Skip to main content

tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  January 7, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

12:00 pm
>> rose: welcome to our program, tonight we take a look at president obama and a new chief of staff and other changes as he sets the new direction in the white house. joining us is mark hal person and john hielman. >> i'm a huge fan of this selection in a bill daley. i'm a journalist and objective but objectively this is one of the most talented guys in the country and for what barack obama wants to do-- which is get things done. not win reelection, he cares about that, but in the next year plus he cares about getting things done he promised the american people he would do, i didn't think of a better person he could have picked than bill daley. >> i think if you asked ask the president what he thinks they failed at. and when i know i say "they" i think he would say himself in some cases and his team in other cases. i think he believes they failed to frame those policies well. i think that he feels as
12:01 pm
though-- and i don't want to say... it's trivializing to say they had communications failures but that's a big part of it. i think he believes they did not fight for those things in the right way in some cases, did not make the argument in the proper way, consistently and compellingly enough. i think he feels as though they failed in some respects politically as they achieved a great deal substantively. >> rose: also columbia university professor tim we looks at technology companies. his book is called "the master switch." >> radio in the '20s, it was... anyone could have radio stations very normal. anymore the 1910s. so these industries, once there's this new invention tend to go through these incredible exciting open periods. this internet had the same thing this the last 20 years. we've had 20 years of anyone starts a company, becomes a megamillionaire. but what history shows is over time eventually what was once the young, exciting new media becomes increasingly consolidated, increasingly closed, dominated by monopolists or ole g.o.p.ly and the question
12:02 pm
is whether there's happening again. >> rose: we conclude with pulitzer prize winning biographer edmund morris. his third book at teddy rood veldt is called "colonel roosevelt." >> power became him, adulation became him, he loved celebrity. but he did even at that height of fame want to spend the rest of his life as a literary gentleman and retire to sag her hill. and the pathos, the tragedy of which i speak, of which johnson speaks in our prologue is the fact that he was pulled back into politics rather against his will and was compelled to run against the presidency and at the height of that campaign in 1912 got a bullet in his chest which very nearly killed him and from the moment that bullet impacted on his ribs and landed within a fraction of an inch of his heart, his life went into a slow and fairly inevitable tragic decline. >> rose: a new presidential staff, technology companies, and
12:03 pm
teddy roosevelt when we continue maybe you want school kids to have more exposure to the arts. whatever you want to do, members project from american express can help you take the first step. vote, volunteer, or donate for the causes you believe in at membersproject.com. take charge of making a difference. captioning sponsored by rose communications
12:04 pm
from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> we begin with the day in politics. president obama announced today william daley will take over as white house chief of staff. daley served as commerce secretary in the clinton administration. he's been a top executive at j.p. morgan chase. pete rouse will remain as counselor to the president. the president expressed his confidence in daley. >> he possesses a deep understanding of how jobs request are created and how to grow our economy and needless to say bill also has a smidgen of awareness of how our system of government and politics works. you might say it's a genetic trait. (laughter) >> rose: daley spoke briefly, accepting the appointment. >> you, mr. president, have proven your strength, your
12:05 pm
leadership, your vision during a most diflts time for the nation and the world. you have also shown through your example that public service is an honorable calling and i am pleased to answer your call. >> rose: this is the first in a series of expected personnel changes in the white house. there are reports the president will soon announce the appointment of gene sperling to replace larry summers as director of the national economic council. sperling is serving as a councillor to treasury secretary tim geithner. joining me now from washington is john heilemann, national affairs editor at new york magazine. with me in new york is mark halperin, editor at large for "time" magazine. they are co-authors of the popular political book about the campaign in 2008 called "game change." >> happy new year, charlie, and to your viewers. >> thank you very much on their behalf. so tell me why daley. >> i'm a huge fan of this selection in a bill daley. i'm a journalist and i'm
12:06 pm
objective but i'll tell you, on theively this is one of the most talented guys in the country. and for what barack obama wants to do-- which is get things done not win reelection, he cares about that, but in the next year plus he cares about getting things done he promised the american people he would do-- i didn't think of a better person he would have picked in the country than bill daley. >> rose: why? there >> there's different models for the role of chief of staff. the classic role, the most effective role for any president is the one james baker did, probably the best chief of staff in modern history. you want someone who can do a lot of different things and daley can do almost all of them at a world-class level. first of all, one of the president's biggest problems now is the business community. relations with not just wall street but businesses around the country. daley comes from a business background, he speaks their language. the chamber of commerce just put out a positive statement about that. two, he can go to capitol hill and negotiate as an adult with members of both parties. that's a vitally important role for a chief of staff. he can do that. three, he can come on shows like
12:07 pm
this and make a statement. he can use the bully pulpit of the chief of staff which is an incredibly valuable weapon. the current acting chief of staff pete rouse does a lot of things very well, he's not been on this program as far as i know. he can't play that part. and finally he has, as the president said there, an understanding of politics and government, is how to keep everything integrated, he's managed big things, he understands public relations, intergovernment affairs, he understands the whole way of government works coming from one of the great political families in america. >> rose: so what's his political place, john? centrist? >> oh, yeah. i mean he is the definition, the very definition of a modern pragmatist. and you'll see in the coming days the left is going to go sort of crazy because he is... he's seen as being too far to the center and obviously too tied to wall street. but the truth is they also are kind of confounded by the fact that-- that is the left-- that that howard dean endorsed time other day. they was chairman of al gore's
12:08 pm
campaign which a lot of people on the left regard highly. that is guy who is a very solid democrat who can work on both sides of the democratic ideological street, which is to say on the populist left to when he needs to and on the kind of conservative pro-business right side of the democratic street. he plays both of those because he is at core more dedicated than anything to getting things done. and i think the key... mark hit a bunch of really important points. certainly one of the most important ones he hits, you can't e.m.t. a size enough, is that this administration has really lacked over the course of the first two years is a really effective economic spokesman. many people have criticized tim geithner which who i think has been a good treasury secretary but he's not been a great economic commander-in-chief for the administration. bill daley will be that. he will be the voice on the economy, i think, for this administration going forward. that's very important. and the second thick that's really important is that he is... a lot of people wondered whether obama would choose an insider or outsider and there will be a fair amount of
12:09 pm
speculation and analysis over whether daley is an insider or outsider. he is clearly not an insider in the way that david axelrod, david plouffe, robert gibbs were insiders from the campaign. but he's also not an outsider and mark and i reported in "game change," bill daley was the first person that barack obama went to the day after the midterms in 2006 when he was the first deciding whether he was going to seriously think about running for president, the very first person he went to see was bill daley. and that tells you that he's not exactly an outsider, either. he's someone who obama respected his judgment, respected his acumen for a long time and it's kind of a classic obama move to find someone who is both an outsider and insider, someone he's comfortable with but brings in a lot of outside contacts and correct. >> rose: so why didn't the president appoint him to the administration at the very beginning? >> well, i think in a lot of ways, charlie, rahm emanuel was kind of a prototype for bill daley. i mean, he chose as his first chief of staff someone who was also an outsider and insider,
12:10 pm
someone who was not in the obama inner circle but was close to a lot of people who were and who obama had a relationship with. he went with rahm emanuel for the first two years, now he's chosen bail daley and someone wrote today that bill daley was a calm rahm. there's something to that. he's older, more composed, he's a little pro fine sometimes but nothing like rahm, doesn't have the temper that rahm has and is a little more composed. i don't want say grown-up because i think rahm is grown-up too, but he's more composed. they're cut from the same cloth in terms of the relationship they have to obama and his world >> rose: i'd love to know what about what the conversation was about in 2006. did obama go to bill daley and say "should i run"? and did bill daley say "yes"? >> it was the first meeting obama had. he said "i'm going to think seriously about running for president immediately after the midterms. literally the day after the midterms they meet the in david axelrod's lunch. and obama was taken aback by
12:11 pm
daley's encouragement of him running. daley knew the clintons very well and daley said "why not run? you'll never be hotter than you are now." obama had just come off his book tour, uf of campaigning around the country. he warned him, though, he said "running against the clintons and john edwards is tough. tlesz two people who are going to be aggressive on the campaign trail." but he said "why not go for it. >> rose: the question of the business community, the this solves the problem about there's nobody who had business experience in the white house. >> it doesn't solve it entirely. i think the business community is going to want a lot of not just rhetoric but action but bill daley, first of all, is a supporter of free trade which is a huge issue for the business community and for republicans. he lobbied for nafta, they spearheaded that. and he also again has worked for a bank, he's worked in the telecommunication business. and he's someone who speaks their language and knows them.
12:12 pm
so there's now an ambassador of the business community, he'll be a spokesperson for the economy in business. there aren't too many people who would have been effective chiefs of staff and plausible chiefs of staff who could do as much in one appointment to work on one relationship with the business community as bill daley. >> rose: was he on the list early on? when rahm decided to leave did somebody instantly say "let's get bill daley"? >> no, i think actually he was a relatively late... came up relatively late. they look at some other people before they looked at him, charlie and one possibility was pete rouse would stay on. it's my understanding he came into the conversation relatively late in december. they've been thinking about transitioning rahm before the mayor's race came up for rahm. emanuel, he was going to go at the end of the first two years. so there's been thinking in an abstract way about who would replace rahm for more than just the midterms. it's been going on for a number of terms and the names you've seen are people that were at
12:13 pm
least given some degree of consideration. i think that ron claimed the vice president chief of staff is now leaving, was given some consideration. i think tom daschle was given some consideration. and obviously as i said before, pete rouse was certainly up until the last minute there was still a chance that pete rouse would keep the job. in the end i think in some point in december or so the focus turned to daley and he looked like a good choice for a lot of the reasons that mark was talking about. i think this business thing can't be overstated how much... how important it is and, again, in the next couple days there will be a lot of confusion, i think, about... especially from progressives. people will be saying "why is obama kowtowing to wall street?" there's an important distinction between wall street and the rest of the business community and as i go around the country and talking to c.e.o.s who are not on wall street, people in manufacturing, people in the service industry, people in information technology this is this overwhelming sense across the business spectrum that the
12:14 pm
administration either doesn't understand business or is hostile to it and fixing that problem is really important for obama heading into 2012. you cannot win reelection as a democrat in america if close to 100% of the corporate world across the spectrum all think that you're out to lunch. and bill daley i think will start remediate that and be someone they believe people in that world they can get on the phone in the white house and who does, as mark said, speak their language. >> two things about daley's appointment. one is according to my reporting rahm emanuel was his biggest backer. his strong recommendation for the president was pick bill daley. he saw bill daley, as john suggested they're similar. but he saw daley as someone who could perform the functions he thinks the chief of staff needs to do. rahm while he's running for mayor is still very much an advisor on these big personnel issues. the other thing about daley which we haven't talked about is he's extraordinarily close to joe biden. he worked with joe biden when joe biden ran for president and
12:15 pm
joe biden took a bit of a victory lap after the lame duck session to say to people "hey, don't think i was playing this big role because rahm is gone, i've always played this big role." there's no doubt in my mind the vice president weighed in heavily and if daley wasn't his first choice, he's happy to have his old friend in the white house. >> rose: and this says what in the end about barack obama? >> i think that he wants to get things done. he is not as eid lodge a cal as people on the right think he is and he wants to get things done and hents someone who can run the place, work with business and work with republicans because the reality, the left is unhappen bihiss choice in some way and unhappy with obama in some ways. but if he's going to achieve immigration, job creation, protecting as much as he can of health care reform, dealing with free trade he's going to need to go to the republican house. >> rose: gibbs is leaving too. what does that mean? >> i think he's entitled to have a break. people forget he joined with barack obama in 2004 when he was
12:16 pm
running for senate so he's had seven years of being tied to this comet first as a senate candidate then as a senator and then as a presidential candidate and now president. i think he, unlike david plouffe and david axelrod who have been in the private sector and made a lot of money, robert has been in politics almost his whole career. so this is a chance for him to go out and make son-in-law real money for his family. >> rose: make a lot of speeches, things like that. >> have a little bit of the break from the day to day. be out there consulting with the president, speaking on his behalf on shows like this, then front and center for the reelection. >> rose: how about gene sperling john? >> i think there's a number of things to say. just to answer your previous question, charlie, just a little bit, the other thing i do think is true is that all of these changes-- i'll get to gene in a second. but if you think of all these change there is's now happening something a lot of people didn't think was going to happen a couple months ago. we're in the middle of a significant retooling of the whole of the white house. a couple months ago people thought there was possibility a
12:17 pm
possibility not that much would change. david axelrod is going to be leaving fairly soon, robert gibbs leaving very soon. bill daley coming in. gene sperling coming in. i think there's a sense that the president is making what gibbs the other day said a pretty significant retooling, i think he's doing that because there are some ways in which he doesn't think the white house has been working very well. i think this reflects a sense of impatience and a certain amount of unhappiness. he's making tough choices to fix those things. gene sperling is a very talented guy who comes from the treasury department. he had this job, the head of the national economic council under clinton. he is again a centrist, a center left... he's a little bit to the left of center but much more of a centrist than a left wing eid lodge. he is an extraordinarily detailed policy wonk and the fact that he has lived through... he's been in this job when he... when a democratic administration held the white house and when a republican... republicans held the congress and was able to get business done again goes to a large
12:18 pm
reason for why he's there. barack obama, as mark said twice now, wants to get things done and recognizes that the political terrain has changed. is gene sperling is a good guy to have in your shop under those circumstances. i also think that the other person who was being considered for that job, roger altman, who we all know, is someone who would have been very talented and very capable to take that job but i don't think it would have been possible for obama to put bill daley in the chief of staff's job and roger altman, two people with big ties to wall street would have been a bridge too far for obama and i think that also helped gene sperling to end up where he's going to end up. >> rose: the next big task for the president is to decide what he wants to say in the state of the union and what is the tone, what is the message, what does he hope to accomplish? >> i think he's going lay out the things he wants to work on. and the stuff he wants to work on, with the exception of health care, is very much in line with what the republicans want to work on. which is to say they want to create jobs. they want to deal with free
12:19 pm
trade expansion. they want to deal with education. now, immigration? probably not something they all want to work on. they all want to work on deficit reduction. that's the big change. how do you reduce the deficit, put a down payment on that which republicans are emphasizing, and spur job growth. and the president's also shown based on taxes in the lame duck session that he's willing to do a compromise that doesn't mean how do we get into the middle on every issue but rather some of the stuff from my list and some of the stuff from your list. even though i hate the stuff on your list and you may hate the stuff on my list. that's the kind of series of compromises he's going to have to offer on deficit reduction along the lines of the deficit commission that reported in december and also on education and also on trade. i think those will be the thing... the thing he is will emphasize are things where he can make a deal. >> rose: john, you would add to that? >> i wouldn't add much to that. i think all of that's true. the question i think going forward to some exstent a
12:20 pm
tactical question. i think he do the things mark just said. the question is going to be where where can he capitalize on republicans overreaching, if they overreach. and the question in that context tactically is how much do you aggressively push for those kinds of deals versus playing a little bit of pos tom and waiting to see what republicans put on the table and reacting and there's got to be a mix of those two things. places where he takes the agenda in his hands, takes the initiative and other places where he wants to lay back and hopefully from the white house's perspective set some traps where republicans will go too far and be able to be painted by the white house as being extreme or being out of touch with mainstream political values. >> rose: who do they fear the most in the republican party? >> as a presidential candidate? >> rose: yeah. presidential candidate. >> they don't fear too many people in the field right now. john pointed out the other day
12:21 pm
when john huntsman's name, the former ambassador of utah, john pointed out that david plouffe said they sort of worried about hip. he's an attractive guy on paper. he's never been an arena at this size or played at this level. i think that right now you can run through the list with people around the president who are thinking about this and they're much more likely to emphasize the negatives of even someone like a mitch daniels or haley barbour who some people see as strong rather than the positives of them. >> when they look back over the last two years, john, this... as we close this down, what is it that they have learned, this administration? what do they regret? >> that's a good question, charlie. i think like a lot of administrations... first of all, i think the president believes that he had a window in the first two years to do a bunch of big things and i think he believes that he did those things. he did things that he had to do and things that he thought were important, whether that was health care, financial reregulation, the stimulus. all of that stuff, those were
12:22 pm
all things that he looks back on i think with immense pride in terms of his policy accomplishments. i think if you ask the president what he thinks they failed at, and when i say "they," i think he would say himself in some cases and his team in other cases. i think he believes they failed to frame those policies well. i think he feels as though-- and i don't want to say, it sounds trivializing to say they think they had communications failures but i think that's a big part of it. he believes they did not fight for those things in the right way in some cases, did not make the proper argument compellingly enough in some instances. i think he feels in some respects politically even as they achieved a great deal substantively and i think that the president wishes he had been able to do both and has focused as much on the politics and the optics as he did... and convincing the country, bringing the country along as he did on the legislative strategy and the public policy aspects of it. >> rose: those people who believe in barack obama worry about what? >> there's a mind set that the
12:23 pm
president has and the people you're talking about have which is that the republicans have been nihilistic and that they don't care about anything but destroying the president and i think some people worry that that's true and he needs to be worried about being destroyed. that twaufl is going to be a much refer thing for him than 2008 was. i think some people think he overlearned that lesson. that he got so caught up in kind of a bitterness at the press allowing republicans to get away with being cynical and not, prince, proposing budget cuts when they say they want to cut the deficit and the debt that he may not be as open to the opportunities for compromise and confrontation that his thinking about it is not as clear as they could be. >> rose: do they believe they gave too much leeway to the house and to nancy pelosi as part of the conventional wisdom? >> i think that's one of the big myths of the first two years because rahm emanuel and joe biden and others behind the
12:24 pm
scenes, they were there every step of the way making every... being a partner in every decision and the president was meeting regularly with nancy pelosi and steny hoyer and others to plot a course: i think they did it smartly. they got things through by in public being hands off, letting the committee chairs and the leaders of the congress appear to be running the show but nothing happened that really was out of very few things happening. >> rose: and they were pretty happy with the end result in terms of stimulus? in terms of the programs that came out of the congress? >> and health care and the auto bailout and everything else. the president believes he's accomplished more than 70% of the things he promised he would do as a candidate in less than half of the term. that's pretty good by his standards. >> rose: do you agree with that, john? >> i do. i do. and i would say i think that's all true and then i think a big change happened in december. when the president decided to do the tax cut deal with republicans and so many congressional democrats were upset about that, especially more liberal members of the congressional democratic caucus, i think the white house shifted.
12:25 pm
having worked hand in glove with them and not been upset with the outcomes as mark just said. city think they realized in this new era they need distance from the congressal democratic leadership now that they're in the minority and the way they handle the tax cut deal when a lot of democrats were complaining they gave too much, when he said we have to make these compromises and he was as annoyed with his own party in that perez conference than he was with republicans, i think you saw a shift in terms of how they're going to relate to congressional democrats going forward for the next two years, taking a page from the way bill clinton did in the course of the '95 and '96 time frame back in that administration. >> and to come back to the news of the day, bill daley has as good an ear as anyone in politics, as good a fingertip deal in anyone in politics. how do you finesse that challenge of confronting the republicans when appropriate, cooperating when appropriate, confronting the base of the party, including the liberal congressional wing in the house
12:26 pm
when appropriate and when to stand and fight and there's nobody better than the president to make those judgments. >> rose: thank you very much. mark halperin, john heilemann coming soon to a speaking engagement near you. >> rose: the federal communications commission has adopted new rules on network neutrality. the new guidelines are designed to limit the control that corporations such as google and verizon wield over the content that consumers see on the web. critics of the vote have accused the government of intruding on free speech and the ruling is expected to face legal challenges in the coming months. joining me now is the inventor of the term net neutrality, tim wu, he's a professor at columbia university and an author of a new book called "the master switch." he studies the history of five major communications industries including film, television, radio and the telephone and the internet. pleased to have him here at this table for the first time. welcome. >> pleasure to be here, thank you for having me. >> rose: the net neutrality means what? >> means that there's a knelt
12:27 pm
neutrality law. that means it's illegal for a carrier company, let's say verizon, to block, let's say, hulu or bing, a site it doesn't like. the carriers have to carry all the web sites, that's the basic idea of net neutrality. >> rose: was there a real threat that they would do that? or was it the potential of the sflet >> blocking is not something... actually china san francisco a country that blocks stuff for censorship reasons. in america it's less about blocking and more about wanting to speed things up. so verizon has a partnership with google, they speed up youtube and slow down hulu because they're with comcast. so there was a danger of a war of attribution to try and push your stuff over everyone else's and net neutrality rules are supposed to prevent that. >> rose: how did the signs line up in this debate? >> it's pretty complicated. basically even though you... basically google has favored a net neutrality rule basically, but slowly they've gotten closer to verizon and become friendlier.
12:28 pm
at&t, the great communications monopolist of american history has always been opposed to net neutrality. they've never really liked the internet and so it's kind of a mixture. generally the internet companies like net neutrality, phone and cake companies hate it. >> what have you learned from these studies? what is the process, the similar seize that have taken place? >> this is what's so interesting. you see the same cycle repeat itself. >> rose: pattern. >> same pattern, exactly. if we were talking 100 years ago maybe on the radio or something we would be talking about the telephone industry being this open wild industry where any young man would go start up your own company. radio in the 20s, anyone could have radio stations very fornal, film in the 1910s. so industries tend to go through these incredible exciting periods. the internet had the same thing last 20 years. we'ved that 20 years of anyone starts a company, becomes a megamillionaire. but what history shows is over
12:29 pm
time eventually what was once a young exciting new media becomes increasingly consolidated, increasingly closed, dominated by monopolists. and the question is whether that's happening again whether in settle ways the interfete itself is also slowly becoming monopolized. >> rose: make the case that it is and make the case that perhaps... >> yeah. and i'll say i'm fundamentally not sure what's happening because you can never predict exactly. but when you look at most of these networks, social networking, facebook basically. search engines. google. downloading content, basically apple. the apple t.v. most online content, itunes. apple has monopoly. so we're getting an age to where you can talk about the big three or four. >> rose: and what happens? how does is... is it because they made a break through in terms of a product they offerd? they use that place to expand and grow and leverage to get into a backtrack?
12:30 pm
>> all these companies have fabulous products. that's the key. >> rose: but that's the entrepreneurial way, isn't it? >> americans also, even though we talk about competition, there's a long history in this country in information liking monopolies. because they often offer a more reliable slightly more secure product. the reason people like google or facebook is it's just simpler. if we go back to at&tin 1910 where you had a monopoly for 70 years. why? it was easy. you picked up the telephone and it worked. so they take advantage of the fact that consumers like a reliable good product and there's nothing wrong that. what it does lead to, our desire to follow the leader is monopolyization. >> do you define monopoly by market share or practices? >> market share. dominant firm. dominant firm. i would say most of the internet monopolies flow dominant firms. they're not yet abusive but if history is any guide they will come. >> rose: they will be abusive.
12:31 pm
>> it t day will come where they stop being interested in improving the product and start trying to keep competitors out of their market. it may have already come for some of them. >> rose: that what happened to soft? >> it was a bit. it wasn't able to execute. it's definitely what old at&t did, hollywood cartel, nbc. when you go through history there is a life cycle where a monopoly... the first moment enters its golden age where it offer this is great product but 10 to 20 years into it... >> rose: what would you recommend be done to restrict it? more enforcement of antitrusts? >> eventually. it's very hard to stop a monopoly. how would we stop google right now. >> rose: my point is they got there by doing something. it wasn't because of just economic power. they developed the economic power because they had an idea. >> i agree, they had a great product. so there's golden ages, you need
12:32 pm
to enjoy it while you have it but watch them carefully. what happens often is the monopolist tends to establish itself and becomes increasingly too hard to dislodge. then it has to be watched and if it's in power too long it has to be broken up. >> rose: i want to talk about other things having to do what w the world you did. this is out of the "boston globe" "apple's iphone and ipad are each limited by design. only apple makes a device and each of them can run sochtd ware that meets with apple's approval. it's a business model familiar to us who recall the bell system. consumers don't care with good reason. both products are fantastic but it's a big step back from the anything-goes ethos of apple's original desktop computer. wu shares this worry of harvard professor who that the ipad and iphone are harbingers of a future in which all gadgets will bring us only pre-digested pre-approved snippets of digital reality." do you genuinely fear that?
12:33 pm
>> i would say steve jobs... >> rose: this is a quote in the "boston globe." >> i would say steve jobs of all the men out there who are heading large companies has most of the characteristics that characterize the great media mow gels of history. he's the most similar. incredibly charismatic, fantastic products, incredible desire to control everything and establish an empire. so of them i would be the most concerned about apple. it has its limitations. >> rose: because it's a closed system. >> completely closed. >> do you attribute the rise of android and the droid system... droid being the product and its challenge around the world to the iphone to the fact that it's not a closed system? >> yes, exactly. it's an ideological maneuver by google. google's idea is they win if systems are up there. so in some sense it's ideological and some sense it's commercial. they believe if we have an open platform we will win because we are better there. they know if they try to take on apple head to head in a closed
12:34 pm
system they will lose. so they're trying to convert the world into something more google wins in, that's the whole point of android. >> rose: some argue the internet is dead. >> people won't think of the internet or the web. they'll think i use facebook or my iphone or my android or the app, whatever apple's got. that's a different world, it's true because entrepreneurship has shifted. now you start a new company and you say i'm going start a facebook app or an iphone app. it's different than the 1990s when people said "i'm going to start an internet company on the raw internet." >> rose: or create a web site. >> something like that. >> rose: today everybody wants to create an app. that's where the business is because that's where people are going to seek out the kind of information they might have sought out searching on the internet. is that it? >> there is a move i think, particularly in the entrepreneurial space, of people thinking "i'm going to start an app company." and it's fundamentally different
12:35 pm
because you cannot create an app that destroys facebook. i'm very interested in the patterns of life and death in capitalism. the book "the master switch" is all about this life cycle of life and death in the capitalist system. >> rose: and you saw patterns repeating itself. >> exactly. and if question... >> rose: but you suggested if you look at where the transition is in the internet to facebook, say, other platforms that seems not to be about consolidation, it seems to be about something else. >> it's less about consolidation and more about control over entrepreneurship. see what i'm saying? >> rose: yeah. >> in other words where are the people going who were starting new companies? in the '90s they'd start a new company and there would be a battle for what people would use on the internet period. now you're talking about adding on to a pre-existing platform.
12:36 pm
making a's product better. >> rose: the fastest company is groupon. >> that's true. >> and zenga. >> and they're using internet and e-mail. but i don't think those are significant companies, debt-clearing companies in the nature of facebook or google. and groupon is probably going to be purchased. so the question is whether you're moving to a big five, big four kind of model and that's different than the originalness of the internet which was kind of a constant paradise of adam smith of new companies, like new york restaurants. there's hundreds of them and you can't count them. >> rose: finally, wikileaks, what does it say about amazon and others who are prepared to say "no more business for me." >> rose: well, wikileaks is... one thing i talk about in the book is how radical the idea of the internet was. >> rose: right. >> it is a strange idea and everyone knows it, we're used to it but it's a real idea that's decentralized. it was a huge challenge to at&t
12:37 pm
and all of these other things. and what wikileaks shows is the internet still has some weird tricks to play, it's not done yet as a medium. it's still surprising people. i think no one expected this thing to come out of nowhere. >> rose: can you think it's a good thing or a bad thing? >> do i think the leaks are... >> rose: yeah. >> i think that wikileaks itself deserves a full protection of the first amendment. i think it is in the classic position of any intermediary entrusted with secret information. so i don't know whether or not wikileaks should have disclosed the cable but i think they have the right to disclose those cables and that's essential. the intermediaries, whether they're wikileaks or the "new york times" the pentagon papers case have the right to say we're going to let this information go even though the government thinks it's wrong. wikileaks has not been... >> rose: so assange a hero to you? >> i wouldn't call him a hero. i would call him in the
12:38 pm
tradition of the media taking a chance to distribute information. >> rose: the next big idea is? >> you know, it's a really interesting question to me is whether at some point something after the internet is going to come. and i don't know what it's going to be. maybe we already have it. maybe what it is is this move towards platforms and phones and so forth. but the history suggests that everything 30, 40 years, as we say in the book, something new is always going to come along in information industry. so i'm not sure what it would be. and it may be out there somewhere and we don't know what it is. but the question is... the internet has been around for now like 40 years in terms of technology. the question is what's next. i have no idea. >> rose: this book is called "master switch. the rise and fall of information
12:39 pm
empires" thank you. >> it's been a pleasure. >> rose: edmund morris is here. he has a pulitzer prize winning biographer and presidential historian. his three-part biography of teddy roosevelt is regarded as the definitive study of roosevelt's life. the third and final volume was published this month. it is called "colonel roosevelt" and it covers the years between roosevelt's presidency and his death in 1919. the "new york times" writes "mr. morris has addressed the toughest and most frustrating part of roosevelt life with the same care and precision that he brought to the two earlier installments. if this story of a lifetime is his own life's work, he has reason to be immensely proud." i am pleased to have edmund morris back at this table. so you have reason to be proud. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: why was teddy roosevelt great? >> he was a large person. he was an enormously complex and rounded personality who attained great power.
12:40 pm
he happened to attain complete power in the united states as president at the precise moment that the united states itself became one of the world's reigning powers. >> rose: he was in power at a moment of transition. >> yes and he seemed to personify that move to transition himself. he exalted in power, he liked eminence. this book begins with him emerging from his year-long safari through africa in the spring of 1910 as the most famous man in the world. fawned over by kings and potentates of europe. and when he got back to the united states that have grand tour of europe in the spring of 1910 he received such a welcome in new york city as was not exceeded until lindbergh in the 1920s. >> rose: and he loved every moment. >> power became him. adulation became him. he loved celebrity. but he did even at that height
12:41 pm
of fame want to spend the rest of his life as a literary gentleman and retire to sagamore hill. and the pathos, the tragedy of which i speak, of which johnson speaks in that prologue is the fact that he was pulled back into politics rather against his will and is compelled to run against the presidency and at the height of their campaign in 1912 got a bullet in his chest which very nearly killed him and from the moment that bullet impacted on his ribs and landed within a fraction of an inch in of his heart, his life went into a slow and fairly inevitable tragic decline. >> rose: that was because it took a toll of his energy and spirit? >> oh, it had its physical effect but what i'm talking about is the arc of a great life. if you're writing an shakespearean tragedy you will always have the moment of hubris
12:42 pm
about three quarters of the way through. a man is brought down by his greatest qualities. and men from then on, the tragedy becomes inevitable. so that bullet struck t.r. in october of 1912. at that point in his life when he was at his absolute apogee, from then onward the end or more or less pre-ordained. >> rose: we're fascinated by him even though there are presidents that have come at other times and have had power because of his personality or more? >> well, personality is a vital part of power and the gift of theater is another. he had that in spades. he's one of the richest personalitys in our history. >> rose: and that he was more colorful, more interesting, more what? >> he was more richly endowed with culture. this is... this is the most
12:43 pm
well-traveled of all our presidents. he's had five grand tours of europe in the middle east before he became president. he knew foreign cultures intimately. he read in german, in french and italian and english. he read on average a book a day. >> rose: how did he read a book a day? >> well, he was extremely fast. he was almost a freak. he read so fast that the pages turned over at two or three a men. plus he was photographing them as he read. and he could years later reproduce almost word for word the text of any particular document. for example, to give an example of his memory and of his cultural sophistication i describe him going to the monastery of the... a mosque in cairo when he came out of africa in the spring of 1910. the oldest glufrt the world. he was welcomed by the mullahs.
12:44 pm
and the first thing he said when he took a tour of the mosque was "can you take me to your library and show me the med evil scroll in arabic characters of the travels of ibn batuta who was a famous medieval traveler." and while the mullahs were delightedly scurrying around looking at the scroll, he began to recite the opening chapter of this ancient text saying... of course i never read hit in the original language but i read it in french a number of years ago. so when he left that mosque afterwards with a koran under his arm the mullahs were just delighted to have this american with them. and i wondered what other president can we think of who would be capable of that kind of cultural reach? >> rose: he called himself colonel roosevelt. he did not want to be known as president roosevelt. >> i've always felt a rather strange to address a former president as mr. president because he's not the president. it has become customary but t.r.
12:45 pm
didn't like it. heed that notion that the presidency was a finite gift. but he felt being a colonel, which he was qualified for by virtue of his military service in the spanish american war was a permanent honor and he wanted for the rest of his life to be known as colonel roosevelt. >> and so he was. what was it about the military? >> i think it probably goes back to his childhood. he was a two, three, four-year-old boy in the time of the civil war. his father was a well-to-do new york knickerbocker and a pacifist who did not serve in the war. and t.r., i think, always felt rather ashamed of the fact that his father was not a soldier. he was in love with martial and military values. right from childhood. he was a student of naval ballistics and strategys so he loved warfare and he loved the
12:46 pm
science of war and he wanted to excel in war himself. many men of his class did. and by great good chance he was given a war in 1898, the spanish american war, and he was given the regiment of volunteers to command and he was give whan he called his crowded hour when he had... was able to charge up the heights of san juan, shoot a spaniard and become a bona fide military hero. >> rose: when he did not run for reelection did he regret it never have >> he thrust away the prospect of a third term for idealistic reasons. he felt that he'd been in power almost two full terms and he neat the precedent established by george washington-- that no president should serve more than two terms-- was something that should be honored. but of course being a man who loved power and still being not quite 50 years old, as soon as he gave it up he'd begun to
12:47 pm
hanker for it again. >> rose: and the bull moose party came. and why did he decide to do that? simply because of power or because he believed that the country was complacent? >> he did not want to do it. it's quite palpable his reluctant to get back into politics. he really did want to write books. he was a literary person and he'd had enough of politics. but he had during his presidency stimulated an upsurging political movement in the country, the progressive movement. >> rose: right. defined it almost. >> yes, he personified it. a lot of the its precepts were his precepts. and these people wanted him to lead them 1910, 1911, and 1912. and the pressure became so overwhelming that he felt he ought to exceed to it. >> rose: if he'd become president, how do you think american history might have been
12:48 pm
different? i think world history would have become very different. >> rose: no world war i? >> it's possible there would have been no world war i because you must remember when he was president himself he had mediated the end of the russian-japanese war. he got the know pell peace prize. he was a consummate diplomat. and the only president we've ever had to be asking for the end a foreign war. so if he had been president in 1912, if he'd been elected there with his enormous range of acquaintance around the world, his diplomatic prestige, his diplomatic skills, i think he could very well have averted the coming of world war i and certainly used the power and the neutrality of the united states to bring the war to an end much sooner than it did if, indeed, it did start. >> rose: and then when his son died in the war, what did that
12:49 pm
do to him? >> it destroyed him. it was the summer of 1918, july of 1918 and t.r. himself who had passionately begged woodrow wilson at the beginning of the twoor let him go to europe at the head of a division of american volunteers and had been refused this privilege by wilson t.r. put all his faith and hopes in his four sons whom he sent to the war that they would bring the honor to his name that he could not bring upon himself. but when the youngest and brightest of them, quentin, the one who was most like himself, was killed in an air battle in july of 1918 the shock was so horrific, the disillusionment that t.r. immediately lost all his notions of romantic glory in war. i have a picture of the dead
12:50 pm
quintin lying by his plane taken by the germans and the horror of that photograph-- which has never been released before-- when you look at it, he looks like a steer who has fallen off a hook. no one can look at that and continue to feel romantically about war. >> so what are the lessons of his life for politics today? >> i think the lessons of his life are that to be an effective president one must understand foreign cultures and it's been manifestly evident in recent years that our presidents have not been cosmopolitan people. they think in terms of american values, american history, and american culture. they don't read. they don't speak other languages. they haven't spent time abroad. >> rose: well, clearly obama was different than that.
12:51 pm
>> yes, he does in his own... in his ancestry represent foreign culture. but even he is a s a professional politician who spent most of his time in the american system. he grew up in indonesia, you're right. and far reason i think he's more admired overseas than any of our more recent presidents. he seems to respect other cultures and that's absolutely vital. >> rose: i'm not sure it's been as effective as you might assume had come from a different kind of approach? do you agree? look at what happened in south korea, for example. >> yes, i'm thinking back to the days when i followed ronald reagan around. >> rose: yes. >> who was quintessentially american and uninterested, completely interested in foreign cultures. the first thing he said to me was "can i call you mike or mick? would that will be all right?" gorbachev recoiled. reagan didn't understand that russians like a certain degree of formality.
12:52 pm
reaganed that this great beneficent american culture but he didn't have the sensitivity toward others that one needs. particularly now that we're dealing with violently self-asserting foreign cultures-- islam in particular. >> rose: t.r. was easy because he was soar tick lalt, because he wrote so many letters? >> yes, he was a biographer's delight in that respect. he spilled his personality, his huge personality out on to every page of every letter he wrote. the evidence that he left behind of his life and character and personality is overwhelming. >> rose: how old was he when he died? >> just 60. >> rose: just 60. amazing >> he always said he would die at 60. >> rose: at 60? >> when he graduated from harvard, the doctor said to him "you know, theodore, off pretty wonky heart and you're going to have to lead a sedentary,
12:53 pm
solitary, scholarly life if you want to survive for long. and t.r. said "i will do everything that you tell me not to. i'm going to climb mountains, live a vigorous life, i'm going to live it up to the hilt until i'm 60 and then i will die. " and he did that. >> do you think he willed himself to die? he'd done what he came here to do and found there was no reason to live? >> men like that have got a curious ability to remember their own futures. he always knew he would die at 60 and even toward the end he several times said "i'm approaching the end." he didn't expect that quentin would die before him and bring about... ensure his death of a broken heart. >> rose: you've said that. he died not of whatever the judgment was but you had some doctors look at him and analyze him and they said "probably a heart attack"? >> yes, an'mism will of the heart. >> rose: and you chose to say that was a broken heart? >> well, i said that was part of it.
12:54 pm
we should not discount the effect of a great emotional shock on somebody whose heart is not in great shape anyway. i think quentin's death killed t.r.. >> rose: so now you leave him behind in? you say there it is, three volumes of a great american, i've given you my best insight, who he was and what he was about. where do you go now? >> c'est finit. no more presidents, no more politics. i'd like to write about creative people in the future. >> rose: artists or writers or... >> either. i wrote a short book about beethoven. ied that greatest fun doing that. i'd like to write a short book about an artist or writer or another musician. i haven't decided yet. >> rose: much success. colonel roosevelt. edmund morris, a pleasure. >> thanks, charlie.
12:55 pm
captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
12:56 pm
12:57 pm
12:58 pm
12:59 pm

100 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on