tv Off Script and Turning Texas Blue CSPAN November 6, 2016 4:00am-4:51am EST
[inaudible conversations] >> [inaudible] >> welcome to the 21st annual texas book festival. you're here for a panel on the art of the campaign. my name is paul sessionler, and i've been unnaturally obsessed with american politics my entire life, and i'm hoping, i'm hoping the panelists today can give me a reason to keep going on, because this campaign is making my head explode. [laughter] [applause] we've had an october surprise nationally with the fbi. but here in texas, as you guys know, we've had a different kind of october surprise. that surprise was the announcement by the national
press that texas was in play. [cheers and applause] i think that's actually a surprise to think about that actually knows anything about texas politics, but i think the biggest surprise for me living here in texas is why has there not been more talk about we're in texas, and two new yorkers are running for president? i don't think that should be allowed. last time since duy versus -- dewey versus roosevelt. one book, how texas might eventually become a two-party democracy -- [laughter] [applause] with the emphasis on the word "might," and one book about the whole idea of how you organize events in campaigns and in people in office and just how incredibly complex that is and how important it is with a veteran who has a lot to say about that, especially about things that don't go right.
>> if you remember mike due cacing kiss and the tank -- mike dukakis and the tank. >> mary beth rogers, the last person to run a successful campaign to put a democrat, anne richards, into the governor's office -- [cheers and applause] okay, i can see this is a bipartisan audience. [laughter] it was just 26 years ago. mary beth is also the author of two fabulous previous books, one on ernesto cortez, the story of faith and power of politics and the wonderful biography of barbara jordan, barbara jordan: an american hero. [applause] every single line i'm going to introduce you, you're going to get applause. she was a professor at the lbj school of public affairs, and she lives in dallas right now. [laughter]
you're a tough crowd. [laughter] josh king is the former director of production in the clinton administration and the co-director and former host of polyoptics, the weekly sirius satellite radio show that was broadcast on potus channel from 2011-2014. his articles have appeared in politico magazine, men's vogue, "the washington post," and variety, and he's appeared on the bbc, bloomberg television, cnn, fox news, msnbc, national public radio and, most importantly, here at the texas book festival. [cheers and applause] this is going to be on c-span, or it's on c-span right now, so if the audience out there can see these books, this is "turning texas blue: what it takes to break the gop group on america's reddest state." and josh's book, "off script: an
advanced man's guide to the white house stage craft, campaign spectacle and political suicide." [applause] what i want to do right now is to have both of our wonderful writers to read from their books. i'm going to ask a few questions afterwards, and i'm hoping you guys have a couple of questions just in case this is interesting to you, and we'll do that for the next -- until we're done with the 45 minutes. so to start off, mary beth rogers. >> thank you. well, i thought i would read from the after word of my book which talks about the hectic nature of political campaigns. and in the light of wikileaks, we know all sorts of things that are going on inside a campaign, i thought you might like to know a little bit about what went on inside some of anne richards' campaigns. now, my campaign experiences in texas are now ancient history. to see them in the context of today, it helps to remember the
old french proverb, the more things change, the more they stay the same. so political campaigns remain pretty much as they've always been; messy, chaotic and often brutalizing experiences. in 1990 when i became campaign manager for ann richards' first race for governor, an old hand at running campaigns told me all you have to do is make decisions. well, that quickly proved to be an empty promise. it wasn't as if i could just loll around reading the news clips and position papers, then show up at a staff meeting to choose from an array of rational options laid out for me by a calm, deliberate staffer who had spent their time putting together reasoned proposals for significant actions. many of my days were filled with
time-consuming, mind-numbing junk, some of it so stupid that i'm embarrassed to admit how much time i wasted on so many needless distractions. i took too many calls from the big contributor who hated the finance chairman and wanted to be in the loop on key decisions. i spent too much time trying to smooth the ruffled feathers of a county coordinator who was angry because one of her political enemies got to pick up ann from the airport and take her to a senior citizens center. [laughter] now, i even had to tell my dad, gently of course, why we couldn't use the bumper sticker that he had designed. [laughter] i was disturbed by picketers who stood outside my window, i worried about the guy going through our garbage late at night. was he looking for incriminating
documents or merely trying to find leftover food? then there were the late night calls from ann, dragging herself in from a torturous day on the road and seeking a few words of reassurance before dropping her bones into bed at midnight. it was not much time for calm deliberation. minor, inconsequential decisions in the overall scheme of things often set off a to have end of complaints -- torrent of complaints like the agonizing telephone conversation with a few key supporters after i decided to terminate the services of a particularly obnoxious and ineffective fundraising consultant. i remember a crazy day when i had to placate a state senator who demanded that ann return to a particular feed store in his district because she had not spent enough time there a little
bit earlier. old friends became media critics who picked apart carefully-crafted television spots. i learned that you had to be a slippery, disciplined and somewhat heartless dictator to win a close, high stakes political campaign. now, i loved it and i hated it at the same time. now, for the past few years politics in texas has been masked by the complexity of living in a world already changed dramatically by technology and by the extreme disparities among people in both wealth and knowledge. the stresses of these new realities have strained the notion of a common good and a universal set of values that are necessary to hold communities together. in texas with the extremists in such firm control -- and you
know who i'm talking about -- [laughter] i fear that we have created a class of office holders who are losing essential, life-affirming human capacity like judgment, common sense, empathy, responsibility, altruism and even basic honesty. and i'm concerned -- [applause] i'm concerned that the thoughtlessness that permeates politics today matters -- snares even the best and brightest among us. yet i understand how very hard it is in the heat of battle to maintain a thoughtful dialogue about what we do and why we do it. when you're in the fight, it's hard to see reality because as a
political philosopher has written, everybody is swept away unthinkingly by what everybody else says and believes in. when we allow ourselves to stop long enough to question what everybody else is saying and allow common sense to become part of our dialogue, reality hits us in the face. that's when serious thought about the future can begin. now, the reality of texas politics has certainly hit me in the face as it has for thousands of others both inside and outside of the political game. and i'm hoping that the blows from our most recent defeats, plus being out of the circulation for 20 years, will force us to ask some penetrating questions about everything we try in the future to turn texas blue. thank you. [applause]
>> josh, your book goes from the dukakis campaign all the way through the bush years, the clinton years, the obama years, all the way up to hillary and to donald trump. so let's hear a little bit from your book. >> yeah. so, paul, what i'll do is i'll pick up at the very end, what i call the summer of trump. among my yellowing archive of time magazines from the 1980s back when issues regularly topped 100 pages and columns taught me all i needed to know about the theater of presidency sits the issue from january 16, 1989. on the cover of the issue at the top corner opposite from the publication date, was the newsstand price, $2. the magazine is a time capsule. ronald reagan was in his final weeks as president. -five months since dukakis rode
in his tank, and an item noted he wouldn't seek re-election as governor. also sitting among the articles was coverage of the shootdown of two libyan migs by u.s. f-14s, the failing earths to prosecute oraller in north, a story about hyperactive kids and the review of the new movie dangerous liaisons with john mall coslip -- malling slip. the lizard eyes crease with desire, tiny curlicues of smirk rise from the corners of his mouth. he embodies the cynical wisdom of this excellent film; life is one big performance art. with his inauguration days away, time's cover that week could have pictured president-elect bush. instead it featured another character quick to brandish curlicues of smirk in the
corners of his mouth and to living life as one big performance art, donald j. trump. the cover portrait was shot by norman parkinson showing the youngish real estate developer brashly holding an ace of spades between his thumb and fore finger. in the magazine's standard art direction of that era, most of the headline was in white -- in smaller white lettering with the subject's surname in bright yellow capital letters five times larger than the rest. it read: this man may turn you green with envy or just turn you off. flaunting it is the game and trump is the name. to thumb through the issue today is to go back to the future. the trump photo by ted tye that opens the seven-page spread on page 49 shows him in pinstripes and red tie standing at the foot of the same resplendent
escalator that delivered him to his presidential campaign announcement 26 years later. the quotes by trump in otto friedricks' 1989 profile read as though they could have been uttered at the 2016 iowa state fair: i love to have enemies, the 42-year-old trump said. i fight my enemies. i like beating my enemies into the ground. of trump's aspirations for high office, it was noted: there has been artfully-hyped talk about his having political ambitions, worrying about nuclear proliferation, even someday running for president. friedrich apparently didn't query him on the nuclear triad. fast forward to the summer of 2015, the august 31st issue of time weighed in at a light 60 pages. a shadow of its former heft, and time's cultural influence has similarly faded. but the figure on the cover was the same, a winner, a political
heavyweight of the first order making the magazine worth parting with $5.99 for the privilege of adding it to my archive, staring at me with an extra yodel of flesh underneath the chin and a few less layers of hair on his head than in 1989 was an overdue encore, mr. trump. his eyes now leered more their'ly -- narrowly in the 2015 cover, but no one could deny he looked just fine at 69. if he went head to head with himself, the age gap would be a wash leaving charisma and authenticity in my calculus as the deciders of popular appeal. i'll have to find a but more attributes -- a few more attributes, i thought. in so many ways, the congress was threatening -- the donald was threatening to upend my political formula.
the headline that week, superimposed across a bit of trump's forehead from his hairy brim were three words: deal with it. that was the stubborn message to pundits and prognosticators and me after a summer of surprises approaching labor day five months before the iowa caucus with trump far ahead in the polls among his 16 other rivals for the gop nomination. he would call mexicans rapists, could defame john mccain's heroism and could start a one-sided brawl with fox news' popular anchor megyn kelly. candidates have fizzled by doing far less. in 1968 george romney said he was brainwashed by the military brass in vietnam. in 2015 trump said he got his military advice from the shows. [laughter] romney faded from the national stage after that remark, trump only gained prominence.
the verbal faucet gushing from trump's mouth spewed insults at everyone in the race, including the fox news gop debate which drew an audience of 24 million. that show tripled the viewership of any previous primary debate and topped numbers for the nba finals, the world series and the finale of "the walking dead." trump delighted in treating senators and governors on his stage like zombies. recalling his 1989 quote in time, i like beating my enemies into the ground, viewers -- cheering such entertainment during their couch time -- rooted for trump as they did norman' discuss' walking dead character daryl dixon doing the same thing. one by one, the zombies went down.
[applause] >> i think in a postanalysis of the republican primary process, part of trump's ability to win was because he was running against the walking dead, an entire platoon of them. [laughter] mary beth, years ago i had a long conversation with karl rove on film about the rise of the republican party in texas, and you and i both know that this is a process that a party does not become functional over time in terms of, you know, to be even if not dominant. so in all reality, in all the silliness about texas turning blue this year because the democrats paid for $42,000 of an almost unreadable commercial up in dallas, what would it take for the democrats over time to actually become a functional, you know, party in texas? >> wow.
it's going to take us facing the reality of texas which is something that we democrats have not really faced up to over the years. when you look at the republican ascendancy of texas, it started in 1978 when bill clements was elected governor, and it continued, and they did not have a total breakthrough til 1994 when george w. bush defeated ann richards. so it was a long, slow slog that most of us did not see coming. if we democrats want to be back in the game, we've got to begin our own long, slow slog, and we have the potential to do it now. i think in my book i came up with ten suggestions. we don't -- we won't go over them all, but i used to write ann richards memos about we ought to be doing this, and we ought to be doing that, and, of course, she would disregard
about 90% of what i suggested, but there might be one or two things. i think we have to start with a big, bold, charismatic candidate who will take on the challenge of running for governor of texas and and then allow us to build systematically a powerful organization. now, i'm talking about something i call a super democrat -- superdemocrat, someone who has the ability to appeal to the center, someone who has the ability to appeal to the approximate 20% of texas republicans who are disgusted with donald trump, and we may actually see an improvement in the democratic presidential performance this year. but it's not going to begin to happen overall until we have someone at the top who has a little bit of what i call that texas swagger. when you look at reality of texas voters, we kind of like a little bit of swagger in our candidate.
you know, crusty old bill clements, the first republican elected since reconstruction, had that swagger. swagger is not gender-specific because ann richards had that swagger x. as much as we hate to admit it, rick perry had a little bit of that swagger. you could see his appeal. so we need someone, we need to start with that, someone who recognizes the reality that although we are a minority/majority state, the vast majority of people who show up to vote on election day are white. an average of 65% of our total voters on election day will be white. until democrats figure out a way to pull away some of that vote, i think in 2014 the democratic candidate for governor only got 25% of that vote, and we have to do better, and we have to have a candidate who can make that happen.
with intelligent policies, someone who establishes a vision for where we want texas to be instead of just, you know, flopping around about all the things republicans do wrong, and, you know, in my opinion we've got a very long list to deal with. but you've got to lay out a positive vision for what the state can be over the next couple of decades. and it's going to take someone like that to jump-start the process. >> josh, you know, one of the interesting things probably for the people who haven't read the book yet, and they should, you start out with a long disaster in the making of michael due cac can kiss and the tank which led to probably the funniest ads of the 1988 campaign as dukakis went down in flames not only being in the tank, but also wearing that fabulous helmet with mike dukakis written on the top. the interesting thing is at the end of the book, you're talking about donald trump and what seemed to be a very silly hat, a red baseball cap on the head of a self-proclaimed billionaire
wearing a suit, which has not only not hurt him, it's helped him. and you're talking about the whole idea of authenticity. so as somebody who's put together these events and for those of you who haven't worked on a political campaign, you would not believe the amount of work with it takes to be able to advance these things, you know? and that disaster lurks in every place if you don't put them on right. so how do you, how do you make sense of the way campaigns -- and i'm going to ask you both about how the campaigns have changed -- but talk about that whole idea of authenticity and the work that you did. >> so let me take you back to the summer of 1988, paul. because michael dukakis ended his convention after -- in atlanta in july up 17 points in the polls. and he languished after that, lost his lead. and and as the dukakis campaign was looking at their polling attributes, they were very happy with the results of cares about people like me.
what they had a problem with was would be a credible commander in chief. and so they spent the rest of the summer figuring out as soon as labor day hits, we're going to spend a whole week casting this administrative governor of massachusetts, a bureaucrat, a very smart guy, mike due dukakis, as a guy who could fit in george s. patton's helmet. and so on the week that began september 12th, they went to philadelphia to carpenters hall, they went to cincinnati to a general electric plant, they went to chicago to the world affairs council all to give major speeches on national defense and the relationship with the soviet union. and to cap it all off, they went to sterling heights, michigan, battleground this very weekend, to try and win michigan's 22 electoral votes and also make dukakis look like a general at the same time.
boston, the headquarters said to matt bennett, the young advance man, we're gonna put dukakis in a tank. and bennett went out to the tank, to general dynamics, to the proving ground, and he calls back to boston, and he says, guys, this is a disaster. this whole idea stinks. he's going to look like an idiot. boston said, doesn't matter. we need this visual. you've got to make it happen. and so what happened was this person went to swather more college, spent two years in korea after the armistice, but spent the rest of his career in commonwealth of massachusetts state government, was cast as a military man, as a general like george s. patton atop an n1a1 abrams tank and, you know what? the costume didn't fit and everybody knew it. all the reporters who were following him along at the time, and in particular, one ad man
samed sig roguish who was working for bush and quayle at the time who said if we take this video and match it up with all of the weapons systems that governor dukakis has always said he was against, we're going to pilary him. and we're not going to do it immediately. this happens on september 13th, 1988, we're going to do it on october 18th, '88, the third game of the world series. and that's when the first tank ad ranch and so -- ran. and so what it says and what i conclude in this one paragraph, paul, was this book began with a simple question, why did a candidate wear a helmet with mike dukakis stenciled on it? it ended with an epiphany as i watched donald trump wear a golf cap with make america great again emblazoned on it. it was never about the head wear, i realized, but rather the person underneath it. dukakis, brilliant, cerebral and
modest, tried to symbolize someone he wasn't in sterling heights wearing his helmet. trump, patriotic, brash and bombastic, showed exactly who he was when he strode across his raised walkway in mobile, alabama, wearing his hat. so what mary beth said, whether it's donald trump or ann richards or ronald reagan or bill clinton, you do have to have a certain swagger in addition to the policy chops to successfully win the white house. >> i'm going to ask one more question, but i invite you guys to begin lining up over here to ask questions. and by the way, both of these authors will be in the book signing tent afterwards. and remember that every book you buy here also goes to contribute to the texas book festival to keep this book festival alive and also to keep it free. the question i have is that people are looking at this campaign, and they're going -- including me, okay? and they're saying this is -- i've never seen anything like this ever.
i mean, personally, i was in my house watching with a bunch of friends one of the republican debates and in the middle, like, 30 seconds, donald trump called marco rubio little marco, and then just for fun turned to cruz and called him lyin' ted, and i said, i don't understand what's going on here. basically, have the rules totally changed? i mean, mary beth, you're one of the smartest people i know about texas politics. you've run the last successful campaign for democrats here. josh, you've worked in national campaigns. the things that you write about, do they -- have they changed? has trump changed the rules, or is it just that trump has taken advantage of things that we haven't thought of beforehand within the bounds of how politics works? >> well, i'll go first, and i'll tell you about one of the first campaigns i was ever involved in which was in san antonio, texas, and it was an election that
involved a county commissioner's campaign and a city council race. and it was just the beginning of a latino awakening in the city of san antonio. now, we think racism is new in this particular cycle. it's been around a long time, folks. because the establishment in san antonio ran a television ad and put flowers -- flyers out all over the city that said there's a black hand moving across san antonio. and the only nows implication was -- ominous implication was with if you elect these hispanic, mexican-american people who are running for office, we are going to lose our city. so that goes back in the '60s. so we've always had that kind of, that kind of nasty, underhanded stuff that occurs in campaigns. you go back and you look at dirty tricks during the nixon presidential campaign, it's always been there.
what's happened now is the 24-hour news cycle and the twitter feeds. and i admit i'm as addicted as anyone else, and i'm so ashamed to admit that i've got that device out, and i'm looking here and looking there, and then i'm texting somebody, or i'm retweeting something. that's what's so totally different about this. we are in dire times. we are facing an unusual candidate whose very voice and presence is giving rise to this kind of hatred and racism and all sorts of negative, ugly things. but it's always been an undercurrent in american politics, and it's been here in texas. >> josh? >> yeah. are there any longhorn fans out there? [laughter] [applause] what does texas have to do to get to the national championship playoff? you've got to win a lot of games. and, basically, you have to put 11 players against 11 players on
offense and defense at all times, and there's not a lot of influence that, you know, you guys putting the horns up in the stands or the coaches or all the money from the alumni are actually able to do during the game. it's totally different in politics to make the finals. not only do you have the two teams, but you have the media, you have the money, and in this case you also have the russians working hard to tip the scales. [laughter] so i would say, paul, that we are totally in a different able. as mary beth said, you know, a guy can fat shame a latina through social media at three in the morning, get himself into trouble, but also julian assange can hack into john podesta's e-mail or the russians and give it to julian assange, and poor podesta has nine years of all of his correspondence out there for public view.
this is not what it's like when two teams, equally experienced, vie on the gridiron for a victory and, eventually, national championship. so it's a totally weighted-down deck. and it is to everyone's interest, the people who -- rupert murdoch who owns fox, leslie moonves who owns cbs, jeff bewkes who owns time warner, i mean, to continue this circus until monday night or tuesday morning at 6 p.m. is in even's interest -- everybody's interest. and that's why, you know, we have so many different players involved in the system. >> we've got about ten minutes, so why don't we take some questions. >> this question's for mary beth. you know, everybody in texas -- [inaudible] on the democratic side talk about winnie davis and the cap shaw brothers. in your mind what candidate
maybe that we haven't been hearing about would excite texans, you know, for the governor's race, for the lieutenant governor's race and for the texas senate? like what democrat are we not hearing about that may have that swagger? >> well, i think our problem is we don't have a bench of democrats who are ready to step up to the plate. it's like you've got to field a team of 11 players to win a football game. i think we've got one, maybe two democrats running statewide on the ballot this november. and so we don't have somebody in the trenches to pull from. now, there are some pretty dynamic mayors of some of our cities. we have got a few state senators who might rise to the occasion. and we've got very progressive business leaders who have stepped up to support the dream act or other progressive policies in texas who have stood up against dan patrick in trying
to figure out who goes to what bathroom. so we've got, we've got some people coming out of the business community who see what is at stake for this state and who may be willing to step forward and have some credibility. but i think if we find that superdemocrat, it may be somebody we don't know of at this point. >> okay. first of all, mary beth, i go to the -- [inaudible] school, so thank you -- ann richards school, so thank you for getting her elected. second of all, i am an eighth grader, and during my u.s. history classes, we sometimes have debates over the current events. and i think that a lot of my classmates are, have a lot of good ideas and are capable of voting and electing a good leader. so my questions for you are how do you -- how are you going to use your books to help educate adults and children on politics, and do you think that kids could
have good ideas that adults should listen to and maybe pay attention to when debating politics? >> well, thank you very much. [applause] and thank you for your interest and thank you for being here. we need more people like you who are ready to step up and begin to speak out and do things. [applause] so i hope you will continue to do so. well, the only way the book's going to have any influence, and i'll just make a commercial here -- [laughter] is for people to go out and buy it. but i've been speaking to groups around the state, and one of the things that saddens me is most of these, most of the people who are in the groups i speak to are older. they've been around. and we're not reaching younger people. we're not necessarily reaching millennials. and i think that's a major challenge for us, because there are issues at stake that particularly impact students of
your generation and a little bit older. i've got granddaughters in college, you know? the whole aspect of college tuition and student loans and what kind of job am i going to get after i graduate, it is a profound issue that we have not tackled. so we've got to talk about things that really matter to people. you know, the czech leader used to talk about something called the rule of everydayness where you have got to engage in politics where everybody lives every day. you've got to be aware of what their lives are like. and i think we've got to start focusing on that in a way that matters to people. but you asked a very challenging people. i don't have an easy answer for you, and i wish i did. >> i want to step in for a second and ask josh a question. you know, we've been focusing so much, this campaign has been donald trump 24/7, you know, for months and month, and it seems
like decades now. [laughter] i'm curious from your experience taking a look at hillary clinton's campaign, you know, be dispassionate about this. what do you think about the way it's been staged and the way she's presented herself in this campaign. >> i think she's made the most of what she's got, paul, and she's got a lot of liabilities. she's got a lot of presentation and stage craft liabilities herself. her team has learned a lot of lessons from clinton i, from bush and from obama, and each of those three presidencies in the age of optics have progressively got better about their stage craft. and in terms of setting a tableau for her to walk into, it's been as good as it could be in many respects. this she would say herself is not her strong suit. she doesn't have what president obama, president bush and president clinton before her had in terms of the ability to connect with an audience in the room. she'll be the first person to say it.
in many -- for so much of this campaign, she has been playing a muhammad ali type role, rope a done, staying back -- rope-a-dope, letting the other guy become the focus of so much media attention not just the access hollywood tape and what that means for television coverage because it means so much, but even for the intellectual writing press writing their long pieces in the new yorker and atlantic and everybody place else -- every place else. you write about trump because it does get clicks for your bosses. and what you're seeing in this final week, interestingly, paul, is what trump might have done to actually win had he made this pivot around may 5th right after the indiana primary which is don't take the bait, donald. you saw him say it to himself on stage the other night. [laughter] if he could have been more
disciplined before he turned so many mainstream republicans, centrists and moderate democrats off, i mean, that's the coalition you need to win. after the indiana primary, may 5th, donald trump could have convened national security expertses around a table. what does he do instead? he tweets out a picture of himself with a taco bowl and says how much he loves hispanics. so i just took that as one of a hundred different cases where trump has created the focus of everything in this campaign when part of the winning formula which secretary clinton has for the most part played is stand back and let that candidate get swallowed up.
and use paid media to use his own words, i want to, you know, get that guy out. and you've seen these ads if you watch any cable tv, and you can't help but allow it to influence you. when those words of him mocking the disabled person, you're reminded of that, if you hadn't been reminded about that 25 times over, you would have forgotten it because it happened november 2015, it happened once. but the hillary paid media campaign with tens of millions of dollars behind it, hundreds of millions, keeps it front and center for us. >> question from mr. texas state. >> thank you. thank you. mary beth, thank you very much for barbara jordan: american hero. tremendous, tremendous work. [applause] my question for you is in what way can we begin to have this democratic machine that you're
talking about earlier? because you've talked about having a candidate. we also need to have some type of a machine, if you will, to get that candidate in that building. >> that's true. well, for one thing, it takes a lot of money to do that. and if we look at the reality of money in texas -- and i'm talking about money from democrats -- most of it goes right out of state, just kind of blows out with the wind. because if you noticed, president obama has been into texas a number of times for fundraisers, hillary clinton has been into texas for fundraisers. there's probably not a democratic senator who is in a competitive district and up for re-election or a democratic senate challenger who has not been into texas to raise the money. i mean, the sad fact of our situation as democrats is there may be enough money here. we don't have as much as the
republican establishment does, but we've got -- there's a lot, there are a lot of rich democrats in texas, and they've gotten in the habit of writing those checks that go right of the state -- right out of the state into national campaigns. now, the if we could begin to find credible candidates who could raise money on their own, we might be able to keep more of that money in texas. it costs a lot of money to have a research arm, to have a litigation arm, to have people who are challenging some of the insane laws that are coming out of the texas legislature. you've got to have an ace research team. you've got to have people who will speak out. you've got to have an infrastructure that can make things happen. and, unfortunately, in these times it's a pretty extensive process. you've got to have people like josh who understands the symbolism of so much of what goes on in campaigns and in making presentations. and we've got to get better at that. so we've got to begin our long,
slow slog to come to power in texas. i think we'll actually do better on tuesday than obama did in 2012. so we may have a little bit more to build on for the next cycle and the next cycle. [applause] >> we've got time for one more question. >> yeah. this question goes back to the previous question that, paul, you asked of josh. and i'd like mary beth to weigh in a little bit on it. and that is that i think you've got it exactly right, josh, that hillary's been playing rope-a-dope, but i'd like to ask mary beth in the sense that i don't think it's been very effective. i mean, her ratings have not done as well as i think a lot of us think she should be doing. and i'm wondering if you would offer any out-of-the-box kind of advice or would have to hillary to try to improve how she could have responded to the campaign.
>> well, probably -- again, going back to the early stages of the campaign dealing a little more forthrightly with the e-mail issue might have helped. but i think the campaign has fallen into place, and i think the rope-a-dope strategy is working very well. and if you look back at how ann richards won the campaign against a 27-point deficit going into the general election, she used her republican opponent, clayton williams', own words in a campaign commercial to let voters see what she was up against. and and that his demeaning comments about rape, telling women who were about to be raped just lay back and enjoy it because there's nothing you can do, i mean, that was the kind of thing that we had him on tape saying, and those words were played back. and that made a huge difference to women voters in this state but also people who were reasonable and responsible and did not want to put someone who had this clownish behavior in
office. so i think hillary has actually done a pretty good job of playing that back, and i think we're going to -- and here's my out on a limb prediction. i think she's going to do better on tuesday than many of the polls now indicate. and -- [applause] >> yeah. i'd just add to what mary beth said that in the generic republican against generic democrat race this year, it was the republicans' to win. we've had, we had 12 years of reagan and bush which was an outlier, then eight years of democrats, then eight years of republican, then eight years of democrats. and you had a lot of qualified people with immense resumés running in those 16 people that trump took out. and you had an 800-pound gorilla in secretary clinton who no one
was really going to take on seriously except bernie sanders. and so to have secretary clinton on the cusp of being in a very good place to become the first female elected president, the 45th president on tuesday, and it's going to take a miracle for trump to take -- to beat her on tuesday, this is a, this is a race that the republicans should have won. and for the democrats to hold on for four more years and have it be a 12-year reign in the white house is quite an achievement. [applause] >> both these books are wonderful. i mean, for the eighth grader that reminded when i was a kid working in campaigns, josh's book was wonderful in terms of reminding me what it's like, the surrealness and craziness of working in campaigns. i suspect that most of you have already voted. if you haven't, please vote on tuesday. and, again, for all of you that
are serious about the future of texas politics, mary beth's book is by far the best book there is in terms of a road to a different kind of politics. both their books are going to be in the authors' tent. please come over and buy them, have them signed, and thank you very much for coming out tonight. [applause] [inaudible conversations]