John Scobey Transcript

Interview with Highland Park Tea Party member John Scobey at his home in Dallas, Texas on July 15, 2010. Interview Time: 67:02 A.J. Bauer: So starting out John, in what year were you born? John Scobey: ‘39 — 1939. AB: And you mentioned you went to MIT — tell me a brief trajectory of your life. Were you from Texas originally? JS: Well, my parents are both from Iowa, I was born in Illinois. AB: What part? JS: Central — pretty much central Illinois and a long way out of Chicago. We moved to a couple of places in the Midwest — and we were in Indianapolis and then we moved to Texas just after I turned five, so that was in — just an aside, I was too young to start the first grade. I’m a September 12th baby so you have to be six by September 1 to start first grade, so my parents shipped me off to my grandparents in Iowa for first grade. So I was in an old one-room country schoolhouse. There was one other guy in my grade and there were about 20 of us in first through eighth grade in that one room. So it was a really good education. But I came back home for second grade through high school. Is there anything interesting in there? Well, I went to the same elementary school that Laura Bush went to. And I didn’t know the Bush family — I didn’t know anyone in the family. Although my mother was on the founding board of directors for the YMCA in Midland, Texas — this is in Midland, Texas. And she was on the board with — there were 12 people on the board and George Bush Sr., George Bush 41, was one of the other people on the board. So my parents definitely knew them but I didn’t know them. So anyway, I applied to a bunch of colleges, got accepted to all of them. Got into MIT and went to MIT for my undergraduate years. AB: What did you get your degree in? JS: Electrical engineering. Then I went to work in Boston for Honeywell — which is a computer manufacturer. And I was there for about five years and then moved to Hawaii, Honolulu and worked there for five years. Took a trip around the world, ended up in Minneapolis and lived there for close to 20 years. And back to Dallas — I have two sisters who live here and my parents still lived in Midland when I moved back, so I was in Dallas for about 19 years. Moved to San Francisco, lived there for about 5 years and then moved back here the end of this last year. AB: So you’re just back to Texas? JS: Just back to Texas, yeah. I’ve been doing software development all that time until recently, I’ve been getting into real estate investment, or investing basically — I’ve been doing investing. I’ve been an entrepreneur most of that time. AB: Mostly within the software industry? JS: Yeah. AB: What would you say is you first political memory? JS: Well, I’d say I remember — this would have been, I would have been about 8 or 9 years old, in elementary school at the time — I remember coming home and being enthusiastic about Truman and finding out that my parents were for Dewey. And then, of course, Truman won it in a reasonably close election. That was kind of — I was a little bit surprised that my parents were for Dewey. All of Texas was Democrat at the time, so everybody I would have run into in school would have been a Democrat or favoring a Democrat — whatever kids know about politics. So that’s the first thing I remember. AB: And what was the first election you voted in — do you remember? JS: Well, let’s see. I remember voting for Nixon in ‘72. I don’t remember — let’s see the first time I’d be eligible to vote would be. I would have to say I can’t remember when I was voting then. AB: But that’s the first one you recall? JS: Yeah. AB: What’s your history of political affiliation? JS: I’ve been pretty much conservative, Republican — Republican and then once I waked up about it I say I’m a conservative. And I’ve been somewhat more fiscally conservative and socially more kind of — I don’t even think liberal is the right term. Things like civil liberties, things like that. AB: So a little more of a libertarian bent? Or is that too loaded a word? JS: Yeah, that’s kind of a new thing — I haven’t. I wasn’t even aware of libertarian until these last few years. I was definitely more conservative than George Bush 43 — in fact you could say that I’m pretty hostile to most of the things he did — or a lot of the things he did. You know, I kind of blame the Obama sweep on a lot of the dumb things that Bush 43 did. AB: So... JS: So as far as libertarian — I would say now that I’m a little bit more libertarian. I’d be probably closer to libertarian than standard Republican — whatever that is. I mean that’s such a wide-ranging thing. I just say conservative, in favor of limited government, in favor of a fairly strict interpretation of the Constitution. It should be the individual and then the local governments and the state and then maybe the federal government if that’s absolutely necessary. That’s getting — there’s a natural tendency of the federal government, for the federal government to take on more power unto itself, and that I would like to stop and reverse. AB: So you say you’ve most always been a conservative — how did you become conservative at the beginning? Your parents being Republicans, was that an influence? JS: I don’t know how much of that is due to my parents, because we didn’t talk about politics. And they were not, they were not really very much involved in politics, although my mother was, you know my mother was the chairman for the election of a school board member in Midland. That’s the closest we ever came to getting involved in politics. I think it was something to do with, I didn’t like the bias of the government toward labor unions, and I didn’t like how much power was going to labor unions — this probably would have been in the late ‘50s or ‘60s when I was starting to pay attention to that. And it just seemed like the federal government was getting too big and too all-powerful and too corrupt. So that’s probably where I got to be more of a conservative. I grew up in a relatively conservative state — a conservative town in a conservative state. A more entrepreneurial, business-oriented place. I mean probably if I grew up where my father was blue collar or something like that, probably I’d have different attitudes. AB: So you think — so Midland, the kind of culture there is something that helped. JS: You know, since I wasn’t really paying much attention to politics in junior high and high school — but it’s more of a business-oriented town. There’s a lot of independent oil operators — lots of millionaires, stuff like that. So it’s more of a — Midland was electing Republicans before the rest of Texas was electing Republicans. So it’s definitely more of a conservative place: entrepreneurial. AB: So what are some of your top political issues and have they changed over time? JS: Before we get to that there’s one other thing — when I was at MIT in your second year you’re required to have a humanities elective. And mostly everything is math and science and all that. And there was an option between the, kind of the philosophy of Western Civilization and the other was American History; and I chose the American History option. So I got to read a lot about the founding influence and the founding documents — stuff like that, the Federalist Papers and things like that. So I have more than the typical MIT student in that kind of a background. So back to your question, what are my top issues right now? Well, the biggest issue is to stop the rush to big government — to kind of dictating how we live our lives. For example, the health care bill doesn’t really solve the problems we have in health care. The financial reform bill we have right now pretty much doesn’t solve the problems in too big to fail or the centralization of big banks. It actually promotes the big banks over the smaller local and regional banks. It’s another 2,000-page bill with massive bureaucracy and regulation. There are definitely things that need to be done but this is definitely the wrong solution. What are the other things that are coming on? I think the stimulus programs are counter-productive. The focus should be on making it easier for business to grow and expand. Right now we have tremendous contraction in credit — credit is almost completely unavailable to business. And that — they should be addressing that so that new businesses or existing businesses, rather than hunker down. Right now we have a hunker-down mentality among the businesses that can’t fund themselves, can’t call in big cash reserves. So that’s what’s going on right now. All of the stimulus was basically spent on Obama’s favorite projects — it goes to his buddies, his political supporters. So that’s, those are kind of hot buttons. Another thing is Obama just made a recess appointment of a Dr. Berwick to head up HHS, and he, I just read the stuff he said, and he said health care should be decided by leaders and not by the marketplace. And he said not by individuals, not by the marketplace, not by private enterprise. It should not be determined by market forces and people voting with their — making their own choices. And he said that over and over again in lots of different ways. And Obama stuck him in and even some Democrats in the Senate are miffed about it, that he didn’t get approved by the Senate. Let’s see, what else? AB: So historically, looking back, have you always opposed larger government — has that kind of always been one of your top issues? SJ: Right. I mean even the Republicans — there have been various Republican administrations, like the last eight years of the Bush administration, they were doing a lot of crony capitalism. They were favoring their friends and the Republicans in Congress was doing that, the Bush administration was doing that. I think — I mean that’s one of the worst possible things is to have government playing favorites. They should create a level playing field, create rules, fair rules that are optimum for forwarding the interests of the country, not the interests of their friends. And that’s, so that’s not even a Republican, Democrat thing, that’s a — I mean that’s why I was really irritated with the Democrats for a long time when they ran the country because they were favoring their friends and their voting blocks to the detriment of the rest of the country. So that’s my take on it. I’m not somebody that believes in no government — there are things that you do need national defense, although we’re spending too much on things — we’re fighting the Cold War. We should be spending less and we should be focusing more on the type of things, the type of encounters that we now have and will continue to have in the future. We’re spending way too much on too many things. There should be some regulation to foster competition — keep the biggest companies from monopolizing or dominating the playing field. I mean the government should create a fair balance between big government and big labor, but shouldn’t favor one or the other. So ask the question again, because I think there was more I wanted to say about that. AB: So the question was two-part — it was what are your top issues now and historically what have been your top issues? JS: Well the one about playing favorites and centralizing more power and giving away to your friends — that’s the main issue. And that’s been with me since the, certainly since the ‘60s. Maybe I was aware of it in the ‘50s, but I’m not sure, so certainly since the ‘60s. It would have been from my 20s, my 20s on. AB: In terms of political leadership — what kind of values do you look for in a political leader? JS: Values. AB: Or characteristics. JS: Yeah, characteristics — I would look for someone who could articulate the kind of principles, the conservative principles, why it’s important and why it’s what he or she is going to do to follow that. I think Reagan did a good job of it. So, it’d be great to have somebody like Reagan that’s not focused on the issues that Reagan focused on in the ‘80s but that’s focused on the issues we’re focused on now. But apply that general kind of approach to the issues that we have now. And I’m kind of concerned that the conservatives don’t have anybody, that I know of, that’s qualified for that right now. I’d like Sean Hannity, but he doesn’t have enough. He’s articulate but other than stand as the general contractor in his earlier years, I don’t think he’s got enough experience in the world to be successful in the presidential level. And I don’t know anybody else out there on the conservative side of the spectrum — maybe some of the new governors — Governor Christie, whoever the new Governor from Virginia is. Maybe Pawlenty of Minnesota, but I don’t know much about his politics. AB: But the big front-runner names you hear all the time you’re not impressed with — Palin, Gingrich, Huckabee? JS: Not really. Romney to me is too liberal. I mean given a choice between him and most of the Democrats I’d probably go for him. Huckabee, I listen to him but don’t know a whole lot about him. So we shall see — hopefully somebody will emerge in the next couple of years. AB: Switching gears just slightly — would you consider yourself a religious person? If so, what role would you say it plays in your life? JS: I probably would not consider myself religious. I grew up in the Episcopal Church and was kind of active as a youth — was a choir and altar boy and things like that. But once I got off to college I didn’t really have — there wasn’t anything pulling me to religion. I’m not hostile to that, I’m just not that much interested. AB: And what kind of music do you like? JS: Classical music. What else? Some pop music. I was listening to folk music in the ‘60s. What else? I guess that’s probably the best way to put it. AB: How about television? Do you watch television? JS: Yeah. More I tend to watch DVD movies. AB: What are some movies you like? JS: Avatar, Harry Potter — all the Harry Potter series. Not horror. AB: But fantasy it sounds like? JS: No, not necessarily. I’m trying to think if there’s any broad way to describe. I do watch Fox News Channel — Hannity and Greta van Susteren, and occasionally Glenn Beck. It’s kind of hard to watch the more liberal — MSNBC, it’s hard to watch them for more than a few minutes. I watch certain sports when they’re in season — I’ll definitely watch the Cowboys when they get back in season. AB: So you’re a football fan? JS: Yeah, kind of a football fan. Anyway, my favorite series is Friday Nigh Lights — which is shot down by your old stomping grounds. AB: Yeah, down by Austin. JS: Austin, Pfugerville, around there. AB: Yeah. JS: But that one I really like. There was a series that was on a couple of years back called Dawson’s Creek — I really liked that end to end. I mean that’ll give you a little bit of a flavor. Most ordinary TV programs I’m not much interested in — news, sports and the ones I mentioned are what I do like. AB: How about books? JS: I love books? AB: You read for pleasure? JS: Yeah. AB: What are some genres you like to read? JS: Almost all non-fiction. Anything where I’m kind of learning something new that I can kind of get into — history, a book about some new insight into history or anthropology or science. Something that kind of shaped events. I love to read about that. AB: You mentioned anthropology a couple of times — are there any specific anthropologists you like? JS: Stuff about early human — anything around that era or, what else? I guess that’s more the interest — in that arena. AB: Right, the more primitive studies. JS: Right. AB: What would you say are some of the more influential books that you’ve read that have been formative for you over time? JS: That’s a good question... Well there’s — as a book I enjoyed was the book by Winston Churchill about his ancestor, it’s called Marlborough. That was fascinating. I read Churchill’s six-volume set on the Second World War. Just being reminded of Churchill made me thing about that. Formative. Let me think that through a bit. AB: By all means, take your time. JS: Earlier times. I mean there have been periods recently where I’ll just go and hang out at the library or hang out at the bookstore and read several hours a day for weeks. I’m not doing that right now, but. That’s a good question. Something will come to me. Why don’t we move forward and we’ll come back. AB: Sure. The next question kind of switches gears a little bit, but if books come to mind throughout go ahead and mention them. Kind of a fifth grade essay question, but we’ll try it. What does being an American mean to you? JS: Well, being extremely fortunate. We’ve been given, in one of the most remarkable governments — government structure, the charter, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. It means limitless opportunity. It means an openness — largely a freedom from a class system or caste system. Opportunity. You can do whatever you want — responsibility. Personal responsibility. We’ve all been very fortunate in our geographical situation that we had all this area, all this resources. You know when the Europeans came to American 500 years ago or whatever it was, we had this huge way to carve out and do things in a new way and we took advantage of that. We’re a melting pot. We take the best from around the world — the best, most ambitious people in the world, most of them want to come to America. So we get the benefit of that — we get the benefit of their energy and their ambition, their training — all that. One of the things I think we’ve mostly forgotten is the responsibility of being a citizen — the responsibility to take care of this country and take care of us. We’ve tended to become lazy about this and kind of say if we just vote that’s all we have to do — and that’s turned out to be insufficient. AB: So the inverse question — what does it mean to be un-American? JS: Un-American. You know, I don’t really know what that means. I think it’s just an epithet. I mean you could say that — well, let me change that a little bit. If you agree with and are willing to support the Constitution, support the principles that the country was founded on, then that’s one thing. But if you’re going to subvert that. If your intention is to subvert that or not follow that or to — then I guess you could say that would be un-American. AB: And the next question kind of has to do with your own identity — if some alien or Martian or something were to come down and say who are you? How would you describe yourself? Would you use your national identity, state, religion, class, some other kind of group identification? JS: So, he’s asking what question? AB: Who are you? JS: Okay. Well, I’m a member — I’m human, I’m a member of the human species, one of the most evolved species on this planet. I live in a country called the United States of America, which is the most prosperous of the different countries in the world. I’m one of the smarter members of the human population. And I’d ask what do you want to know about this planet or this culture and how I fit into it? AB: So, kind of switching gears once again, what’s your primary source of news? JS: I read on the Internet. AB: Any particular sites? JS: Yeah, I’ll give you some. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, those are the main ones. Then I check a bunch of others. I read some compendium sites that gives you top news stories around the world. Something called TechMeme and Memeorandum which are another compilation of the top stories. Bloomberg. Forbes. BBC. So I actually do read those pretty heavily every day. I’m pretty well informed about what’s going on. AB: So you read pretty widely, it sounds. JS: Yeah. That’s my main source. I also listen to the Fox News Channel and CNN occasionally. Fox News a lot, CNN occasionally, to kind of get a more entertainment-oriented view of things, what people are talking about. I’m not too happy that the Wall Street Journal and New York Times either have or will throw up pay walls so I can’t read the whole thing without paying money, that’s a little irritating. But there’ll still be plenty sources of news. AB: You mentioned that you watch Fox more than CNN for more the entertainment value. Do you tend to watch more the talking heads or more the news on those channels? JS: Well, Fox News only has talking head type of shows and they’ll get groups of people together to talk about something. If there was something big going on, something like a Katrina, I’d probably watch CNN for their around the clock coverage — or war or something like that. There’s, I don’t think you get too much more by watching the TV news over other sources. I don’t think there’s a whole lot more to learn about it. But sometimes you’ll see the people speaking and stuff like that, when they interview people who are in the midst of the action, that’s sometime interesting. AB: Before the Internet where did you primarily get your news. JS: Well, depending on where I was in my life, I’d read either the local paper or the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. There are big chunks of my life where I wasn’t reading the news — my 20s and 30s I wasn’t paying any attention to the news or TV. In fact in my 20s, I didn’t have a TV in my 20s. Did I have a TV in my 30s? Not really. I mean there were times that I had a TV but I didn’t spend a lot of time — I certainly didn’t get the news from there. AB: So, what are your general impressions of the news media? JS: There’s some of it that’s very good. I’d say the Wall Street Journal has excellent reporting. The New York Times is generally excellent. You’ve got to be careful, you’ve got to really read carefully on their Opinion pages. The TV news generally is just — there’s, the information density is too low. It’s more like entertainment than — except for some major breaking event, that would be the only time when it would really be useful to be watching TV news. It’s a little unfortunate that the newspapers are going to really have to retrench. I don’t know what to do about that. AB: You mentioned earlier as Hannity as somebody you would think of for president if he had more experience. JS: Yeah, I like his views. He’s articulate. He’s easy to listen to. He and I pretty much agree on the issues. AB: So of the Fox talking heads you said you’d probably rank Hannity and Greta first? JS: Right. AB: And then a little bit of Glenn Beck, and those are pretty much the three that you watch. JS: Yeah. AB: What attracts you to Greta and Beck? JS: Well, Greta, again, she does a little bit more investigative reporting. I mean she tends to ask the kinds of questions I think I would ask. She tends to less give her opinion on things — you know Hannity is pretty much that’s an opinion, a very opinionated view of the news. Hers is a little less. And then Glenn Beck — I mean I like to listen to what he’s got to say because there might be something in there. He’s got a conspiratorial view of the world. It’s sort of interesting. He’s probably right in many cases, but I don’t know there’s not quite enough evidence — he can give you something — here’s something you better go research this on your own. AB: And so switching to the Tea Party. How and when did you become aware of the Tea Party movement? JS: I read about it on the Internet probably a year ago? It started showing up in the news or started to show up. And I thought that’s a good idea, that’s kind of a good metaphor, looking back to the Boston Tea Party as a kind of a civil protest against how things are going. Anyway, I like that general idea. AB: And so you’d mentioned some disapproval of Bush administration policies leading up to the Obama administration’s policies as well. When did you start feeling that you wanted to get more active politically? I guess when did you decide to get more politically active in your life? JS: Well, I would say — well I was really trying to get active once Obama came in, once my worst fears were realized. So I’m not primed to be ready, looking for opportunities of what I can do about it, thinking about what I can do. Can I create a blog or a Web site or something like that? Even though that’s really contrary to what I — I’m not really into writing and stuff like that, but thinking about what I could do. And then the Tea Party came along and when I found out there were local groups I signed up for that, when I found out. I started to go to meetings. AB: When was your first meeting? JS: Probably, maybe a month ago. AB: So it’s July, so probably in June? JS: Yeah, I’d say in June. We went to something about two weeks ago right? AB: Yeah. JS: So four or five weeks ago, six weeks ago. AB: So you said you were primed when Obama was elected — you said that your “worst fears were realized” — elaborate a little about that. What were your worst fears that were realized there? JS: Well, the health care program, the expansion of government that represents. The centralization of power and thinking and decision making. The stimulus package — my gut feel was that it wouldn’t work. And it seems like it’s not working. The massive increase in deficits. The idea that we’re not really — let’s see — the take over of GM and Chrysler, essentially giving GM and Chrysler to the unions and wiping out the creditors, which I believe is extralegal. The lack of respect for private ownership, private property. AB: So it wasn’t so much Obama’s election as much as things that happened after? JS: Right. There’s things that happened afterward which were... AB: And earlier you mentioned the Bush administration as some kind of precursor to Obama — what did you mean? JS: Well, he increased spending a lot. I thought the Iraq war was unwarranted. I’m just trying to think of the things. AB: While you’re thinking — in 2008, the election, did you have a specific person you were backing in the primaries? ... And what did you think of McCain? JS: You know a good guy, honorable guy. I read his biography. I’m trying to think if there was anyone else I preferred to McCain early on. Who else was running? AB: So it was McCain, Romney, Huckabee, Guiliani, Thompson... JS: I really wasn’t much impressed by any of the other guys — I wasn’t especially — I wasn’t really excited about McCain but he seemed like he was a better choice than Obama and a better choice than the other Republicans. AB: And so you’ve been to two meetings? JS: I’ve been to two meetings — I’ve been to some other. I went to the one for my zip code, 75240 with Pam Colquitt and some other people. And I’m going to be a precinct leader for the Tea Party to walk door-to-door and answer questions for people about the Tea Party. AB: So, as you mentioned, there’s been in terms of cronyism it’s been going on for generations — Clinton, Bush and things — I guess what made you decide to get active now? JS: Well, the Tea Party represents an opportunity to do something. And I’m a lot more concerned, agitated, worried about the future now than at any time in my lifetime — you know about the course of what’s going on with the government. AB: And what are the factors that make you more worried now than earlier? JS: Okay, well I mean the type of legislation, such as the health care bill, the financial reform bill, possibly the immigration reform bill, the appointments that Obama has made — such as Berwick — and just the kind of [pause]. I just think the government’s really headed — the pace — it’s kind of like we’re doing some things that are pushing us in a direction that will be very difficult to reverse, very difficult to stop. The massive increase in spending and debt and how it’s being solved, I think that’s just going to put the country in deeper trouble — the wrong-headed financial reform bill. It’s sort of like the scale of the outrage for me is so much greater — so much greater now than before. I mean I was outraged with Bush, but this is much worse — hard to believe. I’m surprised that anybody can make me madder than Bush. AB: And what are some of the main values of the Tea Party movement in your opinion? JS: Well, limited government, having us operate as a Constitutional republic, adherence to the Constitution, the proper division between the individual, state and local governments and the federal government. The idea to stop crony capitalism or favoritism in government. I guess those are the main things. AB: And what would you say the media consistently gets wrong or misapprehends about the Tea Party movement? JS: I don’t really know. I guess I’m a little skeptical of the media — they’re mostly looking for something sensational. They’re not really looking to understand it, and the Tea Party movement is a difficult thing to understand. The Tea Party is more about people being empowered and people being responsible. The Tea Party is more about education than about supporting particular candidates. It’s more about having the citizenry get informed, be informed, be active and be active in shaping things, rather than kind of devolve it to somebody else that says I’ll take care of this for you. The Tea Party is more about going back to Democracy, rather than what we have now — what would you call it, what’s the term — kind of vote for somebody and forget it. More trust yourself than your elected officials and your government as a whole. I mean I could envision somebody in the Tea Party that was fairly liberal, and that would be okay if they’re thinking, they’re reading, they’re understanding the consequences of their actions. They’re getting informed. I think that would be fine inside the Tea Party. AB: I guess, the last question I have is are there any questions I didn’t ask that I should have asked or anything else you’d like to say about the Tea Party that you haven’t yet? JS: Well, I’m very hopeful that the Tea Party can make a difference, can shift the course of events in this country and bring us back to being a country of opportunity, of fairness, of limited government, and holding elected officials to what we want rather than what they want. Removing the influence of money on politics, that’s what I’m for. And I think the Tea Party represents a possibility of that. I’m more optimistic now with the Tea Party than I have been ever really. AB: So, one thing I hear repeated in this conversation and in several I’ve had is this notion of bringing things back, this notion of hailing back. JS: Right. AB: What is the time that we’re hailing back to? Or the Tea Party movement, or if you don’t want to speak for the Tea Party movement then just for yourself, when was there that kind of opportunity and fairness and limited government that you’re hailing back to? JS: Well, somebody I’d be for would be somebody like Teddy Roosevelt, who took on — in this case the big corporate interests, the trusts, and had them limited and broke them up and created a more level playing field rather than monopolies — so that would be a legitimate use of government, to counterweight those other centralizations of power. Ask the question again. AB: Just, when we say bringing things back, what is the “back” we’re referring to? JS: Well, I mean most of our history — most of the history of the U.S. up until Franklin Roosevelt there really was limited government intrusion in our lives. So back to that — back to the government for the majority of our history. So the big major expansion was FDR. There was another big expansion under Lyndon Johnson. I mean Kennedy actually cut back taxes. AB: And this is less for the sake of argument and more to see the contours of yours, so one kind of qualifier there that if you look back to say — I mean, the increase in government has been happening, generally, since the start of the industrial revolution, right? I mean the end of the 1800s, early 1900s. JS: Right, yeah. AB: Do you envision that even with the more complex society we have now — we’ve got so many balls in the air being juggled, as it were — do you feel that we’ll ever be able to return to that simplicity? JS: I mean obviously not. We can’t have a government that’s adapted for agrarian society applied to modern society — I do see the necessity of government providing the appropriate rules and refereeing the game so that all businesses are operating under a fair set of rules, where consumers are protected, competition is enhanced — stuff like that. So we do need those kind of frameworks for us. But we don’t need it intruding down to the fine details of our lives. And we don’t need it favoring one group over another group. We certainly don’t need it favoring the ones who spent the most to elect their candidates and have those favored over the groups or individual companies or people who didn’t contribute. That just puts government for sale, against the interests of the citizens, against the interests of... AB: Right. Well I think that’s most of the question I have. Any books that came to mind during the talk? JS: Not really. Let’s see. AB: I know it’s a tough question — I don’t know what I would say, actually. JS: There have been a lot of books that I love. I’m just trying. AB: Well, if anything comes to you feel free to e-mail or call... JS: John Adams by McCullough. There was a biography by George Washington that came out a few years ago, I don’t remember who the author was, although it might have been McCullough. Those are great books to read. There was one genre I like is biography. I’ve read one or two books — biographies of Ronald Reagan. AB: What about biography appeals to you? JS: Well it’s sort of like how somebody faced the challenges. How they got to where they got — the tough things, tough choices they got involved in. There’s almost always elements of courage in there. Sticking through really tough times. And then kind of looking this one person had all this impact on the course of events. — Interview conducted by A.J. Bauer —

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