tv Neal Gabler Catching the Wind CSPAN December 12, 2020 8:50pm-10:01pm EST
refusal to understand that they have votedn the mechanisms that have allowed these things to happen. welcome to the commonwealth club. i am here on an on line program as the commonwealth cl has done since about virus began in march. instead of live programs we are doing livestream programs of people and we we are picking up authors from across the country. you don't have to be i california which is very nice and toght we have neal gabler
who many of you recognize and i just wanted to say that we have hundreds of these programs on our web site a their youtube annel. you can look at the ones we have got already. tonight we are going to be discussing "catching the wind" ??? an interesting analysiof the kennedy wave scene in three parts and also how it crashed, a very interesting and i take it from what i read this is the first lume of the 2-volume ted kennedyiography through 1975. welcome kneel-in thank you very muchor joining us. it's great that you switched your career to writing these great fees. the first question i have is inert knowledge and at the end
you mentioned the book started off as an idea to write a book about political morality. did your publisher then say there's not enough material out there to make the book on political morality? >> he would definitely say that it's interesting the origins of this book i was coming off of a ee of walt disney so this seems very much when i propose my next bk toike publisher which was knopf and iave becomeeally intrigued by the american soul, which i had already thought, and this is going back some years now and it took me 10 years to writehis book so we are going back more than a decade actually and i was intrigued by the idea tt the american soul was not quite as bright as wd all like to think back then.
now it'second nature to us but it wasn't quite second nature to us 10 years ago. i propose the booknd worked a proposal for the book. i called it a biography. it's almost an encyclopedic story and narrative. we like to think of ourselves of the most idealistic exceptional country the city on the hill and all that stuff than i thought there's this other story that we don't like to met and yet in many ways it did as much to shape what this country is or perhaps even more what this country is than the idealistic vision. initially knopf was very receptive and i will say even in retrospect i thought this would be a very powerful and important book. but knopf after their initial
enthusiasm for the book my interviewer came to mean he said you know nobody wants to read about how bad they are. and i kind of joked with him and half jokingly i said no, nobody wants to read about how bad they are but they love to read about how bad other people are. and the people are likely to want to read about how bad other people are. >> that's what reality tv is all about. >> i wasn't able to proceed without book but i started thinking about another question and they should say george most biographies of i assume and i can't speak for them but i assumed assume they begin with the subject of the book. if you're writing about ted kennedy you begin with ted kennedy but i'm going to write a book about ted kennedy and i never saw any of my books that way. i always look at my looks with a question and then i found an
individual who would allow me to explore that question and choose life can serve as a metaphor for the examination of that question so i was coming off of this biography and i got to thinking about an allied question and one which may be the central question of american politics over the last 50 years which is what happened to american liberalism and the notion of morality that we will discuss in the next hour. it was then that i thought a lens for this examination might the ted kennedy and when i went to crown publishing after leaving knopf partly because they wouldn't allow me to her write the book i went to crown and the editor there said what about ted kennedy? and that sparked me to this idea
that i could write a story of american liberalism to the life of ted kennedy. it was a long-winded answer but that's how i got there. >> that's a great answer and it also illuminates wide your book is laid out the way it is and why you ended the way you do. it's a great explanation of how you got to this book and makes it clear. for those of you haven't read the book you will figure it out when you read it. you'd deftly have an arc and very few people that write up biography would end the way you ended the first volume but we'll get to that but i thought it was really powerful. one of the things you say about the whole kennedy family upfront which some people obviously agree with another once don't is that they inspired people to bring out their best the angels
of our nature as is said and of course some of the speeches are inspiring but there's also a real problem with the kennedy family. >> many problems with the kennedy family. >> just the whole history and how tragic that history is on top of everything else but just the way they live their lives and exactly in line with the better angels of some of the rest of us. but still it's dedicated to certain ideas and you show how a lot of that was done some for clinical reasons and i find that combination is very good for politics. let's talk about it doesn't seem to have a mixture here at all but a mixture of real ideas real history and the usual politics
because one of the things that i recall in stories about how the things we take for granted were created people talk about not watching it be created because it's like watching sausage being created and there are plenty of examples of that. including martin luther king and his being of politician on the poll tax amendment. we will go back to ted kennedy but i thought it was very interesting. did you find out anything else about how the civil rights era of came because i was one of the big things. >> well kennedy because john kennedy introduced the civil rights act in 1963 which ultimately became the civil right act of 1964 passed by
lyndon johnson. he took a wouldn't say leading role initially in civil rights legislation his maiden speech although really wasn't his maiden speech as senate was in defense of the civil rights act of 1964 but when you talk about the politics of civil rights regarding the kennedys and i think that's what you were alluding to hear george. john kennedy was a pragmatist. he was basically an idealist and he had no overwhelming desire to pass legislation when he was elected president and entered the presidency. that actually came to him and they came to him after george wallace barred the door at the university of alabama and it was that night in fact that john
kennedy gives the speech that basically introduces the civil rights act which becomes the civil rights act of 1964 talk about clinical things in politicians particularly today being political not only before the war but political after the war. in this case and ted kennedy said this in the speech that i just alluded to he said my brother was the first, forget exactly right versus its the first to raise the moral issue here among presidents and he is accurate their knees also accurate that john kennedy at that point, a man who was devoutly political in his entire career. he was not a great idealist. he was essentially a pragmatist. that night he became an idealist
in 1963. he realized and he said you know there's a great deal to gain from this politically. the democrats are trying to win the south and it was necessary to win the presidency is as kennedy had done in 1960 race but kennedy felt this was a time when you put politics aside because there was a moral issue. when john kennedy and robert kennedy also had no great affinity for the civil rights movement and in fact anyone who knows his career knows there's a great deal of tension between robert kennedy in the civil rights movement and in the civil rights march of 1963 the president and robert kennedy neither one of them wanted anything to do with civil rights leaders back then and eventually robert kennedy did meet with them. there was attention because robert kennedy again had no
great feeling for the civil rights movement. ted kennedy was somewhat of an outlier in this because his brothers told him did not attend the march. do not attend the march and ted was a little afraid of attending the march because he was afraid he might he come a target. his brothers were considered dedicated his civil rights movement that ted did attempt that margin he said it had an enormous impact on women in some ways ted kennedy became the most adamant of civil rights advocates in the kennedy family and not for political reasons. i don't want to just stick with robert here except the driver had no great affinity for the civil rights movement as attorney general. once john kennedy died as i think everyone realizes and of course people don't know the kennedy history anymore.
robert kennedy's life was transformed. he was a man transformed by his brother's death and he felt at that point that he had to pick up the legacy that his brother had just begun and part of that was the civil rights movement. robert kennedy again there was no political benefit in a country which was white and increasingly conservative or robert kennedy picked up that mantle and he fought for civil rights as strongly for that brief five-year period is any individual in american politics in the became as we all know probably the leading figure, the right figure in the senate in the civil rights movement. when he died ted kennedy and he used this term in a speech he gave in worchester massachusetts after bobby's death i'm going to pick up the ball and standard
speech and he became adamantly dedicated to civil rights. the thing i want to exercise here is that for all three brothers alternately the attraction to civil rights was a moral one and not a political one. it's strange and it's hard for us to conceive of that in today's political world. >> family dynamics are really amazing and you go back to teddy's childhood in the second but i want to make sure i didn't forget one thing and people know about his father joe kennedy and we won't go into his whole history but he had an obvious political path that he had interests in the presidency himself but in 1957 the saturday evening post joe kennedy said he
wanted john in the white house, bobby is the a tourney general and teddy is a senator that was 1957. by 1962 the time you're describing 63 and 64 that was true. that's quite a prediction for a father to make and to make it come true. he made it come true. >> it wasn't so much a prediction as a succession. this was the way it was going to be. he had set this up. in fact in some way joseph kennedy dedicated his life to the success of his sons and when joe jr. died as we all know john filled the world with what john kennedy jr. was supposed to play and then it was john kennedy's turn but i have a title and a chapter called succession which
is the idea of how the kennedy family was going to move through the ranks of american politics and the things that joe was denied because he had presidential aspirations himself which he could never realize i will add parenthetically that franklin roosevelt in the 1940s talked about those presidential aspirations in one of the reasons he sent joe kennedy to become the ambassador to england was joe kennedy would try to fight for the presidency but not so much fear that he would take it from them but he felt that joe kennedy would be a fascist. joe kennedy's instincts were basically fetishistic and that concerned roosevelt and it's very interesting it's the bulwarks of american liberalism after kennedy had his own pro-clip of these.
>> that's very interesting interesting thing about family dynamics and other books go into detail about that as well. the fact that joe kennedy loves his son so much and wanted them to succeed so much that he didn't care if he were at doctor or a lawyer. i think you should go into politics and i think you should read fascist and he didn't really say that but if you disagree with me that won't get in my way. it is what you should do when you are president. it's the outcome you are looking for, not the actual idea. >> his sons all opposed him ideologically and to joe kennedy's credit and there is not a lot to put to his credit i would say but to his credit in terms of his childrearing he inculcated in those boys
enormous independence including independence from him and he was nothing but in a political sense a danger to his sons political careers though in an economical and financial sent to a sort of a pain by financing their campaigns. the suns struggled to. distance and to say i'm not like i father. i think one of the contributions to their liberalism was that very concept of saying i am not my father. kennedy at one point when he was quite young took his father to task for his anti-semitism and you don't think of the kennedy boy standing up to their father. in fact ted kennedy never did. he did but he followed his
political career but never went face to face her toe-to-toe with his father when he did that and robert kennedy as a boy to do that. there was a way in which the boys created space and distance between themselves and their father partly to advance their political careers because the democratic party at that time there was no advantage to being the son of joseph kennedy ideologically speaking and financially speaking so there was that kind of dynamic. let's focus on ted as we should and go back to his childhood a little bit. before we go there want you to tell the story about his first communion because it's like you know how could you lose an election in the senate and i had my first communion with the pope. >> with the pope, that's right.
that's why i'm joe kennedy was the ambassador to great britain and they were probably america's most notable catholic family and with the investiture of the new pope they went to the vatican and little ted kennedy, little ted kennedy celebrated his first communion with the pope at the vatican and later the pope went to visit, shouldn't say later the pope had visited the kennedys and bronxville when they lived in bronxville nor what -- new york is part of the tour that the cardinal had made in the united states and a visit to franklin roosevelt which had been arranged by joseph kennedy so the cardinal who became the pope visited the kennedys and bronxville and celebrated communion with ted kennedy and the vatican. >> we won't go into the details but the network that the kennedy
family had to the father is in many different areas and responsible for the masses -- massachusetts political successes they have. >> there would be no successes were it not for joe kennedy's -- ted kennedy enters the senate when he's barely 30 years old barely old enough to be a senator with no political experience whatsoever grade he had been the assistant d.a. in suffolk county. we know how we came about it manipulation and the machinations of joe kennedy who said to his older sons to john and bobby you have gotten yours announced teddy stern. and teddy stern was to be the senator for massachusetts. what a way to start your political career.
>> the other thing i think people don't focus on the smudges john fitzgerald honey fitz says he was called the maternal grandfather was also a boston politician and it changed the way he did politics. let's talk about that because it's very interesting. >> john fitzgerald was a congressman and the mayor of boston and when you look at ted kennedy and we always talk about kennedy, kennedy kennedy but as i point out in the book ted was much more fitzgerald in many ways than he was a kennedy. by that i mean his grandfather honey fitz as he was called was very, very different kind of character both morally and aesthetically from the kennedy
family. he was boisterous come he was loud and a glad hander all of those things on the aesthetic side and on the moral side he was a person who cared very deeply for ordinary people and who empathize deeply and when ted was young and in many ways the kennedy side of ted was a very harsh side. i can go one at some greater length about that but i will just said this before i get back to honey fitz because you have to understand the kennedy fitzgerald side most kennedys often portrayed that doting sometimes mother and what a great mother she was. joe kennedy was the ice and rose was to fire up the family.
a complete mischaracterization of that family. rose kennedy was self-centered and completely and just sit aesthetics of the family and how everyone looked rather then in any kind of maternal warmth that she was would give. she was in many ways to her youngest son ted and abusive mother because poor ted would the shunted from one school to another so that he couldn't make friends. he was a one point shuddered into a school and he was four years younger than everybody else in the last but rose didn't care because rose was interested in where she was going to be in if she was in palm beach she would take ted the palm beach and if she was in hyannis she would take ted to hyannis and that she was in europe which he very often was she would send ted to boarding school. ted kind of had a childhood that was extremely lonely and abusive
not only in many ways to his mother's indifference but also abusive by the classmates in his schools because he was a little boy and girl to be an handsome and athletic guy but with a little kid is nick-named was biscuits. he ate too much and he was a pudgy little kid and other kids at school made fun of him for it i want to ship over to the other side because he frequently sunday's in boston with his grandfather fitzgerald who would take him on the a tour of the city's and explain history to him and ted was an expert in boston history. he came home in large measure because of his grandfather but his grandfather did something else. it had an indelible imprint on ted kennedy and that was his grandfather would go into the hotel and eat he go into the
kitchen of the hotel and he would talk to the kitchen workers and he knew many of them. ted walk down the street and he would say hi everybody and people would come up to him and ted would later say i don't know whether he used this exact word, i don't believe he did but basically what he said was i had empathy -- i learned empathy for my grandfather. you couldn't learn empathy from the kennedys. but he learned his empathy from honey fitz and also he modeled himself very much in the image of honey fitz. john and robert were not glad hander's. they didn't love retail politics and as a matter fact i hated retail politics. ted kennedy like his grandfather
loved retail politics in the learn to love going out and shaking hands and embracing those workers in the kitchen the way his grandfather did i'm walking down the street and saying hi how are you doing in and is 30 thing i can do for you? that was the fitzgerald side of ted kennedy and as i said earlier ted kennedy was the most luxury and of all of the kennedys. >> that was a great summary of his childhood and you go into much more detail and it's very interesting. let's move to his becoming senator at 30 years of age. his brother is president of the united states and bobby is already the attorney general and 62 was the election so i think the cuban missile crisis was already passed. that was right at the time of the election. >> it was over during the election and ted was running for john kennedy's seat to finish
out john kennedy's term and here's an interesting thing that toti about the kennedy ambition and opportunity. when john kennedy was leaving his senate seat his harvard roommate who had very little political experience would occupy the seat and occupies the correct term because the idea he was going to warm that seat for ted kennedy but nobody told them he was warming it for ted kennedy. back he knew the kennedys well enough you probably guessed. >> well he should have. he was thinking he was doing this and nobody told him and tell long down the line that wasn't going to happen and this was not ted seat and ted was
going to run and ben smith was going to be a fix fix it from t. ben smith was a great kennedy loyalists and all of that but nothing stood in the way of kennedy and he didn't ted's own ambition although he was pretty much pushed into the seat via by his father and as i said earlier he said to john and robert you have got yours announced ted's turn to get his and ted though we didn't do more, he wanted the seat that he was kind of pushed into it. and pushed into a very difficult primary campaign against the nephew the speaker of the house and his nephew at mccormick the attorney general of massachusetts ran against ted first update democratic state convention and then when ted got
the endorsement ran against him in the democratic primary. it was a the primary of these two massachusetts dynasties to see whether the more seasoned mccormick would be to completely and seasoned kennedy. in the book i try to tell this in detail this is a very interesting story about how the kennedys came about an interesting story about ted's natural instincts for politics. he had no political training whatsoever but he had that her instincts politically than either of his brothers. >> there's one small detail that went ted one ben smith resigned resigned early. ben smith resigned in december
of 1962 so ted kennedy could get seniority over the other incoming freshmen in the 1962 class. ted was the senior senator of the class of freshmen senators. >> it seems like such a political detail and paying every attention to each political detail. we have talked about some of the first things he did and let's talk about how his brother's assassination shift at him and his brother bobby. you talk a little bit about that. >> that was not their first loss, family laws. how many children did they have come in nine i think? and the oldest brother had been killed in war and won a deal they are sisters had died in a plane crash and another sister rosemary was hospitalized more or less permanently.
>> she was mentally challenged and the kennedy family, the kennedy family as i said earlier and this is a matter of lows as much as anything of the kennedy family was a pedagogy and to understand the family and i go into detail in the book about this to understand of the family functions you have to understand that a aesthetics were everything to the kennedys. it's all about how you looked and dressed and even -- i'm not saying she was in the spiritual woman, she was but the theatricality of her piety and how she went to church and how often shuja church and how she had her children go to church. everything in the kennedy family was theatrical and aesthetic trading was very difficult for a child who was mentally
challenged to live up to the kennedy aesthetics. i think a lot of people know the story of what ultimately happened to rosemary which was she was beginning to act out as she got older and became a teenager and joe kennedy though he didn't do this out of any sense. there were some he did in his life but this he didn't do out of any sense of trying to punish his daughter or any sense of being. >> he was medically advised. >> he was strongly advised of the lobotomize his daughter. >> he regretted it every minute after that. >> rose claimed she never knew about until much much later which may very well be true, i don't know but basically rosemary if you want to look at it metaphorically she was
destroyed or not living up to the kennedy standard that aesthetics standard. >> the family with nine children had lost a leg three, two to death in one to the hospital and john was killed and then robber was killed so a majority of the nine children were dead before they were 45 years old basically, right? that's a very devastating. it's not like he was the middle ages when people die that young. it was the mid-60s so you talk about teddy taking the standard up and ted taking it up for his three older brothers. it was something unusual something emotionally unusual in the family certainly would do just that is that joe was not a king booted duke or something
like that. >> george lemmy pick up on what you are saying because i don't think people understand this. yes there was a succession and the idea was it like in football next man up when somebody died. but patrick kennedy, ted's son said something to me very adjusting that made an awful lot of sense particularly when you look at the damage in that family to the idea of next man up which was really a joe kennedy kind of idea you were stoic nobody cries. the kennedys don't cry step up and you do what you have to do. patrick said to me, he said you really have no idea the kind of damage that all of these deaths
inflicted upon the kennedy family. that's stoicism was the mandate of joe kennedy. underneath that stoicism patrick said was post-traumatic stress disorder. this was a family that was rocked and destroyed by those deaths. the story i tell here after the death of john but particularly after the death of robert to whom he had grown very close. they were senate compatriots. he had gone to the senate in 62 as you said in bobby had run in new york and 64 in preparation for what would be a presidential bid and they were relatively close as children although there were still in age differential between them but they have do came very close.
when bobby died, ted was devastated, absolutely devastated. he was a lost man and when i write these books i often compare it to method acting because you feel what the subject is feeling. you y to get yourself int the subjec almost as an actor would get himself into the role. i could nev act a in my life ever but i understand this kind of mechanism. >> and you appreciate good ting. >> i very much appreciate good acting. but i was getting myself inside
of ted and feeling whas ted was feeling gantt needs a lost man lost everything and he also feels that he is next on top of everything else. he has not only lost everything, ything that mattered to him. these were the onlthings it really mattered to him but he also he was the next one because by succession he had picked up the fallen standard and when i was writing those passages the book and they were more to t the devastation goes on ted does not recover quickly. not only does he not recover quickly but he almost seems to internalize the pa so deeply that he goes through long bout of self-deruction which chappaquiddick frankly becomes a part of. i quote someone who knew ted quite well who said chappaquiddick was the last act of bobby's death.
when i'm writing those things and i'm feeling what ted is feeling, it's to get or attempt to get inside of h head. this is a family that is destroyed. we only look at it as a family that comes together and survives. the kennedy family did not really survive in the damage inflicted on ted, we think of ted as well as this happy-go-lucky sometimes hedonistic kind of fellownd there is truth in that. i'm not sayg that is completely a mischaracterization of him but what we don't see is what was hidden by that kind of performance d what was hidden is a man who was very deeply wounded by life, deeply wounded
by life. >> and you tell the story of the plane crash which killed one of his cleaguesnd nearly killed him end of course chappaquiddick. but you talk about the plane crash for the plane crash kind of disappears and then chappaquiddick i think you tell it in a way that could have been exactly what people say about it but that's not the way it was and i find that interesting. you get hung for the thing you did almost correctly. that's absolutely true. >> he and his own personal tragedies before 1970. how old was a? he was still in his 30s.
said he was born in 1932. so 38 years old. the plane crashed happens the night of the passage of the civil rights act of 1964. ted stayed in the senate to see the final passage of the bill and then races off with senator birch bayh to the massachusetts state democratic convention which is going to nominate ted kennedy for his own term. now in 1964 he is running again years later for his own seat in urge by delivered the keynote address so he and birch bayh and birch bayh's wife jump into this little plane and shoot to the convention that night. ted will accept the nomination and birch bayh will give the
speech. people don't remember this episode and kennedy's life because there are so many other tragedies but they are coming into the airport looking at this and the pilot miscalculates and he hits trees in clips the plane and the plane crashes and you are right one of ted's aids dies. birch bayh managed to escape and it's in the book of what the plane looked like like a piece of tinfoil. he managed to escape and tried to race away from the plane before it explodes. ted is trapped in the plane and can't get out. he thought his back was broken. birch bayh heroically decides to
rush back to the plane which he does and he finds ted and in the herculean act like people who lift automobiles off of people pinned underneath he somehow manages to get ted out of that plane and carry him across the field and away from the fuselage. .. >> is between the two points. anything for six months. six months in the hospital.
to basically been offered . fully becomes back. that happens they doesn't get back to the center until the summer. and that period of time, he learned several things . learn more about personal separated also lease by the way, it's never able, he was a great athlete are extremely good athlete in college. but his back is such that he gets in constant pain and he was in pain for the rest of his life. not only emotionally which he certainly was in this case physically. and these two pains. he was trapped between. he also uses that time in the hospital to conduct a tutorial where he has great professors from mit and harvard come to the hospital from boston. and to school him.
a host of issues because is determined now they want to be a great senator. it is not going to waste his time. neal: and uses that time to be tutored into become 20 host will be a great senator. that is the accident. george: one more diversion here. kennedy's consider being one of us intellectual politicians that we have had. in 50 or 60 years but not only good student, they all had harvard rated they were interested in history and so on. but exactly. sue and intent he was also considered the worst which also, the least intelligence. i would make an argument. and you make in this book, not only was the most complex of the group. but i think ted was more complex and bobby. intent is also cough called
often called the least intelligent of the kennedys. you may come to the conclusion. in one thing that i tried to do is never to start with the preconception and biography. i don't write about people i love or hate. and that leads to a book is not going to be very good. write about people's lives are interesting. it is lives can investigate. but i believe, the ted kennedy and are not the only one who has said this, joe kennedy as well. according to the book that i think kennedy was the brightest. there any demonstrations of that . think it needs to be known. but i want to add to, on a dad that chapter and plane crash with a phone call. to lyndon johnston. the custody while he's in the hospital and says where are you. there's some people say that it doesn't hurt to suffer unless all. [laughter]. and i forget ted's exactly his
response was something along the lines well i don't know about that. is supposed to help you. george: but it is already. neal: we do not have anywhere near the times to litigate but i would say this. i intentionally, i will tell our listeners. i will not name the chapter in this book. with us going be the first thing that anybody wou doould be to turn to that chapter it would be the only thing the red. i don't do that for you becse i think that is a very complicated kind of thing. it's not just a soap ora event. ted kennedy is often accused including by himself of having committed some sort of grievance
crime. and he did some previous things after the accident. they wasn't reporting it but i think to be without way mistake everything about it. you have to understand that at that poi ted kenne is kind ofost men is not found his bearingset. he didn't find them for a very long time. one can even make an argument they marries vicki. in any years lat in 1992. his lost man. d he goes to that party becausee's asked to do it by one of the so-called girls who work for bob kennedy and who were basical having the kind of like therefore bobby. the last thing the world attending wants to do is to attend another so-called awake
for bobby but he does it. but you can do to that the emotional conditions he is in. it is very tenuous. and whateverappened only a few people really know what happens. although i do try to give a detaed account as i can possibly give having read everything i could possibly read and transcript very very refully. in a again, will hold brief necessarily for ted kennedy but i will hold brief are mary jo are you and i will say tha mary jo did not go off with ted kennedy to have some romce. and so alien to anything that mary jo was. it's an insult to her mory to think that she would've done that spring is jus not who she was what she wld've done. inact, at that time ted
kennedy somebody would've done with that woman. not a woman whoas working for his brother and horing his brother's memory. he d a lot of stupid and awful things but that was not one of them i don't believe. but the thing that i think that we need to understan was lost even at the time i think. this is an accident althoug any books written abo how deliberately he killed her for reasons that made no sense. cia hundred kled. there's so any elanations for what happened but, i want to give ay the ending here but here's a spoiler alert. razor, makes the most sense in this situation rated ted kendy told the story about what happened. we read inning and counseling most by important journalists
that really hold the story and all of that. but do you know something, there are minor discrepancies in the story. this notion of their major goals the story. the idea that he didn't report the accident because there were some nefarious schem talk about's first talks about not being present. as who he was or what he would've said. he was an idiot. he said afterwards, if anybody knows thiss true. he said, didn't report the accident bause it didn't want to pick up the pne conference i would have to do that. not just cannot bear the idea. this man was hurt so any times in his own house.
the army came in the navy came to the house. they said, your son is dying. and when kathleen died, he did not want to do that. it doesn't make him courageous or good or liked rated and in some ways is reprehensible that he would not pick up the phone to make a call. but is certainly understandable. george: and the other detail you give undercuts mostly negative idea about it is he didn't try to help her in the way described it is one thing clear is that everybody you tried was pulled away by the current. even scuba divers who are good at this could not resist the current. he simply tells the story but driving down there four times and they couldn't do anything that might've been some concerning items in current .
little pond. so i would them exasperated your version with everybody else trying to save then run and professionals in doing it. they're all having trouble making clear that could be the true story. neal: went to great lengths, people did writing what i say people, republicans at the time went by the name of richard nixon, went to great lengths to try and make chadwick into something other than an accident to making this into something that ted kennedy murdered mary jo somehow. there's no evidence that ever in his life that he would do something like that. george: there is evidence that nixon would do when he did. i thought that was very interesting about. they wanted to have a party for the boiler room people.
those who work with mary jo in order to try to seduce them and incriminate them somehow to get them to lie about the situation. neal: dixon sent them to romance those boiler room girls to get dirt on ted kennedy. if there is a villain in this, is richard nixon. and even if you can in some way sympathize with nixon at times he was a man it was just with injuries. they were so deep. they were so deep and he looked at that kennedy's any so they had everything. man looks and they had everything. he himself said, nothing that a person of people like. i put that in the book. but he also, while he had none of those things. and he lived his life and terror
of the kennedys since two oh work on, it would really really there his presidency in fear of kennedy. that ted would conduct a kennedy restoration somehow. that's what the kennedys did, they were so good at that everybody was forgive them. and there was a restoration for chadwick. but the conflict between nixon and kennedy is extremely interesting one. shape the american political life for quite a long time. george: you quote nixon any any times in the book. so i knew he did a lot of research. did you get different transcripts or did you get it did you ever listen to tapes. neal: i did listen to any of the tapes. sometimes but i also some of those things, people right off of the tape. you hear nixon saying the things but it's always better to listen to it. and i did look at transcripts as well.
but it's whether he's just sort of musing or whether he is sort of thick and a share of it. you can tell by his voice. just try to listen to the tape as i did with lyndon johnson tapes as well. it took me ten years to write this book. in volume two which was already written. and people wonder my wife included. why does it take you ten years to write a book. [laughter]. there's a lot of material out there. and you don't ever want to cut corners. note inevitably if you do, it's very best to dig into everything. not only to acquire it. they also to get the sense that you have mastered it. so that when you're writing, you feel top of the material and you can write with a certain kind of confidence. such is the detail that one of the book. the confidence in the authority that jordan the book . to feel
that you have done the job. the reader can trust you. it is very important to me. i'm opinionated. but what the reader to trust my opinions. george: it is very interesting about lyndon johnson as a democrat in his or nixon is. both aim, will both had very interesting and rousing relationships with the kennedys. at the same time, really try to make sure that they were all right with the kennedys. doing little personal things like being a nice personal thing when patrick had his surgery. but at the same time, never going to get in this way. so it is like, there's a lot of belief the politicians are insincere. your book is not helping. [laughter]. neal: i think that's very very true. lyndon johnson of course as was
pointed out is a master manipulator. and he loved to manipulate text because it could manipulate bobby. bobby detested lyndon johnson in london johnson detested basically all of the kennedys . for any of the same reasons that you just pointed out that richard nixon did he'd rejected them. he fell think that god and everything and got nothing. of course they presented lyndon johnson because they thought he was or taken jon kennedy's place. he was insincere he really didn't care about civil rights or any of those things which was not entirely true about johnson. he did care about civil rights for the johnson was able to manipulate data because data are not in a kind of in his own family was deferential. so here's a gargantuan figure, both physically and kind of spiritually . lyndon johnson, and he knew how to play ted kennedy. although i thought about one
passage of the book, where he thinks the lyndon johnson kind of overstates assignability of manipulation. because he things he can pet teddy against the body. he thinks he can get tending to turn on bobby. but teddy says, the kennedys will never turn a kennedy. that's just never going to happen. for teddy to turn on bobby. never. and they have digs at one another but kennedys never turn on kennedys. it was a miscalculation in lyndon johnson's part . george: set of funny that these two guys are feeling against the kennedys. the both presidents of the ics . but there not loved but they're both presidents of the united states they're not loved.
neal: the sense of charisma that the kennedys had to draw on the better angels of the nation. one of the kennedys a right to do that or not, and i'm not sure the jon kennedy that kind of moral figure. he changes morality lit relatively late. bobby also did the same. tenant comes to the morality earliest free to make the statement that i didn't know whether to make it in this volume or volume two but we read bobby and jon into ted. it makes ted seem more liberal. mr. liberal. but i think we read is ted really was the most liberal of the kennedys back to his brothers who become more liberal in retrospect . george: you mentioned that in your first volume. at that there was a really good comment. really have a of minutes left
unfortunately. but, like you did talk a little bit about all thategislation, especially the stu that nixon was interacting with them on dicare. it was interesting medicareor all was expressio 50 yearsgo. and teddy was aiming for it . in the cancer act .here's so any things that i see how the legislation was created. what gs on in the way that teddy had learned to not manipulate but do well with older senators. it even she did not agree with because it was the youngest in his family. i'm a couple of minutes about that . neal: anything of lyndon johnson as a master of the senate. robert kellercarol' biographies . is a twist on and intimidates andet the things that he wants
what is kind of being this overbearing figure. the ted kendy was note last semester of the senate . inoduced 2552 pieces of legislation. a pass six or 700 pieces of legislation and he was certain the most productive senator in the history of the american senate but he didn't dot in lyndon johnson's corporate he didis own technique to never be overbearing but to nudged and to start people and get people on his side. he was the carrot to lyndon johnson stic i know understand how he worked, i can summarize it in something that you would never hear said in today's senate. whenever he would introduce a piece of lislation he would always say to itself, give me a republican. any get me a republican cosponsor for this. because that is how were going to get the legistion passed . will get it by joining together with the republins.
he would also say the old phrase, the perfe is always the enemy of the good . he wanted medicare for all. he was wling to strike this gigantic bargain with richard nixon came very close to passing . whe they would have a healthcare policy that resembled it very much ofbama care. they came this close and he said is the greatest love of his life. oregret of h life rated then he and nixon and kennedy, that they could get together and just make thatappen. there were so close we would have national healthcaren 1974. rather than when obama passed it. george: then you hadn the book, or yound t book with the endf the liberal hour because of the blessing issue.
hotwo brothers whoere well loved were still not loved. when the circumstances i boston. so i don't to explain. it's very interesting because kamala harris is ts against biden and nowhey're working together. neal: fo the question became, americans were not opposed to integration. and that is something thi big 12 of american then. you can't speak as well of america now unfortunately. within americans backed the civil rights of 1964. back to the votg rights. the rept integration. but, when it came to innovating schos, and busing children. i don't think people realized what aajor force that was in ending white american support of civil rights. in boston was integrated as
being integrated busing. it was absutely botched for the whole process was botched. as the corset oered the blessing and the ordered the students bus my irish and italian neighborhoods into bla schools and into irish and italian. and it just wasn't absolute disaster . ted kennedy was no great proponent of bing but it was great proponent of immigration . he supported the court ordered plan. what happened and i will make this, it's aong story gnomic edges for a brief . boston, his people, the irish catholics i the italian catholics in boston turned on ted kennedy. turn on him because they thought he had no sympathy for the that situation ten was caught in between. that was kind of the conundrum
of liberalism at the time . cannot turn his back on integration. it would not do that and he couldn't do that . but he also didn't want to turn his back on the working class irish and italians of boston who resented busing. jenny was ted kennedy between these two forces . opted for integration. but in doing so, he lost the allegiance of the irish and the italian catholics prayed and lost to the point while this book and it's literally is ted kennedy running for his life. it is not an exaggeration. from a mob of largely irish tackles wanted to kill him. that's the end of the liberal arts prayed. george: that's a nice way to end it. a very dramatic way to end it and this discussion as well. this fascinating and i have
asked. wendy went by his next election two years later. he decided to do the blessing. what was this. neal: but nothing much so he recovered. we find that out in volume two. neal: you well. george: thank you very very much for joining us now . is a very great discussion . it's 119th year of the discussions. we hope that you enjoyed it. and come back and see us again. >> here's a look at publishing industry news, president trump's niece, author of the critical book on the president too much and never enough. his writing is a book that will be available this summer . going to row her publishers, our next book, titled the reckoning will examine americans national, rooted in our history and
dramatically by the impact of current events in the trump administration is corrupt and immoral policy. in the news, author and political commentator died at the age of 84. is the author of a dozen books focus on race politics . and longtime professor at george mason university. merriam-webster has announced that there one of the year's pandemic. sometimes a single word defines an era and's exceptional and difficult year and the word came immediately to the floor. the nixon are defines awareness and outbreak of the disease occurs over wide geographic area. such as multiple countries are continents and typically and significant proportion of the population. also in the news mtv books and reports that book sales were up close to 9 percent for the week ending november 28th . adult nonfiction sales rose over 20 percent were led b former president barack obama's number of promised land.
the family late british novelist ha apologized for remarks like the author played during his life rated and online public stay wh the family said, the family and the story company dely apologizes for the lasting and understandae heart caused byome of the statements . those prejudice remks are incomprehensible to us . and stt contrast to the man we knew in the values we knew. whh positively impacted young people for generations. as the autho of numerous books including charlie and the chocolate factory. any died in 1990 at the age of 74. book tv will continue to bring you new programs and publishing news . can also watch all of our past programs anytime apple tv .org. you're watching book tv on "c-span2", every weekend with
the latest nonfiction books and authors targeted "c-span2", created by amecans cable television company in the public service, and brought to you today by your television provider. and ellen petitti, afterwards,irst virginia professor and author discusses how she was denied reproductive choice no care f her children. she's intervwed by famy foundation senior vice president women's health policy director. afterwards is a weekly interview program with guesthouse interviewing top nonfictio authors about their latest work. while afterwards programs are also available asodcasts. >> alone is so greato be here day. i have to state that is nice to meet to although i feel like i almostlready know you. any of the invitatn to do this interview, i felt like
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