tv 1968 - America in Turmoil 2018 Presidential Campaign CSPAN December 30, 2018 10:30pm-12:00am EST
> our guests are pat buchanan, nixon's ked on richard presidential campaign in 1968. and barbara parry, presidential study director at the university of virginia direction center. a look at lyndon b oval office address, when he surprised the nation with an announcement that he would not run for re-election. finally with the reassuring presence of his family seated president was ready to deliver one of the most important speeches of his life. e a speech that would alter the
history.of world >> good evening my fellow americans. to speak to you of peace in vietnam and asia, no other our tion so preoccupies people. absorbs the en so 250 million human being who of the world.part no other goal motivates policy in south-east asia. >> first addressing himself to the continuing problem of vietnam, the president outlined unilateral american de-escalation of that conflict. >> tonight i have ordered our aircraft and naval vessels to attacks in north vietnam except in the area demilitarized zone
where the continued military threatensal lied positions and where the post of are clearlysupplies related to that threat. the area in which we are stopping our attacks includes north vietnam adds population. most of it's territory. thus, there'll be no attacks the principal populated areas or in the food producing vietnam. north even this very limited bombing come to an h could our restraint is hanoi.ed by restraint in >> the president issued an appeal for unity among the american people. on to speak in moving words of the future he foresees attaining, but it was
in the final moments of his speech that he voiced the syllables which stunned the nation and reverberated around the world. disbelieving audience of countless millions, president announced a decision many months in the making, but only resolved within himself in the final hours of march. >> with america's sons in the with america's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes the world's hopes for peace balance every day. i do not believe that i should an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan qualities or to any duties the awesome duties of this office.
country.sidency of your accordingly i shall not seek, and i will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president. >> that courtesy of the white house naval unit as we look years ago here on c-span. 1968 "america in turmoil", we to begin with the announcement by senator eugene thi in november 1967 to ted the nomination, the offensive began on the 30th 1968. nixon enters the race on february 1st. and jorge wallace enters on february 8th. president johnson wins the against narrowly eugene mccarthy, and a few
months later senator ted announced here in washington in the senate building. president johnson stunning the nation indicating that he will seek re-election. kink in 1986 martin luther asass nayed. 1968. 28, hubert johnson entering. and president kennedy shot midnight on the day of victory dying on june the 6th, 1968. nixon anticipating the republican nomination in august. later in august accepting the democratic nomination in chicago, amidst the riots. nixon lected president on november 5th 19689. want welcome our best barbara parry. thank you for joining us, and buchanan, who for the this nixon aid.
let me begin by asking about announcement of lyndon johnson. march 31st. where were you. >> the saturday before the sunday i was at nixon's apart. on nixon's bate speech on vietnam. arg. ere having an nixon was moving towards a war. ion on the we had word that president time on had asked for sunday night. what nixon - going to wisconsin he said "pat i atnt you to be at la guardia the primary term nail." he was making an appearance. on what johnson said before the said before the press gets to
me." i'm sitting in a limousine on the tarmac in la guardia. had nixon's african american driver saying "i knew it would happen when l.b.j. announced he again."not run i got out of the limo and ran to the jet. press was walking to the plane. i said johnson is not going to again. nixon stepped to the top of the steps on the plane and said i year of the drop out. george romney dropped out of newhampshire, nelson rockefeller decided not o run in march. that was the - we drove into nixon's nominee. expect a not challenge of kennedy. >> he didn't think kennedy win the nomination. >> let's go back to eugene mccartney's bid to win the race.
who was he, why was he important. >> he was a senator from the midwest. professor. a he was professorial. maybe aloof. he entered the race as the peace candidate. was an antiwar candidate and got a coatry of students to him.r some of them who might have been in the hippy round. shaved their beards. cut their hair and called for jean. clean he was the young people's candidate. the intellectual candidate. upper middle level candidate. if you put the candidacy lyndon johnson, and they thought they'd run against the president. have found t different personalities, he was the peace candidate. candidate going into new hampshire, and coming
percentage points. >> you have to remember this. i can't believe it. malpractice. ical johnson's name was not on the ballot. a won the race with 49% as right in. later on it was discovered that the hard line new hampshire writes half of those that note votes that he was not tough enough on the war. got to nd, when he wisconsin. mccarthy was on the floor. it wasad polls, and knew coming. >> they knew that johnson was approval rating. between that and the ted offensive. the troop to boost up numbers. it was not looking good. and john son worried he'd heart attack in another term. he was concerned. nixon announced on february 1st. up on the 31st.
registered. 1st.he announced feb february 2nd it was a story. there was a defensive. a saigon police chief with revolver next to the head of a viet cong, and fired and killed him. eddie adams won a pulitzer for that photograph. the really dramatized vietnam war. >> when we talk about that. on the website. let's talk about richard nixon, in 1960,the presidency loses a bit for governor in 1962. - he moves back to new york in the mid 60s. 1968. d he run in what was the state of the republican party. 1964. it was wiped out. nixon was the lead surrogate.
a two-time loser, and was considered a political los loser. moved to new york. i went to work for him. nixon told me then. go early. ant to if you are going to run for president. he said i'll hire you for one year. if you don't do well. nomination will not be worth anything. we went around five weeks in 1966. nixon campaigned. for it. we went around - i think it must have been 35 states. what happens, it's a great comeback. 47 on helped to pick up seats in the house. they had three seats in the senate. of legislators. greatest victories since 1946. nixon - when evans came up and editorial was an writer in st. louis said "i
don't think you are going back louis", i said "i don't think so either." . did then was a six month moratorium had been in the headlights. he pulled himself out, and one of the reasons, romney was runnings first in the polls, of ad of johnson and ahead nixon, i said is it wise to all that space and time whiler going nowhere. need to id "i think i get out of the public arena for a while. him for a hew on little while", and the press went after romney because he only one out there. by mid 1967. 1st, whered september romney made a famous statement over in vietnam, i
was brainwashed. gene mccarthy, i remember, in character with him. in romney's case you wouldn't a brain-washing. >> i want to take you back to period, and a young bukkanan on the campaign trail with nixon. the president. we'll watch this. >> you can't del a republican, independence or a democrat. it's a good cross section of people. how many of ndered these people...
>> no. i'm retired. service?n the you were. the big one. right. what division were you in? 73rd division. heavy artillery. >> do you know it's hard to realize, we had so many wars since then. thought it was the end. it. an get rid of let's do something. good to see. nice to meet you. the february 1968 campaign. same.sound the
i can remember it, it was well advanced. we were whipping everyone to come out. look how many came out. terrific crowd. 3,000 people. event nixon the wanted to do. >> the change with a world wore one veteran. clearly that was the driving issue of 1968. what was going on in this county, how americans viewed the war and turning against johnson nt the 10 mentioned offensive. my brother was told he'd
may 15th, and be drafted by june 1st. brother was brother was patrio there's no way they'd deny going for the draft. in the end they served for four years. that was the talk around for fr years. that was the talk around the dinner table. here i was an 12-year-old soaking this up. boys like my brother, girlfriends and their boyfriends knew that they were going. fathers were going. the draft was up and running and we would end up with over a half-million people serving the military in vietnam and thousands were dying every week. the campuses were in an uproar and the streets were. we did not talk about race but we have to add to that as well. the country was coming apart particularly with the students over the draft and the casualty figures coming out of vietnam.
host: joining us is barbara perry. and pat buchanan. guest: i had a brother who went over to vietnam with 131st airborne. he didn't go the first time, he broke his foot. he went over in january just in time for the offenses. you are right, even before when i was in st. louis as a journalist in 1965, i was speaking on behalf of, in favor of johnson's policies. in washington's university, i a teacher, speaking on behalf - in favor of johnson's and the policies. demonstrations. it was already - wasn't violent by then, but there was real hostility and i remember the march, i would go down and talk
to some of those kids in front of the buildings, before they became violent. the war was the major issue going on but i will say dr. king was assassinated, there were riots in 100 cities in my hometown here in dc, it was partly burnt down, 14th street. so the law and order and the war in vietnam became the issues. host: and that is my next question. to put this in perspective, you have president johnson who narrowly won the newhampshire primary march 12 and then you had kennedy entering the race on the 16th here at lbj drops out and then dr. king's assassinated on the fourth of april, all in a four-week time. guest: it is hard to comprehend for people now to see what was compacted into a months time. to think the country seemed to be coming apart.
a personal and note, my dad who was a lifelong democrat began saying i am fearful about what is happening in the streets. and voted for nixon in 1968 if -- because, he thought he was the law and order man who would bring lawn order -- law and order back to the streets and bring the country together interestingly enough. the other thing about vietnam, the united states won the ted offenses that to see that movement into the south, it was so fearsome to the american people. to see that in their living rooms, we want to talk about the role of the media because pat is telling us these great stories about how the nixon administration, prior to going into office, how the nixon campaign knew how to use media by 1968. people were seeing this in their living rooms. guest: cronkite in february had
gone over to vietnam and he came back and said we are mired in a stalemate. i think many in the american elite media had really broken on the war, and decided it was not a winnable war. thi tended to moffatt that -- they tended to move at that time, and by the time nixon took over, they would move heavily into the camp and we've always thought of them as really the demonstrators by 1969. there is something else in march that you do not have in there. it was stunning for us. you had a picture of room and i think it was the 21st of march or something when rockefeller was going to announce for president and nixon told us he did not like to watch them on television. you guys watch and tell me what they said and and will get our reaction. i went and said rockefeller is not running and he dropped out.
that is where nixon got the statement the year of the dropout statement. of a sudden, we had to clear a path to the nomination. you have to realize, the revolution in 1968 was largely contained in the gigantic fdr coalition in that party. george wallace was a populist southerner, pro-segregation. he was ripping the south, the basis of the democratic this is the part. bobby kennedy had moved dramatically to the left and gene mccarthy and george mcgovern, that wing of the party all three were going to be represented in chicago. host: the governor spiro agnew, was a rockefeller supporter. >> he brought in reporters, he he had theckefeller,
governor, the citizens for headed it up,, he and announced it for three weeks and he is waiting and he calls in the reporters and he announced he would have a major role in it. fellow never called him scp he went up and said i'm not running. agnew was left with egg all over his face and we caught him on the first hop. nixon was on the phone, come on up, governor and talk to us, and he came up and we will get to it i am sure but regarded - he ran 1966. st m aho mey in your home is your castle. and a democrat who opposed housing. agnew spored it. i'd never seen something of a liberal governor where he was very hard line, except for the jots. >> rockefeller
thought he still might have a chance and was going around saying support me and agnew, and he ds i am not doing this again. fool me once, shame on me. >> governor schaefer of pennsylvania, i think it was - he was covering us and it was a beer commercial in those days, that if schaefer is the one beer to have if you are having only one. [laughter] host: democrats line. let's go to leo. parry and buchan. >> thank you for taking my call. i was a student in high school at the time. we understand this quotent of this country being created, it fills us with compassion and understanding and great thanks are given to almighty god that
american stands still the guardian of freedom. thank you. host: thank you for the call. a comment not a question. guest: i will comment on that very optimistic view from 1968 and it is one that my caller shares and he wrote a book called resilient america, rather than focusing on the fact that we were coming apart, and he already explained what was happening with the democratic party, it was coming apart. coming coalition was apart. riots in the street on campuses. yet there is a resilience in america in the constitution and the governments that we were able to survive and move forward. host: in an interview with james jones, a long-term aid with l.b.j. in the mid to late 20s.
he traveled on the afternoon of the 31st, and he did not have a residence at the time said that he was not going to run for reelection, humphrey was shaken and said the president said if you're going to run, you need to start now and humphrey reportedly said i lost to one kennedy and will lose to another. i mention that because he did vice president humphrey did not announce until april 27 come almost one month until lbj said he would not seek another term. >> we felt - rockefeller did not get in because nixon would have crushed him in the primaries. my guess is humphrey might have delayed until then but to me, bobby kennedy was not jack kennedy and did not have the charm and the charisma. he moved to the left, he was antiwar and a very sharp edge. i felt even after california
when bobby kennedy won, humphrey had enough, the machine put together, the president behind him and all these other folks, i thought that he would win it. i did not know that he was so -- apprehensive that he would not be robert kennedy. >> it is a what if of history but i jotted down last night that when bobby kennedy died june the sixth, hubert humphrey amassed 500 delegates, 393,rt kennedy gene mccarthy, 258. for what was left of the coalition, humphrey had the people behind him. he had the rank-and-file of the party. it is unlikely that even if
robert kennedy have lived, would have beaten gene mccarthy, unlikely that he beaten humphrey. also remember how devastated he was that he wasn't going to run. i understand him meeting at the apartment, i think johnson went before and he was in tears about it and he had that ambivalence, >> there have been speculations of the business of opportunism on your part. do you admit yourself to it?
>> we can't hear the question. >> you are going to have to repeat that. there were a lot of nasty things there. the question was whether the charge has been raised about the question of whether this is opportunistic of my coming into the contest at this time after senator mccarthy in the new hampshire primary. as i have said, i have spoken on these issues and questions for a number of years and how i feel about them. i think it was generally accepted that if i had gone into the primary of new hampshire, whether i had won the primary in new hampshire or had done well, it would have been felt it that time it was a personal struggle. it would have been written in the press as the personal struggle. every time i focused on vietnam, or what i think needs to be done, has been put in the context of a personal struggle between myself and president johnson.
therefore, we would get away from what the issues are, which divide this country. i think the new hampshire primary established that the divisions that exist in this country and democratic party are there and i have not brought that about. what has brought that about is what resident johnson -- is what the policies are followed by president johnson. at the moments, i cannot believe anybody thinks this is a pleasant struggle -- a personal struggle or i am asking for a free ride. i have five months ahead of me as far as the convention. i'm going to go into primaries and present my case to the american people and go all across this country. host: that was four days after
the new hampshire primary and two weeks before lbj dropped out. guest: that allegation about opportunism was in the air on robert kennedy. when he got into it, i remember a great writer of the new york post that admired bobby kennedy, he said he is coming down to the hills to shoot the wounded and what bobby kennedy is doing it proves saint patrick did not drive all of the stakes out of ireland. it was rough on bobby kennedy. people forget he was ruthless on lbj in the two weeks before he resigned. he accused johnson of appealing to the darker impulses of the american spirit.
i think mr. nixon believed more than i did that we might wind up with robert kennedy as the candidate. again, as i said, i always thought he was a candidate with great depth in that convention. he was mr. civil rights. he had put it on the floor of the u.s. senate. she could bring together the antiwar groups, as eventually he did, along with the democratic party and groups in the deep south. host: robert from maryland, go ahead. caller: i am a vietnam veteran and i don't think mr. nixon gets the credit he deserves. i think nixon was a very good president. but what overshadowed his goodness as a president was the vietnam war and watergate, and his personality complexes, but some of the decisions he made with civil rights and other issues, epa, made him a very good president. just those three things overshadowed his presidency. host: thank you. barbara perry?
guest: we now look back at nixon and he thought of himself as a moderate republican and he was viewed as one in 1968. he could be viewed in the center between someone like a reagan. we have not talked about his entrance into the mix, but i'm sure we, and rockefeller on the left side. when we look back at richard nixon's almost 2.5 terms, 1.5 terms in office, we can see the number of things he did that people are now in on the liberal side, say, good for him. guest: i would call him a progressive republican and that tradition. domestically, he inherited the vietnam war. after five years, there were 31,000 dead when he came into office, but the gentleman said
he was for nixon though he did not vote for him. he is writes, the american people agreed. he won 49 states in 1972. over 61% of the vote. and an antiwar candidate -- of the vote over an end to were candidate did so giving the vietnamese fighting chance to survive on their own as a free and independent country, by and large, even though it was protested by hundreds of thousands in the streets here, was a policy supported by the american people and rewarded in 1972 with a landslide. host: you mentioned ronald reagan, eight first-term governor in california, and he traveled to iowa fall of 1967. here is what governor reagan said back then. [video clip] >> it would be one way to make sure crime did not pay, let government run it. [laughter]
i remember in 1964, when they said long ago with lbj, and now we know what he meant. [laughter] [applause] he has his troubles. there is bobby kennedy. [laughter] bobby has him so nervous about the upcoming convention he is thinking of putting the country in his wife's name. [laughter] [applause] but bobby was just trying to be helpful and said he wanted a johnson-humphrey ticket but he didn't say where two. every time he offers to help, a voice from the white house says, please, bobby, we would rather lose ourselves. he is one of those rare people, bobby is, who can say exactly the right thing, at the right time, to the wrong person. if it seems i am picking on julie on the opposition but note i am taking on the leadership of the democratic party. because i am sure there are millions of buying, patriotic
members that are deeply disturbed or what has taken place in the nation's capital, as we moved from 1960 and the new frontier to the great society. they know the great society is not the wave of the future. it is the and of an era, the dismal rehash of the methods, language, and philosophy of the past. host: from october 1967, that is vintage ronald reagan. guest: i am honored to have worked for the gipper as the director of communications many years later but that is the candidate i was most afraid of in the republican primaries, not rockefeller, but the possibility ronald reagan would get into the race and give that personality, his conservative views, and the lack of dignity that he could
stampede the delegates and pull the nomination away from richard nixon. i never believed rockefeller could get it after what he did to barry goldwater in 1964. republicans would have walked out if he had been nominated. host: explain the reagan candidacy or possible candidacy in 1968. what was he thinking? was he on the ballot? was he a serious contender for the white house? guest: sure. what is fascinating, from that clip particularly, is the facility he had with the audience and as a speaker. of course, that goes back to his days as an announcer for baseball, where he was getting the baseball game over the wire but explaining it as if he was at the game.
he had a great facility for telling anecdotes, not to mention he was a hollywood actor. he had made this interesting journey. he sort of represented the country in this and made the journey from a new deal roosevelt democrat, the head of the screen actors guild, the biggest hollywood union there is, a prounion man, to becoming more conservative as he worked for ge. it would add on the banquet circuit for general electric and that is where he picked up the political speech and telling the quick. it is clear to business people and conservatives in california that he is the real heir to goldwater and he came on the scene by that great speech he gave in 1964, supporting goldwater. he ends up in 1968 as this right wing challenge to richard nixon. guest: i believe -- you know, because of the letters that nixon and reagan -- nixon and reagan -- which i have copies of -- there was a bohemian growth in 1967, where they talked and nixon told reagan, give me a fresh shot at the liberal establishment in new hampshire, and if i have not succeeded really well in wisconsin, then you come in. rockefeller tried to have a
meeting with reagan in new orleans. he came up to his bedroom where he was staying, knocked on the door, and came in. reagan was calling nixon, saying we did not put this together. that is my belief, that he gave nixon that first shot but they were reagan people. they put him into oregon. he got 22% in oregon. and rockefeller got 5% of the vote in oregon in the primary. guest: but their hope was that rockefeller and reagan could perhaps drop an f to get votes away that if nixon did not win on the first ballot in miami beach, that maybe they could. guest: if they started going to reagan, the rockefeller people would go to nixon. so we were a good second ballot. host: did richard nixon consumer
ronald reagan as a running mate even though they were both from california? guest: let me tell you, the staff was in new york and in those days, you cannot close the six-point gap. at some point, nixon was behind humphreys in the polls by six points and there was a number of us that sent nixon a memo saying you have to put reagan on the ticket. we got in a violent argument. there was talk of lindsay, even though he was in the same state, but whether nixon was going to have to roll the dice and make a choice, a dramatic choice. and if you are going to do that, we thought it should be reagan. once the polls showed nixon ahead, then you go with a moderate safe choice, like a good centrist [laughter] host: 1968 the year in turmoil and our guest is barbara perry and pat buchanan. he was a nixon aide.
tony from louisiana on a line for republicans. thank you for waiting. caller: yes, i have a comment and question directed to pat buchanan. i have long held the belief that had nixon won in 1960, he would have been a better candidate for president than he wound up being in 1968. had he won in 1960, what does that buchanan think nixon would have done during his presidency following his election in 1960? host: thank you, another what if? guest: it is hard to know. jack kennedy's great moment was the cuban missal crisis. i don't know how nixon would have handled that. my guess is nixon was more of a
small c conservative and would not have launched the bay of pigs. if he had, he would have made sure it worked. you cannot know these things. it would have not been a great society of nixon were a two-term president. as you mentioned, a lot of what nixon did was progressive. when he got in in his mid-50's, he did not repeal the great society. guest: let's add another what if, and what if nixon had met with khrushchev in vienna in 1961? it would have had a different outcome in the bay of pigs, although it was an eisenhower planned that nixon you about but could not public with in the 1960 campaign. wouldn't it have been interesting to see nixon and khrushchev indiana in 1961 because historians think because kennedy did not have a good outing with khrushchev that that helped to precipitate the cuban missal crisis. guest: exactly.
after he met with them came the berlin wall in august and the missile crisis. khrushchev having met nixon in a kitchen in 1959 did not like nixon. at all. as a matter of fact, we had two other pilots who had gone over russian territory and khrushchev told them that he did not want to do something that nixon could claim credit for. i think you are right. i think khrushchev misjudged kennedy, and even kennedy, he said, would he beat the hell out of me in the meeting with khrushchev. i think you made a great mistake and took him as weak. host: what was richard nixon's reaction the night that robert f kennedy won california and then was assassinated? guest: i was in the east at 3:00 a.m., and i got a call.
he was in his mid-20's and called me at my apartment and i was asleep. he woke me up and said, bobby kennedy has just been shot. i called nixon and he said, i am already up. i think they had been watching the race, so it was amazing. one week before that, i was in oregon when nixon won and may 28, he swept it, 70%, and he went to dinner with pat nixon and i went to the front door with my girlfriend because bobby kennedy was coming up from california to concede the race, get out of the race with kenny writes, he had a dog with him, and he went in, and i went to the room to watch him concede that, and i remember telling folks that that was a
bobby kennedy i had not seen. he was at his most gracious. the concession speech to mccarthy was very -- was everything you would expect. he said, now, let's get on to california. guest: think how hard that was for him to give that speech. the first kennedy ever to lose an election. guest: yeah. i read later he was really down about it, saying, maybe i cannot win the vote or the presidency. eugene mccarthy was no better -- guest: yeah, for his constinuency. host: what was going through the country after the assassination of senator kennedy? guest: horrible shock, as you can imagine. imagine this, two months after martin luther king's assassination, so here our political leaders, social activists, being gunned down. and bobby kennedy, ironically,
has been the person to rise up on that april 4 night, 1968, in indiana and they were campaigning for the indiana primary, which he would win. his first primary. and he gets the work he comes in to indianapolis going to speak to an african-american segment of indianapolis that martin luther king has been shot and he tells the people, one of the best political speeches in the history of the united states. there is no script. he does not take our thoughts and prayers are with the king family. and you can hear the gasp in the audience. indianapolis is the only city that doesn't go up in flames that night. to think two months later he is assassinated -- i read the biography of his mother and she said, it does have in a story, a work of fiction, that this family would lose two of its sons running in politics for presidency and in the presidency and i would not have believed it. it was incomprehensible that level of violence. host: dave from new york, thank you for waiting.
go ahead. caller: hello. i just want to say thank you mr. buchanan for all the hard work and everything he has committed to. i used to enjoy watching him on mcglouglin. it was a great show. i would like to ask two questions. they lean towards current events. i was curious about the vietnam war and bigger mistakes we made. are we making some of those same mistakes in afghanistan as we have been there 17 years? i'm curious on what you think of syria and the situation of them going after the kurds and special forces? there is based on russian force and syria.
host: you are breaking up but we get the essence, so thank you. guest: i think we have already made the mistake in the middle east, frankly, that we made in vietnam. we went in without thinking through what the end of this intervention would be. the idea that we could turn afghanistan into a quasi-western country or go through the regime in iraq and work that out when many people did not know sunni from shia. the middle east militarily was the worst blunder politically in the united states history. host: when did president johnson begins to think he would not
serve another full-term? guest: i think it was when he realized the u.s. military forces won that battle. i will use the crudity that is easily defined among his comments but he said, if we had pulled back in vietnam, if we halt the bombing -- and remember that speech he gave, withdrawing from the race at the end of march was also to announce a halt to the bombing of the north -- but later on he had to restart it in the summer and said, i pulled back in vietnam, ho chi minh drove a truck up my ass. he could not find the answer because there wasn't one. between that and what he has seen on campuses and the students circling the white house, chanting every day and night, hey, hey, lbj, how many kids did you kill today? the answer was 1000 americans die in a week in vietnam, so i think the combination of that, i think he said it genuinely in that speech, i do not want to be
taking time out on the political stump when i have other problems that i need to address in the country. the personal issue, that johnson and johnson men died young, he had already two serious coronaries in the 1950's and he barely lived to just after what would have in his second term. imagine what the stress of being in that office for another four years would have done. he could well have died in office. host: george is next from florida. republican line. go ahead, please. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. i volunteered for the draft in 1968. i know the focus of the show is on 1968 and the turmoil that occurred there, but my question is, 50 years from now, i think you could do another show on 2018, 2019, perhaps the trump presidency, and the turmoil that this is creating.
in 1968, i think we had some sort of consciousness throughout the nation of the constitution, the united states of america. yeah, you had columbia college and all of that, -- columbia college and all of that, but there was more intelligence and emotion. today, as i look at the march on washington, sorry to say this, but it is the march of the know nothings. they have a lot of emotion but they had very little intelligence. everything is phrases and -- so i would like pat to comment. i am not one of your pitchfork people but i appreciate your comments and all that. host: we will get a response. guest: thanks very much but i agree with him. i mentioned i was in the teachings in washington university in 1965.
when i went out there, the young people questioned me. they knew the history of vietnam and before then, the agreements in geneva -- they knew everything. they were extremely intelligent. later on after kent state, they were just emotional. i would agree with him about yesterday. maybe it was the film taken out, but the kids seemed full of passion and emotion, and caught up, and not a great deal of thought, frankly. i can understand -- frankly. i can understand the emotion in the aftermath of that killing in florida. you can wave a magic wand and and the school killings, and we cannot do it. the gentleman says, i think the generation -- and you can never know exactly -- but i think the generation of the 1960's was intelligent in a lot of ways, even when -- it was mature, you
knew where it was going. i put out a statement denouncing them for revolutionary takeover of our institutions and it got 95-5 support in the polls. [laughter] guest: i think we should thank the caller for his service and volunteering for the draft. i am very supportive of those veterans. but i am always a little bit leery, particularly as a teacher and longtime professor of american government -- it is a sign of aging to look back to the golden age or say this new generation doesn't know anything. i think what they know is they do have passion, of course, but they also know social media. they know how to organize, so
they know how to be civically engaged. i think we did have better civic education than in the baby boomers, but they were also directly impacted and they needed to know their rights because they were subject to the draft or their friends or families were subject to the draft. i do have hope for this generation. i am glad they are taking part and civically engaged. i would like more education. guest: let me say, in 1968, i don't think we can go back to then because what took place was not only this political revolution, nixon putting together this new majority or the beginnings of it with the wellness of vote, but socially, culturally, morally, racially, and any other way, it was a huge cultural revolution going on in those years, which i think is ultimately prevailing in the way in this society and creating divisions which exist and endure to this day.
today is not as violent as 68, the most violence since the civil war inside this country, i think those divisions have enudred and gone through several generations. we have a country and it is difficult to see. how it ever comes together again. the way those of us who grew up in the eisenhower era, i was a critic taking on jfk. and i read now, and i thought i was a tough editorial and i was very mild. we disagree with the area we develop or something like that -- host: what happened to senator eugene mccarthy after the assassination of robert kennedy? guest: what happens to him as i listed out where he stood on the delegate count at the moment robert kennedy had won the california primary and was sadly assassinated. he was running a distant third. he became disaffected in the race.
it became clear as they got closer to chicago that humphrey had the rank-and-file of the democrats. he had the party bosses. he had mayor daley on his side and mccarthy was not going to win. in addition, we mentioned george mcgovern, who was drafted by some of the pro-kennedy forces. even though robert kennedy was now gone, there was another person in the race. he became rather embittered by what had happened to him in the race. guest: he did not endorse humphrey until the end of the race. guest: that is rightguest:. he waited until late in the game.
guest: when i ran against george h.w. bush in new hampshire, i ran into gene mccarthy. he said, don't worry, when you get up, you don't have to win but you have to eat the point spread. caller: i am also a veteran. the thing i think caused nixon to win was because he had a cause that all of my friends and a couple died in vietnam, as a result of it, and what it was was the draft just turned everybody away from the thought that we were going to have anything other than a war for the rest of our lives. host: thank you. guest: the draft, when i went to work with nixon, i had decided that we were going to have to do away with the draft because the country was coming apart. secondarily, because we were beginning to draft people who basically in the barracks would have been seditious. they were so antiwar, and anti-military, that in order to have future wars, you would have to end the draft.
nixon talked to eisenhower -- i had a memo -- i wrote him a memo and said people will say we are just doing this to let folks that are against the war not have to serve and that is a bad thing. nixon wrote on it -- i think so too. ike did not want that draft ended. host: john from austin, texas. go ahead. caller: yes, thank you for both of the panelists for the discussion today. it is very good. i have got two questions.
the first is how do you view the democratic party now versus 1968? it seems to me that a lot of people who do not really love this country have taken over the leadership of the democratic party. my other question is a what if question. i usually stay away with them but with the two panelist today, i think it is appropriate to ask. the what if question is how do you think things would have worked out at reagan had been elected in 1968 instead of 1980? >> thank you. i've apparently? barbara: a few moments ago, i think we come out of 1968 so polarized. is ink that polarization our system. partiesot see the big that we had in this country for so many years because we only have two major parties. they tended to be big parties. typically, they would take in
people from different parts of the political spectrum. we see that polarization to that day. i do not accept that people in the democratic party are might -- not patriotic or un-american. >> was he focused on politics or was his focus on vietnam? >> she could not go out and campaign for him because it was too dangerous. it is another reason why he thought he could not run himself -- himself. eisenhower did not go out fully
for next and in 1960. johnson was supportive. >> ronald reagan 1968. he would have gone for a victory. the bombing. ended one thing johnson did for humphrey, it was october 31. forget the people beginning of october, it was -- it was 43 all. moved tohe group humphrey. he had a tremendous campaign. it almost put humphrey over. -- then the north vietnamese the southern vietnamese president declined to come to
paris for the meeting. with regard to reagan, he was young. a different reagan than i thought the white house in 1985. i think reagan would have gone for victory in vietnam. no limits. what other timeline issue? >> he gives a speech in which he finally comes out. and goingup in favor to peace talks. some people think if he had done that earlier. perhaps because of johnson's decision. to theo made a reference
president of south vietnam. there is a great book called chasing shadows about the back channeling that was being done between the nixon campaign and the president about the peace talks. george bloomington, illinois, republican line. caller: good morning. concerningestion president johnson's tardiness and supporting hubert humphrey. wondering, what if the president had come out sooner?
between humphrey and them over the war? >> indeed. there will always be this historical what if. against hisas personality. he was such a brilliant positive and such a loyal character that it was hard for him to turn on his president. it is possibly the case that if he had come out sooner for the ,eople in support of mccarthy the far left fringe, he was not going to get it. they were going to be against 10 was indicated in chicago. if he had come out earlier against the johnson policy, maybe humphrey would have gotten what he needed in the popular vote, but as pat knows, and nixon so flooded him on the left for college vote it is hard to put together.
this, therings us to 1968 electoral map. you can see a different country back then with republicans winning states like california and the upper midwest, and democrats winning texas and midwestern new england. and then there is george wallace in the south. guest: he got five states. at one point he had seven. he had both carolinas i think. he took those states away. one of the reasons nixon kicked back and there was a tough line on riots, and down in cambridge when they burned that town down and stokely carmichael came to baltimore -- as a matter of fact, humphrey was gaining. we were campaigning on long island. i went to the president and said mr. nixon, i am not doing any good here. we had the same old message. let me go out and help and we went to win that area.
so i do think that hubert humphrey, if he had moved earlier, he would have done better. one reason is his campaign from september to the salt lake city speech was the doubled everywhere and it stumped them with obscene comments, and he got to the point himself that he was denouncing fascism out here, and he was being denounced in massachusetts with them. when he delivered that salt lake city speech, it turned for humphrey and he moved up the hill at a tremendous clip. i remember going to nixon and say we have to attack comfrey to -- humphrey to drive the wedge back through the party because it is coming together. we did not do a thing. [laughter] host: who was george wallace? guest: what a colorful character.
pat and i were talking before the show and said he used to speak with him. he was a populist. eventually a segregationist. he was not in his earlier life in alabama but he was a world war ii veteran. we look back now and realize he may have suffered from ptsd from his service in the pacific. he was a bantamweight fighter, and by the late 1950's, when he lost in 1958, i will not use the "n" word, but he said he would not be outrun by another person again. so he turned toward the anti-civil rights you and he brings that to the 1968 campaign. not to think he was not going to win. he knew he probably would not carry any states outside the south but he thought he could be the broker if there was not an electoral majority for the two
major candidates. guest: but here is the thing. wallace had come out in 1964 and he had run in democratic primaries and done well in wisconsin, indiana, and maryland. wallace got the majority of the white vote in the democratic primary in 1964 and lbj was president. then he comes in 1968 and announces a third-party run. what he did then was -- i mean, he was not only a segregationist. he got that vote, but he was also a real populist, rashid -- bashing students and demonstrators. i know some four-letter words, too, but i got to know him after i left nixon. i got to know him, and i went to alabama, and i would speak at troy states, and i would get to the airport and a state trooper would be there, and i would be
with my wife, and they said, the lieutenant governor would like to speak to you. and i would go to his office and we would tell old stories of the campaigns and how he did against lindsay. [laughter] we used to talk trash on reporters. he was quite a guy. later in his life, he sort of felt badly of a lot of the things he had done. 1963, it was segregation today, tomorrow, forever! guest: and standing in the schoolhouse door in 1963 as kennedy tried to integrate the campus in alabama. guest: i think it was choreographed. he nationalized the guard and then he stepped aside. [laughter] everybody got what they wanted. guest: and it worked for him politically.
his big mistake was infusing curtis lemay, the air force general, as his vice presidential nominee, -- guest: yes, it was. guest: 1968. guest: he came out and asked, what about nuclear weapons? he said, people are too find about these things. we tested them out and every thing was fine. although, the sand crabs were hotter. guest: lemay was saying, let's do it! host: pat buchanan is the author of the greatest comeback: how richard nixon rose from defeat to create the new majority. joining us with the residential of director of studies at the miller center, barbara perry. andy from kentucky, go ahead. caller: i would like to thank mr. buchanan because he has been a good servant for the united states and i take my hat off to you. my question is, i was born in 1962.
i am 55 now. i love politics. do you think there will be any more conservative democrats? i know there were some back then , and i note there are still some out there. do you think there are any that will rise in the future? host: thank you. guest: socially, culturally, no. i think we saw this out in illinois with a democrat. i think on social and cultural moral issues, the democratic party made its move. the fact that they lost this south, which kept them to a degree conservative, i do not think you will ever see it. i think younger americans, the millennials seem to me -- well, the majority seem to me to be of the left. i think the democratic party is
left,to be pulled to the a real danger for it in the coming election, i think, is that the left nominates a candidate in this sense the way they did in 1972 when they nominated mcgovern and pulled the party so far to the left that nixon was centrist, progressive republican, with a hard line on law and order, and gave him 49 states. republicans are not going to pay 49 states ever again. the democratic party is never going to be conservative again. guest: we will see in the midterms and i would say maybe someone a conor lamb, as conservative as the democrats go, but it was interesting in choice and a successful one. i will say that the caller is from the hometown of one of my political mentors, wendell ford, who became the majority whip in the senate, and a conservative democrat from kentucky. now there are no such things
because kentucky is a red, republican state, and in has republicans not only throughout the senate delegation but has delegation -- but house delegation. guest: i went to the politics in 1966 and there was one republican senator in the confederacy, john tyler, and you got that as a result of lbj as vice president. we had howard baker in 1966 and tennessee but now the reverse is true. host: raymond from ohio, independent line. guest: how do we go from 1968 at kent state, and we didn't have social media back then, but how did people organize? host: interesting question. guest: how did we go from 1968 to 1970 at kent state and the answer is nixon opening up the cambodian front in the vietnam war. and that is to invade cambodia to try and stop the flow of men
materiel from the north into the south and to be used against the united states forces in south vietnam. with the announcement of that in april 1970, the campuses explode again, particularly kent state. there is a peaceful demonstration, but the guardsmen opened fire and several are killed. that is another opened wound for the united states to deal with. how did these people organize? i watched a documentary last night about the civil rights movement, martin luther king and the media, and without social media, the way to get to the days -- soto -- social media is a misnomer, media is supposed to be between people, we are the media, but it was about how to reach the media in the nixon campaign. how to do good work to get people out when you have a rally
or demonstration. it was word-of-mouth. telephones. telegrams. and hardcopy letters. guest: i wrote the speech with nixon, the cambodian invasions beach -- invasion speech for nixon. it was very dramatic. i think it was april 1, 1970, and what happened was they did have riots out at kent, and that is why the national guard was called in by governor rhodes. he made a rough speech on sunday and monday and the students were up there approaching the guardsmen. they foolishly had live ammunition in their rifles. but they shot -- i think four died and five more wounded. i went home, and allen called and said there are four kids shot at kent state. i said, where is it? that is where nixon -- nixon came closer to being broken by
something than any time i had ever seen in that month of april. that is the time he had left the white house on the friday after kent state and went to the lincoln memorial at 4:00 in the morning, where students were gathering. he went down and put someone in the speaker's chair, and in the early hours, he was moved by what happened there. the white house was divided to -- most white house aides did not want the invasion of cambodia or like it, and urged nixon to go much further an accommodating the students. that was the roughest time of his presidency in the first term. host: we are looking at 1968, beginning with eugene mccarthy's decision to seek the democratic nomination in fall of 1957. we will look at the timeline as we listen to garrett from florida.
caller: good morning. thank you both. i would just like to ask or have you comment on the johnson campaign. that was by congressman in legislatures, and may be in particular howard k lowenstein. host: thank you. guest: sure. i mentioned a little while ago that johnson was bouncing down into the low 30's and approval ratings and that they will get the attention of a party like low approval ratings for the president and congress. that is part of the dump nixon movements, you mentioned howard loewenstein. he was pushing robert kennedy to join the race as an anti-war candidate. one thing we have not mentioned that came out in ted kennedy's oral history at the miller
center, he came after 40 years in the senate, and he told the story of being dedicated to go out to the midwest to speak to eugene mccarthy and say, bobby is considering getting in the race, but if you will put this at the top of your agenda, in addition to anti-war, looking into poverty that bobby kennedy had embraced, robbie will -- bobbie will reconsider getting into the race. according to ted kennedy, mccarthy said no, anti-war is at the top of my platform. that was the movement of lowenstein trying to get bobby into the race. guest: lowenstein tried to get a number of people. mcgovern said, go talk to gene mccarthy. [laughter] -- donna from
missouri. pat buchanan spent many time in the 1960's. caller: good morning. i have a question for pat. first, i was an independent and went to california and was a delegate in 2000 and i had a nice chat with brian lamb while i was there, a great experience. guest: a warm beach. caller: it is. there was a time when i supported the vietnam war in the mid-1960's. i was in high school and graduated in 1966. you knew it was unwinnable with all the chinese pulling in there as they did in korea. why did we not handle vietnam like truman handled korea? i have always wondered that. guest: well, with truman, korea drove truman out of the white house. it was general eisenhower who came in and decided that we are not going for victory, and you had a dmz, where two armies were lined up, and defend the
-- threatened the chinese, and he got an armistice. in vietnam, you had a bunch of different stories. the chinese actually were not in vietnam. the north vietnamese were in the south. it is a very good question. i was not there, but i was writing speeches in the white house and working for nixon as an aide before he ran -- but you have to ask yourself afterwards, the vietnam war compost a lot of good things and held the line in southeast asia and this countries did not move toward communism from indonesia and did not move to the west. but should we have gone in in the first place? host: barbara perry, was richard nixon undercutting the johnson administration in trying to keep the war going through the election of 1968, saying, you will get a better deal with me? guest: that is what the historical literature says about that question. but i will pass it over to pat because i think he was there and
will know the answer. the historians are saying yes, that indeed, nixon was back channeling with anna chennault, who was the widow of the general from world war ii, and was the go-between, according to historian literature now, between the nixon campaign south encouraging the president of south vietnam to hold off in peace talks and get a better deal under nixon . remember nixon was saying that he had a plan to end the war so he was being public about that but i will let pat address the behind-the-scenes issues. guest: i do not credit what recent authors have said about this. i was with nixon and i had nothing to do with it. i saw him that saturday before the election and a friend of mine had called john sears and
said, michigan is gone and we are down three nationally in the harris poll. we were in tough shape. there are reasons why i don't say this. first, the president of south vietnam did not need anyone to tell him that richard nixon was going to take a harder line than hubert humphrey after he said he would halt the bombing as soon as he was elected. secondly, if there was a signal sense, where are the tapes that lbj wiretapped planes, people -- why didn't the president of south vietnam say, the reason i did this was this? kennedy's main actors were questioned but they came forward to validate the suggestion that nixon told mitchell or someone to tell mrs. chennault to tell the president of south vietnam, do not go, you will get a better deal from nixon.
he has been at war for any number of years. i do not believe that came up. one fellow had wrote a book recently and said nixon told holloman when he heard about the bombing, throw a monkeywrench into this. he used that phrase all the time about everything. [laughter] i just do not validate it. guest: i do not know if there are tapes of wiretaps that there -- but there are president johnson talking about this issue that you can listen to and he told humphrey this was happening and he refused to release it. guest: he said he did not believe it. host: from maryland, phil, go ahead. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for having ms. perry and mr. buchanan on. they are fabulous guests. i appreciate that. my comment is, i was a history student at the university of maryland in 1968.
the college campus behavior 50 years ago was quite different than it is today. many points of view were listened to. many points of view could be tolerated. today, it seems to be that college campus behavior is much more progressive, and anyone who disagrees is silenced. guest: i agree 100%. as i say, i was out there teaching. in our view, they did not like our views if you supported the war, but they invited you out there and they invited pro-war and anti-war speakers on campus. today, you get a real sense of intolerance and the sense we have found the truth and we do not want to hear anymore and certain forms of dissent are racist, bigoted, and homophobic, things like that.goes to the idea that one side in the
cultural war is evil and there was only one good side. host: two final points, a headline from the smithsonian 1968, when nixon's stock it to me, television was never the same. it was brief, only five seconds. listen carefully. [video clip] >> sock it to me. [laughter] host: why was this significant? guest: because nixon basically was this this. -- was the stiff. he was considered stiff and not with it. that was a progressive-type show. i do not think it was a good idea. a very good friend of nixon persuaded him to do it. guest: pat says he was considered uptight and stiff and sweaty from 1960 in the debates with kennedy, so going on a hip and happening show, saying sock
it to me, is a turning point for politicians to go into popular culture. host: the lessons from 1968, barbara perry? what are they? guest: i think we touched on some already. they are this increasing polarization that i think has kicked off the polarization today in the parties and in today's culture. making reference to cultural wars. we still see those today. i also think that there is a linkage between 1964 and airy -- barry goldwater and his brand of populism was brought to the reagan years and nixon to some extent. all the way up to donald trump. ofhink we see the seeds democratic left and republican right. and democratic populism and republican populism to this day. host: pat buchanan?
guest: i think that is true. goldwater laid this foundation of a powerful conservative movement that captured the party but not the country. nixon picks up that movement and brought the republican party together and picked up the tw of thetwo pieces democratic party. five out of six presidential elections after 1964, which was astounding considering the defeat. in the democratic party, g mccarthy, bobby kennedy, mcgovern, they would capture the party and nominate mcgovern in 1972. i think what you have subsequent to 1968, that year we really crossed the continental divide, and we have never been able to get back over it, i think, and it is because it involves more than politics. it involves fundamental beliefs about rights, wrong, good, evil, and justice and injustice.
there is very little upon which you find that americans really agree on these days. host: for your insight, perspective men stories, barbara perry and pat buchanan, thank you. guest: good to see you, friend. guest: our pleasure. >> now we continue our series america in turmoil. and68a look at civil rights race relations, including martin luther king -- martin luther .ing's first, here is walter concrete on april 4, 1968, announcing that martin luther king jr. has an shot and ed