tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 12, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PST
to 3:. like me on facebook. rachel, i'm coming to you early tonight, because i'm going to sneeze. >> really? look at the light. >> okay. >> are you really? >> when you get a little -- you wonder what kind of kill will this be like. great time last night, again you did a super job of running the show, enjoyed it and will be very interesting in south carolina to say the least. >> thank you, ed. i will say with all john sununu crock of crap thing, he was totally wrong as you described, when people are totally wrong to our faces, i would hope they could all be as entertaining about it as john sununu was. crock of crap is a great phrase, even if you're totally wrong when you say it. >> that's right. we'll see you tomorrow night. rachel maddow show starts now. >> thanks for staying with us
for the next hour. in 2008 here's how the republican party picked their nominee for president. republicans knew coming in that race that they would have a candidate who ran for president, does that work? who ran for president, once before, and came in second place the last time he ran. a candidate with hosni mubarek the republican partly let was comfortable even though the base did not like him very much. the republicans look at that guy's chances they think, maybe the elite is behind him but the party is not behind him. we can do better than that. so you get the roster of all different kind of challengers, an under-funded but absolutely authentic social conservative guy, guy with unimpeachable social conservative religious credentials, not taken seriously other than social conservative issues. get the libertarian cause candidate, he has the old pat
buchanan buchanan, he wants to get rid of the federal reserve it appeals to young people in particular, which is important for republicans. then another guy, who is absolutely offended you can tell, that he's not the choice of the republican elite, right? kind of an elder statesmen, to the extend he has been around a long time, name recognition, he does have a little bit of a problem with the social conservatives because among other things, he's been married three times. so, there is the guy who is the choice of the elite, this is all these various challengers, the con va tiff conservative base says none of you are that great. frankly we need somebody better who is still a conservative. we need somebody who checks more of the boxes for all the things we're looking for in a
conservative candidate. the right wing base, conservative base looks at this field and said we need a proven right wing star. so they get former tv star, turned politician, presidential candidate fred thompson. remember all the pundits how sexy he was? around the time he was getting in the race. he had so much movie star charisma. i realize this is not my area of expertise, i never got that. you look at the way people talked about him, very excited about the prospect of fred thompson including his animal mag ne magnetism. he was the dream candidate early in the primary process for 2008. as the dream conservative candidate, as soon as fred thompson got in the race he immediately rose right to the top of the national polls. then almost instantly collapsed. his campaign seemed lazy, didn't know what he was talking about an honestly, fred thompson was
weird in debates. >> i would like to see a show of hands, how many of you believe global climate change is a serious threat and caused by human activity? >> i'm not doing hand shows today. >> no hand shows. >> no hand shows. >> i'm with him. >> is that yes or no for you, do you believe global climate change --. >> do you want to give me a minute? >> no. >> then i won't answer it. >> no hand shows today. by the time the primaries roll around that once upon a time supposed dream candidate, mr. no-hand-shows today is down to polling in single digits, nobody is taking him seriously, on the verge of being a national laughing stock. the website fredthompsonisinherentlyfunny. com comes in being. by the time it's time to vote in iowa for the 2008 race, the huge surprise awesome iowa showing of
the night? ends up being the social conservative guy, mike huckabee, under-funded guy who nobody really takes seriously except on abortion and what is wrong with gay people, maybe he should be taken more seriously, maybe he can go the distance, he has done well in iowa. that iowa success translates in essentially nothing for him in new hampshire. the campaign suffering from all the old weaknesses, goes back to puddling along and isn't heard from again. the dream candidate turns out -- turns out to be a laughing stock. tries to make a go of it in south carolina. the media is interested in the elder statesmen married a lot guy. social conservative went no where. ron paul keeps being ron paul. this guy the republican establishment guy, hated by the base, is so -- he inspired the other characters to get in the race, the guy with no natural
source of enthusiasm for his candidacy outside lobbyist politician fundraiser permanent republican class making deals in the back rooms this guy goes on to south carolina, after what happens in iowa, after what happens in new hampshire, this time in the race, last time around he arrives in south carolina. and he wins. all those other guys who were still in the race, they take a piece of the vote for themselves, split up the anti-establishment vote, but the establishment guy, who nobody liked very much, inherits the nomination with a period instead of an exclamation point. and then he picks sarah palin and he loses. that appears how the republican party is doing it this year. in 2012. this year, the republican establishment elite candidate guy is mitt romney.
this year, the does good in iowa social conservative guy, rick santorum. the thrice married guy, newt gingrich. supposed superstar going to change everything is not fred thompson but -- we have no oops? we had oops on texas governor, oops perry. and of course ron paul, still ron paul, naturally. essentially the same cast of characters, the same dynamic playing out four years later. kind of amazing. dave weigel wrote up a thesis to show the parallels between the republican party process four ago and now. he will be joining news a second. but what i think is most remarkable about this, is that between 2008 and now, there was supposed to be a huge tidal wave in republican politics. in 2008 when this happened,
there wasn't any tea party yet, right? the tea party movement that emerged after the election of barack obama was supposed to represent this massive change in the republican party, a huge challenge to the republican establishment, populous, activist, angry hoard throwing out bums out of the back rooms and taking over the republican party. thanks to the tea party, republicans would never make another mistake like john mccain again. and yet, after that supposed big change, they are doing exactly the same thing. i mean to be clear, there is evidence that to the extent the tea party does exist they are anti-mitt romney. go to notmitt romney.com. you can read the tea party people to say they agree on one thing, mitt romney they say mitt romney should not be our nominee, emphasis in the original.
you can find self-proclaimed leaders like this guy going on tv talking all sort smack about mitt romney. >> if newt isn't the candidate can the tea party rally behind the candidate like mitt romney? >> the tea party will never rally behind mitt romney. >> really, never? >> never. never. >> in south carolina the next republican primary state, the tea party is outwardly hostile to mr. romney, spartanburg tea party telling npr, there is no tea partier i talked to the state or nationally that wants to promote romney. i don't know anyone that does month despise mitt romney and doesn't hate the idea of him being our nominee. former head of the columbia, south carolina tea party saying "i think there is one tea party member in columbia who likes but throughout the state the rest of
the leaders not one who seriously is looking at him" it should be noted for the record that this is the last visual evidence we have of the strength of the tea party in south carolina, the tea party event that nikki haley addressing the duo there, incurring the wrath of the tea party. maybe the two people were angry about it. overall what we've got is a test. does the tea party exist? is the tea party an actual force in the republican party? like everybody has been saying for 2 1/2 years now. or aren't they? a group called national tea party alert.com sent out an e-mail from newt gingrich, it had the subject line, "do you want to stop mitt romney or not." in the e-mail he writes there is no more time for talking about stopping mitt romney, we're going to do it next week in south carolina or he's almost certain to be the republican nominee, whether conservatives like us want it or not.
mr. gingrich asks for money to "defeat mitt romney and the republican establishment next week in south carolina." the entire republican establishment is now piling on newt gingrich right now. to try to stop -- to make him stop attacking mitt romney, specifically for mitt romney's business record. don't run the when mitt romney came to town attack ad about his economic record in the private sector, stop saying things and get on board. private equity executives our kind of people, shut up, newt gingrich. this is the test. is there an anti-establishment right wing populist insurgency that matters or was the whole tea party story line much ado about nothing. has nothing changed between 2008 and 2012? joining us is dave weigel, dave, thanks for being here i'm sure
you're tired after all your days on the campaign trail recently. >> i'm been woken up by watch t tiny heads. >> john mccain's heads are almost this size. >> they are two dimensional. in terms of your thesis, was that the overall point you were trying to make that the same dynamics driving the republican party's decision making last time around are still driving it now, that nothing really has changed? >> that is what was surprising to me. i almost in making the comparison, probably peddled how well mitt romney is doing. john mccain figured how to pawn on iowa, and then when new hampshire, romney actually tied with -- the clip we saw may have been a santorum victory, and then did very well in new hampshire, performed exactly what the polls were saying,
staved off the huntsman surge everybody decided to believe in at the last minute. he heads to second quarter for all the talk we're going to talk about conservative voters, the record in south carolina they affirm the establishment's candidate. you can bungle it and he might, but george h.w. bush, not the most right wing candidate won it. bob dole won it. i think we mentioned there is this meeting this weekend of evangelical leaders who will talk about the way to stop this, it's clear they blew their best chance to stop this months ago. >> looking at the exit polling in iowa and new hampshire, i was looking to day at the people who identified themselves as strong tea party supporters, and mitt romney, there was a significant number of those people in both states, more in iowa than new hampshire, but a lot in both places, mitt romney lost a huge majority of those people in both states even while either tying or winning in both of those places.
i wonder if part of the issue is that even if the tea party movement is real and doesn't like mitt romney, it's very small. it's smaller than the attention paid to it would indicate in terms of who turns out to vote. >> this was a dynamic you notice in new hampshire, a tea party candidate had taken over the party and jack kimble was ousted after they just basically lost a few special elections, in the year he ran the party, he didn't raise a ton of money was kicked out. they haven't raised a ton of more money since he got into it but there was a reaction against the tea party, not just in pure electoral terms, you saw that in voters i talked to on tuesday especially when i was going to polling places, you met people who loved herman cain or jim demint. one guy was a jim demint voter he would have been if he jumped in the race. since he wouldn't he was ready to compromise for someone that could beat barack obama. it's like they have a score card
and they are willing to get candidates at lower level, but a candidate who can beat barack obama there at the top. if you have mitt romney in the white house and believe as the tea party believe he's malleable, if you believe he wants to get rid of obama-care, he will be confronted with a right wing senate and right wing congress that will do it for him and it would be odd if he tried to veto. they must realize that -- the jack lemmon, the michele bachmann interlude. why did we not pick huckabee. i think it's human error and they are dealing with it.
>> dave, political reporter, your reporting has been detailed in a way i appreciate but insightful, glad you were with us. >> thank you. >> one of the big polling firms started polling republicans in south carolina on whether they would vote for ste phen colbert. those results but who this guy dick perry, who is on the ballot in arizona all coming up. [ female announcer ] eyes feeling overworked? discover visine® tired eye relief with hydroblend™, only from visine®. just one drop instantly soothes and revives tired, overworked eyes. and comforts them for up to ten hours. visine® tired eye relief. try now and save $3.
one under appreciated thing about last night's primary yesterday, could we see that, do we have there, could we have this back? this was the ballot. this is the ballot, this is what new hampshire voters had to work with in the voting booth yesterday. the first listed candidate is joe story, then linden swift, james vestermark. vern wuensche, michele bachmann, bear betzler, timothy brewer, mark callahan, l. john davis, jr., keith drum months and newt gingrich. this is the presidential ballot in new hampshire from yesterday. 14th name on the list before you get to somebody you have maybe heard of and is still running. jon huntsman listed 17th. mitt romney is listed 28th on
the ballot. mitt romney at 28th on the new hampshire ballot below buddy roemer at 27. buddy roemer looking on the bright side of last night's returns rolled in, tweeting "with 12% of votes in i'm happy to report i'm ahead of herman cain and a guy wearing a boot on his head" we're in solid 8th place ahead of michele bachmann and 21 others. even in the midst of people trying to puzzle their way through this massive new hampshire presidential primary ballot, the state of arizona announced its primary line-up. we learned appearing 4th on the ballot will be dick perry. while the perhaps better known rick perry will be 17th. jon huntsman won't appear on the arizona ballot at all. jon huntsman paperwork was rejected by the state of arizona. big super tuesday primary in virginia they have the opposite
problem, that arizona and new hampshire have. the only republican slated to be on the ballot are mitt romney and ron paul. state republicans in virginia say they are the only two who are qualified, that is who will be on the ballot. some of the other candidates are fighting in court but they have had no luck. we also learned this rick santorum has essentially partially qualified to run in ohio. he will be on the ballot but mr. santorum apparently failed to qualify to collect delegates from three of the state districts. if rick santorum and wins hugely in the state of ohio, he won't be able to collect delegates from some parts of the state. next stop is south carolina in ten days. rick perry appears to have overcome a more pressing logistical hurdle in south carolina. talking points said he does not meet the published requirements for participating in the cnn
debate scheduled two days before the primary. to get in the debate, cnn said you had to place in the top four in iowa or new hampshire, and you had to be polling at an average of 7%. in either three national or three south carolina polls this month, taken in january. rick perry has done none of those things. apparently forget the rules, cnn reportedly decided this afternoon that regardless of their published rules, they're going to let rick perry in the debate anyway. really, cnn? i understand if you have rules, that being justify case for excludeing somebody but if you're not going t follow the rules, why not have buddy roemer there. to think the rules apply to their debate and aren't a weird cnn trickery, jon huntsman should be qualified, not all good news, the latest poll over
the weekend shows mr. huntsman being outpolled by a man stephen colbert. among likely primary voters colbert is polling at 5%, huntsman at 4%. stephen colbert, not actually running. at this point in the race, what we have is mitt romney on what is likely to be a long, slow, difficult path of sewing up the nomination. there are a lot of people engaged in the contest, whether they are running and nobody knows it like bear betzler or running and people do know they are running, they are still failing, people like rick perry or like everybody other than mitt romney and ron paul who did not qualify for the ballot in virginia.
fair thought tonight, fair thought for the guys who could have run this year, and didn't. the people who opted out at the start of the campaign season, even though a lot of people wanted them to run take for example haley barbour, the now former governor of mississippi who has supporters and colleagues standing ready to support him when he considered running for president in the election. yesterday it was his last day as governor of mississippi. he was term limited out of office after two terms. on his way out of his last day in office, haley barbour issued pardons to 193 people who had been convicted of crimes in mississippi. he had 10 pardons previously, so that brings the grand total to 203 full pardons during his time in office including 17 pardons to convicted murderers. the other most recent mississippi governor issued 13, 4 and 1 full pardon, respective respectively. haley barbour more than 200. this is what it's like to be haley barbour today.
>> outraged family members and victims are denouncing the pardons of four murder ares by haley barbour. >> families are outraged. >> there is outrage across the state. >> a lot of people angry. >> mississippi governor's final act in office ignited outrage. >> they have been convicted of burglary, rape and in some cases murder. >> i think -- the governor should have to look me and the family in the eye and say hey i'll let this guy go. >> a clear signal he probably is planning to be finished with electoral politics. >> mississippi judge actual hi temporarily blocked the release of some of the prisoners who governor barbour pardoned or released. but while the state of mississippi fumes over and fights against haley barbour's pardons out of office, he's on his way out of office. one day out of the governor's office it has been announced he is going back to being a high dollar lobbyist. given what he did on his last day in office, not only is he not trying to be president or
vice president either. mitch daniels, governor of indiana considering running for president before ultimately deciding against it. mr. daniels is also term limited, so he can't run for reelection this year. mitch daniels delivered his state of the state address in indiana yesterday, his last one as governor. check out what was going on at the state house. out in the hallways, while the governor was addressing the general assembly. look at this. enjoy the speech. protesters gathered booing as governor daniels walked in to deliver his speech, chanting "shame on you" protesters are protesting the decision to support his fellow republicans plan to strip union rights in indiana this year. once upon a time back in 2006, mitch daniels said pushing anti-union right to work legislation in indiana would be
enormous divisive, they shouldn't do it. but now in his last year in office, he has decided to go ahead and pursue that kind of anti-union legislation, three and a half weeks before indiana ohios the super bowl, when the eyes of the world will turn to indiana to watch the most famous unionized workers in the world do their jobs. the nfl player's association that union coming out in loud opposition to what the indiana republicans are doing to strip union rights in the hoosier state. mitch daniels now is the time to go ahead with the big anti-union rights push. they are trying to get it down before the super bowl to avoid the attention, democrats are doing their damndest to slow them down. this is what mitch daniels has on his hands as a result. with mitt romney running away with the presidential nomination, you don't envy the non-romney republicans in the race right now. kind of a topic if you would rather be an also-ran, not
the pressure from the republican establishment that newt gingrich and rick perry should not go after mitt romney's business record. they should leave it alone, a good sign for democrat, if mitt romney is the nominee even republicans know his time in corporate finance may be more of a liability an asset. what if that republican establishment pressure works? on gingrich and perry. what if newt gingrich and rick perry cave like spineless twerps before the establishment and say okay, okay you're right, mitt romney probably does have a glass jaw on the corporate raider thing, so we won't punch at it we'll leave that for the democrats for the general election what if they cave going after his time at bain. but they want to go after him. they leave the bain record out of it. do know what else they would use against mitt romney? yes. a website today leaked the video from the newt gingrich campaign, apparently their non-bain attack on mitt romney.
watch. >> i like being able to provide to fire people that provide services to me. corporations are people, they can raise taxes, of course they are, everything corporations earn goes to people. where do you think it goes? we hired a lawn company to mow our lawn they had illegal immigrants working there. we went to the company and we said look, you can't have any illegals working on our property, i'm running for office i can't have illegals. 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet? >> i'm not in the betting business. >> okay. i know what it's like to worry whether you'll get fired. there were a couple times i wore wondered whether i would get a pink slip. i have been a rodent and rabbit
hunter, small varmints, i began when i was 15, hunted those kind of varmints. >> i would no seern put him on the roof of a car than my children. >> what were you thinking? this is a completely air-tight kennel mounted on the top of the car, he climbed up there regularly, enjoyed himself in, a kennel at home a great deal of times as well. we love the dog, was where he was comfortable, we had five kids in the car, my guess he liked it better in his kennel than inside. >> who let the dogs out? >> air-tight kennel? what does that even mean? air-tight does that mean the dog
has goodyear on? air-tight? that web ad was leaked by a conservative website, alleged to be a draft ad at least for the newt gingrich campaign. of course leaking an ad online is one of the ways campaigns use tactics. is that the type of ad newt gingrich can run without getting him attacked by the establishment the way he has been attacked in the last few days? i think it probably is. is that the kind of ad that can knock mitt romney over the coronation stand in south carolina? what is the proportion of dog owners in the south carolina republican electorate? [ male announcer ] for sore muscles use new bengay cold therapy,
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where bain capital under the ceo mitt romney came to town and took apart local businesses. stripped them down, fired workers, sold the assets, pocketed the proceeds and left town. on the web at kingofbain.com. a fight raging whether it's proper to criticize mitt romney, jim demint the talk radio and conservative columnists are pressuring rick perry and newt gingrich and everybody to shut up about his record of making money for himself by shutting down us companies and firing american workers. while that debate rages, the white house hosted a white house forum on insourcing jobs, bringing back to the us jobs that were outsourced, sent abroad by financiers with name that rhyme with pain. ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to the country that made our success possible, i'll do everything in
ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to the country that made our success possible, i'll do everything in any power to help you do it. >> the white house said to expect new tax proposals from the president in the next few weeks. tax proposals to reward companies that invest here, and tax proposals to eliminate breaks that companies get now for sending u.s. jobs overseas. tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas still exist whether or not you were fortunate or not to have mitt romney come to town. >> joining us senior fellow at the brookings institute, e.j. you're writing about it in the new column, are republicans trying to define good capitalist versus bad capitalist? is that a difference they will try to make for the campaign? >> i think the republicans comrades, rick perry and newt gingrich are definitely trying to do that. i mean if you look at their quotes, if anyone else said that on what they have said on msnbc, they would be called socialists.
rick perry said they are just vultures, they leave the skeleton and eat the carcass of these private equity companies. newt gingrich talked about how they looted companies. i think this is a very useful thing, it's useful for two reasons. one, mitt romney is his main calling card is i was in private equity, i was in business, i'm a job creator, so you should make me president. he likes to brag about hiss successes, did bain create jobs, did they destroy jobs, i think it goes to the technique in a campaign, you go at a candidate's greatest strength and if you can undermine that, you can win. i think that is what gingrich and perry are doing. but i think romney has to be accountable.
we have to have an argument what kind of capitalism we want in our country and we have had arguments like that throughout our history. not from socialists although we had distinguished socialists, but from people like teddy roosevelt, woodrow wilson, wanted the market system to work but concentrated economic power is not the way to make it work. we should say thank you to perry and gingrich for starting it. >> if they can cloud the bain experience so mitt romney can't run on it, does he turn to running on his record as massachusetts governor? you almost would not know he was a former massachusetts governor from the way he campaigns now. i remember from living in massachusetts when he ran for governor there, that he ran not at all on bain, he ran on his turnaround of the salt lake city olympics.
does he have the ability to pivot to other parts of his resume? >> he could run on his health care plan of massachusetts laid the basis for obamacare. i think he's not running on that. i'm surprised -- he talks about the olympics in his speeches, but they have a very clear strategy, this election is about the economy, unemployment is high, romney is the jobs guy, because he was in business and i don't see how they pivot off that. and i'm reminded how some of of these questions raised in primaries end upcoming up later down the line. i think it was a big debate among democrats if this stuff comes out now, is he immunized later? i don't think so, i think some of the doubts that were raised in the primaries about al gore or mike dukakis haunted them later in the campaign, that is more likely to happen with bain. >> romney knew the attack was coming from democrats the vulture capitalist past. has he been able to i guess has
he telegraphed the way he was going to respond to it to democrats in the way he has responded to republicans? he knew it was coming, he's getting a chance to do his response earlier than he would otherwise. >> what he's trying to say is any criticism of of his record at bain is a criticism of free enter prize, the phrase he used over and over again is they are putting free enterprise on trial. well, we should have an argument how capitalism works, but this isn't about putting free enterprise on trial, it's about putting mitt romney on trial in terms of making him accountable. that may work with republicans that argument, maybe he will push back gingrich and perry, but i don't think that will detain the democrats and it shouldn't detain the media from doing explorations as the wall street journal did about bain
debunction junction, the secretary of state's office made a prediction, predicted that 250,000 people would vote in the republican primary, which would be a record. it would be more voters in the republican primary in new hampshire than in 2008. then there were anecdotal reports and some projections yesterday that, actually, turnout in new hampshire was lacking to be a little bit low. so how did it turn out? was the prediction that a quarter million voters would turn out for the republican primary yesterday in new hampshire, was that prediction true or was that false? true. well, almost. according to a little "rachel maddow show" math, the total number of voter who is cast ballots in the republican primary yesterday in new hampshire was 248,485. that's including the 12 people who voted for randy crow and the three people who voted for james vestermark. now, because independents and
republicans can vote in the new hampshire republican primary, it's possible that the number of republicans was down and the difference was made up by independents, but nobody knows that yet. we'll know that when we get the official data from the secretary of state. but in terms of raw numbers, the secretary of state predicted record turnout, and that is basically what they got. next up, last night mitt romney declared victory in manchester, new hampshire, with his wife, ann, and his five sons standing behind him. that is noteworthy, because usually only four of the romney sons campaign with his dad. one of them is a doctor doing his residency, and therefore he can't spend much time on the campaign trail. someone on this network last night, someone at msnbc, who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are rachel maddow said this about one of the romney sons. all five of his sons, for the first time, his son, matt, who's a doctor, doing a residency in utah, have not been on the campaign trail thus for a, but all five sons are there tonight.
so is this true or false? matt romney is the doctor romney son? is that true or is that false? uh, false. matt romney is not the romney doctor son. it's ben romney who is the doctor romney. struck by the rare romney confusion bug. i'm feeling much better now, but i'm sorry to have made that romney son confusion mistake. and last night my colleague ed schultz asked john sununu a question about mr. romney's tax policies. >> according to the tax policy center that went through his tax policy and they came out and said that romney's tax plan would increase taxes for families making less than $40,000, and a millionaire will see his taxes drop by almost 5%. do you think that that fits with the populist tone? >> well, that's kind of strange -- i'm sorry, go ahead.
>> go ahead, sir. >> look, i think that's kind of strange when the governor has made it clear he's not cutting taxes on the upper bureaucrats that he is cutting taxes on the hard-earning taxpayers in the middle, and that he's committed to flattening and lowering taxes across the board. so with all due respect to that organization, there's a technical term for that, it's a crock of crap. >> so true or false, stat crock of crap that mitt romney's tax plan would raise taxes on people making less than $40,000 while millionaires would see a drop in their taxes? is the technical term for that assertion a crock of crap? is that crock of crap assertion true or false? false. meaning it's not a crock of crap. the tax centers analysis of the romney tax plan was picked up all over the place, including here at mcclatchy. crunched the numbers and found that some americans making under $40,000 a year would see their taxes rise under mitt romney's
tax plan while nearly all millionaires in the country would get tax cuts that average $150,000 a year. the tax policy center is an independent, nonpartisan group that analyzes tax-related newsy topics. their analysis is neither left wing nor a crock of crap. but john sununu, saying crock of crap really loud on our air last night, is still one of my favorite things that happened on our entire broadcast over the entire evening. so even though he was totally wrong, i still think he gets points for being kind of adorable.
this is iraqi food. the restaurant is called babylon. babylon has been open in lowell, massachusetts, for less than a year, but judging from its facebook page and this rave review in "merrimack valley" magazine, people really seem to like this place. the babylon restaurant is owned by this man and his family. he is a journalist by trade. he and his family emigrated to the u.s. just a year ago from iraq. back in 2003, as a journalist in iraq, he reported on saddam hussein torturing prisoners. after publishing that article, he was attacked by a group of six men. he was hurt badly enough that he had to spend the next two months recuperating in a hospital. he and his family were finally able to emigrate last january, a year ago, and they opened this restaurant in lowell. they are about one of 35 iraqi families that are now living in lowell. last wednesday at about 3:00 a.m., a man not from lowell, threw a 20-pound rock through the babylon restaurant window. a small rock through your window is scare enough. a 20-pound rock is terrifying.
police have i.d.'d the guy they say is responsible. he's due to be arraigned in lowell district court. although the police don't think the crime was motivated by prejudice, nevertheless, they were a little shaken up. a 20-pound rock through your window does not come from the welcome wagon. enter veterans of the united states military. on the wake of this attack on one innocent iraqi american small business owner in massachusetts, a veterans for peace organizer decided that not just lowell as a whole, but veterans in general should make a visible show of support. what kind of support means the absolute most to a new small business owner? business. a lot of business. so last night veterans for peace, who had vowed to fill all 50 seats in the babylon restaurant, did better than that. they filled twice over. they were vietnam veterans and veterans of the wars in iraq and afghanistan. and in these pictures, it looks like they had a great time and got well fed in the meantime. americans are always grateful