Breaking Political Process Norms | Connecting Point | Oct. 18, 2019

Breaking Political Process Norms | Connecting Point | Oct. 18, 2019


>>>FROM DEBATES TO IMPEACHMENT
PROBES, THERE ARE EXAMPLES, PAST AND PRESENT, OF POLITICIANS WHO
CHOSE NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS. THERE’S THE CURRENT EXAMPLE OF
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES’ ON-GOING IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY
AND MEMBERS OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S ADMINISTRATION SAYING IT
IS “ILLEGITIMATE.” SO IS IT COMMON FOR POLITICIANS
TO CHOOSE NOT TO PARTICIPATE? I POSED THAT QUESTION TO
POLITICAL CONSULTANT RYAN MCCOLLUM AND ADAM HILTON,
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF POLITICS AT MOUNT HOLYOKE COLLEGE.>>BROADLY SPEAKING, NO, IT
ISN’T. PART OF THE AMBIGUITY HERE RESTS
ON HOW POLITICAL OFFICIALS ARE REPRESENTATIVES IN TWO SENSES:
THEY’RE REPRESENTATIVES OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS, MEANING THEY’RE
SUPPOSED TO DO WHAT THEIR CONSTITUENTS WANT, BUT THEY’RE
ALSO TRUSTEE REPRESENTATIVES. WE ELECT THEM TO OFFICE IN ORDER
TO GIVE THEM THE RESPONSIBILITY OF DOING WHAT THEY THINK IS IN
OUR BEST INTERESTS. AND THE OCCASIONAL HANDFUL OF
TIMES WE CAN LOOK AT SOMEONE AS PROMINENT AS A PRESIDENT
REFUSING TO ENGAGE IN THE NORMAL POLITICAL PROCESS IS THEY’VE
OFTEN TRIED TO CLAIM THAT THEY’RE ABOVE POLITICS
ALTOGETHER, RIGHT? THAT THEY DON’T WANT TO DIRTY
THEIR HANDS IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS ITSELF. PROBABLY THE MOST PROMINENT
EXAMPLE THAT COMES TO MIND AND PERHAPS THE MOST RELEVANT
COMPARISON FOR THE BROAD SITUATION HERE IS NIXON,
REFUSING TO DEBATE GEORGE McGOVERNOR IN 1972, THE
ELECTION.>>AND THAT’S A HUGE STAGE FOR
THAT TO HAPPEN ON, RIGHT? WHAT WAS THE REACTION TO THAT AT
THE TIME?>>NIXON WAS BOGGED DOWN IN
TOUGH NEGOTIATIONS OVER THE VIETNAM WAR, BEING A WORLD
DIPLOMAT VISITING CHINA. HE COULD CLAIM THAT HE HAD MUCH
BIGGER FISH TO FRY, THAT HE WAS ABOVE GETTING HIS HANDS DIRTY IN
THE BASIC POLITICAL PROCESS. AND DUE TO THAT AMBIGUITY AND
THE NATURE OF POLITICAL OFFICE, IT COULD WORK.>>BRIAN WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS
ON THIS POLITICAL PROCESS AND CHOOSING NOT TO PARTICIPATE? WHAT’S THE IMPACT THAT YOU SEE?>>I THINK, YOU KNOW OVERALL,
THERE’S A BROAD IMPACT OF FOLKS WHO MIGHT FEEL AS THOUGH THEY,
AS A VOTER, DESERVE TO SEE WHO THEY MIGHT BE VOTING FOR.
AND SO WHETHER IT’S AN INCUMBENT WHO DECIDES NOT TO DEBATE OR
ANOTHER CANDIDATE WHO DOESN’T SHOW UP TO CERTAIN THINGS, IT’S
NOT ALWAYS A DEBATE. SOMETIMES, THERE’S EVENTS WHERE
IT’S A FORUM AND THERE’S A BUNCH OF CANDIDATES AND THEY DECIDE
NOT TO BE THERE BECAUSE THEY THINK IT’S IN THEIR BEST
INTEREST NOT TO BE THERE, BUT I THINK OVERALL, I THINK EVERYBODY
KIND OF BELIEVES AS VOTERS WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SEE WHO WE’RE
GOING TO VOTE FOR AND SEE THEM TOE TO TOE AND WHAT THEIR VISION
IS OR WHAT THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE BEFORE WE GO TO THE POLLS
AND VOTE FOR SOMEBODY.>>WHEN VOTERS DON’T HAVE THAT
OPPORTUNITY TO SORT OF COMPARE SIDE BY SIDE, WHAT ARE THE OTHER
AVENUES THAT THEY TURN TO, TO SORT OF FIGURE OUT DIFFERENCES?>>WELL, THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT
DURING THE NIXON ERA, BUT YOU HAVE THE INTERNET AND THE
INTERNET IS A TOOL TO ALSO SEE WHO THE PEOPLE YOU ARE VOTING
FOR. BUT EVERY THERE, THERE ARE SOME
CANDIDATES WHO DECIDE NOT TO HAVE A WEBSITE, NOT TO HAVE
FACEBOOK AND GO OFF THEIR POPULARITY OR THEIR
ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR THE THINGS THAT FOLKS KNOW THEM IN THE
PAST. YOU CAN USE THE INTERNET, YOU
HOPE THAT FOLKS LIKE YOU AND THE MEDIA OUT THERE IN THE FOURTH
ESTABLISHMENT ACTUALLY GET THE — GET THE STORIES OUT AND
GET THE PROFILES OUT ON WHO’S RUNNING SO YOU CAN — YOU CAN
ALSO GO AND READ THE PAPER AND HOPEFULLY WATCH THE NEWS AND SEE
ABOUT THESE FOLKS.>>IS IT A MISSED OPPORTUNITY
FOR THE CHALLENGER IF THE INCUMBENT CHOOSES NOT TO DEBATE?>>ABSOLUTELY.>>WHAT DOES IT DO?>>WELL FOR ONE, THE INCUMBENT
IS THE PERSON WHO MOSTLY DRAWS THE NEWS, RIGHT? DEPENDING ON THE LEVEL OF
OFFICE. THE ADVANTAGE OF INCUMBENCY IS
BY CALLING A PRESS CONFERENCE, YOU WILL GET MEDIA ATTENTION. ENTERING A DEBATE CAN OFFER A
LOT OF SPOTLIGHT AND EXPOSURE FOR CHALLENGERS WHO MIGHT NOT
OTHERWISE GET IT.>>I WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY THAT’S GOING ON. NEWS RECENTLY THIS WEEK THAT THE
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SECRETARY MARK ESPER IS NOT GOING TO
COMPLY WITH THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY AND THE DEPARTMENT OF
DEFENSE SAID THAT THE SUBPOENA THAT THEY’RE BEING PRESENTED
WITH IS INVALID AND IT VIOLATES EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?>>WELL, I MEAN, THIS IS A WHOLE
DIFFERENT LEVEL THAN JUST REFUSING TO DEBATE SOMEBODY OR
SHOW UP AT A PUBLIC FORUM. THIS CONSTITUTES A GENUINE
CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS RATHER THAN JUST A POLITICAL
CONTROVERSY. THE FIREWALLS THAT THE TRUMP
ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN TRYING TO BUILD AROUND THIS PARTICULAR
IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY HAVE BEGUN TO CRUMBLE A BIT. WE’VE SEEN PEOPLE THAT HAVE AT
FIRST REFUSED TO TESTIFY COME FORWARD AND TESTIFY. THIS SEEMS PAR FOR THE COURSE IN
TERMS OF WHAT WE HAVE KNOWN ABOUT TRUMP AND HIS
ADMINISTRATION IN TERMS OF FLOUTING SOME OF THE BASIC NORMS
AND IDEAS THAT HAVE GOVERNED AMERICAN POLITICS FOR A LONG
TIME. AND SIMPLY PUT, FROM THEIR
PERSPECTIVE, I DON’T SEE THAT THEY WOULD HAVE ANY INCENTIVE TO
COMPLY WITH THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY FROM CONGRESS. I THINK THEY ONLY HAVE
EVERYTHING TO LOSE.>>WHEN YOU LOOK AT GIULIANI,
HE’S A PRIVATE CITIZEN, BUT HIS LAWYER, THEY HAVE ATTACKED THE
SUBPOENA ITSELF BY SAYING THE SUBPOENA IS INVALID, AND IT’S
OVERBROAD, AND IT’S BURDENSOME. THEY’VE ATTACKED THE INQUIRY
ITSELF, SAYING THE INQUIRY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. AND THEN THEY’VE USED THE
DEFENSE WHERE THEY DEFEND THEMSELVES BY SAYING THERE’S
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE, THERE’S ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE, SOME
OF THIS IS WORK PRODUCT, WORK PRODUCT IS PRIVILEGE. SO THEY ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO
OBSTRUCT AND THE HOUSE DID A REPORT — IT STEMS FROM DON
McGANN THE FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL WHO REFUSED TO SHOW UP
FOR QUESTIONING AND REFUSED A SUBPOENA DURING THE MUELLER
INVESTIGATION AND THEIR 66-PAGE REPORT, THE GLARING THING WAS
THE PRESIDENT IS OBSTRUCTING HIS OWN ANY TIME.>>THE DEATH OF E LIJAH CUMMINGS
WHO PASSED AWAY EARLIER THIS WEEK, DO YOU THINK THIS WILL
HAVE A MASSIVE IMPACT SORE JUST A SLIGHT IMPACT ON WHAT’S GOING
ON IN ANY WAY?>>I DON’T THINK SO. HE WAS BELOVED BY MANY DOWN
THERE. YOU KNOW, RECENTLY CONGRESSMAN
CUMMINGS WAS IN THE NEWS BECAUSE TRUMP ATTACKED HIM AND ATTACKED
BALTIMORE AND A LOT OF PEOPLE CAME TO HIS AID BECAUSE HE’S A
CIVIL RIGHTS ICON AND HOW DARE PRESIDENT TRUMP TRY TO ATTACK
SOMEBODY LIKE ELIJAH CUMMINGS. THERE WILL BE A LOT OF HEAVY
HEARTS THERE AND SO MAYBE THEY’RE NOT DOING THE
PEOPLE’S — SHOW THOSE CLIPS
ABOUT TRUMP ATTACKING THIS GREAT MAN, KIND OF LIKE WHEN McCAIN
PASSED AWAY. IT’S ANOTHER WAY, TO GET CLOSE
TO AN ELECTION TO SHOW WHO TRUMP IS.>>YOU MENTIONED A MOMENT AGO
THERE’S NOT — THERE ARE A FEW POINTS IN HISTORY THAT WE CAN
LOOK TO WHERE IMPEACHMENT CAME UP. PRESIDENT NIXON WHO YOU
MENTIONED EARLIER AND PRESIDENT CLINTON AND WHEN I LOOK AT
PRESIDENT NIXON, HE DIDN’T NECESSARILY REFUSE TO COMPLY
WITH THE POLITICAL PROCESS. HE LOOKED IN MY ESTIMATION, HE
LOOKED AT A POLITICAL PROCESS AND SAID, NOPE. HE SORT OF REMOVED HIMSELF FROM
THE FRAY.>>YEAH, AND I THINK THAT’S
PARTLY WHAT HE DID. THE THING THAT HAS BECOME KIND
OF THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM, OF COURSE, IS THAT IT WASN’T THE
BREAK INTO THE DNC HEADQUARTERS THAT GOT NIXON IMPEACHED OR
NEARLY IMPEACHED, BUT IT WAS THE COVERUP, RIGHT? AND IT WAS THE CLEAR KNOWLEDGE
THAT HE HAD OF THE COVERUP SITUATION. AND AGAIN, NIXON BEING NIXON AND
TRYING TO PLAY A HANDS-OFF KIND OF I’M TOO BUSY, I’M TOO MUCH OF
A WORLD DIPLOMAT TO GET BOGGED DOWN IN THIS TRIED TO RETREAT
FROM IT, BUT I THINK WHAT WE’VE LEARNED ABOUT NIXON IN THE TIME
SINCE IS THAT WAS A DEEP PART OF HIS ALMOST PARANOID LEVEL OF
PERSONALITY THAT HAD KIND OF CONSUMED HIM BY THE END OF THIS
PROCESS. AND LED I THINK DIRECTLY TO HIS
RESIGNATION.>>AND SO IT’S ALSO INTERESTING
WHEN YOU LOOK AT PRECEDENTS, SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM IN ’98
WAS TALKING ABOUT IF YOU DON’T — BACK TO THE SUBPOENAS,
IF YOU DON’T COMPLY WITH CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENAS, THAT’S
IMPEACHABLE. THEY’VE DREDGED THAT SPEECH UP
THAT HE MADE IN ’98 AND THEY RECENTLY ASKED HIM DO YOU STILL
BELIEVE THAT AND LINDSEY GRAHAM, WHO COZIES UP TO TRUMP FROM TIME
TO TIME, SAID YES, I STILL FIND IT IMPEACHABLE. SO IT’S GOING TO BE INTERESTING
TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS.>>THIS CONVERSATION LOOKING AT
POLITICAL PROCESS ALSO HAS ME THINKING ABOUT, WE’RE HEADING
TOWARDS 2020. IT’S AN ELECTION CYCLE. IT HAS ME THINKING ABOUT
DIFFERENT TYPES OF POLITICAL PROCESSES, DIFFERENT TYPES OF
CAMPAIGNS, DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO CAMPAIGNS. AND I’M SORT OF PUTTING THEM IN
DIFFERENT BINS AND BUCKETS. WE SAW PRESIDENT TRUMP RUN THE
DRAIN THE SWAMP ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT I’M THE
GOVERNMENT OUTSIDER CAMPAIGN, WHICH I FEEL LIKE WE HAVE SEEN
IN YEARS PAST. AS YOU LOOK AT THE DEMOCRATIC
FIELD, DO YOU SEE CANDIDATES PUTTING THEMSELVES IN THESE
BUCKETS IN ANY PARTICULAR WAY, SHAPE OR FORM THAT STANDS OUT TO
YOU IN ANY WAY THAT’S NOTABLE?>>YEAH, I THINK IT’S NOTABLE
WHERE THE BUCKETS ARE MORE ON THE SPECTRUM, RIGHT? AND SO ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE
YOU HAVE BERNIE AND ELIZABETH WARREN, KIND OF STAKING OUT THE
CLAIM AND FIGHTING OVER THE — THE MORE PROGRESSIVE FOLKS. YOU HAVE BIDEN KIND OF IN THE
MIDDLE, YOU NOW SEE MAYOR PETE KIND OF BEING A MODERATE. AMY KLOBUCHAR. THERE ARE AMONG THE FRONTRUNNERS
TWO DIFFERENT BUCKETS, WHICH ARE THE PROGRESSIVES QUOTE IN QUOTE
WHO BELIEVE IN MA MEDICARE FOR L AND BETO O’ROURKE WHO IS TALKING
ABOUT A MANDATORY GUN BUYBACK, MUCH MORE PROGRESSIVE ON ISSUES
THAT THE DEMOCRATS CARE ABOUT AND MODERATES SAYING WE’RE MORE
PRAGMATIC AND YOU NEED TO GET INCREMENTAL CHANGE. I THINK THEY ALL AGREE ON THE
FACT THAT TRUMP NEEDS TO GO AND HOW TERRIBLE TRUMP HAS BEEN, BUT
THOSE ARE THE TWO BUCKETS THAT I SEE.>>FOR THE ELECTORATE WHEN
VOTERS ARE TRYING TO DECIDE, ESPECIALLY YOU HAVE A DEBATE
THIS WEEK WITH 12 DIFFERENT DEMOCRATS TRYING TO GET THEIR
15-SECOND SLICES OF AIR TIME TO DIFFERENTIATE THEMSELVES, HOW
DID THOSE SORT OF LABELS THAT CANDIDATES OR THE WAY THAT THE
CANDIDATES APPROACH THEIR CAMPAIGN STYLE HELP OR DON’T
HELP A VOTER TO MAKE A CHOICE.>>WELL, IT’S IMPORTANT TO
DISTINGUISH WHAT KINDS OF VOTERS WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE. THE PRIMARY ELECTORATE IS A
DISTINCTIVE ELECTORATE. IT TENDS TO BE MORE EDUCATED
PEOPLE, TENDS TO BE PEOPLE OF MODERATE TO HIGHER INCOMES,
TENDS TO BE PEOPLE WHO HAVE FAIRLY DISTINCT IDEOLOGICAL
IDENTIFICATIONS. WHILE IT’S THE CASE THAT
MODERATES TEND TO TRY TO MAKE APPEALS TOWARDS THE GENERAL
ELECTION, IT’S VERY MUCH THE CASE THAT THE MORE LIBERAL IN
THE CASE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, THE MORE CONSERVATIVE IN
THE CASE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, THEY ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY
TO SUCCEED IN THE PRIMARIES. AND WE’RE BEGINNING TO SEE THAT
RIGHT? WITH WARREN’S PRETTY STEADY
INCREASE IN SUPPORT, NOW MORE OR LESS TIED IF NOT EXCEEDING JOE
BIDEN WHO HAS BEEN TRYING TO RIDE THE LEGACY OF OBAMA WHO
WAS, OF COURSE, THE MASTER AT BEING EVERYTHING TO ALL PEOPLE
AND WAS ONE REASON HE WAS ABLE TO DO WHAT HE DID BACK IN 2008. BUT I THINK WHEN IT COMES TO THE
GENERAL ELECTION, THE FEAR OF COURSE, THE SPECTER OF
McGOVERN AND OTHER PROGRESSIVES CONTINUES TO HAUNT
THE PARTY THAT YOU WILL NOMINATE A CANDIDATE WHO THE PRIMARY
ELECTORATE LIKES A LOT, BUT WHO WILL FAIL THE CARRY THE GENERAL
ELECTION. ♪
♪ ♪

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