Skip to main content

tv   The Presidency Presidents in History Memory  CSPAN  September 3, 2018 7:55pm-9:51pm EDT

7:55 pm
excited about it.>> white ho association vice chair introduces panel. this is about 1:45. good morning, ladies and gentlemen. i'm very happy to be here.
7:56 pm
i'm also treasurer of the to kick things off ldthis morni i would like to frame the session by connecting to the overarching objective of the summit itself which is to share stories and memories and the narratives they create. discuss insights into the management and outreach of presidential libraries, homes and the -- museums. this year's theme focuses on the executive mansion as the thread that connects all of the sites. it sets the national stage for communication and innovation among presidential sites and libraries of the future. what binds us all together is the deep passion for honoring the history of the presidency and individual presidents as well as the recognition of the importance of preservation of history more broadly.
7:57 pm
the gathering this morning is about honoring the narrative and continuing to shape the narrative over time. the preservation of presidential history is not nor has it ever been a conclusion. it takes the shared efforts of passionate sponsors, historians and archivist and as a practical matter sizable financial resource to see it through. america must grapple with the competing interest in budgetary challenges of aging infrastructure and as a country that has become more culturally and demographically diverse with ideas and ideology in both pertaining to the future of our nation. the collective mission like preservation of the history itself must endure. the efforts to preserve the past or intern helping to shape the future informed by the wisdom that only the recognition
7:58 pm
of appreciation of history can bring. the medium the which antiquity is captured it is are physical structures the most indelible mark only if we care for them in such a manner as the safeguard their presence. for all of us at the association in the white house, it connotes the unshakable and seamless continuity of the executive branch. a reminder that america is not governed by a disconnected series of presidents but by enduring presidency. further still and consistent with our back to the white house theme, the nation's tempting the ideal of a collective to be impervious to treacherous divide, the executive mansion is a visible and tangible monument for the ultimate recognition of such an america. a country that had seen its way through the darkest of x
7:59 pm
essential -- x essential but intact. the sense of permanency represented in the presidential site and embodied by all who work in them and all who visit them daily is an essential feature of our future as it has been of our past. for as much as it is a story of success, america is more stout a story of struggle and -- more so the story of struggle and need to remain angled and it is a semblance of great presidential sites that allows us to experience this story of perseverance, sacrifice and success in the modern era. in this way, we enable the american people to remain connected to our common path and in doing so build a bridge to ensuing generations whose own stories will continue to strengthen the fabric that
8:00 pm
binds us together. one by one. perhaps even inspiring them to continually revenue the promise that is the united states. the past this prolonged but it has victories and setbacks that characterize the journey with the ticket and the future of this great nation holds bill as promised to remain foundational and strong, rich in character, entirely unique, beautiful in its design and above all things, enduring. with that in mind it is no hyperbole to suggest that the collective stories of our presidential sites each with its own colorful legacy at times controversial episodes and tension for poultice is perhaps in all reality the story of america itself. to further enlighten us in this regard, please join me in welcoming this extraordinary panel this morning that we have assembled.
8:01 pm
we are going to introduce each of them to you but this session is presidential history and memory and so these panelists who experience and expertise that distinguish each of them is intra-goal to better understand the myriad of lenses the presidency in that moment and overtime. let me introduce the moderator and a great pleasure for me to have susan join me on the panel. she is the co-ceo of c-span. and joining her as a panelist. first barbara perry and the director of the presidential studies at the university of virginia at the miller center. jeffrey engel is the director of the center at southern methodist university. richard norton smith, jeffrey rosen and cookie roberts, chain
8:02 pm
28, the ceo of the lyndon johnson foundation. join me in welcoming our guests here today. [ applause ] guests here today. [ applause ] >> reporter: good morning everyone. it is still light little -- it is delightful. we have been giving the task to talk about disruptions to the factual history that all of us in this room in whatever capacity we are and strives to tell a. we had a really lively organized -- organized conference call and back-and-
8:03 pm
forth emails and my job was trying to organize that what i have done is to think about destructors and what i've done and i organized them into sex -- six of them and we will extend the time. they are, popular culture, current events and decidable trends, research, constituent groups, digital technology, funding. we will start off with popular culture. you are talking about how you have so many wonderful academic programs at the national constitution center. you bring in so many scholars but the most successful traffic builder had nothing to do with that.>> yes and it is called -- there are the centerpieces.
8:04 pm
we have bronze statues for the 42 were -- 42 signers of the constitution and in the for the room is washington and madison. i think we need a rock meters -- musical. the american way and they led the athenians astray. it does not work. right next to madison and washington is hamilton and the kids just brush to this proud, small creature who was in the room where it happened and he set the world on fire. we discovered by putting the name hamilton next to the picture is a great way to bring people in it. a sing -- simple pt barman -- pt barnum apart.
8:05 pm
bring less compelling framework. we have the most important from the philosophical perspective of james wilson. he came up with the up to -- idea that -- he ended up as a supreme court justice and debt and pursued his dented or pick in the movie 1776 which all of us the story and junkies have on this experience and wilson presented it because it is difficult to tell the real story. roger chairman gets a great song because the state rhymes. i don't know a participle from a predicate and i am a simple cobbler from connecticut. i did a quick look at the history of the movies and history about presidents.
8:06 pm
the dramatic ones do a lot better. there is a lot more lincoln in the 20th century because he is compelling and washington is almost too good to be true as henry adams said. what we are doing at the constitution center is using live theater and digital experiences to try to pass the hamilton magic by telling great stories. freedom rising with a live actor that tells the story of the president but nowadays we see the stories of lesser-known figures that are compelling to help people connect. this great podcast that i want you to listen to. i call up the top liberal and conservative scholars and it is thrilling for all of us. we just finished four weeks on figures of construction. frederick douglass and the
8:07 pm
african-american seamstress who advocated for labor rights and telling those stories on the podcast is a great way to connect. telling stories is crucial and if we can do the james madison music, it will be great.>> he has a very sexy story. >> an amazing story. he has a wooden leg and the story was that he jumped out of the window after a carriage accident and >> the husband came home.>> he lost his leg and john adams said i have lost another appendage.>> he was searching for the original more perfect union.>> we've got the beginning of the musical right here.>> he married nancy
8:08 pm
randolph who was -- he was quite a character. you can definitely do something with him. >> let's talk about the many modern depictions of lbj since we are on a movie theme. how does the foundation respond if at all when they stray from the research? >> the dramatic depictions. the film by rob reiner called lbj. woody harrelson is playing lbj with very poor prosthetics. bryan cranston took robert jenkins play all the way to the small screen for the hbo production and did a marvelous job. the story of lbj.
8:09 pm
the first two were pretty good. they helped us. to your point about hamilton shedding new life and bringing new light to the institution brought that and they came to the library to study and i was really impressed with how much they immersed themselves into trying to understand lbj. i marveled at how curious they well. they wanted to know every facet of this very complicated personality. i will tell you this. i have a problem personally because it told the story about lbj involved in the civil rights in the wrong way. it showed him as an obstructionist and this version is funny.
8:10 pm
the new cycle today is 24 hours on a good day. that story seemed to continue on and on as a run-up to the oscars. we had "entertainment tonight" calling the library. don't you have a kardashian to change -- chase? became a big story and that launched the debate about how we need the responsibilities that the filmmaker has in capturing the reality of the subject and telling an accurate story. i think the dramatic productions help enormously. i think about this. lbj is to my kids what calvin coolidge would have been to me. that is a long time to go back. if you have storytellers telling the story of your president or any president in a
8:11 pm
modern way or a way that makes them accessible underway to make them relatable, that helps us to our job. >> no modern president has been treated more frequently than john f. kennedy. the volume of material and it does the library respond or does it have any subjects of another film? >> you are absolutely right. fi. >> a series of american political dynasties for >> we talked about one early with the bush family. it is a case where you do your best. the interview was five or
8:12 pm
eight hours. it is stressful to be in front of the camera. it's stressful to be in front of cameras and have the make up going. you do the information that you could find in the archives at the kennedy archives and the information in the oral history in this case at the kennedy library and the other thing in addition to doing more modern presence since is also to go back to the tapes. the lyndon johnson tapes and mixing cakes and kennedy tapes and those are a wealth of information that we can use when we are doing the documentaries and you hope it comes out and things like the movie done about the cuban missile crisis. i teach teachers. a number of us did pick the entire teacher incident -- --
8:13 pm
it is a letter fair at the end of the day. the cuban missile crisis is the popular culture treatment. the way we use it is to turn to the documentary information and the oral history and the recordings that president kennedy was making a real-time of the cuban missile crisis discussions going on behind the scene and we compare that to how hollywood treats the subject. i find that is a very rich way for the teachers to learn about it and take it that pback their classroom across the country.>> >> we have all seen how a single book could change the reputation.>> the folks will tell you that the title wave of interest that washed over them.
8:14 pm
this is not a house that was built to accommodate the and number of billion who read the book and wanted vicariously to relive the experience.>> when this happens, you worked in so many presidential sites and how can it capitalize on that even if it is not your president? is that possible? >> you have to remember that most of the presidents i was dealing must -- with was more apologizing than advocating. i got a letter from my counterpart at the buchanan foundation who took me to task as it the director of the herbert hoover presidential library. saying something unflattering to his namesake. asy to do.
8:15 pm
that is interesting to put the question inside out. the one thing is with hoover there is such -- anyone who comes to the library over and we tell the story and people don't again know the story. they know the depression. they don't know this was a man who fed 1 billion people in 50 countries who saved more people from starvation. this is a man who oversees. -- there is a different hoover. when you have this fast reserve
8:16 pm
and i don't mean the advocacy, we are not apologist and we are not the chamber of commerce. to have the credibility and whatever it is like a book or film or a tour or redoing a museum exhibit, the point is to be as rigorous in your scholarship without rendering popular appeal. the deadliest word -- words is either or. the notion that you can be scholarly or popular but you cannot be worth -- both. people comes to the door. they wanted to know something. they may be making the effort to be there. it is any good story telling exercise. it happens that it is a roller
8:17 pm
coaster. there is higher highs and lower lows and there is poignancy and humor. there is so much. in any of the, it seems to me that you have an obligation to our constituencies and those are the people who don't have the phd next to their name. they have something just as good. they have curiosity and they may be school kids or scholars or researchers or volunteers but there -- they are enthusiastic and that is all you need to be admitted.>> >> let me get you into this. i was thinking the work you do with the bush family.
8:18 pm
we have a situation where the archives are not open for george w. bush and there has been lots of treatment. how do historians not let popular culture establish a view that may end up being different from what those who have worked in the administration were those who aren't top of the wreckers can tell? i think that would be marvelous. >> every time we get a perception of the president and going to get the records and find out. and that can change the narrative. the problem is getting access to the records. the national archive system is not as expeditious as historians would like. how was that for polite? getting documents available and we are just feeling comfortable
8:19 pm
with the record system that we have for the jade -- george hw system and that was because we invested at texas a&m invested a great deal of money and effort and essentially filling out the forms that were necessary to get the cup -- document. we now have every single phone conversation that president bush senior had with a foreign leader during his time in office. it is quite remarkable. i encourage you to read them online and they are quite remarkable. it is amazing to see a president who was able to see with -- speak with an african and asian leader without aids giving him advice in between. we have the popular perception, i think our job as historians is to try to move things along so the new information can essentially help round out the
8:20 pm
public perception because one other thing of having just written a book, people would constantly ask, what did you discover that was new in shopping -- shocking but the general story of what happened during those years was pretty darn right which is to say there is thousands of journalist in the city who was working every day to find out whether the dish what the administration is doing and they do a good job. we go behind the curtain where the journalist couldn't but their narrative is quite good.>> let me move on to the topic which is similar which is trends and current events. i will ask all my panelists. hypo partisanship is effective the modern age and with your long stent but as a historical storyteller how was the partisanship affected your
8:21 pm
ability to connect until the stories and has a changed the narrative at all? >> it changes the narrative in the way that you are saying it did not used to be that way. it does affect not so much how you tell the story but how the story is received. people have gone off as we all know into their camps and they agree or disagree and decide only to listen to or watch the things they agree or disagree with and it becomes difficult to have a straight story. journalists really do try to do that every day all day. particularly now with being under attack as take news and that becomes a bigger problem
8:22 pm
because people believe that. they have a sense that they can't trust anything that they read or hear. that becomes a bigger problem. i think the burden which is a good one on us is to really make sure you're getting it right. you don't want to give any ammunition to the people that think you are making it up. i think that is a good burden. we should have always been getting it right but there is more pressure to do that. i have to say that the center makes a huge difference. it really does. that is the place where you can go and i do a lot of history in my thesis. as well as books obviously but i have a place you can go to get to the history into to know what the president is up to. listening to the tapes is fun
8:23 pm
and it is eavesdropping. it was fun to read dolly madison's mail but to listening -- listen to the tapes and the cuban missile crisis and what you hear on the tapes is the evolution of john kennedy as president and all of the people in the room with him. joe kennedy's kids that did not know anything and they developed a respect and you can hear that evolving. i think to constantly go back to the source and making sure you are getting it right but understanding that there will be a whole bunch of people that don't believe it. >> a special opportunity in a polarized time to encourage people to rise above the political biases.
8:24 pm
c-span and they constitutional center have this wonderful collaboration with a joint mission with a mandate to be nonpartisan. are experience on the supreme court cases is bringing together the top scholars to debate not the political issues in the case but the constitutional issues is the most elevating project that i have been involved in. brotherly that is with the constitutional center tries to do and all of our discussions. i am a law professor and i begin every discussion by saying let's set aside our political views but converge around what we agree and disagree about the constitution. the question is not his gun control a good or bad idea but does it allow it or prohibit it. people need to open themselves up to the possibility that they might think that gun control is a great idea but the second
8:25 pm
amendment prohibits. just like framing it, that is what we were taught to do in law school and bring this method analysis to all citizens and to think about the president and similar terms. for people who are bashing the current president about his use of executive orders, we will say that his predecessor used just as many executive orders. the imperial presidency or presidential tweets. obama was the first tweeting president. constitutional terms is a tremendous opportunity for historical and constitutional education and it gives me confidence that in the end we can and this is all of our mission and obligation. we have got to elevate the constitution -- country because
8:26 pm
we will not get out of it. the cause is geographic, self sorting and echo chambers and that is a problem making our issues urgent. converging around the ideals.>> constitutional moments and it is not just movies or books but moments. we are living through one right now with the death of john mccain where we have really had a lesson over the last few days and we will continue through saturday of what it is about partisanship and put the country first. how anybody could read them i don't know because they were so moving but there was a moment in history and when people are paying attention and i think that we all have to take
8:27 pm
advantage of this moment which is it ackley what john mccain would want us to do pick >> it helps when you have the president exert more moral authority. to reinforce that and i have to say walking past the white house yesterday and seeing the flag a full mast was a moment for me, i said one. if i may comment on the question. there was always friction between the press and the president. we are about friction. lbj said that if i walked across the potomac river. the headline would be president can't swim. the difference is that if you look at nixon, in my lifetime, the greatest was richard nixon
8:28 pm
but he had his his henchmen spiro agnew, take on the press but what do remember about the phrase? napalm the negativity. invoked? that is light stuff in 2018. you have a president calling the media the enemy of the people. and i think that certainly, like i think the eipress has gotten better. the press has go better because -- i say we, i do a little journalism as well. but i think we're thinking very seriously about what we're putting into print. knowing it's going to be scrutinized. knowing that we're going to have people on the other side of what we're saying, criticizing everything that we do and i think that my hat's off to the journalism world. i think that reporting is
8:29 pm
sharper. it's better. it's more factually based and i marvel at the r eservations hostile. >> if you andare knee-deep, rig now. [ laughter ] please. >> you are well into your research. >> okay. >> but, my point is, picking up on just some comments, about moments, and turning them into teaching moments. so, if you have a period of time, where there is antagonism with the press, or use of executive orders, we historically use them as teaching moments. >> it is interesting, one of the wonderful, unacknowledged privileges of being a historian, is the option, if you do not like the present, to live in the past. and i am doing that right now, and very happily.
8:30 pm
actually, you know it is funny. i look at this a little differently. and that is the relationship between journalists, and historians. it is sort of like in oklahoma, what is wrong with this and the cowboys. and, i think, i am not sure, ironically, some of our best historians, are journalists. maybe vice versa. there is a reason though, that journalists write the first draft of history. the classic example, in modern times, is light eisenhower, who, the first pole, after a presidential historian, after he -- he finished below -- that does not happen anymore. and, what did we get wrong, what we now know, that we got a lot of wrong, was because i
8:31 pm
pointed to -- to get it wrong. dwight eisenhower, along with george washington, was one of maybe the only men, in our history, for whom the presidency was a demotion. you know? that wonderful story, involving milton, ike's mother, was president, the university of pennsylvania, and they were getting ready, he persuaded to -- and it was outdoors, and though weather was -- and they were making small talk. and, milton, you know, said, overtime do you think it is going to rain? and ike said, i have not worried about the weather since june 6 1945. >> perspective. the difference is, historians have tools, and materials that,
8:32 pm
is sometimes denied to journalists. we are utterly dependent on journalists for what we do, but we have the advantage, of time. it takes time, particularly, we are polarizing presidents, it takes time, for passions to cool, for papers to become available, and above all, for us to examine, how many, a dozen american presidents have had to deal with the middle east. you cannot compare them. so, instead of having, how many of us have gotten cold by journalist, wanting, what is history going to say about the incumbent? you know, and you, well, you know, asked me in 20 years. >> right, give it time. although, they do tend to give it time, as you mentioned earlier, too much time. when i was researching, my first history book, i called the historical society, and i said, do you have the papers for so-and-so, do you have his wife's papers? and they said
8:33 pm
oh, you know, we have not come anywhere near finishing going through his papers. it has been 200 years! and, honestly, every journalist, that is -- >> but, that is a really interesting point, and i think it is important for people in this room, yes, it takes time, and patience, it also takes a lot of resources, and a lot of energy and effort. and, at least for modern presidents, who are still alive, it takes their enthusiastic embrace, of the scrutiny of history. why did eisenhower go from being one of the least respected presidents, and one of the best -- to the best got access to the records. once we saw what was really going on, we realized, what a master he was at everything that he touched within the oval office, and how everything in his government, went through him.
8:34 pm
we did not have that sense before we were able to see the documents. in fact, i would even say that every president we have gotten access to the documents, over the course of the researching, and the investigation, publics estimation of that president has gone up. which, is to say, if i was running the campaign for an ex- president prestige, the first thing i would do, is open up everything i could. because, the more people realize the complexity, and the difficulty, and the nuance that presidents have to deal with, the more impressed they become. so, we could be, in a sense, the gateway to understanding the better sense of the president. but only if we have the access, and the enthusiastic support, of those who control those documents. >> ronald reagan wanted to open every single document immediately, dealing with u.s. soviet relations. i mean, he had that wisdom, he understood instinctively, this
8:35 pm
is important, and, guess what it was pretty good. >> welcome lady bird, lady bird was the hero on the johnson case. you know, she had a lot of opposition, of people not knowing, because she did not know any -- anything could've been on their -- and -- >> sometimes it was. >> and, and she just said open them up. so, we are coming to you next, as we are marking into research, but you want to comment on the section as well. >> yes, and this will serve as a segue to that point. they asked, to think about, the place of documents, versus oral histories for example. and, speaking of lady bird, she did a tremendous oral history, with the johnson library, that -- university press, which has a long and venerable history of processing venerable history. of processing that history. and, with some light touches of analysis along with it. because of the center we have
8:36 pm
done, every presidential administrations history started with jimmy carter, and even started a little bit with ford, and the history we did back in the late 70s. as soon as he had left office. ted kennedy, came and said he would like -- to do his oral history. so, i have just been finishing the touches of -- so, and to suggest points out, it certainly does take time and resources for these papers to come out. we have not mentioned the security issues, and so, all of these papers have to be run through security protocols, to make sure, that there are still kennedy documents that are not out yet, for national security reasons. so, it takes that time, it takes the processing time, to do. and so, how we view oral history, and working with usually, the top hundred to 150 members of an administration, and we always hope the president and first ladies themselves, but we view that as filling in a gap, because we
8:37 pm
can usually get through those, in about 10 years, which seems at the time to take a while, but compared to 200 years of waiting, for these papers to come out, or in the case of others, maybe 10, 15, 20 years. no, we do know that sometimes, we do have document fetishists, among the historians, and they say oh, who is going to believe in oral history, that is just going to be someone telling his or her version, and, it is kind of -- a mosaic, or a puzzle. you are looking for as many peoples as possible to complete the picture. so, i see these oral histories, falling into place, as part of the pieces of the puzzle, and you take the documents, fixed amount, at various times, and you can begin to put the pieces of the puzzle -- puzzle together, come up with a full picture, you hope. >> i think that is the full picture, and trying to get -- we have an oral history project as well, which we learn very
8:38 pm
much from the miller center, which was really the gold standard in this field. and, we knew two things, i think, one thing in particular, that is a little bit different, which is, we allow, we mandate actually, that all of our oral history be videotaped. because then, you can see what the person is saying, by the way you have a better sense of the transcript of it being accurate, if you can inspect it yourself, and people cannot go back and edit what they said, because we have the video. now, i will tell you, there are a few exceptions to this. for example, vice president cheney, refused to let us videotape his interview, that we did to our project, and i tried to implore him on the necessity of these videos, and i said mr. vice president, you have to understand. your facial expressions will help tell the story to future generations. they want to see the twinkle in your eye. and he looked at me and said my eyes do not twinkle. now, at that point, at that point i have to concede his point. but, i think what is really
8:39 pm
critical as well, and this is where oral histories are wonderful, i think oral histories are by and large terrible. and i run an oral history project. they are by and large terrible if you are trying to get any particular detail. if i asked people in this room, what did you have for lunch today? about 40% of you will get it wrong, and about 30% you cannot remember if you have had anything. but, at some point in our conversation, at some point in our oral history, every single former policymaker will say, you know what really matters? that one line, is worth the three hour interview, because that gets us a real sense of what they think upon reflection, is important. but again, that is only available when we have the enthusiastic support of administrations. >> also, you have seen a change tremendously though, just because it has gotten so much better. i mean, the kennedy one, were really bad. and, as you see, all of you, regress, and ways of
8:40 pm
interviewing people, it just improved dramatically. >> and moreover, the history and perspective, i think, is getting the detail, what is the true story, as we have been talking about. as a political scientist, my colleagues, russell riley and i, who is now cochair of the oral history project that this program, we are looking for institutional information. how does the presidency operate? how does the bureaucracy operate, how does the presidency operate with congress to mark and, so we are looking for institutional issues, we are looking for decision-making processes. how did these people go about making decisions, in addition the time to find the tick-tock, as they say here in washington. >> i think, with c-span, is a oral history is history and progress all day every day. and, it is providing a tremendous service. >> absolutely. >> for the older presidency, it takes different forms, i think -- i just finished an
8:41 pm
underappreciated, william howard taft. and, his main oral history was archie, who was his chief -- served roosevelt, and eventually -- diaries, which were vital in getting a sense of -- thin-skinned, tendency to lash out at those who were disloyal. but, to really capture the essence of the man, i just read his papers, eight volumes, it takes a while, but you read them, and you have suddenly, through his eyes, this sense of our most judicial residence, who have used every decision, from constitutional terms, and things that the president can do with it constitution explicitly allows, unlike roosevelt, who things he can do anything, the constitution -- through their combination, was -- >> document two, the constitution center, text is a sacred. and, it is incredibly wonderful, as a teaching tool. so, we just started an exhibit, with the five rarest original
8:42 pm
grass of the constitution, put in the same place before, ever, james wilson, handwritten draft, by the pennsylvania historical society. and, it does not expend the documents, we put the text online, for the american, or whatever, google, and you can see the evolution of the office of the presidency, from a six-year term, elected by the legislature, to the four-year term, to the possibility of a renewal. or the evolution of the preamble, from we the people of the state of new hampshire, rhode island, and providence plantations, and so forth. we the people of the united states, signifying wilson, james wilson, malan, the hero, believed the whole people were sovereign. so, just putting the text, and there is another really cool thing, that you can find online. the interact part of the constitution center, you can click on the first amendment for example, and see the documentary forces, and the revolutionary era, or speed constitution.
8:43 pm
so, medicine did not make up the bill of rights, he cut and pasted from the massachusetts constitution, of 1780, or virginia 1776, and seeing the evolution of the text throughout the convention, it is just a great way of -- you see, that two states, virginia and pennsylvania, recognized the right to bear arms primarily as a right of citizens, not to be disarmed, and their militias, sorry, as a right of self-defense, of people, to defend themselves, or for purposes of hunting game, and the others saw it as a militia recommend you make up your own mind. so text is sacred, and is nonpartisan and this one. to kind of bring it full circle, >> i have done 170 interviews now, the writing -- writing journal for, and the irony is, historians, actively a journalistic sensibility for those interviews. inevitably, the best oral histories, are with journalists. >>) >> because they are storytellers, because they have an eye for detail, that quite
8:44 pm
frankly, might elude the political scientists, and because, they give you, a vivid sense of being there. >> but the other thing is, they do not put themselves in the story. >> right. >> and the problem, as barbara knows well, of all of those oral histories, people inflate their own important. and, you have to keep that in check, as you read these things, or if you do these, these -- you have to factor that in. >> right, interviews, jackie kennedy. where he keeps trying to get her to say what he thinks, and -- >> but, also has no interest in what you things, only interested in the president, and not in her. but, part of that, though is the journalist, we tend to know the story ahead of time. and, we have done the research on it. so, that you know whatábecause, we too often see oral history, as sort of, well, tell me about
8:45 pm
your time with the president. you know, and what you have to say is, october 13, 1962, what happened that day? you know, and remind them. >> let me pick up on that comment, back when kennedy took the interview, because so much of your scholarship has been on women's role in american history. and, i am wondering, going back to current events, with the increased interest, in women's history, with the me to movement in the recent couple of years, has there been more material available, for you, has the library's been open, to look more at the role of first ladies in american history and others? >> yes. yes. the role of women, is suddenly, noticed. you know, half of the population. but, it has definitely gotten better. it has got a long way to go, but it definitely has gotten better. and, there is a particular
8:46 pm
interest, especially since we are talking about site. the places that are best about this, mount vernon, mount -- the adams homestead, cracked you up when you see the original. abigail, -- soldiers, and all of that, you know, -- stage. and, writing these remarkable letters, by candlelight, you know, after the whole long miserable day. but, they do care about the family, they get more of the women's stories, from those, then you do from the other side. >> before i leave this up, i want to understand what the future looks like, with the digital age. first, and the preservation of history, in an age of residential -- social media, and electronic communication, and what the future historians will have to access.
8:47 pm
second thing to cross my mind about this, is really, the role of research librarians, as artificial intelligence becomes smarter and smart, and easier to search for things, what role will those folks have in the future of telling presidential history, what are anyone's thoughts on the future of reservation? >> well, i will tell you, we are working with the obama foundation, as we look to have a piece of the oral history there. and you might have seen a tweet that went out, for president obama's birthday this summer, that announced that a really different kind of oral history, a grassroots, ground up oral history, that they are doing, for the obama, which i understand is not going to be called a library it is going to be called the obama presidential center, because, during -- season, they will not have hard copies of archives, they will rather -- rather they will all be digitized. so that is one difference right there.
8:48 pm
it is just taking advantage of the process of digitization, and therefore, not even attempting to have the hard copy documents. now, as someone who regretted the believing of hard catalogs, in the library, because i like the stand -- and the cards, so do not come to me about those. but, i appreciate the fact that this will be a different approach, and probably, the end, it even a better approach. but, for doing this ground up oral history, they just, they spread the word, to say to people, we want to focus on the 2008 historic election of barack obama. send us your memories. send us -- take out your iphone, and record your memories, and go to your neighbors, go to your friends, your family, and record their memories. so, they are going to start from the ground up, we hope to do what is called top-down, obviously, and talk to the key members of the administration. but, i think that is going to be one distinction right there,
8:49 pm
and how presidential libraries look and feel and operate. >> is really the issue. and, it is going to be difficult, because again, what is -- but, when i was working on the war book, and was talking to people -- they were saying, you know, all of those reenactors, those people learn everything about their character. and, you know, if we could crowd source they have, and bring it together, you would have a completely different civil war history. and, it would be fascinating. and, so i think that that is very much where we are headed, but it is very dicey. >> but, i think if you combined the fact that crowdsourcing can be key, with the idea that we all know at this point, we are in separate political tribes, of various stripes, what we need to find, is some way to get these tribes organized, so the crowds that we know what is true, and what is not. i think, this is really one of the keys for historic site and libraries, and historians. to essentially, be the arbiter,
8:50 pm
of what is and what is not fact. you know, you cannot say that john kennedy won the revolutionary war. somebody has to be able to stand up and say i am sorry, no, that is simply not right. and, one of the things -- >> everyone knows lyndon johnson did. >> actually, what was amazing, was that he walked across the delaware. that he could do it. you know, one of the things that is really wonderful about these new resources, obviously, is the way that we can get access for everyone. so, your center, hours and, every center, every library here, is trying to put more and more online. so, every citizen can go and see the rot material, not just the result, but the raw data, the raw oral history, in this case. what concerns me, in the future, is that even with a sense of having historians the arbiters, we are increasingly seeing segments of the population that refuses to be swayed by facts. obviously, we are in the what
8:51 pm
is truth moment, and, i am concerned, i will give you a good example: i am concerned about what happens -- i will give you a theoretical question, cannot possibly happen, just completely pulled out of thin air. let's suppose there is an impeachment hearing -- just supposed. hypothetical, and, we see a tremendous amount of evidence, for whatever the crime, that a president might have committed, a crime, that is similar to what has occurred for richard nixon, which is to say, we see evidence, that appears irrefutable. the prosecutors tell us it is irrefutable, we hear their voices, we hear john kennedy, or we hear nixon, we know that those voices told us something that is actually in the record. at this point in the 21st century, i am concerned that about 40% of the population will simply say, that is doctored. >>) >> that is not true. and, it may be enough to get prosecutors, and experts, in order to say, actually, verify, this is true. but, having someone sway public
8:52 pm
opinion, especially on something which is going to enter the political realm, that is a more dicey question, i think the 21st century. >> we will solve the problem of fake news, which is a curious one. but, one thing we can do, is to bring together organizations, from both sides. so, the most important thing the constitution center has done is bring together the federalist society, which is the leading conservatives and liberal society, and american -- leading progressive organization, to cosponsor an online interactive constitution, and that is the time i got to make -- genetically plot my iphone, and ask you to download, but not now because we are talking. but, after the show, it has 80 million hits, that launched three years ago, and it convenes the top liberal and conservative -- scholars to write about every clause of the constitution, describing what they agree about and what they disagree about. you can click on the first amendment, or the second amendment, or the reference
8:53 pm
clause, and find 1000 words by liberal and conservative scholars about what they agree, like unanimous, court majority -- and then separate statements about various this agreement, like a supreme court, concurrently crystal, is a constitutional one, it is the most exciting thing, i have ever expanse. there are 80 clauses of the constitution, and i teach this stuff, and i do not know, it is the interactive constitution, online or in the app store. it is just -- it is so exciting, the college board has just agreed with us, to create a two-week course on the first amendment, that they are going to require all 5 million ap student, and then the next goal is to bring, not just ap students, but every citizen in america. but, i think, what it shows, it has been incredibly exciting, a civic -- as a civic project, but the society, and american constitution society love working with each other, and the scholars remarkably, this is another extraordinary thing, were able to agree, understatements, pretty
8:54 pm
quickly. there were only a couple cases where they had a lot of back and forth. and that is because, it turns out that there is much more about the constitution, that unites us that divides us. so, -- then divides us. >> move on, with the comment. >> the quick,, the whole issue, about information, and ask them, there is -- here. and, -- program my dvd. but -- the older presidential library, had it right. fdr was absolutely right. he understood that if you are a researcher, or what museum people call the greater, a casual visitor, the fact of the matter is, whether you set foot in the archives, or just the museum, or just the estate, it was all an exhibit. it was all research. you cannot understand, franklin roosevelt without going -- and,
8:55 pm
at that point, i would imagine so many of your sites, you now have, you can provide access, i suppose, to more people than ever before. you can provide a certain amount of information, but, to go back to what i said earlier, there is no substantive being there. and, i wonder whether we are sacrificing that personal experience, in the name of convenience. >> that is a great final question, besides residential history. my fourth discussion, is constituents -- but i will come back to that in a second. this begin, covered by c-span, and my inclination, i have reserved 60 minutes at the end, for your question, so i hope along the way, you have been thinking about things you want to follow up on, and there are going to be microphones on the side of the room. so, please do, interactivity is a much more interesting for all of us. so, get prepared to ask a couple of questions, on the last part of this. okay, constituencies. what i was thinking about, was presidents themselves, or
8:56 pm
presidential families, -- former cabinet members, and their defendants, local and -- historical -- constituencies, communities with economic interest. universities who have an interest in their institution being well served, and well academically, that is a lot of people pulling you, and a lot of different directions when you are running an institution. you have had some experiences. >> i ran five presidential libraries in 17 years. which, tells you right away, i could not keep a job. but, also -- >> neither could the presidents. >> something about those many influences, that are pulling on you. and inappropriately -- appropriately, you have a new library, probably from an older library. former president, for whom you work, whether -- knows it or not, you are an employee of the national archive, but guess what, you work for the president. you know, or the first lady. or, subsequent, generations of
8:57 pm
the family. invariably, i would have to say, the families, and the presidential libraries -- actually, essential, to building on the initial enthusiasm. there is no such thing as a permanent exhibit. i think you will find all of the libraries, i think the johnson library, are on their fourth permanent exhibit since 1971? the board is on its third, exhibit, and in any event, my last job, you'll understand why, was in springfield illinois. and, the constituency was a state, it was the lincoln fraternity, which is the least fraternal organization. you will never want to run into -- it was the people of springfield, it was lincoln lovers, the world over. and, but ultimately, it was the state of illinois, and the valuable lesson i learned was, the success, in illinois government constituencies, of
8:58 pm
getting out now, before the indictment -- not just in springfield. well, -- but, individuals, we can never forget. in the end, it is passionate, enthusiastic, people who still, whether they are donors, in the case of springfield, -- who, more than anyone else, single- handedly, imagined, and abraham lincoln presidential library, as -- as the existing illinois state historical library. and she had lots of help, and obviously, the states became involved, the federal government , the government system, but, it had not been, the person, the lincoln presidential library would not exist. now, the problem with that, and quite frankly, and they are expending this right now, they
8:59 pm
did it backwards. new build a presidential library, the presidents, his friends, the supporters, they all get together, and create a foundation, they raise the money, they build the buildings, and then they create an endowment, so that you can program the institution, long after they are gone. and, the paradoxical, the ironical result, of the grassroots enthusiasm, in and around springfield, that created the lincoln library, was that they built the library first, and only then, created a foundation. and that is a model, that i do not think they would recommend. >> but, you had that at places like mount vernon. you know, where -- >> right, before that was cunningham. >> yeah. absolutely. >> but, you know, and you had this falling apart, race there, that they were able to bring it
9:00 pm
together, and make it what it is today. because a couple of people. >> so, the johnson dollars are very much involved in the foundation, and storytelling, to this day, someone -- when family members, and former cabinet members, and the like, have an active role, so, how do you balance the passion, that comes from being a family member, with storytelling, and dealing with other constituencies to mark >> in the case of -- from the very beginning, when the institution was inaugurated, in 1971, he said, it is all here, the story of our time, with the bark off, for friend and foe alike. , he did not want direct history. also, i think -- open the record, -- they wanted to open
9:01 pm
the record, as soon as possible, -- >> on russia -- >> lbj wanted the records on vietnam, opened as soon as possible. because, he was confident, he was doing what was right, and he wanted the american people to be exposed to that story. so, the good news about the johnsons, and i think what makes the lbj library solid institution, as they have never, been heavy-handed about the story they were telling. >> unlike the kennedy library. >> can be different, for the different institutions. there is a great story, one of my favorite stories, and it may be true, it may be impossible, but richard nixon -- attended the 1961 inaugural john f. kennedy, who of course, beat him for the presidency, and the election of 1960. and, as he was walking out, he runs into ted sorensen, one of
9:02 pm
kennedy's speech writers, and nixon says, i wish i had said some of those things. and sorensen said, you mean the part where he said ask not what you can do for your country? and nixon said no, the part where he said i do solemnly swear -- and that is -- than i do not want to know. but, the point about that story, is every man who takes the office, want to put his stamp on the presidency. is unique stamp, and the institutions, that bear their names, after they leave office, also have their own -- they are all big institutions, and the families to our unique, understand they want to make. i think, it is best when we are not heavy-handed. when we let people tell the story, as it was. and generally speaking, that reflects well on the principle. >> any comments on this, on constituencies? >> i am just going to speak as
9:03 pm
a constituency of one, as an individual, who grew up in louisville kentucky. and, was taken at age, probably five, to huntersville, to the birthplace of abraham lincoln, and as i sat last night and into the beautiful concert, sitting in front of the lincoln memorial. and there is a miniature version of the lincoln memorial in hopkinsville, in which they do have a log cabin, it was said last night that one of the ideas for the lincoln memorial was to build a giant log cabin there. but, i remember as a child of five, not being able to quite comprehend that that was not the actual cabin, in which lincoln was born, but that, in terms of sight and places, i do remember seeing a tree there, that they said, this tree, we know is so old, that it was here when lincoln was born. and that was so meaningful to me. and, it goes from there, to my first -- was just eight years ago. and, i love fdr, i love seeing
9:04 pm
the library, in the museum, i love going through the home, i love going -- to see eleanor's home, but as we rounded a corner, and came to the bedroom, the rangers had this is where fdr was born. i burst into tears. and, i did not even know why. but i realized, as i look back, it was because my parents, and my grandparents, and my aunt and uncle had said to me, as i grew up, and got older, fdr saved us. fdr saved us, my dad's family, lost their home in the great depression. and, i think my friends were ready to call security, because -- but, it just says to those of you who are in these -- no matter whether we are a child coming through, or a scholar, as an adult, they are so meaningful. and, as you say, you cannot know -- i do not think you can know these presidents without going to those sites, and libraries. >> there was a comment made on our preplanning call, about -- versus gun relationships, and i
9:05 pm
am going to ask -- to talk about that. philadelphia, in the constitution center, you have the board with some pretty high- powered officials on it. talk about managing those -- meaningful for people from smaller sites here, who also have constituencies in their community, that they have to fill, the same question for you. >> first, i really do think i have the best job in the world, because i run and in -- educational institution with no students or faculty. so, it is ideal, and that -- and every respect. next -- valuable to an extraordinary board of patriotic philanthropists, on both sides of the aisle. who have individual needs, but are responsive, to this nonpartisan mission. it is really just an exercise in personal relationships. and, in keeping people up to date, and then understanding
9:06 pm
what their special passions are. most important challenge, that is nonprofit like that constitution center has is fundraising, because it is almost entirely privately funded, -- funded. no congressional money, which you know, is a challenge. and, it is also inspiring, but challenging, to think while everyone cares about the constitution. but, in a tribal polarized world, if you are not going hard left or hard right, or not playing to the extremes, that are trying to bring together, -- there is a small but passionate group of people, who are really able to support that. so, the most important part of constituency relationships, is having a clear sense of admissions, and never deviating from it. of course it is challenging, and a polarized environment, to be able to talk directly, and relevantly about all the constitutional issues in the news, and be able to talk about impeachment, -- all of these
9:07 pm
topics, and sensitive issues. but to be able to do it in a way that also -- feels hurt, bringing together those sites, only talking about the constitution, not about politics, is crucial. it is also very important, small nuances of word choices, are important. we are going through a -- exercises, as many people do. and, talking about freedom versus liberty for example, appeals to one side versus another, or empathizing -- emphasizing the quality of freedom for the civil war exhibit. so, only being attended to nuances, and coming up with language that accurately conveys what everyone can agree on, is crucial. it is also finally, the constitution center, at least three things, the independence mall, it is an education center, digitally online, and is the producer of public programs, america's town hall, happily, many on c-span, and in
9:08 pm
the philadelphia around the country. so, basically, teaching, because ultimately that is what all of these functions are. americans from 8 to 80, or 9 to 90, speaking about the constitution in different ways that everyone can understand. never talking down to people that -- but elevating, and inspiring them to develop their faculties of reason and presenting them the best arguments, so they can stretch and grow, and learn and be inspired, to be lifelong learners. that is the special passion, and you can hear, from the way i am talking about it, i think the way to do it, is not to micro target messages, to individual constituencies, to focus on a group in particular idea, but to spread the light of learning, and reason, as authentically as he can, and in confidence, that people will respond. >> you know, i think one of the most important things, is one of the most obvious, and we are talking about downtown, and -- university, and presidential library, whether it is -- trustees, and historic site, and private ownership. the most important thing, is
9:09 pm
the most obvious, which is a sense of trust. which, is that the people who are running the foundation, need to trust the people who are running the organization, are trying to do their best job, without a political agenda. and, the people who are running these, the actual exhibit, need to know the people on the board, are there for a reason. because, they care passionately, about this issue. it is really quite, fascinating to me, that we have, in our society, a great sense of misunderstanding, and mistrust, immediately, based upon occupation, based upon region. i will give you a good example. i am a professor, you all know this, so i must be a communist. and, we laugh, because that rhetoric, and that mantra, is out there, in american society. first of all, i would like to take a step back and say you know, if you think, not you, the big deal, that as a professor, i spent all my time trying to indoctrinate my students, let me assure you, i
9:10 pm
try to spend all my time getting my students to hand in their papers. i wish i had time to indoctrinate -- that would be wonderful. but, we need to have a real sense, i think, that individuals are trying to get the story out, and frankly, if you do not trust the people you are working with, you should not work with him. >> and you know -- there has been a big change, but it needs to go first. which is, where a lot of these institutions, particularly, some of the smaller societies, which have some very valuable documents, there has been a sense, that we are the priesthood, and that these things are just here for the chosen few, who are worthy of the reading the -- of reading them. and you, the public people, do not come in here, and touch our beautiful things. and, that is changing, but it needs to change more.
9:11 pm
>> one quick thing. i think jeff's point, about the dangers of micro-programming, targeting, specific constituencies, on the other hand, i think for example, to think of the african-american experience, at a place like mount vernon, or -- which has literally been transformed. and is being transformed, as we speak. i have not seen the -- quarters, but have read about it, and am eager to see it. it is remarkable, that these institutions, that are grounded in veneration, can find it within themselves, to renew themselves, and to be contemporary, in the best sense of the word. and, i will tip my hat, to organizations, like the mount vernon ladies association, and the thomas jefferson foundation . i mean, they are models, i think, in a lot of ways. >> has done that as well,
9:12 pm
justice has a beautiful phrase, by the constitution, constantly becoming more inclusive, and that idea, of telling the story, in ways that gives voices, to underrepresented groups, including the american -- is a great privilege. >> and about 22 minutes, so we are going to go quickly here. and, jeffrey, you are my lead on this one, we talked a little bit about digital technology. and, i chose you for this, to pick up on the targeting by generations. because -- i was just overnight reading, based on scientific research, that a digital generation, or having brain changes, about absorption of information, and processing, because of living their life on digital technology. they learn differently, their attention spans are different, and your serving constituencies, all of us are serving constituencies, that learn one way, versus people that grew up with conditional
9:13 pm
books, -- traditional books, and other access to information, how do you serve those? >> let me say two contradictory things. because that is my job as a professor. the first is, i could not agree more with the point, that this internet thing is, i think, turning out poorly. and, in particular, in the way that our students are engaging information. so, there are legions of studies, that demonstrate, that when students have their computers open, and are typing their notes, they are not learning. why, because every human brain -- being is programmed to go for stimuli, and email is more stimulative than the professor. it is true. so, consequently, we instruct our students increasingly, it has almost become a campuswide policy, that he cannot use the computer in class. you have to actually write things down, because when you are writing about things, you are actually thinking about them, in a way that is different than having your computer open., the difficulty there, i think is that we are also, as presidential sites, somewhat in the entertainment
9:14 pm
business, we want people to come to the door, and people like to be entertained, and like stimuli, and flashing things. so, the difficulty, i think is trying to find a way, to again, get people to come to the door, would also be able to have them take the time, and stop. because, when i think about presidential sites, when i think about books that we write, when i think about oral histories, or cnn programs, what i really always try to ponder, is what is the one thing that someone is going to take away? as you put it, people have historical interests. they have gotten through the door. what are they going to tell their friends on monday morning at the office, that they learned? or, what are they going to turn to their spouse, during dinner, and so you know, i learned something really interesting today. because, you can focus on getting that one idea through, then i think, we can bring people and, with the new technology, but still, remember that human beings are still trying to have memories -- prime to have memories that are selective. >> but your libraries are doing such a great job with constituents.
9:15 pm
-- fascinating, where they present to you, actual decisions, -- have to make, with the arguments on both sides, and then, you decide. and, other people, in the room can also engage, with strangers, you know. >> what is great, is, to sit in the back of the decision point, and watch different crowds, of different people choose different things. because, even among people who are staring at computers, somehow, a sense of group has developed. and so, we actually have people, who will, in one session coming yes, they invade iraq, and minutes later, do not invade iraq, then, invade iraq, and then that enforces the idea that the more people think about the problems of the president, the more they come to appreciate the presidential problems, our big. nothing comes to a president desk, unless other people have not been able to solve it. >> the other thing about the
9:16 pm
decision, that was -- organizing for the president memoir, they have multi- platforms, communication with audiences, all with the same team, is not accidental. >> no, let me, kate things just a little bit further, going back to the down issue. i want to be very clear, i am not taking any credit for decision points, because i do not work for the bush library, or the bush foundation. i work for the university, that has partnered with the bush library, on our campus. and, the reason i make that distinction is rather important, in my life at least. because, it shows you have people who are promoting a message, and then you have people who still have the scholarly distance, if you will, to evaluate the message. and, they can work together, and they can work together harmoniously, but they also need to remember that they have somewhat different jobs. now, we mentioned the almost most important thing about having the job, is tenure. i encourage all of you to go to your board, and ensure that you will not be fired for telling the truth.
9:17 pm
>> we are going to -- we still have 50 minutes, but anyone who think they might have a question, start getting in line, and then we will get to them in a few minutes. >> the trick is to use technology to slow down the liberation, rather than speeded up. so -- the whole system, the constitutional system, is designed on -- enlarged face-to- face assembly, reason -- triumphs over passion, socrates, athens would still have been a mob. so, the constitution is designed to not allow mobs -- majority to -- quickly, reasons to prevail. and that is why, tweets are so un-madisonian, because tweets, are based on passions, -- further and faster than argument based on recent. on the other hand, podcasts, are a madisonian dream, an hour of wonky, located argument, where both sides are presented, where people can listen to their car, or while driving. it really gets a tremendous response, and tremendously spreads the light. so, technology is a thrill,
9:18 pm
honestly, a world we live in, where unlike you can have access to the original wreckage of the convention, and all of the c-span programs, the podcast, the interactive constitution, but we have to inspire citizens to have the habit of discipline, so that they are actually watching c- span, or listening to podcasts, rather than cavity is, or whatever all of us do in our free time. not elevating ourselves. so, it is very much an opportunity, as what is a challenge, but i am confident we can do it. >> we have to remember, we are talking about fake news, when our country began, all the media that was available, was part of the news -- and we had to overcome that. >> the fact that they did the first amendment, given what the press was like, was quite remarkable. >> that is exactly right. >> so, this whole notion, which is ridiculous by the way, is,
9:19 pm
you could simply -- fake news throughout the course of our history. there is nothing but fake news, if our environment is speaking fake news. >> abigail adams called this the scholarly the of the press, and i definitely think that is the word we have -- >> it is just that it used to travel more slowly, medicine is all excited about new newspapers, he thinks that a new class of enlightened journalist, he calls the literati, will use the newspapers to publish the federalist papers, and allow region to spread slowly over the land. and then, you get the advantage of an extended republic, and a large republic, mobs can form quickly, but the slow growth will allow you know, reason to trounce. that is the challenge of media, troubles quickly, and that is why -- >> thomas jefferson said, the only truthful thing in the newspaper, where the advertisements. >> to step on -- very quick couple of minutes, like six,
9:20 pm
disruptor, which is funding -- the announcement, by the obama folks, that they are abandoning what has now become the traditional model of the 13 -- presidential libraries, the administration of documents, minimum level of foundation work -- going forward with their own, there are documents, that will be managed, ability some people know this, but for the c-span audience, the obama library, will actually be a visitor center, telling the obama story, and the records will be separately managed by the national archives and records administration. what does this mean for the future? is this a challenge for the entire structure that has been built up? how is this playing out, mark? >> that is a paradigm, and i think a rather pokey -- irreverent cookie -- the hoover library pick if you look at the hoover library, it is a structure -- particularly,
9:21 pm
compared to the george w. bush presidential center. they have evolved through times, they have gotten far more ambitious. the reason that this changes things so much, is that the obama folks, yes, national archives, you can take the records, you deal with the records, we are going to control the store. we are going to take our institution, and we are going to tell -- we are going to determine how that runs, without your partners. and, i think that is going to change, and i cannot see truck changing it. trump, when he billed his library, would walk in atlantic city -- >> maybe. >> may be, but it could be. >> people believe you on that one. >> that is well within the range of possibilities. >> but, i think he is going to want to control history, and will certainly be willing to put money into it. so, i think we have seen irrevocable changes. >> and consider the changes -- dangers inherent in this. fdr invented the modern
9:22 pm
president, invented the presidential library. and it was his notion, that there would be symbiotic relationships, between historical research going on, in one part of the building, and for lack of a better word, popular history, in the museum. and, the two interact. and, as we have seen with presidents like harry truman, like dwight eisenhower, you know -- that contributes to the evolution of how both scholars and the general public see the library. if you take away the scholarly function, it is no longer a presidential library. it may be something else, it may be very very useful, and i suspect it will be a great success, but it is not a presidential library. >> financially -- as well. because, they have gotten so big, and so ambitious, can you rightfully ask the federal government, -- >> here is -- there is a back story here.
9:23 pm
the fact of the matter is, there are people in the national archives, who have never particularly liked the presidential libraries, and overtime, those of the libraries -- the drivers on capitol hill have increased steadily, the amount of endowment. now, no longer, does the foundation not only have to build the building, they now have to provide an endowment, sufficient to cover 60% of all operating costs. can you think of another cultural institution, in america, that operate under that formula? and it is as if we are punishing these institutions, that are envied the world over, people who come from other countries, all the time, to look at our presidential libraries, and to see if they can in some way reproduce it, in their own., it was a stroke of genius on fdr's part, and unfortunately, it is being undone. >> questions and the audience,
9:24 pm
your first serve. >> i work for the national park service and the national memorial park. and we are working on a major renovation of the lincoln memorial, to create a visitor experience in the under prophets, not the story of lincoln, but of his legacy, of why he was memorialized, and how the evolution of that significance has changed over time. we also have the eisenhower memorial, that is currently being constructed here in dc. i am curious about your thoughts about the opportunities, and maybe more importantly, the dangers inherent, in memorializing a president, as it pertains to preserving the authenticity of the presidents story, of their legacy, and maybe most importantly, their humanity. >> i am going to ask you, to pick a panelist, because, who would you like to respond to that? >> how about -- >> at first, i want to say what a great -- it really is -- and
9:25 pm
what you have online, historically, is really valuable, to those of us who write history. and, it is not all, you know, rosie -- is truth, and, you keep doing that more. and, the education of your rangers, and other people, is just phenomenally good. so thank you., the park service has been under trying -- tremendous financial pressure the last several years. so, that is really, you are doing it under difficult circumstance. >> does one other panelist have a comment for the question, and i will move on to the next one else? >> memorializing presidents, we are going to do it, so let's just do it right. >> but also be open to recognizing that interpretations change. over time. hopefully not quickly, and hopefully not profoundly, but,
9:26 pm
the sensibility of 2018 is not the sensibility of 1865. >> except for james buchanan. >> as in pennsylvania, i am happy that my -- consecutive -- >> another president -- >> i have. you are up. >> my name is michael lynch, and i work for the abraham lincoln library museum in eastern tennessee, not the one in springfield. i guess this question is primarily directed to dr. smith. presidential librarians, and some museums, and other sites have a very broad mandate, where they are basically charged with the cradle-to- grave approach, that requires interpreting a person, within their historical context, the decisions they made, the way they affect institutions, and on the other hand, also looking at them, as people, their private lives, domestic life, relationships. their hobbies. how do we, balance those
9:27 pm
subjects, and should we balance them, do you think we should privilege one over the other? >> internally, we balance them, if we are to have credibility. i mean, there is a curious thing at work here. there is the passion for your -- with the detachment, that is required, in telling the story. at the hoover library for example, one thing everyone knows is going in, is that huber -- hoover somehow was involved with for -- caused the great depression. we create an exhibit at the end of the gallery, where you vote, on how you think hoover dead. and however you vote, you then see a two-minute video, showing you the other side. i mean, that is one concrete example of balance. but, the other thing, a broader sense, the fact of the matter is, people go to presidential libraries, overwhelmingly, not to learn about the finer points of the caribbean -- initiative. but, to have an encounter with ronald and nancy reagan.
9:28 pm
and, again, and do not, you know, understand that, the wonderful thing is, if you do it right, if you tell the story properly, if you pull people in, both emotionally, and then -- which is what any good exhibitor, and a good story does, and the fact is, the ultimate test, the question that i would ask, of any museum, i want to know what is the measure of success, and that is very simple, when you walk out the door, you walk out wanting to know more. >> i hope we have done that today as well. and your up next. >> hello. first of all, this session has been absolutely incredible. i could not be -- i just, you mentioned earlier, about your feelings, when you are at high park, that is how i feel now, because, i have always had such a love of history, -- like all of you.
9:29 pm
you, -- nancy's, barbara walters, -- in the 50s, you know, helped me develop the interests, that i have to this day, in government, in the news, in journalism, getting stories right, attention to detail. so, i think of that. >> thank you. thank you for stating my age. >> and, in saying that, i am not even sure if i said my name, did i? my name is anne- marie, and my husband and i are -- are here visiting. we are very near to the park, -- although not proven that george washington may have slept on our property. but, my question is, earlier, you alluded to the fact that, when you are interviewing someone, you have the answer. you have done the research, you know, you have an idea of what
9:30 pm
to expect. and all the interviews that you have done, have you ever had an experience, where you ask the question, and the answer that you received, was quite different from what you expected? >> sure, all the time. but, you still need to know the topic. no, to be able to -- i mean it is kind of like saying to your old uncle, tell me the one about -- and, and then, you still get the best, from somebody, because you know that he tells a good story about the one about -- but often, while you are on the train of questioning, you learn, i mean, you do not go in knowing everything, or you would not be interviewing them, expect -- except get their voice on tape. but, you learn a tremendous amount, yes -- often, you are surprised, and sometimes, on -- unpleasantly so. >> welcome. >> hello, my name is paul,
9:31 pm
director of the george w. bush childhood home in midland texas. our primary goal, is to talk about the bush family, during their 10 years, in west texas, and my question, is primarily for jeffrey, because he brought it up, in your discussion, but anyone else that would like to chime in. as a small organization, that is not owned, operated, funded, by any branch of government, in other words, we are trying to be self-sufficient, we have a need to reach out, obviously, through social media, get more interest, and get more visitors, from around the world, although we have seen them, from pretty much every country, and the world, in 13 years we have been opened. but, you mentioned, that, turner's -- toys, such as what we give, we want people to interact with us, as we are taking them through the historic home, stay away from social media during that period of time, how do you -- recommend, us joining the need, for having that social media interaction, and the need for
9:32 pm
keeping people away from social media, during the interaction? >> first of all, i recommend you do what i do, which is a, you will fail the course, if you -- that is a really difficult question. let me give you one technical suggestion, which comes to mind, which is just, make your exhibit not have wi-fi. if you can -- in some way, which i do not know if that is legal. but, i think, the real key is again, to get people to try and focus. and, you mentioned, the docents, and i think that is really the key there, because, if they are going to have the opportunity, to continually remind people, why they are there. they are not there just so they can look at something before they look at their email. they are there, because they made the decision, to reinforce their enthusiasm for having come. this is why it is so important you are here. i think, is a good line. >> we are, we have two minutes,
9:33 pm
so i am going to presume it is okay to run over a few minutes for our last three questioners. >> hello, my name is michael, i am visiting from long island, and, i have been a presidential history buff, since i can remember. my entire life. and, my question is, primarily, for the lyndon johnson foundation. because, at the time, when johnson was in politics, he was hard-core democrat, probably, if you can compare his presidency, to most progressive resident, until, barack obama. and, you know, when he retired, he, his estate was still pretty much solid -- blue democratic state, but now, pretty much, republican, and as conservative as can be. so, my question is, how difficult is it, to promote someone's legacy, in a
9:34 pm
political climate, that has changed profoundly, since the time they had existed? >> thank you. >> you are one of the reasons, that texas is now a red state, and a social blue state, is because of johnson. because of this sweeping civil rights, legislation, of the 1960s. it is a great story about, lbj, one of my favorites. and, he is talking to richard russell, and we now know richard russell, in the news, because, there is talk about renaming the russell senate building, the mccain senate building. richard russell, was a mentor, and a friend to lbj, and helped to extend the ranks, and the senate, and, lbj new, that when he was endeavoring to pass the civil rights act of 1964, which would, get rid of jim crow laws, and the false promise of separate but equal facilities, that he was going to have to run over richard russell to do it. his old friend.
9:35 pm
and, out of respect for him, he called him into the office, and says, you know, nick, i am going to have to run over you. this time, we are going to take it all, we are going to pass civil rights legislation, that means something, to this country. but, i warn you, if we do, if you -- just be prepared. and, russell says, mr. president, you can do that, i believe you can do that. but, if you do, you will lose, the southern states to the republicans, and you will risk losing the presidency in your own right in the election later this year. and, he hears about, and he says that is the price -- if that is the price for this bill, i will gladly pay it. and, i think that shows why, texas has changed from red, as, the deep southern state, and they remain red to this day. but, that story, also illustrates, why we are relevant today. it is the inherent drama in that story.
9:36 pm
right? you get swept up in the story, and in the time, we continue to tell that story, if we continue to show the lasting legacy of the lyndon johnson, we will continue to be a relevant engaging institution. >> also, a bunch of yankees, because i actually -- story and texas in 1980, which is the year it turned forever. and, it was a bunch of people from new jersey, and ohio. and, they had basically never heard of the texas democratic party. and, they were for ronald reagan. >> last two questions. >> hello, my name is kate morgan, i am one of the -- scholars, i am from the -- university here in dc. >> wonderful. >> so, i was wondering, at least to the facts technology, similarly, in regards to twitter and tweets, so, just kind of going more into the conversation of, how should we preserve -- i know, i guess
9:37 pm
this could be directed at -- you mentioned this shift in paradigm, but i also liked the term that was used, tweets -- not specifically for tweets, but something about selective memory. so, if we choose to only preserve certain tweets, that almost plays into the same idea, of the selective memory, and whose voices, and whose tweets are still heard, you know, centuries from now. so, kind of, what are your ideas, on how we should preserve those voices? >> thank you. >> may i refer this to barbara. >> you said something about the shift in paradigm. >> sure, in terms of the presidential library models, i would love to hear your, if you do not mind. >> no. >>reporter: so, great question. i have thought a lot about this, for this president tweets, and, i view it in several ways. so, you walk into the miller center library uva, we have all
9:38 pm
of the presidential papers. we have volumes and volumes of presidential papers, and these would include speeches, but also proclamations, and statements in the rose garden, and that sort of thing. so, i view them, in that way, when i am putting on my effective scholarly hat, in terms of a president tweets starting with president obama. my next thought, is, looking at paradigm shifts, the statement we are reusing, about how new technology affects and how presidents relate to the public. so, with fdr, and radio, particularly, and -- president kennedy, and the televised news conference, with the rise of television, and in those instances, those presidents -- and they perfected the use of that media and that medium, to reach the american people. now, to jeff's point about a constitutional structure, i am calling, what we live in now, a tweet on chrissy, because when you take the expansion of
9:39 pm
voting rights, to universal suffrage, where everyone 18 years and older, technically can vote, and then, you layer upon the social media -- that social media, and then facebook, and twitter, aside from potential russell meddling, you have a very different quality, from what matters and -- what medicine vision, when he talked about proper structure of the government. because, you have a president directly relating to the people, and so, the term social media, in a way, is a misnomer. medium, indicates something between the people and the government. and, that has been removed. so, to your point, i think, you must be asking as well, without all the other tweets? what about the people responding to this president, or the other night, when i heard that john mccain had died, i tweeted out, under my account, a clip from a statement, that i heard, by senator mccain, that he made in the smithsonian, april a year
9:40 pm
ago, at a john f. kennedy exhibit, in which he talked about being on the uss enterprise, in the midst of the cuban missile crisis, as a brand newly minted fighter pilot. thinking, he might be going into combat for the first time, and it turned out, there was no combat, but he remembered listening to kennedy, as mccain was on the ship. steaming toward cuba, and not knowing what, and he said, i remember hearing that voice, and i remember thinking, this was the man for the job. and i remember thinking, that night, here is the republican, speaking so highly of a democratic president, and what those two men hadn't come in, john kennedy, and john mccain, where they were needed combat veterans, and they almost lost their lives in the service of the country. so, i hope someday, someone comes upon that tweet, that i sent out, but, to your point, i do not know the answer to, how do we save all of them? do we save all of them, are we selective, and if we are, in what way? using what criteria? >> i think a lot of responders started, gave up on the project. >> we are -- for which i
9:41 pm
apologize, we have one more question. thank you so much. >> thank you so much. i name is elizabeth, and i am from the hoover presidential library, and usually, we are forgotten, so think of are talking to us -- about us so much. >> you are remembered in the wrong way. >> today -- my question, i actually worked on a first lady exhibit not too long ago, and used your books, children -- which was wonderful, and was really discouraged, when we started working on the first lady exhibit, to hear that when it comes to first ladies, there are few things -- fashion, and food. and so, i am wondering -- >> you are talking about the exhibit at the american history museum here? >> we did -- the hoover library, and we fell into the trap, with first lady dresses, with all the first ladies, and it was very well, just -- when people showed up, but my question is, how can we as historians, and journalist, when people are preserving these stories, interweave the
9:42 pm
narrative of first ladies, so we can move away from judging them, by what they wear, and instead, judge them by what they do. >> has also done a great deal of work on this subject, and wonderful work. i, it is fine to show the dresses. they are interesting. i like to see the dresses. but, the problem is, when the dresses are the story. and, it is -- pick and choose, but, i mean, i am very disappointed, with what they did at the american history museum here. they had a better exhibit, at the old museum, you know, in the old structure. which was, about the empowering, and from the washington -- first ladies have had -- and, i think the thing to do, is just make it very clear, of what, what was her name -- mrs. hoover -- lou
9:43 pm
hoover -- and she was phenomenal. and, everything she did -- from the girl scout -- on, was just remarkable, and so i think, what you do, is tell her story. the clothes can be there, but her story, and her influence, they are tremendous. and, that is the thing to do. is to make sure that everybody understands, she was not just walking around and address. she was also, doing something very significant. and that is true of all of them. >> i just reviewed a brand-new book by the university of kansas, which has an entire series, starting with mrs. mckinley, modern first ladies, all done from a scholarly perspective, so it gives you more than the passions -- and the food. -- fashion and food. but i just reviewed a young scholar, and it is called first ladies and american women, and it traces from modern first ladies, starting with mrs. hoover, the relationship, between first ladies, and american history, particularly
9:44 pm
feminist history, and so, i think that is the way to do it as well. >> thank you for your attention, and your great questions. please join me in thanking our panel. thanking our panel >> 1968, america in turmoil, is available as a podcast. you can find it on our website, this is american history tv, only on c-span three. >> c-span is out with a new survey, looking at americans attitudes, when it comes to the supreme court, it is available on our website,, and joining us, to walk through the findings of that survey, is adam rosenblatt, a senior strategist, with the firm csp, who conducted a survey for c- span, -- choose to go before this nomination, process begins
9:45 pm
-- process about americans attitudes, towards brett kavanaugh. do they support the president nominee? >> we took a look at 1000 u.s. likely voters, and the pole was just completed last week, and 39% of american likely voters say they support judge cavanaugh's nomination. 35% oppose, and there is 26%, so essentially one in four, this time that are undecided or have no opinion. >> do people have a sense, who brett kavanaugh is? are they engaged on this nomination right now? >> they are following the news on it. there are 69% that say they are following it a lot, or some, and this is -- comparable to what we have seen -- on -- nomination. >> these nomination -- can follow along party lines, but, does the american public to view the supreme court, as partisan? >> they do. they are actually viewing -- fights for the nomination, and the partisan context, and they are also viewing the -- animal,
9:46 pm
because all they know, generally about the courts, is -- since there are no cameras in the court, is -- based on washington dc. basically, they are assuming it is like democrats and republicans, and congress, is not providing evidence to the contrary. >> i know you have conducted these in the past, but how does that compare -- compared to previous time that you have pulled the american public? >> it is very similar. we have been asking, and it has been a very dangerous trend, we have been asking this question, essentially since 2011, first about the healthcare reform, and then, later, about same-sex marriage. asking whether or not people view the court decisions as demonstrating that they act mysterious and constitutionally sound matter, 28% say that currently, or if a recent decision demonstrates a split into parties like democrats and republicans. and that is what 56% say. so it is a 2 to 1 margin, and it is very dangerous, for the institution itself. >> we mentioned today, we said we got in the beginning, of those confirmation hearings,
9:47 pm
when were you in the field with this poll? >> so, the pole actually, is very fresh, it wrapped up last week or so august 13 to the 15th. >> and, do people feel connected to the supreme court, in their daily lives? >> they absolutely do. they definitely say the court has a major impact on their life. 91% of americans, that is a huge number, there is a lot of concern now, the most common case, when we ask them, you know what comes to mind when you think of cases, they think of roe versus wade very much. so, from healthcare reforms, to immigration, to -- there are a lot of things that the court does, but they care about it, through -- hear about it the filters, since the court does not actually allow how it -- them to see how it works. >> and we will come back to it, but what the public is engaged on, do you think that is what the public will be looking for, from these confirmation hearings to mark what do you think will be -- what americans will be watching for, when the senator, with the question of
9:48 pm
brett kavanaugh? >> so, i think what we are going to see, unfortunately, on sort of all sites, is a sharp polarization, from -- how they actually respond, and how senators actually vote for, or against the nomination. we saw very strong partisan support, among the republicans, for cavanaugh, and we saw strong opposition among the democrats. so, i think folks for the most part are going to be breaking out on party lines, and obviously, there is not a lot of -- independent senators, and even with the rules, the way they have changed with simple majority, for nominees, somewhat likely, not any surprise, that he would get to confirm, even though the staff is significantly tighter, -- from what we saw -- what we have seen -- in the past. >> you mentioned a second ago, how people get their news, from the supreme court, is there a secret, that this neck what -- network has been an advocate for cameras in the court how does the american public feel that, and how is that changing? >> they absolutely agree there should be cameras in the court.
9:49 pm
64% say they support cameras in the court, or televising oral arguments. and, it is a very serious issue. and, it is not actually because, the public has a right to know, or you know, people are feeling oh, it is not cool, my taxes pay your salary, it is not that. is actually hurting the institution, because they are actually looking elitist, essentially. when they are saying, what we do is too complex for you to understand, and it will get mischaracterized, people do not like being told that. >> adam is a -- conducted the survey once again, for c-span, we appreciate your time is money, and the giver walking us through it. >> thank you. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service, by america's cable television company. and today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage, of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington dc, and around the country.
9:50 pm
c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> next, former white house executive pastry chef, roland, recalls observing five president over a quarter- century. we spoke with the white house historical association conference, attended by reference -- sites around the country, and descendents of residents from james monroe, to gerald ford. >> good afternoon. hello everybody! we have been coming around to say hi to you, if i got up to the stage, i need a round of applause. [ applause ] >> and the reason is, i sprained my foot about six weeks ago, and this is my first outing, and first walking up steps, and only for roll-on messier, what i climb steps -- roland --


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on