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tv   Max Boot The Corrosion of Conservatism  CSPAN  November 10, 2018 8:30pm-10:01pm EST

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the near future. you can also watch them and any of our programs in their entirety at the author's name in the search bar at the top of the page. for the past 20 years, booktv has been covering bookers and festivals around the country. more than 300 today. [inaudible conversations]
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good evening ladies and gentlemen, good evening. thank you. [laughter] my name is -- host and cure ray or tore of the half king reading series, we are extremely pleased tonight to be able to welcome max to the reading series. [applause] it's a monday night in new york city as any in new york city we know that upon us simple and there are 10 different things that you can choose to do tonight and no one involved in putting this event together picture for granted that you chose about to be here with us. thank you very much for that it is very much appreciated so the way tonight is going to work i'm
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going to say a few brief words i promise you there will be a few and brief after that max will read from his wonderful book, the corrosion of conservatism where i left the right after that rejoin him briefly to ask questions to get ball rolling and then -- we want to have this conversation include all of you. we do have one request here is that ever green request -- please form your contributions in a shape of a question. if you cannot form your contribution in a shape of a question, i will politely remind you of this and move on to next person who has a question ready an then come back to you upon request so to that into the q and a section we're very, very happy to have books on sale tad from bocks on call nyc new york only exclues iively book seller half king book sell or book is 27 dollars cash, credit, apple pay, they'll take good care of you and max will be happy to
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sign books afterwards. do you remember new york law is a two book minimum. [laughter] great thanks to peter miller from norton for assistance putting this event together. also our friend jack and michael here again we're always happy to see them here with us. we will try to share on social media when it episode will actually air. not so much for you because you're actually here but for people who missed it that you want to be here this evening. as you can see we're fairly crowd ared take care of your servers we're all working and have been fun so drinking and hearing from a really great mind. so please take care of them. silence your cell phones now one a great planned to that. if you are interested in asking readings i'll tell you about a couple of events before we start do get on mailing list over there by book table we both bother you as promised so we're
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nearing end of what i think was a tremendous season here at the half king we have three events after tonight. next monday night vanity fair journal marie is here with her book a private war it is a series of articles and essays about -- a war journalist who was killed a few years ago in syria. but also incredible essays about richard joule malala, and someone i think we might bring una little bit tonight, donald trump including essay from 1990, that certainly serves as a warning that could have been heeded it 28 years ago. on november 12th, christian is here with her book titled why women have better sex under socialism and other arguments for economic independence it is book that is as good as its title and finally, thanksgiving week to lighten things up a little bit james geary english
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writer and -- linguist is here with his book -- wits end what wit is and why we need it and i guess we really need it these days. so again, please sign up for our mailing list we love to see you back here at the half king, and i would like to move on now to our futured author. the personal is political. a rallying slogan of the student movement in second wave feminism is exemplified many a profound way and max boots political the corrosion of conservatism why i write. max's book reveals an experience and most people claim to admire. the ability to learn and grow when receiving and xrengding new facts and information. casting off dogma revealed to be false and be open to continuing to evolve to even be wrong and to admit it. max writes how his view have been affected by event fighting challenge to examine his views, and by deep reflection about
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what he believed and whether facts still support his conclusion. this is not a small thing. but any of us who have seen long cherish beliefs crumble under weight of time and changing fact must now how dislocating it is to reassemble world and life view nevermind that most of us do it in private. in quotes or well -- see what is in front of one's nose is a constant struggle. seeing people that self-common cause with consider friends and colleagues, not go through any similar evolution is initially concerning and finally disturbing. and, of course, the book is coming back to trump. and the man now claims to represent what max sent life supporting is pap he diagnoses problem and suggest what he believes to be a potential cure. regardless of whether that prescription is indeed born out this book demonstrates that max
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will strive to find truth in our terribly cross time. please join me in welcoming matt booth. [applause] thank you very much. what an awesome set up, i've written a lot of books and done a lot of book events. first one ever in a bar -- [laughter] i feel like -- i honestly have ought to be like a folk sing we are a get or tar to entertain you folks thank goodness thank lucky stars i will not do that. because if there's anybody who is more utterly of musical talent on planet than i am i have yet to meet that person so i will not sing for my supper, and not going to do is, i am
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going to -- read the prologue to my book. and then engage in a conversation with glenn and all of the rest are of you about what i have to say and this book i should note before hand is -- is glenn suggested is very personal for me. this is very different from my previous books. which were very weighty historical tone that took many years to write. and that were written about other people. this one is about me. and my experience in america and especially my experience last few years but really what led up it that. and so this is -- not only my shortest book can which i'm sure all of you will be happy to hear. but also my most personal and i want to give you a flavor of the book. by -- by reading not singing the prologue. >> november 8, 2016 one of the most demoralizing dates of my life it was also in ways that have become impossible to ignore
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devastating, not just for america in general. but for american conservatism in particular. i had never imagined that donald trump would be elected president if you have suggested to me before 2016 that such a thing was possible, i would have replied to a far fetched to contemplate sounded like plot of a science fiction movie. arnold would have been sure polling strongly in 2015 by figured when actual balloting began my fellow republicans would sober up and realize that reality star and real estate mogul was not remotely qualified for nation's highest office. trump had offended my sensibilities from the very first day of the campaign. swriewn 16th, 2015. when he had come down to escalator at trump tower and crudely in a term they are
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bringing drugs he said and crime and rape rapist some i assume are good people he launched a attack on senator john mccain. a man who's presidential campaign i have been proud to advise in 2008. this is what -- trump gotten five draft aismments had to say about war hero who endured nearly six years of captivity in knot vietnam he's not a war hero. he was a war hero because he was captured like people who weren't captured okay. a few months after that in november 2015, trump hit another low. mocking a disabled reporter who had the question his had bogus claims in new jersey city sharing as world trade center came down. trump then lied what about he had done even though his cruel -- was recorded on videotape. there was no possibility i figured that the party of roosevelt and reagan would
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endorse trump for president. was there? when the primaries began, and trump began winning state after state, i thought i had entered the twilight zone and locked up nomination republican after republican, dutifully lined up to endorse candidate city after in the harshest materials possible. former governor rick perry called trump a cancer on conservatism for endorsing by kerns and being rerairded with a cabinet post. former governor bobby had called trump a madman who must be stopped before endorsing said madman. senator rand paul had called him a delusional narcissist before endorsing said narcissist most painful of all to me senator marco rubio who does campaign policy advisor went from denouncing as con artist to endorsing said con artist house speaker paul rind got my hopes up by hesitating to endorse trump. but in the end he too bent the
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knee. this was not the republican party i knew. or thought i knew. how could so many republicans for whom i have so much betrayed everything that i and they believed in what was going on? how could all of these conservatives turn into trump toteys i was angry and bewilders my faith in the republican party was shaken and has never recovered but at least i covered myself that in general election there was no way the american people would possibly elect someone like trump. i had come to america the six year from the soviet union in 1976 and had grown to revere the country that offered asylum to my family i was convinced that america was greatest and most selfless country in the world. now i had faith that voters would in their wisdom choose hillary clinton who was a deeply flawed and seriously uncharismatic candidate to be sure but extremely knowledgeable, and amply
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qualified. ed i had never voted for a democrat in my life but for me it was and easy call here i was a conservative republican voting for clinton. i figured there would be plenty of others who would do the same. if trump could not count on undivided support of the gop there was no way he could win. like countless other commentators, i was sure trump was finished on october 7th, 2016 when a videotape emerged in which he could be heard bragging that because he was a star, he could do anything he wanted to women. even grab them by the pussy. am i aloud to say that on c-span? numerous republicans withdrew their endorsement and a urged trump to drop out. yet when he refused to withdraw many of the same republicans came crawling back to reendorse him. the race tightened as election day approached. yet i was still certain -- foolishly pathetically certain that trump could not win. my faith in america had blind me to what was to come and that
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faith has not survived the debacle to come. i agreed to spend election night at the comedy nightclub in downtown new york not too far from here. offering commentary along results with comedians organized by foreign policy magazine. i was nervous in the afternoon but reassured by rumors that exit poll show a clinton victory. i was on stage chatting with the other panelists went around 8 p.m. i saw my partner sue going increasingly agitated across the room. she kept looking at her phone and getting more upset. i sneaked out my own phone and saw what was disturbing her. "the new york times" just moved florida into trump's column. it now looked as if yet a path to victory. as night wore on swing state is after swing state went for trump. clinton qengt from odds on favorite to an increasing long shot. by the time suge and i got home to our partner on upper west side at 10 p.m. or so it was obvious that unthinkable was about to become the inevitable.
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donald trump was going to be elected the 45th president of the united states. a friend came over from the clinton election night party at the javits center she was crying and in shock. i sold scotch and took sleeping pills something i don't normally did and tried to sleep. and yes i know you're not supposed to combine sedative with alcohol but also not suppose to elect a big bigoted bully as president of the united states even with chemical endeucement my sleep was awaiben to a nightmare. america had become trump's america. my republican party had become trump's party. my conservative movement had become trump's movement. the first thing i did the next morning, was to go online to change any voter registration. i had been a republican since turning 18. just before the 1988 presidential election, now with
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age 47 i became an independent and politics is a team support. suddenly i was without a team. i was politically homeless. in an instangt i felt alienated from some of any oldest friends and fellow travelers conservatives with whom i had been in one fight after another over the past quarter century. how was it possible that 90% of republicans had supported a charlotte recently been a democrat with a few fix conviction racism, and sexism -- my sense of alienation has only deepened as i have watched trump presidency in action. no other president has been more hostile to values of conservatism i conceived it. conservatism american style means different things to different people. there is afterall an tension in advocating conservative vision in a liberal society in which social economic and technological change hads constant. american conservative schism
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very different from kind of conservativetism that has been characteristic of europe continue innocent is chauvinistic and pessimistic american conservatism is optimistic and inclusive for me conservatism means prownt and policy making based on empirical city support for american global leadership in american allies a strong defense in a willingness to oppose enemy of freedom respect for character, community, personal virtue and family limited government and fiscal prudence, freedom of opportunity rather than equality of outcome. a social safety net big enough to help needyist but small enough to avoid initiative enterprise and social mobility. individual liberty to the great possible consistent with public safety. freedom of speech and of the press. immigration and assimilation, and colorblindness and racial integration, looming above them all are two documents that i
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revere as should every american, the declaration of independence defines united states as a nation together not by share heritage or blood but rather by a shared belief in the self-evident truths that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. the pursuit of happiness is a critical concept putting personal freedom at the center of our political enterprise. while the declaration lays out the goal of self-government the constitution defines how we can achieve them it protects our liberties limits government's power and ensures that rule of law prevails. we honor defend and respect constitution and offices laws and normallies that derive from it all americans have all political persuasions are expected to defer to the constitution. but it should be a particular concern to conservatives who proclaim their desire to conserve what makes america great.
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that is to me american conservatism that is what i believe. those are ideas i have tried to advance as a writer and commentator. to judge by his words and actions trump does not understand or believe in a single one of these principles. yet he reare mains wildly popular among republicans and conservatives when 2016 begun i could hardly find republican doing anything to pause something to say about about trump by beginning of 2018 it was hard to find republican who had anything negative to say about him at least in public. how can this be? did i not understand all along what american conservatism was all about that i miss a essential feature that trump had discern and use to his benefit or had conservatism under pull of trump outside personality to become something very diskt from the movement i had grown up in? the modern conservative movement inspired by the text from 1960, the conscience of a conservative.
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i believed in that movement. and served it my whole life but under pressure of trumpism qeivetivism i understood it has been corroding so has my faith in the movement. hence this book title i'm proceeding ugly truthing about america and about conservatism that other people had long seen but i had turned a blinked eye to. i no longer like to call myself a conservative a label synonymous with trump totey. i now prefer to think of myself as a classical liberal. i would like to be tiebl quote ronald reagan when he became a republican, i didn't leave the democratic party the dmbt democratic party left me but in truth my beliefs are shifting because of the rise of trump nism contemporary developments such as failure of the iraq invasion and great recession of 2008 and 2009, the me too movement, and this spread of police videotapes revealing violent racism. my ideology has come into contact with reality.
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and reality is winning. i have undertaken a painful and difficult intellectual journey leaving behind many of the simple varities that i clung to for decades as movement conservative i am now forced to think for myself and that is not an easy thing to do. but girch the events that have shaken america this self-reflection is necessary indeed overdue i only wish more conservative were willing to engage in similar self-examination instead of insult of snow flakes or reflect of fences of the man who has their party. i am no longer republican but i'm not a democrat either i'm a man without a party. this is a record of my ideological journey so far. and of my attempts to come to grips honestly unflinchingly known as trumpism the question that haunts me is -- did i somehow contradict to the rise of the stark force in
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american life worth my advocacy for conservatism? whatever the case i'm now convinced that republican party must suffer repeated and devastating defeat. it must pay a heavy price for its embrace of white nationalism and no nothingism. only if the gop is currently constituted his burn to ground will there be any chance to build a reasonable political party out of the ashes? how did we get to the point where i a lifelong republican now wish ill fortune upon my party? to find the answer -- i invite you to turn page with me literally as well as figuratively. what follows is not a full blown memoir for autobiography -- but to make you understand why i -- and other trump are conservatives all too few in number feel a strong sense of betrayal at the hands of trump and republican party it is important for you to understand how i became a conservative in the first place and what had it
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felt like to be a conservative in the hay day of the movement. my history i feel can help the reader to make sense of late 20th industry conservatism now in early 21st century practically unrecognizable. i take this story up to the prepght day explain yg i left republican party because of my profound opposition to trump. how trump continues to reduce conservative principle what is future holds for me and other conservatives who could not imagine being members of a trump party. put another way, this is a tail of force love marriage, growing and eventually a heartbreaking divorce. today we are log master's degree a bitter custody belittle and return to its previous principle or remain forever a populist white nationalist movement in the image of donald trump? this book i strongly suspect will inpure yacht old comrades on right conclude i have gone south in the head or sold the
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beliefs to gain popular acceptance in liberal circles? i in turn am convinced they are ones who have gone off rails by em brisking demagogue who seems toe wait bigotry with conservatism. there's a golf between that not bridged and while trump is in office like wise what follows unlikely to satisfy hard left -- no matter how strongly i come out against trump in a work i find it as never enough for most doctrine leftist who think that no step perhaps short of suicide will atone for my war crime which upon closer examination seem to consist supporting evasion of iraq that was backed by bipartisan majorities in both house. this book is not addressed to the far left or far right. it is written with a center left and center right in mind. my hope is that my ideological odyssey will inspire others to be part a larger bipartisan movement in america toward
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greater moderation and civility in our politics. or if that doesn't happen, and if the present to extremism continues, i will at least register my desepght in strongest materials that i know. i love america. flb i am devoted to conservative principles i want to defend what i hold dear when i see it under unpress dented attack within and greatest pods by a men with pinnacle of power this how i became a conservative and why i longer feel part of a movement whose betrayal of principles is about a hornet to many so that is the prologue. [applause] >> this young lady here. >> hi. >> worker at -- [inaudible conversations]
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i'm the sitting down right? >> sure. okay. now i really feel like i should be singing. >> i forgot any guitar. adjust my microphone taller than had i before apparently. can you hear us both okay? okay. so -- time comes for you folks to ask questions mindful i may repeat question i'll look to all of you folk if someone asked a question from over there if you can hear i may ask you to help me out. this microphone as soon as -- let me ask now let me know if you can hear because if you can hear they probably hear through the mic. was there a moment where you felt there was -- [inaudible conversations] where people who seem you shared went from being people of good faith turned into something
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darker where there was a point where you said thing is happening more than just normal disagreement? >> i think that basically happened it in the summer of 2016 when trump was winning the republican nomination because again, up until that point, most conservatives it that i knew were appalled by donald trump as i was, and then suddenly as i mentioned in the prologue, they started submitting one by one and i had a -- fascinating and disturbing conversation with one of my closest friends, smp i had worked with on a lot of projects who had served in a prior republican administration we were sitting at his -- house having a -- backyard cookout and in washington i said that i was appalled by the prospect of trump being the republican nominee an i was going to vote for rei because i couldn't imagine supporting trump, and he basically let me know that not only was -- that he think that trump are was going to win but he thought that trump should win. and i -- you know, i point at him and said how could you imagine this guy so manifestly unfit for
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office, and doesn't really share most of our beliefs -- how could you possibly imagine that he should be president? and his reply to me was essentially well, you know max you're naive you think that politics is about ideas it's actually a tribal struggle. and i am part of the republican tribe so i have to go through republican leader an i was like what -- this is a guy with a ph.d. this is not a dope okay. this is somebody very smart and yet -- he was essentially admitting that tribal nature of the republican rallying around trump. which i found appalling abhorrent because reason i supported republican party in the past was because i thought that mistakenly, obviously, i thought that republican party is the ideal that i believed in. there wasn't just like root for sports team and you continue the rooting even if players and jersey change. but obviously, i have a very naive view of politics because people view it in tribal terms. >> how much do you think that --
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fear of trump played it among republicans given -- the amount of the -- girve the forces that he can unleash with a mere tweet. do you think that a lot of folks who you -- spoke with in 2015, 16, were concerned about the impact on them? with forces he could unleash? >> i think there's different motivation for republican support. with a lot of the republican base they support him. because they love the guy. because -- you know he tickles their sweet spot because he's unapologetic a spaz l of racism misogyny, with all of these others that accidet occurring and insults democrats in a way no previous republican leadser that has ever done and calls them evil, crazy, stupid, treasonnist and republicans love that. ...
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this causes anger can get thrown in for someone places, specially women and it's treated differently than with friend greg see anger as
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currently beautiful but you also write about all-consuming anger. can you talk about the differences in constructive anger and unconstructive anger in the political realm. >> that's an interesting question. i think i was discussing the positive aspect of anger because i was noting that some of my conservative and republican friends sometimes accuse me of becoming overheated in my enunciation's of trump and my responses normally well i'm not angry if you aren't angry because normal decent people should be angry about the stuff he does and let's lose the darkest forces in american society, something that we've seen with horrifying clarity in the last week. you should be angry about that, but you should not let
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the anger erode your reason. for example, i don't support progressives who want to get in the face of republican officials who are having dinner. i think that's counterproductive. it plays into trumps narrative of a mob out there if you want to channel your anger effectively go vote and organiz organize. don't give into unreasoning anger. try to challenge, try to take your moral innovation and put it in the right direction. >> one of the parts of the book i found really affecting, surprisingly so is you mentioned, in talking about your relationship with fox news, a sense of shame in the association. what changed? >> well i am now awoken to the reality of fox news.
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i just go on the network occasionally in my conservative day in my view of fox in the past was essentially that it was kind of harmless buffoonery and they were marketing conservative principles like people like me a spouse emma to a broader audience and that's how you market things but now with the rise of trump i realize way to second they were not marketing conservative principles as i understand them, they were marketing populism and nationalism and xenophobia and racism and i've now come to see the rise of fox news since the 1990s just today i wrote a column in the wake and i
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wrote that we need to hold the right wing media machinelike fox news accountable for spreading these horrible lives for trafficking coded and not so coded semitism and racism and radicalizing the american right with the same conspiracy theories that people peopl who may already be unstable into violence. that is a lot of responsibility i think they blame for creating this climate of hatred and that's why i suggest advertisers should stop advertising with fox and investors should stop buying stock in its parent company 21st century fox. we need to hold them accountable for the climate of hatred that they are creating in america we met one of the things in the book you said you reevaluated is that prologue
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conscious conservativism and looking back at what goldwater and conservatives at the time actually espoused. you had a real reevaluation of that. you also mentioned that reagan was sort of your lodestar and your hero. how does reagan sort of appear to you today, has you thinking about reagan, i don't think there now. [inaudible] have your feelings about ronald reagan and his part changed since 1980? >> typically my feeling has changed. i still have fairly positive feelings about ronald reagan because if you look at what he did in office as governor of california and president of united states he was actually pretty modern. he signed one of the most liberal abortion laws in the country when he was governor of california and negotiated,
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he cut taxes and actually raise taxes and offended a lot of his red-hot conservative supporters, but i certainly have been reevaluating his role in the role of many others in the birth of them modern conservative movement. i certainly see it today. i kind of subscribed when i was growing up to this conservative myth that this movement was rooted in. principal and it was taking on these socialist who were taking over america, and then i kind of woke up to reality and realized this movement was founded in the 1950s, who the hell was president of united states in the 50s. was it some commie sympathizers, no it was dwight d eisenhower so all of these conservatives were defended by president eisenhower. they thought he was to moderate because he was not willing to wage war against the soviet union.
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he was not willing to rollback the new deal. he stood up to joe mccarthy and worst of all from the standpoint of contemporary conservatives he appointed warren as supreme court justice and they delivered their segregation ruling. in hindsight it seems pretty darn reasonable to me. this is where the conservative conservative movement was born. wasn't all extremism, but there was a lot of extremism. there was a very dark underside to it. most of the republican presidents who came into office, whether was reagan or the bush or areas others were much more moderate in practice a lot of grassroot conservatives finally have the president they were looking for all raw all along. >> i want to open it up to questions. i'm sure there's a lot.
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show me your hand, i will see you and i will come to people in order. [inaudible] what i didn't understand is the extent that you like george wallace infiltrated the party and when i make this criticism, and i often hear from outraged trump supporters who say george wallace was a democrat. well yes, that is true, but you have to understand the history of modern american
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politics and understand that in the 1960s the two political parties which position on the issue of civil rights whereas of course up until the mid 60s the democratic party had been the party of segregation and the republican party had been the party of lincoln starting in 1964 when the republicans nominated barry goldwater who had opposed the great civil rights legislation, the republican party them became the party of white resistance to desegregation and if you ask yourself what would have it been like to have george wallace as president of the united states, i have to say the answer is sitting in the oval office right now because i think donald trump is the most openly racist american politician since george wallace and that's saying something. >> the gentleman seated in the
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corner. [inaudible] [inaudible] was it really only the last few years? >> it really was as i say in the book it's remarkable how little you can see when your eyes are closed. i was deep in the tribal and partisan bubble and i kind of brushed off the criticisms that were made of the republican party. just being a partisan hit job, that was very unfair.
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he was a principal american of the kind i would love to see lead the party. i kind of closed my eyes to the fact that most republicans were not like john mccain including sarah palin. i remember not too far from here during the campaign, briefing her on foreign policy and finding her not terribly engaged, as you might expect my primary takeaway of that encounter was the fact that she had earrings in the shape of alaska. but, i kind of ignored a lot of what was going on around me. i was kind of a little bit concerned but i kind of went with the flow, i went with my tribe, at my side, but in hindsight i realized i was blaming myself to how egregious the republican party was becoming under the
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influence of fox news, newt gingrich, sarah palin, the tea party, and now donald trump. it's been a straight defense and it reaches a new low almost every cycle day and it's something that i should've seen coming but i was just very deep in my partisan bunker. >> let's go to the woman on the edge of the couch, please. [inaudible] obviously the questioner things everyone here is deeply depressed. i can't think of the rest of you but i think there's some optimism in the fact that if you look at there is
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an 83% chance that democrats will take the house next week. now course, they also show an 83% chance that hillary clinton would become president. i would not necessarily take that to the bank, but i think that is an imperative, that something that has to happen and that's why i'm urging everyone, even as a lifelong former republican and someone who was not, vote straight ticket democratic because it's imperative to have a check and balance on donald trump. the republicans have shown they will not do their constitutional duty to provide any kind of accountability for the executive and that's vice imperative to have democrats be in control, but don't be under any illusions that all of a sudden piece and kumbaya will breakout if democrats win next week. what were actually going to see, i think, is a heightened level of partisan warfare because democrats will start doing their duty of issuing subpoenas and investigating
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trumps sins and he's already presiding over the most unethical and dishonest administration for american history and is outsourced come out, if you think trump is offensive now, imagine what he will be like after this begins. >> when he starts getting subpoenas. >> two i'm a generation of officers who grew up. [inaudible] i'll never forget when you had your review on twitter. all of us got together and i would say about 10% of us were. [inaudible] had there been a cost to you personally or professionally. [inaudible] what is the cost? >> what it cost me is some friendships and relationships that i've had for a long time and it's cost me kind of some
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peace of mind and my established patterns that i was very comfortable in prior to trump. it has really forced me out of my comfort zone. in some ways the biggest impact with the rise of trump is for me personally, just force me out of this conservative tribal cuckoo and it's made me realize that there's not really a tribe i belong to. i'm kind of politically homeless right now. on one level is great because it means i'm thinking for myself which is not easy to do but is liberating. people are tribal animal and it's kind of disorienting to leave that tribe and frankly it's also sold crusting to realize i spent all these years fighting along people who have sold out almost everything i believe in. it really makes me wonder how could i have been so blind. two the gentleman sitting next to the couch. i'll come to you next.
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>> does the two-party establishment deserve after putting us $20 trillion in debt i certainly right about the boo book, i was someone who supported the iraq war. [inaudible] all of that said, there was a lot of anger and dissatisfaction with the swamp of the state of american politics and i think a lot of that was due to short sightedness and complacency because people fail to appreciate what a peaceful prosperous country we live in
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with the wonderful.mock chrissy. i'm just cannot throw a hand grenade in their and hope that something good comes out of it. i think were seeing the damage done from that. in the future i'd like to see not a return to the usual partisan squabbling, it would be wonderful if the rise of this extremist republican party leads the democratic party in turn to move to the center to grab the center of american politics and become the majority for a long time to come. i think that would be very good for the democratic party's as well as for america, but my fear with the democrats is its that they never miss an opportunity.
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[inaudible] leaving people like me truly disenfranchises. i think it would be a tragedy primerica because we have big big problems in this country that we need to work across partisan i'll to solve those problems and simply engaging in name-calling and invective is not going to achieve anything. >> one of the other pillars of american democracy is the press and journalism. obviously there's a reason why that's under such an attack today. do you think there's a way that the press and journalism can maintain any kind of nonpartisan and effectively counter trump is him? is there any way they can do that other than what's happening thus far which seems pretty ineffective. >> you say it's ineffective and i would challenge that a little bit because if you look at the fact that trump is
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about 40% popular right now and yet the economy is going great, i would smit to you that any normal president would probably be about 60% popularity right now, and a lot of that is his self-inflicted wounds that he keeps shooting himself in the foot with his crazy statements and actions, but part of it is also the fact that those of us in the media are pointing out that he lies an average of eight times. day pointing out all the reprehensible things that he says in does and i think that may be the goal in age of journalism especially for paper rhyme a columnist for the new york times, they have done an outstanding job and bringing scandal after scandal to light. congress act on that information. remember it was only a few weeks ago that the new york times had this blockbuster article about the massive tax
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fraud that trump and his family committed and now it's down the memory hole just as we tend to forget in august donald trump's lawyer michael cohen pled guilty and he implicated the president in two of those. the president of the united states is essentially lying but we tend to forget that because he does something in refrain and that becomes the focus of the news coverage. it's very hard to avoid that running after the flashing object, but i think things can change if you actually have democrats investigating and bringing things to light. that in turn will become the subject of news coverage. i think then we might be able to have more study focused attention on some of these trump scandals. >> two so you're saying it's not in effectiveness, their pitching the ball but no one catching it. >> i think that's one way to put it. >> more questions, please. >> let's go to the side of the
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room. >> either one of you two for those of you who don't know this is very low probability and i say 911, the thing about black swans is they don't normally happen twice. so my question then to you is do you agree that we have a mixtur mixture. [inaudible] you have donald trump who. [inaudible] that came together like a black swan presidency. >> i think it was a low
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probability event that he would become president. as we write in the book in 2015, i thought donald lon dock would be a more likely candidate than donald trump at the notion of him becoming president was so ludicrous, i thought it was utterly impossible and it did happen. you have to think about what he represents. you had a populist nationalist in brazil and hungary and poland it happened and italy, these movements are stronger than ever in france and the uk, all over the world.
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clearly something is going on. it's not just the united states. this is why it's such a frightening time. angela merkel's days are numbered. she's one of those people she is the last real leader statute, these are the folks who are standing up against the bo ball bearings at the gate in their falling one by one. that lead fewer barriers across the west. trump himself is a black swan, but i would not rely on the possibility that we will have other possible nationalist come to power in the future and the really funny thing about that is the next one might actually be smarter and more disciplined than donald trump and them will be in a whole lot of trouble. >> two-part question.
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they are curbing and secondly. [inaudible] the question is are there grown-ups in the room and will the moeller indictment change anything. yes, no question about it, if you read the book you see about how many of trump's aides were trying to block him from doing various things, and i think a metal should be given to folks like secretary of defense jim matta and rod rosenstein because they are truly serving the people of the united states by trying to save us from the president. i think what they're doing is incredibly important even though their power is limited and there's only so much you can do when ultimately donald trump is the commander-in-chief. i think the ability to hold him back has declined as trump
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has continued in office. they had more success in his first year end now he's feeling stronger and more confident and exerting himself in a way that overrides their caution. in terms of the moeller report, will have to see what he comes up with. if he finds evidence of his obstruction of justice which seems pretty strong, i'm not sure how we cannot find that but who knows and if he finds evidence that donald trump was involved directly in conclusion with russia, there's a lot of evidence that this campaign was certainly involved with russia. the question is now that he's flipped people like palm manor port and michael cohen and others, will he be able to find evidence that present trump himself is involved in this. if he's able to do all those things does that mean the republican party will turn on donald trump? no. remember a week before richard nixon was resigning he had the support of more than 50% of republicans.
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not everyone is a hard-core supporter. 40% of the american public back donald trump. only 30% are very enthusiastic. if you can get them down from 40 to 30% that will be catastrophic. that will put him in the category of richard nixon levels were his support will be collapsing. even if you can't forcibly remove him from office i think that will be a useful thing to do which would prevent his reelection for a start. >> bob corker and jeff flake, i thought they would be doing different things right now. my second question is in your prologue you talked about continental conservativism and classic liberal. as part of the answer what happened, the answer to the
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american right in the last decade or two. [inaudible] for the democrats,. [inaudible] how do they talk the language of liberty which we can lead to our advantage two a lot of my fellow never trump conservatives, i should qualify when i say a lot, there's only a dozen of us, nine of them believe this many say donald trump is not a conservative, he is something else, populist internationalists and unfortunately have come to the conclusion know he really is a
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conservative, just a different variety. he said he is that chauvinistic in the tradition of folks like john calhoun and pat buchanan, that's not a conservative tradition i'd want to be a part of but that is the tradition he represents and unfortunately i think that is becoming the dominant tradition in america right now. it's heartbreaking for me to it see that. i think the democrats have the potential to steal some of the thunder of classical conservatism available and mobilize it against this party if they stand up and champion individual liberty above all. unfortunately i think a lot of the problem on the progressive side of the ledger is that there is both focus on group
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identity. the idea of political correctness has been vastly exaggerated by donald trump and he basically uses political incorrectness as the excuse for racism or sexism. there generally is a problem with political correctness trying to correct speech on college campus. the right tries to squelch and the left tries to squelch so what i would love to see is a democratic party, also think there's a tendency with some progressive to rundown america. i wrote about how horrified i was by what was happening in pittsburgh and said this is not what america is all about a lot of people settle yes it is what america is about, pointing out all the massacres and ethnic cleansing and wars and oppression that we had in our history and i readily admit all that. i written about the kkk and the indian wars and all that stuff. where i differ is i don't
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think that defines america. our country built on principles of individual liberty that we have struggled to realize and not stay true to our ideals. we have been getting better and making progress. african-americans don't have to go to the back of the bus. women are denied entry to college or country clubs. japanese-americans aren't in internment camps. there's a lot about things that have happened in their still bad things that are happening but we have made progress anything we are working toward realizing the potential inherent in the constitution and they think. [inaudible] i think there is that kind of
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classical liberal patriotic middleground that democrats could seize with the moderate candidate and i think that would be the most devastating blow you can imagine to donald trump of the republican party whereas, i hate to break it to you but if the democrats nominate somebody, i'm really afraid donald trump will get reelected. >> what do your conservatives beyond the border, how do they react to the election did many of them come around and say they do support trump or move away from trump. >> it's kind of a litmus test of what defines
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conservatives. they show that blood and soil racist condition and all those folks love trump. apparently he had a wonderful phone call with brazil and they can see eye to eye on undermining liberal democracy so there are those kinds of conservatives who love him but the more moderate and mainstream like chancellor merkel or prime minister tresa mae, they are appalled by what trump is and what he represents because they speak for a high-minded conservative tradition you've got understand my contacts are.
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i don't really hang out with the party or supporters of victor so people i know like much of the world is completely appalled by donald trump but of course there are people who are not that appalled. >> in an effort to make more people like you, what differentiates you personally from your former fellow republicans who couldn't make the break that you made, other than fear of being primary or leaving jobs at fox. how are you able to do that not anybody else. >> that's a great question. i probably have some advantages in that i am not entirely dependent financially on the conservative infrastructure. for a long time i've been a fellow at the council on foreign relations which is a nonpartisan organization which gives me a huge leg up in being able to assert my independence. a lot of these conservatives that support trump, i kind of rolled my eye because of
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course that's what they're saying. imagine what they would say, they would lose their jobs and their friends and be ostracized. it would be devastating for them so they can't afford to have ideals. they basically have to go along with whatever the conservative machine is telling them to do. if there's a way for folks like tom stier to take a break from figuring out how to infiltrate america with refugees, that's a joke, sarcasm, i know that doesn't always translate well but that was sarcasm, but if they take a break from all these nefarious activities, they might think about is there way to think about more nonpartisan centrist think tanks or media that would provide employment to people who are mouthpieces for this timepiece and a lot of them are pretty cynical in what
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they do. if you can show them an advantage, they might go that way but i will add that i don't want to reduce this all to mercenary motives because i can certainly, i lost supporters and friends and patrons and so forth, but ultimately what it comes down to is i am just a person who likes picking people off, i'm a natural contrary in and even when i work with conservative institutions, i was very impatient with their orthodoxy. i hated the groupthink at places like the wall street journal editorial page or various other conservative institutions where i worked where everybody kind of think alike. i want to inject debate into the conversation. i talk about how i get paul to write a piece which was this naïve thing i did as a young
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man which i most got me fired and i was always trying to inject some debate, i love to debate, i was trying to get some contrary viewpoints. i think i'm probably, more than most i am somebody doesn't necessarily go with the flow, but that's certainly the path of least resistance supporting trump for a lot of people. >> i know you don't think at some kind of magic wand that will just fix everything by people moving toward the center, is there any concern, at least as i view it a move to the center by political parties tends to adversely affect marginalized communities more than if they have stronger advocates that tend to be toward, certainly on the left that tend to be toward the further, they tend to be heard by more clinton like politics.
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paired you think about what happened in the 1960s only pass the greatest civil rights legislation in our history, that was overwhelmingly bipartisan. i higher percentages of congress voted for the civil rights act vended democrats, but it was something. >> it was a different kind of democrats. >> there are two different kinds, obviously there were liberal and segregationist but this was legislation that was pushed by democratic president lbj and had the support of the republican party. this was some of the greatest progress that we have made as a country and i think a lot of other wonderful initiatives like the highway act under president eisenhower. many of these things were bipartisan or even, a lot of initiatives like balancing the budget which ultimately became a bipartisan initiative, i
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don't think that's the way to go. i think ultimately working to be stronger as a country. those things don't even make a lot of sense anymore and i think that will perhaps address some of your concerns because minorities are just becoming the dominant democrats in america which by the way has manifested in the trump phenomena. >> i was wondering, what are you doing or what can we do for the situation moving forward. >> one thing i do is i write a lot. i'm writing all the time and
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trying to expose what trump is doing and. i realize not everyone is a writer but there's things everyone can do including boating, working through the particle process, on social media everyone is a writer. you have that opportunity to try to address the threat. i'm actually involved in the new group called the new democracy initiative with folks like gary casper, the former chess champion, and apple bomb, patterson and many others. this is our attempt to bring people together across the aisle to defend liberal democracy from the threat of populism. we are working to expand that. as many others that are doing this.
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you can find it on the web. that's our small contribution but there's a number of organizations like that that are working to reinvigorate the center and i think that's the most important work we can do in the immediate future. >> i think, if i can add, there's participation of any kind in the process is good. no matter what your political strife is fairly think you can guarantee that the most passionate people who support trump are most definitely getting involved in whatever way they can. >> my second oldest daughter just turned 18. she called me up the day before the primary election and said you think, i'm trying to figure out who i should vote for. we had a conversation about the governor's race and i can't even vote because i'm not a democrat. she registered at as a democrat but she decided she wanted to vote for cynthia
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nixon over andrew cuomo. that's not the choice i would've made, and much more comfortable with someone who's more centrist like governor cuomo but i thought it was awesome that here's this 18-year-old who is making the trouble to go vote and we've got to get people to the ballot box because one of the biggest problems we have is that minorities and young people where the most antitrust people are also the people least likely to vote. that's how trump won and how he will keep on winning if the only people are turning out as grumpy old white people. >> we can probably spend hours talking about voter suppression. >> i gather you're definitely not a democrat you've already said something about bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. in your opinion as a student of politics, who do you think the democrats could be best off nominating.
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>> well, take any political prognostic dens from me with a giant heap of salt given that i'm the guy who never thought donald trump would be president, but i would think from a politically pragmatic standpoint probably the best nominee for the democrat is some boring middle-of-the-road white guy who can assure some of these voters and places in the rust belt that they can afford to vote against donald trump and they'll still be looked at with a minority like cory booker or kamala harris or something like that on a number to step out. personally i would love to see a fusion ticket, someone like a biden hasek ticket to signal the bipartisan rejection of donald trump. anything to try to grab the center instead of retreating into progressive purity.
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>> two more questions. this judgments been very patient over here. >> like you, i thought the video moment which would be one of the decisive moments of the campaig campaign, but there was another moment that i certainly reacted strongly to and i was wondering, maybe it's in the book but i haven't read yet but look forward to reading, it was when hillary clinton described a large percentage of the american voting public in this basket of deplorable and a group of those as irredeemable. in other words irredeemably evil. i wondered, isn't possibly the case that underneath the veneer of centrism there is a similar kind of politics and exclusion as them.
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>> ending that's fair enough, i think clinton's comments were indicative of the fact that she is not a very skilled politicia politician. she lacks her husband's gift of gab to make people feel comfortable. i think she would been a good president, i think she's a very smart person make that comment, of course, as an empirical matter trump does have a lot of deplorable supporters. you're seeing some of them in action now, but if you're trying to win votes that is not how you ought to be doing it. you should not be playing into the hands of the trump storyline which is that the other party are these bunch of coastal elitist knobs who have contempt for the average american. i don't think that's necessarily true but that is a storyline with republican leadership is feeding to their followers and it's a huge
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mistake for democrats running but the opposition with the so-called resistance, it plays into that stereotype. i've probably been guilty of that myself. it's hard not to sometimes be angry about people who support some of donald trump's horrible offensive comments and decisions, but i think it is important to keep a level of civility. basically i think of this in my old guys of the military historian and i think about it the way general petraeus thought about, insurgency, you've got the reconcilable's and irreconcilable's. in the case of iraq, the irreconcilable's are the people you kill or lock up in the case of the united states you don't kill or lock them up, you just ignore them. these are the people who will vote for your opponent no matter what the venue got the reconcilable and 40% of the
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country supports trump and only 30% are enthusiastic. there's quite a few people who i would classify as reconcilable that you can wean away from trump if you treat them with dignity and respect. someone like joe biden, coming from a hard scrabble, blue-collar and may be someone who can speak more effectively to those people than hillary clinton and certainly somebody has to be able to appeal to those voters. >> two more questions two you talk about the loss of the center and the tribalism, how much would you say is accountable. [inaudible] two the question is how much of what's happening is due to citizens united. >> the rise of money in politics. >> well first let me say, i don't think was a good
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decision because i think that conservative justices are are not acting in concert by spending money in politics is the same thing as speech. i think that's a creative interpretation which is at odds with their supposed commitment to interpreting the constitution as written. that said, i don't know. you probably need someone has more of an expert on money in politics than i am. i would not say it's the root of all evil because look at donald trump in 2016, he did not win by buying the election, he wanted by figuring out how to get free airtime and how to say crazy and stupid things that riveted the cameras on him. hillary had an organizational advantage. it wasn't like she was outspent, but the trump campaign figures out how to use the resources more wisely so ironically in a way i think trump triumph pushes back
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against the narrative that it's predetermined by the cope brother and their money and they're raising a lot of money for 2020. i think it is important to be able to counter that. >> reported we go to our last question which will be this gentleman behind you, please feel free to stay in the room, order more food and beverages. the books are here, remember the two book minimum, this is the holiday season coming up. if you ask nicely max might sign your book and make it even more precious to you. let's go to our last question please. >> a question about the migrant caravan. what do you think trump will do. >> what what i like to see and what what i do, we know what trump is doing. he is mobilizing 5000 troops to send to the southern border which is about the same number of troops as we have in iraq.
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the pentagon has given this operation and military codename, operation faithful patriot or something like that. if you want to give it an honest payment will be operation midterm strike. this is trump's attempts to seize a political initiative ahead of the midterm. the way that trump and fox and republicans have demonized this care of i am is so reprehensible. they just say stuff, make stuff out of thin air claiming that their criminals and middle eastern terrorists, whatever, this is crazy rhetoric which apparently from what we can tell is what drove this neo-nazi in pittsburgh to carry out the slaughter. this is so dangerous, so irresponsible, so demagogue, i don't even have words sufficient to express how abhorrent this vilification is and these are just poor people who want a better life for
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themselves like pretty much everyone else that came here at one point or another. if you actually listen to the interviews with the folks in the caravan on cnn or what have you, it's heartbreaking because these are people who are fleeing crime and poverty and they're just trying to raise their kids in a safe environment where they can raise their kids and go to school. these people are not a threat and it doesn't require mobilizing threats. it won't be these barbarians who rape and pillage across our border. ththey are these refugees that we should greet with emphasiempathy and kindness and we have a well-documented system that can process them and take, they're not illegal immigrants. they are legal applicants for asylum and they have a right to do that and to apply for refugee status. you know who else applied, i did along with my family what we came here in 1976. a lot of americans have applied for refugee status
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including folks like sir jay and madeleine albright and henry kissinger and a lot of great americans. they have contribute a lot to this country so please stop demonizing refugees. let's raise our quota for refugee admissions and show some kindness and heart and let's not win an election by vilifying these poor people two ladies and gentlemen, max. [applause] thank you so much. [inaudible] two you can get your books now and thank you very much for coming.
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>> here are some of the current best-selling nonfiction books according to indy bound, a group of independent bookstores where members of the american booksellers association. topping the list is best-selling author michael lewis report on government bureaucracy the fifth risk. followed by fear, a look inside the trump white house by the washington post bob woodward. also on the list is new yorker staff writer susan orleans recount of the 1986 los angeles public library fire, the library book. in educated, tara westover reflects on her childhood in the idaho mountains. pulitzer prize-winning historian lawrence goodwin looks at presidential leadership. all of these authors appeared on book tv and you can watch
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them online throughout the year, book tv attends author events and book square fairs to speak with nonfiction authors. we recently visited press club annual book fair in washington d.c. and spoke with journalist marvin kalb on the relationship between president trump and the press. >> a former terrorist correspondent and senior fellow at the brooking institution. he's the author of a new book, the new mccarthyism and the right to american democracy. when president trump says that the media is the enemy of the people, what are your thoughts. two the first time i heard the president say that was in february of 2017. my honest answer was i was shocked because the expression enemy of the people was used throughout the 20th century by the worst autocrat, by
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hitler, by stalin, mussolini, all of the wrong people use that expression because they wanted to contain the press and turn the press into a tool for their government. the thought in my mind was why would the president of a democratic country use that kind of expression i wanted to find out what was in his mind what i believe is that the president, by demeaning the press, by calling them enemies of the people, they are demeaning, he is demeaning, not just the pres press, but one of the pillars of american democracy, and that to me is a frightening element.
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what does the president have in mind. are we on a path? i am frightened as an american citizen, by the way i didn't want to write this book. i've written 16 books in my life. i do not want to write this one. the only reason i wrote it is that i'm frightened. i'm frightened about where were going, about the direction of our lives, i hope this book can awaken people to the problem. >> a lot of people look at you and say cbs news, nbc news, these are gatekeeper networks. we see a democratization of the media. that's why marvin would be
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upset with this. what would you say to that. >> i would say i understand what they're saying. i really do feel there is a great deal of unhappiness with the press and the media all over the media. my answer is that this started in the nixon a ministration when the vice president called me and other reporters to cvs about negatives of them. at that particular time we didn't take it seriously enough. nixon put me on an enemies list, he began to check my income tax, he did all kinds of things but i never had the feeling that nixon was going to do anything that would undermine the democracy that we lived in. i could've been wrong, but that was my view. i do believe today that president trump, because he has never been in public office, never served in the
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military, never had public responsibility before may not understand that by attacking the press he is undermining a fundamental pillar of democracy. i would ask him if i had a chance to talk to them mr. president, is that really what you want and i'm sure his answer is, no, but then why does he do it. >> the press has been an easy target, if you're republican you watch fox, if you're liberal you watch msnbc, people say we live in silos or echo chambers. was it an easy choice for president trump? >> the thing that is remarkable is president trump may depart from the truth, but every now and then it hits you right on the head.
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what he said as he uses the expression enemy of the people in talking about the press. he thanks there a lot of people who will agree with him and if the president then says that there is a dangerous caravan invading the united states and then points to the press and says those guys are dishonest, they're not gonna tell you the truth, listen to me, that enough americans will do just that, bill listen to him that the press so if you undermine the press, you cut into their ability to tell the american people the truth as best you can find it out. i am not saying that the media is perfect, not by any means but we are still a free press living in a free society we gotta be very mindful of the importance of the free press
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to maintain our democracy. >> what part do you think social media plays in our understanding of the news two social media, i mean to say something now which will set people and i'm sorry, it's the greatest curse that has hit this country and the world in a long time. social media today can be hugely irresponsible and in many cases there is no way of saying to somebody you should not really say this, it's wrong, it goes out, the president himself has 55 million people, he's got his own cbs, his own network and that to me is dangerous. somebody has to speak truth to power. that is the responsibility of
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the press. if we don't do it nobody will do it. and then he will be able to stay and do whatever he wants. i'm not saying were right all the time, but we are in an essential part of our democracy and we are weekend at the peril of our democracy. he's also the author of this new book, enemy of the people, the new mccarthyism, thank you so much. >> thank you very much for having me. >> keep an eye out for more interviews from the national press club book fair to air in the near future. you can also watch them in any of our programs in their entirety type the authors name in the search bar at the top of the page. >> this year, but tv marks our h year of bringing you the


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