Joe and Mika’s advice for the president


Joe and Mika appeared on the cover of the November 4, 2012 edition of PARADE Magazine.

Below is their interview, which we think is important for this week:

Every day of the week, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of msnbc’s Morning Joe host healthy, illuminating debates across party lines (no name calling allowed). Here, they share how they learned to find common ground—lessons that could benefit not only our next leader and all of Washington, but our entire country, too.

What’s the secret to maintaining a relatively civil conversation about politics?

Mika Brzezinski: When I was growing up, my family had political debates at the dinner table that got out of control almost every night. My dad [Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski] is who he is. My brother Ian was high up in the State Department in the Bush 43 administration. Meanwhile, my other brother, Mark, is the ambassador to Sweden [appointed by President Obama]. I’m not saying that Thanksgiving never ended up with my brothers coming to blows on the front lawn. But in the end you’re a family.

I had that experience, and Joe had been on Capitol Hill. We saw what works and what doesn’t work. And what doesn’t work is the way things are now. Nobody’s talking to each other.

When was the last time you thought the other had gone too far, and how did you handle it?

MB: [laughs] Uh, this morning …

Joe Scarborough: Probably our biggest battles have been over the war on terror. I tend to emphasize our national security, while Mika comes at it from the vantage point of constitutional rights. That doesn’t mean that Mika doesn’t care about national security, or that I don’t care about constitutional rights. Both are important, and the way we split may be 51 to 49, and we keep that in mind.

How can our next president begin to clear the air in Washington?

JS: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It is critical that the winning candidate obsess over building personal friendships with members of the opposing party. MB: I suggest having their families over for a dinner at the White House. Nothing breaks through the stress of Washington better than relating with each other’s kids on a family level.

Joe and Mika's advice for the president