A. Scott Berg

  • Aired:  10/22/13
  •  | Views: 6,742

"Wilson" author A. Scott Berg explains why he believes Woodrow Wilson is the most influential figure of the 20th century. (6:49)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS SITTING OVERTHERE.

I SHOULD GO TALK TO HIM.

PLEASE WELCOME A. SCOTT BERG!

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )WHOOO!

I'M SORRY.

I DIDN'T MEAN TO PSYCHE YOU OUTTHERE.

SOMETIMES THEY DESERVE DOUBLEDIPS OVER THERE.

THIS IS A GREAT CROWD TONIGHT.

SIR, YOU'RE AWE PULITZERPRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR.

>> I AM.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE WRITTENABOUT LINDBERG AND KATHARINE

HEPBURN.

YOU HAVE A NEW ONE HERE.

IT'S CALLED "WILSON--" THIS ISWOODROW WILSON, RIGHT?

>> IT IS WOODROW WILSON.

>> Stephen: WHY WILSON?

WERE ALL THE GOOD PRESIDENTSTAKEN AT THIS POINT?

WHY NOT POLK OR BUCHANAN.

>> ALL EXCEPT THE BESTPRESIDENT.

>> Stephen: WILSON, WOODROWWILSON.

>> I THINK HE'S THE MOSTINFLUENTIAL FIGURE OF THE 20th

CENTURY.

>> Stephen: HITLER WAS VERYINFLUENTIAL, TOO, SIR.

WAS HE THE BEST PRESIDENTGERMANY EVER HAD?

>> SOME SAY.

>> Stephen: SOME SAY?

REALLY, REALLY, A. SCOTT BERG?

WHAT DOES THE "A" STAND FOR,ADOLF?

>> "A" STANDS FOR ANDREW.

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUTED WITHROW.

THIS IS A MAN WHO CREATED ADOMESTIC AGENDA WE STILL LIVE

WITH TODAY, EIGHT-HOUR WORKDAYS, WOMEN WITH THE VOTE.

>> Stephen: OF COURSE THEYHAD EIGHT-HOUR WORK DAYS IN

1913.

THEY DIDN'T HAVE 5 HOUR ENERGYBACK THEN.

THEY COULDN'T HACK IT LIKE WECAN NOW.

>> TRUE ENOUGH.

AND ALL OUR FOREIGN POLICYTODAY, FOR GOOD OR FOR BAD,

COMES FROM WOODROW WILSON.

>> Stephen: HOW ABOUT FOR THEBAD?

( LAUGHTER )HERE'S MY PROBLEM WITH WILSON--

HE'S A PROGRESSIVE.

HE IS THE FIRST GREATPROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT.

>> HE IS, AND GOT ELECTED TWICEFOR IT.

>> Stephen: HE RAN THE FIRSTTIME SAYING HE WAS GOING TO KEEP

US OUT OF WORLD WAR I.

THEN GOT RE-ELECTED AND BROUGHTINTOWS WORLD WAR I.

( LAUGHTER )>> HE REALIZED HE HAD TO DO

THAT.

>> Stephen: UH-HUH, HE HAD TOLIE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

>> HE WAS -->> Stephen: ADMIT, HE LIED TO

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

>> NO, HE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH.

>> Stephen: SEE, I'M A KAISERFAN.

I'M A KAISER FAN.

SERIOUSLY.

HISTORICALLY GERM AN-- YOU'RESAYING THAT-- YOU'RE SAYING THE

KAISER SHOULD NOT HAVE RESPONDFORWARD THE ASSASSINATION OF

FRANZ FERDINAND?

THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE SAYING?

THAT'S APPEASEMENT.

>> NO, NO, HE SHOULD RESPOND.

THE QUESTION WAS, WHAT SHOULDTHE UNITED STATES DO ABOUT IT?

>> Stephen: WELL THE UNITEDSTATES WENT IN TO FIGHT FOR THE

FROGS AND THE LIMEYS.

THAT'S WHAT WE DID.

WORLD WAR II, GREAT WAR.

WORLD WAR I, HUGE MISTAKE.

>> WELL-- WELL.

>> -->> Stephen: AND WILSON GOT US

IN.

>> HE DID GET US IN.

HE THOUGHT THERE WAS A MORALCOMPONENT THAT SHOULD BE PART OF

AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY.

>> Stephen: TOW DESTROYGERMANY SO HITLER WOULD COME TO

POWER?

>> NEGOTIATE THE IDEA WAS TOLOOK AFTER THE LITTLE NATIONS

AND THE NATION BEING PICKED ON.

AND WILSON FELT THAT WITHGREATNESS, SUCH AS THE UNITED

STATES HAD, COMES A CERTAINAMOUNT OF RESPONSIBILITY.

>> Stephen: HERE'S MY BIGGESTPROBLEM.

LET'S PUT FOREIGN POLICYASPIEPPED LET'S TALK DOMESTIC.

THIS IS THE BASTARD WHO STARTEDTHE FEDERAL RESERVE.

( LAUGHTER )WHO PUSHED FOR A GRADUATED

INCOME TAX.

HOW YOU CAN POSSIBLY DEFEND AMAN WHO STARTED THE FED-- WHICH

IS CONTROLLED BY THE ILLUMINATI,AND AN INCOME TAX-- THIS IS THE

GUY WHO IS CRIPPLING US WITHPRINTED MONEY.

>> WELL -->> Stephen: THANK YOU, THANK

YOU.

A MEMBER OF THE BULL MOOSE PARTYSTILL HERE.

( LAUGHTER ).

>> WOODROW WILSON, THIS IS A MANWHO WANTED TO LEVEL THE PLAYING

DISPEELD HE THOUGHT THIS WAS AWAY TO DO IT.

HE THOUGHT THIS WAS A WAY TOMAKE A FAIRER COUNTRY.

>> Stephen: THAT'S CALLEDREDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH.

>> IT IS JUST THAT.

>> Stephen: THAT'S CLASSWARFARE.

>> IT IS.

>> Stephen: THAT'S CLASSTRENCH WARFARE.

YEAH.

DO YOU THINK THAT WAS THE RIGHTTHING FOR HIM TO DO?

>> THE QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER ITHINK THAT.

>> Stephen: IT'S YOUR BOOK.

IT'S YOUR BOOK.

>> WELL -->> Stephen: I ALREADY SAID

IT'S NOT THE RIGHT THING TO DOAND IF YOU'RE NOT SAYING IT IS

THE RIGHT THING TO DO I WILL WINEVERY ARGUMENT.

>> I WANT READERS TO COME TOTHEIR OWN CONCLUSION.

>> Stephen: WHAT KIND OF ABOOK IS THAT.

>> IT'S A THINK FOR YOURSELFKIND OF BOOK.

BOOK.

>> Stephen: A THINK FORYOURSELF KIND OF BOOK.

OKAY, WILSON ALSO TRIED TO GETUS INTO THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS.

>> HE DID.

>> Stephen: THAT'S THEPROTOLIKE BABY STEP UNITED

NATIONS.

>> IT IS.

>> Stephen: HE WAS WILLING TOGIVE UP AMERICAN SOVEREIGNTY,

ALSO.

>> WOULDN'T SAY HE WANTED TO GOTHAT FAR.

>> Stephen: OF COURSE YOUWOULDN'T.

YOU LIKED HIM.

HE BELIEVED WE SHOULD BE TBHORKCONS CONCERT WITH OTHER NATIONS.

>> HE DID.

HE HAD A VERY STRANGE NOTIONTHAT WE SHOULD ALL SIT DOWN AT A

TABLE BEFORE WE GO TO WAR ANDMAYBE WE COULD STOP IT BEFORE

THE WAR BREAKS OUT.

THAT WAS HIS NOTION.

>> Stephen: WHAT WAS THISGUY'S DISPEERNS BEFORE HE WAS

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?

>> WELL, IT WAS ACADEMIA.

HE WAS A COLLEGE PROFESSOR ANDTHEN A COLLEGE PRESIDENT.

>> Stephen: IVORY TOWER.

>> WELL, EXCEPT, EVEN THERE, HEWAS TRYING TO LEVEL THE PLAYING

FIELD WITHIN THE IVORY TOWER.

HE WAS TRYING TO MAKE IT LESS OFAN IVORY TOWER.

>> Stephen: WHAT SCHOOL DIDHE GO IT?

>> THAT WAS PRINCETONUNIVERSITY.

>> Stephen: PRINCETONUNIVERSITY.

HAS IT LEVELED OUT SINCE THEN.

>> EVERY SMART MAN AND SMARTWOMAN.

>> Stephen: CAN GUTOPRINCETON?

>> YES.

( LAUGHTER )( APPLAUSE )

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )>> Stephen: I LIKE YOUR

STYLE.

WHAT'S GOING TO BE THE LASTINGLEGACY OF WILSON?

IS THERE ANYTHING IN OBAMA THATWE SEE FROM WILSON?

>> WELL I THINK THERE ARE A LOTOF THINGS WE SEE IN OBAMA,

ALTHOUGH I THINK HE COULD TAKE AFEW PAGES OUT OF OF THE WILSON

PLAYBOOK, AND THAT IS HAVE MOREOF A CONVERSATION WITH THE

CONGRESS AND WITH THE COUNTRYFOR THAT MATTER.

>> Stephen: I UNDERSTAND THATWILSON ACTUALLY PUT THE IDEA OF

NATIONALIZED HEALTH CARE ON THETABLE 100 YEARS AGO.

>> THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT FIRSTCAME UP.

>> Stephen: SO, REALLY,OBAMACARE IS A DISCUSSION THAT

STARTED 100 YEARS AGO.

>> ALMOST EVERY PROGRESSIVE IDEACAME UP WITH WOODROW WILSON.

>> Stephen: WHAT WAS WILSON'SBALMCARE WEB SITE LIKE?

WAS IT ANY BETTER BACK IN 1913?

I THINK AT THIS POINT, STEAMPOWER MIGHT BE BETTER THAN WHAT

WE HAVE.

>> I THINK IT WORKED BETTER, BUTYOU KNOW, WE'RE GOING TO GET

THIS FIXED.

I THINK.

( LAUGHTER )>> Stephen: WELL, WE SHALL

SEE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

A. SCOTT BERG.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ).

THE BOOK IS "WILSON."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE