Not letting a good crisis go to waste, MSNBC’s left-wing rabble-rouser Ed Schultz insisted on "Morning Joe" today that the BP oil spill reinforces the need for new legislation to restrict corporations from engaging in political speech.
“I really believe that this what is happening in the Gulf is a classic [example] of how we do need campaign finance reform,” implored Schultz. “It’s all interconnected.”
To provoke this remark, "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist tossed Schultz a softball while plugging the liberal activist’s new book.
“One of the things you talk about a lot on your show and write about in the book is the relationship between money and politics,” declared Geist. “So what you have essentially, you could say, is a form of legalized bribery. I contribute to you, Senator Schultz, and you carry out my interests in Washington. What do we do to change that? We all know that’s the problem. We all know people are acting on behalf of corporations and not people.”
Schultz could have made the more reasonable, though nonetheless misguided, argument that the oil spill highlights the dangers of offshore drilling, but the MSNBC anchor opted to make the more conspiratorial and puzzling argument. Apparently some liberals are eager to exploit this crisis to advance more of their agenda, even if it means pushing bizarre claims of the connection between the Gulf oil spill and campaign finance reform.
The transcript of the relevant portion of the program can be found below:
MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC analyst: Let me ask you a question. You’ve known the president since prior to his being president. Okay? He used to be on your radio show when he was a state Senator and a United States Senator from Illinois. Now he’s confronted with a huge group of Americans who are literally losing their lives. They’re losing the way they work. They’re losing the way they live, down along the Gulf. And could be losing it for 20 to 30 years, who knows. Is there anyone around the president who can go to him and say, “hey listen, go down and put your hands on these people. Fake it if you have to, but do it. Show some emotion.” This country likes to have people put their hands on the country; go down and put your hands on this.
ED SCHULTZ, host of MSNBC's "The Ed Show": Well there really haven’t been any changes with this administration when it comes to advisers and this might be an opportunity for the president to bring somebody in who would deliver just that. Who that is I don’t know. I think the point that you’re making about–is he the same guy that I met as a state Senator? He is, he really is. The first meeting I ever had with President Obama is when he was a state Senator thinking about running and we talked for 45 minutes and he was just as cerebral then on issues as he is now. The approach is very much the same. He’s very convincing when you have an opportunity to visit with the guy. He doesn’t like to make mistakes, he wants to get it right.
But this disaster–his only mistake is trusting BP for too long. I write about the China syndrome in the book. You were mentioning about people that are losing their jobs and what we’re being faced with right now. The president is at a crossroads with a lot of trade agreements that are coming up. We have to level the playing field. The record trade deficits that we’re facing right now are going to cripple the country. And as a country–left, right, or center–we have to decide if we want to get this thing right or not. That’s where we are. This is a crucial period of time in American history and we’re going to have to decide whether the people are really going to have a voice, or is the corporations going to get everything they want.
WILLIE GEIST: One of the things you talk about a lot on your show and write about in the book is the relationship between money and politics. So what you have essentially, you could say, is a form of legalized bribery–
GEIST: I contribute to you, Senator Schultz, and you carry out my interests in Washington. What do we do to change that? We all know that’s the problem. We all know people are acting on behalf of corporations and not people.
SCHULTZ: Well McCain - Feingold didn’t go far enough. We have to rethink this whole thing about public financing of campaigns and the use of the media and obligations there. I really believe that this what is happening in the Gulf is a classic of how we do need campaign finance reform. It’s all interconnected.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.