tv Book TV After Words CSPAN May 12, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
i thought it was important to write a book that took people seriously so the movements that elected obama how did they built over time, 2003, 2004 what was happening? also the tea party movement which seemed to come in and out of nowhere. occupy wall street. i thought those were important things to take seriously. the we the people perspective. >> on "after words" former adviser of ann jones on social movements in america today tonight at ten eastern on booktv.
>> host: the title of your book is to rebuild the dream. what does the title mean? >> guest: i felt that the american dream for lack of a better term, which my dad lived when he was born in segregated poverty. he joined the military to get out of that situation, then he put himself through college, he put his little brother through college, me through college and got his family into a middle class life. that's the american dream. they were modest but able to achieve them and i looked around and saw people who may be like my dad were disadvantaged or miti had been in the middle class up until a couple years ago really struggling now, and i
felt like we needed to do something. we had a big movement for hope and change in 2008 elected to the first african-american president, progressive president, champion of the people, and yet there's still this sense of going from hope to heartbreak in the country. and of course having been a grassroots outsider for most of my life and then a white house insider for six months an outsider again i thought i had a 360-degree perspective on some of the ways we were not achieving some of the change people hoped for. >> host: why now? instead of as the end of the term and the beginning of a term kind of at the end of? >> guest: in some ways the first term is over because it doesn't seem like they are going to do a whole lot. but i think that right now is when people are trying to make sense of the obama era so far
and i passionately believe he deserves to be reelected but we also enough to unnerve -- learn and the whole strategy is not going to be enough to get the changes done. so while people are thinking about politics and how jul assess what i went through the past three years or four years and think about the next four it would be a good time to share my perspective. >> counted being in the white house for those months how has that changed your perspective from being an outsider we will discussed the need to discuss what made it happen but how exactly, how did that change your perspective? >> iowa believe that i have a little bit more empathy for people who are in those positions. i know a lot of the grassroots progressive left feels almost
disgusted with the white house when i go out in the road talking and teaching a lot of very negative assessments and i don't think there's that sensitivity. we want the president to do would be legal if he did then. there are rules and regulations and you have a sense of that but when you are working inside the white house everything is in the four corners of the law, the legal counsel all the time, everything has to be done exactly the right way and use beating from will all require years on the perspective and the preference and radiology you can get in a lot of trouble that isn't what the white house is supposed to do so i think people expected this president to do things that would literally not even be allowed by the law and to the hard work of continuing to build the public will and the congress to work with.
>> host: do you feel like -- and you were critical of democrats for falling down on the job. why isn't obama part of that coming in second why isn't he part of the political elite that half as you said failed to hold the middle class and help everyone but the 1%? >> guest: i criticize the people is it pro obama, antiobama? it is a pro analysis. i really felt like a lot of the books i saw written about, the obama era written about in this moment in history we are falling into what i call the d.c. trap so everything can be explained by the politicians and the political operatives and dependents. but we the people are not in that story. the people just sort of pulling data or precincts of public opinion but people have real movement and people work to
manage the the coming changes a democracy so i thought it was important to write a book that took people seriously so the movements that elected obama. how did they built over time? 2002, 2004, what was happening? also the tea party movement which seemed to come out of nowhere. how does it work? occupy wall street. i thought those were important things to take seriously to look at a social movement we the people perspective on how the change happens in washington and, doesn't. in writing that i have a lot of criticism of the president and of the white house in the book and i talk about ways of think the president could have been tougher on wall street from the very beginning. to do that, open the door for the tea party and for occupied wall street. the two big movements that challenge him in his presidency are what was the perception of the response to wall street crimes and misdemeanors.
>> let's get into what it could have done on wall street. >> guest: i'm not alone in this. i think that giving them free money and hoping they would act better. >> host: but they did pay back some of that money. some of the there were not enough conditions on it in terms of making sure that today repair some of the damage to the american people. for instance if you have a lot of homes that were under water because during the bubble period the homes were real free-fall you read it. now people are we overcharged and the major the homeowners got more relief than they got. a lot of the bank's right now are sitting on a lot of money. small businesses are still not able to access capital the way they should and these could have been programs in place to help jump-start the small-business. a lot of things could have but to build of main street failed of wall street hadn't lost it didn't really turnaround in
health in the way i think people thought it would have been fair so that would have been a very smart thing for the president to do. i also think the president did good things to the policy point of view but didn't get political credit for princeton's with the stimulus to talk about he got a $787 billion stimulus. a third of it is tax cuts for americans. republicans and democrats like tax cuts. it is not some crazy idea nobody knows that. most people think obama raised taxes, he cut taxes. nobody knows that. the other third is for the states and cities keeping the cops on the beat because we went down hard and every state had to follow its budget when we went down they didn't have to lay off teachers, firefighters and cowal first responders. a third of the stimulus is keeping the cuts on the beach. nobody knows that.
so, the stimulus which is something successful in the quote on quote saving jobs created or saved, the teachers' jobs, nobody knows. so those kind of mistakes even when you do the right thing and you don't know how to get the credit for it that demoralizes people and so i think that both sides could have performed better, not surprisingly come outside and inside. the book is an attempt to help us learn from those mistakes so we can go forward. >> host: about the bush tax cuts that he's cut this far. it wasn't directly into fact that they have continued. >> guest: it's time for those to go away especially for the wealthiest people in america. the good thing of being an american is if you have a business idea if you are an entrepreneur and innovator you can get out there and do a bang that job. first of all you don't have to pay any bribes to have a permit
you can get your business permit if you have a product you can take it to market on the road you have to build the road. the taxpayer bill of that road you can hire employees, the talks appears to that with schools. the water is clean you don't have to pay for the filter. the american people are the ander investor in every american enterprise so the american enterprise doesn't do well, but when you do well in america you should do well by america. you should be proud to pay taxes, pay america back, keep the system going so the next person can come and use the internet and all that stuff you don't have to buy yourself, and that return on investment for the american people is violated when you give massive tax cuts to the people at the top in the people at the top can benefit from america but they don't have to pay america back then you end up with deficits and the free
fall. so i think that at the end of this year when the bush tax cuts expire especially for the wealthy it's time to let the wealthy pay america back. they got the benefit. they allow them the bonuses and tax breaks. that should be over. it wasn't tough enough on that from my point of view the first part of the presidency. >> it kind of helps. >> i think it does. i think what's amazing is if you take warren buffett who first is fantastically wealthy person is smart and wealthy and a political idea, but obama was able to participate the genius to draw the connection. everybody knows and loves and respects, and the secretary who you can imagine and you might never have met her and use that very simple relationship to tell a whole story. that is obama at his best. he has done some things well and
some things poorly, but the grassroots and we did not performing at the level that we should have, and some of it is because we were mad at him but some is because we have the wrong idea of what his job was. i say in the book lbj didn't lead to civil rights movement. that was she was the head of state, he signed the law but for any lillehammer dr. king, those grassroots leaders were the ones in mississippi and the ones pushing forward to give the president something to respond to come in and i think that after the inauguration, not everybody that too many of us sat down and thought that we had passed the finish line when the was the starting line, november, 2008. >> host: the environment is a place for criticism what is your take on what happened at the
keystone pipeline. it's a really bad idea. they would take the dirtiest most awful scraping bottom of the bucket nasty polycarp in down america's heartland over farmland or aqua first and the gulf coast so that it could be refined and shipped to china. we wouldn't get any of the oil but more importantly because the kind of toxic stuff is is very corrosive. to be risking americans and the health and safety of american people to do it, to benefit the foreign corporation selling oil
it shows once again people's movements can make a difference. those people powered movements that elected obama, he wasn't from the democratic party establishment as far as people power exchange that. people power movements through the tea party, challenged the president, and then with the keystone the young environmentalists and the native american groups and bill mckibben challenged the president to say look at this pipeline, don't just go along this, give it a hard look and they used civil disobedience and protest to call attention and that played a role in henry evaluating. >> host: you say that the network around obama didn't help or didn't die. is that in not doing enough? what else could they have done?
what else could have been done in the last couple of years? >> guest: sure. a couple things. first of all, in most countries, when the right wing marches -- and the tea party there is a right-wing populist movement, i would be how you would describe that from the academic point of view, a right-wing populist movement -- list countries when a right-wing populist movement takes to the streets protesting, the left-wing martyrs', too. you have the two protests. for two years you just saw a massive tea party protests so they were not disability or successful and many parts were very small, and the tea party movement had a small protests, they have a large protests the they were coordinated and they really used that grassroots st heat to change the conversation. you didn't see them trying to balance the serious fund even as
late as the midterm elections. you still hadn't seen any serious st. heat. i think democrats and progressives felt that because we had the white house, the house with nancy pelosi and 60 votes in the senate, that's all we needed. i think we thought we had 100% of what we needed to get her coming and i think actually we had a third. that is only a third. you also have to have a media operation like fox news plays a strong role for the right, and you have to have a grass-roots movement. the tea party was a grass-roots movement but we thought we had 100%. we had a 33% and the people that have 30% had 66% and we wound up being able to stymie the agenda and win the midterm election and i think we have to learn from that you can't just vote. you also have to peacefully protest and evil in the
committee and you also have to have a better message for the media. >> host: you criticize the environmental lobby for not getting behind the cap-and-trade enough. the sent millions of dollars. they were not just on the sidelines. is that a fair criticism? you have the lobbyists a lot on both sides everybody has a lobbyist now. >> guest: with regard to the cap-and-trade ai was champion for cap-and-trade and was in the white house when we were able to pass the first part of that through the house of representatives. in the book where i'm critical is after it stalls in the senate and we can't get cap-and-trade done, let's be clear cap-and-trade was the consensus position of both political parties when john mccain ran, it is the right market sensitive
mechanism to deal with it and saying it would create jobs. as the climate change cap-and-trade jobs. for their party did agree with that and they never ran in the ads attacking obama for the position on climate and clean energy and he spoke very favorably and those are important points for campaigns. it stalls in the senate. the republicans have now gone 180 degrees the other direction in lockstep saying it's their proposal from the heritage foundation cap-and-trade the liberals were more interested in the direct regulation of carbon or the carbon tax, cap-and-trade was the conservative position. obama goes without position but it still falls in the senate. i'm critical of myself and the
environmentalists when the oil spill didn't happen in the spring of 2010, there was another moment to say colin the second let's look at the energy policy in america. should we be subsidizing companies that are risking immediately in the long-term? you've never seen the environmental movement more quiet doing in oil spill. i guarantee john mccain had been president with that spell or george bush had been present for if that still i would have been out there with a sign protesting i didn't. that's not good for the cause or the president and it's all the way we should conduct ourselves and selling very tough on progressive movements and putting myself who didn't stand on principles based on who we look at our crossings as president. >> host: there was a gallup poll that was released april 9th so about ten days ago, and one of the things i thought was
interesting about it is in 2007 a lot of republicans were overwhelmingly, a lot of the issues we are talking about. but, from four years later they are not. it's mostly democrats have pretty much stayed the same, republicans have dropped. one of these things is the partisanship, what happened there? there was support for some of these efforts in 2007. it's heartbreaking to me because people say maybe there's too much partisanship, but i don't see too much partisanship if you mean both sides are equally partisan. >> host: the magnets are moving parts. >> guest: it's funny because in some ways they are moving towards the right the the republicans are moving faster. on a progressive democrat. the president is a moderate
democrat. i would have said on health care single-payer. i would have said on health care why do you need private insurance companies for health care? insurance is when you buy if you are not sure about the outcome may be you are going to have a flood, need your not. you buy flood insurance because you don't know. everybody knows you are going to see a doctor or if you get run over by a mack truck the doctor pronounced dead everyone's going to see a doctor. why did you need insurance for that? so from the democratic point of view, single-payer would be the answer. well, almost all democrats at the end of that opposition to try to move to a more bipartisan stance so we arrived at the public auction. some people would be medicare for people who want it, everybody that wants it if not you can have private insurance company trying to be bipartisan. the option was to put it too far to the left so we moved again. then we move to the individual responsibility mandate which is the republican plan to a few that individuals should take
responsibility, not the government. in the abandoned that and the stated that that is not acceptable. so here we are. the delete becomes like the freeloader caucus. drive yourself into the emergency room and they will take care of it. so, what i see is progressives moving further and further to the right its just the conservatives are moving further to the right faster so that creates a very strange alana dewey keep chasing the money around the barn or at some point do we see these are our principles, this is what we believe, but stand up for them and media the american people what stop trying to chase this money. but it's very heartbreaking on the issues like health care, clean energy and energy independence and others that had been at least some common ground possible, some common ground
possible and i don't think it's good for the country. i don't know the best answers but i try to put some point in the book. >> host: you said that by the summer of 2010 that the health care fight was over. did you ever imagine that we would still be talking about the health care bill and the supreme court is deciding on this, it's far from over in 2010. >> guest: i will make sure that this corrected accordingly. there is another example maybe if the progressives who like myself believe in single-payer stood our ground longer maybe the public option would look more like what it was called a compromise. it might have been more friendly to a health care bill this it
okay, listen. if you want to buy health insurance privately, go ahead. if you don't commit to have to pay for the public system like to pay for the public roads with their you like it or not you pay for public schools. but whether or not you have to pay for the public health systems. it may not have been a ground to object to that but because we gave away the public auction where you could either go, the option is competitive you could either go to the private system or a public choice malkin the government makes someone -- >> host: it got past though. >> guest: is a thing about it is part of what happened was the inflation among progressives when this message tea party movement started showing up everywhere. arguing in the book had we started marching, too, had we had our own concert and rally and that sort of thing and got more people involved, maybe we could have gotten a better deal
but instead we got more and more into the sausage making, not the moving in the heartland that the sausage making in the deal cutting in would d.c. that make people more depressed. they had the cornhuskers and all these bad sweetener's, just nasty stuff so it's hard to get a good deal because the base is demoralized, people are confused and either single-payer republika option have already been jettisons of the dead with a deal that maybe doesn't expire. fact, the you could say but the legislation is one in the press is your friends and outrages your enemy. >> do you think will hurt the president as this goes down if the supreme court decides that a piece of it worth the whole thing? steny it's hard for me to say. i don't think you will strike the whole thing down, and i think that they will find a way to keep most of it intact.
i think health care is a big deal for the political class or the health care deal is a bigger deal for the political class and the working class. i think people concerned about health care, people are both concerned about the health care bill evin is or does, so no matter what the supreme court actually does it will be interpreted through filters. people think the health care bill has already kicked in and people don't like. it's all because in all these problems but most hasn't kicked in yet and so how will they respond to the supreme court? did you have progressives that are very defensive of the president and how will they respond? but i think the economy but only this year get for the economy but the economy is going to be real decision maker. >> host: the tea party was very against the health care bill and i think it's safe to say you are not a fan.
islamic i respect their achievement but we don't agree. >> host: how much of your view came from the experience why you left the white house? was your view colored by that experience? >> would have to be. i try in the book to be to their achievement, the phenomenal achievement if you have no vote you have essentially a filibuster proof majority against you in the senate which they had. if you had pelosi running the house as a strong private liberal and you have obama in the white house you haven't drawn a bunch of good cards to make the change in washington, d.c. and they found a way to do it and so you have to respect that no matter what side of the ogle you are on and part of my criticism of the people on the left is a quick dismissal of
them and not appreciated what they are going to be able to achieve however, i don't agree with their version of american history or with their assessment of what america's values are and i wouldn't have agreed if i had become with a poster boy for their frustration for the be the target of it with a special insight and special commitment in myself standing up against those ideas. they made themselves to be too appeared much bigger and much more ferocious and much more fierce than they in fact were.
but the left puts on protests that big. we are especially brilliant. the big protests you're talking about late august and september september 2009 it was august and they were still little they made themselves look big they would send three or four people to the town hall meeting august, 2009 there would be 100 people there supporting president obama and three or four of them who weren't but they would grab the microphone and they would be so loud and so passionate but the tv camera just couldn't help but focus on that and that's what i'm talking about they were able to early on create the impression that everybody was going to the town hall meeting was on their side because we saw on the news a whole bunch of people and it looked like a mob of people to support the president or to find out more information or complain and was
a burly and theater on that part 150,000 people come to market he party. at that time the presidents organization had 13 million members so literally if a quarter of those people marched it would have slumped the tea party protest but it was the essential we are not going to march we are to get the legislation down and there was a mistake because it is psychologically made. of course the achievement but it looked even bigger because there was no response. >> 2010 it wasn't just people showing up in washington, it was all around the country. >> guest: but by then it's like anything else. if you need something when it's a small, then there's an
outcome. if you wait and let it get bigger and bigger press charges made against the president were not responded to with some sort of atheist muslim come of these sorts of things. how do you be a muslim and an atheist? don't muslims have to -- it's crazy charges. those charges were not properly dealt with but more importantly, to mincy large numbers of people coming out for something with your it is a rock band or nascar. you think that's very popular and then nobody is coming out for the other side they are not popular and so i do think that in d.c. we talk about the subcommittees and the legislation and the sausage making and we sometimes forget ordinary people are not tracking all this stuff so closely. people in the streets are mad at the president he must've done something wrong. >> host: you challenged by reinbeck for the beach.
is the office still open? >> guest: of course. bollenbach talks about me but he won't talk to me, and i think the people that watch when beck should ask why want to talk to him? he says the only way i talk to dan jones, and all these crazy things. i'm not sure those things. and i would be happy to talk to him any time. part of the problem that we have is you have people that live in their own information level. the mere fact that i did most of the book of the tea party and actually listened to rush limbaugh and that kind of thing i have a lot more insight into what is appealing about the conservative movement or the right-wing movement than most of my liberal and progressive friends. i won't even read that stuff. isn't that being closed minded of being open to other views?
aren't we doing the same thing? and so i think that i am passionate in my belief, i don't apologize. i don't pretend to find something i'm not, but i also am an american and we are a democracy. we have a lot of different points of view in this country and have to listen to each other and agree. i want to beat my opponents. i'm not conservative. when a conservative is running i want to beat him fair and scare. i want my kid to win but i want my kid to kick your kid and win a fair and square. we can be passionate but still left principles and not miss treat each other and part of the challenge we have right now is things have gotten to the point that is very hard to maintain fitness gingrey heated.
i try to maintain a basic view that we are one country and we can disagree. i have great friends in the public. i want to beat you fair and square and the problem with the right parts, a lot of the stuff i've seen them do is it seems to be lack of honesty and forthrightness how they characterize people to challenge my patriotism to say i'm a threat to my own country and my father was in the military. i would have heated for him to have heard this kind of thing being said. it's not the right way to have a discussion. i write in the book actually about what i call the difference between the deep patriotism and cheap patriotism, and i think
it's important that the deep patriotism of liberty and justice for all, and for all meaning everybody including lesbian and gay, don't leave anybody out. america the beautiful come and defend america's beauty in the oil spill and the mountain top, that is deep. respect the liberty but also respect the principles, that is written on the base that says give me your tired, give me your poor. that's about the immigrants that came to this country. you can't be in anti-immigrant ticket and a patriot at the same time. the patriotism is you of the statute you also love the substance of of what this statute stands for. >> host: can you have the opposite view and still have a deep patriotism? can we have the opposite end of the spectrum? >> i want to challenge the view that you can have a reduction
and simplistic view of america, attack other people not being patriot but not be challenged yourself so the problem is liberals and progressives don't want to raise the question of what patriotism is. we want to be tolerant of everyone. but then what happens to some people will use our silence on the question and say we don't love our country and we get challenged. these people are not patriots. if you want to have the debate we have something to say about that. we have our own view of to treat some and enacting the values and we told them very the year. if you keep challenging as in the same that we don't believe, then let's have the date and at the end of the day we can shake hands and figure out why not afraid anymore to say now listen i didn't start this fight, but if you want to say everybody who is a liberal who is a progressive and is against
america then we are going to talk about what it means to be for america and attacking. >> host: we talked a little bit about the games that he party made in the 2010 election. they changed the republican party and a lot of ways. the debt ceiling used to be a vote that was taken back. we all go on and it is no longer. you talk a lot about occupy wall street and its that in the spectrum for you to like them a lot. what have they done for the democratic party that is not tangible but is a measure of change that the fate? >> a couple things. if you remember in august 2011 the tea party politicized that voters around a debt ceiling and
said they were going to crash america's credit rating if things were not done. i reacted with shock and dismay and part of the compromise that cannot of the standoff was this idea of a super committee that was going to have a loss of 40 and do a lot of cuts, and i saw that as a big threat to america's middle class because i didn't know what they were going to cut it was going to go fast. so we tried to spread the alarm, those occupy wall street young folks had no lobbyists, had no pact, no candidate, just went down to wall street not even in response to that but just out of frustration what was happening and the changed the conversation
overnight the one was talking about economic inequality or lost its role. that was kind of off the table. the change the conversation. even republicans talk about that kind of inequality is a good thing. but more importantly, the super committee just disappeared. the conversation changed so much between august and october the by the time we go to november, nobody wanted to do any of the things that have been fashionable in august because it had been going on in this piece of the public opinion which has gotten very much more about the deficit cut but what's going to happen when it comes to job and why is wall street getting away with having done all this stuff to the country and they got more bonuses -- >> host: that is a deadlock for the entire time. and the democrats, but democrats have been chasing that for two years stop chasing yet because
occupy wall street and the entire discussion that happened globally gave a lot of strength to democrats. so the president we are going to talk for the campaign but he had more space. washington, d.c. changed on an autopilot prosperity and those young people with no lobbyists, no pact schogol candidates change the discussion in the nation's capital in the world that is an incredible achievement for a bunch of unknown people and struggling folks. so if you have to give them credit for that but here's the downside of it. the tea party, i write about this in the book, the tea party went from protest to politics three quickly. they were protesting and then they were registered voters in the primaries and they supported scott brown and they got the old
seat in massachusetts and the senate and got the filibuster proof majority. >> host: scott brown was voted democrat at the time. >> guest: but at the time that he party was for him and they did an extraordinary job. they went from the energy of protest which is important and they converted that into political power and then they were able to begin to implement their agenda. not always in d.c. but they held it across the country. that is an incredible what she's this from my point of view. occupy wall street is very different. the interested in the defect to the could direct democracy they don't want to register and participate in that way, so it may be is they that they have the impact long-term the and they might have otherwise. how was that their choice? the rest of us who are not occupy years but are concerned about the 99% need to find ways
to begin to fill in the gaps and that is what rebuild the dream about, and that is an organization i helped to lead. >> host: are you saying that it's kind of on its course at this point? >> get joyce lee to be a role for the direct democracy. >> host: into the government in particular. they will make the contributions that there is accretive to deliver the country oppose what they will come up with that they've already done a pretty clear that they don't want. there's an analogy on balk duties to occupy wall street that's like decision, violating coordinating committee back in the 60's and they occupy the lunch counters, they occupied the bosses. the difference though between sncc helped the mississippians occupied the voting booth they ran the voter registration and education programs so they did the direct auction but they also
did the voter engagement. it would be to the 1960's. the occupiers don't want to do the voter registration cards so that does leave a gap. it's not a criticism of them the of the right to do what they will and there is this gap. how do you turn that how do you go from a merger answers and change the conditions under which people in the red states and blue states that is what is left to be done. >> host: on occupiers there was a poll in the books on going to look up the particular poll when occupier was at the height of 66% of americans didn't have an opinion on them and so i -- how poignant to that movement is at the height of the movement
not a lot of people really even like to more disliked him. >> guest: that is the other point. >> host: i suggest that one because you use it in the book. >> guest: i appreciate it. looking at the data on these themes is night and day kind of impact. the idea of the economic inequality. the 99% versus 1% nobody was talking that we believe you can see that pretty much anywhere in the conversation. they are hard to pull off if their sewage of young people that supervise intent. the two-party jury quickly was able to get the support of fox news and other groups funded by
the coax brothers which is their right to do but they were able to come up with a better alignment on the tea party side between the protest and the establishment wing. when you consider no candidates comoletti camano lobbyists to have that kind of impact on the political discussion to talk about them now gives you some sense of their impact. >> host: i know when i was going to ask. you talk about the 99%, talk about occupy wall street. what is the difference? because i think for a lot of people that haven't read this book they think it's the same thing. we are the 99% of course the rallying cry for the occupied wall street is on placards and everywhere.
>> guest: well, i think that you can make a distinction almost logically you kind of have to make a distinction. occupied wall street, those are the people are the occupiers. they basically went down there, some hot pepper spray, they went to the general assembly, they did the check, the he and science, a quarter million people across the country but if you did the polling data in the things the articulate, you have a third of the country agreeing with them. that's 100 million people. 100 million people didn't get coverage, that is clearly another grouping of people not 99% literally but in terms of who agrees about one-third of the country, 109 people, that's kind of like civil rights movement. everybody wasn't going down protesting what they wanted to
see some changes happening in america. so i would say sncc, the protesters are like the occupiers but the 99% of them is much bigger much like the civil rights movement. you could be in a civil rights movement but not be in the coordinating committee. and not be in the naacp. there is a much bigger movement in any one organization. and so, i would make the case in the book that might be smart to think about the 99% movement as being much bigger than just a small number of important dedicated occupiers. >> host: so you want to try to turn this into a 99% into a political operation trimble local level on up. how're you going to do that? >> guest: it is already well under way which is exciting. rebuild kozatreen.com.
>> host: just so we know -- >> guest: the president is called a 99% spring and it includes the afl-cio, move on board, the new bottomline organization which is a bunch of low-income groups that have been challenging the banks and a lot of progress of organizations. and the idea is to begin organizing people to be able to take nonviolent direct action to peacefully protest but also to know what is wrong with our economy and how we could go back to the things that work for it in the last century, and that would -- that is a process the we are a part of. now there are some organizations we have been working with like the progressive majority, like the campaign for america's future and others like the working families that are
recruiting the candidates to run for office and they've been able to successfully recruit the candidates at local level to be able to support. >> host: what are we looking at the local level? >> guest: the city council school board, dogcatcher to congress. the great thing about that is it lets people get involved and we have rebuild the dreamlike.com called the contract for the american dream come and we've had 131,000 people all across the country to come up with some good ideas to get america working again to put the country back to work and back together so the contract of the american
dream has the tenet key ideas of the taxes to bring jobs and medicare, and that becomes one of the basis by which people agree we could go in a different direction to find each other and internet, 300,000 people signed on to it. there's a lot going on. and the book tries to capture this social movement, people power politics that's going on. i think a lot of it gets caught flatfooted because peery is a man to be the nominee and obama comes out of nowhere and then obama is the president he can do whatever he wants. you have austerity for everybody to read the people, we the people are impacting the system and it's not a left-wing or right-wing period come it is changing and we don't know what the outcomes are going to be but we do know that the people power
movement will continue to have an impact and the book is about that. >> host: are you trying to build a foundation for the tea party? >> guest: i think the tea party as a right, they are not a third party, it's a political party like the -- der inside and outside the republican party. so, they can function independently when they want to but also they can be inside when they want to. progressives have nothing like that if you are a strong progressive democrat like myself, you don't have the equivalent. in the democratic party or not. and so i do think that we need a strong organized left wing of the democratic party in the same way that republicans have a strong organized right-wing. i think if we have a little bit more balance people say there's too much partisanship already. no, there's too much excessive
right-wing partisanship. we keep chasing the money down the road and we have abandoned our principles on too many things for too little gain and so i think we need some of us to stick up for our principles. i'm happy to have the the date and if the deal gets cut it is cut between the positions that are clear principles and not one position this unyielding yet another one that is available to be moved without any benefit. >> host: is it going to be difficult to corral because they have a lot of different interests and a lot of different occupied wall street that you have on the title groups that you may the members of the script and the millennials veterans. homeowners are employees and all of these programs a lot of different interest. how do you correlate them to my knowledge or not trying to put
them into one box, but one mission? >> guest: part of it has to do with what we were talking about earlier. how did we build the middle class? was it against the corporation? was a the result of every individual doing everything they wanted to like the economic liberty above everything else with no responsibility to the committee or no respect for america's government? or was there another formula? was it the best of the individual to bring their best and the best of the government in the country and in the next generation plus the best of the business sector? i think the american middle class was created the best invention of the world as the american middle class because the whole world saw it and they started to try to duplicate its but there's a myth that says government isn't the solution,
government is a problem. america's government is this whole thing if they can't do anything right. i don't feel that way. america's government has good things to america's government is the way we build the infrastructure from the interstate to the internet. america's cup format is the way we educate the generations of americans who were able to out compete the world. american government and all those governments that she shelters is a good government. it's got bad parts to it but you can't disrespect american government and say it has no role and should be stopped. we want to cut taxes so much we can shrink america's government to the place we could drown it in the bath tub that isn't a patriotic statement. i don't feel that way. so i think you told the true story of american people, the american century that everyone celebrates, the viewers have a role, the government individuals
have a role. all these different questions had a roll and you can't just take a recon wrecking ball and say i agree with the individual liberty and i'm going to smash down every every institution from public education and that's the way to rebuild america. i disagree with that it's a true story they did it in the official that they were also the neighbors through government to build best country in the world and they respected america's government if you put that story against the americas government it's always the problem we don't want any i think you can get a lot of people together and that is what we need to do. >> host: what is the message you want from the people who read this book to take away from it? >> guest: the most important thing i would say is politics is
not just what happened in washington, d.c.. we the people make a movement that mechem d.c. works of it's not about to vote and hold any more. we have to be post hope with moderates, progresses and independence and people that are more at center. we have to be not vote and hope but its opening of the week to deal with it and get money out into the politics and a budget deficit we have to deal with it with 100% of americans 99% pay freight. >> host: thank you very much. >> guest: think you for the opportunity. >> host: appreciate having you.
the foundation of what became a very deep friendship, the letters between them later in their lives about how one person to become to one another extraordinary. a tribute to christopher hitchens who died december 15th, 2011. the event hosted by "vanity fair" magazine includes mr. hitchens family, friends and colleagues including ian mcewen sean penn, peter hitchens, mr. hitchens widow, carol blue and martin amos. the tribute takes place of the