Morning Joe | December 12, 2012
>>> i think if we were in charge of the senate and of the administration, that we would have a budget deal by now.
>> do you all believe that?
>> and what i find is, with all due deference to our male colleagues, that women 's styles tend to be more collaborative.
>> i think by nature, we are less confrontational and more collaborative. and having us in the room, and i think, you know, all of us, not only do we want to work in a bipartisan way, we do it.
>> exactly. seriously. fiscal cliff, economic meltdown, all not necessary if there were more women . those were the female members of the 113th congress on why the women in the senate could get the budget deal done. yes, they could. when the new congress is sworn in, there will be a record-breaking 20 female senators in office. and joining us now -- you agree with me, right?
>> our world's over, mike. actually, we compromise.
>> yeah. after you break everything.
>> and the way we compromised was, we decided not to bring donny deutsch on to talk about being a penn grad.
>> that's true. that's a black eye on the legacy of the institution. i'm so sorry.
>> went to wharton.
>> joining us now, the president of the university of pennsylvania, amy gutmann , the co-author of the book "the
spirit of compromise: why governing demands it and campaigning undermines it." i wonder if there's no better example than right now.
>> yeah. we're in the midst of the perfect storm and the only solution to it is compromise. and for once, compromise isn't a dirty word in washington these days because they realize that as you saw even business leaders who stand to pay more with tax rate increases, joe, are in favor of them now. and why? because they know it's going to be part of a compromise.
>> you say it's not a dirty word anymore. i agree. i just wonder if it still means what it means anymore? because when we get to something, it's not going to be -- i mean, i think probably the president will get what he wants out of it. i think the polls are leaning in his way.
>> let me just stop you there.
>> they really will get real cuts.
>> let me stop you there. the president won't get what he wants out of this.
>> i think he will.
>> the president will get some of what he wants. house members that got elected by 60% to 80% in their own distinct will get what they want. there will be real compromise.
>> there will be.
>> you think?
>> i think we'll have sooner than later -- and sooner would be a lot better than later -- we'll have a classic compromise. everybody will move in a direction that they want, and they'll have to sacrifice something to their opponents. the president will sacrifice less than the republicans will because he won the election. but he will have to sacrifice something. he will have to look at his base. this is a time when you're not campaigning. when you're campaigning, you make your base really happy. when you're not campaigning and you're governing, which is the job you're elected to do, then you have to look your base in the face and say, we're going to have to sacrifice something, too. in order to move the country forward. and that's the only way the president will have a great legacy.
>> and part of your theory is that campaigning undermines the whole concept of it, which some argue the president has still been doing that.
>> do you think, amy, that a large part of the problem is too many people in public life , when they get to congress in washington , let's leave it at washington , they lose their frame of reference . their frame of reference becomes a part of a constant campaign. they campaign every day, raising money every day. their former frame of reference in an ordinary life was, for instance, buying a house where you'd have to compromise.
>> you'd negotiate over the price. i don't want to pay that much. you don't want to sell it for that low? okay, let's meet in the middle . they lose that frame of reference when they get to washington .
>> that's actually the theme of our book which is the permanent campaign has distracted people in washington where it's the worst. even worse , as joe has said, in the states. in washington where it's the worst, people -- our politicians are distracted from what it means to govern and what it means to govern is you move the ball forward by giving something to the other side. and they've lost the frame of reference not only of compromise but of respect for the other side. you don't -- ronald reagan didn't love tip o'neill. tip o'neill didn't love ronald reagan , but they knew to govern --
>> they didn't hate each other.
>> yeah. i mean, as lincoln said in his first inaugural, although passion may divide us, let it not break the bonds of our affection. and i would say you don't have to be affectionate or love one another, but the respect that comes out of being a politician in the best sense of the word rather than campaigning all the time, it's kabuki. it's become kabuki. it's political theater . ordinary people think it's crazy. it has become to the point of craziness. yeah.
>> let's talk about respect. there are two different types of respect as well. there's personal respect and political respect. tip o'neill did not respect ronald reagan politically. he said some downright ugly things about the man and his ability to run the country. ronald reagan didn't really respect tip o'neill's viewpoints. he said some nasty things about tip o'neill. but personally, they figured out how to get along, and they did respect each other. i love -- i love how tip o'neill always said to him, "don't worry about it, buddy," whenever they'd fight. politics ends at 6:00, and we'll talk about it, and everything will be fine.
>> well, they had a relationship. one of the real problems of the permanent campaign is our politicians in washington are never there with one another.
>> they don't have those relationships that tip o'neill and ronald reagan had. we have to put this in context. look at our founding fathers . they were pro and against slavery. i mean, if they could sit down and compromise on a constitution, it's not that hard. that is what politics is about.
>> and reagan and tip o'neill got it. they were consummately political animals in the best sense.
>> there was a certain joy in the process.
>> in the process that is lost. did you mention it earlier, did you see the movie?
>> everybody should see this movie because it really is about politics in the best sense of the word. everyone says politics, but it wasn't. there were incredibly hard decisions that lincoln made and he played tough. both sides can play tough, but it wasn't political theater . they sat down with one another and made deals.
>> lincoln of course got savaged by both sides. that's what exactly is going to happen to president obama if he does a deal and goes after medicare and medicaid and social security . in return for getting the rich to pay more taxes. his own people will turn on him.
>> he always had a self image that he wanted to be that. change the landscape. i think he can say he has done that and shown that the landscape has shifted. he wants to change the politics. you can say a lot of republicans say he made it worse. one of the raps on him is he request never take on his party. what you can see with the debate and moving into next year, he is ready to take on entitlements and he will take a lot of heat from progressives.
>> i agree completely. if he is going to build a great legacy, he will have to take on his own site. clinton went on the party line and he had to go against it. he governed left of center. what made clinton big was when he had the nerve to do things after he lost in 95 on welfare reform and balancing the budget and making tough choices going into bosnia.
>> this compromise or set of compromises that gets us over the fiscal cliff will set the stage for president obama to craft a compromise and demographics. the republicans know they have to compromise and get something done on immigration. tax reform , the republicans have said they want tax reform . president obama said the same. we need tax reform . immigration and tax reform post the fiscal cliff will create a legacy and may see congress doing something.
>> that is why it is so important that they figure out a way to come together before the end of the year hopefully. if the environment is poisoned like it was after the stimulus, after the health care debate, the next four years will be ugh low.
>> that's true. the higher number of women increases the chances. we will see.
>> i saw the women here smiling. we were talking about how collaborative they were. the guys, not so much.
>> we don't smile. i agree. the more women the better. i'm agreeing with you. can i say nothing? i said the more women , the better. i'm agreeing with you. the more women , the less self destructive egos and getting to a deal. do you have a problem with that.
>> no,i don't.
>> go with it. i give up.
>> all right. still ahead, hollywood mogul joins us on set and author sebastian younger will be here. more morning joe in a moment. for over