Politics Then And Now, “How The Founding Fathers Became Infallible,” New Report On TSA Shows They Missed 95% Of Bombs And Weapons In A Test

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

Both liberals and conservatives like to reference the Founding Fathers to justify their policies, but one author says this thinking might be holding us back. We learn why the Founders are still so present in our daily lives, and why that might not be a good thing. We also discuss the state of politics with a longtime political reporter and correspondent, and talk to a political scientist about news that the TSA failed to catch 95% of weapons and bombs that came through airport checkpoints as part of a test.

Featured in this Show

  • Daxid Axelrod On Politics Then And Now

    David Axelrod shares his reflections on four decades in politics, and how Washington today compares to other contentious times in the nation’s history.

  • How The Founding Fathers Became Infallible

    We explore the long political history in the United States of looking to the Founding Fathers’ advice to confront modern issues.

  • Transportation Security Administration Agents Failed To Detect Almost All The Weapons And Explosives In An Undercover Test

    Monday the Department of Homeland Security announced that the acting administrator for the Transportation Security Administration would be reassigned. This news followed a report that TSA airport screeners failed 95% of recent airport security tests–where undercover agents tried to get fake weapons and bombs through the screening process. A political scientists discusses this news and talks about whether or not the TSA makes us safer.

  • After 40 Years In Politics, David Axelrod Is Still An Optimist

    In a new memoir, “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics,” the veteran political consultant David Axelrod says that despite having a front row seat to the ugly and unethical aspects of politics, he still stays hopeful and confident in democracy.

    “I wanted the subtitle of the book to be ‘How My Idealism Survived Forty Years in Politics’ — and that’s really what this book is about,” said Axelrod on Tuesday.

    Since his start in politics in 1984, Axelrod has managed strategy for more than 150 local, state and national campaigns. He was a senior consultant to then-Sen. Barack Obama when he successfully ran for president in 2008, and then again for Obama’s re-election in 2012.

    He said that people in politics can be divided into two groups. The first is people who go into politics to be something and to make a name for themselves. He said that the majority of politicians fall under that heading.

    “I think there are more temptations for people to become public officials in order to become instant celebrities, instant TV stars,” he said.

    The other group counts fewer members, according to Axelrod, but serve as his inspiration.

    “The smaller, more admirable cohort … run for public office because they want to do something, because they see politics as a calling, as a way to grab the wheel of history and turn it in the right direction,” he said.

    Axelrod points to people like Obama, as well as the late Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick as public servants who epitomize working for the common good. However, he says his first encounter with that sense of “politics as a calling” came when he was just 5 years old and his babysitter took him to see John F. Kennedy campaigning for president in 1960.

    “I could sense, even as a child, that there was something important about this. And he talked about the fact that … we had a chance to choose which direction we were going to take. And that’s the way that I view politics. I think politics is our chance to determine the kind of future in which we want to live,” Axelrod said.

    Despite his optimism, Axelrod does see negative and damaging aspects to how those on different parts of the political spectrum relate to one another.

    “Too often, instead of just having disagreements, we find ourselves trying to disqualify each other. Really, to disqualify each other as Americans … So that’s a discouraging part of our politics. I don’t think the media environment has helped either,” Axelrod said.

    Looking at today’s young people, Axelrod sees the strongest public spirit that he’s witnessed since the 1960s. But he also said that despite their negative impressions of politics, young people can’t afford to turn their backs to public service.

    “Their instinct is to say ‘Let’s create an app, let’s engage in social media.’ And all of that is very, very powerful. But it’s also essential that we have leaders in public office who are leading us in the right direction,” Axelrod said.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • David Axelrod Guest
  • David Sehat Guest
  • John Mueller Guest