FreedomWorks founder Matt Kibbe joined Glenn on radio today to talk about his new book Hostile Takeover and the upcoming FreedomPac that will be taking place the week of Restoring Love. The FreedomPac event will be a gathering of a global Tea Party and will feature a large number of people from Europe coming to learn more about America's Tea Party and libertarian movement.
A rough transcript of the interview is below:
GLENN: Matt Kibbe is with us. He has a new book called Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government's Stranglehold on America. Matt is from FreedomWorks.org and a good guy, really, really gets it. You describe yourself more as a libertarian, Matt?
KIBBE: Yeah, I definitely am in the libertarian camp.
GLENN: Okay. Which I think is why I like you because you're not ‑‑ you're against both the Republicans and the Democrats. You'd vote for either of them if they understood small government, but you're trying to work within the system. The point of your book is trying to explain what's going on and how to get out of it. In my book Cowards, I have a chapter on libertarianism where it talks about, "Look, you can't be the crazy libertarian, hey, let's legalize heroin tomorrow." That can't happen tomorrow. You automatically count yourself out. There are steps that you need to take, which is really kind of what you believe, isn't it?
KIBBE: Yeah. Libertarianism is about individual freedom and responsibility, and these are the values that defined our country. But it's a ‑‑ the interesting question today is how do we get from where we are. We all know we're off track. How do we get back to those principles. And it's got to be done through the process that the founders established. It's got to be done frankly between one ‑‑ between one of the two parties. And that's why we've called for a hostile takeover of the Republican Party because we've given up on the Democrats, the progressives have hijacked that party and when you look at what they say at least, I see only one party that's at least talking the talk.
GLENN: Let me play a little bit from Chris Matthews yesterday. He's talking about Mitt Romney. I'll play the whole cut later but listen just a little of about. This is amazing.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this Romney character. I don't think Romney cares all that much about the presidency except that he wants it. If he weren't running do you think he would be watching this show or any other show on politics?
PAT: No one watches your show, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Mitt cares about three things: His faith, his family, his business. Right now his business is running for the president. That's why he's interested in the presidency. It's his business to be interested. Let's answer questions, if the interviewer doesn't ask the most obvious thing, something that Mitt's briefers have been over and over with him, he seemed stunned. He doesn't have an answer. Why? Because he never thought of that one. Fact is he hasn't thought about many things outside his zone of interest which again includes his faith, his family, his business. And this is the most dangerous thing about this guy. Since he doesn't have a foreign policy, he buys the foreign policies of the powers that be. So he sings this song of his neocon so‑called advisors. What they really are, of course, are people advocate a point of view: The need for a new war with each new Republican president.
GLENN: Okay. Stop. This is amazing. He's trying to, A, make Romney look like an empty airhead, which he's not, and beholden to people like Grover Norquist. First of all, do you believe that Mitt Romney is beholden to people like Grover Norquist and, B, how do we make sure, if he is or isn't, that he doesn't become beholden to anybody except the Constitution?
KIBBE: Well, I don't think he's necessarily beholden to any particular person. I would love for him beholden to the values and the people that he needs to get elected in this cycle and I think that's the challenge. We've talked a lot about Mitt Romney's weaknesses and whether or not he shares the values that everybody that listens to the show does. I think if we show up, if we do all the things that you've talked about and I talk about in Hostile Takeover, Mitt Romney can be a placeholder for those values. It's not so much whether or not he believes them. It's what he does in office that matters.
GLENN: So tell me, because people will say that you're just playing the game. Here you are, Matt Kibbe, you're just playing the game. You're ‑‑ you know, they always give you two choices, you decide to go with the Republican and ‑‑ I mean, look what ‑‑ look what Rand Paul, who's one of the best libertarians out there, the best thing that's happened to libertarianism in I don't know how long and look what the libertarians are doing to him.
GLENN: Because he's saying "You've got to go with Mitt Romney."
KIBBE: Well, here's the bottom line, and I think we forget this sometimes. We've obsessed so much about who's going to be in charge of the executive branch as if we're looking for a benevolent despot to solve all our problems for us. We don't believe that. We've never believed that. George Washington certainly didn't believe that. It's gotta be bottom‑up accountability. It's got to be our ability as a sustained social movement based on a set of values to constantly hold who's ever in the White House, who's ever in the Senate, who's ever in the house, we have to hold these guys accountable because elections don't matter as much as our ability to sustain a set of opinions. Because politicians will respond to that. I've been arguing in the book that even George Washington was responding to the bottom‑up values of colonial America that insisted on respect for the individual over anybody in power.
GLENN: What do you ‑‑ are you concerned at all, Matt, about the movement, if Mitt Romney would win, the movement all of a sudden saying, whew, okay, we dodged that bullet, and we kind of go back to sleep. That people don't understand that this is a runaway freight train and you're going to have to go for cuts for yourself, they're going to affect you, and you can't sit down.
KIBBE: Well, this is the challenge of the evolution of the Tea Party movement, the evolution of decentralization and politics. Do people understand that this is not a one‑time event, it's not about getting somebody elected and that November 7th is more important than November 6th because the process of making sure that Mitt Romney keeps the promises he's made on the election trail, that the senators that we elect. This is what our responsibility is as citizens, and if you just elect a new set of bums and then leave them to their own devices, you're going to have the same disappointments you've had in the last cycle.
GLENN: Any comment on Orrin Hatch last week during a debate on radio with Dan Liljenquist? He called Freedom Works sleazy?
KIBBE: He said we were the sleaziest group he had ever seen before. And I couldn't help but think about his good friend, his good self‑proclaimed friend Teddy Kennedy. And I wonder, really? Am I sleazier than Ted Kennedy?
KIBBE: I think it's politics. I think he's trying to demonize Freedom Works and all of the activists in Utah that want to hold him accountable. Because he doesn't want to talk about his record.
STU: Not to mention Kennedy worked his entire life for that title. I mean, you couldn't have possibly outpaced him this early in your life.
GLENN: You're still really early on in the game, Matt. I don't know if you know that.
The name of the book is Hostile Takeover: Resisting centralized government's stranglehold on America, a great roadmap out, a great book to really help you understand where we are, where we're going, what we have to do, why we have to do it. Hostile Takeover, available in bookstores ‑‑ it's out today, right?
KIBBE: It's out today.
GLENN: Out today. Go ahead.
KIBBE: And if I say so myself, it's awesome.
GLENN: With all the enthusiasm that Matt Kibbe can muster there. Calm down, Matt.
By the way, Matt is going to be with us on July 26th at Free PAC. You can grab your tickets. They're like 15 bucks, here in Dallas. That is the weekend of Restoring Love. That's on the Thursday. A ton of people coming for it. It is really, really cool. I don't know if Rand Paul was supposed to let the cat out of the bag, but he did a couple of days ago that he's coming. Did you know that he did that?
KIBBE: I actually didn't know that he did that.
GLENN: Yeah. Did you know that he's coming?
KIBBE: Well, we were wrestling with the Senate schedule because I know he's desperately interested in coming and, you know, if Harry Reid messes with the schedule, we're going to have to deal with that.
GLENN: Yeah. All right. Well, that is happening. You can find out all the details on that at FreePAC.com. FreePAC.com. Thanks very much, Matt. Talk to you, man.
KIBBE: Thanks, Glenn.
GLENN: Appreciate it. Bye‑bye.