The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/26/10

Guests:
Chris Hayes, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Sam Tanenhaus
Transcript:

HOST (voice-over):  It‘s official.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  On this vote, the yeas are 57, the nays are 41.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

               

MADDOW:  The Republicans say the issue of regulation for Wall Street -

likely responsible for this—shouldn‘t even be debated on the floor of

the United States Senate.

               

Republicans also say they‘ll do anything to stop immigration reform at

the federal level—perhaps preferring that states like Arizona implement

their own bright ideas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAN BREWER ®, ARIZONA:  I hope that we meet again on—better

circumstances.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Tonight, meet the friendly folks who wrote the “Papers,

please” law that‘s turning Arizona into a pariah state.

And our viewers kept telling us they were getting creepy fundraising

mailers designed to look like census forms.  Then Congress made it illegal

to send out fake census mailers.  It turns out they‘re still coming anyway.

Remember the John Birch Society?  Fluoride in the water as a communist

mind control plot?  I had such a nice time with them at CPAC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  A lot of people say crazy (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Now, they‘re making stuff up about me to raise money for

themselves.  First of all, you guys, please stop.  And if you don‘t stop,

can I have some of the money?

All that, plus George W. Bush‘s new book, the U.S. senator who‘s

taking credit now for a bill he used to say would kill you, and the perfect

gift just in time for Mother‘s Day.

It‘s THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW—starting right now.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW:  Today in Washington, all 41 Republican senators lined up,

unified, along with one Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and they all

bravely insisted that Wall Street reform not be debated on the floor of the

United States Senate.  Just to be clear here, they did not vote Wall Street

reform down, they voted to not allow it to be discussed.

Even without Ben Nelson, Democrats have 58 votes in the Senate on

this, a huge majority in favor of passing Wall Street reform.  But

Republicans are filibustering.  They are insisting that it not even be

talked about on the Senate floor—which is not to say the negotiations on

this are over.  Republicans say they do want to keep talking.  They just

don‘t want to do it in the Senate—you know, where people can see.

Republican Senator Richard Shelby reportedly is still trying to work

out a deal with Democrat Chris Dodd.  A number of Republicans are

considered possible votes for some version of reform in the end.  But

today‘s vote to not allow debate on the Senate floor really just means that

Republicans want the political negotiations on Wall Street reform to happen

away from the C-Span cameras, in private, off the Senate floor.

This was not a vote on the merits of the bill.  This was, “Hey, do you

guys want to start talking about Wall Street reform?”  And the resounding

reply from all 41 Republicans plus Ben Nelson was: “No, we do not want to

start debating this.”

Whatever you hear in terms of Beltway common wisdom about this—

believe me—it is not normal for things to take more than 50 votes to

pass the Senate.  A majority of a body of 500 – mathematically speaking, a

majority vote in the United States Senate is 50-plus-one.  But on Wall

Street reform, like lots of things, Republicans aren‘t just voting no. 

They‘re using a procedural tool to keep a vote from even happening.

Democrats have a majority on this.  Republicans just won‘t let them

take a majority vote.

Ever since they lost control of Congress in the ‘06 midterm elections,

Republicans have become a finely-tuned filibuster machine.  See how the

number of filibusters skyrockets there at the end in 2007?  That‘s the

voice of the Republican minority.

Just since President Obama took office, Republicans have filibustered

the stimulus, the tobacco regulation, extending unemployment benefits,

health reform, of course—you know what?  Actually, it‘s pretty much

everything.

Do we have a scroll of that?

Yes.  As far as we can tell, Republicans have filibustered every major

piece of legislation since President Obama took office.  The only major

actions we‘ve been able to come up with that weren‘t filibustered were the

nominations of the president‘s cabinet secretaries and the nomination of

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  That‘s because cabinet secretaries

and Supreme Court nominees rarely if ever get filibustered.

But never say never.  Another Supreme Court nomination is coming up

this summer.

Procedurally, this is the reality in the Senate: Republicans are

filibustering everything.  They are using Senate rules to block majority

votes on almost every single nominee and on every significant piece of

legislation, now including Wall Street reform.  Even though that doesn‘t

get talked about anymore, don‘t lose sight of it.  Everybody keeps acting

as though this is not normal.  It is not.  This is not normal.

The constant ever present, always on filibuster has never happened

before in the history of our country.  This has never happened before in

the history of the Senate.

How Democrats will respond to the always on filibuster in the case of

Wall Street reform remains to be seen.  Will Democrats manage to win over

some Republican votes?  Would they—could they use the reconciliation

procedure to get around the filibuster like they had to do on health

reform?  Nobody yet knows for sure.  Procedurally, it is not at all clear

what happens next.

As I said, there‘s never been a case in American history where every

single piece of legislation is filibustered.  We‘ve never done this before.

But substantively, it is important to keep in mind what the

Republicans are using the filibuster to block right now.  They‘re blocking

Wall Street reform now—when more than two-thirds of Americans say they

want Wall Street reform.  Everybody who understands that there is an

economic crisis right now that was caused by a financial crisis, everybody

who understands that wants the financial system to be fixed.

So, in practical political terms, how do you make the case that you‘re

against financial reform?  It‘s actually not going to be easy.  Check out,

for example, this e-mail today from the estimable Tea Party Nation.  This,

I think just makes clear how difficult it‘s going to be to make the case

against Wall Street reform.

Quote, “Today is the day that Harry Reid has scheduled a vote to try

and cram the, quote, ‘financial reform‘ bill down our throats.”  By which

they mean bring it up for a debate using a majority vote.  That‘s cramming

it down your throat in tea party speak.

But back to the letter, this is the good part: “Let me give you one

horrific example of the stupidity in this bill.  This bill will create

liability for advertising agencies for ads that the Federal Trade

Commission decides are aiding and abetting false advertising.  Imagine you

own an advertising agency.  Your job is not to verify what a client is

selling.  Your job is to simply create the ad campaign that will drive

customers to their doors.”

So, that‘s the pitch.  That‘s the Tea Party Nation pitch to their

supporters about why financial reform is so bad and must be stopped.  Their

pitch is: it wouldn‘t allow false advertising.  Oh, the outrage.

Imagine the poor Tea Party Nation e-mail appeal writer who‘s tasked

with putting together this message.  How can we make Wall Street reform

sound really bad?  Would it sound bad if we asked tea party activists to

imagine if they were ad agency executives who didn‘t want to be held

accountable for lying about what they were selling?  Would that rile people

up?

Imagine the angry mob taking to the streets now.  We want the right to

make false statements in advertising!  We demand the right of advertising

executives to not be held liable for lying about what they‘re selling!  Is

this what we‘re supposed to be chanting?  Could we make it rhyme?

I don‘t know that this campaign against Wall Street reform, because

it‘s against false advertising is going to fit on a sign.  I don‘t exactly

know how this is going to work for them.  Republicans might be taking every

procedural advantage they have in Congress right now to stop Wall Street

reform.  But politically, in terms of the substance, in terms of trying to

convince their base on this one, the political problems here are plain.

Joining us now is Chris Hayes, Washington editor of “The Nation”

magazine.

Chris, thank you very much for coming on the show.  Nice to see your

glasses have been found.

CHRIS HAYES, THE NATION:  Oh, they have.  Thanks for having me.

I think it was Ayn Rand wrote advertising agency owners of the world

unite.

MADDOW:  I was—when I got—I got this this morning and I got it

on my BlackBerry before I was sitting down in my regular e-mail on my

computer, and I thought it was something that had been cleverly put

together by one of the whiz kids on our staff, like, wouldn‘t it be funny

if this is what the Tea Party Nation had to resort to?

HAYES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  It is—it‘s amazing to me.  How do—how do Republicans

sell this to their base, that they‘re against Wall Street reform?

HAYES:  Well, I think, actually, the more I think about it and the

more I think about this whole bailout thing, the more I think actually the

bailout dog whistle is a way of trying to invigorate their base.  I mean,

one of the things I think you see is that the issue of the financial reform

bill is not seizing the imagination.  Even of the most hardcore

conservative members of the Republican coalition, the tea party folks, this

bill is not seizing their imagination.  They‘re not showing up at town

halls to oppose it in the way they were with health care.

And I actually think the bailout attack wasn‘t even so much designed

for the general public so much as it was just actually a first attempt at

even trying to stoke some outrage and some energy amongst their own core

supporters, which, you know, I don‘t really think is present.  I just think

we‘re not seeing the level of outrage there that we saw against the health

reform bill on this bill.

MADDOW:  And because they haven‘t been able to sort of gin up outrage

about this among their base, they haven‘t been able to excite their base

with this, and I think you‘re right in that observation—what happens

next?  Politically, what‘s their next step toward trying to stop it?

HAYES:  Well, I think there‘s a few—there‘s sort of a branch in the

tree here.  I mean, one is that, you know, one imagines perhaps everything

is changed and now the Republicans really, really care about their good

faith objections to what‘s in the bill and are trying to make a good faith

effort at negotiating.

The other is that they‘re essentially stalling and they‘re trying to

more or less hold up Wall Street for lots of contributions.  And this is

essentially what McConnell and Kyl—McConnell and Cornyn were doing when

they—you know, when they went to Wall Street, is we stand between you

and Wall Street reform.  And the longer they can hold it up, the more they

can probably get campaign cash.

And then the third thing I think is possible is that they think if

they stall, they can kind of rerun the health care arc, which is to say, if

you look at the early polling on health care, it also was high and the

longer they dragged it out, the less popular it got.  And so, there‘s a

thinking I think among some sectors, if they drag this out, the same thing

will happen.

MADDOW:  Democrats do seem to have caught on to the idea, though, that

if they allow it to be slowed down, it will be stopped.

HAYES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Democrats seem to have figured that out this time.  They also

seem to have figured out that they should fact-check their opponents when

their opponents start to get away with saying things that aren‘t true about

the legislation.  My question, though, is whether or not Democrats have

learned any lesson from health care or whether they have a new lesson that

they‘re trying to learn here about actually negotiating with Republicans.

Are the negotiations actually happening, even though there is no

debate on the Senate floor?

HAYES:  I think, yes, they are.  I mean, you know, people I talk to on

the Hill and other reporters find the same thing, which is that there is—

there are actual negotiations happening.  I hope that they‘ve learned a

lesson.  It does seem—I mean, one of the things I thought was very

interesting was that the White House came out with a veto threat very early

in this in a way they never did with health care reform.  The only thing

they issued a veto on early was that the size of the bill not be too large.

In this case, they‘ve issued a veto threat if the derivatives

legislation is not strong enough.  So, they‘re already taking a tougher

line.  But I would also say, you know, this is not just in the hands of

Democrats on the Hill.  It is incredibly important that public opinion

remain squarely for taking on the banks and reining them in.

And there‘s lots of opportunities for progressives who care about this

to call their senators and to call members on the Hill to show up at

protests.  There‘s a march on Wall Street being led by AFL-CIO.  There‘s a

group called New Way Forward that‘s doing actions.  There‘s a group called

National People‘s Action.

There‘s a bunch of people that are marshalling grassroots organizing

to go after the banks.  I think that‘s actually going to be more important

than the deals that get made on Capitol Hill because they‘re going to

respond to what the mood in the country is.

MADDOW:  The day that the Democrats start responding to their base

protesting in the streets is the day that I realize that I‘ve woken up and

lived in another country.

HAYES:  I‘m a Cubs fan, so I remain hopeful.

MADDOW:  I was going to say, you can be the—you can be the cloud,

you can be the silver lining and I‘ll be the cloud.

HAYES:  OK.

MADDOW:  But we work together well.

Chris Hayes, Washington editor of “The Nation” magazine—thanks very

much for joining us, Chris.

HAYES:  Thank you.  Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  OK.  Suggestion for what to get your mom for Mother‘s Day.  I

don‘t know your mother, in all likelihood, depending on who you are, but I

swear she does not have this.  I really, really don‘t think your mom has

one of these unless she is a rogue Russian missile engineer—in which

case you should probably just think about jewelry or flowers or something

instead.

But for everybody else—a great idea.  That‘s ahead.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Well, ahead, a very far right-wing group has invented a quote

from me that I never said, and they‘re using it to solicit money from their

members.  So, this is becoming a theme in my life now.  We here at the show

has come up with a plan to deal with it once and for all.  We think it‘s

fair to everybody.  That proposal is directly ahead.

Please stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  The big deal news headline out of the world of politics today

was the Republican Party‘s filibuster of Wall Street reform.  But there was

supposed to be another big deal thing in politics today.  Today was

supposed to be the day that Democratic Senator John Kerry and Republican

Senator Lindsey Graham announced bipartisan climate change legislation. 

That announcement, as you probably noticed, did not happen today.

Why didn‘t it happen?  Because Lindsey Graham got very mad.  He

scuttled his own climate legislation because he says he‘s angry that the

Obama administration might bring up the issue of immigration reform first. 

Quote, “This comes out of left field.  We haven‘t done anything to prepare

the body or the country for immigration.”

Senator Graham‘s anger has been seconded now by the top Republican in

the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who said yesterday, this isn‘t, quote, “the

right time to do immigration reform.”

Republicans are bending over backwards right now, doing everything

they possibly can, scuttling their own announcements if they need to in

order to make sure that immigration reform does not come up.  Remember when

George W. Bush he wanted to do immigration reform in 2007?  Again, it was

his own party, the Republicans, who bent over backwards and delivered their

own president a huge political defeat on this issue because they were so

desperate to not do immigration reform at the federal level.

And the fact that it continues to not happen at the federal level is

all the justification that some states need right now to deal with

immigration on their own, which is how we got this—

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAN BREWER ®, ARIZONA:  The bill I‘m about to sign into law,

Senate Bill 1070, represents another tool for our state to use as we work

to solve a crisis that we did not create and the federal government has

refused to fix.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  And so, the state of Arizona now has a new law requiring

police officers to demand the paperwork of anyone who looks like they might

be an illegal immigrant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER:  What does an illegal immigrant look like?  Does it look

like me?

BREWER:  I do not know.  I do not know what an illegal immigrant looks

like.  I can tell you that I think that there are people in Arizona that

assume they know what an illegal immigrant looks like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  In the meantime, papers, please.

Before this bill was actually signed into law, we told you about the

guy who introduced it in the first place.  It‘s this guy, Republican State

Senator Russell Pearce.

Mr. Pearce is famous in Arizona for having sent an email to his

supporters that included a white nationalist screed, accusing the media of

pushing the view, quote, “a world in which every voice proclaims the

equality of the races, the inerrant nature of the Jewish, quote,

‘Holocaust‘ tale, the wickedness of attempting to halt the flood of

nonwhite aliens pouring across the borders.”  Mr. Pearce sent that around

to all of his supporters in which he later apologized for.

Russell Pearce is also famous for having been caught on tape hugging a

neo-Nazi.  No, like a real neo-Nazi.  Not some sort of metaphorical

Godwin‘s law-invoking neo-Nazi guy, but an actual neo-Nazi guy.  See, with

the swastikas?

Russell Pearce is the guy who introduced this radical immigration bill

in Arizona that just became law.  But if you want to meet the guy who‘s

taking credit for writing the new law, that would be the gentleman named

Kris Kobach.

Kris Kobach is a birther.  He‘s running for a secretary of state in

Kansas right now.  His campaign Web site today brags, quote, “Kobach wins

one in Arizona.”

The guy that helped Arizona‘s new immigration bill is also an attorney

for the Immigration Reform Law Institute.  That‘s the legal arm of an

immigration group that‘s called FAIR, the Federation for American

Immigration Reform.  FAIR was founded in 1979 by a man named John Tanton. 

Mr. Tanton is still listed as a member of FAIR‘s board of directors.

Just for some insight into where John Tanton and FAIR were coming from

seven years after he started FAIR, Mr. Tanton wrote this, quote, “To

govern is to populate.  Will the present majority peaceably hand over its

political power to a group that is simply more fertile?  As whites see

their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go

quietly into the night or will there be an explosion?”  That‘s FAIR, who

helped write Arizona‘s anti-immigrant law.

               

After John Tanton got FAIR off the ground, for nine of the first years

of the group‘s existence, the group reportedly received more than $1

million in funding from something called the Pioneer Fund.  The Pioneer

Fund describes itself as a group formed, quote, “in the Darwinian-Galtonian

evolutionary tradition and eugenics movement.”

For the last 70 years, the Pioneer Fund has funded controversial

research about race and intelligence, essentially aimed at proving the

racial superiority of white people.  The group‘s original mandate was to

promote the genes of those, quote, “deemed to be descended predominantly

from white persons who settled in the original 13 states prior to the

adoption of the Constitution.”

John Tanton‘s organization, FAIR, which, again, claims credit for

writing Arizona‘s new immigrant law, John Tanton‘s FAIR was long bankrolled

by the Pioneer Fund—which actually makes after you read some more of Mr.

Tanton‘s writings.  Quote, “I‘ve come to the point of view that for

European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-

American majority and a clear one at that.”

In 1997, John Tanton told the “Detroit Free Press” that America will

soon be overrun by illegal immigrants, quote, “defecating and creating

garbage and looking for jobs.”  Defecating is the problem, I guess.

Again, this genius is the guy whose group is behind Arizona‘s new

radical immigration law.  They take credit for writing it.  FAIR is

bragging about having, quote, “assisted Senator Russell Pearce in drafting

the language” of his Senate bill.

In drafting that language, FAIR may have slipped a little something

special in there for themselves.  FAIR makes a living off of suing local

and state governments over immigration laws.  Tucked inside Article VIII of

Arizona‘s new law is a provision that if groups like them win their cases,

quote, a judge—sorry—a judge may order that the entity, quote, “who

brought the action recover court costs and attorney fees”—which could

create a nice financial boon for the formerly eugenics movement-funded,

advanced the white majority, promote the genetics of white America anti-

immigrant group whose attorneys helped write the new law.

Congratulations, Arizona.  This thing is going to make you really,

really, really famous for a really, really, really long time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  A couple months ago, I got this in the mail labeled as a

congressional district specific 2010 congressional official survey.  It‘s

quite clearly designed to look like an actual 2010 census form.  But it‘s

just a Republican fundraising letter authorized and commissioned by the

Republican National Committee.

These were mailers that not only exploited people‘s knowledge of the

actual census to get to you open it up and read it, these things also

undermined the actual census.  By the time people get their real census

forms in the mail, you‘d be less likely to open that up if the last time

you got something that looks like an official census form, it turned out to

be political junk mail with lots of push poll questions about how evil

communist Obama is.

Because it was messing with the constitutionally-mandated census,

legislation proposing to ban stuff like this passed the House and Senate

unanimously.  The law was signed by President Obama on April 7th.  The law

made it a crime for the U.S. mail to deliver an envelope from a

nongovernmental entity that had the word census on it, unless—number

one, the solicitation includes disclaimers that it is not a government

document and, number two, the envelope includes the name of the entity that

sent the solicitation and an accurate return address.

So that should have been the end of that.  Right?

Except, as we reported on the Maddow blog on Thursday—people are

still getting fake census mailers from the RNC.  “Talking Points Memo” also

reported today on one such mailer sent to a voter in California.  Several

of our viewers from Washington State sent us fake census mailers they‘ve

received.  They all had exactly the same 2010 congressional district census

letter that the RNC had sent out in February.  All of them were dated April

12th, five days after President Obama signed the anti-fake census mailer

bill into law.

One viewer sent us the entire package she received, including the fake

questionnaire with the same questions as the February mailer.  And the same

appeal for donations under the heading, “Census Certification and Reply.” 

Even the envelope which instructs the recipient, “Do not destroy, official

document,” even that contains the term census document.

And while there is a note that says it is not a U.S. government

document, nowhere on the envelope does it say that the RNC is responsible

for these mailers.  Census document, registered to, deliver exclusively to,

do not destroy official document.  It says nothing about the fact that it

comes from the Republican National Committee.  No return address on the

envelope.

This would seem to violate the provision in the new law mandating that

both of those pieces of information be on mailers like this.

But the RNC spokesman, Doug Heye, told us today that while he

couldn‘t go into detail about the rationale used because they don‘t divulge

internal decisions about things like fundraising, the RNC‘s legal

department thinks that their mailers don‘t violate the new law, the law

that everybody thought was written specifically in response to their

creepy, fake census mailers.  And so they are continuing to send them out. 

Joining us now is the original sponsor of the Prevent Deceptive

Census Look-Alike Mailings Act, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of

New York.  Congresswoman Maloney, thank you so much for being here. 

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY):  Well, thank you for raising the

attention and putting a spotlight on this violation. 

MADDOW:  Well, let me ask you about the overall rationale here.  How

much damage do you think that mailers like this do?  Why do you think it‘s

important that something like this be banned? 

MALONEY:  Well, we‘re still in full swing with the census.  And it‘s

very deceptive and it‘s sad that the RNC is trying to make a partisan buck

over - and trying to deceive people in the process.  We need an accurate

account, and this is totally misleading. 

MADDOW:  Do you agree with the Republican National Committee‘s legal

department that this latest census mailer that they‘ve sent out after the

law was passed, that it doesn‘t violate the law? 

MALONEY:  It appears to have violated the spirit of the law.  I have

written to the Postal Department to make a determination on whether or not

it violates it.  But clearly, it was dated five days after President Obama

signed it into law. 

At the very least, Mr. Steele should check with his Republican

members of Congress, because they all voted for it, and don‘t approve of

the actions that are taking place. 

MADDOW:  One other RNC spokesperson made what I thought was a pretty

novel argument about this.  They told “The Spokesman Review” newspaper that

the party wasn‘t breaking the law with this new mailer because the post

office would have rejected a mailer that wasn‘t in compliance with the new

law, essentially saying they‘ve been cleared and that these mailers are

legal because the post office delivered the mail.  What do you make of that

argument? 

MALONEY:  I think it is absolutely ridiculous.  The law was very

clear.  My law stated that you had to have a return address and the sender. 

And the documents that I‘ve seen do not have that.  And in fact, it‘s very

misleading and very large print.  They say, “Do not destroy official

government document,” and in very small type, the disclaimer. 

So it appears to be very misleading.  And it appears to be a

direct violation of the law.  Certainly, the intent of the law. 

MADDOW:  The chairman of the Nebraska‘s Democratic Party has also,

like you, filed a complaint with the U.S. Postal Service about these

mailers.  Is that the appropriate avenue?  Is that the only avenue that‘s

open for anybody who wants to register a violation of this law? 

MALONEY:  They should write the Postal Department and ask for

clarification.  That is what I have done, and Chairman Clay and other

Democrats to get a determination, officially, from the postal office. 

It appears definitely not to reach the law that we passed.  But

there may be other mailers out there that are different, that do have the

RNC as the return address.  The ones that I have seen that have been sent

to me do not have a return address.  They do not have a sender.  It says

census, so it appears to be in clear violation of the law.  And it happened

five days after it passed unanimously and was signed into law by President

Obama. 

MADDOW:  Oh, well what‘s a law signed by the president and passed

unanimously by both Houses of Congress?  These things we swat away. 

Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, sponsor of the

Prevent Deceptive Census Look-Alike Mailings Act, which is, in fact, U.S.

law.  Thank you very much for your time tonight, ma‘am. 

MALONEY:  Thank you for putting a spotlight on it, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Appreciate it. 

MALONEY:  Thank you. 

MADDOW:  Still ahead, the paranoid whack-a-dos at the John Birch

society are using something they made up about me to raise money for their

paranoid whack-a-daring-do(ph).  First of all, thank you.  Second of all, I

think 10 percent is fair.  Cash is always nice.  Right? 

And President George W. Bush has a November surprise for America. 

A preview coming up.  I hope there are illustrations.  Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Mother‘s Day just a couple weeks away.  What do you get for

the mother who has everything?  It does depend on how much you have to

spend.  But there is a company in Russia marketing something right now I

bet your mother does not have. 

Portable cruise missiles that secret themselves away inside what

look like totally ordinary generic shipping containers of which there are

millions in every country all around the globe, which means that cruise

missiles, powerful enough to take out an aircraft carrier - I am not

kidding - are now being marketed as ready to plug and play and be

surreptitiously moved anywhere it isn‘t weird to have a shipping container. 

It‘s called the Club K missile system.  It‘s being marketed by a

company based in Russia that calls itself More Inform System-AGAT.  They‘ve

put out this really spiffy promotional video that you can see on our Web

site today, “The Maddow Blog.” 

It shows how you can mount this shipping container with the

missiles inside it on a train or on a truck or on a ship and nobody‘s going

to know what‘s in it.  It just looks like a normal shipping container until

you hit the button. 

An editor at “Jane‘s Defence Weekly,” which first reported on the

existence of Club K says, quote, “This Club K is game changing.  The threat

is immense in that no one can tell how far deployed your missiles could

be.” 

Or frankly who might have missiles at all.  Jane‘s estimates that

the price tag for these things will be between $10 million and $20 million. 

Not radically out of the reach of lots of people who I‘d feel uncomfortable

having the secret capacity to blow up one of our aircraft carriers or, say,

Baltimore. 

“The Telegraph” newspaper in the U.K. says that Club K missile

system was recently marketed as the Defense Services Asia Exhibition in

Malaysia.  Again, the creepy, very high-res video of the Club K Russian

missile system is posted at “Maddow Blog” today.  Nightmares about even

non-nuclear run away weapons proliferation are available every night inside

my head.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  As the Republican Party searches for meaning in the political

minority, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa continues to beat the type of path

through the wilderness that not everyone has the courage to follow. 

You may recall that right up until health reform became law, Sen.

Grassley was one of the most vocal opponents of the legislation. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA):  You have every right to fear.  We should

not have a government program that determines you‘re going to pull the plug

on grandma. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  This spring, Sen. Grassley even joined the chorus Republicans

claiming that health reform was unconstitutional.  Specifically, he said a

mandate that people have to get insurance was the unconstitutional thing,

even though Sen. Grassley himself proposed a health insurance mandate back

when Republicans were opposed to President Clinton‘s health reform ideas,

too. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley is just plain against that health reform

bill.  He didn‘t vote for it.  He said it would kill your grandma.  He said

even the parts that were his own ideas were unconstitutional. 

He even went into deeper cloud cuckoo-conspiracy-ville against it

when he said it would magically conjure up 16,000 more IRS agents.  He‘s

really, really against it.

Except, now, he‘s for it.  “IowaPolitics.com” today posting Sen.

Grassley‘s press release in which the senator is now bragging on how much

that health reform bill he voted against is going to be great for the folks

back home in Iowa. 

Quote, “I worked successfully to improve Medicare payments to

doctors in rural states as part of health care reform enacted this year.” 

I voted against it and it will kill your grandma, but if there‘s any chance

you like it, would you mind giving me credit for it? 

Sen. Grassley‘s up for re-election in November, needless to say.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  The John Birch Society tried to convince Americans in the

middle of the last century that the drive to put fluoride in drinking water

was a communist mind control plot.  The John Birch Society tried to

convince Americans that not only was President Eisenhower a conscious

dedicated agent of the communist conspiracy, but that President

Eisenhower‘s controlling agent in the communist conspiracy, the commie to

whom Ike reported for his commie instructions was his brother, Milton.  He

looked so nice. 

The John Birch Society was actually helpful to some very

conservative politicians for a while.  They supported Barry Goldwater, for

example. 

But at some point, some big thinking conservatives realized that

whatever help conservatives could get from John Birch conspiracy theories

riling up the base, it was probably outweighed by people at large,

associating conservatives with the people who thought the communists were

mind-controlling you through the water and the president.  You know, some

combination of good dental care and Milton Eisenhower. 

So the John Birch Society got exiled essentially from the

conservative movement back in the ‘60s.  They had only barely survived out

beyond the fringes for decades after that - until this past year. 

The conservative movement decided to bring them back into the

fold.  The John Birch Society was invited to co-sponsor the big CPAC - the

Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this year. 

At CPAC, I sat down and talked with them.  They were still trying

to sell me on the evils of fluoride - I kid you not.  But we had a nice

time, actually.  Just about everybody at CPAC, including the folks from the

John Birch Society, were very nice to me.  I spent some quality time

hanging out with them. 

I did not learn very much but we certainly had a pleasant and

cordial time.  Given our spirited repartee and hate-free jousting, I was

surprised when one of our excellent viewers recently brought this to our

attention. 

It‘s a new six-page John Birch Society fundraising letter which

has gone out to their supporters.  On page five, it says this, quote, “We

know that the other side is watching our growth with alarm.  Recently, we

were attacked on the air by MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow.  We responded

to time-worn charges online the next day.  The third day, she responded to

our reply so we know she and others are monitoring our Web site.”

“She has stated that one of her goals for 2010 is to eliminate

groups like ours from the political scene.  To her, we say lots of luck.” 

While I gladly take all the luck I can get, let it be known that

I have not stated any goals for 2010, at least not publicly.  And the ones

I talk to privately are things like, “Don‘t eat so much fried cheese,

Maddow.”  I‘m not even doing very well at that one. 

As for stating it is a goal of mine to eliminate groups like the

John Birch Society in 2010, it‘s simply and totally not true.  I have not

done that, needless to say, at all.  It‘s a lie. 

And while I am flattered that the John Birch Society thinks I‘m

powerful enough to threaten them, I‘m probably not, unless the enunciation

of facts about them is threatening their existence. 

But if they‘re going to make up stuff about me to raise money, I

do feel a little left out of the money.  Whether it‘s Republican Senator

Scott Brown of Massachusetts or the “fluoride‘s a communist mind-control

conspiracy” folks at the John Birch Society, people apparently feel free to

make up stuff that I have not said and not done in order to raise money for

themselves now. 

So I have decided that I want in.  We‘re looking into the

possibility of creating a new foundation that will license lies about me to

conservative causes and lawmakers, things I haven‘t actually said but might

be politically remunerative to the right people and groups. 

I won‘t let anybody in on the secret that I didn‘t actually say

these things, provided the conservatives who want to raise money off of me

give me a cut of the profits.  Then I will send 100 percent of my take to

an apolitical, nonpartisan cause that I think is worthy. 

It‘s sort of fair, right?  I mean, if the John Birch Society is

cashing checks by essentially forging my signature on them and I have no

way to stop them from doing that, couldn‘t I at least get some of the cash? 

Joining us now is Sam Tanenhaus, editor of “The New York Times

Book Review” and “Week in Review,” and the author of the book, “The Death

of Conservatism.”  Sam, thank you very much for joining us. 

SAM TANENHAUS, AUTHOR, “THE DEATH OF CONSERVATISM”:  Good to be here

with you, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Should I be flattered? 

TANENHAUS:  Well, you‘re in pretty good company.  You mentioned

Eisenhower.  Everybody mentions Eisenhower.  But the Birchers also said

that Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman were part of the communist

conspiracy. 

MADDOW:  It is a tidy and very intellectually high-powered conspiracy. 

TANENHAUS:  Listen, by the time they were done with Milton Eisenhower,

who was talking about them anymore? 

MADDOW:  Is there always somebody in this role for conservative groups

of being the bogeyman or the John Birch Society in particular?  What do you

need to be in order to be their bogeyman? 

TANENHAUS:  Well, that‘s a good question.  What they really hate is

the idea of governance itself.  Set aside Democrats or even Republicans. 

It‘s the idea of governance.  Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch

Society, founded in 1958, the year after the death Joe McCarthy -

MADDOW:  Right.  Yes. 

TANENHAUS:  And really founded to perpetuate that idea - pointed out

that the word “democracy” does not appear in the United States

Constitution.  Democracy itself (UNINTELLIGIBLE). 

MADDOW:  Anti-democratic.  Anti-government.

TANENHAUS:  Democracy itself was a kind of a - was a plot.  Yes. 

MADDOW:  Is the John Birch Society - I know this is a bit of a weird

question that‘s maybe a little sensitive.  Is the John Birch Society only

being allowed back into conservative circles now like attending CPAC, co-

sponsoring CPAC because of death of William F. Buckley?  Was he the

gatekeeper to keep them out? 

TANENHAUS:  Well, he was to a large extent.  You know, there was a

tussle when Bill Buckley got rid of them in the mid-‘60s.  He made his

first foray in 1962 and denounced Welch‘s theorizing that 90 percent is

controlled by communists and fluoridation of the water and all the rest. 

MADDOW:  Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society. 

TANENHAUS:  The founder of the Birch Society.  He - and Buckley

denounced that as drivel.  But there were many on the right who actually

supported Welch on the principle we‘re seeing in action today - no enemies

on the right. 

If they can be useful, you keep them in the tent.  Then, by the

mid-‘60s, as you said before, they had gotten so far off the grid that

Buckley, a guy who kind of trafficked in intellectual circles, particularly

in New York and had a lot of smart liberal friends, like Murray Kempton and

John Kenneth Galbraith got a little embarrassed by them. 

At the same time, though, as you said, they were forceful.  They

were useful.  In the Goldwater campaign in ‘64, they were the foot

soldiers.  In some sense, they‘re the precursor to the tea partiers we‘re

seeing now, so the right is always nervous about evicting people like that. 

MADDOW:  Conspiratorial theorizing is always going to be attractive to

a certain segment of people who are energized or more likely enervated by

what‘s going on in politics.  Question, though, is once you are the subject

of one of their conspiracies, is there a way to argue out of it?  Or are

you in a rationality-and-fact-free zone and all you can do is pretend it‘s

not happening? 

TANENHAUS:  In fact, you can‘t do it, Rachel.  I was thinking about

your very amusing remarks before.  Robert Welch actually had a term -

Robert Welch, the genius, presiding genius of the John Birch Society.  It‘s

called the reverse principle. 

If the - let‘s say the Soviets decide they‘re going to give up

some of their nuclear warheads or the Russians do in our time.  They‘re not

really doing that, or if they are doing - say they‘re going to do it, it‘s

because they‘ve got another plan. 

So if you say you now want to be embraced by them and you‘re

willing to accept their attacks, and also that you invite them to point

out, you know, statements you have made that you can prove are lies and say

it doesn‘t matter that they‘re lies, because you‘re not saying what you

really think. 

So if someone listens really closely to what you‘ve said and what

you really mean to say, they‘ve got you every time. 

MADDOW:  What if I raise - no, it will never work.  There‘s no way

around it except to talk about who they are in the bluntest possible terms,

I think.  

But what does it say to you, Sam, that the John Birch Society is

back, after so many years in exile, after conspiracists(ph) had to contend

with people who are sort of gatekeepers in terms of what counts as

mainstream conservatism?  What does it mean that the gatekeepers are gone

now? 

TANENHAUS:  Well, it means that it‘s a movement without serious ideas. 

Look at poor David Frum, you know, someone who‘s actually a kind of

consequential guy, protege of Buckley himself.

MADDOW:  Yes.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE). 

(CROSS TALK)

TANENHAUS:  Well, more or less evicted from the movement.  That‘s

right.  He doesn‘t want - I don‘t know.  Maybe he has his own conspiracy

about you. 

MADDOW:  Yes. 

TANENHAUS:  They all do.  But, yes, there are no serious ideas left on

the right.  We see who the great idea people are, the ones who pretend to

be - Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and all the rest.  This is about as good

as it‘s getting now, so they don‘t have a Buckley or Irving Kristol or

someone like that to call them out. 

There‘s another difference too, Rachel.  People like Buckley and

Kristol thought part of the job of conservatism was to persuade serious

liberals, if not to agree with them, at least to rethink their own ideas,

to raise the level of discourse.  That‘s not what the extremists do. 

MADDOW:  Sam Tanenhaus, editor of “The New York Times Book Review” and

“Week in Review,” author of “The Death of Conservatism.”  Sam, it‘s great

to see you.  Thank you very much for coming in. 

TANENHAUS:  Oh, my pleasure.  Great to be here. 

MADDOW:  I appreciate it.  Coming up on “COUNTDOWN,” Keith

investigates the claim from one of the smartest scientists in the world

that aliens could be out to get us. 

But first, on this show, George W. Bush, of all people, gives

Democrats a boost heading into the November elections.  That very strange

story, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  The president today released a video E-mail to his supporters

essentially kicking off the 2010 mid-term election season.  His pitch is

that first-time voters who turned out for him and Joe Biden in 2008 become

second-time voters for Democratic candidates in 2010. 

Everyone‘s expecting Republicans to gain some seats in November. 

But Democrats have just received some unexpectedly good news about their

own prospects for that election. 

For that, we turn to our memoir bump correspondent, Mr. Kent

Jones.  Hi, Kent. 

KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, Rachel.  This unexpected boost

for Democratic candidates coming from a very unexpected place. 

MADDOW:  All right. 

JONES:  Here we go. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over):  Sometimes it helps to be lucky.  Just as Democrats face

the prospect of heavy losses in the midterm elections, former President

George W. Bush has a date to release his memoir, “Decision Points,”

November 9th.  That‘s just one short week after the midterm elections on

November 2nd. 

For once, his timing is impeccable.  Plans aren‘t final yet, but

does this mean “president 22 percent approval rating” will be on a

nationwide promotional tour at the exact time voters are deciding whether

to put Republicans back in power just when Americans are starting to blot

out the 2000s? 

Well, George W. “Two Terms Mandate” Bush turn up on Sean

Hannity‘s couch?  Crown Publishers said that some of the topics President

Bush addresses in the book are the 2000 election, Iraq, the financial

crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan, and Iran. 

Now, if you made a list of topics Republicans would rather not

have to talk about this year, it would be roughly the 2000 election, Iraq,

the financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan, and Iran. 

And while you‘re at it, remember this?  And this?  And this?  For

Democrats, the timing of G.W.‘s book is perfect, maybe too perfect.  I

wonder, could this be George W. Bush‘s way of saying he‘s sorry? 

At any rate, thank you, President Bush for your timely memoir. 

Any chance you could schedule your next book for say, November 2012? 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW:  Republicans have been trying so hard to make this a

referendum on Obama.  The Democrats thought the best they could hope for -

it would be a choice between Obama and the Republicans.  No Democrat ever

dreamed there could be a referendum on Obama versus Bush again.  

JONES:  Who will show up suddenly? 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Kent.

JONES:  Sure.

MADDOW:  That does it for us tonight.  We‘ll see you again tomorrow

night.  “COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts right now. 

               

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST (voice-over):  It‘s official.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  On this vote, the yeas are 57, the nays are 41.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  The Republicans say the issue of regulation for Wall Street -

likely responsible for this—shouldn‘t even be debated on the floor of

the United States Senate.

               

Republicans also say they‘ll do anything to stop immigration reform at

the federal level—perhaps preferring that states like Arizona implement

their own bright ideas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAN BREWER ®, ARIZONA:  I hope that we meet again on—better

circumstances.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Tonight, meet the friendly folks who wrote the “Papers,

please” law that‘s turning Arizona into a pariah state.

And our viewers kept telling us they were getting creepy fundraising

mailers designed to look like census forms.  Then Congress made it illegal

to send out fake census mailers.  It turns out they‘re still coming anyway.

Remember the John Birch Society?  Fluoride in the water as a communist

mind control plot?  I had such a nice time with them at CPAC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  A lot of people say crazy (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Now, they‘re making stuff up about me to raise money for

themselves.  First of all, you guys, please stop.  And if you don‘t stop,

can I have some of the money?

All that, plus George W. Bush‘s new book, the U.S. senator who‘s

taking credit now for a bill he used to say would kill you, and the perfect

gift just in time for Mother‘s Day.

It‘s THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW—starting right now.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW:  Today in Washington, all 41 Republican senators lined up,

unified, along with one Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and they all

bravely insisted that Wall Street reform not be debated on the floor of the

United States Senate.  Just to be clear here, they did not vote Wall Street

reform down, they voted to not allow it to be discussed.

Even without Ben Nelson, Democrats have 58 votes in the Senate on

this, a huge majority in favor of passing Wall Street reform.  But

Republicans are filibustering.  They are insisting that it not even be

talked about on the Senate floor—which is not to say the negotiations on

this are over.  Republicans say they do want to keep talking.  They just

don‘t want to do it in the Senate—you know, where people can see.

Republican Senator Richard Shelby reportedly is still trying to work

out a deal with Democrat Chris Dodd.  A number of Republicans are

considered possible votes for some version of reform in the end.  But

today‘s vote to not allow debate on the Senate floor really just means that

Republicans want the political negotiations on Wall Street reform to happen

away from the C-Span cameras, in private, off the Senate floor.

This was not a vote on the merits of the bill.  This was, “Hey, do you

guys want to start talking about Wall Street reform?”  And the resounding

reply from all 41 Republicans plus Ben Nelson was: “No, we do not want to

start debating this.”

Whatever you hear in terms of Beltway common wisdom about this—

believe me—it is not normal for things to take more than 50 votes to

pass the Senate.  A majority of a body of 500 – mathematically speaking, a

majority vote in the United States Senate is 50-plus-one.  But on Wall

Street reform, like lots of things, Republicans aren‘t just voting no. 

They‘re using a procedural tool to keep a vote from even happening.

Democrats have a majority on this.  Republicans just won‘t let them

take a majority vote.

Ever since they lost control of Congress in the ‘06 midterm elections,

Republicans have become a finely-tuned filibuster machine.  See how the

number of filibusters skyrockets there at the end in 2007?  That‘s the

voice of the Republican minority.

Just since President Obama took office, Republicans have filibustered

the stimulus, the tobacco regulation, extending unemployment benefits,

health reform, of course—you know what?  Actually, it‘s pretty much

everything.

Do we have a scroll of that?

Yes.  As far as we can tell, Republicans have filibustered every major

piece of legislation since President Obama took office.  The only major

actions we‘ve been able to come up with that weren‘t filibustered were the

nominations of the president‘s cabinet secretaries and the nomination of

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  That‘s because cabinet secretaries

and Supreme Court nominees rarely if ever get filibustered.

But never say never.  Another Supreme Court nomination is coming up

this summer.

Procedurally, this is the reality in the Senate: Republicans are

filibustering everything.  They are using Senate rules to block majority

votes on almost every single nominee and on every significant piece of

legislation, now including Wall Street reform.  Even though that doesn‘t

get talked about anymore, don‘t lose sight of it.  Everybody keeps acting

as though this is not normal.  It is not.  This is not normal.

The constant ever present, always on filibuster has never happened

before in the history of our country.  This has never happened before in

the history of the Senate.

How Democrats will respond to the always on filibuster in the case of

Wall Street reform remains to be seen.  Will Democrats manage to win over

some Republican votes?  Would they—could they use the reconciliation

procedure to get around the filibuster like they had to do on health

reform?  Nobody yet knows for sure.  Procedurally, it is not at all clear

what happens next.

As I said, there‘s never been a case in American history where every

single piece of legislation is filibustered.  We‘ve never done this before.

But substantively, it is important to keep in mind what the

Republicans are using the filibuster to block right now.  They‘re blocking

Wall Street reform now—when more than two-thirds of Americans say they

want Wall Street reform.  Everybody who understands that there is an

economic crisis right now that was caused by a financial crisis, everybody

who understands that wants the financial system to be fixed.

So, in practical political terms, how do you make the case that you‘re

against financial reform?  It‘s actually not going to be easy.  Check out,

for example, this e-mail today from the estimable Tea Party Nation.  This,

I think just makes clear how difficult it‘s going to be to make the case

against Wall Street reform.

Quote, “Today is the day that Harry Reid has scheduled a vote to try

and cram the, quote, ‘financial reform‘ bill down our throats.”  By which

they mean bring it up for a debate using a majority vote.  That‘s cramming

it down your throat in tea party speak.

But back to the letter, this is the good part: “Let me give you one

horrific example of the stupidity in this bill.  This bill will create

liability for advertising agencies for ads that the Federal Trade

Commission decides are aiding and abetting false advertising.  Imagine you

own an advertising agency.  Your job is not to verify what a client is

selling.  Your job is to simply create the ad campaign that will drive

customers to their doors.”

So, that‘s the pitch.  That‘s the Tea Party Nation pitch to their

supporters about why financial reform is so bad and must be stopped.  Their

pitch is: it wouldn‘t allow false advertising.  Oh, the outrage.

Imagine the poor Tea Party Nation e-mail appeal writer who‘s tasked

with putting together this message.  How can we make Wall Street reform

sound really bad?  Would it sound bad if we asked tea party activists to

imagine if they were ad agency executives who didn‘t want to be held

accountable for lying about what they were selling?  Would that rile people

up?

Imagine the angry mob taking to the streets now.  We want the right to

make false statements in advertising!  We demand the right of advertising

executives to not be held liable for lying about what they‘re selling!  Is

this what we‘re supposed to be chanting?  Could we make it rhyme?

I don‘t know that this campaign against Wall Street reform, because

it‘s against false advertising is going to fit on a sign.  I don‘t exactly

know how this is going to work for them.  Republicans might be taking every

procedural advantage they have in Congress right now to stop Wall Street

reform.  But politically, in terms of the substance, in terms of trying to

convince their base on this one, the political problems here are plain.

Joining us now is Chris Hayes, Washington editor of “The Nation”

magazine.

Chris, thank you very much for coming on the show.  Nice to see your

glasses have been found.

CHRIS HAYES, THE NATION:  Oh, they have.  Thanks for having me.

I think it was Ayn Rand wrote advertising agency owners of the world

unite.

MADDOW:  I was—when I got—I got this this morning and I got it

on my BlackBerry before I was sitting down in my regular e-mail on my

computer, and I thought it was something that had been cleverly put

together by one of the whiz kids on our staff, like, wouldn‘t it be funny

if this is what the Tea Party Nation had to resort to?

HAYES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  It is—it‘s amazing to me.  How do—how do Republicans

sell this to their base, that they‘re against Wall Street reform?

HAYES:  Well, I think, actually, the more I think about it and the

more I think about this whole bailout thing, the more I think actually the

bailout dog whistle is a way of trying to invigorate their base.  I mean,

one of the things I think you see is that the issue of the financial reform

bill is not seizing the imagination.  Even of the most hardcore

conservative members of the Republican coalition, the tea party folks, this

bill is not seizing their imagination.  They‘re not showing up at town

halls to oppose it in the way they were with health care.

And I actually think the bailout attack wasn‘t even so much designed

for the general public so much as it was just actually a first attempt at

even trying to stoke some outrage and some energy amongst their own core

supporters, which, you know, I don‘t really think is present.  I just think

we‘re not seeing the level of outrage there that we saw against the health

reform bill on this bill.

MADDOW:  And because they haven‘t been able to sort of gin up outrage

about this among their base, they haven‘t been able to excite their base

with this, and I think you‘re right in that observation—what happens

next?  Politically, what‘s their next step toward trying to stop it?

HAYES:  Well, I think there‘s a few—there‘s sort of a branch in the

tree here.  I mean, one is that, you know, one imagines perhaps everything

is changed and now the Republicans really, really care about their good

faith objections to what‘s in the bill and are trying to make a good faith

effort at negotiating.

The other is that they‘re essentially stalling and they‘re trying to

more or less hold up Wall Street for lots of contributions.  And this is

essentially what McConnell and Kyl—McConnell and Cornyn were doing when

they—you know, when they went to Wall Street, is we stand between you

and Wall Street reform.  And the longer they can hold it up, the more they

can probably get campaign cash.

And then the third thing I think is possible is that they think if

they stall, they can kind of rerun the health care arc, which is to say, if

you look at the early polling on health care, it also was high and the

longer they dragged it out, the less popular it got.  And so, there‘s a

thinking I think among some sectors, if they drag this out, the same thing

will happen.

MADDOW:  Democrats do seem to have caught on to the idea, though, that

if they allow it to be slowed down, it will be stopped.

HAYES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Democrats seem to have figured that out this time.  They also

seem to have figured out that they should fact-check their opponents when

their opponents start to get away with saying things that aren‘t true about

the legislation.  My question, though, is whether or not Democrats have

learned any lesson from health care or whether they have a new lesson that

they‘re trying to learn here about actually negotiating with Republicans.

Are the negotiations actually happening, even though there is no

debate on the Senate floor?

HAYES:  I think, yes, they are.  I mean, you know, people I talk to on

the Hill and other reporters find the same thing, which is that there is—

there are actual negotiations happening.  I hope that they‘ve learned a

lesson.  It does seem—I mean, one of the things I thought was very

interesting was that the White House came out with a veto threat very early

in this in a way they never did with health care reform.  The only thing

they issued a veto on early was that the size of the bill not be too large.

In this case, they‘ve issued a veto threat if the derivatives

legislation is not strong enough.  So, they‘re already taking a tougher

line.  But I would also say, you know, this is not just in the hands of

Democrats on the Hill.  It is incredibly important that public opinion

remain squarely for taking on the banks and reining them in.

And there‘s lots of opportunities for progressives who care about this

to call their senators and to call members on the Hill to show up at

protests.  There‘s a march on Wall Street being led by AFL-CIO.  There‘s a

group called New Way Forward that‘s doing actions.  There‘s a group called

National People‘s Action.

There‘s a bunch of people that are marshalling grassroots organizing

to go after the banks.  I think that‘s actually going to be more important

than the deals that get made on Capitol Hill because they‘re going to

respond to what the mood in the country is.

MADDOW:  The day that the Democrats start responding to their base

protesting in the streets is the day that I realize that I‘ve woken up and

lived in another country.

HAYES:  I‘m a Cubs fan, so I remain hopeful.

MADDOW:  I was going to say, you can be the—you can be the cloud,

you can be the silver lining and I‘ll be the cloud.

HAYES:  OK.

MADDOW:  But we work together well.

Chris Hayes, Washington editor of “The Nation” magazine—thanks very

much for joining us, Chris.

HAYES:  Thank you.  Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  OK.  Suggestion for what to get your mom for Mother‘s Day.  I

don‘t know your mother, in all likelihood, depending on who you are, but I

swear she does not have this.  I really, really don‘t think your mom has

one of these unless she is a rogue Russian missile engineer—in which

case you should probably just think about jewelry or flowers or something

instead.

But for everybody else—a great idea.  That‘s ahead.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Well, ahead, a very far right-wing group has invented a quote

from me that I never said, and they‘re using it to solicit money from their

members.  So, this is becoming a theme in my life now.  We here at the show

has come up with a plan to deal with it once and for all.  We think it‘s

fair to everybody.  That proposal is directly ahead.

Please stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  The big deal news headline out of the world of politics today

was the Republican Party‘s filibuster of Wall Street reform.  But there was

supposed to be another big deal thing in politics today.  Today was

supposed to be the day that Democratic Senator John Kerry and Republican

Senator Lindsey Graham announced bipartisan climate change legislation. 

That announcement, as you probably noticed, did not happen today.

Why didn‘t it happen?  Because Lindsey Graham got very mad.  He

scuttled his own climate legislation because he says he‘s angry that the

Obama administration might bring up the issue of immigration reform first. 

Quote, “This comes out of left field.  We haven‘t done anything to prepare

the body or the country for immigration.”

Senator Graham‘s anger has been seconded now by the top Republican in

the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who said yesterday, this isn‘t, quote, “the

right time to do immigration reform.”

Republicans are bending over backwards right now, doing everything

they possibly can, scuttling their own announcements if they need to in

order to make sure that immigration reform does not come up.  Remember when

George W. Bush he wanted to do immigration reform in 2007?  Again, it was

his own party, the Republicans, who bent over backwards and delivered their

own president a huge political defeat on this issue because they were so

desperate to not do immigration reform at the federal level.

And the fact that it continues to not happen at the federal level is

all the justification that some states need right now to deal with

immigration on their own, which is how we got this—

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAN BREWER ®, ARIZONA:  The bill I‘m about to sign into law,

Senate Bill 1070, represents another tool for our state to use as we work

to solve a crisis that we did not create and the federal government has

refused to fix.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  And so, the state of Arizona now has a new law requiring

police officers to demand the paperwork of anyone who looks like they might

be an illegal immigrant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER:  What does an illegal immigrant look like?  Does it look

like me?

BREWER:  I do not know.  I do not know what an illegal immigrant looks

like.  I can tell you that I think that there are people in Arizona that

assume they know what an illegal immigrant looks like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  In the meantime, papers, please.

Before this bill was actually signed into law, we told you about the

guy who introduced it in the first place.  It‘s this guy, Republican State

Senator Russell Pearce.

Mr. Pearce is famous in Arizona for having sent an email to his

supporters that included a white nationalist screed, accusing the media of

pushing the view, quote, “a world in which every voice proclaims the

equality of the races, the inerrant nature of the Jewish, quote,

‘Holocaust‘ tale, the wickedness of attempting to halt the flood of

nonwhite aliens pouring across the borders.”  Mr. Pearce sent that around

to all of his supporters in which he later apologized for.

Russell Pearce is also famous for having been caught on tape hugging a

neo-Nazi.  No, like a real neo-Nazi.  Not some sort of metaphorical

Godwin‘s law-invoking neo-Nazi guy, but an actual neo-Nazi guy.  See, with

the swastikas?

Russell Pearce is the guy who introduced this radical immigration bill

in Arizona that just became law.  But if you want to meet the guy who‘s

taking credit for writing the new law, that would be the gentleman named

Kris Kobach.

Kris Kobach is a birther.  He‘s running for a secretary of state in

Kansas right now.  His campaign Web site today brags, quote, “Kobach wins

one in Arizona.”

The guy that helped Arizona‘s new immigration bill is also an attorney

for the Immigration Reform Law Institute.  That‘s the legal arm of an

immigration group that‘s called FAIR, the Federation for American

Immigration Reform.  FAIR was founded in 1979 by a man named John Tanton. 

Mr. Tanton is still listed as a member of FAIR‘s board of directors.

Just for some insight into where John Tanton and FAIR were coming from

seven years after he started FAIR, Mr. Tanton wrote this, quote, “To

govern is to populate.  Will the present majority peaceably hand over its

political power to a group that is simply more fertile?  As whites see

their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go

quietly into the night or will there be an explosion?”  That‘s FAIR, who

helped write Arizona‘s anti-immigrant law.

               

After John Tanton got FAIR off the ground, for nine of the first years

of the group‘s existence, the group reportedly received more than $1

million in funding from something called the Pioneer Fund.  The Pioneer

Fund describes itself as a group formed, quote, “in the Darwinian-Galtonian

evolutionary tradition and eugenics movement.”

For the last 70 years, the Pioneer Fund has funded controversial

research about race and intelligence, essentially aimed at proving the

racial superiority of white people.  The group‘s original mandate was to

promote the genes of those, quote, “deemed to be descended predominantly

from white persons who settled in the original 13 states prior to the

adoption of the Constitution.”

John Tanton‘s organization, FAIR, which, again, claims credit for

writing Arizona‘s new immigrant law, John Tanton‘s FAIR was long bankrolled

by the Pioneer Fund—which actually makes after you read some more of Mr.

Tanton‘s writings.  Quote, “I‘ve come to the point of view that for

European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-

American majority and a clear one at that.”

In 1997, John Tanton told the “Detroit Free Press” that America will

soon be overrun by illegal immigrants, quote, “defecating and creating

garbage and looking for jobs.”  Defecating is the problem, I guess.

Again, this genius is the guy whose group is behind Arizona‘s new

radical immigration law.  They take credit for writing it.  FAIR is

bragging about having, quote, “assisted Senator Russell Pearce in drafting

the language” of his Senate bill.

In drafting that language, FAIR may have slipped a little something

special in there for themselves.  FAIR makes a living off of suing local

and state governments over immigration laws.  Tucked inside Article VIII of

Arizona‘s new law is a provision that if groups like them win their cases,

quote, a judge—sorry—a judge may order that the entity, quote, “who

brought the action recover court costs and attorney fees”—which could

create a nice financial boon for the formerly eugenics movement-funded,

advanced the white majority, promote the genetics of white America anti-

immigrant group whose attorneys helped write the new law.

Congratulations, Arizona.  This thing is going to make you really,

really, really famous for a really, really, really long time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  A couple months ago, I got this in the mail labeled as a

congressional district specific 2010 congressional official survey.  It‘s

quite clearly designed to look like an actual 2010 census form.  But it‘s

just a Republican fundraising letter authorized and commissioned by the

Republican National Committee.

These were mailers that not only exploited people‘s knowledge of the

actual census to get to you open it up and read it, these things also

undermined the actual census.  By the time people get their real census

forms in the mail, you‘d be less likely to open that up if the last time

you got something that looks like an official census form, it turned out to

be political junk mail with lots of push poll questions about how evil

communist Obama is.

Because it was messing with the constitutionally-mandated census,

legislation proposing to ban stuff like this passed the House and Senate

unanimously.  The law was signed by President Obama on April 7th.  The law

made it a crime for the U.S. mail to deliver an envelope from a

nongovernmental entity that had the word census on it, unless—number

one, the solicitation includes disclaimers that it is not a government

document and, number two, the envelope includes the name of the entity that

sent the solicitation and an accurate return address.

So that should have been the end of that.  Right?

Except, as we reported on the Maddow blog on Thursday—people are

still getting fake census mailers from the RNC.  “Talking Points Memo” also

reported today on one such mailer sent to a voter in California.  Several

of our viewers from Washington State sent us fake census mailers they‘ve

received.  They all had exactly the same 2010 congressional district census

letter that the RNC had sent out in February.  All of them were dated April

12th, five days after President Obama signed the anti-fake census mailer

bill into law.

One viewer sent us the entire package she received, including the fake

questionnaire with the same questions as the February mailer.  And the same

appeal for donations under the heading, “Census Certification and Reply.” 

Even the envelope which instructs the recipient, “Do not destroy, official

document,” even that contains the term census document.

And while there is a note that says it is not a U.S. government

document, nowhere on the envelope does it say that the RNC is responsible

for these mailers.  Census document, registered to, deliver exclusively to,

do not destroy official document.  It says nothing about the fact that it

comes from the Republican National Committee.  No return address on the

envelope.

This would seem to violate the provision in the new law mandating that

both of those pieces of information be on mailers like this.

But the RNC spokesman, Doug Heye, told us today that while he

couldn‘t go into detail about the rationale used because they don‘t divulge

internal decisions about things like fundraising, the RNC‘s legal

department thinks that their mailers don‘t violate the new law, the law

that everybody thought was written specifically in response to their

creepy, fake census mailers.  And so they are continuing to send them out. 

Joining us now is the original sponsor of the Prevent Deceptive

Census Look-Alike Mailings Act, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of

New York.  Congresswoman Maloney, thank you so much for being here. 

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY):  Well, thank you for raising the

attention and putting a spotlight on this violation. 

MADDOW:  Well, let me ask you about the overall rationale here.  How

much damage do you think that mailers like this do?  Why do you think it‘s

important that something like this be banned? 

MALONEY:  Well, we‘re still in full swing with the census.  And it‘s

very deceptive and it‘s sad that the RNC is trying to make a partisan buck

over - and trying to deceive people in the process.  We need an accurate

account, and this is totally misleading. 

MADDOW:  Do you agree with the Republican National Committee‘s legal

department that this latest census mailer that they‘ve sent out after the

law was passed, that it doesn‘t violate the law? 

MALONEY:  It appears to have violated the spirit of the law.  I have

written to the Postal Department to make a determination on whether or not

it violates it.  But clearly, it was dated five days after President Obama

signed it into law. 

At the very least, Mr. Steele should check with his Republican

members of Congress, because they all voted for it, and don‘t approve of

the actions that are taking place. 

MADDOW:  One other RNC spokesperson made what I thought was a pretty

novel argument about this.  They told “The Spokesman Review” newspaper that

the party wasn‘t breaking the law with this new mailer because the post

office would have rejected a mailer that wasn‘t in compliance with the new

law, essentially saying they‘ve been cleared and that these mailers are

legal because the post office delivered the mail.  What do you make of that

argument? 

MALONEY:  I think it is absolutely ridiculous.  The law was very

clear.  My law stated that you had to have a return address and the sender. 

And the documents that I‘ve seen do not have that.  And in fact, it‘s very

misleading and very large print.  They say, “Do not destroy official

government document,” and in very small type, the disclaimer. 

So it appears to be very misleading.  And it appears to be a

direct violation of the law.  Certainly, the intent of the law. 

MADDOW:  The chairman of the Nebraska‘s Democratic Party has also,

like you, filed a complaint with the U.S. Postal Service about these

mailers.  Is that the appropriate avenue?  Is that the only avenue that‘s

open for anybody who wants to register a violation of this law? 

MALONEY:  They should write the Postal Department and ask for

clarification.  That is what I have done, and Chairman Clay and other

Democrats to get a determination, officially, from the postal office. 

It appears definitely not to reach the law that we passed.  But

there may be other mailers out there that are different, that do have the

RNC as the return address.  The ones that I have seen that have been sent

to me do not have a return address.  They do not have a sender.  It says

census, so it appears to be in clear violation of the law.  And it happened

five days after it passed unanimously and was signed into law by President

Obama. 

MADDOW:  Oh, well what‘s a law signed by the president and passed

unanimously by both Houses of Congress?  These things we swat away. 

Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, sponsor of the

Prevent Deceptive Census Look-Alike Mailings Act, which is, in fact, U.S.

law.  Thank you very much for your time tonight, ma‘am. 

MALONEY:  Thank you for putting a spotlight on it, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Appreciate it. 

MALONEY:  Thank you. 

MADDOW:  Still ahead, the paranoid whack-a-dos at the John Birch

society are using something they made up about me to raise money for their

paranoid whack-a-daring-do(ph).  First of all, thank you.  Second of all, I

think 10 percent is fair.  Cash is always nice.  Right? 

And President George W. Bush has a November surprise for America. 

A preview coming up.  I hope there are illustrations.  Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Mother‘s Day just a couple weeks away.  What do you get for

the mother who has everything?  It does depend on how much you have to

spend.  But there is a company in Russia marketing something right now I

bet your mother does not have. 

Portable cruise missiles that secret themselves away inside what

look like totally ordinary generic shipping containers of which there are

millions in every country all around the globe, which means that cruise

missiles, powerful enough to take out an aircraft carrier - I am not

kidding - are now being marketed as ready to plug and play and be

surreptitiously moved anywhere it isn‘t weird to have a shipping container. 

It‘s called the Club K missile system.  It‘s being marketed by a

company based in Russia that calls itself More Inform System-AGAT.  They‘ve

put out this really spiffy promotional video that you can see on our Web

site today, “The Maddow Blog.” 

It shows how you can mount this shipping container with the

missiles inside it on a train or on a truck or on a ship and nobody‘s going

to know what‘s in it.  It just looks like a normal shipping container until

you hit the button. 

An editor at “Jane‘s Defence Weekly,” which first reported on the

existence of Club K says, quote, “This Club K is game changing.  The threat

is immense in that no one can tell how far deployed your missiles could

be.” 

Or frankly who might have missiles at all.  Jane‘s estimates that

the price tag for these things will be between $10 million and $20 million. 

Not radically out of the reach of lots of people who I‘d feel uncomfortable

having the secret capacity to blow up one of our aircraft carriers or, say,

Baltimore. 

“The Telegraph” newspaper in the U.K. says that Club K missile

system was recently marketed as the Defense Services Asia Exhibition in

Malaysia.  Again, the creepy, very high-res video of the Club K Russian

missile system is posted at “Maddow Blog” today.  Nightmares about even

non-nuclear run away weapons proliferation are available every night inside

my head.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  As the Republican Party searches for meaning in the political

minority, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa continues to beat the type of path

through the wilderness that not everyone has the courage to follow. 

You may recall that right up until health reform became law, Sen.

Grassley was one of the most vocal opponents of the legislation. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA):  You have every right to fear.  We should

not have a government program that determines you‘re going to pull the plug

on grandma. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  This spring, Sen. Grassley even joined the chorus Republicans

claiming that health reform was unconstitutional.  Specifically, he said a

mandate that people have to get insurance was the unconstitutional thing,

even though Sen. Grassley himself proposed a health insurance mandate back

when Republicans were opposed to President Clinton‘s health reform ideas,

too. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley is just plain against that health reform

bill.  He didn‘t vote for it.  He said it would kill your grandma.  He said

even the parts that were his own ideas were unconstitutional. 

He even went into deeper cloud cuckoo-conspiracy-ville against it

when he said it would magically conjure up 16,000 more IRS agents.  He‘s

really, really against it.

Except, now, he‘s for it.  “IowaPolitics.com” today posting Sen.

Grassley‘s press release in which the senator is now bragging on how much

that health reform bill he voted against is going to be great for the folks

back home in Iowa. 

Quote, “I worked successfully to improve Medicare payments to

doctors in rural states as part of health care reform enacted this year.” 

I voted against it and it will kill your grandma, but if there‘s any chance

you like it, would you mind giving me credit for it? 

Sen. Grassley‘s up for re-election in November, needless to say.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  The John Birch Society tried to convince Americans in the

middle of the last century that the drive to put fluoride in drinking water

was a communist mind control plot.  The John Birch Society tried to

convince Americans that not only was President Eisenhower a conscious

dedicated agent of the communist conspiracy, but that President

Eisenhower‘s controlling agent in the communist conspiracy, the commie to

whom Ike reported for his commie instructions was his brother, Milton.  He

looked so nice. 

The John Birch Society was actually helpful to some very

conservative politicians for a while.  They supported Barry Goldwater, for

example. 

But at some point, some big thinking conservatives realized that

whatever help conservatives could get from John Birch conspiracy theories

riling up the base, it was probably outweighed by people at large,

associating conservatives with the people who thought the communists were

mind-controlling you through the water and the president.  You know, some

combination of good dental care and Milton Eisenhower. 

So the John Birch Society got exiled essentially from the

conservative movement back in the ‘60s.  They had only barely survived out

beyond the fringes for decades after that - until this past year. 

The conservative movement decided to bring them back into the

fold.  The John Birch Society was invited to co-sponsor the big CPAC - the

Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this year. 

At CPAC, I sat down and talked with them.  They were still trying

to sell me on the evils of fluoride - I kid you not.  But we had a nice

time, actually.  Just about everybody at CPAC, including the folks from the

John Birch Society, were very nice to me.  I spent some quality time

hanging out with them. 

I did not learn very much but we certainly had a pleasant and

cordial time.  Given our spirited repartee and hate-free jousting, I was

surprised when one of our excellent viewers recently brought this to our

attention. 

It‘s a new six-page John Birch Society fundraising letter which

has gone out to their supporters.  On page five, it says this, quote, “We

know that the other side is watching our growth with alarm.  Recently, we

were attacked on the air by MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow.  We responded

to time-worn charges online the next day.  The third day, she responded to

our reply so we know she and others are monitoring our Web site.”

“She has stated that one of her goals for 2010 is to eliminate

groups like ours from the political scene.  To her, we say lots of luck.” 

While I gladly take all the luck I can get, let it be known that

I have not stated any goals for 2010, at least not publicly.  And the ones

I talk to privately are things like, “Don‘t eat so much fried cheese,

Maddow.”  I‘m not even doing very well at that one. 

As for stating it is a goal of mine to eliminate groups like the

John Birch Society in 2010, it‘s simply and totally not true.  I have not

done that, needless to say, at all.  It‘s a lie. 

And while I am flattered that the John Birch Society thinks I‘m

powerful enough to threaten them, I‘m probably not, unless the enunciation

of facts about them is threatening their existence. 

But if they‘re going to make up stuff about me to raise money, I

do feel a little left out of the money.  Whether it‘s Republican Senator

Scott Brown of Massachusetts or the “fluoride‘s a communist mind-control

conspiracy” folks at the John Birch Society, people apparently feel free to

make up stuff that I have not said and not done in order to raise money for

themselves now. 

So I have decided that I want in.  We‘re looking into the

possibility of creating a new foundation that will license lies about me to

conservative causes and lawmakers, things I haven‘t actually said but might

be politically remunerative to the right people and groups. 

I won‘t let anybody in on the secret that I didn‘t actually say

these things, provided the conservatives who want to raise money off of me

give me a cut of the profits.  Then I will send 100 percent of my take to

an apolitical, nonpartisan cause that I think is worthy. 

It‘s sort of fair, right?  I mean, if the John Birch Society is

cashing checks by essentially forging my signature on them and I have no

way to stop them from doing that, couldn‘t I at least get some of the cash? 

Joining us now is Sam Tanenhaus, editor of “The New York Times

Book Review” and “Week in Review,” and the author of the book, “The Death

of Conservatism.”  Sam, thank you very much for joining us. 

SAM TANENHAUS, AUTHOR, “THE DEATH OF CONSERVATISM”:  Good to be here

with you, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Should I be flattered? 

TANENHAUS:  Well, you‘re in pretty good company.  You mentioned

Eisenhower.  Everybody mentions Eisenhower.  But the Birchers also said

that Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman were part of the communist

conspiracy. 

MADDOW:  It is a tidy and very intellectually high-powered conspiracy. 

TANENHAUS:  Listen, by the time they were done with Milton Eisenhower,

who was talking about them anymore? 

MADDOW:  Is there always somebody in this role for conservative groups

of being the bogeyman or the John Birch Society in particular?  What do you

need to be in order to be their bogeyman? 

TANENHAUS:  Well, that‘s a good question.  What they really hate is

the idea of governance itself.  Set aside Democrats or even Republicans. 

It‘s the idea of governance.  Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch

Society, founded in 1958, the year after the death Joe McCarthy -

MADDOW:  Right.  Yes. 

TANENHAUS:  And really founded to perpetuate that idea - pointed out

that the word “democracy” does not appear in the United States

Constitution.  Democracy itself (UNINTELLIGIBLE). 

MADDOW:  Anti-democratic.  Anti-government.

TANENHAUS:  Democracy itself was a kind of a - was a plot.  Yes. 

MADDOW:  Is the John Birch Society - I know this is a bit of a weird

question that‘s maybe a little sensitive.  Is the John Birch Society only

being allowed back into conservative circles now like attending CPAC, co-

sponsoring CPAC because of death of William F. Buckley?  Was he the

gatekeeper to keep them out? 

TANENHAUS:  Well, he was to a large extent.  You know, there was a

tussle when Bill Buckley got rid of them in the mid-‘60s.  He made his

first foray in 1962 and denounced Welch‘s theorizing that 90 percent is

controlled by communists and fluoridation of the water and all the rest. 

MADDOW:  Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society. 

TANENHAUS:  The founder of the Birch Society.  He - and Buckley

denounced that as drivel.  But there were many on the right who actually

supported Welch on the principle we‘re seeing in action today - no enemies

on the right. 

If they can be useful, you keep them in the tent.  Then, by the

mid-‘60s, as you said before, they had gotten so far off the grid that

Buckley, a guy who kind of trafficked in intellectual circles, particularly

in New York and had a lot of smart liberal friends, like Murray Kempton and

John Kenneth Galbraith got a little embarrassed by them. 

At the same time, though, as you said, they were forceful.  They

were useful.  In the Goldwater campaign in ‘64, they were the foot

soldiers.  In some sense, they‘re the precursor to the tea partiers we‘re

seeing now, so the right is always nervous about evicting people like that. 

MADDOW:  Conspiratorial theorizing is always going to be attractive to

a certain segment of people who are energized or more likely enervated by

what‘s going on in politics.  Question, though, is once you are the subject

of one of their conspiracies, is there a way to argue out of it?  Or are

you in a rationality-and-fact-free zone and all you can do is pretend it‘s

not happening? 

TANENHAUS:  In fact, you can‘t do it, Rachel.  I was thinking about

your very amusing remarks before.  Robert Welch actually had a term -

Robert Welch, the genius, presiding genius of the John Birch Society.  It‘s

called the reverse principle. 

If the - let‘s say the Soviets decide they‘re going to give up

some of their nuclear warheads or the Russians do in our time.  They‘re not

really doing that, or if they are doing - say they‘re going to do it, it‘s

because they‘ve got another plan. 

So if you say you now want to be embraced by them and you‘re

willing to accept their attacks, and also that you invite them to point

out, you know, statements you have made that you can prove are lies and say

it doesn‘t matter that they‘re lies, because you‘re not saying what you

really think. 

So if someone listens really closely to what you‘ve said and what

you really mean to say, they‘ve got you every time. 

MADDOW:  What if I raise - no, it will never work.  There‘s no way

around it except to talk about who they are in the bluntest possible terms,

I think.  

But what does it say to you, Sam, that the John Birch Society is

back, after so many years in exile, after conspiracists(ph) had to contend

with people who are sort of gatekeepers in terms of what counts as

mainstream conservatism?  What does it mean that the gatekeepers are gone

now? 

TANENHAUS:  Well, it means that it‘s a movement without serious ideas. 

Look at poor David Frum, you know, someone who‘s actually a kind of

consequential guy, protege of Buckley himself.

MADDOW:  Yes.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE). 

(CROSS TALK)

TANENHAUS:  Well, more or less evicted from the movement.  That‘s

right.  He doesn‘t want - I don‘t know.  Maybe he has his own conspiracy

about you. 

MADDOW:  Yes. 

TANENHAUS:  They all do.  But, yes, there are no serious ideas left on

the right.  We see who the great idea people are, the ones who pretend to

be - Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and all the rest.  This is about as good

as it‘s getting now, so they don‘t have a Buckley or Irving Kristol or

someone like that to call them out. 

There‘s another difference too, Rachel.  People like Buckley and

Kristol thought part of the job of conservatism was to persuade serious

liberals, if not to agree with them, at least to rethink their own ideas,

to raise the level of discourse.  That‘s not what the extremists do. 

MADDOW:  Sam Tanenhaus, editor of “The New York Times Book Review” and

“Week in Review,” author of “The Death of Conservatism.”  Sam, it‘s great

to see you.  Thank you very much for coming in. 

TANENHAUS:  Oh, my pleasure.  Great to be here. 

MADDOW:  I appreciate it.  Coming up on “COUNTDOWN,” Keith

investigates the claim from one of the smartest scientists in the world

that aliens could be out to get us. 

But first, on this show, George W. Bush, of all people, gives

Democrats a boost heading into the November elections.  That very strange

story, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  The president today released a video E-mail to his supporters

essentially kicking off the 2010 mid-term election season.  His pitch is

that first-time voters who turned out for him and Joe Biden in 2008 become

second-time voters for Democratic candidates in 2010. 

Everyone‘s expecting Republicans to gain some seats in November. 

But Democrats have just received some unexpectedly good news about their

own prospects for that election. 

For that, we turn to our memoir bump correspondent, Mr. Kent

Jones.  Hi, Kent. 

KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, Rachel.  This unexpected boost

for Democratic candidates coming from a very unexpected place. 

MADDOW:  All right. 

JONES:  Here we go. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over):  Sometimes it helps to be lucky.  Just as Democrats face

the prospect of heavy losses in the midterm elections, former President

George W. Bush has a date to release his memoir, “Decision Points,”

November 9th.  That‘s just one short week after the midterm elections on

November 2nd. 

For once, his timing is impeccable.  Plans aren‘t final yet, but

does this mean “president 22 percent approval rating” will be on a

nationwide promotional tour at the exact time voters are deciding whether

to put Republicans back in power just when Americans are starting to blot

out the 2000s? 

Well, George W. “Two Terms Mandate” Bush turn up on Sean

Hannity‘s couch?  Crown Publishers said that some of the topics President

Bush addresses in the book are the 2000 election, Iraq, the financial

crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan, and Iran. 

Now, if you made a list of topics Republicans would rather not

have to talk about this year, it would be roughly the 2000 election, Iraq,

the financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan, and Iran. 

And while you‘re at it, remember this?  And this?  And this?  For

Democrats, the timing of G.W.‘s book is perfect, maybe too perfect.  I

wonder, could this be George W. Bush‘s way of saying he‘s sorry? 

At any rate, thank you, President Bush for your timely memoir. 

Any chance you could schedule your next book for say, November 2012? 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW:  Republicans have been trying so hard to make this a

referendum on Obama.  The Democrats thought the best they could hope for -

it would be a choice between Obama and the Republicans.  No Democrat ever

dreamed there could be a referendum on Obama versus Bush again.  

JONES:  Who will show up suddenly? 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Kent.

JONES:  Sure.

MADDOW:  That does it for us tonight.  We‘ll see you again tomorrow

night.  “COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts right now. 

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

BE UPDATED.

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