Infinite Wisdom: Lawrence O'Donnell on the politics of the 60's and how they affect today

Infinite Wisdom with VB the Wise
Tuesday, November 14th

VB interviews Lawrence O'Donnell from MSNBC's The Last Word about the political revolution of the late 60's and how it reverberates through the politics of today


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to another edition of the infinite wisdom podcast with your host me be be the wise joining me today. Lawrence O'Donnell you know you love them from MSNBC. The last word of course and he's got a new book out it's called playing with fire the 1968 election in the transformation of American politics or to Donald thanks for joining us. Thank you very much let's talk about as a historian I'm a guy who. Tells people all the time you gotta know your history and one thing that you gotta know when you cover politics and 27 team. You better know your history and there's nowhere better to start the 1968 correct. I think it's where our modern history does began because. Prior to 1968. There were. If I said to you I'm a Republican. You would not know if I was a liberal. Or a conservative. But if the word Democrat did not mean liberal or conservative. We have segregationist. Democrats in the sultan. 1960s. We have liberal Republicans Massachusetts. Had Ed Brooke as its liberal Republican senator. Liberal Republican governor of New York Nelson Rockefeller liberal. Republican mayor of New York John Lindsay and all of those characters like come to play in this 1968. Story I tell because. That's the spot where we started to sell the cement. For. Eliminating. Liberalism. In the Republican Party and eliminating conservatism. In the Democratic Party so that now there are no. Liberal Republicans there are no conservative Democrats and the the with a price we've paid for that. Is that there is no common ground in government. There's no overlap anywhere in the interest of these two parties and so what we end up with now as the pendulum where. You know the Democrats pasts and Affordable Care Act and the Republicans say we're gonna repeal it. They don't say okay so you want to intervene in the health care sector. This way we would like to intervene in a different way where that we meet and that's the way things. Used to be done and that's why you have this extreme. Since polarization now. All of that began in 1960. I pick up the book one refers candid and I turn of the bag and hasn't 427 page is my god Lawrence don't you have a day job my man. I thought well you know I looked I learned. Fast writing in two places one is in doing this daily show that. MSNBC we're able lives TV writing deadline which was the most depressing. Riding that line ever had. But before that I I have this deadline writing in episodic drama in television. At the west wing where I have to get a script done in six weeks. Which. It was an incredibly fast writing schedule for that kind of material. That I didn't think was possible and I found myself living with both of those deadlines and have ended up. In my old age faster writers and I was trapped in my youth and everybody surprised that you are. Thought that everybody knows that but this young generation now I don't know if they know your they just know he was MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell would. Yeah you were writer and producer and I think did you even do some directing them now west wing. Anyway they stepped in as they struck me as an actor under. So you did it all and other factors we went out of actors that we can so we need an extra one Soledad time he'll. I gimme a crazy script what Kim Bartley dude it's so crazy but as you cover trump now did you ever think to yourself. Part of submitted some of the stuff as a script I mean there would laugh me out of the rule. Yes so he's what he's done is at least temporarily is he's kind of ruined drama because if you look at good White House drama and by the way we most of it has been bad. But before you look at good White House drama and I would submit to west wing as an example that. That the dramas were things like. Josh. So it's something on TV that he shouldn't have a slip of the Taiwan and he's really angered. The religious right. What are we gonna do. And so here's this democratic White House that's worried about what the religious right is saying and they want to appease them and they have a meeting with them and they try to solve the problem and that's the entire drama. Of the pilot of the west. Today the idea that someone in the White House could say something that offends the other side. And we must immediately do repair work on and that's a dramatic thing to watch. And can still inconceivable. That it is just laughable. And so it's it's like all the gravitational forces the used to exist. In the White House and in Washington politics no longer exist which means there are consequences. You know if it would the president says something that. People interpret the wrong way well there are no consequences for that anymore therefore there's no drama in that anymore. You feel like as a journalist and as a voice in all of the people kind of thing. Huge I mean when you look did you feel like you can covered this president fairly are you gone past way past this. I you know I I think it's yeah I think what would you know in the present consultant. You know Donald Trump those mountains tries to tell you that Barack Obama was not born and YE. And when he says my private investigators are there at you it's just unbelievable what they're finding your going to be shocked. What they're finding. I think it's reasonable certain point that story to conclude that that is all a fantasy and the law I and I think it's reasonable to use that kind of word. With what the audience. And it's and it's similar to the kinds of things that the press was covering in 1968 the Vietnam War. The military. Was very deliberately. Why it. About the weight of progress in Vietnam they were lying about body counts they were lying about a lot of things. But the media and reporters. Got inside and found out and exposed to those things. See now you tell us in on your touch on something here this is something we talked about a lot which is that. Everybody thinks in the moment that where in all my god can you believe this is happening and I always say to warm. But this has happened as long as we've had a country this stuff goes on. Again we had a race where the whole story line was that the guy had an illegitimate kid and he was gonna burning and then he went the other guy like if you know your history you know there's nothing unique nothing original this stuff has gone before. Well the other thing that you can say and and you can say this to Hillary Clinton's supporters whose. You know who whose world collapsed. On on election night. That we have been in worse places 1968. Was a worse place than where we are now. Even whistle all the turbulence in the chaos that we've fuel in our politics. In 1968 every young man underage eighteen years and older. How to draft card in their pocket that draft card could send them to Vietnam to their deaths and by 1968. People realized people were beginning to realize this as a hopeless war end and a very significant part of the population believed it was a hopeless war. And why would you go to flight in this whole post war and give your life to ask. So this was threat it it might have been a threat to you personally. It but it if wasn't view it was your boyfriend wasn't view what was your brother wishers on Richard Branson on. It was your nephew and and so that was of fairy lives and active threat and that's what it was an amazing. The protest the energy of that protest. And in that period. Came from the fact that it was about life and death and literally the life and death of the people in the protest. I just got out about a minute left treated two quick questions on related to the board I'll one. Has enough time pass now where you can joke about to stop the hammering. No I can't joke about it yes it did because it be because of so embarrassed by it it was horrible and stupid and embarrassing and and I don't. I don't joke about it I could put it in context for you but it would sound defense of mean it was kind of mental board yelling it was the kind of yelling I do with my brother on spoke one word Conan to a fueled Brockton were panicked that we're gonna crash into it. And there was a lot of yelling in the control room to where they're trying to figure it out but I really wanna. It if it was terrible and I hate what I saw on that video and so you can joke about it and everybody has a right to joke about it and I deserve every joke that's been told about it I haven't. And seeing one joke told about a it was unfair. And so are you never happened and I'm sorry it's out there and but it's there. My other one is arguing that bought that other Boston guy how we car you to still be fined her did you guys make nice. Proper listen everything what what was funny about the Howard thing is you got introduced on Tucker Carlson show was being you know from Boston from Boston mr. Boston. And I really did think I was gonna correctly. The introduction everything I know about how we target. Howie Carr has told us. On his radio show and in his writing he's never presented himself. You know and as being a Boston native heard any of that so I was just seven. On that one when he does that does them that's why you. They've I believe that's behind this but I don't get to listen Howard every day so I don't have to know what shots but they can make. Lawrence great talking to is your rock from Boston come on in and we'll do it again all right it's okay thank you BB ansari we go to or no problem no problem. I appreciated thanks.