tv Legacy of Ronald Reagan CSPAN November 30, 2014 4:40pm-6:01pm EST
the great lakes and that is what they were after. but plattsburgh put a stop to that. the british army is back in canada. when the treaty is signed on christmas eve, 1814, the status quo is what we see today. this year marks the 50th anniversary of president reagan's tied for choosing speech. the young america's foundation held the daylight -- daylong conference about the legacy of president reagan. they discuss the topic, the lessons reagan would have taught
us today. this program took place in santa barbara, california. >> the good news is before we start talking, we have another one of those videos. this one is about the private sector and how reagan speech is still applicable today. videos onre these campus with your friends and put them on facebook. roll it. business, you a did not build that. >> the full power of centralized government, this was the very thing the founding fathers thought to minimize. a government cannot troll the economy without controlling -- cannot control the economy without controlling people. land by eminent
domain. >> we will give you the price. repeating, if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. >> are we looking at the first billion-dollar website in history? >> they also knew, the founding fathers, but outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well as the private sector of the economy. >> they have not managed that industry the way they should have. >> we were told by the government we must except greater government -- accept greater government activity. you and i have a rendezvous with destiny. we will preserve the last best earth. man on
[applause] >> i am chris bedford, the managing editor. being theprivilege of editor in chief of the new guardian magazine. part of my job was i get to go to movies in d.c. i went to a premier of the american war generals. it traces from vietnam forward the history of the u.s. army. i went with the entertainment editor. she said to me that she did not know what happened at 911. that sounds pretty stupid. how did you not know? she was in fourth grade.
out. totally freaked me i ended up doing the math. it is hard for journalist to do. in five years time, people graduating from high school will not of been born when that happened. it is a defining moment for a lot of americans. a lot of the folks in this room are not even 20 years old yet. five different -- five decades ago on monday, ronald reagan gave his famous speech. one decade ago, he left us. obama,ater, even barack tries to compare himself to ronald reagan. moderate republicans and conservatives of all stripes say they represent ronald reagan. i was at his speech in february
of 2013 when rand paul introduced his foreign policy. the speech was titled containment and radical islam. radical like communism, -- in the speech, he mentioned containment 17 times. in ronald reagan 13 times. ronald reagan rejected containment. he pushed rollback. a lot of good people will look up to rand paul. that point was missed. if you did not catch the 2011 rnc chairman debate. this is what made it a hard question. you cannot use the bible and you
cannot use a book about ronald reagan. should have not been too hard. anyone was watching could tell that herman cain, mitt romney, and newt gingrich were different. you could tell that none of them were ronald reagan. ann you come here, spend hour at one of these conferences, it is apparent who the truest keepers of ronald reagan's legacy are. they have been the most faithful guardians. who controls the past controls the future. -- here, five
decades after he gave that speech, we need to make sure that we do not wear -- that we actually learn the serious ideas that he put forward and remember them. five decades after he made his political debut, is he still relevant? beenn could have reagan could been talking about romney. i think it is time we ask ourselves if we had the freedoms that were into the bios by our -- by our founding fathers.
we talked about the senator criticizing the constitution, he could have been talking about any of the mouth breathers on msnbc. reagan's ideas still reach us today because they were not just current. he talks about numbers on the farm bills and welfare. he reached deep into the past. i have aaid, you and rendezvous with destiny. he was paying homage to his plug with your, fdr -- paying homage to his hero, fdr. when reagan said, we will -- heve for our children was championing another one of
his heroes, abraham lincoln. heroes frome had both parties and the reason he spoke to libertarians, it was always ideas that motivated him. we need those ideas as much as we ever have. that is why today's celebration is so important. us, did here, a lot of not have the opportunity of experience to read -- to meet ronald reagan. a lot of the people in the back, donors, supporters, they have a lot they can teach you. hour, we break for happy
i will hand it over to frank. what would reagan have taught us today? >> you can applaud. [applause] that was not so hard. i know david and i are all that stands between you and happy hour. however, we will make one final attempt to give you some information based on their contacts and interactions with our great president reagan. let me say a couple of things. i would like to put tribute to the young people here. i know you have many things you can be doing right now. the fact that you are here demonstrates a commitment to our country and to your own future. the issues we are talking about today concern you a lot more than they do people that have
lived for a longer time. i am thinking back to my very first campaign. my candidate was going around shaking hands and he came across a voter, somewhat disinterested. my candidate said, i think the two biggest issues we have to date our ignorance and apathy. the voters said, i don't know and i don't care. [laughter] that is not described the young people here. to pick up on the remarks that were just made, it is true ronald reagan is an historical figure. he is not a contemporary political figure. he is somebody now that is looked upon by a wide variety of people that have very different views on issues.
flattering fort those of us lucky enough to have worked with him. that itso an indication is a tricky thing to say reagan would've done this or reagan would've done that. i have no idea what he would be doing. you i can do is to tell about how we might approach some of the issues. you cannot make your mind up at this -- you can all make up your mind at how he would come down on issues of the day. what is most important, if we believe the path to making decisions by him is the correct way to go about it. that gives us a roadmap so that we can all be successful in the future. i want to say we have tried to style this weekend as lessons
learned. forward, we do not look backward. it is great to relive those great days. all, we are in this because we want a better future, not because we want to celebrate the past. when we talk to you in this session, we are talking about lessons that we can apply to the future. lessons are only that -- it is how you take that and devise a successful strategy. to that end, we look to you young people to do that. we can do our best to give you some guidance. article for foxnews. my remarks are on the website.
if you are so inspired and want to read it for yourself, it is on the website. in the article, i lay out for for yourthrow out consideration as to what ronald reagan can teach us today that is still applicable to the challenges our country faces. i think reagan would have adults and voters as with respect. i think you would have talked about the issues that were a concern to the american people and he would have talked honestly about solutions and the challenges our country faces. we have more political advertising than we have ever had in our lives. honestly, so much of it is nonsense. does any of this relate to the real challenges that you was
young people will be facing for the next 30 years? not much. i think that is a mistake. what reagan always believed, you talk to people honestly and you treat them honestly and you run a campaign based on how you are going to govern. you try faithfully to carry out those promises. he felt connecting the campaign with the government in trying to implement the promises you made as a candidate would decrease public cynicism, and create the kind of consensus that would help the country make a decision and then move on. so many politicians never talk about what they will do in office. when they get in office, they do something totally different. they jam it through --
obamacare. they wonder why there is no consensus on the issue. we never had a fair chance to talk about the issue at all. reagan believed the role of statesmen is to settle certain questions so that we can settle them and move forward as a country. that is the first lesson. i hope a lot of you are running for public office someday. talk to the public honestly about what you would do if you were privileged to represent them. the second thing the reagan can still teach us today and this really is the hallmark of his public life. he believed that individuals were far more capable than the -- and government officials about determining what is the most important in your
life. ofn he is elected in january 1981, the theme of his first inaugural drop -- inaugural , he simply says, government is not the solution. government is the problem. he firmly believed it outside of the core functions of government, when the government tried to do too many things, it winds up doing nothing very well. not much doubt about the fact that it has been proven to be the case over the last six years . the more the government tries to -- the less the competent the less competent it is to do anything. our national defense is suffering. continues to fall to dangerously low levels.
we have a health crisis that we are carolyn -- that we apparently do not know how to handle. on.uld go on and on and what agency of government is working well today? i am not one that blames everything on government workers. competentery hard and people. when you have inadequate direction from the top, when you are asked to do everything, you do not do anything very well. if you have the chance to look at the entire message in the time for choosing, it is a long speech, that is basically the theme of the speech. it goes through in great detail programs 50 years ago, when he talks about millions, it is now billions. when he talks about billions, it is now trillions. the problems have only gotten worse.
when you look at program after program after program that had intent and winds up having a bad effect, you have to ask yourself, wouldn't the progressives take a step back and say, maybe the government really cannot do everything in a country of 310 million people? is it wise to make everyone go through one website in order to determine the best kind of policy for your family? answer, themostly problem is, there is not enough authority and government. it is always more. we don't have enough money, we don't have enough authority. we need more and more and more. if we talk about a system that trusts individuals, allows individuals to make their own
decisions, that is a much better model than what we have right now. the third the third lesson that reagan teaches us is that we are successful as a movement when we expand our ranks, not when we divide against each other. of 320 a big country now million people, and in order to elect somebody nationally from states, we united require probably 70 million voters, and that means it's a lot of people. sadly, that is beyond the ranks of young america's foundation or even the republican party. we need people that are similar to us and have common interests to us, but may not share everything that we agree with. what we see with reagan in his time, in 1980, it was not that dissimilar from the situation we
are going to be facing in 2016. in 1979, reagan was old. he was thought to be too right-wing. he was an actor, which in those days was per jordan, and he was thought to be over the hill. the republican party was the minority party clearly in 1979, and there were important elements of the party, important elements of the electorate that were hostile to republicans, and yet reagan faced the election with confidence. he puts together all elements of the republican party. someone earlier was asking about, how do we do this? it takes leadership, and it takes statesmanship, and it takes somebody smart enough to know that you put together coalitions to win elections. he doesn't stop there. to that he asked blue-collar workers, which had been a mainstay of the democratic
party. they voted for him in strong numbers in 1980. one of the things i was proud of , wisconsin was one of my states, and one of the things we did was we scheduled a rally at a place called sir paul, which is in south milwaukee, 95% democrat, and we wind up filling the house. it is that time the media started writing about reagan democrats, reagan blue-collar workers. young people, we have her discussion of that, and reagan had tremendous appeal to young people, not normally a voting block for republicans. thisso bling -- brings us incredible new part of the coalition, religious conservatives, who before that had been a political. he puts all of these groups together, libertarians, conservatives, young people, blue-collar workers.
that is how you put together a winning coalition. say, i'm notid he sure where these guys are. i'm not sure we want them. just got to have them all if we want to be elected. 1980's sawera of the almost the closest relationship of the last century between the attitudes of republican voters and independent voters. there are only two ways you can win an election in america. the right can't win it by itself, the left can't when it by itself. you have to put that together with the center or independents. what you see in the 1980's, as evidenced by his 60% victory in his reelection, was almost an exact correlation between the views of republicans and independents. that is our goal. that is how you put together a winning coalition. we hope for a time where we
don't go after just so-called not try to win blue states, but we go after all 50 states. that is how you put together a real governing majority. the final thing that i would say that reagan can still teach us today is this idea of america leading in the world by force of its values. it is true that he confronted communism militarily, and ultimately, the soviet union true up, but what is also is he was able to do that because he challenged the essence of communism. he challenged it based on our values compared to their values. i think he would have been very comfortable leading the fight against radical islam and but i think you would have done it in a much are comprehensive way and
much greater clarion call for people all around the world to embrace our virtues and our way of life, to join us, as opposed to the terrorists who teach violence and terrorism. thus far, it has not been a clarion call. it has been a halfhearted effort. few, tanks here or there, and that is not sufficient. if we are going to defeat this menace to western values, it is going to be because we are very clear and having those that believe of freedom -- in freedom on one side and those who are terrorists on the other. so be it. that is what we have to do. reagan gives a famous speech to ,he british parliament in 1983 still in the midst of the cold war, and he says this -- we will not defeat communism. we will transcend it. people were scratching their heads. what are you talking about?
if you think about it, that is exactly what happened. what he meant was, we would talk about the virtues of the united states and the values of the west being freedom, respect for the individual, and that in itself would cause the world to rise up and embrace us and make it very difficult for the soviet union to continue to do business the way it had been. indeed, that is what happened. if you talk to people now, old soviet officials, people once behind the iron curtain, they will you that reagan's rhetoric gave them hope and the desire to resist and to fight for freedom. i think what reagan would say is, if we are going to defeat this new menace, it has to be based on values and based on the west leading not from behind. we don't lead from behind. we leave proudly based on our lead proudly based on
our values. i think those four lessons are something, as we go forward, that we can take from reagan that are still relevant today, no matter the personalities and no matter the individual situations. -- can basically sum it up america must lead, freedom works, and trust the people. thank you very much. [applause] >> my turn? >> yes, sir. >> i'm going to sit down. they asked us earlier. said, i'm an old guy. i'm going to sit down. what can i say? frank is exactly right. we talked this morning about really one of ronald reagan's strengths was-- he trusted people. he trusted voters as adults.
when we talked about his speech, his speech in 1976, he always used to say, i always thought when you did was you talked to the voters and tell them what it is you want to do, talk to them as adults, and you get their support. for him, it always worked, partly because he was a great communicator, but also because his ideas have a significant advantage of being right. that is the one thing you all have. james carville was wrong when he named a book "we are right, you're wrong." he got it backwards. that is the democrat sometimes do when they are promoting hillary clinton. [laughter] also exactly right. it is impossible to predict what somebody would do when they are taken out of their context, but if you start with the foreign policy area, you know the republican party and the conservative movement -- it is a
mistake to identify one with the other -- but in the political context, the republican party is the vehicle through which most conservative values are either realized or through which we hope they will be realized. 1974, bill rusher, the publisher of "the national review," wrote a book in which he suggested what was needed was a third party. he said, we need a third party for conservatives because it is completely behind -- beyond comprehension to believe that the republican party would never nominate somebody like ronald reagan to run for president. of course, a few years later, the republican party did exactly that. that is the vehicle. if you look at the debates between politicians and seeervative thinkers, you the same kinds of divisions that have plagued the movement forever. the differences between libertarians and traditionalists, what should be done in foreign policy terms and the like.
we are in a position now where we keep talking about, is there another ronald reagan on the scene? in american politics, you often need a national spokesman, but reagan's strength is what we need to do today, which is to bring those things together for common purpose. while the conservative movement has always been involved in internal disputes and arguments, doctrinal differences and all the things you see when you debate with your fellow conservatives, it has, from the goldwater to the reagan years, united on the political side. i remember that frank meyer once said, we should fight these differences out in the basement of the white house once we've gotten to power. that was before we got the power. now we got there. now we are still fighting about it. everybody is trying to identify with ronald reagan, usually unsuccessfully.
in the foreign policy area frank touched on, you've got rand paul arguing that he represents reagan's views, and you've got that fellow from arizona suggesting that he represents reagan's views. in a tangential sense, they are both right, and they are both wrong. if anybody represented reagan's views, it is probably george w. bush before september 11, when he ran and suggesting, we believe in freedom, we believe in strength, we don't believe we can remake the world. after september 11, our foreign policy changed, but then it changed into, if we can just make the world like us, something reagan never subscribed to, everything would be fine, and we wouldn't have to worry. one of the statements that came out of the reagan administration , was in the early days of the when billministration
clinton wanted to commit american ground troops to the albrightand madeleine was very much in favor of that, his secretary of state, and colin powell was still there, a holdover from the reagan years. she famously said to him, if we are not going to use this army, where we spending all of this money on it? colin powell said, madam secretary, we are spending all that money on it so we won't have to use it. that was key to ronald reagan. key used american troops and shed american blood less than any modern american president. the world knew that while america wasn't interested in getting into their affairs and settling all the differences in the world, the world knew also that if you messed with the united states, you have a problem. rand paul has got part of that
right, but not the other part. you can't both stand aside and be too weak to act when you need to act. if you remember ronald reagan shortly after coming to power, when the libyans at that time did whatever they were doing, and he ordered the bombers out, he said in his diary, it's about time to tell them there is new management here. that changed a lot. once you've got that kind of management, the world changes. --is no mistake today compare that with barack obama's apology tour when he became president. you asked, many of the things you have to deal with today as frank was talking about -- it isn't so much the specific instances but what these people represent -- if you had ronald reagan, you wouldn't have to have some of the things that are going on today.
i was amazed watching when we had all of what was going on in the middle east, isis and the rest, and in the government of china stakes out a huge area in the south china sea and says, this is ours. there were commentators and experts on television saying, why would they be doing that now? why would they be doing it? they know that there is nobody there that they have to worry about, and the united states' ence is not the presence of a power that wants to be imperial or get into wars, but when matt dillon is walking down the streets, the guys don't rob the people coming out of the bank. they know if they provoke the superpower, they have a problem. we now have a country that is rapidly moving away from superpower status, and has moved away psychologically, and that is something that would not have happened under somebody like ronald reagan. that is important. i want to make two other quick points. the first is that frank was
exactly right in that the core of reagan's belief was his belief in the individual. some of you have probably read a book called "commanding heights" by daniel jurgen, the victory of the free markets in america, and he talks about the most important book published in the latter part of the 20th century. the publishing decision he felt was the most important decision was the "reader's digest" decision to publish in the late 1940's frederick hayek's "the road to serfdom." he said that was the most influential book. there was a female undergraduate in england who carried it in her purse. her name was margaret thatcher. there was an actor in hollywood who read it and credited it with changing his views. the message of that book was that government cannot make
decisions. it's not that government is dangerous to freedom, but that in addition to that, socialism can't work because the government, even with computers, can't match the decision-making, diversity of millions of people who have to make decisions every single day. ronald reagan absorbed that message, and if there is somebody to whom i think he owes much of that philosophy, i think it is frederick hayek. he believed that, and there was an advantage in believing it. you see evidence of it today. we have an election coming up on november 4, and we focus on senate elections, but what has amazed me is that in one-party states dominated by liberal governors who try to do the kinds of things that reagan opposed, we have close races. the polls show within the margin of error that democratic governors or gubernatorial
candidate in maryland, rhode island, connecticut, massachusetts, and illinois could lose, not because of the vibrancy -- in those states, believe me, being a conservative voter is like being a conservative on campus. it is hard to find the other ones. in each of those states, people have come up against reality. one, you have to be right. your ideas have to be right. you have to be convinced of them, as reagan was, but secondly, they have to jive with reality. really the 1964 speech and the goldwater campaign were more productive than dealing with the reality of 1964. by 1968, the world described in that speech was coming into being. by 2014, that world is here. what reagan said in 1964 is perhaps more relevant and more meaningful today than it was then. back then, they didn't listen to us so much.
the american people are not ideological. we are. we are not only ideological. we're sort of obsessed with politics. i bet you are. most americans don't look at these things. something reagan understood perhaps better than we do, this country was founded by people who did not want it obsessed with politics. as long as the government was restricted to the things governments ought to be doing, they didn't have to be. focus in thisthe country of political problems only occurs when there is a real problem. in the 1960's, the problem was developing. i once ran for office. i was foolish one-time. i ran and lost.
ronald reagan did commercials for me, radio commercials. somebody said, how was that? thought he was crazy, and so was i. in the context of that era when we had a love affair with the government, they were probably right. we were out of step. we were all out of step. conservatives were developing their way. the american people were not -- are not stupid. today, the things that ronald reagan said in 1964 ring true not just with us and not just with people who had intellectually come to the position that he was right. they ring true with everybody. the world that he saw and the and theat he feared, world he optimistically believed we could avoid is with us, and the kind of leadership we have today is precisely the kind of leadership that he faced in 1980
when he ran against jimmy carter. the world of 1980 and the world of 2014 aren't that different in many ways. the threats are similar. the economies, the disasters are different, but they are real. the government is as out of touch now as it was then. jimmy carter's military couldn't fly a helicopter. barack obama's, doctors can't find a disease when they are looking for it. we had a government that doesn't work. we have a population who has in the government's ability to do the things they would like it to do. as a nonideological people, if the government worked and everything was fine, people would accept it and say, why are you complaining? it doesn't work. frederick hayek knew that. ronald reagan knew that. we know that. that is the great strength. we are right, as he was, and
they are wrong. because they are wrong, their policies won't work, and because the american people ultimately are adults, they can see that. host>> i guess that kind of cous as a cheerful ending. [laughter] [applause] do you guys have some questions to ask these gentlemen? line-up. what would reagan do? [laughter] >> i guess i'm first. >> they expect you to be shorter. >> five nervous. my name is annie. i am a sophomore at university of oregon. conservatives in oregon exist. i go to school into the town, usa. i'm so nervous.
my question to you is, i believe that conservatives answer questions about social issues and alienate young people. how should conservatives answer questions about issues to go along with the ideas of expanding our ranks so we promote the whole -- i believe in things socially different from other people in this room -- how should we answer the question? >> the perception that liberals like to give the public about the conservative view on social issues and other things is that we are an intolerant bunch of neanderthals who would like to tell them how to live their lives, when in fact, it's the other guys. >> [indiscernible] >> i've noticed that. back and youyou go think about ronald reagan and you think about conservatism as it developed, we talk in the
movement about fusionism, frank ruct to bring together the traditionalists and libertarians. it was talking about both ends and means. his view was that you had to freely choose the good society. in religious terms, a good choice doesn't mean much unless it was freely arrived at. if you are forced to do the right thing, that doesn't do much. pavement like us to be viewed as people who want to force everybody who wants to -- to do what we want. that doesn't mean some conservatives don't flip over. i can tell you that on social issues, including everything from right to life questions to my favorite, then questions -- gun questions --
>> and now marijuana is the big issue. >> these are all noneconomic, nonmilitary social issues. the interesting thing is that particularly among young people, not necessarily at your campus in oregon, but among young people, all of those issues have turned into pluses. if you look at the poll data as time has gone on on everything from -- we will leave marijuana the-- on guns, abortion, public, particularly younger members of the public, have been moving towards our position. in dealing with any political issue, whether it is a military issue or economic, you have to talk about what the talking heads like to refer to as the optics and the message. obviously, somebody on the earlier panel said, you don't want to put their stick -- put a - theirn there -
eye. there is a context in talking about what free choice means as opposed to what is good. just because you are free doesn't mean you should talk -- you should start taking heroin. even the libertarians agree with that. or some of them. [laughter] think we have -- one thing that has happened with the movement, the conservative movement over time, we still got these things to work out. matured in a political sense, and we are better able to deal within the real political realm. that is one of the aims reagan taught us -- one of the things reagan taught us. my answer would be similar but slightly different. >> more nuanced.
[laughter] >> similar but different. there are a lot of issues where conservatives don't agree on everything. i mean, it is hard to think of an issue where all conservatives agree universally. it just so happens that the social issues you are talking about, i think i'm right about this -- the conservative position has basically been one of federalism. whether you are talking about orht to life, marriage, whether you're talking about marijuana, i believe the universal conservative position is, these are issues best left to the states, and indeed, louisiana and south carolina and will decide these issues differently from new york, california, and vermont. vermont,s why we have
so we can have a laboratory for socialism. [laughter] when it comes to economic policy and foreign policy, those are things with the federal government does have a lot to do with it, but when we are talking about issues like this that directly relate to the police power of several states, my answer would be that these are issues that are best left to the states. youou are my position, if want your position, you can give me your position, but there is not universal agreement on any of these. >> let me throw something out here. famously, ronald reagan liked to talk about, if somebody likes to agree with me 80% of the time, i call them a friend. i go lower than that. if i want to have any friends, i have to be more liberal in that sense.
i was chairman of the american conservative union. we do ratings of members of congress. is ourider taking that byword, if somebody rate 80% on our rating, they are a conservative. they can differ. one of the differences between conservatives and liberals -- let's go to a social issue, that social issue being abortion -- if you go to a conservative gathering or republican gathering, you are going to find people on both sides of that issue. most of them are going to be pro-life. at a democratic or little organization, you are not going to find that. they have famously driven those people out. they are ideologically homogenous. we are not. when you talk about anti-ideological movements, ideologies,sm has but it is not a lock stock -- lockstep movement.
we can differ on important is. i rarely got involved when we were doing those ratings, and i never got involved in the house leadership contests, like electing the student body president, hinging on things that have nothing to do with reality. very good friends of mine were running against each other in a house leadership race. one was jim nussle, later the director of omb, and delayed -- the latter was jennifer dunn from washington state. jim alleged that jennifer was not a conservative. they both had identical ratings. jennifer was not a conservative because she was pro-choice. jennifer alleged that jim was not a conservative because he had never voted for a defense appropriations bill. those are both serious issues, but their rating was exactly this aim. i said, if they voted run
everything, they both would be liberals, but they differed on albion important issues, but we do not judge people simply on their position on one issue. if you are putting together a movement, -- and our views change -- people do not remember this but back in the day, as they like to say, the conservative movement was pro-choice. the liberal movement was pro-life. jesse jackson led pro-life rallies on the grounds that attemptedas an genocide against the black population. in fact, the public funding of abortion was developed by southerners as a final solution to the race problem. and ronald reagan was pro-choice. >> so was barry goldwater. >> as scientific evidence and all these other things came in the movement changed, and these
debates in the early days are very strong. we developed a new consensus. but we did not say those people who did not see the light were all going to go to hell. we decided we would keep them in and accept their votes anyway. that is really what you have to do if you want to win. >> surprisingly, stefan has a question. >> i'll bet he's from mississippi. i just want to say. i really enjoyed. every time i say mississippi, they put $1.00 in my account. i thoroughly enjoyed everything you had to say, but because the three of you are all yappers and you have been around for a while and had a lot of influence on what the organization is today and you have definitely just dedicated
your lives to the movement, what are some of your favorite moments as a yapper, and what led to the one thing that secured your decision to make your life a dedication to the movement? >> i'll start. because i talk all the time. was intrigued by the talk about banning books. -- thed earlier about road to serfdom. if you talk to conservatives of my generation, the three books that will, will be the barry goldwater's book and "witness." arethree of which important. i became a conservative -- i am vert.of a stereotypical cone my father was a labor union
organizing for most of his life. my mother was president of the international auxiliary of the united auto workers. i come from a labor background and family. i was very interested in politics. in high school, my high school library banned a book. it was a book by -- called "the constitution of liberty." they ordered it think it was a book about the constitution and they found that it was something else. but the library and new i like to read, so she offered me the but because she was going to throw it away. i still have that book. that was the book that changed my politics. >> yeah, first of all, hail to mississippi football this year. you guys are doing great. you have two in the final four this year. that would be terrific. i guess, it is a true statement. i began my career also, i began
life as democrat. my family was democratic. and i remember hearing the hoosing.i time for c a big supporter of johnson humphrey the conversation going. then i became a frequent viewer of "firing line," hosted by bill buckley. and joined young americans for freedom. but it is quite rewarding. you'll find if you all stay involved over the years -- to know you do stand for things that are more than just the transient things. i remember watching a special actor george clooney
was on. they were interviewing about this and that and they asked about his future plans and he said, i really want to do things that matter and/or consequential. was different. i remember think it to myself, rich,his guy is handsome, and famous. he wants to do what i do. this is pretty cool. over the years, as you get involved in campaigns and you get involved in causes and you bring other people into the movement, it will be a tremendous source of satisfaction to all of you that you are part of something better than yourself -- bigger than yourself. >> growing up in massachusetts, to be a conservative -- ground zero.
one of the first things that will happen maybe realize that all the punk rock i have been listening to about america and how evil we work. it turned out that there is evil in this world, and it was not even the event of seeing it. it was looking in the pit. we can complaint about this and that, but there is evil out there. the second was a johnny cash song. i was listening to in my jeep. "flag waving patriot." and the third thing was college. i heard the opinions of liberals for the first time. and i thought it was a liberal into life heard their incredible stupid appearin opinions. colleges -- you talk about how isolated you feel. i will tell you a story about this. and i drove to moscow.
that was the first year you could go to the soviet union except as part of a group. they were so desperate for money they would even take money from kids to go through their country. on july 4, 1968, we went up -- we ended up in kiev. there was a knock on our door at 7:30 in the morning. ssians, we wereu not afraid. we just answer the door. four africans at the door. they were from ghana. it turned out they were in medical school. you have to remember on this whole trip, we saw three other foreign cars. there was not like there is an influx of tourists. they said it is your independence day. we heard there were americans here. we have come to help you celebrate. we went out for the day with these medical students. at some point i said, this is history -- ghana had just had a revolution. ruler have been
tossed out. i said to one of them, you are going to graduate, you have been in the soviet union for six years. you are going to graduate from medical school and you're going to go back to your country and you are going to be part of the elite. and your country is no longer firmly to the soviet union. how is that going to work? and he looked at me and said, many african students who go abroad come back to oou their countries as communists. but no one who is ever gone to the soviet union to go to school has come back as a communist. it is those that go to britain and the united states that become communists. >> are remember reading about that. >> thank you. >> dennis? >> i am from indiana university. question is, what are some threats to ronald reagan's legacy and what can we do to preserve it? well, i think we have done a
good job of preserving it. historical reputations rise and fall open the years and over the decades. 2en george h.w. bush loses in 1992 and bill clinton becomes president, that is all a chamita be due to the failures of the reagan-bush years. -- it's all attributed to the failures of the reagan-bush years. morewhen i think information comes out about the old soviet union. apparatchiksoviet begin to speak out and they say, the reason the soviet union does not exist anymore is because of this guy ronald reagan who gave ede people hope and it caus revolution. reagan's or be tatian begins to rise.
-reagan's reputation begins to rise. 2008 great recession -- people are looking more and more to the policies of the 1980's that created 18 million jobs in economy.aller this president over the first six years has created a net zero jobs in a bigger economy. people begin to wonder, is this the best we can do? they go back and look and see reagan's record. so, historical reputations irse and -- rise and fall. i think the truth wins out. the more we understand about the 40th president's record, and most importantly, how the lessons can be applied to the current situation and the problems we face, i think we will be fine.
but historical reputations rise and fall of the time. you always have to be on guard. but just know the facts. 18 million new jobs. the implosion of the soviet union. and probably an electric that was as content, and ironically, as fateful about government as they had ever been -- tells it all. ironically, we have the president that felt that government should do the least probably did the most to restore respect for america and for the federal government. >> anything to add to that? >> noepe. from clemson, south carolina. my question is directed towards something mr. keen said. you referenced how you once ran for a public office and quickly decided that that was not the route you wanted to take. my question is, what advice would you give s when making our
decisions about which to action go to spread our conservative ideas in politics or throughout different career choices? i haveve to say that -- done various things in my life. ae of the things i was was political consultant. and running for public office was an incredibly valuable -- was incredibly valuable because it taught you that the quest for public office is evidence of temporary insanity. . the reason candidates are not allowed to manage their campaigns is the reason is that lawyers that are not allowed to represent themselves. when i get with candidates, it became easier because i knew they were all lunatics. and the only way they could be cured is if they lost. but no, i think it is very important to consider public office. i will type, an -- i will tell you, my political mentors were frank meyer of "national
review," and dr. walter judd. was a former missionary in china who was a punishment from minnesota and 1960as the keynoter of the convention, a great conservative. and a mentor of lee edwards as well. dr. judd had told me once that you should never get into politics until you are successful enough so that you could go back to something, because if you did, you would be available to be co-opted. and so, i was offered a job in the nixon administration. i'd always consulted with dr. judd on all decisions. so i did not call him. and he was enraged. because he said you are not wealthy. you have not established yourself. i said, doctor, so you cannot go back and earn a living. what if you are so arrogant that
you think you can? but in a sense the advice was good. and that is, don't put yourself in a situation where you will have to compromise or principles. i was always bullheaded and never that i was tempted to do that but they were pressures that you have to be able to deal with. i don't think there is a set way to do it. young people would come to me over the years and say, i am amazed at young people, that plan.ave got this life i am going to do this. i never planned anything. because what you have to do is you have to have your values, know where want to go, and then you have to make decisions. it is not like becoming a mechanical engineer and going to work for general electric. it is a whole different deal. our convictions.
earn living or going to politics. a you whatever you want, but stayed true and have fun and always be active. you can be active no matter what you do. the person who goes out and makes a good living or the person who writes order does not r thetouch of a living o person that goes into politics contributes. you should do what makes you happy. there are one million ways to make a living. there must be one that you would really like to get involved in. that is what i would do. >> somebody once told me find out what you want to do and then think of a way to get somebody to pay you to do it. >> that part i never figured out. >> that's true. a young lady. are there is no way you should know right now what you are going to
do for the rest of your life. my advice would eu are young. and you're going to have an advice would be fewer are young. try many things. you might want to go to grad school, take a job in business. nobody knows right now. but it needs to be something do. you want to and eventually, after a while of life experiences, you will figure it out. you will not know that right now, but young people, i say to young people, you have maximum opportunity at this point in your life. there will come a time in your life and your going to be married, have a mortgage, have kids, and your choices will be constrained. but for right now, there is nothing that you cannot take a shot at. give it your best shot. you have the rest of your life to worry about what you want to do in that time. >> the one useful thing about internships as they let you know what you really hate. or what you love. >> i have driven many people
away. >> a lot of people have not heard about walter judd before. lee has got a great book " visionary for freedom," his life and work and all he contributed to the republican party. >> good afternoon. born and raised in new york city and still somehow managed to become a republican. i'm a first generation american. i have lived through homelessness and poverty. indication have not noticed, i'm a person of color. all of this, according to leftist thinking and messaging, is exactly what the republican is not. but looking at our history from to teddy roosevelt, booker t. washington, susan anthony, although we don't to president reagan who tapped into the american conscious, it is my identity that makes me a republican. our history is lost in current political climate. where democrats hit us. we respond and he goes back and
forth. i've seen those tensions within the republican party, whether you are a goldwater republican or rockefeller republican. tea party or moderate, libertarian or liberal. pointing at each other say why you are not republican. why you are not a conservative. we even have a jordan -- pejor ative terms like rhino. one of the greatest the coalition is a president reagan is that not only did he unite the country but he also united a divisive republican party. so what can we do -- some actionable things as young republicans -- to move away from infighting, the games and return to the ideas come the principles and values that made the republican party of allty, the party working-class people and of people like myself and many others? >> real quickly. two things.
ronald reagan is the 1992 republican convention ends his last public speech by saying "our destinations are more important than our origins." up america. sums if you think about it. the progressives want to dwell on where we come from. we are hyphenated americans and that is who we are for the rest of our lives. i think conservatives understand the possibilities that all people have to achieve great things. so, we are more interested in our destinations. i think if we always focus on whatnybody can achieve their maximum goals and their maximum ambition , no matter where they come from, i think that we have the high ground. secondly, a lot of the discord that you talk about today, it's interesting if you think about it. it really is more over tactics
than it is ideology. there are some who call themselves tea party people that do not think removing fast enough -- we are moving fast enough. but fundamentally when you get onn to it, their view issues are shared pretty much by most republicans. so we have to -- let's not ascribe bad motives to people because we disagree on tactics. let's agree on the general ideas of our party and our philosophy and what we are going to run on. and let's try to work together to expand our base. right on bothctly points. the difference between the terms of theday in internal -- intellectual discussions and differences are part of the vibrancy of politics. it is one of the reasons that it interests us. when you had barry goldwater running against nelson rockefeller, you had candidates
not just with different origins but with very different destinations. had very different views of the world are today frank is exactly right. and look at these arguments. and you have got people swearing blood oats against each other because one of them did not support an amendment to something because he or she did not think it was going to pass. or was not tough enough on this or did not do that, but if you sat down to take the two most contentious characters in the senate -- if you sat mitch mcconnell and ted cruz down together or separately -- best to do it separately. their vision. it would be the same. then they would decide to hate each other because they pursue different tactics, which is basically the story of their lives. , it'sthink in some ways easier today than it was t
hen, because if you could bat these people in ahead and say, you agree on where we are going to go. why don't we work to get there and split the difference on tactics? in the old days, that was no such agreement. there was a need to remake the party. if it was going to be a vehicle for conservatism. now the argument is, are we moving fast enough? are we stalled? courage?ys have those are different than saying they want to leave me in a different direction. the first part -- frank is exactly right. all of that history all away that the democrats and liberals have tried to misrepresent that history. that is one thing. but what conservatives believe in terms of where people can go and what they can accomplish, that is the difference between liberalism and conservatism. in any real-world situation where people get a chance look at it, they will choose conservative. >> since we are short on time we
will have the last three questions, ask them all, and let you two gentlemen tackle them. >> i attend university of central florida. what is the balance of a foreign policy that is strong enough to prevent an issue without going too far? and when would an administration know? what are the indications that administration should step in? >> phew. to answer as best i can quickly. i would say two things. one, you should set realistic foreign-policy goals. and stick to them. so, when you say there is a red line and you cannot cross that, there has to be consequences to that. so, when this administration esys that when assad us chemical weapons, there will be consequences and he uses them. and there are no consequences. that is very bad. so set realistic goals and stick to them. the second thing is you need a
strong enough military that can enforce whatever goals that you set. so don't set grandiose goals if you're going to continue to cut the armed forces. we are now in the middle east could we have a chinese threat. we have a russian threat. you cannot possibly handle all those foreign-policy -- terrorist threat. you cannot handle all that if you continue to cut the military below the levels of the 1950's. a president who has a common sense and the courage to do the right thing and who constantly asks the question -- is this in the national security interests of this country? you don't need a leader who says that we should never get involved internationally. kristol was on television during the balkan crisis and was asked, they put a board up. here are 23 places in the world
were civil wars are raging. do you think, why should we send people to the balkans? bill said, we should go to all of them because we have the power to do that. we are the super. that is also insane. >> if you do get a job as a pundit, the good news is -- you can never be fired. the threat that the president has to see -- like the supreme court said we will know it when we see it. you elect a leader because you have faith. >> my question is about this divide between ideology and party. it seems like that has been intertwined in my generation. can we restore the bull boose progressivism or do we want to? do you see the future of conservatism being intertwined with a strong ideological foundation? >> and what was your question,
sir? >> [inaudible] >> gentlemen? said earlier that conservatism is not an ideology in the sense that marxism is. marxism is ready made. you push in whatever the question is in the answer pops out. karl marx was able to for c 50 years in advance -- to foresee 50 years in advance because it was so constructed. conservatism is a series of principles that people can interpret differently. "t" word,hate to use the tolerance, but we do need that in the movement if -- we'rei think in 2016, if going to elect a conservative president, we are going to probably need in the neighborhood of 70 million votes.
the greatest concentration of conservatives in america may be the people that watch "the factor," which is the biggest show on television. he has 3 million. now, that is a lot to do not get me wrong, but my point is if you add that up with all the conservative talk show hosts and all the conservative publications, you still do not come near 70 million. you need coalitions. we need to attract people that, aboutid says, don't think politics 24 hours a day or who are much more interested in their family. more in that cause or that. politics is more than just yelling louder than the other guy. there are people that think that. louder,d just yelled spent more money on television. that normally is not the way it works. it is a much more difficult process, but we have to at least strategy. the winning then let's see if we can implement it. >> so, we have three more
minutes. the good news is all the people that flew out here came o uut here because they wanted to talk to do. when you see them at dinner, bothered them and asked for more questions. >> i'm from milwaukee. springhill college. have an observation. i want to congratulate all the students for coming all this distance to be here. i was a little older than the room when reagan was elected. and it was before. -- euphroic. oric. with every euphoria there is a downside. then your member clinton. then george bush than obama. theeven if we win this way election, which could be coming, you have got to kind of keep the
faith, because you're going to be down in the dumps 8 years from now. no matter what you do. that is just how it goes. >> i was in the white house before the 2006 election. one of these young kids, pardon me, was running the white house and said, you were around in 1974? he says, was it like this? i said, well, all you have to know is that the sun is going to come up in the morning. and that there'll be another day. you are right about that. there are good days, bad days, good cycles, bad cycles. and we despair about the country that bob novak told me once, if god cannot take care of the country, there is not much we can do. so we need to go out and do what we can. >> you get to enjoy the fight. if we are losing, it is more for us to do. there is a lot can get out and try to convince people on your
campuses, work on campaigns. tea party rise was one of the most exciting times to be involved recently. we will have it again. [applause] thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> each week american history american artifacts of visits museums and distort places. up next, we take you inside th