A. Scott Berg is our guest this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton.
Original Air Date: September 28, 2013 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124.
PoliOptics airs regularly on POTUS on Saturdays at 6 am, 12 noon and 6 pm.
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A president has to sell an unpopular program at home. He has had to lead a country at war, but now tries to pivot to peace. In Washington, his enemies across the aisle lobby hard against him, ginning up discontent in the capitol and rallying public opinion to their side. The president has to win it back. What does he do? Hit the road to sell his vision directly to the people.
The story of Barack Obama?
No, it’s Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, a man so wooden in our memory but, it turns our, deeply emotional and passionate for his cause, as Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg found out when he unearthed troves of hidden archival material.
In 1913, 100 years ago, President Wilson was inaugurated, capping a meteoric rise that saw him the President of Princeton University just two years prior . Does the story sound similar to like rapid ascent of an Illinois State Senator?
This week, it is time for the annual UN General Assembly here in New York. Leaders of so many of the nations of that body convene here, with their attendant motorcades, that midtown traffic refuses to move.
The vision for this gathering goes back to Wilson himself. The president returned from six months in France in 1919, having translated his famous Fourteen Points into the Treaty of Versailles and the grand design of the League of Nations – a fitting end to “the war to end all wars.”
Wilson needed the Senate to ratify the treaty. That, too, should sound familiar. The League was supposed to stop the next war before it began, but it was also borne of Wilson’s own deep sense of responsibility. He bore a personal burden for the 116,000 dead American boys who fought to make the world “Safe for Democracy.”
With his health, and even his life, at risk, Wilson set out in a railroad car across America to sell his plan, an epic presidential trip spanning one month and 29 cities from coast-to-coast. As someone who has planned such barnstorming with the aide of Air Force One, Marine One and motorcades and massive sound systems at every stop, it’s not an impossible feat in 2013, but try to pull that off 1919: its was, literally, a killer.