tv John Roy Price The Last Liberal Republican - An Insiders Perspective on... CSPAN November 12, 2021 4:33pm-5:33pm EST
>> c-spanshop.org is c-span's online store. browse through our latest collection of products, apparel, books, home decor, and accessories. there's something for every c-span fan. and every purchase helps support our nonprofit operation. shop now or any time at c-spanshop.org. john roy price senior domestic advisor to president richard nixon gave a behind the scenes view of the 37th president's domestic agenda. which included guaranteed family income, a national health insurance program, and support for children's nutrition. the richard nixon foundation hosted this event. >> welcome to the nixon library. my name is jim byron. i'm the executive vice president of the richard nixon foundation and a special hello to everyone watching on youtube this evening.
or the nixon foundation website or all of those watching on c-span. i have the pleasure to welcome and introduce two eminent scholars of richard nixon and the nixon era. our moderator is frank gannon. member of the prestigious white house fellows in the nixon administration who later served as special assistant to counsellor donald rumsfeld. he was the chief editorial assistant to nixon on the research and writing of his memoirs during the former president's years in san clemente. and he has the rare distinction of having sat and interviewed the former president for 38 hours on tape in 1983. and those materials now reside in the university of georgia's peabody archive. our distinguished speaker this evening is john roy price. a rhodes scholar and harvard educated attorney who cofounded
a society and migrated from the 1968 rockefeller campaign to that of richard nixon. he proudly joined the new nixon administration in 1969. working with daniel patrick moynahan and later working with domestic adviser john earlson as special assistant to the president for urban affairs. john later went into banking, ultimately becoming head of government relations for chase manhattan bank and president and ceo of the federal home loan bank of pittsburgh. john has joined this evening by his daughter alexandra and son phil. welcome both of you. john's new book, the last liberal republican and insiders perspective on nixon's surprising social policy revealed influence of those including moynahan and earlman across the broader administration priorities and how these men who surrounded the president and indeed the president himself impacted american social policy for
decades, much of which we're only realizing now. often richard nixon surprised democrats and shocked republicans with the extent of his pragmatism. he proposed a guaranteed family income and almost achieved a national health insurance program, if you can believe it as a republican. i'll save the best of the conversation for these two gentlemen. please join me in welcoming john price and frank gannon. >> john is eminent, and i am imminent. division of labor. well, it's a pleasure to be here with an old friend. actually not former colleagues because you had gone by the time, very wise move, by the time i arrived at the white house.
but john has written a -- a very important book combining several things. it's an autobiography of a marginally interesting person. john has led a very interesting life. you are there at every major event, you're there at every major event. you knew all these people and worked for some of them. it is really interesting. and then he presents a very authoritative overview of the liberal and conservative ways of the republican party from the '30s really to the '70s and beyond. and he then also has an insider's view of some very -- of how some very tasty and substantive sausage was domestic sausage was made in the west
wing of the nixon white house in those early, most productive years of '69, '70, '71, those first three years where everything seemed possible and the stars were kind of in line with the staff of nixon and some of the congress. not much got through, but at any rate. and then which i think is rare in the nixon literature. you provide an objective but emphatic view of nixon and what he was like. that's rare. partly, you bring your own experience and observation, but you also bring your own judgment and intelligence. so it's a -- and, this might sound very heavy, but you have a way with words. you have an eye for telling and colorful anecdote which makes it really easy to read and easy to remember.
and turn of phrase. so good on you. and most important thing is -- and you will sign some books afterwards. so let's get to the book and begin at the beginning, tell us something about yourself. >> i was actually the product of a small liberal arts college in iowa. grenell. and it was, and i think this is revealing. hundred years ago and more it was one of the cradles of something called the social gospel movement. which was essentially a christian-inspired effort to propel students out into the world to take an interest and to be active about the needs of other people less fortunate people. so that i think put some kind of a stamp on me emotionally and even in terms of career choice.
and among the others who drank that kool-aid, if you will, harry hopkins, who graduated from grenell in 1912, went on to be franklin roosevelt's key aide in the new deal. and he was a product of that. so i think that is something looking at me which is important. >> was that in your mind when you chose it? >> you know, it is -- i found going back to a diary entry of mine. >> amazing, the discipline of this man. talk about your -- you call your day book yours diaries. >> i don't know when i started but with some seriousness maybe when i was 25 years old. and i found a diary entry saying i really want to do something about people's welfare and health, and that's what i wound up doing. >> because this is where this
begins because was he your roommate or just a friend there? >> jerry. >> oh. >> jerry voorhees is a name you californians may recall, jerry voorhees was a member of congress, a liberal democrat. against whom richard nixon ran in 1946, and he whopped him. and it was regarded as a very negative campaign. voorhees underestimated him, but the point is at grenell, a class mate of mine was a youngster named jerry voorhees jr. we went to a program together where i heard nothing but diatribes about richard nixon. we told me in 1960, election night, his father, the former congressman, rented a suite in the blackstone hotel in chicago,
a democratic hangout, filled the bathtub with ice and booze and beer and wine, and brought in anybody, anyone who would want a drink or two or three to celebrate nixon's defeat. so i say in the book, i had an odd odyssey from that background and then through liberals and working for rockefeller, the paragon of a 1960s liberal republican, to wind up with richard nixon who wasn't at all, who was therefore wrongly not seen as someone as really as progressive, liberal, as someone who believed in government as an agent for good. and strong government. >> and your father, who was an engineer or a chemist? >> he was a chemist. >> not a politician. had observed nixon because he had gone to where he observed eisenhower cabinet meeting? >> yes.
my dad was from a coal mining family of ten kids in west virginia. they moved from coal camp to coal camp. and first in his family ever to go to college. but he wound up long story short, he wound up in the executive office of the president in charge of defense globalization. and in the course of that he had a couple of occasions to present to the cabinet. and he had impressions of richard nixon. which weren't hostile or negative but they weren't glowingly positive. he just wasn't sure about him yet. and this was on the lip of nixon's nomination in 1960 to run for president. >> there is so much in the book and we have so little time so i'm going to just go for it. one of the figures that as you move to describe in the actions or wings within the republican party. one of the most prominent figures is tom dewey, had been
governor of new york and i guess attorney general of the state. he was big crime buster. >> thomas dewey is long neglected but a fascinating fellow. and he was from michigan. and he was an opera singer. a bass baritone and actually a very good voice and finished at michigan and came to new york to seek his career as a lawyer. all the while taking voice lessons and through much of his time in the early politics he sang in jewish synagogues in new york city to have enough money to help afford his rent of the but dewy was from a wing of the party that was originally very teddy roosevelt oriented and then he fielded much of the progressive wing of the office in the 1912 election, and the guy who seemed to emerge as the heartthrob of the more liberal wing of the party was someone
named herbert clark hoover, who later became an icon for a very different reason. in hoover's case all these young guy likes thomas dewey and herbert brown, all kind of came together and sought their careers together. for them in the 1920s, herbert hoover was a beacon of activism and so on. and dewey sort of picked up that torch. and then as hoover turned on the new deal, dewey and his classmates, his friends became the sort of standard bearers of the more moderate wing of the republican party. and they were good at it. tom dewey was elected three times as governor of new york. an ethically diverse, incredibly difficult to manage state. and the politics was difficult to manage. but dewey became the focal point and managed to organize a sturdy, well disciplined party
that was not ideological but sort of practical. and yet they were progressive. they were pro civil rights, they were well oriented toward labor. and so he became sort of a early hoover type figure. and then what happened was there emerged this terrible bifurcation within the republican party where dewey represented the more active, pro government, more liberal wing. and bob taft, robert taft became the focal point of the more conservative crowd who were the anti-new deal, anything but the new deal and basically that's sort of extirpate much of it. and that struggle continued through dewey's nominations, twice for the presidency and stood down third time. he was a figure of hatred and reviled by conservatives, but he
still was there behind the scenes as the dominant figure in the more pro government, more liberal wing of the republican party. >> he was i think he was relatively short in stature. he was very dapper. that's a photograph of him. and alish roosevelt longworth, theodor roosevelt's daughter, who also had a way with words, she said he looked like the man on top of the wedding cake. >> the little man on the wedding cake. >> and that cut. it was -- easy to make fun of people -- >> but it took. >> he was very responsible though for nixon's emergence. >> yes. >> as -- well, his emergence, and sudden emergence having been elected in '52 as senator and two years later ike's nominee and running mate. and there was a -- you describe in 1952 where nixon speaks and then dewey comes up. >> dewey pulls him aside
afterwards and takes him to his room, and says just stay the way you are, and you could be president some day. and they talk a lot, and then he brought in herb, who later was eisenhower's attorney general, and dewey's campaign manager. brownell said in his memoir, it was clear nixon was going to be candidate for vice president. so nixon came in with wind in his sail, wind behind his back. you know the wonderful irish saying. dewey was very instrumental helping to place him on the eisenhower ticket. >> richard norton smith? >> yes. >> quote wrote a very fine book. >> he made it more prominent, again. very important figure. >> and then again, you know, leapfrog forward to the society. what, where, why, who? >> rippon society was an outfit
of young people like me, graduate students, lawyers, political scientists, biologists, engineers from the cambridge area, tufts, m.i.t., harvard law school. and it was a group of people who felt vaguely oriented toward a more conservative party, the republican party, but within it, more sort of like a benjamin israeli and the british but we have to do things in order for the society to stay whole and for people to have confidence that things are working for them. specifically it was modelled on a british organization called the bo group which was part of the conservative party there, but it was sort of a academic c
policy world, and office holders. so the rippon side set out with this grant pretension to try to be something like that within the republican party. >> on a ten-point scale, it was a group of liberal inclined republican students entirely? i students. >> grad students. >> and then graduate. it was founded in -- >> it was actually starting to percolate in 1962. and it finally really clicked when kennedy was assassinated. we really looked at ourselves and said what are we all about, and what should we do? and we found a name for ourselves. which is where the republican party was founded, out of a whole bunch of different prior organizations lick the quicks and know-nothings. so it had specific records.
>> we're in a disadvantage of not being able to really see, but you and i showed it to you earlier. it's a group photograph. i see david young who became a white house colleague. >> david was just one of those moments in time he happened to be in a meeting. >> and i think this is when power went to your head and you started doing like this was the vanity fair treatment. >> i somehow managed to position myself in the cabinet. but that was a group. there was a bunch of different institutions in the cambridge area. >> another one of your founders was a great friend of the librarian, a very important part of the nixon administration and speech writing office. >> a superb human being, and he went on in the world of words
and wound up being publisher of the international tribune and still at work writing and teaching at george washington university. >> how would you characterize the general circa '66-ish? >> nixon backed barry goldwater very strongly, so he went and traveled with nixon for months during that autumn. >> rockefeller was sort of a big state, big governor, big spender part of the party. >> an interesting thing i hadn't
thought of. before he deflated romney was that -- >> romney was the governor of michigan, the father of mitt romney. george romney was a christian who never finished college. he'd been over in mexico, but he was someone who wore his heart on his sleeve. he was a very passionate, committed person particularly to civil rights. he would wade into opposition parties. he'd jump into a trade union meeting or jump into a democratic committee or something. so he had the strength of his convictions. and his poll ratings were extraordinary. it was interesting because he had an appeal to the evangelicals. but the sense of faith in him
was so powerful that he had very strong appeal to evangelicals. rockefeller didn't. rockefeller had the albatross around his neck and he divorced. romney for a while was riding high, and rockefeller kept trying to help him giving him extraordinary files of research and information on policy. he was always extraordinary. and rockny tripped and fell and so rockefeller took over. >> you say romney peaked too early and then he famously or infamously came back from vietnam from a trip to vietnam and just observed dags well, he had change said his view and said because when he went there he'd been brainwashed by the briefings he'd been given by jeanne mccarthy.
>> romney said i'd been brainwashed. jeanne mccarthy said it only took a light rinse. >> we have a picture of you and nelson rockefeller. tell us about this. >> i wound up i mentioned a lot of us were partial to rockefeller. and i'd done some summer work with rockefeller at the regional what we now call opposition research on barry goldwater. this is taken from 1968 when i wound up being the head of delegate intelligence when nelson rockefeller's presidential campaign when we built files on all delegates to the convention. and they're trying to understand what their social associations were, what their interests were, foreign policy and defense,
health care. as i say in the book he had a glow. going back to romney, romney's real feelings about religion and such, nelson rockefeller would occasionally try to lumber through that sort of field, and he had what he called the bomb fall speech, the brother hood of man, father hood of god. and it was not very successful. he was a strong personality, strong figure. and he was sort of the case in point of a republican in that era who wanted to do things with a true government. >> richard norton smith seems to becoming the chief of this evening but he did a superb
biography of nelson rogers several years ago. tell us another titanic figure you knew and worked with closely. tell us about pat moynihan. >> pat moynihan is one of the linchpins in any story 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 an active partisan democrat. he tried unsuccessfully to run in new york city for public office, and he'd been despiced during his work in the kennedy, johnson administration and published something called the negro family report, which essentially was a very sympathetic understanding and
consideration of the racial question. but then the thing that caught nixon's attention about moynihan despite the fact, pat 1968 works for bob kennedy and then worked for hubert humphrey actively promoting him. but what caught nixon's attention was a speech moynihan gave 18 months earlier to the ada. >> american democratic action. >> and it was sort of the wheel house of liberal democratic politics. and moynihan said in 1967, '68 was paralyzing close to what we had today. you had race riots in over 100 american cities in that 18-month period. you had extremes on both the right wing and the left wing.
and moynihan gave this speech. he said liberals and the conservatives must come together, must find a way to work together to protect the institutions and to help confident of the institution that are there to help them. but at the same time to understand society is made up of what's called little platoons like the knights of columbus or the societies of which we belong or the churches. and so nixon and moynihan
clicked over that article. >> i mean, politics breeds strange bits and opposites attract but policy breeds interesting fellows. moynihan as you can see i think he was 6'5". steve hess describes him as an elf. he had this kind of elf wit which was not a premium in the nixon white house. he was not this breath of fresh air but this air of change. and then ends up as nixon's -- nixon's domestic policy so we
have a very short clip from firing line in which william buckley introduces the democrat moynihan or the then partisan mannman and we butted up against a very short extra in october '71, a longer conversation. this would give you an idea of the nixon, moynihan dynamic, the relationship and sort of the interplay between these two minds because they were really intellectuals working on that
policy. >> good morning, mr. president. >> where are you? >> i'm in new york writing a speech and give the russians a little hell. >> good. you got a minute? >> i do, sir. >> in fact, i'm writing a speech and i'm delivering tonight at 7:30. i'm right in the middle but you can listen. is your retention time that long? >> i never -- >> don't admit it. >> can i just say to you that the new yorker is running three long, long sections. i think you will be pleased. they are really astounded as they found out what you've done. they couldn't believe it. the other thing is i will -- this pakistan thing i'm thinking about in terms of the pakistanis i think may need your help and advice. if i could trouble you after you come back from china and things like that. >> that may be too late.
why don't you come down in a month after the u.n. session. >> well before. the session is ending so december maybe. >> december is a good time. december or november even. and also we got to get henry on this and we're working like hell on it. >> mr. president, you're doing wonderfully. >> i'm fine. we're working on a lot of things and incidentally some developments next week. >> i'll look at that. >> okay. how do you like what you're doing? >> i like the u.n. and i'm trying to keep out of bush's hair. and i'm i'm about to make a speech to the russians. >> was that intelligible,
generally? >> he begins by saying he goes to make a nasty speech about the russians, and he goes onto say the russians had pointed out or had criticized us, the u.s., because there'd been a late reunion demonstration against the administration. and moynihan was going to tell them the last labor union demonstration in russia had been suppressed in 1917 by the communists and there hadn't been any unions in russia since then. so he was looking forward to that. we went past a photograph of arthur burns. when nixon brought moynihan in as the head of the urban affairs counsel which was essentially a domestic policy thing, operation, he also brought in as counselor of the president which was sort of on the same level, arthur burns who was -- who was
the antithesis of moynihan, what was up with that? >> arthur burns had known nixon from the eisenhower-arthur days. he unlike moynihan chewed on a pipe stem all the time. >> i think you can see even in this picture. >> and arthur was a very decent, good human being. he went onto a further great career, chairman of of the federal reserve, born in washington. he was indeed a conservative, and nixon was a political matter and realized and his top national security advisor and from the harvard institute. and he thought, i've got to take care of my concerns from the more conservative side of my party. so he reached out to arthur, and he said i know you want to be
chairman of the fed, but in the meantime i want you to come in the white house and oversee broad domestic policy. so he came in and politically it was the counter point to the moynihan appointment. and it was clear nixon set them up as sparring partners, intellectual sparring partners because they would fight each other with great decorum and quite ortickletly, but that went on for the next, almost 12 months, 11 months. >> so i think if we move forward past we've got the photograph -- oh, yes, this is the urban affairs counsel. and i think this picture tells a lot about pat moynihan's sense of humor. >> this is our young staff, and we were young. i was an old-timer.
and there were three i think 72 years old, maybe 23. and then we also had the gentleman in the frame portrait in the midas part of our group, thomas nass. this is a portrait moynihan somehow dug out of the smithsonian where it was all for us all to see. and he glowered and looked gloomy. the reason was he'd just been swindled out of whatever he'd built as his cartoonist. >> they have a policy. if you're in the government you can choose from these various collections the paintings or the art you want to illustrate your office. so nixon chose the gilbert stuart portrait of washington
for above the mantel in the oval office. and president obama chose the -- i think the statue of liberty, just the torch and the statue of liberty. strange flowering presence. it was a very young staff, and i looked up moynihan -- when nixon and moynihan met moynihan was 42, nixon 56. so really that first year in the presidency. that stuff was really young. larry i think he was in diapers. so what was the urban affair counsel, and what did it do and what didn't it do? >> here's the actual body and
this was the very first executive order richard nixon signed, signed two days after the inaugural parade was over. and what had happened was nixon having served under eisenhower was very familiar with the national security counsel which we've all heard and the president was chairman and vice president was a statutory member and you had four or five statutory members. this was nixon's idea about formulating domestic policy and talked about it themselves after the election. said he wanted something in which in the formal way could manage the process of making policy without domestic issues, whether it was development and health nurns and whether it was welfare, he wanted someplace for it to be discussed top level of
government, and he used it as i would have expected he would. he was almost like an appellate judge, my view of richard nixon. he had that legal side to him. and what he had done typically before one of the meetings of this group he would have read all the papers religiously, and then he would treat the meetings as though there was an oral argument like the judge was listening to an oral argument from the attorneys presenting the case. he personally was very involved in it. pat moynihan right there behind with the executive secretary to this body, to the domestic cabinet. and i succeeded pat ten months later in that role. but nixon chaired 21 out of 23 meetings of this body in his first 18 months of office. he was into it. and as i say he would read the
document. >> i think we have it. yes, this is a -- is this the meeting at which you replace moynihan? >> my back is to the camera between moynihan. and this was the first time i took over from pat, december 5, 1969. >> it's interesting you describe he would spike the judge because the recent book about three days at camp david august of '71 with new economic policies, and he describes nixon's role there as really as a judge. in your book you describe the back and forth arguments like a tennis match where nixon would -- and nixon was a masterful manager. he brought in very formidable intellect as people with experience and of opposing
views. and then he would give them a chance to -- he would listen and read all the material and then he'd bring them together either here or camp david over that weekend and have them argue their -- with him ask the judge. >> pat buchanan throughout our time there, pat who has become a good friend said in his book, he said nixon wanted to hear all points of view. and he would hear the arguments as well as those people could make those arguments. and then he'd make his decision. >> again, time is not our friend. so many things in your book i know the family assistance plan is very important. but the things you write about what nixon did, the white house conference on hunger, i think the first and only one. and they had thousands of the attendees and they had 1800
recommendations telling you what you wrote in which 1600 were carried out in two years. it was a tremendously successful plan. it's hardly known at all. >> yeah. the hunger issue is one that is global radar for nixon and about nixon's role in it. as dean he convened in may of 1969. but and probably on moynihan's suggestion a very interesting, very tough french medical doctor who was at the tufts medical school at the time and harvard medical school and went onto run tufts. he'd been in the french resistance, been captured. he escaped by shooting and killing an ss guard. and then he was captured again and wound up as the party
said -- >> and this is actually christmas eve of 1969. that's john on the left, the resistance fighter, and those are 2,000 recommendations being handed to nixon. nixon then handed them to me to implement them. then we sat down at his desk. >> and this is christmas eve '69. >> nixon in his may speech proposed radical change in the food stamp program. at that point it was not in every county in the united states at all, and there was no uniform eligibility standard for appointments for levels of assistance. he changed all that and created the food stamp program, which became the first true income guarantee. and it was income tested that if you simply had no money, no cash
to buy food stamps. so that was the way it was. it's one of the few things he undertook with the snap program now. supplemental nutritional assistance program. it feeds tens of millions of american people. but in that -- in that christmas eve meeting this is really important. yes, nixon gave me the recommendations to follow-up on, but then his thoughts turned to what we'll discuss, the welfare reform, fam assistance plan which was essentially guaranteed income with some working plan for all families with children. and he said to me -- he said, you know, it's interesting. we're going to get it because he said i think the democrats really have to go for it. and we must do it. and he said but you know what will happen every year there'll be a battle over raising the
level of benefits and it'll get passed and the benefits will be raised. he said, yes, there will be those partisan fights, but he said the important thing is we will have established the principle, the principle of assuring that there is a minimum floor of income under all american families who are chosen. >> not the least accomplishment 06 your book of the prestigious research a lot of it downstairs here that you paid the charge that nixon wasn't really interested in this domestic legislation, that he put it up to outflank the left or burrlicman and moynihan charged him. and you just chapter and verse how he wanted it done and how he invested his time and energy and prestige. >> he did. he was a product of his time. and like many today he had a distaste for the dole, for
people living on something when they didn't work when they could and ought. but at the same time he understood, you're sending in a building here and the museum which shows in the house where he was born. these people were not -- they were not living on clipping coupons. and they were aware -- nixon was aware of hardships and poverty. and he took to heart the needs of people. and coming from that world war ii and veterans mind-set and that the government having done something for them, he was not one of those republicans who want to tear up and throw away the new deal. they did not want to call it a world war and come home going to combat. so nixon had an instinctive preference for using the
government to address these needs. and that's what drove him, i think. and moynihan and he were intellectual sparring partners. and yes, moynihan was for it, but so was milton friedman who'd been the economics advisor to barry goldwater's campaign in 1864. and so too had even bell laird who sponsored the experiment when he say in the congress. so it was a bipartisanal year. >> and then in the '68 campaign eugene mccarthy had campaigned on it. but then when the time came for the vote mccarthy didn't support it. >> where was richard nixon? and you just don't want to give credit to the other side.
>> the liberal side. nixon referred to moynihan he referred to as our monument. that's how seriously he took this and how disappointment it was. >> this will be what remains to remember us by. and he lamented to moynihan. he said i had only three members of the cabinet with me, but he said i'm doing it because -- and he said i have my doubts. but he said i'm doing it -- >> and his own congressional relations it was subverted. two very quick things because after the earthquake what is the christian workingman's anti-communist defense rivers and harbors act of 1869? >> doesn't that leave you salivating? you want that bill to pass. that is the name the department of health, enlication and welfare conjured up to tease
their secretary who was worried about the nixon idea being called a negative income tax. and so his staff kicked up this -- >> the christian workingman's anti-communist national defense rivers and harbors act of 1969. >> bingo. anyway, so they came up with that but they decided to move it forward. things like the child tax credit today. there's a lot of resonance. to me 50 years later we're hearing a bit of an echo of that nixon proposal. you're talking about not welfare programs. you're talking about addressing poverty, child poverty. that's where nixon's head was. if i go back to that for just a moment. in 1968 as today and as for maybe a decade now, immigration is the hot button. you know, it's the one that will get you lined up on the opposite
sides of the room. so in 1967, '68 welfare was the hot button. and image was portrayed female head of families in big cities being the only recipients of welfare. and nixon wanted to get away from the racial stereotype and wanted to address not just tinkering with a welfare program, but he wanted to address poverty. and that's what the family assistance plan was designed to do, put a floor on their income. >> the ad restaurant a was a washington establishment, just an italian restaurant -- the scene in your book is a dinner you have with pat moynihan at the restaurant. >> pat was a long advocate of
what's called the childrens allowance and you're seeing that now, the child allowance. and he bought into the european idea of it, which was the universal giving of a certain amount of dollars preyear to every man, woman and child, the children's allowance. and my objection to it was that, you know, you're going to give that to bill gates and to melinda, she's now going to file separate income taxes, but if you're going to give it to everybody who doesn't need it. and moynihan kept going on this track. and the other school of thought was this negative income tax where you'd have an income tax program which would have the payment reduced as your income increased. so we finally talked them around to that. and the folks, the staff people who have been working on this with no, no positive response from linden johnson had come up with the idea and rip on society
for several years and come up with a negative income tax. and a few days before nixon declared the presidency i had dinnerwer him, and i said you ought to think about this negative income tax. so anyway, we finally got that in front of him, and moynihan said we've got the answer, go with it. and he read the charge. and he managed to really get nixon to agree to it. >> you have lots of interesting sort of side remarks, but they're very important about the importance of naming things and the negative income tax, what you call a thing can affect it. it's also interesting the society produced the term "new federalism," early on, which wasn't terribly successful in catching on.
you write some really interesting things about him. you say i think he entered the presidency hoping to hitch power to decency. >> what do i mean by that? i think you have to read his inaugural address. he, i'm told, read the inaugural address of every president from the time the republic began. he read and digested it. and in that address there's impetus in the building here. but he was taking a very conciliatory attempt at dampening down the noise level and the hostilities. the inaugural address is a beautiful, beautiful address. so this was where i feel that it was really who he was, really who he was. and pat buchanan, again, my
friend's adversary, pat said the phrase he has on his tombstone, that history can give no greater accolade and effect than call someone peacemaker. pat says when he took office he wanted, he hoped, he believed, he could truly, truly bring greater levels of peace and harmony to the world. buchanan said he really believed that. and i'm saying that nixon really believed some of what he was trying to do in the domestic arena and health insurance for all in food stamps for the destitute and hungry. i really had the connection there was something in it from his quaker background, something which was not entirely secular. there was something more than that. >> actually here within the shadow of the house in which he was born and raised, and you
point you you think a lot of the staff didn't know about this. because they were approaching him on a purely pragmatic political and didn't understand that kind of spiritual dimension. i quote you. nixon was such a mixture of intense qualities, work, resentments, guile, brilliance, courage. what ultimately enabled him to be bigger was that he was a man who felt so many anxieties himself and could feel those of the ones less well-off and of those who felt condescended to or disdained. he was a man of a most rigid self-presentation and with an obvious energy for political success. people thought that was all there was to him to get behind that iron curtain is hard. and i think you're right, and i think you do. >> yes. i feel that the staff by large
and the ex10ed appointment family in the department, they understood nixon's anger at the bureaucracy and how you get upset at it. so they sympathized whenever he'd get upset about the bureaucrats. and so there were these reactions nixon had they would accelerate if they could because they knew it would get -- and he'd feel good if they told him something that excited him and got him angry. but i don't think they understood this under dimension. somebody like was very faithful in trying to carry out nixon's decisions. in terms of making the welfare reform get embraced and try to push it through, earlicman and nixon said in one meeting he
said we have doers, and he said you must have the -- the ones who the vision and the sense of the use of language to help animate peoples will to be with you. but he said he's got to have also the doers. in fact our family assistance plan needs to be done. >> and in the end after the sort of golden age of moynihan he left, and the urban affairs counsel was replaced by the domestic counsel run by john burlicman. >> what happened was the urban affairs counsel got formalized by an act of congress and got a formal structure. >> why did you write the last -- what do you want people to take
away from it? >> i alluded to what i think as i said somewhere in that diary of mine 60 years ago i felt it was inspiring and i think coming back to some of that concern nixon had. my hopes may have been dashed even people go in opposite directions on another issue like josh holly and mitt romney were talking about child tax credits, about child health. so i'd like to think that one thing this might do is to say, okay, here's the battle that was fought before 50 years ago. and a lot of it relevant today. and the concern is very much the same.
and i thought to myself one of the things -- there are many -- welfare reforms was there'd been a cup of so-called income maintenance experiments, one in seattle, one in denver. and they were very small samples. and the question was as john urlicman used to put it, will it send people to work or just help them lie about? those were his words. and those experiments appeared to begin to say people may sort of lean on the oars a little bit if they have this income back. right now and that was an argument look at those experiments. that was an argument of family assistten. today we would have a huge experiment right now which a result of the payments now going
out to people every month until the end of this year. now, the likelihood is probably pretty strong if any part of the $3.6 trillion exercise gets passed, it might be the child tax credit. in which case you will have a 2-5 year expend nationally with an incredible amount of data going to be generated. after which and through which you could take a hard look at that policy of income support, family floor on your income and have some real strong analytic stuff to go into the final endings of the game. >> john, thank you for writing the book and being a friend of the foundation and library, and thank you for being here tonight. >> thank you for having me. c-spanshop.org is c-span's
online store. browse through our latest collection of products, apparel, books, home decor and accessories. there's something for every c-span fan, and every purchase helps support our non-profit operation. shop now or any time at c-spanshop.org. up next biographer kate clifford larson recounts the life of the late civil rights leader. this was hosted by the center for brooklyn history in new york. >> welcome to tonight's program. it's a discussion of civil rights leader. my name is marsha eli. i'm the director of programs at the brooklyn public library center for history, and the culture team presents the team that brings you climate reads and so much, much mor