tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC December 22, 2013 4:00am-4:31am PST
going on offense. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. big growing and scary difference at how people are doing in this country. i'm talking about the vast difference between what the ceo at the top is getting and what the person down the line is taking home. let me tell you this vast difference in how people are doing is political pay dirt and guess who knows it. first of all the president. second the republicans. they hate this talk about the
minimum wage being too low. a former republican member of congress told me he didn't like it when minimum wage stayed up there for months in a row. why? because the american public thinks a jump in the money we pay people working at the edge of the workforce is a wonderful idea. guess what? and this means tens of millions of workers stand to benefit if the president gets a bill through the house. and another thing and this is something every labor leader with moxie knows, the more you boost the minimum wage, the more you pressure wages up the line. you give the dishwasher a jump to $10 an hour and you have to give the person cooking a jump too. welcome to 2014. this is going to be a year with any luck the president will be riding a gung ho economy and a higher stock market and some real economic growth out there. the perfect time to be talking to middle america about shrinking that huge disparity between the top and the rest of the country. eugene robinson for "the washington post" and an msnbc political analyst of course.
and joy reid, an msnbc contributor. the economic policy institute estimates that 14% of the u.s. workforce would be affected. that's one in seven workers. and that 30 million workers would get a raise if the minimum wage increased to $10.10 by 2015. today in his final press conference of the year, president obama talked about his goals for 2014, the year coming up. although he didn't use the term minimum wage, the president made clear reference to the need to give living wages to workers. let's listen to him make the point. >> i think 2014 needs to be a year of action. we've got work to do to create more good jobs, to help more americans earn the skills and education they need to do those jobs and to make sure those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let families build a bit of financial security. >> gene, let's talk about this. you know, so many things are controversial but when you pick up the paper and two-thirds of the people say they want it.
>> it's not controversial. people like the idea of a higher minimum wage. people understand that the minimum wage has lagged and that $7.25 is ridiculous at this point. not just in the city. >> it's $280 a week before taxes and fica and everything that's taken out of it. >> exactly. >> try living on that in the washington, d.c., area. or try out in west virginia or down in georgia or any place. i mean, that's not very much money. i think if the president frames this as a way to preserve the middle class character of this society, because that's in many ways what makes this country great. >> the huge number of people who think of themselves that way. >> some are rising on top and some settling to the bottom. it's a different country. >> let me ask you, joy. talk is big. it's an issue that affects the whole structure. not just a wage issue. you kick it up in the bottom, push it all the way up. pushing economics.
the question is, will that be good for the economy? i remember henry ford that wasn't great in some issues, but he said i want my workers to be able to buy one of my cars. which is smart. >> exactly. the difference is -- one thing the recession did was a great leveller. before you had a middle class, you had a striving middle class and sort of identifying themselves in a lot of ways with the rich. the apparitional 1990s where everybody feels like i could be a dot-com millionaire. now you have people who found themselves for the first time in the lower middle class. who used to think of themselves as middle class. when i was a kid you go to a fast food joint, the person behind the counter was a teenager. now the person in a fast food joint is a parent with kids, a mom raising a family. you now have adults, not just seniors and teenagers in those low wage fast food checkout type jobs. you have people who are trying to run a household on that income.
americans really understand this. now you have an issue broadened out to the middle class where they can identify themselves. with the lower wage worker. they're not an alien too lazy to get a better job. they're your neighbor, your dad, your brother-in-law. and people when they can understand that, the minimum wage feels like something that affects them too. >> when i go to the airport here reagan national. i got to get used to everything. there's always a bunch of people making burgers. there's like an assembly line. five guys. one thing is they don't stop working. >> no. >> they are working eight hours and making hamburgers. how would you like eight hours straight of nonstop burger making? nonstop. you can see them working. >> it's called work. it's hard work. >> i don't know what they're making. i don't think they're making ten bucks. >> right. and this is something that americans understand and that some in the republican leadership don't understand is that americans understand people are working for the minimum wage
or near the minimum wage. work punishing hours and often because the wages are so low have to take a second job or a third job in order to make ends meet. >> let's talk about this. you write columns about this all the time. the big picture question of american. good conservatism. you have to keep society together. you have to have social security, you have to have national health care of some kind, something to make everybody a participant. otherwise you have resolutions. it doesn't hold together. one way to keep people together is to give them a decent wage. members of the senate democratic leadership team, that's harry reid on down, are clearly going after this income inequality issue. they say it's going to be a top priority coming next year. and that's coming soon. and dick durbin even referenced pope francis in this regard. let's listen. >> he warned that income inequality leads to a global --
globalization of indifference. >> there's no bigger challenge we have than income inequality. we must do something about it. >> the decline of middle class incomes and the difficulty in average people getting good paying jobs has overtaken the deficit as the number one problem facing our political economy today. our republican colleagues should take note. >> you know, the politics of this, i'm now going to get into the ethnic piece of this. bitching, if you will, about people getting food stamps and the stereotypes on this that is ethnic and saying we don't want to give money to people that don't do any work. the bums. then they go to work and they catch the bus at 6:30. then they may have two jobs to do it. but screw them. i'm not going to give them minimum wage. it seems that's harder for republicans. >> it's harder and it makes no sense.
you know, we want people to work. >> get them off the welfare role. >> people go to work and yet they don't make enough money to live. then you have a supplement what they make with food stamps or housing assistance. >> or else tell the bosses to kick up the wages a little. >> exactly. exactly. if you get them a living wage, then you don't have to pay for the federal benefits. >> joy, you young lady, i've got to ask you. do you see the conundrum here? they sit around and lace into people that aren't working. they're watching television all day and sitting on the couch. then when they find out they are working, then how can they get a mad at them saying get off the couch and go to work. oh, you're at work? oh, let's cut your wages and keep you at the bottom. you have to give relief in some direction. if you don't give money, how about relief for the people that's working. >> exactly. then you wind up, as eugene said, subsidizing them with the very thing conservatives hate the most which is food stamps and public assistance because the wages aren't enough. and there's a conservative case for this too.
to your point earlier, chris, if you don't have consumers, the great bubble, the huge economic bubble that took place after world war ii was about this influx of consumers. it wasn't just because americans were going to work. they were going to work for wages that allowed them to buy the refrigerators and the home gadgets and to get the latest television technology and bring that in the home. >> thank you eugene robinson and joy reid. what started out as offensive comments has turned into a political story. ted cruz, bobby jindal and of course, sarah palin are all out there defending the star of duck dynasty, phil robertson. reminding everyone that the republican party, there he goes again, ignoring the lessons of 202012. remember the autopsy? still dead. >> sanctions over iran and in the senate imposes harsher sanctions, this deal could come apart. that would be bad news for those of us who don't want another war.
>> one of the best movies of the year, one all about -- we're going to count that down. imagine ab scam, the biggest of the '70s maybe being the number one movie of 2013. let me finish with the need for america to speak with a single voice on matters of nuclear war. this is "hardball," the place for politics. open to ambition. open to bold ideas. that's why new york has a new plan -- dozens of tax free zones all across the state. move here, expand here, or start a new business here and pay no taxes for ten years... we're new york. if there's something that creates more jobs, and grows more businesses... we're open to it. start a tax-free business at startup-ny.com. [ male announcer ] this december, experience the gift of unsurpassed craftsmanship and some of the best offers of the year
welcome back to "hardball." when a bible belt reality tv legend and the far right collide, watch out. phil robertson, the star of "duck dynasty" on a&e has sparked a national fire storm thanks to comments he made about gays and blacks in the january issue of "gq" magazine. robertson is fervently religious and a self-described bible thumper. his personality helped catapult his reality show into the most
popular of the history of television. what began as a family friend what began as a family friend ly spotlight on a southern good old boy, it has descended into something more disturbing. here's what he told "gq" on the topic of sinful behavior. quote, start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. bestiality sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that man. don't be deceives. neither the adulterers, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, they won't inherit the kingdom of god. don't deceive yourself. it's not right. this is what he said about preis civil rights blacks. quote, they're singing and happy. never heard one black person say i tell you what, these dog gone white people. not a word. pre-entitlement, pre-welfare. you say were they happy? they were godly. they were happy. no one was singing the blues. the far right has rallied around robertson. decrying everything and everyone
in their path. that includes, a&e suspended him the same day it was published. the gay rights groups that criticized his remarks in the media are taking the hit. here's what louisiana governor republican bobby jindal said just yesterday. >> to me this is an issue about religious liberty, freedom of expression. it's about the fact that the left keeps saying they're for intolerance until people disagree with them. it's stunning to me, after all the antics miley cyrus would still be on tv and phil is the one getting kicked off. >> ted cruz said, quote, the reason so many americans love duck dynasty is because it represents the america usually mocked by liberal elites. in a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him. but the mainstream media should not be -- we got people to talk about that stuff. ron reagan is a contributor and nia-malika henderson. she's with the "washington post" and i miss her dearly. haven't seen you in a while.
you don't have the advantage of sitting across from me, ron. but this question -- >> i know. but i have to play ignorance because i don't watch everything on television. i watch the good wife and homeland and stuff like that. but i've been educated. it is a huge cultural event. this guy's a major figure in our culture. maybe sub culture but it's a huge sub-culture. it's country people. what do you make of the whole thing? the combination of his importance, the people like him, they root for him. they're still rooting for him, especially the right which has jumped here to exploit this fight. ron? >> oh, i'm sorry. i thought you were talking to nia. listen. there's a lot of hypocrisy going around throughout this. the right wing is all exorcised because this guy is having his free speech rights interrupted by a&e that don't want to
associate themselves. with the remarks that he made about gay people and black people. at the same time, ask yourself, if he had declared himself an atheist and called the bible a self-contradictory relic of the iron age, do you think ted cruz would be coming out championing his cause if a&e had let him go on that account? i don't think so. >> so what do they have in common? what does the tea party have in common with this guy? >> 20% of america and most of them are republicans and a lot of them are even elected officials, agree with this guy. bill o'reilly says the same thing he does. many elected officials in the republican party say the same sorts of things phil robertson has said. they're speaking to the constituency here. >> let me go to nia here. there's some venom here. first of all, i think there's profound ignorance. you're african-american. i haven't heard anybody saying -- the old joke was i guess if you go back to gone with the wind or birth of a nation you've got singing black people that sort of enjoy their bondage. >> that's right. >> and being whipped all day. then you have this guy with a latter day version of it which
is prior to civil rights. by the way, pre-civil rights days were great. people walk into biting dogs to try to fight it. >> there was a whole movement. right. i mean, this is the kind of thing. i grew up in south carolina and strom thurmon would say this. you do hear this from some older southerners. praising strom thurman saying if you had won, things wouldn't have been so bad. so that's part of that sort of southern older society. i do think within the republican party, there had been moments sort of built into the system where politicians could sort of give the wink and the nod to these sorts of things when republicans would go to south carolina. they would weigh in on terms of how they felt about the confederate flag. they would go to the university for instance. your dad, ron reagan, he goes to philadelphia and mississippi praising state's rights. there are always those sorts of things. but now that doesn't really exist.
here is this opportunity in this very kind of big way for them to do the same sort of thing with these pop culture figures. >> i want to get more political here. the far right's defense of robertson i want to talk about, has been built around the concept of freedom of speech and religion. this is sarah palin with sean hannity last night warning about the end of american civilization on this point. take a close look at palin. she's dressed in camouflage which happens to be the unofficial "duck dynasty" outfit. >> this is all about freedom, free speech. so many american families have spilled blood to guarantee his and everybody's right to voice their personal opinions and once that freedom is lost, sean, everything is lost in our country. >> these are the guys that didn't believe in loyalty oaths? ron? the idea of free speech -- >> these are the people who
spent the last month threatening to boycott stores that say happy holidays instead of merry christmas. they're not exactly avatars of free speech themselves. but they do have a point here. really, how ignorant can't you be and still keep your reality television show? of course this man paul robertson is a fool. of course he's ignorant and ill informed. but many other people are too. so is a&e doing a right thing by indefinitely suspending him yet continuing to air the next season of "duck dynasty" which will feature paul robertson. they've already got that in the can. >> politicians -- ron and nia, politicians are rational. >> that's right. >> what are they playing to here? they're playing to a public not just of hard right. they're playing to a bunch of people on the center right that feel there's too much regulation of speech. the word politically correct. and the idea of the term where there's only one way to talk. you can only talk liberal. >> yeah. >> i think that's part of the
thing they play to. i think that's why ann coulter as offensive as she can be, plays that. she says things because she doesn't have a job. everyone else on the right is sympathetic to but loves it when she says it. >> this idea they're losing their space and place here. right? there's this nostalgia about the way things used to be. of course things didn't used to be so good for african-americans and women. there's been lots of progress. and even with the issue of same-sex marriage. right? utah came out today. they've overturned that ban that state had on same-sex marriage. >> we got polygamy back in action out there. it is. it's back in the courts. don't think everything is not in play now. >> so they're playing to this identity. >> how much of this is just lingo?
i get the feeling that a person -- anyone in the united states can say call me old-fashioned, but i'm only for straight sex. i'm not for gay marriage or sex. i don't like it. i'm against it. somebody saying that would not be problematic to me. but when you come on showing venom and making it personal. it's not the sin, it's the sinner who i don't like. it's the bad person. and you use the lingo of that hatred, that's when people say you've turned a corner from what we consider a free speech country to a hate message. your thoughts, ron. >> why do they always go towards bestiality? what is the obsession with that? bill o'reilly does the same. what is it about gay people that makes republicans think of having sex with animals? i have no idea what that is. but you're right. i get 2 timesd those points add up fast. so, sure, make me the grunt. 'cause i'll be using those points to help me get to a beach in miami. and allllllll the big shots will be stuck here at the cube farm.
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white beard makes homophobic remarks and gets kicked off his reality show. >> the a&e group says i'm surprised that a duck hunter did not have progressive views on gay people. stunned. >> welcome to the sideshow. that was jay leno and conan o'brien on the fallout on the suspension from "duck dynasty." had hf phil robertson. conservatives rallying behind the reality star were joined last night by steve colbert who defended his rosie depiction of southern life under jim crow. including his claim that blacks were happy, and quote, no one were singing the blues. >> they had nothing to sing the blues about. for pete's sake, they got their own water fountains. in fact, they had it so good, white people pretended to be them. i tell you, who i feel sorry
for, folks. a&e. with this controversy, they may have just lost the "duck dynasty" massive black and gay audience. that's "hardball" for now. up next, your business with j.j. ramberg. u use in the laundry. my tide, downy, and bounce all come in free & gentle. so we get a cleaner, softer blankie. [ gasps ] [ female announcer ] tide, downy, and bounce free & gentle. it's not the "limit the cash i earn every month" card. it's not the "i only earn decent rewards at the gas station" card. it's the no-games, no-signing up, everyday-rewarding, kung-fu-fighting, silver-lightning-in-a-bottle, bringing-home-the-bacon cash back card.
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