tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 16, 2016 2:47am-3:31am EST
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sure that people outside the beltway know what is going on inside it. >> next, a discussion on the the republican party and the legacy of ronald reagan. this is 40 minutes. r opposed that policy. our guest now is matt lewis, the author of two them to fail. b to fail. he is the cohost of the dmv show. he is also a cnn political commentator. thank you for joining us this money. this is the book "too dumb to -- thank you for joining us this morning. guest: somebody says something dumb or crazy or controversial in the republic and primary, they go up in the polls.
that is what too dumb to fail is. it harkens to the too big to book appeared in both cases, you have these perverse incentives. you had financial institutions who took risks that we the people ended up picking up the bill for. we have a similar phenomenon taking place in politics right now where you have politicians and pundits who do or say things that have perverse incentives. it helps them individually, they go up in the polls, they sell more books, to get more buzz. collectively, it hurts the republican party and conservative movement. speak.laying out as we right now, there is a big debate in washington over whether or not the senate should move forward and confirming and giving a hearing to whoever president obama nominates to fill the vacant supreme court seat. what do you think should happen?
what do you think is going to happen? where this is a case i am a be playing against -- my book is against the current conservative movement and a publican party. i think what we are engaged in now is incredibly important. conservative movement and republican party. tend to nominate justices who are more conservative. i don't think it is anything flippant about being careful about who the next justice is. this is a lifetime appointment. republicans have a legitimate case to make when they say we have a lame-duck president, it is a lifetime appointment and the senate does -- is part of this process. would it have been better had they feigned an interest in cooperation?
would it have been or if they said we don't know who president obama -- maybe he will nominate orrin hatch. we will have to wait and see. that might have been a better political move. the problem is the conservative base doesn't trust the republican leadership enough to give them enough rope to feign interest and cooperation and play the game. mitch mcconnell had to immediately come out and telegraph the fact that they were going to reflexively oppose any nominee. host: i want to read a little bit from your book now. here is a quote from "too dumb to fail." somewhere between reagan's 30 minute speech in 1964 and the most recent government shutdown, the conservative movement became no longer conservative or a movement.
-- nor a movement. guest: this is definitely true. one of the things i argue in my book, conservatism began as a serious and thoughtful philosophy. going back to aristotle. reagan, whom i greatly admire. i think america is better when conservatism is strong. conservatism is the best philosophy for human forcing. happinesse can have and prosperity with the conservative philosophy, but there is no doubt that in recent years, we've seen the dumbing down of conservatism. the timing of my book could not have been better. the week my book dropped, you had sarah palin endorsing donald trump, given that speech where she talked about rock 'n roll or
send holy rollers and that sums up the whole point of the book. host: what does palinized mean? was a goodh palin governor of alaska. she had an 88% approval rating. of the best speeches i've ever heard at the convention in minneapolis. somewhere along the way, she went rogue and became radicalized. some of it was a response to unfair media attacks that she experienced. sir palin has changed. she has become dumbed down and louder and more angry and less electoral. she is maybe a microcosm of what we've seen in the republican party. -- sarah palin has changed. down andecome dumbed louder and more angry and less intellectual. bobby jindal is a rhodes scholar. -- there's a lot of
talent and smart republicans. coverageump dominated and overshadowed them and because of the political move view, even smart republicans are forced to play dumb. host: 202-748-8001 for republicans. democrats, 202-748-8000. independents, 202-748-8002. you can also send us a message on twitter. the first caller comes from piedmont, south carolina. kenny on the republican line. caller: i was trying to figure said- when reagan consensus doesn't matter, how can he be a conservative when that is your belief?
republicans are fine with that. i don't understand how you can be a conservative and run in a deficit. guest: i will have to google that one. ronald reagan -- nobody is perfect. ronald reagan had a democrat controlled house and senate. the congress holds the purse string. solely blameo president reagan for the spending then went up during his era when congress has a large role in appropriate expending. -- appropriating spending. he won the cold war. when you have a nexus sent a threat like the soviet union -- it is easy for us to sit here today and forget what it was like to have nuclear bombs pointed at us. there were drills for little
kids to get under their desks. the guy won the cold war and restored optimism and they believe in america. -- a belief in america. host: you mentioned in the excerpt we just showed them his 30 minute speech in 1964 as a defining moment for the conservative movement. take us back in history. guest: barry goldwater is running for president in 1964. some a prominent republican named holmes california -- they drafted ronald reagan to deliver a live speech advocating for barry goldwater. peoplef the goldwater really did not like this idea because they were afraid that reagan would overshadow goldwater. of course, he did. speech which is officially
entitled a time for choosing really was important. a very intellectual -- reagan gave a great speech. an incredible amount of substance. cited numerous statistics and facts. this was the speech that began -- even though goldwater was going to lose in a landslide lyndon johnson come of this begins ronald reagan's political career. he becomes a two-term governor incalifornia, runs in 1976 the 1980 becomes president. -- and then 1980 becomes president. if you juxtapose reagan the happensn 1964 with what today, donald trump, the thing s he says, it is a stark contrast. host: what is the crux of the
problem that you discover in your book or that you analyzing your book? what turned the republican party? guest: it is a complex thing that required an entire book. is,amentally what happens there is a stereotype now that republicans are a stupid party and democrats are the evil party. there is some truth to that. some of it has to do with -- whenever you have a political philosophy that is a small movement, it is easy to be intellectual and philosophical intellectualyour honesty. once you try to build a coalition large enough to win elections and to govern, all of a sudden you have to get 50% plus one of the vote and you start making compromises and you start trying to win elections. that is to sum it up.
conservatism has to win elections. you have southerners and evangelicals joining the election. there is baggage and ist trains thatal lis came with evangelicals joining the election. it is aided by an intellectual dumbing down of republican politicians. eisenhower who planned the d-day invasion, a brilliant military strategist played this bumbling conferences to avoid answering questions. ronald reagan who was in credibly smart and well read feign and every man attitude. reagan's press secretary wanted to release a list of books that
reagan was devouring but he would not let him. even george w. bush who was a lot smarter -- he wanted to be mis-underestimated. in order for people to appeal to they advance this negative stereotype about republicans being the stupid party. indiana up next on the independent line. go ahead. caller: good morning. how are you doing? i have a comment about the supreme court. i think we would be better off letting obama pick the supreme court now because if the next president is a democrat, they will take back the senate if the
next president is a democrat. they will get who they want. guest: this is a game of chess. if inght will be 2020 fact hillary clinton becomes the president, republicans might wish they had cut a deal with president obama going for a moderate liberal justice nominee. high, the are so country is so evenly divided and ,he court is so evenly divided this is a lifetime appointment. this could change -- if barack obama gets three, this will be his third nominee, he could change the face of the court and make it a liberal court for the generation.
like they havel to play this -- this is a move they have to play. it is unfortunate that we are having to confront this -- this is already a high-stakes election. there was already so much divisiveness and chaos in this race and the stakes were high as it was, this just ratcheted up to another level. we always a say it is the most important. whoever the next president is could get a couple of picks as well. maybe as many as three. that could change things for my grandkids. host: conrad from new jersey. democratic line. good morning to you. caller: hello. ller -- visitors
started out by saying under conservatism, property goes down. people end up doing better. ther fdr, you had the nra, works progress administration, a lot of people in dire poverty up finding work. contrast that with what happened when george w. bush came into office. he gave tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. after that, the stock market crashed. if it wasn't for barack obama's policies that really got this country back from the brink under his stimulus package, things would have gotten much worse. property goesat down under conservatism and goes up under liberal administrations does not hold water. the president has the constitutional right to name a nominee to the supreme court. whether that person is moderate or liberal.
barack obama won both of his elections in a landslide. he should be able to choose people who reflect his ideological philosophy to the spring court. -- to the spring court. when really him request -- william rehnquist died on the bench, george w. bush gave chief ip to john roberts. behalf of your liberals. we will win in november. guest: republicans in the senate have the right to block that nomination. --re may be consequences this will now be a big part of the 2016 presidential election. it is unclear who would is going to help. there may be some voters who
hold that against republicans. the democrats will try to make it an issue. president bush got two appointments. president obama has gotten two appointments. this is a lifetime appointment. republicans will make the argument that a lame-duck president with less than a year left to serve should not get this third pick. the voters will decide whether or not that is a good idea or bad idea. host: think we showed the chart in a previous segment. it takes less than a year to confirm a supreme court justice. it has never taken 300 days. the longest time it has taken was 119 days. there is still plenty of time for the president to be president and nominate someone and for the senate to confirm that person.
host: it is not a matter of time or logistics. the question is whether or not the president who has already had two picks who is on his way out should make a lifetime appointment that dramatically alters the course for a generation. that thens will argue spec an issue -- if hillary clinton wins, she makes that pic -- republicans meru the day that pick and republicans may rue the day they blocked obama. caller: the dumbing down of the republican party is not so. donald trump is exposing what corporate politicians, corporate lobbyists and corporate elite are doing to our government system.
call ats to me is what i demonic creation because of gay rights and everything that follows, taking away and maintenance of rights and doing aay with the constitution is living and breathing document instead of talking about how the founding fathers wanted to be constructed. donald trump is exposing what is going on. that is why most republicans fear him because he is awakening the republican party of the masses. black, white, latino, everyone is awakened to what government is under these establishment corporation al type of politici. donald trump is bringing them up to the knowledge that if we keep electing the same old career politicians over and over, the same corporate elite, the same corporate lobbyists, if we keep
letting them in our government, we will not have a country. he's the only one talking about the border on the only one talking about bringing trade back to america so we can flourish. he's the only one talking about building our infrastructure and our tax code and common core and getting rid of it. this man is a businessman first and entertainer second. to say that donald trump does not know what he is talking about is false. to say he is dumbing down america is false. we need to awaken to what is going on. just as he did during the debate saying george w. bush was responsible for 9/11 and the iraq war. 9/11 hav happened on his watch. the planes flew over radar systems that did not detect --
the iraq war was a farce. add one point. this story in the national appeal donald trump's transcends demographic boundaries. new hampshire, trump one double-digit pluralities among , ruralingle age group residents, citydwellers and suburbanites and every income group. won.ump how do you explain this bro ad support for donald trump? guest: when i started writing the book, trump was not even running. five years ago, candidates like identityere playing
politics. things i don't believe are conservative. it's what got me thinking about this. sensed the populist movement out there. i did not think -- i did not predict donald trump. i did not think you would be the vessel for that. -- he would be the vessel for that. everything came to fruition with trump doing so well. in some ways, this is cyclical. whoe always had populists rise up when people are angry and frustrated and dissolution. whether it is andrew jackson or william jennings bryan or george wallace, pat buchanan, you can name it, we've seen the populist before. into a trump is tapping real fear and anger out there amongst a lot of mostly working-class white americans
who feel the american dream is left -- has left them by. to be able to graduate high school and make $15 an hour working in a factory. they are frustrated. is on the left and right. we are seeing a bit of it with bernie sanders. you can take it out on capitalism or blame it on globalism or blame immigration. you can blame automation. convergingactors are and america is changing and donald trump is tapping into this anger. . see him as exploiting it he is not a conservative. he is a populist. the fact that he is doing so well has to do with many factors. he is a great politician, great public relations, entertainment master. master of pr. has thatry
frustration. this cultural and technological trend. would donald trump have been able to do this before any 24/7even -- before hour news? i also think it has something to do with our rhetoric and cultural degradation. americans would have tolerated some of the things that i will trump has had about all sorts of people in things he has said -- the fact is an example of where our culture is. host: flemington, new jersey where david is calling on the democratic line. caller: thank you. i believe i'm hearing from some commentators that there is a
certainty that several more justices will retire in the next few years based on age. know if there is something the public does not -- ageout the health does not mean all heck of a lot. we have plenty of people living to be 90 and 100. guest: i don't have any inside information. justice scalia was 79. he looked like he was 55. he had tons of energy. just loved life. and he dies. that happens. there's been talk about ruth bader ginsburg retiring. some on the left have encouraged her to retire while barack obama can make the nomination. there is a west wing theory that says president obama should try to convince her to retire now,
replace her with a young liberal and replace scalia with an old conservative and cut a deal. season five of west wing. truth imitates fiction. if you look at the ages of some of the justices and do the math, it is likely the next president will get to work three nominees. ,ith nine people on the court that is a significant change. if you elect a republican, you get to work three lifetime appointments in one direction and if you elect a liberal -- the supreme court picks you could argue are the longest legacy any president leaves behind. host: littleton, colorado. tim is calling on the independent line. good morning to you. caller: i've seen you a couple
times on c-span. i intend on buying your book and reading it. i love to read. i have a question about the evolution of the party. guy on thea young board of directors for young republicans -- we supported reagan. the last time i voted republican was for george h.w. bush. i think he is a vastly underrated president. we will recognize that come only after he dies. partyan evolution of the that is almost a direct line from roger ailes to newt gingrich to the tea party. had the tea party been in place when the economy collapsed in 2008, we might not even have an auto industry because the idealists reject everything.
that concerns me greatly. i don't see myself voting republican anytime in the near future. with your knowledge, would you share your view of the evolution of the party? guest: thank you. go get that book. do not delay. it is a huge topic in the book of what has happened to the party. reagan -- a lot of the books that are critical -- that examine what is up with the republican party and the mistakes and problems are written by liberals. back toe to go eisenhower to find a republican they like. because i'm a conservative, i live have to go back to ronald reagan -- i only have to go back to ronald reagan. to me, reagan was the perfect
marriage of somebody who was serious and thoughtful and conservative and also had a populist appeal. and also had the cosmopolitan instrument side of him -- entertainment side of him that some people are looking for in donald trump. i'm not necessarily a subscriber to the great man theory of politics. important, leadership matters and it is fair to say that after reagan, there has been a vacuum on the right. newt gingrich is somebody who certainly had -- was brilliant, was not without his flaws, but oft might be the one moment where republicans and conservatives had the wind at their back intellectually.
i'm somewhat optimistic. talk about a time for choosing, we are at that time for choosing. if the republican party nominates donald trump come i think that is one direction they can go. that is the direction that doubles down on european-style white identity politics. on the other hand, there is another possibility -- you could have marco rubio and paul ryan. that is a much more optimistic solutions oriented conservatism that i think could have broad appeal to 21st century americans who don't know their conservatives yet. why haven't those candidates taken fire, caught fire the same way donald trump has?
is the feeling that the candidates themselves are retail politicians or is it a problem with the republican electorate? guest: both. marco rubio coming out of iowa was in third place and had a lot of momentum and could have gone into new hampshire and finished second and he could have gone to south carolina and maybe won. he had a horrible debate. be hard to overestimate the damage he did to himself and possibly cause himself -- cost and help nomination. host: sunday night, trump was getting booed. do you see that as the turning point? >> not in the business of counting donald trump out. it would be inappropriate to assume that the audience is representative of the electorate. there is a base problem. republican politicians should never be in the business of criticizing the voters or the
base. i'm not a republican politician, so i will do it. i think donald trump is tapping -- we haveitgeist seven years of barack obama's disastrous presidency. ourhave a perception that best days are behind us. negativityspirit of and frustration amongst many americans. specifically acute among working-class white americans who really believe their best days are behind them, the american dream that they grew up believing in his gone. when that is the case, it is hard to appeal to people's better angels. it is easier to sell donald that taps into
the anger and promises to magically make america great again. then it is a more optimistic reagan message, which is the best long-term for conservatives , could appeal to the most americans, but trump is taking the path of least resistance. host: joe from sun city center, fort appeared good morning to. -- florida. good morning to you. caller: reagan was feared around trump.ld, as was w bush was feared around the .orld let' i think paul ryan was a big mistake. i heard him speak three years
ago. waitst said he could not two-putt entitlements on the table and that is pretty dangerous for elderly folks. put entitlements on the table. that includes social security. i have a whole copy page of your quotes and stuff like that. i will let you respond. i will ramble. guest: this is a prime example of why donald trump is pandering to voters and telling them what they want to hear. rather than taking the courageous, bold chance of telling them what they need to hear. entitlements need to be reformed. -- someous conservative people on the right want to get rid of all entitlements and go back to pre-fdr. conservatives believe entitlements need to be reformed