Hardball | November 28, 2012
>>> we'll win the war, sir. it's inevitable, isn't it?
>> well, ain't won yet.
>> you'll begin your second term with divine stature. imagine the possibilities, peaceful and great, why tarnish your invaluable luster with a battle in the house? it's a rat's nest in there. the same gang of talentless hicks and hacks who rejected the amendment ten months ago. we'll lose.
>> i like our chances now.
>> wow. we're back. that was a clip from the new steven spielberg movie " lincoln " based on doris kearns goodwin 's book. kevin mccarthy rented out a movie theater tonight to show the house. what's the takeaway from the story to show it's relevant in washington. joining us is doris kearns goodwin , the author. congratulations for greatness.
>> thank you.
>> this show is all about politic. we to want talk about that, not the battlefield but the politics. the movie focuses on after lincoln had just been re-elected he put all the marbles on the i'm going to outlaw slavery forever. why, in short, did he do it and how did he get it done?
>> he did it because he had the strength of his conviction, which is an important lesson in leadership, number one. he knew if he didn't get it passed before the war ended that it might not ever get passed because once peace came, the democrats would never be willing to vote for it. and then he used compromise and every means possible to get it going. so i think that's the lesson. you need the leadership and the strength of the conviction to understand what is important but then you use politics, messy politics to get it done and he did both.
>> he used pork and patronage and percesuasion. a lot of people will say, we can't do that, you can't buy a member of congress over the job promise because this is about history making here and you would say?
>> i would say that you do what you can to achieve a worthy end. he appealed both to the better angels of some of the characters that he had to get to vote for the amendment by appealing to their sense of history and the war has to mean something and you want this to happen. just like lbj appealed to dirkson saying you'll be remembered for 200 years, only you and lincoln will be remembered. but on the other hand, he gave dirkson every project works that would damn illinois. it was easier to do some of this then.
>> the guy who stole the movie, the same guy who stole the oliver stone movie, jfk, is tommy lee jones , certainly one of my big heroes, the guy who believed in emancipation, 40 acres of the mule and wanted to take the freed african-american and make him a citizen under the law. what a great performance. we'll talk about lincoln forever but thaddeus stevens . his housekeeper was also his mistress. i love that scene, by the way. it's a great performance, as well as everything else.
>> what is so powerful about both tommy lee jones and the real thaddeus stevens , he had to temper his debate on the house floor because if he said all of the things that he really believed, that this amendment will open the way for blacks voting, for blacks inter-marriage, then other people on the conservative republican side would have appealed away and you watched that face of his when he's making that speech, when he's pulling back from his deepest convictions because he knows he has to do this to get the compromise done. you need the compromise on both the conservative and radical side to reach that level.
>> we all knew that the emancipation proclamation was a military tool. it was to deplete the power of the south because it said to the slaves, make your move. you can get out now and you're free because war rules. the power of the military, the power of the president. was it at all related to the war itself that he would get permanent emancipation? was it related at all to the war?
>> no. what he worried about was once the war came to an end, then the military necessity that legitimated the emancipation proclamation would no longer be there and he worried that courts would decide that he didn't have the power to do it. but the critical thing had he to face was that that had to keep going in order to get it passed and extended the war in a certain sense by letting the peace talks go along slower than they might have accomplished something.
>> was that a real offer from that group that came up, including the vice presidents of the confederacy, was that a really good offer he could have accepted otherwise?
>> no, not as long as the confederacy was still existing that somehow it had to be a compromise between two different countries and lincoln insisted that we are one country. as the war kept going on, every kid that was killed, every soldier who died, lincoln felt it personal. he felt it through the whole war but even more intensely then but he thought that saving slavery from being existed, going onward, was worth that terrible price.
>> doris kearns goodwin , thanks. i love seeing that book in bookstores. you have a whole new life to a great book. there's a new cover which just says " lincoln " on the cover. same book and bigger promotion for you. you deserve it. thank you so much. one of our great historians.
>> you're welcome, chris.
>>> how lincoln outlawed slavery again for good. you're watching "hardball," a place for politics. to