tv Lectures in History CSPAN January 17, 2016 12:00pm-1:16pm EST
kennedy civil rights bill and how the topic on the -- and how myopic gandhi influenced his work. for complete schedule go to c-span.org >> temple university professor bryant simon talks about bill clinton's 1992 residential campaign, with a focus on the racial issues at the time. he argues that the 1988 presidential election and the resounding defeat of democratic nominee michael dukakis framed the way clinton ran for office, by positioning himself as a moderate rather than a liberal. this class is an hour and 10 minutes. prof. simon: all right, as you are walking in today, a couple of things we will come back to as we perceive in the lecture, we listened to nwa's "straight outta compton," "the chronic," and sister souljah. sister souljah was involved in a key moment of the 1992
presidential election, the moment that brings clinton to the white house. we will talk about the 1992 election as a pivotal moment in american politics. and we are going to look at the meaning of this election, and then we will kind of answer the question about sister souljah's role in it. let's start with that argument, right? one of the arguments that journalists and political commentators make about the 1992
election is that the sister souljah moment is crucial to clinton's victory. one thing we want to do is take that argument on and see if that makes sense to us. the argument that i want to make to you today is that 1992 is a crucial election in american history. now, on the surface of this, this might seem obvious, right? clinton won two terms in office, 1992 and 1996. who was the democratic president before him to win two terms in office? student: lbj. prof. simon: no, not lbj. fdr. we have to go back to the 1940's to find a democrat who had won two terms in a row. what was the last time before 1992 that a democrat had won office? carter in 1976. this would seem significant because democrats are returning
to the white house, right? that is not the argument i am going to make. the argument i am going to make is that the significance of clinton's victory is the consolidation of the politics of ronald reagan. in a sense, clinton's victory is the ultimate victory of the republican agenda. so it is that counterintuitive argument that i want to make today. why in part i want to argue that clinton is continuity to a certain extent to the reagan-bush agenda, continuity in the sense of questioning the role of government in public life, in maintaining the social security state, of upholding welfare, all those things that reagan had attacked clinton goes along with. that is my first point. my second point, we had talked
about this before, reagan begins to elevate the middle class to the center of american politics, falling off on that nixon trend of the silent majority. clinton does the same. this is a campaign about building the strength of the middle class. the poor are absent. if you are thinking there is some amazing thing that happens in the middle right before the election, the l.a. riots. and they are almost nonexistent, right? we always want to think about gaps and silence. third, clinton is a triumph of the idea of being tough on crime. we will talk about this all week, but we will see about crime and social issues and how they begin to be a part of the political discourse, across party lines. remember, we are more interested in political movements and ideas that cross party lines that
there is a consensus on the ideas that one party has. that suggests power of an idea, right? and lastly, clinton's election, the sister souljah moment, is about a continuing ambivalence of race in american life. a continuing anxiety on the part of some of the public role of african americans. a continuing fear that perhaps african-americans have too much power in american life. and a continuing ruling of white democrats, reagan democrats in the north, and white democrats in the south using coded messages about race. that is something we saw in the opening of ronald reagan's 1980
campaign. those are the ideas we want to think about today. let's think about where to start. let's think about democratic dilemmas. it is 1992. we have already kind of hinted at the frustrations of the democratic presidential elections. they had done poorly, right? this always happens, right? you have to make an assessment on how to improve on things. in 1984, the democrats get trounced. who is the democratic presidential candidate in 1984? walter mondale, who is a traditional liberal. he gets trounced. it is essential that you rethink the appeal of that message. that message is up for grabs in 1984.
not sure that this is the message the democrats want to use. they will take this lesson to heart. in 1988, democrats will hire michael dukakis as their presidential candidate, the governor of massachusetts. despite what that label means, dukakis is a middle of the road or, a technocrat, who represent competence over ideology. that is the idea, that a moderate can possibly win this election. the other thing what will happen, democrats make this move to a moderate. we see this intense kind of campaign advertising that begins to frame issues that are highly related to the effects we talked about.
not just the 24-hour news cycle, but the emotional-ization of issues. we talked about how cnn emotional-izes an issue by bringing it right at you. television advertising plays a key role in these issues. again, what we are going to see is how clinton in 1992 will respond to this. dukakis gets the nomination, runs against the older george bush, the one who is 91 now. part of this is the framing of the issue. dukakis wins the nomination, and in an interesting move, the bush campaign goes on television early. we know about this now.
they go on television early because they want to frame the debate. they want to label dukakis in a certain way. i have already told you, dukakis is essentially a moderate. he is not a mondale liberal, he is a moderate. he believes in economic growth, technocratic solutions to things, and he offers competency as part of his campaign. but the bush campaign goes at him right away and almost immediately frames him -- they use this word "massachusetts liberal." and by that, they are trying to link him to teddy kennedy. teddy kennedy, the brother of
john and robert who is the senator from massachusetts, who historically is one of the most liberal members of the senate, who also has a little bit of a problem with drinking, driving cars off of bridges. liberalism is being framed, not just his policies, but the kind of recklessness, a kind of identification, as we will see in the 1960's. we have already seen incidents. and so the bush campaign gets out front and immediately frames dukakis as a liberal, and hammers away at his liberalism. this does a couple things for us, this hands as something that will develop, the triumph of
ideas matters more than party, liberalism is becoming almost a dirty word in american politics. george mcgovern did not run away from the label of liberal, jimmy carter did not even really went away from the label. by the 1980's, the sense of liberalism is something bad is beginning to gain traction. clinton would never call himself a liberal. this is one of the most famous pictures from the campaign -- reagan had promised to make america great again, and one of the ways he promised it was to make the military strong again. democrats respond, dukakis responds by saying he strongly
supports the military. in order to do this, he takes a ride in a tank, thinking he can win the optics. instead, it makes him look like a fool. and this expression on his face gets framed in how he will destroy the military. things are not going well for the democrats early on. the biggest issue in the campaign turns out to be issues about crime. dukakis, like many liberals at the time and moderates at the time, was opposed to the death penalty. this politics of opposition to the death penalty had come out of the 1960's in many ways, and many states had pulled back and
repealed their death penalty laws. massachusetts is one of them. george bush campaigns hard. he campaigns hard on the support of the death penalty, trying to tout michael dukakis as easy on crime. dukakis is not going to be strong on issues, like of discipline, people who don't work hard. all these issues are starting to get wrapped together. the most important campaign of period is an ad about willie horton. bush has this advisor, lee atwater. he is a south carolina political operative who, interestingly enough -- he is a bulldog. and he comes up with this ad that talks about dukakis's policy that criminals could leave prison for the weekend to visit their families. one of them, willie horton, an african-american man, would
leave prison one weekend and murder and rape somebody. what atwater says is, if we can make willie horton a household name, we will win the election. what it is also trying to do is tied dukakis to issues of race, to make him be seen as somebody that will cause african-americans to have too much power. the fear of the black man, right? this is played off for a long time. watch the ad for a second.
prof. simon: atwater, i think he had brain cancer, and on his deathbed he would ask for forgiveness for the willie gordon ad, forgiveness for the people he thought he wronged. it was, but interesting play about the end of his life that was produced as he comes to terms with it. think about what bush is doing here. nowhere in this debate is the problem of unequal salaries in america. nowhere in this debate is the problem of concentrated poverty in our cities. the debate comes down to whether you support the death penalty or not. what else is bush doing in this ad?
he is linking the democratic party to crime, two lacks morals, and also to african-americans, making willie horton the face of the party. remember, what we are talking about today, the 1992 election, all of this is on bill clinton's mind as he runs for president, right? all of this is on bill clinton's mind. not to get framed early, fears about getting links to crime and race in certain ways. and clinton has to think this through as he runs for president. that is the point we are trying to get to. the other candidate in 1988 is jesse jackson. jesse jackson makes an historic run for president, and as the campaign ends, dukakis and jackson come together. jackson is given a prominent
role in the convention, some of jackson's platform planks are added to the democrats' national platform, and there is a sense that dukakis gave up too much for jackson. not just any candidate, a former civil rights leader, an african-american man, and a deeply polarizing figure. again, on clinton's mind as he prepares to run for the presidency in 1992. here are the election results. what is conspicuous here? what is conspicuous about the results? dukakis is in blue.
student: the northern states are taken by democrats. prof. simon: yeah, right? we have been talking of this battle over the south for a long time. clinton, you have to think of a way to pry off these southern states, right? we have seen how this shapes politics before. what else do we see going on? think about the way party politics works. what else has dukakis lost? student: the rust belt. prof. simon: he's lost pennsylvania, ohio, into this area where he loses the votes of who? reagan democrats. student: california voted republican as a red state. that must be the last time that happened.
prof. simon: california is an outlier. you start to see him winning the west coast, which is essential. california has to happen. again, what's on clinton's mind is this map. translating the deficiencies of dukakis into strengths. we will see how clinton will sort of engineer this in 1992. this is clinton on the cover in 1992. "who is bill clinton?" where is he from? student: little rock? prof. simon: no, he is from a town called hope, i swear. hope arkansas. clinton's biography is fascinating.
his father died when he was young. he is born in 1948. his mom remarries this guy, roger clinton, who is an alcoholic and an abuser. and clinton grows up in this dysfunctional, abusive household, and also in the town of hot springs, arkansas, known as this lawless town. it had a history of gambling, illegal alcohol, when there was illegal alcohol, and this is kind of clinton's new you. he confronts his father in his teens over abusing his mother, and keeps his name, and clinton has this kind of voracious, uncontainable ambition.
this is something you have to understand about bill clinton. i know many of you are ambitious, i'm not sure it has the same kind of demented and almost self consuming quality. one of his ambitions is to get the hell out of hope and hot springs, arkansas. again, you have to put this in perspective. here is clinton, from a not wealthy family, a family very challenged in all kinds of ways. and he ends up in georgetown. that alone is kind of an accomplishment. he wants to be close to washington. he is already politically ambitious. he would go from georgetown to be a rhodes scholar at oxford, and then to yale law school. where he meets hillary rodham. and at 34, he is elected
governor of arkansas, and he would be elected four times. he is in his mid-40's when he runs for president. one other thing important, clinton is born in 1948, which means what? he grows up during the 1960's. this is going to come back to play as part of the story, right? ambition. and this ambition means lots of things are malleable for clinton. that ambition is fundamental to understanding him. we want to think about scale of analysis, always. clinton is not simply a product of his times. his biography matters. who he is matters. when we are analyzing things, we always want to kind of keep our scale in focus, what it is we are trying to make sense of, and clinton, those things interact
with each other, right? who is clinton with here? this is clinton with george mcgovern. clinton starts out in the 1970's as a liberal, a traditional liberal in many ways. one of the stories we are going to tell is the transformation of clinton's politics. the hair is great, right? you'll see, there is some good clinton pictures. by 1992, just to give us a sense of transformation, clinton is a member of the democratic leadership council, the dlc. this is an organization deliberately committed to moving the democratic party away from the left and liberalism to the center. clinton himself has changed. he is no longer liberal, he is a centrist, and he is part of this organization committed to centrist politics, committed to centrist politics to get elected.
so clinton himself has made this transformation to the dlc. again, let's just try to figure out a little bit of who clinton is in 1992. clinton would make overtures to traditional democratic politics, but not all of them. he would be pro-choice, knowing how this is a divided issue in america, and clinton would take advantage of winning the plurality of the women's vote. he would still be in favor of >> "washington journal" continues. he would still be in favor of infrastructure projects, like big building projects that would used the economy. clinton supports civil rights, supports affirmative action. always a caveat with bill clinton. and he would famously, though he would get burned on it, bill and
hillary would support health care reform. but look at this poster. the emphasis is clearly on the middle class. clinton would begin and solidify the tradition, which has become democratic, of not talking about poverty, particularly. it was a campaign about the middle class. this was about reaching to california, reaching to the suburbs and those rust belt states, and making some overtures to the ambitions of reagan republicans. who defined themselves as the middle class. you can stay there. what else does clinton's support? and remember, from that blumenthal essay, this is where the votes are. turnout is going down in this period. remember, in that essay, it said part of the republicans success is depending on votes for the
people most likely to vote. clinton is going to go there as well, knowing that that's the case. but in a more dramatic way, clinton is going to criticize the idea of tax and spend policies, and he will use that phrase -- which republicans first used -- to define liberalism. clinton would promise famously to end welfare as we know it. we have already seen these attacks of welfare as an illegitimate form of government spending. i don't want my hard-earned tax dollars going to them. the sense that social security is a social good. clinton would plan to that. play into that.
government is a threat. clinton is in favor of reducing it. we already saw the deficit looming as an important issue in the 1980's, the way the deficit limits possibility. clinton is in favor of free trade policies. this has been a republican staple of growing bigger markets for business. clinton would support nafta. here, interestingly enough, he goes right in the face of organized labor. unions did not want nafta. it would affect manufacturing. and so clinton is gambling in a way that mcgovern wouldn't gamble, that reagan democrats and republicans do not care about those issues in the same way anymore. he would also talk again and again about tax goes that were friendly to business. these are not issues democrats have traditionally talked about. so clinton is positioning
himself as a moderate. clinton would play on social issues as well. he promised he would be tough on crime. we will see this again, he is not going to make the mistake that dukakis made on crime. clinton would talk again and again about individual responsibility. crime was not a social issue. that means different solutions, right? crime was not a social issue, it was a matter of individual responsibility. clinton supports the death penalty, and you will see, he supports traditional marriage. he would also support sort of gays in the military, but then he had this crazy policy, "don't ask, don't tell," another day. you can see clearly what clinton is trying to do.
you can see him distancing himself from the mcgovern agenda. you can see him beginning to learn from the mistakes of dukakis. it is bill clinton so the story will not be simple. part of who clinton was, part of his appeal, was that he was the first president to run who was a child of the 1960's. and this is going to come with all kinds of baggage. but clinton, embodied in some ways reproduced in a lot of ways, a more informal style of the 1960's. one of the ways he hoped to get out of arkansas was playing the saxophone. he was not very good but he could play. he famously, in the middle of the campaign goes on the arsenio hall show which was a leading
talkshow for younger people and plays the saxophone with sunglasses on. this is not something that george bush would have done, or reagan would have done. richard nixon could not have done. this is who i am. i can play this in formal role in this becomes one of the famous images from the campaign. i love this photo. this is bill and hillary. remember, the 1960's have been a dividing wedge in politics since the 1960's. for republicans, reagan had run hard against the 1960's as an issue. pat buchanan had pushed these issues. the 1960's meant a kind of loosening of morals. they represent sexual freedom troubling people. the 1960's represent support for roe in some ways. in several scholars in the 1992 election, we will see an
interpretation i am not totally going to buy from see the election as a referendum on the 1960's. that clinton embodies it and those who vote in favor of it are in favor of some of the ideas of the 1960's and those who reject clinton, reject those ideas. i think there is an element of this. it would play in the background of the election. it would come to the fore on two fascinating issues. clinton was a product of the 1960's. an era of america being strong, during the reagan era. donald trump. so did young george bush.
upper middle, people with connections did not generally serve during vietnam. but we seem to not want to recognize that and clinton and conservatives begin to -- him over his draft record. the other thing, clinton is a product of the 1960's. he is asked at one point if he ever smoked pot. clinton gives one of the great clinton answers -- yes, but he did not inhale. he made -- it was crazy and as people have come to learn bill clinton better comes this tension with the truth if you well. it surfaces again and again. that ambition. he sees a small issue getting in the way of his ambition. he could not just say -- yes, i smoked a few joints. clinton says he tried it and does anyone know where he says
he tried it? what he says is i tried it once in england when i was at oxford meaning that he was not subject to laws of the united states and then come in case you were worried, i did not inhale. he says he tried to but i just could not do it. part of this is the politics of nothing that is floating around during this era with television ads and cnn drilling every day for news. part of it is smoking pot and the draft are representations of the 1960's. things that clinton will appeal to people in california and other more liberal state that will turn people off, the okies from muskogee. that tradition and american
life. clinton is right up in that. and there is bill clinton as well. clinton was a serial philanderer. i think that is a fair thing to say. in the middle of -- it is about january of 1992, right before the iowa caucuses and the new hampshire primaries. the story explodes during that year that clinton had had an affair. people already knew about this. it was in the air. it was gennifer flowers who with tell her story to the star newspaper. what is interesting here, what you get in the tabloids in the supermarket, her story is picked up by cnn and other respectable news outlets.
she says she had an 11 year affair with clinton. now, these issues of marital fidelity are coming into the race raising the 1960's question where clinton is said to have loose morals. clinton goes on in a famous moment. he goes on 60 minutes after the super bowl. the biggest audience possible. he sits down, hillary is forced to sit next to him. she has changed her name from hillary rodham to hillary rodham clinton around 1992. clinton says -- he did not have an affair with gennifer flowers but i have caused pain in my marriage. he actually survives. he survives to live another day but he is beginning to create a
polarization of personalities. eventually, clinton will secure the nomination that on the way to the nomination, i think this is a much more important moment. and a really troubling moment to meet that you have to think about this for yourself. clinton is campaigning and he returns to arkansas to sign the death warrant, because he supports the death penalty on ricky ray rector. he had killed a police officer. but not wanting to get caught, he also shot himself in the head and was lobotomized. he was basically totally debilitated. clinton went home, very publicly to oversee the death penalty and the execution of rector to say that he was tough on crime.
i suspect or we can think about leaving out the fact of race. he was not going to get "willy horton-ed." clinton would push gennifer flowers -- it happened after those revelations were put out and several people, biographers have been hard on him on this. christopher hitchens devotes an entire chapter in the biography to this rector story. he was willing to sacrifice this kid's life, not that there was much quality of life left to make a campaign point. student: do they still put him
to death even though he was mentally incapacitated? professor simon: yes, and clinton signed the order. you can see the politics of this, but we are now getting into the kind of really tough part of this set of politics. it secures clinton the nomination. now, in the summer of 1992, clinton was in third place. this is the last time -- this is a very serious third-party challenge in the 1992 election. you have george bush, the incumbent president running as a republican. and for a third-party candidate, you have ross perot. he is a texas billionaire. he has made his money with
systems management and investments in texas. and he self finances his campaign. sound familiar? he cannot be bought. and perot has two issues, he is pretty good on tv and he uses cnn quite brilliantly. he appears again and again on the larry king show which was an important nighttime show on cnn. he has two issues that he hammers away at. one is the deficit, he says -- we are running up deficits and they will cripple our children. i do not want them to cripple my grandchildren. he was very good on television. the second thing he spoke against was trade deals. he says nafta and the other trade deals produce a sucking sound that you can hear and what is being sucked away is manufacturing jobs in the united
states. he is in favor of putting up a wall between the united states and mexico. not to keep immigrants out but to keep jobs in. no one talks about canada. he wants all wall there also. we have keep jobs internally. he is -- he identified two key problems in american life and his poll numbers are going up. at one point, perot is in the lead and then bush that clinton is never in the lead. in the summer leading up to the election. the perot campaign is crazy if you want to look at it. at one point, perot stops campaigning and then he appears again. it is not the best run campaign. for a while, it is a really important dynamic in this race.
perot's presence is important and later, itching like he was taking more from republicans. perot loved these charts and he would constantly have charts -- like joe miller, so that he could explain it to a six-year-old. he was able to explain things really clearly. i like "time" covers. in the middle of all this, los angeles explodes. you have to think about this for a second. seeing this on television. this is the second biggest city in america. it goes up in flames. again, over an issue that deals with race, the police, the beating of rodney to and the acquittal of the people who beat him. and this to me is the most amazing thing about the 1992 election.
billions of dollars in property lost. 60 people died. by september, it does not even register as a discussion on the campaign trail. here is an example of what is not there is important. that means confronting poverty. that means south central which explodes is a heavily african-american section of los angeles and latinos to a certain extent that is poor. the causes of the poverty are brushed aside. one of the things that the riots are blamed on is wrapped. -- rap. one of the side stories we will get to which will get to sister souljah, by 1992, we have the emergence of gangster rap. at this point, gangster rap, it is important to recognize this is a rejection of universalism that michael jackson was trying
to achieve. it was a distinctly african-american genre at this point. representing coming the experiences of african americans and meant to offend. really loud. using offensive language often. talking almost an internal discussion. if you think about nwa and public enemy. it is almost an internal discussion. white new musical genres like rock 'n roll had and just come it is driving people crazy. in some ways, people recognize that it is an attack on the system. other people do not like the new sound. this is not mainstream at this point. it is largely playing to
african-american audience is. -- audiences. you have songs indicting the police. you have songs talking about unequal economics in the systems in the cities. songs that people call street ethnographies that a really -- that are really detailed about what is going on. rap, music can also create divides. yes? student: i find it interesting how in the 1960's, you are seeing the riots in detroit and in oakland happening at the same time and now you are seeing riots happening in los angeles over the same issue. the president now that understands it. it is a big reason why he ends up winning that election because he understands how the civil rights movement worked back then. professor simon: it is an interesting argument but
remember that clinton is not willing to talk about it. let me know if you still think that after we talk about the sister souljah moment. this uneasiness with rap is in the air in the summer of 1992. and clinton is behind in the polls. this is sister souljah, the rapper of 1992. these are the words of the song. sister souljah is a black nationalist. student: i know a lot of early rap played off of the nation of islam also. there was an appropriation of that by the community. i think that was more, not an attack on the system but an attempt to create a sense of community in urban areas.
i think that is being underplayed here. professor simon: the question is whether it is an either or. the nationalism that sister souljah is embracing, is a nationalism that says we are separate. if you think about a lot of nwa songs, -- the sense that we have created an unequal space in america that is outside of that. clinton will play that dimension of it, not the nation of community building. as we will see. as always, there are possible interpretations out there. we will see what clinton does with this. all of this is stewing in 1992. according to the washington post, clinton is in third place. he has to do something to shake up the election. racial tensions in the air. according to the washington
post, his campaign staff in the summer of 1992 has an intense debate about how it should distance itself from jesse jackson. distance himself from civil rights. distance itself from policies associated with african americans which they think are unpopular with moderate voters. code word for who? middle-class, white, south, maybe reagan democrats. think about that map again. what is in clinton's head about whom he has to win over. it is in this context, in the summer of 1992, that clinton is trailing, the los angeles riots have happened, rap is bristling, the rise of nationalist politics in the black community, and clinton creates what will later be called the sister souljah moment. let us take a look.
let us think about context for a moment. where is this happening? where is clinton when he gives this speech? he is at the rainbow coalition annual meeting. the rainbow coalition is jesse jackson's political organization. we will bring a rainbow of people together. jesse jackson is sitting next to him when he makes his speech. a couple days before this, sister souljah -- and clinton will say this, had gone and made this comment saying -- we need to take some white lives for some black lives. clinton who is invited to this event gives this speech.
let us listen to the clinton's speech and think about what he is trying to do here. mr. clinton: let us stand up for what has been best about the rainbow coalition which is people coming together across racial lines. we have talked about mr. fields from louisiana. a great role model. we do not have a lot of time to do this. we do not have a lot of time. you had a rap singer here last night, named sister souljah. i defend her right to express herself through music but her comments before and after los angeles. listen to this. what she said. she told the washington post about a month ago -- if black people kill black people every day, why not have a week when we
can kill white people. if you are a gang member and you normally kill somebody, why not kill a white person. last year she said you cannot call me or any other black person in the world are racist. we do not have the power to do to white people what they have done to us. and even if we did, we do not have that low down dirty nature. if there are any good white people, i haven't met them. where are they? right here in this room. that is where they are. i know she is a young person but she has a big influence on a lot of people. when people say that, if you took white and black and you reversed them, you might think david duke was getting that speech. let me tell you -- we all make mistakes and sometimes we are not as sensitive as we ought to be. we all have an obligation to call racism when we see it. i joined a friend of mine and i played all at a country club that did not have any
african-american members and i was criticized for doing it. i was rightly criticized. i made a mistake. and i said i would never do that again. i think all of us have got to be sensitive to that. we cannot get anywhere in this country pointing the finger at one another across racial lines. if we do that we are dead and they will beat us. even in reverend jackson's -- of this election, it is hard to get to a 34% solution or 40% solution if the american people can be divided by race. i have seen the hatred. professor simon: he is not too happy there. here is one assessment from what this sister souljah moment means. the so-called sister souljah moment is a calculated the
announcement for a special interest group that wrapped clinton in a warm centrist cloak just in time for the election. do you buy that? is that what he is doing here? student: i feel like he is trying to keep the country together as a whole. that is what is health like to me. those riots, the government at that time was trying to keep the african-american community and the white community together and not have a separate african nation. he is trying to keep everyone together almost like lincoln. i know that is a big comparison. professor simon: i think clinton was like that. student: i'm sure anyone would like that comparison. he is trying to keep the peace. professor simon: go ahead. student: reverse discrimination.
against the civil rights movement and sister souljah where he was downplaying the fact that we welcome not let the fear become of fear. student: i think he hopped on a very circumstantial moment that would be a good thing for his campaign. i don't know if he actually deals that way. -- feels that way. professor simon: keep in mind, he is seen as trying to win moderate voters here. stephanie might be right but he is also seen as trying to divide people here. student: did jackson know he was going to say that in his speech? professor simon: no, that is part of the story. he hijacks jackson. jackson was angry. he felt like he had been done wrong by clinton. from clinton's perspective, he wanted that response. he wanted the press to report that jackson was mad at him. to create this kind of tension.
go ahead. student: during this time, when he was talking about dukes, was this still when he was a representative in louisiana or was that before or after he was head of the clan? professor simon: duke almost wins a senate seat in louisiana. he is making this analogy that racism can cross both sides are that is not what sister souljah had said that only white people can be racist because they have the power. student: i found it interesting that he talks expressly about sister souljah sister souljah -- he makes little notice of riots and economic positions. professor simon: what is left
out? student: he is sweeping everything else under the rug. student: he was definitely trying to win the majority of the votes by not going to o extreme. like, we are not against the hate. at the same time, trying to bring both groups together. he was definitely trying to get all americans. he didn't want to seem as though he was against african-americans. professor simon: it is not coupled, and this is important because we keep seeing this, what is important. it is not coupled with -- sister souljah is wrong but we have to address the issues of poverty. it suggests that racism is a matter of behavior and speech.
what does clinton say, he says -- no, i have not been privileged, it was -- i made a mistake going to the wrong country club. it is not tied to. it is important to see how he plays this issue. student: i think it is total political opportunism. he is taking a play from the atwater playbook and playing on the fears of america. they were afraid of gangster rap. and her. today, if you asked him about reverse racism if that was a possibility, i do not think his answer would be the same. professor simon: go ahead. student: i think he does a masterful job of delicately balancing the issues and appealing to all different parties across the nation which is what he is known for. that is his signature. i would have to credit his election victory more so to his
charisma and charm and also a lot of people forget that ross wrote did help him out in many ways and that election because he took 20% of the vote and that helped bring down the incumbent, george bush. professor simon: the attack on nafta is an attack on democrats. i think generally, people who analyze elections think that perot took more from clinton than he did from bush. again, i like that we are moving towards interpretation. some people have put the sister souljah at the center of the election. emphasizing individualism is another way to think about the election. let us look at the kind of map for a second. the most important moment, in the 1992 presidential race probably came early summer when clinton criticized jackson's rainbow coalition for giving up for him to a young, black rep artist who spoke favorably about blacks killing whites.
at the time, this analysis is made. the key thing to think about -- you are moving. you are thinking. and saying -- do i buy this analysis? does it make sense? what kind of evidence supports this? there is a challenge by saying i am going to emphasize that clinton is a campaigner. this is his interpretation of the election. race at the center of american politics. let us look at this. it is a kind of argument. look at the map. what has clinton done here? the electoral college matters.
you only have to win a majority to get the electoral votes. so what states are you pointing to? >> ohio, michigan. thehe one in california and west coast. .> a new kind of liberalism >> he gets part of the south back. pulling in these reagan democrats and traditional liberals. you can see flipping of the 88 map here.
and one more white vote then dukakis did. despite the sister soldier , he wins a tremendous majority of the african-american vote. he wins the organized labor vote. he begins to go with the majority. it is the democratic party's fools gold. where are african-americans going to go? if he takes the analysis he has and distance self from black votes, he has no place to go.
it is going to become an important part, may be politically disillusioning and setting some of the table for barack obama. same with organized labor. the kind of tea party is unhappy with moderates in the party. where are they going to go? two party systems create not great choices. clinton is thinking about that. this sister soldier moment is exposed in a certain way. most people think he took about 60% of 20% away from
republicans. thiscouple of close states is really going to matter. let's think about the arguments to consider. i want to make an argument that -- it is thee importance of reagan is him. tax -- someg to business on the class. in some waysepted of mainstream republican party's -- republican policy is a key player. they begin to see the government as building a safety net.
it is not a legitimate activity. he is playing the race card, dividing americans, understanding the anxiety of what means to pursue civil rights. clinton recognizes this in a way that reagan had and in some ways nixon had. i want to argue that: since election is to continue to dominate american politics. nowhere in this discussion is dealing with the persistent inequality they are developing during this period. los angeles burned.
that is not the fundamental political issue of the day. as if that part in south-central is at all similar to north philadelphia. isn't similar to chicago at the time. discussion of that is profound in its silence. clinton participates in that. >> moving away from a city into the suburban campaign. ultimately the cities didn't vote. the cities were also the place with the economic disparity as the greatest. turninge also the ones police away from the polls and working the focus of campaign. >> this is the american -- this is the moment america becomes a majority suburban nation.
the politics in the middle class are associated with the that. a couple of strange twists, three strange twists of clinton and american politics. clinton nominates vice president al gore. generally this is not what you do in politics. some people have this theory, this is one of the campaign buttons. a visit to the confederate flag pushes the democratic party. one of the arguments is southerners are reassured by southerners, but northerners are as well.
northerners believe southerners will hold the line on race. will not allow for african-americans and there is this implicit state that southerners will take care of it. a very southern miss. they assure people they will not be too much power. people have this fear of african-americans in the party. clinton would be -- this is going to be a rocky ride over eight years. clinton's infidelities would come back up again. you can figure that out, more power to you.
the fierce anti-clinton is him from the republican party is that republicans don't like bill clinton because they are actually better at some things. bill clinton actually reduces the deficit. it is clinton that gets the trade deals in. this has less to do with monica lewinsky, less to do with trade deals, then clinton's very try out on the politics that republicans cared about the most. and the last strange twist to , this is kindars of an interesting place to end, toni morrison famously called bill clinton the first black president.
this quotes, she is responding in some ways to the persistent attacks on clinton, that clinton's own poverty, that ,linton's own tough backgrounds that those in power refused to let him climb. those in power refused to let him in the same way -- and his empathy and compassion in the face of this embodied what he thought was an ethos of what -- he those of who struggled in poverty. it is an interesting career to hold a revered place.
hillary ran against obama in south carolina. clinton's ability to adapt and change is one of the best stories. this was an artful politician. and we can see some of ourselves. some of our best and worst sides. that is often what politics is, and clinton understood that. sort of left us where we are at. thursday, this article is kind of long. about theng to read prison industrial complex and follow-up on this crime of justice and how america responds to it and play off a very important theme across party
lines. the trial, kind of like the politics we saw today, something that crosses party lines. thank you for your patience today, i will see you thursday. >> this weekend the c-span city's tour, hosted by our comcast cable's partners, explores the history of connecticut. learn about the atlantic slave trade through connecticut slave ship's and the significance these books had in telling the story of the slave trade. >> we have this extraordinary opportunity to see a by day, how life was lived aboard new england's slave ships, two of which were from connecticut.
i came to the realization these books were not maintained by the son of an obscure connecticut farmer. >> talking about the impact of the abolitionist music -- abolitionist movement by the hutch and -- by the hutcheson family singers. >> seeing frederick douglass, perhaps hearing him speak, the hutchinson's decide to take that step. anti-ill perform at the slavery meeting. they will perform in boston. their first foray into anti-slavery singing. they will do that informal meeting settings. of --will visit the home
publishing more than 30 books. >> she moved in with her husband. about 10 years older and professor of theology retired. she moved in with her oldest children. they were in their 30's. stowe was still riding. she had reached that pinnacle of fame and she is still writing to support the family. weibel tore the mark twain house and learn about successes and private life while they live in this home from 1874 through 1891. >> mark twain began looking at hartford as a place to settle with his young life -- young life.
just was tickled to death. mothers and brothers, saying this place was beautiful. family would come into the .ibrary paintings across the top and on the mound toll -- on the mantell. with the begin painting on the very end. they would have these certain roles. they would incorporate each and every knickknack. he could not go out of order and repeat himself. he would have to end with the painting of -- >> the c-span city's tour, working with our cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country.
>> minutes before the attack on pearl harbor on december 7, 1941, the japanese bombed a naval air station. this story is largely forgotten. coming up next on the anniversary of the attacks, author michael wagner talks about those whose -- those who fought, survived, and died when japanese -- japanese planes passed the day on their way to pearl harbor. >> good morning, thank you for joining us as we commemorate the 74th anniversary of the pearl harbor attack. this is another on our ongoing on deck series. we are thrilled to have you all with us. today, we have mike wagner and bob chrisman, the authors of "no one avoided danger."