Skip to main content

'Pioneer Recording Bands 1917-1920'

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Pioneer Recording Bands 1917-1920, a new collection of jazz recorded before 1920 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the Earl Fuller Orchestra.

06:09

Contributor

Related Topics

Other segments from the episode on July 15, 2004

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, July 15, 2004: Interview with Stephen Moore; Review of the new jazz collection "Pioneer Recording Bands 1917-1920."

Transcript

DATE July 15, 2004 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A
NETWORK NPR
PROGRAM Fresh Air

Interview: Stephen Moore discusses The Club for Growth and its
political action committee
TERRY GROSS, host:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

My guest, Stephen Moore, is the president of the Club for Growth, which was
described in the Philadelphia Inquirer as the fund-raising pit bull of the
conservative right. The Club is a political action committee which states its
goal as electing candidates who support the Reagan vision of limited
government and lower taxes. The Club is controversial within the Republican
Party because it has worked against incumbent Republicans who don't fully
support President Bush's tax cuts. The Club calls them RINOs, an acronym for
`Republicans in name only.' Stephen Moore is also a senior fellow in
economics at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute.

The Club for Growth funds and produces political ads. Let's listen to one
called "Tax Blob." It's a parody of the 1958 science-fiction movie about a
giant blob from outer space that is swallowing up a small town. In this ad,
the giant tax blob is oozing through the streets of Washington, DC, engulfing
the Capitol, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial while mobs of
people flee in horror.

(Soundbite of "Tax Blob" ad)

Unidentified Man #1: The blob has taken over Washington. It's the tax blob.
The tax bite is at a record high. Washington's budget surplus has never been
bigger. Now the blob is crushing the American economy. We're the Club for
Growth, and we're out to stop the tax blob. President Bush is on our side.
He wants lower tax rates for all Americans. Will your congressmen side with
taxpayers or with the blob? The Club for Growth wants to know.

GROSS: Stephen Moore, welcome to FRESH AIR. So where has that ad, "The Tax
Blob," run?

Mr. STEPHEN MOORE (President, Club for Growth; Senior Fellow, Cato Institute):
That was an ad, Terry, that we ran about a year--a little over a year and a
half ago, actually, and it was an ad to try to promote President Bush's tax
plan. As you recall, in the beginning of 2003, President Bush had a pretty
aggressive tax reduction proposal, and we ran that in some of the key states
where we thought there were undecided senators and congressmen.

GROSS: Was it effective? Do you have any way of measuring that?

Mr. MOORE: Well, it wasn't the only ad we ran. We ran several others. We
ran one that was very controversial where we likened some of the Republicans
who were going to vote against President Bush's tax cut to what we called
Franco-Republicans and said that, you know, President Bush needed strong
allies abroad, and France wouldn't come to Bush's side in the debate. And
similarly here at home, President Bush needs strong allies, and people like
Olympia Snowe and George Voinovich aren't siding up with him.

I think those ads did have an effect. As you may recall, that tax bill passed
by one vote in the Senate, and we think that by strong-arming some of these
wavering congressmen and senators, we were able to get the crucial last vote
that we needed, and of course, you know, that's how politics is. You know,
these congressmen and senators had a lot of people whispering in their ears,
and they had pressure being, you know, assigned to them on both sides of the
aisles, and we think that we were able--the most important thing is we were
able to win because that tax cut did pass, and we're real proud of that
development because we think that the Bush tax cut of 2003 has had a very
healthy impact on the US economy.

GROSS: Now how much personal input do you have on the ad, like the blob, "The
Tax Blob" that we just heard, and are you a fan of the movie "The Blob"?

Mr. MOORE: Well, a funny little story about that is that the person who
actually owns the copyright to that movie actually threatened to sue us for
using footage from the movie, but it turned out, we didn't use footage from
the movie. We just reproduced something that looked like the blob from that
old 1950s sci-fi movie. I was a real fan of that ad. You know, one of the
real fun things that we do at the Club for Growth is put together these ads.
We love to use humor in our ads. We've always tried to make people laugh
rather than make people angry. And so that's been kind of our forte, and I
think that ad that you mentioned, "The Blob" ad, actually won a political
science award for its creativity.

GROSS: What is the Club for Growth, and what are its goals?

Mr. MOORE: The goals of the Club for Growth are to try to help elect to
Congress pro-economic growth, tax-cutting Reaganite Republicans. And when we
started out in 1999, we were really emphasizing congressional House races. As
we've evolved into an organization with 15,000 members, Terry, now we get
involved in a lot of the Senate races as well. And I guess the best model for
us was a group that was founded by a group on the left called EMILY's List.
And EMILY's List was a group of pro-choice women that helped elect pro-choice
people to Congress, and we thought that was a neat model to use, and we used
that same model of having a broad-based membership. And we make
recommendations to our members about who the best candidates are that believe
in our principles, and then we're able to raise from our members, you know,
sometimes 200, 300, $400,000 for the candidate that we've chosen. So it has
allowed us to have a very big impact on a lot of important races.

GROSS: So my understanding is that the people who are members of your group,
they write out the check to the candidate that they support or that you've
suggested that they support, then they send that check to you and you bundle
the checks together so that the checks have more clout because they're bundled
together.

Mr. MOORE: That's exactly right, Terry, and in fact, I think this is really
the wave of the future. As we look at the new campaign finance laws, I think
groups like EMILY's List on the left and groups like the Club for Growth on
the right are going to be increasingly influential because the pitch that we
make to our members is, if you just write out a $200 check to a candidate,
you're just spitting into a huge ocean of money. You're not going to have any
real impact on the outcome. But imagine you write your $200 check and there
are, you know, 15,000 other Americans who believe the things you do that are
also writing 100 or 200 or $1,000 checks. Now all of a sudden your
contributions really make a difference. And that's what our members really
like about donating through the Club for Growth, is they think their donations
really start to have a big impact.

GROSS: Now you've done ads supporting some candidates. You've done ads
targeting Republicans for defeat, and this is where you've become very
controversial. You've done ads targeting Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, George
Voinovich for defeat because you don't like their stand on Bush's tax cut
policies.

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: And you call these people RINOs, and that's an acronym. RINO...

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: ...an acronym for `Republicans in name only.' Why spend Republican
money trying to defeat Republicans?

Mr. MOORE: Well, Terry, because of the way American politics has evolved and
also because of what political scientists call gerrymandering, which is where
Congress draws the lines for congressional districts in ways that are very
friendly to one party or another, it turns out that, for example, in a given
election year, like this election of 2004, there are 435 members of Congress
who are up for re-election. It turns out that out of those 435, only about 25
or at most 30 of those districts are even competitive between the Republicans
and Democrats. So that means 90 percent of these races are really decided not
on November 7th but are decided in the primary, either the Democratic primary
or the Republican primary.

And so our kind of insight and our forte has really been to say, `Well, look,
if most of the important races are not the general election races but the
primaries, let's intervene in the primaries and try to make sure that we're
electing to these congressional seats the men and/or women who most closely
reflect our values and our principles.' And I think this has been something
that's been very effective for us, because a lot of people don't pay much
attention to primaries, but as I said, it turns out that most of the races are
really decided on primary day, not Election Day.

GROSS: Now that wasn't necessarily the case in Pennsylvania where you took
out ads against Senator Arlen Specter...

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: ...and supported Pat Toomey. And a lot of Republicans were afraid
that if Toomey won in the primary, that he'd lose in November in the general
election.

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: Now Specter ended up winning the primary.

Mr. MOORE: Sure.

GROSS: But you know, a lot of Republicans don't support these ads that you've
done...

Mr. MOORE: Sure.

GROSS: ...including President Bush's adviser, Karl Rove.

Mr. MOORE: That's right. Well, you know, we're in business not to make
Republican operatives like Karl Rove--who's a friend of mine, by the
way--we're not in business to make them happy. We're in business to try to
promote good policy and to get good people elected to Congress. And our
members, Terry, tend to be strong, free-market conservatives first and
Republicans second. And in fact, we've even said that if we could find some
strong, pro-economic-growth Democrats, we would help them, because what we're
most interested in is making sure that America remains a prosperous,
high-economic-growth country. And so we put policy ahead of politics.

With respect to this Pennsylvania race, I know that the conventional wisdom is
that Pat Toomey could not have won the general election if he had won the
primary. We strongly disagree with that. We'll never know for sure now, but
we really believe that if Pat Toomey had won that primary, that he would have
been the next senator. Now that Arlen Specter has won, we have endorsed Arlen
Specter. It was obviously a very tough defeat for us, you know. We spent in
that race about $3 million, that is, Toomey and the Club for Growth combined,
whereas Arlen Specter spent about 10 million. So we were outspent about 3:1,
and amazingly against a 24-year incumbent senator, we came within 1.4
percentage points of beating him. So it was excruciating to lose by such a
close margin, but you know, it was fun and our members really felt that we had
something important to say, and none of us have really any regrets about that
race.

GROSS: My guest is Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a
conservative political action committee. We'll talk more after a break. This
is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a
conservative political action committee whose goal is to elect candidates who
support the Reagan vision of limited government and lower taxes.

Now I want to talk to you about a very controversial ad that the Club for
Growth funded, and this was an ad that went against Howard Dean in the
presidential primary campaign.

Mr. MOORE: Yes. Right.

GROSS: Why did you target him? I mean, it's my understanding that you mostly
do ads either favoring Republicans or opposing Republicans. Correct me if I'm
wrong about that.

Mr. MOORE: Correct.

GROSS: I thought this was unusual to do an ad about a Democrat.

Mr. MOORE: Well, here was the thinking on that, Terry. This was an ad that
ran back in January of this year. It ran in Iowa, mostly in the Des Moines
area.

GROSS: As you say, about a Democrat in the primary. I think that's the
issue, you know.

Mr. MOORE: Right. Right. Well, here was the thing. At that point, if you
recall, Terry, it seemed like Howard Dean--it was almost like a fait accompli
that Howard Dean was going to be the nominee. He was way ahead in the polls.
He was ahead in about 30 of the 50 states. And we thought, you know, this is
a guy with ideas that are, from our standpoint, really very dangerous to our
economy. But we were trying to make a point, you know, that Howard Dean was
very liberal and that he didn't really represent sort of Main Street Iowa
voters' values. And it was sort of, as I said, a playful ad. Most people saw
it and kind of laughed at it. But I do think it actually almost inadvertently
had a big impact on the outcome of that Iowa presidential primary, because it
reinforced this suspicion that a lot of voters had that Howard Dean was just
too liberal to win.

GROSS: OK. Well, let's hear the Howard Dean ad that was funded by the Club
for Growth.

(Soundbite of political ad)

Unidentified Woman #1: What do you think of Howard Dean's plans to raise
taxes on families by $1,900 a year?

Unidentified Man #2: What do I think? Well, I think Howard Dean should take
his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating,
Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading...

Unidentified Woman #2: ...body-piercing, Hollywood-loving left-wing freak
show back to Vermont where it belongs.

Unidentified Man #2: Got it?

Unidentified Announcer: Club for Growth PAC is responsible for the content of
this advertising.

GROSS: OK. And so what is wrong with lattes and Volvos?

Mr. MOORE: Well, you know that you asked us about, you know, how we put these
ads together, and I remember so vividly when we put that ad together and we
were all just sitting around, six or seven of us, just sort of writing the
script and thinking of funny things that liberals do. And I have to tell you,
Terry, a little insider information, which at one point we had a line in that
ad that said `NPR-listening,' but then we thought it would maybe be better to
put `New York Times-reading.' So anyway, it was a fun ad. As I said, most
people thought it was very humorous, but it did have, I think, an impact in
reinforcing this message that, you know, maybe Howard Dean was too liberal for
America.

GROSS: But why divide the country in terms of lattes and Volvos? Like,
really, what does that say to you about--what is wrong with a latte or a
Volvo?

Mr. MOORE: You know, what we were really trying to...

GROSS: I won't even get to tattooing, but go ahead.

Mr. MOORE: What we were really trying to do with that ad was just trying to,
you know, parody the kinds of things that sort of elite, New York, East Coast
liberals do. And you know, this idea of latte-drinking, sushi-eating was all
put in in fun. One of the things that was interesting was that, you know, we
have that line about Volvo-driving, and I was contacted by the head of the
North America sales for Volvo. You know, he was outraged that, you know, we
would say that only liberals drive Volvos. But you know, as I said, it was
done in a playful way, and I don't think anyone really took any offense by it.

GROSS: So here you are, defining, you know, like, tattoos and lattes and
Volvos...

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: ...and The New York Times as elite. But, you know, someone could
argue, well, is a Volvo elite, or is elite a car that's far more expensive?

Mr. MOORE: Yeah.

GROSS: You know, is elite a car like a Lexus, or is elite a BMW?

Mr. MOORE: Sure. Right.

GROSS: You know the stereotype of a Volvo, really is that it's like the
practical car for parents because it's safe in accidents. I mean, you know
what I mean?

Mr. MOORE: Yeah.

GROSS: It's like the sensible shoes of...

Mr. MOORE: Well, we actually were thinking of putting in `Lexus-driving,' but
you know, to be honest with you, Terry, I don't even remember...

GROSS: I'm not trying to defend Volvo.

Mr. MOORE: OK.

GROSS: I'm just trying to figure out, like what makes a consumer choice a
sign that you're elitist?

Mr. MOORE: Well, we were trying to think of things that, you know--look,
there is a cultural divide in this country. I don't think there's any
question about it. There's the red states and the blue states, and you know,
there's the coastal regions of the country, California, and the Northeastern
region, which are very liberal. Then there's sort of Middle America that is
very conservative in the rural areas and so forth. And you know, Iowa is a
state that is very at least culturally conservative, and what we were just
trying to do was point out to these Iowa voters that, you know, people like
Howard Dean from Vermont, you know, maybe don't represent the values that they
do.

GROSS: Now the question has been raised particularly by Tom Frank in his
latest book, if you're talking about elitism, why define it in terms of this
cultural divide about who has piercings and who doesn't, as opposed to
defining it financially, like who has a lot of money, who's a millionaire and
who's not, who gets the big tax breaks and who doesn't, because...

Mr. MOORE: Well, that's a good point, Terry, because--yeah.

GROSS: ...someone who spends an extra dollar drinking a latte isn't
necessarily wealthy; they're not necessarily part of the elite.

Mr. MOORE: Sure.

GROSS: And, you know, somebody who is like a multimillionaire isn't a part of
this equation the way you've stated what makes somebody elite.

Mr. MOORE: Sure. Sure. I think that what's going on here is, you know,
you're going to have this debate over the next three months as the
presidential election gets even more heated up about this idea that John Kerry
and John Edwards talk a lot about, about this two Americas, that there's, you
know, lower-class America that has fallen behind and has been victimized by
George W. Bush's policies, and then there's this upper class which has, you
know, greatly benefited from President Bush's policies, and these are
Halliburton Republicans and so on.

And one of the points that we're going to be making over and over and over
again over the next three months is wait a minute; wait one doggone minute
here. How in the world can people like John Edwards and John Kerry, who are
both multimillionaires and, you know, John Kerry has, you know, grown up in a
life of privilege; he's married up in life; he is worth hundreds of millions
of dollars. What in the world does John Kerry know about how the other half
lives? And so I think this kind of values issue is going to be very
important. And you know, I think George W. Bush is going to have to say,
`Look, my policies have not just benefited rich people, they've benefited all
Americans in terms of helping get our economy moving again.' And that's going
to be, I think, one of the central issues of this debate, moreover when it
comes to some of these more cultural issues.

You know, I think that when you look at, for example, this movie that Michael
Moore has come out with that just spews hatred at George W. Bush, you know, I
think people like Michael Moore are the cultural elites in this country. Now
you know, we could argue about that, but you know, I don't think elitism is
necessarily about how much money you have.

GROSS: Then what is it about?

Mr. MOORE: I think it's about people who are in the kind of professions, for
example, what I call the talking professions, people who are journalists and
policy analysts and people who live in the, you know, kind of areas of the
Northeast that sort of frown upon the kind of values of people who live in
more of the Midwestern areas. And I think, you know, as much as--we
concentrate at the Club for Growth on economic issues, but I think these
values issue will be perhaps one of the deciding impacts in this election in
2004.

GROSS: What is a journalist who lives in the Midwest? Are they a part of the
elite or are they a part of Midwest?

Mr. MOORE: Well, you got me there. I'd have to know who it is, but you
know...

GROSS: Oh. Oh, so wait. So it's not journalists; it's journalists who are
what?

Mr. MOORE: Well, I'm not just...

GROSS: Journalists who drink latte.

Mr. MOORE: And you know, another point I would make...

GROSS: Oh, journalists who listen to NPR. Oh, journalists who read The New
York Times.

Mr. MOORE: Yeah, especially if they drive Volvos.

GROSS: OK.

Mr. MOORE: But you know, I would add to that, for example, a lot of the, you
know, university professors and things like that who, you know, frown upon
free-market policies and frown oftentimes about, you know, Christian values.
I mean, this whole issue, for example, of gay marriage, I think is one of
these issues that will be--you know, a lot of people don't want to talk about
that issue. Liberals don't want that to be talked about, but you know, it is
an important issue to a lot of Americans in a lot of these important
battleground states.

GROSS: Would it be fair to say that it's, like, people who disagree with you
who are part of the elite?

Mr. MOORE: No, because look...

GROSS: Is that a bad definition?

Mr. MOORE: ...there are right-wing elites as well. You know, I think the
people at the Chamber of Commerce oftentimes are elitist. You know, the
difference between a populist and an elitist is that a populist believes that,
you know, the people can make their own decisions for themselves. Elitists
believe that they should make decisions for people. And we at the Club for
Growth think one of the best examples of that is we think people, for example,
should be able to invest their own Social Security money and not have the
government do it for them. Elites think people can't make decisions
themselves and they have to have these professionals do it for them.

Similarly with respect to school reform. You know, our members have always
believed that the best education reform is to give every parent in America an
opportunity to send their kid to whatever school they want to. Elites think,
no, it should be decided by school boards and people who are smart enough to
make these decisions for them. So I think that's one of the big differences
between liberals and conservatives, is I do think liberals have become the
party of the elite.

GROSS: Stephen Moore is the president of the conservative political action
committee the Club for Growth and a senior fellow in economics at the Cato
Institute. He'll be back in the second half of the show.

I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

(Announcements)

(Soundbite of music performed by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band)

GROSS: That's the Original Dixieland Jazz Band from New Orleans recorded in
New York in 1917. Coming up, Kevin Whitehead reviews a new CD of some of
America's earliest jazz recordings. Also we continue our conversation with
Stephen Moore, president of the conservative political action committee the
Club for Growth.

(Soundbite of music performed by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band)

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross back with Stephen Moore, the
president of the Club for Growth, a political action committee whose goal is
to elect candidates who support the Reagan vision of limited government and
lower taxes. When we left off we were talking about how the word `elite' is
being used now. Moore describes professors, policy analysts, journalists and
liberals as part of the elite.

Do you ever worry that the way some people have defined elite--that it becomes
an almost form of anti-intellectualism?

Mr. MOORE: I think that the intellectuals in this country--look, who were the
people, for example, in the 1950s and 1960s and 1970s talked about how
wonderful a system socialism and communism was? It was the elites in America.
If you went to the sociology departments and the economic and political
science departments in many universities, especially the Ivy League schools,
these were cheerleaders for what a wonderful workers' paradise they had set up
in countries like China and Russia, as people like Mao were killing tens of
millions of their own people. So I do think--you know, there's an old saying
that, you know, Marxism is the opiate of intellectuals, and I think there's
a lot of truth to that; that elitists don't believe that the common man can
make good decisions for themselves.

GROSS: I'm just wondering about the word elite. Again, like, how--you know,
what makes somebody elite? Like, university professors don't make a whole lot
of money.

Mr. MOORE: Well, I think because they...

GROSS: And, like, what makes them elite and not...

Mr. MOORE: Yeah.

GROSS: ...the people who are making a killing on Wall Street?

Mr. MOORE: Well, there's no question there are a lot of elites on Wall
Street, financiers. But I think that when you talk about, for example,
university professors, these are people, for example, who talk about what
business should and shouldn't do. And one of the points I'd make about these
folks is, look, these are people who've never met a payroll in their whole
life. They don't have any idea what it is to start a business and what it is
to put in, you know, 15 hours a day to get a business off the ground. And
then they come in and tell businessmen how their businesses should be run. So
that's an example, I think, of an elitist opinion.

GROSS: Have you run a business?

Mr. MOORE: I'm doing one right now, Terry. We have nine employees now. We
have a $10 million budget. When we started out we had a bank account with
about $3,000. So, yeah, I think of myself as an entrepreneur, at least in the
political spectrum.

GROSS: You started that in 1999.

Mr. MOORE: That's right.

GROSS: But before that you were still writing about economics, weren't you?

Mr. MOORE: Sure.

GROSS: Were you an elitist?

Mr. MOORE: Sure. We were doing--I was at the Cato Institute before that and
The Heritage Foundation from...

GROSS: Were you an elitist?

Mr. MOORE: No, I--look, I really believe--it isn't about what you do so much
as how you view the world. And I do think elites believe that decisions about
people's lives should fundamentally be made by elected officials or the United
Nations or, you know, school boards, whereas people who are more populist--and
I consider myself generally more populist--believe that, `You know what?
Fundamentally people can make the best decisions about themselves, about
what's best for themselves, by themselves.' And that's the difference,
actually, between capitalism and socialism because, of course, capitalism is
about every individual actor in the economy acting in their own self-interest.
And you know what? It turns out to be a system that may not be perfect, but
it certainly has worked better than anything else that governments have
devised.

GROSS: If you're just joining us, our guest is Stephen Moore. He's the
president of the Club for Growth, which is a PAC that supports candidates who
favor tax cuts. He's also a senior fellow in economics at the Cato Institute.

Now the Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank. Is that a fair
description?

Mr. MOORE: Yes. We like to say we want to keep the government out of the
boardroom and the bedroom.

GROSS: So what do you think of social conservatives within the Republican
Party who want the party to emphasize things like opposing gay marriage...

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: ...anti-abortion and in regulation of things like stem cell research?

Mr. MOORE: Well, I am personally fairly conservative socially myself but, you
know, not always. But the Club for Growth--we've concentrated exclusively on
economic issues. We, you know, focus on tax cuts and budget reduction and
school choice and issues like that. Now on issues like abortion and gay
marriage and drug issues and things like that, we think that, you know, this
is a big tent party; that Republicans can certainly disagree about their
opinions about, you know, pro-life or pro-choice or pro-gay marriage or
anti-gay marriage. But our point has always been that, fundamentally, if
you're part of a party, which is like a club--if you're going to be part of
that club, you have to share some fundamental values.

And we think the one underlying fundamental value that every Republican should
believe in and should advance, if they're in elected office, is they should be
for cutting people's taxes because the tax load is so heavy today. You know,
most Americans are paying 35 to 40 cents out of every dollar they earn in
taxes--that this is an abomination. And it hurts our economy. And so we've
always said we can agree to disagree on a, lot but the one thing--if you call
yourself a Republican, you have to be for lower taxes and smaller government.

GROSS: Let me quote something Paul Weyrich has said. He's a Christian
conservative organizer.

Mr. MOORE: Yes, I know Paul.

GROSS: Yes, I knew you did. And he said this in an e-mail newsletter
recently. He said, `I hate to say it, but the conservatives for the most part
are not excited about re-electing the president. If the president is
embarrassed to be seen with conservatives at the convention, maybe
conservatives will be embarrassed to be seen with the president on Election
Day.' And he's referring here to the fact that there's cultural conservatives
within the Republican Party...

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: ...who don't like the lineup at the Republican Convention, which
emphasizes John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Pataki,
Zell Miller. Would you agree with Weyrich's perception there or...

Mr. MOORE: Not exactly, Terry. I mean, I think that Paul is right that there
has been a lot of frustration among conservatives with George W. Bush's
presidency so far. To give you an example, the federal budget has grown a lot
under George W. Bush's presidency. In fact, it's grown at about two or three
times faster than it did under Bill Clinton. That's kind of interesting, that
the budget--the anti-big government party, the Republicans, are growing the
budget faster than the supposed big-government party, the Democrats. So
that's something that's infuriated a lot of conservatives like myself.
There's also been some--you know, there is a riff in the Republican Party
between the conservatives and what we call the neoconservatives, who want to
advance a kind of Wilsonian foreign policy that wants to make America the
policeman of the world. So there are some riffs in the party, no question
about it. I think the Democrats have their own riffs.

But I would say this, though, Terry: that George Bush has one huge advantage
this year, and that is that he is running against a ticket of John Kerry and
John Edwards that is so left wing. I mean, this is not a new Democrat ticket.
These are not, you know, Democrats who believe in things like trade and
welfare reform and sensible government policy. I mean, these are two of the
most liberal senators in the entire United States Congress. So I think that
because conservatives are going to be so terrified of the idea of a
Kerry-Edwards presidency and vice presidency, that the vast majority of
conservatives will come home to George Bush on November--whatever date the
election is--November 12th, I think it is.

GROSS: Now let's look at President Bush for a moment. I know that you
heartily endorse the tax cut that he's pushed.

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: On the other hand, he spent a lot of money, and I know that you don't
like it when governments spend a lot of money. And, you know, because of the
war in Iraq and the post-war money that we spend, the troops that are still
there and, of course, you know, the war on terrorism on the home front, the
government's spending a lot of money.

Mr. MOORE: Yeah.

GROSS: Where do you stand on that?

Mr. MOORE: I guess frustrated would be the word, Terry, and I think a lot of
our members and a lot of conservatives share that frustration. You know, one
of the big differences between Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush--and, by the
way, a lot of people say, `Well, George W. Bush is really--this is like the
third Reagan term.' I think that there is a fundamental difference between
Reagan and Bush, which is Reagan really did believe, you know, in smaller
government. And even though he didn't always succeed, he wanted, you know, to
make the free-enterprise, private sector bigger, and he wanted to make
government smaller.

I don't think that George W. Bush really believes in smaller government. He
does believe in lower taxes, but I think he fundamentally believes governments
can do a lot of good things to help people. I disagree with him on that, and
I think a lot of conservatives do. And that's the one reservation that we
have about George W. Bush. What I can't understand is why liberals are so
frustrated with Bush because he's spent so much money on liberal programs.

GROSS: So does this mean you oppose the war in Iraq because it was expensive?

Mr. MOORE: Well, no. I mean, I think that the single most important thing
for government to do--I think everyone agrees with this--is that the
government has to keep us safe. The national defense is the one thing in the
Constitution that the federal government is really assigned to do. So I
believe when it comes to the war on terrorism, Terry, that you have spend
whatever it takes to wipe terrorism off the face of the Earth. And I don't
know what that right price tag is, whether it's going to cost us $50 billion
or $500 billion to do that. But I certainly do think it's the proper role of
the government to make sure that we are safe from people who would do us harm.
Now whether we should have gone into Iraq to keep us safe from terrorists, I'm
not an expert on that. I don't have a strong answer one way or the other.

GROSS: My guest is Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a
conservative political action committee. We'll talk more after a break. This
is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a
conservative political action committee whose goal is to elect candidates who
support the Reagan vision of limited government and lower taxes.

Now I want to get back to the social conservative values vs. economic values
and how you balance them both in your life. You wear two hats. You're the
president of the Club for Growth, which is a PAC that supports candidates who
favor big tax cuts, and you're a senior fellow in economics at the Cato
Institute...

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: ...which is a libertarian think tank. And as you said earlier,
libertarians want to keep, you know, the government out of our personal
business...

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: ...including out of the bedrooms. So where do you stand on something
like having a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage, which is
something the president has said he would like to see, when you're also in the
Cato Institute that wants to keep the government out of the bedroom?

Mr. MOORE: Well, I think I would say that this is an issue we just don't talk
about at the Club for Growth. We've never brought up...

GROSS: (Laughs)

Mr. MOORE: You know, it's true, though. We've never--we have a rule, for
example, at our meetings, Terry, that we never bring up the A-word, abortion.
We don't even ask candidates what their opinion is on abortion, and same thing
with issues like gay marriage. Now I may have my own personal opinion about
it. I tend to be fairly, you know, libertarian. I mean, I do believe that,
you know, if what you do, Terry, does not negatively affect my life or my
property, you should be able to do what you want. If you want to go home
tonight and smoke two joints before you go to bed in your bedroom, I don't
have a problem with that. I don't have problems with what people do in the
privacy of their own house or bedroom. So I guess that's sort of my `live and
let live' philosophy of life.

GROSS: But what happens when you, through the Club for Growth, support a
candidate who is very socially conservative and, you know, does oppose
something like gay marriage or abortion when you think the government should
be out of that, because whether you ask about it or not, you know their
stand...

Mr. MOORE: Well, that's true.

GROSS: ...like Pat Toomey, for instance, who you supported against Arlen
Specter.

Mr. MOORE: Look, I mean, most of the candidates we support are socially
conservative but not all of them are. One of the complaints that has been
made by some of the more--what we call the RINO Republicans is they say,
`Well, you're just really a front group for pro-life.' And I say, `Wait a
minute. How can you say that? We've endorsed many candidates who are not
pro-life.' The best example of that, Terry, would be that I've spent the last
three months working with Arnold Schwarzenegger out in California to help him
balance the budget there. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most liberal
Republicans I've ever met in terms of social policy. But he is for keeping
taxes low in California and regulations low and trying to get this balanced
budget with spending reductions. And so this is a perfect example of what
we're about. If you agree with us on economic policy, we don't really care
much what your position is about gay marriage or abortion.

GROSS: Yeah. I know, the governor, as you mentioned, recently named you to
be on the California Audit Committee...

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: ...which oversees the state's books. So you'll be helping to balance
the budget there. Getting back for a moment to the Howard Dean campaign, the
anti-Howard Dean ad that you took out...

Mr. MOORE: Yes.

GROSS: ...that your group funded...

Mr. MOORE: You just won't let that one go, will you, Terry?

GROSS: Well, because one of the things in there that, you know, criticized
Dean people for was being like pro-Hollywood.

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: And, you know, like, who's more Hollywood than Arnold Schwarzenegger
or, you know...

Mr. MOORE: Well, touche. No, touche. But I do think Hollywood--look, what
really frustrates conservatives, Terry, is that conservatives really believe
that Hollywood and the media are very much against them and against, you know,
their belief in free markets and a conservative lifestyle. And, you know,
this new movie by Michael Moore, which is just an hour and a half diatribe
against the Bush presidency, is a perfect example of that, or when you see
Barbra Streisand on stage, you know, swearing at the president and, you
know--or Whoopi Goldberg I saw recently was, you know, really saying some
things that I think the vast majority of Americans would just think showed not
a lot of class. And so, yeah, I think Hollywood does not share the kind of
values that most Americans do.

GROSS: So I know you're concerned that Hollywood is very liberal. But if you
look at the people who have actually entered into politics from Hollywood, you
got Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, all Republicans.

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: Then you got Charlton Heston who headed the NRA. So I don't know.
Seems to me...

Mr. MOORE: Well, it's a good point. Maybe it's that when Republicans...

GROSS: Wait. Does Clint Eastwood ever go to you and say, `Stop it'?

Mr. MOORE: Does what?

GROSS: Does Clint Eastwood ever say to you, `Stop bashing Hollywood. Make my
day'? No?

Mr. MOORE: No. I mean, as I said, you know, before, I do know a lot of these
conservatives, the handful of conservatives in Hollywood. And they have
really all said to me, you know, `My political views are a career liability.'
Tom Selleck, who's a pretty prominent conservative in Hollywood, has made that
point. He has lost roles that he's really wanted in major movies, he
believes, because of his political views. So, you know, I do think that you'd
probably have more--for all I know, there may be a lot of in-the-closet
conservatives in Hollywood who really don't want to come out because they feel
like this would really be career-ending. But if you look at the people, you
know, that--from Paul Newman to Robert Redford on down the line, Warren
Beatty, Barbra Streisand, these are very prominent liberals. I can guarantee
you, Terry, that John Edwards and John Kerry are going to raise about five
times as much money from Hollywood as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will.

GROSS: You support the free market system, but you're kind of very skeptical
about Hollywood. You think Hollywood's very liberal. You've made
anti-Hollywood remarks.

Mr. MOORE: Right.

GROSS: You know, a lot of people would say, `Listen, Hollywood is like the
perfect example of, you know, what's good and bad about the free market
system.'

Mr. MOORE: I think that's a fair point. You know, I do actually. I mean,
look, it turns out that Hollywood is one of our most productive industries in
America today, no question about it. When you talk about our major exports,
you know, we export our culture through music and through movies and
television, and it's been a great American success story. Do I think, you
know, that Hollywood in terms of their political persuasion is very liberal?
Yes. Do I think sometimes that there's a lot of smut and things that are
degrading our culture on TV and the movies? Yes.

And I think actually a lot of Americans, even though they do tune in to this
stuff, they probably wouldn't be--you know, they would like to see a cleaning
up of Hollywood and TV. I mean, you listen to some of the language that's on
TV now, you know, and as a parent of three kids, I'm kind of offended by that.
So you're right that, you know, to some--the market is speaking here, and it's
true that Hollywood makes great, great movies. I go to the movies as much as
anyone. One of the things I've urged conservatives to do, though, was don't
go pay $8 or $10 to see Michael Moore's movie because every time you do that,
you know, you're putting more money into the pockets of the enemy.

GROSS: Well, that's a political film, you know, so let's take that out of the
equation for a second...

Mr. MOORE: Yeah.

GROSS: ...and just look at the fact that sex and violence seems to really
sell.

Mr. MOORE: Yeah, sure.

GROSS: So what do you tell people about like Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies,
in which, like, you know, scores of people are killed?

Mr. MOORE: Yeah.

GROSS: I mean, and he makes action films. They're about action.

Mr. MOORE: I love Arnold's movies, you know? I really do. I think they're
great. I love...

GROSS: So violence isn't, like, an issue for you?

Mr. MOORE: It is for my wife. She doesn't like me taking the boys to those
movies, but, you know, I do. I'm just making--I was really making less a
point about the content of Hollywood movies as much as the political
persuasion of: What do these, you know, Hollywood producers and actors who
make millions and millions of dollars do with their money? They have big
fund-raisers for John Kerry and John Edwards and Hillary Clinton out in their
glitterati homes in Los Angeles. And so I think that a lot of those people
sort of frown upon the values of middle America.

GROSS: What do you think is at stake in the presidential election?

Mr. MOORE: I think there are three--I've always told our members there are
three reasons that we should be very aggressively for George W. Bush as strong
free market conservatives. The first reason is that we have to make the Bush
tax cuts permanent because that is so important for our economy. Second of
all, I think we've got a great chance of moving towards a private investment
alternative to Social Security, so that young workers can now put some portion
of their Social Security money into private accounts that they actually own
themselves, which would be a huge shift in this country. It would create a
massive investor class. And, finally, the next president is probably going to
have two or three Supreme Court nominations, and that will really reshape the
Supreme Court for the next 40 years. And as free market conservatives, we'd
better make sure that those new people put on the court believe in a judicial
philosophy where they're not trying to rewrite the Constitution but rather
interpret it.

GROSS: Well, Stephen Moore, I want to thank you so much for talking with us.

Mr. MOORE: Thank you, Terry. It was a pleasure.

GROSS: Stephen Moore is the president of the conservative political action
committee the Club for Growth, and he's a senior fellow in economics at the
Cato Institute.

Coming up, Kevin Whitehead reviews a new anthology of jazz recorded before
1920. This is FRESH AIR.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Review: New jazz collection "Pioneer Recording Bands 1917-1920"
TERRY GROSS, host:

In 1917 in New York, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band from New Orleans
recorded what are usually called the first jazz records. For that, they made
the history books. Less remembered are the New York bands that sprung up in
their wake made up of ragtime, dance orchestras, vaudeville and English music
hall performers. A new collection of jazz before 1920 is out. Jazz critic
Kevin Whitehead finds it oddly compelling.

(Soundbite of jazz music)

KEVIN WHITEHEAD reporting:

W.C. Handy's "Ol' Miss" recorded in 1918 by the so-called New Orleans Jazz
Band. The quintet was assembled by New York pianist and future showbiz
institution Jimmy Durante, but of the players were from New Orleans, including
clarinetist Achille Buckay, an African-American passing for white. His
presence likely makes this the first interracial jazz band on record.

(Soundbite of jazz music)

WHITEHEAD: Jimmy Durante had found a sideman in Chicago, where the best jazz
musicians were congregated. But New York was where a self-proclaimed jazz
band started recording. Three months after the Original Dixieland Jazz Band
began a boffo run at a Columbus Circle restaurant, ragtime band leader Earl
Fuller brought a rival outfit to another eatery a few blocks down Broadway.
They recorded a couple of months later, less than half a year after they first
heard jazz while they were still assimilating it. This is Slippery Hank with
trombonist Harry Raderman, June, 1917.

(Soundbite of jazz music)

WHITEHEAD: As jazz was new to these musicians, they filled in the blanks with
what they knew already. The rhythm is still close to ragtime. Earl Fuller's
band made a vaudeville star out of clarinetist Ted Lewis, whose playing sounds
more like klezmer than jazz. But one also hears what must have struck new
listeners as jazz's distinctive tics: slide trombone, nervous drumming and
solo breaks, where most of the band drops out, even if the players hadn't
quite figured how it all fits together.

(Soundbite of jazz music)

WHITEHEAD: This music comes from the CD "Pioneer Recording Bands 1917-1920"
on the Retrieval label. It includes 15 Earl Fuller and Original Dixieland
Jazz Band pieces from the first year of recorded jazz. The other rarities
include a sterling example of that early jazz staple, the animal impersonation
number. 1919's "Barkin' Dog" by Gorman's Novelty Syncopators features barking
trombone, Scottish music hall veteran Ross Gorman's whimpering clarinet and a
very early fade-out ending.

(Soundbite of "Barkin' Dog" by Gorman's Novelty Syncopators)

WHITEHEAD: This is jazz taking baby steps, and it would be a few years yet
before the great African-American improvisers based in Chicago began to
record. But these curios show that jazz was never free of commercial
pressures. Success bred imitation from the first. And to hear bands like
Earl Fuller's groping toward a new language reminds us that jazz evolved out
of music that came before it; there was no moment of creation. So instead of
fixating on the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's 1917 debut as `the' first jazz
record, we might better think of it, along with James Reese Europe's 1914 and
the Versatile Four's 1916 versions of "Down Home Rag" as part of a cluster of
recordings that document the birth of a notion from several viewpoints.

(Soundbite of jazz music)

GROSS: Kevin Whitehead writes for the Chicago Sun-Times, The Absolute Sound
and Down Beat. He reviewed "Pioneer Recording Bands 1917-1920."

(Credits)

GROSS: I'm Terry Gross.
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

You May Also like

Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?

Advertisement

Recently on Fresh Air Available to Play on NPR

22:30

From 'Designing Women' To 'Hacks', Jean Smart's Career Is Still Going Strong

Smart is nominated for Emmy Awards for her performances Hacks, about a veteran comic working with a Gen-Z comedy writer, and the crime drama Mare Of Easttown. Originally broadcast May 2021.

52:30

'Storm Lake' Documentary Depicts The Triumph And Struggle Of A Local Newspaper

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Art Cullen discusses the battle to keep print news alive in small-town America. Cullen runs Iowa's Storm Lake Times, along with his brother, the paper's publisher.

There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.

Playing

Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue