Matt Kibbe, president and chief community organizer for FreeThePeople.org, joined The Glenn Beck Progra from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), taking place this week in Washington, D.C. Kibbe gave a boots-on-the-ground report about what he’s seeing firsthand.
“It’s definitely a more nationalist crowd here. And you may have noticed that none of the Liberty Republicans, except for Ted Cruz, are even attending this year. There’s no Rand Paul. There’s no Justin Amash. There’s no Thomas Massie. Mike Lee is not going this year,” Kibbe said.
In fact, a vibrant group of freedom-loving students in attendance at CPAC — International Students For Liberty — doesn’t feel welcome.
“I would suggest [CPAC] fix that, but I don’t know if they’re interested in doing that,” Kibbe added.
Both Glenn and Kibbe expressed concern over the GOP’s willingness — even with full control of the House, Senate and White House — to pass legislation mandated by the people, like repealing Obamacare.
“I want to see a commitment to repealing and replacing Obamacare. I mean, Rand Paul has put an idea on the table, and if you don’t like that idea, you better come up a better one. Because just loving America is not enough,” Kibbe said
Is the GOP up to the test?
“I’m worried about it. I don’t think there’s a commitment to it, and I think we’re going to have to push it from the bottom up,” Kibbe said.
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
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This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: Matt Kibbe, president and chief community organizer for freethepeople.org.
Matt, did you know Alan Colmes?
MATT: I did. (muffled) I think I debated him a few times over the years. And, yeah, he was sort of an old-school liberal in the sense that he loved to debate. He was honest. And I really sort of respected that civility, even though on things like crossfire, he would mix it up with the best of them.
GLENN: Yeah. Could I ask you, are you on Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone?
JEFFY: Are you in a pool?
GLENN: I don’t know what kind of old-timey phone? It’s quaint. But what kind of cheap ass phone are you calling from?
MATT: It’s actually a tomato can. They told me it would be awesome.
GLENN: Right. No, it doesn’t sound awesome.
Matt, you’re —
MATT: I am moving — I am moving in the office to see if it can get any better.
GLENN: I doubt it.
Buy yourself a phone from — I don’t know. Try the ’90s. Is it one of the phones with the big, huge battery pack that you also had to carry with the other hand?
MATT: It’s — I have no defense. It’s an Apple phone.
GLENN: Is it really? Wow. Strange. Okay.
MATT: The latest.
GLENN: So, Matt, you’re in Washington, DC. You’re at CPAC.
GLENN: Let’s start with the controversy.
This is a really strange thing. Conservatives are defending Milo. And not on the — the pedophilia stuff. But on everything else. Even though this guy is not a conservative. He’s just not a conservative. He even says that.
And there’s this strange love affair with him. And people are saying, “You know, he’s bringing millennials to the conservative party.” Well, how? He’s not a conservative.
So what is the mood there with — with what happened with Milo?
MATT: Well, I got to tell you, you look at the entire agenda at CPAC, and the nationalists — the Trump’s make America great guys have really taken over. And I’ve always thought of Milo as kind of a troll, a cuter Ann Coulter. Someone that says things just to be provocative. Just to stir up a fight.
MATT: And, you know, that’s interesting for a comedian. But for someone that tries to represent, A, conservative values. And, you know, on Bill Maher, he said he’s a Libertarian, even though he specifically told me that he’s not a Libertarian. I think he loves to say things that pisses people off. But that’s different than representing a worldview, a philosophy. And it sort of breaks my heart that we’re attracted to these provocateurs that don’t seem to have any basis on reality. It’s just the Twitter world has redefined us.
GLENN: Yeah, I think we’re just looking to win. I think we’re just looking for someone on our side to be able to tell people to shut up. Because so many times we’ve been called names and told to shut up and sit down. And I think people are tired of it. So they look for somebody who is — you know, in some ways, a bigger bully that can get people to shut up and leave us alone.
MATT: Yeah. And I think — I mean, there are things that we can learn from Milo and Donald Trump about — about pushing back when people try to mischaracterize your points of view. But it has to be based in a philosophy. And you need to be willing to say that you’re wrong. And you need to listen to other people. If we could combine those two things, I think that’s what’s going to work in the social media world. Yes, be provocative. Yes, be interesting. But why not stand for something that doesn’t change from day to day. Because I think he just loves saying things just to see people’s reaction. But he’ll say the opposite thing tomorrow. And so there’s no learning. There’s no teaching. And, again, it sort of breaks my heart that young people find that attractive somehow.
GLENN: So we are now looking at a conservative movement that is becoming much more nationalist, much more populist, and much more socialist in some ways. Is that the feeling that you’re getting there on the ground at CPAC?
MATT: It’s definitely a more nationalist crowd here. And you may have noticed that none of the Liberty Republicans, except for Ted Cruz, are even attending this year. There’s no Rand Paul. There’s no Justin Amash. There’s no Thomas Massie. Mike Lee is not going this year.
And to me, that —
GLENN: Now, is that — wait, wait. Is that because they refused to come or were not asked? Because I was asked to come and speak, and I couldn’t because I’m on my way to Thailand.
MATT: Yeah, I don’t — I don’t know if they were asked. And I don’t know if they refused. But either way, there’s no — there’s no representation of that Liberty wing of the conservative movement.
MATT: And to me, that’s — I was just at International Students For Liberty last weekend, and I got to tell you, that movement’s more vibrant than ever. But they don’t feel welcome at CPAC. And I would suggest they fix that, but I don’t know if they’re interested in doing that.
GLENN: Here we are sitting with a full G.O.P. House, a G.O.P. Senate, a G.O.P. president, a president who can tell everybody to shut up and sit down, a president who is used to winning — he’s going to win so much, we’re all going to be sick of it, except when it comes to health care.
No repeal of Obamacare. That’s what they’re now saying, in Washington, that the G.O.P. will not bring us a full repeal of Obamacare.
What good is the G.O.P.?
MATT: You know, it’s been almost 20 years since the G.O.P. had an opportunity to offer a freedom-based, choice-based alternative to Hillarycare. And now Obamacare.
And they’ve always struggled to do it. Obviously, Rand Paul has stepped into that breach.
But the G.O.P. today is divided into three groups: There’s that small Liberty policy reform people who understand how health care could actually work. And that’s maybe optimistically a third of House Republicans. There’s a third that sort of liked Obamacare. You know, they liked Romneycare. And they would sort of redesign it to be the same thing.
And then there’s a third that are just afraid of their own shadows and are going to do whatever they’re told to do. And, right now, they’re being told in these townhall meetings that Obamacare is a great thing.
So it’s inertia —
GLENN: Are those real? I mean, who are those people? The G.O.P. people that are coming out for these town hall meetings. Are those G.O.P., or are those Democrats?
MATT: Oh, I think they’re progressives and Democrats. I think there’s very few Republicans. But I do think they’re real.
GLENN: Yeah, I think they’re real too.
MATT: Yeah. Obviously, there’s professional community organizers working on this stuff because that’s what they do. But by and large, those crowds are real — real people, frustrated people, people that seem primarily just angry that their guy didn’t win. And I think that’s your Achilles’ heel. They’re angry about so many things, the first being the outcome of the election. It’s different than the Tea Party in that sense. We had a binding philosophy and a specific policy agenda that we were trying to accomplish.
GLENN: There’s a guy you need to meet. His name is Jonathan Haidt. He’s a professor up in NYU. And he’s written about the immoral theory foundation, where he’s identified five moral foundations. And these — these foundations are what keep us apart, but also what bring us together.
And there is a real opportunity. And we were talking on the radio yesterday that I believe the future is going to split off — there’s going to be a third party. And I don’t know whether — you know, the Republicans or the Democrats survive this. But I’m sensing, in talking to a lot of really powerful liberal people, that they are done with the — the nonsense of Keith Ellison and the socialist and the Marxist and the radicals. Now that Obama is gone, it’s almost as if scales have come off their eyes. And they no longer see the — you know, the great hope of Barack Obama. They see what’s left. And they realize, these are all radicals, Marxists, anti- — you know, anti-Israel kind of people, and they don’t like it.
And they don’t know where to go because they can’t go to the G.O.P. And then at the same time, I think there’s a lot of people in the G.O.P. who, if Donald Trump just continues to do all great things, they may be fine. But there is this classic liberal, this classic constitutionalist that is just leave alone and can we all get together and just stop all this nonsense? I think there’s a growing core of America on both left and right that could slip right between these two bogus parties.
Do you see that as a possibility of happening, Matt?
MATT: Oh, definitely. And that’s why we started Free the People in the first place. Because I saw this sort of disintermediation, people using technology to discover that they’re not just like everybody else. They don’t belong to team A or team B. And they know that most politicians are lying to them. And I’m not even sure it’s a third party. It may be multiple parties. Because when it really gets down to it, we’re all very different. We come from different places and we have different goals and dreams.
GLENN: Sure. I don’t mean to say a party. I mean a movement.
GLENN: There is a real movement out that is dislodged now from both parties. And they’re growing increasingly angry with those two parties.
MATT: Oh, definitely. There’s more registered independents than there are Republicans and Democrats. And that’s particularly pronounced with young people. They choose everything a la carte. They’re not really interested in someone telling them that they have to be either a Republican or Democrat, or even a conservative or liberal.
I think people are more complicated than that. And the beauty of what you’re calling classical liberalism, Libertarianism, small government conservatism, is that it believes in a simple set of rules. It treats everybody the same under the government rules. But otherwise, you’re sort of free to be yourself, as long as you don’t hurt people and take their stuff.
MATT: I think we have the only answer to this very complex community we call America.
GLENN: I agree. I agree. So, Matt, just real quick before you go, what is the main thing that we should be looking for, from afar, and the main thing you’re looking for at CPAC?
MATT: I want to see a commitment to repealing and replacing Obamacare. I mean, Rand Paul has put an idea on the table. And if you don’t like that idea, you better come up a better one. Because just loving America is not enough. You have this opportunity to do stuff. And you promised you would — you would get rid of Obamacare and replace it with choice and legalize freedom and health care. This is the test. And I’m worried about it. I don’t think there’s a commitment to it. And I think we’re going to have to push it from the bottom up.
GLENN: Thank you very much, man. I appreciate it. President and chief community organizer of freethepeople.org. I love the fact that he has just embraced community organizer. Matt Kibbe.