tv Charles Krauthammer Things That Matter CSPAN June 23, 2018 9:15am-10:31am EDT
person but why my ideas are better than the other person's ideas or why the future i'm envisioning is better than what the other person is but taking it to the step where you're cultivating a spirit of division is, i think one of the things going on in this country which is really insidious and i do think if you have the privilege of serving which i feel i do, in addition to swearing to defend and protect the constitution we should pledge to the american people that we are not going to say things to divide us but we will go out of our way to unify the country because the country is inherently stronger when we are unified. >> watch afterwards on c-span2's booktv. >> charles krauthammer, washington columnist and fox news commentator died this past week. here he is from 2013 talking about his life's work at his
conservative principles. [applause] >> good evening, everyone. and happy birthday, mrs. bush. [applause] >> a great personal pleasure for me because as charles reminded me we have known each other for 32 years. i was briefly charles's employer. charles krauthammer has written a fantastic book, a compilation of his columns plus a marvelous introduction and as somebody who used to be in the publishing business i know one
thing, which is compilations never sell. charles's book is number one on amazon and will debut is number 2 in nonfiction in the new york times bestseller list this sunday. [applause] >> he is ahead of john grisham and bill o'reilly and rush and you name it. charles krauthammer was born in new york city, raised in montréal, went to mcgill and after that was a commonwealth scholar at oxford, went to harvard medical school and was a psychiatrist practicing for three years, chief resident at massachusetts general hospital, then briefly went to work for pres. carter, was a speechwriter for vice president mondale during his presidential campaign and i got to meet him when he came to the new
republic in early 1981 and at the time the new republic if i may say so, was the golden age, charles was there and mike kinsley and what was interesting to me was you had a group of people with different ideas and frequently fought over them but it wasn't a monolith. at any rate charles won the national magazine award for commentary in 1984, a coveted prize for anyone who is a magazine writer in 1985 he went to work for the washington post as a columnist and within two years he had won a pulitzer prize for commentary. since then he continued to write for the washington post was one thing he taught me as an aspiring columnist was you write one column a week. it is hard to do more than that and even one is not so easy. jeff scarborough called him the most powerful force in american
conservatism and that is inaccurate description. david brooks called him the most important conservative columnist. you will hear from him tonight and we will have charles will speak and we will your questions from the floor so save of your questions, you're in for a real treat, charles krauthammer. [applause] >> thank you am a very honored to be here, thank you for being here. there are nice introductions and kind introductions. a nice introduction is where they say nice stuff about you, list your achievements, have it transcribed and notarized and send your mother a copy. a kind introduction is where they leave stuff out. despite your intentions that
was distinctly unkind introduction because you included two things which i now have to explain. first there is the mondale thing. it is true. i was speechwriter for walter mondale and people ask me as you can imagine how you go from walter mondale to fox news. the answer is simple. i was young once. and then there is a psychiatry part, got to explain that. yes it is true that i once was a psychiatrist, technically i still am. in reality i am a psychiatrist in remission, doing very well, thank you. haven't had a relapse in 25 years. of course i compare what i do today as a political analyst in washington with what i used to do as a psychiatrist in boston and i tell people it isn't that different. in both lines of work ideal everyday with people who suffer paranoia and delusions of
grandeur. the only difference is the paranoids in washington have access to nuclear weapons, present company excluded. which makes the work a little more interesting. i am honored and delighted to be here at the bush library, to have seen the bushes. i am happy to be among you. truth be told i'm happy to be anywhere where juan williams can't interrupt me. [applause] >> i will tell him how you feel. i want to begin by saying how much i appreciate, mr. pres. what you did for the nation at the moment of maximum danger. you were clear eyed, straightforward and rallying the nation against a new barbarism and were never afraid
to use that word and that idea. managing to recognize islam as a great religion while at the same time seeing no contradiction in denouncing, opposing and rallying the nation to fight the perverted branch of islam that attacked us on 9/11. i wrote at the time and believe to this day that history will treat you like harry truman, recognizing the depths of your achievement in creating the infrastructure that will carry us through this war on barbarism. we are seeing this today in a backhanded tribute to you as those who so criticized you during those eight years, the very people who did criticize you in those eight years, when they came to power they adopted the same tools that you bequeathed to them and your administration -- in a moment
of national confusion and danger, just as truman did in his day providing the infrastructure, the tools and the institutions that carried us through the cold war in those days and will carry us through this war in this generation. if i could just repeat what i said to you in private but would like to say in public, i spoke to my wife earlier today, she asked me to convey to you her admiration and respect for what you did for our country, the steadiness of your voice, the depth of your devotion to country and your determination to see things through even when you were nearly alone. i know i'm supposed to be selling books but i just had to say that first. especially. [applause] >> especially the wife part.
otherwise when i get home, sleeping on the couch. now about the book. it is called "things that matter: 3 decades of passions, pastimes, and politics". it is very good. you should buy it. you should buy lots of copies especially for your liberal friends if you have any left. i don't. so, in conclusion. [laughter] >> that was just a test but i wanted to see if i would get the kind of applause that clinton got at the 88 convention when, after 50 minutes, he used those words and the place erupted not just in applause but in celebration. but i digress. about the book. the book is several things. the first thing, because it
does spend, my career as a journalist going all the way back to is jim said 1981, i started on the day ronald reagan was sworn into the presidency, it is a chronicle of the last three decades and those three decades, enormous fascination which it was my privilege to witness and comment on. in the 80s, the reagan revolution and last days of the cold war, the 90s, holiday from history, the 2000s, beginning of the age of holy terror and for the last half decade, this week is the fifth anniversary of the winning of the presidency by barack obama, barack obama and the rise of a new, ambitious and radical kind of american liberalism. regarding the 80s, the one in
which bill clinton says during his presidency, and i miss the cold war, it was a joke i didn't really miss it but you get the joke. we got this miss created after conservatism in the 80s, and then did what was left of the soviet empire. this myth that there was a great national consensus how to confront the soviet. there was in the 50s and 60s but it dissolved after the vietnam your and there was a great division in the country and the 80s were distinguished by the fact that there was a total breakdown of that consensus that i write about that in the column because as jim mentioned in the
introduction, it was a bone of contention between me and essentially everybody else in the magazine because i began to support publicly many of the things reagan did essentially the won the cold war and we have huge arguments internally but i ended up writing a lot of editorials that began with democrats falling and swooning for this hysteria over the nuclear freeze and i wrote the unsigned editorial attacking the freeze rather mercilessly is what i liked best is i found out it caused the largest number of cancellations in the history of the magazine. jim will remember that. i was rather proud. and at the same session, and they came in attacking us that we should choose so someone to
read all the letters every week to choose the most vitriolic ones and cancel that person's subscription. i wanted to do it without a refund but the business side was not happy about that and this moved me from left to right, the fact that the democrats vociferously opposed every step of the reagan foreign policy agenda that we know empirically brought down the soviet union and that, resisting the freeze, the deployment of missiles to counter the soviet missiles they had imposed in eastern europe, the reagan doctrine which helps reverse the cold war and the idea of the missile defense which had the one great advantage to us today and at the time so scared the soviets
that it led to their giving up on the race with us in the cold war and realizing they had no chance of winning which led to the most remarkable event of our lifetime, an event of biblical proportions which was the collapse of the soviet union and conquest of communism without a shot fired and that was the core of the 1980s and what history will remember the 80s for. i write an introduction to the book to trace my evolution from left to right, that was the essence of my leaving the democratic party because a lot of young people today do not but in the 1970s there was a very strong conservative elements in the democratic party known as national security democrats, the tradition of truman, kennedy, humphrey and scoop jackson, my
great political hero in my 20s, when he ran for the nomination in 1976, he ran in the massachusetts democratic primary. i was a doctor at the time at madison general and handed out leaflets, jackson won the message in the primary. i handed out a lot of leaflets but as you know he didn't win the nomination and that was because despite the fact he was a wonderful human being and had the right policies, he was exceedingly dull and it was said of scoop jackson if he ever gave a fireside chat the fire would go out. i knew how to pick winners back
then. i talk about the 90s, to write about the 90s and the most remarkable thing about the 90s, nothing happened. nothing historical happened. i was aware of the absence of things happening in a way that almost scared me. what i mean to say the great ideological struggles of the century stopped overnight, christmas 1991, there is no soviet union, never imagined i would live to see the end of the soviet union. and unrivaled prosperity and peace and i was acutely aware that this is not normal in history. i wrote about it, there is a column called the golden age. i gave a speech at my son at high school in 1997 and tried
to explain we were living in an incredibly anomalous and magnificent time of profound peace and prosperity, no existence of threats around the world and tried to impress on him how unusual this was. i failed utterly. they had never experienced anything other than that and they thought this was as natural as the air you breathe but i had a terrible sense, a wonderful sense but a terrible sense at the same time that this golden age couldn't last, they never do. go back to the all the golden ages to the greeks, they are always short and i was seized with this intense feeling we have to end, we should enjoy but not expected because this is not what history normally is. i didn't tell the class it was going to end, that would have been child abuse.
but i wrote, because i write for adults, that this had to and i wrote it in the column called the golden age, the question was how soon would come the end and would it be by fire or ice? and it ended in fire on 9/11 and that signaled to us that something had happened, something new, something terrible but another column in the book is a column i wrote that afternoon, in the post-the next morning of the problem i had writing it was not pressure of time but pressure of rage. i tried to write what could contain it to actually write coherent sentences one after the other in a point i tried to make and that column, the historic paradigm changing,
this is history returning, returning with a vengeance. the norm in history, not the 1990s which with the exception which returned overnight in a flash without asking or inviting it simply because we were the great power we were. this was the new face of what was once fascism, not the is immense communism and because of that everything changed and that was the essence of the decade and as i said earlier in my talk and we were lucky to have a president who understood and courageously explained that to us and took us into that fight. there is the last half decade,
the historic fascination and that is the age of barack obama. obama is interesting, not just a liberal, you know what a liberal is, somebody who doesn't care what you do as long as it is mandatory. but which until thursday was a joke, when jay carney, was health insurance taken away from you this is actually a good thing and actually said you can choose any health plan you want. as long as it is mandated which is the joke in real life. there is no way to make this stuff up. it exceeds iron he but obama, and a joint session of
congress, a month after his inauguration in which he explained who he was, dropped the mask, he was a rorschach test but now he explained exactly who he was, he had been in office, no need for the veil and he said i am not a clinton or a tinkerer, i'm here to change america and explained exactly how he was going to do, healthcare, education and energy and trillion dollar stimulus, largest in galactic history and followed it with obamacare, a takeover of the american economy which i wrote at the time before he enacted all this made him a social democrat, very unusual for the united states. social democrats can only way to explain it is the famous anecdote about winston churchill, he loses the election at the end of the second world war, clement
adley, labour party -- and in the house of commons, don't worry, it is as weird as it gets. churchill goes all the way to the other end of the men's room to urinal 15 stalls over, looks over and says feeling a bit standoffish are we, winston? churchill says not at all, just that every time you see that something large you want to nationalize it. . i like that one too. i'm not even sure it is true but i don't care. as we say in the column writing business that story is too good
to check. it remains unchecked. but it is in the book. the only item that is unchecked. i tried to write about obama in that vein, understand him as a social democrat and obama represents aggressive american liberalism and in some way the debate we had, between left and right since obama came into office is a debate over the classic fundamental issue of our democracy, all the debates, obamacare, cap and trade, all these things are subsidiary to the central question that has been at the heart of our politics ever since he was sworn in and that is whether the size and scope and reach and province of government or to put it slightly more
grandly, what is the nature of the american experiment and put it in its grandest terms we would be arguing about the relationship, between citizen and state. and the most directly is a column called did the state make you great? that came after obama made the famous statement if you have a business and you had success you didn't build that, somebody else made it happen. that is a crystallization of the argument between left and right. i point out in the column obama said what was almost a platitude. you don't operate alone. other people around, roads and bridgees. the mistake that liberalism makes and here is the core, came out exactly in his explanation of this, what is outside the individual, as
government, rather than recognizing what shapes the individual is what we call civil society, the independent autonomous elements of society outside government that had the most influence in shaping you. that is the family, the church, the community, the pta, all the things, the glory of america, the little platoons others have talked about and that is the essence, the protection of america's literary, and civil society stands between the citizen and the state. totalitarian societies ones where they deliver later try to destroy all the intermediate institutions so the individual is naked before the state and can be utterly controlled and manipulated. stories in stalinist russia how the child would tell the
parents turn them in because he loved stalin and he became a child of the state. liberalism doesn't attempt to do that deliberately. its intentions i believe are honorable and good and very humane but it does not understand that by increasing the scope and reach and power and authority of the central state, it inevitably squeezes and compresses and marginalizes all the elements of civil society particularly the family and the church, look at the side effects obama is having on the relations of people with their churches of the effect welfare had on the family. one of the reasons i moved left to right as i write about this in the introduction, i have been a great society liberal, believe in the attentions of the war on poverty and one day in the 1980s the empirical evidence started to come in, real fact, open to empirical
evidence, a drug, and stopped giving the drug and it turned out from charles murray and james wilson and researchers with hard signs that the war on poverty not only did not help the people it was intending to help but undermined them, and ironically, it led to the quickest drop in child poverty in modern history. and these essays, did the state make you great because they did not understand how administrations have this effect on civil society and ultimately leaving an
additional negative before the state doesn't only harm the individual but diminishes the autonomy of the individual, no other autonomous institutions on which to attach himself up and against the state. i write about this and try to explain how i moved left to right and i have never done that before in my writing because it's not an interesting subject was i try to avoid the use of the word i. but it is so easy i use it a lot. the ideal column is one in which you never use the word i and the argument will carry you through without interjecting your self but i believe people have a right to change politically but i also believe if you are in public life and you do change you have an obligation to explain how it happened and why and that is what i try to do in the book so
the long answer for the question where i said about walter mondale being young, the long answer is in the book and i tried to explain these influences that had me move from left to right. of course it wasn't an original pass. it was trodden by reagan among others. that is the heart of the book, the politics and a little bit of the biographical introduction but one more thing the book is about the accounts for the title and accounts for the spirit of the book if i can be so immodest as to talk about it in the book is in some ways a kind of owed to politics itself is this isn't a very good time in history to be in politics, particularly over the last 6 weeks or so. i won't go into detail about
that. but it hasn't been a pretty picture. i write about this in the introduction and try to explain why the book is constructed the way it is. i have been fascinated by the essential policy that -- paradox of public life. it consists of this. what i believe is the things that really matter are the things that are elegant and beautiful, hard and demand, things that are testimony to the flourishing of the human spirit and i write about this in the beginning of the introduction and i will read a little piece of it. what matters, what are the things that i really believe are important in human development in our lives. what matters, lives of the good and the great, the innocence of dogs, hunting of cats, the wonders of space, the perfectly thrown outfield assist, difference between historical guilt and historical responsibility, sacrilege and monumental architecture,
fashions and follies and finer uses of the f word which was the column i wanted to start the book with but for some odd reason my publisher thought it would be a bad idea. this column begins like this. i'm sure there's a special place in heaven for those who never used the f word. i will never get near that place. nor will dick cheney. as i say, he liked it too. what matters, curiosities and conundrums, social and ethical, is a doctor ever killing a patient willing to die, we use the phrase women and children in the age of feminism. i have a column on that and seem to be the only person in the country disturbed by its continued use and i'm not even a feminist.
how many lies is what allowed to tell to advance themselves? something i write about in the book and in which i talk about what president bush did in elevating the national debate in bioethics in a way that has never been done in american history and for which history will be grateful as well our progeny. what matters, occam's razor, for matt's last theorem, the fermi paradox, in which the great man asked why with so many habitable planets out there, why in god's name have we never heard a word from a single one of those civilizations? these are the things that most engage me, give me pause, pleasure and wonder and make me grateful for the gift of consciousness. for 3 decades they occupied my mind and commanded my pen. this book was originally going
to be a collection of just those essays and columns. it was going to be everything but politics, things beautiful, mysterious, profound, or just odd. the working title was there is more to life than politics but in the end this is where i get to the theme of the book. i couldn't for a simple reason, for the same reason i left psychiatry for journalism, while science, medicine, art, poetry, architecture, chest, space, sport, number theory and all things beautiful promise purity, elegance and sometimes even transcendence, they are fundamentally subordinate. in the end they must all bow to the sovereignty of politics. politics, the crooked timber of our communal lives, dominates everything because in the end everything lives or dies by politics. you can have the most advanced
civilization, get the politics wrong and everything stands to be swept away. this is ancient history, this is germany 1933. this is china during five years of the cultural revolution when they sat out because they got there politics so wrong, to destroy 5000 years of one of the most glorious civilizations on earth and it isn't even ancient history. this is north korea today, a place in the grip of a mad politics, a mad stalinist who produced and enslaved people in the utter desolation is spiritual and material, in the end everything depends on getting the politics right. here is the paradox. politics in daily practice is cynical and in some ways appalling as we have seen recently. think of the is really
describing his ride to the prime minister ship is climbing the greasy pole. not exactly a romantic idea. politics has none of the elegance and beauty of art and music, poetry and science. but think of how they get the politics wrong, not just art and poetry but even science is corrupt. in the late 1940s stalin decided that the genetics really means the transmission of inherited characteristics which had been proven 100 years earlier to be untrue, but stalin insisted on a new soviet genetics. he found scientists who would do it and produced it like syncretism which is the ultimate expression of the power of a corrupted politics, to corrupt and destroy and
undermine and ruin everything that is hard and beautiful and elegant. that is why politics, which so many wants to wash their hands of today and understandably so, in the end is sovereign and must be. it is why i left medicine, a life of unquestionable humanity and nobility, to enter a life of politics. because in the end everything depends on getting the politics right. that is why the book could not just be about the things i cherish and love that i think in the end matter most, because in the end politics is sovereign. i end the book with one of the columns about hyper proliferation, the age we are about to enter into and i will not see but the age my son will live in. it begins with his story about richard feynman, the great physicist, who as you know was
the man who when the challenger disaster, he was able to crack it brilliantly in a way that explained everything. he was one of the youngest scientists at los altos and would amuse himself in his spare hours by breaking into the safes of the other scientists and leaving little notes behind. got to love the guy, he spent a year later on at cornell, took a year off to learn the bongos in brazil. i tell you is not just to amuse you but to give the idea that this was an energetic and driven guy, not given to melancholy. and the new era of the atomic age. and people working on a bridge.
why are they doing this? don't they understand, this is all useless. this is not a guy who dwelled on that and went on to do wonderful things in his life. that brought home to me the fact, how to deal with that problem among all the great problems of our time. our species has been around for 200,000 years, we acquire knowledge of the bomb and within 17 years the cuban missile crisis, we come within hair breath of self-destruction. this does not bode well. but this tells you how utterly important it is particularly as we enter an age of hyper proliferation where it will not be a 1-on-1 game of deterrence, but 3-dimensional chess. we have to develop the politics
internal and external, politics and diplomacy, the military and all the things, the contingencies that have to understand and deal with it. this is the overriding question. and the beautiful stuff they have to write about. and the politics in the end, to preserve and protect the beautiful side. unless i leave you are melancholic and depressed, let me end by saying two things, number one is i am still licensed and quite prepared to write a prescription for antidepressants. for those of you less pharmacologically inclined, the
providential of american politics, seems as if we always end up finding the right way. a little colony in the outskirts of western civilization and produce the 18th century the greatest generation of political geniuses ever assembled on earth to produce a constitution that has given us a republic, that has endured longer than any in the history of mankind. in the 19th century we are a country that needs a lincoln. and the second world war, we find fdr in the second half we find, not to say we will always find our way but there is something about the american spirit, the bedrock decency and common sense of the americans it seems to help us find our way and we do and if that isn't
enough to cheer you up i will leave you with my favorite pundit, otto von bismarck, not generally known for punditry, generally known for invading other countries successfully. who once actually said god looks after children, fools, drunkards and the united states of america. he said that in 1890 and i hope to god he still does, thank you very much. [applause] >> any questions? do we have microphones?
microphones? all around, okay. raise your hand. yes, sir. >> charles krauthammer, who is your very best friend? >> my very best friend. before i give you the answer i remind you what harry truman once said. if you want a friend in washington, get a dog. the krauthammers have improved on that. we have two dogs in case one turns on us. so the correct answer is maggie and willie but i'm not sure which one it really is. >> we have a microphone over
there. and there is one over here where i can't see this. if you have a question go to the microphone, how is that? >> a very -- >> occam's razor. >> the principle in science by which, when faced with a choice of explanations for any natural phenomena and, you always choose the simplest on the assumption that nature is cunning and very concise and parsimonious. if you have a very elaborate explanation for evolutionary very simple, clean one like darwin, you would accept the more precise and concise one. on the assumption it isn't always true but it is a rule of thumb that always prevails, almost always prevails. einstein for example was able to reduce everything to one
equation. the major achievement of his, the jump in physics in the early 1900s was equals mc squared. if you have seen the solution to format's last theorem it is about 200 pages of hieroglyphics that only ten people on earth can understand and they tell us it is the right solution. einstein did it in half a line. that is a perfect example of what i refer to when i talk about the elegance of nature and that is what einstein worshiped, shown that god is parsimonious, concise and once said in opposition to quantum mechanics that, which involves a lot of chance, god does not play dice with the universe. that is occam's razor.
>> thank you. >> sorry that i just dropped it and without explanation. >> it was important. >> i figured it would make you purchase the book. and the crowd people are sitting right there and they are checking on me how many references i make per hour. .. . >> and how president obama certainly has not shied away from an aggressive prosecution of the war on terror. and you also mention later the at least former existence of a national security wing of the democratic party. given that, would you see president obama in some sense as a kind of reincarnation of the national security democrat. or if not, what's the description. >> the answer to that is god no. [ laughing ] >> and the reason is that he is totally reluctant to engage in
all of this. i think he's deeply philosophically opposed. and he keeps telling us that. i mean, he does the warfare. the rendition. he does all of the things that president bush. he goes ahead and gives a speech two months ago, three months ago. this war on terror as to end. he goes on how it's did he mining our lives and our democracy. that's pretty ironic, isn't it. he's running the largest snooping operation in the history of the species and he's knrorg -- did he moring the war on terrorism. as the commander in chief, he has to do this. but every time he opens his mouth, you hear him i don't want to do this.
i want the war to clear. i'm going to unilaterally. when he talks about unilaterally ending wars, he thought he did that in eye rock. -- iraq. he didn't do that. he wants to unilaterally end the war on terror. but there's a problem with that. there's another guy on the other side. and until he decides the war is over, the war is not over. so he gets speeches where -- i think you disarm your own people by telling him basically the i will -- illegitimacy of the war. so how do you expect to get popular support. at that point he says we're going to have to pull out of afghanistan because there is no popular support. well, if you don't give a speech in six years to explain why you're doing it, you're not going to get any popular support. the point i want to make is that his rhetoric under mines the war as commander in chief he
actually has to carry out. and at least philosophical in coherence. he rails against guantanamo. he wasn't stopped railing against it after he has kept is over for half a decade. that's a bit open. you're keeping it open because you know you have to, but yet you're denouncing it. every day in the speech he says what a terrible thing guantanamo was. so i don't agree with that at all. if anything, he's the most anti-national security as a democrat, as someone who influences his side of the aisle, if you like. and all of the reason there's so much unrest in the country is because you need a president to explain why he's doing it and to explain the virtues of the policies he's carrying out rather than undermining them. even as he carries them out in a way that he tries to cover up, for example. i was sort of shocked to discover all of this nsa stuff after he gave his speech talking
about how all this national security stage stuff was undermining us. so, i mean, i think that's the problem with the kind of presidency he's carried out in national security. and he's going to leave a party behind him that will continue what i think was the philosophical element of his foreign policy. >> next. >> thank you for being here. you talked a lot about the importance of politics. and i'm wondering if you know if there's any candidates you see currently or potential candidates that you think can win in 2016 and simultaneously enact a strong reform conservative agenda. >> yes. i think we're going to have a good shot at 2016. i think we're going to have a very strong feel as opposed to 2012, which if i could say as an aside was a quite winnable election. and romney would have supported it.
i voted for him and i would have liked to see him -- i think he would have been a good president. unfortunately he had a handicap that he spoke conservatism as a second language. that was evident in one of the debates when he was asked what were you doing in the early 90s when our revolution was being carried out. he said i was a businessman. it's an honorable profession. i came to politics late and it showed. because in one of the debates when he was trying to show, you know, how reliable he would be identify logically, he said you know in massachusetts, i had a severely conservative administration. now, think about that word. severe is a word you generally use in association with head wounds. [ laughing ] >> and tropical storms. [ laughing ] >> i have never heard it associated with governing. but now that he was the best of the field, it was a weak field. we have excellent candidates.
we have governors that are going to be helped by the fact that they're outside of washington and washington is now in good favor. and i see kristi of new jersey, martinez in mexico, scott walker of wisconsin is very strong. and then in the congress you have people that i think can carry their weight. you've got a marco rubio and others. so i think we're going to have a very strong -- if you look at catastrophe having 21 debates of the worst 9-9-9 repeated 90,000 times it didn't help us very much. few debates, strong candidates. and we're going to have the wreckage of the obama administration as the backdrop. particularly obama care which is unraveling as we speak. i don't think it's going to be the cake walk people imagine that hillary will have. and for the people who have asked me in the past about my
own presidential intention --. [ laughing ] >> thank you. but i'm not fishing for a compleme. i'm just headed for a really good lie. which is i will declare right now if nominated i will not run. but if elected, i'll serve. [ laughing ] >> i'm permanently lazy. and i don't want to go to the iowa state fair. [ laughing ] >> no disrespect to iowa. [ laughing ] >> but where were we? i digress again. >> actually i thought you were born in canada until i read your bio. >> oh, no, no. >> you could run for president. >> that is a malicious lie spread by the vast left wing constituency. let me state right here.
i am not now or have i ever been a member of the canadian citizenry. >> okay. question over here. >> doctor, there are international critics that say our drone program is terrorism in itself on a grand scale. lots of innocent people are getting killed and president obama admits that he makes the final call on who lives and who dies. i was just wondering what you thought about the paradox that we're claiming to fight terrorism but we're actually creating more animosity in the communities that we're attacking. >> with all due respect, it is the opposite of terrorism. terrorism is a deliberate attack on innocent people to achieve a political end. what we are doing in the drone
strike is a deliberate attack on people who do that for a living and for a life and for a mission and for a religion. we deliberately attack them, trying to take all of the care that we cannot to hurt innocent civilians. it is the polar opposite. it is mirror image. it is the exact an tithe sicz -- antitheefs of terrorism. we need it if we're going to defend ourselves. we are facing, as president bush explained from day one, a new kind of barberism. and i'll give you one example of this. in the last few weeks, we've been hearing about the assassination in pakistan by the taliban of people who are distributing the vaccine to prevent polio to children. now, there is no greater did he
prav tee -- depravity. this is part of the ideology of the barbarian that we are facing. in the face of that, we fight as we can with all of the tools available. and if we have a way to use a drone to attack a specific individual and we always try to minimize it, that under any criterion of just war theory would fit well, and it absolutely has to be continued. [ applause ] >> dr. krauthammer, thanks for being here as well. i was wondering if you could comment on the -- two questions. how long you think that will be in the impact that it will have, as well as, you know, often i've heard romney care and obama care
compared. and he's actually a close friend of the family. and from what i understand, romney care is not a federalized program. in fact, it was in massachusetts an option and it's what the people wanted, but it wasn't federalized -- does that explain? >> sure. well, let me take them one at a time. on the ab spring i think what is happening is that's coming to the end of an era. the decolonization happened for about half a century. and when they emerged, they fell quickly from a die nass tick -- dynastic. they were swept away by nasser who championed this kind of arab socialism, pan arabism which was
a mixture of socialism and mill tearism with a heavy bureaucracy. where they learned all of these things, the third world leaders who came to power after, they were decolonized. he said if the school of economics had done more damage to the third world than any imperial tower in history. because all of this ended up in ruins. and 50 years of the military dictatorships were example nasser and saddam and elsewhere, that is being swept away even though it comes back to some extent in egypt. the problem is i don't -- i'm not sure whether the arab political culture is going to get directly to democracy. it looks as if particularly the example of egypt where they swung to the muslim brotherhood and then back to a military dictatorship. that they may have to be a phase that could last a decade or two or longer before.
and i think in the end they will be to democratic outcomes as you've seen in eastern europe. as you've seen in the pacific rim countries. as you've seen in latin america and is developing in africa. i don't believe that there's an arab exceptionalism where they're immuned to this. but it will take a long time. because as, for example, in iraq, these dictators managed to destroy so much of civil society as those institutions that preserve the autonomy and the liberty of the individual that there's going to be a lot of rebuilding to do. and as i was saying to the president a little earlier when we spoke, it's a pity that we had to leave iraq at a time when the war had been won and where the civil war had been depressed and al qaeda had been defeated. because it really did have a chance in the near term to get to that perhaps not a jeffersonian democracy but some approximation of it that could have been an example to the rest
of the arab world. so on that i think it's going to be a long time and it's going to be a dangerous one. and we can't afford the kind of random zigzag foreign policy that was carried out -- that's been carried out by this administration in the middle east. romney i would say there are differences with obama care. but it wasn't exactly very wise of the republican party to choose as a standard there in an election where the size and scope and reach of government, the liberal over reach that had occurred in the first two years of the obama administration and that had sparked that crushing defeat for the democrats. in 2010 a friend of mine said that wasn't an election, that was a restraining order. the lesson of that is if we make
the case against this liberal overreach and we make the case as i tried to do in the book for limited government, we can win every time. and the centerpiece of that, of course, was obama care. but it's hard when you choose as your nominee somebody who had instituted something rather similar and parallel in massachusetts. and i say to romney, he didn't run away from that. he was proud of that achievement. and he didn't renounce it as a way to get ahead politically. but it made it very hard in that particular election, which was a very winnable election, to make the case with obama care as the centerpiece of it, as it had been in the 2010 and the midterm. and i think that will not be a problem for our nominee in 2016 because they will have the wreckage of obama care to campaign on. and you can already see democrats in the senate who went
up for reelection running away. and it's going to become a sprint within a few weeks. >> thank you. i appreciate that. let's hope that we have another president like president bush. otherwise i'm going to lose a lot of faith. >> well, i'm for changing. the man is enjoying his life. let's not wreck it. [ laughing ] >> last question. >> thank you for your time tonight. my question is regarding an article that daniel henninger wrote for the journal maybe a month ago. and he said the strategy republicans should employ is to not attack obama care and it would eventually fall under its own weight. this seems more realistic today than it did then. and i was curious what you thought about that. and personally i'm skeptical because i've never seen an en willment be taken away. he met that argument. i don't know if you are familiar with him. i thought you might have an
opinion. >> well, actually i concur with him. entitlement to be resistant to being taken away has to actually be instituted. and it has to have some success in being implanted. and this may not -- this could be a very rocky infancy that obama care may not survive. i think it's not definitive, but it's more likely than not that it will collapse of its own weight. and that's been what i was advocating during the shut down. i thought that tactically it was a mistake. there was no reason to call for the overthrow of obama care by legislation when there was not a chance in hell that you could do that. under our system, you really can't undo a wrong from one house of congress. there was no way it was going to be undone. and that we were heading into october the first when the shutdown began was also the day when obama care this brand new website that was going to
revolutionize our health care signed up exactly six people. i mean, that isn't even enough to feel a baseball team there would be no outfield. [ laughing ] >> so i don't think that bodes well. i think you know it's an old adage. i think i mentioned that earlier. when the other guy is committing suicide to get out of the room, you know. perhaps -- you know, hand him a pistol. it may make it a little easier and cleaner for the csi field coming in later. [ laughing ] >> but there was no reason to get in the way. and i think what republicans ought to do right now is they sincerely believe, as i do, that obama care is going to hurt the country. it is not the way to go about attacking one or two very specific and important problems about american medicine. the uninsured, which i think one could have attacked very narrowly in a way that wouldn't lead you the entire u.s. economy. that actually is, i think, the
essence of liberal overreach is what rom emmanuel says the crisis is terrible to waste when he basically said we're going to use this opportunity when we have control of the congress to institute a liberal drain of 100 years nationalizing health care. there was no reason to redo and reshape and remake one-sixth of the economy as a way to attack the problem of the uninsured. so i think this will in the end, it is very likely to collapse in and of its own weight. and then the gop has to be ready and the conservatives have to be ready of the moral issue. we want to make sure all americans have access. but there are ways to do it. there are conservative ways to do it. honest ways to do it in which you're not hiding the cost and pretending and lying about what the effects you're going to do of your policy are going to be. and i think that would be the essence of a conservative approach. so, i mean, i would say that in the end, that is going to be the
outcome, very likely to be the outcome, and we ought to be prepared to watch it dissolve and have an alternative. that, i think, would be the road to victory. if we can do this in 2016. [ applause ] >> i have to get on a plane but i can't let you leave without asking you a question about a past time that you love, which is chess. so how do you -- does chess fit into the kind of the beautiful and the soft or does it fit into the political? >> it's the beautiful and the soft and the elegant. and i know a lot of people consider it eccentric. i once drove from washington to new york to watch a chess game. actually i did that twice. [ laughing ] >> and people just -- they shake their heads when they hear that. and i do have a chess club where
i describe a group of us who played on monday nights at my house. it was an entirely different game racing against the clock. it's the stuff that you see people playing at the mark playing. we were called the chess club because at the time one of the founders was charles murray who wasn't able to safely appear on campuses. and the fourth of the founders was a perfectly respectable music critic for the washington post. but he was grandfathered as a periya because he was associated with us. there's a lot of music in it, which was -- which i try to describe. sort of a lot of fun. but i have to admit that i gave it up a couple of years ago.
and i gave it up cold turkey. because it's an addiction. it's a poison. you find yourself playing speed chess on the internet at 2:00 in the morning. and you realize that you're the equivalent of an alcoholic alone in a motel room drinking aqua velva. [ laughing ] >> so i'm on the wagon or am i off the wagon. i've never been able to figure out which is which. but i'm in remission and enjoying it. [ laughing ] [ applause ] . >> thank you dr. krauthammer for giving us a memorable evening. and i think we should leave on that wonderful phrase that you use in your talk things elegant and beautiful, hard and demanding is what life is all about. it's been a memorable evening i think for all of us. and thank you, president bush,
for being here. and happy birthday mrs. bush. and thank you, again, charles krauthammer. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. [ applause ] >> best selling author brad thor will be our guest on in depth fiction addiction live july 1st and noon eastern. his latest book spy master will be published on july 3rd. his other books include use of force, black list, state of the union, plus 14 more thrillers. interact with brad thor by phone, twitter or facebook. our special series in depth fiction addiction with author
brad thor sunday july 1st live from noon to 3:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on c-span2. >> what's happened now is every single group in america feels threatened. it's not just blacks and other minorities who feel threatened. whites feel threatened. a study in my book says 67% of the white working class feels that they are more discriminated against than minorities. it is not just muslims and jews and buddhists who feel threatened. christians now feel threatened. with the me too movement, it's not just women. it's men. straits, gays. we're at this moment where every group feels threatened and every group, this is tribalism, thinks that the other tribe claims to being persecuted and discriminated against are ridiculous. so that's part of it this
demographic change. the second reason we are what we are has to do with why you're the expert on this, j.d. of and i think when you read a lot of stuff in the papers, it's wrong. there's all this flinging around white supremacy, white nationalism. it is simply not helpful to call half of the country white spr spremist cysts. it's -- supremacists. it's not what is happening. what's happening is what j.d. refers to which is what i call in my book we almost have two white tribes now. that is class. and it's not just money. but it's really education al levels and almost like a cultural divide has split america's white majority. and it's interesting that j.d. uses trump ethnic. because long before i was a tiger mother, my field was eth nits -- ethnicity and ethnic conflict. i have a 17 page footnote describing what ethnicity is.
and it's very difficult and there are constructivist views. and if you don't intermarry with each other. that is if your ethnic -- this is not a perfect definition but groups often don't seem to be ethnic differences if you can intermarry because then that difference goes away. and this is something new in america because of this drastic decline in geographical mobility in this country. something else that jd's book is working on. it used to be that people from the midwest would do education or whatever. you could go up and you would go to silicon valley -- not silicon valley. you can go out to california or, you know, any of the coast and rise and come back. now it's so expensive to live in the coast. silicon valley, new york, atlanta. and also education is no longer the root that it was.
upward mobility. people are stuck. there's all these studies. so we -- we -- there's much less fluidity. so the coastal elites, a misnomer because they're not all coastal and they're also not all elites in the sense of they're not all wealthy. that goes first to professors and journalists and activists. and coastal elites are also not white from the point of view. they're often -- i think it's better to describe this group as these mult cultural -- multi-cultural -- well, pretty much everyone in this room. [ laughing ]. >> people like me, we are -- whether you're republican or democrat, you view yourself as tolerant and you know lots of minorities and you believe in religious freedom and you've traveled a lot and seen people from all over the world. and you probably think of yourself as not tribal. because you believe in
individual rights and human rights and cosmopolitanism. while this group tends to be very, very tribal. and going back to the ethnic difference, there is so little intermarriage between this kind of multi-cultural coastal white but mixing with like my own family. my husband is jewish. that there's almost -- it's like the ethnic divide between the two white tribes. >> you can watch this and other programs online at book tv.org. >> here is a look at some authors recently featured on book tv's afterwards. our weekly author interview program that includes best selling non-fiction books and guest interviewers. television and radio host bill press reflected on his broadcast career. syndicated columnist joan na goldberg weighed in on threats to democracy. and former national intelligence director offered his insights into the u.s. intelligence community. in the coming weeks on afterwards, professional
football player michael bennet will offer his thought on race relations. and this weekend maryland congressman john delaney, the first democrat to declare for the 2020 presidential election lays out his vision for america. >> why do you want to bring republicans into the democratic party? >> i always had this kind of concept in business that you should run with criticism. right. so you should think about people who disagree with you and you should understand why they disagree with you. because maybe they're right about some things and maybe you have something to learn. and if you just talk to people who agree with you, you're never going to really learn anything. so i've been to a bunch of these kind of meetings with the democratic party. you have too. we all get together in a room and we bring up a bunch of democratic strategists who basically just say the same things. any of the democratic consultants i may talk to when i'm running for office will say. and, you know, it's kind of like, okay, we just spent a lot of time convincing ourselves we were right about everything we
believe. so what i suggested why don't we bring in a republican pollster. why don't we bring in a republican strategist. not everyone would do it, but we find some to do it. why don't we bring in someone from the think tank or a twriwr that has more conservative views. why don't we think how they're thinking about the world and how they think about politics. maybe we'll learn something. >> afterwards airs every saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern and sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific. all previous afterward programs are available to watch on our website book tv.org. . . .