Archived webcast

American Ideas: Civil Discourse

October 18, 2012

Can compromise and cooperative solutions exist in a climate of extreme partisanship? See how leaders can set examples for clean campaigns as well as mud-slinging ones.

The webcast is hosted by Julie Silverbrook, from the non-profit Constitutional Sources Project www.ConSource.org. Her guests include President George Washington, portrayed by Colonial Williamsburg’s Ron Carnegie; President Thomas Jefferson, portrayed by Colonial Williamsburg’s Bill Barker; Emily Sydnor, Ph.D. candidate in American politics at the University of Virginia; and Quentin Kidd, professor of political science and director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

Chatroom Archive text

Oct 11 2012, 1:46 PM

MarcyS (guest): Why was the 1800 presidential election considered such a bitter race?

Oct 11 2012, 9:00 PM

Guest529 (guest): I understand General Washington that you gained many of your votes by giving away alcohol as a gift for giving you their vote. Could you give more detail to this legend.

Oct 11 2012, 10:57 PM

zakker500 (guest): I'm curious as to what you thought of your vice-president's wife, Abigail?

Oct 15 2012, 12:37 PM

Guest401 (guest): Where is the line between disagreeing on a topic and a stalemate?

Oct 15 2012, 3:22 PM

Margaret Strolle: President Washington, in your Farewell Address, you warned the American people about the dangers of "faction" and "the spirit of party," and cautioned them to resist the development of political parties. Do you feel disappointed that it is members of your own adminstration, Secretary Hamilton and Secretary Jefferson, who have been instrumentual in the development of the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties?

Oct 15 2012, 7:37 PM

Lprice3: Mr. Jefferson – You and Alexander Hamilton repeatedly clashed over your ideas about government and economics, among other things. What can individuals in 2012 learn from your rivalry, and what, if anything, would you do differently in your dealings with Hamilton with the benefit of hindsight?

Oct 16 2012, 10:23 PM

Guest924 (guest): Were you concerned with the French taking control or influence on Cont Congress? Or were you relieved with funding that otherwise would be avail

Oct 17 2012, 12:28 AM

NastassiaP1: Mr. Jefferson, when you were staying in Philadelphia drafting the Declaration of Independence, can you describe to us what steps you took to draft the entire document (how many rough drafts did you make before settling on the document that we have now), and if there wasn't a time limit to when it was due, would you have added more to the declaration of Independence, and if so, what would they have been?

Oct 17 2012, 12:35 AM

hawkeye3lee: Mr. Jefferson, as you know from the election of 1800, there can be much mud slinging, a good deal of which is not factual. Even newspapers and other media can be biased. How can the American people wade through all the muck and chose a candidate that best matches our values?

Oct 18 2012, 2:59 PM

WGW (guest): Great questions!

Oct 18 2012, 10:01 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Hi everyone! Welcome to the webcast! we have a great show lined up. Feel free to ask questions here or on twitter.

Oct 18 2012, 10:08 PM

Aaron Wolfe: What do you guys think- has the tone changed from then to now?

Oct 18 2012, 10:11 PM

Guest813 (guest): Can we get to Washington and Jefferson!

Oct 18 2012, 10:11 PM

Guest813 (guest): Thanks.

Oct 18 2012, 10:12 PM

Lprice3: Hmm...but sometimes private beliefs are what are driving public actions. Religion for example.

Oct 18 2012, 10:12 PM

Esther Schleper: Hi everyone, Wisconsin has tuned in too. Let the show begin.

Oct 18 2012, 10:12 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Do you agree or disagree with Washington's assessment of "factions" (parties)? Are they good or bad for the country?

Oct 18 2012, 10:12 PM

Guest470 (guest): BAAAAD

Oct 18 2012, 10:13 PM

Aaron Wolfe: How so?

Oct 18 2012, 10:13 PM

Guest470 (guest): too divisive

Oct 18 2012, 10:13 PM

Guest813 (guest): Philadelphia Aurora treated President Washington with little to no respect!

Oct 18 2012, 10:14 PM

Aaron Wolfe: How else can people of like political views make their voice heard?

Oct 18 2012, 10:15 PM

Guest470 (guest): i just feel there should be more than two major parties. we are a more variable populace than that

Oct 18 2012, 10:16 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Would that make decisions made by the party lean closer to what is good for the country as a whole? Could more accountability do that as well? Term limits, for example.

Oct 18 2012, 10:17 PM

Guest470 (guest): more major parties would give less of an us-vs-them dynamic and lead more to a work-together-for-all feeling. at least that would be nice to hope

Oct 18 2012, 10:17 PM

NastassiaP1: Mr. Jefferson, back to what you said earlier about personal attacks against you during your presidency, do you think that the allegations (case in point the relationship between you and Ms. Hemmings), either hurt or encouraged your administration? What made people look past that and want to keep you in office as President?

Oct 18 2012, 10:18 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Thanks, 470.

Oct 18 2012, 10:18 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Good question, natassiaP1.

Oct 18 2012, 10:20 PM

NastassiaP1: thanks

Oct 18 2012, 10:20 PM

Lprice3: Isn't a major different between your time and 2012 that in your time, you were able to hide behind newspapers and "anonymous" writings, whereas today politicians just throw the vitriol around freely?

Oct 18 2012, 10:20 PM

Guest470 (guest): i'm loving these cartoon voice-overs

Oct 18 2012, 10:21 PM

NastassiaP1: I'm pretty sure these inspired Thomast Nast

Oct 18 2012, 10:21 PM

Aaron Wolfe: In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Oct 18 2012, 10:21 PM

Guest813 (guest): Bad taste in football teams too.

Oct 18 2012, 10:21 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Fair enough.

Oct 18 2012, 10:22 PM

Guest470 (guest): i think negative ads aren't so bad assuming the facts are true and not twisted

Oct 18 2012, 10:23 PM

Guest813 (guest): Why spent millions of dollars telling people why you should not vote for the other candidate. Spend your greenbacks telling the American public what you will do.

Oct 18 2012, 10:23 PM

Aaron Wolfe: How can we make sure that ads are true? Should there be an ombudsman for political ads?

Oct 18 2012, 10:24 PM

NastassiaP1: I think that negative ads are actually becoming more and more aggressive as we get closer to the election

Oct 18 2012, 10:24 PM

Lprice3: Guest813 - agreed!

Oct 18 2012, 10:24 PM

Guest470 (guest): part of what helps you decide to vote for one person is knowing things you don't like about the other

Oct 18 2012, 10:25 PM

Guest470 (guest): yes, some sort of oversight on truthiness - like for advertisers

Oct 18 2012, 10:25 PM

Guest813 (guest): Whoa. Someone actually acknowledged MSNBC is on the left.

Oct 18 2012, 10:25 PM

Margaret Strolle: I don't think negative ads are bad in small doses. It's just too much when they seem to be the overwhelming majority of ads that it's annoying.

Oct 18 2012, 10:26 PM

Guest470 (guest): positive ads are also super important and should be the majority

Oct 18 2012, 10:27 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Would it be better if our citizens had better tools to be able to deconstruct the ads? Or is that too much to ask of hte electorate?

Oct 18 2012, 10:27 PM

ManGuySir (guest): Negative Ads keep me alert while waiting for my show to return...Kinda makes me feel like the sky is falling

Oct 18 2012, 10:27 PM

Guest470 (guest): what sort of tools?

Oct 18 2012, 10:28 PM

Lprice3: We as the voters should be taking the time to fact check.

Oct 18 2012, 10:28 PM

Lprice3: Yes what TJ just said.

Oct 18 2012, 10:28 PM

ManGuySir (guest): Who needs rainbows and cotton balls...this is the ELECTION...anything goes

Oct 18 2012, 10:28 PM

Margaret Strolle: I think it's too much to ask of the electorate. Let's be real, a great deal of the eligible electorate doesn't have or want to take the time to disect political ads.

Oct 18 2012, 10:29 PM

Guest470 (guest): sad but true

Oct 18 2012, 10:29 PM

Lprice3: Then as they say, we get what we "pay" for!

Oct 18 2012, 10:30 PM

Aaron Wolfe: By tools I mean teaching students in school, having adult education classes, etc

Oct 18 2012, 10:30 PM

Margaret Strolle: Why is my name coming up on the screen? That wasn't my question they just asked? I feel bad if the mislabeled another's question with my name. :/

Oct 18 2012, 10:30 PM

Margaret Strolle: they not the

Oct 18 2012, 10:31 PM

NastassiaP1: Internet y u no work

Oct 18 2012, 10:31 PM

WGW (guest): Our bad, Margaret.

Oct 18 2012, 10:32 PM

Guest813 (guest): President Washington is not wearing his wedding band. I hope Ms. Vobe keeps an eye on President Washington at the after party.

Oct 18 2012, 10:32 PM

Lprice3: He did love to dance...

Oct 18 2012, 10:33 PM

NastassiaP1: I did not notice that

Oct 18 2012, 10:33 PM

WGW (guest): I also work at Colonial Williamsburg, so the mistake was in the control room.

Oct 18 2012, 10:33 PM

ManGuySir (guest): As my great godmother would say...just because you sprinkle truth on crap (Ads in this case) doesn't make it edible

Oct 18 2012, 10:34 PM

Margaret Strolle: @WGW, it's alright.

Oct 18 2012, 10:34 PM

Lprice3: You are so impolite, Nastassia! LOL.

Oct 18 2012, 10:34 PM

Guest813 (guest): Sally is ALWAYS the GOTCHA question

Oct 18 2012, 10:35 PM

Guest813 (guest): What do you want him to say? He is speaking within his times

Oct 18 2012, 10:35 PM

Lprice3: If you were responding to me, I was KIDDING. :/

Oct 18 2012, 10:35 PM

Guest813 (guest): No. The Sally question.

Oct 18 2012, 10:35 PM

Lprice3: Oh. Sorry!

Oct 18 2012, 10:36 PM

Guest813 (guest): You go Thomas!

Oct 18 2012, 10:36 PM

NastassiaP1: lol

Oct 18 2012, 10:36 PM

ManGuySir (guest): At this rate the presidential race of 2025 will feature wrestling matches instead of debates. I think they should tone down negativity. It's too depressing

Oct 18 2012, 10:37 PM

NastassiaP1: I wasn't trying to be rude, I was reading up on it and thought it would be a good question to ask, because it was in a way a breaking point

Oct 18 2012, 10:37 PM

Guest470 (guest): it was an appropriate question to the topic

Oct 18 2012, 10:37 PM

Aaron Wolfe: At this rate, the race of 2024 will begin on Thursday.

Oct 18 2012, 10:38 PM

Lprice3: At some point people will be smart enough that no one will want to be president anymore.

Oct 18 2012, 10:39 PM

ManGuySir (guest): There is nothing worse then seeing Barack or Mitt pop up on the screen with a negative message in the middle of X Factor

Oct 18 2012, 10:39 PM

Guest813 (guest): One is as gross as the other.

Oct 18 2012, 10:40 PM

Guest813 (guest): I feel like I am watching C-Span 3! Get the presidents back on please!

Oct 18 2012, 10:40 PM

Aaron Wolfe: What other kinds of reforms should we pursue?

Oct 18 2012, 10:40 PM

Guest470 (guest): the presidents need a sip of water

Oct 18 2012, 10:40 PM

Guest813 (guest): I thought water was bad?

Oct 18 2012, 10:40 PM

Guest470 (guest): limits on corporate and campaign spending

Oct 18 2012, 10:41 PM

ManGuySir (guest): I think that candidates should be barred from saying anything bad about the other candidate it should be 100% about THEM. We should hold them to that standard

Oct 18 2012, 10:41 PM

ManGuySir (guest): 1 Billion in ad spending is ridiculous

Oct 18 2012, 10:41 PM

Margaret Strolle: @Presidents Washington and Jefferson, have either of you ever used a newspaper or directed a political surrogate to use a newspaper to malign or discredit a political opponent? President Jefferson, wasn't Mr. Callender a supporter of yours before he turned on you after being denied a government appointment?

Oct 18 2012, 10:42 PM

Guest470 (guest): yes, 1 billion could go towards the deficit

Oct 18 2012, 10:43 PM

Lprice3: Aren't all of these ugly words covered under the first amendment? Or is there a line? (i.e. the Sedition Acts)

Oct 18 2012, 10:43 PM

ManGuySir (guest): 1 Billion could turn my deficit in to a BIG surplus!!!

Oct 18 2012, 10:44 PM

ManGuySir (guest): How does negative Ads and campaigning affect bipartisan relations and the ability to work together between parties?

Oct 18 2012, 10:46 PM

ManGuySir (guest): Next year each candidate will have a reality show on MTV leading up to the election

Oct 18 2012, 10:46 PM

Lprice3: "Who can eat the most bugs? Find out next week."

Oct 18 2012, 10:46 PM

Guest470 (guest): this compromise thing they're talking about is a bummer

Oct 18 2012, 10:47 PM

Aaron Wolfe: @ManGuySir- in the spirit of "The Franchise" or "Hard Knocks"?

Oct 18 2012, 10:47 PM

Guest470 (guest): maybe we have too much governmental coverage

Oct 18 2012, 10:47 PM

ManGuySir (guest): We get so much information but no so little truth

Oct 18 2012, 10:47 PM

Guest470 (guest): media coverage of the government, i mean

Oct 18 2012, 10:47 PM

ManGuySir (guest): @Aaron Yes!

Oct 18 2012, 10:47 PM

Aaron Wolfe: I like it!

Oct 18 2012, 10:48 PM

Margaret Strolle: noooo, my internet is going

Oct 18 2012, 10:48 PM

Margaret Strolle: just want it to last til the end of the webcast

Oct 18 2012, 10:48 PM

ManGuySir (guest): I'm on!!!

Oct 18 2012, 10:48 PM

Guest813 (guest): And I thought you were joking!

Oct 18 2012, 10:48 PM

Lprice3: George = Awesome.

Oct 18 2012, 10:49 PM

NastassiaP1:

Oct 18 2012, 10:49 PM

Guest813 (guest): Where is the like button?

Oct 18 2012, 10:49 PM

Aaron Wolfe: I would have to agree, Lprice3.

Oct 18 2012, 10:49 PM

ManGuySir (guest): I think there should be public rules that candidates should abide by or automatically be disqualified

Oct 18 2012, 10:49 PM

NastassiaP1: good point

Oct 18 2012, 10:49 PM

ManGuySir (guest): i'm in favor of disqualifications!

Oct 18 2012, 10:50 PM

ManGuySir (guest): I'm Draco!!! (spelling?)

Oct 18 2012, 10:50 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Malfoy?

Oct 18 2012, 10:50 PM

Guest813 (guest): Whoa Thomas! Put this man back in the President's House!

Oct 18 2012, 10:51 PM

Guest470 (guest): we just want the truth

Oct 18 2012, 10:51 PM

ManGuySir (guest): I don't think candidates should be able to address their competition directly...we need to learn about THEM not why we shouldn't vote for the other person

Oct 18 2012, 10:51 PM

Guest813 (guest): I wonder what Tom and George think about the two ladies discussing politics. Like they are Abigale Adams!

Oct 18 2012, 10:51 PM

Aaron Wolfe: One of the complaints I hear a lot is the decline of statesmen in favor of politicians. How do we cultivate statesmen?

Oct 18 2012, 10:51 PM

Lprice3: Stop paying them.

Oct 18 2012, 10:51 PM

Guest470 (guest): yes!!!

Oct 18 2012, 10:53 PM

NastassiaP1: I don't think I want to ask anymore questions :/

Oct 18 2012, 10:53 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Why not natassiaP1?

Oct 18 2012, 10:53 PM

ManGuySir (guest): I think it's important that when politicians lie we make them run laps

Oct 18 2012, 10:53 PM

Guest470 (guest): they'd be so skinny!

Oct 18 2012, 10:54 PM

ManGuySir (guest): or do pushups

Oct 18 2012, 10:54 PM

NastassiaP1: I'm a little nervous now, I don't want to offend anyone again lol

Oct 18 2012, 10:54 PM

Lprice3: We're ALL offensive in 18th century terms.

Oct 18 2012, 10:54 PM

Guest470 (guest): yeah, don't worry about it. it was a good question.

Oct 18 2012, 10:54 PM

NastassiaP1: thanks

Oct 18 2012, 10:54 PM

ManGuySir (guest): There is a public perception that all politicians lie. Why can't a politician run a completely truthful campaign?

Oct 18 2012, 10:54 PM

ManGuySir (guest): is it that hard?

Oct 18 2012, 10:55 PM

Aaron Wolfe: I think it depends on what you consider truth.

Oct 18 2012, 10:55 PM

Lprice3: Aren't politicians reacting to what WORKS though?

Oct 18 2012, 10:55 PM

ManGuySir (guest): they are because we don't hold them accountable

Oct 18 2012, 10:56 PM

Esther Schleper: Do mr. Jefferson or mr. Washingto have any advice for the current candidates on how to make themselves stand out from the other candidate and win the voters vote? Do you think negative campaigning is the answer?

Oct 18 2012, 10:56 PM

NastassiaP1: and I think we're still experimenting

Oct 18 2012, 10:56 PM

Guest470 (guest): yes, there should be some sort of consequence for blatant lies.

Oct 18 2012, 10:56 PM

ManGuySir (guest): I don't blam politicians they are puppets...I blame their staff

Oct 18 2012, 10:56 PM

ManGuySir (guest): disqualification!!

Oct 18 2012, 10:56 PM

Margaret Strolle: If they ran a completely truthful campaign, we'd probably like them less than when they lie. Truth hurts. Truth about politicians probably really hurts.

Oct 18 2012, 10:56 PM

Aaron Wolfe: I agree, NastassiaP1. This is still an experiment.

Oct 18 2012, 10:57 PM

ManGuySir (guest): the truth would be that there is NO ONE out there completely qualified to run the free world!

Oct 18 2012, 10:57 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Is spin truth?

Oct 18 2012, 10:57 PM

Robert Ambrose: We should be voting for a candidate and not a party platform. The man does not seem to matter anymore - only the party's line - my party is right and yours is wrong. The party is all that matters.

Oct 18 2012, 10:58 PM

ManGuySir (guest): we should elect toddlers...they are innocent and precious

Oct 18 2012, 10:59 PM

Aaron Wolfe: How do you separate the candidate from the party? Especially a condidate for Congress?

Oct 18 2012, 10:59 PM

Guest813 (guest): Obama 2012!

Oct 18 2012, 10:59 PM

Aaron Wolfe: *candidate

Oct 18 2012, 10:59 PM

cwconnect: Thank you for your participation in “American Ideas: Civil Discourse,” Colonial Williamsburg’s live webcast. We’ll be posting the archive video later this week. Please check back and thanks again for your participation.

Oct 18 2012, 10:59 PM

Guest813 (guest): Obama 2012!

Oct 18 2012, 11:00 PM

Aaron Wolfe: Thanks everyone for your participation.