Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 15, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT

8:00 pm
of education and pull away from the citizenry will spontaneously awakened and commit themselves to some sort of populist or democratic social revision. it's been and pardoned question and i think we should talk about it afterwards and the q&a. my point is if it turns out it is the guy is. the so-called average citizen really does want as janis joplin has a mercedes-benz and probably not much else that he or she is grateful to the corporations for supplying us with oceans of consumer goods and to the pentagon for protecting us from those awful arabs working in the middle east but if that is so in the possibility for the fundamental change appear to be quite small. for what would be called is a set of very different institutions and a very different type of culture.
8:01 pm
personally i thought there was much chance of that. america is after all what it is. next on booktv former senator arlen specter of pennsylvania talks about his political career in the split between the old guard members of the former party and members supported by the tea party. senator specter is in conversation of mike castle, former delaware governor and u.s. representative for a little under an hour. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. it can be no better place to have this discussion began in the constitution center. the three key words in the
8:02 pm
constitution it's beginning we, the people, and i am delighted to have my colleague, the former member of the house of representatives mike castle join me and as david eisner accurately characterized it, we are members of authority year club which is not too easy to come by. it takes awhile to get that kind of seniority. this book, life among the cannibals, was designed to come out in the midst of this election season to try to equate the american people with why washington is what it is today, and that is gridlocked and dysfunctional so that if the electorate is properly
8:03 pm
motivated, now is to do something about it, and the title is by the liberation for motivation and for accuracy. this is what is happening. it is the account to wohlstetter our senators and representatives and i will be very specific starting with bob benet, senator from utah, for 18 years. 93% conservative rating wasn't sure enough to be renominated by the republican party of 2010 for one vote. mike castle in delaware was
8:04 pm
defeated in the republican primary by the tea party candidate who the same picture of lies on the democratic side where a top notch senator like joe lieberman couldn't win a democratic primary. so what has evolved is a great worry on the part of the members of congress. that is if one vote is cast which is it causes the party to fight views in a primary where there's a very low turnout that's the end of a political career and there are very few that are prepared to take their political career on the line for
8:05 pm
a vote notwithstanding what the public interest is to read this book goes into great detail. my approach to being in public service, and the votes that i cast and the one critical vote which was the end of the association between the republican party, and i think ronald reagan best put it when he said years ago he was a democrat, did you know that ronald reagan was a democrat? well, he was. and as he put it, he didn't leave the democratic party. the democratic party left him. let me assure you, of republican party in 1980, when i was
8:06 pm
elected to this dennett was a vastly different republican party that was as we moved into the 21st century. when the stimulus vote came up, i was convinced if we did not have an infusion of funding that we would be headed for a 1930's style depression. and we had said a few months earlier when george bush was the president that he came up with a 700 billion-dollar package to assess the banking industry and the automotive industry. well, $700 billion was the twin brother to what president obama came up with a few months later
8:07 pm
with $878 billion of stimulus package. the house of representatives voted down the bush program and the stock market dropped 700 points at the end of september of 2008. the republican caucus in the senate was organized, and the vice president came to talk to us. you know, cheney, the liberal, well, he said if you don't pass this package, we are in turn george w. bush into a moderate herbert hoover, and the majority of republicans voted for coming including bob benet, and it was the end of bob dennett's career. but when president obama was elected shortly thereafter as
8:08 pm
the first legislative initiative certainly the republican caucus, jim demint, the senator from south carolina was heard to say we are going to turn this into obama's waterloo. the republican leader said the republican senate agenda is to defeat obama. this was three years and 11 months before the 2012 election, and nobody in the republican caucus except for columbia snow, susan collins and arlen specter would talk to the democrats without the bill. i had been a child during a the
8:09 pm
1930 depression, and i didn't want to see another depression. my father who was a russian immigrant in 1930 found that he called it yiddish -- we live in wichita, and my father packed up the family and headed east to philadelphia. in depressions that's what families do, they move in with one another, and those were tough times, and i had been there. it was plain the vote was going to be highly precarious and it
8:10 pm
turned out to be just that. that single vote out of the 10,000 turned up to be the problem which i had come and that has created a situation where comfort example senator collins and senator snowe wouldn't cross again. we had a case called citizens united, which is pretty well known the supreme court of the united states could make unlimited financial contributions from actually unlimited of lummis expenditures the independent expenditures so called, and they left a narrow opening. that is the congress could legislate to require disclosure so that at least you would know who is putting up the money in
8:11 pm
the the one in south carolina for new gingrich the $10 million at least was putting up the money. >> i think that he overpaid for south carolina but that was his choice. 59 centers on one side of the aisle, myself included, voted for what we call the cloture to move the debate forward. but not one republican senator, which stands up to provide the vote, either collins or snow, they had seen what happened to our inspector, and that went down to defeat commesso today the anonymous contributions where's the money coming from, where is the chamber of power getting that money, the foreign corporations? nobody knows because a lot of those required disclosure.
8:12 pm
but that sort of paints the picture how shy people are about crossing party lines and putting their political career on a line. and you have seen the emergence of the tea party. you have seen what has happened in the town meetings right here in the convention hall in the early august of 2009 the secretary of health and human services sebelius can talk about the president's proposal for the affordable health care plan which was before the supreme court last week, and the team party was out on the force, and had we been in this room having this discussion we wouldn't have
8:13 pm
been able to hear the talk there was so much room delete conaway is in the adjoining room but a few days later i started my august town meetings. every year in august while malae was in the senate, i would make it a point to visit every county, and usually in lebanon through the 80's and 90 people on this day i helped 1200 degette a rather famous town meeting where they have a replay again and again and again of the rambunctious crowd highlighted by one fellow who charged up and came within a few inches of my nose with his fist. he made the front page of "the new york times" the next day, of
8:14 pm
course so did lie, but she was the star of the show and he became a major television personality, the country was up in arms. i think president obama made a mistake and unloading too much too soon. he had programs one where cap-and-trade on the environment, global warming, a trillion dollars on health care it was estimated in fact at one point to be $1.6 million almost as trillion dollars on a stimulus. it had been more than a trillion until it was down slightly to $878 billion. where to go from here? my book provides an idea for the future, and the idea centralizes
8:15 pm
around the experience of senator lisa murkowski alaska. senator murkowski was opposed in the primary by 80 party candidate and led by senator demint, and the tea party candidate cannibalized lisa and defeated her in the primary. then lisa came back as an extraordinary move to run a write-in campaign. if you spell at with a y sense of i the balad is thrown a and if you spell it with a o instead of a u it's thrown out, but she won. and i think senator murkowski's experience shows if you inform the public and motivate the public sufficiently you can
8:16 pm
reinforce what is outside of this building, we the people, the power is in the people. but it has to be exercised. he you know how often you hear people say well, one vote doesn't count. but that is replicated millions of times and then on voters control the process, and the extremists on slides control the elections come and if you want to win the iowa primaries, you have to stay up until the middle of the night to be in the caucus a couple of final notes of what has some wider sides to it. i tell about an experience with senator kennedy.
8:17 pm
i was relaxing in the hot tub one day in the world will come a great experience and in comes senator ted kennedy, a fellow worker with a very closely for a lot of years on civil rights and hate crime legislation, not in this closely, and there is teddie, 285 pounds, and he comes to the edge of the hot tub sort of like a diver, plot all 285 pounds. you know the old saying rising tide lifts all boats from my head damn near hit the ceiling. [laughter] just one of the story is that has attracted a lot of attention
8:18 pm
when john mccain and sarah palin kim to campaign in the neighboring delaware county i was asked to introduce them, and before we went on stage, mccain said give me some political advice on what to do. the territory with independent voters, so john and sarah palin and i went into a little area that a little conference table and worked very close borders. and i started to give some advice on the embryonic stem cells. i knew that said that ulin was against the embryonic stem cell research, but she didn't say anything unintelligent because she didn't say anything.
8:19 pm
[laughter] but the relevant part is not the substance of the conversation, the relevant part is the close quarters yet you know the way that she starts, almost everybody does. and you also know when you sit down, the skirts don't go down. and a very beautiful woman, very sensual, and i wrote this portion very discreetly, but it's attracted more attention than my ideas on how to solve the nuclear issue with iran. >> i am delighted to be joined by mike castle because he is a
8:20 pm
warrior like arlen specter. mike castle serves a great distinction in delaware as a lieutenant governor and then as governor and in terms of the house of representatives taking a tough positions in sight of a tough party apparatus when he was in his caucus as i of the republican caucus and the senate side. it is really rough going. and delaware, america lost a great public servant. from the point of view of the republican party, the party lost a seat. mike was a shoe in to win that
8:21 pm
seat and to become vice president is in line to run but when the younger joe biden looked at mike castle, she said of mechem hee-haw mike castle was too rough with his record in stature and delaware and surefire event. i don't know which is which. very few people voted. she won and so i am really pleased to share the podium platform with representative castle and look forward to his comment. >> thank you. i also replaced to be your thank you for your comments.
8:22 pm
i just want to ask you some questions that relate to things you and i have been involved in and are both self-described as moderate and moderately republican for a long time coming and clearly there has been a complete taking the part of the moderate wings of the democrats and republicans in the congress of the united states state by state but in the converse it's clearly that way. and i'm trying to determine the cause of it because when they take polls, the sold description by most people is that they are in moderate some object, a moderate liberal, whatever it may be, maybe the majority of people are close to it versus any other description of being extremist or hard lines. but the party manages to set that up because they tend to be a little more extreme if you will then terms of their views of being either liberal or conservative, and it becomes
8:23 pm
very difficult to get people elected to be in the middle and to determine the cause of all this political party, the ability to take the legislation you mentioned. it is the media that we tend to overlook and there's been a change in the media in the last ten, 15 years in the country in that it has become a lot more polarized. i'm not talking out the answers to that in msnbc and others if you will, which tends to offset the conservative side of this and a lot of the public abundance do a lot of the riding on the eddy al-awja will basis in this country than to be the ones that are also on the air doing a lot of the stock, and i think that has been divisive and is part of the demise of the moderate wing because it's not a lot of moderate answer to that.
8:24 pm
you may or may not comment on the book. i've only had a chance to skim the book but i'm curious on your view to the media role in terms of this sort of changing of the political. >> i think you put your finger on the aspects. i think it is talk radio and talk television which of the fringes of the activity i think the money is at the hands of those that are willing to finance people on the outside, the coke brothers, the adelson, those that have more experienced positions, but i think ultimately that the moderates lose because so few people come
8:25 pm
out, and the people who come out or those that are most interested or really heavy enthusiasts to come out, and the generalized population has the attitude of my vote won't make any difference. i think that is the principal cause. >> let me ask you a question that is on all of our minds and that is what is opening a presidential republican primaries were going to be going on for some period of time and you've been in both political parties and have a good sense of this but what are your thoughts about that, not so much in terms of who the nominee may be. i assume at this point it will be romney but it seems that way, in terms of the negativity, and again as you mentioned, you have these very wealthy individuals and their supertax that has allowed it to occur in this country, but how is this going
8:26 pm
to play out in the public? is this something that the republican candidate will be able to beat down from or is it the damage which is being done in terms of the very negative advertising which we are seeing so prevailing that it is going to be very difficult if not next to impossible for the candidate to be able to spring back from that. >> i believe that romney is going to have a lot of ground to make up and it's an open question as to whether he can do it. the republican primary has caused romney to move so far to the right he's off the board. you have the ten candidates appearing in the hampshire that have a question. the question is would you agree to the 1 dollar in taxes for $10 in cuts?
8:27 pm
anybody in the civilized world i say that may be that excludes those candidates would say of course i give you 1 dollar in taxes for $10 in cuts but not one hand went up. not huntsman or anybody. it was a well-kept secret, but i ran for the republican nomination in the 1996 cycle. [laughter] and i was in new hampshire. there were nine people where the question was how many of you promise to abolish the department of education? eight hands spring of instantaneously. a ridiculous question. you can't abolish the department of education. just can't do so, here you have herman cain and initial bachmann
8:28 pm
and one after another pushing romanies so far to the right and senator santorum covered all the counties and played right into the strength with the right. but as soon as the people of america found out like the people of pennsylvania. there he went. and romney has changed positions so far. bill marra had a right to the other night when he said romney has changed position more often than a pornographic movie queen. [laughter] and i asked who likened the support and november? and i said well, i am not senator arlen specter anymore, i'm citizen arlen specter and i
8:29 pm
am not happy with president obama frankly. this policy in afghanistan is absurd. i spoke on the senate floor against 30,000 additional troops. we have no fight with the taliban. there are no al qaeda their. i was part of a delegation that visited president karzai, and he isn't somebody you can do business with. you have the tax cut, obama expanded and we should never have expanded the tax cuts for the rich in my opinion. then you have the commission cochaired by alan simpson on the deficit of the national debt, doesn't pay any attention to that. how about romney? which is going to appear, which hsh will we know? but the answer to your question in my opinion is the primary process has ruled that the
8:30 pm
republican nominee is so far to the right that he's going to have to make a sharp u-turn, a persuasive one besides a sharp one. >> let me ask you sort of a double question, and it's about health care and aid lawyer of some renown. i would be curious on your views as to what you think the supreme court made with respect to health care. but in addition to that, i would be curious if you have any thoughts about what is going to happen down the road and health care and i think that is dependent upon the election of the president and upon the house and of the senate, on the house and the senate the double beryl part of this is what are your thoughts about where they are going to go in terms of the republican house and congress and the democratic senate which is tenuous in terms of its numbers and you can turn over in this election and what is the screen to have even if obama is reflective of the future of
8:31 pm
health care is going to be regardless of what the supreme court would make it. >> my sense is that the supreme court following the conventional wisdom will strike down the affordable health care act. my own a legal judgment is that it is constitutional under the congressional authority under the article 1 of the commerce clause the way that it's been interpreted. there have been many programs, social security and medicare and medicaid and others which serve as precedents, but you have a very ideological court. this is essentially the court that elected bush overbore five trinkle four into the ideological court that came down with the citizens united and kennedy is a swing that. and i studied kennedy very
8:32 pm
closely since i participated in the confirmation of 1988. kennedy has attention for the name kennedy core, and in the argument on the mandate he said a couple of things, one was a mandate certainly there goes far to words being an incursion on liberty suggesting he strike it down. then later in the argument he left some wiggle room saying if people get their health care at the emergency room that shifts the burden to everybody else so you can't be sure. if they strike it down i think that's when to be very confused situation. there are some things that have already gone into effect.
8:33 pm
some parts of the exchange for example covering a minor balance but i don't think you can keep the elimination of the conditions i don't think you could tell the insurance companies to take everybody if you don't have a mandate and what will converse do i don't think the congress will increase to anything, just nothing. the of the supreme court decision if they strike it down and will leave an enormous number of unanswered questions to be litigated in the district courts and the courts of appeals which will take years kid meanwhile people are sick. it will be really a terrible situation for the country, and
8:34 pm
the supreme court of the united states is so far gone on ideology. robertson, alito testified one way but the congressional intent following the fact-finding. they just disregarded 100 years of precedents and citizens united, and one thing that has been emphasized and maybe will be in this campaign, but roe versus wade is in jeopardy, ladies and gentlemen, out there in c-span land, roe v. wade is in jeopardy. when nicu have a 100 fear president the corporations and unions can't make political expenditures, then you have a 1990's case called austin where the supreme court upholds limitations and then congress writes mccain-feingold enacted into law and the supreme court
8:35 pm
upholds it in 2003 and then seven years later you come along with a flick of a pen to declare unconstitutional there is no precedent that says if ideologically the court disagrees with it. that is a problem. >> there's a microphone here since you have to get in line and come to the microphone. anybody else that would like to can get in line and we will try to go through as rapidly as possible to get as many questions as we can. please come keep your questions as brief as you can and the senator can get brief answers but he is the senator. >> i like the first two questions already because i see they have books in their hands to estimate can you introduce yourself? >> i am a volunteer and my question is all i am a member of no labels and i've been to
8:36 pm
washington four times including two weeks ago for senator lieberman in the government and the government affairs committee where we have a bill before congress of a low-budget, no pay. i don't know if you are familiar with that but i am just wondering what you think of it and more importantly, does this country need a third party? and could we form a third party with people like you that have been swept out of office by extremes and somehow less to have the margaret mitchell take control of the country again. >> centers on what i've been involved with a little bit and have come to new york when they first announced. i've always familiar with what you reference which is they don't pass the budget back in congress and members of congress will not get paid which is politically very popular although i'm not sure that it's
8:37 pm
to the but it did pass budgets as we don't seem to do anymore. no label by the we isn't a political party is basically a movement to say that you shouldn't approach politics with the bulls. you shouldn't be to that republican, democrat, extreme, one way or another. you should be able to work together to get things done so it smart as a movement in the direction of political background who's been involved with it. and i think that it's actually a very good movement which will do positive things in this country. it's raised a considerable sum of money and a lot of people think it has a great deal of interest. having said that, there is a fair and i don't want to call what political party but a movement by another group who has actually gotten on the ballot i think in almost every state they tried to in all 50 states so when you go to vote for the president this year, you can do one of several things.
8:38 pm
you can vote for the democratic candidate, the republican candidate for the candidate of this of their particular group who is going to be nominated by some sort of the internet nominating process and the president and vice president will have to be on opposite political parties. so if you want to run for president again, that maybe your moment. i don't know. but that's interesting, too. there is a movement out there that maybe we need to do something different in this country and no label is a part of that at least talking to each other and getting things done. >> i think that your idea of the budget is a good idea. i just don't know how you get the congress to pass that. medieval one step would get no pay. i think if you put on the referendum you have a pretty good shot.
8:39 pm
>> we had the senator that is running for reelection in nevada and he's done his own polling and no labels has done over 85%, 85% of fer 90% of the people are in favor of no pay. senator lieberman said he won't be surprised to learn the same polling figures don't take place in congress. so somehow if we can get the congress to do the same thing as the american people maybe something can happen. >> prodir referendum. >> yes, sir. >> senator, i'm proud to work on the public programs department here in the constitution's. in 2013 in my lifetime, in my middle-aged children's lifetime, and in my grandchildren's lifetime. thank you. >> i'm hopeful that the day
8:40 pm
after the 2012 election if you throw enough of the rascals out and make the incumbents instance of voting to preserve their offices you have a chance to see it. it depends when we the people raise enough help and it's all set forth in the book. [laughter] [applause] >> and getting a little we have to be careful. >> ibm their criteria editor here of the national constitution center and i have a question for both of you actually. i think part of the problem with politics now is i don't find that there's enough candidates that are like or want to vote
8:41 pm
for. and as the longtime political leaders would words of inspiration is what you have for people that might want to run for office. i find a lot of people in particular feel very disillusioned and many don't know where to start especially now in the politics. so, what words of inspiration would you say to people that want to go into politics or be leaders today, and maybe what advice would you give them at this point especially when and since there's not a lot in office. >> there's an increasing number and it's very important. there are more women attending college galvanic men and they become leaders in the proud sector that will eventually a spring in the public sector, but i think it's important to understand the significance of representing people but also the enjoyment. i was in the government for a long time. i didn't like the way that it ended but i enjoyed the experience tremendously. i enjoy helping people.
8:42 pm
my staff enjoyed helping people. there was a part of if you don't think of much did you get a social security or you are able to help them and that is a feeling you don't get in most of the private sector positions which are out there and i think that it's very rewarding. anyone can do it. i started in the state house of representatives i is was 26-years-old and wellington delaware. this is a very democratic district people and knocked on doors and talked to people and they were happy to see somebody. at that might nobody did a thing like that command the support of me and i was able to get elected and that was the springboard of what i did leave iran. so i think people can do it. i was never underestimated with a enthusiastic person with good ideas in terms of their ability to do it. the political parties are fairly receptive to the young people doing this. they are generally looking for candidates in the areas their
8:43 pm
particular parties are not doing that well with that person can go out and i think you can get the job done as far as getting elected. i think it's a very rewarding career and so many people tell me i would never do what you do to read or write just couldn't imagine undertaking that or whatever. but they can't. the opportunities are there. and i would hope that our young people whether they be educated or not, sometimes people are not particularly educated and the are pragmatic and reasonable in their thinking and you can contribute a lot to the public discourse out there that runs this country, and those are the people we need to get involved. it can't just be those of us that look it over like we are, the target be the future of america do not discourage that, and my hopes are both parties to get more and more people
8:44 pm
involved. >> i can't you get your motivation around the kitchen table. specter is sitting here next to joe and come and became the chairman in the township of the republicans and she and i are trying to have enough talk about the kitchen table to produce another senator or president out of the specter family. i got my motivation that the kitchen table from my father. he lived in russia in 1911. i wanted to send all of the yondah jewish to siberia to avoid a revolution coming and he wanted to go to kansas instead. there was a close call how
8:45 pm
important it was in our lives, and that motivated me i became a democratic committeeman down here and became an assistant d.a., didn't have any money, didn't have any powerful friends who won some big cases and was asked to be one of the lawyers on the commission staff and an upset victory for the dea and the primary to win the republican primary and you can do at like mike castle says and motivated. >> my name is bob mccarthy i'm a volunteer. you mentioned an idealized court and feel the lifetime appointments are still relevant for the supreme court justices and would you support the
8:46 pm
constitutional amendment setting limits? say terms of eight or ten years, something like that. >> well, i think it's worth considering. i wouldn't put it eight or ten years i think you might have a cut off of age. we really have to change the confirmation process. i invite you to come to washington. we are having a 25 year retrospective wednesday on judge bork and where we go on the confirmation process. i don't want to talk much about it today because that's my next book. [laughter] i don't want david -- of want david to invite me back to this bixby for the bible give you an idea every now and then it goes to my mind, and i am not advocating this yet something to be thinking about, maybe members of the house of representatives should be elected for four years
8:47 pm
instead of two years. the business of running every two years makes them extraordinarily sensitive to fund-raising, to the political environment, and the unwillingness to be more open-minded about what they are doing. maybe that would have to be involved with some sort of a cat that you could run. this fund-raising business is a tremendous problem in america today. not just because it influences things so much as the time it takes away from the workers in terms of representing the people in congress, and i think that rapid turnover which we see in the house and the senate is pretty dramatic. it's very often that the opponent says i'm going to run again next time and the race is still on. it never goes away and that is a problem in america today. just something to be thinking about i think in terms of where
8:48 pm
the country would go. good luck making that change, but just something to put on the table. >> ayaan averitt hundred school administrator and volunteer the national constitution center and i would like to say first of all how much we appreciate you coming here and sharing your book with us and it's an honor to be in the same room with both of you. i look around at things that have just happened in philadelphia like the scandal in the port authority and the nonsense that is going on with people who are being less than honest and less than moral, and i start to wonder when i look at education, and education as seems like we have so much deemphasized civics and social studies in terms of passing tests in math and reading and i
8:49 pm
wonder it seems like that has a correlation to the lack of the moral compass so many people in congress seem to have and so many people in the public realm serving as supposedly servants of the public and i wonder what you think, what either of you or both of you think. >> leaving it up to senator grindle. [laughter] >> well, education would certainly be a big help, and there's no doubt that the schools do not emphasize government and do not emphasize the civic responsibilities and don't really do much to inform the students about what goes on
8:50 pm
in washington, d.c.. sandra day o'connor that has spoken at this podium and the constitution center decries the fact that students don't know anything about the government on washington, and that's a first step. and the moral compass is a significant factor on education. so much as though really comes back to the kitchen table, with the parents do. >> a lot of it placed on no child left behind which is the existing law to the secondary education act which is demanding the students be able to pass being able to read and others right here are being ignored. i think that is a little bit faulty. i've been in every school in the
8:51 pm
small state, and i have seen the good principles and put together schedules and figure out how to work things into it, and even when you are dealing with the aspects of the learning required i know you can look at the civics education etc.. i agree with you. i think there should be more of that, more basic economic education which may be some of the problems with foreclosure and some of the excess of student loans and things going on. so i think there are things that need to be done. this race to the top business is perhaps the next iteration of no child left behind and we will try to address some of those issues, but i believe the educators themselves need to look very carefully at how they can manage it. education is always going to be a local decision, and that is what we have to keep in mind so the government will put some money into it and the bottom line is it is the local
8:52 pm
educators that will make the decisions but the basic premise is correct how to get there. i'm not certain. i think that i'm being given the signal that we are done. senator, we will give you 30 seconds to sell your books. [laughter] >> i would make one addendum to that question, and that is i would encourage high school students to go out for debate, go out for the date and the substantive issues in the public arena that teaches you research, analysis and public speaking, and those are the key ingredients to getting some place in politics. >> very good. islamic let me thank the center and all of you. he is going to be here -- [applause] i'm sure if you to purchase a book, he will be happy to sign
8:53 pm
it or whatever it may be and i think that he will be out here -- >> don't forget life among the canellos. this book was written to try to influence what happens in america. i don't care about the premiums and other royalties, but i do care about people understanding how tough and officious it is behind the scenes in washington and how partisanship has destroyed the public interest. and if there is an answer that we are sure in the constitution center the big letters from the constitution center don't mention cannibals' but mention we, the people, and we've the people can devour the cannibals. read the book. [applause] >> thank you.
8:54 pm
richard brookhiser when we talk about the founding fathers what is the error that we are talkine about and the events that we are talking about? >> we are talking about the r american revolution and the writing of the constitution. and those are the to keep vents, and everybody who played a major obvioun in those can claim to be a founding father. had revolubviously the old ones had careers before of the american revolution and the young guerrillas have careers thats tn went on quite a few years after the signing of the constitutione constitution. >> host: who were the older ones and younger ones. >> guest: benjamin franklin, the oldest, born in 1706. he knows cotton mather and the
8:55 pm
died in 1790. he signs both the declaration of independence and the constitution. the last to die was james madison. he is born in 1751, and then he do is in 1836. 85 years old. so, he has seen the fight over missouri being admitted to the union. he sees nullification crisis but he is the last one. aaron byrd. but that's the other side. the dark side. >> host: in 2006, you wrote wow what would the founders do," wwfd, and in that book you write: the founders invite our questions now because they invited discussion when they lived. they were dry in public
8:56 pm
speeches and in journalism. >> guest: that's right. they set up a republic and they're very proud of doing that, and this is unique -- virtually unique in the world. there were -- holland had been kind of a republic but that was going down the tubes so this was a unique form of government, and compared to all the competitors, month no, okays and whatnot, it's open. it's based on popular rule and, yes, of course, the franchise was restricted but still there is a franchise. so, voters, the electorate, has to be appealed to, has to be brought long and instructed, and they do this constantly. a lot of them are journalists. they write for the newspapers. some of them are professional journalists, alexander hamilton founds a newspaper that is still
8:57 pm
going on, the new york post. he founded it. was the first publisher. benjamin franklin was a great publisher, sam adam was a publisher. it's hard to think of founders who didn't write journalism. george washington didn't. but that is very rare. even someone like james madison who didn't like or was great at it, he screwed himself up and wrote 29 federalist papers which were op-ed pieces in newspapers. so these guys, these men, know that they have to put themselves out there for the american public, which is their con constitute tune si. >> host: no it alls. >> guest: well, know it alls. they were well educated. it's a little country. the colleges we have -- he have
8:58 pm
a handful of colleges. they're tiny. harvard or kings college, which becomes columbia, or yale or princeton, they have a few dozen students. unlike the thousands that they have today. but most of these men were college graduates. those who weren't made sure they read all their lives. they felt they had to be up on both the news of the day and the political theory of the day. they all knew their -- if you listen to their debates you would have thought that moscue the celebrate. and the knew their english history, their recent english history and they're ancient
8:59 pm
history. the history of the classical world. the history of rome and greece. the didn't always admire what they read. in hamilton and the federalist papers he says the history of the little greek city states is disgusting because they all -- they go through cycles of tyranny and chaos and whatnot and that's what he hopes america can avoid. but that's a negative example. so you have to know the negative examples as well. >> host: you say -- tell me if i'm paraphrasing this wong -- our founding fathers were less well-traveled, perhaps even less sophisticated, than high school seniors today or veterans from iraq and afghanistan. >> guest: well, sure. it's harder to get around the world. and a crossing of the atlantic ocean takes 20 davis -- days if you're lucky. it can take 80 days

164 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on