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Friday, August 23, 2013
Parchments
The Factor Rundown
Guest Host
Guest hosted by Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown
Talking Points Memo
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Impact Segment
Factor Follow Up Segment
Personal Story Segment
Unresolved Problems Segment
Factor Flashback Segment
Comments
The State of the Republican Party
"Who remembers the famous stories about President Reagan and House Speaker Tip O'Neill? In public they would battle each other tooth and nail, but in private they would grab a drink, play cards, and negotiate a settlement or come up with an answer to a serious problem facing our country. How would President Reagan's actions be looked at now by the more conservative base of our party? Would he be called a 'RINO,' a Republican-In-Name-Only? I'm not sure, but I can tell you that when people see the personal and political attacks between factions of the Republican Party, they're left scratching their heads. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is not a darling to our conservative base. Why? Because he hugged the President. Maybe that was a little much, but he has a 70% approval rating in a very blue state, doing the things that matter most to his state. How do the attacks by groups across the country against good Republicans like Christie and others move the party forward? Are we not all concerned with the same core principles of lower taxes, strong defense, smaller government, liberty, freedom, and fiscal and military strength? Is there not room for good Republicans who don't all think and act the same way? I would argue that the GOP needs to be a larger tent party, more inclusive to respect the beliefs of good Republicans of all types. When Barack Obama's presidency is over, we will have had eight years of division. I believe the people are fed up, they are tired of our elected officials putting their personal interests ahead of our country's interests. They are looking for us to band together and come up with a plan to rescue our country. We can't do it if we stay divided!"
Washington Gridlock
Staying on the same theme, Scott asked liberal editor Cathy Areu about President Obama's tendency to blame conservative Republicans for inaction in Washington. "It's not a blame game," Areu said, "it's a branding game and he is branding the Republican Party as what they are, which is the Tea Party, the Rush Limbaugh party, the fringe party, the 'no' party. I wish the Tea Party fanatics would step aside and let the adults handle the situation." Scott advised Areu she was wildly overstating the Tea Party's influence and that Democrats have a majority in the Senate: "Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer control the Senate, they can bring up anything they want. So blaming the Tea Party for holding up bills is just rhetoric."
Chaos in Syria
Scott welcomed former State Department official Ric Grenell and Democratic strategist Richard Fowler, who addressed the savagery in Syria and the USA's options. "President Obama is saying that our U.S. policy needs to be approved by the United Nations," Grenell complained. "He makes this argument that you must have multi-lateral support, and that's really problematic. He also views the situation as either 'war' or 'no war,' but there are other ways to use the full depth of the United States government." But Fowler praised President Obama's measured approach. "What I hear from the President is a commitment to having all of our allies work together to solve this issue. The President was clear that we need to have a calculated response, that we don't want to put ourselves into another situation that we can't get out of. We need to create jobs here and putting us into another frivolous war is not the answer."
Senseless Murder in Oklahoma
Three Oklahoma teens are behind bars, charged in the senseless murder of 22-year-old Australian Christopher Lane. Scott discussed the heinous crime with psychology professor Chuck Williams. "I think there are a number of things happening in our society that we need to be aware of," Williams began. "There appears to be an uptick in 'thrill seeking' behavior, which involves broadcasting these unconscionable acts that include murder and gunplay on social media sites. I feel this is part of a culture where people need to have 'exciting' lives and every second needs to be thrilling and exceptional. Also, mental health experts are studying whether there is a decrease in empathy, where people are not caring as much as they used to about the pain and feelings of others. If adults are experiencing that, you can imagine that it's really a problem in our children." Stressing the importance of males in the lives of young boys, Scott cited his own checkered past as an example: "I was arrested at twelve, I was drinking, stealing my mom's car, doing stupid things. I had a couple of coaches who took me under their wing and a judge who gave me a second chance."
Hate Website Linked to Government Employee
Ayo Kimathi, an official at the Department of Homeland Security, runs a website that warns of an imminent race war in America. Scott asked lawyer and First Amendment specialist Larry Walters whether Kimathi will be fired. "This is an issue that potentially involves the First Amendment," Walters stated, "so the government is treading lightly. But this is an example of where an individual may have crossed the line in advocating violence and essentially advocating a race war. The Supreme Court allows the government a decent amount of leeway when it comes to terminating employees based on activity that negatively impacts the employer. I think his days as a DHS employee are numbered." Scott was not nearly as circumspect, saying, "This is a no-brainer, this is a representative of Homeland Security and he's out there advocating the killing of white people in a race war."
Welfare State
Scott was joined by Michael Tanner of the libertarian Cato Institute, who has found that in many states welfare pays more than a low-wage job. "The welfare state has grown so large," Tanner said, "that there is very little accountability. The federal government has 126 separate anti-poverty programs, 72 of which give cash or other benefits directly to individuals. This wide array of overlapping programs means that the benefits can add up and become a better way of life than a low-wage, low-skilled job. We're spending nearly a trillion dollars fighting poverty every year, yet the poverty rate is nearly the same as it was in 1965 when Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty." Scott called for a thorough re-examination of the panoply of poverty programs: "There is a need for a safety net but it is not meant to be a lifelong entitlement. We need a top-to-bottom review to eliminate a lot of the fraud and waste and overlap."
Drug Debate
Some libertarian Americans argue that drug dealing is a victimless crime and that dealers are punished too harshly. Scott introduced Bill's recent interview with Denise Cullen and Ginger Katz, both of whose sons died in drug overdoses. "Loosening the drug laws would create more drug use," Katz opined, "and that means more crime, more overdoses, more kids dropping out of school. It wreaks havoc on our country." But Cullen, despite her personal loss, disagreed vehemently. "Our drug sentences are draconian and we incarcerate so many people. I don't blame the person for allowing my son to purchase the drugs from him, I blame him for leaving my son alone in the condition he was in. My son called the drug dealer, the guy didn't shove it down his throat. We've been doing this war on drugs for 40 years, it doesn't work."
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