The Rachel Maddow Show: Racism, Porn Paranoia And Secrecy At The Values Voters Summit

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Rachel Maddow talks to the Washington Independent's Dave Weigel about the crazy train that was this week's Values Voters Summit.

MADDOW: Behold, a Missouri congressman, candidate for U.S. Senate, until recently, the number three Republican in the House, telling what seems to be a really long, meandering, gut-churning racist joke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ROY BLUNT ®, MISSOURI: Supposedly it‘s the turn of the 19th century, the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century, there was a group of British occupiers in a very lush, very quiet, very peaceful, very uneventful part of India. And this group of British soldiers who were occupying that part of India decided they‘d carve a golf course out of the jungle of India. And there was really not much else to do. So, for over a year, this was the biggest event going on getting this golf course created.

And they got the golf course done and almost from the day the first ball was hit on this golf course, something happened they didn‘t anticipate. Monkeys would come running out of the jungle and they would grab the golf balls. And if it was in the fairway, they might throw it in the rough. If it was in the rough, they might throw—they might throw it back at you.

And I can go into great and long detail about how many things they did to try to eliminate the monkey problem, but they never got it done. So finally, for this golf course and this golf course only, they passed a rule, and the rule was you have to play the ball where the monkey throws it. And that is the rule in Washington all the time.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Well, who does what? So, who‘s the—who‘s the monkey in Washington in this story? It‘s Republican Congressman Roy Blunt who wants to be the next Republican senator from the great state of Missouri. Mr. Blunt performed his lamentation of Washington monkey at this weekend‘s Values Voter Summit in Washington—which in addition to hosting much of the Republican congressional leadership and most of the probable Republican candidates for president in 2012, it also had some kind of strange stuff going on.

You might recall on Friday‘s show, we warned you there was going to be a breakout session at the summit to define what they called a new masculinism, like feminism but for guys.

Here‘s how that went.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL SCHWARTZ, SEN. COBURN‘S CHIEF OF STAFF: It‘s been a few years, but not that many, since I was closely associated with pre-adolescent boys, boys who are like 10 to 12 years of age. But it is my observation that boys at that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people. They speak badly about homosexuality. And that‘s because they don‘t want to be that way. They don‘t want to fall into it.

And that‘s a good instinct. After all, homosexuality, we know, studies have been done by the National Institutes of Health to try to prove that it‘s genetic and all those studies prove it‘s not genetic.

Homosexuality is inflicted on people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Inflicted on people. The speaker there is chief of staff to United States senator. His name is Mike Schwartz, and he‘s chief of staff to Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Mr. Schwartz is also a founding member of Operation Rescue. He also co-authored a book accusing gay people of using AIDS to advance a nefarious gay agenda.

And now, well, this weekend, he moved quickly from the gay being inflicted on people to some remarkable advice about pornography and preteens.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHWARTZ: All pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. Now think about that. And if you—if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he‘s going to want to go out and get a copy of “Playboy”? I‘m pretty sure he‘ll lose interest. It‘s the last thing he wants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Chief of staff to United States senator. How does a person have time both to be chief of staff to a United States senator and to develop complicated theories about how porn makes you gay, and that‘s a good thing to tell an 11 year old? Under the same roof as that breakout session at the Values Voter Summit, the most absurd award ceremony award was unwittingly being earned by the Values Voter Summit organizers.

Bill O‘Reilly, who is a host at FOX News Channel, accepted the summit‘s first ever Media Courage Award. The ceremony to award Mr. O‘Reilly his Media Courage Award was closed to the media. Courage.

Joining us now is the man who snapped that photo of that sign, David Weigel, a reporter for “Washington Independent.” He filed several reports from the Values Voter Summit.

Mr. Weigel, thanks very much for coming back on the show.

DAVID WEIGEL, WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT: Thanks for having me again.

MADDOW: Was the Media Courage Award ceremony being closed to the press a mistake? It seems like a very awkward decision. Did they really follow through on keeping reporters out?

WEIGEL: It was a surprise to everyone. Reporters were ushered out at 5:00. We were supposed to be allowed back in at 7:00. And when we showed up, a very bashful, chagrin staff of Family Research Council informed us that Mr. O‘Reilly has just instituted this rule. Somebody who is inside the event with a camera, I think, was kicked out very seconds after I took that photo, seconds after I took that photo.

And it was—not only was it surprising, but the content of the speech was actually about, according to who were inside, the content was about why the media doesn‘t cover conservatives. Now, up to now, getting kicked out of the event wasn‘t a reason the media didn‘t cover conservatives, but O‘Reilly‘s doing his part.

MADDOW: After the new masculinity breakout session, we just played some clips from that—what was the crowds‘ reaction to Mr. Schwartz‘s comments that porn will make you gay and we should tell preteens this?

WEIGEL: It was—a door had been opened and they had just discovered an answer to questions that had for years and years. It‘s not audible on that tape, there is a gasp, and a bit after he explains the truth in the story, some people started asking about where he heard this, what the guy‘s name was, and they wanted to know more about this theory because I think it cracked open a lot of theories that value voters, as they define themselves at this conference, had about why America keeps getting further from the values they like.

And this was a very nice silver bullet explanation. I mean, you know that evangelicals, American evangelicals have a—there‘s a pornography addiction that a lot of these speakers talk about this. So, it all came together for them and I heard gasps and people nudging each other to hear more about this.

MADDOW: I‘m also—in addition to talking to people like Tom Coburn and his staff—Senator Coburn is on the far-right end of the Republican Party. But I was also interested to see people like Tim Pawlenty turning up at this event. He has still talked about, as a moderate, in beltway common wisdom. Can you tell us what he was like before this Values Voter Summit audience?

WEIGEL: He was revelatory, I think, because the reason Governor Pawlenty is seen as a very credible candidate to take down Barack Obama is that he‘s a governor of a blue state who has governed for most of his tenure with a Democratic legislature and vetoed a lot of things he doesn‘t like but close to the middle.

Before this audience, he was pushing every single button. He compared what President Obama was doing on foreign policy to what Neville Chamberlain did in appeasing Hitler. He talked about—he called the president out for the debt he was putting on our children and that actually indulged the people who are angry about the president speaking to schoolchildren, saying, “The next time you do it, you should apologize for this debt you‘re leveling on them.”

And he quoted from the verse from “Chronicles” that Ronald Reagan used in his inaugural and there was a moment where everyone in the audience, not everyone, but a big portion in the audience knew that passage and they were reading it along with him. He sounded—he sounded like a preacher and it was—it was one—something that elevated him to the number three position in this straw poll, but two, just something we haven‘t seen from this guy before.

MADDOW: Certainly not part of the national common wisdom about Pawlenty but a side of himself that he is cultivating with audiences like this.

Dave Weigel, reporter for “The Washington Independent”—thanks very much for your reporting, totally invaluable about this. And thanks for joining us tonight.

WEIGEL: Thank you so much, Rachel.

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