tv The Dylan Ratigan Show MSNBC August 22, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
insurgency flourished in both iraq and afghanistan, and the development of democracy has been deadly and at the expense of the american military. as john mccain, the republican who lost to president obama in the last election has said, americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat gadhafi. and he's right. thanks so much for watching. dylan ratigan is taking a well earned rest. fear not, matt miller has come off the bench and is ready to take us forward. matt. >> hey, martin. great to see you. a great hour ahead. fresh insight into these amazing developments out of libya. a congressman with a new job to create jobs now. plus, great news if you're married. it turns out you actually live lo longer. the show starts right now.
big story today, on the brink. big news out of libya. good afternoon. the where an abouts of moammar gadhafi still a history. the white house says there's no reason to believe he fled the country. this afternoon president obama called it time for gadhafi to end this. >> although it's clear that gadhafi's rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce further bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of libya. >> libyan rebels meantime battling throughout the day to take tripoli and capture gadhafi. nbc's richard engel has been on the ground covering what could
be the final hours of gadhafi's four-decade-long regime. >> reporter: the pro-gadhafi a era -- post gadhafi era seems to be beginning. he says today we live in freedom. rebels have been holding about 80% of the city. there have been clashes this morning. faced with this human wave of enthusiasm, gadhafi forces mostly just melted away. police are out hunting for gadhafi right now. they've captured several of his sons. saif islam has been taken by the rebels according to the rebels. >> the rebels are mostly in control, but not in total control. they're still fighting in the capital. they're very enthusiastic. but there is no government to fill in behind gadhafi. >> once again, that's history in the making. joining us now from washington, lieutenant colonel tony schafer, a man with over 25 years of experience in intelligence operations. he's now senior fellow at the
center for advanced defense studies. and kanran bakar, director for middle east and south asia analysis at stratford. welcome. let me start with you, tony schafer. what are you sources telling you about what's happening on the ground? are we really near the end of this? >> well, you're near the end of the combat, per se. but we just don't know what's going to half next. one of the things that people i think have not really internalized is the fact that this is tribal. this is east versus west. one of the issues they're looking at now is the folks from benghazi and all those tribes which were mostly loyal to the old monarchy are the ones who've been really driving this. because of this, the intermediate -- the ruling council is very reluctant to start pushing itself, insinuating itself on those folks in the west who were mostly loyal. and let's remember that as the uprising happened, most of the country started in the east. went west.
stopped for a while in miz ral ta a misratah and moved on. >> just building on that, what do you make? there are all these rival groups that have been able to come together in some way to achieve what looks like this incredible breakthrough victory. but it sounds like this may just be the end of the beginning. how do you see the tribal conflict, the power struggle now shaping up? >> i think when we look back at the fall of gadhafi, we will actually begin to think that that was the easy part. because we're looking at a very long struggle to replace the gadhafi loviathin. it has collapsed. the question is what will replace it? will something replace it? we have all sorts of disparate elements that have bounded together to oust gadhafi. that was a common goal shared by each one of them. now that's all but accomplished. the question is, will they come to an agreement on a power sharing formula? we've seen in other countries
like somalia and afghanistan where long-time -- dictators or a power vacuum as was the case in afghanistan in the '90s, that those who fought against the regime, the incumbent regime, then they fought each other once the regime was no more. >> tony, this is a case where the army or the rebel forces, whatever the right term is for it, it's not even clear what authority they actually report to, is it? i mean, they've managed to pragmatically advance for now. how do you see this shape up? what will you be looking for in the days and weeks ahead? could we face a situation like we did with -- >> the president calls fing for gadhafi to step aside ain't going to happen now. he'll continue to do what he can to resist. we have a tapestry of interests.
a tapestry of groups. no clear authority. there's rumors now they're able to seize the centers of authority within tripoli. wonderful. but what does that mean going forward? let's remember that iraq, and martin bashir just talked about the debacle in iraq. the one thing he should have said which he didn't was the actually combat in iraq was easy. it was over in a matter of a few weeks. the problem was winning the peace. that's where i don't think we've really thought this through. we don't know how we're going to proceed. this is where the challenge comes. >> what about gadhafi's sons? a couple now being held by the rebels. does that affect the dynamics of what this end game may look like? >> yes, it does, in a way. because what we are now witnessing is the reduction of the gadhafi state into just another nonstate actor. in other words, gadhafi's allies will be reduced to the status of yet another militia. that adds to the militia anarchy
that we all fear will likely take place. because there is no clear chain of command. there are no formal groups and leaders. there's the ntc headed by salam and mahmoud jabril. it's really chaotic at this point. we really need to wait and see how all of this turns out. >> tony, some folks are raising concerns already about the different weapon stockpiles that gadhafi and his forces have had, including portable anti-aircraft missiles that if they got into the wrong hands, could obviously be a disaster for the u.s. or other -- other of our allies. what's the right way to think about that? >> well, we have to look at it again by experience. iraq, something similar happened when they disbanded the iraqi army. that's where a lot of weapons went, to the insurgency.
same thing here. we've got to look at that realistically. plus one of the things i heard secretary of state hillary clinton say over the past day is that we may well be sending people in. that is both on the ground, both state department and military to help pull the weapons away from folks. boy, i don't know of any easy way to do that. once you give something to someone and they have power, the question becomes why would they relinquish that power? what's in it for them? that's what the real issue is here. what are we going to offer these folks or help offer them to help bring them back together as a country? >> does that mean we'll see nato somehow potentially intervening in a post-gadhafi libya in some way in a kind of peace keeping role or civilian infrastructure role? i mean, everyone, including yourself, has said for days that there is no infrastructure of civil society because gadhafi so decimated over four decades. >> it does raise that question of what nato will do, how nato will react if the situation on the ground turns into one where
one rebel force is going after another. even if nato makes that painful decision, which i don't think it will, but if they do make the decision to send some form of ground forces, they run up against a problem of where do you base these forces? because you need local allies and partners to be able to have an area, a stagie ining ground, then move forward to try to stabilize the rest of the country. at a time when the ntc and every other part of the country, whether it's south of tripoli or the east, they're all, you know, various factions. we don't really have a coherent partner in the country. so this is going to be the tough prerequisite before nato considers doing anything beyond what it's already done. >> tony, this transitional council as it's called, what do we really know about these folks? and are they now presumably going to be in control of
libya's oil and how does that factor into the geopolitics as this evolves? >> i first i think it's good news so far today the oil supplies have not been decimated. that was something gadhafi did threaten and was not successful in detroying. the question becomes like in iraq who gets the revenue, how is it distributed and how is it used to benefit the people. one of the issues we have to look at very deeply here, the councilist itself, this ntc, my source told me was all basically disbanded about a week ago. that all the members were basically thrown off because they're trying to come to the right mix to help basically include everybody who has to have a seat at the table. i don't believe from what my sources are telling me that that process is actually completed. so until that is actually solidified and you know exactly who you're dealing with, there's no way you can actually create a path forward and actually re-establish a social network
which will be adequate for the purpose. >> 15 seconds, kamran. quickly, what does this mean for syria as assad watches this? quickly, what's your take? >> i think it does make him nervous because yet another regime has fallen. or, you know, the first regime has fallen. excuse me. we haven't seen regime change elsewhere. but from the point of president assad, i think he's in mixed feelings. he's confident on one level because of the unique circumstances in his country. and he is worried because of the fall of gadhafi. >> all right. kamran, thanks very much for your insight. the megapanel is next. tony, you're going to be sticking around. i know you've got brand-new information about what washington knows or rather doesn't know about our role in these mideast missions and where your money is being spent. speaking of spent, shocking new facts today about the federal reserve's secret trillion dollar bailout of wall street. plus, the real cost of living single. we'll be right back. ncer ]e a where'd you get that idea?
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the united states will be a friend and a partner. we will join with allies and partners to continue the work of safeguarding the people of libya. >> the president taking time out of his martha's vineyard vacation to address the breaking news in libya and u.s. involvement in the conflict. he still opposes u.s. boots on the ground there. if the rebels are successful in taking out gadhafi, what are the implications for the obama administration? you'll recall the spike in the president's approval rating following the death of osama bin laden. even that proved to be short-lived. lieutenant colonel anthony shaffer is still with us to talk
about the politics of this. he's got new information. plus, we bring in the special monday megapanel. political commentator sam steeter. washington examiner's tim kearney. and msnbc contributor imagene lloyd webber. tony, tell us what you've learned about what congress does or doesn't know about what's going on right now. >> the president may be getting daily briefings. apparently no one on the hill is. i was talking to not so secret sources, staffers involved in the oversight process. there's no oversight process. there's really big questions which are being left unanswered relating to the appropriation process and the fact that there's been no money appropriated for the libyan conflict. no matter how you feel about it, right or left, republican, democrat, there's pretty clear indications that article -- that title 31 requirements of the anti- anti-deficiencies act are in violation. one of the situations where maybe good news, maybe not. the congress who has the real
responsibility for approving wars and overseeing them is getting nothing from the pentagon. >> sam, naturally all our viewers are familiar with title 31 of the anti-deficiency mandate, i'm sure. this is an undeclared war but big progress. is it a surprise congress is in the dark and is this good for obama? >> look, i think from the very beginning congress has completely abdicated their role in all of this. they should have either authorized it or not. frankly, president obama should have gone to congress and asked for that type of authorization. is it good for obama? i guess we'll know in six months what happens on the ground there. maybe it'll be a year. maybe we won't. i think that it's better than if we were to continue on this -- on this path without any type of results. >> how do you assess both the -- how the politics of this play for obama and in your own home country, david cameron was among the first to release some of the assets to the new transitional council. how do you see this shaping zblup we had a six-hour debate
in parliament about libya early on. david cameron didn't need to do that. i am finding it very extraordinary where here in america, many he should have gone to congress, he didn't. i don't know. there are massive problems at the moment facing especially sarkozy and of course in the uk because of the euro zone ramifications. therefore this might be a side bar of success. but really fundamentally there are so many big issues facing both obama here and those european leaders at the moment i don't know -- >> if some alternate universe ended up emerging -- huge black eye for the west, right? >> yeah. sf it's almost as if might makes right. almost as if winning a war makes it fine that it was illegal. this was a tweet out of one of your employers, center for american progress. i wonder if john boehner still thinks this war was illegal.
yes, it was still illegal even if we had won. as your previous segment pointed out, winning in this sort of thing, yeah, even if we get rid of fwa daffgadhafi, there's sti occupation. it was an illegal war when it started. it's an illegal war now that we drove gadhafi out. if we hadn't had success, obama would have gotten political blowback. which shows how little respect we have for the law. >> tim carney says the ends don't justify the means. that's a breakthrough principal on the dylan ratigan show. >> this is an easy one. if we won, great, we could have gone in, asked for authorization and got it done. we didn't do that. this was an easy win for everybody. we chose to not to the right thing. >> tony, thanks for sharing your insight on all of this. in other big news today, something that really drives me crazy and it's getting lost in a lot of libya development, which is that the thanks to bloomberg news which put in a freedom of
information act request, they got all the details on how the federal reverse actually did bail out the banks and did these emergency loans which totalled $1.2 trillion back at the height of the financial crisis. we've got some of the statistics. morgan stanley, citigroup, bank of america. morgan stanley which was not suspected to be in such dodgey shape. $100 billion in loans. cit citigroup, $100 billion. these are the institutions that in the u.s., these tend to be the capitalists who preach capitalism 364 days a year until the last day when it comes time for their bailout. these firms would have gone belly up if they didn't have a cash infusion at the time that all credit was drying up because they fund themselves on this kind of wacky overnight basis that most folks don't understand. what do you make of this new revelation? >> it really is quite extraordinary. i was hearing in the uk about how close you were to financial armageddon.
moving forward, it's important to learn. okay? how do you regulate? how do you go moving forward? we've got the problem with porch gal, ireland, grease and spain. >> i'm sure we agree on this. it tdoes seem like the bankers who were able to get -- they fought the disclosure of all this information. but who got such enormous liquidity, cash, provided by the federal fwovt government in way didn't want to disclose. obviously millions and millions of homeowners. where's the justice? >> there is no justice in this. you know, listen, we can debate the merits. you know, whether somebody was in the room and whether or not it was justified. but at the end of the day, we should have had strings attached to this that make sure this is going to happen again. now we have these banks that are bigger than too big to fail and
we have a situation even today "the new york times" reports that the attorney general from new york is getting pressure from the obama administration to stop investigating these banks and to simply settle for pennies on the dollar. >> tim, before i get you in, a friend of the show named barry ritholz. he said any honest broker of the situation, looking back on what went on, would have imposed the following conditions for this enior management of the banks. two, band all lobbying activity as a condition of any aid. remember, they're now swarming capitol hill to make sure that all the capital requirements and other regulations coming out of this are toothless. three, force a prepackaged bankruptcy. barry actually said swedish style. i thought that was a little too swedish for our show today. instead, he said, we bailed out the bondholders and management, choking off hope for a robust recovery. is he right? >> he's right. i would have not just made sure the ceos got fired. i wished that goldman sachs and
morgan stanley, i wish they didn't exist anymore. >> a radical position for a conservative. >> no. for someone who believes in the free market it's a standard position. the fact of the matter is that we saw from congress that any liberals who were like anti-corporate in a fox hole, no. they were ready to save those big banks if they thought that was needed. any conservatives who were profree market, again, under pressure they were ready to bail out these big banks. were we saving the american financial system like ben bernanke says or were we saving a handful of big banks? >> imogen, that's the thing that still troubles me. there's an insider culture. so much of the obama administration in the early days and now staffed by folks who came from wall street, involved with wall street, very close links to wall street. i think the view of the banks is that, look, you have to do this to save the system and as if a by-product of that, we retain $20 million annual bonuses while a lot of americans are kind of going under, they feel that's okay. isn't that a crazy disconnect?
>> it is absolutely crazy. you wonder moving forward why weren't more lessons learned? it doesn't seem to be any changes at all that seem to have occ occurred? >> any last word on that. >> the interesting thing today is tim carney signed off on the idea we could regulate these banks. listen, i'm not in a position to judge whether or not we were at the brink of some type of armagedd armageddon. at the very least if they're going to spend my tax dollars i want to make sure it's not going to happen again and we should have curtailed their ability to prevent it from happening. >> tim, for a principled consisten consistency, you've got to be for markets 364 days of the year, you've got to be for markets 364 days. or at least accountability or conditions on the kind of -- >> liberals, if you're going to attack big business, you also have to not be handing them taxpayers' money while we're -- >> i knew it would be liberals' fault somehow. the panel is going to stick around. up next, congressman john larson. a man with a plan to bring jobs
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we're back with our specialist, a man with a plan for job creation or at least a plan to force washington to finally produce a plan. the idea, a job super committee. it would operate much like the deficit super committee with filibuster free up or down majority voting on proposals and without all the political tricks that up to this point have prevented us from getting anything done. so could a congressional super committee on jobs actually work? joining me now, congressman john larson, democrat from connecticut. welcome, congressman. >> well, good, matt, good to be with you. >> here's my question. this seems like a fine idea. but the first thing it brings to mind is shouldn't president
obama have included something like this as a condition of the debt ceiling deal that was just done and doesn't the fact that he doesn't hold out for something like that point to a failure of leadership? >> this actually is a legislative requirement. so i wish the legislature, i wish congress, had done it. but notwithstanding, i think the focus was on the deficit. but it's at least become clear to me and i think several economists and frankly every member from congress who's gone home and spoken to people in their district, their number one concern is jobs and job creation. i think the important thing here is that both dealing with the deficit and lowering unemployment link both economic growth and job creation with actually lowering the deficit. so the two are inextricably linked and go hand in hand. and that's why i think it's a pragmatic proposal to amend the existing legislation. so that would do one of three things. either have the committee itself
take up as a vital component economic growth and job creation. and with the same reporting deadlines and the same kind of trigger, report back to congress as you described in an up or down vote. or, option "b," expand the committee. each leader appoint one additional member, bringing the total to 16 members, create a subcommittee to focus on economic growth and job creation. again with the same time constraints. and, again, with a trigger that would have an up or down vote. or a separate committee as you led with that would be parallel, same time frame, same kind of deadlines, same trigger and same vote. right now, the committee will meet for the first time on -- on or before september 16th. all committees will get a chance to report to the super committee by october the 14th, whether it deals with the deficit or in the case of my proposal, job
creation and economic growth. and then by november 23rd under the time constraints under the legislation, we'd have to come w up with a plan and a vote before december 23rd. >> sam sedar has a question. >> congressman, what would the trigger look like? i understand the trigger in the instance of the super committee as is will impose automatic cuts. what would the trigger look like from the perspective of wanting jobs to be created? >> well, much like as you know the goal with respect to the deficit committee is $1.5 trillion that they have to come up with, with cuts, in the case -- in the case of job creation and economic growth, it would be reduce unemployment to 5.5%. both the committee -- the committee is charged with coming up with a plan. in the case of the deficit and in my case with respect to job creation and economic growth. there's no shortage of ideas.
the national journal published 11 ways to impact -- impact the deficit to create jobs. they came up with 12 ways for spending. the president has a plan. there's innumerable plans that have been introduced in the legislatur legislature. it would be up to the committee to develop that plan. if they fail to take action, then there would be an up or down vote simultaneously in the house that would achieve that goal of 5.5% unemployment. >> imogen has a question. >> what sort of republican support is there for this committee idea? >> pardon? >> what sort of republican, gop support, is there for this super committee idea? >> i think in general i've had the opportunity to speak with everybody on the committee except for max baucus, which i apologize to him for, and essentially i don't think that there's a person on the committee that doesn't agree that job creation and economic growth are a vital part of reducing the deficit.
in fact, i think it assists and helps the cause in terms of reaching that specific goal. it supplements and adds to the task that they have at hand. and by the way, it's doing what every american wants. it's putting everybody back to work. it's reducing unemployment. >> quick question. i'm fwlad you gglad you guys ar ronald reagan's idea of growth -- >> and john kennedy's. >> john kennedy's too. are you willing to look at lowering osha regulations, lowering some of the epas burning on businesses as a way of creating jobs? >> i think that's what's unique about the proposal. it will allow both from the perspective of the 12-person committee, them to bring up both of those proposals and then put a vote before congress. they have to come up with the plan. i think everything should be on the table as is the case with
reducing the deficit. i think it's a way of injoining this in a way that's dynamic and has us dealing with an issue that not only will result in lowering the deficit, but as importantly, i would dare say more importantly the people i've been speaking with, create jobs and put america back to work. >> all right. john larson. the man with a plan for washington to develop a plan. thanks for your good work and for explaining that to all of us today. thanks always to the megapanel. sam sedar, jim carney and imogen lloyd webber. i still think when i listen to the plans -- anyway, perhaps we'll be surprised. thanks as always for your insights. up next, for better or worse. in sickness and health. turns out marriage may be a matter of life or death. [ male announcer ] heard this one?
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makes it timely to assess where we stand as a country on the issue of race. joining me now is harvard law professor randall kennedy, author of "the persistence of the color line: racial politics in the obama presidency." welcome, professor. >> thank you so much for having me. >> congratulations on your new book. where are we three years into the obama administration on the issue of race? >> well, we are in a complicated place. i mean, it's a remarkable thing that a black american has become president of the united states. and that says a lot of good things about our democracy. on the other hand, barack obama had to overcome his blackness to become president. and he has had to overcome his blackness in order to govern. >> say more about what you mean by that, overcoming his blackness both to win and to govern. >> well, in order to win, he had to -- he had to work a lot harder to, you know, become
president. he had to win despite the continuing prejudice that continues to face black americans. and in so far as his governance is concerned, there are lots of reasons why people are against obama. partisanship, religious reasons, ideological reasons. but race is one reason, one ingredient, in the tremendous backlash against the obama presidency as well. >> and you're clearly right. that it remains very complicated. on the one hand, the astounding achievement and the kind of matter of factness that we have a black president in the united states. yet i have black friends who when the president felt compelled to produce his birth certificate some months ago, felt that this was the kind of outrage that kind of meant that things hadn't changed as much as we thought they had. >> well, i guess, you know, it all depends on what your expectations are. i think the great mass of black
americans, anyway, have a realistic view. it was a remarkable thing for barack obama to win the presidency. i mean, after all, in the mid-20th century it was still the case that a large part of the united states, black people were still excluded from electoral politics. either by legal means or by just sheer terrorism. and so in a lifetime, a black man has become president. and so, you know, that's a very important change. and that could not have happened but for tremendous change in racial attitudes in america. >> now -- >> go ahead. >> that being said, it is still the case that black people, whether you're the president of the united states on down, black people still face, you know, racial impediments. >> now, you're a harsh critic at some points of president obama
in your book as well as an avowed admirer. how would you describe where you've been disappointed in the president? >> well, i think that the president has not used his bully pulpit enough to educate americans. and to shape the -- the ideological landscape. for instance, let me just give you one example. when he introduced sonia sotomayor to be his nominee for the supreme court, in introducing her, he said that he wanted to select people who would interpret the law, not make the law. that's one of the talking points for the right wing. the president didn't need to say that. everybody knows or should know that judicial figures, especially supreme court justices, are essentially policymakers. everybody knows that.
and he should have, you know, not essentially thrown that ideological, that rhetorical bone, to the right. he seems to have a tendency to do that. >> i want to play, we've got a sound bite from congresswoman maxine waters who is talking about the fact that blacks and other minorities have borne the brunt of this great recession. i want to play it for you and get your reaction. >> our people are hurting. the unemployment is unconscionab unconscionable. we don't know what the strategy is. we don't know why on this trip he's not in the black communities. we don't know that. >> what do you make of representative waters and what he's voicing as a concern for at least in some parts black america. >> couple of things. i think first of all i think the sentiments she expressed and the obvious anger behind those sentiments are quite marginal in
black america. that's number one. number two, the president of the united states, barack obama, is well aware of everything that congresswoman waters was talking about. he's well aware of that. but he has foes in his way that are frankly stopping him from pushing the united states in a more progressive direction. it seems to me you have to understand the limits on him and the dilemma that he faces. if he were to act in the way that she wants him to act, his chances of regaining the white house would be diminished greatly. i think most black americans recognize that. they recognize the dilemma that he faces. and, therefore, they act and say things that are a bit more realistic than what the congresswoman said. >> now, one of the issues that you take issue with, with the president, is his reluctance to
endorse gay marriage. say more about that and how you contrast that or from the point of view of someone who's come up as barack obama has understanding the importance of civil rights? >> well, i mean, respect to gay marriage, we're talking about a discrimination against a group in the law. this is not just people being prejudiced. it's not just private individuals being prejudiced. we are now talking about an invidious discrimination in the law. a person who has the civil rights background of barack obama, a person who has, you know, mobilized the -- the memory of the civil rights revolution in the 1960s, it seems to me should have a bit more empathy for, you know, gay liberation. and should do all that he can to help out on that front. i think that the president has not pushed as far on that front
as he could and as he could staying within the bounds that an electoral politician has to stay within. he has to get re-elected. but i think barack obama on this front has been frankly more timid, more cautious than public opinion would require him to be. >> and, yet, i want to put up a quote we've got from senator tom coburn just to show -- remind folks of the attitudes and obstacles that still may exist. he had -- tom coburn the other day saying the president's very bright, loves his country, but when he goes on he said he's intended to create dependencesy because it works so well for him. as an african-american male, coburn said, obama received tremendous advantage from a lot of these programs. now, apart from that being factually wrong, i think, in the case of obama in a lot of ways, it does show a certain depth of sentiment that is not far from the surface among, you know, a nontrivial part of the
population. you're someone who honors both the pragmatic need for obama to operate as a politician as well as the goal that he act in principled ways to move the ball down the field. how do you view that in light of what coburn said? >> listen, i think what you just read is the sort of reaction that obama faces. frankly, that's just a light version of it. it's a lot rougher out there. i think that people who are critical of the president, and i'm critical of the president, obviously, in certain ways as i've already voiced, have to always be attentive to the pragmatic, the practical realities on the ground. and progressives, in being critical of the president, have to realize that basically we live in a center right leaning country. especially on cultural issues. and when we push the president, we have to recognize the limits that he faces. what progressives have to do is change the landscape within
which barack obama must move. if we could push things further to the left, i think barack obama would come behind us. but progressives are going to have to move things and allow that to happen. >> all right. that's wise counsel from randall kennedy. we're going to have to leave it there for you. the book is "the persistence of the asubtle and poamerica three years into the obama presidency." thanks, professor, for join megatoday. next, "hardball." first, kelly goff is here with a rant about presidential candidates who don't stand a chance. why don't they bow out for their sakes and for ours? my doctor told me calcium
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this is monday, which means it's kelly goffs turn in the daily rant. take it away. >> thanks, matt. after new york became a political punch line last year thanks to our candidates for governor, among them madam kristen davis and jimmy the rent is too damn high mcmillan. one said maybe i've lived in new york too long, but i don't really find the people running that strange. no stranger than who we see on the subway every day. some felt the inclusion of such wacky candidates diminished the process. my question is this. were they really any less serious about being governor than a candidate like newt gingrich is about being president? critics accuse candidates like kristen davis and jimmy mcmillan of running for office for the so sole purpose of generating publicity. they wouldn't be the first candidates to do so and they won't be the last. the question is should we care?
at this point no one including newt gingrich himself actually believes he wants to be president. not even his staff, most of whom quit after he headed to the greek islands shortly after his campaign began. it was also reported he is planning a campaign swing in hawaii that conveniently coinsides with his anniversary. i know when i think of key primary battlegrounds i think of iowa, new hampshire and hawaii. gingrich as his fellow long shot candidates, rick santorum, herman cain and others follow in the footsteps of countless candidates who have run for office not because they actually believe they can win. in some cases they don't even want to. instead they want the prestige and, yes, publicity that running can bring, allowing them to increase their speaking fees, possibly land a high profile, high paying media gig or in the case of gingrich and his wife generate publicity for their production company. candidates ran for office and lost so much that even supporters were hard pressed to describe exactly what they did for a living besides running for
office and appearing on television after they lost. what's wrong with candidates who bring a little pizazz to the political process, wanting a little publicity in return? as entertaining as they may be, these fringe candidates rarely elevate the debate and distract us from viable candidates on the issues that really matter. the rare exception being fringe candidates who clearly state they are running to challenge their party on a singular issue. this election fred carver has tried to do just that. challenging the gop on gay rights. yet he has been largely shut out of debates unlike gingrich. you know who else has been shut out of the presidential debates on the gop side? jimmy the rent is too damn high mcmillan. he recently announced his run for the republican presidential nomination. so who knows. maybe he and gingrich should plan to team up. they would certainly make an interesting ticket. and generate lots of publicity. >> well said as always, keli.
couple thoughts. my guess is newt gingrich does want to be president. he wants to be anointed. he doesn't want to have to go through the messy business of having to win outside a georgia district that was able to send him to congress. a guy like herman cain, i've thought from the beginning they're going to find someone named abel and pair him in a show called cain and abel once the thing is done. >> you should fwget a check for that. >> i guess i would put ron paul in that category. he's got no chance. but i believe he's a guy, a man of conviction who has been trying for 30 years to advance this point of view and a presidential candidacy is the best platform. should we really begrudge him that? i don't think we'll see a ron paul tv show. >> it's a fine line. people could say the same thing about forbes, the flat tax. love him or hate him. i do think it's a fine line. what's frustrating, remember even with the democratic primary last time around you had so many more candidates on the stage and i never really felt like w w