Transcript: Thom asks Floyd Brown,'Impeach Obama?! Why do conservatives have to resort to lies and exaggerations?' 19 October 2009
Thom Hartmann: As his website, at ImpeachObamaCampaign.com points out, Floyd Brown himself says he was the guy behind the Willy Horton ad that sunk the Dukakis campaign, he was behind the Vince Foster hysteria that you know, 'the Clinton’s killed Vince Foster', that, oh, there was a really interesting quote here, that George Stephanopoulos said that he, well I can’t find it. In any case, you got some good enemies here, Floyd. Floyd Brown is here with us. He’s on Skype, coming in on Skype. Hey Floyd, welcome to the show.
Floyd Brown: Great to be with you Thom. Yeah, you know, usually when I launch a campaign or an issue it basically divides the house so I have those that love me and those that hate me and uh, but very few in the middle of the road when it comes to Floyd Brown.
Thom Hartmann: Why work, I want to get to the question of why impeach Obama, I couldn’t find on the entire web home page here anyway, I read your entire home page, I couldn’t find one actual specific reason, impeachable offense. But beyond that, the larger…
Floyd Brown: Well probably, that probably means that you and I have a different idea of what an impeachable offense is. Part of why I wanted to start this national discussion, Thom, is because I believe that the founders, when they wrote the constitution, basically believed that you could impeach a President for policy, for um bad behavior, really for anything. Gerald Ford said in the 1970s, he said, an impeachable offense is whatever Congress decides it is at any given point in time.
Thom Hartmann: Well the constitution specifies that impeachable offenses are high crimes and misdemeanors.
Floyd Brown: Yes, but that’s a phrase from common law which basically means bad behavior.
Thom Hartmann: Well no, it means, a crime or a misdemeanor is something that is specifically against the law.
Floyd Brown: No, That is not the case. The time that the constitution was written, that phrase meant basically anything.
Thom Hartmann: OK, so you’re asserting that you can start an impeachment against President Obama, I mean Gerry Ford saying something doesn’t make it law, he’s not the Supreme Court, and he’s not the legislature and the executive branch does not have the authority to make law. But nonetheless, you’re asserting that you can initiate or encourage the initiation of an impeachment against Barack Obama because you don’t like him?
Floyd Brown: Because I don’t like his policies, I don’t think he’s a good president.
Thom Hartmann: You don’t like how he’s behaving. Right.
Floyd Brown: I don’t think he’s doing a good job as President. I think our country is being seriously damaged by his presidency.
Thom Hartmann: Okay. So, and I suppose people can debate that. To take this to the larger picture, though...
Floyd Brown: Thom, I want to just finish this then we can move on. In Federalist 65 they compare it to a Parliamentary vote of no confidence. Now, impeachment is just the act in the House of Representatives that basically calls the President into question. Bill Clinton was impeached but he wasn’t convicted and therefore he was never removed from office. And I think impeachment is an important thing to do even if somebody is not removed from office by a large group, the 2/3 that’s required in the senate.
Thom Hartmann: We’re talking with Floyd Brown, the guy behind the Willy Horton ads, the Vince Foster suicide story, and many other things over the years. ImpeachObamaCampaign.com is his new website. He’s calling for the impeachment of Barack Obama. And Floyd, I don’t get it. Why do you take such delight in trying to divide Americans from each other. It seems to me that the Civil War was one of our most tragic times. It seems to me that separating, splitting Americans from each other, creating dissent, stirring up hate and fear is one of the least patriotic and frankly most hurtful things you can do to a democratic republic and the people in it.
Floyd Brown: Well it’s interesting then that that’s exactly what your radio show has been doing for years. So uh…
Thom Hartmann: Have you been listening to my radio show for years?
Floyd Brown: Clearly clearly the, no I haven’t been listening.
Thom Hartmann: Well then I would respectively submit that you ...
Floyd Brown: OK, well I take back what I said, OK.
Thom Hartmann: ... yeah, that you would withhold your comment.
Floyd Brown: OK, I’ll withhold my comment, but I have listened to many shows on Air America that have done just that and maybe I haven’t heard yours, so.
Thom Hartmann: Well I won’t disagree with you that there are talk show hosts on the left and the right, who are, and sometimes gratuitously, inflammatory. I don’t think that I’m one of them. But to my point, the Willy Horton ad for example. It was not Michael Dukakis who passed the law that allowed murderers out on release, it was the Republican governor Francis Sargent, 1972 passed that law. It was Michael Dukakis who…
Floyd Brown: Yes, I understand that but they tried to repeal it and Dukakis fought the repeal of that.
Thom Hartmann: No, Dukakis signed the repeal of that.
Floyd Brown: And he embraced that policy.
Thom Hartmann: No, he signed the appeal, the repeal of that law.
Floyd Brown: Yes he did. No, the truth is that the research that we got for that particular ad came from the Lawrence Eagle Tribune and, in fact they won a Pulitzer Prize for it, about Willy Horton and that happened under Dukakis’s governorship.
Thom Hartmann: Right, because of a law that was passed by a Republican Governor. I mean you didn’t point that out in your ad of course. I mean, this is, in my opinion.
Floyd Brown: The ad is 60 seconds long and uh…
Thom Hartmann: I’ll give you that, but the point is …
Floyd Brown: You are wrong when you say Dukakis did not embrace that law because he did, even during the debates. Remember he was asked about you know what he would do if Kitty was …
Thom Hartmann: I know and he, it was a lousy answer.
Floyd Brown: You know I’ve never been one of those who said he won or lost the presidential race because of the Willy Horton ad, in fact I think it played some role but not a major one. It was his response to the Willy Horton ad that I think cemented an idea…
Thom Hartmann: Floyd I actually don’t disagree with you on that but my point is that the ad itself, injecting race into this, fear of race...
Floyd Brown: It didn’t inject race. It didn’t inject race.
Thom Hartmann: Oh, come on. Here’s a scary black guy, here's duhduhduhduh music.
Floyd Brown: It was a compelling story, Thom. It was a compelling story and whether the guy had been black, white, I really don't care.
Thom Hartmann: But back to my question, Floyd. Why is it that you’re always trying to split Americans apart?
Floyd Brown: I’m not trying to split Americans apart. What I’m trying to do is actually slow down radical change.
Thom Hartmann: When you introduced yourself to the show you said that whenever you find, I’m paraphrasing from memory now, I’d have to go back, play it back. But you said words to the effect of wherever you find polarization in American politics, you’ll find Floyd Brown, didn’t you?
Floyd Brown: No I said some people love me some people dislike me. And I said people don’t have kind of a middle of the road opinion about Floyd Brown. Let me tell you why I’m doing this. I’m doing this because I think that this administration is moving much too fast for most Americans. They are…
Thom Hartmann: Wait a minute. You’ve got record unemployment levels, you’ve got 1 in 9 homes in foreclosure.
Floyd Brown: They should focus on economy. He should focus on the economy. He’s not. He’s focused on healthcare, he’s focused on…
Thom Hartmann: He passed an 800 billion dollar stimulus package…
Floyd Brown: Which has been a failure, an absolute failure.
Thom Hartmann: Well how do you know? We, you know, when Bush left office we were losing 750, 800 thousand jobs a month. Now they’ve got it down to a little under 200 thousand jobs a month. It ain’t wonderful but it’s a hell of a lot better than it was.
Floyd Brown: We have seen, between George W. Bush and Barack Obama, we have seen the largest transfer of wealth from middle America to Wall Street in the history of the United States. Both of them have had in key possessions [sic] Wall street insiders that have literally pumped billions and billions and billions of America’s hard earned money into businesses that should fail. And you know what…
Thom Hartmann: Floyd, I agree with you on that, and this is the problem. This is something that crosses, this crosses political lines. Here you’ve got me, a liberal, saying the exact same thing, you a conservative saying that. Instead of saying let’s impeach Obama, why not just take that issue and run with it?
Floyd Brown: Well, we have been running with it to deaf ears. And you know, this administration is talking about another stimulus plan to bail out more of these businesses. And the stimulus isn't …
Thom Hartmann: Floyd we’ve got to wrap up the machine is going to hit us with the music. Floyd Brown, ImpeachObamaCampaign.com, thanks Floyd.
Floyd Brown: OK.
Transcribed by Suzanne Roberts, Portland Psychology Clinic.