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Joy Reid Interview on The Drive

Joy Reid from MSNBC visited The Drive with Steve Jaxon yesterday, to discuss the just-completed confirmation of new Secretary of Education Betsy De Vos, the arguments in the 9th Circuit Federal Court over the President’s travel ban and to talk about her new book. Co-authored with E.J. Dionne of the New York Times, it is an annotated edition of selected speeches of former President Barack Obama. For more about Joy Reid, visit her website, http://joyannreid.com/.


joy reidSteve Jaxon:
Joining us right now, you know, we’ve had Chris Matthews on a few times, from MSNBC and others from MSNBC, and of course Brianna Kielar from CNN is a regular, she’ll be joining us again next Tuesday, a week from today. But right now, I’m very happy to say hello to Joy Reid, from MSNBC, the host of AM Joy, her new book is “We Are the Change We Seek, the Speeches of Barack Obama.” Joy, thanks so much for being with us.

Joy Reid:
Hey Steve, great to talk to you.

SJ:
I watch you all the time!

JR:
Thank you!

SJ:
So, Betsy De Vos is in, and it was a historical moment, the first time ever, I guess, that the VP broke the tie on a confirmation for a cabinet member.

JR:
Yeah, I mean, Kellyanne Conway was touting that this was history made and that’s true, it was historic, but not probably in the way that they wanted to make history. She essentially barely got through and the Vice President had to come in and cast the tie-breaking vote, which just shows how strong the opposition to her was. I mean, I think what was dismaying for a lot of people was that there were some Republicans who expressed grave doubts about her qualifications and even her basic knowledge of education policy, but they voted for her anyway. So there you go.

we are the change we seekSJ:
Yeah, which is a shame, because out of all these nomination, this one just seems like the craziest in some ways, don’t you think?

JR:
It’s hard to beat Ben Carson for being completely unsuitable for the position.

SJ:
I’ve already forgotten about him!

JR:
Yeah, but she’s pretty bad. She really didn’t seem to know anything about education policy. She’s never worked in education but she is an idealogue who has spent a lot of money. She and her husband are quite wealthy and they’ve spent a lot of money trying to advance their particular ideology about education in Michigan. The results have not been stellar. And so, it’s worrying, I think, to a lot of people in the education community.

SJ:
Yeah. And they’ve begun, the 9th circuit has begun, here in San Francisco, has begun their look at the travel ban case. The attorneys are arguing for both sides right now. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that, this is a fairly liberal threesome here...

Joy Reid:
Sure, I think the 9th circuit is considered one of the most liberal courts, I think there are two Obama appointees on it (the three judge panel -ed.) and I think there may be one from George W. Bush, but it’s seen as one of the most liberal circuits. And the reality is that so far, the courts, the third branch of government, is the one that seems to be resiliently standing up for itself, against what do definitely feel like, you know, the second branch of government, the Article Two branch, the White House, is really pushing the boundries of their constitutional limitations and not really getting much of a push-back from Congress. So I think the courts are really standing up for themselves here and I think that’s good because Donald Trump certainly has no problem bullying individual judges. So, I think the courts will likely rule against him, but you never know, I mean, there have been plenty of surprises in the last year. So, we’ll see.

SJ:
No kidding. Understatement, huh? Let’s talk about the book, “We Are The Change We Seek, the Speeches of Barack Obama.” Tell us about that.

Joy Reid:
Well, E.J. Dionne, my friend, who’s a Washington Post columnist extraordinaire and a best-selling author, we got together, and this was before we knew the outcome of the election, even, we were approached to do a book, where we wanted to put together the 25 greatest speeches of Barack Obama since his time on the public stage began in 2002 with his anti-war speech. We wound up actually with 27 speeches, because in the new edition of the book we include his farewell speech and we just couldn’t stop at 25 so initially we had 26. And it really just sort of, with our introductions to each of the speeches and to the book itself, kind of lays out a case for Barack Obama’s real deep belief in, kind of, the alchemy of the founding of the country and his relentless hope that even when we seem to be going backwards, we still are overall, proceeding towards this “more perfect union.” So, he really believes that. His speeches are very consistent on that. And with the election turning out the way it has, a lot of people have told me that the book has kind of given the a hope and kind of a hope recharge, um, just given the times we’re in.

SJ:
Yeah, I can’t wait to read this, because we all have heard him over the last eight years, but to sit down and actually read them... and I’m a big fan of E.J. too. So to see you both intro-ing these, and setting the stage, I think it’s really cool. It must have taken a lot of reasearch, right? You had to transcribe all of this stuff?

Joy Reid:
Yeah, well, we just pulled together the speeches, I mean, luckily they are very easily publicly available and then we had to read them. We read lots and lots of speeches, which was really fun, just trying to figure out which ones we thought were great, which ones we thought fit in. We had to do a lot of cutting, unfortunately. We wound up actually cutting a lot of funeral speeches. He gave a lot of funeral speeches, Barack Obama did, but they are some of his most beautiful work. But we just didn’t have room. We didn’t want it to be an 800-page dictionary so we had to cut it down. But it was fun, it’s always fun working with E.J. When we drew up our initial list of our favorite speeches, it was kind of remarkable that we had a lot of the same speeches on the list. And I think we are in great agreement about Barack Obama. We haven’t had many presidents who were great public speakers. You know, there’s Lincoln, Kennedy, Obama, Clinton and Reagan, really, so, that are known on the public stage for their speaking ability. So it’s really unique.

SJ:
I don’ think there’s going to be a book by you folks, the speeches of Donald Trump, any time.

JR:
The tweets, maybe. Maybe the tweets.
SJ:
The tweets of Trump! Yes! That’s a great idea! Wow, all right. And the book’s available everywhere, folks, We Are The Change We Seek, The Speeches of Barack Obama. I’m a big fan of Joy Reid from MSNBC. Thank you so much, I hope we can talk again.

JR:
Thanks so much, I would love to do it again.

SJ:
All right, thanks Joy.

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