tv Discussion on the Republican Party CSPAN April 6, 2018 10:01pm-11:03pm EDT
different from the other books. the other books talk about the steps but what is the goal, what is the pot of gold out there? >> q & a, sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. [inaudible conversations] >> welcome to the tucson book festival. to all of you who are here with us, in gallagher hall and to all the folks watching this live on c-span today. my name is carolyn lukeins mier and the executive director of the national institutes for civil discourse at the university of arizona. sever thing its need to sayre. we tenant think the tci advisors and phil for sponsoring this session. [applause] >> the presentation will last an hour. there will be time for q & a.
immediately following the session, craig shirley is going to participate in a book tv interview just outside this building. kathy and charlie will go directly to the book sale tent to be signing books. i think all of you know that in fact everybody book purchased here at the festival guess to literacy programs. 0 so this is a perfect time to do that. we also hope that you're a member of the friend of the festival family and if you're not, please join. out of respect, please turn off your cellphones. a quick introduction. we today have an abundance of riches in our panelists. three outstanding authors, all of whom have written several books, and each of the books they're talking but today come from distinctly disgenres. kathy kramer, the director of
the marge-good a plate
al science at the university of wisconsin madison, he book, the politics of resentment, rural consciousness in wisconsin ask the rise of scott walker, his a superb example of quantitative and qualitative research to understand voters. charlie sykes, you recognize him from his time particularly now on nbc and msnbc. started in his name first came to all of our attention as the conservative radio talk soho in milwaukee, wisconsin. charlie has written a book entitle how the right lost its mind. and craig shirley, a renowned reagan biographer, is actually
presenting two books today, his most
recent look, on reagan, reagan rising and a new authorized he biography of newt gingrich. citizen newt, the make offering a reagan conservative. please joan my in welcoming our panelists. [applause] >> i want to start with asking each of the authors to share with us why they wrote the book they wrote, and the impact they hoped it would have. i'm going to start with kathy. >> thank you so much, caroltime it's a joy to be with you all. thank you for inviting me. i am a scholar of public opinion, which means often time his conversations that i have are about why are people getting things wrong. people ask in why are make make
thing choices they are, what is wrong with them? i don't like that question because in my mind if you take it to an stream, we're saying ware not kindable of having a democracy, saying the people we're living with are not capable of make the choices that make a democracy possible. instead of asking what what of people goaling it wrong, i ask how are people understanding their world? the book i wrote is focuses on wisconsin but it's a brad broader story of the resentment that a lot of people in rural towns, small towns, fell toward the cities. mow work, my research was in wisconsin, and what i did was to invite myself into conversations around the state and to listen to people. and so i wrote the book to try to illuminate what was going on in the small places in my state, to try to help us all understand the kind of feeling that many people have about not being respected about being ignored
and overlooked, and how it comes from real experience and real care about their communities and hope for something better. so i hope the impact it would have would be for people within my state and more broadly to understand that this concern of feeling like you deserve more, and wanting better for yourself and feeling like the people in charge don't respect who you are and who the people around you are, the people would understand that it was coming from human beings, and not from people who deserve to be treated less than human beings. so i wanted to broaden understanding. >> charlie. i'm going to ask an additional question to the why and what impact was when did you decide to write this book. >> actually, i started working on it before the election. figuring that it was -- would have a different impact than it had. basically i wrote this book,
trying figure out what the hell happened? what the hell happened to people i thought eye understood, people i thought had certain values, that we saw played out in 2016. look, was part of a conservative movement for more than 25 years, and a movement that goes from william f. buckley jr. to sean hadn'tty, that goes from milton friedman to steve van -- steepen ban nonis not experiencing an intellectual renaissance. it's a disaster am movement from ronald reagan donald trump has taken a strange turn and frankly, as i sat there and i watched this happen in real-time, i was struggling what is going on here? is this radical continuity? was donald trump really -- just sort after bizarre 0o cartoon
version of conservative jim? is this a hostile takeover? i wanted to believe that the trumpism was a hostile takeover of an otherwise healthy conservative movement. i think that's a harder to sustain. donald trump is not nearly a cause. her is clear lay symptom. the dysfunction in the conservative movement in the republican party was clearly a pre-existing condition. that would not have been covered any therefore omorse recent republican health care plans by the way. but my disillusionment -- i have to toll you what my experience was because i had worked very close live with many of the conservative leaders both in wisconsin and national nationally. 2016 was for me like an episode invasion of the body snatchers. i one after another would go, maybe he's not so bad. maybe we can embrace this erratic, differ honest, narcissism.
really maybe this erratic egotistical con man is the heir of reagan and maybe in fact it won't be so bad. if we do this. and so you had the compromising -- i am -- look, i can tell that a lot of you are probably almost as old as aam ump i'm old enough to remember when republicans actually said character matters. do you remember that? that moment? and there was a moment in that campaign where i am sitting watching table television, which i do too much of, and there is bill bennett the former education secretary on saying you never drummers, you need to get over your moral vanity, and i wouldn't use the -- the guy that wrote the book of virtues think book of freaking virtues and now he is embracing donald
trump. and there's just something was fundamentally -- to watch a movement that claimed it was about fiscal restraint, small government, free trade, american exceptionalism, that actualitily would have offended at the used that russian was attacking our democracy. remember that? remember when conservatives actually fought that a russian attack on our democracy would be a bad thing? what we saw was this faustian bargain by people that i had spent most of my adult live working with and the faustian bargain you get things you want, get your conservative judges, your tax cuts, you get regulatory reform, but in the faustian bargain you always find out that the cost is way greater than you ever expected. and so i really sat down to write the book partially at -- to answer the question for myself, what did i miss? what did i ignore? what just happened?
and because i started before the election, i thought, let's start laying out the preconditions for perhaps a recovery. and even after the election, to try to say, what is the future of the conservative movement? what is the future of -- is there a conservative movement that will not be tainted, that will not be toxified, will not be rendered radio active and morally repugnant by trumpism? ever be able to wipe the stink of of and that's the ongoing process. even as you watch the conservative movement in the republican party on a rolling basis, enable and acquiesce to something that it think would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago. [applause] >> so, craig, you dyou have been a dedicated reagan scholar and author.
>> yes. >> you keirly made shift to focus on newt gingrich. so, share with us why and what impact you hope to have with these last two books. >> well, sometimes i think i write books to keep off the streets streets and out of the pool halls but reagan and gingrich have been very misshapen and misrepresented by history. by both conservativessan historians and liberal historianses it was my idea, my dedication, old friend o mine said you write what you know about. we worked for reagan for years at the beginning of the revolution, at the republican national committee, independent supporting his election and re-election in my wife ran cpac every year that raying wag was there cpac is not what it used to be. used to have actually panels and they have intellectual debates about missile defense and
balanced budgets versus tax cuts and things like that. but both men were and are controversial and because of that, it invites speculation and invites disinformation, and i wanted to write about reagan because, first of all, is that his legacy was in danger of slipping into irrelevancy and i wanted to -- my books are not opinions. they're all fact based. interview everybody from jimmy what at the walter mondale and these are works history and not works of continue everything is documented and everything is annotate, everything like that. so, i find them compelling figures of history, reagan, because reagan revolution truly was a revolution against the established order, against the status quo. there is a deelectricity to
american presidential history,ary generation two there's an upheaval among the population against the established order. starts with jefferson against adams, and the sedes digs acts and thence goes to jackson against the bank of america to lincoln against slavery to teddy roosevelt and the institution of the trusts to franklin roosevelt and the institution of wall street and then reagan against the washington institution and small part also the institution of banks but mostly anti-washington and also about regaining power for the american people and trump falls in the die electric tick which makes the 2016 election very interesting. trump himself may not be a figure of history. took andrew jackson -- took 150 years for a decent biography to be written him and may tike 150 year for a decent biography to
be written about donald trump. set aside all his character flaws, which mean, which is his election, his nomination and his election are important from the standpoint of history and interesting from the standpoint of history. reagan remains a compelling figure of history, even trump doesn't understand him. trump the other day attacked him in pennsylvania on his trade policies. reagan was free trade, the republican party was a free trade party. it is that a fundamental misunderstand offering raying'ing's trade policy, though. reaganed a his core was anti-communist. reagan wanted to beat the soviet union and reagan at his core knew that free trade with china and mexico would strengthen our aligns, would strengthen their economies and make them more resilient to communist takeovers, the soviets had done in cuba and were attempting to
do in central america and had done in anything rag would. that was the -- so for trump to attack reagan on trade is fundamental misin other wording. reagan in other words, too going back to his time at eureka college, is that this was during the depths of the great depression. people think depressioning a -- creating huge trade barriered to importation of goods and all it did was send the united states deeper into the great depression. and reagan's economics professor at the time at eureka college expand to him that the depression was brought about, made much worse by the -- -- reagan became very much a free trader. so, free trade is just not about trade. it's not just but buying the best productses at the cheapest price. also about politics and policy and national defense and make eight lines with people that you want to join with you to oppose
aggression or sub version, in this case, that would be to hold war and soviet union, i'm finishing a book about george washington's mother, who is fascinating and completely never in other words and nothing has ever done a definitive biography who was america's first first lady and i'm just enjoying this so much mitchell next book after that is probably going to be in search of reagan and i got the idea from the old friend, mar it gilbert who did a buick in search of churchill. this book is to address the misapplication, miss understanding and mischaracterization of what reagan really was who at his core was a child of the
enlightenment, was in many ways at least a small l libertarian because he championed individual rights and privacy and dignity, and this has been misunderstood in the 30 some odd years since the left the president say. that's why i write these becomes i've written, why i continue write the books i writes today. >> thank you, craig. >> thank you. >> want to show -- [applause] >> want to go deeper into the content of your books. kathy, one of he most interesting thing but our founding fathers and founding documents was they built into the nation they created some intense conflicts. one of those was rural and urban. which has changed over the centuries but is still deeply with us. clearly in the last election, it was an extraordinary wakeup call to the entire political and media establishment who basically had completely lost touch, and i think in your book, you do an extraordinary job of
elucidating a concept you call rural consciousness. >> so rural consciousness is just a fancy social science term for a sense of identity as someone who is a rural person or small town person. folks aren't saying, i identify as a rural person to me. they say things like people like us, people around here, people in places like this, so it's that identity combined with this sense of not getting one's fair share, and really came out in these conversations as not getting one's fair share of three main things. one was attention, another was resources, and the third was respect. accomplish it sounds like this. i mean, imagine you have to picture my dog this research. so, i'd sample 27 communities from across the state, small places, big places, urban, suburban and small town rural areas and i'm driving around the
senate any volkswagen jet taker have a wisconsin accent but i back in and i'm a social scientist from the flagship university aft madison and i walk into a gas station and say, hi, i'm kathy, from the university of wisconsin, and madison, do you mind if i join you this morning and they welcome me in, and for the most part very nicely to me and friendly and welcoming and open up to me, but at the same time, they were telling me, look, all decisions are made in madison, the state capital, they're communicatedded out to the rest of us and we don't have any say in the regulations that are affecting our lives or the decisions affecting our lives. so in that way they were saying we don't get our fair share of attention. the resources thing came across as primarily conversations about taxes. people had a perception that madison sucks in all of our taxpayer dollars, spends them on itself or on milwaukee, and we don't see that money in return. and then finally, and honestly
in light of the 2016 presidential election, i think most importantly, was this feeling of not getting one's fair share of respect. because people were saying to me in a variety of ways, those folks making the decisions that affect my life, they don't know us, they don't understand what life is like in a mace like this and they don't even like it. the think we are unindicate, racist and sexist and homophobic and islamophobic and felt they deserved more. so in all those ways that identity and that sense of being on the short end of the stick, that's what i mean by rural consciousness. >> thank you. [applause] >> charlie, when i read you book i was struck by a quote that might have been the preface, and you alluded to is in your first remarks but i'll ask you.
what did you specifically learn but you it happened? here was you quote conservative tim was based on a belief in limited government, individual liberties, free markets, traditional values and civility. and it now finds itself embracing bigotry, political entransens, demagoguery and outright fallshoods. so what did you learn about how we went from there to there? >> pretty much summarizes it. people say the book is -- how the right lost its mind. gradually and then all at once. i think one of the conversations i also talk about in the introduction is when i sat down tv election with george will and were asking each other, how did this happen? and he made the point that one of thing thing wed learn is fiscal conservatives, free trade
conservativeses, this intellectual brand of conservativism was much smaller than we thought it was. that at love 0 these beliefs were pie crust thin over a much larger, more dissatisfied and resentment political base. and that is one thing i learned. one of the things that i talk about in the book also is the way in which our politics has shifted to become more tribal, and explains a lot of what is happening. obviously you -- when i use the term cult of personality you know what i'm talking about. also, i do think a lot of the conservative is hung around with, who talk about american exceptionalism, perhaps not that much but what conservative uses of empowerment and the modern conservative approach to inclusiveness. this jack kemp type conservativetives or paul ryan before donald trump, to realize that for us, we were under the
impression that politics was about ideas and about policy. in fact, politics is more -- increasingly becoming more and cathys are book makes is keir -- more about expiated tribal loyalty and we are pulling back into the corners. so a lot of he, explanation, you do you go. free party of reagan who gives the america is a shining city on the hill. and whales to be huge doors because we welcome people from all over the world and the author of a sweeping immigration amnesties every. how do we go from that to donald trump to build the big beautiful waugh that by the way mexico is not going to pay for and how do conservatives go, yeah, yeah, we're fine with that. it is this shift to, again, tribal loyalty, that if something is -- makes lib rats heads explode i must be for i.
itself itself causes liberal tears. we have his negative partisanship that is built in that where i think for many years, in partially in the obama years and the democrats have their own version but that's their problem. that became very clear of what they were against, not necessarily sure what they were for. so when a guy comes on the scene and insults everybody and is against everybody and is willing to scapegoat folks, there was an initial distaste but eventually they were willing to accept it. also in the book i go through the various gaitkeepers, why the whether it's talk radio or fox news, the role of the new media in changing the way that conservatives process information and that moment when it really hit me in 2015-16 that we -- we had succeeded in creating this allege concerntive
reality silo, that we had delegitimatized fact based media. historical he'd media to the point which we now rale really are two nations and don't communicate to one another and someone like a donald trump or other people who are supporters of his are in a sense immune to information. immune to factsle we are a post factual society -- political environment and that is so fundamentally different than what we need for democracy. one of the tide tidbits in he book i continue to be fascinated by because i had not fuel fully understand it when reagan was president, people thing the nostalgic high point of conservativism there was very -- i want to careful -- there was not the robust conservative media infrastructure we have now. no fox news. no rush limbaugh or sean
hadn'tity no breitbart. he was able to act in an environment in which he was able to talk to democrat to be able to discuss these ideas in an environment that was not this kind of ranting push for power ratings and clicks that i think has contributed to that i just described. but it's is not a simple answer or not a simple question. >> all those conservative media places you mentioned only came to be like 1998 and post that period of time. >> fairness doctrine went down until 88. and rush limbaugh didn't appear until the end of reagan, didn't have fox news until 2006, breitbart 2006. you think of all the thing we had now that did not exist back then so the political environment is very, very, very different. >> thank you. so, craig, clearly your biography is really delve deeply
historically, and in a way that we have seen intensification both of porlarization we haul hyperorganization and the complete loss of civility in politic. you point out, and build from is that at the beginning of porlarization in u.s. politics goes all the way back to 1964 when the republicans nominated barry gold water, when the democrats nominated mc govern. all accelerated across the decades but i think there's some streams of history that you might add to our conversation that would be valuable. >> sure. thank you. i want to address charlie's misinterpretation of reagan on amnesty. one thing i want to -- one thing hat's missing from this conversation is that the absence of the discussion of the democracy party and hillary clinton. when hillary clinton call million of americans baskets of
deplorables she sealed her fate. and that confirm what cath are's point was and her book but rural america and maybe even suburban america feeling alien net from the elite. she revealed the was an out of touch elitist. the two parties operatessed in a state of equilibrium and if the democrat nominated the liberal adlai stevenson he -- the convention would pick the more conserve estes key offer. if they november name -- this is all understand subjective but more but imrie than anything else. nominate the more liberal john kennedy, then he would pick the more conservative lyndon son john which both falsies because kennedy was automatically much more conservative than johnson and the same thing with the republican party.
the republicans nominated fdr would pick harry truman or gardner, more conservative. eisenhower would pick a conservative richard nixon, richmond nixon by 1960 was perceived as more conservatives and would pick henry cab -- cabot lodge and the republican party is easier to understand bit had more rat elements. the -- the democratic part was much more complex formulation. this changes beginning in 1964. now, goldwater breaks through the establishment, gets the nomination. ...
>> when they met in san francisco, goldwater -- the whole purpose of a convention is to produce a unified party. divided conventions tend to lose in the fall, and you think about it over time, it's that '68 the republicans were unified, the democrats were divided. '76, the democrats were divided, the republicans were united. in '80 the democrats were divided, the republicans were united. the united party tends to go on to win in the fall election, the divided party tends to go on and lose. so the whole purpose of a convention is to send a message to millions of voters that we are unified, and we have the solution for what bothers you or ails you.
'64, logic should have said that barry goldwater should have picked nelson rockefeller, bill scranton or some other moderate republican to produce a unified convention in order to at least have ao fighting chance against lyndon johnson in 1964, which is nonsense. the country was not going to stand for three presidents in 11 months. going to votet against the party of the martyred president. but he breaks conventions, and he picks the little-known congressman from buffalo, new york, bill miller. and goldwater was asked at the time why he picked bill miller, he said because he pisses off lyndonon johnson. [laughter] which probably really was the case. goldwater knew he had no hope of winning whatsoever, so he was just going to run an ideological, holy i quest. but this sends, begins the process of redefining the two
parties. so it sends millions of moderate to liberal republicans into the democratic party. but conversely, it attracts millions of conservative and moderate democrats into the republican party. so, for instance, john connolly, thean democrat, becomes a republican. strom thurmond, the democrat, becomes a republican. john lindsay, the republican, becomes a democrat. and other cases where liberal republicans joined the democratic party. so this starts a long process. now, it's extenuated by mcgovern in '72 because, again, mcgovern is the nominee. logic dictates he should pick a more conservative running mate to produce a unified convention. but, of course, the convention's a disaster because of eagleton. he ends up with sarge shriver who was admittedly a wonderful, wonderful man and a wonderful, wonderful family, but he was also a liberal x. in this sends -- begins the process of sending more conservative democrats out of the party and
attracting more liberal republicans. so by 1980 and here thereafter is that both parties have pretty much nominated only right of center or mostly right of center nominees in the republican party. the democrat party has nominated mostly or all left of center nominees. so we have now the polarization of the two parties that didn't exist. you know, you used to have conservative democrats and liberal republicans, so they could talk to each other. they could compromise. today you have these two polarized parties that really don't talk to each other except to yell at each other. and that is where we are today. i see good things to it and bad things to it. i s think compromise can be a gd thing. not always. >> we're going to get to where i'm wrong on immigration? >> yes, eventually. [laughter] yes, but -- >> i just don't want to forget the point. >> i i know. but you should be taking notes. [laughter] there'll be a test. >>ho okay, guys, okay, guys.
>> i am taking notes. >> let me just say that explains where the two parties are today. the fundamental misunderstanding of reagan's amnesty bill, it was done in the shadow of the cold war. reagan was not going to forcefully evict 500,000 americans from -- illegals or, you know, guests, whatever you want to call then, from the united states at a time when he's lecturing mikhail gorbachev on the virtues of freedom and chemem crass. that's number -- democracy. that's number one. many of them, not all, but many of them had fled communism in neck rag what and cuba, and we accepted communist emigres to, who were looking for political asylum in the united states. so to say that reagan -- i go through this all the time, this misunderstanding. it's much more sophisticated than you heard previously. [laughter] >> i think that's your cue, charlie. >> i wasn't sure what question
you asked him, but i think it had something to do with civility. [laughter] and when, perhaps, we -- [inaudible conversations] to engage in that. i, at some point maybe we'll talk about the role that newt gingrich played in all of that, because as you go back -- and i also have gone back historically, and what were g those moments, what was the recessive gene in conservativism that popped out in donald trump, you know? whether you're talking about a fatheron coughlin, whether you'e talking about a george wallace or a pat buchanan or the way that newt gingrich helped to foxfy our politics -- toxify our politics so deeply. but whatt i was actually referring to was the final speech that ronald reagan gave to the company. now, as i read this, i want you to imagine donald trump saying anything remotely like that. in my mind it was a tall, proud
city built on rocks, stronger than ocean, wind-swept, god blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. and if there had to be walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.wi that's how i saw it and see it still. so i apologize for my lack of sophistication in understanding that -- [laughter] but that strikes me as a vision of america and a vision of immigrants and of free trade that seems completely alien to much of the politics and the political rhetoric that we haved today. [applause] >> so the title of our panel was -- [laughter] what is the future of american conservativism. and we're going to come to a question to all three panelists about how do we get from where we are to where we want to be.
i also want to acknowledge that it would be quite possible to put together a panel very similar to this in terms of where liberals are today. our focus is, clearly, because of what we're doing, but the dilemma for both parties is deeply entrenched at this point in terms of the inability to be respectful of each other as human beings. i'm going to ask kathy and only kathy a very specific question -- [laughter] now, wait a minute, you took that differently than i meant it. [laughter] you truly did. >> we're just getting warmed up. [laughter] >> it's an element that she learned after she wrote the book and returned to those same coffee houses and gas stations to talk with people who had voted foron trump to discover whether they felt that what they believed trump would do, whether he had delivered. and in terms of the depth of the disengagement of millions of people in this country from our system, i think what kathy
learned is very important for all of us to hear. folks so, not donald trump is elected president what you expect to be different around here four or five years from now? what will change? almost universally the response immediately was nothing. nothing will change around here and what are you talking about? one guy even said look, we've been living in poverty for decades we keep telling you that and don't you hear us? residential elections don't affect us or our communities. what it said to me was even when people feel like their candidate one these folks were still feeling so disconnected that it wouldn't change their mind and one thing i want to for other
that i heard and i didn't hear from folks in small towns and rural communities but in the many different people i've had a chance to spend time with since the election was that i want to bring to the attention that that sentiment a feeling so disconnected from your government and so unheard an invisible is not unique to rural wisconsin and it's not unique to rural america. we hear it in so many different places in this country that sentiment of i'm not getting my fair share of attention of resources or respect and it's something that is in many pockets of the country. it is very sobering to me. you. >> thank you. [applause] >> one final question to the panelist and will open it up to you. our goal here was to take a look
at what is the future of conservatism and the question i will ask could apply to both liberalism and conservatism. the way to frame it in a way that i think is how we see it at the institute of many americans are thinking about whether red states, blue states or purple states -- what do each of you believe it will take to reestablish the social norms of civility and respect in our politics? anyone of you can begin. >> sure. that time when i wasn't falling asleep in high school physics i remember the professor saying power cannot be destroyed nor created but only moved around. that is what we're talking about today is that a lot of people believe and this is the nexus between elizabeth warren's beliefs and my beliefs or
conservatives an intellectual or libertarian conservatives. there is too much power concentrated in many people believe in washington and in corporate america and wall street and various institutions and that it what what donald trump represented and that he understood or at least is campaigned was that people were yelling at the sky because they perceived that the power had been taken away from them by big government and big corporations. i perceive that, you know, we are now the third most populous nation in the world and we have over 300 million people. behind only china and india. this is a broad country and vast and diverse and it's an antiquated idea and this goes to civility.
to think that you can govern this country from one corrupt city by the potomac river and that the only solution for everything for more efficient government and civil discourse, more power for the individual is to return power, 21st century federalism to return power and authority to the states and localities and ultimately the individual where the individual has more input in their own government practices in their own behavior and all those other things is that simply impractical and this is the failure or this is the conservatism and that's the other thing -- everyone needs to understand that there is a distinct difference between the republican party and the conservative movement. the american liberalism and democrat party tend to blend together more closely although they separate at times. conservative movement has been very distinct apart from the republican party for 40 years and resulted in the republic and
party was the dominate was gerald ford for the conservative movement was behind ronald reagan but even when reagan became president the conservative movement sometimes broke with ronald reagan. anyway i got off on a tangent but that's a central point for you to leave here is to understand that conservatism is american conservatism is timeless if you believe in individual rights and freedom and dignity and privacy because it stems from the individual and the american conservatism is derived from the enlightenment. if you want to lower, i think, the amount of vitriol and if you want to lower the amount of yelling and screaming and hatred and nastiness is to give people back power and take it away from the elites of corporate america in government and that's the best way to bring around civil discourse. thank you. kathy mark.
>> i would recommend to bring back civility and respect to our democracy that we establish a better ethic of listening and encourage listening. by that i fully acknowledge that right now it's not safe for everyone to listen to their opponents. take for example i will just take for example the very obvious existence of racism in this country and because of that it's not safe for some people to listen to those who think they are something less than human but i do think listening is extremely important in a democracy because basically what a democracy is as a form of government in which we are making decisions about each other and about how to govern and guide the lives of other people and if we are doing that with very little understanding of the humanity of the people whom we disagree with we are in
for a wealth of pain which i think is what we are experiencing right now. i advocate listening not so that we all watered down our opinions or moderate them but that we clarify our own opinions and see people hold different opinions as fully human and as fully human as we ourselves are. [applause] >> i want to reinforce what kathy just said in the listening is important but the question that you asked though i don't know what it will take to restore it. it is urgently important and it's not just a matter of good manners. you cannot have a functioning democracy if you are not willing to talk with one another and listen to one another and acknowledge the humanity and legitimacy of other people's points of view and that is what we're losing. i sense that rather than things getting better they are getting worse and i think it's urgently important that we have the kind
of dialogue were having today. to have a center-right and centerleft bill to talk with one another and to respect one another is very, very important because we don't do that then we will pull further and further into our own corners and frankly i do think that culture matters. the politics affects color and culture and the rhetoric of the president is having an effect on the level of civility. i am watching how many of his supporters and followers are modeling his behavior on social media and in personal interaction and that's one of the moment you step back and there's a debate, by the way, on the right particularly whether or not civility is a sign of weakness and whether or not talking about civility is simply a code word for surrender when what you should be wanting to do is smash your face and win. there's a i recommend a very thoughtful piece by david french in national review where he
makes the case for civility and again don't make the mistake of thinking this is simply good manners. it is the lifeblood of democratic debate and dialogue. >> thank you, charlie. [applause] in the remaining time we have we love to take questions from you in the audience. there it microphones on both aisles and we ask that you keep your question really short so that we, in fact, can take several of them. start. >> thank you for being here in trying to clear muddy water for us. i have a question and something i don't understand. i understand fiscal responsibility and taxation and global conservatives but in their certain issues i do not understand how they became conservative or liberal. abortion and why aren't more opposed to it and why aren't there more conservatives in favor of choice?
things like control why aren't there more conservatives want a stronger gun control and more liberals want to be armed. these don't seem to be issues that fall into liberal or conservatives but the conservatives have taken the one side and how do we get there? >> i will take that because we talked about this in dinner and i had a head start here. part of it is because choosing the sides where ideology has become the fixed-price menu where you have to take everything on the menu. what is a flat tax have to do with your opinion on gay rights for example? what does your position on free trade have to do with your position on guns? there are overriding principles of small government but one of the liberating things i think for me has been to realize you don't have to agree with everything. you don't have to check every single box. you could exercise independent judgment on a lot of these things. you ought to have principles and
the timeless principles that i think have citizen in good stead but this is part of the problem. in politics in particular if you are a democrat you must buy all of these positions and if you're a republican you must buy all of those. if you could break the ice and begin to have a conversation where people go okay, i disagree with you on this but agree on this and may be unwilling to give on that. >> thank you. i'll go to the next question. >> i agree with what you said fundamentally but i'm pretty much confused because it seems like the trump nationalism is going towards let's make the rich richer yet catherine, what you described is they want respect and more resources and more attention and it seems like it's a dichotomy going in different directions. the fundamental question i have is what do you see as the importance and the role of money in politics and the conservative
movement is going with that. >> kathy, want to take that first? >> briefly. i guess the answer i will give is to help explain why the folks i describe might be voting for a candidate who doesn't look like he will do much to bring resources to these type of communities. as i said these folks are not expecting much to change in their community with the trump presidency but instead what they heard was someone said you have a right to be upset and you do deserve more and it is their fault and gave people targets to blame, concrete targets to blame. immigrants, muslims, urban elites, he wasn't saying i will bring more stuff to your community but saying i will drain the swamp and do something completely different in changeup the slow resources that you don't think it's fair.
>> greg, we've, it -- >> i like to go back to this gentleman's question. >> please, keep it short. >> generally they break down on the concepts of freedom and justice which are the two organizing principles in the two-party value system for the public in party is generally organized or these conservatism generally organized around the concept of freedom hence the second amendment or freedom for the unborn individual or other issues like that is that but it's not perfect and it's imperfect because there are exceptions. justice has become the evolving organizing philosophy of the democratic party and the conflict always is that the freedom for you to make a dollar but the redistribution to text you and give it to another individual is how you perceive it and they will always be in conflict with each other. one man's concept of freedom conflicts often with another
man's concept of justice. generally it's not scientific or specific but it breaks down to those two concepts. >> how many people here are in favor of freedom? [laughter] how many of you are favorite are justice? [laughter] >> that's meaningless. you didn't ask them anything. in an abstract sense they would it would be something but. >> it meant something to them. >> oh, you are a talkshow host. [laughter] >> moving on. the gentleman on my left. [inaudible conversations] >> you spoken in middleton -- >> i thought you look familiar. great to see you. >> i have another what will it take question. we've established that we have a dangerously narcissistic post literate which i thought was interesting case of arrested
development in the white house. >> this has been hashed and rehashed. >> what will it take for our other wisconsin, paul ryan who i think we had a high level of pride in and what will it take for him to say was that 10% corporate tax right and is that all it will take for me to debase myself and to turn away from the values that i am supposed to support? what it will take? >> i like you, charlie, we will start with you. [laughter] [inaudible conversations] >> and very good friends with paul ryan i describe my relationship now as we are taking a break from the other and we are seeing other people. [laughter] the gates poem that the the left
lack conviction because the right art [inaudible] i think he's a fundamentally possible man who was made a bargain that i'm willing to overlook things and willing to enable in order to get certain things in his agenda. i understand that and understand real politics there and i'm not sure he do the same thing if he wasn't speaker but the problem with that is that the price gets higher and higher in higher. what profit does it for a man to gain the whole world if he loses a soul but for tax cuts? for lower marginal rate? i still think and hold out hope that i generated unfortunately a controversy when i had a moment of candor within your transporter is that i'm only getting sick and tired of saying that paul ryan must really be upset about this or be thinking about this because of who he speaks out but remember he was
one of the few people who is willing to draw a line and speak out in the primaries. i don't know the answer to your question. it's heartbreaking to me to watch what ryan and other republicans have decided to rationalize that have been willing to do it again we haven't gotten to the fourth act it. >> i apologize but i think we have time for only one more question and we are generating more questions but we do have to keep this tight in terms of time. >> i have a philosophical question about conservatism in general. the idea that i believe newt gingrich was proposed something very similar to what is now the affordable care act that went and became romney care and also, to apparently in the 60s the republican party or conservative area of the party they proposed
a universal minimum income at one time as a means of not having to deal with all these various different social programs and i'm wondering how that evolved to be against all these various different things at the present time even though you know that kind of thing solved problems even for them on the conservative side. >> conservatism has been evolving over many years but you are absolutely right. in 1971 the nixon administration proposed a minimally guaranteed household income which caused a split in the republic party. the group became known as the manhattan 12. they met at bill buckley's townhouse in new york city and signed a letter announcing they're split the nixon imagination led by bill buckley, jeff bell, stan evans and others. this is beginning of the break with richard nixon even before
watergate. as far as the healthcare, yes, heritage administration and newt gingrich signed onto an early version of what they later opposed but again he was one of the things that you compel people and it's a violation of personal freedom but compelled to pay for healthcare even though you might perceive it's for the better good. that was one of those tricky issues the republican party was wrestling with and of course, pharmaceuticals and others were involved in contracting money and healthcare operation so it got very, very muddy and it's pretty well set now and its concept of freedom versus justice as the to organize the two philosophies of the two parties. >> if you are really short and one person can respond given this minute and a half we have left. >> in your discussions with rural america in wisconsin i assume most of those people are european descent people, other words, whites.
i'm from an all-white state, vermont, no cities largest city is 60000 people and in my state we perceive that many of the voters in other parts of country found the trump slogan of make america great again were in fact responding to an appeal to make america both white again and question again. could you confirm or deny that and i'd be interested in that. it's a question for you resear research. >> how many seconds? >> it's in a great and important question. no doubt that racism was a part of these conversations at times. but i am pausing because it's complicated and i wanted to be compensated meaning that i don't want you to hear what i have to say as all these people are racist and that explains her views. yes, there is racism in their views and there's racism in
suburban and urban views and the way race works in this country is through pretty much everything so their attitudes about the economy and being overlooked in being disrespected and yes, it's partly intertwined with her sense that it used to be the case that a white person like me had a good quality of life and seems to have gone somewhere and i'm not sure where but if someone is coming along and telling me it's the fault of people with different skin color in times that can be a compelling story. it is too simple though to say that what drew people to donald trump was racism and a desire to have a white country. that is just not accurate for the views of the people shared with me. it's much more complicated and bigger than that. it's a sense of the life i thought i was working towards that i was playing all the rules in order to get is no longer
available to me and there is many, many things that play into that sentiment and thank you for raising racism because we shouldn't ignore it. [applause] >> i think the phrase the kathy used about the situation we are in is complicated, is very big and we are in a time in which not only our political leaders but many media personalities are in fact modeling this kind of instability and disrespect that keeps us divided and unable to experience one another's community. institute has initiative called revise ability where we the people will have to push back against the kind of modeling that we are seeing and we hope all of you would go to that website, www. revive stability .org and help shift this norm.
thank you all very much both here in the room and it c-span. [applause] remember, the authors are signing at the patent. credit will join them in about half an hour. on the and we have been live all we can. we have several more hours of the best coming up and we >> host: joining us now is one of the authors who was speaking at the last panel, and this is craig shirley. his two most recent books are about newt gingrich and ron reagan -- ronald reagan. craig shirley, is there anything different in the conversation the republican party is having about itself today than when reagan was president or george w. bush was president? >> guest: interesting. i think it was more