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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 6, 2015 6:30am-8:31am EST

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and here too i will refer to my father's 1959 address. he worried then about california's dangerously overcrowded prisons. a he talked about identifying those prisoners who should never be released to prey again on an innocent public, but he also said, we should also determine whether some prisoners are now kept confined after punishment has served its purpose. we face these same questions today: what purposes should punishment serve and for how long should a person be confined to jail or prison, for a few
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days a few years or for life? in response to a large increase in crimes beginning in the 1970s, the legislature and the people, through ballot initiatives, dramatically lengthened sentences and added a host of new crimes and penalty enhancements. today, california's legal codes contain more than 5,000 separate criminal provisions and over 400 penalty enhancements, an arcane and complex mix that only the most exquisitely trained specialist can fathom. and funding has grown proportionately: during the 1970s we had 12 prisons holding fewer than 30,000 prisoners and corrections spendg was only 3% of the budget; our system then a grew to a peak of 34 prisons with an inmate population of 173,000, eating up more than 10% of our budget dollars. four years ago, the united
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states supreme court held that our prisons were unconstitutionally overcrowded and imposed strict capacity limits, far below the number of inmates that were then being held. clearly, our system of crime and punishment had to be changed. and through the courts, the legislature and the voters themselves a number of far-reaching reforms have been enacted. the biggest reform is our realignment program, which places tens of thousands of lower-level offenders under county supervision. more recently, a federal three-judge panel ordered further measures to reduce prison overcrowding. and the voters, through propositions 36 and 47, modified our criminal laws to reduce the scope of the three strikes law and change certain felonies into misdemeanors. all these changes attempt to find less expensive, more compassionate and more effective
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ways to deal with crime. this is work that is as profoundly important as it is difficult, yet we must never cease in our efforts to assure liberty and justice for all. the task is complicated by our diversity and our divisions and, yes, by shocking disparities. since time immemorial, humankind has known covetousness, envy and violence. that is why public safety and respect for law are both fundamental to a free society. as we oversee these important changes to education, health care and public safety we must not lose sight of our long-term liabilities. we have to face honestly the enormous and ever growing burden of the many commitments we have already made. among these are the costs of pensions and retiree health care, the new obligations under the affordable care act, the
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growing government costs of dealing with our aging population bonded debtedness and the deferred maintenance on our roads and other infrastructure. these specific liabilities reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars. my plan has been to take them on one at a time. we have now taken steps to deal with the unfunded teachers' pensions and those of the public employees. for the next effort, i intend to ask our state employees to help start pre-funding our retiree health obligations which are rising rapidly. [applause] we must also deal with longstanding infrastructure challenges. we are finally grappling with the long-term sustainability of our water supply through the recently passed proposition 1 and our california water action plan. equally important is having the roads, highways and bridges in good enough shape to get people and commerce to where they need
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to go. it is estimated that our state has accumulated $59 billion in needed upkeep and maintenance. each year we fall further and further behind and we must do something about it. so i am calling on republicans and democrats alike to come together and tackle this challenge. we came together on water when many said it was impossible. we came together, unanimously to create a solid rainy day fund. we can do it again. and find a way to fund maintain our highways and roads. [applause] finally, neither california nor indeed the world itself can ignore the growing assault on the very systems of nature on which human beings and other forms of life depend. edward o. wilson, one of the world's preeminent biolists and naturalists, offered this
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sobering thought. surely one moral precept we can agree on is to stop destroying our birthplace, the only home humanity will ever have. the evidence for climate warming, wi industrial pollution as he principal caus is w ovwhelming. al entponvecaal sp irad dippef opal forean grslds ath bier tve ex glalhaeshe ntn sa were needlessly turning the gold we inherited from our forebears into straw, and for that we will be despised by our descendants. california has the most far-reaching environmental laws of any state and the most integrated policy to deal with climate change of any political jurisdiction in the western hemisphere.
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under laws that you have enacted we are on track to meet our 2020 goal of one-third of our electricity from renewable sources. we lead the nation in energy efficiency, cleaner cars and energy storage. recently, both the secretary-general of the united nations and the president of the world bank made clear that properly pricing carbon is a key strategy. california's cap-and-trade system fashioned under ab 32 is doing just that and showing how the market itself can generate the innovations we need. beyond this, california is forging agreements with other states and nations so that we do not stand alone in advancing these climate objectives. these efforts, impressive though they are are not enough. the united nations' intergovernmental panel on climate change, backed up by the vast majority of the world's scientists, has set an ambitious
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goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees celsius by the year 2050 through drastic reductions of greenhouse gases. if we have any chance at all of achieving that, california, as it does in many areas, must show the way. we must demonstrate that reducing carbon is compatible with an abundant economy and human well-being. so far we have been able to do that. in fact we are well on our way to meeting our ab 32 goal of reducing carbon pollution and limiting the emissions of heat-trapping gases to 431 million tons by 2020. but now it is time to establish our next set of objectives for 2030 and beyond. toward that end, i propose three ambitious goals to be accomplished within the next 15 years. first, increase from one-third
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to 50% our electricity derived from renewable sources. [applause] even more difficult, reduce today's patrol use in cars and trucks by up to 50%. three, double the efficiency of existing buildings and make eating fuels cleaner. we must also reduce the relentless release of methane, black carbon and other potent pollutants across industries. and we must manage farm and rangelands forests and wetlands so they can store carbon. all of this is a very tall order. it means that we continue to transform our electrical grid our transportation system and even our communities. i envision a wide range of initiatives: more distributed power, expanded rooftop solar micro-grids, an energy imbalance market, battery storage, the full integration of information technology and electrical
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distribution and millions of electric and low-carbon vehicles. how we achieve these goals and at what pace will take great thought and imagination mixed with pragmatic caution. it will require enormous innovation research and investment. and we will need active collaboration at every stage with our scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, businesses and officials at all levels. taking significant amounts of carbon out of our economy without harming its vibrancy is exactly the sort of challenge at which california excels. this is exciting, it is bold and it is absolutely necessary if we are to have any chance of stopping potentially catastrophic changes to our climate system. [applause] california, since the beginning,
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has undertaken big tasks and entertained big ideas. befitting a state of dreamers builders and immigrants, we have not hesitated to attempt what our detractors have called impossible or foolish. in the last four years, in the last 40 years, yes ever since gaspar de portola in 1769 marched along the king's highway, california has met adversity with faith and courage. we have had setbacks and failures but always in the end, the indomitable spirit of california has triumphed. through it all, through good times and bad, california has been blessed with a dynamism and historic trajectory that carries each generation forward. whether the early explorers came for gold or god came they did. the rest is history. the founding of the missions, the devastation of the native people the discovery of gold, the coming of the forty-niners,
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the transcontinental railroad, the founding of great universities, the planting and harvesting of our vast fields, oil production, movies, the aircraft industry, the first freeways the state water project, aerospace, silicon valley and endless new companies and nobel prizes. [applause] this is california. and we are her sons and daughters. yes, california feeds on change and great undertakings, but the path of wisdom counsels us to ground ourselves and nurture carefully all that we have started. we must build on rock not sand, so that when the storms come our house stands. we are at a crossroads. with big and important new programs now launched and the budget carefully balanced, the
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challenge is to build for the future not steal from it, to live within our means and to keep california ever golden and creative, as our forebears have shown and our descendants would expect. thank you very much. [applause] [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> the 114 congress opens at noon eastern. next, senate historian donald ritchie discusses the history of majority leader's and the u.s. senate. this is 20 minutes. >> donald ritchie thank you for being with those on american history tv. that's the majority leader is not imposition of the constitution but how do the job if all? >> we once had a former speaker of the house contact us and say why was the president pro tempore in the order of succession but not the majority leader? the speakers of the house seat majority of it as the equivalent. they are equivalent on the
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senate side. houses written into the constitution at the president pro tempore is but no mention of majority leader or minority leader is because the constitution did not insist that political parties. i think that that is probably going to happen but they did want to encourage political parties. so they make no provision for it and foremost of the history of the senate we had no majority leader from 1789 until 1913 there was no majority leader in the senate. there were chairmen of committees who would take care of things on the floor. there was a chairman of the party conferences who would come out, open things up and close things the way they do things today but nobody sitting down in the front row center seat trying to organize what happened on the floor on a daily basis. that changed in 1913 when woodrow wilson was elected president. he was a former president of princeton university. yet ph.d in history and political science.
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in witness dissertation about congress. he had very strong ideas about how congress ought to operate and also had a very ambitious legislative agenda. so he prevailed on the democrats who are just coming to the majority to pick one of those centers to be the leader, to be the person who would take charge of things on the floor. and instead of going to the senior senator as they would for the president pro tempore they went to a very junior senator by the name of john wilkes girl. he was on the because he had run for vice president on the democratic ticket in 1908. this is now 1913. so he became the first majority leader of the senate. anti-function at just about the way that majority leaders do today. he started out by opening things up during the day and scheduling things and closing things down at night. when the republicans came into the majority in 1919 they decided this is a good idea. and so they picked one of their
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senior centers henry campbell lodge, to help carry on the function. they didn't actually officials have a tidal majority leader. that all sorts of other stuff, conference chairman of things like that. it's not until 1925 that charles curtis of kansas is officially designated the majority leader. but the fact of the matter is that both john wilkes current and henry campbell lodge function the way of majority leader would today. and ever since then, of course the majority leadership has grown considerably in power. although if you read the rules of the senate, you will see a lot of pension of the majority leader. a lot of it is just evolved over time. some of it is their powers from the president of the center -- center rather than the rules. lyndon johnson is probably the most powerful of all the majority leader's used to say that a single greatest power was the power of persuasion. and howard baker, a republican
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who succeeded him of years later used to chuckle and say the power to call builds off of the calvert is also pretty significant. there's a number of things. then in 1937 there was a vice president of united states, john nance garner are previously served as speaker of the house. and he gave the majority leader the greatest power of them all not by rule but by substance. and that was he realized the floor was essential are doing things in efficiently in the senate and so john nance garner said i will grant the majority leader the right of first recognition. when all the senators are seeking recognition i will always go on the majority leader first. after that i will call on the minority leader. that means the majority leader can get the floor when he wants it. that's a huge influence. it has a lot to do with the way things happen in the senate today. that's also one reason why you a nazi minority senators presiding over the senate. there was a time when both
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majority and minority freshman would preside. then one day a member of the minority party was presiding and the majority leader sought recognition, and that senator called on someone else. it was a little i -- there was a huge eruption in the senate. the majority said from now on we will never be a minority senate and the cherry-pick except the snow days when no one else is available you won't see a minority senator in the chair because it's so essential to the power of the majority leader. >> where on the senate floor do we find the majority and minority leaders and how do they work together? >> they are front and center. they both occupy those two front row center seats since 1937. the democrats were there early. the republicans and wait for one of their senior centers to retire to move their leader up but now whoever becomes leader takes that seat. again, around them are all the senators by seniority. so the freshman who just got
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elected will be way in the back in the corner. the senior centers are usually down on the center aisle or towards the middle. that's so again, if the presiding officers looking out over the body and a number of senators are seeking recognition, the people front and center of course of the ones who catch the presiding officers i. people in the back of to shout a little bit wave their arms to get that kind of attention. that's one reason why people tend to move to the front. they have been there. they signed their names to show they sat there. all of the leaders of the republican party and democratic party to their names are in the front row center seats. beside them will be the party whip and behind them will be the most senior members of the party. that's the seat of power i should sit in the senate. the difference between the senate and the house, the house is ruled from the chair. the presiding officer, the
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chairperson makes the rules. the speaker is a very powerful figure. the senate is ruled from the floor. the presiding officer vice president, president pro tempore, junior senator is a mutual presiding officer. the real influence is on the floor. all senators are equal. some senators are a little more equal than others and the majority leader is the first speed what's the impact on the senate when there is a change in leadership? >> the senate is a very personality driven body. 100 center person is our huge influence. even a small change in membership hasn't impacted large changes have very large impacts. especially the leadership. there's a certain rhythm that is established by the leader. leaders talk about quality of life. they decide whether you will work on mondays and fridays how late at night, they decide the temple of the senate. so a lot of it has to do with their own personality.
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mike mansfield is are different from robert byrd even though they both from the same party, much more laid-back, robert byrd as much or hands-on aggressive type leadership. you can see it in the republican party as well. the leadership of bob dole or trent lott or bill frist will each have a different style, different advisors, different tactics. so senator mcconnell and senator reid were both the whip of the party. they both spent a lot of time on the floor, they both know the rules of the president very well and each have images for what they want the body to do. so it would be very interesting to see now with the switch of leadership if there is much of a change in the style of the senate operations. senator mcconnell gave a speech at the beginning of the last session in which he talked about what he would like to see in the senate. more regular order more monday and friday sessions, a variety of proposals. and i think he will act to carry
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out that in the coming congress. congress. >> we're going to hear from his former senate majority leader howard baker, bob dole, george mitchell and robert byrd. can you say a word or two about each man and the kind of leader he was? >> that's right. after 1980 there was a big shock when the republicans took the majority in the senate for the first time in 26 years. it was only one senator would been around the last time the republicans have been in the majority, everybody was a little stunned. no one anticipated a change of that magnitude, even republicans had not anticipated it would take charge of the senate senator dole was in line to become chairman of the finance committee come and he said who's going to tell the longtime chairman of that committee? one of the things that made that transition so much easier in the senate in the summer transition to happen in the house in 1994 was that howard baker was the majority leader. the incoming majority.
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he was what i call an institutional us. he was the son-in-law of a former republican leader. he was the husband of the dirksen daughter, joy. eventually married the second wife, senator. so he's very much an institutional us and he loves the senate. he loved the conditions of the senate. he understood. he worked closely with the democratic leaders when he was the minority leader. and so there was almost a seamless transition to made. everything to everyone who worked up here at the time breathe a great sigh of relief knowing that howard baker was coming in as the majority leader. he had a great sense of humor. he was the type of person who would grasp stuff is going on and he could figure out what to do about it. he was a problem solver. not surprisingly when the white house get into trouble about the time of the iran-contra scandal, they let howard baker and his
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chief of staff to president while reagan. for exactly those reasons. he also had a great sense of realistic. and traditionally the democrats had a nice big office next to the chamber and republicans a much smaller office down the hall. and senator baker said, i will not change with the democratic leader, but i would like to add to my sweet, so he we took over quite a bit of territory rooms, immediately around them. so the republican leader now has a very large coherent section of rooms on the west bank of the capital thanks to howard baker. the main room is now known as the howard baker room. >> bob dole. >> senator bob dole came up from the house back as a fighting party to give been chairman of his party. he was the kind of person who could really the date for russia's lay. and in the senate, really fighting parts and turned into a wise pragmatist.
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thatand then you realize that things didn't happen often because innocent because they were ramrodded through, they happen because they were negotiated through. and you would find cosponsors and colleagues on both sides of the aisle. senator dole was the kind of person who could sit in a chair with a double the capacity and with a bunch of senators standing around him working out the text of the amendments, the descent agreement that would get them through the hurdles that's going on. and i think he was a leader on two occasions. first in 1985 and 86 and then he became the minority leader for number of years and became back as majority leader in 1995-96. on those occasions the majority and in the minority he was the kind of person who worked out difficult arrangements. he also had a terrific sense of humor. he was wonderful to listen to. he enjoyed the history of it.
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he used to give historical minutes at the beginning of each day and the bicentennial, he published senator dole's historical almanac. and he got a great chuckle out of doing the. always wanted more. so the historical office was always working very close with. >> george mitchell. >> george mitchell, you know if you just watched him, he looked very professorial. he looked very benign. he looked very calm and very mild-mannered. but if you talked to the senators they all said this is a very tough politician. this is a person who knows what's going on, it was really scheduling and planning things and he was a very effective leader. but he was just sort of the opposite of what he appeared to be, sort of a detached person but he was not detached at all. he was very much focused on what was going on. it was a time when the parties were changing, when the structure of the senate was changing. when senator mitchell was majority leader he began to complain the most about how many
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blocked cloture motions their work and he thought there were more filibuster comes along. he tried to get around that, but politics were becoming more polarized even then. but he was a very shrewd leader and he figured a lot of ways to get around that. i think it great respect from all of the senators, and it's not surprising that he went on to a creek and diplomacy after that, brokering deals between -- in northern ireland but he had the traditional temperament that people trusted him on both sides. he had a way of deciding that there were solutions to these problems that you could find. >> and finally robert byrd spent of all the senators i've worked with i probably work more with senator burr than the others. detection historical office on a regular basis and senator byrd was unique in the senate. he never went to college.
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hehe took a class a with her but he never got a college degree. he actually went to law school as a senator at night at the american university law school recognized his service in the house and the senate as a equipment of a college degree, and he went on to get his law degree and get president kennedy come to present his diploma at his graduation. but i have always thought that harry was in the body full of rhodes scholars and joe mack and harvard graduate, stanford graduates and all these ivy leaguers and people with terrific education. he never felt inferior about that. instead what he felt was he never ended his education. he was always reading. he was always studying the ones i wrote with into an event, and in the backseat of his car was a copy of the count of monte crisco, and i look at it and he said in a chance to read that when i was younger. so he was constantly reading. his wife complained she could
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never dust her dining room table because he was always bring books on from the senate library and the library of congress that was stacked up, that is working on. in 1980 by chance to give the speech from an impromptu speech because his granddaughters school classes in the gallery and he gave a speech about the historical chamber of the senate. several senators came up afterwards and said, i didn't know that. that's very interesting. so he began to get more improv to speeches on everything that the senate did come on the parliamentarian and the chaplain and on the rules. and eventually became for the bicentennial of the congress which is going to be in 1989 i want to give a series of speeches that could be published as a book on the history of the senate. so he worked very closely for about 10 years. usually friday afternoons when no one else had any basis he would go on the floor and he would deliver these speeches. often he would memorize them.
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it was published he went on to study the roman senator kelso said the british parliament. just constantly studying things. that gave him a huge vintage on the floor of the senate. he also studied the rules of the president's book, which is about 1000 pages. every congress with yellow marker going over looking for things. so when you on the floor you are arguing with senator byrd on an issue, he knew the rules that he also knew the history. it was a very hard nation to get around. very few people took on senator byrd in any kind of conversation -- confrontation on the floor. he came in as majority leader and he was whip for mike manso. he was a laid back later -- leader. senator byrd admired lyndon
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johnson who was much more hands-on leader. senator byrd also admired richard russell the first mentor in the senate who knew the rules inside out. and so he spent a long time studying the rules of the senate, studying the procedures and he was determined when he became leader he was going to make those rules, make the senate work more efficiently. so he cracked the whip a lot more than his predecessor had as leader. a very tough maneuver and negotiator but he also worked closely with his republican counterparts. senator baker became the republican leader would senator byrd became the democratic leader. they worked together. they got the panama canal treaty together it was only because of the partnership that that happen. then when senator baker became the mantra to leader, now he had faced senator byrd, the man he knew so much about the rules and senator baker tells a story
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that he went up to senator byrd one day and said, i will make you a deal i won't surprise you if you don't surprise me. and senator byrd said to let me think about that. at the end of the day he came back and said i agree. that was a working relationship. they did not blindside each other. that's kind of cooperation helped make the senate work even when they disagreed with each other, even when they were fighting with each other, they did it by the rules and they respected each other as colleagues. >> donald ritchie, thank you very much. >> my pleasure. >> this sunday on q&a, the groundbreaking 1915 film the birth of a nation in its depiction of former slaves after the civil war and the efforts by african-american civil rights advocate and news paper pusher to prevent the movies released. >> part two of them and which is after the war, reconstruction, the israeli the heart of the protest in the sense that this
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is where they were appalled by the betrayal of the free slaves. this is a scene showing what happens when you give former slaves the right to vote, the right to be elected, the right to govern. it's a scene in south carolina legislature were the first and primary order of business is to pass a bill allowing for interracial marriage because black men are solely interested in pursuing a having white women. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> author dick lehr on the controversial story behind "the
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birth of a nation," sunday night at eight eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. >> next, a discussion on compromise and bipartisanship in congress with former agriculture secretary ann u.s. representative dan glickman, former u.s. senator robert bennett. the washington senate and bipartisan policy center cohost of this hour and 20 minute event. thank you, jason, for mine is all about holiday party karaoke. i'm going to go in and bring up our first panelists who both have not been to join us yet. hopefully they can join in a little bit. on the way. but the first person i want to bring up is former agriculture secretary dan glickman. secretary glickman is a single of the bipartisan policy center.
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he co-chairs our political for which we are to talk about today as well as our nutrition physical activity initiative at a task force on defense budget and strategy. secretary clinton isgrigg executrix of the aspen institute congressional program which is a nongovernmental nonpartisan education program for members of congress. so you guys are your learning. we also programs out there help dems of congress do their job well. i think this is one the most interesting jobs secretary glickman has had. he was previously chairman of the motion picture association of america representing hollywood and all those folks in california, and he was also director of the institute of politics at harvard. before he had all these great jobs he had a career in politics. he served as agriculture secretary during the clinton administration and then for 18 years in the house of representatives representing the
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fourth congressional district in kansas. so let's welcome secretary dan glickman. [applause] >> so i just want to start in the background lived on a commission on political reform. it was sort of born out of a stormy political presence that we're living in, and i think right now will introduce the others -- senator bennet. [applause] senator bennet is also a senior fellow at the bipartisan policy center and prior to that he served in u.s. senate for 18 years, first being elected in 1993. senator bennet was on the banking committee to the joint economic committee so he is a strong background in national economic issues, also a member
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of the appropriations committee so he has a great understanding of budgeting process and spending process. a lot of people don't realize aren't the same process. prior to serving in the senate, senator bennet was a successful entrepreneur. he was the ceo of publicly listed company and he continues to work sort of in the private sector on entrepreneurial issues. for me as a good understanding of the nexus of those two issues. at one thing i want to bring up about senator bennet, he is praised for two qualities throughout his grit and that's his integrity, former president bill clinton submits is a highly intelligent old-fashioned conservator qaeda but he thinks he's old-fashioned, but skittish i'm older than bill clinton. [laughter]
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>> senate majority leader harry reid says there was no more honorable member of the senate and senator bennet, editing that was well learned over his career. so we are happy to have you with us today as well. so are commission on political reforms, it was born out of a -- i think everyone in this room you all been watching over the last few years. depolarization at the highest level since reconstruction according to a poll that we commission with "usa today," you know, we don't mix with our neighbors, if we are republicans, we don't talk to democrats. you probably don't even live in neighborhoods, even states with democrats. more and more we get our news from sources that the biased or maybe they just serve ideological driven, obviously at
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an all-time high. we see on c-span and certainly we sit on the news networks. that's been on display in congress over the last two congresses and probably the least productive in the modern era. not just unable to address pressing issues but unable to do the basic job, struggling to pass budget, struggling to pass appropriation bills, struggling to pay our national debt. these are basic functions congress should be able to do. not surprisingly their approval rating is at an all time low. i won't mention any of the other professions that they rank in these things that they are deathly towards the bottom with some maybe some unsavory -- unsavory folks there at the baby a lot of you you think there's a sense of apathy, maybe futility but certainly distrust
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in the system, not working. and so what was born at bpc was a forum for people like these two gentlemen, people who believe that we can transcend them. these trends are not permanent. if we listen to one another, we can find common ground, we can survive even in this polarized department. we put together a 29 member commission our co-chair is former senate majority leader tom daschle, trent lott also senator olympia snowe, former interior secretary and secretary glickman was one of our co-chairs the senator bennet was one of our members, and we had a really knockout group of people, former members of congress cabinet branch officials, academics. we have civic leaders can business leaders, people from all walks of american life.
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and went to an 18 month process went all over the country california ohio, philadelphia boston. we've meetings, engaged a hold wide swath of the american public. and then they had some ebates deliberations arguments things they couldn't agree on. but they were able to compromise and find common ground. our blueprint, our bipartisan blueprint for strengthening our democracy. includes a 69 recommendations to we are not going to go through all of them today in areas of reform in congress, our election system and then a call to public service. now, all these are a magic pill. if we enact them all tomorrow congress wouldn't turn around public think you would see some changes. but as these things go there's always a way to find out how to
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work in the system. these are achievable steps practical, and they can really begin to lower the political temperature and get us back to a level which it can function. so i want to start out broad and ask you to you know, is our system broken? are we in trouble? is there a future? what's the outlook? >> first of all, thanks for allowing us to be your. i came last year and it was a good thing. is our system in trouble? well, first of all our system was created almost to ensure gridlock, okay. so imagine this. most countries have either an authoritarian system like the chinese or russians or else they have a parliamentary system like the british or the canadians were the chief executive is also a chief member of the legislature. so the parliament is executive
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and legislature together. we have a system called separation of powers, so the founding fathers wanted to split authority in government so they created congress, executive, and the courts. and they said they were all equal. so if you don't think that's a prescription for gridlock, nothing is. it's like the almost greeted the system that did not have a center of accountability in all. so from the very beginning our system wasn't necessarily designed to be extremist movement operating and there's also great distrust for the executive. they always worried about the tyranny of the executive so that's why by the way they made congress article i, not the executive article i. that's a pretty compelling point about where they want the ultimate power to reside. then he thought congress could be a tyranny as well so they split that into to come in the house and the senate. and so our system is kind of
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designed to have one foot on the break and one foot on the accelerator at all times. and it only works if there is trust across the aisle, and if there's leadership, within the institutions of government, and of congress has rules and systems that work well the president works with congress and congress works with the president, and there is a trust between the two branches of the executive and the legislative branch. and i think what's happened in the last several years, maybe couple decades, i know senate -- senator bennet has strong thoughts as well, the basic system of separation and gridlock is kind of institution put in our system but there are always ways to work around it. when we was regular order getting things done, having systems in place but when weight is the president and congress to work together on primary issues. and now you have had a lot of could listen to jason todd you
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have a lot of pressures on the system we never had before. massive money in the political system really has a monument impact. we didn't have that 225 years ago. and now with an average congressional contested race is 5 million an average senate contested race might be 25 million, just imagine what this does. you combine that with 24 hour media and combine that with social net media and all these new things all these pressures on the system that we just never had before. instigating the instantaneous access is there. so saying that i don't think the system is going to fall apart. i think our political system is very resilient. part of our system is working much better states, local units of them are working better together. and the congress works when it has to. the last month or two of the session of this year i got stuff done because they have to. so what does is it puts much
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greater premium on leadership, the executive and congressional levels to act like leaders. and it puts a more premium on the people who kind of understand what they should and should not expect their government to do. so i would say the system is coupled but not deceased and not dead and it frankly the people is going to decide whether the system is usually enough for us to be a competitive our economic and political power in the years to come. >> i'm in agreement with what secretary glickman has had to say. i do want to make these additional comments about it. the ultimate source of power in america is the people.
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that is different from many other countries, and we are the oldest democracy in the world. the british might argue with that but they had a parliament before we headed democracy, but they did not have that kind of restraint on the team that they have now until we show them the way that the people ultimate make the decision. if you don't think that people are still in charge and you think outside forces are in charge just ask -- [inaudible] or george h. w. bush. both people had all the power of the presidency and the people decided they wanted to get rid of them. and they could not maintain their power regardless of all of
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the power can when the people decided we want someone else. ultimately the people and the way people vote determines what's going to happen in american politics and provides a leveling factor and a change factor that can take care of the extremes. now, when this report came out from bpc of all of the things that should be changed, bpc took it to the capitol hill and start showing it to the leaders on capitol hill. one of the leaders it went to there you probably was senator mcconnell, the republican leader dick senator mcconnell said look, i don't have time to go through it all. will you take it to senator alexander, whom i listen to on these issues?
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he wasn't being rude. he was just being realistic about the kinds of pressures that a leader has. and the bpc staff said to me, well, you are close to alexander, which is true will you go with this? kind of to make sure that alexander would come to the meeting i guess. i don't think that was necessary. i think lamar would have shown up when i was there or not but i went in with the others, and they presented these recommendations. and lamar alexander, who is a student of american politics, and longtime participant he was in the nixon white house, that's where i first met him when i was in the nixon administration he was governor of tennessee. he's been a university president but he was a cabinet officer and now he's ascended to. there isn't anybody who has a broader background in american politics and lamar alexander.
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he listened politely to the things we had to say, and then he said picking out one item he said we exception of this item we could change everything you're asking for and accomplish everything you want this afternoon. if we had a different majority leader. well, we now have a different majority leader. and as i was writing in this morning and got out the newspaper, there's there was a store on the front page of the "washington post" about mitch mcconnell's goal for the next two years as new majority leader. did any of you see it? i recommend you read it. summarized in one sentence. mitch mcconnell says he wants the republicans to not be scary between now and 2016. he wants to set the table for the republican nominee in 2016
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by demonstrating that the republicans are capable of governing. and he uses the phrase, we don't want to be scary. well, what's he talking about? he's talking about the tea party. in 2010, which was the way the election of the people saying we don't like what's going on in washington with the democrats in complete control of the presidency and both houses of congress we want a change the people said that, there were a lot of folks riding that wave with some attitudes that were pretty scary. and hear him a senate figure. they cost us republican three senate seats. we proposed to win nevada delaware and colorado, where the
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incumbents, although keller wasn't and encumbered, but mikey kaus was running and he's tremendously popular. the tea party gay men pic the people did not participate in the primaries to the degree they should have and the tea party nominated unelectable nominees in all three states, and handed the democrats three seats they would not have otherwise have had. in 2012, they handed the democrats three more with the scary candidates. in 2010 it was the candidate who ran her campaign first televised as saying i am not a witch. now, that's a really really catchy kind of political track to run on. and then the other guy in 2012 was talking about legitimate rape another political position
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i would recommend any of you are thinking about being a candidate, that you should avoid being in favor of that kind of thing. add it all up if we have those we republicans, have those six seats from the two previous elections, that's where you are now with 54 we would be at 60. the republicans would be filibuster proof. can you understand why mitch mcconnell is a saying we don't want to be scary? going into 2016. now, this is the same mitch mcconnell who said and the democrats and the left me having been up him on this when he said when he said back in 2000 what is your primary goal? he said my primary goal is to see to it that barack obama be a one-term president. oh, that's terrible. what did you expect him to say
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as the republican leader? my goal is to reelect barack obama? know, all tangled up about the extreme. the people's reaction in the various elections are causing an intelligent thoughtful political leader to say we've got to move away from the extreme positions. with all of the appropriateness -- -- harry reid took for the decisions he made, which i think the democrats paid in terms of the election, the result in 2014, referring to what secretary glickman said, in a lame duck who was there on the democratic side leading the effort to make sure we got regular order done and the
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appropriations process handled in an intelligent manner? harry reid. harry reid and mitch mcconnell, two old pros are saying okay, the election is over, we have to govern the way to solve a problem. harry reid, having been beaten up for what he did greatest said okay mitch, how do we work and how we make this happen? it was very, very interesting to see how they made it happen. yes innocent it was harry reid and mitch mcconnell working together. in the house it was john boehner and steny hoyer because nancy pelosi said i want no part of it. and steny hoyer the number two democrat was saying nancy we have to govern. and who was there with the two from the senate and the two from
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the house trying to make it work, making phone calls to members of his party saying will you please get in line and help out? barack obama. barack obama making common calls with john boehner and mit mcconnell, because the people have sent the message that they wanted things to start to work again. and that's where you come in. because you are the people. and what you do to get more folks to participate in intelligent ways is what this effort on the part of the bpc is all about. america, the first nation, to set itself up on the basis yes, separation of powers, yes, gridlocked ultimate source of
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power, the people. we've had all kinds of problems. we've made all kinds of mistakes. our history is filled with blunders, and a lot of things that are really embarrassing but we have muddled through through the delaware -- through the decades and now the centuries to produce the strongest most resilient most diverse, most powerful economy in the country the world has ever known. and i'm a pollyanna guy wh says we're going to continue to muddle through this one. spin i guess if i made this comment, two things. one is you mentioned i have a background in the movie introduces got to go see the movie selma. has anyone seen the movie y? who has seen the movie selma. it's a story about the voting
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rights act of 1965 got done. reimport movi because it reinforced what the senator is saying. the ultimate power the people have is the power to vote. without that power they lose every other power, the power to equal to that of the law, the power, lack of power to influence law enforcement, all these are the kinds of things. i think it's important. one question you ought to ask urself is without leaders acting like leaders how resilient and our political system be? because you are looking at two folks in the legislative process lost, and i can speak to senator bennet who is an extraordinary leader who always had his country first, and hopefully i did the same way and but leaders to be leaders it means leaders have to risk losing.
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it's not congress was never designed to be a permanent job with seniority and tenure protection. but the political system for work you need of leaders you need to act like that and get their members to respond accordingly. spin let's talk about congress a little bit. you know, u2 served, both of you 18 years in the house in the senate, you know but the last two congresses i would venture to guess have been nothing like when you were serving there. what's different? what's happened? >> well, in the senate, harry reid made a conscious decision as the majority leader to protect his vulnerable members. the senate, as you know, only
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elts a third of its members every election, and it's a six-year term, and every two years a third of them are up. so you know in advance who is going to be up in the following year, and harry looked ahead to the 2014 election. it was the consequences of the election six years previous and six years previous had been a very good election for the democrats, and he had awful lot of democrats up for reelection and only a few republicans. ..
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>> will result in a 30 second election saying dan glickman voted against motherhood and apple pie. [laughter] without the specifics of the motherhood -- >> i was the agriculture secretary, i'd never vote against apple pie. [laughter] mother is a different story. [laughter] so he has the authority as the majority leader to determine what bills come on the floor. the majority leader is the traffic cop who says this bill can be voted on, this one i will not bring up. i won't bore you with the details of how that works but
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that's how it works. so he made the decision for partisan electoral purposes that he was going to protect his members from all of these controversial votes. the only trouble with that is if you do that, you don't get any bills on the floor. now, that's an exaggeration. but, basically the senate that i knew and served in we would bring up bills, there would be amendments from the opposing party depending on who was in charge, you'd take a tough vote be prepared to lose. but it was the right thing for the country you'd take a tough vote, and the process goes forward. and harry said let's try this to see if we can protect all of these vulnerable democrats from tough votes.
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turned out it was a mistake. because all of the vulnable democrats he was trying to protect got beaten up in their campaigns for not having done anything and when they did vote, they always voted with the administration, so they got these 30-second ads saying kay hagan votes with barack obama 97% of the time. so if youly -- if you live in north carolina and you don't like barack obama how do you express that? you express that by voting against kay hagan. that's the way it's been done. it started before harry. i mean other majority leaders have tried that. but it came to a climax in these last two years. to the point that i had members of the senate say to me, wonderful conversation with a
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senior liberal democrat who sat me down and says tell me about your life tell me about your week now that you're out. what have you done last week? well i was there, i was at bpc, so forth, and he says do you want to know m week? we've been in quorum call all week. in other words the senateas done nothing. all week we haven't been allowed to be on the floor. mitch mcconnell said when it looked as if he might be the new leader and lamar told us this he said i promise if i become the majority leader we will have amendable motions on the floor, and i warned my republican colleagues you will have to take tough votes. i will run the senate the way
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mike mansfield ran the senate back in the days following lyndon johnson. and lamar said we in the republican conference said to him, mitch, if you do not do that we will get a new leader. we insist that you go back to that even though it means exposure for us. now, again the people spoke in 2014, and now i think harry thinks well, i made a mistake. i happen to like harry reid. he's been a good friend and a very great help for me back in the days when across the aisle you could, you could do that. and i think harry made a decision, it seemed logical to him. he's made a decision now by virtue of what he did in the lame duck to say, well, let's try something else. >> i agree with everything the
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senator said. i'd add a couple things. i came to the house in 1976. i ran against an incumbent republican congressman beat him and spent $100,000 total on my race primary and general. today that race would cost at least $5 million, and who knows how much outside money would come into the race from places you never even heard of before. so what does that practically mean? well, it means that as a elected official you spend most of your time raising money. so i used to spend a lot of tomb on the house floor -- a lot of time on the house floor just going down to what john dingell said or, you know, some other -- henry hyde, you name the person. if i did that now as a member i'd be guilty of malpractice, and they'd ship me out of the place because what areou doing listening, sitting, not raising money? so that's a big change. just imagine what a profound change that is to your life. if nothing else it diminishes
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the ability of an individual member to kind of become part of, you know, the political process. and that, so that's an enormous change. i would say that as a young member of congress back in the '70s and '80s, the process was much more open so i was given the ability to amend bills. open rules. this is a process by which you can actually have an impact on the, on the legislative process. i recall one bill after three mile island -- any of you from pennsylvania here in this room? okay. remember the three mile island nuclear accident? so i offered, i went -- i offered an amendment to require full-time inspectors from the federal government at every nuclear power plant in the country. and as a freshman, that was a really big, important thing. it gave me a role in the politica process. that's been very difficult to do in recent years. both parties have closed the process down for individual members. of it's much tougher in the
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house because in the senate one senator can still have great power in opening or shutting down the institution but the house you're one of 435 and the rules of the house kind of give the leadership especially the speaker and the leaders, much more power vis-a-vis the institution. in the senate where they still have 100 equals that are able to manage that process. now, notwithstanding that as we've talked about the last couple of months of the last session people did work together better. and there are more open rules in the house in the last, you know, few months than we saw before and that was good. and the president who himself did not really engage congress very much, and as a democrat i regretted that the president didn't engage the congress very much at all, you know? he needed to much more. the last couple of months he seemed to be engaging the congress much more, and you see that in the harry -- even in the mitch mcconnell statement, you know wanting to work with the
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president much more. so there may be some optimistic things that are happening that the system will work better. the money thing is a real problem. whether it influences policy or not is a question mark because we'll probably always -- we had a former speaker of the house named sam rayburn who said money is the mother's milk of the politics. unfortunately, it's become the cottage cheese and the cream cheese -- [laughter] everything else, you know, in the system. it's kind of, you know, there probably are 30 fundraisers today or tomorrow for people you know? again, that's a bit unique. so we've got to figure out how to deal with that problem constitutionally and in such a way so that what it does is it kind of squeezes out average people who aren't part of pac and aren't part of the political fundraising system to engage the political system. but notwithstanding that, there are some positive trends happening now pause i think that the elect -- because i think the elected officials understand the
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people are us from a -- us from trailed. the government -- frustrated. they want see something happening here. and so, you know that's where the system as is the senator points out, is reasonably resilient even with all the problems we talked about. >> let's switch gears, something the commission focused on a lot something you both have a lot of experience with. i think both parties seem to be convinced that the other party is engaged in this systematic rigging of the system against them or, you know, the other party, you know, we have gerrymandering, we haven't been able to do anything about campaign finance reform. the way primaries work it's all in a way to game the system for one party's benefit against the other. one thing tt e commission focused on was on primaries.
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you know, the recommendation of a national primary. what was the thought process behind that? why do we think we need one day across -- >> you're the classic example. primaries and caucuses. >> yeah. i lost my seat in the senate without ever getting my name on the ballot. the system in utah sets up a party convention that screens candidates for the primary and all of the polls showed that if i had been in the primary, i would have won renomination quite handily. i had a 70% approval rating among republicans. that was down from the 95 i had had previously because the tea party hated me for supporting george w. bush on immigration and supporting george w. bush on t.a.r.p. i'm a republican. this is a republican president.
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he happens to be right on both instances. [laughter] he was six years a border state governor dealing with the border economy. he understands the immigration problem better than i do living in an interior state in utah, and i'm going to vote with him on immigration. but the tea party types all insisted they knew more about the immigration issue than any border state governor knew, and the convention kept me off the primary ballot under utah law. i don't tell you that to gain your sympathy because they did me a huge favor. tide have been so frustrated -- i'd have been so frustrated in the four years i've just described that i'd be sitting there saying why in the world am i wasting my time doing this. but the point is the founding fathers did not give us any constitutional basis for
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regulation of political parties. they didn't like political parties, they were hoping there wouldn't be any political parties. the great abigail adams said nasty things about thomas jefferson is that she accused him of being party man which, of course, he was. he was the founder of our first political party. in today's terms it wasn't much of a party, but did some very interesting things that the modern party would like to do. his principal party voice was a newspaper that he got the federal government to pay the publisher for. all right. we do not have any constitutional basis for regulating political parties. consequently, all of our political law is a combination of state law and party rules.
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in utah the party has made the decision they're going to have a convention, and state law allows it. in california they abolished the primary system that i knew when we lived in california and replaced it with what they call the young pri -- jungle primary which is very different from louisiana where mary landrieu won the plurality in the primary and by most state law that would have been enough for her to win re-election. but in louisiana she has to have a runoff in order to get 50%. and that's different than b the party primary in michigan. so one of the challenges we have is repairing the omission of
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writers of the constitution and ask ourselves do we want a federal system controlling the nomination process for president and dicting to the states the nomination process whereby parties get their nominees to the final ballot. i happen to think that would be a good idea. it would mean amending the constitution which i don't like. i voted against constitutional amendments just on general principles because i think the constitution is pretty much fine the way it is. but on this one i would support some kind of careful analysis of how we recognize in a modern and national state a political process that makes sense. because we don't have one now.
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>> i would just make two additional points. number one, i think the average voter turnout in primaries is less than 20%, between 15 and 20%. so imagine 15% of the voters are choosing who your congressman is. and then that goes to the point that most congressional districts are gerrymandered or at least districted in such a way so that they favor one party or the other. so there are not very many competitive seats anymore in the congress. maybe 10%. or whatever. states are a little different because you've got the whole state. >> theoretically you can't redraw state lines. >> whether you can't redraw state lines. at least not today. there are a few states that want to split their states up. so the redistricting process is something we talk about in our report. there ought to be a way to redistrict states a little more on rational basis rather than you've seen the way some
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districts look like to make sure that all the republicans are put into one district, all the democrats are put in another district so they become very safe districts. and what does this -- beyond disenfranchising a lot of voters, if you're a democrat and republican state seat that's 70-30, you don't have quite the ability to influence your congressman than if they were somewhat closer in that thing. but what it does tend to do is encourages people on the extremes to control the process. so the right, the tea party will control the political process and redistricting for the republicans, and the left will do the same in many cases on the democratic side. so several states -- iowa, california and others ohio is looking at this from a legislative perspective -- want to see if we can find different ways to redistrict rather than just letting the people who are elected do the redistricting. after all, that would be the people that choose their elected officials, not the elected officials who choose their
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people which is kind of the way we have our political system now. so i think that would help, and that was one of our reforms. and then the national primary, there are ways to get more people to vote be many -- to vote in primaries. primaries are confusing to a lot of voters. a lot of them don't even know when a primary's happening. so tt certainly is another thing that we looked at. and then the final thing, and i'm not sure again, what we can do about this because it's a whole question of -- money's raised in politics where does it go? 80% of it goes into advertising. most of the advertising is motherhood and apple pie. most of the advertising is your opponent is a criminal. he is disgusting. he does terrible things! and you can't possibly vote for him, you know? now, that's kind of be around for a long time but when you multiply by ten the amount of money that's in the political system, then you get ten times that kind of scurrilous
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advertising. so it turns voters off. and so we don't seem to get new voters to come to the polls. should be younger voters or not you know encourage -- i don't know how people in this audience are, i'd be interested in hearing that kind of thing. but the political system doesn't encourage a lot of people to participate because of what they see is involved in the campaign process which discourages turnout, which encourages more of extremes of the base to be the ones that primarily vote. and that's something we tried to address. >> it sounds like between those two, we talked about congressional reform and electoral reform, you two would agree that it seems to be happening a lot of the people in congress, your rank and file members are getting cut out of the process and voting, we're getting most everyday citizens are getting cut out of the process. no surprise that's where we're getting all this conflict and gridlock. it seems like if we get more people involved whether members participating in the committee
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process, offering amendments or voters getting out and voting that things might be getting back to normal. >> as long as the voters see that their government is doing something. you know one of the things -- if they see nothing happening they see, you know, no bills passing -- although there's more happening than you might think isappening from the media. but i think people do need to see that the system is actually on the level it's producing results. and i think that would also help them in terms of encouraging them. >> i think we probably have a lot of people in this us audience we've seen volunteer level rates dropping off, people giving less to charity. seems like citizens are just less engaged. what can we do about that? how do we get people more involved in the government? senator bennett, you served in the military, you both had long careers in public service.
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something, obviously inspired you both to that. it seems like -- >> it was involuntary. [laughter] it was called the draft. [laughter] yeah. in my day when i was your age, college and so on every young man was subject to the draft. and i was able to get a deferment from the draft by registering for rotc in college which meant i was committing to two years three years whatever as an officer in the air force upon graduation. and i was in the air force rotc right up to the point where they gave me a physical, and they said with those eyes, you can
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never be a pilot. your eye sight is too bad. i said i didn't have any intention of being a pilot and you have other officers in the united states air force that can't fly, and they said, we're sorry, we are not going to leave you in rotc. so i got a student deferment but upon graduation i was number one on the list that the draft board was going to call the next month. so i immediately joined the utah national guard, and that was a seven-year commitment to avoid the a two-year commitment. and you could say, well, how smart was that? [laughter] well the guard didn't wasn't full serve years. the two years was two full years. the guard sent me on active duty for six months, and then i had another six and a half years of going to meetings every monday
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evening and two weeks of summer camp. it was a shared experience with every other young man in the country. when i showed up at fort odder in california to go -- ford ord in california to go through basic training where they fired live ammunition over your head just to convince you they were serious, in my unit of basic training i had african-americans from the inner city i had southern rednecks from the deep south, there were a couple of other college graduates along with me who had gotten into the same situation, a philosophy major who sat there talking about what did it mean to be
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wearing fatigues and carry -- what did it mean to be a hired killer? it was a common experience that every young american male had. and you could identify with other young men by virtue of that experience regardless of their other backgrounds. and itas a uniting factor in terms of the american culture. i don't think we appreciate how significant it was in knitting america together. now, i was fortunate enough to have served in the period just after korea and just before vietnam. so i never heard a shot fired in anger. but looking back on it, i hated it while it was going on. i could hardly wait until it was over. i had a young woman on whom i
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had my eye to become my wife and the suggestion months on active duty when i came home, she was wrapped up with somebody else. >> you did okay though. >> fortunately. [laughter] fortunately. and as life would have it i'm married her to sister. [laughter] >> kept it in the family. [laughter] >> yeah. and i got the right one. [laughter] i think those kinds of shared experiences of service identification with a cause bigger than yourself, focus on something other than your own career for a while are enormously valuable. and the more we can find ways to
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do that, the more we can break down the cultural barriers and some of the political barriers. secretary glickman talks about gerrymandering, and he's right. but increasingly, we're finding americans are jerry mappedderring themselves -- gerrymandering themselves. they kind of gather in communities, they migrate into cities or states wherever where they feel comfortable of their own kind and their own reactions. and the experience ofomebody growing up in white utah dealing with somebody who grew up in black newark, new jersey, just isn't available to either the
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utahan or new jerseyite anymore. and tremendously valuable if you can find some situation where you are shoulder to shoulder with somebody very different than you are very different than the community in which you live doing something different than either one of you has as a career goal for a better community purpose. and whatever we can do to find that in a way that's a little less coercive than the draft i think it would be a very good thing. >> the commission recommends a voluntary kind of national service. so everybody would be encouraged in the ages of 18 and -- >> 28. >> -- 28 to take one year of their life and do either a military or a nonmilitary option. it could be teach for america, it could be americorps, it could be vista or the u.s.
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military. i personally believe if i were in charge, i would go with mandatory service. not military mandatory service. either civilian or military. but it's probably not in the cards, and i don't think the country would go for that even though i believe that what senator bennett talked about is this period of sharing, this period of experiencing something outside of your own comfort zone for a while in your life is just incredible. you talk to people who have been in teach for america -- are any of you thinking about peace corps, americorps, you know variety of things? it could be church related? it doesn't have to be government necessarily related thing. but when you come back i'd venture to say that it changed your life. tom brokaw, the nbc guy talked about what made the greatest general with ration the greatest
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generation -- generation the greatest generation. and, you know i'm from kansas, ask we had a member of the greatest generation who was senator and majority leader for many years. his military service had a lot to do with how he viewed life and how he viewed politics and how he viewed sacrifice. not everybody's going to go through that period of sacrifice, but i think it's healthy. and i actually think, to be honest with you, this is the most important of the recommendations the commission makes even though it's not necessarily legislatively very feasible. because as the senator points out, the power is in the people. and what this recommendation does is says young people need to have common, shared experiences beyond just their lives of college and work. and by the way, it could go for older people too. but i think as a practical matter it needs to start with people who are going through the education system, you know, initially either after high school or after college.
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i think it would be a healthy thing for america to coider options and alternatives. and there is a project called the franklin project. it's headed up by general stanley mcchrystal who was the commanding general in afghanistan, and it is run out of the aspen institute. its goal is to get a million, basically, young people between the ages of 18-28 into these m programs and give them something for it, give them manager like a g.i. bill of rights or veterans benefits or some is some way to either compensate them or give them an edge in terms of their educational experience. some benefit so that they wouldn't want to do this for free. because i don't think people -- i think people need to benefit in some way with this even though it wouldn't be a lot of compensation. >> well, we'll turn it over now to the audience. if you have questions there's a microphone here there's one


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