James Carville has a new book out, “We’re Still Right, They’re Still Wrong,” and he joined me this morning:
HH: There are exactly three people alive today who have twice successfully advised presidential candidates on winning the White House. One is named Karl Rove, one is named David Axelrod, and the third is James Carville. Carville joins me now. His brand new book, We’re Still Right, They’re Still Wrong, in bookstores everywhere, I’ve got it linked over at www.hughhewitt.com. We’re Still Right, They’re Still Wrong, very, very funny, completely wrong, of course, but very, very funny. James, you write your 1973 LSU Law School portrait looked like a Trump rally. So where’d you go wrong?
JC: (laughing) I don’t know. I don’t think I went wrong. You know, I had this kind of a political view, and I wrote a book in ’96. And then 20 years later, I looked back at it and went oh, my God, I was right. I was Nostradamus.
JC: I couldn’t believe…
HH: Well, Nostradamus, I’m not, on Page 30, you write, “I defy you to find a single major economic indicator that says Republicans are better at handling the economy.”
HH: So I took up that challenge.
HH: And I discovered from the Washington Post that the only president in U.S. history to never have a single year when the U.S. economy grew by at least 3% is Barack Obama, and that most of us have never, this is by Michael Snyder, their Economic Collapse blog. “Most of us have never witnessed an economic recovery this bad. In fact, it’s the lowest of any recovery in the last 67 years.” Did I meet your challenge?
JC: Of course, you didn’t. And you take the cumulative, all right? The cumulative economic performance from 1945 to today and 1960 to today, the economic growth under Democrats has been substantially higher. In fact, I put it in the book. GDP growth, the jobs, it’s like, it’s so many more jobs created under the Democrats than Republicans, it’s unbelievable. The deficit historically has been significantly lower under Democratic presidents. Now what I say in the book is, you know, there could be any number of reasons for this, but this is the absolute fact. And it’s not, if you took, you can’t imagine how much better the stock market performs when Democrats are president.
HH: But I just, you said I defy you to find a single major economic indicator…
JC: You think, I said, I didn’t say Barack Obama. I said Democrats. You take the cumulative Democratic performance. And by the way, I think the economy under Obama is significantly better than it was when he took office.
HH: Well, you’re revising and extending.
JC: So I didn’t say Obama. I said Democrats.
HH: You’re revising and extending your remarks.
JC: No, I’m not at all. Hugh, let me ask you a question.
HH: Wait, this is an interview.
JC: Was economic growth higher average under Democratic presidents or Republican presidents?
HH: It’s not a debate. Well, this is the only president in American history never to have a single year in which the economy grew by at least 3%.
JC: Again, again, if you go with the book…
HH: I read the book.
JC: All right.
HH: I read the book. Let me ask you a second thing.
HH: You love the stimulus. Now FDR’s stimulus, it built stuff. My first job was in a Works Progress Administration lifeguard pool in Niles, Ohio.
HH: What exactly, what building can you point to anywhere in the United States that the Obama stimulus built?
JC: Well, I can point to any number of streets in New Orleans that were built with the stimulus. And also, of the 90…
HH: Which streets?
JC: How many economists did they…
JC: Let me ask you. It was not a building.
HH: Well, so there’s no, no building?
JC: Now I could, the whole nuclear clean up…
HH: No buildings?
JC: Go see what these guys say out in Utah about the whole nuclear clean up.
HH: But one building, did they build anything?
JC: So again, again, did you read the book?
HH: A parking lot anywhere?
JC: Did you read the book?
HH: I read the whole thing. It’s on Page…
JC: And what did the economists, when they surveyed the economists, how many said that the stimulus was overall helpful?
HH: I just keep asking for one building.
JC: Well, you want to, you see, what you do is…
HH: I know, you got a bunch of…
JC: Again, let me, you keep, I’m on your show. True or false – economic growth under Democratic presidents is significantly higher than Republican presidents?
HH: False. This is the first time in 73 years that we’ve had a recovery this bad.
JC: Again, again, historically, if you look at, Obama’s going to be, you know, going to have 10 million private sector jobs. The economic growth is higher since 1945, is significantly higher under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents. Is that true or false?
HH: Now James, you also argue that Obamacare is a success.
JC: Again, well, of course, I do. Of course, I do.
HH: Okay, now Aetna dropped out of 11 of 15 state exchanges. Premiums have skyrocketed. Deductibles have tripled. Why is that a success?
JC: Because Obamacare is insuring, more people have health insurance, and health costs as a percent of GDP is significantly lower than expected. And again, I don’t know why people are so upset…
HH: Yeah, but people can’t get to see doctors.
JC: …that millions and millions of people now have health insurance.
HH: Well, they’ve got insurance, but they don’t got doctors. And they can’t get into see one.
JC: Let’s see. They’re getting, they’re getting health care.
HH: Well, no they’re not.
JC: And they’re getting, again, of course, they are.
JC: You don’t read the book. It’s in the book, fella.
HH: I did read the book. I’ve got it on Page 53. It’s…
JC: You’ve got to, again, let me, again, look at any chart that you will. Let me repeat. The economy does significantly better under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents. You can go read Professor…
HH: James, you’ve got to get out among the little people who are paying these deductibles.
JC: Again, let me repeat.
HH: You’ve got to get out there.
JC: Let me repeat. I want to repeat this. In job growth, in deficit reduction, in GDP growth, the economy does not better, significantly better, significantly better under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents. And I will repeat it again, because…
HH: Now let me ask you about, let me ask you a couple of other things.
JC: All right.
HH: Now the Obama presidency is summed up in six words – leading from behind, red line and jayvees. It’s been the most disastrous foreign policy we’ve ever experienced in the post, in the modern era.
JC: You know, why is Obama going to have 10 million jobs created in his second term? Why have we had the four best years we’ve ever had in terms of deficit reduction as a percentage of GDP? Why is his approval rating approaching 55, going to probably end up at 57?
HH: Well, I’m just…
JC: Why is GM alive and bin Laden dead, okay?
HH: Your Honor…
JC: Why are more people have health insurance today than they did eight years ago?
HH: Your Honor, would you direct the witness…
JC: Why is the economy significantly better today than it was eight years ago?
HH: Your Honor, would you redirect the witness to answer? Leading from behind, red line, jayvees – mistakes?
JC: Who doesn’t make a mistake?
HH: Oh, those are pretty big ones, aren’t they?
JC: But again, let me, I went through the substantive accomplishments. By the way, I don’t, I’m not for getting in wars in the Middle East. I think we’ve had enough of them. I kind of, you know, the truth of the matter is I kind of agree with it. I think the great disaster of this century was the Iraq War.
HH: All right, so let me ask you this. I just saw you on Morning Joe…
HH: And you were defending the Clinton Foundation.
HH: Senator Cotton came on. I played for him your defense. Here’s what Senator Cotton said last hour.
HH: Now James Carville just argued on Morning Joe, and he’ll be on with me later, that we’re picking on a foundation that’s eradicating malaria and driving down the cost of HIV drugs, and this is the best thing Bill Clinton’s ever done, and why do we hate charity. What’s your response?
TC: So if Lebanese Nigerian billionaires who cavort with dictators and other kinds of shady international operators really wanted to eradicate disease and poverty, Hugh, there’s plenty of more legitimate foundations and organizations who could lead that work. The Clinton Foundation’s finances are notoriously opaque. They largely subsidize the Clinton family’s lifestyle. There’s one reason and one reason only that you would pursue this work through the Clinton Foundation. It’s because since the Foundation was set up, Hillary Clinton has been in office or been expecting to return to office, and these people are trying to curry favor with powerful politicians in America.
HH: But Carville argued that they’ve given, they get no money from the Foundation. They in fact gave a million dollars to the Foundation.
TC: Which again subsidizes their lifestyle in private jets and resorts, and all their retainers like Doug Band and the other hangers on the Clintons have had around them for 40 years. That’s the way these things work in the real world, Hugh, not in James Carville’s idealized world.
HH: Now James, you will admit I honestly represented your point of view there, didn’t I?
JC: Well, first of all, yeah, there’s one little detail. He’s ignorant, okay? There are actually people that grade these things. They’re called Charity Watch. They’re a five star charity. They’ve never taken a dollar out of it…
HH: Well, I told him that.
JC: Not Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton, not his wife.
HH: Does it subsidize their lifestyle?
JC: Again, so what he’s saying is just ignorant.
HH: Does it…
JC: I mean, he’s ignorant on the subject. That’s all I can say.
HH: Does it subsidize, does it subsidize their lifestyle?
JC: Of course it doesn’t subsidize their lifestyle.
HH: All right, okay, just wanted…
JC: I mean, they don’t live in a foundation house. You know, anything, and I mean, I don’t know how many trips that he’s gone to Africa on. Again, 11 million people get antiviral drugs through it. they negotiated the cost of malaria drugs down, I want to say 80 and 90%. I think the Clinton Foundation, by the way, Bill Clinton stopped a genocide…
HH: I heard that.
JC: The Clinton Genome Project is the greatest scientific undertaking in maybe forever.
HH: I heard that.
JC: And the Clinton Foundations is unbelievable.
HH: Yeah, I got, I represented your comments to [Tom] accurately.
HH: Let me ask you this, though. When you said to Joe, he’s a good man who made a bad mistake, you’re obviously referring to Monica.
HH: The second worst thing he did, would you agree with me, was pardon Marc Rich?
JC: You know, what he would say is he didn’t give him civil, you know, he was subject to civil penalties. You know, but if, I don’t know. I’m not that passionate about the Marc Rich thing one way or the other. I’m very passionate about the Clinton Foundation.
HH: Well, here’s my question. Gilbert Chagoury, who’s pledged a billion dollars to the Clinton Foundation…
HH: …and who was working through Doug Band to get in touch with Huma to get in touch with Secretary Clinton…
HH: …was business partners with Marc Rich. Is that appropriate for Gilbert…
JC: Look, I noticed, Gilbert Chagoury is the, first of all, he never got the appointment. Secondly, Gilbert Chagoury is probably the leading proponent for Christians in the Middle East. He’s probably the single most prominent Maronite Catholic. I happen to know he’s very close to the Cardinal. I know he spends a lot of money on that. And I don’t, I mean, I would be stunned if he wanted to see the Lebanese ambassador for any reason other than his passion for Middle East Catholics. But I don’t…
HH: Now he was Marc Rich’s business partner, though.
JC: I don’t, again, it may be he was. Does all these, he never got the appointment. You know, he went there, and I’m pretty sure that I know what it’s for.
HH: No, but…
JC: And if you go and you look, and by the way, I think he’s like a knight of, you’d have to check it out.
HH: Knight of Malta. Could have been.
JC: Could have been.
HH: Very possible.
JC: Could have been, but I think that’s his passion.
HH: But he had to pay the Nigerian government $300 million dollars to avoid criminal charges.
JC: Again, I don’t know, again, I think his passion is the Christians in the Middle East. And they’re called Marano Catholics.
HH: Well, that could very well be, and that would be admirable, and I would applaud that.
JC: And again, he never had the appointment.
HH: But shouldn’t have Huma Abedin not said I’ll check into it, but shouldn’t she have said we made a pledge not to do this, Doug, don’t call me again?
JC: I mean, again, he never got the appointment. And his passion is the Christians in the Middle East. And that’s what I know.
HH: All right, let me play for you a little bit of Trey Gowdy and James Comey from last month.
TG: Director Comey, Secretary Clinton said she never sent or received any classified information over her private email. Was that true?
JC: Our investigation found that there was classified information sent.
TG: So it was not true?
JC: Right, that’s what I said.
TG: Okay, well, I’m looking for a little shorter answer so you and I are not here quite as long. Secretary Clinton said there was nothing marked classified on her emails either sent or received. Was that true?
JC: That’s not true. There were a small number of portion markings on I think three of the documents.
TG: Secretary Clinton said I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. Was that true?
JC: No, there was classified material emailed.
HH: So this goes on, James Carville, and I’ve got a minute to the break and then we’ll come back. But did she…
JC: Is there something that you’re leaving out?
HH: No, I’m playing it verbatim.
JC: You’re not leaving out that it was a small c in parentheses that people subsequently said was not even the official marking of classified?
HH: I’m just playing the tape.
JC: I think you’re leaving that out, Hugh.
HH: I’m just playing the tape.
JC: I mean, you’ve got to give me the whole, you see, you can’t leave out, because you owe your listeners the facts. It was a c in parentheses of which he later came back and said…
HH: That was an unedited tape, James.
JC: …that that was not…
HH: That was an unedited tape.
JC: …an official classified marking. Go ahead.
HH: But that was an unedited tape. That was the exact exchange.
JC: Again, again, it was not, what he was talking about was subsequently determined that that wasn’t even the marking for classified.
HH: Okay, I’ll come back with you after the break, because we’re, and by the way, We’re Still Right, They’re Still Wrong, linked over at Hughhewitt.com. James Carville’s brand new book, going to be a bestseller, just got to put a little warning label on it here.
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HH: Now you have to read it with a translator. It’s like reading a Latin book, because you’ve got to be able to go through it. I should put out an annotated version of this book, because it, when I read, for example, that James, you think welfare is an investment in people. I have to explain to people that may not necessarily be true. And then you believe the environmental laws work pretty well.
JC: Well, I mean, yes, they do. I can’t imagine what the country would be like if we didn’t have them, as any number of studies say just in, like, before, God knows how many hundreds of millions of dollars, I had a chart, that we’ve saved because we have clean air or cleaner water. Yeah, I mean, our environmental laws may have kept…
HH: Now Richard Nixon signed…
JC: And I’ll take, and by the way, as I open in the book, I think global warming is as real as a heartbeat. And I think we know exactly what the cause of it is, absolutely.
HH: Yeah, but I don’t disagree. It’s gone up about a degree over a hundred years. We contribute to it. We don’t know what we can do about it, and we don’t certainly want to spend ourselves into bankruptcy like the Democrats do, but I wanted to ask you, James. Have you ever heard of any of these – the Delta Sands Flower-loving fly, the California gnat-catcher, the California Desert Tortoise, the Least Bell’s Vireo, Stevens Kangaroo Rat, Pacific Pocket Mouse or the Santa Ana Sucker? Ever dealt with any of those?
JC: Again, it’s a specific thing, but I can tell you that study after study have shown that environmental laws, and changes and improvement in environment have had billions of dollars of benefit in reduction of health care costs and in other things. Yes…
HH: But those…
JC: I think that the EPA is one of the great accomplishments of the modern world. And by the way, it was started under Nixon.
HH: I know. I built the Library.
JC: So this was…I think Ruckelshaus was the first director.
HH: Yeah, he did the national Environmental Protection Act.
HH: He did the Clear Air Act, the Clean Water Act.
JC: And yeah, I’m glad that we have it. And I think that you have all kinds of research that goes into how it’s helped, and a lot of it is containing growth.
HH: But all those, you know, they’re out of control now. And I mean, the waters of the United States, it’s out of control. But what I want to close with is…
JC: You don’t think carbon emissions are out of control?
HH: I think the Endangered Species Act’s out of control. I think the waters of the United States is out…
JC: But Hugh…
HH: But here’s what I want to close on. You’ve got yourself into a bind here. There’s no index in We’re Still Right, They’re Still Wrong. So I had to read the whole damn thing to make sure I hadn’t got sideswiped.
JC: You know what they have? You know what they have when we write that, bro?
JC: Something that’s very important. You see it in very few right wing books.
JC: Okay, what is at the end of the book?
HH: (laughing) acknowledgements.
JC: No, look at the end of the book.
HH: There’s a picture of you. You’re absolutely right. There’s a picture of you at the end of this book, and that’s not…
JC: Yeah, what is at the end of the book after Page 228?
HH: All my notes about all the things that are left out of here.
JC: Again, again, it has source. So what you read, we source it.
HH: Now what I wanted to ask you, though, is, is…
JC: Again, again, now what you read is we source it.
HH: Well, there are all sorts of footnotes. There are lots of footnotes. I’ll admit that, James.
HH: But there’s no index, and so in the index, I couldn’t find unfunded pension liabilities, because you know California is broke, Illinois’ broke, New York’s broke. You know that Democrats have doubled the deficit. You know President Obama doubled the entire federal deficit.
JC: Hugh, Hugh, you know how much lower the average deficit is under Democrats than Republicans?
HH: Oh, come on, James.
JC: Come on.
HH: James, the national debt…
JC: Do you really, do you really, don’t tell your people this, man.
HH: The debt has doubled.
JC: What has been the last, what has been the greatest…
JC: Just answer my question. Don’t interrupt me. What period since World War II, what four year period have we seen the greatest deficit reduction in GDP ever? Just roll with this.
HH: The greatest in the last four years…
JC: Answer the question. Answer the…
HH: I’m going, I’m going to let, in the last eight years, the federal debt has doubled. So the federal debt has doubled in eight years.
JC: That’s, again, what is the last, answer my question. What four years have we seen the greatest reduction in the debt as a percent of GDP?
HH: The Obama deficit that he inherited was cut in half in his first year because it was the 2007 year. I will grant you that. But will you grant me, James, he has doubled the national debt?
JC: He dropped it down.
HH: Will you grant me that?
JC: It’s dropping now. It’s dropping now.
HH: He, but the national debt…
JC: I asked you, huh?
HH: The national debt, James, is doubled.
JC: The national debt, if it takes off in a recession…
HH: Yeah, the national debt, it’s doubled.
JC: Again, go back. What do you think? Who had better deficit reduction – Clinton or Reagan?
HH: But James, the national debt is 100% more.
JC: You don’t answer my question. You don’t answer, you see, you don’t answer the question.
HH: Yeah, but you’re not responding to mine.
JC: Again, knock it off. Who had better deficit reduction – Clinton or Reagan?
HH: Oh, absolutely Reagan did. Do you realize the national debt, oh, I’m sorry. You’re right. Clinton did. Clinton did. You’re right. You’re right.
JC: I mean, come on, man. Yeah, but I can’t, you know, if you guys are…
HH: No, I’m talking about Obama. You’re right. You’re right.
JC: …going to just, yeah, okay.
HH: Because he had a Republican Congress that enforced spending.
JC: Stop that. That’s right. He passed his tax bill that raised all that revenue, because the Republican Congress voted for it.
HH: But I want to go back to the national debt.
JC: You know, again, again…
HH: Will you admit the national debt has doubled?
JC: It doubled, because he had the carryover from Bush’s recession. It is dropping, the deficit is dropping now faster than it’s ever dropped.
HH: So the debt, but the debt isn’t. The debt is doubled. Is that a problem?
JC: No, not at 85% of GDP at all.
HH: The debt is not a problem.
JC: And by the way, why are we selling government bonds for 1.8%?
HH: Because there’s no place else in the world that’s as bad or less…
JC: No one believes it is. No investor does.
HH: But so it doesn’t matter how much we’re in debt?
JC: I didn’t say it doesn’t matter how much we’re in debt.
HH: James Carville’s economics is…
JC: But that what we have now is easier to handle.
HH: So can we do 40? Can we double it again under Hillary?
JC: I don’t know if we double it again, but if the economy, if the economy goes up, then it’s fine.
HH: Last question. What happened…
JC: I don’t, there’s not an investor in the world that can’t, won’t buy…
HH: Last question. What happened in Venezuela? Isn’t that your policy at the end game? Isn’t Venezuela what happens when we do what you want?
JC: What does a government bond in Venezuela sell for?
HH: Well, I just want to know. Isn’t Venezuela…
JC: All right, yeah, no, mine is a prosperous country that under Democrats, we’ve had exponentially more prosperity than Republicans.
HH: But Venezuela is actually the model, right? That’s socialism.
JC: Again, the record is clear. I want a prosperous country. The country has always been prosperous under Democrats than Republicans.
HH: James Carville, I love having you on. The new book is We’re Still Right, They’re Still Wrong. Go and get it, America.
End of interview.