"Shields and Ponnuru on G7 trade tensions, Trump-Kim summit expectations" PBS NewsHour 6/8/2018
SUMMARY: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including tensions between the U.S. and allies at the G7 summit, as well as President Trump’s comments that Russia should be welcomed back, the upcoming North Korea summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un, and takeaways from the biggest primary night of the year.
Judy Woodruff (NewsHour): Now, from the words of a former President to news of the current President abroad.
We get the analysis of Shields and Ponnuru. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Ramesh Ponnuru of “The National Review.” David Brooks is away.
And it’s great to see both of you. Thank you for being here.
I want to ask you about something we just heard from James Patterson, the writer.
And that is, Mark, he was talking about we need to take the people we elect to office seriously. There is so much criticism of them. They have been run down by all the — just the flood of criticism that they get. He said, when you go to the polls to vote, remember, they’re not silly, they’re not villains.
What do you make of that?
Mark Shields, syndicated columnist: Well, they have been run down in large part by people who have replaced them. That’s been a recurring theme, particularly among conservative insurgents, but not exclusively, running against Washington, running against politicians.
I think Mr. Patterson’s exposure to President Clinton is probably, in part — I mean, Bill Clinton, let it be noted, came to office at the time with the steepest budget deficits in the history of the country, and courageously raised taxes on the richest 1.4 percent of Americans, and produced an economy that produced 22 million new jobs, after we had the lowest economic growth in 50 years when he came in.
So, and then he left at 65 percent approval. And today he’s way below that. So there’s a certain lack of appreciation, you could say, of certainly…
Judy Woodruff: For Bill Clinton.
Mark Shields: For Bill Clinton. And I think that may be reflected in Mr. Patterson’s exposure to him. And it’s certainly expressed in the President’s own behavior and speeches.
Judy Woodruff: Ramesh, is it possible to get people to think differently about politicians?
Ramesh Ponnuru, The National Review: I think it is going to be tricky.
I think what James Patterson was getting at was the distinction between the job or institution of the Presidency, and our fixation on the personality and the pageantry of the Presidency.
The Presidency has gotten more and more powerful in American government, and we depend much more than we used to on the professionalism and competence of the President fulfilling the job.
But, at the same time, the cultural footprint’s gotten bigger, too, and that has made us more interested in all of the drama of the Presidency. That’s what Presidents are rewarded these days for playing to.