Skip to main content

tv   Author Discussion on Political History  CSPAN  August 26, 2019 11:40pm-12:45am EDT

11:40 pm
good afternoon and thank you for coming i think you are in for a
11:41 pm
treat to talk about the terrific books. i could talk more than an hour on each of these books. before we get started, i need to tell you that you should silence your cell phones please. personal recording is not allowed and also i will give you the first round after the session, each of the authors will be signing their books at the signing area number one that is marked in your programs. we will hold the books up and start the conversation. to my far left, camelot and kennedy versus carter and the fightfight broke the democratic
11:42 pm
party. susan teaches that the matriarch barbara bush and the makin intof an american dynasty and to my right by former "los angeles times" colleague the family dynasty that shaped a nation. someone that's abou is about toi lived through a great number of the events described in the book and as i was saying just before the program started, the first i remember a high school freshman in 1958 is a great year for the democratic party in california, pat brown got elected governor and it was a big democratic sweep elected united states senator from a town many of you probably have never heard of in the northwestern part of the state and the voters were wise
11:43 pm
enough to reject the anti-union right to work law. tell us a little bit about what makes the brown family distinct. >> there are so many pieces to that. you mentioned 58. the democrats wh who haven't hed powehaven't held powerin califog time coming to california as a very blue state now and only the fifth democrat elected in california in modern times as governor and of the other four, two of them were named brown. pat brown began in governor and this is a symbol of the party that year they broom that set asleep the state and 58 and there was a sea change. for me, i'm a new yorker by
11:44 pm
birth, don't hold that against me. i made a decision to move here and join the paper 19 years ago and it's clear to me how different the hell interesting and the things that make it very special. there are so many ways in which this family, the browns, speaks to that and it's a story that focuses on pat and jerry because their impact on the state of the governor but it goes back for generations with the great-grandfather in a german pioneer who crossed in a team 52 and speaking of places people don't know much about is probably not a lot of people that have been to colusa county. when i met jerry brown, he was in the process of building what would become it has now become his retirement home fo his
11:45 pm
great-grandfather settled on in the 1850s and so in so many ways that paralleled the history in california and they are perhaps the most passionate about california and california exceptionalism and have had such a profound impact on the state and through this it was a way for me to talk about what made california exceptional as a land of immigrants from its early days in the gold rush there is so much that happens as a hotbed of innovation and ingenuity into the way people sort of have to adapt and then the south made nature of the family. on the other sidee there were
11:46 pm
immigrants who fled during the famine in ireland and san francisco. the women in the family they don't get a lot of attention when you think about them as they dynasty but from the generation of the grandmother who was a smart self educated woman and his mother flew f-14 was a brilliant student but had a wife as a wife and mother and first lady, the sister of the state treasurer and one in a very bitter race so the family speaks to the cour core issues e state.e.
11:47 pm
>> one of the legacies he finished four terms as governor, environment. one of the things that's striking is that pat brown used to take the kids all the time to yosemite and other places. he's known as the sky that would stop at every truck stop but also had an incredible appreciation of the national union. >> he spent so many summers at yosemite. he mentioned at some point he climbed in 92 and i said why are some reasons a piece of my father did it so i figured i should try to. pat and bernice were not wealthy
11:48 pm
when they had four children and middle-class existence but they took their kids every summer they went to yosemite or the river and it made a big impression on all of them. the oldest grandchild worked for years in the movement for the rivers. the environment to him is very much like -- he came out of the seminary after high school and it's a very important piece to him. he talks about the environment and the absolute being similar to hi this religious training ad bringing. both terms california was early in the standards and setting the standard for the country then as
11:49 pm
an advocate for climate change he c used the bully pulpit of california to affect change not just on the state at the international level. i tried to explain california the environment is so important for people here that are shapes people, their lifestyle and economy so it was the way that they committed to the outdoor world and a way to talk about a lot of those issues. when jerry brown was governor of the first time you couldn't see because of the small but. the last thing i will say on that i if it's also a bipartisan
11:50 pm
issue so ronald reagan's people may remembereagan peoplemay rems national, as president anti-environmental actions as governor because he came out of the forest and there's a lot of ways the environment has been something where jerry brown got the republican vote for one of the cap and trade provisions that was a key climate change platform. >> and talk about some things governor schwarzenegger had done. reagan was a little short on his knowledge of redwood trees. t that under the administration he intervened to save the trail. >> one other quick question you said he climbed because his father had done it but there
11:51 pm
were certain things his father would not have done and that had an impact on his first governorship. >> personalities. one of the ones i used in the book [inaudible] they couldn't be more different in thoseat ways and he was this old-style politician every time he ran starting when jerry was 5-years-old he would have a ophotograph of his kids when he filed his papers.
11:52 pm
when he was governor the first time he refused to send a autographed photographs to schoolchildren because it fostered the cultural personality. >> all of the papers from high school and on thei there are bof archives and he had an exchange when jerry was governor somehow appeal to pat brown and he wrote a note that said i told my son he should do this but children frequently don't listen to their
11:53 pm
fathers. >> one of the things we have learned is that women almost all the time are underrated. tell us a little bit about some of the things barbara bush did that people may have a slight awareness. >> what a fantastic event and i want to thank the la times for sponsoring and all of you for showing up. one of my vision suspects but nobody would show up so thank you for not making that. [laughter] i've covered the last ten presidential elections, my only job skill.
11:54 pm
[laughter] she played a personal goals and it would be hard t to find somee else in history who played an intimate role in so many presidential elections and elamerican politics and yet in covering those, people almost invariably likeed barbara bush. they felt affectionate towards her and saw her as a white-haired grandmother figure that could be funny and it isn't not only true but incomplete. she was also sharp and could be kindnd of mean. there was a time when i was covering her husband. she was an important adviser to both her husband and son sometimes when they wanted her advice and sometimes when they
11:55 pm
didn't. she lived a life of competency and i think you are right she was underestimated or her life, born in 1925, five years after women got the right to vote. a mother who didn't think she would amount to much and looking at her high school transcripts they record her iq which is something i hope you stop doing that it's 120 which is pretty smart if she was a fairly undistinguished student. the only aid she ever got in high school was in physical education. she was underestimated i think by her husband who initially didn't seek her advice on per instance running for president or earlier from that moving from the east coast to odessa texas. when he said i've decided you're gointhey've decidedthey're goins she replied by police wanted tod
11:56 pm
to live there which is something no one has ever said, after. as their marriage went on, her role changed from being the hell. -- the help meet to being a partner. she took a groundbreaking no on the aids crisis that had been ignored. her own actions for instance visiting during the first 100 days picking up a six month old but had aids and it sent a powerful message that was.
11:57 pm
she didn't speak a speech or schooled anybody. she just brought news photographers to a home with people with aids have demonstrated you can hug them and pick them up and workte bese them and not be afraid. there's another thing largely unknown and that is the negotiations into the cold war. you might remember nancy reagan had a relationship feuding with each other and i don't blame nancy reagan for this. she is didactic, lectured everyone on the superiority of the communist system but that's a she and nancy reagan had a few thousand hopeful for the negotiations going on between their husbands. barbara bush told me she looked at that and thought that was stupid, but the word she used, and not because she didn't
11:58 pm
understand it because it was so unhelpful to her husband in the nation into the worl in the wore perilous time so barbara bush wrote a letter to her brother scott and she said i'm going to occur no matter what she does. and she cultivated her for years. she made him feel respected and welcomed. i was covering one of the summit and she walked out holding hands. women from new york do not as a general rule and that other women if she walked out holding hands but she was totally delighted to be holding hands. i was trying to research whether it mattered that she did and i
11:59 pm
found two people who said it mattered. on both the prime minister of canada and the foreign leader who was closest to george h. w. bush and he said it made a huge difference to have the voice mikhail gorbachev trusted most to have her feel the american president and first lady were treating them with respect and to precipitate the negotiations going on and then in archives declassified by the government, the conversation between the then chancellor of west germany and mikhail gorbachev in which they talk about barbara bush as a calming influence in the negotiations and said we didn't talk aboucouldtalk about other m pretty sure was a reference to nancy reagan sai so here was a n of calm and importance and dust
12:00 am
are estimated -- underestimated by her family and teachers and husband and in some cases by herself. >> were just mentioning the end ofinin the cold war. there is another theme i would like you to talk about that shows the sophistication that relates to the rivalry between gorbachev and yeltsin and how she handled. ..so >> and all the other leaders
12:01 am
have gone into the grand hall and those suspicions trying to do something tricky as they often didth so gilson arrives and says to barbara bush to go into the hall and a red alarm went off in her head that this was a trick that walking into the hall on the arm of boris yeltsin sends a message to everybody watching around the world and at that dinner that he was in and gorbachev was out. so she turns and says to raisa gorbachev let's go in together and she maneuvers it said the three of them walk in together to send the message the united states was not taking sides in
12:02 am
the friction and the dispute between gorbachev and yeltsin this is a split-second decision add a moment that sent an important message nobody said for god sake don't do that but your own sense of the moment and her sophistication that enabled her to handle that the way she did. >> one of the things that was very striking about the book and you bring thatut out with a well-known incident at the time in 1990 wellesley college in massachusetts had invited alice walker a renowned author and writer may be the most famous to be the graduation speaker but she could not do it and then the president of
12:03 am
wellesley college says he would like you to come but had her own antenna out. and to have you talk about that but one of the things that i say i learned a great deal from this book as a lifelong democrat that i remember very distinctly i guess it was sunday morning i met my mother in san diego this was the day after barbara bush spoke at wellesley and it made a big impact and i just want to read a passage in the context is that everything is changing some people felt she was not the best role model and she says at the end of
12:04 am
your life you will never regret not having passed a test winning a verdict are not closing aot deal it was time not spent with the husband or child or friend or parent. and i thought to myself that i need to pay attention to this woman. so she accepted the invitation to get well over the objections of the chief of staff who said the women of wellesley would not be friendly to her. that she said she should have listened. [laughter] that she did accept it. some of the graduating seniors started a petition drive to protest her twice as commencement speaker that she was not the appropriate role model, her fame washe derivative from the man she had married and that was not the message that they had not learned over
12:05 am
the four years at wellesleye and this was an international controversy sparked an amount of publicity because it was a time when people were trying to sort out how do you a balance job and family and what are the appropriate roles for women. and she became a lightning rod for was going on in our culture and it was from to her in public she said i love my life i'm sure they love theirs but in her diary to my astonishment she allowed me to read she was hurt. and it was part of her complicated feelings to the women's movement because in my view she acted like a feminist she had her own views she felt strongly about things that she never talk the talk of
12:06 am
dminism and one of the five interviews i tried to get her to say she was a feminist. we went around and around. what don't you agree with? and finally i gave up for by said you are being very slippery about this and she said yes i a am. [laughter] because she thought the women'she movement had dismissed and diminished women like her who had chosen to stay homee and raise a family. she dropped out of smith with her freshman year to marry george h.w. bush never held a traditional jobre a pretty
12:07 am
accurate depicted. and then the interview returns to barbara bush and it says and i hear you are making a rug. >> in fact she was. i said to her. by the way you are sitting on the rug. she gave the speech. she was respectful for people with other opinions. but defended the choices that she have made in her home.
12:08 am
they told me that they were to hold this up when she came back even if it was a and she came back to the white house and barbara bush had tears in her eyes when she saw that and she cried less than the other bushes. >> in 1981 george brown was in the second term as governor george bush was contemplating running for presidenty against henald reagan, and the democratic party something was happening that was very characteristic if you are lifelong democrat which is a circular firing squad. [laughter] one would be hard-pressed prior to find an event where the incumbent not since teddy roosevelt did the incumbent
12:09 am
face challenger to come in as a reformer after watergate running against ted kennedy. they were telling him he should be running for president for a long time you would be hard-pressed to find two people that are more different one who had a life of privilege the other did not even have indoor plumbing they did not like each other very much so tell us about that and i thank you for the introduction into the l.a. times for holding this and a great presentation by those of you i do see that marianne won the sticky note contest. [laughter] >> let me make a point both
12:10 am
books are available in audible that is the way and regrettably her book is not an audible it will be at some time but that's the reason why she won the sticky notes. >> i got the idea to write this book 2013 at a dnc meeting and we ran across those operatives who had gone to distinguished careers in the democratic party and they were reminiscent about the 1980 convention talking about how a national television jimmy carter just accepted the nomination for a second term chasing teddy kennedy around the stage and was drunk on the stage in front of the entire
12:11 am
country and carter was humiliated for quite a know much about that but i can't believe that happened and then i ran upstairs to another political operative so i just heard this story and said yes i worked for carter and broke the democrats and broke us over a decade because they didn't win the night house until 1992. that was the beginning of her h journey deciding to write this book because over everybody thinks of 1980 and ronald reagan and as i got into writing this book what came as a surprise was the psychological profiles of each
12:12 am
of the men the way they interacted with each other and this is what i enjoy about the book there's lots of historical weight by learning about these men and their differences was the most fun and for attendee - - teddy kennedy i wast fascinated that he had so much weight on his back driving him forward with the family history and assassinated brother from worldhi war ii all the expectation of the democratic party to revise camelot or the glory days and got into politics because his father told him to. when he graduated law school after the 60 campaign he wanted to move out west and
12:13 am
the patriarch said get your rear and up to massachusetts and running for the brothers senate seat in 1962 so he obeyed and that became a lifelong career that was not his choice so if you fast-forward to his brothers being killed does he really want to run for president cracks he doesn't have a say in the h matter. when you add in chappaquiddick which is one year after bobby kennedy was shot, and incredibly complex portrait of a man still expected to run for president but is fatally flawed can't runan in 72 and 76 can't run because it still too soon and there are personal issues. 1980 comes along and jimmy carter is dead in the water in
12:14 am
the fall 1979 the numbers show kennedy is the choice of democrats to be their nominee two / one a nest before the hostage crisis happens and maybe we will get to that. but the door is so wide open that i don't think there's any way he could have said no to push or pull or drag and pushes them into running. i never really understood and i still don't if he ever wanted to run for f president he died four years before i started writing this i tried to talk to his second widow. i went to the opening of the kennedy institute in boston on the cold and snowy day and there is no mention that he ever ran for president.
12:15 am
they had a quote from his speech at the convention where he talks about the dream will never die but there is no mention where he ran for president and then to demonstrate quite clearly she had no interest to talk to me. this experience for her teddy kennedy is a necessary exorcism to rid himself of these expectations so he was good at developing relationships with the other side and taking what he could get in legislation pushing the ball. but it was a traumatic experience and i could never get to people who if you ever talk about it.
12:16 am
's son patrick who dealt with mental illness and addiction and wrote a book about that has said publicly he feels like his father had a form of ptsd watching his father be shot but on the other hand i think jimmy carter is fascinating for the ways he is misunderstood and underestimated and he could tell you that that jimmy carter was one of the three meanest people he had ever met. [laughter] along with mohammed ali and the founder of hells angels. [laughter] and i think that experience of
12:17 am
self-righteousness and the incredible drive to come from southwest georgia to will himself to the naval academy and a naval officer career. when he went home after his father died similar to the bushes he did not consult that made the executive decisions and she almost divorced him over that. and the history of that is incredible and the corruption from southwest georgia and then willing himself to the governorship and then the presidency was never a member of the establishment and always an outsider. that incredibly estimated who he was admitted him an incredible ex-president. >> speaking of his ex-
12:18 am
presidency for american politics in your book it is an incredible second act talking about the model of the presidency. >> yes. carter reinvented the post- presidency and has mediated conflicts and hotspots across the world and eradicatedd disease in africa that is a very painful disease that people get through stepping and dirty water. but almost single-handedly has completely eradicated through their work in africa. mitigated conflicts in south africa and asia. when he started he hasn't done anything like that. and others have followed the model to set up a foundation
12:19 am
or an institute. some have done that two more extent than others. he is not gone out to freelance north korea. like jimmy carter did to the chagrin of clinton but has been an inspiration to many people. into a great legislative career it'd take him another decade in thede early nineties by the deceased journalist it was called ted kennedy on a rock very bad misbehavior by kennedy and chris dodd in a french restaurant across dc. >> and in the caribbean and not to be in a good place that
12:20 am
accumulation of everything he accomplished and in a day now where so many people go to congress more to posture than anything with joseph kennedy the third he is now in congress and it is striking to talk to joe kennedy about his approach to be a member of congress. he was very clear eyed that his past down from knowing ted kennedy and his legacy. he was very clear about the jb of a congressman is and isn't.
12:21 am
and that the republicans control the senate if you want to pass legislation you have to work on things that have ao good chance of going through the senate. so to see that institution for self-promotion of which they go to and work through. >> that is a race to the campaign with a great embarrassment but interestingly the succession speech lives on in so many ways the dream will never die because when he endorsed barack obama for president the last line was the dream lives on. so he carried it forward.
12:22 am
one of the things i would like to talk to the two of you is the issue of resiliency. and the characters in your book each havean different ways of extraordinary experience but jerry brown one defeated for the senate in 1982 people wrote him off. that was the end he went off into the wilderness but then in 1992 not even allowing him to speak at the convention unless he would endorse bill clinton when she was trying to do to use those 20 minutes because he had delegates to speak at 3:00 o'clock in theav afternoon and was absolutely coconsidered to be finished at that point. and then to move to oakland it
12:23 am
all his friends still live in san francisco he still part of that world but oakland? were you thinking cracks and the model which means do what you are doing and that is very much who he is and doesn't worry about what the next thing is but then at that time if you moved to oakland he had no idea he would run for mayor because oakland was a a disaster and there was an opportunity there to do something to shape something in that way. and then the second act as governor the only of the oldest governor in modern
12:24 am
times. but a quick thought based on what you were saying that one was the role of women and how that has changed and first ladies in particular. and how bernice born in 19 oh eight and was incredibly smart when she was a teacher she tried to hide the fact they eloped because she knew you were not allowed to be a teacher if you were married. so that is the world of 1930 when she was married and her oldest daughter supersmart in that family tradition but it was the 19 fifties and still to this day talks about the fact she was raised in a world where you did not get married and it was that harriet world
12:25 am
but w but like barbara bush was anan important piece of pat brown's political career pat never went to college and went directly to law school at night and always fell intellectually deficient because of lacking a college education did not know how to pronounce words correctly sometimes and bernice was an aimportant part of his formative education and behind the scenes as the first lady who entertained and then fast-forward to jerry brown 2.0 the second time now he's married to his wife born in 1958 and had a formidable career of her own as a c lawyer with an important corporate lawyer and an executive at the
12:26 am
gap then just got up and quit to become campaign manager running for attorney general and every bit his partner and tha the first person to say his success the second time around much of it was due to her who kept them organized and paid attention to the details. [laughter] she was his chief advisor and the attorney general and the governor's office to be hard-pressed to find a woman in california who has more influence than she did. the other thing was that with the political dynasty of the push on - - of the bushes and kennedys and the browns what distinguishes the browns they left their mark in california not on the national stage although by virtue they were national figures but california is so big but l.a.
12:27 am
county has more people living in it than 43 states and that is just l.a. the fifth largest economy so in many ways california is such an important influence on national policy that being the governor of california although not the number one political job that they made some very important contributions in a way that they are able to because of the size and nature and complexity. >> so your book the resiliency of a couple of important personal and political and i will just say as a parent of a
12:28 am
33 -year-old daughter who i am doting on what they went through with their youngest daughter for you to talk about that. >> i wrote a proposal for the book so the publisher would buy it you have to do samples or the chapters i would write. the first chapter would be about the 1988 election that put george h.w. bush in the white house it was a great time for him as a defining moment in the first draft of the book i still had the 88 campaign as the first chapter and a chapter about the death of his daughter robin chronologically and it was just wrong it felt wrong so i wrote a second draft and moved robin to the first chapter and
12:29 am
then put the candidate and on - - that campaign where it was caught chronologically that was a defining moment for george bush but the illness was the defining moment for barbara bush. twenty-eight years old when her daughter who was three was diagnosed with leukemia. neither george nor barbara had ever heard of the disease the pediatrician who diagnosed it said there is nothing you can do take her home and make hered comfortable and tell nobody. they did not choose to do that they called george bush's uncle who was at sloan kettering in the next day they flew to new york and began six treatments anal early form of chemotherapy and at that point no one had ever been cured of leukemia no reported case of someone surviving the diagnosis.
12:30 am
barbara bush was the strong one in the family she had a rule that nobody could cry in front of robin that george bush struggled to abide by. . . . .
12:31 am
looked. she survived the worst thing that could have happened to her. it also made her more empathetic and the inside. george and barbara bush had a privileged lives. full of opportunity they were beginning to think about going into politics. here was something beyond their control. their money in their status and their status in their powerful friends could do nothing to save robin. she got to know families who
12:32 am
also have children with the key meant who are in much worse circumstance than she was. this was a lesson that she took through the rest of her life. the five times i interviewed her it was at her home in houston. it was in the living room of their house. in the living room there was a chair. it's where she would sit and meet with people or do needle .2 something she liked. in the corner of the living not in a place of providence where she could see it. she can see in the chair was a portrait of robin. in reading hyundai awaits she would know today note today is robin's birthday. how old were robin lee if she were alive today. it's the end of her life she told her nephew this was the most joyous time of her life in her nineties and declining
12:33 am
health and said because soon i will see robin again. >> now i would like to open to questions. i do mean questions. not speeches. >> [inaudible] >> i never predict what jerry brown will w do but with those
12:34 am
chris say crusades in recent years with nuclear proliferation to be concerned that the world is going to have a profound impact over the last eight years on the criminal justice e system. and toward the humanity of the prisons as a farewell event in sacramento and said there are thousands of people there and remember i have $15 million in my campaign account and i can spend that money on anything i want so be nice to me. e[laughter]
12:35 am
if there are issues on the 2020 ballot including those of criminal justice and to be involved in that to also view the ranch as a place but to see that as a place that people can come together and will try toil formalize that. >> can you give us any insight into the first campaign did
12:36 am
barbara ever answer any questions on that? his mother said you cannot win don't s run and then that passage into adulthood. when he drank too much and jeb bush and then to mary first and to study harder interested in public policy and with a job in florida and george in texas but jeb was more likely to win. and that isn't what happened. georgege w one an amazing victory to put them on a path
12:37 am
to the presidency jeb lost and ran four yearsd later and won the first of two terms as governor of florida but it was a surprise to the bushes but itha was george w who prevailed and george w who made it to theas white house that makes barbara bush a unique figure history to women both the wife and the mother of a president but only one who survived to see her son into the white house abigail adams died six-year before quincy adams montes john quincy adamsix bentered. he ignored her when she said no and ignored her again over the course of iraq and her husband madeai a vow here.
12:38 am
we are going to get you a microphone also. >> one of the things that impressed me. >> can you speak into the microphone. >> at one time he asked for a big cut.
12:39 am
he was continuing the excitement from the start. and he refused to live that way. and he missed to a small apartment. have just one bed. >> this is true. her frugality is almost well not. that's how he characterized it. i think a lot of it goes back into the seminary and to the samir mann - - seminaryg and the aesthetic image of jerry brown is accurate was good politics but who he is and it's hard to get him to buy a new suit he says i have one why do i need another?se [laughter] and as a contribution right
12:40 am
now when the state faced a 26 billion-dollar deficit and we were written about as greece and ungovernable not only with the financial stability but in many ways restoring public confidence in government. >> i have time for one more question. >> can you see those policy differences quick. >> as susan was talking about and shaping public policy ted kennedy also had a lifelong passion and the family has had issues of healthcare rosemary
12:41 am
had an experience which is also an executive decision in a formative experience for ted kennedy when he contracted cancer and ultimately had to have his leg amputated. spending time in the hospital with similar circumstances and less well off and shaping his drive for national healthcare and carter wasas interested with a 76 campaign that promised kennedy into be put on the back burner that was o the biggest ideological policy separation between them. but on the problem of
12:42 am
inflation which was out of control carter was more interested to rain that in through limiting the money supply and paul volcker at the fed kennedy was much more interested in government spending to mitigate the impacts on the working class those are the two biggest policy differences thank you to the panel. thank you for coming by the books you will learn a lot. read and be skeptical. [applause] you are all part of a cohort of people that fight what people are trying to force on us. thank you. [applause]
12:43 am
[inaudible conversations]
12:44 am
>> good afternoon with the massachusetts historical society and so happy

25 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on