tv Profile of Authors Jeanne Safer and Richard Brookhiser CSPAN August 14, 2019 11:34pm-12:50am EDT
in many ways it is the way montana is changing and is one of the fastest if not the fastest in terms of growth in the country. >> the most famous permission for dinosaurs that is where we go to find triceratops and t. rex, the most iconic are known from this formation, and we have that here in montana. >> is an incredibly beloved author in montana, and i think that it gives this to the working people.
>> is the politics doctor? >> i became the politics doctor because people started writing to me as soon as trump was elected and said what can we do. we have to deal with our different politics, so we have written about it a lot and as soon as trump was elected, i started getting letters. we don't know what to do. we are about to get divorced. i'm writing you this letter. i saw that you have written
somethinhad writtensomething ana liberal. we are having a terrible problem. we met several months ago. it is a great relationship and everything was fine until she happened to see my car was parked next to her and she's all that i had a decal on the back of my car of trump urinating on hillary. it is a joke, but she was outraged and is insisting that i take it off. i think it's funny and it wouldn't bother me if she did something similar. what do i do? saying the hell with you i'm leaving it on. i wrote him back and they said you should take the decal off and then his girlfriend said
thank you this is wonderful and this is how i know that it will still work out. >> we are talking about your new book i love you but i hate your politics. [laughter] >> what are your politics click >> i'm a kind of garden-variety democrat i'm not a progressive. i am middle of the road. [inaudible] >> primarily on social issues i'm not a fan of identity politics. i am a fan of women's rights in every possible way. there are things we disagree about.
they should be considered and other than that, gun controluncertainly abortion-rights, global warming -- >> before we get into some of those issues, you've referenced your husband a few times and this of course is richard kais brooke-or the historian. how long have you been married? >> 1980. >> how long have you known about her politics? >> we met in the summer of 1977, so immediately. >> it's important and telling that because i think this makes our relationship possible. we met in a group that sings religious music on the street corners for free. don't take money. and i had in the group a number
our wedding was quite an experience because of course bill buckley was there and the publisher. and of course russia was one who was an enforcer for mccarthy and the man who gave me a way is one of the first people who lost his tenure position to mccarthy politics in new york state. >> i knew this was her mentor. very smart guy, delightful. he would have been killed on day number two. >> everybody behaved, and one of our friends said [inaudible]
that is how it started. and i have an idea. i started a very subtle campaign. >> did he ever try to enlighten you or were you ever in my complex delete the >> he was much more sophisticated about this than i. do. i explained things to him. i'm not embarrassed about it anymore because i was foolish. >> there was a built in asymmetry because i was a political journalist, and i have been doing it for years so i was used to encountering people who disagreed with me and use debating them in public forums.
i knew politics as a world of disagreement and contention so i already knew this and i had been to an ivy league school living in the biggest city. my first girlfriend tried to register -- >> i have been by circumstance and a liberal world and i knew what that was like and how to navigate that. for you it was a new experience both in politics. >> it was a totally new experience. i grew up in cincinnati ohio. my father was an eisenhower republican and my mother a democrat but he was pretty liberal on social issues and is the only republican that i had consciously ever met.
i went to the university of chicago which isn't exactly a right wing institution, and then suddenly i'm in the world of william f. buckley and people who didn't agree with me about anything. it was and education. it also showed me the other side with whom i disagree pretty seriously about an awful lot of things with different people in different circumstances. >> over the years what was your relationship with william f. buckley? >> he came to dinner here and we
have been there so many times. it was like living in a little kingdom. we got very good service from our doorman after that and they made a very elegant dinner. let's look around. i want to set something up so she suggested to me and then rick suggested that i show the cards that are the same as psychologists used to use all the time. >> it came up in conversation somehow. >> so i picked a card. >> everybody knows the word but how often do you see the car, it
is very rare. >> so i picked a card and i thought it would be interesting and he saw a particular thing on it and what was interesting to me to come it is a positional because you are not using what is obvious to you. he completely avoided the emotional part. and i think i told him a little bit of what i think he saw. listen to this model.
so that was a neat experience. >> you have been married for nearly 40 years. >> 39 this last one. it's hard to imagine. >> did a politics that are threatened that relationship? >> it's never threaten it, but i have to say i was the instigat instigator. i'm not the instigating type but on abortion-rights i am. something happened and this was my first and last real misstep. i said this is terrible, this is the end. i'm going to have to join a protest march and i'm not a protest march person. >> i said a few march i will march. >> on the other side. >> yes.
we decided we are going to table that discussion for the rest of the time. we did okay. it took me about ten years. >> so, as husband and wife, you can't talk about that issue or you don't talk about that issue because you disagree 100%. >> i started out with this fantasy as i said that i would show ric the truth, and of course he would understand because he understands everything else. he understood me in every way and is one of the reasons i became a professional writer. he has encouraged me in every word i write.
over the years, it became unimportant for me every time something came up to have to say something to him about it. it just didn't matter. i knew what he thought and we were not going anywhere but then there was a chain. and this happened recently. i write about this in the book. >> before we get to that, if their advice you give people in your book i love you but i hate your politics? >> if you can't talk about it, don't talk about it. some people can find a way philosophically, but this issue i was too passionate about. it was too essential to me and we couldn't talk about it. it was the only thing i think in the whole world we can talk about. >> you also make the point sinc-
spinnaker doesn't mean i can't talk about it with anybody. it just means in my own home i give up freedom of speech. >> that is your psychotherapeutic advice to people. >> yes. although it has to be conscious and mutual, and we have to stick to it. i couldn't take an article at breakfast and say read this. everybody does this and it never works. or send it to my inbox. i revised this just isn't the way to go. the wild thing was this one of
the most precious things that ever happened. i was editing and i said it's so hard to edit like this. just like mary mccarthy said, anna rick said -- >> finally coming you are pro-life. >> they were having a laugh, not about abortion, but we were laughing about our differences. >> and that's a very important distinction, it isn't laughing about the issues of contention over the issue. >> we thought look where we've
come. >> i was astonished that he said this and that we both thought it was as funny as we did. are there other topics that you don't bring into your home? >> that's the one we don't talk about. we disagree on many other things, and you can talk around them. that is another strategy that we write about. one strategy is to do it as a horse race. your side really bungled that issue, or my side really got a goal on this one. you can do that. you can do the politics and the horse race of it. if people are more
intellectually, they can talk about the background of these issues and why people take the positions they take some of the sociology history of it or something like that. so, there are ways to talk about things that are talking around them without actually going head to head on the case. >> i have to tell you the most wonderful thing for our marriage has been the election of trump. rick is a conscientious object objector. reading "the new york post" since 1977, i followed his entire public career. >> i understand how wonderful it
is to agree about something so political. we stood in line at the polling station [inaudible] >> ronald reagan of course one may. george h. w. bush passed he had many limitations as a politician but also some positive qualities. i knew him a little bit and wrote speeches for about six months which meant i would get notes for him over the years.
he must have had an address list a mile long and he took that very seriously writing to all the people that he knew even if he only knew them a little that it was to keep the contact. rudy giuliani was a great mayor of new york and i thought he might be a president. i was wrong about that. >> what is it about donald trump does not excite you? >> let me answer that backwards. what he ibut he is probably at s self-promotion. that is what made him a success before he even ran for office. he's not a good real estate guy. he's pitiful, ran through a fortune. >> whe >> when is the last time that you were on the shuttle forward to the taj mahal?
brilliant. this is a 70 plus-year-old man who is doing what teenagers do. he sucks the air out of the room and makes it all about him. the third thing he does is to means supporters. and i'm not talking about the people that vote for him. i'm not talking about that. but the people who become his advocates have to make themselves a small. he requires them to be small. he can't have large allies or large advocates because they might take attention away from him. so, if they have elements of importance for greatness themselves, they have to ship them and giuliani is an example.
great mayor of new york. it's a very sad thing but that t is the kind of ally donald trump needs. i'm not talking about someone like nikki haley. a lot of them maintained their independence and their distance. but if you are their clothes, you would have to be small and he's very good at achieving that. >> this raises a very interesting question how important, and i know we don't have an answer to that yet, how important is the presidency -- [inaudible] >> that nobody is.
how does the judge presidencies, obviously we judge them on the president himself. james buchanan had been the worst president in history if he had served at some other time. it'say lincoln had come along wt he has been a figure that he now is. he may get reelected so there will be time to make judgments. >> we interviewed you over a year ago kind of a preview interview for the buck.
when the confirmation hearings were going on, i got another list of e-mails. my sister-in-law broke her engagement over kavanagh. it's gotten more insane by today. the day. >> and it comes from both sides. maybe even more from the trump side and the pro- trump aside. >> i read a statistic that people are not going to fight with each other. there was a piece in the times on the 17 things to talk about at thanksgiving other than
he did hook it down off his dating profile because no one would look at that. he really liked this woman who did talk to him. if her friends said how could you do this? she walked out in one state. i asked, if you had a chance, would you talk to her? she was very thoughtful. she said, why? i consider them the antichrist if they are for truck. after we had a long conversation, and i wasn't trying to convince her to go back to him, i said before you
ever in a situation for somebody who you are with didn't treat you with? and vice a versa? i told her that this is a chemotherapy test, when you are lying on a hospital bed, would you want this person can give direct? having been in the bed, that's what is to me. >> who passed that for you? >> rick passed that test.
i got chemotherapy and rick was there. >> -- she came and did my laundry. my closest friend at the time, who was a political democrat never showed up. i also had a remarkable story that i tell in the book, what is a core value? core values or not, it's who you are. this is a young woman who i know well. they have been important in my life. when he died, he had five brothers and sisters.
serious progressives. none of them, her uncle, an ex- marine converted evangelical, he helped with everything. she did something almost nobody else would have done. she apologized to him. she had been bickering on facebook and saying all this stuff and she said, you are the only one who came through. you seem to be taken aback by some of the results you got in your book. >> yes, i was shocked how outrageously some of them were. this woman in california, for her friends to say, if you bring
him to dinner, i will get up and smack his face. these are adults, who does this? i was shocked by that. i'm not saying the right doesn't do that but -- >> give examples of the right as well. >> absolutely. >> the people of the left of the out party. >> right. i was kind of shocked also because i have been treated with great respect and consideration, but the temperature, good gracious. >> would have thought been historically in this country as high as it is today? >> yes. we had a civil war. i hate the phrase, old civil
war. you probably see that a lot. we had so many die in the civil war. i know the historian who did it, here's a demographic historian. he just looked at the census and said, we are missing 103,000. so that's 7,150,000,000. we are not there. i don't think we are at the level of the founders were. these great men whom i revere, they went berserk in politics. that's a big difference, they killed each other. he wasn't the only one.
i just wrote a book, one of his colleagues around the supreme court, republican appointee, he killed and shot the guy in the groin. it never came up in the confirmation. [laughter] this is what gentlemen did and that was it. poisonous political atmosphere at the beginning of the country. vietnam, iraq war. assassinations, kennedy, martin luther king, riots. that was worse than now. partly because media has changed. >> that's true.
we are looking to media of how to conduct conversation in our bedroom. this is the worst it's ever been. >> is also because there can be media in the bedroom. >> that's right. >> social media, do your own tv show, every little tweet or instagram is your very own tv show you can do anything with. >> there are vicious things going on between parents and children. between siblings let alone a couple of friends. i think the way it permeates everything. also, social media is a huge thing. there was no unfriending the e end. you can't read friend.
if you do that, it leaves a scar. i only interviewed one person who did that. >> how did you find the people in your book? >> -- >> how did they know to write to you? >> i've written about it a lot. >> so it comes up on google searches? >> guess. i wrote an essay called love and hate politics. that was published in the "wall street journal". we are known as the go to couples. people kind of think of us for that. people were desperate.
what i did is, everybody i knew i felt would talk and then i went to my friends there. one person gave me i think eight people. >> you posted for a call for subjects. >> yes. they wanted to talk. people wanted to talk. they told me stories i would have been embarrassed to tell. if i said a powerpoint presentation saying that this hero has died, who would do such a thing? is crazy. people do it. when i mentioned in the articl
article -- >> are rachel and britney friends again? >> yes. except, they don't know what will happen next election. she's expecting another powerpoint. >> are aaron and george still together? >> oh, you mean harry -- they are good friends. they are my favorites. they fight constantly but they fight with graciousness. harry did something, if you ever want to give an article to somebody, he wrote a note, harr, he said harry, i have an article i would like you to look at. would you read it if i sent it
to you? he said of course. i'll read something you sent me also. and i guess they did that. that is my model of how you conduct a conversation. >> work week old -- able to hold these conversations 20 years ago that we essentially aren't able to today? >> i think more. >> i think there was kind of a bubble of civility of a pearl harbor to vietnam. >> that was because the national unity for the most part world war ii, it ended the split. the beginning of the cold war, though we had disagreements about how to proceed, united on the corporate i think before and
after was pretty contemptuous. there's something now, if i tell people that i'm married to a republican, even though i'm quick to say he's not a trump supporter. >> do you feel a need to say that? >> i think i do sometimes. right now, people arty know but people are astonished. they say, how do you do it? like it's an astonishing feat? how do you go to dinner, how do you do that? i said simple, i stand up during the innovation but i don't clap. you can figure it out. i try to find common ground.
>> have you ever brought him to a hillary rally? >> i did go to one myself but i did bring him with one of my colleagues. there was a lot -- there was one person who called rick a crypto nazi. >> he thought he was saying it jokingly. >> i went into attack dog mode. it's one of those things you never do. i said, rick is very gracious, i said to him, i want you to retract that. it's an extremely serious
accusation committed to my husband. he doesn't deserve it and i don't want you to say. i said it like that. i feel this is essential to do because if your spouse is good enough to be your spouse and spent the rest of your life with, their opinion deserves respect. i think it is essential. >> if you saw somebody walking down third avenue, wearing a great america again cap, would you show judgment? >> probably but i wouldn't walked up to them. i would say okay, you want to make a statement, and there are a number of people who are my friends who think trump is great.
not a lot but i have some. people will leave their therapist if they think that. i had a situation where this guy was going to lose to canada and i said, why? this kind of stuff didn't happen before. it becomes the center of conversation. this is what people think about. political affiliations, it's the
same thing. >> not terribly successful. >> yes, idiotic i would say. [laughter] >> you may get some pushback on that. do you agree? about political affiliation. [laughter] >> look at who i married. >> it's about what matters in life. >> the year before i met her, we met in college and this was high school and she went and the register said, i can't let you do this. he was lying. he was trying to spare this kid later. she figured out, she knew
something was up. she was curious. when i let her, she was a little less communist than that. now she's more conservative than i am but not when we were growing up. >> -- but shouldn't they be allowed to talk about anything? as a psychotherapist, don't you want them to talk about everything? >> no. just because you agree with something politically, everybody has things that they are there important and that are very different from you. they have different history, personality, different parents, there are fundamental
differences between any two people. even if politics are the same. politics brings a connection to others. i would, to if not for rick. >> rule number two, don't add alcohol to political argument. >> number one is don't lose your voice. number two, how do you think we do when we had a couple of drinks? this lovely gay couple, terrific guy, the only people actually broke things because they drink first but they were both trump supporters. one of my main points, this is not about politics. this is about psychology. we talk about things, the
important thing is the emotional content. one broke a marble table and the other broker cell phone. >> they did have a disagreement. one was a trump supporter for percolation. the other one was a supporter -- >> he was a great guy, that was the source of the disagreement. >> this shows you can break each other's cell phones and still be with that person. what we want people to take away, probably the most critical thing, what matters here is how
you feel about it. you can't change other people's lives. you can never change other people's lives. all of our conversations in politics about trying to do that. i want to show you how you are wrong and how you're supposed to think. but if you don't, then for dry duplex i have to face the fact that you are different than me, you are a different person. my power is really limited. i can no more make you think the way i do what i can make you fall in love with me.
this is something we are constantly trying to do. in all comes from believing you must change the other person. nobody else as far as i know, has said stop it. if you don't stop, you will never have a conversation. >> 's are a medical diagnosis for the politics sites going on? >> i'd like to make one. the word is term, it came from something i read, white people pursue relationships with people
who try to get below them in that? i really thought it was up early way to put it. you know it's not going to work. i think this applies to politics now. we are denying that other people have a right to their opinion. it is their right. when you ask them, tell me about why and if i could do this, i'll try this, why do you feel that an unborn child is in some ways, more important than the woman carrying the child?
if i could say it in a way that i really want to know and here, one of the things that is very important, that i can seek with a certain premises that that is a valid decision. it's not my position, it's a position that i think is moral. i can see you as a moral, decent person. >> what would be the question you asked your wife on that? >> william was apparently a lovely man. when he was a senator, before he got that job. he loved his colleagues and one of the colleagues he was close to was senator jefferson davis who had a lot of health issues. he had malaria.
there was a period when he sat by davis' bedside. i'm tending to him, cheering him on. then the civil war happen. he became his secretary of state. jefferson became president. i'd have to look that up but i kind of doubt that. it's a radical example. but also, let's hope and with reason that we are not in a similar situation now because that was slavery, the worst problems this country has ever
had except maybe getting into england. everything else, a beak we can manage it, they were before the guns went off. >> they were beloved friends, very close friends. they agreed about nothing although he sent his opinions there. they loved each other. >> he took her hunting. >> we are different, we are work.
everybody admired them. why don't we try to emulate them? >> if you saw somebody walking down here with make america great hack again, what would be your reaction? >> there was a woman by herself the other day, she was waving a flag and she had lgbt -- a make america great again hat and this like. how distant is it, he's very out there about being gay.
>> my reaction to this woman, given where it is in new york city i thought, she's a great woman but when i make a judgment over a person? well, this is like my professional bias kicking in but no, i probably wouldn't because i know all kinds of people have positions for all kinds of reasons and to different degrees. like the gay couple you mentioned, one of them was a trump supporter because he figured, i got to vote for this guy and put whatever the democrats put up. there are degrees of the support and different reasons you would have that hat. there are all sorts of differences. >> you are part of the c-span
survey and historian where we rate the president, where would you reach president obama at this time early on in history? >> he came in at number eight in the final period we asked 100 or so historians. i think that is presentism. he was just around, we all know him and as henry adams said, the time was chastening hand. i have heard and perhaps you have, to, if we could just have ronald reagan back.
a pathological narcissist and i think he's a dangerous, frightening man and i pray that this will be his first and last term because he is destroying serious things in the country and as more and more goes on particularly with congress and refusing to allow them to see things, i just feel very frightened by it. what am i going to do?
>> 63 million voted for donald trump, 66 for hillary clinton. are those 63 million americans access to, racist, -- >> some of them are. some of my friends at national review did. all kind of things. some voted for trump and despite that, i think they are great and some people voted for trump and it's much more fluid than that. although i do feel frightened by the demagoguery of it.
>> even the republican party. but the storms passed. >> that keeps me going because the history is so profound we will survive this. >> you have a new book coming out called give me liberty. >> a history of an exceptional american idea. like trying to jump to the nationalism debate which is a very hot topic partly because the president of trump. and so my argument is the defining characteristic of our nationalism.
beating them up and taking them out and finally said no more. they cannot come in. some people in the village of flushing now in queens -- >> to read one chapter of that book this is where he grew up and wrote a sort of objection to his command. we would welcome them here and he defied them. they bullied them and leaned hard on them but this was like a statement and then finally he had to back off even where they were concerned with his
employers had us all the fights that were going on. >> they signed the statement and had to put their marks. they couldn't write the names. >> the whole book is like that. one thing after another the speech that reagan gave him how he wrote it and how they thought about it, it's fascinating. >> will you read each other's books click >> we read them a lot as we are sweating them out. >> when you get to page 22215 in your book, talking about abortion, did you read that out
say. it's what's underneath. the motivation of it, the subtle aspects, that kind of thing. so you can say something but give it a more profound meaning and one of the thing they do is look for the content, what's underneath and one of the things in this book is when i interviewed people, i asked some questions and they didn't understand they told me what's underneath. could you walk away, isn't that
this is why we invented headphones. is there something you don't agree with them and she said i lose my social support system. anytime he disagrees with her, he's betraying her with his father in his own thoughts was a veritwas a very good one and i d it's his business. can you stop doing the article for a second and she said yes i can do that. what i did with a lot of these couples it was the most hopeful
thing they don't just go on their own tracks if they think about them, they can all make a difference. you can make a difference and guess what that makes a difference in how they act. >> when you woke up on november 9, 2016, how did you feel? >> pretty much the same way, like how are we going to get through this. >> i think she probably would have supportive of things i care about. i don't like her personally and didn't like her ethics, i wasn't a passionate supporter --
think her family came over in 1630. he's the republican, she is the democrat, she voted for trump, trump one and they had a terrible night. they were angry at her because she was crying and basil labeled each other passionately, but they couldn't talk about politics. so she said we are not going to talk about these things because i love my husband more than i love my country.
and in this case, i completely agree they made the decision that we made we don't talk about these things because it would be difficult to. >> the book is called i love you but i hate your politics psychotherapist jeannie is the author, her husband richard kaiser the new book coming out is called give me liberty thanks for letting us into your home. speed
the way in which montana is changing is one of the fastest if not the fastest micro polluted areas in terms of growth in the country. >> that is where we go to find triceratops and t. rex. they are known from the formation and we have that here in montana. >> and incredibly loved author and gives voice to the working people.