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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  October 29, 2009 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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>> rose: welcome tthe broaast. tonight, the book editor of the "new yor times" sam tanenhawse talks abou books and his own book "th death of coervatism." >> what we fget especiay during the fught moments, the te pares and the anti-tax marches in wahid whi was significant by theay, not simplyecause of the vulgar attacks on the presint but because they we denunciations of both parties in all of government by these pele. they reminde me of the radicals in the late '60s. you kn, who opposed the government.... >> re: radicals from the left. we conude with caie fisher in a one person broadway show called "wishful driing." i >> i'm pud of myself that i've been ablto get through this stuff and i've been ae to... i can't overcome i but i can use it instead of it using... i have problems. problems don't have me.
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u know, i'm a very... m not afraid of anything d that would that would n be so if i hadn't hado deal with all that. i started afraid but i'm not afraid now. >> rose: but if you had your druthers. >> wel i wouldn't get manic part without the oer one and the manic thing is a blast.
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captioning sponsored by rose communicaons from our studiosn new york city, this icharlie rose. >> rose: sam tanenus is here. he i editor of both the "new york times" book review and the weekend review section ofhe newspaper when he is not appraisi books, he writ some of his own. his biograp of whitak chambers was finalist fo the nation book award and t putzer prize. his test book is called "the death of nervatism." in it, he argues today's republicans ve lost their way anneed to return totheir tellectual roots. i am pleased to have himack at this table. welcome. >> great to beere, arlie. >>ose: did thisrew out of at "newepublic" piece that you sfwlo >> it did. iy story, an essay durin the first nth of the obama administration for republicans and conservatively ek which you will because the book is
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about both. they se totally lt and also it builds on aot of thinking and writing i've donever since i started writingbout nservatism some 20 yea ago. >> rose: what space wld a consertive that you think has eas andapacity to be elected? what's t space? what's the candidate lk like? what's t ideas look like? >> well, we're talki about two dierent things. the candidas come from who knows where. if you look backver the history the movement and the rious tribes, t right had, barry goldwater the the '60s, rag ghan the 's, '80s. ey were kind of self-created figures. whatthey did that was so essential and what ts booked a dresss is find the people with ids. there's great story, bill ckley, whose biograp i'm writing, tol m a few years ago just one line. i aske him "bill, how did you nd goldwater and reagan?"
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he said "i didn't find them. they came to me." partlyhat was bill beinghe intellectual aristoct. >> re: meaning what? >> meaning they need a vocabularya language,hat would reach outside this ver cloistered sect of movement conservatism which is kind o antiovernment, opposedo many of the ititutions in our society which doesn't feel very nservative at all. it seems lik a kind of dicalism. they h to find the instrumen the language, and the ideas, the prosals that might resonate with the broader pubc. so they went to iellectuals tot. and liberalism is now suffering because there are t great conservative oonents. and i sayin th book that you could argue th the nearest thing to a classical conservative in contemporary polics is our psident who' a die-hard liberal. he's conservate temperantly. >> rose: because of civility? cause of listening? beuse he understands you point of vw? >> and also because he belves in revitalizing the core
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institutio ofovernment and society. he's tamd down the imperial presidency, whicwe allegan worry about. >> rose: h has he tamped it down? >> well, through foreign poli that really emphasizes multilateralism. rose: but that's not the impeal presidency, is it? that by... foreign licy that nts to engage, an arab engagement, notamping down the imperia nature of the... it s nothing do with it, does it >> oh, i think it ds. >> rose: the imperial nature is that you're flecting a policy of ierialism? for a president you thk of somebody who sit tre is and believes tha the executiv branch rules everything. >> that's right. and it dates back really as i say in the bk, it really dates back tthe presidency of franklin roosevelt wita democratic idea orinally. e first great ctics of it were cservatives. another philosopher i write about is james burnham, a mento to bucey. he was onef the rst strong
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criticas what he calle caesarism. e presidency that grows so over weaning iits power that it violates e strength of t otr branches. it was conservatives who first made that criticism. but then once their own politicians got in oice, they reversed course. with nixon, with reag and with george w. bush decided there should be noonstraints on the pridency at all. and we hadthree presidents in the three instances--nixon, agan, and bush-- who cmitted impeachable offees probably. and we had democratic presidents who seemed to uerstand the limitations of power an we had moderate rublicans w unrstood that. rald ford, dwight eisenhower, the elder bush. ey worked withinthe constrais of the government even if the other brahes want to overpower the they understand the conitutional system required them to go along. >> rose: i think an imperial presidenhas to dowithin w the consolidation of pow within the white house and ur arronce about that power
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rather than a kd of forei policy that had to do with engement or something else. >> that's fair point but the two are not easily detached. we look at the presidency of gorge bush, the younger bush, lookt how the warin iraq was prosecuted. that's not simply a matter of consolidating power internally, consolidating power really to make a foreign poly move at the rest of t world wld essentially hav to just observe watch if the sidelines. >> rose: tell me what the conservative movemen was about. and what called it to that. >> what this book describes is two strands of conservatism at have always been at w with one another, okay? one is wha i thinkf as a classicalconservative movement and that rely goes all the way ck to the greate of all conservative thinkers, ednd burr. >> rose: an irishman o went to london. >> was very pro-ireland, pro-amican revolution.
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>> ros anti-french revolution. >> anti-french revolution. y cause robespierre and danton wand to destroy the society they opposed rather than rerm it. and burke said "conserve and correct, that's thegoal of the statman." now what hapned in arican politics was when f.d.r. tk power and reall did revolutionize our vernment to some extent, the reaction on the right-- that is theassive enlaement of the federal government, the creation o the alphabet sou agencie to enact laws.. >> rose: beyond at, he wanted to enlargeh court. >> he did, and thas really wh brought him down. he did overstep hisounds. but what theight did was to decidet wasn'tsimply roosevelt himself who was responsiblfor all of is, it was that sret army of mandarins and bureaucratics, right in the managerl ale and that give birth t an idea that governmenttself and the
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intellectual forces that feed it becauswhere do these new deal intellectualfrom? they come from the ivy league, theyome from the top law firms. they constitute a clasthat is at war with america ielf. >> rose: the same people who jack kennedy hired. >> that's exactly right. and that's why if y look at ronald reagan's correondence, which ve done, you'll see a letter he ote to non in 1960s and he said "well j.f.k. may have tousled hairut he's stl a marxist." >> rose: he actually thought that? was that part of rgan's belief that someone like.f.k. was a marxist or was it a turn of phrase to create a laugh? >> well, seehis... not necearily a laugh. also maybe to send shiver anety, this is whatwe're hearing now. is is the problem the right half v. >> rose: you say you believe he's a classiconservative because he wants toreserve and change? >>es, that's right. >> rose: come back to that. but ay with this st of evolutn of conservatism sohere it was, a certain kind of conservatism. whatas it? beyond burke a beyond conrve
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and change, who represented it? did ronald reagan represt it? or was rald reagan a n consvatism tha in a sense marked the end o an old consvatism and marked a group of people within a partyaking over. >> wl, a lot ofhis is hard to untangle though i t to do hit in the boo i'll lay it out as best i can. if you loo at that period when the modern conservative movement took shape which w after world war ii, that is, the ideas were percolating during the roosevelt years. here was a man also who ran for president four times. >> rose:ight. >> something unthinkable and, in fact, illegal n. we would look back at him a sa"this is someonewho overrehed." on thether hand, he did it through the democratic process. so the rightets itself up in oppositiono him. they get their first chance i 1952. remember, in the decades of the 1930s d 1940s, this country did not elect single reblican president. five democratic predents in a row.
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and 1952 the student comes. dwig eisenhower. >> rose: they have a national hero. jup ey have a nional hero. in fact, both parties pursued him. no one knew wt his pitics were. >> rose: no one would have care >> except the ideologal right. they were nervous about him. >> rose: this was taft or somee else? >> well, taft was his opponent but also the young bill buley d overs were very suspicious of him because look at senhower's connections. he's an internaonalist when many of the right ha been isolationists. was a president of columbia univsity. >> rose: a he'd been in europe. >> he'd been in europe wi many contacts with reign leaders he seemed a midd-of-the-road guy, which he was. thisas the concern the right had. if we elect as replicans a present who is n going to un, to roll bac all the radica changes that happened der rooseveltnd then the stew waugh strew man, our conservatism wl have failed and the would have been a left wing revolution that's ovtaken
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the couny. and, of cose, that's wha happened with eisenhower. eisenhower kept the w deal in place. in my scheme, eisenhower and bill clinton snd as the two great moder nservative presidents because the followed presidts who had beenadical to some extent and rather tha try to uo everything,just moderate it and tempered it. >> rose: that's tony blair. he did not t to undo everhing margaret thatch had done. >> he d not at all and he was despised on the left part of the labour par for tha so we're back in the 1950s now and eisenhower looks suiciously like a moderate. so buckley starts to organize gazine, "national review", partlyto re dwight senhower out of the coervative movement. it sounds crazy toy. rose: because buckley'san was taft or because bucky's man was... >> i think. joeccarthy. joe mccthy is the key figure. >> rose: becau of anti-communism, which s so
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central to buckley? >> becse he gave the right a populist voice. joeccarthy... sarahalin does it today. what the rht has the most fficulty establishing to the country at large is a connection with the ordinary man. buckley and compan were quite elist. you kn, buckley was goi to write a book called "theevolt againsthe masses." he wasoing do this... as far as the middle '60s. th wereessentially elitists. but at they saw mccarthy cod do... no one er wanted mccart to be president. buckley would nevehave said that. but mccarthy washe voice of an aggresve oppositionm. somebody who would.... >> rose: take it to them? >> take ito them in the mo agessive way with some politil sophistication. so buckley and compa lined up behind him. rose: and he nev denoced him until the end, did he? >> heever really did though he regretted. he might haveven saidt on this show, heaid "i wish joe mccarthy wou have never lived >> rose: most of the thinge is
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said were on that show. >> what's interesting about tt moment is buckl now startg hi magazineants all the leading conservative intellectuals, the fill sof, on his side. 's a man of ideas. so burnham wanted to dit. buckley's strange mentor will rtar kendall, anoer mentor from yale, who is also to show you howrilliant heas, later a mentor to gary wells. fascinating figure, saul bellow ote a short story about him so buckley has these guys on the side. but therize is the mos fame oust anti-economist inteectuals, whitaker ambers. and he gs to cmbers and he says "me aboard." and chambers say "no you all soun a bit like crackpots me! you've gone from seone like chambers himself..." chamber, burnham and kendall had all beer communist at one tim or other. th's important to remember because thatradition caies througthe late irving krial.
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>> rose: the people who became the neo-conservativ. >> they have an idea that you're living tough perpetualarfare and e only way yo win is through counterrevution, which isot a conservative idea atll, it's a radical idea. so chambers says enough with the extremism left and right. because he been through all of that. and he says no. heays, in fact, what we have to do is find a different model. and his model was,f all peoe the 19th cenry british conservativeenjamin disraeli. beckonsfield and chambers calls himself a bkonsfieldian. and he says if we're going surve as conservate, we have to give things . give up the tngs you have to give up. for instance, don't preh the evils of socialism to m neighbors e rig wing farmers who like joeccarthy because they're stding in line to get the priceupports and handout. you have to be rlistic about what you can do. d it took buc lay while to absorb tha lesson. but the k period came, i think
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and as iescribe it, in the next decade, the 1960s when th great society was in ace and the praatismf the democratic party and its leading liberals, architectsike daniel patrick moynihan, rned into sething dierent. it tned intoits owndeology ofimprovinghe quality of life for all citizens. you have this boundlessly rich country d you havsome people who e being excluded. let's remake soety and governmento make everyone's life better. and at thatpoint, theyoverreach. and moynihan himlf who had been the architect of the war on poverty, som of his great programs said "ll, what he weone here? we've created these massive programswe have these wonderful civi rights laws which shou have been passed a genetion ago and are now in place and what do we see? we see riots in watts." >> rose: we see what he also said is we see the dtruction ofhe familtructure. that's actly right.
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why? becausif you were a virtuous liberal in that piod, you thought it was unseemly to qution the sial arngements that any fily might ve, paicularly if people ling in the inn city with all the obstaclemoynihan knew very well, an moyhan sympathized with that. what was shocking to m was when he created this extraordinary idea of a family-centere policy... and it was chard nixon who wted to put inhe place. rose: wh he was in the white house. >> when he was in the whe hous what did moynihan find? >> rose: moynihan was inhe white hoe. >> well, yes, nixon brought him inater. but he did in the 1965 for lyndon johon. whatoes moyniha find? he's cald a racist. he's attacd by the right for waing to make the government too big. by the left fo not respecting the... sort of the mortar race and cultu of the people he says he wants to help. and suddenly this liberal center, is pragmatic consensus
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center, ich has really been, like, the glory our politics in the '50s and '6, that's where the eisenhowers and kennedys and johnsons fit is n is the belief in consensus politics. rose: and that's where you think... just movin it forwar, ll clinton was? >> yes, he was >> re: and barack obama? >>es, i do. i think he's a nsensus figure. >>ose: so if the linge goes forward from eisenhower t clton, the next stop is obama >> i think it's an open question with him, charlie. here's why: i think obama has absorbedoo liberal... two liberal rains that may tually be in oosition. >> rose: two big a centst conserveiv >> well, in opposition wit one another that he may not be able to reconcil thfirst is the neweal lega. the new deal is really best seen as kind of massive govnment
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intervention at a time of ergency. so the tarp, the temporar assets relief program. thespolicies, right? these are n dealtypes of policies. they're done in a me of emergency, you have to prop up thbanks. >> ros but heinherited them from... >> from george bush. well, ju the way frankli roosevelt inheritethem from herbert hoover up? but isn't there a difference ther i mean, franklin roosevelt didn't inherit... what he herited was an econom condition... he inherited an economicondition, he didn't inherithe new deal. at barack obama has herited was programs that had been done..tarp programs and things like that that had been initiateby a previous administtion. programs >> oh, yes, i see the distction. andt's even mor complicated than that because what obama's doing that's quite riskys saying, we' going to do great society-like programs, improve the quality health care, reform the systeat the same time. when we dot have ver much
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money. that's a realamble. so can he do it? if anybody can, can. 's an enormously skilled politician. anwe forget w some who've reacted to ts book sayell, tanenhau misses the boat becae barack obama's sinking inhe polls h. 's been president for what, eight month >> rose: and he'still above 50%. and if some kind of health care goes thrgh, he'll have two the largest initiatives in american politica history. >> rose: and'm not sure it is about hi policies as it i abt him. he that has contraction ronald reag has. people like him more than his policies but the difference heres it seems to me is obama's policies inart are a reaction to a cris. reagan's policies we not so much that. they were mh more in terms of the puttingn place ideas that would... of a very different maitude that the country had seen. >> rose:lthough, you will wlaeb the '70s felt like at the very e. >> rose: malaise and all that. body ev used theord. inflion was high.
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>>eyond anything we'd seen. >> rose: i want to co back to obama. so the tension for him is on the one hand he feels the need to do stuff. on the other han, there's not stuff too. he has noesources to dot? doesn't have the kin of nou do it because we' looking at a financial disciine and... i mean ainancial situation that has huge deficit down e road, has a structural deficit coming in bause of medicare a social secity and things li that >> rose: yes. that's his sort of philosophical ideological probm is can he persuade the couny at this moment that we can ma these ral cad changes? he also ha a pitical problem which is that something the conservative movement succeeded in doing was purging all the moderates from the republican pay. >> ros stay withthis in tes of obama. where do you thi his instincts are? do you think thestill think. havi said all that you have, having said thenecessity of reacting to an emgency,
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thatless at the end o the day a centrist conserver? >> yes. because i think in his mind-- here i am ading his mind-- some of the really prized stitutions in governnt and society which may explain, by the way, thisodd battle he's having withox news, t him they sender siege. and he wl have to ke faiy drastic measures to rescue tm. >>ose: they again. i want to make sure i understand it. >> i think for someone like obama whs the ultate rationist in the sortf j.f.k. md, you know, j.f.k the thhad the famous pre nference i quote in the ok whe he said "the differences betweenliberals and conservatives,epublicans and the democrats, the don't matt anymore, whatwe face are technological administrave proble." >> rose: the was also this powerful...... the new frontier had a powful lief i if only
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enoughrain power which we ve ispplied to aroblem, we could solve it. >> right. now thatould be a little dangerous, too, because thenou create the culof the expert, which is part of what bnham s about. whenolitics is really... partly about emotion a passion and also ere are aspect of this huge 300 million person society that are beyond rational governan. we really don't know what the ecomy is going to do. the brillnt economists who are surroundinobama now, larry summer for instance,geithner, these are people who are all implicated in some of the failures of our econom too. i think that one of their strengths the difrence between his brain trust and kennedy's is that his has some experience in actual politics and life. but i think where obama still seems conservative is in his belief that the extremes dot really count for so much. and what we fget is,
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especially durin these very fraught monts, the tea parts and t anti-tax mares in wahid which were signifint, by the way, n simpl because of the vulgar attack on the president, but becau they were denuiations of both parties and and all ofovernment by these people. they reminded me of the radals in the late 's who opposed.... >> rose: exactly, right. racals from the left. >> radicals fromhe left. and they had tak over some of their tacti, someof their langua, and all theest. now, when oba stands up againsthat, i think you'r delighto somextent it's valuable tosay,well, th clost thing they seem to have to an intelctual or thinker these dayss rush limbaugh. he m be right. what this book partly trs to show w the era o the itaker chambes and buckleys and jame burnhams, people who really did tnk through in ilosophical terms what the...
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the great questis and answers might be have been replaced by thshouters and screamers. they are directing the republican pty to a large extent. >> rose: what voice that you can either hear or read,hether it's a david brooks or whether its someone on radio or televisionr whether someo th a developing political career represents a gup of ideas that you think could gaer a kind of gratasnd be an attractepposition to th gorning narrative of our time? >> i don't see it. it's one reason i wrote in the book. >> rose: ithat what you're saying. there is no growingarrative in opposition to the marity, narrative our time? >> the idea of a nservative governing philosophy, a philosophy of governanc.. we hear a great deal abo hatred of government and the evils o gornment, but youear very few in the right talk about
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goveance, the arts of governance. so there areery smart and thoughtful conservatives amo us. davibrooks is one, george will another. theyre there, but i'm not sure ether what influence they have on the party. now, there areot the goldwaters and reagans who are going to them. >> rose:ut what you woul expect tsee is some politici be able to...f there is a marketut there, some potician be able to te some of those kinds of ias, which are kind of enlightened sen of conservatives or centrts... in e end it's a centrist philosophy directed certaly by david, less so by george who i assume tbe a le bit of the right. the other hand, george has been... jorge is is saying "get out of ahanistan.". now, i don't know whether tt's left or rit. >> well, it's pragmatic. he wrote a great boo in the 19s which i cite in m book called "statecraft is soul craft." what interesting about thatñi book, charlie: is it was written by someone w was a gat
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admirer of rald reagan. it w published in 1983 and wh does wil say? he says "conservaves should not too wedd, they should not make a fetish of free marketism becae there is no moral value in the market. so we have to impose higher values. and one of the he calls in a lovely phrase the eic of common provision, wch is a nice way o saying we need welfe. you have to look out for the po. thosare conservative values. >> rose: nixon was open to those kinds of ideas i mean, he was this dark characr. you agree th. >> yes, he was. nixon, i thi, was the most giftedntellectually and politicay president of the modern age. he was also crazy. is. >>ose: because he had demons of parana? >> paranoia was so extreme. and he embodied the two strains of conservetism. nixon is a central figurethis book because you see what i call movent conservatism and
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classical consvatism fused in nixon. nin's policies were more liberal than any democrat who's followed him. rememberhen the late edward kennedy died ande were all looking... a posortem and everyone was looking his record. wh was knedy's regret? that hhadn't cut a de with nixoon health care. that's better thananything we're seeing now! so aa poly guy, he was.... >> rose: buttake me through obama. you're willing to argue now that richard nixon was more gted and the restf it, even including barack obama? >> well, i thinkee leaving out a figure who intellecal... here ware ranking them all does surpass oba. i ink clintonas... bill clinton was extraordinarily gifted political figure. >> rose: gifted in terms of... in what way? giftedn what way? >> in he combined a skill at retailolitics with a
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conceptual grasp of pocy i don't thk we've seen. did you ever meet richard new staff? >> rose: of course. >> i asked him once about ten yearago right before the impeacent i met him, the one time i met him and i said "how good is this guy? is this guy a good as roosevelt?" you member roosevelt was the model. he said "better. better. moreheer talent." he said "character flaw, but beer." when we... iay nixon is mo gifted than obama he's lacking anssentialomponent obama has. >>ose: emotional intelgence. >> yes. rose:motional intellence. >> emotional intelligence and a see of self-identity. nixon never reay fit in anywhere the interesting thing about obama that he seems to have a sort of rootless upbringing and yet he's situated really athe center of american identity, a tremendousatriotism. you kind of forgetthe acceptance speh in denver and th the inauguration address and then the victory speh. a emendous patriotism, sense
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of american history of hope. nixon never ally felt that. the resentments a angers coursed very darkly throh him. >> rose: he nerdopted the politics of optimism >> n he didn't, or the true temperament of him,hich makes him fasnating. here is a man who's a total introvert, chooses the most traverted of professions. >> rose: the boo is lled "the death of conservatism." sam tanenhaus. thank you. enjoyed it. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: our our nextrogram, we begin charlie rose brain series. it is a look atthe most& intesting thing about us, our brain. >> ros carrie fishers here, since shfirst appeare in "shampoo" and "sr wars" when she s just aeenager, she has left a memorable imprint on some of our favorite movies. here a look at somef her work. what do yo think? >> you know, i think y got
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exactly same eyes as your mother and your chin is a littleit like hers, too. >> no, i isn't. >> rose: i thi it is. >> no, my eyes ar't like hers either. i'm nothing like mother! >> i'm not trying to insult you, you know? can't we jus be friends? okay. >> what's so iortant? what'se carrying? >> the technic readouts o th battle statn. i only hope that when the data is analyz, a weakness can be found. it's n over yet. >>t is for me, sister. look, i ain't in this for your revolution and i'm n in itor u, princess. i expecto be well pai i'm in it f the mey. you needn'torry about your rewa. if money is althat you love, en that's what you'll receive. ur friend is quite a
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mercenary. i wond if he really cares about anytng, or anybody. >> who is that girl? >> well, je, youook just fineown there sthering in the mud like vermin. >> no problem. >> you'reot gonna getway from mehis time but dot wait too long. remember whahappened david warsaw? his wife left himnd eveone said "give him some time, don't3 move i too fast." six months later heas dead. >>hat are you sayin i shou get married to someone right away in case he's about to die? >> at leasyou could say you were mared. i'm saying the rht man for u might be out there right now and if you don't grabhim, you'll ha to spend the rest of life knowing soone else was mared to yr husband. >> i really think he wants t ki me.
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>> n, scott,e don't want to kill each other in he, we might say that weo sometimes but we... really don't. (laughter) >> actuay, theoy's quite astute, really trying to kill h, but so far successfully. he's quite wily, like his old man. >> ros she is now on broadway in a one-woman play about her life calle "whful drinking." it's abo her life growing up in hollywood, her strgle with drug abusend bipolar disorder and, yes, "star wars," too. >> (laughs) now, oh, this will reay, really iress you. i am in the abnormal psychology textbook. (laughter) how ol is that? now, keep in mind i am the pez dispenr and i'm in the abnormal psycholy textbook. who says you can't havet all? now, obviously m family is so proud. t the thing is, i hea i was in the textbk and i heard i was in there with aicture.
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and i thought "what? i mean, what picture? it's not like yone ever, ever called me a said have you got a snapshot of yourself looking depressed? or manic? ke from the show." so for years it truly bugged me, wh picture? well, i have ftastic news. we found the picture. and rather than describe it to you, would you guys liketo see it? because i so wan to sw it to you. (lauter and applause) true. rose: i amleased to have carr fishr back athis tabl lcome. >> thank y, sir. >> rose: this is goo >> it is, it's fun to do, too. >> rose: is it therapeutict all or do you nee thepy anyme? >> i have had much therapy that that's therapeut. yeahit sort of is, though, it sort of is. you make ridiculous... ify life wasn't funny, would just be tru andthat's unacceptable. so i've me it... you knowit
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is ridiculous. >> rose: butou go out and talk about your le and you can see they're almostn rhythmith you when you said "shal i show you the pture?" they said "please do." you can ar the aience breathing with you. >> rose: the gat thing is sometimes look dow and s "if you haa daughter that eat, wouldn't youant to do something nice forer?" and i'll see people g.. it's no nice. that's the best pa of it. >> rose:hy did youhis? >> to get back my parents. no. >> rose: (laug) never goes away, does it? >> nothingoes away. >> rose: t instinct for the line never goes away. >>eah. i was doi speeches all the time. i was giving george lucas awards consntly. >> rose: rht. (laughs) >> so i had a "star wars" section of speech sayin "he ownemy likeness and every time i look in th mirror have to give him a couple of bucks.". and i was getng mental illness awards a lo so y know, you come up with material. >> rose: and so all of a sudde you d this material and you id why not put it together and prest it?
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>> disnguish it together, yeah. >> rose: and when you saw those pictures of you as a young beautiful won. >> i wish i looked th way. but i didn't tnk i was good looking then. >> rose: explain tt to me. >> if had, thinksy wouldn't have been fny. i grew up wh aeautiful mothernd i would stand nt to her and feel le i looked like a thumb. and i justhought, well, i better developomething else here. >> ros i better be funny because i'm not as beautiful as snore >> yh. d i better mak things funny that are painful. it the best alchemy that yo can do >> rose: how lg have you been experiencing pain? >> well, it's gone a way at no you t a certain age, man, and how can... a friend of ne-- as a prst, father t, of course, my friend-- and i said to him one y, i have to goo my ughter's therapy session, th going to be so hd. and he said to me "well, you've done hd before." >> rose: (laughs) yes. >> and that's one of the trueest things inow. >> rose: in the book you said
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don't knowhe difference between movies and rl life. in my life the tended to overlap. characters that my mother played in moviesbecame confud with the person who was and is my moth." >> i keep thinking when get old and get some kind ofbrain loss that i'll ju go rit backnto aying pncess leia there the oldolks home. i thought my mother was my mother at home and wh i saw her on t.v. i was little once and... yea stilshort. d my mother was in this mie called "susan slept here." and in it e's very young and she looks up at dickowell and she puts her ce up to be kissed with her eyes csed and he kisse her on the forehead. and i kn at three years hold that that was earrassing. and i remember goi... to see if anyone else had seen her humiliion. so at that a you don't derstand. >> ros you stayed cse. >> i a.. i live next door to my mother. >> rose and... but you never...
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ere was never awlaech the... >> o god, yes. >> re: there was? >> the normal time a teenager. and e was having... we never called ia nvous breakdo, it w a nervo break through. e just keptoing. ani was ateenager and you have to individuate, girls especially the mothers. my daughter was mad at me when e was 16, really mad. >> rose: when you look at all the thinthat you're doing there, all tse memors, what does it do to you? >> well, hang on a second. all ose memories. i' had electriconvulsive therap so all those memories are kind of riddled with holes. and m also at a certain age and i to a lot of l.s.d. so i'm not mis memory walking around. >> rose: now this iserious. it's serus in two ways. one, there isour li and then there's sort of livi with bipolar. >> yes. >> rose: everythinglse is small in comparison with ling with bilar or canou dionnect them? >> wl, when you're in the thick of it, which have been a
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few times, there's nothing th compares to that. and i.... >> rose: what is it... i know you've been sdhd a thousand times. you say that, nothing compares to tt. well, one time i could not sleep and went to the hpital and they wouldn't give me anything. they took off all my medicine cause i was having an aergic reaction. stayed awake for five days. that's how they tture people. and i became psychotic now, i do not put thi in the... sometimepeople complain that i don't do enoh of the dark side. but i don't know tt people want to go o that journey with me. but i was psychotic. i thoughi was getting secret meages from the t.v. i also thought the t.v. was watching me. i got.... >> rose: how long did this last? >> days and ds. rose: duringhose... >> that was ve, very bad that was terrifying. i had a light coming out of my head at one point. my shrink came to visite and i
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said to her "you know..." and i said "you kn, i don't know if i believe in reincarnation but if there is such a thing i wanto come back as your shrink." >> rose: (ughs) >> it was... i was... you know. >> rose:ndhat... you said to me before we started, we we talking about bolardisorder and you said... and i was saying we kw some people that have commitd suicide. uh-huh. rose: and you sai, buoy, the be thing that you coul possibly... you made especially approving rema about electric shock. >> it is fanstic. and it tk me ages to agree. they'd bn asking know it. it's forepression mostly. it justreaks up the concrete. i me, i was truly, trulytuck d depressed. and not suidal. but what y want to do is not live right now. i ne a break, you know? i an, it's bad. and they gave me this treatment. they give it to you tee times a week for three weeks. you doose four mont.
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worth it. i mean, you lose.. >> rose: fou months are go? >> four mons leading up. those four months, i met someone new,one, i would look at my e-mails, someone would say toe "that wasso fun at dinner." and i woulthink "who's that?" >> ros i'm not laughing but i know what you mean. >> no, i is funn, though, it has to be funny. it's not funny, it's horrible. >> rose: exactly >> so it is funny. it betr be, becse otherwi what? you kn, i've seeneople that take all the cha and romance out of sf-pity. i'm not really ierested in finding it tragic. >> rose: nor am i. >> and when you go to a mental hospital, which i hope you don't do, unless it's doing an interview,he people in there.... >> rose: not a bad ia. >> many of them are larious. >> ros exactly. >> becse they have to be. it doesn't get worse than that except the cancer ward. >> rose: an just go in and let them talk. >> rose: and we're laughing. >> rose: are you in a good place today? >>eah, i am. >> rose: beuse you're ev
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th everything? because there's nothing at i... i have no secre. >> rose: you said a gre line. yore only as sickas your secret >> tt's right. so i a really very, very well >> re: you let it all go. >> n all of it. you cat do all of it. >> rose: bause it willurt somebody or because... >>ell, if is someone else involved that's their secret an i'm not goingo betray. but, you know, you do it... anyone talk about in my show and i went t them and said "isñr is okay? because you can ta it out." and a couple of people did. >> rose: u wrote the entire thing. >>ure. and i change it a lot. and i intert with the audience. they're kind of my scene partner. >> rose: how do you put i togeth. you've got a life. >> have quite a life. >> rose: i mean, you've had everythi. you've got movies, you've got famousovie stars youe got all the stuff you can connect. yove got famous parents, u've got the divorce. >> ros and the absurdity of it. >> you've got therelationships, you've got t man dying in your d.
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>> it' living out loud, you know? >> rose:xactly. >> so i'm okay now. but when the stuffas happeng was decidedly not okay. so anything after that ie done ha befor now it's goin to be very tough. >> rose: do you have t same friends you had all along? >> for t most part. >> rose: forhe most part. >> i think some things sometimes... you kno when the drug addiction w happenin peopleere very upset about that a i... the worst thing abou drug addiction is the look you put ine's faces. >> rose: like... wh is it? >> just... oh, my god. you know yo.. it's scary them. and it's a mass disappointment. >> ro: andhey feelnto want do anything. >> yeah, because you should just be able to stop. you should just pull youelf up by your bootstraps and stop. d i'll tell you something,he e.c., along wh 12-step stuff thatade it much easier.
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>> rose: i did? >>eah, i have the itnce a month now. ornce every six weeks. they're spading it. but they put you sleep, there's no me convulsions th should callt e.t. putou to sleep, the give you a shot to freeze your muscl and put this little ing here and ne. >> rose: youot how often? >> once ery six weeks. rose: there anyown side on this? >> not for me. well, the memoryhing. but who knows which.... rose: do y talk abouthis in the sho >> i used to but now i've med into talking about being overweht because someone wrote on the internet "whatev happen to carrie fisher? she used to so hot, now she looks like elton john." >> rose: (laughs) >>o i was, like, well, that hurt all seven of my feeling but i claim it. if can claim it, it mine. >> rose: and ere's no secrets and you own i >>f you deare something it has le power over you far less. sayour weak things i a strong voe. >> rose: that great aice. be able to acknowledge your
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akness and therefore... >> it' not a weakness then. my liabilitys are myssets. i mean, i ve made a living of writing about myiabilities they're mine. >> rose: but you've beenhat way forever. everybody...ver since... ie known you a long ti. right. >> re: and aefsh has... you've alws been known for tw thin. you are outsken, tell the trh as you see i,nd hilariously funny. the are the two thing if someone said "carrie fisr" i would satells the trut, funny. that's what i would say. >> you wanto keep it simple and tell the truth. >> rose:where didthat come from? >> i really don't know. i mean, my mother is funny. bumy fuy... i've had a darker lifthan my mother. though she might argue that. >> rose: (laug) no, have, com on. she didn't wake up with dead bodies and sff. >> ros tell us what waking up with dead body is. >> that is awful. that took me out. rose: "took me out" means what? >> it happened on myatch, i
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ame myself. >> rose: what happened? >> well, who... he had sleep nea and oxycont use. but not enough to oveose. so i found him... i found him. >> rose: thiguy was a reblican lobbyist, wasn't he? >> he was. and in caseyou're thinking o becoming friendsith some republicans, they do ve funny stories. heas fun despite bng a gay drug addict rublican. he was a lot of fun. snu you likedim a lot >> i loved him. >> rose: and was hard? >> oh, god, comen. it was horrible. it was horrible. bumy brother... i went awa with my brother and i was just blaming myself honestly. otr than grieving. i went to grief counselor and she said "i'm so sorry we had meet under these conditis." you're a grief counsel! >> re: that's whatou do. >> she says "i can't even imagine what you've been thugh." well, if you can't, i'm really screwed. >> rose: (laughs) i'm here for help,hat's your business.
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>> my broer had me watch war lms and documtaries, ngor the int. d i watched pple talk about experiences ere their friend had their arm blown off and said "could you get my watch?" off their arm. and i thought.... >> rose: oh,my god. >>hat man has done,an can do. because that's a lot harder than st waking up with greg. so watched a lotof that. andhat's... if you can fd someonthat's had a wor time than you are, hangn to it. >> rose: thereny part of you that says "the reason i've had to endure all this is because god knew that i cod take it"? >> i don't know if believe that. but i can take it. i mean, aot of people kw i catake it. >>ose: they, do absolutely. >> i can. >> rose: they knowou can take it bause you did. but what's the choice? it. it's really har buthen the point isod the funny thi in the har thing. >> re: now, are thereeople at if they had not been ere
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you wouldn't be here? >> sure. welli was never scidal. but, again, i say i wodn't mind bei out of the... you know, so of like michael jackson taking that and y're dead, that's not drug addiction. drug addiction is ge me the pills and i want to el all those edges mute. but i didn't want to be ound for some of it. it was just awful. bui have a child, you know? >> rose: thachanges the gam i'm not going to do that. i would ner do that to her. >> rose: you live for sething more than carrie. >> i would like toe a good role model. and in somef the way i'm a go role model of what not to do. which wod be pills etc. rose: in other words, do a i say, not as i did? >> yeah, but my daughter... my daughter... my dahter is coident, she doesn't have my thing. she doest have... she' not bipolar. >> rose: when you look bac at
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the eraordinary opportunits you've had aa very young person, did you bl it or not? >> (laughs) well from... probay dependin on yr point of view i blew i ani triumph over it. >> rose: but you blehit in the that y might have had a dierent kind of life and/or sdpler if you were not sueptible to allhese things. now, bipol disorder is not one of the >> i'd like to say i come from a placof privilege a ordeal. >> rose: okay. i get privilege. the ordeal is? >> bipolar drug addtion, father gng whenyou're... you know, a lo of stuff that just happened to... happens to people >> rose: they'reoing a lotf stuff now about addtion and they're looking at brains that have addiction and there's lot of that have is t just will power, as you kno more and more...ill power u uld have been over it. >> there's no wilpower. >> rose: d you think... do you think addiction is a brain
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disorder? >> i think's... i think people are born with it. you know, i think... you know, the scary thing for an addi is at drugsdo something fo them they cannot do for themselves. and that's an enormous power. now, other people.. >> rose: wait. drugs do something for them they can't do for themsels. in oer words, they can't find peace? it pea? >> an addict orlcoholics are. they want... i wanto feel like you seem. which isnfair. i have n idea what you're lik >> rose: pretty much li i am here. i am pretty much, for bter or worse. t people seemkay. >> rose: exactly. so i want to fee like you seem. and the way that i went about doing that was with pain medication. >> ros but was there anyther way you mit have gone? >> i tried... you ow, i was in therapy srting... iasked my mother to send kw a slik at 15. itasn't her idea! she ought i was goi to go in the ofce and say "my mother is
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sowful." that's all she thought. >> rose:hen was the point in which it was theowest? next qstion is when wasit in the best? >> the hallucinations were really bad. >> rose:'s pret bad, isn't it? >> yeah. >> rose: breakp your mothe and ur d. >> yeah, tt was probably my fat. >> rose: (lahs) no! t i talked to somne today about that. same thing, parents dirced and theyaid... i sai how do do kids take it and they saidell, there's always o that will blame mself or herself. >> and it's the one that's just old enougho wond. >> rose: and that wasyou? >> yea myrother was younger and i was sort of like.... >> rose: and you loved your mother andated your fatr... >> no, i loved my dad. the thing out my dad is hes amazingly charming a that was the hearbreak of it. >> rose: that's probly the reason. >> wl, that's why he got a those women to... ye. yeah. >> rose: and then u married a gay man. >> iidn't mary him, but... i
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only had a child with him. rose: what is one ofhe most wonderful people i know hollywood. >> well, isn't thatnice. >> rose: you dot like him? >> no, i do. >> rose: he' a great g. >> we're sarated so i'm allowed toe "isn't that ce." i think maybe we'll get back together thougonce he gets over this gay thing. god. he's sort of... isn't g kind of a virus it just goesway. >> rose: no, i don't thi so. >> oh, all right. well, never mind then. >> rose: h are you hdling growing older? >> i'm not fond of it. >> rose: iyou had a chance to choose, you might not? well the choe is death or not looking as good. you know, i mean.... >> re: . >> i mean, this is myouse, i don't want peopl to look at my house so much as lten to my rniture, like i said. >> rose: that's a good line. >> so i don'know. i would likeo... i've tried to arve myself, ercise, do all this tra so i could lk like demi moore. whicnever was true anyway. but is notorking.
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it just looks like i wander all over tow eating carrot cake. >> rose: so it didn't work? you tried? >> i'm still trng! i eat hardly ything. >> rose: you're not alone, my dear. >> i know, that's why i talk about that a not the electr convsive therapy. i'm a littl lonelyer inhat group than the fat peop. >> se: just be serious for a moment because i don't wanto laugh atental disorder. what do we say about that? finally a... >> talk about it. tell people. when i checked in the hospital i sign in with my lt hand and wrote the word "shame." >> rose: didou? >> yes. anthat is the.. >> rose: wow one of the worst parts. it's humilting. you'veost control. you' not out of your mind, you can't get out. and you... and you know you're... it not right. but i thi people have to have compassion for it. it's hard to underand it, but you could appreciate tt it is an illness.
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i mean, that's... it's not right. >> rose:e can't we appreciate it. >> because it'sort of like... we're the defective uni. it's sorof an embarrassment, you know? a lot of who im and how i think is from that. itakes me aarticular pern. and i'm prd of mysel that i've beeable to get through this stuff. and i'm... i've been able to. can't overcom it, but i can usit instead of it using... have problems, problems don't have me. you know? i am... i'm aery... i' not afra of anything. and that would note so if i lnt had to deal with all that. itarted afrai, but i'm n afraid now. >> rose: butf you had your druthers... >> well, i wldn't get the manic part without the other e. and the manic thing is a blast. rose: (laughs) >> until isn't. >> rose:hat you've seen here this table is jus a smal tiny little rtion of the kind
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of joy and characterand rsonality that comes across. thank you. >> thank you so mu. >> re: carrie fher. thank you for joining us. see you next time. ptioning sponsored by rose communications caioned by mediaccess group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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