Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, The Times discussed on The Choice
Kingsbury. Welcome to the argument. Thanks thanks for having me. So let's start with the obvious question which is walk us through why you decided to go with two candidates. So it's it's fascinating the reaction to this. It's news has been a really interesting window into how voters as well as the general public are feeling about this race. It's clear that that people are very frustrated. And you know what went into this knowing people are going to be really frustrated that we didn't choose one. I think people really need that sense. Sense of a path forward of clarity of many of the things that roster said in terms of unifying behind one candidate but increasingly after after having spent hours and hours in the boardroom interviewing each of these candidates it became clear to us that no matter what any of these candidates would be among the most progressive presidents that the United States has ever had. It's how they would actually get that done where the differences really became the most crystallized and that for us became a question of you've Elizabeth Warren. Who has the clearest diagnosis of what ails America's Today and who has such a sense of urgency in her message inch it really matches the moment versus Amy Klobuchar? Who has this bipartisan? Track record of doing a lot of legislation with her Republicans across the the island. Whose message is much more one of unity? And one of the things that I really wanted to do was to reflect the vote of our board and and this was the outcome. That really most reflected the board's vote. Let me ask you one thing about that in particular because some of the discussion Russian has has suggested that the Times was trying to send a single message by endorsing too. But that's not what I saw when I watched the episode of the weekly. That had your deliberations nations to me. This was a divided board and I really saw a what felt like a generational divide in which younger members of the board really wanted a proud out progressive particularly warn and older members of the board. I don't know within the cutoff around. Forty forty five It's not perfect but older members of the board. We're really uncomfortable with that Disagreed with it on the substance worried it was less electable and were much more comfortable with Buddha Jig or Biden oral world. Totally Aclu Machar. Do you think that's fair. I think that's probably an over simplification and I'm kind of curious where you think I fall on that divide Most just curious how old you think I am Well I'm definitely not GonNa Guess Your Age but I will say I thought you were clearly on the more moderate side of that. Divide based on your questions and maybe maybe that's wrong. Maybe that's just what we saw television but but to me you were sort of the leader of the of the moderate group. That's fascinating I am probably amongst the more moderate members of the board I am Generally this personally more conservative I was raised by Republicans And I come from the Midwest asked where in general Some of the messages have not necessarily been resonating That's way over simplification But yes I am. I'm I'm probably amongst the only members of the board who go to church regularly and one of the questions that I asked to. Almost every candidate was how they place themselves in terms of Being where spirituality comes into their leadership style. And how they they they talk about that because I do know that I was in Iowa in November and I remember one of the things I heard from. A lot of voters was a lot of disappointment in the lack of discussion of faith and spirituality among some of the Democratic candidates I also I guess because I'm you know raise. I was raised by two people from about ground state. I I really worried that. Some of the ways that much I feel this more with Warren than sanders but some of the ways that they are talking a to voters and around their ideas might be off putting you know I think but one of the things that came up over and over again in both our conversations with the candidates but also our deliberations this question of electability the reality is is is that two thousand sixteen has taught us that trying to figure out who is going to be the most electable candidate versus. Donald Trump in. November is probably probably a fool's errand so we started looking closer at the policy prescriptions. We started talking a little bit more about the actual messages of the candidates. And and what we realized is that the Party needs to have that conversation amongst itself it. It's really not the role of a to`real board to determine the future of the Democratic Party and that the only vehicle that we really have is people going out and voting to get a sense of what the Democratic voters want the future of the party to look like you know the Times. got a certain amount of twitter grief before this before the endorsement was was announced for sort of doing some. You know some reality TV show sort of fireworks around around the endorsement and so on but generally I thought that whatever was lost in losing a certain amount of behind closed doors. Honesty from politicians was more than gained back from the advantages of putting putting all of these men and women on the record in front of a group of smart questioners over over an extended period of time. I thought the whole thing went really okay well for the times and for readers and it just makes makes it more baffling to me that at the end of the day the message was well. There's a choice choice between a progressive path in a moderate path. And we'RE NOT GONNA make it for you. I mean it just it. It seems to me that that's the essence of what if there's any purpose to an editorial decision that's the purpose to tell readers and voters. This is what we think you should do. This is how the electability and policy we'll see bundle. Works together better with Clo- Char than Warren or better with Warren than closer. But I'm I'm sort of mystified. I think that those of US people external to the times and people internal like ourselves are just left with the impression that you know you guys is deadlocked and the divisions in the party were sort of manifest within the time itself and so the deadlock gave us you know a tie basically and and yeah I I have such a differentiator I take that point I I have such a different way of thinking about well. What the purpose of an endorsement is the man that I mean for me? The endorsement is really supposed to be an exercise in informing readers better about the candidates especially in the state and local level but also in terms of the presidential pick and I I guess I have never thought of it as something that we are supposed to go and tap and back a candidate and you know pull put put our full weight behind them. I I really wanted a to inform readers. Give them a better sense of how we measure these candidates after we spent able to spend a lot of time with them and this really felt to me the most journalistic and intellectually honest results As well as the endorsement that is going to be the most useful for a wider range of voters and I felt I feel really torn. I agree really Ross. With this perception that people think the board was torn because the board was torn. And if there's any regret that I have is leaving the impression that I couldn't make up my mind In some ways kind of transparency currency lessons endorsements potency. Because it no longer has this voice of God Feeling to it right. You sort of see how the sausage is made but but it does increase their utility. Because you can sort of see. All of these candidates being grilled by the same people right I think think Katie was right and talking about it as a journalistic exercise I also agree with Katie. That endorsements are more important for local races. You know I ended up paying a ton of attention to them when it comes to things like you know voting for judges in New York I'm going to be less swayed by the Times decision at the presidential level. But you know there's a lot of people trying to make up their minds and just as often I think when we write an op Ed. It's it's less distortive. Try to convince people than to lay out a way of thinking about something. I think. Endorsements can be very useful in just sort of helping to to clarify people's thinking about the different candidates. Ross I I feel like your criticisms raised some larger interesting questions which is should newspapers Brazilian. Be in the business of endorsing candidates Should they do it differently from the way they did in the past. Is that right well. I think there's an open question last year about the viability and purpose of an editorial page in the age of you know innumerable takes and personalized journalism and the decline of institutional national power and so on And I think what what my sense of what we've tried to do is to reduce the number of editorials that we right with the idea being that when and the Times weighs in on something it should mean more than just you know for editorials a day on sixteen different subjects and I think that's a reasonable approach approach and again. It's why I'm sort of baffled by this outcome. Because if that's the goal to reduce the number of reduce the number of editorials we we do to try and make each editorial more meaningful and more sort of a more important statement of where the time stands. Then you know this is an important moment. We did big build up people are going into the polls in Iowa very shortly and You know we didn't tell them who to vote for. And I I think we should have. Okay we're GONNA vote today's entire show to this conversation but let's take a quick break now and we'll be right back to talk about Joe Biden Bernie Sanders and more to kill a mockingbird is unmissable an unforgettable raves rolling Stone Five Stars The New York Times declared it a critic's pick calling errands Zorkin's new play beautiful elegiac satisfying even an exhilarating a mockingbird for our moment sixty minutes says it's the most successful American play in Broadway history. A New York magazine calls it a real phenomenon on ED. Harris is Atticus finch in Harper. Lee's to kill a mockingbird directed by Bartlett cheer tickets at telecharge Dot Com. Welcome back to our conversation with Katie Kingsbury. Deputy editorial page editor here at the Times. This is inside baseball but I am still curious to hear your thoughts about it. which is Did did you ever consider maybe doing two editorials in which say you would write. The full throated endorsement of Klobuchar. A more progressive member would write a full throated endorsement. I Warren. It's interesting that in the end people feel like that for oh it was written more in favor of Closer Than Elizabeth Warren Because I actually feel pretty strongly that they both would be excellent presidents. You know if I had to go into a ballot box today I had to choose between Colbert. Warren I probably I probably would vote for Elizabeth Warren for one she she absolutely is this. Brilliant architect of regulation she understands how to use the regulatory system in ways that are pretty astounding and whoever the next president is. If there's Mitch McConnell is still in the Senate then you are going to have to use regulation to get things done. Can I ask a question about the Joe Biden. I mean it seemed to me. One of the big takeaways was that when everybody voted he didn't even make the top four. Yeah and I'm curious. I mean I was. I think that reflects may own alarm. About what a Biden candidacy would look like but at the same time there was a moment after his interview where everybody said had only are really worried about the Joe Biden that would show up. He was much smarter than We were expecting so. Could you talk a little bit about the board's reservations about Joe Biden right after we had The outbreak of conflict with Iran. I sat down and I wrote an entire fire endorsement of Joe Biden and I think that came from an desire on my part for the comfort of having someone who during his interview spoke folks so fluently about foreign policy. Who's been in the room in some of those more difficult decision? Making who was A really vocal opponent to the war in Afghanistan and sending more troops there And I wrote that out wrote a full draft. I mean literally a two thousand word draft You know talking about why thought Joe Biden is the best Democrat to be president and it felt so oh It didn't match the moment in any way by which I mean as a board that has you know all of its values are under herded by institutions norms. In a lot of ways. I think one of the things that's come through in the last three years is how we call out of those institutions are and how they really need to be reconsidered in in how our economic and political systems should at least be examined as to whether or not they need to be overhauled. And that's it's not Joe Biden's message at all Joe Biden's message simply is let's go back to normal. Whatever normal is right like I mean there are a lot of for a lot of Americans normal wasn't working and I think that there needs to be some recognition that at least four some portion of the American public the government and the economic systems were failing them and I think that is why at least in part Donald trump was elected president and returning to what Biden is offering it just felt like tinkering around the edges when the house is on fire and we need to have a really close examination of what needs to change in this country and I didn't I didn't it doesn't come through when you talk to the former former vice president that he understands that urgency that he gets that people need something different Do you have any regrets about Describing Elizabeth Warren with the phrase gifted storyteller since I'll I'll speak for the Unrepresented Right wing of America in this conversation and note that one of the chief critiques of Elizabeth Warren from the right and not only from the right is that some of some crucial moments in her political career involved telling stories..