tv John Roy Price The Last Liberal Republican - An Insiders Perspective on... CSPAN November 28, 2021 1:00am-2:01am EST
all americans i wish all americans a happy thanksgiving and god bless you. ... welcome to the nixon library, my name is jim, executive vice president of the richard nixon foundation and special to everyone watching on youtube this evening for the nixon foundation website for all of us watching on c-span. have a pleasure this evening buckling and introducing to eminent scholars -- eminent
scholars of richard nixon. are of moderate is a member of the senior white house fellows who later served as t special assistant to counselor donald, the chief editorial assistant to former president nixon on the research and writing of his memoirs during former presidents years in san clemente and rare distinction of having sat and interviewed the former president from 38 hours on tape 1983 and the materials reside at the university of georgia's archives john roy price, a scholar and educator attorney who migrated from 1968 rockefeller campaign to that of richard nixon.
in 1969, working withck patrickn the urban affairs council theater working with domestic john with special assistant to the president urban affairs. he later wentrs into banking becoming head of government relations and president andio co in pittsburgh. welcome to both of you. john's new book, last liberal republican on nixon's surprising social policy, the influence of those including role and across the broader administration's priorities. he surroundedth the president ad the president himself impacted american social policy decades much of which we are only realizing now. richard six and surprised at the extent of his pragmatism he proposed a guaranteed family
income and almost achieved national health insurance program as a republican i will save the back of the conversation for these two gentlemen so please join me in welcoming john price and frank cannon. [applause] [applause] >> john is imminent, the division of labor. it is a pleasure to be here with friends -- not former colleagues because you are gone by the time i arrived at the white house but john has written a very important book, combining several things.
autobiography of a largely interesting person. he leads an interesting life. you are there but every major event and you knew all of these people, it's really interesting. he presents another article overview of the liberal and conservative boys republican party in the 70s and beyond and an insiders view of very tasty subsequent sausage how it was made in the nixon white house in those productive years of 69, 70, 71. the first three years. the stars were in alignment with staff nixon and even some of
congress so not much cap through but anyway. then it's rare in nixon literature, you provide an objective and that's where but you bring your own experience of observationer but also your own judgment and intelligence so this might sound heavyy but you have a way with words, and i foretelling an anecdote which makes it easy to read and remember so good on you. the most importantph thing, you will sign some books
"afterwards" so let's get to the book and begin at the beginning, tell us something about yourself. >> i was a product of a small liberal college inn iowa and i think this is revealing, 100 years ago or more, it was essentially a christian inspired effort to propel students out into the world to take an interest in be active about the needs of other people so that i think put a stamp on me emotionally and even in terms of the career choice. among the others, he graduated in 1912 and went on to be
franklin roosevelt key in the new deal and he was a product of that so looking at me -- >> is not in your mind when you chose it? >> i found going back to his diary, another thing amazingly, the discipline of this man, and some seriousness, maybe when i was 25 or so i found a diary entry saying i really want to do something about people's welfare and health. >> this is where it begins because wasn't your roommate or just a friend? >> as you may recall, jerry was
a member in congress, a liberal democrat against whom richard nixon ran in 1946 and to his great surprise, it was regarded as a negative campaign, he underestimated nixon but there's a youngster named jerry junior and they went to the program together where i heard nothing but richard nixon. he told me in 1961, election night, his father is a former congressman, rented a suite in the hotel in chicago and filled the bathtub with ice and booze and beer and wine and brought in anyone who would to celebrate nixon's defeat so as i say in
the book, from that background and a more liberal group, this was inel 1860, to wind up with richard nixon who was i think wrongly not seen as someone as a progressive liberal, someone who believed in government as an agent for good. >> and your father was an engineer, a chemist? mackey was a chemist remark not a politician and serve nixon because he had gone to where he observed eisenhower. >> my dad was a coal mining family in west virginia, they moved and his family never went to college but he wound up, long
story short, he wound up in the executive office of the president, in charge of defense mobilization and he had a couple of patients to present to the cabinet and he hadad questions from richard nixon which were more negative, he just wasn't sure about it and this was on the lip of nixon's nomination in 19602 run for president. >> there's so much in the book and so little time some just going to go for it, one of the figures as you were describing actions, the wings within the republican party, the most prominent p figures, thomas dew, the governor of new york and attorney general of the state, a crime buster, he's neglected but fascinated fellow.
he was from michigan and an aspiring singer, bass baritone and a veryy good voice. he finished at michigan came to new york to see his career as a lawyer while taking voice lessons and through much of his time in early politics, he saying in jewish synagogues to have enough money to afford his rent but he was from a party that originally was roosevelt oriented and teddy roosevelt the progressive wing of the party in 1912 election. what seemed to emerge was the more liberal wing of the party, herbert clark hoover who later became an icon to a different worldview but in hoover's case, all of these young guys, they all came to new york together
mostly from theth midwest and hd their careers together and for t them in the 1920s, herbert hoover was of optimism and dewey sort of picked up that torch and as hoover turned on the new deal, hisnd classmates became st of the standard bearers of the more moderate wing of the republican party and they were good at it tom dewey was elected three times as governor of new york and was incredibly difficult to manage but dewey became the focal piece and he managed to organize a well disciplinedd party which was not ideological, it was practical and yet they were progressive, pro- civil rights, well toward labor so he became sort of a
hoover type figure and then emerged this terrible republican party where do we was the more activist, more liberal wing and robert became the focal piece of the more conservative of hatred but he was there behind the scenes as the dominant figure and a more liberal wing in the republican party. >> i think he was relatively short in stature and roosevelt,
roosevelt daughter who also had a way with wordste, look like a man on top of the wedding cake. >> and that caught on. it's easy to make fun of people -- >> it's a snapshot. he was very responsible though for nixon's emergence having been collected and 52 as a senator and two years later he's the nominee. he described a dinner in 1952 where nixon speaks and dewey comes up. >> dewey pulled him aside "afterwards" and says just stay the way you are and you could be president someday and they talked a lot, later eisenhower's attorney general and in his
memoir, do we make clear this guy, nixon is going to be dewey's candidate for vice president so nixon came and went know that back, you saying. do we was very instrumental placing him on the eisenhower ticket. >> i think richard wrote in 1983 review so for people interested in politics -- >> a very important figure. >> again leapfrogging forward, what, how, why, when and who? >> young people like me, lawyers, political scientists, biologists in the cambridge area, mit and harvard law
school, it was a group of people helped the more conservative party, republican party but it was more like israeli and the british conservatives where we have to do things in order for this to stay whole and coherent. for people to have confidence things are working for them. so specifically it was not a britished organization, the conservative party, it was a bridge between academic circles, policy world, so they set out with thisce retention to do something like that within the lirepublican party and that's wt we try to do. >> it was on a ten-point scale, the group of liberals inclined, republican students.
>> grad students and whatever. >> found it in? >> it was starting to percolate in 1562 and finally really clicked when kennedy was assassinated. what we all about? what should we do? we found a name for ourselves which was in wisconsin, where the republican party is found. like the whigs and know nothings so specific reference to the party. >> we have a disadvantage of pumping info to see but i showed it to you earlier, a group photograph, icy david young who became a white house colleague.
>> this was a moment in time you have to. >> i think of this as when power went to your head you start doing like the vanity fair treatment. >> i somehow managed that position myself. >> is that you in the foreground? >> yes. [laughter] not was the group. there were different institutions in the area. >> another one of your founder members, a great friend of the librarian, a very important part of the nixon administration. >> i superb human being. he went on in the world of words and he wound up being a publisher and he was teaching at george washington university. >> how would you characterize
general review of nixon and 66? >> i supposed, he had worked from 64, very strongly. he traveled with nixon for months during that autumn but the rest of the people were probably more with rockefeller who emerged as the counter piece, rockefeller was a big state, big government, big spender and part of the party that was liberal's. >> before he deflated, romney -- >> romney had -- he was the governor in michigan, his father had come recently.
he never went to college but he was someone who wore his heart on his sleeve. his passionate, particularly a scrapper, he would wait into opposition parties, jump into a meeting or a democratic area so he had the strength of his conventions and his holdings were extraordinary, they were higher because appealed to the evangelicals, he was a mormon, lds but the sense of faith in him was so powerful he had strong appeal to the evangelicals. rockefeller word around his neck with his divorce and divorced the woman but romney was riding
high. rockefeller helped him giving access to his extraordinary piles of research and information in policy but he was always was the nomination himself. >> you say romney went away to early and he famously or infamously came back from vietnam and he just observed, he changed his view because when he brainwashedhe was by what he was given by jean mccarthy. >> he said i've been brainwashed, jean said it only took our light prospect. >> we have a picture, nelson rockefeller, tell us about him.
>> a lot of us were partial to rockefeller and i had done some work with rockefeller, we call opposition research, this is taken from 1968 when i wound up being head of intelligence and rockefeller's presidential campaign rebuilt on all delegates to the convention much as trying to understand their associations and their interests in foreign policy, healthcare, as i say in the book, he had a low, he was not particularly articulate going back to romney, romney was a real dealings with
religion but rockefeller would occasionally try that sort of field and had a bomb speech, brotherhood speech and it was not veryas successful but at the same time, he was a builder, a strong figure he had really been working. he was a republican who wanted to do things with the government. >> richard seems to be r comingo chief but he did a superb review of nelson several years ago. tell us about another titanic figure you knew and worked with closely. >> pat is one of story of the
first nixon white house. in my view, nixon's appetite for policy, his desire to use facts as well as politics to make a decision and he was a partisan democrat. he tried toce run new york city and he was despised during his work in the kennedy and johnson administration, family report which essentially is a sympathetic, understanding active consideration of the question but the thing that caught nixon's attention despite the fact of what i said earlier, in 1968, he worked for bob
kennedy actively promoting him but it caught ms. nixon's attention from a speech he gave 18 months earlier and it was liberal democratic politicians and what he said, 1967, 68 was paralyzing compared to what we have today. you have over 100 american citizens in the 18 month period. you had extremes on both right-wing and left-wing. he gave this l speech in which e said our democracy and institutions are fragile, at risk and says liberals and conservatives must come together, to work together, protect the institutions and
help rebuild the american group in theam institutions and he was like adamant in a way in the 18th century, a true conservative who really believed the governmental structure and values, you have to look at who they are and address those needs but at the same time, understand the platitudes, the societies in which we belong or the churches or the school alumni's so they clicked over that article and he asked to come talk to him to his democratic opponent. >> politics reads strange, out
politics opposites attract but you can see he was 6-foot five, steve describes him as ans elf. he had this open, not a great premium in the early nixon white house. he was a wind of change and we've put together to show position of somebody who had been campaigning for kennedy the week he was killed and ends up as nixon's domestic policy so there's a short line in which william introduces the then democrat moynahan and we butted up a very short excerpt on the
phone conversation, this would give you an idea of the nixon moynahan dynamic, the relationship and interplay between these two minds because they were intellectuals working on that. >> 's assistant to the president and the last time he was at a rally very appropriately scheduled on halloween night. [laughter] was predicting the end of nixon the following week. >> good morning mr. president. >> where are your products. >> i am going to give today and give them a little help. >> all right.
i am delivering tonight at 7:30 p.m. right in the middle of it but it's brief. is your retention time that long? >> i never -- >> don't admit it. >> i just tell you the new yorker is running three long asections, i think you will be pleased, astounded as they found out what you've done couldn't believe. the other thing is i'm thinking about in terms of pakistanis, i need your help and advice if i could trouble you after you come back from china and things like that. >> that may be too late, why don't you come down in a month? >> i hope before, december may be? >> december or november even. if you have time, come down in november, that may be better.
we've also got to get him in this. we are working on this. we put $250 million in. >> you are doing wonderfully. >> i am fine. we're working on a lot of things, some developments next week. >> i look forward to that. >> okay. how do you like what you are doing? >> i'm trying to keep out of george bush's hair. i'm about to make a nasty speech to the russians. >> was not intelligible? generally? >> think he's going to make a nasty speech about thehe russias and he goes on to say the russians and un, the russians pointed out or criticized us,
the u.s. because of the labor union demonstration against the administration. one hand wason going to tell the last labor union demonstration in russia had been suppressed in 1917 by communist and there hadn't been any unionists since then so he was looking forward to that. we went past a photograph of burns, when nixon brought him in as head of the urban affairs council, domestic policy operation, he also brought in as counselor of the president which was sort of on the same level, what was up with that? ...
>> it was a very decent handgun thing that went on to a great career. and he was indeed a conservative and i mentioned this was a political matter realized that he had just hired two professors from harvard, national security advisor and from harvard institute. and he said that i think that i need to take care of my concerns and so he said i know that you want to be establishment in the meantime i want to oversee the broad domestic policies. and reallyam politicall prominent. and it was clear that nixon set
them up as buying partners because they would fight each other with great and quite articulately in the went on for the next almost 12 months, 11 months. and so i think we move forward past the site, we've got the program and the urban affairs council and i think this tells a lot about it in the sense of humor so can you describe what is going on o there. >> is a young staff, i was an old timer at age 30 their work through you think you were 22 years old and also 23. we also had the portrait in the middle as part of her group and it was thomas nash from the 18th century cultured.
[inaudible]. backend cartoon politics that culture and this is the part that sometimes a dugout of a basement and of the white house in the basement office where it was there for years and medicine, and the reason was that he had just been swindled out of whatever thing that eval is a cartoonist by somebody who is planning on down upon this pretty. >> the policy that you are in tthe government and you canan choose from these various collections, the paintings or the art you want to illustrate in your office of nixon chose the gilbert stuart portrait of washington for above the mantle in the oval office and tr it would ruin under woodrow wilson in the cabinet room, and president obama chose the i think the statute of liberty,
just the torchus of the statutef liberty and has some flags on one hand but has some strange flowery presence. it was a very young staff. i think on one hand, nixon, will he was 42 nixon was 56, so they were really the first year the presidency predict. >> and i think that youngman was 27 and i think another was 29 years old pretty. >> that staff was really young. i think higley was in diapers. so what was the urban affairs council and what did it do. >> leading the actual body in a defense counsel this was the very executive board of nixon signed two days after the inaugural parade printed basically, the domestic cabinet within companies having served under eisenhower, with the national security council, which
we have altered and created by statute since 1947, the present was chairman the vice president is a statutory member and 45 statutory members. this was nixon's idea about formulating domestic policy and his early iterations talked about themselves after the election and said that he wanted something in a formal way to manage the process of making policy on these issues where or whether it was rural development or home insurance or welfare. he wanted to some place for it to be put into the government and he used it as i would've expected he would. he was almost like a judge in my view. he had the legal side to him. and what he had done typically
for the use h of this, these papers religiously and then he would treat the meetings as though they were oral argument like a judge was saying under listening to an oral argument from the attorneys predict so this is what used any personally was very involved in that. and the executive secretary to this body and called him the council and ten months later i succeeded him in that role and nixon chaired 21 out of 23 meetings of this body the first 18 months in office. he was into it as he said, he would read the documents printed. >> i think that we have this, since the meeting at which you were asked pretty. >> yes, i have here, my back was there and this was the first time that i took over from pat,
1969 pretty. >> it's interesting that you described like he was the judge because the professor dean guarded, recent book about three days of camp david of august is 71 in the economic policy and he describes nixon's role there really as a judge and remember he described the back-and-forth arguments.an like a tennis match were nixon it and nixon would are was a masterful manager and he did not, not only did he fear, but he broughtou in very formidable intellect as people with experience and opposing views and then he would give them a chance, he would listen and read all of the he would bring them together. camp david over that weekend and have them argue to the judge
pretty. >> it seems that pat buchanan, with this discrete event, and is become a good friend, he said in his book, that nixon was her wanted to hear all points of view and then he would hear the arguments as well put so people and he would make his decision pretty. >> and again time is never our friend, there's so many of these things in your book, and another family assistance is very important predict but the white house conference on hunger i think they first and only one where they had thousands of attendees and they had 1800 reservations. in 1600 were carried out within two years and it was a tremendously successful thank. harley known t it all. >> the hunger issue was below
the radar about nixon's role in it but he convened at the white house conference pre- nutrition and health and may 1969, and he brought in a suggestion of very interesting very tough trench medical doctors and john briere was at the time there and harvard medical school and he had been in the french resistance and captured and then he was captured again and wound up leaning that conference we may have the pictures. have a photograph of him predict. >> this is actually christmas eve of 1969 printed that is him in the left and the resistance fighters and then 2000 recommendations, handed them to
nixon and then nixon handed them to me and implemented it and i sat down at his desk and this is anotherut - and nixon's speech proposed radical changes and at that point, it was none in every county of the united states and all and therere was no uniform eligibility standard our you know, levels of assistance and he changed all of that in created a food stamp program which became the first true income for the four families and they simply had no money, no cash to buy food. so that was the way in one of the few things that has stayed with us in the snap program now supplemental nutrition assistance program, tens of
millions on that. and in that christmas eve meeting, this was really important in nixon it gave me the recommendations but then to what we will discuss, the family assistance which was essentially guaranteed income for all families with children and he said to me, you know, we will get it because i think the democrats really have to go for it and we must do this but he said that every year that the battle over raising the level of taxes and the republicans will oppose it and it will get past the benefits will be raised and yes there's partisan fights but the important thing is we will have established the principle
of assuring that the minimum of under all americans - >> know the lease of a convolution and an accomplishment of your book and you put the charge that nixon was not really interested in this domestic legislation and that youti put it to the left ad went ahead and seduced him and you this chapter and verse of how he wanted it done and kept going back to try to get it done and we invested his time and energy and his prestige. >> he did, like many today, he had a distaste for people living on something when they didn't work when they could. but at the same time, he understood there was a building here and it shows in the house where he was born these people
were not living on clipping coupons and they o were aware of hardship and so he took to heart, the mean and the needs of people and coming from that world war ii and the veterans mindset of the g.i. bill the postwar sake of unity in the country and that the government had done something for it, he was not one of those republicans who wanted to tear up thoroughly new deal they did not want to fight a world war then come home and fight against this new deal producer nixon had an instinctive preference for using the government to address these needs. this would really my think and then spine partners and some was building friedman, an advisor to
the goldwater's campaign and 64, prominent and at the university of chicago, conservative and even income maintenance and he was. [inaudible]. and so there is a lot of, a bipartisan deal predict. >> and then and 60 campaign, mccartney campaigned on it but then when the time came, the time came to vote, mccarthy and unsupported pretty. >> it was richard nixon predict summa like today and the republicans, you just don't want to give credit to the other side. on the liberal side pretty. >> he would refer to his monuments and that is how seriously he took this and disappointedus he was pretty. >> this would would be the thing
to remember us buying remember the one hand that he said that i had key members of the cabinet with me. and t i said i had my doubts and he said - and his own congressional relations on the congress. >> that was helpful pretty >> to very quick thanks because i to be very quick. what is a christian working man's anti-communist national defense act of 1969 printed. >> does not leave you salivating to get that bill passed and that is a name that the department of health education welfare conjured up the keys to the secretary he was worried about the idea of being called negative income tax and so is staff, read one more time pretty. >> the question working spent anti-communist national defense
rivers and harbors active 1969. >> there you go so they moved forward and it was negative income tax which means like the child tax credit today, there's a lot of residents to 50 years later with the nixon proposal in your talking about not welfare programs, you're talking about poverty and addressing poverty child poverty and that's whatsi nixon said it was an i can backtrack a moment, in 1968, as today and maybe a decade ago, immigration was a hot button and the one that will get people lined up in opposite sides of the room so that welfare was the hot button then in the image it was portraying that female-headed families in these northern big cities were on
welfare nixon wanted to get away from the racial stereotype any wanted to address not just tinkering with a welfare program but he wanted to address poverty and that is with the families assistant plan was to do. >> the restaurant, washington establishment, and italian restaurant sort of the library in the bus terminal. in a pinnacle seen in your book is that you have a dinner there. >> will pat was a long advocate what is called - there's a lot about that. he started having the european idea of the universal giving of a certain amount of dollars to every woman and child, every man
woman and child, the children's allowance and it was that he would give that to bill gates. and not file separate income tax returns probably but they're going to give to everybody who need it and so on one hand, the other school of thought was his negative income tax we would have income tax program which has the payment reduced is your income in front increased so we finally caught on to that end the staff people who have been working on this had no positive response for this and come up with an idea. and they had come up with a negative income tax and three days before nixon became prison i had dinner with him and i said, you know go to think about this with his y income tax so he
finally got that in front of me and he got it and go with it and then he led the charge pretty and he managed to to agree to it predict. >> you have interesting side remarks with a very important about the importance of naming things in the negative income tax and theo thing of what you call them in effect also in the society producing and the term new federalism early on which was not terribly successful in catching on. there's so much else that we will have to miss because of when they ask you about nixon you write some really interesting things about the menu said that i think that he entered the presidency hoping in areas of human need to hitch power to decency pretty. >> what, i mean, by that, think that you have to read his inaugural address.
he read it and every president from the time of the republic began predict and in that address, but he was very concerned for the attempt to harmonize in tamping down the noise level in the hostilities and the inaugural address is a beautiful beautiful address and so this was where i feel that it was really was an my friend and adversary, said that the phrase that he has on his tombstone said history can give no greater accolade and also a peacemaker. as and when he took office, he
believed that he could truly bring greater levels of peace and harmony to the world because he reallye believed it. and i think that nixon really believed in what is trying to do in the domestic arena to help all the food stamps for the hungry and income to people and really i hate he had a conviction of something in him with his background in something of what was not only substance but there was something more to it than that. >> will hear in the shadow the house, he was born and raised nixon, you point out that you think a lot of the staff didn't understand it is because they are approaching him about pragmatic and political did not understand the kind of spiritual
dimension. "you, nick nixon was intense qualities brilliance courage and ultimately enabled him to be bigger that he was a man who felt somebody anxieties himself and could feel those of the once less well off of those who felt condescending towards him and a man of the most rigid and self presentation is obvious energy political success people like that is all there was to him to get behind it the iron curtain is hard and think you're right and i think you do. >> i feel it is that by and large and disappointed family the department, there was anger at the bureaucracy and how you get upset because you know it would feel often and so they
sympathize whenever he would get upset over the bureaucrats pretty and so therefore these reactions nixon had that they would accelerate. because i knew that they would get a response he would feel good but i don't think they understood this other dimension of somebody who is our very faithful trying to carry out nixon's decision and relatively, in terms of making the welfare reform embraced and try to push it through. and nixon said that we have poets and we have doers and he said that you must have the poets, the ones who have the vision and the sins of the use of language to animate people's will to be with you but he said he also active the doers freedom
one hand, the poets, and the doers. family assistance plan needs to be done. >> and in the end after this golden age, he left and the human affairs council was repair and replace and run by john - >> that was common because the security counsel was that the statute in 1947, what happened was urbanan affairs council got formalized by an active congress and goddess formal structure. according to write "the lastri liberal republican - an insider's perspective on nixon's surprising social policy" and what do you want people to take away from it printed. >> i alluded to what i thank you so possible again. sixty years ago, i felt that
welfare and people's well-being and i think that we are on the limp of it coming back to some ofin that concern. i was hoping that even people who simply forward office that directions like people like mitt romney and talking about how the tax credit and c home health. i like to think that we might do is to say okay, here's the battle was fought before, 50 years ago and is a chapter a lot of it relevant today. the arguments and also the concerns are the same and i thought to myself, one of the things the many because welfare reform to fail was couple of so-called income maintenance despair mets. when seattle and denver.
there are very small samples and the question was, he said well will this help or help them why about braided in these experiments appeared to begin to say people may sort of lean on this a little bit to the of this income backwards and forward right now, there is an argument. those opposing it though systems rated and today, right now and result of this going out to people every month until the end of this year. know the right is probably very strong and part of the $.6 trillion exercise this past braided with might be the child
tax credit in which case you would have two - five year and run nationally with incredible amount of things generated after which and through which you could take a hard look at the quality of a income support is real strong analytical stuff going through the final innings of the game. >> drawn think you for writing the book and being a friend of the foundation and library and thank you for being here tonight. [applause] >> what you been waiting for a c-spanshop.org in cspan's online store, now through sunday shop and save up to 30 percent higher latest collection of cspan's treasures, and more than there is something for every cspan fan
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