The nation mourned a fallen star, Republicans fought against civil rights on multiple fronts, Romney’s ride stalled in Michigan, the president locked down a visit to Wisconsin, conservatives relayed racist remarks and the Ed Show covered it all.
It was an emotional weekend as the country mourned the premature death of a legendary vocalist and as conservatives vocalized their own heated feelings at CPAC. In addition to singing the praises of Sunday’s Grammy awards, which he called “a fabulous concert,” and noting the loss of Whitney Houston, Ed detailed the blazing battle against civil rights being fought by the GOP on two distinct fronts.
On the first battleground, Scott Walker continued his war on workers at the annual CPAC convention. Walker gave a fiery speech stressing the importance of winning his Wisconsin recall election and limiting the power of America’s middle class. According to Ed, Walker’s problem is that “he doesn’t see collective bargaining as a right.”
In fact the governor stated that “Collective bargaining is not a right… [it] is an expensive entitlement.” Clearly Walker doesn’t appreciate the value of collective bargaining, which, as Ed pointed out, has won employees the 40 hour work week, 8 hour work days, overtime, paid vacations, and much more.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker warns the crowd at CPAC about the consequences that will come if he loses the recall.
The second battle being fought by the GOP is the war on women’s health. On Monday, Ed discussed Republican hostilities toward Obama’s contraception plan, which would require employers to provide family planning coverage. Ed said that despite being masked as a religious rights issue, “this is nothing more than a frontal attack on President Obama...”
Ed welcomed Democratic Strategist Krystal Ball, who claimed that “women are absolutely on the side of the president here.” Joan Walsh, Editor at Large for Salon.com, said that conservatives are “stuck back in the culture wars of the 1980s.” These culture wars are not only dividing the ranks of the GOP, but they’re also alienating potential voters across the nation.
One GOP candidate is following his party’s lead by also losing important constituents. On Tuesday, Ed analyzed the reasons behind Mitt Romney’s stall in the Republican presidential race. In Romney’s key home state of Michigan, the Obama-led bailout of the automobile industry revved up job creation and saved a critical sector from being totaled. Ed said that Mitt is “all wrong on the auto loan,” and “he’s not honest with the economic facts of what is happening with the economy.”
According to Michigan Congressman Gary Peters, if Romney had his way, “these companies would have liquidated, and with that hundreds of thousands of jobs would have been lost.” So far, Michigan voters agree with Ed and the congressman. Recent poll numbers show Romney trailing Santorum in the Wolverine state. Nevertheless, new mud-slinging ads and an upswing in campaigning prove that the GOP race will continue to be a real dog fight.
Speaking of dogs, a group called “Dogs Against Romney” marked their territory outside of Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. The organization comprised of dogs and pet-owners protested Mitt’s treatment of his late Irish Setter, whom he allegedly strapped to the roof of his car during a “ruff” 12 hour ride from Boston to Canada. In response to the story Ed quipped, “I guess it’s tough passing yourself off as a dog lover when you’re out there protecting the fat cats.”
Also on Tuesday, the GOP threw Obama a bone by saying they will negotiate to extend payroll tax cuts. In a victory for Democrats bigger than Malachy the Pekenese’s win at the Westminster Dog Show, Ed reported that the deal would also include “up to 75 weeks of unemployment benefits for the hardest hit states.” MSNBC Political Analyst Jonathan Alter joined Ed on Tuesday, and remarked that Republicans likely caved because they started to feel “the political heat at home.”
Governor Scott Walker was feeling the heat at home on Wednesday when Obama visited Wisconsin. The president made a special visit to the Master Lock company, where a combination of union strength and insourced jobs has unlocked its full potential. Walker was supposed to join Obama for a tour of the factory, but bolted from the scene because he wasn’t feeling well.
Perhaps Walker just couldn’t stomach the clear evidence of Obama’s job creation success. Maybe he was licking his battle wounds from his unpopular war on workers. Ed guessed that the governor simply “can’t face the people of his own state because his job record is really in the tank.” The president’s employment record, by contrast, is stronger than ever as the economy continues to rebound and new jobs are created.
In a speech at the factory, Obama challenged his listeners to “Ask yourself what you can do to bring jobs back to your country. And your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.” He outlined a plan to insource more jobs back to America, offering benefits like double tax deductions and assisted financing for companies that make products in the US. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told Ed that the President’s speech was “an important economic and patriotic message to tell the American people.”
On Thursday, Ed analyzed a very different message being littered to the American people by the Republican Party. A string of bigoted comments directed at everyone from Whitney Houston to a sitting African American congresswoman have polluted the airwaves in recent days.
In Los Angeles, trash-talking conservative radio hosts called Whitney Houston a “crack ho,” and questioned why her death “took this long” to happen. But the shocking racism didn’t stop there. Fox News’ Eric Bolling responded to remarks made by Congresswoman Maxine Waters about the GOP by saying “Step away from the crack pipe, step away from the Xanax.”
Ed noted that as Obama achieves more, “…the frequency of the racial overtones just increases everywhere.” Lehigh Professor Dr. James Peterson agreed, saying “Republican Presidential politics has been embracing racially insensitive discourses.”
Jeremy Lin, Rep. Maxine Waters and the late Whitney Houston were the targets of racially charged incidents over the past 24 hours. What is the explanation for the uptick in racially motivated language in the media? Dr. James Peterson joins Ed Schultz to explain.
Conservatives also ventured into sexism this week. Millionaire investor and Santorum backer Foster Friess made an outrageous remark about contraception on MSNBC Thursday. Responding to the Obama administration’s policies on birth control, Friess said that “Back in my day they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The Gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.” It’s unclear exactly when “back in my day” refers to, but at a moment when their struggling party needs all the help it can get, sexist and racist comments might have some Republicans wishing for a time machine.