tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN January 13, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
otherwise beautiful day in an exercise in our own democracy, shattered by the event. >> in terms of trying to change the tone, you have last night's speech. of >> in the near term, i would point you to the state of the union. i think the president will continue to look for opportunities to build on how we reach across the aisle. how we have that smaller civil debate and discourse. go back to the michigan speech. the notion that to -- what we lose in a debate that is overly
charged and overly personal is the ability to all sit together at a table and come to a good conclusion on solving some of our most serious problems. i point to some of what happens in the lame-duck session of congress, whether it was the tax cuts, the start treaty, don't ask, don't tell, all very important. achievements in the sense that we had been struggling their with those questions for quite some time. we found some bipartisan answers and i think that provides a road map for how we can get stuff done this year.
>> is it hard for you guys to know when to get back to business full-time in terms of a full steam ahead with the agenda? >> i think we have all had time to reflect on this. i think all of those -- they were there to see the exercising of the way we govern our country. while we will continue to celebrate the lives of those that were lost and pray for the speedy recovery of those who were injured, i think you will
see they would have wanted that. how do we solve those problems? how do we do it anyway -- in a way that lives up to the thoughts and aspirations of those that were involved in the tragic events? >> roberts, talk of civil discourse, talking together, over the last two years, republican leaders -- there was the trip to baltimore, the warehouse trip. people would walk away from that would end the size their areas of disagreement. -- emphasize their areas of disagreement. boaters respond to red meat. chris -- voters respond to the differences.
how can the words changed the political vitriol? >> i think we need to set apart differences and discourse. we will not take differences out of our democracy. that is inherent. the founders had some very different ideas amongst themselves as to how to construct the union now we call america now. we have taken the occasion in more than two centuries to build off some of those debates and create something more toward the perfect union that we strive for. i do not think we will remove differences from democracy. but the way we approached and the way we talk about those
differences, i think, is something that all of us have to work hard to strive to make progress on. the description that you laid out in the beginning is the easiest thing. we have to resist the temptation because this is hard, but it -- i point you back to the michigan speech. the president talked about that this is just not discourse for the sake of better discourse, there is a means to that end in the sense that to if you and died so violently disagree -- if you and i so widely disagree that we carried to other down, it is impossible to sit down and constructive solution --
construct a solution that those are country forward. i do not doubt that there were people that disagreed with the political views of congresswoman gabrielle giffords. they were at that meeting to ask her questions. we have to strive to have our discourse played out on a plane that does the discussion of our big problems justice. >> where the robert may meet the roche, -- were the robert may meet the -- rubber may meet the road, it may be gun control. you cannot touch it if you're a democrat in this town.
where is the administration on gun-control? how hard work you push -- how hard will you push? >> obviously, we have been focused on the important healing process. we will have an opportunity to evaluate ideas and proposals that may be brought forth as the results of circumstances and the faxed around this case. facts around this case. i think we all strive regardless of party to ensure that we are doing everything we can to reduce violence. we will have an opportunity to evaluate some of the other
proposals. >> [inaudible] i find this a little alarming, if it is true. one of the conclusions was that the administration does not have a comprehensive energy plan. there are a lot of different programs, but no overall strategy. would you agree with that? >> you have seen president the back many administration is discussing our need to take concrete actions to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. to look for and embrace a clean energy economy.
we still have a lot of work to do. i mean the country. in taking some of those very important steps. if you look at the investment in the previous two years in wind energy production, wendell turbine production, -- windmill turbine production, solar, advances in investments in electric batteries for cars, the steps we have taken with business and industry to increase the fuel mileage standards, not just for cars and not just for trucks, but even for heavy duty trucks. i do not think anybody would disagree with the notion that there is still much work left to
be done. we have progress that we need to make so that we do not find ourselves in our 20 or 30 years from now continuing to have embarrassing debates about how we reduce that in japan -- that dependence on foreign oil. that will take many forms. our administration made the first investment in building a new nuclear power plant in more than three decades. there is not one thing that we will do that will fix all of this. there are many different approaches. you ever the president -- you have heard the president -- there is drilling in the gulf and other regions of the united states. we have to make sure that all those activities are done with the utmost safety and care.
>> [inaudible] that is a threat to this fragile economy. that is a big tax on consumers. >> look, there are many people who would get upset at me if i started to opine on oil and gas prices, so i will not. we have to continue to take steps to impact the medium in the long term. even as they go to -- even as they go through the cyclical adjustments to go through. they are reflected in fluctuating prices. the question is whether or not we will get about doing that now or we will continue to haunt some of this -- punt some of this year after year after year.
>> when you talk about the need to reduce imported oil, are you referring specifically to the middle east? to are you referring to? >> i think you've heard the president. i think that having our fragile economy dependent upon energy that comes from any other place presents its own inherent risks. there is a way of increasing our -- adding to the number of jobs we have in this country in dealing with our energy problems all and the same action. i think that is our hope.
>> robert, what did the president think about the pop rally aspect antel and of the event last night? -- pep rally and tone of the event last night? >> i think that having been there the day before the president got there, you could understandably feel the weight of what had happened. i think part of that grieving process is celebrating the lives of those that were lost. celebrating the miracles of those that survived. you have all read the transcript from the two members on the plane last night about their personal experience with the congresswoman and her
hospital bed. it is an emotional thing to read. again, i read the speech several times. and thought there -- and thought there would not be a lot of applause, if any. there was a celebration of the lives of those that have been impacted, not just those at that grocery store, but the about the country. that is part of the healing process. that is a good thing. >> would you share with us any words the president said to the parents of christina? >> i was not in the room for those. obviously, he had an opportunity to speak with them on the
telephone a couple of days ago. i think all of us -- i do not think this was reserved for parents, it was for anybody that read that story, it is a tough story to read. it is a tragedy beyond any real description. >> [inaudible] what was the reason for choosing the arena or a -- as opposed to a church or a smaller than you? >> i would point you to the university on that. we were invited to and excepted the invitation of the university -- accepted the
invitation of the university. it is an important part of that healing process. in terms of logistics, i point to the university. they would be better to answer your questions on that. >> robert, going back to china. you listed some of the items on the agenda. can you talk about whether there are any hesitation about decisions made or agreements signed? >> i would point to a few things. we will have a chance to talk to tom tomorrow. i will not get ahead of the official minutes of next week. i know secretary clinton is going to speak on the topic of china tomorrow. i do not want to get ahead of
that process. >> [inaudible] >> i can reiterate that based on what i know, i will not get ahead of the official event. >> one other thing. -- cansident's schedule you talk to us about what he is doing? >> i do not have this schedule with me brady has a number of meetings today. -- i do not have this schedule with me. he has a number of meetings today. the president has to spend a lot of time here in the meetings. there is a regularly plan to meeting later today as well. >> he has always been for the
assault weapons ban. i am wondering if the president thinks it is possible -- >> again, i would leave the legislative proposals. we will have an opportunity -- i do not now with that evaluation on the specific proposals that are being introduced has been -- has been done. >> he talked about the importance of examining -- he seemed to almost invites a discussion about this. >> i think what the president said was, it is important and it is required of us to look at all the facts and circumstances that surround these events. i know that is what law
enforcement and investigators are doing on the ground. i think we all look forward to learning more about what happened and try to explain the why. >> in order to prevent this from happening again, he said. >> i do not have a lot more than the fact that this -- the evaluation of the facts of how we got to a tragedy like this requires us to look at everything. >> robert, i want to ask you about the president's meeting with the lebanese prime minister. does the president believed that the -- the indictment of the massacre in 2003?
>> obviously, first and foremost, i would point you to be read out from the president's meeting yesterday. i was not in the building yesterday. i was in arizona. i will reiterate -- i think the resignations only demonstrate the fear and the determination hat the hezbollah coalition's ability to block the government commission. our support is for the sovereignty of the lebanese people. we will continue to strive toward that. >> one more about last night's
speech. i know you talked about the personal space -- personal nature. comparisons have been drawn between that speech and president clinton's speech about -- just after the oklahoma bombing. are those comparisons overdrawn? >> obviously, there are historians that weigh in on these topics. there are moments in our history, oklahoma city, the challenger accident, what happened in arizona, that are toortant tfor the president talk to the nation about. to help the part of the process of celebration and healing. i think that is how he approached this.
we have far too many examples -- a mining accident in west virginia, a shooting at fort hood, things that the president has had to do. i think he approached it as somebody who might help to further that healing process. >> it may have been a turning point. thatthink it was an event affected all of us as americans. because of the truly shocking
nature of it. i think anybody that holds the office will tell you they would gladly give up the idea of having to do those beaches if we could figure out how to make sure that senseless tragedies or accident never happened. that is probably not going to happen. i think the role that any president could play is to help the country work through questions that have no answer. >> following your exchange, do you have any thoughts on the suggestion that the parties should not sit separately at the state of the union? >> i have not had an opportunity to talk to some folks around here about that. it is an interesting idea.
to remove theg disagreement in politics. we will have debates. but, you know, maybe not having a physical isle separating would be a good thing as we talk about the status bar union -- state of our union. that is everybody. that is not one side or the other. that is everybody. >> time to move past the pep rally? >> its -- is like a seesaw. i think everybody approaches -- i think we all want to look to the state of the union as a very
serious and sober discussion of the important challenges lie ahead. it is time to reflect on the strength of our country, the resilience of of our citizens in tough times of war and economic turmoil, and to chart the course for word. i know that is the way the president is approaching the construction of its and the writing of that speech. >> i am wondering -- can you say anything about how the president has personally wrestled with this? >> the reflection is and what he wrote and what he delivered last night. >> has she had clergy members and to pray with him?
>> i do not know if there has been an additional. >> i wonder if there has been a moment or the president has offered council to his own staff. >> but we find that out. -- let's be find that out. >> the thing that made its resonates this time was the personal aspect of the tragedy. t think his ability to connect on that particular issue has been enhanced by the nature of this tragedy? where did his speech last night reflected in europe -- and new approach to sharing some more of his emotions in public? >> i think you can go back and see -- i think the president has
discussed many of these topics on a number of occasions. i do not think there is any doubt whether -- when you are -- when the as a country are forced to confront the realities of a tragedy like that, it provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the past and present and on the future. i think he has taken the opportunity to do that. i think his hope is that those moments of reflection and the actions that come from it will simply be governed by doing so in times of unspeakable tragedy, but will cover more of our actions on a day-to-day basis. -- will govern the more of our
actions on a day-to-day basis. >> [inaudible] those rally went by the wayside last night. his speech had a tremendous emotional impact. t think that will fundamentally -- >> i do not want to get into political prognosticating. has done ae president' pretty good job touching on the hopes and aspirations and dreams of many in this country. it provides an opportunity to reflect. >> thank you, robert. i think there seems to be an agreement across the board about the president touching on civility and healing and bipartisanship. is he aware and does he have a
reaction to some of the comments made in the last week by members of his own party in the other direction? making suggestions about free speech and the nature. or senator bernie sanders? >> i am not -- there are many you can comment on all this. i would point you to what the president said last night. it was a message that was not reserved for or intended for anybody in particular. it was intended for and received by the whole country. there are plenty who can play a convent. that is not my role. >> -- play pundit.
>> is he aware of those roles? how does that work? how did you decide where it went? >> just to go through the arc of it. we talked a little bit about this on the plane. his first stop was in her room. he spent about 10 minutes there with members of for family, with her husband. then he went on to what the hospital sing other patients, doctors and nurses and other staff. thanking them for what they have done. the three friends go end and i do not know the exact time and that the exchange and there is
the miracle of opening her eyes. responding to their voices and their memories as they are talking aloud to her. the president ended biasing the trauma team who had first received those harmed in the shooting on saturday and then got into the car for the very short drive. in the car, along with the first lady, was her husband and term other. that is when the president first heard the story. he talked to the house been about whether he would be comfortable -- husband about whether he would be comfortable about sharing that story. he did not write any of it out. he mentioned to me -- we ended
the meetings with the family is -- families about nine or 10 minutes before you went out. in the holds, he mentioned to me that he would answer that story in the portion of the speech were discusses how she is aware that we are all there rooting for her. that is thought -- that is how it all came to pass. >> did you know that bill daly gave money to dan hines in 2004 and do you think the president cares? >> i probably knew that at some point. no, i do not think he cares. >> my condolences to the americans.
it does not seem all that in a comprehensible, at least from the outside. it is the dark side of freedom. unless you want a bigger role for the government's -- >> there is an investigation that is going to go on. there is an investigation that will go on. as it goes on, we will learn more and more about what happens. the president was clear last night. we may never know fully why or how. we may never have an understanding of why in the dark recesses of someone's mind a violent persons mind to actions like this bring forward. i do not want to surmise or
think and the future of what some of that might be. i think it is important to understand that the event that was happening that day was the exercise of some very important, very foundational freedoms for this country. the freedom of speech. the freedom to assemble. the freedom to petition a government. a form of self-government of, by, and for the people. all very quintessential american values that thave been on display. >> this is what i was talking about. exactly this.
this is america. the freedom of speech, the freedom to petition your government. how do you respond to it? the freedom of the mind to react violently. it is also american. >> no, it is not. i would disagree vehemently with that. there is nothing in the values of our country, nothing on the many laws of our books that would provide for somebody to impede on the very freedoms that you began with by exercising the actions that individual took on that day.
that is not american. i think there is agreement on all sides of the political spectrum. violence is never acceptable. we had people that died. we had people this lies a big changed forever because of the deranged actions of a madman. those are not american. those are not in keeping with the important bedrock values by which this country was founded and by which its citizens live each and every day of their lives in hopes of something better for those that are here. thank you. >> a reminder, in about 20 minutes, we will bring you live
coverage of the cavernous miley event. -- tavis smiley prevent trade that begins at 6:00. until then, at a discussion about -- the discussion on this morning's "washington journal." to michael fitzpatrick, the executive director of the national alliance on mental illness. our goal is to discuss some of the mental health laws and issues in the united states today. michael fitzpatrick, if we could, let's start with the national alliance on mental illness? guest: it is an organization that was formed largely by families originally predicted it is now a very diverse organization that focuses on the needs of people with serious mental illness. host: given the current laws and
what happened in tucson, could jared loughner had been stopped from purchasing a gun or been treated at some int given what we have learned about him over the last week or so? guest: arizona has one of the broadest civil commitment laws in this country. it is very easy to get someone evaluated in arizona. the standard for getting someone before and mental health professional is actually a broader and simpler process. mr. jared loughner could have been evaluated by a crisis program. host: in arizona? guest: in arizona. the college police could of called in a crisis team to evaluate him. at some point, the university
could of taken that responsibility. we see this incident as a failure to intervene early and a failure to get treatment to mr. jared loughner when he needed it. we understand that universities and community colleges are very busy. they see hundreds of thousands of students every day, but this -- he was involved in the campus police five times, numerous instructors knew he was having significant mental health problems. in arizona, it is relatively easy to pick up the phone and ask for interveion. host: where about his parents he was 1 years old. guest: we are not clear of the role of his parents. the reality is, at any given day, half of the people in this country who have mental health
problems received no treatment. the lack of knowledge -- in some cases, parents, friends, and acquaintances have no idea what they are seeing. again, if they understand is a mental health problem, they have no idea where to get treatment. host: we have talked about this during our last segment, where you draw the line. let's say the professor had called this mental health team. what if this was an eccentric student who asked all the questions? at what point -- you know where i am going with this question. guest: part of the challenge in this country is a cultural one. very few people grow up with a psychiatrist. the issue is really early
intervention, getting people he wn they need it. there is a line. you do not want to have people evaluated all brought into the system prematurely or unnecessarily. when you see situations like this, you see missed opportunities at a number of points of being able to intervene early and get thi individual and help. host: michael fitzpatrick is our guest, the executive director of the national alliance on mental on this. ron is a democrat from vermont. caller: good morning. i was just wondering, if there are millions and millions of people undiagnosed with mental illness, why are there not exponentially more shootings? all want to say is stolen and
hitler also agreed that gun- control works. i really have a problem with restricting gun laws. host: if you would, take that and tie it to mental illness and the purchase of guns. guest: there are two answers to that. the vast majority people with mental health problems are not violent. having said that, there are horrific incident that we all know about. there is a lot in this country that requires the reporting of individuals to the fbi, a national background check system. in this case, it would not reject it would not have impacted mr. jared loughner because he had never been evaluated. the issue for us is not gun control, per say.
the issue is to identify and get people into treatment early when they need it before these incidents occur. host: if someone has been institutionalized, are they allowed to purchase a gun? guest: under the laws, their name should be reported to the fbi. they would be stopped om purchasing a gun. postcode do you think people who have mental onus should be allowed to purchase a gun? guest: the challenge is getting people into treatment. our concern would be, whether it is policeman, returning veterans, or individuals treated for mental health and recover, they would be stopped from purchasing a gun. the current law that we have in place, if implemented, is
restrictive enough. again, it is not guns. it is early intervention, getting people into treatment when they need it, and having a degree of public discourse in this country or individuals like the jared lohner family, neighbors, acquaintances, and friends understand mental on this. host: minnesota, carol on our republican line. caller: good morning. i have a lot of questions to ask about this. number one, the fact that this very, very mentally disturbed person shot a gun when he was under the influence of drugs, which i understand it to be marijuana. i would like to know if you could talk more about that and how that affects people with
drugs. i think you are missing the point that a lot of the shootings -- i don't know if there are studies on this, but have these people been on drugs? were they on drugs because of their mental illness? with using drugs like marijuana, cocaine, whatever? guest: if you look back at the number of incidents that have occurred in this country, in many cases, the individuals were just very, very ill. if you combined psychosis with substance abuse, there is a heightened riskf danger. as i said earlier, the research indicates over and over again, the typical person with mental bonus in this country is no more prone to dangerous than the average citizen. having said that, if you combined mental onus, psychosis, with substance abuse, there is a
higher risk. there ia number of people in this country with serious mental illness who have no insight into their mental illness, so there is a challenge to get them the treatment they need. what you need is a more pro- active system that intervenes early. host: as far as treating mental on this, what has the past 10 years brought this country? guest: i think it has brought a realization of what treatments work. there is a general understanding of what the ideal system would look like. if you look in 2009, during the recession in this country, i can give you a couple of examples. after virginia tech, the governor and the assembly passed legislation that brought as much as $43 million into the system to build up the system and make it more accessible and more
robust. since then, because of the recession, most of that money has been cut because of the realizations of states and counties to run the mental health systems in this country. arizona has the same problem. we do it report periodically of all of the states in this country. arizona had a 'c'ast time. much of that money has been cut since then. that is part of the challenge in this country, making state and local governments accountable to the systems that they develop. citizens need to reach out to during times of difficulty. host: a federal law for health insurance parity for mental onus -- is that correct? guest: the parity of lawrom
february of last year, the regulations were promulgated. we anticipate over time, millions of americans who currently do not have access to mental health care because they can't afford it or because their health insurance companies are denying them coverage, will have insurance to allow them to buy mental health services the same way you would buy services for any sort of medical condition. we think it is a game changer and make a tremendous impact on velocipede boat in this country. host: according to the national alliance of mental illness, over 50% of students with a mental disorder drug out of high school. one-half of all lifetimcases of mental iness began by age 14. --
how do you get that figure? guest: is staggering. these are federal figures. host: where does it come from? guest: the impact of untreated mental on this ripplesacross the workforce, families, ripples across having to spend money on jails and prisons in the communities across the country, homeless shelters, so it touches all parts of the community. on treatment onus is devastating for this country. the tragedy is we know what rks and we know if you get someone into treatment, they can return to their lives in their community, and people can begin to spend the money in their communities the right way. host: david, please go ahead with your question.
caller: good morning. it is nice to be on c-span. i have a little bit of experience with mental health issues because my wife suffers. my major question is, you hav to be a danger to yourself or others before you can be committed. it took a long time after i realized my wife was mentally ill until she was able to be committed d get some help. now, am unemployed and she does not have health insurance, but fortunately, we have caring people who make her medication possible to be afforded. my main point is we should figure out another way to have people committed before they become violent. that just does not make any sense to me.
thank you. guest: you make a tremendous point. i have two thoughts. i hear about your situation and think people around the country with serious mental on this are being cared for by their families. it is very important -- education is important. that is an essential issue. the issueare around commitment have been talked out for years and years in this country. the standards in pennsylvania are the standards in many states. i know many states have talked about broadening of the loss. as i said earlier, the arizona outlaws are very broad. a person can be committed to be dangerous to themselves or others or persistently disabled war on willing and unable to accept treatment. the challenge for us in arizona
was that you had both inpatient and outpatient capacities, and no one used it. it is really two things. this is a robust discussion in every state. i think of the arizona incident will bring this forward. also, pay attention to finding those necessary early intervention services to get people treated when they need a. it takes years and years for people even with the most serious mental honest to find a treatment that they need it. host: yesterday in the wall street journal, the founder of the treatment advocacy center wrote an op-ed to come at predictable tragedy and arizona -- an op-ed, "a predictable
tragedy in arizona." do you agree with that? guest: i think it was a disaster. what we find is if we fast-track it to 2011, much of the money spent on state hospitals is now spent on prisons and jails. the specifics you talked about earlier in terms of juvenile facilities being populated with a very hh percentage of children and adolescents with mental health diagnoses. if you look at the jails, in prisons, you will find it is significant population of people who have very significant mental bonus diagnoses. you can build a community system. we know how to do it. there needs to be a will. in ts country, it is too scattered. we have to find the necessary
services. you need continuity over time, accountability for government to fund the necessary services that work for people. host: you are not a fan of state hospital systems. guest: one of the challenges we have since 2009, 4000 inpatient beds have been done away with in the country. you need access to inpatient beds. we see people stacked up in emergency rooms who need to be admittedo care. they then transitioned to the community, and too often the system is not there to treat them. host: laura, you are on with michael fitzpatrick. please go ahead. caller: i really want to thank you all.
this is a major issue i feel it is behind what happened in tucson, the lack of any follow up and medical treatment for this young man. i have experience, like the color and pennsylvania, my husband, in and out of the west viinia mental health system, because he does have some income, although he is now qualified and competent but those over $60,000 in medical bills. it is $750 a day when you are committed to our state mental hospital, so he is right now in a facility in ohio th is a therapeutic community. he is doing the best he has ever been doing. in shows the difference in
treatment. when he has come back out into the community, there is no follow-up care. he goes back onto his medications and start drinking, etc. he has had a lot of animosity towardublic officials. that lack of anybody at that college, you know, making any recommendations or follow ups, letting him fall through the cracks, something like this could be averted in the future if people could keep their eye out on individuals like this. host: we will leave it there. michael fitzpatrick? guest: absoluty. i think your situation, unfortunately, in too many communities is the norm these days. it is too hard to find the treatment that you need it. my heart goes out to you. it is unfortunate that we hear these stories too often. we need to continue to educate
college officials, police -- they are on the front lines in these cases treatment on this appears in many cases between the ages of 18 and 22 or 23. we need to be more proactive to get that early intervention. " the next call comesrom baltimore, our democrat line. caller: good morning. i like to thank god for 30 seconds of the c-span microphone to be able to say what i am going to say. i think if anybody can hear me, we neeto invest --ince we
have been talking about investing in solar power and electric cars, why can't we get some people together and create some jobs for non-leth? if it was non-lethal plasma gun, or if we could create electric guns, to shock a person and he is in a coma for two and the days, but as far as shooting somebody's head off, i think that is crazy. my question to you, though, you have columbine, virginia tech, and there is probably going to be another one. i live in an urban neighborhood and we are tired of guns. we wou rather place and our guns with education and books. host: any response for the caller? guest: i think the issues -- i sound like a broken record, but
really getting treatment to people when they need it. when people become isolated, they become very ill, the are not treated or medicated, they are not in the mental health system, no one knows, there are times when we run into situations when horfic incident occurred. we need to take responsibility in this country to give services to people who need it. we know which services are affected. host: they paranoid schizophrenic is obvious, someone who is depressed, and an alcoholic. is that guest: in many cases it is. the when you go back and looked but horrific incident, you can point to the fact that people have said to my new they were very ill. i knew they needed help.
mental illness scare people. there is a lot o >> we are leading this for a live coverage of tavis smiley moderating a forum on the challenges to our country, including the economy, education and health care reform. you are watching c-span. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [applause] >> @ good evening and welcome to the campus of george washington university. i'm tavis smiley. we have assembled a wide-ranging group of journalists to talk aout "america's next chapter"
three-hour long conversation about where this country is in the first decade of the new century. let's thank c-span for covering this conversation. [applause] he is the chief political correspondent for cbs news, please welcome david brody. [applause] she is the co-founder of voto latino, maria teresa kumar. [applause] political columnist for the "washington post" please welcome dana milbank. [applause] she is the creator of one of the best sites on the web, huffington post, please welcome arianna huffington. [applause]
the anchor of "at the closing bell" maria bartiromo. [applause] he is the best-selling author, please welcome dr. cornel west. [applause] he is a best selling author and former speech writer for george w. bush, please welcome david frum. [applause] the ceo of sybase and a committee of 100, our friend, john chen. [applause] i think want to start our conversation with dr. west. i do that because i was reading clips of some of your immediate appearances, one in particular,
you were asked about this conversation. i thought we were friends. until i read this conversation -- we talked about how america can return to its greatness. i want to talk about -- we have three hours to drill down on this, but you took exception in the piece i read on a particular media outlet on the notion of america returning to its greatness. i want to let you unpack we have to say about that, but talk to me philosophically, politically, socially, culturally, how you see this notion of america's grade is and whether it ever existed and whether we can never return to it if it ever existed. >> thank you for bringing us together. we need to have this conversation at this moment at this history of this experiment called the united states of
america. what i meant is that the very notion of a great nation is ironic because i come out of a christian tradition as is the greatest among you will be the servant to the port. i don't know a nation that's treating its poor with the level of dignity and ought to. alexander the great was not great to me. he dominated in concord a lot of people. napoleon was not great, he dominated unconquered a lot of people. the legacy of martin luther king, how are you doing with the prisoners, the orphans, widows, the fatherless, the motherless, the working-class -- military might, america is unbelievable, technological innovation, america is unbelievable. rights and liberties, america is unbelievable. but greatness has to do with
how you're poor and working people are doing. that is the vantage point to me. the legacy to me -- the future of america rests on how we respond to the legacy of martin king. when i look at our poor people are doing, not very well. downward mobility, the newport, chronic poor, locked into a prison industrial complex, militarism, not just iraq and afghanistan, but the pentagon, the military budget being 50% of the u.s. budget which means there's no wiggle room to deal with the situation of working people and poor people in our debate about the budget. then there are the spiritual issues, the spiritualism, but narcissism, the spiritual malnutrition and moral constipation we see in the nation. the emptiness of the soul and the right and good being stuck in you can get out. that is morally constipated. the right and the good want flow.
i'm not just talking about are wall street brothers and sisters. they are human beings like anyone else with two much greed. a military industrial complex of private contractors, too much monopoly. our debate about education, privatizing taking place and to teachers and teachers' unions being cast as welfare queens. teachers need to do the job, no doubt about that, but $4 billion a month in afghanistan and -- for me, coming out of the legacy of martin, curtis mayfield, and other great freedom fighters, we are in very deep trouble. not returning to america's greatness, it is trying to make america greater with great courage, great love, great commitment to public interest and the common good. for me in the end, no nation is going to be great because every
nation i know is going to be shot through with greed and domination, oppression, and the best we can do is try to gain some accountability for the poor and working people as the elites, oligarchs and others continue to dominate the government and economy. [applause] >> if dr. west is right if sedation is trying to become greater, and trying to juxtapose that notion with your recent best-selling books, "third world america." you argue if we do not change a lot about the way we do business in this country, we may end up a third world america one day. get me from west talking about we need to become greater to your notion that we are slipping toward becoming a third world america. >> first of all, i want to say i would like to spend the next three hours listening to dr. west.
[laughter] i was just completely spellbound and that at some point, i said he's going to come to me. i would so much rather sit here listening. one of the reasons we are all so starved of poetry in our public discourse. everything is so prosaic. just listening to cornell riot -- reminds me of how not malnourished we are would become to that. i don't think there's any contradiction in between wet he said and what i wrote. we can never return to anything, even if there was such a thing as american absolute greatness, including toward the poor and working people. my greek compatriots, the philosopher herodotus said you can never enter into the same river twice. everything flows, everything moves on and everything changes.
having made the philosophical point, practically, as an immigrant to this country, this accent is for real. i am acutely aware of how we are losing the american dream because i lived it. as we are looking now at the possibility of upward mobility, the possibility of working hard and playing by the rules, doing well and your children doing even better becoming impossible for millions of americans, we see that since the middle class is at the heart of any first world country, if we lose our middle class as we are in danger of doing right now, we do become third world america. the statistics, i hate to cite statistics after dr. west, but we have 100 million people who are worse off than their parents were. when it comes to upward mobility, we are 10th, after
france, after spain, after the scandinavian countries. to be behind france in upward mobility is -- i think france was behind us in [unintelligible] that is my concern and we have a lot of time to discuss that ultimately i am optimistic. i know you wanted to start with the darkness and it's good to dwell in the darkness for a while, but ultimately, i believe and this incredible american character and compassion we see express dollar and the country in our small communities. lead to scale it, accelerated, and make it part of our everyday life. >> i want to pick up on something you said -- i'm trying to juxtapose docked suggesting what we are missing a focus on
the poor. i hear you saying we have to save the middle-class. how do we focus on the middle- class if that is your suggestion, when doc says what we are missing is a focus on the poor? >> i don't think there's a contradiction at all. the middle-class are the new poor. [applause] they are adding to the chronic poor. if you look at what is happening in our homeless shelters now, at the food banks around the country, there are more and more middle-class people who lost their jobs and lost their homes. about 2 million people, 2 million families have lost their homes in the last two years to foreclosures. stop and imagine that. last night, at the president eulogized in incredibly eloquent and moving terms, the nine year-
old who died. our hearts were broken by the death, but what about all the 9- year-old around the country who have no hope for the future, with talent and gets but cannot actualize them? the greatest way to honor christina is to focus on a 9- year-old from the country and all the other kids who are homeless, who cannot get a decent education and who cannot live the american dream. and they are still alive, so we can do something about them. [applause] >> not so long ago, dana milbank, a report released called the rasmussen report and it find that almost half the american people think our best days as a nation are behind us. wrestle with that for a second.
almost half of us think the best days of this nation are behind us. you believe numbers l that or not, it's clear to me that -- i've been around the country and we all do, this feeling of tanks, helplessness, hopelessness and concern about the future and whether or not their kids and grandkids are going to do as well as they have done, how do you move a country forward? how do you put a country on the right track of half its citizen rethinks its best days are a behind it? >> it is a grim statistic. to the extent there is any good news here, a lot of the reason we're all feeling so bad is because of a short-term problem in the economy. we have two problems -- one is that we have just fallen off this economic cliff which has made all the statistics worse and has made the american public
extraordinarily dour. 75% to 80% of the people think we are on the wrong track now. that gets at the statistic you are bringing out because that's overlaid with the sense that our problems are greater than the economic cycle. we probably have reached a point where improving living standards are going to slow down for demographic reasons. we have reached a point where the rest of the world has caught up and america will no longer dominate the way it once did economically, militarily, but that does not mean we necessarily will suffer lower living standards. we have these two things coming together now and our problems are large but not insurmountable. what's happening right now is they seem insurmountable because 15 million people are
out of work, because so many people believe we can't come to grips with the short-term problems. >> john chen, dana says we have to recognize the fact that we as the united states can no longer dominate. if the 20th-century belonged to the united states, does the 21st century belong to china? do we need to accept the fact that we won the 20th century, but it belongs to china in 21st century? we all know the leader of china is headed to this city in a matter of days to spend a few days with president obama at a summit. does the 21st century belong to china? >> i have a few comments before i enter your comments.
i did not understand half of what dr. west said -- i run a around the world and unfortunate -- and i'm fortunate enough to do a lot of business around the world. we beat ourselves up pretty bad. there are a lot of countries out there that would love to be america. they love americans. the fact of the matter we are all sitting here talking about this, very openly, a very diverse background, that's a good sign. there are a lot of cultural- political-factional power is out there that these kinds of discussions would have ever happened, nor would any thing happen as a result. [applause] we have to not be ourselves up. but now i will answer your
question about china. it is the rate of growth. it's like companies. mature companies grow slower, met -- china, we have been telling them how to do things, do it this way, and eventually they do, when they did it, it worked and the rate of growth is much faster. their attitude is very different. they are a lot hungrier than us. but they also have issues that attempted the to grow peacefully, and i'm sure we will talk about security somehow, if they don't continue to grow peacefully cut the political and social stability will be called into question. as such, right now, if you ask the chinese people, the majority of the 300 million in
the middle-class -- a total of 1.3 billion, they still have a lot of challenges. but the middle-class and the other who aspire to be middle- class would rather have the current growth structure than some of the stuff we would like to impose on them. given that, they have big internal demands. everyone wants to put money there, including us, to grow their market, and they are hungry. the next decade, we will see a lot of development over there. >> i want to come to the other side, david brody, you work for a network most people would think of as conservative in its beliefs and values, political that is, and when i listen to what john chen had to say, in
the midterm elections, there was a lot of anti-china rhetoric in the campaign we heard from a lot of folks on the right. it is easy to beat up on china because china cannot respond in your specific district, and not suggesting there are not issues in china that don't need to be discussed, but there was a lot of anti-china rhetoric in this last election. it's one issue where there is a big divide in this town. i was saying somebody -- alice saying to somebody this week that there's a lot of stability -- i was saying to some be this week that there is a lot of civility because congress is not in session. we are about to enter this age of a divided government in this town. whether the issue is china or a litany of other things i could rollout, what say you about what is or is not going to happen courtesy of this new divided
government in washington? >> if we had nine hours or longer we could talk about it. it's a complicated issue. i think it starts with a moral factor in this country as it relates to god. as i travel around the country and talk to people like jim wallace on the left and ralph reed on the right, here is one thing they agree with -- there's a moral crisis in this country as relates to everything from wall street to the housing market to what has happened across this nation, especially economically. i would suggest there is a lot of common ground that could be found in this area of economic catastrophe. i think that is an important part of it. as it relates to stability in government, what we need to see here, and this is pie in the sky, potentially, but as it relates to the tucson shooting and the divided government we
are seeing, we need the elected leaders in this country and we need the influential commentators in this country, bill o'reilly and teeth -- andkeith olbermann, these guys need to come together -- >> did you say you think that they are going to do a psa together? >> i don't think i was holding my breath what i said that, but the point is if you are going to get through the clutter and really make a difference, there needs to be sent shock valley. if you are going to have shock value, you need to have people who would normally be in their own entrenched warfare's ounce to come out and start the dialogue. >> is that the problem, david frum? is this about a moral crisis? >> i would not say so.
i think the people in the audience, the people at home, they know well what the problems are. i think about all the time that inside each of these problems, imbedded into the problem is the answer. we had a demonstration of this just this week with the terrible atrocity in tucson. that is the horror of america -- a week mental health system, easy access to deadly weapons, a breakdown in community structure. we know that. let's look at this -- this maniac did a terrible crime and the whole political system of the country snapped together. every loudmouth who had been pumping anger and rage into the country's bloodstream suddenly recoiled and look around at people blaming because the political stability of the united states is like a 100 inch living-room sofa. you cannot budget.
we had this tense debate in 2010 over the american health-care system and its extraordinary wastefulness and we spend more than anyone else and don't get good results. within that waste, if the u.s. spends as much as switzerland, there is four points of gdp will of wasted money line on the table. if we could get a henry ford- type personality and squeeze the waste out, there are four points of national wealth. we have terrible unemployment, but that means we have able unskilled people ready to do the jobs the country needs doing. we have global security challenges, a hungry rival nipping at the country's heals, but that forces the country to be more competitive. it competes in a world of states that are adverse and the country has to be disciplined and focused with its resources. is also a reminder that more countries look to be knighted
states as a provider of security and most countries -- look to the united states as a provider of securities and other countries as providers of insecurity. i hope can talk about how we display -- how we deployed be institutions of the country in a way that makes the solutions effective. >> you said a lot and i want to come back to some of that quickly. but let me bring in late maria into the conversation. what david just described sound too much like right. anything he can lay out that simple, that simply, if the answer to these challenges can be found in the problems themselves, housetop on stupak are we? we can't figure -- how stuck on the stupid are we? i'm not certain it's necessarily that simple. but we are obviously missing something here. what are we missing? >> i agree with much that has
been said. what i have to push back on is my friend dr. west here because i think america is the greatest country in the world. i think we were great and we are falling a bit now, for sure, but we will get back to greatness again. let's not underestimate the power of freedom. we talk about the challenges and the rise of the east and a decline or bumping along the bottom of the west, but this is a free country. the aspirational power is also amazing. the fact that you can come from nothing and work hard and get all lot and achieve success, that's not to say we are taking care of all of our people properly. we are not. we need to better care for all income levels, all areas of the country, and we have work to do there.
i think the problem is clearly the jobs picture, the unemployment story is persisting. i suspect it will continue to persist. we have challenges overseas with china with a billion 0.3 people, india with 1.5 billion people. of course, china will at some point be the largest economy in the world. america has to sell to those people. a billion people outside of america. american companies have to sell to those people. i think that's part of the story. >> i think it is clear that camera 3 ought to stay trained here the rest of the night. going to come back to you. camera 3, just get ready to stay
trained right here. maria teresa kumar, i ran to her yesterday here in town -- >> where? >> none of your business. >> i thought i might make some news. >> it was at npr if you must know. we were talking at npr yesterday and i heard maria make a point i agree with -- when you look at the numbers, the negative numbers are hitting the hispanic community pretty hard. i'm part of the african american community in the picture here is in pretty to be sure, but the numbers are really hitting the hispanic community really hard. she closed by saying and yet with all that, the hispanic community may be the most
hopeful community in the country about their future. i added to that, i have mad love for the hispanic community right now because no community in this country last year flexed politically more than the hispanic community. they flexed last year. [applause] if you don't like things the way they're going, you have to flex and raise up. politics is not a spectator sport. you have to get off the sidelines and get involved in the process. the hispanic community did that last year and yet there were a lot of victories. immigration went nowhere, the dream that did not go through, so before we start mixing this up, i don't want to leave your committee at this. what happens in 2011 for all of the energy and activism you generated as this campaign for the white house is about to kick up in the next couple of weeks. >> i think it started in december.
how want to talk about where we see our country going. i don't think america was great. i think what we see is a realignment that we saw during the great depression. we are seeing it now to the great recession where we have a completely new industry, a new type of immigrant american in this country and competing on a global scale once again. what happened and the lessons we learned during the great depression is america learned to take care of our own, our poor, women, and children. now, it is the great recession, we have legislation that has asked us to step up to the plate through health care, financial reform, had asked the question are you going to take care of your poor and your children? i have to tell you we've done ok. part of it is because we do see increasing change within our country, a lot of folks in the
middle class have forgotten how to be poor and the rich have forgotten how the middle class. that's a conversation we need to have. as we move forward as a country, one of the reasons the american latino community is so optimistic despite the fact we have the highest foreclosure rates and highest dropout rates is because -- this is where i will bring it personally. i remember my mother getting up every single morning going to clean houses and working 15 and 16 our jobs and still telling me that america was the greatest country in the world. when you have that in your household, immigrant parents telling their kids i don't care if you are from asia or latin america, america is where we are going to make our dream, that's our identity. that is our challenge, how do we inc.? to trot to you're saying that
china, india and -- to draw it to what you're saying about china and india, in the u.s., we have the third largest latin american population in the world. the third largest. when you start talking about a billion people, we have that, but how do we educate our american countryman, our brothers and sisters, so we celebrate our opportunities at the doorstep? fundamentally what this country needs is not only to talk about resources for jobless this, but we need to make sure that the nine year-old is getting the best possible education. that is our challenge as a country. do we care? [applause] >> my first responsibility was to make sure everyone got a chance to say something and
initially. now we can loosen up a little bit. i'm going right back over here first. i want to let dr. west respond, but the backdrop is what maria teresa kumar just said. when i listen to you and maria, a difference on the notion of whether or not america is for somebody people around the world, a beacon of light and hope, but this notion of american exceptional as an is what i hear the two of you having a disagreement about. talk to me about american exceptional as an. >> we have to draw the distinction between making the claim america is great and the america is the gray -- is america the place you want to live? a lot of other nations don't look so good either. i choose to live in america primarily because my mom is here and my grandma is here and my granddaddy. wheat we have helped to make the
nation democrat. but the question of want to raise to my dear system is how many poor people, unemployed people, how many poor children, how the uneducated people do there have to be before you call into question the greatness of the nation? what is the line in the sand? that line has been drawn for me. when i look at the killing fields in these goods, when i look at the war zones, sister christine taylor green, god bless her soul, and barack obama, he is a magnificent father, he talked about the magnificent american family and we talked about his two children -- that you have a 13 people in prince george's county that were just shot. you have folks buying all the time of all colors, all classis, disproportionately poor. i'm not sure what -- a measure we are fundamentally disagree,
but my stresses on the underside. i know brother john chen, i'm speaking clearly for you. >> i've got it. [laughter] >> he is a distinguished graduate of hong kong university. i want to be listed. this is not beating american down 3 -- alan to be lucid. when martin luther king gave his abilities, he is not anti- american, he was anti injustice in america. that is what we are talking about. [applause] for my canadian-born brother says he can see the answers in the problems, i'm not sure about that. i'm not sure about that. the reason is because i did not hear in your analysis and the talk about corporate power or wall street power, i did not hear any talk about mastering
the political will from below and the ways in which it is suffocated, sometimes crushed by the powers that be. when we hear cry for her and help among poor people, we don't get a response. when we hear from investment bankers, we get corporate welfare. that's a big difference. [applause] >> i think it is about education. when you look at the differences of education in this country as opposed to the rest of the world, we are failing. i don't think any of us would disagree. china, -- in the u.s., our kids let's talk a simple things. our kids go to school five days a week seven hours a day. in china, they go to school six days a week, 10 hours a day. of course this is going to be an increasingly competitive situation. we need to give people the opportunity to get educated, or card and the of up the ladder --
worked hard and move up the ladder. >> dr. west has is different formulation -- but the thing you said that caught my attention, your example of the answers being found in the problems with this issue of the shooting in tucson and this conversation the country is engaged in about stability. help me understand how is it that is the way forward if it requires a heinous act like that to get us to even have a conversation about civility? i have heard members of congress for the last week patting themselves on the back and sticking out their chest -- this tragedy has reminded us there are no republicans or democrats, we are all americans. everyone is saying that same line. we were americans in two weeks ago before that happened. we'll all be americans two weeks from our are not talking about
it anymore. it can't take a heinous act like this for us to realize we're in this together. >> i don't mean to look at this black hole of suffering and say here is some sunlight comes out of it. i don't believe it is true. what i mean to say is this -- the reaction to this terrible crime much has been a rediscovery of some things that were true all along. we have been through a two-year economic crisis on top of the 11 years of a series of failures of our political system from the .com bubble that left people feeling swindled, the stagnation of in come through the last decade culminating with this crisis, the inability of the
government to please borders effectively, to act on the information, failure after failure after failure of governmental policy. but what we have discovered is these institutions really work. we have seen a lot of voices in the media and politics for their own selfish reasons hacking at the basic stability of the united states, the inability of the system to solve problems. these terrible events have cast a spotlight that has reminded lot of people to talk very loud that if the country wants institutions work, the country watched the assault -- a country wants results, if you are talking to niche markets who play this game, this country is politically stable, and when
people worry about competition from china, i think that is very real. i had a chance to spend a fair amount of time and china and everyone in a position of leadership i bet is worried about the country exploding. they are worried about revolution for a lot of excellent reasons. that's not something we need to worry about. those who tamper with the stability do so at their peril. >> i have a lot to say now. i think the point about education is right on. forget about the definition of greatness for a second. everybody wants to compete and the barrier of competing has
been lowered. everybody knows that. mariette talked about the numbers and the mathematics of the people, but i shall think because we spend so much money person per child in this country educating them, but we are not getting the results. we need to go with that part first. [applause] the only thing i think is it's in our attitude. people always tell me about in the garden through 12th grade and then they talk about universities. we have the best university system in the world, bar none. but we don't have a good kindergarten through 12th. the question is why? the why is simple. our attitude is we will not fail our child when they are from k through 12. but when they get to university, we will find them.
-- we will flunk them. [laughter] think about this. the parents in this country will complain about the teachers when their child gets flunked or failed. [applause] they don't take a lot of responsibility in my mind. but in university, everyone is in your grown up and can deal with that. in this culture -- i grew up in hong kong and went to school in hong kong. failures option. [applause] -- failure is not an option. because there was british rule at that time and there are more kids than schools, we all had to fight into moving up. we studied 10 hours a day, six days a week. in addition we go to tutoring class is and tried to do math on
our own and see how many math you could do per hour. the attitude in this country is very different. [applause] i asked my children sometimes, thanksgiving is coming, if you do your homework the first couple of days, you can really enjoy the rest of the weekend. and he says what homework? [laughter] my teacher says we ought to relax. i'm not making that up. i'm not going to tell you the school district either. but it is an attitude we ought to focus on if we want to compete, we have to tell our kids you have to learn and you have to excel because it's not about china, of south korea, it's not about singapore, taiwan, japan, it is sweden, its france, it is germany, is everybody. it's not just china. [applause]
>> i agree with david that every problem has a solution in sight. we can sit here and talk exactly about how we can fix education. we can go to harlem and look at what geoffrey canada has done and know how to fix things. we can go to a school in washington know how to fix education. the problem is we have a completely dysfunctional political system. the way a bipartisan system fixes education is the leave no child behind act that has everyone behind it from george bush to ted kennedy. it did not fix the education. on the contrary, it's one of the reasons people are turning on government. so many efforts like the effort to fix education, like the bailout of wall street, has
ended betraying the american middle-class and the working poor. look at the deal warren buffett made with goldman sachs and look at the deal the american government on behalf of the american taxpayer made with goldman sachs. you'll be angry it whether you are left ring or white -- what you are left wing or right wing. i'm not saying they should not have bailed out wall street, they should have bailed out wall street with strings attached. [applause] i have many friends of mine who are good capitalist to sleep with a copy of "fountainhead" under their pillows. that's not how the capitalist system is supposed to operate. you take extensive risk, you may the wrong -- to make the wrong decision, and you go bankrupt. if you are too big to fail and you will be salvaged by the hardworking american taxpayer, what are you giving back? [applause]
point,ack to david's this is fundamentally a moral issue. the founder of capitalism, when i studied economics at cambridge, we studied adams smith. the first book he wrote before he wrote "the wealth of nations -- the wealth of nations" was the theory of moral sentiment. you cannot have a thriving capitalist system without a moral foundation. that is what is missing right now and what needs to be recreated. >> there are a number of issues and jumping off here and it is getting fund. i want to put to issues out, dana, but i want to combine what john chen and arianna huffington said -- we are in need of an attitude adjustment as far as education.
we need an attitude adjustment. i wonder if you think he is right that we need an attitude adjustment? and the suggestion that there are a lot of people turning on government. a lot of people turning on government is the attitude of turning on government these days a justifiable attitude to have? does that make sense? >> it does. and i want to amplify that point. let's start by saying i think there is more agreement here that people realize. i don't think there is anyone on this stage who quarrels with the notion of american exceptional lissome, that this is the greatest country on earth, or in dr. west's case, the least terrible country on earth. [laughter] thing, right? [applause] at the same time, we have a
crisis of confidence. where is this coming from. we have some of the worst schools, worst education systems in the world. we also have some of the best, even at the k through 12 levels. we know how to do those things. we have the potential witness, but we are stuck, morally or otherwise constipated. why is that? i think that's the point that was just hit -- there is a sense, correctly, that our government is broken. it is not worthy of the people it is serving right now. that's not a criticism of the 535 of them on capitol hill, but they deserve some of it. there is almost a panic that the system that was set up more than 200 years ago is no longer working. we cannot address the real problems. we, don't get that because
given our american exceptional some, patriotism and nationalism for some of us, our arrogance and hubris, we are the ones talking about exporting democracy around a world. if our system is fundamentally broken, why do we keep suggesting everybody ought to be a democracy like us? [applause] >> because there is nothing better than that. >> that are broken system? >> we have the best darn broken system in the entire world. >> part of the issue is the short-term mentality. we are so focused on i want to yesterday, i wanted tomorrow. we're focused on getting reelected. this is combining what is wrong with the political system. decisions are being made on will i get elected in two years, will i get reelected in four years. [applause] the chinese are thinking about the next 100 years, not the
next two years. that is the crux of the issue. >> what we are seeing right now is a vehement discussion in this country as it relates to free- market principles as opposed to big government intrusions. this is the birth of the tea party, put on not just by the obama administration, but bush before him. if you are going to win the argument of ideas, you have to ingate with people who don't agree with you. therefore, i go back to 2007 when you had your debate at morgan state university where john mccain was a no show, but rudy guiliani was a no show, mitt romney was a no show. if you're going to say free- market principles are the answer, you have to go in front of audiences that may not agree with that. that is part of the problem. [applause]
>> this is where i disagree. one of the reasons we are where we are is because of the massive deregulation that happened since the 1980's. when government wasn't watching, we worked at our worst instincts, which is we got greedy. people who had no business getting one or two homes signed the dotted line not completely understanding that they weren't paying their mortgage, they're just paying their interest. they're paying $2,000 a month, they had a nice little house and five years later, the a p r came up and they're paying $5,000 a month. how they reconcile that? that has to do with regulation. when we talk about democracy and democracy building, what we forget is american democracy is evolving. we evolved with women's suffrage, we continued to climb
what we did the civil-rights movement, and now our biggest challenge is how do we continue moving it forward? there is a place for government and it bothers me because the sea does not do it well, but when someone ploughs this no, public transportation, that they government function. but also why the lights turn on. there is a place for government and it is important to make sure we recognize that and embrace it. >> there is a difference between the state government and the federal government and that is part of we're talking about. that debate has to go forward. this is why the tea party was so successful, because a was a cauldron of everything they believe, a constitution, that wasn't being lived up to as far as the constitution. >> one thing about the two-party movement that is very important is at the heart of their anger is if you look at any survey, it
was anger at the bailout. before the was a grad health- care, anchor anything else, anchor that in this country, we went from a country that makes things to a country that makes things up. [applause] credit defaults swaps, tax derivatives, when the house of cards collapses, the taxpayer, the government bails them out. that is still at the heart of what was wrong. the fact that every day we get great news from wall street and bad days from maine street is feeling that very legitimate anchor. we cannot really go forward if we don't address with a sense of urgency that has been missing. when wall street was in danger, there was an unbelievable sense of urgency. everyone came together over that famous weekend, the financial
establishment, the political establishment, and they said we don't know how we're going to prevent this from happening, but we cannot afford to let the financial system collapse. so we will throw everything against the wall and they save it and rightly so. we never had that sense of urgency about jobs. we never had that sense of urgency and that is what is missing. >> you have mentioned this twice, david, and i know you have covered this group and these people as much as anybody else over the last year, the whole key party movement. from your perspective, i'm curious whether or not, whether we like or lows or disagree with the tea party, they made some noise and got people elected and got a lot of media time across the country. is there something to learn? is there any takeaway to wrestle with from the key party relative
to writing the next chapter in america? >> absolutely. what you saw politically in 2010 was act one. act two is coming in 2012. these folks are serious and they have good hearts, no doubt about, but they were starting to work the day after day the election of 2012. this is the beginning of the process as relates to the tea party. one of the reasons marco rubio did so well in 2010 is because he articulate the message very well. christine o'donnell did not. both the party candidates, both with the same message, but marco was able to explain some common- sense items. for example, read the bill. read the congressional bill, cite the constitutional authority in the bill, term
limits, balanced budget amendment, line 10 people up on the street, these are common- sense principles. the point is this -- the tea party message is one that can resonate, but it needs the bite messenger. we saw a couple of messengers -- needs the right messenger. we saw couple people to my people to convince independence to come on to their side. >> we will come back to that. i want to comment on another point -- i have heard two or three references and nobody has said it and we're going to wrestle with that, i heard two or three references to policies or lack thereof we have been subjected to in the first two years of president obama's first term. one of the things that makes this conversation prescience tonight is we are days away from
the anniversary of the first -- of the halfway point of the first term of the president. there'll be a lot of analysis about how he has done at the halfway point and what these next two years are going to bring, how he's going to deal with this divided government, and i expect a lot of this will be laid out in his state of the in a few days from now. we have not said expressly, but let's talk about the fact we are at the halfway point of the president's first term. broadly speaking, you say what about that? >> i would say when we look at the major priorities of the president's first two years, we do not see a priority for working people.
tim geithner, the regulator, larry summers, the regulator -- deregulator. they are recycled from the bush and clinton administrations. but this is not change again believe and. we cannot -- this is about poor and working people. it meant then that it became very clear, you can get bailout, a trillion dollars, we could eliminate poverty with billions. pro-business, big business, not small business or of entrepreneurs who out there struggling, big business. the tea party comes along and they have a populist message. i think populism can be a good
thing when it focuses on poor and working people. they have populist gestures, there is corruption in the government, they are right about that. the u.s. government is corrupt. there's no doubt about that. the lobbyists, the corporate influences are there. the private contractors for the military-industrial complex is there. the corruption is there. but they respond to government by being anti-government. we say no, you have to clean it up to a degree to which poor people and working people have passes to governmental positions of power as the same way as the bankers or insurance companies do. it is a pseudo populist movement, but there's also an element of white backlash because of barack obama, his wife and children. it's more like the national hockey league and the nba in terms of the racial composition.
that doesn't mean it is all races, but there are racist elements there. most right-wing populist movements in america tend to be xenophobic. anti-semitic. we may have seen that with our sister sarah palin the other day. was that in ignorance or a subtle anti-semitic gesture? we don't need that. my jewish brothers and sisters. we had a moment with barack obama's presidency. if he could bring in economists to focus on homeowners rather than just the bankers, that focus on working people rather than the elite, we would have had a very different, and maybe that tea party movement would have been nipped in the bud. [applause] >> i would like to disagree with my brother here. [laughter] i don't see racism in the tea party movement any more than there is -- hold on a second.
there is racism. racism in every part of american society. vestiges of racism everywhere. what fuels the tea party movement is not racism. many of you believe that your wrong. what fuels the >> if you are a member of the leads, you can do no wrong. if you are a poor or middle class person, you make one mistake. even if that means you are going to get rates on your credit card of 30%. there will be hidden stuff in your mortgage contract. the game is rigged against you if you are a member of the middle class or the working
class or the working poor. it is important to have the correct diagnosis if we are going to proceed correctly and focus on what the racist elements are doing. that is not the heart of the problem. the anger is widespread across america. it is significant that you address it. otherwise, it gets out of control. when it gets out of control, the stable system david is celebrating can stabilize. >> it is not fueled solely by racism. there is a racism element. >> i also feel that part of the boost -- >> i don't see a president obama
coming out of the tea party movement and other movements. [applause] >> part of the fuel for the tea party is the idea that there is a movement that people want their freedom and do not want to feel like things are being forced upon them. with the health care passage. when you look at the polls and look at the feeling of america, there was a majority that did not necessarily want that particular plan hatched. they said this is not health care, but health insurance. we are not necessarily dealing with the issues of obesity. michelle certainly is, but we are not dealing with the crux of health care. there is this division. i think it is important to remember the business of wall street. wall street and main street, no matter how much we say wall street versus main street and
they are connected, when you want a bridge built in your neighborhood, the financing comes from wall street. it is not just a bunch of guys. i am not saying there were greeted situations where there were guys walking home with hundreds of millions of dollars -- greedy situations where there were guys walking home with hundreds of millions of dollars. wall street and main street are connected. >> wall street and main street may be connected, but one always gets the priority. why do the elite to get the priority over the others? >> it is a fair question. i think that there are all businesses. the story of entrepreneur islam is the story of america.
-- entrepreneurialism is the story of america. getting a loan from a lender -- not all of the banks are the big five banks. there are banks and lenders who are catering to small business and entrepreneurs. that is what we need to protect. >> that is not we are talking about when we talk about wall street. >> which should be talking about it. >> when launched a movement called move your money. we encourage people to move their money from the five big banks. credit unions and small banks are much more likely to reinvest in small businesses. i agree with you. the problem is there has been a decoupling between the financial sector and wall street -- financial sector and the main
street. instead of enabling got creation, they have been running a casino. they have been running a casino where if you lose, the taxpayers will bail you out. ben bernanke says you can go to the window at the fed and get 0% financing. instead of investing in small businesses, they are continuing to invest in buying derivatives and doing all the stuff that was happening before. it is still going on. we still have to beg big to fail. we have not ended it -- to big to fail. >> politicians tend to do this. it is easy to give lip service to the power and the necessity of small business in this country. that is not the picture we have seen painted for the last couple of years. the big businesses got bailed out.
the small ones did not. talk to me about this abandonment of small business by this country as we try to write this next chapter. >> you are talking about a large bank. some of the customers at the large bank are the state and the sovereigns. it is not just big customers or the customers at big banks. >> first of all, we are a business that did not need to be bailed out. >> make that clear. >> i could see the passion on both ends while you were talking. i was thinking, we talk about giving the time.
clearly, our system, only after 200 years, has some imperfection to it. this is the least imperfect system and therefore the greatest system. we all agree with that. i am not joking. it is true. it is at least the most free. there have been some consequences. it is a lot of greed. the short-term nature of wall street, the short-term memory of the investors and the leveraging of everything that created the structural issues. because of that, big does matter. size does matter and it has an advantage. we tend to not pay enough attention to the small and protect the small. we always preached free market
principles. we always preach that the market choose the winner. in a global environment like this, there needs to be some governing protection of the small business and nurturing of small business. we do not have that. it is inside our basic market principles. otherwise, we would be in there trying to dictate who wins and who loses. if we want to do that, and we probably should, we need some policy changes from the government. >> but arianna huffington's point was if a bank is too big to fail, it is not subject to market discipline because government comes in. in 1996, bill clinton was playing the saxophone.
he signed a scandalous welfare bill that ronald reagan would not sign. he did it for political purposes. it was opportunistic. two years later, we bail out a hedge fund. poor folks having nothing were calling for help. hedge fund loss, fail, get welfare. there is a hypocrisy here. too big to fail means robbery. it means so much political influence that they can get what they want. that is what that means. [applause] was i too harsh? [laughter] >> i do have to respectfully disagree.
when i look at too big to fail today, it is because if we make them failed -- i am not suggesting who is right -- the structural damage is to our system hurts the little guy. i think the government here in this town may not be the most effective, but they are not stupid, i hope. >> you can downsize. >> i get that. you can be regulate it. or you could split it apart and make it smaller. who is to say that will not happen in the next couple of years? i am not in government? that may encourage smaller entrepreneurs. i am not advocating it or suggesting i know anything. i got killed by other people when i walked out last time.
[laughter] >> let me ask one more question. our time is going faster than i thought. let me ask you while you were talking. hu jintao is on his way. what should the american people expect our government to get out of those conversations? what should they be bringing back to us when this summit is over? >> open the markets over there. let us play evenly, fairly, and transparently. [applause] by the way, it goes both ways. you are a foreign entity and you want to invest in any company in the united states, if you are the chinese today, you feel
unwelcome. is to our process. it ties to some level of -- i would not say discrimination -- fear, mistrust on our part and it goes into the core of the immigration and everything else surrounding that. our country needs to rethink how to create jobs here. china is investing about $100 billion per year in the direct foreign investments. we are getting about 3% of that. this is totally not acceptable. >> he said quickly without hesitation, open the markets. maria bartiromo whispered in my ear, and possible.
>> i said it sounds impossible. >> what he is saying is where the rubber meets the road. let's talk specific examples. recently, we had tires coming from thai -- coming from china. they were being sold cheaper than american companies were selling their tires. there was an outcry from workers. why were americans buying those tires and not the tires we are making in this country? that are cheaper. so we put a higher tariffs on the tires coming onto this -- coming into this country. we are making money on it. the chinese say, if you are going to put tariffs on that, we will not have you selling products to our people. 1.3 billion people, 300 million people. our companies need to sell to those emerging middle-class.
we need to come to an agreement here in order to prosper all of us. by the way, on the too big to fail, i do not think it is necessarily too big to fail, but too connected to fail. these companies are not necessarily evil. if you are connected all over the world, you knew that aig was insuring everything. when the lights went out, the financial system would try out. another conversation. i am sorry. >> let's be blunt about it. you have made this 0.3 times. how afraid, given the numbers, how skier should we be of china -- a freight should we be of china or india or japan? >> i do not think we should be afraid. we have to sell to those people. we need to manufacture products in this country and sell it all over the world. [applause]
that is where policy comes in. we need a policy in place that keeps many factory and good jobs here. if a company can do something cheaper in india, it is going to do it and should do it to stay competitive. >> why should we be hopeful given this difficult proposition? why should the american people be hopeful that we can find a level playing field with china? >> let me first answer -- this point has been bounced back and forth a couple of times. maria likes to use 1.3 billion and 300 billion. -- and 300 million. i am unfortunate i came from silicon valley. i could overwhelm that 300
million if we innovate. innovation get you the margin dollars. that ties to my earlier thing. we have to have an education system. we have to have an immigration system to grab the best. [applause] >> can i jump in briefly? >> one of the things we are missing is that it is the american culture. what do we export that people want to emulate? hollywood and music. that is one of our strengths that nobody is talking about when we say are we going to get competitive with china? at the end of the day, our cultural differences and our strength is what we have used as soft power to change the hearts and minds. >> you are not suggesting we are going to act and then our way out of this, are you? [laughter]
>> i do not dance so well. it is an industry that we have actually been able to sell as what it means to be rich. does that make sense? we have to play by the rules. >> if the good people at nationwide give you a grant to do a show on the next chapter and it that were allowed on chinese tv and the people who participated were not trapped by to discuss the truth, the answers would terrify the audience. we should be much more afraid for china that afraid of them. compared to their problems, our problems are molehills. we should not lose sight. from there unfree press and their propagandistic media and their neglect of their
countryside and the skyscrapers and high-speed trains, we should not forget there are 500 million people living in the chinese countryside who are poor. the problem is they are increasingly impatient. when you look at the history of this country and the great migration of black farmers from the united states -- i forget how many people that was who moved. there are 500 million people in the chinese countryside. think of the social upheaval that migration created in the united states and how difficult it was to work out and how we are still not working it out and how cities collapsed underneath that transformation. imagine doing it times 100 or 150. that is their problem. we do not have their problems. we have our problems. i agree with those who said it
is -- our problems are a dysfunctional political system that prevents a powerful economy and society from responding. i am personally haunted by something tip o'neill said when he left congress. at the end of his career he was asked how congress had change in his time. he said the people are better and the results are worse. that is true again and again for so much of the federal government. as compared to 50 years ago, they are more honest, more hard working, more sober. [laughter] ask around. they do not have their wives and girlfriends on the payroll anymore. but as i talk to them about this subjective experience about being a member of congress, they are constantly frustrated.
they cannot get things done. they say let's give more power to the members. there are people who can prevent things from being done and the result is frustration. >> the problem is, and i have been trying to keep track of the things we have said on this panel. we're not done to this multiracial compensation, which we probably will not get to -- we have not got into the multi racial conversation, which we probably will not get to. our system of government is broken. we have a broken creek that somehow needs to be fixed. if that is the problem, how do we fix it? >> the problem with the current elected officials is that there are 26 lobbyists for each member of congress. that means, on top of everything else, while we should be
celebrating the passage of financial reform, they are undermining it. by the time financial reform is enacted, it will bear little relation to what we celebrate it. we saw it again and again. we saw in every disaster this year. we saw in the bp and mining disasters. it is impossible to have regulator capture. we can have regulations up the wazoo, and they will not work. america has traditionally been amazing at using soft power. china is getting better at it. but at afghanistan. we are spending $100 bening -- $100 billion pursuing an unwinnable war.
[applause] china is spending billions of dollars buying raw material for its industries. when have this kind of perverted priority across our system. this is completely beyond left and right. that is one of the most promising things. there were people coming out against the afghanistan war. you have more and more republican members asking for oversight as to how this money is being spent take the important thing that came out of wikileaks was a clear chronicling of the collapse that is going on. taxpayer money is being wasted while we are lacking vital social services here at home. >> he has a lot to say and he has been thinking a lot.
you can take your time. this point about our system being broken. you are the one person on this panel who lives here. the people in this audience read your stuff on "the washington post" every week. how do you remain hopeful about a system that is broken? at one to ask a question of about arianna huffington's point. answer the question first. >> i am a counter indicator. if this government were working well, i might be out of a job. [laughter] i point out what is wrong with our government. i would take the deal. i would find another line of work. maybe i could get something on wall street. i would take that deal.
my job is to point out what is wrong and why things are going as badly as they are. i think we identified that fairly quickly here. there was a question to maria earlier. why does wall street get help before main street? the same thing that is expiring day tea party -- our government has been sold to the highest bidder. this was a problem before the financial crisis. the tea party was so upset with the way the elites were governing the country that they forced a change. they have been had. 13 of the new republican freshmen in the house have hired lobbyists as their chiefs of staff. they have been having fund-
raisers all over town raking in money from lobbyists. a lobbyist is john boehner's new policy director. a lobbyist is running health care on the commerce committee. they do not run for election every two years. they run for reelection perpetually. this is not a democratic thing. that gets at why the system is broken. this is great business for me. i can watch all of this bad behavior and people breaking their principles to raise a dollar. that is the source of my enjoyment and the source of the problem. >> given the corruption and the politician's perennial fund raiser, and the financial
influence on big government, greed, but concentrated agreed with consequences for them, who pays the cost? and visible. history is important. we can talk about america all we want. the u.s. constitution was in place for over 89 years. but slavery was still in place. [applause] it was a pro-slavery document. there is no reference to slavery in the constitution. this is important for immigrants who just got here. you are not going to come into america with all of this robust opportunity and mobility without understanding the history and the degree to which this marvelous constitution, which was marvelous precisely because americans had the courage to make it more free and
democratic by abolishing slavery and then jim crow. it was invisible. what is invisible today? have we seen the prison industrial complex? have you seen the children locked into school, but the quality of their souls? who is paying the cost when we talk about all this corruption at the top. that is why i am has a dent -- i am has a tent in terms of the excessive celebration -- hesitant in terms of the excessive celebration. the will of the people is suppressed. [applause]
>> i did not forget the second question i wanted to ask you. dr. west gave me a great jumping off point. u.s. set up was nice. i am go right back to dana. the second question i wanted to ask you, what is the price or cost that we ultimately pay been tied to this war in afghanistan , being tied to this war in iraq? this is the longest military excursion this country has ever endure in iraq -- in afghanistan rather. what is the price we pay relative to write this next chapter if we cannot tear ourselves away from either of these wars long term? >> beyond the immediate cost is the problem that the spending on the wars have created a this me,
too situation. people say, you can pay for this tax cut because we are able to afford so many hundreds of billions of dollars for wars in iraq and afghanistan. the problem is compounded. since we can run these wars without paying for them, we can do all kinds of other things without paying for them. the corrosion has gone beyond the money in this case. one of the real problems with the wars is that we were not asked to sacrifice for them. a small sliver of america has anything to do with these wars. one of my pet projects has been some sense of national service, some sense of sacrifice, some sense that we are in this all
together. you will not hear a thing about it in the congress right now or anywhere in town. there is a sense that that war is attached and there is no sense that there was during world war ii that we are all in this together. >> two quick point, ideological, there is a lot of common ground on this issue. you have liberals and conservatives agree on what to do in afghanistan. i think that is an interesting dynamic in all of this. you can put liberals and conservatives together and they will say, we need to get out. or you can get liberals and the service of saddam and they will say, we need to stay. -- liberals and conservatives together and they will say, we
need to stay. the simple answer -- and i know it is simple -- if you going -- if you are going to drink the potomac water, drink it quickly. you have got to get in and get out. i think that is a big part of what is going on here. in terms of fixing the problem, this is what the tea party is about, getting the citizen legislators. there is a mission called, get out of our house. it is a bunch of community forums across this country. the affected 535 people to the house of representatives. it is going back to the grass roots. they want to put citizen legislators in their instead of
politicians who have been drinking from the potomac too much. >> i want to ask this last question. just so i understand this, but tea party says we are going to take our country back. from whom? [applause] [laughter] seriously. we are going to take our country back from whom? what does that mean? >> it means we are going to take our country back to first principles and to constitutionally --a constitutional view of what they believe the constitution requires in this country. it is not take our country back in terms of attack and let's go. that is not what this is about. getting back to the point dr. west made earlier, i think there
is a danger of using race as a word. you were saying there is an element of racism to the tea party. i can tell you inherent in that is the this is the attitude toward the tea party. it is basically trying to not justify its existence and power in this country. >> i am concerned about the truth. i am in love with everybody. >> i can tell you this, on the truth factor the media has gone out and try to tell this story. i have been to dozens of the party rallies across the country. the first thing i do when i go there, i listened. we record the audio.
what i am looking for is i am looking around the corner. i am looking around the crowd. i have to tell you, it is not there. >> black folks are intelligent. we get a sense of what is going on. [applause] >> there are people i talk to paid there is a -- there are people i talk to. >> the black die from south carolina. >> i attended one of a --tea party event --i attended one of
his tea party events in south carolina. he was beloved there. >> i thought you said something else. >> my point is that if you actually go look at the story from an in-depth perspectives, a lot of these charges are unfounded. >> can i jump in? part of it is --you mentioned scott. he is incredibly anti a letter read an entire latino. >> you have a new black -- he is incredibly anti-immigrant and anti latino. marco rubio was a tea party candidate. he was english only paper he
realized his polls were going soft. he started moving away from the tea party. all of the sudden, he started placing spanish-language ads. you cannot have it both ways. when you crack the surface, you can use sharron angle. she was a tea party candidate in nevada. every time she wanted to demonstrate that she was pro american borders, she showed working-class immigrants basically been the next scary space --scary face in america. words do have consequences. a result has become the radicalized right. they have made it okay to become mainstream. i know when someone comes in and shows a picture of obama looking like the joker.
we all know what they are saying this is not ok. i am not dismissing the tea party. the majority of the tea party we upper -- were upper-middle- class white males. my father is a white male. the middle-class white male felt disenfranchised. they had not marched during civil rights because they were old time veterans and they were fighting. they realize this was a movement for them to take their country back. america is changing. they won the america they grew up with [applause] . >> i would say this, i think we have come to the crux of the
issue, one of the main ones, which is labels. i think there is a lot of validity in what you just have to say. when you said that, you said anti-immigrants. a lot of times, we put people in a box. that is extremely dangerous and is not part of the solution. >> you will can see that there is a distinct difference between labels and facts. the facts are what they are. that is not labeling. >> there is a bigger picture. there are people like myself who have been across these -- across this country and have spoken to these people. we have a much better sense -- have a bigger picture than just anti-immigrant. those are strong words. i am not suggesting it wouldn't
be a case just on your side. there is a case on the other side. the crux of the problem is putting people in a box. that is dangerous because it does not lead to a bitter conversation. >> you said there is a point on the anti-immigrants side. that point would be what? >> all i am saying is that when you say you are anti-immigrant, there is an inherent philosophy that comes with that. in other words, you are basically saying you are racist paid then you are painting people a certain way and you have not talked to them. >> maria, this is informative
and instructive. i hear the point loud and clear. a part of what is wrong with america is there is too much labeling. you can clap on this. i know i am write about it. [applause] there is too much labeling. he may disagree with him on this point, but there is too much labeling in this country. when you label someone on national tv and call them out by name and say anti-immigrant. , what do you mean by that? >> as a country, we are suffering from racial to take. we are afraid to talk about race. when we get too close, we do not want to bear that burden. when i say anti-immigrant, the
young man in arizona who saved representative giffords' line , undersb-1070, he would have -- under sb-1070, he would have been asked for his papers. it was a sad day in american a wind -- when sb-1070 past and there was not an outbreak -- an outcry from america. there are 22 other states introducing similar legislation where just by the fact that you may look like an undocumented individual where someone can ask for your papers, shame on us.
[applause] >> at some risk to my safety, i want to partially defend david on this tea party point. i think there are two tea partiers. you mentioned allen west and the woman he tried to hire to be his chief of staff. she said she thinks if an immigrant is caught committing a crime, they should be strung up from a telephone pole and the body should be sent back to wherever they came from. the defense is coming. >> before the defense, that does sound anti-immigrants. >> i think you can put anything you want on that and it would not be a bad enough label.
is not comingshe to washington. he wishes he could have had her. there is that element. there are two tea partiers were 25% of the population and the small minority that comes to the rallies. i think they are entirely separate groups. the ones who come to the rallies are a tiny minority of a significant part of the population. there is a minority of those who are overtly racist. i have seen them there on the capitol grounds with the joker faces. >> it is coming. i am waiting. >> there is that element. that is what we in the media -- i go to a rally and i look
around. if i see a photograph of the holocaust, i am going to focus on that and not on the 99% people who work, and reasonable. -- who were calm and reasonable. the vast majority of people in the tea party movement are angry about the economy and decent people. there is no way around it. >> all of this conversation leads me to you,arianna specifically. we have been top about two african american republicans. republicans now control the house. tell me why i should not believe that the strategy that president obama is going to employ is going to be clintonian to the
core, which means more triangulation and more pages still lend out of their playbook, which means more compromise and -- pages torn out of their playbook, which means more compromise and more capitulation. >> before i disabuse you of that, i would like to respond to this fascinating discussion. that is when we need dr. west. what we are talking about is something fundamental about human nature. we have seen it in every period of history. when there is an economic crisis that affects people's survival, the worst comes out in people. we have seen it again and again. we need to go to the source rather than assuming these are the racist people. these are the engines and scared people. these are the people who think they are a -- these are thean --
the anxious and scared people. when you have 27 million people unemployed or underemployed, multiplied by three or four, i did their immediate family or extended family who are worried that they are going to be affected. that creates something that we are ignoring at our peril. in the 18 eighties, we were actually expelling chinese workers from the country. we were expelling hispanic people who are american citizens under hoover. this is not the first time people have been anti-immigrant. i have a foreign accent. i hear it. people say, hey, you speak
english? i did not say, better than you. xenophobia is going to thrive when people are anxious, worried, out of work, or feeling better -- or feeling bad about themselves. but we have a mainstream media whose fundamental aim seems to be to make money. packs a sensationalize the issue. there is a ->> they sensationalize the issue. there are people who are thoroughly and visible in the media. [applause] what comes at people is a narrow and truncated discussion
that reinforces the worse in them and does not accent the best in them. there are citizens who are working hard who feel invisible. what happens? attached is the welcome. either you turn to the right. >> if the people who are suffering continue to be invisible in the next two years, that is going to be the major legacy of the obama administration. when you bring in bill daley as the chief of staff -- >> i want to be clear. you said that you could not disabuse me of my formulation earlier. >> no, i could not disabuse you.
there is this misconception at the white house that the way for the president to get me elected, which is increasingly prevalent in terms of how the white house is making decisions -- the way to get reelected is to go to some kind of medical medal -- mythical middle. i think all of these divisions are lazy journalism. to have the right policies for wall street is not left wing. to say that you want to leave afghanistan -- you have pat buchanan and george will who are against the policy. the media is calling them left wing because they are reflexively lazy about categorizing. >> that is the media again.
that goes to the point of labeling. labeling is a category of confronting chaos. labeling should be objects of our critical sensibilities. in the label we use is provisional and never captures the complexity of reality. >> i think labels are important. labels are going to be there. the question is, are they well thought out in the genesis of the process. >> they should not be used to get people down. they should be a means to understand what people are going through and why they are opting the way they are opting. i believe all people are brothers and sisters paid but i am suspicious of the tea party;s
politics. i will fight for their right to be wrong. but we are still contesting. >> let me ask a follow-up. you said something i want to come back to. i heard you put it this way to get to the point. i heard you ask a few days ago this question. what can a blues nation learned from a blues people? i raise that because i want to give you a chance to explain what you meant by that. you intimate it's something about what the country have to gain or a -- intimated something about what the country has to gain or learn from people of
color. >> we have to begin with a definition of the blues. the blues ain't nothing but an audit by -- and autobiographical story about what happens catastrophically. black people have been dealing with the capacity of slavery, the catastrophe of american --we have been dealing with the psychic catastrophe of being taught to hate ourselves, less beautiful, less intelligent. we have been dealing with spiritual catastrophe, which even in a country of liberty and opportunity, you work is late. you were redlined, you were locked--into -- you were
enslaved. you were red light and you were locked into the ghettos. do we want to enslave white brothers? no, we want liberty for everybody. black people's struggled had been the leavening in the democratic loath. we respond with a smile. not with hatred, but compassion. that is what a martin luther king is about. that is what curtis mason is about. that is what john coltrane is about. what happened in the reagan years is that the black freedom movement was consigned to be another special interest group. they tried to reduce our movement to our self interest as if the black struggle was just the negro.
that has never been the case. we start with the negro. that is delayed -- that is the legacy of martin king. anytime you talk about the black agenda, they view it as just a special interest. it is like the corporate agenda. is that just a corporation? in a democracy, was the label's began to -- labels begin to ossify, we cannot communicate. rush limbaugh would say stability wants to police me. you can say what you want. we just want to be fruitful. be fruitful, ambitious, and try not to lie. [applause]
they are so polarized. it is difficult for us to proceed. in a democracy, we do not have a high level of communication when it comes to public interest. it has to do with might and power. whoever has the power will define what is right. no society can survive based on that. did i answer that question? >> yes. you more than answered it. the american people thank you. maria, this raises a fascinating fallout for me. if dr. west is right that in this moment when we are trying to move this country forward and trying to get past these divisions, everybody calling for stability, what is the country losing by the voices of people
of color being marginalized in the conversation? this is one of my personal pet peeves of the black man on tv every night. i hate when i say -- when i see too many conversations that do not have ages in the compensation and do not have hispanics and women and african- americans in the conversation. burns me up. i do what i can to address that on the regular. i think the country is missing something in this critical moment when the voices of women and people of color in the media are marginalized. to that, you say what? >> this is where i tip my hat to arianna huffington. she has one of the most diverse online di platforms. [applause] what her work demonstrates is that we are --the online
platform tis the rest of us. we can have someone with a differing opinion or different boys in their rise writing and talking. in theiro- -- voice garage writing. it deals with the uncomfortable about where bill so i today and about where i am today, and i do not have anyone to talk to, it is easy for me to conclude that i am not at fault. there is a responsibility in the media. we need to hold people accountable. words do have consequences. >> i have some sympathy for what
is being said here. >> as a white male, we appreciated. >> i was on a television show and we were talking about rick sanchez being fired. i look around the room and i realize there were four jews talking about it. i understand where you are coming [laughter] from. -- i understand where you are coming from. i do not understand what the mainstream media we are talking about is. is's its -the washington -- it "the washington post." i think it is this whole forum. the point is, there is no mainstream media. it is entirely fragmented. there really is nobody.
>> i want to give you a chance to respond. let me give you two answers. the sunday morning talk shows exhibit a. i did not care with what you are talk, aboutcnn, fox, msnbc all day, all night, all white. [applause] that is what i am talking about. >> it if you take the sunday morning audiences, i do not have the viewers here in front of me. that is not as large as the not of people glenn beck and