The U.S. Senate Class of 1974; 4; Senator Robert A. Taft Jr.
The United States Senate class of 1971. This year 11 the freshman five Republicans five Democrats and one conservative joined the ranks of the 100 and America's upper house of the legislative branch of government here for the national educational radio network with a profile of one of these new United States senators. Is your host Bill Moroney. The Taft family name is long been associated with the state of Ohio Republican and national politics and government public service member to reach the highest levels was William Howard Taft in 1909 he took the oath of office as the twenty seventh president
of the United States. He served for just one term in 1921 President Harding appointed him chief justice of the Supreme Court William Howard Taft was the only man in American history to hold both the highest offices in the administrative and judicial branches of government before his election to the presidency. He had served as secretary of war in the Cabinet of President Theodore Roosevelt a post held briefly by his father Alfonso in the Grant administration. The next generation of the Taft family entered the legislative branch of government. ROBERT DE Taft Sr. was elected to the United States Senate in one thousand thirty eight and reelected two succeeding terms in 1944 in 1958. He was such a powerful force in the political field he was nicknamed Mr Republican Robert Taft Sr. died in 1953. Halfway through his third Senate term the next generation of the Taft is headed by Robert Taft Jr. almost 18 years after death removed to Taft his son and namesake to return the family name to the roll call of the United States Senate.
Well John I think it means that you have a. Duty and opportunity to serve the 10 million seven hundred thousand we read by the latest sent to the people of the state of Ohio and also to serve the people of the nation in making decisions as to the future course of legislation in both domestic matters and also on foreign affairs. In addition to the mere matter of passing laws of horse and how you voted as a homeowner suggesting new programs for consideration and facing up to the many problems that we have in all of these areas This includes of course education health the welfare. Of the entire questioning environment trying to do something about the problems of pollution in the country. All of these areas are tremendous challenge revenue sharing trying to get some money back to state and local government. Trying to enact programs that are consistent with the basic principles that I think of made America great. Our auto I think is involved in each of these areas. The field upon affairs in addition you have the responsibility of trying to help and
advise the president. Of course if you think foreign policy should take this comes up of course in the Senate as it did not in the house in the ratification of any treaties that might come before us in the confirmation of ambassadors and of course a confirmation policy relates not only to the matter of. Those in the ambassadorial be open also to domestic officials as well and that is an advise and consent type of approval which is given by the Senate. All of these areas then present tremendous challenges I see some special ones for myself. Which may or may not turn out to be the ones that I have a chance to accept as the course of the Senate develops and future history. Robert Taft first elected office was to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1955. He served his state there until 1962 the last year as majority floor leader in 1962 he ran for and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives two years later in 1964 he tried on the seat incumbent
Democratic Senator Stephen Young and failed the vicissitudes of politics are hard to figure that was of course a presidential year. Lyndon Johnson carried they will hire my more than a million votes over Barry Goldwater and I only lost my £17. I think that inevitably the national race had it. Very definite a fact situation that year. As soon as the next national elections rolled around 1966 Robert Taft Jr. sought and won back his House seat in Washington. He was re-elected in 1968 and 1970s Senator Young announced he was retiring. Taft won a narrow primary election for the GOP Senate nomination as did his opponent Cleveland millionaire Howard Metzenbaum on the Democratic side. The election was one of the closest and toughest of that year's congressional campaigns this time. Taft was successful last year and one hundred seventy election I thought we were in just so much stronger campaign.
There were some problems there to the economy certainly was a last few weeks to agree with the general motors running at that particular time. It was quite a difficult factor to compete with but I think I presented the issues in the people who go out to look at my position on the issues and my past experience and decided that I could be of service in the Senate. There were reports from a political columnist shortly after his election that now in a stronger power seat dad was trying to take over the Ohio Republican Party putting his all men in and exerting a control over others. So to build a significant power base for any future political tries he might wish to make abundance have observed during his successful Senate bid. One of his major internal problems was some isolated backbiting from within the state party leadership. Senator Taft downplays is reported political wheeling and dealing when its only reports by columnists who I think have wells to write about them have to take a day
or you know right now is a party everywhere should look to spanking itself. In Ohio we did take quite a beating. There's no doubt about it there were a number of factors involved that I recognized all as I said in this connection is that I stand ready to do and will hope to be working with other Republican leaders in Ohio to try to strengthen our cars in the here in 1972. Move on the re-election of President Nixon at that time and also to move on recapturing the governorship and strengthening the party generally Senator Taft said he saw some special challenges for himself upon entering the Senate. He was asked to outline some of these were over many years I worked in this field a revenue sharing which I have mentioned and I feel that that is certainly an important step and ought to be taken forward. I think that keeping government close to the people both state and local government close to the people for those programs and policies which are better handled at that level is certainly a major challenge and
I've worked and I was chairman of a task force from 1965 to 1968 into the Republican National Committee which came forward with a major revenue sharing proposals that I hope will be coming up soon as I'm coming. Session I've of course served in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and I think all of us every man in Washington is of course dedicated to doing what he can to try to bring about a peaceful solution to the world's problems. Right where do you stand a mirror a man standing in relation to the issues and personages of the time. Senator Taft lines up almost perfectly with those of the White House. Well I think it's going to be a question whether or not we are able to pass in this session a major proposals really reform proposals that the president had proposed the last station and which had failed to pass. Also whether we're able to successfully determinate the Vietnam engagement on a responsible basis and do continue the. Recapturing of the position of respect and responsibility in world affairs the United
States has had I think all of these areas present tremendous challenges and I'm back for a moment to the fulfill the commitments of the administration reform we have the whole welfare reform issue of course. Now we have in addition to that what I call government reform and planning I think we have the problem of trying to solve the inflation problem that is there with the same time to create more jobs and a growing economy to meet the needs of our people. These are tremendous challenges and I think this Congress should be facing up to the ninety first Congress was constantly criticized as a do nothing Congress. This is probably unjust. But another charge of this one directed at the Democratic leadership of both the Senate and the House probably holds more water than that that the congressional Democratic majorities were unresponsive to the legislative proposals of the Republican administration. Being a former member of the house a new member of the Senate a Republican and closely allied with the administration. Senator Taft is a good barometer to gauge how responsive the 90 second
Congress will be to White House wishes. I think a little bit more yes I think that the bounce was somewhat You didn't favor the president on the Senate side from the House side I don't consider that it's had any major setback of any kind. President Nixon had cited Taft selection during the campaign as essential to a constructive working relationship between his office and the Congress especially the Senate which blocked most of Mr. Nixon's proposals last Congress. Senator Taft concedes a closeness of mind with the president but resent speculation that he will be a rubber stamp party line voter. I think you have. Recognize that any senator has a duty to use his own brains conscience and must follow those in making his decisions. However I was a member of the elected Republican leadership in the house. I worked closely with the administration for the last two years on their legislative program. Some of the ideas I take some credit of authorship and as for instance the revenue sharing proposal.
And I think it would be only natural therefore that I would find myself more on the side of the administration than not and I expect that where I do differ with them it will only be in areas where I feel as a matter of conscience in the matter of judgment that there is some mistake or error involved in the policy being advocated by the administration. Senator Taft discountenance close relationship with Mr. Nixon right below is sure that I will be able to get any recommendation I have to the president and have it considered However I recognize full well that I'm just one senator in a hundred and I'm one of the freshman senators in this class to hear and expect that I will. Get any special recognition to the White House I think would be very unrealistic. As for the issues he will face during his Senate tenure the same for all the just later years the war in Indochina will hold much of the international spotlight for a good part of that time. Sen. tab sees the solution coming as the result of teamwork and the coarseness of the
administration or the Congress working with the money is going to work with the president to back his policy of responsible withdrawn continuing to reduce our involvement there in any way at the same time to build up the capability of the South Vietnamese and the other nations of the area and ability to determine their own base don't determination through giving them strength militarily and economically so they can do the job so it becomes clear that Senator Taft appears satisfied to leave a major role in foreign affairs and policy to the administration. This is a similar view held by other GOP lawmakers infatuated with the present way relations are being handled. Another example of Senator Taft backing of administration's stance is exemplified by his approach to the question of a troop withdrawal timetable. And I doubt that for the immediate future we're going to be able to say cynically that we have a deadline by which all American troops will be withdrawn I think that
would just invite the North Vietnamese to hold their fire and build up their strength until the American troops have gone home and perhaps to. Come in and launch another offensive. I also think it would completely undermine the chances no matter how small I might be of a negotiated peace being worked down in Paris so that I do not think it would be wise at this time to set a specific deadline for all troop withdrawal and when you get down to a certain point however continuing our withdrawals and very conceivably it may be make good sense to say well it looks now that we're going to be out completely by such and such a date as to give the South Vietnamese as much notice as possible as to exactly when they are going to be taking over the final responsibility and when all he wants troops will be out of South Vietnam. One of the major goals Senator Tabb said he hoped could be achieved in the near future was the recapturing of America's world prestige he hopes to be a part of that effort and believes that some progress has already been made in recent months.
And I think our leadership in the Middle East and painting at least cease fire there is certainly a major accomplishment. It should be pointed because it indicates the credibility of the U.S. position again for the entire years I think from. 1960 through 1968 the United States really is a leader of nations among other nations was not able to propose anything that really looked as though it was a solid step toward peace. And in so far as Middle East is concerned of course this is a very very speculative situation still but at least we got it out dead center. And we've also gotten to the negotiating tables in the SALT talks with the Russians I think was again indicates a degree of leadership and credibility and part of the administration. I think the Nixon doctrine so-called of putting responsibility on the nations themselves. To protect their rights and their position in the free world but offering backing you know economic way and with arms but not with our own military
participation has been welcomed throughout the world as a real blow for freedom. Senator Taft still feels that more can be done in other areas to fully regain America's world prestige. Well I hope we will see it in attempting to work out and strengthen the situation in Europe. I think that they don't need to tension and will be getting attention. I don't think more troops but I think an attempt to work out a more realistic basis of participation and support by our allies and there's been some. I think tendency of Natoma to weaken and to kind of back away from a situation which I don't think is. Justified by the continued build up of military capacity on the part of Soviet Russia. And I think that Europe itself is going to awaken to this one of these days I think the United States has got to take the lead while we work for peace work for our limitations and work to take down the barriers of the cold wall or a
cold war that has been building up and the Iron Curtain. At the same time I think we have we can do that only if we are willing to recognize it is going to be a joint effort with the United States is going to have to continue to have responsibility in connection with it. One of the thorniest international problems facing this Congress is the question of trade restrictions and barriers. The prime mover in the quandary is Japan and the problems their textile industry is causing are domestic operations a deal worked out between House Ways and Means Committee chairman Wilbur Mills one of the most powerful men in Congress and the Japanese textile industry was brushed aside by the Nixon administration as unacceptable. Although the White House refusal to accept the deal was done with delicate diplomacy it offended both the Japanese and Mr. Mills. The administration can expect little cooperation from Congress and the Japanese as a result. The US trade problems will grow in importance and annoyance as this year and others progress. Senator Taft treads a careful line right down the middle between protectionism and free traders.
Now we have a continuing foreign trade is concerned. There is no doubt I think that the economic interests of the United States as well as our overall foreign policy interests are benefited by that kind increase and build world trade. We have a favorable trade balance. We have built it up over the years not seen it gone down even though imports into this country have increased many many tuners. When our exports have increased many many times during that same period. I feel it in the interest of the American consumer in the interest of the sound of the world to come. It is desirable to try to lower the barriers of trade between various nations at the same time. However I think we have to be realistic in saying that we will not permit other nations to subsidize their industries and to build up certain of their industries aimed at capturing the understates market and depriving the United States of jobs this is a continuing ongoing battle in many
fields to mention a few. The entire text of the course is always going to be with us I feel. Interminable steel is certainly a very important area that we have to I think continually pay some attention to. Chemicals field tissues. There is some of these areas there's been a flood. I think subsidized radically subsidized religion I was into this country trying to capture the United States market. If this happens and U.S. money backers go out of business it certainly is not going to help the American consumer in America in my opinion because then the prices from abroad will simply go up. Trade may be an area in which Senator Taft is not precisely follow the administration line but shifting to the domestic scene and its number one problem the out of control economy. His comments almost echo the persistent optimism issued on a monthly basis from the administration planning we're working out of the place and Graham right now I think it's been a long slow haul but I think I think the only way you can work out inflation is to say that we're going to go home I think of people but on. Government strict government
controls on wages by to this would have the effect of building up a black market. I think it would probably be in the long run more inflationary than. Simply continuing on a restrictive policy by the same time not putting on strict rigid controls violence in America is a problem against which Sen.. SAP takes a tough stand. We must continue our attack on crime in this country there's no doubt about that I think we must also continue to build and carried the administrations of the college universities to handle this problem themselves. Based on the record of the past following the warning universities and colleges and had the events of the spring of nineteen hundred seventy would seem to have been heated and they seem to have been a distinct cooling off on the campuses I welcome this and I'm sure all Americans welcome. But at the same time I think we have to recognize the responsibility for this is its government yes its primarily for
its first hand on the universities and colleges themselves on the faculties or on the administrations on the students. That's the level at which this problem ought to be sought. On crime there remain a member of the administration's crime those who did not and I think ought to be considered we ought to go back and review how the laws that we have passed are working to see if there had been any favorable results in checking crime and try to build on the basis what there were results we see at the same time to check also to see that there have been no abuses grown up in the practices that may have come under some of the stricter provisions of the crime bills that have been passed. Senator Taft believes that the number one criminal opponent in this country is still the Mafia the Cosa Nostra organized crime still is a major problem. You know I think I've made it. A real breakthrough. I think the passage of the organized crime down by the last Congress has given a new tool to the Justice Department and I
think that the increased budget increased effort on the part of the Justice Department to do something about organized crime is being dividends today. That doesn't mean for a moment we can let down our guard and I think we've got to continue to work on it and work on it very hard. A stricter approach and a stronger handling is suggested to combat the problem of drug abuse in this country and I don't know of any social class why even marijuana. All right an answer some people might disagree. The harm of AGW is continuing its tests on marijuana to determine what kind of get some sound hard. Statistics and research is just what the fate of her I want is but from the initial results of those studies as far as I have been able to determine. Marijuana does remain a very dangerous drug and it is tied in with the other hard which I think represent a major challenges to our youth in this country and I think the problem there has got to be handled on
several levels. It's got to be handled by strict enforcement. And I think we're getting stricter and stricter enforcement we've got some new tools some of the tools that I mentioned in the in the organized crime bill some truth to it in the bill that we passed relating to drug abuse in the last session are there and can be used at the same time I think the problem is so wide that you also have to engage in a major educational program and I think. The major government programs in this direction are going to have to continue to be supported and expanded and I hope private programs will grow up as well. Robert Taft Jr. was born in Cincinnati on Feb. 26 1917. He grew up surrounded by the family politics missing his grandfather's term in the White House but very much involved in his father's repeated drives. He attended Yale University graduating in 1939. From there he went on to Harvard Law School receiving his degree in 1942. He was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve in February of 1042 and was on active duty in the Atlantic
Pacific and Mediterranean theaters during World War 2. With a brief stopover to become a member of the Naval War College staff class of 1944. He's still in the Naval Reserve discharged from active duty in 1946. Still as an ensign Robert Taft is very much a family man. In 1939 shortly after his graduation from Yale he married his first wife Blanca. They had four children. She tragically died in 1968. Senator Taft second wife is Katherine Perry who brought with her 11 children from a former marriage. They were married in 1969. Those who know Robert Taft say he is a warm person dedicated to public service. His biggest liabilities are said the biggest shyness that quickly melts as acquaintance grows and the avoidable family comparisons. This he has also had a little trouble overcoming to try and gain a better insight into what kind of a man Robert Taft really is I question his press secretary Ron Eisenberg asking some of the same questions I had asked his boss and some new ones.
What kind of a man is Robert Taft. Very professional very warm and very hard worker. I've been with him for. Five years now. And we found him to be a great boss and a great person to work with he deals with his staff and with others on a one to one basis which is in an ideal way to work. How does he handle an issue. Is he one of these people that can handle it. Million issues or does he go after one to hang on to it until he's got it. It works in many different areas Bill. His expertise in the House has been from Maryland foreign affairs but has been involved in civil rights legislation and housing legislation in air pollution water pollution control legislation. He has a facility to deal with many issues at the same time and we deal with them as a lawyer would go systematically carefully thoroughly. What kind of a senator is he going to make it easy to. Vote the party line is he going to be like a rubber stamp president. No he's never been a rubber stamp and never will be. He is in the president's positions on
issues very similar in many areas. They're both Republicans and 960 he gave a seconding speech to Nixon's nomination. He's been a member of leadership and has been to the White House on a weekly basis and he is intimately familiar with the president's positions but he's not a rubber stamp and where he differs from the president he will say so publicly and take a separate stand. You think he's going to be come or maybe is already one of those senators that will. Have. Presidents here have the ability of getting his recommendations through the White House staff to the president more than other senators. I don't know if more than other senators I do know that he has worked closely with President Nixon as a member of leadership and is on a personal basis with the president who came out to Ohio for us. He came out to Iowa twice in fact he was there in July and again in late October. The president has listened to Bob Taft and I'm sure he'll continue to do so. But I don't believe that he's unavailable to other senators. Does your boss want to become president some
time. No I don't believe he has aspirations to be president. He's not running for president. I never heard him say that he's interested in it. He wanted to be a United States senator. That's why he was running to get into a very very tight primary to do it. That was his goal and he says he's reached that goal now and I think you hope to go on to be an affective senator. I asked Robert Taft himself if he wanted the presidency. His answer was much blunter. No sir. And I don't envy any man that yeah. Robert Taft carries with him a legacy of family greatness and the capability for equal personal achievement. The next few years will truly on the fold what stake destiny holds for this latest path from Ohio. This is Bill Moroney. The United States Senate class of 1971 was produced in Washington D.C. for the national educational radio network with one provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
This is the national educational radio network.
- Episode Number
- Senator Robert A. Taft Jr.
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- Politics and Government
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 71-15-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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