tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN October 16, 2014 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT
to the intent of the action and also disproves the idea that there is any legitimate state justification for imposing that burden. and we didn't though in florida what that does because there are lots of people who don't have vehicles who can't afford even public transportation sometimes who live remotely, who live on the sort of the fringes of the economy. and frankly those people have a right to vote, also, without an added obstruction. >> professor, maybe somebody here knows the answer. we've had photo i.d. laws in florida for dwigquite some time. is there any evidence that that has had a burden on any sub groups from voting? i've never heard of it. never seen any litigation, never heard any lens late tors raising
that topic. >> i'm pivot to some questions from the audience.late tors rai that topic. >> i'm pivot to some questions from the audience. they touch on some of the things that i wanted to talk about with respect to access and some of the state level changes in the last legislative session, not the most recently ended. and two of the questions go to the question of the registration process and asks why don't we look at the process of registration which is where the problem begins which is again one of the post-2011 efforts that the state enacted with respect to attempting to clean up the voter registration
process or at least third party which was subsequently halted. i'd like to touch on that in just a second. and then another which raises the question about low voter turnout. this kngoes back to long waits lines or at least in some accepts implicated by long waits with respect to how easy ordinary citizens take citizens. so let's talk about the vote registration reforms enacted in 2011 and again because they go i think to the heart of this question. protect the integrity of the voter roles and who does that and under what complainditions
regulation. they weren't addressed in the most recent reforms, but -- >> if i can, i'd like to talk about that legislative session. but actually focus on a few other things just because some of my esteemed panelists here, dan especially, keeps talking about the huge long lines which is true. and i think we all agree that it was unacceptable. but there were interest chansomt were done. i'll focus on miami-dade county. i had the privilege of serving on the election advisory council made up of -- actually the mayor of miami gardens served with me and it was made up of elected officials, lawyers, bipartisan, really tried to see what we can do to fix the issues. there were a lot of reasons
other than the nefarious intent that dan would like to subscribe as to why there were the long lines in 2012 and i could spend an hour talking about the storm of different things that all happened at once to create these long lines. having said that, i think we did both things locally and at the state level to try to fix those things so that that doesn't happen again. at the state level, the legislature went ahead and increased early voting and to allow flexibility in early voting. larger counties, urban counties with large populations, obviously would like to have as much early voting as possible to try to make sure that as many people can vote by early voting if they so choose. some smaller counties that didn't have the issues with a lot of people wanting to early vote had to occur the experience of minimum requirements whether it be hours of days of early voting when five people would show up all day long. so thousand we have basically whereas before you'd start on the tenth day -- the requirement is you you must start on the
tenth day before and you must have it at least running through the third day before the election. now you can start on the 15th day before the election and you can run all the way up to the second day liof the election. >> can i interrupt and ask another question of you directly? with respect to the 2013 reforms, what do you expect we'll see from the imposition of the requirement on supervisors of elections to issue reports on their website with respect to election day preparedness? that is to say to talk about the number of machines, to get that information out to the public well in advance of either 00 primary or general election. >> i would positithink generall speaking that will be a good thing as opposed to demanding that there is accountability and in a public way how are we being
prepared for the election. in miami-dade county that's happening. part of the election advisory council, we have an election incident after report that was generate that had basically anybody who is interested in, it's interesting and it talks about all the different reasons why we have all the long lines and all the fixes being put in place both at the state level and internally to try to alleviate these concerns. and so miami-dade county is doing it and i would hope all the other counties across the state follow it and obviously -- you're right, there is a provision in the statute that requires all the counties to do that. so that is something that happened. the ballot summaries, thousand thousand we have a 75 word limit on the ballot summaries. we had five or six pages of ballots people were dealing with in 2012 which seriously slowed down the lines.
now any amendments have the same limitations. we've expanded the definition of places that can be early voting sites. before you could only be libraries or specific county buildings. or municipal offices. n fairgrounds, civic center, expanded the definition. miami-dade county is expanding all the early voting sites. it used to be 20, now it's between 25 and 30. so there are a lot of things being put in place to improve the mechanics of elections in florida. which i'm proud of and proud to have participated in it. i don't think the sky is falling. i don't think people are being denied the right to vote. certainly not intentionally. is it a perfect system? no. this is the the debate whether you're talking about voter ooid
o i.d. or anything else. there always the issue of access and logistics. you want to make sure nobody is denied access, but you have to make sure there is integrity in the process, that it works smoothly. we went to touch screen machines after 2000 because we thought that would be a good thing. all the big counties went to touch screen technology which was going to be more efficient, special needs people could vote, such as the blind or deaf. we went away from that technology a few years later because people lost faith in it. what if there is a recount issue. so the state and county spent millions to go back to the optical scan ballot machines. and that was a public policy decision. and so be it. and now we have optical scan
ballot machines. so it's not a static process. it's always changing with the goal of trying to make it better. so you have this issue of access versus integrity. >> i want to follow up on that. with respect to the national voter registration, there is clearly both at the state level and at the national level if we take crawford seriously, if we a shelby seriously, and we must, of definite solution. definite solution from a kind of bureaucratic apparatus and from the states to county supervisors of elections with respect to the kind of it is skregs and flex and they out to have.
are there problems. flexibility, do you foresee problems in that flexibility, should we think hard about that? >> well, despite the fact it was only supposed to happen once, it goes right back to bush v. gore and the question of equal treatment in elections. you tend to get more diversity. historically that diversity resulted in a very different voting experience depending on which county you were in. in 2000, it was which machine you were votiing on. as a result the level of spoiled ballots because of those machines. in a close election, that matters. if you take equal treatment seriously, and i do take the opinion seriously in bush v. gore, then while deinvolvivolvir
has advantages, it also has the danger of moving us into the position of what experience you have voting is shaped by where you are. and can be good or bad. and you end up having people being denied a vote in one place or denied on vote in one place. long lines in one place, not in another. flexibility is good. it does provide for a greater access to the ballot. but the danger of it is that it can be taken too far and historically -- by the way, historically in florida going back to the late 19th century constitution, people who ran elections in the state were the county supervisors not the state. in 2000, there was no way to to a state recount. that sort of locality allowed for a lot of abuse.
it was used to keep a lot of people from voting who the majority chose not to vote. so in a long way around, it's probably a good thing that we have greater flexibility, but the danger is we take it too far, we're back to where we were with the same problems that resulted in the crisis of 2000. >> first of all, the early voting issue is not an issue of legitima legitimacy. they did make the argument that it was, but nobody has ever argued that people are early voting fraud uhe leptsulently a to voting day. so there is no early morning fraud. so it's purely a question of access. and if you look at the last bill and the two bills before that in the run up before the election,
all it did was artificially con straen t constrap tco constrain the hours. why would you limit to eight hours. and they limited the placements because they wanted to make the process harder. i don't think there is any question about that. who wants to be head of the i told you so caucus. before '12, same thing. limited it. they went from 14 to 9 days. lots of black churches were doing polls so they got rid of one of the sundays. none of it is about integrity, it's about access. >> if we take the point that any identification of some number is
arbitrary, so why not 20 days, any identification is always arbitrary, what is the data that is required after that first move? if we want to refine 15 days whaur what would have been legitimate presentation of evidence that the move was -- >> 30 minutes. shouldn't have to wait in line more than 30 minutes to vote. and in dade county, you couldn't vote unless you waited for hours. university of florida just had a big issue there because can't go to a university campus and vote
even though on election day you can. why is that there? even with all the shame that has come to florida over the last two major elections, and it really is shame, the legislature still has trouble saying we want everybody voting. you're not even -- my point is you're not even balancing legitimacy with that. you're simply -- it's just an issue of how many people to we think ought to be voting. and i do agree that there are concerns if you were making a point that when you have flexibility, at the end of the day, if jacksonville decides that two or three hour lines are okay, that's wrong. i don't care whether it's legislature that does it or county superintendent of elections. it shouldn't be that way. and the state ought to make sure people don't have to wait that lock to vote and there are metrics to make sure they're
prepared. >> i agree with dan which happens somewhat -- actually here in miami-dade county, part of what we did is mayor jimenez wants to hold supervisor of elections and the department accountable that we basically want every voter to be out the door within one hour. whether that be early voting on or election day. so everything that is being done to improve the electoral process system is so that you're in and out the door within an hour. in reference to the issue about early voting, i believe early voting is good it public policy. and i think it's something that we've had in florida since 2004. it's been tweaked over time. whether in a nefarious intent,
that's not me. it's something that changes over time. you want to give flexibility. but it's not a right. it's a privilege. there are 17 states that don't even have any type of early voting including new york, massachusetts, virginia, alabama. across the nation, you can ascribe whether it's a blue state or red state, but it cuts across the board. so good public policy, yes. can we improve upon it, yes. but 17 states don't even offer it at all. so that can't be lost in the discussion. >> i don't want to make joe's life worse. i have permission to ask one more question. and it comes back to this question of registration. why not some system of universal
registration. why not some system of an opt out registration. that is to say that everybody who turns 18 is registered. or at least registered in the same way that -- as the questioner asked you might register for the selective service. why is it so difficult if we take that term seriously to register and why so many variations. >> are you saying that anybody who is 18, if i became a citizen in 1974, that would have been an unnecessary act on my part? i think we have to have some thresholds. are you saying anybody who is 18 in miami, you get to vote? >> clearly only if you're eligible. >> you have to be a citizen. you have to be 18.
you have to live here. so there has to be some basic requirements that need to be met in order to safe guard the in-telling grin integrity of the vote. so you have to take some steps to satisfy those requirements. so i'm not sure i understand that question. i think the state has a valid interest -- >> you don't have to take steps to become 18. those aren't steps. >> but you have to prove that you're 18. you have to meet certain requirements. >> the question is why so much difficulty. and i address it back to you. because you're talking about national registration. >> simple answer, because we've always wanted and used registration as a way to control who can and can't vote. again, i'm speaking in a
histor historic sense here. it's always painbeen a way the states have controlled who they want to vote and how they vote. the more complex, the more likely you're excludeing voters on the margins. i don't know why we shouldn't be able to do a national voting database. i've been supportive of it for a lot 6 years. for one thing, it would take away the problem for people voting in multiple states. you wouldn't have two states not talking to one another. but the states don't want to give up that you power. and there are differences in how they organize registration.you . and there are differences in how they organize registration.ou p. and there are differences in how they organize registration.u po. and there are differences in how they organize registration. pow. and there are differences in how they organize registration. ? states you can register on the day, other states months in advance. that affects the pool.day, othe advance. that affects the pool.
each state makes their choice as to what pool they want. >> with that, i want you to join me in thanking our panelists. now a discussion on ethnic and racial innuendo used in modern political campaigns. speakers include lincoln diaz-balart and george knox. the discussion was part of a conference on ethics and political campaign host the by miami-dade ethics and public trust commission aunt and the saept thomas university ethics center. is this 50 minutes. >> thank you very much. this is such an exciting conference. political campaign ethics conference. many thanks to the commission and of course to st. thomas
university center for ethics. ethics is such an important topic. don't position we address it properly or seriously quite enough. this is called the third rail, ethic and racial eninuendocampa. to join me, we have three terrific gentlemen. and we start to my immediate le left, lincoln diaz-balart. he's an attorney. he is former u.s. congressman. much loved and thanks for being here, congressman. also to his immediate left is former city attorney for the
city of miami. fwornlg, gre george, great to see you again. and of course last but not least, we have former county commissioner for miami-dade county, but today, the all-important city manager of the city of miami beach jimmy morales. great to have you. we talk about the issue of ethnic and racial in-uinuendos n political campaigns. on a national level, it's clear and obvious. the issue of race relations is something that we seem to make two steps forward and one step back. if you disagree with somebody, it's because of issue of race. if you agree with somebody, it's because of race. it could be gender or ethnicity. on a local level, that also occurs.
you see the ethnic card. but maybe not in a way that is quite so obvious. congressman, people -- i was talking to jimmy morales about this before we started this panel. one of the things that we look at that is so complex about this is that people are drawn to people who look, position and speak like them. you are drawn to your ethnic group. you are drawn to your racial group because there are certain commonalties. what is wrong with that? >> well, i think there is nothing wrong with people be proud of their hair damage. and their ethnicity. that's always been part of our political system. i think that's one of the it if i would say laws of politics.
people are proud to have representatives who they feel identification with. having said that, and i'll make reference to a kcouple of other what i call laws of politics. as much as they could be laws, there could be laws of physics. people are proud of their hair damage. and they're proud to have a representative who they identify with. now, at the same time, i'd say that it's evident that for elected officials, successful elected officials, emphasis that
a particular message is given obviously has to do with the interest of the audience. in other words, if you're speaking at an apac convention, what they likely want to hear about obviously is an elected official or candidate's views on u.s./israel relations and the security of israel. so it makes sense that the leader of the elected official or candidate address that issue and that audience. if someone is addressing, you know -- turkish invasion is an
area of great interest. if you're going to speak to a group of venezuelan americans or cuban americans, you better know the current events and have a position on the issues represented to venezuela or cuba. common accepts, but sometimes it's -- >> of course sometimes the message gets manipulated intentionally. >> if i may continue with what i think are -- i think they're evident, but, you know, nothing wrong i think with what i just said. in other words, people obviously want to make emphasis on -- have
emphasis on issues based on the interest of issues in the audience that people are addressing. now, to be successful, that candidate or that elected official obviously does not change his or her views on issues based on the audience. one thing is emphasis based on you you don't want to bore your audience, so you want to talk about something that obviously they're interested in, but you don't change your position on an issue based on your audience. that's something that -- now, with regard, i wouldn't call it a law of politics, but an observation, demagoguery
sometimes raises its ugly head. but in my -- in my experience, the subject of this panel, in other words, racial insinuations are ethnic inuhe endough. that's count at the productive. in addition to be negative and certainly indefensible. it's counter productive in a campaign. now, fortunately so, as electorates become more used to political discourse, more mature, if you will, more
experienced in democracy, such things as ethnic insinuations become even more counter productive. and that's an important positive. i remember, you know,counterpro. and that's an important positive. i remember, you know, in this community decades ago seeing examples of demagoguery that shocked me. but they -- as i say as a community becomes more experienced, and democracy more mature, they're less effective and fortunately less common. and so that's one of the positives of democracy. democracy when -- the more time it has, it does a lot of recity
if i indication of itself and that's why -- well, for many reasons obviously there is no system like it. >> george knox at the same time as the congressman says that usingry shal racial or ret nic innuendos is koipts tcounterpro it might work in a political campaign. when you look at a diverse community such as in south florida which is the microcosm of where the nation is headed in 10, 15, 20 years down the road, there is a lot of challenge. for example, the issue of we go back and congressman was referring to some of the issues of the past, in south florida there was the issue of nelson mandela and his relationship with fidel castro and what that may have implied and created a lot of conflict and tension. how do you see the way we are addressing the issue and the
proclivity of racial and ethnic innuendo in campaigns? >> first, i think that it's important to at least challenge the assertion by the congressman that racial ininuendo and outright racially charged attempts are less prevalent on the political scene both locally and nationally. today's miami "herald" reported this section a that the town commissioner in a small place in new hampshire referred to the president of the united states by using the so-called "n" word. that's this morning's herald. and i'm quoting what he said in his official response, i believe
i did use the "n" word in reference to the current okay pant of the white house. for this i did not apologize. he meets and exceeds my criteria for such. the reason that's important today is because there is no innuendo about that. and the suggestion is that somehow we're getting better. i would suggest we're simply getting more clever. that was a sarcastic statement that was printed in a sarcastic newspaper about the one i just read and statements from mr. bundy, who indicated blacks were probably better off in slafr sl
because it gave them something to do. and this man was a darling of elements who wanted their assume becau support because he had license to say things that they might not have been able to say in a politically correct way. so i think we've gotten more clever. if terp it terms like social se programs are used, terms like urban energy center, terms like little havana are used, they conjure up thoughts inside of our heads that have correctly to do with race in a very subtle way except for those who understand the lingo.
so, yes, there is a desire to gain affinity without having our fingerprints on it. when i was a candidate for public office, one of my stops was in what was then known as little havana. and i was introduced by my host who wanted to make the audience feel comfortable with me as not george knox for those purposes, but jorge no. and the people cheered. and he was taught to use certain words like hf will- [ speaking foreign language ] . so that is the subtlety.
and it is not only a rule, takes law. and it happens. and we cannot regulate the conduct of people who wish to talk in coded language for the purpose of gaining votes without fairly being accused of using racial innuendo. >> but i would say, george, two points. on the issue of the nevada rancher, when he came out with the statement, i do believe that most who are in the political world backed away from his support because they may not have been -- and i thought that was a positive. you won't eliminate racism everywhere, but i thought the political world backed away from support after he made those statements which number one would be a positive. and when you're talking about in
campaigns when they say [ speaking foreign language ] words that try to create an affinity with the community, i don't know that little havana is looked upon negatively. i think people say little havana with what we would say gardeneo with a pride and sense of belonging. i don't see it as being used as a way of marginalizing which is very different from what that person from new hampshire said which is really tragic because that's an elected official. >> well, there are two responses. and i don't disagree. i was trying to point out that we cannot cassity gate conduct because there a mirror image that is positive. to identify something that is important with another culture as if you respected, you respected enough to emulate it as bad as you possibly can.
it's the positive side of the negative norms. so can work either way. the second thing i like to point out is we have to be very careful with words that are used because this is a volatile subject. a scynic said, for example, thee is no excuse for offensive racist comments like the one mr. about bunity bunitydy made when there are so many subtleler ways of making the act point. with all due respect, go to this conferencetydy made when there many subtleler ways of making the act point. with all due respect, go to this conferenceydy made when there a many subtleler ways of making the act point. with all due respect, go to this conferencedy made when there ar many subtleler ways of making the act point. with all due respect, go to this conference and words attributed to jesse jackson by commissioner suarez, those of us who laughed knew that the connotation was having to do with a disparaging reference to jesse jackson's race.
the suggestion was that black people, which is the stereotype i grew up with and many over 50 did complaian't swim. and this is the innuendo that was embedded in what was a pretty clever joke associated with jesse jackson that had two or three different meanings. and those of us who thoughts of clever or funny have to really examine ourselves and ask ourselves what it was that made that joke so funny. based upon our own experience and what we heard around the dinner table and on the school yard. and when we answer that question honestly, then an appreciation for the beauty and subtlety of i innuendo i think would be made even more than fest. it's here to stay. clever people know how to touch the hearts and minds of others
by the language and choice of words that they use. as a matter of fact, it's called dog whistling. dog whistling is a popular term in politics now that essentially means if you know anything about dog whistling, the picture of gets i don't understand the capacity of human beings to hear, but the dogs can hear it. and so it is with innuendo. the hidden meaning is so subtle that only those people that have a connection with it will be able to recognize it. and that is both the beauty and the danger of what we're talking about. >> jimmy morales, its eye such a fascinating conversation. and clearly the ethnic card gets played, the race card gets played, and it does have an effect when you look at this conversation, what worries you and what -- i see change in
dynamics with the younger generations. do you see that? >> let me first say that if i look uncomfortable here, in law school, i never sat this close to the front. and i now know why because i would be called on to speak after george and lincoln. obviously we've madelog. as a society, the vicious tones of politics of 100 years ago where you had political parties whose message was, you know, anti-african-american or anti-catholic or anti-jewish, obviously we've gotten to a point where the blatant yoe voter stated goal of being anti-one particular flgroup is thinkler tolerated. >> which is why you perhaps have to use innuendo. exactly. and the other thing that is
challencha challen challenging, there a human nature to be drawn to someone we have something in common with. whether gender, religion, whatever it is. and there is nothing wrong with that. and also there has been an understanding particularly over the last 20 years that to some greedy versity in politics is a good thing. so we've gradrawn single member districts. we've drawn districts to attract -- make it more likely to elect a more diverse group. and so it's a natural byproduct that if you're having an election in a seat that for example is intended to elect a haitian-american, for example, that you might have a candidate who from a positive perspective runs on the waives that i'm haitian-american and i understand, we come from a common root, i appreciate the issues.
i'm best person to represent you. and that's been part of politics in this country for -- since the beginning. the idea that because they share something with you might be a better representative, there's nothing wrong with that. and it's not something that is also just you unique to miami in terms of being a more recent immigrant community. i lived in boston for seven years and i remember a few years ago when thomas menino it got elected to the mayor of boston. the north end is a prominent community. menino was the first italian american elected. where it gets uncomfortable is when the difference -- it's not the commonalty used as a reason to vote for somebody, it's the
differences being used as a reason to vote against somebody. and that's where while we've become clearly much more civilized and modern this terms of it not being tolerated overtly, so when prepare bunmr. what he says, even rups runs to hills, it is sometimes pointing out an issue but cloaked in where you stand on israel perhaps how you feel about the jewish community or where you stand on immigration is how you feel about has painhispanics. there will could be good policy reasons being but on which they're cloaked. and even statements that say i'm not hispanic enough, which i don't know what that means.
or you're not black enough or not in touch enough. so even within groups sometimes, those coops of enyou uinuendos are used to send a message. the problem is that -- and i think as we're here at a law school talking about law, just like you can't talk about how you can't legislation morality, you can at least create laws that will severely punish people for being immoral. the challenge you talk about speech is how you weigh the innuendos. we hopeo over time the social message, social disapproval and hopefully the political consequences of it. that's what we need to get to. where just like we always say no one likes negative campaigning, but negative campaigning will only stop the day that -- >> it stops working. >> reality for all the people who don't like negative ad, they love reading and talking about it.
people get turned off by it. i think when david duke, kkk, won the republican nomination and the republican party itself disavowed him. so i think when it gets to the point where we disavow those kind of messages. by the way to be fair, i remember because as a democrat, i remember when the democratic nominee said the last american, please carry the flag out. so both parties. and anyone is prone to it. it's the day those messages are punished politically that we've turned the corner. >> jimmy morales talked about immigration reform. talk about code words to be anti-hispanic. that is i think one of the issues that even though polls
suggest and the tea party express came out with an op-ed talking about the tea party person in favor ever immigration reform and some people disavow that that could be real. is that anti-hispanic or are there more legitimate reasons to look beyond? i think there is a lot of hatred behind some of the immigration reform rhetoric. >> i don't disagree with a lot of the things that booth jimmy and george have said. as i said before and let me touch upon immigration in a second, demagoguery does show its face occasionally.
one of tfof the reasons i think important to study history. obviously we can't compare in my you view the united states today with the united states 100 years ago or 50 years ago. we're a much better place. that's not negating -- george knox talked about some examples of more than demagoguery. of horrible racism today. we're going to typed gofind exa like that. no human endeavor will ever be perfect. but certainly it's perfectible. and our country is imperfectible and it's much better than it was in the past. so that's what he mean. let's take things in the long view and in context.
>> president obama would not have been elected if it hasn't been for the white vote. >> there are a lot of examples of overcoming. i don't know the more difficult issue to make progress on and to avoid the kinds of matters that we're discussing in this panel than immigration. because it facilitates -- it makes it easier, that issue makes it easier demagoguery attacks. and it's a very, very difficult issue. but nevertheless, progress is possible. progress -- you brought out an example about this latest public
statement by somebody being attacked for how can you be making that statement. coming from where you're coming from. nevertheless, even on an issue as difficult as immigration, progress is possible. a and, you know, i remain hopeful that we're going to see significant progress soon even on that issue. >> hope so. we have some questions from the audience. write down your questions and we'll pick some of the ones that we can deal with at this time. we are -- this is one question. are we living in a super sensitive society? in terms of race, are we always looking for racial innuendo as a campaign weapon? and is this ethical? george? >> there's an association with ethics that seems to connote good and bad and there's a very close relationship of what we call ethic that is we want to evaluate and judge and strategy that we know will be in place.
the strategy of politicians is to get as many votes as they can by having the people that they're appealing to resonate with our identify with something that they say, believe or otherwise stand for. so, all of it is not unethical. this is the difficulty. when we read our attempts to regulate the conduct that emanates from people's hearts, based upon their being driven in a win/lose society, then we have to allow and understand that there are different set of rules, and that means when at any cost that is not per se unlawful constituting a crime after due process. and so, as long as you don't do that, then the argument is that whatever you do is fair game in
politics because you're supposed the know and understand what it's really all about and you're supposed to be thick skinned an not take the stuff seriously because it's nothing personal. >> anybody else want to tackle this? >> you know, you hear a lot of people say that a society's become a little too pc and too thin-skinned about it. and, you know, we all can remember back the our -- you know, our grandparents telling jokes that today would curl our hair and it was fine back then but was it really fine back then? it's the typical comments, well, bag in the '50s or back in the '20s, we didn't have these problems but they were brushed under the carpet or ignored. i think the fact that society is less tolerant of comments that could be hurtful. it's all about an audience thing but i think that's a good thing. you know, the challenge in part is, you know, we always talk about america's a melting pot
and so there's this perception some people at some point, you know, we're all just going to be americans. the hyphens go away and we are all just this group of americans, whatever that is. i think we're more like a salad, all mixed together and you taste a tomato, the olive, still taste the cucumber. and so, there's no reason that's not reflected in politics, that issues are approached, you know, from a perspective. and that perspective changes, perhaps withet ethnicity or rac or gender. for me, i'm fortunate to be married to a strong, professional woman, to me one of the extents to which i think sexism is tolerated in the media, in entertainment, in politics, i think a lot of us were shocked how hilary was treated in the primary a couple of years ago where she was a victim. it's hard for hillary clinton to be viewed as a victim but i have seen it the way lawyers treat my
wife. there's a level of sexism in professionalism. >> your wife being an attorney. >> an attorney, by male attorneys would shock me. so i think there's a lot of areas where, you know, some things we have gotten very sensitive about and perhaps in other areas we maybe haven't. we're progressing but it's going to play itself out. you know, again, there's nothing wrong with people being drawn to each other for a different reason and sometimes they are related issues. obviously people who are more recent have a sensitivity to immigration issues, et cetera. it becomes when -- when it becomes a sword to use for irrational purposes other than hatred we have to figure out, i don't know if you legislate against it or decide not to put up with it. >> what you do have, i'll throw this out to whoever wants to answer, the issue of polarization and it was talked about on this panel, that, you know, we have district that is are signed, but one -- and the
issue of immigration reform, one of the comments that's made that's very difficult to get past in the house of representatives because there are so many districts that are drawn so you don't have diversity within a district and perhaps then there's no understanding of or knowledge of who these diverse populations that we're talking about in the immigration reform debate, the hispanic community in particular is reflected and there's a question here from the audience that says, here locally in miami-dade county, and surrounding municipalities, with the use of innuendo different with at large elections instead of districts, for example? >> different, but again, that's why it's difficult to talk about better or worse. some could argue that single member districts is an institutionalized way of reducing the need to appeal to one ethnic group or point of
view over another because there's homogenaity built into the districts. there's common interest built into the districts by design. >> but if we're a salad, we are not melting then that exists anyway eastbound if it's not a district. >> see, the tomato stays a tomato and sometimes we forget that fact. okay? we obscure the identity of the tomato by calling it salad. now, as to -- [ laughter and applause ] and please, again, current miami is a barometer for the rest of the world. for the immediate future. and so, when we talk about at-large elections, for example, the most prominent at-large elections are now the judicial elections and the fact is that you will see overt innuendo associated with the manner in which even the professional
experience and caliber of candidates for judge based upon their understanding of the demographics. there has been a chronic complaint registered on behalf of incumbent judges of african descent who don't have the capacity or resources or access to resources to raise sufficient money to fare well in a contested election county wide. and there are others who know that. and there are others who make a living identifying vulnerable, my so-called minority, both women and persons of african descent, candidates because there's an understanding that the affinity, the cultural affinity between the three major cultural groups is so significant that it makes a
difference and people talk about the surname game. and, this is not limited. there was a man in 1980 because history's important whose name was john plumber. john plumber won a seat in the florida legislature because of his last name. and the association that people naturally made with a very prominent and politically active family in miami-dade called the plumber family. john plumber spent less than $1,700 in order to beat a very, very well qualified, engaging attorney whose name was allen rosenthal. plumber was an african-american 38-year-old bus driver who had not even attended a public meeting by a colee jal body because of his last name and his avoidance of a photograph in any of his so-called campaign
material and so all of the voters, a majority of the voters, a significant majority of voters sent this man to the legislature. and he stayed for a full term. and he made a joke about, okay, race innuendo and so it's not critical in a sense of negativity. it is and it is a device that's used by people as a strategy to gain votes in a democratic world and we cannot judge, evaluate or defend its use. >> congressman? >> let's not forget even recent history. multimf member districts were a way to deny minorities election. and that was a reality. one of the recent reforms made
possible single member districts. the issue of judicial elections is separate. you know, i have my in is sense that i think it's worth a panel just by itself. judicial elections and whether or not judges should be elected, you know, that's more in a perfect world. the reality is, though, that it's important to put on the record until -- until single member districts became a reality, multi-member districts were utilized to deny minorities election. >> please comment on the lack of concern with discrimination against african-american republicans and hispanic republicans. the claim of prejudice seems used as a political play. >> i'm sorry. repeat that. >> please comment on the lack of
concern with the discrimination against african-american republicans and hispanic republicans. the claim of prejudice seems to be used as a political ploy, i'm going to guess. >> i think if i may, i think what that question's referring to is more a concern about the media and, you know, that i've heard. i mean, i've heard that concern a lot. but that's -- >> but you also see it on social media. you see it on twitter. i mean -- >> yeah. >> the anonymity behind social media has really had an impact on race, on -- and it's not as george knox would suggest, it's not even innuendo. it's just very straight right at your face accusations and certainly it's -- i don't think it's a surprise that we're seeing the rise in the level of it, except it's done through -- it could be done through tweets,
for example, where it's pretty darn anonymous but the point is pretty direct. >> you know, it's interesting because if you actually look nationally, i mean, we have, what? i think three hispanic u.s. senators. is that correct? i think two of them are republican. we have i forget how many hispanic governors. i think a majority of them are actually republican. whereas here in florida, the democratic party never nominated a hispanic for u.s. senator or governor. so the partisan label is difficult because i think -- i'll speak candidly having bb a foreman of a local party. i think both parties both use that ploy. each claiming to be more responsive to a particular group or others and i'm not sure it's about winning elections. >> maybe what the question suggests is that there is a certain sense that an african-american is going to be
a democrat and not going to be a republican. and the same goes on a national level. in south florida, a hispanic to be a -- >> it's an important point you brought out in terms of the last time we had national conventions, you know, it impressed me that in terms of, you know, statewide officials that were hispanic, certainly -- or candidates, you know, i was impressed by the fact that, you know, except for -- except for senator bob menendez -- >> and the castro brothers on the democratic side. >> statewide -- statewide? >> statewide, no. mayor -- mayor of san antonio. >> yeah. so again, i don't know exactly what the question is referring to because i -- you know, maybe it's just that i haven't understood it completely.
>> could be that. but i will tell you in the last, in 2012, covering both conventions, i can tell you that one of the things that struck me on the republican side of it is that the enormous number of hispanic elected officials who were on the podium and that was impressive. >> statewide. >> but on the democratic side, eastbound though they had very, very few, the hispanics were in the audience. the hispanics were attendees to the convention, a very marked contrast. >> well, and i think the question is, yes, i think, for example, a perception national that hispanics and africans are more democratic. whether or not that's resulted in the deliverables to those communities, you know, i mean, i think there's a lot of hispanics, for example, upset that the current administration hasn't done more on the immigration issue and likewise you could make the same statement about if you're a strong christian, you're more likely to be republican. and yet, has republican party
dlifed on the issues important to that community at large? >> you know, jimmy, i have been told -- i have been told that -- and there are -- we have had jewish members in the legislature, but i have been told that as someone of the jewish faith could never win a statewide race in florida in 2014. you know, we think we progress and maybe we don't. george knox you are comments about issues relating to racial matters ever acceptable? for example, a latino man or woman running in a predominantly latino area or a black person or a white person in similar circumstances. are comments about issues relating to racial matters ever acceptable? are we ever going to eliminate that? >> well, acceptable is another one of those words. the thing is, will there be conversations or thoughts
directed towards race? and can we not decide whether they're acceptable but accept them as a reality? a reality that we will either confront somewhere between statements by the nevada farmer and references to liberty city as being a home of every person of color in miami-dade county, for example. and what does it bring into your mind? and so the whole idea is for everybody to accept it without either getting angry about it or taking license with it because it's not going anyplace. and the most sympathetic victims of racialism are people who mean well. who don't know or appreciate.
just like i made a reference to a connotation of a very clever statement made earlier to make a point that was so far away from what i said but the fact is that there's relevance in both of those things and that's the tragedy of innuendo. because one thing touches me one way and one thing touches someone else who does not have my experience in another way an it looks exactly the same. >> but, george, when you look at the issue of the debate on gay marriage today and you see how that is one issue where as a society the united states has moved so dramatically in just a decade. don't you see that or would you say perhaps that there are -- that there is enormous progress that's being made to be more
inclusi inclusive, more accept -- there's a greater acceptance that difference is not necessarily something to be feared. it's just a fact and not -- if you don't want to embrace it, it's nothing you have to run away from either. >> precisely. and the fact that human relationships are -- that have existed from the beginning of time are now acknowledged as human relationships without good, bad or other connotations allows for this to happen. because it became a part of the conversation. we will not allow race to become a part of a conversation because we are too sensitive yet with what our organizers call the third rail which means an untouchable conversation, especially anybody in public life. and so, we haven't gotten to the point where we can candidly talk
about a celebration of differences which contribute. and so we can't make a list of cucumbe cucumbers, lettuce and it's a salad. that takes too much time. but what we cannot do is say once we identify this as a salad, we forget about the valuable, the valuable component parts that constitute this new unified entity with all of its units and components working in harmony to create something that is satisfactory to the consumer. >> well, in a way, it comes back to being what is american. and we go back to the immigration debate, we go back to being african-american and the history of the african-american which is not the same as the caribbean-american who is in south florida. jimmy morales, even the experience of the puerto rican although i would say in the immigration debate, if you talk about, you know, there's a conversation if you're not -- if citizenship isn't included then
you're making a second-class citizen and you could say that puerto ricans who are american citizens by birth can't vote for president of the united states. if you live on the island but if you live on the i-4 corridor, you certainly could. >> you know, look. the discrimination or the people who want to try to raise themselves by saying at least i'm not like them, occurs also within ethnic and racial groups. i mean, here in miami, you know, not to speak what's observe, there's been political tension between the historic african-american and haitian community. written about in the newspapers. you know, people forget that the ugly word that starts with a "k" for jewish americans at times was invented by juryman jews about the russian jews coming to new york city. within the hispanic communities. there was some tension there. and i can tell you as a half
cuban, half puerto rican, sometimes neither community was sure where i fit in. so, you know, there are differences within communities and sometimes in those, you know, play outside those communities so it's not just, you know, sort of black versus white or hispanic versus non-hispanic. there's sultties within groups that have political consequences and the innuendos there are probably even more difficult to figure out. >> as we wrap this up, just a brief one-minute statement from each of you, a final thought on this all-important topic, just a quick minute. lyndon diaz-balart. >> it's getting better. you know, we're not -- in no way is this society perfect but it's better and, you know, we have to work to continue to improve it. >> george knox, do you think you can make it positive before you leave? >> no. [ laughter ]
and see? here's the difficulty. the difficulty is that once again all i wish to do is to make a contribution to a truth that all of us must face. and i'm not being negative at all. i'm not failing to acknowledge progress at all. but the fact is that everything that we have done that's good must be accelerated and the only way that we can accelerate it is to have a conversation about the things that are deepest in our hearts, our greatest fears and challenges, and our common purpose. and nobody wants to go first. nobody wants to say, we are interdependent and we need each other. we'd rather say, okay, something that cocnnotes that we are not n this together.
and there are barrie bearers an are riders. the fact is that we are all in this together and we must acknowledge each of us has both a role and value to contribute to the society that people in duh buick, iowa, are praying we demonstrate to them. >> jimmy morales, i apologize you come after the two great speakers but that's what you get for sitting in the back of the class all those years. >> that's true. you know, i have great hope in the quote millennials. we have come a long way. my father came to miami in 1947 and told me stories of buildings that said no blacks, no puerto ricans, no dogs. we have come a long way. i think this current generation, i have a 20-year-old and a 12-year-old, at least maybe in urban areas like ours, where they grow up in diversity and particularly in public education and then kids like mine who are
quarter puerto rican, quarter hispanic, quarter russian and i think they don't tolerate it. they embrace it. tolerance is a horrible word. i tolerate pain. to tolerate one another while we use that term a lot, i think that has probably been a right word to use for a long -- i think americans for a number of decades tolerated diversity maybe. i think the newer generations embrace it. that's all they know. they understand. i think that's why, for example, a lot of young people coming back to south florida because they like it. so i'm hopeful. but that's my personality. >> difference is still good. everybody, thank you so much. tonight here on c-span3,
panels of the national bullying prevention conference held here in washington. officials discuss the latest trends and how to best create an environment that discourages bullying behavior. we'll show you comments of students discussing their experiences. it all comes up 8:00 eastern tonight here on c-span3. more campaign 2014 coverage tonight with an iowa senate debate of democratic congressman braley and his challenger joni ernest. it starts live at 8:00 eastern on c-span. last night a florida governor's debate was held between incumbent rick scott and democrat and former governor charlie crist. here's a portion of that now. >> let's think about where we are. none of us believe in
discrimination. i clearly don't believe in any discrimination. in 2008, part of our democratic process, led by charlie, there was a constitutional amendment passed that said marriage would be between a man and woman. i believe in traditional marriage. we have got to understand people have different views. it is going through the court system. my understanding is it's going right directly to the supreme court. whatever the supreme court decides they'll decide what the law in florida is. i will abide by that law but what's important to me is we need to understand, people have different views. we shouldn't have ill will because people have different views but it was started with charlie as governor. >> governor scott, i'm not sure i got an answer to the question. >> sure. >> i'm not sure i got an answer to the question. do you believe the ban is discriminatory. >> i don't believe in discrimination but i can tell you i don't believe in
discrimination. i believe in traditional marriage. the court's going to decide. this is a decision for the courts and they'll make the decision. >> governor crist? >> i don't believe in discrimination either. and i don't believe in it so much that i believe that gay couples should have the right to marry. [ applause ] then i think the best way to capture this. rose mary, you tried to get an answer. it's dilt. but i think the best way to capture this is to understand who is it for us to tell other people who to love? and what is it in our right to tell other people who to marry? i think we have come to a place in american society and certain i think florida's leading the way with the decisions that have been made. this is the right thing to do. we need to move forward. >> thank you, governor crist. [ applause ] >> charlie told you his beliefs today. but if you remember, when he
gave an interview about this issue before, he said he took the prior positions for political expediency. in other words, to win office. he's taken every side of this issue. >> that was part of last night's florida's governor's debate. the polling listing it as a toss-up. see more online. political activist grover norquist and ralph nader spoke at the nation at press club last month about areas of common ground of the political right and left. they discussed issues of government transparenctranspare minimum wage and corporate welfare. this is 45 minutes. >> thank you very much, myron, distinguished guests and audience representing various views.
i think the -- eaissue here com down to an immobilized society. people want to get things done in this country but the powers that be as they have for thousands of years have learned that the best strategy to block the will of the people is to divide and rule. as a result, we hear article after article about how polari e polarized our society is, red state, blue state, republican, democrat, left, right, and there are many divisions and disagreements, to be sure. there are disagreements on reproductive rights, on gun control, on school prayer, on constitutionally required balanced budget, on taxes, on kinds of regulation. and those will probably remain. however, there are huge areas and very fundamental ones in terms of constitutional procedures as well as substantive policies where there
is a large left/right convergence majority in this country. it starts with the public sentiment as abraham lincoln said. with it you can do anything and without it you can't do much of anything at all. so we start with the reality it's already out there in the minds of tens of millions of americans who want to call themselves conservatives or liberals or libertarians or progressives. they agree on a whole host of issues. i first came across this agreement going functional, going operational, from mere converging opinion into actual political action when we developed a coalition in 1923 to fight the reactor which had piled up 1.3 billion, and they hadn't dug a shovel on the shores of the clinch river in tennessee. and our side wasn't getting very far and senator from arkansas
called up bumper, and said, why don't you call some of the right wing groups. they were worried about it because it is a huge budget buster. the prediction is it's going to go to $8 billion. so we formed a taxpayers group against the clinch river breeder reactor. we had some formidable foes. ronald reagan was for it. senator howard baker was for it. general electric and westinghouse were for it. and it was quite an uphill fight. but in a stunning defeat of the clinch river, we won in the senate 56-40. that was in 1983. in 1986, against corporate lobbyists, there is a left/right convergence between senator grassley, republican of iowa, and a democrat congressman from california to pass the false claims act. that would give government officials an opportunity, if they blow the whistle, government employees, to share in the recovery that would be pursued by the justice
department. that has saved tens of billions of dollars since then. and we see other examples. this is not pie in the sky. we're not sugar coating this convergence. we have examples. as of last year for example, there was a left/right uproar on e-mail et cetera to stop another war in syria, getting u.s. involved in syria. the left/right in defiance of john boehner and nancy pelosi in the house almost got a bill through blocking the nsa from dragnet snooping. they lost by 12 votes on that. and at the state level, a lot of interesting things are going on. 15 state legislatures have passed juvenile justice reform. only possible because of left/right legislators. when the keelo decision came down saying it was okay for new london to expropriate a whole
neighborhood and destroy it and give it to pfizer, 25 state legislators passed a variety laws very quickly. saying not in this state. you're going to take private property, condemn it and give it to corporations, other kind of private property. so in doing this book, i go through the history of conservative philosophers, and lo and behold, a lot of them from adam smith to vonmisis to russell kirk, we're not exactly what the corporatists who have distorted their philosophy would have us believe. many of them believe they were against socialism, against government planning to be sure. but they were for a safety net leading to milton friedman's minimum incomes plan and nixon adopting it. that heritage goes all the way back to henry simmons who is a
founder of chicago school of economics and friedman's mentor. and goes back to hiyack who thought there had to be a safety net. public works was fostered by them. they had conservative philosophy. did not like monopolies. very eloquent in busting up monopolies. so we have doctrinal basis here, as well as current operational figures, some politicians, some writers. but most important, back there in the country, where people live, work and raise their children, the ideological chisms are not quite as parent because these people back home are facing reality. so we have a great deal of disagreement between left, right on reproductive rights and school prayer and gun control and balance the budget, as i said. but we also have very fundamental agreements. and it was illustrated in an interview in the book i had of
ed cane, the libertarian founder of the kato institute when he said, ralph, i'm against all corporate subsidies, unconstitutional laws, the liberty restricted aspects of the patriotic act and federal reserve run amok. i said, that's a pretty good start, ed. that's a pretty good start. and so, i want to focus on the two areas of agreement categorically. one is on procedure. civil liberties. protection of privacy. don't engage in dragnet snooping, et cetera. you don't engage in wars of regression. you don't interfere with international law and constitutional law and federal law and go anywhere in the world building up empires and bases in 120 countries. you don't allow the pentagon to automatically get huge budgets through congress without following normal appropriation
committee procedures like the budget for the iraq war, the budget for the afghan war. that's a very important area. and that's where there is very, very solid basis here, as grover will point out. there is a lot of collaboration between left/right, american civil liberties union and right leaning groups. in the substantive area, they are quite remarkable convergences. i sometimes i think half of what the government does is shovel out subsidies, handouts, giveaways privileges, economic privileges in the marketplace and bailouts. this is called crony capitalism by the right. called corporate welfare by us. that's a huge slice of the federal budget. the patriot act comes up for confirmation, repeat, next year. maybe there will be a struggle
instead of just rubber stamping it as it has been renewed twice by rubber stamp. we have on perhaps us t s isote issues. we have collaboration, left/right wants to audit the pentagon. $800 million, unaudited every year. not really the way a business would run it. that's why you lose 9 billion here, 6 billion there. as senator dirksen said, it adds up to real money. there's no accounting. there's also left/right on procurement. why not establish standards for efficiency and for national goals, like controlling pollution, advancing auto safety. and here in the audience is jarold carmen, the former head of the general services administration. when we hit a stone wall on the air bag, even though george will and others came out for mandatory air bag installation,
ronald reagan and i went to see a republican from new hampshire and he was in an auto parts business. so he wasn't in the auto industry. and i said, you know, if you have airbags in government cars, they buy 40,000, 50,000 a year for government employees, it will reduce accidents, injuries, claims, cost and lost work. that appealed to him in addition to the life-saving aspect of it. and to make a long story short, against the opposition of all of the auto companies except ford, he put out a request to bid for 5,000 air bags in tempo, ford tempos. the government wants to buy. and that helped the momentum to get the airbag in all of the cars. and now it's on side air bags and front seat air bags. that's the use of the government buying power and that's what's so important.
it is not just a more traumatic issues. it is also the issues of proper functioning of government. of course, there's going to be a lot of disagreements on taxes. i don't know whether grover agrees with us but there is left/right coalition and to take the minimum wage up close to where it was in 1968 adjusted for inflation. 30 million workers who make less today than they made -- workers made in 1968 adjusted for inflation. 30 million workers. and so, whether you're conservative or liberal, worker in walmart, i don't think you're going to fall on your sword ideologically and say, no, we want to continue to work at eight bucks an hour while the box is making $11,000 an hour every hour 8 hours a day throughout the year. so in two hours on january 2, he makes more than the worker makes in the entire year. even before the martini lunch.
so, i want to conclude -- yeah -- i want to conclude by noting that this book does not sugar coat the obstacles and what we really need here to kick start this big-time, although there's now a left/right alliance on prison reform. there's a lot going on. it's not getting that much attention compared to the division, the divisive areas. but in this book i argue that there are a lot of obstacles that have to be faced but they're overcomible if we have a number of civic groups established whose only concern is convergence and left/right alliance advocacy. there's a lot of convergence. kato, and heritage, they all have reports against corporate
welfare. that's not the top priority. that's not where the grants and the contributions expect the work to be done. and so, they go to work every day and that's not their top priority. it's where the grapts and the targeted issues often are in conflict with the left/right. that's their priority. so we need this kind of singular focus and i have a chapter called "dear billionaire" and i'm looking for a rich person to start funding a number of these non-profit civic advocacy groups. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, mr. nader, for holding to our 12-minute request. and now i have the pleasure to turn the floor over to grover norquist. [ applause ] >> thank you, myron. last time ralph and i were on a stage together we were competing at funniest celebrities in d.c. so i will be the straight man
today. i want to make it very clear that when you talk -- when ralph and i both talk about left/right coalitions, that's different than traditional bipartisanship here in washington, d.c. and state capitals. traditional bipartisanship is republican politicians and democratic politicians exercising their class interest as politicians and deciding to raise their pay. or to give themselves -- or give themselves pensions or invent new ways to kneecap potential challengers to their potential running for re-election and there are very real class interests that they have and can be cheerfully bipartisan in defense of those. earmarks of decades. you get some, i get some. we steal money and share it with our friends but i'm talking about and what ralph and i have worked on together are issues where right and left, people of principle, not willing to
sacrifice. this isn't like moving to the center and giving the other guy somebody that shouldn't have in return for something good. this is about issues where right and left agree on what they want done. for instance, the issue of transparency. both right and left through the states and this has moved across dozens and dozens of states making state budgets completely transparent by that i don't mean a printed budget after it's done. i mean every check as it goes out, every contract as it's written, every grant given. online so everyone can see it now. not the people who can hire lobbyists or who happen to live in the state capital and the federal capital. but to make it available. it's all legally public. it sits in shoe boxes in various basements or in filing cabinets and it's not accessible to the average person. so we're looking to do is those issues where right and left both on principle can move forward. now, if total spending and all
contracts were made transparent so every american, every person in the world could welcome at them, i'm under the impression people say let's spend less money. ralph thinks that some would look and say, martha, look how wisely they're spending our money. let's send them more. we can have that argument as to how people would react to transparency but each of us believes that a transparent government would be a better government. i believe a more limited government. ralph thinks it may be more expensive but transparency we can agree on and often the people in power aren't particularly cheerful about that. so, right/left coalitions are areas of principled agreement on perhaps procedure or even goals. not a compromise or somebody walks in and gives up a part of his soul in order to get something and moves they think slightly in the wrong direction in the hope that -- of doing something else. i also want to point out as
ralph alluded to this is not something that might happen. this is not an interesting theory. ralph nader has not written a book of what might in theory people could do this if you imagined them. i want do go through a list of things where this has already happened. and where it's happened in seven states, it can happen in more. so we're looking now at the term limit movement, actually in my living memory the least successful press conference i've ever participated in when ralph nader and i in 1992 holding a press conference and then 14 states pass with average of 75% of the vote and not a single reporter showed up because official washington had zero interest in term limits. it's revolutionized the system with a rotating french revolution every six years and the leadership moves on. so, term limits has gone across the country both at the state
level, in local government, and it shows up here not only at the presidential level but in terms of committee chairs. right on crime which i was working with a group of folks who said, do we really need -- we thought it was 2,000. turns out it's 4,000 federal laws. do we really need to keep 75-year-old former bank robbers in prison for the rest of their lyes? it costs $50,000 for somebody in prison for one year. 25 in florida. it's expensive and people's lives. you disrupt communities, breaking up families, taking the breadwinner out. you're making it difficult for people to move forward. i'm -- look. i'm tough on crime. i'm in favor of executing murderers. i think some people should be in prison all their lives but not the 2 million we have now and we need to look at what mandatory minimums are doing. this is where there's been a very good right/left coalition working and wells fargo moved this through quite a number of
states often starting in texas. one of the reasons why there's a problem with right/left coalitions on crime is that people on the left are afraid they'll be called weak on crime. people on the left are afraid they'll be called weak on crime by others. this is about as texas has done continuing to reduce the crime rate more rapidly than other states by having fewer people in prison and perhaps more people under parole or probation but also asking yourself how many people you actually want to have in prison. the issue of corporate welfare is one that we can agree on. i think we worked on this many years ago when john kasik taking the lead with suggestions of both groups on the right and the left could agree on. government ought not to be stealing people's money and handing it to somebody else. period. and we made some progress on that. there's more to be done. the earmarks was real progress. right on defense. similar efforts where people are saying and the sequester is a
help. the sequester will require those people to say, look, it's important to have a strong national defense. it is a dangerous world out there. keep the canadians on their side of the border. you know, you want to have a strong national defense. but you don't have to waste money. there's a new piece of legislation that i think is very intriguing by the congressman calvert, republican of california, that will through attrition reduce the number of civilian employees at the pentagon by 100,000. the budget experts over there tell me you could cheerfully do 200,000 and still have a strong and robust national defense. there are going to be a series of efforts along the lines because the sequester puts a cap for ten years on the pentagon's budget, those people who want more tanks had better figure out how to reform the procurement system. those people who want more airplanes, had better participate and help when we suggest that perhaps we need a
compensation system that pays soldiers more and spends less time trying to figure out what they'll do for them 50 years from now and front loads a lot of the resources that we make available to soldiers and sailors. so, we can reduce the cost of national defense while making it more effective. the sequester is certainly an important project in making that continue. civil liberties. right/left, share a llt of interests. the government, the party of government, friends of government, what they used to call loyalists in the revolutionary war. the friends of government. always like the government to have more power because they're quite convinced the government would never abuse it and i think it's important for republicans to say to the left -- to their conservative allies, do you want hillary clinton to have this power you're planning to give to george w. bush? because at some point we moves on. we trusted him. do you trust the next guy? and the people when clinton was
accumulang powers like this, do you want to hand it to the other team? we can make some progress in limiting the government snooping, the government's mega data collection, and making sure that our civil liberties are taken seriously. and that almost only happens in a left/right coalition because all the people that trust the government to always do the right thing don't see anything wrong with the government continually accumulating more and more power. one of the reasons why i think not only do we have this in about six or seven fields, and it's moving through various states. some of the stuff at the federal government. i testified and you would have thought was a difficult issue, this was reducing the disparity between how long you were sent to prison for a crack cocaine versus white powder cocaine. 100 to 1 ratio and reduced to 18 to 1. and i went and testified and it was -- there was this
fascinating dance between the republicans and the democrats and the republicans said we'd be delighted to get rid of this bill that the democrats had passed and introduced and the democrats would say, if you stop mentioning this is our idea we'd like to get rid of it, too. but everybody was afraid the other team would attack them for being in favor of crack cocaine if they reduced the disparity. 18 to 1. where that came from, i don't know. 18 was less than 100 so we went with it. some senator thought that up and we said, we'll take it. there you had a broad left/right coalition. as i look at a history of mandatory minimums, the mandatory minimums for federal crimes, treason is five years mandatory men mum. okay? things dealing with naked pictures of people are 35 years. so this was driven by how many people you could get to your press conference when you anoupsed you really -- message i care. i don't really like carjacking. like in the 57 states we didn't
have laws against the carjacking at the time but some congressman said we have to have -- we will have a federal law. just have the press conference. we had to have federal law and carjacking a federal crime with a minimums. so the mandatory minimums were really press conferences, not law being made as you looked at what was considered important to have a mandatory minimum for. i want to suggest that the movement that ralph nader's written about and that many on the right and the left have begun to participate in is going to grow and strengthen, and one reason is that we have had some success. okay? when you see people walk out on the ice and they don't fall through, more people are willing to go out there. when politicians hear that right on crime has gotten a series of reductions and how long you have to keep how many people in prison and how much you have to spend doing it, and, you know,
crime didn't increase. it fell. and things got better and most importantly nobody lost an election. that they're more willing to move this forward in their own state. the other reason it's going to move is there's nothing else to do in this town. on the mega issues, you know, we're going to raise or cut taxes? spend more money or less money? that's settled. as long as obama is president and a republican house, we're not raising taxes and not eliminating any big programs. not creating any big government programs and not cutting taxes either. on the mega issues, nothing moves. it's like two sumo wrestlers for two year that is are absolutely equally matched, nobody's getting knocked out of the ring. all of the energy, all of the smart guys in d.c. and in state legislatures, can look over at the successes that left/right coalitions have had on right on crime and right on defense and
transparency and civil libtds and i think you will see a lot of the energy and opportunity and talent move into those zones because for the next two years, next 20 years, that's an area where we can make real progress for all americans and i look forward to working with ralph and a lot of other people in this field. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, mr. norquist. as i said to mr. nader, thank you to you both for holding to the 12-minute limit that we imposed. so that we could have more time for questions. let's start with some questions for both of you. and some people say that the partisan divide is deeper today than it has ever been. did the two of agree and if to how do you think the gap might have been narrowed? you might have touched on this but if we could have a succinct answer to that question. do you agree and if so how do you think the gap can be
narrowed? >> the partisan difference is much greater. nixon was president, he wanted the government to get bigger and ted kennedy wanted it to get bigger and they would argue every day and it got bigger. but always just somewhat bigger. very easy to agree if you're all heading in the same direction and just a question of speed but we have two parties, one wants larger government, one wants smaller government and they mean it. what would a bipartisan compromise be? there's no way to do that. they're fundamentally at odds. the solution is the ryan plan. while we work to do that, we'll work on all the other issues. >> i'd like -- you set a precedent and mr. nader will follow, since we have a lot of questions, if you keep the answers brief and to the point. thank you. >> there's a partisan divide. where? it's in the congress but back home probably 90% of the people want to prosecute the wall
street crooks and putt them in jail. there's a main street/wall street an tiff think here. too big to fail? all kinds of conservatives are coming out against allowing banks to be too big to fail. but it hasn't hit congress yet. in terms of any operational momentum. that's what we have to talk about, filling that gap, pushing this public sentiment of convergence into operational mode. >> is the supreme court's decision, is the supreme court's citizens united decision good thing or bad thing for the country? do both of you regard money as free speech, just like the supreme court did? >> i think we probably disagree on that one. i think people should be free to do anything they like other than punch somebody or steal their stuff. and that includes spending their money as they want buying ice cream cones or running ads or
engaging in politics or making movies or films so yeah. i think that the supreme court decision went in the right direction but we should have complete liberty. there are plenty of left-wing billionaires. this doesn't upset the apple cart. no stolen money in government. no forced union dues. no taxpayer money. voluntary? fine. >> yeah. disagree. i think public elections should be publicly funded. it can be done in a voluntary manner. i think mccain-feingold is an example of a convergence that's eroded of the supreme court. money is very corrupting. the idea that money is speech i think would horrified our founders. and further more, i draw the distinction of corporations and individuals. i think corporations are artificial entities. they should be subordinated to the will of the people. corporation, company, doesn't exist in the constitution and i think the supreme court's
revolutionary 5-4 decision time and time again are erecting a system in the political economy where corporations are supreme over individuals and that's obviously in my mind a subversion of our democratic process. >> for the next few questions, we'll have mr. nader answer first to keep a balance. is it possible to have a government of, by and for the people in this country without meaningful campaign finance reform? >> it's very difficult, obviously, because it intimidates people who otherwise might move forward. either to run for office or just to be active. when they see mountains of money on the other side and tv ads and radio ads and all kinds of apparatus. i think the important thing to remember, though, is even if there is no money in politics,
there would still be a problem of mobilizing citizens. they have been so stomped on over the years, we don't teach civic education or civic experience in our schools. youngsters are taught to believe, not to think. to obey, not to challenge. that that's always going to remain a problem. and it has in many other countries, as well. so, it's elixir on money and politics but we have to start there because it's getting worse and worse and impeding a variety of candidates from even trying to run. >> sure. well, i think it's important to have campaign finance reform to have fair elections and in wisconsin they have taken a step towards that prior to act 10 passing. public schoolteacher paid $50,000 a year, found $1,000 taken by force without his or her permission and handed to the unions and that was a condition of employment. they didn't vote to join the union. they never voted to join the
union. they were in the union. they took $1,000 and spent it not as the teacher might want but as the government wanted to. that law under governor walker was changed so all dues were d were voluntary. and the unions could not take your money and spend it on whatever they wanted to. the most important thing is no taxpayer dollars taken from you and then spent on politics. and no union dues taken through coerced union dues. voluntary union dues, all they want to spend, that's fine. >> the last question addressed to both of you and then i'll go into a session asking you individually some questions. could the two of you conceivably back a left-right candidacy like a ron paul-dennis kucinich ticket which could focus on attacking the nsa, not the type trade deals and the federal reserve? mr. nader? >> yeah, it's just what they stand for. how authentic it is, what their
record is. i don't care what their labels are. barney frank and ron paul had a caucus to reduce the military budget. couldn't have people further apart on that. but they're very sincere in that area. by the way, i never discussed this with you. investor rights vis-a-vis management. the corporations spend money in political campaigns and do the shareholders have a right to approve or disapprove? would you agree that they should? >> it's easy for an investor to decide not to own general motors stock. it's not easy for a teacher in wisconsin to change jobs, since it's a government monopoly that they're working for. so i see a distinction there. what was the question?
kucinich and i were out this year, so he gets to be top of the ticket. certainly they're individual pairings on individual issues that are interesting, and it's sort of man bites dog and the press is a little more interested when you can have a republican democrat. that helps raise some of these very important issues and it makes our job easier even when they're difficult topics. >> i really appreciate the succinct substantive questions that are relatively brief and i don't want to add to the time. let me ask some questions for mr. nader. having run as a member of the green party for so long and more recently as an independent, how would you rate our two-party system of government, and in
your opinion, does it need to be overhauled so that other parties stand some sort of a fair chance, and if so, how? >> i think there is a convergence. you have libertarian and green party often collaborating on lawsuits at the state level. they want to open up the system. i think most people in this country, regardless of how they vote, rather hereditary voters or republican, democrat, they do want to see more choice, more voice on the ballot. it will bring out more people to vote and it will be more exciting and more meaningful campaign. that's one. the second is i think that in many ways, the two parties are one corporate party with two heads wearing different makeup. we have a convergence on the other side. it's the convergence of corporate democrats and corporate republicans building the corporate state, or as grover said, corporate statism.
franklin d. roosevelt called that fascism in 1938 when he sent a message to congress to start an investigation commission on concentrated corporate power. he said when private economic power controls government, that's fascism. both of those parties exclude competition. they harass people. democrats worse than republicans. they harass people. they try to wear them down. we were sued 24 times in 2004 in 12 weeks by the democratic party or their allies to get off one state ballot after another. needless to say it was pretty depleting for anybody who wants to have a campaign for more than eight weeks after labor day. this come by in addition of
corporatism is getting tighter and tighter. and you have the clintons are now on the record. they are wall street, they are corporatists and they're my tarrists. hillary clinton hasn't seen a war she doesn't like. she hasn't opposed a weapon system she doesn't like when she was on the senate armed services committee. and this is what we have to really face up to. because all have different rhetoric on social services. there are differences on reproductive rights and school prayer. but on the fundamental issues of empire, constitutional observance, on civil liberties, on main street versus wall street, on where the budget is going to go in terms of the necessities of the people, piling up into the ol garr i can. we have to break them up and get more competition with other parties and other independent
candidates, and break them up in ways that is quickly and functional at the local level. >> given how much mr. bush's presidency turned out, do you regret running that year and why or why not? >> last i heard, bush got more votes from gore than i did, but that's a minor thing. i don't think third parties are second class citizens. if we all have equal rights to run for election, then we are all trying to get votes from one another.
the spoilers, that's politically bigotry. blame the electoral college, because gore got 500,000 votes nationwide. the only country i know in the world where you can come in first and lose the election, because the electoral college. blame florida, blame the thieves in florida, blame the supreme court, you don't blame someone exercising constitutional rights to challenge the two parties on at least 15 issues that they are totally ignoring, will not discuss, but have majority support. the 2008 campaign website. this is where there is a nice convergence, by the way, because it's a civil liberty issue. a very nice convergence. right now, there's a left-right convergence moving to get rid of the electoral college.
so they now have reached 160 electoral votes. that is maryland, new york, california have passed laws saying we will throw our electoral votes behind whoever wins the popular vote in the united states running for president. and so it's only a matter of a couple years before the electoral college is history. [ applause ] >> and one last direct question before we go and ask mr. nordqvist some. considering mr. nader, considering grover nordqvist's entire ways on debt is to abolish all the government regulations that you spent your life working to enact, why are you partnering with him on anything? >> because we can win on things we agree on. we disagree on a, b, c, d issues. we agree on w, x, y, z issues that affect millions of people. why should we indulge in this
kind of political vanity and be overwhelmed by what i call the yuck factor. this is what liberals have to get over. the yuck factor. excuse me, the liberal intelligencia. they're too busy writing articles and being in the top 1% or 2% of income in this country to get over it. they're not affected by this. but millions and millions of people can be alleviated in one area after another. by the way, the liberals are more rigid on all these issues i have found that people who are really conservatives. not corporatists and conservative garb. and you can see that again and again on this question of the 2000 campaign. get over it.
could have blocked bush o the tax. they succumbed to bush, they could have blocked him. look what the republicans are doing to obama. get over it. stop scapegoating the green party. stop trying to find an alibi. you're not standing up to the american people, and their rights, instead of dialing for the same commercial dollars that the republicans do. [ applause ] >> and now some questions for mr. nordqvist. >> first of all, before ralph nader came along, the free mark acknowledged a lousy job of protecting consumers from flawed automobiles and comp rations ripping them off. why do you think things will be different now if you realize your dream, as the questioner asks, of drowning government in a bathtub? >> the actual quote is you want the government to be small enough