An Interview with Clay Young

November 28, 2007

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“Well I think he has to build around him a conservative army of House and Senate… I think he’s got to have hammers in both chambers of the legislature.”

Today I caught up with Clay Young, a former talk show host on WIBR and a political analyst.

Louisiana Conservative: “Clay, what are your future plans for radio? Do you plan on going back to radio?”
Clay Young: “Yes, I have actually been in negotiations with a couple of stations. One locally [in the Baton Rouge area] and I just started conversation with a station, a company out of New Orleans and I’ve also considered the possibility of relaunching my own show that I own and operate here in town. There’s a local station that would like me to do that. I enjoy talk radio and I look forward to doing it again, but my first salvo back into it will be after the first of the year.

LC: “Bobby Jindal just won, what do you think he needs to do to accomplish his agenda?”
CY: “Well I think he has to build around him a conservative army of House and Senate Representatives. I think he’s got to have hammers in both chambers of the legislature. First and foremost he’s going to talk about ethics, I think that’s a great place to start to reform they way people in politics do business with the state. But directly after that, I think he needs to talk about education because education in this state, not just educating our people, but the structure of education in Louisiana needs to be modernized. It’s too top heavy, we’ve got too many people making big salaries and [big] offices and not enough competent people on the local levels that are getting the job done and our kids are suffering because people are not making hard decisions.

“So that’s got to be number two. I think number three has got to be health care, we’ve got dilapidated hospitals all over the state. I think we got it mixed up, people are using the emergency room facilities for clinical visits and it’s clogging up the system and wasting money. I think he’s got to look at that and then I think probably right next to that is traffic and the roads in our state. We have some of the most horrific roadways in all of the country here in Louisiana, you got to do something about that. I guess if I would have to add anything else, I would love for the governor to go on a national campaign to tell other states “Louisiana is open for business, our reputation is changing, we are not the backwoods Beverly Hillbilly episode that people think that we are. That we are a modern state, that we feed the world through our ports, that we have technology here, we got Shaw here, we got Exxon here, we got companies that can get the job done here in Louisiana. So as you can tell I’ve been thinking about this for sometime.”

LC: “What do you think of the results of Senate and the House, where do we go from here?”
CY: “I think the House is a closer margin, but I think even though the Republicans are not dominating it, we do have enough moderate Democrats who do want to see change, I’ve had conversations with them. And I think Bobby, at least in the first year, is going to have an opportunity to get some conservative minded people, albeit Democrats, to at least listen to him and consider what he offers. In the Senate I think he’s going to have a little tougher sledge, a tougher drive there because you have such arrogant people in the Senate who believe they got their own little fiefdoms and that they don’t need him to do what they do and I think frankly, he’s going to have to beat them back and tell them “I’m the top guy, I’m the biggest dog in the yard.” and I really think it’s going to be tough. If this first special session is a success, it could mean great things, but if he backs down or becomes in any way a coward to these people, it’s going to hurt him, because people are going to be thinking in two years ‘do I want to stand with a guy who can’t get things done, or do I want to stand in the middle and not rock the boat because I want to win again in two years’? So he’s got to be aggressive and the House is going to be easier than the Senate.

“…don’t get lost in the muck of saying I want us all to get along. Kumbaya kills the cat, not curiosity. You got to do the job you were elected to do.”

LC: “Well let’s talk about the other one termer who wanted to end corruption, that was Buddy Roemer, how has the atmosphere changed from when Buddy Roemer to now that Bobby Jindal is in office?”
CY: “I think at the time Buddy Roemer was in office, if you think about it, the most dominant political figure in this state was Edwin Edwards and his way of doing business, and his charismatic way of dealing with politics and everything Louisiana would embrace. I think we’re a different state now because because people like yourself, bloggers, more people are watching the news and reading political correspondence, so people are a bit more informed now about issues than they were then. Roemer was ahead of his time a bit because, of course he wasn’t a Republican conservative all the way through, he was a Democrat before, but he was such an intellectual and we had never really have had an intellectual before, we had always had character.

“Pat Screen , he was on the line, I still think that Roemer was a smarter guy. I think this go around, Jindal has more young people in government. There are young members of the legislature now, people between thirty and forty who want to see things change, and because of people like yourself, people like other websites putting information out, he’s got a chance to get to the folks. The key for him is ‘don’t lose your conservative principles’, don’t get lost in the muck of saying I want us all to get along. Kumbaya kills the cat, not curiosity. You got to do the job you were elected to do.”

LC: “I agree. One of the things that is happening here now is that we are having a momentum shift from Louisiana politics and our attention is going to start shifting to the national scene. Who do you think is going to represent the Republican Party, who do you think is going to represent the Democrat Party?
CY: “That’s an interesting question, if I may, I’d like to answer it this way; I think the two people right now who are talked about as being the most likely representatives of the Republican Party are Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, and in the Democrat Party, it’s Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I actually think that in the Democrat Party it will be one of the two. I’m still thinking that Hillary’s getting the nomination until Barack does something of substance to convince me otherwise. To this date he has not.

“I think the two guys with the most energy right now are Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee. I’m a Mike Huckabee guy. Ron Paul has used the internet to really garner support and to get people talking about him. Huckabee gets in front of an audience people love him. In Florida, he’s now closed the gap, he’s increased his numbers by ten percent. He’s actually running in a dead heat with Mitt Romney in Iowa. I think the Republican Party, absence a conservative, has to find a guy who is not only a national defense guy. We’ve got a lot of domestic issues that needs to be addressed, and this administration has done a great job of keeping us safe, but domestically we’ve spent way too much. We’ve not reformed our entitlement system. We couldn’t get anything done with Social Security and education is still a mess. So to answer your question it will probably be Hillary versus maybe Giuliani, maybe Romney. I’d like it to be Mike Huckabee because I think he wins.
LC: “We lost in 2006, do the Republicans have a shot of winning in 2008? Winning back the House winning back the Senate, do we have that kind of shot?”
CY: “No.”

“…and my kids will have free health care, they’ll eat free at lunch, and I’ll get money for food each month from the government and I think that is dangerous. That’s not what FDR and many people in the thirties expected for us, in my opinion.”

LC: “Why don’t you think can win that?”
CY: “Because I don’t think we are no longer governed by conservative principles. I think people of our party have become arrogant and they have forgot what made us the dominant party in Washington. It was because we were fresh thinkers, we were innovative, we were responsible with money, we had a contract with America, we reformed welfare, we did all these things that said “Hey, this is your money, we want to prove to you that we can handle your money and be good stewards of what you give to the government, either by choice or by demand, every year.” We no longer do that. The Republican congress spent more than we’ve ever spent. Think about it, we haven’t been in charge in so long and when we get in charge, we’ve got the House, the Senate, and the White House, and we spent like drunken sailors, my apologize to drunken sailors.

“I think we went away from that and we are losing ground now because there are bad guys in our party that we don’t eject, we protect and that is hurting us. So I don’t think we have a shot unless the Democrats continue to do stupid things. Think about this, the Democrat congress is around 11% approval right now, but we got Republicans resigning right and left. Trent Lott is leaving at the end of the year, we’ll replace him with a Republican but are we going to replace him with a conservative and I’m not so sure.”

LC: “What is the top foremost issue that the Republicans need to address?”
CY: “Boy that is a good question. Next to national security because I think we are in internationally the most serious times that we’ve been in, in a long time. I mean our nation is really under threat because there are countries who want to kill us. Next to that, I would probably say entitlements and the way we are spending money on social programs. I really believe that social security is in trouble because when the baby boomers are all retired, I don’t know that we have a number of people working and contributing to the degree that can take care of those people and still have money to run the country. We could be headed for problems there. I guess I’ll stand there. Education is always something we need to talk about, but I’m concerned about the entitlement spending and the growing cry of ‘let’s let the government do it’.

“I think it will be the destruction of us if we don’t get that under control because we don’t have limitless amounts of cash and too few people are carrying the weight for the majority. To few of us are working and contributing and we’ve got a growing number of people who say “ah, I’ll stay home and collect two checks a month and my kids will have free health care, they’ll eat free at lunch, and I’ll get money for food each month from the government and I think that is dangerous. That’s not what FDR and many people in the thirties expected for us, in my opinion.

LC: “With illegal immigration out there, Republicans are kind of caught in this quagmire because we’re talking about our party wants to end [illegal] immigration and at the same time our party doesn’t want to come off as being racist and how do we tackle the issue of illegal immigration without being portrayed as racist?”
CY: “I don’t think there is anyway you’re going to effectively deal with the immigration issue without being called a racist because there are people who don’t want the problem solved and that’s the only bullet in the chamber, that is it. They could come up with no other reason to justify illegal immigration. I believe that any person who wants to come here legally should have that opportunity, albeit people who are not criminals that are bringing terror, criminal record or activity to this country. Outside of that, you want to become a legal citizen of the U.S., you should have that right. However, on the immigration debate, there are some things we are not talking about.

“There are businesses that hire illegals, get away with hiring illegals, and never really prosecuted or dealt with because many of these businesses are big contributors Parties, Republican and Democrat, until we start talking about them, we are not really serious about immigration. And here is something else that America needs to take a look at, we need to close our borders. We need to enforce our immigration laws, but we need to also be prepared for the price of everything in grocery stores to go up, and the price of a lot of other goods to go up because the dirty little secret is, the reason we can get things so inexpensive now is because of the dirty way we do business. Twenty years ago we could have dealt with this and people didn’t want to deal with it, and now we have to deal with it because of terrorism. I have to tell you if your asking me will we come to an immigration solution within the next four years the answer is no because no one is talking serious about it.”

LC: “Clay, I look forward to hearing you on the radio sometime in the future.”
CY: “Listen, I think your website is fantastic. I think you’re a good guy doing a good thing, and the most important part about what your doing is that it’s about conservatism and not about the Republican party. Sure I’m a Republican but I’m more conservative than I’m Republican and we need to let people know that the only way to have cash to spend on the things that we need, not entitlements, we have to be responsible. Something else, the criminal justice system, something that I didn’t get into, is becoming a daycare. It’s not what it’s meant to be. It’s not meant to be a deterrent, to deter people from committing crimes, it’s meant to lock up bad guys, and if found guilty by a jury of their peers, it’s meant to execute bad guys. That’s another thing that no one is talking about so we could go on and on.”

LC: “You’re full of information, but I’ll tell you what, we’ll have to get another interview with you sometime in the future. Clay, thank you for your time.”
CY: “Thank you”


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