tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg March 29, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: david brooks is here. he has been a columnist for "the new york times" since 2003. he is known for tackling wide ranging subjects from politics and the presidency to capitalism and character. more recently, he has turned his focus to the 2016 presidential campaign. i am pleased to have him back at this table. welcome. david: thank you. charlie: it has been too long,
but i know you have books to write and other things to do. david: wine to drink. charlie: food to eat. david: museums to see. charlie: isn't it great to have a huge appetite? that is what i say. i don't want to see anybody with a small appetite. david: you should have a bunch of opera stars. charlie: i was speaking to someone the other day who felt they had been stolen from having a big life. i thought, that's sad. a big life is not being a celebrity or having a lot of money. a big life is being connected to all that is possible. david: i have a journalist friend who asked a woman, what would you do if you were not afraid, and the woman started crying. so there are people who are just held back. just told back, like me. h -- just held back.
like me. charlie: well, you get into things like marriage, responsibility, mortgages, career. david: i always tell my students, two thirds of you will be more boring at age 30 then you are now. people's happiness is high in their 20's and then bottoms out at 47 -- which is called having teenage children -- and then it rises after they have gone away. when people are older, they look at the world in a happier way. they look at happier phases. they don't look at the bad phases. and you get to a certain age and you sort of know who you are. you can take a big risk toward the middle of life, or even toward the end of life, because you can see how it is all adding up. you have the resources and you are ready to take the risks. because you basically have a ground of stability. and that is what you are taking risks for. charlie: so, you are taking risks? david: i hope so. partly, this election, i messed up big time by not knowing trump was coming.
when something like that happens, you take a look and think, what did i miss about america? i am too much in the corridor. i have to get out. charlie: you mean the corridor between boston to new york to washington. rather than being -- david: i travel every week, but i am at a college here, so i am always in the bubble. and so, i have to get out. the other thing is, i achieved way more career success than i ever thought i would, so it's time to take some chances on the spiritual realm, on the emotional realm. and so, i got nothing to lose. charlie: let me come back to that. there is so much about trump to talk about, but you are willing to take chances on the spiritual realm. what does that mean? david: i went to a summer camp for 15 years and i had a friend who was exuberance personified. he could not get through a sentence without clicking and whistling because he just had an
inner light that radiated. he died last week. two weeks ago now. i went to see them on what happened to be the day he died. he greeted death with such confidence and almost joy. he was a man of deep faith, and i am going to the kingdom. to have such deep faith and greet death that way. and he was a man who had gone to honduras a lot, had helped with domestic violence, and had been a youth counselor. he led a life of selfless giving. i certainly don't have that. how do you get that? you see examples like that, and you think, what do i have to cut loose to get that, because that would be wonderful. charlie: you have spoken to that idea in other places. david: of course. it has been a lifelong passion,
but frankly, reading a bunch of books about it or writing a book about it doesn't get you there. charlie: talking to someone who has lived it is what gets you there. david: or living in. buying books about it -- like my book. but you have to get there with the direct contact with the people. you have to have an emotional connection. and a lot of us in middle-age hopefully become more open and, frankly, more feminine. and so, you have got to be -- the radical leap has to be within the realm of emotional vulnerability. which is lived out day-to-dave. -- day-to-day. charlie: part of this comes from the fact that you know that you have the skills of life, in a sense. you have skills that you can, as you say, you have a certain level of achievement and comfort. david: carl jung said the first
half of life is building the outside world. the second half should be building the inside. finding a cause. a lot of us get more emotional equipped and then you get more used to it. you try to widen your repertoire of emotions with relationships, music, literature. and suddenly, you are more emotionally sensitive to people, and you are hopefully braver and willing to be more vulnerable, willing to slow down. that is something that is challenging for me, but out of that comes a risk. there is a guy named joseph who said, leisure is not having time to play golf, it is having your mind goes slowly enough so that intoorld can be invited you. getting your mind to slow down to the right pace is the challenge. charlie: a friend as he was
approaching death, within days, said if i had only time, i would do nothing. and to do nothing is when you are exposing yourself to all that is there, not having a schedule, in ambition. it is -- david: inner formation does not always look like outer formation. my last book was based on the difference between the resume and the eulogy virtues. the resume is what you have when you are alive, it the eulogy is what they say about you after you die. we all want to be good at the eulogy virtues, be honest, honorable, capable of great love, but how you get there is sometimes a matter of passivity. another piece of great writing is on the sabbath, take a day off. the sabbath is a palace in time.
you work so you can climax your week at the sabbath. and, it is done by abstention, by saying no to things. into that is an invitation for it to pop up. charlie: is this part of a conversation with students at yale? david: a bit. my class is about commitment making. my last book was too individualistic. aboutsome things wrong inner life. and characters in my book, eisenhower, dorothy day, were able to make awesome commitments inside themselves. that strikes me as the key to a good life. the argument in my class is you make 4 big it commitments in -- you make for big commitments in life. to a spouse and family, to a
vocation, to a philosophy or faith, and to a community. and how well you make and maintain those commitments will determine the quality of your life. whether it is a partner or a faith -- charlie: it's an ongoing learning process. david: to me, a commitment is falling in love with something and then building a structure of behavior around it for those moments when love falters. you cannot think yourself into who to marry. you cannot think yourself into a vocation. you have to love your way into it because it is such a big stretch of time. trying to imagine your future itself. so you have to be vulnerable enough to be a deeply loving creature. thathen there are moments suck. you have to have the discipline of community and craft. my craft, a surgeon has to has tools. in my case, i have a very bad memory. and so, what i do is write everything down, and when i write a column, i sometimes have 200 pages of research material and notes, and my craft is i lay them out in piles on the floor of my living room, and each pile
is a paragraph. so it is only 806 words, but i have files right across the floor. the process is not taking them to the keyboard, the process of writing is crawling around on the carpet and laying out my piles. sometimes when the ideas are flowing, i am writing notes to myself and that's the best part of my job. that craft, what we do for a living, that is what disciplines our commitment. charlie: when you do that, do you know where it starts and ends, or do you think of it almost as containers, as in shipping, and how it ends up and how you get in and how you get out will depend on how it , comes together. david: i need to see a geographically or it is just a jumble in my head. and so but, when you get the order right, the words will flow. if you get the order wrong, it
is all choppy. and once you get it wrong, you cannot fix it. you have to start over. it's completely new. charlie: you could have a thought or opinion and when you sit down to confirm it, nothing comes out. david: and you know you're wrong. charlie: the reasoning was wrong. or the confusion. about fancy not words. it is about traffic management. getting the structure right is the foundation. i do it on my floor. some do it on a wall. charlie: but it is about words in the end. yes, you get the piles right and you have the ideas in there, that in the end, you have a command of words. david: yes, but i'm not proust. i write for a newspaper.
[chuckles] david: another key -- i saw something online, and this is the lesson of my two favorite writers, orwell and cs lewis, never use a big word when a small one will do. both are some of the greatest stylists of the age. they wrote for radio, so they wrote with great clarity. they had to be heard. so they wrote great narratives. it has to be heard. but there is still artistry involved. i mean, orwell was a genius at the first sentence. during the blitz when he was being bombed in world war ii, he wrote an essay and the first sentence, " high above my head, highly civilized human beings are trying to kill me." it is a great first sentence. it drives you write into it.
into it. charlie: did cs lewis have a religious influence? david: he wrote four love's which is a book i highly recommend. there are words in there -- you could be christian or not christian -- the definition of pride, of sin, of seoul. the idea that there is a core piece of yourself that with every decision you make you change that core piece of yourself into something more wholly or more degraded. now, you could take that concept and you don't have to believe in god or not. he uses secular language to describe parts of our moral architecture in a way that is so clear and commonsensical. charlie: but he had a real one-to-one relationship with jesus. david: he definitely became a christian, but it took him a long time to get there. and for him, he wrote that christianity was not to a warm religion. it was a high longing and a lens through which he saw the world. he had a very writer's approach to faith, less ecstatic and more common sense. charlie: indeed.
me, back to what you referenced, how is your evolution taken place on donald trump? where was it? what was the interim? and, where you now? because you have been very strong. david: i didn't take them seriously for the longest time. i knew there was dislocation and a coalition of the dispossessed in the country, but i didn't think they would turn their dispossession to him, just because i do think he answers any of their problems. charlie: but do you know why they think he does? david: so, i think there are a couple of things going on here. one, people are into manners. they are attracted by revolutions in manners more than revolutions in policy. and he has revolutionized the manners of how you run for president. charlie: what do you mean? david: for the first debate, he had already insulted carly fiorina's face.
charlie: and john mccain's -- david: right. and rand paul says i'm not going to insult his looks, but i have a lot to work with over there. that is a way to run that nobody had ever run. he took the style of professional wrestling and brought it to politics. and what he did, and i think the most egregious thing we have seen in the last week or two, is he has offered us a different and uglier form of masculinity, which a lot of people are drawn by and a lot of women are repulsed by. and, basically, we have a form of masculinity in our culture that i think we should be there he proud of. over the last generation, we have taken -- our ideal man combines traditionally feminine and traditionally masculine traits. to be successful at work but gentle at bath time.
to honor the woman in your life at whatever she wants to do, but to be romantic at the same time. and so we are called on to be both male and female, and i think that is a wonderful way of idealizing what is a great goal for all of us. but trumpet eliminates that. he is pure masculinity and his treatment of world is an arena where males compete and women are objects. their body is there is a complement to the status of the man. to me it is a degraded form of masculinity. charlie: but the question ought to be raised does he mean what he says and does he say what he means? in both of those cases. because, he has built in his own mind, i am the best, i am the best, i am the best. do you believe that? now, you have written for eight years about the supreme confidence of barack obama, a
very different kind of confidence. much less bravado. and much less emoting. david: obama is confident, but he backs it up with actual knowledge and substance, and integrity, and humanity. charlie: he doesn't see the world as win-lose. david: he sees it as a conversation. sometimes to a fault. [check swing] david: i wrote that i miss oh obama because he has a grace and elegance that is sorely lacking this year. trump epitomizes that. but obama's confidence is a believe in a set of ideas, whereas trumps is a belief in himself. charlie: and winning and losing. say, he haso, as i
a heartless view and i am completely repulsed by him, to be honest. i have rarely been this motivated by a political figure in a negative way. and partly because i think he is taking a lot of people of taken economic loves and he is telling them -- he is telling them, i am your hero. i will change things for you. david: it's authoritarian. they are all stupid and i can solve it, obviously. and, you may not be thriving, but at least you are better than women or mexicans, or muslims. charlie: do you think he can win the nomination? david: well, yes. it's hard for me to imagine, but i have been wrong before. his favorable-un-favorability rating is like 25-55 or 60. if you've got 60% unfavorable and you're on favorable rating with women is 75, unless you turn minds, then you are doomed.
those unfavorable ratings, among the total population are very stable for eight months. into my women, they are rising. women, they are rising. charlie: so, how did it happen? he has all of these qualities or lack of qualities, and he is on the precipice of getting the nomination for president. david: there are two big things. one is, there is a piece on the front page of the new york times. a much discussed piece that the republican party was basically the party of the white working class. they spent 25 years harvesting their votes and offering them nothing. there is a slow building anti-political wave that has been building for 30 years. we live in a diverse country. there are two ways to govern a diverse country. one is through politics, negotiation, compromise, which is unsatisfying.
you have to listen to people you disagree with. the other way is through force. you get a strong man to bully his way through. and so we have gotten sick of politics and sick of compromise. and in the republican party, the willingness to compromise has become a sign of weakness, so the only alternative is force. there is a tolerance of an authoritarian personality type. charlie: it is almost as if he has become an action hero. david: every interview he does, he did an interview with us and the washington post, the transcript from the washington post, they ask him if he thinks african-americans are unfairly targeted by police. a concrete question. he knows nothing. so he starts talking about immigration. talk show orto a conversation or a test, if you're a student, you're nervous if you have no level of preparation. but he is not nervous even if he is unprepared.
most people go in and buy a sofa with more preparation than he is running for president. charlie: my point is, does he know that? or is it that he would see the world in a different way. and all those people who profess to be as jeffrey goldberg , suggested -- and i realize we are talking about different levels of intellectual preparation, but this donald trump somehow think, look, all those people are supposed to be smart. lotven says, i learned a about foreign policy from what i see on the television on sunday shows. i was in china. and sitting next to me was a man who was a very, very successful businessman. and he said i just know he's going to be different. i said do you know anybody supporting donald trump, and he said me. me. and i said, why? and he said, because he will get
on the phone and say to vladimir putin, i am coming for you. you say that will never get anything accomplished. he believes it does. that is what you do and that is what is necessary because that meru --of the menu -- that he lives in. david: the idea that you could get on the phone and somehow vladimir putin would see the light. i mean, do we think the state department is filled with idiots? problems are collocated. and the big problems of the world are not a question of one person coming to the table and being tough. they are structural. charlie: the president has said "i am more concerned about climate change than isis." david: they are both important. it's hard to rank them. charlie: but he said that. david: but climate change is a
complex, structural problem. charlie: that's my point. that's why he said that. david: but you cannot browbeat people into compliance. somehow, i didn't see it coming, and i am not alone. a lot of us didn't see it coming. i am sure there are people now claiming they did, but in part because we had seen this kind of candidate run before. the party that nominated mitt romney, john mccain, bob dole, george w. bush, nominates a certain kind of person. suddenly, we get a black swan. nonetheless, there are a lot of trump voters out there. i would run into them, but i didn't take them seriously enough. maybe i was blinded by my own prejudices. and i have trouble with the people who do vote for him. how does one regard them? i have some level of sympathy, because obviously, they have been dislocated by the economy. on the other hand, i think they
are supporting a guy who is polluting the cultural atmosphere in which our kids are raised, with the attacks on ted cruz's wife and all that stuff. i think voters have to have some culpability for that. charlie: so, what happens if donald trump crashes and burns? what happens to their grievances? david: well, the grievance stays. and out of the darkness of despondent's, i have constructed a very optimistic narrative for the republican party, which is that the republican party party had grown obsolete. it had been imprisoned by reaganite categories, which were great for the 1980's. but it is 26 years later. and, donald trump was the agent of death for that old structure, and that old structure is never coming back. and so, after the revel of what
i hope will be a trump defeat, there will be what thomas kuehne called a revolutionary period. end after these scientific paradigm collapses, you will have all of these theories floating all over the place. eventually one of them will rise. who knows which one will rise. it will focus on two things. there will be a segmenting of america and the disunity of the social fabric. the problem with the reaganite orthodoxy which christened at the republican party is you have all of these big problems, wage stagnation, inequality, and the republicans had no response because they didn't believe in government for anything. the future of the republican party will have to believe in government action because the structures require it. ♪
technological change, the rise of religious fundamentalism, the rise of ethnic nationalism. all of these things are making the world and uglier place then it looked like in the 1990's. isrlie: who besides it you articulating the kind of idea or narrative, or structure that you believe ought to and may emerge from all we are going through? david: well, you know, i am awake. and so if anybody has seen it, there was this guy named a latino hamilton -- hip-hop artist. chuckling] david: he created -- my shorthand view is that there are two parties but three structures in movements in this country. there is a conservative movement that believes in limiting government to enhance freedom. there is a liberal movement believes in using government to
enhance equality. and a third movement believes in using government to enhance social mobility, giving people the tools to rise. to rise up and compete in a capitalist economy. i still think the human capital agenda, not only giving people access to colleges, the giving them the emotional and psychological capacity to compete, is the big agenda. charlie: in do you hope that might emerge out of all of this? david: i hope. i am not confident because the country has turned ethnic-nationalist. this is my view. there are so many things we can do to surround people with loving relationships that would give them the emotional security to thrive and succeed, and we are, unfortunately, graduating from a very economical view of human nature, which is that we all respond to incentives and tax cuts, to a more relational view, that we are primarily loving creatures and not thinking creatures. we are all emeshed.
and unless we are and meshed in a web of love -- charlie: you sound like john kasich. there is no one articulating that, it is almost a third way, in a sense. it's a traditional definition between some sense of social responsibility and conservative fiscal policy that enables you to create the skills that enable you to prosper in a modern economy. david: if you do have those
relationships, it's very hard to exercise self-control, to sit in a school room and build a relationship with a teacher, to sit in a modern workplace where computers are doing all of the non-personal stuff. i came across a study in a book called life reimagined by barbara bradley haggard. they did a study of all of the guys from world war ii. some rose to high ranks and some didn't. what explains that? you might think intelligence. not that. social class? no. physical courage? no. it was relationship with the mother. people who had been given deep love by their mothers were capable of giving deep love to the men in their units, and therefore they rose. it's a shift in the way we are thinking about social policy, which is all economic. i think both the right and left are making that shift. pope francis is making that shift. and that opens a wider array. charlie: relating family and social connections across the diversity of the socialized world, conservatism needs a
worldview that is accurate about human nature. was there a key in your experience that unlocked this for you, or was it simply the progress of a curious mind? david: i hope it is the progress of a curious mind. i rarely have epiphanies, but i realize things in retrospect. charlie: as we often do. david: the story begins to make sense to me as i go through it. charlie: so what story makes sense? david: the emotional opening i have been talking about. i wrote a book called the social animal about six years ago. charlie: and talked about it on this program. david: you are good for my books. the role of cognitive science has shown us, including work from a man named antonio, shows it is wrong to think that reason and emotion are opposite. emotion is the foundation for reason.
emotion is a value device, a motivational device. love is what motivates you to do well in your job. it motivates you to get through med school, through the marine corps. you have to think of humans in those terms. we will not always be motivated by incentives. charlie: coaches teach that. they do. love your colleagues. love your teammates. love the game. david: and knowing yourself well enough to have the right desires. some of us think we want one thing but we actually want another because we don't know ourselves well enough. and surrounding yourself -- this is the commitment -- the willingness to fuse yourself with another person, with an identity. there is a quote i love from the author of captain crilly's "captain corelli's
mandolin." in the book, there is a man talking to his daughter about his wife who is now dead. he says love is an art form. your mother and i had it. while we were loving each other -- i am sort of mangling the quote -- roots were growing into the ground. and as all the pretty blossoms fell from our branches, we discovered we were one tree. and not two. and that gradual fusing of the roots overground, -- underground, that is what you want when you are becoming a writer, a journalist, or in a relationship, or serving your city. you want to be so joined with that thing you love that the commitment is rock solid. charlie: the democrats. bernie sanders. no one would've predicted that as well. i am not sure where they would have gone other than some sense of -- or, how do you see it? what is that about and how is it different from what trump is
about? david: well, sanders is a more substantive figure than trump, for sure. but this is also a product of the segmentation of society. a lot of people are just ill-served by this economy. we have to figure out what to do about it. sanders has a coherent explanation. charlie: which he has had for 60 years. david: it's like the hedgehog and the fox. the hedgehog knows one thing. that's sanders. the fox knows many things. that's clinton. and so it is interesting to watch these two styles. there is integrity and consistency. there is consistency. we have to think for all of our candidates, execution strategy. how is any of this going to happen? i am not sure any candidate really solves it. i do not think the primary is allowing them to solve it. how do you get 60 votes? charlie: you with think somebody running for president would have thought about it.
that's what you would hope. i mean, i thought about it instantly in which they are like pourpty vessel and people things into it, so what comes out as a campaign speech or talking points. understanding where the country is, what is in contrast and opposition, and how do you fix that. and how do you go to, as mayor cuomo famously said, from poetry to prose? from campaigning to governing? david: i think what barack obama taught us is it's not enough to be good at campaigning. he came in trying to transcend that every line you can think of the and trying to cross. and so, you have to have a set of policies that cuts across lines, a little from column a. charlie: he thought he could prevail. he thought his own pursuit of bipartisanship would overwhelm the opposition. david: i think he had a genuine trans-partisan aspiration, but
his policies were not trans-partisan. they were very predictable. there is a natural alliance between progressive democrats and evangelical christians. you could put together policies that would give each of them what they want in addressing poverty, and get 60 votes, but you have to be willing to step outside the orthodoxy of your party and say i am going to take a little from them -- and a little from -- charlie: but why wouldn't he? david: because it is very damaging. the people in your own party go crazy if you step outside. charlie: and how do we change the politics then? is it the nature of the people we are electing today because of redistricting? david: partly. the people who rise in congress have good donors and fundraisers. and they tend to be partisan. but partly it is just leadership. but you have to have five people at the top of society, for congressional leaders and the president, and they have to say ok, this is over.
we are going to cling together and i'm going to grab you by the hip and we are just walking through this. we are going to govern in a bipartisan way. charlie: it has to come from the president and the congress. do you believe that is possible with paul ryan? david: do. he is a little trapped in the reagan era, but i think his aspirations are real. if there is a hillary clinton, i think there is a possible. you know, we all believe in transparency and open laws,ment and sunshine but my friend from the brookings institution says that government should do some things in private for the same reason village people should wear clothing. you don't want to see everything. i think it's the only way to begin the term. the leadership can make the terms.
charlie: here is one thing you have said talking about sanders and trump. there is a deep passion embedded in the trump and sanders phenomenon for energy, magical thinking. and a suspension of disbelief. david: we tend to overestimate our individual effort. charlie: i believe it's not just about the marketplace. it has to do with your ability and your initiative to change lives, and start with the people that are closest to you. changing lives meaning being open to the things you talked about. all the stuff you believe in terms of love and that there is a capacity to make a difference. david: we all know people who had every disadvantage but one person in their life with total rock solid faith and a set of standards.
extremely successful people often have one parent who is very problematic with conditional love and one who is filled with unconditional love. i read a study years ago that if you look at people who are phenomenally successful in good and bad ways, or phenomenally ambitious would be another way to put it, and amazing percentage of them lost a parent between ages 9-12. security was taken away and they became hustlers. ♪
♪ charlie: we had this remarkable piece by jeffrey goldberg, which you and every other writer i know has praised. talk about that piece, what you saw in it, and what it tells you. because you said, there is a difference between a dog and a cat, and barack obama is a cat. david: dogs bound into situations, and cats hang back. charlie: so george w. bush? david: dog to the extreme and barack obama is a cat to the extreme. charlie: you talk about their sense of self, what kind of community they reach out to, and how much of it is their own decision-making. david: i have a strange reaction to goldberg's piece. the first reaction was positive. i like the president more. he is thoughtful. he looks for every reason not to take action abroad. but there is a reckoning with reality.
but the disdain for the establishment and for all foreign-policy adviser thinkers except himself does smack of an unearned confidence sometimes. i do doubt that. that's like the worst thing to say in 2016, but i have come to be a believer that wneed to fix the establishment. we have big problems. we need big institutions to run them. we need a good state department. charlie: so on the agenda should be reforming establishment. david: reforming institutions. congress is the prime example of
an institution that has frayed because the norms of behavior, the invisible codes have been ripped away. when i talk about trump as a revolution in manners, the reason we have manners, the reason we don't talk about each other's wives or talk about each other's looks, or call people losers and liars is it enables us to have a conversation. it enables us to be a community and be citizens together. if you rip those away, it's dog eat dog. it has reduced us to scorpions. restoring manners, codes of civility, decency, is the prerequisite for restoring institutions and standards of behavior. you know, i sound like an old oldy-daddy, -- an but i go back to
eisenhower a lot more than i used to, just a sense that politics is a competition in partial truths and you are trying to balance it. charlie: what has contributed to that? on social media, there is anonymity on one hand and an instant place to privately express your grievance, your anger, your protest, your differences, your criticisms, and there are no bounds. david: it may be deeper than that. depending on the character of the people. but, egotism. if you have a basic humility or have been taught to value humility, you think there's a good chance you are wrong about some stuff. so i need people who disagree with me to balance out to my errors. if you are told you have the truth by the short hairs, what do you need other people for? charlie: that's obama? david: well. charlie: you just said that. david: ok, fine. charlie: i'm just trying to get you to articulate. what i think you -- david: it's not only obama. it's rush limbaugh. charlie: but there is a vast difference between the two of them.
david: exactly. but i do think you -- the thing about democracy, and this is why politics is noble. it forces you to recognize the other people in the room. you may wish them away. you may think they are jerks. but they are in the room. charlie: but that is the biggest problem we have had in this country for a while, the absence of people willing to compromise. ronald reagan said it's better to have a piece of the pie than no pie. right? we've lost that. david: if we were attacked by canada we would get it all back. we need a hostile force to unify us. but no, it is a matter of technological and skill. i knew a guy name richard darman, who worked for the first president bush. budget director. we would occasionally go to lunch and he would regale me with stories of craftsmen like skill. there was a guy who would go to
the white house and there was a barbershop in the white house in those days. he did not have much hair, but he would go to the white house at 3:00 p.m. each wednesday. he didn't really need a haircut, but he would go. so it would say on the pentagon schedule, which everyone could see, that he had an appointment at the white house. [chuckling] andd: he understood that those are the kind of tricky games. charlie: it's why nixon tried to control the flow of information. he viewed that as power. his remarkable understanding was how power were worked in an institution. david: they were passing social security reform in 1982 or 1983, and it was going to hurt seniors. and the dean and those days was claude pepper. red pepper. and everyone had signed off on the deal except him, and they beat the hell out of him. he finally agreed.
they march him to give a press conference at like 2:00 in the morning. the kids they knew if they let him sleep on it, he would back out. how you do that is a skill. execution is a skill. jim baker had it. he had that skill of execution. and it's a skill -- jim baker had it. he had that skill. charlie: lyndon johnson had it. with disuse.hers passing a complicated piece of legislation with a bipartisan majority is a skill of execution. if you want an example, see spielberg's movie about lincoln. how do you reach that guy? how do you reach that guy? and so on will stop -- and so on. it's that political deftness. and that's the nobility of politics. we disdain politicians for being dealmakers, but there is a craft, and nobility to it. and i would say, you know, everyone is dumping all over the elites, but the people i know in
government, the civil servants, they are in for the right reasons. the job is not that glamorous. charlie: you talk about a modern shame culture in which those accused of incorrect thoughts face ruinous consequences. david: i do find on campus after campus that i visit that it is more narrowminded than it was five years ago. or 10 years ago. and what interests me is we had this book came out in 1980 something about closing the american mind. alan bloom. our students don't believe anything. they are nonjudgmental. that's not true. there is a moral system being born. and so trying to understand what that moral system is is an interesting problem. i am trying to figure out what that is, when judgments are made and when they are not. i was helped by a writer in said, itity today who
was because of social media and the on the presence of social media. everyone is afraid of being excluded or condemned, so we are moved from a built culture, i don't want to do what strong, to a shame culture, i don't want to be excluded from the group. it is a shift in the moral system and so the fear of exclusion is the basis -- so, the axis is not right or wrong. its inclusion or noninclusion. and if you are not being inclusive, then somehow you are doing something very wrong and the whole world falls down upon you. the problem with that is, if you have a set of universal truth is in your trying to live up to it, you can stick to those truths or fit in. if you live on social media, you are perpetually afraid of the opinions of other people, and that makes you perpetually insecure. i think there is just a lot of insecurity. charlie: i meet people today who, television programs who are scared to death of being misinterpreted, that social media will be on top of them. and when you ask them who it is,
i mean, it's one click or another. david: and we have seen people whose lives have been ruined by one mistake, a small mistake or a gesture. on the other hand, if you are in the world, and this is true for everybody, not just in the media, there is a lot of criticism out there. and if you don't let it affect you, it goes away. charlie: exactly. you have to realize that if you are in the public eye. if you can't do that, you will be terminally unhappy. david: and so isolation is a good strategy. [chuckling] charlie: you have also said that middle-age has been redefined. david: look at the three candidates we are talking the most about. hillary clinton is 68. donald trump is 69. bernie sanders is 74. they are running for their first term. so active life is just a lot longer. charlie: and we thought ronald reagan was very old when he ran in his late 60's. david: it used to be that in
your 20's you got married, bought a house, had kids. now that happens in many parts of the country in your early 30's. we have a very unstructured world in their 20's. a very harsh. right now. world in our 20's. there's unemployment. you're finding your identity. that time is underserved by institutions. there is a company called rework that gives all of the people doing startups in starbucks a place to come work. that is the example of a kind of structure that is coming. charlie: they believe they understand the millennials more than anyone else alive. david: so that is one big shift. but if you are 54 -- i am hoping a have 30 years of active life ahead of me. i am not thinking i am slowing down. charlie: and actually tables would suggest that's true. david: i hope so. i am trying to stay healthy. so, i can think i have a moment now where i can do 20 or 25 years of something substantive,
satisfying, and maybe significantly new. so, maybe you think of another chapter. charlie: let me refer to something we have not talked about in a long while. jog my memory. you write about people who are in their 70's, and they were writing to you about the perspective they had at the time. david: i asked 5000 readers to send in essays and grade themselves on their lives looking back. a's fore themselves career, bees for personal life. they would give themselves higher grades for career than personal life. the other thing was, they divided their lives into artificial chapters. some people said ok, this was the beginning of a seven-year chapter.
what do i want to accomplish in this seven years. what do i want to a college in seven years? and then after another seven years, another chapter. most unhappy people let time dribble by day by day. making false bifurcations is a useful tool. i had a student who was a 40-year-old colonel, and every time he went to a new army base, he and his wife would say ok, let's have a personal retreat. what do we think of our parenting style? what do we think of the army? what do we think of our marriage? and they would take it all down to the ground and re-examine it. a very useful thing to do. you can cause yourself fewer problems. there is clear evidence that people get better at living. charlie: brooke astor said to me once, for a long time i cared about what people thought about me. now i only care about what i think about them. david: there's useful advice on marriage. from a minister new york named tim keller. your ownregard
♪ mark: i am mark crumpton, you're watching "bloomberg west." let's get a check of bloomberg first word news. mark kirk of illinois became the first republican senator to meet with supreme court nominee merrick garland. >> by leading by example i want to show how we can make this constitutional process go forward. >> he is one of the first three to say they should hold hearings on merrick garland's nomination. florida police have charged donald trump's campaign manager with battery. corey lindau ski grabbed her