tv Congressional Careers Remembered CSPAN July 23, 2016 2:30pm-4:01pm EDT
>> coming up next, two former republican members of congress sit down to talk about their time in washington, d.c. and how things have changed in the u.s. house of representatives since the 1980's. we hear from nancy johnson of connecticut and peter torqueleson of massachusetts. the edward m. kennedy institute for the u.s. senate is the host of this event. it's about 90 minutes. >> i want to thank you all for coming to the session, former members of congress, donors and audience. i would like to introduce our moderator this morning. peter king is senior lecturer and public administration programs in the john f. kennedy schools of government at harvard university. since joining harvard faculty in 1992, professor king's courses have focused on legislatures, political parties and interest groups. he is also a member of the core faculties within the carr center for human rights policy and is a faculty affiliate of
the center for state and local government. in the wake of the 2000 presidential elections, professor king directed the task force on election administrations for the national commission on election reform chaired by former presidents geraldford and jimmy carter. that effort had landmarks and voting legislation signed by president bush in late 2002. he later oversaw the evaluation and structure for the boston election department and he served in the advisory board of america elect.org. in the past, professor king chaired harvard's bipartisan program for newly elected members of the u.s. congress and he directed the executive program for senior executives in state and local governments. professor king is the author, co-author and co-editor of three books and he has published in a range of journals including the american political science review and the journal of politics. please welcome david king.
[applause] . >> thank you. is this amazing just to be in a group of people who are like you? isn't that wonderful? i know there is always a level of citizens and anytime we talk about politics and especially we talk about legislatures in the united states today, but i think everyone of us may have fallen in love, if not with another person, certainly fell in love with some ideas in the j.k. 1,000 sections of your library. i remember being camped out there for a long time. thank you so much for being here. you have in front of you, not only the subject of your studies, i feel a little bit like they're insects and we are all enter monthly gists. we're going to try and understand nancy johnson and peter tore kellson a little more. we have also agreed that we
want to hear your questions and your perspectives and open it up to a broader discussion as we move forward. nancy johnson asked just before we stepped up here whether or not we want to talk about rhinos and was rhino a thing when peter was in congress? well, it was just starting to be a thing. congress is changed dramatically or at least it seems. i remember when speaker thomas brackett from the great state of maine was speaker, he had a narrow majority in the house. it was a thin republican majority and you probably know the rules and young democrats came and complained to him. he said two things that were just as true then as they are today. he said the rights of the minority are to show up at work, collect your pay and that is it. and then he said democracy stops at the door of the united
states congress, which is a challenging but important point because article i of the constitution wasn't placed there just by happenstance. article i was the most important branch of government in the eyes of the founders, the core, at the center of a representative republic, we have the house and the senate which are not run democratcally and we have political parties that are not nominating folks in a democratic manner at all and it's caused quite interesting results. so when nancy johnson, one of the great moderate republicans of our time was challenged and called a rhino, that was a significant challenge at the time and today we don't worry about rhinos if you're republicans. if you're a republican in the worried y, you are about being cantor. so a different kind of dynamic. the institution is remarkably stable some some respects and
yet it never stands still which reminds me of another famous quote, this from oliver wendell holmes jr. he says the law mcnabb stable, but never stands still. congress must be stable. the rules, institutions, the basic idea of representative democracies stay stable, but the institution is always changing. so the institution that nancy johnson from the great state of connecticut entered in january of 1983 and left after the lection in 2006, when she left in january of 2007, that institution had changed quite dramatically already, but the institution is still quite stable, important work has to get done, appropriation bills have to be passed. peter torkelson who was born in my home state, great state of wisconsin, served in the minority and the majority as the republican from massachusetts. now that's almost a definition
of a rhino, but the term wasn't really widely used at the time. when we were putting this panel together, robin reed asked us who do we want? well, we want the very best. it doesn't matter if they're d or r. we want people who can be introspective, tell us how the institution has changed and what it was like for them and what their relationship with you as administrators and librarians and educators, how that interaction might actually work. we are obviously the institutions of representation are changing at all times. the way we learn about them, the way our children learn about them will have you forever more they center. so i would like to introduce first and hear from nancy johnson and second i want you to hear from peter torkelson, two wonderful former members of congress. thank you. nancy. [applause] nancy: thank you.
i think at the beginning here i'll talk a little longer i'll stand up. being short, you don't feel up, i would rather see your faces. it's a pleasure to be here with you and a great pleasure to work with the uconn library as we put my papers there and talk about accessibility and so on. i hope in a few months to completely retire because i'm still working in washington, so a lot of my friends are there and so i have a different perspective on what is appening and it does pain me terribly that the president tells you practically nothing at all about the big changes that have taken place in restoring a deliberative body, particularly in the house in the last four years. but just to give you a little sense of the difference, let me
tell you when i went down to washington, i was in my early 40's. i was a seasoned state senator. i had been a ranking member on all of the important committees, appropriations, bonding and education and planning and development in connecticut that was a very, very important committee and really looked at what do we do regionally, how do we do a lot of things. so i had a lot of experience. i was in my office, this was my first year and they're debating a h.u.d. bill about whether or not seniors could have pets in public housing or people could have pets in public housing. we had been through that in the state and it's something that people feel very strongly about. public housing isn't just in the big cities. i went on the floor and there
was my friend stuart mckinnie, one of the great republicans of all time. he looked at me and he said what are you doing here? i said well, i'm going to speak on this amendment. he said you are? well, you know i can only give you two minutes. yes, i know that. he said now, don't go over. i said i won't. so i did my thing and as i came off, he said nice job, but remember freshman are to be seen but not heard. and truly enough, over the next two months, coming up and down the escalators going to brennan and other places, other members would say nice job, nancy, there were only two women elected that year. everybody knew exactly who i was and their staff or they had een it on the television and
that happens your freshman year. you get up and say something that is totally political without substance or text and you're remembered for it. it was very good advice and i was very careful, particularly when i was so visible. nowadays, fast forward to when the republicans became the majority, six months into that session we got to teach the freshman that the order of the house is different from the campaign trail. you're debating substance, not vision for the most part. they're just bringing too much political rhetoric into the floor. so we talked about that for a while, reached certain ones and we began generally to teach them.
i remember one time each party, they know exactly what is going on. if you talk to your staff and you don't know what amendment you're working on, then you don't what you're working on, they will tell you. i remember one time, he said vote yes, i'll tell you why later. he didn't have time to explain to me. he knew me and he knew i voted yes. so what did i vote for? so with all of the absolute flood of subjects and information, you have to pick trustworthy people that you believe you will follow if you haven't had time to study it. you only have so much time to train your own staff and they are in there, usually right on top of it, energetic, smart, but completely inexperienced.
so their conclusion might be completely wrong at the beginning. over time, they get to know you and your record. i came in, i didn't want to contradict my record. anyway, the whole thing of accommodating as a freshman. anyway, to finish up, a little later on, the guy that came forward came over to me, the california ladies, i understand that they were all night, they can't come on the floor in jeans. i won't talk to you about the ladies about dress. they were talking to some of the men about dress. there was a decorum on the floor of the house that as the politics took precedence over the substance it began to be a problem. we really need to focus ourselves back on the fact that we are legislating policies
that will affect throughout america. on the floor, no one calls you your first name or last name, it's the gentle lady from connecticut, the fact that they were two, it doesn't matter. in the record they would put whoever, but on the floor of the house, you were just the gentle lady from massachusetts, the gentle lady from connecticut. i don't know how much we want to do now and how much we want to do later, there were a number of terribly controversial subjects while i was there. one advantage of the papers, to me the big advantage of the papers being available to someone in our library and after i gave my papers to the library, we moved to a community, so i couldn't keep all of these papers that i kept. when you go through all of the clippings from beginning to it completely
different, right. you see politics that is totally different from my politics from one day. some of it we have to get back to. some of it i'm glad it's gone. you see things that you don't see otherwise. and kids can see that. they can see the limit, for instance, i spoke always in a school whenever i was out for a day in the district. smart and articulate, they'll ask you any questions, whether it's the last one they heard their parents discuss or whether it came off the television, then you can see all that and particularly if our era because in my district, i had 41 counties, i had six or eight newspapers published every single day. and they needed to know what
they should publish. they needed to know what i thought about things and i needed to bring it back down to that town and what was doing to make a distinction. they each had radio stations. the radio stations follow the school games and the school lunches. you better be able to say something quick and easy to help them understand what congress, what is your congressman doing for you today. the challenge was the same, but the ways in which you could penetrate the minds of your con tissue enters or invite their input were far richer, not only news prints and radios but all kinds of organizations. i went to every chamber, every town over the course of the year, every rotary, every senior citizen center at least ce and other organizations that were responding to certain
things. land trusts were very active and needed help and so on. so that rich relationship, i would do community updates, i would plan my schedule. they wanted me to every grade. so we would go to schools. we would sit down with the agencies, with business in town. so if there was a factory that was important, a competition issue, and sometimes you would speak to the workers as to what you were looking for, so you had the opportunity to have a very rich relationship with your constituents. you would have to be there when something important would happen. the state senator and the state representative, the mayor, but we were all part of the
community envisioning its own future for managing its own life, developing its own families, creating its own schools. i had schools where certain days of the week i would go. so it was a wonderful privilege and rve, but it was a deep systemic relationship the issue of representation. now because there is not so many avenues to reach through any place, but also members are spending more time raising money. they're less intensely interested. i came into politics for basically service, a p.t.a. mom and it was just kind of a larger arena for what i had been doing as a stay-at-home mom. ou see that in the papers.
physically i came through and i'm sorry that i made the decision not to keep all of the copies of the columns. we send out thousands he have single week. sometimes we didn't think they would get picked up. sometimes they would all pick them up. it kept the newspaper educated in things that we were dealing with. trade was printed everywhere, health care. i kept only one copy. so now i'm kind of sorry, oh, yeah, there is another one. it was a great privilege to serve, a great challenge to serve and they would look in those papers, what was different in politics then? why was it that way? the other thing they say is the extraordinary amount of work a member has to do, not just work in their district, but we
didn't -- -- we didn't realize we had no life at home. you got on a plane and one aff was waiting, another was greeting you, all prepared, we have things for you to do. the intellectual challenge, i graduated from radcliffe, i never worked so hard learning as a member of the congress and arms e privileged to have control. the people making the decisions thinking the thoughts when we got into 9/11, the armed services committee briefed all of us, the intelligence committee briefed all of us. needless to say, they didn't give us the kind of level of information because it was going to get out. you really had the opportunity and also the responsibility to know both sides of the issue.
not just one side. so we have lost some of that, but the work that you have to do, i can honestly say it's as demanding as any job that america has to offer. it's about as great as any job that you can have. [applause] peter: david, thank you. thank you for those comments, nancy. it's interesting that nancy and i both being in new england, we had the curse of the hourly shuttles which is that because, there is always a plane to get back home, people expect you to be home all the time. i remember talking to a colleague of mine from idaho. by the time his nondirect flight got back to idaho, he still had a 4 1/2 drive to get to get to his house. he was not someone who was going to rush home and rush back because it wasn't practical.
but nancy and i and the people living in the northeast were always expected back. as soon as congress adjourned, usually on a thursday, you hop on the next flight, you come back and the staff would be there and without exaggerating, i told people my days were always longer in the district than they were in d.c. in d.c. oftentimes a session would end. you get home at a decent time, get some sleep, it was not uncommon for me in my district to have three dinners in one night, none of which i ate at because you would go. you would greet people. you would give remarks and go on to the next event while everyone sat down and ate. it was the way to maximize your contact with con stitch yents and that's what people expect. they want to see, ask you questions, that was part of the retail end of the policy. before i was a member of congress, i was a state representative and it was really interesting because not only was i in the minority in the massachusetts statehouse but i was in a tiny minority. you had lots of issues that would come by and lobbyists,
they would walk right by your office space and keep going and talk to the chairman of the committee and that was that. so a lot of issues would come up and you would not get any contact at all. in washington, d.c., that was a habit. every issue is important to somebody, even if it has nothing to do with your district. i think i maybe had a dozen farms in my district, but obviously agriculture is a huge issue naturally. there was always people, there were always people lobbying on agriculture-related issues even though it wasn't a big part of my district. my district was interesting, north shore of massachusetts, we had some of the poorest communities in the city of inden my district, we also had others, i was able to interact with people across the sphere and everyone wanted you to know and understand what their situation was. that was part of my education in the process learning that
you have to represent people, you get one vote, even though the people in your district may have very, very different opinions on what is there. david mentioned the concept of rhino and i was thinking that in new england, we actually saw that process a little bit before eric cantor. we saw joe liebermannerman lose his primary because he was a dino, instead of a rhino. he was a democrat in name only. in his particular case, he was able to run in the general anyways and defeat the democratic nominee and at the end of that term, he retired, but it's a process we have been seeing i think sadly we're going to see more of it because as the parties go to the two extremes, you're not going to have moderates left on either side. i think that's the worst for america that is happening that for me, for someone to say eric cantor wasn't conservative enough is just mind boggling.
yet that's what his opponent ran on. if you remember, i studied this a little bit, the issue being whipped, was actually being whipped on the house floor at the time. john boehner was having the whip organization assess support for the immigration reform bill. people were looking at, well, they didn't want to do entirely what obama wanted, but could they do something to address the issue? it had gotten that farm. that was the number one issue that was used to attack eric cantor on. even though he had not made any pronouncements on it one way or another, being a member of leonardo dicaprio, he wanted to see what the support was, it was used to attack him. lo and behold, he was defeated. there was no mention of every whipping or bringing the immigration bill to the floor by the republicans after that. obama was like, well, why can't you do that? it was like, well, there aren't other members who want to sacrifice their career on an issue that we just saw the
majority leader of the house defeated in his own primary for it. it's something that worries incumbents of both parties. nobody wants to stick their neck out so far and depending on the year, somewhere between like 60 and 80% of districts are considered safe for one party or the other. so those people aren't even worried about a general election opponent. they are only worried if they are at all the primary opponent and to me, something has to give there. several weeks ago, david and i were on a panel and we were just talking about, well, will the california system help, will the louisiana system help? some type of chance for the voters to say, well, no, we're not going to choose between the most liberal democrat and the most conservative republican. we want a choice other than that in certain circumstances. we're certainly not there, not
yet. i'm just looking at the situation we're in right now and the race for president, the democrats look like they're about to nominate the least popular nominee of a major party for a president ever, except the republicans said, no, wait a minute, we want someone even more unpopular than the democrat. i'm still scratching my head at that, and yet that looks like what our choices are going to be this november. art of it i think is very much and entirely the parties are bifurcating so solidly, they are looking at mimicking what is happening in many congressional districts. when hillary clinton started running, she was not the most liberal person on all of the issues, but during the campaign, she has begun to echo many of bernie sanders' positions. if she is not the most liberal
candidate, she is certainly very close to that, which a different situation than you normally have. the republican side, i honestly don't know what to make of it because, i mean, donald trump on paper does not appear to be conservative, does not appear to be republican, and yet he had a pluralality of republican votes, 42% and he will be the nominee. so there is an old adage that may you live in interesting times, i think we are all living in interesting times. i don't know where it is headed, but for members of congress, i think their function is even more important now and for those of you who study the congress, your work is important as well. in terms of explaining that to people, nancy mentioned fifth graders, certainly the younger the crowd that you can get to, i think the more impact you can
most he people with the open minds explaining to them that there still is a major role for congress, that their participation in democracy is essential, that you shouldn't look at it as choosing our leaders is something that other people do or it doesn't matter if you vote. in my particular case, when i was defeated for re-election, i lost by less than 400 votes. it was one vote per precinct, so i'm one of those walking cases that tells you, yes, each vote does matter. you really can have a role in that. while i won't even begin to predict exactly where the situation this year is going to lead us, i still have absolutely faith that the people control their government ultimately if they choose to step back, that's their decision and not an informed
one in my viewpoint, but they still have ultimate control and to the extent that you can explain and engage people of all ages in that, that is very, very helpful and for your role as keepers of that information, hopefully you will find some students along the way who want to do that extra research, whether it's for a paper in school. whether it's for later in life out of just interest, whether it's for reporters or people who do bulldogs and the rest -- blogs and the rest, it really is an essential role. i'm glad that you are still there trying to disseminate that information which is essential for a democracy to work. thank you. [applause] david: thank you, i would like to move the conversation briefly to a little bit about polarization which i know you have been thinking about and they call an over
determined problem in that there are so many answers to how in the world did this actually happen. let's just go through a handful of them. after i go through a handful of them, i would like to hear from nancy and peter again with their perspectives on what they have seen changed and then we will go to you for questions and answers. so we are now based on measurements that are done with mething called d.w., princeton is best known for this. we are in the third break movement in polarization of american history. it's difficult sometimes to measure ideology and they think they have a pretty good approach. we're in the third grade moment now. the first grade moment of american history polarization and with the civil war.
the second great moment of polarization and at the end of he progressive era and the re-alignment of parties with the democratic party in the election of 1932 and then we are now at the third grade moment. so there have been, there have been these massive changes that can be quite problematic. one, the civil war, second, a major re-alignment of the parties, and now. well, the parties have been realigning for quite some time anyway and that is issue number one, why do we have polarization, because the fundamental basis of the political parties have changed. when i was young, the republican party in massachusetts was considered the liberal party in massachusetts and the democrats were the conservative party in massachusetts. this begins to change in the early 1960's and in full sweep
by the late 1960's as the base of the republican party first kind of signaled by the nomination of barry goldwater in 1964 and ultimately the unsuccessfully first challenge by ronald regan in 1976 and the successful challenge in 1980, the base of the republican party moved from the south end to the west. this is a re-alignment that happens largely around race and the correlation between a person individual's self-proclaimed identification of their own party and their individual self-proclaimed identification around ideology, that correlation has turned quite dramatically. it began in the 1960's and accelerated the physical re-alignment around race. the second argument is that the , this is an argument i want to hout out to a young star who's name is james d'angelo. it is that the movement towards
sunshine legislation in the 1970's has actually made things considerably more difficult for the work of legislators. in 1970 in the house, we have the 1970 legislative reorganization act, right, a favorite of everybody in the room, i hope, unless you liked the 1946 act instead. the 1970 act was quite a moment because in this act, the sunshine legislation, all votes of the committee of the whole were then made roll call reported votes. previously votes in the committee of the whole only made final passage vote was the recorded vote. so the crafting of the legislation through the amendments and the amendment tree was hidden from public view. you knew the total vote, but you didn't know how actually people voted. that seems undemocratic.
remember, democracy stops at the door of the united states congress and seems undemocratic. the push to make that major reform was actually done not by citizens groups, but by lobbying organizations who wanted to more successfully and accurately monitor the members and see how they were doing. a rather dramatic change in the orientation of many members. instead of looking at each other and thinking about crafting legislation at the amendment stage and then going public on final passage, every little moment had to be crafted in public view because their final votes, their amendment votes would actually be amplified. the data on this is really quite crystal clear. there is a knife edge moment beginning in the early 1970's, these reforms are then later adopted across the senate, every state legs layer fewer for which we have data.
there is a dramatic increase in party line voting that begins in the 1970's that continues right up until now. are members becoming polarized themselves? o, they are actually presenting themselves to a polarized constituency. that is issue number two. there are times when transparency leads to particularly difficult unwelcomed outcomes. the reorganization around race and the political parties was issue number one. issue number three is something we also don't talk very much about unless you are inside the baseball and i want to call you it for you. the unrain rules and procedures have changed so dramatically. when you two were on the hill,
you could go on congressional delegation, these travels. ted, i think you may have actually gotten to go along on a few of these at a time. members were not sleeping in their offices which frankly is disgusting, but now happens widely. they would move to washington, d.c. if you slept in your office in the 1970's, you would have been laughed out of the institution and yet now it's recommended because you don't want to go native. beginning in 1994, republicans and then later democrats decided they were going to no longer move their families to washington, d.c., but they would keep running back home. it reinforces this idea that the institution is really only running on tuesday,s wednesdays and thursdays and you have to get back home. but it also means that you're not getting to know your colleagues in a deep and careful and thoughtful and loving way which it used to be.
there are many unwritten rules that have been violated and beyond sleeping in your office and not living with other colleagues, another very important one was thrown out in 1994. that was the strong and vibrant rule, you could not -- if you were a sitting member of congress, go into another member of congress's district and campaign for their opponent because if you do that, how are we going to sit down face-to-face two days later or two weeks later or two months later and try and cut a deal. if i know that something i tell you in private as we're trying to craft legislation and do the common good, if i know that that is going to be used against me and you're going to use it to attack me in my own district, that's insane. when that jeannie was let out of the bottle in 1994, first by the republicans and in 1996 by the democrats, that was a disaster.
the rules and procedures are simply what is written down, there are norms and behaviors. the fourth big one and this will be the final one is participation in primaries. there is a very strong emper kl regular relationship between when primaries happen and how extreme the candidates coming out of those primaries are likely to be. it's called the primary gap. the primary gap is the amount of time between the primary, let's say it was in june and the general election in november. if you have a primary in june and a general in november, that's a pretty big primary gap. what if you have a primary at's actually binding in may or in april? the primary gap in the united states, forget about the presidential primaries. i care about binding primaries for members of congress. the primary gap has been
dramatically increased. when we look at how people represent their constituencies based on that primary gap, it's crystal clear. the smaller the gap, the more moderate and wide-ranging the candidate will be. because if you have a primary, let's say in late september, now your media buys are also appealing to a general election constituency, you have to broadcast in not narrow gaps. if you have your prior in may or in june, it's all about narrow gaps. it's all about bringing up the narrowest most possible vote. primary turnout has been on a huge decline. if we look at offier congressional elections, so forget about the president at the top of the ticket. offier congressional elections beginning in 1966 and going through to present day, it is a
monotonic decline in the percentage of eligible voters that turn out to vote. so in 1966, it was just over a third of all eligible voters turned out to vote in this congressional primary. in the last congressional offier -- off year primary in 2014, 11% of eligible voters turned out to vote. it's astonishing. it's not the moderates who are no longer turning out, it is the months rats are turning out. it's the strong eiferts who are still turning out. these are things that we can change. we can change how primaries operate. we can change the timing of the primaries. we can maybe change how gerrymandering works. the law must be stable, but never stand still. the institution is stable, but it's always changing. right now we're at a pretty difficult time in american history with respect to congress. it doesn't have to be that way.
we're always one generation away from losing our democracy, but we are also just one generation away from having the most vibrant and lively and dynamic democracy that we can possibly imagine and that's going to take every one of us in this room to try and make that. so i would like to -- i was just preaching, i'm sorry to my parents and ministers. nancy and peter. nancy: how many of you saw not page coverage -- it's n? how many of you saw about a month ago front page coverage of richard neil who is a massachusetts member of congress, probably the longest serving right now in the massachusetts delegation and sam johnson, a long serving
member from texas having a press conference to laud their bill, their bipartisan bill to fix the social security disability program that is scheduled to go bankrupt this year? how many of you saw those articles? outrageous! i mean look at all of the pensions that are going broke everywhere. look at social security which we don't talk about anymore. this one is actually going bankrupt. this is by start san solution. richie said himself i want the press to note this is bipartisan. in my mind, the primary number one cause of the problems in governing america fall at the feet of the press. because they don't report so
much. before speaker boehner became speaker, he was asked at the press club in washington, big deal, these speeches at the press club, about six months out before the election, should you become speaker, what will you do to restore civility, that's our language in washington to talk about all of this. and he said, i'll make it my business to restore regular order. and i'm reading this in the "washington post" and i thought to myself, nobody will get that. i wonder if he has told his team he is going to do that because the republicans started writing legislation in the speaker's office because they had a desperate need to feed their base. nancy pelosi wrote the entire affordable care act in the speaker's office. the committees were explicitly
told no structural amendments, you can amend around the edges, but that's why it didn't work so well because it didn't have the airing. you can't make this stuff up. law is law. i can tell you from chairing the human resources committee of the ways and means committee where we did foster care, we did welfare reform, it is the part of congress that does the children's stuff, even though it's ways and means, but under our tax law is where you find social security. we take all of your money, but we give it back. so ways and means is the giver backer as well as the taker. we do unemployment comp, we do disability, we do welfare. we do foster care because the foster care child is just a person with no means of income. we had a lot of hearings on these things and both richard neil and sam johnson are on the
ways and means committee and this is a victory. it's not like the way we pay doctors, it took us 15 years to figure out how to fix it and every year we're punting and punting and punting and they never know are they going to get paid or not get paid. it got no press. when boehner said, i'm going to return it to regular order, that got no press. that one sentence in the "washington post" and they know better. my first thought was, did you tell your guys that. so boehner started that process . i don't write in my office, go see the chairman. they would tell you go see the subcommittee chairman. a good friend of mine, chairman of energy and commerce, i served with him many years. he is from michigan. i spent a lot of time in michigan. he said, well, who is your democrat? now, fred announced when he became chairman that any
amendment that had bipartisan sponsorship would be taken first and most all of the amendments put themselves at a disadvantage if they don't, so they all scurry around and get bipartisan support. if you get bipartisan support, i'll tell you my best story about bipartisan support. you remember ted kennedy, i hope. he was really concerned about churn and health care. he wrote this bill that became known as chip. he could not find a sponsor in the house. he needed a sponsor in the house part because the republicans were in the majority in the house. so his staff approached my staff and my staff and i talked about it and i said you know it's an entitlement. anyway, i read it and we thought about it and i said, well, i have to talk to him. i can't co-sponsor this. this is just to medicaid. medicaid is a joke. you can't find a doctor to take
medicaid. it's a false promise. i am not going to do that. so ted and i met in his little office in the capitol and he told me the history of it. it was a lot of fun. we had a good time. he agreed that they would not have to do it through medicaid. they could do it through whatever program they wanted and connecticut became known as husky so that's a good thing. so children joined husky who didn't have other insurance. we needed that flexibility at the state level and from chairing reforms for foster children, i knew how different the state health care systems were. so that was my contribution. we couldn't get the senate onboard and orrin hatch was the key person. he said i can't do an entitlement. you may remember what happened
to his colleague senator bennett had. he said i can't be out there having led a new entitlement. this is important so we agreed toy acapped entitle. in some states, it meant it couldn't serve all of the children, but on the other hand, you have the ability to manage the program the way you want, you can pair it with things you're doing, you can put it down entirely through community health centers because the feds pay much better for community health centers than other medicaid, so we all agreed on that. now we have a bill that has the support of hatch, the support of kennedy, and the support of myself but it's way deep into the legislative session. we had the support of newt gingrich and of bill clinton. and i don't know how they got it done, but they did. it didn't go through committees. it did go just out in the final bill, i don't remember whether it was a reconciliation, but it
got woven in because some things are too controversial to get through the committee process unless you have several years. a good bill takes five years from idea that everyone agrees with to legislative form. i mean, we should have kids study, what is the initial one, what does it come out as? it can't go in and serve connecticut and still serve wyoming, you can't have a bill that is exactly the same for icago and good for connecticut. so you have to -- legislating is a profound experience. it goes right to the heart of how you build human communities, how you relate to one another when institutions you have already built. this is why the affordable care act, i'm a big advocate, was an early advocate of universal
coverage, but because it was ne the way it was, it's laid over. it doesn't fit. so it can't tie itself down because in some states there is a much better pattern. i was very interested in one that recently got the right to expand coverage, but not through medicaid. they can do it through the waiver section, not through the medicaid expanse section. the waiver section has been there all that time, but burwell wasn't flexible enough until toward the end, it was too late, do it through the waiver system, do it your own way. so legislating is fascinating and interesting. we have to help kids see if you look back to see how it was done, then you can see what was good about that and wasn't. currently because boehner made that commitment and started that process, ryan is even better about it. ryan will have a program that the house republican members are going to run on so that he
can get them out from under whatever the dialogue is at the time. and the structure of that, under newt, the republicans did it with a contract for america. that was a pretty loose group that did that. it was signed off by everybody, but ryan has said to the committees, listen, i'm not going to tell you because you saw how boehner got completely done in by his own folks. so boehner's only choice was to go to the floor and let the body work its will, so to speak. i have seen speakers do it on the other side. it's happened. it used to be part of our process. anyway, he did it a couple of times just to show his freshmen that you don't rule the world, honey. there is still a majority of the body that makes law in america. that's part of the reason that he became so unpopular, he went to the floor and let them work it out. ryan is really providing the
leadership to let the committees think through this issue in their own committees where they know more than the other people that aren't on that committee and yet it comes back through the conference process. whether that will result in compelling enough initiatives to be a platform to run on that is strong enough to, in a sense, power through trump, i don't know. but i have different, a totally ifferent view of the trump -sanders race as i call it. i have said too much already and i'll come back to it. david: peter, turn the mic on. peter: it was just getting interesting. it's fascinating for me to listen to nancy because i understand a lot of the inside baseball as she is talking about and if you don't, at some point there are going to be questions that you are going to
ask us about this. what i see is that when the republicans took power in 1996 or 1995 rather, it was the first time in 40 years they had been in the majority in the house and the other times they had been in power for just one term unless you went back to the 1920's, so it had been a long time since republicans had been in the majority. normally when the party switches power, you go to the most senior member who was in the majority the last time your party was in the majority, but we had no one in that situation. we actually had to ask bill emerson who was a page in the house of representatives in the 1950's to preside because he was the closest thing we had to a member who had been there before. so we were learning our way in terms of the process and sometimes you look at things and say, well, this needs to be
changed and you don't pay as while ention to it and that first term of the republican majority, most bills were written at the subcommittee and the committee level, but overtime, they began to appear, well, this is easier if the speaker does it, we can do that and unfortunately it became common place both when the republicans were in the majority in the early 2000's as well as when the democrats took over for four years, so you don't see the negative as it is happening. in the case with john boehner, when you have a two-party system, that's one thing. john boehner was essentially speaker of the house with three parties in the house. two of them were on the republican side, but most people didn't know until he ended up resigning that there was a block of 30 republicans who looked at themselves as a separate party from the other
republicans and it's very difficult to preside in a body like that. speaker ryan to his credit said i'm not campaigning for the job if you want me to do it, you come to me and we'll work out something. the commitment to regular order from john boehner and the bumps that went with it and now speaker ryan who is very much determined not to write legislation in the speaker's office i think is a good thing for the country, even though it's definitely going to have some bumps along the way as well. so it's a situation where the process is headed in the right direction and i hope that it continues in that direction, but again, there is a lot of unknowns that we'll have to see what happens. i think it's an improvement that you do allow members to participate. you don't allow -- you don't set yourself in a structure where a group of 30, no matter
who they are, can have a veto power over the process. you want that to continue and in some places, if you're going to be a majority party, sometimes you have to accept a feat, but you have to make sure that it's a narrow defeat if you can, but move on to the next issue. if you try to block everything, that's normally when your party gets thrown out of power and that's one thing that i've been researching and want to do more tudy on, but in 1994 elections, republicans had not won a majority in 40 years. bill clinton had been the first president of either party to control the house and the senate going back to jimmy carter. two years later, he lost the house and the senate. nancy: he couldn't control his party. peter: he couldn't control his party, nancy says. it's very interesting. republicans, a couple years,
lost a few seats and then he ended up leaving as speaker. you have george bush elected as president in 2000 losing the popular vote, but winning the electoral college fight by the bare minimum and nominally he had the majority of the house and senate. a senator from vermont switched parties and became a democrat. they had control of the senate, we had 9/11, the republicans controlled the senate and the house. by 2006, the american public again soured on what was happening and it wasn't just they were, in my view, not just disapproving of what george bush was doing, they were disapproving of what the republicans in congress were doing, too, they threw the republicans out of the house and senate. it's getting worse over time because i thought it's going to be a dozen years before the republicans take the house back again after losing it, it's just the way it's going to be and then barack obama wins huge
victory in 2008. 2010 comes around and republicans take the house back and make huge gains in the senate. and so barack obama had a two-year window of one party control and the american people said, we don't like the direction this is going in. i'll stick my head out and say if by chance one party controls the white house, the house and the senate after this election, i predict two years from now, the american people will take at least one branch of the congress away because the partisanship that is driving the primaries and the members election there is not what people want to see in a national agenda there. the only way to veto that, the next off javier election we'll have a shift of membership to get that done. david: thank you, peter, questions, comments, observations. yes, sir.
>> can you speak about your relationship with your repository, have they done anything that has delighted you and is there a downside to having your papers collected? peter: i donated my papers to the massachusetts historical society. in paper i'm in great company because my papers are with thomas jefferson, john adams and john quincy adams. they have done something to delight me and that is they have not touched them. it's a case where i thought i had a lot of papers and then nancy told me how many boxes she donated and it's like no, i don't have that many anymore. they're in a situation where they have not tackled them yet. i am not in any hurry on that one. i do stay in active contact with them. obviously they have quite a few projects going on of national importance and i'm sure at some point they will get to them and that is absolutely fine by me.
i know they will safe for when the seal is cracked. >> i want to make sure when we ask a question, p the question so everyone can hear it. do you want to take this question on the archives? having gone to d.c. and visited our delegation from oklahoma, there are media concerns, oppositional researcher down the road, a lot of these people will continue. what is the advice you give to somebody, even if it's good to say i haven't touched those papers yet, what is the advice you give to say donation is an ok thing, a good thing, or would you simply say it isn't? i struggle in those conversations to communicate with people in the environment
because i understand the pressures they are under and i understand there is life after congress and they have to keep that in mind. what advice do you give your colleagues when they're facing the question of who to donate to and how to donate through repositories? and donate mind to yukon they have a sophisticated system organized impressively. i don't think we really learned how to use this material to our advantage. and that is not surprising, it's a different kind of material. we've done it at an era where everybody uses their own thing. the idea of looking through isn't at the top of
their list. that doesn't mean that in the it will, historically, be terribly important but i think we need to refine how we use it. the first election in which -- there have in cycles and the election. on the way was known as the hampton that he brought a greater determination to raise money. the unions always contributed standard money to the democrats and standard labor force. . election i lost was the first one and rob emanuel was the thet, the first in which
goal was to go after people's character. before that, it had always been go after their stand on issues but it was very interesting to that affected us. went through to make sure there wasn't anything that would be misinterpreted easily. when i retire, i do want to spend some time with them because i went through my notebooks more carefully. thing is not in the slimming down, the interesting thing is in the volume of eight and seeing what the communication was so my set is not better than theirs.
to put some real thought into how we answer members concerned about this because it's very real. written is already public information about their positions. if you could get to their archives, you could see what they really did and what they really thought versus what the press said they thought. i've gotten to be very down on the press about the last few years i was in office. they didn't know anything about government, policy. before that when i started, we had a very knowledgeable guy named conrad. stuff if itwrite
was just personal attack. we should be in our high schools having kids write a paper on why we should elect trump and the other one why we should elect bernie sanders. it's much more instructive because you think the republican party is in trouble. i'm one of those republicans like brooks and every other -- peter and iow only served four years together but we met weekly. we were very active.
because trump is responding to -- when i said he will go away, normally he would have gone away. the fact he didn't go away, who would have thought sanders would have lasted so long attacking hillary clinton. never have we had a candidate of that caliber attack like this. isember trumps philosophy the government has let us down, it feeds on its own, it's out of touch. there is some truth in what he is saying. you have to be able to do both.
the issues are complicated. at the same time, we killed off our newspapers, killed off the communications equipment, even town meetings. they would be picketed by some special interest and the article would be all about the picketing but this is depressed. theead of listening, article would be out on the steps with the picketing. if that first debate. the question to every person was how did you feel when trump called you this? never have we had a national debate with that focus. trump, not one of us understood the level of disconnect between people and itsr government and
destroying us. democracy cannot survive without mutual respect for other people's opinion and it's not there anymore. trump is a problem for all of us democrate is the old it thinks the government can do things better in the private sector. that's a huge threat to the way we have built our economy. if you can do it better, how would you do it? love it. >> a lot of people are not only afraid to donate their documents, they are afraid to
keep their documents and to me, it's a problem. if you have people who are retiring and your organization has the ability to reach out to them, still do it. if they are thinking about running for office and you are able to keep it under seal or you say give it to us later, there was a democrat who had retired a few years before me and he went out of his way to tell the society he had burned all of his papers. i believe in transparency and all the rest. but the idea of having presidential records unsealed relatively quickly now is you
have people running for office in an advisory position for president whose comments are coming back now and i'm thinking maybe it needs to be a little longer time. don't want people not saying things. as it is now, there is plenty that doesn't get reported. there is no written record of that. to will not have that part look at anyways. you really want to try to preserve that as much as you can and you don't want people afraid
of committing things too hard writing or electronic writing because you have no record to work with at all. >> am sure you're all thinking about electronic resources. i want to shout out to the sunlight foundation. some of their projects will last a couple years but they have done job dropping the wonderful work. take a look at their website. i also want to shout out to the hewlett foundation. i also want to shout out to a
book you haven't seen yet but if you want to have a degree of how important the work of the archives are, i have seen this in manuscript form, garrisonnew going to give you chills. eight is a phenomenal piece of work, a great piece of history. as someone who doesn't spend as , ih time as garrison did want to thank everybody for continuing to arrange things chronologically because i really never know what it is i'm looking for. in order for me to understand what is happening in context, it is the bins and, as you are
maintaining that are helpful. don't get too organized. clerics i have a question which i think either of the members of congress may answer. my perspective is that of someone who has done some research over the years and what the repositories qualityatly in terms of in futility. , ining about john mccormick 1990 seven, i went to boston university and was stunned by
clerics in my particular case, it did not have a huge amount of thought. it was very pragmatic. there was a gentleman who was a state senator in massachusetts. i supportedidates his father was a house speaker and u.s. senator. me to the folks there. i did not put any restrictions or recommendations on the donation. they did send out an archivist that would be of interest. but i did not put a lot of thought into organization. given where we are now, if i
knew then what i know now, while not quietly as badly organized as the brown paper bag's, they some help.itely use i can't say i had the foresight to do it then booked it's a good question. >> i had a friend who left congress the four i did. he announced he would not run again. a real leader particularly on workforce issues. he said why would i leave all of this for someone else to write what they think my record is?
i'm sure they throughout half butstuff we gave them particularly if you are interested in harry -- in history, there needs to be more feedback between the people running the libraries as to who uses what. there is something important to the process you can't see. same with on tax policy and other things. there was a sense you needed to be exposed to the great minds.
you wouldn't really see that in the paper. at the simplest level of how this democracy functions, you can see a lot. in the new group, it's all electronic. constituent mail electronically. you have to decide do you print off one copy of all their constituent mail? i don't know how they do it. i remember when i was first , when we went into see toby, he said we answered every phone call with a hard copy. is just do what because that how you hear from your people.
there is a lot to be learned about how to cultivate this and it's important because so many other repositories of that conversation have collapsed. there's a lot to be learned from the communication amongst members about bills, with constituents. some of the letters you would get were very valuable. i think the libraries are remarkable resource we have but like lots of resources, as times change, you have to figure out how to get people interested and i think we are missing with our high school kids how much fun it would be if we could figure out
how to let them do original research in the library about some of these people and have it organized in such a way that we could do that. >> over the last 20 years, we have seen an increase in civic education in terms of common core. we learned with our head and our gut. over the last 20 years, we have seen a disturbing trend downwards. in high school and middle school student government, they are
going away. children may be learning in terms of book learning about civics education but are they allowed to have their own student government, there class president and actual election? the answer is yes, many will still have it but they are on a rapid decline. we learn by doing. i think it's wonderful you are associated with university libraries and big-city libraries. if there is a way for you to imagine reaching out to those middle school kids, their teachers, the communities that no longer have student government, there has to be a way to bring it back.
we are one generation away from our demise. if someone wants to ask the final question. we have four more minutes. >> i will throw in an anecdote. david mentioned how the republican party used to be the liberal party and the democrats were the conservatives but in 1948 was the first deer democrats ever took control of the massachusetts house of representatives. and the democratic minority leader that year was this guy named tip o'neill.
he found this great question to organize elections on. the question was to legalize birth control. the republicans were in favor and the democrats were opposed so tip o'neill owed his becoming speaker of the house to being opposed to birth control and that's how different massachusetts was in 1948. [applause] >> when we took the majority in the house, we took control of a lot of property. new created a team that was to go out and they closed for five where houses and stuff. i just tell you that story because of trump comes in and
looks at the government, that could be not all bad. the way we have done things is layer the new on top of the old. partly our personnel management law as well as our collective bargaining agreements may convince a real look at what we are doing and how we are doing it. we are literally desperate. no business is operating like it was 10 years ago. no employee is doing the same thing because they have different tools.
look what has been happening at the irs, making it partisan partly because of this issue of who is nonprofit is too complicated and who should be free. , i've comeax reform to the point where we can't do this because when you are a means thatervice, it the state government stops doing it and pays you less to do the same thing they were doing for more money and there is no way you can keep doing a good job but everybody pays you that. there is a real coming to terms with what we are doing as opposed to what we are saying and i think without a real , we ought to be
thinking about what is the structure of our government. >> thank you for inviting us here today. ,ongresswoman nancy john sent thank you so much. i understand we are right at the moment when you get food for yourself so we will see you later. thank you. >> coming up this weekend on tonight, astory tv, look at the confederate civil war prison, state university of new york and the 13,000 union soldiers who died and the
postwar trial of its commander and rework. >> by the early fall of 1864, 5000 men died between august and october. total, nearly 13,000 union soldiers died in andersonville in its entire existence. about 45 death rate of percent. >> at 9:00, brent glass talks about his book. at 11:00, stephen breyer on the influence of foreign relations.
>> this power is primarily the presidents. congress, not the court but what about the civil liberties? sometimes, there is a clash. why is there so little? cicero was not one of the founders but they did know. 10:00, the 1960 democratic and republican national conventions with the democratic party nominating john f. kennedy and vice president richard nixon accepting the republican nomination. in 1952 and 1956, millions of democrats will join us not because they are deserting their party but because their party deserted
them at los angeles two weeks ago. >> all over the world, particularly in the new were nation, young men are coming to power not bound by the traditions of the past, men not blinded by the old fears and hate and rivalry, young men who can cast off the old slogans and delusions. the republican nominee of course is a young man, but his approach is as old as the ken lay. >> for a complete schedule, go to c-span.org. >> the first time in our nations history that a woman will be a major party nominee. >> at the democratic national
convention in philadelphia, hillary clinton becomes the first woman nominee of a major political party for president of the united states. monday onage begins c-span and c-span.org. >> up next, military historian there at tillman discusses three of his books, including forgotten 15th. he talks about military aviation during world war ii. this was recorded in scottsdale, arizona in 2014. it's just under an hour and 20 minutes. >> good afternoon. it's sunday and i am delighted ,o welcome back barrett tillman who has written over 40 books. most of