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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/13/22

Guests: Nayyera Haq, Don Winslow, Stuart Stevens

Summary

The Republican primary races in Pennsylvania are examined. WNBA star Brittney Griner will remain in a Russian prison cell for at least one more month. Bestselling novelist Don Winslow discusses the state of the Democratic Party. Are Louisiana Republicans learning the price that they would pay politically if they charged women with murder for having an abortions?

Transcript

ALICIA MENENDEZ, MSNBC HOST: THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID is up next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.

We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the threat to our democracy which runs right through the state of Pennsylvania.

This was the scene in the wee hours of the morning on January 7, 2021, just hours after the attempted insurrection, as 138 House Republicans still voted to toss out Pennsylvania`s electoral votes. They failed. But now we`re just days from the prospect that they could succeed in a different way.

Republican voters in the Keystone State appear poised to nominate two of the most extreme candidates in the country in races for governor and Senate.

Running for governor, Doug Mastriano, the state senator who has risen to the top of the crowded field, his campaign fueled by his full-throated embrace of the big lie. His efforts to steal the election for Donald Trump were nothing short of exhaustive. He was in regular communication with Trump after the election and led the charge to create a slate of so-called alternate electors.

Mastriano attended the rally on January 6 and spent thousands of state Senate campaign dollars busing true believers to D.C. for the event. Mastriano has been subpoenaed by the House January 6 Committee over his involvement with the fake electoral scheme. In short, he is a full-blown coup-supporting threat to democracy running for governor of the Keystone State, where the governor appoints the secretary of state, meaning that he could set up a nightmare scenario in 2024.

Mastriano`s handpicked secretary of state could just toss out as many votes as are necessary to hand the election to Trump or DeSantis or whoever the Republican nominee is, even if they lose the vote. After all, we learned this week that Trump lawyer John Eastman was advising another Pennsylvania lawmaker to do just that, toss out thousands of absentee votes to create new math.

Pennsylvania Republicans are also in conniptions over the rise of another extremist in the Senate race -- in the Senate race, a late surge by the little known Kathy Barnette, a conservative commentator, hardcore abortion opponent, and self-professed ultra MAGA who`s risen in the polls fueled by her compelling personal story of being born in rural Alabama in extreme poverty to a mother who was just 11 years old and a victim of rape.

She is upending the race dominated by Trump-endorsed former celebrity TV Dr. Mehmet Oz and ostensibly normie Republican David McCormick, who has tried to play up his MAGA bona fides as an America first candidate.

With Barnette`s late surge, Republicans are worried about her electability, because she has an extensive electronic trail of hideous tweets targeting LGBTQ people and Muslims, among them arguing that Islam should be banned and warnings about a -- quote -- "homosexual agenda."

At one point in 2013, Barnette asked Twitter followers to pray as she was about to board a plane with a lesbian. True story.

But she`s also been attacked from the right for her Twitter posts confirming the existence of systemic racism and talking about police brutality. Republicans of all stripes, needless to say, are hand-wringing over the prospect of throwing away the seat being vacated by retiring normcore tax cut Republican Pat Toomey.

But, despite those concerns, the Republicans` Senate campaign arm has mostly stayed on the sidelines. But the big orange factor looming over it all is not, with a caveat.

The former president released a statement saying: "Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the general election against the radical left Democrats. She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted."

Yes, he`s one to talk.

"But if she`s able to do so, she will have a wonderful future in the Republican Party, and I will be behind her all the way."

OK. The former guy`s current Senate pick, Dr. Oz, is not running away with anything. He got booed by the crowd at a rally with Trump last week.

Joining me now, Stuart Stevens, former chief strategist for Mitt Romney`s 2012 campaign and a senior adviser to The Lincoln Project, and Fernand Amandi, Democratic strategist and pollster.

Thank you both for being here.

And, Stuart, I am going to start with you on this, because Pennsylvania is, in a sense, the potential nightmare state. It is a state that was a reliable sort of state for Democrats from the late 1980s all the way until Trump won it in a surprise 2016 win.

And now it`s back to being seen as a very swingy state. It`s got a retiring Republican senator who`s basically a -- well, I mean, he was from the Club for Growth. He`s just a tax cut Republican.

And so now it`s up in the air. And it appears that the choices are crazy, crazier and craziest. Is the issue here now for at least the Mitch McConnell Republicans -- because it seems like the only thing they`re really mad about Kathy Barnette for is that she hasn`t committed to voting for Mitch McConnell to be Senate majority leader if he becomes majority leader.

But what do you think -- how do you think this all plays out? Because they all seem to be pretty wild, and the gubernatorial candidate is actually the most dangerous of them all.

STUART STEVENS, FORMER ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: I think Mastriano and Barnette are going to win, and I don`t think it`s going to be particularly close for either one.

[19:05:00]

What`s playing out here is what happens with authoritarian movements. The most extreme gain momentum as they go on. And when you have sort of someone who thinks that they`re in control, like Mitch McConnell, this is just played out again and again across different countries.

Germany is a perfect example. They can`t stop what they unleashed. They made this deal. They knew that they had lost contact with these working- class white voters. So they cut this deal with Trump, that they would go with him to get these voters back. They would play the race card to an nth degree, wave the bloody shirt, and then they could somehow make people forget that this happened.

It doesn`t work that way. Once a major party embraces hate, history tells us it`s a long and unfortunately often bloody path to going in a different direction.

REID: And -- but, Fernand, so the irony is, doing this, you have seen Republicans lean into trying to find black MAGA people as much as they can. They have done that in Georgia.

Kathy Barnette offers that -- the same thing. She`s extremely anti- abortion. She`s super MAGA, as she has said. But all the stuff in her background seems to make her kind of targetable if Pennsylvania voters, who, again, are kind of swingy, want somebody who isn`t a complete radical.

And this is a pickup opportunity for Democrats. So give me the kind of view from the other side, because it`s not like the Democratic candidates are without flaws. I mean, right now, the candidate who`s in front, John Fetterman, he`s got issues too.

There was this 2013 incident where he allegedly pulled a gun on a black jogger. That sounds a lot like that horrible case that happened in Georgia. He was called upon to apologize for it by Malcolm Kenyatta, who is a state rep who`s also running in that race. He didn`t.

So it`s like you don`t have, like, the perfect candidate on the Democratic side either. So how does this play out, in your view, on that side?

FERNAND AMANDI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Joy, this is a very dangerous game of political Russian roulette that we`re playing with our democracy.

It`s a blind spot, actually. And part of the reason -- I know some Democrats were tempted to say, well, this is actually kind of good, because if the GOP nominates these radical extremist candidates, it means we`re more likely to hold in those states.

But the problem is, is that folks like Stuart Stevens are no longer in the Republican Party. There`s been a purge over these last few years, which has allowed these extremist candidates to not really be the extreme. These are mainstream in what is today`s Republican Party.

I remember, in 2008 and `12, I was working on the Obama campaign, and I will share with you here I breathed a sigh of relief when John McCain was nominated in `08, and Mitt Romney, for that matter, in `12, because the alternatives then might have been Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum in 2008 and `12.

REID: Right.

AMANDI: Think about that -- would have been for the country.

REID: Yes.

AMANDI: But this is why I find this very problematic. There are no longer Stuart Stevens types that are going to go in there and do what needs to be done to prevent these extremist candidates from getting on a ballot.

And in a wave type of election, which may be what`s in store now, it doesn`t matter how extreme the Republican is. They will get in on the wave, and then you have that blind spot to our democracy hacked, if you will, and you have authoritarian fascists running in control of the government, either in the House or in the Senate. It`s a terrifying prospect, Joy.

REID: And in governor`s race -- and in the governor`s mansion.

In Pennsylvania, Stuart, I mean, it would be the perfect storm, because, in theory...

STEVENS: Yes.

REID: I mean, the nightmare is that the Republican governor of Pennsylvania negates all the votes in Philly and says we`re wiping Philadelphia off the map. We`re not going to count a million of those votes, so that whoever the Republican is, Donald Trump or DeSantis or whoever, wins Pennsylvania.

That`s it. That is the ball game. You wind up then with the stolen election right out of a state that should be a swing state, but it`s no longer a swing state, right? It stops being a swing state the minute Republicans control that state.

And so what do you make of the fact that the Democratic candidate is likely to pay more for any of their flaws with the Democratic base, whether it`s Conor Lamb, who`s uninspiring to a lot of people, whether it`s Fetterman? He will pay more among black voters, likely, for his past and his flaws than Kathy Barnette would pay for hers, right?

I mean, the problem is, is that the two bases are different in the way that they -- the level that they hold the candidates to. Republicans just say, are you Republican? Fine. I will vote for you. I don`t care about your pass.

STEVENS: Yes, I think what happened in this Pennsylvania Senate race, Republican side, is a classic-murder suicide pact.

You had these two, McCormick, Oz. They killed each other. And A kills B, B kills A, C benefits. But what voters really can sense is, who is the real person here? And McCormick that and Oz are both ultra-wealthy. They don`t live in Pennsylvania. They normally wouldn`t have anything to do with Donald Trump.

[19:10:08]

They are reasonable human beings who are forced to play a role for being unreasonable. And the voters can sense this. There`s something unreal about them.

And Barnette know this. This is what she`s playing to. What she`s saying is what she believes. It`s not what a pollster reminded her of her deeply held beliefs.

REID: Right.

STEVENS: And this is what the Republican Party wants.

So this idea that this -- her extreme position on gay rights or abortion is a negative. No, it`s a positive in the Republican Party now, as is her assertion that Joe Biden isn`t really the president of the United States, legally elected.

REID: And it`s interesting for, Fernand, because the one thing she probably would pay for if she was the nominee would be the video clips of her saying that there really is systemic racism and saying that she worries about her black son getting into a confrontation with police.

That`s the stuff she would actually pay for. The rest of it, they`re like, they don`t care.

I wanted to have you comment on that, but also comment a little bit on Georgia too, because you do see this sort of normcore part of the Republican Party trying to weigh in, in some of these states. In Georgia, you do see even Mike Pence daring to defy Trump and back Brian Kemp, and some others jumping in there trying to say they want to keep Kemp there, because I guess he`s the least extreme of the choices.

But they don`t have control of the base of the party, do they? The only thing that Republicans are likely to pay for is something like Kathy Barnette`s views on race.

That`s the thing she would pay for.

AMANDI: Oh, exactly right, Joy, but let me go back to a point you were raising earlier, which I think is even more frightening.

This idea that they are cherry-picking and cultivating candidates of color, in the case of Georgia, we see that happening with Herschel Walker. You mentioned the example in Pennsylvania.

REID: Yes.

AMANDI: In this case, these are two African-American candidates whose opinions do not represent anywhere near what the public opinion polls tells us is the consensus, overwhelming majority belief of what black Americans believe, let alone most Americans.

Yet they`re hiding behind this patina of the color of the candidacy to justify winning in races where they have radical, outside-the-mainstream views. So, again, I think it speaks to the bad faith and the sheer cynical politics that are being engaged in by the Republican Party to present these as mainstream candidates that reflect the views not just of, in this case, the black community in the examples of Georgia and Pennsylvania, but of all voters.

And, again, it becomes a frightening proposition, because although some of these clips may make them less likely to win in the general, I think back to a clip that came out a couple of weeks before the November 2016 elections, where someone said that they were going to grab women by the you know what, and it did nothing to stop them...

REID: Nothing.

AMANDI: ... from capturing the most important office in the world, the presidency.

REID: Yes, indeed.

And, Stuart, I mean, the Republican Senate -- you think of the Senate as a sort of high -- sort of high-level political realm that people ascend to. They got Marsha Blackburn in there. They got Tommy Tuberville in there. They got Rand Paul in there.

They got like regular Tea Partiers out of the Tea Party parade in there. That level is not important anymore. What`s important is that they all ascribe to the big lie and that they all worship Donald Trump.

And then you could pretty much be anything. They traded in Doug Jones in Alabama, a literal civil rights heroes, and say, no, we don`t want him. We will take that guy, right? That`s where we are. Judge Roy Moore, if only Republicans had been allowed to vote, he would have won. He had 60 percent of the Republican vote.

Your thoughts? I mean, the party, it doesn`t matter anymore. All that matters is winning.

STEVENS: The Republican Party is not a governing party now.

We can`t really think of it in a normal political context that we have known all our lives. It`s really an authoritarian movement. And authoritarian movements are about power. And at the root of it, it believes that you need these strong men or strong women in some cases because they know best.

It`s a very anti-democratic, very anti-American, in the sense that we have known America, movement. And what the ugly truth about Donald Trump -- and I just go back to this again and again -- he didn`t change the Republican Party. He revealed the Republican Party.

REID: Yes. Yes.

STEVENS: And that`s something that`s very painful for a lot of us to admit who worked in the party, but I don`t know any other intellectually honest conclusion.

REID: Yes.

I mean, I could have gone through more, Ron Johnson, I mean, oh, my God, the lady who said she`d be front page at a hanging, a lynching. That`s all Senate. That`s what the Senate is now. And Mitch McConnell thinks he can control that?

Whew. And he`s only using it to stack the Supreme Court. We could go on and on.

And, Stuart Stevens, Fernand Amandi, gentlemen, have a great weekend. Thank you both very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT: WNBA star Brittney Griner will remain in a Russian prison cell for at least one more month. It is clear she is now a pawn in Putin`s war. So how do we get her home?

[19:15:06]

Plus, why is it so hard for Democrats to muster up the level of outrage required to fight the threats to our democracy? Bestselling novelist Don Winslow is here. He`s doing his part.

And he joins me tonight to talk about it, and a lot to talk about with my political panel, including Louisiana Republicans suddenly realize the heavy price that they would pay politically if they charged women with murder for having abortions.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:20:10]

REID: It`s been nearly three months since Russia detained WNBA star Brittney Griner.

Today, a judge extended her detention by another month. These are pictures of her leaving court today handcuffed, wearing an orange hoodie and with her head down. A consular officer from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow was able to speak with Griner today and confirm that she is -- quote -- "doing as well as can be expected under what can only be described as exceedingly difficult circumstances."

Earlier this month, the State Department said that the two-time Olympic gold medalist was being wrongfully detained. Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February accused of possessing vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis.

If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in a Russian prison.

Joining me now is Nayyera Haq, former senior State Department adviser and former White House senior director under President Obama.

Nayyera, thanks for being here.

So the fact that they`re extending this detention for a month, it definitely raises the profile of this case and makes it more worrisome in a lot of ways. We have all been kind of keeping a little bit mum a bit on Brittney Griner, not trying to turn her into even more valuable hostage, but it feels like that moment has passed.

NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: She`s clearly an asset for the Russians to try to use against the United States as they navigate this new space of the United States effectively being at war with Russia.

Despite the fact that, technically, Putin invaded Ukraine, we know the United States has supported Ukraine with munitions, with drones. And now we are seeing that Brittney Griner, one of our star players, is being held effectively hostage in a Russian prison, three months without trial, another month.

That`s four months before she even faces a judge. We have not seen any evidence to say that she actually was carrying marijuana, an offense that, in Russia, would give her 10 years in prison. We are now seeing that her family, her lawyers are concerned. They are raising the ante.

The WNBA itself is now expected to soon launch a petition and to gather more players in support of Brittney Griner, because they`re worried about - - not only about how she`s doing, but the fact that sports is now becoming a political pawn.

REID: Well, and, clearly, I think this is the end. I mean, Russia is a pariah state. I don`t see a whole lot of WNBA players who -- let`s just be honest.

Because of economics and because of the pay disparity with NBA players, that`s why a lot of them play in the off-season overseas in places like Russia. That won`t be happening anymore. I think that`s done.

But what leverage does the U.S. have? I mean, right now, at this moment, as you said, we are arming Ukraine in a war against Russia having invaded them. But we did manage to get back Trevor Reed, the for -- the Marine.

So it is possible. There are still back channels. What can the State Department at this point do?

HAQ: Russian state media is saying that there are negotiations going on back and forth.

In speaking to Brittney`s team earlier, that does not seem to be officially the case. So they are clearly trying to use Brittney as a pawn in some kind of discussion or negotiation and have leverage. Now, the challenge is, of course, she`s been in and out of that country for 10 years. Russians are probably not very happy that the woman who won Russian team championships is also now in prison.

So this is an entirely different level than what we have seen with the charges against Trevor Reed or Paul Whelan, who were in prison for almost two years, who were accused of espionage themselves, having former military backgrounds and experiences.

So, separating Brittney as her own category, as somebody who not only had deep Russian connections and acknowledgement, but also is part of that broader effort of sports diplomacy, right? We`re supposed to rise above these political tensions, above these moments of war and be able to connect as human beings.

So this is a different type of violation, now that we can put at Putin`s feet.

REID: No, we haven`t seen, heard much -- I haven`t heard anything from the Kyrsten Sinemas of the world, the Mark Kellys of the world, the senators from Arizona, where Brittney plays.

Have WNBA fellow teammates and NBA teammates spoken out?

HAQ: We saw just on Tuesday that Phoenix Suns star player Chris Paul entered the arena wearing a Brittney Griner shirt. He said that he sees himself in her.

We are now seeing that the WNBA has launched a campaign with "We Are Brittney" pins that can be bought, and the proceeds now can go to the Phoenix mission campaign. So we`re seeing the NBA players stand up for their colleagues and their counterparts.

The WNBA players are planning to launch a more active, proactive campaign as soon as next week, because they are starting to see the risk is not only to B.G., as they call her, but to the rest of them and the continuation of their international profession.

[19:25:00]

REID: Yes. And her being a black LGBTQ woman, it just makes it even more complicated.

And we would absolutely welcome any WNBA officials, et cetera, and players to come on and talk about Brittney anytime.

Nayyera Haq, we thank you for being here to talk about this important topic.

Still ahead: Democrats are still trying to fine-tune their messaging with the midterms less than six months away. Author Don Winslow is offering up his own series of hard-hitting political videos to point the way.

He joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:18]

REID: With the Republicans turning the midterms into a full-on culture war, while vowing to turn women`s bodies into state property for the purpose of increasing the available supply of infants, the Democrats face the crucial task of nailing their messaging this election year in order to keep the autocrats from taking over, from connecting with voters to exposing the rot inside the Republican Party.

So how can the typically urbane, polite, normcore party get it right? Well, there is one person out there who seems to have the answer. And his videos are getting millions of views.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republicans won`t require a 12-year-old girl to wear a mask in school that may save her life and the lives of other children, but they will force her to keep a baby regardless of how she got pregnant, including rape and incest.

I am a woman. And I have a constitutional right to make decisions for my own body.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our incredible journey is only just beginning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: With me now is Don Winslow, novelist and author of the new "New York Times" bestselling book "City on Fire."

Don, it is so great to finally have you on. I have been wanting to talk to you on this show and in real life for a long time. So, thank you for being here.

And I guess the biggest question that I would have for you is, when you guys come up with these films, which are brilliant and succinct and really send a powerful message, what is the goal of these films? Is it -- are you preaching to the converted? Is it about trying to convert people who are neutral on these issues? What`s your goal?

DON WINSLOW, AUTHOR, "CITY ON FIRE": It`s all of the above.

And thank you for having me, by the way. I watch you all the time. I`m thrilled to be on. So I appreciate it.

REID: Thank you.

WINSLOW: All of that.

We want to motivate the base. We want to motivate people to get involved politically, to communicate, to donate if they have the resources to candidates, and, of course, to get the vote out.

On the other side, we want to respond to the scurrilous attacks and lies that the Republicans seem to feel perfectly free to launch at any point in time, without fear of a counterattack.

We counterattack. They`re bullies. I think part of our job is to punch them in the nose, metaphorically speaking.

REID: It`s interesting, because I -- listen, I became a Democrat at age 18 and been frequently frustrated with the party.

I think a lot of their strategy is to kind of hide in the drapes and hope that the mean people won`t get them, right? And I think that`s just sort of generally the way they are.

WINSLOW: Right. Yes.

REID: They are the nice guy party.

You tweeted something that, to me, kind of crystallizes that about the January 6 Committee, which I think is doing great work, and it`s a bipartisan committee.

But you wrote: "Honestly, who gives an F if the subpoenas are unprecedented if you don`t enforce them?"

I mean, do you think that the Democrats messaging party is that they don`t have a message, don`t know what the message is, or that they`re just trying to be too nice?

WINSLOW: I think you hit on it exactly. They know what the message is. And they certainly have a message. It`s an important message.

But I`m afraid we always try to be too nice. We want to be reasonable. We want to be polite. The other side is not playing that way. And, sometimes, I think it`s an alley fight. We have to go into the alley.

And, as I have said before, we have to stop bringing spoons to a knife fight.

REID: Do you think, at core, that Washington Democrats, that D.C. Democrats see themselves as being in an existential fight for democracy? Or do you think, by and large, the sort of -- the Democrats who kind of make decisions about what the -- what that party is going to do and message think that this is basically just politics?

WINSLOW: I think they`re coming to the realization rather quickly now that this is an existential fight for democracy.

I certainly feel that way. And what we try to do is, we -- and I mean Shane Salerno and I, who do the videos together -- I do the Twitter -- is to mobilize and to say, we can do things that the Democratic politicians can`t, frankly. We can say things in a way that they can`t, because we`re our own thing. We`re not answerable to anybody.

So we can take those really tough positions in tough language. And that`s what we`re trying to do.

REID: Let me play one more of these.

This is another video that you all did. And this is on Ali Alexander, one of the organizers of the insurrection. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALI ALEXANDER, JANUARY 6 RALLY ORGANIZER: I`m the guy who came up with the idea of January 6, when I was talking with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Andy Biggs and Congressman Mo Brooks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Have you -- do you think that what you`re doing is changing the way that the Democrats inside the party message? Or do you think that they have a tendency to leave this kind of messaging to someone like you, who`s -- you have got a very successful career, which you have paused in order to do this.

[19:35:06]

Do you think that they`re leaving this kind of messaging up to someone like you, rather than doing it themselves?

WINSLOW: I think they`re going to start doing it themselves more. I think there`s much more of an appetite for this.

I think you saw State Senator McMorrow launch what I think is going to be a movement and a growing appetite to speak in strong, tough terms. But, if they won`t do it, we will.

REID: And, lastly, what about Republicans?

Because there are some independents and Republicans -- I always think independents are basically just Republicans who don`t want to be called Republicans anymore.

Do you -- is your message designed to get to Republicans who are uncomfortable with where their party is now and independents as well? Or are you really, really speaking mainly to the base of the Democratic Party?

WINSLOW: No, very, very much, we`re trying to get to those Republicans who might want to rebel against the Trump wing of the party, and also certainly to independents.

Back during the presidential campaign, we did a video in Pennsylvania that got 10 million views. We did one in Michigan that got another 10 million views. Those were very much speaking to Republicans and to independents. And I think they had their effect.

REID: Don Winslow, you`re very good at this. I really appreciate you. It`s been really interesting just watching your videos and watching how your mind works. It`s really smart.

And, hopefully -- it`s not even just about Democrats anymore. This is literally about democracy or not democracy. So, hopefully, people will listen.

Don Winslow, thank you, sir. Appreciate you.

And coming up: Republicans cannot seem to live up to their talking point of being compassionate consensus builders on abortion. Huh. Curious. Weird.

Back in a sec.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:19]

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): For the Supreme Court to -- on any issue, to reach a decision contrary to public opinion, it`s exactly what the Supreme Court is about, is to protect basic rights, even when majorities are in favor of something else.

It happens all the time.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

REID: Huh. That right there was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell going through some serious mental gymnastics to defend the Supreme Court`s deeply unpopular draft opinion overturning Roe by saying that stripping women of their rights, well, that`s just protecting basic rights.

You don`t like it? OK.

If you can`t tell, Republicans are having a hard time figuring out just what to say and do when it comes to abortion, now that they`re the dog they caught the car. Last week, Republicans running for Senate were told to assure voters that they were the compassionate consensus builders on abortion.

And then Republicans in Louisiana went ahead and approved legislation that would classify abortion as murder, which would automatically trigger a life sentence without the possibility of parole for women and their doctors. The bill would also criminalize certain types of contraception and IVF.

Well, yesterday, after massive national blowback, they decided that locking up women for life might not be such a good idea politically. The Louisiana Statehouse voted to rewrite their bill. Unsurprisingly, the replacement bill is just as stringently anti-abortion, not only sets prison time and fines for abortion providers. It could also make some forms of birth control illegal in the 21st century.

Joining me now, "New York Times" columnist Michelle Goldberg and Dean Obeidallah, host of "The Dean Obeidallah Show" on SiriusXM.

And, Michelle, making the argument that just because it`s a minority opinion, that doesn`t mean it isn`t -- it`s bad, well, that`s weird, when you`re stripping half the population of their votes. I mean, people didn`t like Brown v. Board. A lot of white southern parents reacted to it by stripping their kids out of public school and putting them in private school and then demanding to get a tax break.

That doesn`t mean desegregation was right. Your thoughts?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I actually do think that they`re correct that the Supreme Court doesn`t necessarily depend for their legitimacy on majority support for their decisions.

The problem is, is that you have layers upon layers upon layers of minority rule, right? You have these judges that were placed into their positions by presidents who didn`t win the popular vote in many cases. Then you have states that are gerrymandered so that, and, often, if people -- even if people do oppose these incredibly stringent abortion bans, it will be extremely difficult for a majority of the vote to translate into a majority of the legislature.

So you have various institutions of American life that are kind of working undemocratically in many instances to strip women of this fundamental liberty.

REID: Right.

I mean, Dean Obeidallah, people imposing a religious diktat on a majority who doesn`t want it, that`s what the Taliban does. So, saying, well, just because people don`t like it. Yes, a lot of people don`t like what the Taliban does, but that doesn`t mean them putting this fake religious diktat based on their misinterpretation of Islam, that doesn`t make that OK either.

But I guess, to Mitch McConnell, they`re the Taliban. They`re in charge. What are you going to do?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, MSNBC DAILY COLUMNIST: By the way, the Taliban just sue the GOP for trademark infringement right before the show.

(LAUGHTER)

OBEIDALLAH: They were very upset with what they`re doing.

Look, Joy, I love the fact that you`re talking about this what it is. This is religious tyranny. These are people -- even the governor of Oklahoma, Governor Stitt, a few weeks ago signed a ban on abortion, saying, these are my religious beliefs.

And then they don`t take the next step further. Well, I`m going to make these, my beliefs, the law of the land, and I don`t care what your religion is. I don`t care about your religious liberty.

REID: Right.

OBEIDALLAH: I don`t care if you`re of no faith. I`m going to arrogantly make you live within my law, which, to me, is a violation of First Amendment.

It says Congress shall not establish any religion. That applies the states too. It is unconstitutional, it`s un-American. And, Joy, for years they said, Muslims, we wanted to impose Islamic Sharia law.

[19:45:05]

REID: Sharia law.

OBEIDALLAH: We didn`t. They were projecting the whole time.

This whole goal was the American Taliban. And now we`re seeing it come to life. And the victims will be women having the loss of the control of self- determination and self-autonomy.

REID: Yes, I mean, and, by the way, that`s also the literal plot of "The Handmaid`s Tale." A small religious extremist group imposes their first -- their Old Testament views on an entire country and by force makes people comply.

Let`s go on to some -- another woman. Let`s talk about one particular woman. Her name is Elise Stefanik. She is the number three member of House leadership in this country. The Republicans replaced Liz Cheney, who, whatever you think of her politics, is a serious person, with her.

Here`s what she tweeted today: "The Republican -- the White House, House Dems and the usual pedo grifters are so out of touch with the American people than, rather than president any plan of urgency to address the nationwide baby food formula crisis, they double down on sending pallets of formula to the Southern border. Joe Biden has no plan."

And I will start with you first on this, Michelle. She has combined QAnon lies about the Biden administration and an apparent desire to starve migrant children. She got the trifecta. Your thoughts?

GOLDBERG: Well, I think it`s worth taking it one by one.

I mean, the QAnon part is especially striking, because it just goes to show, I think, something that will show up and on the right as being so extreme, that we will think is so outside the bounds even of the Trumpified Republican Party, it -- yet it goes right from the fringes to the center kind of in the blink of an eye.

There is nothing that is too extreme for this party, right? This is the number three person in the Republican House leadership, a person who had a reputation as a moderate, someone who wanted to build bridges to women, I mean, just four or five years ago, right?

This change is so abrupt, and it`s just because that`s sort of how you have to talk to maintain power in what this party has become.

REID: Yes.

GOLDBERG: And then there is this -- the baby formula shortage, which is extremely serious.

But the idea that the problem behind the baby formula shortage is because undocumented immigrants are getting it all is -- I mean, like you said, it`s both a lie. And the idea that their answer is, starve children in captivity, I think, shows you a lot about the pro-family -- the sort of moral basis of the pro-family party.

REID: This is why I don`t call them pro-life, Dean.

I won`t call them that.

OBEIDALLAH: No.

REID: Because they`re literally like, starve those brown kids, because the brown kids are the -- are the enemy. They`re the problem.

OBEIDALLAH: Look, I didn`t see -- I looked at least Elise Stefanik`s Twitter feed, and I don`t see her denouncing a former RNC staffer who was sentenced to about 15 years in prison for child pornography last month. Where`s that?

Where are the Republicans denouncing the former RNC staffer, former GOP staffer that did that? And the reality is, remember Hillary Clinton called them deplorable? She was being nice, OK

REID: Yes.

OBEIDALLAH: This is much worse. This is despicable.

To call your political opponents pedophiles? And the cruelty towards brown people, that`s -- that just makes you a Republican now.

REID: Yes.

OBEIDALLAH: So, to me, there`s no bottom. I don`t know how much deeper it gets, but they`re going to incite violence. And they don`t care. And that`s the worst part of this.

REID: It`s insidious.

We`re talking about a lot of women today, so I do want to talk about a woman -- and this is a case -- I`m going to stay with you for a second, Dean -- that I didn`t think got enough attention. We talked about it a little bit on this show.

And this was the shooting death of Shireen Abu Akleh. She is an American. She`s Palestinian American, much like yourself, my friend. And she was a really boss journalist who was one of the most popular journalists at Al- Jazeera, known around the world.

Her funeral was epic. It was one of the largest funerals, at least according to some journalists there, in Palestine that were -- that has been seen, right? It was in -- and she -- it was in Jerusalem.

And then this happened. Members of the Israeli security services or Israeli police went after the -- they were literally carrying her casket, got set upon by police, who hit them with batons. They almost dropped the casket. You can see the melee here.

The State Department has responded to it. Antony Blinken said they`re deeply troubled and made a statement. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas- Greenfield also tweeted out a statement that this was unacceptable and called it a tragedy of her killing. This woman was shot while she was being a reporter.

What do you make of the kind of -- I don`t know. What do you make of the U.S. response? Do you think it has been robust enough?

OBEIDALLAH: No. It never is. Palestinian lives barely matter when they were alive. They don`t even matter when they`re dead here, clearly what`s going on.

The Israeli police did not have to be there. This was in East Jerusalem. She was a Christian woman, but Christians and Muslims had come together as Palestinians to stand up for her, maybe even some progressive Jewish people perhaps there as well.

But the Israeli police went there, some of them on horseback, and were looking for trouble. And not only did they do what they did. You can watch the video closely. They are striking unarmed people in suits and ties who are mourning.

[19:50:10]

They literally ripped down Palestinian flags. What were the Palestinian flags a threat to? Nothing. Just the idea of being Palestinian is a threat to some of the right-wingers there. I`m a threat to them being on television here as an American Palestinian.

So, this was one of the most egregious things I have ever seen in my life. And I have seen a lot with the Palestinian issue. And the Israelis not even letting a woman be buried in peace and be honored? There was no need for this. They were looking for trouble.

I wonder if the investigation leads to anything. And with, the shooting we don`t know who shot her, but the eyewitnesses say it was the Israeli forces. We need a real investigation, not the Israeli military investigating. That`s like Trump investigating January 6. You can`t let that happen.

REID: And, Michelle, it feels like there`s just a sclerosis in American politics here.

I mean, the moral clarity that we have seen about something like Ukraine, where it`s like, yes, one country should not occupy another country and fight them, right, and that the people being occupied should fight them back, right, there isn`t that moral clarity. Obviously, in the Middle East, it`s a very complicated situation.

But it doesn`t seem like the U.S. knows what to do or even what to say, when violence happens in the Middle East. Can you sort of get to the bottom of why it does seem so sclerotic and, I don`t know, so difficult for the U.S. to even respond?

GOLDBERG: I mean, I cannot get to the bottom of U.S. hypocrisy on Israel and Palestine in the length of a cable television segment.

I will say that we have a long history in this country of kind of justify - - of assuming that, because Israel`s security is threatened, anything that Israel does is justified, any overreaction, any provocation.

I mean, it`s interesting that, when you look at the Israeli authorities` statement about what happened, they said that the Palestinian -- that the mourners were shouting, I believe it was, nationalist incitement, right?

So just shouting slogans becomes a justification for this kind of attack. And people I think who have spent any time in the region know that this -- one thing that`s unique about the way these mourners were treated was that it was caught on film and broadcast on American television.

But I think people in Palestine are treated egregiously very, very often. And it`s actually only quite recently that there`s any space in our politics to discuss or denounce that.

REID: Yes.

And I think the other element here is that we`re talking about an American, an American journalist. And one would think that this is an issue that should be of importance to the American government. We need to protect our journalists, our people.

And the Palestinian people are human beings and deserve respect and deserve to bury their dead.

Michelle and Dean are sticking around with us, because, after the break, we`re going to play our favorite game, "Who Won the Week?"

And that is next. Don`t go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:33]

REID: It is Friday, which means it`s once again time to play my favorite game, ah, yes, "Who Won the Week?"

Back with me, Michelle Goldberg and Dean Obeidallah.

Let`s see, let`s see, let`s see. Let`s go to Michelle first, ladies first.

Michelle Goldberg, who won the week?

GOLDBERG: I -- well, this is one of those weeks where my first impulse was that there were no winners this week.

REID: Yes.

GOLDBERG: But then I really -- I thought about the actor Ben McKenzie, the one person in Hollywood who has been out there warning everyone about crypto Ponzi schemes and scams and calling out other actors for hawking these, like, extremely dubious, financially -- financial speculative products.

And the kind of crypto meltdown, I think, this week shows how right he was all along and how brave he was to be out there alone, when so many of his peers were trying to make a quick buck.

REID: It has been really wild to see the tanking of all these different cryptocurrencies like all at once and all the wealth that`s been deleted. Pretty, pretty crazy. That is a good choice.

Dean Obeidallah, you have got a tough act to follow. Who won the week?

OBEIDALLAH: I will see your Ben McKenzie and raise you a Karine Jean- Pierre.

Karine Jean-Pierre is now officially, just now, the new White House press secretary, as Jen Psaki, who was fabulous, has signed off. And Karine tweeted, retweeted her sign-off. So she`s there. She`s making history, first black woman, the first openly gay.

Also, she`s my friend.

REID: Yes.

OBEIDALLAH: My friend is the White House press secretary. You know how cool that is?

REID: It is.

OBEIDALLAH: And the other thing is, all week, she`s been -- she`s been triggering the bigots on the right.

And every time we trigger a bigot, an angel gets their wings.

(LAUGHTER)

OBEIDALLAH: So`s been making angels too. So, it`s a great week.

REID: I love Karine. She is -- it`s always great when nice girls finish first, because she is genuinely one of the sweetest, kindest, most lovely people ever.

Jen Psaki is awesome as well. She is -- they are -- they`re both fabulous. But, yes, I`m so proud of Karine. She`s our friend. We love her. She`s fabulous.

OK, well my winner for who won the week is, of course, the great diva Dolly Parton. Dolly Parton just wins the week just by being Dolly Parton. But, this week, she teamed with the Imagination Library. It`s her charity that sends books, our favorite thing.

And we know book banning is like all the rage on the right here in the United States. But Dolly is sending books to refugee children. And the kids get a book every month until they are 5 years old. It is such a cool, cool thing.

And only Dolly Parton could make reading even cooler than it already is, because you know I love a library. So, I love a book. So, we love you, Dolly Parton. You`re awesome. You won the week.

Michelle Goldberg, Dean Obeidallah also won the week, because you guys are amazing.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.