tv Washington Journal Martin Di Caro CSPAN November 27, 2022 2:33am-3:08am EST
continues. host: welcome back. my guest is martin di caro, discussing his podcast "history as it happens." guest: i say that to all my guests on my podcast -- i am flustered already. happy thanksgiving. host: happy thanksgiving. now i get to interview you. you are not doing the interviewing. tell us about the podcast?
? guest: "history as it happens," as i always say, is a podcast for people who want to think about current events in the news historically. i launched the podcast to get more historical thinking and play. there's plenty of political thinking and partisanship and political science out there -- i find it exhausting after a while. what do i mean by historical thinking? we will take one example that i have been focused on my show recently, populism. right wingism, populism, trumpism, where did this all come from? host: what is populism? guest: i had an episode on the show, pointing down a you -- eight usable, heuristic definition of populism , not a fake of dachshund -- fake definition of
populism, because it is so broad it can apply to almost anything. 19th-century american history -- farmers, smallholders, ordinary people of modest means, they made up what we could consider a social movement. it was not a political ideology. it was a social movement at trying to compel the government to regulate powerful interests that were making life difficult for ordinary people. the railroads, bankers, people of great opulence. they wanted to have a nationalized railroad system, take railroads out of private hands, because in those days -- we forget this in our modern world -- the railroads were the most powerful interest in the country in the 19th century. they did have a monopoly, and this is where some of our antitrust laws come into play later. they also called for silver coin edge. some of these issues no longer obtain to our current situation.
the populist party, or the people's party, adopted a lot of the greenback party platform. dealing with currency issues. they also wanted to ban foreign land ownership in our country. so it's not a perfect analogy here, not all of these issues translate to today, but those were the original populists. these ideas were making it harder for more people to get by. bernie sanders is a populist, donald trump is a populist, robbie -- ross perot was a kind of populist. it can apply to a lot of people from different political persuasions. host: and our viewers can start calling and if you would like to talk to our guest. it's our weekly spotlight on podcast segments. you can call by party affiliation. emma kratz, 202, 748--- democrats, (202) 748-8000.
republicans, (202) 748-8001. independents, (202) 748-8002. what perspective does this give you? guest: sorry for my rambling come along history lesson -- host: we've got plenty of time. [laughter] guest: i'm used to asking questions and letting historians speak, and i allow them to share their expertise. the importance of history -- we will stick with this idea of populism, or we hear a lot about fascism now. everything happening today comes from something somewhere in our past. i think what studying history does or looking at current events historically, it may make things seem less existential he dire. things are not unprecedented as we believe. to take this idea that there is
a fascist movement in our country, or as many people say online, the republican party is trying to do a fascist revolution in our country, or we are teetering towards authoritarian professionals -- a tory if -- authoritarian fascism. you can look at where a lot of trump's ideas come from. i have an episode called buchanan's party. if you look at the immediate post-cold war world, when pat buchanan ran for president in 1992, i am surprised he has not sued donald trump for stealing his lines. on c-span fantastic website, you can look up pat buchanan's announcement, when he ran for president in late 1991, a couple of months before the new hampshire primary. he talked about making the nato alliance pair their fair share, getting out of endless wars and endless overseas commitments.
he talks about the problems of globalization and free trade, the same things donald trump talked about with nafta, etc. host: we have that clip, so i want to show it. pat buchanan is on face the nation. this is february 1992, two days before the new hampshire primary. >> mr. buchanan, the president outlined his economic plan tuesday night. what is yours? >> my economic plan, he put together a bag of proposals, tax credits, here and there. there are a lot of gimmicks in it and it is designed to get the president past super tuesday. i do not think it is the vision the american people need to get the economy moving again and it is not the long-term strategy to make america first again the way we once were. >> that is your comment on mr. bush's plan. what is your plan? >> my plan would have been much
more dramatic. the president would have had to freeze spending immediately. i believe his tax cuts should have been much deeper. the capital gains taxes something president bush has not even fought for. we are losing industries like autos, steel, we have lost tv's, vcrs, radio. the japanese are putting up supercomputers, flat panel technology and challenging our aircraft industry. where is the plan to make america first in manufacturing again by the year 2000? host: buchanan set the stage for donald trump and 2016. guest: not just buchanan, yes, but he was called the paleo conservative in those days, meaning a throwback to the first america firsters, right? he said america first. i heard those words. the context is important,
because we are still living in a post-cold war period. buchanan was speaking at the start of it. he is talking about his time with the cold war over to reevaluate our overseas security commitments, to stop looking inward because we have been neglecting our own manufacturing for too long. he was talk about japan and that clip, today you could just insert the word china for japan. and culture war ideas were important to buchanan, and to the populist right today. there is another speech you can watch of his at the republican national convention, where he makes a joke about cross-dressers, he was also a celebrity, as was donald trump, and had this pub nation's file and was not afraid to live insult and go there, right? he showed you could get away with quite a bit. buchanan only got 30% of the vote in the new hampshire primary against george bush, but
that was significant. you can see the splintering in the republican party, post-cold war, the splintering of the reagan coalition. we are way past the party of reagan at this point. the republican party is very much a populist, if you want to use that term, party, and a party of trump. but all this talk about unprecedented, trump came out of nowhere, never seen anything like it -- there is some truth to that, but it is not unprecedented. pat buchanan and the new right from the early 1990's. host: i wanted to talk about a podcast you did called the end of trumpism, after the midterm elections. is this the end of trumpism? guest: i think i said that as an interrogative statement on the podcast -- the end of trumpism? maybe. only f try to predict -- only fools try to predict the
future. how much of a future he personally has in the republican party, i think that's unclear. it's not looking great for him at the moment. there is still another year or so before we get into the heart of things here, that a lot of donors are leaving him now, republican party leaders are not just privately, but publicly distancing themselves -- we will see, because ultimately, the people have the final say. we have an open primary system and some of these people might come back. but although there is a question of whether trumpism can survive without trump, this brand of politics is here to stay. ron desantis characterizes some of that, culture war stuff, hostility to immigration, essentially upending some of the republican nostrils we got used to from the reagan era. we can still see some of that
there -- lower taxes, deregulation, etc., but i think this style of allah takes is here to stay. host: let's take a question from a viewer that send us a text. jimbo says he is an independent voter -- can mr. to caro speculate as to how president reagan would have viewed ms. greene and the movement in general? guest: speculate? i would say ronald reagan would not approve of the far right today. he was not a big fan of it then. the far right was not a big fan of reagan at times. a mythology has built up around reagan in the decades and see left office. it's been more than 30 years since he left office, 40 years since he came to power. the far right did not appreciate reagan when he was dealing with the soviet union in the late 1980's. they thought he had gotten soft
on communism and was being snookered by gorbachev. turning the tables around, i do not think reagan would appreciate the far right, especially in term of our overseas commitments. reagan was very much a believer in alliance building. i interviewed a historian at the clements center of texas. reagan was not hostile to immigration. he very much believed in alliances. japan, actually -- he made japan the centerpiece of his asian policy. he was a huge supporter of nato and very much believed that the united states had to engage in the world as a way of preserving democracy. his record wasn't the utopia that i just described. the reagan administration supported plenty of right-wing authoritarian movements to fight communism, but when you look at some republicans today talking about defunding support for ukraine, right, or curtailing or
cutting back drastically the u.s. support for ukraine, ronald reagan would want nothing to do with that. host: let's go to the phones now. scott is in maryland, democrat line. scott? caller: hi. is there an opposite of populism? my understanding of populism is, like, i don't know if it's complaining about a lot of issues, but the popular issues. i feel like either party has to pick whichever popular opinions on issues don't conflict with their party, you know? they all have to dive into some populist issues. guest: i think both parties, to a certain degree, have co-opted populist ideas. that's what happened in the 20th century. the reformist progressive, woodrow wilson, teddy roosevelt,
taft and others co-opted what was very much a reformist agenda. what would you call the opposite of populism today? probably however defined, the establishment. not for the people, the deep state is one way of putting it. host: let's talk to cornelius next in louisiana, republican. host: -- caller: hi, meaning. you are the greatest host. i want to comment on that. i am an african-american, a republican and stuff. i am 61 years old, i will be 62, and i think you've got history little bit wrong. i was a military police officer from 1979 to 1994. when reagan took office the first time, if those hostages had not been given up, we would
have gone to war with iran then. i just think, you are talking about populism and stuff. i supported ross perot. to me he was a populist. guest: i would agree. caller: trump was a populist. it's just that people, we want this country to be a goodly and godly country. that's what it was years ago and stuff. i think you just missed the mark on some things. thank you and god bless c-span. happy thanksgiving to everybody. guest: i agree with the caller that ross perot was a populist. i don't think ronald reagan wanted to go to war with iran. fortunately for him, up until the moment that ronald reagan was about to be inaugurated, jimmy carter was on the phone, securing the release of hostages from iran. the iranians despised carter and
the u.s. administration so much, they did not want to announce it. reagan got some of the credit for that on his inauguration day, because it wasn't out until reagan became president. the iranians wanted carter to get no credit for that. but that aside, reagan was not a warmonger. his critics said he was. his critics were afraid that he was trigger-happy and pushing the world towards nuclear war, but not counting his support for, as i mentioned, his -- some right wing, authoritarian guerrilla movements in africa and elsewhere, he only sent u.s. troops into combat once, and that was in granada. caller: good morning. a couple of things i want people to understand -- the washington times is a republican, right wing newspaper owned by the moody's. the moony's.
that's what they are. so when people listen to the podcast, you need to keep that in mind. you were defending trump, which i thought was interesting, but here is the deal -- you have mentioned trump and buchanan as populist. if populist is defined as ordinary people, like you are talking about, they were not ordinary people. they were privileged elite -- wealthy people from wealthy families. these are not ordinary people. they had a very different view of things. how trump ever became a populist and popular with his base baffles me, considering most of them are of modest income, they pay taxes -- he doesn't. host: ok, joanna. let's get a response. guest: as my listeners probably
know, my personal politics are not on display, and are not far right. i would encourage her to give it a listen. many of my guests are liberal historians, so i think she would enjoy it. i do not defend donald trump. i think you should be disqualified from ever holding office again based on january 6, and i think his presidency was a regrettable one for the most part. now, her last points, about how people like buchanan and some of these others got labeled populist when they themselves are certainly not living as average people, ordinary beings -- one point is, your own personal situation has less to do with you are a populist versus the policies you are espousing. elizabeth warren, you would call her a member of the elite. she espouses an economic
populist message. i do not consider donald trump much of a populist. i would put him in the fake populist category. host: let's talk to mike, on the republican line from houston, texas. caller: hello. thank you for being there. i would disagree, when we mentioned the invasion of ukraine, i do not think putin would have invaded ukraine if reagan were president. it never would have happened. that's my opinion. i think reagan's strength and the uncertainty that other people leaders or tyrants like putin would fear him. that's exactly how trump delivered his foreign policy. the enemies of trump feared him overseas. also, the lady who called in on warning about washington times being liberal -- i'm sorry, conservative -- the litany of
left-wing institutions across america is stunning. big social media. academia. hollywood. academia is the breeding ground for college education. the impressionable minds of 18 to 22-year-olds. it's not a close call as to who has the usual controls around the impressionable minds of our youngest voters in america. host: all right. guest: i think there is some truth to his last point. cultural liberalism is dominant in many areas of our society. as far as whether putin would have invaded ukraine if ronald reagan was president, that's an impossible thing to know for sure. that's a counters oracle. we are talking about a past era and something happening today. keep in mind, ukraine is not part of nato. if ukraine had been part of nato
, that is more important rather than a calculus for putin. whether ukraine may have been a part of nato had ronald reagan been president in the 1990's, that's another counter historical -- for the caller who's interested in ronald reagan, i just did my most recent episode -- it's called reagan's vision and i interviewed a republican, a former republican policymaker who is now a scholar at the clements center and the university of texas. you might enjoy that conversation. we talk all about reagan's foreign policy, the good and the bad. host: let's check in on twitter. this is derek. he says the gop is rhetorically populist with voters voting against their own interest. gop interests are ultimately those of billionaire donors. the rank-and-file and the constituency is extensively fighting against. what do you think?
guest: there is some truth to that criticism. that criticism has come from some people on the right in the wake of the midterm elections. this one fellow, his name escapes me, but he is part of the movement called the national conservatives. they are gaining influence on the right, in his view anyway, that the major reason why republicans underperformed in the midterm elections, they did not have a working class, middle class on the economic program. they focused on the culture war stuff. maybe there is some validity to what that tweeter said. host: let's go to charlene in california, democrat line. caller: yes sir, you are absolutely right. trump was a fake populist, reagan was a pretty good president, and i believe if things had been going on the way with putin had done it, he would not have gone in to ukraine.
open up the door and you are right -- you could take out mr. buchanan, what he said about japan and inject china. china's government have sent all their educated people over here and they are inflating others on our jobs and their country. hey, it's both parties fault. we the people, it's our fault. we need to stop breaking down into parties like that and start looking at it as individuals and vote for our own interests. if we don't start doing that, we will lose everything. that's my comments. guest: i think both parties must own the institutional failures that have damaged american society over the past 30 years. nafta might be in that category. the global war on terror had bipartisan support, support among think tanks, the mass media -- one thing i tried to avoid on my podcast is partisan
stuff. there's enough of that out there. i am trying to do more historical thinking. it's impossible to avoid politics -- i do a lot of political history, but she makes a great point, that both parties own this. all of us actually own it. host: all right. i will ask you about history and charles lindbergh, the original america firsters. what was his role in this? guest: that brings up my point, that what we are seeing today is not terribly unprecedented. where did this term come from in the late 19th century, early 20th century. remember, the united states had been a neutral country since the first days of the republic, right? involvement in world war i was seen as a big mistake in the aftermath of the war. this is where we get the america first movement. charles lindbergh came onto the
committee for 15 months, which was disbanded after the bombing of pearl harbor. they were barely on the wrong side of history there. but this idea that in those days, they called it fortress america. they were not pacifists, they just don't want to get entangled in another european war. they opposed foreignness, they were hostile to immigration -- hostility towards immigration became popular after the signing of the act by calvin coolidge. the sense that the united states could be could sustain itself without having to get tangled up in what was going on in much of the rest of the world. this is a difficult position to stay consistent with, because the united states was a burgeoning economic and military power after the spanish-american
war, 1898. we get non-continuous territory in the philippines, cuba, etc. the first america firsters opposed world war ii and american involvement. they were isolationist, but no one calls themselves an isolationist. i talked about it -- the united states does not need to be involved in the rest of the world. buchanan brought these back open after the end of the cold war. you heard the clip before -- i encourage people to listen to his campaign speech when he was running for president in 1991, when he talked about these things. it's time to reevaluate our expensive milcommitments overseas. you calhim any oh isolationist -- a neo- isolationist. donald trump pulled america out of the paris climate accord,
several other deals, but charles lindbergh and donald trump are very different people. host: let's speak to our next caller. hi. caller: you guys keep talking about trump. trump is nothing like pastor republican presidents. he has a more dictator-like mentality, and the gop also has that. if you are talking about history, you have to talk about everybody's history and how people contribute to history. they keep trying to take away the african-american contribution to history. i wish you guys would stop comparing trump to any president. he is the worst president i have ever been under. i voted for reagan and bush back in the days, because they voted for the interests of the people. trump has no interest in making america great. only for a part of some of the
people, not for all of the people. i wish you guys would stop comparing trump to reagan and any other president. guest: i agree with that. trump is totally different than prior republican presidents. my point about his politics not being unprecedented, there are lineages to pat buchanan, george wallace -- you want to talk about racial resentment, the strategy makes an adopted after 1968, and charles lindbergh -- if you listen to some of charles lindbergh's speeches, you hear echoes of trumpism in there. host: michael is on the republican line in parkville, maryland. hi, michael. caller: my question is, or my comment, not only would there not have been an invasion of ukraine of reagan was president, i don't believe there ever would have been 9/11.
not in their wildest dreams with a ever have thought of orchestrating that, which probably took about 20 years, and it came up in the administration of william jefferson clinton. that's where it started. guest: where do you think -- host: where do you think this belief comes that no one would attack america -- guest: everyone remembers beirut in 1982. the united states was subject to multiple terrorist attacks, including one that killed more than 200 marines. that happened when ronald reagan was president and he pulled the u.s. out of lebanon as a result. as far as 9/11 goes -- i will point out this fact of history. through the reagan administration that dramatically expanded support for the
mujahedin in afghanistan and the red army in the 1980's -- ok? they gave a lot of arms organization and legitimacy, sending the money to pakistan, to the mujahedin parties. the c.i.a. did not support al qaeda, but that created by the united states -- obviously, the soviet union bears the brunt of responsibility for invading afghanistan, but it gave birth to this problem in afghanistan, or helped birth it with support for the mujahedin and radical islamists that are still in play in afghanistan, who are still fighting the united
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