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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  September 18, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with a look at the obama presidency. joining me richard wolffe who the author of his new book called the message. from politico john harris and todd purdum. >> he's different, he's trying to be different. and you got to ask yourself what does he think he is trying to impress on people. someone who understands the complexity of policy is a useful projection at certain times. we're talking about military strikes, nuance only takes you so far. you're talking about the projection of american power. he would say we want to send a message to syria we went to send a message to the world about
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chemical weapons and his weapon comes around to a point where he takes a walk around the whitehouse garden. >> rose: we conclude this evening with ron paul and a conversation about what it means to be a libertarian today. did you think you could be elected president. >> yes, i could be but i wasn't sitting there anticipating that that would -- i used to kid i'm taking a risk. it could happen. but when i ran first time for congress, i had no thought ever of ever winning an election because i spoke the same way and i kept telling me wife don't worry i'm not going to be elected because they won't someone who acts like santa claus. you're challenging, when you challenge the entire status quo, it's not like you say oh right, i can convert you all in 10 minutes. this is why i never got frustrated in washington because in washington i didn't expect to change it. so what happened outside of washington, i had been amazingly surprised. >> rose: the obama presidency
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and a conversation about libertarianism when we continue captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> we have never seen in the history of the united states the debt celling or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling to
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extort a governing party and trying to are force issues that have nothing to do with the budget or the debt. >> rose: president obama's second term has not been an easy one so far. he faces challenges from his critics over the crises in syria and complaints from his allies unwilling to engage with his own party members in congress. when politico asks what's wrong with president obama from the presidency i'm joined at this table by richard wolffe. his new book is simply called the message reselling of president obama. we will later be joined by john harris and todd purdum. we began with richard wolffe. the reselling of president obama sort of sums it up doesn't it. >> it disflt i was in-- it was. i was inspired by the guinness book about president nixon. when he brought in his paul
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saryksz you have to have a laser-like focus how they repackage him. they talked about the campaign, we moved beyond that. we don't mind treating politicians like conflicts. but there's a thread i think that goes through these concerns we're talking about in the media today. and what they went through in the campaign. some things they got brilliantly right. they had to overcome not mitt romney but the whole copy. some things they got very badly wrong and they kept a tight lid on them. going back to the campaign leave these interesting clues to what we're now looking at. >> rose: the reason i said reselling is a perfect title because if you're facing re-election in this case, it's a very different election from 2008. >> so what they end up having to wrestle is, is it morning in america, is it sort of pre dawn in america, how much credit can the president take on a tremendous amount of work. the last debt ceiling crises, the misery of the credit down
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grading to succeeding against romney is a tremendous journey and a very different journey but it is about repackaging and remarketing. >> rose: here's the difference about this what you disclosed. after the victory everybody said what a brilliant team in chicago. they did everything right, they understood the election, they understood america, they understood how america had changed and where the voters were. all of that. let's give them all the accolades we can in political history. and you come along and say wait, they were fighting like crazy. >> yes. this was not the story i expected to write. i'll be honest with you, you know. we're all immersed in elections, we read over everything and watch everything. you go back and you ask people what really happened the story they told me was very different, it was very fractious, people trying to get each other fired. these are all big owe goes, very competitive people but taking it to the level of trying to fire
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people struck me as quite extreme. you could say it was all a disaster but of course they won so what does it matter. our job is to tell the truth in the real story here and i think it actually even more extraordinary that they succeeded given these personal dynamics, given the deep dysfunction in chicago. not only did they have to overcome the economy and they had to overcome each other, that was really unexpected for me. >> rose: at the heart of this was axelrod versus mesina. >> yes. >> rose: part of 2008 campaign with deputy director. >> he had become chief operating officer. david was the central figure. when we look at the whitehouse and how it got its act together at the end of the first term, the campaigns, he is the central disciplining controlling figure. >> rose: david is. >> dave was. axal rod made room for pluff to
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come in. >> rose: they needed him. it wasn't because they were unhappy with david axal rod. >> they learned he could do more and learn more in chicago. but chicago is being run by essentially the sort of side kick jim mesina. >> rose: of in. >> david pluff. you didn't know who was calling the shots. you had david pluff in the whitehouse, jim mesina claiming to talk for the president and a lot of distrust about him. not just with axelrod. we're all the senior people in the campaign. they essentially went their own way. >> rose: despite all that they ran a good campaign. >> they ran a phenomenal campaign. that makes it all ... it's like not having a point guard and still the basketball team wins. you got to ask yourself the full story. >> rose: this is not you looking for a good story and
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you find the fact that like so many campaigns they had a lot of people at each other's throat but in the end the big story is how good they were. >> despite it all. look i covered the 08 election from start to finish. you didn't have this kind of dynamic. one of them told me, one of the central people told me he had only ever seen one face to face argument in the obama campaign in 08. one. this time it was a daily occurrence. >> rose: it was mentioned in the rained out column today is this. how did this, what happened after the campaign was over. >> it was striking. normally you would expect campaign people to get plum jobs in the administration you expect to sort of clear out or refresh. >> rose: after being on the presidential campaign. >> they told me the next day it was back to the conference calls of the west wing. nothing changed. essentially the campaign people thought you know wow, we've had this big cathartic moment, the
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president visits the headquarters and it got very tearful. they got offered jobs and everybody went their separate ways. when people look at the whitehouse and it's kind of predicament, you could say well maybe some of the campaign spirit would have helped, maybe some of those people should have come in. whatever it is, they lack energy and ideas right now and even democrats and supporters are saying what's going on. >> rose: so where was the president? >> one really important insight i found was from one of the senior members of the circle who said this is a president who loves policy debates. he loves opposing sides of an argument when it's about the economy or foreign policy. when it's about politics and communications he doesn't want to know. he doesn't want dissenting voices. >> rose: doesn't like confrontation. that's interesting to me because it seems contradictory to what we hear about him. and you focus more on it than most people. in terms of synthesizing, take this dispute and find some
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central ground you have to have this person express an alternative. you have to know where the conflict is in order to decide where you want to go. >> right. well that's true. in terms of the policy. >> rose: but not in terms of -- >> in the selling. what we're talking about now and it's true with healthcare and it's true with our recovery act. he comes out in the positioner has popular support. where he's ended up with syria has large majority support and yet people think he had been confused and confusing at arrive at his journey. they still don't understand it properly. they don't believe where the jobs on recovery act even though any economic artist will show that. how can the second great communicator have such problems with his communication. some of this is in campaign and some is endemic who he is. >> rose: there's beginning to be a lot of questioning of his leadership which brings us to september 2013. syria -- but also other things, larry summers and the federal
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reserve. his relationship with the democrats in congress. losing the room talking about how someone had done very very well in comuring -- capturing the moment. the tragedy president got off on a whole range of policy things rather than somehow expressing the nation's concern and bring back the moment. she then goes on to sigh after citing your book time after time, new puzzlement grows over the contrast of obama's campaign leading the governing last to do. obama knows the 2012 campaign had some of the same problem with leadership and direction but looked good compared with the mid 20th century romney crowd who couldn't get an app to work. top democrats who use to consider obama one cool cat now is one weird cat. does that some it up. >> i think that somehow, he's different.
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he's trying to be different. you got to ask yourself what does he think he is trying to impress on people. someone who understands the complexity of policy is a useful projection at certain times. but when you're talking about military strikes, nuance only takes you so far. you're talking about the projection of american power. he would say we want to send a message to syria, we want to send a message to the world about chemical weapons. and his message comes around to a point where he takes a walk around the whitehouse garden and changes his mind. >> rose: let me go to washington. john harris and todd purdum is there writing for political. can you hear me? we're at the moment at which your piece, the two of you arrived this morning as i was going to talk to richard and i said we ought to i'm large this because you're on the story. tell me the thesis that you have about proirk at this moment, having to do with leadership,
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having to do with communication skills, having to do with the challenge he faces. first john then todd. >> charlie as i see it, president obama's great strengths, the things people that were attracted to him in the first place, the nimbleness of his mind, the coolness of hs manner, the detachment of his style those are real assets in some circumstances with all of us but especially with presence. i think our defects are just a magnification of our virtues. and this summer we've seen a convergence of stories. syria is one. i think the larry summers would-be nomination is another where those virtues are in fact flaws. by projecting the nuance and complexity in his mind what he was projecting instead unintentionally i think was weakness. and he's reached a point in washington where there is sort of a raising horse where people are saying there's something wrong with obama the second term
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is not clicking. >> rose: is it obama, is it his team or something else. is it the president, president's team, external factors he would like to point to like the republican party. >> i think it's been a while where you'd say where obama was fully in control or was mostly in control of the circumstances. no president has ever fully in control of his circumstances. events are always in the saddle as abraham lincoln said. but one does not sense that obama is using the full resources of his office to set the agenda and make the rest of washington react to him rather than the other way around. >> rose: todd. >> yes, i think there's an odd passivity like that listless performance in denver last year where the president's like i know how to do this and came off as sum am bliss.
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i his he has frustration but he's not taking advantage of the resources he has which includes this communication skills he does have and he has not availed himself, nobody's afraid of him and that's a bad thing for the president. we saw in the larry summers case, his liberal allies are not afraid of him. that's not a good place for the president to be in. >> rose: richard wolffe, that's an interesting point, nobody's scared of him. >> that's very interesting and i think he put his finger on it when he made reference to the first debrate. in the first debrate in the prep he was already justifying his self. he wanted to show he was the master of the briefing books. he didn't need the briefing books he needed a one page he needed some direction and clear idea what he was going to say. if you're talking about projecting power through yards you -- through words you have o know what you're saying. it might work and might not work it's a big thing and small thing, how do people understand what you're saying in terms of
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your power. that's where some of the fear impacted loss. >> rose: john, do you believe he has the capacity as someone once said to see himself as others see him? >> i think he's got a mind that allows the same thing for multiple sides. i think he's got detachment about himself so my guess is that the answer to this is yes. my guess is that he's reading the criticism and there's no question washington is in a pile and recognize to some point there's some truth to this. of course in some process of self criticism and ideally heading towards self correction. >> rose: but i mean he mentioned george stephanopoulos know brought it up in his sunday interview. he meant an illusion to style. what does that tell you? >> i took it as hey look, i know full well that this process in syria was really messy but we
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came out alive didn't we. so judge me by the results. i would say it's probably too early to know the results of syria. i think unquestionably there's a substantive dimension to this if he was sending a message to the syrians or to the rest of the world there did z to be one message that was projected. there was a somewhat brittle defensive comment in that interview with george. i don't sense in my conversations with people at the whitehouse that they're in complete denial about this. i think they recognize there's something fundamentally off track in their thinking how can we get on track. >> he knows that style is stance in the presidency and remember ronald reagan is famous who said he didn't think how anyone who wasn't an actor could be president. >> rose: did we project on to him quality that he did not necessarily have or were not necessarily suited for
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presidential leadership? >> i think that's true. he presented himself initially in 2007-2008 in a way that allowed him to be whatever the way people wanted him to be in a fundamental way. and he contained multitudes in a way. but i think it's also well to remember that those qualities that helped him once before can help him again. calmness under pressure. resiliency, adaptivity. he's shown he can rebound from setbacks. he's shown also by sticking to his guns he can sometimes try them from the end. the question is now, no one can know what will happen with syria but i mean he has certainly shown that perseverance has been its own reward. >> rose: is this one of those times in which the president is anxious to jump on the president, it becomes a story that has legs and all of us analyzes it and just gives it stronger legs. >> well that's true. there is some of that but let's be clear. you get a short honeymoon in the
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start of your second term and they're on those substantial achievements in that short hundredy moon which is definitively over. the window is closed and it took them a good six to nine months of really determined disciplined policy and messaging to get out to the last debt ceiling crises. we're going into another one and he's already walking in there limiting. what is the plan to get out of it and get back to an economic debate. we haven't really heard about an economic agenda. so you want to see that unfold. it's not just about this sort of style as the president really brushed it aside. >> rose: how much of the problem as he would often cite of lack of really leadership on the part of the republican party because boehner for example cannot carry his own house. todd. >> no doubt about it and i believe the president also feels
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what's the point trying to make a point with boehner and boehner can't make a binding deal with the house. on the issue with like syria the trouble with both houses it was going to wind up being the democrats. those he should theoretically have more power to persuade. those he should theoretically have more sway over. and i think that's what's puzzling some people including those democrats right now. >> rose: what difference does dennis mcdonau make as his chief of staff someone he completely trusts and has been with him since the senate. >> i think he's made an important difference on process trying to get obama out, this select groups of senators and so forth. i think that's been good. he can't change the president's personality. >> rose: as soon as you say that, as soon as you say that, we all know that democrats who rebelled about larry summers hadn't heard from the president. and they were the ones who are moving towards rebellion. john? go ahead, todd. >> i was going to say he can't
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change the president's personality. he can put in place a better process to make those contacts happen but he can't change the president. >> rose: go ahead. >> process will take you so far. dinners and phone calls and invitations to house white picnics will take you so far. what's true of congress is true of what churchill said of congress. they being the democrats in congress not just republicans but democrats will respect president obama to the extent that they feel he can punish them or reward them. so when he's riding high he will have all the friends among democrats he wants. when he's in the middle of a pile on as he is now, he will find himself friendless. >> rose: is it natural to him instinctive to him and i hate to make this analogy because it's not completely fair, to want to exercise power to get
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his way in the same way that lyndon johnson did and would. >> no, because -- go ahead. >> rose: todd, go ahead. >> lyndon johnson loved the game. barack obama plays the game because he think he has to. johnson was in the whole messiness of the game. not to mention lyndon johnson used the effectiveness he used would probably be facing the same prosecutor environment. >> rose: plus he had a democrat congress too. >> a huge majority. he is a supremely competitive player. they will be eating him up right now. he'll want to get back on his game. look, we've written him off many times. the problem is that you know at some point the high wire act failed, but every time he's been written off before he has bounced back. they talk about the pendulum swings in the whitehouse. he goes from being a tremendous you know, talent, to being a complete idiot. this is a moment where everyone's saying he's a
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complete idiot again. i think the pendulum will swing again in his presidency but it's painful for his supporters and painful for democrats in congress who say we like where we ended up in syria but look at the cost. >> rose: no one's ever said he's not a competent man, right. >> supremely competent. >> rose: go ahead. >> well i think the question is, look dennis mcdonau is a classic case in point. best relationship with any chief of staff. foreign policy expert, knows congress and yet they trip up all this time. the question here is whether in a refresh whitehouse is it time for out side people and can he trust outside people. the experience of people like bill daily and even rahm emanuel are not good ones for him. can he adapt to having a new set of faces around him, i'm not sure that's possible. >> rose: in the remaining time let's focus on syria. where do you think we are with respect to him on syria and how this has played itself out? john. >> the speed with which not jut
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president obama but washington has been eager to wipe syria off the discussion table. i think etcetera going to clearly come -- it's going to clearly come back to the discussion table. even if he promises not to use chemical weapons again, there is supposed to be punishment against assad. the u.s. policy must go. i think his policy will be measured by those standards, is assad stronger or weaker and what was the punishment for using chemical weapons. >> talking about his degrading capacity to do so again and prevent him. i think that's the second part. >> we have yet to see whether this diplomacy is really on the level, that is whether the russians can extract concrete concessions and really make syria abide by those. so i doubt as eager as washington is and again not just obama but the democrats and republicans in congress are eager to change the subject. i think we're going to see this
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come back on. >> rose: back to what, debt or the economy? >> budget, back to the economy, back to all the rest. >> rose: when you look at foreign policy and where he is and how he's making these decisions, was it a mistake with 20/20 hindsight to talk about a red line. was it a mistake to at some point say i'm going to take it to the congress? todd. >> well he might have been able to talk about a red line in a broader way, collective red line instead of sort of acting alone about the red line. he might have defined it a little more broadly or precisely however you want to do it. everyone thought it meant military action, he might not have meant military action. if you take it to the congress and it had worked it would have strengthened it, it would have been better and it would have redeemed one of his long standing pledges not to shoot first and ask questions later, not to be george w. bush, not the kind of person who takes the
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hot dog unilateral position on foreign policy. i think he feels bad he's been unable on questions like guantanamo, the war on terror, all the remnants he vowed to hit the reset button from the bush administration let's face it he's doubled down. >> i disagree with my coauthor there which doesn't happen very often. the problem with going to congress was it was not a principal decision, it was aning expedient decision. other circumstances where he used force he hasn't seen the knee to go to congress. the reason he went to congress, he felt he was in a jam he wanted somebody to co-own this policy with him and he found out there were, we never got to a vote but there were no takers for that. so i don't think he could really argue it was coming from the place of deep conviction it was coming from the place of more opportunistic place. look i'm not going to own this myself you have to hop in too. >> in fear of what happened to david cameron. >> rose: obviously this is not the first president to have challenging moments in his second term.
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ken burns says the historian's breath and command so therefore, sir. how is he different at this stage than he was when we first began to look at his presidency? >> he rapidly became much more impatient with some of the debates going on. i think the trappings of presidential mean that inevitably you get used to things moving in your direction, people saying that yes, sir, you're brilliant and we'll do whatever you want. the challenge is to your conventional wisdom, your passive action become fewer and tourist specially when there are familiar faces around you. so i do think being the president is a very strange bubble, it's obviously a gilded cage for him and his family. but there is, i think it's harder for him to hear alternative use. he spends his evening out cruising the internet to find
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obscure articles from wantish magazines but maybe his advisors are not giving him. >> rose: he does. >> yes, of course. and that drives them crazy as well. that's why he refers to these lessons too much. one of the few points where the wall breaks through and i guess we have to ask ourselves how do we get to the point where the president not just him but all presidents are so distant from the people that they are relying on handful of letters who are selected by one of their own aides by the way. >> rose: i know a lot of people as you know and a lot about what happened with osama bin laden and gates talked to me about the leadership he has. how would all three of you assess his leadership at this moment at this time in his second term. i'll begin with you john harris. >> i think the one thing president obama is still lacking, five years after he came to office, and really ten years after he came on the national stage is association with a big idea.
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you referred to it a moment ago with reagan and maybe to a lesser extent bush. but when you can fall back on an idea, people know what you stand for and they know your place in the national argument, that gives you a great deal of freedom. even the freedom to make mistakes because you're doing it in a principal way. obama i'm not suggesting he's unprincipled but there's lack of definition on this, there's look of being associated with a big idea. i think it's a shortcoming of his leadership. and what it does is even with his own party, every move that he makes subject to second guessing and cynical interpretations. when he does something one way, he's appointing larry summers while he's just doing that because he's trying to tack to the right or something like that. when he moves a different direction, the remnants of the new deal or the new democrats and the third wave always thinking for cynical reasons. if you're associated with an idea, people give you a benefit of the doubt in a way that i think people are not giving that
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to barack obama. >> rose: todd, leadership. >> i think one of the thing that sort of is an interesting open question for me about president obama he's clearly one of the smartest people in whatever room he's in. what's not yet clear whether he brings into lib rations in the whitehouse the zyme kind of awe cuity that john kennedy did. you can read the tapes of the cuban missal crises and you can see the smartest most empt skeptical earnest person in the room was always the president. and he was the one with an experience of a journey naval officer now. that's one thing president obama may lack the intimate knowledge of how the whole mess really works. >> i think he's been subject to second guessing. there's a particular scrutiny matt he's had because he seemingly came out of no where because he's the first, first
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african american president, not spent a lot of time in washington. washington has never want to him and he's never want to washington. having said that there are real serious questions about whether he has, if he one the election because he connected with people, people felt he understood their problems and their values and he could relate to them. and i think what we've seen at the start of the second term is an agenda that wasn't for start what he talked about in the election, wasn't speaking to that priority, especially economic priorities. and if you're going to bet all of the political capitalists as president bush called it on gun reform, gun control, then you need to follow through. even if congress stops, you need to take that fight to them and you need to have some of the lbj about you where you're willing to press the case against people who are maybe conservative senators in democrat states and it dropped, it stopped. when you see these mass shootings coming back and the president half hardly tries to
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make some comments before he goes back to the debt scene that's not following through that's not what john calls what the defining vision is. it's fine to change your defining vision, circumstances change and new town happens but he doesn't have that consistency. >> rose: in fact, it was pointed out today dr. janice -- the chief operating officer of med star washington hospital center said quote there's something evil in our society that we as americans have to work to try and eradicate. >> she was speaking two minutes drive from the whitehouse. that was in proximity to congress and the whitehouse and yet this conversation in that terrible time this conversation has drawn to a very rapid close. a president with this much ability to connect to the american people could sustain this debate. could push it forward. even with a reluctant congress. and you know, if you're looking for a bigger vision over a
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longer term following gun control over a time like this. >> the book is called the message to be selling to president obama. politico john harris and todd purpose takes a closer look at president obama. lock. >> i sort of have to chuckle when they describe you and me as being dangerous. [crowd cheering] that's one thing they are telling the truth because we are dangerous to the status quo of this effort. >> rose: ron paul is here, he retired from congress in january after serving 12 terms as a representative from texas. he dedicated his long political career to advocating libertarian principles, individual liberty, economic freedom and non-intervention as foreign policy. he ran for president on that platform three times.
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he has been called the intellectual god father of the tea party. he writes about the american system and proposes changes to fix it. it is called the school revolution, a new answer for our broken education system. i many pleased to have him here at this table for the first time. welcome. >> thank you, nice to be here. >> rose: about time you came here. before we talk about the book it's called the school revolution, a new answer to our broken education system. define what libertarianism means to you. >> to me the word i use to best define it is not something a lot of people use. i call it non-intervention. >> rose: non-intervention in personal life non-intervention in foreign paulity. >> there it is because it sort of tells you conservative libertarian, constitutionist, but non-intervention as you say, i don't want to interfere if your personal life.
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one rule is you can't hurt another person. that's where guns are unnecessariy. the founders were pretty adamant about advice not getting involve in tang ling alliances or interfering in the internal affairs of other nations so that's none intervention. and then also in the economy, sometimes i get close allies with the left honest progressive democrat like a dennis kucinich, we always worked together in civil liberties and foreign policy. but when it came to economic policy i apply the same rule of non-intervention to economics. now they say well you may not mean business people can do anything they want. no, there's still some rules. >> rose: what kind of regulation are you prepared that is necessary in capitalist system. >> mostly they're not kept regulations. they're not preemption. i look at this like if you're in the media business one thing you don't want is prior restraint you know because the government is going to tell you what you can say and what you can't say.
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when i apply that to economics, you produce a product and there's no prior restraint. you say well how do you get this protection. the market, the free market is pretty strict -- >> rose: so you wouldn't want to see a fda. >> no. >> rose: you have to get their approval before you can market a drug. >> yes. the fda is run by individuals who used to be in the drug, they're connected with the -- >> rose: there's an idea here that they are corrupt people. >> most of the time when you have regulation, say you regulate banking, the banking lobby -- >> rose: stay with you. let's assume what you're saying is true. >> that's one good reason not to do it. >> rose: the pharmaceutical company control the fda is that your point. >> yes. >> rose: so whatever they do is what. >> sometimes they prevent good drugs from coming out and sometimes they endorse -- >> rose: they keep bad drugs
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from come out. is that a useful purpose? >> yes. >> rose: that's prior restraint then. >> yes, but you're making the assumption that in the market, there would be nobody to supervise. there would be supervisory orgainizations that would warrant -- i mean you have a good housekeeping -- >> rose: you believe that. >> -- seefl approval that people use all the time. >> rose: that would work with respect to -- >> what we have today is so imperfect because the assumption is made most business people don't want to take care of their customers. that's wrong -- >> rose: the question is not what most want to do the question is how do you make sure those who don't -- who want to do otherwise that there is some barrier from them doing it. >> yes. if you want perfect safety in any area, in social matters -- >> rose: not perfect but minimize the kind of whether it's -- >> i think every regulation
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creates the necessity of having too new regulations. that's where the federal registry grows all the time. they don't solve the problem. these unintended consequences, expenses involve. >> rose: you're saying as long as there are regulations that don't serve a purpose you should have no regulations. >> i want regulations by the marketplace because there are certain things you can't commit fraud, you can't steal you can't hurt people. you can't do a lot. and there should be immediate reaction. it's not like you can do anything you want. and the basic assumption is that business people want to satisfy their customers. but when you have regulations, it becomes politicized. it's totally political. it's sort of like distributing r&d funds. oh well everybody wants research and development but if it's political, you put the money into the wrong thing. >> rose: then are you saying regulations are a bad thing because they don't work, because they become politicized or -- >> those are pretty good
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reasons. mine is the moral reason. >> rose: moral reason. >> the moral reason, the same reason i don't have and the more reason to come here and use prior restraint because you might libel somebody or you mate say something that will harm a lot of people. just think of the damage done by bad philosophy, you know. philosophy and religion. look at all the things that are done. we wouldn't think for a minute more people have been killed by bad religious theology, you know, distorted theology, i think it is. and philosophy. i mean the philosophy of totalitarianism has been around for a long many time but we don't burn the books and prevent you from studying. much more harm was done by freedom of choice with our minds and in religion, you know. those kind of problems are so much greater than if you say that there's a self-regulatory aspect of what free people will do. we gave up too soon on the principals of liberty and i
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think that's what i'm interested in. >> rose: did the federal reserve serve as well then at the time of the economic collapse. >> they prolonged the argument which means there will be more suffering later on. we're into our fifth year now and we're embarking on what we did in the 30's. the pressure lasted 15 years the correction wasn't permitted. the japanese economy hasn't revived because they kept doing the wrong things. you have to allow a correction of all the mistakes and we have not allowed that to happen. >> rose: in other words what would you have preferred to have been in response to the economic collapse? >> do a lot less. not created -- >> rose: what if all the banks had gone under that would have been okay because the market worked. >> because it's the best thing to do is not reward the people who made so much money. the people who were in the derivative's market, they were rewarded at the penalty of the middle class. they got the taxes, they launched their jobs, they
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launched their mortgages, they launched their houses. >> rose: and would more if they hadn't stepped in and said this is a temporary matter because the economic system like it did in the great depression is about to collapse. >> yes, but what they did in the depression and made it worse. so that is the real problem. >> rose: do you think it made it worse. >> bailing and propping up a system that caused a problem. if you're looking for good example of what you could do to limit it, see the fed came in 13 and there was world war i and there had to be correction because there was over investment and distortion. then there was a depression, lasted one year and none of us even study it in school. because hands off the people have overextended and they weren't solvent. they were out of business and it was over. but in the 30's -- came in and said you can't do this out of humanitarian concern we have to care for people so they said spend more money borrow more
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money, print more money. and the depression ended not until after world war ii. >> rose: so stimulating the economy on the part of the federal reserve or any other peel see is not a good idea at a time of economic severity. >> it's never a good idea because the stimulation you don't know where it was going to be. in the 90's all the money went into the nasdaq and created a bubble. this time it went into housing. you can't control what the money will still late. you never know. it stimulates one thing for the middle class and those are prices. some people make a lot of money at the benefit of governments and the bureaucrats and big business and military. but it's not good for the middle class because their cost of living never, their cost of living goes up much faster than their wages. look at it today. we have two societies and that's explainable by economics. it's not explainable by saying
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well the 1% the rich people if you're in the top 10%. >> rose: under a president ron paul that was an idea you once had. did you seriously think you could be president. >> i could be but i wasn't there anticipating that would happen. i used to kid that i'm taking a risk, you know. it could have happened. >> rose: you could have won. >> when i ran first time for congress, i had no thought ever of everybody winning an election because i spoke the same way and i kept telling my wife don't worry i will never be elected because they won't elect anyone who is a santa claus. when you're attacking the entire status quo it's like all right i can convert you all in 10 minutes. this is why i never got frustrated in washington because in washington i didn't expect to change it. so what happened outside of washington, i had been amazingly surprised. >> rose: so looking at the world today, when should the
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united states use force overseas. >> when somebody uses force against us. overseas it's virtually never. >> rose: it's not a business if the syrians used chemical weapons. >> well not directly -- >> rose: -- the president was concerned -- >> we should deal with things that are our responsibility. because on the, in the last couple years we've killed 5,000 people with drones missiles. >> rose: what do you think about that. >> that was horrible. that was our elected leaders. we shouldn't pretend we know when to intervene in syria. here we are today the president's working very hard to make sure a lot of people in this country don't have guns. but at the same time we're giving guns to the al-qaeda who is fighting assad and they're involved in this and wore benefiting. >> rose: how are we giving guns to al-qaeda. >> we're helping, we're sending weapons into the rebels.
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>> rose: you know they are not sending weapons in al-qaeda. in fact it weakens iran -- >> others have suggested they know exactly what they're doing. if you're supporting the military overthrow and supporting any rebel group, you support them all. i mean, did not we do something very similar with bin laden in afghanistan with -- >> rose: let's assume there's convincing evidence the iranians not only have the capacity but they have nuclear weapons. every american president has said it's unacceptable. what does ron paul say. >> i would treat them sort of like the soviets. they had 30,000. >> rose: so containment is okay with you. >> i certainly wouldn't build a war -- do you think the iranians are going to attack us? look at the discussion we've had for ten year or more. >> rose: would you want to risk that. >> on a weapon that doesn't
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exist. i mean right now obama if anything we're getting hints. i think they're delightful that they're willing to talk to this new leader over there. i think this is wonderful that to he'll at least talk. >> rose: talking about engagement, you're saying right on, brother. >> if you want to talk to them fine and dandy. i think we should do a lot more talking. do you know how many thousands of diplomats we had maybe it's time we had a little bit of diplomacy. >> rose: who does the tea party represent today. >> i think they represent people who are uniform in their beliefs except big government, the operation of government and efficiency of government especially the spending in government. actually very first time this started up was during our campaign. but then it branched out and the republicans got very much involved. >> rose: and if it's fide to shutting down the government, is that okay with ron paul. >> well yes because the alternative is turning the united states into detroit, are you know. you just can't keep spending
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money and trillions of dollars and tripping money. the calamity is going to be much worse than slowing up the spending. >> rose: that's why i like having you here. the school revolution a new answer for our broken education system. what's broken and lots of people believe lots is broken. and how would you fix it? >> people agree it is broken and we've had a system for 150 years based on expulsion and conformity. i don't think that's good. it's an authoritarian system. it has abolished creativity and curiosity which is very necessary. so the whole theme of the book is based around the philosophy, we're just talking about and it's the philosophy of liberty which is not coercive. and our public school system teaches the authoritarian approach, why you have to have government run the economy, why you have to protect the government against bad social habits and why you have to police the world.
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so it's a philosophy that contradicts everything in the freedom philosophy. so the book is based on what is liberty, how to define it, how to defend it for the sole purpose of getting a better education. and the design for an education for this being grade school or high school is how you get into college, how you start a business. but it's really designed in such a way where the student and the parents become totally in charge and not the washington scene. washington now is, it's republicans and brakes. the republicans gave us no child left behind and nobody likes that anymore. and now we're having core curriculum. it's more and more testing controls and the kids are bored to death. kids want to learn. before they get into school that's all they do is they ask questions and they learn. in school, the public school system just sort of squelch all
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that curiosity. >> rose: with respect to home schooling do you believe that's the way to go in terms of parents who believe the public school education is not benefiting their kids. >> i think it's an option that doesn't solve all the problems because i don't think 100% of the people are in school. the goal is to look at people who are self starters and self disciplined, who created leadership, people who are interested in another school of thought on economics and willing to listen to the non-interventionist policies. it's probably about 20% maximum that would be, you know, likely to take this course. and also, it's designed to protect liberty which means it protects everybody's hope schooling program. mine is non-religious, a secular approach to liberty so that individuals are always protected. we get away from all these
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arguments, can you say a prayer in school, how are you going to pick the right book in a public school. we can find all kinds of examples of very great bias in our public schools but i don't want to get in there and be in charge of rewriting the textbooks because you can't satisfy everybody. but if you have people going to private schools and home schooling, really that's diversity. >> rose: what about charter schools, what do you think of them. >> charter schools gives some people some benefit. i think the best thing is they do better than the regular public school system. >> rose: sometimes they do sometimes they don't. >> yes. so i don't know if that is the answer, i'm not promoting it. >> rose: are you optimistic about america because of what is the essence of our creed, the constitution and the bill of rights. >> you know, are when i go to the college campus which i continue to do, and i like that. and i talked about all those
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problems, about 90% of the time. then i talk about liberty and why i'm optimistic, why the market works and why your business and your life is your own and why it would be so much better for the world if we didn't have a policy war. so i've become very optimistic and i'm optimistic because of the reception i get, because libertarian freedom is on the move and for two reasons. one it's been developed over the last 30 years. also the failure of the system, this caging economics and welfarism and socialism and inflationism is failing and people want something different. so the doors are open for an idea and i think the ideas of liberty are just a wonderful thing so i'm an optimist about that. >> rose: any doubt in your mind that the senator from kentucky rand paul, your son will run for president?
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>> well, when they started that last year in the fall they started talking about the next election, i said i'm still trying to count my votes from the last election. wait a minute. i mean he's acting like he's very interested. >> rose: i don't know if he is. he acts like he's running. >> i wouldn't argue with that. people don't believe this but he and i don't have a whole lot of conversations like that about what are you going to do today. >> rose: do you have a whole lot in common. >> we have a lot of common. >> rose: do you. >> i think so. >> rose: 9 9 percent of what -- what do you differ over. >> probably approach. he's more angst, i guess. >> rose: he's more nuanced. >> he's leading the charge. i don't think he's going to come out and say that the fed is the greatest outfit we ever had and we don't need to audit them. >> rose: if he does that -- >> he's been very good on nsa
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and i like that. >> rose: tell me what you like about nsa, that's a good point. >> nothing. what i like about the debate, and what i'm talking about in the school and what i did in congress is bring a new coalition together. we saw it with nsa and we saw it with the vote that didn't occur on the war. and that's bringing progressive democrats together with libertarian. i think that's the new move -- >> rose: progressive democrats and the libertarian as a new majority. >> they didn't win the vote on nsa but they only lost by 12 against pelosi and boehner. see the established parties, republican and democrat party endorse the same views. most people think they're really at loggerheads over philosophy but they're not. >> rose: coming together with the tea party is mainly from the left side is civil liberties isn't it. >> yes, civil liberties. >> rose: having to do with -- >> foreign policy too.
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so those two issues, those are big issues right now. so as a matter of fact, it's a position i took into campaign on the economic issues because we're broke and it's going to lead to bad things. why don't we agree to bring troops home and save our money. and even though i'm opposed to some of these social programs child healthcare and these things i said but so many people are dependent on it. i will not start there, start cutting those programs. sometimes republicans get trapped into saying you know we're going to cut some welfare programs and they want billions and billions more for warfare. i don't take that approach. that's the reason i don't seem to be so hostile with working with people who disagree with me and they might not want government medicine which obviously i don't. you could work a transition. i don't expect it. i would work by cutting changing the foreign policy and having a foreign policy defended this country, saving a lot of money and trying to wean people off
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these programs. i'm afraid the programs are going to self destruct with a currency crises. we keep borrowing, foreigners are still loaning us money and we keep printing it but the market will decide when enough is enough. and then they'll just say interest rates are going up. and the interest payments will be the biggest item in the budget. >> rose: the book is called the school revolution, a new answer for our broken education system, ron paul. thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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