Reclaiming the American Dream
February 5, 2013
NYU Washington DC and the Brademas Center co-hosted the event, Reclaiming the American Dream. Alice Rivlin, economist and a member of the President's Debt Commission; Hedrick Smith, former NY Times correspondent and author of the recently published "Who Stole the American Dream"; former Congressman Mickey Edwards, author of "The Parties versus the People," and former Congressman Michael Castle headlined the event with Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent for the PBS News Hour and distinguished NYU alum who moderated the discussion.
The program examined the linkage between our political and economic problems including the topics of reviving our economy, the politics of inequality, money in politics, the role of political parties, recommended systemic changes and how to effect change. The panel considered whether fixing our politics is a pre-requisite for resolving our economic problems.
Meet the Panel
Mike Castle, Partner, DLA Piper
Mike Castle is a partner at the law firm of DLA Piper in the firm’s Government Affairs practice and is on the Advisory Committee of Americans for Campaign Reform. He served in the U.S. House of Representative for Delaware from 1993 until 2011 and was Governor of Delaware from 1985 to 1992. Prior to his election to Congress, Castle served as a member of the Delaware General Assembly. In 2010, Castle ran for the US Senate seat formerly held by Joe Biden and was defeated in the Republican primary by Christine O'Donnell. He would have been heavily favored against Democrat Chris Coons in the general election, who beat O'Donnell by 17%.
At the conclusion of his campaign, Castle reflected that Republicans inclined toward the middle of the road are petrified of attacks by columnists and commentators. “People are very afraid of crossing the line and being called Republicans in Name Only -- or worse. [so] not too many members are willing to stand up." "Part of it is worry about primaries, and this election has shown the power of very conservative groups.”
E.J. Dionne Jr. writing in September 2010 commented that Castle's defeat marked the collapse of the Republican Party not only of Nelson Rockefeller and Tom Dewey but also of Bob Dole and Howard Baker. “[T]he Republican primary electorate has been reduced to nothing but its right wing. O'Donnell, boosted by a last minute anti-Castle spending spree from the California-based Tea Party Express, pulled off her revolution with a little more than 30,000 votes. That's all it took to seize control of a once Grand Old Party in which the center no longer has the troops.” Mike Castle's defeat -- and the end of moderate Republicanism, The Washington Post, September 16, 2010.
Mickey Edwards, Lecturer, Princeton University
Mickey Edwards, a lecturer at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, was a Republican member of Congress from Oklahoma for 16 years (1977-92). He was a member of the House Republican leadership and served on the House Budget and Appropriations committees. Since leaving the Congress he has taught at Harvard, Georgetown, and Princeton universities and has chaired various task forces for the Constitution Project, the Brookings Institution, and the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, he is currently an advisor to the US Department of State and a member of the Princeton Project on National Security. His book, Reclaiming Conservatism (Oxford University Press), comes out in March 2008.
The Aspen-Rodel fellowships will feature a combination of bipartisan retreats, overseas travel, leadership skills training, study, and hands-on involvement with contemporary issues. Every year, a new group of political leaders will be selected to take part in the two-year fellowship program.
Alice Rivlin, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Alice M. Rivlin is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at Brookings and a visiting professor at the Public Policy Institute of Georgetown University.
Before returning to Brookings, Ms. Rivlin served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board (1996-99). She was director of the White House Office of Management and Budget in the first Clinton administration. She also chaired the District of Columbia Financial Management Assistance Authority (1998-2001). Ms. Rivlin was the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office (1975-83). She was director of the Economic Studies Program at Brookings (1983-87). She also served at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation.
In February 2010, Ms. Rivlin was named by President Obama to the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. She also co-chaired, with former Senator Pete Domenici, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Task Force on Debt Reduction. Ms. Rivlin received a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship in 1983 and the Moynihan Prize in 2008. She was named one of the greatest public servants of the last 25 years by the Council for Excellence in Government in 2008. She has taught at Harvard, George Mason, and The New School Universities. She has served on the boards of directors of several corporations, and as president of the American Economic Association.
Ms. Rivlin is a frequent contributor to newspapers, television, and radio, and is currently a regular commentator on Nightly Business Report. Her books include Systematic Thinking for Social Action (l971), Reviving the American Dream (1992), and Beyond the Dot.coms (with Robert Litan, 2001). She is co-editor (with Isabel Sawhill) of Restoring Fiscal Sanity: How to Balance the Budget (2004), Restoring Fiscal Sanity 2005: Meeting the Long-Run Challenges, (with Joseph Antos) of Restoring Fiscal Sanity 2007: The Health Spending Challenge, and (with Litan) of The Economic Payoff from the Internet Revolution (2001).
Ms. Rivlin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. She received a B.A. in economics from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. from Radcliffe College (Harvard University) in economics 1958. She is married to economist Sidney G. Winter, professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. She has three children and four grandchildren.
Hedrick Smith, Former Reporter, New York Times, Pulitzer Prize Recipient
Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter and editor and Emmy award-winning producer/correspondent, is one of America’s most distinguished journalists.
For 26 years, he covered Washington and world capitals for The New York Times, winning the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting from Moscow in 1974 and sharing in a Pulitzer Prize for his part in the Pentagon papers series. From 1976-1988, he was New York Times Washington bureau chief and chief correspondent.
Mr. Smith has authored several best-selling books, including The Russians (1976), The Power Game: How Washington Works (1988), The New Russians (1990) and Rethinking America (1995).
He has created 20 award-winning PBS prime-time specials and mini-series on Washington’s power game, Soviet perestroika, the global economy, education reform, health care, teen violence, terrorism and Wall Street, winning Emmies for two of his programs for Frontline, The Wall Street Fix and Can You Afford to Retire?
His newest production, Poisoned Waters, is a probing two-hour report that examines America’s track record on cleaning up its waterways since passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, using two great coastal estuaries, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, as case studies.
Ray Suarez, Washington-based Senior Correspondent, The NewsHour (Moderator)
Ray Suarez joined The NewsHour in October 1999 as a Washington-based Senior Correspondent.
Suarez has more than thirty years of varied experience in the news business. He came to The NewsHour from National Public Radio where he had been host of the nationwide, call-in news program "Talk of the Nation" since 1993. Prior to that, he spent seven years covering local, national, and international stories for the NBC-owned station, WMAQ-TV in Chicago.
He is the author most recently of a book examining the tightening relationship between religion and politics in America, The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America. Suarez also wrote The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration (Free Press), and has contributed to several other books, including What We See (New Village Press, 2010), How I Learned English (National Geographic, 2007), Brooklyn: A State of Mind (Workman, 2001), Local Heroes (Norton, 2000), Saving America's Treasures (National Geographic, 2000), and Las Christmas (Knopf, 1998). Suarez currently hosts the monthly radio program “America Abroad” for Public Radio International, and the weekly politics program “Destination Casa Blanca” for Hispanic Information Telecommunications Network, HITN TV.
Earlier in his career, Suarez was a Los Angeles correspondent for CNN, a producer for the ABC Radio Network in New York, a reporter for CBS Radio in Rome, and a reporter for various American and British news services in London. Over the years he has narrated, anchored or reported many documentaries for public radio and television including the nationally-broadcast Anatomy of a Pandemic (2009, PBS) and Jerusalem: The Center of the World (2009, PBS), a weekly series, Follow the Money (1997, PBS), and programs including Yesterday (2006, WETA) Who Speaks for Islam? (LinkTV, 2005, 2009) By The People (PBS, 2004-07), The Journey Home (2004, WETA) The Execution Tapes (2001, Public Radio) and Through Our Own Eyes (2000, KQED). He is the host of the monthly foreign affairs program America Abroad, heard on Public Radio International stations nationwide, and around the world on NPR Worldwide. He also hosts the weekly program on Latino politics, Destination Casa Blanca for HITN-TV.
Suarez was a co-recipient of NPR's 1993-94 and 1994-95 duPont-Columbia Silver Baton Awards for on-site coverage of the first all-race elections in South Africa and the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, respectively. He was honored with the 1996 Ruben Salazar Award from the National Council of La Raza, and the 2005 Distinguished Policy Leadership Award from UCLA's School of Public Policy. The Holy Vote won a 2007 Latino Book Award for Best Religion Book.
Suarez holds a B.A. in African History from New York University and an M.A. in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by many colleges and universities, most recently by Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. He is a winner of the Benton Fellowship in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Chicago. He has also been honored with a Distinguished Alumnus Award from NYU, and a Professional Achievement Award from the University of Chicago.