Is there any overriding statement that can be read from the recent election results of November 2011?
Bayoubuzz focused upon these general issues in an interview with Margaret Hoover, a Fox News contributor and the author of the book American Individualism: How A New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party published by Crown Forum in July 2011.
Hoover is one of the political experts who will be participating in the Bipartisan Policy Center’s third Annual Political Summit, Taking the Poison out of Partisanship, on November 15 and 16 at Tulane University.
Below is a “close” copy of the interview conducted by Bayoubuzz.com’s Publisher Stephen Sabludowsky on November 9, 2011. (Listen to the audio clips to hear the exact questions and answers .
Bayoubuzz.com: If you don’t mind let’s talk about the event, the upcoming Bipartisan event next week. Is this your first one?
Margaret Hoover: It is.
Bayoubuzz.com: Okay and do you have any particular expectations?
Margaret Hoover: I’m more looking to come and listen and observe and see what it is. I have a lot of respect for the board and my husband, John Avalon, has spoken at Bipartisan Policy Center events. We have a bipartisan household, so he’s not a Democrat and so unlike people would say James Carville and Mary Matalin; we’re not quite that polarized so we can’t claim to have bridged as great of a divide either. But he is a very strong, independent and independent Republican so I look forward to seeing who’s there and listening and learning.
Bayoubuzz.com: Okay, now you have written the book “How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party.”
Margaret Hoover: Well actually that’s the subtitle. The actual title is American Individualism.
Bayoubuzz.com: Oh, I’m sorry. You’re right. You’re right. I apologize. Why don’t you tell us something about the book?
Margaret Hoover: Ok so the book is about the millennial generation. It’s about who they are, how they think about politics and life and it’s an attempt to characterize them. The audience of the book is really Republicans because really we have twelve months to make in-roads with this generation before their partisan identity risks becoming solidified with the Democratic or independent voter roles for the rest of their lives and the reason for that is that partisan identity in new cohorts, age cohorts, generations, solidifies after three presidential election cycles. So the first of this generation; they are thirty and under the millennials were born in the beginning of the Regan era to the end of the Clinton presidency. So 1980 to 1999 and that’s broad; some generational specialists have it the oldest as old as being born in 1978 and going all the way to 1983 but just to make it simple, let’s just say beginning of Regan era to end of Clinton presidency. That means the oldest of them were first eligible to vote at the beginning of the Bush era and they split their votes evenly for Bush and Gore but, definitively, by 2004, they showed up at the voting bloc, they showed up at the voting booth and they voted decisively by nine points for John Kerry. In 2008, they showed up and voted by 34 percentage points for Barack Obama over John McCain. And so the idea that after the third presidential election cycle, if they voted for the same party twice and then vote for that party again for the third time, they will relate to that partisan identity for the rest of their lives. So for Republicans this is a clearing call; there’s a real problem here, we’re trending not in the right direction; when it comes to the next generation and the reason is the next generation is important because they are the largest generation in American history. They were 18 percent of the electorate in 2008 and they vote representative to the rest of the population at a commensurate level so 51 percent of them voted in 2008. Many people, especially on the Republican side when we are losing try to cut our losses and say “oh, we’re not going to win, we’ll never get the youth vote, they’ll never vote for us, when they get older and when they start paying taxes, they’ll vote for us.” But they forgot with Regan brought an entire generation of Republicans into the “Republican revolution”, as it was called in 1980 and Regan won the youth vote in 1984 by twenty points. So it can be done, it has been done; and the question is how to reverse the trend in a very short period of time. Incidentally, millenials there will be 65 million of them eligible to vote in 2012 and if they turn out in the same level at 51 percent which was what the percentage was in 2008, they will be 24 percent of the electorate. So no one can argue categorically that this is an irrelevant demographic.
Bayoubuzz.com: How do you think that the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street environment is going to play into the millenials? Certainly, a lot of the Tea Party, as I see it at least, is possibly and probably an older generation and the Occupy Wall Street is more of a young generation.
Margaret Hoover: I think broadly speaking, that’s generally true. The mischaracterizations about Occupy Wall Street come when people suggest as some have that those who are protesting at Occupy Wall Street represent youth sentiment today; as though those sentiments are broadly characteristics of the entire generation, which they’re not. I think Occupy Wall Street is a smaller group of people not representing the mainstream of the millennial generation. But you know, obviously with their own views, I don’t think they are nearly as focused as the Tea Party was but certainly influencing the conversation and the national dialogue.
Bayoubuzz.com: Shifting gears for a second, if I might admit, in the last week or so there’s been a tremendous focus on Herman Cain. Do you have any opinion about what’s going on? I’m sure you must have been talking about it among your peers.
Margaret Hoover: I do. You know what, my opinion on Herman Cain hasn’t really changed since the beginning and it is this: there’s a reason that people who run for president do best if they have run for political office before or they have held a public office before. And never in the history of the United States has a civilian been elected president without ever having held elected office or appointed office. And the only civilian ever to be elected president without having run for elected office before was Hebert Hoover, and I have a leg up on that for my own reasons because he is my great grandfather and the circumstances under which he catapulted into presidency came about, first because he was a war hero for World War I, not from fighting but for his humanitarian relief efforts during feeding the Belgians and then the Russians afterwards and then he was an enormously popular Secretary of Commerce for eight years and then had been the face of the Mississippi River Valley 1927 flood relief at which proceeded the Republican convention a year earlier, or a year later so he was really a national hero. Herman Cain doesn’t have any sort of; so there is historically no precedence for it and there’s a reason you run for office; this is all part of leading a public life and he’s untested in these ways and these are important thresholds to be able to cross.
Bayoubuzz.com: Do you think he’s [Herman Cain] made political mistakes since this crisis for him has come up within the last week?
Margaret Hoover: Yeah. Political communication mistakes, crisis communication mistakes…all of which are part of the test run for the presidency. It’s a pretty significant betting process we have to run for president for very good reasons and he’s stumbled a bit in his handling of this and hasn’t been able to categorically take it off out of the news cycle.
Bayoubuzz.com: What do you think he needs to do? I watched and read and a number of people saying that he needs to present more information, specifically now regarding accuser number four. And then other people are saying that he’s already spoken to the issue so I mean do you have an opinion about that?
Margaret Hoover: Yeah, I don’t really want to get into the business of offering free advice to Herman Cain [laughs], for crisis communications! I do think the best thing to do is to be forthcoming, open, transparent and then answer everyone’s questions and then move on.
Margaret Hoover: And I think the way he has handled it has continued to raise more questions especially with new allegations.
Bayoubuzz.com: Sure. Who do you think could be; assuming that he drops in the poll, who do you think might be able to be the beneficiary? It just seems to me that the Republicans are not satisfied at this point in time with Mitt Romney. So assuming that the Cain vote does drop you have any opinion as to who might be the beneficiary?
Margaret Hoover: I think in Iowa, Rick Perry probably will be. I think some of the support will shift back to some of the other contenders in their religious right in New Hampshire, Cain wasn’t really a factor and in South Carolina; yeah, he may have been it factor…it will shift in the early, primary states. But I think nationally; you know it’s interesting because we have all these national polls and we have all the primary state polls. But the national polls frankly don’t matter right now because it’s going to depend on how the momentum develops from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina to Nevada to Florida. And the momentum coming out of Iowa, it’s not detrimental to a loser and it’s not definitive for a winner but then again it does begin to build inertia and I think Cain gets hit in Iowa probably in favor of a Perry. It looks like Romney’s not playing in Iowa, at least as of today he’s not going to be playing in Iowa.
Bayoubuzz.com: Now there seems to be a lot of anger out there, obviously, I think its represented by the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street in terms of the extremes but there seems to be a lot anger with the health care bill under Obama; it just seems like it’s all elevated so much more than in the past. Do you have any opinion as to what the different parties can do to try to bridge the gap?
Margaret Hoover: There should be a return and I think this is what I think the Bipartisan Policy Center works towards I think this is what I talk about especially with the millennial generation. What the millennial generation wants is government to work. And they want their elected representatives to come to the table, in good faith and make progress together. And that doesn’t mean a compromising of principles; certainly there are philosophical differences between the left and the right but you can get the alliance of the left and the right to sit down and not compromise their principles but agree that it is in the best interest of the country to find a way to compromise and to move the ball forward and there seems to be this notion that there’s a confusion of compromising principles and sort of negotiating legislatively. Frankly, I think the vote to raise the debt ceiling didn’t get nearly enough play in the national press because the president and the left continued to point their fingers at the Republican congress for having hijacked the debate and the polarization in Washington is so bad because of the Republicans. But I think, I think it is, I think the 87 members of congress who were elected in 2010 were really responsible for getting us very close to the brink of defaulting on our debt. I think that tone is not constructive. But I think at the end of the day, it seems to be to some people that we did have a bipartisan solution that almost 100 Democrats signed on to and the president of the United States agreed to it revolving congress. So I sometimes think that we did get close to the brink and it was quite uncomfortable for a moment and quite scary; we did achieve something that wasn’t; didn’t get credit for its bipartisan solution.
Bayoubuzz.com: Right. Yeah and I think that both sides were criticized. And now of course it’s coming up the committee having to come up with a recommendation by Thanksgiving I believe, if I’m correct.
Margaret Hoover: Yep.
Bayoubuzz.com: Last question, yesterday was a big political day of elections. Do you have a feel in terms of was there an overriding statement being made by voters?
Margaret Hoover: I don’t think that there was. I think that what you’re hearing is that far right social conservatives initiatives did not pass, in your neighboring state of Mississippi for example, but also in Ohio did not get his union reform through, although that wasn’t necessarily a local left versus right issue, that was clearly an issue that the unions put a lot of national resources into. One thing that’s also really interesting, I haven’t seen much commentary on it, the individual mandate in Ohio, the ability for Ohioans to opt out of the individual mandate in the affordable care act, the healthcare bill that was passed, passed with about the same margin as the union bill didn’t pass. So what’s interesting is what I think, the degree to which when people go up to the polls, they are thinking independently; they are not just voting party lined. They are going issue by issue and are thinking discerningly about the issues and how they affect them and how they affect the systems, the government, the local state initiatives and I just think people are smart. They think independently and it shows that 2012 is going to be a real contest.
Bayoubuzz.com: Well I’m looking forward to it and I think everybody else is. In fact, I am looking forward to meeting you down here in New Orleans…
Margaret Hoover: I look forward to meeting you as well! I am so excited to be in New Orleans, it is just one of my favorite cities in the United States.
by Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of Bayoubuzz.com
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