In the final part (part one is here) of our interview with CNN’s Sally Kohn, Breitbart New asks questions the media dare never ask Democrats: Do we really want an alleged sexual predator as America’s first First Gentleman? Where would you draw the line on allowing illegal immigrants into the country? Why are liberals opposed to giving poor, inner-city children vouchers to attend private schools?
By the time the conversation ended, the pot roast was done and the world’s problems were nowhere near being solved.
BREITBART NEWS NETWORK: Let’s move on to 2016. We’re in the age of Democrats going on and on about a Republican “War on Women,” and yet these same Democrats desperately want America’s very first First Gentleman to be a man who treats women like meat — Bill Clinton; a man who had to settle a sexual harassment claim and has been accused of groping, even rape. Is there going to be any discussion of that?
SALLY KOHN: First of all, because of her policies, hawkishness, and coziness with Wall Street, I am no Hillary Clinton fan. Regardless, I think to judge Hillary by the behavior of her husband is wrong. Come on, David Vitter is still in office.
BNN: You honestly don’t think a female Republican running for president, someone who’s married to a man accused of rape, and who settled a sexual harassment lawsuit, would be an issue?
SK: Have you seen our media lately? Of course it would. But you sound desperate. Conservatives really do have a problem with Republicans who say these ridiculous anti-woman things — not just Todd Akin — I think a Republican running for Congress in Georgia just said, “I have no problem with a woman running for office just as long as she does it within her husband’s authority.”
You have retrograde Republicans out there and you can match them to retrograde Republican policies: the Personhood Amendment, no abortion even in cases of rape and incest, blocking the Violence Against Women Act, blocking equal pay legislation. That is substantive. That touches every woman in America.
Republicans are trying to say those policies are somehow equivalent to Elliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton?
BNN: I’m talking character and media bias. Democrats want America’s first First Gentleman to be a man who treats women like play things. It’s just about the policies?
SK: There are sleaze-bucket politicians on both sides of the aisle. For every David Vitter you have a Bill Clinton. I say we call it a wash and work on The Policies.
BNN: The media was not using Todd Akin as a relentless club against Mitt Romney based on some lofty idea of policy.
SK: What he said stuck for a reason. It resonates for a reason: Republicans have a problem with women. Regardless, Bill Clinton is the least of my problems. I’m much more concerned with his wife’s policies. Bill Clinton as First Gentleman would be non-stop entertainment and give me plenty to talk about on television. What is important are the wars his wife starts and her coziness with Wall Street. We don’t need more free trade policies.
BNN: Shifting gears to immigration… This is the problem I have with Democrats: They never say where they will draw the line on keeping illegals out. For instance, why are Democrats opposed to securing the border? Why would anyone oppose that? And why the opposition to the deportations of illegals? Do Democrats draw a line anywhere, or is the policy that anyone who successfully sneaks in gets to stay? We Republicans look at this and see a Democrat Party that wants as many illegals as possible to come in because these are future Democrats.
SK: I don’t recall Ronald Reagan having to answer any of these questions.
BNN: But we believe he was hoodwinked; promised by Democrats that in exchange for mass amnesty the border would be secured. Which we now know didn’t happen. Millions upon millions more illegals prove that. Plus the economy was much better under Reagan. Back then, flooding the job market with millions of new workers wasn’t going to undermine people who followed the rules. It will in this economy.
SK: Speaking for myself, not Democrats as a whole, I think the border is secure. All these Central American kids this summer were caught.
BNN: We do have something like 11 million illegals who weren’t.
SK: How many of those 11 million are overstayed visas? Statistics show deportations and stops are up. The border has been secured. It continues to be strengthened. Short of militarizing the border, we have to stop somewhere. Statistics show that President Obama is deporting more people than any other president, including George W. Bush. I’m against that. Unless, of course, we’re talking about a criminal threat.
BNN: If someone can get here illegally, they should just be allowed to stay?
SK: People are always going to be able to get here. So we have to do something more than just “secure the border.” Something ignored in the immigration debate is that businesses and companies are always actively recruiting undocumented labor.
BNN: And they should be prosecuted.
SK: Our economy relies on undocumented immigrants. I guess I’m a realist when it comes to politics and policies. These people are here and our economy needs them.
BNN: Even with unemployment in the shape it’s in?
SK: One thing you do see is that the flow of undocumented workers shifts with the economy. When our economy worsens, the flow from Mexico slows. These are jobs that others are not doing. And people aren’t doing those jobs because they pay such shitty wages. Employers are relying on labor they can exploit.
BNN: Of course they are, and allowing millions of illegals into the country is what makes that possible.
SK: No, what makes that possible is forcing workers to hide in the shadows. This is why I believe in a minimum wage. You have to create certain standards of what you won’t allow employers to get away with. And when you have undocumented workers, it allows businesses to skirt the minimum wage, and that hurts everyone. It helps everyone when we have an above-the-board economy.
Maybe if we didn’t allow for that kind of exploitation, we could turn those jobs into higher paying jobs and others besides immigrants would take those jobs.
BNN: Obama is preparing to legalize millions — to flood the labor market with cheap labor. We’ve talked about people on food stamps, people stuck on the minimum wage; Obama’s mass amnesty will not help these people. My wife’s a Mexican immigrant who’s now a citizen. She played by the rules and waited in line for 20 years. If she were in the job market, Obama’s flooding of that market would hurt her ability to find a job or enjoy a wage increase. How is Obama’s upcoming amnesty fair to the Mexicans who follow the rules or anyone who wants to get off food stamps?
SK: First of all, these undocumented workers are already here and likely working.
BNN: I just don’t see how struggling Americans and legal immigrants will be helped by legalizing and incentivizing people to come here illegally. A flooded job market is going to suppress wages, especially in these low-wage jobs that are crucial to taking that first step off of welfare and away from poverty. Isn’t it a contradiction to lament the state of the unemployed and working poor while at the same time cheering Obama hurting them by legalizing millions who broke the law?
SK: How is it not a contradiction to say you’re worried about the poor and those on food stamps but opposed to an increase in the minimum wage?
BNN: Like I said earlier, a one-size-fits-all federal minimum wage is dumb and could hurt job creation, and by extension, some of the folks we’ve been talking about. I’m not opposed to any state doing what they think is best.
SK: What we know is that an organized legalizing of a certain subset of undocumented workers who are already in our economy, and who we are already relying on to make our economy tick, will not only increase tax revenues, but once you’re a documented worker, businesses can no longer legally underpay these workers. That fixes a wage floor that helps everyone.
BNN: Speaking of a one-size-fits-all federal government: We have the VA, the IRS, the CDC, and just learned today that 57,000 federal bureaucrats are being paid to stay home. Veterans literally dying. The president’s political opponents targeted. At best this is unconscionable incompetence. How bad does the federal government have to get before people like yourself stop looking to them for all the answers? What will it take for Democrats to say that the private sector should take care of our veterans and a flat tax is a good idea to put the IRS down?
SK: I don’t know exactly where my line is, but I do think that when the private sector can do things, it should. Government is not good at allocating goods and services. That’s something government should not do. I believe in the market and I believe that the government should set up the rules of the market. You need both.
BNN: Can anyone look at the VA or, say, public schools, and defend the government running either? How bad do things have to get?
SK: To me the default should be local control and the private sector. That’s what makes a good economy and society. That’s a shocker to your readers, right? That’s why I like local businesses.
BNN: Big business is just as corrupt and in bed with and eager to steel my freedom as big government. They use government as a way to snuff out the competition of small business.
SK: They do seem to be in cahoots a lot.
BNN: Crony capitalism.
SK: Screw the little guy. Screw the system. Getting back to your question, I do not use a Bernie Madoff as an example to say capitalism doesn’t work. I wouldn’t take the mismanagement of the VA to attack government as a whole.
BNN: I might have premised my question poorly, that’s not what I meant or think. The CDC is a great example. There should be a CDC. I want a CDC. I want a CDC running to Ebola breakout locations with spacesuits and protocols. But now the CDC is so bloated and over-tasked that they don’t have time to watch the movie “Outbreak” as a reminder of what their primary responsibility is.
SK: As a side note, because I’ve written about this: conservatives seem to think bigger is better when it comes to the military but nothing else in government. We need a bigger military to fight ISIS but a smaller government to fight Ebola.
BNN: There’s no question we could cut waste and fraud out of the military. I just want to know if there’s anything specifically that the government is doing now that you believe the private sector would do better.
SK: There are certain things where there is no market incentive to do the best you can. Education is one. Everyone from my kid to a janitor’s kid to someone living on food stamps should have the same great education. That’s why there’s public education. That’s why you need government. Without it, my kid would be getting a better education than the others.
BNN: One of the primary reasons I switched from liberal to conservative fairly late, in my mid-twenties, was based on my belief that every child deserves a chance at a great education. I was appalled and am still appalled at a Democratic Party that fights against that janitor’s kid and your kid and a kid on food stamps receiving a voucher to attend the same private school rich kids attend. I cannot even articulate how immoral this is.
At the time, in the early nineties, when I was a Democrat and heard that Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson wanted to give poor inner city kids vouchers, I remember wanting to celebrate with my Democrat allies: “Hey, we won! Republicans are redistributing wealth! Poor kids are going to be able to go to private schools!”
To learn Democrats are opposed to such a thing was quite the eye opener.
SK: I don’t believe in the privatization of education. So education is one of the areas where I do believe in redistribution.
BNN: You’re shoving these poor kids into these shitty schools when there are nice private schools they could go to tomorrow.
SK: There could be good public schools.
BNN: In the future maybe but what about the kid tomorrow?
SK: You don’t want to cream the crop — have the motivated kids leaving the most disadvantaged kids behind.
BNN: There’s no perfect answer. If 10 kids are saved, if things only get 10% better, why in heaven’s name not?
SK: Call me an idealist. I think we can have quality public education for every kid.
BNN: And in the meantime, you can save the kid going to the worst school in America tomorrow. Just give the kid a voucher. It is appalling this is not happening.
SK: I live in New York City, we’ve seen this with Charter Schools. The kids of the parents with the most initiative benefit, which leaves behind the other kids, whose parents aren’t invested or are working two jobs.
BNN: We can’t save everyone, so you destroy them all because there’s no perfect solution?
SK: I want to fix it all.
BNN: Awesome, but what about that kid tomorrow?
SK: I went to a great public school growing up and I believe in public education. My kid goes to a public school.
BNN: Last question. Even though I didn’t, now that I’m older and wiser, I believe everyone should serve in the military, go to church, should eat right, exercise, and a whole bunch of other things. But what I believe in more than any of that is that the government should not force people to do what I believe they should. What I don’t understand about people on the Left is why, after winning 51% of the vote, they want to force their beliefs on me. If you get 51% of the vote, I have to buy health insurance, my taxes are going to increase, my kid’s school voucher is going to be taken away.
A great example is taxes. if liberals believe higher taxes are better for the economy and society, why don’t liberals prove it by paying higher taxes voluntarily? Why does everyone have to be forced into it for liberals to start doing it? Why not prove the point by voluntarily paying higher taxes now while at the same time creating a system where you’re trying to convince others to voluntarily join you. Why not just go ahead and do it instead of waiting until you get 51% of the vote so you can jam your values down my throat and take away my economic freedom?
SK: Little off-track but riddle me this: Whether it’s a good or bad economy, conservatives believe you should cut taxes.
BNN: Hell, yes.
SK: Liberals, however, say in a good economy we should cut taxes and give the surplus to the American people, and in a bad economy we look at the situation. That can include deficit spending to fill the gap the private sector has retreated from. Our policies have a relationship between theory and reality.
BNN: I’d love to explain the taxes thing but you’ve already been generous with your time.
SK: Okay, but you guys get 51% of the vote and then say that no one can have an abortion.
BNN: That one I am going to take the time to explain. Opposing abortion, and I do, has nothing to do with controlling women or wanting to control women. It is about granting God-given, constitutional rights to an individual [the unborn child] and protecting those rights. Life is not utilitarian. It does not take on meaning based on the convenience of the location — in this case, a womb. I’m not saying that to be glib or disrespectful to women. I just don’t know how else to say it.
SK: I wholly support your right to believe that, and when my side wins 51% of the vote, we don’t force women to have abortions, we give them choice. And those are your words: choice, liberty, freedom.
BNN: But you are taking liberty and choice away from an individual based on solely their location — in a womb.
SK: Another example is gay marriage. When Republicans get 51% of the vote, they take that liberty away.
BNN: At the risk of repeating myself, my problem with gay marriage is that it is already stripping others of their religious rights. And as I said, I’m all for giving committed same-sex couples the same rights as married couples.
SK: But that’s not where Republicans are at, and a majority of Americans do support a woman’s right to choose, even if they personally oppose abortion. They recognize there’s a difference between personal choice and a legal and medical choice.
Republicans have done a good job claiming the liberty and freedom mantle, but being a progressive is about liberty and freedom. To me, it’s about the liberty and freedom to control your body; to decide when and where you’re going to have a family; to decide who in your family is going to work and that they are going to earn a fair wage for that work — whether you’re a woman or on minimum wage. It means having a path to come to this country — the liberty and opportunity my ancestors had — and the freedom to know that your hard work will amount to something.
BNN: What does that have to do with forcing me to buy health insurance, perform same sex marriages, and a bottomless zeal to confiscate my hard-earned money through excessive taxation?
It’s like the Catholic Church, which I love so much I joined voluntarily at age 43. When the Church takes its own money given to them voluntarily by parishioners and uses it to further their stated values, that moves me. But when the Church advocates using a coercive government to shove its values down everyone’s throat — like advocating for ObamaCare — I get angry, even if I agree with those values. That to me is un-Christian.
If the Church and progressives think everyone should have health insurance — guess what, I agree! Because I’m protesting the government, for the first time in my life I’m currently not covered by health insurance, but I actually do agree that responsible adults capable of doing so should purchase health insurance. I would just never dream of using the government to force people to knuckle under my beliefs. Why does the left want to impose its values on me through a coercive government? If you and the Church want people insured, go make it happen. Go create something.
SK: I wish we had time to talk about ObamaCare but for the record, I’m for single payer — but as an option alongside a private insurance marketplace. As a community organizer in some conservative areas talking to conservatives, I heard horror story after horror story about being screwed by private insurance companies.
BNN: Even so, what does government do that makes you think they could handle single payer? The VA, ObamaCare…
SK: Medicare! People love it.
BNN: It’s on a path to bankruptcy.
SK: I want to tackle that but this pot roast needs to come out of the oven.
BNN: We are way over time and you have been generous above and beyond. This has been a real treat.
SK: If you ever come up my to the “Heathen North,” lemme know, we can finish this.
BNN: I love pot roast.
SK: Thanks, John.
BNN: Thank you.
Breitbart News would like to again thank Sally for a great conversation and her willingness to walk into a friendly but adversarial situation without asking for a single precondition. You can watch Sally Kohn on CNN, where she’s a regular contributor; read her at the Daily Beast, and follow her on Twitter @SallyKohn.