tv History Bookshelf Craig Shirley Reagan Rising CSPAN August 28, 2020 10:08pm-10:58pm EDT
devices thank you, and if you are on social media today and we hope you are, please use the hashtag gps, gbf sorry. there will be service, and by submitting a survey you'll be entered in a draw to win a 100 dollar visit gift card. so i encourage each one of you to enter into that survey and at the end of this presentation, mr. surely will be signing books and copies are on sale in this tent and around the grounds here. make sure you take advantage of having renowned author mr. shirley here. so this is a free event and but it does help, the book festival if you buy a book. the more books we salute our event, the more publishers will want to send their authors here to speak with us. pushing basically purchasing a
book it basically helps our partners and calm the great independent bookstores that we have here. it supports local jobs so let me start tackling the familiar, or what we believe is to be the funnel familiar, is a challenge for even the most decent author. done well the best books on the subject, which we are really familiar with. i'm sorry let me try it again. done well the best books often are limited limited to a subject. -- craig shirley is the author, and reagan rising is that book
and charter members of the conservative party and conservatism honestly. reagan rising, offers a glimpse of one of our most celebrated brit celebrated personalities it chronicles the journey of a man who having just offered suffered a defeat picks himself up and becomes leader of a new brand of conservatism. trump's presidency, offers the perfect backdrop to study reagan's descendants. we reagan's rising offers insight into a philosophy that served as a touchstone for conservatives across the country. reagan's conservative philosophy still inspires this day. i learned mister shirley played an instrumental role in having
the support of la crosse designated the state board of maryland. there will be a special place in the heart of all maryland. gaithersburg, join me in welcoming craig shirley. [applause] and interviewing him will be juan williams who needs no introduction but we are going to introduce them anyway. emmy award winner and fox news contributor since 1997, celebrated author in his own right, mister williams the prolific chronicler of the civil rights experience in america. eyes on the prize, 1965. and there are several more. so finally, i'm pleased to announce that we are three to one majority as registered republicans are territory. thank you welcome. if you ever need a respite for
fox news we welcome here with open arms. please join me in welcoming one williams. >> a pleasure to be here with craig shirley -- craig shirley who high have known since the reagan white house in the early 80s. >> i did not know about lacrosse. i want to start with the basic question, for the people who are so kind, the book festival, why did you write this book? you have written extensively about reagan before. >> i guess if you're in
friendly territory i am behind enemy lines. >> i am retired from all that but for making us ways we had to rename his tv show the four. i wrote this because it is an important part of american history, an important part of reagan's history that has never been winston explored before. churchill. okay all right big math. martin gilbert who is will winston churchill's most famous biographer wrote a dozen books on churchill various aspects one of his books was called a golden shares and was about that time in the late twenties early thirties when churchill was cast aside by the conservatives and england, great britain and embarked upon a new career of writing and doing radio commentary and lecturing. it mirrors reagan in many ways because in some ways he was cast aside by his party. and by the way churchill was warning about spending most of
his radio commentary and his columns, warning about the rising threat of adolf hitler nazism. the thing is most people in england were ignoring or pooh-poohing. reagan spent his years doing radio commentary in russia warning about the rising threat of the soviet union so there is a lot of parallel between churchill's world looks years and reagan's world last year. it's serendipitous but it's also because he forced them to the floor. prop 13 in california, panama canal treaties, other issues you were covering i was involved with that came to the fore and helped produce his election in 1980. that's why wrote it doug brinkley who's a traffic story and said that the realm of rail
reagan scholarship is just about to open up and i think that every time i sit down to think about ronald reagan i think about a new aspect of his life in his career and his times that has been under reported or hasn't been covered at all. >> so let's get to put you in friendly territory and talk about the elephant pun intended in the room which is donald trump. >> now >> now. now is the answer to his question (laughter) (laughter) >> i see you've seen in the crystal ball. here's the question. people say well gosh, how would you compare >> i wouldn't. (laughter) (laughter) >> reagan to trump. and then they say what has become of republican
conservatives in isn't too from reagan to. trump >> you cover the reagan white house for how many years? and the reagan campaign and 84? let me ask you. is there anything about donald trump that reminds you remotely about ronald reagan. >> no. (laughter) and so you sign of the crystal ball. but i must tell you so many people in the republican party really hold ronald reagan as a paradigm the, party of conservatism. but then will say they're all with trump. >> let's just a matter of practicality. you can be with reagan but you can also be in the modern age and say i'm for trump because he wasn't hillary. i'm for trump for whatever reasons, he's taken on the bureaucracy whatever. else comparing two individuals, my wife is looking at me
(laughter). i've been guilty for 35 years. (laughs). look radiant, was an intellectual, reagan was thoughtful, reagan was an american conservative, reagan was kind, he was gentle, he was thoughtful. you know even in his diaries he wouldn't swear. he'd right de dash dash stash instead of writing dam. that's a jen teal he was. there was a story that when he was president, and one of the first female secrecy adverse agents and he kept standing aside as as he was walking through his door for the secret (laughter) safest images. my mother told me he said ladies always go first. the treasury department had to sit him down and say, she is
not a woman, she is an agent, she is a professional. you have to allow her to do her job. reagan was very reluctant. i can't imagine anybody ever saying anything like that about donald trump. reagan was a populist, he was in american conservative, he was committed to his principles, but he was also flexible. he was kind, he was thoughtful, not always particularly thoughtful but more so than most men. look, don't turning me for evidence of reagan's importance to american history. john patrick begins who in many ways was the official historian of the american elected in the 20 century. roads books on this labor movement, on the civil rights movement, we will books on the environmental movement. his last book, and he actually had done battle with governor
reagan over the free speech movement and done rhetorical battle, not physical battle. his last book is called ronald reagan, faith freedom in the making of history. in this book, this liberal historian rates ronald reagan as one of our four greatest presidents. when he can get pardon to washington, abraham lincoln and roosevelt because he saves many many people. that's the definition of greatness. do americans save our free many people? >> craig, when we think about reagan and the conservative party conservatives in, i go back to bury goldwater to 64. to reagan's famous speech. for the sake of this audience, before we take it and to the wilderness worries where you take it here, explain to us how he comes to being.
because one of the great distinctions between reagan and trump as that reagan had a strong political history before he challenges the parties establishment. >> he'd already had a lot of executive experience as head of the screen actors guild. a couple of years ago, reagan negotiated residual's which became important to a lot of old, retired actors and actresses who are out of work who were still getting stipend and residual's from the work they done in tv and movies years ago. the studios previously would pay the actors and actresses to appear in a tv show or movie something like that, and then they can be broadcast and broadcasts pocket all the royalties with impunity. reagan and his president of the screen actors guild, negotiated so that they're in likeness and they're acting was not just
sold with the composition. adam reagan was the one who did it. i was having lunch with fred burns a couple of years ago and he was one of those washington movies, he had a little role, i think it was babe. he was telling me about the movie have been re-broadcast and hungry, and he got a residual check for 12 dollars 98 and i said you know why you got that check? i said you've got that because of ronald reagan negotiated out with the studios. my point is that he had very good executive skills and very good negotiating skills long before he even ran for governor. but of course, his movie career had faded. he liked hollywood, he loved hollywood but by 1962 or 63, it's pretty much over. he only made one movie after that called killers, which was not deputation of hemingway's novel. he hated the movie so, much you never saw. he did 57 movies i think.
it's the only time in 57 movies worries depicted as a bad guy and he slaps angie dickinson in the movie. he really hated that, he hated. he would never see the movie. he himself -- he's got like a professional host in southern california, introducing political candidates and various things and he started to develop a speech which became known as the speech. for local candidates but mostly for goldwater and 63. the draft goldwater movement started in the fall of 63. my members were actually members of. it they came here to watch washington to the draft cold water on convention. walter brown and kiss my mother. does anybody remember walter
brennan? >> sure. >> okay good. excellent! >> it's odd to think of walter brennan in my mind kissing your mom but (laughter). >> anyway he's developing the speech and finally a group of wealth and wealthy southern california businessman go to reagan and his brother neil, neil was us at executive in southern california, and they say to reagan, we want to put the speech on television to help cold water. so it was broadcast on nbc and it was an enormous hit. it raised millions of dollars for the goldwater campaign in the republican national committee. of course coal water loses in an historic landslide but david brody who worked for the washington post, our old friend, the once ray of sunlight in a dismal campaign was reagan speech.
and goal waters defeat was devastating to the republican party. the republicans are a minority in the house, vast minority in the house and the senate. they have very few state houses, very few governorships and in many ways, the republican party is functionally dead. it doesn't have a coherent philosophy. so reagan is now embarking to california and he says, a group of businessmen come to him and salem, what a run for the senate? he says no i don't want to run for the senate, i want to run for congress. and they say what about governor? so that peaked is interests. so he began going around the state, doing local business groups and civic groups and other organized groups and getting feedback, the feedback from the people was good. so that's when he decided to run for governor of california. now he's just completely broken from hollywood.
but he calm self not just a politician, but a citizen politician. >> let's let's go from a time to choose which is the title of his beach. and you can go on youtube and watch it. very clear. there's a landslide for johnson over goldwater. we come forward in time then threw the time he spends as governor in sacramento and now we're in the nixon era. here comes ronald reagan to challenge the party at a moment when the party is shaking and things aren't clear what but they want gerald ford. he's the establishment candidate. in this book, you take us through some of these very difficult shows for a man whose popular who says he's in keeping with the real conservative ideology of the time. but the party is somewhere else. >> the party is still somewhere in the wilderness. the republican party kind of
from 1932 up until the late seventies doesn't have a coherent philosophy. the democrats have a coherent philosophy. they're also the party of optimism, the party of hope, the party the future. franklin roosevelt runs for president and happy days appearing in. jon kennedy says we need to get this country moving again. the democratic party from 32 till basically 76 and beyond as a party of hope, optimism, and the future. the republican party is the green eye shade, ear spanish, balance the budget party. their message is basically metoo-ism. a lot of conservatives accuse moderate republicans that of metoo isn't. we can manage government better than that the democrats. that was that was basically their pitch and it wasn't particularly inspirational of course. that is why they were in the minority fourth from 1932 until
1968 and even beyond. because 68 was an aberration. but reagan comes forward and the early leaders of the conservative movement have a coherent message that was based on the framework, based on the founders, based in the constitution. that in kind of costs cast aside, or put on the sidelines for 1932 on. we're reaching an era, i have to go backwards. from 32 until the sixties, most americans believe the government is working and government is working for them. it didn't solve the great depression but it did make a good great effort and people appreciate. adapted to defeat the empire of japan, it to defeat nazi germany, did bill public education, roads. at one point we had the finest public education system in the
world. forties fifties and sixties. but by the sixties, government is starting to fail. government doesn't say jon kennedy, president kennedy. government doesn't save martin lives there king junior. government doesn't save robert kennedy, senator robert kennedy. and then in the seventies, government can't win the vietnam, war government can't stop higher inflation, can't stop higher interest rates, can't stop gas lines. and carter runs in 76, as basically an outsider, and was not what it to the idea of the government. he was a reformer. reform. or he was going to go after the corruption, and cut taxes. he's really more of a populace, almost conservative who sees the people are frustrated in the seventies. they don't believe the government is working for many more. but reagan also sees this. carter attacks it from somewhat of the lofven really.
reagan is on the right which is why as they emerge as the two most instant candidates of 76. reagan could come to the convention, loses the nomination to gerald ford by 69 delegate votes out of 2069 cast in kansas city. for a lot of reasons, the mississippi delegation, the ohio delegation, a new york delegation, reagan is convinced that ford has not stolen the nomination but not entirely one legitimately. this really wets reagan's appetite to run again. even though by this time he 65 people say look you've been around the track twice you lost twice. you gave it your best shot. gave a deal college drive announced time to status step aside.
reagan saying no worry you didn't mention forward in much detail but tell me, what is his view of gerald ford? >> first of all, ford and reagan don't much like each other. mrs. reagan -- that's how little they like each other. gerald ford ascends to the presidency by way of the 22nd amendment when nixon picks him after sparrow agony resigns for taking kickbacks here in maryland while governor of maryland. still taking kickbacks even when his vice president of the united states. so nixon need somebody who's gonna placate all the elements of the party but not somebody's not gonna threaten him, not causing him to look over his shoulder. he quickly to disses the gerald ford fits the bill. gerald ford's lifelong dream is
to be speak of the house in my 1970, for this never gonna happen. so becoming vice president is a nice capsule of his career. but then a smoking gun tape is revealed in july of 1974, it's it's in all the news now. i don't even have to explain it. i said there's an elephant in the tenth. as a smoking gun. six months ago people say what 45 coat you talk in a? anyway nixon is ordered to the fbi to try to halt the investigation into watergate not spells the end of next. in gerald ford a sense to the presidency but ford has, no republicans made an investment in general for. no one outside the district of maryland has voted for general for. so his hold on the republican party is very tenuous.
he wants to run for 76, but he confuses nixon's appeal, nixon's policies and he was by and large, he was fairly conservative although not as conservative as reagan. is that for trump? for (laughter) >> the train is gone. >> so he pursues all of nixon's policies, he continues détente, he continues his fiscal policies, it continues liberal jurors to the bench. this creates an opening for a conservative challenger for 76. and that would be. reagan >> but then carter beats reagan by a narrow margin. >> less than two. percent ford gets to hundred 40 electoral votes. if he carers ohio. carter carries ohio in 1976 by
the records five minute commentaries that go out to hundreds of radio stations. these are real real tape or an 45 record. this is before the day when you could send out a soundbite by the internet to 1000 radio stations. these are five minute radio commentaries. at one point, 55 million people every week or listening to ronald reagan. plus he's got twice a week column which has been carried by hundreds of newspapers so late seventies, you have to be under rock and not know ronald reagan is. but >> but did it? work >> sure. after ford loses, reagan becomes. actor that's a good question. he becomes the de facto leader of the republican party. one of his big issues as the panel panama canal treaties. panama canal was considered one
of the seven wonders of the world. my grandmother was so furious carter was gonna get away the canal to the republic of panama. i didn't realize it until later how important was for because she grew up with the canal. this is a great example of american exceptionalism. we succeeded where the french field failed. it's very important psychically for my grandmother and millions of americans like her. so the idea that carter is gonna turn over control of it to panama is just infuriating. this is also at a time where america is waning in its influence. we lost vietnam, we're losing the soviets, americas day is over. plus we have all these problems at home here. it just comes at a terrible time reagan of course his campaigning first against gerald ford and then jimmy carter and the canal treaties.
reagan starting in north carolina 1970, sixties pounding the electric, and saying he pay we paid it, we're gonna keep. it and the audience just goes crazy over this. he keeps it up as an issue even has carter becomes president he still gonna continue to policy of trying to transfer the panama canal zone. carter goes on national television to make the case to the american people watts important to give over control of the pandemic canal and he singles out for criticism private citizen ronald reagan. the president of the united states singles at one person, one out of 240 million people, he singles out reagan. the next day, cbs news calls private citizen ronald reagan and they say would you like a half hour of national broadcast time to respond to the
president of the united states? it would never happen today? right so reagan jumps of the chants and he goes on gives a half hour speech responding to the president of the united states to attacking him over the animal canal treaties. >> let's go from him attacking the president to his fight with the republican establishment at that time embodied in george h. w. bush. >> right. the party is split and it has been split since the fifties. in 1952, eisenhower or robert. soft senator taft represented the republican outsiders. nixon, lodge, goldwater rockefeller and again nixon, rockefeller. but there's always a split in the side center of the
republican party bc the conservative outsiders the more moderate insiders. this happens again in 1980. reagan comes as across as the conservative side isn't bush represent seconds the more moderate insiders. this is the future of the party boil down these two individuals. it was a seesaw battle for a while because reagan kind of coasts. reagan is that is worse when he doesn't have a challenge. he's at his best when he's someone is challenging. he's a competitor. it was one said he was the most competitive sob we have a new. if he doesn't have a challenge they needed won't rise to the occasion. so he doesn't take the george h.w. bush challenge seriously and he ends up lying the iowa caucuses in guy january of 1980 which was a stunning, stunning upset to the political world. it was enormous, i was huge.
reagan had been a radio broadcaster in iowa all through the thirties. he was from nearby illinois. he's a local hero. george bush is for new england in texas. he has lost ties to new england attorney prep school to iowa than any prep school in doing. so he beats reagan. that night, time of nemesio zone asheville television and says we have just witnessed the political funeral around. reagan reagan is out. that's it. five weeks later, he scores an enormous come back in the new hampshire primary and we all remember the famous national debate, paying for this microphone, mr. green, even though his name was breen, reagan said green. that begins, that starts the beginning of his come back
against bush. but he goes to detroit, the party still divided and so he needs to pick bush to unify the party as they always have. nixon picks lodge, eisenhower picks nixon, nixon picks on you in order to unify the party. it was a ticket splitting vote parties packets in the forties fifties sixties into the seventies. a unifies the party but it goes through 30 primaries in state conventions. the primary or the nomination is not just reagan's for the asking. he's gonna fight the street fight of his life to be george bush to get the nomination. >> and that fight is the source of the term who economics. >> that's right reagan was pushing camera, he was doing this issue 1970 80 was doing radio. temper off tax cuts become one of the center pieces of his 80
campaign. it's really bedeviling bush because he can't match. it he came up with his own tax plan but it was more folks focused on business rather than individual. reagan was more focused on the individual rather than business. bush unwisely goes out and starts attacking a very popular plan of reagan's that reagan is scoring political with any calls it voodoo economics. reagan was so furious over that he almost didn't pick bushes his vp. in detroit in 1980 >> four about at a time. we want to invite questions from the audience so please have your questions prepared. but i want to come back to this because we started craig by talking about trump, reagan.
you, know reagan actually gets a tax reform plan done. >> to. 81 and 80 -- . >> he's able to do business with democrats, tip-in eel. he has success in terms of moving things forward despite instance criticism at times not only from democrats but from fellow republicans. >> and the washington establishment. >> that's what i'm trying to say. okay >> i thought you gonna walk mention the washington post (laughter). (laughs) >> craig definitely likes to skewer skewer the post. so you get a situation now where people say here's another populist outsider challenger specifically to the republican establishment. >> right? . >> but you say the analogy does not hold water and i'm thinking and in your book as a result of one guy could get things done
in washington so far the other cannot? >> i think the parties have changed. there were a lot more conservative democrats in 1981 than there are today. there were a lot more liberal republicans in washington than the republican party today. but ultimately, politics is personal. you've been writing about it for a long time and you see it. politics is about the person. reagan was a able to work with democrats. dan rostenkowski with the tax bill deserves most of the credit for the 86 bill through congress. because more than o'neill because o'neill is getting ready to retire. go back to reagan could bring them over to the republican fold. i think also, look at reagan speeches. his commentaries. look at his q&as. he did not come to washington
to declare war on the media. he had attacked the bureaucracy that was for sure, but he realized he needed democrats to get his programs through. he needed the media, to at least be open to the idea that he had. and i tease you about the washington post, but the washington post editorial is often very supportive, and they said after he got the nomination, they said reagan brought a new intellectual revolution to the american politics in that something to be thankful for. and reagan put that into practice. i think it was personal, philosophical i think the parties have changed, and we are at the end of jimmy carter, and jimmy carter you know also is a good man. he came to washington with the best of intentions. but jimmy carter, failed this president. because he didn't ultimately understand washington. but we have the recession. so democrats knew they needed
to do something, so they were willing to take a chance on reagan onyx. on kemp rothrock. >> so get back to trump so let me answer this diplomatically. there were a lot of people in the eighties that thought that reagan was going to be a failure and he left office with high approval numbers. and many historians were trading him very high. but now they're looking at the reagan presidency, and he is now them raided i think 13th. i think it's too low but he was steadily going up over the last 30 or 40 years. and i do not have the newspapers of eight years of four years from now to tell you about donald trump. i can tell you that reagan approach the presidency different, he had a different it was a different man had a
different style. and there is no comparison except both were outsiders and wolf were thrust into the political system. that is the only thing to compare the two men. >> but when people inside the republican party say oh no trump is the inheritor's know is the answer again. >> no trump is not the inheritor knowledge any republican is the inheritor of any previous you know. he's also an inheritor i guess that we have the bushes to. as far as the cullen coalition to win the nomination. >> i do not think that trump would say he was comfortable with being described that he was in hair and inheritor of george w.. >> there's a lot of things that trump is not comfortable ways.
look but it is obvious there is a certain type of republican primary voter that issues may change and it may change their philosophy but essentially the primary republican voter, and they voted for nixon in the 1960, but that similar to the republican primary who voted for donald trump in 2016. >> well the silent majority concept got. >> that was coined by richard nixon and reintroduce with donald trump. >> so you think when you took at people when you take a look at people like paul ryan, when you look at mitch mcconnell are they the true inheritors of the reagan legacy or is it someone else am i missing something's? >> i do not know if there is anyone inheritor, but i will tell you one thing though i saw
mike pence give a speech today. at groves city college it was a reagan-esque speech. and somebody will write a contract, between his speech, and will contrast his speech with trump's at the coast guard academy. it digs to be written it really does because it was a terrific you know if you haven't seen it i would urge you to go on youtube and take a look at it. it was a very good speech. as we troll americans. >> i get the impression, you did not think much of mr. trump's speech at the coast guard academy. >> he uses first person pronouns what he's eating breakfast. >> let's go to the audience here. we have a question. >> okay i think there's a microphone coming for you.
what >> so speaking of inheritance, would you say that ted cruz, and the freedom caucus are political political legacies of reagan? stop >> reagan was motivated by certain things, freedom individuality, and future. he was a romantic, he believed in the philosophy of enlightenment. he quoted emerson. and he quoted pain, and so much of the lightning is about those elements and by the time reagan was an adult, heat he is centered on the maximum freedom which is consistent milan order. so anyone, who articulate's that or understands that, is the air to the reagan philosophy. whether it's ted cruz, or or
hallucinogenic's but it should be done by the states and localities and not by the federal government. i think that's probably closest to what the blending of his philosophy in libertarianism, and also as a traditionalist. >> i think this is a powerful question, at the moment given what we are seeing from the attorney general jeff sessions. and sessions wants to go back to the war on drugs. but you see many republicans, including some republicans that might surprise you, hard-liners that say we have too many people incarcerated in the country, and it's not economically rewarding, and it's cheaper to send them to college than to put them in jail. good and i'm just wondering, if when you hear this question, you think again this is a departure from ronald reagan's attitude. his willingness to work with others, to respond to hear the situation. >> what i think there's a lot of departures, reagan you know he was forced with a strong
board for strong board. i think that was the basis of national security. and i think he came up in pooh-poohed it a bit in the republican primaries. >> no stay on this one, because immigration is so big and building a big wall and having a door in the middle. >> but everything that reagan does, his presidency has to be judged in the shadow of the cold war. and when he proposed, the north american free trade agreement. good it was to build, a more solid free market system in the west, to repel soviet advances and violate the maduro doctrine. he wanted a strong western hemisphere so that says you know same with nicaraguan, el salvador, and one of his big things was freedom with democracies. same with the caribbean based initiative, to build strong
democracies in the caribbean, to fend off soviet advancements to undermine those countries. >> okay azar we don't have time for another question. craig surely's book, reagan rising, the decisive years. 1976, to 1980. as you can tell from this conversation, it's very lively, very topical and it has power in this moment. craig thank you so much. thank (applause).
up next and look at president reagan's's foreign policy during the soviet union policy. marcus which are explains how they downplayed their criticism of the president, during this decade. as they look to reinvent their relationship with the 40th president. >> good morning, and welcome to the montgomery lawyers chapter of the federal society.