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tv   American Perspectives  CSPAN  December 26, 2009 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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and looking benignly at me as i argued. i even thought there was a nod somewhere. when the opinion came out, it was 7-2, and he was one of the dissenters. i wrote a law review article about the issue of was addressing in the lawsuit, and essentially said don't take people for granted on this issue. justice stevens wrote a dissent that is a roadmap of how legislation and administrative actions ought to be taken to steer clear of some of the problems he saw in the federal statute i was defending. . .
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the style of each justice as you prepare. >> certainly the more of an advantage it is the more you know but i think there are many advocates to show up for the first time who've never been to an argument before who do a wonderful job simply because they've mastered their case and they have participated questions without knowing precisely what questions they might ask. >> she was not engaged in bona fide and lawful services, particularly in this case where the government told the jury
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that nancy was the central figure in this episode -- >> how do you know it's not an affirmative defense? >> it doesn't read like one. >> it is often difficult for the public to understand what is happening because the issues often tend to be very complex. and often they are about interpretation and they are talking about how different sections of the statute intersect and maybe how they interact with other federal laws. so i think a discussion of that type is difficult for the public to follow. there are other cases that are easier and easier to get their arms around. certainly i had a case about recruiting eighth-grade athletes and first amendment protections that would apply in
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the recruitment process. a lot of that was really about the potential for a coach to unduly influence an athlete by making calls to the home and i think a case like that, you know, people could listen and nod their heads about what was happening more because it wasn't just arcain. a white light will go on when you have five minutes remaining. and when your time has expired a red light goes on. and in the supreme court when the red light goes on, you are supposed to stop. when chief justice rehnquist was presiding, you were really supposed to stop. >> i wanted to address some of the issues that were just raised on the mootness issue with respect to the erie issue as well. first of all -- >> does it matter to you whether you win a case 5-4 or 9-0 or 8-1? >> i think a win is a win but
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looking down the road the question is which -- what precedence rble value is the case going to have? is it going to leave for another day the same issue where you have the closely divided court? there are situations where there are issues that one wanted to have nailed down that don't get nailed down but i think, as one of my colleagues said, you'd rather lose 9-0 because if it's 5-4 you'll always think what could i have done to push one justice over to my column? so i think those are the ends. 9-0, nothing you could have done, hopeless case. 5-4, there was a point where you might have been able to shift one vote. my sense has been that even when i was unhappy about the
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court's decisions and had the i was robbed sense for a moment, the supreme court is so impressive to visitors. and people to other countries but also american citizens. when they walk into that court i think they get the sense that these are very serious people who understand the weight on their shoulders who are trying to do the best that they can and i love to take people from other countries into the court and just have them watch smart people asking probing questions and trying to 2350eu7bd -- find helpful answers to the issues that are before them. >> they're not a mysterious body. i don't know why people would view them as mysterious. it is true they don't get to see the proceedings on television, something that i really welcome because i don't like the idea of everything being televised but i also
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think it's great for the justices because they don't have to be the same public persona as someone who is on television all the time and quickly recognized. i think it has that advantage as well. i don't think of them as mysterious. yes, they deliberate in private but that's true of all courts. there's really no court that i know of where nadeau their delicks in public. i'm not sure why they would be regarded as mysterious. they're not. they're excellent at what they do. their decisions are all public, the proceedings are public and people can come and watch in person if they want. >> i think the supreme court is generally viewed by the american people as an institution that is worthy of their respect and trust and we have things like bush vs. gore where there are fissures but i
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think all in all they tend to pass. one of the great things that we've been able to look to, the civil war not withstanding is that, through very, very difficult times, we've been able to keep justice in focus and to understand that that's a value that we can't tread upon, we can't undermine, and of course, there are ups and downs. i don't want to speak for the entire sweep of history, but i think the notion is wherever we happen to bush administration if we've feared, if we've -- uh, perhaps left the path of justice, we've got to find our way back because that's the only answer to a meaningful and constructive future. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> you can watch all the interviews from c-span's
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supreme court week special at the website. join us next week for "america and the courts," saturday evenings at 7:00 eastern on c-span. >> beginning monday, a rare glimpse into america's highest court through unprecedented on the record conversations with 10 supreme court justices about the court, their work, and the history of the iconic building. five days of interviews with supreme court justices starting monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and get your own copy of our original documentary of the supreme court on d.v.d. a three-disk set, including programs on the white house and the capitol. one of the many items available at c-span.org slash store. >> coming up, a discussion on the political trends and events
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that could shape 2010. also, former c.i.a. analyst on u.s. policy in afghanistan and pakistan. >> if the the economist magazine" held a conference earlier this month. next we'll hear from a panel that includes "meet the press" host" david gregory. house republican whip eric cantor and press secretary joe lockhart. this is an hour. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome daniel franklin, congressman eric cantor, joe lockhart, adam boulton and david gregory. [applause] >> well, peter's taken you around the world once. we'll go around the world but
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starting i think in this cunagin. and let me introduce our panelists first of all. congressman eric cantor, of course, very familiar to everyone, not just in this town but in this country. republican whip. and a busy year ahead of him certainly. lockhart was chief spokesman, as you all know, for the clinton white house and is now a joe lockhart was nd managing director of the global park group, which is a large and flourishing specialist in media relations, and, of course, very familiar around this town as well. adam boulton is an extremely familiar face on british television, but knows his way around washington as well. he was here in this town for the first 100 days of the obama
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administration. but he is also one of the most experienced and respected commentators on not only british politics, but politics around the world for "sky news." and last, but not least, david gregory, who is the host of "meet the press" for nbc. a chance, here, i think, to change you for allowing us to be present at your program yesterday. it was much appreciated. thank you very much. congressman, if i can start with you. imagine we're sitting here a year from now and you're looking back on 2010. apart, presumably, from the heroic republican victory in the midterm, what would be your highlights of the political year? >> well, you know, if we're a year from now looking back, i think the story obviously has to be the progress or lack thereof made on the jobs front. clearly this has been a year in
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2009 and will be again about whether washington will focus on getting americans back to work. if i go back and look at where we've been over the last 11 months, i remember the instance when i was at a meeting with the president at the white house in january. it was said amongst both parties at the time that we were going to do everything we could working together to try and get this economy going again. and what has been so baffling, i think to me personally, and many, many americans at this point is how is it that we continue to say we're putting jobs first, but we see the kind of proposals that continue to be revealed that don't help people get back to work. you know, this week, and i know today in the news very much, is the issue of climate change, and in particular, the bill cap and trade and the continued promotion of that effort. and now we see an administrative effort to try and declare a public
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endangerment of carbon emissions. that has sent, i'm sure, shock waves through industry in this country and through the job creators of this country. so, again, we have a situation where there's clearly a disconnect between the proposals being pushed by this administration, the majority in congress over the last year, and i'm fearful that the same thing will occur in 2010, because all of us want to get americans back to work. i also think that, you know, long term, and certainly in 2010, we'll look back and see what this town has done regarding the deficit that we're facing in this country. i mean, people in america understand the credit card is maxed out and there are very limited options at this point. you can go borrow from the chinese or you can raise taxes, neither of which help the primary concern of americans right now, which is getting back to work. and i gave a speech last week at the heritage foundation
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rolling out some proposals that we could take now together that don't cost anything to try and help this economy along. if we hopefully move in that direction, maybe november, 20 10, will turn out differently. but i'm thinking very much that the outcome in 2010 will reflect what i heard at the thanksgiving dinner table last week, and that is people in this country have a real sense of pessimism right now because they're scared. they're scared and they don't see leadership in washington expressing their concerns. president obama was elected because he said we needed change. i think what people in this country want now is certainty, businesses and families alike. >> one of the things that, as an outsider coming into america, i'm always struck by is the fundamental optimism of this country, a sort of sense of the possible. what you're describing speaks to a sort of grumpy, gloomy mood next year. do you think that's right, or
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are we going to see the optimistic, upside of america on display as well? >> i think we saw last week sort of a recognition on the part of this administration that, hey, wait a minute, it's been 11 months. maybe we ought to get back and talk about jobs. we ought to talk about the kinds of issues that people face around the kitchen table, which is essentially getting through the month, worrying about college tuition, worrying about whether they can retire early or not. and if jobs is the key to that, maybe we should take some encouragement. but what i did not hear last week was a recognition on the part of this white house and the majority in congress that we ought to do something to reduce the price of risk, because that's what small billses and large that we're counting on to -- businesses and large that we're counting on need to hear. and until we focus on the number one issue, which is economic security for families in this country, i'm fearful, yes, that we may see a very
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grumpy electorate. >> do you sense it or do you secretly want it? >> listen, i don't think anybody wants to root against the american public. all of us want to see this country continue to lead the world. and in order to do that, we've got to regain our economic footing. >> joe lockhart, is your thanksgiving table next year going to be a slightly more cheerful place? >> well, thankfully, i'm not running for anything. there's a lot i could disagree with there, but we could turn this into cable television quickly, an that's not good for anybody. i think there's some analogous circumstances to where we were in 1993 and 1994. you have a very, very difficult economic situation, much worse this time, than when president clinton took over from the first president bush. and i think what you've seen this year is a lot of hard, tough decisions that have been
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made. this president didn't want to go in and save a bunch of big banks and insurance companies. that's not why he ran for president. he had to. i don't think he wanted to run deficits the way he did, but the economy had to get going. the question will be timing. the question is, how quickly do all of these things that we're coordinating globally, how quickly will they turn this economy? it's going to turn. you know, i'm optimistic about the economic future of the country. i don't think we've seen our best days. i don't think there's anybody in town that does. but if it does not turn quickly enough, if employment -- you know, last week was a good first step, but i think we're going to see steps forward and steps backwards. if it doesn't turn quickly enough, it's going to be a tough environment for incumbents and there's a lot more democratic incumbents than republicans. >> one of the issues for the democrats is motivating the base at a time when things might be a little bit rough, when you don't have the
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excitement of a new presidency coming in potentially. how do you see that panning out? >> midterm elections are historically difficult for the incumbent party, particularly if they control all three branches. this is a country that is grumpy and is looking for an instant solution to very difficult problems that there are no instant solutions for. you know, if there was an instant solution, i assume president bush 43 would have done it before he left. there isn't. so i think the question is -- you know, we were talking about this before -- that i'm interested in is democrats in 2008 made pretty significant advances on how to reach people and how to motivate them through technology, through social media. whether that can be transplanted and built upon for 2010. if it can, that's a pretty significant advantage. i'm certain that the republicans are sitting someplace with their own plans, and i'll be interested to see, because we tend to leapfrog
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each other. the party out of power is more motivated -- >> you feel that the democrats stole a march in the last cycle and are ahead of this game at the moment? >> i worked for john kerry for a couple of months in 2004, and i was surprise bid how significantly -- how much smarter the republican campaign was as far as infrastructure. and i think in 2008 republicans were surprised by what democrats were able to do. and i think being out of power is a great motivator to innovate and to think about new ways to engage voters. so i think democrats on paper have an advantage right now. a couple of years in the wilderness, again, is a motivator. we'll see what happens. i think if we don't have that advantage, you know, that point to a tough year. >> adam boulton, you're very familiar with america, but, again, coming with this somewhat outsider perspective, and you come back having spent an intensive here for the
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beginning of the obama administration. what do you see the dynamics going into next year as being? >> it i'm not so sure that fort rest of the world the midterm elections will matter too much regardless of what the results are, because i think the rest of the world perceive the president as having a great deal of trouble with the congress trying to get through what he wants to get through. and also, because i suspect that, you know, just as president obama gets the nobel prize, probably the assumption of the rest of the world could be the wrong one, is that he looks like a two-term president, and indeed that, the mood of electorates across the world in stable democracies now tends to be to go for two terms, to make a decision and then turn away. i think there is still, as far as obama is concerned, certainly in europe -- not including israel in europe necessarily -- a tremendous
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amount of good will and a feeling that the economic crisis has been handled well, and a sense that the governments certainly in britain and america behave in a very similar way, which makes it paradoxical that i would agree with it's official preer districts thates he'll lose the election, because people are getting tired of an incumbent government, that they've been there for 13 years. there's a sense of time for a change. gordon brown is uncharismatic, the economy that he's been stewed with consistently has been -- well, we're the only g-20 nation not out of recession yet, although it depends what you mean by a g-20 nation, according to gordon brown. but also, i think there is another factor which we perhaps haven't necessarily mentioned sufficiently, which is that
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britain has turned dramatically against the post-9/11 conflicts, that for britain, there are 100 casualties. in afghanistan this year that's the highest number. i know it's small compared to the united states. and that has really poisoned politics for the incumbent government, the government which took us to war. attorney blair, for example, is viciously unpopular in britain. i can't think of any section of society where you mention the name tony blair, and even though he was thrice re-elected, people don't almost necessarily spit at the mention of the name. it's not surprising he spent so much time abroad. >> there are other reasons for that, too. >> there are other reasons. he's making money. but what do most people want for christmas? they'd love the iraqi inquirey to convict tony blair. that is how the national mood
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is expressing themselves and in going for a character like cameron, although -- >> it's curious, isn't it in, this globalized world, supposedly, that we live in, you're describing a situation that is probably news to some people here, that tony blair is so deeply unpopular as you suggest in britain. >> gordon brown is not someone they spend too much time thinking about. president obama, as you mentioned, is still very much more popular, i think, abroad. his popularity hasn't rubbed off abroad to the extent that it has in this country. why is it that we're so -- the reputations don't travel as quickly as you think other things travel? >> it's partly because of the function of democracy. they keep calling for democracy with rivals, whereas abroad, you just have to say who's in
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charge. certainly there's leaders in office. it doesn't really matter where idealogically they come from. for example, tony blair moving seamlessly from bush-blair, and that's how he's perceived in national politics. but the other factor, if we want to globalize this argument at the moment, is that we are at the end of an era where people played political assumptions fundamentally that, the market was good, that the market could sort out a lot of the problems which the world might have faced. now following their banking collapse and the rest of it, there is a realization that what we call a state -- let's not get confused, that the government has a bigger role, but precisely a time when the government can't actually find the money to do something to occupy that big a role, and, therefore, has to go back to relying on individual responsibility. and it seems to me that's the
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question in all of these elections, we've been talking about that balance between private enterprise and between the role of the central states. it's what's going to be argued out. >> i suspect that will be a key debating point in elections coming up. i'd like to ask you a little built about the quality of the discourse that you expect to see in the year ahead. you're going to have to moderate some of this. first of all, how do you think it's been in the past? what's been the dynamic of discourse in washington? what momentum are we approaching 2010 with as the political temperature heats up? >> i think new presidents run into the reality of washington, that it's a tough place to change cull turelly. there's limits as what presidents can do with their own coalition, even within their party, and then working outside their party.
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and they run up against the ambition of the other party. as congressman cantor -- he does well in the way he sort of breaks down some of the major pressure points on the administration. there are also what republicans have taken into battle into the midterm year, which is essentially a look at the status quo. do you like how things are going under obama? if not, how about a change? they're not really a party of ideas right now because they don't want to be. i think they will move into a period of time where they want to get more aggressive in presenting some contrast. right now they're happy to say look how high unemployment is, look how high the deficit. they're act more virtuous about the need to control the deficit than they did when the republicans were in power in washington. but they'll do this to sort of say look at the status quo and look how he's managing it and isn't he taking on too much and all the rest. so i think the discourse got off to a pretty bad start. i think the white house undersmimented how difficult health care would be as a matter of public debate.
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now, they could have taken a closer look at how quickly the debate can be sort of sidetracked, as it was during the clinton administration, both the clinton administration's mistakes and then also how the opposition chose to go about it. it's a very tough subject. i take one example of the president was irritated of the response to his press conference early on in the health care debate when he sort of held fort and explained what was going on in the healthcare system and what the remedies would be. and then that question came up about professor gates, and that had this huge reaction, and the president was irritated that that's what the takeaway was, not realizing that he just wasn't breaking through holding fort on health care, which is difficult, really, to understand. so i think the discourse will sort of continue as it's been. what i think you have to focus on is presidents get unpopular when they get involved in
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legislating. there's a reason why congress isn't popular. when presidents get more involved in that, it's an uglier process. presidents are evaluated by achievement. they like to achieve. they don't want to be seen doing the achieving, they want to just achieve. so when the president -- and i think it is a matter of when at this point. he does get health reform passed. then as president clinton has suggested, you'll see that become more popular as it goes along. but he needs some achievements under his belt. >> let's assume that health care does happen, that the bill is passed sometime early next year. what does the agenda then move on to? there's still the climate change, the energy bill. >> right, and i think they'll tackle that. they'll talk about immigration. as congressman cantor said, it's about jobs. i thought last week was an interesting juxtaposition. what are the two issues that could define the presidency? a war he inherited in afghanistan and the jobs picture. but i think jobs are much more
quote
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likely to define him. if you look at the recession in the early 19 0's and the high point of unemployment -- i think it was 10.4% or 10.8%, it dropped within sevenments to single digits and within a year it was down almost three points. that was perfect timing for the election and it was morning again in america. i mean, the democrats by the midterm, if they can get it -- they need morning again in america under their leadership. that's the issue. you know, in 2004 for the re-elect that joe was part of, karl rove would go to president bush and say if the question is terrorism, the answer is george bush. and that simple matrix ultimately worked and sort of in a way that confound so many people. we turned a vietnam war veteran, some guy who was not tough enough to take on the terrorists, that was the work of a political operation. so ultimately the democrats have to find a way to sort of turn this ocean liner in a better direction, you know, by the midterm point if they're going to have some traction.
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>> congressman, could i come back to you and actually pick up something that joe lockhart said about the tricks of the trade, if you look, going into an election, that somehow in this constantly changing battle of the last cycle the democrats nudged ahead in terms of their use of technology, use of the internet, mobilization and so on. what can we expect in the form of innovation from the republican party in the midterm? >> you know, daniel, i think probably the best place to look is in virginia and new jersey about a month ago in these gubernatorial electricses. i know in my home state of virginia, we far surpassed the get out the vote effort of the other side this time, and it came, from really, the energy now that has been focused on what's going on in washington coupled with a very disciplined, very good campaign led by our governor elect bob
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mcdonald. so i do think joe is correct, motivation of those out of party is necessarily going to trump the incumbent party, but i also think that it has to do with real challenges. it's not perceived here. people have problems at home. when you look at the official unemployment and it says it's at 10% or a little higher, they say that the unofficial rate, those who are either working part-time jobs or just simply given up, is probably closer to 20%. you know, that's extraordinary. and so everybody, if they're not out of a job, knows someone who is or is worried about losing a job. and so when you see a leader, a candidate, such as bob maryland put forth -- bob mcdonald say i want to translate the vision -- and i take issue with david, who says we don't talk about ideas. i'll turn it on him.
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and i know he and i have said this before. we don't think that necessarily it's as sexy of a story for the mainstream media to cover our ideas right now, because it is the incumbent party in power. the presidency is held by the democrats, as well as both houses of congress. it is their agenda, which is now up -- >> up for referendum. >> what is the big idea for -- >> jobs is not an idea, but -- >> well, the big idea is to get -- to produce an environment where we can have job creation again. and see, that's where i think that the obama administration agenda so clearly disadvantages the democrats in this upcoming election in 11 months and advantages us. i mean, and the same was true a month ago in virginia. >> there are some alternative ideas within the agenda, kind of like a defense lawyer arguing against the prosecution. i think there's some discussion within the republican party about whether there's a need for a second contract with
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america, so on and so forth. maybe we see by the midterm, maybe they wait till 2012. but right now, i think the republican party really wants to say did the prosecution prove its case. just take a look at how the democrats in power are running things and let's make a judgment based on that. i do want to say something else which is away from the substance of sheer politics, which is what do republicans want to be? i don't think they've quite worked that out yet in terms of what they want to be as a party, what direction. is it bob mcdonald in virginia? is it the new jersey race or is it sarah palin? i mean, there's a process that has to be gone through here to where republicans decide and republican voters decide what is the way back. and i don't know that that's been decided yet. >> let me respond to that. i know clearly for myself, i do very much believe it is in the mode of bob mcdonald. and i don't think it's necessarily so clear-cut that we could be one of the other. because if you look at bob mcdonald and what he stood for
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and his record in our general assembly, he was extraordinarily conservative in all issues. it wasn't that he shied away from any of the conservative principles he briefed in, but he focused those principles of free markets, of limited government, lower taxes, faith in god he focused those on the kitchen table issues that were plaguing voters and began to represent a leader that could actually deliver some results and get people back to work. >> that brought up a problem which, again, i think is a trends not just in this country, that there is now a kind of a disgruntled, pissed off, if you'd like, oppositionist right, which in some countries -- in britain, we have the british national party and the u.k. independence party, they've got a bigger chunk than they've had before, australia, which i have's had the opposition conservative party there, just ousted their leader there for supporting climate change.
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we've not northern leagues in italy, and here we have glenn beck and rush limbaugh about what is the true republican party. it seems to me that there is a very clear term out on the right, which also will be a problem. >> adam, i've always said this -- there are a lot of voices in both parties, and there are those in public office and those not, and there is a different notive often in terms of those in the media than perhaps those of us who owe it to our constituents to live up to the promises made. and i think you're right in that people are pissed off, you know, in dled lack of demonstrable result. and as people are out of work, they become even more enraged at a lack of deliverables on the part of government. >> you don't want to talk about, as i understand it, whether barack obama is deeply racist, right? >> you want to talk about -- i mean, listen, people are looking for leadership now, and
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they don't care about that issue. they care about getting back to work. >> but when you have that raised and put on the agendas, that's a problem for you. >> i donned -- i want to make this less partisan, although it may come out as partisan and talk a little about history. because i am listening carefully to what you say, and my history doesn't go back very long. i remember the 1990's under a democratic president where we took a budget deficit and created 23 million jobs. we gave that to the republicans. we lost the surplus. and under president bush, if we created a lot of jobs, i don't know where they were. the unemployment rate didn't start at zero in january of this year and go to 10%. this was financial mismanagement that went on for a decade. and you know what? the president is doing his best to try to turn that around. now, that's my partisan speech. elections aren't about history. elections are about the moment. and you know what?
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one of the reasons barack obama was elected was people thought, yeah, he seems to be young and promising, but, boy, is he different than that bum we want to throw out. and one of the reasons why bill clinton was elected, and the same with jimmy carter. so it's a bipartisan feeling that we do this. i think, you know, it is a tough year for the incumbents. i think, just to pick up on, i think, what david and adam were saying, one positive sign for the democrats -- one positive sign is the election is not today. that's number one. [laughter] it's a while from now. because i don't think the president is responsible for these problems, but he owns them because he's the president. and there's no getting around that. but the second thing that goes to democrats and republicans and where they are as far as figuring out what they want to do, what their leadership is. democrats have an advantage, that they do have the presidency as far as message orientation. you know, there's a lot of negatives there. but i think what's really
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interesting, looking at democrats, is the reaction to the afghanistan speech. fully 50% of the party in congress did not support that speech. but you know what? they're swallowing it and they're going to move forward. they're going to be with the president or the party. if you look at the midterm elections with republicans, there's more of a struggle. i completely agree with what was said about bob mcdonald. as a partisan democrat, it's the scariest thing in the world to me that these people will use common sense and take a candidate and emphasize his strength, which is exactly what he did, and he won. but you also had new york 23, where you had an election where republicans had the election won, i think, and then overplayed their hand because there's part of the party that believes that being practical, common sense, doesn't make sense. you have to be over on the far right. and that struggle is going to play out over the next year. and your group may win, but they may lose, too, and it's
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going to be an advantage to democrats. >> i want to try and escape for a moment from an america, and exclusively an american perspective and lift this up. we've had the most extraordinary global recession. you might think that there would be political trends that you could observe around the world in response to that, that there would be either anti-incumbency or it would swing to the left or to the right or do something totally unexpected. it's quite hard to detect global trends out of this. some incumbents have actually gotten back in. we've seen the merkel government voted back in in germany. and if anything, voters have tended to swing to the conservative end in the british traditional sense of the word, not towards the right. but to play the safe. adam, you track politics around the world, what do you see? >> well, i think there are some
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other trends. taxes, generally speaking, have gone up. certainly they've gone up in both britain and the united states. deficit, again, is for whoever wins the general election in britain is going to be a massive problem, and actually, a lot of the european countries are not that far behind. but, again, i -- you know, my feeling is that there is a certain kind of realization of the limits of what government can do certainly in the -- those countries where the government has assumed a bigger role. i was at a public meeting with a member of cameron's team and they came out and said that was absolutely fantastic, because did you notice how nobody asked me for money. and what we're not hearing and what we probably won't hear that much over the general election, but will happen afterwards, is undoubtedly
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going to be not just taxes, which i think probably pretty much have reached their limits, but real cuts in spending. and i think we are going to see that across the spectrum. >> i think it's interesting, i talked to a very prominent person in american finance yesterday who said the real question around the world is what the hell is going on in america. so in asia, that's been the case for a while. china has had a sense of kind of growing american weakness for a while and as america's creditor, feels they've got more leverage over the united states, less inclined to, you know, be supportive on other geopolitical areas where we need their help in iran, north korea, etc. lots of south america and latin america, things look up. europe is having a hard time and the united states is having a hard time. but the question, this person said, is what happened to capitalism. you know, this talk of regulation, that the bailouts
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and whatnot, there's just a real fear about where america is headed in this regard. you see that reflected in some of our major companies, too, who don't like the uncertainty about health care reform, don't like the uncertainty about energy policy, about tax policy. i've spoken to c.e.o.'s who say, hey, where is the impetus for economic growth? we don't see it in the united states. there's no real impetus for investment. this is a real point of contention right now, as the administration is trying to get the private sector jump-started to create jobs again, get consumers spending again. so i think one of the trends -- and adam spoke to the politics. but on the policy side there's a real question about role of government, effectiveness of government with regard to the economy worldwide, and a lot of that is looking at the united states and wondering what's happening. >> i think it's certainly true that the outside world always looks to america, and particularly perhaps now at this time. but does america at all look to the outside world? we heard from peter david
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earlier on about iraq and brazil and elsewhere. you're going to be taken up with your own campaigns here. are there any lessons that you think you can pick up from other campaigns that have just been forged around the world or trends anywhere else? >> well, if you look at south america, maybe there is some lesson there. i know we just saw the bolivian elections. but take a look at what happened in uruguay last week in month veed yo, and the election of a traditionally leftist one-time terrorist guerrilla individual who then remade himself, committed to the voters of that country that he saw himself in the fashion of governing like brazil, not like hugo chavez in venezuela. and i don't think anyone was surprised at the outcome of that election. and contrary to maybe some of the trends in europe and elsewhere where we may see a backlash and-day think in the united states going back towards the conservative end of the spectrum, i think that that
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election in uruguay points to the fact that people are going to elect leaders that can produce results for them. if you're good for people, if you're good for their life and is more in tuned with market-based policies from an economic standpoint that will recognize human rights and the defense of those rights, i do think those are some themes that perhaps can produce a somewhat different way. again, very much grounded, though, in what we like to call in virginia the common-sense conservative outlook that started way back with the founders of 18th century servants of jefferson, madison and the rest. i do think you may see a trend again, deliverables spawned by adherence to these market-based principles of a limited government, but taking care of folks. >> i think conversely, you've got to avoid elections more and more, which will be one of the fallouts from iran and elsewhere. i also think that for next year
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there's going to be this growing trend. it's boring, it's organizational, but it's nonetheless very significant, which is the fact -- the view that the g-20 is now in a sense, the global economic regulator. i think that's going to be inescapable. i mean, it's a major shift in what was effectively the poll lar world, but the united states was -- >> two g summits next year, one in canada and one in south korea in the autumn, that it will be prominent. can i ask one final question? then we'll go to the floor. perhaps to you, joe lockhart. europe, not something that perhaps people spend too much time worrying about. but there was the famous kissinger question, who do you call for europe. the europeans are now agonized for, what was it, eight or nine years over a constitutional -- well, it was no longer called a
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constitutional treaty, over a treaty, which has given them a so-called president and a high representative, in effect, a foreign secretary. but they've chosen people in these roles which charity eable can be described as people nobody has ever heard of. does anybody care about europe as a weight in the world, as an entity? has anybody answered the kissinger question for america? >> i think it's an evolving question. >> can you name the presidents of europe? >> eric can. [laughter] >> i know who wants to be the president of europe. >> well, he didn't get it. >> i know. >> i think it's not a pressing question as far as america goes, because i think europe is a trusted place in this country. they think -- you know, we
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didn't agonize very long about going in head-long into military conflicts in europe in the last decade, because it was europe. while we young our hands, while there were exponentially more devastating genocide being committed in africa. and not taking a position, it's just a way of highlighting the deep connections between. so i don't think we worry much about europe. i think as europe integrates and becomes more powerful, we may over time, because i don't think the average american thinks of europe in the way that europeans want to. >> actually, one of the concerns about the obama administration in europe anyway has been that he tended to take his allies for granted in focusing on reaching out to some of the parts of the world where relations have been previously more complicated. and there could be a reaction
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by europeans. and he's going to need allies in places like afghanistan. >> it's funny, because i think that goes to the previous question, too. i think one of the reasons why there isn't a trend right now is that the u.s. -- at least around the world -- is not as polarizing as it has been in the past, among both democrats and republicans, depending on the time. and electrics are getting decided on the ground, by issues on the ground, and not being influenced by cold war issues or u.s. diplomacy. i mean. you could go through europe and even other parts of the world and look at elections that turned on whether you were anti-american enough or whether you were pro-american enough. and right now we have a president who's deeply committed to multilateralism. no one thinks they get enough time or attention from the american president, but -- and it is in some ways a positive and in some ways troubling, because the world needs leadership, and we're very
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internally focused right now on putting our own house in order, and that is potentially a dangerous situation. >> i just think there's a huge divide between europe and the united states with regard to strategic issues. i mean, there's been a change in orientation here about the war on terrorism, which this administration doesn't use. and peter in "time" magazine wrote something provocative about obama sort of downsizing the war on terror, compartment liesing it a little bit more, rather than making it as sweeping and broad as the bush administration did. but we covered our respective governments or p.m.'s at the time, an seeing tony blair, the british public wasn't there at all. certainly not on iraq and not even on afghanistan as much. so you're seeing that. the notion of the nato alliance and maybe it's going to pledge 7,000 additional troops, you know, it's nice to have a coalition of the willing, but this is america's war. we're going to have 100,000
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troops there. we own this thing. and the british, frankly, they've been there, seen it and said, no, thanks. but i mean, there's a view -- i'm not saying that they haven't been in afghanistan, but you're seeing more what you described, which is we just don't want to have a sustained commitment there. >> and i think oddly enough americans don't see the british as european. you ask someone, are these -- they don't, they don't. [laughter] >> let's go to the questions from the audience, who would like to ask? >> right here. >> yes. wait for the microphone to come. >> oh, there's people here. [laughter] >> yes, could you say who you are. >> first of all, my name is ezra matthias. gregory david raised the point about the c.e.o. he was speaking to that talked about what's happening to american
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capitalism. now, i'm very surprised that -- i think it's a man who wrote a book on rogue economics. i'm surprised she's not part of the conflicts and globalization has unleashed problems that drove economics to go rogue, which is per primary thesis, ambassador i'm surpriseed that we haven't examined that -- and i'm surprised that we haven't examined that at all. >> that was more of a statement. let me go to the back there. yes. >> i'm mark with, the foundation for job creation. my question is, is america's problem of not being able to create jobs, where does the lobbyists fit in? and are they interfering with job creation?
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>> where are the lobbyists? >> where do the lobbyists fit into this business of job creation? do they interfere with the process of job creation? are they perhaps helping? >> well, you know, i think that's a tough question. i think in the broadest possible sense, you know, even the best ideas get altered, and generally not for the better, because there are powerful lobbying interests in this town. and the lobbyists are very -- you know, they do well and their job is not to advocate for the public good, but to advocate for the narrow, for their interests. and we still, despite, you know, the president running on a platform of let's take the special interests out of politics and government, it's still very prevalent. i think again, most broadly, i agree with republicans when they talk about the -- you
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know, the private sector is going to create the bulk of the new jobs. we don't want to create 10 million new government jobs. that makes no sense. what the federal government can do, both congress and the executive branch, is create conditions where jobs will flourish. we've had periods, the mid 1980's, that most of the 1990's where conditions were good and the private sector and the public sector worked together and jobs were created. we haven't seen that in a while, and that's really what we need to do. >> congressman? >> i'm not sure how to answer the question of whether lobbyists as a whole are helpful or harmful to job creation. i mean, there are a slew of lobbyists, obviously, in this town, some representing big corporations, some representing small businesses, some representing labor, some representing consumer groups, and the list goes on. i think, again, the jobs for
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the party in power as well as the minority is to work together to produce an environment that can foster some job creation, as joe said in, the private sector, because i think deep down americans understand what's made this country prosperous, and that is the entrepreneurialism, risk-based investment that's characterized by the american dream. so if you talk to big businesses right now, i think what they say is too much uncertainty. as david said, we've got to do something. we can't have the uncertainty of card check, the uncertainty of cap and trade, the uncertainty of health care, the uncertainty of the tax hikes that are embeded in the code that businesses don't know how that will play out. that is inhibiting investment. if you talk to main-street concerns, small ises across this country, what they're saying is we don't have access to capital. we need credit. if we're going to create jobs,
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we have to be able to grow and we can't do that without credit. all of this, i think, will play out over the year. how lobbyists intermingle with that, i think lobbyists are much more in tune with their specific client's interest, and right now i think what we're talking about is an environment that has been grossly unfavorable towards risk-based job creation. >> yes. don't know where to start. lot of questions. here first, and then -- >> hello. i'm roland. "the economist" predicted that nato might lose in afghanistan in 2010. however, representative cantor did not mention afghanistan in his initial speech here today. does that suggest that the republicans are generally happy with the president's plan in afghanistan? one. and two, is there a prediction that there will be success this year in the campaign? military campaign? .
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americans believe we ought to support our troops, give them what we need and ultimately if the mission is successful we will be adding to the security of the united states because we know that the mission there is to make sure that that region of the world no longer can become a safe haven for terrorist operations and a place from which attacks against the united states can be launched. >> david, your program yesterday focused on afghanistan. how do you see this debate? >> i think there's every reason to be really skeptical. history dictates we should be.
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iraq experience dictates we should be. i question everything. every position, every statement, every note of optimism about this war and i think all americans should and our partners around the world should. the notion that somehow the karzai government in a year's time is going to produce and stand up a military and security force that creates enough space to break the momentum of the taliban -- i think american forces are capable of doing that if they're brought to bear in a responsible time frame but having somebody to hand off to, huge issue. the other huge issue is whether pakistan somehow becomes a different country. the real bad guys are in pakistan and that's the real problem. what's pakistan prepared to do? and i think the challenge for this president is -- republicans should be happy with his plan. it's essentially what they
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wanted. they'll argue about inarctic -- about an articulated exit strategy. they were clear on the program saying there's a time, that will go on as much as five years and that's just the goal, a complete handoff to karzai in five years, so that assumes that everything works. i think all of that is in placements again, we'll see what the conditions are for the president down the line to say, hey, we're not winning but it's time to come home. >> it seemed like a sideshow in this city but it's a very, very live issue for the british politics as well. british troops have been dying in afghanistan in disturbingly large numbers and as you mentioned, the war has become increasingly unpopular. how does this decision by
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president obama play out politically in britain? >> one of the interesting things is that gordon brown is starting to talk about drawdown troops. there's been a modest increase in british troops of 500 to take it to 10,000. gordon brown is talking about taking it down next year, which, of course, is an election year. one can see a certain amount of political calculation. but i think the reality of the situation is that -- both, is that next year is going to be an intense year of pressure, basically where are the main driver of reform in pakistan and afghanistan is going to be, if you don't establish yourself now as a potential government we're going to withdraw, you're going to get killed and it's
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going to be chaos. the problem is that that is going to be quite likely paid for in the blood of the troops present on the ground. it's a very, very sober moment and that is before you get into the issue of how stable iraq is. . >> my question is for the panel at large. given the opening of copenhagen today, what is the panel's view on president obama's strategy going to copenhagen, and emissions target that has not been drafted by domestic legislation? i am interestininterested to hee republican view is what the republican view is what the american responsibility will if there is a definitive agreement at copenhagen when the president comes back? >> we spent about 50 minutes
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talking about politics and we have not talk yet about the environment. >> from the larger sense, the question of climate change comes down to, if there has been in constant in human history, it has been climate change. the real question is the severity of that and the involvement of human causes in all that. that is from the larger sense. i think our party will approach it as such, with the the notion that all of us wants to make sure that we leave this planet a cleaner place. how we strike that balance, given the priority of getting this economy back on track, i think that will be central to any republican response. there is much reticence right now, obviously, from the capt. trade finance.
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-- from the cap and trade finance. it is an ill-conceived plan that will kill jobs. it is a huge detriment to the number one priority, which is getting americans back to work. >> would you like to comment on that? >> is hard to believe. i think it is going to be a test of american leadership because the rest of the world is going. if we educate our role as a leader in the world, as an economic leader, while we are fighting about the politics of our congress and the u.s., then it will be a step back for our country. we have been out of this debate for too long. i do not hear from the party opposite any good ideas on how to solve this. cap and trade came from industry. it is supported by lots of
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american corporations. there are certainly losers here and they do not support it, but, more importantly, this is an international issue, a global issue. if we want to continue our slide from influence in world leadership, this would be a way to do it. >> you talked a lot about jobs. we have seen the unemployment rate drop. then you talk about the set -- your thanksgiving table. i was just wondering if it was representative of the whole country. i feel like maybe it is not giving thank you. maybe the republican party, are we going to be able to see the
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republican party come together with the democratic party in 2010 and worked together on soe issues? >> any bipartisanship in 2010? >> first of all, i think all of us wants to get this economy back on track. going back to the stimulus discussion, we continue to profit are alternatives. there are discussions surrounding the health care bill right now. it is taking place behind closed doors. there needs to be a mutual cooperation. it is in the minorities interest, especially when you have the majority holding power in the house and the senate and in the white house. it is certainly in our interest to work together to produce results. it is about jobs.
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it really is. there has been a constant drumbeat away from the priority of trying to say, look, we want to provide to small businesses access to credit. we want to promote investment again. it is the private sector that will be which brings the economy back. >> i believe it is going to be the private sector. but can you imagine? no one can predict how much worse it would be if the government did not take the strong actions it did. in the great depression, unemployment was at 25%. 10% is way too high. people are suffering. it is very real. people who have jobs are afraid of losing them. but very bold steps were taken.
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people want to ignore that right now. they want to score points and that is what politics is about. some of those very real steps were taken by a republican president. >> the follow-up to that is that the steps that were taken in 2008 under the bush administration and those of us who supported that effort and tarp, that tried to arrest what was believed to be a potential collapse in the market, that was meant to be an emergency temporary step. are we going to live up to the initial promise, saying that it was tempered, that they were taxpayer dollars and need to be paid back, or are you going to allow that to be some kind of permanent slush fund in this town to go where the political whim is?
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i would take the position that we need to go ahead and deliver the promise that it was a temporary emergency steps. >> we will have to break that particular conversation. let's go to our final predictions. allowed each of you to give a particular production -- i want each of you to give a particular prediction for 2010. >> i think we face a very real question about the overall direction of the economy, whether recovery is more stagnant and there's always the potential of a double-dip recession. it is primarily a jobless recovery. that will be the big trend in politics next year. the question will be to say whether this is a zero suming game -- a zero sum game.
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right now, the big prediction is anti-incumbency. >> i think there will be a watershed. we're clearly going in a different direction next year than where we are now. for the first time, we will have leaders' debate during the election. >> i think 2010 will be the year that the politics of the middle will be empowered. if not, yes to the extremes -- >> tell me what that means. >> that means moderate republicans and conservative democrats having a stronger voice in the debate, which i think you saw in the 1990's.
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the corollary is that, if that is not true, you will see that a third party will be sown and we will see it as early as the next election. >> the elections in 2010 will bring about the fact that the democrats will lose their majority in the u.s. house. i think that will happen because americans like a check and a balance on federal power. that is what we got right now. it is administered it through an agenda that is far out of mainstream from where people see this country. >> we will be here in a year's time to see how that came about. in the meantime, thank all of our panelists. [applause]
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] çó>> tonight on c-span, former a analyst bruce y del on u.s. policy in afghanistan and pakistan. following that, william eggers analyzes the successes and failures of the u.s. government. also a discussion on u.s.-muslim relations. journal," a discussion on u.s. foreign policy. after that, a look at president obama's achievements in his first year in office with steven hess of the brookings institute. that is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span.
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>> now available, c-span's book, abraham lincoln, great american historians on our 16th president. a great read for in the history buff. it is a new -- a unique perspective on lincoln, from his early years to his life in the white house and his relevance today. in hardcover, at your favorite bookseller in and out in digital audio to listen to any time, available or digital audio download are sold. >> former cia analyst bruce riedel now gives a historical perspective of the past eight years, the president's decision to send additional troops, and the process for defeating the insurgency. this hourlong talk came at a recent conference hosted by the jamestown foundation.
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>> think for that very kind introduction. it is a special privilege and honor for me to be here today to speak to this audience at the jamestown foundation. it has over the last several years consistently provided americans and people around the world with some of the best analysis of what is going on in the terrorism world, and for that reason is a very special pleasure to have this chance to be the keynote speaker today. 10 months ago and a few days, i was minding my own business in my home on the eastern shore of maryland when the phone rang, and a voice came on and said please hold for the president. a couple of seconds later, on came of voice, hello bruce, it is barack. i then got an offer like those offers in the mafia movies, that
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you cannot say no to. the offer was to come in and share a 60 day review on american policy toward afghanistan and pakistan, and of course towards al qaeda. i retired from the cia in november 2006. in march 2007, to individuals -- two individuals came and asked if i would like to be an adviser to the campaign. i agreed on one condition. i did not want to get a job for myself. i wanted to find a job for the
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senator from illinois in the federal government. i went home that night and told my wife this would be lots of fun, but it will not last very long. there is no way barack obama is going to become president of the united states. so bare that prediction in mind as i go forward. what i would like to do over the course of the next 40 minutes is review the key judgments of the strategic review that i chaired, talk a little bit what has happened in the interim between the closure of the strategic review in march and the president's announcement last week at west point, and then spend a few last minutes looking at the road ahead to where i think we are going. let me be very careful unclear. i am speaking as a senior fellow, not as a spokesman for president obama, where the u.s. government. please do not interpret any of my words as reflecting the views
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of the u.s. government in any way whatsoever. i will start with the bottom line right up front. obama inherited in january a disaster in afghanistan and pakistan. a war that had begun with a brilliant military success at virtually no cost was squandered. for seven years, the previous administration dithered about afghanistan and pakistan and did not act. as a consequence, an insurgency which should never have been allowed to begin to grow now threatens the survival of the karzai government in afghanistan and threatens to defeat the north atlantic treaty organization's first round operation ever. worse than that, the disaster in afghanistan is destabilizing south and central asia as a whole.
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most particularly, next door in pakistan. the situation the president inherited is bad and has gotten then. but we have no time machine. we cannot go back and do it over. we can wish for that, but that is not a realistic strategy. so what is the situation today? let me start with al qaeda. we would not have 70,000 american troops in afghanistan and 35,000 more en route if not for september 11, we all know that. so what is the status of al qaeda today? i will summarize what we have done to help guide in one sentence. like anyone sentence summary, it lacks subtlety, it lacks nuance, but if done right, it gets to the point. in eight years we have succeeded in moving the al qaeda core leadership, their senior
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operational planners and propaganda instrument from kandahar, afghanistan, to an unknown location, believed to be about 100 miles away, somewhere in pakistan. that is not to diminish the hard work of our soldiers, our intelligence officers, and our diplomats and our allies who are fighting al qaeda. it is not to diminish the accomplishments we have had light green khalid sheikh mohammed and others under detention and killing many others. al qaeda today remains a deadly enemy of the united states of america and of our allies. is the first truly global terrorist organization in history. this region scope in the last eight years is almost -- its reach and scope in the last eight years is almost breathtaking. from bali to madrid, this
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organization has struck again and again and again around world. it has developed franchises, surrogates, and has acquired allies that increase its reach. it has become more than a terrorist organization. it has created a narrative which inspires a small minority of muslims, a very small minority of muslims, to carry out acts of mass violence. most of its attacks are indiscriminate, but it has demonstrated a chilling capacity to strike with great discrimination against target like the un headquarters in baghdad, and almost against the deputy minister of the interior in saudi arabia. we see its reach in the united states today, both direct and indirect.
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the afghan american arrested by the fbi in colorado demonstrated the direct connection. what happened in fort hood demonstrates the indirect connection of the narrative and the ideology of the global islamic jihad. today the only sustain significant pressure on the al qaeda core comes from between 30,000 and 60,000 feet in the air, from the drones, the predators, and the reapers. the drones are technological marvel, and they have proven highly successful against a limited range of targets and a limited piece of geography. they have come to some extent, and it is hard to know if you are not a member of al qaeda how big that extent is, disrupted al qaeda in recent months. the drones are a tactic, not a strategy. they are like attacking of
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beehive one be at a time. you are never going to destroy a beehive one bee at a time. it is ironic. eight years after a tour of bora, osama bin laden is today a voice we hear, but a virtually invisible man. we have no idea where this man is. that, despite the biggest manhunt in history, and a $50 million reward. he could be in the room next door, as far as we know. last week the pbc put out a report, poorly sourced, that he was in afghanistan in february. what was notable about the report was not how good the report was, but that help rare we even get rare earth -- how rarely even get back reports about where bin laden is. the second thing i would suggest to you about al qaeda today is
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that in afghanistan and pakistan, it is part of a much larger scented of terrorist organizations within which it is embedded. what do i mean by that? the afghan taliban, the pakistan taliban, and i agree, the two of them are actually one taliban in many ways. josh mohammad, a bunch of other groups whose names interchange but who we know are the same basic characters are a syndicate of terror. they are not a monolith. they do not have a single leader or a single agenda, but they cooperate with each other. individuals within these movements move back and forth between organizations. they do not respect the lanes that we try to impose on them, and none of them in eight years
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have been willing to turn on al qaeda and give up its core leadership. what is remarkable when you look at it is that more than any other individual, it is mullah omar that the senate could pledges its allegiance to, and he claims to be commander of the faithful. commander of the faithful of 1.6 billion muslims worldwide? i am very skeptical we could negotiate with the taliban, with someone who has such an inflated sense of his own importance. al qaeda today is embedded in this larger syndicate of terror, which is why it is so hard to go after it. within the senate could of terror, there is one single
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most dangerous element. -- syndicate of terror. its global reach is probably also something to worry about. the nisei a few words about afghanistan. you can also summarize what we have done in afghanistan in one sentence, and where we are today. we are losing the war in afghanistan, but is not yet lost. general mcchrystal's report, which courtesy of bob woodward, all of you have a chance to read, is an excellent summary of the situation in afghanistan. i think he hit the nail on the head. he got it exactly right. if there is one part of that report which i urge you to look
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at, it talks about detention facilities in afghanistan, in which he says we no longer control the detention facilities in which we are keeping captured insurgents. they are de facto under the control of al qaeda and the taliban, more radicalization and more recruitment for al qaeda takes place in those detention facilities than anywhere else in afghanistan today. when you have lost control of the prison camps in which you are putting insurgents, you are in a deep, deep hole. every statistical measure we have demonstrates the momentum is entirely with the taliban today. bob gates reiterated that several times in his statements last week on the hill. but it is not yet lost, because we do not face and afghanistan
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-- -- we do not based in afghanistan a national uprising. it is confined to the pashtun ethnic community. the soviets faced a national uprising, virtually the entire country was in opposition to soviet occupation. soviet behavior reinforce that opposition. we face an insurgency which is for the most part confined to the pashtun committee. by definition, that means the majority of afghans do not favor the taliban. more than that, we know from reliable polling that the majority of pashtuns do not want to seek the return to the islamic emirate of afghanistan. no one in their right mind would want to go back to living in that medieval help. it is the self and training itself constraining factor of
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the taliban that offers us the most hope of being able to turn this around. thirdly, let me talk about pakistan. pakistan is today the strategic prize in this part of the world, as well as the most dangerous country in the world. what do i say that? because all the things that should worry americans about the future of the world in the 21st century come together in pakistan in a unique and combustible way. proliferation of nuclear technology, terrorism, the future of islam, the future of democracy in the islamic world, the relationship between the military and civil society, all these issues are alive in pakistan like nowhere else in the world. pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world today. it has more terrorist per square kilometer than any other country in the world today.
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it is the world's second largest muslim country, and yet its government is teetering on the brink of collapse. pakistan is trying to make the transition from a military dictatorship to something pakistan is hope will look like democracy. we should support that effort with everything we do, but this is the fourth time pakistan has tried to make that transition, and you have to believe in the triumph of hope over experience to believe it will be successful. today's government appears to have a very limited shelf life. the president may stay on as a figurehead, but power is slipping away from him every day. the alternatives are not particularly bright either. we may see a return to sharif, whose two previous times as prime minister should not fill
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you with a lot of confidence that pakistan will be moving in the right direction. but we don't get to choose who pakistan's leaders are. when we have tried to, we have usually had buyer's remorse later on. the second point about pakistan is that pakistan has a dynamic, confusing, and complex relationship with the senate could of terrorism that i talked about earlier. -- de seine ticket of terrorism. -- the syndicate of terrorism. it has been a passive supporter of zero more -- of omar until 2001 when it was threatened with being prone back into the stone age. it has the capacity to be a patron of terror and a victim of
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terror, which is very hard for most western mines to put your head around. is very much at worar. the war is not going particularly well for the pakistan army today. if it spreads further sell, it may deal and economic death blow -- if it spreads further south. why does pakistan have such a complex relationship? because of its obsession with india. the pakistan army believes and has delayed for 60 years that a semester warfare is part of its tactics for defeating -- as ymetric warfare. this is the remains deeply entrenched in significant parts of the pakistan officer corps.
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in short, the stakes in afghanistan and pakistan could not be greater. the future of al qaeda, the future of the nato alliance, the possibility of nuclear war and peace in south asia, all of these issues come together here. on the 27 of march, president obama rightly focused on the mission of american forces in this combat haunt disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al qaeda and destroying its sanctuary along the afghan- pakistan border. if you read his speech then carefully, it was clear that while there was a specific mission, to get there we had to stabilize afghanistan and pakistan. that is a much, much broader mission. the review i gave to the
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president that he endorsed at 20 major recommendations, 187 recommendations. i will not go into all of them here today. most of them are outlined in his speech court reiterated in his speech to west point. i want to stress this. this is resource intensive. this is going to come with a big cost, to send one american soldier to the afghanistan for one year costs $1 million. if you think there is economy of scale, forget it. sending 30,000 is going to cost more than $30 million. it does not get cheaper by sending more, it is more expensive. on the non-military side, it is expensive as well. the president has approved and signed the legislation that triples economic assistance to pakistan. before last fall, if i said $1.5
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billion, people would have said it was a lot of money. now they say big deal, we spent more than that on general motors in half an hour. over 10 years that is $15 billion, making pakistan the largest single repository of american economic assistance in the world, outside of afghanistan and iraq. what happened in the eight months from march 27 until the speech last week at west point? many, many things, but two that i want to highlight. we had an unprecedented event, the strategic review called upon the commander of isaf forces in afghanistan to come up with an operational plan for southern and eastern afghanistan. for reasons i do not know, he
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was judged to be the wrong man for the job and was fired by secretary gates. that was a huge thing. the last time we fired a battlefield commander during wartime was 1951, and the issue then was whether or not to use nuclear weapons against communist china. i don't know what general mckiernan did, but if he got in as much trouble as douglas macarthur, it must have been pretty big. the important thing is, we lost time. we had to take three months to get general mcchrystal comfortable with the situation on the ground and to give his recommendations. instead of an operational plan being delivered in may, it was delivered at the end of august. in the interim, at the situation in afghanistan deteriorated sharply. from the president's standpoint, support for the war in the democratic party dropped through
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the floor. what had been a good war a year ago was now just like every other war, a bad war. skepticism about the war had become widespread among the president's core supporters. the second thing that happened was on the political front. the expectation in march was that we would be able to work with the then-afghan government and with the international community to produce something that would look like a legitimate and credible presidential election. instead, we had a fiasco followed by a disaster. no one can pretend that this afghan presidential election was legitimate or credible. in the first round, president karzai's supporters produced 1 million fraudulent ballots. that is a lot of fraudulent ballots, even by the standards
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of florida or illinois. this is cheating on a global scale. he got caught, and he got away with it. i am not sure how illegitimate his government looks in the eyes of afghans, but it looks illegitimate in the eyes of americans and of our european and non-european isaf partners. this administration has to bear some of the responsibility for this. this did not happen on george bush's watch. it is behavior toward the afghan election was a little bit like the famous deer in headlights. it could see the problem coming, but it seemed mesmerized, until it was run over. here again, we do not have a time machine and we cannot go back and fix it. we will have to work with president karzai. we may find in retrospect that this was the fatal blow to our
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efforts to defeat the taliban. we don't know that yet, and i think we can yet turn it around, but mrs. clinton now has heard date for the next three years. she will be managing mr. karzai. she needs to avoid demonizing. she needs to avoid temper tantrums. she needs to find a way to bring out the best in hamid karzai. where are going forward from here? let me offer you three observations. first, this is a bold gamble. what the president has embarked upon today has no guarantee of success. there is no assurance that this is going to work. there are all kinds of things that may fail. trying to build an afghan army and police force may be a lot harder than we think. trying to reverse the taliban's
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momentum is going to be difficult. for sure, casualties are going to go up significantly, and domestic dissent here and in other nato countries over this war is going to get stronger and harder. there are several potential gain changers that could change everything, literally in a matter of minutes. another 9/11 attack inside the united states, and it does not have to bring down to of the largest buildings in the world to be significant, that comes out of pakistan will be a game changer. the president of the united states will not simply be able to call up islamabad and say do something about it. he will have to do something about it. another mumbai-style mask casual attack in india will also be a
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game changer. the second thing i would say about it is, as hard as it is, it is the best of the bad options we have today. we really only had two other options. one was cutting and running. we can define cutting and running in a lot of different ways, downsize the mission, readjust the mission, but all of them come down to cutting and running, one way or another. i think the president wisely ruled that out from the beginning. if we are defeated in afghanistan by the taliban, it will also be a global game changer. this will be the second superpower, as the taliban loves to remind us, defeated in
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afghanistan, and the global reverberations in the islamic world would be enormous, and nowhere more so than next door in pakistan. thirdly, this issue is now going to consume this presidency, which is why it took them 92 days to come to a second conclusion, because they do not like that answer. i would not like it either if i was from a mental or david axelrod. this issue will be the foreign policy -- if i was rahm emanuel or david axelrod. it will be the foreign policy issue that the congress of the u.s. is judged upon less than a year from now. other issues may outweigh exit, the economy, but this will be it foreign policy issue that people look at. it will need to explain to the american people again and again
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why they are sending their sons and daughters to the other side of the planet to fight a war which has been going on now longer than any war in american history. it will have to be explained how we intend to win that war and how we hope to be able to get out of it. that will mean political energy, political capital, and the most precious thing in any white house, the time of the president will have to be devoted to this issue. wars consume presidencies, and this war stance on the verge of consuming his presidency. a final note, the good news in all this, i generally -- i genuine believe we will know in july it or august of 2011 whether this strategy works. what usa that? by then -- why do i say that? by then will have had the forces in for more than a year. we will have found out whether
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we can break the momentum of the taliban. we will have found out how pakistan reacts to all of this. we will have found out whether we can build and afghan national security force. we will not have achieved victory. the end will be nowhere in sight, but we will at least know whether we have a strategy that has a promise of success. if it does, i would suggest to you that there will be very, very few american soldiers coming home in the summer of 2011. if it does not work, we will then face the very, very difficult decision of owning up to that in deciding where we go next. i sure hope he does not call me that day. thank you very much for your attention. [applause]
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>> we have a few -- time for a few questions and answers. we have plenty of people raising their hands. does anybody have a question? you are the man. >> thanks for this taught. if we use the strategy of cut and run, do you recommend anti psychological tactics to make the enemy feel defeated? we can still do cut and run as long as we are covering this with proper psychological tactics that can give them a feel of defeat. >> it is a clever idea. nothing springs to mind
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immediately as to how we can turn retreat into victory. there are various levels of cut and run. we'll have to completely give up. -- we don't have to completely give up. we can hope that the afghan government that we leave survives as long as the other government survived. the communist government in afghanistan outlived the soviet union. it is not a parallel we want to spend a lot of time thinking about. i don't think there is a downsizing the mission alternative. there is a view of going to pure counter-terrorism. it will not work. as an intelligence professional who spent a great deal of time trying to persuade people to commit treason, they will not do
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it if they don't think you are going to be around to give them the check when they come back from their mission. does not work that way. -- it does not work that way. >> this morning, ambassador benjamin gave an interesting top. during the course of his 15 minutes, he failed to use three words that you used in the first five minutes, which was global islamic jihad. premier advisory perspective, to what level was this broader ideological struggle, how it resonate in the second administration? there seems to be a push back on looking at the problem through that lens. >> i am at the liberty of saying what ever i want to say, unlike then.
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a very good friend and colleague is now in the administration. the simplest answer is that i actually do think this administration understands that this is a battle of ideas and narratives, and it has to come up with a counter narrative to the narrative of the global islamic dawn. -- global islamic jihad. the best proof is the president's speech in cairo. in some ways, it was addressed exactly to him. the short person is that the u.s. is now an imperialist power, a crusading power, which is trying to impose its will on the muslim world by dividing the muslim world up into small states which can manipulate --
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which did can manipulate. -- which it can manipulate. what is his opening line in cairo? we are not an imperialists, colonial power. we were born in a revolution against the empire. it was a great speech. i don't think anyone disputes that. the problem is going to be following it up. the counter narrative has to be punctuated with real things. they have proceeded to do that in some places, and are struggling in others. in the central battlefield of the narrative, the arab-israeli battlefield, they are having a very difficult time. they don't have partners to work but rigid to work with, and that makes moving forward very hard. i am convinced that the
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understand the central role of the war of ideology here. >> i am a fulbright student studying at the university of maryland. i arrived here four months ago. i really enjoyed your speech. i just wanted to make a comment about my country, afghanistan. you earlier talked about the elections. i was there during the elections and was working directly on the elections. we were seeing how things were being arranged, and everybody was watching that. we could see that this was -- this would be the consequences
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of the election. anyway, it is not a big deal in the eyes of afghans. it was the second election in the history of our country, and we are used to self-imposed presidents and kings. that is not a big deal. right now we have to obviously find a way to work with the president and the administration, to bring the right people on board. with regard to the engagement of the united states in afghanistan, i should say that we obviously know, and people talk about eight years of engagement in afghanistan. i am telling you that it has not been eight years of engagement of the united states.
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it has been one year and a few months of engagement, beginning in 2002 through 2003 when the united states went to iraq. since then, we are seeing that all the problems, all of the issues that were taking us to failure and giving support to the taliban, but we were just watching. >> can you ask the question, please? we don't have time for statements. >> i just wanted to finish my statement by saying we have the chance to win in afghanistan
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because we have the will of the people on all sides. >> i think i agree with almost everything you said. karzai's problem is more here than it is there, and i certainly agree with everything you said about the impact of the war on iraq on this venture in an -- in afghanistan. >> you contrasted the situation in afghanistan facing us now with the situation facing the russians before. i hate to ask this question. the other comparison that is often made it the situation that
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obama is facing with what johnson based in vietnam. it is what johnson faced in vietnam. the ghost of vietnam haunts this administration. it walks the quarters of the white house every day. it walks the course of a congress every day. afghanistan 2009 it is not vietnam of 1961. it is a very different situation. we were attacked from afghanistan, the most successful foreign attack on the united states of america are one, at the royal navy's attack on the capital, was carried out from afghanistan. those who did that are plotting today a repeat performance. in 2006, on the fifth
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anniversary of september 11, they replant a repeat performance that would have been more chilling in devastating than what happened on september 11, 2001, to blow up eight jumbo jets flying across the north atlantic to the united states from canada. had that succeeded, more people would have died than died on september 11. the international airline business would have gone out of business. nobody in their right mind would get on an airplane to fly anywhere again. as bad as the viet cong were, as bad as the north vietnamese were, they had no designs to attack the united states. the specter of the north vietnamese attacking seattle was entirely created by the johnson administration. has no basis in fact. secondly, we are not in afghanistan as a colonial,
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imperialists power. there is not an american in america who wants to control afghanistan. to the contrary, we would like to get away as quickly as we can. the situation in vietnam, the u.s. was there with very little international legitimacy. i think these situations are fundamentally different. i also do not think afghanistan today -- let's deal with the situation we have, not with analogies to other places. but i understand the question. [inaudible]
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>> in terms of domestic american politics, there is a great parallel. the president finds himself in a terrible situation. the critics of the war are nancy pelosi democrats from san francisco, etc. it is a terrible place for a democratic president to be. the people he has to convince to support him are his natural constituency. he does not have to convince the sarah palin. she is just looking for an opportunity to say you screwed it up. >> you mentioned that we don't know where bin laden is in there have been no reports. but there have been reports over a number of years that he has not stayed in iran.
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there were reports in 2000 for, photographic evidence to come out. -- reports in 2004. how do you comment on his -- on those reports? >> i want to be absolutely explicit. the last time we had a solid piece of information about where osama bin laden was was eight years ago. we don't have a clue where he is today. bob gates asked this question on "meet the press" but this week, and he said it had been a few years. i am a big fan of bob gates. he has been my boss and more renovations that i can remember, but i think he has been a little misleading. as events in iran? i do not rule out that
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possibility. -- has he been in iran? we don't know what the relationship between the government in iran and the operational activity was. i would suggest to you that if the iranians want to give us trouble in the world in the next few years, one of the simplest ways for them to do it is to just allow a higher degree of al qaeda operational activity on their territory, since we have virtually no baseline it as to what they allowed. the relationship between al qaeda and iran is a black hole. >> i have a question about the syndicate of terrorist organizations you were referring to.
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there was not a single afghan on board the planes on 9/11. mullah omar is allowing [unintelligible] he is sending out messages which say come and talk to me. why don't we give it a chance? >> there are several questions buried in that one question. first of all, those chosen by osama bin laden to carry out september 11 were chosen very, very carefully. it was very deliberate that 15 of them were saudis.
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he realized that he was going to create a crisis in u.s.-saudi relations, and he did. it was a brilliant piece of tactical advice. mullah omar and the taliban and negotiations -- i don't believe that is what he is saying. i believe he is saying we are prepared to let you leave. or less gracefully. and then the islamic emirate of afghanistan will be recreated, and we will talk to our fellow afghans about what their place will be in it. he is not offering negotiations with the karzai government. to the contrary, he says karzai is a tradeitor. that all set, i do not believe that all of the taliban is
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irreconcilable. i believe parts of the taliban may be prepared to break with zero more and the philosophy -- with omar and the philosophy of the global islamic jihad. no one is going to break with that movement today, you would be dead tomorrow morning, and so would your family. if the momentum is shifted and we can offer security and protection to people who break from the taliban, then we may begin to see fissures within the taliban movement. if we do something simple like pay afghan soldiers were money than the taliban pays their soldiers, we may also find that many people will come over. we don't know. that is part of what i mean about saying we will know in 18 months. we will see whether fischer's like this begin to develop and the taliban. we will see whether resource in
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the afghan army were properly brings in recruits who might otherwise go to the taliban. we will know that within p that definitioneriod of time. -- we will know that within that definite period of time. we will know. omar is interested in anything like negotiations with the united states. if there is, there is a simple way for them to prove it. give us osama bin laden. >> not all the opposition to the war is left with democrats. we work against the iraq war also. what about a defensive strategy? america as a democracy, we are
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incapable of really fighting against the guerrillas, as we have been losing consistently. . . that's a very difficult
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strategy to carry out, because we have to be lucky in foiling every single plot that they come up with. they only have to be lucky once or twice to have devastating effects on us. we may get there. let me put a marker down here. i said in 18 months we will know. if it's not working, we need to be very honest and rigorous with ourselves and say it's not working. the patient is dead. and then we may have to go to that strategy. but i'd like to try to find out whether there is a better alternative to the one you're suggesting. >> i think we're good. there we go. >> patrick he had goneton from new jersey. appreciate your remarks. i'm a former intelligence officer like you and former army officer. probably a lot of those types, quite frankly, in this room. so here's the deal -- five years ago congress rejected by 402-2 -- that was the vote -- a resolution to bring back the draft. so we're not willing to have
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our sons and daughters, our friends and neighbors, bear the burden physically. the speaker has said there will be no war surtax. so we're not willing to embrace paying for this thing financially, one would say. what does that say about our level of commitment? if we take your proposition at face value, which is we have to find a way to mitigate this threat -- i don't think you can completely eliminate it, and i think that's the big lie that's out there right now. the politicians on both sides of the aisle are saying that the threat can be made to permanently go away. not happening. when are we going to start talking honestly with each other and the american people about that fact? and what are we going to do to get people to understand that if we're really going to engage in conflicts like this, we're going to have to pay for them?
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thank you. >> that's a very good and very difficult question. it goes a little bit beyond my area of expertise. as i said, this is going to be a resource-intense effort. and that has all kinds of implications for other things we want to do. i don't know whether the situation in iraq is going to get worse next year, as many expect it will, but i think that the drawdown of u.s. forces in iraq will be compelled by the situation in afghanistan. we will not have the option of doing both at once. one great lie that has been exposed in the last decade is this -- that the united states military can fight two medium-sized conflicts at the same time. we can't do it. lesson to self -- if you're involved in one, don't start another one. that has implications in other
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places. the notion that the united states today could use military force against iran while it is bogged down in a quagmire in afghanistan and is trying to get out of one in iraq i think is lunacy. we could not afford to do that. we simply could not afford to do that. that has implications for the future of iran's nuclear weapons development program. no president is going to take the military option off the table, but i think anyone who looks seriously at the united states military today, like bob gates or admiral mullen, would say to the president, if he said let's start a third war, mr. president, you want to do that, it's your nickel, but here's my resignation. i'm not going with you. thank you very much. >> thank you, bruce. bruce will be available -- [applause] bruce will be available to sign the copies of his book. we'll break for 10 minutes and we'll try and start the next
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session, but bruce will still remain outside signing books. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> coming up, author and researcher william eggers analyzes the successes and failures of the u.s. government. also, a discussion on u.s.-muslim relations. after that, a house hearing on how the internet is being used by terrorist groups to spread their message and recruit members. >> tomorrow on "washington journal," a discussion on u.s. foreign policy with barbara slave inn of "the washington times" and jonathan broder of c.q. weekly. after that a look at president obama's achievements in his first year in office with stephen hess of the brookings institute and dan thomason. that's live here on c-span at
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7:00 a.m. eastern. >> monday, expanding broadband to rural and underserved areas of the country. an update from blair eleven on the communicators on c-span2. >> next, author and researcher, william eggers, analyzes the successes and failures of the u.s. government over the last 75 years. he recently co-wrote a book entitled, "if we can put a man on the moon -- getting big things done in government." this is just over an hour. [applause] >> well, thank you all for coming and thank you to the commonwealth for having me here. it's really an honor to speak. it's great to be here in beautiful, sunny california. got to love the weather. i'm particularly pleased to be here tonight, because so many of my friends and colleagues
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and many of my relatives are here. my brother and his wife are in the back and a lot of my cousins. i have a whole row there, so it really means a lot to me tonight. so if we can put a man on the moon -- how many times have you heard that phrase? if we can put a man on the moon, why can't we cure homelessness? if we can put a man on the moon, why can't we fix our schools? or from my favorite source of news, "the onion," if we can put a man on the moon, why can't we make killer robot police? now, it didn't start off as a cliche, of course, it started off as a challenge issued by president john f. kennedy in 1961. >> i believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade it owes of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. no single space project in this period will be more impressive
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to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space. >> i usually give the my co-author, john o'leary, who is from massachusetts, he does a wicked kennedy impression that usually gets a big ovation. since i couldn't do that, you got the real thing here. now, it was an impossible challenge, but america pulled together. in july, 1969, neal armstrong planted a flag on the moon. now, the trip to the moon inspired a generation. it was climbing mount everest, flying across the atlantic and reaching the north pole all rolled into one. no one who was alive at that time -- and i know a lot of you were alive then -- could forever forget that feeling of pride at that moment. do you remember that? most of you probably remember exactly where you were at the time. it made an impact on every american, particularly the young, including our president, barack obama, who said as a young boy he remembered growing
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up in hawaii, "sitting on my grandfather's shoulders watching the astronauts come ashore, my grandfather explained with pride and assurance how we as americans could accomplish anything we sut our minds to do." now, who could argue that american government wasn't capable after we put a man on the moon? we had won world war ii, we had helped rebuild europe through the marshall plan and we built the national highway system. we were justifiably proud of our accomplishments. but is our government today capable of excusing against our most important challenges? recent events aren't likely to lead 20-particularrer tape parades, iraq, katrina, the big dig's collapsing tunnel, the brutal economic meltdown. we're once again facing questions about our government's ability to execute. political observers believe we have a crisis. the man on the street believes we have a crisis. i've been doing radio interviews, and people are mad,
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they're angry, angry at wall street, but also at our government today. and those who run our government programs believe we have a crisis. 60% of our nation's most senior executives say government today is less capable of executing than it was 30 years ago. now, most people will then ask, who's to blame for this state of affairs? and the answer, of course, depends on whose side you're on. george w. bush, barack obama, newt gingrich, nancy pelosi, the republicans, the democrats, the greedy contractors, the unions, michael moore, rush limbaugh. who's to blame? it's a natural question to ask. but is it the right question to ask? whenever something goes wrong, the natural tendency is to find someone to blame. all you need to do is go visit
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a local book store and go into the current events section. it's filled with villains. >> i wanted to appear on the cover of the book in short mini-dresses. but there's always the paperback version. so instead of who's to blame, we asked the question why do some big initiatives fail and why do some succeed? to answer that question, we studied more than 75 major undertakings since world war ii to look for both great successes and monumental failures. we looked at everything from the success of the marshall plan to the struggles of immigration reform. we looked at the wars on poverty, the wars on inflation, to real wars in iraq and vietnam. now, when we began this task of reviewing all of these initiatives, we realized that
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to do it right would require a small army of intelligent, thoughtful individuals who understood government and were willing to work for free. and so the answer was clear -- we needed grad students. [laughter] with the help of more than 70 grad students, we sought to understand the factors behind success and failure. to understand this central question and the difference between a government that is mired in failure and a government that can succeed we were looking for a path to success. now, my co-author and i, we each bring a distinct perspective to this issue. john is an engineer by training, an m.i.t. engineer, and he develops a process map for making toast in the morning. so, like any good engineer, what john did was he said we need to look at this and break it down into its discreet processes. we found that while they were all very different, they all followed a predictable path, a
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series of steps that we called the journey to success. now, there are lots of ways an initiative can end in disaster. but to have a happy ending, the following must occur -- you must have a good idea, you must have an implementable design, the design must win approval, what we call signaling a moment of democratic commitment. it's when it goes through the legislature, and we actually call that that's "stargate." my engineer co-author came up with that name. and it's because, like the science fiction series, when you walk through the political stargate, you instantly travel from one universe, which is the political universe, to another universe, which is a bureaucratic universe. and these are radically different places, which we'll talk about. there must be competent implementation and the initiative must generate its desired results. so we used this map to help guide our inquiry. we discovered by simply visualizing as a map helped to identify the root causes.
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now, i am a consultant, so my perspective is a bit different. consultants are often called in when an initiative is in the ditch and they need to get it out of it. and i'm also a built of a pessimist. so this map, while technically correct, it really doesn't reflect the real world that i see every day of government and government initiatives. so i tend to look at all the possible problems to scope out all the systemic barriers to success, because the potential for failure lurks everywhere any time you do a major government initiative. so we identified seven hidden pitfalls, what we call the seven deadly traps on this journey to success. now, we're not going to go through all seven of the traps today. but to learn about them, you're going to actually have to read the book, which means you're going to have to buy the book, which is available afterwards. i'm told they make for fine holiday presents coming up.
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and so you add -- you take the process map and then you take the traps and you put those together, and then you have actually the map, which we think is the more realistic map of how to get big things done in government. and it looks a little bit like that. there are actually copies of the map behind you. so we're going to start off by looking at the idea phase. not all ideas are created equal. the pogocopter was a bad idea. it got a at that time tent even. new coke. bad idea. so was the electric fort. and a really bad idea was gerald ford's whip inflation now buttons. who remembers those? do you remember those buttons? who wore them? anyone here? these buttons essentially whip inflation now campaign were designed to talk about how we were going to whip double-digit inflation. bad idea. now, how did ideas like this
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come into play? well, ideas are really the first phase in the public policy process, and you can't have a successful initiative if you've got a flawed idea. bad ideas generally become reality when they aren't exposed to external criticism. this phenomenon is called tolstoy syndrome, named after count leo tolstoy. and it's the biggest trap in the idea stage. it occurs when people or groups shut themselves off from critics, from those who think differently than they do. a few years ago a professor named drew weston, who's out of the university of georgia, he studies how the brain works, an he wanted to conduct an experiment. so he had ardent republicans and ardent democrats watch a debate between president george bush and senator john kerry. but there's a twist. while they watched the debate, he had their heads all wired up so he could monitor their brains.
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they were wired up to an m.r.i. machine. looked a little bit like that. available on ebay for $29.95. [laughter] weston found that republicans thought that bush had won. democrats thought that kerry had won. and both sides ignored it when their guy was being inconsistent. no surprise there. but what was really surprising was that the part of the brain that was activated during the debate was not the thinking part at all, it was the emotional part of the brain. those viewing the debate weren't thinking at all, it turns out, they were just pulling for their guy. now, this phenomenon is called confirmation bias. it's when we aren't open to new ways of thinking, when our brain is shut off to diverse viewpoints and it causes a lot of problems. and just think about the world that we're living in today, where so much of the news that we get and what people watch, it confirms our views rather than informs them. and i think if you look at the
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root of a lot of our big problems today, this is one of the things that we found time and time again. so what's the answer to this? how do you fix it? the answer is to expose these ideas to new ways of thinking, to bring in new perspectives. kinds of like having an engineer and a consultant look at the same problem. now, that's the approach that was used to solve one of the biggest environmental successes of the 1980's. one of the biggest environmental problems, which was acid rain. now, my family, we grew up in a suburb on lake michigan. we are about a mile from the beach. and my family was crazy about the beach. we absolutely loved going to the beach. but throughout most of my childhood, we never actually got to go to the beach. why? because it was covered in dead fish. really ugly dead fish. and so why was it covered in dead fish? because of something called acid rain. acid rain cushes when coal-burning plants send invisible pollution up into the
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atmosphere. it goes up into the clouds where it gets absorbed. and then it goes hundreds of miles and it actually lands somewhere else and it kills lakes, rivers and the animals and wildlife within it. it was the biggest environmental issue of the 1980's, so you would think something would have been done about it. unfortunately, the debate about acid rain developed into two camps. you had environmentalists on one side who basically wanted to eliminate all pollution. you had coal-burning plants, business interests on the other side, who believed that regulation would actually kill jobs and put them out of business. now, each of them was locked into their world view. they just didn't disagree, they despised each other. there was an impasse. 70 bills were authored in congress to address acid rain. not a single one made it out of congress. into this quagmire came two senators. senator tim werth from
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colorado, a democrat, and senator jack hines from pennsylvania, a republican. so here's how they broke through the logjam. into the room of environmentalists and business interests, they brought in economists to look at the problem. the economists they brought in were actually from a think tank out here in san francisco called environmental defense fund. one of the guys' names was robert stabin. by giving the problem to an economist, they took it out of the realm of the absolutists on each side. they looked at it like an economics problem. and -- are there any economists in the room here, by the way? one economist? you know what they say about economists, don't you? economists are really good with numbers, but they lack the personality to become engineers. [laughter] so the economist solution was creative. they capped the amount of pollution at half the previous
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level, and then instead of a command and control approach, they left it up to the businesses how to control it, not the e.p.a. or the department of environmental quality. energy producers could use any means they wanted to get under that cap. it was workable, it was simple, it was acceptable to both sides, it was one of the biggest environmental successes of recent decades. it resulted in a 40% reduction in carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions, and most importantly, by the time our little brother came along, our hometown beach was free of dead fish. so overcoming the tolstoy syndrome is all about listening. if we think we know the answer, we close off all these avenues of exploration. so now, let's go to the design stage. and let's go back a few years ago to something you all
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experienced here. the 1990's in california had a problem. some things, i guess, never change, but the economy was in a slump, and in part it was because of high energy prices. and governor wilson and the legislature had an idea. what if we replace public monopolies with a competitive market, and the goal -- innovation and cost savings? now, it was not a fundamentally crazy idea. competition was largely -- deregulation was largely successful in the trucking and airline industries in the 1970's. but the results would all depend on the legislation on how it was designed. now the design of the new electricity market was really, really quite simple. power generators had to divest themselves of transmission lines, which meant they had to be able to recover costs they had made, because the transition grids and it would mean the state would run the california power exchange.
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but now there was an auction held 24 hours in advance which was necessary because the generators were prohibitive. you got that? not many people really understood how the new system would work, including most of the legislators. but you know who figured out how this whole system would work? who figured it out? enron. enron and a few other firms understood this new system better than the system's creators, better than the regulators. enron soon figured out how to profit from the loopholes in the new design using schemes with cute names like ricochet, fat boy and death star. enron learned that it could ship low-cost use out of california into nevada, send it back over the grid to oregon at a higher price and make a huge profit for doing nothing at all , because electricity travels at the speed of light.
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so in the summer of 2000, the crisis hit and you all know how the story goes from here. you all lived through it. there's a heat wave. got up to about 109 degrees in san jose. they recorded the highest temperatures they had ever seen in pack belle park, energy demand shot up and the lie went out. the weird phenomenon of rolling blackouts became a feature of life in california, and silicon valley, the global center of high technology, had an electricity supply of a third world nation. they were using electrical generators. there were beam on bicycles to generate electricity. electricity prices skyrocketed. just two years after the law had been passed, total meltdown. it resulted in billions of dollars being lost by you consumers, billions of dollars were lost by the state. governor gray davis was kicked out of office.
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so how did such a bill -- bless you, bless you -- how did such a bill, a badly designed bill, become law? and that's where the process gets really, really scary. why? because it was an exemplary process. they had hearings, they had meetings, they visited other jurisdictions. it was bipartisan cooperation. they worked till late at night. they did such a good job that the law passed unanimously. 98-0. as you know, nothing passes california legislature unanimously. nobody voted against it. so what was the problem? the problem was the legislation. they didn't design it to work in the real world. the california legislature saw itself as crafting a bill, that bill that could pass, and they wanted to see as many votes as they could get. so they baked in a lot of stuff to make everybody happy. but the problem was the different parts didn't work together as a system.
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the design wouldn't hold up to the likes of enron. now, california electricity deregulation points to a big factor behind him large government failures, and that's the root of many so-called implementation factors that you read about in the newspaper all the time actually lies at the design phase. we surveyed members of the national academy of public administration, and this is what they told us. only 16% said that the federal government actually designs policies that can be implemented. very similar results when we surveyed members of our senior executive service. now, it turns out if you want to get a federal senior executive really going, really animated -- and it's not always easy to get them animated -- all you have to do is ask them about the policy design process. this is what they told us. policy design at the federal level is pathetic. there's a gap between communication and understanding. policy design is dictated top-down for idealogical
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reasons. it's done without implementation considerations. there's a big problem here. so what's the cause of this? now, the civil servants will say it's the politicians. the politicians will say it's the bureaucrats. what we found actually was that neither one is the case. the problem was the gap between the two, and it's a gap that's actually gotten bigger in recent years. now, this wall of separation between those who implement policy and those who design it has a lot of problems, and one of them is that if you're on the policy side of the process, success for you equates with getting a bill passed, getting a bill through the legislature or congress, and then that's success. but the real goal is way down the line. nowhere is this more apparent than our four decades quest for energy independence. it started in 1974. president ford signed the energy policy and conservation
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act. the goal, energy independence. the result -- by 1980, net imports of oil to the united states were 400% higher than they were in 1973. 1978, president carter signs the national energy act. the goal -- derive 20% of all energy we use from the sun. by the ends of the century. the results -- well, we didn't quite get to 20%. by 2 tow, the sun provided.007% of all the energy used in the u.s. 2005, president bush signs the energy policy act. the goal -- energy and economic security. the result -- the energy independence act of 2007. now, getting through the legislature, getting through what we call stargate is a milestone, but you don't get the ticker tape parade until the results actually roll in. now, if you forget this, you're going to end up drowning in the river of failure, and that's
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not a place that you want to be. our next phase is implementation phase, and the biggest trap in this phase is overconfidence. this often occurs when really smart, really capable people become overconfident of their abilities and they fail to prepare for all of the risks. i'm sorry, i just couldn't resist that. [laughter] implementing complex public initiatives is a lot tougher than it looks. so the key to aborting failure is to take failure seriously. now, anyone who's ever done a rehab on your house knows that an estimate of $15,000 in three weeks means that actually you should take out a loan for $40,000 and move in with your in-laws, right?
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and that's how would be successful in these initiatives. so let me give you a quick story. if you're like me, few things get you more frustrated than sitting in traffic. there's one way to reduce traffic congestion and that's to charge people for the use of the roads during rush hour it's called congestion pricing, and economists have been talking about it for decades. but it's a tough political sell, because no one wants to actually pay for the roads that they think they've already paid for through a gas tax and the roads thub free. so the results is that numerous city talked about doing a charge for decades but no one had actually done it, because they couldn't get past the stargate. london was one of those cities. but by the 1990's, late 1990's, traffic was so bad that traffic in london was moving at the same speed it was or lower speed than when they had the carriages in the victorian age. and then a convergence of events occurred to change the political dynamic. the most important thing -- the election of a new mayor, ken
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livingston, who committed to the charge during the campaign. now, red ken livingston, as he was known, is unpoll jetcally a man of the left. he counts fidel castro and hugo chavez as among his closest friends. he made a sport of antagonizing margaret thatcher while she was prime minister. livingston had about the most unlikely profile you can imagine of a candidate of someone who would adopt a market road policy favored buy free market economists. but embrace it he did because it conformed with his environmental views and might be a way out of london's environmental nightmare, congestion nightmare. so there are many ways this thing could blow up, ok? so think about the times it's been proposed in san francisco. the initiative would impact a lot of people's lives. it had to be done all at once, not street by street. it had never been done before
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to this scale anywhere, ever. so his political advisors said don't do it, because if it didn't work he could kiss his next term goodbye. the media said it would be an unmitigated disaster. the quote from a rabbi in "the guardian" newspaper was typical, it said, "my synagogue was bombed during the war, but livingston is going to do more damage than the germans." but he didn't panic, because what he did was he took failure seriously. and he and his team took a lot of extraordinary steps to make sure that this went well. they tested, they planned, they tested again, they were fanatical about mapping out every single risk, and they did war-gaming of anything that could go wrong. two weeks before the launch transfer from london, they had a dry run. it was kinds of like -- think of it like -- they wanted to put their control room to the
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test. it was kind of like a preseason game, but with the pads on. they would get calls all day long to respond to potential crises. their day of war games started at 7:00 a.m. the team had just sat down for coffee, and suddenly a call comes in. >> a major traffic accident has caused a bottleneck on a major road ordering the charging zone. >> the team is ready for it. vehicles entering the zone at the detour site are electronically flagged and they won't be charged. then at k8 a.m., another call. the communications from the hub have broken down, there's no way to track vehicles come nook the zone. again, they're ready for it. they've got a backup computer system that they go to. the majority of drivers should be detected. someone has jumped off tower bridge. and it went like that all day long. but they were ready for it. they were able to handle everything that was thrown at them. they were ready. now, just in case, before the launch, they sent a woman named kate, who is actually one of my
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colleagues, to walk the entire route around the charge zone. 26 miles. armed with a pen and a piece of paper. and her assignment was to make sure that nothing was going to happen on the road network without them knowing about it. so public works scaffolding, no hole about to be dug. it's 5:30 a.m. the day of the launch. mayor livingston steps out of his flat and flash, flash, flash, is mobbed by photographers. they all want a picture of the mayor on the day that they believe will be his waterloo. but the day didn't end in disaster, it ended in triumph. everything went smoothly. there wasn't a single glitch. the streets were actually eerily quiet that day. remember the gloom and doom headlines? here are the headlines from the day after the launch. so -- he told me that was -- those headlines were one of the
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best days of his life. so why the story of the happy ending? because ken livingston knew it could have a tragic ending. as the mayor himself put it, nothing in public life has turned out better than i hoped for until now. now, this brings us to the last phase of the journey that we're going to talk about tonight, and that's the results phase. so that means we're near the ends of the speech. now, recall the greek myth about sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill. those who work in government know -- and there's some of you over there -- you know the public sector hill is really tough. i've worked in government. the private sector, the non-profit sector, and the hill is steeper in the profit sector. i mean in the public sector, because you've got these invisible forces, politics, culture, incentives, that make it uniquely challenging. now, the sisyphus myth and the
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trap tells us they are heavily dependent on the people who are actually trying to get big things done, and to succeed actually requires having people who are deeply, deeply skilled at navigating the public sector terrain. now, i like to think of these people as kind of like the indiana jones of government, because when they see that golden idol that's just there it looks like they can grab, instead they look around for where the poison darts are going to be. and the people like this, people like dwight ink. now, dwight doesn't look very much like indiana jones. he looks probably -- he's an unassuming guy, bald, short and so forth. but dwight was one of those unsung heroes. the guy behind all the cabinet secretaries who got all the attention when government embarks upon history-making achievements. dwight worked at a senior level, the most senior level for seven consecutive american
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presidents. an incredible feat. dwight is now in his 80's, and the pictures that you see on his wall are the pictures of the great people in history. he helped eisenhower write the nuclear test band treaty. and he was there when kennedy signed it. he was the guy that l.b.j. turned to to lead the alaska earthquake recovery. if all of you remember, it was the biggest earthquake in north american history. dwight told me he was watching the news of the earthquake at home with his wife and he said he felt sorry for the person who was going to have to actually put this thing back together again. two days later he got a call from l.b.j. and he said, "dwight, you're going to alaska." he helped johnson also create the department of housing and launch the war on poverty. he was in charge of new federalism for richard nixon
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and civil service reform for jimmy carter. ronald reagan came in and actually put dwight in charge of shutting down the first federal agency to chullly be shut down in 50 years. not a pleasant task for a civil servant, but he got the job done. he was even kidnapped once by colombian drug lords while leading the war on drugs for the state department. soon after dwight retired. now, the one story i love about dwight is he was in a meeting when kennedy was first elected, and they didn't have the national security council completely done. so dwight was sitting in a meeting on limiting the nuclear test band treaty, and dwight, in that meeting, arthur schlesinger was there, you know, who was the president's historian, very, very close to the kennedy family. and dwight was arguing for the limited nuclear test band
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treaty and schlessinger was arguing against it, and necessary got into really heated, heated arguments. they got all head-faced and everything. and dwight after the meeting went back and tendered his resignation because he figured, look, the kennedys aren't going to want him around anymore, h holdover arguing with someone so close to the family. and the funniest thing was during this meeting, who was looking over? he realized that it was bobby kennedys. and bobby kennedy was watching this. so dwight just said, you know what, i'm in so much trouble right now, and so he thought he'd have to have another career, go into the private sector. but actually, he went back in that next meeting -- he was invited back and arthr schlessinger was gone and dwight was there. and what that story shows us is the importance of courage and speaking up for what you believe in. our nation faces very serious challenges today, and what is
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most sobering, however, is the difficulty that we've been having actually tackling are big challenges. and there's only one way out of our predicament and that's to choose wisely which policies we pursue and then to execute those effectively. hour hope is that this book leaves a lot of public officials and leaves all of you a little better equipped to navigate the process of making our government better, so that we can all have a better future. thank you very much. [applause] >> you've got water? >> i got water. >> great shape, thanks. our thanks to william eggers, co-author of the book, "if we can put a man on the moon -- getting big things done in government." thanks for your comments this evening. my name is joe epstein. i'm a past chair of the commonwealth club's board of
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governors, and i will be moderating tonight's audience question period. we have a lot of questions here for you, and we're about to begin. many of the questions i realize address your new book's central theme, that being the process of idea through implementation. so let me begin, if i may, with this question -- how would you rate the obama campaign towards design and implementation strategies during the election process of 2008? >> you know, that's a great question, because we actually -- i actually wrote a whole thing that didn't make it into the book about how the campaign actually performed from the standpoint of execution. it was, i think, almost all political professors would say it was one of the most flawlessly executed campaigns. and they had their idea and they stuck to that idea.
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they designed it. they basically did a lot of things with crowd source, in terms of bringing in a lot of people to help them to kind of execute that. and in the face of some hard things they stuck with it. the campaign really kept their eye on the goal in the ends. so i think from an execution standpoint it was really a model. and if more government initiatives operated like that, it would be easy. but in a campaign, you don't have to go through congress, right? and that ends up being a big barrier to doing things that smoothly. >> let's talk just for a moment about the marshall plan. you write a lot about it, and it's a quintessential example that you use. you referred to it as an example of a successful government program. might not the obama stimulus plan be a modern-day version of the marshall plan? but this time it's actually for us.
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>> i have not thought about it that way. i would say just on the marshall plan, what was interesting about it is that when the marshall plan was first -- when it was first proposed, as a lot of you might remember, it was actually not terribly popular. the american public was really split about whether this made a lot of sense to put billions and billions of dollars into europe and all that effort. but what was interesting about how they did it was rather than try to ram it through or anything, what they did was they allowed for a lot of thoughtful legislative debate, and they actually sent a lot of the senators and others who were not quite convinced it was the right thing to send them to europe to actually take a look at it. and they involved them, but they had, what i thought was remarkable, a big hub relations campaign where they had town hall meetings and they went across america to try to make the case for this. it was a huge effort.
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there was buttons, everything involved in that time. and i think it was really an exemplary process for actually how to go about that, because when you look at these major initiatives like we did time and time again, there's very, very few really successful initiatives that we found that actually were done on a strictly partisan basis. most of the successes -- you had bipartisan cooperation and you had the majority of the american people really behind them. >> this is a broad question. war the best managed government programs? >> you know, it's funny, as i've been doing a lot of radio program, a lot of ranting and raving people are doing on the radio now days, and when i actually will say, you know, we have had a lot of failures recently, but we've had some real successes in the last 30 years. people look at me sometimes like i'm a crazy person, that they can't think of it.
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but we've actually had some really good successes. let's look at a few of them. one of them was acid rain reduction, which i mentioned. a great environmental success. another one was crime reduction. in american cities we've seen 50%, 60%, 70% reductions in crime over the last 15 years. and that was due to really, really strong execution in many respects. welfare reform. it was a bipartisan initiative between president clinton, the republican congress and also the states involved. very, very successful initiative. huge reductions. a lot of people got to work. and one of the reasons why welfare reform worked was because it had already been tried in the states, like in wisconsin, wyoming, in cities, and so when i talked to the person who drafted the bill in congress, what he said was that essentially we're just riding a wave now. we've already seen the different scusses locally, so it's easy now to craft a bill
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that builds on that. and they gave a lot of flexibility to states for how they could actually implement it, and i think that's a really good model, where you try things out on a small basis, you do a lot of piloting, a lot of pro to typing and you see what works before you try to go at scale across the whole country. >> how does one best regulate big government without increasing the size of its bureaucracy? is that even possible? >> regulate big government. well, actually regulating big government is one of our problems today. if you're a government official, if you're one of the senior executives that i talked about, what we call the bridgers, you are faced with so many rules and regulations and constraints on how to manage. when we did our survey, we asked, waste the biggest reason why we're having problems -- what is the biggest reason why we're having problems today? they cited partisanship and
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other problems, but they said all the administrative rules and constraints that actually make it impossible to do anything if you're in government. we've made that hill. that hill for sisyphus is a lot steeper than it was. so in fact what we need to do is redegree late our government a lot and -- deregulate our government a lot. what happens is when there's any type of a scandal, we put more and more restrictions on them, because we assume that everyone in government is a crook, right? and that's kind of how we do things. those of you who work in the private sector, if you had the same kind of constraints, you'd find it incredibly frustrating. we need to be more aware of that and we need to take steps to remove a lot of those. >> let's identify ourselves for a moment. you're listening to the radio program and our guest today it william eggers, author and commentator, who is discussing when government works and when government doesn't work. here's an example of, in my opinion with this question, of
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maybe where government works. it's about the t.s.a. after 9/11 under the leadership of minetta, the transportation security administration was established to -- was it implemented effectively in your opinion? you know, it's funny you mentioned t.s.a. sometimes in plight company, and everyone's got kind of a story to tell about the t.s.a. let's just say charitably it wasn't exactly known for its customer service in its first few years, right? but it's actually interesting. we talk about t.s.a. in the book, because it's a positive story. a new director came in several years after it had been in operation named kip holly. and kip was -- kip's problem -- what he said was that there's 55,000 screeners there. there's got to be a lot of those screeners with really good ideas for how to make things a little bit easy yr for
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all of you when you go through the screening process while keeping us safe. but right now there's no way for him to get those ideas, because there's all these layers of management and so forth. so he was trying to find a way to reach down and get the ideas from individual screeners, which is a wonderful thing to do in government. what he did is he came up something called the idea factory. using collaboration technology, using wicky technology and the internet, they put something up that allowed any t.s.a. employee to submit ideas for improving t.s.a. operations, making customer service better and so forth. and a lot of agencies have idea suggestion boxes and they don't go anyplace. but not only would they get to submit ideas, but other t.s.a. employees would get to vote on whether they were good ideas or not, they participated in debate and kip actually was there participating in these forums. what happened was that over time a lot of these ideas actually became adopted. simple ones. if any of you have ever been
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through airport security and to an airport where they have diamond lanes and black lanes and others for fast travelers and slower travelers, that came from this idea factory. they also had another one called the just simply job switching. over time dozens and dozens of ideas coming from the front line were actually implemented at t.s.a., and i think it's made it a much better agency. but it's a wonderful example of how to, again, break through the tolstoy syndrome by essentially reaching out to a much more diverse group of people to help you come up with good ideas. >> well, i just have a real-life example myself in terms of the tolstoy syndrome. thanks for the invitation to segue here. i was recently visiting a customer in the heavy construction business, and he had several pictures of the big dig on his office wall, which i know you write extensively about in your book. so i told him about your book, because i was reading it at the time. it was just last week. and what you refer to as the
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tolstoy syndrome, which is, i think, seeing the possibilities -- only the possibilities that you want to see. that was the reason for ignoring the real cause of the leaking ceiling bolts. then he proceeded to tell me that he had worked for three years on the big dig project, and i think at a fairly high level. i felt what you wrote about in the book was very interesting. could you elaborate just a little bit about that as an example of a project and the tolstoy syndrome? >> you know, if any of you over the years have been in boston and traveled there, you know about the big dig, because it led to a lot of traffic. it was essentially one of our biggest urban infrastructure projects ever, and it was supposed to cost a couple of million dollars and the federal government put in a lot of the money. and it ended up -- it ended up being huge cost overruns. it took decades to actually finish, and they actually had a collapsing tunnel, which
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actually ended up killing a woman. it was a pretty horrendous process overall. and one of the problems with the big dig was that they were actually spending mostly federal money. and when you're spending other people's money, those kind of cost overruns and those other things end up occurring. but what we write about in the book was called the case of the red herring bolt, where essentially a bolt kept on slipping. the bolts kept slipping, and they kept on misdiagnosing why they were slipping. they didn't look at the obvious thing, because they could only see it in a certain way. and basically over time, then that ended up in the collapsing of the tunnel. but what occurred with the big dig was simply this notion of they wanted to see it in a certain way, and they refused to look at kind of alternative viewpoints and see it in a way differently. and the big dig -- you know, a lot of infrastructure projects we looked at had massive cost
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overruns and massive problems. we need to spend a lot of time figuring how to do things better. and one of the things we found that the more the money for infrastructure projects tends to come from the local tee itself, -- locale tee, then the more efficiently they're provided. >> the next question has to do with comparing china's form of government to ours. china's form of government has been referred to as authoritarian capitalism. how would you chair their form of capitalism to ours? which form of capitalism can take ideas and then implement them most effectively? >> you know, it's an interesting question. our first -- before we call the book "if we can put a man on the moon," the name of it was actually "mussolini's curse." why were we going to call it that? everybody used to say about
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mussolini, at least he can make the trains run on time. it turns out that that's actually a bit of a myth that that actually happened. but it's this longing we often have in times like these when everything seems to be going wrong, when everyone's kind of screaming at each other. we kinds of have that longing for this more authoritarian form of government where they're just going to get things done. remember during the olympics? they built all of these incredible projects and they were built fairly quickly and everything seemed to go so smoothly at the olympics in china. and there was a lot of articles at the time saying why can't we, as a democracy, do it that well? why can't we do it as quickly? and so it's this interesting kind of longing. and actually, it's a big reason why we wrote that book, because we do believe that we can, and we can be successful there. it's always going to be a little bit tougher. there are always going to be political obstacles. there's always going to be
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debate, but i think that's the price. i don't think any of us would give it up for a second for a little bit more efficiency, that people to actually have that debate. >> the government is spending more and more on washington-based consultants and probably one could say the role of lobbyist has also been extremely active. they're doing this as more government projects get initiated. what do you think about this use of consultants? >> well, as a consultant -- >> right, that's why i asked the question. [laughter] i think it's a wonderful, very smart thing to do. no, actually, i did write another book dealing with this issue called "governing by network." what it is really is the complexity of our problems today, the complexity of things mean that whether it's a private company, whether it's the government or any organization, when you look at a lot of the big things that we got done over time, they
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weren't done by one agency or another. they were usually done by a network of different agencies, federal, local government and often by university scientists and others, and a lot of consultants very often. the manhattan project actually had over 50,000 academics, scientists, researchers who were non-government who were working on that, and actually only 5,000 government officials. when we decided to put a man on the moon, nasa was really small. it actually only had about 5,000 people. now, there's no way nasa would be able to realize putting a man on the moon in a decade with that amount of people. so they had to go into academic areas, they had to go into scientists, contractors, consultants and bring them in and over time, about 6 ,000 were actually -- 69,000 were actually employed to help realize that goal of putting a man on the moon. and over time then we were able to quickly scale back again. so i actually think that
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there's a lot of benefits, actually, for using people from the outside who have done a lot of these projects time and time again. >> mr. eggers, one of my earlier questions had to do with comparing the marshall plan to the obama stimulus plan. here's a follow-up to that -- in a time of economic despair and while we're in a recession, are you in favor of government expansion and even more stimulus spending? >> well, what we do in the book is the book really takes a processed look at government in general. now, this question is about the role of government, what governments should do in the first place. and that's a really, really important question to answer, because if you don't answer that, then a lot of the other things don't make sense. but what we do in the book is we try to address the seconds question, which is once you decide what to do, how do you actually execute it? and one of the things that we say in the book and elsewhere
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is that it doesn't matter whether you're a liberal who wants universal health care or you're a conservative who wants to make government smaller and you want to have school vouchers and other things, execution is actually really, really important. and i've been working in government reform for over two decades now, and believe me, i've been involved in many, many examples of actually trying to find cost savings in government, trying to trim agencies, and one thing i can tell you is that actually making government smaller is a lot harder, requires a lot more execution than actually launching a new program, a lot more attention to that. and too often i think people who believe that government should be smaller don't spend enough time thinking about that. they want to just come up with an idea and then kind of toss that over the wall, and then when it doesn't work, they blame it on the bureaucrats. so i think it's really important for people on both sides of the aisle with all important for people on both sides of the aisle with all

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