It wouldn’t be MSNBC if one of the cable hosts didn’t smear a conservative as racist. On Wednesday, Ed Schultz hinted that Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform, might be “race baiting” by placing ads warning about the impact of unionization.
Schultz was talking to Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen over possible unionization of a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Cohen slammed signs put up by Norquist’s group, complaining, “The billboards are offensive, the whole idea of keeping people from earning decent wages.” Because the signs mention Barack Obama, The Ed Show anchor zeroed in: “You think Grover Norquist is race baiting? You think he knows the climate?” [See video below. MP3 audio here.] This was too much even for Cohen.
The Congressman disagreed, “No, I wouldn’t say that.” He added, “You know, I know Grover and I just not find the ads abhorrent. But I don`t want to say anything to distort about Grover.”
Schultz huffed, “The famous Grover Norquist. He`s never seen a worker that he really likes. Grover Norquist control basically what he`s doing is buying up billboards around Chattanooga warning of unionization.”
Is there any conservative Schultz won't label a bigot?
A partial transcript of the February 12 segment, which aired at 5:15pm ET, is below:
ED SCHULTZ: I want you to focus on the word "freedom" because how many times have we heard the Republicans and the Conservative movement talk about freedom? I mean they love that word. Everything is connected to freedom except in the workplace. Chattanooga, Tennessee is now ground zero when it comes to union rights in America. We got a dandy of an election going on folks. Today, workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen Assembly Plant started a three-day voting period as to whether they`re going to join the United Auto Workers. It`s a decision to the workplace. They`re going to decide what the heck they want to do. Freedom. Now, if this plant votes to unionize that UAW would establish the first ever German style works council. The UAW would negotiate wages and benefits for 1,500 workers at the plant and it is important to point out that Tennessee is a right to work state. Of course the Conservatives have offered up right to work legislation and I think 26 states over the last two years.
SCHULTZ: This guy is jumping into the fray one more time. The famous Grover Norquist. He`s never seen a worker that he really likes. Grover Norquist control basically what he`s doing is buying up billboards around Chattanooga warning of unionization. This billboard crosses out auto and reads "United Obama Workers". Really innovative. It says that UAW spends millions to elect liberal politicians such as Barack Obama. We should point out that they misspelled the word "politicians". This billboard right here reads, "Detroit brought to you by the UAW." Someone ought to remind Mr. Norquist, that the Republican outsourcing caused a whole bunch of problems in Detroit Michigan. And by the way the Republicans if I remember the legislature up there didn`t fork over about $300 million to the city so that they could help themselves financially. They withheld state funds in that state.
REP. STEVE COHEN: We`ve got one legislature that wants to allow people the right to refuse service to people because they maybe gay and or be engaged in a civil union and to say basically we reserve the right to refuse. So there`s a lot of problems in our country and our state. We need to go forward. The billboards are offensive, the whole idea of keeping people from earning decent wages especially when companies are encouraging a positive vote and seize the workers council work in Germany.
SCHULTZ: You think Grover Norquist is race baiting? You think he knows the climate?”
COHEN: No. I wouldn`t want to say that.
COHEN: You know, I know Grover and I just not find the ads abhorrent. But I don`t want to say anything to distort about Grover.