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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 20, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

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states of america comment when people don't like the politics in portland or places like portland they moved to other places. that it's been our history and that is why we have a variety of communities in the united states of america so people have freedom of choice in where and how they are going to live and i think this idea of using government this way is an impasse on that freedom. ..
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it throws off the ecological balance of the planet. were breaching a threshold where this is really dangerous. so you seen this in the climate change idea. in order to save the planet from destruction, you need to control the act to be decent human beings. i mean, it's plainly obvious that we keep spitting out carbon, it's going to heat up that appeared double melt the ice caps and it's going to cause drastic changes in the weather patterns. and therefore you need to have government control to stop that from happening. >> we have another question. >> terry, thank you very much. we appreciate you being here today. for those of you didn't get a copy, there are more in the back. if there are many questions, i'm sure he would be very more than happy to do it.
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>> thank you. [applause] >> gray. michael? >> terence jeffrey is a columnist and editor at large for human events and editor-in-chief of cns he was the campaign manager for patrick you can simply campaign in 1996. for more information, visit human >> garland tucker the third recounts the presidential elections between john davison: coolidge. last time according to the author that both 30s feel the conservative candidate. mr. tucker discusses both of the john locke foundation in raleigh, north carolina. this program is about an hour. [applause] >> thank you very much. especially to the john locke foundation for inviting me today. i've been looking forward to
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this. they were very generous in giving me a lot of latitude as to what i've talked about today. and what i'd like to do is try to answer the question that i've been getting a lot of represents the book came out, as most of you all know, this is my first attempt and probably only attempt at writing a book. and so lots of people have asked me, why did you write it or what you hope to accomplish with this book? so that's what i'm going to try to answer today. and as i thought about it, there are really three reasons for my writing the book or i would slow it down to three reasons. the first two reasons for thoughts are reasons that i had in mind when i started. and the third one, interestingly enough, is one that i sort of discovered after i'd gotten into trying to write the book. i'm going to go through them in sequence. the first reason is to that i
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had in mind was to reevaluate the fiscal policies of the 1920th. and i don't know -- looking around the room, some of you are young enough to maybe have had a different experience. the number of you look like he might be my age are so. and if i think back to my college experience, there was very little said about the 1920th. my recollection of historical treatment of the 1920s when i was in college was that it was just a period that was kind of sandwich then between woodrow wilson and franklin roosevelt and nothing much happened in between were certainly nothing worthy of much comment. and i think that was generally a historical perception that was very prevalent. calvin coolidge has had a biographer named robert sobel
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who wrote a book on coolidge in the night eumenes. and he made this comment which i think sums up very well the historical, the typical historical live. as sobel wrote, that few presidents in all american history at his many accolades among intellectuals as did woodrow wilson. arthur/insert junior was an ardent admirer of wilson whom he saw as the president to play john the baptist or franklin d. roosevelt. /and jerry was one of those who helped fashion this legend. in the age of roosevelt in which slashings are prevented this the face, he discussed the becoming of the republicans is that they were barbarians sacking rome. fast the perception that/and or put out her put the 1920s. and he was not alone in the
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widely acclaimed book, the pocket history of few nights dates. allan nevins and henry steel columns you wrote that the idealism of the wilson and i was past. at the roosevelt and passion for humanitarianism was in the future in the decade of the twenties was still, bush was ruthless. that doesn't sound very exciting. and if you heard that come you never thought much about studying the twenties. i certainly didn't and took off at face value. but interestingly, this really began to change among historians i think the biggest changes in the 1980s with reagan was elected. there was among conservative intellectuals and economists that was the rediscovery of tax cuts and what came to be known as supply-side economics, the
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whole idea of smaller government in a new group of historians emerged who have taken not, if you will, revisionist view of the 1920s. and among those were paul johnson, amity shoelace, burton poulsen and some others. and johnson has written, the truth is the twenties is the most fortunate decade in american history. he also called coolidge the most internally consistent and single-minded of american presidents. and he concluded that coolidge prosperity was huge, real widespread and it showed the concept of property owning democracy can be realized. if you view the twenties through this prism, you can recognize it as a remarkable. of economic growth, an affirmation of our basic conservative values and an emphasis on individual freedom
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and responsibility. in 1981, he certainly came as a shock to most americans is certainly to almost every historian when ronald reagan retrieved the portrait of calvin coolidge from storage and symbolically installed it in the white house cabinet room. i was a very tangible bit of evidence that a reappraisal of the 1920s and coolidge was going on at least in the white house. now, the backdrop while looking at the 1920s i think really needs to start with a history of progressivism, which started in the late 1800s and the united states and reached a guess as historians would argue, the pinnacle in 1912, which has been called -- pretty widely called the high tide of progressivism. if you recall in 1912, woodrow
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wilson was running as a strong progressive, dominated by the democrats. republicans had a big fight. teddy roosevelt field to get the nomination. bolted in iran is a pure progressive. but farther left than he had ever gone before to get to the left of wilson and then passed was left scurrying is heard as he could to try and stop progressive and not be left out. so you had to very strong progressives and a third would be progressive all running in that election. and the result was wilson, of course, was given a doubt did a very progressive policy. the combination of its domestic policy which he called the new freedom in world war i resulted and i guess to very tangible things. the newly installed income tax,
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which was installed at 7%, stood at 77% at the end of world war i, just six years after it had started. and there have also been a huge increase in government intervention and regulation and intrusion into the private market. as the country came out of the postwar period, and entered the 1920s, the economy experienced a very severe recession of 1919 and 1920. and it's interesting to look back at that, given that we are in the midst of such a time now and unemployment was over 20%. as i've mentioned, income tax rates, the top rate was over 77%. gnp was falling rapidly and there were a host of labor strife and a lot of labor risk. and as the country went into the
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1920 election, the country made a real swing to the right and repudiated the progressivism of wilson and the like did a very conservative republican ticket, which was composed of harding, nominated for president and calvin coolidge for vice president. frederick lewis allen only yesterday has characterized the late days, said the nation was spiritually tired at the end of world war i. worried by the excitement of the war and the nervous tension of the big red scare, they hope for quiet and healing. they were sick of wilson in a stock of america's duty to humanity. they just hope for a chance to just pursue their private affairs without government experience. it was a gop landslide. during this campaign, vice
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presidential candidate made this statement, but it resonated with the people. they said in a free republic, the great government is the product of a great people. they will look to themselves rather than to the government for success. it became a theme of that campaign and the result was the republicans won a landslide victory. against the backdrop of the severe recession, harding came into office and contrary to the historical give that we normally have of harding, she, i think everyone would agree that he appointed some very good -- he made some very good appointment to his cabinet. charles evans hughes was his secretariat date. and most importantly, andrew mullen was the secretary of the treasury. mln began what would become
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almost a 10 year reign in secretary of treasury. in fact, it was said that three presidents served under andrew mullen and it's probably a pretty good picture of the 1920s. and he began systematically to lower taxes to propose to congress that they lower taxes. and this policy of reduced spending in conjunction with lower taxes again to take over unemployment, started to decline ultimately and decline to around 5%. and during the period of the eight years of the harding coolidge presidency, gnp grew at an astounding annual rate of 4.5% annual rate per year of 4.5%. now, among 40 years ago when i was in college, there hasn't been any conclusion among
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historians. but i think everyone who reads any history these days would agree that there is a good debate going. and the real question about the 1920s is was at an idyllic period of american history, and arcadia if you will, or was it the babylon that it's been characterized as the ads by somebody historians? in addition to watch/and your netherlands and common share wrote, william allen white identified coolidge unforgettably in his book, and appeared to to in babylon, as the intellectuals belittled the 1920s in such phrases as edmund wilson called it a trunk and css. scott fitzgerald called it the greatest, gaudiest spree in history. they saw the great coolidge
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prosperity is a firm moral and they were repulsed by what they saw as intellectual shallowness. i'm stark contrast to this comment the other historians have mentioned such as johnson had held the decade as the last arcadia. with the twenties demonstrates was the relative speed with which industrial productivity could transform luxuries than two necessities and spread them down because. made. i think a more johnson recognized in the 1920s was that there was an economic tide sweeping across the country that permeated the lower income such turned the economy and was the classic case of a rising tide, brazen fellow boat. the economic facts, if you look at them, will indicate the prosperity was indeed more widespread and more widely
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distributed than at any time in american history up until this point. coolidge prosperity was indeed real, but it wasn't permanent. and i think realistically, any kind of economic history would tell you that no prosperity is ever permanent. so to blame the 1920s for the 1930s, while that's a position that many historians have taken, most economists and even liberal economist lake gilbreth has said that's really an unfair carrot reflation, that you really cannot make that link and see the 30s were so terrible. i must've been caused by the twenties. hopefully the book will add to those revisionist flick of the 1920s and cause readers to re-examine what has been sort of a prevalent view. and now there's plenty of other
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good writings on this trip hope this will become a part of it. the sackett reason that i wrote the book was the two men, coolidge and davis. and the focus of the book is -- i think was mentioned in the introduction. for those of you who haven't read it, in the 1924 election. and zero, the two major candidates, calvin coolidge and john davis -- is that working alright? sounds like it is echoing a little bit. the two candidates were calvin coolidge and john davis. and it's interesting to look at the similarities that these two men. while they were very different personalities, as we'll see in a minute, both were successful politician. both emerged politically in the early progressive era, both became increasingly conservative
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both exemplify great integrity and personal ethics. and both reflected the best qualities of their respect of regions. coolidge was from england and davis was from the south. davis was a democrat who is dedicated to small government. states rights to individual freedom. free. to jefferson and coolidge was a conservative republican who shared many of the same jeffersonian ideas of limited government and individual freedom. it's interesting that in 1924, the old progressive wars, blamed jennings bryan observed at the democratic convention in 1924 that davis was a man of fine cared for, but he added was discussed, so is mr. coolidge. there's just no difference between them. i think that's -- that pretty well summed up how these two men
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stood in a day so let's take a quick look at coolidge. he was a product of his era -- of this region, the new england region. and he was very fond of quoting a new england phrase, which sounded to me like it could've been a southern phrase, too. but the same was that the education of every man begins two to three generations before he was born. and i was certainly true of calvin coolidge. he was absolutely a product of new england. he also boasted that no coolidge ever went west. and what he meant by that was that as tough of a place as vermont is too oral living, the coolidge stated right there and didn't make any excuses and made a go of it. and it's a good summary of coolidge, it's fair to say -- one of the great things about
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coolidge was that he really was what he appeared. he really was a taciturn, thrifty, hard-working, honest, unpretentious doing good. ten. that's exactly what it was. and that's how he came across. and interestingly, the american people really responded to him. you would think that he would have a hard time connecting with the public. but the opposite was the case. he had risen steadily in massachusetts from the local level of politics up to the state legislature, lieutenant governor. was elected governor in 1918. and a solo career only lost one -- i think it was 18 elections. and i was school board. he was elected governor in 19.
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in 1919, one of them in massachusetts catapulted him overnight into the national stage. and it was the very famous boston police drag, the police force in boston went on strike and that was in the middle of the whole red scare. the country was on edge, concerned about bolshevism coming in and all kinds of labor unrest. and what happened in the police strike was very struck to an predictive of what was to come and coolidge's career. he worked very hard and was almost successful at the last minute, the national afl leaders came in and sort of bolstered the local union. and it came to a showdown and the strike was finally called. in coolidge issued a very famous
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statement that quote, there is no right to strike together public safety by anybody, anytime, anywhere. and the strike was broken virtually overnight. and the public opinion swung in massachusetts and all over the country. and coolidge really became a national figure. as a result of that, he came on the national stage and i want to read just a few experts from i think an extremely interesting report. the new work world newspapers and reporter to boston to interview coolidge read after the police start. and this reporter he think nailed calvin coolidge as well as anybody, that i've ever seen, describe him. and here's what he wrote, he said to one would never think governor coolidge of massachusetts, he is a sphinx or an enigma. he talks a little.
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it is his silences which seemed to speak loudest. for when one ventures to put a question to him, the answer comes back in a tightening of the governor saying face in the closing closing of his lips. he has a lean and hungry look and the policemen's union and the central label bureau have often discovered that such men are dangerous. that was probably true. contrary to the accepted characteristics of the usual sort of politicians, cal coolidge's seldom smiles, hardly does handshaking and has a reputation that is word is as good as gold. i think that's a very good summary of coolidge. it also gives a flavor of the image he presented, which again i think was reality of absolute integrity. he was willing to -- if you will, talk straight to the
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people of massachusetts. he didn't sugarcoat anything. he vetoed any bill to that was not going to be good for the state. his advisors told him if he tried to break the police strike was the end of his political career. he agreed. he thought it was, but he thought he would stop the strike. that was true of his school career as president. interestingly it just resonated very well with the american people. if you were to come up with a list of characteristics with any good politician needs to have or what we think they need to have, coolidge wouldn't have even been considered. but the fact was that he remained very popular throughout his term. with the breaking of the police strike in 1919, coolidge and trained the national arena, he
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was moved very quickly into a presidential contempt in 1920. but when harding was mummery day, then coolidge was very quickly selected as vice president and entered office as vice president under herding. and contrary to popular perception of hardening, the harding administration was showing real progress at getting the country back on the right track. the recession was basically over by 1922. and by the summer of 1923, harding was extremely popular, headed west on a vacation. the coolidge is one of two vermont for a vacation. and harding very unexpectedly, totally unexpectedly, died out and the cisco. and there was a great outpouring of grief from the american
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people whose stories in "the new york times" about how this was the greatest outpouring since lincoln's death. anyway, coolidge came into office under these unfortunate circumstances with harding's death. but there was a real question about whether coolidge would be able to bring the party together. and he was able to do that in a way and in a very short time. but i think showed what a masterful politician he was. by the time the republicans intentioned the next summer, 1924 in cleveland, it was virtually assured that coolidge would be nominated. he identified the party. yet been able to hold most of the progressive wing within the party, but had established his own credentials as a
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conservative. and it turned out to be one of the most effect as those come with the most boring convention in american history, which due to the just fine. they nominated coolidge by acclamation in the campaign was launched by mayor. i'll talk in a minute when we go to davis about how the opposite was true for the democrats. the coolidge did a masterful job of getting ready for the election. he entered the president. the results of the campaign in 1924 was that coolidge, probably without question, had been dealt a winning hand. but i think you'd have to say also unlucky not if but he certainly played it flawlessly. and the result was the one a resounding but very.
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coolidge's popular vote was approximately 53% or 54%. and davis, who was the democrats at about 30%. the memo fallen, who ran as a progressive third-party candidate got between 16 and 17%. in the title of the book comes from the fact that this was the last time both parties nominated a conservative. and if you look at it in that context, 83 or so% of popular vote went to the two conservative candidates. very much in the summary, coolidge came in in 1925 with huge popularity. and he immediately implemented, began a continuation of harding's policies.
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he and all and went to the congress for further tax cuts, further reductions in spending. he was able to secure these because of the republican majorities in the congress. and he stayed very much on the same message with the american people. the result was the economy performed amazingly during that period. and probably the most amazing thing from a political standpoint was a decided voluntary to step down, not run for reelection in 1928 he could undoubtedly have been a lot good. and that's what she was still hugely popular, something that most politicians don't like to do. a very quick word about davis. if coolidge has been giving very little credit as the president, then i think it's safe to say that davis has been shamefully ignored as the candidate. he mentioned don w. davis today.
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most of the very blank expression. they don't really know who he was or don't know anything about him. and i'm sorry i don't have more time today to fill in some of those gaps, which will give us to read the book. that davis was very much a product of this region. he was from the south. he entered politics he was very much put forward and didn't view himself as a real politician. he was elected congress. in 1910, 1912. and woodrow wilson kept him as his solicitor general. the governments voiced before the supreme court. and this is a very important milestone in davis' career. he argued 60 some cases as solicitor general, which is more
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than any other solicitor general argued personally. and it was during that time that he really secured his reputation as to what was become the foremost judicial advocate really in the united states by the time the 30s and 40s rolled around. it's interesting to read the comments. virtually every supreme court justice who was on the court at that time urged wilson to appoint davis to the supreme court. he was -- there were comments like one of the supreme court justices said that it was impossible to be impartial when davis was arguing a case, that his ability to present a case was just legendary. and again, during this period his reputation was really established. in 1918, he was offered the
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opportunity to go to england at the ambassador to creep written and served for two years they are, a very successful two-year term, where he was the u.s. voice in the post-world war i. i'll redo just a couple of things that i think will give you a flavor for this. he developed some lifelong friendships with people like churchill to lord halifax another english theaters. the english were quick to give in their friendship and to share with them their private views on the important issues of the day. there was certainly no small compliment when george the third -- king george the fifth said john davis was the most perfect gentleman i've ever met. not surprisingly, davis reciprocated this english be
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with an unstained admiration the british people and the british empire. and empire. and it was during this two-year period, that it very much influenced his again as an international or foreign-policy views were to be imported in the 24 election. davis came back with the 1920 election and woodrow wilson leaving an harding coming in. davis retired ambassador to england came back to the u.s. and i think this was a refreshing note. he had served in congress. he has served as ambassador in those days the u.s. ambassador in england how to put a lot of these is. and unlike what we see today, davis made absolutely no money. he arrived back in the u.s. and had words, flat roca decided he better go to work. he joined the major new york law firm, quickly was selected president of the american bar
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association, became jpmorgan's lawyers was general counsel for at&t. interestingly, he turned down an appointment to the u.s. supreme court was offered by harding, by this time task to become chief justice. and he persuaded harding to consider davis is the nominee. but davis he decided he really needed to stay in new york. he was installed in his law firm in turn down the opportunity to go to the court. nus firmness vantage point as a major new york lawyer that he was amazingly alike did -- or nominated as the democratic nominee in 1924. i think to be one of the most interesting chapters in the book on the one of my favorites is a chapter in the 1924 convention in new york, which i don't have
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time to talk about much today, but it's a fascinating story of the perfect princess to the gop convention. this was the longest, most hated divisive nightmare of a convention that anybody could ever devise. it went for $103, the two major candidates in william gibson not to do pop back and forth endlessly toward themselves, the party come the platform everything to show. and finally at the end of three weeks, the party kind of staggered towards a compromise and nominated davis, who was very much a conservative from the conservative wing of the party, but acknowledged by both sides the candidate who could potentially bring the democrats together. the nomination was pretty worthless by that point and the result as i mentioned a minute ago were a lamp by for coolidge.
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with this landslide defeat in 1924, davis went quickly back to new york to his law firm. while he still had a lot to say in democratic party circles, particularly after 1932, he was actually involved in practically a month and developing the firm, white by this time had been renamed and was still very much a leading new york law firm. i would plan, but i don't really have time today to read some of the quote from davis and coolidge. for a conservative it's very exciting to go back and read
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what both of these two men have to say in the election of 1924. it's fair to say that they are philosophically were very few differences between davis and coolidge. and i thought that was one of the differences davis had in the campaign. it is difficult and he was as conservative as coolidge, but he wasn't more conservative and so conservatives voted for probably tended to vote for coolidge. then there was the fallen over on the far right -- i mean, far left. in davis was left kind of in the middle without a way to distinguish himself. but his statement are just classic conservatives and, very much like coolidge's ire. it is an amazing force to think back in time when both candidates would make statements and i'd encourage you to look for those quote in this book.
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after the 24 election, davis played a hand in democratic party politics. in fact, he is very much involved in writing the platform for the democrats in 1932, which some of you all will know was a very conservative platform. as a platform on which fdr was like that and called for balancing the budget, cutting government bending. unfortunate, i don't think fdr read it. if you did read it, he certainly disregarded it very quickly. i'm at the direction the new deal went, davis began to take a very principled stand and he wound up in 1936 breaking with the democrats. he endorsed land on the front page of "the new york times" article. they reprinted his hold beach. and again, it was a classic
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defense of conservative than on which i have time to read you some of the quotes. he also was involved in forming the liberty league, which was a major counterbalance for the new deal during the 1930s and 40s. and probably most importantly he argued a lot of cases before the supreme court, many of which were successful in striking down the new deal legislation. at the time davis ended his career, shortly before he died -- and he died in 1955. i think this last case was 1954. he had argued 142 cases before the supreme court, more than any other lawyer except daniel webster. and was universally hailed as what was a term was lawyers lawyer. it was without question the
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premiere advocates before the supreme court and won some amazing victories and the most significant one was the steel seizure case which davis argued at age 79 before the court. and the court ruled in his favor through harry truman under the steel mills and it's one of the most important cases in american history and davis was called on to represent the steel industry, which was really quite a compliment to any one. but to be 79 years old and to accomplish this was really quite a capstone for his career. so in summary, i'm a second presents writing the book, it was to introduce those two people. both exemplary public servant.
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and i would hope even if someone was a diehard liberal, he would appreciate the integrity and ability of these two men. i think he should hold coolidge and davis as heroes. now very briefly and i'll be finished, the third reason for writing the book and this was one i didn't have in mind when i started, but when i was thinking about looking at the 1920s and was interested in davis isn't coolidge's men, for which they are two lives intersect was obviously the election of 1924. so it was natural that i would think that would be a good thing to read on. there was nothing that i've been able to find. nothing has been written. only the election in 1924. so that was the reason i decided to write on it because the two men and the policies that were
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the issues in 1924. as they got into it, i really concluded that despite the fact that historians haven't recognized it, it really was in one significant way to watershed election. and not for the title the high tide of american conservatism came from. as i think i've mentioned before, it was the last time that both parties nominated to conservatives. we today have lived through roughly 85 years of post-1924 history. and from 1924 and until the day, the gop has been the party at the right and the democratic dirtiest than the party of the left. it was a great quote from fdr in 1924. i guess maybe it was governor of new york at that time. the lesson that he concluded from 1924, dedicated to the
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democrats as he said, never again should we -- i think his words were never again should we wear the liberty of the conservatives -- basically we've got to go in the other direction. and that's one lesson that the democrats have certainly learned. history would show that they haven't gone back on that. and the two parties have stayed pretty much in that mode since 1924. but it's interesting to think that it really wasn't all ordained that the republican party would be the conservative party of the democratic party would be the liberal party. if our 1924, each of the two parties had very large progressive and conservative wings. and that was basically the civil war going on in both parties as to who would control each of the parties. while the democrats nominated the progressive for president, that was o'bryan in 1998.
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that was teddy roosevelt in 1984. and it's interesting to think that teddy roosevelt was the leading candidate for the gop nomination in 1920, but he died in 1819. if you lived in the nominated in 1920, you could see that the democrats under then server of party or the party that took off on a conservative direction. but of course that was not what happened. and the result after 1924 was the republican progressives gradually left the republican party and migrated to the democratic party. and democratic conservatives gradually migrate, like davis, gradually migrated to the republican party. finally, let me just leave you
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with a quote that's at the end of the book, where -- which we try to maybe give the book a little bit further than for today. often a national change of political course is justified because of economic emergency. the most severe emergencies of the past economic urgencies for 1920, 1932 and 1980. the conservative policies that were adopted after 1920 and after 1984 very different from the liberal policies followed after 1932. and the economic results was equally dissimilar. in the years immediately following both 19201980, harding, coolidge and reagan sharply cut taxes and returns federal spending while roosevelt did the opposite. the 1920s and the 1980s were
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growth of economic press dirty, while the 1930s was a period of prolonged deflation and economic stagnation. coolidge's record and his well reasoned speeches in support of those 1920 policies. and davis has brilliantly argued rebuttal to the liberalism for significant chapters in history of american conservatives. americans found that policies and reaction to what is their first economic emergency of this century. it would do well to examine the 1920s and i think to consider the lives of the word and the warnings of two of america's greatest conservatives, john davison, coolidge. thank you. [applause] and i hope i have not talked above our question time.
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but we've got time for a few, i'd be happy to say as long as everybody wants. >> you didn't mention your convention to davis biw nl and the professor i think the advance would be interested in not. >> now, the way i personally got interested in davis was he was a graduate of washington lake, which is where i went and i had a great friend who is a retired in there who have known david for years. and i remember him talking about him. and it was about the time i graduated that the one good biography of davis came out and taught as a lawyer. and they gave me a copy in a red day. and i hadn't had that contact. i probably would've never done that davis was.
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>> 1924 democratic convention is fascinating. i wonder if you could kind of talk a little bit about the personalities involved and mother of one of the other two gentlemen, certainly not smith, if not to do had been nominated, probably not him as well, you have been able to call this book quite the same title. so which is a real flip a accident that this is the high tide of american conservatism. because of the contentious and virtuous. >> that's a very good question. and again, i think the story that convention's actually been a book with non-to rebalance or something like that. but again, i think it's one of the most interesting chapters in the book. the nomination was fiercely contended in makkah do and al smith was the two candidates. and now smith was more
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conservative. not to do as progressive as the son-in-law of woodrow wilson. and it's hard for us to relate to the two big issues. the two big issues in the country and sort of the big social issues and that time with the and interestingly to us in the south at that time, the kkk had a national reach. it was midwest, mid-atlantic state. new jersey had a big kkk influence. midwest, upper midwest, southwest. and it was a very hot issue. and many of the kkk borders were also mcabee supporters. and of course the kkk was very anti-immigrants, anti-catholic. the other big hot button issue as prohibition.
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and many of the prohibitionists were also populist progressives. and of course al smith was a classic northeastern immigrants. but more conservative on some other issues. those were all things at the convention in new york, believe it or not, the texas delegation burned a cross out in front of madison square garden. and according to mcabee, savas prohibition reporters were drunk at the end. and they're all kinds of stories of what went on there. and walter lippman wrote a very interesting column about the results of that. any talk about how that convention brought out the worst in human nature. the worst in a political party and the worst in everything.
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but somehow when the party almost went over the edge, they somehow pull themselves together and nominated a great man, john davis, which was an interesting one. and i think he made the comment that davis nomination was morcheeba to his personality. it wasn't, to your point, wasn't an indication they decided they wanted to be as conservative as davis. they just looked over the edge and said we'd better get somebody who's a good candidate and his credible or we're going to really go over the edge here. he was the best compromise candidate. >> does the research give you any insight into its coolidge had run and then elect good, would he have done things and prevented the crash at the beginning of the depression. and of course he would've continued to 1932 what he would've done after that
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>> that is certainly a fascinating question. the honest answer is no one can be 100% sure. but i think something that's very important that most people don't realize -- i think the popular perception is that there was harding, coolidge and hoover. and hoover is lumped in with harding and coolidge and the historical accepted view was that they were all very conservative and probably caused the market crash and the great recession turned into the great repression because of the policy. the fact is that even though hoover was in the harding administration and the coolidge administration, he was a very different kind of republican from either party and are coolidge. he was from the progressive wing of the party. coolidge and mel and couldn't understand that coolidge called
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of wonder boy and thought he was a busy body. and the joke around washington was that hoover was secretary of commerce and undersecretary of everything else. [laughter] and when hoover was select in 1928, and the market crash occurred, which the monetary policies famously were all wrong. they had contracted liquidity instead of expanding it in the congress passed a huge tariff, which demolished foreign trade. but the thing that's not widely remembered is that coolidge -- i mean, hoover substantially raised taxes and increased government funding. and in fact, the deficit -- the government spending deficit led to 1932.
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that was the reason the democrats had a platform that said we want to run on a balance budget. davis was pushing him to go to the right. and in fact, davis wrote a famous letter to walter lippman, where he identifies hoover as the start of the new deal. in his view, hoover was the one who really started to new deal and roosevelt chose picked it up and ran with it abandoned. so it's -- there's no way to know for sure what he would've done, but i think the odds were very high that he would've continued his lower taxation. lower spending. i don't know whether he could have influenced monetary policy or prevented the increase in tariff, but his spending and his tax policies they think would've been different.
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>> there are a lot of comparisons between our recession and the one in 1920. can you speak to how unemployment was then as compared to now? it supposed the night. but if you go with six if somewhere around 17%. what is more like how they calculate? >> you know, i really don't know the answer to that. i would bet that there probably were some differences. but i know the stated rate did get well over 20%. and it was a very sharp, severe but short-lived session. and i know paul johnson's -- has written about it, that it was the last recession that was treated purely from a
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laissez-faire or purely conservative policy, where taxes and spending were drastically reduced. in the interesting game was that it was such a short -- it was very painful and did what arguably every session should do in the economy. but it wasn't long before the economy really bounced back. and i think part of that was the fact they had a secretary of the treasury who was very clear that the tax rates were going to be lower next year than they are now and people were willing to invest. >> okay, one question. anyone else? you all have been very patient. thank you. [applause]
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>> for more information, visit emerald book along with our coverage of the miami book fair this weekend on booktv, watch out words tonight with an mit professor, comparing with the japan attack on pearl harbor >> martin tolchin is the founder of the hill newspaper and a co-author along with his wife suzanne tolchin of the new book, "pinstripe patronage. mr. tolchin, where did you get the name for your book? >> actually come at the chicago term, rather recent. and it describes payoffs to the rich and powerful. >> how does that tie in to washington?
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>> washington is full of which are powerful. we talk about patronage used to be the christmas turkey and the sewer inspector. now it earmarks. now it's a privatization, outsourcing, big contracts in the hundreds of millions in the case of the halliburton billion dollars. and these go without fitting to people who are very, very well connected logically. >> that's what this book is about. >> we have no problem with cronyism, as long as the crowd is confident. we have no problem with earmarks of fun is the earmark of the projects are worthy. but a great many of the cronies are not confident. heck of a job, brownie. and a heckuva lot of the projects are not worthy. bridge to nowhere, which of course was not built. the theme of our book from j.
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garvey, who said that there are many definitions of politics. the art of compromise, the art of the impossible. he said that to him, politics is the art of putting people under obligation to you. and it's true of politics. it's true of corporate politics. and good politicians are very resourceful. and devising strategies to put people under obligations to them. and as i say, you know, we feel patronage is an essential tool of government. barack obama couldn't have gotten his health care reform to go through. lyndon johnson couldn't have gotten a civil rights to go through. ronald reagan couldn't have gotten his tax cut through. remember, john breaux saying his comments, i can't be bought, but i can b


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