He’s not always popular with the D.C. Democrats. Which is one reason I like him.
He scorches both the Republicans and D.C. Democrats.
Carville decries D.C. leadership
Democrat James Carville, one of the most talked-about political strategists in the nation, brought his blunt wit and insight to Duke Saturday, discussing the woes of the Democratic party and decrying Republican leadership during a question-and-answer session.
“If you are waiting for Democrats in Washington to come up with something, you should forget about it,” Carville told a standing-room-only crowd at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy.
Dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans, Carville nonetheless spoke with decades of Washington D.C. experience under his belt.
Carville worked as campaign manager for former President Bill Clinton.
He is also on CNN’s The Situation Room television program, and he is a former co-host of CNN’s political debate show Crossfire.
“Change is going to come from here. Don’t wait for Washington,” Carville said, describing the Democratic leadership’s lack of strength and the need for Democrats outside of Washington to spark reform in the nation’s capital by “doing it out here” first.
Nicknamed “Ragin’ Cajun” for his animated debating style, Carville was born and raised in Louisiana.
He touched on a personal note when he criticized President George W. Bush’s handling of the destruction of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
“When [President Bush] was told we were losing an important part of our country, and our president just sat there with a vacant look on his face…,” Carville said, trailing off and looking at the ceiling.
“That was the most embarrassing thing I have ever seen,” he added.
Carville’s later asked the crowd in jest what Bush was giving up for Lent.
“Our ports,” Carville said, referring to Bush’s recent support for selling operation rights at several American ports to a company from the United Arab Emirates.
His discussion also touched on the role of moral and religious values in politics.
“Democrats have always tended to be a highly secular party,” Carville noted. “But what have people learned from religious services?”
He said the Republican party is focusing on the wrong aspects of religion.
“Three thousand times in the Gospel, Jesus talked about helping the poor,” Carville said. “It mentioned homosexuality zero times.”
He quipped he does not feel “gays are a threat to [his] marriage.”
Carville is married to Republican strategist Mary Matalin.
He added that he thinks the Bush administration is leading the nation’s future generation toward crisis.
“Their hands are in your kid’s pocket,” Carville said, referring to his belief that the Bush administration lacks fiscal responsibility.
He added that the federal government’s $9-trillion deficit poses a growing economic problem. “If you are going to do something like that, do it to me, not my kids,” he said.
Carville said that although Democratic leadership has problems, it possesses hope for the future.
“Democrats in the nation need to stand with those in Washington,” he said, adding that his party is a “great reform party.”
“The Republicans are hopeless. Even they know that,” he said.