tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC November 19, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PST
fighting for votes to deliver civil rights, stopped only in the end at that terrible moment when history was yanked from his hands. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. all in with chris hayes starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. and we begin tonight with a win for president obama and the uninsured in the unlikeliest of places. while republicans grow more convinced by the day that fighting obama care is their ticket to political renaissance, a surprise victory for health reform in louisiana this weekend could be a cautionary tale for anti-obama care crusaders. ♪ on saturday night, in front of a cheering mass of supporters, vance mcallister bamd the 5th district's newest congressman. republican vance mcallister was elected congressman of louisiana's 5th district.
mcallister actually trounced fellow republican neil riser in a special runoff election, and by all appearances, it was riser who should have won. after all, riser was endorsed by house majority leader eric cantor, nra, even freedomworks. riser out-spent mcallister by more than $200,000. so, how, against those odds, did mcallister pull off the win? well, he got a little help from one of the best in television ♪ hallelujah ♪ >> yes, the robertson family of "duck dynasty" hails from louisiana, and one of them is quackers for vance mcallister. >> hey, this is willie robinson, reminding you to get out saturday, september 16th and vote for my good buddy, vance mcallister. >> but it wasn't just the full-bearded endorsement that separated mcallister from his opponent. he was also a truth-teller when it comes to repealing obama care. >> i'm not going to stand here and lie to you and tell you i can repeal it, because i want your votes.
>> reporter: and make no mistake, health care was a major issue in this campaign. riser, the establishment choice, hammered mcallister as a squish on obama care. >> on his campaign website, vance says he'll fight to repeal obama care, but just recently, vance mcallister told reporters that obama care is constitutional and "we're past the point of repealing it." tired of politician double talk? vote neil riser. he'll shoot you straight. >> and in the last debate before the election, mcallister dropped the following bombshell when asked about obama care's medicaid expansion. >> i think we have to expand medicaid. >> oh, so you are in favor of expanding medicaid? >> i think we have to. >> this is a republican candidate in a district that mitt romney won by more than 20 points in a state where the republican governor has flat out rejected the medicaid expansion. >> the editorial in your local newspaper, "the times picayune" criticized you this week for refusing to take $16 billion in aid without the expansion,
242,150 poor louisiana residents won't have access to the insurance offering the affordable care act was designed to provide. >> we did medicaid expansion in louisiana for every uninsured person, covered more than one person being taken out of private insurance. secondly, it would mean 41% of our population, chris, would be in medicaid. i think you need more people pulling the cart than in the cart. >> the guy who defied his governor and his party on medicaid expansion just blew out his conservative republican opponent in louisiana's 5th by endorsing a major part of obama care. and if you want to know how vance mcallister won with that position, all you need to do is look at the numbers. louisiana's 5th district has over 10% unemployment, almost 20% of families live below the poverty line and one in five residents is uninsured, the highest rate in the state. among those residents is laura johnson of rustin, louisiana. >> reporter: every day, laura johnson prays for a blessing. she suffers from congestive heart failure, but with her
income, she can't afford the medicine she's supposed to take. >> i think it's very, very upsetting, because why wouldn't they want people to get that, you know, medicaid? why? >> reporter: we don't know if laura johnson voted for her new representative. we know her representative won by advocating for her health. joining me now is tracy washington, president and ceo of louisiana justice institute. tracy, how big a surprise was this result for louisiana's 5th? >> well, i think it was a shocker to most of the republicans out there. it was hope springs eternal for all rational democrats like me, and hopefully, rational republicans. >> do you think that the medicaid expansion played a pivotal role here? how big a part of the political conversation has it been in the state of louisiana? >> well, it's been huge, frankly, chris, because democrats and republicans were pushing this governor to accept
this money from the federal government, and at the end of the day, i think what may have pushed vance over the top was the fact that, look, folks, this isn't free money. you paid for this. and in his stump speeches, he said, of course we want to accept this money from the federal government for medicaid expansion. it's our money! ask for it back. and in those stump speeches, where he was appealing to the common sense of the poor people in his district, at that point, i thought, this guy might be on to something. >> what i found so interesting is everything about this race seems like it's from another planet, politically, because not only do you have a republican advocating for medicaid expansion, but he was actually leaning into it. i mean, this wasn't something he sort of threw aside. down the stretch, it was something fairly pivotal in how he was making the case, and it's been hard to make that case successfully in a lot of republican jurisdictions in the country. >> well, you know what i found interesting, particularly after, when we look at these things
nationally. look at how kasich's getting his numbers in ohio. look at what chris christie did in new jersey. these are common sense guys. look, i'm a democrat, dyed in the wool. i don't have to agree with him on everything, but the one thing we do know about those politicians is they are "ride or die" for their constituents. what's good for their constituents, they're going to go with, and i think that's what the appeal was with vance is that he said, look, i have a poor district. >> right. >> you showed the numbers. we need medicaid expansion here for these folks to be covered, and they're working poor. that's the thing. they're not drags of society. these people work every day. >> well, that's what i thought was interesting about the bobby jindal quote about more people pulling the cart than in the cart, because the presumption there, of course, is that the people that are getting the medicaid expansion are essentially loafers. >> you know, bobby's been in the cart all his life. when he made that statement, i was really, really? come on, man. you know, we've got a state -- we're a hospitality state. in all seriousness, when you've
got people making $10, $11 an hour, that's poverty wages, but they get up and go to work every day. they fall in that gap. so, we need medicaid expansion here because those are the people who are not being insured, 400,000 in louisiana. >> i want to bring in congresswoman donna edwards, democrat from maryland. congresswoman edwards, we've got 30 states that are governed by republicans with republican governors, and we've got about eight of those in which they've accepted the medicaid expansion, two in which it's still contested, and the rest are basically turning it down. does this continue to be surprising to you? because i think if you went in a time machine and talked to democrats two, three years ago, they would have said, of course, everyone's going to take it. how can you turn this money away? >> well, i think this is actually the unfold story of the difficulty, the complication of implementing the affordable care act, and it is that you have all of these governors, republican governors across the country, who not only didn't accept the medicaid expansion, they also refused to implement the
marketplaces, the exchanges that were designed to be, you know, sort of governed by the states, and that has actually complicated the implementation. that said, i think if you look at the population in louisiana's 5th district as a perfect example, where you have a lot of people who go to work every single day, but they are, you know, too poor for traditional -- or not poor enough for traditional medicare and too poor to pay for health care through the marketplaces on their own. and so, they need that medicaid expansion. and yet, these are governors who are refusing to do what's right by the citizens in their state who are getting up every day and going to work. >> you know, louisiana has its own distinct political culture, tracy, and this goes back to the fact, you know, it's legal regime is based on civil law as opposed to common law. you've got a non-partisan election situation in which a bunch of people, around the top two vote-getters, have a runoff,
and so, one of the other interesting dynamics here, you've got two republicans running. and so, rather than competing to out-flank each other to the right, which is what you would anticipate in a special election, there were actually a lot of democratic votes on the table for one of those candidates to go after. >> it was a very interesting dynamic because you had, for a change, republicans eating their young and democrats being able to watch. i mean, with all seriousness, i think what you had with vance was he had to appeal to that segment of his constituency, of the people he was hoping to represent, that he knew needed health care. and again, just as representative edwards says, these are working poor people. >> right. >> and the crazy thing about this, chris, is that if you look back five years ago, this is the exact policy bobby jindal was pushing, 2008! >> yes, yes! >> i'm like, wait, bobby, hold up. >> bobby jindal rocketed to national attention as the secretary of the version of hhs
in the state of louisiana at the age, i believe, of 28, right? >> yes. >> and he was actually one of these kind of compassionate conservatives, talking about the social safety net, talking about the efficiencies of this kind of thing. and congresswoman, when you see that kind of turn-around, we've seen turn-around like that across the board, everything from the fact the aca itself is based on the heritage plan. do you think there's much good faith left in your republican colleagues to be able to do the kinds of governing that has been the norm in congress for several decades? >> the short answer, no. i mean, this is really just crass politics. what you have here, especially with governor jindal, is that, you know, he's not even willing to put the needs of the poor people in his state ahead of his own politics and political ambition. and frankly, across the country, i think the reason the president is really pressing forward on this is because he knows that if we don't move forward on the
affordable care act, it still will leave millions and millions of people not covered. and the fact is, i think mcallister recognized this, that the affordable care act isn't going anywhere. it's the law, it's constitutional, it's not going to be repealed. the thing that makes the most sense is for republicans to figure out how to make it work for people in their districts. >> my big question for 2014, and there's going to be so many things that determine the outcomes there, but the big question i think from the perspective of progressives is will there be an electoral price to pay at the polls for those republicans who've refused the medicaid expansion in those states? right now we've seen two elections, this special election in the louisiana 5th, we saw an election in virginia which medicaid expansion was on the ballot and medicaid expansion won, and i think it is a sleeper issue. i think you just talk to any average voter about the fact that you can get people covered for zero dollars out of your pocket or taxes, and it is hard to imagine why you wouldn't want
that. tracy washington for louisiana justice institute and congresswoman donna edwards, thank you both. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up -- >> this year, your butterball turkey's so juicy, people swear you just stepped off the mayflower. yeah, you plymouth rock to this dinner because you went to walmart. >> there's a transition for you. that's the kind of image walmart wants to portray this thanksgiving, but this is the one everyone is talking about today. a little window into what the walmart economy really looks like this holiday season. that is coming up. plus, sarah silverman, that's right! stick around. so, this board gives me rates for progressive direct and other car insurance companies? yes. but you're progressive, and they're them. yes. but they're here. yes. are you...? there? yes. no. are you them? i'm me. but those rates are for... them.
perhaps you've heard the cheney family is embroiled in a massive feud right now. liz cheney, who's running for senate in wyoming, just essentially disavowed her gay sister's marriage. yikes! what an awkward thanksgiving dinner that would be. imagine you're there. no, really. my question for you tonight is, if you were a guest at a theoretical cheney dinner this year, what would you say to break up the awkwardness? tweet your answers to
allinwithchris or post them on facebook and i will talk about it at end of the show. [ male announcer ] when you have sinus pressure and pain, you feel...congested. beat down. crushed. but sudafed gives you maximum strength sinus pressure and pain relief. so you feel free. powerful sinus relief. sudafed. open up.
in today's headline worthy of the onion, we get this from a walmart in canton, ohio, where that store is conducting a thanksgiving dinner food drive for their own employees. this picture says it all -- "please donate food items here so associates in need can enjoy thanksgiving dinner." when asked about it by a cleveland newspaper, a company spokesperson had this so say -- "this is part of the company's culture, to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships."
in other words, walmart cares about their employees, apparently not enough to pay them a decent salary so running a food drive for their own employees wasn't something they had to do in the first place. and this is a walmart problem at large. the company claims that average salary nationally for their full-time associates is around $25,000 a year. analysis by the advocacy group our walmart puts that salary at roughly between $15,000 and $20,000 a year. countless number of walmart workers are dependent upon the social safety net because their wages are insignificant or insufficient for them to survive without making use of government antipoverty programs. according to a study by house democrats, low wages at just one walmart store in wisconsin alone cost the government as much as $900,000 a year. now, we focus on walmart, and deservedly so, but walmart is just part of the much bigger problem. according to data from the social security administration, get this, 40% of all u.s. workers, 40% of all u.s. workers made less than $20,000 last year. and those are the people who
have jobs in an economy six years since the great recession with more than 11 million people still unemployed, and those that have been out of work for more than six months, the long-term unemployed, that has more than doubled since 2007. unless congress gets their act together in the next two weeks, get this, it is only going to get worse, because emergency unemployment insurance for many of those folks is set to run out, which means between christmas and new years -- happy holidays -- 1.3 million people getting unemployment benefits immediately will be cut off. that number jumps to more than 2 million by the end of march. with unemployment still above 7%, washington in general, the republican party in particular, seems to feel absolutely no urgency over the still unfolding economic crisis that is grinding tens of millions of americans into dust. the great recession has given way to the great slump, and the fact that almost no one in power seems to care remains for me the most shocking aspect of our national politics. joining me now is former secretary of labor in the clinton administration, robert
reich, professor of public policy at university of california berkeley, stars in a philly based on his work called "inequality for all." it's out in theaters now. what is it about washington right now that they cannot seem to get their act together or focus on the most driving concern for the majority of voters, republican, democrat, independent, which is the fact there are not enough jobs and wages are stagnating? >> well, chris, i think most of washington is very sensitive to the richest 10% of americans who, not incidentally, own about 80% of all of the outstanding shares of stock in america. the stock market, in case you did not notice, reached a new record today. the dow jones industrial average bumped through 16,000, and that top 10% -- it's not just the top 1% -- the top 10% is politically vocal, they account for most of the campaign contributions. now, i don't mean to create a kind of false equivalence
between democrats and republicans -- republicans are obviously far worse -- but the culture of washington, the discussions of washington, the people who inhabit washington in terms of official washington, they do not see most of america. >> and the discussion about these emergency unemployment benefits running out is a perfect example. annie lowry, "the new york times" had a fantastic piece today about the cost of long-term unemployment. it is basically taking people's lives and lighting them on fire for no reason. these are people who have skills, who could be productive members of a society, an economy, and we are just saying, we don't care. >> well, it's worse than that, chris. not only are we saying we don't care with regard to unemployment insurance and also, don't forget food stamps, cuts in food stamps, but these are also programs that traditionally have helped stimulate the economy -- >> exactly. >> -- overall. that is, the better off in america would be even better off if we had a thriving economy.
this is the most anemic recovery in history, at least in recorded history, since we've been following these things. and one of the reasons it is so anemic is that almost all of the economic gains have gone to the very top, while at the same time, we are cutting the social safety net so average people and working-class people and poor people don't have enough money to turn around and keep the economy going. >> is there a problem with -- when there is a certain line of progressive attack on places like walmart now, which ends up being about them using, essentially, the social safety net as a kind of back-door subsidy for low wages. and i'm curious as someone who's been a strong advocate of things like the earned income tax credit and food stamps and a variety of programs that actually function as wage subsidies, they function as transfer programs for the working poor. is there something dangerous about the line of attack the progressives have been using to go after walmart as essentially a welfare case because its employees are using the social safety net in this way?
>> i don't think so. remember, walmart is the number one largest employer in the united states. as the largest employer in the united states, it has a huge impact in terms of a ripple effect of its low-wage policy on the rest of the economy. now, there is no inconsistency at all in progressives saying -- and it shouldn't be just progressives, it should be democrats, it should be republicans -- saying, look, we need a safety net for the working people of this country if they're not going to make enough money, and we also need responsible corporations, particularly big employers who are treating their employees as if they are fungible, basically, invisible pieces of merchandise. and walmart needs to wake up to the fact that walmart itself would do better if walmart paid its workers, and thereby, set a higher prevailing low wage for most employers in america and most employees in america, who could then turn around and buy
more at places like walmart. >> finally, janet yellen, who looks like she's likely to be confirmed as the chair of the federal reserve, first woman in history to hold that post, she expressed some concerns in february that what we are seeing is a cyclical slump, that is to say, a recession, and you know, we go through business cycles, is turning into something structural, is turning into something long term. do you worry that we are seeing some shift in the economy towards an economy that is permanently has higher elevated levels of unemployment? >> chris, i'm not -- yes, i think we are seeing permanently higher elevated levels of unemployment. we have 4 million people who have been unemployed for six months or more, but that's only half of the story. we are also seeing that the new jobs created since the so-called recovery began in 2009 are paying on average lower wages than the jobs we lost so that the median household, the typical american household, when you adjust for inflation, it's actually on a downward escalator, earning less than that household earned at the
start of the recovery. >> former secretary of labor robert reich, always a pleasure. thank you so much. >> thanks, chris. if you tried to go to youtube around 5:30 p.m. eastern today, this is what you saw. ♪ youtube is back up now, but who cares, there is something way better to watch online tonight. sarah silverman and liz winstead are here to tell us about it.
in season four of "friday night lights," the incredible show about high school football life in a small texas town, one of the main characters, a teenager, gets pregnant. she decides to terminate the pregnancy, and her mother takes her to the doctor. this is what happens. >> texas law requires that i inform you of the probable gestational age of your pregnancy at the time that we plan to do the procedure. now, you can estimate the age by counting the days -- >> we get it, doctor, all right? >> i'm sorry. >> this isn't necessary. you don't have to go through the whole procedural options, blah, blah, blah. she's not having a baby, she's having an abortion. >> i understand. i just, this is state-mandated, everything that i'm saying. >> that was based on actual texas law in which doctors are required to read that script to women contemplating an abortion, but the situation in texas is now far worse, thanks to sb-2, the stringent antiabortion law that state representative wendy davis filibustered before it was ultimately passed and signed into law by governor rick perry.
when a federal appeals panel reinstated the antiabortion law after a lower court had ruled part of it unconstitutional, many of the state's clinics were forced to close. three of the five clinics ran by whole women's health in texas closed. planned parenthood had to stop abortion services in four of its texas clinics and says that one-third of all abortion providers in texas were affected by the law. now, activists have appropriated the infamous "friday night lights" clear eyes, full hearts motto for tonight's telethon to help texas women trying to survive the onslaught of right wing deprivation, their right to choose. joining me now, comedians sarah silverman and lizz winstead. great to have you here. sarah, why did you get involved in this? why are you a part of this undertaking? >> i believe in a woman's right to choose. i'm frightened by the politics that are going on, much like the voters -- >> looks like we lost sarah silverman and lizz winstead, who are standing outside the site in
after technical difficulty, we are back with comedian sarah silverman and lizz winstead. thank you both for not bailing on me. i'm sorry about that. and sarah, i was asking you why you feel so passionately about this, why you were moved to get involved with tonight's telethon. >> i believe in a woman's right to choose. i feel much like the voter suppression. very quietly, our rights are being chipped away state by state, sometimes more loudly than others, but also some real down under stuff. i also, much like most of the pro-lifers, i believe in protecting the child, you know, when she's being forced to have a baby at 14. >> yeah.
liz, you did this amazing tour with planned parenthood through a whole bunch of states, and i wanted to ask you, one of the risks of this kind of event, right, is that it looks like outsider, like new york city liberals are condescendingly rallying to texas's side and that the folks of texas who are a proud lot, i think it's fair to say, will kind of get their backs up about that. do you worry about that image that this issue becomes polarized along these kind of geographic lines? >> well, actually, tonight, three of the greatest texas allies who were sarah slayman who was the woman thrown out of the texas leg, is speaking tonight at our event along with jessica luther and heather busby. we don't consider it we're trying to help texas women do anything. they're on their own, but what anybody needs is cash. and when you look at the ramifications of hb-2 and how
far women have to drive now, and the fact that october 31st, whole women's health was actually calling, canceling appointments to women where 11,000 women were, like, where am i going to go tomorrow? and the numbers add up to where, all of a sudden, maybe you could scrape together money to afford the procedure, but now you have to find child care and travel. we are taking a cue from these women, and it's also a cue, too, chris, that when wendy davis happened, we all watched in awe of texas women and wendy davis, and what didn't happen is we didn't look in our own backyards. so, not only is this a money-raising for texas women, it's a wake-up call for all women to say i need to check in with my local legislature and now my local city council to see what laws are being proposed against me. >> we're watching you. >> sarah, you're the hype woman for this routine. i remember -- >> yeah. >> -- you had a very funny joke about waiting periods for abortion in the movie that was a sort of expended special.
and i remember, that joke is still stuck with me, and the reason why is because abortion is such a taboo topic. it's something we talk about in the abstract a lot politically, but the actual intimacy and, for many people, anguish of what that moment can be in a million different directions. do you think there is a way in which comedy breaks taboos in a fashion that is politically productive, that breaks down things that keep us repressed about things that are important to talk about? >> i couldn't hear you. you said, does comedy break down big issues? >> yeah, i guess, like -- >> yeah, i think so. >> i think abortion is so taboo, and it seems like that taboo is part of what enforces the very repressive politics on the issue. >> yeah. i think vaginas really, really scare people, honestly. and i think it's just -- i forgot. i'm so distracted by everything that's happening. lizz, take over. >> i mean, it's been -- i think
that when you use humor to talk about big issues, i think what it does, sometimes it breaks it down. it also can engage people who might not be that like us, who pay attention to every single thing that happens. i think that when people hear in plain speak, and usually through humor, wow, that's really going on? i mean, todd akin was made a national hero because he was mocked by really, really funny people. so, i think when you -- the abortion issue itself, you know, the players in it have become so comical that you can talk about the issues because the ludicrousness of the crowd heading this are comedy gold. >> and the people of new york have made it clear they don't like to be told what to do with their bodies when it comes to taking away their 20-ounce cokes. >> that's right. they made a strong stand on behalf of that. >> exactly right. >> comedian sarah silverman, whose hbo special "we are miracles" airs this saturday, and lizz winstead. thank you very much.
thanksgiving is just a little over a week away, and for one family, it's going to be pretty awkward this year. the cheneys, where over the weekend, one sister sold the other one out on national tv, and then the parents today took sides. that story's ahead. first, i want to share the three awesomest things on the internet today. we begin in toronto with the latest adventure of north america's sweetheart. rob ford doing what any other mayor would rightly do in a city
council chamber, bull-rushing an elder councilwoman who holds on to ford like an action hero would hang on to the bottom part of a helicopter. turns out, ford was running to intervene in an altercation his brother was having with spectators, but as we can see here, ford was clearly not done engaging with his antagonizers. that is of course the universal sign for, you're a drunk and you crashed your car. clearly, it's time for everyone in toronto to mellow out. thankfully, an effects house in new york took the john claude van damme video and gave it a bizarre rob ford twist. >> i've had my ups and downs, my fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds. that's what made me what i am today. >> is it a metaphor? does the split represent rob ford's inner turmoil? who knows! but the mystery perfectly captures the enigma that is rob ford. the second awesomest thing on the internet today, kicking old rules out the window. this is kevin kelly, coach of the pulaski academy football
team in little rock, arkansas, and his team never punts. they don't kick punts, they don't field punts. they only perform onside kicks, and they have three state titles to show for this unorthodox style. >> one of the things we don't do is we don't punt. it's numbers. it's numbers. there are so many reasons why going for it on fourth down stist yirkly helps you win games. fourth and nine, fourth and nine. >> in this great video, kelly shows the logic behind his numerical approach to field position. the former accounting student took leads from books like "tipping point" to come up with his philosophy. he's a fascinating guy, and after you watch the profile, check out his interview on slate's "hang up and listen" podcast. the third awesomest thing, new entrance into the hall of fame of heckling. this player from unc basketball team is about to attempt a free throw. he wants to make it. a fan of the bruins has other plans. listen closely to the voice from the stands.
>> he's made his mark for usa basketball and some of those -- [ everyone talking at once ] ♪ actually usa basketball -- >> yes that was a fan singing miley cyrus's "wrecking ball" at the top of his lungs. they went on to win the game. i'm not saying the singing with wa responsible. i'm not saying the singing wasn't responsible. then, take a look at the shot clock while you listen to chants from the crowd. >> patience has been a virtue all night for the columbia lions. they wait for the shot, but they don't have a lot of time here. two, one. >> they're not going to get it off. >> no, he had no idea. >> yes, the crowd used a fake countdown to mess up the team from columbia, and they did it again! >> should we tell him you have five to shoot? one to shoot, and it runs out on him. >> maybe you'd better tell rosenberg. >> a word to the columbia team, this is a shot clock.
asked you if you were a guest at a theoretical cheney thanksgiving dinner this year, what would you say to break up the awkwardness? we have answers posted like colleen from facebook, who would break up the awkwardness by asking, "hey liz, breast or thigh"? bill from facebook would say, "well, at least we all have obama care." and tony would say to the cheney family, "i see everybody made it to thanksgiving safely. i guess that means we're not having quayle for dinner." dick cheney's daughter, liz 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 2 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 medical conditions and medications. serious side effects could include increased risk of prostate cancer; worsening prostate symptoms; decreased sperm count; ankle, feet or body swelling; enlarged or painful breasts; problems breathing while sleeping; and blood clots in the legs. common side effects include skin redness or irritation where applied, increased red blood cell count, headache, diarrhea, vomiting and increase in psa. ask your doctor about axiron.
>> i've been asked if that nickname bothers me, and the answer is no. after all, darth vader's one of the nicer things i've been called recently. >> there's a strong case that dick cheney is america's foremost political villain of the past decade, but there was one issue that he had integrity on. >> with respect to the question of gay marriage, lynn and i have a gay daughter, so it's an issue that our family's very familiar with. freedom means freedom for everyone. i think freedom means freedom for everybody. freedom means freedom for everyone. people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. >> like so many other people across the country who have come to the side of equality on gay rights, it's because of a personal connection on the issue. dick cheney's daughter, mary, has been her father's political adviser and is openly gay. she's married with two children living in the northern virginia suburbs. and as "the new york times"
reported this weekend, mary cheney and her wife, heather, were home watching "fox news sunday" when one guest in particular really left them speechless. >> you talk about your position against same-sex marriage. your sister, mary, who is married to a woman, put out this post. she said, "for the record, i love my sister --" you --" but she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage. >> listen, i love my sister, i love my family very much. this is just an issue on which we disagree. >> that's dick cheney's other daughter, liz, taking a gamble running for senate in wyoming, a state she moved to a little over a year ago, and challenging three-term republican senator mike ennsine. she's upset the state's political establishment by running against enzi. she got fined for making a false statement on a fishing license application, and now she is selling out her own flesh and blood on national tv.
that last part didn't sit well with mary cheney's wife, who addressed liz's remarks and jabbed her relocation efforts on facebook. "i can't help but wonder how liz would feel if, as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protected in one but not the other. yes, liz," she added, "in 15 states and the district of columbia, you are my sister-in-law." mary cheney also took to social media to tell her sister she's "on the wrong side of history" and agreed to an interview with "the new york times." "what amazes me is that she says she's running to be a new generation of leader. i'm not sure how sticking to the positions of the last 20 or 50 years is the way to do that." the whole thing has to be awkward for dad and mom, who today defended their elder daughter. "liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage." >> i do believe it's an issue that's got to be left up to the states. i do believe in the traditional definition of marriage. >> and so, the battle lines are drawn.
the cheney clan gets together in wyoming for christmas, but mary says of her sister liz "i will not be seeing her." and what all this reminds us is, campaigns are a test of character. win or lose, you're going to have to live with yourself and also your family. joining me now, former democratic missouri state senator jeff smith, who is now an assistant proew of politics and advocacy, ran over former congressman russ carnahan, 2004, a dynasty in missouri politics. smith went to federal prison for campaign violations during that campaign. also, josh barro with "business insider." i cannot believe what has unfolded in the last 36 hours with this story. dan save yj, "odds that mary is pretending to be angry to help liz get elected? mary's anger makes it seem costly." >> i don't buy it. >> by the way, a lot of people
are like, you can't trust the cheneys, this is scripted, blah, blah, blah. >> including from chris barrett, the former head of g.o. proud, the republican gay group, so it's not just lefties. i don't buy it. mary and her wife seem genuinely angry, how i read it, but i don't think this helps liz cheney. if anything, it's not like this makes her look like a serious opponent of gay marriage. it makes her look like someone who's been on both sides of the issue and then irritated her family and had this ugly public episode with her family. in 2009, liz was using the same freedom means freedom for everybody line that dick cheney was. >> that dick cheney used, right. >> when dick cheney says that, he meant he's for gay marriage. i don't know what liz meant when she said that in 2009, but if this is a strategy to win her campaign, it's a bad strategy, but when she's running a race down 30 or 50 points, depending on the poll you believe, maybe she does have really dumb strategies that she's using. >> wyoming on marriage equality,
ppp poll, should same-sex marriage be legal? yes 32%. she is running in a republican primary, so it's not rocket science what the winning issue is there. >> but i think it's important to remember that it's not just what this says about her character. the republican party has long been sort of a coalition of wall street, main street and easy street. easy street meaning the west, basically. and whereas wall street wants tax cuts and main street is culturally conservative, the west wants the government out of their life. property values, gun rights, what have you. and so, i don't think this is necessarily -- wyoming is a very libertarian place and i don't think this is necessarily helpful in a republican primary. >> i also think, like you're saying, i think in the year 2013, even if people really think that marriage is between a man and a woman and they don't like marriage equality, selling your sister out on national television, it is not -- you know, it doesn't take some, you know, sophisticated political
analysis to look at a person who's running for office who says i want to be senator so badly that the people that are dearest to me, the people i love most in life, i will just throw them off the boat. >> yeah, and i think it fits in with much of the rest of what we've seen in her campaign. >> oh, my god, it's the most desperate, ridiculous undertaking. >> right. or the cheneys have had this falling out with alan simpson, longtime republican senator and elder statesman in the state and a longtime family friend of the cheneys, and they've annoyed everybody by acting like liz is basically entitled to this senate seat because she's dick cheney's daughter, and it's another working at all. >> so, you ran for office. and the reason i wanted to have you on, you ran for office, you were this rising star, you had this violation of federal campaign finance law. you ended up going to prison for it. in my humble editorializing opinion, i don't think it was worth prison time, but that's another thing. this moment to me was a reminder that when you run for office, it's like the new testament, where the devil takes jesus up
and he says, all this could be yours, and he gestures to the valley below, all this could be yours if you swear your frailty to me. you are constantly finding these tests of your own character. will you be be willing to do "x," would you be willing to do "y"? would you be willing to have a meeting with mr. so-and-so if it means you'll get elected? and there are a million ways to justify that in the end. >> that's well said. one thing we have in common is we both played basketball and i've played my whole life and coached a long time. and my signature event in politics was a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. one day, someone who was very high up in missouri politics said, hey, you've got to do something that white people in your district can relate to. why don't you have a soccer tournament or a tennis tournament or something in the white part of your district, when i was in the state senate. and i said, because it wouldn't be me. >> right. >> and i don't think i could live with myself if i did that. and i just think there are some things -- >> all right, so you didn't do that in that moment. that was like a compromise too
far? >> well, i just always -- my test -- you know, everyone's got their own litmus test in life, and mine was, would i do it? if i were never running for office? and the answer is no. and when i asked myself -- >> but that can't be the test, would i do it if i wasn't running for office, because there's a million -- would i call up random rich people if i wasn't running for office, no. that would be a waste of all your time and there's a million things you'd do. there's always this marginal little corner, like you're already doing all these things, will you just sell your sister out on national television? >> i guess where i drew the line was like a hobby. would i pretend to shoot a gun, you know, or would i pretend to play something that wasn't natural? >> and i think what probably drives mary cheney crazy about this is mary is a political operator, too. >> yes, absolutely, yes. >> and she understands the need -- >> a very close political adviser to dick cheney. it's not like she has nothing to do with politics, she's some naive who doesn't understand this world. >> and she's supported candidates before who are opposed to gay marriage.
this is not necessarily a litmus test issue for her. i think what she sees is her father in 2004 as a national republican candidate refusing to take an antigay marriage position at some political cost to dick cheney. in 2013, liz can't even do that. i think that mary views this as an unnecessary political compromise. she is selling out for no reason. >> and part of this also is the fact that when you survey the national political scene, it is unbelievable how dynastic our politics are and are becoming. i mean, everything jeb bush does gets tons of headlines. of course, hillary clinton is often thought of as the, you know, presumptive front-runner. if you look, this is just the senate, this is senate dynasty, senate candidates 2014, begich, cheney, pryor, udall and udall. >> and nunn, too. >> georgia, nun and carter. >> yeah. >> and part of what happens when you get dynastic politics is you get family feuds in front of the whole country. >> you do. but i think, you know, another thing that is important for us
to remember is that americans like brand names. >> right. >> and when you go to the grocery store -- >> familiarity, yes. >> at the grocery store, you have a choice between 7-up and super-up and people choose 7up because it's a known quantity. and voters are not well informed, so the cue is, i know the name, i know the family, it's a false sense of security. >> and that's what fooled liz cheney into joining the race. >> looking at politics, as someone who came into something from, industry my father's in, but if you look at andrew cuomo, for example, i think he's a really talented, good governor, out also a really talented political operator and i think he does a lot of things that he learned at his father's knee, from his father's successes and failures. and i think that can work really well if you put the time and energy in, which i don't think liz cheney has done. >> we're about to go through a pop culture celebration, reference and mourning for the
kennedy assassination, and all the kennedys mean. there are some aspects of dynasty that can concur some advantages. jeff smith and josh barro, thank you gentlemen. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. thank you, my friends. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. this is a view from a plane on its way to alaska. the picture was -- look at that, very nice, right? it was taken, or at least posted september 9th this year. if you are flying to alaska ever for any reason, get a window seat, trust me. this particular lovely photo was taken by a marketing executive who was flying into alaska from chicago. this appears to be another one of his pictures from that same trip as they crossed over from western canada into alaskan snow country. just gorgeous, right? the jet set marketing executive who took these pictures out the window of the plane also wrote this post about the trip. "blogging at 3