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tv   Book Discussion on Conservative Heroes  CSPAN  October 4, 2015 12:15am-1:06am EDT

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because, of course, we wanted to have black voices. my friends and i want and i wanted to have black voices, so we would practice them. they did not go over terribly well with my parents, but chicago did have a range. my mother spoke a lot like i do,, though i had a little career in the theater. >> but she could, she had a wonderful. the kind of genteel southern ms. miss. my father had a slight easy seven accent. chicago is full of people who emigrated from all manner of places. you get a lot. i wouldlot. i would say my parents having grown up much more and black worlds were much better at moving between black vernacular and standardized english than either my sister or i.
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so -- but you know, it is the way we were brought up some so-called standardized english was what we spoke. it was not surprising to me. >> i am getting a wrap sign. you want to see the debate. >> take two more. >> okay. >> beautiful woman in the back. >> you mentioned in the beginning that you grew up in terms of class and then structuring class and class, upper-class, lower-class. are you surprised that today most -- we still live in that manner, especially with a lot of gentrification that is going on now. >> no. no. america is so riddled -- and it is not just america, america, my god. but it has always been, you know, hierarchical, class -based. it is always pretending not to be.
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america is so strange. we can become donald trump, but we need to move. prove yourself and dominate whether it's money or other kinds of power. that is what this country is you. you know, i am not surprised at all, and there is not any group, some of his members havewhose members have not grasped for that and found it and don't use it. >> well, and i know a lot of you have questions. the beauty of this event is that ms. margo jefferson will be signing books. she is not going anywhere. i just want to thank each and every one of you for your wonderful questions. thank you for this book. [applause] have a good evening. [applause]
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>> good afternoon, everyone. good afternoon. welcome. and a speciala special welcome to those watching us on c-span. book tv today. i am donna martinez. our mission is to help policymakers and the public grow in their understanding and embrace of freedom and free market. we are committed to this work because research shows that these principles represent the best pathway to economic growth and prosperity for every person regardless of background, regardless of circumstances. you can find out more about our work. we are delighted to have with us today entrepreneur and author garland tucker telling us about some of our country's great conservative leaders, leaders who embrace the principles that i have described in this helped
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propel our country forward, leaders featured in his latest book conservative heroes, 14 l reshaped america from jefferson to reagan. this will be on sale for our in person guests following his presentation. in addition to being a best-selling author and historian garland tucker was also a highly successful entrepreneur who founded triangle capital corporation, publicly traded company based in raleigh, north carolina. its pres., ceo, and german. he also. he also holds a ba from washington and lee university and an mba from harvard business school. i am very honored to introduce to you the author of conservative heroes, 14 liters who shaped america , and jefferson to reagan, garland tucker. [applause]
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>> thank you. >> thank you all for coming. 14 liters who shaped america from jefferson to reagan, so we have a lot to cover today. in introducing the book i have used a quote from secretary of war newton baker. he made this -- you wrote this to one of his friends late in his career. he was looking back on his career as a conservative,, and this was the quote. i was one of the faithful band fighting a battle for philosophy as old as the republic itself.
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so the book begins with the definition of american conservatism which ii would offer to you is a philosophy as old as the republic itself. it in trace the development and implementation through 200 years of american history. this faithful band, in this case the team leaders. some of these leaders are very well known, obviously jefferson is the 1st one mentioned. but some of them are not well not all and are, in fact, relatively obscure just an aside on this, i think one of the fun things about writing this book was i got to pick my own 14 euros. as amity slade said in her very fine forward for the book she said, not everybody would have picked the same 14.
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i would say that is okay. i am hoping this will spark some debate. as youdebate. as you read the book you may want to add some of your own heroes or you may even want to pull some out,out, some of money you don't like as much. i hope it spark some debate. in examining these leaders it allows us to bring the foundational principles of conservatism and a sharper belief and see how those principles have been put into action over time. i begin with a look at what i would suggest the basic tenants of conservatism, and i suggest that there are five concepts that are foundational. i really believe most conservatives would agree with these five concepts. there are others that could have been added,
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but i think these are pretty basic. and while this is not necessarily an exhaustive list, again, i think most conservatives would be comfortable with these. the 1st concept that i would offer is what i call a realistic view of human nature. let me explain what, i mean, by that. our conservatives believe that there is nothing in human history that would suggest that man is perfectible. left to his own devices, man tends to revert to violence, dissolution, aggression, patrick henry and other founders often wrote of the depravity of human nature, and this view of human nature keeps conservatives from accepting the progressive notion that mankind is somehow inevitably advancing and getting better. progressives would suggest that mankind is perfectible and,and, in fact, that government is the means to achieve that perfection.
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conservatives just do not agree with that. and we think there is plenty of intrinsic evidence out they're that would suggest otherwise. conservatives believe the american republic was founded not to reform human nature but rather to establish boundaries within which human nature my flourish. now, the 2nd principle, because of man's fallen nature, the primary roles of government are just too. number one is to establish order, and number two, to preserve liberty. the conservative believes that our liberty is not granted by the government but is god-given and therefore up to the government to help preserve the liberty. itit is fair to say there is a definite tension between these roles, and a, and in general the conservative would advocate the maximum degree of personal liberty while maintaining the most basic level of order. at the very beginning of the republic there was a real
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threat of anarchy, and this was something that the founders certainly feared. they did not want the new government to sink back into any form of anarchy. but at the same time, they recognized this threat of anarchy. they were wary of government encroaching and personal liberty. and so they were seeking a balance in this. and we will see in the 1st chapter of the book that that balance is addressed. the 3rd principle is closely linked to the 2nd. a conservative recognizes the two primary roles of government which i just mentioned, but conservatives stop at that point and say, there really is no 3rd full of government, no significant 3rd role of government. in other words, government should be limited. jefferson spoke with most of the founders in his 1st
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inaugural address when he said these words, a wise and frugal government which shall restrain them from injuring one another shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. this is the sum of good government. the founders feared that any governmental power that extended beyond the barest protection of liberty could itself become a threat to liberty. the 4th point that i would offer as a basic tenant is that property rights and human rights are inseparable the founders were well-rounded inand john locke's views on the rights of property. so this particular thought certainly predates the american revolution.
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as paulas paul johnson has written come all of the founders derived from john locke the notion the security of one's property was intimately linked to one's freedom. the 5th and final point of conservatism or tenant of conservatism is that the social and political life of a community and a country depends upon private virtues, virtues that the individuals hold. the marxist critic randall hicks once wrote, the toy has always insisted that if men could cultivate the individual virtues than social problems would take care of themselves. there is more than a grain of truth in that. edmund burke often called modern conservatism, what is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? it is the greatest of all
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possible evils. conservatives throughout history have believed that virtues flow for a particular culture that individuals hold and in our case that culture is judeo-christian virtue. so these are five fundamental concepts, identify these in the introductory chapter to the book. again, almost all conservatives would agree at all five of these. the remainder of the book, the balance of the book, the big majority of the book deals with these 14 lives which is what i want to do today, ripped through those pretty quickly. we have a lot of ground to cover, and i'm going to try to do it quickly. let me say up front that it will not do justice to any of these 14 liters. i encourage you. i hope that i can peak your interest a little bit and you will be interested in reading the book.
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if you read the book, hopefully you will want to pursue all 14 of these. there are good biographies of each of these men. that reminds me, let me say up front -- have gotten this question before: why are none of the 14 women? and i was kind of -- i looked pretty hard and tried to work some way to get margaret thatcher in but could not figure out how she could fit in to the shaping of american history. ..
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it focuses very merrily on the 12 years before jeffersons election as president in 1800 medicine followed him. obviously, there has been lots written on jefferson and plenty of medicine as well. there is nothing that i will offer that would be new but this chapter does two things. it ties the thesis that america conservative is as old and it anchors it back to the beginning of the republic. and by focusing on the 12 year period it is the best. of the views and limited government.
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jefferson and madison enjoyed a 50 year friendship. literally 50 years. their correspondence is voluminous. there are over 1200 letters, they wrote on all kinds of topics. there is plenty of material to look at. when you focus on these 12 years, these are the 12 years 12 years they were in the opposition opposing the federalist party and at that time it was the party of centralization and centralized government. jefferson and madison were wrestling with the two primary purposes of government i mentioned here. the preservation of liberty. it is interesting to read their letters, they didn't see exactly
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i to i. jefferson in general would come down more of the preservation and protection of individual liberty. madison will will bit more the establishment of order. but on the relative scale of things they are both very much believers and limited government. madison wrote these words, the essential characteristic of federal government could be composed of limited and enumerated powers. later defenders of jefferson would quote a maximum of thomas jefferson. we think now he probably didn't say, but i think he would have claimed it that government at best is that which governs the least.
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that is the beginning of the book. it ties to the beginning of the due republic. the second chapter, two men who are considerably less well-known. john randolph of virginia, with daniel makin of north carolina. out of curiosity, how many of you know about nathaniel macon? i know troy know troy does. a few hands went up. i think this was an interesting chapter as they are not very well-known. i think they deserve to be well-known than they are. in some ways makin and randolph were the quintessential political odd couple. they had a 30 year friendship which would spend their time in congress. makin makin was from north carolina, makin was from north carolina. they shared lodging together in washington for 30 year period there are very close personally. makin could be described as solid, cautious, reserved, even
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somewhat severe and socially very democratic. very very down to earth. randolph on the other hand, was brilliant, very volatile, spontaneous, socially aristocratic. they didn't exactly fit the same old. but they were very close friends. under jefferson and madison administrations, makin and randolph started that. as leaders. speaker of the house and leader in the house. it wasn't long before, and their view, and probably the view of most historians, jefferson and madison became a bit more more expansive in their view of limited government. makin and randolph were determined to hang on to what they viewed as the principle of 1800 which they thought were the
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old republican philosophy. russell kirk, a conservative thinker in the 1950s gives randolph in particular, also makin, a lot of credit for preserving those concepts of limited government. they were extremely consistent over the 30 years in office. oftentimes very lonely. after makin was not elected speaker of the house and randolph was not reelected or not selected as leader of the house, they headed a faction that would involve the third things. they were the old-line, hard-core, jeffersonian republicans that thought jefferson got a bit too expensive in his views of government. a quick quote, russell kirk set
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of randolph that perhaps nothing in american political philosophy , more brilliant than john randolph preaches. i would encourage you and there are some quotes in the book, if you have a chance go back and read some of them they are quite extraordinary. a couple of amusing things i makin, when he retired in 1828 it was said his nearly 40 years in congress, ten members gave negative votes, there bit of controversy in north carolina. makin probably still, although jesse helms is contending that maybe he had beaten makin out on that. there's still some controversy. a close friend of makin's one said, if mr. makin should happen to be drowned, i should not look down the current for his body but up the stream.
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and finally jefferson wrote that with makin's death the republic would mark the last of the romans. both of of these men were very well regarded in the day. the third chapter is probably the most controversial of the 14 leaders. john c calhoun's as amity slaves writes in her quote the support part of slavery has been enough to see him wiped out in children's textbooks yet the omission leaves younger citizens in the dark about valuable history. i admit that amity slaves is right about that. i will always regret that calhoun was the defender of slavery. it is said that his career so overshadowed by that fact. his writings, for the majority of his career, or focus on
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paris, national bank, and other central themes and other plans and defensive slavery slavery came later in his career. interestingly calhoun is cited in john f. kennedy's book for his courage and honesty. he is hailed as one of the truly great u.s. senators. again russell kirk recognized in calhoun and randolph the very beginnings of the american conservative tradition. from calhoun we will leap over the civil war and into the 1880s and will land on a figure who is not very well known as grover cleveland. cleveland was the last conservative democrat who served as president. he hasn't got much credit from
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the democrats today. i would would suggest to the very formidable character. he weighed about 280 pounds, he had quite a figure. his rise to the presidency can only be described as meteoric. in three short years he went from being a mediocre lawyer in buffalo, to merit buffalo, to governor of new york, to president of the united states. there is a quote in a letter from cleveland to one of his friends that he had been in the white house a few months and i still wake up and rub my eyes and say can i possibly be here? it's just to much to imagine. in three short years. his main biographer wrote, in
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some ways cleveland was an ordinary man but he imposed himself upon his time in a way that note mediocre man could for a moment have done. he was a reformer and a era of post- civil war. he saw a lot of what we call phony capitalism today. it is interesting that in that part of the republican party was a party of centralized government. cleveland was the only democrat elected between the civil war and woodrow wilson. he came in with some very basic jeffersonian views of limited government. he was screw previously honest and he was very good at preserving personal liberty. he
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was relentless in his pursuit of economy and limited government. he had over 500 vetoes which is still a record. most of those were spending bills. i will read you just these few words, this is from one of his veto messages in 1887. quote, tendency to disregard the president's should be step that and resistant to the end that the lesson should constantly be enforced that though the people support the government, the government should not support the people. it is a, that conservatives everywhere can agree on. from cleveland we jump over to the progressive era, the era of teddy roosevelt and woodrow wilson at the high side of american progressivism in 1912 election. we landed the middle of the 1920s and the next figures calvin coolidge and andrew mellon.
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i would summit that coolidge was the most successful conservative president in history. mellon was his key partner in that. let me explain why i would say that. coolidge and mellon record can boast several things. they vastly reduce taxes, they instituted significant tax reform and a marginal income tax rate from over 70% to below 25%. with federal regulation ignited an economic boom and finally, this is most critical, they reduce the size of the federal government. that last point is the point that the first points could've been said about reagan and the last point was one of reagan's objectives but because
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republicans do not control congress he was not able to reduce the size of the federal government. coolidge actually did all those things. he was a very successful president of the very popular president. one of the interesting concepts in the chapter and this was covered a good bit in the press during coolidge's time. coolidge not only believes in economy and government, he was very vocal about what he saw as the moral reasons for it. a famous quote from him was i favor the policy of economy not because i wish to save money, but because i wish to say people. he was really afraid of people becoming dependent on the government. he sought as a moral issue. the next figure is probably the
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1i enjoyed writing about the most. i was really confident that while there might be a few people who knew about nathaniel macon, i was sure nobody would know about just bailey. does anybody know anything about josiah bailey? not many hands up. josiah bailey was from north carolina. he was from raleigh, warns originally but spent his career in raleigh. he served as the democratic senator from north carolina in the 1930s and 1940s. he like congressional opposition to roosevelt's new deal under two primary focuses of this chapter. the first one is he organized and led the successful fight to defeat fdr's court packing
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scheme. roosevelt's plan, so much of his legislation was overruled by the supreme court they decide the answer was to put more justices on, bailey reacted immediately. he was a lawyer and very real respected lawyer, thinker and leader in the senate. he responded immediately to this organize support and was successful in killing that scheme which was the first pushback against the new deal after roosevelt's stunning reelection in 1936. the second example a bailey's leadership follows very closely the supreme court, and something not as well known, he actually wrote and then sponsored a document which came to be known
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as a conservative manifesto of 1937. it's been compared to new gingrich's contract with with america, something similar to that, there were ten poems. basically a pro- free-market, wasn't any new deal specifically but the conservative on them pinning seven made it very objection to roosevelt and a new deal. bailey's plan was to sponsor a piece of legislation and quietly sign up a bipartisan group and hoping maybe even a majority of senators would sign on. unfortunately before he got very far down the road and rounded up support the story was leaked to the new york times. they ran ran a front-page article on it, some
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of the skittish senators ran for cover. bailey delivered an outstanding speech on the floor of the senate, taking credit, or blame whichever you want to do for the manifesto and advocating for it. he was unsuccessful it was the first attempt to create a bipartisan coalition, conservative bipartisan coalition in congress. this groundwork that bailey did in working with the manifesto was used very much by the next person in the next chapter which was robert. actually that's not quite true, taft's two to chapters over. one. one more democrat before get to taft. john w davis was a contemporary of coolidge. he ran for president in 1924 against coolidge.
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when he was defeated by coolidge he went back to new york and became, or continue to become the most outstanding lawyer to this day. he was viewed by almost everyone is most talented lawyer in history. he argued more cases before the supreme court before any other individual except for webster. he argued 142 cases. his real contribution to the conservative movement came in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s when he took legislation into the court, primarily supreme court and argued very successfully at a number of roosevelt's pet projects overturned. in fact, roosevelt gave him the nickname public enemy number one, which davis cherished and relished that nickname.
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interestingly, his greatest victory came in 1952 when he was 79 years old, he argued on the winning side of the steel seizure case at that time truman was president. the court ruled that truman's seizure of the steel mill in the u.s. was unconstitutional. you may have seen references to this case recently, the pending case of the supreme court over obama's immigration actions is supposedly the steel seizure cases that one of them. the court is deciding immigration case. okay now, robert taft. time magazine had a quote, a
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cover article about taft when he was a u.s. senator. they made made the observation that u.s. politicians like to brag about quote, coming up from nothing. coming up with no family health, wealth. they said bob taft on tran taft came up plenty. his father was was the only man to serve as president and chief justice of the supreme court. his grandfather was attorney general. taft was number one in his class, number one at yale, and number one at harvard law school in his law school class. so in the words of time magazine he came up from plenty but he was an interesting politician. in some ways, ways, like coolidge he was very reserved man, a man about to many words. he was incapable of smalltalk but was universally respected
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for his intellectual strength and his honesty. it was said that it was known he had never broken his word and his whole life. a life of politics. he is one of the main chapters in jfk's profile of courage. he basically laid the groundwork for the conservative in the last half of the 20th century. he submitted the congressional republican party into a conservative force. interestingly he was never able to get the nomination for president, he, he ran for president in 1940, 1948, 1952, and never made it. as a congressional leader he wrote quite a chapter in american conservative history. okay, that gets us to the last chapter. the last chapter focuses on
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three modern, or almost modern, depending on how old you are here people. william buckley and ronald reagan. i think it is very interesting the extent to which the lies of these three men were very intertwined. i would suggest that it suggests with buckley when he literally burst onto the national scene in the early 1950s. conservative is conservativism was a dead philosophy. it was hard to find anybody who is willing to say they were conservative. the consensus was the new deal liberalism had one, there wasn't much of a dialogue, the only choice was between democratic party that was a little more to
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the left, and a republican party that would maybe slow things down a bit. not really any intellectual force behind any of what you call conservativism. directly perceived the american public was more conservative then maybe it really realized or the public realize. he was determined to become the individual voice of what he called responsible conservativism. he pulled together and founded the national review and one around the country speaking, debating, he pull together some of the district's views on conservatism. it pulled him into a cohesive group, got them to stop arguing with each other and focus on how to get the liberal opposition.
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he ran some of the kooky elements in the conservative element. he pushed them out. he really became single-handedly, the the voice of conservatives. buckley was was so attractive and so intelligent, obviously intellectual, he was the perfect candidate to demolish the conservativism on intellectual force. as he began in this, it it played out in the political arena and don't water was nominated in 1964. the conscious of a conservative was co- written and even though goldwater was soundly defeated in 1964, there is no question that goldwater's campaign launched ronald reagan's
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gubernatorial campaign in california which launched reagan on the way to the presidency. reagan's victory was the triumph of buckley's philosophy and a catastrophic defeat and suffocating liberalism that had dominated america in the early 1950s. a recent addition to the economist magazine made this observation, the idea set forth by goldwater and the conscious of a conservative led to goldwater's losing 44 --dash 50 states crushing defeat. it is striking with how much he wanted for the country and the country eventually got it under reagan. these three men really dominated the last half of the 20th century.
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as we look at the republican party today, i lost track of how many candidates there are, 14 or 18, or whatever there is. virtually all of them say they are conservatives. i think they have to say they are conservatives or they will get the nomination. i think that's a tribute to goldwater, buckley, and reagan. finally, it summing up these 14 leaders i'm going to give you a quote from reagan of what he said of himself, but i think it could be said about 14. he wants that i never never thought of myself as a great man, just a man committed to great ideas. always believe believe that individual should take priority over the state, history has taught me that this is what sets america apart. so, there you have it. conservatives who rose, 14 leaders who shaped america, jefferson to reagan.
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i want to thank you all for letting me come today and if we have time i will have a few questions. [applause]. >> as far as i know there is nothing biblical about the 14, or nothing, or it's a 77. sevens a biblical number. number. maybe there is something biblical about it. it was just, as i went through there is people i thought about adding and took out. as i went through, there are a couple like bailey that i hadn't known so much about but i think he deserves to be in there. so i just wound up to be 14. i didn't start out by saying it
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has to be 14. >> who are some of those who didn't quite make the cut? >> i started on the chapter on bailey, i started to make it bailey, bird, and class. who were great friends of bailey's. they were mentioned in the book, there are some quotes from harry byrd and carter class. but maybe just because bailey is is so obscure i thought thou be more fun to write about. i did think about andrew jackson, there is sort of a mix in several ways to read his career and i wasn't quite comfortable with that. also in the chapter in macon and randolph, john paylor was also a
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name who would have been a good fit with the republicans but i decided to limit it. then there a few other democrats like samuel tilden who ran for president who is a conservative individual but he didn't have that much impact, he didn't have the impact that grover cleveland did. >> ..
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and reagan, also. but, i mean, it's a great example. didn't care what the-- he said what good is it to be elected if you don't stand for anything. he was adamant he would continue on the course. coolidge is a great example. he met literally every friday of the administration, he met for at least have a director went
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through the budget line by line marking things out. he was determined to reduce the size and scope of government. if you don't have the focus it's probably not going to happen. one of reagan's great attributes, i mean, people who don't like reagan say he was an intellectual lightweight and have very many good ideas or maybe any ideas and i think we would say that one of his great strength was he had a handful of great ideas and he was very focused on implementing them and you don't need too many good ideas if you can just make sure you implement them. >> you said we are going to skip over the progressive teddy roosevelt and woodrow wilson. do you consider teddy roosevelt a progressive wave? >> well, multifaceted person,
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but if you read what he said when he ran full moose can do that he was way out there and made wilson look conservative in the 1912, election. he was arguably to the left progressive when he was president, but no question he was the first progressive elected presidents and by the time he died in 1919, he appeared he had come back into the republican party because he hated wilson so much, primarily, i think he was arguably less progressive than he was in 1912, but yeah, i mean, if you look at coolidge, coolidge started his
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career very successful, political career in massachusetts, but he was a roosevelt progressive and he just increasingly became more and more conservative. >> echoing the questions the gentleman had at icon, if you have thought about it anymore, who would you be watching today that could possibly have enough conservative circles to be added to your book? >> i think back to the question a minute to go from the across the table there, often times we don't know. i think it's maybe encouraging to look back-- if you look back 1880s, even the democrats who elected cleveland supported cleveland really didn't know what kind of president he would be. he had been in office such a short time and certainly when
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coolidge succeeded harding people were quite sure what he was going to be, so it's difficult to be sure exactly who you are electing, but-- and it's dangerous to look at what worked for two or three people in history and it absolutely applied to someone today, but i can't help but to really defining events, one for coolidge and one for reagan when how coolidge the boston police strike of 1919, and it was a very controversial strike and unrest in all of this stuff was going on. coolidge tried very hard to come up with a solution, but couldn't come up with a peaceful solution, so he finally just acted to break the strike


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