Oliver Stone Invokes KKK & Know Nothings, Cheney ‘Was a Very Dangerous Man,’ Palin ‘Worse Than’ Bush
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, film maker Oliver Stone charged that former Vice President Dick Cheney was "a very dangerous man" and "as much of a threat to the idea of America using nuclear weapons as anybody," inspiring Behar to respond, "I agree with you," and charged that Sarah Palin in the White House would be "even worse than Mr. Bush Jr."
He asserted that "I think she's not going to appeal to people who think at all," and, after Behar suggested that most Americans may not think, he added, "Well, if that's the case then America deserves their leaders the way they pick them." He later sought a silver lining in Palin getting elected President: "If they're there, maybe we'll learn our lesson. If we didn't learn it from Bush Jr., we're never going to learn it."
Stone ended up invoking racist and xenophobic movements like the Ku Klux Klan and Know Nothings, presumably linking them to conservative critics of President Obama. Stone: "We have parties of Know Nothings for all our tradition. It goes way back, all kinds of rebellions. In 1923 in Washington, I believe, like, 100,000 Ku Klux Klan people dressed in white sheets walked down main street in Washington D.C., 100,000. The Ku Klux Klan was popular after World War I. That's in the heart of the country with white sheets, right, on horses. That's why the Birth of the Nation was such a popular film."
Stone also voiced his support for President Barack Obama. Stone: "I like Obama. I think he's moderate and he’s smart and he’s trying to reform a system which is essentially glued up. And he's got tremendous enemies, so I’m trying to, I'm rooting for him. I mean, it's either him or Palin or Bush."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, September 21, Joy Behar Show on HLN:
JOY BEHAR: Before you got here, I was talking to this reporter about Dancing with the Stars and Bristol Palin, you know, Sarah's daughter. And I just wanted to ask you about Sarah Palin. I mean, what do you thin’k of her? Is she going to be influential really in a real way or not?
OLIVER STONE: Well, I feel two ways about her. I wouldn't pay attention to her. I think the media's made more of her, and I think it's a shame. You're empowering her by talking about her, but, number two, if she runs, let her run. I think she’s going to get her, I think she'd lose because I think she's not going to appeal to people who think at all. And I think-
BEHAR: Well, that's the, that could possibly be not the majority of people though.
STONE: Well, if that's the case then America deserves their leaders the way they pick them. So if she is President of the United States, God forbid, you know, we're in for a rocky road, even worse than Mr. Bush Jr., who you share the same feelings I do-
BEHAR: Yup, the worst.
STONE: He was stupid to begin with. We knew that.
STONE: But America find out. We'll go that way. You know, if we’re, listen, we're in too many wars. We're way overreaching. Our economy-
BEHAR: She can't do that much damage maybe.
STONE: That's sort of what I'm trying to say. We can only go so far and then, I mean, can we blow ourselves up? Perhaps.
BEHAR: You know, when your research, I was wondering, who do you think was-
STONE: I don't say that lightly. I mean, Dick Cheney was as much of a threat to the idea of America using nuclear weapons as anybody.
BEHAR: That's true.
STONE: So we've been there, you know, we've been there.
BEHAR: That's right. He's dangerous, but you know-
STONE: He is dangerous.
BEHAR: -he's getting older now and he's not well, so-
STONE: No, he was very dangerous. He was a very dangerous man.
BEHAR: I agree with you.
STONE: He set the whole war on terror, created the aspect of fear. She does the same thing. But, you know, America, if you look at the history, I’m doing this untold history of the United States we talked about is 12 parts for next year for Showtime, it’s a big deal, I’ve been working on it for three years. But, you know, we have parties of Know Nothings for all our tradition. It goes way back, all kinds of rebellions. In 1923 in Washington, I believe, like, 100,000 Ku Klux Klan people dressed in white sheets walked down main street in Washington D.C., 100,000. The Ku Klux Klan was popular after World War I.
BEHAR: In some parts of the country.
STONE: That’s in the heart of the country with white sheets, right, on horses. That's why the Birth of the Nation was such a popular film.
BEHAR: I see. Uh-huh. But, in your research, who do you think was worse, Nixon or George W. Bush as President?
BEHAR: Or who was crazier? Bush was worse?
STONE: Bush was more dangerous. I mean, he, I think, I mean, our movie Wall Street kind of deals with the concept of 30 years of mismanagement. The deregulations that allowed Wall Street and the banks to get so out of hand started really with Reagan and carried through Clinton. Robert Rubin and Greenspan were there during the Clinton era, and then they carry right into Bush Jr. who didn’t really wasn’t interested in enforcement. None of the people he appointed, Christopher Cox at the SEC, none of these people did their job, so the fox was watching the chicken coop. That was the problem.
BEHAR: Yeah, yeah. Let me talk to you, before we get to your movie because, which I really enjoyed very much, I want to talk about President Obama. Some supporters are unhappy with him. Watch this clip from yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I'm one of your middle class Americans, and, quite frankly, I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantel of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now.
BEHAR: You know, I say she's a plant. What do you say?
STONE: No, it reminds me of the Nixon, Nixon when I did a movie about Nixon, he went and did a town hall meeting. And he got killed because it was all supposed to be controlled and there's one black man who got through and said, "Mr. Nixon, why are you dividing this country?" Nixon didn't know what to say. Sometimes people get in there. I don't think you should do those things too easily, but I think he, I'm glad he did it, and I like Obama. I think he's moderate and he’s smart and he’s trying to reform a system which is essentially glued up. And he's got tremendous enemies, so I’m trying to, I'm rooting for him. I mean, it's either him or Palin or Bush.
BEHAR: I agree with that. I mean, imagine if McCain and Palin got in, what condition we'd be in, you know.
STONE: Right now, we’d be very rough right now. I go back to my previous argument, if they're there, maybe we'll learn our lesson. If we didn't learn it from Bush Jr., we're never going to learn it.
BEHAR: Look, they want to go right back to it, you know, they want to go back to the tax cuts for the rich-
STONE: We should secede. New York should secede-
STONE: -and California on the other side.
(STONE WINKS AND SMILES)
BEHAR: Okay, we’ll be right back. Much more with Oliver Stone when we come back.