Jon Meacham with George Stephanopoulos on Destiny and Power

20:01
directly ahead of his own political
interest and you know he his great
regret is saying read my lips
Dukakis told me a great story about
their post-election courtesy call and
he’s there standing there talking and
Bush says well I certainly can’t raise
taxes in the first year
and Dukakis is
like this guy just kicked my ass saying
he never raised taxes and he’s talking
about in the first year you know it was
it was an amazing moment but I think he
redeemed himself at every point and he
knew in some ways talking about ninety
two after the budget deal after the
triumphs of the first Gulf War he he had
a sense that the work of his presidency
if that up to that point was over yeah I
think the work of his life was over if
you look at it I mean biographically you

 

 

23:50
else he wanted to go to the UN Nixon
wanted him to work for Haldeman he sends
but Bush brilliantly intuitively again
appealed to Nixon’s class anxieties and
said well mr. president I’ll do what you
want but nobody up in New York is making
a case for you and I could go up there I
know that world I can do it so here’s
the son of a failed grocer from Yorba
Linda being told by the son of a Polish
senator from Connecticut that he can go
up and represent Richard Nixon in this
zip code
that appealed to Nixon Bush understood
how to reach Nixon so Nixon thought
about it while Bush was off getting his
office calls him back in and says no
you’re going to the UN the next job was
being Republican National Chairman
during Watergate what second prize but
he and that’s the origin if you want to
draw a line to the wimp factor because
Nixon decided Bush wasn’t really tough
enough because Bush wasn’t willing to go
out and cut every Nixon enemy throat and
so and he talks about he says he thinks
I’m not oh he thinks I’m not a killer
you clearly admire President Bush you
know really admires you was there any
moment as you’re working on this and
you’re writing this where you cringe
that’s it boy I wish I didn’t know that
yeah I wish he had I think he committed
a sin of pride in picking Dan Quayle it
was his first executive decision to be
made totally on his own since he went on
the ticket with Reagan he never sat down
with Jim Baker and Atwater and ales and
mossbacher and Nick Brady and said here
are the choices what do you think he
wanted to surprise them because he
didn’t want to be handled and I just
think yeah vice president Quayle was
very kind to me in this project he’s a
lovely man more prepared than people
gave him credit for at the time although
was better allowed it will to call that
a bad roll out like calling the second
world war and unpleasantness
Jesus God listened to you
you really have gone GMA is a big

 

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham

Thomas Jefferson hated confrontation, and yet his understanding of power and of human nature enabled him to move men and to marshal ideas, to learn from his mistakes, and to prevail. Passionate about many things—women, his family, books, science, architecture, gardens, friends, Monticello, Paris—Jefferson loved America most, and he strove again and again, despite fierce opposition, to realize his vision: the creation, survival, and success of popular government in America. Jon Meacham lets us see Jefferson’s world as Jefferson himself saw it, and to appreciate how Jefferson found the means to endure and win in the face of partisan division, economic uncertainty, and external threat. Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history.

Jon Meacham: “Thomas Jefferson: the Art of Power” | Talks at Google

49:45
Is there some place where digital democracy can
contribute to the good as opposed to what I think it
tends to do now, which is reinforce preexisting biases.

I’m speaking in vastly oversimplified terms.
But one of the things that the digital revolution has made
You can make yourself heard anyway, whether it’s in
comment sections, or Twitter, or Facebook, whatever it is.
Every man is a pundit now.
And that’s great.
But with power comes responsibility.
And so as FDR once said, simply screaming from the
rooftops doesn’t help us a whole lot.
So is there a way to harness this amazing tool to create,
what one would argue, could be a more
constructive political dialogue?

I would hope so.
And I think we’re not even halfway through this, right?
These are the first moments of this.

And so I think you all–
I don’t mean to preach at you– but you all have a hell
51:02
of a responsibility here.
51:04
I mean, this is Google.
51:08
Some guy last night in Seattle asked me where he could find a
51:12
particular letter of Jefferson’s, and I thought he
51:15
meant the idea.
51:16
No, he meant the letter, the actual one he’d written.
51:19
And so I said, well, I don’t have the date off
51:22
the top of my head.
51:23
He said, well, do I have to Google it?
51:24
I said, well, if you have to ask, then yes you do.
51:27
That’s a key thing.
51:28
So you’re a verb.
51:30
So you’re one of the key cultural landmarks of the age.
51:37
So I think that there’s an enormous responsibility there
51:40
to try to figure out how do you use this immense sea?
51:45
How do you channel it into productive ways?
51:49
So I should be asking you all this, is my point.

It’s Now Donald Trump’s America. But George Bush’s Stamp Endures.

Arguably, that moment proved a precursor to this one as conservatives angry at his apostasy, led by a onetime backbench congressman from Georgia named Newt Gingrich, rose to power within the Republican Party and toppled the old establishment. The harder-edged Gingrich revolution in some ways foreshadowed Mr. Trump’s extraordinary takeover of the party.

Mr. Meacham said the current world of cable talk and relentless partisanship took shape during Mr. Bush’s era. “He saw it all coming, and he didn’t like it,” he said.

Mark K. Updegrove, the author of “The Last Republicans,” about the two Bush presidencies, said, “In so many ways, Bush was the antithesis of the Republican leadership we see today.” He embodied, Mr. Updegrove added, “the

  • humility,
  • civility and
  • self-sacrifice

of the best of the World War II generation. He played tough but fair, making friends on both sides of the aisle and rejecting the notion of politics as a zero-sum game.”

.. For all of the condolences and tributes pouring in to the Bush home in Houston from every corner of the world on Saturday, Mr. Trump’s very presidency stands as a rebuke to Mr. Bush. Never a proponent of “kinder and gentler” politics, Mr. Trump prefers a brawl, even with his own party. The “new world order” of free-trade, alliance-building internationalism that Mr. Bush championed has been replaced by Mr. Trump’s “America First” defiance of globalism.

.. Mr. Trump has demonstrated that he sees the go-along-to-get-along style that defined Mr. Bush’s presidency as inadequate to advance the nation in a hostile world. Gentility and dignity, hallmarks of Mr. Bush, are signs of weakness to Mr. Trump. In his view, Mr. Bush’s version of leadership left the United States exploited by allies and adversaries, whether on economics or security.

.. Mr. Bush was, in effect, president of the presidents’ club, the father of one other commander in chief and the father figure to another, Bill Clinton. Jimmy Carter always appreciated that Mr. Bush’s administration treated him better than Ronald Reagan’s or Mr. Clinton’s, while Barack Obama expressed admiration for the elder Mr. Bush when he ran for the White House.

.. Mr. Obama was among the last people to see Mr. Bush alive.

.. “What the hell was that, by the way, thousand points of light?” Mr. Trump asked scornfully at a campaign rally in Great Falls, Mont., in July. “What did that mean? Does anyone know? I know one thing: Make America great again, we understand. Putting America first, we understand. Thousand points of light, I never quite got that one.”

.. “It’s so easy to be presidential,” Mr. Trump said at a campaign rally in Wheeling, W.Va. “But instead of having 10,000 people outside trying to get into this packed arena, we’d have about 200 people standing right there. O.K.? It’s so easy to be presidential. All I have to do is ‘Thank you very much for being here, ladies and gentlemen. It’s great to see you off — you’re great Americans. Thousand points of light.’ Which nobody has really figured out.”

.. In 1988, when Mr. Bush was seeking the presidency, Mr. Trump offered himself as a running mate. Mr. Bush never took the idea seriously, deeming it “strange and unbelievable,”

.. “I don’t know much about him, but I know he’s a blowhard. And I’m not too excited about him being a leader.” Rather than being motivated by public service, Mr. Bush said, Mr. Trump seemed to be driven by “a certain ego.”