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About (Late) Last Night: Rachel Maddow discusses Wisconsin protests with Jay Leno [Video]

February 23, 2011 |  9:07 am


In Tunisia, Egypt and now Lybia, revolution is spreading across the Muslim world. On Tuesday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow stopped by "The Tonight Show" to talk about the remarkable changes taking place overseas -- and a growing protest movement right here at home.

Maddow, who described the revolts across the Arab world as "unimaginable," drew some distinctions between the uprising in Libya with the one in Egpyt. "It looks less like a protest movement there than it does a civil war," she said. The uncertainty is scary, she acknowledged, but Maddow voiced her support for the democracy, no matter how messy it might be. "Ultimately, you're on the right side of history if you're on the side of people deciding their own destiny for themselves," she said.

It's most likely just a coincidence of timing, but this week has also seen plenty of domestic unrest here in the U.S.

"You have Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and now Wisconsin," said Leno, referring to a dispute over the collective bargaining rights of public-sector unions in that state. It's not exactly surprising that Maddow, an outspoken liberal, expressed her belief that unions are a good thing. She says they are "the way we got a middle class," but her defense was both passionate and articulate. "You can have problems with unions, but [the proposed bill in Wisconsin] is a real attack on the idea that people ought to be able to make a living if they work full time," she said. "And that's an American idea that I still really believe in."

What do you think?

-- Meredith Blake