Oct 08

Doris Kearns Goodwin Talks History


Renowned historian Doris Kearns Goodwin recounted her experiences with presidents past and present – and possibly future — and touched on the 2016 race for the White House during the keynote speech at NECA 2016 Boston on Saturday.

Chatting with Doris Kearns Goodwin at NECA16 from NECAnet on Vimeo.

About Republican nominee Donald Trump, she said: “We’ve never seen anything like him.”

A former White House intern who worked closely with President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, Goodwin said, in a sense, she “lives with” these presidents when she reads about their lives, studies their work and writes about them.

Her book “Team of Rivals,” about President Abraham Lincoln, was hailed and had a profound impact on the relationship between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who is running to become the first female president in American history.

Among the changes she said she has noticed in the political discourse include:

  • The change in the relationship between the White House and the press
  • The “magic” of television and how they have affected debates
  • The increasing use of personal attacks and negative invective
  • The increasing use of public opinion polling
  • The escalating role of money in elections
  • The decreasing number of young people who want to enter public service

Finally, Goodwin lamented the deterioration in the relationship between the presidency and Congress.

“You’ve got to make that link,” she said. “Bring people to the White House, and get out of Washington.”

Goodwin signed copies of her books on the Convention Show Floor after her remarks.

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