Henry Brady is dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked in Washington, D.C. at the Office of Management and Budget, authored a book on Canada (among many other books), and served as president of the America Political Science Association. Before participating in a panel discussion on civility, Brady took some questions in Zócalo’s green room.
Why doesn’t Washington listen to political scientists?
They sometimes do. But most people are pretty sure they understand politics. It just strikes them as an absurd thought that anyone might study it when they already know the eternal verities.
What’s your favorite flower?
I don’t want to say rose. That’s really pathetic. Probably peonies.
When you worked at the Office of Management and Budget, did people hate you?
Actually, no. To work at OMB as a young man was an extraordinary experience. Assistant secretaries would treat you with respect, even though you were a nobody. Because you controlled their budget!
What’s the most uncivil thing you’ve said to a stranger this past month?
I probably at one point said, “I’m really upset about this. Let’s see if we can’t solve the problem.”
What’s your favorite Canadian city?
Speaking of civility, is there anything good to be said about the Canadian human rights tribunals?
There’s always good things to be said about Canadians, because they always want to try to do the right thing.
What would it take to make you live in Boston again?
Actually, I’m really fond of Boston. It’s a great city.
What former student would you like to disown?
What’s the best political movie ever?
All the King’s Men, based on the Robert Penn Warren book.
Who is your least favorite living politician?
Probably Newt Gingrich, because I think he’s had a terrible impact on civility in our politics.