One last note on the potential future of the Repulican Party and its ties to the John Birch Society and Sarah Palin. Does anyone besides myself think that this picture might have led to why Palin had so much trouble telling Katie Couric what she read and that McCain's handlers might have told her not to bring up the John Birch Society, and her brain fried when trying to think of anything else when answering? That's just my own personal theory of why she vapor locked and couldn't give her an answer and that may very well be wrong, but I'd love to know if anyone else was thinking the same thing when they watched her.
MADDOW: So, it`s almost Christmas. And this year, there are a lots of movies battling for the "I want to sit in the dark and not talk to my family anymore" box office bounty that Christmas tends to bring. There`s the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Romantic comedy with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin; "Avatar"; the long-awaited "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel."
And there`s "Invictus," the feel-good movie starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman. The inspirational story of Nelson Mandela and the South African rugby team.
Inspirational to some, sure -- but not to the John Birch Society, who had posted an article about the new Matt Damon movie on their Web site, which declares that, quote, "Mandela is nothing more than a communist terrorist thug."
We talked about that article and about the John Birch Society itself on this show last week, when it was announced that the John Birch Society would be a co-sponsor of this year of CPAC, the big influential Conservative Political Action Conference which takes place every spring.
That communist conspiracy that they wanted to rout and their fevered imaginings included President Dwight Eisenhower. According to the John Birch Society at that time, Ike was, quote, "a dedicated conscious agent of the communist conspiracy."
The John Birch Society also contended that fluoride being added to drinking water was a communist mind control plot and they contended that the secret conspiracy to destroy America encompassing everything from that darn fluoride to the League of Women Voters and the Civil Rights Act.
The John Birch Society was, in fact, so opposed to civil rights that they responded to the Supreme Court`s Brown v. Board of Education decision to desegregate schools with billboards calling for the impeachment of the Supreme Court`s chief justice.
Now, the John Birch Society came after us for that last week, saying that we totally got it wrong. For example, they`re claiming now that their campaign to impeach Earl Warren was not for his role in ending discrimination against African-Americans in the South. They said that it had nothing at all to do with that. It had nothing to do with the Supreme Court`s decision to desegregate schools.
You know, if I were in the John Birch Society today, I would want people to think that, you know, I hadn`t wanted to impeach a Supreme Court justice because of Brown v. Board of Education. I wouldn`t want anybody to think that. I understand.
Unfortunately, there is a record here. There`s an actual record of what the John Birch Society said it was doing at that time and why, quote, "The communists had used the racial question as grist for their mills for 30 years, and ground out nothing but amazing disappointments for themselves. Not until the Supreme Court decision of May 17th, 1954 -- Brown v. Board -- did they even begin to make any head way in their nefarious aims. And that defiant reversal simply by judicial decree of our long-established law is quite justly known as the Earl Warren decision."
But wait, there`s more. Quote, "The fact that Warren could remain on the Supreme Court after such arrogant disregard of the Constitution, of the principles of English-American law, and of his own oath of office, as were shown in the school segregation cases, was decidedly reassuring to the liberal establishment, it encouraged communists and their dupes and sympathizers."
The John Birch Society, co-sponsor of this year`s CPAC wanted to impeach Earl Warren for desegregating schools. It`s in the record -- even if they don`t want it to be.
And while we`re on the subject of the co-sponsor of this year`s CPAC and race, how about this ad placed by the John Birch Society in the August 29th, 1960 edition of "The Birmingham News"? It`s titled, "What`s Wrong With Civil Rights?"
It says, quote, "The average American Negro`s security of person and assurance of honorable treatment by his fellow citizens in all of the utilitarian relationships of living have been exactly on par on par with those of his white neighbors."
So, what is all the complaining about? The complaining or the civil rights movement, as we`ve come to know it, according to the John Birch Society was actually a secret communist plot to create, and I quote, "a Negro Soviet Republic in the United States." The exact boundaries of which were undetermined but which would definitely include cities like Richmond, Virginia, and New Orleans and Memphis.
You got that in civil rights secret plot to establish a Negro Soviet Republic, so says the cosponsor of this year`s CPAC conference.
Another issue the nice people at the John Birch Society say that we got wrong on this show was their position on the fluoridation of drinking water. In their online retort to our segment from last week, the John Birch Society said it never labeled fluoridation of water as a communist mind control plot, because that sounds crazy, right? They wrote that actually, the John Birch Society opposed water fluoridation because it represented, quote, "a precedent for the socialized medicine Maddow supports."
I know they would love that to be true. But, well, here`s a page from the March 1960 John Birch Society bulletin. You`ll see that there is a section here at the bottom of the page -- do we have here? Yes.
A section at the bottom of page 13 titled, "How to Defeat Fluoridation in Your City." After advising the reader to paper his or her city council school board PTA and church community with anti-fluoridation pamphlets, the John Birch Society warns, quote, "If you live in a large enough city, or if the communists have been able to beguile a sufficiently large enough, powerful enough, and determined enough clique into supporting fluoridation, the above formula, alone, may not stop them."
John Birch Society, you may wish that you hadn`t said that fluoridation was a secret communist plot -- but you did in writing, and we have a library card.
I do have to say though that the most amusing complaints/clarification against us by the John Birch Society was this. They wrote, quote, "The John Birch Society ways always cautious in accusing people of being part of a conspiracy."
All right, gather around here for a second. I know we`re on the eve of a holiday and everything, and I just want to read to you for a sec from the minutes of the first meeting of the John Birch Society National Council on January 9th, 1960. We got this document, thanks to a freelance researcher named Ernie Lazar. He`s used FOIA request to the FBI and original John Birch Society records to put together a pretty amazing archive of the group`s history.
So, this is John Birch Society founder Robert Welch. "Today, gentlemen, I can assure you without the slightest doubt in my own mind that the take-over at the top is, for all practical purposes, virtually complete. Whether you like it or not, and whether you believe it or not, our federal government is already literally in the hands of the communists. Our Congress now contains a number of men who are certainly actual communists, and plenty more who are sympathetic to communist purposes for either ideological or opportunistic reasons."
He then lists a number of contemporaneous members of Congress at that time, including John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. And he says they`re definitely commies or at least commie symphs.
And then there`s this, quote, "Our Supreme Court is so visibly pro- communist that no argument is even needed. Our State Department is loaded with communists from top to bottom, to the extent that our roll call of ambassadors almost sounds like a list somebody has put together to start a communist front. It is estimated, from many reliable sources, than from 70 percent to 90 percent of the responsible personnel in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare are -- guessed it -- communists.
Our Central Intelligence Agency under Allen Dulles is nothing more nor less than an agency to promote communism throughout the word. Almost all of the other departments are loaded with communists and communist sympathizers. And this generalization most specifically does include our whole Defense Department."
But, remember, the John Birch Society has always been very cautious about accusing any one of being part of a conspiracy. You know, except for that one time when they accused everybody of being part of a giant conspiracy.
Listen, the John Birch Society denying it ever made those accusations is almost as ridiculous as believing that had been taken over by communists in the first place.
So, CPAC and modern conservative movement choosing to align itself with these guys, letting these guys cosponsor a mainstream conservative event like the Conservative Political Action Conference in February -- I mean, that`s just -- it`s, well, wait. On the one hand, given what the John Birch Society was and is, it is kind of hysterical that CPAC has chosen to align itself with them. On the other hand, given the state of the conservative movement today, maybe this is a natural coming together.
Certainly a lot of people calling other people commies now.
Listen, if I were the John Birch Society, I wouldn`t want people to know these things about my record, either. But your record is your record, and when confirmed speakers at next year`s CPAC like Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney get up to speak at that event, they will be speaking at an event cosponsored by the John Birch Society. And maybe then it will be worth asking if they also think that the civil rights movement was a secret plot to turn, say, Arkansas into a Negro Soviet Republic.