tv [untitled] May 19, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT
this was no lame duck president he left for a year to go to africa. while in africa, william howard taft fired his chief forester, along the mississippi river heading to a memphis conservation conference. he was the chief forester, taft fired him over alaska lands arguments. taft was trying to let commerce into lands tr put aside for federal use and so they fired opinion shaw, he goes to italy meets tr when he returns from africa and he gets in flamed because taft is daring to try to turn back even a portion of his conservation legacy. and what roosevelt spent his -- the bull moose party has created in a large part on roosevelt's anger attacked for not being a warrior on the conservation
front. >> i heard the story before you create the scene where roosevelt and taft are together at a dinner, and the question is asked about what he wants to do next, what was that moment, 1908? >> they do get together and he believed in taft a lot during his presidency, and that is why he was the hand picked successor. tr could have won another term easily, the only real president who relinquished power because he had other things to do. it wasn't big game hunting he had to do. tr left the presidency to explore and collect. he was collecting for the american museum of national history, went to the brazil to collect in what is to day rio roosevelt. i can't let your listeners explain how much who he was. he didn't have a policy, he was the naturalist, one of the four, five top naturalists of his era. and so this is what his
profession chosen profession was and he saw himself, tr, as the bridge between the laboratory scientist and public ma'am nation. he morphed tales with darwin. his role was to sell it to the american people. he was a pro general i tore of something called a citizen bird movement. many people have a bird bath in their backyard or bird feature. roosevelt is the promoter, bring them in, taft fell in line as a conservation foot soldier, one of the reasons he felt comfortable with picking taft, he spent time in the philippines, et cetera, more than conservation, when taft breaks on conservation with roosevelt, taft was finished. >> what ways getting at asked about whether he wanted to be a president of the united states or supreme court justice. >> when he preferred to be --
>> at the end. >> his wife wanted him to be president. >> nelly wanted him to be president. interestingly enough at the taft inaugural, in 1909, there was a blizzard, and it was one of the worse weathers for inaugural, roosevelt typical fashion, calls it the history will know it as the roosevelt blizzard. tafd said it's my blizzard, there was a clash on egos. roosevelt was myth making all the time. even a blizzard, oh my gosh, terrible weather, roosevelt turns it in to the media as the heroic roosevelt blizzard, i'm going out in a blizzard. so he was very hard for taft have to succeed that poplar resident. tv has the teddy bear, voos has
gone on a bear hunt, someone roped one, had it tied against the tree, roosevelt refused to kill it because that is unsportsmanlike. a cartoonist did a cartoon of tr showing him not killing the bear. became the teddy bear. i saw the letter of a brooklyn toy maker, mom and pop toy shop, dear mr. president i would like a bear called the teddy bear i won't do it if i have your approval. here is roosevelt i don't think there is much of a market teddy that, but you have my pleasing to make it. it became the most popular toy in the world. taft thought he could tap into that, created in the dealie possum. the teddy wear stayed up, billy possum went no where. people thought they could take the imaginic from tr, there were no coat tails, he was too jen r
genero generous. taft is a victimized person in history ranks low as residents. roosevelt didn't help him any even though he knew taft was a man integrity. >> 1909, william hart taft becomes president. then the 1912 presidential race, and the reason i get to that because out of madora, i remember seeing the shirt with the bullet hole in it. >> yes. >> that is an assassination attempt, what is the story? roosevelt running as the third party candidate against wood row wilson and william taft. he went to give a speech m milwaukee and a crazed anarchist took a shot at him he was bleeding. he had such bad eyesight, roosevelt, he had always carried bird glasses with him in his pocket, and he had thick script in their papers and he had his
case with his byrd, so he could see the color ration details and that is what the bullets hit. wounded him terribly but there is some thinking if it had not gone through the bird watching glasses, he would have died, but here he is bleeding, shot, and tr -- it will take more than that to kill a bull moose. keeps going, and much like when ronald reagan was shot in march of 1981 the public opinions, it become a folklore moment. the bull mooser couldn't be knocked down, he lost, obviously, it was the most successful third party run ever, but the folklore of roosevelt which he was always very conscious of, grew with that story. he went to a hospital, felt dizzy, got the bullet removed. >> i think it's safe to assume the most popular thing about this location is the eagles
nest, where millions of people tap in to see the baby eagle, there is one there now, in the nest. why do you think people are so fascinated. eagle.com, get on google and find it. easy to find you can watch it live, the live cam. >> in recent years i heard people, brian, talking about nascar, there is a nascar vote. there is a huge birding community, bird watching is a very big sport in the united states. people love it it's something beautiful about seeing an eagle, raising its young. that is the kind of modern tv would have loved. roosevelt as resident had a -- reverend herbert job, a photographer, roosevelt wrote an introduction to his book called "wild wings" thisgy went and
filmed bird fda, he saved the this fellow took the photographs down there and roosevelt would write an introduction to his book believing that nothing like imagery of birds and wildlife photography wa people feel the need to preserve nature, you can talk about a bird but see that on the now the new technology, it was the photography of wildlife photography 100 years ago was beginning as an art form. roosevelt championed all these photographers that back then. >> why should the american people want to pay this kind of price nation-wide, setting aside, how much land has been set aside nation-wide? roosevelt put asight -- the roosevelts reserve are $240 million acres. figures change because something gets declassified, erosion hob
islands in louisiana barrier islands, he saved them from erodi eroding. what roosevelt believed this is what made the united states unique. he spent a lot of time in europe, yes they had westminster abbey, yes they have the louve but they didn't have the tetons, the grand canyon, giant redwood trees. he boasted in his americanism our natural beauty here was so spectacular that we had to save it in his language, as always, for generations unborn. and that the character, the american character was going to be formed by having these intimate contact with the wild, and for many different reasons, for the aesthetic reasons, for utilitarian reasons, needing to use the land properly, even for character building he thought the best solars were people who
knew how to live and survive in the woods for three or four days and understand how to read nature appeared in that way fact that roosevelt was -- he never killed anybody, he wasn't part of the innian wars in america, his writings have a good for the calvary attitude. but as president, in his writings he takes on a native american view of nature. he as ex-president goes lip with the hop in and takes part in rattlesnake handling. he's surrounded by rattlesnakes while people are handling them. he wrote an essay about that. he would ride on his horse with the comanche chief in oklahoma and there is right near fort sill, it's gorgeous, called wichita mountains, here is wichita, a beautiful mountain there but sparse, in the plains, so it's a plains top.
the plains-indians believe the 60 million buffalo disappeared and went down the top of it. and left. roosevelt takes the times as resident to bring buffalo that he sponsored in the bronx, put them in a rail car back to oklahoma as a gift to the comanche to get the plains repopulated with buffalo. roosevelt romanticism is clear. he's child of the post civil war era, he saw north fight south, 600,000 dead. he believed the north messed it up. the american dream got messed up in the north because of hyper industrialization. philadelphia had sewage dumped in the rivers and smelled, wasn't healthy for you. the south was stigmatized due to slavery and racism.
ist his eden was west of the mississippi river. in order to do it differently than the south and east you had to have free people, the principals of lincoln, but have cities like boulder, or austin, or portland, or eugene, that have green belts surround them. los angeles would bother him. he went to l.a. and said don't get too big. he wanted smaller size cities where you have universities and businesses surrounded by wilderness that you could go on day trips and feel replinied from the crunch of the speedy hyper industrialization. he was engineering the west a lot. this angered a lot of people and was done with grand yos tee. if you don't like a strong president, don't like theodore roosevelt because he didn't even look at laws, he was running and say i so declare it. that was his phrase. i so declare it a national monument. local people with commerce were
outraged. how can roosevelt be grabbing our land? tr more than even fdr is a believer in the power of the federal government and he wants the federal government to protect acme can wilderness for future generations. >> do you like that? >> i think it's spot-on. you know what would have happened with yellow stone? this what is he was a civil service commissioner, they were going to take the railroad, cut through the middle of yellow stone, build it up and allow people to build coney island sites. roosevelt went to congress and fought 2000 and nail to preserve the integrity. i think 90% of americans would say that is a good thing. >> do you like the idea he declared that will be a wilderness? >> i did. >> row would you like it if it were your home. >> that is what it was like back then. i think a moment to save wild america, and it was a moment to save our species and habitat.
he hiked to the top of the matterhorn, he didn't see wildlife. you go to our rocky mountains, you will see wildlife. and it is special. and anybody who interactions with the wildlife, i saw a spoted owl in olympic national forest, yellow stone you get a chance to see a black bear or herd of elk, it's awe-inspiring, parents want kids to see it and roosevelt was working to save all these. the left has had trouble with roosevelt as hunter, and he always was a hunter. they have trouble with him because he wanted to wipe out predators. he was the world's expert on cougar, he wrote many essays about them, what collect cougars and also different types of coyotes and gray wolves, they would do predator control, they would use race to eradicate wolves, he was wanting to save the ant at the low, caribou,
deer and act. a factoid, the first book published by a president as president ever was theodore roosevelt's book, a byline by the president, "deer family" he wrote as resident about all the deer populations in america using chart where they lived. today we have so many deer in the country it's not a problem but 100 years ago we almost didn't have deer. we used to have carolina parathe key -- parathe key, they are an ex-particular species. passenger pigeon, flamingos, gone from america. you have to go to the bahamas to see them. roosevelt wanted to save all these. because he felt that added to
the charm of american life. that in many ways, he hooked up with frederick jackson turner's frontier thesis and believe what made america was space and wilderness. and the soops we lost that we would lose our character. >> back do doug bring lay for a moment. this book, when did you start writing it, when did you write the first chapter? >> i started writing my prologue four years ago. on pelican island, florida. and about how he started saving wild florida. and -- >> that would have been in 2005? >> yeah, even before, i started writing i have been collecting on this for my files and going to these places since the 90s. >> you wrote the pro log in pelican island? >> i did. visited with with paul, a guy that works for u.s. fish and wildlife, took me on the boat. one of the neat things with the
u.s. fish and wildlife is that when i visit places, they were so excited i was interested in the history of that national wild life refuge, they would take me to see -- i had people take me to watch sea turtles, i went at night with the great expert and watch them lay eggs after they lay their eggs they move in the ocean. felt like the birth of mankind, it was like biblical to watch these turtles interact. when i would go there i was. look at documents, i was trying to ser yens some of the wildlife -- >> in and around that, when did do you the gerald ford book? >> ford i did for the arthur schlessinger, jr. signed me up for the seaseries, that came oud that time. when you write a lot, like i do,
they are big books and small books. a book like that, gerald ford is a very small book made for the general reader. >> all those series were 200 pages. >> this book was for me, the book i was going to live and die buy, i was putting everything i had from my childhood experience in national parks to my knowledge of theodore roosevelt, many women recently have written books on tr like patricia o'toole and kathleen dalton, and there is a great literature out there and we've gotten to know each other. i've been going to tr conferences since the 80s, where i visit and talk to scholars and collect things because my hobby was less tr than the sites that he saved. >> inserting in that i want to go back how you did this. the reagan diaries you edited. when did do you that?
>> what happened with the reagan diaries, i wasn't expected it. i written a little book was about our u.s. army rangers and dday, reflected back to reagan's fame usz speeches that he gave and i had an opportunity, an offer to be the president as presidential historian to pete wilson, i have to give credit to, former governor of california had me come out and look at it i was stunned to see reagan wrote a diary, i would like to edit it. there was a couple stipulations but the one was mrs. reagan wanted it out quickly. so although i was working on the roosevelt i had to make a decision do i continue working on the roosevelt book or is this such an important thing to do. my wife and i endured katrina and so we ended up saying look let's bring the kids and go out to the reagan library nearby, we moved to thousands oaks, california. >> you were living in new orleans.
>> yeah, we came back to new orleans, i was professor at tulane and even named my american studies center at tulane the theodore roosevelt center i was teaching classes on theodore roosevelt and conservation at reich conservation. at rice university now uh-huh teach a class theodore roosevelt on conversation. meaning when you say when you start writing a book, i have been informing myself on the research part of this story for a long, long time. the main thing i'med to do is the write the history of first off if dr and u.s. christian wildlife. up until the present time dealing with global warming and the modern green movement. i wanted to see all of that through the eyes of the presidentsy. as a presidential historian. using people like tr and fdr and
truman and johnson and carter and clinton people who had gotten involved with conservation as the point. >> when did you do the reagan diaries? >> we did it very quickly. i didn't have to write that. we're bring out the complete diaries in a box set. what it is, brian, is when you go to these places. i just pick one, if you're going to go to mesa ver day -- >> where is it? >> in southwest colorado in the four corners region. nst the ancient anasanzi. it's the cliff dwellings that
roosevelt creates. i knock on the door and i call and meet the superintendent. i said, look, you're the expert. you're living here. what do you have in your files. help me. so while i'm not writing a chapter at that point, i'm notebooking, collecting brochures, pamphleting. they have a main office. they have clippings. they save the clippings anytime they're in the media. they all have great clipping files. i can sayive kper soxed them since 1992 to get to many places to inform the book. when i'm writing the book it creates chronological. here are the three that i went to to focus on as examples of that 80.
>> before i forget it, you said your wife anne and you moved to boston, texas, to teach in houston, texas. you have three kids. how old are they. >> that's nice of you to ask. i have three kids. my oldest daughter is benton who's 6. >> named after? >> the famous painter thomas heart benton. i've always modelled my career on thomas heart benton. he used to do great murals of america. and had all these characters that were in it. it could be the labor and it was -- i used to have just prints of them in my bedroom it got me so excited. so i named my first daughter after benton. benton brinkley. second is johnny brinkley. i had an uncle johnny which i never met. he was killed in world war ii in guam. he was a marine. my mother -- he was kind of a hero in my life even though i
never met him. and i was a big fan of johnny cash. so he was johnny. i went with jonny. >> you're going to call him johnny for the rest of his life. >> i'm going to call him johnny. he can make that decision when he gets older. >> he's 4? >> yes. >> my youngest is 2. that's cassidy is her name. it's from a character of jack careways from on the road. there's a grateful dead song called cassidy. my wife ears formerly anne goldman of new orleans. we met there. got married in new orleans and have become a family man. it's changed my life. and brian than changing your life having kids, i love taking them. all my kids want to do now is go to the wild basin to see
animals. we have a place in austin where i take them all the time to a nature study center. if nay see a fish they know, the perch. they each favorite animals that they honed in on. my daughter benton is all ducks. without exaggeration she probably has 200 ducks -- toy ducks. but the -- >> 200. >> yes. she's got them surrounding her it's an obsession. but the audubon society does a whole series of bird stuffed toy which is are really fun. you can get a great blue herring or a snowy egret or whatever it might be. we have a lot of those, too. i'm a big audubon society fan. >> the writing of all this. you talked about pelican island.
do you still write long hand? >> i mixed these days. i used to do it all the time. my first drafts are writing at the sites. it's like going a civil war scholar like somebody going to a civil war battlefield and taking notes. >> are you left-handed. >> i am. >> so i just noticed. >> obama's left handed and clinton was left-handed and bush 41 was left hand. i think gerald ford was left-handed, too. >> what does that mean? >> we're a tribe. >> last question, who named it wilderness warrior." >> i did. my wife may be the originator of it. i write a list of like then of them. and i think it's because tr is seen as a warrior, a wonderful scholar at university of wisconsin john milton cooper has the book, the warrior and the
priest. his sense of a warrior wasn't just the battle field. he liked to have fights about everything that he believed in. he was a warrior fighting to save wild america. and so the title kind of came naturally and the sub title has the word crew said in it because it was. he was a crusaders for this. it wasn't just -- to confront roosevelt on wanting to save the grand canyon or mesa verde or the bird refuges in florida, you'd better be strong because tr knocked everybody over. i don't know any president that was as bold as roosevelt. his hue bris speckor. you can't comprehend. bill clinton is nothing like tr. they'll say george w. bush is like tr.
when people are saying to them, don't take the vice presidency, right now you are a powerful majority leader, don't take the vice presidency, you won't have any power. johnson says power is where power goes. meaning, i can make power in any situation. his whole life i said, nothing in his life previously makes that seem like he's boasting because that's exactly what he had done all his life. >> sunday night, the conclusion of our conversation with robert caro on the pass oj of power volume four in the years of lyndon johnson. his multivolume biography of the 36th president. sunday night on c-span's q and a. as the presidential
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