tv Face the Nation CBS January 2, 2017 2:00am-2:31am PST
>> dickerson: welcome back to "face the nation". i am john dickerson, we continue with our look at america with a group of familiar faces to our "face the nation" viewers. journalist michele norris heads up the race card project and works with the aspen institute, jeffrey goldberg is the editor in chief of the atlantic. michael gerson is a column must for the "washington post" and david frum is a senior editor at the atlantic. jeffreyly start a with you, and i want all of you to 0 take this assignment, i will start a with you because it is your job. >> what did i do i don' wrong? >> in the new year, if you want to target -- i will target you with this question, you are an assignment editor and you have to assign coverage for the year 2017, how do you deploy your forces? what is the story? >> well, the story is there there is one overarchingly huge
story, the story is -- the story is the upending of american politics, the story is of the outs coming in and the ins going out. the story is trying to explain to the american people what happened to their two main parties, and the deeper story also, i don't want to forget this, the deeper story is globalization and technological disruption and anxiety born of rapid change, rapid destabilizing change, the fragility of institutions, all of that is there undergirding the larger, more immediate story which is how did donald trump become president of the united states, and what does it mean for not only the way america understands itself but the way the world understands america. i mean, i would just add one more point which is that the rest of the world is watching with waited -- baited breath, because we are at a hinge moment
in history, since 1945 we played a certain role in the world, and it is not entirely clear that after january 20th we are going to play that same role. >> dickerson: we should make you an editor what do you think -- >> it is interesting at the end of the year merriam-webster told us they chose the world surreal as the year of, world of the year for, word of the year for 2016 because it describes so much of what we are seeing right now, i want to pick up on one thing jeffrey said about the technological disruption, in this country we assumed technology was a good thing and embraced it and assumed it was propelling us forward and it would perhaps even though it was displacing jobs it would make for a better society, a better flow of information, i think we are going to start really question that now on a lot of levels, because of what it has done to democracy, because certainly what it has done to the level of american discourse and as journalists we have to learn how to operate in a world where there is no longer a common set of facts.
people get their news in such a way that it usually affirms or confirms everything that they already believe. we have someone who is about to occupy the oval office who is dismissing many of the publications that we work on have worked for, and is trying to bypass us and go directly to people so as we try to explain this surreal universe we find ourselves in almost a room of sun house mirrors, fun house mirrors trying to describe what is going on. >> stephen. >> the flash assist party won the presidency of france this year, the democratic institutions in the country liberated in 1989 are falling apart in hungary and poe seven other applications other places, the soviet union is cracking apart and the united states has a new president to be who has made it clear he is not going to be bound by traditional rules against corruption, traditional rules against born influence and traditional rules in in way, of the president having his own private body guard paid for by
himself a rather than the state. >> we are seeing changes we haven't seen since world wars. it is a world of american nonexceptionallism because what is going on in the united states is happening elsewhere and a story about globalization coming home because, americans are used to, as the world's strongest power being the country that influences others, the idea that a foreign power has reached into the united states and tampered with american democracy and maybe chose for americans the president the larger number of americans didn't want for themselves. >> dickerson: russia in this case. >> that's an experience other countries, weaker countries, smaller countries have had, americans, since the greatness of this country have arrived have never had to worry about that, that has happened. so it is going to be a very difficult year, a year, it is difficult because of both what is happening and because it is not in our nature to think about it. one more thing. i have the experience again and again and many of you may have it too, being in a coffee shop and
someone i know a little bit will come up to me and say hello and tell me that everything is going to be okay. and what i realize is, i can't give you the assurance you want i am not sure that everything is going to be okay, but here is what i do know. the only way that things will be okay is if we all understand how not okay they are, if we are sufficiently inflamed, we may be able to put the fire out. >> dickerson: michael. >> well, i think there is a pretty much even chance that we are going to have a constitutional crisis or have a completely incompetent presidency, who doesn't know how to exercise power, which i think is another possibility in this circumstance. we have a white house, donald trump has a white house with almost no skill of governing, we have achieve of staff who has never been in government, which is absolutely extraordinary. he has elevated people, generals and corporate heads that have more experience in this
extraordinary complex business of how you put together an administration, run a bureaucracy, produce ideas. so i think there is a deep concern about the possibility of overreach, but i think we should also be concerned about the possibility of an entirely ineffective government that doesn't value governing experience, that doesn't value what governments should do and what it can do under the right circumstances. >> this side of the table is very depressing, don't you have any hope at all that america is somehow resilient, institutions will overcome whatever temporary challenges? sorry, i just -- i am struck by -- >> dickerson: if the idea is that the structures of democracy -- where do you think -- >> i fully agree with michele that technology and social media, these are posing new challenges, in ways to communicate to each other and the way we organize democracy but we have been in business a long time, this country, and we have survived worse things than whatever we are facing at the
moment. i am just -- you know, keep hope alive, i don't know what the feeling is. i am hopeful that americans will rise to this challenge. i think the message they do not need to hear is don't worry, your grandparents rose to the challenge, therefore you can stay on the couch. because -- you can tell them that. there are past examples of bravery and fortitude and democracy -- >> your grandparents survived this if you will to if you engage -- >> take a measure of the threat to democratic institutions in this country and around the world, and i don't think we do people a service by saying, you know, there have been bad things in the american past before that, there have been, this is our bad thing, and it is as bad a thing as happened in any of our lifetimes. i concerns me, we have this entire new set of economic and social circumstances that the normal reaction would be to propose politics of the future, how do we adjust and prepare people for the new economy, give them the skills and social pathways they need to succeed in
an entirely different way and you look at the message of make america great again and that is a backward looking message, that was kind of returning to social parts, economic -- you know, approaches of the past. we can't undo globalization. that's not possible. and then you look at hillary clinton, this last elect, she had a very backward looking election at all, it was not the forward looking, prepare america for opportunity, address the deepest problems of our country so we have two parties that in our last political experience are not addressing the future but talking about nostalgia. >> and not addressing reality also. first make america great again there is one word if you are a person of color that you sort of stumble over and it is the word again, because you are talking about going back to a time that was not very comfortable for people of color. they did not have opportunities, they were relegated to the back
of the line, and this is a country that, you know, to be honest was built on the promise of white process enter at this, about everything else, and for a lot of people when they hear that message, make america great again, deeply encoded in that message is a return to a time where white americans could assume a certain amount of prosperity -- >> for, true of gay people and women who want a part possess society, it is a large group of people who are not -- don't like nostalgia in that sense. >> dickerson: michele, did you, since the race card project you look a lot about the conversation of race in all of hits he different forms in america. did you, when you saw the racial aspects of this campaign say that is what i have been hearing and has been bubbling under the surface for the last four years or six years or -- >> more particularly in the last two years. i don't want to say that i told you so but i was not as surprised by donald trump's victory because i saw a lot of the sentiments coming in over
the transom, a lot of people felt a lot of vertigo in this country for a lot of reasons, some of it is, you know, racial fragility and not necessarily feeling like their feet touch the floor, they are not at the front of the line but also technological disruption, even though the economy, things in the economy suggest we are doing fine, people don't necessarily feel it and donald trump was able to tap into a message where people felt a lot of discomfort and that again is somewhat retro grade and fear is not a brand in america, and that is so much some of the bright vein that ran -- >> the reason these things are happening, not just here but everywhere else, we had a period of quite slow growth since the year 2000 for most people and at the same time we had convulsive levels of migration, migration is one of those policies that outside of, is outside of what it is, whether we want it or whether the economic economy is good or bad, when jobs are looking for, workers are looking
for jobs, and it is profoundly destabilizing to people and europe is connected to extraordinary physical insecurity, these levels of violence and disorder that are connected to the immigration, and so it is not -- that is also not surprising. >> dickerson: let me take a pause there and we will be back with more from our panel. the worst thing about toilet germs? they don't stay in the toilet. disinfect your bathroom with lysol bathroom trigger... ...lysol power foamer... ...and lysol toilet bowl cleaner. they kill 99.9% of germs including e. coli. to clean and disinfect in and out of the toilet...
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nervous about donald trump, the office constrains the man, he said the white house will democrat donald trump from doing all of the things he promised to do in the campaign. do you buy that a theory of the presidency? >> no, not at all, i am not sure that barack obama would really buy it, i think it is just a thing an outgoing president says, especially to a party that feels maybe that outgoing president didn't do all he could have or should have done to assure the preservation of his own legacy. the power of the presidency is the, more powerful than it used to be and especially powerful when it is joined to a congress of the same party. and congress that is full of people of members of donald trump that made a bargain, there are things they want badly to do. they look to this president to sign those things. and he has made it clear, the republican congress cares about most, he will do, and all he asks in return is that they leave him alone to do the things he cares about most. so we are going to have an agenda from congress that is pretty unpopular in all of the country,
that is able to to be passed only because of this unpopular president is there by accident to sign it, they are dependent on him, they know -- they have a highly individualistic agenda, i believe, and focused mostly on self enrichment and self protection against investigation of the extent of foreign involvement in his election. >> dickerson: i will attach myself to david's negativity in this case. the presidency is a very powerful office, and what we have seen in the runup to inauguration is that the man has the power just through his use of twitter to destabilize among other things the most important bilateral relationship between two countries in the world, the china-u.s. relationship, so his ability to create chaos is really quite remarkable, and one can say, yes, when you are really frightened, when the intelligence people come in and say you can't do that or this war is going to break out, well
then a lot of presidents get constrained, be new is a guy who won't take this in the briefing, that is problematic. he also has the power to identify, hey, you union president and small-town america, you, everybody on twitter hate him and bring him death threats, and that is one -- >> you know,, the grand bargain that he has ideological struck with republicans because you may start to hear the phrase country first and if people are really concerned about democracy, if more people are going to think about what is -- >> -- in his direction, she have moved in his direction t problem is not just chaotic management theory but it is kind of a weird cycle he will stay on message for seven days and then all of a sudden 3:00 in the morning he reads info wars and, you know, sends out a tweet and everybody else will go to the family and say can you get back on the -- >> and there is another crisis, in a process like this, the presidency can't work that way.
you can tank markets, you can invite -- you can do a variety of things and the manner in which he both manages and his lack of control, impulse control, when it comes to his own message, i don't know how that works in the presidency, it is going to be fascinating. >> the president, he may not challenge but his responsibilities will change, and so you have someone who obviously has a certain amount of inimpulse control walking into an office that has great physical and mental demands and it will be interesting to see how the office, perhaps doesn't constrain him in terms of power but just the reality of doing that job, which is a full-time job that never, ever lets up. >> i will give you an example we all should be very frightened of and this may be the single most dangerous thing for world peace. it is very bad when a president president obama draws a red line and it is not there, that is humiliating and leads people to misunderstand, what is more dangerous says the red line isn't there and it really is, trump is every day signaling
that red lines aren't there but nato doesn't matter. >> meaning america has withdrawn. >> but he is wrong about that. that there are -- >> there is an american armor brigade taking a position in poland, there are nato nuke, nuclear capable armies in estonia and there is a nuclear nato powers -- in latvia and literature jane with a, a big buildup in bulgaria, you give the ussr the united states is not serious -- saddam hussein is signaling it would be okay to invade kuwait and take it as their own, there were mistaken signals get and we know what the reaction was, so there is precedent in the presidency for this to happen. >> you know, john, you asked jeff assignment editor what would he be looking for? where is he positioning people now? the questions that were not, we are not asking, what are the big questions. i think is our military and its capability and its equipment
right now, much more hawkish administration, because of the conflicts you are talking about, because of the things we don't fully understand, one of the questions i have is what is our military foo footprint looking , are we looking at the return of a draft that might include females, you know, these are the big questions i think that need to be considered as we go into 20scweech. >> dickerson:. >> 2017. >> dickerson: less talk about the constraints the congress could put on donald trump. there were no constraints that a party could put on this this nominee so donald trump, it is now donald trump's party, but in congress, there are, paul ryan is one example, david makes the good point that paul ryan is getting a lot of what he wanted and try to stick to his lane and not -- and let donald trump try to exist over here. is that the way you see it in terms of the relationship between donald trump and the republican congressional leaders? >> drawing a venue diagram there is a, there is a ven diagram in which they both agree, and maybe
tax reform or, you know, certainly environmental policy or other areas .. so those sort of things will get done. he has control and the congress will support him in those things. you know, on items where they do not share that agenda, you know, i don't know. the president has a tremendous ability to set the priorities, the national priorities. and the problem here is, you know, i think he is signaling an agenda, tax cuts, massive infrastructure, defense increases, balanced punishment that are completely inconsistent, there is no budget you can put together that actually includes all of the priorities that he has talked about. they don't know how to put together a budget. that is going to be a fascinating initial a test of whether he actually has a realistic punishment -- >> and if he is a competent -- >> it is interesting if he can
lead on that or just overwhelmed by the reality of governing in a way that may empower the congressional wing of the party. >> dickerson: michele, do you see in response, you know, to big forces, there are often big opposite reaction forces. we saw it in barack obama's election, that the birther movement in donald trump being the leading proponent of the idea that barack obama was not born in the united states. do you see that kind of shock reaction in a way that becomes normalized or tries to match donald trump in the power and success that he had with his tactics? >> it would probably come from the democrats and one of the challenges there is the democratic party is very complex and it is a party of, it is truly a big tent party so it is really unclear exactly how that will happen. right now because the democratic party also seems to be doing a little bit of introspection and, you know, we are still sort of adjudicating what happened in november of 2016 and not in
necessarily looking forward to what will happen i think we will see that and some might possibly not just come from the democrats but republicans, donald trump made a lot of promises that will be very difficult to deliver happened the people that he pumped up at all of these rallies during his campaign and now he is just completing his victory tour, people have great expectations and, you know, when you ask people to pick up their pitchforks and march behind you the pitchforks might be aimed as you in the end. >> donald trump doesn't know how to dominate a the bully pulpit, one of his goals in 2016 will be to drive people on the left to do self-destructive things that will damage them and empower him. >> if that works, we will have no center right party and no central left party in america, it will be the institutionalization of -- >> the assumption david is making is that the democrats, the left will have the discipline to respond to this.
>> this is no possibility this party that has no senior leadership at the moment, that has no plausible candidate to run against donald trump in four years, it has a bunch of semi -- >> -- it goes beyond leadership. there are the nancy pelosis and uall of the 18ing democratic office holders but there will be this frenzy of activity, occupy wall street but for real and -- in the street and the question is will they do -- >> and there will be a crackdown. >> smart things or foolish things and march with mexican flags or american flags and defend not an ideological way but defend american institutions that will be a test of discipline. >> american institutions, you know, when we are talking about -- you have to remember that people have a right to protest and defending american institutions is actually challenging them. anybody defending -- he shouldn't have his own private band of body guards. >> the president shouldn't
expect bribes what i mean by defending american institutions he should allow us to see his tax returns, and weak checks on corruption which is unfortunately something which has always been true in the united states, how it polices itself, i don' i don't mean -- t telling people to be quiet but to understand the nature of this threat they face and it is not because to have a conservative appointment taos the supreme court, if i was a liberal or democrat which i am not i hope i would have the discipline you know what, the republicans they won the election and get to have the supreme court appointees they don't get to have however the private presidential body guards that is not okay. >> dickerson: okay. we will have to end it there. thanks for all of you for joining us and happy 2017 to you, what you have said today notwithstanding. we will be right back in a moment. >> ,,
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