I see so much confusion out there among friends,strangers and acquaintances. People ask, why can’t our government solve these problems that the vast majority of the people agree on such as common sense gun legislation, sensible immigration reform, health care. Steve Schmidt provides a crash course in what is going on and why. Both parties are broken but Republicans are more broken according to this former Republican who left the party after it gave itself over to Donald Trump.
Former Republican strategist and co-founder of The Lincoln Project Steve Schmidt is always worth a listen and as a special treat, unlike most TV interviews, Frontline asked good questions.
Here are just a few of the highlights followed by video of the full interview.
On Obama’s presidency:
“President Obama was not able to forge compromise and the reason may well be the implacability of the people sitting on the other side of the table. Sometimes you can’t get to yes with someone who won’t say anything other than no. When you look at the rise of the tea party movement the real issue that the Obama admin faced, which is an age old one, is that you can’t fix crazy. And the fact of the matter is you had a fair number of crazy people who started getting elected to the congress on the tea party wave who there was no dealing with.”
“Congress for a long time now has not been responsive to broad public opinion. It’s been responsive to the most intense voters who are in factions who are incited by a billion dollar anger industry on radio and television and that’s the audience, that’s the constituency. The compromising middle has been eradicated through gerrymandering, redistricting and the technological advancements that allow politicians to pick their voters rather than the other way around.”
The politics of incitement:
“The tea party, stoked by a culture of incitement on news radio and cable stations that pay big bucks – a movement was stoked that was oppositional and fueled by the politics of incitement.”
The economic collapse of 2008:
“The economic collapse of 2008 and the economy that Barack Obama inherited, I think is the defining event of this generation even more so than 9/11 and it profoundly reshaped American politics.”
On Sarah Palin:
“She was the first of a generation of politicians who lived in a post-truth environment.There’s no polite way to say it she was a serial liar. Over and over and over again dozens of times a day she would say things that were simply not true or things she had read on her Blackberry, things that were picked up from the internet…and this obliteration of fact from fiction, of truth from lie has become now endemic in American politics. But it started then. And so the fact of the matter is that overwhelming percentages to this day believe that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., that Barack Obama is a Muslim and there’s no convincing those people that that is not the case.”