Interview with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell

By Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel Maddow Show - August 25, 2010

Guests: Kent Jones, Ed Rendell, Nate Silver, Frank Rich

KEITH OLBERMANN, "COUNTDOWN" HOST:  And now to discuss the guys on the Republican tickets, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.

Did you know throughout most of the 20th century, one of the great corny humor books that was in print for decades was called "Joe Miller"s Joke Book"?

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  I did not know that.

OLBERMANN:  Well, there you go.


MADDOW:  Thank you.  That seems like that"s going to come in handy this midterm season.

OLBERMANN:  I"ll see if I can get you a copy.

MADDOW:  Thank you, Keith.

And thanks to you to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.

There was no shortage of legitimately meaningful results from yesterday"s primaries, but those legitimately meaningful results are not necessarily the ones you have been hearing about so far.  Stay tuned this hour for Nate Silver on yesterday"s primaries.

Also tonight, the grossest idea ever for a reality show.  It is about the U.S. military.  "New York Times"" columnist, Frank Rich, is here to talk about that and much more.

It"s all ahead.

But we begin tonight with what you don"t need to know"”do not need to know about last night"s Republican primaries.  Not.  That"s not a type in my script.

We"re not going to address the question of what last night"s results tell us about the influence of the Tea Party Movement.  We"re not going to weigh whether anti-incumbent fever is in fact sweeping the nation.  Quick, you may catch it.

And at least for the moment, we"re not going to look at what this will all mean when the votes are eventually counted 69 nights now from in the big enchilada 2010 elections.  Not that yet.

Instead tonight, now, we"re going to introduce you to the field of GOP nominees for 2010.  No longer mere candidates.  Because continuing our theme of "nots," there"s a lot about these folks that the people in charge now of getting them elected would prefer you do not know about them.

At this hour, the votes are still being counted in Alaska"s Republican Senate primary, Senator Lisa Murkowski trailing the challenger, Joe Miller, by about 2,000 votes, with a few thousand absentee ballots still to be counted.  Mr. Miller having run against Senator Murkowski by, among other things, claiming that the senator appears to shed her conservative credentials much in the manner of"”well, other types of Alaskans.


JOE MILLER ®, ALASKA SENATE CANDIDATE:  I"m Joe Miller, the true conservative choice for the U.S. Senate in Alaska.  My opponent says one thing during the short election season here in Alaska, but then when she gets back to D.C., she sheds those views.  In fact, she sheds those views more often than a moose sheds its antlers.

Take Obamacare, for instance.  In Alaska, my opponent says she"s against it.  She wants to get rid of it.  But just this past March, she says we shouldn"t repeal it, it has good stuff in it.


MADDOW:  Subtle, right?  She"s shedding her previous positions like a moose sheds its antlers.  Very subtle.  In case you missed it, because it"s so subtle, Mr. Miller in the ad picks up antlers not once, not twice but a total of seven times in the one ad.  Eight actually if you count the double-fisted antlers in the closing shot.  Look, mom, both hands!

If you would like to learn more than just antlers about Mr. Joe Miller, his campaign has been directing people to its Web site where you"ll find under the heading values, Mr. Miller has listed just one.  Just one value that he believes, quote, "life must be protected from the moment of conception."  He wants to make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion in any circumstances even if her pregnancy results from being raped or from incest.

What will be fun to watch is how much of Mr. Miller"s campaign Web site, one value in all, is allowed to survive now that he is not just a candidate but the Republican Party"s official U.S. Senate nominee"”provided that the counting goes the way it has been going up in Alaska.

The national Republican Party having already given an extreme makeover to another of its Senate nominees, of course, Sharron Angle of Nevada.  They overhauled her Web site, de-nuttified it, if you will, cleaned it up, certain items in the platform.

They took out the part about abolishing the Department of Education, for example.  All the GOP wants you to know is, quote, "There is no one more committed to education than Sharron Angle."  She"s so committed she will do away with the department of that thing.

As for Sharron Angle"s belief that Social Security should be eliminated or privatized, the new and improved Sharron Angle Web site says, quote, "We must keep the promise of Social Security."  Keep it how?  By creating personalized accounts for the next generation"”personalized accounts that, of course, can be wiped out in a matter of hours by the stock market.  Yes.

Similar changes soon appear at

Spare a thought for whoever"s job it is at the National Republican Senate Campaign Committee to make the Republicans who are winning Senate primaries this year seem like mainstream candidates for the general election.

Just as one example, Joe Miller in Alaska is now one of four Republican Senate nominees.  If he wins this over Murkowski, one of four Republican Senate nominees who has said they oppose abortion even in cases of rape or incest.  The others, of course, are Sharron Angle, Ken Buck in Colorado, and Rand Paul in Kentucky.  That would seem to make that among the top unifying positions for Republican Senate candidates this year.

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