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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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The Thing About Republicans?

Question: What’s the key to partisan positioning?

Lisa Witter: Well I think the biggest challenge is if you frame things as a Republican versus a Democrat you’ll never get out of that paradigm and sometimes you have to because Washington works, you’re a Democratic Republican and you go in and vote. But everyone shares some certain value and I think if we focus on the values that people care about. Take the tobacco reduction, you know, almost in most places at least in New York City and California and Seattle and a lot of cities, you can’t smoke anymore and if you used to talk to Republican and say, you know, “Oh we’re gonna ban smoking,” their value system would have said “No government can’t tell me what to do, I’m gonna smoke.” So what we had to do is think about what is the shared value system, well that shared value system is we want people to go into a work place and not have their health in danger and we don’t want our children’s health in danger. So instead of looking at what divides us, we have to look at what brings us together and I believe honest to god that there are much more things that bring us together. So it’s sort of how you choose to pick your fight, that’s the outcome that you’re gonna have if you come together and find, you know, it was interesting, when I was on this reality TV show, my political consultant was Frank Luntz okay so Frank Luntz is like the Republican like he’s the guy who came off the language for contract with America. When I first met him I was highly skeptical, like “Oh my gosh, this guy’s a Republican, I’m a die-hard liberal” but then I learned a lot from him. I learned a lot about how to bring people together and then help move people in another direction and I think that Barack Obama is really trying to do that this election.


 

 

 

Lisa Witter talks about the importance of a political party's shared values.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

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Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
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Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
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Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
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  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
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