HANNITY

David Mamet's Conservative Conversion

Legendary writer-director on his political shift

 

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 8, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: David Mamet is a world renowned playwright and director. Now some of his most notable works include the "Untouchables" and "Wag the Dog."

Now he made some waves in Hollywood in 2008 when he panned an op-ed titled, "Why I Am No Longer a Brain Dead Liberal." And now he has written a new book, "The Secret Knowledge on Dismantling of American Culture, The Struggle of the Left to Rationalize Its Positions Is an Intolerable One."

You speak as a reformed liberal.

DAVID MAMET, "THE SECRET KNOWLEDGE": That's right.

HANNITY: By the way, nice to meet you. It's a great honor. Your work speaks for itself. Renowned playwright. You have been in some of the biggest movies in the country, in history. How did you get into all of that?

MAMET: I started out I was a failed actor. I loved being around the theater. I didn't want to leave. So, if you don't want to leave and you can't act, you better learn how to do something else.

My tendency as an actor was to correct people, was to say what if we tried it this way, what about if we tried that way? That's terrible habit for an actor, but that's a good habit for director. So I became a director.

HANNITY: That's amazing. Where did you start out? You remind me a little bit of David Horowitz. Well, maybe not quite like Horowitz, but he grew up with parents that were communist and then he evolved into a very strong, solid, consistent conservative. You had a little bit political transformation in your life.

MAMET: Well, yes. I think it started around 2004. I went to the polling place in the morning in an ultra, ultra liberal community to vote Democratic. There was a feeling of violence at the polling place. Against whom I couldn't tell it was a bunch of fairly well to do Jews like myself whose idea of diversity was God knows what because we pay our taxes to have them teach this nonsense to our kids in school and don't teach them that the real diversity is diversity of thought.

But there was a feeling of violence. I understood that there was this rage against George Bush and then I out, I was directing a television show on CBS called "The Unit." So I went out to start directing the show. And I realized there's 200 people on the set, 15 actors, 185 other people, we don't know each other's politics, but we get along perfectly and I said, my God, this is America's Eric Hoffer's vision of America.

He said he was in a civilian conservation corps and they said OK, everybody who wants to work get on the truck. Took him outside Los Angeles said here's a map. Here's where you are now. Here's picks and shovels, we want the road there in three months.

He says those people on the truck, between us we figured out how to build that road and I realized that's the feeling on a set.

HANNITY: How did you make a transformation?

MAMET: Well, a lot of things happened. I wrote a political play, a comedy. I thought it was pretty darn funny. New York Times gave it a "close this play" review twice. They sent another guy back to make sure because they intuited some anti-liberal bias. I don't what it was, but the intuited it.

So, it is like coming to grips like a homosexual comes out of the closet late in life or a person changes their religion late in life. It's a big effort to become aware of what you are thinking.

HANNITY: You mentioned that that you are Jewish. I interviewed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I thought gave one of the finest speeches before the United States Congress I've ever seen. Did you see the speech?

MAMET: I've read it and I read the speech before the United Nations --

HANNITY: And what did you think of that speech?

MAMET: I thought that's a leader. That is a guy calling it like it is. So I've asked, you've asked people who agree with all of our points about conservatism then why do you vote Democratic? They respond because I'm a Democrat.

And I realized that's just not enough. When the three branches of government have failed to represent the citizenry and the mass of the media has failed to represent the citizenry, then the citizenry better represent the citizenry.

HANNITY: Right, it drives me crazy because you know what I really fear? We could live through a modern day holocaust. I believe people when they say they want to annihilate a country and wipe it off a map. I believe when a charter that says destroy Israel and kill the Jews, they are serious.

Winston Churchill seemed to understand Hitler. Navel Chamberlain believed in this concept of peace in his times on how we can negotiate with evil people. I think evil exists in Ahmadinejad. I think evil exists in the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah.

I believe if you look at this little piece of land of Israel and it's surrounded on all sides, including Syria and shifting Egypt towards the Brotherhood, I fear that small nation is in more danger than it has ever been. I don't know why more people don't see it?

MAMET: I don't know either. But I do know one thing it says in the bible. It says of Israel, it says the people who blessed you, will be blessed by God and the people who cursed you will be cursed. I do know that has been true for 2,000 years and as Israel goes so goes the west.

HANNITY: This is what Netanyahu's told me for years. I've known him. I've been friends with him for years. He said, no, no. We are the big target you think we are. We are the little Satan, but it is America. It's western values.

And if they take us out that battle, that war continues. I don't think that a lot of people know that and then I wonder, then I turn it into politics, and am like, why would people not vote in their best interests and see that evil exists?

You kind of deal with this. You say your interest in politics began when you noticed that you acted differently and spoke differently about the government, et cetera, et cetera. That was interesting concept and quote, explain that.

MAMET: Well, however liberal anyone is, when they get an envelope in the mail that has the return address of any government and they weren't expecting on it, they are filled with apprehension.

HANNITY: IRS?

MAMET: Well, whoever it is. It doesn't matter whether it is the city council, state of New York or the federal government. If you get something that has a government return address and you weren't expecting it, your first reaction is oh God, not me. Please let this cup pass me by. We understand that government is terrible. We hate paying taxes. We know taxes are all waste.

HANNITY: Ever go to the DMV?

MAMET: Exactly so. I said in my book at that the federal government is the zoning board and Mark Twain said before God created the fool he created the school board for practice.

HANNITY: Very good. Perfect line-up.

Why are conservatives in Hollywood scared to death to identify themselves as conservatives? Are they going to be punished in your profession?

MAMET: Yes. Yes, they are.

HANNITY: You have seen it?

MAMET: Yes -- it depends on how far up the pecking order one is. If you're in a position to do something for the corporate structure they will leave you alone. If you aren't, it is likely that -- the least you are going to get shunned. You may get fired. It is just true.

HANNITY: Unbelievable, it is an excellent book. I just got into reading it today. I'm going to finish it tonight that's how good a reader I am. Continue the great work and I really admire all you've done. Thank you.

MAMET: Thank you so much.

HANNITY: Thank you so much.

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