tv After Words Sen. Jeff Flake Conscience of a Conservative CSPAN December 29, 2017 10:06pm-10:46pm EST
of the republican party was compromised by the new deal. somebody needed to put together a blueprint of where the movement ought to go and that is where conscious of conservative came from and everybody sensed that that this is it. this is the manifesto. and we should honor it that way because we are facing the same questions today that the party or the conservative movement has been compromised by populist flair d7 you begin the book by saying i regret having to write this book because of the necessity of the american conservative movement which was a great force for good is lost. explain. >> barry goldwater defined conservativism with the
maximum amount of freedom and the principles that animated that economic freedom and individual responsibility and free-trade we look at those items to say where are we? in terms of limited government we had a campaign i would expect the democratic party not to touch entitlement spending but they say no. conservatives have to be fiscally conservative. but instead we will not touch that or leave that to future generations or other campaigns. with regard to building the party i think we went the other way to drill down on the base only 5% of the worlds
population if we don't find new markets or if we don't recognize the economy we can interview part of that and harness that or be left behind. >> i do want to get to free-trade but more broadly we have a republican in the white house republican control of congress with the majority of statehouses so explain how conservativism is lost. >> i remember very well. with that conservative think tank.
we knew each other than and during the 1990s. and they still talk about this in the book archer chairman of the ways and means committee. and when debating the flat tax. and as the party stood for principal and argued principal i remember sitting at one point and as we are presented with the presidents bill which for think tank conservatives
or intrusion into local education and he said sometimes i feel like we are minutemen. so then with the prescription drug benefit which added $7 trillion of unfunded liabilities and then republicans engaged in just horrible types of spending with earmarks. and we really lost our way and because we could not claim we were fiscally conservative and then into those wedge issues.
and then we lost 2006 in the senate and then the house 2008 so just so just because we have those majorities today doesn't mean we will have them two years from now. >> running around that retreat. >> these academic armaments with the house of conservativism with the concerns of the privileged elite. how do you make the case? that it is an urgent adder with real-world implications? >> if you are doing that just for the sake of winning
elections we can do that but as conservatives to enact conservative policies then you have to treat the election like how do we set this up? and move forward without our agenda. the president very effectively realize the concerns of a transitioning economy it is very easy for a politician to point to a shuttered factory to say it is because the chinese took your job or mexicans. >> and it works. i am not denying the popularity of populism it is called that for a reason but if you want to win elections you can in them here or there but as a conservative with
that conservative policy to say anything beyond 30 seconds but you have to recognize the factory is shuttered probably because of automation and productivity gains we manufactured twice in the 80s with one third fewer workers. there are dislocations and more effectively prepare for the work face -- workforce of the future that doesn't mean if we will knock out the trade deal then you are winning again. >> that is hard to explain at a rally. >> and you cannot reduce complex policy problems and 140 characters.
goals and as a conservative and this is a big deal for conservatives and for me and to shepherd the nomination to the judiciary committee and on the floor. so to have conservative implications in the future and another nomination with cabinet appointments that is the start of conservative policy if we can follow through. not just in terms of policy but in terms of demeanor and inform policy and it needs to be steady and sober and predictable. and respect our institutions
and those that have served us well for so long. anything else is not conservative. >>host: sticking to domestic policy. so becoming a conservative for fiscal policy with tax cuts cannot feel one -- bill appeal? >> but people understand large corporations out there tell you that we are competing more than ever. and with regard to corporate
taxes we are the highest in the world with regulatory policy, we are way out of whack. so the reaction and recently but that is in large measure to move forward on tax policy. and with a small business people in particular understand that well with those financial regulation or labor regulation all-consuming. >> you tell a moving story how to immigrants saves the life of your father-in-law and also how anti- mormon bigotry so go
to talk about the trump muslim band as a backdrop. >> when the president announced to have a muslim band to me into the heart of anyone, that is a dagger. people may not know the history of the 1840s there was the extermination order in the state of missouri for mormons. basically fair game. go at them. that stayed on the books through 1975 by the way. that wasn't utilized much to be on the 1840s the mormons were driven to illinois then ultimately across the plains
to utah and my great-great-grandfather was among the group. so that was fresh in our mind and when we say there is a muslim band there might as well be a mormon band or mexican began it just doesn't sit right so we went to a mosque with daily prayers to say we did not agree with that. but not the traditional republican position i would argue lately it is constitutional. it is in the constitutional aspect clearly it is unconstitutional but the way it came out, i believe if we win this war on terrorism we have to recognize and not look
at those islamic views to every muslim and that is what the muslim band does and to explain how that came about with those six countries that ended up there but president obama's list that was tried and true that was deliberated on. and how that came about to have a ban to have a deliberative process we did not go through that here but i explained that with my father-in-law. he ruptured his aorta last november rushed to the hospital with an 11 hour surgery. the first surgeon saved his
life. but then his heart would not start something to bring in a machine to circulate the blood to get his other organs going while the heart recovered then to the mayo clinic a palestinian raised in lebanon and raised in afghanistan. with these type of bands from majority muslim countries we would lose out on the talent in the medical field or anything else we rely on. and saved my father-in-law's life. >> this band did appeal to a lot of people certainly i am
not blaming the voters partly because politicians will exaggerate that with a broad brush is intended to rile people up. so i don't blame those ultimately have that sentiment as much of a in the position to do otherwise. >> it was controversial. standing on the exact time these are trying times in america for racial divide. what role do conservatives to play? >> that touches is immigration
reform. or hillary clinton as the running mate and who often spoke in spanish and to speak very lovingly of a naturalization ceremony and i thought at the time that should be us and that used to be us the republican party that celebrated those who made it here and by choice wanted to be an american. and it really hurt if we look into the future after the 2012
election to do this famous autopsy which concluded we have to appeal to a broader audience george w. bush one in 2000 getting 50% lung -- 56% of the white vote mitt romney lost getting 59% of the white vote so every two years the electorate is 2% less white and if we don't have a message that is appealing to everyone that some groups file are targeted or left behind or left out and we will not be successfully elect worley and it isn't a conservative message if you don't have a
message that appeals to everyone and that you cannot include everyone. >>host: now moving to fake news. you say only in the anti- democratic regimes do we allow alternate back with the truth president trump seems hell-bent on undermining the truth and a strong free press is one of the best mechanisms how do they combat that? >> i devote an entire chapter in the book on that because it is so important. it protects freedom of the press we should cherish that cherish that and hold onto what we can there is talk of other governments putting severe limits or big fines
that is later determined to be fake news. so you hope there is a market response that people in the end will value real news over fake news but it is concerning and i talk about this canard with barack obama and where he was born a lot of us said don't traffic in that nonsense don't go there but too many conservatives and to be engaged in that not just those that were targeted by that that the entire process democracy depends on some shared fax the truth that is
self-evident and if we don't have that and we are in real trouble i was concerned the other day 49% of republicans believe donald trump won the popular vote and the electoral college that is important what made him the legitimate president but he did not win the popular vote and that should be a truth that is self-evident but new sources pushing things out that are not right, too many people believe that and there is a big problem we have not found a solution when people value real news but it will be a problem for a long time. >> in particular because the primary trafficker of the birther conspiracy was donald trump who is now our
president. so with not trafficking in fake news or conspiracy theories what got you to the white house? >> i'm glad that he drop that. but it is incumbent upon elected officials that are so demonstrably untrue to say i'm sorry we cannot go there. >>host: going to free-trade talk about the 2016 election seemingly overnight you abandoned the back of the envelope focus but as we talked about earlier that really resonated did the voters reject your version?
>> if you are given two choices something easy or hard it is more attractive to take the easy choice and this was an entertaining election but that does not absolve us from recognizing we have to tell the truth when there is a shuttered factory it is more complex than china took the job. but when that populism rhetoric with the coal plant
in arizona called the navajo generation station for years we have tried to keep it open with environmental regulation but then we got to now when some of those regulations could be more appropriate. but then the market changed completely. that was not economically viable. you could not impose that on the ratepayers so it is closing and you could say it is keeping the plant going but it is the market which is the case with manufacturing.
this is that we have to talk about now or later so what i fear is if we win elections talking about the easy things then it is a hard fall later on. so we should just learn to tell the truth. >> you wrote maintaining that for political reasons first explain what you mean by that. >> i talk about in the house where i hoped yes and voted no with the big bailout with the troubled assets that was awful and i felt justified voted against that in terms of
regulation or whatever else may have caused this. >> bailouts is what we do so the fact that the stock market dropped just a few hours and said i will not vote for this but at that time i was believing what hank paulson and ben bernanke he were saying, somebody asked what happens on monday if we don't do this? he said if we don't do this we will not have an economy on monday. it was pretty stark. i believed him at that point but i relied on other people and my colleagues to provide
the votes so i could protect my sterling voting record against all that spending and i regretted that later because i thought i just let somebody else carry my water. i would have been justified but as a member of leadership at that time in colonial india where they build the golf courses in the monkey kept coming taking the balls they could not get the monkeys off of the course they developed a rule that you play the ball where the monkey throws at left last. [laughter] that is what he said at the tim time. we have to play the ball where it was thrown. and other people have done that.
>>host: the democratic party is going through a similar struggle right now coming to the issue of abortion. democrats said they will not today mom -- find a candidate that is not pro-life what about that existential crisis? >> to have that on both sides, yeah if you have a party that wins elections and governs it is tough to bp or on everything using every issue as a litmus test. to provide a big tent. and then to have the same constituency are the same beliefs.
>> when you have a president or a leader of the party there are obviously times when you swallow hard and don't accept things. and with those in stinks wherever you feel on the policy side to be a conservative to be even-tempered and temperate and to make it difficult in the future. >> i'm glad you brought that up anybody that you ask in washington what they think of
jeff flake they will say you're one of the nicest people. modeling bipartisanship by maroon yourself on a desert island. so with that civility and to worry about tone and politics. and two requires 60 votes. if you don't get along with your colleagues or achieve any conservative and and we discover those.
so there is never a bad time to be good. i mentioned my own upbringing watching the models behavior of the elected official i grew up in snowflake. my father served as mayor on the boards and the commissions and my uncle jake is speaker of the house and well beloved by both sides teaming up with a democrat from st. john's where the udall family comes from. but they modeled behavior. when you grow up on a ranch
with my seven brothers and four sisters if you don't do the work nobody does. and they cannot borrow money and they should have to make now. and in congress and to be tolerated on any other level of government but because we can paper over our differences to have a bigger deficit and then my mother on the fridge had the phrase assume the best
but every good budget agreement is divided government. where they said let's share the political risk let's get enough in each party to go along with this. reagan, tip o'neill, grand rapids hollings, you name it. it is far more difficult when one party controls both chambers because they never want to deal with entitlement spending because the other party doesn't help so that is the issue where we have got to come together to sit down to share the political risk. >>host: lastly, talk about the future of conservative party
so what does my generation of conservatives in the millennial's, where do we take the movement or the party? >> and those principles outlined in the book with economic freedom and individual responsibility that animated the party for so long that i think is the founding vision our founding fathers had to take different forms given the age and technology and globalization i think the future is bright for conservativism if we can stick to those principles and behave
well and not assume those worst motives. in the future is bright if you look at what we have gone through my first day at the senate they took us all to the national cathedral to the archives viewed all the founding documents and went to legislative hall and saw the host of allegiance signed by the revolutionary war soldiers signed by general washington but we have come through serious things and women's right to vote and we have gotten through them they are