Skip to main content

tv   Checks Balances - Intentions of the Founders  CSPAN  August 19, 2019 9:00am-10:29am EDT

9:00 am
you have to prove your identity through other means. >> watch "the communicators" tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. next, historians examine the framing of the constitution and speculate about the founders' thoughts on the balance of power in the u.s. government today. the panetta institute hosted the event. founder leon panetta moderated the talk. ♪ good evening, everyone. and welcome to the fourth and final event in this year's leon
9:01 am
panetta lecture series. before we begin, i want to first ask that on this memorial day, we have a moment of silence in honor of all those men and women who have died while serving in the united states armed services. thank you. this season we are discussing the health of american democracy, and it is very fitting that we recognize the individuals who have given their greatest sacrifice for our freedom and our way of life. we honor their commitment to country. our guests in our discussion this evening are particularly fitting for this holiday because
9:02 am
tonight we will conclude the 2019 lecture series by looking back to the founding of our nation and to the men who first took up arms to fight in the name of liberty and give birth to our republic. in the wake of victory, they understood that they had to create a system of government that would preserve and protect the values for which they had fought. what were their motives and intentions? asking this question, it is important to recognize that the founders had a long list of conflicting objectives. many were the descendents of immigrants who had fled persecution and felt a deep allegiance to liberty. however, a large portion of them were also slave owners. the founders feared a strong executive branch, but at the
9:03 am
same time, they acknowledged that the articles of confederation, which had deeply favored states' rights, were insufficient to protect the republic. they believed in free will, but they were also fearful that democracy unchecked would lead to mob rule. it was with this combination of contradictions and compromises that they drafted the constitution. the question we ask tonight is how successful were the founders? and more importantly, how well are we doing in preserving and protecting the democracy they created? has the system of checks and balances ensured that no one branch grows too powerful? or has history seen an executive branch that grows more and more powerful and a legislative
9:04 am
branch that is failing in its role of oversight? has the balance between the house and the senate led to fair representation between small and larger states, or has it created an environment that breeds gridlock and dysfunction? what was the hope of our forefathers? has it worked? tonight, leon will pose these questions and many more to two of the nation's leading presidential historians. it's a discussion that will get to the heart of the issues we've been discussing all season. and wz we look ahead to the 2020 presidential election, the topics we cover tonight will help us consider who we are as americans and the values we have always fought for. our first guest is a renowned law professor and scholar of american history. presently, she is the charles
9:05 am
warren professor of american legal history at harvard law school and a professor of history in the faculty of arts and sciences at harvard university. she has also taught at the new york law school and at rutgers university in new jersey. she has published six books. among them, which won numerous awards, including the pulitzer prize in history and the national book award for nonfiction. she is also the author of "thomas jefferson and sally hemmings: an american controversy," which was a nonfiction finalist in the first annual library of virginia literary awards. among her many honors are the national humanities medal, a
9:06 am
macarthur fellowship, and the national organization for women in new york's women of power and influence award. she was elected a fellow of the american academy of arts and sciences in 2011 and is a member of the academy's commission on the humans and social sciences. please welcome annette gordon-reed. [ applause ] our second guest is a celebrated author, teacher, and scholar of american history. he is a professor at rice university and cnn's presidential historian. he has published best-selling books on the presidencies of theodore roosevelt, jimmy carter, and ronald reagan and has covered subjects including
9:07 am
american foreign policy, the louisiana purchase, d-day, the vietnam war, the civil rights movement, and hurricane katrina. the chicago tribune dubbed him america's new past master, and the new york historical society named him their official united states presidential historian. his recent book, "cronkite" won the spurbur prize, while "the great deluge" received the robert f. kennedy book award. he has received a grammy award for presidential suite and seven honorary doctorates in american studies. his two volume annotated work "the nixon tapes" recently won the arthur s. link warren prize.
9:08 am
he's a contributing editor for "vanity fair," the los angeles times book review," and "american heritage." he's also a frequent contributor to "the new york times," "the new yorker," and "the atlantic monthly." please welcome douglas brinkley. [ applause ] and of course moderating our discussion is the man who created this lecture series, the former congressman for this district, director of the office of management and budget, white house chief of staff, director of the cia, and secretary of defense. please welcome leon panetta. [ applause ]
9:09 am
>> good evening, and welcome to this, our fourth and final lecture for the 2019 panetta lecture series. today is memorial day, and it's a moment not only to remember those who fought and died for this country, but it's also a good time to remember the values and principles that they fought for. many of those values and principles are contained in our constitution. the constitution provided for our system of checks and balances, and that's been the theme of our lecture, checks and balances, will our democracy survive. we've looked at the rule of law. we've looked at the congress. we looked at the mueller
9:10 am
investigation. we looked at the courts, the press. we've talked about the president's role as commander in chief. but tonight in many ways, we go to the heart and soul of this issue, which is the constitution. and what our framers had in mind when they provided the system of checks and balances. our framers, founders of our country, were the children of the enlightenment. this was a period in time when there were philosophers around the world who are talking for the first time about democracy and the rights of people to be able to governor themselves. and it was based on what these philosophers were saying that our founders decided to really put together this experiment in
9:11 am
democracy. but they knew that if this experiment was going to work, that they were going to have to limit power. so that's why they created the system of checks and balances. has that system worked? what are the lessons to be learned from history? if jefferson and hamilton and madison were around today, what the hell would they say about what's going on? those are the questions that i want to ask our two distinguished historians. and let me begin with the first question, which is, obviously this whole system of checks and balances, the constitution doesn't have the words checks and balances, but obviously in the first three articles dealing with the congress and the executive and the courts, they tried to define and limit the
9:12 am
powers of each of those branches. i guess the question i wanted to ask you is why did the founders feel that it was necessary to limit power? what were they afraid of? and are their worst fears being realized today with regards to what's happening with our checks and balances? >> well, what they were trying to do and what they were afraid of was setting up a system that basically reconstituted what they had before with a monarch. it was a big thing to go from a world in which kings and king's rule to a system where the people were supposed to rule. the idea was you did not want to concentrate power in any one individual because it would replicate the thing that you had with a king. you wanted the people to be
9:13 am
sovereign. so they were trying to set up a system. they had read philosophers before that talked about mixed government, the three types of -- the three stations -- states in the society. these are the people who would check one another and make sure that one person, one entity didn't become too powerful. so they were concerned with having another king. they wanted to move away from that, do something different. >> yeah, if you read the federalist papers, james madison talks about how to make sure we don't have tyrants. that is the key concept and word. tyrants, dictators, and monarchs. we decided this checks and balance in our constitutional convention is the smartest way, the best way based on the enlightenment principles you talked about. but you know, one of the things we've got to be careful on checks and balances is we become critics of, you know, well is the president getting too strong that we now have the executive power, judicial, legislative,
9:14 am
but madison talks about constitutional education, which is what the panetta institute is doing and what we're doing here tonight, meaning that you have to have civic engagement, and you have to have an educated public to understand the checks and balances. you have to have a civic education that a democracy's only going to work. you can write a constitution and do three branches, but if you don't have an informed and activist citizenry, it's going to be for naught. i am constantly amazed at the wisdom of our founders of our constitution, of madison in particular, but we are in a kind of crisis point right now that there's seeming to be -- you know, congress as i speak to you today has a 15% approval rating.
9:15 am
the executive power keeps getting stronger and stronger all the time. the courts are getting very polarized. so it's timely as we head into 2020 to start thinking about what did we mean with our constitution? is it working for us now? yes, we're all here today. our constitution in many ways is working, but it's under intense strain. i think it's made very difficult by president trump because he doesn't seem to care about the constitution because he didn't do constitutional education in his own life. so he's operating as a gut player and an action player. and that at times can be dangerous. that's a road to being a tyrant. >> john adams famously noted, and i quote, there was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide, unquote.
9:16 am
you've talked about kind of the president's, you know, view of his powers and how he's dealing with the congress and rejecting their appeals for information under checks and balances. the congress itself, republicans and democrats, are probably more partisan and divided than they've been in a long time. and the result is that the president and the congress are not governing major issues, whether it's immigration, whether it's infrastructure, whether it's the budget, whether it's health care, are not being addressed. so i guess the question is, are we in danger of, you know, undermining our democracy? >> well, certainly the founder i know the most about would be jefferson. his idea was, as doug said, that a democracy required an educated
9:17 am
populist. that's why he wanted a public education system in virginia. he thought that you couldn't do it unless peopling read and understand their rights, understand history, and see how it applied to themselves. i mean, things may seem bad today with politicians, but a lot of it has to do with the electorate. i mean, if people are involved, if people were involved in these situations, were vigilant -- i know it's difficult to do it. we have issues of voter suppression, the issue of money in politics, which i think they would not have anticipated at all. they would have thought this is bribery. that kind of participation, that this is what this is. so there are lots of modern innovations, things that might be necessary. money could be political speech. i understand the court has ruled that. but there are a lot of things that are going on today that i don't think they obviously could not have anticipated and would have affected the way they saw
9:18 am
how democracy's playing itself out. a lot of this is a problem with politicians, congress, the president, but a lot of it is with people as well. if we were more vigilant, if we were active, if we were involved in these kinds of things, we might not have a sense that we are in crisis. >> and when you look at our constitution and we look at our three branches, the constitution was written, but they hadn't said anything about two political parties going through warfare in the way that we do. if you cult t to the election o 1800 with thomas jefferson and john adams, it's just brutal. there's a fear by some people that a democracy can't absorb this kind of name calling, mud slinging, tearing down of candidates. once you elect a president, do we have an ability after that kind of heated warfare, like we had with hillary clinton, donald trump, can the new president be accepted as a real president? on close elections, it becomes
9:19 am
problematic. i mean, when george w. bush beat al gore, many democrats said al gore should have been president. he won the popular vote, and bush is not a real president. i see this in the early founders with a man named charles thompson, who was the secretary of the continental congress, meaning in philadelphia, he called everybody together. he was the one who chose the eagle for a national seal and this sort of thing. he went with george washington to his inauguration in new york city. and thompson in 1800 gets really worried that we're not building the presidents up enough. it becomes kind of a cult of george washington. we name our nation's capital after them, roads after them. you go to d.c., and you study the monument. that was a kind of conscious way
9:20 am
to build presidents up. we now save homes of presidents, birthplaces. they become like a super citizen. i, not that long ago, inforwas plains, georgia, at a house that says, this is where jimmy carter was conceived. [ laughter ] and now we're in a society of celebrity due to television, the internet. we're in a celebrity culture, matched with the building up of presidents as super celebrities. these two currents kind of meet. now we're in the age of the super presidents almost. >> well, the system almost gravitates towards that because you can know one president. you can't know all of the people in congress. you can't have a cult of personality about congress as a mass. you can do that with a president. so jefferson, as you mentioned, and washington, adams not so
9:21 am
much, but jefferson, people can fixate on those individuals, fixate on them as a figure of hatred but also a figure of intense love. so even though they set up the system of checks and balance, that one person can come to embody the nation in a way that the congress can't. the president's authority for foreign policy, the face to the world also encouraging all of that. that was a seed of a potential problem by, you know, having this executive, and they really didn't know. a professor at stanford has talked about the presidency as the one branch that people didn't really understand what he could do, how do you have an executive without this person turning into a king. that was always the fear that might be a possibility. >> you mentioned this kind of cult of personality. john adams, who was kind of short and squatty, criticized
9:22 am
george washington, and he said, you know, george washington was tall, he was handsome, he looked good in a uniform. he had good breeding. he had a large estate. and he basically said it wasn't his intelligence but his image that got him elected to become the first president. we've had -- you talked about this kind of cult of personality. the fact is tlouhroughout our history, we've had presidents who have been elected from that cult of personality. ing you talk a little bit about that? >> in a lot of our precedents, what became the great generals. so you have general george washington. beyond his looks and stature, they all used to mock washington, many of the political leading lights, until washington walked in the room.
9:23 am
then they all sat like this. he was an imposing figure. but whether it's andrew jackson or william henry harrison or ulysses s. grant, so many generals have become presidents. we would build up the military service. memorial day was a big calling card for being a president. so much so that theodore roosevelt becomes the rough rider and wants to be called the colonel. so you constantly would use war heroes as the big coin of the realm in american history. not all. not lincoln, who talked about not firing a weapon in the blackhawk war. but it was a big deal. who are our celebrities today? who are the larger than life figures? somebody like president trump has been in the public consciousness since the '80s.
9:24 am
he was a celebrity's celebrity. "the apprentice" coming into your homes. so the thing we have to watch is that we're not just looking for presidents -- like, i'm hearing many people say, the only person who could beat trump is oprah winfrey. that might be true, but we're getting into this sort of -- you know, this powerful president that's using new types of media to be beamed into our homes. no question of the founders could have taken in the power of television and how tv has changed things. it's the oldest story in our american history cold war book, but when john f. kennedy debated nixon in 1960, that was the first presidential debate in american history, not the first televised, but first presidential ever. it was on tv, people listening on radio thought nixon won.
9:25 am
kennedy, tv. you started getting television being this major factor, and many of our leading presidents have had to be telegenic. john adams, he wouldn't be telegenic back then, and he wouldn't be telegenic right now. that doesn't mean he wasn't meant to be president. >> well, it kind of does. >> it does, funfortunately, maybe. >> i mean him in particular. >> last thing i'll say, there's a frustration that sometimes the best people aren't who becomes president, that we're not finding the best of the american pool. >> well, it's interesting. back to adams for a moment. adams was sort of jealous of jefferson as well. he said jefferson was apollo. he would be vulcan to jefferson's apollo. jefferson was taller than washington. he was a philosopher, all these
9:26 am
kinds of things. the point is that they were leaders who became cult -- not cult, but people had their kind of adoration for them because of particular zeitgeist at the time. for washington, washington was the only person that all members of the colonies respected enough to be the leader. so it made sense afterwards he would become president. jefferson leads what he says is the revolution of 1800 because they were actually trying to take the government back, they thought, for the people. because jefferson believed that the people should be sovereign. so the people who felt that looked at him almost not as a god but as a cult. there was a cult of jefferson. jefferson had an age basically from the time of his presidency up through jackson. jackson saw himself as a jeffersonian. we haven't had that kind of political influence of one person ever again since that time period. but it fit in with the needs of the country at the time.
9:27 am
the country thought it was -- white males were getting extra power. you had the democratization of politics. these kinds of leaders come, and they latch on to the public consciousness because of the context, where people are at the particular moment. so the people are critical. the actions of the people, the beliefs, the thought processes are critical for the leadership that we have. >> yeah, so star power makes a difference. >> star power makes a difference. >> and can i just say how important it was that washington stepped down. what a moment in history, that he didn't cling to power. he showed democracy in action, not by studying locke, when people were begging him to stay on to keep the country united. he said, no, i'm going to have to refrain from that in order for democracy and the transition to kick in. we owe washington a lot for that. >> and it's true, the good fortune of having a number of
9:28 am
people who could have been president. i mean, there was somebody to hand it off to, not just thinking there was going to be chaos. any number of people could have been president during that time. >> let me ask you about kind of -- the constitution, i think, was recognized that in and of itself, it was not going to be enough. matter of fact, washington at one point had a famous -- in his inaugural address said, no mound of parchment can be so formed to stand against sweeping torrents of boundless ambition and corrupted morals. so constitution wasn't going to just do it on its own. hamilton in the federalist papers wrote that the people will have to decide whether you can establish a good government from reflection and choice or accident and force. the founders knew that the
9:29 am
constitution itself would not be enough. what else were they banking on to basically make this democracy work? >> well, different people were banking on different things. hamilton was banking upon an elite that would tell the people what to do, that would govern. jefferson was banking on the people. he had a faith almost to the point of naivety, you might say. he said when things would go wrong, the people would make it right. so they were counting not just on the honor and the intelligence and the talent of individual people who happened to hold office. jefferson, i should say, was counting on the people to keep those people honest. if things got out of whack, the people would make the kind of adjustment. so it wasn't just the things on the paper.
9:30 am
it was also a belief in those words in the paper, the notion of the rule of law. since you had a republic and not a monarchy, you would have the chance for individual people to make their feelings known and that they had to participate. it was sort of a sense that people would like politics as much as he did. now, that's not true, but they would be as involved in these kinds of things because surely if you got rid of the king and you gave these people power, they would want to exercise it. so they're thinking about -- he was thinking about the constitution as a framework. he actually thought that there should be a new constitution every 19 years. didn't have to be specifically 19, but the idea is, he said the earth belongs to the living. and the idea is that every generation of people should write its own story about what they wanted for their government. they should not worship the constitution as if it were some sort of sacred text.
9:31 am
you should be able to look around and say, what is it that we believe now? people today should not be ruled by the deadhead of the past. now, madison writes him back and says, well -- after madison has labored hard to put together a constitution, jefferson is over in paris saying the earth belongs to the living and we need to redo this thing periodically. the idea was people should be involved. that was his critical thing. hamilton, not so much. the idea was there would be an elite -- hamilton wanted, at fis first, an elected -- the president to serve for life and the senate to serve for life. so he thought that there would be those people providing the stability for individuals. so that's what he was hoping. he knew he didn't get that part of it, but he thought that the system would develop so that the elites would have a way of managing the people. >> well, exactly, and i would
9:32 am
just add that it speaks for itself with what is the first amendment of the constitution. freedom of speech, journalism. we need reporters to keep an eye on potential scoundrels and tyrants. the cornerstone of our constitution is really the first amendment, the freedom of speech. so why some people have been very upset in the last few years when president trump called the press the enemy of the people, it is an anti-historical. it's not what our country's about. the press is what makes democracy tick and work. our founders recognized that and had the foresight to make it the first amendment. >> annette, you've written about this, but this interesting i did m -- dilemma jefferson puts into the declaration of independence, we hold these truth to be
9:33 am
self-evident, that all men are created equal. yet, he's a slave owner. he has a lot of qualms himself about how to deal with this issue. but there are some books out now that kind of say, you know, the framers basically were racists and trying to protect slavery. there are others that think that, you know, our forefathers were really trying to protect the unity that was needed in order to pass the constitution because they were dealing with states that had slavery. so tell me, you know, where were our forefathers coming from? what was motivating them to deal with that? >> i don't think it's either/or. i think they were racist. white supremacy was the order of the day at that time period. there's no question that's the way they felt. and when they created the constitution, they were trying
9:34 am
to bring the union together. so those things fit. they're not in contradiction with one another. for jefferson -- i mean, jefferson was not involved in the making of the constitution. as i said, he was off in france. he thought it was a good compromise and with the bill of rights the best that could be done. but there were states, south carolina in particular, that would have walked or said they would. it would be interesting if they'd called their bluff and said, okay, you go, and you face the british by yourself as a colony. but they didn't. they said, no, we want a union. and they compromised by having, you know, the three-fifths clause, the fugitive slave clause, those kinds of things that recognized slavery, gave southerners what they wanted at the particular time. and it was a compromise to bring
9:35 am
about the union. but it didn't work, obviously. in terms of history, the blink of an eye before they broke up because of that very, very issue. but they patched together something. for jefferson, it really was -- this was a person who started off as a young man, seeing himself as a progressive being anti-slavery, trying to submit a bill for gradual emancipation in virginia that's rejected. he decides that he has other things to do, which is basically the american revolution, building the united states of america, saying the next generation of people will deal with this question, and that's not satisfactory to us. but that was his idea. it's like, there's this thing out here, this problem that we have to deal with, but that will be dealt with in time. we have to fix this particular situation, get the united states on its feet, and it turns out that would be, he says in 1821 with the missouri crisis, that
9:36 am
slavery would be the rock upon which the union split. and that's what happened. so it's kicking a can down the road, thinking that he's taking care of one thing and, in fact, there's this other thing over there that will end up destroying it. >> doug? >> well, i think one of the things we have to watch today is the disease of presentism where we're looking at all of history from the way we look at things right now. so you have to put yourself back in different generations. there are variations. if they were all racist, the founders, there were some that seemed to, in writing, show more enchantment towards enlightenment. i think john adams comes out better in history for some of his writings, coming from massachusetts. later, john quincy adams, who was president, goes back to congress and fights for app liglig --
9:37 am
abolition. some of those figures come out better in a modern context than a slave-owning southerner, or jefferson writing notes on virginia, what is really bedrock racism in that text. so we can look at the -- historians read other people's mail for a living. we're reading their diaries and letters and things. we can just judge -- we were talking earlier today with secretary panetta and annette. we were talking about, you know, sometimes in thomas jefferson's early years, we just don't have some of the records. they don't exist. we're left with spotty records on some of these people's thinking. but the problem in the 19th century, people like daniel webster and james calhoun could almost be seen as large as presidents because they were doing the wheeling and dealing in congress. lincoln comes in as president in
9:38 am
1860 and isn't even on the ballot in seven southern states. now he's president. i wrote a book on theodore roosevelt once. t.r. believed executive power was going to be the new wave of the 20th century. that 19th century may have been congress, but the 20th century -- and he said if lincoln could emancipate the slaves, i could use executive power. when t.r. uses it for things i care about like saving the grand canyon with an executive order so it doesn't get mined for zinc and copper, you cheer bold executive power. but when a president you don't like does something you don't want, you say, my gosh, they're abusing executive power. the point is, it gets down to the genius of our constitution, that we do have checks and balances, that at least we think we do. we don't know whether in a constitutional crisis right now, this moment, with the president being subpoenaed and ignoring them, but some of our history shows that there are checks.
9:39 am
nixon being a big case in point when the courts come in and say the nixon tapes do not belong to you, mr. president. we're able to inhibit a presidential overreach. >> well, the office is intoxicating. when jefferson is president and gets the chance to buy louisiana, there you go. he buys louisiana, right? >> hell of a deal. >> hell of a deal. and he's worried, so he drafted a constitutional amendment and kind of puts it in the drawer. he doesn't think he needs it and sort of rationalizes that the first order of life is self-preservation. he saw the maintenance of that territory as a part of maintaining the united states of america. so you do it. at one point, people who are states rights, when he gets to be president and has federal power and has this opportunity, that's what he's going to do. it just shows itself throughout the years. and you do have to have a
9:40 am
congress to check and in the court ultimately. one thing about john quincy adams, and this is the dilemma. john quincy adam, old man eloquent, was wonderful on the question of abolition when he goes back to congress. but john quincy adams was absolutely as racist as thomas jefferson. his letters, his diaries, he was a racist. but he understood not everybody who was anti-slavery was anti-racist. but he understood that slavery was wrong, and he actually worked against it. so these racial attitudes, this is something that is very, very tricky subject, and it's something we don't think about that much. but it was as much the currency of the day as altitudes about genter, about men and women. >> let me ask you something about executive power. it strikes me that throughout
9:41 am
history, you know, and i understand that congress had its moments during the 1800s, but what i sense is that there has been a gradual erosion of power from the congress to the executive. and you know, what strikes me is, for example, the president obviously as commander in chief, there have been presidents that pretty much on their own made the decisions to go to war, whether it was the mexican war, vietnam, iraq, what have you. presidents have made those decisions. constitution requires that the congress declare a war, but presidents still go ahead and do that. we now have seen that presidents are using emergency declarations. obama used executive orders. president trump is using an
9:42 am
emergency declaration to give arms to saudi arabia and uae and to build a wall on the mexican border. has there been an erosion of power from the congress to the executive branch? >> i think there has been an erosion of it, but they're a growth of the imperial presidency, really a mainstay since the days of theodore roosevelt. but it doesn't mean it's just pure presidential power all the time. the courts and congress can step in. my great political hero, franklin d. roosevelt, won in 1932 the presidency. he did all these new deal reforms. some made it through congress, and some didn't. then he gets elected in 1936, and he's so full of power that he says, you know, the courts
9:43 am
are starting to stamp on me. and i see which justices they are. why i make it from 9 supreme court justices to 15. i'll be able to so-called pack the court with six pro-fdr new dealers. that's hubris, right? that's real presidential hubris. but his own party starts calling him accountable. some democrats said that's overreach. meaning people in congress started pulling in their own president. of course, it melts away. we don't have that done because of checks and balances. so the hope is that when a president does these overreaches, we have safety nets with congress, as you see the subpoenas coming to president trump. and in the courts. now, if it happens that the courts get so politicized that they can't have judicial leaning at all and congress loses faith
9:44 am
in the american public, that 15% approval rating doesn't go in the right direction, then we're having a problem where the president is seen as the sole face of what the united states democracy is. and donald trump says it in exact quotes. he says, i've got all the power. i'm it. he really believes that he's it and these are just gnats that are bothering him. but when he does try to do with the border wall, the courts, and some of his immigration bans, the courts have stepped in and said slow this down. things can get slowed down in the court system quite effectively to make sure the american public really thinks this kind of presidential overreach is acceptable or not. in nixon's case, it was deemed unacceptable. but in theodore roosevelt's case, people accepted it. much of fdr was accepted. some people today would say social security was presidential overreach.
9:45 am
it's an ongoing conversation that we have, and it's healthy as long as each branch of government is doing its job. >> well, it's interesting because in all the situations you mentioned about presidents going to war, congress has the purse. if they really didn't want it, they could cut it off. but the difficulty is that when the president is acting as commander in chief, people want to be -- want to support troops. they want to support people who are -- who have made the decision they're going to be -- and they're not going to do it. even in those situations, there's the power to do it. but the politics of the situation will not allow it. but the framers gave an answer to that, and that is cut off the funds. but they're not going to do that. >> before we -- we're at that point where we're going to be going to the questions from the a audience. before we do that, i want to ask a broad question as historians. when you look at the lessons of history and whether history
9:46 am
repeats itself, if you look at today and then look at the 1930s, there clearly is an increase in nationalism, in authoritarianism and its impact, anti-semitism is now growing, increasing dramatically not only abroad but here in this country. there is the whole issue of trade wars that are taking place now. in the '30s, it was smoot holly that tried to restrict our trade. isolationism, the whole america first movement in the 1930s. president trump has talked about america first and kind of withdrawing from our responsibilities in the world.
9:47 am
we know what happened in the 1930s with hitler and moussolini and world war ii. i guess my question is, are there these similarities today to what happened in the 1930s, and will history in some way repeat itself? >> wow. in the united states, i mean, there was in the 1930s, as you mentioned, intense anti-semitism. nazis holding rally in madison square garden. we had to go through that ordeal. i do worry that the danger is that we have a sleepy voting population, that we don't have enough civic engagement that allows -- i mean, in many ways, american life is much better now than in the 1930s. look how -- this is pre-lyndon
9:48 am
johnson. native americans had no land rights whatsoever and were being abused. i'm not saying those problems still don't exist, but the good news is we've made a lot of progress since the 1930s. but there is this strange feeling of authoritarianism in europe and latin america and the idea of these big power players and who's a real american and who's not and a misreading of what american heritage is in the sense that people -- i thought great thing of your former boss, barack obama, was start trying to open up the net of history. he signed bills to create national monuments for ceasar chavez in california, stonewall for lgbtq at that site in new york, harriet tubman sites, buffalo soldier site in ohio.
9:49 am
meaning, the obama administration was saying, we can open up the net of history and understand it more and be more inclusive. now you feel this backlash to that, that there's something going on that the entitled class, perhaps it's a certain amount of white americans, that feel they no longer are going to be a majority, that it's going to be a 60% or more non-white america. it may be a last gasp. you know, they're grasping for the last privilege, perhaps. or this could just be a fad we're going through right now. maybe we'll shake out of it here in a couple years. but there are danger signs to our democracy right now coming out of washington, d.c.. dangers are, in my mind, a president that doesn't just use executive power the way barack obama may have or george w.
9:50 am
bush, but is potentially abusing power. the abuse of power is at the core of the mueller report and that our country is starting to debate. but it's such debate. it's such a weird term, you know, abuse of power, what exactly is it? we're feeling it going on, but we're not sure where it is, so i think it's time for all people with democratic impulses to be on red alert, to get excited, to participate in local government, state government, national government, and start cherishing democracy. we may have all, including myself, gotten lazy that this gift of their founding in our constitution's just being passed on. it turns out you've got to keep fighting for the principles of democracy in a world filled with dictators and autocrats. [ applause ] >> i agree with that. it's an interesting time because
9:51 am
as you said, this is not just an american phenomenon. europe, u.k., continental europe, all of those places are in sort of turmoil. a lot of it has to do with immigration, the iraq war, which unleashed refugees, which unleashed immigration, sort of a domino effect of things. things here, a backlash perhaps to an african-american president, a sense of the changing -- sort of a symbol of the changing of society. there are cultural forces at play that are making people uneasy, and when that happens, you do worry about a demagogue. you do worry about the sort of loss of faith in the government, loss of faith in the government that's supposed to be us after all. it's not supposed to be some entity out there that is divorced from us. the idea of the founding, as we said at the very beginning, is that people would be involved
9:52 am
and people would keep politicians honest, and so it's not so much that i think we're going to go back to the 1930s. and you're right, this could just be a fad. things could go away. i don't think so. i think that the upheaval, the changing of the nature of work, what are you going to do with young people. what's going to happen in a world where many of the jobs will be done by artificial intelligence. where do we go? how do you keep people occupied? do you need a guaranteed income, minimum income for people when they don't have jobs, when the world -- when technology changes things. there's a sort of unease about the future, and that's when people can come and take advantage of us and that's why as doug was saying, everybody has to participate and be vigilant, you know. it's left or right, whatever, people have to have a sense of ownership in the government and debate. you ought to be able to talk about these kinds of things and discuss and dispute without
9:53 am
making the other person worthless or feel that they're worthless because the lots of times you can persuade people. people can be persuaded. that's the only choice we have here if we're actually going to have a civil, civic culture, ask that's what has to take place. we have to participate, and we also have to have, well, try to approach everybody with as much good faith as you can in this discussion because it affects all of us, and this is our future. >> yeah. [ applause ] >> that last part is what democracy -- the only way democracy functions is if there's mutual respect and people willing to listen to one another without just, you know, thinking that the other side is the enemy, period. i'd like to take a moment at this point to recognize our question review team. they're the people as many of
9:54 am
you know that select the questions that will be presented to our speakers, and i'd ask you to hold your applause while i introduce the entire group. they are eduardo cuevas who's a reporter with salinas, california. our veteran question review team member, david kellogg who's manages editor of the monterey he recalled. and sarah reuben who's the editor and ceo of the monterey county weekly, would you thank them for us, please. [ applause ] i'd also like to take this time to thank our sponsors for the panetta lecture series. we've had a -- we've had a great season this year with our lecture series. we've had wonderful student programs. we've had three great student programs. we've had a high demand for tickets, incredible guests and very thoughtful and important conversations. none of this would be possible
9:55 am
were it not for the support that we receive from our generous sponsors, so if you would please join me in thanking them, i would appreciate it. [ applause ] madison, first question, madison said freedom of the press is the one right that guarantees all others. what would madison think of our press today? >> well, you know, the -- it is another bit when people worry about american decline. as mentioned, i had had written a biography of walter cronkite, and when he left the evening news in 1981 as our kind of referee, the most trusted man in america, media press had about a 65 to 70% approval rating. and since that period of time when we would tune in just to
9:56 am
three nightly news broadcasts and reporters were on a high, the public has gotten angry at media, and we're lig ving in th age now because of the internet people aren't sure what's facts and what's fake. how do we solve that? how do we create an honest debate if people are operating on different false premises with no referee? and, you know, one of the things that cronkite had said to me, which i think we haven't done, is he said middle schools and high schools have to start doing a class. when he was young, he had to take typing. cronkite said they need to take how to use the tool of the internet. you can clap for that. basically they're saying we're turning over this whole world of information to kids that are 12, 13, 14 without any instruction manual. just go at it, and you're wondering why there's a
9:57 am
proliferation of hate sites and bad news sites and bots and, you know, all of this going on. we're not doing our job of making sure our young people get educated on how to use that as a tool and not use it as something that abuses our democracy. >> well, he had many feelings about the news. i think he would be aghast at the focus on private lives, you know, that that were not -- you know, what is that about, and at the same time, i think he would be upset at any notion that the government would try to tamp down on news sources, so there's a -- this is just a world that is so different from what he could possibly have imagined. i mean, we have a press, but we also have a system with the internet now and social media where there's no -- there are no gate keepers, so everybody's the
9:58 am
press in a way. i mean, i feel like if i'm posting on facebook or twitter, i feel like i'm a journal itsstn a way if i'm commenting on things and speaking to people and my followers follow back. this is a world that would have been unimaginable to him, and actually probably quite frightening. >> has it changed the modern presidency? >> oh, yeah. >> what's happening with social media, the use of twitter, the way presidents communicate with the world. >> oh, yeah, i mean, it's -- >> has it changed the presidency? >> absolutely. i mean, trump -- president trump knew how to use that medium. he was a genius at using that medium, and he understood that that was a strength for him. you could go directly to a people and make his feelings known. i think lots of times presidents have wanted to sort of bypass, but then i guess it was carter
9:59 am
who did the speech with the cardigan or whatever, the medic infamous melee speech. now the president can go on twitter and he can say directly to people what he feels and do policy that way, and that was so shocking to people at first, but now i think it's something that will probably stay. i guess, you know, the next president may or may not want to do that, but i guess president obama had a twitter feed as well. i don't think he tweeted as much as the current president, but he was very good at that. remarkably. there is no gate keeper. there's no filter, the president can go directly to people. >> and obviously we judge presidents by how they are with communicating, and you'll find in history, you know, theodore roosevelt would always have cartoonists around him, then you have fdr who, you know, radio
10:00 am
wasn't invented by fdr. herbert hoover could have used it or calvin coolidge, but they didn't use the medium and fdr did with radio, and then i mentioned john f. kennedy started holding white house press conferences and just doing this trapeze act or just throwing questions and answering it on live tv, and then reagan learned how to perfect state of the unions and these like major speeches, and barack obama was the big deal about blackberry president. he had a blackberry. trump took twitter and ran with it, and we still haven't caught up with it because social media is a big phenomenon and donald trump sees the world as how many followers do i have, and he just is power -- he's interested in celebrities that have a lot of followers. if you're a congressperson or a state representative and don't have twitter followers, trump thinks you're a loser. and you know, but how long's twitter going to be the big
10:01 am
deal? there's going to be something new coming up. it might be we have to find ways to restrain some social media. i mean, facebook has taken off people that are holocaust deniers, gone, you know. freedom of speech has its limits. you can't go into tractor-trailtheaters and scream fire when there isn't one, and the internet has not been patrolled properly, and we're going to have to figure out in this cyber age how to make sure that we're not being overly abused with hateful anger, you know, language without also losing our great gift of freedom of speech. it's tricky. >> hyper partisanship has occurr occurred and reoccurred over our history. is this time different, and if so, how is it different? what causes these periods of hyper partisanship? >> i would just say that, you
10:02 am
know, i don't recall thomas jefferson, as bad as it was in 1800s screaming lock 'em up. that was a pretty brutal election we just went through. we've had others that have been brutal, but the amount of name calling this late in the 21st century, kind of a degrading democratic experience in many ways. i think we've got to kind of not applaud people but just say outrageous things. we're in a culture now where the most outlandish things gets coverage where the sensible people that are trying to do compromise and make government work are considered dull and boring, and that's a problem. we're favoring sensationalism over understanding of how our government's supposed to work, our civic -- our civic -- the civic necessities we need to function as a democracy. >> i think in periods of
10:03 am
scarcity people are -- there's a heightened sense of partisanship among citizens. you know, in the '50s and the '60s when america was doing very, very well, people could be magnanimo magnanimous. you have the civil rights movement. you have -- there were people who were opposed to that, but you feel freer to move, i think, but when people feel that they're losing something or there's an economic position or status or whatever, that brings out a lot of extremism that people feel that they are trying to protect themselves in some sort of way. i think the question was why does it recur, there tend to be moments when people are anxious. they're at ease, unease about -- uneasy about something, whether it's their economic status, their social status, or whatever. a feeling of loss, the possibility of losing things you want to band together with your team to make sure that you win. and i don't really -- it's sort of interesting the founders disliked the idea of faction,
10:04 am
but it's sort of hard to imagine how they could think you would not at some point come to have a different sense of what the public interest was. alexander hamilton and jefferson had very different understandings. they were both revolutionaries, but they had very different understandings about what that revolution was about, what it was supposed to achieve, and they -- the 1790s were brutal because of that as they were trying to work that out. what was the revolution for? what should be the direction of the country, and again, once you get rid of a king that 1/4, the person who's king and parliament for britain when they got to that point, and it's the people, they're going to hash these things out, and you're going to have these moments of extremism going from one position to another. >> have we ever in history had this kind of extremely partisan
10:05 am
behavior by both parties? i mean this is really as partisan as i've ever seen it in my lifetime. have we seen that before? >> not in our lifetime, but obviously in american history it's been a lot worse. i mean, you know, in the 1850s, for example, people in congress would just insult you, they could cane each other, beat them. and then of course the civil war speaks for itself when you have our country torn apart and 600,000 plus dead, you know. in the '60s it was rough hawk and dove and the establishment versus the counter culture, but what's a little bit odd right now to me is that like when barack obama was a president, a lot of republicans didn't want to be in a photo showing that they did any accomplishment with obama because it wouldn't play back in their district, you know, and democrats certainly now don't want to be seen running -- being around donald
10:06 am
trump so it's become that partisan country that people are saying the president represents only my faction, not both factions, and it used to be presidents would at least try to do an olive branch. i mean, we're here in beautiful monterey coast, and we talk about california in the '60s environmental movement, and it's stunning to think that richard nixon created the environmental protection agency. nixon created endangered species and clean air and water because he was listening to a congress that was, you know, instead of just saying they're all out to lunch, there was still a feeling of compromise. part of it is modern transportation. congress people and government want to leave and flee. it used to be without easy modern transport, people would stay in d.c., have cocktail parties, talk and negotiate a little bit more, so this partisan divide right now i think's the worst in our and the audience's lifetime, not
10:07 am
anywhere near comparative to something of that civil war era. >> mm-hmm. >> annette with the federalists and the republicans, you know, highly partisan? >> well, yeah, they were very nasty. they didn't say lock them up, but they said that jefferson was dead. the federalists sent out a rumor, they said that he had died, and so -- [ laughter ] >> fake news. >> fake news, fake news, yeah, oh, fake news has been there forever. i mean, benjamin franklin made up these massacres and had them printed in the eunewspapers, massacres by native americans that never happened. at some point there was a thought that -- because jefferson and burr tied. people were talking about raises armies and stuff, what the people -- the intent of the people was not actually carried out. so yeah, there have been other
10:08 am
partisan times. you mentioned the 1850s, charles sumner getting caned and so forth, but you're right. it's interesting now that we've come to a point where people don't -- after a period where people did do some things together, don't even want to be seen in the same frame. a lot of it has to do with money in politics. i mean, the way people and districts that are drawn for individual people that they're going to be incumbent. >> safe districts. >> safe districts that they're going to go on. if they really had to face a public whom they had to c convince, this thing that i said about persuasion. that changes you, when you know you have to make the case to lots of different people it moderates you and makes you think about different ways of solving problems. a lot of them don't have that so they don't really need to appeal to people in the same way. >> yeah, look, it used to be that people -- but ever since fdr, let's just do modern times,
10:09 am
believed that the federal government was here to be your friend and was going to do something. it was controversial, but fdr could do grand cooley dam and tennessee valley authority, government is going to help the little people, the person struggling, federal government. and truman creates national security state with nsc and cia and government, and the gi bill and all of that. eisenhower does the interstate highway system and the single arts seaway and john f. kennedy, all of us 50 years ago were going to put a man on the moon and bring him back alive. it was bipartisan, and johnson's government with the great society, medicaid, medicare, and jimmy carter creates fema and department of energy, and then reagan. and when reagan gets elected it's the beginnings -- reagan is a highly rated president and a good one, but there starts creeping in that the federal government is the enemy, that the government is the problem,
10:10 am
that they're over taxing you. they're ripping you off. they lied to you in vietnam. you know, there's something wrong with washington, d.c. and that politicians are no good, and you're -- and yet you could say what about clinton and obama? clinton did triangulation, it gets done, and obama had to become like a firewall to protect the heirlooms of the federal government. don't touch social security, don't drill the arctic. don't undo medicaid and medicare, and got the affordable care act in, but there are too many americans who are now thinking the enemy is the united states government, and that number is high, and how are we going to build our country when you have many citizens that think the enemy is within and it's called -- it's the whole, you know, everything since woodrow wilson and the federal reserve is the enemy. that leads to conspiracy
10:11 am
theories and kind of a neo civil war feeling in the country. >> the government is the enemy unless the government is doing something for me. >> absolutely. >> and everything has something that the government is doing something for. it's just when the government is doing something for that other person the government is the enemy in a way. that's -- yeah, it's an interesting idea when we are supposed to be the government. we are supposed to be the people who brougvote them in, keep the honest and vote them out when they don't do the things we think are right. they're not some foreign, you know, some foreign entity that has nothing to do with us. i think you're right, there's a different understanding about the government, particularly as i said when they're doing things for other people. >> yeah, i mean, an interesting point. i think -- i've never met a farmer who thought that the government was a friend,
10:12 am
basically, you know, farmers have always said stay out of my life. on the other hand, with all the support price programs and with programs the president just announced another $16 billion in aid for trade, you know, the farmers are going to get the benefit of that, and yet it is government providing that payment. >> mm-hmm. >> and so, you know, you're right. i think it depends on -- >> who you are. >> who's getting the benefit. >> i was out in idaho some years ago, and i was talking to group of people, lovely people, but i mean the story is that their forefathers came there on their own, you know, effort by themselves, you know, carved out this place. and it's like wait a minute, wasn't there an army that, you know -- there's irrigation. there are all these other kinds of things where they're -- you know, they did things by themselves but they had help as well, and it was the government as well. but people don't think of that
10:13 am
as much. >> but what we had at the time of the founding fathers was something common, which was we fought for american independence against great britain, and we don't want a monarchy, and that's what they shared. what other factional differences there was, in the cold war we had the soviet union, what is it that unites america today? from the cold war it gave us always a proxy for but now we're kind of left on our own and we're turning inward on each other. >> speaking of the russians. >> speaking of the russians. [ laughter ] >> we must always speak of the russians. have foreign governments ever interfered in u.s. elections in the past? >> people assume they did. people thought the -- interfered? >> you know, as a member of the cia, i have to be careful. >> i was going to say, leon. >> i think the reality is that
10:14 am
governments have tried to interfere -- >> of course. >> oh, yes. >> in elections. >> look at woodrow wilson in world war i when we had to deal with the so-called zimmermann telegram, you know, from germany trying to incite mexico to attack us so we would be forced to fight on the border instead of getting involved with the war. there's always been diplomatic, you know, meddling if you like in foreign affairs meddling in our democracy, but the cyberwor cyberworld, i keep getting back to it today, presents really new challenges. as we -- and cyber security should be the top of all of our list of concerns, what happened in 2016, what if russia or china tries to undo our democracy in 2020, and i'm concerned about it more than i perhaps think people were, you know, back with one telegram or one intercept or a spy or two here or there. it can be done now in a very
10:15 am
direct way on election day. >> mm-hmm. and certainly fomenting dissension among citizens as i mentioned before, thinking about the internet, comments that you think are -- you're talking to somebody, a neighbor, and you're talking to -- it's a russian bot or something that you're discussing things with. so it's very -- we're in a very complicated time. >> but this is certainly the first time we've had as bold an effort by an adversary to try to interfere directly in our election process. i think everyone acknowledges what they tried to do in 2016 and 2018 and possibly in 2020 as well. >> mm-hmm. and a lot of that relates to social media and the ability to impact through that source. if checks and balances in our constitution are no longer working as they should, what
10:16 am
will? how do we the people keep government power in check? >> sue. [ laughter ] >> no, just kidding. just kidding. you know, but i'm only -- like, if for example, you see the obama interior department doing an overreach on some land in the west, there are lawsuits that go, and that slows things down until people can see whether it's overreach. suing has become an american tradition for better or for worse and, you know, but -- the law has to prevail. we cannot act like anybody is above the law. the president has certain rights, but the idea that a president can never be indicted is to me a frightening proposition that we haven't had to really contemplate. we've had warren harding problems and andrew johnson problems, but the donald trump
10:17 am
problem is quite large because of his -- you know, trying to be a -- have a -- he has a dictatorial bent that needs checked a lot, and it's the courts that are going to have to do the checking in the immediate realm. >> i think contacting your congressm congressman, being involved in politics, voting, making your feelings known about these kinds of things. [ applause ] >> you know, it would matter to you if constituents contacted you. people can't take things for granted. i think there's such a complicated world, and we're all busy and we have so much to do and the thing seems to be running without us. it's really not. it's not running well without us, and so i think the only thing you can do is participate, is to be vigilant and really look at things, and make your feelings known, not just by voting. voting's important, but coming out to meetings, meeting
10:18 am
congressmen rk congressmen, writing to them. letting people know they're out there. if they become too complacent about all of this, the system just drifts away. >> this is an interesting one that reads as the issues of states rights. but how would the founders interpret state's rights and personal property on the issue of abortion bans in alabama and missouri? >> go ahead. [ laughter ] >> well, i mean, the founders -- during the founders' period of time, i mean, states rights, the the founders' period of time abortion was not legal before quickening, so this was not something that -- that would have been considered to be a private matter. now, all the founders -- the different founders would have
10:19 am
had obviously different responses to that. they all had different, you know, viewpoints about matters not just -- abortion would not have been something that they would have been thinking of. i assume they would have -- i assume that if this were something criminalized that that would be a state right, states deal with criminal law. >> yeah, and we're dealing with gender and evolution and ideas of gender. i mean, 2020 will be the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote, so we're talking about founders and their wisdom, but women were excluded from everything, and even in 1920 women were -- the culmination of all that suffragist fighting and still was really white women that were getting the right to vote in 1920. it took the civil rights acts of the '60s to push it forward, so i don't know if the founders had a conception of woman power. >> no.
10:20 am
we didn't. >> look at how many women have just become part of the class of 2018 in congress, and women are getting into politics more and more, and that may be where the future is because women -- women may be able to compromise more than this kind of ugly thing that's been going on the last decade. more women in politics will be a good thing. [ applause ] >> let me ask you on the power of impeachment, which is provided in the constitution, which is provided to the congress to be able to move against a president who violates the law, the reality is that no president has been impeached, you know, in terms of -- >> convicted. >> of having a senate conviction and removed from office. we've come close. nixon is probably as close as
10:21 am
we've ever come, but generally, it's a political process, so obviously parties are going to play a role in determining what happens with impeachment. at the same time, the justice department has said that a president cannot be indicted for violating the law during the time that that person is president. what would our forefathers say to a situation where if you can't impeach the president because of the politics of the congress and you can't indict the president, then what would our forefathers say should be the recourse to deal with a president who violates the law? where the hell do you go? >> that would be check mate.
10:22 am
[ laughter ] the justice department -- that's a justice department policy. that's their opinion -- >> that's true. >> it's not -- it's not entirely clear to me that the founders would have agreed with that opinion because -- because it would be check mate. if you're saying you can't -- well, obviously they ought to be able to impeach. that's a political question. because they don't want to. it's not that they don't have the power. the doj rule is something separate. the impeachment power is clear. the doj rule is something they've made up. so i think the founders probably would just unmake that up. [ laughter ] >> well, just with -- you know, with a question of did president trump obstruct justice and people are arguing with that, this is the fight within the democratic party right now whether to impeach donald trump. there's a group of democrats that are saying what mr. panetta
10:23 am
is. this is tough. no president gets ripped out of office. they have all this presidential power. you can try to stain them with the eye in history that congress right now in this climate very well would move to impeach donald trump, but the senate would say no and trump could come out as, you know, i told you they're just the obstructionist democrats and use it for political leverage, but on the other hand there's another group of democrats that are saying we must impeach donald trump now if we really do believe it was obstruction of justice and our subpoenas aren't being answered, and what are we telling young people if we don't go forward in our exercising of our belief that a president had abused power. so it is a tough question, and particularly when you have electoral politics ramming up right against it in 2020, do you operate with your head, your heart? and how much should political concern sway. >> i would say the doj, the doj
10:24 am
policy, i should just say doesn't just apply to the current president. the interesting nature of that applies just in general, this idea that any president, you know, what they do could not be indicted. i just find that a fascinating one, and that's whether the current president or anybody, what does that policy come from, and what is the purpose of it? >> let me -- as we get closer to wrapping up here, as historians and with 250 years of hindsight, if you could go back to the framing of the constitution, what, if any, changes would you make? >> you asking me that, first i'll say there's no slavery, all right? [ applause ] >> okay. but seriously, no, that was a serious answer. i would have a parliamentary
10:25 am
system. doug. >> yeah, i think that the problem was the kind of litmus test to who was a real american out of our -- right out of the gates was a problem, that you had to be a white person of a certain kind of economic bearing to become a member of the continental congress and then to be a founder of our country. it excluded so many people, not just african-americans with slavery but the treatment, the horrific treatment of native americans of that era, that they were seen as not human and subhuman and this is always embarrassing when you want to celebrate -- >> would you do anything about the electoral college? >> we were talking a little bit about this earlier, and it is frustrating for people to realize that every vote doesn't count in the sense that if hillary clinton beat donald trump by 3 million votes she's not president due to the electoral college, but i think the electoral college is here to
10:26 am
stay. i don't think it's going to be done away with, and i know that disappoints a lot of young people. we have a hard enough time right now, like if you look at 2000 with florida and dangling chads and bush and gore and recounts and florida, imagine a close election where every county, every state has to be recounted, it could wreak havoc, let alone the proposition if it becomes -- if you do away with the electoral college that politicians will only play for big, urban areas. >> you say if we go back to the beginning, i would say i would not have it, but i think he's right at this particular moment -- small starts are not going to vote to get rid of their power. they're not going to do that. >> we've come to the end of the session. and again, i want to turn to the audience and tell you that in talking about the constitution, it begins with the words "we the people," and i think the one thing i've learned from this
10:27 am
session and, frankly, from the other sessions we've had is that ultimately it is we the people that will decide whether our democracy survives, and the only way we the people will do that is becoming active and interested and vote, and participate in our democracy. that's what this lecture series is all about. thank you for supporting us, and good night. [ applause ] >> tonight on c-span, millennial journalists in their 20s and 30s on the future of their profession. a buzz feed reporter describes what it's like trying to be the
10:28 am
first to break news in today's immediate news cycle. >> we move really fast, which it can be an asset, but on the flip side it can also be like detrimental sometimes. we don't have what abc news has. there's no one really fact checking our stories. we have an editor and a copy editor and then it's out. so you know, with the parkland shooting like we in one story when it was moving very quickly, we misidentified the shooter, and like a kid's mom based on just like what some teens had told us. oh, it's that kid in that track and field photo, and we're like oh, well, that looks like, okay, yeah, like six people have told us this. it was not that kid. so you know, that was something that i've learned is to -- and especially in breaking news and the rush of that and trying to be first, to step back and like take a deep breath and question and ask, you know, and have --
10:29 am
and verify more, and especially like now with the pace of news, it's more important than ever. yeah. >> millennial journalists also talk about industry changes and fake news. you can watch the entire program tonight at 9:00 p.m. on c-span. house speaker nancy pelosi hosted a reception to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the house of representatives passing the 19th amendment to the constitution which guaranteed women the right to vote. the event from the u.s. capitol included remarks by house minority leader kevin mccarthy, representatives brenda lawrence and debbie lesko, journalist cokie roberts and former senator barbara mikulski. the respective chair and vice chair of the women's suffrage centennial commission.

75 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on