- Share your favorite videos with friends
- Comment on videos and join the conversation
- Get personalized recommendations
- Enjoy exclusive offers
Purchased a FORA.tv video on another website? Login here with the temporary account credentials included in your receipt.
Sign up today to receive our weekly newsletter and special announcements.
President Kerrey, Dean Schober and friends all, I want first to congratulate all of you on having braved winter winds even to appear on a night like this. It is for several reasons that I am delighted to be with you at the New School this evening and indeed that I count it a great honor to have been invited to deliver the inaugural Paul H. Douglas Lecture in the series bearing his name in Ethics and Government. First I am glad to be on the campus of this remarkable center of leaning, now nearly 90 years old. An institution characterized by a commitment to innovation and constructive change in our own country and the world. The men and women who have taught at the New School include some of the most brilliant thinkers and doers of our time and your President these last several years has like the eminent Statesmen for whom this lecture series is named was himself a distinguished Public Servant, a governor for 12 years of his home state of Nebraska and the United States Senator, Bob Kerrey. Both as governor and senator, Bob Kerrey was deeply committed to education at every level. And that after leaving the senate he should have become a University President his wholly appropriate. As I followed a similar path, it must be obvious that beyond our common roots, in the American Middle West a commitment to education is one that Bob Kerrey and I share. There are several other persons here this evening whom I want to recognize, some have already been saluted, Members of Senator Douglas's family, his daughter Jean Bandler who has taught at New York University and here husband Ned Bandler, a member of Freedom House and a supporter of my own campaigns for Congress over the years, other members of the Douglas family. Paul W. Douglas, son of the Senator and Jean's brother, Philip and Peter Douglas, the Senator's grand sons and John Taft Bandler, son of Ned and Jean and the Senator's grandson. I am also pleased to meet D. Ellen Shuman daughter of Howard Shuman who served on the staff of Senator Douglas and who was my contemporary as a student at Oxford University even as I am glad to salute Ernestine Schlant Bradley, a member of the faculty of the New School and wife of another highly respected former United States Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, also I must add, an Oxonian. A couple of other persons who are associated with the New School and are friends of mine are Professor Edward Nell of your Department of Economics and Karen Buck who helps raise money for the New School. I want also to recognize two colleagues of mine from New York University, Diane Fairbanks and in working in my own office and with me closely, Michael Dinisia I want also to thank for joining us this evening the widow of still another senator who commanded high regard on both sides of the isle, Marion Javits, whose husband Jacob J. Javits was four times elected to the United States House of Representatives and four times to the United States Senate. Senator Javits was an internationalist, a champion like Paul Douglas of Civil Rights and an advocate as well of support for education in the arts and the humanities causes with which Marion continues to be identified. Of course what brings us all together this evening is the memory of one of the other giants in the history of the United States Senate and in American public life, Paul H. Douglas of Illinois. I hope you will hear indulge me in a little personal history. Son of a Greek immigrant and an Indiana School teacher I grew up in South Bend, Indiana, home of the fighting Irish of Notre Dame. After spending my freshman year of college as a US Naval officer trainee at the University of Mississippi where, in my sailor's suit, 61 years ago, I heard the opening address of the last campaign of United States Senator Theodore Gilmore Bilbo who castigated Clare Boothe Luce and in his words those other communists up North who want to mongrelize the white race. An experience that added to my having recalled my father's having told me as a child, of the Ku Klux Klan then powerful in Indiana, boycotted his restaurant because he was not a Wasp made me years later in Congress a strong supporter of the Civil Rights legislation championed by Senator Paul H. Douglas. From Oxford Mississippi I went to Cambridge Massachusetts and Harvard and then to the other Oxford in England where I wrote a PhD dissertation on the Anarchist Movement in Spain from the mid-1920s through the first year of the Spanish Civil War. Although I studied anarchism I did not practice it. For six months after returning to South Bend from Oxford I was just old enough under the constitution to run and I became the Democratic Party nominee for election to Congress from the then third District of Indiana. I lost that race with 49.5 percent of the total vote. Determined obviously to run again in 1956 I went to Washington DC to get little experience where I joined the staff of then Senator Patrick V McNamara of Michigan. Shortly thereafter Senator Douglas invited me to join his staff, but on learning that I had already accepted a position in his colleague's office immediately withdrew. In the summer of 1955, a Chicago lawyer, the right hand man of Adlai E Stevenson, William McCormick Blair Jr. called to ask me, I had, by then, become Administrative Assistant to Congressman Thomas Ludlow Ashley of Toledo, Ohio, to join Governor Stevenson's Office in his second campaign for the Presidency. I readily accepted. Chicago is not far from South Bend and I was in-charge of research on issues and sole liaison to such Stevenson advisors as Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Paul Samuelson and John Kenneth Galbraith. It was an exciting and invaluable experienced. And of course brought me into touch with such political figures as Paul Simon and Sidney Yates, later my colleagues in Congress and with Paul Douglas' ardent supporter ____, my fellow Helle, I am the first native born American of Greek origin elected to Congress, House or Senate even as my dear friend Paul Sarbanes of Maryland just retired after 34 years of distinguished service in Congress is the first Greek American elected to the Senate. And as you may know his son John was elected in November to Paul's old seat in the House of Representatives. And of course I worked with other Stevenson law partners. W Willard Wirtz later Secretary of Labor and Newton N Mino later Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and father of Martha Mino one of Senator Barak Obama's professors at the Harvard Law School and before that she was an intern one summer in my Congressional Office. So the linkages continue. In 1956 both Stevenson and Brademas lost a second time. I thought here I am not yet 30 and twice defeated for Congress. But I still thought I could win and determine to run again in 1958. I joined the Faculty of St. Mary's College across the road, from Notre Dame. In 1958 in my third race to my great surprise and delight Senator Douglas called to ask if he could come to my district to campaign for me. And, of course, I enthusiastically accepted. On September 26, 1958 Senator Douglas addressed 700 Democrats at a rally for me in South Bend. He had kind words not only for me but for the then Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, my political godfather Paul M. Butler of South Bend and for a Republican, Paul G Hoffman, formerly head of the Studebaker Corporation in South Bend and the Senator of course also warmly praised Adlai Stevenson. Here I should tell you that next summer a book on the legacy of Adlai Stevenson edited by Judge Alvin Liebling of Chicago will be published and I am pleased to have contributed an essay. Senator Douglas spoke on my behalf too at a fund raising dinner in LaPorte Indiana, $10 a plate, those were the days. And together we visited farms and Elkhart county in my District. Senator Douglas' wife Emily Taft Douglas, herself a former member of Congress from Illinois also spoke at a tea for me in South Bend. My Republican opponent in 1958, then Congressman F J Nimps sharply attacked Senator Douglas as to quote him, 'A city slicker from Chicago' a noted prophet of gloom, a meddling Senator from Illinois who wants a national monument established in the Indiana Dunes to curry political favor with his Chicago constituents The result in November 1958 I was first elected to Congress. Thanks in part to the support of the great Senator from Illinois. Well, so much for these observations about my own early experience with the extraordinary leader whom we meet tonight to honor. With a BA from Bowdoin and an MA and PhD in economics from Columbia University, that's up town, some place, Paul Douglas taught at various colleges and universities until he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago. Elected in 1939 an Alderman of the Chicago City Council, Professor Douglas after an unsuccessful race for the United States Senate in 1942 joined the United States Marines. Although 50 years old and a full professor at the University of Chicago he sought combat and was sent to the Pacific where he was twice wounded. Discharged in 1946 he returned to the University of Chicago and two years later won election to the United States Senate defeating the Isolationist Republican incumbent Senator C Wayland Brooks. In the senate Paul Douglas made a major mission of his service, the passage of civil rights legislation and he succeeded with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 dealing with public accommodations and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for both of which bills I, by that time, a member of the House of Representatives also worked. A second area of deep concern to Senator Douglas was, as you know, Ethics in government including fiscal accountability of public officials. The senator, long before required by law regularly released his assets and liabilities and sources of income. In 1951 senator Douglas delivered the Godkin lectures at Harvard entitled Ethics in Government. Those lectures were a forerunner of discussion of issues prominent in the nation's capital today. Senator Douglas was also a leader as you have been told on economic measures and led the fight for truth in lending legislation. And as you are aware the Dunes National Lakeshore in Northern Indiana was a monument to Senator Douglas's commitment to environmental protection long before the issue had become popular. He saved much of the Indiana Dunes from steel company bulldozers. I have earlier mentioned Paul Simon with whom I served in the House of Representatives on the Committee on Education and Labor and with whom I shared a conviction of the importance of advancing the study of other countries cultures and languages. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois is a fitting tribute to this impressive protÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©gÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â© of Senator Douglas. I remind you too that I was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1958, then ten times re-elected. In congress, my primary committee was Education and Labor, where I sponsored legislation to help schools colleges and universities, the arts and the humanities, libraries and museums and programs to assist children, the elderly, the disabled. I also served on the House Administration Committee and there wrote the Presidential materials and records Preservation Act of 1974. That's the law that nullified the Ford administration decision to turn over to Richard Nixon, just resigned, all of the papers including the famous tape recordings of his presidency under conditions that could have led to their destruction. I was, to be gentle about it, outraged by the prospect that such records could be lost to history and so acted to save them. This '74 statute led to the Presidential Records Act of 1978 which declared that American Presidents no longer have title to their papers. In my last four years in congress I was by appointment of House Speaker Thomas P Tip O'Neill majority whip of the House of Representatives, leader of a group of other Democratic Congressmen each of whom had the responsibility of pulling representatives in his or her zone on bills upcoming. One of my assistant whips, by the way, was Charlie Rangel of New York, the new chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means. One of the perquisites of service as whip was to join speaker O'Neill, house majority leader Jim Wright of Texas, Senate majority leader Bob Bird of West Virginia and Senate whip Allan Cranston of California for breakfast at the White House every other Tuesday morning with President Carter and Vice President Mondale. Now we talk politics and policy. I am a note taker and I made it my practice to take notes of these meetings, then back at my office on Capitol Hill dictated them and so have a stack of transcripts which, I hope, if ever I slow down to turn into a case study of how an American President deals with the leaders of his own party in Congress. In 1980 in my campaign for a 12th term in Congress I was defeated in Ronald Reagan's landslide victory over President Carter. Ironically among the major issues that year Bob were the hostage crisis in Iran and the high price of gas. I add that in my 12 campaigns for Congress, well I guess it would have been 14, five were in presidential election years but only once did the people of my Indiana district gave a majority to the Democratic nominee for President, that was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Fortunately for me, I was invited in 1981 to become President of New York University, the nation's largest private university. So, like Bob Kerry I became a New Yorker. I served as you heard as President of NYU for 11 years until 1992 when I became President Emeritus, my present responsibility. I shall not here belabor you with a list of my current activities; it's chiefly pro bono, although in a moment I will speak of one. Certainly I have a continuing interest directly linked to the purpose of these lectures in the work of the CED, the Committee for Economic Development, an organization of some 200 corporate executives and a few university presidents of whom I am one. From time to time CED produces reports on public policy issues, reports that do not focus solely on the interest of business. For example last year CED issued reports calling for greater investment in pre-school programs and in international education and foreign language studies both areas in which, while in Congress, I legislated. The most recent CED report released only last month, deals directly with what brings us together this evening. Entitled "Making Washington Work" the report urges reform in the financing of Congressional campaigns, reform in the operations of lobbyists and reforms in legislative procedures. The report, for example, calls for dealing with the abuse of Congressional redistricting and year marking of appropriations and tax measures. The three goals of making Washington work, succinctly put, are transparency, accountability and enforcement. Paul Douglas I respectfully suggest would have rejoiced at this effort to enhance ethical behavior in government. Indeed I am very glad to see that Congress is now acting in all three areas of our making Washington work report. Both the Senate and House of Representatives last month voted on ethics and lobbying reform measures and so the process has began. Now these several observations bring me to the final matter of which I should like to speak tonight. My own principal project at this time is the establishment that New York University's Robert F Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the John Brademas Center for the study of Congress, of congress as a policy making institution, here I remind you that in our separation of powers constitutional system when it comes to making national policy Congress, unlike the House of Commons for example in the British Parliamentary System, counts. If a Senator or representative knows what he or she is doing is skillful and if the configuration of political forces makes action possible that Senator or representative can, without picking up the telephone to call the White House, write the laws of the land. Yeah with 100 senators and 435 representatives and normally no strict party discipline, Congress is not an easy institution to understand even for informed persons. Even I have observed for some presidents. So what we have done at New York University is establish a center to which we have invited senators and representatives, current and former, Democrats and Republicans, this is not a partisan initiative. Cabinet officers, Congressional staffers, journalists, students and scholars to discuss the processes, the ways by which our national legislature influences and shapes policy as well as significant issues of public policy. The purpose of the Center is to encourage the exchange of ideas among scholars and policy makers, thereby promoting the creation and dissemination of knowledge and public understanding of what is after all the first branch of government. The center as I've said is wholly bi-partisan and I have been gratified by the acceptance by several distinguished senators and representatives, current and former, of my invitation to serve on an Advisory Council to the center even as I appreciate the agreement of a number of the nation's leading academic authorities on Congress to serve on this Council. You will be interested to know that among the activities supported by the Center is a series of lectures on Congress at the Library of Congress. Lectures that bare the name of a distinguished trustee of the new school, an outstanding American business leader Bernard Schwartz and his wife Irene. The initial lectures at the Library of Congress were delivered by the Senior Senator from my native State of Indiana and former Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Richard Lugar, a Republican and the Senior Senator from Maryland, a Democrat Paul S Sarbanes. Senator Lugar spoke on the role of Congress in foreign policy, Senator Sarbanes on Congress and domestic policy. In the fall of 2005 at a symposium at NYU also sponsored by Bernard and Irene Schwartz we focused on the history of the measure of which I have earlier told you. The Presidential Materials and Recordings, Preservation Act of 1974 and the Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein discussed issues in handling and disposition of the papers of federal officials. In April of last year at the NYU Law School the Center sponsored a symposium on what as we know a most important subject, Presidential powers. When John Dean, former counsel to President Nixon, Shawn Wallace, a Princeton Historian of Presidents, former Congressman Mickey Edwards, Republican of Oklahoma and your own Bob Kerrey among others addressed this topic. Last fall the Center sponsored a symposium at which Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, two distinguished scholars of Congress discussed their new book. The book and branch how Congress is failing America and how to get it back on track. Let me know some of the other activities sponsored by the Brademas Center for the Study of Congress. One is an internship program under which NYU students serve on the staffs of members of the Senate and House of Representatives. The second organized by the former ABC television news congressional correspondent Linda Douglas is entitled 'Reflections'. A project enabling Linda to conduct interviews with retiring members of the Senate and House of Representatives to ask them of their to ask them to speak of their experiences, offer comments about what they have learnt and make recommendations for their successors. The third activity I will mention is legislating for the future conducted by Paul Light of the Wagner school faculty, who studying the question of the adequacy of resources for Congress to deal with the important issues facing our country. My friend and a fellow who is your former Congressman Leah Hamilton of Indiana chairs the advisory committee for this program. The second Bernard and Irene Schwartz Lecture at the Library of Congress was delivered last fall by the distinguished historian of the House of Representatives who discussed his new book, 'The House', professor Robert V Remini of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Now I think you will agree that in light of the results of the Congressional elections last November much more attention is now being focused on the Senate and the House of Representatives with Democratic majorities in both bodies than was the case during the first six years of the Presidency of George Bush. Although it is obvious that widespread dissatisfaction with the War in Iraq and the way in which President Bush is handling it or mishandling it, the war was a major reason for democratic victories last fall. Yet it is also clear that another issue that damaged Republicans was what has come to be known as the culture of corruption. To make my point I have only to cite the names of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff now in prison, as are for accepting bribes, former Republican Congressman Randy Duke Cunningham of California and Robert Ney of Ohio and then I mentioned Republican Congressman Mark Foley of Florida who resigned following the revelation of suggestive emails and sexually explicit messages he said to some young male house pages. Here I direct your attention to a recent book just published by Peter H Stone entitled "Heist: Superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, His Republican Allies, and the Buying of Washington". This book speaks of among other matters the K Street Project described by Norman Ornstein in the New York Times book review last month, as in his words an effort masterminded by Grover Norquist, Tom DeLay and Rick Santorum among others to place Conservative Republicans in key positions in law firms, lobbying operations, trade associations and individual company offices. The goal was to get trusted people into jobs where they could use campaign cash to help republicans stay in power while enabling them to live comfortably by sharing the munificence of the money and interests. Ornstein wrote of "Heist" and of another recent study called "The case three gang" by Matthew Continetti. And "Ornstein - both books will make the average reader even one sophisticated in the ways of Washington want to take a shower. To any one who cares, he said, about our political institutions and their integrity, this story is simply revolting." One of the most assigned analyses of the challenge to reform, which the new congress face is an essay by James A. Thurber - Professor of Government and Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential studies at American University - in the latest issue of the Journal "Extensions", published by the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Study Center at the University of Oklahoma. Thurber's criticisms are several. He asserts in his words that Congress has been grossly deficient in his investigations of violations and in his enforcement of it's own rules. Thurber goes on to criticize earmarks of appropriations, authorization and revenue bills. Provisions of law as you know often inserted without attribution and Thurber urges greater transparency with respect to their authorship. He sites procedural abuses in the house of Senate such as the use of closed rules to restrict the right of the minority to offer amendments, extending role calls in the house beyond the regular 15 minutes to allow strong arming of members to change their votes, failing to allow minority members to participate in conference committees to reconcile differences between house and senate versions of legislation and the failure to exercise vigorous oversight of the executive branch. In the new house of representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has called on the 110th Congress to enact, what she calls the "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act", a proposal which includes the following. A ban of gifts from lobbyists, ban on all privately funded travel, ban on lobbyists attending or participating in conventional trips, disclosure of grassroots lobbying, increased disclosure in government contracting and in the tightening of government contracting laws, extension of the ban on lobbying by former members to two years, extending the post employment ban to senior congressional executive branch staff and enacting disclosure requirements for house members and for staff negotiating for jobs in the private sector. In their essay, entitled "When Congress Checks Out" in the November-December 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs Publishers you know; Norm Ornstein and Tom Mann observed "One of congress key role is oversight making sure that the laws and rights are faithfully executed and vetting the military and diplomatic activities of the executive." Good oversight, they say, cuts waste, punishes fraud or scandal and keeps policy makers on their toes. The go on to note that vigorous oversight was the norm until the end of the 20th century. And they said a list of examples of congressional investigations. However, the authors warn, "Since George W. Bush has become President, oversight has all but disappeared from homeland security to the conduct of the Iraq war, from allegations of torture at Abu Ghraib, to the surveillance of domestic telephone calls by the National Security Agency. Congress has mostly ignored its responsibilities." Moreover, say Ornstein and Mann, "The Bush Administration has aggressively asserted its executive power and displayed a stronger version to sharing information with congress and the public. Why they ask and reply, serious oversight almost inevitably means criticism of performance and this Republican Congress, they shied away from criticizing its own White House. Ornstein and Mann then offer a number of specific recommendations for fixing the oversight problem as they put it. Part they conclude of a larger challenge to mend the broken legislative branch and restore a healthy balance to US Democracy. Here, ladies and gentlemen, in my view is what we are talking about, with the Republican President, deeply unpopular two years to go in his term and a congress with democratic majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives. We face a titanic struggle one that involves major issues facing the nation, such as the War in Iraq and the enormous deficits in the Federal budget. Indeed I believe that the next two years will be characterized by a test of the fundamentals of the American constitutional system. Listen if you will to what the respected Financial Times of London said editorially only yesterday in title George Bush and the Imperial Presidency. The subtitle of the editorial is Congress can and must reign in the power hungry president. The Financial Times editorial went on to say, Mr. Bush has a habit of arrogating even more power to the executive holds risks at home as well as abroad. Mr. Bush is expert at playing the American system of separation of power unless congress is vigilant and forceful the imperial executive will govern unrestrained. The founding fathers, they conclude, knew the dangers of an imperial presidency, so they gave congress the job of reining him in. Now it's the time for legislators to start doing their job in earnest. That's the end of the editorial quote from the FT. The current debate on Iraq, the debate's upcoming on the president's just released budget the start of hearings into the allocation of the defense contracts, these are all signs that the 110th congress will indeed do his job. So as I think about the relevance of the carrer of Paul H. Douglas in the United States Senate to the challenges facing our elected officials in Washington DC today I draw two conclusions. First, congress must vigorously pursue the kinds of reforms I have earlier recited in campaign finance, in lobbing and in legislative procedures. Second, members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives must aggressively fulfill their constitutional responsibility of engaging the executive branch in forging the policies of the United States. There is simply not one decider in the American constitutional system. There are one President, one Vice President, 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the United States Senate. As a former professor of Political Science, I have a reading assignment for you. And here I remind you that after retiring from the Senate, Senator Douglas joined the Economics department of the then graduate faculty of the New School. Here is your assignment. The splendid book Ethics and Government delivered at Harvard University during January 1952 has the Godkin lectures by Paul H. Douglas. Listen to the opening lines of those lectures delivered just 55 years ago. "The American public has become increasingly uneasy in recent months about the moral practices of many government officials" Sound familiar? Senator Douglas then sights specific abuses in government power, abuses usually uncovered by congressional hearings and investigations. The Senator then goes on to offer remedies for dealing with the ethical problems of both legislators and administrators, and observes. "Guide books are helpful for travel abroad and save many weary hours and a multitude of false turnings why then in our far more important journey through life, should we not work out some specific guide for conduct in so large an area as governmental affairs? We should treat, he says, the whole area of government as a vital part of the ethical life which we should try to conduct on the highest possible level. To this end, guiding principles and codes backed up by certain social sanctions can be of great aid to the troubled navigators on the stormy seas of life." President Kerrey Senator Kerrey, I respectfully suggest that you and I should invite our colleague President Derek Bok of Harvard to ask the Harvard University press to reprint Senator Douglas's Godkin lectures Ethics in government and send a copy to every member of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, every member of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, every member of the Cabinet, and if I may be permitted to say so to President Bush as well. As we stand on the threshold of a new century with immense challenges facing the people of our country. What the United States of America needs today are m ore leaders like Paul H. Douglas of Illinois. Thank you.