The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/01/13
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Happy Super Bowl Sunday, even
though it`s not your team.
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SHOW” HOST: Neither one of them.
MADDOW: I know.
SCHULTZ: But I`ll probably be a good sport and watch them anyway.
MADDOW: I probably will, too. Thanks, man.
And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
Four years ago at this time, when President Obama was just starting
his first term, news networks, including this one, made a somewhat unusual
decision to show live on TV the arrival of one of the new cabinet
secretaries at the department that she had just been appointed to lead –
to broadcast live essentially a cabinet secretary`s first day on the job.
The reception that that cabinet secretary got that day was raucous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: A cabinet secretary starting work, right?
It`s not your typical multiple network life news event. But Hillary
Clinton was never just some cabinet secretary, right?
Well, today, four years later at the start of the second term of the
Obama administration, it was a similar scene for Hillary Clinton as she
said goodbye to the same State Department employees from almost the same
spot where they welcomed her four years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, it`s my great honor to introduce one last
time the 67th secretary of state of the United States of America, Hillary
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Oh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Secretary Clinton still greeted like a rock star today at the
agency she has led for the past four years.
Hillary Clinton, of course, is not just somebody who came in a very
close second to Barack Obama in trying to win the Democratic Party`s
presidential nomination, who then got a high-ranking cabinet post as a
consolation prize. No, Hillary Clinton is really her own thing.
Her career in public life, in public office is unlike anybody else in
American history. She went from being an accomplished lawyer in her early
career to being the first lady of Arkansas. She then became a very high
profile first lady of the United States for her husband`s two terms in
office. She was the first modern first lady to turn that role into a
policy job and the Clinton administration`s first term attempt at health
She went on to weather her husband`s in-office infidelity scandal and
his subsequent impeachment in office. She went on to a successful term as
a United States Senator from the state of New York. And then, of course,
that historic and very hard fought race for the Democratic presidential
nomination, concluding with Barack Obama winning the presidency, and then
him nominating Hillary Clinton to be the highest profile secretary of state
that our country probably has ever had.
And we have had a lot of very high profile secretaries of state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: So it`s been quite a challenging week saying goodbye to so
many people. And knowing that I will not have the opportunity to continue
being part of this amazing team, but I am so grateful that we`ve had a
chance to contribute in each of our ways to making our country and our
world stronger, safer, fairer, and better.
Those of you who are staying, as many of you will, please know that I
hope you will redouble your efforts to do all that you can to demonstrate
unequivocally why diplomacy and development are right up there with
defense. How when we think about who we are as Americans, it`s because we
are united and committed across our government to do whatever is required
to fulfill the missions we have assumed as public officials and public
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Right up there with defense.
That is one of the big ideas of the Obama presidency, right?
Essentially, reorienting how America deals with the world away from the
U.S. military and toward U.S. diplomacy. To upscale our soft power
capacity as a country so we have more options beyond just the option of
This president did a lot to advance that idea simply by putting
somebody as high profile as Hillary Clinton in the job of America`s head
diplomat. But the overall goal of up-scaling state, up-scaling diplomacy
and development so they are right up there with defense, like she said
today, that is widely regarded as a goal that is not yet realized.
Secretary Clinton alluded to that fact today when she said she now
plans to become an advocate for that cause from the outside. It is,
frankly, easy to imagine that as the core for her return to public life and
politics for Hillary Clinton at some point, but we shall see.
The secretary also reflected today on how she is really leaving public
life for the first time in a very long time. And she suggested that that
might make her a little lonely.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I am very proud to have been secretary of state. I will
miss you. I will probably be dialing ops just to talk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Dialing ops.
Want to know what ops? This is ops. Ah, this is the State
Department`s nerve center, better known as the operation center, better
known as ops. This is the place where for the last four years, Hillary
Clinton could call any hour 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to find out
what the heck was going on anywhere in the world.
The operation center is sort of legendary. It was created by JFK in
1961. It is essentially the secretary of state`s on call lifeline to
events breaking anywhere in the world. They consider their time zone to be
the time wherever the secretary is anywhere in the world, secretary time.
And on a day like today, even with a handoff from Secretary Clinton to
the new secretary, on a day like today, you know, the ops center would have
been very busy.
News today of a suicide bomb attack at the U.S. embassy in Ankara in
Turkey. No Americans were hurt or killed, but one of the people who was
wounded in the blast was a Turkish reporter who was reportedly at the
embassy to meet with the U.S. ambassador. The Turkish government is
blaming known members of a Marxist group they say has operated in the
country since the 1970s.
In Egypt today protesters hurling firebombs through the gates of
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy`s presidential palace. Protests against
Morsy taking place on the two-year anniversary of the uprising that
overthrew Hosni Mubarak.
In terms of Syria, Vice President Joe Biden is in Europe right now for
talks with European leaders about how to bring that conflict to an end, and
while he is there, the Syrian government is warning they may be about to
launch an attack on Israel in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike that
took place inside Syria a couple of days ago.
And if that`s not enough on the plate, we also still have a Navy ship
stuck on a World Heritage site coral reef in our ally, the Philippines.
And oh, by the way, North Korea is gearing up for what may be yet
another nuclear test. And they say that we are the reason they are doing
There is a lot going on in the world. Secretary of state`s a hard
job, if not the hardest job in the United States government other than the
presidency. You`re responsible for so much.
Hillary Clinton reflected on the breadth of responsibilities for a
secretary of state during the exit interview that she did yesterday with
But in that interview, she also reflected on our own country`s
governing capacity. Look at what she said. This is how the “A.P.” wrote
it up. “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is leaving office with a
slap at the critics of the Obama administration`s handing of the September
attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya.”
“There are some people in politics and in the press who can`t be
confused by the facts,” she said. “They just will not live in an evidence-
based world. And that is regrettable. It is regrettable for our political
system and for the people who serve our government in very dangerous,
They will not live in an evidence-based world. Hillary Clinton there
talking about the conservative effort to treat the attack on the U.S.
consulate in Benghazi as not just an attack on our consulate, but as some
sort of Obama administration conspiracy, or at least scandal.
That effort led South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham this
week to say that he thinks Hillary Clinton, quote, “got away with murder.”
The same effort led Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky to do
this during secretary of state Clinton`s Senate testimony on the matter
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: My question is, is the U.S. involved
with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow
transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?
CLINTON: To Turkey? I – I will have to take that question for the
record, nobody`s ever raised that with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: According to Senator Rand Paul, the secret key to
understanding what happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi is that
a ghost secret boatful of weapons was leaving Libya for Turkey. And so the
ambassador had to be killed to cover that up? Maybe? Because CIA
helicopters, boats, ghosts, I don`t know.
Rand Paul talked than theory that he has cooked up. He talked about
that theory after that hearing to who else, but the Web site, “World Net
Daily”. Rand did an interview with “World Net Daily” and told them he
doesn`t have any proof about this theory that guns are being smuggled out
of Libya into Turkey, and that somehow explains what was going on there.
But he wanted to enter that conspiracy theory into the congressional record
“World Net Daily” is where United States Senator Rand Paul went to go
talk about his conspiracy secret boat theory about Benghazi after the
Just for the record, this is the current issue of “World Net Daily”
Barack Obama, “The First Muslim President.” See what the halo is?
This is their current issue. Current.
Inside, you can read an article titled “Obama`s Muslim Childhood” by
Daniel Pipes in which the renowned Islam expert presents overwhelming
evidence that the president of the United States who claimed before the
election he was never a Muslim was in fact born and raised a Muslim. No
way, way. No way, way.
“World Net Daily” is where Republican Senator Rand Paul, I repeat,
went after the Benghazi hearing to talk about his crazy boat to Turkey
theory about why it happened.
Also, the guy who came in second in the Republican presidential
nominating contest this past year, Rick Santorum, his new job is that he is
a columnist for “World Net Daily”.
Rand Paul is being touted by the supposedly serious conservative
heritage foundation as the big speaker next week on Reagan`s birthday where
he is going to give his manifesto on what Republican foreign policy should
be. That`s going to be next week on Ronald Reagan`s birthday, Rand Paul.
But, you know, it`s fitting, because we`re coming up on Reagan`s
birthday. And did you hear about the horrible Obama Muslim, Kenya, Marxist
thing about Ronald Reagan`s boyhood home. Did you hear?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is one wall that probably shouldn`t be torn
down. This apartment building used to be the home of a young Ronald
Reagan. It was denied landmark status, and the University of Chicago is
ready to demolish it. The university, which has close ties to the Obamas,
is also trying to become the site of President Obama`s presidential
library. That`s drawing strong concerns the university might turn
President Reagan`s former house into a parking lot for an Obama library.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Did you hear about that? Chicago close ties with the Obamas,
all of them, tearing down Ronald Reagan`s boyhood home in order to make a
parking lot for Barack Obama`s presidential library. Did you hear? Did
See, here it is on Drudge. “Reagan`s home could become parking lot
for Obama library.”
Here it is on something called Newsmax. “Reagan`s childhood home to
become parking lot for Obama library.”
Really? Is this really happening?
No, no. This is really not happening.
I mean, in the evidence-free right-wing world, it is true, and they
all link to each other. But nowhere else is it true, including in the
actual world. But the actual world is not their world.
When that reporting is the supposedly straight news from FOX News,
when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sends its Republican members to
“World Net Daily” to go talk about foreign policy ideas, this is their
world. This is not the fringe. This is where they live.
Governing the United States is a really hard job. Representing the
United States in the world is a really, really hard job.
Today, John Kerry was officially sworn in to take over that job from
Hillary Clinton. And he got to what amounts from a really well-informed
warning from his predecessor about the difficulties of that job.
The evidence-based world is a hard enough place to live and to operate
for us as a nation without half of our domestic politics being dominated by
the perceived desire to defend against the Muslim Obama jihad on Ronald
Reagan`s childhood home.
Are we hampered as a nation in our ability to address real problems in
the evidence-based world if half of the people in politics do not live in
that world? And if so, how does that get fixed?
Joining us now is Chris Hayes, who all of you will see again at 8:00
a.m. Eastern tomorrow, because that`s when he starts his show “UP WITH
CHRIS HAYES” here on MSNBC.
Hi, Chris. Thank you for being here.
CHRIS HAYES, “UP WITH CHRIS HAYES” HOST: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Muslim jihad on President Ronald Reagan`s childhood home.
Secretary Clinton said some people in politics don`t leave in an evidence-
based world. She`s obviously exasperated in saying that.
MADDOW: Is she also diagnosing an American problem that should or
could be fixed?
HAYES: It`s – yes. It should be fixed. And I don`t know how to fix
But I can tell you one place where it is a huge problem. And it`s the
biggest global problem we have, which is getting a climate change regime.
I was talking to someone in Washington, D.C. involved with climate
negotiations for the U.S. government. Now, if we`re going to have an
actual treaty, OK, that governs everyone`s emissions, which is ultimately
what we`re going to have to get, you have to take that home to a Senate and
get 66 votes.
Now, every single person the U.S. negotiates with knows who occupies
the U.S. Senate. They know half that the half of the party`s politics,
half of the representatives roughly, a little less than half, are committed
to this kind of denialism, which is completely out of step with the rest of
the world. You can go down the list of countries, right?
And it`s very hard to credibly make a case that you`re going to be
able to go home and sell a climate treaty to a domestic political audience
that everybody, they`re not dummies, they understand, India, China, all the
other countries that have to do with it, they understand what the modern
Republican Party is. And they know that that cannot be sold to 66 senators
in the United States Senate so long as there are enough Republicans to
MADDOW: So it interferes with our ability to take any sort of
leadership role on an issue like that because of our domestic essential
cramp from not being able to process that information?
HAYES: Right. And people, look, in the world of international
affairs, you know, other countries study our domestic politics. They
understand exactly what these dynamics are. So you can try to say – well,
we`re going to be really tough about this, and yes, we`re credible. We can
go home. We can go get this carbon regime.
But everybody knows that`s not the case, because it`s manifestly not
the case, because you have people like Lindsey Graham who was for a carbon
regime before he reneged on it, going around saying they`re not going to
MADDOW: Republicans this week threatened to hold up Chuck Hagel`s
nomination over Benghazi. Next week, there is going to be more Senate
hearings. Leon Panetta, the outgoing secretary, is going to testify there.
Secretary Clinton already testified there.
Is there anything that can be done at this point by Secretary Panetta
or anybody else to convince Republicans that it wasn`t a secret ghost ship
to Turkey or some other conspiracy? Is there any way to factually disprove
what they want to believe about it?
HAYES: This is going to go down as one of the right-wing myths about
America that are never going to die, right? There`s going to be a certain
core of dead-enders on this who are going to keep banging the drum.
I do think that it has reached the point of diminishing returns and at
some point perhaps someone will nudge the people who are pursuing this,
just say, you know, we actually have real problems in North Africa, there
is an intervention happening in Mali. We might be hosting drones in North
Africa. There are genuine actual substantive issues on the table. Stop
talking about this.
But it is so hermetically sealed in that world –
HAYES: – that I don`t see them getting out of it, other than someone
making some sort of crass political judgment that this is no longer
bringing the benefits that they thought it would.
MADDOW: On the issue of what Secretary Clinton said today about
bringing diplomacy and development up there so they`re seen right as
alongside with the defense. We know that is a goal of the Obama
administration. It may be their most ambitious goal. They haven`t made
much progress toward it, even with somebody as high profile as Hillary
Clinton being in that job.
Will John Kerry being there afford them any opportunity to go forward?
HAYES: I`m so glad you played that clip, because I thought that line
was so powerful and important, and the distance between that rhetoric and
where we are institutionally in terms of what the natural security process
and the NSC process inside the White House and the relative weight of
defense in state.
HAYES: And I think the single most important thing to getting us here
is something you have written about a tremendous amount which is we need to
as a country declare our state of war over. As long as we are in an active
state of war, the center of gravity will be with the war machine, will be
with the war planners, will be with the Pentagon. It is only when the
nation views itself as being at peace that diplomacy can take some kind of
And until we get to place where we do something as dramatic as
repealing or refusing to reauthorize – the authorization of the use of
military force and we end our hot wars, when we have a transparent
discussion about what our activities are in terms of drones and targeted
killing, only at the point the nation decides to call itself at peace can
diplomacy actually ascend to some kind of parity. Unless and until we
reach that moment, it is impossible, politically and institutionally, to
MADDOW: At some point I want to talk about when they announce in the
spring that the U.S. is going to transition to no longer being in the lead
role in Afghanistan when they make that announcement this spring sometime.
I want to talk to you about whether or not it`s significant if they`re
going to rename the operation in Afghanistan, whether Operation Enduring
HAYES: That`s really interesting.
MADDOW: That will be our next conversation.
HAYES: Well, hopefully, before then.
MADDOW: OK. Thanks. Chris Hayes, thanks.
Chris Hayes hosts “UP WITH CHRIS HAYES” weekend mornings here on MSNBC
starting at 8:00 Eastern. You have to watch.
Lots to come. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Before I get too far into this next story, I want to show you
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: That is Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert, a Tea Party
Republican elected in the great Tea Party wave of 2010. And he apparently
can play the living daylights out of a fiddle. Wow.
Also, he gets stuff done in Arkansas. Last night on the show, we
reported about a new bill passed yesterday by the Arkansas Senate that
would effectively ban abortion in the state. The bill was sponsored by
Jason Rapert, the fiddler there.
In a hearings to the bill, an opposing legislator pointed out to him
if his bill becomes law, doctors would need to do an internal vaginal
ultrasound in order to determine which very few Arkansas women would be
eligible for their constitutional rights anymore. You would need a vaginal
probe in order to figure that out.
The Democratic senator asked him, quote, “Can you imagine what kind of
feeling that would cause inserted into a woman?” Quote, “No,” Rapert
replied. According to the local “Times Record” newspaper. “No, I can`t
imagine what kind of feeling that would cause.” And then they voted for
So that was Arkansas, just so far this week. But then today, hmm,
newly uncovered video of the same senator, Jason Rapert from 2011.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON REPORT (R), ARKANSAS STATE SENATOR: I wonder sometimes when
they invited all the Muslims to come into the White House and had a little
Ramadan supper, when our president could not take the time to go attend a
National Prayer Breakfast, I wonder what he stands for. You know what they
told me that what you say – excuse me, what you do speaks so loudly that
what you say I cannot hear.
I hear you loud and clear, Barack Obama. You don`t represent the
country that I grew up with. And your values is not going to save us.
We`re going to try to take this country back to the Lord. We`re going
to try to take this country back to conservatism. And we`re not going to
allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We`re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over
what you people believe in. Not exactly sure what he means by that.
President Obama has also attended the National Prayer Breakfast every
year. So that part was just wrong.
We called Senator Jason Rapert today and wrote to him, hoping he would
explain exactly which he wants what minorities to stop running roughshod
The Tea Party audience he was speaking to in Arkansas clearly
understood something about what he meant, but I would love to hear him
explain it without a crowd cheering him on.
The clip of Senator Rapert was first reported by Lee Fang at “The
Nation”. He points lout that Senator Rapert got a lot of money from pretty
mainstream corporations on his way into office. Southwestern Energy
Company, Eli Lilly, Nucor, which is the largest steel producer in the U.S.
They are based in South Carolina. Verizon gave Jason Rapert money to get
Also, of course, the Koch brothers who targeted Arkansas last year and
spent big there to turn the Arkansas legislature from blue to red, which
did happen, including the reelection of senator ultrasound roughshod
minorities Jason Rapert.
But something else is going on in Arkansas, because the minorities
running roughshod guy is not alone in Arkansas. They`re kind of making a
habit of this sort of thing recently. In the Arkansas, in the Arkansas
legislature, you`ve also got the state Republican lawmaker whose letters to
the local paper include the one where he said, quote, “If slavery were so
God awful, why didn`t Jesus or Paul condemn it? Why was it in the
Constitution? And why wasn`t there a war before 1861?”
That was an Arkansas Republican state representative writing in 2009.
Arkansas also has the state Republican lawmaker who put his views on the
subject of slavery in a book. Quote, “The institution of slavery that the
black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may have
actually been a blessing in disguise.”
An Arkansas representative in a book he published in 2010. After the
views of both gentlemen came to broader public light, both of those
blessings on Arkansas got voted out of office this past November, along
with another state rep who argued that everyone in America who is Muslim
should be deported to another country. He also said parents should be
allowed at least limited access to the death penalty for their children.
You should be allowed to kill your kid. Arkansas Republican state rep
wrote that in a book in 2012.
Those three Republican state legislators in Arkansas all lost to
Democrats in this past election, even though the past election was one in
which Republicans won both chambers of the legislature in Arkansas for the
first time in Reconstruction. And that was thanks in part to a lot of
Jason Rapert is from a district that leans Democratic. But thanks to
his very well-funded campaign – thank you, Verizon – he didn`t get voted
out at all. He is still keeping the state of Arkansas safe from the
minorities running roughshod over what you people believe in.
Arkansas, what is going on there? What is going on with you guys?
MADDOW: OK. So it`s Friday, but we are not doing an official
cocktail moment tonight. However, if one was going to put together a
little something special to get ready for our final story tonight, I
realize now that it might be helpful to know in advance that our final
story tonight pays homage to the honey badger.
So this isn`t a cocktail moment, but I feel duty-bound to tell you
that there is a variation on the whiskey sour that`s made with honey that`s
really good. It`s called the gold rush. This is what it is. It`s two
ounces of bourbon, a half ounce of fresh lemon and a half ounce of honey
syrup. To make the honey syrup you do two parts hot water, one part honey.
You stir it up until the honey dissolves in the water. That makes the
honey syrup. You have a half ounce of, that a half ounce of lemon, two
ounces of bourbon. Shake it up. Strain it over ice.
Honey badgers love that – I`m just saying. That story is coming up.
MADDOW: On September 24th, 1998, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of
Illinois announced that the House Judiciary Committee would consider a
resolution to begin impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton.
We remember impeachment time as Newt Gingrich and the House Republicans
battling against the White House with the help of the conservative movement
on the outside.
But, you know, there was an outside effort fighting back against the
conservative side, too. On September 18th of that year, husband and wife
software development team from Silicon Valley launched this online
petition. See the title there? “Censure and Move On.” It was a one-
sentence petition. The Congress must immediately censure President Clinton
and move on to other pressing issues facing the country.
Censure and Move On. That petition signed up 100,000 people in a
week. And then half a million people within a couple of months. They
delivered hundreds of thousands of petitions to the House. They swamped
congressional switchboard with a quarter of a million phone calls. They
wrangled meetings with more than 200 representatives.
And what blew everybody`s mind at the time was not that they got
hundreds of thousands of people to sign this pet addition, essentially
taking President Clinton`s side in this fight back in 1998. What blew
everybody`s mind, the amazing thing that everybody thought was so
incredible about it was that they did this thing using the computer
Here is how “The Washington Post” led its story about the “Censure and
Move On” campaign. The story was written February 1st, 1999.
“How can there be such a phenomenon as electronic political activism?
What`s so active about clicking a mouse button when sending an e-mail or
logging on about to a Web site? But with $13 million and more than 650,000
volunteer hours pledged to Censure and Move On, the realm of political
activism now must bend its boundaries to include cyberspace.”
The article concludes by referring to Censure and Move On`s brand of
Internet activists as “word of mouse.” Get it? Word of mouse.
“USA Today” referred to this new trend as e-politics in their August
1999 article on the subject. Their piece revealed that there were skeptics
of this new e-politics. Quote, “Online politics has its share of skeptics.
No medium that relies on voters to take the initiative for educating
themselves can ever have the broad reach of TV where political messages
intrude unbidden into living rooms, they say.”
Quote, “Is it a helpful addition to the political process?
Absolutely. Will it revolutionize politics? That`s harder to see.” So
said Ari Fleischer in 1999, before he became White House press secretary.
Ah, this computer thing, it`s just a flash in the pan.
In all fairness, though, it was not just Ari Fleischer. Pretty much
everybody in 1999 was agog with what these California software geeks were
doing with the Internets and how it was affecting politics maybe some day
in the future.
Of course, House Republicans did go ahead with the impeachment
process. So the Censure and Move On folks decided that they would not fold
up. They decided to use the amazing magical power of the internet machine
to try to make at least some of the pro-impeachment Republicans pay for
that stance. The folks with the online petition decided to reinvent
themselves as a PAC in 1999. They endorsed and started fundraising for a
handful of progressive congressional candidates.
And again, the novelty was not that they were a pressure group on the
left taking Democrats` side in fights with Republicans. The novelty and
what seemed so weird about them was that they were doing this political
work by using the click click, tappitty tap machine that kids were using
Reporting on the Move On phenomenon in December 1999, “Slate” magazine
wrote, “Moveon e-mailed 25,000 folks who had pledged, as well as to 275,000
others on its mailing list. They raised a quarter million dollars in five
days and have harvested another quarter million since, without any further
solicitation.” They did it just using the computer. Just using word of
That first electoral gambit was for the 2000 election and three of
Move On`s five candidates won.
Despite the computer skeptics, MoveOn.org ended up becoming a big deal
in lefty politics. They raised money and direct it to support progressive
candidates and causes.
But they also hone and choose their messaging through interaction with
their many, many members. Move On ends up being like a mega collective
crowd-sourced advisory group for your lefty issue of choice. And the
results end up being effective and pretty aggressive messages that end up
in some cases using the right spokespeople.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to talk to you about women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And about Mitt Romney.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt Romney`s for ending funding to Planned
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Including cancer screenings.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said he`d overturn Roe v. Wade.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have Republicans trying to redefine rain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trying to force women to undergo invasive
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you think that this election won`t affect you
in your life, think again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So they`ve got money, yes. And they`ve got reach,
absolutely. They`ve got millions of members.
And part of that, and the part of the way they have been able to hold
on to them all these years is because of further innovation on their part.
They have sort of a one-click user experience.
If you think about amazon.com online, right, Amazon organized their
interface specifically so you can get through it very quickly. You don`t
have to click on a lot of different things and go through a lot of
different screens or enter a lot of data in order to buy something. It is
easy and fast to buy stuff there, particularly once you have done it once.
And that keeps you coming back as a customer.
That`s the same approach that Move On took for political activism
starting back in 1999. One of the Move On founders then called it five-
minute activism. “Slate” said at the time that five-minute activism may
become the fastest, fieriest method ever devised for channeling citizen
outreach – outrage, excuse me.
So if you have a political impulse or political feeling, Move On tries
to give you a way to actualize that in a satisfying way that doesn`t make
you feel like you just did something sketchy, and that makes you feel like
you might want to do that again that was easy. That accomplished the goal
I wanted to accomplish. I will bookmark and come back and do that again.
The group`s commitment to manifestation in the election in a way that,
again, was seen as controversial and that had its skeptics, but shows how
it they continue to push the envelope. Using public voting records, Move
On this year sent voter report cards to 12 million registered voters in
battleground states. These report cards showed each voter how often they
had voted in recent elections, and how their frequency of voting stacked up
against their neighbor`s frequency of voting.
It`s a controversial method, but it is tested. It is effective, and
nobody else is doing it. Not at least until people start copying Move On
for doing it.
Everybody in politics talks about tapping the grassroots and talks
about how public polling is on their side for the issue. But having a
political impact means turning those intangible theoretical political
assets into real political action that has an effect. That is what makes
for effective political pressure.
And now, one of the veteran, in-the-trenches advocacy groups on an old
school political issue has just brought on a new young leader who has come
up through the most innovative part of the lefty political world, including
years at Move On, also including the liberal watchdog group Media Matters
for America that drives the right nuts. Also, including a super PAC aimed
at changing the influence of money and politics, a group she helped found.
And as of today, this new young leader replaces Nancy Keenan, the
long-standing head of NARAL Pro-Choice in America. Nancy Keenan came on
the show to talk about her decision to step down this past summer. She
made the decision she said specifically to make room for a new generation
of leaders who have new ideas and have learned new ways to accomplish
things in politics.
Joining us now for her first interview is the new president of NARAL
is Ilyse Hogue.
Ilyse Hogue, it`s good to have you here. Congratulations on your new
ILYSE HOGUE, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA PRESIDENT: Thank you for having
me, Rachel. It`s great to be here.
MADDOW: What do you think of that context from electoral politics and
Move On, onto the abortion rights fight? These have been seen as two
totally different sectors of lefty politics. But do you represent some
sort of crossover?
HOGUE: Well, I hope so. I mean, first of all, it was great to hear
such a thorough history of my institutional alma mater. I haven`t heard it
in a long time.
Look, Move On was founded on some very basic principles that couldn`t
be more applicable right now to women`s empowerment and choice movements.
One was that politics is often slow to catch up to where the cultural
heartbeat is, right? And we`re seeing that now. “Wall Street Journal”
poll on the Roe anniversary showed seven in 10 Americans support upholding
Roe. We have actually successfully mainstreamed choice into our culture.
Politics is slow to catch up. And Move On knew that.
So one of the reasons that Move On has always been successful is by
finding innovative ways to use technology to surface the breadth of support
for these mainstream ideas. Nothing is more mainstream right now than the
idea that women should have the freedom to write their own destinies. And
foundational to that freedom is our ability to choose when and how and with
whom we have a family.
When women can do that, we can dream big dreams. We can contribute to
culture, business, government. And then countries function better,
business, marketplaces function better, and families and communities
And I hope that I can bring the tools and the organizing from Move On
to bring millions and millions of women`s voices into this debate about
what our own futures are going to look like.
MADDOW: Because the fight over choice and reproductive rights, we
think of it as a national fight, and sort of a constant national fight.
But it really the rubber hits the road in the state.
MADDOW: And all these district fights, a lot of them happen
simultaneously. When you talk about surfacing the breadth of support for
choice, what is the most effective, most important way that support for
choice could surface, could be made manifest in a way that would affect
what`s happening in the states?
HOGUE: Well, I mean, I think that there is no one way, right? One of
the listens of the Move On era is the understanding of the reinforcing
dynamic between the online and the offline organizing. We had boots on the
ground from 2004 on.
Great advantage of NARAL Pro-Choice America is we`ve had boots on the
ground since `69. So our choice out loud program, our new technological
platform that allows young women to tell their own stories about what
choice means to them. That actually reinforces the real-life activists
that we have on the ground who are both doing excellent front lines work on
defensive battles like in Texas, where half of poor women no longer have
access to health care, much less safe and legal abortion because of the
defunding of Planned Parenthood, to the front lines in Oregon.
Oregon is a state where we have a long-time leadership where not a
single restriction has been put on abortion since Casey. It`s the only
state in the Union. We are poised through our NARAL leadership and all the
activists we touch there to go on offense, to actually see how we can make
politics and legislative work catch up to the whole range of choices that
women face in the modern-day world.
MADDOW: Ilyse Hogue, brand-new president of NARAL Pro-Choice America
as of today – Ilyse, stay in touch. Good luck. Thanks for joining us.
HOGUE: Thank you so much.
MADDOW: I appreciate it.
All right. Still ahead, honey badger, wolverines, weasels, and other
threats to our democracy. Tada!
MADDOW: A big development to report in the Republican Party today as
it relates to the United States Senate.
For whatever reason, former Senator Scott Brown is – whatever – not
going to run for the United States Senate seat that was just vacated by
John Kerry. Whatever.
A lot was hinging on this announcement. It was a hotly anticipated
decision from Scott Brown. But in the end, when he decided to make the
announcement, he did it by sending a text message to “The Boston Herald”.
Quote, “U r”, just two letters, not the whole world, “U r the first to know
I am not running.”
He wants to no longer future senator, breaking up with all of special
election hopes and dreams via child-like text message.
Nobody knows Scott Brown is not running, maybe he will run for
governor instead somebody. Maybe he will talk to some kings and queens and
see what he should do. But he is not running for John Kerry`s U.S. Senate
The brand new head of the Massachusetts Republican Party put out a
statement today saying there are many potential Republicans in
Massachusetts who could run for the seat. She just did not name any of
So, Massachusetts Republicans seemed very surprised that Scott Brown
is not running and do not seem to have an idea on what to do next to try to
get that seat.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: When well-fell and fully grown, the honey badgers weighs
about 25 pounds, give or take. Honey badgers live in this part of the
world, in a range that stretches across Sub-Saharan Africa and east along
the Indiana Ocean.
Despite being called badgers, honey badgers technically are mustelids.
So when you think honey badger, think weasel family, think wolverine –
wolverines! Think pole cats. They`re all kin to the honey badger.
Now, when honey badgers kill something, they eat the whole carcass
down to the last toe bone. It must have been in general are known for
their ferocity, but the honey badger is a level beyond that. Honey badgers
will raid beehives. They will tortoises, crushing their shells. They will
eat cobras for crying out loud.
Honey badgers do what honey badgers want, no questions, no fear.
Honey badgers famously do give a bleep.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it`s got a cobra, runs backwards. Now, watch
this, it snakes up in the tree, honey badgers don`t care. Honey badger
don`t give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). It just takes what it wants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Last week on this show, we compared the elected Republicans
of the great state of Michigan to the honey badger, because Michigan
Republicans do not give a bleep. At the time, Republicans in other states
have begun to bail on the Republican plan to rig the presidential election
so effectively a Democrat couldn`t win the presidency again. The plan was
to change the way we vote for president.
Under current law, most states allocate the votes to the winner as a
whole. The Republican plan, though, was to change this specifically in
several blue states, states that vote Democratic in presidential elections.
They would not do this everywhere, where Republicans controlled state
government. They would just do it in some states.
So, Oklahoma and Arkansas and other safe red states, they would
continue to deliver every single one of their electoral votes to the
Republican candidate for president. They wouldn`t change a thing there.
But blue states like states like Michigan or Virginia, they would have to
give away half or more of their electoral votes to the Republican side.
So the red state win for a Republican gets a whole state worth of all
the electoral votes. But a blue state win for a Democrat just gets some of
those votes. You still have to give some of them to the Republican.
The result, of course is the giant thumb on the scale for the
Republicans in presidential elections.
A couple of weeks ago, we started talking about six states where
Republicans have been mulling over whether to try to make this change –
Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. But then as
the story got more attention in the news, the Republicans in those states
started to back off. Florida`s Republican House speaker said his party
didn`t need to change the rules, he said they just need to get better –
meaning they Republicans just need to get better.
Virginia`s Republican governor, governor ultrasound, Bob McDonnell, he
said he was against the idea. So were a couple of key Republicans in the
Senate. And this week, Republicans in the Virginia Senate voted the bill
down in committee.
In Wisconsin, Wisconsin`s Republican governor, Scott Walker, he told
the conservative meeting in Washington that he thought the idea was
interesting. After that got a lot of attention back home in Wisconsin, he
said actually he had serious concerns about it.
In Ohio, where the Republicans floated the idea days after the
election in November, he and the Republicans now say, oh, nobody in Ohio is
talking about doing this thing.
So that`s Florida, and Virginia, and Wisconsin and Ohio, deciding to
not try to pull this off. But Michigan?
Michigan is different. Michigan, they just had their sneak attack
right-to-work law that they came out in favor of, introduced, passed –
they came out in favor of it, introduced it, signed it into law all within
a space of a week after an election in which they never mentioned it.
Michigan, when voters said no to the Republicans emergency manager
law, voters repealed it. And Michigan Republicans responded by just
passing another one immediately in the way that it couldn`t be repealed
this time, because, you know, the will of the voters.
Michigan Republican do not give a bleep about bad press or the will of
the voters, or doing what they said they would do when they do not do it.
They do not care.
And so as Republicans were bailing on this plan to rig the Electoral
College in blue states, Michigan`s Republican House speaker was still
talking it up. Michigan`s Republican governor was still saying, hey, this
seems fair, we`ll consider it.
But in the end, it turns out that even Michigan`s honey badger
Republicans have their limits. Just when it looked like they were the ones
most likely to gnaw their way through to enacting this scheme, when nobody
else could stomach it – finally, Michigan Republicans decided they could
not stomach it, either – at least not yet. Michigan`s Republican leader
in the Senate now says he doesn`t want to go through it.
Michigan`s governor, Rick Snyder, now says he is very skeptical of the
idea that this just is not the right time.
So, we started with six possible states where Republicans hoped to
tilt the playing field, right? Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, and
finally Michigan all said now, they`re not going to do it. But there`s
still one holdout, not Michigan.
I am surprised to say I thought the holdout would be Michigan. But it
turns out the holdout is Pennsylvania, where the Republican senate majority
leader said he would introduce a bill this month in February, even if it
makes some folks in his party a little queasy.
I have been thinking that Michigan was home to the do not give a bleep
honey badgers of the Republican Party in 2013. But maybe it is
Pennsylvania, maybe it is actually Tom Corbett eating the cobra. Stay
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again on Monday.
But now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD”.
Have a great weekend and go whichever your favorite team is for the
Super Bowl. As you wish.
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