tv Book TV CSPAN February 13, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm EST
looking for ronald reagan you may very well walk right past the next great leader of this movement. by trying to find him you end up having failing because none of them at apple matchup. >> host: final question looking to 2012. it is remarkable 30 years to get your father was inaugurated president of the united states. that first term was rough. his approval ratings are in the low 40's. he rebounded to win 49 states. still a victory. he did that, as you say. >> guest: de know what he blamed for the 50th state is in? me. >> host: you take that personally? that aside, at rollins has his own theories about minnesota. he won 49 states. at a time when republican
recession was even lower than it was today. appealing to reagan democrats, independents, that politics of addition and not division which came from of rough term. what lessons do you think that any candid should take from your father success in 1984 going into that election with a rough economy, a lot of frustration, and being able to win that crossover appeal said decisively that he wins virtually unanimously. >> guest: you have a great sense of humor. >> host: it helps. >> guest: having people believe in you. people believe in ronald reagan. you know, today we don't believe in politicians. one thing on tuesday and another on wednesday. ronald reagan was consistent. if anything you need to be consistent with where you are, who you are, and what you want to do. you can't do what meg whitman
>> and kisses it. and unless it's here. or in '76 when he's campaigning in south carolina. he goes into a trailer and talked to children who has come to listen to his speech, the school for the blind who have these young kids and they asked if they could spend some time with him. but he wanted to do it out of the glare of the light because he didn't want people towing it for press and these blind children ask him questions and he says these kids can't see me and he steps over and he leans his face down monks these children and invites them to lay their hands on his face so they can now see and hear him answer the questions. who does that unless it's here and people who voted for ronald reagan felt that the man was
speaking from here and that's what we need to get back to. people who speak from here. not through the latest polling but from here. >> michael reagan, thank you for a wonderful new book on the 100th anniversary of your father's birth "the reagan revolution." >> thank you. >> that was "after words" in which tores are interviewed by journalists, public policymakers, legislators and others familiar with their material. "after words" airs every weekend on booktv at 10:00 pm on saturday, 12:00 and 9:00 pm on sunday and 12:00 am on monday. you can also watch "after words" online. go to booktv.org and click on "after words" on the bic tv and topics lists on the top right hand page. >> next eric alterman, columnist for the nation and english and journalism professor at brooklyn
college and cuny graduate school. he claims president obama has been unable to deliver on his campaign pledges. mr. alterman points to the american political system as the main obstacle in preventing passage of a more progressive agenda. eric alterman discusses his book at busboys and poets in washington, d.c. the program is just over an hour. >> the right wing that i am these days. a did a tour a few years ago, everywhere i went someone would call up the bookstore and say that i was sick and i had to cancel. and when i was doing a bookstore in l.a., they called c-span to cancel and c-span called me and said, you know, we're sorry you're sick and i said, well, i'm not sick. and the event went on but somebody killed all the electricity in the store while i was speaking. and it was one of those stores i don't want to disparage hippies or anything but -- it was one of
those stores where nobody knew where the fuse box was. [laughter] so i had to hold the audience for 45 minutes while they found out how to get the electricity back on. [laughter] >> and i don't have 45 minutes worth of, you know, clean jokes. [laughter] >> so it was rough so i'm glad to see, you know, i'm flying under the radar now. we're okay. so far. so thank you for coming. i wrote this book. it's called "kabuki democracy: the system versus barack obama." i thought, you know, originally when i thought if i gave a talk about this book in washington i might have to come and explain, no, i don't think the obama lurched too far to the right and has to be brought back to the
right and that's the narrative that -- sorry, it's so noisy. where was i. okay, so here's the thing. barack obama invited me to dinner in 2005. and i didn't really have a strong opinion of the guy going in. i didn't watch his speech in 2004. i was at the convention but i played poker that night. because i never watched the keynote speech of a convention because it's either great and you are depressed that that guy has not the nominee like i would have been had i watched that speech the year that kerry was the nominee. or it's boring the way it was when bill clinton gave it. and why would you need to watch that? so it doesn't matter that night at kwhengs the night of the convention you might as well have fun and i didn't see it that night so i went in and had
dinner with him completely cold. i had heard a few nice things about him but nothing specific and i sat next to him at dinner and i was blown away by his by his self-confidence. by his good humor and by his strong progressive orientation. and i remember leaving the restaurant that night walking around a neighborhood in d.c. thinking maybe my daughter who at the time was 7 would one day be able to vote for this man in a presidential election but i never imagined that anything like his candidacy would happen in the next three years. that was literally anything beyond anything i could dream of that moment. now, as we all know, barack obama is president of the united states. and not only is he the president but he ran a very powerful
campaign. he ran a campaign that was quite specific in terms of the direction he wanted to take the country and the kinds of policies he wanted is to implement. and the campaign was not one of empty rhetoric. it was not one of simply trying to be the last guy standing. it was a campaign about turning the country around. and it wasn't merely because george bush was incompetent or corrupt. not personally corrupt but he had a very corrupt administration. it was because the ideological obsessions of the bush administration and the administration -- the republican administrations before it and to some degree the clinton administration which had -- which had been forced to work within those parameters had taken the country so far down the road, so far down this dangerous road that a fundamental correction was
needed and this was understood by people who voted for him. so it wasn't just a matter of i kind of like this guy better than i like the other guy or i don't really like mccain or this sarah palin woman is funny and kind of cute but absolutely quite terrifying. it was, here was a program that we're voting for that will mean fundamental change for the country. what's more, as we all remember, he was elected with a super-majority in both houses of congress. and so for the first time in recent memory we had the equivalent of a parliamentary election in this country. the parliamentary elections, the parliamentary majority gets to actually enact what it's elected to do. and then take responsibility for it. and it's not the system we have. usually we have divided government here.
but we didn't in 2008. and yet again as we all know it didn't work out that way. we got some movement. it would be wrong to pretend that -- that the obama administration has no significant accomplishments. it has many significant accomplishments in the two years of his presidency. but in fact accomplishments live up to the rhetoric of the campaign. and it's not easily apparent why. in other words, the -- if you take, for example, the most salient example would be the financial reform bill. the three examples i use -- i spend the most time on in the book are the health care reform bill, the cap-and-trade bill which died and the financial reform bill. and health care is a very complicated issue and there's some awfully powerful interests
fighting on every side of it. and it's very easy to scare people. particularly, old people, about their health care and whether or not they're going to lose -- and that's one of the reason no one has been able to fas since harry truman tried to pass it in the election of 1948. actually it was proposed originally by theodore roosevelt when he ran as a bull moose candidate in 1912, i believe. yeah. but the first democratic -- the first major party candidate proposal was harry truman and no democrat has made much progress with it until barack obama. and then cap-and-trade -- while that's a very complicated issue. it's complicated because you people living today are being asked to make sacrifices for posterity. and that generally doesn't work. the famous -- there's a famous
old political saying what has posterity has ever for me? and it's very complicated and easy to -- easy to mislead people on. and one of the more depressing statistics, i think, you'll hear all year is that fewer people believe in the reality of manmade global warming in 2009 and 2010 than did in 2007 and 2008 when, in fact, the evidence for it was far stronger. of the 20 republican senate candidates who ran for office in 2010, 19 denied the reality of manmade global warming. okay, so those are problematic issues and we can talk more about them during the question and answer if you'd like. but if you take a look at the financial reform issue. the president had the wind in his back in every imaginable respect. we had just gone through a terrible crisis that had cost us
thousands and thousands of jobs. cost hundreds of thousands of people their homes. i don't know a lot of people. cost people their homes. the stock market had lost roughly a third of its value. the house fall alone accounted for 9% of gdp. and so we faced an enormous crisis and the cause of the crisis was pretty clear. it was the irresponsible behavior of the banking sector particularly with regard to the housing sector but with a lot of -- with regard to a lot of things and the fact they were playing without any rules. and understood themselves to be gambling with the house's money. and when you gamble with the house's money, you gamble, you know, it's fun. you don't to have worry about losing. well, not only were the culprits clear and the country understood who they were, but the remedies
were also rather clear. and remedies like breaking up the big banks, capping the executive pay, making sure that they didn't -- they didn't use their own money when they gambled and mix it up with the money that they were holding for people who deposited it. these are very simple things relatively to understand and you didn't need to demagogue on them. you only need to focus on them. and you would have reformed the system if such a way that these very obvious dangers would be eliminated so that we wouldn't keep experiencing these kinds of panics. but they couldn't do it. they passed basically a toothless financial reform bill. it's not as if it was worse than it was before. it's better than it was before. but the opportunity to actually rein in the system and make it safe for individual investors so that we can be sure that we're
not going to be bailing out the aigs and the citigroups and jp morgan next time was lost. now, like i said, it's not that i fell in love with barack obama or that i was seduced by barack obama. and maybe i was and maybe i wasn't. but the fact is that i think you'll agree it's hard to imagine anyone who's more progressive and more intelligent and got a better handle on things than barack obama being president of the united states anytime soon. and given his background, his multicultural background, the experiences he's had and the background he's had in terms of not only being a harvard law review editor and being a community organizer and so forth, it's kind of miracle the guy got elected president especially when you consider his name. so i began to try and figure out
why when you had all of these circumstances in your favor, why when the system was finally supposed to work on behalf of the -- to make good on all the promises that not only his campaign made but that progressives have been working towards for decades why the system couldn't deliver. why it delivered basically what needs to be moderate republican governance as opposed to liberal progressive democrats. now, the answer is, it's fought simple. i don't know if you're -- if you are like me in this respect, i have a lot of trouble watching american political news like real news shows. they just make me want to punch someone, strangle my cat, you know. they make me crazy and angry at the same time. but i can watch jon stewart and steven colbert, i'm fine with that.
they give me just the right number of snippets before my blood starts to boil and explode out of my ears. but the thing that -- the problem i have with stewart and cobert and god bless them, i love them. it's not just the problem everybody has with them these days that they march for sanity and refuse to admit most of the great people are on one side and not the other and a lot of them are in congress. the problem i have is that it's always one thing after another. it's always, look how crazy this is. and look how crazy this is. and look how ridiculous this is. but they -- and it's not their job, they're comedians but they don't lead us to think about all these things together. in other words, you could fix any one of these things and you'd still have all these other problems that we're going to do a show about tomorrow and the next night and the next night and all of these things are really significant road blocks of politics in our country. so i was trying to do two things
with this book. the book has two separate genesis, i believe that's the plural of genesis. one was to try and explain why this totally excellent guy who's happened to somehow get to be president of the united states with a super majority of a few houses could not make good on his promises. and number two, to explain all of the significant road blocks in the system that answer that question. not just focus on the one at the moment. not just focus on, you know, there was a crisis in -- in the gulf -- in the gulf of mexico and so the problem is that we don't do a good job of regulating oil drilling. it's through but there are a million crises like that. they are all waiting to happen. in part because we just experienced eight years of the most incompensate ideologically obsessed and materially corrupt political administration in the history of the country.
that's one reason but there's many reasons. so i looked as i said at these three issues, these three legislative issues and i tried to figure out what were the road blocks that prevented the obama presidency from making good on the obama candidacy? now, it's not, sure, obama and his administration did a lot of things wrong. and we can talk about that during the question and answer period. i have my view you have your view. we probably share a lot of views. just off the top of my head i'll tell you i don't understand why he didn't try and affect a more rhetorically inspiring presidency the way john kennedy and franklin roosevelt and to be honest ronald reagan did. i think he had that opportunity and he had that talent and he chose not to do it. and there were other strategic
mistakes undoubtedly that he made. but the problem with his inability to pass this legislation was not strategic errors by the president or tactical errors by the president and it didn't relate necessarily to the failure of his communications job although there was a failure of his communications job. it related to fundamental road blocks in the system that would face any president, any progressive president trying to enact the kinds of promises that obama made during the campaign. what are they? well, broadly speaking, you know many of them but i don't think most people understand how powerful they are in the system. how much -- how strongly they narrow the options of president trying to make this a more progressive country. the obvious one -- if you think about the oil spill for a second is what terrible shape the bush
administration left the country in. i mean, we had two wars. both of which were going quite badly but are very expensive. we had eight years of complete environmental and financial mismanagement. we had an administration that didn't believe in science and actually in many respects didn't believe in competence. you remember the head of nasa was shot down by a guy who was 24 years older and who hadn't college and that was the way the things were in the bush administration so there was an enormous overhang of badly managed governance that needed to be addressed simply to avoid catastrophe and you couldn't do it all at once as evidenced by the oil drilling catastrophe. and by catastrophes we still haven't seen yet but we can expect in the future. second is we have an antiquated
political system particularly as regards to the senate but not only with regard to the senate so that a very small minority can very easily frustrate the will of the majority. and if you're a member of the republican party, you have every incentive to do so because the republicans only exercise power as a united group. so they had 40 votes and none of those -- none of those votes mattered unless they had all 40 votes. so they were able to keep themselves united so that they could exercise any power at all. and they did so specifically in the service of seeing the obama program fail. democrats don't do that. democrats like to see governance work. they believe in governance. and they're temperly unsuited to obstructionalism. all but not most. republicans are the opposite.
number one they're much more interested in power for power's sake and number two to agree that governments succeeds, government ideology fails so they had every incentive to throw every wrench and every monkey works that they could and they did. and so given the setup of the senate, it only takes one senator to put a hold on a bill that can go on forever, can frustrate the will of all 99 other senators and, of course, the -- you don't need to actually have a filibuster anymore. you can threaten a filibuster and it works just like a filibuster and so you can on every single bill which the republicans did. they threatened filibuster every single bill until they got -- until a couple of them got what they wanted and then frequently they would threaten filibuster and it would agree to some concessions on the part of the
president and it just so happens that, you know, our constitution is set up so that if you live in california, you have 1/12th of the united states senate than you would have if you lived in wyoming. and yet the most underpopulated states in america are also the most conservative states. so over and over those 40 republican senators who represent barely 30, 32% of the population were able to frustrate the will of the majority. and there wasn't anything obama could do about it. i work at the nation. i may be the most conservative person at the nation. but people laugh when i say that. but it's true. and there were a lot of sort of people on my left who would -- who would criticize obama saying he should just demand that the democrats pass health care with a public hospitalization they
should just demand that they pass a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade. and yet there's no way for a president to do that anymore. presidents can't -- presidents have no power over individual senators in congress because individual senators and congressmen raise their own money and, unfortunately, there's this, you know, tea party movement on the right which does actually threaten republican politicians who don't vote the way they want them to. and will run primaries against them and will beat them and will lose seats as a result. if there were no tea party, the senate would be republican -- but there's nothing like that on the left and to disagree that anyone made any kind of noise in that administration, the obama administration shut them down right away. you know, we don't want anything to do with you. so there was no pressure at all coming from the other side. all of the pressure was coming
from one side. now, the most powerful form of pressure in our system and you could talk about this all night and you still wouldn't be able to do justice of it is the power of money. it's not just that corporations pay for the electoral campaigns of our senators and congressmen, although that's a pretty powerfulful incentive to do what they want but they control the entire culture in which politics takes place. they define the terms of the debate. they operate in such a way that -- that the people who work in the so-called public areas, people who work on the subcommittees and so forth see themselves as merely in training for the jobs working in the private sector. that pay three to four times what people in the public sector make. and there's no shame at all in switching sides. you would think in a pitched
battle over how we're going to regulate the banking sector that there would be some shame in the chairman of the house banking committee staff going to goldman sachs in the middle of the debate. the middle switched sides while he was writing the legislation and yet there is no shame. you know, she did it a few weeks earlier this he should have but the fact is that the power of money is so pervasive in our brakes and the ideology of finance is so powerful that there's almost nobody on the other side. one thing that i have to say that really shocked me about the way 2008 to 2010 periods turned out was i was under the impression when obama became president that because of the financial crisis and because of the obvious malfeasance that had caused it, that the banking industry in particular but
business in general had discredited itself to a degree that was comparable to what franklin roosevelt faced in 1932. in fact, that wasn't the case at all. the fact -- their previous behavior played very little role at all in the way the laws were written. i think i quote senator durbin in this book saying, frankly, they own the place. and they owned it before the crisis. and they owned it after the crisis. and so -- and if you think about it, you remember it was a long time ago that the media were paying attention to the writing of the rules of the financial regulation bill. it was many, many months ago. but, in fact, those rules are very, very broadly written. and they need to be defined as to what actual practices are allowed and what practices aren't allowed because particularly in financial business, you can just do what you want by changing a few of the accounting practices and keep doing what you were doing. you can change the name of what you were doing so that -- or
move one guy into a different division and the whole problem is taken care of. well, there's about, i think, 1200 different rules -- i'm pulling that number out of the air. the actual number is in the book. there's 1200 different rules that have to be written on the basis of that legislation and those rules are all being written by the lobbyists today. there's nobody else there. the press has moved on. and the staff of these congressman are a overlooked and b looking forward with their next job to these very people for whom they are writing these rules. even to the degree that we thought we won some victories in that financial regulation struggle, a lot of those victories will be likely to be taken away in the fine print. ..
>> collapsing for lack of a business model that can support it. the information is disappearing. at the same time there is more and more air time, this blog is sphere, more and more media out their coming into our lives, but it contains less and less substance. and therefore people are able to get away with a lot more because there are fewer people watching. a lot more hot air, and a lot
less live being shown on the dark side. so, what he's the the -- what people were afraid to get away with in the past, things like a respectable companies who would have been afraid to give money to the u.s. chamber of commerce to attract -- attack politicians they can do that now because there is nothing -- not the manpower in the media to keep a what i eye on it. there are people trying to do it, and i salute them, but not only is it harder to do, but much harder. that is customer one. crisis number two is that we have this new beef with our media system. i guess that is the same thing. i was listening to brian green today. he got me confused with all of
these new concepts of universes'. i don't know what the universe is any more. and that, and the most obvious manifestation, the community is not a news organization. it is a political organization. it is a political organization that masquerades as a news organization. politicians lie. it is no shame. averaged a history of presidential line. it is not like anything that anybody ever felt the need to apologize for. if the lie is effective and it furthers the policy, then the law is okay. that is the way politicians see it. it is entirely operational. i mean, franklin roosevelt light an awful lot. a good cause in terms of getting the united states into the second world war.
lyndon johnson lied an awful lot in terms of that cause, getting the united states involved in vietnam. today we are critical because of what he did in vietnam, and admired roosevelt for is in world war ii. they both fly. we have a first amendment, and we have a system of checks and balances that work for the media because we know this. we know we can't trust the people in power to tell us the truth about what they're doing. well, fox news masquerades as one of the watch dog institutions, but they operate as a political organization. the lie of the time. they make things up. they expanded their opponents. they work hand in glove with politicians and political organizations and make no apology for it or even pretend to do differently. all they do is call themselves a
news organization. the rest of it is quite obvious. they sponsor tea party rallies. every single potential republican candidate with the exception of marriage bonnie who is not an office right now is on the payroll of fox news. media matters' added up what it would have cost him to by that time on air. it was something like $68 million of free air time, but it's not really free air time for them because they are working in the service of the cause of fox news. if he doesn't like what they're doing, they would be fired and have to sing his song. fox news, which makes no attempt to be fair, and i don't mind bias, but i believe in fairness and balance. i just wish the words had not been stolen from by rupert murdoch and company. so, fox news does to damaging
things to our political system. one is a d values truth. it makes everything valuable and negotiable. so, we spent a lot of time arguing whether or not a rock obama was proposing that panel's. 24 percent, 24 percent of republicans believe the president as a model and even higher percentage believe he might not be a muslim, but is working to the turn the united states into an islamic republic. i would love to know what that is like. and again, as i mentioned, we have a significantly smaller percentage of people who believe that global warming is a phenomenon even though during this very time the evidence
increased profoundly. so there is an enormous effect of bias. successful. i think fox news alone made $500 million in profit whereas the make a little bit of profit and cnn loses money on its operation in the united states. certainly in prime time. and so cnn and to some degree a larger networks, that is where the audience is. and so you get cnn sponsoring a debate with the two-party. you have them broadcasting. let's get this woman, michelle boxer. she gave a speech two weeks ago where she applauds the u.s. constitution for ending slavery. i'm not making this up.
i'm not making the sub. remember that when back rally? cbs tires helicopter guys to give a crowd estimate. the crowd estimate was 87,000 people. that was the honest estimate. some say it was somewhere between 80 and 100. so she gets up on that stage and says, don't let anybody tell you that there is under a million people here. the chief part of that sentence, don't let anybody tell you. closing your ears and screaming while somebody tries to say, excuse me, reality is over here. that is to the tea party picked to represent them in response to the president of the united states, and that is hoochy it -- cnn chose to broadcast without cnn or any sense of obligation
global warming, because there are so many economic trade-offs. so many in the system. financial regulation is incredible. we all agree it has to be done. it is that financial system. and if you have to do it, do this, this present of distortion and manipulation, the slightest little thing can be blown up by this operation operating in concert with this irresponsible
movement and his political party that is dedicated only to undermine the president, well, it becomes damn near impossible to pull the thing off. it is not just fox news are cnn, but a collapse of standards throughout the entire media that comes from both the desperation on the ground arising from the end of the financial underpinning, but also the news. one of the most depressing statistics, and a stopper in a minute. one of the most statistics of 2009 is this. now think about newt gingrich. he was the leader of a failed rebellion of the pub -- republican party, disgraced, had a heart attack about clinton getting a blow job, and yet he
was having affairs. his first wife had to go on welfare after he left her and get money from her church because he was a deadbeat dad. then he went crazy after that. he said things like that is a lot to be endorsed. the notion that barack obama is really leading the country on the basis of, i don't know, who is it the maximum leader saying the ideology. it is the craziest nonsense imaginable. anybody who says these things, they should be handing out pieces of paper on the street from the messages they get. they should not be on television. well, newt gingrich was the single most physically booked guest on meet the press in 2009.
he had no official position of any kind. now, he used to be the speaker of the house. the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, was not on meet the press in 2009. if you add up all of the ex speakers of the house decides newt gingrich who were invited after it does not increase the number of appearances and all. the only ex speaker of the house ever to be invited is newt gingrich, the single most invited guest in 2009, and he is not. he is crazy. he says things about our president that our -- that no fourth graders to believe. yet, it is in this atmosphere that this president had to pass this very complicated,
difficult, and in many respects demanding legislation. so these are all four of these problems are very serious, structural, and they can't be solved by the president himself, even if he had a better communication, even if he had done a few things more smartly than he did. they require an ingates citizenry. they require a liberal and political movement that was organized and smarter and more disciplined than the one we have. at think we deserve kind of the breakup for taking our eye off of the ball after be elected barack obama president. very exciting electing that men president, particularly after the horror we lived under for eight years. but it turns out it was not enough, a beginning and not an end. i take some comfort, of little bit hokey and optimistic. some comfort in the fact that
franklin roosevelt was elected. our most progressive president ever by 1936. it was in part a response to economic -- economic circumstance, the social movement, and a learning process. so, i like to think that it is possible for a second of bama administration to take on the direction that the second rows of administration took on. but then they are going to, unless everybody buys it and read my book. thank you very much. [applause] >> this might right here. i would like to remind everybody that eric's book, "kabuki democracy: the system vs. barack obama," is available for sale and the bookstore.
purchase it, bring it back to this room. we have about 15 minutes for question and answer. ask you keep your comments and questions brief. >> think you for a great talk. roosevelt, as you know, was hated by the dominant media of the day, most of them anyway. two-thirds of the nation's newspapers, his father, a populist demagogue who was against him at that point. still trapped. i wonder, in some ways, maybe the media is not the problem. at least on economic issues of big government, logistic, distich conservative country, those who vote and are active and, perhaps, put too much emphasis on the media. >> look, i appreciate your question, but you can lay.
you came late to class. you came late to class. there was much discussion of related points before i got to the media aspect. i will grant the point that there is an additional problem which i discussed in the book. american ideology is antigovernment. it is, there is a libertarian streak that runs through both the left and right. some of the most inspiring statements for libertarians, antigovernment of for people like thomas paine and emerson and so forth. a government that governs is pain. when it is correct in their book. and so we need, the president is to find an alternate mythology
as successful progress of presidents have done. it leads me to my most significant criticism of this president, which is, he has forgone the bully pulpit. this week those of you who watch a lot of c-span or in this case hbo have had the opportunity to see john kennedy inaugural address as well as the number of press conferences. i wrote a book. i'd like john kennedy. a lot of problems with the things he did. but one wonderful thing about john kennedy was the rhetoric he brought to the country, the inspiration he brought to people to move them to put their lives in the direction of the ark of justice. barack obama did a wonderful job of that during the campaign and then just stopped on day one of his presidency and get involved in the legislative debates over which will was going to be
included with which bill. at think that was a terrible mistake. i don't see why he couldn't have done both. there is no reason that obama could not have done both as well. beginning in tucson he started. that brought tears to our eyes in denver and other places. it's back, and it would be a terrible mistake for him to return. >> i'll make them short. could you talk about your thinking about the title of your book? the second one, but you saying that they should not have shown michele bachman at all or they should have had analysis or framed it in some way? i think, you know, it might be curious to show it. >> i don't have a problem with their reporting and saying, look at this.
but what she said. here is absolutely the truth. question her and say, it's not just slavery in the with the constitution. anyone ever mention this little working back but just to show it as if it were the equivalent of an act of state deserving of respect without criticism, that would be irresponsible. the book is called kabuki democracy. i might be wrong about this. it implies that the theatrical enactment of democracy without any other substance. with that from of our people are going going through the motions of having a democracy. the actual democracy has been hollowed out by what i describe in the book. primarily money.
the other factor as well. >> i am interested in psychological manipulation the mystification and language. one of the things out tell you, i went to eglin back rally. they probably hire consultants that bail lot of money on language and framing and the way that he asks. anti colonial. he does say he is anti. what is he? he asks a question. very sophisticated. progressives are not. there is a problem with using the term global warming. you can bet they will say that al gore is wrong. a more accurate term would be chaos. you have chaotic. everyone listening, we should all use that term.
>> climate chaos. you heard it here first. sir. >> thank you. your talk reminds me of some of the books that i cannot triumph over conservatism this one book which takes a look at the kind of era that herbert curly and louis r. meyer came out of, struggling to create regulatory. i think his book was somewhat revisionist. regulation as the reestablishment of the status quo. do you think that is why we have so many problems with anti intellectualism? it is so easy to take advantage of us, sample media, the complexity that we have. i'm going to go back and read kirklands book again. and the committee for industrial
relations, some of the interlocking directorships that are in there. the documents of american history. >> at take your point. one reason i wrote this book. it is not any one thing. we have a whole set of problems that create a system that is sporadic and any number of ways. anti intellectualism of our discourse is a significant problem. particularly when it is so easily manipulated by sarah palin or michele bachman. the dumbness of cable news. it is not the only problem. if we solve that we still have the problem of money in the system and the democratic dysfunction in the senate. so, i think we need tap take a more holistic view of our system a problem.
>> i am sure you are aware, some time ago in virginia the individual mandate of the health care bull was ruled unconstitutional in part. and the entire thing. now, you know, the way that the debate is being framed when it gets to the supreme court illegal system will probably, the way the issue is framed with determine how it is decided. was wondering if you could speak to what you think the legal institutions in this country have to do with the way that laws are passed and enforced? >> i'm going to take the opportunity of that question to answer it in such a way that i know what i'm talking about rather than answer your question where i would know what i was talking about. it's also, your giving me an opportunity to say something that did not get to say which is that if i had to say what is at the root, the most important single problem that we have is the power of money in our political system. that is a legal problem.
it is a legal problem because the supreme court insists on defining speak and corporations. they don't really have a very good basis, but particularly to people. it's very murky. there is an aside somewhere a hundred years ago where it was mentioned. it was just built on. never any actual decision by any court be. yet as long as corporations, we cannot really regulate politics. they can get away with just about anything. and so that is a long-term battle that we have to fight. in the meantime we need to do something to try and equalize the power of people versus the power of money. and so i would strongly urge every progressive person and a
repressive group to take a look at the power of money in their particular issue. i do think it is possible to make the case that we could say -- sat -- save taxpayers a fortune if republic the finest collections. we would not have to pay for all these giveaways. it is not that expensive. every other democracy does it. there is no other democracy that allows the kind of power. we pay a fortune. it doesn't get covered by created is ignored. the media cover the issue of money in politics, but not its power. it is not covered when decisions are being made. those are treated like it is a battle between nancy pelosi and john banner. that is that. the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry are not in the room at the time.
they are the ones actually writing legislation. so fundamentally one thing that can be taken away from what i'm saying is that you can't talk about any issue of progressive politics without understanding the media contents, but b, c, and d, understanding the role of money and how it needs to be invested. >> my question has a lot to do with what you just mentioned. understanding the power of money and politics as a long way into understanding the difference or discrepancy between obama as a campaigner who was outstanding and up, the president who is a bit disappointing. my question about that would be to you have any idea why you could not use campaign finance reform as some kind of agenda that he would try and implement? my understanding of what happened in 2008 is that somehow
thanks to his skills as an outstanding campaign and he was able to circumvent the issue of power and money and politics because he was able to reach out to people who would chip in ten, 20, 50 bucks. >> that understanding is mistaken. that is what they portray themselves as doing. they were relied on big donors. they knew that they kid out race to a three to one and were unwilling to give away the advantage. the president can't out race in a case like that. from the standpoint of obama personal interest he has no interest in supporting campaign finance reform. presidential elections, you can see it's going to vastly out to whoever they put up. but the rest of the system will continue to be awash in money. in fact, we have had campaign finance reform.
we did have a reasonable system in place which has now fallen apart because obama opted out. it was getting weaker and weaker and less and less up-to-date. so, i think what obama would say to the broader issue of why he did not make good on his promise to clean up the system and drive lobbyists from the temple is the fact that when he got there the system was in crisis. losing 80,000 jobs a month. the dow was down 5,000 points. the system, confidence system was collapsing. he did not have the luxury of remaking the system. it would be like rearranging the chairs on the titanic. he had to get that killing again before he could address it. once he did that the opportunity to reform it.
everyone became ensconced. and so he would probably admit that he did not do -- i mean, at the other thing that i hate about the obama administration is the way they make fun of liberals for saying we are disappointed. he should be saying, okay. i did my best and will keep fighting. you whiny person. set up and appreciate what i've done for you. that is really just plain stupid, even if you think it's true. but in the case of transforming the system he has got a pretty good argument. he has not conduct to what he has done and said, okay, now i'm going to go back and fight for the things i believe in. it's impossible for these people in power to admit that they can be any better way to do things and the way they chose to do things. and so i'm afraid that in that respect the opportunity has been
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