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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 24, 2013 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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and their natural tradition. and also, i think to a lesser degree the natural tradition were acquaintance. my question to you is when interpreting the constitution since the framers were influenced by several different and occasionally conflicting
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traditions, how do you resolve the differences in what role does the difference between the traditions play in assessing the original meaning of the constitution? >> well, like justice clarence thomas i take the view that the declaration of independence has relevance to the interpretation of the constitution. i know that's a controversial issue that many of my colleagues would exclude the declaration of this not having anything to do with the interpreting any of the bill of rights or whatever. and i take it from the description in the declaration, some of which i quoted that these are principles that have recognizable parentage.
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i derive from those passages the story based on the natural law heritage. but again as i mentioned in my remarks, there's natural law and natural rights. the overlap is probably 95%. it's more of a scientific approach that has been popular among many philosophers. i don't regard it will as confrontational.
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>> i don't think we planned it but these last three questions from the heritage fellows i am one of the co authors. thank for your kind words. i wonder if the problem didn't start earlier if we go back. your comments when he discusses what marriage is, why marriage matters would be contrary to the natural law and in our constitutional reading this has the powers to promote public health, safety and morals and if this wasn't viewed as a subjective preference would object of morality authorized to promote this and with him griswald and tce and lawrence you get a train of cases striking down the state's ability to conduct public morality
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>> that is like another 45 minute lecturer roi. my purpose was to identify the stories and interest in it the active involvement in the natural law theory. where we are today is a deeply cultural issue. the fundamental principle that i hold is it's up to the legislature to make those four terms and departures clearly and overtly and not the job of the judiciary. the judiciary in my view ought
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to be the break. it ought to be no the guide that reminds everybody where we've come from. with the country was created to do and to me in and to take that stand back what is current or popular at the moment because that is going to change whereas the fundamental principles that we originally were founded on really should remain true. [applause] it is now why opportunity to
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present new was what we have developed again as part of our preserving the constitution series culminating in this lecture the defending of the constitutional work and we would like you to take this back as a remembrance of how much we appreciate both the work you have done as a judge and also your excellent presentation this morning. [applause] >> i will treasure this. thank. >> also this may be superfluous but we have the books that are commentaries on the constitution of the united states as it is described and commented on you probably have them already in your library and now you can have them at home as well books
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to be cut. this was thought of by my colleagues but i certainly join with it this is why the constitution of the united states and happens to have a foreword by amy which i want you to understand was not contemporaneous. we can personally meet the judge as allies together and enjoy yourselves. so please join us at the reception now. thank for joining us tonight.
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[inaudible conversations] >> at this hour the house committee is examining website problems associated with of the rollout of the affordable care act. the functionality testifying before the house energy and commerce committee the committee members are questioning officials about what they did or did not know if she was wise prior to the october 1st rollout. you can see that live now on our companion network c-span. also on c-span radio and online at coming up shortly kuran c-span2, the center for the national interest hosts a panel discussion on the consequences of the government shut down for the domestic and international politics and how the republican party should change or focus its
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strategy moving forward. we will have the discussion for you like that about 12:20 eastern on c-span2. in the meantime, representative gene green from this morning's washington journal. democrat texas sits on the energy and commerce health subcommittee on an important committee as the energy and commerce today at 9 a.m. eastern time will be hearing from the top contractor to put together the website. what are your concerns with the rollout of the federal insurance exchange? >> well, we have had glitches and big problems. we have the highest percentage of on injured in the country. houston is one of the highest congressional districts in the country with people who work but don't get insurance through their employer to it so the
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rollout of the affordable care act is important in texas and in my district in particular. we've done defense and we are going to do more to help. but the computer glitches as they are called will find out the day from the floor of the contractors and next week we will have a sector on human services. secretaries sebelius. when the house passed the prescription drug plan in 2003, that was on the republican majority. we have an oversight hearing. first oversight hearing in march of 2006 and some of hists same headlines we are seeing now we heard on the rollout of the prescription drug plan for seniors and now we are talking about the vastly increased number of people. >> given your concerns the administration said late last night that they will delay the penalty by six weeks. give an extension before people would see that $95 fine for not getting insurance. >> they had that authority.
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i'm glad they are willing to take it because here we are almost first month in to it and we haven't had the success in being able to rollout the internet for example. we did it in 2003 for the seniors with prescription drugs and now we have a lot more. i am hoping folks can get together to go to very quickly because in our district we are going to do it then and in november. now they're telling as our local navigators that we are going to have to give it a white paper. but it's much easier to show options and things like that if you are on a computer screen. >> these problems persist and people cannot enroll on the web site. are you open to a delay of the individual mandate? >> you need to separate the individual mandate is important because in texas we are required to have liability insurance.
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the individual mandate is part of the law and of course that could be delayed but all i want to first see where we are at and encourage people to go and sign up even if you have to sign up with paper. we will see over the next few months how it works but a penalty will be waived for the six weeks. again, we have to be flexible. we want to make it work. we don't want to penalize somebody because they can't get a product because the service is not their fault. >> the secretary will be testifying next week. but the first hearing from is the mistake that she won't be there today? >> i wish she could but there was a scheduling issue we and i thought that we would put off today's hearing and hear from the secretary first. although there are some reasons why let's talk to the four major contractors and from the
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information line receiving they are going to blame each other and then maybe we will have the testimony so we can then have questions based on their testimony for the secretary next week. >> host: the blame game has begun with the contractors ultimately it was the government's responsibility to get this right. >> that's true although historically the federal government doesn't have a good track record of buying computer programming. i remember a number of years ago we spend hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade the irs and from my understand that system has never worked. if we are going to learn anything from this there are some bad headlines and we need to get the procurement system. we should have learned that in 03 and we are going to learn it here in 2013.
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>> democrats were briefed by hhs officials about the rollout and the website. what did you learn? >> we have a caucus meeting and i basically learned from being on the committee it was some of the things we had been working on to follow because we had been working in texas we have a national exchange in texas. the state didn't decide to take part of it so that is one of the problems. the national one is having problems with the states to pick up their own exchange as we are seeing success in maryland, california, even in kentucky's that is having success and rollouts so maybe we need to look at what is happening in the states. >> house speaker john boehner said yesterday that the honeymoon is over and people are starting to others their insurance. people are getting kicked off the preparation for the exchange for the marketplace. >> i don't think there was ever
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a honeymoon. i don't think the majority now in the house ever was married to the affordable care act. we voted in the last three years 40 something times to repeal it. we are having our first real oversight on how the rollout is. until now the kennedy and health subcommittee has only had healing hearings to repeal its. we should have been doing it earlier. >> host: what did the hhs tell you when the website and glitches will be fixed? usa today made a reference organized by the white house to deal with the problems. >> guest: they are bringing the best in the country right now. i wish that had been done earlier but kennedy did have a hearing in september with the same contractors and they said they were going to be ready in september but obviously they
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were on october 1st and yolly are the end of october and they are still not ready to the i want to hear from the contractors why they told us they were ready in september. they pay a lot of money to be able to do this. host koza there is no time line yet of when this will be fixed? >> guest: if i could say it would be fixed by next tuesday i would want it fixed right now. maybe we will get back next week when we hear from the secretary. i don't think we will hear that today from the contractors. >> republican collar. hello, david. >> caller: good morning. i have attended some of your meetings and i have attended for some of ms. jackson lee. i've got to give you an example of what is taking place here.
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soon after obamacare passed, $321 a month health care premium which included medicare and prescription drugs went to $528 a month. the next year it went to $727 a month and i just been notified starting in january i would be paying somewhere in the range of $12,000 a year for my health care. i'm 70-years-old, single, excellent health why are the premiums so high? >> guest: the affordable care act does nothing to hinder medicare or the supplementals we have to buy from medicare.
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so i can't tell you only have to admit before the affordable care act, the supplementals are not regulated by the federal government. the policies you get certain different levels. now other states have their own regulations, but your increase in the supplementals has nothing to do with the affordable care act. we are over 65. we have to sign up for medicare even if we are in congress. >> we believe this morning's portion of the washington journal to go live to the national interest posting a panel discussion on the consequences of the government shut down for domestic and international politics and how the republican party should change or focus its strategy moving forward. this is live coverage on c-span2
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[inaudible conversations] >> i'm the editor of the national interest and we have convened this meeting because of the crisis that we recently experienced. we had a standoff between president obama and the congressional republicans. in a number of questions have emerged from that crisis including but not limited to the future of the republican party itself, the impact on america's
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image abroad and what it implies for the duration of president obama's presidency. to answer some of the questions or to attempt to address them we have assembled a distinguished panel here today including david king, the former chairman of the american conservative union and the current opinion editor of the "the washington times". david is a veteran, political observer and has participated in republican party politics for several decades. to my immediate right is one ramina, the hermann fellow on federal budgetary affairs. the road institute for economic policy studies, the heritage foundation. she will address some of the economic implications of the
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crisis. to my immediate left is dmitri at the national interest which is the parent organization of the national interest magazine to it and dmitri will talk about some of the implications internationally for the united states. then to my left is my friend and colleague who was the former editor of the national interest also the editor of congressional quarterly for many years and he'll talk about some of the domestic implications of the crisis. i would like to kick off by asking bob to give us some of his thoughts to the disconnect thank. it is a pleasure to be here. i like to think that i bring a perspective of distance to this past crisis. as many of you know i spent time
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on the west coast where i concentrate on projects and so i was looking at washington from a distance during the shutdown and i found myself asking a question what would mark twain say about all of this? and i think i know based on one of my favorite quotes in which he illuminated on the intellectual capacity. the average flee can be trained to do anything that congress can i was looking at the crisis in terms of two things. number one is this a crisis in terms of what it could actually generate a default and what
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explains the behavior in washington? looking at just a few headlines from that period gives you a sense of just what kind of a crisis it was warning of global risk leaders urging to solve the debt limit crisis these were from the world bank and the imf who suggested a massive disruption of the world over was in prospect. from the financial times a piece by david lee, professor of economics in china beijing should cut back its lending to washington. from the "los angeles times", china calls for dollars to be replaced as a global reserve currency. from the "washington post" the u.s. debt crisis as the chinese call for the d americanized world. so obviously, we were in a zone of danger and haven't raised the
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question how could washington politicians be so stupid. i think the problem with the question and much of the analysis that sort of surrounded that was that it assumed there was no fundamental connection between the political machinations in washington and with what is percolating and bubbling up in the country at large. there is such a connection in the country as jake said was in crisis is not going to be over any time soon and anything in washington is a reflection of what is in fact percolating in the country at large and one headline in "the washington post" over the byline of the brookings institution ran in "the wall street journal" the tea party and the gop crackup.
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now one, she's not a republican but she wrestled the peace some years ago in which he talked about various political traditions in america and identified the jacksonian tradition which is encompassed certain tenants that are described as self-reliance, individualism, loyalty, courage. i think among the recent politicians in america, one who would reflect the jacksonian credo would be jim webb, the former senator from virginia. it encompasses the suspicion of the federal power, skeptical skepticism towards do goodism and high taxation with favorability towards social security and medicare because
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they are viewed rightly or wrongly to the significance and the antiely test -- elitest. the team party is fearful and in full revolt against the new elite backed by the new american demography that threatens its interest and score runs its values. interviewed obama as a sort of having a conscious strategy of building political support by increasing america's dependence on government. and the tea party conducted by the pure research center and
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others suggest these people consider obama and is pushing america towards socialism. that is not entirely wrong so this is a powerful strain in american politics that has antecedents in the political tradition it may not be a big majority but 1828 until the civil war met in terms of dominating the american thinking but in these days the reasons having to do with the crisis at hand is very intensely held with a very political beliefs and therefore the political force. the people in the media suggest
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these people just need to get over it. the country has moved beyond them. and often sometimes you hear some kind of adjective suggesting that they are a pejorative that ranks with almost any kind of a pejorative you couldn't just go at an ethnic group. but they don't have to get over it. maybe history isn't on their side. probably demographics of the country isn't on their side. but the american political tradition is on their side. they don't have to get over it because they can cross their points of view as thorough as any other group for alignment with him a political spectrum. so what is this question that is pushing america into this crisis
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that has to do with a definition of america? are we going to move into more of a european-style social space ethos in the system to retain was something closer to the free enterprise, free market concept that exemplified let us say in our lifetime most strongly by ronald reagan i don't know the answer to that it's a question and it's a profound question and it has america in its grip. and as a result of that america has washington and its aggressive and has become dysfunctional. and as a result of that we have such things as the crisis of the government will shut down.
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we salles let crisis with a very temporary band-aid, therefore we are going to be back very, very soon and i think this has a long way to play out before we know which strachan america is going to go. >> thank for the remarks. it reminds me of a piece in "the new york times" a few weeks ago by sam tannin house are doing the best the tea party could do was precisely what ted cruce was arguing that the republicans should in fact, or from their own interest perspective should function best as an obstruction force rather than trying to push legislation through. david, i would like to turn to you and say where is the gop headed and where should they go and why shouldn't be counted out? as the elephant have some life left in its limbs? >> there's plenty left
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particularly in the two-party system. in the course of the last few decades, the republican party has been counted out has been in and ready to be buried several times. after the 1964 election when the conservative goldwater writes took control of the party, time and newsweek carried coverage saying the republican party was dead. four years later the republican party took the white house. in 1974 the same covers appeared with television programs talking about how the republican party was dead. and in fact, republicans actually held meetings to discuss changing the name of their party because no one would ever vote for a republican again. six years later republicans were at the white house. so this is not something that's new. it's something that goes on. remember when george h. w. bush was elected there was a talk
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about what was called the republican lock. all of a sudden things switched and they said no democrat would ever be elected in our lifetime because of the electoral bloc as it was referred to in the media. a few years later bill clinton was president. so in the two-party system which both parties are prone to screw things up fairly well and find themselves unable in some cases or many cases to deliver on their promises or to perform as adequately as the people that put them in office expect them to perform or simply because people get tired of them. the other party has a chance to come back. i think the republican party is in a pretty good position. right now if you look the talk is of the surveys that show that republicans got more blame for the crisis of the shutdown and democrats if this means republicans are in trouble, history by the fall of next year
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when the congressional off-year elections take place. this isn't going to be something that many people are going to vote on. it will have much impact and that is what history shows. also, while it is a crisis in a sense, it's not the existential crisis that folks have talked about. the coverage of this one, of this shut down and i think bob is correct that the fault lines here is in some ways more significant but shut down itself was not significantly different than the previous shutdowns other than the fact the executive branch decided to make as much visible pain as they cut for people for average americans outside of washington so that they could argue rationally that this was a real crisis. the president argued that never before had this kind of situation occurred where one party tried to put something on
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to a continuing resolution of such importance. in fact the government shut down four times under ronald reagan and three times over the missile which as i recall was a fairly significant debate that took place in those days and certainly it was as controversy was anything that we talked about now. the champion president that suffers through shutdowns of course was jimmy carter who still holds the record for the longest and over the amendment about abortion. if those were insignificant questions that these presidents are able to bring to the table to solve one wonders about the devotee of this president to do the same. jim baker the former chief of staff to ronald reagan who later became secretary of state come secretary treasury rights and talks about the fact when reagan was president and shut down the immediately called a brigety to
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get for an iron things out relatively quickly and got things moving again. that didn't happen during this one. and it's the kind of rhetorical crisis that could become real. because for example in alan greenspan's but he talks about one of his feelings of other economists coming up to the economic collapse of a few years ago was perhaps the underestimated the importance of psychology performance on the part of investors and others when it comes to economic decision making. we are looking too much at the economic facts. what we have this time is a white house that has argued that this is such an existential crisis that the entire world economy could collapse as a result of something that happened many times before. as we approach the debt limit, the assumption if one reads the daily newspapers or watching cbs or the other networks is that if
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in fact we don't extend the debt limit by whatever time the secretary sets and that varies from week to week the world economy will collapse because we will renege on our obligations and the fact is of course there's revenue coming in but that wouldn't necessarily happen unless the president decided to rearrange the bills he squinted pay so that when the house of representatives voted recently to pass legislation the would require the payment of our international obligations of the sort the president said if i got to his desk he would veto because he wants that leverage and he wants to scare both voters in this country and people abroad. greenspan is right and if psychology matters, that could turn a political rhetorical crisis into a real economic crisis and as people react not to the reality of what might
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happen, but to the political bantering and the back-and-forth that takes place in this country. and it's interesting. to add one other thing when we get into these kind of battles, "the new york times" some years ago when obamacare passed praised those democrats who because they believe so strongly in it that they were willing to look for it even though it probably meant that they would lose their seats as he rose, many women of conscience when republicans who believe as strongly that there was something wrong with it and it would take the country in the wrong direction "the new york times" said they were fools because they were risking their seats. the fact is sometimes courage and he knows depend upon where you stand and where you want the country to go. as of the people that agree with you our heroes and people that oppose you and disagree with you are fools. and that sort of characterization dominates them. what's interesting to me is once the partisanship ended, once the shutdown ended.
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within the last 24 hours six democratic senators said what we need to do is delay obamacare for a year because it isn't working and because it's a disaster. those democrats and all the other democrats in the senate a week ago said delaying obamacare for a year would destroy everything but now when you remove the partisanship, when you remove that they said we look at this and we better do something about it. most americans in the polls that i referred to earlier blame the republicans for the shutdown. today the national poll cannot 51% of americans want obamacare repealed. so the fight between these two sides is not going to end either over this or many of the letter issues that are going to dominate american politics for the next decade. >> now i will turn to the
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remina. >> congress did what it does well, it didn't do anything. the deal that passed it did end of the government shut down, the first one we've had in over 17 years, but only by setting up another battle in january. the deal suspended the debt ceiling without any reforms to slow the growth in entitlement spending which as we all know is driving our spending and debt crisis, and we won't know by how much the debt limit was listed until february 8th because there is no actual dollar limit right now on the debt. effectively there is no debt limit in place. next week the 29 members of the budget conference committee will hold their first meeting. the committee faces a deadline on december 13th to come up with recommendations to present to the full house and senate in a report. the first priority of course would be to figure out
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government funding past january 15th because on that day sequestration, the automatic budget cuts that were passed in 2011 as the debt limit was raised by $2.1 trillion -- by the way of that happened within a year and a half, but those cuts are to be phased in over ten years through 2021. the sequester would kick in again on that day. what is important to keep in mind as the budget conference committee starts negotiating is that we do have a crisis with debt in this country. it projects without any fiscal restraint, the public debt would lead 100% of gross domestic product in less than one generation by 2028. academic research increasingly come firms the dangers for economic growth that slowing to have public debt levels this high. fiscal uncertainty moreover is
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among the key drivers holding back growth in the u.s. today, that and the president's health care law which appeared ten times in the recent federal reserve book which summarizes the concerns of businesses in the 12th federal reserve districts. businesses were reporting yet again that uncertainty over increases in health care premiums and the offer will care act regulations were keeping them from hiring and especially hiring full-time workers. concerns over the 2,000 page law that barely any lawmaker read before they voted on it also known as obamacare is affecting the american economy, americans in general and what it does to change the size and scope of the federal government. these were at the core of the recent government shut down. house republicans but refused funding for the implementation of obamacare and the president and senate decided to keep the
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government partially shut down until they were able to get funding but the stage was set for the challenge back in 2010 when president obama and the senate allies decided to hijack a budget process mechanism called a reconciliation to run through law without popular or even bipartisan support. and if you look at the history of the united states, no equally major change in social policies, not social security, not medicare even the civil rights act was able to be successful over the long term without any bipartisan support. president obama and his allies decided to enact health care law with just a 51 vote purely partisan majority and that's why we have this funding challenge now because we have a majority of republicans in the house that controlled the purse strings and it's within their constitutional
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rights to deny funding to law that they do not agree with. the founders of this great nation wanted there to be broad consensus before the laws were passed. the neither wanted a single person nor a single chamber of commerce to be able to impose its will on the public. so they deliberately defined the system with checks and balances the required agreements between both of the house, the senate and the president that can only be produced by compromise. but compromise was all but absent during the recent shutdown as president obama repeatedly and publicly refused even to negotiate. one of the checks in our system is there is a two-part system first as enacting the law and second is funding in each and every year. if congress can overturn, they can stop funding. that's part of our constitutional system and it's not new and it's what happened this time and why we have a
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government shutdown. the house made several attempts trying to force the compromise, trying to fund the entire government but not obamacare or certain provisions of obamacare like deily and the individual mandate which we heard the administration is now even considering delaying it for six weeks as the exchanges, especially the web exchanges have proven to be completely unworkable. even so, the administration was using the shutdown as leverage to push -- pressure the house republicans into a funding bill law because even attempt to reopen parts of the government for almost all rejected. and i quote here from "the wall street journal" a senior administration officials said we are winning. it doesn't matter to us how long shutdown lasts because what matters is the end result. so the house caved in on
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october 16th and voted to fund obamacare to reopen the government and the also suspended the debt ceiling until february 7th. now in the meantime our deficits are more than half a trillion dollars and before the end of the decade they will rise back up 2 trillion-dollar levels. the congressional budget office projects that even with very modest increases in interest rates with the federal government pays to service its debt will double in less than five years and a triple before the end of the decade. there's a broad bipartisan agreement that entitlement spending is up the core of the spending and debt challenge we face as a country. this is true from the president's fiscal commission which he ignored to just about every economist out there. the sooner the lawmakers come to terms with our fiscal reality and start the process of forming programs like social security, medicare and medicaid, the more deliberate and a thoughtful those reforms can be.
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bye judging how far apart the house and senate budget proposals were, however, i think it seems very likely that washington would continue this cycle of passing the deals that failed to fix the problem and will continue to have this discussion likely again next year. thank >> we will now turn to dmitri, the head of the national interest. >> i was in russia about a month ago and september when the president vladimir putin was supposed to be one of the panelists but appointed himself the moderator and began asking other panelists questions and one to me he asked what is going
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to happen with the u.s. debt situation? is it going to be something that the u.s. government will allow to go out of control and i give some assurances that this would not happen, that [inaudible] to not quite out of the woods yet but that the situation would be resolved. putin looked and then the audience of about 200 people including the former finance minister said what do we have now? what part of the currency is in u.s. dollars? he said about 50%. putin looked at everybody in the
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room and he said we are out of date [inaudible] and then at the small dinner, putin came back to the same topic again. he said you will need to understand the united states will because of the american economy doesn't do well, it affects us. but he also said we have to draw our conclusions and it was fairly clear to me that he was not just talking about conclusions in terms of what percentage of our russian currency reserves would be in u.s. dollars but that it would be a broad conclusion about the nature of the global leadership.
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recently at the summit that president obama decided not to attend, putin was very magnanimous in that he said it's understandable president obama is not here in the circumstances to the edify was and is another situation, i probably would not come also. it is deadly. [laughter] the chinese were also quite outspoken and they were not holding their punches. they were making it quite clear they regret president obama not only as a problem but as an opportunity to remind everybody that china was a rising superpower.
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and whatever reason he could not offer the world economic leadership, china was there and willing to act. [inaudible] not only among the staunchest american allies, but very reluctant to criticize the united states became also outspoken. today the national interest online by a very outspoken and very political chinese academics and former ambassadors to the united nations is very critical tell the united states and more specifically the administration handles the current crisis. that is not unusual. he is an outspoken intellectual. what is unusual is that the
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senior members of the government for using almost exactly the same language raising the questions about the leadership will. this is already disturbing in what president obama is saying about the seriousness of the crisis of the shutdown for the american global positions except it isn't quite that simple. if you would be watching bbc today as i was doing this morning, you would know that the big story in europe is u.s. spying on chancellor merkel, and before that of course spying on french citizens, and before that spying on the european union offices in brussels and so it
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goes. as a lot of explanations are coming from the obama administration there are a lot of denial so. there is no access to classified information. but i know one thing for sure, it really smells. it smells of a very major way affecting the fundamental image of the united states in the world what and there is no escape from that. there's also no escapes from us, the united states not really looking serious in the way this administration approaches foreign policy. red wines and syria is a perfect example. i can't understand for a second why president obama declared during the hearing that president al-assad had to go.
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i don't understand why he had to say that. president al-assad of course [inaudible] not aware at least the station never made evidence that public debate to president al-assad was acting against the united states. to the best of my knowledge we had a diplomatic relations with al-assad and the current secretary of state. so the question was why is it that it was an independent country, not an american colony why would the president of the united states be saying that al-assad had to go unless we have a specific plan to remove him? and that of course quite similar in the case of egypt and other countries where he was saying that mubarak had to go and the
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situation in egypt where mubarak had him in power again and the administration doesn't seem [inaudible] but in the case of syria there were indications of chemical weapons and was that al-assad had to go and you would not expect this year in opposition to negotiate seriously with al-assad. is the president of the united states announced that he had to go. we heard in this very room a senior parliamentarian close to the government telling us how turkey decided to support the syrian uprising while they decided to do it after obama spoke and said that al-assad had to go because they decided that from washington statement by the
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president of the united states would do something to get rid of us thought we. and then we got this red wine about chemical weapons. and chemical weapons are terrible. i think anyone would agree with that. i have only one question, if it happens to be al qaeda would you tell the relatives of those who were murdered on september 11th, would you tell them that their relatives who were murdered were morally superior to the use of chemical weapons i think the libyan offensive statement for anyone to make. but the president has established those red lines and then of course al-assad has crossed those red lines and what have we done mukluks we have
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done virtually nothing. and then of course we have this remarkable initiative we are putting together with russia. some say better late than never seen him. we were told by the obama administration that the president did not have to have a separate summit with putin because there was nothing to discuss. and then of course we were told during the june 20 it was a very meaningful encounter and so what we hear from the officials both in washington and moscow indeed it wasn't a very involved conversation. and that was what the
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administration claims that this idea six is what the administration wanted to do all along with a diplomatic victory. if that is what the administration wanted to do all along why would he go to a summit with president putin in moscow, take some criticism because of the war snowden affair which the of the mysteries and also mishandled, criticizing them publicly what [inaudible] trying to have private discussions between the two presidents of how to get it resolved preferably on american terms. but so the president decides not to go to moscow, not to have a negotiation with putin. if the chemical weapons was a
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pretty, the president had to go there and then wouldn't of the humiliation in london or the british parliament acting against their own prime minister. we wouldn't have the physician in washington where obama would have to discover that his own congress wouldn't support the intervention and syria. the bottom line is this administration doesn't seem to have a serious foreign policy. it doesn't make foreign policy priority. i don't understand why the president did not go to the summit. if he decided not to negotiate with the republicans -- putin himself above the battle and that it is up to the congress to work out the difficulties. i think if the foreign policy would be a priority for the president, the responsible thing to do would be for him to go and
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to insure the other leaders the crisis would be resolved and that america remains the only superpower talking about american exceptional was some only several weeks ago when the administration clearly does not think that if you are talking about being an exceptional you have to act responsibly because otherwise those words have no meaning. when senator obama in 2008 began one primary after another, the future -- michelle obama said this was the first time she was proud of america.
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when she was questioned about the statement it was remarkable over the presidential contender, particularly who was already the center and they said no she was misquoted. what she really said, she explained, was this was the first time she was really proud of america. ..
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>> that what they were doing was an exercise in futility. what i think that the paramount disability was the foreign policy, and for the fiscal solvency, this is the responsibility of the president of the united states. and they have to say that this performance during this crisis and before this crisis was an -- was unexceptional at best. >> well, we -- on that note, i think we have a good basis for stimulating question and answer session here. and i will forgo the opportunity to ask right away and let the audience fire away. who's going to be first?
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[inaudible conversations] >> presidents nixon, ford and reagan -- [inaudible] national interest. politically, and i think dmitri already addressed this to a certain extent, i would be curious how the rest of the panel feels. didn't this shutdown defeat the very purpose that some of the leaders of it said it was; that is, didn't it distract from the discussion of an effective medical health policy and make the gop the issue, the heavy? the shutdown, which people didn't approve of, the paramount issue. for that reason now that it's over and it's going to go away, i think things are going to refocus on health. but didn't this just postpone what they were trying to do, and
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that was to launch a serious discussion on the issue of the health program on which the american people are largely on their side, and they actually use reverse judo, they flip the american people to where the american people were opposed to them in congress. seemed to be rather stupid. and i happened to be last night at a gathering, a conservative gathering, the american spectator's annual dinner where ted cruz was speaking, and he's already starting with the sort of, the german post-world war i stab in the back, if only a few more of my colleagues in the senate would have gone with me, we would have prevailed. so there seems to be a little bit of a disruptive streak in the gop although judging from the audience's reaction which was not that big for cruz last night, i think there's a sane shakedown taking place. just curious how various members of the possible feel. >> david. >> sure. >> the answer to your question is yes and no. yes, the subject got changed to the shutdown, but, no, in spite
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of all of the difficulties with the cruz approach which was an approach based on no real expectation of winning though he claimed that he was going to win, he had no end game. but the discussion itself as the recent polls show did increase hostility to obamacare. the challenge that he faced because there was no end game was does the immediate reaction to the shutdown which was blamed on him -- and, remember, the only two shutdowns that have created this kind of hostility have been the '90s shutdown with gingrich where it was blamed on him and this one where it's blamed on the republicans. the other ones were just taken as the game, part of what we do because the two bodies, the legislative and exthetive branch have different -- executive branch have different means of exerting leverage. so the question is in the long run if it was to hurt, does that go away? the betting is that it probably
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does go away. what cruz did do is set the table for the -- and it's not just cruz, but others as well -- set the table for the 2014 offyear elections. they may not vote on the shutdown, but they may well be voting on obama care, taxes and jobs. and so in that sense he probably made the republican position stronger. think about this division within the party. he, if you personify the two sides, membership mcconnell and ted cruz -- mitch mcconnell and ted cruz, mcconnell saying you're splitting the party, if you're in peoria, what did you see? you saw these two republicans arguing about who hated obamacare most. you didn't get into all these details, you didn't understand it. and then you looked at the fella next to you and said, well, i don't like it much either. so i don't think in the long run it hurts unless it becomes a personal civil war. and the comment that senator cruz made yesterday and the comments that some of mitch
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mcconnell's allies are making are dangerous. these guys don't have to send christmas cards to each other. they do have to pretend that they get along and they're part of the same party be they expect to get what they need to change policy, and that would be votes, that would be control of the senate or at least close enough so that they can get a couple of democratic senators to go with them. if they do that, then they accomplish something. if they don't do that, they accomplish nothing. >> one of the questions that i had maybe for david and bob was that it was dick chainny who said -- cheney who said deficits don't matter. and the republican party has two wings on economics, one is the calvin coolidge, herbert hoover pretty dour, grim focus on reducing deficits and cutting spending, and the other one is
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more optimistic message of reagan and focusing on economic growth is the way to prosperity and the way to cutting the deficit. and the argument today which seems to be being ceded to the democratic party is that growth is the optimistic path. and republican party really viably sell deficit cutting? is that a positive message to deliver to the american public? or are they making a mistake? should they be focusing more on cutting taxes and increasing growth as a way to reduce unemployment? >> bob? >> well, i think that growth is the key in political terms. go back to the republican party, the famous article in the national observer in which he talked about the two santa claus theory, the democratic santa claus wants to give you all these goodies at travis, and the republican -- at christmas, and
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the republican santa claus ought to be giving you tax cuts to generate growth and to use that to idiom in the political arena. the problem is, he says, the republicans had been the tax collectors for the democratic goodies, so the republicans became scrooge. and it was reagan who basically turned that around. he didn't turn that around because he didn't care about deficits, and i'm going to say just a little bit about that in a moment. he turned it around because he cared about what his priorities were. he wanted to get the country moving again, and his fed chairman was squeezing the heck out of the economy because of the inflation problem, and he needed to generate some growth, and that was his tax plan. in '76 he didn't run on any kind of significant tax-cutting plan, he was of the original kind of republican that we're talking about. but with when you think about what reagan accomplished there and how george herbert walker
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bush kind of reversed it, in his last budget proposal for his last year that went up to congress, he had that deficit down. we talk about the reagan deficits. that deficit was down to less than 3% of gdp which is a manageable level. and then it went and shot back up under george herbert walker bush. and george herbert walker bush never bought the growth concept that reagan brought. so growth has got to be the key. and with enough growth you can deal with the deficit problem, and that's, that's the reagan lesson that is certainly lost by the people who look down on reagan in historical terms, but lost on a lot of people including dick cheney, i believe, who is basically -- became cavalier about deficits. i don't think that's very smart. but to take deficit as your focus is also not politically smart. >> david?
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>> oh, i would agree with that. in a sense, of course, cheney's comments were taken out of context because they came at a time when the deficit was significantly lower than it is today, and he was saying, basically, what reagan did, that growth is the important thing. you know, years ago milton friedman took the position that because of the nature of the two parties, one promising all these things and the other one's paying it, that what the republicans ought to do, what the conservatives ought to do -- this was back in the '60s and '70s -- is get off this job of raising money so the democrats could pass out gifts to the public and say we're not going to worry about that. he said because nobody would let t the deficits go completely out of control. well, he was wrong about that one. but they were talking at a different time, in a different context. but you're absolutely right, and that is that growth has to be the key. and there has been and historically the debt, the
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deficit -- do you remember hubert humphrey used to say it doesn't mean anything. now we owe it to china or perhaps other nations. but it wasn't that big, and the average voter had no context in which to think this is good, bad or indifferent, so it was never a voting issue. that's changed in the last few years because of the size of what's going on and the sense in the country that we're really on the wrong track fiscally and economically. so that's not an argument against pro-growth policies because they are essential as is the optimism that goes with them, but now there's a sense that those deficits may make pro-growth policies unworkable because they take too much and suck too much out of the private sector. so i think that it's, i think that the world has changed and the thinking of average americans has changed to some degree on these issues so that you've got to combine both. >> may i -- >> sure, go ahead. >> the deficit is just the
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result of the difference between our spending and revenues, and the real problem is the rapid expansion of the size of government as the entitlement, entitlement state is expanding. and we cannot grow our way out of this because as the federal government keeps growing in size and how many resources it consumes in the economy, that is going to affect growth in a very negative way. these high levels of public debt that we're facing in less than one generation academic research confirms that they, there's a high correlation with low growth as you get to these high levels of debt. and that's a problem we can only resolve with entitlement reforms. and that's what we need to be doing. of course we want pro-growth policies as well, but we cannot ignore this problem because it will swallow the economy if we do. >> mike? >> thanks. mike desh, the university of notre dame.
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i wonder if there isn't a disconnect between the debate within the beltway on this issue -- >> why don't you take the mic. >> oh, thank you. in terms of the details of policy as opposed to how the events of the past few weeks are viewed both in terms of majority of the american public and most opinion abroad. and i think there's a bit of a danger of having, you know, sort of two fine-grained -- too fine-grained analysis of what the problem is and missing the fact that i think the lesson of most people outside washington have taken from this is a more general lesson, and that's a lack of confidence that our political system is up to the challenge of dealing with big problems like this. and if that's the issue then sort of arguing about, well, you
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know, whether it's, you know, spending, outstripping resources misses the larger cost that the country has been forced to pay as a result of the spectacle of the system not being able to address that in the first place. and isn't that the fundamental issue we've got to wrestle with? >> well, i think it's a fundamental issue. i was looking at the president obama at one of his appearances during the shutdown, and he looked to me like abraham lincoln, that he felt the same sense of righteousness, commitment, dedication. the only problem with that, of course, that president lincoln, with all due respect, had to go through civil law. 600,000 americans had to die in the process. more during in any other war the
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united states has ever conducted. as i said, you cannot do whatever it is in your country a majority, a significant minority, you can hot do to them -- cannot do to them without encountering very stiff resistance, without trying to compromise, without treating them as your difficult partners, rather as an adversary. and i think that what we have seen is a reflection of this fundamental disconnect between the obama administration and the very significant part of the american middle class, particularly the white middle class which clearly feels that they are at the receiving end of barack obama redistribution crusade. again, i completely agree with --
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[inaudible] that doesn't make what some in the house and in the senate tried to do because that was counterproductive, and that was playing games with national prestige and, indeed, national solvency. but you have to understand that this was not an artificial crisis. this -- [inaudible] when there was a bridge too far, the administration wanted to push not only on the obamacare, but immigration reform. environmental issues. election laws. the supreme court have decided, as we all know, that the states have greater flexibility in establishing their own electoral laws. what eric holder, the obama administration attorney general,
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does, he goes straight to court to challenge same states, sorry, for their electoral practices using some legal technicality. now, of course, on one level it is perfectly legal. on another level you don't understand that this administration would do whatever they can to have their own way. if the supreme court is not on their styled, they will try -- on their side, they will try something else. if the citizens of massachusetts elect a senator which was opposed to the obamacare, the administration would try some legal maneuver in the senate. the this may be perfectly legal, but that alienates a considerable part of the nation. and you know what some of these people are new to politics, some of these people are being energized. they're not very sophisticated yet. they sometimes eliminate
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candidates which are not quite ready for prime time. what i think that what these people are trying to do oz you were saying -- as you were saying is a part of a much broader disconnect in this nation. and we have to take it very seriously. it was not just some artificial crisis between house republicans in the administration. it reflects a fundamental disagreement inside the american society. >> [inaudible] >> sure. >> you're right about the disconnect. think about it. out there in the country the average american thinks that we're on the wrong path in a lot of different ways, that there are all kinds of these problems and that in washington there are a bunch of clowns from both parties who don't listen to 'em, can't do anything and quibble about things they don't understand. and so from that sense this just
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makes -- just alienates them further. the reason, whether you agree or disagree with them, the reason that cruz and these folks got the popular support they did out there is because of that frustration, because of the fact that they want somebody to tell 'em, look, there's a simple answer to this. let's just do it. and that's really what he's saying. and that these other guys are weak, i can fix it for you. i remember back in 1976, this was a foreign policy question, but when ronald reagan was running against gerry ford in the primaries. and reagan had had in his speeches time and time again reference to the panama canal. you remember, we built it, we bought it, it's our, and we're going to keep it. it did not resonate until one night in florida when it blew the roof off of the place he was speaking to the extent that reagan, who never lost his place, was stymied. he did not expect the applause lines there. when they looked back on it, it had nothing to do with the panama canal, it had to do with
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the come to applications of foreign policy at the time, mozambique. if you got into any issue, you had to have a book shelf of why what you were doing was right or wrong. and so reagan came along and said you may not get that, but by god, you can get this. and that was the response to it. what cruz is doing in a sense is the same thing. he's saying don't listen to these guys who say it's complicated. don't listen to all that. just oppose it. and it may be wrong, and it may be counterproductive. it works because of what you talked about. it works in a political sense because it's a populist appeal to the frustrations of people who have every right to be frustrated and every right to be upset about the way things are in washington. what's the response to the tea party people when they get upset about spending? you have 18 people in washington say, well, that doesn't mean anything, what's their plan? it's not the job of the american people to come up with the plan. it's the job of the american people to say we don't like this
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or we do like it. we hired you guys to come up with the plan and implement it. now you do it, but that's not the way our elected officials react to public pressure. they say, well, if you don't like what you're doing, you come up with a plan. that's not the way the system works or should work. >> i must say professor desh has told you right, that governmental dysfunction in washington can become a significant issue out in the country very issue in and of itself can become significant. there is a large prospect that in the country a lot of people will not necessarily tie that to what else is going on in the country in terms of the big mix of sentiments and pressures and forces and desires that constitute the american electorate. but in washington they can't be separated because the only way you can address them is by understanding that they are one and the same, and this gets to my thesis about presidential
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leadership in america. when the country's in crisis, and any country goes through crisis on a pretty regular basis, the only way in our system -- not necessarily in a parliamentary system -- but the only way in our system that you can really address the crisis is through presidential leadership or not at all. and what does that mean? it means that the president, the person whose positioned to do this and the only person who's positioned to do this must scramble up the political fault lines, must find new coalitions to break the deadlock that is the reason, the genesis of the crisis. in our particular case, i happen to believe that it's a profound deadlock, and it's really got us in gridlock, deadlock to gridlock in terms of our politics. now, can obama, president obama do that? not now. he had an opportunity to do that, i believe, when he was elected in the sense that what ronald reagan did, what franklin
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roosevelt did, what in his own way abraham lincoln did, certainly jefferson, jackson, they did these scrambled up, and they brought these new coalitions together, and then they were able to move the country beyond that deadlock. i think that president obama squander ored one of the great -- squandered one of the great opportunities for a president to do that. of he's not going to have another chance, certainly not now in this climate, and so we're going to have to wait for the next president. can the next president do it? not clear. but we're going to be bumping along in crisis in this country, probably deepening crisis, until we get the presidential leadership that can do that. >> well, we have a bunch of questions on both sides. i will start with general boyd and then jeffrey, and then i'll start working down this side of the room. >> where at the risk of piling on what these four speakers now
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have agreed is the sort of winter of our discontent, i think we can quantify that by a question that's been asked by the american national election study group over the last 60 years or so. the question being do you believe that your government -- do you trust your government to do the right thing all or most of the time? and the polling data in the '50s ran around 75% of the american people believed that their government would, indeed, do the right thing all or most of the time. with the vietnam war, the trend started downward, and it's been with a few little ripples, it's
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continued to the point where it is, i recall, is around 20% now of the american people believe that their government will do the right thing all or most of the time. and when 80% of a population doesn't trust their government, i don't know the outcome over time, but it seems to me that the democracy cannot function over time with that level of distrust of the people. and so what is -- and i'd be interested in all of your opinions. what is, how do we turn that around? how -- what is is it going to take? is our political class simply unable to deal with that kind of trust or distrust to the point that they can't function themselves?
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do we have to do, essentially, what i think was happening in the '60s, the great, tumultuous change all came from the bottom up. it didn't come from the top down. civil rights movement, etc. but let's talk about a dysfunctional system, so fundamentally dysfunctional that 80% of the citizenry doesn't trust it. >> there was a more important number in that recent survey, and that is that for the first time in american history a majority say they fear their government. and that's new. the most destructive things that we've twot dysfunction, we've got all of this, you know, regardless of which side if you're living in we yore ya which side of the fight you fight with, you don't like the fight. i came to this town and worked for vice president spire row ago
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knew who went out and mixed it up with his opponents, and we took a poll that found out 70% of americans wished he'd shut up because americans don't like that kind of a fight regardless of whether they agree with it or not. so you've got part of that. but you've got a government that's earned the distrust of the american people, and that's what this op list uprising out in the country is all about. people are fearful of the government. the most damaging things that have taken place in the last year are not the fight over the budget, but the nsa controversy, the irs controversy and all that which has not only been dismissed by the government, but defended by the president saying that, well, that's just them. i didn't do that. and nobody's been punished for any of these things, and people are beginning to become afraid of their very government. and that's the danger to a democratic system. >> anyone else want to make a quick comment? >> i think, also, the kind of spending that happened with the stimulus and how it's very apparent that a lot of federal
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funding goes towards politically-connected groups of people just as well as certain law changes like delaying the employer mandate but keeping the individual mandate on the books when it comes to the president's health care law, i think people are paying more attention, they have more access to more varied viewpoints on what's happening in washington, and they are learning that too many of our lawmakers are not representing the interests of the american people well, but their own interests and the interests of well connected groups in washington. and i think that's another reason why people are increasingly distrusting their government, and they're looking for somebody who will represent their views. i think they are looking for principled leadership, and i think we saw some of that with this shutdown where some lawmakers stood for principle. we know this law is bad, lawmakers, they didn't vote for it, it was passed on a purely
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partisan basis, and the house had the constitutional right to deny funding to laws like this, and to attempt to do that, i think, was important to show that lawmakers act on principle at times and in the best interests of the nation. >> our next question i'm going to work by way up here because we've got a lot of questions, is from jeffrey who is the author of "rule or ruin, the definitive book on the rinos." >> actually, the question i think is always worth asking here in this setting is what would nixon have thought. people tend to forget that nixon was challenged in the primaries in 1972 from the right by john ashbrook. and i feel i have heard a forceful articulation of that point of view as from our panel today. and i could take issue with any number of statements that i've
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heard whether they are on constitutional issues, political issues, factual issues, but i don't think i have to because i think the argument is going to play out within the republican party. and particularly the force that we haven't really spoke been about, the tea party, against the governing wing of the party. and i would point you to yesterday's op-ed in "the new york times" by mr. taft would not recognize the republican party today, the reputation of fiscal integrity based on these irresponsible actions of the tea party. and i'd also point out the article on business groups that are challenging tea party candidates in the primaries and putting up candidates against them. i think we're going to see a full-blown civil war inside the republican party against some of the arguments we've heard today, and i wonder if anybody had a comment on that. >> yeah, i think i have a comment. i have to say, i'm never impressed with this idea that a robert taft or somebody from the past would not recognize the republican party or this or that today if he were alive. robert taft would not recognize
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american society today if he were alive. we're in a totally different life, in a totally different situation. and the political parties are struggling with this. we have these movements throughout america and the history of america suggests, michael, that these movements -- populist or whatever -- whether you're talking about the anti-war movement and the democratic party largely and late '60s and early '70s or whether you're talking about what andrew jackson himself spawned after the 1824 election, etc., whether you're talking about the tea party, they are all going to have to get absorbed somehow. and so it isn't just, it isn't going to be sufficient. in fact, it's going to be counterproductive and silly really, frivolous, to be suggesting that we could just ignore the tea party because robert taft wouldn't recognize them. these movements in our system, if you go back and look at the presidential electoral tallies
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in the early part of the depression including during franklin roosevelt's time, the vote tallies for these socialist and communist parties in america were getting to be rather significant. not necessarily in percentage terms, but in body terms, significant body of plait call sentiment. political sentiment. roosevelt brilliantly lanced that boil. he siphoned that sentiment off and brought it into the mainstream. that's what the robert taft of today would have to do, and that's why i kind of reject the thrust of your question. >> yeah. i'd like to say something if i can. i was -- today i'm sort of between the tea partiers and the others, and i was then. and i remember talking to john ashbrook as he was preparing to launch his primary campaign against richard nixon, and i said, john, why are you doing
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this? you're only going to get 10% of the vote. and he looked at me, and he said i'm doing it, dave can, because someday -- dave, because someday we're going to want to say we weren't there. that's one reason that people oppose establishment figures who they think have gone off in the wrong direction. more importantly, bob's exactly right. a few years ago i was at a meeting where a former republican congressman was whining about the fact that he had gone to a county republican meeting in florida, and there were 200 people there and 180 of them were for ron paul. and he said this is horrible. we've got to figure out some way to keep these people out. and i said, well, it seems to me that the problem is not with the ron paul people, it's with the regular republicans if they can only round up 20 people for a county meeting. the job of a party, and this is sort of what bob is saying, is not to be exclusive, but to bring people in. parties, in a two-party system in particular, are coalitions of
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people. and an effective party leader or an effective candidate or effective campaign manager is a little bit like a product manager. he's got to have a product that's going to sell to a majority of the people which makes it tougher than it is for a corporate project manager pause he's got to be able to get up to 51% for his candidate or party. and that means in the long-term getting people to agree on more things than they disagree on. if he or she can't do that, ultimately, they fail. but as the country changes, as the issue changes, as the culture changes, you have to be able to absorb those new groups into your party, or you fail. and the republican party, i've been there through some of those. when goldwater came along, the northeastern and midwestern party leaders said those people wear brown suits, we don't want them. in those days the leadership was picked by the manager of the steel mill and the banker and all that. they came in, then they became
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the people that ran the party. when reagan ran, the same sort of thing took place about westerners and folks that didn't get it. when path robertson -- pat robertson came along, famously, visiting a committee meeting with him along was a little like the bar scene in star star wars. all those people socialized into the party and became the leaders of the next generation. to go back to the ron paul question, in the last election cycle's primaries for voters 30 and under with all the candidatings in the field, 50% of them -- candidates in the field, 50% of them voted for ron paul. and that's not something you can throw out if you've got a growing membership. you have to be able to look at these things and bring them together. new people in politics often are unrealistic. they don't get it. they don't understand all the inti accuracies of washington. they shouldn't. as i've said before, it's not their job. but the party leaders, if they want to continue to be party
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leaders or if they want their party to continue to be successful, what they have to do is bring those people in and give them -- let them develop a degree of sophistication so that they can succeed in the political process. it's easy to talk about keeping people out. but in a democratic system the job is to bring people in. >> let me deal with it. unlike dave and -- [inaudible] i was not in the nixon administration. but i knew nixon fairly well during his later years. he was my friend, my mentor, the best man at my wedding, and he appointed me to run the center. that doesn't mean that i know what he would think. about this particular situation because nixon liked to be a very unpredictable man. [laughter] but one thing i know for sure that nixon viewed himself as first and foremost as a foreign
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policy/national security president. that was what he really loved to do, and that what really mattered to him most. and the idea that you would have the president of the united states like barack obama who has, in my view, a rather pragmatic and unreasonable foreign policy instincts but for whom foreign policy is an after thought, not a priority, i think richard nixon would have great difficulty identifying with that. the second thing is the thing which i think is in common if you talk about richard nixon and ronald reagan was that, obviously, they were fairly big men in their own way, in a different way. and they never would say my party, by republican party right or wrong. but what i think they would say, and reagan articulated it very well, i would not speak ill of a fellow republican. and that when you see this as a
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kind of fratricidal war inside the republican party and when you after a crisis like that see key republican senators essentially letting the administration off the hook and focusing on tactical errors of the tea party, there is something that ronald reagan and richard nixon, in my view, would not be able to identify with. >> christian carl, next question. quick, please. >> well, i want to ask two very quick questions. one, it sounds rate, but absorb the tea party into the republican party, but i'm not entirely sure how you do that when they seem to be so dramatically rejectionist in their policies. i mean, they act like an outer parliamentary opposition rather than parking lot of, you know, a party that -- part of a party that wants to contribute to governance. so that's my first question.
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the second one is the comments on entitlement reform i entirely agree with, but your depiction of the constitutional mechanisms was bewildering to me because i thought that the founders wanted to create a state in which democracy would, was with functional, you know? that we were supposed to be creating a nation where democracy would work better than the alternative which at the time was monarchy. and i don't see how kind of stonewalling and rejectionism is a part of that alternative. you try to make it work and so on and so forth. no, i'm just saying i don't understand that part of your depiction. without going into all the intricacies of constitutional law, i had a picture of something that was intended to promote governance rather than the opposite. [inaudible conversations] >> i think on that point i fundamentally disagree. i think that the system of
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checks and balances is there to prevent a majority from ruling over a minority to protect a minority from majority rule, and it was, it was set up with so many checks that it actually promotes a lot of dysfunction. once a law is on the books, it's very difficult to change it. and there are very few mechanisms that force compromise. some of them are these kinds of deadlines that we have like the debt limit or the end of the funding year, the end of the fiscal year. so i disagree. i think that the system is there to have, to arrive at compromise through struggle and through some dysfunction. >> the gentleman down there next to you weigh in on the general question? >> [inaudible] >> yeah. >> we'll just work our way up. >> i'm sorry, could i respond to -- >> yeah. >> very, very briefly. on the question which didn't get
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addressed as to how do you split off these, how do you absorb these people when they're so rejectionist, i think that our history indicates that successful politics entails cutting the rank and file away from these rejectionist, often radical, sometimes quite ridiculous leaders. and we see that today. i think a perfect example, a great example gets back to michael's question, it has to do with richard nixon who was the governing party, of course. but, you know, he was the 43% president for four years, and then he was a 58% president. what was the difference? a significant part of the difference was his absorbing into the republican party the wallace constituency, 13.4% of the electorate. now, he took a lot of heat for that.
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the southern strategy. and people were attacking him, probably michael was. but the fact of the matter is that's what effective politics is all about, and that's what, that's what the leaders of politics have to do now with the tea party. >> wayne. i mean, the gentleman next to you, sorry. >> john walcott from bloomberg news. dmitri, aye heard the same critique -- i've heard the same critique of the administration as far as policy literally from seoul to london. but i wonder if you could put it in some context, because it reminds me very much of what we heard of the carter administration in the post-vietnam malaise years. and i wonder if you would also address the fact that the united states remains the world's preeminent military power, and the saudis complain that we're not doing enough just a as you described -- just as you described, and yet they rely on the third fleet to keep the strait of hormuz open.
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the israelis complain and will continue to, yet they are hoping the united states will join them because they cannot destroy iran's nuclear facilities by themselves. today lack the capability -- they lack the capability. the country's economic power is perhaps diminished certainly relative to china and other countries, but with it remains a preeminent economic power. so is this period worse that be the period in the 1970s or not? >> well, i don't want to sound like a defender of jimmy carter. and he had his share of faults. but let's remember these were post-vietnam years. this was after watergate. this was after a deep crisis in the u.s. foreign policy. there was a deep crisis in american governance, and there was, i think i'm sure you remember this, as post-vietnam
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syndrome when the nation was really reluctant to do any heavy lifting in international affairs. jimmy carter has hardly improved the u.s. situation, but you have to sympathize with his predicament. president obama came to power after two terms of george w. bush which i have to say did not quite improve american global standing. at the same time, the united states as you said remains the predominant military power, no question about that. the united states remains a predominant economic power. that's what putin basically was talking about at the forum in terms of the role of the international financial system, we basically built it. and we continue to run it. and everybody depends upon us,
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including the russians and even the chinese. also we are lucky to have adversaries and difficult partners who hardly could claim moral superiority in dealing with the united states. none of them has an attractive, a more attractive system of government to follow. all of them have serious economic difficultyies. countries which look to emerging markets, which looked like big winners a couple of years ago, they have more than their share of problems. the united states is, in my view, very much a leading power, and it remains, in my view, the exceptional power. the problem is that even if you are the exceptional power, you have to act responsibly.
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and in a purposeful fashion. and i think that when people in different countries are looking at u.s. foreign policy under obama, they're asking what kind of barack obama are they dealing with? i had a call yesterday from a leading gentleman journalist who reminded me how obama became immensely popular in europe and especially in germany when he was still a candidate and how he went to berlin and delivered the speech which actually propelled him to become a nobel peace prize winner before he was able to do anything as president. there was a huge promise coming from president obama. -- [inaudible] respect for the opinion of mankind and at the same time a sense of american national interest, that he was using on a regular basis. american purpose. and now you have a situation
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when the chancellor of germany is according to u.s. behavior, u.s. are spying on her and many others in germany unacceptable. and that, of course, is not the only difficulty in the german relations. when people are looking at obama's previous speeches, his speech in cairo, his initial approach to china when secretary clinton said we're not going to lecture the chinese on human rights, because we know how they would respond, they would talk back, it would not lead to anything. the initial obama approach to russia, the so-called reset policy. and what we have today? we have today the united states acting as nixon and kissinger in reverse. nixon and kissinger had a policy when the united states would have a better relationship with moscow and beijing than they
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would have with each other. it was a very successful policy. there are very serious differences between china and russia today. but where you can see how china and russia are becoming closer and closer, and that is a direct result of the obama administration foreign policy. does president obama want to accomplish something like that? i would not think so for a second. but he looks at everything, in my view, through the domestic prism. he does not want to expose himself to any domestic political criticism. as a result, our porn -- our foreign policy is counterproductive, and people and governments wonder what do we stand for. can they trust our words? and, yes, the president of the united states cannot avoid the responsibility for that. >> with i think we'll take the last -- i think wayne and the fellow next to you and then here. let's gather them all up. wayne? >> hi, wayne --
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[inaudible] american foreign policy council. i'd like to ask robert merry to expand on something that he touched on early on in his remarks which is the dynamic of these issues outside of washington and the country as a whole. because it seems to me that for much of the country as a whole this is not just about the financial and fiscal and budget issues that have consumed washington, but about other issues that are sometimes in the rubric of the culture wars. but in those issues washington is not the main seat of battle. these are issues that are taking place in statehouses and even in city councils and a checkerboard across the country, things like legalization of marijuana usage, things like same-sex marriage. you have those issues taking place across the length and breadth of the country, and washington is often not a player or even reactive. the obama administration has been very opposed to things like decriminalization of marijuana use. it's been playing catch-up on
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some of these other cultural issues. so my question to you is given this dynamic is not just about washington, it is about america and american society, where do those issues play in in a situation where the battlefield is not washington, the battlefield is the country and washington may get involved in these closing down the government battles, but that may be with quite irrelevant to some of those other cultural disputes. >> you're absolutely right, and i have a thought on that. i first want to apologize to jeffrey whose first name i misused in addressing him earlier. i'm sorry, jeff. wayne, you're absolutely right. but it, this social and cultural issue matrix is front and center to the question of what kind of a country we're going to be. and it is a great driver of the frustration that leads to such
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things as the tea party. i think that the tea party is focused primarily on economic issues, but there's an undercurrent. i'd be interested in what dave has to say about this, but there's an undercurrent of all this as well. and what's happening there not even so much in terms of washington and not even to some extent in terms of local governments, but the cultural thinking of america largely driven by our younger people is really altering all of that. but that generates frustrations that can be sometimes directed or misdirected by the people who feel those frustrations. and i think we're seeing that. of course, you get supreme court decisions which agitate people further on some of those issues as well. but you're right that washington is not driving that. washington is the recipient of those, those wave withs of sentiment -- waves of sentiment that are becoming more and more
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significant just as the local governments are and just as people generally are. but it's contributory to the mood of the country and the question of what kind of a country we're going to be. it's the definitional issues of america that generate those kinds of, the kinds of conflicts and deadlocks that we have today. the greatest definitional issues was the issue of the 1850s regarding slavery, and it was not solvable through normal democratic processes that have been so brilliantly established by our fathers. >> we have, i think, a last question right here. from this gentleman. he's been waiting patiently. if you could identify yourself. >> request yes, of course. >> i think it's on. >> my name is -- [inaudible] and i'm from slovenia. i came to town months ago and, of course, aye been listening -- i've been listening very carefully, very attentively to
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the panel especially talking about foreign -- panelists especially talking about foreign policy repercussions. at this time i don't talk any question, but allow me to make just a brief comment, just a sentence or too. of course, i'd not like to criticize the administration or anything else, but as i said, as a friend of your country, i would like to say that i remember in the past on many, many occasions we were told american system of the government is an example, if not the best way of how to run a democratic country. of course, the country needs making decisions, responsive decisions on time and to the benefit of the country, and if you would like to play a role of a leader, at least to some extent to benefit of the world. what i'm trying to say is
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episodes like last government shutdown which i came just in the middle of it and other episodes that i have heard talked today are damaging your reputation, your image abroad. thank you. >> well, i'd like to end the session by saying -- >> on this happy note. [laughter] >> it occurred to me recently that the republican party is becoming too interesting for its own good, at least politically. but it does make for great copy, and you can read all about these issues and others in our magazine. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] ..
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[inaudible conversations]
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>> prior to october 1 did you know that the health care.of web site was going to have crippling problems or did you not know about these problems and chose not to disclose them to the administration when you figured out that it wasn't working the way that perhaps it was designed to work and maybe i will get comments from each of you as it relates to those two questions. ms. campbell.
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you all testified in september so either you didn't know about these problems or you knew about them and chose not to disclose them. which one is it? >> chairman are portion of the application worked as designed. people have been able to enroll. not at the pace or the experience we would have liked but the end testing was the responsibility of cmx. are portion of the system is what we testified in terms of what was ready to go live. but it was not art decision to go live. >> it was not your decision to go live? >> it was cms's decision. >> did you ever recommend to cms that perhaps they weren't ready and i might want to delay the day? >> it was not our position to do so.
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>> so you chose not to share those thoughts with them? >> let me clarify my statement. cms had the ultimate decision for a live or. ♪ decision not cpi. we were not in a position. do we were there to support our clients and it was not our position to tell our clients whether they should go live or not go live. >> who at cms were you sharing that information with or those decisions? >> once again chairman i did not have nor did cgi have an opinion on a decision for cms to make on a live or -- decision. you know who made the decision to go live? it's a body of individuals at cms. >> thank you mr. chairman. we had a limited view of the entirety of the project but i can see that we were confident
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in the ability of the data services hub which was a complex component where we spent the book of our effort. we were confident that it would work on october 1 and in fact it has. other than that we had -- all of the concerns that we had which mostly related to testingg and the inability to get as muc, we expressed all of those concerns and risks to cms throughout the project. >> so you shared the real difficulties in the testing? >> all of the risks that we saw regarding testing were shared with cms. >> and what was their response when you share some of the pitfalls in terms of what was going on? >> my understanding was they understood those and were working on them but i don't know further. >> did they ever come back to you in terms of the shortcomings and what needed to be done? any concerns that were raised by
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them? >> i never thought a depiction from them but we did fully talk about the risks that we saw all along the way. >> our solution was ready to go october 1, 2013. we successfully completed the end testing between workforce solutions in the cms data hub. prior to that date so we did not anticipate any sort of problems with our connection and have not experienced any. >> we too were ready to process on tam/one and internal testing of all processes and systems and our first awareness of difficulties with the hub was off sober one.


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