Interview on the Randi Rhodes Show
January 24, 2006
The following is a transcript of Howard Dean's appearance on the Randi Rhodes Show yesterday, January 23. You can listen to it on the Randi Rhodes Archives ( http://www.randirhodesarchives.com/), in the second half of the show.
Randi started the interview by saying "We've been playing your clip over and over again for like the last week, where you succinctly said 'There is no Abramoff Democratic money. He gave no money to Democrats.' She goes on to say that people in the media have continued to try to portray the Abramoff scandal as bipartisan in nature, and that Tim Russert had put up a pie chart saying that 34% of the money had gone to Democrats. - Renee in Ohio
Howard: Well, you know, I like Tim Russert, but that's just not true.
Randi: I know that's not true.
Howard: The truth of the matter is, this is a Republican finance scandal. Exclusively. There is nobody implicated in this except for Republicans. Not one.
Randi: Do you know how he had to couch it to get away with this kind of lying--
Howard: You know, I'm surprised that Tim would do this because I know Tim and he's an ethical person, but that's just not true. You know, these guys have got to get off their butts and look at those numbers. Here's the deal, Randi, not one nickel from Abramoff ever went to a Democrat. Not one nickel, every dime of it went to Republicans. Secondly, there's no evidence whatsoever that any money was directed by Abramoff to any Democrat. So this is just crap, and it's the RNC, and it's disappointing at this late date after all this corruption exposed on the Republican side, that the mainstream press would fall for this. They've got to do better than this.
Randi: Well, you know, the mainstream press is cooked. Do you understand, they're as corporate as anybody, and corporatism has--
Howard: --yeah, but I think Russert's a good guy. I really do.
Randi: Yeah, I like to think he's a decent guy from upstate New York too, I really do. You know, like how he honors his father, you see there's a certain warmness about him. But his willingness to lie was apparent to me on Sunday. Here's how he said it, Senator Reid, Senator Kennedy, Patty Murray, and a lot of prominent Democrats received money from--now check out what he had to say--from associate, clients of Jack Abramoff. Two to one Republican, but it's not fair to say that just Republicans took money.
Howard: Well, no! That's completely untrue. That's completely untrue and it's incredibly disappointing.
Randi: Isn't it? I'm telling you, I am grossed out by the way that they add words, and add clients, and add associates of--
Howard: Well, I'm disappointed with Tim. The truth is, what he said was false, and, you know, he's got to do better. He's my friend, but he's got to do better. It's just simply false.
Randi: Well, he asked it to Begala, who immediately said, it's misleading, this is a Republican scandal, Mr. Abramoff is a movement partisan Republican. There is no evidence in all the indictments, in all the emails, in all of the investigation that any of the money that went to Democrats from Indian tribes was directed by Abramoff. And then he neglects to say that not one Democrat received one dime from Jack Abramoff. But it is upsetting--it's really upsetting, and then people start calling and saying "Oh, you're lying!" No, I'm not lying--they're misrepresenting this entire thing. And for Mary Matalin to sit there and say--
Howard: Well, she's a propagandist, Randi, I mean, those folks do propaganda. These are the best propagandists since Vladimir Lenin--you can't believe a word they say. And it's a shame, because, you know, there were good Republicans in this country at one time.
Randi: Yes there were, I agree.
Howard: There still are a few, but they don't vote Republican any more.
Randi: No they don't. They vote for something other than THE Republic. They vote against this country. They vote against Americans constantly. (I think Randi and Howard and talking about entirely different groups here.) I'm sitting here explaining why the prescription drug benefit was SO bad. It's because the pharmaceutical companies got to write it!
Howard: And that's the danger of all this. What Abramoff and the Bush folks did was buy their way in so that they could do things--the Medicare bill wasn't for old people, it was for pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Because that's the way the Bush people are; they don't care about ordinary Americans--
Randi: And who wrote the bankruptcy bill?
Howard: Well, it certainly wasn't ordinary people who are struggling with their credit card bills--
Randi: It was the credit card companies. And who's writing all this legislation? It's special interests that pay--you know, I expect to see a backlash from CEOs at this point. They're going broke, people are losing their jobs in droves, and the CEOs are starting to make a little bit of noise at least, that they're being shaken down by this party. That not only do you have to give campaign contributions, but since there's a limit, they now have to buy advocacy ads. They have to support the Swiftboat ads. They have to do "Citizens for a More Just America", name it, and then fund it, and then advertise for this candidate or that candidate. I mean, this is crazy! And these CEOs are sick and tired of watching their employees lose their jobs in thousands at a time. Maybe they will say, "Enough already! We'll take our chances with a Democratic congress. This K Street Project, it was a nice idea, we've given you enough money. You guys have been exposed, you're worthless to us now, we're walking away." If not for principle and character, at least because it's not effective any more. The jig is up!
Howard: I think that's right. I would hope that Americans would be disappointed enough in these folks--but you know, we've got to have a positive agenda. And basically here it is...
First, the Democrats will restore honesty in government. You can't trust the Republicans. They can't balance the budget, they can't manage the finances of this country, they can't manage Iraq, they couldn't manage Katrina. It's time to have honesty in government with people we can trust again.
Randi: They can't tell the truth. They absolutely can't tell the truth. Did you see the president today?
Howard: No, I did not.
Randi: You didn't miss a thing. Listen to how odd this is. Two and one half hours, he was on the TV today at the University of Kansas, and he was selling his lawless, warrantless search idea--
Howard: He was selling what?
Randi: His warrantless spying on Americans.
Howard: Oh, right.
Randi: And, of course, Arlen Specter has said, "No, I don't think so." McCain has said, "I don't see where there's authority to do this. I think it's illegal." You know, you've had many Republicans come forward and say--even Brownback from Kansas! So it was weird that it was in Kansas--
Howard: You know, Randi, what's a little more scary even than this? Over the weekend, there was a front page article in a lot of papers that said that they were trying now to try to get Google to let them know whatever you looked at. Supposedly it was about a child porn investigation, but the way the government wants it is that whatever you looked at, they get to see. This is the library provision of the Patriot Act on steroids. Whatever you looked at, they get to find out what you're looking at. It really does begin to look like McCarthyism and the Nixon-Agnew regime. They're using the IRS, for example, to persecute people out west who've given sermons against the war, saying that's partisan. Yet, you can go into a church and hear the priest say that it's a mortal sin to vote for John Kerry. I mean, this is very frightening what they're doing. It's bad for the country, and they're going to take the country down if they're allowed to continue in this way, and we're not going to put up with it.
Randi: Well, the Google story I had here on Friday, and we did a little bit on it today. But what's really creepy is how many emails I got from friends who switched their internet providers because Microsoft and Yahoo and AOL all said that they did turn over document.
Howard: That's right.
Randi: So the damage is done. And if they're looking for pornography, and child porn--they're just saying they want a million random web addresses, and records of web searches for an unspecified one week period.
Howard: So, let them get rid of the child pornographers, we don't like them. But let's not--whatever search you make. 'Cause what's going to happen, we'll we've seen what's going to happen. They've already started eavesdropping on people they don't agree with--
Randi: My phone clicks like crazy, I don't know about yours (Howard laughs). You know, I think I'm paranoid sometimes, and then I think just because somebody's tapping my phone doesn't mean I shouldn't be paranoid.
Howard: They went after some group that was protesting something, that wasn't doing anything, and it was sort of a joke--
Randi: The Lakeworth Quakers?
Howard: I don't know if it was the Quakers or what, but I mean this is serious stuff, and they're violating the Constitution and they're breaking the law. You know, the president could defend America, if he felt he had to listen in to a terrorist thing, without getting a warrant. That's legal, if he goes and gets a warrant after the fact. So this is just arrogance. Why not obey the law? Nobody objects to wiretapping terrorists, why not obey the law? But the president's refused to do that.
Randi: Which is--I was going to ask you, what do you think the president's motivation is. I mean everybody's briefed up, we all understand that the FISA court is a rubber stamp, if he asks, he'll get it. If he has a need for speed he can ask for it three days after, once he does whatever he wants to do. But why won't he leave a paper trail?
Howard: Because this president, and this Republican party, are plain arrogant. They think that the laws that are made for America are not made for anybody else. (Think he meant to say "not made for them" or "are made for everybody else".) And that's why there's a corruption scandal...they're just like crooks. Well, they are crooks, I guess. They never think they're going to be the ones to get caught. Duke Cunningham...imagine! What did he think was going to happen on a congressman's salary when he was driving around in a yacht and a Rolls Royce?
Randi: I want to know what a Louis Philippe toilet feels like.
Randi: I want to know what a Louis Philippe toilet feels like. (Howard laughs.) He apparently had one--I don't even know what that is!
Howard: Oh, god...
Randi: I'm just from Brooklyn, I don't know. All right, well stay in touch with me, and I just want to play you this sound bite, and I want you to remember this sound bite, and I want you to make commercials about this sound bite. I'm giving money like crazy, and I want to see something on the TV. Do you remember this one?
Bush's voice: So, I don't know where he is, you know, I just don't spend that much time on it...
Randi: Do something with that.
Howard: What was that, Osama?
Randi: That was him talking about Osama, and now he wants to eavesdrop on all of us because he needs to find Osama? Yeah, right. All right, well thank you.
Howard: Thanks, Randi.