The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/12/11

Guests:
Rep. Raul Grijalva, Wayne Slater
Transcript:

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  Good evening, Lawrence.  Thanks very much.

And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.

           

This was probably our most challenging prop day ever on this show.  But I think that we have done it.  We have figured out a way—to erect a teeny tiny little flag pole here in the studio in order to demonstrate what happened today in Washington, after this huge weeks long, months long fight about whether or not we as a country are going to fault on our debt on purpose, whether or not we are going to throw the country back in recession, whether or not we‘re going to stop sending Social Security checks and blow up the economy with this debt ceiling thing.  After all these months and weeks of fighting about it and Republicans saying, “We won‘t do it, we won‘t do it, we won‘t, we won‘t, we won‘t, we won‘t, there‘s no way we‘ll do it, there‘s no way, we won‘t do it”—you wanted to know what happened today?

Ding.

Actually, it doesn‘t look right without a breeze I don‘t think.  Hold on.  That‘s nice.  That‘s better.

What an amazing turn of events today in Washington.

Here‘s the back of the envelope basics on what just happened today.  It‘s kind of incredible.  I think it‘s been easy to sort of easy to lose sense of the big picture here if you have been following all the dramatic details of it, but the further you get away from what just happened, the bigger perspective you take on it, the more incredible this is.  OK, than k you, breeze.

Since John F. Kennedy was president, Congress has voted more than 70 times to raise the debt ceiling.  Raising the debt ceiling is something that most of the time happens as a matter of course.  It is a run-of-the-mill, no headline kind of event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCH DANIELS, THEN-BUSH BUDGET DIRECTOR:  This is really housekeeping, Tim.  This has nothing to say, nothing to do with future spending.  This simply reflects decisions made in the past and it ought to be treated like the housekeeping matter it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  That was George W. Bush‘s budget director, Mitch Daniels, explaining that the Bush administration hoped that raising the debt ceiling would be handled by Congress as a housekeeping matter.  And that is mostly how it was handled over the last decade.

During the George W. Bush administration, Congress raised the ceiling seven separate times.  Among the Republicans raising leading their current tantrums saying they won‘t vote to raise it, among John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, and Jon Kyl, just among the four of them, collectively, they passed 19 votes during the Bush administration to raise the debt ceiling, just those four guys.

Raising the debt ceiling is not something that usually has a big fight around it.  Sometimes it does, sometimes Congress or part of Congress tries to leverage this vote because it is something that absolutely has to pass.  So, in the same way that crafty politicians will sometimes attach unrelated things to the Pentagon budget because the Pentagon budget everybody agrees has to pass, we can‘t not fund the military—in that same way, politicians in the past tried to attach stuff to the debt ceilings, too.  It is one of these things that has to pass.  And there had been these little fights around the debt ceiling over the years.

This year, Republicans tried to make one of those fights, too.  And they not only failed, they so misunderstood the dynamics of their own party, John Boehner is so bad at his job as speaker of the House, I‘m sorry, that they failed in a way that has a liberal political pundit at 9:00 p.m. on MSNBC, using this as a metaphor of what just happened to them.  The breeze helps, I think.

Republicans blew it.  They totally, utterly, 100 percent blew it.

And, today, they had to essentially surrender.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER:  Republicans Senate leader Mitch McConnell this afternoon presented the unusual proposal to empower the president to raise the debt ceiling while Congress votes to disapprove.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  After weeks and months of fighting about it, Senate Republicans today proposed allowing President Obama to just go ahead and raise the debt ceiling, without any binding conditions just like that.

In a couple of minutes on the show, we‘re going to talk about the special elections happening today.  In Wisconsin, there are state level recalls that are happening today because of the Republicans‘ effort to strip union rights in the state.

In California, there‘s a special election for Congress today, polls are still open in southern California.  It‘s the first congressional special election since the one in Upstate New York about two months ago in which a deep, deep, deep red district, Jack Kemp‘s old district, a super Republican district turned blue.  It went to a Democrat in large part because of the Republican plan to kill Medicare.  Remember that?

Ninety-eight percent of Republicans in the House, 85 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted for the Paul Ryan budget to kill Medicare, a plan that was so unpopular that it flipped that red congressional seat to blue.

The other thing about that Paul Ryan vote, though, is that voting for the Paul Ryan budget, even with killing Medicare, that was a vote by Republicans to add $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.  The vote for the Paul Ryan budget would have required the Republicans to vote to raise the debt ceiling—their own budget, because we would be incurring additional debt in order to pay for that Republican budget.

Really, honestly, frankly, no matter what you do, you have to raise the debt ceiling.  There is not a policy solution to prevent the country from raising the debt ceiling in the short run.  Even voting for the Republican budget this year, which was insane, politically and otherwise, would require us to raise the debt ceiling.

But even in the face of that reality, that mathematic reality, Republicans have decided to say that they will not vote to raise it this year, even after all of the other times they raised it, during the Bush administration and before—even after the Bipartisan Policy Center reported that if we do not raise the debt ceiling, then after the first month, we will have knocked 10 percent off the GDP, 10 percent off the entire size of the economy, which, of course, would immediately put us back into recession.  Even after all of that, Republicans in Congress said it did not matter to them, they would not raise it again, even though they always have before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Can you tell the folks at home that no matter what happens, the Social Security checks are going to go out on August the 3rd?  There are about $20 billion worth of Social Security checks that have to go out the day after the government is supposedly going to go into default.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Well, this is not just a matter of Social Security checks.  These are veterans‘ checks.  These are folks on disability and their checks.  There are about 70 million checks that go out each month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Can you guarantee as president those checks will go out on August the 3rd?

OBAMA:  I cannot guarantee those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven‘t resolved this issue, because there may simply not be in the coffers to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  President Obama is correct in that explanation.  There‘s no way to guarantee that Social Security checks would go out if we don‘t raise the debt ceiling, also military pay, disability checks, all the rest of it.

If you have two normal political parties in a negotiation, you use a prospect that dire, where President Obama just explained on CBS today, you use something that dire to give yourself a little leverage in your negotiations.

The basic understanding is that both sides are going to have to agree to something to avoid that awful thing, but you use the threat of the awful thing that will happen if you don‘t get a deal in order to get more of what you want.  That is how negotiations work under normal circumstances.  That‘s what Tip O‘Neill did with Ronald Reagan, that‘s what Newt Gingrich did with Bill Clinton, that‘s what Harry Reid did with George W. Bush.  That is negotiating.

But the basic premise is there will be, in the end, be an agreement.  Our side will get as scary as possible to in the end get as much as we can out of the agreement, the agreement that we know we‘re heading towards.  That would be normal.

And up to a point this year, it worked normally.  It worked just like it has all the other years when there have been fights about this stuff.  And because of the way this White House negotiates with Republicans, frankly, we were at the point where President Obama was offering them the whole store.

President Obama was offering them trillions of dollars in spending cuts, including possible cuts to Medicare and Social Security.  President Obama is offering 83 percent of what they were asking for—so far, so good for Republicans.

But that‘s where we ran into the John Boehner is bad at his job problem, because this is the state of the Republican Party right now.  It is not a normal party.  All right.  This graph shows what voters in general think about the whole idea of compromise when it comes to political negotiations, those who say their representative should compromise to get stuff done, clear majority, 53 percent.  Those who think representatives should stick to their principles is not a majority, it‘s 47 percent.  That‘s voters overall.  Generally, they want compromise.

Here‘s what Democratic voters think about the idea of compromise: 68 percent of Democratic voters say compromise – 68 percent.  The percent that says don‘t compromise is only 32 percent.

But here‘s what Republican voters think, look at that.  Here‘s what Republicans think about the idea of compromise.  It is exactly the opposite.  They are like a different species.  Not only from Democrats but from voters in general—the idea that Republicans would get 83 percent of what they wanted, that is a failure from their perspective, because compromise by its nature is a failure, deals are a failure.

Anything that Barack Obama agrees to by virtue of the fact he agreed to it is a failure.  Anything short of 100 percent is a failure.  Hell, even talking to the president is a form of Republican failure in this Republican Party.

And so, having used all this leverage, just as normal political parties do to get this amazing deal for themselves, by terrifying the country over the prospect of economic Armageddon on purpose, this year, Republicans have to give that up and surrender and throw that away.  Throw away a Democratic offer to cut Social Security and Medicare because a deal where they get 83 percent of what they want in their own party‘s eyes is a failure.  Any deal with a Democrat is a failure.

And so, instead of that, they must surrender and have no deal at all.

The top Republican in the Senate,  Mitch McConnell, announcing a plan today to give President Obama what he and the Democrats wanted all along, debt ceiling gets raised, no binding conditions.

We now resume our regularly scheduled economic catastrophe.

So, in the end, unless this falls a part too because the Republicans eat each other alive, live on C-Span—by the way, still a possibility—this would be the 75th time that JFK – 75th time since JFK that the Congress has voted to raise the debt ceiling.  It will not be tied to a binding agreement about spending cuts or about anything else.

The Republicans will get nothing from the Democrats or the White House in exchange for the debt ceiling going up.  It will be handled essentially as a matter of housekeeping, and the only thing new under the sun after these weeks and months of fighting is that the unemployment problem in this country might be about to get worse by two.

The leadership jobs in the House and Senate count as jobs?  Who do you think the Republicans are going to have to replace John Boehner?  Who are they going to swap in for Mitch McConnell?  Who do you think they‘ll pick?

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona. 

He‘s co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Congressman Grijalva, thank you for your time tonight, sir.  I appreciate it.

REP. RAUL GRIJALVA (D), ARIZONA:  Thank you very much.

MADDOW:  What do you make of Senator McConnell‘s proposal today?  And what do you think happens from here on out?

GRIJALVA:  Major concession to the reality that the American people were not buying the threat and were not buying the idea that we were holding hostage valuable programs, the economic stability of this nation for a very narrow ideological point of view.  And I think the concession today, even though they tried to mix some conditions to it, essentially says we are afraid to work with you, we are afraid to make any concession at all regarding taxes, regarding revenue generation, regarding rolling back the Bush taxes.

So, therefore, we‘re going to try to politicize this as much, blame the president for raising the debt ceiling, make him responsible for it, and we‘ll go on about our business to continue to not do anything about the fiscal stability of this nation, do nothing about creating jobs, and do nothing about really stabilizing this nation.  It is—to put the people we are putting through that are dependent on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is awful, and for them to do this as I said before as a cynical, political ploy has been shown for what it is.  It was a scare tactic, scare tactic that isn‘t working.  It‘s not working with the American people, and it‘s certainly not working with many members of Congress, and I think they‘ve put themselves in a box that they can‘t get out of.

MADDOW:  Congressman Grijalva, the last time you and I spoke was because of the very sizable caucus of Democrats in the House, that is the Progressive Caucus, which you help lead, they have pledged—the progressives have pledged that they would not vote to raise the debt ceiling if it came at the costs of major cuts to things like Medicare or Social Security.  I know you committed to that position and conveyed it to the White House.

Is that still your position even though there‘s been this progress, a deal still isn‘t nailed down?

GRIJALVA:  Yes, it continues to be the position.  I think while we‘ve said a clean debt ceiling, raise it cleanly, go and look at the areas in which we can make reductions, put the items on the table that the Republicans refuse to talk to, talk to the American people of how we make these reductions, I think we‘re in the driver‘s seat.  I think the administration has to be more forceful and strong about it.  We‘ve seen that there is no substance behind what the Republicans want other than ideological point.

And so, I really believe that this is an opportunity that we have now handed to us and we should take advantage of it.

MADDOW:  The president, the White House responded to Senator McConnell late tonight by saying that President Obama expects to meet again with congressional leaders tomorrow, essentially saying we still want that grand bargain.

Do you, from the Progressive Caucus, have advice for the White House right now heading into further negotiations with Republicans and with congressional Democrats now that congressional Republicans have essentially, at least in my view, thrown in the towel?

GRIJALVA:  Yes, the advice is, Mr. President, with all due respect, the American people are expecting you and our party to stand firmly with them on vital programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and those investment strategies that are part of this American legacy, stand with us.  The longer you stand with us, the stronger you become, and the chances not only for our political renewal in the future, but for—for actually solving this fiscal crisis that we‘re in becomes even stronger.

I think he‘s in a position of strength.  He should use it, and it would be to the benefit of all of us.

MADDOW:  Arizona congressman and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, Raul Grijalva, a man who speaks plainly and strongly about matters like this—you‘re always a really valued guest, sir.  Thank you for your time tonight.

GRIJALVA:  Thank you.

MADDOW:  The Madison, Wisconsin, uprising that started this year in the freezing cold is not over.  The next big movement in the blowback against Republicans stripping union rights in that state is happening right now.  The polls just closed on today‘s recall primaries in Wisconsin.

Please stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Polls have just closed in Wisconsin a few minutes ago.  At 8:00 p.m. local time, 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and that‘s a little weird, because this is not a normal time of year for elections in Wisconsin.  A hot day in the middle of July, but frankly, this has not been a normal year in Wisconsin politics.

Last November, elections nationwide went hugely for the Republican Party.  Republicans gained more seats in state legislatures than any time since 1928.  In 15 states, Republicans control both the legislative branch and governorship after the 2010 elections.  Wisconsin became one of those very red states last year.

Before the election, Democrats controlled the state assembly.  Now, the Wisconsin assembly looks like this, red team is in charge.  Democrats also controlled the Senate heading into the November elections.  Then Republicans picked up four seats and the gavel.

Also before November, Wisconsin had a Democratic governor who decided not to run for a third term.  Voters selected a new Republican governor to replace him—the soon-to-be famous Scott Walker.

Walker had not campaigned for the governorship by saying he would strip union rights.  He campaigned on jobs and he much he disliked his Democratic opponents.  His record as a county executive showed that he was no friend of unions, but somehow the draconian statewide union-stripping proposal he had in mind for Wisconsin managed to not come up before he got voted in.

But when Governor Scott Walker made his move to strip union rights in Wisconsin, that rang like a loud bell on a cold night.  Wisconsin is a complex enough place with decidedly purple politics.  It‘s expected to be a swing state in 2012, not breaking hard red or hard blue.

But one thing is very clear about Wisconsin politics—it is a place where union rights matter so much that a lot of what we think of as the nation‘s union rights were born there.  Seven protestors died in Wisconsin in 1886 facing down the governor then to get an eight-hour workday and what we now lovingly called the weekend.

Wisconsin is also where they invented unemployment insurance and worker‘s comp.  It‘s the birth place of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, founded in Madison County back in 1932.

If labor lives anywhere in this country, it lives in Wisconsin.  It was born there.  The state has seven separate towns that go by the name of union.  Union, Wisconsin—seven of them.  You figure it out.

So when Governor Scott Walker announced he was unilaterally stripping

he and Republicans were unilaterally stripping union rights in Wisconsin, the response was explosive.  With no way to win an up-or-down vote against the Republican majority in the Senate, Wisconsin Senate Democrats decided to filibuster with their feet, they left the state so Republicans couldn‘t get the quorum they needed to vote on the union-stripping bill.  Democrats in assembly stayed, and fought.

           

And when Republicans first passed the bill in assembly, it looked like this.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

MADDOW:  Ultimately, Republicans jammed the governor‘s union stripping plan through in a strange, hastily called late night committee over the last objections by minority Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is clearly a violation.  If you‘ve been shutting people down, it is improper for you to move forward.  This is a violation of the open meetings law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Outside the hearings rooms and the legislative chambers, protestors had taken over the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison, camping out day after day in the rotunda and marching in the streets—a protest that just got larger and larger.

This was Madison, Wisconsin, on February 16th.  Here‘s Madison on February 26th.  By March 12th, Madison saw one of its largest political protests ever, 100,000 people marching in the streets for the rights of teachers, and snowplow drivers, and, and, and.

Wisconsin Republicans ultimately got their way policy-wise.  Governor Scott Walker signed the union-stripping bill and a divided Supreme Court ruled it could stand.

But today, today in Wisconsin, the chickens began coming home to roost for Wisconsin Republicans.  Democrats and Wisconsinites who cared about union rights announced plans this spring to turn the state Senate blue again by recalling Republican state senators.  They only need to recall three of them to do it, and they got enough signatures to force elections for six of them.

Today, we saw the first round of voting for recalls on those half dozen Republicans.  The only reason they are voting specifically in Wisconsin is because of the Republican strategy for pushing back again this.  The Republican strategy is essentially a Republican chaos campaign.

Republicans decided to run fake Democrats.  That‘s not a slur by me.  That is what Republicans are calling them.  That‘s what they‘re being called in the mainstream newspapers.

Republicans decided to run fake Democrats in primaries against every Democratic challenger just to force a primary and just to confuse voters about who‘s who.

Republicans are using flyers like this one posted by Greg Sargent at “Washington Post” to get Republicans to vote in the Democratic primary, to support these fake Democratic candidates today.  They even rushed through in the Republican-controlled legislature a new law that makes it harder and more complicated to vote in Wisconsin.  They made sure that it would go into effect quickly so it could at least in part affect the recalls.

Today, for the first time, poll workers demanded to see your official ID in Wisconsin, though, if you didn‘t have it, you could still vote anyway?  But you did have to sign a new poll list or else you couldn‘t get a ballot.

Also, you had to live in your district nearly three times as long as you had to before in order to qualify.  Plus, you have less time for absentee voting that it used to by about a third or maybe a half election workers say, depending how you figure it.

If it sounds confusing, are you feeling confused?

It kind of seems like that was the idea.  To further the confusion, an anti-abortion group spent the last two days calling Wisconsin voters from a phone number in Virginia, telling Wisconsin voters, “don‘t worry, your ballots are on the way.”

The group says they are trying to get out the vote for the general recall elections next month.  But, hey, why not start today?  It‘s operation chaos after all.

The question here is whether you can change the rules enough, whether you can confuse the voters enough to undermine this.

Can you snooker people out of expressing their electoral will?  Can what we all saw in Wisconsin in February and March be stopped in July and August with a campaign of chaos?

Voters today in Wisconsin began deciding the fates of six Senate Republicans with ballots that showed a real Democrat and proudly fake Democrat.  We‘ll bring you results from these most amazing contests, as they come in tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  There are definitely problems we mortals cannot do anything about—things like drought, the tides, seismic activity, or I don‘t know, the Chicago Cubs.

But did you know one country with an economic recession similar to our own could have solved their financial woes simply by avoiding sex with demons?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There is a spirit called a Harlot, a principality, who dominates nations, who dominates territories, who dominates people groups very, very clearly to such an extent she has fornication with kings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Fornication with kings and then what?  How that partially explains Republican presidential politics this year and how the “fornication with kings” things works out.  That‘s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE BICKLE, INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PRAYER FOUNDATION:  The Harlot Babylon is preparing the nations to receive the antichrist.  The Harlot Babylon will be a religion of affirmation, toleration, no absolutes, a counterfeit justice movement.  They will feed the poor, have humanitarian projects, inspire acts of compassion for all the wrong reasons.  They won‘t know it.

Beloved, they‘ll be sincere, many of them, but their sincerity will not in any way lessen the impact of their deception.  The fact they are sincere does not make their inception less damaging.  I believe that one of the main pastors as a forerunner to the Harlot movement is Oprah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Oprah.  Oprah Winfrey, harbinger of the antichrist, but she seems so nice.  Aha, that‘s the point.

That was one of the endorsing pastors of the stadium prayer event in Texas to which potential Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has invited all 49 of the rest of the nation‘s governors.

The research group Right Wing Watch has been putting together sort of the collected works of the people who Rick Perry is doing this prayer event with, I think with a sense of urgency Perry is being taken seriously as a presidential contender.

One of the men who Perry is doing this event with is John Hagee, who had a brief scandal cameo in the last presidential election, you might remember, after he endorsed John McCain for president.  John McCain was delighted to get that endorsement from John Hagee until the clips of Hagee calling the Catholic Church the great whore started turning up and his sermons about God sending Hitler to hunt Jews so they‘d all go to Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN HAGEE, CORNERSTONE CHURCH:  God sent a hunter.  A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you.  Hitler was a hunter.  How did it happen?  Because God allowed it to happen.

Why did it happen?  Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  When he was running for president in 2008, John McCain had to retroactively reject John Hagee‘s endorsement to avoid the smell of the God-sent Hitler sermons.

But Rick Perry is doing a prayer event with that same pastor in three weeks.  And based on what we know of the other pastors and endorsers with Rick Perry, that God-sent Hitler guy will probably feel right at home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual soldiers basically had no limits in the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict.

Counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.

Permits, in my exercise, should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, not one.

President Barack Obama nurtures this hatred for the United States of America.

President Obama is half white and half black.  Herman Cain is all black.  He‘s authentically black.  He is the real black man in the race.

LOU ENGEL, EVANGELIST:  The days are coming when we have to risk our lives to stand for truth in this society.  Six hundred thousand men died on the battlefields of America, and if God required it for slavery, what will it mean if God requires it for America, for the bloodshed of 50 million people?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  As the blackbirds fell to the ground in Beebee, Arkansas, the governor‘s name is Beebee, and also, there was something put out of Arkansas called “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” by a former governor.  This was proposed Bill Clinton.  And so, could there be a connection now that we had the repeal of the “don‘t ask, don‘t tell”?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The statue of New York harbor called the Statue of Liberty.  You know where we got it from?  French Freemasons.  Listen, folks, that is an idol, a demonic idol right there in the middle of New York harbor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Illuminati, which is above Freemasonry, has stated it as their goal to limit the world population to no more than 500 million.  Do you realize that means getting rid of all of us?  To get down to 6 billion to 7 billion down to 500 million, you‘re going to have to kill a lot of people off.  What do you think the health care bill is?

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW:  I know, and, of course, don‘t forget, Oprah Winfrey, harbinger of the antichrist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  She is winsome.  She is kind.  She is reasonable. 

She is utterly deceived.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  So, this is who Rick Perry is doing his prayer event with at Reliant Stadium in Houston.  Rick Perry also being taken seriously as a potential save your candidate—no pun intended—for the Republican presidential field.

Politico.com reporting that he has been reaching out to Iowa Republican caucus-goers and activists by phone, also that a top fundraising bundler for George W. Bush is convening potential big dollar Republican fundraisers for Perry in Austin later this month.

But the reason Perry is being taken seriously by more than just the God-sent Hitler people is because he can supposedly court them while also preaching good sense about the economy.  That was the news out of Rick Perry‘s camp today as he met with the former president of Pakistan.  The line from Rick Perry‘s people was that Pervez Musharraf sought out and wanted to talk to Rick Perry about economic policy.

And that‘s I think is the single most interesting thing about the Rick Perry stadium prayer thing, with all the God-sent Hitler and “don‘t ask, don‘t tell,” kill the birds in Arkansas pastors—the most interesting thing, I think, is the reason Rick Perry says he‘s convening this thing in Texas.

He says he‘s convening it because it is supposed to help with policy and I quote, “Fellow Americans, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt.  Some problems are beyond our power to solve.  We‘ll gather to pray for a historic breakthrough for our country.  There‘s hope for America.  We will find it on our knees.”

The prayer meeting, the way we will bring down the national debt that we are besieged by, he say, is at the prayer meeting.  He says this prayer meeting at the stadium in Texas is about policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY ®, TEXAS:  This is Governor Rick Perry.  And I‘m inviting you to join your fellow Americans in a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation.  As an elected leader, I‘m all too aware of government‘s limitations when it comes to fixing things that are spiritual in nature.  That‘s where prayer comes in, and we need it more than ever, with the economy in trouble, communities in crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  And so on and so on and so on.  The prayer event with the God-sent Hitler pastor and the Statue of Liberty as a demon pastors, that whole event is because that‘s where we‘re going to figure out policy, that‘s where we‘re going to help out the economy being in trouble—which is why you should know, particularly if Rick Perry is going to run for president, that at least one of the people he‘s doing this prayer event with in Texas has theories on economic policy, really, really amazing theories about sex with demons and its potential affects on the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

C. PETER WAGNER, FOUNDER, INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF APOSTLES:  The sun goddess visits him in person and has sexual intercourse with the emperor.  That‘s a very, very powerful thing.  So, the emperor becomes one flesh with the sun goddess, and that‘s an invitation for the sun goddess to continue to demonize the whole nation.  Since the night that that present emperor slept with the sun goddess, the stock market in Japan has gone down.  Never come up since.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  So Japan‘s economic troubles, those are because the Japanese emperor had sex with the sun god demon.  America‘s economic woes—we await a diagnosis from Governor Rick Perry after his let‘s pray for a fiscal policy event with the sex with demons guy.  August 6th, Houston, we are all invited.

Joining us now is Wayne Slater, senior political writer for “The Dallas Morning News.”

Wayne, it‘s good to see you, thank you for being here.

WAYNE SLATER, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS:  Great to be with you.

MADDOW:  Is Rick Perry going ahead with the prayer event with the stock markets down because of the sex with demons contingent?  Is this a sign he is running or a sign he isn‘t running for president?

SLATER:  Oh, it‘s a sign that he is running for president.  I don‘t know if he‘s finally made that decision, but all signs are in that direction.

What Perry understands and frankly what I really found out when I was in Iowa about a week ago was that the ticket into winning the Republican nomination isn‘t exclusively talking about Tea Party fiscal issues, but it‘s—are you right with the social conservatives and religious conservatives that a lot of folks thought weren‘t important anymore.  In fact, they are important, there‘s a lot of overlap between religious conservatives, Tea Party activists, and that overlap, whether you tall them the teavangelists or not, are going to be crucial in picking the nominee.

Now, the problem for Perry is, he wins the nomination, Republican nomination, but then what does he tell general election voters who remember him cavorting with birthers and Birchers and secessionists and demonists and Christian Zionists?  And I think that might be a problem.

MADDOW:  The thing I—that is issue—that is an issue that I think I sort of saw coming, the different between Rick Perry‘s case that he‘s going to make in Iowa and else where if he‘s running to Republican primary voters and how he explains himself to the general.

What I didn‘t see coming is the relationship between Rick Perry‘s professions of faith and his association with religious figures like this and policy.  I mean, I‘m not trying to be funny, but do we need to understand the sex with demons brought down the stock market in Japan thinking in order to understand his policies, how we would like to govern the country?

SLATER:  Actually, I think we do.  I think that part of this argument, part of this Tea Party idea about limited government is not to get rid of government completely, it is to have a different kind of government with policies, with respect to not simply gay marriage and life and religious expression, but also spending and taxes, which under this more Christological, this more Christ-centric view of government which some folks believe was the original intent of the Founders, this kind of policy, a more religious form of government where the separation of church and state isn‘t so clear will really dictate policy.

It‘s a form of government and a concept about government that says that things like spending, things like taxes, things like less regulation are moral issues and, in fact, moral absolutes.

That‘s why you can‘t get compromise right now on the debt ceiling, although it looks like, as you said at the beginning of the show, there will be a form of compromise.  It‘s because, fundamentally, it‘s not just the social issues, but the economic issues, the policy issues that have a moral dimension.

MADDOW:  There is a bit of a controlled experiment going on here, though, because with John Hagee, we had an endorsement by Hagee of John McCain that he was forced to renounce.  It was an embarrassment and a back step for John McCain because of Hagee‘s radicalism.  We‘ve got now got Rick Perry, with that knowledge, still going ahead in this event with Hagee.  We‘ve also got the lead sponsor of this event, Brian Fischer and the American Family Association, saying overtly, nobody but Christians have religious freedom in America and making that really in a way you don‘t have to interpret.  They‘re making it very—a very bold statement.

Does that reflect a calculation by Rick Perry and his political advisors that this time around if that sort of endorsement happen, the Republican nominee wouldn‘t have to renounce it, you could get away with it this time?

SLATER:  I think that is the implication of that.  That doesn‘t mean Rick Perry, if he were elected president, would impose some kind of theocratic government.

He actually—look, I‘ve watched him for 10 years as governor, and

he‘s a fairly conventional, if conservative, executive of a state

But what it does mean is this is a different year.  This is a different kind of dynamic where you have a combination, as I said, these teavangelists who are both Tea Party and evangelicals who have the power and the influence looking for a winning candidate or candidate they envision could be winning, and that is something these folks, Perry believes he can get away with.

John McCain was worried about how it would look if he was associated too closely with this exotic religious view of John Hagee.  Rick Perry knows Hagee, he‘s been to his church.  Rick Perry isn‘t worried.

And the moment of these social conservatives, Tea Party activists in Iowa and South Carolina and Florida see your show tonight, that will only confirm their support for someone like Perry.

MADDOW:  If that is so, I hope they‘ll all tweet me about it tonight, because it makes the Twitter feed really fun to read.

Wayne Slater, senior political writer for “The Dallas Morning News”—invaluable insight with this.  Thank you so much for your time, Wayne.

SLATER:  Great to be with you.

MADDOW:  All right.  So Republicans are outraged, outraged, about a brand new cause nobody even knew was a cause.  They say we must protect the incandescent light bulb—how dare we try to save billions of dollars in energy cost?  Ed Schultz will we have that story right after the show.

And we got preliminary election results from the anti-Scott Walker recall elections in Wisconsin tonight, coming up and more.

Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Polls closed this hour in Wisconsin.  We will have the latest results in those Republican recall elections.  That‘s just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Our volunteer military is drawn from less than 1 percent of our population, which means that in nearly a decade of war, the same soldiers keep returning to the field of battle again and again and again—including Sergeant 1st Class Leroy Petry, who was deployed eight times, twice to Iraq and six times to Afghanistan, as a member of a Ranger helicopter assault team.

On May 26th, 2008, Sergeant Petry and his unit were in Paktia Province, part of the rugged mountainous region near the border with Pakistan that‘s perfect for hiding out in and really difficult to patrol.  Sergeant Petry‘s unit was assigned to make a risky daylight raid on a compound where U.S. intelligence said a top al Qaeda commander was hiding.

The moment their helicopter landed, Sergeant Petry and the Rangers came under fire.  Within minutes, as they moved into a court yard in the compound, a machine gun round went through both of Sergeant Petry his legs.  He was bleeding badly.  He nevertheless aided another wounded soldier, leaving him to take cover behind a chicken coop in the courtyard.

He kept calling out orders on his radio so the mission could continue.  He did this with severe injuries to both of his legs.  Sergeant Petry then launched a grenade in the direction of the enemy fighters, who were shooting at the Rangers.  That provided enough cover for a third Ranger to join them behind the chicken coop to evaluate the wounds.

Then, an enemy grenade exploded in the courtyard.  It further wounded the Ranger that Petry was already helping, as well as the third Ranger who had come to help them both.

Then, a second grenade thrown by the energy fighters landed right next to those three wounded Rangers.  It had not exploded yet.  Sergeant Petry lunged for the grenade, picked it up and threw it back just as it exploded.

Sergeant Petry calmly accessed his own wound at the time and dressed it.  His right hand was gone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SGT. 1ST CLASS LEROY PETRY, U.S. ARMY:  I remember it vividly.  It was

I sat up and grabbed it, and it was like somebody had taken a circular saw and just taken it off right there.  I remember the smells.  I could smell the burning of the flesh.

           

It was unreal, but again, another weird thought went into my mind.  I looked at it and said, where‘s the Hollywood squirt?  Why isn‘t this spraying out a country mile?

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR:  You‘ve seen your share of movies?

PETRY:  Oh, yes.  And the next thing kicked in was reality and my training.  Hey, I got to get this under control.  I grabbed the tourniquet, which we keep readily accessible, was able to put on a tourniquet by myself and got back on the radio, called up for help and let them know the situation.

And I checked on my younger guys.  At that point, just waited to see what their response was.

WILLIAMS:  Guess what?  Your younger guys were alive.  Had that gone off, it would have been a different story—you and them.

PETRY:  Yes, sir.  Well, the kill radius is about five meters and I‘m surprised I even walked away from it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  All this happened on Sergeant Leroy Petry‘s seventh deployment.  Remember how I told you he‘s had eight deployments.  That is because Sergeant Petry reenlisted last year after the gunshots through both legs and after losing his hand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Leroy lost a hand, and those wounds in his legs sometimes make it hard for him to stand.  But he pushes on.  He could have focused only on his own recovery, but today, he helps care for other wounded warriors, inspiring them with his example.

Given his wounds, he could have retired from the Army with honor, but he chose to reenlist indefinitely.  And this past year, he returned to Afghanistan, his eighth deployment, back with his Ranger brothers on another mission to keep our country safe.

This is the stuff of which heroes are made.  This is the strength, the devotion that makes our troops the pride of every American.

Please join me in saluting one of those heroes, Leroy Petry.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  This afternoon at the White House, President Obama awarded Sergeant Petry the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.  Sergeant Petry brought along 100 friends and relatives to the White House for the ceremony.

On the prosthesis that is his new right hand, Sergeant Petry has a plaque bolted onto that lists the names of all the U.S. Army Ranger from his regiment who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Medal of Honor is our nation‘s highest military honor.  The medal has been awarded only nine times for America‘s longest wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Seven of those medals were awarded to Americans killed during the action for which they received the medal.  This is only the second time it has been given to an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who is still alive.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  We‘re beginning to see the first results in the Democratic primaries for the Wisconsin recall races.

In Republican Senator Robert Cowles‘ recall election with 41 percent of precincts reporting, the “A.P.” has called the race for the real Democrat, Nancy Nusbaum.  She has 65 percent, to the fake Democrat, Otto Junkermann‘s 35 percent.

In Senator Alberta Darling‘s recall election with 18 percent of precincts reporting, the real Democrat is ahead, 62 to 38.

In Senator Harsdorf‘s recall election, with 6 percent of precincts reporting, the real Democrat has 56 percent of the vote.

In Senator Olsen‘s recall election, with 27 percent of precincts reporting, the real Democrat again ahead at 65 percent.

In Senator Hopper‘s recall election with just 9 percent of precincts reporting, the real Democrat right now has 65 percent.

And in Senator Kapanke‘s recall election, with 13 percent of precincts reporting, the real Democrat is at 75 percent.

Again, these are primaries for Democrats to face against Republican state senators in Wisconsin facing recall.  We will keep watching the results.  That does it for us tonight.

Now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW.”  Have a great night.

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

END   

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