tv Matthew Continetti The Right CSPAN November 3, 2022 6:44pm-8:02pm EDT
intellectual feast. every saturday american history to beat documents america's story. and on sunday book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for cspan2 comes in these television companies and more including comcast. >> are you thinking this is just a community center? no it's way more than that. comcast is part of the 1000 committee centers to create wi-fi enabled so students from low-income families can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. cass monk these television companies support cspan2 as a public service. >> hello everybody. welcome. and cio with the american entere institute is my pleasure to welcome you to this conversation about matthew's important excellent new book the right of the hundred year war through mere conservatism. this book is both an intellectual na political history of the american right over the past century. it takes up the ideas behind the
intellectual coalition, that compose it the way that coalition has thought our end-user power in our politics though it's thought about the country in the future. the book explores some important tensions between populism and conservatism. libertarians and traditionalists between pragmatistsso and puris. it gives us a lot to talk about. we'll be doing this morning. but their conversation between the books authored matthew ubcontinetti and you might cite one of its subjects former housn speaker paul ryan. a practitioner and a thinker about politics on the modern rights. a word about each of them as if they need it. matthew continetti is a senior fellow. they are right words work is focused on americann politics, political thought in history. as a prominent journalist a and analyst and author. the founding editor of the washington free beacon. he was prior to that the opinion reditor of the weekly standard
presents a contributing editor of national review columnist for commentary magazine. this is meant a third book in one way or another all that have dealt with the evolution of the modern rate. the former speaker of the house of representatives he served in congress for 20 years from 1999 through 2019, represent the first district oftr wisconsin. in that time the rosary quickly to serve as chairman of the budget committee and thes enchantment of the ways and means committee. and ultimately served as speaker for about three and half years. sure it felt like a lot longer. he is now among other things a non- pleasant fellow with us here at ai as well as serving on a number of boards, teaching at notre dame and other important work. i will format will be straightforward in conversation. no formal remarks and open statements. we'll discuss the book, its core ideas and put questions to matt. after some back-and-forth between matt and paul which i will moderate will open things
up for questions per questions will all be in the room. the questions from of you watching live online. if you are watching us online there are is you can ask questions of matt or if you most on twitter. but e-mail you can send a question to john roesch email@example.com. if you're on twitter you can use the # ai the right. and with that we can jump in. not comfortable congratulations on an important book. maybe the way it started getting a sense of book is why you wrote it? and why you wrote itha the way u did was a particular character and form you have given? >> thank you paul and thank you all for attending. thank you for ai to providing a home which i could write this book which is many years in the
making. finally came to me and said you have to write the book he was able to help me come to ai where i could write it. get in a few ways. first have an unusual habit. as a political writer in washington 20 years ago i hop it was read to the archives of the magazine where i work at the time, the weekly standard breathing moving from there to the archives of national review, commentary magazine all these little magazines on the american right. i'm from that great but a broader education history of american politics and culture. that is something been doing in my spare time for two decades now. however after 2012 in
particular, it began a more intensive look and investigation into the history of the american rate because of the 2012 election which played a pretty big part and you are familiar with, exemplified to me some of the emerging constraints and tensions within their rights. between the republican party establishment based in washington and the grassroots conservatism throughout the country. between various factions within the conservative movement and the ideas and principles they stood for. and also carrying through 2012 it seemed to me the populist moment which i began the most recent populist moment which i believe began in the second bush administration around 2005 -- 2006 was only gaining steam. and so i wanted to investigate why was this happening? what was driving this energy? when donald trump came down the escalatoral in 2015 eventually n the republican nomination for the presidency the next year,
about the history of the american right was all the work necessary to figure out how we reach thisth impasse. another reason why i wrote the book that i should mention is i have been teaching this material in some form over the years. something students are here and i'm happy to see that. and i found there is no one volume textbook i can hand to a young person and say this is the history. rich nash's book the conservative intellectual movement in america since 1945 is the key text of my field. but that book really focuses heavily on the post-world war ii conservative movements and it kind of ends its main body of the text in a way ends around the late 1970s. until i felt itss was necessaryo broaden the story until in a narrative format and the way that synthesizes most intellectual development along with political developments.
and so this way i could then headed to my students to forget about the class read theef book. or preferably by a couple of copies for you and your family. i'll comment made by way of offering some starting thoughts of your own about the book, maybe help us think about the question of the history of the right before conservatives. why should conservatives care about the history? said the country are not printing for coming to an inflection point like all great countries do. i think if we lived the country to the left would lose with the country is all about. for me the constitution declaration is natural law and the print glow from that should be carried through in our policy is to make sure country realizes its true i potential. we lose that family is the left. and we become like other countries. like other democracies. i think it is extremely important. we are not anywhere close to
where we need to be as a movement to be able to realize these things. my background is more fiscal base and i worry about inflectionnd points with the social contract and the dollar reserve currency and how what time do we have before he put in place of important reforms. but we have to win a lot of arguments in the country before we can do that. so why is it important? it is important step make sure the 21st century is a great century. democracy and self-determination and markets and the rest in human flourishing as we work on here. i too want to thank aei to give me a home so i can read your book. [laughter] we are but this a second ago, was 88 -- 92. legale age in the reagan moment. i came into the conservative movement as a young person as a think tanker and then as a
member inside a fight for the republican party which was alive and well bill clinton had just in a big insurance within the heconservative movement and not new. your book is a perfect example of that for a new young people who are shocked at this infighting so to speak of the conservative movement this is a what happens in movements. until you actually big t standad bearer a reagan type person you're going to have that type of w fighting. we are what we have been before. we are we do not yet known but is important conservative movement in my opinion becomesea majority movement in the country with respect to winning elections we can effectuate policycy.
looks at american conservativism as the post-world war ii phenomena. you don't do that youhe put a lt of emphasis on the pre-war, the pre-new deal the beginning of the 1920s, why? what is there to learn now? >> i think for a historian the two hardest questions are where to begin. in the and what to leave a out. and of course the 22 things everyone wants to talk about. thought it was important the institutions that american conservatives saw themselveson defending. to visit is the imperative of institution. american conservatives are in an unusual place. the institutions we are meant to
dish and are in institutions created by the american founding, the constitution, the principles of the declaration of independence. the political theory of federalists. but revolution taking place in the nature of the experiments been the nature and. and that they, the people on the right were defending the inherited institutions of the constitution against fdr and the new deal. important to show how they find themselves in opposition to the new deal. prior to 1932 progressivism would settle in the american political continuum was still very much up for grabs. teddy roosevelt aligned with the progressives.
woodrow wilson aligned with progressives. not so successful democratic president was not until the 1920s the republican party of harding and coolidge to define as the party of americanism or sport harding famously put it of normalcy. jp of the 1920s was extraordinarily successful. he legitimized the gop's claim to providing prosperity for the average americans, world war ii delegitimized the right to afford policy in the mainstream electric. and conservatism there and to reconfigure itself for the post-world war ii cold war era. that part of the story had not been told of ancient hold in
some places like justinbu considered himself in the traditionally wrote a very good book on the subject. but i wanted to incorporate that story into the story of the post-cold war movement and carry it through reagan and the most recent presidencies including donald trump. >> paul, in some ways the kind of work you are most engaged in, the efforts to reform, our entitlement system and to think about the role of government often depicted by the left as attempts to restore pre-new deal america. is there some truth to that? is the american right still seeking some way to recover from an error made by fdr? >> you can make that argument maybe 20 years ago. i do not think that is the case anymore. think everyone has reconciled themselves withh this. what i would call the social contract. what i'mne of the founders gaves
a system that was designed to reach political consensus. when you do that you do big things for its my the reasons we are all enamored with the filibuster even when the issue cuts against us. so i do not think that is the case anymore up in the sink the social contract which is health and retirement security for low income. you have consensus on the right and the left of this is something government has an important role to play. and then the question we agree with an eye would argue most agree on the right. if you agree with that than th' questions let's move on with making sure that is the case. and then you have a fight about left and right. whether markets, toys, individualism is involved in this. or if you are a progress in bc a way of extending government into people's lives extending progressivism. sot, went the right has recognid itself with the social contract
which was basically erected between new deal and great society. announce a question for this is what her budgets were all about it's not to repeal these things but to rework these programs to look they work on the 21st century did not pay a debt crisis to get up bankrupt a country. and use markets and choice and competition as a means of delivering on these goals without hamstringing the country. are there. i think you can read about this when he and i all the time. it became clear to me there is no what he wanted me too brace that. other than making good comments which for me was in tunnel reform episode and we are one of getting that done. it wasn't popular in hist mind. so is not going to be pursued.
gives an example of where it is now. either we don't touch it or we performance. but repealing it is not in theha cards. which left it is responding too. if the progressives that i have to do with fdr. init many has the lbj know when the obama era we're done with that left region with a great opening as we hear today. another left. each time left transform themselves and take on new goddesses the right often has to do as well. i was struck when a fight teach the founding documents of national review in the magazine was launched in 1955.
buckley junior heard in many ways was the central protagonist of my story says conservatives who are against the new deal and in parentheses but i'm not sure if there can be any other kind. [laughter] all aligned with national review principles. now for in america on the right today to read that door to hear what paul c just said clearly things have changed. what has changed? passage of time and the small see conservative instincts of we do not want to rock the boat. but also the left has changed too. the left has moved on into new territory. i'm in many ways fighting over the new deal is so much as a cultural agenda of the left. it truly comes out of the antiwar and counterculture movements of the late 1960s has waxed and waned over the
ensuing decades. >> with built buckley about ther central character. that certainly seems to be to be the case you private ronald reagan on the cover. i think if i were up to you to you would put bill buckley on the cover. what was william f buckley doing? what was his purpose? what was the movement he had in mind to create if you think about national review and the rest of the massive buckley project starting in the 1950s, what was his ambition? >> thinkn the ambition as he put it at that young age when he comes out in 1951 we got him in that yell at about 26 years old. his ambition was any senate; from revolutionary. in the revolution he wanted to overturn was fdr's. the revolution of 1932. to change the nature of the american social contract is the
new deal launched. had to go about doing this? there are many different avenues he pursued. the first was institution building. so in addition to national review he was also responsible for the creation or played a part in the creation of intercollegiate study. the young american for freedom i'll continue to this date. he also launched magazines human life review existed for many decades as a place fork. pro-li, intellectual work. ilhe did it in terms of trying o build up a counter establishment to recruit people who would inhabit these institutions, who would make conservative. but would become treated seriously by everyday americans
cheney for channels that access to the 1960s. theyig also wanted to build fens around conservativism. the big problem of the american right in the aftermath of world war ii and the post- mccarthy periods in the mid- 19 hearings in the early 1960s. with that it was considered french. americo stopped me a liberal country if not necessarily a capitol progressive one but a liberal country, the consultation in the will of rights was a liberal document. these conservatives who after all buckley was a harsh critic of the popular republican president by eisenhower. these conservatives seemed a bit odd. intellectual tides with the government expansion and regulation. printed in the 1950s and
60s. buckley was very concerned and making conservativism respectable. he began drawing fences around his version going after haconspiracy theories. his movement because of atheism. think libertarian could not be part of his movement because he was a narco capitalist. he would privatize everything and get rid of the state totally. national security played a big part in this. but please conservativism was one of engaged nationalism. america should be strong, america should be powerful and defend itself it also had to be engaged rollback the soviet union.
in order to advance and forward deployment of our troops. alliances like a nato intervention like vietnam. all of which the earlier right would have been extremely skeptical if not outright opposed to. this was the version of american conservative that bill buckley created. last part of his legacy was political. within the republican party traditional vehicle of americanu conservativism to turn it away from the moderate republicanism. conservativism. culminate in 1964 in barry goldwater's nomination. the republican ticket. ironically the goldwater campaign t was managed the more
prominent of this institution blocks buckley out of the campaign. he was afraid goldwater would be associate with national review with bill buckley. that kind of political energy also expressed itself in his early friendship with ronald reagan. it even got to the point later in his life he was willing to intervene, buckley that his democrat primaries for support democrat candidates including one joe lieberman in order to get rid of the original, came of age at the tail end of this. in college and grew up reading bob bartley's pages. i had a conservative econ it gave me his issue of national review i did not know what it was.
i think you should take this and i will just give you my copy when i'm done with that. just consumed it and really took it to national view if you are young budding conservative in the late '80s early 90s this is the path you took. the mints to this in different times when people are coming of age in the conservative movement. i think buckley of all people pretty much dominated for two or three decades. and nevertheless we still had a bunch of people there was a big fight but he was the center of gravity. think if you didn't put reagan onac s the cover you should put buckley. >> all the debates were having at the moment of the new american rates which is if you go by my book the third new rate we have had over the last 100 years.
his great energy being devoted to building up an infrastructure that can compete with the conservative infrastructure that bill buckley began creating elite neoconservatives help build throughout the 70s and 1980s and 90s. missing or this new rate for many years. but now the failures of the trump presidency and years subsequent to that they are building their own infrastructureou. and it just shows, you will appreciate this. the institution without these spaces for work and for organizations it is p just peope riding in their basements. created this consent in strains are all these institutions.
in a way it was built around ideas or merit controversy oh and the a consensus. in stream within those institutions there is a in between traditionalists and libertarian. dividing line came to define the internal debates time the attempt to become known. the defining a project of the buckley right at least in the 1960s. tell us what fusionism was that it makes sense? solve the problem that buckley confronted within his own camp? >> on the underappreciated figures in the history of the american right converted to his
right through the road to serfdom. he became a contributor of the right-leaning turners like the freedom and like the american mercury. then he became associated with national eventually the senior editor national review frank meyer he had been trained communist dialectic and polemic. he thought very dogmatically. this is what conservatism is the parameters in which we are going to operate as american conservatives. buckley is to call the air traffic control because he was making sure all the planes were going in the right direction and landing and taking off on time. so in the 1960s meyer who again has a libertarian because
of his love and appreciationf actually begins disputes with other libertarians on the rights over the nature of the american defense establishment. a weapons program the rconservatives desired rollback of communism including military intervention was necessary. the returns are noninterventionist distance individual freedom it's a course of the debate with libertarians. meyer says look i'm going to describe to what american conservativism is. what american conservatism is tracing back to the american founding is a sense of individual liberty and traditional values but we would
call traditional values but hemoral order. because the american founding took place before the great ruptures of the 19th century before the french revolution americans have been able to synthesize these two principles. essay bill buckley's brother-in-law and another senior editor and is moving toward a very devout traditional catholicism at the time. make more devout as the years went on. he read the essay and said this is ridiculous. freedom is at the end of politics of virtue is. what you are trying to do frank as some type of fusion. and so fusionism is one of us
the begins with an insult ends up being appropriated. hort neo conservativism. and this is where the debate begins. can you unify individual liberty and traditional morality? the people associate with national review state you could. even if it did initially work out w in theory it was revealedn practice. it was revealed in the lives of many american conservatives themselves that these two things can coexist but even if it does not quite work in theory. and by the way as conservatives we should not worry if it works in theory or whether works in practice. he eventually broke off from buckley's american conservativism. it was not an upper libertarians suit continued to critique conservativism as to status because of its belief you need a
powerful military in engagement with the world to defeat oucommunism. i see a lotni of debates today about the future of. yes it does not always work in theory like the closer you look it might break down. but it does to work in practice. we put it this way. for people who not used to the term fusion. when you go to effectuating policy go to politics absolutely works. work in congress and building a coalition, a working majority in congress it requires fusionism to come together. members of congress are up on the ballot running for election except this. itand a big difference country o have a working majority they
have to coexist in a coalition democrat sake of progressives where you have too fuse these together. fusionism is absolute essential to have practical working majority to pass laws. the think tank is harder to justify. hard to rationalize its hardest digit together. you're actually affecting politics when you'ree practicing politics it becomes essential. exit coalition that began to be built around this notion took shape through the 1960s. in the 70s and extremely difficult in a lot of ways the story you tell in this book is extraordinary vibrancy. i would say stepping back from the book the 1970s seemed like
the most important decade of the ten decades youu describe. happened to the right in the 70s? how is it different coming out of the 1970s and going into them and why? >> the simplest question answers that question is new groups came to be associate with the right in with the american a conservative movement during the 1970s. and a lot of that played out as a result of the overreach of liberalism. and the radical left during the vietnam era. during the student rebellion. during the social turbulence of the late 1960s early 1970s. people who would not have identified as being on the right ended up coming into an alliance with the vision. until it became a question about american conservative ilk didn't
entrance. i will give you two examples. a firstni are what bill gavin wo was a speechwriter for richard nixon and a very good writer called streetcorner conservativism. these were conservatives not familiar with russell kirk the great traditionalist author. rats. they're part of fdr coalition and yet the late 1960s and early 1970s that looked on the television screen about read the newspapers and sent what is happening to my country? rising crime, raising drug abuse, critic party but the new rights revolution taking place. they began moving into the republican column for the become too known as hats.
they tend to be blue-collar. the b tend to not have attaineda college degree. the critical to richard nixon's landslide went in 1972. they become part of the right over the years there the reagan democrats. it swerved toward perrault in 1992 but newt gingrich brings them back in the 94. this another group as well's or liberal anti-communist. they are democrats who for the same reasons as the hardhats found themselves outll of sync n
the 1970s when irving kristol endorses richard nixon in 1972. it is a scandal. they do not make the jump well into the 1980s. his neoconservative intellectuals who are oftenen well-positioned migrating to the rights. have to decide how to be fit into the picture. i remember the moment i read during my research and in the spring of 1971 responding to essays and commentary magazine thatat were clearly indicative f the editor of commentary at the time. idol of the editorial was come on in, the water is fine.
bringing them in. finally the last group that enters the rate in the 1970s. the religious right has been dormant anyways. at least the national political level since the beginning of the story. it is because of federal decisions and judicial rulings the 1970s and also because of the disappointment in the presidency of jimmy carter that you see the evangelical and fundamentalist christian from the democratic party into the republican column that majority in 1980. asn of the american right looks very different once you have the american revolution. not only does it have the buckley nights that has the hardhats but as the neoconservatives. now has the religious right as well. i'll add one thing inside the
party was when i came of age was a supply-side movement which reinvigorated economics within the conservative movements. hope, growth, opportunity. our laugh rn bob bartley from the wall street journal editorial pages they really reinvigorated. break ithe was not a supply-side room he was governor, he became a convert to with jack kemp and some californians. that was my entrance into the movement. went to the supply ciders say tl the party? >> and frankly it's a big fellow with the chicago guys of the 3% rolls people like mom and dad were also a chicago guy.
there's a bit of a fight inside chicago the university of chicago it was sound medic dixow took us off the gold standard. youu had a big monetary policy y which we never had before during the gold standard. so you had supply ciders bringing answers to the problem of inflation. bringing the answers to tax reform to show how you could have growth and opportunity. which built steiger a wisconsin guy and jack kemp 80 to pass the tax cuts after having passed the text again and they showed what it looks like they proved supply and economics jack kennedy's headin started 92% in his day.
wanted to have fresh evidence of our ideas because wein are all coasting on the reagan movement in the tax cuts which was achieving higher income mobility. lower wage workers reading faster wage growth. opportunity was occurring because of supply-side economics we were running on we put it back in place and got fresh evidence. yes it does actually work. kobe clearly threw a curve ball print i was heavy supply-side movement was a debate look at how the body of conservative movement. past their ideas on that really helps -- this coalition together in my opinion. so the hands of the 70s we look at the weight you describe them are a strange combination of ideas.
really brought together ultimately by ronald reagan. i can think about your book it does not really culminates for a lot of histories of the right build up to ronald reagan and then down from ronald reagan as we look at how far we have come down. thathe is not the argument you make. in a way the book struggles with something every book in the last 50 years has had to struggle with how do you explain ronald reagan? who was this person and what did he do? >> he drove his biographer crazy. i asked the book is an example of what it means to be driven crazy. >> if you are familiar with the book dutch with the great biographer of teddy roosevelt commissioned by reagan himself. it depends where you open it up it can be excellent. there other parts were more is found he had no idea what was
going on behind that smile. he had to create himself as a fictional character to try to bring out this person. i don't think anyone penetrated that smile. people say nancy reagan did but i'm not so sure about that. i think ronald reagan was absently self-contained. and it's very unusual for someone like that. he was always on stage. yet other qualities as well which was important inconsequential. one was that his belief were very consistent over the decades. reagan shows up in my story in 1947 is testifying in his capacity as president of the screen actors guild. he interviews him what he thanks
about freedom, democracy, american exceptionalism. it is almost word for word what he says in his farewell address and generate 19 area literal in his basic belief system, interest. think part of that has to do briefly with the fact he was very old. very old. this not become a republican v until his 51 years old three boats for fdr four times. l but he had in his head a picture of what america was like before the new deal. again it's the practice rather than the theory. and for him, dixon illinois it was america as it should be. that life he lived by the rock river americans should live. and that was in his bones. a few other things, he was always very much oriented toward the future.
this is something he picked up from fdr. if you look at fdr's speeches and then you look at reagan speeches including reagan's famous address in support of barry goldwater in the last week of the campaign and 194, time for choosing. reagan is picking up fdr's tics, rendezvous with destiny. you and i come fdr love that on radio, reagan does the same thing. it's you and me talking were having a conversation. that kind of orientation toward the future is unusual it is to say for a conservative. as a conservative i am looking to the past but here's ronald reagan thinking about the future. and there's some personal characteristics that make grandstand up. rtperson i really enjoyed writig about in my history senator robert taft was mr. republican. represented the pre-world war ii
into the north atlantic treaty war. robert taft ran unsuccessfully for the republican nomination several times would be the first to tell you he was not the most charismatic person around. and conservatives do have this tendency to be dour, very pessimistic and gosh the world is going to hell in a handbasket. that was not ronald reagan. nothingt fazed him. and so this two made him unusual. also made him appealing to parts of the electorate. particularly when they hear conservative or american rights they flinched. >> i think older. then here comes ronald reagan with a smile on that movie star hair and that baritone. people are like that is not what i think i think of conservativism. and all of these qualities make him such extraordinary figure
inconsequential president. who may have been the exception in the history of the american and not the rule. >> the limb on the rock river about 80 miles upstream now. the reason i mention that is because for us where i came from this guy down river just became president of the unitedhi state. this is amazing. andy. it has brought people into looking at government irish catholic family subject kennedy family. it was the entrée into see what this is all about. that is where a lot of people for my family, where i came from and wisconsin he was an entry into conservativism. i'm because he had such a great face. he had such a great way about him that he was inviting people who never looked at before to actually look at it. at his wife was such an amazing intersection in time for the fusion that occurred the reagan
coalition rudely came together because of their unique personality. but that is extremely rare. >> you had that in buckley to with rick's departure 1989 and of course his post- presidency is cut short because of his alzheimer's diagnosis in 1994. and then what the buckley lengthy retirement. buckley really stretched out his retirementli percy retired from public speaking. then he retired from the board of national review for the one thing he never retired from wast a syndicated column. >> he righted this rating the day he died. >> with the departure of reagan and he loses ecumenical figures. most every part of the right and certainly every faction within american conservativism is unifying. with figures like that the freshness and conflictual nature american rights comes to
the fore. >> you entered the political world pretty got to washington right after reagan. where did the right think it was headed after reagan? >> we are in a big fight. i was at a think tank there's the fusion right there. they're basically capitulate heads of the three different movements. working with people as project american people all products of urban. i had never really thought of myself as much as i thought of myself as ae supply-side. which was pat buchanan, little bit of perot and it was funny i read from college on the national review guys like that over the review for american
future. that neocons inviting the paleo cons and some other groups in there. the point being when the reagan yearbu ended with the defeat of h.w. bush by clinton a ton of soul-searching was going on. in the conservative movement turned inward and shot at each other. until it merged this case it was debbie who one. on the compassionate conservativism. and it really took hold. never really replaced eight solid diffusion because of circumstances and the rest. the post- reagan era and clinton one we were in an internal struggle for the future of the
conservative movement i think we are. we have had a pauses. we have won some white houses but we have never settled into a posture of a maturity movement that is capable racking up consistent majorities presidency is importing in place a governing agenda for the 21st century for that is still underway it's dominated by trunk which is not really an agenda. still in this. i think underneath that is the kind of fight we are having in the digital. >> atil await your book describs the post- reagan right is very similar andnd continuous. in reagan is defined exception.
i am which pulses populism rose to the forefront in the 1990s but we don't think of the '90s that wayut now. it was a time when the populism had been held inme some ways to think about the post- reagan years? particularly themes of my book is this relationship between conservativism ... the irony that oftentimes own way conservatives get powers through populist politics. which conservatives like a buckley and meyer is clearly evidentga might be able to synthesize what the religious
right with the taxcutting, defensive build of all the various factions of the american right as well. we began. i always thought it was very interesting the 1988 gop primary was in many ways a missed opportunity. between jack kemp and buchanan. pot doesn't run for president in 1988 he waits until 1992. he recognizes smartly reagan successors probably going to be george h.w. bush was not a reaganites. who is an establishment republican. to them and it's the fight with the establishment republican represented by bush.
from its attitude toward immigration in i the 96 campaign issue. up the trade that debate has had a buchanan is never successful. 2000 he leaves the republican party runs for president on the reformed ticket. one of his rivals is a businessman named donald trump 16 years later trump asking buchanan about the 2000 cycle. i dorc think the argument has bn settled in favor of populism.
in the conservative governing class that came to power with ronald reagan fastened to the first george w. bush was moved up to capitol hill during the revolution. and came back down pennsylvania avenue with george w. bush. that conservative governing class existed for about 30 years had been displaced. >> look at my time and congress is too. we have the majority lost it. i came in and then we got it back. [background noises] text our goal with that plan was to go out and recruit members of congress were willing to take tough votes. because what had happened to our majority we got fat and lazy. routing the local county executive or state senate and who was the next guy in line who
just wanted to earmark their way to staying in office. so our movement got intellectually lazy. got fat and ify happy. we did earmark seems kind of ugly. us were young upstarts in the house really did not like that we lose the majority, many of us argued we deserve to lose the majority. then we went out unrecorded people we thought it proved true we thought would be willing to take toughe votes. we were excited about the teaco party movement spread a member talking with the bunch of people and that was the tea party movement was our chance to get supply-side 2.0. 1.0 was agnostic on debt side. 2.0 is not present supply-side 2.0 was progrowth economics, limited government get entitlements under control and a robust foreign policy. on the issue of trade and immigration there is a fight
that we push that to the side. we really tapped the tea party movement and make up the majority back but it was in divided government we cannot effectuate much. >> but in retrospect is that what it was question reports in the beginning it was but there was a bit of a fight. this is back to the old neocon supply-side that's we called it back in those days, trade and immigration versus the other issues. and in hindsight and lookingso back we did not understand i think. this is where we made some mistakes. we do not understand the potency of this issue is the power of those issues occur at a good book about populism back in the 80s or you can see signs of this. where i think the established republicans people like me included ms. as the effects of issues like trade and immigration on the forgotten man. and how that really played into not just policy but thinking and
perception. we were more focused on the tea party movement and libertarian supply-side feel of it all of us more or less agreeing on strong national defense. so the isolationism had not crept in yet like it has now that time. and whatat ended up happening ws i think the trading immigration issue over took movements. the tea party morphed into something like it is today. as a moment and time where he really a shot. we did finally get our majorities and the republican which we lost until people freaked out after he lost in 12 hours on the ticket it wasos not fun losing and 12. but will meet lost in 12 i think people really kind of freaked out. and then what happened from my perspective it was enough having these nice guys on the ticket. no more nice guys let's send a velociraptor but said a predator. s [laughter]
once just throw hand grenades towards an entertainment wing of our party with the digital age with cable rows at the same time. i think the entertainers replace the think tank people country in a reactionary movement against a progressive reactionary, barack obama, through the best entertainer, the best of bombs or you could. ted finished second in the race could be inside entertainer and congress. donald trump is a big bombs or you could fightd and they donad trump out and he won. >> and rembert ben carson. >> yes he was leaving for a month or so. it was all outsiders. this ending testifies the importance of the 2012 election. i think would be the beginning of your first term as president had that gone a different way.
the world to be a very different place. but i totally agree the pulping 2012 was a hinge in the sense many people on the right to internalize idea because of american exceptionalism barack obama had to be jimmy carter reborn. when you could only be one term because he was still interested in moving america in a direction where it had not gone for many years. betsy said his ambition was to be the progress of reagan to be just as consequential to change, politics in a similar way. until the eye think really believed that this was going to be waterloo. this is a battle and when the election called for obama on election night 2012 in the
evening, by the 11:00 p.m. news i think many people on the right just stunned. >> tribe in the. [laughter] imagine, can. that made them say all right. if we are reaching this point the electoral inputs we elect scott brown in massachusetts by anyway.amacare we had the tea party congress. but they are not able to do anything. then and 14 we get a wave again and it captures the senate. after the election 2014 obama says yes i heard the people voted republicans in congress. i also hear all the people who voted for democrats. when people did not vote it all and i'm going to govern for those people, right?
and drove a lot of them on the right to say we needed outsider many an external force to come in and shake up the system. that is the only way we are to achieve any of our goals. and theyio got it. >> who don't open things up for questions please think of your questions. he mentioned three issues immigration, or, trade. those were the issues were things really broke open after that moment you say some voters on the right why it was at those issues? and does it mean really the seeming consensus on those in the bushon years was an illusio? that the right was wrong about once voters actually wanted and were voting for? solution it should've been apparent even at the time. as a reporter i was covering the immigration debates during george w's second i term.
when they work for a magazine with the editors were very supportive of the comprehensive immigration reform that would've included amnesty for illegal immigrants. my reporting thing there is no way that was going to happen because even if it passed the senate the republicans and the house would not allow it. they were hearing from their constituents that's when you begin to see a real break between the grass roots rate and the conservatives and thes republican establishment here in washington over the issue of immigration. the war is a little more complicated for a while the republican voters really stood behind the republican presidents who had launched the wars in afghanistan and iraq. but beginning in 2007 was the rise of ron paul and that liberty movements. you see thereto there is discontent on the right with george w. bush foreign policy.tl now, protect as little more complicated.
i think what prompted in coming out against the transpacific partnership that ppp is be said throughout the campaign was basically provide a concrete symbol for the depths of despair that were ravaging america. for the opioid crisis, not for the rising alcoholism. starts this unimaginable social crisis. he said is the deindustrialization. it is china's entry into the world trade organization in the china shop that is with giving at this. whether that is true i believe is an empirical question that's very complicated. but politically it is brilliant. and it speaks to his shrewdness.
at a similar thing with immigration. immigration complicated issue clearly illegal immigration is something normative supposed. but what happened at the rise of isis on the second half of obama's second term, after the shootings in san bernardino trump proposes the muslim man. he is able tomm take immigration and combine it with national security. in all of the sudden we need to close the borders. we need you see how he is able to thread these issues together in 2016 it's something he was not able to do in 2020 correct slots open things up questions.
you would only ask you do ask a question also please wait for a microphone and tell us who you are. let's start there in the back. x hi i work at third wait. so, one reason having all these discussions it has become apparent a lot of tenants of small government conservatism are not that popular with the voter. drilling social security and medicare, political toxic now. what does that mean to the future of the american right in small government conservativism? >> a while, i'm working on a big book project here on answering that question at aei there but 18 of us working on this project. i think you have to reconcile
our life with these programs like we said, these are subtle issues i would argue consensus and then the question is how do you go about achieving those in the best possible way to maximize upper mobility, economic growth, limited governments in your economy? and so once we get over the fact that these programs exist and we have a social contract that we all agree should exist, then let's get on to the task of repairing them from bankruptcy and making them perform thees best. were you then go into the issue is the left went government to resolve for the note private sector. they want command of resources, means of production. to use it as an extension of their ideology. we want to use the power of choice and competition to deliver the services this
country has reached consensus on. that may sound like me tourism, it's just radical pragmatism. we are where we are. we do agree these things are here and should stay. and so let's get on with the business of actually performing these tasks the right weight so that we do not lose our reserve currency. we do not have a debt crisis. because if that happens, imagine what happens the social contract and the chaos and the polarization of the country if we go down the path in ten or 20 years per week lose reserve currency. these things explode and then have a total debt crisis is what would happen if you basically do nothing these things we have to win the argument's project to win a majority thing you have to have a president willing toi stick his or her neck out to get
this done. i think that is the key task of the conservative movement for the moment right now. it's right here please. i think you made a passing reference e-book you address now republican voters start on that p?conflicts customer really hada moment in one of the debates early on. hete eviscerated that post histy you could identify a start upon by republican voters? >> is a complicated question.en
war begins spinning out of control. public opinion was also very ambivalent about the surge policy in iraq. sending more troops and changing our strategy there. and yet mccain and romney engaged ineb many debate even wh the mccain candidacy because still see so powerful among republicans. however, i think what was going on when trump attacked jeb bush
warns that w had into war, rock was part of it but it was also much more. it was more about ending the bush era. turning the page of the bush era. you think about the condition of american 2016, 2015, clearly we are ending a very polarizing two-term presidency and barack obama. the situation overseas at that point. the situationon domestically is not good. and yet who did the two parties offer? jeb bush and hillary clinton. oh another of the bush dynasty. and you cannot get more establishment than hillary clinton on the left, right? so trump is basically saying bush ise over. there is a disappointment in the iraq war.
there is still huge discontent and opposition to which of course jeb bush had written a book about prior to his run. and the economic legacy of the bush presidency which ended with the global financial crisis and the great obsession was also in theso back of voters head with a republican primary voters heads. that played a part. i would also say the important moments does not trump's victory in the republican primary. donald trump won about 45% of the total vote in the republican primary and caucuses in 2016. had he lost the general election, i think the anti- trump forces would still have had in a very good position. in that debate which is a debate that goes on between the populism and conservativism for 100 years would be more evenly matched. the decisive moment was trump winning the presidency.
and winning on kind of a fluke. about 30,000 votes in three states gives electoral college victory. a substantial victory. want to become president, you are the most famous person in the world. for the most important person in the world, he beat next to the fed chair but one of the others. you're definitely the most important person in your party. you define the alternatives and setam the agenda. and you set an example. it's not donald trump winning the nomination that is of such consequence to tim winning the presidency and being present for four years the transforms republican party, transforms the conservative movement. extra time is drawing to a close there is much more to be said. i wonder if we could end with each of you thinking a little bit about the future of the right? this book ends at the end of the trump era w may be the end of te trump era. ends now. we will see where we are paid so
where are we? how do you think based on your thinking about the past 130 years of the american rights how do you think about where the right is headed? were the generation on the right is looking what is the future look like? >> well i would say this. it is very important that american conservativism remember that it is un-american. what makes american conservativism distinct is reference to thehe american founding to the american political institution in american political tradition. which is always made great space with liberty and freedom. recent times the rate today is being drawn to models found in continental europe. rate.is a different it's not an american right. and even though i think the terrain of our politics have shifted from an argument over the size and scope of government
to an argument of thehe size in scope of the cultural power and public policy may be leveraged to diminish the less cultural power. if we forget the americanism the american conservativism within the right to will be something very different than it has been for the 100 years i write about. i would also add we will not be able to sustain a political coalition that will attract nonpolitical everyday americans in living their lives who were looking for substantive answers to some of these concrete policy challenges.ut >> had not become a radical institutionalist because that intellect became speaker of the house. i did not put a lot of thought into institutions i was busy for relating policies as committee chairs. and then iran that legislative branch i became a strong institutionalist for what you just said basically which is we have to have a conservative movement that is tethered to
principles rate that is uniquely american. i think blood andti soil nation, disregards the uniqueness of the american idea. of a country based on law. there are reasons for that and i won't get into all of that. but to me it is extremely important that the conservative movement rededicate itself to these critical institutions that are dedicated to these founding principles so that you have a court standard on which you operate. and then it is a movement that can have great debates on policy matters within the sphere of thesee principles. and will not get to that point until you have a party or a movement that is capable of having a strong and vibrant debate dominated by just one personality.
and so this kind of populism is not tethered to principles. we can get to a populism and i think we will that is tethered to principles and has a vibrant debate. on the way i look at it frankly economic and number standpoint as a trajectory things and great power competition with china, technology, on and on we do not have a whole lot of time to get it right. but i do believe the country is yearning for this. it is still a center-right country. the question is can we put together a movement that n couldn't move and accommodate and accept different factions in at new fusion that is a center-right fusion and his men and women capable of carrying that torch and standard? multiple not just one. so we can win elections, effectuate change, dodging bullets existential problems this country and get us back on track and have a great 21st
american century. i think we can but we are not there now. and we have got to go through a few cycles to get there think. >> well that is a note and on. we will and there think matthew continetti and paul ryan. [applause] oco every sunday onan2 features leading authors discussing their latest nonfiction books atn eastern life of the texas book festival in depth withtory and author. includes the last republican and the incomparable grace. jfk and the presidency. then at 2:00 p.m. eastern watch oue coverage of the texas book festival alters douglas with silent spring revolution, abeth alexander and her book the tre generatio.
demented motherhood in h book civil w by other means. at 10:00 p.m. andft words center for election innovation in 20 election and rebuilding confidence in american democracy to their interview by politico investigative correspondent. watch book tv every sunday on cspan2 and find a sketch program guide. or wch online anytime @booktv. beck's weekends on cspan2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america's sto and on sunday book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. running for cspan2 companies television companies