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Interview with Mack Mattingly, February 9, 2018

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:01:05 - Early life / Moving to Georgia

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Partial Transcript: I'd like to start just briefly talking about your- we're both Midwestern natives- tell me a little bit about your childhood and upbringing in Indiana and how you went from Anderson, Indiana to the Georgia coast.

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly summarizes his childhood in Anderson, Indiana during the Great Depression, then his service in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. Mattingly next recalls moving to Savannah, Georgia due to the the state's hospitable attitude toward business, which led to him becoming involved with the nascent Republican Party in south Georgia.

Keywords: 8th Congressional district; Brunswick, Georgia; Curtis LeMay; Eisenhower administration; Glynn County, Georgia; IBM Corporation; Jim Kent; St. Simon's Island; Strategic Air Command; University of Indiana; Waycross, Georgia; World War II; business experience; conservatism; district vice-chairman; military bases; population growth

00:09:10 - Goldwater and Callaway campaigns

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Partial Transcript: But in 1963, this Senator from Arizona and some of his shipmates finally convinced him to run for President of the United States.

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly describes how and why Barry Goldwater's candidacy for president in 1964 was able to energize the Republican Party in Georgia the way no candidate had before: by focusing on four tenants of conservatism, namely low taxation, limited government, national defense, and individual responsibility. He then explains the lasting impacts of Goldwater's candidacy in Georgia, and specifically how the enthusiasm Goldwater's campaign brought to the Georgia Republican Party led them to run Bo Callaway for governor unsuccessfully in 1966, nearly capturing the seat, though losing to Lester Maddox after neither candidate won a majority of votes in the general election.

Keywords: 1964 presidential race; 1966 gubernatorial race; 1972 Senate race; 3rd Congressional district; 8th Congressional district; Ben Blackburn; Bill Amos; Bob Bell; Democratic Party establishment; Dick Cheney; Donald Rumsfeld; Ellis Arnall; Fletcher Thompson; G. Paul Jones; Hal Suit; Jack Flint; Johnny Isakson; Lester Maddox; Nelson Rockefeller; Newt Gingrich; Office of Economic Opportunity; Richard Nixon; Rodney Cook; Ronny Thompson; Sam Nunn; William Scranton; campaign chairman; conservatism; conservative Democrats; rural areas; write-in votes

00:19:09 - Service as state party chairman

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Partial Transcript: You were chairman by 1975?

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly states that the main goal of his tenure as the Georgia Republican Party chairman was to establish long-term strategies and goals for the party, done by forming the "Long-Range Planning Committee", which included leaders in the Georgia Party as well as Republican campaign specialists from across the nation. Mattingly also details his opinions on the 1976 Republican presidential primary between Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, even though at the time, Mattingly had to remain neutral as the state party chairman.

Keywords: Bill Amos; Bob Irvin; Bob Shaw; Bob Teeter; Donald Rumsfeld; Fred Cooper; Georgia Republican Party; Haley Barbour; John Linder; Johnny Isakson; Kansas City, Missouri; Long-Range Planning Committee; Newt Gingrich; Nick Ayers; Paul Coverdell; Ralph Reed; Rockefeller Republican; Rodney Cook; Russ Evans; Walter Cronkite; Wilma Goldstein; one-party system; pardon of Richard Nixon; pledged delegates; strategy

00:29:46 - 1980 Senate Race

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Partial Transcript: So when did you know that you were going to jump into the U.S. Senate race?

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly talks about his decision to run for the United States Senate against longtime incumbent Herman Talmadge in 1980, gradually building up support until Mattingly was confident that he would win the election. Mattingly notes that, despite popular belief, he was not elected on Ronald Reagan's presidential coattails; instead, Mattingly outperformed Reagan by roughly ten points in the state.

Keywords: 1980 presidential election; Atlanta Journal; Bill Amos; Bill Roth; Bill Stewart; Bob Teeter; Columbia County, Georgia; Dr. Mack Johnson; Howard Baker; Jack Kemp; Newt Gingrich; Russ Evans; Wilma Goldstein; Zell Miller; national defense; rural areas; tax cuts; urban areas

00:36:38 - Service in the U.S. Senate

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Partial Transcript: What did it mean for you and Georgia Republicans that not only were you in the United States Senate, but you were serving with a Republican President and a Republican Senate?

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly discusses the various committee assignments he was given during his tenure as senator, particularly his placement on the influential and wide-reaching Senate Appropriations Committee. Other duties Mattingly covers include cooperating with Georgia's governors for projects and recommending presidential appointments for United States attorneys, United States marshals, and federal judges.

Keywords: 1981 state party chairman race; Atlanta Constitution; Appropriations Committee; Cheney Griffin; Erle Phillips; Fred Cooper; George Busbee; Georgia Republican Party; Government Affairs Committee; Griffin Bell; HOPE Scholarship; Joe Frank Harris; Judiciary Committee; King & Spalding; Larry Thompson; Mark Hatfield; Marvin Griffin; Newt Gingrich; Paul Coverdell; Paul Laxalt; Paula Hawkins; Richard B. Russell; Strom Thurmond; Thad Cochran; Zell Miller; agriculture; committee assignments; defense policy; foreign policy; limited government; patronage; state education; subcommittee chairman; subcommittee on military construction; transportation

00:45:24 - Cutting federal spending

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Partial Transcript: We talked about your role in patronage and the state party.

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly lists the myriad of ways he moved to cut back on federal government spending in areas he either found excessive or inappropriate for limited government, Mattingly notes that he was willing to cut excess even from politically popular places like the Department of Defense or the Farm Bill, much to the chagrin of other legislators and numerous voters.

Keywords: Agriculture Committee; Appropriations committee; Defense Committee; Department of Health and Human Services; House of Representatives; John Block; Medicare; Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Ronald Reagan; Secretary of Agriculture; Senate staff; Social Security; agriculture; conservatism; consulting; corn; foreign policy; internal studies; military construction; peanut program; transportation; wheat

00:51:44 - 1986 Senate race / Media's effect on politics

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Partial Transcript: When did you begin gearing up for reelection?

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly states that while he felt compelled to run for a second term, he did not become enamored with his job as a senator and was not devastated by his loss to Wyche Fowler in 1986. Mattingly also comments on the minor role the media played in his reelection effort, though he contrasts that with how the modern 24-hour news cycle significantly impacts political campaigns today.

Keywords: Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Appropriations Committee; Bo Ginn; Bob Dole; Carolyn Mattingly; Committee on Committees; Contras; Cox Media Group; Dan Rostenkowski; Herman Talmadge; House of Representatives; Howard Baker; Joe Tribble; Pete Wilson; Ronald Reagan; Social Security; Ted Stevens; Ted Turner; Tip O'Neill; Washington, D.C.; Ways and Means Committee; Wikipedia; cable news; filibusters; fundraising; majority vote; military construction; senate rules; social media; tax bills; voter turnout; workload

01:02:22 - Service after the Senate

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Partial Transcript: We don't need to rehash that Wyche Fowler becomes the new senator.

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly recalls that he was not enthusiastic about returning to public office after leaving the Senate in 1992, only choosing to run in the special election after Paul Coverdell's death in 2000 to secure the state's electoral college votes for George W. Bush. Looking back on the development of the Republican Party both nationally and locally, Mattingly credits Barry Goldwater and his 1964 candidacy for bringing conservatives into the Republican Party.

Keywords: 1966 gubernatorial race; 1990 gubernatorial race; 1992 Senate race; 1994 gubernatorial race; 1st Congressional d\istrict; 2000 election; 2002 election; Al Gore; Albany, Georgia; Blue Dog Democrats; Bo Callaway; Bo Ginn; George Busbee; George H.W. Bush; Glynn County, Georgia; J.B. Stoner; Jack Kingston; John Linder; John Quincy Adams; Johnny Isakson; Lester Maddox; Lindsay Thomas; Mac Collins; Mike Bowers; Nathan Deal; Newt Gingrich; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Richard Shelby; Ronald Reagan; Sam Nunn; Sonny Perdue; Zell Miller; candidate quality; chief of staff; demographic change; foreign policy experience; guy Millner; national parties; party switching; special elections; state legislature; suburban growth; two-party system

01:13:23 - Donald Trump and the 2016 election

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Partial Transcript: What about our current administration?

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly states that although he supported Jeb Bush in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, he decided to defend and endorse Donald Trump after "establishment" Republicans like Mitt Romney and George W. Bush began criticizing Donald Trump before they would criticize his Democratic opposition. Mattingly believes that the reason Trump captured the enthusiasm of the Republican base- as well as why Bernie Sanders captured the enthusiasm of the Democratic base- was that he addressed issues the public was passionate about that other politicians were not acknowledging.

Keywords: Dick Cheney; Donald Rumsfeld; George H.W. Bush; Jeb Bush; Newt Gringrich; Paul Coverdell; Ralph Reed; Ronald Reagan; deregulation; party divisions; principles; tax decreases

01:18:37 - The modern Republican Party

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's talk to sort of bring this full-circle in a wrap-up.

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly laments that the Republican Party he sees in power today has moved somewhat away from the conservative policies that helped it gain power, particularly in the areas of government spending and the size and scope of government agencies. He closes the interview by discussing that activities he and his wife have been doing since their retirement from politics, most notably participating in the New York Harbor Conservancy which maintains historical locations such as the Statue of Liberty and Federal Hall in New York City.

Keywords: Bill Bradley; Department of Defense; Department of Homeland Security; Federal Emergency Management Agency; Georgia Conservancy; Puerto Rico Conservation Trust; Rotary Club; Vince Dooley; attrition; business growth; career politicians; deregulation; federal debt; federal spending increases; federal spending limits; tax decreases