The Rachel Maddow Show | January 25, 2013
>> happy friday. the detroit lions used to play in this building, the pontiac silverdome in once prosperous pontiac , michigan . after the lions left the silverdome and the pontiac factory moved and the town of pontiac went broke, they're tried to sell the stadium to the highest bidder.
>> the field has seen monster truck rallies, soccer games. if it can happen on a field, kit happen here.
>> out here at the silverdome , we have anything ranging from your dirt shows, snocross shows, home and garden show, trade shows , converts all the way down to anything you would like to do on top of a field football, soccer, indoor football , arena football , you could have lacrosse down here.
>> a canadian tycoon eventually bought the silverdome in 2009 . not for lacrosse, though. the place cost $55 million to build when they first built it. he got it for a half million. the tycoon had wanted to put a casino in there. but last year voters said no to that. well, this is pontiac 's formally $55 million silverdome right now. look at that. over the past week, wind storms have shredded the silverdome 's inflatable roof. so now the weather comes right in. but don't worry. the new owner said they were going to build a new roof anyway. he said the silverdome in tatters in the brief michigan winter is not really the disaster it look like. it's more like a very, very rough phase 1 , the demo phase. michigan is amazing. michigan republicans , you in particular are amazing. on inauguration day this week, while the president was being sworn in for the start of his second term, michigan republicans back home, they spent the day talking about turning an island in the detroit area into a new independent country. it would be ruled based on the fictional pseudo economic novels of ayn rand , the patron saint of paul ryan . that's what they spent inauguration day doing. good luck with that. right after the election this year, after insisting publicly over and over again that there was no need to strip union rights in the state of michigan , michigan republicans , surprise, passed a bill doing just that, and governor rick snyder signed it. the whole thing was opened, passed, and shut within a week, never mind what we said before, we're doing it. surprise. michigan is amazing, right? i mean michigan is the state with the republican law to let the state fire all your locally elected officials and unilaterally abolish your town if they want to on their own say so, no matter how you vote. in november this past election, michigan voters repealed that with a direct vote , the will of the people . the month after that, governor snyder and the republicans in the legislature gave the voters of michigan a big michigan republican one-finger salute. they decided to pass and sign into law a new emergency manager law to replace the one that the voters just killed. except this new one can't be killed by the voters. what's that you say? the will of the who now? i'm sorry, have we met? you know those really funny videos about the honey badger and about how the honey badger don't give a bleep? michigan republicans are the honey badgers of politics. they do not give a bleep. because michigan republicans do not care what anyone thinks of them, certainly not the press, but apparently also not the voters, michigan is my personal nominee. michigan is my nominee for the one state that is shameless enough to actually do what a whole host of other states finally today are starting to get too embarrassed to go ahead with. usually the outlier in american normal politics is florida , right? florida 's generally considered to be our weird state . florida is so weird that on the home page of weird, fark.com, the site is divided into sections like sad, strange, weird, scary, or florida . you can click on the florida tag and you just get the stuff that it seems could only happen in florida . enough said, right? if the headline starts with "naked florida man" and the story includes doctors being unable to determine what drugs he is on, welcome to your newfound celebrity status, good sir that one turns out to be the florida story of an alleged naked burglar who is a carney whose alleged malfeasance is such that i'm going to let you read the headline itself rather than attempt to say it myself on tv. okay? we expect this from florida , right? it's not just true crime, though, that makes florida so weird. it's politics too. florida politics are often the political equivalent of the naked pooping carney burglar, right? the 2011 debacle, katherine harris , the butterfly ballot, all the nice old jewish people in south florida inadvertently voting for pablo? yeah. the congressman, david rivera, his scandal. hiring fake candidates to run in sham elections, and then reporters getting water thrown in their face when they go to investigate. electing the guy that was forced out of the company with the largest medicare fraud fine in history because he said as governor he would crack down on all the health care fraud. i mean, that's florida , right? florida has always been seen as the shameless american state . this year in the 2012 election, there were incredibly long lines for voting in florida , on purpose, because the governor, rick scott signed a law to cut early voting days in half. the latest academic analysis of the impact of that says at least 200,000 people did not vote in 2012 , who otherwise would have voted because they couldn't wait in the eight-hour-long lines that rick scott created and then defended as the right thing to do. florida 's electoral failure this year was so spectacular, it got a shout out from the president on election night , and a huge round of applause when he talked about those long lines and said "we have to fix that." that same florida fail has become a rallying cry for the newly democratic florida politician charlie crist , as he mounts what might be a challenge to rick scott as governor. and all that attention, we think of florida as being unembarrassable, right? but all that attention has maybe made even unembarrassable florida a little embarrassed about the way they're doing their politics right now. since the elect, governor scott has backed down on his cut in early voting days, which he had previously been defending. he now says he'll put the early voting days that used to be there back. florida republicans actually got embarrassed, and they caved on the early voting thing that same dynamic may now be a work in the latest national shamelessness exercise in electoral tilt the playing field shenanigans. this one started with redmap . redmap was the national republican party project this past year targeting specific blue states . the plan was to aggressively redistrict to make them a lock for republicans . republicans are not embarrassed by this. thigh they are bragging now that this scheme is the only way they held on to the house, even though more people voted for republicans than democrats for the house this year. since redmap , republicans have followed up on redmap 's success by considering a way to push that scheme even further. they're trying to change the rules state by state to start electing the president using the same gerrymandered maps that won them the house, even though they got less votes than the other party for the house. they've been plotting a way to overturn the electoral college winner takes all system in these blue states to instead allocate electoral votes by congressional district , by the congressional districts that they have aggressively redrawn to be a lock for republicans . it's ambitious, right? it is ambitious, but it started off i'm sure deliberately as a very quiet effort. and because it was being done quietly in disparate states , it was not getting much attention in the national news. now, though, it has become a front-page story. now it's getting tons of national attention all of the sudden. it was the conservative -- it was the d.c. paper the " national journal " that first picked up on this republican plan last month. it was their reporting that we flagged early last week when we said hey, beltway, wake up. this is happening. since that, since we're trying to draw people's attention to it, the coverage of it really has taken off. it began percolating the very next day on some of the more influential lefty blogs. think progress , daily coast, talking points memo . from there it ended up hitting the mainstream. the associated press ran with this headline late last week, republicans eye new election laws. the inside the beltway news organizations then started to run their own stories on this plan. this was the front page above the fold headline in the " washington post " today. look at that. front page , above the fold, right-hand column. gop is pushing electoral changes. virginia among states at issue. it's now becoming big national news. and then tonight, the big kahuna , it hit the national newscasts.
>> seeing red . a push by republicans to change the way we elect a president. if these had been the rules across the map in november, we'd have president romney .
>> if the whole country adopted plans now being considered in virginia , michigan , ohio , pennsylvania , and wisconsin, instead of obama winning 332-206, the electoral map would have gone from blue to red, romney over obama.
>> as this story goes national , as this story gets national attention and goes sort of big-time as news goes, republicans in the states that have been pushing this plan seem to be getting a little embarrassed. in florida , the previously unembarrassable florida , where rick scott backed off the early vote long lines disaster just last week, the republican speaker of the florida house now says no way are they going to do this electoral college rig the vote thing. do not pin that tail on him. quote, to me that's like saying in a football game we should only have three quarters because we were winning after three quarters and they beat news the fourth. i don't think we need to change the rules of the game . i think we need to get better. okay. it looks like it's going nowhere in florida . how about virginia , where republicans moved a bill to act on this change earlier in the week? well, in virginia , two crucial republican senators are now saying no to this idea. also, virginia 's governor, governor ultrasound bob mcdonnell , he also now definitively saying no, he is opposed to making the change. republicans floated the idea before in pennsylvania , before the election. and governor tom corbett in pennsylvania was enthusiastic about the idea. but now, ah, now, with all this attention, now republicans in pennsylvania are sitting on their hands. the chairman of the pennsylvania republican party saying he didn't really like the idea the first time around either. in ohio , it was about five minutes after the election when the republican secretary of state there john husted began stumping for this idea of making the electoral college change. hey, it's just an idea, right? but now it's very, very quiet in ohio . and that leaves michigan . oh, michigan . michigan , my nominee for incapable of being embarrassed. move over , florida . michigan has a bill on the way with the republican sponsor who is quite unembarrassed by the attention now or his failure to pass the same kind of bill last year. quote, the bill got no traction last year. there were people convinced romney was going to win. and that might take electoral votes from him. but now, now that romney lost, now maybe even rick snyder , the governor is warming up to the idea this week and saying so publicly. governor snyder saying it is fair to change the rules since the election is not for a few more years yet. we started this week with six states on the map where republicans were talking about changing the rules to elect the president so you could use the gerrymandered congressional maps to make the presidential election go the way the house vote went this year where democrats got more votes but republicans still held the office. we started with a map of six. two of those states have now put the idea in the deepest part of the deep freeze where they can reach without falling in. most of the other states on this map appear to be putting the idea on ice, putting it on the ice floe , saying good luck, you're on your own. but michigan , in michigan they appear to be just warming up. michigan is my bet for actually doing this thing that most of republican america is now too embarrassed to go ahead with. michigan is not like the other states anymore. what will not work anywhere else, they think work there's. so what if the silverdome room is in tatters or if voters reject a law or if others in states are too embarrassed to turn democracy into a fist for a fistfight. do they get embarrassed? or do they just get on with it? now that we finally got national attention to this scheme, now we are about to find out just how much of a honey badger michigan republicans