tv Washington Journal Chris Matthews CSPAN July 6, 2021 1:05am-1:45am EDT
at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. online on c-span.org and also on the free c-span radio app. on tuesday, a conversation about the budget reconciliation process. watch the brookings institution live, online, or on the free c-span radio app. joining us from massachusetts is chris matthews, his newest book my life in politics. guest: happy father's day. big day for all of us. host: what did you learn about chris matthews in writing this? guest: life as a way of going around, what goes around, comes around. in my generation week rub under
world war ii hiding under our desks because the russians were coming. i found myself at the end of the cold war in budapest and berlin watching the fall of the iron curtain. i was in africa in the peace corps on the border of south africa during the apartheid and i was there for the election where nelson mandela was elected president. a lot of the things you think that will not change, will. many times for the better, i am optimistic about this. look at gay-rights, marriage, that will never change, but it did. i think we made progress, not enough. changes the story. host: let's dig in. guest: -- host: let's dig in. the battle between right and left will not fade, we needed, we must battle for the maximum liberty of the individual
americans after all of these years trying to get it right. where are we getting it right? guest: i like c-span because you get the left in the right, journalists do not tell the whole story. i cannoti cannot think anybody , they tell part of the story. they don't not -- they don't tell the whole story, at the federal government spent a lot of money will fix a lot of bridges, roads and put people to work that we might inflate the economy. guest: black lives -- that begin
to behave like my the safest way is to not go into any club or situation, they pull back. that is not good for anybody, the criminal people know it is safer to conduct a bad business. everything has this push me, pull you aspect. and it takes a debate to bring out those sides. they are always there. there are always costs. people who bring us into war say we have to get rid of saddam hussein, what about the people who are going to die? tell us about that. debate and democracy are tied together. host: you write about that in your previous book, to pen the gipper when politics worked. could you imagine the picture here, it is ronald reagan, could
we see that today with president biden at the house republican leader? -- and the house republican leader? guest: i wish we could. back in the 80's, you would see a picture of bonilla and the republican leader at the time -- to o'neill-- tipp o' neill and the republican leader at the time sharing friendship. they worked together, they worked in the same building, chamber. they had lunch together. they are together all of the time. my with an upbeat natural friendships? i think they are afraid to do that's because the donor base does not want to see that. if you're giving somebody lots
of money, you do not want to see them hanging around with the other side. because you believe the other side is wrong. that has gotten out of hand. you do not want to have friendship spoiled by having the person you're voting for hang around the other side. it comes from the base, people do not like the opponent. they do not just resist them or oppose them. they do not like them. that has gotten ridiculous. you cannot assume that everybody who disagrees with you has the wrong motive. every republican is not rich. that is an absurdity. democrats like to say that we are against the rich or repose, there are a lot of republicans, up with are also regular people just who believe in less government, less taxes, more personal freedom. what is wrong with that? host: we are talking with chris
matthews, his first book was called hardball, his latest my life and politics in history. (202) 748-8000 for democrats, (202) 748-8001 for republicans, you can send us a text message or join us on social media. you talk about the president who you interviewed and moments in your life including post 9/11. "before the month of september was out i began worrying about where the american reaction would take us. i feared our actions could only lead to something worse, what a large u.s. response lead to more recruitment, i worried george w. bush was being encouraged to go further." explain. guest: i had a contact who was a close friend with colin powell, who told me that dick cheney was talking up war with iraq. other people were pushing for more.
we are going to war with the country that had nothing to do with 9/11, why? the last four months of the op-ed pages, the argument for going to work with iraq -- war with iraq. you do not hear that opinion more, because that war was pointless and made us more enemies. those who are worried about israel, it took away that buffer state between israel and iran. we backed saddam hussein and his war against iran. imagine if we still had him there, instead we have a vacuum that is the number one strategic concern for israel, iran. i do not know why we removed what was in effect in light of israel? that is common sense.
we sided with the soviets during world war ii, we do not like them but we needed them. you do not want to stand against your enemy alone. those who supported the war, blew it. host: let's go to roberts in greenville, texas, you're on the air. caller: good morning. what a pleasure to hear chris. i want an opinion about something that after these last four years would greatly enhance this country if we were able to transfer control of various branches of government that we consider part of the judiciary that are working for the department of justice such as the fbi and the investigative arms of government and put them under the control of the judicial branch. namely the supreme court.
figure out a way to structure for the judiciary to be independent of politics. and run the investigating arms of this country to weed out corruption, illegal lobbying. do campaign financing investigation. a lot of the corruption that goes into politics and separate it. host: thank you for the call. guest: that is a great challenge. what is the name of the building that houses the justice department? robert f kennedy, you have an attorney general who was close to his brother. you could not be closer.
they did a good job for civil rights and taking on big companies. partisanship works its way in. a clearly does -- it clearly does, wiretapping that has been maliciously misused. prosecution and justice are different. prosecutors go for indictments, most cases conviction. that is the name of the game if you are the fbi, it is getting the bad guys. the purpose of the judiciary is to find justice between the case for the prosecution and the defense. you have a big thumb on the scale if you have them as one. you are up to something.
i think we try to get at it with the inspector general system. i was part of that with the carter administration. independent of the governor, capable of earning cases against bad behavior by their own department. you try to isolate them so the prosecutor or investigator does not feel loyalty politically. we are still experimenting. you are onto something. some presidents including jack kennedy believed that the attorney general worked for him. yet they are supposed to be looking for all kinds of bad behavior. they are the country's lawyer. i do not think your solution is the right ones but your mother is perfect -- motive is perfect.
host: you mentioned senator robert kennedy and you wrote about him in a book. would he have received the democratic nomination had he lived? guest: under the old system of selecting nominees it would have been hard. very few primaries, california was one of them, he had another coming up. he had a big battle with eugene mccarthy who was strong in new york. that would have been a real tussle. hubert humphrey was backed by the establishment of the party. i do not know where to would have been gone -- where dale what have gone.
-- would have gone. i think he could have. the convention in 68 was controlled by the bosses and old system of governors picking delegations. it would have been hard. it would have been better for the country to help bobby kennedy walk into that tall and red ligh-- rally the antiwar forces. it would have been great to have a real battle in the convention instead of on the streets of chicago. i am thrilled at the prospect that he would have lived and there would have been a debate over the war. it might have gone the right direction. it would have been a battle which we needed in the party and country. i hoped he would win.
i can only predict -- i am pretty good at predicting elections thursday following tuesday. 2022 is going to be a cliffhanger. 2024 is going to be a cliffhanger. in our current situation, the 50-50 elections, we have to get voting rights straight. i believe, this is not the democratic field, i want the result election night. maybe for people serving armed dutch in the armed, overseas maybe have deadlines. allow pallets to be in the hands of the countries that day, evening so people can go to bed and know who the president is. if we do not do that we will have questions of skepticism. why does it take a week? the magnum people know there is an election every four years,
they need to be told that there must be a deadline. that is your responsibility. get it on time. that is the republican argument and i think they are right. host: a number of statements that cannot begin counting until election date which delayed the count by weeks. guest: let's fix it. election night i would love concession speeches, trump robbed the country of that. he refused to give a concession. even in the case of nixon and kennedy, jack kennedy needed richard nixon to throw in the towel, they did it in that wonderful meeting. in a little cabana place. there were drinking together and makes a made clear that kennedy won. you need the gentleman or gentlelady to say the other person won.
the founding fathers did not anticipate saying -- anticipate somebody saying that they won when they lost. host: you wrote about that in your book about how that by 40 shaped postwar america. who got the upper bunk and lower bunk when the members of the house were traveling from d.c. to pennsylvania? guest: they were chosen by frank new canaan of western pennsylvania to come and debate near pittsburgh. booming steel town and the time. on the way back they stopped at the diner for hamburgers, they talk sports. they got back on the train and took it to d.c. overnight train. they talked all night about the cold war.
they drew straws for topping, bottom bunk. nixon got the bottom bunk. kennedy was up top. think about the scene of these young guys talking about the cold war, the battle for the future. chatting away like they were. they started out as friends. that is a good story. host: gary and atlanta, you're on the error, -- air. caller: good morning. i am calling about january 6, we stopped teaching civics in this country. that is one of the main things kids do not know about. if you were still teaching, we would not have happened.
host: you are about that in washington magazine as a former capitol hill police officer. guest: that is a good word. people do not get the history of the country away we got here, the progress we made. -- the way we got here, the progress we made. we have been holding elections in this country every two years. no other country has a record like that. where the first republic -- we are the first republic. the electoral college works in the same way all the time. trump won in 2016 and 2020 by the same states that change their minds. it is a system that has been there. it is conservative because it favors smaller states, less
populous states. the idaho's, dakotas, montana's, they do very well in the college, senate. it is in the constitution and it has always been there. once you understand the system, you see it is fair. it depends on the american voters. the constitution is tilted to the right. if you're a democrat, yet been able to beat that. kennedy beat that, johnson b 30, clinton beat it twice, barack obama beat it twice. if americans wanted democrat president, they will get one. i think we have to understand the system and stop complaining about it. if you are a democrat, belly up, try to win more states.
the states that are going to decide it are the ones in the middle like pennsylvania. they are complicated states. big states and rural areas. conservative people, traditional people and state-of-the-art people. they're to have cultural flights -- fights over abortion rights and guns. i like these debates. tell me why we should stop debating these issues. it is american, we argue >> -- we argue. host: you're at that you saw the same sense of national violation as all of us, it is available online. let's go to barbara in massachusetts, good morning. caller: good morning. i want to thank you for creating the space for msnbc to become what it is today.
i credit you with that. not you alone. i sent a text to c-span because i did not know if my call would be taken. i will redo this. great to see you, your answer to the first question was perfect because change is the constant. i would love to see you make a new podcast or tv show called softball for this era where the list of remaining issues is shrinking daily. we resolve so much, with no idea how much we result and we need to communicate to them. i would love to see go to somewhere and do a series like school of rock. when you get together and tell the people about civics.
people, be healthy and do not go away. guest: you are very nice. good ideas. i think we need -- i love the idea of the space because i think we need a figuring out the consequences of everything we do. we have a conservative system. our system is not let the good times roll, the constitution was built as a basic civic document but to be a conservative one. to make possible an enduring democracy or republic. something that will last, meaning through the current debates. there are issues that are intractable. abortion rights are different value systems. women's rights are paramount for some people. these are tough issues to say
this over with. -- it is over with. there are issues likely term abortion we can get closer to agreement on current issues. we need to talk about who is safe to use a gun, there are restrictions about driving a car. you have to be a certain age, not drunk. these are reasonable. they are not taking away your right. if you are in good sense. i know everything is the slippery slope argument because of what he is afraid -- everybody is afraid of the other side rubbing control. the anti-gun guy would like to get rid of all they can see be careful. the other extreme is whatever you feel like.
we are a smarter society than that. we can be very free. what i write about is whenever we build a new program we have to be guarding freedom. this is still america. people still want to get into their own car, they like public transportation, i like rapid rail. there is going to be touch cowboy that wants to be our own person. we better not get rid of that. this isn't sweden. we have a different mentality. a little bit of the wild west we have to keep that. as well as keep social equity. that is the job of smart legislators. to find a happy medium on these issues. host: you mention abortion, the
headline getting attention from the new york times, "catholic bishops putting together a directive that could restrict president biden to receive communion because of his views on abortion." guest: that is an opinion poll. it reflects conservativism. it reflects the concern about the more conservative, traditional people in their dioceses. it does not matter because it is up to each bishop to decide on matters like that. whether young girls can be altar boys or not, those issues are decided in the diocese. the archbishop of washington has made clear where he stands which is against this weird i expect -- is against this.
i expect the same in williamston. this is instructive about the mentality of bishops and retired bishops but will not matter. absently convinced he will be able to go to communion. host: rhonda is on the phone, thank you for waiting. good morning. caller: good morning. i am so happy to see you. i feel blessed. i miss you so much. i used to watch you every day. hardball was my politics. it gave us a conservative view. we do not have that on msnbc, cnn, only in the morning with the morning joe. who i love as well.
the lady before me stole my thunder because i was going to ask are you going to start a podcast or something. we need you back. you have to come back. you cannot retire and write books. [laughter] caller: we need your opinion so you can calm us down. all of my brothers are educated. we pay high property taxes in new jersey. we are looking out all of the school districts because we have a lot of immigrants and we are a sanctuary city. we love them but we believe in legal immigration. we need these people to do what is best for the country. they should have a custom worker pass. they are here anyway, at least we can get them to pay taxes which will lower property taxes. we need conservative views like you. you have to come back.
to help straighten out your republican party. what hurts me about the maga su pporters, the republican party represents the church. they have allowed donald trump to corrupt them which corrupts the church. host: thank you for the call. guest: there is a lot there. i am 75. i have a last act somewhere in the end i am devoting myself as a professor. talking about changes and ironies in history, we are at a horrible war with vietnam and now i am a professor over there. i like doing that. i like teaching about american culture and politics to people who are going to be our allies against china.
one of the strange redefining of the sides. like choosing sides in sandlot, different team every once in a while. we are on the same team as vietnam. i am a writer and director of washington monthly. i write books. i hear and appreciate that. i am a conservative compared to other anchors on msnbc. i am a progressive on a number of issues like war and voting rights, not so much others. i see the other side on other issues. we might be getting somewhere with the middle-of-the-road on voting rights to budding on how far manchin comes out. i do not see 60 votes for the elimination of the filibuster. even though he has taken a strong direction, talking about
making election take a holiday, allowing for early voting i do not see at passing -- it passing. what i worry about is dysfunction, the inability of the nine states senate to get anything done. -- of the united states senate to get anything done. going into an election all negative is good for the country. [cross chat] i wish i was 40 and i am not and i have to recognize that i have responsibilities to my family. i was doing six shows per week and i was exhausted. that is a personal thing. these guys get up and play golf on saturday morning surprised me. i am tired. i am having a good time. i will find a way to get my voice out there.
i do not know if i will go through writing or guest shots. i do not have any plans for a return at all. host: john from pennsylvania, good morning. caller: good morning. i wanted to ask you a question. what if your heroes you mentioned is john kennedy, he was one of mine. in 1961 he did a speech called the presidency and the press. he talked about the importance of informing the american people through the press and not having a biased press to the people what is going on -- tell the people what is going on. you had a great career in media, what do you see happening in terms of media, you have six or seven corporations that own all of the tv and radio stations.
you have the social media, you have left, right. the media is important to inform the people, educate them so they can vote what they want. where do you see this going? i see it defining a fractured country because we have media from the corporate world and not a lots of people informing the american people about what is going on. a lot of noise but not information. that is what the president was talking about. guest: i do not know about the influence from the corporations. i never got directives from comcast or ge. it is wise to take that into
consideration. try to figure out if there is a wall between the people making money and people speaking values. ratings are a powerful drive in the business. people want highly rated shows, provocative, saying things that are striking. ignite feelings on the part of the viewer. what is that about? who gets the most excited? probably left and right, most extreme in both cases. they get excited about what is said on television and radio. if you want to zig up those numbers you be provocative. you cannot do that as effectively or easily in the
middle. is that what the business is about? igniting righteous indignation? this will get you anxious, getting on the highway and pound about this. you're not going to sleep at night because you are so excited by your anger. that is what is going on. the simplicity of it, telling people on the left that they are right that everything would be wonderful. come on. the right saying that if we only ran the place everything would be wonderful, you would have notional -- no social security, medicare. no support for everybody unless
you can win the rat race. on the left are you going to stop spending money? what would make republicans into reasonable people? the democrats force them to accept social security, one person said the nation's concert if they want to conserve the new deal. it is going to be a conflict between both sides. both sides are lying when they say if we won everything would be great. who's going to tell the republicans to show some humanity and demarest to stop spending money? the other side. that keeps them reasonable. it is how the system works. it is not listening to fox or any other network this as a yes,
you're wonderful, do everything your way. give me a break. host: the book, my life and politics and history you talk about media and cable tv. "people like what you say, your take on the news becomes your audience. it is the human connection of television, knowing the audience becomes your company. that bond of trust is the best part of the job." you're right about a moment in 2004 that continues to get attention. [video clip] >> what was the question? >> it takes a few words. >> get out of my face. [indiscernible] >> i wish we lived in the date where you could challenge a person to a duel. do not pull that stuff on mate
like you did that young lady. -- on me like you did that young lady. i am not her. [cross chat] >> the only reason you are doing it is because you are standing over there. host: that moment continues to resonate. guest: i did not know that was going to happen. i took the senator seriously. he was very angry with me. he accused the democratic party of leaving the country defensive force -- country defenseless. i asked him why you said that derek because want to fight with stick boss, he said it was a metaphor. a metaphor for what? he said it wasn't a question of their patriotism, it was their judgment.
all i can say is this, before he died i wrote a note saying that we all have bad nights, another one of us looked good that night. i want to salute your patriotism , your time in the military, as governor. he wrote me back the most wonderful note. i have it in my stuff i saved. what happened to him was he [no audio] >> c-span's washington journal. every day we take your news -- or questions on the news of the day. tuesday morning we look at the future of the workplace after the end of the pandemic.
and the annual report on the wildfire season with holly fretwell, research fellow. watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning and join the discussion with phone calls, facebook comments, texts and tweets. >> tuesday, a discussion about the israeli-palestinian conflict with state department officials from the wilson center at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span, on c-span.org or on the free free -- or on the free radio app. from the washington examiner, jim antle. he served as their politics editor. thank you for joining us on this observed independence day holiday. thanks again. guest: tank for having me. host: the president talking yesterday particularly when it comes to issues of covid, talking about unity