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tv   White House Chronicles  WHUT  February 19, 2010 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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captioned by the national captioningnstitute >> hello, i'm llewellyn king, the host of "white house chronicle," which is coming right up. first, a few thoughts of my own. the government, the obama administration, is going to back loan guarantees to two nuclear reactors. there are 104 operating, and suddenly we are all exercise because two more may be built. there is no guarantee that they
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will ever be built or they will ever come on line, but there is also the fact that we have lost our place on the nuclear escalator. nothing stays in a technological world on the shelf, in person, to be taken ooff the shelf when we wanted. walkabout trains. we came up in 1935 with the first diesel locomotives. we were the state of the art, world leaders. look at us chugging along today. you can hardly get a train to do more than 60 miles per hour, and then forced short -- and then for a short stretches, while the europeans are at 200 miles per hour. the japanese are faster than that. in so many areas we are not what we used to be. newark was our technology. the light water reactor --
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nuclear was our technology. the light water reactor was the standard of the world. the chinese, which we have certain competitive issues, the south koreans, five. i do not care if they build nuclear or not. i think it is the way to go personally, but it is imptant that you get on with something and retain the leadership you have got. it i my fear that we suffer from a kind of technological arrogance that we think we are the best and we go on thinking that we are the best when that ceases to be true. it is a sad state of affairs. on a happier note, i have a wonderful group of people for our panel today, and i will be right back to introduce them to you. >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. now, your program host, nationally syndicated columnist
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llewellyn king, and co-host linda gasparello. >> hello again, and thank you so much for coming along. i promised you great people and it is my delight to be sitting at this table with them. as always, linda gasparello of this program. i am happy to welcome back brian kelly, editor of "u.s news & world report," now more famous on the web than it is in print. andy glass of politico. and back by popular demand, lauren ashburn of ashburn media. she used to work for "usa today ."
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i have too many of those permutations. here we are. brian, we had a strange picture coming out of the media that the democrats are in trouble, but, wait a minute, so are the republicans. are both parties in trouble? is the institution in trouble? is it all falling apart, and is there any sign of someone coming to save the day? >> i think the country is in trouble. a lot of these, what we're seeing going on on capitol hill as a symptom of other problems. the economy underlies everything. unemployment is not going down, it is going up. our inability to invest, these things are all playing out on capitol hill. i think the capitol hill marketplace is not the cause, but the symptom. you see people like evan bayh throwing up his hands say i cannot make a deal. that is a huge event that points
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to bigger problems. this town is gridlock, not able to function and solve problems at the moment. >> i have a feeling that we are not sliding toward the british system, but we are headed to the british party system. it makes being a member of parliament -- and i have known a lot of members of parliament over the years -- a very frustrating place to be. you have to support your party, you did not get your own voice, you cannot cut a deal with anyone except in your own party, and i find that rather sad. >> if we get to that point, it is going to be sad. >> are the republicans there already? >> we will see. a lot of what is going on now is tactical. it will set the stage for change. there will not be changed tomorrow. i think you are at one of those potential hinge moments in
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american politics where you could have some radical changes. >> we need a catharsis on the hill. i have an idea. we are now stuck with the simple majority. we need 60 votes to get anything done. you have 55 people, nothing happens. why don't we have an old- fashioned filibuster instead of these virtual filibusters' where you just concede the day before you even start. >> i agree. the public would have no tolerance if they saw them talking and talking and talking. they would get tired of it very quickly -- on c-span, day after day, talking rubbish, just talking for talking's say, the way filibusters' used to be. >> house democrats are pushing desperate they are saying, harry reid, force the issue. >> when they had a real filibuster, and you needed 67 to
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get cloture, and they got it. it took them, what, a couple of months. >> how long did the filibuster last? >> 22 days. >> the public would not tolerate that today, not with the age of television. plus you have the effects of the cable networks. part of the thing that keeps the republicans from bipartisanship is a fear that they will be castigated on their favorite cable network. is that not so? >> it depends on which party you are in. if you are a republican, you are not going to be investigated on fox news, are you? >> you are going to be getting a drubbing. >> or on satellite radio. you have this fox talk now, the patriot, and all these different right-of-center talk shows, and air america just went off the air. i think there is something to that, but there's also something
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to -- >> air america wasort of the liberal effort to counter this, and it lost out. >> you have to cover all the time, and the tea party movement of the summer, for example, was loud, boisterous. it took over the airwaves for how many weeks during the summer? i think that what people are looking for right now is that pop, something like the tea party. cpac is in town right now, it bethe conservative political action convention. what they are looking for are the moments that can burst on television. it is really more about making a show than it is about making a bill. >> andy, have we ever been in a
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period where so many politicians have genuflected conspicuously to television personalities? >> it reminds me of a dump truck being driven by a talking mule about to crash. it really is -- >> that is a marvelously convoluted scenario. >> i do not know where to go with that. >> your show being a prime exception. >> thank you very much. you can stay for the rest of the broadcast. >> i do not think there has been a genuflection. at one point in our history, there was a reverence for the anchor. certainly during the vietnam war, when walter cronkite came out against it, that caused basically the end of public support. >> so if we have lost walter cronkite, we have lost the war. >> that is right. >> publishing the photographs of
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the voice that had been killed. >> remember, we had what i called the water cooling effect. when you went to work in the morning, you had a common reference of what you watched the night before. >> brian is not that young. >> whether it was news or a sports event or an entertainment in theevent. it created a scertain cohesion in society that has dissipated. >> everybody shared the same facts, the same information. >> they would watch the same programs. >> now that is gone. >> it is generational. you lose john stewart now if you are obama. the same genuflections still exists in older generations, but the younger generations are still more splintered but they
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do have their icons. >> i am going back to my question, and i refuse to be upset by people not agree with me. if you have television personalities addressing political conventions, isn't that a kind of genuflection to these people that they never got before? remember, journalists have changed now. some of them are hugely partisan, whereas we are -- whereas we used to try to beat, believe it or not, fair. >> a lot of these guys come out of talk radio. the whole talk-radio phenomenon we are seeing has gone to the next phase, in video form in digital form. it has become a real force of nature that has created itself out of what was people talking on -- >> there is another thing worth mentioning, and it is the fact that somebody gets so much more
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time in a way that the president, who is trying to explain what he is doing. they can hammer him the way limbaugh hammers in everyday and they can't get more attention on a daily basis -- and they can get more attention on a daily basis. >>ou mean rush limbaugh. >> yes. >> he can still command after an appearance after appearance, the airwaves. >> this is changing the subject somewhat. there's something about obama that we all tend to come back and say, gosh, he is articulate, gosh, he is marvelous, but then no one remembers what he is saying. >> i do not think the president can control the news cycle the way he used to any more. the white house, certainly with reagan and mike deaver, they
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knew to get the president out, you could control it when you had the three networks. now it is so splintered, the president becomes one more voice in a big conversation. house press corps is complaining that they are not getting the press conferences with him. my point was that the obama administration is now by passing its own press corps and going directly to the networks. >> let me just bypass you guys for a moment and remind our water -- are wonderful listeners on sirius xm radio, where the audio of this program is broadcast every saturday morning at 9:30 eastern, that you're listening to myself, llewellyn king, at "white house chronicle ," linda gasparello of this program, andrew glass of political, brian kelly of "u.s news & world report," and lauren
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ashburn, who has her own media company, ashburn media company. my favorite people, the truckers who are devoted to us -- i do not know why, but i am glad of it. i have seen all the time the bipartisan media, -- the bypassing of the media. in the white house briefings, people are filing as the briefer is talking. i have been a journalist for a long time, and i'm fairly fesai. this is ludicrous. i think it is very hard. >> here is what i think is the big problem, the nature of the problems we are dealing with are so complex that they do not lend themselves -- a lot of legitimate arguments were one prosecutor versus another, how do you deal with that in sound bites? >> another problem where you are
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trying to put something as complex as that, and it is a chinese menu. take one from side a as you read a tweet, take one from side b as you read a "financial times" column. it is hard to put your arms around it when you are reading from so many sources. >> the tweets are so restrictive. they can only get one fought out. >> i disagree. can i disagree with the knights of the round table? >> i go ahead. -- go ahead. we shall see. >> the tweetosphere as we call it, do you sit on twitter all day and watch the tweets go by? >> no. that and i cannot continue.
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-- >> i cannot continue. what i am talking about is it has brought people into the conversation as opposed to excluding people. the people i follow on twitter every single day, i get new information that i do on mainstream media. >> at some point e president has to put meat on the plate. forget the media for a minute. for example, how about bringing in a top republican and giving him or her privileges into the oval office, and a mandate to negotiate on the hill with responsible republicans, with whom there are some, like lamar alexander and others. that would ban change the conversation -- that would then change the conversation, change the dialogue, show that the president is responsive to the changes in massachusetts and virginia and is doing something about it because clearly the
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country wants to see action and wants to see bipartisan support. >> i saw this week a couple of interesting things. the president come forward with the nuclear power plants, saying that the president is going to back these -- >> which the left hates. >> everybody is so destructive in washington -- is a tactical? is it a trap? there is at least some movement that is significant in the past week that we have not seen to date. is the president blinking, is he more accommodative? something is shifting a little bit. >> tectoc plates are moving. journalists never used this word -- "is interested part of the people around this table -- "this interestedisinterested." there is not enough of sharing
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with your dear viewers and listeners in the world. >> enough of being disinterested? >> yes. >> sorry, i do not want to interrupt but i am going to. [laughter] just. i am not sure of that when mr. glass is present. >> we are having a tea party in a little while. >> and insurrection -- an insurrection. all right, lauren, i will follow you on twitter. what can you say in 140 characters? >> llewellyn king's program, "white house chronicle," should not be missed, suny, 9:00 a.m. >> you are back in favor. i want to go back to andrew, our
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designated hitter going into the white house. how does that fit with the constitution, separation of powers? there are all kinds of things that people are suggesting. one is to adopt a question and answer session that i do not think will work because you do not have the right structure for it. don't you get into constitutional problems? >> i do not think so. richard nixon, who left in disgrace, but daniel patrick moynihan, a certified democrat, to run domestic policy in the white house because things went south. half his cabinet -- we could really do that again if we were not under the thumb of these constituencies that get
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you through the primaries. >> i ask who you might nominate for this job. >> sure. ray lahood. >> ray lahood, all right. >> lamar alexander? >> lamar alexander if he is going to leave the senate. i am not sure of that, but, yes. >> this would be a staff person? >> sitting right next to rahm emanuel in the white house, and spends a lot of time and casual help -- on capitol hill negotiating. >> linda, what do you make of that? >> they are supposed to have congressional liaison people, and that just does not work. the past couple of presidents that we have had have not really used their congressional liaison very well. the presidency has grabbed more power. they did not really care. as the executive branch became stronger, the congress became less important. now the congress once again is important because for the first time in a long time we have had
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an ambitious president who wants to do a lot of things. he has already discovered that he cannot do -- >> another weakness in this ambitious president is that everybody likes him and he likes to be liked, but he is not feared. everyone that andrew has mentioned -- nixon, johnson -- these were people who were punished more than rewarded. >> it is not enough to walk on water and to win an election and to try to stabilize the economy and to try to restore american'' good name in the world. he now has to crack the whip, and i think he is doing that. >> the other part of that is more executive action. if you cannot get congress to do it, you have your own commission to deal with the problem. >> here we go with the commission. >> he is on to something. moving on works because you need
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people making the old argument here. the caravan moves on, to coin a phrase. >> he has nothing to show right now. he has passed one piece of legislation, so he has to get a couple of moves on something. even nominating the commission. >> underlying all of our conversation here is political success. except that earlier in the broadcast, you talked about the economy. >> there are real issues on the table that we cannot even begin to address, starting to get control over the politics. the other piece, do the republicans have any interest in doing anything right now? they seem to have made a political calculation that may change. but at the moment, they are just sitting on their hands and they think that is a winning strategy. >> i do not know, if you read rubio's speech from yesterday,
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in that is a definite fire. he is the new rising star of the republican party. from florida, running up against charlie crist for governor. he says that they would rather have 30 pure republicans, shirley minded republicans in the senate than 50-purely minded republicans in the senate than 50 here or there -- purely minded republicans in the senate than 50 here or there. >> that is fascinating because he is the other phenomenon going on. asked mitch mcconnell what he thinks he wants to do mitch mcconnell says i do not want to raise taxes. there is -- the commission that wants to raise taxes is anathema to the republican strategy. the republicans do not want to put anyone on the commission that will raise taxes. >> cutting spending is desirable, but it is very hard to do.
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i happen to notice what we have big government, $70 billion, a trivial amount by government standards -- we expect the government to do something about it. they said the government to do something about the failing banana crops in the world. the expect the government to do something about swine flu. all the time there are people asking more of the government while politicians say we must cut spending. society is very complex and requires a lot of government -- >> by the way, do not take my entitlements away and cut my taxes, to. >> and we have got other problems. a lot of states cannot actually have bigger defici.
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>> cannot have any deficit. >> so you have to bypass the states and go to the mother lode. >> i am of the opinion that there are no simple solutions for complex problems. untold problems that are so complex that only a simple solution would deal with it, like a flat tax or other radical change. we are going to go over high points and low points, but keep talking. >> do you need a low point? >> you are well equipped to provide it. >> i will bring someone into the conversation who has not been mentioned, tiger woods who has apologized. his low point is when he chose to apologize in the middle of a major golf tournament in arizona, which takes oxygen away from his fellow golfers and sticks it to accenture.
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>> i was trying to simplify it for the american audience. linda, would you now give us your -- >you are rapidly becoming my low point. >> the fact that first lady michelle obama and detained 11 school children from britain, who had won a black history month competition. she said it is hard work to get ahead. >> i hated people telling me that sort of thing. brian? >> the high point for me is the harvest of olympic medals that the americans have won. i am a little jindal listed on this one. -- i am a little jingoistic on this one. >> lauren?
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>> i am going to be a little more personal. i would say after 10 days of children being home from school, the high point of mine was sending them to school. the low point was getting through washington streets. mayorenty -- >> the snow really did have a devastating impact on washington. you wonder that we had a insecurity. if anyone ever learns to create clouds, we are in trouble. that is it for our program today. you can get the program at if you have the fortitude, you can read my articles, too. until next week, all the best,
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everybody. cheers. captioned by the national captioning institute >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. from washington, d.c., this has been "white house chronicle," a weekly analysis of the news with insight and a sense of humor, featuring llewellyn king, linda gasparello, and guests. this program may be seen on pbs stations and cable access
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channels. to view the program online, visit us at to view the program online, visit us at


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