tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg April 14, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
♪ >> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." jeff: good evening, i'm jeff glor of cbs news sitting in for charlie rose out on assignment. hugh laurie is here. he is perhaps best known to american audiences for his performances in house. he returns to the television in their adaptation of the night manager. he plays richard roper. a billionaire international arms dealer. rolling stone calls him the perfect gentleman villain. we are pleased to have hugh laurie at our table once again. the perfect gentleman villain.
>> i have already got a whole line in the manufacturing process. i am neither villainess nor gentlemanly. but the character is an interesting combination. he has a sort of superficial affable charm. in fact, more than charm. he is positively adaptive and and yet the world he has created is built on something very dark and wicked. jeff: before we talk about richard roper, john le carre -- this novel in particular. hugh: these are the holy texts of my childhood, particularly my teen years. particularly the books about the cold war.
and then 1990 came, the wall came down and i and others imagined that the spies are now out of work and possibly spied writers would also be redundant. i worried that he would have to hang up his typewriter ribbon. i happen to know he writes longhand. he is old school. but, much to my delight, not only had he found a subject that was equal to the high stakes of the cold war, he found something that if anything exceeded those stakes. because the international arms trade is a truly dark -- these are dark and complicated waters. jeff: he changed with the times and you did as well to update the story for modern times. it begins in cairo, egypt of few years ago.
you have been trying to bring this particular novel to some sort of screen forever. hugh: i have. i read it as soon as it came out. it was probably literally warm. i remember it very clearly. i got to the end of chapter three and called my agent and said -- i would like to option this book. not really knowing what that means. i knew it was something that grown-ups did. i have never done it since. already -- even though i had one of the first copies, i was already too slow and the great sydney pollack had already optioned it and had it for 15 years or so and a script was written by the great robert towne. but no film was forthcoming. this was a story i desperately wanted to see on the screen.
i had the temerity to imagine myself in the role of the night manager. jeff: in your younger days. jacob: yes, thank you. the world turns and hair falls out. jeff: towne wrote the script for the movie not a tv series. hugh: he wrote a movie and then made an odd public declaration that the author was not filmable. well. he't go down too is writing thought rather than deed. there are not necessarily a lot of car chases and not much blows
up. stuff blows up up here. we probably blow more stuff up than the others combined. we are quite combustible. it is part of the nature of being about ordinance. about the explosive material. we do blow things up. jeff: it is a delivered, deliberate, contemplative show. hugh: i would say so. it is adult. it is literate. these are smart characters manipulating for positions of power. to dominate each other through rather strategy muscle and firepower. and so in that sense, it is -- it is more contemplative than your average blockbuster but
your average blockbuster has accelerated to the point where it no longer follows the laws of physics. they can no longer bear something to fall at the natural rate. even gravity works faster. jeff: you don't want to be the next transformers. you initially wanted to play jonathan pine, the hero in the novel. and the tv series. you ended up playing the villain, richard roper. richard roper is -- hugh: a man of advanced years, obviously. it was odd for me to stand there and watch a virile young stud crush my dreams in the palm of his hand. roper is ad well-educated
englishman of a certain tribe who has been given every possible, imaginable privilege of modern living. there is no more sect that is blessed than the one from which this character has come and yet his response to these blessings, the way he'd knowledge this gift he has been given is with cynicism. i think that is probably his greatest crime. a cosmic crime. he is described in the novel and in the story as the worst man in the world. there are a lot of competitors walking the streets. probably not far from here. but what distinguishes roper is his cynicism. he has had this extraordinary good fortune and blessings and his response is -- how can i have sport with this? how can i bring every last ounce of fun out of my position?
jeff: so does that get into your head? hugh: that is how i roll. that is how they chose me. i have been researching untold villainy for decades. he is obliged as part of the process to identify the way it is that the character rationalizes. unless you are a psychopath, people try to justify why they do what they do. they have to have a way of falling asleep at night. the way he does it is cruel and heartless but to himself, it is cruel and heartless because it is a cruel and heartless universe and i am doing what most people do not dare to do and am simply acknowledging it. jeff: he thinks he is the hero. hugh: in a sense.
jeff: some version of a hero. hugh: there is another fascinating dynamic of it. we only started talking about it. at the same time, he knows he is wrong. i think, possibly, he might even be in his rather weird -- there may even be a christ analogy. he knows he will be a trade and and engineers his own betrayal. jeff: because he knows he deserves it. hugh: at some level i think you might. jeff: are you executive producer? hugh: for whatever that is worth. jeff: you loved the novel and the material. hugh: i am not sure that i approve of actors getting credit that extend beyond -- jeff: some are pretty extensive. hugh: you stick it in a drawer. i am a meddler.
lacking confidence to do my own job, i meddle in other people's jobs. i always do. jeff: in what way? hugh: shouldn't we go faster? don't you think we should go over here? are you sure you want to wear that shirt? at some level, i am a complete pain in the --. jeff: the reaction ranges depending on who you are dealing with. right? [laughter] hugh: yes, it does. and some people quite properly resist it. i must say, i don't -- i welcome it in return. it is good to have -- whatever instinct you have on how
something should be done or how it ought to be staged, it is good to have that tested sometimes. sometimes i think -- why did i imagine that this scene was underwater because it is not written underwater. that is a silly example because there are no scenes underwater. it is good to have that challenge and to be forced to say -- i know it is. i know why this is better. and often and not, even more often, to say, you are right. let us go with your idea. by the way, i also do that. jeff: have you gotten better at commenting? hugh: sparing people's feelings? i will go cross-country, a great distance -- i would never come out and say -- just do it faster.
no, no -- i expend a lot of energy trying to make it seem like it is someone else's idea. it is amazing how often you can say -- by the way, i loved that idea that you had that we should do this -- jeff: underwater. hugh: underwater. you can persuade people that they thought of something. hypnotists and mentalists will say and psychologists will say -- jeff: it is happening right now. but speaking about cross-country, you did not have to go cross-country as when you filmed "house." i know that was at times a frustration for you. the amount of travel involved. this series was not the same. hugh: it was much more contained. six shows. that tells the story of the novel. we go from beginning to end in those six shows.
it is very contained. against that, is the fact that i have dreamt of doing this story for 20 odd years. the anxiety that comes with dealing with something precious -- not to say that "house" was not. so.as incredibly those scripts were gems but they were gems that i did not know about until i got the script on a tuesday and we shot on a wednesday. with this, i have had 23 years -- it is coming, it is coming and finally someone hands you the faberge egg. "please,an do is say let's not drop it." jeff: "house" was a villainous character. interesting, american audiences came to know you as house.
and then they saw you in "veep." you have a wealth of comedic experience. was that a necessary transition or role to introduce that side of yourself? hugh: i wish i could say i had ever thought of an acting role with that level of sophistication. it was pure selfishness. i loved watching "veep" and the chance came to watch it even closer, as in being there. it's like ultra hd, actually sitting there. there i was. i can't say i was watching the best cast in television, i can now say the second-best but certainly a truly extraordinary collection of people doing something as well as anyone has ever done anything.
i honestly think that julia louis-dreyfus is one of the marvels of our time. to be up close and watch her process -- when you see the show, you see 27 minutes or so of paired down storytelling. what i was able to see, and the people who work on the show were able to see absolutely sublime improvisation. hour upon hour. jeff: how much of that makes the final cut? hugh: it is pretty harsh. at some point, they release -- you will be able to see some of that stuff in the form of extra material. but even just in rehearsals, i saw things -- i saw her do things that i would have cheerfully paid $500 to sit on broadway and watch her do that. she is given a glass of water and the rest of the scene is --
you are angry. go. literally that. and i believe she can entrance an audience -- just on anger and a glass of water. i am besotted as is everyone on the show. she's leader of the administration but also leader of the show. jeff: improvisational training. or is that her natural character? hugh: i don't know. it is interesting. what is talent? is it something she was born being able to do? or was it an appetite she was born with that she then apply to for years and years in many different areas with many great creators? i don't know which it is that the combination is astounding to watch. jeff: when talent meets circumstance it is a great
thing. if you had to pick, comedy or drama? hugh: i don't think of them as being alternatives. in my mind, i thought house was a funny show. there were times when i thought this is funnier than anything else i have seen or been involved with. it was brilliantly written stuff. but it could also turn on a dime into something absolutely shocking or heart wrenching. its nimbleness and change of tone was extraordinary. they all come from one place. storytellers and actors are trying to represent something that is real and life is really
tragic and really comic at the same time. i think -- that is the miracle of our species. we deal with tragedy with jokes and we sometimes find great sadness at the same time. we are in a very odd species. maybe it is the same with dolphins. i don't know them well enough. jeff: dolphins and humans -- i think the first time they have been compared at this table. congratulations. the end of this year, you have a chance, on hulu, another doctor for you. hugh: yes, technically he is a doctor. jeff: a shrink. hugh: he is a neuro psychiatrist. in the first page and a half -- and then the page after that, i had completely forgotten.
it is such a different world and attitude and tone that i actually forgot. i hope, i could be wrong, that i hope the audience can do the same. not forget house but not have it cloud the way the story we are telling. jeff: night manager -- six episodes. seasons.ready is two hugh: i don't know. that is what they say. we have got to get it right. do whatever you want for two years, it is yours. let it run to rack and ruin. jeff: have you started taping? hugh: no, we will in about a week or so in san francisco. jeff: he is a conflicted, tortured -- hugh: we have an idea for a tv show, it is about someone that is not conflicted.
a tough pitch. of course, he is conflicted and he is older. it becomes an obsessive tale about the relationship between the healer and one of his patients. many people who have read the novel made reference to the wonderful film "vertigo" with james stewart. it has something of that. it has something of the same obsessive, slightly unsettling noir-ish quality. so far, as we have not shot a single frame of it, i can say that it is perfect. and shows great promise. as soon as we start -- if i were to talk with you in the middle of next week, i would say possibly that it is a disaster.
chief of the slate group. his latest book is "ronald reagan." the biography argues that the 40th president remains profoundly misunderstood both personally and politically. fareed zakaria calls it one of the best books on american politics that i have read for years. jacob weisberg, welcome. jacob: thank you. jeff: misunderstood politically and personally by both sides of the aisle. jacob: i think so. on the right, reagan is misunderstood as someone who had very fixed principles and always lived by his principles. his success as a politician was based largely on how pragmatic he was. how open to compromise. he once said as governor of california, if he could get 70% of what he wanted from the legislature of an opposite party, he would take it. when politics are so polarized, it is interesting to look back
on the reagan era as a time when the president was ready to work with congress and even though there was a lot of political conflict about big issues, there was an assumption that on important things there would have to be a compromise. jeff: 70% -- when he was in the oval office? jacob: it was something he said as governor but he had a similar dynamic in that it was a democratic legislature and congress when he was elected president and got his economic program through a congress that he did not control. he did it partly by compromising and partly by turning people and partly by winning over the public and using the public as leverage in relationship to congress. jeff: more of a compromiser then people might believe. jacob: that is one important part of it. another is that there was a gap between what reagan did and what
he taught he was doing in many cases. on domestic policy. for example, reagan left the government in california twice as big as he found it. he left the federal government no smaller than he found it. tax rates were reduced of the overall tax burden was not. i think reagan often had somewhat of a distorting lens viewing his own accomplishments. what really happened and what didn't happen. those around him bought into the idea that he had transformed the federal government and he really did not. he did not eliminate a single federal agency. he did not reduce federal spending overall. he left a large deficit. a mixed legacy as a domestic policy figure and economic leader as opposed to his foreign-policy legacy that i rate somewhat higher. there is a gap between what he thinks he did and what he did. jeff: you call him the second
most important president of the 20th entry after fdr. jacob: fdr overcame the depression reagan has no accomplishment on that scale. but in international policy, i think reagan was a pivotal figure in the peaceful conclusion of the cold war. i don't think that was an accident. i do think he played a role beyond the role that another president might have played in relation to gorbachev and what was happening in the soviet union. jeff: the pivotal figure. jacob: gorbachev initiated the changes. he wanted to reform communism while reagan wanted to destroy it. reagan had a key insight. many of his insights were based on an application of common sense to situations where people did not always use a lot of common sense. he thought communism was ridiculous. he had dealt with communists in
hollywood and thought they were stupid and not hard to defeat. he thought no one would choose to live under communism. people in the soviet union needed to be exposed to the way people lived in the united states to want to reject it. he had an idea that communism could collapse if things turn it to fall apart. in a lot of ways, i think he created pressures that made that more likely and made it happen sooner. the biggest one was the big hit between his first and second term. there is a lot of conservative mythology here. the second term was not the culmination of the first in relation to the soviets, but rather the repudiation. he had a huge military buildup and nuclear buildup in the first term. no negotiations.
in the second term, that did not work for him. he wanted to make the world safer. he wanted to reduce the nuclear threat. because of what he had done in the first term was not successful, he pivoted and became the most radical supporter of disarmament there was. he argued for complete elimination of nuclear weapons. he supported gorbachev and flummoxed everyone around him because they did not know where it was coming from. that change was what enabled gorbachev to do what he did. jeff: not the first pivoted he ever did. he transformed himself politically long before that. jacob: that is one of the things that is so underappreciated partly because it is poorly documented in relation to his hollywood career of four and political career after. he spent years working or general electric in the 1950's as the host of a weekly television program, ge playhouse.
really it was then that time of , he goes fromars being a liberal democrat, who supported truman, and at some point thought about running for office as a democrat, to being so conservative, ge did not want him as a spokesperson anymore. he was to the right of barry goldwater, quite literally, and chief spokesperson for the goldwater campaign. jeff: i have always been fascinated by reagan's writing, which does not always get as much attention as it needs to, whether it is the journals or a policy position he might take. what did you learn looking at that? jacob: i am glad to hear you say that.
one of the ways i related to reagan was when i discovered working on the book, he was a real writer. he wrote every day. he wrote letters, extensively. his writing is interesting. he was a good writer. i would have given him a conservative column on "slate." he was persuasive. as early training was as radio announcer. he often said he wrote for the ear, not for the eye. -- hey he wrote was for read aloud himself, either to an audience or over the radio. in a way the most interesting writings of his are these radio commentaries he did between the 1976 campaign when he narrowly lost to gerald ford, and in 1980, when he ran again. during those -- during that pe riod, cbs offered him a slot to do commentary on the evening news, which was a powerful slot of political commentary. he turned it down and said he
wanted to do radio commentary, instead. he started picking up stations for these short, essays he would do every day and that is where he developed his ideology, and practiced his writing. jeff: is that what he retreated into? there is the emotional distance that you talk about with reagan. he cultivated that first is a survival mechanism -- as a survival mechanism as a child and then used later, in your , words, as a weapon. he went to the writing to find himself, to sort of cultivate that distance? jacob: reagan has been accused of not having an interior life. you cannot be a writer and not have an interior life. he often kept us at a distance. this gets to the psychological enigma of ronald reagan the way , that nobody felt close to him, or felt that they understood him. even his children, felt like there was a wall they could not get there.
-- get through. nancy reagan was the one person who was truly close to him, other than his mother. i think it does come out of this difficult childhood he had. reagan grew up, lived in 10 different homes before he was 10 years old. his father was an alcoholic, and drag the family around from pillar to post. around to illinois, chicago, would get arrested, and go back. it was a miserable childhood. reagan used his imagination to transform it into this idyllic, tom sawyer type of boyhood. ♪
♪ jeff: you called it a willed blurriness. what does that mean? jacob: heart of it is physiological. -- part of it is physiological. he had very poor eyesight growing up, and his hearing when bad when he was making one of his derring-do bank robber movies in hollywood, where someone fired a blank near his ear. he basically could not hear out of one year. as he got older, those things got worse. he did not see or hear that well. but he also chose to tune certain things out. that turned into a functional behavior, if you will. in politics, if you can convincingly ignore certain things, it is a skill, and asset. because he had a detached, slightly out of it quality, he was able to use it to good effect.
of course one of the interesting , questions now, is at one point -- is at what point did his alzheimer's kick in? at what point did whatever ness become a physical artifact? jeff: it was fascinating to hear the stories about nancy, after she had just passed away, and the role that she played in not just the reagan white house, but ronald reagan's life. what was she, for him? jacob: she was an absolutely crucial figure. it is a great love story. she really was. he doted on her in this way. if she was away from the white house for a night he would write , her mooning love letters. he was really unhappy when she was not there. but she, partly, having that emotional stability and enabled him to do the things he wanted to you -- to do in politics.
maybe equally important, she looked out for his interest in a way he often did not. she thought he was naive and guileless, and people would take advantage of him. she was the enforcer, pushing him to do the things he did not want to do, when he needed to fire somebody or make a hard decision he was avoiding. jeff: who did it? him or her? jacob: she did not want him to run for reelection in 1984, she was really after the assassination attempt in 1981, it had a terrible effect on her. that is when she turned to astrology, and started consulting the stars whether he should appear here or there. she just became paranoid. you can't even say paranoid, she was just worried he would get shot and killed. she wanted to go back to california.
he did not make that decision. by 1987, when the alzheimer's began, probably having effect, he would not fire his chief of staff, who nancy blamed for letting iran-contra happened to him. -- happen to him. at some point, reagan would not do it, and nancy leaked the name of his successor to the "washington post." it was sort of an unceremonious departure. and i think she was capable of going around him if she felt strongly enough. jeff: she played that game? jacob i think ronald reagan was averse in a way i relate to. firing people is a horrible thing to do, people have been loyal to him. he did not want to do hard things. and sometimes, hard things had to be done and she would push him to do them. jeff: did he let her in? jacob: there was one line i was
struck by. she said, i am closer than anyone to him, but there is still a wall i run up against. that is the enigma of ronald reagan. the wrong way to read that is to say there is nothing there. there is an interior life that ronald reagan has. but we will never have access to it. if he did not share it with the -- nancy, he did not share it with anyone. whatever the thoughts in his head were, that you can only really project. jeff: what would ronald reagan make of the current political season? jacob: he would be absolutely appalled by what has happened to his republican party. the positives effects of -- aspects of reaganism. jeff: there is an enormous amount of reagan discussion on the trail. jacob at the first debate, i : think ronald reagan was invoked 40 two times, and god was only invoked 13 times, which -- 42 times and god was only , invoked 13 times, which gives
you insight into the hierarchy at the republican party. but i think they venerate him because of his success. they don't necessarily follow his example very closely, either, in terms of his specific ideas or manner. jeff: why do you think you would -- he would be appalled by what is taking place right now? jacob: for two reasons. first of all, reagan believed the republican party should be inclusive. he was pro-immigration, the term amnesty comes from ronald reagan. he used it to describe his policies in positive terms. he wanted to widen the party's appeal. bring people in. he rejected the idea of any kind of nativism, xenophobia. i think the party's policies are antithetical. trump is the most extreme example. before the first time, there is an open bigotry in the republican party, which reagan strongly rejected. even though many people would argue, the appeal to the reagan
democrats and workers, was based in part on certain racial assumptions, coded racism. but that is not what he thought he was doing. it has not been explicit in the republican party until now. jeff: who will -- would he vote for? jacob it is hard to say, you : look at ronald reagan as someone who supported amnesty, handgun control with the brady bill. he did more to make abortion legal in the years before roe v , signing a bill essentially saying in california, a woman's doctor to give a woman permission. in terms of the republican party, he would not get past iowa. but bigger than a policy gap, is the temperamental one. reagan had genuine humility. he knew his limitations.
it was not just an act with him, that is rare in politics. you don't see that from ted cruz, or trump, who you can only talk about in terms of his level of narcissism. reagan was kind to people, had a genuine sense of humor. he was a nice person. he was personally generous. when you spend time reading his letters and research, you are sort of living with the person a little bit. you can think whatever you want about him, but he is hard not to like. and boy, that is the opposite of ted cruz during it is hard to find anyone in the world who will admit that they like ted cruz. jeff: those lindsey graham comments keep coming up. you are doing this trumpcst, a podcast, no lack of material for you.
no lack of material for you for the last year or whatever it is. are things changing a little bit right now? jacob: a week ago, i thought the worm was turning a little bit. i think it still is. if trump does not get 1237 delegates going into the convention, he is unlikely to be the nominee. after the first ballot, when people have to vote for him, many of the delegates who are committed to him are going to peel away, and something else will happen. it does not look like the numbers are pointed to him getting 1237. i also think the party's rational, self-interest will kick in. there are powerful factions in the party that do not recognize it would be a disaster to nominate him. but trump has exposed a gap between what the leadership of the party thinks, and what a huge segment of people who vote republican think on trade, immigration, on the side of -- size of government. trump's supporters don't want social security cut.
they don't necessarily favor big tax cuts for the rich. his appeal is much more of an appeal to working-class that suffered from economic transition. from globalization and so on. i don't see those people falling back into line. even if trump is not the nominee, and my bet is that he will not be. i don't think the party can just heal that breach. jeff: paul ryan says he does not want it or he will not take it. you talking about than either john kasich or ted cruz, or the mystery candidate? jeff: or jeb bush, or marco rubio, or mitt romney. i think at some point, after the , second ballot, third ballot, if nobody has a majority, we have not seen this. since -- in 1976 with reagan and ford was the last contested convention. and it did not get past the first ballot. we do not have a modern precedent. jeff: is anybody reagan-esque?
jacob: rubio, i thought . he had -- they play this game of reagan optimism. he was in the ballpark. jeff: are you surprised what happened with him? jacob: i was. he was the strongest candidate the republicans had. jeff: the establishment had. jacob: of the people running, i thought he had the highest propensity to beat hillary clinton. i think there was evidence to support that. he was doing really well for a while. but one debate was disastrous. but in the other debates he was good. you can see he is young, latino, you could see the party coalescing around this kind of figure. and trump killed him. he flamed out by reacting to donald trump. he tried to play trump's game, and nobody but trump plays his
game, exchanging insults. he went down so fast after that, it was a real object lesson. jeff: what is next for him? jacob rubio is not relinquishing : his delegates, so we will see what happens at the convention. his name has not been mentioned by the great mention her as a possibility this year given that , he was defeated so badly when he was. but i think he has a future in republican politics. i don't think there is anything that happened that precludes him from running next time or being a running mate. trump even mentioned him as a possible running mate. jeff: this is possibly the most interesting convention since reagan and ford in 76. jacob: -- jeff: potentially even more dramatic. jacob: i think we have no model for this. since the parties reformed themselves, driven by the primaries, it has been every year, the reporters dream of a brokered convention.
this year, it sure looks like it is going to happen. it is going to depend very heavily on the rules committee , and the credential committee, in all of this minutia politics that nobody but the real nerds like me pay attention to is going to matter this time. the rules of the convention will determine who the nominee is. and the rules, there are some interesting quirks. there are new rules at every convention. the rules are set out the -- at the convention. and the delegates were bound on the first ballot around what candidate they vote for, are not bound on the rules. if the rules committee decides they have to stop trump, who -- let's pass a rule that does more to liberate delegates to vote for who they want.
the delegates who are bound to support trump, and do not like him, or never liked him, can vote for that rule. it is going to be complicated, interesting. the worst place to understand it is standing on the floor of the convention. jeff: the future of the gop is decided in large part, based on what happens at that convention, or after the election? look, if trump is not the nominee, he has a third-party run -- my best guess. out of spite, he might do that. he is already laying groundwork saying, if i don't get the nomination, it is because i was cheated out of it. because donald trump, his kind of ego and narcissism, does not support the idea that he could lose a fair fight. if you lost it was by definition and -- and unfair fight. i don't think you put that humpty dumpty back together. i think there is a nationalist, nativist, trump wing of the party.
if you is not leading it, somebody else's. it could be a faction within the -- else is. it could be a faction within the party, or could take over the whole republican party. but when you look at how much the people who think those things have in common with say, a jeb bush or mitt romney, or even a marco rubio, it is minimal. i don't think those people go on in the same party for very long. jeff: three parties? jacob: we have had third parties. no third party has replaced -- jeff: strong, powerful very , impactful parties? jacob: who knows, it could be something like a george wallace or strom thurman. there are third parties that break off. , the famoustadter historian, his great line is third parties are like bees, they staying and then they die. -- sting and they die. they don't have impact to win elections, their impact is by pulling the major parties and their direction.
jeff: i was talking about one that exists for some time, and i don't know if you see that scenario potentially playing out beyond this election, whether it is trump leading it or someone else. jacob: it is hard to say, but i will go back to the point about the gap he has exposed. i think you have had the republican establishment, republican leadership, whatever you want to call it getting a , lot of people to vote against their own interests, and beliefs working people whose interests , are not aligned with tax cuts to the rich, shrinking entitlements. all these things paul ryan talks about, these people don't support. but they vote republican. somehow, the kind of -- the genius of ronald reagan, was to bring everybody under this big tent and somehow bridge that gap . i think it is no longer bridge bridged. able to be
what form that takes, whether it is a third-party, fighting within the party, the party tearing itself apart, i do not know. but we are in a different world politically at the end of this election cycle than we were at the beginning. jeff: is there anybody who can bridge that gap on all your -- either side of the aisle? jacob: four democrats it is different. now i feel the parties have traded places. when i first started writing about politics in the 1980's, the kind of cliche was that the republican party looks for converts, and the democratic party looks for heretics. it was true. the democratic convention in 1984, if you strayed from the union line, on a lot of issues. the party is more interested in vilifying you then winning the november election. than winning the november election. somehow clinton, was able to , compromise around policies in the interests of winning. they're having a primary fight, but i don't think it is a fight to the death.
i think democrats recognize the value of winning, in a way that the republicans used to, with ronald reagan. the republicans are now more about their internal conflict, they are are -- than settling for part of what they , want, as opposed to getting none of it. jeff: does that internal conflict get resolved this year or linger on? jacob: i don't see how it can be resolved this year. it is a deep cleavage that has been festering for a long time, now being exposed. i don't think that kind of thing, that kind of conflict gets neatly wrapped up. the way it does eventually get wrapped up is partly by people moderating their positions, and partly around a person. when you have a ronald reagan show up, all the people fighting in the republican party about whether we should have -- repeal
medicare or leave it alone, they all say, we don't agree about those issues, but we all agree about this guy ronald reagan. we like him. abilityit is reagan's to convince all of those people they will get something out of his president even if they won't , get everything they want. those are the politicians who are transformational within parties. because they can do that. bill clinton in 1992 was very much like this. people who were pro-free trade agreements, and people anti-free trade agreements did not quite know what bill clinton would do in office but he brought them , all along. he made them all think that he partly agreed with them, and he got them all to live with his decision when he came out for nafta. 1993, when he supported deficit reduction instead of bigger , stimulus spending. talent.political who has been on the republican
right? i don't see anyone. jeff: paul ryan? isob: paul ryan, i think he too identified, personally, i think he does have the right qualities to do that. people get along with him, he is a consensus figure, the job of speaker of the house, which is a job nobody can succeed at, you immediately get head-hunted. he is feeling person who could be a compromise. he takes the job, and so far he has done all right. but paul ryan is so identified with libertarian politics and minimalist government and tax cutting, that his ideological appeal to the trump-wing of the party, we call it that now is , not going to be there. they might like them, but they won't support them. jeff: what would ronald reagan make a paul ryan? jacob: i think ryan consciously
models himself after reagan. the interesting thing is, i think if ryan was not operating in the context of today's republican party, where you can't really be for immigration, you cannot be for a set of rational policies around the drugs. i think his views would be much more like reagan's. i read him as a reagan-conservative, i don't think policies make any sense, or his numbers add up any more than ronald reagan's did, i think they add up less. i think his views are very much reagan-conservative. jeff: with the same ambition that reagan had? jacob: reagan started in politics very late, he was already in his 50's before he got involved in it. ryan started much younger, he is biding his time. jeff: the american president series, the book is called "ronald reagan." thank you for
mark: i'm mark crumpton, you're watching bloomberg west. forapan, the search survivors continues following a magnitude 6.5 earthquake that left two people dead and 45 others injured. the quake which collapsed houses and started fires, was centered about 74 miles northeast of japan's only operating nuclear plant. the u.s. plans to station warplanes in the philippines as deployment comes after american ships began conducting joint patrols with the philippines in the south china sea last month. china claims sovereignty over all china sea islands and the waters.