Amidst the rising tide of scandals plaguing the Obama administration, good ol’ Ed Schultz is eager to turn the conversation away from the controversies and towards divisive social issues. On Saturday’s The Ed Show, the MSNBC host declared the Republican “war on women” was “alive and well,” blasting new abortion restrictions passed by the Wisconsin state legislature.
Schultz kicked off his segment with a video of Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis (R) chiding Democratic legislators for interrupting the roll call on a bill that would require women to obtain an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion. The bombastic host followed up:
The House also passed the bill. Governor Walker says that he will sign it. Lena Taylor, this is an iron fist democracy being lost. The war on women alive and well. How do you read it?
Taylor, a Democratic state senator from Wisconsin, claimed Ellis’s efforts were “no different” than “what the women in the Middle East are experiencing with the Taliban.”
Senator Taylor went on to further berate Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature, suggesting that Democrats “were silenced that day” by “anti-women” legislators in the state’s upper chamber. Schultz didn’t appear to disagree, as he and his guests continued to bash pro-life Republicans over the next several minutes.
But Senator Taylor didn’t tell the whole story. If you had watched only Schultz’s segment, you would think that Wisconsin Republicans had rammed this ultrasound bill through the Senate with nary a concern for Democratic opposition.
According to the AP, though, Democrats debated the bill for around two and a half hours the day before. And Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said Democrats “could have debated longer then but chose not to,” instead agreeing to end debate.
But Big Eddie is not one to always check the facts. In fact, Schultz may be so blinded by his hatred of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R), he didn’t bother to read more into Taylor’s comparisons of the incident to the Taliban’s treatment of women.
Remember also that Schultz, despite all his huffing about the “war on women,” was suspended by MSNBC in 2011 for using a sexist slur against conservative radio host Laura Ingraham.
Now, Senator Taylor may be upset the vote didn’t go her way. But comparing the “bullying experience” of hours of debate and a democratic vote to the ruthless treatment of Middle Eastern women by Taliban extremists? That’s just “psycho talk.”
See the relevant transcript below:
The Ed Show
5:39 p.m. Eastern
ED SCHULTZ: Rapid response topic number two. Instead of working on the economy, Republicans in Wisconsin are ramping up the war on women. It’s alive and well. Senate Republicans passed a mandatory ultrasound bill and the vote turned ugly.
STATE SENATOR MICHAEL ELLIS: The question before the body is passage of the bill. A roll call will be required. The clerk will call the roll. The clerk will call the roll.
UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Senator Carpenter.
[Unidentified senator interrupting.]
ELLIS: You're interrupting our roll call. Sit down. Right now. Call the roll.
UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Senator Carpenter. Cowles. Cullen.
[Unidentified senator interrupting.]
ELLIS: You’re interrupting our roll call and that will not be tolerated. Sit down.
SCHULTZ: The House also passed the bill. Governor Walker says that he will sign it. Lena Taylor, this is an iron fist democracy being lost. The war on women alive and well. How do you read it?
STATE SENATOR LENA TAYLOR: The war on women is alive and well. Anti-women legislation has been their priority, not creating jobs. We were silenced that day. The president broke his gavel. The women in the gallery, in the assembly, were escorted out. This is no different than what I experienced when I heard of the women – when I went to Turkey and heard of what the women in the Middle East are experiencing with the Taliban trying to silence them for being at the table. This was a similar kind of bullying experience that we experienced on the Senate floor in the legislature of Wisconsin. And this is all they're doing. No job bills.
SCHULTZ: What is it about people in metropolitan areas don't think like this. Ruth, is this just a big rural push across America?
RUTH CONNIFF: You mean the anti-abortion push?
CONNIFF: Without a doubt, it is an issue that has been popular in the Wisconsin legislature among Republicans for a long time. We used to have a Democratic governor who would veto these measures. Now they have Walker in place. He used to be one of them. One of the legislators who came through the pro-life movement and who was determined to be very, very tough on women's choice. And we're having Planned Parenthood clinics closing all over the state. We’re going to have one closing in Appleton now because of this ultrasound requirement, which is what we just watched. And I'm so glad that you're showing it, Ed. Because people – we don't have tens of thousands of protesters out monitoring this every day anymore, but it is just as bad as it was during height of the Wisconsin uprising. They called a jobs session then and did nothing but cancel sex ed classes and take away people’s birth control and restrict abortion further. Now we're having this happen again. We're talking about vaginal probes. This is the same stuff the Republicans are talking about that hurt them so much in the national election.