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Good evening and welcome to tonight's meeting of the Common Wealth Club in California. I am Jerry Lubenow of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California Berkeley, and I will be your moderator for tonight's program. I would like to welcome our listeners on the radio and invite everyone to visit us on the Internet at www.commonwealthclub.org. It is my pleasure to introduce our distinguish speaker John Dean. In an historic drama that was drenched in deceit John Dean was a truth teller. His testimony during televised hearings in the US senate implicated high ranking White House officials in the 1972 WaterGate break in. He testify the President Nixon was involved and efforts to cover up the scandal and this allegations later confirmed by White House tapes, played key role in Nixon's resignation. Dean began his public career as Chief Counsel to the republican members of the judiciary committee in the House. After working for Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign he became an Assistant Attorney General and eventually counsel to the president. Ironically Nixon himself chose Dean to have a special investigation determined if any White House staff have being involved in the burglary. The rest as they say is history. The history which John Dean has helped to clarify in series of books that began with his 1976 memoir Blind Ambition and continues with the two works he will discuss tonight. Conservatives without Conscience and the just released Broken Government. Please welcome John Dean. I actually didn't have to get up because a microphone in any room will pick up my voice, I got to tell you and if you understand what I am talking about you are over 45 years of age. I see a big piano over here in the corner I have got to tell you first I only sing in front of senate committees. The genesis of the last books which are part of a trilogy that started with worse than WaterGate secret presidency of George Bush. Really it was not planned I I have promised myself and I turn 60 I would return to writing, I enjoyed writing, I had several years in business, when I lowered my profile totally that then when I came back to as I was approaching 60 I thought I have to get active again and and start giving some public commentary and the best way it seem to be in doing in biweekly column which I have been doing now almost for seven years for an organization called Find Law, F-I-N-D L-A-W which is an online publication run by one of the big legal publishing houses. I was shocked at the at the size of the audience one can have with an online column and was pleased as well, and I thought that when I return to writing what I will doing would be biographies, I didn't plan to write political commentary but I very quickly decided after watching the Bush administration and the mainstream media coverage of the Bush administration that Americans weren't being told exactly what was so conspicuous to particularly somebody who have been an insider. I noticed long before 9/11 when they actually moved into the the White House that they pulled the shades and they close the doors and start quietly issuing executive orders taking away all the transparency that prior president had instilled into the particularly the presidency. They had started declassifying paper, Clinton would declassify more documents than any others predecessors that really striking number almost a billion documents were declassified. So I I was watching this and I though I should send up a couple of flares to somebody who knew the way the game was played in Washington, it was pretty clear to somebody like myself what they were doing, and I did that in a couple of columns and I quickly realize that they knew exactly what they were doing and they were doing with very calculated reasons that and that is the people who operate in secret have a an agenda they don't really want to share with the public. I was able because I still have a lot of friends and contacts in Washington to learn an awful lot about what they were doing, I don't consider myself a journalist, I am not a Bob Woodward, I think I have some sources that are actually better than Woodward not including not including Deep Throat who is I guess living up in this area somewhere, Mark felt in fact he was a kind of disappointing deep throat and I there is a tape that shows that I actually had forewarned Haldeman that Mark felt as the Assistant Director of the FBI had become a major leak to the Washington Post, I got that fairly early and shared it when Haldeman took it to Nixon I was fascinated after Felt finally surfaced recently and I looked up the tape that Stanley Cutler who is the leading historian who is transcribed the tapes and he he has a conversation were Haldeman is reporting what I have told them about the fact that Felt is a is a real problem over the FBI and its rather interesting because Haldeman tells Nixon about the situation and Nixon finally says a one point in the conversation you know, what I would do with Felt and then there is a ellipses in the transcript, and Nixon says son of a bitch, which is not surprising coming out of Nixon. But I was tipped off buy the archives that isn't really what's on the tape. And so I listen to the tape and what it really said was is after Nixon comments he said you know, what I would do with Felt? Ambassadorship. Well that's just what he did with helms of course is a way to remove a problem that we are getting on a tangent that I don't want to get on tonight, but I can I will be happy to open up questions in a short while to get there. Let me tell you a little bit about what I saw in in writing my first book because nobody was addressing the secrecy of the Bush administration or trying any effort to really get behind it, I title book Worse than WaterGate the secret presidency of George W Bush. I happen to realize now that might have been a bad selection of a title. Its actually much worse than WaterGate and I don't say that is any kind of apologist for WaterGate as anybody knows my position on that but rather think about it. Nobody, nobody died as a result of Nixon so called WaterGate abuses. Nobody was tortured as a result of WaterGate. Millions of American's weren't subject to electronic surveillance when making foreign calls as a result of Nixon. We are playing in a very different league today, something quite beyond Nixon's fondest dream has now become the norm. So I began trying to understand what had happened to republicans, the conservative movement, because even to this day as I will explain why I on many issues consider myself at Goldwater Conservative. That happens to make me well left of center today. After writing after writing the worse than WaterGate book one of the things that I decided to do is call actually I should backup, I didn't call then, I had earlier called my old friend the late senator Barry Goldwater, the senator somebody I had known since I have been about 13 years of age, his son and I to this day are are very good friends, his son is Barry junior, and I and Barry actually had called me in which complete my call back the senator say listen John dad is bored as hell now that he's left the senate, maybe he enjoys talking to you and visiting with you maybe you too can cook something that because he has got a lot of things on his mind. So I indeed didn't call him and I found out that he was very distress with the movement that he was really the catalyst to start the conservative movement. He did not understand at that time why republicans and particularly conservative republicans were making the wishes attacks they were making against the new president Bill Clinton, and particularly his wife he said you know, John this is so uncalled for what they are doing and trying to do to her that they are going to run anybody who has any credentials at all out of out of running for high office it just it just doesn't work. And he said you know, I had enough trouble with the religious right when I was in office when Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O'conner to be member of the Supreme Court, Jerry Fallwell of course after looking over her record decided to tell all good Christians that they should oppose her nomination. I had a few choice words that I won't repeat here in next company as to what he thought all good Christians should do to Jerry Fallwelll, the senator was never much to pull his punches and he said you know, I am I am actually getting myself in a heap of trouble with with these people, let me tell you what happened recently he said the Arizona Republican Party put up a really right, somebody I would consider a right wing nut for a congressional district. I looked over the race I looked at the women he was running against, she was a democrat, and I said she is she is centrist basically, she is a much better candidate than this guy so I endorsed her and the city father in the in the Republican Party and Arizona came to me and said senator you know, we built that big building in Downtown Phoenix for our Headquarters, we put your name right up there that Barry M Goldwater building, and if you keep up this conduct we are going to have to remove your name from that building. Well the senators said John let me tell you what I told them, I said if you keep up the conduct that you are doing I hope you will remove my name from that building. Anyway he as we talked that one point he said you know, I think conservatives have lost their conscience, as we talked on I said senator that's a really good potential titled to look into subject of what happened to the conscience of the conservative and a book called Conservatives Without Conscience might be appropriate at this time he said I like it lets do it, he said I got lots of papers that I donated to the Arizona Historical foundation, I think you will find some good things there you got your contacts I have got mine lets gets started. Well we did unfortunately his health turned bad I said senator lets put this on the shelf until this is this is in the early 90's it is shortly after Newt has taken charge of the house so we are about 95-96 in this period we were having these conversations and he says I said to the senator I said you know, this I don't want this to be a burden so lets lets shelf it until you are feeling better, he did that didn't happen. I have been maintaining a fairly low profile in business I had been refusing to do any public commentary. As the Clinton matter progressed old friends in the media particularly when they start to trying to draw the direct parallel between WaterGate and what was happening in the Clinton administration claiming that it was in fact worse than WaterGate, they called on me to see if I would set the records straight to somebody who is something of a primary source on that subject and I finally friend Keith Olbermann called me and said listen I am doing a show called the Big Show which preceded at the show he is now doing called countdown but anyway Keith was doing to show where it was quickly be coming old Monica all the time and Keith had just like he has some difficulty that they dealing with Britney all the time what these producers insist on adding to a show nevertheless had always good substantive conversation and then one night when I am over in Burbank where I would upload with the satellite he ask me a question then I said John what would happen if this is very early in the Clinton matter. He said what would happen if this ever led to impeachment? Well from then my years at the Nixon White House I knew a little bit about that but I actually knew a great deal more because when summer when summer just for my own curiosity I had gone over to UCLA, I lived in Los Angeles and I gone over to UCLA to pull the entire congressional record if the impeachment proceedings of Andrew Johnson from the House right through the senate trial, and I had read it. So when Keith asked me this question he just have to hit the right button and got much more information then he anticipated, because it wasn't very much in conversation right then, as I was leaving the studio his producer got me on the on the line and said John if this thing does go forward would you come back and work for MSNBC as a online commentator as an anchor buddy. I said what? And he said an anchor buddy, well I had not a clue what an anchor buddy, well I said let me think about that. And but as it did get worse and as the y did need somebody to straighten out the records I decided to go back and become an anchor buddy. What an anchor buddy is is somebody who sits on the set all day, when the anchors change and at one point it would be John Santeler then it would be John excuse me Bryan Williams and it will be Tom Brokaw and they would rotate with the buddy just kind of stays there keeping an eye on the monitor all day long and taking breaks and visiting with people in the green room and finding out what's going on from their point of view as well and when the anchor has nobody out in the field he can turn to we can say lets go to so and so on capital hill or so and so down at the White House he turn this to the anchor buddy and expects the anchor buddy to say something intelligent about what's going on. So you are compelled to stay in top of the proceedings, it the was the first time I had really being back in Washington and had any sort of extensive look at what was going on and it was fascinating because I it was it was a changed city, it was rough enough and tough enough and bitter enough during the WaterGate but there was something else that have happened. The level of incivility was so conspicuous, the reason I am talking to both republicans and democrats and particularly republicans who will rather open with me in fact they were so the conversations were so opened in the green room, but I actually find myself going back at night and composing a journal of what I was learning, I would never quote from any of that, I it's a documented someday some researcher will find in my papers I think we will find and maybe an interesting Phd in there, because I cant tell you how open people were and frank they were. So well I don't call directly from them I was back there for four months, rather intensely and it became very clear what the Clinton impeachment was. There are many republicans were very blatant they said John we know the senate wont convict this man, we are doing this because we have the power to do it. We are doing it to level the score against what democrats did with Nixon. I said well you know, there were lot of republicans who felt Nixon should leave too. They didn't want to hear it, and as I talk to these people I began to realize their attitudes and how rigid they were and how they were really being driven by their leadership. And number of them who did have serious qualms said we just dare not buck the leadership we have to play ball. We feel important to play ball, other are and most of them however were unquestioning because the leaders said it, they decide they had to do it. Well taking what discovered when I wrote Worse than WaterGate the experience I had back in Washington I decided I should write Conservatives Without Conscience, pick up the book that the Senator and I had started and I ran into a buddy first of all like the senators papers were wonderful in fact I am still working in the papers because I told his son, I said to Barry, I said your dad most of his books were written with another author because he didn't have the time of disposition to write them but he would give long dictations as to you know, his thoughts on things plus I discovered he kept a journal on and off from the time he was 29 years of age. And it's a fascinating document and its never really being tapped and he is such a different man that I know then the public did learn about in 64 and later, the level of integrity is incredible when is being absolutely viciously attacked during various both 64 and later campaigns he is a man that absolutely refuses to let his campaign staff drop to that level, he will tell them in memos I would rather loose, then go the low road so lets just stay where we are and do it right and it's a type of politics that maybe something we yearn for, I don't believe that, I believe that standard is still available today and my right wing friends say you just have nostalgia are just they are just filled with their own misbelieve as to human nature and what is right for politics, but anyway so I am still in the papers, and they they showed the whole transition of the republican movement, how the religious rights comes in and take charge. How during the Carter years, believe it or not its Jimmy Carter how brings the evangelicals to play in national politics. They very quickly discover his policies on to their liking but they stay in play and find Ronald Reagan as their as their the man they do like and who's policies they are comfortable with and then become the worker bees that would help elect Reagan. So I analyze that but that wasn't really answering why they are the way they are. What explain this incivility in Washington? Why were they changing the rules to play such hard ball? Why had the parties become so divisive and the nation in many regards, so divisive? Well the more I dug the more I finally discovered and I actually found the study that started up here in Berkeley that was commenced about World War two, when a group of social scientists tried to find out if what did happened in Germany could ever happen in the United States, that could we ever become so compliant the we would tolerate a holocaust. Would we ever follow a dictator, the long and short of their research was published in an early the first early work was in the early 50's call the authoritarian personality. The book was controversial when it was published it was it was criticized as being based on Freudian psychology, it was probably a valid criticism because but its never been proven wrong as Freudian psychology is never been proven wrong. But another group of social scientists said they maybe something here, what this book lacks, is any hard evidence that these personality exists, so another group of social scientists began empirical studies asking questions of countless people now tens upon tens of thousands of people all over the United States all over the world in fact, and may have found there is not question that they are is a clear authoritarian personality, it is it is there are two types obviously there are the leaders and they are the followers. The studies most of the studies focused on because they were worried about as I said could anybody ever yield to a dictator in this country. They are most interested in the followers and they found yes there is a personality type that submits very quickly easily to authoritarian personalities that are leading them, they once they adopt that world view they become very aggressive in pursuing it and advocating it, they are very intolerant of other points of view they are often bullies, they are both men and women typically they are very religious people. They often pick on weaker people who they perceive as outsiders like homosexuals and they find great comfort and being told how to act and how to think. On the other hand the leaders which the studies really just started picking up about a decade ago, and they call first of all they call the followers right wing authoritarian followers, now not every conservative is an authoritarian but every authoritarian tends to be conservative. They looked also I should pause just a minute, they couldn't find any left wing authoritarians. This when I studied this research I said, this is an this is very informative this explains how one of the reasons republicans would become so good at winning elections because as I knew from personal experience and looking around my formal colleagues of the Nixon White House I recognized an awful lot of familiar personalities on amongst these right wing authoritarian followers, and they will march in lock of step, the difference between the democrats is and in fact they cant find any left wing authoritarians is that democrats of course are little bit like herding cats they do not march in lock of step in the same way which gives clearly give the republicans a very real advantage when they are trying to win elections so they become very good at that. The the leaders are called social dominators and they're people who are typically male, they may or may not be religious they are often if not consistently Macchiavellian they will do anything to eventually get that leadership position they will even become followers as necessary to to lead they are not particularly religious unless it helps them to manipulate and and get the leadership position, they are amoral, and they are the bullies and and pretty dogmatic in their world views. It's also a very curious third type that is popped up in this research. It's now been going on for a half century in that they call these people double highs because they are authoritarian leaders but they test high as authoritarian leaders, but they are also curiously and inconsistently test high as the authoritarian followers. It's almost, it's inconsistent, so they look deeper to find out why these people and I am not, these labels I am giving you are not social scientists labeling these people. This is how they identify and explain themselves when responding the questions. This is how they perceive them self. But there is this one group that that comes up and they they score high on both and what explains this is, it's the dominators who see them self running the world. And so when they respond to the follower questions they assume them self in control and they want people to follow accordingly. So they score high. These became my conservatives without consciences because trust me, they have none. I will name not in a pejorative sense because I don't mean to apply it those who score a little lower and but are still double highs that the arch typical double high is Adolph Hitler, he is he is the worst example of that. We don't have to be a Hitler though describes to a score a pretty high as a double high. And as I looked at all this information and I was laboring through it with my idiot guide and statistics since I hadn't taken a statistics course in a long time, I would finally call one of the lead researchers or I had actually e-mailed him and we talked afterwards, Bob Altmeyer who was a Yale trained undergraduate and then Carnegie Mellon PhD who actually got into this because he missed a question on his oral examination about the authoritarian personality I mean who was taking that and resulted in spending his entire life, because he had to write a an explanation for his review committee that showed he had some understanding of this earlier Freudian work which he has been very critical of but then went on. It has become the lead researcher to explain and find this data. He has the largest database of all. I recognize all these personalities were familiar to me he said to me what's missing in my knowledge in most social science researchers is your knowledge of the personalities of the kind of people who fit in this category. That's what this book is about. So I really went on with this knowledge to say, what is the consequence that these people are causing. And that's what Broken Government is about. It is actually it is actually in many regards a primer for any democrat who wants to know how to deal with republicans. This wasn't what it was designed to be it's what it turned out to be. It shows not a litany of everything they have done wrong, it shows the major things that no one questions when they really pause to look. And I am talking right and left have gone wrong with where the Republican Party has gone. Look at the legislated branch, how it eliminates the deliberative process and how they the republicans for example couldn't the spell the word oversight when they controlled the congress. How they became - really that's the part of the executive branch. It shows the change of philosophy. How they came to believe in a strong executive which was a 180 degrees away from traditional conservative concern about aggregations of power. But yet suddenly when they couldn't handle the power the way they wanted to, they realized this is where they should pour their resources, and have. Dick Cheney would come to Washington with a an agenda of strengthening the presidency. The agenda has been so far exceeded and it was, I also had thought it need be it's necessary to explain to the world that it was a false agenda. The presidency haven't been weakened as Cheney says because of Vietnam and WaterGate, by the time Ronald Reagan left the office, it was already back way beyond the imperial presidency of Richard Nixon, many people lightly analyzed the Clinton presidency and say, well, he was an imperial president. In many ways, he was, he had powers that far exceeded anything Nixon had. But it's gone beyond that, we would now have a concept that people had never heard of until Samuel Alito was nominated for the Supreme Court and suddenly this weird innocuous kind of meaningless but but an harmless sounding term unitary executive theory emerged where members of the senate had never heard this term. But they found out he had been giving all these speeches to people like the federalist society advocating a unitary executive. What in a world was that? This in a short which I have explained in some detail in the book, is part of the new republican agenda. This isn't just a few people; this is party wide in the conservative movement. They have now subscribed to the to this fact that we must have a overpowering presidency. The president particularly in the area of foreign affairs dominates the courts, he dominates the congress, he can't even be questioned. Bush is so called signing statements which he has had an out pouring of every president has issued signing statement saying he disagreed with this or that law. Bush has issued signing statement, after the singing statement even when the republicans controlled the congress and they were sending him the legislation he wanted. He would say, well this provision I can't agree upon because it conflicts with the unitary executive theory, he believes he is a unitary executive that he is beyond the reach of congress and the courts that he can independently under powers in the constitution. Well, this this was cooked up by a group of very bright lawyers over at the office of legal council in the Reagan administration, who started at with the concept of giving Reagan more power over the independent regulatory agencies of the executive branch based on some language, some very loose language in, that was never meant to be interpreted as any kind of doctrine by Alexander Hamilton in one of the federalist papers where it's talking about the unitary executive, what he actually is talking about is the fact that we didn't have a council for the executive branch but rather one person but into that term they have poured an enormous amount of power and stretched it and stretched it and stretched it. As Cheney's chief of staff explained it. At one point he said, "We are going to push this and push this and push this until somebody stops us". And that's exactly what they are doing most people are not even aware of it. but they keep pushing, the only people who are going to stop at, are you people and people who vote and learn about it and what they are planning to do because if another republican president is elected, I guarantee you they will pick up exactly where this is left leaving off. But this isn't the worst, and I happened this book on a high note and again some good news but I got to tell you the most stunning thing because I am going to wrap up my remarks because the hook comes out in 30 minutes when you are giving one of these addresses. So I am going to rush to the end and just tell you that most revelatory information I found was about the judicial branch. I had never looked in what republicans did and why they did it. But starting with Nixon, starting with Nixon they began the process that has been ongoing and I would like to tell you that every president does this, but it doesn't happen that way. They are politicizing the non political branch to a degree that they have taken it to what I call the tipping point. To short circuit a long story and to I do compare exactly for example because all presidents want to appoint people of the federal judiciary who were some how consistent with their philosophy. That's within there power. But what's happened as a result of a of Nixon first raising the issue in the 68 campaign where he made it a quid pro quo "you vote for me in the south, I will give you strict constructionist who were sympathetic to the south". He would indeed try to nominate to and have them both rejected by the senate. That's where it starts, but every other republican president starts trading, and dealing and satisfying very particular constituencies but grow into the religious right. To where you have now sitting on the court, there had been five but there are only four they are right now, what I call the fundamentalists judges. This is a term that is not unfamiliar to constitutional scholars, my editor in chief and supreme is my wife Maureen who always reads my manuscript first, then she will tell me if I have got in too legalistic or too technical and so I have tried to when I caught her attention was material, I thought I would explain it right. So without getting too technical about it what I wanted I do take where these people will take the law if you get five of them you have four of them right now. You have Antonin Scalia, you have Clarence Thomas, you have John Roberts and Samuel Alito in the order they were appointed. Alito and Roberts are little more subtle than Thomas and Scalia. But where these people can take the law with one more one more vote is where I see about 75 percent of the American people do not want the law to go. And they can do it in a way that you could never get it through the legislated branch, never even probably get it across the president's veto. But yet they can do it and as they have shown in the last couple of terms that moving much faster than we expected. So I will wait for a question and since I have my 30 minute bell to see if anybody wants to know the high note this ends on. Thank you.