tv QA Jeffrey Rosen CSPAN August 26, 2018 8:00pm-9:02pm EDT
at the state back of the senate follows by senators reacting to his death and legacy. ♪ this week on q and a, national constitution center president and ceo jeffrey rosen discusses his biography of william howard taft. ♪ jeffrey rosen, where did it all start for william howard taft, president of the u.s.? jeffrey rosen: in cincinnati ohio. -- 1857,rn in april before the u.s. constitution. thats born to a family
invites the constitution. his father was all bonds attacked, who wrote republican platforms in 1856. he founded the republican party on the principles to defend the union and the constitution have resisted slavery. his father was secretary of war and ambassador to russia and told young william to be chief justice is to be more than to be president. young william and buy from his father a reverence for the constitution and a yearning to be chief justice that was finally fulfilled after a geforce the presidency. brian lamb: what was his life like up to his education? jeffrey rosen: he said everything i do about the law i learned at the expense of hamilton county, where he was a prosecutor. he fell upward into a series of golden -- that invites and him a reverence for the law. he went to yale. asstarted as a young lawyer
an assistant prosecutor and watched a jury acquitted and accused murderer and a mob anded down the courthouse created a fear of mop violence that defined his outlook for the rest of his life. he was a judge at the young age of 30. he introduced the practice of confessing error, saying when the government has made a constitutional mistake, it should not profit by the error. he became a judge on the sixth circuit, federal judge at the age of 35, which he thought was having. she loves judges and courts and they are his idea of heaven on earth. he went to a transformative career as general as the film -- philippines. president william mckinley asked him. he sort of there. he created a constitution for a grateful people and extended the bill of rights to the philippine people because he thought have
to be educated in order to be ready for the duties of citizenship. what he wanted to do was be on the supreme court. roosevelt offered him a supreme court justice ship and his wife becausede him refuse she wanted him to be president instead. she went to the white house under president harrison and said, i hope to marry a man who will be president and he said i hope you will and he is in ohio. she is pining for him to join washington. she thinks the supreme court will sideline him. the turned down the offer of this court seat with reluctance and it distinguishes himself in the philippines and becomes secretary of war where he is an administrative marvel. henry stetson, the circuit as secretary of war under president taft and, result, hoover, and truman, said taft was the greatest administrator of the mall. he was good -- of them all. he was still effective as
secretary of war that roosevelt anointed him as a successor and ran for president in 1908 and one -- won. brian lamb: when did he start his relationship with roosevelt on a personal level? jeffrey rosen: they were extremely close, almost like brothers when they were working together in the government. tosevelt relied on tapped provide the administrative apparatus that would carry out his extraordinarily poignant with an alias force of nature who wanted to do everything by executive order. he was impatient and wanted to circumvent congress. cap disapproved of roosevelt hecumventing procedures and wanted supporters on from constitutional grounds. they were so close that roosevelt predicted that taft would be the greatest president in washington since lincoln.
the taft election, he confessed that cap means well but he is weak. he is beginning to have second thoughts. the story of the collapse of the relationship is riveting. brian lamb: where did he learn politics? jeffrey rosen: he never learned politics. but, i his aid, artsy will not play a part in popularity. but the people want to protect me, that is there -- reject me, that is their prerogative. authors of the federalist papers and john marshall, he considered one of the greatest americans ever. they said it majority should role, but only slowly and thoughtfully over time so that reason, rather than passion, could prevail. system is setup to slow the direct expression of
popular passion so the people can be governed in public interest rather than perfection, mops that favor self interests rather than the public good. , as secretaryines of war, and then as president, he views everything through legal and constitutional terms. he was our most judicial president. he refuses to consider political implications of his actions with disastrous political consequences. it was his decision to higher roosevelt close aide, the inventor with -- environmentalists. and led to a scandal and let roosevelt to challenge taft and spoke the republican party. roosevelt refused to bring a tax. it is a remarkable example as an anti-politician as president. instead of considering popular
in addition, he considers constitutional applications and the political consequences are dire. brian lamb: why didn't theodore roosevelt run in 1908? why did william howard taft run again in 1912, given what happened? jeffrey rosen: roosevelt did not run because he made a promise the day william mckinley was elected. he said i will serve one elected term because i want to keep the tradition of presidents serving two terms. he regretted it, but felt duty bound to obey it so he did not run again and let cap run instead. taft ran again even though he did not like being president, but he ran because he felt the election was a crusade to defend the constitution against the demagogues in populism.
the election of 1912, george -- will said, all american politics can be traced to the election of 1912 and you can tell who was a conservative today based on who they would have voted for. they would have voted for the constitutionalist, taft, trying to defend judicial independence and the rule of law against the attacks of roosevelt who says people should overturn judicial decision by popular vote. alarmedim constitutionalist and made taft run for election even if he did not want to. roosevelt insisted that the president is a steward of the people who can directly channel the people's will. endorses instruments of direct democracy, like the initiative and referendum, that he believes empowered the presidents to be a channel of populism. wilson, two, is a progressive populist who insists.
in his latest book unconstitutional government, that the president and congress is like a prime minister who represents the people's will directly and this of paul's taft who says no, he derives his authority not in the people, but from the constitution. they designed and electoral college to filter popular will so that people elect why silicates. the populist -- wise delegates. this appalled cap's constitutionalist heart --tafts constitutionalist heart. he won only two electoral votes. he felt it was necessary to defend the constitution. brian lamb: you mentioned artsy but. he was -- archie but. there is a two volume and more. this serves taft. cap ist cast aside while
dancing alone on the white house .or ran into a gramophone what is so interesting about butt is he admires taft and roosevelt so he watches with sympathy. archie butt says it is as if he is too good for politics. people cannot appreciate him. notice cast achilles' heel, which is that he was a hater, the greatest hater he ever knew. if taft new someone who was disloyal, he took an instant dislike to them and lashed out against them. the most erotic example is one taft was young and someone insulted his father -- one example is when cap was young, someone insulted his father, and he bashed his head against the ground.
spasms of anger would abrupt and him in the name of royalty -- loyalty. would engage in self-defeating spasms of anger against people he considered disloyal. he fired an environmentalist and the deputy and these had catastrophic consequences. butt is clear right and sympathetic. went down on titanic and taft was heartbroken. brian lamb: when did he write the book/ titanic was 1912? when did he write a two-part series? itfrey rosen: i should have immediately in mind. it was after the presidency of taft. it must have been a contemporary diary. there were letters to his sister. 13 --residency ended and in 13. the book breaks off in the middle when the titanic goes down. brian lamb: he was in the
military? \ jeffrey rosen: he served both roosevelt and mckinley. how long did it take you to get this book done? when they first ask you -- part of this 44 book series on the presidency is, this wonderful series started by shawn willens. jeffrey rosen: they asked me years ago, another author have been asked and he couldn't do it. they gave it to me seven years ago. like william howard taft, i can only write on deadlines. they said, if you do not finish the book, the guy who is writing obama will be deal. my pride -- beat you. i sent myself a six-month deadline and i wrote it in concentrated bursts. i felt like i had an opportunity and duty to channel taft and let him speak in his own words to
resurrect the underappreciated constitutional figure two ginsburg said is the most unappreciated figure since george mason, the antivirus whor -- anti-federalist refuse to sign the constitution because it did not have a bill of rights. it was more fun than any book i have ever written. brian lamb: there have been 42 written so far. no president trump and no president obama yet. they are only 170 pages long. jeffrey rosen: that is the discipline of it. they make you write short. 65 -- 65,000t was words and in they determine to under 50. the benefit is it is short and you are forced to intensely distill the core ideas of the president so that you can educate people. brian lamb: what were the accomplishments? the 45 big accomplishments for
william howard taft? -- 4-5 big accomplishments? he lowered the tarrif.- terra-- brian lamb: can you explain that? jeffrey rosen:tariffs were the biggest constitutional battle of the early republic. the question was how to fund the republic. hamilton, defended the government by excise taxes, things like whiskey and carriages. the income tax is only introduced during the civil war by lincoln and it is temporary. there is another in the cleveland administration and it expires. a supreme court decision in the 1890's called the public case --es that the income task is income tax is unconstitutional.
it makes it impossible to administer. it was a 5-4 decision and taft thought it was wrong because alexander hamilton thought it did not have to be a portion. respect of the supreme court's and did not want to embarrass them by trying to overturn the decision. constitutional amendment was necessary and the 16th amendment was introduced during his presidency. terra-- tariffs are bubbling as a political issue and splits the republican party. the party had been devoted to protecting terra -- tariffs for income and protection to find of the government, but not protect certain industries over the others. it favored some over others.
within the republican party there were three camps, one who wanted to keep it as it was. there was another one who wanted to lower the tariffs but not eliminate them. taft was in the middle. the republican camp pledges that the party revised the tariffs and like a lawyer, he takes it seriously and pledges to revise the tariff. because the congress into special session days after his inauguration and they are waiting for his proposal. no one expected -- everyone
expected a state address and he wrote it like a lawyer writing a judicial dispatch. loosee craziness breaks because politics are dying. he refuses to intervene and it is ruled that the initial bill, --posed by senator kaine pain, lopez the tariffs substantially. the tariffw substantially. democrats tried a tariff in 1890 and lost the election. then he went on a campaign trail. ine kinsley was there and the 1990's he said that in washington, a gap is when a politician is held with truth. taft went on the campaign trail and said this is the best tariff bill the republican party had ever passed.
telegraphviral on the and people are outraged that he is defending it because it is flawed. being an empty desk into politician -- anti-politician. it was different than what everybody else achieved. woodrow wilson continue this as a free-trade democrat. represents a bipartisan consensus and tell the election of 2016. taft gets credit for trying, but not for being a good politician. brian lamb: what else did he accomplish? jeffrey rosen: the canadian free-trade agreement, the precursor of nafta. he thinks free-trade the queen -- between the u.s. and canada is essential. the passes a canadian free-trade treaty. he writes a letter to theodore roosevelt while canadians are debating it saying that if canada does not pass it, they
will be in annex of the u.s.. it leaks and goes viral. the canadian premiere called him he wasky taft and said trying to pull something over on canadians and canadian voters rejected it. it would have been the greatest compliment of his presidency. hisother achievements are constitutionalists vision of foreign policy. he sends troops to the mexican border where there is an instruction, but not over it. constitution gives congress the power to declare war. he invokes a young congressman lincoln who criticized whole to to send troops over the mexican border. taft, like lincoln, maintains the peace and resist the cries of his party for war and it
starts the u.s. toward a path of a vision of legalization of foreign policy in international court which can educate all questions, including questions of national honor. that is the center woodrow wilson any week of nations. hisn lamb: what impact did impact of six justices -- appointment of six justices impacted -- have? jeffrey rosen: he served with some of them when he became chief justice it was a court that protected property rights. under his leadership, it became a cohesive body. we can talk about what he achieved as chief justice. years.amb: six in four is that one of the bigger numbers? jeffrey rosen: it is and he cared so much about it.
the most erotic appointment is when it comes time to appoint a chief justice. chiefabout to appoint from new york. as he is dressing for the apartment on the way to the cannot bringtaft himself to appoint him because he wants to be chief justice. he canceled the appointment with heroes -- qubes and appoints edward douglas white, an old -- older man whose only qualification was the hope that he will expire in time for taft to succeed him. taft lays the groundwork for his own appointment. he loses the presidential election and is pining for douglas to shovel away from the mortal coil. he keeps stopping by an act now is doing. finally, president harding meets with him and says that there is a seat on the supreme court, i will point you. cap says i have to be chief
justice. white guys a few weeks later. the chief justice died a few weeks later. now taft lobbies hard for the seat because of -- the service -- his service in war made people reject them. he is appointed and confirmed unanimously. how many stories in american politics are there of not only a president who goes to the ,upreme court, but someone who ever since he was a child, had kind to be chief justice and waited meticulously and finally achieved the dream? that is the most beautiful story as someone who has found history calling, excelling in the most miraculous way. i know we talking about his presidency, but he achieved three things as chief justice that make him arguably the
greatest chief sense marshall. first, he passes the judiciary act of 1922, creating conference of the federal circuit judges and creates the modern administration apparatus of the judiciary and gives judges began with two challenge -- bandwidth to challenge the president and engage in a moderate administered of state. second, he passes the judiciary act of 1925, giving courts total jurisdiction. before that happened, justices were wasting time with obscure disputes. by allowing the court to focus on bigger battles, taft increases the prestige of the court. third, he built the supreme court building, a temple of justice designed by taft. .
it was a product of his lobbying congress for the money, helping choose the site, and when it was opened, chief justice hughes get some credit for it. also see it has ever, he makes consensus in the court. he persuades justices like brandeis to suppress their defense in interest of creating a single opinion of the court, as john marshall did. there are more unanimous ship thann his chief others. our current justice is a great taft.r of taps -- you wrote a book on louis brandeis. what did he think of taft? jeffrey rosen: they trapped -- they classed dramatically. he had the unrealistic point that wilson would appoint him for the seat.
taft hope to get on the supreme court. .aft attacked brandeis it had almost and anti-semitic tinge.- change -- he denounced anti-semitism. after-tax and brandeis get on the court, they bury the hatchet. they are devoted to the institutional legitimacy of the persuades readers to join him in unanimous opinion and brandeis embraces the decision. his minister asked how it was possible that he is a good judge in about president. so that he hated being president booking cheap is all happiness for him. an example of two great thinkers putting aside their personal differences for the devotion to the institutional to intimacy of the court. brian lamb: what impact did his
weight have on him as a person, a politician, a justice? jeffrey rosen: it is an inspiring and moving story. he was our largest resident. europe -- president. there are cruel jokes about him in bathtubs that he was stuck in a bath, a story by the white house that has been confirmed by no other source. he was large, 340 pounds. he ate his feelings. he hated being president. what is your markable about his weight is that he lost it after he was president. he went on a paleo diet of fruits and vegetables and lean fish. he lost 76 pounds in six months. it was incredible. he kept it off for most of the rest of his career. justice, hechief was of a lower weight.
when he died, he was at its college weight of 280. what is remarkable about the story of discipline is that he connected his struggles with weight to the struggles of citizens in a democracy to restrain their own passions. he gave a speech that he who takes a village, quoting the bible, citizens of democracy, like those who struggle with weight, have a responsibility to restrain their passions so they can discipline themselves. it is a beautiful story. even in his own day, his weight was an object of public fascination. there were a lot of mean jokes about him. citizens of glenwood, colorado, waited for him at a train station with a specially constructed bathing costume they wanted to put on. jokes. the we really would not tolerate this sort of thing today. they must have some. -- stung. then he lost all of the weight. brian lamb: his father, you
talked about him. he was the secretary of war. and he was secretary of war. what about his children and their children? jeffrey rosen: what a family they are. it is a remarkable story of public service. the taft children were a distinguished group. his son was known as mr. republican, the most famous isolationist senator of the 20th passed the taft-hartley hartley act, which forbade secondary boycotts, boycotts by unions against companies that do business with companies they are boycotting. that was the issue he cared about as a lower court judge. it was poetic justice that his son pass this into law. he is the founder of the modern isolationist wing of the republican party. his other children included charlie taft, who became mr. cincinnati. his daughter helen was a very
distinguished historian and professor and intellectual. their children were equally distinguished and include the recent governor of ohio. we are having our first william howard taft day on september 14. i will go to cincinnati and the sum of the past family and pay an overdue tribute. taft --mb: dave robert did robert aderholt any impact as a senator? he died in 1993. jeffrey rosen: huge. the taft party act was significant. brian lamb: after that. i'm talking about his son. you arerosen: i think talking about governor bob taft, senator taps son. if not,.it was another one.
yes, that their generation was equally distinguished. it is an amazing dynasty. underappreciated dynasty will of people who are devoted to public service. brian lamb: you have some quotes -- i'm not sure where they came from, it does not matter. feeling thatt the taft and roosevelt had about each other. here is one of them: campaigned vigorously and he told a crowd in maryland that he is a man of peace and does not want to fight -- this is during the 1912 campaign. he said--
why would he be seeing this? jeffrey rosen: the egotism and megalomania, it was the constitutionalism that animated those insults. he thought it was mega-maniacal for president have to embrace a vision of the presidency that allowed people to overturn judicial decision. he thought roosevelt was acting like a populist demagogue. taft was aearted wracked by this breach. after he unburden himself, he went back to everywhere part and a journalist found him weeping and saying roosevelt was my closest friend. roosevelt is precipitating his insults calling him a flood dove
-- flub dub. they run a -- upon each other in a hotel restaurant. first they are wary, and then they start talking animatedly and are clapping each other on the back. the whole dining room of reps and applause. they were reconciled in the end. that meant a lot to taft that they made out before roosevelt died. this is theodore roosevelt to william howard taft. he called them a fat head. how strong is that language in those days? jeffrey rosen: john marshall and thomas jefferson used similar insults.
marshall called jefferson the great lama of the mountain. jefferson accused marshall. there is a great -- extraordinary literate insults. this is animated by genuine theyon and emotion and really came to distress each other during the campaign. brian lamb: when you did your research, where did you go for the best? jeffrey rosen: the eight volumes of taft collected writing, and efforts to present cap in his own words. and wrote lot clearly, not gracefully, but explicitly. he made his thoughts very transparent. it is a great eight volumes serious. and maybe -- those were motivated to learn more can read it. book was to distill the essence of his thoughts so you do not have to read a volumes and present his basic ideas. there are a lot of great biographies. he has been fortunate in his biographers. lots of people start with a wonderful horse currents goodman book.
it tells the story of the friendship and deterioration between roosevelt and taft. there is a wonderful biography by jonathan lori, lewis gold, and others. judas -- judith anderson. taft --azon, go to there is a two volume set that was the first significant review of taft. he writes about taft with an aristocratic condescension. a is stylish but called taft second-rate mind and thinks he is not an effective politician. what is frustrating to me is that these biographies to not allow taft to present himself in his own terms. thatught it was important you show him by his terms, rather than objective clinical standards. when you view his presidency as a whole in constitutional terms, his full achievements come in a
proper way. i viewed this as a active resurrection in being able to allow taft to speak for himself. brian lamb: he was better at antitrust? roosevelt or taft? jeffrey rosen: taft was. he brings more in any term been resulted into. we think of roosevelt as of the busterser but -- trust but cap thinks the machine a lot has to be allowed to stay its course. we do not think of taft as a progressive. but he was. jonathan lori notes that he called himself a progressive conservative. he brought more antitrust suits in more term than roosevelt did but withdrew more lands for federal conservation than roosevelt did, including national parks. taft did it according to proper
procedure. he encourage congress to pass laws. there was a big debate about whether presidents act unilaterally or follow constitutional procedures. brian lamb: why did theodore him andt run against then form his own party and then get more votes/ ? jeffrey rosen: he really wanted to be president again. brian lamb: what was driving that/ ? jeffrey rosen: it was a sense of his own destiny when he walked out of the republican convention of 1912. that weorters saying are standing in armageddon and marching for the war -- lord. there was a revivalist tengion to it. -- tinge to it.
therefore we can party leadership was committed to taft. they were not a lot of direct primaries. the first were in 1912. roosevelt felt the election had been stolen. won the have one -- popular primaries. he believed taft betrayed his progressivism. he was convinced of his own rectitude's. he did not count himself with glory in the election of 1912. had he not run, i do not know whether taft might have been reelected. not only did his running split the republican party, but guaranteed the election of wilson and defeated both of their mutual goals. brian lamb: you say the most
scandalous decision was firing ballenger. what is that about? jeffrey rosen: the ballenger affair was the james comey firing scandal of its day. brian lamb: who were those men? jeffrey rosen: ballenger was the secretary of interior, pro-corporate he was supposed to figure industry. head ofwas roosevelt's the forest service to is a moralist and crusader who goes to become governor of pennsylvania and a crusader for prohibition. he lived in philly. even today, you cannot buy wine in philly things to ballenger's laws. what happened is ballenger -- pinchot. i meant pinchot. he is the one who is challenging taft authority. it's a consultative story. there is a whistleblower called
-- and the interior department he was convinced that ballenger has given lamb's to us in the kit that was controlled by morgan and guggenheim. dass contributors to taft campaign. taft'sributors to campaign. he accuses ballenger of being corrupt. that,eviews and concludes in fact, bollinger had not been corrupt and there was a legitimate reason for not preserving the lambs. he exonerates ballenger. but pinchot is convinced it was a cover-up. -- taft firesys gladys for insubordination. he fires pension. -- pinchot. he seems possessed. he knows it will have huge consequences. he says he cannot tolerate insubordination.
then there are the congressional hearings. the democrats higher the robert mueller of the day, brandeis, the people's lawyer, the guy you do not want against you. brandeis reviews the record and concludes that taft backdated a document that he reviewed to exonerate ballenger, suggesting that a cover-up is worse than the crime. he exposes this on the stand and he accuses taft of corruption. cap says that he backdated the document to create a chronological record of the evidence and relied on like a judge reaching the decision. it was a convoluted explanation. it's good enough for congress, who concludes that taft did nothing wrong. he did not lie under oath. hecreates the illusion that has been underhanded and it is the biggest scandal of his presidency. the moral of the story is not cover up, be honest.
and do not hire people impetuously because they are disloyal. the consequences could be catastrophic. brian lamb: based on what you have in this book and what you learned about this book or what it would be like today if roosevelt was in town doing his thing and taft's president, what with the media be doing to the story and what they survive it? jeffrey rosen: you cannot imagine taft remotely surviving in the age of cable news and twitter. his entire premise as president is that it is the greatest sin to address the people. madison says direct munication between a president and the people will foment popular passion and prevent the slow growth of reason. roosevelt would be the precursor to our first tweeting president. not was president obama,
trump, although trump has taken the art to a new level of passion, he tweets on the basis of passion. tweets based on passion travel more than those based on reason. of 1912, have to do worse than he did at the time . roosevelt was more charismatic than wilson, a former princeton professor. roosevelt may have one. >> you run the national constitution center. what region before you got a job? >> i had to spectacular jobs. we met long ago when i was a young journalist i had the honor of doing that for 20 years and was a journalist in d.c.. i teach law at uw law school. i am a professor.
i have the privilege of teaching constitutional law at gw law school. i was a journalist and law professor for more than 20 years. then the constitutional center called and it is the most meaningful opportunity of my life. you and your colleagues have been so wonderful in our collaboration form landmark cases and other great programs. like astitution and c-span has an inspiring mandate from congress, although we are both private nonprofits, to increase awareness and understanding among the public for us about the u.s. constitution and about public affairs. it is meaningful and important work. i need to sit here and thank you on behalf of the constitution center and, if i may, all of your admirers, for creating a marvelous and him and for public education -- instrument for public education. allowing citizens to observe complicated arguments so they can make up their own minds and educate themselves. it is a tremendous service. it is such an honor to be interviewed by you and to have a
collaboration with the constitutional center and c-span. brian lamb: the back to the beginning when you were at the republic. how did it happen that you headed this? why did you decide to do it? how big an organization is a? -- it? jeffrey rosen: i was in law school and i decided i wanted to be a journalist, but i did not want to be a practicing lawyer because i would not be good at it. i was an intern for the new republic during law school and writing editorials about the retirement of billion -- william brendan was the most exciting thing i did. i clerked for a year and then i decided to be a freelance journalist. my mom was not happy because she's on expensive law school education go down the drain. i had a break when andrew sullivan, the editor of new republic, asked me to be the legal affairs editor at the age of 28. this was a huge break much rent this opportunity.
-- tremendous opportunity. it wrote in length about legal topics. i had an amazing opportunity at the age of 28 to write about the law and the constitution for a magazine that had featured giants like frankfurter and all of my constitutional heroes. it.was the most exciting opportunity i ever had. i did it with great gratitude -- gratitude. it was a small group of journalists and intellectuals. it was a beautiful group of people who were determined to , conscious ofh the tradition that went back to the days of spring further. -- frankfurter. what april to be a young kid out of law school working with people like mike kenzie, andrew sullivan, all of these giants who have gone on to great careers in journalism.
i was privileged to be a young staffer at that time. brian lamb: the constitution center. how big a deal as it? what kind of a budget does it have? where does the money come from? what you do on a day-to-day basis? jeffrey rosen: it is a beautiful temple to the constitution across from independence hall in philadelphia. come see it. inspiring space and the only education center devoted to constitutional education. a hall of statues of the signers, signers hall where the kids can touch george washington and benjamin franklin and see how tall they were. there are original copies of the constitution and the declaration of independence and bill of rights. it is also a national education center, which is devoted to bringing liberals and conservatives together to educate people on the
constitution. we have an interactive constitution online to bring together the top liberal and conservative scholars to write about every clause of the constitution, describing why they agree and is a great. -- disagree. the college board is going to work with us to create a curriculum on the first amendment. gorsuch and kagan are going to help us to videos to teach kids about the first amendment. anyone will be able to click on the interactive constitution. go online to constitution center.org. there are videos and lessons plans to teach the essence of the constitution in a nonpartisan way. what do i do during the way -- day? it is almost entirely privately funded. it was created with a mandate from congress that we get almost no government money. the budget is $60 million. half of that is earned from our admissions and rentals and development. half i raise.
raised 8-10,000,000 dollars a gear to create phenomenal programs. we are funded by a patriotic group of donors from both sides of the political spectrum. is a wonderful american and his family has been a great supporter of the constitutional center since it opened. we have liberals and conservatives on the board. it is important to go around the country and make the case that americans have to educate themselves on the constitution and find people, at any level, who will become part of the project. brian lamb: what is your single biggest contributor? jeffrey rosen: the devos family. they have been extraordinarily generous. we are incredibly grateful for their patriotic philanthropy. brian lamb: how do you keep your personal views out of the discussion? affrey rosen: you do such
masterful job, brian, you are one of my models. i insist on separating my political for my constitutional views. i have political views. i'm not interested in them anymore. i want to help citizens look at issues from a constitutional, not political perspective. on most constitutional issues, there are issues on both sides. the right to bear arms is the most controversial question. i want citizens to ask themselves not is gun control good or bad, people disagree. the question is, what does the second amendment allow or prohibit? it is possible, after you look, you might conclude that the second amendment forbids them and allows them. that is what i do at gw law. i tell my students to separate political from constitutional. that is what my mission is to do as head of the constitutional
center, to bring to citizens that will of constitutional interpretation to allow them to separate your political from constitutional views. it is an elevating exercise because it opens your mind to the arguments on the other side. there are tons of arguments about the second amendment on both sides. we also agree about more than we disagree about when we talk about constitutional issues. the interactive constitution shows that. what dividesion is and unites us. when you address issues on a constitutional, rather than political plane, as william howard taft understood, you can rise above partisan politics. brian lamb: on a personal side, you dedicate this book to somebody named lauren rosen. he was she? jeffrey rosen: my wife. we married in october. january as i was
beginning the book and finished in june, as we got engaged. she teaches anthropology at brilliantand has research agendas of writing about anthropology and the law and comparative spirituality. one of her specialties is ghana and the are going next week. -- we are going next week. i will be the dedication. -- read the dedication. brian lamb: more than i ever have hoped, what happened is i have been granted, -- jeffrey rosen: we read it together as we got engaged. we fell in love. i'm a lucky man. brian lamb: you talk about your children reading. jeffrey rosen: hugo and sebastian came into their own as readers. they just turned 12, they are
twins. this is so exciting for me to see their love of books and their hunger for cultivating their own faculties of reason. i am so proud of them. brian lamb: how are they different? jeffrey rosen: they are completely different. they are two people who happened to be born at the same time. i will respect their privacy by not talking about them in detail . they are two beautiful individuals who are loving books and 11 music and i am very proud of them. brian lamb: given what we have been listening to other countries the last several years , politicians talking about one another, i want to go back to --" a letter you he isfrom his wife -- talking about theodore roosevelt and says --
what is the depth of this? isfrey rosen: part of it nelly is egging him on because she never tested roosevelt. when roosevelt ran against him, she said i told you so . cap said i know you did and i think you are happier that you are right. taft is convinced he won according to the established rules of the democratic convention -- republican convention and he is furious that rosa viewed -- roosevelt accuses him of stealing votes. he says taft was rewarded through.
adult.ery [laughter] it is understandable that they worked themselves into the mutual lather about it. those who are closest to, when you get disappointed and have a breach, you become the most inflamed by them. llie is working him up and he is complaining to her and convinced roosevelt is a megalomaniac. brian lamb: you start the book by talking about nelly and her husband and their tapestry. why did you begin by that? jeffrey rosen: i will let you and you were society but it is a story that struck me as meaningful. he was secretary of war and goes to japan. & -- offersof japan him a tapestry. there is one problem. that as anvinced officer of the u.s., he is for -- fordass for bid and
bid and from accepting gifts. he says he has to give the gift of this missoni and. -- smithsonian. but nellie taft really wants it. she appeals to president to give her the tapestry and she hangs in the white house. nelly, whenay that she was exasperated by taft's constitutional scruples, said that he stood by the constitution, as usual. for me that is next half for his entire career. listed by the constitution as usual. decisionched every with constitutional terms and refuses to be persuaded by questions of personal gain. brian lamb: we are about finished. if you could sit down with taft, what would you ask him? jeffrey rosen: i would be so
eager to ask what he thought about american democracy in the age of facebook and twitter. i think it would represent his constitutionalists nightmare, dystopia. his speeches are so eloquent, more eloquent the madison. he was a clear writer on the question about the mechanism of the american public being designed to slow down deliberation the people have second thoughts rather than acting their direct passion into law and should be required to allow hasty passion to cool so they can be guided by reason. what he would make of our current media landscape, i can imagine, but i would love to hear his thoughts. i would like to ask his counsel about how to resurrect --isonian reason in a reason and in age of twitter and facebook and how to slow down deliberation to create a thoughtful thoughts that he and the founders thought were necessary?
brian lamb: what you working on now? jeffrey rosen: i have two more books in mind. -- i dothey are not yet not want to jinx things. book, inow, from this take my time to start, once i pull the trigger, i write fast. i love writing short books on tight deadlines. brian lamb: will it be about a person or an issue? jeffrey rosen: one is about a person and one is about an issue. president of the national constitution center, jeffrey rosen has been our guest. this book is william howard taft, a boundary. we thank you very much. jeffrey rosen: thank you so much, brian. it was such an honor to talk with you. ♪
for free transcripts or to give us comments about the program, visit us at q&a and a.org. programs are also available on c-span podcasts. tariff next week on q&a, historian discuss it -- next week on q&a, historian discusses a biography on andaman harrison. -- benjamin harrison. ♪ washington journal is live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up monday morning, democratic consultant and republican consultant will discuss the political landscape
with over two months to go until election 2018. from a government accountability office, homeland security and justice director discusses a new report on the cost of incarcerating immigrants. watch washington journal live at seven eastern monday morning. join the discussion. ♪ tomorrow, nebraska republican senator debates mechanic thelenger, a member of lincoln city council, at the nebraska state fair. live coverage begins at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span. the primary source for campaign 2018. [chanting] he is one of the most qualified nominees to ever be picked for the supreme court. he has contributed a great deal to his community and the legal fashion, -- profession, besides
being an outstanding judge on the d.c. circuit court of appeals. tariff judge kavanaugh -- judge -- given has a special the president's litmus test that he would only appoint judges to overturn roe. on that obligation, judge kavanaugh fails spectacularly. to watchingrward the confirmation and after conducting a thorough and objective review of the nomination, i incompetent -- and confident that he will be a good addition. >> watch day one of the senate confirmation hearing of brett kavanaugh live on tuesday, september 4 on c-span3. watch online max, the c-span series, 1968,
america and turmoil, will set the campaign for women's rights that year. and the reaction to the death of john mccai and the speech he gave after it was announced he was diagnosed with rain cancer. another chance to see q&a with jeffrey rosen talking about his biography on william howard taft. we continue our series, looking at 1968, and historic year. 50 years later. 1968, america in turmoil, and today, we focus on the women's rights movement during this to tumultuous year-end -- year and decade. she is the author of a new book called sex matters. first, betty for dan, whose 1963 book, the feminine mystique,