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tv   John Roy Price The Last Liberal Republican - An Insiders Perspective on...  CSPAN  October 31, 2021 5:51am-6:50am EDT

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>> thank you. ' come to the nixon library. i'm executive vice president of the richard nixon foundation and the special hello to everyone watching on you tube this
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evening are the nixon foundation web site or all of those watching on c-span. i had the pleasure this evening of welcoming and introducing to the eminent scholars of richard nixon in the nixon era. her moderator this evening is frank gannon a member of the prestigious white house fellows in the nixon administration who later served as special assistant to counselor donald rumsfeld. he's the chief editorial assistant to former president nixon on research and writing of his memoirs during the presidency years in san clemente. and he has the distinction of having seven interviewed the former president for 38 hours on tape in 1983 in those materials reside in the peabody archive. our distinguished speaker this evening is john roy price the road scholar and harvard educated attorney who migrated from 1968 rockefeller campaign
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to that of nixon. he promptly joined the new nixon administration in 199 working with daniel patrick moynihan and later working with domestic adviser john ehrlichman a special system to the president for urban affairs. he ultimately became head of government relations for chase manhattan bank and present ceo of the federal bank of pittsburgh. a special note jonas joined this evening by his daughter alexandria so welcome to both of you. john's new book "the last liberal republican" an insider's perspective on nixon's surprising social policy" reveals the influence of those of moynihan and ehrlichman and the broader demonstrations very at ease. these men who surrounded the president impacted american social policy for decades much
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of which we are only realizing now. richard nixon shocked democrats the extent of his -- he proposed a guaranteed family income and almost achieved a national health insurance program as a republican but i will save the rest of the conversations for these two gentlemen so pleased turn me in welcoming john roy price in frank gannon. [applause] b at the division of labor. it's a pleasure to be here with an old friend and not actually a former colleague to does you were gone by the time i arrived. john has written a very
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important book combining several things. he has led a very interesting life and in many ways you are there every major event and you worked for some of them. then he presents a very authoritative interview of the liberal conservative wings of the republicans party and an insiders view of how very tasty and substantive sausage domestic policy sausage was made in the west wing of the white house in those productive years of 69, 70
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and 71 those first three years were the stars were in alignment with the staff and even some of the congress. at any rate than which is rare in the nixon literature you provide an objective view of nixon and what he was like and that's where and i think you bring in your own experience and observation but you also bring in your own judgment and intelligence. and this might sound very happy but you have a way with words. you have an eye for the colorful and the goat which is easy-to-read and easy to remember and you can turn a
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phrase and the most important thing is you will sign some books or words. so let's get to the book and began at the beginning. tell us something about yourself. >> i was actually the product of a small liberalized college in iowa, grinnell and it was revealing. 100 years ago or more was one of the cradles of -- but essentially christian inspired effort to propel students out into the world to take an interest into the act if about the needs of other people. that i think put some kind of the stamp on me emotionally and
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among the others who drank the kool-aid if you will was -- at gretchen at -- graduated from grinnell. he was a product of that so that's important. >> what set in your mind when you chose it? >> i found it from a diary entry of mine. >> yout talk about your diaries. >> it was with some seriousness maybe when i was 25 years old and i really wanted to do something about people's health care and health. and this is where zoellick began. was he your roommate?
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>> cherry voorhees was a member of congress to liberal democrat against whom richard nixon ran in 1946. it was regarded as a very negative campaign and he underestimated nixon. a classmate of mine was a student and we went to a semester program together where i heard nothing but diatribes about richard nixon and he told me in 1960 on election night his father the former congressman ran the suites in the blackstone
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hotel filled the bathtub with ice here and whine and brought in anyone who wanted to celebrate nixon's defeat. as i say in the book it's an odyssey from that background and through working with nelson rockefeller was a paragon to wind up with richard nixon who i think romley was not seen as someone really as a progressive liberal and an agent for good. >> and your father who is an engineer or chemist and was not a politician had observed nixon because he hit gone to observe the eisenhower cabinet.
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>> he was from a coal-mining family of 10 from west virginia. he was the first in his family to go to college but he wound up in the executive office of the president in charge of defense and mobilization and in the course of that he had a couple of occasions to present it and he had impressions of richard nixon which worked hostile but they weren't glowingly positive. >> they are is so much in the book and we have so all-time so i'm just going to start one of the figures as you describe in the actions i guess of the wu republican party one of the most -- party's thomas dewey of the governor of new york and
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attorney general who is a big crime buster. >> he was long neglected but a fascinating fellow. he was from michigan and he was an aspiring opera singer. he was a bass baritone and he had a very good voice. he came to new york to seek his career as a lawyer and through much of his time he sang in the jewish synagogue to sing to have enough money to pay his rent. originally he was very much teddy roosevelt oriented and teddy roosevelt had fueled much of the progressive wing of the party. the guy who seem to emerge as the heartthrob of this liberal wing of the party was someone named herbert clarke hoover.
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all these young guys like herbert rondell came to new york together mostly from the midwest and started their careers together. in the 1920s herbert hoover was deep into activism and dewey picked up that torch and do we and his classmates his friends became the standard bearers of the more moderate wing of the republican party and tom dewey was elected three times as the governor of new york and it was incredibly difficult to manage but he became the focal point and he managed to organized a well disciplined party which was
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ideologically practical. they were well oriented toward labor so it was part of an early hoover type system and then what happened was this terrible bifurcation within the republican party the more liberal wing and robert taft became the focal point of the more conservative party who were the anti-new deal and to pull it up by the roots. he stood down a third time and was a figure of hatred reviled by conservatives but he was still seen as the dominant
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figure in the more liberal wing of the republicans party. >> he was relatively short of stature very dapper in there's a photograph of him. roosevelt's daughter who had a way with words said he looked like the man on the top of the wedding cake. >> the little man on the wedding cake. >> it's easy to make fun of people. he was very responsible for nixon's emergence. you described in 1952 where nixon speaks in dewey comes out
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>> he said just stay the way you are and you can be president someday and they talked a lot and eisenhower's attorney general and campaign manager and brownell says is in his memoir do he made clear to me that this guy nixon will be due is candidate for vice president so nixon came with the wind behind his back. so dewey was instrumental on the eisenhower ticket. >> he's an important figure. and he wrote a blog every of him. >> a very important figure. >> and just leapfrogging forward what why how when into? and who?
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political scientist biologists and engineers from m.i.t. and harvard law school and a group of people who lean towards the conservator republican party but the british conservatives said we are conservatives but we have to do things for the society to stay whole as a unit and people at confidence when things are working for them. it was modeled on the british organization which was part of the conservative party like the tory party but it rich between the policy world and officeholders. he tried to be something like
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that within the republican party. >> was on it 10-point scale a group of liberals inclined republicans didn't entirely? >> young and practicing or whatever. it was actually starting in 1962 and when kennedy was assassinated. they said what are we all about and what should we do and we found a name for ourselves which is in wisconsin where the republican party was founded out of a bunch of prior organizations of the know-nothings and such so that specific deference to the founding republican party. >> way of the disadvantaged of
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not being able to see it but i showed it to you earlier, a photograph. i see david young who became a white house colleague. >> it was one of those moments in time. >> i think of this is when the power went to your head. this was like the "vanity fair" treatment. is that you in the program? p it was a bunch of different institutions. >> another one of your founder members was a great friend to the library in who is a very important part of the nixon administration. >> he was a superb human being and he went on into the world of words and the one that being of
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publisher at the tribune for 15 years. he was teaching at george washington university. how would you characterize the general view of nixon circa 66-ish? >> i supposed mixed. nixon backed barry goldwater very strongly. he traveled with them for months but the rest of the rip on people leaned more towards nelson rockefeller who emerged as counterpoint to goldwater. big state digs governor big spender progressive wing of the party. >> the interesting thing that i hadn't thought of romney.
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>> he was the governor of michigan and his father -- george romney was a person who never finished college and he was born in mexico but he was someone who wore his heart on his sleeve. he was a very passionate person and he was a scrapper. wind he was running for governor he would wave at the opposition parties and jump into the trade union meeting or at the democratic board. his poll names or explosives. he appealed to the evangelicals. but he had a very strong appeal.
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for a while romney was riding high. there were extraordinary files of research but he always wanted the nomination. iraqis say he famously or infamously came back from vietnam from a trip to vietnam and observed -- but he changed his view because when he went there they have been brainwashed by the briefings he had been given by mccartney -- mccarthy
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>> i have been brainwashed gene mccarthy said. >> we have that picture of you with nelson rockefeller. tell us about him. >> i mentioned a lot of us were partial to rockefeller and i had done some work for rockefeller as opposition research on very goldwater. this was taken from 1968 when i won the being the head of intelligence when nelson rockefeller had his campaign and 33 delegates in the convention. that was when i was working and as i say in the book he had the
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globe. a glow. he was a schmoozer and not particularly articulate but romney had real feelings about religion in such and he would occasionally try to lumber through and he had the brotherhood of man fatherhood of and it was not very successful. but he was at the same time a builder and a strong personality and he was muscular and new york and republican in that era who wanted to do things for government. >> richard norton smith did a superb biography of nelson rockefeller several years ago.
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tell us about another titanic figure that you worked with closely. talk about pat moynihan. >> that moynihan is one of the eminent stories of the first nixon white house and in my view of nixon's appetite for policy his desire to use facts as well as politics to make a decision and pat moynihan was a partisan democrat. he tried unsuccessfully to run in new york city for public office and he had been despised during his work in the kennedy and johnson administration in something called the family report which is a very sympathetic understanding active consideration of the racial
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question but he caught nixon's attention. pat moynihan worked for kubrick humphrey actively promoting him but what caught nixon's attention was a speech that moynihan gave 18 months earlier to the ada, american democratic action. >> it was the wheelhouse of democratic politics and moynihan said in 1967 and 68 with paralyzing with close to what we have today. you had race riots and in over 100 american cities. you had extremes on the right-wing and the left-wing. moynihan gave a speech in said look our democracy and their
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institutions are fragile and they are at risk. he said liberals must come together to work and to find a way to work together to protect the institutions to help build the confidence of the american institution. he was sort of like edmund burke and away. he and my book was a true conservative. he served governmental structure of values and you have to look at what people's needs are and address those needs but at the same time to understand society is made up of what he called little to -- like the knights of columbus for this society which we belong or the school alumni. nixon then moynihan clicked and
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nixon asked moynihan to come in and talk with them despite the fact that he worked for two democratic opponents. >> politics breeds strange bedfellows. it policy. >> moynihan as you can see was 6 feet 5 inches and was described as an elf. he had an elf and -- which is not a great premium in the early white house so he was not a breath of fresh air but a wind of change and he put together to show the juxtaposition of somebody who is campaigning for robert kennedy and was killed and he ends up as nixon's competitor of his domestic policy so we have a very short clip of the firing line in which
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william buckley introduces the band democrat moynahan and we butted up against a very short excerpt from a phone conversation in the out october 71. this will give you an idea of the knicks that can moynahan interplay between these two minds because they were intellectuals working on that policy. >> area much. very much. >> daniel patrick moynihan is a president of urban affairs speaking at a rally appropriately scheduled on halloween night. predicting the end of the world. >> good morning mr. president.
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>> where are you? >> i'm in a dark writing a speech but i'm going to give the russians a little. >> have you got a minute or is it a bad time? its brief so you can listen in and his ear retention time that long? >> can i just say to you that "the new yorker" is running three long sections and i think you'll be pleased. they found that what you had done and they couldn't believe it. the other thing is this pakistan thing i'm thinking of it in terms of the pakistanis and i need your help and advice in if i could trouble you. >> it may be too late. what you come down in a month.
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>> in december may be? >> december is a good time. if you have thoughts, november that maybe better. also we have to get henry into this. we put in 250 million-dollar --. >> no one else is done anything. you sound wonderful. very as good as they sound? >> i'm doing fine and developments next week may be of interest. >> i look forward to that. hadi like what you're doing? >> i like the u.n. and i'm about to make a very -- to the election. >> was that intelligible
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generally? >> he said he was going to make a speech about the russians in the goes on to say the russians pointed out or criticized us the u.s. because we have a labor union demonstration against the administration a moynihan was going to tell them the last labor union demonstration in russia had been suppressed by the communists and there hadn't been any in russia since then so he was looking forward to that. we went past the photographs of arthur burns. when nixon brought moynahan in as the head of the urban affairs counsel which was essentially domestic policy he also brought and as counter to the president -- consular to the present on the same level arthur burns who is the antithesis of moynihan. what was up with that?
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>> arthur burns had no nixon from eisenhower white house. he thought moynihan was an academic and he chewed on the pipes them all the time. >> even in this picture. >> arthur was a very decent good human being and he went on to a real estate career and as an ambassador. he was conservative and nixon as a political matter realized two professors from harvard in the top national security adviser and daniel patrick moynihan of urban affairs he thought i have to take care of my concerns so they reached out to arthur and he said i know you want to be chairman of the fed but in the
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meantime i want you to oversee broad policies so he came in and put it late counter pointed the moynihan appointment. they were intellectual sparring partners because they would fight each other with great decorum and quite articulately that went on for the next almost 12 months. >> i think if we move forward past that we have a photograph. this is the urban affairs counsel and this tells a lot about that moynahan sense of humor so can you describe what's going on there? >> this is his young staff and we were young. i was an old timer and there were three who were 22 years old maybe 23 and we also had the
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gentleman in the frame in the middle thomason asked the satirist who punctures a boss tweet in politics of the 19th century. moynihan is somehow -- in the basement office of the white house and the glower like he had been swindled out of whatever fortune he made by some investment so there he is. >> it's a policy that if you're in government you can choose from these various collections of paintings if you want to illustrate so nixon chose the portrait of washington for the mantle in the oval office and
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t.r. and president eisenhower and president obama chose i think the statue of liberty just the torch of the statue of liberty and president clinton chose -- a strange flowering presents. it was a very young staff and when nixon then moynihan met moynihan was 32 when nixon was 56. >> ziegler was 29. >> and larry hague b was -- so what was the urban affair counsel and what did it do? >> here's the urban affairs counsel and this was the first executive order that richard nixon signed signed two days
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after the inaugural parade and he's with members of the domestic cabinet. he was very familiar with the national security council which was created in 1947. the president was chairman of the vice president was a board member and he had five statutory members. this was a formulating domestic policies in his early iterations with patrick moynihan after the election. he wanted something which in a formal way could manage the process of making policy whether it was rural development or whether was health insurance he wanted some place for it to be discussed at the top level of government and he used it as i would have expected.
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it was almost like an appellate judge. he had that legal side and typically he would have read all the papers religiously and he would treat the meetings like an oral argument like a judge listens to an oracle -- oral argument. this is what he used and he personally was very involved. patrick moynihan was the executive secretary to the domestic cabinet. >> i succeeded pat 10 months later but nixon chaired 21 out of 23 in his first 18 months of office. as they say he would read the document.
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>> this is the meeting which you replace moynihan. >> my back is to the camera and this is the first time i took over for pat in december of 1969. >> it gets interesting you describe the professor jane gardens book about three days at camp david when the new economic policy wasn't he described nixon's world there really as a judge and in your book you describe back-and-forth arguments like a tennis match where nixon was a masterful manager. he not only fear but he brought in formidable intellects as people with experience of people with opposing views.
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.. >> the family assistance plan is very important but the things you write about with conflict on hunger i think the first panel we went the attendees who have 1800 recommendations to which 1600
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were carried out within two years so he was tremendously successful. >> the hunger issue about nixon's role that he can be in the white house conference with nutrition and health may 1969 and he brought in a suggestion of a very tough french medical doctor who was at the tufts medical school at the time and harvard medical school and went on to run tests and he had been captured and accused of killing an ss card then captured again and wound up that he wound up and we have a photograph of him.
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>> this is actually christmas eve 1969. he is that resistance fighter and then the 2000 on recommendations and then handed them to me to be implemented but perhaps this is the lead into something else. but nixon in the mean speed proposed a radical change and at that point it was not in every county of the united states at all of those are reported eligibility standards and the requirements for levels of assistance he changed all of that and created which became the first that was income tested and they didn't have to pay anything that they simply had no money or cash to buy food stamps that is one of the few
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things he undertook was the snap program and then to feed tens of millions but in that christmas eve meeting, this is really important and with our recommendations but then turning to welfare reform and family assistance plan which was guaranteed income for all families the children and he said to me essentially we will get it because the democrats have to go for it and you must do it that you know what will happen it will be a battle over raising and the
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republicans will oppose the anti- say yes there will be those partisan fights but we will have established the principle of assuring there is that floor of income. >> not the least accomplished of your book of the prestigious research you are paid the charge but not interested in the domestic legislation when he was timed and seduced that you just chapter and verse how you wanted it done and went back to get it done and invested his time and energy and prestige. >> he was a product of his time and like many of today he had a pace for people.
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>> . >> and these are not living on clipping coupons. and we are aware and nixon is aware of hardship so we took too hard to the needs people and from that world war ii and veteran mindset with the g.i. bill for sense of unity and with the government having done something, he was not one of those republicans that wanted to tear up and throw away the new deal common not to come home and fight that so nixon use the government to address these views and that
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is what drove him so to be intellectual sparring partners so was milton friedman who was the advisor to the goldwater campaign university of chicago and with that income maintenance experiment if he was homeless. and it was a bipartisan idea. >> and then in the 68 campaign that was campaigned on but then when the time came to vote, mccarthy did not support it but then it was richard nixon. >> that's like being verse today and you just don't want to give credit to the other side or the liberal side. >> referred to as our monument
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and that is how seriously he took this and how disappointed he was. >> our monument and this is what they will remember us by and then he said i had to be members of the cabinet but i'm doing it because i had my doubts. >> with his own congressional relations liaison to congress. >> two very quick things what is the christian working man's anti-communist rivers and harbors act of 1969 quick. >> is a name the department of health education and welfare conjured up to appease the secretary who was worried
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about the nixon idea being called the negative income tax. so the staff cooked it up one more time. >> christian working man's anti-communist national defense rivers and harbors act of 1969. >> there you go. they came up with that it was a negative income tax which means like a child tax credit today there is a lot of lessons six years later we hear a bit of that next and proposal talking about not welfare programs but addressing poverty. and if i can backtrack come in 1968, as today or a decade immigration is the hot button and then to wind up on opposite sides of the room so
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in 1967, welfare was a hotbed and the individual is portrayed by minority headed in the big cities the only ones of welfare and nixon wanted to get away from the stereotype and wanted to address not just the welfare program but to albany and that is with the family assistance plan was designed to do. >> the washington establishment has been the italian restaurant with the library in the bus terminal. >> and with the child is an
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allowance. and he started with the european idea which is a universal giving a certain amount of dollars for every man woman and child as a children's allowance and my objection was you will give that to bill gates and melinda who will now file separate income tax returns but he doesn't need it. so at that point the other school of thought was the negative income tax we would have that program that it is reduced as your income increases so finally we talk them around that. >> the folks in the staff people with no with no positive response from lyndon johnson came up with an adf and then to come up with a
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negative income tax i had actually engaged and i had dinner with him and said you want to think about. so anyway we finally got in front of him and moynihan said go with. and then manage and then nixon would agree to it. >> it is very important of the negative income tax to name things so it's also interesting the society produce new federalism early on. >> but there is so much else i have to miss because i want to ask about nixon you are some interesting things and some that i think he entered the
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presidency opening hoping in areas of human they need to hitch power to decency what do i mean by that? >> read his inaugural address from every president when the time the republic began and in that address that he was taking a very conciliatory attempt at harmonizing to tap down the noise level and hostilities the inaugural address is a beautiful address so this is where i feel that pat cannon who advised my friend or adversary said that
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history can be no greater accolade then the peacemaker passes when he took office to truly bring greater levels a piece because he really believe that and i'm saying that nixon really believed some of what he tried to do the domestic arena for food seems for the destitute and hungry really had a conviction something that was not entirely secular. >> actually here within the shadow of the house in which he was born and raised you
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point out that you think a lot of the staff did not even understand this because they were approaching him on a purely pragmatic political and did not understand the spiritual dimension. nixon was such a mixture of intense qualities guile courage billions what enabled him is that he was a man who felt so many anxieties himself and could feel those who felt condescending condescending or disdain that are the most rigid self presentation and the obvious energy people thought that was all there was to him to get behind that iron curtain is hard. thank you are right and you do. >> yes. i feel the staff by and large
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they understood nixon's anger and bureaucracy and how he would get upset because then the new so they live sympathize about the bureaucrats but they didn't understand this other dimension. but as well as moynihan in terms of making the welfare reform to embrace and try to push it through. as nixon said we have poets
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and doers to enemy people's will also you have to have the doers winning hand is a doer so the fact is the family assistance plan needs to be done. >> and in the after the school and page moynihan he left and the affairs council was replaced by the domestic —- counsel. >> the national security council is a statute so what happened was it was formalized by an act of congress without formal structure. >> why did you write the last liberal republican what you want people to take away
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from? >> i alluded to when i think it is topical from 60 years ago i felt inspired about welfare and people's well-being and i think we're on the moment and coming back to some of that concern that nixon had hopes may have —- that even people that are going in the opposite directions just like mitt romney was talking about the child tax credit and child health. so i like to think that one thing the smoke do is to say here is a battle chapter and verse that is relevant today the argument is very much the same. so i talk to myself one of the
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things that caused welfare reform to fail was there have been some income maintenance experiments one in seattle and one in denver. and there were very small simple so my question was , with this hope to incentivize people to work? and then to begin to say. we have the income backing. and that was opposing family assistance in the middle of a huge experiment right now. and the payments are now going out to people.
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if that's any part of the three.6 trillion-dollar exercise get past. in which case you will have it to through five-year expanded run his incredible amount of data generated. but to take a hard look at that policy of income support. >> thank you for writing the book and being friends of the foundation of the librarian thank you for being here tonight. [applause]

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