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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 14, 2009 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT

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now. [inaudible] >> you probably have more questions but thank you very much for coming along. if you want to grab me or bug me >> gillian tett was named british journalist of the year for her coverage of the market decline in 2008. she was also awarded a prize for financial journalism in 2007. right now she runs the global market coverage for financial times newspaper. to find out more on the author please go to >> more nonfiction books and authors later today on c-span2's book tv.
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♪ >> coming up next book tv presents "after words." an hour-long program where we invite guest hosts to interview authors. this week democratic political strategist stan greenberg discusses his latest work, dispatches from the war room: in the trenches with five extraordinary leaders. which takes readers through the campaigns of five well-known politicians including former
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u.s. president bill clinton and former south african president nelson mandela. mr. greenberg discusses his book with republican strategist mary matalin. >> host: welcome, book lovers. welcome, c-span lovers. c-span, they changed the world and books that are still selling not as well as they were a couple of years ago. but the industry that hasn't changed much and there are people who love them madly. and carry them everywhere with them. i'm mary matalin. here here with stan greenberg. i'm going to do one from your bio and from our history. >> guest: thank you. >> host: i've known you forever but i didn't know you were such a big cheese. stanley b. greenberg a strategic advise religious companies in campaigns. this is stan's seventh book,
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dispatches from the war room. in the trenches with five extraordinary leaders. the seventh of political-type books you've written these other great histories, the two americas our political deadlock, how to break it, described by my husband as the most important book in american politics. >> guest: true, true. >> host: middle class dreams a new majority legitimatizing the illegitimate, race and state in a capitalist development, politics and poverty. most political junkies would see stan as a pollster. we're talking about -- you have talked about republican strategies. so i'm not your only republican friend and besides politics you were advisor to the nobel prize when you campaigned. this is amazing. you've done all kinds of stuff. and the connection with james carville, we should point out,
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since i am the wife of, is the d corps. >> guest: democracy corps. >> host: it just gets shortened -- >> guest: amongst friends. >> host: it's a great polling place. i love some of these things that you've been called because we're going to be talking not positive things that people have to say about pollsters today but because of stan's excessive and unique success in all these campaigns all over the world, he's been the called the father of modern techniques, the de niro of politics and an unrivaled guru. "esquire" magazine -- >> guest: i'm tired. >> host: i know. plus he's married to congressman rosea delora. >> guest: she gives hugs back. >> host: and in the interest of
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not necessarily disclosure but for political junkies who may be viewing this, we are friends. we've been friends for a long time. we're also friends with rosea, there's not many of us agree on yet we are friends and i want -- i want our viewers to understand that the presence of affection or the absence of political debate here today is not evidence of moral ambiguity on our parts on some would call everybody in washington somehow tainted by having these kind of friendships. so i kind of do want to start there. when i started this and you started this, there wasn't this -- i don't want -- i don't want to have this conversation with polarization but i had democratic friends, you had republican friends. we were in the era where everybody wants kum-ba-ya, why
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can't we all get along but when people of opposite parties do get along or do have associations, they are sdrusz by their own parties and by their friends. what happened there. why is that? >> and i'm constantly asked the question. is james really -- what do they really talk about? i say they talk about their kids, their family and their values and they talk about life. >> host: it's not just james and me and it's james and -- and i really don't want to get into this 'cause i do want to talk more about the book. when you and james do a lot of things in opposition to my interest, my party's interest, conservative's interests, i always get yelled at by my friends. i'm carrying the weight of you and i assume it's true of you. >> guest: i'm credited sized in an organization that you're involved in. i wrote a chiding sort of fun
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letter. >> host: research in republic and ed gillespie and they responded and we have time we talk about it >> guest: and we can talk about life and where your daughters are going to school >> host: they are doing great and they are going to school. i just wanted to clear that out because there's still a place where i disagree about the disagreeable. >> guest: that's probably true. i'm sure it's not possible. and when i wrote the letter this week, you know, criticizing the resurgend public i was not personally critical. we disagree, which is fine. >> host: and which is a good segueing in polling, if anyone is interested in these polling debates we turn to ideological
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debates there are meth debates which is all to see. but that does segue me into the profession of polling because what i do want to do rather than debate because everybody knows you're liberal and i'm conservative and where are we going to stand on these respective positions which is to pull back the curtains and so let's start with the profession and let's start with you the person, the pollster who's the guru of american and international polling. there is two different views of this. users of it think of it as the crack cocaine of politics. money is the mother's milk, polls are the crack cocaine. but viewers watching you do your craft think you're rasputin.
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they think it's black magic. how do you see yourself? >> guest: i'm actually in the book. this is not a defense of pollsters and consulting, if anything. the book is pretty self-critical and critical of the profession. and so -- you know, i also -- you know, i value the -- i respect the leaders. one of the things i'm -- you know, that i tried to underscore here in the end about these leaders believing things or things that brought them to politics, that politics can be honorable, that's a very important part of this and whether or not one is for barack obama -- one of the things i think his candidacy and maybe presidency are making possible, it's a reduction of cynicism, a little bit about politics and whether you can try to be hopeful and whether you reduce your level of skepticism a little bit and give political leaders a chance, you know, to -- some space to do what they say they are going to do and i was going around the world, you
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know, on this book tour which i've done in britain and israel and south africa. everywhere, people are just less cynical. there's a little bit more openness, you know, to paying attention to leaders, why they did what, you know, they did. on the other hand, i don't come out of this book, you know, more respecting of my profession. i do think my profession does create mystery and powers and i'm fairly blocked in the book both in the descriptions of me but also, you know, the other leaders that do it. and for me the key piece of this is whether you're in it -- whether you have a purpose and your work has a purpose, you know, and at the time i worked for bill clinton that was part of the -- >> host: it was the unpleasantness in our house. >> guest: i worked at bill clinton who changed his own party.
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he made it more mainstream party which, you know, we were part of. james was part of as well. not just that election. it was something that brought me to him, you know, it's what i was working on and it's what bill clinton was working on and i thought, you know, in a lifetime -- you know, making the party electable in the south and ultimately nationally. and so there was a political project at the core and probably what i do when it's working for leaders who have a purpose. >> host: let's go specifically to polling, which is on its face neutral. it's numbers. it's the gathering of data and you go through in the book, if we can do a little tutorial on the polling profession in gallup it was a great tool. and i -- i still think and the work we still do, i don't do at your level, it's a way to have a dialog with people. and i understand the other side of your argument which you raise
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repeatedly in the case of these five leaders are you decreasing their accountability and i'm pending off your point if it has a purpose. how did the neutral mechanism of understanding to a greater expanse what people are thinking? how did that become a negative? as you say in the gallup, post-gallup, it supplanted the previous method of understanding where population was, which is necessary in a democracy of taking letters and putting them in the pro pile and the con pile. what happened in the first 30 years and how is it different in the second 30 years? >> guest: it's really the central question. there is a part of this which is let's get real people, you know, into the -- into this bubble and that's politics and washington and this book is not just about politics here. it's also about britain and south africa and israel. how they get people there -- part of what i did, you know, i had 15 minutes a week with president clinton, you know,
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without anybody else. i would, you know, present him, look, my poll findings other people's findings poll. and things people filled out to president clinton. anything you wanted the president to know. he would read them. it was a kind of unfiltered -- his chance to kind of unfiltered view from the public. it's very hard for the presidency to get that kind of unfiltered view and, you know, i'd pinch myself, you know, sitting there doing that with president clinton. and i thank him for that opportunity. and so there's that role. and i valued that role. the question is, at what point are you trying to reflect public opinion and educate the public and at what point are you manipulating? at what point are you trying to actually convince people you're doing the opposite of what you're doing when the words you choose are actually trying to conceal the fact that you're not keeping your promises, you know, and are not in touch. it's when you cross that line and, you know, when you do, you
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know -- you just take a bunch of policies, which one test the highest and, you know, we'll focus on those kinds of policies, then i think you're diminishing politics, you know, for the public. you're not being really responsive -- >> what do you mean picking policies that pop up but you take the side of. if they are sufficiently supported by the population to pop out, why wouldn't you want to -- why is paying attention to what people want, it through a tea party or a response in a poll just because it's not -- wasn't on your agenda sometimes leaders, followers are the leaders so why -- why has it become automatically nefarious or manipulative? >> it depends they have a mission or a directive. you know, when i first started this book, if i look at book plan what i gave to the publishers i was going to lay out these areas where they did
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not poll. they are accused of being poll-driven and so the fact of the matter is bill clinton there were areas he did not poll and same with tony blair and barak in israel. i think it respects more and this is where you're getting at. i'm respective for bill clinton how engaged he was with people and how much energy he got from people, how much he wanted to not just bring them with them he convinced them, you know, how some cases how to educate and move them to where he is. you don't just reflect and i -- you look back and you look at abraham lincoln and look at the republican side and franklin roosevelt on the democratic side. these are two leaders who are probably the leaders in terms of the wars that faced the country and also big social transformations, you know, both the freedom of slaves and the new deal. these are presidents who did big bold things but they tried to take people with them. they were very much in touch. they were very attentive to it.
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you began to see polling taking place but very interested where the public was. abraham lincoln took what he called, you know, opinion baths. he asked people to come to his people to the white house and he said it was the most valuable time i spent 'cause he wanted to try to hold the union together and to do that he had to -- he had to be apathetic. he had to understand the south and the border states and he had to keep -- you know, the union to understand slave-holding parts of the country. he moved with great care in the emancipation proclamation. he was very careful and contract with public opinion even as he was trying to move the country. the fact is abraham lincoln had an overriding mission. which was to save the union. keep the country from, you know, dissolving. this special exceptional country. >> host: it's impossible to do that without engaging public opinion. >> guest: correct. >> host: i guess i'm asking you an unanswerable question. which is polls are nothing more
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than a tool. i mean, just like a hammer you can use a hammer to build a house or you can use a hammer to split somebody's head up so the way the polls are used makes them good or bad. >> guest: you're absolutely right. it depends on the leader. if the leader -- let's take barack. he begins a process -- he believed it is essential for security that israel achieve peace with palestine, lebanon, and syria. he wants to achieve this in a fairly short period of time because he thinks it can only happen when president clinton is there. and arafat -- and before assad would become ill, too ill to do it and arafat so he wanted to move. he thought it was critical for israel's security to move. two-thirds of the country were against dividing jerusalem and then over a -- but over a two-month period, you know, he educated the public.
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he opened up the debate without this question about a final settlement and, you know, the end of the conflict. and the country moved. over actually during the two week period of camp david. the majority at the end supported an agreement with a divided jerusalem. now, as a leader who was listening, if you just said two-thirds opposed, i don't go there, but you had a leader who was acting what he thought as a patriot. he was the most decorated soldier in the israeli army. people trusted him even though his popularity was not high they trusted on him security questions and he was able, you know, able to move the country to a different place. they used polls but it was -- >> host: we just got right into before the fine people that we talking about, bill clinton, tony blair, nelson mandela and enud barak.
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we will get back to them in a minute but before we do, let me close out this tutorial because people are -- i think one of the reasons -- this is my theory. people have gotten cynical or skeptical because of their increased understanding and observance of polls. and maybe that's because there's more out there and they're seeing them more and reporters like them because they like the horse race thing and it's lazy reporting and they create stories and everything we know accrue to the negative polls but just for the purposes of junkies or not even junkies people who can't avoid looking at polls, what is a good poll? just not a good republican poll, a democratic poll? what should people look for when they -- at the end of every poll, newspaper poll or public poll says how many respondent, go through that.
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>> guest: i'll talk about that but then i'll talk about it because the way i'll use it. when people think about pollste pollsters, they look at what they see on tv are kind of nerdy, you know, numbers crunchers -- >> host: you're not a nerd, stan. you're esqui"esquire" magazine. >> guest: job approval is 55% and our numbers by a good poll, you know, in the representative, you know, of the population who wants to talk about those usually likely voters is the thing you're most interested in, you're interested in the track record of that -- >> host: as opposed to registered voters? >> guest: registered and/or -- or people who are not registered so that the -- and if you're doing public opinion, what will americans think, you know -- you know, the public if pew does such a study it ought to be a general public, they are all americans. and your views ought to be
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reflected. if you're starting to predict a election and what issues will they play out in an election you'll look to likely voters and you'll want a poll that has a track record of releasing its polls in the past and being accountable of what's happened in the past. you'd like to see a poll that's released all its questions and also the demographics we know the competition, you know, of it does it look like a representative survey. >> host: how can a layperson know that? >> guest: right now the world has changed. now with the internet, you know, there's sites like that evaluate the different surveys so we're in a different world. there's much more accountability for people who are looking over their shoulders. and you have to pay attention whether internet survey or whether it's voice recognition or a real person. there's different ways of doing surveys. but in campaigns and what i talk about here is campaigns, polling is a little different. it's not just the numbers. the least interesting thing i would find, you know, who's
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ahead in the race. the most important thing to find out is what's the fight about? what's the election going to be about? what's at issue? you know, i was trained as an academic. you know, one of the people i read in my academic, but if you understand what the fight's about you know, you know -- you know who's going to win, you know, who gets -- who gets drawn in, you know, what the crowd that goes, you know, that watches the fight. what's the fight about? well, we had the 1992 election with bill clinton and george bush's father. you were trying to make the cases you couldn't trust this inexperienced failed governor from this -- from a small state so you were saying what's this election about? it's about the character and the quality to be president of the united states, the experience,
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the national security and trust, authenticity and trust. that's what you were saying. that's what the fight was about and you're trying to define it. >> host: and last year's calendar -- >> guest: we were saying change versus more of the same, the economy stupid and healthcare. so we were -- you know but above all we were saying change. that the country was ready for change. we couldn't continue past policies but the most concrete thing in change was the economy. that we were going to bring economic change. and so we had about -- so our polls, you know, i conducted polls to try to define the most powerful choice -- my polls, what's the most powerful choice and test that could bring in more coalitions and voters and coalitions into the electorate that would support us? how would we -- you know, what are our qualifications to make those relevant and to make the qualifications of your candidate of the former president -- how to make his qualifications not
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relevant. make our issues relevant and yours is not relevant so deciding what the fight's about is everything. so that's -- if you look at each of these leaders and that kind of formative first election for tony blair, you know, or nelson mandela, you know, the -- what the fight was about, you know, is what i would work on and that's what i'm polling -- >> host: has anybody surprised you that's analogous to anude ba -- enud barak as a divided jerusalem. we had nuclear there and no nuclear power had -- and this is pre-9/11 and everyone anticipated, expected that it would have carried the negative that it had since three mile island and it was -- people were completely fine with it. and the more they learned about
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it, it's clean, it's safe, it's now become a bigger part of a comprehensive energy plan and there's plenty of democrats even though they have a different emphasis now want to see nuclear power be part of it a comprehensive energy plan. that's the only thing i can think of -- >> guest: but it's an important example of a change and we watch this change, you know, come. the environment energy global warming -- we're all out there. but it's a good example because people began -- certainly, with high gas prices is, you know, a critical piece of this, commodity prices were high. the gas prices were a symbol of it and there was anger about coming out of the iraq war. people were upset about the war but also the sense that oil was central to this and we were, you know, being held captive, you know, by the oil companies, the oil -- you know, the large oil producing states whether it's in
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venezuela, or whether it's in saudi arabia, or iran that we're being held captive and americans wanted energy independence and energy independence but what grew was an alternative, you know, wind, solar, renewables. in the 2006 election we began to push democrats to focus on energy independence, jobs -- create american jobs but above all giving america control of its future. james carville and i wrote a memo to urge candidates and tell them you're going to go to washington and you'll work with anybody to get energy independence and you'll meet more with president bush with the movements forward on energy independence, that's my goal. some candidates listened, you know, some didn't. and we suggested by 2008, you know, barack obama was running, energy independence, clean energy was his top tier most
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popular issue. at the top of things they want him to do. they think it's the most security and economic policy and so what's happened is the agenda changed and so the fight is, you know, different. both that energy is at the top but also the definition of it and once you get the definition -- >> host: but this is even before security -- i'm trying not to go to the global warming fight 'cause i made a promise to myself i wanted to debate these issues. but the security component and the independence component are 80% issues, republicans and democrats would agree with where we part company is the earth melting and are we doing it and i don't even want to get into it. even before that, no one -- >> guest: you're going to lose this young generation. that's okay. >> host: because they're being brainwashed having to see "an
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inconvenient truth" in second grade and if anybody says anything about it, said you can come in and teach the doubter side so we don't want to embarrass the kids and teach them at home. this is pre-iraq, pre-9/11. it was the only energy issue at the time was california was having those brilliant blackouts. so everything that we now know about the security implications and the economic implications weren't present there and nuclear just popped out. is there -- how often does that happen or does it happen and this is --. >> guest: i'm frequently surprised. i'm frequently -- i'm very surprised. i will frequently -- i'm always -- and you'll see in this -- in the book that i'll listen to people and i'll say, oh, why didn't i think of that? just common -- sometimes just commonsense that they forced on you, things you precluded in
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your brain, you know, that people, you know, teach you. and so i'm constantly surprised by people. they introduced issues or understand issues in ways that lead you to think differently. >> host: tell our lay pollsters the difference between what they see in a focus group on television today and how they really work 'cause i feel like when i watch it, people choke when they know there's a camera. i've been to some of your focus groups as well as some of my focus groups, they're an amazing product. how -- what are they? how are they inform your polling? >> guest: they force you to be opened minded. you have to be respect with others and respect people and so you have -- you bring together, you know, 8 to 10 people in a discussion. you try -- it's usually very different. if you look on tv they'll be very diverse, men and


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