Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 26, 2009 9:00am-10:30am EST

9:00 am
wars and that -- the -- this idea that we're a global economy or a global society is i think a little bit of a farce in the long-term because people are not integrating. they want to be with their own -- not race but society, around i think it's time to start focusing on overall education and stop looking at when refuse want to -- caller: thank you for taking my call and thank you for c-span. before i go to my main point, ip wanted to say something about the caller before the one previous to mine. .
9:01 am
caller: you read long words out of columns. the caller that called, the ones that call on republicans for your and your part they are no more republican than the man in the mode. they are saying that to uphold the party line. i made the comment in the barber shop the other day -- i think obama, god bless him, i really don't think he likes the united states of america. i think he is anti-american.
9:02 am
by vicki has an agenda to completely bankrupt us -- i think he has an agenda to completely bankrupt us. gueshost: if the president did t like this country, why would he run for president? who would put themselves in the position of being president of united states if you did not have a love for this country? caller: that is the only way he can undermine it. by being president, he has the power to destroy this country. host: we will take a short break and when we come back, we will talk with the george washington university professor about political ideologies. , isms 101 right after this
9:03 am
break. >> now available, the cspan book, "abraham lincoln, great american historians on our 16th president." it is if you need t -- -- is a unique perspective on abraham lincoln and his relevance it is in hardcover at your favorite book seller. it is also in digital audio to listen to any time, available where digital audio downloads are sold. learn more at
9:04 am
book. >> he has created the social networking site he talks about his current studies at harvard and what is ahead on cspan's q&a. >> "washington journal" continues. host: and a barrel -- henry barrel is a professor. -- farrell. let's start with different definition so we have an understanding of what it is that we're talking about. let's start with socialism. that has been a word that has been tossed around.
9:05 am
it started this summer with the various tea parties and people talking about health care reform and calling the president a socialist. from your perspective as a political science professor, what is socialism? guest: is usually thought of as the state have a large stake in the economy. you see and socialist countries traditionally like the state owning big mining companies, big growth companies, other companies like that and controlling the commanding heights of the economy, the big, powerful parts of the economy which tried things. host: another word that got a lot of use the last couple of months is fascism. guest: fascism is something that political scientists disagree on very the most usual definition of fascism talk about this as involving the heavy use of the state for its authoritarian purposes. typically, with the economy
9:06 am
remaining relatively free. on the one hand you see some of authoritarian power where they round up people in the middle of the night and on the other hand you also see big business and enterprises doing reasonably well and frequently having supported fascist regimes like in italy and in germany during the 1930's. host: during the gathering of the tea parties and what not, it was not uncommon for critics of the president to call him a socialist and a fascist. is that possible to be both? guest: i don't think so. they have similarities where you see the state playing an important role in ideology. they are pretty incompatible. if you look at the classic vegetarian into the 1930's, among the first people they rounded up for the socialists, the communists and the social
9:07 am
democrats. if you read adolph hitler's book, mein kampf, he ranted about the jews but he also rented about the left. fascism is a corrupted form of patriotism in that the state does a whole lot of things but this is done in the name of the nation. it is a form of extra and hyper- nationalism attached to a removal of civil liberties. host: is it possible for socialism or socialism -- or fascism to operate within the parameters that are set up by american-style democracy? guest: i think it is extremely difficult. you saw a few a long back in louisiana who was somebody -- you sawhuey long but it is
9:08 am
extremely difficult. because of things which are being described as socialist or fascist today do not come from political scientists. host: we're talking with henry farrell, about political science. our first call comes from mike on our line for republicans out of los angeles, california, go ahead. caller: as a social studies teacher, i tell my students that
9:09 am
the elite liberal media [unintelligible] i would like to know your perspective on this. guest: this is remote from the discussion of socialism and fascism. we see different takes on this. the take the left wing would be that there are a lot of reporters that tend to be liberal but are employed by big news corporations who have bone -- their own financial interests which are reflected in the reporting period people on the right to and to focus on -- tends to focus on the ideological leanings of news people. there is a lot of work which is done on media bias. this is a hotly contested area among political scientists.
9:10 am
my impression is that very often the confusion that people -- the conclusions that people reach are informed by the cut of misconceptions they had when i went in. you can make a case for either point of view in that argument. host: 12 mark isms' we want to throw in. -- two more isms' we want to throw in. how does all of thi square with you? > guest: you have to go back to
9:11 am
history and look at the people who were marxists back in the 19th century and they expected that history would end them victor on a platter. they thought capitalism would make workers more miserable and sooner or later the workers would rise up. karl marx was very unclear about this. he thought there would be -- it could be interpreted as an saying there would be an armed rebellion or he could take over by democratic means. you saw a bunch of people look for other ways of doing things. in russia, you saw lenin and his followers advocating that we needed to have the communist party to have a small wing of special people who would take over control of the state and bring russia into socialism and communism whether they liked it or not. that worked out unhappily for
9:12 am
all involved as millions of people who died in the great terror. the upshot of that is that to saw stalin who was a brutal person taking some of those methodologies and it deals and taking an even further. host: next up is long island, n.y., on airline for democrats. caller: it is confusing when you look at the people who practice their political ideologies and when you look at the way the idea adelgids were written. we confuse fascism and communism and socialism. we have to remember that italian fascism was not the same as german nazism which was a spinoff of fascism. many things that were practiced by the nazis were not practiced by the fascists. the ideas were also very different for the fascist did not have a "mein kampf."
9:13 am
you also have to look at the united states. we do in practice our democratic principle perfectly, either. our foreign-policy -- we will use you and regulations against iraq for them by letting things and we will not use that against the right wing of the israeli nation when they colonize against the international requirements for them to stay out of the west bank. it is very hypocritical on how we practice our own politics. we have to look at the way certain things were written like communism and how it was supposed to benefit people and we have to look at how it was mis-practiced in places like russia. people get confused in this country as far as the terms. guest: there is something to that.
9:14 am
the communists and socialists believed genuinely that they were going to usher in a new utopian freedom. they also used an extremely brutal message to get that hat. on the one hand, there is nothing but says but the left is completely disqualified from offering good ideas appeared on the other hand, it is also true that there are not many people on the left or advocating the kinds of extra measures which lenin and other people advocated in the early 20th century. you saw a whole bunch of people splitting off and founding social democratic parties in europe which sought to achieve some of the same things for working people but wanted to achieve them through democratic means. this was a much healthier set of developments and healthier set of ideas which, i think, have
9:15 am
proven better during history and certainly has engaged with right-wing christian democracy in europe and other ideas here. host: neo conservative -- what are your thoughts and the decorative between a new conservative and your run-of- the-mill conservative? guest: is a very tough question. the families of new conservatives are very poorly combined -- defined. we saw a bunch of people who were originally associated with the democratic party. some of them were associated with various further left groups during the 1950's and 1960's and began to get tired and angry with the left and moves toward the right during the 1970's.
9:16 am
originally, there were much more concerned with domestic policy than with foreign policy. over time, this caucus approach to foreign policy took over to some extent and converted these people to some very strong beliefs and foreign policy and the inability of the democratic party to confront evil and the world as they saw it. host: so they are like conservatives on steroids? guest: a little but you see the of conservatives who distrust regular conservatives. like everything else, there are different points of view it depends on which point of view you want to take host: henry farrell is a professor of political science at georgetown university and has a ph.d. from georgetown university. our next call comes from mike
9:17 am
and rockville center, n.y.. caller: thank you for taking my phone call. we are reviewing political ideology across a broad spectrum. this is a result of whether or not these ideas can be waived into foreign policy and domestic policy successfully. they become like a four legs to a table they become all part of one pair ort of one. this administration has had difficulty having one ideology that serves well in chicago but not the rest of the country. the president is a likable man and an admirable person, he is very short terms of experience. he was state senator for one term and failed to complete that turnberry was in the united states senate for term and
9:18 am
failed to complete that term and he has had absolutely no experience in corporate or municipal affairs as executive position. when it relates back to political ideologies, the ability to coherently link, whether you want to discuss conservatives or socialism or whatever, the ability to promote those ideologies is strictly dependent upon the ability to weave them into coherent foreign and domestic policies. on that front, this president has failed to grasp that. guest: i think that is a reasonable and co hearing criticism of -- coherent criticism of him. the test here will be how he has done in two years or in four years or six years. we can only ben really figure
9:19 am
out what the obama doctrine was. as you say, ideology -- everyone comes into politics with ideology. all of our ideologies and to get blunted in the practicalities of day-to-day bargaining with the other side of other people3 . it is an interesting judgment call as to what the obama approach to things will be, whether or not you might describe it and believe that he is influenced by his time in chicago. i also believe he is influenced by his extensive experience as a legal scholar working with the university of chicago and elsewhere. you might see other aspects of his experience playing into the kinds of policies that he will have. i think you're absolutely right, is unique experience, he will
9:20 am
have important consequences for what kind of things he does and does not do, how he sees the world. one interesting way you can come to his defense would be to say that he has an unusual experience in the outside world for a u.s. president and has an unusual experience as to help other people in other parts of the world see the u.s. i think that is reflected in the ways in which he deals with others and foreign policies. host: here is a twittered the message. he says fascism is telling a bar owner that he cannot allow smoking on his property. guest: if that is true, then fascism is pretty universal. some people say that fascism is everywhere and every time somebody says something that annoys you are tells you that the rules are one way or
9:21 am
another i think we're all living in a fascist dictatorship, if that is the case. people find other people a knowing and their roles and annoying. -- rules annoying. host: progressives and liberals are other definitions. what is the difference between a progressive and a liberal? i know guest: victor is that much difference. a progressive is somebody who
9:22 am
sees liberalism as having two problems. first, it has gotten bad association in the american public. few people want to describe themselves as liberal. secondly, it has been associated with somebody who is always willing to accommodate the other side, who was always willing to make effort in order to come to sort of a bargain that everyone can live with. progressives see themselves as not having a ideological values which are different from liberals but as being more assertive about those values i also think they are fundamentally trying to engage re-breading exercise. -- re-branding exercise. host: liberal has become a pejorative term and people would rather identify themselves as
9:23 am
progressives? guest: that is exactly right. caller: i came to the united states from russia. what i see happening right now is increasing the role of state in the economy of the country. this is turning to social democracy as they have in europe or socialism -- a type of socialism they had in the old soviet union. i find it alarming when they say they want to find people who do not of health insurance. that is an authoritarian type of scenario. i really don't like the way this government is going.
9:24 am
all of this does not seem quite right. host: what would you say was your political philosophy before it came to the united states and has it changed? guestcaller: it has moved. when i came here i knew that socialism was wrong. come if i can use such a worker of i became a republican but i was disappointed in the way president bush managed the country. right now, there is a swing to another extreme. and guest: you can certainly argue that we are seeing a potential swing back in terms of the state playing a somewhat
9:25 am
larger role than it has in the pass. that is something that has been true during the emergency measures of last 50 months where you saw the state temporarily taking significant stakes in large u.s. companies. i would be skeptical that this is not likely to turn into something like the soviet union or european social democracy. one thing that people forget is that history matters and when we see and go back 30 or 40 years, we see there was a lot more state involvement in the economy event that there was now. richard nixon temporarily imposed price controls during his administration and also fought to introduce universal health care. richard nixon has been accused of being many things by his allies and enemies but nobody has ever accused him of being a socialist or more access.
9:26 am
host: 05, california, you are next. caller: i hope everybody had a merry christmas yesterday. professor, i am a longtime student of politics. i had a fellowship at the school of communications at usc. i go back and forth between extra in disagreement and some agreement with you. the agreement part is your phrase "girls tried to re-brand them selves as progressives." what is progress of about being a socialist? i agreed with the description of obama earlier.
9:27 am
my main point of disagreement is that i just understand this -- you went back to nazi germany, that was the national socialist party of the left. r)ethe nazis a limited other socialists in a political power push parenth. there were in direct competition with the bolsheviks and others. the nazis were of the left. the direction of this country is very much now socialist. in the european sense which is very frightening. as a libertarian conservative, i would agree with earlier callers who were talking about ron paul -- host: you have given us a lot to
9:28 am
work with. guest: i would respectfully disagree. you are absolutely right and one thing which is the nazi party, the name is national socialism, but the key thing to remember about national socialism is that they party was much more important than socialism. they sought to try to glorify the nation and this idea of the volks, which is the german people and they fought on the basis of this to create a state where socialism never had a chance because you had business planning an extremely important businesses supported the nazi party. you also saw the conservatives not always supported the nazi party but helping to engineer
9:29 am
the constitutional crisis which allowed the nazis to take power. i think the social part is part of the nazi title but the extra hostility that they had toward the left and the waiter policies worked out in terms of how they govern germany apart from the holocaust and all the horrible things is so did with that don't really bear all that much resemblance to socialism and except insofar as they involve a much greater role in the state. host: our last call comes from west palm beach, fla., on airlines for republicans. caller: is it conceivable that a socialist state could move towards a democratic ideology and on the other side a purely
9:30 am
democratic state could make movement toward a socialistic state? the soviet union would be an example. they were somewhat of a quasi- socialist state. it dissolved and has moved toward a close eye-democratic state. guest: there is something to that. this is something that political scientists debate. you see regime change is happening you do not see a smart writer of the libertarians in the late 1940's and 1950's who predicted that you will see a democratic states becoming socialist dictatorships effectively through a process of benign neglect as this day.
9:31 am
took more and more of control the economy, you see socialism prevent i don't think you are seeing the same way of that happening now. i think we have seen socialist state becoming more democratic. that has happened in eastern europe and elsewhere. we see china where socialism has crept out of the economy and there isn't that much of a pure socialist approach that there yesterday. you see that happening without any real democracy coming into being, either. host: professor henry farrell, thank you for coming on the program. it is written about how the obamas are spending their vacation in her eye -- spending their vacation in hawaii.
9:32 am
we will talk more about the president and their retreat after this break thisken walsh of "u.s. news and world report." >> in the mid-1990s, "newsweek" named omar wasow one of the most influential people in cyberspace. sunday night, he talks about his current studies at harvard and what÷head on cspan's "q&a."
9:33 am
>> now available, the cspan book, "abraham lincoln." it is a unique, contemporaries perspective on life and from $56, a journalist, and writers. it is from lincoln's early years to his years in the white house and its relevance today. you can get it at your favorite bookstore -- bookseller. learn more at c-span.orge&ç/ lincoln book. host: ken walsh is here to talk to us about the president and his retreat. what can you tell us about president obama -- is obvious why a person would want to go to hawaii. get into that mind set of taking off in air force one and
9:34 am
flying to the 50 of state for a couple of days? guest: he has very deep roots in hawaii. he was raised their partly by his grandparents. he went to school there is a teenager. he went to a school for the best students in hawaii. he has lots of friends there. his sister maya lives there with his family. over the years, the president struggled so hard to get to the white house and they are almost desperate to get away from the place. he went to hawaii and has gone there for many years, u.s. last year before he had taken office, the white house tells us it will be seclusion for obama and his family. . they will stay the same rented
9:35 am
house he stayed at last year. he did break. every person does and that is what he is looking for. host: in may of 2005, you wrote this piece for "u.s." and you write that every president had a highway where they went to find a bit of peace. these retreats are where a momentous decisions have been made including president bush said the early course of the war and terrorism and franklin roosevelt deciding to proceed with the development of the atomic bomb. what do they find in these retreats that allows them to make these kind of decisions that they do not have the white house? guest: it is an escape from the routines and the everyday and the pressures. a president can never be completely a way from the job. if there is a crisis, he has to deal with it. president obama, as all presidents have, had daily
9:36 am
briefings on national security and on intelligence. and the economy. it frees up their minds to think about other things. that has happened all along. the president looks for ways to break out of the bubble. in obama's case in hawaii, is such a different atmosphere. those of us in the press corps always wonder where a president will go on vacation. in obama's case, in the winter, after washington with a foot and a half of snow, hawaii is not a tough choice. host: with -- you being here but how was it you missed the trip to hawaii this year? guest: we took them that there were that there would not be any decisions made there that he is intending. part of it is the austerity we
9:37 am
are in in the media. it is so expensive to travel with the president. your reporters trouble and if your costs for everybody else because it is prorated. this will give me the opportunity to talk to senior white house officials in washington when the president is away and gives them time to be more contemplative host: what sort of mechanisms are put in place when the president travels regardless of the president is when he travels to his retreat so that he can handle situations like this situation with the airliner that landed in detroit yesterday? guest: there's always a senior national security adviser traveling with the president. there's also a senior domestic adviser the troubles with the president and a press person par there are communications at the white house where he could
9:38 am
have a secure communications connection. they have to re-do they get away house to be able to stay in touch produces, and now. i do not have any doubt that he will be able to communicate with whomever he needs to, including his own staff, from hawaii. host: we are talking areken walshwith ken walsh. you wrote in the article we referred to earlier about the retreat of various presidents.
9:39 am
you wrote about washington and jefferson, saying they got away to their virginia plantation's four weeks at a time. abraham lincoln lived at the soldiers home, a resident for injured union troops during the civil war and four 1/4 of his presidency, committed 3 miles to the white house. every summer from 1902-1908, theodore roosevelt moved the functions of the executive branch to his family estate at sagamore hill, new york. these were different times. what was it that these presidents were trying to get away from and how was it that they were able to leave for such an extended period of time. ? guest: in addition to the president's you mentioned, john adams, our second president, went to his home in quincy, mass. for eight months in 1799. that is lost and the president had been away. our presidents get criticized for goofing off for being away from washington for too long.
9:40 am
president bush, the sun, the 43rd president, had that criticism money went to his ranch in texas john adams set the record. that is a long time ago he felt that when congress was not in session there was no reason for him to be in washington. during that time, he almost lost control of his foreign policy because there were people in his cabinet who disagree with his position and they were trying to push for war with france. he had to come back and pull that back. presidents have felt a strong need to get away from an abnormal expert at the white house but to find some normalcy in their own lives however they define it. for washington and jefferson, they considered their plig plantations because they considered themselves as farmers, washington consider agriculture a gift from the
9:41 am
divine-)ñ as the top of the ladr of occupations. it serves society and was rewarded for individual. he always considered himself may be a plantation owner and former. he was a slave owner which is part of our history that we cringe that. it shows how the people have felt the white house is such an abnormal place that they need to get away from it. that was wrecked in the very beginning from washington all the way to president obama host: our first call comes from bad numbers, louisiana, on our ally for democrats. caller: why does anyone begrudge any president of human pleasure of going on vacation? we, the voters, work many hours and we expect weekends off or vacations for the president does not have that luxury. why don't we give him a break? guest: we are in such a
9:42 am
polarized world now and some criticisms that obama keeps getting, president bush had to deal with for eight years. he was at his ranch in texas for 490 days out of his eight-year presidency. that sounds like a long time. i think most americans agree with the caller that they are very forgiving and understanding of a president needing to get away. they know it is such a grueling job. presidents seem to age dramatically. obama is experiencing this already. it is less than a year since he has been in office and he is already looking grey. if president go away and look like they are insensitive when people have problems with the recession or economic problems.
9:43 am
president barack obama understands this. he delayed his departure so that he could preside over the senate passage of health-care par. host: our next call is on our lives republicans out of new york city. caller: i think it is important for a president to get away so he can reflect on everything without the influence of others around him and also without the pressures that are confronting him every day at his door through his secretary and such. he goes away and gets to relax and he gets to think. thinking is a more effective tool in solving problems. guest: presidents are also -- often asked what books they are taking with them?
9:44 am
you always get a list of books. president barack obama and president clinton also did the same thing. stack they took stacks of books with them on vacation. they did try to read them. we don't know yet what books president obama has taken. it would be nice to be took a few of mine. i think president bush, father and son, it was maybe private and family time. each president has to define his own approach to getting away from the job for rest and relaxation. i think you will find this idea of whether a president can think better -- most presidents think they can. they do not have constant meetings ande interruptions anda committee connect a little bit more with the roots and the things that got into the white house in the first place. host: our next call is from our
9:45 am
city, california. it helps if i pressed the button. caller: if someone is adopted by the morals of the poorhouse and if you believe and ebenezer scrooge and getting much-needed health care that deserts and the people of america believe in the two party systems, what does that leave the mound with a good book? -- the man with a good book? host: let's move onto airline for democrats. caller: good morning. i was wondering why would the president go back to?
9:46 am
allhawaii? he spent time there any has a sister that lives there but he went back to his homeland because he was born there. i was wondering if he believes that he was not a citizen of the united states because he actually was not born on hawaii but maybe on the continent of africa. guest: i did say that he has gone to school there. he had very strong roots there and his family live there and his sister live there are there's no doubt he has considered hawaii on for much of his life. i have looked into this as have many of my colleagues and i do not think there is any doubt that he was born in the united states.
9:47 am
i don't think the so-called birthers are accurate in saying that he was born outside the united states and is an illegitimate president. i do not really buy that issue. i think there has been plenty of evidence that he was born in hawaii when it was a state. i think that is a misunderstanding that people have about where he was born. host: do you know holds the record for number of days away from the white house? guest: if you exclude camp david and i tend to do that because that is an institutional retreat. i think a president would get away from a weekend getaway. going away for vacation, many people think it is president bush, the 43rd president, who was always for over 400 days
9:48 am
during his presidency. if you pro rated, lyndon johnson was a way for 460 days to his ranch in texas in five years. if you extrapolate that, he would have been away more than president bush praised by numerical days, president bush was a way more. franklin roosevelt, who was president for 12 years and passed away at the beginning of his fourth term, he was at his high." for about 500 days. people tend to forget this. in not only wenth home to hyde park more than president bush went to his ranch in texas, he also went to warm springs, ga. which is the retreat he went to for the treatment of polio. if you put that in the number, those records are difficult to pin down, franklin rest of both -- franklin roosevelt was a way more than any other president.
9:49 am
host: does he get the kind of criticism other presidents have gotten. he went away during wartime. the second world war and he is going off to warm springs and hyde park. diddy get the kind of criticism that other presidents have gotten? guest: he got some of a bid not nearly as much as today. people in those days gave support to the president because of the endless world crises, particularly in the war years. it was not the same media scrutiny. present roosevelt could get away from the white house with having -- without having an entourage reporters. he was out on a yacht or a boat or a destroyer or a battleship sometimes for days at a time, relaxing and no one knew about it because he did not have to tell anybody and the media was not there to report it. it was a whole different world then. the other quick point -- he went
9:50 am
to meet winston churchill in casablanca to plan out the endgame of world war two in 1943. he got away from washington secretly. the reporters did not go with them. he traveled all the way to casablanca and then they were told he was there. it gives you an indication of how things were different then. host: let's go back to a telephone person. . caller: everybody is due a vacation and i just got back of mind. bñ÷if the president is going to hawaii and has rented this house which is $4,000 per night and he has rented the house on either side of him for family to live in, is this normal tly , to cost for a president to go on vacation?
9:51 am
guest: the president does that have an easily protected home of his own. he has a home in chicago but is much more difficult to provide the security and protection and is much more disruptive to people in chicago to have the president there. plus, he is going home to his regret it appear to be more expensive but if present reagan could go to california to his ranch, he owned a ranch, in recent years, most of our presidents have had their own states. they have had their own place to go to except bill clinton. neither does barack obama accept the house in chicago. the cost is higher. the cost for air force one to fly to hawaii is higher. people have to understand that this is president barack obama's longtime home.
9:52 am
whether the costs are too high, early people to judge for themselves. it is very expensive to fly air force one and to provide security out there. at the same time, it is genuinely his home for many years. there is another reason why he should go there in his own mind. host: lyndon johnson had a ranch. ronald reagan had a ranch. george bush i and ii had them and kennedy had no england. how much of the cost of going to this $4,000 per night condominium is picked up by them and how much is picked up by the government? guest: they have not clarified how this funding question will work. certainly, i think we all expect
9:53 am
in the press corps that obama will pay for his own brand. either he will least the house of his own pocket and pay for the family at whatever rate they have. the communications and transportation will be picked up by the taxpayer. i don't think that people can argue that the taxpayer should pay for the actual rental. he has middle of my from his books or adopt it will be a problem paying the tab. host: our line for independence is next, go ahead. caller: i am from new york. "the new york post" which leans
9:54 am
to the right, they had a headline and article -- in their article. i don't think we should begrudge this president the kind of locations and things that other presidents have had. i am glad that you said that the president does not have an estate like many of the presidents who were more wealthy and affluent when they came into office and when they left office. i'8ñ glad you mentioned that. because this president has aged quite a bit this year, it has not even been a full year until next month, that with all the overwhelming things he has had to deal with coming into office, that he really does need this time away? you have to have time to reflect and get your head together. that is what i want our president to do. i don't care who the president is but especially this present because he has so much to deal with. guest: i interviewed president barack obama a few weeks ago and i talked about some of this with
9:55 am
them. he talked about his age and the idea that assumes he took off, he was dealing with this incredible number of crises. it was more than is that generally happens to a president. he was dropped into the office. he had the financial system that appeared to be collapsing. he had problems with the mortgage industry. he had the unemployment rate going up. two wars and polarization in the country, so he was really dealing with an enormous number of crises. he did not really have a breather. in fairness, whether you like this policies or not, as a person, you what the president to be at the top of his game and a president needs to get away. that is what this vacation is all about. in somelv ways, the staff needa vacation more than him. in these eight -- he seems to be very resilient entire last person the staff appears to me to be very tired.
9:56 am
they need a break and they are taking a break that is what they are all trying to do. there's no doubt the president needs that 2 per that is why they have announced in advance not to expect a lot of news from this vacation. do not expect him to try to make any decisions while he is there because unless he is forced a crisis. as we have seen, you have had this airline question about whether there was a terrorist attack on this flight from york to detroit he has to deal with that today. i am sure he is having briefings on this now. maybe he thought he would be at the beach this morning. it is not working out that way. host: more about the vacation palace. we look at more pictures of the president and first lady one- acre property includes many plams p blowing -- alms blowing
9:57 am
in the wind. back to the funds, this time we this time we get jen on the independent line from madison, neb. apparenon airlines for independent. i am karen but most of got screwed up on the telephone. host: what is your question? caller: i enjoy cspan and i was listening to the professor and now i am listening to the gentleman on now. i can't say where every president needs to get away. i am not against that. this president has gotten away
9:58 am
quite a few times. he takes his family with him. !i have never)éñ picture in the paper of him actually sitting at the desk doing work. he listens to other people, what they want. did we get a right to vote on this health care? it is shoved down our throat. we want a president that we can be proud of and i thought we had one. he headed in the palm of his hand. he does not take that much into his nationality, for being the first black president, which he should probably be.
9:59 am
a kind of let it all go and no. guest: i think there is a long way to go here. looks like health care of some kind will pass in some way but it will be very messy and the game, too many divisions to make a go smoothly. we have many other things. this argument that the country is so polarized that it is hard for president obama as it was for president bush and before him president clinton and before him president bush sr. to get things done in a bipartisan way. the argument that the white house makes is that he has to push this way in order to get something done. he has a long way to go before he can assess how he has really done. that will be probably done the midterm elections next year host: how long will he be in
10:00 am
hawaii? guest: 10 days. host: does he plan to bring in a legislators out to hawaii to set down the agenda for trying to get this bill reconciled? guest:?j that we know of. he is deferring to the leadership in congress, the democratic leadership in the house and senate and that will happen again as i go to a public conference committee to iron out the differences between the senate and house bills. i do not hear any talk that they will bring people physically out to hawaii. .
10:01 am
10:02 am
it is quite a complicated assessment we have to make here, but i think as far as dealing with the military, i think he has been careful because he is in contact and seems to be quite possible with the military, too. >> the book is from mount vernon to crawford, the history of presidents and their retreats, its author, ken walsh, chief washington correspondent for u.s. news and world report has been our guest. thank you for being onto program. >> thank you for having me. host: we want to let you know who is on "washington journal" tomorrow, sunday, december 27. barbara slater of "the washington times" an jonathan broder of g.q. weekly will be here to discuss foreign policy and then we will have steven hess from the brookings institution and dan thomasson of scripps howard news service to talk about president obama's first year in office. thank you for watching this edition of "the washington
10:03 am
journal" and we will see you tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. eastern. coming up, the communictors, and at 10:30, a senate hearing on the backlog of d.n.a. evidence collected for unsolved rape cases, and later, a former c.i.a. intelligence officer on u.s. policy in afghanistan.
10:04 am
tonight, on "america and the courts" encore presentations from c-span's supreme court week special. the supreme court jurn aferlist lyle denison an joan biskubic on covering the courts and appellate attorney maureen maloney on arguing before the court tonight at 7:30 p.m. eastern here on c-span. in the mid '90's, newsweek named omar wasow one of the 50 most influential people to watch in cyberspace and since then he has created the social networking site and explained new technologies on oprah. sunday night he talks about his current studies at harvard and
10:05 am
what's ahead. tomorrow on "news makers" national institutes of health director dr. francis collins on the latest developments in stem cell research, the future of genome technology and how nih may be affected by the healthcare bill making its way through congress. he is interviewed by reporters from usa today and c.q. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] cheer clear next, broadband expansion in the united states and blair levine is back at the federal communications commission, this time as the omnibus broadband initiative executive director, and he is our guest this week on "the
10:06 am
communictors." amy schotts of the wall street journal is joining in on the questioning. mr. levine, we're about 50-odd days away from the national broadband plan being presented to congress. can you give us a status update on that report? >> sure. as we set out in july, we have been getting status updates all along. in september, we laid out for the f.c.c. where we thought the state of broad broadband was in the united states. in november, we looked at the problems we needed to deal with. a couple weeks ago we looked at how to address those problems and right now, we're in the situation where over the holidays we are busy trying to write up our best view of what is in a very, very extensive record, literally tens of thousands of pages have come in. we have had over 30 workshops where these issues have been debated. we have had a number of field hearings, a number of public notices where we asked
10:07 am
people specific questions and we're in the process now of taking all that information in and we will be talking with the commissioner's staff and the commissioners, of course, in january, trying to make a recommendation that will helpfully put our country on the right path toward a very healthy broadband ecosystem over the next ten years. >> what is most important to you in developing this broadband plan? >> well, i think there are a number of things. congress asked for four things specifically. first, they ask in the plan, make sure that we connect all americans. second, that we make sure that there is a plan for having broadband be affordable. third, that it be utilized to the maximum extent, and fourth that we have a plan to assure that broadband is used to solve certain public problems, such as how do we reform healthcare, how do we save energy, how do we improve education, how do we improve job training, so what is most important to me is that we find a way to meet the congressional mandate. >> cost estimates of getting
10:08 am
broadband expanded to all americans or to a great majority of americans, vary widely. can you narrow down what you think the cost is right now? >> well, it depends on what you want to do with it. one of the things we did in september was give the preliminary cost estimates. what does it mean to build out a system to what percentage of americans at what speeds. for example, if we think that broadband, if we want to make sure that 90% of americans are receive broadband, you have at least one alternative to receive a broadband speed of ten megabits, it is not clear to me that there is any gap at all. that is to say, i'm not sure we need any new government dollars or even that many new private investment dollars to achieve that goal. on the other hand, if you want to get 100% of americans achieving 100 megabits, that order of magnitude is an incremental investment, either private or public, of about 350
10:09 am
billion, and there is a lot of variation, like whether you want to go to 95% or do you want to go to 25 megabits? our basic view is that the market ought to drive those kinds of decisions almost everywhere, but it is also very clear that there is some percentage of americans, somewhere between five and 10%, who aren't going to receive what we think of as a minimum level of acceptable broad broadband and that's where the government does have to step in. that's where we look to something like universal service to solve that problem. part of the problem in solving the problem is that the current universal system is broken. we have to simultaneously fix it as it is and transition it to support broadband instead of supporting voice. it is a little akin to changing the engine of the jet plane while it is in flight but we're
10:10 am
doing our best to figure out how to do that. >> what would you say the minimal level of universal broadband would be? >> we're looking at that now and will be discussing that with the commissioners. as we talked about at the september meeting, there are a number of different use cases for people. generally speaking, i think kind of the market today is about three megabits that. is to say the average american uses it in a way that you need a download speed of 3 megabits to do the kinds of things that most americans do. the use case seems to be increasing at 25% per year in terms of how people use it in terms of the download speeds. we want to have the universalization mechanism produce kind of the minimum that gets us to, i think, about where we are today, maybe a little bit more. there is kind of a big stepup when you go to, like, high
10:11 am
definition video and things like. that aim not sure that's what we need, but there is a lot of different elements about what we want people to be able to do but kind of where the step functions are in terms of cost so that if you move up, where do you cost a lot more money, but i think it's somewhere in the kind of order of what people are doing today in terms of what we want to make sure is universal coverage in the next five to ten years. >> so you're talking about 3 megabits per second for folks who don't have high speed right now? >> i think, you know, we're studying the economics, two, three, four, those are all kind of in range, and i might note that, you know, a lot of people say, gee, we ought to have really big goals of 100 megabits to every home. when you look at the countries that have said they're doing that, what they're actually doing is things like 100 megabits to most homes, but in
10:12 am
terms of the universalization goal, which is quite different, they are roughly in the order of magnitude of that one, two, three category. >> so recently are rick boucher, head of the house subcommittee released a letter to you guys saying he thought we should have 50 meg megabits per second to 80% of homes in about five years. what do you think of that? do you think that's achievable? >> there are a number of different parameters. for example, his letter said actual speed as opposed to advertised speed. that makes a big difference. again, as we talked about in our september meeting. >> doesn't it make it even harder? >> if it you have it the actual, it is harder. one of the things we want to do -- i think that's a worthy goal but what we want to point out to the decision makers like the congressmen is that, yeah, that's great. if we think we have a path for doing it, here is a path, but if that path requires congress to
10:13 am
act in a certain way or the f.c.c. to act in a certain way, here is what they need to do, so you know, i think it's very worthy to kind of stay kind of stretch goals and see what we can do to try to get there, but, again, broadband is primarily a function of private investment. the big news in terms of fixed wireless networks over the next few years will be the investment made by the cable industry and upgrading the network to docsys3. it is not clear it will give it a 50 actual, but at peak times -- not peak in terms of usage but in terms of speed, they probably can get there, but the question is actually whether a goal like that requires a fiber upgrade, and then that depends on whether people like at&t and some others decide to, in response to cable, upgrade their networks. >> mr. levin, you have talked a couple of times about the
10:14 am
broadband plan being market driven. >> yes. >> i want to read two criticisms from public interest groups and get your response. >> sure. >> this is from public knowledge , gigi sowen, and there was no discussion of opening telecommunications networks to competitors and no discussion of structural separation of carriers into wholesale and retail components. these are factors that the harvard berkman center told the f.c.c. in a study two months ago were the reasons other countries have surpassed ours and this is from free press and that something has to be done about the duopoly of local cable and telephone companies that control virtually every broadband market in america. >> uh-huh, correct. let me say i have a lot of respect for both public knowledge and free press. i find their criticism not very productive. first of all, as to the
10:15 am
unbundling -- the ideas of bundling the structural separation. the berkman study did a fantastic job of pointing out various things that were going on throughout the world, but i think that we asked them to do that. we very much wanted to have an understanding of what was going on in the world, but there are certain things where what is happening in some countries really isn't that germane to helping us figure out where do we go from here? i would just point out as to unbundling, look, the courts threw that out, and we're not that terribly interested in moving towards things which will just freeze capital investment and have long complicated court battles. we may be proposing some things will be challenged. that always happens. i will just say that one doesn't strike me as that productive. structural separation, i haven't heard from anyone in congress or from anyone at the commission or really in the record, people asking for structural
10:16 am
separation. but i would also answer both of them by saying that one of the problems i have with their crilts teak is they failed to look at what is really going on in the market. this goes to the other study we asked for which is the study done by the columbia telecom think tank up at columbia university, and what they are pointing out, and it is a really big fact, that there is going to be two major investments in broadband networks in the united states over the next few years. one is, we talked about it just a few seconds ago, the cable industry is updating docsys 3 and two phone companies are upgrading wireless networks for the first time to provide broadband on a wireless mobile basis, so-called lte or 4g, fourth generation. we know those things are going to happen. those are baked in. that's a profound change in
10:17 am
market. that is probably the biggest change in the last five years. what we don't know is how consumers will respond to that. we pointed out in the september meeting that if consumers respond to those changes by suddenly saying hey, we really love the greater speed, and we're going to move up to higher levels of speed, cable is going to be in a fabulous position, and in fact, they will actually be the only provider of what will then be the generally accepted broadband. that is an interesting scenario, you know? it is just as plausible that people can react by saying we don't need these higher speeds. we really like the mobility, so instead of moving to docsys 3, we will buy the slightly more expensive wireless mobile but we aren't that interested in the fix because, you know, we only need four or five megabits. we don't know what is going to
10:18 am
happen. it seems to me that is a profound thing and if you don't know what is going to happen, the kind of very major surgery that those public interest groups are proposing, which, by the way, again, there is really not much support for it in the record and certainly no support for it on capitol hill and you really have to wonder why, you know, looking at as a practical matter, given what the courts have done, you have to ask yourself, is that really on the table? but the bigger thing is it is really in my view not appropriate to be looking at those kind of things when there is such uncertainty about the market. i think it is great that we have a market that is responding to certain kind of competitive dynamics. people are plairking very big investment bets, moving in different directions, and i think we have to wait and see kind of what happens there. i do think that there are concerns about competition. i don't accept their criticism
10:19 am
that we are doing nothing about competition, and indeed, there are a number of things whether it be allowing consumers to know about what kinds of performance they are getting, what kind of performance their neighbors are getting, not their literal neighbors but available in their neighborhood, the spectrum initiative that we have been working on. we don't know whether wireless will ultimately be able to compete with wire. we know if we don't have more spectrum out there the possibility of it competing is almost none. one of the things the report did say which is troubling in terms of competition is that no new wire fixed competitors are really on the horizon, so i think there is certain levels of uncertainty. we're going to try to do all the things we think are pros tiff, but again, i just -- while i have great respect for those two organizations, i don't really accept their criticism as being useful and practical at this time.
10:20 am
>> this is comvment span "communictors" program, and our guest is blair levin, broadband executive director with f.c.c. and served as former assistant to reed hunt, former f.c.c. chairman. our questioner is amy schatz from the wall street journal. >> open access became an issue after the berkman study which the f.c.c. asked for. you say there is no support on the hill but there was arguably not that much support on some parts of the hill for net neutrality either. >> i completely agree with you. i'm supportive of net neutrality. >> i think it depends on the party, but when you're talking about competition issues like this, it sounds like you're basically saying that from your perspective, open access is not an issue. unbundling is not an issue, that you think the entity should be going down and that's sort of off the table now. >> no, that's not what i said. we did ask for the berkman study
10:21 am
and we gave them complete and total editorial freedom in doing it. we simply asked when we announced it publicly we would like a review of everything that has gone before. we thought that was an important foundation stone for having a data-driven analytic record. they did a lot of things that are very helpful to understanding what is going on, but fundamentally, it's backward looking. it's valuable but fundamentally backward looking, and we also asked the columbia folks to be more forward looking. we thought both foundations were very important. on bundling, it covers a wide spectrum of things. the court threw out certain kinds of unbundling things but there are still still unbundled network elements that are provided for in the law and still exist. there were a certain kind of categories where we will be looking, but kind of the large
10:22 am
scale let's say -- let's kind of go backwards to precisely where we were back in 2003, 2002, 2001. that's really not practical. the court decision definitely tied the hands of the f.c.c. moving forward. we have, you know, there is always a choice when you do a plan like this about whether you want to be kind of -- what you want to say, how you want to approach it and we're trying to approach it in a way that is visionary and practical, and the notion, you know, you can say there is not that much support from the hill on net neutrality. i disagree. you can lock look at the committee chairman and subcommittee chairman and admittedly there appears to be a partisan divide about it, but i haven't heard anybody on the hill say that structural separation is where we awed to be heading. by the way, just to be clear, i'm not sure i think it is a good idea either, but that is
10:23 am
not the only measure of things. i think that one of the -- you know, there are certain things that are very different about america. in a lot of the countries that thebergman center covered, the tell tell cois the only majority provider of people in the united states we have a telecommunication company and telco company to provide broadband. there is advantages and disadvantages to that, but that's where we are, and we plan on building a plan based on america's strengths and trying to come pe sate for certain kinds of weaknesses but building on where we are. >> soy basically it is cable and phone companies moving forward and they will drive the next generation of broadband and whatever they will be doing to increase their services wherever we are going. are there things the government could do to help those companies increase their offerings?
10:24 am
>> first of all, i disagree with the premise of the question. when you look at the broadband universe, you're just talking about the networks. competition, there is a function where there is competition within and between the networks but what we see happening with the broader broadband system is a lot of the innovations, a lot of the job growth, a lot of the investment, a lot of the new applications, those are being driven by other horses, not simply about the networks. the single biggest driver of growth in broadband today is the i-phone. that is driving people to all kinds of uses. it it is -- the demand for spectrum is grow. has gone hugely. the people are experiencing broadband in a completely different way than you would have anticipated prior to the arrival of the i-phone, and by the way, i think even apple itself didn't anticipate it, because when they originally came out with the i-phone, they weren't really creating a platform for the application.
10:25 am
that kind of developed later and that's really a stunning and very important development, so yes, we are focused on trying to see what we can do to make sure there is a better competitive dynamic between the existing providers but we're also trying to make sure that there is kind of healthy competition within the ecosystem. that's one reason we focus on the set-top boxes, and that's one device that hasn't seen the kind of innovation that you have seen with computers, laptops, notebooks, et cetera or mobile devices, so that's one of the reasons we are looking at that. >> what about the national broadcasters worried about their spectrum being taken away. what do you say to them? >> look, first of all, we're not taking away anybody's spectrum. here is what we are saying. number one, we believe the record is clear on this, in three or four years, our country will have a very big problem with its mobile broadband unless
10:26 am
we act now to start making sure there is more spectrum put into the system. >> you know, there are some broadcasters who are saying there is no evidence in the record, and i don't know what record they are looking at. there is significant evidence in the record that that will occur. number two, we have to have a plan that gets us more spectrum or the consequences will be that the american broadband experience will be much more extensive and the it will be louder than our international competitors. when you consider that the mobile broadband platform will be the most important platform for economic growth, the most important platform for job growth and most important platform for investment in the next ten years, this is a very, very, serious problem for the country. it's a huge opportunity for america. we're extraordinarily good at applications. it's not an accident that apple is here.
10:27 am
it is not an accident that google is here. it is not an accident that facebook is here. this is a tremendous opportunity that if we don't have the spectrum necessary to build that platform, all of that is going to go elsewhere and the great companies of the next decade will be somewhere else, and so that's the problem. so if you accept that as a problem and you can argue about that, but it seems off the record it is pretty clear, then the question is what do you do about it? now, interestingly, the broadcasters have the spectrums are that is well suited to help alleviate this problem. we're not talking about taking away from broadcasters. rather, what we're talking about is asking the question, can we create a market mechanism so that as the importance of this becomes clear, and as the cost of not having it becomes clearer, we can have those broadcasters who don't need all the spectrum, and by the way, most broadcasters, not all, but
10:28 am
most broadcasters are using all of their spectrum very infrequently, if at all. some broadcasters want to do big high definition programming at some time, but almost no one is using the entire 19.4 million bits of information stream all the time. it's just not happening. it's perfectly fine. it is kind of an interesting debate. we're trying to figure out market-based solutions so that those broadcasters think it is worthwhile to keep all of theirs, if that's what they think is worthwhile. people are making a market-based decision and that's ok, and other broadcasters think that most of the value is not by the airstream, but 85% of it is created by the transmission over cable and satellite, so the value to them of that spectrum is less than i think people know. people tend to put it in a binary framework like we either
10:29 am
have it all or we're dead. that's not the way any business works. business is always shifting the assets. the most significant investment it makes, the value of the asset that broadcasters control, which is an asset that belongs to people of the united states, is order of magnitude, 60 to $80 billion, and now that was an investment that was made basically 60 years ago at a completely different time and completely different context, and you have to ask yourself, should -- if the country looks at that as an investment, as it should, is that the right way to be inducting that asset? in terms of job growth, in terms of investment, in terms of innovation, in terms of what we want our country to be? there is an analyst, craig movette


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on