tv Author Discussion on Partisan Politics CSPAN February 21, 2020 2:24am-3:13am EST
[applause] >> hello there. i use to be a strategist with political campaigns were actually i made some acquaintance with karl rove let me introduce the panel starting at the other end jim ryder from the atlantic and his wife deborah and then not running for reelection in 2018 karl rove in 2,002,004 with president bush and a
fascinating book of the presidential campaign between with the kid me. and 1896. did i say 1996? i got up at 530 in the morning. [laughter] linda the new isolationism with the new global disorder which now seems prophetic he gave a remarkable speech so it fits perfectly with the topic. how polarized are we? looking at the most dire polarization since the civil war. >> but the lack of historical perspective doesn't help her
car we polarize compared to when exactly? 1968 are we as polarized as we were and the battle the answer is not particularly. we are a country that is going through it is a difficult phase of a marriage. that doesn't mean we shouldn't take steps to do something about this. but we don't need to use metaphors one thing that greatly worries me in the advent of social media should be called antisocial media. [applause]
has succeeding to re-create a form of politics what we thought had been put behind us. and the ability to create mob on social media in a way that is genuinely frightening and above all if you do nothing else today look up an extraordinary speech. to talk about the effect of being a writer in the forties
and fifties with the risk of saying anything consequential could be career ending. and on the very fringe of political discourse but that's the way we are as americans be make your former boss george w. bush listen to the inaugural address of donald trump and famously said something what kind of blank was that. is he uniquely divisive figure among presidents for polarization quick. >> it was purportedly said hillary clinton not barack obama and i can either affirm nor deny. [laughter] that he is not uniquely as far
as presidential candidates. had a very few divisive presidents one of them was his model of jackson. and this is routine. and on the nullification process and even with those public pronouncements. but each one of these moments we are not at war. so let's not get carried away. so i want to go into my brilliant talk now. [laughter]
each moment seems to be different. to look at other moments of the 18 forties and 18 fifties. than instantaneous movement. and then to go from new orleans to boston. and in the gilded age. with cheap daily newspapers because the cost has dropped him not - - dramatically. in the 19 twenties and 1930s with using the new technology, radio. with anti- immigrant sentiment around the country.
that which tended to bring us together temporarily. we will survive this president just as we have survived previous presidents. it will take a concerted effort to deal with social media what has given rise there is a reality behind people's feelings why they are sanguine as they are. and people on both sides and then if we can figure out how to bridge the divide. >> and then the united states senate decides not to run again.
that you think it's worse and when you sit down with historians and then we can get through this. >> i will repeat this. [laughter] >> sorry didn't catch that. >> say that again. [laughter] but read the soul of america. we have been through worse and we got through it, that was before nuclear weapons and twitter. so you wonder if this is a different era. and as the elected official and the incentives right now to get the work together or to deliberate and every incentive to stay where you are.
because that is the political safety and i suppose we'll be there for a while. but elected officials but then you see over the last several weeks the incentives and then until those incentives change then we will be in this. >> that is the perspective from history. and when you travel around the country how much different is it out there versus the beltway quick. >> yes i think so. confirmed that normal
narrative and that which is reflected in the panel i agree with karl rove and senator flake this is part of american disruption of the 18 forties or 18 eighties got technological change and political strife one of the things that we saw of the second gilded age so yes those are what comes from that but second all of us have been involved in national politics one way or another i work for carter as a speechwriter. the national politics of our tribal eyes and polarized and the very first in 1974.
but with the kansas state government began cutting back school funding so they had a big school levy to fund the latino school population. this also happened in michigan. and we found things like that all over the place. and then in sioux falls is a girl who worked out - - walked out in devonport and her mother worked at the pork processing plant. and the public schools were arguably the most innovative in the state if you want to see what public schools can reinvent themselves and one
more point on the press there has been an overcorrection by the national press that was with enormous consequences one of the primal impulses there was the fear of missing out so people go out to diners in iowa and kentucky and west virginia and how do they argue really? talk about national politics you will hear anything interesting from the second up who is moving thank you see more of the fabric of renewal
in china looks less impressive. china looks less impressive the closer you get. [applause] >> let me follow that up with the decline of local newspapers what is the impact. >> it has a profound impact one of the most practical but their bond rating deteriorates. that the city government is not held accountable. it's something i have been very interested in. and with the new models for local journalism with the hedge fund or private equity might all - - model also the report for america which is
the organization everybody should and its experimentation perk i will tell you now. the business model is a shared investment a small paper struggling for a new reporter on the new be like healthcare and reservations in wyoming to put up $10000 it has to raise $10000 from local philanthropy so for $40000 a year they get a reporter in their mid or late twenties when they started they had 13 people / or they had 61 this year is
250 they are aiming for 1000 so here ends my speech. >> but what did you mean the dying art of disagreement quick. >> first of all disagreement is an art done well or very badly and to seriously engage with the person that you disagree to denigrate that person. but because our ability to disagree productively isn't always for the sake of persuading owning them against the arguments of our opponent
that seems to be fading anecdotally in my experience at least great physicist once approved a bad student to say you're not even wrong. [laughter] and suggest to elaborate if i ask a young child that is wrong but if she says banana sometimes i make comments on my column you are not even addressing the argument in making than that is genuine the problem - - problematic because to disagree well you have to understand well. that is fundamental you have to know your opponents argument so well you not only rehearse them you can make the
argument better than he could make and then to have a genuine and serious disagreement. and to point out what is important with social media it has two kinds of thinking. but all that technological political progress has been made all the words that begin with i do whether a marriage or an agreement. but democracy rests on the person that says i don't. i don't agree. i don't go along. you want to hear me.
someone we think 50 years from now america prospers are not is whether we remain a country that is not only receptive but went out of its way to give them some space to make their case. if we become a society to treat as heretics we will have a future as grim as those places of the world with a potential capital offense and through the means that appear to be voluntary to be that naysayer carries such social
and financial penalties that nobody dares to say i don't agree. [applause] >> i have to point out - - was not even a word until coined by harding. >> but now that has achieved a state of normal. >> and then to bring us out of bed dynamic one --dash gigantic enormous recession. i don't read my social media posts. i have 600,000 twitter followers. who are these people?
i make my curmudgeon chief of staff rita and if it's something worth responding to, . but the problem is the anonymity i am posting something on twitter or facebook so i could say the crudest, nastiest and most vicious things so some people pay attention so i don't pay attention. there are people worth listening to. because it is depressing to see what social media has done to the brains of our fellow citizens i worry about the new york times it worries me that it appears to be driven by a town hall meeting it says we have to pay attention to what our leaders are telling us.
and baking the forgiveness of a 20 -year-old digital assistant editor for having had a neutral headline on donald trump. and to lose the sense and to be following their leaders. so i get this. tucker carlson and to follow their offense. that social media is the corrosive influence the responsibility of the media to tell the gift of facts and not
play into their twitter feed with each new innovation real work ourselves out of it. we had a good relationship at the white house as the unpaid agent of fidel castro. he's in favor of a lot of things that i am opposed. but incentives but i see among the senate and the younger group of senators democrat and republican they didn't go there for their careers given the right moment republican in
new hampshire and to work it through and get it done so we will see more of that people will say i didn't come here to spend six years or ten years of my life by getting reelected. went to get something done for our country and it works better if leadership says fine i'm the president working across party lines but also may work well in the absence so i see it a little bit now but a sense of a lot in conversations. >> is the rising art of agreement? >> i think there is a rising desire to get something done by the founders to require a
compromise. >> that's why portman and shaheen negotiate this out that's why we see the war resolution and other moments where the congress seemingly comes together republican and democrat but it's the desire to get something done in the years ahead. >> have you been to the beach the spies swap allowed us to change the policy so i felt that he wanted to get rid of the castro brothers let freedom ring let anybody go
for spring break. [laughter] >> i don't like funding the state apparatus we have had this conversation for many many years for other people who get along and agree yes with criminal justice reform a year ago something on a smaller scale light cory booker and for very different reasons some of that is happening right now on climate change and like chris coons on one side trying to get the republican party to acknowledge there is something here and we have to move forward so i do see the efforts of that and the difficulty is to try to
explain to your constituents working across the aisle is not something you put in a campaign brochure these days. they use to. but not now and then to get blowback for that. and i think they will ultimately because populism is not a governing philosophy to go in and the big problems we need to solve with gun policy that you have to have agreement across party lines both agreed to hold hands and share the political risk and incentives will have to show change in a large-scale. >> we use to have a common base of knowledge but we
observe most of the time everybody is entitled to their own opinion but nobody's entitled to their own fact that we live in a different factual universe. >> on this point over time people are uninformed. and the history professor before becoming a writer and said most people didn't know anything about history or whatever. so to a parallel or slightly different answer to me the two great pieces of writing on this question of how we come together and transform these
are the two that are always on my mind when i think of as the modern american history by william james in 1910 the most catastrophic episode in american history all of these sacrifice and idealism so how do you have the moral equivalent cracks how do you do the great things that i think american leaders have found ways to do that also looking backward to imagine the united states in the future that solved the problems in the point i will make to close this is a lot of the big shift of american
awareness come from that presidential personality that when i was working for jimmy carter nobody would have become president if not for nixon or watergate people thought we needed something different they thought that was those representatives and i think the sense that we are better than our government will lead to a different personality. >> i want to point out something we deal in a culture about the facts generally we have had a sense of a common vision of where the country was and what it represented but we disagree about the fundamental facts all the time.
obviously we have a difference of opinion with the ability to block people to function in society to talk about what constitutes the facts and the different path policy battles i think the truth is this and we need to respond in this manner and then to galvanize public opinion by convincing people this is the reality that we face and the answer we must take that's the resolution of these issues i'm not sure we are a country where we always agreed on the place we always had deep disagreements about the facts of the situation. >> but those that portray two completely different pictures
of the country and one of the examples for discrimination the way blacks were treated was completely wrong on the merit and morally. we have disagreed before. >> i agree with you but the point was there was a disagreement reading a book called the reconstruction in texas 1886 grassroots reconstruction. the stories of what is happening in for texas counties over the last 40 years of the 19th century is unbelievable. the amount of violence that took place on a routine basis because we had a disagreement as to whether or not fellow americans were be true - - being treated as equal. >> with great respect for
moynihan but it's a slightly stupid quote. [laughter] because what we are really disagreeing on at a certain level are the questions and i gave a speech the other day here in palm springs on the subject of how to predict when i can think of to go wrong. we have had views of the trajectory of japan in the 1980s or china today for that matter but the significance to you in 1985 were japanese better than american tv then that should tell you about the future that japan will become
a great power and the united states will be eclipsed and it's a significant effect with their democrat one --dash demographics in downtown tokyo. sought a certain level those were all facts. >> i get it serious people disagree the subject of what is the significance. and up point of data. i need to make one additional point there is a view called high brow respectable media to hold truth and standard and accuracy in the values of
authenticity versus garbage media subverting democracy working from the wall street journal for many years. but one of the problems we have in the united states is institution session hold themselves particularly to scrupulous standards when it comes with their reporting and analysis and met those standards as well as they should. so to provide an opening to see it's all fake and fraudulent the way that those demographics secede is not by telling a lie but a half-truth those are far more effective
and i don't just mean that media but academia as well. then to be that genuine disseminate or of what you need to have a rational civilized democracy. so that's on us and that we have to but that's another story. >> and then to make this better. and then we will conclude. at the institute of southern california where we try to model people are opponents but not enemies if you lose the
game you don't burn down the stadium. you respect each other and respect the truth but to get back to that kind of politics. >> my observation with hundreds of smaller towns how local level american democracy is happening in this is impossible and when you get there do not ask people about donald trump or nancy pelosi or anybody else and asked them what is happening. the argument with greenville south carolina very conservative and burlington vermont which is progressive that are the extreme and national discussions work the same way you would think they were the same city. so there is this fabric that
if that can percolate into the national level that is great and how people are engaging. and an executive order to require local officials sign off before refugees are received. and very few cases have taken the president up on that. and then said we want more refugees please send them here. and that's what could happen
on the national level because social media makes it difficult. one year ago after the president i'm sorry after the midterms the democrat was elected and she had a campaign event filmed where she used very crude and folder language that the president should be impeached. to be quite critical of the president's use of vulgar language. the way he speak should not excuse rest of us we should be better. but there were 30000 comments on that post and of course they were all over the map but the majority was if the president speaks this way then so must we. if that site does it then so
must we. and then to point out the need for leadership and they do that daily small towns you have to get along and not even on a bipartisan basis because that's what you do but if you ask about national politics i hope at the national level b could have people model better behavior. . . . . the texas legt
organized on a partisan basis. when jen was a young journalist with texas monthly, i was a young staffer for one of the 16 republicans out of 150 in the house of representatives and my boss had been a committee chairman sue even today with republican majorities in the house and senate, the longest-serving committee chairman in the senate as a democrat, chairman of major committees in the house like transportation or democrat. so we only need for 140 days
over the switcher had to cut spending by 10%, not for the future growth literally cut from where we were by 10% and the bill passed the house of representatives 143 come excuse me 147 to three and it was because people were forced in a practical way that we are in the committees and local towns and counties and so forth to find a way to get it done that keeps forward progress minimizes politics. it's one of the great things we have in texas at friday night football and politics are two bloodsports but when we come together form hundred 40 days for a great degree of politics that step aside and both parties are forced to work together. >> what is the central form of
politics today it's not too often the center bends towards the fringe where it ought to bend to the center, and i think the center is bending towards the fringe needlessly switches that the gravity of american politics still is at the center. most people in america are not on twitter or reading comments and they are not, they haven't been driven crazy thinking about politics isn't what they do 24/7 even if you take the total viewership in the united states today with msnbc or fox news is a small fraction of the country. whabut i do think has to happene have to recover not just the institutions, but the self-confident of the center to express itself may be a little more forcefully about what kind of country we want to be and
most emphatically don't want to be and i suspect that is going eventually to happen. the worst event in the world for the last 240 odd years has been the bethat against the united ss and every few years someone bets against the united states because china are the fascists and somehow they are always wrong because what is unique about the country and the strength of the country are not the visible evidence of disarray and imperfection. it's the invisible side is what jim is all on the flights across the country that is going to redeem us. >> i want to first thank all of you and jim, jeff, carl and brand and make clear for the record but actually, i think warren harding used to be the second worst president in