I doubt it came as much of a surprise to anyone listening when Ed Schultz described how he broke the law by knowingly driving on a highway closed by police.
Schultz's New Year's Day jaunt caught the attention of Brian Maloney at the Radio Equalizer who asked yesterday, "Do road closures apply to MSNBC talkers?" --
While MSNBC libtalker Ed Schultz regularly projects the image of a working class good ol' boy who can relate to Larry Lunchbucket, his inner elitist quickly emerges.
Traffic laws? Those don't apply to celebrities, do they?
Apparently not to Schultz. In a conversation with his radio show producer James Holm on Monday (audio here), Schultz described his actions --
SCHULTZ: Gosh, though, I did my share of pushing snow with the ATV, I did my community duty, holy smokes. We had, and of course I'm not going to get any sympathy from anybody here in New York. Holy smokes, did you guys get some snow here, Holmy, unbelievable. 'Course you were back in God's country too.
SCHULTZ: Well then you know what I'm talking about.
HOLM: I've never seen it where they shut down 600 miles of interstate, north and south and east and west, there. That is crazy!
SCHULTZ: Well, your fat, red-headed friend from 2010 almost got arrested.
SCHULTZ: Well, look, OK, this is my conspiracy theory. State budgets are so strapped that, I noticed what they're doing in Minnesota is, Oh! That road's just too bad to travel! Especially on New Year's Day. Let's shut her down!
Schultz told of how he drove from his home in Detroit Lakes, Minn., into "town", presumably Fargo, to pick up his son --
SCHULTZ: So Dave wants to come out to the lake and they shut everything down on New Year's Day. I mean, the mileage that you're talking about. I'm talking, and this is the middle of the country, I-29, I-94, Highway 10 from Fargo to Detroit Lakes, I mean, shut down! And so, you know, we had had cloud cover and snow for a few days, but on New Year's Day it was beautiful!
HOLM: It was.
SCHULTZ: I mean, it was VFR (visual flight rules), it was unrestricted visibility.
HOLM: Bright sunshine.
SCHULTZ: So I jumped in the truck and went out on the highway about four miles away and I started driving down the highway and I go from Detroit Lakes down to Audubon and hell, the road's perfect! So I kept going and it's still perfect! So this is really, well, it's not bad of me but I did call a local radio station and said I didn't want to be on the air. And I said, why is Highway 10 closed? And they said, well, 'cause they said it is. Oh, OK! All right, so I called the sheriff's department in two different counties, I called the Minnesota Department of Transportation and I got a recording. It is New Year's Day, I know nobody wanted to work, OK. And I also know that if they had called anybody in to work, that it would have been overtime. And so it's just easier to shut down the highway. So, because we've had some bad snow, so let's just shut it down, then we don't have to worry about it. Now in North Dakota it was really bad, but in Minnesota it wasn't all that bad.
HOLM: No it wasn't. And this is a place you've been for the last 30 years and I've been all my life. They don't shut down roads like this.
SCHULTZ: ... I was almost doing a talk show in the truck by myself - this is your government takeover right here! (laughs) So then I went and I checked on what happens when they shut down a highway and you drive on it. Well, it's a thousand-dollar fine and possible 90 days in jail. I said, well this isn't going to work out real good with the boss 'cause he sent me a nice email over the holidays and wanted me to come back which made me feel pretty good. So anyway, I thought, well, a cop car did pass me and the guy jerked his head around and then I pulled off the side of the road, so it was no big deal. But I thought, if this guy stops me, I got some serious explaining to do here.
But "it was no big deal," Schultz shrugged -- since he succeeded in evading arrest.
Schultz's actions look all the more questionable in light of what he said on his radio show yesterday while talking with attorney Mike Papantonio about Republican congressman Darrell Issa's alleged criminal record for car theft (audio) --
PAPANTONIO: As a matter of fact, if anybody listening to this program can send me a mug shot of him, I'd love it, we'll do, we'll have ...
SCHULTZ: Well, he won't come on "The Ed Show," that's for sure, and it doesn't bother me but I would ask him, have you ever been arrested?
Time for Schultz to ask himself again -- do I really want to go down that road?