We kick off our eleventh year of blogging with an interview with Monica Crowley of Fox News, who drops by today to ask — and answer — the question we’ve all been pondering since November: What the (Bleep) Just Happened…Again?
That’s also the title of the new edition of her New York Times bestseller, which is out today in paperback, with a new forward focusing on the GOP’s presidential election debacle, and thus, the consequences of four more years of Barack Obama at the helm, along with his disastrous polices both at home and abroad.
During our interview, Monica will discuss:
● How Big Government destroys individual freedom.
● How much success has Obama had in changing the character of Americans?
● Will Obama’s love of big government see a renewed interest in federalism across the land as a counterweight?
● How much tension will there be between the states — many of which have GOP governors — and DC?
● Is Obama naive when it comes to the dangers of the Middle East, or is there a deliberate plan at work?
● How the media has allowed Obama to get away with debacles such as Benghazi and Operation Fast and Furious.
● How conservative was Monica’s first boss, former president Richard Nixon?
● What would Nixon think of Obama?
● When Barack Obama departs the White House, what sort of America will he leave behind?
And much more. Click here to listen:
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Transcript of our interview begins on the following page.
MR. DRISCOLL: This is Ed Driscoll for PJ Media.com, and we’re talking with Monica Crowley of Fox News, and the author of What the (Bleep) Just Happened Again, which is now out in paperback and Kindle editions, with a new forward on the 2012 presidential election.
And Monica, thank you for stopping by today.
MS. CROWLEY: Great to be here, Ed. Thank you.
MR. DRISCOLL: Monica, in November of 2010, after California bucked a trend towards conservative and center-right candidates in the mid-term elections, Dennis Prager said, “Okay riddle fans, here’s a toughie: what’s the difference between California voters and the passengers on the Titanic? The passengers on the Titanic didn’t vote to hit the iceberg.”
In November of 2012, not just California, but a majority of the American public knowingly voted to hit the iceberg.
To borrow from the title of the new edition of your book, Monica, What the Bleep Just Happened — Again?!
MS. CROWLEY: Yes! We added the word “again” to the title for the paperback edition. What the (Bleep) Just Happened … Again? I have been grappling with this question since that night in November when we saw that the race had been called, once again, for Barack Obama, and he was reelected.
And as I write in the new foreword to the book, the new preface, I really believe that Obama’s objective from the beginning — and it’s not just him, it has been the objective of the far left for a very long time — which is to change the very nature of America. America, the gift that the Founding Fathers gave to us and we just celebrated Presidents’ Day, where we celebrate two of our greatest presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln — the founders gave us a nation that was exceptional because it was based on an idea. And the idea, instead of being based on the ambitions of men, the idea was centered on the concept of limited government and individual freedom.
And those two things are deeply interrelated. You can’t really have tremendous individual freedom when you have a big government. The idea of the last few decades has been to try to transform that fundamental Americaness, that great American idea that has given us tremendous prosperity and tremendous power, not just to — in order to change America into a great nation, but made America into a good nation, the far left has been on this mission to strip away both of those elements: the limited government part and the individual liberty part.
And for many years they had success in putting up these big, huge entitlement pillars, dependency pillars, pillars that would change the way the government related to the individual, big redistributionist pillars like Social Security and like Medicare, like Medicaid. But they were never able to sort of put the whole thing together and do a dramatic socialist overhaul of the country until they found their perfect marriage of man and mission in Barack Obama.
And so from the beginning, and from day one of his first term, Obama and the far left set out to change the very nature of America, to change our character. And by that I mean strip away the self-reliance that underpins limited government and individual freedom. Strip that away and replace it with massive dependency; dependency on government.
So over the last four years, what they have done, and they have largely succeeded, is change the balance between the government sector and the private sector, change the relationship between the government and the individual, and created and expanded this massive dependency society.
And what happens, Ed, when you take the sting out of a bad economy by supporting people and getting them dependent on government, when you take the sting out of high unemployment, you take the sting out of not having health insurance because, here, we’re going to give you health insurance or we’re going to cover you in some way, then you end up getting reelected. You don’t get punished the way people like Jimmy Carter had gotten punished for a bad economy in the past. You don’t get punished, you get rewarded.
So to answer your question — this is a long way of answering the question, but I think it’s necessary to try to flesh out what we’re talking about — when you take the sting out of a bad economy by creating a massive and evergrowing dependency culture, then you get rewarded for that. And when people realize that they can vote themselves benefits and all kinds of things, material things, money out of the public treasury, they will do it and they will continue to do it, and it will grow on itself.
And so here we are. And although it really pains me to say this Ed, and I don’t think it’s all lost, but I do think Obama and the far left have had enormous success in changing the character of this country.
MR. DRISCOLL: Monica, as a result of the GOP’s abortive 2012 presidential effort, leftwing house organs such as the New York Times were quick to say that the Republicans are finished, and the left dusted-off some of the same “We Are All Socialists Now” arguments that were left over from four years ago. But the GOP controls one house of Congress and a majority of state governments. We talked about Obama’s success in 2012 and his transformational goals, but what’s your take on the state of the GOP today?
MS. CROWLEY: It’s really interesting. I’m glad you raised that question, Ed, because I think over the next four years, certainly, we are going to see — we’re going to see federalism come to the fore. We’re going to see that Tenth Amendment rise.
And the reason is, because as you mentioned, Republicans now control thirty out of fifty governorships. We control the vast majority of state houses across the country. And it’s been a very interesting phenomenon to watch, because those offices are closer to the people than the presidency and then Washington, Congress, the Senate, and so on.
So when people have a choice, when they think that their vote will actually matter to their direct lives, meaning governor, state houses, they’re going more conservative. They’re going toward conservative governors, not even just Republican governors, but conservative governors, in most states.
California, obviously exempted, which is what you started talking about. Illinois, New York, where I live — I mean, those are kind of lost causes. But in the vast majority of states, we’re seeing people voting for the offices that are closest to them, most directly intertwined with their lives going conservative.
And so what I think you’re going to see is a real tension — and we already see this tension now, but I think it’s going to increase — between Washington, the federal government, and the states. And we’re going to see the states, as they’re starting to do now, on gun control, on immigration, like Arizona with Jan Brewer, some other states, on a whole range of issues, you’re going to see the states pushing back and asserting their rights on behalf of the people that put them into office.
Taking on the federal government is a really tough thing, especially now, because it’s so big and it’s so powerful under Obama. But I think you’re going to see an increase in states going forward with their own agendas and pushing back on Washington. And I think you’ll see them get rewarded for that.
MR. DRISCOLL: Monica, let’s talk for a moment about foreign policy, which is one of the subjects you explore in What the (Bleep) Just Happened Again. On the one hand, Barack Obama has come under increasing fire from the left for his use of drones in the Middle East, and for not closing Guantanamo Bay. On the other, he’s demonstrated plenty of naiveté regarding Iran and the Arab Spring in general. What’s your take on Obama and the Middle East?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, actually, I would take issue with your supposition that Obama is naive. Because as I argue in this book, he’s not naive in the least. This is a man who we were told, in 2008, Ed, had something like 170 IQ and was just such a hyper genius, was actually too brilliant for us. Remember that?
Well, then you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say well, he’s brilliant, but he doesn’t know what he’s doing. This is a man who knows exactly what he is doing. There has been no naivete on Iran. I actually believe he wants Iran to get a nuclear weapon. He has done nothing to stop Iran. Those sanctions that his administration put into place are toothless. The Iranians have found every way to get around them.
He has done nothing but stall. And the Iranians have used that time to go ahead and a) slaughter their own people in the streets when they revolted in 2009; and b) try to acquire a nuclear weapon. And they are getting there with every passing hour, Ed. This president has done nothing to stop them, on purpose.
I would also say on the Arab Spring, this is a man who wants to see the rise of the Islamists. He wants to see the rise of the Islamists across the board, and that is why he threw over a long time ally of the United States, Husni Mubarak in Egypt. That is why he paved the way for Muammar Gaddafi, who yes, was a longstanding terrorist, but over recent years Gaddafi was trying to reach out to the United States and providing us with crucial intelligence on the movements of Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood across Northern Africa. And now we see what a problem that is. This president then went to facilitate his overthrow as well.
Why hasn’t he moved in Syria, where you have, what, upwards of maybe 40,000 people slaughtered under the Assad regime? Well, it’s because he’s been waiting for the Muslim Brotherhood to be poised and ready to take control there as well.
This is a man who knows exactly what he is doing. It is incredibly dangerous. It is completely antithetical to American interests. And now here we are. And we see it with China. He hasn’t taken on China. China continues to be a currency manipulator, getting very aggressive along the Pacific Rim, with very close allies of ours, like Japan and South Korea. Obama hasn’t lifted a finger. North Koreans just tested another nuclear weapon. No consequences from the United States.
Vladimir Putin — I have a friend of mine who does a lot of work in Russia close to the Kremlin. He said yeah, when Obama said to Medvedev he’ll have more flexibility after he’s reelected, well, Putin now knows he can go to town and extort the near abroad on energy and the rest of it, and play the United States and get away with it. And that’s what Putin’s doing too.
This president came into office with a far left ideology, Ed, of wanting to take down America a notch or two or ten abroad, because we are not worthy. America’s full of sin from the past, and we have had our way around the world, and now it’s time we pay the price.
So I would argue, and I argue in this book, that his whole philosophy is all being carried out and it’s all deliberate and it’s all on purpose. There is no incompetence. There’s no naivete. It’s being carried out exactly as he’d like to see it.
MR. DRISCOLL: Well, closer to home, what are your thoughts on Operation Fast and Furious and how that scandal is being covered, and in some cases — many cases, not covered by the –
MS. CROWLEY: Not covered, yeah. Well, you guys are doing a great job covering it. There are other conservative Web sites that are doing the same thing. Fox News has been covering it.
The philosophy of the Obama administration is we will do what we want, Constitution be damned. And we know that nobody’s really going to cover the bad stuff, because they’re all out to protect us. They’re with us ideologically. They’re never going to allow the first black president to get into any real trouble. They will protect us. So therefore, we will get away with everything.
And they have. And like I said, with a few exceptions of certain news outlets that have covered Fast and Furious, it really hasn’t gotten covered. And they believe that when the bad stuff happens, whether it’s Fast and Furious or Benghazi or any of the range of unconstitutional maneuvers this president has done, that they can just wait it out, because it doesn’t get covered. So they wait it out, they stonewall, they don’t give any explanations. They continue to smile, and the story blows over.
When people talk about Watergate — and my old boss, President Nixon obviously resigned in the wake of Watergate. Watergate did not have a body count. Fast and Furious has two dead Americans, Jaime Zapata, obviously, and Brian Terry. Benghazi has four dead Americans including the personal representative of the president, the U.S. ambassador.
So these scandals under Barack Obama actually have an American body count. Watergate, nobody died. So you tell me which one is the more serious. They have covered up these scandals. They go as high as Eric Holder, possibly the President of the United States, and still, no sense of curiosity from the mainstream media, Ed. It’s astonishing. And they ought to be ashamed.
MR. DRISCOLL: Monica I wanted to ask you a question that isn’t entirely germane to What the (Bleep) Just Happened…Again, but it’s one that I’d be curious to get your take on. You began your career as a research assistant for Richard Nixon on his last two books. There’s a bit of a reappraisal of Nixon from the left; including both New York Timesmen Paul Krugman and Tom Wicker, and former movie critic turned wannabe pundit and angry Twitter user Roger Ebert. Wicker and Krugman see Nixon as the last of the New Deal-Great Society-era liberals. What’s your take on Richard Nixon’s politics, and where they would fit on the ideological spectrum today?
MS. CROWLEY: It’s a fascinating turnabout to watch people like Tom Wicker and others who pounded Nixon into the ground when he was in the presidency, and now, all of a sudden they see him as some great progressive savior.
It is amazing to me to watch. When I worked with President Nixon during the early 1990s, we had long conversations about ideology, conservatism, Republicanism. And Nixon was — I would say he was a progressive Republican. He did things like take us off the gold standard, wage and price controls, started the Environmental Protection Agency, expanded the food stamp program, things that, as a conservative, I was up in arms about. And I became a conservative because when I was coming of age, Ronald Reagan was president. And everything Reagan was saying in terms of lowering taxes and cutting government and having a muscular national security policy just instinctively struck me as correct.
So I became a conservative. And by the time I got to President Nixon, he and I would have these long conversations. And we would get into it sometimes. We’d have real ideological arguments.
I will say this. Nixon became far more conservative in his later years than he was as president. And I like to think that was some of my doing and my influence, although, who knows?
But he did become far more conservative, especially on economic matters. He was always a hawk when it came to defense and our national security strategy. But in terms of economics, you know, he said to me — one day we were talking about the Environmental Protection Agency. And he said, Monica, once you start a government bureaucracy, it runs wild. We started it with a noble purpose of clean air and water. That’s it. End then of course the bureaucracy takes the reins and goes out of control and then takes on a life of its own and you end up not being able to control it. Even the president can’t control it.
And as far as food stamps goes, he said, you know, once you give away a government program you can never take it back. And so he had a lot of regrets — Watergate aside, obviously — but he had a lot of regrets about a lot of his economic policies. And if he had to do it again, I think he would have governed far more conservatively than he did.
MR. DRISCOLL: If he were alive today, what do you imagine President Nixon would think about Barack Obama?
MS. CROWLEY: I would think that Nixon would believe that Obama is a very dangerous character. I also think Nixon would take a look at what this president is doing every single day in terms of shredding the Constitution, and look at Watergate and say, you know, what we did in Watergate, not to excuse it, but that’s child’s play compared to what Obama is doing to their Constitution every single day.
You know, Ed, when I was writing my book, I was going through sort of a day-by-day chronology of the Obama administration to put it all together. And I would look at something and I would say, oh, my gosh, I forgot about this. This is really crazy. Let me type that up. And then I’d go to the next day of the Obama presidency and say oh, my gosh, I forgot about this; this is crazy.
Everything from the big stuff like socialized medicine, which I still believe is unconstitutional, to the fact that one day he sent Hillary Clinton out to tell the world exactly how many nuclear weapons we have. Every day there was some unconstitutional madness, leftist insanity, just pure far left craziness going on in this administration.
And I think Nixon would look at it and say what is going on in America? This country is being hijacked by a far left unconstitutional agenda. And I think, again, he would also reflect on Watergate, say, you know that, not to excuse it, like I said, but he would think that that was like tiddlywinks compared to what this president is doing in terms of upending the Constitution every single day.
MR. DRISCOLL: Well, last couple of questions. When Barack Obama departs the White House in early 2017, what sort of America will he leave behind?
MS. CROWLEY: Assuming he does leave in 2017. Yeah, I — you know what? I think the extent of the damage we don’t even know yet. I think we have a sense, Ed, of the extent of the damage, but we really have no idea the destruction that he has wrought and is wreaking on this country.
This is a man who spoke in 2008 about his dream of the fundamental transformation of the nation — his words, not mine — the fundamental transformation. He also talked about remaking America — again, his words, not mine.
And he would invoke the phrase “a more perfect union.” And you know, part of his genius four years ago was, in allowing those statements to kind of float out there on their own, and allowing the American people to hear those statements and assign to them their own meaning, what they thought he meant by those phrases.
What I argue in the book is, don’t pay attention to what you think he meant. Pay attention to what he meant by it. Now we have four years of evidence as to what he meant by the fundamental transformation of the nation. And that is he intends to change us and is changing us, very quickly, into a European-style socialist state.
The result of that is, as we see in Western Europe, after decades of socialism, we see stubbornly and permanently high unemployment. We see sovereign debt crises that are imploding nations, if not the entire continent of Europe. We see immigration policies out of control, where these nations have lost their very identities, because they have been overrun by all kinds of different ethnicities, including radical Muslims that have taken over a lot of these countries, or at least exerting a lot of influence there.
So you see the results that are absolutely devastating in Western Europe. No economic growth. We see that now here. We have seen it. All of those results of decades of socialism building up in Western Europe, that is imploding all of those once-great nations. We see it happening here on a much more accelerated scale, because this economy is so much bigger, this country is so much bigger than any country in Western Europe.
So it’s happening a lot faster here. And when he leaves office, I do think that this country — the tentacles of redistributionism that he has wrapped around every major pillar of this economy, from the industrial base, to the financial sector, to the energy sector to the healthcare sector, those tentacles will be wrapped so tightly after eight years, that it will be almost impossible to unwind without great, enormous economic pain and dislocation. I think that’s where we’re heading.
So while people now are sort of enjoying, as you say — as you said at the beginning of the interview, the Titanic ride, eventually the Titanic does hit the iceberg and the ship goes down. So while people are kind of giddy about reelecting the first black president and they like him, and while they don’t like the direction of the country, everything is still okay, eventually the laws of economics will kick in and we will have a very rude awakening indeed.
MR. DRISCOLL: Well, last question. Can America repair the damage that Obama’s policies have inflicted on the nation?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, I think it’s going to take a lot. I think it’s going to take a lot of sacrifice. I think it’s going to take a lot of pain. And nobody actually — nobody, I think, in the history of the world, actually votes themselves pain. So like I said, the laws of economics will kick in, and everything will come to a screeching halt.
Inflation, interest rates going up, higher taxes, no jobs. You’re seeing it happening across Western Europe. The debt crisis will kick in and it will be brutal, and it will affect every single person.
You can’t — Ed, you can’t spend the last four or five years — actually longer than that, with the easy money policy from the Fed — you can’t spend all this time pumping trillions of dollars down into the system and not expect inflation to kick in big time. That is actually — massive inflation is actually a tax that affects the middle and lower classes more than anybody else. That is coming.
So eventually this will — you know, the Pied Piper will come and we will have to pay him. So I think the damage ultimately can be repaired, but I fear that we’re going to have to hit rock bottom in order for that process to even begin.
Because whether it’s Pearl Harbor, or whether it’s September 11th, or whether it’s a major economic crisis, what we see in great republics and great democracies is that the people tend to put the blinders on until the crisis hits. And then you have no choice but to strike back. Unfortunately, that’s the case.
We have had brave Republicans like Paul Ryan put out budget after budget and plan after plan saying, guys, this is foreseen. We can see this coming. And here’s how we fix it before the crisis hits. But people don’t want to hear it. People vote them out. People — people take the courageous folks and throw them out on their ears. And they don’t listen until they have to. And by that point, the pain so intense that it is going to be an absolute nightmare.
Can it be repaired? Yeah. But I fear, Ed, and I really worry, that we’re going to have to hit rock bottom before we even get to that point. I hope that’s not the case. But I fear that it may be.
MR. DRISCOLL: This is Ed Driscoll for PJ Media.com, and we’ve been speaking with Monica Crowley of Fox News, and the author of What the (Bleep) Just Happened..Again? It’s published by Broadside Books, a division of HarperCollins, and available from Amazon.com and your local bookstore. And Monica, continued success with the new edition of the book, and thank you once again for stopping by.
MS. CROWLEY: My great pleasure, Ed. Thank you so much for having me. Continue to keep up the great work, all the investigative reporting and all of the great things you are doing, because the other part of the argument is that, yes, things look pretty grim right now in America, but we have to stay happy warriors, and America’s worth fighting for and worth saving. So let’s do it. Thank you, Ed.
MR. DRISCOLL: Monica once again, thank you.
(End of recording.)