tv After Words CSPAN January 25, 2016 12:00am-1:03am EST
>> thank you very much for joining me today to talk about the new book as was described in the opening segment here. as i travel around the country and watch the current affairs show, which i don't watch many of these days but many people i think on both sides of the aisle think that there is a crisis point. however, people can say save the house needs to be burned down but you know how to build it back and you'll have been in the stomach of the beast and have had to navigate through the different personalities and egos that you deal with on both sides of the aisle and so as we unfold today and evil through this process, let me say at the outset but usually when i am on
some show, i am sitting in your chair, sitting here to answer the questions and today i'm asking the questions. secunda bear with me as we unravel this and as they went through the book i saw so many interesting things about how we get to a bigger chemistry and civility and how we get things done in washington. so, let me ask you at the outset starting with you, why write the book? >> guest: that is a great question and partly right because we love the institution and we want to see it continue to thrive. it takes adjustment in liberated is integrated because of the
dysfunction we are at a crisis point that we are going to have to do some action to bring it back to this institution is only as good as the people who serve. i think sometimes we take it for granted and we have to remind the american people how fragile the government and these institutions truly are. it requires like anything maintenance, commitment to the process into the whole spirit of what we need to do in the democratic republic. that is what the book is about. >> first of all we both served in the house like you did when you were the chairman of the conference so we've got that background in the house and the senate and once we write the book, we went through a lot of difficult times together and did we managed to get a lot of things working with bill clinton and president bush, too. but over the process of dealing with things like the 9/11 aftermath and the anthrax attack and impeachment we came out with
a pretty good list of things we got done and as friends. since we left, we have continued to get together and our friendship has actually grown and i was actually down in south carolina with tom and his wife and my wife and we were talking about the growing dysfunction of the gridlock and the ideas we have going forward and i think this is one that said maybe it's time we think about doing a book together. so that is the genesis of it. i think in many respects, these are the times when it begins to affect their thinking. not only in congress, but in the government as politics as a whole across the country now. we are seeing some things that are very unusual. but we think we are at a pivotal point for a crisis point mystically come internationally, with how need to do things differently to get the result of
the american people so we put it in this book. >> when you talk about doing things differently the more difficult it is for us to unlearn because we think that what we have been doing for the last 20 years is that it's right, it's the best. democrats and everything, their traditions are as bad as republicans. i'm learning and getting to a better way, a better solution. i've often said that i think is going in the public service we all come with principled people and that is one of the reasons we get involved when a better plan emerges it's not a principle its arrogance and pride says no, no. that's a better solution.
i don't like that. that's principled, but that's pride. so how do we get beyond that. you all have made some recommendations in the book. share some of those things with me on how we get there and how we get over the hurdle to say let's look at the best models, the best practice. >> the talk of both parties realize there are problems now in the congress and the relationship between the president and the congress, so we made a predicate before because of the suggestions we have going forward is how you can change the dynamics and move things forward. we talked about what the founding fathers had in mind and the difficulty they went through. there were many times in the country's history when things were worse than gridlock involved. but then we talked about what we
went through. people are looking for a way to change the politics of what we have now. but it won't be easy. you are right. i haven't thought about it in that way. some of them were just like bring your families with you to washington, work five days a week. everybody do one year of public service. there will be people that say wait a minute. that's coming in the wrong going in the wrong direction. so, we put it both in the carwash of things we think would change the dynamics and the culture and culture and we think it needs to happen because we are not dealing with the country's problems right now in an effective way in my opinion. >> one of the things we have to do to fully succeed is to ask what happened that got us here and i think that a lot of factors over time cause this evolution to occur.
i think the airplane is partly at fault because it's made it so easy for people not to be in washington. money has played a big factor, the media has changed dramatically. we have kind of reconfigured the lines for most congressional districts. all of those things i think have contributed to this new environment and when you put them all together, you can't the results that we are now seeing in part by some of the factors that got us here. >> we talk about spending time in washington. i was elected in the class of 94 that gave republicans the majority for the republicans a majority for the first time and that class we kind of said we are not going to live in washington and i even campaigned on the fact that i would be home on the weekends and a touchdown in my i touched down in my district every weekend except
for four and looking back on it if i had it to do over again i would bring my family to washington. that's the wisdom of having it done for eight years. i would have brought my family to washington. so, in terms of cricketing a chemistry or a culture it is i find it's not the relationships in the book you will talk about the relationships that's created in the senate and each is assigned a number and it was interesting was talking out his desk you were sitting in the thomas jefferson etc.. the senate is different in terms of relationships with the house. so, kind of give us your thoughts on what you all did,
some of the things you did to create the relationships. >> one of the things we both feel strongly about is the need for inclusion. inviting the leaders back to the white house, we did that right after 9/11. president bush invited us down. he told us we had to be there at seven in the morning every tuesday and inclusion created a chemistry among us that allowed us to deal with a crisis at the time and made a huge difference in the relationships that came from it. the joint caucuses to sit together and listen to the leadership together rather than separately so these separate caucuses don't just become efforts for your site. doing things to socialize, bringing spouses together and opportunities to get to know one another and in a more formal basis. that's the way they used to do
things and it made a difference. we don't have those anymore and that is the problem. >> when we faced the crisis, we would have a joint conference meeting of republicans and democrats in the whole senate chamber. sometimes it was to have a cia briefing about something and sometimes it was to trick is easy to find a way how to proceed with the impeachment trial. every time we have those joint meetings with her it was in the senate dining room or the old senate chamber, part of the things came out of them and we heard each other out and made decisions and move forward. >> tell him about the agreement. >> this is the one we have come to terms with the fact the house had voted and we were going to have to have the trial but we were not sure how to proceed. we haven't had one of those in a hundred years. so, finally we came up with the
idea we were going to meet the whole senate chamber and have an idea of how to proceed but we didn't know what the result was going to be. that i caught on daniel to open the prayer and ask for guidance to proceed into the night asked give us a little history, not too long about our constitutional responsibility. then we opened up for discussion and people started to talk back and forth and finally, he made some comments and then phil gramm made some comments. but it sounded like as they were saying the same thing. i looked down and he nodded and i said that's it. we have to solution and so everybody was excited and we broke up the session will.
so we had gone down the hall and i don't know who said it that the other said exactly what did we just agree to? [laughter] and i think i said i don't really know. [laughter] so why don't we get some key players, put them in a room and write up what we agreed to. but we got the agreement and proceeded. we did the constitutional responsibility. in a way that we felt was fair to all and we came out on the other side with the ability to go back to doing legislation for the people. it was a pretty incredible achievement i think. >> i think that he has made this point many times our goal in writing the book as if to say this is how we did it. it's really just come up with
ideas. we aren't trying to call attention. what we would really like to do is say what lessons learned are there from the past experiences that we can apply and then add a few new. but that's the purpose of the book. >> one of the things in the book you said that you had the senator's cell phone and you would call him direct. it was only answered in one place. what was interesting, i picked up on what you said and i kind of read between the lines that when you explain something or articulate something or suggest something when the senator said i totally agree that that was kind of a pc fingerprint is to say we are going to take the politics out of this. we are both on the same page. but that is exhibited in such a way that it's kind of like the fox and hound if you've ever seen that movie where they lay
together as kids and then they met as adults and the fox wanted to still be friends and hound said i'm a hunting dog now. we can't be friends. [laughter] so when you look at a technology that's kind of the way that it is in so many respects in politics but by and you say i totally agree you felt like he has given me his word and he is going to come and sell it to his caucus and i'm going to sell to mine. spec i won't talk about the build if there was one occasion where he was having lunch with the democrats and they were pushing back on what we were trying to do. i was having the same experience they didn't want to move forward on the bill. i think outside of the room and
called tom and he came outside and we discussed it and basically we both knew we had to get it done and he said i will meet you on the floor of the senate in five minutes. we left the conference disagreeing they went to the floor and said work on this bill and by 9:00 that night it was time. you have to be willing to put a little bit on the line to get results sometimes and i am not sure that happens now that but it's important that you have a relationship. >> i trusted him and i respected him even though philosophically we had our differences and we were leaders of opposing parties. but you've got to have that open door of communication and develop a trust. we agreed we wouldn't surprise each other and every now and then i i forget to drop on him unfairly and i was prepared to say that wasn't cool and sorry about that. we can't fix that. i am not denigrating the people in office now, but i don't see
that happening now where did you have that kind of courtesy not being mean-spirited with each other. >> be mentioned in the book you probably can turn to page four in the book and because of those five bullet points get a good sense of what the book was about. you all illustrated with rich is a necessary component of the leadership that you all talked about it today it's a little tougher on paul ryan is the speaker than it was when it was a little tougher on harry reid as the minority leader or mitch mcconnell as the majority leader. it's a little tougher on them because we have grown so far apart and so leadership for chemistry can encourage, you
touched on a couple of it in the conversation. that kind of unraveled a little bit more and just give some sense of what you all have to deal with as the leader of your respective conferences and what mitch mcconnell and paul ryan and here he reid and nancy pelosi today are dealing with. >> one of the things that's different today even though it was back then it is much worse now. it's just the constant need for fundraising in order to stay viable politically and what that means is that members get on more committees they can't serve on and do the kind of job they should because they are spread so thin that each committee has its own constituency and therefore its own fundraising base. the amount of money in my last race my last race was $15 million. the last two senate races in 2012 and 2014 or $120 million.
and they are now talking about $150 million senate races. so, the incredible and insatiable demand for more and more money is one of the issues that is exacerbating office and made it harder for leaders to the leaders to bring people together because first they are not in town and a second, they are doing this other stuff that doesn't allow them to be the legislators that they were elected to be answered you have the special-interest pressures. we were talking about how the name has become sort of a verb that no one wants to get the primary today because he lost in the primary in part because he tried to find consensus so those make it harder for the leaders just as you suggest. >> i do think -- i have been watching what goes on in the city pretty closely since at least 1968 and i think the atmosphere is as bad right now as it has ever been for a
variety of reasons. times are different. people are different, the media is different. you have to do this turn over in the house and senate. the senate. a majority have been elected the last eight years into the same is and the same is true in the house and with that you have what i prefer to call the senior statesman. i succeeded john is the conscience of the senate. when they they step up the they stood up to the ethics committee or about the armed services, people listened. when they would come to the floor to speak about tax policy that even though he was a liberal democrat i would go to the floor and listened. who are -- >> regardless what i was doing if i was on the floor i wanted
to stop to hear what he had to say. >> this too shall pass but it's not good to pass without some leadership and courage and determination to do things differently. we think there should be a single national primary instead of all of the process that they go through now that is endless but think that the campaigns are all too long. we think that we are concerned about the civic responsibilities what do we do to trick to get their attention and future generations for what they do to
be 17 or 18 and then they have a greater appreciation for serving their country whether it is fighting fires in the west with the peace corps or the military. so, this is a combination of things as tom said we don't want this to be look this is how we did things or look at history, history is littered with the dysfunction and the challenges. we want to do is look forward and say here's some things we think would make a difference. one of the ways to cut back on the campaign is to cut back on the length of the campaign and then the question is how do you do that. >> when we talk about money i think that many people on both sides would agree or say that money does drive having to get reelected. without throwing the constitution out the window,
both of you give me your thoughts on how we might do that. you suggested that if you shorten the campaign process, that would be one component but try to grapple that a little bit more. >> one of the simple things i think we used to have that we don't have anymore is transparency, just making sure that everybody understands who is giving the wife and i think that is -- i do as we all know the supreme court has basically ruled that money is speech and so that is a constitutional issue as a result of their interpretation of the constitution. that's going to be harder to address. there is some value to that. restrict fundraising even though it may not have limits at least restrict when it can be done and if we can do that then we can
set up the timeframe. those would fit constitutional parameters that we have to explore as much as we can. what can be done without major transformations there's a growing realization that until we do some of the things we are going to continue to be very, very plagued with this problem of money in ways that it influences the process that are not just coffee. >> this is a way to get a lot of money not knowing where it's from and on more than one occasion the so-called beneficiaries of the super pack would prefer that they stop doing what they are doing that you can't have that communication. but i would like to -- i think we need to take a look at the super pack and at least know --
i always believed in the instantaneous reporting and transparency so you know who's doing it. but the people decide. i'm not saying don't do it necessarily, but make sure that it's open and obvious who is doing what. >> we all know that's one of the things he's advocated for a long time. transparency into the reporting. you both have mentioned money and the media and when i was elected to congress in 1994, the blackberry was a fruit. today everybody has high homes and instead media, internet, etc.. and i think something that's contributed to this and you spoke about this in the book how
we can go for the next month we can talk to anybody that disagrees with us and we tend to become very shortsighted and the cable network of 300 plus channels you can listen to the news shows. if people don't watch news shows today or current affairs shows looking for the truth many watch them to have my opinions. >> my partner watches msnbc 24/ seven. we at least talk to each other and agree to disagree. but that's the culture that has changed so much in the media standpoint.
>> they used to be the referee and now they are the participants. and i think that is something that we still haven't adjusted to. there is no line any longer between object and subject. >> and they like to cover conflict. getting the result that resulted in an agreement is if you can have two candidates like donald trump and ted cruz going after each other, the other is on a platform of chopped liver. that's where the focus is they are part of the plan. >> i want to encourage you, senator lott and senator daschle, and i know that they've served on board about i want to encourage you if you are watching fox and nbc gives equal time. [laughter] i check in on hardball every now and then to see with chris
matthews what chris matthews is up to and i do get a little bored sometimes and see what cnn is doing. but that's part of the culture and it's not just about us. >> no question. i totally agree. when we do politics with only people that think like us and go to church with people that look like us and think like us, we are on social media the entire network and we have got 500 friend is in the 498 of them think like us and watch the same shows and i do think that has hurt us in more ways than one. as a member of congress, i have white staff and black staff and i think that might white staff gained a lot of value from my culture and just my family and observations. i learned a great deal from them if we are hanging out with
people that look like us or think like us, i think that hurts us. that diversity of who we are as a nation if we have grown to be in 2016, that's the strength of america. it's not a weakness. >> the great debate is what we are all about. but to stay behind and get results. by the way, one of the things we talk about in the book and i've always advocated, there are things you can do that are not politically and philosophically a war zone. we need to do more in cybersecurity for america's safety? that's not republican and democrat. does the federal government have the will to help some of the communities they can't cope with by themselves, sure. that's not republican. the highway bill, who among us doesn't think we need better
highways and safer bridges that are not going to collapse and there are some glimmers of hope out there which the president signed off on and the congress agreed to in your deal and by the way, jenna inhofe and barbara boxer, total opposite. but they got a result and you got some good legislators on both sides of the aisle and the capital that have the ability in the highway bill, the best of which is later in congress but he had a partner, barbara boxer on the house side. we need more of that. >> there was a growth rate agreement in the house and even on the divisive issues they are very confrontational. >> that is one thing we advocate
is always picking the places that people have a huge battle. think of places where there is a need that such a good can be done and when you get the result it's the a result it's the ability to get more results and they quit doing that. >> during the time that you're innocent and i was in the house, you don't talk about the vision and the buck but we were back during that time looking about research and development to deal with some of the ails of america that we were dealing with in the health arena. we were talking about opportunities and for businesses to grow and create more jobs. i do not watch if of current affairs shows.
watching current affairs shows is like watching a soap opera. you can't watch it for six months and then you tune in for about ten minutes and realize all of the talking points. erica is still doing the same thing and adam is doing the same thing and -- i used to watch all my children. [laughter] be that as it may it seems we've gotten out of the mode of thinking about tomorrow. ..
if i don't like senator daschle then he would say who what about you? so i think most boaters do was just to talk about the world were to generation have they not given us the foundation to get out there and do that? with military and community. they are called the greatest generation and they think they were. but here in 1995 and with those opportunities it is important to share your perspective on my thinking about the future is important.
>> q touched on one of the most important questions. to remember who our future is. we have to teach some civic responsibility i had a first grade teacher that said public service is the highest calling you could have. it is so registered with me i would not be here today if not for the inspiration of a first grade teacher and of the three put the emphasis on history or civic involvement we have to do a
better job of that. most kids grow up thinking washington rubio horror show. why would i go there? we have to read certain passages in dissert said in the to serve in washington to be involved in the debates. and we have to do a better job to the process. >> if you are a republican and a great quarterback of the yet we can run the country that our forefathers
left for us. that is why rewrote the book crisis point to make decisions have rigo for word to deserve this great republic we have all been and -- benefited from i have my kids and watched the debates they give his analysis it is interesting how he rates them but people need to do more of that. son said what we want is nothing. if you like the size of the government to the way it is run you have to take affirmative action
and there is a built-in conflict but the personalities and egos my addiction is not as bad as yours how do parnis that conflict? there probably turning up the volume right now. what kind of answer will they give? with that body of personality and egos. we all have a cross to bear. >> just like agriculture. you have to find a way that is acceptable to the south in the west.
mcconnell may be going back to regular order. did they really do any oversight? certainly not in the senate. ed is the real work and then go work has already been done. yoda i first came to washington in 1968 i was 26 the top aide to read democrat congressman and. with four round trips home per year. they do the work appear then
they go to the madison room. :dash medicine they would play a card game but who was in their? conservative democrat a liberal democrat from boston. the republican from california. and eight orton like that knew each other. did they agree philosophically? no. but added that the incredible pieces of legislation and made america what it is today. that is invaluable. but the job is not in
oklahoma but the job is here and involves critically the time to do the job. >> talk about those things. i was elected the fourth district of oklahoma. those in the fourth district they didn't have a vote in the fourth district of massachusetts so it was difficult i'll is found myself difficult to say that you don't know what you we're doing. that is the part of being a
free nation. you talk about a lot of relationships the big on relationships. and i remember every thursday we had a bipartisan prayer breakfast. in her district is totally different as a personal testimonial and was a city council person in engaged in community activities and up until that point i had a perspective of who she was and asked about her mom.
but that one moment in time gave me a perception i would not have gotten otherwise. and i went there to hear her story. it is easy to sympathize but if you empathize it is the cost now have to put myself in their shoes. so common to the world you honestly. as a past experience in it is difficult sometimes we realize i have been wrong the last 20 years. there is a poem called the dead -- the dead u.s.
and he had a really good relationship with president obama. people did not understand it but it was a perfect picture of what you're book talks about when it comes to relationships. >> that communication lead to a relationship they still disagreed but in a civil way >> him and i learned this to be in politics with the youth ministry in having to make calls the burden it
does take courage. so to give more thought from the book did you touched on that but it gives me a little more thought on the process with the courage of leadership with a the craziness that you have. and i am not so sure that your caucus today would allow what you are able to do from the 90s on. but defining courage. >> i used to ask myself when
i was in the house when he become a states man? in one day i found out when you're sent to washington to new was subjected vote on behalf of the people so sometimes we come to the conclusion it is the right thing to do to decide i will do that and that is the job i have. because it is the right thing to do. you always have to care about what the people think the live with your conscience. you have to have courage to do something but then you
some of that would be blasphemous. they have a better appreciation the republicans and democrats in the minority for 30 years and we have a lot to learn but nevertheless we saw of productive time and based on what people were saying he was a bad guy. but i think they had a good relationship with i went to
washington i had great respect for the legislative authority is for senator dole. what they said about lbj and his relationship. i totally agree. and i with you come hell or high water. so think over the last to the interiors that courage starting with george washington and jefferson and abraham lincoln and ronald
reagan at a time and it showed a lot of courage but that relationship between president reagan and speaker o'neill at the time. why did he allow those votes to occur? because the speaker thought he deserved and opportunity does that exist today? that is a unique relationship. and wasn't always pretty but
the fact he cooperated was critical to the reagan administration. and great courage. >> when we needed that the most if there is a washington or lincoln nor roosevelt we have this capacity and then to rise to the occasion again it isn't the same as the crisis points for the democracy is on the line. the ability with the technology with every aspect of our lives in the way we govern it calls for different calls of
>> of locations and with booktv we're joined by jerry apps his book is called "limping through life" a farm boy's polio memoir". professor apps what is polio ? >> guest: we don't know a lot about these days because there was a vaccine that pretty much eliminated it in this country it is still prevalent in the world or infantile paralysis it is a paralytic disease for some
in the defects the respiratory system. i had paralytic. >> host: how do you get? >> guest: a good question in 1918 we had a tremendous coup epidemic that killed thousands. people thought polio was transmitted to the year but it is a virus. and they closed up parks when it was on a rampage. >> host: what is the connection and with the flu epidemic? >> they knew it was airborne