tv Q A CSPAN December 31, 2012 6:00am-7:00am EST
>> this week on q&a, our guest is historian and commentator kevin phillips to discuss his newly released historical narrative titled 1775: a good year for revolution. phillips suggests that the year 1775 was a critical launching point of both -- what are you getting at? >> i'm getting at a lot of republicans are disappointed. one of the things i like best about 1775 is it was a much more inspiring group of people. granted, the founding fathers were not always there were made out to be, but it would be nice if we had a little more that in
washington, d.c. today and a little less of what we have. >> what do we have now? >> and overgrown city with too many politicians and lobbyists and consultants and media. seven out of the 10 richest counties in the united states, metropolitan washington, is the capital that cannot produce. it is the country that is still great with capital that is not. >> who in 1775 whatever predicted this? >> i suspect some of them were pretty cynical about politics. if you ever had an idea there would be a country of 300 million people with a capital that would have its finger on everything in the world, they might have been able to come up with a little pcynicism about that. >> said during the last years of
the campaign of 2012, you started. >> the first time i did something like that was in the 1990's. i wrote a book about the english-speaking civil wars. the english revolution, the american revolution, and the american civil war. i did that because i cannot stand the idea of thinking about it bill clinton and newt gingrich too much. nice to take a vacation from those guys. when i ran out of gas writing books about politics and economics, which i did a number of between 2002 and 208, i said it's time to go back into history again. -- 2002 to 2008. i have forgotten about them pretty well. i cannot remember the name of the governor of texas who was such a jerk in the primary. that is the revenge. a lot of people don't remember his name.
the fact the could not remember what departments or in the government is a little forgivable. i did it for the same reason, in many respects. i wanted to deal with something i like, that i thought was worth pursuing. a long time ago i did a book called "the emerging republican majority.: it pretty much did emerge. i thought i would take the methodology that i used in the book to try to, with a good explanation, a realignment of 1775. that is a good part of what this new book is about. >> before we get into this, would you deal with one comment that i saw on the web written by weisburg a number of years ago. he called you a liberal.
>> i don't think i have ever been what i would call a liberal. somebody might call me a progressive. certainly even within the republican party for a long time there was a major progressive movements. but, liberal, i don't think so. outsider, antiestablishment, but not liberal and not merely conservative either. i would not accept either of those labels. i understand it does not stop with those labels. in terms of the political labels, i don't think i really have one that works terribly well at this point. to correct what did you think of richard nixon when you worked with him? >> i liked him better after i
was not working for him and he was out of the presidency. i kept up with him quite a bit. if obviously a very intelligent man, a man with enormous personal problems in terms of relating to people. i've understand much better, which i did not at the time when i worked for him, how he was not an effective administrator and how he could not keep all of those words in the can, whether you are talking about the administration or a special watergate. >> how did you keep up with him during the years after she was president? >> he read one of my books in the early 1980's which he liked and somehow or other if we started having correspondence again. then he gave me a number of parties and i with the maximum four time a year. his office was in new york and in new jersey.
when i would go from washington to our house in connecticut, sometimes i would stop and see him. and we would discuss politics and we would discuss some of the things that had not been able, but a certain amount of stuff i cannot pursue. -- could not pursue. >> did you ever get any insight on how watergate happen? >> i think i got a little. for example, one time, this was probably 1992 or thereabout, he told me and indicated that john mitchell have thought so too, that this book that was coming out, "silenced coup," they thought that was probably some of what happened the guy " said
mitchell on the cover on one of his editions that they thought this was sort of our happened. so i got that sense from nixon. practical back to your book on 1775, how did you pursue it > how did your research and where did you have to go? how long a process? you talk about going all over the east coast, on the back. correct the principal thing i did was i had been interested in the revolution since i was a kid. i think i was probably eight or nine when i would make list set of british generals. my father was not sure i was headed for anything useful. but i always enjoyed that. then when i did "the cousins wars," focus me in a big way on the american publishing. my way of writing books is generally to buy all the books i need for the research so i don't
have to go to a library, i don't have to worry about where they are. i have them. i can look at them whenever i want to. 600, 800,ve wound up 1000 books on the revolution. i read and read and i would get a lead for something else. with all the stuff i did on politics and political realignments and grass-roots politics, i knoew where a lot of counties were in the eastern states. you could tell me the name of a town or name of a county and i could follow it. a big help in dealing with a lot of parochial things that the average person would say i'm not going to read this because i have no idea where these places are, i generally did not have to go to a map much. so i did research. in a way i've always done it pretty much by myself, getting it all to myself and having it
there, basically thinking it out , byot thinking ait out myself. >> which character from 1775, both british and american, was the most interesting to you? correct actually, a lot looked interesting. if you think interesting in terms of significant, then had the largest overall impression on me or the important impression, george washington was probably what people to think of him as. enormously impressive in a lot of ways, he was very careful in a lot of what he did to cultivate that image. he was not very effective militarily. in the middle of 1776 when the british invaded, and made a number of mistakes. the rest of the time he was very good. sam adams, i have an enormous
amount of respect for. he burned a lot of records that might have told us more about him, but i think he seemed a lot of things really. i think, for example, you know what happened at lexington and concord before happened, that the british fired first. i think, probably they did but maybe they didn't. sam adams schemed all kinds of things out brilliantly. it would take me a documentary series of four to describe everything he did and how acute it was and how far ahead that man must have thought. so i had a great sense of his skills and ability. the other one that always fascinated me was the british commander sir william howell. his family was very interesting, because his mother was the illegitimate daughter of george
pullman one. there were close to the royal family. -- of george i. his brother was a brigadier in the british army and was killed in 7958 near lake george in new york. he was a hero of the colonials. they loved him. he liked the americans. he liked the massachusetts troops. the democratic. he did not wear the red color. he had things that were not as easy to see in the woods. they liked him so much that when he was killed, they put a memorial tablet, the massachusetts house, the assembly, but a tablet in westminster abbey. the tablet was enormously impressive. he was the hero of his two younger brothers. the younger brothers, one of them an admiral, a commander of the british navy during that time.
answer william howell, the general at bunker hill and other battles. -- sir william hall. -- howell. they did not want to win the revolution unless it made it possible for americans and the british to have an effective and solid union. i think he wanted to win it in a way the americans would say we have been outmaneuver or we cannot win this. but he did not want anything that was an inconclusive bloody mess. unfortunately, for the british, that meant he did not try as hard as another general might have. >> you have a quotation from door to washington from december 1775. a chapter 22, i want to read it. "if that man --
>> i think washington said this when he was up in massachusett s in december 1775 or late november. communications were slow at that time. i think washington at that time, probably the most recent things he knew about dunmore or things in october or november when he was probably as close to the peak of his power in virginia, because, ultimately, he was chased out of virginia, but during the summer and fall of
1775 he was very effective in sending of troops arrayed plantations. he was stirring up the indians. he promised to blacks that ran away from their plantations and came to him they could find refuge and get their freedom in the british army. he even stirred up insurrection of indentured servants. in october and november, not only did it look like he might succeed but there were rumors that he was going to send a party in the area of alexandria, virginia. the threat was implicitly -- that he would capture martha washington. george washington is up there in massachusetts were about his wife. even thomas jefferson word about his wife &.
i put that in. i did not dwell on it. it's a footnote or something like that. but washington had a personal concern, too. >> what was dunmore's position? >> he was and earl and a governor of virginia and a man of some talent and a lot of inability to make a judgment, because he was so caught up in his potential success and himself. you called him a short man, combative, touchy, and arrogant. >> arrogant, like so many of the british aristocracy would have been. but he was odd. when he captured and build some o valley, hee hybla vallohi named them after his sincer
subsidiary titles. blair.a baron and the county in virginia named dunmore. he had an ego a mile wide. >> what would've been a personal relationship between george washington and him? >> they knew each other. in the spring of 1775 or the late winter before the hostilities that really got the sense in williamsburg, which is the capital of virginia, there were on some terms. there were not friendly. both of them land speculator. they shared this interest in the land in the west. george washington was developing those and dunmore was buying up all he could get. but then they fell out. i don't think they fell out so
much for personal reasons as because of this year washington had that this guy's way of doing business was to send raiding parties up a little rivers in virginia and capture people. >> what power would he have had over george washington and the rest of the citizens of virginia? party did not have very much unless you were right within the reach of his immediate political clout. -- >> he did not have very much. basically, he did not have a wide reach except through the little ships that would send up some of the rivers to try to capture people and plantations. >> what kind of rights to the people of virginia or people of the colonies have in relationship to the governors of the colony's? >> well, the average virginian did not worry much about
dunmore. unless you were in the sphere of his influence around norfolk, he cannot do much to you, unless its troops came after you. basically, in virginia at that time you had a very tenuous hold on the southeastern padonia of patriots. -- on southeastern in virginia, by the patriots. for a while, that part was counted tory. this was in october and november 1775, very brief. was is when dunmore's star highest and people have to worry about him. after they abandoned the norfolk at the end of 1776, he
was on the decline and washington would not have cared as much. >> where did you think of king george iii? >> he was not as bad as people made out. in other words, he was not an ogre. he was a man who really had big ambitions to restore the importance of the crown. really succeed.ase exce he regarded the american revolution in the same way that a lot of politicians regarded vietnam. he was afraid if they could not hold america, the dominoes will fall elsewhere in the british empire. he was wrong about that and he was wrong about a lot. he was a bad decision maker for the british government in the early years. but to blame it all on him would be a great mistake. >> what is your take on the 16 points that were made by thomas jefferson in the virginia
constitution and therefore the declaration of independence? >> that is all this stuff about george iii being an ogre and being responsible for everything. that was dressed up for very good reason. if you were urging a revolution, and by political theory of the era, you could overthrow a tyrant. overthrowing a tyrant was ok, it was not a civil war. it was something that had greater justification. in order to make the case they needed heading into the period of wanting to be credible to the other nations so they could gain from france or spain, and this was another reason for the declaration of independence, you had to make george iii out to be a tyrant. sonya, with all these arguments about what he did. that is where tempers and dead. -- so they made all these
arguments. >> what did you think about jefferson? >> i did not think much. he was a words maturity was not a good governor of virginia. the british almost caught him one time. he was not able to organize effective resistance. he was not famous until he was -- famous in the sense that we know him historical now -- until when he was running for president in the 17 nineties. he held himself out as the author of the declaration of independence, which in some ways he was. nobody had cared about that during 1770 s, but it helped him. that was his claim to fame when he was running for the presidency. then when he and john adams died on the same day, july 4, 1826, and that's when the whole thing became the document that this was god's handiwork, but they died on the same day. >> knowing what you know about
this, where would you have fit back in those days? what would you have been? >> i probably would've been a trouble maker, because that was one of my major things when i was involved in politics. but i probably also would've been somebody who had a strategic bent. i'm not sure what i would've done. i can conceive of myself being a delegate to the continental congress or something. it's not hard for me to imagine myself in that role. i certainly would not have been -- probably would not have been a military officer. to tell you the truth, brian, i never thought about that much while i was right thing. i have a sense of kinship to these people, some of them, because they are trying to organize national realignment and the grand strategy. but not from a military standpoint. >> would you been loyalist? >> i would not been a loyalist. oddly enough, the one part of my family i can trace back to the
revolution, i could not get to be sons of the american revolution because my mother's family were loyalists in pennsylvania. they were quakers in bucks county, pennsylvania. to the extent that i had ancestors there, one of them was a delegate from bucks county who was a loyalist. >> to the crown? >> yes. >> about your father's side? >> my father's family were from respective parts of the british isles. most of ireland and some in england. i don't know. hard to say. the division of loyalties in ireland were -- a lot of the poorer people and the protestants of northern ireland were patriots.
a lot of the catholics supported loyalists because the catholic gentry at the time were trying to be accepted in the british empire and they tried to prove that loyalty by subsidizing, raising companies to send over there. irish politicians don't like to emphasize that. but the opinion of the catholic gentry in iowa was loyalists. -- in ireland. in britain, large chunks of -- especially in east anglia, which sticks out from the london area, there were very, very patriot- minded. but that's not where my family in england came from. >> you're born in the bronx? >> no, in manhattan. >> but you live in the bronx? >> sometimes. it's going back to the early years, you talk about your fascinated by the generals back
in those days. to what was your childhood like? how many kids in the family? >> just my brother and myself, separated by eight years. we were not always in each other's hair. >> what did your dad do? prexy was a commissioner of the new york state government. >> what was it like in the early years about being so fascinated? how did you get interested in it? >> i got interested in it in terms of politics when i was about 11 or 12. i don't think i had been too interested in politics before. eisenhower was the nominee in 1952. i remember being very big on eisenhower. and my father was very big on eisenhower. after that, i got into politics because i started getting fascinated by voting powers. by the time the 1956 republican campaign came around, i was an
active kids osmose and all that. but i was already making maps county by county in different states of how they voted in presidential elections. when i wrote this book, "the emerging republican majority," it came out when i was 28, but i had been doing it 12 or 14 years in terms of research. hard to believe. it was not terrific for my social life to be concentrating on all this stuff. >> you married and have 10 children? >> that's right. >> how old are they? >> 37. chris paul interested in they are thi -- >> how interested are they in this? >> one does political consulting and another is in a related field. it turned out to be sort of i
would not say chips off the old block but in the same ballpark. >> where did you learn how to write? >> i don't really know. i started writing the first book, which did not turn out to be a book, because i gave it up for the next one, i started writing in 1965. it was on the politics of fighting the great society. i had come to washington. ipod johnson's program was really vulnerable, as it turned out to be. so i wrote this book. when i looked back on it, it was very stilted and i will not say formal, but it was not very well written. but several allied after that. and -- but i wrote a lot after that. i did a number of commentaries
for cbs and then npr. it had to be punchy. my written style is a combination of lawyers analytical writing, a lot of writing that is not legal, and then writing a lot of stuff that had to be punchy. so that is stirred into the pot in various forms. >> you are writing about 1775, you say there were 2.1 million colonists in those days in this country? >> there would've been about 2.1 million whites, 2.6 million all total. it is not precise. they had official censuses in a few colonies. >> where were the population centers among the 13 colonies? >> the polish and centers were the biggest populations were pennsylvania, virginia,
massachusetts had quite a good sized population, north carolina was growing by leaps and bounds. people went south through pennsylvania and virginia into the western part of north carolina. -- the population centers were the biggest in pennsylvania, virginia, massachusetts, north carolina. what i call the vanguard colonies or massachusetts, connecticut, virginia, and south carolina. not new york and pennsylvania, important as they were, because they were too divided. there were not out in front in the patriot cause. they were divided. the vanguards of out in front. >> to 0.6 million. million. what about the ones who were not
quite? >> 50,000 blacks. 450,000 black slaves. >> who was responsible for bringing black slaves to america? >> a lot people. a lot of people who regretted they had. a lot of the merchants brought slaves and later made pledges against it. the british and the french had the largest organized slave trade. a number of the people in the colonies were slave traders and anomaly british at the time. >> how many other countries had people's forces, military, in and around the colony's? >> the spanish were present in the caribbean and west of the mississippi, all the way down into mexico, so the spanish where a presence essentially on the southern frontier of the colony's.
the french had been kicked out of north america in 1763 after the french and indian war, a seven years' war. there were a lot, a number of french people living in canada and great lakes area, but france was not much of a presence. they had been pushed out here that's what the french were so anxious to cause trouble for the british and to help the colonies by sending the money and ammunition. essentially, the french were not a force in north america at that time. >> you pointed out that among the six first president's, four from virginia and two from massachusetts. why was that? >> because those were the importance states at that time. they had been the. importance the when i say and the four importance once or massachusetts and connecticut, connecticut was more important for strategic reasons. virginia and south carolina in the south.
virginia was the old dominion and had a big population, vary widely respected, enormous influence in terms of territory, because west virginia was expanding, so was conducted. they claimed the entire great lakes. and they were the oldest colony. they dated back to 1607, so they had a long history of being involved in things. the house of burgesses was probably the most advanced in the colonial or legislative bodies. >> you've lived in new york city. you went to colgate, which was upstate new york. >> that's right. >> you live in boston and went to harvard. 9/11 maryland. what do you feel living in connecticut? do they care much today about this kind of district? >> as a matter of fact they do.
i did a talk in madison, conn. got very interested and enthusiastic audience. i would say that the new england probably 1775 more than anywhere else, because in the south, only south carolina and virginia were doing anything of any importance in 1775. north carolina is too divided and georgia did not matter much. but in england was out in front. the british knew the big trouble was coming out of new england. >> what was the reason the patriots wanted to be separated from great britain? >> a number of layers. the underlying population of new england tended to, the beginning from east anglia, which was the old section of england that was most against the crown and we
saw that in the english civil war. after parliament triumphs but then loses in the restoration, you have a continuing flow out of east anglia. a lot of the settlements in the new england colonies, especially massachusetts, you see so many names of towns in eastern massachusetts that are also the names of towns in east anglia. so they had bad heritage, but they were from a part of england that had been against the crown in the english civil war. so they were in trouble making. their religion intended to be congregationalist, which was against the church of england prepare business was maritime. there were seafarers. the english were starting to think too many of them were seafarers' sands or any threat and had to be put in their place. so they have a lot to be unhappy about. >> what were the virginians
unhappy about? >> tobacco for the most part. it was a big crop. they had to send it to britain. they cannot send it anywhere else. to a small extent they smuggled maybe one-tenth of it or less out of virginia and guided elsewhere. but essentially you had descended to britain. generally, you had to take back -- you cannot get your money. it sent you goods. they got a bad price. there were not able to get the markup that they could have gotten if they could sell it directly to france, holland or spain or wherever. they did not like the job they were sent back in the trade. they felt put upon. you cannot have a currency in the colonies. you basically have to cobble together from various sources. you had to get gold or silver from the spanish caribbean or somewhere else. you had to issue certain types of notes the colonies were
allowed to issue. basically, your whole currency was not really there. so business was hard to conduct. the virginians felt put upon economically, very much. there were anxious to expand to the west with settlements. the king was trying to stop anybody from going over the appalachian mountains. so they had a different set of concerns that new england said. >> what would be the reaction on the part of people that lived back then to what we see now of the british monarchs and the family? >> it turns out that it's not as if we have a minority here, but you have so much interest in the british royal family that it's hard to believe the revolution was designed to get rid of picking and the royal family, because the attention to them is quite striking. obviously, they don't have to put up with the downside of them. the british monarchy, in various
ways, they get on the nerves of the british people from time to time. we just see decide we want to see. i think both sides would be surprised at how it all worked out. >> you say in your book in the preface, something i want you to theate to the early days, - internet revolution worked its own magic. you called the internet revolution magic. what are you referring to? >> in the views historians have of the revolution, its causes, is to be possible to take a more simple-minded and simplistic approach. you could easily say everybody was fighting a war of ideas and they had great debates and discussions that everything. but, as the internet revolution has made it possible to access so much detail and so many
records of so much minutia of what was going on during that time, it becomes clear that it was far more than a war of ideas and great discussions and things like that. there was an awful lot of pretty nasty midi gritty in places. as more that becomes clear and as people understand, as i really get a sense they do, especially in talking about 1775, that a lot happened in 1775 andy vihn 1774, it becomes a lot more complicated. as it becomes more complicated, we understand that an awful lot went into it and it was not the sort of fourth of july speech. it was a lot tougher-minded. >> when did you find in an era that people back then knew there was going to be a shooting war? >> i would say both sides, but they really started to get
worried in the summer and fall of 1774. the british admiral and the generals and diplomats were reporting to the crown that the columnists are sending ships everywhere to try to get ammunition and muskets and cannons. this was after the british had sent more troops to boston after the boston tea party and the course oive acts. maybe the colonists did not intend to use the ammunition. was a big debate. on october 1774 the king with an order in council prohibited british ships from taking ammunition and they're getting to the colonies unless it was officially sanctioned. so they were very alert to this. as soon as the colony's found out about the order in council permitting ammunition and munitions from being sent to the colonies in new hampshire and in
rhode island the colonist patriot militia took over the fourth and took the ammunition they could get. everyone knew it was coming in the winter 1774-1 1775? fought?many people tho >> at least once in a battle, 250,00. or a militia company would turn out some small cowberry patrol goes into some parts of new jersey and says the british were bringing in the four supply wagons. a militia were turnout and help
the small trooper regular soldiers, so they would have been in action. there was a lot of that. on just americans wh o were loyalists fighting patriotic americans, a number of battles had no shooting. >> how many british soldiers came here for the single purpose of protecting the british crown? >> never more than 30 thousands of 40,000 at a time. well maybe, 30,000. i doubt they ever sent more than 75 for 100,000 soldiers and sailors -- i doubt they ever sent 75,000 or 100,000 soldiers. >> the russians?
>> the russian minority had a lot of soldiers occasionally to rent out. they had a war in southern russia of some significance in 1774, so they must of had a lot of troops left over that they had organized for that. they were approached early in 1775. by june of 1775 there's a report in one of the virginia newspapers that the crown is trying to hire russians. they thought they had it arranged, but it's all part then -- but it fell apart in the autumn of 1775 partly because frederick the great was telling catherine the great not to do it. there were not friendly to the notion of letting troops go through german territory. in any event, it did not happen. after that, they had returned to the hessians.
they came from a number of german states. probably a total of 50,000 german mercenaries during the revolution all and all. >> in the end, why did the colonists or why did the patriots went? -- win? >> i think they won partly because it was such a challenge for the british. from the british the logistics were enormously difficult. the number of ships they needed, the number of troops, but did not have them. even more than that, you had 13 colonies, large population, a number of them, they had a lot of people and who had fought in previous wars. the british were not able to keep control of much of anything through 1775. the governors fled to the ships.
only force that was in british hands of the end of 1775 was the fortifications on boston neck. there were basically squeezed out of north america. they cannot get it back. most people don't understand. or pushed out in 1775. when they came back with a large number of troops they needed in 1776, they were too late and then they have to follow it up in 1777 and there were beaten at the battle of saratoga. that was pretty much the end of their real prospect of holding the colony's. >> dimensions door to washington and sam adams -- you mentioned george washington and sam adams. where would you put some of the other big ones? >> james madison was a really young man at that time. he was an activist, but he was not an important figure. john quincy adams was not involved.
john adams was a very significant force. a major force in putting the independents and pre- independence where you had a country but it was still undeclared, he was a huge force in that. >> i've got a list of all the books you ever written except for the one you say you never completed in the early times. it goes back to 1969. before i get into some of that, i want to show you a clip of a visit you had here in 1990. we do this the most guests. let's look and see how the changes. [video clip] >> if you go back and look at the history of the republican party, and i don't think i appreciated this in 1967 or 1968, that it has taken power in some of the great cycles of american history, it has taken
power from broadbased reasons. 1860 with abraham lincoln and the civil war. in 1996 with william mckinley brought back the william jennings bryant challenge. and then when the country was on the verge of disintegrating from riots in the cities and riots on campuses and s southern sectional movement led by george wallace, and the republican party has played a nationalizing role. it is kept things together during that period. but once it has been in for 10 or 12 or more years, what we see is that it tends to get too close to upper bracket economics, a kind of capitalist a day. it does too much for the people at the top bands loses sight of the people at the bottom. the 1980's saw a lot that. cracow with the republican party doing today compared to what you said back then? -- ho>> how is the republican
party doing? >> it's kind of like the jack in the box that you wanted up and rich.s to thelp the that turns me off about the republican party. because they have done it time after time. just as they did years ago. once they are in their, that's where they go -- once they are in there, that's where they go. it's one of their least supportable attributes. >> let me go through some of these books. and to ask when were you ever wrong, when you look back on how you analyze things? blacks remain hugely wro -- you mean hugely wrong?
>> no. >> i never thought george w. bush would've become president. i did not expect republicans to win congress in 1994 until it was almost upon us. i certainly did not expect that six months earlier. a big mistake was to not take ronald reagan as seriously as i should have. granted, he was not the deepest president we ever had, when he was pretty effective in his own way. i did not take that seriously enough. a whole bunch of things. if you ask me for list, i could have a longer one. >> in 1991, the politics of the rich and poor, what led to that book? >> during the 1980's i had been a consultant to a succession of
wall street firms. i would go-around and briefed their client on politics and so forth. i did not work for them, but i was a consultant. as i really got involved in the economics side and the financial side more than i had previously, i was seeing the beginnings of what became this huge buildup of wealth through the financialization of america. when i wrote the book, it was a pretty well-received book, but even that was just relatively hugenessg of the cutene of the money assembled by the financial sector. if anything, it has gotten worse. >> in 1995 you did "arrogant capital." anything particular come to mind
when you think back? >> it was obviously a play on words. two types of arrogant capital in the u.s., wall street and at washington, d.c. i still think that's true. >> so many here. 1984, the business case for a national industrial strategy. 1982, post-conservative america. >> the idea there was you were not looking at traditional conservatives like under the reagan administration. i remember the old howard jarvis tax revolution in california and things like that. you had a whole sequence of radical conservatives also the beginnings of the religious right in the south. this was not a traditional conservatism. >> april of 2003, wealth and
democracy, political history of american rich. >> that was more the politics of rich and poor but with a whole lot of detail. at that time you were really seeing what had been an early stage buildup. it was now a major buildup. it went on to be what we finally saw break apart in 2008. >> we talked about richard nixon. before him, what did you think of lyndon johnson and what is his legacy? >> i was never a fan of lyndon johnson. i don't think his legacy is terrific. he was obviously a very capable man. in a number of ways, he was like nixon. he was suspicious of everybody. he is not going to be remembered as what he would like to be remembered as. obviously, he was capable in
doing something, as nixon did some things. -they'rethink johnson - not going to put up a statue of lyndon johnson next to washington. " the legacy of gerald ford? >> ford was a likable guy who was not one of the world's great talents. i always thought that probably some different reasons why nixon depict him as not totally splattering. he was a caretaker president and fairly successful as that. i don't think he will be regarded as anything more than that in history. >> jimmy carter? >> was a nice man. what happened to the democrats when their whole party was pulled apart during the 1960's. and then when they back away from the mcgovern-type results, you wind up going to a bible belt. farmer. that was not the answer either.
>> do you remember what you felt about him back then? >> i did not support him. i voted for ford, i guess. i did not think much of ford. it's unfortunate the democrats have gone through a sequence of presidents from the south who youngerbarrassing and brother brothers, scandals and so forth. a look at johnson. carter in terms of billy carter with the beer and every thing. then you go to the ozark cazenove. so you have this pattern of democrats that have not been out of the washington mold either. >> the legacy of bill clinton? >> i'm not a fan of bill clinton. i don't think his legacy will be all that much. here's a man that during the last parts of his said
administration as a technology bubble that falls apart, he gets rid of the glass-steagall prohibition on the amalgamation of all the financial sector. i cannot see what his legacy was aside from the fact he was a very capable operator. craig huey britain a lot about george h. w. bush and george. w. george you did not care for them? >> i did not. george h. w. bush was a nice guy. he was always sending people thank you notes. he was a nice man. he was a thank you note president. he was not a particularly dynamic leader of any sort. then you get to george w. bush. i cannot imagine it how he could have ever gotten there. you could say that about six or
so american presidents. by the time you got to see him in action you wanted to say, george h. w. bush, please come back. the mere fact that jeb bush is making noises in the woodwork is enough. >> barack obama? >> i voted for him in the first race. i did not the second time around. i did not vote for romney either. i don't think he's a leader. i don't think he is a very effective executive. i think he is somebody who is bright. you may know the exact number, but he has apparently played over 100 rounds of golf while he has been president. that is about 75 more than any president should do if he is spending enough attention on the needs of the country. so i have not been enamored of obama either. >> in 1975, your "mediocrity."
move it forward 35 years. >> we were friends then and we were both cynics about the media. at the that was justified, too. >> why? >> the had too much power. notion of mediocracy was you had a politics which was slipping into the control of the media. i don't think that's true anymore. but i think they played a role in breaking the president, the president being nixon. if they had wanted to do that to johnson, but could a broken him. if they wanted to talk about kennedy sharing golf friends with mob leaders, they could have broken him, too. it turned out to be nixon. the one that they broke. >> what about the power of the media today? >> i don't think it's that great
because the media has been balkanized. the "new york times, a washington post, cbs, they don't have the clout anymore. >> who does? >> it is diffused prepares and anarchy out there of websites, a small media. collectively, i'm sure they can set the scene in many ways. but can they? break a they i don't see how. -- can they break a president? i don't see how. >> what kind of power did the media have in the 17 70's? -- 1770's. " there were newspapers. i have a feeling the revolution did not need newspapers for all of what happened. when you say that you include books and church sermons, i suppose the church sermon was a
medium, very important. thomas paine and common sense, his book was important, the pamphlet. it sold 100,000 copies. can you imagine what it would be like today to sell the equivalent in the population of this country? the impact that would have would be enormous if you had expandei expanded 100 times when he sold. yes, the media was par for them, but not in the sense we think of the media. >> kevin phillips, our guest, the author of his 15th book. "1775." thank you for your time. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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