Guest-hosting for Ed Schultz Saturday, MSNBC contributor Joy Reid and liberal author James Moore fawned over pro-choice Texas legislator Wendy Davis (D) – while blasting Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and former President George W. Bush over their governorships. The Ed Show segment came in response to Perry’s announcement last week that he would not seek a fourth full term as governor of the Lone Star State.
Reid first brought up “big star” Davis late in the segment, asking Moore about the now-famous state senator’s chances at the Texas governorship in 2014. Moore seemed quite enthusiastic, insisting Davis “could raise $50 million in a month” if she decided to run.
Moore’s hyperbolic prediction seems to defy campaign finance logic. Davis, who has not announced a run for statewide office, raised nearly $1 million in the last two weeks of June, following her much-hyped filibuster. Her haul is no small order for a state senator, but it’s dubious to suggest Davis could raise 50 times that in just one month.
Moore also noted that Davis was “only eight points” behind newly-minted Republican candidate Greg Abbott, the current attorney general of the state. He did, however, question whether Davis was “up for that kind of tough, dirty fight.” [The implication here seems to be that Davis is a principled public servant, while her likely opponent, Greg Abbott, would bring her down into the mud with a negative campaign.]
For her part, Reid seemed to wave off the notion that there are any drawbacks to a pro-choice activist like Davis vying for the governorship of a socially conservative, southern state. Davis is bound for greatness, “certainly a national star,” Reid argued.
Davis gained a significant amount of attention last month for her thirteen-hour filibuster against a bill that would prohibit Texas women from obtaining an abortion after 20 weeks. The bill would also place stricter regulations on the state’s abortion clinics. Davis’s filibuster worked to prevent passage of the bill, but Perry called a special session of the state legislature that secured the bill’s passage in both chambers last week.
Many pundits at the Lean Forward network have fiercely advocated for Davis and her stance on the bill, while criticizing Perry. Reid has been no exception, likening recent pro-life efforts in traditionally Republican states to Islamic Sharia law.
Reid and Moore also ganged up on Perry and Bush, with the latter cracking that neither are “what one would call intellectual heavyweights, that’s for sure.” Reid had started the segment by teeing off on Perry, asking Moore if the current governor could “do more damage on the way out the door.”
Reid later pushed a bizarre theory on Moore, asking the author if Bush “imitated Rick Perry when he was in Texas,” suggesting the former president is not an authentic Texan because he is “from Kennebunkport, Maine.”
Well, Reid’s theory is inaccurate to begin with, because Bush and his family never lived in Maine for an extended period. According to the National Parks Service, George Herbert Walker Bush – later the nation’s 41st president – moved his family to Midland, Texas when George W. Bush was five years old. The family lived there for a few years before moving to Houston. George W. Bush briefly attended a prep school in Massachusetts before college, but his formative childhood years were in Texas. The Bush family does own a summer home in Kennebunkport – and the 43rd president did spend most summers there as a child. But to suggest Bush is “from” Maine is simply untrue.
Of course, Reid has made untrue statements about Republicans before, so her latest attack should come as no surprise. Nonetheless, the managing editor of TheGrio.com owes it to herself, her readers, and MSNBC viewers to be less sloppy with the facts.
See the full transcript below:
The Ed Show
July 13, 2013
5:21 p.m. Eastern
JOY REID: Joining me now is Jim Moore. He may not be able to dance like Big Eddie, but he is the author of a great new book called Adios Mofo. How you doing, Jim?
JIM MOORE: I’m well, Joy, how are you?
REID: I’m doing great. So Rick Perry, let's talk about the governor of Texas.
MOORE: If we must.
REID: He's still got some time left on his tenure. Do you think he can do more damage on the way out the door?
MOORE: Well, he could. But I think what he is going to do is spend his time trying to rebrand himself and make himself look presidential, or at least more presidential than he looked the first go-around. He’s probably going to associate with some think tanks. We heard the other day that he’s already got a trip planned to Israel, which is exactly what George W. Bush did before he decided to run. So Perry is trying to reconfigure things and make himself look not quite as lame as he did the first go-around.
REID: Well, you know Jim, you mentioned George W. Bush. And I've always had this conspiracy theory that George W. Bush, who is from Maine, he and his family from Kennebunkport, Maine. He’s so similar to Rick Perry, that I figured he had to have, in some ways, imitated Rick Perry when he was in Texas. Is there any truth to my conspiracy theory?
MOORE: No, I don't think so. I mean, Perry is a completely separate animal, although they were both tutored by Karl Rove. Perry and Rove split the sheets some time ago. But they do come across. They do have this look. They always have had this kind of persona, in a way of carrying themselves that is a sort of false bravura that they project. And they both are not what one would call intellectual heavyweights. That’s for sure.
REID [laughing]: But policy-wise. Give me some of what the differences would be. Because the presumption that Rick Perry would be president, to a lot of people just says George W. Bush third term. Are there any substantive differences between the two of them, policy-wise?
MOORE: Well, I'm not a fan of either. Let me make that clear. But what I would say is, that George W. Bush was considerably more moderate than Rick Perry. Bush wasn’t a big fan of abortion, but he was not out there, promoting and using it as a divisive issue. And Bush did use gay marriage as a way to get elected. But on a personal basis, Bush was – completely did not care. These are things, Perry is much more politically craven than George W. Bush ever was. Perry will say and do whatever it is necessary for him to say or do to get some sort of excited political support out of the base that can get him through the primary process.
REID: And you just talked about excitement of the base. Right now the Republican base seems to be high on two people: Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. What would Perry have to do to, sort of, claw his way in to the mix when the base is more with those two men?
MOORE: I'm not really sure that it’s going to be possible. I think what Perry is going to run into, here in Texas with Ted Cruz, is what Kay Bailey Hutchinson ran into with Rick Perry when she ran. And that is that the Tea Party has chosen their person. And Rick is working very hard on promoting this anti-abortion bill and fighting gay rights and all of those, sort of, base issues that excite the Tea Party. And he is hoping to get them back in his tent. But Ted Cruz is more articulate. Ted Cruz is a guy who, seemingly, has more charisma. And he also, unfortunately, seems to be even crazier than Rick Perry.
REID [laughing]: Well, yeah, I'm going to let you have that comment. But there is one issue on which Rick Perry has seemed to be somewhat like George W. Bush, somewhat similarly, given the Republican Party, where they are. Somewhat moderate for them. And that is on immigration. He ran into some trouble on the immigration issue about allowing young people to go to college, et cetera, and get in-state tuition. Is he still there on immigration, or do you think he will run away from it the way that Marco Rubio has?
MOORE: I think that he is trying to avoid it at the moment. Now, remember that many of the people who supported Rick Perry – their businesses relied on undocumented workers. The biggest builder in the state of Texas, who is the biggest donor to Rick Perry, the late Bob Perry – not related by the way – gave a lot money to Rick Perry. And his business relied on undocumented workers. Big business in Texas – agribusiness, home building, restaurants, you name it – is very dependent on these people that come into this country to do the tough work. So, Rick has to be very careful with this issue.
REID: OK, very quick exit question. Rick Perry stepping aside. Wendy Davis, who has become a big star over the abortion issue and her filibuster, does she have a shot at that governor's mansion?
MOORE: Well, she’s only eight points behind Greg Abbott, who is the heir apparent to the Republicans. And I think if she announced she was going to run, she could raise $50 million in a month. I think the question is whether she is up for that kind of tough, dirty fight that it would be to run for governor in Texas.
REID: Alright, well she’s certainly a national star. Thank you so much, Jim Moore. Knowledgeable about all things Texas, we really appreciate you being here.
MOORE: Sure. My pleasure.