tv After Words Fmr. Gov. Mark Sanford R-SC Two Roads Diverged CSPAN December 14, 2021 5:06am-6:09am EST
former congressman mark sanford and we're here this morning to discuss his book, 2 roads diverged. i'm excited to talk about this because this book talks quite a bit about second chances. and i notice that governor sanford, congressman sanford is a great admirer of the author robert frost whose classic one of his classic lines of course was two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by. that is has made all the difference . that's what this book seems to be about your personal journey, your eyes and your lows and i've always been so impressed by your ability to discuss your lows and you can often do that with a certain self deprecating humor. you understand the seriousness of the issues of course you also are able to
not think too highly of yourself. you can acknowledge your shortcomings in a way that speaks to a humility that many of us would admire.so with that, i felt i'd start off with just asking you mark , your thoughts. whatmotivated you to write this book . >> i think the same thing that motivated you to speak out so consistently. just a frustration with what has come all the partying,, politics of late. the way in which there has default if you will a rapid departure from certain tenants that are core to conservatives that is in to the republican party. all of which i think is important in terms of the national debate and how we solve problems in this country. so it was a chance to speak out one last time.
it doesn't mean that you still don't care. it doesn't mean you still don't want avoice in this larger debate it had been taking place in this country . >> you and i guess were a bit different than most of our scholars. we saw when the former president would make statements that were completely out of bounds or far beyond your reference or defense he would, we would basically state that we disagreed and here's why. i guess the other question i have, why do you think more of our former colleagues who knew better and are good people chose either to be silent or to go along? 2 roads traveled it's easier to go down the path most traveled and why do you think they tookthe easy route ? >> i think there's three
reasons. one is as you both know for a lot of folks at this stage of the game it's not about ideas andideals , they are good people but they're fairly elastic on some of the things they believe relative to the core mission which is staying in the game. i think that's part of it. another part of it is we remember this statement in washington is it's impossible not to end up with arrows in the back so when an issue is hot you can't push an inch away from the microphone or the television camera but until it is, people on both sides of the island are surprisingly conservative in their approach to new or different issues orones that they are quite sure about . and finally i would say a lot of it is raw pragmatism.
if you talk to lindsey graham who i began with in politics back in southcarolina . he would say hey, if you it's a the cost of a nation . therefore i'm going to say what i'm going to say but it keeps me in the game and therefore i will take initiative. ithink it's accommodation of those three things . but the bottom line is it's disappointing because an equally important old saying is the only way evil prevails is when goodpeople don't speak up . so i admire so much the way you spoke up so consistently at the very beginning . at least i was i wish that more of our colleagues had. >> i often think now that politics has become not just tribal situational . if my guy does is fine, if your guy does it it's a human rights violation . then a few years forward the
shoe is on the other foot. >> in this past week nikki haley who again followme in the governorship of south carolina . have spoken up loud and clear about how our outrageous she thinks it would be if the biden administration negotiated with the taliban. okay, that's a viewpoint. the problem is as we both know a couple months ago she was was saying the opposite as she raised pompeo and their team saying it's all goingaccording to plan . and as the trumpet and ministration approaches negotiations with the taliban so you're right, it has gone to the point of insanity on how tribal it is which is one day it's a good idea or a different tribe, now it's a bad idea . that is lethal in an open political system because our founding fathers gave us as we both know the reason-based republic and if we lose that,
we lose one of the major schools that holds our system up and if it's all tribal justbecause the guy at the top or the gal at the top says it's noble it must be so . that'snot the way our system is supposed to work . >> you and i both came from school where we thought it was important to be fairly consistent. i get it, politics we have to adjust if circumstances change and we sometimes have to diverge from where we ordinarily might be on a policy issue and that's to be expected in politics. with the compromises and all of the concessions and things you have to do to get to an agreement sometimes you have to bend a little. but at the same time, i'm just amazed how some could be so inconsistent. and just like i'll take an example. an issue like freeware i thought the core tenets of
the republican party was that we believed in opening markets and freer trade was better . we want fair trade but we think the markets should be open . for america's producers and growers and manufacturers and you know, when the president came out and was going to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum in places like canada andmexico and brazil and european cars , i thought this was a core principle is being violated so many said nothing. there was so little action. these are the kinds of things i thought wow, i was always called a rhino because they were more conservative than i am and i was moremoderate . i got a kick out of that. all these people who ialways called the rhino hunters, people i would refer to as the self designated chiefs of the republic . just became, there the litmus
test becameloyalty to the president rather than any particular set of values or ideals . >> what's crazy about that is you well know the measure that was used in imposing the quotas on canada was a national security measure and so the way in which people when they with a straight face say okay, the presidents really twisting the law beyond the way, how in the world one of our longest term allies could be now national security threat, canada is beyond belief but okay, will keep a straight face and not only be against this but we will look the other way and spread the national security measure against canada. but anyway. >> it's funny you say that because i was in charge of the appropriations subcommittee in military construction and the da and related agencies so i took time not only to visit the american gravesite the british and canadian
cemeteries. and they died alongside us in the beaches of normandy and now our national security threat and by the way they're fighting with us in afghanistan and our dearest friends and partners and allies, since almost the beginning of the holocaust. services with the british at all. but they've been truefriends . i just thought that was such an egregious thing to do to a friend of mine, we exported still more to canada thanthey did to us . they i never figured it out. i want to get back to the book for a second. and one thing i thought was interesting in your book that in your parting thoughts in that section and in the epiloguework epistles as you refer to them . you had one there and i want to just bring it up. it was a letter or a memo to congressman jim jordan. and in the right indeed over
the last six years i was in congress i thought i got to know people like you and meadows and mulvaney but after the way the ideals were bent over the last few years, the group being the fear caucus could stay relevant and you are mark could make mention of making the call to thepresident, i felt i didn't know you would all . that's what you said. i just thought if you want to comment on some of these epistles . you're referred to other leading republicans and i thought it was really interesting that you organize this . you did epistles toadd evangelical christians two democrats . to ted cruz, josh holly, matt gates, taylor greene so let me talk a little bitabout those epistles . >> i just think it's important in life just to call it like you see it.
nobody has a perfect view of truth but there is a thing called truth out there. and it has become so elastic in the world of politics of late that it's incredibly disturbing and i think upsetting for a lot of relatives folks out there who are going about their lives and hoping the process is indeed watching out for them. so you take the example of jim jordan. this is a group in the freedom caucus of which i was a part initially who was very much opposed to trunk. but then they completely with the exception of justin amash who's out of congress flipped and became absolutely subservient to him. that's not a little bit of rotation on an issue based on new information or based on input from voters.
it is just raw, crass pandering. and i thought it was particularly disturbing with people like meadows or jordan or mulvaney from my homestate . i remember mulvaney talking about love, if it takes shutting down the government and that's what we've got to do because this national debt is of such importance, it's a systemic threat to our civilization. we got to do whatever we can do to throw a monkeywrench in the equation . that's a viewpoint. >> he shut it down. >> the problem was only a matter of months later he becomes omb director under the from administration and completely reverses it i got into it with him. i had a bunch of committee hearings. somehow made national news when i said the obvious i said what is a lie because
the numbers in no way added up. here's a guy who was saying one thing about the importance of the debt a few months earlier and completely abandons that ideal a matter of months later and i think that's incredibly disturbing is part of what turns people off thepolitics . completely part of what's turning young people off to the republican party of lake based on their same look, i don't i always love mom or dad what's going on in washington is inconsistent, i out. i thinkthe conservative movement is whether it's suburban or working moms are young people , losing vital chunks to ask its team if you will. based on people like jordan or mulvaney or others saying one thing one momentand doing something completely opposite the next . >> back to the situational nature of politics again where were on staff depends on where one sits .
when you have a seat on the budget committee he had one set of policy positions and when he became omb director, quite a different set of positions. that's really what's so i think disturbing to certain people out there. and you might disagree with thisbut i'm curious to get your thoughts . when you look at what happens in the congress today, i've often felt that the center-right to the centerleft, of the american political spectrum is not well represented or i should say is underrepresented in the u.s. congress. more in the house and senate butcertainly in the house . and i think that's, i know you are more to the right on the political spectrum but i've noticed that because the person like you nobody would ever have called a liberal or rhino or a moderate or a centrist, no one ever called you that and you're a very strong principle conservative.
now because you've spoken against a former president, there are people who now think you're amoderate . my head is ready to explode. >> to your point, i'm a guy who carried two lives we lead occasions the statehouse when i was a governor decrying pork and constitutional minutes in our state. i've been about as far on the job category as you can get. and yet in the age of from i was viewed as a squish, rhino establishment. there's not one road race named after me in south carolina . i have consistently bought the establishments but i was a squish, party establishments and here's a telling thing . after my loss in next night i had a reorganized tour in the capital and so i was there
with. home giving the tour. i rounded the corner and who should be there but jeff flake and his wife giving a dome tour as well. so i don't think you've ever lost an election but if you have, they treat you like you have now rigor mortis or you have a terminal illness or somebody close inthe family . everybody that day was solicitous like i'm so sorry. so jeff and his wife pulled me aside, i'm so sorry and we got into a conversation there like we really want to have another term in the senate but we saw the handwriting on the wall based on what happened to you and others and we didn't want that. so we're getting out but telling more about their lives and i said it was a weird one because people would come up and say are you for or against and i'd say i'm neither for nor against him, i'm or different ideas and they kept getting back to
one question which was are you for or against trump. and jeff says he goes that's so weird because thousands of miles away there in arizona that was the one question asked me, argue for or against trump and it became a litmus test for our establishments or not part of the system? that's a crazy reference point when you begin to look to one person as your litmus test in again, the system that our founding fathers gave uswhich is all about not basing things on one person . >> i'm glad you brought up jeff and cheryl, he was my paddle ball partnerfor years in congress . and what i was going to bring him up anyway. before youmentioned him because he'sanother one who nobody would ever have called a moderate or a centrist . he was always , we served with him in the house and this is a man who would go to the house floor and challenged every single year
mark and appropriations bill and he would get the but he was a happy warrior. he was a happy warrior and even people who disagree with jeff flake like to because he's a very, he's got a very good spirit about him. he has strong principles, he doesn't bend on them but he tries to be fair and aboveboard. but same thing with him, he was also called a centrist or a moderate 40 squish for a minute were all these terms. did you say wacko? i was being polite. i just said you're kind of on the right wing of the spectrum. >> here's the important part which is to the credit of where you and others stood, though i was extreme right, that was simply a bargaining tool for where i wanted the overall system to give a little more right. but you always compromise to
the middle because that's the nature of our system. to your point that's gone out the window of late with extreme right, extreme left is we hollowed out the center of the american political base and we do so at great danger across the center has been again, the glue that held our system together. that 300+ million people, a lot of the viewpoints the ability to say i'm over here and you're over there at the end of the day we can get this and let's strike a deal, let's keep moving. that our system doesn't work. you lose that, our system doesn't work and you look toa queen or king or dictator , a solution because you can't find if you will negotiate to the center of our system. >> you also in your book right officials to the anti-policies, joe lyons and democrats and my observation is has been that the leadership in both parties in the house and i won't comment
so much in the senate but on the house, that they tend to be much more captives to the harder elements of the base within their caucuses. that is, that they will, that's where they are as leaders because that's where the numbers are. you take some of the agreements this bipartisan infrastructure. for example where this deal was passed out by leaders, by leaders, it was half out by the more pragmatic on also more centrist members in the senate and to a certain extent in the house were also participating in the problem solvers caucus and look at that and say the leaders are the ones who should be really trying to help push those compromises together. i don't thinkthey're capable of doing it .chuck schumer has got a lot on his mind right now and aoc a primary him and mccarthy was to be secure.
he's worried about elements of the freedom caucus who will try to take him down again. as they did in 2015 when he tried to elevate the speaker so there's no, there's no real incentive for them it seems at times to try to see that consensus for that compromise. it's dangerous. i think they might be brought to it but there's real danger in doing it if you leave it to these gangs for groups in the senate and house, that kind of gives you a little bit of cover the whole point is i thought that was the leader'sjob . >> once upon a time. >> wanted to talk about some of those pistols to the democrats because i'm surprised to for example with the buy-in agenda. i am very surprised frankly. that i thought his mandate was one to bring back some
measure of normality and civility to the functioningof the white house and governments more generally . address the covid crisis more thoughtfully than his predecessor did and really just kind of rights bishop estate and is more of a call or incrementalism that it was for not radical but extreme transformation or more revolutionary change. i think this mandate has been misread by many on the democratic side by going as big as they have particularly on the spendingside . and i'm a little bit surprised by it all. that there has been more pushback although i think there's more now what i'm just curious what your thoughts are and what your message was to democrats. >> i agree with you that is indeed part of the difference of pistols that i wrote whether to nancy or to the president. that is as you take the case
of biden, people surmise based on his long tenure in the senate and its an institutional push towards moderation that he would be moderate and the government as a moderate and people were thirsty for that. tired of the crazy, wehave the bombast . let's try as you put it incrementalism, little steps before we start running wild in either direction. to your point he hasn't governed as much that way as people i think thought he would or at least down here in south carolina and that's to his detriment . i think there's a real burst, a thirst for effective government out of the white house. i'm particularly after trump people are thirsty for that. but on your point the
spending has gone nuts. it went nuts under trump's watch to be fair and you saw that another trillion dollars of debt added to the national debt and you seen that financial recklessness continue under the biden administration. i think these chickens will soon come home to roost. there are two things that will threaten to kill off the civilization. one is too much in the way of spending and i think reinert wrote an interesting book titled this time it's different, some of the methodology was questioned but the larger premise was completely accurate and that is then looked at the last hundred years of financial history for governments and found overwhelmingly that juncture points where basically a civilization had to decide do we go back to some measure that's competitive and perhaps a world power in the first place or do we stay in this happy but unsustainable cycle
of government spending and consumption, nine times out of 10 policymakers said this time it's different and of course it never was. gravity always works, math always works so the seeds of that revelation efficient in doing. we have a threat that requires prudence and moderation that were not seeing right now and part of that was the buildup we saw under trump and other republican presidents but part of it right now is onthe democratic side . you don't want that shoe to drop while you're in office. that's one threat and the other is what we've been talking about which is wrought tribalism in a democratic system that's not designed for tribalism. again, either one of those threats can really kill off the blessing that we've seen in the american experiment. and it's particularly important when you think about the way in which the last president threatened a lot of the institutional morays and traditions that
have been the glue that held our system together. the founding fathers set of division of power unilaterally and vertically but the glue has been a peaceful transition of power. it has been the idea that there's truth matters math and science exists. you go down the list of little things, the notion that we have not a rigged electoral system but a real electoral system. all those little things contribute to people's trust in the system. you lose trust in the system again and an openpolitical system you use it all . so that's a long-winded way of saying i think a little bit of moderation could go a long way right now. >> i couldn't agree more. and i'll tell you before we continue on this conversation on the policyside i wanted to get back to the book . you talk about your own personal journey and the
challenges you had in your life, the successes and let's talk about, i know it's more difficult to talk about. you talk about your marriage obviously ended in divorce and what had happenedwhen you were governor . and can you talk about that? i think in a very self-deprecating way you talk about your own personal shortcomings and how that's made you a better and more thoughtful and reflective person. why don't you tell us about that? >> i hate the way in which politics these days aren't real and i think some measure of authenticity is important if you're trying to make a case. the case i'm trying to make is we're at a major inflection point in our country and we have threats on the financial side whether it's tribalism we were talking about for a number of other things and we better turn the curve here or we've got bad stuff coming our way. and i think to make that case you need some measure of
credibility and part of it i've had is with six terms in the house and two terms as governor and a variety of other things but part of it lies in, as aperson to speak about this ? part of the reason i've spoken up is when trump came along is my own deficiency on that front in 2009. i told what i thought was a little white lie intended for one person came a national headline and a national joke. that was never intended for the media. it was never to be disseminated, it was intended for one person undera trial separation at that point . it led to a rather searing personal experience in the last year and a half of the governorship and some rather intense conversations with my boys and supporters and friends and family and it
leads you to this point where you say i've learned a lesson in its own unique journey on the significance of little white lies and the importance of truth so when things came along and i'll give you an example in the trump administration, i was left with no other choice than to speak out and i wasn't being a hero. i wasn't being as brave as you were. i just had a serious personal experience that walked me to where i had to be particularly as it relates to the audience i care about most which is an audience of 4, my 4 sons and the gravity and conversations we've had over the years. here's an example. back when i was in congress this last go round, before it comes up, a reporter comes to
the microphone in my face and do you think whoever the nominee is should release their tax returns and i said yes, a 50 year tradition and its own with democrats and republicans alike in some ways it has little to do with presidential returns and everything to do with down ballot returns and i was one of one or one of two but only former governor who was in the house or again one of 2 wasn't with the recorder that came to ask me this question and i said it has everything to do with why you're asking the question which is i did release my tax returns twice when i got the nomination for the gubernatorial run and believe me if you quit doing it at the presidential level votes at the gubernatorial level will stop doing it and that added piece of transparency has value and it ought to continue . >> ..
so you give the exact same answer. what does lead to? deletes to being there on the floor of the house in the well and a speaker comes up to me, speaker ryan, what's the deal? what do you mean? why are you gunning for trump? i'm not getting from trump? i was just down at the white house in the oval office, he's bringing one name up, , yours. your gunning for them on the tax thing. no, no, , i'm not gunning for h. i'm just try to be consistent with the answer i gave last time. that's a long-winded way of saying i think we all have
personal journeys. i think it's important to acknowledge where you have come up short. i included in the book because its way being transparent about the fact i have come up short in life but more importantly i've learned some lessons from that journey that i has anything to his wife spoken up against trump come from why speak at a different things i do now. >> host: that singular. it's obviously very difficult and courageous to do so because most elected officials politicians are much better talked to all the things they think they're doing right and all the good things are doing. and ten try to not talk about anything they have done wrong or made mistakes on. give you credit. that truly out of the box so to speak from the perspective of an elected official. i do get a kick out of what you said that the same answer twice. in other words, because the situation changed why should
your response had changed? you made that statement when you were governor and -- >> guest: i made it before trump out the nomination and then he got the nomination, the same reporter came back and ask the question again. >> host: that was part of the challenge we all face, that reporters chef microphones interfaces and i remember one in particular i was walking between the capitol hill club and the office building a reporter put a microphone in my face and said what do you think of donald trump's comments about i think it was ms. venezuela where he said she was too heavy? disparaging comments about this beauty contest, whatever, , this universe or miss world. i didn't pay that much close attention to but obviously it's an appropriate. i forget it is a candidate at the time. if you're running for president you really shouldn't be talking about that.
relevant what you're doing and that attack are out of bounds and unfair. people say why are you attacking the president? i was of the opinion if somebody says something outrageous, pick on steve king, he makes a racial incendiary comment and then you are asked about it and you condemn the comment and then i'm not saying he, but they come back in same why did you badmouth? i set doesn't he always the apology? is not the other way around. it's about him. it's about him. what struck me was it was so different. they were yelling at the firefighters rather than the arsonists. >> guest: right, right, right. >> host: i just will never in my life understand it. i have to explained it is a mike in stitches but why do you say
these things? because i get asked questions publicly and they say why don't you just avoid the question? who elected me to lead. not to hide. sometimes reporters say why didn't you take a low-profile. i said i would rather have to answer those questions. i think i look foolish if i avoid the question altogether and pretend i didn't hear it. >> guest: that's what we need more of in politics, the degree to which people will either completely twist themselves in a not avoiding the question or the degree to which they will change the subject and answers some other random question or just on answer it at all is crazy. and again leads to people distrust and cynicism of all actors in the political system and that's unfortunate. >> host: it speaks to leadership. you were a governor. congressman governor inslee know
what it's like. as a governor you had to be come present proposals to the legislature. and you're to help direct them. they would chop on your proposals, say what they will come something they like, dislike and then you have to hash it out. that's what leadership is about. i think we have kind of lost a lot of that in recent years. my traditional notion of leadership and yours i think is kind of been turned on its head in many respects. >> guest: i agree. it's funny, jim edwards who was governor years ago and has passed but a great guy, i remember going when a first cut elected governor to each of the other living governors in south carolina and sitting down different than just asking their advice, like i've never done this before but i would love to get your wisdom on any lessons learned that you might pass
along to someone who is new to the club. i remember jim edwards telling me he said you better start making friends now. because the nature of leadership is you've got to make a call and with every call you make your going to offend somebody and you will start losing friends so start making friends now. instead two-point we ended up with a bunch of pastry chefs. they wander around the halls of congress or the districts and hey come don't like this desert, try this one or try this one. there endlessly trying to place which is a long way of someone like abraham lincoln who made some incredibly tough calls but he called it and offend e people in the process but that is the nature of leadership. you have to make the call, one flavor or the other. >> host: yeah, that's exactly right. what i found is iphone our constituents could take the truth.
i would have town hall meetings and i'm sure you did, too, we would have conversations be somebody might say something outrageous and i would try to politely rebut them, for a nicely, you know without judgment. i thought those important rather than letting people get away with saying things that were completely false. at least try to nicely ring it back to a better place. i think we've gotten away from that. >> guest: that makes you and malcolm goodwill or whoever it was an outlier. that is not the way -- >> host: i guess but even, during the first government shutdown of 2013 i can do became somewhat famous alleys momentarily for stating the obvious, and i was pretty outspoken at the time saying that this is really a fool's errand, that this has no chance of success.
if you like obamacare or not, the funding for obamacare, about a 70 day discretion appropriations bill, we couldn't work even if you sign into law but this is really dumb and we should just fund the government for 70 days as we normally do and thinking maybe i just ended by political career. what i found out at home, i wasn't doing polling but of the groups were, my poll numbers went up. whenever most republican of us were going to and i thought i was committing political suicide but i learned a lesson that people will respond well to the truth. i would have people come up to me in the grocery store at the time and say i like you because you are not nuts. that was high praise. treasure a a pretty low bar. >> host: lobar, high praise your so let's get back to the book again and talk about, what was the most meaningful
experience to you in the house during your time there? what do you feel was your greatest, proudest accomplishment during either? >> guest: in the governorship in much more crunchy form accomplished -- concrete. probably accomplishments would go to the gubernatorial side rather than the congressional site. on the congressional side, i remember the late tom coburn, god rest his soul, just a great guy, a consistent conservative, whether you like him not the guy was consistent and knew what he was about andrew certain lines in the center i'm in the going down with him were back in the house, this was back in the mid-'90s, and we offered like
100 amendments to the appropriations bill because the congress sort of reversed themselves on i came up the issue now it's been so long ago. i think it was come part of the contrast when america came income promised to cut committee and fundings, staffing by like a quarter come something. again i'm not sure the numbers back in 1994. been so long. and then what happened was they quietly came back around and reinserted half the funding. and we were like no, we rant on the contract with america. we said this was our deal and we can come back and say, to your point of they can handle the truth. they like to handle the truth. we are new at this. we haven't done in 40 years. we can of overshot our committee
and staffing placerville and back half of that. that would be okay. but don't do the washington thing where you quietly at into a line item that nobody sees, the committee staffing and funding and not fess up to overshooting. so as an objection was offered all these amendments to the appropriations bill i i 100 ad we're trying to basically pull a filibuster knaus which you can't ball but we are attempting to do our best shot at it. it was goofy things like all designed to say we ought to be what we are about. again i particularly praise someone like tom coburn force consistency on that fronts. >> host: may he rest in peace. he was certainly strongly principled and ensure he drove the leadership crazy. he was -- speaking of the
filibuster, i noticed in your book you make some references there. at various points. i forgot exactly where but in the book i would be curious your thoughts. we were both house guys. my perspective and you tell me yours. i thought, i thought the senate filibuster was the last remaining mechanism in washington to compel some level of bipartisan cooperation. yes, it is abuse. yes, it is overused. there are deficiencies when it up without it, the senate would look a lot more like the house. i was always the guy more modest more center-right. i always like the fact the senate could end up passing a bill that underwood bill become law and it gave me comfort because the house whether republican or democratic control would send over a more hard edge to bill come hard right or hard
left come sending it over to the city, they beat their chests and say we're pandering to the base knowing that the bill they sent over will not become law. they would always take the cooler heads of the senate to come up with a compromise to get bipartisan 60 votes, threshold. send it back and just like on bipartisan infrastructure bill, i always said whenever the senate passes a bill and a strong bipartisan manner on a major piece of legislation, the house will eat it every single time. every single time. if you get rid of the filibuster or you change it, dramatically weaken it, i do worry. i hear the arguments about jim crow and i've always said okay, fair enough but last i checked the 1964 civil rights act and i can signify voting rights act became law in spite of the filibuster and it did because there was a national consensus
at the time to do something and that's how they did. i wasn't about the rules. it's about people. >> guest: i would agree with you, charlie. i think again the absolute genius that took place there in your home state in what the founding fathers crafted is just unbelievable. and so they gave disproportionate voice to the majority in the house and saying if we both remember was minority in the house is there to collect and provide a quorum and that's about it. crazy amount of controls the majority on the house side, and then the reverse it over in the senate side and it's really a minority that has disproportionate voice on the senate side. and again the genius of that is a remarkable. i would concede the point to some of the appendages to the notion filibuster should
probably be turned but the larger concert a filibuster i completely agree with you should remain in place because that again constant push towards modernization, the way in which the founding fathers not only divided power laterally but vertically as well but for the notion of federalism is raw genius. it's all about preventing that which we saw over the last couple of years. trump would've made a great dictator. the problem is that's not the american system and i don't want a dictator and i don't want my voice to live under dictator. we better watch out though because you know the "road to serfdom" is a telling tale on what can go wrong and an open political system if we get the wrong ingredients in place. and so his tail is a post-world war i germany, and into the
germans accepting hitler. i'm not saying trump was hitler. i'm not saying that, but the forces at play we need to watch out and guard against going back to this notion filibuster, going back to the genius of the founding fathers and the construct of the system. because what they talk about is how under financial duress, when people carry around a wheelbarrow load of currency to buy so much as a loaf of bread, it goes out the window and its raw survival. strongman comes along and said look, i'll solve this problem for you, you have to give up a new freedoms but i will solve the problem for you and that gives chronicle to the rise of hitler's power. we better watch out in the united states because if you look at germany at that time, incredible churchgoing populace, it was a remarkable civilization and yet it went crazy route
based on economic duress and people's desire to seek a way out and everybody hopes for a santa claus for some to solve the problems here we better watch out for people coming along offering solutions to all the problems, which is what we saw the last four years. because if we combine a downturn economy, which is long overdue, our degree of debt and the tribalism that is now and play your the lethal form therefore bad things to happen. >> host: or conversely, if we experience real inflation and, of course, interest rates pop up, respond to that, that threat, then of course the debt becomes even more real because debt payments go way up. you referenced the founding fathers. i always like to point it benjamin franklin was my favorite founding father and help create one of the great compromise is that gave us this great nation, which was the u.s. senate, if my history is
correct. speaking for memory and we're doing this kind of life, but he's the one you came up i thought with the idea to each state represented by two senators, and giving small states equal representation as large states delaware, had the same station as a lunch date. i like to point out i don't leave the founding fathers really weighed in on the filibuster but they did on -- >> guest: they weighed in on disproportionate voice to the senate and to the minority in the senate in the way they didn't in the house. i think the filibuster is a function of that. that's why said you could trim some of the edges of it but the larger point i think is very valuable one, because you do not like to a streamlined political system. as much agony as we both have been through watching the sausage making process, it's a whole lot better than a really efficient voice from one person at the top.
>> host: sometimes it was an insult to sausage. let's give it to a serious subject because you brought up germany and post-world war i. let's talk a a little bit abot what happened on january 6th, and i think we all are learning how fragile our republic w fragile our democratic institutions are that we saw an actual threat to the peaceful transfer of power which set us all back. i was so upset watching those images that day. i was actually on cnn actually talking about it. not to be emotional to see what was happening, and one of the comments that struck me most was from the current german foreign minister, and he said, foreign minister said what happened at
the capital that day was very eerily similar to the i think 1933 attack on -- emotional tone on the history but i thought it was really compelling because the reichstag which was the seat of the german part of at the time that was the seat of it and it was burned down, and hitler and the nazis blamed some dutch communist which really wasn't, that was the light at the time. at least try to conceal what they were doing. but they were certainly guilty, have blood on their hands. it was -- the german foreign minister in 2021 say what he sought the is capital reminded him of that analogy of the reichstag. like, we are very careful in making those types of analogy but it came from them.
i just thought wow, this is a much more serious moment that a think any of us had realized. >> guest: and it's part of what compelled me to write the book. i mean, we are at a a pivot pt that we have never seen in the 200 plus years of our republic. we have never before had a challenge to the peaceful transition of power in our country before. and that ought to be a wake-up call for all of us. we have never had the election question and this question by literally millions of people today across this country in a way that it is now. go back to the heart of this notion of being a nation of institutions and traditions that hold the glue together of the system or in the system that the founding fathers created. i found it disturbing. i write about it in the book. i was actually up at the
capital, our son graduate from georgetown a number of weeks later, and i went in and as we both know there are a couple of different tranches of security as you go into the capital. i went in on a saturday morning and you could've heard a pin drop. there was no one there and sat alone in the rotunda just thinking about the history of the place and my time and investment, your time and investment there and different friends and colleagues i've known over the years and what was happening, where were we. because prior to entering the capital, i had run into one of the security guys and i said were you here and would you tell me about it? he told me about it. he took me over and show me to windows festal plywood with a still had not gotten the glass right -- two windows that still had plywood. to your point a friend had called me on that day and it was like, i thought he was joking.
what? and i turned on, it was sort of a video of insanity and you're watching this place where you spent thousands of hours of your life and you are like this can't be. this is surreal. so i thought that day. it was bizarre. i thought when i had my a loan date that saturday morning at the capital and a lot of reflection that came with that. and it is again part of what compelled me to write the book. we are at a pivot point in this country. we have to wake up. if that we've got bad things come our way. >> in fact, i worry about these illiberal populist movements, whether you think of the movement in argentina are viktor orban in hungary but you see these movements popping up, not just in the united states at around the world. i often felt the former president trump was more of a consequence than a cause.
in other words, he didn't start the fire was more like an accelerant. he's gasoline on the fire. i am deeply concerned about the fragility of these institutions. i see some in the media are trying to hold up viktor orban in hungry some sort of paradigm, a virtue and what we should aspire to. and i thought geez, my wife is part hungarian. but i never thought of hungary as the place that was the forefront of political or economic or technological advance. i mean, it's not. and why are we looking at hungary as the model? where the press has less freedoms come with the judiciary is also best independent because of politicians but it's hard to maintain a democracy, anybody can have an election. the old soviet union used to
have elections. everybody voted and they controlled with the candidates but if you don't have free press, if you don't have an independent judiciary, if you don't have rule of law, what are we? what are we ask. >> guest: these are the erosion points. when the president of the traded as president trump did goes out and describes the needy as the enemy of the state, you are planting the seeds for really bad stuff. because in number of folks will latch onto that and then if you go into a messy economic economy, inflation or some other kind of financial disruption, people get more and more anxious. and again we have been planting seeds whether it's on the election is bogus, it is rigged. oh, my goodness, okay. our system is broken down, not as a federal system but as a local system. kosice piercy to go across this country but whether it is
planting that seed or again things like media being the enemy of state or let's challenge what's happened. just we are playing with real fire in a way, to your point, the institutions and traditions of our country are the glue that held it together and it been really under assault the last couple of years and it incumbent upon every one of us, whether me with a low book like this or friends talk to friends across the backyard, that's a book, people need to be speaking up and we need to have a robust conversation about getting back to the center if not again we're in trouble. >> host: we are approaching that, those final moments of this interview and i did want to give you one shameless plug for this book. >> guest: appreciated trim there it is, "two roads diverged." diverged. encourage people to buy it. it's very interesting, very thoughtful former member of congress and governor, mark sanford.
and i hope this conversation has stimulated some thought for people out there from two former congressman who really loved of the job, loved the public, and once you have it in your blood as you know you really can't get it out of you. it's kind of like you're an addict. it's hard to drive out from politics but i wanted to say thank you, mark sanford. thank you for this thoughtful book and this wonderfthank you r
joining us today, senator to discuss your book. >> thank you for having me. i'm excited to be here. host: i wanted to start, your entire story has so many emotional movements on - - moments. as a congressional editor and love the portion where you say people tell me on the first editor to have a baby in office but now, the first to