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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 06/04/13

Guests: John Stanton, Joe Dorman

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Am I right thinking that "Twilight of the Elites" comes out in paperback today? Am I right in thinking that? CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: It is available for pre-purchase today. It will come out in about a week. MADDOW: Very good. You know, it has an excellent blurb on the back. HAYES: On the front, actually. For the paper back, I think we wanted to just title the book, "Rachel Maddow`s blurb". Would that be a little too shameless? MADDOW: I love it. Congratulations, man. Thank you. HAYES: Thank you. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us this hour. This was the headline on the "Drudge Report" Web site. Last October, just a couple of weeks ahead of the presidential election, "FOX News tonight, tune in exclusive. We have found something that`s going to blow your mind about this president who you thought you knew. Yes. Sure you think you know what President Obama sounds like when he talks about race. But on FOX News tonight, we have got Barack Obama`s other race speech. Tune in, tune in the smoking gun." That was the headline on the conservative Web site, the "Drudge Report", just a couple of weeks before the presidential election. And so, everybody tuned in to see what the big secret was, the big reveal, and FOX News played President Obama`s secret, bombshell, other, devastating race speech. And it turned out to be just a speech that the president gave in 2007 at a major university which everybody covered at the time and which made no ripple in the news at the time because it was not actually anything newsworthy. The right was super excited that that was going to change everything for the presidential election, but it was a dud. Nothing happened. And this kind of happens all the time ding this presidency. In the summer of 2008, the right claimed to have another smoking gun that was going to change everything. It was the Michelle Obama hates white people tape. Remember that? Shocking evidence of First Lady Michelle Obama or would-be First Lady Michelle Obama, she won`t be now, it`s her on tape saying the word whitey, and she wasn`t talking about Whitey Bulger. It was the release of the hate whitey tape that was imminent. It was going to totally change the election. Since nobody has ever seen the infamous Michelle Obama hate whitey tape on the account of the fact, it does not exist, we`ll have to have this stand in for that imaginary tape instead. Then there was the time in 2010 when Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann insisted the president`s trip to India was costing $200 million a day, which, if it were remotely true would be less like funding a presidential trip abroad and more like funding a full blown war. The $200 million a day trip to India thing was not true even though Michele Bachmann said it. I know that is shocking to hear. There has been no smoking gun, right? Not with the president`s other race speech and not with the fake whitey tape that never existed. Not with the $200 million a day trip to India. They thought these things would be the end for this presidency, for that candidate. There`s no way Obama can go another day. We`ve got the thing. Now they`ve got a new one. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Is there now a smoking gun in the IRS scandal? This man, former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House -- ready? -- 157 times. Inedible. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Incredible. The IRS commissioner visiting the White House 157 times. Are you ready, America? Is there now a smoking gun? There is not. Now, a smoking gun. It turns out that if former IRS commissioner was cleared to visit the White House or the executive office building 157 times, in case he wanted to attend various meetings about health reform and stuff. They put his name on the list. In case the IRS commissioner wanted to attend, his name was at the gate. Ultimately, the only available data on this that actually show him going to the White House complex, the only available data on this show him going to the whole White House complex, which includes the White House and the executive office buildings there, 11 times. The publicly available arrival and departure information only shows that he attended 11 meetings over four years. Is it obscene that the commissioner of the IRS, who was, by the way, appointed by George W. Bush, apparently had an average of two or three meetings a year inside the whole White House complex over the course of four years? Is that a smoking gun scandal? At FOX News, that`s a smoking gun scandal. This is -- this is what your uncle who has been watching FOX News all day has been screaming at the television recently. In case you couldn`t make out the words while he was screaming them. This is what he`s on about. FOX News is leading and prime time late last week with this smoking gun about the IRS commissioner going to the White House 157 times. On Friday morning, Garance Franke-Ruta at "The Atlantic" magazine ended this story, blew it up by noting the buzz killing small detail that the story was not true. That he had not been there 157 times, like FOX News was saying. FOX News has now reacted to the story being debunked by continuing to lead with it, as a smoking gun story. They have decided this is jus too good of a story to give up on just because it`s not true. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) O`REILLY: We`re not implying, insinuating, hinting, or doing anything else other than reporting the facts. And so far, we`ve been dead on. Last week, we told you that former IRS Chief Douglas Shulman visited the White House 157 times. The IRS boss visits the White House 157 times, that`s a big story. KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, he shouldn`t have been there that many times. It`s an independent agency and being too close to the White House is a problem for the IRS. O`REILLY: Why do you think he was there? We`ll speculate a little bit. ROVE: I don`t know -- O`REILLY: Why -- do you have no idea why he was there? The Obama administration continues to say the president had nothing to do with the IRS scandal. However, we still don`t know much about former IRS chief Douglas Shulman visiting the White House 157 times. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: We still don`t know. We do not know much. We do not, for example, know that the idea that he was there 157 times has been debunked. We don`t know that. We have been very busy. It was weekend, it was hot, spent a whole lot of time reading this completely different thing about these little penguins in Japan that they dressed up into dashiki to greet some foreign dignitaries who are visiting. It`s really hard for little penguins when they`re wearing their little dashikis to go down the stairs in their little shirts they had to bend over and look at their feet, but they did it. Yes, I spent some time reading about that -- spent a lot of time, actually, on that. Also, I went to the farmers market, I washed my hair. I really haven`t had enough time to read about the whole IRS commissioner going to the White House story being debunked. So I`m just going to keep doing the story over and over and over again for a few more days. It still sounds really good to me. It still sounds like a really big story. It might have seen this week that a college Republican group put out a heavily researched report about the perceptions of the two parties right now in our country among young people. It`s about 100-page report based significantly on focus groups led by Republican pollsters and consultants. When the Republicans asked these focus groups of young people to name Democratic Party leaders, quote, "They named prominent former or currently elected officials: Nancy Pelosi, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Obama, Kennedy, Gore." When those same respondents were asked to name Republican Party leaders, they focused heavily on media personalities and commentators: Bill O`Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck. So, the identifiable leaders of the Democratic Party are prominent elected officials who work in governing, in policy. The identifiable leaders of the Republican Party are talk show hosts who are not elected and who do not work in governing and who have no responsibility for policy. And that is not a problem if the party itself doesn`t really see itself as doing policy. Today, the number two Republican in Congress unveiled the Republican Party`s latest big idea in Washington. It is a new Web site called The idea is that if you like an idea, you can go to the Republicans` new Web site, give them your personal information, and then you can become a fake co-sponsor of that idea that you like. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: What this Web site and program will allow are folks throughout the country to go to, sign up to be a cosponsor of any bill that`s submitted here in Washington. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Now, to be clear, you will not actually be a co-sponsor of anything if you sign up at the Republicans` new Web site. You will be a pretend co-sponsor. So there`s that. But at least Eric Cantor will get your e-mail address in the process. This follows on the Republican majority leader`s last big idea in Washington which was to let you fake vote to cut things in Washington. Again, it was not actual voting for actual cutting by actual people with the power to do that, it was just a fake way for you to pretend to do that. It was a fake way they cooked up so you could fake do that and also give Eric Cantor your e-mail address. In the actual House of Representatives where these guys work, the votes there actually taking in Congress are about what you would expect from people who think of policy in this way. This week, they have scheduled two separate votes on defunding the group ACORN, for example. The group ACORN has not existed for three years now. It is hard to defund and punish something that doesn`t actually exist and hasn`t for years. Actually, it`s impossible to do that, it`s like trying to divide by zero, but still, it`s fun. So, House Republicans are voting on that twice this week. And of course, there was the 37th time that they voted to repeal Obamacare. They do not repeal Obamacare when they take that vote, it has no effect, but they have done it 37 times now. And why not? If one of the two political parties in our country is not a policy- based thing anymore, if the leaders of the party are talk show hosts, if the only point of Congress is stuff that helps with messaging and collecting e-mail addresses for future fundraising, that probably has a lot of different big picture consequences for our democracy that are too depressing to think about on a Tuesday. But in the short run, it means that when actual policy does come up, when policy decisions do have to be made and they have to be made in Washington, you never really know what`s going to happen. Things can suddenly get very unpredictable at least on the Republican side when policy descends. Por ejemplo, bearing down on us like a freight train right now is a real deadline having to do with college that`s going to affect millions of Americans in a very direct way. If you have federal student loans for college, at the end of this month, for a policy reason, your loan rates are going to double from 3.4 percent which is what they are right now to 6.8 percent. That`s going to happen all at once at the end of this month, bang. That`s bad for millions of people. And the Republicans do not want to fix that problem in the way that President Obama and the Democrats want to fix that problem. But this is a policy thing. And you really never know anymore what`s going to happen when Republicans in Congress end up having to talk about real policy, about real things instead of ACORN or repeal Obamacare or something, right? It is very hard to guess what`s going to come out of their mouths when it`s a real policy matter that they have to make a real policy decision on. But of all of the things that anybody might have guessed, might have come out of Mitch McConnell`s mouth when he tried to talk about this issue, I think nobody could have guessed that this would have been what would come out of his mouth. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: In Obamacare, the Democratic majority, without a single Republican vote, abolished the student loan program. They have to pay back more at a higher rate, all related to something young people had nothing to do with which was the passage of Obamacare. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Student loan rates are going to rise because Obamacare. Health reform abolish the student loans, America. Obama care also made it rain this weekend. And, yes, you know what you did, Obamacare. You know what you did in Hong Kong. That`s why everybody`s marching against Obamacare in the streets and the zoos, whatever. The Republican Party has a nonsense problem when it comes to policy and it comes from the top. And if you do not like policy -- that`s fine, that is fine, for example, for any number of popular conservative TV shows who are really in a leadership role in that party. But in Washington, the fact that one of the two parties is just unsuited for policy at this time, it is not their strong suit, that right now is a problem. Because that party has also decided that there is a policy they would like to pass. The party decided immediately after this last election that they lost so badly that they could never win another election again if such a giant proportion of minority voters kept voting against them. To try to repair their image with Latino voters in particular, Republicans decided right after the last election that they must stop standing in the way of a reform of our nation`s policies on immigration. They decided they have got to find some approach to reforming the immigration system that Republicans can support or their party`s going to go into a demographic death spiral from which there is no escape. They do not much like policy in general. They are not built for policy at this point in the Republican Party history. But they need this one policy. For purely political reasons if nothing else, they need this one policy. Now, on all other policy, Democrats are in the lead. Democrats control the White House and the Senate. The Republicans in the House have been very open about the fact they do not want to lead on any major policy. They say they keep saying over and over again, we`d like the Senate to go first. And meanwhile in the House, they just keep voting to defund ACORN over and over again. They`re not doing anything in the House. So, Democrats are really doing everything on policy in Washington. But on immigration, the Democrats are trying to let Republicans to find a way to lead, so the Republicans can find a way support something -- a policy, just the one. Can they do it? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that immigration as it looks right now will have the 60 votes necessary to move to the House? SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: No. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: No. No, they cannot do it. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida on FOX News today explaining that immigration reform is going nowhere that Republicans just don`t support it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUBIO: No. And I think even the Democrats would concede that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Actually, the Democrats have been saying that they thought they did have the votes. They thought it was going to pass. Harry Reid has been saying he`s got the votes. Even Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said today they had the votes that it was going to pass, they got 60 votes. But Marco Rubio, who is supposed to be the great Republican champion of this issue, says, no, it is not going to happen. He`s counting and he cannot count to 60 on this one. This is the one policy they want, the one thing they are geared up to actually even talk about and everything, and it too is now falling apart? Joining us now is the great John Stanton, Washington bureau chief at "BuzzFeed." Mr. Stanton, thank you for being here tonight. It`s nice to see you. JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: Pleasure to see you. MADDOW: Is immigration reform falling apart? Lindsey Graham says it isn`t, but Marco Rubio seems very confident that it is. STANTON: Well, guess it sort of depends on how you want to define falling apart. I never personally thought that there was as much of a chance of passing actually as I think a lot of people had because the House Republican conference is very much divided on this thing. And, you know, there is some thought in Washington that Marco Rubio may be playing a bit of a Jedi mind trick on his Republican colleagues saying, oh, I have all of these concerns, we may not be able to pass it. They get a few additions to the bill, couple tweaks. He can then come back and say, look, I was very concerned just like you were and we were able to make some changes, the best policy we`re going to get, so we need to get behind it and hopefully -- and the reformers, you know, position that would help bring enough Republicans along. You know, they should be able to get 60 votes or close to 60 votes in the Senate, I think, in the end. But after that, it`s difficult to see a path forward. MADDOW: Since this is another one of those issues on which they have delegated responsibility to a gang -- a gang of eight on this -- and is it not a little bit weird that two of the Republican senators in the gang of only eight actually are saying something factually different about this? I mean, it may be a Marco Rubio mind trick to make people think it`s not going to pass, but isn`t it bad strategy to have the other guy in the gang of eight saying, "Yes, it is going to pass"? STANTON: You got the other two guys just don`t saying anything ever about this thing they`ve done. So, it is odd. I think it shows the divisions within the party and the insecurities that Republicans have around this issue. You know, there is this sort of notion that it`s hurting them or it could hurt them more in the future. I think to a certain degree, a lot of the damage about over immigration has been done. But you see with, you know, Marco Rubio, he`s been beaten up really badly on the right from conservatives, conservative media, other conservatives in the party, you know, in the House and Senate have been critical of him. And, you know, he`s the golden boy. And so, I think for some of these folks, that`s a terrifying position to be in, right? MADDOW: Do you see the organized right but particularly the conservative media starting to whip on this issue? That they`re deciding this is going to be a litmus test issue for them? It`s been very -- it hasn`t been so black and white on this issue -- on this issue up until now. STANTON: No, it hasn`t. In fact, you know, you`ve started to see much more on the right from commentators, from the press going after Marco Rubio, going after the gang of eight. You know, you saw in the House, there`s a similar group of folks that are trying to work on a bill where Raul Labrador from Idaho`s very conservative Republican, he was involved in it. He is, you know, sort of come out now and said he`s having difficulty seeing a way forward. I think this is part of -- they should have maybe moved on this earlier. That is the arguments that Democrats and even Republicans have made that if we done this two months ago in the Senate, we would`ve had the momentum coming out of the election. Republicans were under a lot of pressure to deal with this issue, but now there`s been time for that to cool and for the conservative opponents to this to sort of re-rally themselves and to get on the offensive, it`s starting to take a bit of a toll. MADDOW: John Stanton, Washington bureau chief at "BuzzFeed" -- John, it`s always great to see you. Thanks for being here, man. I appreciate it. STANTON: Of course. Good to see you. MADDOW: All right. Coming up next -- I`m sorry to say, there`s been an epic outbreak of unexpected wussiness in politics. Somebody who everybody thought was a big tough guy, turns out -- that`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You know, Tom, you must be the thinnest skinned guy in America because you think that`s a confrontational tone, then, you should really see me when I`m pissed. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t send your children to public schools. You send them to private schools. So, I was wondering why you think it`s fair to be cutting school funding to public schools. CHRISTIE: What`s her name? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s her name, guys? Real quick, because the governor is talking. What is it? Gail? Talk to Gail. CHRISTIE: Hey, Gail, you know what, first off, it`s none of your business. I don`t ask you where you send your kids to school. Don`t bother me about where I send mine. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has built his political career on his image as a tough guy. All the best highlight reels of him yelling at his constituents are actually easily searchable on his own governor`s office official YouTube channel because he posts them there. This is how he wants to be seen. There`s a ton of them. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) CHRISTIE: Hey, listen, pal, either -- either I sat here and listened to your story and your position -- excuse me -- without interrupting you. If you decide what you want to do is put on a show today, let me tell you something, I can go back and forth with you as much as you want. And let me tell you something, after you graduate from Wall Street, you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end`s going to get thrown in jail, idiot. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Chris Christie yells at Iraq war veteran. Chris Christie yells at teacher. Chris Christie yells at anyone interrupting him. Chris Christie is a yeller. He`s a tough guy. He`s not afraid to shy away from a challenge, he loves a fight. He thrives on it. That is the brand, right? Today was election day in New Jersey, it was primary day, and while off-year primaries are pretty forgettable as election days go, one easy way to help remember when an election is including today`s, is, of course, that it`s Tuesday. Election days are always Tuesdays, right? That`s true nationally, that`s generally true in states around the country, that`s true in New Jersey, like for today`s primary. Election day is on Tuesday. Except, apparently, for when there`s an outbreak of chicken in the New Jersey governor`s office. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey today announced the election date to choose a new U.S. senator to replace Frank Lautenberg who died yesterday at the age of 89. The big question heading into today`s announcement was whether or not he would announce that the election would be held next year, next November which is when Senator Lautenberg`s term would have been up. Would he wait to hold the election until then? Or would he hold the election this November? When he himself is on the ballot for re-election, as well, as governor? The political calculus was not a complicated thing. It would be seen as a huge power grab and probably very alienating to his blue state of New Jersey for Governor Christie to designate some Republican to hold that Senate seat for a year and a half, with nobody getting a chance to vote until next November if he picked that option, right? On the other hand, if he said the vote was going to happen this November, well, then the governor`s own re-election prospects might be hurt. Flocks of Democrats turned out to vote for the Democratic nominee for Senate on the same day they were voting for governor, especially if it was somebody really popular and likely to win like Newark Mayor Cory Booker. So heading into today, this was Chris Christie`s dilemma. Does he make his state really mad at him by holding the election next year? Or does he hurt his own re-election chances by having his own re-election race on the same ballot that`s likely to turn out lots of enthusiastic voters who are likely there to vote for the U.S. Senate candidate. Should he hold it next year or should he hold this year? What should he do? Next November or this November? Hmm, he chose neither. He took the escape hatch, door number three, please. He took the route that will cost the taxpayers of New Jersey probably about $12 million that they would otherwise not have had to spend. If it`s the route that saves the big chicken New Jersey governor from making the hard decision and having to be on the ballot opposite of big, bad Cory Booker. I could not believe he did this. But Chris Christie announced today he`s going to have the election for the Senate seat, not next November and not this November when he, himself, is on the ballot. No, he called the Senate election for a whole new date. He decided that the Senate election is going to be in October on a Wednesday. And that`s going to be the only race that New Jersey is voting on that day on a Wednesday. And then he`ll get to run for re-election, safely alone without Cory Booker on the ballot 20 days later,. Two elections in 20 days, $12 million a pop, really? Despite Governor Christie`s protests today that his hands were tied, he had to do it this way, there is nothing in New Jersey law that made him do this. He just chickened out. Amazing. And now, having chickened out, he gets to continue his re-election campaign to be governor again. His re-election campaign is running under this slogan, strong leadership. Wow. Strong, maybe, but also clearly afraid. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. This video has been kind of a haunting thing. At least it has been for me. Through this incredibly rough storm season, we`ve been having in our country this year. It`s testing supposedly safe rooms against the kinds of things that get flung at 200 miles per hour in big, big storms. We`re going to have more on this in a second. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Check this out. This is a tornado drill in an American school in 1947. The kids in this particular school happened to be in Indiana. But crouching in the hallway and covering your head and hoping for the best. That was the state of the art response to tornadoes just about everywhere in our country, in 1947. It is still the state of the art in 2013. On hearing the news that a tornado is coming, American school kids in most places that get these kind of storms are still sent into the hallways to crouch and cover their heads. Get as far inside the building as you can, stay away from big open areas like the gym or the cafeteria, get low to the ground, maybe pray. I`m not making light of this advice in this kind of plan. It really is better than nothing. And it really is the best you could do in a lot of places if and when a tornado is bearing down. Drop and tuck or duck and cover, that was the plan 60 years ago, it is still the plan now in much of the country. Last month in Moore, Oklahoma, an EF-5 tornado struck two elementary schools. It had winds in excess of 200 miles an hour. That tornado was a mile wide and those kids at those schools pretty much had nowhere to go. So they went into the hallways like school kids have done for generations. The kids in Moore took shelter in hallways and bathrooms ducking and covering. And at one of the two elementary schools, Briarwood Elementary, all the kids lived. At the other elementary school, though, seven kids died. The official cause of death from each of them was asphyxia. They were smothered in the collapse of the hallway. Neither of the schools ad a storm shelter underground or a fortified safe room aboveground. When the tornado struck, these kids really had nowhere safe to hide. They did survive in the school where the hallways didn`t all collapse but they did not survive in the school that was harder hit. When people talk about safe rooms, it almost sounds like a metaphor, but it is a really specific thing for storm survival. It`s a structure, a room like this, a concrete reinforced aboveground bunker. Scientists at the National Wind Institute at Texas Tech University have been testing these rooms out. They fire debris at them at really high speeds simulating the effects of a real tornado and the kind of debris that flies at those kinds of speeds. After the deadly tornado last month in Moore, Oklahoma, the one that killed seven kids at that school and 23 people in all, after that storm, those same scientists went out and examined what happened to the safe rooms that were in that community in the path of that tornado. It turns out they all held. It turns out that if you had somewhere to go, if you had a safe room to take shelter in from that EF-5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, then that safe room really did protect you. They found 16 of them, these specifically built, specifically re-enforced safe rooms that were in the path of destruction in Moore, the scientists from Texas Tech who investigated how they all fared in the storm said, quote, "They all performed great." The Oklahoma newspaper reports that in some cases the safe rooms were the only part of the house that made it through that tornado. But they made it. They worked. After that devastating tornado in Moore, a state lawmaker down the road in Rush Springs, Oklahoma, decided to do something about safe rooms. Lawmaker Joe Dorman has been trying to pass laws about storm safety in Oklahoma for a few years now. But he is a Democrat and the Oklahoma legislature is controlled by Republicans. So far, they have voted down everything he tried. After the Moore tornado two weeks ago, he thought maybe now he could get a bill passed. Joe Dorman proposed that the state spend about $500 million to build more safe rooms for schools and also for homes. That new bill after the Moore tornado for more safe rooms that saved lives that might have saved those school kids who died, that bill like all the others went nowhere in the Oklahoma state legislature. But then it happened again. Another huge storm went barreling through Oklahoma. One giant tornado struck El Reno, Oklahoma, which like Moore, Oklahoma, is a suburb of Oklahoma City. We learned today that that tornado on Friday in El Reno was also an EF-5, and while everybody was astonished by the size of that mile-wide tornado that hit Moore, that one in El Reno was more than 2 1/2 miles wide. This is the widest tornado on record ever. So wide that observers had trouble figuring out exactly where it was because it seemed like it was everywhere. Students at a vocational school in the path of the huge storm on Friday managed to get underground before that funnel cloud destroyed their building. Now the superintendent of that school says that any rebuilding he does is going to include some kind of safe room. Quote, "When you see the devastation and you see the end result, it clears up for you pretty quick." The death toll so far from that tornado outbreak on Friday is 18 people dead. But everybody at that vo-tech school lived, because they had an underground shelter to get to. With back to back tragedies like this in her state, Republican Governor Mary Fallin says Oklahoma must have a vigorous discussion about providing safe places for schools. About what the state can do, she says, quote, "within budgetary means." Budgetary means, of course, depend largely on the decisions of the elected officials of Oklahoma who, after all, pass a budget and set taxes to pay for it and sign those budgetary means into law. Can the elected officials of Oklahoma muster the political will to spend money on something like this? Nobody likes spending, but tornado shelters in school buildings that work that have been proven to work again and again and again? Can we do that? Oklahoma`s elected officials do not seem to think so. After the tornado in Moore, a bipartisan group of lawmakers decided instead of legislating anything, they would form a nonprofit called shelter Oklahoma schools to try to raise private money for safe rooms. "The kids at Plaza Towers did not have to parish," one of the corporate wrote. "We cannot wait for our government to fix this." Can`t the government fix this? Why should kids at any school in Oklahoma have to hope for a corporate bailout that might make their school safer instead of the schools just being safer by virtue of the fact that they are Oklahoma schools and Oklahoma takes responsibility for keeping them safe? Well, Joe Dorman, the same state lawmaker who has tried for years now to get something done on storm safety who tried again just last month, now he says he plans to try to go around the legislature. He plans to try to gather signatures for a citizens` initiative in Oklahoma. He plans to put this policy question about storm shelters directly to the people, because he says he believes they will do and they can do what the legislature will not and apparently cannot. Joining us now is Joe Dorman. He`s a state representative from Oklahoma. He hopes to put his proposal to establish a half billion dollar bond for building safe rooms in front of the voters in November 2014. Mr. Dorman, thank you very much for being with us tonight. STATE REP. JOE DORMAN (D), OKLAHOMA: Good evening, Rachel. Thank you for having me. MADDOW: You know this issue a lot better than I do. I feel like I`m learning a lot of it day by day. Did I say anything that was screwy there about this policy idea that you have and how these shelters have performed in the past? DORMAN: No, you`re on target. The shelters have been proven to provide that safe mechanism for people to have a place to go during a tornado. And while none of them are 100 percent safe, it greatly increases your odds of survival on a storm like what we saw in Moore and in El Reno. MADDOW: Oklahoma is in the heart of tornado country. Obviously, this has been a tremendously difficult year, but a lot of other years have been difficult too. The clear examples over many years of people using shelters and safe rooms to survive otherwise not survivable storms, what is it about the legislature that has caused them to turn back new laws about storm safety, given how much it`s been proven over and over again in this state? DORMAN: I started this fight a few years ago when one of my constituents died. She was in a mobile home park. She left her mobile home to go to a building on the area where the trailers were at. It was locked. So on her way back to her trailer, she was crushed by another trailer. And after that, we worked to try and get shelters and mobile home parks and apartment complexes and that stiff opposition through the legislature. MADDOW: Why are they opposed? Is it just a general idea that the state law and state regulation shouldn`t be telling private citizens what to do? DORMAN: That`s part of it. The industry was opposed to any mandate that would force the parks or apartment complexes to build shelters. And Oklahomans have a tendency to buck up any time you do say you have to do something. So often times when we`re looking at legislation like this, we have to offer the carrot rather than the stick, and provide incentives. It`s unfortunate. A lot of times when people are shopping, they`d rather have a swimming pool than a storm shelter. In Oklahoma, that`s definitely not the safe way to go. MADDOW: Why do you think that Oklahoma voters might be more likely to support this idea if you put it to them directly when the lawmakers they have elected have not supported it? DORMAN: It`s just like a school bond issue. In Oklahoma, we actually have a 60 percent requirement to pass a school bond issue. And when the citizens see something like that and they know it`s going for the kids, often times they will turn out a 60 percent vote in favor of something like that. Now, this constitutional amendment, this change would only require 50 percent vote of the people. And with the outcry of what I`ve heard from Democrats and Republicans alike and around the state, people are willing to look at something even if it means raising their taxes to provide that for the schools and protect our kids. MADDOW: If you do get enough signatures, if you get this on the ballot, do you expect opposition? Where do you think the opposition would come from? DORMAN: I think there will be some opposition from individuals who feel like we`re taxed enough already. We see elements of the Tea Party that would fight any type of tax increase, the Grover Norquist crowd. They`re very prominent in Oklahoma and continue to fight any effort to raise revenue. But I think this crosses the line there. I think you`re going to see a lot of registered Republicans join with a lot of the Democrats and support something like this knowing that it is going for the common good. MADDOW: Joe Dorman, Oklahoma state representative, it`s been interesting to follow your efforts on this from afar as all of us in the country are trying to learn more about how your state copes with this kind of threat. Thanks for helping us understand it. I really appreciate your time. DORMAN: You`ve got a lot of fans here in Oklahoma. Thank you for everything you do in reporting. MADDOW: Thanks for saying so. I really appreciate it. All right. Still to come, young guns -- they get old too. Then what happens? That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor turns 50 on Thursday. Happy birthday, Congressman. All best wishes. Awkward thing here, though, is this. Mr. Cantor and Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Congressman Paul Ryan back in 2007, they decided to embrace a nickname that have been given to them by the "Weekly Standard" magazine, "The Young Guns". It`s 2007, these guys are young and totally with it. Republicans are young and they`re so young and vital. But then, you know, life happens. Nobody stays young forever. And at a certain point, a nickname like young guns starts to feel like false advertising. You could change it to something like middle aged but holding up OK guns. Another awkward thing here, though, is the original young guns were all guys. In trying to make the Republican Party seem less like it was all guys, the young guns tried to start a new effort last year called YG Woman Up. And right after they started that, they released their slate of endorsed candidates for Congress in 2012 which actually had fewer proportionally fewer women than were already serving in Congress. So, that ended up being an awkward thing too. Woman up, by which we mean women down. Now, though, these guys are taking another crack at it. It`s not going very well. That story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican from Georgia, is not running for re-election. He is up for re-election next year but he`s not going to be on the ballot. He`s decided to retire from the United States Senate. That means his performance today in the United States Senate will not be used against him in the context of an election, at least not in the context of his own election. Today, there was an historic gathering in the Senate of the chiefs of every branch of the United States military, and there in a sea of medals and ribbons and starched collars, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the very large and very bad sexual assault problem in our nation`s military -- almost 30,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact just last year. Senator Saxby Chambliss today explained that he has a theory why this problem exists. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: The young folks that are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the level of -- the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these things to occur. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The hormone level created by nature why we have 17, 22, 23- year-old rapists, gropers and creeps, right? These crazy kids with their crazy kid hormones. Kids like the 41-year-old Air Force officer arrested for sexual assault last month. His job in the Air Force was running the sexual assault prevention program. Kids like the army sergeant in West Point who joined up in 1990, so, carry the two, that makes him at least in his 40s, he`s charged with secretly videotaping at least a dozen women in various states of undress in the bathroom and elsewhere. Kids like the army sergeant at Fort Hood accused of assaulting another officer and, oh, running a prostitution ring. Before that, he was a sexual abuse educator. Kids like the 50-year-old brigadier general in the 82nd Airborne Division, second in command in the 82nd Airborne. He was charged with forcible sodomy and other accusations of sexual misconduct. So, in the last 10 months, that`s one guy in his late 30s, two guys in their 40s, and one guys in his 50s all accused of or charged with exactly the kinds of crimes that the military apparently stinks at preventing and prosecuting. And it is senators` responsibility to fix that stupid, terrible system. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHAMBLISS: Gee whiz, the level of -- the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Either the military is filled with lot of late blooming rapists or Senator Saxby Chambliss has really no authority on this topic. But that was him weighing in on why all the sexual assaults this morning in Washington. Also across town this morning in Washington, there was Mississippi`s Republican Governor Phil Bryant, speaking at a "Washington Post" live event. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did America get so mediocre? I mean, these statistics across the board, every one of your states, you know -- GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R), MISSISSIPPI: You want me to tell the truth? Can I tell the truth? You know, I think parents became -- both parents started working and a mom is in the workplace. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Kids cannot read good because women have the jobs now. Again, that was Mississippi`s Republican Governor Phil Bryant. It was a busy morning in Washington today. While Saxby Chambliss was explaining the hormone thing, and Phil Bryant was explaining the scourge of women working, destroying the literacy rate, up on Capitol Hill, an all- male subcommittee passed a bill on party lines, to ban all abortions after 20 weeks, everywhere in the country. No exception for rape victims, no exception for victims of incest, the only exception is for the life of the mother. Even if the fetus is nonviable, a determination often not made until at least 20 weeks into the pregnancy, if that happens to you, if you are told that your pregnancy cannot result in a live birth, Republican Congressman Trent Franks wants to force you to carry the nonviable fetus to term and go through childbirth because he says so. This is not a new bill. It is actually Congressman Franks` old annual D.C. abortion ban. This year expanded to cover the whole country. All the Republican men on the panel voted for it, all the Democratic men on the panel voted against it, and oh, look, there were no women. And by that party line vote of all dudes, 6-4, it now goes to the full committee. We should have known this week would be a gobsmacking one for Republican outreach to ladies among us when it started with this, with Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn this Sunday, arguing that women do not actually want the law to protect us against pay discrimination. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: They don`t want the decisions made in Washington. They want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions themselves. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Women don`t want to be protected against discrimination. Women don`t want to make the same amount as their male counterparts. That is a myth, silly talk. The top three things, women love, walks on the beach, lasagna, and paid discrimination. Come on. You know, the Romney campaign this week decided to release their transition plan for the Romney presidency that never was, as a book, so the Republican Party could learn all the lessons we would have learned under President Romney had it only happened. Between the Republican senior senator from Georgia saying that the military`s rape problem can be blamed on youth and hormonal science of youth, and the Republican governor of Mississippi saying his states and the country`s literacy and education shortcomings are due to the scourge of women working, kids can barely spell the word mom any more, to a Republican congresswoman taking an -- excuse me, Republican congressman taking an unprecedented swing at abortion rights on a national level, and a Republican congresswoman saying thanks but no thanks, women don`t actually want legal protections for equal pay for equal work. With all of that happening and Republicans asking us to reflect on the possibility of the Romney presidency, and, gee, why did that happen -- it might be time for an update on the Wikipedia page of the whole Republican war on women idea. I`m just saying. That does it for us tonight. Thank you for being with us. We`ll see you again tomorrow night. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Have a good evening. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END