Sherrod Brown: Live at Politics and Prose

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

This is live at politics and prose. Ah Program from slate and politics and prose bookstore in Washington. DC featuring some of today's best writers and top thinkers anyone wondering what the Democrats need to do to win. The pivotal heartland states in this country would do well to consult jared. Last year last year he was was elected to his third Senate term with a six percentage point margin over his Republican opponent. The only major Democrat at the time to win a statewide seat in Ohio. He's generally considered among the more liberal members of the Senate but also has demonstrated an ability to connect with working class voters across also Ohio. One of his favorite phrases. Is that the dignity of work by which he means the belief that hard work should pay off for everyone the New York Times and a profile of Sherrod last year said he projects quote a grizzled. Authenticity that endures his brand end of progressivism to even some conservative voters and in fact shared frequently as mentioned as someone who could bridge progressive and establishment in camps in the Democratic Party after his reelection in Ohio last year he was urged by many to run for president in twenty twenty and he did give the idea serious thought before taking himself out of consideration in March arch this year. Hey it's it's not too late to reconsider. Sharon has written two previous books. I think he spoke for one of them. One of them here a decade or so ago one of the books Congress from from the inside about the inner workings of the hill and myths myths of free trade on the failures of of US trade policy a his new work desk eighty eight offers. A sort of history of of twentieth century. American progressivism toll through profiles of eight members of Congress who previously. We sat at the same desk that share it now. Occupies on the Senate floor dusk eighty-eight the profiles are mixed with Sharon's reflections on his own experiences variances and thought about issues dear to him. It's a really engaging and insightful book and one that reminds us that they're still much more to do due for progressives working for equality and Opportunity Ladies and gentlemen. Please welcome the most accomplished politician for meals. Class of nineteen seventy four. Aw Sherrod Brown instead the what was the word you just use you use the term grizzled and Connie Connie my wife Connie Schultz by the way many any of you know Connie Connie and Kaanai were taking the train from York we did. We did last night we did the coal baron. This is really our first thrill book signing like this. So thank you for I know. These slots are are rarely given in difficult to get at Baltics and frozen but she. She was reading something where my voice was described as an idling diesel engine which I was kind of taken by that. I thought some people really can right One day I'll talk about the book but one one thing. When Brad mentioned our time and in college together I announced for Con- for the legislature in January my senior year? And and we did if we did one fundraiser in the campus and I we roped off a corner the dining hall and we allowed anybody to sit there who had already paid for their meal through their meal ticket and we charged a dollar and we raised fifty four dollars with no overhead. And I'm still Kim and Josh and people do our fundraiser. We're still trying trying to figure that out so but again thank you. I'll talk for fifteen twenty twenty minutes and I want to take your questions and I said I'm not. This'll be my first book signing like this for this book walk and dumped just absolutely thrilled that so many of you are here. And I'd like attention to scale Ross. WHO's my agent and Gayle? Is this book. Would she was was told me that senators actually could right and convince me and thank you in my brother. Bob Is here. WHO lives in Cleveland but Bob is somewhere in the back? So Bob thanks for coming onto the idea for came well. My first month in the Senate was J two thousand seven and much of what. What's that Charlie Charlie's here Charlie? I'm sorry I didn't know Charlie lives here in Charlie's also my brother. I'm sorry you wonder. You wonder appearance. CHARL- Charlie Brown Bob Brown and Sherrod Brown. I mean I. I don't understand that anyway. But I think is an here. Diane's voice in Charlie. Charlie became now. Congratulations to National Sans. First of all and the I know I know you probably shown up in larger numbers if Sean doolittle had been speaking tonight if you get my drift there but char- Charlie Charlie Charlie moved to Washington and gave up his his loyalty to the Cleveland Indians in nationals Fan. But back a few years ago I met Ken Burns and Ken Burns was done one of his incredible one of his incredible films on baseball and I saw Ken Burns and a cafeteria thing in that Longworth Cafeteria apetit area. Any doing a thing about the bay about his exempt by an exhibit about his show and he had A. He had a baseball hat on. It's a Boston hat and I said I said you you grew up in Detroit. He said I did I said. Aren't you a tigers fan. He said I was and then I moved to Boston. I said so you move to Republican neighbors and become a Republican so so anyway okay. Let's go back to the book. Okay enough two thousand seven. I first month in office one of the things much of the beginning of your time in the Senate and the House is by seniority. So you choose your office by Seniority. A choose your desk on the Senate floor by seniority. I never really knew anything about this. Except that a senator. He told me that senators will carve their names in the bottom of their desk drawers. So I realize there's no really bad seats on the Senate floor you're not sitting behind a posted old RFK stadium. You've got good seats. So I started looking at the desk drawers and the fourth I looked at I saw McGovern South Dakota Gore senior Tennessee Hugo Black Alabama and then it just said Kennedy in so I I was about four seats tech your second. Can he comes over and I said which brothers desk this he say looked at he said. Well it's gotta be Bobby's I have jacks desk. So that was my introduction to desk. eighty-eight all the desks are number. No senator knows what the number on her desk or his desk is. It's a little carving in the bottom. You didn't know that did you. Did you wear this so number of you have worked in the Senate here in the no this stuff so I chose this task and I just began to think about the sort of the the well chose this task and started thinking about one hundred fifty. He books later. I ran about one hundred fifty five or sixty books mostly in total to to to to research this about senators about the time even a book by Tolstoy that gave me some ideas about how to write this about some things in this book I interviewed about one hundred people. Some former senator some staff some people all that just would have interest in this in ten years later. The book game and it was a long long project it would have been done after about three years. I thought I had finished first. The first draft and I showed it to Connie to is terrific writers. You know and I showed it to my brother Bob in they both said there's there's just not nearly enough here you don't have yourself in this book. Anybody could have written about these eight senators so I went back to the drawing board and and worked on this on and off for a period of years and it came up with this Ada. And I. It's I wrote it for the same reason as I where this lapel pen. This lapel pin. I've worn since I was a workers Memorial Day rallying Lorraina City Tony more since hometown. I might add west of Cleveland on Lake. Erie and this is a pin printed up by the steelworkers it's a depiction of a canarian. Birdcage word cage in Labor history. No workers were the canary died. Workers got out of the mines. They had no union strong enough or government that cared enough in one thousand nine hundred to protect them and so this pen represents what the purpose of my writing. This book is in that. Is that that the power of I believe the power. Our government can make people's lives better pure and simple and that's the progressives are and that's what we do so as I've growing up is the son of a doctor and a teacher and a teacher US Southern Southern woman teacher from the north from the south a woman. I'd say that great growing up the son of a doctor and our mother was a teacher on the grew up in Georgia in a small town in Georgia. You people sometimes say. How did you get this politics? How did you become a Labor abor Democrat? Why do you think this way? And I wanna read two passages one about my mother and one about my first year in the legislature. When I spent a lot of time in union halls a read this rita several paragraphs from each like Hugo black? My mother was a child of the segregated south born almost one hundred years ago in a small town of maybe four hundred people she at a young age found segregation in its white privilege. I confusing then confounding than repugnant. Repugnant no issue inform my mother as much as race while the busing controversy raged in the nineteen sixties in the national media. My mother talked October different. Kind of forced busing. The forced busing of her childhood. In the segregated south black children were bussed. Passed a new all white school to attend a distant underfunded black school separate but equal. They said black children were given books that were tattered in dated after being discarded by the white schools. If the black children were provided any books at all my mother now middle aged organized interracial dialogues at a local at our area high school in junior high to encourage students who went to school together to actually talk to each other and share their stories. She told us about her childhood about race and class and privilege and how she and her sisters even though they were middle class at best enjoyed far more privilege and opportunity than any black child born in Newton in county Georgia. She told my brothers and me always to address older black men and women with their honorific titles. Mrs Rogers Mr Fields Mrs Christian Christian. She'd seen far too many white children in rural Georgia called older older black men Jimmy and Johnny an older black women that he and Hattie blue to this day as a tribute to my mother and because of her teachings I ask older African Americans regardless of their professions their last name and address them Mr Amiss. My mother knew next to nothing about unions after all her parents were farmers in her husband was a physician. But she intuitively understood that people banding together could enhance their collective power raise their standard of living and demand justice and she saw trade unionists unionise. People people like the United Auto Workers Walter Reuther in the Brotherhood of car. Sleeping quarters sleeping. Car Porters a Philip Randolph standing alongside and marching a civil rights. Heroes in that was the. That's the kid 'cause she cared most about. She knew the doctor King was martyred in Memphis advocating for exploited floyd sanitation workers. Her unrelenting activism continued. Two thousand four dispatch satisfied with the grassroots of the Kerry presidential campaign. She recruited a friend loaded a card table and two folding chairs into a trunk in drove to the poorest parts of Mansfield where she sat day after day in front of grocery stores stores registering voters within a month the two of them registered more than nine hundred voters. She kept the names and phone numbers. She was now. Eighty four keep in mind gap got the names and phone numbers of the new voters in. Call them on election day to make sure they've at the age of eighty seven. This shy white girl from the segregated south was was the first in my family to go to work volunteer to elect the first African American President Months Before the Democratic Doc Primary January twentieth. Two thousand nine was the last day she got out of bed and sat up to watch television sitting with my oldest brother. Bob's she had sent Connie and Mehta Washington in and said you go to the inauguration. Seeing history made she died two weeks. After the inauguration watching Barack Obama take the oath of office was the last good day a of her life. Now the other reading I want to do is about my labor education. If you you will early my first term in the Ohio House of Representatives I was twenty two the legislature at adjourned on a Thursday night with no votes in no committee hearings. Friday I headed at home to my district in Richland county hour drive north when those schedule appointments I drove across town to the United Auto Workers Hall their members at always made me feel guilty. The feel feel guilty fueled welcome although we'RE DOT COM from. Maybe that do all right. This privilege. Good doctors made me feel guilty. I don't know where that came from. That is not on this page. Although they endorsed my candidates to the year before and I had many times met with and talk to the unions officers and activists. I didn't really know them. I didn't didn't know their personal stories in even though I'd given I even though I had gone to high school with their sons and daughters I didn't know much about their lives. Thus began my political education the UAW local one sixty-nine in at the UAW local five forty nine. I learned about the history of trade unionism. I learned how union workers has made steel in how they built cars. I learned that strikes are always inactive back against the wall. Desperation because workers never make makeup for the wages loss. No matter how good the contract and how briefly they are on the picket line. And I learned that to a trade unionist strikebreakers SCABS SCABS for the lowest form of human life. Few of these workers white and black expected to have the opportunity that this doctors kid had. But they understood intuitively. I would say that their high school daughter their son John Sherman Highschool John Sherman. Junior high could have more than they did. Their challenge to grasp the American Erkin Dream and launch. Their children upward was more difficult than it was for my parents. Many things could go wrong for them away off a strike a workplace injury Orien- illness in the family each with more devastating consequences than life deals more affluent white family and of course African American workers had greater challenges inches because of decades of discrimination. I learned about luck or you were born. How much education income your parents add? What neighborhood you lived in in in what school you attended? I understood how much good luck I had in. How little some of these workers had while told me what they read? Books and articles in newspapers apor stories about strikes and heroes of the Labor movement. Over the years I came to realize that the best books about workers in their unending struggle for dignity and a decent decent standard of living or novels while Joe Hill Emile. Zola's Herman how Petra did do not does Christ in concrete in John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Now this book is about eight. United States senators understanding all white all male. Everybody that ever held my desk to my knowledge was a man. That's what the Senate looked like in those days you know and I expect if someone stands in front of you or for someone in this bookstore. One Hundred Years From now after eight other senators there will be more women. There will be people of Color as I as I've written about in this book and I I am that that that tells me a lot about sort of where where we need to go in this country. I've talked for a moment about each of the eight senators. I want to focus on the first one I wrote about came to the Senate in one thousand nine hundred thousand six named Hugo Black. But I'll start with the most recent George McGovern Senator McGovern Auburn was the only one of the eight that I knew I met him. I never met any of the other seven. I saw senator proxy from a distance. I didn't hang around much in this city until I was elected did into the house. Twenty five years ago but I'm Senator Senator McGovern told me a number of stories. When I sat and talked to him one of his favorites was he he was he went up to Barry Goldwater in? Barry Goldwater at suffered a rather Rather humiliating defeat as you know and he had a conversation he recalled. He recounted with Walter Mondale and Mondale's you know in one thousand nine hundred four one one st his own the District of Columbia twelve years earlier McGovern one one St Massachusetts and the the District of Columbia and thank you for that and Mondo went up to mcgovern a couple years after the nineteen eighty-four shellacking. He said George. When do you get get over this? How long does it take McGovern? I'll let you know I mean it's six nights funny but it really is and I'm not sure you ever you ever race that scar but so one day in one thousand nine seventy one McGovern is talking to to Barry Goldwater and he says Berry told me. They're both centers time. This was a year before McGovern's McGovern's loss and he said Berry. Tell me what it's like to run for president some advice and they had a good conversation in his McGovern recounted to me then said to Goldwater some of you remember. Very few of you might remember number of times but certainly some of you remember the stories goldwater about two weeks before the election in Tampa or St Pete's cold water came out against social security. Actually campaigned against Social Security and people that have been on congressional staffs will particularly appreciate the story so McGovern so McGovern said. We'll bury. I've always wanted to know. Why did you why in the world did you come against out against social security that close to the election and do it in Florida in Goldwater said you know George? I knew I was going to lose. It was two weeks before for the election or week for he said I knew I was going to lose. I knew everything was going wrong. My staff all about half my age. We're telling you what to do every single day Adam here my friend in the back and always telling me what to do and they said you got to do another Bass Don for the day. No you got to go to this event. I'M NOT GONNA go in. They said you've got to go senator. So he goes to this event and he said I came out against social security to get even with my staff so whether that's true or not who knows does McGovern McGovern was what he did what he did but nobody. Who benefited from this nosy? Dead at one of the me too me. One of the great marks of of a of a good one of the mark of a really good public official he did McGovern Dole Program McGovern Dole provides hot meals one hot meal a day to millions of children in the developing world. And I've been to Haiti County and I were in Haiti in one to one of those sites and that was what George McGovern did and he later Peter Actually bef- before he done that but he had done other things we're addressing world hungry met Pope John The twenty third and John The twenty third I said to McGovern he said when you meet your maker George you can say you fed the poor and what what more do you need in life than something being blessed by John The twenty twenty-third as a Lutheran. I say this Bobby Kennedy. The probably the reason I took the desk. But perhaps but Bobby Kennedy Bobby Kennedy wasn't wasn't always Bobby Kennedy. Bobby Kennedy worked for McCarthy. You know those days I I don't I don't pay over any of that bobby. Kennedy Shirley grew in his compassion and his understanding understanding the world after his brother's assassination He grew another time in the story. I tell came from dinner. Connie Naiad with Marian Wright and Peter Peter Etylin on and Marian Wright at Marian Wright a young Yale Law School graduate ran the the the head start program in Mississippi in the nineteen into midnight and sixties. Marian Wright didn't like the Kennedy family because John Kennedy's nominees for judge a for for a federal judge all had to be okayed by James eastland the the the segregation of center of Mississippi so all of his appointments of the good the good judges judges and civil rights in the south. Where our point appointees not not Kennedy appointees so she didn't have much use for him and she was asked by somebody? Bobby Senator Kennedy Kennedy and his aide. Peter Edelman were coming to see what's coming to to the Delta and Marian Wright welcome. She wasn't thrilled about it. She didn't really like them very much. What's she thought? She ended up marrying one of them but she didn't like him very much and she said Kennedy sent all the cameras away then went inside the shack into this really poor rundown shack in the delta and she said he picked up this baby she said this baby is so dirty. I didn't want to touch him. And she said his compassion in his empathy but the just was something she had never seen. And that was the Bobby Kennedy that that we think of a nine hundred sixty eight and maybe before I'm William Approx Meyer who was the most eccentric of the eight. And that includes Glenn Taylor who was even was pretty eccentric but Proxima ran for for governor and fifty two two loss. Next morning he got up and went to plant gates handed out a card. Saying I know I lost but I'll be back ran again in fifty four. Got Up the next morning. Earning went to plant gates and out a card saying I'll be back went again in fifty six when he expected to win printed up two sets of cards but again handed out the card. Saying I'm Tom. Thank you for voting for me. I didn't win. I'll be back in nineteen fifty seven. He planned to run for the Senate against McCarthy and McCarthy as you know spiral spiral down in a pretty descriptive language that some reporters used to to sort of measure McCarthy in those days but proctor won that special election then Proxima had the good luck to run in the cycle. The best cycle perhaps for a Democrat in American history fifty fifty eight sixty four seventy seventy six eighty two all democratic ears proxy Meyer. Got to the point where the only money he spent in a campaign he was so popular was is to pay for postage to send checks back to people that sent him checks in. He was able to do that partly because he ran in good years partly was becoming democratic state partly because he was a good senator and he was chairman of the Banking Committee. And that's something. I aspire to like next year but but he also he. He also was a nonstop campaigner. He would herb Kohl or actually Russ Feingold told me. He met PROX- Meyer every every decade of his life. He met him fifth in the fifties at school. He met him in the sixties outside Milwaukee County Stadium. He met him in the seventy s in a restaurant mean Proxima was always out returned home and shook and and some of you in this in this group I think work for her call and you will you will know those stories of proxy Mayer He. Herb tells the story told me that story that pro on eastern Herbs Jewish in her was at Easter Easter Sunday. Her visit a restaurant. I think in Racine and Bill Maher walks in and was gone table to table. Able shaken hands saying happy Easter to people I mean he never stopped and that's why he had that kind of life and that kind of of success in elected office. Sal Gore was a progressive by. I'm not sure that a number of these senators would have called themselves liberals progresses at the time but I don't really we care about that because I think they all were progress contributed to progressive history of our country. Al Gore was one of three southern senators that refused to sign the Communist Manifesto Stowe even though even though presented with it and confronted by strong Thurman on the floor of the Senate with all the southern press no all the southern Presa learned about got it and he said Hell no when Strom Thurmond tried to get him to sign it. That's the good news and sixty four against his son and daughters wishes out. Albert Albert Gore voted against the civil rights. act in sixty four but by nineteen seventy Albert Gore probably was willing to lose because he took on hanes worth north and cars. Well he voted against both of them in an increasingly republican state of Tennessee He was willing to do that. Knowing the political risk Nixon next and really focused his southern strategy against Gore and a few others and defeated him in one thousand nine hundred seventy Herbert Lehman the sun and uncle of the of the Lehman and brothers The founders of Leman brothers. Herbert Lehman was was the son of one of the nephew the other he was the governor immediately succeeding Franklin Roosevelt savell. And he with an easier time in the legislature probably that was a little more malleable than the Congress. At least in after the third or fourth year he pushed a little. Oh new deal Through the New York Assembly and he was he was one of He. He took on McCarthy. He fought for civil rights It wasn't always easy. He was He he was. He was a decent honorable man very philanthropic and contributed much to this country. The most the least known own of these eight was was Glenn. Taylor the singing cowboy from Kousky Idaho. Glenn Taylor ran for office seven times in one once. Nineteen in forty four for the Senate His wife was named Dora and they were. They formed the Glendora singers Glen Adore Taylor. That's that's how he made his living except when he was a to pay manufacturer an iron worker and a number of other things and Glenn doors doors doors their son was Dora. Spelled backwards A.. Rod like baseball player so I found. I'm not really discussed on social media. But I found a Rod Taylor and talk to him. He's retired Denison Denison California and A-rod A-rod told me a story is some of you know Glenn Taylor's contribution to Glen Tay if you know who he is which most stone include my brother. Charlie was the first person I ask out of twenty five people that actually knew Glen Taylor was and I didn't know who he was when I got his desk. And Glenn Taylor was the running mate for Henry Walston nineteen forty eight and Henry Wallace Henry while started off with a pretty big percentage. I mean industries indistinct kept. It just kept the celebrating the votes he had more or less but but Arab. I'm sorry but But Glenn Taylor is wife an Hey rod wintom Montgomery Alabama campaign campaign for the ticket and this story is the story. A-rod told me and I had it confirmed since that era rod. That Glenn Taylor went in to speak to a segregated audience went through the the color. The black insurance only Into speak the police police arrested him. And Glenn Taylor spent the night in the Montgomery jail in in Bull Connor's jail in nineteen forty eight bull. Connor is already the city. Sheriff back then Theodore Francis Green. You know if you're from the northeast Jim Flown Into T.F. Green Airport Francis Green is the is the victim if you will all of the of the LBJ photo he's going like this LBJ. Six three or four and T.F. Green I believe under five feet T.F. Green was a renaissance science man. He spoke five languages. He was born into great privilege. He is family. I believe were mill owners. I think that's whereas wealth came from and he was considered considered when he became governor and then senator he was elected a freshman senator at the age of sixty five but he had been governor before any remade the politics of the state when and they took over the state legislature through a series even with redistricting a series of very smart moves and he was called by the mill owners trade or to his class. Ask so following in the foot of his the footsteps of his beloved FDR The last the first the first or the last is Is Hugo Black. And I want to read some things and you'll go black and then I'll take some questions of course Young ambitious Hugo black thought he had had a tad to choose between the Ku Klux Klan. In the big mules. He chose the clan. The big mules were the steel and coal interests utility executives the corporate lawyers the bankers the wealthy planters railroad men most Alabaman's black or white resented the big mules steel workers miners railroad workers unemployed Loyd all watch the big mules feed at the trough while they can imagine no way out of their hardscrabble lies they knew they were creating great wealth for their bosses they were equally Kliesch sure they were sharing and almost none of it. The Future Governor Bibb graves described the social and economic structure of one thousand nine hundred twenty s Alabama. This way little it'll mules. Were straining and sweating to pull the heavy loaded. Hay Hay wagon up the road tied to the back of the wagon to big mules. Strolling along happily bully contentedly munching the hey graves pledged to hitch the big meals to the wagon force the big meals to shoulder. I have your portion of the tax burden and give the little mule some relief. The Klan was a group of hooded. Terrorists murderously anti-black violently anti-immigrant viciously anti-catholic antisemitic medic at the peak of its powers Alabama the mid twenties when black was elected to the Senate. The white robe clansman spread terror throughout the state. Some estimated needed half of Birmingham's registered voters belong to the clan. Clansman saw themselves as protector of all things. American shop windows advertised. Their Owners Klan membership with T. W. K. trade with a clansman signs in their windows. James S Still Grand Dragon of the realm of Alabama boasted. We had had the best people in the state. The Jefferson County. Sheriff belong so did hundreds of preachers as did prominent businesses businessman in scores of politicians Russians. And the future Senator and Supreme Court Justice Hugo black black told a friend years later I would have joined any group if it helped me get votes you know what black became black became. FDR's favorites southern senator. He renounced clan soon. After his election he became Roosevelt's favorite southern senator he with Senator Wagner is responsible for collective bargaining the forty hour work week minimum wage so much of what we we. We look with appreciation on labor law. That's made this country a much wealthier country with a much more vibrant middle class. You went on to serve longer the Supreme Court than almost anybody is time was exceeded only by justice. Douglas thirty four years in the court and what completes that that circle is after Brown. V Board of Education in black is believed to a played a major role in the unity on the court not just voting himself but encouraging others right after that you go black was burned in effigy at the law school. He graduated from an Tusk. Loose Alabama. Now read one paragraph about black blacks early. Life is a cautionary tale for ambitious young public officials a populist and a progressive from his earliest days he had the courage to fight for the least privilege has as a lawyer and as a judge but a young man he led his ambition. Flip is progressive populism onto. Its ugly racist underbelly. Ambition kept opt him from understanding. That real populism has never racist never in Semitic never pushes some people down to lift others up. Ah Close and then take questions I leave. I leave this book with the sense of optimism about the future. This is this is not. This is not the worst time in our country's history we probably we certainly have the worst president we've had in my lifetime. Maybe the worst president ever. I don't know a lot about James Buchanan but I think the worlds of the country's worst president probably ever but it's not the worst time for our country. It's not it's not McCarthy. It's not Vietnam. I mean it's not it's not the divisions in the sixties. It's not McCarthy. It's not were to. It's not the depression. It's not the civil war and I as I said I wrote this book as I wear this Canary Penn Because I believe in the power of government to make people's lives better I don't predict this yet but I'm starting to think that there is a real real real opportunity in two thousand was in twenty to launch a new progressive era What we accomplished as a nation in the teens in spite of a racist? President Woodrow Wilson but accomplishments all kinds of worker's compensation and direct election of senators and the Federal Reserve in the thirties. I was an incredible time for our country. Is You know social security. And all that came about about with with labor law reform and so much others in the so much else in the sixties The Wilderness Act the Higher Education Act Medicare Medicaid voting rights civil rights the equal Opportunity Act which led to head start. Pell grants all those kinds of things that came out of the nineteen sixties. Tells me that did we do. And this time we will know what to do with it. So that's not a prediction but it's something that is Dr King said The progress doesn't doesn't roll in on the wheels of inevitability progress doesn't role in the wheels of inevitability. It's up to us to make it happen and my commitment to you and to the people of my constituents in Ohio is to find like L. to make that happen at twenty twenty jared. We have two mikes occurred in Remy if you want to protect. I'm very interested in reading your book and as I was browsing through it. I I read what you wrote about. RFK's about RFK's ripple of hope speech in Johannesburg South Africa and about how about how it was hard for him in about how it was difficult difficult for him to get a visa and about how it was difficult for him to get a visa and also about And also about the profound inspiration that many received moved from his visit. I was wondering if you would be able to talk a little bit about that. What would what would you say? What do you see any particularly interesting things that you learned in the course of your research? RFK's visit to South Africa in June of nineteen sixty six. Thank you he. I thank you for that question and and I I I knew about his speech. The ripples of I hope speech. We've all almost any Democrat in politics as quoted that speech over the years. Some of US ad Nauseam. But I didn't know some of the background. I didn't know the part about the visa. I didn't know how he started off that speech talking comparing South Africa to the US He how he went in front of pretty hostile audience is that I don't think that was the first time Kennedy did that but in a sixty eight campaign he would often go in front of hostile audiences and challenge them. And I did that if not the first time. Certainly one of the first times in South Africa and I think he saw that that was his mission that that he could comment he had the standing to be able to do that He spoke the day after the picture. I have one page of pictures for each of the eight. The picture I chose Took pictures of Kennedy one of them is when he spoke to Cleveland City Club. He spoke the day after the assassination. He cancelled everything else that he had on his schedule. Agile in spoke there that day in talked about gun violence and the the rule to city club which is about one hundred and six years old. Now it's one of the most prestigious Christie. Just place it to speak in the country is that you have to take questions after you speak nobody presidents. All the presents have been there. Everybody has to questions Kennedy. Only time ever began to cry after his speech at the end of his speech and walked off the stage and take questions but the speech he gave their the speech he gave in Indianapolis the night before with John. Lewis in the crowd speech he gave at in South Africa. Were among America's finest. I think Nathan thank you. I think this is the first time I've ever seen in. I'm older than you. I was born in the Truman administration. I've never seen anything like this. When I was growing up the unions were the backbone of the Democratic Party and we have lost them? They are now pretty much the backbone the the trump people. Why did we lose them? And how can we get them back. WELL WE I don't agree with that assumption. Entirely first of all the problem is there aren't enough union members. Their problem is the decline of unionism. And that's that's a problem for the Democrats and it's a problem for standard of living for far far far too many workers. I I I like all of our candidates running for president like not quite all of them. I like almost all of them. I'M NOT GONNA mention names either way. Positive negative unites so. Don't even try but but I wish they would talk more to workers about work about the dignity of work and when you think about work. It's not it's not. It's not just white guys white guys. That are firefighters. It's it's hotel workers as people prepare food. It's people that work in the bookstore. I'm it's people that are working construction and people that are cleaning hotel rooms and union nonunion and if we would in then but elections answer is by contrast and we would point out that while while we're the party of workers that trump has betrayed workers. He's betrayed workers in the Midwest as he's betrayed our allies in the Middle East and he is he's before the overtime rule he's he's pulled back the overtime rule costing literally forty thousand ohioans. Several thousand dollars achieve won't raise the minimum wage. He puts people on the courts that put their thumb on the scale of justice for corporations over workers. All these things. We've got to take it to him. I have one story in here. That that sort of illustrates that I I don't ever. I'm never gonNA compromise on civil rights. I'm never gonNA compromise mizen. Women's rights are or. I'm never gonNA give into the NRA. But I get. I don't do really really well in rural areas and small towns but I get enough votes and I get enough votes because I talk to them at their work at their worksites not not literally but not not but figuratively sometimes literally that that we've got to talk to them about their work about their kids education about their health care about how trump's trying to take away their consumer protections preexisting condition and one quick story in here I was at a Ford plant during the Gore or Bush race in two thousand. I was in the cafeteria just sitting having coffee with seven or eight. UAW members and all of them were voting for except one. And I said why you vote for Bush Russian he said because Gore wants to take my guns and the guy next to me pointed to me and he said sheriff's got the same position on guns Gore does and he said yeah but shared fights. I fights from me at work. And that's that's what we need to do. In a means talking about the dignity of working honoring and respecting work. And we we didn't we didn't the Union vote vote was about fifty fifty last time better in some states than others. So we've not we've lost too many of them but we can get back particularly when you point out. Trump's betrayal thank you. Yeah sure Senator Brown thank you writing a book a few things one the influence you okay. That's better okay. Thank you for writing the joke. The influence at Colonel Glenn Center mets westbound hat on your career and the third thing is that I'm a retired union employees from the railroad. I want more Amtrak. I love to be able to take a train from Cleveland to see your Cincinnati reds but no such thing exist The thing is party needs more direction and more discipline and it might mean a change of the Charity Party. Because he's been missing in Action Shen and finally he's never going to be president. He's not going to be president yet but Tim Ryan has to get back in a fight so become more visible because the next vice president at states on the Democratic ticket is so I'm speaking to now or representative Ryan. Well thank you for that first of all the decision of the presidential candidates second back in my seat if I were to elected to any other office higher office would go to Republican governor to appoint in. That's pretty troubling doing for me and it makes me a lot less interested Tim Ryan. We've tried to get him to run for Governor Senate in the past so I'll just leave it at that. Connie corddry writing writing Amtrak. Today we did call last night we came got up at seven S- morning. Her took a train at seven. And as we arriving we said my God I wish we had high speed rail and Ohio. What what what that would mean for our country would would be so much Metzenbaum and Glenn? I knew John Kani and I got to be actual real friends with Johnny in the last ten years of his life and we just love the man. He's such an honorable decent man. I have is off of my first. After my first two years I moved into the Barack Obama Office for great years. I now I'm John Glenn's Office in in the Cabinet Hart building and we just think the world. Then that's involved was very effective. Senator Metzenbaum showed you. You could be progressive. You could be pro labor. You could be outspoken in. You can win Metzenbaum. I remember the slogan he used was Howard Metzenbaum. He's on our side in. I remember saying to my pollster in media person at six. I WanNa have that when he used that slogan share brownies on our side. She said You haven't earned it yet so I took that for an. I've been working to try to earn it so I'm going to address you not so much as yourself but morrison symbol and the one I'm concerned about. What is as good as it is to be bringing out these personalities in you know sort of reflecting on on the past and all that I don't get the sense I mean if you're a senator and the situation that this world in this country is in right now and I don't see you present game an actual series of problems problems and possible solutions where we're GONNA go and again I dress more? That your senator than you personally. So my question is is the government itself the senators everybody aware of how all serious and how difficult the situation is now for our country and for the world. I don't get that well. Okay Fair enough. I I think. Many of US czar The purpose of the night was to talk about how progressives have had such victories how progressive eras have moved our country forward Progressives don't win frankly very often but when we do we win really big and we really big meaning we pass Medicare we pass those security. We passed civil rights. We then play defense because the right wing comes back with Fury Emerson talked about histories of fight between the innovators and the conservators conservators. Today's concern is to hold onto their wealth and privilege in. We'll do anything to keep it. It's up to us to challenge that if we went in twenty twenty. I've I've I've already asked my Senate Banking Committee staff in. This committee is called Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Urban Affairs Republicans have forgotten housing and Urban Affairs. Part Art Housing is going to be in capital letters. And we're already preparing ideas if we take over in two thousand twenty so i. I think you'll find that throughout Our our goal is to is to prepare for that and at the same time. Make sure that it happened. So I I take the admonition and the and the the challenge enj- I take a genuinely We have a lot of work to do. Not Everybody looks the way I do. I understand that but there are a lot of us. There's going to be were. We're going to address climate change. We're GONNA make. When I was in New Hampshire and Laconi? I met a woman roughly my age. WHO's worked in childcare for forty years and she said you know childcare needs to be seen as a public good imagine if this country if we if we coming out of the box in twenty twenty in terms of family leave in terms of sick days in terms of vacation in terms of parentally all these? There's so many things we can do. And we stored them up in. We're ready and I think you'll see that in twenty twenty thank you so I want to be positive about twenty twenty as well But I'm concerned about the seventy five days between the election and January twentieth. Do you if Mr trump loses do you think there will be a peaceful transfer of power on January twentieth. I I heard people talk about that. I thought about that. I don't know I would this might be a reach. I would actually expect my Republican Republican colleagues to do the right thing at that point that's seeds life. Seems like a reach for their cowardly behavior in the last three years from the sixteen gene campaign to now. I think that I don't know I think if trump if he already actually become president I think trump trump would have continued to run against her and try to try to sabotage everything including talking about the vote count and the electric everything he would do. I think it's a perilous earliest time but I I'm optimistic enough even about my republican colleagues. Who have shown less than spine so far that if this election if if it comes out the way I think it will and it's decisive that That he will be shown the door and forced to the door. If necessary. Just just a heads up. We have three more people on the side and then there are two people behind me so we'll just have those last live questions sir. I just WANNA say huge fan I worked on your campaign when I was in College Allege College Ohio Wesleyan. I'm also from Wisconsin so the home of great political progressives and Ohio and Wisconsin Have Very Salim similar political climates. But you're the only Democrat in Ohio. That's when statewide several years. Why do you think you're the one who wins and breaks through? We've not had a good enough farm system in Ohio in part in part Ohio's is getting harder Our demographic mix hasn't hasn't changed much. I mean you can see what's happened in Virginia especially some of you live in Virginia and his status is no longer even a competitive state. Hardly I mean I hope today tonight proves it again and North Carolina's next in Georgia. And maybe even Texas and South Carolina's got some good signs and all that Arizona Colorado's ARATU almost already there. Arizona Ohio Michigan Pennsylvania Wisconsin or a little easier than Ohio. I think you've gotTa have. You GotTa have a message of talking to workers in their workplace. As I said earlier I I you know I was going to be a competitive state in twenty eight and twenty twenty. It's harder than Michigan Wisconsin Pennsylvania. Yeah but it's going to be the other the one piece of good news in Ohio that I've seen is My daughter is part of this daughters city council member on the ballot again this year for a second term right now and As soon as I leave here I'm going to be talking to her expecting the votes to come in around that time and she She and a number of other mostly women mostly under forty five almost all under forty five. A number of people of color men and women are building this farm team because the local local governments were the political power on our side is And I expect that to pay off. We have some really good young female candidates. It's in addition my daughter but I mean we have a number of people in. It makes me optimistic for building this party in the future. Thanks in your your senator is one of the best. And I don't mean Ron Johnson. I love Tammy Baldwin there. My Name's Naomi I just recently moved to DC. But I was just wondering what about this. Political climate keeps you up at night and what about it makes you hopeful what that keeps me up at night is is well thanks to undermine trump just just the the the fear that we don't be trump. I think we will but just all the things that can happen were all concerned about what this president does next. I still can't believe my colleagues have shown no courage in standing up to him And more long-term I fear what's happening happening with climate change and and we can't wait much longer and I met with about ten CEOS today all of whom some from energy companies even who are really elite pushing hard on doing the right thing climate Some of them not in the meeting but some energy companies are acting like they're doing more than they are but I I worry about that for your generation but I also worry about the thing that got me into politics civil rights and human rights and in how much we have lost with trump trump. But I really do believe we. We begin to gain it back in January of twenty twenty one. Thanks I my name is Joe. I'm from Miller City Ohio. Oh its population one thirty six and putting them county. Don't know if you know where that is but my question is I have only been liberal coastal Lee for about seven years now but before that I you liberal and Miller city to know harder to be there that that this but I was shocked about two thousand sixteen election and I'm very close to my family in very much in touch with them and even I had completely lost lost touch with what was going on in rural areas but your name is one that is not heated in my family and I'm curious as a ringing endorsement. The trust you trust me it is when it comes to Democrats it is but my question is how do you stay in touch with concerns of people. Aw in rural areas like that because I I mean I was only here for three years and I completely lost touch and I'm wondering how you A. US senator who has a lot more going on can stay in touch touch with home every weekend. Cleveland we're Jonny Lee County I live. That's that helps them. Yeah I mean it's I I don't I don't I don't. I'm not beloved in everywhere in the stem even beloved period. I mean and one by seven points so But I am. I didn't do particularly well and even the place I grew up. We I want eighty eighty eight counties and high won sixteen of one the big industrial on the big metro counties. I won the lake. Your three counties in Lake Erie Partly is my brother has a theory that I think it's got some semblance them some credence to it. That Tourists counties along Lake Erie is a or different kinds of small counties and then I wanted three university counties one and where my wife Teaches Kent State and Bowling Green and allow university our. We're doing badly in smaller towns. But I'm on the Veterans Committee on the AG Committee. I do a lot in those those communities but it doesn't really seem to translate into votes but it's it's listening and talking. I don't do big town halls I I rarely speak to a group in Ohio. Like this in this kind of a format I I do roundtables of fifteen or twenty people and I listen to them and I get ideas. And that's what I bring back to to Washington and and work on. It's also what you do outside of the the legislative part of my job. I learned a long time ago. I I I know that. In small air small towns there were hospitals are in real financial trouble if if trump wins the lawsuit on ACA Ross models have got a business. I I organize it. Those rural hospitals. I talked about what it means and listen to them. I think that absolutely matters When I also learned there's a Abraham Ram Lincoln quote that I love that he is staff went into staying away house and win the war and free the slaves and preserve the UNI said? No I gotta go out and get my public opinion baths and I. I look at politics like that that I go out and listen to people and it's a lot more interesting than talking. Frankly I learn stuff and I learned about good. But I try to talk to people people in their workplace whether they're a farmer whether they're a shopkeeper whether they're factory worker and I think that helps I again. I don't I don't win. Places like Miller city heady although I heard they don't hate me they don't vote for me. That's a huge accomplishment. Yourself and you don't have to worry sorry about my family and Ohio voting for you as you know Miller see they live in Shaker Heights or the environs of Shaker Heights. Okay Okay but close enough Cleveland. Detroit Cleveland Heights. Yeah okay seventy eighty percent areas. We got it. I I have two things one is listening to you today. I'm you said that Robert Candidate that that you pick the the desk probably because of Robert Kennedy. Now you've written the book. Would that still be your choice. So that's my question and then my comment The night you are sworn Nanas senator. I said how proud I was of you for taking Howard Metzenbaum because I worked for rebound and here. It is nineteen years later and I'm still very proud of you and probably even more proud of you in the work that you've done and I just want to actually and I want to wish you a happy birthday. Thank you not today. Today's four days away but thank you. You know the question who would who would you pick now. Well I don't know I don't know what the configuration other deaths are. Configuration is and other deaths and I don't think I don't know that these are the these are not the most progressive senators senators. There are this desk since you've just done all this week. Oh who would I pick this sort of. I'd most like to be like I guess I start with. There are no giants in the Senate. I used to think there was when I was fifteen or twenty. They're all human beings. They're all flawed. Every one of these eight is pretty flawed McGovern had humility. That was unusual and politics. Glenn Taylor had courage. That was pretty unusually took out a mississippi the worst just you and being maybe in the twentieth century in the Senate Theodore Bilbo from Mississippi. He was unseated was not serious. He'd refused a seat. Because Glenn Taylor stood up and stopped. Stopped it You Black had the best journey the furthest journey from where we started so I guess I would take the easy way out and pick parts of each of them. Sorry Senator Brown. I'M NOT GONNA ask you about this sad and depressed state of the Cleveland browns her. I'm already ready for baseball season spring training but I happen to be a person who believes that the only issue as to who should be see the democratic comedy for president is the person who's best able to beat Donald Trump. And I happen to think that the person person in this country most likely to be able to be Donald Trump is looking at me right now and I would ask you. And maybe implore you and I think there's a lot of people in this room who would agree with me. We cannot afford to lose this election even if it means giving up a Senate seat in Ohio the country country needs to beat Donald Trump. The world needs to be Donald Trump. Please please think about running for president if it's not too late thanks I I am thank you Connie an icon. I went to the four early states. spent spend two months thinking seriously about it in the end. You've got you've got a really really really WANNA be president and I didn't have that dream. I mean anybody that's known me a number of people that's Room I've tone for twenty five years and I've never had that great desire to do it. I really don't think you can one of the one of the reasons I went back to the Miller. City question One of the reasons I have one in the past I think is i. I have joy in this. I I think what what I I've always loved Hubert Humphrey because of the term happy warrior. And I I mean I understood why in sixty eight people unhappy with Johnson. And all that and I'd love Humphrey had my desk I would love to have written about him But I think one of the most important things as people expect their elected officials to be optimistic and to bring some joy to the campaign into the job. I just don't think I could have summoned up the the joy to be the right kind of candidate I I I'm reminded of a You know

Coming up next