tv The Ed Show MSNBC June 6, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
democrats and the middle classers of america. you don't want to miss it. this is the ed show. let's get to work. >> comfortable with all that outside money that came in and frankly overwhelmed tv stations? >> citizens united saved the day for scott walker in wisconsin. >> we've got to change the recall process. >> we'll go inside the numbers from last night with john nichols of "the nation" magazine. and i'll tell you why democrats and labor need a major wake-up call. responsible austerity measures of reining in government growth really will help our nation. >> wisconsin's the tip of the iceberg. >> and conservatives say scott walker with's win should mean austerity everywhere. >> austerity, who'd have thought it. >> tonight, thomas frank and e.j. dionne will tell you why the righties are dead wrong. good to have you with us tonight, folks. thanks for watching. governor scott walker and his allies took a victory lap of sorts today after winning the recall election in wisconsin. walker's divide and conquer strategy worked, but so did his lie and buy strategy. walker misrepresented his own
record and used at least $30 million in spending to his advantage. walker is so confident today, he's telling mitt romney how to campaign in the badger state. >> i think it will be a competitive wisconsin. the key for governor romney to be competitive enough to win is i think he's got to lay out a clear platform, something similar to what our friend paul ryan has done just down the way, and i think if he does something like that and he makes a compelling case to the people of wisconsin that he's willing to take those kind of risks that would get america back on track for our kids and our grandkids' kids, he can win. >> romney spoke with reporters on a conference call today. he promoted walker's record as a template for the rest of the country. >> the vote that we saw last night in wisconsin said that people in what many have considered a blue state, it hasn't voted for a republican for president since 1984, a blue state said, we've seen a conservative governor, he cut back on the scale of government and has held down taxes and stood up to the public sector
unions and we want more of than less of it. >> bob mcdonnell went on msnbc to gloat about the so-called success of walker's reforms. >> to be the politician that stands up and says, this is what we need to do, this is what we can afford, and if you do these things, we'll get results and bring in jobs and reduce our budget deficits and then it i think that's why he was so successful last night and why the unions failed. >> right off the bat, we've got walker, romney and mcdonnell are picking right up where the walker recall campaign left off. they talk about how great walker's reforms have been for wisconsin. they claim walker has cut the state's deficit and given them a surplus. but independent fact checkers aren't so sure about those claims. abc news says the deficit savings, quote, ignore the pay decreases faced by union workers as a result of the law walker signed. republicans, they don't care
about the facts. they care about how the rest of the country is going to be following walker's lead. that's where the story is with these righties now. tea party favorite rand paul says, get ready for more cuts, to the public workforce. >> this will be duplicated in state after state after state. it's happening in my state. we can't afford the pensions we promised all the government workers. >> they can't afford the pensions for the government workers or the public sector workers, because they've got to give tax breaks to the top 1%. speaking of the tea party, sarah palin also took advantage of the walker win to promote her own anti-government agenda. >> people are going to recognize through governor walker's efforts that austerity measures, responsible austerity measures of reining in government growth really will help our nation as a whole with the economic woes that we face. >> and sarah palin and the lot,
well, they forget how scott walker's austerity measures have led to the worst job creation in the united states over the past year. wisconsin is dead last. but elections have consequences and karl rove claims the consequences will echo all the way to november. >> it is a blow for the -- for organized labor, particularly, organized labor represented in public employee unions. it's going to embolden similar efforts in other states by other governors. it's clearly going to put wisconsin into play in november. >> all of these republicans are overlooking a very key fact here. a majority of wisconsinites, 70%, in fact, said that they disagreed with the recall principle on its terms. nbc polls showed that only 27% of the voters thought recalls were appropriate for anything. 60% said recalls are appropriate only for official misconduct. 10% of wisconsin voters said recalls are never appropriate. not enough wisconsinites, this is the bottom line. not enough wisconsinites were convinced the recall was justified. even if they don't approve of scott walker, most wisconsinites
were not convinced he did enough to be removed from office. so the republicans knew this, and they took advantage of it. like walker said, divide and conquer. and now the republican plan is to diminish organized labor in america, and that is playing out exactly how karl rove said it would play out last year. >> they lost 612,000 union members in in 2010 alone. now, think about it, every one of those 612,000 people had several hundred dollars worth of political dues going into the coffers. so if half a million people leave the labor movement union every year and pretty soon you start having a crimp in the political budgets of these unions, it has a direct effect on the presidential. >> so you get the reason why wisconsin is so important? the plan is working and the proof is in the numbers. take a look at how afscme membership in wisconsin dropped after the walker look took effect. this is the second largest union in the state and it lost more than half its members.
i guess you could put up the banner now, mission accomplished. folks, there is no way around the reality of what happened in the state of wisconsin yesterday. you can't put and you can't buy enough lipstick to put on political pig for the democrats. republicans figured out how to chip away at unions. it hurts the democratic party and squeezes the working class, no doubt about it. it happened in wisconsin and citizens united makes it likely it's going to happen again. you will never convince me that the outcome of this election would have been the same if the money was equal or near equal on both sides. i'll have a lot more on this later in the broadcast. get your cell phones out. i want to know what you think. tonight's question, whether walker's win affect the future of the middle class? text "a" for yes, text "b" for no to 622639.
you can always go to our blog at ed.msnbc.com. we'll bring you the results later on in the show. joining me tonight, john nichols, author of the book, "uprising". john, let's dig into these numbers a little bit. 70% of the state residents did not think that the recall was completely justified. and if you go back to the fund-raising that walker was doing early on, i remember an ad he took out way back in november, that really put i thought the nail on the head. he had, when after the people who were going for the recall, that he put this ad together. here it is. >> i'm not big on recalls and i think that at this point, in my opinion, and i'm only speaking from the eye, it feels a little like sour grapes. it's, you know, we didn't get our way and so we want to change the outcome. the person that i'm going to stand behind and that's going to
get my vote is the man or the woman that says what they mean and they mean what they say and it's not about being popular or getting the votes. it's about, this is what's right. scott walker said from the beginning, i'm going to do what's right for wisconsin and he did. he did. >> the bottom line here is, early on, you had scott walker's campaign smart enough to tell the folks of wisconsin, hey, this is bogus. and he played into that scene early on. your thoughts, john? >> my thought is that that's exactly right. that for eight months, eight months straight, scott walker and the independent groups that back him kept a constant drum beat in media saying that the recall's a bad idea. and remember, he didn't just do it in ads, he did it in virtually every interview he did with any news outlet in the state or out of the state.
and so people constantly heard that the recall was unfair, that it was a bad idea, that it shouldn't be done. and in addition to governor walker, at the close of the campaign, you had about a month and a half of steady independent expenditure ads with wisconsinites talking to the camera about how this isn't the wisconsin way. ultimately, that -- >> the point that i'm going to make here is that, you know, that's framing the issue. first of all, this is all bogus. had he had not had that kind of money, he might not have run that ad, because he would have had to save it to go after an opponent once the opponent was listed by the democrats. but because he knew he had resources come in, framing of this whole thing was important, and in the numbers, it stuck. this was afl-cio president richard trumpka today speaking to reporters about if they had done anything different. >> would we do things differently? hell, i don't know if we'd do anything different. i think the people did a oweman's job, a great job in that state mobilizing people, getting volunteers out, getting
people excited. and i said, it's just the beginning. >> just the beginning. well, confidence, i think, might be a little bit low right now. how do you size all of that? >> well, with i'm a big fan of richard trumpka. i've known him for a long time and covered him for many years. but i think on that one, i would tend to disagree with him. i think there were things that should have been done differently. if you launch a recall, with you should spend some money up-front to explain why you're doing it. i think there should have been counter ads to the governor's ads, saying why the recall is a good idea and why it's necessary. i also think there should have been much more communication about collective bargaining. the governor attacked collective bargaining for the better part of 16 months, telling people it was expensive, it was bad, it had to go away. and there was not a sufficient counter to that. so much of the campaign ended up as a debate about whether you liked scott walker or didn't like scott walker. i would have liked, in hindsight, and i wrote about it at the time, to see more of a framing about why this recall was necessary.
and a part of why it was necessary was because scott walker attacked basic labor rights. the rights of people to organize and to have a voice in the workplace and in our political life. >> all right. so walker and the republicans win. they already got the narrative out there that this is the type of the iceberg. in wisconsin, the good news is the democrats got the senate back. they won one of four senate recall seats. what does that mean? does that mean nothing gets done in wisconsin now and walker can make a bigger play on the national level? >> well, this is election year, and we've had our filings for the fall elections, and so there's going to be a lot of campaigning. but this is the important thing to take away from it. for all of the talk and all of the spin, and certainly, accepting the reality that the governor won his victory last night, the democratic party is in a stronger position in wisconsin than it has been at any point since 2010, in the sense that for the first time, it can stop the governor from advancing an initiative in a
special session of the legislature. he cannot move on new voter i.d. laws. he cannot move on new anti-environmental issues. he cannot move, if he wanted to, on right to work. and so that something significant happened today when mark miller announced that he is now the majority with leader of the state senate. >> no doubt. >> and so, no, i don't think the governor will have the power that he did as of yesterday even. >> elections have consequences. john nichols, great to have you with us. great work on this wisconsin story all along. thanks so much. remember to answer tonight's question there at the bottom of the screen. share your thoughts on twitter @edshow. we want to know what you think. citizens united had a major impact on last night's outcome in wisconsin. democrats, bottom line here, folks, need to figure out how to fight back. what's their template? i've got a comment on that, coming up, and what does the walker win mean for mitt romney in november, in anything? our panel have got some thoughts and will weigh in all of that, stay with us.
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coming up, the recall results in wisconsin, i think, need to be a wake-up call for labor in this country. commentary, coming up. big money helped put scott walker over the top. could it play a big part in some key swing states this november? i'll ask dnc communications chairman, brad woodhouse about how the party will combat the cash. and conservatives see walker's win as a defining moment for their radical agenda. how do they keep getting middle class voters to continually vote against their own self-interests? author thomas frank and "washington post's" e.j. dionne
will join me. share your thoughts on twitter #edshow. we're coming right back. whoa. right? get. out. exactly! really?! [ mom ] what? shut the front door. right? woop-woop! franklin delano! [ male announcer ] hey! there's oreo creme under that fudge! oreo fudge cremes. indescribably good. that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm. for half the calories plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8. male announcer ] we began with the rx. ♪ then we turned the page, creating the rx hybrid. ♪ now we've turned the page again with the all-new rx f sport. ♪ this is the next chapter for the rx.
this is the next chapter for lexus. this is the pursuit of perfection. okay, righties. you can get a good piece of me right now. last night wisconsin, in my opinion, was about one election and one night of disappointment. democrats, that's how we've got to look at this. but the fight, it continues on. and let me be up-front. you can't sugar coat this. i mean, you can't buy enough lipstick to put on this big political pig for the democrats. it was a rough night. a rough night for wisconsin dems, a rough night for labor, a tough night for wage earners. and to me, from the start, from the very first time we started covering this story, wisconsin
has been a big inspiration. it has been a moving story. it has been emotional. and it was last night. but the first day we started covering this, i wanted americans to see the big picture in all of this. because i knew where this was going. all those comment wes played in the first block about how they're going after labor, i've known that forever, okay? so it's about citizens united. now they've got the money to do that, and i'll be back talking about that in a moment. but what happened in wisconsin, when you lose, you have to look inside. houston, we got a problem. nbc exit polls from last night painted, i think, a pretty doggone scary picture for organized labor in this country. despite walker ending collective bargaining for public employees, 27% of union members voted for this guy?! 27% of union members said, hey, he's our guy! he's taking our voice away in the workplace, but he's our guy. amazing! and 38% of union households voted for scott walker. that's even more amazing. i'll tell you, i don't understand it. i don't get it.
this guy has gone after your wages, he has gone after your pension, he wants to limit your voice in the workplace, and union families in wisconsin, you votes for him?! if this is a smack-up time, so be it. you've got to explain to your country and to your union why the hell you did that. this guy is after -- he thinks you're the problem! he does. he thinks that the budget is out of whack and you're the problem and we're going to give tax breaks to corporations and we're going to give tax breaks to the wealthiest wisconsinites. this is -- there's something -- there's some disconnect here that i think union membership in this country has to get at the war table and figure out what's the problem. wait a minute, wait a second. that's right! president obama brought this up years ago on the campaign trail when he said folks in rural areas cling to their guns and their religion. and he was criticized for it. example "a," right there. but one thing we know, citizens united played a major role in last night's outcome. nah, you can get into the polls and look at it any way you want.
two-thirds of the money walker raised came from out of state. governor walker outspent tom barrett 7.5 to 1. that's a pretty damaging pie, especially if you're over there. when it comes down to it, walker spent88% of the money in this election against 53% of the vote. scott walker and his buddies has a lie strategy right from the start. they flooded the air waves with ads like this commercial from the national rifle association. >> this is your freedom.
this is your freedom from tom barrett gets the chance to recall your gun rights. any questions? tom barrett has a rating of "f" from the nra. don't let tom barrett recall your gun rights. >> as with we've told you on this program, that commercial absolutely false. there's no doubt the nra's big money and their last few weeks of tactics of scaring the hell out of the folks in the rural area, those sportsmen out there, that their gun's going to get grabbed from them, had an impact in this election. just look at the rural numbers. this is a map of last night's results, right here. now, you can see that tom barrett won the urban areas, walker won the rural areas. usually, where do hunters live? well, the firearms are out in the rural areas, aren't they? in milwaukee county, barrett crushed walker, 63 to 39%. in another county, he beat him 69 to 31%. the question now is, are you going to let him buy america?
senator bernie sanders put this in perspective on my radio show today about citizens united. >> i take a deep concern that what we saw in wisconsin can happen in any state throughout this country and in the presidential election. billionaires like the koch brothers and others are now prepared to spend unbelievable sums of money to elect extreme right-wing candidates. they and their friends have the ability to control the united states congress, the white house. this is an incredible undermining of american democracy. >> don't you think the gop has shown their hand for november? they are going to go back to all of these folks and say, you really got to give us the money now, because we can do this in state "x," "y," and "z." except this time, the stakes are about ten times higher than wisconsin.
democrats are going to have to figure out new ways to fight this avalanche of money. the silver lining out of all of this for the left in this country and wisconsin, this is a wake-up call for the democrats. absolutely wherever. coming up, what the democratic party and president obama can learn from wisconsin. communications director of the democratic national committee, brad woodhouse, will join me. then, whose side is he on, anyway? bill clinton says he wants to keep giving tax cuts to america's wealthiest americans. we've got to have a reality check on this one, when we come back. stay with us. ♪ surf's up everybody get your boards and your wetsuits ♪
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with welcome back to "the ed show." everyone's trying to understand if wisconsin has national implications. and for many reasons, it definitely does, as i see it. after citizens united, democrats need to find a way to combat unlimited sums of money, pouring into the conservative column. as for last night's voting patterns, there is some hope. despite walker's victory, obama, president obama, leads mitt romney by seven points. in fact, 17% of walker voters favor president obama over mitt romney. some of the discrepancy can be explained we this number. 60% of voters say that they favor recall only in the case of official misconduct. a recall was a hard sale to some people who might usually favor a democrat. one thing is certain, there are no guarantees in battleground states favoring president obama or obviously vulnerable. is the tide turning? let's turn to brad woodhouse, communications director of the
dnc. brad, good to have you with us tonight. >> thank you for having me. >> you bet. it's about the money at this point. it's ground game versus the money. on the basis of money alone, isn't the democratic party outmatched after citizens united? >> well, look, citizens united is a big deal. and thank god you've been talking about it. and we really need to talk about in the aftermath of wisconsin. i mean, look, tom barrett was outspent 7 to 1. the koch brothers gave more money to scott walker, twice as much money to scott walker, than tom barrett ever even raised. so this is a critical, critical issue. and look, i think one thing it says is that people need to help us out. i mean, they need to go to barackobama.com and democrats.org and we've got to get the money and we can't be outspent in the fall the way tom barrett was outspent in wisconsin. we can't have -- >> well, what if you were outspent like that? what if you're outspent four to
one or five to one? what's the game plan? do you have new ground troops? do you have enough organization? >> i do think we have enough organization, i think we have enough ground troops. we know for a fact -- you know, they made a big deal today about the fact that scott walker is going to turn over his offices in wisconsin to mitt romney. why didn't mitt romney have offices in wisconsin? he doesn't have offices in north carolina, three or four. they have no ground game. and you know, we're going to exploit that, but we're going to have to reach to as high as parody as we can on the spending side, but importantly, we've got to expose the evil doers. that's probably the only way to put it. >> when you look at ohio, you look at florida, you look at virginia, i mean, what happened in wisconsin could happen in those states to president obama. i mean, what, do you just react to it? how do you combat that? how do you get ready for it? >> one, we've really got to expose who's behind this
spending. and i think that we have the resources to do that and i think those on the outside that support us have the resources to do that. we need to make sure people know, why are the koch brothers interested in what's going on in wisconsin? >> well, for environmental reasons. they want deregulation, and that's exactly where walker has gone in his first term. he's done some things in that regard. they want to build a stable, conservative rulers that are going to favor them when it comes to tax laws and also industry. but the key here for the democrats, as i see it, you're going to have to come up, now that wisconsin is behind us, you're going to have to come up with some kind of confidence in your tackle box to make sure you've got something that's going to be able to fight this stuff. because who's to say this isn't going to happen in states that president obama needs? >> well, i think it very well could.
i mean, i think the key here is that we've seen in the past is, it's one thing to be outspent. you know, 1.5 to 1 or 2 to 1, if you've got the ground game, you know, if you've got the right ideas and if you've got the best candidate. you can't be outspent 7 or 8 to 1. and i don't think there's any chance that president obama's going to get outspent 7 or 8 to 1. >> right into the detail of who's voting the for who. does president obama have a hard time with white working men? >> well, i think, you know, if you look at the results in wisconsin, you might draw that conclusion. i think if you looked at results of 2008, you would see that it's a mixed bag. i think that the president has the story to tell here, and let's be clear, mitt romney's not the person to attract those votes. mitt romney was laying those people off to profit for himself and for his investors and for his partners when he was at bain capital. so we're going to have a story to tell, both about what the president's right to do, but this is not going to be a referendum. this is going to be a choice. >> i hope you have enough money to tell it, because they found out that their money does have
an influence. walker was able to frame this early on, that the recall was bogus. brad, we'll do it again. thank you. appreciate your time tonight. there's a lot more coming up in the next half hour of "the ed show." stay with us. what's your mandate, do you have a mandate and what is it? >> i think it's to move on and to move forward. >> republicans are now trying to draft scott walker for vice president. the big panel weighs in next. bill clinton has done it again. >> does that mean extending the tax cuts? >> i don't have any problem with extending all of it now. >> the white house is responding tonight. and how do republicans get middle classers to vote against their own interests? >> austerity, who would have thought it? >> thomas frank and e.j. dionne are here for the discussion. [ captain ] our landing time got moved back another hour. [ crowd chatters and groans ] ♪ [ male announcer ] hunger getting to you?
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tonight is that good policy is great politics. you know, all the experts would say, don't take these bold stands, don't take these courageous stands, don't take on the unions, don't make these tough decisions. he did the exact opposite. >> looking to see if governor walker would keep that resolve, keep that stiff spine and recognizing that as his spine stiffens, the rest of us then feel empowered. other governors across the nation feel empowered and emboldened to do the right thing for the people that they're serving. >> as predicted, they can't get enough of the guy. welcome back to "the ed show." last night's victory cemented governor scott walker's reputation as the rock star of the republican party and now some say walker could help out mitt romney in november. former bush speechwriter mark teson writes, putting walker on the gop ticket would make romney instantly competitive in wisconsin and it would force president obama to spend time and resources the defending a state he expected an easy win in november. and as the republican ticket did pull an upset in wisconsin, obama's chances for a second term would be slim to none. let's bring in msnbc
contributors, krystal ball and i didn't mean williams and abby huntsman. let's start with the future of scott walker. he is the guy who's getting all the praise. jimmy, you first. >> remember that song, it totally fits scott walker. look, i have a weird opinion about this whole wisconsin -- i don't like recalls. i think that's a wimpy way out -- >> well, they do now. look, it's propped him up to be a hero. >> it certainly has. i don't like ballot initiatives. i think buyer's remorse stinks. if you don't like who you voted for the first time, perhaps you should go out and do a little education. but now that they've got him twice, they've got him big-time, bigger this time than last time. okay, fine, put him on the freaking romney ticket and guess what happens? >> what do you think, krystal? >> there's no way that romney's going to put someone who has $150,000 sitting in a legal defense fund -- >> what were you going to say,
jimmy? what happens? >> democrats win wisconsin in left-hand side. >> abby, like this? >> there's been a new vp candidate every single day, it seems like. >> because we don't have one yet. >> i do want to give governor walker credit, i think we all should. i like what david gergen said about this is really a psychological win for the republicans, skmefs very much the leader of that movement. and it became very much a national campaign. and i thought he handled it very well. he remained sane -- you're giving me a bad look, ed -- >> how can i give you a bad look? the guy won. i can't sugarcoat it. >> he won with an even greater percentage this time, i think 37% of which said that they were in favor of the unions. but they still voted for him, because he's doing things, the economy is still at 6%, which is lower than the national average, and people are clearly happy there. >> he's doing things, all right,
and to your point, he made it a national campaign. 64% of his funding, his $29 million, came from outside the state. so no question, he is a national right-wing celebrity now. >> he does have experience going around the country raising money. >> he absolutely does. i don't think -- i can't see them putting him on the tick this time around, but 2016 is not that far down the road. and you never know. >> i don't want to rain on anybody's parade, but we should mention that there is a john doe investigation going on. >> exactly. >> and we really don't know. we don't know the outcome of that. what if romney were to select him, and uh-oh, here come the feds. >> well, that's happened to nominees. that's happened to potential nominees. >> if we know romney, he's going to make the most calculated choice. >> he's going to make the most private equity choice. >> and if he wants a wisconsin guy who's a celeb on the right
and doesn't have those sort of investigation issues, paul ryan is another potential option. >> what do you make of the numbers that came out, a lot -- 18% of the people that voted for walker said that they're going to vote for obama. >> i'll tell you. this election wasn't really about collective bargaining, it really wasn't about scott walker. it was about the recall itself. and as you've been pointing out, 70% of people said they weren't comfortable with the recall itself. and so that's why you see such a split between people who are -- who voted for scott walker to stay in office and people who are willing to vote for president obama. and one other thing i will add to that, i think this is a classic example of democratic hang wringing. oh, is it okay to have a recall. should we be giving to super pacs. it is okay to attack mitt romney on his -- >> well, the recall gave him the control of the senate. there were nine recall elections last summer. the democrats won five of them. >> right. >> now, there's 1.2 million democrats that were okay with the recall. >> yes, just not enough of them. >> but to the 17% that said they're still going to vote for obama, i think people are making too much out of how this will affect the general election. if you look back in 2003 when there was a recall in
california, the vote still went democrat in 2004 with kerry. so this could very well, i would guess it would two to obama. >> with all due respect, that's california. >> but a democrat the last -- >> california's never voted republican, at least since reagan -- i could be wrong on that one. i'm not disputing what you're saying and i see the correlation. look, that was completely 1,000% about the fact that people at home in wisconsin didn't like people from not home in wisconsin walking into their state and telling them what to do with their crappy governor. day didn't like it. and i'm from south carolina. if somebody walked into my state and said, nikki haley, we're going to recall you, i would be opposed to it, despite the fact she's a terrible governor. >> was it local enough? >> i think it was completely -- >> all right, abby, what about romney in wisconsin? does this change the landscape for him? >> i think it definitely does. i think he definitely has momentum right now. i don't know how long that will list. but obama clearly has the lead there. >> does he put resources in wisconsin now? >> i think he already has.
i think he's definitely moving on that. >> i hope that he does. i think that would be a big mistake. if you look at -- in my home state of virginia, for example, there's a tendency when people put -- when swing voters vote for one party, then they want to give the other side a hearing. so if virginia, my home state, they have never voted for a governor of the same party as the president since the '70s because they like divided government. i actually think, i brought some lipstick to put on your pig, your political pig. i brought a little bit of lipstick. i think there could be a little bit of a backlash -- >> what shade is it? it's got to be really, really red. >> it's red. >> let's talk about citizens united for just a moment. what are the democrats going to do? they don't have a game plan, other than to get boots on the ground. >> i think this could happen in ohio, this could -- you think sherrod brown's a little bit nervous? they're already throwing $6 million at him. we haven't even got started. this could happen in florida, this could happen in virginia. what's the game plan here? i think the republicans found out a lot about citizens united
in wisconsin. >> i agree, but i'm still going to go back to the fact that it's going to come down to the economic numbers. that's what it's going to be about. there's obviously so much money being put into both races right now, but at the end of the day, people are going to say, is my life better? and obama hasn't done a great job of reminding people of what he's done over the last four years. i think he's got to re-frame his message around what he has done, what jobs has he created. >> i agree with abby. he has not done a good enough job telling people what he has done. he should do it more. >> krystal ball, jimmy williams, and abby huntsman, thanks so much. coming up, what the heck was president clinton thinking. find out why the heck republicans are so thrilled that some say that he's on their side now, when we come back. stay with us. with everything. but instead she gives him capri sun super-v. with one combined serving of fruits and vegetables. new capri sun super-v.
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well, confusion junction here or what? former vice president bill clinton is giving the republicans a lot to be happy about tonight. he's decided to distance himself from president obama when it comes to extending tax cuts for the wealthiest americans. take a listen. >> i don't have any problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending levels. they're still pretty lo, the government spending levels. the real issue is not whether they should be extended for another few months, the real issue is whether the price the republican house will put on that extension is the permanent extension of the tax cuts, which i think is an error. >> just last week president clinton said that mitt romney's business career had been sterling. now he's saying that the president should extend the bush tax cuts that continue to hurt the economy. that's an argument that could be made. last night nbc's brian williams asked the former president if he's off-message.
>> mr. simon may think i should be an employee of the campaign, but i'm not. i'm trying to help the president win re-election because i think he's done a better job than most people know and i think, you know, i've been aghast by all this flutter about it. i think that i'm not, i don't think i should have to criticize romney personally to disagree with his politics. >> hours later, clinton issued a clarification. he says he only wants to extend the bush tax cuts for a little while, not permanently. but the damage has been done. the republicans are spinning clinton's words right into gold. senator orrin hatch thanked clinton for his "call to action." represent roskam calls clinton's remarks "a gift from heaven." and speaker boehner's staff wants to call the extension the clinton tax cuts. republicans sang bill clinton's praises at a press conference as well. >> even bill clinton came out for it, before he was against it. >> as the speaker indicated, coupling that with bill clinton's remarks. >> it's not often in washington
you get a bipartisan view, unless you get to former president bill clinton. >> even president bill clinton gets it. >> they don't miss an opportunity, do they? let's get real. we're talking about cutting taxes for the wealthiest 2% of americans. white house spokesman jim carney told reporters today, president barack obama will not, i could not be more clear, he will not support extension of the upper-income bush tax cuts. bill clinton has been campaigning for the president's re-election, but all the fund-raising and speeches in the world won't change the reality about what's good for the economy. the bush-era tax cuts did not work. the tax cuts expire in january. at the exact same time, $1.2 trillion in spending cuts take effect. everyone's got to pay for it. the president's simply asking 2% of americans to just pitch in and help out on the budget. tonight, in our survey, i asked, will walker's win affect the future of the middle class?
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♪ this is the bell on the cat. [ male announcer ] it's a network of possibilities -- helping you do what you do... even better. ♪ i voted for scott walker. >> why does it matter to you? >> oh, gosh, i'm terrible at this. >> that's all right. do you feel like this election could be a factor as far as the presidential election coming up? >> i do. i think it has a big, a big effect on the presidential election, yeah. and with all the shows that i've been watching, they've been also talking about that as well. >> in the big finish tonight, citizens obviously have a right to vote any way they choose, but after last night's results in wisconsin, it looks like people are still persuaded to vote against their own economic interests.
now, just the facts. governor scott walker has not been a job creator. he hasn't hit anywhere near the 250,000 mark that he wanted. he did not create a real surplus. he's played with the numbers, no doubt, kicked the can down the road to other budgets, but there's no surplus and it's certainly not $150 million. and he is against equal pay for women. so what's going on here? i'm joined tonight by thomas frank, authors of "what's the matter with kansas" and his latest book, "pity the billionaire." an economist at harper's magazine, and e.j. dionne with us tonight. thomas, let's go to the heartland. is this another example of some working class voters going against their own economic interests? what do you think? >> come on, ed, that's the story of our times, right? going back 30, 40 years. this is what happens again and again and again. but what's going on lately, okay, in the last two, three years with the conservative movement is something really, really interesting, okay? these guys have taken a sb as
you know, a shard shift to the right, okay and they've taken sort of the politics of say, herbert hoover, and made it the new politics for our hard times moment. we're in this terrible economic slump, this persistent economic slump that doesn't go away and they have made the sort of 19th century banker view of the world, you know, the remedy for all that ails us, you know? it's an amazing accomplishment, what they've done. >> it is amazing. and they've got the money to do more of it. e.j. dionne, the working class voting against their own best interests. how you size it up? >> well, you know, i think the first role of democratic politics with a big or a small "d" is to pay respectful attention to people who did what they did. you heard it earlier, there were some people who thought a recall wasn't right. but there are real issues that progressives have to deal with because conservatives take advantage of them.
one of them is the decline in confidence in government's capacity to improve people's lives. >> to do thing. >> right. >> and that's a real dagger pointed at the heart of progressivism. because we believe government can actually improve things. one of the reasons i wrote my new book was to talk about what government had done in our history to build up the country to create institutions that made us all wealthier and progressives have a lot of work to do in that area. secondly, there's a kind of spiral going on with the trade union movement. when i grew up, unions were a vital part of life. they were a very important institution. people were in unions or had friends who were in unions. it was just part of your community. with a decline in unionization, there were fewer and fewer people who have the experience of unions. so it's easy -- it's easier to
run against them, and with such a big share of the union population and public employee unions, where public can split private and public workers against each other, the last thing, you said it earlier, is citizens united. in elections, people often vote for people and not issues. and when you look at some of the vicious ads against tom barrett that governor walker was able to run, that also undercut tom barrett's vote and got people voting on a person rather than on some of the core issues in this election. and that's normal. but it's something we've got to be aware of. >> thomas, what do you make of 37% of union households voting for walker, a guy who has gone right after their kitchen table? their voice in the workplace, their benefits, their health care, the lot? what about that? >> it's astonishing, but on the other hand, that's pretty much in keeping with how it always goes, but on the other side of that coin, that means 67% of them are voting for democrats. the amazing thing is working class people who aren't in union who tend to vote republican by massive numbers. that's what boggles the mind. look, there's two -- if you look at the arguments the conservatives have been making
for the last three or four years, this is what pity the billionaire is all about. first of all, it's extremely populous. these guys present themselves as the opponents of entrenched power, okay? they have this term they like to throw around, the ruling class. they're always going against what they call the ruling class. it's preposterous, but they say it all the time. it sort of makes sense in this upside down world they live in. the other thing is, they have this very utopian view of the world. it's very 1930s. they have this vision of the sort of heroic producer capitalist, whereas a long time ago, it would have been the heroic working man who produced -- you know, who built america. but they have this vision of, if only we could get government completely out of the picture and let the free market do everything exactly as they wanted. that would be a legitimate economy. that would be what would solve all our problems. >> thomas frank, e.j. dionne, i wish i had more time for this, because i think this is the fabric of