tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 24, 2016 3:46am-9:01am EDT
more activist direction, but teddy saw him as just a party hack. and i think roosevelt didn't -- he hated not being president anymore. he was, you know -- wasn't even 60. he was really young. really vital. he just -- you can see him going on this barnstorming tour in 1910, 1911 and getting more excited every place he goes and the crowds are huge. mind you, you know, when you look at the -- read between the lines of newspaper accounts and the -- observing that there are people who are true believers and people who are just curious. i want to see teddy in person and so they come out and watch, but they're just watching, not cheering. but he really loved the spotlight. he was sort of hungry and he also i think felt that taft was not doing enough. that there was -- he clearly in the time away and particularly the time in europe in 1910 really kind of soaked in some of these ideas that are emerging in european states about the welfare state, about the role of government in industrial life,
and had much stronger views about what should be done than -- and he thought that taft was just a little too much of a status quo guy. yeah. yes? >> sometimes people think of the word pivotal as synonymous for the phrase turning point. >> uh-huh. >> i was a little surprised you didn't mention that starting in 1932, democrats had a plurality or a majority in seven of the next nine presidential campaigns. >> yeah. >> starting in 1968, republicans had a plurality or a majority in five of the next six presidential campaigns. >> uh-huh. >> and starting in 1992 democrats again had plurality or majority in five of the next six presidential campaigns. but that's not my question. my question really is, my question really is, is there something about substantial third party candidacies that exemplify pivotal election and
should we expect this coming election will be pivotal only if there is a substantial third-party candidacy and probably not otherwise? >> that's a -- that's a super question. i -- that is -- that is -- i hadn't thought about it in that way, but i think that's right. so third parties -- you know, richard hofstetter, a history professor of business, once said third parties are like bees. they sting and then they die.
i think a third party candidate or independent -- a third party figure can be somebody like george wallace who is a candidate of one of the two major parties but is pushing the conversation in a different direction. when they gain traction, it usually is a reflection of the fact that the economic mood is -- there's economic instability. there's change -- enough change that people feel that they really need something different than what they're getting. and you also see this a bit in 2000 with ralph nader, one of the reasons they would say, gore and bush, there's no difference. they're just two guys. i think that -- i think george w. bush showed everyone that he wasn't the same president as al gore. but there was this real kind of belief that you have these two kind of establishment parties and they weren't really offering fresh solutions. but what these -- when these outsiders -- the sting of the bee, of the third-party bee, is they get these to the two major parties -- again, the durability of our modern party system is one of the reasons that it's so durable is because it kind of accommodates the ross perot platform. you know, talking about the reduction of the national debt,
for example. talking about fiscal responsibility was something that ross perot got both bush and clinton. they had to talk about it more than they were talking about it before. so you do have -- i have to think more about this sort of correlation causality. because i think there is something to that. when you are pivoting to a different political area, the parties themselves are finding a way, even after the election, to kind of accommodate the voters that were supporting this independent candidacy. >> hi. thanks for an engaging talk about a probably even more engaging book. i don't have the knowledge of my constitutional lawyer friend who asked a previous question. follow up on that. i'd ask you to use the crystal ball that you don't have. you did a very good job today of using history to understand the present. now we will take you to the
republican field of the 782 or however many people running. if you were forced to make a guess today -- it's going to be a two-prong question. who do you see at the end of this emerging as the republican candidate and why? if you have a why. do you think if it's not donald trump or ben carson, would either be encouraged by the support, that they might run based upon their support? and then the easier question, you spent so much time with the presidential candidates and presidential winners. do you have a favorite or a non-favorite or both? >> thanks. crystal ball, it's always dangerous to have a history professor with a crystal ball. you know, i think there's patterns. my read is based on thinking about history. i would be very surprised if ben carson or donald trump ended up being the nominee.
now, in 1963, people would have been really surprised if barry goldwater had been the nominee. but i do think whoever is the republican nominee is going to be someone who has to accommodate some of the message, the use of media that some of these outsiders that have gotten all the attention have gotten. in the general, everyone runs to the center. everyone is going of running for their base, but the primaries are going to be really interesting. i think what makes this crystal ball particularly cloudy this time and why the field has been so large is because of the nature of the campaign finance. if you have one very, very deep pocketed and enthusiastic contributor, you can launch a national campaign. i think another dimension is the cost of media is different. donald trump has redefined free
media, right? now, that's been around for a while. bill clinton in 1992 was very good at that. going on the arsenio hall show, getting headlines for other sorts of things, but it's a tough call. i would be surprised in part because there's been so much heat and light put on these candidates on the edges now. third-party run, all bets are off. i don't know. people may promise that they're not going to do it, but roosevelt promised he wasn't going to run either. it's hard to pick a favorite. what i'd really love -- there's so many great personalities, right? there's a reason there's a big presidential history business. it's great stories, but what i really enjoy is kind of recovering and uncovering the stories of people who are misinterpreted by kind of
conventional wisdom today. herbert hoover is an example of that. and then other stories that really showcase their humanity. one of the things that i learned and one of the reasons i teach this as a history professor is because i worked here. one of the kids that come to washington every year to work in the executive branch or work on capitol hill. even if you're young and a small person in this political machine, just being this close to law making gives you a very different perspective on power. you realize these are human beings. the presidency is on the job training. there's no presidency school you can go to, and it is extraordinary. everyone is trying to do the best they can. we may disagree on how they're doing or what they believe is the best, but it is a -- these are human beings, and they are
ordinary men. and we hope there will be more women who join them in the coming years that are just trying to figure out how to run the largest, most powerful country on earth. and it is a daunting, daunting job. it amazes me that people wake up in the morning and say i could be president. i don't think i'm going to be running anytime soon. it's a big, big job. but to show their humanity and then to remind people they have this multidimensional life story with these phases in their careers. everyone has their up years and their down years. not a single president, even our two termers, even the ones that were the best of the best, they had moments where things were really, really going sideways for them, where their popularity was going boom. the spaghetti they were throwing on the wall was not sticking.
then eventually -- looking back over a long period of time, we have time to appreciate and get past partisan bias about what we think these people stood for and actually appreciate them as figures of history and as representatives of a moment in time. so thank you for your questions. thank you all for coming. it was really great. thanks. [ applause ] >> i will be upstairs. american history tv in primetime continues thursday with the people and events that shaped the civil war and reconstruction. at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a look at sherman's march through the carolinas. at 9:00 p.m., lectures in history features the story of
civil war veterans. at 9:55, examing john brown and the election of 1860. and at 11:30 p.m., lectures in history on slavery, women, and the civil war. thursday, the atlantic council hosts a discussion on russia under president vladimir putin. the panel looks at the relationship between president putin and the leader of chechnya. that's live here on c-span 3. thursday, book tv in primetime features books on education. at 8:00 p.m., "the battle for room 314." at 8:50 p.m., the national association of scholars report on reading lists for incoming college freshman. at 10:20 p.m., a panel for the
tucson book festival on education. the need for horses on the farm began to decline radically in the 1930s. it was not until the 1930s that they figured out how to make a rubber tire big enough to fit on a tractor. and starting in the 1930s, the 1940s, you had an almost complete replacement of horses as the work animals on farms. i do believe in one of my books on horses i read that in the decade after world war ii we had something like a horse holocaust, that the horses were no longer needed, and we didn't get rid of them in a very pretty way. >> sunday night on "q&a" robert gordon discusses his book "the rise and fall of american
growth," which looks at the growth of the american standard of living between 1870 and 1970 and questions its future. >> one thing that often interests people is the impact of superstorm sanidy on the eas coast in 2012. that wiped out the 20th century for many people. the elevators no longer worked in new york. the electricity stopped. you can't charge your cell phones. you couldn't pump gas into your car because it required electricity to pump the gas. so the power of electricity in the internal combustion engine to make modern life possible is something people take for granted. >> sunday night on c-span 3. american history tv on c-span 3. this weekend on saturday afternoon at 2:00 eastern, law
he discusses several rankings of presidents and compares the criteria and results. his class is about an hour and ten minutes. >> four score and seven years ago our forefathers brought forth on to this continent a new nation conceived in libber tir and dedicated to proposition all men are created all kwaequal. the brilliance of those words wasn't necessarily recognized at the time. in fact, lincoln was not the featured speaker at gettysburg. it was actually edward evert, a senator from massachusetts, who spoke for two hours while lincoln waited until the end to give his closing words. today, of course, we recognize the gettysburg address as perhaps the greatest moment of presidential speech in history. i think the fact that people didn't necessarily see the speech that way at the time that lincoln wasn't the featured speaker at gettysburg points to
the fact that lincoln's greatness wasn't necessarily recognized at the time in general. you have to remember that when lincoln became president, he hadn't served in public office for ten years. his country style of dress, his speaking mannerism, his self-education, all that was meant lincoln was looked upon with some degree of kond session from the eastern elite in the country. perhaps not much was expected from his presidency. however, today, there's little dispute on lincoln's greatness. i encourage my students to see political science not as a science but a debate. there are no laws, there are no findings, there's no discoveries. instead, what you have who are people making argue ulments thay or may not be persuasive to you. that's important to note when we think about presidential greatness. we're going to look at five different ways of measuring presidential greatness. what he will see -- these polls, these academic studies that involved hundreds of historians,
political scientists and others, there's a consensus that lincoln was the greatest president. today, we may have some concerns about some of the thing ez did. that he certainly took libber 'tis with the constitution. he suspended the right of habous corpus. he closed newspapers that were printing material critical of the union effort. he spent money that congress hadn't appropriated. the raised the size of the military without congress' approva approval. did he this for a great end. preserving the union at a time of maximum peril for our country. he had the ee manse indication proclamati proclamation. he nerve lost sight of what the united states was fighting for. there was a lot of pressure in 1864 to call off the presidential election feeling you couldn't go through with an election at a time of war. lincoln would be justified cancelling this contest. what lincoln said was -- what
lincoln believed was that if the united states were do to do so, the rebellion would have won. what i want us to do today is think about presidential greatness. the whole class has been leading up to this point. we have been studying presidential power, leadership, trying to understand how presidents are or are not able to overcome these obstacles in their way when they can successfully navigate the challenges and when they fail to navigate the challenges. the point of doing so is to become great achieve greatness. i want us to think about how we might understand presidential greatness, how we might conceptualize it. we will look at ways that different scholars have tried to rank the presidents. from one to 44. and then we're going to talk about why potentially today greatness is more difficult to achieve. we may never see another person like abraham lincoln. the modern presidents, they have been weak. they have not achieved the level
of greatness the people like lincoln have. we want to try to understand why that might be. and if there are reasons or if the fault really lies in the individuals who hold the office in recent terms. one thing we know is that americans love to rank things. i estimate that maybe 67% of the contest on the internet are lists of things. this is buzz feed. it's lists. here are some interesting rankings that i recently came across in the hard work that have i been doing as a professor. the definitive list of stupid people on twitter, let me tell you, version 4.0, better than 3.0 and 2.0. the internet's 25 worst pass wortds. if your password is on the liver, it's saying enough. top 25 college football teams ranked by stupidity of fans. a ranking of every big brother season from worst to lead worst. the 26 best drake meems that have exited. that is kind of cool.
the definitive ranking of the 50 worst selfies. i looked at that one. the message is don't take selfies at funerals. that's the takeaway point there. americans also love ranking their presidents. we have read the presidential power, the most famous book ever written on the presidency. a book that has been influential for scholars and presidents alike. a guidebook of how to successfully exercise executive authority. very first sentence of the book, the united states -- in the united states, we like to rate a president. we measure him as weak or strong and call what we are measuring his leadership. we do not wait until a man is dead. we rate him from the moment he takes office. that's true. gallop begin sur vagveying amers on obama's presidency the day after his inauguration.úñh8 that rating, that starts immediately. of course, there are all these benchmarks that are set in a presidency where we stop and
consider their legacy. 100 daze, how does the president's first 100 days compare to franklin roosevelt. the re-election campaign, the ultimate opportunity for vote torz cast judgment on presidential performance. you have pundits and columnists who are asking how anything a president does affects their legacy. a way of saying how it affects their place in history. even though we like do this, ranking the presidents is actually really hard to do. so there's some systematic reasons why it's difficult to try to rank presidents. it's difficult to rate their performance. number one, we're not neutral observ observers. we all have our own opinions. we all have our own biases. that will affect hour we evaluate any president's performance. research has shown that ideology play a role in assessments of presidential greatness.
this does not come as a surprise to you. conservatives of will think ronald reagan say great president. liberals will think john kennedisy great president. the impact of our biases doesn't stop there. it's also going to impact the criteria we use to determine presidential greatness. what our standards are. research has shown liberals are more likely than conservatives to think that something like idealism is a standard of presidential greatness. those are two ways that our biases will affect our evaluation of greatness. we also know that context matters. presidents take office at different times facing a different set of leadership challenges. that's going to have to be taken into account when we try to rate their performance. on the one hand, we might give presidents sympathy for taking office in difficult circumstances. if we think about barak obama, at the end of his presidency, we may want to step back and say, you know what? he took office at a time of a
massive recession, with the united states engaged in two wars, and because of all these challenges, even if he didn't achieve quite as much as other presidents, that he deserves to be rated higher because the context in which he served was more difficult. we know that voertz aters are c of doing this. at the time of his re-election, if voters considered obama and bush to be equally responsible for the country's economic condition, then obama would have been nine points less popular. people seem to be willing to give presidents leeway for necessarily have a lot do with. but difficulty is not necessarily a bad thing. because crises, they can be opportunities for greatness. i don't think it's a coincidence that the two greatest presidents, we will see in the rankings, that the top three is always the same. it's some combination of lincoln, then washington and then roosevelt or roosevelt and washington. it's always the same. two of the presidents served in
perhaps the biggest crises that america has seen. civil war and then world war ii and great depression. that gave them an opportunity to do things other presidents who served in more calm times might not have had the chance to do. didn't necessarily mean they would meet the challenges. but it was something that they could potentially do that others could not. this is actually clinton lamented. after 99/11, clinton said he wished he was president at that time. you had to have a signature moment of leadership. he never had the opportunity do so. a third problem is that presidential greatness is not set in stone. when we rate presidents, those ratings, they will change over time as new information emerges. and as our own values change. an example of a president whose ranking has gone down over time would be john ken dichlt den. when john kennedy died, he was popular. he died under tragic circumstances.
and the first appraisals of his presidency were written by people who had worked in kennedy's presidency, held him in extremely high regard and didn't criticize really anything that he had done. but over time, we have learned new things about kennedy that has affected our opinion of him. we have learned about his chronic womanizing, womanizing that jeopardized his personal security as he was involved with prostitutes and other people that his staff procured for him. womanizing that general ard diesed his independent ens. the afear with the mob boss. womanizing that would be sexual harassment, involved with white house secretaries and employees within the government. we learned he has some responsibility of the unths involvement in vietnam, foreign policy that wasn't in america's national interest. we learned that a lot of the new
frontier was more for show than anything echls kennedy didn't have an interest in domestic policy. all the talk that his administration had about culture, those were thing were personally important. he seems to be a president that in the critics' eyes showed more profile when he needed to show more courage to play on his book title. as a result, in the last ranking that we're going to look at of political scientists in 2014, john kennedy was selected as the most overrated president. the most historically overrated president. two presidents who have gone in the other direction, their reputations have improved, are truman and icen hour. when truman left office, he was unpopular. approaching where nixon was when he left office as a result of the watergate scandal. in february of 1952, harry truman hit 22% in public opinion polls. just 22% approved of the job he was doing as president. but since then, we have come to see that his foreign policies
had a lot of wisdom to them. establishing nato. sheparding the marshal plan through congress. these things were seen as essential members to forestall soviet expansion throughout europe. truman's demeanor, his uponesty, plain spoke b ways, we gained greater appreciation for that when he was succeeded by lincoln johnson who lied to the country about the involvement in vietnam and richard nixon who was not a crook when he actually was a crook. eisenhow eisenhower, another press who has been improved, whose ranking improved over time, when eisenhower left office, people thought he had been a nice guy but he had not really worked hard at his presidency. he had spent more time golfing than leading. he was a presider, not a president. new archival evidence has shown that was an image that eisenhower allowed people to have of him. he worked extremely hard behind the scenes to point of pushing himself to heart attacks. he claims to not engage in
personalities. but he manipulated people left and right. and generally speaking, we have developed an appreciation for his political skills that people didn't have at the time. we also value some of the decision s eisenhower made as president that back then didn't necessarily seem significant. 1954, the french fall in vietnam, there's pressure on eisenhower to intervene. he says no that a ground war in southeast asia cannot be won. therefore, should not be fought. ten years later, the united states begins to seriously get involved in vietnam and we have a decade-long conflict that doesn't work out in our national interest, that seemed to be a wise decision with a lot of foresig foresight. in 1958, as people are argue the government needs to boost defense spending in response to sputnik, eisenhower warns against an industrial complex. a warning that seems press enter. this is why i also mention bush. not saying bush is going to go
down as a lincoln. we don't flow where bish is going to go down. when bush left office, people wrote columns, some scholars rated him as the worst president of all time. for me that was preposterous. he had just finished his presidency. so many of the thing ez did, we're not going to know the true impact of those decisions until decades from now. if years from now iraq and afghanistan become free democratic societies that are bell waerns of change, lead to a spread of freedom, then ultimately, it does away with one of the key national security threats facing the united states, terrorism, then bush is going to down as a great president. is that likely to happen? it doesn't seem that way. but we don't know. we have to wait and see. it's too early to be sure about where bush is going to fall in the pantheon of presidents. another problem is do you get point for trying? there are a lot of presidents that successfully identified key issues before they became issues of national concern. they were on the right side of
history. they took importance moral stances. but they didn't do anything to actually fix the problems. 194, truman spoerss a strong civil rights plank in the democratic party platform. kennedy in 1963 finally comes out in favor of comprehensive civil rights legislation in congress. something he dragged his feet on he promised a number of steps for civil rights, including ending public discrimination -- discrimination in public housing which he could do with the stroke of the presidential pen. didn't actually take action until the pressure got to much in 1963. they're on the right side of the issue. but they don't get that legislation through congress. it's not until lyndon johnson is president that we see comprehensive receive you will rights legislation. how does that affect aan evaluation of their gradeness. do they get credit for being on the right side of an issue or do we blame them for not fixing the issue? the issue of credit is a problem in general. a lot of times the accomplishments that we're willing to attribute to a given
president are debatable accomplishments. whether they actually had something to do with those things or not. it's something that is open for discussion. a lot of timeless people say the president is great because the economy was great. this is used to make an argument for roosevelt, his great accomplishment is that he ended the great depression. is that true? well, not really. things that roosevelt did certainly helps the united states set itself along a path for recovery. public works programs are needed in the immediate aftermath of the start of the great depression. his financial reform legislation helped set the contact for more stable economy going forward. but by 1937, country has fallen into a massive recession. you be employment is around 20%. the thing that pulls the united states out depression is, of course, world war ii. can we fairly say that roosevelt ended the depression? a lot of people think that's a great president do.
but it's debatable. similarly, some scholars have said that the reagan winning cold war is the greatest foreign policy accomplishment of any president in the post-war period. did reagan win the cold war? i mean, not really. did he do things to help end the cold war? absolutely. reagan's program of increased defense expenditures, including strategic defense initiative, star wars missile defense system, forced the soviet union to engage in an arms race at which they were no longer capable of doing so. that triggered reforms that ultimately led to their downfall. but other people had a role, too. pope john paul ii, you take them out of the picture, maybe we get a different outcome. you can argue the soet jeff union had internal vulnerabilities that meant it was going to collapse some day anyway. maybe reagan hastened that collapse. but he didn't necessarily cause it. these are two of the biggest
accomplish mentes that these presidents who are seen as great, reagan is on the edge of the top ten now, are often given credit for. another problem is is it fair to compare pre-modern and modern presidents? when we look at rankings of prosial greatness, we're going to put in the same system barak obama and george washington. but their tasks of leadership, the resources that they had to lead, they were very different. those premodern presidents, presidents before franklin roosevelt, were more clerks than they were leaders. the 19th century, the main job of the president was to distribute patronage. they would appoint people to government offices. it was a thankless task since a president even gets assassinated for his role. james garfield assassinated in 1881. there's no instin institutional support for the president. it's not until 1857 that
congress appropriate aides money for the president to hire a clerk. they wind up paying thur own staff, the few staffers they have, out of their own pocket. george washington hires his nephews to copy his letters. presidents have to take loans like thomas jefferson. it leads to andrew saying being president was a situation of dignified slavery. it may be very unfair to compare premodern presidents to modern presidents. off the was different, challenges were different. forget about being leader of the free world. it's not until roosevelt that a president even leaves the country. a related problem is do we just presidents by the standards of their time or ours snz our morals have changed. weaver going to have impressions of greatness. that is going to play a role in terms how we interpret what they did in office. things that may not have been controversial then are very con electroshell now. i call this a andrew jackson problem. by many standards, andrew jk son is a great president. we define a whole age by limb. the age of jackson.
jack sewnian democracy. jackson imhimself is a symbol. he is a frontiers man who by reaching the presidency sends a powerful message about what is possible in this new country. his common rhetorical support for regular people changes our politics. he democrat of course kra advertises government service by ending the practice of treating government jobs as if they're personal problem, they would hang on to for their entire lives and then pass on to their sons and he builds the first mass base political party, democratic party, which is really forging out of his own personal following. he was a slave owner. but, he was a perhaps most closely associated in addition to his democratic impulses with backing forcible remove afl native mens from their triefbal land in open defiance of supreme court decisions. when the cherokee nation is forced out of their lands in georgia, a forth are going to die on the trail of tears out to
the midwest. this leads to a lot of problems in terms of how we interpret this. owning slaves, not treating native americans with respect, that was not something thaefs controversial in the early 19th center try. that's why you see a lot of state democratic parties. they are typical yearly fund-raiser is the jefferson jackson dinner. many of them have moved to change their name, feeling that associating a dinner with slave owners like jefferson and jackson is not projecting the image of inclusiveness they want today. finally, can we really understand what it's like to be president? this is the monday morning quarterback problem. i watch the dolphins on sunday, as you all know. tannehill throws an interception. i will blame him. i will get upset. have i no idea what i'm talking about. i have never played quarterback in the nfl. i don't know why he through that intersecti intersection, if it was actually the receiver in the wrong place or maybe the defense decided their coverage in a way that
wasn't on the scouting report. the coaches need to be blamed. i can't blame him for that interception. similarly, can we really blame a president for any of their failings? we don't know the pressures they are under. we don't know how decisions were made. we don't no what information they had the to act. it might be kind of unfair of us to cast judgment on something we have no change of understanding until we have walked in those shoes ourselves. and that's why someone like john kennedy when talking with arthur sleshing ger about list system of ranking the presidents was dismiss i have. saying that you don't really know what's going on. i'm not even prepared to do this. i would need more study having been in office for just a little time. now that we have said we can't rank presidents, we can't rate them, let's do it 234i weigh. so let's startd by considering some theoretical ways of asse assessiasses assessing greatness. standards almost of this problem.
one book argues that a great president must by ademocrat and a republican. small d dp, small r republican. what they mean is that you have to involve people in the process and teach people civic virtues. that's the democrat part. you have to govern within the constitutional system and abide by restrictions on your authority. that's the republican party. for them, the key mechanism to accomplish these as it kz is a political party. a great way to mobilize people into the process. but also a natural check on the president's aristocratic impulses as they see t. for them, great presidential leadership requires extraordinary part shan sp. the great presidents are those who built up their political parties. and thus people like washington, jefferson, jackson, lincoln and fdr are great presidents. you can see using the standard, why andrew jackson is a great president. building the not earn democratic party out of his personal
following. if they included something like presidential character, maybe it's not going to mean that jackson is a great president. no president since fdr according to them has achieved this level of greatness. two closest would be lyndon kron son and ronald reagan, johnson fails they say because his embrace of civil rights split apart of the democratic party, drives southern democrats eventually to the republicans. and reagan fails because he's not really interested in helping the republican party. he is more interested in protecting his personal populari popularity. an i'll tur naive way would be why moderates make the best president. which you are all familiar with now. he argue that the key to greatness is muscular moderation. that does not mean simply doing what is pop ou lar as the moment. that would be spineless centerism. he attacks clinton for. muscular moderation is boldly governing from the center.
it's charting a leedzership path between the extremes and bidding the consensus around your political position. this leads him to reinterpret the politics of presidents like fdr. fdr is seen as potentially the most liberal chief executive in the modern era. but according to troy, he was really awe moderate. because on the left, he is dealing with people who want to create a socialist society in america. on the right, he is dealing with individuals who want to do nothing. who want to make tan a laissez-faire system of economic regulation like that which flourishes under coolidge and hoover. by charting a course between the two, he was quite moderate. something like social security, troy says it's a moderate poll six people on right don't like it because it may destroy individual responsibility. people don't love it because it is finances in a pay as you go where the taxes of workers go to pay benefits of current beneficiaries. so as a result, it's a moderate policy. his approach towards regulating
banks another moderate policy. left wanted them nationalized. the right wanted fewer regulations. roosevelt falls smrl somewhere in the middle. moderation anot enough to achieve greatness. you have moderate presidents like nixon and cart bhoer fail for reasons specific to themselves. but it offers best path to presidential greatness. i chose these two in particular because i think it illustrates the problem of even setting standards of presidential greatness. these are diametrically opposed standards. one scholar is saying, to be great president, you have to be partisan. the other scholar is saying to be a great president, you have to do the exact opposite. you have to be in the middle. if we then try to actually rank presidents, from one to 44, we have five i think really important historical studies that have try dodd this. i think looking at each of them is useful.
1988, send questionnaires to about 2,000 ph.d. holding assisted professors of history who were listed in the american historical association's guidebook. these questions nairs were intense. 19 pages, 180 dwes, toor more than an hour to complete. they're not only asking people to assign a level of greatness to each presidency. what they're also asking them are specific questions about events and policies. was hoover right to value balancing the budget and controlling the federal deficit? . why was kennedy successful? what skills were important? by asking those additional questions, they also want to determine why a president is great. not only if they are great. i'm not going to look at that part of the argument. we're going to focus on these evaluations of whether scholars assigned ranking of great, near great, above average, average, below average or failure to each
president. ultimately, have 846 surveys. be wear that this isn't necessarily a representative sample. only 59 women actually participated in the survey. abraham lincoln is one. franklin roosevelt is two. george washington is three. thomas jefferson is four. those are the four presidents that had an average score of being a great president. the near greats were theodore roosevelt,ing will son, gentleman sock and harry truman. then i think the bottom two are interesting inclusions. john adams and lyndon johnson. we will not see these presidents on other rankings. this is partly because in the study, scholars tended to more favorably rate the presidents that severaled in the area -- in the era in which they did their research. if you did research on colonial america and the early american republic, you would be more likely to think john adams was a great president.
we today perhaps criticize him harshly for the alien acts. it criminalized dissent as the united states was gearing up for a war with france enforcement was mrit kalt. onned amanies' opponents affiliated with jefferson. lyndon johnson, another president who servely will be a controversial. scholars like his domestic policies. find a lot to desire in his prosecution of the vietnam war where he conceals the true extend of the united states involvement from the public. and makes a number of tactical decisions that potentially under mine the chances of the united states prevailing. in 1997, published rating the presidents. they take a poll of 719 people. 97 of these individuals were professors of american history or political signs. the other individuals would be some public officials, attorneys, and so forth.
they are asking the sample to rate presidents on five different dimensions. leadership qualities, accomplishments in crisis management, political skill, appointments, character and integrity. participants in the event asked to rank the relative importance of the five dimensions. if you think character was most important to presidential greatness or leadership qualities. according to this system, again, lincoln is number one. roosevelt is number two. george washington number three. thomas jefferson is number four. roosevelt number five. woodrow wilson six. harry truman number seven. andrew jackson number eight. eisenhower number nine. madison number ten. a couple of interesting things to note here, one is that roosevelt actually might have prevailed over lincoln if it weren't for concerns about list character.
that he was rated 15th best president in terms of character. he is one or two on the other four dimensions. similarly, andrew jackson would rate higher if it wasn't for those concerns about character and appointments. obviously, a reflection of the spoil system where all government officials were fired and then people loyal to jackson were put in these positions. this leads ultimately to a lot of corruption in the long-run. i would point out the appearance of eisenhower. you can see this is published in 1997. now as be learn aboutize hour, you see his rating improve and he starts to emerge as bottom of the lists. an article in 1997 taking a poll of 32 experts. i put experts in quotations because they're his friends. not that they're not experts. but mostly they are historians,
some practicing politicians were included march mario cuomo, paul simon, united states senator. participants are allowed to develop their own criteria for greatness in the article he actually uses justice potter stewart's definition of obscenity. you know it when you see it. scholars will know greatness when they see it. all people have to do is rate each president as great, near great, average, below average or failure. and then they will be assigned the appropriate numerical score which allows us to come up with an average. his father actually did an early study of ranking the presidents in 1948 that was published in life magazine. he was kind of following in his father's footsteps. according to this study, lincoln is number one. washington is number two. franklin roosevelt is number three. all three achieve great averages. you can see that all 32 individuals gave lincoln a score
of four. a ranking of great. then it's jefferson, jackson, roosevelt, wilson, truman, polk and icen hour. c-span actually did a presidential leadership survey in 2009. surveying 65 presidential historians. i mentioned this because we read and talked about the scholars ourselves in this class earlier in the semester. historians are asked to rate the president on ten different attributes. public persuasion, crisis leadership, economic management, moral authority, inder national relations, administrative skills, relations with congress, vision/sending agenda, whether they pursued equal justice and performance within the context of their time. you may be saying, that's a lot. ten attributes is a lot for any scholar. it tests the limits of the
knowledge of even experts. do people know enough about, say, franklin pierce to assign him a score on all ten of these demention snz what hands in studies like is that people wind up making a global judgment and then that's going to affect their score on every individual standard. if you think that lincoln was a great president, you will give hmm a great score and all ten categories. participants are assigned each's president score of one. what will happen then is that an average will be provided. if clinton was give an average of, say, an 8.2 for economic management, that will be multiplied by ten and he will get 82 points. what that means is that you are total possible greatness score is 1,000. 100 points for each category. according to this system, abraham lincoln number one, with
a score of 902. george washington number two. roosevelt number three. you can see the scores pretty quickly drop off after that point. roosevelt four. truman five. kennedy six. jefferson seven. eisenhower eight, wilson nine and reagan ten. first appearance of ronald reagan at the very boundary of greatness. finally, we have a survey in 2014 of 162 members of the american political science association president and executive politics session. that includes me. i participated in the survey. you can't tell you that much about it unfortunately because it has not been push lished as far as i can tell. they have had newspaper stories in "the washington post" and so forth about the research. they e-mailed all the participants in the study. the final rankings. but i don't really remember what it was like. i remember it took me a long time. it took me 45 to -- to an hour.
i remember being kind of surprised by some of the decisions i made. for instance, i found myself being a lot more positive towards barak obama than i thought i would be when i was challenging to think about him on individual dimensions instead of a global judgment of his performance. some of the attributes that were measures would be diplomatic skill, integrity. legislative skill. you can see that's reflecting a political scientist's mind set when you include legislative skill. something we know that political scientists have tried to mesh and quality tie. each president receives a possible score out of 100. the results, lincoln is number one. almost a perfect score, 95.27. washington number two. roosevelt three. theodore. truman, eisenhower. a first appearance for bill clinton. andrew jackson and woodrow
wilson ten. again, you see down here the score is lower even though they are not separated that far in the rankings. the scores are actually quite lower. some patterns then that we may have noticed. lincoln is number one in all five rankings. consensus, lincoln is the greatest president. all five rankings also agreed that the top three greatest presidents are lincoln, washington and fdr. you probably notice that washington and fdr alternated between two and three. evenly split among the five. jefferson and roosevelt did well. they were pretty commonly four and five. neither president fellower that be seven in any of the five rankings. and we didn't look at this. but i thought you should know that there's agreement on the worst presidents. the two worst presidents would be harding, who spent his time writing love letters
embarrassing love letters to his mistress while his friends robbed the government blind. his most famous quotation, i am not fit for this office and i should never have been here. and james buchanan. could be grat lagss america, dickinson's own james buchanan. who did nothing as the country lurched toward civil war out of a misguided sense of constitutionalism. one of the other things we may have noticed in the pattern, we're not seeing many modern presidents post-franklin roosevelt show up on the rankings. clinton shows up once. reagan shows up once. truman is there. eisenhower is here and there. they're at the bottom. it's not consistent. what i did here is i took the presidents since roosevelt, all five ratings. i averaged out their score. bear in mind that these are taken at different times. the total number of presidents that are going to be ranked is not constant throughout this.
presidents -- there are more presidents in 2014 than in 1988. that will affect the average, maybe somewhat. if great presidents came after that point. that really doesn't turn out to be the case. what we can see here is that only two presidents have an average ranking in the top ten. harry truman and dwight eisenhower as i said earlier, both of them have enjoyed a renaissance, rehabilitation of their reputation after they left office. even then, the rankings aren't that impressive. if you are the seventh greatest president of all time, then you are not even in the top 20%. right? going down the list, we can see that it gets pretty bad. nixon is 32. ford, 25. reagan, 18. bush, 20.25. clinton, 17. bush, 36. if we took the average ranking of all these presidents, it's
19th. these presidents since franklin roosevelt receive an average ranking of 19th greatest. why is that? is that the result of their individual flaws? well, to some extent, sure. over the course fts semester, i have been very critical of jimmy carter. not out any personal opposition to anything he tried to accomplish. but out of a criticism of his understanding of executive authority and his use of the powers of the leadership. carter's ranking as we saw -- we flip back for a second. not good. 25, 19, 27, 25, 26. pretty consistently mediocre. and we can identify very specific reasons that carter fell short of greatness that only he can be blamed for. one is he under mined the prestige of the presidency. prestige is key. how the president is viewed by
people outside or rather how the president is viewed by people in washington trying to determine how the public views him. that's key to barg ang. whether the president is able to successfully convince people that what he wants is in their own interest. carter didn't seem to understand that. he did things like carrying his own luggage. ending the practice of playing hail to the chief when the president arrives at a public event. selling the presidential yacht. giving a national address in a cardigan sweater. say that being someone who loves cardigan sweaters. he doesn't necessarily understand that these things make him seem more like a regular person instead of someone who is above the public. he made poor staffing choices. carter decides to bring the individuals who would work with him in georgia to washington. the so-called georgia mafia. who didn't fit in with their scenes and shaggy hair cuts. they owe fepded the sensibilities of washington.
'pointed poorly prepared people who had no national experience to the jobs where you needed national experience. when it came to specific individuals. he picks hamilton jordan as hir chief of staff. he is known for unsaufshry personal behavior. spitting on women. making lewd comments about the cleveland of the wife of the. using cocaine at a disco. he appointed burt lance to run management and budget. he is a friend from georgia who describes himself as a country banker. he is put in charge of shepardsing the federal government when he is $2 million in debt personally. he is going to be involved in a series of investigations about list own personal finances that are going to drag down carter's entire first year in office. third problem that carter had is that he thought he could run the whietd house on his own. despite ford having learned quickly that you need a chief of staff, carder comes into office
and he accesses his own chief of staff having all hig top aides report directly to him. and then he is trying to make every decision limbself. that winds up bogging carter down in a series of unnecessary details. this is a true story. carter would actually approve the playing schedule at the white house tennis courts. why would a president bother themselves with that detail? carter also had some character flaws. he had some degree of arrogance. you have that in the troy reading that you did where when people disagreed with limb, he would say, then i would rather not talk with you if you can't agree with me. not the con sense suss building approach that you need as a president. he had somewhat of a mean streak which really emerged in the 1980 presidential campaign where he says if reagan is elected, you will see a return to segregation in the united states. carter didn't realize that a president's best resource for working with congress is his own party. he comes into office.
you have a democratic congress. speaker of the house tip o'neill. that's a relationship you need to cultivate. o'neill says, give me four or five priorities and we will work on them. caster says here is 12. we will do all. o'neill says don't try to govern over our heads. carter says, i will do what worksed for me in georgia. o'neill is aggravated by little slights like his ticket at the inauguration that carter took away breakfast because even nixon gave them breakfast. ult patly what winds up is that carter gets primary by ted kennedy. mangen that. a sitting president who has to fight who his own renomination within his party. that's a direct consequence of the way that carter failed to nurture those relationships with democratic leaders in congress. finally, he overestimated his speaking powers. did he try to power over congress. carter gives five national addresses. each one shows a smaller and
smaller audience. we know that speaking powers, grossly overestimated. when the president goes pub lik, they can't move opinion on their approval ratings. they certainly can't move issue opinion either. carter didn't recognize that. i would ask you as well, who are some of the great quarterbacks? i'm going a little football theme today. who are some of the great quarterbacks of nfl history? i imagine that you are going to say modern-type quarterbacks. tom brady, peyton manning. someone who would have said dan marino, because they would have tried to suck up to me. that would have been a good answer. dan marino was the best -- he would have been greatest president because of his quick release and his fiery demeanor on the field. these are modern presidents. -- modern quarterbacks. and that is a reasonable thing when you look at statistics. these are the top ten
quarterbacks in terms of yards in a season. what we see here is that all besides dan marino historical season in 1984 where he threw for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, they have all happened since 2008. these great seasons in terms of the yardage that presidents have thrown for. and you see quarterbacks that simply are not going to go down as great quarterbacks like matthew stafford, drew brees, ben roethlisberger, probably not hall of fame-type quarterbacks. what's happening here? the difference is that the game changed to help quarterbacks. you have seen an emphasis on officiating that makes it easier to throw the ball. officials are concerned with concussions. so they are going to police contact over the middle of the field. brian dau kins, all-pro safety for the eagless, he felt co-no longer play the position because
he had to constantly be worried about getting a penalty. he can no longer react. you can't touch a quarterback. you can't hit him up high. can't make contact with the helmet. you can't lead with the crown of your helmet. you can't hit him at the knees. that makes quarterbacks more comfortable in the pocket. you have seen new offensive systems that preference short passes. instead of runs. it makes it easier to rack up yards. you see quarterbacks get to the nfl with more preparation because colleges and high schools have adopted sophisticated offensive systems. so quarterbacks are better prepared to read defenses. when they reach that level. you see a change in personnel that teams have. someone like gronkowski, the pe teams have. tom brady gets to throw to somebody that's kun everable by safeties and linebackers. but if we lack at those systemic
changes, when it comes to the presidency, things are changed to make it more difficult for president to achieve greatness. some of this things to think about. one, congress has polarized at the roots of polarization are long standing. you can date it back to the 1960s as the democratic party fully embraces civil rights with, you see a migration of the southern democrats to the republican party and ultimately that's going to leave a democratic party that is just left with liberals and a republican party much more conservative. when you throw in the increase of gerrymandering where you've got the safe districts that mean a very radical republican or democrat can win a seat that they wouldn't be able to win if it was fairly drawn, you see harsh use of congressional rules and procedures that create pa larized outcomes in congress.
all of this means it's more difficult for presidents to get what they want out of congress. polarization made speed up action in the house but it slows it down in the senator. we've seen a steady increase in filibusters over times. the senate is the barrier ground. who are you going to negotiate with? there's no one left in the middle. the affordable care act passes with zero republican votes in the house and zero votes in the senate. how is obama going to get it through congress now that he doesn't have the huge democratic joorts that he had when he took office in twain. a related problem. divided government, the president of one party and congress of the other. that's become the norm. we've seen divided government two thirds of the time since
1952. there's a debate about that means. some argue that divided government doesn't have an effect on significant legislation. david mahue has categorized laws in terms of significance by looking at a if they were judged significant at the time they were pass and if they were judged significantly later over history. when you come up with that data set, you see about 11 to 12 significant laws are going to be adopted every two-year of government. if that's true, there is strong research that shows that legislation, significant legislation is more likely to fail under conditions of divided government, an additional 6.7 potentially significant laws fail in every period of divided government. it increases the múó$ of potentially significant legislation failing by 45%. the fact that the presidents are, like obama now, having to deal with a divided government with a congress controlled by the opposite party and a
congress that is polarized being led by the opposite party is going to make it difficult to get your agenda through congress. the president also has a worse relationship with the media. think about all of the things that the media covered up for john kennedy. they covered up his affairs which they knew about. they covered up his health problems, his addison's disease and a variety of ailments that would have shock the public if thad known at the time. they covered up the fact that he didn't write his books and that his book was only a best seller because his dad bought thousands of copy which he stored up at an attic in their place. i've been unable to persuade my dad to buy hundreds of copies of my books to make it a best seller but it's a good ideas. that changes. you have things like the pentagon papers, secret government study about the united states involvement in vietnam which shows that presidents has misrepresented u.s. policy. you have the aftermath of
watergate and nixon's repeated lies about his involvement a coverup, so much so that his press secretary is going to hav9 to later say that all previous statements were inoperative. and that you see then because of the impact of exposing watergate, reporters now all want to be bob woodward and karl bernstein. they want to break the next scan l. the media is much more hostile towards the president. there's no longer the collaborative relationship that the presidents counted on. the amount of negative news that the president has to face has gone up and the president's total share of news coverage have gone down. both of which make it more difficult for the president to lead publicly. that's related to this fourth problem. people are paying less attention to presidential addresses. we might think that now that you can watch a presidential speech on so many different platforms, broadcast, cable, on your phone, on your tablet, on your computer that you're going to see higher
ratings for presidential speeches. that's not what has happened. presidents used to benefit by a having a captive audience where there were just a few channels and if the president comes on to give a national address, people would just watch because what else were they going to do, turn off the tv and talk with their families? i don't think so. they were going to watch the president on television. now you can opt out. you change the channel, fire up your xbox, cue up netflix, whatever you want to do. so obama's recent 2015 state of the union address had the lowest rating in 20-something years, only 31 million people decided to tune in. i always like to remind people of this problem with bill clinton in 2000, preparing to give a national address, it's coming on right after "who wants to be a millionaire" on abc which was the hottest show of the time. i told you i auditioned for it. that 19 million people are watching who wants to be a millionaire. clinton comes on and immediately
10 million people change the channel. another problem is that the permanent campaign is a permanent distraction. running for office today, running for reelection, it's expensive. it costs money. these are billion dollar campaigns we're talking about now. and that means that the president has to constantly raise money. barack obama, according to research has attended a fundraiser every 7.5 days, every 7.5 days he's attended a fundraiser. bill clinton attends his first fun raid raiser as president 12 days in into his administration. how are presidents supposed to govern when they're so busy raising money. they're too because zi trying to keep their job to potentially do their job. there are also powerful fiscal pressures that any president has to deal with. about 70% of the budget today goes to four things, medicare, medicaid, social security and payments on the national debt.
throw in defense spending, which is something that can't be adjusted, all that much, especially in light of recent events, that leaves very little money for the president to fund new domestic policy initiatives, types of great activist programs that we often associate with presidential greatness. we're running, this year, if we're lucky wbts a $400 billion deficit and those problems are going to worsen until he gain control over the entitlement programs. presidents also struggle to fill their administrations. they can't get their appointments confirmed. if we're talking about appointment to the federal judiciary, the rate of confirmation for the appointments has gone down over time. where a president like eisenhower would get every appointment to the federal court system confirmed. now you're lucky to get 50% to 60% confirmed. and the amount of time it takes to confirm a justice has gone up
dramatically. the "the new york times" last week had an editorial criticizing republicans for not acting more quickly on some of the nominations that obama made to the judicial branch since some of the seats are judicial emergencies. they've been vacant for four years. look agent the executive branch, those appointments have run into obstacles forcing president to use debatable techniques to get people into office, things like recess appointments, czars and so forth. we're talking about their staff, right, can't get them to stick around. right now we're seeing that 30% of the white house staff in any given year is going to change jobs. if you add the two together, that that means is you really have a government of strangers, individuals are not in their office long enough to learn what's necessary to do well in their jobs, nor are they in office long enough to learn who they need to work with to get things done. they can't be an effective team when they serve for such a short
period of time. finally, people say well the way around this, the way to achieve greatness is just to act on your own. unilateral presidential power. this is a fallacy too. these unilateral powers are consistently overrated. people say governed by executive order. well studies show that only 15% of executive orders are significant. there are exceptions, of course. truman desegregating the military, bush's stem cell research executive order. certainly some significant policy established by executive order. and we know that new president consist come in and change these things, sometimes they're durable, like clinton changing the arsenic standards in drinking water, when bush wants to go back to the previous standard because he thinks it's cost effective, it makes him look like he wants more arsenic in drinking water. these sometimes have a good way to make policy but only 15% are
significant. and presidents statistically are more likely to govern by executive order at the end of their administration and when they're unpopular which makes perfect sense given their limitations. think about obama's experience that he doesn't turn to executive orders on immigration and climate change until he failed on attempt to get congress to do things on these problems. what's happening? his immigration plans are tied up in the court system and the outcome remains to be seen. if you're talking about presidential proclamations, 88% of these are symbolic, only 12% are significant. the 12% tend to be on things like park and trade and nothing else. we're talking about executive agreements, these are much less useful to a president than treaties which are much more binding and bind the president's successor as well. so to govern unilaterally is a debatable strategy as well. what i would ask you then is first if we take a step back,
what are your standards of presidential greatness? we've seen how different scholars have tried to defined presidential greatness, that they say it's about building political powers, troy says it's about moderation. the different systems include political skill, character, legislative skill and so forth. this is the first question how to defined presidential greatness and we'll consider whether greatness is still possible. yeah. >> the way i defined presidential greatness was based off whether a path was able to set and pass a meaningful legislative agenda quickly and then whether they're able to mitigate outside events national and international that would distract nem from being able to pass their legislative agenda. i think for me one of the shis with troy's argument and with a lot of the way that we look at
presidents is that over time their ability to do things decreases regardless of the president. you see that in jfk's last two years of his presidency he was unable to pass civil rights. he was unable to pass any of his economic legislation and it took johnson to get that through. what i look for is rapid action and being able to mitigate things that would prevent people from acting quickly. >> do you think it's somewhat of an issue though that a president's ability to get things through congress is going to be out of their control depending on the numbers that they have in congress? so johnson had a great advantage in that he had these huge democratic majorities that other presidents had not had. >> right. i mean, i think that the thing is, i don't think it really matters whether or not they have substantial majorities, because you see people like reagan who, correct me if i'm wrong, didn't have huge substantial republican joorts and never has. >> no. >> he was able to get through
most of his agenda in the first six months by using the budget process. i was really incredible. i don't think it really matters the actual number of people in your party. i think it matters whether you're able to use the legislative process to get things done that you want to get done. >> reagan had conjectural factors working in his favor too after carter's failed presidency. where he saw the peak of conservatism in american politics and he gets a boost of his surviving the assassination attempt and the likable way that he handled that too. other standards of greatness? yeah, jerry. >> i believe that great presidents come down to timing because of great events. kind of like fdr, you might think about going into the second world war that made for greatness on his part. we might think of when president reagan came into his office, he was dealing with an economy that
was tanking. other events might be president obama, he was able to pass something that other presidents for 60 years could not do which was health care reform. all those are great events that allow them to prove their greatness. so i think as much comes down to timing and circumstances is what it comes down to the actual president. >> so do you agree with clinton that you kind of need a crisis to be a great president? >> i do agree with that assumption that you need a crisis or something that you can prove yourself. you might have the potential, but if you don't have the circumstance or the event happen, there's no way to actually prove that you're a great president. >> it's a return to the football analogy i've been using. you don't know if a team is great until they beat another great team. you need to have that challenge. other standards of greatness that people would propose? >> i think it depends more on how you handle yourself as a person.
so i think, you know, i think it's really great if you can get legislative matters through and the crisis you're afforded as a president. but to able to manage that with other political advisers in the private scene and then in the public to kind of portray this, you know, character of oh i have it all under control and it's all going smoothly. but then to have those political deals in private because of polarization in congress. >> i think that's a really good point too. you have the public and private dimensions of leadership and each presents different challenges but you probably can't be successful unless you successfully navigate each part. so what do people think? is greatness possible anymore? is greatness possible or is this average ranking of 19th just the result of individual failures people like carter, not living up to our expectations? >> i think that -- i think that with the standards that you put out, i think that a lot of them you can overcome.
so like the powerful fiscal pressures if you a great president they can overcome those pressures and deal with them. or if they were able to use unilateral powers that stuck. and i think doe vieded government and polarization, i don't think they're permanent conditions. and even if they are, i mean, you see presidents like obama and bush being able to get an incredible amount done in their first year. that advantage hasn't gone away, which most presidents during a unified government have been able to take advantage of. so i think that you know, a great president can use those same -- that same kind of momentum and overcome some of the challenges you mentioned. >> that's a good point. we talked about polarization. but even obama, he had a very productive first year. presidents still have able to make the system work, right, not all the time and it becomes much more difficult later on.
yeah. >> i think the presidents nowadays can be great in certain areas with but i don't think they can achieve greatness overall. i think a president can be good in the public sector, the private sector, good at using unilateral powers or negotiating with congress but i don't think they can do it all. there's so many different roles of the presidency nowadays, i don't think one president can manage all of them and be great at everything. >> that's a really good point too. we know that the roles, the expectations for these roles often conflict. if you're going to be chief of state you have to be broadly popular and you have to participate in these ceremony observanc observances. but if you're going to be chief executive and leader of your party, you have to take tough positions and upset people, manipulate people and ultimately that can undermine your ability to be chief of state. now people like eisenhower came up with creative ways of solving that. but all of those roles they're
diflth to play and they often conflict. >> i think the constant news coverage that we have today will bar us on what we consider a great president. if they were under the same scrutiny, these ones like fdr and others perhaps our view of them would be completely different. if we knew their faults, may we would think they aren't all that great. but they had the benefit of not having that whereas now we have constant news coverage. >> yeah, matt. >> i think potentially the next president we have could be great in the sense that we're fighting terrorism pretty seriously, especially with what recently just happened. and the idea that if a republican is elected they're going to try to do something with the budget. those are two pretty serious things right when they step in. but then at the same time, there's things that exist now, such as abortion and the gay marriage aspects that are so different from what certain people -- if you don't tackle that issue versus tackling that
issue, maybe i think you'll a great president but overall somebody else will think the complete opposite because you didn't handle the social issues the same as you handled the economic issues. >> yeah, the compromise is much more difficult. >> you said that value shifts over time. maybe it will shift with the future and we'll look back at bush, oh, i mean, maybe but but going into iraq was a great idea. it all worked out. he did great. and so maybe we'll look back on obama in ten years and his approval rating will go up because we'll have a president that's just worse than he was or something. >> does anybody think that there is a president in this post-roosevelt group that is going to be rehabilitation of their reputation by truman and eisenhower have had? does anyone think that there's a president that as time goes on we're going to really look more favorable at?
>> i think that lyndon johnson is kind of undergoing this shift in his repetition. a and i think that will continue. i think that a lot of people reveer his legislative skills and the fact that he was able to get a lot done. so long as the gift continued to be divided and polarized i think that reputation will continue to improve. >> i think obama is one that's overly criticized and obviously his presidency is still going on. it's hard to rank him in greatness yet. but i think that for the situation he adopted when he became president and all that he's done, you know, as ryan said in his first year, or you know, whatever else he's done socially, i think he's accomplished a lot for what he had to deal with and the times he's been president in. so i think he's maybe one that will look back and be a little less critical of after we've realized all that he's
accomplished and faced in his presiden presidency. >> i think potentially in the future all of the presidents recently will undergo this in some circumstances considering now we have just what has happened immediately after and as time goes on we may see that these things, these issues aren't as drastic as they once were, that, for instance, the bush going into iraq and all of those things, like no president has had to deal with that type of terror attack. maybe down the road we'll see maybe his decision wasn't as bad as we originally thought it was. >> and one of the things that helps too, as we're talking about that they play this post presidency now. every president has a long period of time outside the office where they can take on new challenges that often rehabilitate their reputation. >> i think an important difference with modern presidents is that people know a lot more about what the president is doing now. of 0 the presidents that rehabilitat rehabilitated, at the time people didn't have that much
information about the president. people go back and say now we know. but now we know a lot more that the president is thinking, the data that he has to base his nufgs off of. we could look back and know a lot more about bush than maybe they would have with some of the older presidents immediately yards. so i think that will mean there's less of that rehabilitation simply because there's not as much to rehabilitate. there's not that much information to come out. >> so it works the other way, too, that we're not going to have the revelations that hurt their image over the long term because we already know that stuff. clinton's indiscretions were revealed at the time. not years later. okay. i will see you all on thursday. american history tv in prime
time continues thursday with the people and events that shaped the civil war and reconstruction. 8:00 p.m. eastern, a look at sherman ooh's march, 9:00 p.m. lectures features the story of civil war veteran, 9:55 examining john brown and the election of 1860, and 11:30 p.m. elections in history on slavery, women and the civil war. american history tv in prime time 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. ♪ c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up thursday morning, executive director at the mccain institute and mike. breen, president and ceo of the truman national security project on u.s. policy and the fight against isis and jihadist
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instructor captain benjamin griffin talks about the influence that tom clancy and president reagan had on each other. the new york military affairs symposium hosted this hour and 40 minute event. >> and now let me introduce ben griffin who graduated from the united states military academy in 2006 and was commissioned as a military intelligence officer. he served as a squadron intelligence officer while deployed in iraq from 2007 to 2008 and as an assistant brigade intelligence officer while deployed in iraq in 2011. 2011. he is currently assigned to the united states military academy as a history instructor. his military awards and decorations include the bronze
star with oak leaf cluster, the mere tore yous service medal . d he is abd from the university of texas at austin and working on a dissertation that examines the role of tom:cy novels in the national security policy of ronald reagan. his research interests include american foreign relations and the cold war, ben hallcy, bachelor of science of u.s. history, a master of arts in international security from the university of arizona, a master of history from the university of texas. in addition he is a national security fellow at the clements center for national security. he resides in west point, new york with his wife beth and their two children. welcome, ben griffin.
[ applause ] >> thank you very much for the kind introduction and the opportunity to speak here. i'm thrilled. thank you all for coming. i know it's friday in new york city so there are plenty of things that you can do. the fact that you chose to come here and listen to me means a lot to me personally. i am an active duty officer. everything i'm saying tonight is my own opinion. not reflective of the united states government. you mentioned the military tech no porn. that's what tom clancy does. his books are largely about this military technology. we'll get into some of that tonight as well. the speech entitled "the good guys win" ronald reagan, tom clancy and national security. as air force one was traveling east in 1986, ronald reagan decided to move back and talk with, socialize with the staff.
but rather than focus on preparation frs the upcoming sup summit, talking about things like missile numbers, he instead opted to talk with the staff about the newly released world war iii thriller released by tom clancy "red storm rising." he read the book immediately upon release and termed it research for the upcoming summit. many who heard that took it as a joke. how could the president be using this thriller, this work of fiction as actual research for a very serious topic of arms control with the head of the united states enemy, the soviet union. but many of his jokes and stories contain a small bit of truth. it perfectly encapsulated how ronald reagan viewed american cold war strategy, and importantly why he believed the u.s. prevailed. it provides a realistic story that allowed him to visualize
the near future. e used "red storm rising" as a personal war game pep and the conclusions he drew from it would impact the upcoming nowsch gagss, reading to a willingness to reduce nuclear weapons but not to give up the strategic defense initiative. that work of fiction was largely irrelevant to reagan. he understand that fictional narratives had power and he would often link public action on spolcy to popular culture. in his 1981 address to the graduating cadets of west point, as he's giving the speech at graduation he talk to the wide spread lack of respect for the uniform that many in the country are exhibits towards the united states military. returning to the theme of his 1980 campaign in talking about the need -- talking about how the nation has shortchanged the military in the wake of vietnam
by continuing to maintain low pay levels and a lingering resentment of those in uniform from the public. he argues that the military deserves better. and then enlists the his younger generation, marking with pride. he noted that this is in part due to recent policy changes, in particular a large pay raise that certainly makes the military happy. we always like getting paid more. it's not the entire explanation as to why we're seeing more enlistments. instead reagan argued there's a new spirit in the land which more than changes the pair of benefits led to a rediscovery of how much there is to love in this land. the unequivocal language of what was his first major foreign policy speech demonstrated that the shaping of narratives were was critical.
a memo from his secretary of defense shows how conscious the words were. he wrote that the speech needed to honor the feeling that the american people felt. it was a matter that the secretary of defense and reagan discussed before. a telling paragraph terms the ingratitude. it singled out hollywood for criticism, knowing that the film is the anti-military senment. and the margins, there's a list of muryes with "coming home, apocalypse now. all very prominent and generally well-received and pretty good movies about the vietnam war but paint a less than positive image of the military. now this passage didn't make the final draft of the spooek
speech. perhaps largely over concerns that reagan about his angering his friends in hollywood. he comes from that community. he doesn't want them working against him. its presence in draft form shows how closely they were link in reagan's mind. this is a theme he will touch on in his farewell address, his last major address. he will recall in the 1950s and '60s people have patriotism. movies celebrated democratic vams and reinforced the idea that america was special. reagan lamented this was no longer true. he believed that well-grounded patriotism was no longer in style. the american spirit was back but they needed to reinstitutionalize it. this seems odd when you look at the '80s, things like rambo, rocky iv and top gun.
those dominated the box office. but at the same time we saw some other popular but also critically acclaimed films like platoon and full metal jacket that indicated to reagan there was still a lot of work to do to cement this more positive narrative within american culture. the common show how to recognize the linkage between the cultural move and the implementation of policy. in some instances he would use stories as shord hand to describe the policy that he would are want to enact. tom reed, a primary national security adviser to reagan recalls that during meetings as they're discussing this cold war strategy, reagan referenced gary cooper from "high noon." the president wanted the u.s. to be a sort of global mash shall caine, someone who is going to
fight for a cause. but once the cause is won would walk away leaving the marshal star to collect dust as the sun sets dramatically in front of them. the book convinced reagan that the u.s. and soviet union enjoyed conventional parody. there was not a need for the nuclear forces because the u.s. could defeat the soviets in a straight-up tank battle or a regular fight between their armed forces without having to escalate to weapons of mass destruction. reagan expressed this to british prime minister margaret thatcher. she's surprise and a little upset. she's very concerned about this conventional imbalance. so she's talking to reagan telling them that they can't possibly eliminate the weapons because without that europe would become destabilized and there would be nothing to check a soviet advance.
right season dismissive of the prime minister's claims. instead he rems that he read "red storm rising" so she can better understand what the new strategic situation looks like. so tom clancy would really fill two roles for the reagan administration. it communicated his policy to a broader audience and also provided an imaginative space for the presidents and others to war game and test their strategic principles. clancy was an unlikely person to serve as the unofficial spokesman for the reagan administration. when working on the novel he wrote a friend that the odds of becomes the next forsythe are astronomical, incredible. he assured his friend would would happy settle with a book jacket with his name on it. clancy would defy the odds. upon his death he would leave behind an estate valued at $82
million. he garage it waited from loyola college after majoring in english and minored in physics. his coauthor notes he was nearly blind without his particularly thick glasses. he opted to work with his wife at a small insurance agency no maryland. a lifelong republican, he voted for reagan four out of the five times he could. the one time he could not was in the 1984 primary. he lated explained this vote asking for god's forgiveness remarking that nobody is perfect. he strongly supported the politics of reagan. in march of 81 he wrote his congressman to request a signed photo of the president. broom field guarded the request. the white house responded positively and in july of that year mailed a signed photograph inscribed to clancy and his
wife. he maintained a long lasting deep interest in the military in general, in the navy particularly. the location of the insurance company in maryland proved ad van taye jous. he counted a number of naval officers among his clients. he used this to build knowledge. and one officer in particular, lieutenant commander gregory young earned clancy's thanks. clancy also built expertise throw playing a tack call miniature game harpoon. he noted in a letter that afterdy guesting the game it would be easy to explain the concepts in his book to anyone. although clancy long harbored a desire to write novels he didn't begin work in earnest until 1982. he planned "hunt for october" as a middle book along with patriot games. and he actually started working
on the draft to patriot games in 1982 after finishing a 500-page draft for hunt for red object. he planned three other novels. he could finish this over 500-page draft for hunt for red october and these other novel concepts within a nine-month period would speak to his future prolific output. from '86 to '89 he has a best seller every year on the "the new york times" best seller list at the end of the year. but his first book was a rather unusual one. the naval institute prez was the publisher of the hard cover. and hunt was the first original work of fiction that the press ever released. it's located on the naval academy. and prior to hunt the best known book from them was the blue jackets manual, a guide given to all recruits. clancy came to their attention by hand delivering a letter to the editor. and this was the first time clancy ever received compensation for anything that
he had written. after writing this letter huh approached them with the draft of his manuscript. in order to offset the cost of pun lishing the book, the publishers chose to sell paper book rights. so putnam books paid $35,000 for the rights. decent but not great for a first-time author. in july of 84, hunt for red october hits the book stores in washington, d.c. and new york signaling a career change. the book good generally favorable but not exceptional reviews. a review states that clancy rewards the reader with a thriller that's great fun. the longs times praised clancy's
talent for making this approachable but lamenting the cardboard figures. reviews like this were common place. and hunt's sales did exceed publisher expect tags as the first run of 16,000 books sold out by november. the book did particularly well in washington, d.c. making the local best seller list there but it still seemed on track to maybe have a niche audience and certainly wasn't on the path to international or national superstardom. this is going to change once reagan intervenes. the president once told a close adviser that he viewed books as friends. and receive a copy of hunt for red october from her as a christmas president in 1984. he reads a third of it on christmas day and finishes the rest of it very soon of that. his identification from the novel causes him to depart from his con seept that books were secret and personal treasures.
it's strange that he would opt to talk to much about "hunt for red october." he would appraise the book as unput downable and the perfect yarn. his september endorsement endorsed the sales. the president's endorsement read to features about clancy in "time" magazine and gushed over the high level officials in washington that read and endorsed the book. the article added a sense of real-life intrigue when the soviet union was borrowing several copies of the book. eventually there was enough buzz around to book to earn clancy an invitation to appear on "good morning america." he prepared to beat the man who defined his trajectory. so on march 13th of '85, clancy prepared to met the president.
led into the oval office. he describes stepping over the threshold as an equivalent of dorothy stepping from the wrecked house into munchkin land. it was more than he expected. he goes on to note that the president could charm the fangs off of a cobra with a personality that envelopes you like a cloud. reagan asked about clancy's next book and inquired object who was going to win. clancy responded the good guys. much to the approval of the president. all this took place in about five minutes. as reagan had to then go out to lunch with henry kissinger where the two would discuss the death of a soviet leader. he recalls if reagan could not charm gore ba chof, then ronnie could drive him into the
pavement. reagan in the east garden and clancy in the roosevelt room. there clancy discussed the book with secretary of the labor who said his on reading the level was to ask, who the hell cleared this. a white house reporter recalls that lunch turned into a lively discussion between clancy and the navy secretary over the naval warfare and strategy. clancy would later note that the discussion covered sdi. and the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons over which he and past and future security adviser disagreed about. the general advocated that you could win a nuclear war, something that clancy didn't buy into. other attendees were senator hatfield from oregon who asked clancy to sign his book, despite being in clancy's words a rather dovish fellow. as well as director of u.s. information agency and long-time
friend of reagan charles wick. he would later use a letter as an excuse to get more funding out of the program. the audience of the lunch and the seriousness in which the participants call it is indicative of the growing regard of clancy. his only other visit to the white house came one week later, a ser many any marking the arrival of the president of origin tina. he mingled with his fellow guests including arnold schwarzenegger and the clancies left the white house to prepare for dinner in the evening. following dinner clancy and his wife spoke briefly with nancy reagan who took her charmlessness from her husband and robert mcfarland who took his opportunity to express love for the hunt for red october but also told clancy he was nothing
like jeffrey pelt in the book. clancy briefly mention that he floated an idea which he liked but clancy did not further elaborate on this. the president and the first lady danced, clancy and his wife made their exits. the night before they approached schwarzenegger in storing in an adaptation of hunt for red october. so clancy was clearly a hit in official washington. newspaper articles, for people who read and enjoyed hunt for red october. at the state dinner, the photographer said everyone in the white house had read the book. secretary of defense was among the last in the administration to read it but quickly became its biggest public supporter. the editor of the times approached him in taking part in a series that would have prominent world leaders talk about a book they felt deserved
more attention. kay lies passed him a copy of the hunt and included a note that she had it on good authority that the big boss across the river loved it. wineburger read the book. explaining that it offered many lessons for those who want to keep the pieces. he submitted this review to "the wall street journal" and would later go on to review clancy's patriot games for the people saying it give considerable insights to the minds of terrorists and how the upholders ensure the freedom of all. they would make use of the reviews as blushes on the back. probably a fair impression to lend at this point. it's remarkable that you have a sitting secretary of defense taking time out to review works of fiction as opposed to going things like working on budgets or handling the many issues that kwom with running an
organization as large as the department of defense. so a reason for the novel's immediate appeal to reagan is that his progress tag nis jack ryan has a resemiabblance to cor in rain. despite working for the cia, he apologizes for every deception, such as when he's forced to wear a naval uniform. stating he does not like to pretend what he is not. it helps establish him as a character who puts what's right over what's necessary. ryan does not second accolades for his work. instead of successfully competing his mission, he declines an opportunity to go to the white house for official praise from the president. instead boards a plane to head home with a gift for his daughter in hand. so ryan asleep on the eastbound
concord is the clancy equivalent of marshal caine and amy walking away from town with a discarded marshal star in the test. it also increased reagan's affection to the novel. he was capable of earning convictions through the gors of sheer rhetoric. during ryan's first encounter by the president he was blinded by a personal charm. the sentiments serve as a predictor of the same force that clancy experienced upon walking into the white house and meeting reagan for the first time. even the soviets respect the president in hunt for october. the soviet ambassador serve as the president's primary foil and uses the president as abbas tard who is easy to estimate. he's a strange man, fully open, full of giel who is friendly but also ready to seize the
advantage. the description echos future statements about reagan. in short, clancy president is a negotiator. this is an image he would confirm in his white house visit. for reagan the familiarity of the story and a positive portrayal of himself made the book he would view as a friend, one of those secret personal treasures. however they did not necessarily explain why reagan chose to support the book so publicly. hunt's portrayal of the exceptional competence and honor of those who serve the country, in the clear moral distinction between the u.s. and soviet union drove. this. he captured two of the important policy decisions of the book. given the potential to reach such a broad audience. hunt for october afforded the
unique opportunity for the administration to build upon the favorable trends of popular culture that they used to feed further efforts. in niz commencement address at west point he was talking about the wide spread lack of respect of the uniform and the u.s. mill tear and returned to those themes from his campaign. but just a few years later in his second term, months after meeting with clancy in may of 1985, he gives an address at the commencement of the united states naval academy. which i'm loathed to acknowledge but someone have to by the subject of my dissertation. the president noted that the new spirit he previously described was still in the land. and that we had gotten to where there was a new appreciation for our men and women in mail tear service. the immediate post vietnam era. americans had faith in the military to make decisions in a morally difficult environment. this is because not only was the
military meeting recruiting goal. he believed that the men and women into the army better embodied the values. the increase in quality was essential. the navy now possessed the most sophisticated equipment in the fleet. nowary powerful weapons used rare skill to use and the stronger moral compass to employ. linking the quality of personnel with the idea of equipment on the it canning edge of technology reflected the core of how the reagan administration began. it was not the only organization for which reagan restored public moral. they investigated the central intelligence agency and uncovered significant abuses of the law by these agencies that led to a significant undermining of public opinion. the habitual excesses of the institutions and their less
their stellar accomplishment left many americans in doubt. and just like the military, the intelligence community was suffering from negative portrayals. books like the born identity polarized the intelligence community. it's worth noting that wineburger viewed a third fiction book and that book was the borne supremacy. however unlike the glowing praise he heaps on tom clancy in hunt for red october and patriot games, he is completely negative towards the borne spremcy talk about how it's a shame for them to decide all of the common themes of disgracing the military. and portraying the government doing things it's not supposed to do. it's ashame that he has to go down that path to sell a couple of books. but apparently the people like
it so he understands how why it's written. but it's a negative review in large part because of the negative portrayal of the services. so reagan also sought to reverse this trend. he spoke outside the cia head kwaur erss in june of 1982 days 0 such abuses were past and he had the full confidence of the agency to perform its pucks lawfully, constitutionally. he told the cia employees that it was their intellect and integrity and their wit and intuition. he expressed similar sentiments during closed door remarks. expressed his own gratitude for their service. clancy's characters fit perfectly into this new narrative self sacrifice that
reagan is attempting to establish. the americans in hunt for october share above average intel yes. jack ryan sees his service in the marine corps cut short by a helicopter crash. after four years as a stockbroker, ryan became bored with making money. ryan was also a successful historian with push lished books on national history. clancy's hero is also a strong family man enjoying a strong marriage to an intelligent surgeon, an adoring young daughter and a toddler. quality life that reagan would point to for american to follow. his rir chew goes without question and he rarely confesses his cia affiliation to anyone. rather than to risk deception. he also harbored remarkably few
career and seeks to reck recognition for his work. he's taller than average but a bit out of shape. been knighted by the queen of england and rooip is at ease speaking to british lords and senior advisers. only the president is able to overwhelm him. jack ryan is an amag ga mags of all of the traits that someone serving their country should embo embody. his integrity would be enough by itself to draw reagan's fondness. things like high noon and marshal kaib. all of these things really enfluns the way reagan is viewing the world. but ryan is not the only character to show these traits. the u.s. naval officers are
equal. clancy describes josh ya painter, the commander of the u.s. kennedy as a gifted tactician and a man of integrity. so again you're seeing the blending of both, you know, remarkable professional competence with high moral charact character. admiral james greer is able to remain in the navy past his retirement age. clancy compares his intellect to the father of the nuclear submarine fleet but notes that greer was a far easier man to work for. the commander successfully finds october as one of the youngest submarine commanders. equally important to the portrayal of clancy and the officers is the portrayal of ronald jones. the only enlisted service member to receive attention in the book. he reflects the high quality
recruit that reagan referred to and that wineburger identifies in his memoirs. jones dropped out of the california institute of technology due to a prank gone wrong and joined the navy. he has an iq of 198, listens to classical music in his spare time. extremely competent on on his equipment, jones is capable of making important decisions and plays a decisive role. clancy drives home his points about the squault enlisted in the american military by having them marvell on jones's competence. every time he talk to a soviet they're shocked that an american enlisted soldier can make decisions, knows his equipment and understands the technical specifications. the highlight the situation of the american system of trusting our privates and sergeants with the soviets only trusting the officers. the fbi also receives positive
attention in hunt for red october as they expose a mole on the staff of senator donlaldson. part of the apparatus that's in place to supervise. notes that think thaef on on to the chief of staff for some time. they negotiate with donaldson promising not to prosecute his aid if the senator agrees to resign later on. they're able to turn an important soviet asset but also strike a blow against the unfair and perhaps overzealous monitoring and oversight that's established in the bake of the church committee. the characters in hunt are unapologetically vi chews of service. they're better suited for a fable than a thriller with potentials of realism. and the similar policic design does not escape the notice of
book reviewers. jack ryan is too good to be true. another viewer notes that the only serve virtue that's not described about ryan is how good he is in bed. americans in the book with uniformly intelligent capable and disciplined. he gives the book a positive review calling the book great fun. the los angeles times noted that the work never quite sticks. however reagan's love of the book rested on the simplicity of design. historian christina kline notes -- simplified the cold war into themes that were acceptable narrative of reagan's policy that was ready made for consumption. this is similar to the role that reagan experienced with james mitchner in the 1980s. mit
mitchner served as the paraphraser for the cold war policy. he filed stories from the korean war, talking about the virtue and heroism of the service, trying to bolster support for a war as it starts to decline in america. clancy fills the same role as paraphraser for reagan in the 1980s. the novelist also happened reagan envision the present and near future state of the military, reassuring his initiatives continued to move the u.s. closer to eliminating the dangerous gap between it and the soviet union. clancy's next novel "red storm rising" would help convince the president that if this gap existed at all, it was in the favor of the united states. so "red storm rising" is about a notional third war begun by the soviets, of course, because the u.s. would never start world war iii. as clancy promised during his
visit to the oval office, the good guys win. that by itself is not why the book appeals so much to reagan. the appeal to "red storm rising" comes from the fact that its four major plot lines matched reagan's vision of what it would look like, both in the conduct and the results. the plot follows the war in central europe, the convoy operation in north atlantic and the cove yet conquest of iceland and the political deliberations in moscow. the soviets are tremendously successful, pushing into west germany and seizing iceland in a surprise amphibious assault. the narrative focuses on trying to get more resources to europe. eventually, nato is able to establish a bit of a stalemate in west germany, buying enough time for re-enforcements to arrive from the united states. the broad scope of the book and the use of multiple protagonist allowed clancy and his co-author an idea of what war would look like.
"red storm rising" is a world war iii scenario in which the united states wins but without engaging in a nuclear exchange with the soviet union. nuclear weapons are not entirely absent. as the book approaches its climax and it becomes clear to the soviets, hard liners attempt to bring about the use of nuclear weapons. this ultimately leads to a coup as the moderates in the country refuse and take control of the government, ultimately ending the war. clancy and bond construct the narrative this way intentionally, in order to demonstrate only the truly mad would advocate nuclear weapons. earlier in the book, a member of the poll will you please bureau said the money was spent on holes that could kill the west ten times over. he views the secretary general as crazy and mad for the possibility of using tactical
nuclear strikes. even though the weapons in europe were ostensibly there to mitigate the advantage in conventional forces. this is because the technical advantage that they enjoyed serves the same purpose. allowing for a nonnuclear balancing of forces. the abhor resistance of nuclear weapons is a mirror to reagan's own view of the weapons. reagan reacted strongly to the bombings of hiroshima and nagasaki. he supported the immediate abbo ligs of the weapons. at one point, he planned to read the anti-nuclear poem set your clock to u 235 at a public rally until the r warner brothers intervened and said if you like your contract you're not going to read this poem. reagan did like his contract so he opted not to read the poem. as he became more politically active, he maintained his criticism of neuroleer policy. the schad lshd doe campaign in
1968, he compared nuclear destruction to two werners in a saloon pointing their guns at them forever. it would force accommodations to a toxic geopolitical standoff. reagan did not moderate this after assuming the presidency. speaking with representatives of the vatican, he referred to the weapons as the last epidemic of mankind. talking to the u.s. troops in camp liberty in 1983, he argued that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. and then promised to continue to pursue one of the most extensive arms control programs in history. he made a tv movie about the effect on nuclear war on a small kansas town. he strengthened his dissolve to see there was never nuclear war. he was unwilling to accept the only way to be safe from attack was to be vulnerable to it led
him to make a strategic defense initiative a scepter piece of his security policy. sharing the technological break throughs of the soviets harkens back to the internationalization of atomic energy and speaks to his universal disdain of nuclear weapons. so not fit for either the u.s. or the soviet union or any of the countries that had them at the time. for many, reagan's defense policy seems to directly contradict any notion that he sought to eliminate nuclear weapons. strategics fors see a significant increase in funding. theed a menstruation lost a five-point program to design a new peacekeeper, to relaunch the b-1 program, to modernize existing bomber force and prove the trinet mistle launched by submarines and a more robust commands and control system. he also endorsed a program to produce 17,000 nuclear warheads by 1987, a significant increase over the plans of the carter administration. the result of this program was
by 1985, u.s. nuclear forces were more lethal and technically advanced than any point in american history. it's a strong contrast to the focus on arms control and arms reduction in his second. creating a tantalizing narrative of reagan's sudden reversal that tends to dominate the issue. however, the shift in tone is a bitless stark when viewed through the context of reagan's vision of how to achieve peace. reagan viewed military strength as essential to establishing peace. and identified establishing a sound east-west military balance has absolutely essential to peace as well. when he asouped office, they perceived a stark gap between the capabilities of the united states and the soviet union which enabled the soviets to pursue aggressive policies. the overwhelming growth of soviet conventional forces capabilities as givins, indicative of a critical imbalance in strength. reagan blamed a taunt for the emergence of this disparity and felt continuation of the policy
would only weaken the u.s. and ensure soviet gains. in one 1978 radio address, he says the taunt is what a farmer has with his turkey before thanksgiving. the only way with peace was achievable would be to demonstrate an equal resolve in strength. this necessitated parity of capabilities before entering a serious negotiation. this is embodied by reagan's slogans, build up to build down. and peace through strength. we wanted to make sure there was any significant reductions in arms. reagan would lament that many in the pentagon still claimed a nuclear war was winnable. following the near break through at v the chiefs were unanimous in their view that the plan was
inadequate and bringing it up to bar would require an investment of tens of billions of dollars over a peer of at least a decade. the army chief of staff expressed recognition on the part of allies to take part. again, doubts that they would be able to put up either the manpower or the budget to bring defense forces to where they need to be. john poindexter had reversed his earlier support for the reagan proposal to eliminate them shortly after returning. he wrote to reagan that it was similar to the situation faced in the 1950s, leaving only a chance of stopping a conventional assault, ratheren than the strong deter resistance that the current arsenal represented. former president richard nixon and henry kissinger wrote an op-ed for the national review arguing the deal would reopen the gap in deterrence. due to the inability of the u.s. to provide zpisht conventional
power to match that of the soviets. the national security adviser to president ford also expressed his deep rez ver sags saying it might lead to absolute disaster. and not all opposition came from the right. on the same issue, the chairman of the house arms service exit tee who would later be the secretary of defense under bill clinton argued it would take another ten divisions to make the plan feasible. opposition beyond the united states as nato allies expressed general concern about what a nonnuclear united states could mean for their security. the u.s. information director immediately following the conference, noting that european stations were amazed at the sweeping nature of the proposals and that europe feared the united states might be strategically decoupled from europe as a result. it brought swift and universal criticism. reagan anticipated this criticism, though.
he pleaded with gorbachev to relent on sdi. he noted that the most outspoken criticism of the soviet union over the years, so-called white ring and esteemed journalist would act strongly against the frame work as the response shows, he was correct in that thinking. reagan noted his critics were kicking his brains out. a problem that gorbachev did not have since he threw all his critics in jail. gorbachev knew if reagan believed that, his recent articles about him and refused to relent on the issue of strategic defense. reagan's appeal fell on deaf ears. it does demonstrate how well he grasped the proposals. despite the outcry and criticism from his right, reagan was willing to move toward and engage in a tough political battle to ratify the agreements because he viewed the strategic situation differently than his critics did. he felt by the fall of 1986, the conventional forces of the u.s. and its allies were more than a match for the soviet
counterparts making them a destabilizing force as opposed to the stabilizing force his critics maintained they were. reagan said as much to nixon in a 1987 meeting in the white house, arguing the u.s. and nato together had an enormous superiority over the soviet union. it came from the fact that both the combined gross domestic product and the combined population of the west were greater than the soviets and the u.s. could count on its ally, as opposed to the uncertain allegiances of the warsaw pact. reagan had competence in the conventional capacities of both the united states and its allies was the work of his first term. by december 1985, a review began by lauding the administration's record over the previous five years as one of progress and accomplishment. it went on to argue that the refurbishment of the u.s. alliances prevented soviets aggression despite moscow's sabre rattling and truculence. the document also shows improvements in the air
defenses. critically, the document also engage the with a question of how to maintain u.s. ability to deter attacks, despite the movements towards lower level of nuclear forces. in this area, the nsc determined the explicit objective to be to rely on an increasing contribution to primary nuclear systems. developing the nonnuclear systems needed to win the u.s. from nuclear deterrence was the first term of reagan's presidency. it began 34 new combat ships, acquired new abrams tanks and expanded supports for fighting vehicles, resulting in the bradley fighting vehicle and the marines armed vehicle. s bically all the technology we're still using today. additionally, they sought for air capabilities, the blackhawk support helicopter and the f-117 stealth fighter. other investments meant the u.s.
military in 1986 was a more lethal and precise force than when reagan assumed the office. all the unified and specified commanders in chief say that by every measure of common sense, conventional forces were more ready for combat than they were in 1980. assessment by major military commanders left reagan with a strong sense that the u.s. military was now strong enough to forego nuclear weapons. "red storm rising" enforced immediately before going to rake vich. >> the technology plays a major part in the narrative. it established near complete control of the skies in the war.
despite the significance difference in the size. a reinforced company of the dismounted infantry. the battle goes poorly for the soviets to say the least in the book. the integration of the tanks and war hogs cost the soviets a third of their strength. it makes it clear this is not an atypical battle. the implication is the better weapons of the u.s. and its allies allowed them to destroy soviet unions at a ratio that approached 10 to 1. the allied forces are also able to synchronize their activities in a superior way thanks to the early warning control system platform. the result of this advantage, nato makes essential use of its forces. which is sensual when you're outnumbered. friendly aircraft strike exactly
when the soviet mass and one aircraft attacks a full battlefield of russian artill y artillery. clancy and bond incorporate this precise target into "red storm rising" intentionally. throughout the book, soviet leaders go between awe and frustration about the capability of nato forces, recognizing the advanced technology is playing a desies siesive role in the conflict. "red storm rising" came out at a perfect time. the novel effectively served as a personal war game for the president. on the surface, the use of this novel seems ludicrous. why would you use a work of fiction to inform your strategic vision? indeed, many close to reagan expressed shock and were secretly appalled by it.
margaret thatcher, for example, had great difficulty responding to reagan's recommendation that she add the book to her reading list. however, the realism of the novels makes their use in this manner perhaps a bit more feasible. clancy's research into technical specifications lent his books a great deal of authority. reagan noted that accuracy in his initial white house meeting with clancy, asking the author how he achieved it? he said the characters were the hard part. while this is likely true, clancy did devote significant time to researching and fact checking technical details. as part of the details for "red storm rising" he travelled to vienna, virginia, to talk politics with a man who defected to the u.s. while serving as u.n. secretary general. he calls the book pure dynamite for the way it describes the soviet system. he also went to norfolk to discuss joint operations with nato personnel there, providing more authenticity to the way
they interacted in the novel. clancy received a ride on a submarine, though i must emphasize here being ?ñá0 army officer, clancy would later note his favorite thing was riding in the m-1 tank which he described as a 72 ton corvette. but all of this contributes to the realism of the language used by soldiers and the way the novel depicts the weapon systems. while the interviews and visits contributed greatly, another important contributor was actual war gaming. the novel was rooted on n a war game conducted by the center for naval analysis, federally funded research center tied to the navy. larry bond was working on similar projects. he mentioned this to clancy who then proposed the two write a book about it. something that bond was more than happy to do after the success of "hunt for red october." it transformed these war games
into aairetive everyone could digest. although the book far exceeds the war game in scope, the scenario described brought the supply issue and the navy to the war narrative. it's therefore a form of indirect consumption of war simulations. however, it provided a more recognizable and digestible format for the president. the war game was not the only one to have influence on the book. larry bond disliked the initial navy war game because it was classified, which made it very difficult to use. the rules were very accurate. he invented his own. designed a game called harpoon he would market through dungeons and dragons. clancy bought a copy of this and took the time to write a letter to bond which starts their correspondence and friendship. it bham a major method for validating scenarios used in "red storm rising."
they fookt check the dance of the vampires in which soviet bombers are able to hea havavil damage an aircraft carrier. the purpose of war gaming is not to identify what will happen, but rather what could. allowing for the games to serve as important analytical tools for military and civilian planners. a long-time cna war gamer who is considered the peyton manning of war gaming says war games can have an emotional impact more than a simple discussion or memorandum on the plan. individual decisions determine success or failure, forcing a lot more personal investment into the scenario. the resulting lessons then last longer because of the emotional tie. it's something a novel can do as well, because it's designed to cause emotional ties with this protagonist. and have you invest nor fully in the narrative. if well done, it forces the reader to emphasize with what's going on and remember the effectiveness of technology more than a newspaper article or a quick conversation with a friend
would. so throughout his career, reagan makes use ofairetives to communicate with large populations. he did this as a sportscaster, calling chicago cubs games for w.h.o. des moines, as a movie star in hollywood, and throughout his political career. nsc member and speech writer highlights how reagan sought to communicate what he viewed as the essential essence of his message, regardless of the medi medium. if the story was true or false, it didn't matter nearly as much as the message itself. he was aed mo earn-day aesop telling parables and fables. similarly in his biography, it was argued every story, whether true or not, had a distinct purpose. he recognized the power of narrative to forge strong, emotional connections. once reagan found the right story, he would keep telling it until he found a better one, which often exasperated those around him with his
repettiveness. reagan found such a story in the works of tom clancy. and the books resonated with him in a real enough way to allow him to cast aside his normal reluctance to talk about books. reagan exploited clancy's popular fiction to promote a cult of national security. however, this implies a much more sinister motivation than reality suggests. reagan bore an eerily resemblance to his internal assessments and also recognize them as a way to discuss these ideals with the american people. the overall impact of the books is debatable. the case study of reagan and clancy show the development and communication political ideals is not just limited to official forms. instead, policy comes from complex and difficult to define interactions between culture, individual experience, the public, and the policymakers themselves. reagan's view of clancy provides one example how a politician can
operate within his environments to provide policy success. thank you and i'll take questions. >> i'm going to remind you hen you ask a question, please stand up. that's so facial recognition software will be better for purposes later, thank you. >> how much do you think reagan used these popular fictionai narratives to tell stories to convince people. and how much do you think he got his views from reading popular fiction? it seems like reagan was an effective leader in so many ways but some ways he comes across as intellectual shallow. so it always confused me.
>> reagan is constantly using fiction to connect with the american people. we see this early in his administration. he's awarding the medal of honor to -- the name is escaping me right now. but he's awarding a medal of honor and he's talking in his speech about mitchner's novel, which is also a movie that stars william holden who was the best man at reagan's wedding with nancy reagan. but he quotes the part of the novel where he's talking about the end this carrier commander is looking at the fighters going off over the korean peninsula and asking hichlmself, where do get such moneen? we get them where we always got them, in our cities, our towns, our farms. again, highlighting this quality of american service. so throughout his presidency, he's really using fiction to communicate these ideas. the west point address, he
references the works of james warner bella who he calls the american kipling. he prioritizes fiction over nonfiction in strange ways. i think he uses fiction as a personal war game. a space where he can imagine the near future. it equates to how he's working through the fog of war. he constantly talks about the fog of war and you need to make up these amorphous shapes in the fog. a more standard thinker, he's probably going to try to compare them to what he knows. whereas, reagan is going to imagine what they could be. so because he's trying to imagine what the future could be and is more kind of creative approach, he has very different policy as a result. >> is there any record of how clancy's books were received and interpreted back in the soviet union?
>> publicly, they weren't announced. they weren't very popular there. they're pretty consistently viewed negatively as you would imagine, n they have very negative reviews of the clancy novels. i haven't seen anything that indicates anything more official internally. there's a gift of "hunt for red october" at a human rights convention in vienna. and the guy kind of laughs and says now i'm going to be on the list, thanks a lot for giving this to me. but beyond that, there's not much i've been able to find, unfortunately. >> thank you very much. a person with a conservative reputation, one of reagan's biographers was a teacher of mine at city university graduate school. sorry, i can't think of his name. but when he told me, one of the
things that most impressed him about reagan was his mutually assured destruction -- you know, the nuclear contest. why -- you know, i read the newspapers and stuff, somehow this seems inconsistent with reagan's reputation. how did the media cover this? and why was that sort of missed by so many of us? >> so a lot of it goes to the rhetoric he's employing. you see in his first term that he's using very harsh rhetoric towards the soviet union, something that the soviet ambassador is going to call an uncompromising ideological offensive. but in order to negotiate from the soviets, you have to be on even terms with them. and he felt that under the carter presidency and under the ford presidency, the u.s. had fallen behind, both in conventional, but also in nuclear forces. so he's inheriting a force that he thinks the bombers aren't effective, the subs aren't effective and the missiles aren't going to be effective. and so in order to effectively
reduce arms, you have to build up the soviet's respect and fear, so they're going to want to be as equally motivated in order to rice this. so you do see a shift in tone in the second administration. not necessarily because he has a change in heart, but because he thinks the u.s. has achieved what it's going to achieve. >> while this was going on, i was a student in germany and what i remember very clearly was there was tremendous resistance during the administration while the spd was in power to the stationing of the missiles. where does that fit into this, clancy's fission and everything. how was that a part of these novels? is there anything that he had to say about that that influenced reagan? >> there's very little mention
of protest of the u.s. policies in the novels. the global zero movement isn't acknowledged there. he says their goal is skmig he supports, the global zero. but it's something he's not ready for yet, he doesn't see we have the parity to convince the soviets to rid of theirs first or at the same time. while it's a major influence, it doesn't really replicate much within clancy's novels. >> this issue you raise about him mistaking hollywood themes with reality, supposedly he alleged that he had filmed the liberation of auschwitz and told that he had footage of the liberation of auschwitz. when he raised the question of "high noon" it's amusing that carl foreman was attacked and blacklisted, the author of the screenplay, and john wayne refused to take the role in the
movie because he realized that "high noon" was an attack on the mccarthy period. it's sort of interesting how reagan confuses this kind of hollywood with politics. i have a different remembrance of that early period of reagan. i remember reagan '81, '82, '83, people were feeling that we were moving to an unrestricted first strike capability, that have there were representatives of the reagan administration who openly talked about the fact that we could win a nuclear war, regardless of what you would say about his personal feelings and that this was something that really scared people and led to the largest demonstration against nuclear weapons in american history in this city at that period of time. so i was wondering, you know, in a general sense, how do you look at popular culture in general? you know, in terms of shaping public opinion. looking back at our culture. is norman maylor writing "naked
in the dead" where he wants to be a novelist of the war? it's certainly a different image of war than clancy is. and i wonder how you see that shaping popular consciousness in general, these kind of waves that we have in our society. because reagan's -- you know, most of us, i would say have dubious feelings about reagan. and i wonder if alzheimer's was setting in when he would make these kind of silly comments. the great communicator was not at auschwitz and did not film it. >> yeah. and things like joking about the bombing beginning in a half-hour in front of a mike contributed to this image. it was portrayed as something zrus and raising fears of starting world war iii firsthand. as far as the question looking at how to deal with pop culture, i think it touches on historical memory in a lot of sense, too.
the way we talk about and look particularly at conflict in the war, so you mentioned norman maylor and world war ii and the way the narratives change over time. you can look at the memories of the vietnam war. it was a battleground in this time period. so you have movies like "rambo first blood" which are kind of raising the narrative that the service members that people fighting in vietnam were portrayed by the politicians. they weren't allowed to win the war. but at the same time, you had movies like "platoon" and "full metal jacket" which was a different view of what the conflict was. public memory is a battlefield as far as how it remembers conflict and what did we take from that, right? so if we're talking the "apocalypse now" version of the vietnam war, we're not likely to do things to intervene. if we get something like the "rambo" movies, we're more likely to do things aggressively. it's speaking to kind of the willingness of the public to accept these things and
discussing how they're talking about it. certainly shaping it. it's difficult to trace at some times, though. you're right. >> i want to extend your idea about clancy showing the u.s. nil tear technology in the best light. he's also showing soviet military technology in the best light. in "hunt for red october" he takes the caterpillar drive that's able to move silently through the ocean. sonar can't detect it. again you have jones again you talked about, this great sonar operator. then in "red storm rising" they pull off these brilliant actions where they sneak into iceland and take it over through a ruse, and then are able to knock out an american err craft carrier. and i think again is this -- you know, the soviets are -- he's giving us the soviets are a ten-foot tall story when, of course, now we know that their
military was -- and they knew their military was much less capable, which is why they planned on nuking us at the beginning of any invasion of western europe. and i just wonder again, obviously reagan didn't know that at the time. it's not just conventional parity. we had an overwhelmingly conventional superiority and would have won any conventional conflict between us and the soviets. >> i think that's a really good point. technology is portrayed very positively. you mentioned the caterpillar drive and success of soviet bombers. in clancy's third book, the soviets are ahead of united states in strategic defense. they're more capable than we are there. and that serves a purpose for clancy, but also for reagan. this fear that the soviets are going to keep passing us. they're going to be ahead of us and we need the best weapon, we need the best systems in order to take care of this manpower. if we fall behind, it's incredibly dangerous.
we talk about hunt for red october" they could sit off the coast of new york and we would never know. it drives the sense that we need to keep pouring money into these programs. you get to the late 1980s, some of the national defense operations and hearings in congress, one of the senators is asking the navy's chief of submarine warfare, hey, clancy wrote this article that is critical of british sub mariners, what do you think of this article? the admiral knew what it was immediately and said thank you, senator, for allowing me to address this issue. but what follows is this really delicate dance. he doesn't want to insult our allies and their quality of their sub mariners. but he also doesn't want to piss off clancy. he prefaces everything with i love tom clancy. but i differ from him here. but clancy is great for the navy.
it goes to the sense that they know these books are good for driving up funding, the fetishization of technology is helping to drive interest in these new systems, funding them and employing them ultimately. >> how, how you doing? i enjoyed your rapid fire delivery. it's really nice. there's a film in popular culture that reagan did actually endorse in the '80s. it was a low-budget movie called "if all the guys in the world" and it was made in the early '80s and it's about a cia operation that releases all these patriotic schizophrenics and lunatics at a mental hospital and puts them on the frontlines. and being on the frontlines, the shock of being on the frontlines makes them become well. and he personally endorsed this film as a progressive mental
health issue. he totally endorsed it. are you aware of this film? >> i haven't heard of it. i have to look it up now. >> it's really rarely seen. it's supposed to be really quite good. thank you very much. >> it's quite interesting. >> thank you. sir, excellent talk, captain. it showed a lot of investigation. i was in camp kakoosh in 2006 a little before you got there and i was working on boomerang and warlock duke, putting them on to humvees and m-raps. not putting them on to abrams, m-1s. now i see you're understanding
my question. also, the heroes that i like are have been, hoffman, okay? my question to you is clancy and reagan had a specific view and that went into the training of the military. i would say that when you went in 2 007, you weren't trained very well for the war you got. they did not have a small war on a -- or a regular warfare concept. and that caused our -- i think that caused -- that reagan/clancy viewpoint caused our country to be unprepared for 2005 when we needed not m-1s, not lavs.
we needed m-raps. we needed m-4s, not m-16s. we needed those types of weapons for regular warfare. what do you say about that? >> you're right. a lot of what reagan and clancy are doing is laying the ground work for the modern force. it's designed in part to respond to what the expectation of fighting world war iii with the russians would be. so following that, there was little desire, i think, to really study some of the lessons from vietnam. we weren't necessarily prepared to do this. i think that's a fair criticism. >> okay. i have one question. i'm drawing a blank now. i swear to god.
oh, yes. i remember now. you talked about president reagan not revealing or reticent about other books that he read. but did historians find out what other books he read? and if so, what were some of the books he read other than tom clancy. >> so this has been a project of mine to try to put together, and something that's been rather difficult to hunt down. so we know that clancy likes wernstern earns, unsurprisingly. he also likes science fiction quite a bit. so one of the books he most fondly remembers reading when he was a young man is the john carter series. so he likes those books. a book called "that printer of udels" which is a terrible book. it's a book he credits with recon fig rating his religious spirits. i haven't been able to prove this yet, but i'm confident he
read "starland troopers" and it actually contributes to reagan's speech that introduces sdi. it's likely that he read "the third world war" by sir john hackett, kind of a precursor to clancy in a lot of ways. very similar to "red storm risi rising" a world war ii scenario. it's a best seller, but doesn't have the lasting success as clancy's work. he was also known to like thrillers. air force one being taken over and that kind of stuff. in general, werner, science fibs, and thrillers are what he would go for. >> thank you. can you clarify your dependent and independent voluntaariables? i worked at the joint staff, tom secret clearance. you seem to imply that the
independent variable was clancy's work influenced reagan and decided the outcome. i would kind of feel that it was more like talking about the danger of nuclear war and that the real independent variables were the pope and gorbachev's belief that it was time to end the cold war. >> i'm not sure i would term them independent and dependent variables. the pope is playing a role, clancy's past is playing a role. the nuclear zero movement is playing a role. also of these things combining to a very chaotic environment. and so it would be wrong to say that "red storm rising" is why
reagan does reykjavik. >> the question of simplistic narrative that he put out, it's obviously not genius, but it's necessary. and if you want to look at somebody who's copied it to the nth degree, that's putin. he's copied reagan's methodology and it's working if for their global view. he's done an excellent job of convincing his people that he should be where he is. and what they're doing is what's correct. so you can mock reagan in his clancy cowboy narrative, but he's actually been copied. we have nothing comparable to what putin is doing, and we have nothing comparable to what reagan is doing. it's obviously a far more complex thing he was doing, other than going with a clancy model.
you need that kind of current within the public's mind in order to do what you need to do, which is ultimately outspend them. >> i didn't mean to mock. i think it's showing a level of savvy of reagan to recognize the importance of pop culture and media portrayals. you're right. it's showing a political acumen >> hi. my name is garth. i heard you talk about power of narrative and also i want to comment, as a graduate of nyu in journalism grad studies, i had the opportunity to interview 500 cops and federal people also. and one term i know is very a pra po is that fact is stranger
than fiction. crime stories are more logical than real life. and how would -- what am i trying to say? going on another tangent in a contra positive, did ronald reagan ever go view things like a lawyer in the viewpoint of the european side or the russian side, tinker tale soldier spy? >> so yes. i think reagan was actually a fan of la carr. as he's researching his speech, his speech writers reach out to la carr. reagan is read and aware of his stuff. he doesn't like it as much because lacare has a bit more depressing narrative. the spy who came in from the cold is not a happy story.
"tanker, taylor, soldier spy" is not a happy story. >> the reality is the movies don't -- the movies don't -- at least the police department would say the cia stories are more complex than the movies can ever portray. the best movie "saving private ryan" can never, ever depict what real war is all about, but it gives some semblance to what reality is. >> that's the challenge of any creator is to try to get as much of reality, or as much truth in the work as they can. it's always going to be from a certain perspective, too. so you have people go through and talk about war movies. go through a war and they'll view it very different ways. it's going to be hard to get a fully accurate one. but for reagan's purposes, he tends to like happy stories.
if a story was morally gray, or it end ed poorly, he wasn't goig to talk about it as much as a story that ends well. >> hi. thanks, very interesting comment on culture and military. i'm interested specifically in the area of defense technology as you were talking about. the whole focus on harpoon, the war games, that kind of thing. and at the time, which is interesting as well, because it was the start of the internet and the internet's use and that kind of thing. or it would come a couple of years later. my question is, did he foresee the transition from war games to actually what we're doing currently beyond the aircraft system and the drone, or were we
moving towards that at the time? and also -- i know you come from the army side and so on. but the air force, when they're training folks who are, you know, on aircraft systems operators, do they transition from a car game to technological use of the drone system, which is, in fact, reality fact not being stranger than fiction. >> the development of drones was begun in this time period. i'm not sure they envisioned it being quite the scale as it is now. as for the question at the air force, i don't know in all honesty. >> you see the goal was to outspend them. the national security adviser a couple of years ago was caught on video saying we baited the russians into afghanistan.
and later on he denied that. he said he misspoke. but that indicates that may have been a strategic plan to get russia into afghanistan to basically atrit their forces and use their forces and economic power there anticipate waste it. to what extent was reagan's strategy -- i see it as an economic plan not to outspend them, but basically to either beans or bullets is what you're going to produce. and basically to wreak havoc with the russian economy. and i think that that's what he was trying to do. i'm just curious if you've come up with any information that supports that theory. >> they're pretty explicit about that in nsd 32. talking about the need to make the soviets realize the cost of their operations wasc/sq high. so reagan enters in kind of with the -- you see an early strategy talking about how much do the soviets spend of their gdp on the military budget.
the estimates were 10%, 15%. reagan didn't buy into that. he felt everything the soviet did, when they built roads, it was to support tanks. nsd 32 is very much about to convince the soviets the cost of the game is too high. beans versus bullets, as you say. the idea is to make them pull back as a result. so i think that's a fair characterization, yes. >> switching the topic back to clancy for a minute. i heard a story after hunt came out, he was visited by somebody in naval intelligence who wanted to know how he got his information. is there any truth to that? >> so prior to the book being released, the navy forces sent it out to a couple of readers in the navy, involved in submarine, asked them to see if there was any classified information. one reader came back and said it's fine, there's no problem.
another one said you can't possibly publish this. it's giving everything away. so clancy goes to -- he was a commander in the navy. he sits there and is talking with them and going through exactly where he's finding everything an open source. things like janes defense guide to the point where he's satisfied with it. the secretary's response was who the hell cleared this? but i think he was told it wasn't classified. throughout his career, nancy denied having access to classified material. >> i have read "red october" and "red storm rising" and they were very good. i di didn't read a number of hi books for several years and i picked one up which was about an attack submarine. and the missions that it went on. and it was god awful. i mean, it was obvious somebody had sat down with harpoon and just played ten scenarios one
after the other. none of the american equipment ever fails. none of the soviet equipment ever works right. they also manage to get away. i was just wondering, i find most of his late stuff unreadable. i don't know how much of that he actually wrote. or whether he just did a trump where he stuck his name on it. >> it depends on which series you're talking about. you have the core jack ryan series which is still being written obviously with someone else. but really through the mid 2000s, clancy is certainly the primary author on that. probably when he starts to get into the jack ryan junior books. there are a series of spinoffs. you have tom clancy's op centers, power plays, net center. and all of these books are basically that. they're franchises. it has his name stuck on the cover and somebody else writes it. it's a way for the other author to get more sales and clancy is able to make money off of licensing his name.
>> captain, i have one question. when everyone attends a talk about ronald reagan, there is always a lot of laughter about ronald reagan and a desire to criticize him and make him a fool. in fact, the great central achievement of his administration in foreign policy was to lay the foundation for the destruction of the soviet union and of communism in europe. and i for one in all of history can't think of another leader who has done so much at the cost why are people unwilling to accept that central truth and laugh uproarously at all his minor nonsense. is that they are maybe detached from reality? so there's a -- >> it's hotly debated as far as the store og fi at the end of the cold war.
but you hit on one of the common attacks on ronald reagan, that he's not in charge of his administration. he's just an act kor. he's not someone to be taken seriously. >> a bad actor. >> he doesn't have a very stellar career in a lot of cases. his possible breakout role was "king's row." that was towards the tail end of his career, certainly. so he's just an actor. he's not known as a heavyweight. so after he's elected you have the crisis over the university of california regents which is deemed as an anti-intellectual move. even though reagan had very little to do with that firing but it paints him as not serious and anti-intellectual. that's going to follow him throughout his career. and his leadership style, too, is one that's typically of one where he seems disengaged at times. and people will come to him and
will present very different policy options and both could leave thinking he agreed with theirs. the inability to give people bad news. trying to avoid crisis and avoid internal drama and conflict tended to create someone who was disengaged and not serious as well. that narrative persisted from the earliest days of his political career. >> thank you for the presentation. you mentioned john hackett's book on the third world war. there were other world war iii fiction genres going on at the time. harry coyle and team yankee started. maybe you would go back and mention some of the other books going on at this time. and you did a nice job of cre t crediting larry bond. he's still around, unlike clancy, and the role the harpoon game played. i was wondering if you had any contact with lar i are doing your research. >> larry was fantastic. i can't -- he's a wonderful guy. i had the privilege of going out
to northern virginia, interviewing him and his current co-author and another guy who's credited of working on harpoon over a couple of days. i also got to play chris in harpoon. unsurprisingly, he destroyed me. i don't even think i sank one of his ships and all of mine were gone within two terms. -- turns. he's a wonderful guy and i'm grateful for everything he's given me on this project. >> sometimes novels turn out not that -- they don't seem to be that important and then they turn out to be very prescient. and two of them, 110 years ago, one was "the war in the air" by h.g. wells and right about the same time he came out with "the world set free." "the war in the air" was the use of seb lynns by the germans against new york city. basically nobody paid attention to it. but luckily, as far as the world
set free, leo zolar read it between wars and luckily for us he decided to write to einstein. and einstein wrote to roosevelt about the possibility of the use of atomic bomb. so sometimes these things turn out to be pretty important. >> yeah, i completely agree. i think that the importance of pop culture is fairly understated in the study of history. it's really fun for me to study, but i think it's somewhat valuable. >> you asked about the reagan defense build-up. did it increase the chance of a nuclear war by threatening the soviet union? especially that irresponsible stupid remark reagan made about the soviet union being destroyed in five minutes? >> yeah. the comment about the bombing beginning in 30 minutes, and you're right. the tensions hit their peak in 1983. what you end up is during nato
exercises, there's a possibility of nuclear war there because tensions are so high. and you have a soviet officer system showing that nato just launched nuclear missiles, right? and he ultimately decides that the system is broken, it's not reporting accurately. and refuses to put no, sirs up higher. but if he had sent the report up, it's possible. it goes to what the ambassador calls the uncompromising ideological defenses of reagan. at westminster, he talks about relegating them to the dust bin of history. this is aggressive language. so he's certainly worried about it. some of the old hard liners are in charge. yes, it does heighten tensions and the possibility of war in the early 1980s. >> i read quite a bit about the breaking of german and japanese codes in world war ii, but i never came across information if
the soviet military code was broken during world war ii. >> i don't know. >> talk to me after. >> there's a very interesting book called "youth heroism and war propaganda" 1645 to 1820. i suggest perhaps you look at it because what it talks about is the creation of stereotypes that lend to national cohesion in that period. and the relevance of that to reagan. now, what i find amusing in this is that we know from declassified information about war games that were waged, you know, between allied commanders, nato warsaw pact, the exchange of nuclear weapons was off the charts. the tactical nuclear weapons
would be expanded to the point where in three or four days hundreds of them would be fired by both sides. so what we're seeing in these kind of books -- i met hackett before he died, a great officer, captured at arnham, et cetera. but here he's writing a book about conventionally stopping the soviets. and i think there was sort of a fantasy about that, that we frankly still live with. we still have nuclear weapons in the world. we still are numb to this. and i wonder what you think about that. because the reality is that when the war games occurred in classified settings, they would just shoot those damn things off and destroy humanity. those god damn things off and destroy humanity. that's not necessarily reflected in sort of techno porn books like clancy does, which are basically feel good things that sort of america wins. the bad guys lose, and it's a bunch of bull shit.
>> it's worth noting that hackett's book does have a nuclear exchange. it's a limited one. there is an element of imagination in these books, perhaps an escape. although i think the culture is that u.s. systems were so much better than soviet ones that we wouldn't need to use nuclear weapons. obviously, we never fought a war. especially with "war games." it is all simulation. they do go nuclear very quickly. though we can look somewhat at the performance of the technology in the gulf war when they beat the soviet technology pretty handily, so it is possible. we still have nuclear weapons and that can go anywhere in the near future.
it's come up multiple times in presidential debates now. i don't think anyone is advocating for a zero solution right now. >> this is my last question. going back to the power of narrative and what the gentleman said before about a book leading to albert einstein talking to the president, i think roosevelt, on the atomic bomb. what does that have to do with the star wars initiative? why was it not implemented in it could have made a big difference? >> the first question on implementation, it never really got to where it was technically feasible or possible to deploy it effectively. it was a very expensive system. it had initial support for a lot of different reasons, so reagan
was a true believer in it. wi they viewed it as a chip. something they would be able to trade for concessions. it was something reagan expressed interest in in his first days as president. he certainly is the driving force for it in his administration. there's a role that science fiction plays in this as well. when he talks about it for the first time, part of his speech is written by a collection of science fiction writers from california. larry correia is involved in this. again, we're seeing a blending of fiction and policy even with that, when you're debuting this new program to the world. he decides to use "star wars" to label it speaks to trying to tie
it to certain type of culture. >> last question. >> my concern again is with the -- who won the cold war. the chicken hawks won. i mean, the idea of nuclear war, you light the board with a match after the first few games, chapters play out. when i played the game in europe with fnato and when i did it at the pentagon, somehow the chicken hawks, the conservatives, got the idea they won the cold war. we still had nuclear weapons. the russians are still out there with nuclear weapons. we had a chance to disarm. what was the lesson that we should have learned from the reagan period? was it that the clancy idea was correct or was it that
gorbachev, the pope, solidarity were the ones that really pushed it and the chicken hawks held back, believing they were somehow the winners? >> that's a tough question. there's a lot of parts to that one. so i think the problem with the end of the cold war is it defies these easy narratives. people say reagan wins the cold war because we sent the soviets to their grave. people say solidarity and pope john-paul. it was a blessing it ended peacefully. in a reality, i think it is a mixture of all these things. so clearly you can't ignore the contributions of people on the ground in europe. the rise of catholicism in poland, the organization of solidarity and the political resistance pl resistance, plays a role in breaking soviet power.
that happens in part because of the environment gorbachev instills. part of that is the economic pressure. part of that is tied to the pressure the u.s. put on them. because the soviets can't afford to resist when the u.s. goes into. -- -- granada. it's sad that we try and break it down to one of these people had to have done it all themselves. that credits a large group of people in bringing about a stunningly peaceful end and a peaceful demise to an empire. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. i was very happy on tto be with
guys. american history tv in primetime continues thursday with the people and events that shaped the civil war and reconstruction. at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a look at sherman's march through the carolinas. at 9:00 p.m., lectures in history features the story of civil war veterans. at 9:55, examining john brown and the election of 1860. then lectures in slavery, women, and the civil war. all here on c-span 3. thursday, the atlantic council hosts a discussion on russia under president vladimir putin. that's live at noon eastern here on c-span 3.
the need for horses on the farm began to decline radically in the 1930s. it was not until the 1930s that they figured out how to make a rubber tire big enough to fit on a tractor. starting in the 1930s, the 1940s, you had an almost complete replacement of horses as the work animals on farms. i do believe in one of my books on horses i read that in the decade after world war ii we had something like a horse holocaust, that the horses were no longer needed, and we didn't get rid of them in a very pretty way. >> the professor discusses his book "the rise and fall of the american growth," which looks at americans standard of living in
1870 and 1950. >> what interests people is the impact of superstorm sandy on the east coast back in 2012, that wiped out the 20th century for many people. the elevators no longer worked in new york. the electricity stopped. you couldn't charge your cell phones. you couldn't pump gas into your car because it required electricity to pump the gas, so the power of electricity in the internal combustion engine to make modern life possible is something that people take for granted. next, university of washington history professor margaret o'mara talks about her book, "pivotal tuesdays." she begins with the election of
1912 and then explores the 1932, 1968, and 1992 elections. she argues that all occurred during periods of economic and cultural change. the national archives hosted this hour-long talk. >> today's speaker is margaret o' mara, associate professor of history at the university of washington. she held teaching and research positions at stanford university and at the university of pennsylvania. prior to her academic career she worked in the clinton white house and served as a contributing researcher at the brookings institution. after today's lecture, ms. o' o'mara will be upstairs in front of the store to sign copies of her book. "the washington post" described "pivotal tuesdays" as a captivating read. o'mara draws a vivid portrait of modern politics, one that takes readers on a tour of the recent past and puts our own modern-day battles into terrific contest.
just a delicious book written by an aauthoritative historian and a brilliant narrator. would you please welcome margaret o'mara to the national archives? [ applause ] >> thank you so much, tom. and thank all of you for coming out today and to the national archives. i have been to the archives as a researcher. i have been here as a citizen, as a tourist, as a former resident of washington, d.c. and a resident of other parts of the united states, and it's just such an honor and a pleasure to be here as a speaker and to talk about my book "pivotal tuesdays." i'm also so pleased that you all exhibited this interest in a -- such an obscure subject that no one seems to pay any attention to, presidential elections. why can't we get the papers to write about presidential
candidates, i don't know. but more seriously, we're more than a year away from election day. 2016. or maybe less than a year now, aren't we? but we have already seen some remarkable moments emerge in this election cycle. we have had a huge celebrity who put the political establishment on the run, a whole slew of outsider candidates on both the right and the left ends of the political spectrum. we're seeing how new media, social media is changing campaigning, changing the way candidates and the campaigns communicate to voters, the way in which voters interact with one another and interact with the people who want to be their president. and we also have our experiencing an immense amount of gridlock, partisan
in-fighting that's causing many observers to throw up their hands and saying is this whole thing going down the tubes? well, is it? what's new about 2015 and 2016? what's not? what can we learn from earlier presidential elections that will help us make sense of this one? so this is a book about four elections that occurred between 1900 and 2000. and of course, there were a lot of elections that happened -- this is -- hold on a second. i think i'm going to need to go back to our slide show. slide show. all right. let's see if this works this time. there we go. all right. back on track. didn't lose you. so i could have chosen a lot of elections. there were many moments, pivotal moments, political moments in the 20th century. there are also other elections that i didn't write about that arguably are -- have been
written about a lot and arguably are very good fodder for a book that's putting all these in context. i could have written about the election of 1948 when thurmond bolted from the democratic party to run as a state's rights candidate. i could have written of course about 1960, the election of john f. kennedy and richard nixon. i could have written about, of course, ronald reagan's landslide election of 1980 and the conservative revolution that came in his wake. i also could have written about more recent elections, 2000, 2008. both historic in their own ways, but i chose to write about these four. and why these four? well, one of the reasons is personal. i was a campaign staffer on the 1992 campaign working for the clinton/gore team, and i had some personal recollections to
bring to that story. but more broadly, all four of the elections had common threads that i thought were good ways to -- that knit together and show how different electoral cycles feed into one another and also contrast from each other. they all occurred at moments of economic and cultural change. sometimes tremendous economic and cultural change. in 1912, america is still reeling from the transition from farm to factory. from countryside to city. the birth of industrial capitalism and all of the consequences of that. generation of great wealth but also generation of great inequality and of other social ills. 1932, of course, you have an economic crisis unprecedented in the history of the united states, the great depression. 1968, a moment of incredible cultural change, of countercultural change, of change on both the left and the right, and the creation of grass
roots movements who still are shaping politics today. and then 1992 is the first presidential election after the end of the cold war. it's the first presidential election in which cable tv becomes the dominant medium through which the campaign is fought and won. and it also is the first election of a baby boomer generation president and candidate in which different issues become salient in the campaign and in the election. so, let's start with one of my favorite people to write about as a presidential historian, teddy roosevelt. and 1912 was the year that was distinctive for many reasons and one of them being an ex-president decided to once again throw his hat into the ring. it is, again, a pivotal moment when this -- the conversation because there's been so much economic change, the conversation in 1912 revolves
around making government do more to rein in the power of industrial capitalism. so if you dial back to the 19th century, not only did american presidents have a different role in american life, and i can talk about more of that in our discussion after my talk, but the government wasn't that big. you didn't have all of these large buildings along constitution avenue and independence avenue. the most americans encountered the government on a daily basis through going to the post office. and other than that, the military and the post office were really the only kind of places of connection between an ordinary american and their federal government. and roosevelt is a pivotal figure in that he was -- he served as president at this moment of kind of muddling through what the federal government should do as corporations get bigger, as the
population gets bigger, as society gets more complex. and he serves -- he inherits the office after the assassination of william mckinley, of course. he is re-elected in 1904. has a public debate about whether to run again in 1908. decides not to and hands over the keys to his appointed successor william howard taft, who was a friend and ally and someone that roosevelt believed would be a good caretaker of roosevelt's progressive legacy. that didn't quite turn out as roosevelt expected. so teddy leaves the oval office, steams off on a steamer to africa to go on safari as only colonel roosevelt could, and he's gone for over a year. he's in africa and then he's in
europe on a speaking tour. and meanwhile, william howard taft is back here in washington disappointing him. he's firing some of the close allies, close confidants in the government. he's still closely tied with kind of the old guard in the republican party, and he has a vastly different personality. he's someone who when his description of the 1908 presidential campaign, quote, the most uncomfortable four months of my life. so we'll all just sit and marinate on the fact campaigning was four months long and living with this cycle for this long. and roosevelt is gone, and when he comes back, he is greeted as a conquering hero. and so, you know, one of the conversations that's been running around, around the phenomenon of donald trump over the past summer in particular is this, well, america's just obsessed with celebrity and they're -- you know, he's a
famous person and so -- and kind of saying we've all become so very, very shallow. well, america was obsessed with colonel ex-president theodore roosevelt and when he returns in june of 1910 to new york city, steams into the harbor, hundreds of boats come out to greet him. thousands of people line the streets, brass bands play. flags wave. and he in headlines across the nation, here's the tacoma times in the pacific northwest, far, far away that devotes its whole front page to teddy roosevelt's return. he is an outsized public figure and he's someone that -- who people not only admire but also are fascinated by. he comes back in 1912, and he's spouting some more radical ideas -- sorry, 1910.
he was talking about more government intervention into markets, doing more to help people, to rectify the economic inequalities that were coming in the wake of the growth of the big corporations of railroads, of steel and oil companies. and so he goes on this huge speaking tour across the country. he barnstorms the country. sounding more and more progressive at every stop. and more radical, picking up on ideas that kind of have been on the fringe of the political conversation and making them more mainstream and having a really robust reception. now, part of this again was curiosity and part of it was genuine hunger for change. and this is something we see over and over again, that outsider candidates, candidates who are pushing the envelopes of the political conversation get traction when people are hungry for a new message. when they're dissatisfied with the status quo. when they feel something more, something different needs to be done. sometimes it's more government, sometimes it's less.
and now, of course, theodore roosevelt was not the only outsider candidate shaking up the 1912 election as the race grew nearer. we also have eugene debs, a socialist. we have a former socialist running for president now and gene debs was a true socialist running for president. 1912 was the year he won, got the most votes. he got over a million votes and in 1912. and roosevelt is picking up some of the things that debs is saying, definitely more strongly radical, further to the left as we would put him on the spectrum but there's a hunger for new ideas, and so outsider candidates are getting some momentum. so by this point as the actual -- people are having to declare -- for a long time, roosevelt says i'm not going to run, i'm not going to run.
then he just keeps on getting the big crowds, big crowds. he decides to run against his old friend and ally william howard taft for the nomination. he doesn't get it. taft marshals the party faithful. at the convention, he ends up the victor. roosevelt bolts and runs at a third-party candidate. the head of the bull moose party. what happens at the end of the day? none of the people i have talked about a win. woodrow wilson wins. if you look at the electoral map, see states that went republican in the past went for roosevelt and my home state of washington and also california but wilson is also picking up on these conversations about government doing more. this is when the democratic party was the party of small government. of states rights. of washington, d.c. doing less.
but wilson in this moment where clearly t lly the u.s. governme to do more than just have a post office, have an army, that he runs and then governs as much more interventionist, progressive guy. this is when the party becomes more activist central government. now, let me go now to another progressive. someone who's coming from the same political movement, the political movement of roosevelt,
wilson and the like, herbert hoover. and herbert hoover is now remembered as if when those rankings of who the greatest presidents of the 20th century are, he's usually not ranked very highly. when people -- when i talk to my students, college students about herbert hoover and ask them what they know about herbert hoover, they say great depression, hoover-villes, failure. well, herbert hoover was once one of the famous men in america, one of the most admired men in america. he was so famous that his name was a verb. in world war i, this has an extraordinary life story. he was an orphan from oregon. he goes to stanford university when it was tuition free back in the 1890s. and he is a self made millionaire within a few decades. still a relatively young man. a mining engineer. he's tapped by woodrow wilson to run the food administration in 1901. figuring out how to conserve food, get food to the troops. and how to get food to people in war torn countries both during and after the war. and housewives would talk about hooverizing when they were economizing on food. he then goes on to become commerce secretary in the 1920s and then is elected president in
1928. and so not only is he renowned for managerial expertise, he is really good at running things and taking a real thorny logistical problem and making it work, but he's also a master of media. he's really good at working new media. this is a guy in 1928 who has talking motion pictures as a campaign ad using talkies. they'd only been out for a year. so rather than being this kind of fuddy duddy failure, he was a modern man. he understood the power of words, the power of images, the power of messages. he once said, the world talks in phrases. the world lives by phrases and we are good advertisers. he understood that politics and policy was something that could and should be packaged as if it were a consumer product, that there were very precise ways to target and margaret to people.
again, he was very forward thinking. another person who was acutely aware of public image is frank delano roosevelt. he became so acutely aware of this in large part because he had to work very, very, very hard to project an image of himself that was at odds with reality. as we all know, he contracted polio in the early 1920s, disabled for the remainder of his life and went to great lengths to disguise the fact that he could not walk unassisted. i love this photograph which is a rarely seen photograph and i wish that i had had the rights and time to get it into the book. but this is a picture of frank roosevelt after being elected governor of new york and a classic roosevelt pose projecting strength, projecting confidence. and of course, he is leaning on a cane.
people knew he had polio and wasn't completely able. but he was -- it was very important to convince voters and to convince the press that he was up for the job. not only a job of governor but then the job of president. but if you look very, very closely here, you'll see there's a second cane very artfully concealed behind his leg. he is holding himself up with all of his strength trying to look casual to keep himself upright. so in 1932, you have two modern politicians who are masters of new media, who understand the power of image, the power of short phrases, of sound bytes, even though sound bytes were a little longer than they are today. both hoover and roosevelt probably would have been very good at twitter. perhaps. but the game has changed. so you can be the master of message, the master of political
communication, but if there is -- if reality is at odds, no amount of phrases and images can work against the hard economic reality of the great depression. i should have given an additional note about this photograph which is a soup kitchen in chicago run by al capone. so, the great depression is such a magnitude, such a collapse, a crisis of capitalism that's not been encountered before in american history that it completely floors hoover and all of his advisers and frankly, political professionals on both sides of the isle of its magnitu magnitude, its duration, and the fact the old remedies didn't work. hoover actually again the master of phrases as the economy started going south, he said, we can't talk about this as a panic. we can't talk about it as anything but a depression. a depression is -- was
understood to be something that wasn't that bad. just a depression. not falling off a cliff. we'll come out of it. and then the depression becomes great. and all of the tools that the government had, again, the federal government despite a couple of decades of progressive you do not have these large agencies that can intervene, that can stimulate the economy. it's very much dependent on private markets making things work. and hoover did not realize this until too late, and by the time that his administration was making more serious interventions in the economy, and they did, the reconstruction finance administration, for example, is one example of a hoover initiated piece of the
new deal. but he was -- he didn't catch it until too late and because even -- he was the master of management. his reputation as a greet engineer then didn't work when he was trying to engineer an end to the great depression. and he couldn't do it. roosevelt takes advantage of this masterfully. this was a year when any incumbent would have had a difficult time but particularly with someone who was able to pick up on the american's need not for policy prescriptions, because if you go back and see what roosevelt said on the stump in 1932 he was blissfully vague. we think of him as a policy wonk. he wasn't. he was about hope and change and big ideas. he got dinged for it, too. there was some voters like, he is not saying anything. he's not -- you know, i want some meat on the bones. but he talked about the forgotten man. he talked to these voters who were out of work, who were feeling hopeless, and said, we're going to fix this. we need bold solutions. we are going to do something. it will be new. he barnstorms the country on the roosevelt special, the back of a
train. again, this coming to the people, this image of vitality, of personality, but again leaning on something. making sure a carefully crafted campaign and image that's reaching to a really frustrated and despondent nation. so okay. roosevelt is elected. the new deal is re-elected again. and we -- america enters a period that's understood as sort of a high point of modern liberalism. where government grows larger. where the -- where the liberals are 234 ascendance and the condition servetives are in retreat, but one of the things i want to convey in my talk today is that we are neither a conservative nation nor a liberal nation, nor is it right to say there's eras of conservatism and eras of
liberalism. yes, there's times when one side is more dominant but let's think of a shifting center where the range shifts a little to the left and a little to the right depending on the moment and depending on who's articulating the message because even in the 1940s and 1950s and 1960s, the high point of american liberalism, there is a conservative -- a coalition that is building in strength, that is both grassroots, and top down. it includes herbert hoover who after he's defeated in 1932 retreats back to palo alto, california, to stanford university and there becomes a fierce critic of roosevelt's policies and this broader, more interventionist, keynesian approach to governance and
includes the grassroots. it includes ordinary americans who by 1964 mobilize to a degree that they got barry goldwater, a very conservative republican nominated as the republican nominee. now, of course, goldwater loses in a landslide. there by validating all these -- people on the left and the right saying you can't go that far right. the republican party says we should have had nelson rockefeller. we can't be this extremist. and many democrats said, ah, see, you know? we have broad based support for the effort. it is like teddy roosevelt thinking everyone -- i can be president again gathering the crowds of 10,000 people every place i go. but things change very, very quickly. so 1968, the fourth election -- third election i write about in the book is understood as a kind of -- another example of the liberal moment. so much of what we remember and what is written about in the 1968 is about the anti-war liberals who upended the democratic party.
gene mccarthy who, you know, whose rise to political prominence was, you know, driven forward by all these young activists, many on college campuses who got deeply engaged in politics because of the vietnam war, because of the vietnam draft, but also more well-known political figures like robert kennedy. but 1968, mind you, is also the year when richard nixon returns to the political stage. this is -- i did get permissions from george louis the designer of this wonderful cover to appear in the book. it is one of my favorite images. so richard nixon is -- the democrats are in disarray. richard nixon is the most unlikely comeback story. right? he loses in 1960. he loses in 1962 for the governor of california.
like not even president. says you're never going to have nixon to kick around again. i'm going back to my law firm. and then 1968 he's back, but he's back as a very different candidate. again, this goes to sort of putting our current moment in context, thinking about the power of image, thinking about the power of media, and how the same politician might repackage themselves and also take advantage of a very different moment in american history. because, of course, between 1960 and 1968 so much changes in terms of how geo politics, domestic politics, grassroots politics and culture. richard nixon comes back not as the same richard nixon of 1960 -- and one of the things i would invite all of you guys to do if you're interested in this this,
in presidential campaigns and elections, is to visit the website hosted by the american museum of the moving image in new york called the living room candidate which archives all of the television ads from 1952 forward for the major party candidates and just for fun compare a 1960 nixon ad with a 1968 one. the nixon's '60 ad is very traditional, very kind of the time. black and white. all these ads. it will usually involve him sort of standing like this or, you know, trying to lean on a desk looking casual. and talking straight to the camera and saying, you know, something serious about an issue of the day. it's not particularly charismatic. there are no jingles. there's nothing. it's very straightforward. not particularly glamorous. 1968 ads, it is like mtv. they're technicolor. they're very fast clips. jangling music. you hear nixon's voice saying something very authoritative,
paternal about law and order or the need to end the war in vietnam. his vietnam ad is masterful. you can't figure out if he's anti-war or not. it sounds like he's a real peace nik. it's key to nixon's victory. but the other key and this is another important thing to think about and this is quite honestly the main reason i didn't right -- write about 1980 because so much of the story of modern american conservatives can be read into the story of 1968. you see the groundwork being laid for what happens in 1980 because, of course, you have a democratic field that not only includes mccarthy and kennedy, but also includes george wallace.
the segregationist governor of alabama who famously stood at the schoolhouse doors saying segregation now, segregation forever. he's talking to a national audience, talking to a national audience of working class white people living in big cities. these are the people whose grandparents might have voted for gene debs in 1912. and they certainly voted for franklin roosevelt in 1932. and he's not talking about segregation, but he's talking about rights. he's talking about freedom. talking about taxes. talking about individual freedom and how the individual government is stomping on it, and it's a very powerful and remarkably effective message. he's picking up on messages of ronald reagan in 1976 about the need for smaller government. he's picking up on messages used by other politicians not as nationally well-known or remembered like claude kirk running for governor of florida as a republican, former democrat turned republican in 1966.
talks about your home is your castle, protect it. and that is -- that is a nationally resonant message. talking about -- talking to people who are very concerned about race and concerned about civil rights. and concerned about where they fit in this new america. but not using the same incendiary language, and nixon also picks up on some of this, talking about freedom, talking about individual rights, and talking about law and order. and that is one of the many reasons he won. so, the story continues bridges over the 1970s and 1980s. a moment when both the two major political parties experienced great change. and think -- this, i think, encapsulates in one image what i think happens to the democrats in the 1970s. the democratic party becomes a much bigger tent because much
more welcoming place for people of color, for women, for the people who were the leftist activist, civil rights movements plural of the 1960s find a home in the democratic party in the 1 1970s, but at the same time the party still has people like george wallace in it. and this -- from 1972, this is a delegate for the shirley chisholm ad running in 1972 and behind him are supporters of george wallace trying to be heard, and so there's this great democratic fracture. and ultimately the george wallace supporters, the south, leaves the democratic party. and this, without the south, is impossible to win nationally and the republicans recognize this. so here's ronald reagan in columbia, south carolina, 1980. this was not republican territory. 20 years before.
at all! and now it is. so the reddening of the south is a big -- is a significant shift for the republican party as well as the democratic party. these parties are constantly changing. they're constantly changing and dynamic institutions, which is one of the reasons that a two-party system is so enduring. i'll talk about that a little bit in a moment. so this all sets us up for a moment when -- and this is i think a good lesson of why you should never make predictions too far out because this time in the cycle of 1992, a year and a half before, george h.w. bush seemed unbeatable. because of the successful gulf war, because the economy was still pretty good and no major democrat was willing to go there because they thought they were going to lose. so you end up with these guys. an unlikely, younger people
whose turn -- wasn't quite their turn to run. they're young. they're in their 40s. people like jerry brown who then and now governor of california. jerry brown is like jerry brown 3.0 now. it's awesome. paul tsongas senator of massachusetts. bob kerry from nebraska. again, vietnam general race. vietnam veteran. tom harkin, of course, this guy, bill clinton from arkansas. and the -- the field -- this is also a field that's very -- this is a new democratic party. this, of course, the new democrats. they're more centrist. they are -- some of them, like clinton, they are southerners. and they're picking up on some of these messages about law and order, about reforming welfare, about reinventing government. making government work better. as a way to recapture some of those voters that have been lost to the republican party.
but then, there's a third party spoiler, and this is one proof point of how -- what a big deal cable television and cnn was in the 1992 election, and i talk about this a lot in the book. of course, cnn was -- had been around for 12 years before this election rolled around, but this was the first time when it become a decisive force, that this was the new medium. and what it did was a couple of things. it was the one that created the 24/7 spin cycle of news where you have what clinton consultants called the beast that needed to be fed. stories all the time. so things that were little blips
became stories. and they endured from cycle to cycle to cycle. you have 24/7 to fill with news and we are now seeing this with multiple news station that is need that -- that are beasts that need to be fed, so much more stuff is news. you don't have just the news -- you don't have walter cronkite with the 30 minutes. you have a lot of time to fill so other things come into the cycle. it also requires campaigns to be very, very nimble to respond. sometimes too quickly. sometimes feeds on scandal and interesting news. not just the regular news. but the other dimension is it becomes this platform for ross perot who in a series of interviews with larry king, larry king live was then as you all may remember the kind of marquee must-see tv on cnn. was talking about his views of what the government -- what the country should do and then on larry king live announces that he's going to run as a third party candidate for president. and perot's very interesting figure in that kind of like, you know, kind of like teddy roosevelt is straddling between the two candidates. he's maybe more republican, you
know, than democrat, that one of the bush campaigns later reflection that bush aides said we just did not take perot seriously enough. many of them knew him from they didn't really think he'd have much staying power. of course, the bush campaign was the one more deeply hurt by p perot. because, again, just like in 1912, 1932 and '68 and just like today, americans were hungry for outsiders and fresh messages and this guy punched through the clutter with the folksy ross perotisms. he was a very different sort of candidate. people understood this billionaire was a man of the people because he was not adhering to any script. but another reason that the victory eventually went in -- plurality of votes to clinton was the south. this is a button not produced by the clinton campaign but not
discouraged by it either. but one thing that bill clinton did was he went against -- the rules are you usually pick a vice president from some other part of the country. you capture a different demographic. right? he picked al gore from neighboring tennessee. same age roughly. same mid south demographic. but also, a new democrat. a centrist democrat. someone who had -- was part of this new wave of the democratic party. and -- and a -- together, the candidate -- the two candidates were able to with their both their backgrounds and with the campaigns policy emphasis able to capture enough votes in the formally solid democratic south to win nationally. it was one piece of this victory. but of course, ross perot, the
third-party spoiler, becomes -- doesn't win any electoral votes but he becomes just like teddy roosevelt in 1912, a divisive decisive factor. so, what i've tried to do today and what i have tried to do in this book is to weave elections into the broader tapestry of american history, that elections are not these kind of fun contests that happen every four years or every two years it seems like. but they are reflections of and things that propel economic, cultural and social change. that they're reflections of america. they're reflections of where american are of what their hopes and dreams are in a moment. as dysfunctional as we think the system might be, it's been the way for individuals to have their voice heard. and it gives us some lessons for today. one, the lesson of new media. new media and new technologies reshape how to run and how to win from generation to generation to generation. first it was the newspaper, then it was radio, and then television and then cable
television. so it's the new -- it's the same story all over again. but you -- but the campaigns that capture that new media platform most effectively are the ones that do the best. outsiders gain traction when voters believed established institutions have failed them. we're often in an anti-establishment moment in this country but particularly now, and i think it helps us, gives us insights of why you have individuals like ben carson, like bernie sanders and others who are running proudly as outsiders. and it's not a swinging pendulum between left and right. the united states political scene is never entirely one nor the other and to say that, ah, we are in large now so we have a mandate, that's dangerous territory. instead, let's think about a shifting center. things that richard nixon did as
president would be classified as unbearably liberal today. environmental protection. one point he supported a minimum guaranteed income for poor families. this is stuff, you know -- this is bernie sanders' territory, folks. but it was in the world of the late '60s and early '70s, the realm of political possibility with a few steps to the left. now it's moved a few more steps to the right. so understanding where that center is and composed of members of both parties and both parties are actors in the movement between left and right is what we need to think about. so, thank you so much for listening to me. i'd be really happy to field your questions and all that i ask since this is being taped is that if you have a question, come to one of the two microphones on either side and i'll take people in order that they show up. thank you. [ applause ] >> i enjoyed very much the talk,
and i'm not going to buy one book. i'm going to buy two books for somebody. >> great. >> but i just had one question. i like your selection, but what about 1948? >> uh-huh. >> where you had two outsiders. >> yeah. >> you didn't mention henry wallace who was roosevelt's vice president in 1940 and then four conventions held at the same place in philadelphia. >> yeah. >> and then thurmond breaking off and then wallace. why didn't you pick '48? second, my only criticism is that in 68 nixon -- humphrey -- do you buy the theory that you didn't go in -- this into specifics if humphrey had broken with johnson over the war, it might have actually made a
difference? he did on the weekend before the first tuesday in november. >> yeah. >> but that would have been entirely different. >> yeah. >> so those are two unrelated questions, but i'd like your views on both of them. >> great. i will say part -- 1948 almost made it in. it was a matter of space. and also, because i wanted to think about how i could talk about other elections kind of as bridging between the ones that i discussed in depth. and 1948 is interesting. i think there's a lot of there there. again, you can really dig deep into the changing nature of the south and anticipating what happens. i thought it would be easier to really go there by talking about '68 and the aftermath of the civil rights act and the voting rights act and how that was changing the very solid south but the breakaway of the kind of the fractures within the
democratic party. they were there, you know, in 1932. they were there. the new deal is this, you know -- >> thurmond was a democrat. >> and so he sort of exemplified this kind of for roosevelt as a reformer had this constraint, you know, building these social welfare programs, first reiterate social security and the classes of workers, agricultural workers, household workers excluded. majority african-americans. almost all of the south working in the job categories. i don't have a perfect answer of, oh well, there's a reason it wasn't in. mostly because i wish i could have and tried to address them in other ways. the humphrey question's a great
one. you know, would have, could have, should have. i don't know. i would have been surprised. it wasn't in humphrey. he did that so late in the game. reflected who he was. he was a loyal guy. a party man. a stand-up guy. and the difficulty that he had was that he could have disavowed, you know, johnson's war as much as he could have, he was still johnson's vice president and also didn't run in the primaries. he kind of comes in as this candidate on a -- to sort of fix the immense, you know, fractures happening in the democratic party. it's, you know, robert kennedy had just won the california primary in june when he is assassinated immediately after. how, you know, there's been a lot of people who have sort of talked about what if he had live ed and he would have been the nominee how it would have changed. i don't know. there's a lot going on there and we shouldn't discount the power of the silent majority of nixon's silent majority of people who were really anxious about the immensity of the social change. that they were seeing happening around them. thanks. yes? >> i've often wondered why teddy roosevelt was so wrong about william howard taft.
was it a case of roosevelt seeing what he wanted to see or did one or both of them change? >> that's a great question. the roosevelt-taft friendship is just a fascinating one. it itself is a subject of books. and roosevelt was such a -- you know, i see their dynamic as, you know, of course, roosevelt was the alpha dog of all alpha dogs. taft was a pretty -- i mean, brilliant man. oh. such a brilliant man. very, very -- you know, teddy was always one very quick to take credit for things. taft was the opposite. he had this stellar career where he just kind of went from strength to strength because he was just so smart and so good. again, we kind of forget the real taft. he is lost to this -- he's sort of seen as this marginal figure, kind of comical figure. he's not.
he's this extraordinary man. he was like i was just -- my plate was right side up when things were falling. i was in the right time, right place. not me. it's opposite of others who say it's because i was so smart. he wanted to be a supreme court justice, which he eventually did. i think that they had a very convivial relationship. i think roosevelt felt that taft was going to be his guy and just do what he hoped that he would do. and he -- he got in the oval office and he said, i'm president. i'm going to not always do what teddy would do. ironically, in some ways, he was more progressive. he pushed things in a little more activist direction, but teddy saw him as just a party hack. and i think roosevelt didn't -- he hated not being president anymore. he was, you know -- wasn't even
60. he was really young. really vital. he just -- you can see him going on this barnstorming tour in 1910, 1911 and getting more excited every place he goes and the crowds are huge. mind you, you know, when you look at the -- read between the lines of newspaper accounts and the -- observing that there are people who are true believers and people who are just curious. i want to see teddy in person and so they come out and watch, but they're just watching, not cheering. but he really loved the spotlight. he was sort of hungry and he also i think felt that taft was not doing enough. that there was -- he clearly in the time away and particularly the time in europe in 1910 really kind of soaked in some of these ideas that are emerging in european states about the welfare state, about the role of government in industrial life, and had much stronger views about what should be done than -- and he thought that taft was just a little too much of a status quo guy. yeah. yes? >> sometimes people think of the word pivotal as synonymous for
the phrase turning point. >> uh-huh. >> i was a little surprised you didn't mention that starting in 1932, democrats had a plurality or a majority in seven of the next nine presidential campaigns. >> yeah. >> starting in 1968, republicans had a plurality or a majority in five of the next six presidential campaigns. >> uh-huh. >> and starting in 1992 democrats again had plurality or majority in five of the next six presidential campaigns. but that's not my question. my question really is, my question really is, is there something about substantial third party candidacies that exemplify pivotal election and should we expect this coming election will be pivotal only if there is a substantial third-party candidacy and
probably not otherwise? >> that's a -- that's a super question. i -- that is -- that is -- i hadn't thought about it in that way, but i think that's right. so third parties -- you know, richard hofstetter, a history professor of business, once said third parties are like bees. they sting and then they die. i think a third party candidate or independent -- a third party figure can be somebody like george wallace who is a candidate of one of the two major parties but is pushing the conversation in a different direction. when they gain traction, it usually is a reflection of the fact that the economic mood is -- there's economic instability. there's change -- enough change
that people feel that they really need something different than what they're getting. and you also see this a bit in 2000 with ralph nader, one of the reasons they would say, gore and bush, there's no difference. they're just two guys. i think that -- i think george w. bush showed everyone that he wasn't the same president as al gore. but there was this real kind of belief that you have these two kind of establishment parties and they weren't really offering fresh solutions. but what these -- when these outsiders -- the sting of the bee, of the third-party bee, is they get these to the two major parties -- again, the durability of our modern party system is one of the reasons that it's so durable is because it kind of accommodates the ross perot platform. you know, talking about the reduction of the national debt, for example. talking about fiscal responsibility was something that ross perot got both bush and clinton. they had to talk about it more than they were talking about it
before. so you do have -- i have to think more about this sort of correlation causality. because i think there is something to that. when you are pivoting to a different political area, the parties themselves are finding a way, even after the election, to kind of accommodate the voters that were supporting this independent candidacy. >> hi. thanks for an engaging talk about a probably even more engaging book. i don't have the knowledge of my constitutional lawyer friend who asked a previous question. follow up on that. i'd ask you to use the crystal ball that you don't have. you did a very good job today of using history to understand the present. now we will take you to the republican field of the 782 or however many people running. if you were forced to make a guess today -- it's going to be a two-prong question. who do you see at the end of this emerging as the republican candidate and why?
if you have a why. do you think if it's not donald trump or ben carson, would either be encouraged by the support, that they might run based upon their support? and then the easier question, you spent so much time with the presidential candidates and presidential winners. do you have a favorite or a non-favorite or both? >> thanks. crystal ball, it's always dangerous to have a history professor with a crystal ball. you know, i think there's patterns. my read is based on thinking about history. i would be very surprised if ben carson or donald trump ended up being the nominee. now, in 1963, people would have been really surprised if barry goldwater had been the nominee. but i do think whoever is the republican nominee is going to
be someone who has to accommodate some of the message, the use of media that some of these outsiders that have gotten all the attention have gotten. in the general, everyone runs to the center. everyone is going of running for their base, but the primaries are going to be really interesting. i think what makes this crystal ball particularly cloudy this time and why the field has been so large is because of the nature of the campaign finance. if you have one very, very deep pocketed and enthusiastic contributor, you can launch a national campaign. i think another dimension is the cost of media is different. donald trump has redefined free media, right? now, that's been around for a while. bill clinton in 1992 was very good at that. going on the arsenio hall show, getting headlines for other sorts of things, but it's a
tough call. i would be surprised in part because there's been so much heat and light put on these candidates on the edges now. third-party run, all bets are off. i don't know. people may promise that they're not going to do it, but roosevelt promised he wasn't going to run either. it's hard to pick a favorite. what i'd really love -- there's so many great personalities, right? there's a reason there's a big presidential history business. it's great stories, but what i really enjoy is kind of recovering and uncovering the stories of people who are misinterpreted by kind of conventional wisdom today. herbert hoover is an example of that. and then other stories that really showcase their humanity. one of the things that i learned and one of the reasons i teach this as a history professor is because i worked here.
one of the kids that come to washington every year to work in the executive branch or work on capitol hill. even if you're young and a small person in this political machine, just being this close to law making gives you a very different perspective on power. you realize these are human beings. the presidency is on the job training. there's no presidency school you can go to, and it is extraordinary. everyone is trying to do the best they can. we may disagree on how they're doing or what they believe is the best, but it is a -- these are human beings, and they are ordinary men. and we hope there will be more women who join them in the coming years that are just trying to figure out how to run the largest, most powerful country on earth. and it is a daunting, daunting
job. it amazes me that people wake up in the morning and say i could be president. i don't think i'm going to be running anytime soon. it's a big, big job. but to show their humanity and then to remind people they have this multidimensional life story with these phases in their careers. everyone has their up years and their down years. not a single president, even our two termers, even the ones that were the best of the best, they had moments where things were really, really going sideways for them, where their popularity was going boom. the spaghetti they were throwing on the wall was not sticking. then eventually -- looking back over a long period of time, we have time to appreciate and get past partisan bias about what we think these people stood for and actually appreciate them as figures of history and as representatives of a moment in time. so thank you for your questions.
thank you all for coming. it was really great. thanks. [ applause ] >> i will be upstairs. american history tv in primetime continues thursday with the people and events that shaped the civil war and reconstruction. at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a look at sherman's march through the carolinas. at 9:00 p.m., lectures in history features the story of civil war veterans. at 9:55, examing john brown and the election of 1860. and at 11:30 p.m., lectures in history on slavery, women, and
the civil war. thursday, the atlantic council hosts a discussion on russia under president vladimir putin. the panel looks at the relationship between president putin and the leader of chechnya. that's live here on c-span 3. thursday, book tv in primetime features books on education. at 8:00 p.m., "the battle for room 314." at 8:50 p.m., the national association of scholars report on reading lists for incoming college freshman. at 10:20 p.m., a panel for the tucson book festival on education. the need for horses on the
farm began to decline radically in the 1930s. it was not until the 1930s that they figured out how to make a rubber tire big enough to fit on a tractor. and starting in the 1930s, the 1940s, you had an almost complete replacement of horses as the work animals on farms. i do believe in one of my books on horses i read that in the decade after world war ii we had something like a horse holocaust, that the horses were no longer needed, and we didn't get rid of them in a very pretty way. >> sunday night on "q&a" robert gordon discusses his book "the rise and fall of american growth," which looks at the growth of the american standard of living between 1870 and 1970 and questions its future. >> one thing that often interests people is the impact
of superstorm sanidy on the eas coast in 2012. that wiped out the 20th century for many people. the elevators no longer worked in new york. the electricity stopped. you can't charge your cell phones. you couldn't pump gas into your car because it required electricity to pump the gas. so the power of electricity in the internal combustion engine to make modern life possible is something people take for granted. >> sunday night on c-span 3. american history tv on c-span 3. this weekend on saturday afternoon at 2:00 eastern, law professor jeffrey rosen talks about the influence of former chief justice john marshall.