tv The Gavin Newsom Show Current January 18, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
[ ♪ theme music ♪ ] >> gavin: jon meacham is well-known as the former "newsweek" editor in chief and also a prolific author about andrew jackson now he's out with another best seller thomas jefferson. jon, thank you so much for coming on the show. walking contradiction is that an easy, quick way of summing up a man whose passions for personal liberty extended to obviously the contradiction as it relates to owning slaves, the issues of his own shyness and the pursuit of power and politician. i mean going through this, he seems to be everything to anyone who is searching for him to be like themselves. >> right. you know, one of the reasons why we're sitting here talking about him now. his capacity to speak to the best instincts and the worst in american life. there have been marvelous books
rent by jefferson. we all look back in search of either inspiration or sanction. that's what happened with jefferson. one of the problems with jefferson was he was so eloquent and prolific for so long that you could quote him on any issue, the same thing with winston churchill and the bible. those are other examples. >> gavin: 60 years span of writing. someone who kept and saved all of his letters. because he knew we would be talking about him? >> yes, did he. he totally obsessed with how history would see him and all those guys were. the 158 letters that he and jon adams exchanged in retirement are so eloquent i have a hard time to believe that they're first draft. they're essays, and they talked about their fame. in the 18th century sense of
fame is reputation. they were very much worried about their reputation. one of the reasons why jefferson hated jon marshall, yes the supreme court but he wrote a five-volume to washington and his view of the world rather than jefferson's view of the world. he was always invited to write another volume to fight that. he very much understood that reputation waxed and waned. the winners wrote history and the shaping of the life of the mind in the country was going to have a political affect because books mattered and narrative mattered. >> gavin: in the narrative that so many of us are familiar with with jefferson's wife goes back to his relationship with his wife's half sister, and their children and offspring.
the wonderful example of their time in paris with sally's brother, james and the paris treaty. >> the treaty of paris. if jefferson had the best hand dealt that anyone could have, sally hemmings had the worst. the enslaved woman in virginia in the 18th century, not a great place to start. she did everything she could for the people she loved. and did it with an intelligence and courage that i think is remarkable. there is a moment there in paris. the rule of the land are such that if she had gone to the city hall and declared her freedom she would have to have been given it. she and jefferson had begun some sort of sexual liaison and it's tricky to use the word "relationship" in this situation. she said i'll go back with you
if any children we have are freed by the time they're 21. this moment must have been one of the oddest moments in thomas jefferson's life. here is a man totally accustomed to control and power being negotiated with by a woman he owned. and so everything was turned upside down. but he agreed. and our source for this is one of their children, madison hemmings. and for a long time, for many, many decades a century and more we privileged white oral history over the african-american oral history in terms of the hemmings story. i think now because of annette gordon reed and others we've come to see that the weight is not as disproportionate. >> gavin: promise made, promise kept. >> promise kept. the only people freed in jefferson's will were hemmingses. >> gavin: why the art of power? >> you know this because you've been in the arena.
the art of power is the ability to project an ideal, to inspire people to reach a certain place but the capacity to make it real as real as possible. there are two different skill sets being the visionary and orator is one thing and a tactician is another. most people are one or the other. the greatest leaders are the ones who can do both. jefferson was the first figure in the american leadership class to do that. >> gavin: a dreamer and a doer. a philosopher and a maneuverer. >> he knew his way around a committee room. he knew his way around a legislative assembly floor. he knew his way around the presidency. it was an ongoing unfolding education. it started in the 1760s when he was a college opportunity and he was listening to patrick henry and jefferson said henry seemed to speak as homer wrote and he appreciated that because
he himself was not a very good speaker. did he master the means of his day. he was a terrific writer, obviously. he was quick and he always wanted the assignment of summarizing what the committee had done or what the bill said because that gave him a certain level of control. >> gavin: when you say prolific writer, and we'll get to that in a moment, 22,000-plus letters saved. it's fascinating to learn he didn't give any speeches in his two terms as president except the two inaugural speeches. >> it seems he was a poor orator so he canceled the state of the union and sent it out in writing. and there is something to that. there is also the part that he believed the formal state of the union, the executive coming of the legislature and speaking and receiving the address and responding to it was too much like britain. his determination in his eight
years was to try to undo what he thought of as the federalist excesses of the first 12. from not wearing a sword to he's inaugural which washington and adams both done. to the state of the union to doing away with formal seating arrangements at dinner. you know the thing that drove him and that he believed in more than anything was the future of the republic. and he would rick risk his life for it. his friends would risk their lives for it. we know how the story turned out, but he didn't. every democracy, every republic had failed. the miracle that we got this far. >> gavin: is he someone who knew at a very young age who knew his destiny, knew his course of life life. >> being thomas jefferson was a pretty good hand to be dealt. he was rich, white very much
established in virginia. so he was inculcated with the sense that part of his role in life was to serve which was in that world meant rule. it's a thin line. >> gavin: right. >> so he always expected to be deferred to. there was never a moment when he didn't think that was the natural course of things. but he did a remarkably good job of masking any sense of entitlement. that's a measure of greatness. he would never have had any expectation that he wouldn't have been the center of things, but he never gave off that sense, and gave off any sense that he feel entitled, that other people had to bow or scrape to him. >> gavin: mediocre governor. >> not a very good governor but beaten up more than he should have been. he was the wartime governor of virginia. did he not call out the ma the militia
in time. the power of the office was not as strong as it could be because the first thing the legislature tried to do after this happened was strengthen the office. that pre-supposes that it was the office, not the man. the psychological experience of this being five minutes out from the british. he could have ended up in the tower. he could have ended up executed. it's not impossible. i would call it the scarlett o'hara moment. he would never be hungry again. he would never be flat footed again. and how he reacted to louisiana. >> gavin: let's go there. the louisiana purchase, infamously engageed in negotiations with napoleon, asserted himself we needed constitutional amendment. then when things pragmatically were dealt, where that could have been lost, his position
evolved. >> i all that his claude rains moment. he was shocked that anyone suggested the constitutional amendment. he got a letter on the 22nd of august in 1803 saying that napoleon was rethinking the deal which make sense it was the worst land agreement in history. he writes on the 23rd of august the less state about the constitutional niceties the better which is a very nice way of saying shut up. that is the thomas jefferson way of saying keep it down. it's part of the pragmatic nature. he did what he thought was right for the survival of the country. what is an interesting example of that, fdr explicitly pointed to it when he did the deal leading up to world war two. the moment the president put the interest of the country ahead of the strict letter of the law. one man's imperial president
tramping civil liberties is another man being pragmatic in a matter of survival. there is no hard and fast rule here. >> gavin: lessons learned today. in contemporary terms who would identify themselves most closely with jefferson. >> what is so great about jefferson, i could make the case for a tea party jefferson or obama jefferson. a cool writer who is dedicated to compromise the obama jefferson. the tea party jefferson the small government, and the government is that--the best government is the government that governor least. the reason why i do this, it's almost never all one or another. compromise is not always a virtue. one way is not always the best
bay as we learned under civil rights. so understanding how the greatest politicians maneuvered, i think not only it should give us lessons about the practice of politics, but it should also tend to lower our blood pressure pressures a bit about every moment is not an epic moment. it's just not. >> gavin: good point. >> but you're living through it so it feels that way. for jefferson these were. the british were going to come back. in fact, the british did come back in 1812. my hope is by covering the human jefferson and the political jefferson--i don't want to be too sappy about it, but to my mind it redeems politics to some extent. this is arguably one of the most talented american of his time, was for 40 years a working politician. he believed there was an innate connection between culture and the life of the mind and
politics because if we as citizens didn't like each other and weren't reasonable beings putting reason in place of revelation and fact in the place of superstition, and cared enough about each other that our fates were linked, then we weren't going to be good citizens. and the republic was only as good as it's citizens, as the sum of its citizens. i think all of that sheds--it's very illuminating for this hour. >> gavin: he reached out across the divide built relationships identified with the individual. >> yep. >> gavin: lessons today in terms of that kind of political bridge building? importance? >> i think so, and again you could testify to this better. my sense is by fairly common ascent we could say that president obama has not been the most socialible president with congress. i talked to red state senators, democratic senators who have
never been to the white house and they're sort of famous, there aren't a lot of notes. it's an odd blind spot for for--since voters and reporters are pretty much easy dates. it's not hard to sort of build a little good will, and jefferson did that. he didn't love everybody who came to dinner, but when the congressional session began, he would write his daughters and say, i shall now become an un unpuncutual correspondence. he would have all republicans one night. all federalists the next night. he said i believe that measures in congress are more likely to pass if members of congress feel they're part of the executive conversation. >> gavin: jon, thank you for being here.
congratulations on a wonderful book. >> appreciate it. >> gavin: from the past to our future. up next how television screens are likely to dominate our lives but not necessarily in the way you think. cisco's padma warrior is our next guest. analysis. the presidential inauguration this monday morning at 10 eastern only on current tv.
[ ♪ theme music ♪ ] >> gavin: padma warrior drives innovation at cisco as chief technology and strategy officer she's charged with coming up with the company's vision for the future. that's a tall order even for a giant technology company like cisco, but as you'll find out there is a good reason why she has been named one of the most powerful women in the world. padma, thank you for coming on the show.
you started with cisco in 2007. >> mm-hmm. >> gavin: what world are we living in today compared to where we were just six or so years ago? >> it's actually amazing how much technology has moved. just in four years we've seen the explosion of mobile. i actually came to cisco before i came to cisco i was at motorola, a company that invented the cell phone back in the 80s. it was initially conceived as the business person's device. today there are more than 6 billion mobile subscribers. that mobile platform is really changing how we access information, what do we do with it how we communicate with each other and how business gets done in the future. that's rapidly changed. i would say in the last five to six years. along with that, there is a profound shift in how computing is getting done. we all kind of grew up in a desk stop that was connected to a
service. that is disrupted by cloud computing which is how all applications are separate and you can scale things much more rapidly. so i think those two things in the last five years have really changed business. they've changed the consumer behavior. they alter friendships, how relationships are formed, and how transactions get done on a global basis. >> gavin: did you see when you were at motorola that the phone would be more than a communication device over voice? that there was something else taking shape? >> yes, i know, i think we always felt that--i think people always felt because it was an easy to use device, that there would be more a lot more utility for it. i think what surprised everyone, including me who worked in the technology space how quickly that transformation happened. i think lots of changes occurred in terms of the number of apps
that are written and the evolution and conversion for the combination of the internet and the mobile world which resulted in the smart phone and how that's changed. i think all of that caught everyone by surprised how quickly that happened. >> gavin: do you expect the next five to ten years to be even more dramatic and enlivening as the last five? >> absolutely. one of the things that we'll start seeing when you look at connectivity and communication in the beginning it was all people to-to-people communicating and even the voice the person-to-person much communication, the land place. you called a place. you didn't call a person. you called the home number. if that person was there if they print, you didn't. the cell cell cell phone changed that and then we'll have machine-to- machine-to-machine communication. things communicating. we'll see more sensors in how we
can control traffic patterns and inform the user of the driver about things that are happening and we're working on things like connected vehicles, intelligence transportation smart goods where there are going to be sensors that control the energy distribution to be much more efficient. the machine-to-machine will overlay on top of the people-to-people communication. the internet will become not just a platform for people to connect but things to connect. we believe the network about play a huge role in making that transformation. >> gavin: you just announceed in las vegas a partnership with at&t and their digital life initiative that talks about connecting simply the home, security systems monitors, doors, etc. explain that from the perspective of a homeowner of someone renting an apartment. what does their world look like in the next few years. >> one of the things that we're
helping companies like at&t do is expand their service beyond just cellular provider, isp service provider, and if you think about it, right there is a need as we live in homes how can we connect the energy system to be much more efficient, and how do we keep our home to be much more secure. is to what we are doing is providing the technology solution whether it's the thermostat connected to the security system, how can we integrate these things that have been very diverse until this point, bring this kind of device capabilities on to the network and then at&t will provide the service as part of the digital life. it's interesting that they called this the digital life. if you think about how many devices, how many devices do you have at home? >> gavin: i won't even know what to county, my coffee machine is part of it. >> they all have an ip address and we can bring them on to be
connected. the problem is these things today don't talk to each other. that's the role we can play as the technology provider and companies like at&t can offer this as an easy-to-use service for me as a consumer. that's what we just announced and we're looking forward to expanding that to other services. >> gavin: young women, girls you've been a leader in mentoring young women and girls. you've been one of the bright spots in a world that is fairly dominated by men. and so you've developed i imagine, some strong opinions about that world. oftentimes you're one of the few people around the corporate tables that share your own gender. what is your sense i mean, as a mother, as well, that reinforce sandberg in what she has been
able to accomplish in her history but also notably now in present role, what is your sense in the future for girls and women in silicon valley. >> they're great friends of mine. i'm so proud of what they're doing. we need more women in the tech industry over all i feel. i think there is a big opportunity for us to change that--change the ratios if you will. one of the things that i'm very passionate about this subject one of the things that i really believe in the more we can make the workforce comfortable for people to be authentic and to be themselves, the more women will be attracted to stay in the workforce. i think oftentimes we impose rules and certain constraints on what you can do and cannot do in a corporate world which is artificial and it doesn't need to be that way. i'm a big believer when i talk to women and men actually, to be
truly who you are. when i was growing up, and as i said i was an engineer, i started my career in the semi conductor industry, and i think one of five engineers women engineers in the entire site that was there that i worked at. we were told to dress a certain way and act a certain way which was unnatural. i think the more companies can do to make it okay to be who you are, i think the more we we as women will stay in the technical fields. i think my advice to women would to develop self-confidence and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. i think oftentimes women sometimes hesitate to say yes to a door that opens and walk through that door. >> gavin: why is that from a woman's perspective? >> from my perspective women tend to evaluate things a lot more from a lot more dimensions.
i think we tend to think is this the perfect job for me? maybe i don't have the right experience in that area, and i think sometimes you have to be a risktaker to say its fine. i'm going to do it even though i'm a technical person. that's what i said in july. i'm learning acquisitions for cisco. i think when an opportunity presents itself women tend to overanalyze versus going with instincts more. my advise is go for it and we'll figure it out. no one is going to offer you a job if they feel you're not qualified. the fact that the opportunity is presenting itself to you means people consider you to be able to do that and you have to have the self-confidence to say you will do it. i think i'm pleased to see more and more women taking on very senior leadership roles in the try. that's greattry--in the industry,
that's great. and it encourages women to say i can do it too. >> gavin: do you think women can have it all family life and still lead with fluidity in the world. >> yes i do. obviously through life there are decisions you would make that are right for you right, for you and your family. those don't always translate. in other words, the decisions that i have made in my life and my career may not be easily applicable to someone else, and based on their situation. it's difficult to be precipitative andprescriptive and say this is the formula for me and it should work for every working woman. but from my experience i do believe you can do, you can do all the things that you're passionate about doing if you really believe in your career and that's important to you, if you really believe in having a great family and spending time with family, and giving back to
the community. i think you can do that. and it's not--i often tell people, i don't like the word balance at all. i think it's a very artificial world which forces us to be thinking that family and work are always in conflict with each other. i think of it more as integration. i'm an artist. i like to paint. one of the things i do now is dedicate my saturdays just to my paintings. i'm beginning to do that more, and i think that's important right, in addition to your family and your work, whatever motivates you and recharges your creativity you have to be able to do that. i think of it more as integration, and i think that suggests that maybe you don't spend equal amount of hours on everything that is important in your life every day. you don't divide 24 hours and into neat compartments and say i'm going to do this, that. some days you may have to work. and other days you choose you'll
be with your family and you'll miss an important meeting and others will cover for you. when you think of it that way you'll have it all. if have it all translates to equally partitions everything neatly and say i'll spend all the time every single parent meeting, i'll be able to tend, and i'll be able to do everything--that's not real life. >> gavin: yes, to real life and celebrating all of the wisdom that you've just presented padma, thank you so much for being on the show. >> thank you for having me. >> gavin: when we come back my thoughts on tonight's guests and lessons learned from exposure to diverse opinions cultures and sometimes a conflicted history. circumstance & the inside analysis. the presidential inauguration this monday morning at 10 eastern only on current tv.
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(vo) here's how you can connect with the gavin newsom show. >>i'm an outsider in the inside. ideas are the best politics. [ ♪ theme music ♪ ] >> gavin: there are so many lessons we can take home from tonight's esteemed guests. dolores huerta her tips of leadership stand the test of time. one, learn by doing. lesson number two power has to be shared. and finally it's not about you're go but empowering other people books about thomas jefferson fill shelves every where. he was a prolific writer, and so i made a small attempt to get my own thoughts in print with my own book citizenville.