Exclusive - Jim DeMint Extended Interview Pt. 1

  • Aired:  03/04/14
  •  | Views: 64,956

Author and former Senator Jim DeMint shares his views on how politics are dividing America and why community-based organizing is the solution. (5:59)

>> Jon: HI, EVERYBODY.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT FORMERREPUBLICAN SENATOR FROM THE

GREAT STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINACURRENTLY THE PRESIDENT OF

THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION.

HIS NEW BOOK IS CALLED "FALLINGIN LOVE WITH AMERICA AGAIN."

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THEPROGRAM JIM DeMINT.

SIR --[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOININGUS AGAIN.

THE BOOK IS CALLED FALLING INLOVE WITH AMERICA AGAIN.

SIR, I HAVE TO ASK -- HOW CAN WEWIN YOU BACK?

WHAT CAN WE DO?

HOW DID YOU FALL OUT OF LOVEWITH US?

DO YOU FEEL LIKE WE TOOK YOU FORGRANTED?

DO YOU FEEL LIKE --[LAUGHTER]

-- WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE YOUFEEL LIKE THE MAGIC WAS GONE?

>> WELL, JON, YOU KNOW WE'RE ALLBLESSED TO BE AMERICANS AND A

LOT OF US ARE WORRIED WE MIGHTBE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.

WE HAVE A LOT OF YOUNG FOLKSHERE TODAY BUT A LARGE MAJORITYYOUNG AMERICANS

SAY THEY NO LONGER THINK THEAMERICAN DREAM IS ATTAINABLE.

MOST OF THEM WILL HAVE LESSOPPORTUNITY IN THEIR LIVES THAN

THEIR PARENTS DID. THAT'S THEFIRST TIME IN HISTORY.

WHAT I'M TRYING TO DO HERE ISREMIND AMERICANS THAT WE CAN

CHANGE THAT COURSE BUT WE HAVETO DO IT OURSELVES.

IT'S WHEN WE REMEMBER WE'RE AGROUND UP COUNTRY RATHER THAN A

TOP DOWN.

IT'S NOT POLITICAL OR PARTISAN.

WE WERE BUILT AS A NATIONDIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER NATION

BECAUSE WE WERE DECENTRALIZEDINDIVIDUALS, COMMUNITIES WORKING

TOGETHER WHAT WE CALL LITTLEPLATOONS.

IT'S WORKING ACROSS AMERICATODAY.

>> LITTLE PLATOONS?

>> YOU LIKE THAT WORD?

>> Jon: WHAT YOU ARE SAYING ISWE NEED MORE, I GUESS, COMMUNITY

ORGANIZERS?

[LAUGHTER]>> WE TALK ABOUT A LOT OF

COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS PEOPLE WHOSOLVE PROBLEMS, CREATE NEW

SCHOOLS, MORE CHOICES, A LOT OFPEOPLE HELPING TO SOLVE HEALTH

CARE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL.

STATES LIKE NORTH DAKOTA OPENINGTHEIR ENERGY CREATING A LOT OF

JOBS.

WE CAN SEE A LOT BETTERSOLUTIONS.

I'VE BEEN ON THE INSIDE, AS YOUKNOW OF CONGRESS.

I'VE BEEN OUT.

I'VE LIVED MOST OF MY LIFE OUTOF POLITICS.

THE SOLUTIONS ARE OUT OFWASHINGTON.

I JUST FEEL LIKE POLITICS ISDIVIDING THE COUNTRY.

WHEN I TALK TO PEOPLE THEY ARENOT NEARLY AS DIVIDED ABOUT

COMMON SENSE IDEAS.

I'M JUST OPTIMISTIC IF PEOPLESTART VOTING FOR THEMSELVES

RATHER THAN SOME CONCEPT OF WHATGOVERNMENT MIGHT DO.

>> GOVERNMENT HAS -- IF YOU ALSOPOLL PEOPLE THEY WOULD SAY,I THINK 65%,

70% SAY GOVERNMENT HAS A ROLE TOPLAY IN HELPING THOSE IN

POVERTY.

>> SURE, YEAH.

>> Jon: SHOULDN'T WE FOCUSON -- THE DIFFICULTY I HAVE IS

AT TIMES THOSE WHO FEELGOVERNMENT HAS LESS OF A ROLE TO

PLAY RATHER THAN REFORMING THEYABDICATE RESPONSIBILITY AND

OBSTRUCT. SO WHAT THEY DO IS

THEY CAUSE THE FUNCTION OFGOVERNMENT TO CEASE. AND

BY DOING THAT HURT A TREMENDOUSAMOUNT OF PEOPLE WITHOUT

REFORMING A SYSTEM THATDESPERATELY NEEDS SMART REFORM

AND NOT OBSTRUCTION.

>> YOU ARE RIGHT.

OUR HEARTS, I THINK, ARE IN THESAME PLACE.

>> Jon: NO, THEY ARE NOT.

[LAUGHTER]>> OKAY.

>> Jon: CHEST WISE, YES,BIOLOGICALLY THEY ARE.

DIDN'T THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION

WASN'T IT YOUR FOUNDATION THATPROMOTED THIS IDEA OF

SHUTTING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT?

>> NO, WE DIDN'T.

>> Jon: I THOUGHT YOU PROMOTEDTHAT.

>> WE DIDN'T THINK WE SHOULDPROCEED WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION

OF OBAMACARE.

IT WAS NOT READY FOR PRIMETIMEWE DIDN'T THINK IT SHOULD BE

FUNDED AND THAT WOULD DELAY IT.

OBVIOUSLY, SOME FOLKS HADDIFFERENT OPINIONS ABOUT THAT.

WE WERE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHINGIMPORTANT.

>> Jon: YES.

>> IN HERE THERE SHOULD BE ASAFETY NET FOR CITIZENS WHO AREIN

TROUBLE.

THE QUESTION IS: IS IT BESTDONE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL WHICH

WILL -- WE'VE SPENT TRILLIONSOVER 30 YEARS WORKING ON POVERTY

AND WE HAVE MORE POVERTY THAN WEDID BEFORE.

>> Jon: IT DEPENDS ON HOW YOUCALCULATE IT.

IF WE CALCULATE IN BENEFITS WEREDUCED FROM 25% TO 16%.

>> IT DEPENDS ON HOW YOU -- WHATIS IS, REALLY?

>> Jon: YOU WERE CALCULATINGTHE BENEFITS.

>> THE EXAMPLE WE GIVE HERE.

AGAIN I'M NOT SAYING YOUELIMINATE THE GOVERNMENT.

THE THERE ARE SO MANY EXAMPLESAROUND THE COUNTRY.

STEP 13 IN DENVER, FOR INSTANCE,PEOPLE DOWN AND OUT DRUG

ADDICTS, ALCOHOLICS WHO THEY SAYCAN'T GET JOBS BUT THEY HELP

THEM GET OFF THE DRUGS, GETTRAINING, GET A BETTER JOB AND

GET THEIR HAND ON THE LADDER OFOPPORTUNITY.

ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY YOU GOAND YOU ARE JUST -- WHAT WE'RE

TRYING TO POINT OUT HERE THEY

ARE CITIZENS, VOLUNTEER GROUPSWHO ARE ACTUALLY DOING A BETTER

JOB HELPING PEOPLE GET THEIRHAND ON THAT --

>> Jon: THAT EXISTS BUT THEYWOULD BE FROM EVERYTHING I HAVE

HEARD FROM INDIVIDUALS IN THESELOCALLY BASED COMMUNITY

CHARITIES AND FAITH BASEDCHARITIES THEY WOULD BE UTTERLY

OVERRUN AND OVERWHELMED IF THEGOVERNMENT WERE TO PULL BACK ITS

SUPPORT FROM THESE SAFETY NETPROGRAMS.

I TALKED TO GUYS THAT I KNOWTHAT RUN THE LOS ANGELES FOOD

BANK THEY TELL ME YOU PULL THEGOVERNMENT OUT OF THIS WE ARE AT

PEAK CAPACITY.

CHURCHES SAY THAT, LOCAL GROUPSSAY THAT WHO IS GOING TO TAKE

CARE OF THESE PEOPLE?

>> I'M NOT SAYING COLD TURKEY.

WHAT WE'RE SAYING IS LOOK AT THETHINGS THAT DON'T WORK.

AND ACTUALLY WELFARE TRAPSPEOPLE IN THE PROGRAMS LIKE

MEDICAID. >> Jon: RIGHT.

>> IF YOU GET A JOB AND STARTWORKING YOUR WAY OUT YOU LOSE

YOUR BENEFITS QUICKER.

>> Jon: CERTAINLY ANY MEANSTESTED PROGRAM WILL HAVE A GRAY

AREA THAT I THINK YOU CANINCENTIVIZE.

I THINK THERE'S NO QUESTION.

>> WE NEED MORE PARTNERSHIPSLOCALLY.

BUT I THINK WE BOTH AGREE WENEED SAFETY NETS FOR PEOPLE BUT

WE NEED A SYSTEM THAT HELPSPEOPLE GET OUT OF IT AND

GET THEIR HANDS ON THE LADDER OFOPPORTUNITY.

WE DON'T WANT PEOPLE STUCK INDEPENDENCY THEIR WHOLE LIFE.

THAT'S NOT WHAT LIFE IS ABOUT.

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