The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/24/09

Guests:
Sherrod Brown, Ana Marie Cox, Doris Kearns Goodwin
Transcript:

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  And our MSNBC late-night coverage continues now with “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW,” beginning right here. 

Hi. 

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW”:  This is convenient. 

OLBERMANN:  Yes, that‘s good.

I keep expecting you to throw something at me, and for me to partially shatter. 

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  Well, I will leave—we will do that when we‘re off-camera. 

MADDOW:  All right, fair enough.

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  OK.

MADDOW:  Thank you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Sure.

MADDOW:  And thank you for staying with us at home until the top of the hour, as we continue our coverage of President Obama‘s address to Congress and to all the rest of us as well. 

We will cover the president‘s speech, Governor Bobby Jindal‘s remarkable Republican response.  We will be joined by Senator Sherrod Brown, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ana Marie Cox.  They will all be here.  It is all coming up.

First, even during ordinary times, a night like tonight is a moment of true civics ceremony, political theater, a pageant of patriotism, in a good way, when the president of the United States arrives at the Capitol to address a joint session of Congress and to set forth plans for the country.

But, of course, given the wars and the catastrophic economic meltdown situation, these are not ordinary times. 

And, so, in the name of credibility, the president acknowledged the toughness of the times we are living through right now, and then it was time for a presidential pep talk. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: 

We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: “Rebuilding,” “recovering,” the kind of verbs that leaders use to call us to unite in the face of adversity, as in, we have been hit.  Let‘s respond as a country together.

But, interestingly, the line that resonated most strongly, the big memorable applause line of the speech, was not about crisis, not about response to adversity, but rather about striving for a better future of personal responsibility. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Dropping out of high school is no longer an option.  It‘s not just quitting on yourself; it‘s quitting on your country.  And this country needs and values the talents of every American. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: “It is not just quitting on yourself; it is quitting on your country.”  Expect that to be repeated in guidance counselors‘ offices, and at kitchen tables, and in GED classes, and with angry grandparents all across the country for a long time.  Memorable. 

The Constitution mandates that the president—quote—“shall, from time to time, give to the Congress information on the state of the union.” 

But a president‘s speech to a joint session of Congress doesn‘t have to be a State of the Union address.  Mr. Obama, like his three immediate predecessors in their first year of office, elected to not call this one a State of the Union.  It was just an address about what‘s going on in the country that happened to be delivered to a joint session of Congress, sort of just for fun. 

You can call it a “state of the funion” address, or a first date of the union, maybe.

The president‘s approval rating, 68 percent in the latest “Washington Post”/ABC News poll.  His stimulus plan?  Sixty-four percent approval.  Republicans in Congress, they would be down at 38 percent approval.  And the Republican argument that the stimulus had too much spending and not enough tax cuts, only 10 percent of Americans say they agree with that. 

The Republicans are a very small minority in Congress right now.  They are politically irrelevant in the House of Representatives.  They are very nearly politically irrelevant in the United States Senate.  Huge majorities of Americans say they trust President Obama more than the Republican Party on economic issues.

And their main message on the main legislation on the main economic issue of the day has apparently only resonated with 10 percent of the country.

That reality, that imbalance in power was made manifest tonight, shockingly, in the first party-line standing ovation of the speech. 

Now, you might think, looking at these images, you‘re watching a speech that some Republicans are participating in a standing ovation for the stimulus bill that they all voted against, maybe?  But, if you look a little closer, you will realize, actually, oh, those are just Democrats who have to be seated on the GOP side, because there are not enough Republicans left to fill up their own—quote—“side of the aisle.”

Wow. 

So much of the headline-making context the president‘s speech tonight was this.  The nation‘s economy is circling the drain, but a big portion of the America believes in the president and in his plan to turn it around. 

As for other the less-discussed part of the context tonight, the nation-at-war-in-two-places thing?  Well, tonight‘s speech was not really about the wars.  But the president did say this about ending the war in Iraq. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  And I will soon announce a way forward in Iraq that leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends this war. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  McCain gets to his feet.  I will say, though, that way forward on Iraq was revealed late this afternoon to the press with timing that felt sort of like a Friday night news dump. 

We learned that the plan, according to administration officials, is to leave 30,000 to 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, even after an extended troop scale-downed timeline of 19 months.  You will recall the “We will get out of Iraq in 16 month” promise.  Few people are likely to quibble with a 16-month timeline vs. a 19-month timeline, but 50,000 troops as a residual force?  Fifty thousand? 

You can try to bury a story like that before the not-State of the Union address, but news that surprising will probably end up surviving the news cycle, even alongside what is already being reviewed as a bang-up first joint address to Congress. 

Joining us now is Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. 

Senator Brown, it‘s a real pleasure to have you back on the show. 

Thanks for joining us.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO:  Glad to be back, Rachel, always. 

Thanks.

MADDOW:  So, this was the president‘s first shot at a State of the Union-like speech.  Your overall assessment? 

BROWN:  Overall, I—it wasn‘t just what he said, but how he did it, the note of—the tone of confidence, the optimism, acknowledging the problems we face. 

And when he said it‘s time for America to lead again, I think that

really connotes a lot of—a bright future, and particularly when he said

that—that the goal in 2020 would be to again become the most educated

citizenry and most educated work force in the world.  And I—I thought

sort of John F. Kennedy man on the moon by year 2000 – or by the year 19 -

whatever he said, 19 – what—what did he say, what year? – but that that really said to us that we have a goal that really will matter and make us a more productive, progressive society. 

MADDOW:  The president did sort of take a turn as explainer in chief, not only talking about this—this need to lead on high school graduates, on our educational achievement, but talking about the need for bailing out the banks, acknowledging, essentially, that it politically stinks, but it‘s really necessary for the good of the country.

He explained how we are falling behind compared to other countries in investing in infrastructure and things like energy, how that all works in terms of our global—global competitiveness.

Do you think that he has the capacity to actually change political views on those things, that he can explain them well enough that he will make them more attractive to the American people? 

BROWN:  I think that he explains things in ways that—that make people want to follow. 

And—and he does it—he does it in a thoughtful, reflective, cerebral way, but also sort of emotionally brings people along. 

And he clearly has the country behind him.  He has a solid Democratic Party behind him.  Republicans are still kind of—kind of saying the same old mantra.  I mean, when you listen to Bobby Jindal‘s speech, the governor of Louisiana, he was going back and saying, we need more tax cuts, more—more tax cuts for the rich, more deregulation of Wall Street, the same problems that got us into this. 

But they are, as you pointed out earlier in the show, Rachel, so out of step with the country, that I think more and more voters, Democrats, Republicans, and independents, are going to say, go along with President Obama as he—as he leads on alternative energy, as he leads on health care, as he leads on education, and sets these goals.

And—and, with that tone of optimism and hope and that confidence that he exuded tonight, I think we get there. 

MADDOW:  It was a remarkable choice, I think, by the Republican Party to choose Governor Jindal to give that response tonight.  The thing he‘s been in the news for most recently is his decision to try to turn down some of the stimulus money. 

You cast the final and coveted 60th vote in the Senate to pass the stimulus bill and avoid a filibuster.  What do you make of—of Governor Jindal‘s decision, other Republican governors who are now saying they might now want to refuse some of the stimulus funding? 

BROWN:  Yes, I find curious particularly the three Southern governors, who are very willing to take federal dollars when they can control those federal dollars in big projects, you know, as we sent billions of dollars, as we should have, Hurricane Katrina and—and all of that. 

But when it comes to, he doesn‘t want to extend unemployment benefits to workers in his state, and that‘s—I—I—it‘s pretty clear what he thinks about unemployed workers and what he thinks about the middle class. 

And it‘s too bad, because I know Governor Jindal.  I served in the

House with him.  I like him.  But he‘s just out of step with this—with

this country when he says, we‘re not going to accept unemployment

compensation money for your workers and not going to accept health care

benefits for people through—perhaps through Medicaid or—or the COBRA—the COBRA subsidies that President Obama wants to help workers that have lost their jobs and lost their health care. 

I mean, this—this stimulus package is about helping people who are most hurt by the recession and about stimulating the economy to put people back to work and to grow this economy.  And there‘s a synergism between the two.  And I don‘t think some of these Republican governors get it. 

MADDOW:  Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, thanks for staying late and giving us some of your time tonight, Senator.  Nice to see you.

BROWN:  Thank you, Rachel.

For the Republican response, the party of no, as we just said, chose Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.  He took time out of celebrating Mardi Gras to look back to the government response to Hurricane Katrina for inspiration about how the federal government should work in the future.  No, I‘m not kidding. 

Ana Marie Cox of Air America Radio and the “Daily Beast” will be here to try to help me find the words to respond, next. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Living our values doesn‘t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger.  And that is why I can stand here tonight and say, without exception or equivocation, that the United States does not torture.  We can make that commitment here tonight. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  And now the response to the breath taking Republican response to President Obama.  The Republican response that left me literally slack jawed and babbling like a Benadryl-ed infant when I was supposed to respond live on television to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who has apparently now been officially elevated to be the new face of the Republican party.  The new face of the Republican party looks and sounds conspicuously like the two most recent new faces of the Republican party, Sarah Palin and Michael Steele. 

All three are young and charismatic and personally interesting, and at least publicly they are devoid of substantive ideas for governing the country that stand up to even remotely rigorously rational policy-based assessment.  Just my opinion. 

In terms of pulling us out of our economic calamity, specifically Bobby Jindal, whose head first dive into the news this week came alongside the headline, “governor rejects additional unemployment benefits for his residents,” he was the official Republican responder tonight to President Obama.  And his response included, surprise, the totally breakthrough argument that spending is not the answer.  Tax cuts are the answer. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL ®, LOUISIANA:  The way to lead is not to raise taxes, not to just put more money and power in the hands of Washington politicians.  The way to lead is by empowering you, the American people.  That‘s why Republicans put forward plans to create jobs by lowering income tax rates for working families, cutting taxes for small businesses. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  What you got right there is what happens when you put a premium on things that sound good rather than policies that, you know, work.  In the jaw dropping comment of the night, Governor Jindal went on to invoke governor failure during Hurricane Katrina as a model for how to understand how we should move forward as a country. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JINDAL:  Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us.  Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Bah.  Bah.  I thought I could come up with words.  Again, hearing it the second time around, honestly, I can‘t.  The idea of being that since government failed during Hurricane Katrina, we should understand that not that government should not be allowed to fail again, but that government is inherently fail, that government never works, that government can‘t work and therefore, we should stop seeking a functioning government.  Stunning. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JINDAL:  We need to bring transparency to Washington, D.C., so we can rid our capital of corruption and ensure that we never see the passage of another trillion dollar spending bill that Congress hasn‘t even read and the American people haven‘t even seen. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  That stimulus bill passed because of corruption.  There is this cool new website called Recovery.gov, also FinancialStability.gov.  There is kind of a new transparency thing happening in Washington.  Welcome aboard, Governor.  Bobby Jindal is the latest future of the Republican party.  Are you wondering why they chose him? 

Consider the faces they have elevated since John McCain was chosen as the party‘s 2008 standard bearer.  The first choice was Sarah Palin as John McCain‘s number two.  John McCain reportedly was not that interested in picking her, party influences suggested that he ought to.  He ended up with and we know how that worked out. 

Since then, the party has chosen Michael Steele to chair the Republican National Committee.  And tonight, they chose Bobby Jindal to respond to the not State of the Union. 

Beyond being young-ish and interesting-ish and charismatic-ish, all three of these Republican leaders are also sort of past the far end of the bell curve when it comes to their beliefs on social issues.  Sarah Palin, as you know, pushed for teaching creationism and intelligent design in public schools.  This week, Michael Steele was asked if the GOP would consider civil unions for gay couples.  His response, quote, “no, no, no, what would we do that for?  What, are you crazy?  No.” 

This from the new chair of the Republican party, who said suggested reaching out to Republican voters who might disagree with Republican orthodoxy on gay rights issues. 

Then there‘s Governor Jindal.  On the abortions, say, while some conservatives are willing to make exceptions in cases of rape and incest, Bobby Jindal is a purist.  Saying quote, “I‘m 100 percent anti-abortion with no exceptions.” 

In other words, the new leadership of the Republican party is off the right hand end of the bell curve of American public opinion. 

Then there is the similarity among these new faces of Republicanism on policy, or the lack therefore.  There is an argument to be made that the new Republican party represents, take your pick, the nonsense wing of party, the know nothing wing of the party.  In other words, members of the party that favor bumper stickers over effective plans.  Drill, baby drill, say.  Sarah Palin once trying to explain the Wall Street bail out by going into a disjointed dissertation on health care reform.

In opposing the stimulus, Michael Steele trying to argue that government has never created a job.  Really?  Bobby Jindal, an Ivy League education, a Rhodes Scholarship, high level posts in state and federal government, with experience in health care reform, left me speechless in the immediate wake of his mindless, policy free response to the president‘s address and his turning down extension of unemployment benefits in his own state, saying they are wasteful, even though they are the most economically stimulus thing we can measure, in terms of federal policy. 

What did we learn from the Republican response tonight?  That membership among the new faces of the GOP has very narrow membership requirements indeed.  They are of limited appeal, limited use, with the country circling the drain. 

Joining us now is national correspondent for Air America Radio and contributor to the “Daily Beast,” Ana Marie Cox.  Ana, it is always great to talk to you.  You‘re often more rational on these issues than I am.  Am I right in this case?  Do you feel less stressed out about this than I do? 

ANA MARIE COX, AIR AMERICA RADIO:  I don‘t know if I feel less stressed out, but I do have a word that I go to when I‘m inarticulate, which is gah.  I gift that to you. 

MADDOW:  Gah. 

COX:  Gah.  Feel free to use it. 

MADDOW:  I was speechless twice in hearing the Katrina response, because the implication of it is not that the lesson to have learned from Katrina is that we ought to make the government work better, because need the government for some stuff, but that we don‘t need the government, because the government can‘t do anything—

COX:  You better not trust that government. 

MADDOW:  Ever. 

COX:  It was a very strange, counter-intuitive thing to do.  I also particularly like the section where he said the GOP has lost your trust and we deserve to lose your trust, but trust us. 

MADDOW:  Because we will get it right next time. 

COX:  We have a vast array of policies and things to trust us about that we have not told you about yet, apparently.  It sort of goes against the very idea of trust.  Also, he invoked the fictitious high speed rail line from Disney Land to Las Vegas.  I love that they pick Disney Land, especially because the thing apparently only exists in the Disney Land of the mind.  

MADDOW:  Right.  Exactly.  It‘s not a mono-rail.  You know that‘s a different idea. 

COX:  Goes through Springfield, I believe, however. 

MADDOW:  And a nuclear power plant.  What do you make of this idea that there is a similarity to be gleaned between Sarah Palin, Michael Steele and Bobby Jindal?  Those are the three Republicans, with the possible exception of Eric Cantor, who has sort of moved up on his own steam.  But those are the three Republicans who have really sort of been picked by the party since they chose John McCain.  Do you see them of being of a sort? 

COX:  I do.  And I think that you use the word interesting-ish, which I will now borrow from you.  You can have Gah.  I‘ll have interesting-ish, which I think describes them all perfectly.  They all do have things about them that don‘t perfectly fit the party stereo type.  Let‘s put it that way.  Whether it‘s the color of their skin, or their genitals—

MADDOW:  I don‘t want to talk about the color of genitals. 

COX:  I mean what type they possess.  But policy-wise, they don‘t have a lot that‘s different from the conservative core of the party.  There‘s a lot about them that is simply stage dressing.  It is curious to me how tone deaf they are on people wanting—not realizing that people now seem to be hungry for substantive answers to policy. 

One thing about the speech that was really striking, it didn‘t go into detail in a wonkish way like Clinton used to.  But it was very specific and asked for very specific things from the American people. 

MADDOW:  President Obama‘s speech. 

COX:  Yes, President Obama‘s speech asked for very specific things from the American people.  Jindal‘s response didn‘t.  And I also don‘t think that Steele or Palin have yet to come up with a call that would attract people to want to be part of their movement.  Michael Steele‘s most specific thing he said to date was that he would welcome one-armed midgets into the party, which I believe he can have them.  I‘m also—I‘m not biased on that at all. 

MADDOW:  You were also trying to reach out in that direction.  

COX:  With one hand, yes. 

MADDOW:  National correspondent for Air America Radio, contributor to the “Daily Beast,” Ana Marie Cox, nice to see you.  Thanks for coming in. 

COX:  Thank you. 

MADDOW:  Gah.  Sorry.  Where in the pantheon of presidential addresses do we put tonight‘s speech?  Ask not?  Fear itself?  Human animal hybrids?  Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will join us for her assessment a little later.

But next, at the other end of the oratorical spectrum, guess who is embarking on a ten city speaking tour, former President George W. Bush.  He is getting seriously getting paid to speak publicly.  Irony meter blowing gasket now.  Gah. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  I also know that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger or yield to the politics of the moment.  My job, our job is to solve the problem. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Coming up, we‘ll be joined by the author of “Team of Rivals,” historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, for some smarter than me perspective on President Obama‘s speech in time of national peril, and how it stacks up against his predecessors. 

First though, it‘s time for a couple of Holy Mackerel stories in today‘s news.  As the new president, Barack Obama, rounds the bases on presidential firsts, first executive order, first month in office, first press conference, first—why don‘t they call this a State of the Union again—We Have learned important news about the plans of the immediate past president. 

In Robert Draper‘s biography of George W. Bush, the then president said that his post-presidency plans were to, quote, replenish the old coffer.  Bush told Draper he thought he could make, quote, ridiculous money on the lecture circuit, because, after eight years, what the people of the world are clamoring for and will pay good money for is the chance to hear George W. Bush talk?  Really?  Really? 

That‘s at least the bet being made by the Washington Speakers Bureau, which now apparently represents both President and Mrs. Bush, and Jeb Bush too, for good measure, on the lecture circuit.  Politico.com reporting that the former president has already lined up at least ten paid speaking gigs through the end of the year.  The first one will be in Canada, quote, quoting from Politico, “The first speech will be March 17th in Calgary, Alberta.  The Canadian event, to be held in a convention center before a largely business audience, is being promoted as a conversation with George W. Bush.”

So, in other words, it will be closed to the press and to the public.  Those benefiting from his remarks are expected to be mostly from the business world.  And it‘s expected to be remarkably expensive.  Kind of a nice summation, actually, of the White House in the 2000‘s. 

Back in Washington, D.C., there is good news for the unsung portion of the federal government that has as its mission the promotion of a newly endangered species, the endangered species known in America as the good job. 

The Department of Labor is supposed to promote good jobs, good working conditions, collective bargaining rights.  That‘s the right to be in a union, if you want to be.  They enforce all those Commie labor laws, like the minimum wage, unemployment insurance and non-discrimination.  The good news for the Department of Labor today is that the Senate has finally confirmed someone to run that department. 

More than two months ago—excuse me, more than two months after she was nominated, more than two weeks after her confirmation was approved by the relevant committee, California Congresswoman Hilda Solis has finally been confirmed by the Senate.  The vote was 80 to 17. 

Two things to know about Hilda Solis.  Number one, she is an up by the boot straps story.  Her parents were both immigrants, both blue collar union members.  They met in a citizenship class.  Secretary Solis is the first member of her family to go to college and now she is America‘s secretary of Labor. 

The other thing to now about Hilda Solis is that Republicans cannot stand her, and the holdup over her nomination is a shot across the bow, a sign of how hard the Republicans in Congress are going to fight this year against the Employee Free Choice Act legislation, which would make it easier to join a union. 

I guess there‘s a third thing to know about her.  Unlike the last Secretary of labor, Elaine Chow, Miss Solis is not married to Mitch McConnell, the number one Republican in the Senate.  That will be a really big change there. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders.  And I know you don‘t either.  It is time for America to lead again. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Our new president‘s first address to a joint session of Congress, a State of Union in everything but official name.  Tonight‘s speech had as captive an audience as a president can get, a people in economic peril, a people at two wars, a people who generally seem to like him, and who genuinely expect that he might have some answers for the country.  How does President Obama do compared to his predecessors? 

Joining us now is presidential historian and NBC News analyst Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Dr. Goodwin, thank you so much for joining us tonight. 

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN:  I‘m delighted to be with you. 

MADDOW:  The president started his speech by saying he wanted to speak not only to Congress but to the American people directly.  Is that standard rhetoric at this point, or is that an important signal from him? 

GOODWIN:  I think it was a hugely important signal, meaning that he knew that the American people‘s support of his programs and his policies were going to be necessary perhaps to pressure in to Washington from the outside in, which was the premise of his campaign all along.  What struck me tonight, Rachel, was that what FDR was able to accomplish in those fireside chats—

Maybe it took the magisterial venue tonight of this extraordinary speech, but he had command like FDR used to.  He explained what the problems were in easy language.  He showed a shifting of tone of his language that I haven‘t heard before from him, which was really good.  There were times when it was determined and resolute.  They used to say Churchill could roar like a lion and then pull back. 

He showed humor.  He showed relaxation.  He showed a willingness to paint a picture of a future beyond the present that we‘re in.  We‘re going to lead the world again in energy.  We‘re going to lead the world in college proportioned kids going to school.  We‘re going to somehow deal with these problems and America is going to rise again.

You need to believe in the future to get through the present.  That‘s what FDR did, day in and day out.  I think that‘s what Obama showed his ability to do today. 

MADDOW:  I feel that presidents vary according to their oratorical skills and their personal charisma.  But presidential speech writers have gotten pretty good, especially at the soaring rhetoric, at the inspirational rhetoric.  Even not great speakers can pen speeches that have that kind of language in it.  What was surprising to me was the more explainer in chief stuff, the more wonky stuff.  Let me tell you why these policies are important and how they work.  It‘s a sort of lack of condescension.  When you cite FDR and his fire side chats, what that part of how FDR connected with people?

GOODWIN:  Oh, absolutely.  If you look back at those fireside chats, they‘re explaining rather complicated banking situations, just as he did tonight, saying that, yes, I know you‘re angry with the bankers, but look, the lending has to happen or the recovery will never get back on track.  Even you don‘t lend, people can‘t get houses.  If they don‘t have houses, people aren‘t going to be working to build the houses.  They are not sending their kids to college. 

Just to be able to take some of that anger away, even though it‘s rightly placed at the bankers, knowing he‘s going to have to give more money to them and make people understand why, that‘s huge and that‘s exactly what FDR did.  He said in one of his banking addresses, FDR, put your money back in the banks.  I know you don‘t want to do it right now.  It‘s safer in the banks.  And right after his address, instead of when they opened the banks, people didn‘t take it out, as people feared, they put it back in in more deposits.  That‘s the kind of connection you have to create with the American people, that the government is on your side. 

MADDOW:  In terms of this speech being remembered, in terms of the speech being repeated and it resonating historically, it seems to me that the line that you‘re not just quitting on yourself, you‘re quitting on your country, that appeal to personal responsibility around education, was the sort of repeatable line of the night.  It wasn‘t exactly a sound bite, but it was surprising and memorable. 

Do you see echoes there, politically important echoes, of JFK‘s call to service, of other individual calls for people to identify with their own country‘s fate in their own personal decisions? 

GOODWIN:  I think what it‘s calling for is possibly if we‘re going to enter a new progressive era, where government is more involved in our daily lives, he wants to recall what it was like during the turn of the 20th Century, during the New Deal, during the ‘60s, when people felt publicly servants.  They wanted to be a part of their government.  They felt responsible for our country‘s ills.  And I think he was calling for that. 

Whether this gets remember in history will, in part, depend on whether the actions follow the words.  Do we get an energy policy that is different?  Do we get more education than we‘ve had?  Do we get health care reform?  It could really be historic if those things happen.  We may look back on this night as an historic night if those things follow. 

MADDOW:  Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian, NBC analyst, thank you so much for your time tonight. 

GOODWIN:  You‘re welcome, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Thank you for watching tonight.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow, back at the usual time at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.  On tomorrow‘s RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, I will have an exclusive interview with the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.  MSNBC‘s special coverage of the president‘s address continue now with Chris Matthews on a special edition of “HARDBALL.”  Chris Matthews, good evening? 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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