WYSO

From The Bully Pulpit to Civic Life: A Conversation Between Mark Roosevelt And Bob Taft

Dec 14, 2014

(from left) Bob Taft, Neenah Ellis, Mark Roosevelt, Ron Rollins, Darryl Fairchild

Antioch College President Roosevelt and former Ohio Governor Bob Taft are both the great-grandsons of American Presidents. Roosevelt's great grandfather was Theodore Roosevelt, President from 1901 to 1909. He was succeeded by William Howard Taft of Cincinnati.

The relationship between the two men is chronicled in The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, published in 2013. They two were allies; Taft served as Roosevelt’s Secretary of War, but later clashed and Roosevelt ran against Taft in 1912.

Today’s Roosevelt and Taft are from opposing political parties. Taft served as Governor of Ohio from 1999 to 2007, and Roosevelt was a Massachusetts State Representative and Gubernatorial candidate in 1994.

The two met before a live audience on October 14 to share ideas about the state of American politics and to take questions from the 300 plus people in the audience. During their discussion, the they found much to agree upon in their discussion, which covers a wide range of issues: America’s status in the world, the polarization of American politics, the importance of race and gender in current politics and both grappled with what the future holds for today’s college students.

Rev. Darryl Fairchild, pastor of Bellbrook United Methodist Church was the prime mover of the project. He contacted WYSO general manager Neenah Ellis in late summer and asked whether the station would participate.

Ron Rollins, Dayton Daily News was the moderator of the event.