The Rachel Maddow Show | January 16, 2012
MADDOW: Green Bay Packers are not going to the Super Bowl this year. Also, the Denver Broncos are not going to the Super Bowl . Also, the New Orleans Saints are not going to the Super Bowl . Also, the Houston Texans are not going to the Super Bowl . All of that was decided this weekend. Next weekend, the team from Baltimore is going to travel up to play in Boston . And the team from New York will be traveling to play in San Francisco . And those two blue state games between those four blue state teams will decide who gets to go to the big show , to the Super Bowl , which will be held this year in Indianapolis . The game date is February 5th , which is two weeks after the games this weekend that decide who's going. While all that is going on, the NFL Players Association is warning the host for this year's Super Bowl against what the players described as ramming through a new law in the state of Indiana before the big game . Quote, "As NLF players, we know our success on the field comes from working as a team. Today, even as the city of Indianapolis is exemplifying that team work in preparing to host the Super Bowl , politicians are looking to destroy it, trying to ram through so-called right to work legislation. Right to work is a political ploy designed to destroy basic workers rights . As Indianapolis prepares to host the Super Bowl , it should be a time to shine in the national spotlight and highlight the hardworking families that make Indiana run instead of launching political attacks on their rights ." So says the NFL Players Union . But, you know, a funny thing happen on the way to Republican stripping union rights in Indiana . In a big rush, in advance of the Super Bowl , where in the nation's eyes will turn to Indiana to watch the most famous union workers on earth battle for a national championship -- a funny thing happened on the way to that partisan Republican victory in Indiana . It got less partisan. We probably should have seen this coming when a conservative Republican state senator named Brent Waltz sided with Democrats in voting against the union stripping bill, in committee, in the state legislature , saying he did not see it would have any economic benefit to the state. Then other Republicans like County Councilman Luke Abbott of Newton County started going on the record criticizing the so called right to work anti- union rights law. He said it went against the Republican Party 's principles. Now, a new group called the Lunchpail Republicans has started airing ads on Indiana television stations, taking on Republican Governor Mitch Daniels and the Republican House speaker. The ads look like this one.
MADDOW: We have lost our focus, right to work doesn't work. It's time to regain our party in 2012 , you will lose big . Republicans are good with the campaign music, aren't they? Anyway, that was the message from Indiana 's Lunchpail Republicans to Indiana 's Republican leaders. The day the Lunchpail Republicans PAC launched, the group's president described himself as a labor leader, as a life long Republican, and as a former supporter of Republican Governor Mitch Daniels . He also said he served on various boards for the Daniels administration, but he's fed up now with Indiana Republicans efforts to strip union rights . Quote, "A Lunchpail Republican believes in the right to speak freely and bear arms, supports labor and business and insists that the government should not interfere with the day -to-day operations of private sector organizations. We should not have to choose between our party, our union and our guns." They posted this letter from Mitch Daniels back in 2004 when he was running for governor. It said, quote, "No need exists to enact take right to work statute in Indiana ." This may sound surprising to anybody who has watched the huge partisan fights over union rights in Wisconsin and Ohio and Maine and on and on for the past year, but supporting union rights , the way Mitch Daniels said he did in that letter, supporting union rights used to be normal for Republicans . And it still is for some Republicans . Indiana 's new Lunchpail Republicans say they plan to fund pro- union Republican candidates against anti- union Republican incumbents. The group so new they have not yet had to filed a campaign finance reports. But a spokesperson tells us they have been getting contributions from all over the country. He said they already have, quote, "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to spend on pro- union Republicans in their state on upending what has become Republican politics as usual. Tomorrow, the Indiana House will debate stripping union rights . We expect a vote on the measure later this week. Joini9ng us tonight for the interview is the chairman of the Lunchpail Republicans , David Fagan . Mr. Fagan is also the financial secretary of his union , the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. Mr. Fagan , thank you for being with us tonight.
DAVID FAGAN, LUNCHPAIL REPUBLICANS: Thank you. And it's a pleasure to be here.
MADDOW: Can you tell me why you decided to form the Lunchpail Republicans and what you're hoping to accomplish?
FAGAN: Well, I was totally shocked when the Republican leadership in the state of Indiana said this was going to be their 2012 number one legislative priority. That was very, very disappointing. When you look around and you see the American Society of Civil Engineers that rated the infrastructure of the state of Indiana , as approximately a " D " as I recall, that this was, all of a sudden , their new number one priority, I couldn't just believe they would make this their number one priority. And then the second part of it, as far as I was concerned, this was against Republican principles, the fact that the Republican leadership would tell the private sector what you can do in your organization, would tell small businesses that you can't enter into these type of commercial -- these type of agreements with labor relations within your company. The fact that the Republican Party says that a private organization under law as they are proposing it would say that you could not receive services -- I mean, sorry, revenue for the services provided by your labor organization , those are totally anti-Republican philosophy as far as I'm concerned. They're interfering with the private sector . They're telling private companies they can't do something. And they're telling private entities that you can't collect services from -- collect revenue for services provided. It just goes against the Republican principles as I've seen them. And it's not outside of the realm for Republicans to be pro-labor and pro-business, and I think that is where the Republican Party lost their focus. They've lost the fact that small businesses and working families throughout this great state are part of their constituent base and they are turning their back on those groups of constituents. To me, that's appalling and that was the reason we sat down and decided how do we deal with this. And so, we formed Lunchpail Republicans . And make no doubt about it , we will use this PAC to target those Republicans who vote for right to work, and turn their backs on small businesses and working families in this great state of Indiana .
MADDOW: What are you hearing from Republican leaders, Republican legislators, in your state since you started running these ads, since you made the announcement that you will be supporting primary challenges to anti- union Republican incumbents. How is the Republican establishment reacting to you?
FAGAN: Well, I can say that I've heard from numerous state senators , numerous Republican state representatives. I've heard from local Republican elected officials. I've heard from working class blue collar people in the state of Indiana , who are very much encouraged by Lunchpail Republicans . And that's the people that we're going to represent is the working class families in the state and small businesses . I am not, if you would say look at the leadership as the establishment right now, I have not received any verbal communication from those leadership at all at this point.
MADDOW: David Fagan , the financial secretary of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 in Indiana , also chairman of the newly formed Lunchpail Republicans -- sir, I know there's going to be voting on this issue this week. We've been closely following this in Indiana . I hope that I can ask you to come back on the show and talk again as this continues to unfold in your state.
FAGAN: I would look forward to that opportunity and short-term, we plan on defeating right to work and again if we can't defeat right to work, we will defeat those elected officials who supported it. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here this evening.
MADDOW: David Fagan , thank you. We got a link to Lunchpail Republicans Web site at Maddow Blog today if you like to learn more about them. Very interesting development in Midwest Republican . All right. Right after this show, on "THE_LAST_WORD," Lawrence O'Donnell has as his guest comedian Jeff Garland from " Curb Your Enthusiasm ." And here, Ron Paul , what's he been doing there the whole show. I'll tell you in a moment.