Republican political pundit and University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter is not conservative enough for some in his party. The regular on MSNBC, CNN and PBS' "NewsHour" hears your nasty voice mails and sees your e-mails, but he's not fazed.
Some fans of President Donald Trump probably wish Painter had chosen another line of work, and maybe there was a chance a long time ago: "I used to play piano when I was a kid, but I figured I'd be better at law."
Nobody should argue with that. Here's Part 2 of our talk.
Q: Have you regretted anything you've said on TV about Trump?
A: Early on I said he could be a good president if he would just ignore every campaign promise he made and do the right thing. I don't regret that but I'm disappointed it didn't work out.
Q: A friend and lifelong Republican recently said she didn't think she could be Republican anymore because she now has black grandkids. What's with the Republican Party?
A: The Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln. I thought [it] stood for racial equality from the beginning. But over the years we've had corruption infiltrate the party, extreme right-wing elements and various other undesirables. It's most unfortunate. It wasn't that long ago that the Republican Party had credibility in the African-American community and many parts of the country. We're just not there right now.
Q: You grew up in a family where your parents were accepting of different people?
A: I would hope so. I think people are even more accepting [now]. When I was young, people didn't talk about homosexuality. My grandfather's cousin, Samuel Barber, a famous composer, was gay, but you never talked about that.
Q: Will special prosecutor Robert Mueller be fired?
A: I don't think so. I think if President Trump tries that, he's going to get canned. There's only so much we're going to put up with; he's getting pretty close to that line.
Q: Do you have any historical figures you consider heroes?
A: The greatest man in recent American history is Martin Luther King. Really brought the word of God into people's lives as far as public discourse and the Civil Rights movement. We've had presidents who in many ways were great heroes. Franklin Roosevelt did a lot to help the poor, stood up against fascism, but had shortcomings, of course, with the Japanese internment. George H.W. Bush was a great president, in many ways. That's a challenging job and mistakes are going to be made. We should always aspire to do better. That's what troubles me now, I don't think we are aspiring to do better.
Q: How often does your bluntness collide with "Minnesota Nice"?
A: I think we ought to try to be nice to each other as much as we can. There are certain limits to what we're going to put up with out of these politicians in Washington.
Q: What do you fear?
A: That we as Americans lose sight of the values of our country and of the importance of individual liberties and equality and of democracy. This is a great country.
Q: Because of things you say on TV, are you confronted when you are out and about?
A: Everyone who confronts me in person is very nice. People who want to be nasty do it on e-mail, a few phone calls to the office saying all sorts of things. I just ignore that.
Q: You wife is a professor of music history at the U?
A: Yes, Karen Painter. It's a wonderful job for her and she has written a lot of books on German and Austrian music history of symphony.
Q: What's something you've learned lately from her?
A: [Laughter] Oh, well. Well, she knows a lot about music and getting our kids to practice their instruments. She's done a lot of work on German cultural history of the 1920s and '30s up to the Nazi takeover, and she shares a lot of my concerns about some of these recent developments. There's no exact parallel between what is going on in the United States and the period she has been studying for much of her life. But when our cultural debate becomes so polarized and so obsessed with ideology, we're at great risk. That's what Karen has written about and I just hope we never go there.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9's "Buzz." E-mailers, please state a subject; "Hello" does not count.