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tv   After Words  CSPAN  February 6, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EST

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now, onard" are afterwords," mat lewis, the author of "too dumb to fail." he argues that the republican party needs to return to its roots in order to avoid becoming a minority party. he is interview by seven e. cupp. calumist for the "new york daily news." >> host: matt, when did you start writing this snook it brilliantly predicts the landscape of where we are now with this election. it's so timely. take me through the process of when that's all formed in your
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head. >> guest: it got lucky with the timing. somebody said i should buy a powerball ticket because i can see the future. when do you start writing black? when you write the proposal or turn in the manuscript? i would say five years ago i start writing columns and around the time sarah palin went rogue. i thought after the race she got radicalized and changed, and i started seeing candidates like christine o'donnell and sharon anle saying thing is felt uncomfortable with as a conservative. they were casting themselves as a victim, playing the victim card, which struck me as unconservative, and it was short of a populist tone that got me writing about the topic, and the week my book comes out, sarah palin endorses donald trump. i couldn't have planned that. >> amazing time.
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let get back to back lex, firstd poem of the intellectual history of conservatism. i know when i go to colleges i tell students, you'd be surprised to learn that the rock stars that the manhattan cometail parties used to be conservatives. talk about that rich history. >> guest: there was a time not that long ago when the knock against conservatives was they've were into intellectual to academic, and pointy headed intellectuals that couldn't actually appeal to the common joe six pacman. it's completely the opposite today, of course, a lot of people think the intellectual father of conservative was actually sayre to thele which puts consivism in good intellectual company. but certainly the modern leader of modern conservative is edmund burke, who famously was very
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supportive of the american cause, but famously against the french revolution. this is a guy who has been incredibly influential and if you look at the sort of battle he had, the intellectual battled minute burke had against thomas payne, you have the birth of the right and the left, even to this day. and burk believed -- western civilize a's didn't happen, the product of accumulated wisdom. modern conservatives back to burke, the modern american -- >> host: postmodern. >> guest: right. starts as a reaction to fdr and the new deal, and you have, again, brilliant men, mostly men like hayak, and eventually ain't
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are ayn rand, libertarian woman who contributed to that. people like russell kerr, richard weaver, and william f. buck lee, and the tradition we have gotten away from as we have dumbed down conservatism to win votes. >> host: i think -- tell me if you agree -- there's still contemporary intellectuals within the movement, people like mark stein, i would offer, thomas soul, but the seem to be getting marginalized, not getting as much attention as some other folks. why do you think that is. >> guest: part is the product of the culture. you have the entertainment wing of the republican party dominating, and so can write something really fabulous but if rush limbaugh says something mean about sandra fluke or if
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oncoulter says something on -- ann coulter says something on cable news, what gets most attention? my book, "too dumb to fail" my title headquartersens to the too big to fail mentality in too big to fail you had financial institutions with perverse incentives to take risks that we, the taxpayers, would bile them out. you have a similar dynamic in the conservative mom will politicians and pundits where, if you're a political pundit, it's in your best interests, you have a per very innocenttive to say something controversial or provocative even if the conservative movement cumulatively is harmed by it. >> host: i hear you there. i want to get back to talk radio. i think bringing up rush imbeau is important. want to read from your book and have you comment, youity: too many today's conservatives 'shun
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academic excellence, experience and expertise in politics. many of the people doing so are nose as dumb as they pretend to be, even those rare conservatives who possess a wealth of knowledge feel obliged to act dumb. that's what you're talking about, this desire to put on an affect of dumbness. when did that become a thing? >> guest: i think there's a thing i believe that's called too smart to win, where you basically have to feigning torrance or the every-man populism to get ahead and pander to voters and it's unfortunate. people who do this are highly intelligent. donald trump is this billionaire who went to an ivy league school, obviously playing this game. ted cruz -- >> also ivy league. >> guest: incredible academic resume, and cache, again, pandering to the populist
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conservatives but the really sad part is the candidates who try to do it can't. bobby jindal. rhodes scholar, incredibly intelligent conservative. tried desperately to pander and to bej%$ an every-man and just didn't work. i think really sadly, scott walker, who doesn't have the academic resume but a very smart and capable governor, who really could have been the bridge between the establishment and the grassroots, but instead decided he had to win iowa, he had to pander to iowa voters and start embracing things like birthright citizenship, which went against his brand. so we have this scenario where basically you have to pretends to be something you're not and e up fortunate part is that to panther to republican votes in
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iowa you have to adopt a persona and style that would hurt you when it comes to winning over millenials, or cosmo poll continue americans who i believe should be voting conservative but are turned off by the cultural baggage and the stylistic stereotypes of what we think of when we think of conservatives. >> host: and you're not suggesting that populism at large is all bad. right? there's some good -- i think ronald reagan was able to successfully marry an intellectual conservatism with vigorous populism. >> guest: yes. absolutely. one thing i try to tee fine in the book. a lot of worded we ban diabout. aisle guilty, too but what do they mean? one of the many wordses populism. i populism means somebody who believes in the american people instead of the establish. or elited might qualify as a populist. but unfortunately, populism often times leads to a sort of
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pandering pandering and demagoguery, and if you look at some of the modern populists, say, for example, george wallace, we see there's a sort of pernicious strain that come along with populism where they have to find somebody to blame for their woe -- it's a philosophy that if you're not careful can devolve into a woe is me, we can't get ahead, those other people are stopping us frontal being successful, and to me that's patently unconservative. that not a rugged individualism that believed of you work hard you can get head and achieve northwestern dream. that's something i think is not conservative and is actually harmful to the human spirit at a mike microlevel. >> host: do you income some ways that all of this -- do you think in some ways all of this insure too dumb to fail "is a reaction to the liberal secular elite
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projects and i'm thinking in the mostly the 2000s, the, what's the matter with kansas project that liberals looked at the flyover states and said, you guys are a bunch of rubes, you're not voting your interests, you're just clinging to guns and religion, and so conservatism said, okay, well take care of you guys. we'll be your voice. i would imagine you would agree that's a good impulse, about that it just happened wrong. >> guest: i would say ills that if you -- if conservatives are saying -- i think there's a mistake when you let the other side define who you are, and i think that is so often conservatism in recent years has been define as whatever obama is far, we're against. so on the rare occasion that obama is far something good like, let's say, free trade, the must reflexively be against it. the problem with that is when you allow the other guy -- if
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you have a nietzsche jerk reaction to be against whatever the other person is for, you're actually letting him define the parameters of the debate. i think that's been an unfortunate result. now, i think this weirdphone national -- weird phenomenonon is -- therer many factors leading us. i think part of it is president obama's presidency which i don't this has beenle helpful to the country and led to americans to feel disillusioned and there's trends lie globalization, industrial -- if you're bernie sanders and you're an outsider you can blame capitalism if your donald trump you've might blame immigration but there's oft make, globalization, all sorts of things are feeding into this, and i do fully appreciate there are lot of americans who are angry, upset and frustrated, and i don't -- i think at least some of that desire is understoodable and i can certainly identify with that.
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>> host: talk about the role of evangelicals, the modern republican coalition, and you argue that attempting to win and keep those voters has been a little bit damage snag a little bit. so, the book -- the premise of the book is that conservatism started out as a thoughtful intellectual philosophy, it got dumbed down, and the last part is how we can get it back and restore conservatism in a way look backward to restore the good things about it as an intellectual force and also look forward and make it pi appeal to 21st century americans. i document how the dumbing down happened and part of it happened -- we have what i refer toes immigrants into the conservative mom. could be a confusing word. but we're always hearing about the problem of immigrants coming to america and how they need to be asimple latest, and if they're not assimilated, immigrant immigrants, change the
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country and you wake up and it's a country you don't recognize. i argue that plate cat movements and parties are the same way you. always want an influx of new people to join your cause or your party but they need to be assimilated, and if they're not, eventually you wake up and you don't recognize the party that you are. and so conservatism over the years has had different waves of immigrants who have come into the republican party, one of them in the late 1970s and early 1980s were evangelicals who helicopter reagan win the election but i also argue they brought in with them some less than positive attributes. actually a am an evangelical and i write in the book i believe it's important that people of faith be involved in politics. one of me heroes i william wilberforce, member of parliament, had a religious conversion, helped lead the fight greens the british slave grade that's an example how people of faith can be involved in politics and make a positive
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difference. unfortunately in america, the post world war i era yaw had the scrips monkey trial and it's difficult to estimate the affect evan gel cals in america and you had to make a joyce. either going to be an intellectual or evangelical and the two were really -- it was false choice but they were seen as mutually exclusive. and so you can sort of extrapolate that forward 50 years and you have a situation where a lot of the people who are joining the conservative movement to help ronald reagan were actually antiintellectual and very skeptical, and today we're paying the price with the stereotype of runs being the stupid party. >> host: so how do you --
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obviously conservatives and the republican party still want to be the home for people of rigorous faith. how do you suggest the party reach out to evangelicals like you while not sounding antiscience. >> guest: the good news is that in recent years evan yell cals have made great strides at marrying their thoughtful understanding and appreciation of science and popular culture with a devout faith of there's no longer a decision you can believe in the virgin birth or be taken seriously. and marco rubio, and a guy who is a young up and coming evan yell cal, this is much more in keeping with i would say the modern young evangelical movement is very different from what we saw with the sort of
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culture wars, sigh rent majority era. >> host: falwell. >> guest: exactly. it's less righteous indignation, less culture warrior stuff, but still, people of devout faith -- they actually have these interesting nuanced positions where they simultaneously can believe that god used evolution and that the earth could be bills of years old, and they believe in the creed and that god created the universe and put it all in motion and they believe in the virgin birth and the resurrection, so, we're eliminating that false choice which i think plagued us for so long. >> host: let's talk about young people, because millenials are the largest generation in history, 80 million of them. they've been taken for granted by liberals and virtually ignored by conservatives. as a voting bloc. millenialed today have a deep
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distrust of government. isn't now the perfect opportunity for conservatives to reach out to young people, maybe have them for life, and how do we do that. >> guest: i couldn't agree more. as much as my book lays out a lot of problems conservatives face and conundrums dem graphically, there's a huge opportunity right now because in a way if you think of it, hillary clinton's version of liberalism is really a 20th 20th century command and control, factory model of government. it really is. it's a top-down, antiquated version of government, assembly line government and if your compare it to -- i talk about this -- if you're a young lady living in a city and you order an huub are on your smartphone and then get in the car and get on stub hub and order a concert ticket, you are conservative because, number one globe going
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believe in onerous government regulations that it still creativity and apps like uber. you're entrepreneurial by definition. probably not going to want the government to manage your retirement fund when you're probably managing your stock pocket portfolio on your smartphone, you ought to be at that point a conservative and probably in a sense are. you just don't know it. but if your view of what conservatism means is that you have to look like boss hrgg and ride around with the confederate flag in your truck, you're not going to be a conservative. i think there are candidates, people like marco rubio and paul ryan, who are really legitimate conservative candidates but also have the potential to tap into and sell conservatism to a 21st century american audience that would be different than the coalition that we are used to. >> host: you think it's possible that republicans in the near
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future can win over millenials? a very long-term project. >> guest: i think you always have to go into anything with the assumption that it's a long-term project. i really think we're at a crossroads right now. the party of marco rubio and paul ripe sends a dramatically different message, maybe for a generation, than the party of donald trump, and we don't know what direction we're going to go as a movement or party but it could send a very different direction. i would say that donald trump's philosophy of doubling down on working class white, older, rural, southern, married voters, is in the short term not a crazy idea but it's sort of like getting a reverse mortgage. i think in the long term it's probably not the best move if you want to win the future. not to say we should sell out the current conservative base, but either way i think -- trump
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is basically arguing, we're going to appeal to new democrats that haven't been voting and have been staying home. either direction involves bringing in some people into the coalition. just a matter of which people are actually rowing in terms of a demographic population. >> host: i want to talk more about trump later, but doesn't he have a point? the democrats have been bleeding older white, blue collar men. there nor reagan democrats, no blue dogs anymore. and isn't donald trump right that someone like him could finally get those people, who have been staying home, not to vote for hillary clinton or bernie sanders but to vote for him. >> guest: i think it's possible, actually. i think in the short term it could work. i believe the real problem with trump is aac=q long-term probla principalling problem and long-ternal mathematical problem
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i'm not one of these people who are convinced it's crazy in the short term. i think it's feesible that donald trump could actually change the game and change -- and pick up voters who feel like they've been left behind, absolutely. >> host: so let shift. this is always bothered me. why do conservatives want to make every subculture du jour, the standard bearer of the movement. i'm thinking of cliven bundy, kim davis, george zimmerman. we see a crazy person and say, they should run for president. it's one thing to defend certain principles and in each case there's something there to defend, but how do we stop embracing people who make us look bad? >> guest: it's not a even crazy people. i don't think dr. ben carson is crazy but we thrust him into a presidential race when he shouldn't have been doing that should have been running for governor or something. >> host: should be a doctor. >> guest: that would be good, too. >> host: i hear he's a really
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good doctor knife if you really care about the conservative cause who is more valuable, guy who runs for president amongst, what, 17 people, or a guy who is a leading neurosurgeon who is african-american, and who is -- talks bat cultural life, whos actually more valuable before he ran for president in terms of -- >> host: 100%, specially now that the race has damaged him so. >> guest: absolutely. but everybody wants to start at the top and i think the conservatives -- some weird things happening. there's a penchant for lost causes. >> host: underdog snooze and there's also a sense that the enemy of the enemy -- the enemy of my enemy is my friend. so don imus was never a conservative. vulgar old cowboy but as soon as the politically correct liberal thought police went after hem, we reflexively defend him.
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why? just because he is the victim of these horrible people doesn't mean he is, like, edmund burke or something. i think another issue that happens, too, ironically we talk -- always talking about the left coast and holly weird and all that. we're like the most biggest fan boys for celebrities, and usually it's never a-list celebrities. it's how people find jesus in prison. people discover that there are conservatives only after their career has flamed out in hollywood. >> host: and have nothing to lose. >> guest: and welcome them with open arms. it's so weird, and i document that in the book, this trend that i think is part of the dumbing down you. turn on a cable news show, don't want to hear the duck dynasty guy talking politics. i don't think a nascar driver is necessarily the best person to talk to me about whether or not imminent domain is good policy but that what's we're getting in
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a lot of political commentary. >> host: isn't the issue also that -- look, i don't mind if tony stewart has a political opinion, he is entitled to it as much as i am, and he can talk about it as can ben affleck. that's fine. but isn't the bigger problem the hypocrisy on our side that we completely dismiss hollywood and celebrities air irrelevant and stupid and unimportant, until one comes out for our side, and then it's, clint eastwood is coming to the convention and going to talk to an empty chair? fantastic. >> guest: ted cruz rally. >> host: right. >> guest: it's a lot of hypocrisy and we just write off the culture issue think mistakenly, write off hollywood and the entertainment world, except when it suits us. >> host: i have this long running debate with andrew bright barth before he passed. we disagreed where we wanted to
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court the hollywood artistic celebrity kind of cull tour and play in that space and make conservative projects and conservative moviesed or whether we want to just be really good at being conservative, and i don't think you can do both. it gets very tricky as we're discussing. what your opinion? sunny actually -- i think i probably agree with andrew. i believe that politics is downstream from culture and important that people who have a consecutive word view become more involved in the arts and -- it i think it's different than trotting them out to talk about politics. they actually shouldn't be talking about politics. it should be people who are conservative, have a conservative world view, who happen to be really good at making movies or telling jokes or being a chef. whatever it is in the culture. i think it's a mistake when we politicize them. then you have what happened to
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decider -- dr. carson. he would have been better staying out of the overt political arena and weighing in on themes, helping create a culture of life conservatism. >> host: i want names. who are among the worst people perpetuating this too dumb to fail impulse in modern conservatism. >> guest: for me to name them is also in a sense a compliment. >> host: okay. >> guest: the people who are the worst are people who are notable. there are people who have made an impact. the worst person in the world nobody knows who they are and they're sitting at home, not -- so, take this as a badge of honor, people. i would say -- let me just throw one name out a big name, a name you have talk about before, which is rush limbaugh.
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i have an interesting relationship with rush, not that i know him, but my dad, who is a prison guard, turned me on to listening to rush's show around 1988 when he went national, and i probably wouldn't be sitting here if it wasn't for rush. i listened to his show all the time. he really helped inspire me. but over the years, i do feel like rush has abdicated his responsibility that i think he would have had. a classic example is donald trump. a lot of talk radio hosts, mark levin, who have turned on trump, but for a long time, they provided him cover and they helped this monster essentially grow to a point where they couldn't stop him, and i think that they can say, well, i'm just an entertainer or whatever the copout is, but i do miss the days when you had someone lime william f. bubbleley who accepted the mantle of
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leadership and responsibility. there aren't a lot of gatekeepers left who have the imprimatur and the just to essentially police the right and say no, you've gone too far, you're hurting the cause, rush is one of the few people left who actually had -- people get mad when i say this -- the moral authority on the right to call out trump initially and say, no, he's not a conservative. and i think rush missed that opportunity. i don't know if it was bus he hangs out with trump or he just liked the fact that trump was taking on the politically correct whatever -- >> host: fox news. >> guest: yeah. or if it was because he thought i was a stalking horse for ted cruz, whatever the reason being i was a little disappointed. >> host: as you know, i have run into rush. i nearly suggested, not long ago -- -- i merely suggested that once in a while conservatives
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should feel free to disagree with people like rush limbaugh, and you'd think i had spit on the pope. there's just this -- he is almost untouchable, so takes a lot of courage to call out people like rush or ann coulter. >> guest: is in the book, ann coulter is a name i name. >> host: have you gotten backlash, i do when i do that and it's hard because you want -- you felt welcomed in this community for so long, and then all of a sudden you're sacrilege. >> guest: i have to say i've been stunned the positive reception this book has gotten and i think it's because we arrived at a point where people were conservatives are fed up with people who exploit the movement and actually hurt the movement. i've had people like eric ericson tweet positive things about the book. he is a talk radio host himself and a conservative blogger and now author.
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i've had people -- the weekly standard wrote a great review, henry olsen wrote a fabulous review in the weekly standard about this book. i just spoke at the leadership institutes are wednesday weakup break fast. a conservative organization where i used to work. i'm telling you, so many people dish feel like trump. many, many people have come up to me. many say i'm glad you wrote this book, i was expecting pushback and when i first started writing these kole loments i got a ton of pushback. if i dared say anything about bat christine o'donnell i was a rino. when ann coulter tweets out something where -- i'm paraphrasing but said i don't care if donald trump performs abortions in the white house as long as he has this hard-core antiimmigration policy. i think people are finally waking up and even a lot of conservatives who were hesitant to engage in introspection or
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criticism of the conservative cause are finally like, yeah, it's time we do that. >> host: did we finally reach critical mass. >> guest: somebody needs to look under the hood. >> host: all of these vary successful -- very successful and arguably talent faces of the party for the past 10, 20 years, like rush, like ann, are they on their way out or are they -- are we going to have to kind of all live together for the next decade or so? >> guest: that's a good question. i wonder if we're not in the midst of a reordering where you basically have a conservative movement that i would be part of, that believes in small government, in free trade, that free markets help bring about flourishing, and help humans to
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basically reach their potential and enjoy the most prosperity, and a pour populist, nativist party/movement that basically is for protectionism, wants to build walls, and essentially becomes i think ben dominnage said a european style white identity politics party. that what i'm 0 hoping we don't get to. i fear we could be headed to a direct where politics is no longer decide based on ideas philosophy. it becomes essentially where -- what tribe are you in? and if you're a college graduate or a minority you just automatically are assigned a democratic card and if you are a working class white person, you just reflexively become a republican, and i think that politics should be about ideas and have this vigorous debate about ideas and you shouldn't -- identity politics should not define, your identity should not
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define your political persuasion. >> host: that's what liberalism says. let's let them -- >> guest: i know. the sad part in many ways we're aping liberalism and there's a conservative argue. that says they do it, too, and we have to fight fire with fire. but not reject that. why emulate the worst characteristics or liberalism. >> host: you say modernize, don't moderate. you're not suggesting a watering down of conservative principles or cleansing the party of its staunchest social and cultural beliefs. what does modernizing look like for you? cincinnati actually a very important point. so men maple people's recipe is can become more liberal. >> host: to talking about abortion so much. >> guest: exactly. i was at a book party recently, a swanky, nice affair, and i
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don't do a lot of georgetown cocktail parties but this stereotypical, and somebody said to me what do you think of john kashich? and i said, he seems like the kind of -- what liberals think would be the perfect idea of a republican. i know he is a very good governor, very popular governor, but in terms of a presidential nominee he was a nonstarter. he doesn't appeal to me and i knew he wouldn't resonate but to a certain type of liberal -- >> host: to a person, every democrat i talk to says john kashich is your best chance. >> guest: i'm like, you guys are so out of it. but that is the sense and that is not what i'm advocating. to me right now marco rubio and ted cruz best embody true movement conservatism. i think probably rubio probably taps more into the modernized, don't moderate thing and could
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appeal to the 21st century millenial voter that cruz on. they're both young, smart, legitimate conservatives. i think donald trump is advocating becoming more liberal. he just seems to be conservative because we conflate toughness and anger with conservatism. i would venture to say if you were to go down the list and have a litmus test of thing is believe in and compare it to donald trump andable coulter i would be by definition much more conservative only almost every show. so i'm strongly for pro life, whatever it but i go back to my story about uber as an example of when identity talking about modernizing, not moderating, not about changing your position and becoming more pro abortion to attract more voters. it's about having a party and a movement that doesn't viscerally and reflexively turn off people
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who are conservative, they just don't know it yet. >> host: right. it that an issue of talking differently or an issue of voting differently? how do we get there and modernize right now? >> guest: right. so, i have three chapters on the topic. so, there's a lot to it but i think some of it could be -- i hate to subscribe to the great man theory of politics but having the right nominee can make a difference. just symbolically speaking, donald trump nominee is very different than marco rubio nominee, and marco rubio president for four or eight years, speaking spanish fluently, talk myths father were a bartender, that line he has, the journey from behind the for a behind this podium is the essence of the american dream. that goes a long way. i think also obviously movements need to have think tanks and try to identify recruits, train and place future leaders to help
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change. that's what the dlc did when the modernized the democratic party. so, there's a lot of things that happened. i think that opinion lead evers and intellectuals, writers certainly can nudge the world a little bit, so to speak, in the right direction. we didn't get into this mess overnight. and it's not going to be fixed overnight either. >> host: well, so let's really get into this election because it's not just way to talk about the news but this book really does -- "too dumb to fail" talks directly to the time we live in. you wrote it before a lot of this happened because that's how long it takes to write a book. >> guest: thankfully i was able to -- every draft got more and more trumpish. >> host: imsure. >> guest: trump wasn't even running when i started writing it. i'd actually seen these trends that became trumpisms, sort of
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bubbling up but it didn't know trump would be the vessel they would manifest -- >> host: a amazing. due you think this current election is just a trump problem and if hadn't run would somebody else be giving us the same -- putting the same kind of face on the party because that's where we just are aft right now? >> guest: i think that this -- i started writing the book before trump ran, i think this would have manfested another way. might have been somebody like ted cruz might have tapped into it or another third party candidate who might -- >> host: kim davis, for example. >> guest: maybe ben carson catches fire and doesn't flame out. he was for a while there doing pretty well. i think that this is not solely a trump phenomenon but i think donald trump was uniquely able to -- i think he identified this moment in a way that nobody else did, and was able to demagogue the issues in a way that very pew people would have been capable of based on his p.r.
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ability. so he awe his coming, saw it as a business opportunity and really exploited it in a way that i don't know that other candidates could have fully gone full populist to the degree he did. >> host: would they have? this group of people that donald trump is appealing to, always existed, and at times they found democrats more appealing, at times they found republicans more appealing, but this group of people who is very angry, and afraid, and looking for people to blame, always there, he's really just the first candidate running for president who publicly identified them because for anyone else it would have been very perilous to have done so. >> guest: i think obviously throughout history, going back to andrew jackson, we have had populist candidates and william jennings brine and george wallace, pat buchanan is similar. he tapped into this a little bit. but when he was doing it the country wasn't as angry, wasn't as frustrated.
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i think the timing is better for trump to sell this. now, there were other candidate inside more recent history who nibbled around the edges of this. mike huckabee and rick santorum who won iowa in 2008 and 2012 respectively, sort of takenned into the populist thing but never really -- never went full trump because they're actually conservative to a certain degree. >> host: and decent people. >> guest: yes. you have to be completely shame loss to go all in on it. but they nibbled around the edges but trump has fully exploited this moment in a way that almost uniquely nobody else could have to the degree he did. >> host: i think we have also learned through trump that nuance is no longer really valuable commodity. for someone like rand paul, for example, who had very nuanced positions and i for one was very grateful every time we got hear his point of view, even when i
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disagreed with it. there just didn't seem to be oxygen for people like rand paul with nuanced views. do we get that back or is nuance gone for good? >> guest: i think that -- that's an interesting question. i think in some ways this is cyclical. we always had the rise of populist candidates and even throughout history we had oscillating between sort of intellectual elite and populism, and it's gone back and forth. think, for example, you have people like andrew jackson, who obviously were populist, old hickory, but for a century, and then you have john f. kennedy, the best and at the brightest. throughout history we have had different moments but i also think why my ill cyclical, there's also a linear thing happening where politics is gradually getting progressively dumbed down and -- >> host: only both sites or just on the right?
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>> guest: i think this is a bipartisan phenomenon. but however i think that is it disproportionately hit republicans for a couple reasons. one is that democrats have already had their time in the wilderness where they had to go through their identity crisis. they've had a couple of those. the last one end enendded in 1992 when they gave up the limousine liberal michael dukakis thing and went with the southern governor. at least that was what they had to do in the era of reagan and the '90's in order to win that had to lose three presidential elections behalf they had that come to jesus moment where they would go with clinton. right now democrats are more disciplined. they have the bully pulpit and he can impose order. republicans are in wilderness searching, going through an identity crisis and they're more susceptible to the womens happening out there -- the whims happening out there and trying to find who they are.
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and one example, too is how technology has changed things. so, for example, technology and the culture, not that long ago political party -- it wasn't that long ago that political party bosses in smoke-filmed back rooms decided who was the nominee. donald trump would have never governmenten started. wasn't that long ago when there wasn't 24/7 cable news and when there wasn't twitter could donald trump happen in a world where there's not 24/7 cable news and twit? i don't know the answer but he seems to be a unique man for the moment, and so many different factors are cull minimum nate can leading us to -- culminating, look at the celebrityization. what's the mike judge movie,ed counticracy -- trump is macho thing about i'm winning in the polls. >> host: electrolytes.
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>> guest: exactly. we almost culled -- i can't remember but there was name where that was -- there was a pun, too dumb to fail but an early idea that was like an a play 0 'ideocracy. >> host: not to give the impression you think you're smarter than the rest of conservatives or -- >> guest: i went to college in shepherd college in west virginia. i also went to a community college. and i might -- i'm sure donald trump could feverish live be looking through my s.a.t. scores to show i'm no -- no. i'm not in anyway way advocating a sort of like world where we are ruled by the best and brightest elite. not at all. so i actually think that -- part of the reason i'm so angry and turned off to the trump phenomenon is that i feel he is exploiting people like me and like where i came from, i come frost western maryland, and i
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feel like he is sort of manipulating some of the good folks -- in fact, trump -- happens in the to bestw with younger people, women, minorities and feels like he has unraveled a lot of that. >> guest: trumpism and the trump strategy and the trump coalition goes completely against that autopsy. like anything that a smart person would have sad, if we're going to win the future with need to do a., b., and c., he is saying no, we're doing d., e.,
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tv. >> host: he dent care about the health of the party. >> guest: i don't think the damage yet is irreparable, i think a donald trump nominee would send a horrible message to a lot of americans about what the republican party stands for. i still think that you could end upped with a republican party that is a party that looks like a marco rubio, paul ryan, optimistic solutions oriented, conservative, forward-looking, 21st century reagan-kemp conservatism that would be incredibly appeal asking could go up against hillary clinton and her again -- what was it rubeover said in this -- a candidate from yesterday, ideas from yesterday. she would become a bridge to the past, and conservatism could be a bridge to the future. >> host: let's say in your and my ideal world, marco rubio wins the nomination. and we have this great standard bearer who is a lot more adept
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at reaching out to these various groups that we want included in our party politics. where does donald trump go and more importantly, where do the angry donald trump supporters go? i don't mean who do they vet for. where do they go? where does that anger go and how do we deal with as party the reality that they're still out there, without completely writing them off? >> guest: one question is where does donald trump go i have no idea. and it's interesting to game -- what kind of damage could he do, like does he come into the fold and be a good soldier or does he go rogue. >> host: b. >> guest: he could cause a lot of trouble just talking and undermining candidates. so that's a wild card. don't know the answer to that. die know that republicans and conservatives have to find a way to bring most of his supporters into the fold, and while i think that a lot of them are
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misguided, i think that they're by and large probably good americans who are sincerery angry and frustrated, and in many cases have been -- we have not lived up to the promise of the american dream they were promised. i see -- i see it happening where i'm from. the old days where you could graduate from school and have a middle class lifestyle. those days are gone, and it's unfortunate. bat for people -- i see my parents' generation, middle class lifestyle, own third own kids and their kids are not living that dream. how do we bring them into the fold? i think it's very important that we -- sort of this surgical strike to take out trump but not go after the people -- >> host: right. >> guest: belittle and besmear. the people. i with get a prepare in there who stops isis from beheading
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christians and helps turn around the economy, some anger and frustration would subside, and we could look back at this as being a moment in history, just like the perot moment or the buchanan moment, where people wanted to take up their pitchforks and torches and now they put them away and got a nice job and they're drinking lattes and -- righting in ubers and we can all be happy and coexist as a big conservative movement again. >> host: but specifically on this election, let's say it's marco. ted cruz got, i think, deservedly some flak for bear hugging trump as long as he did and that was to collective voters, when donald trump went away. and it looks like he is successfully collecting some of these voters, although after iowa we learned that some trump voters went to marco cubeow. i if youer marco rubio, how do you say trump is wrong, trump is not the right messenger for our party but i'm somehow the guy
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for you duis? >> guest: i think what rubeover is talking about is how he is the guy who can unite the party. about how -- i think talking about how he is the candidate who is optimistic how he can appeal to a lot of americans, and actually i -- >> that's not what they want to hear. >> guest: i think rubio can make an electability argue; he is the best candidate to go up against hillary. i think it's very rare for a political party to go backwards generationally, and democrats are being asked to do some very difficult things. as many problems as i document republicans have, democrats have some problems, too. one, it's hard to win three presidential elections in a row. that's what they have to do. two, it's very difficult for a political party and rare to go backward, backwards in terms of generationally and that's what democrats have to do. it's a bridge to the past, and rubeover is the candidate who can run and won't even have to say it because just a split
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screen picture of marco rubio who has the young kennedyesque look versus hillary clinton. >> host: or bernie sanders. >> guest: or bernie sanders. a socialist and a grandfather avuncular kind of guy. rubio would be a stark contrast to them. >> host: let's talk briefly about the democrats. i tend to agree, marco rubio would be the best contrast again someone like hillary clinton but you know what she is going to say about him, he is untested, inexperienced, that she has been painting every republican candidate with a trump brush. how does the survive that. >> guest: well issue guess i would say when i this last time somebody won by arguing that they were the more experience evidence candidate and the other person is an inexperienced -- >> host: newcomer, right. >> guest: if voters -- i'm not saying this is a good instinct
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but if voters cared about experience, then george h. d. bush would have beaten bill clinton, ale gore -- i guess he did win the popular vote. bob deal would have won. so, i think that the notion that she is going to destroy him because she has experience and he just has this youthful energy, i don't buy that notion. so that's part of it. i think that rubio also -- it's going to be really hard to pin him as a donald trump kind of guy, partly because just -- in terms of his -- he embodies bio graphically the immigrant story, the -- he is a really eloquent communicator, compared to, say, mitt romney who just didn't have it. it was kind of easy to tag, to unfairly the war on women stuff, attribute that to him. much harder to get rubio -- to
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sort of rubio as an evil, many, old republican. interesting i think trump and rubio both run good campaigns again hillary in very different ways. i think trump would be the power pitcher who is brushing people back off the plate and to thing 100 miles-per-hour fast ball a little hillary. rubeover is the finesse pitcher who will be painting the corners and finessing it but they could both be effective against hillary. >> host: you're sanguine about republican chances for the white house. >> i am probably more optimistic than a lot ol' people are. my real concern about conservatism is more long term than short term and it's especially if donald trump becomes the standard bearer, the long-term damage that could do. sets back everything you would do to try to build a party or movement that could win the future. let's talk about hispanics are a classic example.
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in texas, in about 20 years, whites are going to constitute or anglos are going to constitute 38% of the elect forat, so the good news is that john cornyn, texas republican, won the hispanic vote as recently as 2014. proving it can be done. as long as runs don't go out of their -- republicans don't go out of their way to alienate hispanics. if you ever look at an electoral map the red states and pueblo states, republicans have a hard too much win thing electoral college and that whenow start oft with texas being a red state. what happens if texas is a purple state? game over. runs could still win house races and state legislatures but if texas becomes a swing state, if republicans can't just pencil that one in and if it goes with california and new york, it's game over, and we could be headed that way if wore not careful. >> host: you just brought up a really interesting point that we have done very well in mid-term
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elections, the last couple of them. done really well state houses, and we have not done well nationally. >> guest: five out of the popular vote -- in five of the lost six. >> host: what do you see as the answer, the rope why we are so good in states and local elections and so bad at becoming president again? >> guest: i think part of it is republicans deserve credit for focusing on the power and the importance of state and local elections. and attorneys general and other sort of below the radar positions that are incredibly powerful itch think some of it is not to positive of a fact that republican decide bert when there's low turnout and mid-terms than they do any high turnout and there's a danger that we could have a paradigm whereby the democratic party basically becomes the party that always wins the presidency and the republican party becomes the party that controls congress, and i'll tell you the problem with that its you look at what
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happened in the last eight years, talk about nuclear deal with iran, talk about exec consecutive public techtive or thes that are unconstitutional. the presidency is important and if republicans keep going down the path where the concede national elections and high turn-out presidential elections going to be like the obama years. >> host: sneaking of the obama years they've been marked by incredible gridlock and partisanship and divisiveness. i don't think that's all the fault of republicans. i think president obama has bin incredibly divisive and intentionally divisive president. who is best set to make that change and do conservatives want that could change? they seem to really gravitate ins' respects to people like ted cruz who are seen as just being a thorn in the side of democrats and many republicans as well. so, do we want to start reaching across the aisle again and get
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stuff done 0 door we want to dig our feet in? >> guest: it's funny in "too dumb to fail" i talk about compromise. >> host: a dirty word. >> guest: sitting here in washington, dc, a swamp that would not be the capitol if i not for compromise. thomas jefferson basically having a dinner party so the legend goes, and working out a deal where certain states would pay debts from the revolutionary war, and in return for moving the capital here to washington, dc. and so our country sort of begins with compromises, and it's not always a dirty word. it's bad when you compromise your values but if wore going to -- where we going to tender tonight i'm cool with that kind of compromise. i think that what as happened is obama has poisoned the well and i think that we now have that's sort of tit-for-tat situation where, like, people have negotiated in bad faith, they
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don't trust us, we don't trust them, and it becomes a vicious cycle, and i think we just need to get out of that vicious cycle. interestingly somebody like donald trump -- this is why you see establishment types like bob dole say they would prefer trump over ted cruz, because trump actually could be somebody who knows how to cut deals. >> host: and work with the other side knife you're a hard core conservative maybe you won't like that but that establishment argument for trump if he could get things done. >> host: he doesn't come in with the baggage that the senators and maybe even some of the governors have had over the past eight years. >> nobody cuts a deal like me. he takes pride in that. he is morally and philosophically flexible, and gridlock -- bad things could happen but gridlock might be least of our problems. >> host: quickly, last question. give me a prediction, who wins the knock and the presidency.
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>> guest: a good question. i'm going with rubio. >> host: for both. >> guest: for both. and i think this is -- i'm going to take -- a gutsy call. i don't know what odds vegas is giving me right now. i don't think they're great odds. this might be like picking the redskins to win next year's super bowl but i i'm going with rubio. >> host: i like it. thank you so much for writing your book and talking. >> guest: thank you. ...
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>> construction of the washington monument at kramer books in washington d.c. then on wednesday we're back at kramer books for law professor dana matthews' report on racial inequalities in the health care system. and next saturday booktv is live at the seventh annual savannah book festival in savannah, georgia, where featured authors include dana perino, retired army staff sergeant travis mills and author gayle buckley. that's a look at some of the author programs booktv will be covering this week. many of these events are open to the public. look for them to air in the near future on booktv on c-span2.


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