The Presidency: 1968; Behind the Election Results
One that believed in letting the various forces work themselves out in conflict and struggle and being there as as an umpire to resolve whatever disputes came up to him but did not want either to enter actively and intermediate level in the formulation of policy nor did he want genuine activism on the part of the federal government. Mr Nixon on the other hand is an activist president in that sense he's in the what the Roosevelt and Truman and Kennedy tradition not the Eisenhower tradition. My hunch is by the way the Republican candidate from now on will be that kind of candidate. Probably although it's interesting that Mr. McCarthy and that's where I went off on this Mr. McCarthy would not have been an activist president. He made it very clear that his conception of presidential office in a presidential power was very much more of a let's see how things
work and let's break the thing down into smaller groups and let's give Cabinet officers a chance to have their constituencies and so on. If one other if if Robert Kennedy had not been killed. This to me is perhaps the saddest event of this whole past year. Infinitely sadder than for me than the way the election came out infinitely sadder. I think if he had not been killed there would have been. A fusion of his forces with McCarthy's forces at Chicago. There would not have been that bloody encounter on the streets of Chicago. That whole thing would not have happened would not have happened. I think it would have had a an election contests in which Mr. Kennedy I think would have come out the victor. And as we look toward the future now I must say I would have had a good deal more confidence in the American future without
violence without further splits for other hatreds. Then I have no. Well I'm speaking of the future let me take a look at the future of the Democratic Party. You may recall I said that there were a number of people on the margins of the Democratic Party on the left wing margins of the party who on the whole wanted Mr Humphrey to be licked and licked badly. They expected him to be looked very badly and in a sense they wanted it because they they wanted to be there to pick up the pieces they wanted to be what receivers in party bankruptcy. The interesting thing is that that has not happened. He was not beaten badly he was beaten by an extremely narrow margin Mr Nixon did not come in with a big margin he was a minority president. The Democratic Party did not go to pieces there were no pieces to pick up it is very much in shape.
I won't say it's in the best shape that it has been in but it's in not that shape let me put it. It is in far better shape now in 1968 after the election than the Republican Party was in 1984. After that election far better shape. And notice what the Republicans did to rebuild themselves. Which means that pretty much this is the way you want to make sure as before not terribly different. I mean in the history of the Democratic Party when it has been defeated not very different from the mixture as it was in 1052 with the Stevenson defeat and on the whole much better than it was in 1986 when Mr. Stevenson was beaten so badly. And what this means of course is that Mr. Senator McCarthy why he's going to be a fascinating figure and a lovable one for some time to come is not today is the leader of the party which he would have been if the party had really been shattered.
And he's not the man to whom the party will look for further rebuilding. Chances are very strong that he has said that he will not be a candidate again for the Senate under a Democratic ticket if that so it's quite conceivable that Mr Humphrey may be a candidate for the Senate. There was some talk by the way that Mr Nixon has offered Mr Humphrey the post of ambassador to the United Nations in the same tradition as Adley Stevenson. He doesn't want to confirm it or deny it but there is. Some report about that. But it's quite possible that Mr Humphrey who will be the titular leader of the party will remain in the public eye and may run either for governor or for senator and may have a long career still ahead of him. In the public service and high positions not I think ever again in a try for
the presidency. I think I took it just as I'm sure that if Mr. Nixon had been nosed out instead of nosing Mr. Humphrey out he would have been through also in terms of presidential candidate would have meant someone else. If we ask Who if not Mr. Humphrey represents the potential leadership of the Democratic Party in the next four years. My hunch is that most of us would probably agree I've tried this out as I've been lecturing across the country since the election results. I tried it out and I get pretty much of a consensus on it. There are two names that I find everywhere. Two names everywhere. One is your senator here from Massachusetts. Jerry Kennedy had with Kennedy who has very considerable appeal and still a very considerable amount of charisma. Edward Kennedy and who acted by the way with grace.
And with mellowness in the campaign not denying his support to Mr Humphrey but not going all the way out for him either doing rather moderate job but making it clear that he was for him. And I think this means that there will not be hostility on Mr. Humphries part if Senator Kennedy wants to move on and the other course is Senator Muskie. And here I must say that his appeal is by no means s.o.. I've been since I've seen you I've been in the Middle West and I've been in the Far West and I've been on the coast. And I've been in the middle states I've been in all of them and the appeal is very strong. The sense of a fresh personality very similar to the kind of sense of a fresh personality that we had about Mr. McCarthy which gave him the appeal that he had. I don't know how this is going to come out I think it's too soon to know and there may be others. Whom
tensions that lie ahead may somehow bring up for public attention who knows. But right now these two men. On the Republican side obviously Mr. Nixon will have to. Do pretty well in the next four years if he's going to get re-elected if he does very badly if it's disastrous. There will be those who will want to deny him the re nomination just as there were Democrats who did actually deny Lyndon Johnson the nomination. I think Mr. Rock for Governor Rockefeller his political future is also pretty clear he's not going to get another chance at the presidency. He may or may not get a cabinet post. The other figure with considerable charisma in the Republican Party of course is John Lindsay. A couple of weeks ago I would have said that he has a not inconsiderable political future on a national level today I'm not so sure. A couple of days ago I would have said that it was much less of a future than I would today.
As you say everything hinged on the teacher's strike and on the role that he had in on the settlement and may still hinge on what happens to the settlement. And this of course is the vulnerability of a big city mayor as a national political figure. What happens in his city is one of the most. One of the most chancy risky things of any political figure no governor and no senator runs that kind of risk. Right now I would say that if I were Mr. Nixon and if I if I were Mr. Lindsey and if Mr. Nixon offered me a job in his administration any kind of a job I would take it and take it very eagerly. Any kind of a job just to get out of New York City to get out of that dangerous trap because it is a dangerous trap. It's a hell hole from a political standpoint. You don't survive these things. And I thought that Mr. Lindsey was an exception to that rule particularly with the grace that he showed
and the courage that he showed walking in the city during those hot summer weeks. Showing a capacity for what for sensing the mood of people and for dialogue with them and a capacity for bridging chasms between the races and between the generations which has an extraordinary capacity Surely this is the kind of thing that you want in a leader. But then when it came to the strikes he doesn't show the same kind of capacity evidently it requires different qualities and the very quality of his presence of wanting to make his presence felt in every situation which gave him his appeal is not the right kind of quality in settling the strike and settling a strike. A mayor has to work behind the scenes he has to keep out of things he has to keep from being identified with any group in the city too strongly and Mr. Lindsey was too strongly identified with particular groups very clearly that is for for his political reputation.
I would say that the outside of the on these men whom I just mentioned there's nobody else who can challenge Mr. Nixon right now. There are no charismatic leaders left today in the Republican Party unless you say John Lindsay. You know charismatic leaders that have any kind of chance the president see unless you talk of Mr. Hatfield Mr. Percy as potential leaders but my hunch is that they're going to have to wait a long time. And Mr. Nixon will again be the candidate in 72 and the other Republican leaders will have to wait. One final word about Mr. Nixon personality since I speak of charismatic leaders. He said something rather interesting in that in answering the question I think it is one of his television answers I don't remember you talking about the obvious fact that he is not loved was not and is not loved. And he says you don't have to be a charismatic leader a leader doesn't have to be
loved. There are many effective leaders who are not loved. You need to be respected. You need to be respected. I have commented on this in various times and each time I've commented on it I had that doesn't exhaust the possibilities. Some leaders are love. Some leaders are deeply respected some leaders are trusted and that respect isn't enough without trust. Respect isn't enough unless by respect we mean fear. You can rule by the way through love or you can rule through fear. These are the two polar ways of ruling. One is through love or through the other through fear but if you don't choose either of those. The best way particularly in a democracy for most leaders who are not charismatic leaders is to rule with respect and trust. And this is true of course inside of a family which by the way is a polity it's a political system or a school which is a polity or a college
which is a polity. All of these are polities. You need respect. If you're going to make decisions you need trust as well. And I think I've said on a number of occasions that one of the basic difficulties in the generational struggle today is the trust is no longer there between the generations because trust is no longer there respect is difficult then communication becomes terribly difficult. And I would carry this over from the family to the nation. And I would say that if we cannot develop trust quality by the way which both Mr. Humphrey and Mr. Muskie constantly stressed if we cannot develop trust we're not going to get communication. And Mr. Nixon is not going to be able to run the country. I'm that remains of course to be seen the extent to which he can develop that. His first act by the way was very interesting his first act of having interviews
outside of his own immediate aides. He called in Mr. Jordan meaning you called him Mr. Whitney and George Meany as you know is they had a big labor organization in America he wants to build bridges toward labor. He called in Whitney Young who is today probably I would say that what they the most characteristic the leader of the Negro community characteristic in the sense that he neither belongs with Mr. Wilkens nor on the other side with the black power group. He identifies with the slogan of black power but not with the methods of the Black Power fanatics. In that sense Mr. Whitney Young was exactly the right man to call in for as a symbol of the Negro community. If I had been Mr. Nixon I think I would have taken another step on labor and called him Mr. ruther as well as Mr. meany in order to get that second house of labor which
is I think going to be just as important in the years ahead as the first one. But what it means is that he recognizes his problem movie is going to call in among what the more militant Negro leaders I don't know. Whom he's going to call in to talk to or how he's going to be able to build bridges toward the college generation the very militant college generation again I don't know. He will have to show some grace in all this as well as judgment. And I'm somewhat disturbed at one episode that has just occurred where he showed not grace but graceless ness and poor judgment. Another important episode I think he met with Mr. Johnson. Course they talked about a transition of power and they talked about. How they were going to resolve the question come and voice in foreign policy. And Mr. Nixon quite rightly said he would go along with
Mr. Johnson on the Paris Peace peace negotiations so that we would not present a divided. Front to the world. I seem fine and I remember when I read this breathing a sigh of relief Mr. Nixon had made the right decision. The right judgment on something very important when he got back to New York and then he evidently had second thoughts about it. And he then announced gave a statement to the press in which he said he wanted to make it very clear that while he wanted to present a united United aspect on foreign policy to the world he wanted to make it very clear that Mr. Johnson in turn had made a commitment not to make any crucial foreign policy decisions without first consulting Mr. Nixon. Of course at that point Mr. Johnson I suppose quietly hit the roof but quietly quietly. He did not make an uproar about it but he immediately called a press conference and he pointed
out that this just wasn't sold. But he had never said that he would not make any decisions without consulting the president elect and he said very quietly but very firmly. There is only one president and there is only one secretary of state. This president and this secretary of state and until January 20th this is it. Now the graceless Nissa of Mr. Nixon second thoughts graceless ness as well as the confusion about the whole thing I must say troubles me and I want to be very candid. I said I was going to give a very critical scrutiny to every act of his and this is a very important and symbolic act. And I can only attribute it to a kind of basic insecurity in the President-Elect. He was really worried having having come back from Washington he began to worry had he been taken in by Lyndon Johnson had he been brainwashed or had he given the appearance of having been brainwashed. You want to make it very clear that he hadn't. And so you got this really
graceless second thoughts about and then stating something that just wasn't solo and by the way when Mr Johnson had made his statement Mr Nixon's aide Mr Nixon represent a cold the president said Mr Nixon had never really meant that Johnson had promised not to make any decisions without consulting all that Mr Nixon had meant presumably was that he would not himself be found in the future by decisions of Mr. Johnson that he would have to carry out unless in fact he had been consulted on those decisions. But that's a very different kettle of fish isn't it from the kettle of fish that Mr Nixon president of the country within that second statement. And I spend what may seem to much time on this. I hope it's not too much time because again it is symbolic it is symbolic and I would say that the contrast between the two men in terms of a sense of security in terms of quietness in terms of confidence and so on is rather
important. And at this point Mr. Johnson I think showed his best aspect. May I say it in passing and this deserves more than a footnote in passing. My own conviction which I think I've I've expressed before that except for the Vietnam war Mr Johnson's place in history will be a very strong one indeed. That is the Vietnam War that messes it up. That's where we went wrong but his place in history will you very strong. That is a conception of presidential power on the whole is a pretty good conception. He went wrong in his judgement on the Vietnam War and deeper and deeper wrong and his whole political style was not an attractive one for the country. But I must say I have a hunch that as Mr. Johnson gets closer and closer to leaving office. And when we get more and more experience with Mr. Nixon we may begin to get a re-evaluation of Lyndon Johnson. That would be my hunch. But certainly the valuation that will come
in the next decade among historians will I think be a not inconsiderable set a not inconsiderable value on him except for the messiness of the war. I've spoken of how Hanoi and Saigon both felt about the candidates and the election. Saigon went on even after the election being rather skittish about coming to the peace table. We called Mr. Carr Clifford had to issue a very strong statement a warning. A very strong warning to Saigon saying that if they did not sit down at the peace table we would go ahead ourselves. We would go ahead ourselves with the implication that we go would go ahead with the peace and if necessary if necessary if they objected too much they might have to go along with the war on their own. It's not impossible. Again it showed a quietness and strength on the part of the administration which I think on the whole is probably the right kind of policy.
After the peace treaty itself there will be some very big problems of reconstruction in Asia and here I'm rather concerned Mr. Nixon's basic position with respect to American aid because I don't think you can get real reconstruction in Southeast Asia without a very considerable measure of American financial expenditure. How Mr Nixon is going to square this with his other positions I don't know. Another problem obviously not is the other expansionist threats will be coming up in Asia. Basically Mr. Nixon believes in the policy of containment just as Lyndon Johnson believed in the policy of containment. He feels that we've gone too far in this war that we should have fought it in a different way that we should have fought for victory much more quickly and so on. But he's believes in the policy of containment. And there are going to be I suppose a number of crises in the former eight years ahead in Asia itself.
In which we're going to have to see what Mr. Nixon's judgment is going to be as to whether we're going to contain the efforts toward communist expansionism in the future. Or whether on the whole we're going to give them a wide berth. And to follow up on the basic position which I think Mr. Nixon has also expressed in the campaign that America doesn't want to be the world's policeman. Now finally on what may lie ahead. On the question of Europe we've just been strew some interesting experiences in your invasion of Prague the Russian doctrine that the communist nations in Eastern Europe represent a kind of socialist Commonwealth they call it and that if anything happens internally in one of those countries to threaten. The health of the whole socialist Commonwealth each country including the Soviet Union has the right to intervene. That was the way in which they rationalize the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
The answer that has just come from the Brussels conference of the neko Nations is a very sharp answer to this and that is a new doctrine of Neko which says in effect. That we will not only meet direct threats military threats against it but we will also meet indirect threats. And an indirect threat is one which changes the balance of power in Europe. Between the NATO nations and the Warsaw Pact nations. The balance of power between Western Europe and Eastern Europe. And what this means specifically is that a Russian move in the direction of Romania or Yugoslavia. The present time Nieto is committed to doing something about that kind of a move. In other words what has happened in Europe is that the American policy that we have followed for some years of trying to build bridges to Eastern Europe bridges across which we can pass to bring Western Europe and Eastern Europe closer together to bring Eastern Europe and America closer together that bridge building policy no longer has a chance.
We've come to the end of that phase in a standard bridge building. What has been happening in Europe is wall building. The Russians have tried to build this ideological wall around every communist country saying anything that happens inside of one of these countries if we don't like it we can move in and out NATO has built this wall of defense in direct defense as well as direct defense. I suspect that Mr Nixon with his feeling for containment will be fully in accord with this new policy of NATO's. I suspect he already expressed his accord with that policy. I suspect that any future containment. Policies will meet his support but the trouble with that is that there are three other problems that America faces. In addition to the problem of Europe. In which show wool building won't help and bridge building is necessary. One has to do with the Vietnam war itself and trying to get a peace in which
Russia the Russian role will be very important and we must maintain very friendly relations with Russia for that purpose. The second is the Middle East in which again if we build walls on each side we're going to get a war in the Middle East. And the third of course has to do with nuclear disarmament and nuclear control. And you're not going to be able to get nuclear disarmament or noot nuclear nuclear control unless we do some walled of some bridge building a not well building while building means containment building means some kind of detente some kind of moving together these other. This is the crux of the problem the Mr Nixon and his administration face. But on the four huge foreign policy problems one of them and one of them we are now moving toward a new containment policy. On the other three we need to move away from that. We're not at all sure how Mr Nixon will resolve this basic paradoxical clash in our relationship with the Soviet Union. On the question of a you nation of course.
I've already mentioned I can only say that both with respect to the younger the younger generation of Rebels on college campuses and with respect to the Black Power militant negroes in the ghettos. QUESTION Mr. Nixon is going to have to face is does he or doesn't he mean the crackdown that was enunciated by Mr. Agnew. I suspect Mr Agnew means it. Certainly his record indicates a bit just that Mr Nixon mean it. I think I've said to you if I haven't let me say it know that whatever I may have thought of Mr Nixon in the past. At this point I'm praying every day for his health and strength because I'm very clear about what it is that we would get otherwise but this Mr. Nixon mean the crack down policy because I am profoundly convinced that a crackdown policy will not work in either direction in either of these areas. There will only make the hatred more intense and the divisions greater. It will only me minima have the whole attitudes of people toward each other become more glacial.
And if Mr. Nixon were to ask me for advice which is very unlikely I think probably I would say instead of giving you advice Mr. President elect I'd like to give you a poem. The poem is from Robert Frost the poem is fire in ice. Some say the world will end in fire some say in ice. But what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice I think I know enough of hate to know that for destruction. Ice. Is also great and will suffice. I suggest to you that a crackdown policy in these two crucial areas means I further what further glaciers are intensifying. The whole the whole hatreds between groups that it means what the beginnings of what may turn out to be another ice age for our people.
- The Presidency: 1968
- Behind the Election Results
- Producing Organization
- WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
Producer: Boston University
Producing Organization: WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-Sp.3-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “The Presidency: 1968; Behind the Election Results,” 1968-12-12, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 3, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0k26fb5q.
- MLA: “The Presidency: 1968; Behind the Election Results.” 1968-12-12. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 3, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0k26fb5q>.
- APA: The Presidency: 1968; Behind the Election Results. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0k26fb5q