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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  May 2, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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america. in seattle a victory. political and business leaders today announce they have reached a deal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. the highest in the united states to be phased in over the next few years. meanwhile, back in washington, d.c. a vote on a national minimum wage hike to $10.10 though garnering a majority vote of 54-42 fell short of overcoming a republican filibuster. so what explains the difference aside from the obvious politics that seattle's a pretty liberal town and that the u.s. senate can't get a single piece of legislation through without a super majority thanks to republicans' routine abuse of the filibuster? but another part of the difference is that in seattle there is sufficient pressure from the left. in november of last year kshama sawant, a socialist, an avowed socialist, was elected to seattle city council. she backed efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and she leaves a grassroots group called 15 now.
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a business coalition in seattle countered. and while they agreed to the headline figure of $15 an hour, they wanted some key qualifiers like a temporary training wage, a phase-in period, for health care, commissions, tips, and bonuses to be counted in total wages. the deal announced by seattle mayor ed murray today was a compromise, and he had this to say about the achievement. >> cities have often been the incubators of democracy, and seattle i think will prove itself when this process is finished in council to once again be an incubator of democracy, to be a city that once again does great things. by showing how we as a city can lead the conversation in the nation to address this growing problem in our society. the growing problem of income inequality. >> in seattle pressure from the left is not unlike the original movement that brought us the 40-hour workweek that started the may days that we now, well, kind of celebrate but don't really. in so many crucial areas of progress demands that at first
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seemed unreasonable, we shouldn't have to work all the time every second of every day, demands that even seemed preposterous become more reasonable over time. in washington, though, this dynamic plays out largely in reverse. that is, the right demands the preposterous and stakes out the most extreme position and then attempts to drag the middle toward them. as brian beutler of "the new republic" points out in a piece about that minimum wage filibuster, republicans don't want to deal on this issue because from where they stand tolerating the existing minimum wage is a concession. republicans don't often publicly admit that they would like to abolish the minimum wage, although senator lamar alexander confessed it to senator bernie sanders last year. >> let me jump in. i don't believe in. >> you do not. >> i do not. >> you do not believe in the concept of the minimum wage. >> that's correct. >> you would abolish the minimum wage. >> correct. >> today senator tom coburn said there should be no national minimum wage at all. >> we don't know what the minimum wage should be. how did they pick $10.10?
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why not 22? why not $100? i don't believe you ought to interfere in the market. if there's to be a minimum wage, my theory is if oklahomans want a minimum wage we ought to have it. i don't believe there ought to be a national minimum wage. that's my position. i'm the only member of the republican party that's still here that voted no on the last one. >> under those conditions you get what we got today, or yesterday, a filibuster against even allowing a debate and a vote on the minimum wage. the gop is the party so often pushing out the edge of what's possible. they're the ones taking preposterous demands that then somehow become integrated into the national conversation. and if there's one thing to learn from seattle, or to learn from the original mayday, it is that sometimes what starts as a preposterous demand becomes the center if you say it long enough and if you organize and if you fight to make it happen. in seattle the ones making those seemingly preposterous demands were speaking from the left. joining me is senator elizabeth warren, democrat from massachusetts.
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she's author of "a fighting chance," which is out now. senator, i read your statement, your floor statement about the filibuster of the minimum wage raise that happened in the senate. you're impassioned and angry i think it's fair to say. my question is why do republican senators think they will pay no political cost for that vote yesterday? >> you know, i don't know why anyone, frankly, would be voting against the minimum wage. and there are multiple ways you can look at this. but the way i think about this is i can think of 14 million reasons to raise the minimum wage. and that's the number of children whose economic fortunes would be lifted if the minimum wage moved to $10.10 an hour. children who would have more, who would be in homes that are more secure. a million adults that would be lifted out of poverty if we raised the minimum wage. and you would think that republicans would be interested in this because the more self-sufficient people can be then the less money that all of the taxpayers have to spend on
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supplements, on medicaid, on food stamps. this is about people who work full-time, who are out there really busting their tails trying to support themselves and their families and just raising the minimum wage enough that they can make that happen. >> so that's -- i agree with you. i think you and i agree on the argument of the merits. my question is you're a u.s. senator. you're in d.c. legislating. so when you're thinking, well, you and your fellow colleagues in the democratic caucus, how do we get the four more votes to break the filibuster we need? bob corker voted yesterday. if the arguments on the merits aren't persuasive, what is it? what is the mechanism of leverage that you or any democrat has in the united states senate right now to bring over the four votes you need to break a filibuster? >> well, you know, chris, the way you framed this question is why is it they believe they don't have to pay a price? and i think what that really goes to, it's what i go to and
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talk about in the book "a fighting chance" is this question about how the game is rigged here in washington. and that what you hear from in the halls of congress are all the people who've got money and power right now. the big corporations that say hey, we think it might affect our bottom line. we might not be able to do as big a return to our shareholders or we may have to cut our ceo's bonus by just a little smidge in order to cover our workers on minimum wage. and so washington is a place that too often is responding to those who already have money and power. and they're not the ones who need a raise in the minimum wage. let's face it. people who are working at minimum wage don't have the same kind of army of lawyers and lobbyists that the big corporations do. >> you know, this gets to what i like best about your book. which was that someone who is still in some senses seeing
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washington from an outsider's perspective despite the fact you are now a member of one of the most exclusive clubs in the country. and you tell this story that -- i'm going to quote this anecdote forever. it's about meeting with larry summers. you say "larry leaned back in his chair, offered me some advice. i had a choice. i could be an insider or i could be an outsider. outsiders can say whatever they want. but people on the inside don't listen to them. insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. people, powerful people, listen to what they have to say. but insiders also understand one unbreakable rule. they don't criticize other insiders." >> mm-hmm. >> what was your reaction to that? >> well, i got the message. i think i had been warned. and i got the message and just decided that's not what i think is right. for me this really is the fundamental question about how washington is going to work going forward. is it really just going to be a game of insiders? of people who've got money and power and they're able to influence those on the inside to
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continue to write rules that work for them. or are we really going to have a country and a washington and policies that work for everybody else? and the only way that's going to happen is if everybody else's voice gets heard and their votes get heard. this is fundamental power of washington and how we're going to write the rules going forward. that's what this book is about. >> so here's the question. you -- to get from point a to point b, point a, which is the rules are rigged, to point b, which is a more fully democratic republic in which people on the minimum wage's voices are being heard, right? you individually 12k50ided to run for senate. now you're in the senate making these votes. but in a broader structural sense, when you talk about the game being rigged, you were very critical of the 2005 bankruptcy reform bill, passed -- a bipartisan bill. there's lots of things that
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happen in a bipartisan way that benefit banks and don't necessarily benefit working people. >> yep. >> has that gotten better over time? 19 democratic party more accountable now, say, to working people than it was back in 2005 when so many of those democrats voted for that bankruptcy bill? >> well, look, it's hard to do the comparison over time because the answer is sometimes when things work out very badly and sometimes when they work out well. because one of the stories i tell at length in here is the idea about the consumer financial protection bureau, an idea that we would build this agency that would help level the playing field between the big financial institutions and ordinary families so they wouldn't get cheated on credit cards and mortgages. the big banks hated that agency. i mean hated. >> they tried to i will every single way. knives, guns, bazookas, everything. >> you bet. it's all there. and they were spending more than a million dollars a day lobbying against financial reforms and
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the consumer agency was right at the center of its -- that was the thing that had to go. and yet remember how this story comes out. spoiler alert. this story comes out. we got the consumer agency. not only did we get the consumer agency, we got a tough version of the consumer agency -- >> so why? >> oh, but one more part. a consumer agency that has already gotten out there and returned more than $3 billion directly to american families who were cheated by big financial institutions. >> why did you win that fight? why did we win that fight? why did american consumers win against big banks when they lose so many? >> because this is one where i think we got organized on the outside. we got groups together. we got individuals together. we peppered people when they came home. senators were home and congressmen were home. with questions from their con situates.
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we got organized and, and we thought. we fought hard. one of the stories in the book is about the day i learned that the agency was dead and what the response was on our side. and that was how many days before you make it public that it's dead. the answer -- three weeks. we said, okay, we've got three weeks to make this happen. and boy, that's what we did. man the barricades. because you know, chris, that's part of it. you can't get what you don't fight for. >> i think what you just said, what you just articulated i think gets to one of the reasons that a lot of people look to you as a kind of leader in the democratic party. and i'm not going to ask if you you're going to run for president. you've been asked that question. you've answered it to my satisfaction. what i want to know from you, though, is why do you think people keep asking you? which is to say, why do people want you to run for president? how do you understand the thing that it is in you or your message that is making folks want you to run? >> i think this fundamentally is
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about the issues. i think it's about the underlying understanding that most americans have that the game is rigged and that it's rigged against them. and that we've got to have our voices heard on the other side. that we can't hand this country over to the biggest financial institutions, to the biggest corporations, to the billionaires who keep writing one rule after another that just tilts the playing field a little bit more. whether we're talking about student loans. whether we're talking about minimum wage. whether we're talking about social security. whether we're talking about accountability. when the banks break the law. all of those people understand over and over. the game is rigged. we're running out of time. it's up to us to fight back, to level the playing field, to give ourselves, to give our kids a fighting chance.
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>> senator elizabeth warren of massachusetts, who i first discovered when she wrote "two income trap" many years ago which i bought in a used bookstore because it was blurbed by teddy kennedy. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> coming up gerry adams the leashed of the irish political party sinn fein who has received the support of many politicians over the years has been arrest ford one of the most controversial murders of the troubles in ireland over 40 years ago. you will not believe what led police to him. that story is next. i always say be the man with the plan but with less energy, moodiness, and a low sex drive, i had to do something. i saw my doctor. a blood test showed it was low testosterone, not age. we talked about axiron the only underarm low t treatment that can restore t levels to normal in about two weeks in most men. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18 or men with prostate or breast cancer. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant, and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied as unexpected signs of puberty in children or changes in body hair or increased acne in women may occur. report these symptoms to your doctor. tell your doctor about all
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the republican party is desperate to brand itself because no one actually knows what it means right now when people say this. >> i'm a republican. >> i'm a republican. >> i'm a republican. >> the gop's identity crisis, ahead.
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this evening police in northern ireland have in their custody for a second day a man who they're questioning about the brutal murder of a mother of ten. a man who can boast congressmen, presidents as allies, who's been welcomed into the united states by the late ted kennedy, marched in new york city with congressman peter king, shaken hands with the sitting president, been invited to celebrate st. patrick's day at the white house, as the guest of that president. >> sinn fein is not feeling so alone these days in its struggle against the british. gerry adams, its president, is here and on president clinton's guest list for a st. patrick's day party. he will also meet house speaker newt gingrich. >> gerry adams not only has ties to american politicians but also to the american people, who've celebrated him as a hero and peacemaker. >> gerry adams was invited to the st. patrick's day parade because to most irish americans he is a hero. >> gerry! >> struggling to free northern ireland from british rule.
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but adams has been called a terrorist by others. >> yesterday that same gerry adams, the president of the irish political party sinn fein, was arrested for questioning in connection with one of the most notorious cold cases in the western hemisphere. >> police in northern ireland use this station to question the most serious terror suspects. gerry adams spent last night and today in custody here. >> in recent years gerry adams, currently a member of the irish parliament, has come to be seen as an elder statesman of sorts, a man who helped bring an end to the horrible troubles in northern ireland. he's also a man with very deep ties to the ira. sinn fein was once considered the political wing of the i.r.a. adams is being held in connection to the i.r.a. murder of a woman named jean mcconville, a widow and mother of ten, over four decades ago. >> mrs. mcconville was taken from her home in belfast by an armed i.r.a. gang in 1972. they suspected her of passing information to the british army. 30 years later her body was found buried under this beach in the irish republic.
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the murder has long proved problematic for the leadership of sinn fein. gerry adams, seen here in the beret and spectacles, of an i.r.a. funeral in 1970, has always denied any involvement in the killing or indeed ever being a member of the i.r.a. >> yesterday before gerry adams turned himself in he once again reiterated his innocence. >> i will tell them that i'm innocent totally of any part in the abduction, the killing and the burial of jean mcconville. >> it was gerry adams and the irish republican army's movement's ties to the united states that helped broker an end to years of violence and bloodshed in northern ireland. and ironically, it could be those ties that could bring adams down. because in 2000 boston college started an oral history of the troubles. they began interviewing former i.r.a. members with the understanding explicitly the tapes would not be released as long as the participants were alive. now, after nearly three years of legal battles several of those tapes are in the hands of police, and it is the content of
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those tapes that implicate gerry adams in the murder and disappearance of jean mcconville. in one such interview comes former i.r.a. commander brendan hughes. in that interview hughes says that it was only gerry adams who could have ordered that murder, he was the only person who could have done it. joining me now, michael moynihan, columnist for the daily beast. michael, this story is remarkable in a whole bunch of directions. before we get to adams, before we get to the murder case, the actual narrow question of these tapes, the belfast project in boston college was the british authorities joined the department of justice basically said you have to turn these over. they countered and said this is an impingement on academic freedom, we're conducting historical research on the condition this stuff will be
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kept secret, and they lost. >> and they don't have legal standing apparently. this is an amazing thing, and it's depressing because we want -- i think this impinges on academic freedom and people want to be able to do these sorts of things and be able to get this sort of information. unfortunately on these tapes there are people admitting to crimes and people implicating other people in crimes. what we've had, what we've heard actually are tapes based on the original agreement because brendan hughes is dead. dolores price also has implicated gerry adams. both of whom, by the way, i should say are great opponents of the peace process. it confuses things quite a bit. but there's a lot of material here. and it's really unfortunate and there are a lot of scared people that have agreed to these terms and now the terms are no longer valid. >> these tapes have been acquired. adams is in for questioning. what is the significance partly of this case? is this something people have been whispering for a while, that adams was connected to it? >> oh, sure. adams has always said he's not a part of the i.r.a. which is a laughable assertion.
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guys like ed maloney who wrote the secret history of the i.r.a., involved with this project at boston college, these guys say of course he was. he was in the army council and all these things. but you know, the thing about this murder, you have 3,600 people murdered up until around 2000. stray murders here and there. what is really horrifying about the jean mcconville murder is just the circumstances of it. one person's murdered and again, 3,600 people. you have a woman who is the sole caregiver of ten children. she's beaten up the night before her abduction, beaten bloody and she's come home the next day. she's accused of ratting on the i.r.a. to the british forces. they come back the second day and grab her in front of her children. and her son said to the belfast telegraph she was squealing as they dragged her out and these ten children said we don't know what's going to happen to her. they were all put in foster care. she was never seen again. the i.r.a. admitted complicity in 199. the body was found. she was shot in the head and buried --
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>> there's something -- >> something particularly heinous. >> it gets to two things. one gerry adams was a controversial figure when the peace process was being made. there were people in the street yelling terrorist, terrorist, terrorist. and then also the uncomfortable fact that peace comes about with people who have been horrible things. f.w. de klerk before he won the nobel peace prize was administering the terrorist apartheid state of south africa. >> it was shocking to people because it was so close. in 1983 there was the shank hill bombing where the i.r.a. bombed and a really horrifying thing. i few weeks later one of the bombers died in that and gerry adams was seen in 1993 carrying the casket of the bomber. we have this five years later. i'm not a fan of gerry adams and i'm not a fan of some of his allies in the u.s. like peter king who is opposed to terrorism unless it's in ireland. at the same time you've got to give adams a certain amount of credit because when i was in northern ireland and i was in belfast a couple years ago talking to some guys who are, you know, real i.r.a. guys,
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continuity i.r.a. guys, and dissident republicans they call themselves, and if you mention the name of gerry adams in their presence spittle-flecked anger and they say that man is a traitor. he's a sellout. and keep in mind the troubles are for the most part over but there was a murder two weeks ago in belfast committed by dissident republicans. so it still goes on. >> has there been in northern ireland a process like the now sort of famous and much aped truth and reconciliation process in south africa? >> yeah. >> and how effective has it been? >> so many of these guys that are brutal hardened killers -- and i'm not even -- let's be clear about this. we talk a lot about the i.r.a. in the u.s. because i'm from massachusetts and in boston you have people morayed cups raising money for. that's why we don't criticize so much the uda, the udf, protestant paramilitary groups. but the thing is there's guys in there, johnny adair, all these really brutal, brutal people, and they're all let out in the good friday agreement.
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these are guys that are serving triple life sentences. so there's a truth and reconciliation committee in the sense that so many killers who weren't even close to serving their sentences were released. if gerry adams were to be convicted of something like this it would apply to the good friday agreement. >> there's an agreement that basically means he probably wouldn't -- >> two years would be the most he could serve. >> that's really remarkable. and also a remarkable reminder of how intense, horrific, and dramatic and dramatically watched that period was. >> yeah. >> and also about the -- a period of time and a place that looked intractable and did get to someplace much better which i find hopeful. michael moynihan from the daily beast. >> thanks. >> coming up, who is the worst governor in america? one person is leading the pack tonight. i'll tell you who it is. next.
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oklahoma state lawmakers are pushing a resolution to halt executions in the wake of the embarrassing and horrific botched execution governor mary fallin so strenuously pushed for. an execution which the state used for the first time a novel cocktail of drugs they initially refused to release to the public. an execution that was being conducted over the initial objection of one of the state's highest courts and resulted in a 43-minute-long debacle in which the prisoner at issue eventually died of a heart attack. the oklahoma governor is not particularly well known outside her state. but if you look into mary fallin's record, you will see she is outside the national political spotlight making a very strong case for herself as worst governor in the united states of america.
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and that's before the rank incompetence and contempt for due process she demonstrated with respect to this particular execution. this is someone who signed a bill banning cities from raising the minimum wage, refused the medicaid expansion that would have covered 150,000 people in her state, and slashed education funding. she ordered the national guard in her state to deny same-sex couples benefits and then, get this, dropped benefits for all spouses of national guard members to avoid serving same-sex couples. families of children killed in oklahoma tornadoes last year are suing her administration because they believe the state is being insufficiently transparent about storm preparedness. and on top of that she just signed a tax on using solar energy. and while all this happens, you know what's happening to oklahoma? it's turning into earthquake central. here's a chart of oklahoma earthquakes. now, you may be wondering, well, what major fault line does oklahoma sit on? and the answer is, well, it doesn't really. the best explanation anyone
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seems to come up with is the massive increase in fracking in the state. according to the stillwater news press, when asked if she would support a ban on injection wells fallin said "i think we need to leave that up to the experts. it's something the experts need to give us their advice on and let them make that decision." in this case i admire her caution, her desire not to rush into a decision that might prove hasty or backfire or catastrophic. of course it would have been nice if she'd applied that same discretion to the solemn duty of state killing. 
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you know, i just -- if you are an alcoholic, which you know -- listen. you know, if you're drinking enough that you can try crack in your 40s and you don't remember it, maybe that's something that you might want to think about, like talking to somebody. >> i wasn't elected to be perfect, jimmy. i was elected to clean up the mess that i inherited. and that's exactly what i've done. >> two months ago toronto mayor rob ford wasn't exactly interested in committing to anything when confronted with
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his obvious substance abuse problems on american late-night television. the relatively good news today is that mayor ford checked himself into rehab for alcohol addiction. the unquestionably bad news is what finally put him in. canada's "globe and mail" newspaper says it has obtained a second video of the toronto mayor smoking crack cocaine. while nbc news has not independently confirmed the tape's authenticity, it allegedly shows mayor ford in his sister's basement last saturday, last saturday, smoking crack. but there's always more with rob ford. the "toronto sun" says it has audio of the mayor making some brutal remarks about fellow politicians at a bar on monday night. again, no independent confirmation from nbc news. but in one clip a bar patient reportedly asked mayor ford his opinion of toronto city council member karen stintz, who happens to be one of the people running to replace ford as mayor. ford's response, "i'd like to bleeping jam her but she don't want it." karen stintz confirmed her response. >> rob ford's comments are gross. rob ford is not toronto.
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toronto is tired of being gripped in this sad, sad mess. >> joining me now, hunter walker, politics editor for "business insider" and someone who's reported extensively on the rob ford phenomenon, traveled to toronto to give the famous talking points memo golden duke award to ford, had to settle for giving it to doug ford, his brother. sad, sad mess. my sense is that toronto is kind of a little bit ready to move on past the rob ford era. what is yours from the reporting you've been doing? >> well, yes and no. his unfavorables have consistently been the highest of anybody in this mayoral race. voters are heading to the polls in october. but the first polling after this trifecta of new stories is due out tonight. and i got a political look at this from fordham research inks, and it shows that 30% of people are willing to vote for ford if he comes back clean from rehab. now, his favorability has dropped. his approval rating is way down.
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he's now dropped from second to third. but 30% is right about what he would need to pull off a win. >> so the most fascinating thing about the ford -- the ford experience, the rob ford experience, you know, at first i think it was funny and then it got less and less funny as you went on, as you saw this was a person who really was in the grip of pretty clear substance abuse. was the enduring political staying power he seemed to have. that there was some strange connection between rob ford and the people of toronto. and what you're saying is that has not completely been extinguished even with this. >> yeah. i talked to olivia chow today, who's the front-runner now -- >> she'll run against him to replace him as a mayor. >> exactly. she's a former member of parliament. and she was saying she can't really explain, she said it's hard to say why people are still supporting him but that the downtrodden in toronto really have pegged their hopes on him. and his technique really has been a really brilliant retail politician. he gave everyone his phone number, and he prior to his scandals would answer those calls. and if you had a pothole, you had a very local problem, he
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would be there. >> here's the strange thing. the socioeconomic strata from which he seems to be deriving his enduring support are working-class poor folks in that area. what originally propelled him to power were the sort of more affluent suburban areas that got incorporated into municipal toronto. he ran as a kind of tea party tax cutting property taxes kind of guy. >> he really has -- there's two halves to what they call ford nation. >> ford nation. >> one is actually the immigrant community in toronto, which is ironic given the history of racist and ridiculous comments he's allegedly made. and the other is what you were talking about, the sort of suburban commuters. ford and his family are millionaires. they run a very, very large business that even has branches here in the states. so it's very interesting. >> right. and they come from money and they're kind of this -- they're not the kennedys, is too much. but they are this well-known big deal family. they've got money. they have clout. people know about the fords. >> absolutely. how could you miss him? >> right. >> but i mean even before rob ford became the rob ford of the
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crack-smoking tape, the fords were well known. >> right. his brother's a city councilor. he was also a city councilor prior to being mayor. and his father was a very, very prominent businessman. >> so what's the plan here? he's going to do 30 days in rehab. and you think -- he's saying he's going to come back out and run. the thing i would say is if he doesn't get clean, you know, it's clear that his judgment is impaired enough that there's going to be more recordings and more tapes. because if he doesn't get clean and he's doing this kind of thing, no one's going to keep the lid on that anymore. >> yeah. i mean, based on these numbers i've gotten a preview of tonight, even these three new stories have not been the straw that broke the camel's back. so it does seem like he's going into a 30-day program at an undisclosed location probably here in the states. it does seem like he intends to come back. as long ease does so before july, there's really no way he could be removed from office. and it does seem like he still has somewhat of a base that just doesn't care about any of the tapes we've seen so far. >> is it a wide open -- is it a
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sort of open jungle primary system or is it -- is he going to have to get a plurality to win against the people or possibly they'll split the vote? >> that's part of where he's in luck here. there's olivia chow, who's sort of to the left of him, and then there's john tory, who's a fellow conservative. there's karen stintz, who we saw before. >> so you can imagine a scenario in which the other people split the anti-rob ford vote and rob 230rd nation unites to keep the guy in power. hunter walker from business insider. thank you. >> thank you. >> former republican presidential candidate is telling the party to raise the minimum wage, extend unemployment benefits. don't hold your breath. but it does raise the question just what are republicans running on this year? that's ahead. thanks mom! make me proud honey! [ female announcer ] charmin ultra strong has a duraclean texture and it's four times stronger than the leading bargain brand. enjoy the go with charmin ultra strong. yeah. i heard about progressive's "name your price" tool? i guess you can tell them how much you want to pay
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say what you want about the tenets of the tea party. at least it's an ethos. back in 2010 when a voter went to the polls and cast a vote for a candidate with an r next to his or her name, that voter actually had a pretty good idea what they were voting for. two things -- republicans were going to kill obamacare and they were going to slash government spending. that was a message. and it was pretty damn clear. after republicans took over the house, they certainly tried pretty hard to kill obamacare, and they failed. but they succeeded in imposing austerity and cutting federal spending. and now the budget deficit has fallen to levels not seen since before the recession. so now fast forward to 2014 and try to answer this question. what exactly does the republican party stand for now? what are you voting for if you vote republican in the midterm elections? no one seems to know. even when it comes to the issues republicans have talked about more than any other over the past four years, obamacare, you just can't get a straight answer. >> if you were to take the senate, how would obamacare change?
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i understand the point you're making, but again, on repeal and replace, what part of the law was acceptable? >> obviously, you've been a vocal critic of obamacare, fought against it on constitutional grounds, tried to get it defunded. people are asking now what is the republican alternative? >> we are about proposing real health care reform, that it will be patient centered and a plan that we will put forward this year our committee chairmen are working on the issues in terms of the kind of reform that we want. >> eye plan is yet to materialize. joining me now is sam seder, msnbc contributor host of "majority roar." david lam, former speechwriter for president bush. what am i voting for if i'm vote forget a republican particularly in a senate race and i'm voting for this republican, particularly in a state with a retiring democrat, i'm possibly going to be giving control of the senate to republicans? what am i going to get? >> i think it is only a matter of time before some national republican announce that's what you'll get is a tax cut. as you mentioned --
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>> that's a great prediction. >> well, the republicans have since 2008 been a party of fiscal austerity and balanced budgets. that tends not to be popular medicine. as you just pointed out, the deficit is shrinking rapidly, which means for the first time in a decade and a half there's fiscal room. tax rates especially on high earners are at the highest levels seen since the early 1980s. and that is a real source of pressure on the republican voter base and the republican donor base. one thing to bear in mind, the famous contract with america, the clearest platform that anybody ever introduced to run on in an off-year election was not introduced until the fall of 1994. so although it feels like the election is close, there is time for an articulation of more of a platform. >> i think the tax cut risks are strong. what you said i thought was an interesting statement, that the high marginal rates are putting pressure on the gop voting base and the donor base, which actually strikes me as a pretty accurate statement.
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what do you think you're voting for if you're voting for republicans? what is the republican message? >> well -- >> but they're not running on tax cuts. and i'm not being facetious. i'm not being msnbc cable news host here. i couldn't answer the sentence, could not answer the sentence if you vote for the republicans who take over the senate you are going to get x. >> well, to be fair to you, you did answer it i think during the bump. it is -- i think they're going to continue, or at least their voters think the message is we're going to repeal obamacare, and i think the voters are getting the message we're going to get to the bottom of benghazi. you know, for the vast majority of the country these issues are settled. >> that's right. >> for the base of the republican party this is what animates them day in, day out. you just need to take a step into this sort of fever swamp of what's circulating on their e-mails, and that's what you see. it's that over and over again. >> david, is the obamacare -- obamacare and benghazi, which are the two things i hear most about, or the news cycle tends to be dominated if i flip over
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to fox during my day at the office. that strikes me as partly not any kind of mastermind strategy, partly there's probably genuine passion around it, but also a political decision that these mid-terms are really won with the base. they won it with the base in 2010. there's 50 million voters who vote in presidentials who don't show up in the midterms and the biggest thing for them is to get the people who are hardcore republicans out. >> benghazi is a radio talk show and tv issue. it's not going to motivate even very much of the republican base. a big part of it is first there are a lot of unanswered questions and, second, it is an early lever against hillary clinton. >> yes. >> one of the things that is powerful about it is it's really a 2016 issue more than a 2014. obamacare is a massively redistributive program. it takes money, threatens or promises to take money from core republican constituencies, the more affluent of the elderly and taxpayers. it's financed with very redistributive taxes.
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and it's financed through the insurance system with a tax on, again, republican constituencies, people in better health. and it delivers massively to democratic constituencies. and what has been unique about this time is normally americans are very optimistic about the future and they're prepared to borrow against it, but in the straight and circumstances since 2008 american politics has become very zero sum. so if you're someone on medicare, if you're a member of the affluent elderly, you think this has to come from me. it's not coming from the future, it's coming from me. and that's why obamacare remains such a potent issue even as democrats say -- tell themselves, well, it seems to be working for our people. the better it works for democratic voters, the more frightened republican voters become that this will be at their expense. >> that is a refreshingly cynically honest look at the politics of obamacare and redistribution. >> yeah. and i -- >> it's not cynical. there's something -- look, politics is about who gets and who pays. and obamacare is the biggest alteration of the rules about
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who gets and who pays that the united states has seen since the early 1980s. >> i'm not even convinced frankly that it's quite that sophisticated. i honestly -- obamacare, it wouldn't really matter what it did. i think with the name obamacare at least implanted on -- this is what animates the conservative base. and we can say it's just talk radio, but show me a politician in the republican party who'll say something about rush limbaugh and not be on that program the next day to apologize. that is what animates the republican -- >> although the thing i would say about this, and david, to your point, is that i keep asking myself americans with prosperity, why are they so obsessed with obamacare? that's what they're running their ads on, even when the polling shows there's less and less traction about it. and i think david's right about, that the koch brothers hate obamacare because it is fundamentally redistributive in the way that david describes. i want to talk about what a senate dominated by the republicans, a republican majority, looks like right after we take this break.
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reuters reports senate republicans plan to use the upcoming confirmation hearings of president obama's nominee to be the next health and human services secretary, sylvia burwell, to attack obamacare. why? well, it's not about policy per se. republican strategists say it's because the hearings could yield rich material for television ads and social media campaigns for the mid-terms. with one adding, "one gaffe and they lose the news cycle." which sounds like a quote from v. a republican-controlled senate will also make it very hard for the president to fill judicial nominations including quite possibly vacancies on the
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supreme court. still with me sad seder and wit sam, the supreme court sam, the supreme court vacancy issue, if i had to crystallize one thing about the stakes of a republican-controlled senate, it's that the possibility of a supreme court vacancy in the next two years is non-negligible and it's very hard to see what the heck that confirmation process looks like with a republican majority in the senate. >> yeah. i mean, i think they've already shown their willingness to sort of stonewall when it comes to executive appointees. and i would add also there's a lot of federal judgeships to be filled too. it's not just the supreme court. >> that's a good point. once the nuclear option was engaged, right? they filled a lot of those openings because the filibuster no longer pertains. you go back to republican controlled majority senate and all that stuff gets bottled up again. >> absolutely. so i think it's -- i would say it's one of the most definite i. things that we can expect if you see a republican senate. and they're just going to punt.
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i don't think they'll get punished for it per se. >> david frum, mitch mcconnell called you the day after election day having taken republican control of the senate and said come talk to my caucus about what we should be using these next two years to, do what would you tell them? >> well, my advice would not be acceptable. my advice is that restoring the defense budget would be my personal highest priority. the sequester puts enormous pressure on america's ability to maintain a stable world order. we're seeing the price of it in ukraine. the smart play, however, from senator o'connell's point of view is to go to work on the tax issue and not to get bogged down in the politics of austerity. i think that's what he's going to do. one more thing to bear in mind about why the senate will be so much more dysfunctional after 2014. of the top six republican presidential aspirants most mentioned, four of them are in congress and three of them are in the senate. that's very unusual for
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republicans. normally the candidates are in the states. and so -- >> so every single thing the senate does there's a kind of game of thrones quality to who's going to get credit, who is voting with who, who is outflanking who on every bill, every proposal. >> exactly. remember the old joke, the people on the other side of the house are your opponents. your enemies are all on this side of the house. >> and that's particularly true -- that is a very good point about the dynamic particularly i think of rand paul and ted cruz in how that -- a possible majority would play out. and even without a majority david's point pertains in either way. >> yeah. i think you're going to see a lot of fractures there. that isn't to say that they won't occasionally be able to pass something. i mean, and harry reid is going to really move to the forefront here. the question is how often is president obama going to be required to veto something? i imagine harry reid will have no problem filibustering quite a bit assuming mitch mcconnell doesn't take one more step in terms of a nuclear option.
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which isn't off the table. >> that would be amazing. if the slippery slope that everyone warned about, right? gets slid down. and mitch mcconnell says, all right, you started to blow it up, we're going to finish blowing it up and get rid of it. which i actually personally would root for because i think the filibuster's a bad institution in and of itself. i think it's anti-democratic deeply. i can't, david frum, see them doing that, however, because i think mitch mcconnell and the republican party actually understands things the same way i do, which is that the filibuster is fundamentally a conservatizing force in american politics. >> it's also a force that enhances the power of each individual senator. and at some level each senator's top interest is that senator personally remaining a very giant big deal. and in a world without all these crazy senate rules senators become like almost members of the house. >> there's nothing a senator has more contempt for than a member of the house of representatives as i've learned in many off the
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record conversations. >> i will say one of the things that scares me as a progressive is the communications act of 1996, welfare reform 1996, the -- >> effective death penalty act. >> yes. the repeal of glass-steagall. all these things happened with president clinton with a republican-controlled congress. and i am very worried that president obama will bring back things like chain cpi or -- >> i think that particularly is true around issues like telecommunications or banking regulation, which aren't big kind of big issues a lot of people pay attention to. it's much easier to get bad legislation that lobbyists are functionally right. sam seder, david frum from "the atlantic." thank you both. that is it for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. big show tonight.
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there's lots to report including the unanimous decision by a subset of nba owners tonight to move forward with forcing the owner of the l.a. clippers to sell his basketball team after he got a lifetime ban from the sport earlier this week when racist remarks of his turned up on the internet machine. also on the show tonight, it turns out there has been a very unexpected ending to the old cliven bundy militia standoff thing in nevada. if you thought that story was over, congratulations, you're right. it is. but what got left behind there physically after the story turns out is truly weird. and we've got the details on that coming up. we've also got news tonight out of oregon that i have to tell you, we'll peek behind the scenes. we spent three days fact-checking this story out of oregon because i personally did not believe it. i thought we were being punked. but after three days of checking i am now satisfied that this is a true story. and if i