tv Panel Discussion on the Republican Party CSPAN August 9, 2014 4:25pm-5:00pm EDT
ethnicities or religions or regions, they have to accommodate each other. otherwise we get back into old patterns of violence. it doesn't matter how many u.s. troops are there if that happens. you wind up having a mess. thanks a lot, guys. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> president obama now in vacation in martha's vineyard for two weeks,. his home state hawaii is holding primaries as hurricanes pass through the island. governor neil abercrombie, who has a thriving economy on his side, and state senator david e gay.
the redof the storms, cross says 900 people remained in shelters as of last night, and 9000 were still without power. we turn now to the tea party and its influence on the republican party. conservative media figures recently debated its influence. ,ush limbaugh a radio producer author kitty pavlik and fox news contributor mary katharine ham to jupiter in this western conservative summit, which was held in denver. >> aright, who is winning the fight on the right? maryt to welcome back catherine, second time to the summit, guy, and james golden.
newcomer. great book out there, "assault and flattery." last night at the opening of 2014, we -- summit heard the remarkable dr. ben a truce between the rhinos and the tea party. s" and the tea party. two sisters came up to me after the summit, the simon's sister. words out of their mouth for that they are loving the program. right after that, john, don't ever let the establishment takeover the western conservative summit. you have to keep away from those "rinos." so there it is in a nutshell. one approach is conciliation. the other approach is polarization. let's get started with guy
benson. who is winning the fight on the right? ,stablishment versus tea party drug legalizers versus drug enforcers, foreign affairs and national security hawks versus .oninterventionists who is winning, and are we hurting ourselves more than we are hurting the enemy? >> thanks for having me back. i heard this is a record-breaking year for the summit, so thank you all for being here. john and his team put on a tremendous event. all of us do a lot of conferences over the course of any given year, and the western conservative summit is one i'm always looking forward to. it is a loaded question that john asks, obviously. he covered a lot of ground in his question. i would say there's a few different ways i was ruminating about how to answer this. you can attack it from various angles.
you can look at the 2014 cycle and some of the primary fights that happened. who has had the upper hand on this tea party grassroots versus establishment sort of struggle going on? there are examples in both columns. mitch mcconnell easily won against the tea party challenger in kentucky. -- on the grassroots side you have nebraska with his primary. eric cantor was defeated, something no one saw coming. and then the sweet spot examples, one right here in .olorado consensus-building candidates for the republican party. maybe we can get into that later on. another way to phrase the question is to look at it through the prism of the upcoming 2016 cycle and the potential republican field of
candidates. while i think that is wildly premature, the first rule of political commentary is that it is never too early to baselessly and recklessly speculate about the next presidential election, so perhaps we will get into that. but if you want my candid and honest opinion to the very simple question, was winning the fight on the right? it is this. the left. the left is winning the fight on the right. because we are spending an enormous amount of time and energy and passion and money beating the tar out of each other. i was reading in "the wall street journal" earlier this week -- rino. what, -- would, >> it is a rino publication. they had an info graphic about spending from the biggest super pac's on the right and the left. they took the top three super tops on the right and the
three on the left, harry reid's group, house majority pac, independence usa. they broke down the numbers. the democratic super pac's have spent $24.1 million, where the republican side has spent $13.8 million. so for a party constantly wringing its hands about big money in politics, the democrats are very comfortable spending lots of big money as long as it is big liberal money on politics. but if you look down a little further into the numbers, and this is where the journal's thee was so important, of $13.8 million spent by topper publican leaning super pac's, 74% of the money was spent fighting primaries. 74%. thehe democratic side, of $24 million, 90% of it was on general elections to be the right, to beat conservatives.
only 10% went to primary fights. i'm not here to say we should not have robust debate on foreign policy and social issues. we should have those things. we are a party and the movement of ideas, and debating things openly is important. i'm not saying we should just crown people nominees without blinking an eye and sort of do with the democrats due, immediately and unquestionably stand up and salute. they are much better at that than we are. i don't think we ought to aspire to be just like them. however, we have to think about too tediously when it -- strategically when it makes sense to fight against each other, went to kiss and make up and go on to the real battle united. if we don't do that, the left will continue to es for lunch every single -- eat us for lunch every single cycle, and they are absolutely thrilled to see this inter-necine fight play out.
that is the challenge, to figure out how to navigate those seas. on a positive note, what you have done on the senate race in colorado is exactly what needs to be done nationally. thank you. [applause] >> thanks. that gets us to a great start. thinking about that acronym we throw at each other on the right, "republican in name only," "rino." do you hear the other party calling people a "dino," democrat in name only? socialiste that the progressive nostrums that failed again and again are as extinct as a dinosaur but they don't call themselves that. that is revealing. guy says the left is winning the more we fight amongst ourselves. what say you? a coupleave won in instances, but you cannot talk about this without looking at
where the battle between the nonestablishment and establishment comes from. that comes from people being very frustrated with republican versus democrat, not seeing a difference in the parties in washington. [applause] we have a why conservative movement and the tea party movement the way we have seen it is because after president bush left in 2008, president obama came in and people said, there's not a lot of difference between and what big spending republicans are doing and what big spending democrats are doing. that's why it is important that grassroots at this -- activists got into the cycle and had a historic movement. the debate is a very important thing. we can talk about serious issues without demonizing each other and come to some agreement. guy is right when he says the left is winning when we cannot come to agreement on big issues we agree on. the fact is, the establishment and conservatives agree on a lot of big things that can have big
political impact. obamacare is one of them. the irs scandal is another one. if we focus on issues we can all agree on to fight the left, that is how we can win. it is really important to stay focused, that this is not a one-size-fits-all policy. guy pointed out the differences between lindsey graham winning in south carolina for example, different from what happened in virginia with eric cantor. the immediate headlines in the media, tea party loses or establishment wins. the media feels a lot of this wa r going on between us on the right as well, whether it is true or not. it is important to have healthy disagreement, and the best solutions are found by looking at our differences, airing our differences in a nonpersonal attack way. behind closed doors, talking about how we can come to agreements on some very big issues. we have a lot of them.
you mentioned libertarian versus social conservatives. a lot of libertarians are pro-life. that is an issue we can win on. that is an issue that can bring other people were not on the right in on according to pol ling. nobody is going to get everything they want. one of the biggest frustrations, when ted cruz to the filibuster, for a double, the immediate reaction was he is crazy, why is he doing this, everyone will remember the government shutdown. nobody remembers the government shutdown. that was a false idea put forward by the media. i don't like this idea that the us government -- that the establishment, whenever there is any idea from the grassroots it is put off. when you have been in power for 30 years, you feel threatened and don't want that power taken away from you. by going back to the point at the beginning, we have to take is. look at where the fight -- a
serious look at where the fight on the right comes from. in terms of big government republicans, we take a hard look at the way they are voting the way they are in bed with crony capitalism. [applause] easy for it is really people who have been in the senate or congress for 30 years to disapprove new ideas coming from the grassroots and say they will not work, when i don't think washington is working very well. we have seen conservative grassroots really infiltrate and cost problems -- cause problems, and there has been frustration about gridlock. it was set up in a way so we were not going through all these things. when republicans were in charge under george w. bush, we didn't do a very good job. we expanded government significantly. 2009, government was
expanding significantly. we are at a tipping point where we have to rein government in or we will never be able to fix it. we can come to an agreement on the right. we should do it in a way that is not attacking each other necessarily. we need to take a look at where the fight comes from. it comes from people in washington getting very comfortable agreeing with each other on both sides of the aisle and not wanting to rein in government spending, which is why we are here today. >> that's great. thank you very much. [applause] james, move that laptop off to one side and lifted the camera in. get a load of the hat and jacket on james golden. summit 2013 veterans will remember that i had serious fashion and the web moderating the james golden panel a year ago. my staff did focus grouping.
i wanted to be as hip as james golden in 2014. clearly, i have made very little progress. i am wearing the new centennial institute limited edition 1776 signature time. -- tie. the 2012 edition was blue. the 2014 addition is hope -- red, we hope politically prophetic. it's a great conversations either. -- conversation starter. be sure to get one at the exhibit booth. this is where i have gone out and gone pretty wild. with the example of george h.w. bush and egged on by our media team, we are now into the crazy socks. down --ast in the angle
ankle down he's no longer a dinosaur. i will be working on the rest of me. no crossroads of america gets more of this debate than the rush limbaugh show. when somebody dials the number and wait in line for 90 minutes, you are holding them. what do you think? >> number one, i think you are a pretty hip guy, and proof positive is you are making such a difference with your leadership. the western conservative summit has grown to be one of the premier political events in the country. so congratulations to you and everyone who put this together. [applause] think about rush i want to say how blessed i am to have worked with rush limbaugh for so many years, and what a great and amazing human being he is. i thank him. i thank god for bringing that man into our lives and our country, and for all of you who listen and support the show,
thank you so much. who was winning? it's obvious, you told me the left is winning hands down. not just the left. the left-wing media is having a field day. we are political father -- fodder. they play us conservatives as if sometimes a stradivarius. they know what we are doing wrong. if you want to know who else is winning, the forces of intolerance are winning. look no further than what just happened in mississippi. for an example of what happens when this gets really ugly. prepared to put everything into this battle against each other, and yet what we keep waiting for is for somebody to take the same energy and oppose the administration in washington, d.c. and that never happens. so what we get is this
full-fledged war, and it has been a full-fledged war on the tea party since almost day one. i have never seen in my life where you have a majority handed to you in an election that conflict the house -- can flip the house. the 2010 midterm elections were historic, and they should have been. it was a sea change. have,d what you politically as a backstop to going -- what was going on with the obama administration, you have the republican leadership pretty much ignore the victory that was handed to them and squander what could have been a natural alliance with the tea party. [applause] who won? are they winning? is the tea party winning from this? absolutely not.
the only people who could be winning politically are the left on this. one of the things we have to do as conservatives is win. thuiis is a war for the heart ad soul of the republican party. a third party will not cut it. you will just dilute it to the point that we will never win elections again. we conservatives have to win this fight for the heart and souls of the republican party, and that is our mission. it is that simple. [applause] >> well said. fourth point of view from the panel. mary katharine hamm was with us when the summit was just getting started back in 2011. skype lasth us via year. westernt official conservative summit baby got
into this world. at home now with dad, 11 months old. i'm glad you're with us in person. who is winning the fight on the right? >> thank you for having me. thank you for allowing me to skype in last year. i would have brought in my daughter, but frankly she is a lot more quiet -- was a lot more quiet last year than now. it is an honor to be with you guys, who do so much work and wage this fight in ways that are big and small all the time. it's really cool to be here with you, who i have heard so much about for years. to meet you in person is a blast. to echo a couple things you said, yes, the media is interested in our fight. that's part of the issue, and leg into that is something we need to be wary of, especially when things get so ugly, as in mississippi. a brief example, a friend of
mine who does conservative politics got a call from a reporter the other day putting together a panel of conservatives who disagree on gay marriage to talk about where the issue is going. when there are so many other things to talk about. she said, i am not really so interested in relitigating all these issues we disagree on. when she was done having this conversation with the media, she comes to me and says, i have never seen a panel with a put democrats with fracking advocates and have them fight about what they disagree about. [applause] i think we need to be aware of that. some of these things are not easily changeable. .f you go to war with the media but being aware of that is important. i want to maybe take this in a slightly different direction by saying that i think one of the issues with the fight we have
with each other is that it can wall us off from the new people we want to speak to. ofause they hear a bunch "more conservative than you" bickering, and they just cannot relate to that. because perhaps they never identified as conservative. perhaps they are hearing only fighting, not ideas that speak to them. so that is something we need to be wary about. and i want to offer a couple issues where i think we can speak to new people, and for the most part many establishment folks and tea party folks and libertarians can come together on something. i apologize, i will get a little al sharpton on you. because these are going to rhyme, all right? here are the issues. , food andtion libations, education, and
innovation. these are all areas where the left is full of nanny-state fundsuckers, trying to ruin everything. [applause] on overregulation, most of us can agree. this is something where the debate is healthy, because it is true that within the establishment the people who you have on the opposite side of these issues from conservatives, the opposite side from where they should be, they are establishment republicans. they have been inside too long, and they are functionally with the left on some issues. i think the tea party has done an amazing job of pulling some of those people back to where they should be, and we continue to fight that fight. all knowgulation, we that it crushes dreams. it creates situations where
people cannot rise up. that is something we can all agree on and make an argument about. many people in america do not understand that these new hundredons, there is a handed down every day, they diminish the american dream little by little every time they happen. that is an argument we can make. on food and libations, first of all, young people who we would like to reach really hate michelle obama's school lunches. [applause] they also are not particularly fond of soda bans. >> when did the first lady turned into the lunch lady anyhow? area where wean can talk to new people. sometimes locally, frankly. when you have some people who are default liberals who really love food and farm to table and all these things the left talks
about, those things require freedom. they require the fda not to come in and say, i'm sorry, your homemade sausage you would like to sell to your neighbors does not have enough nitrate in it for our taste, so you are not allowed to make those transactions among three people. when that happens, it crushes dreams, crushes a small business, and makes life less fun for people who would like to eat delicious pork products. we can make that argument to people. education, obviously. freedom to choose is of dire importance, of the most importance in communities we are not reaching. finally, innovation. that's right. it? like my al sharpton b uber, i know you guys know about it, the alternative to taking a
cab. liberals love it. they are literally limousine liberals on this issue. they love having a limo pick them up because they ordered it on the smartphone, so suddenly they are libertarians and they don't want government and taxicab companies to come down on these things. young people are very transactional about politics. what is it doing for me? sometimes that makes me sad, because a lot of times we go, thank you, government, for doing this for me. but we can make an argument that this is where the government is ending in your way -- standing in your way. it is not doing things well. teaming up with unions to keep you from new innovation. so there are some areas where we can all say, i am on board. republicans, many of them establishment, have been good at identifying areas where we can make an argument. so i want to offer that with the caveat that yes some of the people we do fight on these issues will be establishment
republicans sometimes. >> thank you. that is gray. -- great. [applause] >> three years at the summit. speaking of food and libation, i will see you al sharpton and raise you dr. seuss. "lessans, they always say green eggs and more hamm." i have a food theme. work with me. >> green eggs is just a metaphor. -- going out on c-span, folks. i want to go through the lightning round as time wan es. james and i are the ones with living memory of the great reagan victories of the 1980's.
you have living memory, but you were all fairly young. the gingrich revolution of the 1994 with the contract for america. we wax nostalgic and say, it was great back then when the right was not so divided. we had our eyes on the prize and agreed on 80% and disagree amicably on the other 20%. i will start with you, james. is that just a false nostalgia? was it really better, or have we always have these fights? >> reagan was a better leader than what we had today. if you remember, the left absolutely detested ronald reagan. so didt as it is kept, certain republicans who we would now call establishment republicans. what made him a great president, ronald reagan did not waver from his convictions. he knew what he wanted to do.
you can start going into the nuances of policy, but when you look at would reagan wanted to do, optimism was number one. he believes in the greatness of the american people, and he was not afraid to say it. this is a great country. i love this country. every particle of this man loved america, and that is one of the reasons america let him back. number two, he wanted a strong defense. he understands -- understood what the risks were from communism, and he was unafraid to build up the military. and he understood economic policy. they made fun of him, and yet this man together with margaret thatcher and the pope changed the course of history, rollback economic, gave us freedom and prosperity that has been unmatched since then, and did this with an unfriendly
media and democrats that could not stand him. it is possible to do this again. [applause] it comes down to a leader who can inspire us around that approach. i asked the three of you, i think of these young guns, katie, how about you? you didn't live through that period, but as a pundit, have we always had these battles and divisions that we overcome? >> i had the honor of being at the reagan center yesterday. so i got a refresher on reagan's time in office. we have always had these battles, but what made reagan a great is when people said it was impossible to get this done in washington, he said, i don't care. we are going to do this way -- things this way. i think we can do it again.
there have always been disagreements, and that is healthy. allow usisagreements to come up with new ways to do things and to get rid of bad ideas, and we are always going to have an establishment versus grassroots battle, as long as people are allowed to stay in office for 30 years at a time. when people want to hold onto power, they are not going to give it up easily, and they will want to disagree with people who want to pull back government, because that takes power away from both democrats and republicans. when people feel threatened, they disagree. but we are on our way. the 2010 election was an extremely successful, historic indictment against big 2014 we havend in some really good candidates who i think will go to washington and try to do their best to turn back the tide. we can do it again, and we will continue to have disagreements, but that is ok.
>> i want to ask mary catherine twoguy to give us a name or that we would all agree -- it is futile to look for the next reagan, but that ability to inspire and unite around a common vision and bridge the divide. who do you see out there, mary catherine, who is good at this? >> let me say first that when it comes to reagan, i got a refresher course as well this week because i watch the address reagan gave after the korean airlines flight was shot down. thank you for thinking of me as somebody who didn't live through those years, but i do have some memories of it. [laughter] i noticed there was not an applause line for under 35 in the crowd, but -- i do remember some of that. i read watched the speech and course i will like
reagan better than obama, if that is all the comparison is. but when i watched it, what really struck me, having been in politics when it four hours a day during this era for a while, assumed inellect he the american people. the confidence he had in them to listen to that 15 minutes of out ofosecutorial laying the facts. >> he gave us credit. he approached us like grown-ups, like citizens. >> that something i frankly get frustrated thinking about. maybe if you are explaining, you are losing, but i need to explain some things. you see studies of millennials where they are all over the map of what they believe politically. not a lot of confidence in government, yet they want government to do everything. they want budget cuts, but not to anything they like. there are always these paradoxes that make you scared that you
cannot reach people. so having confidence that we can and being a good communicator and giving the american people credit is part of the battle. so i want to commend him for doing that. >> it is great to go back and find on youtube reagan addressing the flight shoot down from 1983. closing out very quickly, a couple names that you think are on the political scene and perhaps rising stars who have that ability to pull it together? if you care to mention a name or two letter examples of how we shouldn't do that, do that, too. >> you talk about how things have changed on the right. i want to point out quickly how the left has changed over the last few decades. the religious freedom restoration act passed congress with three total dissenting votes. both houses.
97-3 in the senate, unanimous in the house. sponsored by ted kennedy, signed by president clinton. this past week, every senate democrat voted to overturn the hobby lobby decision which was based on protections in that bill. we are not dealing with our democratic party any more. not even close. all this attention to how the republican party has gone to the right. they never talk about how radical the democratic party has become. [applause] so i wanted to make that point, which is not responsive to the question, but it is important to point out. >> we are on a hard break. i need any more to. >> i will now -- a name or two. >> i will answer that question. i have watched with scott walker has done in wisconsin with great admiration. they have thrown everything they have at the guy, and he has stood up to