforce in two parent families. They sent both mom
and dad or both moms into the workforce, but it still was not enough. They
turned to debt and then they were targeted by a credit industry that
figured out you could make huge profits from lending to people who were
already in a financial squeeze.
And, so what`s happened is America`s middle class has just been under
this enormous pressure. And parts of it are beginning to break apart. Our
once steady, solid, almost dull middle class, that was the idea, we were so
sure it would always be there. Pieces are starting to break away --
HAYES: But, senator --
WARREN: -- Families can no longer say to their kids, "You are going
to do better than I did." And, that`s what it is we have to attack.
HAYES: Here is my question, the trends you are talking about and have
been tracking and trying to address in legislation like this and other
pieces of legislation, you have introduced, these are 34-year trends. I
mean we have seen this kind of system, this sort of version of American
capitalism and the Democratic Party has been empowered during periods where
that has been exacerbated.
Democrats voted for the bankruptcy bill, which you opposed
strenuously. I do not know if democrats have done enough to combat this.
Is the Democratic Party focused enough on this core issue?
WARREN: Well, the question is what are we going to do going forward?
We have to outline our priorities and we have to be willing to get in there
and fight for them. And, that is what all of this is about. It is about
how we fight for our college kids, the kids who are trying to get an
education, people who are being crushed by student loan debt. It is about
how we fight for seniors to protect social security.
And to help people get more money into retirement savings. And, in
this particular case, with this bill, it is how we fight for people who
have been hit by one economic blow or another. And, are out there trying
to compete in the job market and just want a level playing field. You are
right, the pieces come together because a lot is broken and it is going to
take a lot of pieces to get it fixed again.
HAYES: Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, great, thanks.
HAYES: Coming up, Rush Limbaugh calls the pope a Marxist. The pope
comes up with the best possible reply. Stay tuned.
HAYES: Today, House Speaker John Boehner had a special birthday
message for Pope Francis who is turning 77. Speaker is twitting quote,
"Happy Birthday @Pontifex. Here is your birthday song.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOEHNER, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: Not many of you know the Boehner
birthday song, but it is pretty simple. This is your birthday song. It
does not last too long, hey!
BOEHNER: Now -- My colleagues, the second verse is exactly like the
REP. RALPH HALL, (R) TEXAS REPRESENTATIVE: Let`s do not sing it.
BOEHNER: This is your birthday song. It does not last too long, hey!
Happy birthday, Ralph.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It is reported they are sending in tradition in the speaker`s
office to use that rendition of the famous Boehner birthday song as
delivered to Congressman Ralph Hall in 2006 to mark people`s birthdays.
And, today, Boehner`s special song went out to the pope. Now, some of
the write have been somewhat, let`s say less generous with Pope Francis`
concern. We will dig into the right wing freak out over the new pope,
HAYES: Today is the 77th birthday of "Time" magazine person of the
year, global phenomenon and scourge of capitalism Pope Francis. And,
something that classically film system moved, he decided to break bread on
his birthday with some homeless men arriving with his dog in tow.
It`s gestures like that have turned him into a global icon this year.
New progressive face of the Catholic Church expressing the best kind of
values the church can enlighten. But, now news that goes beyond rhetorical
flourishes and symbolic gestures, the pope taking action, voting this week
to remove Cardinal Raymond Burk from the congregation for bishops.
The Vatican`s influential Burk is an outspoken cultural warrior who
came to the Vatican in 2008 after serving as Archbishop in St. Louis. And,
here as emphasized the Catholic Church is opposition to marriage equality
and abortion rights. His 50 minutes of right wing fame came back in 2004
when he said he would deny communion to catholic politicians like then
senator and presidential nominee John Kerry if Kerry supported abortion
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: A few church leaders said Kerry should
be denied communion because of views that contradict the church. The
Archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond Burke.
RAYMOND BURKE, ST. LOUIS ARCHBISHOP: When people are publicly sending
in other words publicly acting contrary to fundamental teaching of the
faith, then I am required also to take an action with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If Cardinal Burke is the kind of catholic the American right
can really get behind, Pope Francis is turning out to be the opposite with
his polemic about the depredations of triple economics, not surprisingly,
becoming a world renowned embodiment of economic justice and radical
egalitarianism has Pope Francis an increasingly irate audience in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STUART VARNEY, FOX NEWS HOST: I thought that the pope was really very
much in favor of the European social model which is neo-socialism, which
fails it`s own people.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: When the pope says it
is the obligation of the government to take from the rich and give to the
poor because that is the only way to alleviate poverty, he does not know
what he is talking about.
GLENN BECK, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He makes me a little concerned on
his Marxist tendencies.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is just pure Marxism
coming out of the mouth of the pope. There is no such unfettered
capitalism that does not exist anywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As for the Marxist name calling Pope Francis responded in a
truly amazing way, a way that -- let`s face it no American politician could
ever, saying, quote. "Marxist ideology is wrong, but I have met many
Marxists in my life who are good people. So, I do not feel offended."
Joining me now is Anthea Butler, Associated professor of religious
studies at University of Pennsylvania, Sam Sedar host of the online daily
political show and podcast Majority Report and Father Bill Dailey lecturer
in law at Notre Dame Law School.
Let start me saying about here, I remember the last time that there
was a right wing freak out about the pope, which this chapter has been
lost, I think, to memory, it was in 2003 during Iraq War when Pope John
Paul was doing everything in his power to stop the Iraq war, even sending
emissaries from the Vatican to meet with the Saddam`s spokesperson and the
right lost it. They really lost it at that pope. I have not seen that
since back then.
ANTHEA BUTLER, ASSOCIATED PROFESSOR AT UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA:
No, and we have not and I think what is happening now is that what we have
is sort of a pope who is saying I do not like this capitalist system that
is going on right now and let`s get back to the basic principles of what
the catholic church has been all about, which is a preferential option for
the poor, right? And, now what you see with the right wing freak out with
Rush, you know, the conservative pope, of course, is the sense in which you
know their Jesus is at naked -- And now they got to defend Jesus that
begins the real Jesus.
HAYES: And, I also think Father Bill, I think there is a way in
which, you know, the full kind of politics of the catholic church, if you
can call it that, you know? They do not -- there is no space in American
political life that combines economic equilibrium and social conservatism.
There is no real party that represents that. There is no political
figures frankly that represent that because of the way the two parties have
sorted themselves and so one of the things that is fascinating about the
church is that, you know, the bishops, they always anger the republicans
when they talk about things like poverty and health care and the anger
liberals when they talk about abortion and gay rights. And, here what we
are seeing is a matter of emphasis or are we seeing something more than a
matter of emphasis with this pope.
FATHER BILL DAILEY LECTURER IN LAW AT NOTRE DAME LAW SCHOOL: I think
it is primarily a matter of emphasis. He is still a catholic pope. He has
not changed any fundamental doctrines as they have pointed out. But, we
have moved from two consecutive papacies that were focus on consolidation
after the period of radical change with the second Vatican council where
Pope John Paul II and his successor Pope Benedict looked at a church that
they thought -- I think it is fair to say in some ways was drifting too far
and too fast away from certain moorings, we had therefore doing quick math
here, something like 33 years of consolation which is not unusual in a
large institution that has just gone through a kind of ranching change.
Now, we have a pope who fundamentally working with the same doctor and
said it is time for us to go out to the world. The church`s job is to
introduce people to Christ and so it is fundamentally about tone but that
tone is rather important because consolation can never be the central
business of the church.
HAYES: I think the tone aspect of it to me, it has been such an
amazing study and communication and just like grace and empathy, because
you are right, Father Bill, no church teachings have changed. Nothing has
changed. But, I feel sorry, more worldly about the church that was my home
during my upbringing. You know, the church that was the home our fathers -
And, it really says something, Sam about the way you talk about things
and the language of cultural war particularly in the way that that kind of
polarization works, I want to get your thoughts on this right after we take
this quick break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARDINAL RAYNMOND BURKE: One gets the impression or it is interpreted
this way in the media that he thinks we are talking too much about
abortion, too much about the integrity of marriage as between one man and
one woman. But we can never talk enough about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Cardinal Raymond Burke, recently not reappointed to
an influential council by the pope responding to some of the pope`s
comments including his talk about, we can emphasis only on issues related
to abortion, gay marriage and the use of the contraceptive methods,
emphasizing a shift in tone. Back here with Anthea Butler, Sam Seder, and
Father Bill Dailey.
And, if that shift in tone which at first I think there was this
question of is this just cosmetic or is there something deeper here and the
way the right has responded has partially led me to believe there is
SAM SEDER, HOST OF MAJORITY REPORT: Well, they certainly notice about
it, I think because -- you know? I mean to a certain extent, there is no
catholic voting bloc in this country.
HAYES: That`s true.
SEDER: But, I do think to a certain extent that the pope and you
know, when you have bishops coming out and attacking John Kerry, when you
have bishops coming out and attacking Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius
about contraception mandate, it provide a certain amount of air cover. It
provides a certain moral righteousness that someone like Rush Limbaugh
And, I think that it implicates people`s decision making and
perspective on things even if they are not catholic because the pope, you
know, presumably, you know, the pope is saying there is some latitude here
that there is some change in emphasis that is necessary, may be in latitude
within certain catholic doctrine, but certainly emphasis of what you should
be working for first.
HAYES: Does the Burke decision signal something, the first kind of
steps towards action aside from a sort of rhetorical shift in tone to you?
BUTLER: Absolutely. It does signal something. It was Burke and it
was Rigali, who was former cardinal in Philadelphia and he was the one that
really mess things up with sex abuse. It is a change in tone. It is a
change in the way he wants to do things, but you should not read it as a
change in what the catholic doctrine is.
So, on the issue of women, on the issue of LBGT rights, you know, I
was very surprised to see the advocates making him, you know, their person
of the year, and I was like, "What?" I just like, "What is this?"
And, I think that is a measure of the good will and the tone change.
But, do not be deceived. He is choosing what he is going to go out for and
I think what he is going after is the poverty and capitalism and that is
going to be what is the forefront of what will be the hallmark of his
papacy. The rest of these things will take time. The doctrinal changes
and doctrinal changes come very slowly and I think that is the part that is
going to be difficult for everyone.
HAYES: Do you agree with that Father Bill?
FATHER DAILEY: More or less. I am not sure that I would say that it
is capitalism in particular that he is going after, within a context of a
series of statements beginning with John Paul II who certainly was no fan
of Marxism or communism, but was also not on critical of capitalism.
I always love it when the church talks about a distortion, such as
unfettered capitalism. And, people on the one hand first say, "I can`t
believe you are attacking me." And, secondly, "I never said that." So, it
may be that there is no one out there advocating for unfettered capitalism
in which case, it is stands as a kind of an acid pope, right?
It is a limit that we should not be approaching and it is an emphasis
again on the pope`s love of the poor and the fact that the love of the poor
is at the heart of the scriptures and certainly of the gospel of Christ,
you know? The emphasis here, I mean we have looked at Glen Beck and George
Andrew Napolitano, I am not sure they are going to occupy much of the
pope`s spot about making appointments or not trying to make pronouncement.
But, again, on the tonal point, and there is more than tone here, it
is the essence that the mission of the church is to go out to the world
with good news. But, conservatives, as you know, I tend to lump myself in
that category if I must. We like book title`s like "Judge Bork" right?
Slouching Toward Gomorrah."
And, the pope just wrote an exultation about joy and you know, it just
ruffles feathers. My e-mail exchanges tend to begin with folks saying, the
decline of the west part 117. He is kind of disrupting that dialogue.
HAYES: You know, that is a great point because part of what, I think
that tonal ship, or you emphasizing economic issues or are you emphasizing
social issues. Part of it was there is the part of the catholic catechism
that`s about judgment and it is about sin and there is a part about grace
and redemption and forgiveness and the part that as always touched me most
in that grace redemption and forgiveness in which that tone apart is part
of what he has been expressing as well.
SEDER: Yes. You know, I have to say that I do not think Rush
Limbaugh`s problem with that has to do with -- I think it actually has to
do with the fact that someone with a huge platform --
SEDER: -- who is perceived as someone who does not have the skin in
the game, he comes from -- there is some type of overarching plot, you
know, to enhance the acorn or whatever.
HAYES: Right. Exactly!
SEDER: And, who is speaking with some authority on this and respected
by a large part of the not just the country`s population, but the world`s
FATHER DAILEY: You are suggesting that the pope is some kind of
HAYES: Although, he has certainly been acting like a community
organizer in the best possible way, which I think is part of what has done
through the Wall Street Journal writing updates about this thing. The pope
can have his views, but he has earned them. Anthea Butler from the
University of Pennsylvania, Sam Seder from Majority Report, Father Bill
Dailey Notre Dam Law School. Thank you all. That is "All In" for this
evening. The "Rachel Maddow Show" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES