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tv   Overheard With Evan Smith  WHUT  November 12, 2013 8:30am-9:00am EST

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themselves economically and politically. we're in a point where globalization has essentially hallowed out american manufacturing. it's not just cheaper to do it in other countries but often better. they can do things that we can't do. >> yeah. >> and so you know, the structure of u.s. society, the way people for example climbed into the middle class. the expectation that my children are going to have a better life then i had -- all that has changed. much of that is gone. that's what i think one of the chief anxieties that you can't -- you know, a guy, without a college education can't go get a job down at the plant anymore because the plant is gone but there was a time when he could get a job at a plant. it was a securitied job, probably a union job.
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benefits, job security, a pension at the end. he could buy a house and raise a family. he can't do that anymore. >> yeah. it seems to me though eugene gnat government's responsibility in responding to these changes would be greater than lesser. the direction that we seem to be headed as a country is less government help, less government injection whereas the people we're ejecting to office are being ejected to destroy the thing. >> yeah, this seems contradictory to me because it seems clear to me that we need to be thinking deeply about the structure of the u.s. economy going forward. >> yeah. >> what are we going to be if we're not going to be everything? what are we going to be? that implies that we're going to have to take a hard look at our educational system. at a lot of things. you need government to do that. >> right. >> you know, i'm a great
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believer in the individual freedom and rights and everything but in fact i can't change the educational system of the united states. i'd like to but i can't. >> also the orientation of the conversation has gone away from a centralized authority, making a loot of these decisions or hard calls or thinking strategically, we're going to kick everything back to 50 state governments. we're going to let each state decide what they want to do. but then there's no unifying strategy that makes us as a country stronger. >> exactly. and there are, there are areas in which this has been the case for a long time and clearly makes no sense. for example, in washington d.c. has very strict gun laws and this and that. but people just go across the river to virginia and buy the guns that they -- you know want. >> right. >> and that sort of thing. so that has never made sense. >> but i think in tackling these larger issues it insane. we can't have 50 different
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foreign economic policies in this country and expect to prosper. >> now, the people from the tea party and the tea party is really more of a movement then a party. the different groups will watch this and say he's blaming us for the dysfunction government. here notes the problem. we're the cure or at least we're the -- we represent the response to the problem. the problem didn't begin with us. >> right. and you got to give them that. >> right. >> the problem didn't begin with them although i do wish they would start electing somewhat smarter and more responsibility people to congress, that would be a help but -- no, the problem didn't start with them. look, i have always understood and in some ways sympathized with the tea party diagnosis that there's dysfunction in washington, that frustration with government and so forth. you know, it reminds me of a lot
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of things that many of us felt about government in the early 70s when we were in college, you know? >> yeah. >> and coming out from a different angle. i just disagree with their cure, you know which is get rid of it. >> yeah. >> i think that's a bad -- bad way to go. it's a ridiculous way. >> how much of the problem that we now see in washington relates to the president. we talked about congress and the tea party on that side of the line. okay. this president has had a really hard time making piece with the hand he's dealt in congress. >> uh-huh. >> we have had again polarizeition, tom isity in politics for sometime. but president obama who came into office with such aspirations and these great communication skills that really haven't been deployed to the degree that people thought, wants to bring people together. it really hasn't -- it hasn't happened ops his time. >> well, you know i always try to keep this in perspective when
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we talk about the obama years and recall that you know bill clinton, the great communicator he got along so well in washington but they impeached him, right? so it's not like -- >> and also he shut down the government. >> there were government shut downs under him and regan. there were government shut downs under everybody. >> so this isn't unique oak. i think several things about obama. one, i do think that he is -- you know, the late tom clancy wrote a book called the sum of all fears, i think one of his jack ryan novels, and for some people, i think, president obama is the sum of all fears. you know? he's this sort of -- you know, this black guy with all these fancy, degrees and he's very apoideay and he's president. and he embodies this -- the
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changing america and changes that are disquieting to a lot of people. >> yeah. >> and that cause a lot of anxiety. so that's one of the things i think. second, he certainly anticipated different atmosphere when he came into office. he would candidly say if he were sitting here between us, i think , that if you recall george bush was asked did you tell me of the mistakes he made in office and he couldn't think of any. president obama could think of several things that he did at the beginning of his term, if he had done them differently, it might have set a different tone. however, you know, and -- and also, he's less patient with all this then some people think. i mean, he's -- >> you know? he does seem irritated by this. >> this is starting to come through. he really is irritated by it and
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he's frustrated. you can understand why he's frustrated but nonetheless, the visibility of that frustration probably doesn't help with some other either. so -- >> nonetheless, i think it's more the situation then the specific personalities. i don't don't think there's any sort of miracle worker. >> you acknowledge there are things that he's done and ways he's approached congress, ways he's approached the job, generally, that have contributed to the situation we're in. >> yeah, contributed but i think contributed more on the margins. in other words, you know, i think he could have a better relationship with the house republican leadership tore example. >> what does that get you? because ask the house republican leadership really lead? for that matter, does the democratic leadership in either house or congress really lead. >> well, these days it's different. i would say that we've
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romanticized the past often too much. your colleague at msnbc chris matthews has a book out now about ronald regan and tip o'neil. the implication is only with could go back to the days at 530 they would open up a bottle of whiskey and drink. they would be able to do better things together and -- >> i've really suspicious of only we can go back. you know? i keep thinking i group up in the fifties and sixties in south carolina, i don't want to go back. >> no thank auction i'm not going back, okay? >> but you understand the point is that this president somehow lacks what ronald regan had some chris matthews mind the ability to say when the work day is over we're going to go back to being pals again. that is going to make our relationship more easy. >> yeah, it's certainly true that he lacks that. he doesn't -- he does not want to pal around with john boehner at the end of the day. he just doesn't.
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so if he were more paul friendly and a different sort of personality, -- again they could have better relationships but i don't think -- that's not the point with the tea party. that's not the point with the issues that the country faces right now. >> yeah. >> i mean, you know, one of the huge fights has been over obamacare right? the affordable care act. well, right now we're in texas which is uninsurance -- >> as we sit here. >> the uninsured capital of the nation. >> the largest and reddest state which has avoided the opportunity to expand. >> exactly. but again, this is a crisis on the healthcare costs are sky rocketing. it's the medical costs are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the country. you know, this is a big issue. when that wouldn't go away if boehner and obama played golf.
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>> i come back to this question in the president's race. >> uh-huh. >> and his otherness which has been said in the past, you've written el he can'tly this is back to your commentary which was at least in part as a result of columns on this subject. do you think that this is about the fact that he's african-american and if this were clinton care or if he were a white president, that the who isility to him on affordable care act specifically or on many things that he's attempt today do generally would be there to the same degree. >> not to the same degree. i mean, keep in mind, again, clinton care didn't go over well so either. clinton didn't get it through so, you know, i think that the times changed. also, obama is a very skillful guy. >> his grace is at leasts in part the issue. >> absolutely. i think it's a -- >> you know there was a poll
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recently where asked how do you feel about the affordable care act and obamacare. >> exactly they're completely different. you can only assume that it's the obama part of that. >> it comes back to him being the embodiment of something. the incarnation of something that just freaks some people out. it ticks some people off. it brings out an anger and a disrespect is quite the word, contempt, almost, who's intensity, i think would not be there. as manufacture as people hated bill clienton, it wasn't about that. >> is the lesson of the last six years aas we sit here gene that we haven't progressed as far on race in it country as we thought we would have. >> well, it depends on what you thought. >> okay. >> but also, you know, my very strong view is that this is the
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way we progress on race in this country. we don't -- it's not a smooth straight line. we all get in a circle and hold hands and syncom buya. we had a civil war. it's never been like that. it's always scratchy and uncomfortable. something happens. we argue about it and struggle about it until we exhaust ourselves and then we stop and we turn to something else because something else happens and we also have add. but after it's over, we've ratcheted forward. >> yep. >> and it's gotten us here. i mean, it's gotten us -- you know, there have been huge changes on race in my lifetime huge. unimaginable. >> right. in fact your kids are growing up in a world very different. >> completely different. >> and their kids will.
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>> it's hard not to feel good at with the progress we made. >> i just think it's the way when the people say let's have a national conversation about race, i always say no, this is what we're doing. >> we're having one now. >> it's not always fun but this is what we're doing. it's better than the way they do it in some other country. >> s what you refer to as the browning of america again a state as we hit here in texas a state that's poised to become hispanic. with the latino community have a different experience as conversation goes forward as the result of the one we just had. >> i think it will be different. i think it will be no less intense. >> a lot of the same anxieties right, a lot of the same some analogous anxietyity but different. >> for example you've got the whole language anxiety that really seems to work at some
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people, the fact that, you know, they go down to a government office and they see a form in both english and spanish and it's like -- you know, they can't cool with it. so it's -- yeah, that's going to be a conversation, especially given the political weight that latinos are going to play in this society. the inevitably and it's going to be huge and it's going to be frankly beyond the way that range an americans play already. >> well, politically it's not quite there yet but the the next two, or three elections it's certainly going to be there. >> in the remaining time we have gene let's shift gears completely away from politics to the washington post. 1980 is when you arrived at the post. >> i've been at the post for 33 years. >> you've watched the paper and specific and the journalism in general evolve. >> yeah, you are now as of a week ago the employee of jeff business oceans who owns -- the founderrer of amazon cot come.
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>> isn't amazon wonderful by the way. especially the one click on amazon prime is just -- your christmas bonus will be delivered in two days free shipping. >> exactly, right. >> you are really living now in the petri dish for journalism going forward as we had a technology we're going to see whether you can marry technology to media and not ruin media. >> yeah, and sure hop hop with can found that model that supportsa newsroom luke the newsroom of the washington post. >> what is like. >> right. he's -- he's -- he came to have a big staff meeting with the entire staff, i got to say that either he was very well coached or he's sincere but he said absolutely, every single thing
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we would have wanted to hear about his commitment to paper. to journalism. to finding the right model is his belief that we cannot cut our way to profitability, that we have to grow and prosper. his determination to find -- he's very, very patient as to objective. >> yeah. >> and it's very flexible in terms of means of getting there. so he said he wants us to experiment. that's what we're going to do. >> right. experiment may mean just on the delivery of the news side. >> uh-huh. >> it may mean on the technology behind the paper side. >> right. >> but i think where people people get most nervous is what is it going to mean for journalism for the gene rob rob and some of the people we've come to know as the great journalists in the day we want to make sure that they're work is not compromised by the
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introduction of this foreign antibody in the newsroom. >> so we do. we really have a vested interest in this. so what are you all thinking as best as you can tell about how he's going to play with the content. >> you know what we know so far is what he's said which is you guys just keep doing the journalism. it's great. let me worry about the business model and let me think about thisend please help me think but i want you to keep doing this -- this is why i bought the paper. i love what you do. so we'll keep doing this, know? but there are interesting questions because, you know form and function are so inner twined that you can imagine certain kinds of models that you could go to so would go against the kind of journalism that we want to do. so i think that's partly our job
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is to -- is to make sure that as we experiment and as we move forward that the journalism is not just preserved but improved. >> yeah. >> because remember, you know, we we at a point where we had -- if we're being hobbest 950 or so people -- journalists working in the newsroom now down to maybe 600, you know? >> but of course there was also a time where you had many more subscribers to the paper then you do now. >> so if what mr. business oce s for the paper then your journalism reaches more people and ultimately that's a great thing. >> well, that's a great thing. the issue is -- you know because you're in the internet space -- you know we reach a whole lot of readers, it's just that we don't monetize all of those readers. we don't get from the the readers. the readers that we do get
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revenue from, both in terms of being able to convince advertisers to give us money top reach them and also the circulation costs, that has -- that is way down. >> yeah. >> almost cut in half almost from its height. so -- however, 75 percent, probably, maybe 80 percent of the revenue of the news paper still comes from those readers -- subscribers. >> we forget and he recognizes that. so he sees that the future is online. but he sees that there's this huge -- it's still big audience out there that's willing, frankly, to pay a premium price for a premium product. so you can almost see the paper, newspaper, he wants to improve that, too. he wants it to -- >> well, he brought a performing
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asset. he wants it to perform. >> right and he wants it to be something that people just -- rush to the front door to get every morning. and then he wants to figure out how to duplicate that wonderful bundle, the package that you get inside the plastic wrapper on your morning. how do you duplicate that as well. >> it's so fun to talk to you about this stuff. i admire you so much and we could talk about this all day. >> well, we can talk about what you're doing here. >> well, that might be another show. we're out of time, gene. come back. thank you very much. >> good to see you. eugene robinson thank you so much. >> we'd love to have you join us in the studio. visit us ben website to find invitations to interviews, q and a with our audience and guest and an ash i've of past episodes. >> i think it's a very exciting time to come in to journalism.
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nobody is going to have a career like mine. you go to alogiasy newspaper and it's been there for 33 years in the same place and do all of these different jobs. i think that's -- i don't think that's going to happen. funding for overheard with evan smith is provided in part by mfi foundation, improving the quality of life within our community and from the texas board of legal specialization, board certified attorneys in your community of the experienced, respected, and tests. also, by hill could partners texas government affairs consultancy. it's global healthcare consulting business unit hill could health and by the alice clayberg reynolds foundation and viewers like you. thank
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a and >> hello, i'm llewellyn king, host of "white house chronicle," which is coming up, but first a few thoughts of my own. the ever world was gripped with
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chaos years ago, gas lines, people shot, and the energy problem was with usw for really nearly 40 years. -- it is only very recently that it has eased, and it has eased dramatically. 1970's, we had the iranian revolution, and there were umps up and down all the way along. every president talked about independence. but did not believe it was a possibility, and international policy was built around energy. big countries that were not oil producers became supplicant countries. all that has changed. why? technology. it has come to the rescue, but it did not come at the speed that people thought it would.
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a lot of government money thrown into energy research in the 1980's, the great national , but bit by bit, it began to have an affect, and also we opened not only our research capacity but our minds. people decided to look for oil in the southern hemisphere. believe it or not, below the equator, it was never believed there was any oil. brazil started an elaborate campaign for sugar cane make ethanol because they believed had no oil. now, they have a huge oil field off their coast. the world has changed. with pollution, and our original in particular, technology may do it again, but you have to have a lot of patience. moneyve to spend a lot of . but now the world is in a plentiful oil supply, and the
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united states can look forward to the technology of horizontal grilling and so-called fracking. until once again we can be self- sufficient in oil and all other energy, of course, and now we are one of the cheapest energy countries in the world, which is going to help our economy. put your faith in technology, but give it a lot of time to brew. i will be back with two of the most interesting and delightful men that i know for one of the strenuous shows we will have all year -- i'm sure of that. >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. now, the program host, nationally syndicated columnist, llwellyn king, and cohost, linda gasparello. >> hello again, and thank you
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for coming along. when i'm in washington and when my staff and guests need somewhere to stay in the city, we stay at the american guest house on columbia avenue. it's more like a club than a bed-and-breakfast, which it is. it is somewhere between a club and a hotel. i love it. you will love it. very comfortable indeed. i promised you to extraordinary people, and here i have them. first, chuck lewis, my very distinguished editor at the "new york times" news service, who i've worked with many years. it's been a delightful collaboration. thank you, chuck. and i have one of my very old friends, paul dickson.


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