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David Martin (Nebraska politician)

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David Martin
David T. Martin 92nd Congress 1971.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nebraska's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1963 – December 31, 1974
Preceded byRalph F. Beermann
Succeeded byVirginia D. Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nebraska's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1963
Preceded byDonald McGinley
Succeeded byDistrict abolished
Personal details
Born(1907-07-09)July 9, 1907
Kearney, Nebraska
DiedMay 15, 1997(1997-05-15) (aged 89)
Kearney, Nebraska
Political partyRepublican

David Thomas Martin (July 9, 1907 – May 15, 1997) was an American Republican Party politician who served seven terms in the United States House of Representatives from 1961 to 1974.

Martin was born in Kearney, Nebraska and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1929 before entering the lumber business. He was a member of the Nebraska Republican Committee and Republican National Committee in the 1950s; in 1954, he was an unsuccessful primary candidate for United States Senate.

Martin ran for Congress in 1960, defeating freshman Democrat Donald McGinley by a slim margin. He served as minority chairman of House Rules Committee and was also a member of the Education and Labor Committee. He was Ranking Republican on the Rules Committee in his last three terms. He cochaired with Rep. Richard Howard Ichord Jr. of Missouri the Select Committee on the Reorganization of the Congress in 1973-74. In 1974, he was a floor leader in the confirmation of Nelson Rockefeller, his Dartmouth classmate, as Vice President of the United States.

After leaving Congress, Martin became a member of the Nebraska State College Board and was a visiting professor. In 1980, he served as Nebraska chairman for the unsuccessful presidential bid of George H. W. Bush.

Martin died in his hometown of Kearney after suffering from pneumonia at age 89.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Heuermann Lecture - Stewards of Civil Discourse: Value and Impacts on Nebraska's Future
  • ✪ Alexander Payne's Nebraska Commencement Address
  • ✪ Why I Left the Left


(bright music) It is my real pleasure to welcome you to the kickoff Heuermann Lecture of the 2018-2019 academic year. And I think, gentlemen, as you can tell, folks are interested in hearing your wisdom and engaging you on a very, very important topic around civil discourse, around coming together when we differ and differing with dignity. And we've had the chance to think about who those speakers might be to kick us off, and the two senators that we have today in Senator Bob Kerrey and Senator Chuck Hagel, two excellent examples of individuals with differing perspectives who really engaged in civil discourse and did so with the intention of moving this country forward and thinking about always what was best for our people, for us, for the citizenry, and agreeing to disagree in a way where they still smiled, they still asked each other about their families and how life was going, and so that's the flavor today. Let me get a little bit of housekeeping. I think most of you know me now here, coming up on two years. My name is Mike Boehm and I'm the vice chancellor, the Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I also serve as the vice president of agriculture and natural resources for the University of Nebraska system. I'm glad that you're here with us today for the 400-plus people who are in this room, and the folks who are assembling in our overflow space, and for the 300 to 450 individuals from across Nebraska that are coming to us through our livestream. We couldn't be more excited to have you here with us. I think you know that the Heuermann Lecture series is made possible by an amazingly generous gift by Keith and Norma Heuermann. Keith and Scott are here. Keith, would you mind standing so we could show our appreciation? (audience applauds) One of my favorite memories thus far in Nebraska is the trip that I took to Phillips to have coffee, Gene, sorry, coffee at the kitchen table with Keith and to talk about Nebraska and the journey that Keith has taken. And this gift, which is amazing, allows us to bring in speakers that wrestle with the grand challenges that face Nebraska, the Great Plains, the country, and in fact, the globe. This year's focus on our three Heuermann Lectures will be around the drivers of economic and community vitality here in Nebraska and the Great Plains. Critical topic. The formal topic title of today's lecture or panel is Stewards of Civil Discourse: Value and Impacts on Nebraska's Future. The format for this afternoon will be a panel discussion with Senators Hagel and Senator Kerrey will be moderated by our own Roger Wehrbein, and I wanna talk to you a little bit about each of those gentlemen here in a moment. After each of the senators have had a chance to share some reflections with you, then Roger will facilitate a dialogue at some point, then we'll open it up for Q&A. There'll be two microphones that are roving the room, so if you'd like to ask your question if you're here, please just raise your hand and we'll get a mic to you. If you are watching online, then you can just tweet us using the hashtag HLSeries and we'll get your questions to Roger. We'll go as long as you want to go, up to five o'clock, and if we're still engaged at about three minutes 'til the hour, I'll stand up and we'll thank our speakers. So let me introduce today's speakers. Today we have Bob Kerrey. Bob is the managing director at Allen & Company in New York, he is also the executive chairman of the Minerva Institute. He represented Nebraska in the United States Senate for two terms, served on the Senate's Agriculture and Forestry Committee, and was a leader in drafting farm legislation, soil and water conservation statutes, and regulations to promote equity in rural health, communication, and transportation. Prior to serving in the US Senate, Bob Kerrey served as Nebraska's governor for four years. Prior to serving as governor, he helped build a chain of restaurants and health clubs. He served three years in the United States Navy in Vietnam and received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service as a Navy SEAL. (audience applauds) Thank you. Did you write that? Chuck Hagel was the 24th Secretary of Defense, serving from February 2013 to 2015. He is the only Vietnam veteran and the first enlisted combat veteran to serve as the US Secretary of Defense. He served two terms in the United States Senate representing the state of Nebraska. While in the House, he was a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Intelligence Committees. He chaired the foreign relations international economic policy export and trade promotion subcommittee, and the banking committee's international trade and finance and securities subcommittees. Chuck Hagel served as the chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China, and the Senate Climate Change Observer Group. Prior to his election to the United States Senate, Chuck Hagel worked in the private sector as president of McCarthy & Company, an investment banking firm based in Omaha, Nebraska, and served as the chairman of the board of American Information Systems. Let's welcome Senator Chuck Hagel. (audience applauds) And Roger Wehrbein. Roger, who was selected to moderate this discussion for many reasons, has a long career, a lifetime in Nebraska and in Nebraska politics. Roger began his political career on the Cass County Fair Board, and as a commissioner with Cass County. He was elected to the Nebraska Legislature representing the 2nd District, centered in Plattsmouth, on November 4th, 1986, and was reelected four times from 1990 to 2002. He was on the appropriations committee for 18 years and served as chair of the appropriations committee for 10 of those 18 years. He continued to work on his family farm alongside his three brothers while serving as a representative, and after his term ended. He's also worked on the Plattsmouth Bridge Commission and participated in the movement to build a new university fraternity house for Alpha Gamma Rho. Roger is a great supporter and a very dear friend of the University and IANR. Would you please help me welcome Roger? (audience applauds) I'll get out of your way. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks. I'll stand to start with and welcome everybody here. I assume my microphone is on now. It's good to see the interest in this as judged by the crowd here, and I think we're in for treat this afternoon to get some probably similar opinions and probably different opinions from two of our really illustrious Nebraska representatives over the last few years, and I'm honored to be here and to work with them. We're gonna start out by having opening remarks from both of them, and then we'll go to some dialogue and then some questions from the audience. And there will be a microphone out circulating from the audience, please speak into the microphone well. This is also being broadcast, as you know. So with that, I didn't talk about them, which one goes first. (audience laughs) Looks like your pick. He's the senior senator. Senior senator. Will the senior senator please start? (laughs) Well. I know my place. (audience laughs) Yeah, first of all, I'd appear with Chuck anywhere. We've become very, very good friends and I admire him greatly, and I'm very grateful for all the things you did in public service. It's just nice to have a chance to hang out with you, and it's gonna go downhill from there, so. (audience laughs) Are we done? (audience laughs) I mean, they're kinda two divergent questions. One about the economy of Nebraska and the other about civility in politics, and they connect because if you're trying to address, let's say, obviously the most contentious issue right now in America is the question of immigration. And if you're gonna get federal legislation to solve that problem, it's gonna have to have Republican and Democrats on board. That means you're gonna have real angry Republicans and real angry Democrats who don't like the compromise, who will be saying that the Democrats sold out or the Republicans sold out. It's absolutely true. Meaning in politics and in life actually, it's relatively easy to make an enemy mad, but to make a friend angry with you, and that's an issue where to get the job done, you're gonna have friends mad at you. There's no other way of cutting it. And by the way I think it's also enormously important for the economy of Nebraska to get that issue behind us. It's clearly important for our little experiment in self-government to get that issue behind us. But as to the economy, I don't think you need to look any further than the University of Nebraska. I mean, Morrill, the senator from Vermont, passed the Morrill Act and it got enacted in 1862, before we became a state, and it's transformed our state. It's the most important economic, social, and political contributor to the entire state of Nebraska. I mean, I genuinely believe that the better our university does, and I'm very glad that Scott won a football game Saturday, but-- (audience laughs) That just makes us feel good. That's not necessarily something that's gonna long-term contribute to the development of the economy. I'm not against the football program, but the research is being done, basic research is being done at IANR. Almost every single program at the university contributes either to the economy or to a better understanding of who we are, so when the kids graduate and go back home, they're much more likely to be able to participate in building their communities. And I know from personal experience, I mean, you may know, I've got a 43 and a 41-year-old son and daughter and I've got a 17-year-old, I'm a geezer dad. And it can be quite uncomfortable, and it creates some political challenges, and for adults we have to recognize that there are times when a young person studies and comes home and says, Mom and Dad, I don't agree with you anymore. And rather than blaming that on the university, what we oughta do is say that's exactly what our university ought to do at its best. Give young people-- (audience applauds) Because it creates a culture, it seems to me that is also very, very important if you're trying to retain entrepreneurs. I mean, one of the things that I'm doing, I'm participating by being a member of the board of the Engler Program here at the university, and it's basically about trying to identify young people who could be entrepreneurs and supporting them. But what it gets down to in the end is do they wanna be an entrepreneur in Nebraska? And if they do, we're gonna do exceptionally well, because these are bright, highly motivated kids with great values that are getting a great education here at the university. So among the most difficult things that we older adults sometimes have to do, we don't have to understand young people, we don't actually have to understand what's going on in their little brains, but we do have to make our place feel welcome to them. Otherwise, they'll go someplace else. It's off to you, Chuck. (audience laughs) (Bob laughs) Well, you would probably expect me to say something nice about Bob, but-- (audience laughs) I do wanna say something nice about Bob. And I'm gonna tell you that story... He's trying to remember what it was. (laughs) (audience laughs) I wrote it down for you, for God's sakes! (laughs) (audience laughs) Trying to figure out if it's worthy of this audience or not. This is a story that I have told before, but I think it personifies Bob Kerrey and our time together in the Senate, because much of what I think you all wanna talk about is civility in politics. When I first got to the Senate, Bob and I had known each other before I got to the Senate, and he suggested the first week I was there that the two of us sit down with our chiefs of staff and go over a list of issues that we could agree on to work together from the outset on behalf of the state of Nebraska, that we both represent. We'd have another list of issues probably that we wouldn't agree on, but maybe we would. And we did that. I've never heard another two senators doing that, of different parties representing the same state. But that was the kind of leadership that Bob Kerrey gave to the state of Nebraska, and which really bonded the two of us, not just personally as friends in our Vietnam veteran background and our entrepreneur background, we had similar backgrounds in a lot of areas. But Bob is a Democrat, I was a Republican, but we didn't lose sight on why we were there. We were there to serve the interests of the people we represented. That wasn't confusing, at least it wasn't to the two of us, and Bob had a plan on how to do that. Where we can agree and focus our efforts, let's do it. Where we could at least find some common ground to move it forward, let's do it. When we disagree, we disagree. I never worried about Bob Kerrey's word. I hope he never worried about mine. We would vote differently if we did, and the next day we would be back at work, working on behalf of our state. Now that doesn't mean that Bob and I were better senators than anybody else or right. But, that to me represented what a democratic government, more to the point, a representative government should be about. Democracies can't work any other way, because there's only one alternative to that, and that's authoritarian government. Monarchies, dictators, let them make all the decisions. Civility is the glue that binds a society. It binds a society in every way. Without civility, you can't accomplish what Bob was talking about in the economic area of things that need to be done, because there's no common ground or form or platform to work from. If there's no civility, there's no mutual respect, and there's an absolutism that seeps into politics that is very dangerous, in that absolutism represents the absolutism of, I'm all right and my party is all right all the time, and you're all wrong all the time, so what's the point in me talking to you or even listening to you? And unfortunately, we're in that swamp today. And I'm gonna leave a lot of these pieces that we could talk about to the audience here for your specific questions. But I was asked the other day, Bob, what about young people? What are they seeing? We're at a university setting, and we're here at a campus, as you said, is to learn, it's to foster, actually foster disagreement, and foster listening to each other, and foster that civility of mutual respect. And my answer was, I'm not worried about the young people, and the reason I'm not worried about the young people, because I have confidence it will be the young people that will pull us out of this. And I reminded that individual that if you look at every social advancement in this country since World War II, it started because of young people. Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, getting out of Vietnam, LGBT. You go across the board, regardless of what your position is on any of them, it was the idealism of young people and the energy of young people that forced society into recognizing whatever the inequality was, whatever the issue was. Young people, they don't lose sight of that, and as long as we have a free society, a free country, to protect that is not easy, and we can't take that for granted, but we're gonna be okay. But the civility part of that is really the platform, and that's what you want because you have to have it to work in any direction, not just to compromise, but find solutions. Bob talked about the Morrill Act, which gave this state tremendous opportunities. I mean, you can go through the history of Nebraska, the Midwest, of our country, it was always the differences being reconciled to move the country ahead or a state ahead or a community ahead, for the overall good of the state of the country. And we're in one of those times in our history where we have that downdraft that we're not seeing that. And I'll end this way. What is probably, for me at least, the most disconcerting about all this is not that we're in this swamp, because I think we will get out of it because this country self-corrects, and we have elections that course-correct. But the danger is we're living at a very, very combustible time in the world, where there is not a lot of margin of error. And you have a whole different dynamic in the world today because of technology, because of economic development. The very kind of world America led on and built, that world order after World War II, we've been pretty successful with it. I mean, you look at the advancements in every way and for human beings in this year, 2018, versus at the end of World War II, in that 10-year period that we with our allies built a world order. Imperfect, can't fix everything, we still have problems. But think of the world today if we had not had trade agreements and NATO and the United Nations, dozens of international development banks, and all the things that moved the world in a good direction, and certainly the United States benefited as much as anyone else. That all came through civility, just read any of the books of the time. That was the civility of the Republicans working with Democrats in the Congress of the United States. Roger, do you mind if I? Go ahead. One of Chuck's political heroes, maybe your most important political hero as I understand, is President Eisenhower. Yes. There's a story that's worth telling I think under the heading of, can't we all just get along? So in 1952 when Eisenhower's running for presidency, an Omaha native, Herbert Brownell, was managing his campaign. In order to get the Republican governor of California to support Eisenhower, because it was a contested primary, they promised him the first opening on the Supreme Court. And it was Earl Warren. So three years into his presidency, he managed, and it was a terrific job, actually, managed to get a 7-2 vote on Brown vs. Board of Education. A couple years after that actually, in 1957, the school districts across the country are attempting to integrate, and the one that got the most attention was Little Rock Central. Nine black students were selected because their grades were good, they were exceptional students. And the Democratic governor of Arkansas, first day, let the students get in the school. Second day, Orval Faubus said, "I'm not gonna get reelected if I do this again." So the second day, he put the guard out there and prevented the students from coming in. Then Eisenhower meets with Orval Faubus, thought he had a promise to end this thing, and what Faubus did was sent the guard away and had local law enforcement take care of the problem, and a mob formed up in the aftermath. And one of the girls got separated from the others and there's this terrible photograph of her being screamed at by another girl, and they since, by the way, have become friends. If you're looking for seven minutes of video that tells you two things. One, it's been worse. If you look at the 19th, if you just go to YouTube and put in there Little Rock Central, 1957, type in Orval Faubus or whatever, maybe Eisenhower's name, you get two things. One, you see how bad it was. It was really, really bad. I mean, the crowd, they were chasing this girl down the street saying, "Just let us lynch one and we'll go home," right? But what you also got is what you need in those moments, which is Eisenhower standing before the American people and saying we're a nation of laws. And my guess is, pure politics, he'd have been smarter to keep his mouth shut. Instead, the speech that he gave is exactly what a leader has to do. Has to step up and say we're a nation of laws and I'm going to send the 82nd Airborne, and I'm gonna nationalize the guard, and they're gonna Arkansas and they'll stay there until you start obeying the law. And when you start obeying the law, I'll remove them again. That's what Eisenhower did. And it didn't completely end the problem, but allowed us to transition from segregated to integrated schools. And it does show you, as bad as things are today, they have been unquestionably worse. One of the most self-indulgent things I get in conversation, oh, it's worse than it's ever been. No, there were 2,000 bombings in 1970. 2,000 bombings in 1971 in the United States with 25 people killed. 700,000 men died in the Civil War because we couldn't resolve the issue of slavery. It's been worse. Alexander Hamilton was shot and killed by Aaron Burr, and though I've got some candidates I'd like to line up in that environment. (laughs) (audience laughs) We don't do that anymore. (laughs) I'm glad you mentioned Eisenhower, he's always been one of my favorite presidents, and we go back to the times when it was pretty even keel in the early '50s. Let's go back to civility just a little bit. There are some that say the pendulum swings philosophically across the way, and the pendulum now maybe is getting too to the left or to the right, whichever you wanna call it. Is there hope that we'll get back to the center to some degree, or reach a consent, more of a consensus form of government than... You sounded optimistic, Chuck. You're talking to me? Yeah. (audience laughs) And then Bob, if you have-- That's right out of Taxi Driver, you know. (laughs) Yeah, actually. (laughs) (audience laughs) I'll have a scotch and water. (audience laughs) Well first, it's just a hell of a lot easier to get up in the morning and be hopeful than live through a Greek tragedy all day. So I am hopeful, but I've always been optimistic, but I think I'm as much of a realist as anybody. Bob said something in his closing comments as he reminded us about some of those pretty ugly days in this country about a nation of laws. The reason I am always optimistic about our country is first, we are a nation of laws. No one person is bigger than the law. Now I know there are some currently that may imply they are but, if they wanna carry that out to the full measurement, they're gonna be quite surprised I think. No one person is bigger than the law or bigger than an institution. And we have three co-equal branches of government. And so when you look at how our government was formed, that should give everyone a lot of confidence. Now that doesn't mean that we'll always be okay, because it's people. We can make changes, and we've made 27 changes to the Constitution because we didn't get it all right the first time. We have 27 amendments to the Constitution. That's another reason I'm optimistic because we can fix things. A hundred years ago, half the people in this room couldn't vote in the United States of America. Women couldn't vote. And so we've had to do some things to make it right, and we still haven't figured it all out, but we can figure it out because we've got the laws in the Constitution and the process, the process to do it. Where I think in Bob's last comments about leadership in particular, it always does come down to leadership, leadership of any institution. Because any institution, whether it's the University of Nebraska or any institution, it can only be, and is only as good and effective as its people, as its leaders. So this is a time that I think we are not seeing the leadership required in our country. It's not a political issue, but I think until Americans start adjusting their thinking as to who they want to be their congressman and senator and governor and mayor and president, based on on three prerequisites, and it never changes. What Bob talked about in some of the leaders, in particular Eisenhower, but it's the same for Lincoln. It's character, courage, and judgment. And everything flows into one of those three prerequisites. And I said in an interview the other day when I was asked about politics and so on, I said I don't give a damn really if they're Republican or Democrat. I'm a registered Republican, whatever that is, I don't know what the Republican Party is today, but it isn't what I started out being. And I'm not sure the Democrats have any better clarity in who they are, but that's for a different point here. But what I said in that interview, I don't give a damn if they're Republican or Democrat, what I wanna see is I wanna see people leading this country with character, courage, and judgment. Everything else will flow from that. We'll figure out the issues, we'll get it right, we always have. But if you don't have the right kind of people who are not confused as to why they're there in power, whether it's in Lincoln or in Washington or other state capitals, then you're not gonna get a good, you're not gonna get a good result. You can't be confused. We don't want leaders confused by why they're there. So yes, I am optimistic, recognizing we've got I think some big, big challenges ahead, but our country is better, in my opinion, than what we're seeing today, what the world is seeing today. I'll end this way. I mentioned earlier in my comments about why I think this downdraft today in leadership and confidence, and that's as much a problem in our country today as anything, is that we've lost confidence in our institutions. The military is the only one that still stays strong, has trust and confidence of the American people. Every other institution other than small business is well below 50%. Journalism, education, religion. Congress and politicians are in, as John McCain once said, that 5% approval is just the relatives-- (audience laughs) Of the politicians, so. Not my relatives. (laughs) Other than Kerrey's relatives. But until we get that put back together, and we will. And I get it, fake news, can't trust the media, can't trust anybody, wall-to-wall cable television, social media, so on and so on and so on. So I get it, I mean, I think we all do as to people are confused with who's telling the truth, who's lying, I don't know. But that's a responsibility of citizenship too, you've gotta kinda take a little responsibility here, everybody does, to kinda sort this out. Pay a little attention to who you're electing to your offices. And you don't need to have dinner with 'em or drive across country with 'em, but you better get a little bead on 'em. And it isn't good enough just to say, well I'm a Republican so I'm gonna vote all Republican, or I'm a Democrat, I'm gonna vote all Democrat. We'll be right back to where we are. But we'll come out of it, Roger, and I really believe that. And we'll get to the last point I was gonna make. The world looks at us, and views America in a very special way. It doesn't mean we're better, doesn't mean we're special, doesn't mean we're more virtuous than any other people on earth. The good Lord can decide that. I'm in no rush to find out what He thinks on that point, but that's up to Him. But I know who we are, and I'm proud of who America is, and what we've done for the world, and how we've used our power. Now we've abused it too, but how we've used it. And so the world looks at an off-balance America, and they're off-balance, the world's off-balance. I mean, what's happening to America? You wanna say America first, to hell with all the rest of you, you're gonna abrogate trade treaties and other treaties. I mean, I thought you all led in bringing the world together. So the consequences of this are very significant, they go well beyond the borders of just Nebraska or Washington, because we all live in a global community. Seven billion people, we're global citizens. Demographers tell us we're gonna put 2 billion more on the face of the earth by 2050. That means clean water, clean food, the things that Nebraska excels at, this institution's the best in the world at figuring these things out, but it means we've gotta get along. And with the hair-trigger lethality of weapons today, and the threat of cyber, boy, I mean, if there was ever a time for allies and alliances and getting along in the world. That doesn't mean you roll over for some country if they're pulling something, but we need allies and alliances as much today in the world as we've ever needed 'em, and we'll continue to need 'em. And I think that's also a consequence and a ripple effect of an off-balance political system in America that is, no other way to say it, is dysfunctional. It's just broken down, and the rest of the world sees it. You remember the question, Bob? Do you wanna-- (audience laughs) He just makes up the questions, so I didn't need to do it. I do, I do, yeah. We'll get your viewpoint and then we'll go to the questions. Does it matter? (audience laughs) A very wonderful farm kid from Nebraska, Evan Williams, was the founder of Twitter. And he will tell you that although I don't think he wants to return the checks, that it didn't quite turn out the way he hoped it would. And I don't think you can talk about civility without bringing in the ease with which you can use social media to terrify your opponent. Absolutely terrify them with trolls and bots and all sorts of other devices that you can use to get somebody to shut up from saying things you don't like. I mean, because they feel threatened, because they are threatened. And I don't have an answer to that, but it's part of the reality today. When Chuck and I were running for office, if we wanted to, let's say we were running against each other, an unpleasant thought. We're running against and we've got something really juicy that we think the press oughta run that's negative, right? So we have to go find Don Walton in the bar. (audience laughs) To try to get him to put it in the Lincoln Journal Star. Or Dave Kotak to put it in the World-Herald. And in those days you actually had real reporters working for radio stations and television stations and asking you really tough questions. We had to get them to put it on the air. Not anymore. I can just open up a website and the next thing I know, I can take any conspiracy, I can have people talking to me all day long through the fillings in my teeth, and organize a movement based upon conspiracies, based upon things that aren't true. And it's almost always motivated by this energy, this destructive energy of hate. It's there. It's easier to hate today than it used to be, because it's easier to have people pay attention to you. And again, I don't have an answer to it other than ignore it. Gene Glock and I were emailing back and forth over the last, I told him every time I find myself wanting to sort of check out for a while, I go to fiction writing, and in this case it was Willa Cather's My Antonia. And you get two things out of that book. One, beautiful language that just, and beautiful descriptions of this remarkable place, Nebraska. But you also by the way get a better understanding of how we got from where we were when the Morrill Act was passed to today, because if you think it was, if you're nostalgic for the good old days of agriculture in the 1880s, read My Antonia. (audience laughs) You'll no longer feel like you wanna go back to the good old days. So I think we have to find refuge, and I think we have to be willing to, especially those of us who are heading towards being able to eat a dirt sandwich. For those of us who are heading to that moment, I think it falls upon us to say to young people, 'cause it is a hope, I share that hope, Chuck, we gotta say to them, find a refuge that isn't, where you're not on Instagram, where you're not on Twitter, where you're not on Facebook, where you're not on those social. Yes, they're wonderful assets, you can do wonderful things, but try to find a humane refuge that makes you feel good about mankind. The last thing I'd say is that I don't know how many of you know the difference between a skeptic and a cynic. A skeptic is always there to challenge the facts. You tell me that gravity is gonna accelerate an object at 32 feet per second per second, I want proof. I want numbers, I want proof. A cynic believes that human beings aren't capable of doing good. And one of the worst viruses that people my age tend to infect young people with is cynicism. And we gotta be careful not to do that. We gotta be careful to say exactly what Chuck said, that we have confidence in 'em, that we believe in 'em, that we're ready to turn it over to 'em. And I do think in this election we're gonna see an exciting group of young people, younger people, on both the R and D side, probably more veterans than there have been since the Second World War coming into Congress. And so I agree with Chuck, there's reason to hope, but we gotta fight against this hate, because if you don't fight against hate, it wins. Yeah. (audience applauding) I wanna ask one more question and then we'll go to the audience. But you mentioned about leadership, which I strongly support, agree with, but one of the things sometimes I think we lose sight of as American citizens, is to be a good leader has to have good followers. You have to be good citizens and be part of it. And it's easy to say, well, we need stronger leaders or we need somebody that'll take us, but if you're not willing to follow, and I guess you learn that in the military. You have your turn at leadership, but you can really cross up a leader by being obstinate. So we really need good citizens in order to appreciate leadership. Well, that's right, and one of the comments I made was that that's part of the responsibility of citizenship. That's true. But I think, Roger-- But I mean, just one other thing. Go ahead, sure. But you've gotta expect something out of a leader too. That's the definition of a leader. If you're gonna be a leader, then lead. Leaders unify, they don't divide. Leaders work to find solutions. (audience applauding) Leaders work to find solutions. They work with all the elements of a society. Everybody's not gonna agree, but that's how you forge a consensus. That's leadership. Bob? Well I also think that, just to continue with that, first of all, Chuck walks the walk. He's going to North Dakota tomorrow to campaign for a Democratic candidate for Senate. He's going to, he's going to-- (audience applauding) There are a few people in this audience who weren't applauding that statement. And Indiana afterwards to campaign for a Democratic candidate for Senate there. And I say it only because I just wanna reinforce something I said earlier. It is not easy to make friends mad at you. It's not, I mean, both of us have lost friends in politics where we cast a vote and people say, I'll never darken your doorstep again I'm so mad at you. And you have to be prepared for it. I'm sure, Roger, you did as well in the legislature. Many times where you have to decide how much can we actually spend and you've got people wanting to spend on that one last little thing and you say no. So I do think it's important for citizens to recognize that when that politician makes you angry, if they're not doing things that are horrible, if they're not lying to you and trying to divide you. And worst of all, the worst thing that I hear politicians say is, so-and-so is causing your problem. Your problem is caused by this group or that group or that group of people. I was raised by parents who said you figure out what the problem is, you go out and solve it, and if you're blaming it on somebody else, you're never gonna get it done. And don't bitch about the job until it's done, and do it the best you can the first time. The simple values that I think we all, when Chuck talked about character in leadership, and I think that is character in leadership. And I think we know it when we see it, we just have to embrace it when we see it and criticize when we don't. Okay, we'll go to questions. Any, Jesse? And we got one in the back row. Go ahead. Thank you. Thank you both for-- Keep it up close to your mouth so we can hear it all. Great, thank you both for this, I really appreciate it. When I was first thinking about moving to Nebraska, the president of the company I work for said, "My good friend John Kerry lives there." (audience laughs) Well. John Kerry, it's so nice to finally meet you, it's 2018. (all laughing) I'm a professor in leadership here at University of Nebraska, and quite a few of my students are here because I gave 'em extra credit. (Chuck and audience laughs) I teach in the area of diversity and inclusion, and one of the things I tell my students is the leader sets the tone. And I'm grateful that both of you are here to set that tone to model the way for them, because I do believe that we need that in our world today. My question for you is how do we engage young people in conversations that they disagree with with their classmates? How do we set that tone at the class level when their leaders, I'm talking national leaders, are not setting the tone, they're not walking the walk? Go ahead, I didn't... Well I'll take a quick stab at it, and Bob I know will have some comments, but first I recognize how difficult it is. I mean, I've always thought, and Bob and I have actually talked about this together in other forums, that there is no higher responsibility for a leader than being a role model. I mean, I don't know of a higher responsibility of a parent. And that may not show up until they're 30, but a role model. So I get what you're saying, Professor, and I understand the difficulty of that. Well, the president or the senator or the congressman, they do this. But here's the way I would approach it, because I think it's our only way we can. First of all, we teach our young people, that's what universities do among other things, to think for themselves, as Bob was saying earlier, to question things, and to think for yourself. Think for yourself. What's your style? Yeah, you may wanna emulate somebody you admire, but be who you are. And how do you think you're ever gonna learn anything if you just agree with yourself all the time, and hang around with people who agree with you and tell you how smart you are and how you're right all the time? So on the left you can tune in to MSNBC, on the right, Fox News, and you just keep reinforcing your point of view. The rest of those people are idiots over there on the left or the right or whatever. You don't learn anything, come on. You wanna be a leader? You wanna show your classmates that you wanna hear from them? It goes back to what I think this is much about today, civility, and just a decency and civility and mutual respect of listening to somebody else and their point of view. And I know that's not easy, I get all that, but I don't know any other way to do that or any short-circuiting to that. Yeah, I don't either. I mean, look, life's hard, so, and I think with arguments you really have to be prepared to take the rhetorical blow. And by the way, there's probably no better topic to have rhetorical blows than diversity. So Rod Bates is out here somewhere and we used to run when I was governor in the morning, we had an annual event, the Woody Hayes Memorial Run. We thought Woody had been mistreated, which is obviously politically incorrect all by itself. But we went to this restaurant and we undid all of our running by going to a restaurant, eating rolls and things. We saw the same group there every morning, which was a group of, I don't know, seven or eight women who were together. I walked over and said, "What do you?" It's a female support group. They're not sexist because they refuse to have a man come to the female support group. Nor am I a sexist if I say I'm gonna go out and play cards with a bunch of guys. And it can get really difficult, it seems to me, if the response to anything that somebody says is an attack that is a basically a pejorative label designed to try to get the other side just to stop talking. I think diversity is an enormously important topic, but it's also one, it's a great example of a topic that you really have to let people have their arguments and say their racist things, or say their sexist things. Because if you don't, if they don't hear somebody responding to it, if they're constantly in a learning environment where they're afraid to say something that they're thinking, it's very difficult, it seems to me, to be able to honestly say we gave them an opportunity to learn. Other questions? Thank you for this really enlightening and interesting discussion. Senator Hagel, you said think for yourself, I couldn't agree more. And this lady over here was talking about how do we engage one another. It seems to me that an important element of engaging with one another is recognizing that there's never two sides to a story. There's always three sides at least. That's your side, my side, and the truth. And none of us understand the truth completely, ever. It's always approximate, whether it's science or what it is, interpersonal relationships. So how can we get that sort of idea or should we get that sort of idea into the discussion? How do we get at the truth? Well I think it just kind of goes back and goes over plowed ground here as to answer your question. There is no shortcut. Bob just said this is tough going. It's why we have and why we should have educational institutions that are about, in every way, developing young people to think for themselves and develop the confidence that they need to do that, and to question things. And I think teachers probably have the biggest responsibility and role, and are the most undervalued and undercompensated and maybe the most difficult job in our society today. But really when you think of so much of what we're saying starts in those classrooms right at the beginning before they hit the university level. Yeah, the parents have a big role too, of course. But who spends more time with your kids? And who is shaped every day by their experience with teachers and education and so on? I think all those things have to work together to answer your question, and it's all the other pieces that push in on it. Bob was talking about technology and, I mean, that hurts it for the reasons we all know. But we're not going backward. No point in whining about it. Let's deal with it. We gotta go forward. Let's just be honest and straightforward and continue to do things the way we think they should be done, the right way. Don't cut corners, don't apologize for it. And like Bob said too, and Bob and I have both been in the receiving end of this. (Bob and Chuck chuckles) Everyone's not gonna agree with you, whether you're in politics or not. And unfortunately some will let it get personal, and that's what's happened to our politics. I never saw it until the end of my Senate time, but when you or I were there together, no, there wasn't any name-calling of somebody. I mean, if you called somebody a name, oh, Fatso Freddie or Donkey Face or something like that, that was a reflection on you. (Bob laughs) That was a reflection on you, I mean, how immature and stupid you are. (audience laughs) (audience applauding) So we've gotta hold these young people and ourselves to a higher standard of conduct here. Not just in politics or leadership, but in our everyday lives. You can't go around just making fun of people and calling 'em names and think that's clever or think that's effective. I mean, it also shows you how ineffective you are and how ignorant you are when you do that, because you're so inarticulate, you can't say it any other way because you're so ignorant, so you gotta name-call people. Well, I think it's offensive to everybody. If you take the 330 million Americans in this country and say, what percentage of the 330 million Americans thinks that's good? Do you think that's really good and funny to call people names and so on and so on to express yourself? Boy, I hope it's just a pretty small percentage, I hope. I still think that's true about this country. And it's all these things, like I said before, that we've gotta work on. Look, I'm impressed we've spent the entire time here and haven't mentioned his name, so. (audience laughs) (audience applauding) I had one quote that I wanted to use, I couldn't find an appropriate time to do it so I'm gonna do it now anyway. I'm looking around the room, many of you no doubt remember the comedian Martin Mull. They did an interview with him the other day and they asked him what it was like to be 75, which is my age, and he said, "Well, you know, everything between my ears "seems to be working all right, "but when I get up in the morning "I feel like I'm living in a used car." (Chuck and audience laughs) To the young people in your classroom, look, I think one of the most difficult things in life and one of the most important things in life, in or out of politics, is to have the capacity to evaluate yourself, to observe yourself. And to the question of searching for truth, one of the great challenges that I have as a human being, and I disclose it to people I'm having conversations with, checking for trying to reach an answer, is that my good ideas and my bad ideas feel exactly the same when I have them. (audience laughs) What do I do with that? (all laughing) Yes, right here. I can't thank you both enough for being here, it's a treat to have you here. [Audience Members] Can't hear you. Point it at yourself. You gotta put it right in front of you. I said I can't thank you both enough for being here and for Roger mediating between the two of you, although he doesn't need to do that. But we're talking about civility and I'm thinking about the Senate and returning to regular order where you can deliberate, where you can debate, and you can have the best ideas, form it and come to the top, and then past it and then go on to the next issue. When are we going to return to regular order in the Senate, and when did it stop being that regular? Phew. Well I'll give you my take on that and Bob will have his take. A couple of parts to the question, when did the the regular order of the Senate cease to be the regular order of the Senate, meaning debate, time to debate, lay out the issues, and when are we gonna get back to it? What I saw in my time, my first four years in the Senate were four years with Bob, and those were the four best of my 12 years. Not all because of... (Bob and audience laughs) He helped a lot. But we had real senators. I mean, Bob and I served together, and he served longer with 'em than I did. But, I mean, Moynihan. There's a great documentary out on him by the way. Yeah, I saw it, Moynihan. I mean, Byrd, Bob Byrd. I mean, John Warner, John Chafee. Republicans-- Danforth, Hadfield, Packwood. Danforth, I mean, John Glenn. I mean, you just had some really, really spectacular senators, both Republicans and Democrats. Also, and this really cuts to I think your question, it's the leadership, the leadership controls. The leader of the Senate is truly the emperor of the Senate. And he controls the flow, it's like the speaker in the House. Now, in the house it's different in that it is truly the tyranny of the majority in the House, if you got the votes, you are the hammer and the minority is the anvil, and the hammer just beats the hell out of the poor minority everyday. In the Senate it is different, but until we get leaders who start to respect the institution of the Senate and why we have that institution, and why it was the compromise in order to get our co-equal government of branches of government done and the Constitution done to protect the small states, initially. It was formed also initially to be totally different from the House, to have these long debates, to have the rights of the minority, to protect the minority. And both parties have been guilty of offending in this. At least in my last years in the Senate, I saw both Democratic leaders and Republican leaders really violate that. And every time, once a side violates it, then the next time the other side, the minority, gets into power, we're gonna make you pay the price for what you did to us. And you just kinda keep, it's like the Middle East. I mean, really, I mean, you killed my great-grandfather, so I'm gonna kill you, and on and on and on. It just never stops, it's all tribal, it's tribal warfare, that's what you've got now I think. An explanation of political parties today are just an amalgamation of tribes. There's no governing philosophy anymore about the Republican Party. I mean when I, not to get off into that, but I became a Republican when I first voted in Vietnam in 1968 in my first vote. Republican Party was for fiscal responsibility, free trade, international engagement. Boy, I mean. (Bob and audience laughs) Boy, that's a vanishing, vanishing dream here. So anyway, point being not to pick on the Republicans, I think the Democrats are just as screwed up. (audience laughs) The point being leadership matters in these things, and when you get the right leaders, the right leaders will put it back in order. But if you have leaders who are consumed with a power base of you will do with, some of the things that Bob was talking about, what I was talking about earlier, is what now controls the two parties, and the absolutism, as I referred to it. Don't give those Democrats a vote, don't give those Democrats this, or on other, don't give those Republicans this. And I'll end this way, and Bob may have a different take on it. Something I saw happen, after the first six years of my Senate time, the moving off of the stage of the World War II generation. Most of the people we talked about, that we mentioned, were World War II veterans or the World War II era. They always were focused, whether they were Democrats or Republicans, on let's compromise, let's move the country forward. They never let it get personal, they never get a lot of, they'd fight like hell about whatever your position is, that's okay. At the end of the day, Bob and I, many times involved in these, you go off the Senate floor at the end of the night, tough night. Roger, you've seen it and like it. One of the guys would throw his arm around you or something, okay, what the hell do you need? (Bob laughs) Alright, we'll get it done, let's get it done. And so as Ronald Reagan once said, if you can get 70 to 80% of anything, you take it. I mean, you take it, and you take it now. That isn't the philosophy anymore, but when I saw those World War II generation senators leave, there was nothing to anchor the Senate anymore by decency, civility, a common purpose of why are we here. It isn't just about power, it's about actually doing things for your country. I mean, I think we'll get it back, but that's what I saw happen, and until we get a leadership in both the House and the Senate in both parties that come together like, Bob initiated the story I told you about when I first got to the Senate, when Bob said, "Come see me, "let's sit down and figure this out." Bob had pressure on his side as a Democrat, I had pressure on my side as a Republican. But then in the last year, my Republican luncheon caucus, which each party has, Democrats have 'em, Republicans, it all became about how are we gonna screw the Democrats? How are we gonna make 'em take tough votes? How are we gonna do this? It was never about anymore, how are we gonna try to fix immigration, or fix whatever it is? It was all about how do we really do in the other party? I was hearing from our friends Joe Biden and Jack Reed and others, that it was going on in their caucus too. I'll add one last point on why did all this happen, and I know there are other issues here too, but that was an observation I saw. When that World War II generation left the scene, there was nothing left to anchor our senators as to who are we and what are we here for. And I'm gonna give you an episode, it happened, it happened just north of Nebraska. In 2004, and Bob was gone, but Bob knows this story 'cause he knows all the players. The two leaders in the Senate were Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Republican leader, and Tom Daschle from South Dakota. And I always liked Tom Daschle very much and got along with him very well, and I know Bob had a great relationship with him. And I had a great relationship with Bill Frist. Well, Bill Frist was convinced by the White House, the Bush White House, to go into South Dakota and campaign against his co-leader in the Senate, Tom Daschle. I don't believe in the history of the Senate that had ever been done, that one leader had gone into the other leader's state and campaigned against him during a campaign. I don't think you can find that anywhere. Maybe you can, I don't think so, not in modern times. Because the two leaders have to work together. Every Monday they sit down and they figure out what's the schedule of the Senate. And there has to be mutual respect, there has to be some trust. They don't have to be best buddies or anything, but they gotta have some basic trust in each other, and some respect. When you had one leader going into the state of another leader, and saying, you oughta get rid of Daschle, and then you sit down with him on Monday morning to try to sort it out? I went to see Bill Frist more than once during that time, and I said to Bill, "Bill, you cannot do this. "You will set a precedent that's dangerous, "it will hurt the Senate. "Don't do this." Well, he did do it, and Tom Daschle lost. And I remember after that election, Chuck Schumer taking the floor of the Senate and saying the Republicans will rue the day that you did this to our leader. I mean, it's back in the old tribal days, when you killed the leader of the tribe, there's retribution to pay here, and I remember Chuck Schumer saying that. Now Chuck Schumer's the Democratic leader, and so on and so on. But I mean, it isn't one party or the other, it's both parties. But I would just end that way, saying that when I saw that happen, I knew we were headed in a very dangerous direction. Yeah, a couple things. First of all, for some reason James Madison trusted the Congress to write its own rules. That's what it says in Article I of the Constitution. I no longer trust them to write their own rules. I think we need a mechanism that's independent of the Congress itself to write the rules of the Congress. Secondly, I don't know when it's gonna happen, but we gotta overturn Citizens United, because you've got way-- (audience applauding) You now have, and I don't know what the numbers are in Nebraska in this cycle, but my guess is in most states today, at least 15 maybe 3/4 of the money that's being spent by, being spent by people who haven't set foot in the state in question. And the third thing, you know Joe Dunford, well he's a current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A wonderful guy. I heard him speaking over the summer, and he said when it was asked about how do you organize the fighting men and women in the military, he said, "Look, the most important rule is "if you walk by something that is substandard "and you don't do anything about it, "that's the new standard." And we've gotta be intolerant of people who do things that are substandard, that are below our own values and say, I'm sorry, I'm not gonna dumb it down just to get you across the finish line. It's not worth it to me to hold the majority or get you elected. It just isn't, and it's going to get, in my view, it's going to make it harder for us to recruit our best and brightest to step forward and be candidates. 'Cause why would they wanna do it? If the moment their hand comes off the Bible after they've sworn to defend the United States against all enemies and domestic, they become, I don't know what the percentage is, but one of the lowest ranked professional groups in the world, because the presumption is they're gonna do things that people don't like. So I think that things are connected, I think you've gotta change the way rules are set, I think you've gotta get Citizens United overturned, and somehow we've gotta raise our own standards, especially with our young people, as we encourage them to step forward and become candidates. Bob's point about Citizens United, I agree absolutely. This unlimited, unaccountable flow of dark money into these campaigns has essentially, in effect, just whatever we talk about parties, made the parties kind of useless and ineffectual. What do you need a party for? Because you can go out and get the money from Vegas, New York, wherever, and everybody's playing the game too. Everybody is in that game, and they want something back for that money. They want something back for that money, and that is a huge piece of this. Whether we would ever have the courage in the Congress of the United States to see that changed, it's by law, it has to, as Bob said, I don't know. But I think unless that's dealt with, I just, and the other part of that is there's no enforcement of our campaign finance laws. Oh my God. It's a joke. (Bob laughs) A complete joke. (audience applauding) Since I wanna have a question, I wanna, we'll have probably time for one, maybe two more. There's a question back there. Right behind you to Jesse. Okay, all right. Yes, go ahead. Well let's get to it. What are your reflections upon the presence in the White House of an individual that has behaved in word and deed against everything you've said today? And he's been successful. Still over 80% of the Republican Party supports the president, and about 47% of the electorate in general. How do you say to somebody, well this is the worst thing in the world, no compromise, incivility, insults, derogatory remarks, the retreat from the world, going to different states for political campaigns where the candidate goes on stage for about 15 seconds and then he continues to discuss his brilliance. How do you say to somebody, because he has been, with this behavior, he's been successful? Last time I looked, he's been the president for two years and he's got two years to go. The only other thing I can say about the Senate is Mitch McConnell polls lower than Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, so that's all I can say about that. Still not good numbers. (audience laughs) How do you reflect? It's a very difficult question. I'm either angry, frustrated, or reading Willa Cather. Those are the three modes that I operate in. (audience laughs) I don't know how connected you are to this movement that's going on in the urban environments, but there's a significant movement going on to get rid of the electoral college, which was significantly weak in Nebraska. Just so you know, so when you're talking to Nebraskans who are untroubled by the president's behavior, they could contribute to the elimination of the electoral college. Because what's happened, one of the things that really troubles me is the dividing between rural and urban. It's a real issue. I mean, I had a conversation a couple weeks ago, somebody said, "Well, you know, here in Nebraska, "friend, you don't understand us out here." I said, "Actually, I do." The problem is you not making an effort to understand us. New Yorkers are just as patriotic as people in Nebraska. They're just as religious as people in Nebraska. They care just as much about families and communities as people in Nebraska. But there's a hostility between rural and urban that's dangerous, and it's particularly dangerous to urban, to rural, I mean. Because the numbers are eventually gonna lead to weakening of the political authority that rural communities have as a consequence of the electoral college, right? I mean, Trump didn't win the popular vote. Neither did George W Bush. Didn't win it. And there's only so many times you find yourself on the losing side by 2 1/2 million votes and feel, well I guess that worked out all right. Nebraskans in particular need to be alert that if we allow our standards to be dumbed down, and accept behavior that would be unacceptable if it was a D behind the individuals name, we could suffer the consequences of the actions taken to respond. I would just add to that, in my opinion, because you asked specifically about the current occupant of the White House. (snaps fingers) What's his name? (audience laughs) I don't believe President Trump was the cause of anything, I think he was the consequence in 2016. (audience applauding) He never led anything in his life, unless it was his own real estate deal. So I think, at least in my opinion, we have to kinda frame up the realities. He has not been president, technically, for two years, it's less than two years if that makes you feel better, I don't know. But here's also the reality of it. First of all, those who think that America should get rid of Trump have to recognize that our founders made it difficult to get rid of a president of the United States, and I think that was wise. It's not easy to get rid of a president. And it has to be pretty clearly laid out as to what offenses, we have an impeachment process and so on. And Bob and I went through one of those when President Clinton was impeached and we sat as the jury. But the point here is, for where he is right now, this president, those numbers are not good historically for past presidents at this time in their presidency, those numbers. I believe that, as I've said earlier today, that the system does self-correct. I hear a lot from, 'cause I'm in and out of Nebraska, like Bob, and other states, from a lot of very strong Trump supporters as to why they voted for him. Yeah, he kinda bothered me, I don't know, I didn't like a lot of the stuff he said about women and so on. But Clinton was terrible, and all liars and thugs and cheats in Washington, and so on and so on. So Trump didn't do anything, he just was there. Now a lot of the same Trump supporters, after he's been in office for more than a year and a half, say to me, well how do you like that? I mean, can you really justify and support this? What he's saying and doing in undoing these relationships and how he's personalizing all of this? I mean, is he the standard that Bob talks about, the role model that you want your children to look up to? And we all talk about our President of the United States, you look up to that leader and the office, is that someone you want your son to emulate? Well, we're a lot worse off than I thought if the answer is yes, but I don't think it is. And here's what I see, I see a retreat going on with a lot of the strong Trump people. They're not ready to abandon him yet. Yeah, I don't know, he's starting to bother me now. Well take this state in this part of the country. Roger's a farmer. Like the tariffs? You like undoing these trade deals? You like the trade fight he's picked with China? And on and on and on? Well that's really helping the farmer. And then on top of that we're sending welfare checks to farmers. This is the Republican Party, by the way. Are you kidding me? I mean, this is all going on that this president started. So as this starts to set in, some reality is gonna start to set in here. I've always had kind of a sense that as I've watched presidential politics, politics as we all have over the years, the American people I think to start with, and I really do believe this, are pretty fair people. I think overall Americans are fairer than any other group of people that I've ever met. And when you have a new president, I think Americans are willing to give that new president a couple of years. And I think that's fair. Okay, let's see what he can do. After those two years, it maybe 2 1/2 years, but it's right in that range, they make a decision, the American people, and rarely do they change, and rarely do they come back on that. I think that change is coming, and I can see it and hear it in these numbers. I know your latest poll numbers that you recite. Well 80% of the Republican Party and so on and so on. This latest 47% approval, I was listening to a lot of people this morning, they think that's a bit of an outlier poll, by the way. That is not consistent with every poll that's been taken the last two weeks, which shows him at 41%. But it's still lower than any other president. But you've got consistently over 60% of Americans disapprove. Well that's disastrous for the party of the president. That disastrous. Now we'll see what happens on November 6th, I don't know. So I think this plays out, and I think it'll play out based on the realities and the facts. Probably if we continue to see the degradation of treaty arrangements and alliances and tariffs in this continued fight with China and so on, this state ain't gonna be very happy. And a lot of the Midwestern states that supported him in big numbers aren't gonna be very happy. And he can't blame the Democrats, I know he tries to blame the Democrats for everything. I mean, that's what he says, he says the Democrats want the illegals to come in, the rapists and the murderers and so on. But I mean, come on, you're in charge and your party's been in charge, so it just doesn't stand up. So eventually the facts do win out and eventually I think America finds a center of gravity and that's what we're looking for now, is a new center of gravity in our American politics, and in our society in a way. We'll find it and we'll get back to it. We've got just a few minutes left, I had two questions and I'm not gonna bring up tariffs. (all laughing) Because I think that'll, that's another hour. But I do in closing, what can Nebraskans do in your mind as one of 50 states in this country, the center of the country, pretty stable politically. Pretty good common-sense people in this part of the country. What can we as Nebraskans do, both with the civility in our government? And you talked about what's the future of Nebraska as we started out. We got off into civility, but... I don't think there's anything better than take care of your families, take care of your communities, build your institutions like the university because this too will pass. I mean, these things come and go. And there's lots of good things that are being done in Nebraska right now, and you just gotta keep doing 'em. And whether you're supporting the president or not, I bet that's irrelevant. I mean, the question is what are you doing at home with your family? What are you doing with your community? What are you doing to make things better? I was president of a university for a little over 10 years, actually one day over 10 years, so that's not that much. And that was one day too much, for the record. (audience laughs) And one of the discoveries that I made, and I don't know why I didn't know it before, but Americans are shockingly generous. I mean, I benefited when I was in the hospital in Philadelphia, when I came home in '69, I was the beneficiary not just of government programs but of generosity of people that wanted to help me, right? So last year Americans gave away $440 billion, corporate, individual and foundation. That's more than the GDP of all but 12 nations on earth. And that's just money, that's not the time that's volunteered and so forth. And there's plenty of need in areas where the government can't solve the problem. Where it just can't solve the problem or it won't solve the problem, either one, doesn't matter. So I just think you just take care of business. Cheer on the Huskers, have fun. (audience laughs) Read Willa Cather, life is not as bad as you think it is. That is important to remember our history. Oh, I'll say. Yeah, we got lucky. If you talk about the founders and other wonderful founders, okay fine. It's hard to embrace the 3/5 compromise, ladies and gentlemen. It's hard to make a case that we started off on the right foot. I read recently, I'm glad my wife is not here because I read a four-vine biography of John Marshall. And for the longest time if you said the word John or either marsh or all, I would launch into 30 minutes about John Marshall. John Marshall made Thomas Jefferson who he was, and John Marshall was a federalist and Jefferson was a Republican, a Democratic Republican, and they had a violently different view of what the country ought to be. And in the end, Marshall won out, but it wasn't easy. Just give you one little fact and I'll stop. John Marshall kept Thomas Jefferson from being remembered as the only president to have executed his number one political opponent. Because Aaron Burr was his number one enemy, because he wouldn't yield in 1800 when they both had the same number of electoral votes. He had him charged with treason. He put him in handcuffs and brought him to Richmond, Virginia, thinking that was gonna be a friendly audience but forgot that Marshall was an opponent as well and he'd cut back the money for the Supreme Court, and so the justices are riding circuit. So guess who presided over the trial? John Marshall. And John Marshall just said, "Hey, I don't know if you've read the Constitution, "but it defines treason and this isn't treason." And the people of Richmond, Virginia wanted a guilty verdict, because it would have been like eight hours after a guilty verdict they would've hung and killed him. And Marshall said no and acquitted him. The history of this country is both instructive of terrible mistakes we made, and you and I lived through, well, one of the worst, but it's also instructive of extraordinary bravery, extraordinary moments when we get these great people. The question you asked I was gonna answer, I mean, you and I both had the pleasure of working with Bob Spire. And you don't have to look any farther than Bob Spire for somebody to say, this is who I wanna admire and be like if you're trying to figure out how to lead a good, not only a good life, but lead a good political life. Thank you. Well I would just add I think Bob's got it right. For Nebraskans, to answer your question, just stay true to who you are and who we've been, and how we were shaped. And one example I would use is Nebraska is one of the states in this country that throughout the last 100-year history has been one of the most receptive to refugees. (audience applauding) We have always helped others. And I don't think that's necessarily unique to Nebraska, but we've led and we're a better state. Bob talked about diversity earlier. I mean, diversity's strength, it's not weakness. Engagement with other countries is not surrender, but that's strength. Nebraskans know that. I mean, we've been on the cutting edge of so many things and I will end with this very quick story. I was once to asked, Bob, and Bob as you know was on the Agriculture Committee. One of the committees I was on, as was noted, was the Foreign Relations Committee. And so I was pretty active on that committee. And I was asked once by someone who obviously didn't know Nebraska very well, said to me, "Well Senator, I mean, you spend a lot of time "with Foreign Relations Committee activities "traveling the world and so on and so on. "How do you get away with that, "coming from a small agriculture state like Nebraska?" Kind of implying that you're just not very smart out here to understand that. And I said, well let me explain something to you. Nebraskans figured out foreign policy a long time ago. And foreign policy to Nebraskans is not some esoteric college course. It's their lives, it's new markets. It's the future for them economically, for our country. It's engagement. It's student exchanges. But they're so productive in Nebraska, and have been over the years, they're growing more corn and more soybeans and raising more cattle and hogs and all the rest, where in the hell they gonna sell it? South Dakota's not gonna buy it, I don't think. Iowa sure is not, and Kansas, so where are you gonna find the markets? There's only one place to find markets, and that's overseas, but in order to do that, you need stability, you need security, you need relationships, you need alliances, and you need trade treaties. So how does that happen, who puts that together? Well, Foreign Relations Committee people, senators do, presidents do, cabinet officers. So Nebraskans, as I said, figured this out a long, long time ago. So Nebraskans have figured out a lot of things for many, many years, and so I think Bob and I both say the same thing to answer your question. To stay who you are and keep working at it and doing the things you know are right and helping our young people do the things that they wanna do and should do to lead this country. Let's thank 'em for that. (audience applauding) Excellent. (Mike speaking faintly) Oh, good, thank you. Thank you. Yeah, just leave it there. Thank you. Wow, in a word, wow. Thank you very much for your stories, for your humor, for your hope, mainly for your character and your courage and your judgment, and spending time. Keith, Norma, thank you very much for making this day possible. And thank you to all of you here in the room and listening via the livestream for investing in Nebraska and in our future. Thank you. (audience applauding) (bright music)


  • United States Congress. "David Martin (id: M000175)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • "Former Neb. Congressman David T. Martin Dies at 89." Washington Post. 17 May 1997. p. C4.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Donald Francis McGinley (D)
United States Representative for the 4th Congressional District of Nebraska
1961 - 1963
Succeeded by
Seat merged
Preceded by
Ralph F. Beermann (R)
United States Representative for the 3rd Congressional District of Nebraska
1963 - 1974
Succeeded by
Virginia Smith (R)
This page was last edited on 12 November 2018, at 10:10
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