Skip to main content

tv   Reagan I Knew  CSPAN  November 17, 2013 6:30pm-7:31pm EST

6:30 pm
then join book tv on saturday, november 30th for a live google plus chat to discuss books on the 35th president. contact book tv via facebook or twitter to sign up for the live chat. >> 2013 marks booktv's 15th 15th anniversary. this weekend we're looking back at 2009 in january of that year a panel discussioned the publication of the late william f. buckley's final book, "the reagan i knew" details his relationship with former president ronald reagan and contains correspondence between the two. including this program is an hour. >> thank you for coming oomph
6:31 pm
the editor of general magazine. i'd like to welcome all of you and c-span to what is certain to be a fascinating discussion on the relationship entwined legacy of maybe the two giants of 20th century american conserve tim, william f. buckley and reagan, and the occasion is the publication of buck lee's final book "the reagan i knew" a nearly 300 page -- through his own inexhaustible writing and speaking, launched modern conserve tim as an intellectual movement, and a visionary statesman who brought the ideas into the white house and transformed america forever. biographer edmund lawrence found
6:32 pm
reagan such a distant figure he famously resorted to an imaginary figure, an exercise in literary imagination, to capture his elusive subject. but the reader of this book will discover is a surprising degree of warmth and intimacy in the exchanges between these two men, whose relationship spannedded three decades. this was a real friendship. more important, the book underscores the ways ideas and poll sticks intersect -- politics intersect, how successful statsmanship depends on the right ways of thinking about the world. buckley, it's fair to say, was reagan's mentor in political philosophy. reagan was the man of action who made his ideas come to life. to talk about the relationship between buckley and reagan to shed some light on it and what it meant for america, i'm thrilled to introduce three people perfectly situated for
6:33 pm
the task. each will speak for several minutes and then have a general discussion. let me tell you about them. first up, brent bozell, is a relentless discourage of media bias. a prolific columnist and author, this 2004 book "weapons of mass distortion" provides a comprehensive overview of the left-leaning distortions 0 the press and is a frequent talking head on fox news, cnn and other leading media outlets. a balance of honor is that he has been named the worst person in the world by msnbcs keith oberman on more than one occasion. [applause] >> and he also happens to be william f. buckley's nephew. following brent will be one of my favorite writers, beth selling historian and
6:34 pm
documentary filmmaker, richard brookhiser. rick is both an experienced political journalist, and someone with a deep feeling and understanding for the importance of statesmanship. as anyone who has read his wonderful books on alexander hamilton, george washington, and the adamss will attest. he brings unique talents to bear in understanding both subjects today. and last but far from least, richard lowrie, the man who edited national review, guiding into it the 21st century with buckleyesque style and intelligence. rich is a frequent guest host on fox's hannity and combes. now just hannity, and his column appears in 90 papers nationally, including the "new york post." he is the author of an inflametive book about the clinton years, "legacy" a "new
6:35 pm
york times" best seller, and a co-author of a spy thriller due out in april. ladies and gentlemen, without further delay, brent bozell on william f. buckley and ronald reagan and the new book, "the reagan i knew." [applause] publish. >> thank you, brian, and thank you to the manhattan institute for the invitation. we were told each to speak on a different level. i find it interesting that i'm speaking at all, given i told linda this story a few minutes ago -- about two months before the book came out linda send me an e-mail and said, when the book comes out, if someone in the press wants to talk to you about your uncle and this book, would you do it? and i said, of course. and two months later the book comes out and it is the release of new book, "the reagan i knew" blah blah blah to schedule an
6:36 pm
interview with brent bozell or rich lowry, call the following number. didn't know i had gotten myself into this. it's interesting doing a book tour on a book you haven't written. try that some time. i just did it. last week, during the inauguration, i was doing a fox interview and was asked this question. what are the lessons that barack obama can learn from george bush, both positive and negative. the primary one i suggested was the first principle of politics, which is that in politics, you must define or be defined. it's a lesson that was either lost on this administration, or deliberately ignored by this administration, and it was ultimately the undoing of this past administration. thing about this for a second. when president bush entered the white house in early 2001, the
6:37 pm
perception by so many of him -- and perception being reality in politics -- was that he was young, untested, naive, to the point of ignorant, not ready for primetime. dick cheney, on the other hand, was cool, calm, collected, wise, tested, the adult supervision that george bush desperately needed. that was how they went in. look how they came out eight years later? george bush was the man who lied and thousands died. dick cheney was evil incarnate. why? because neither of them did anything to try to offset the redefinition that would come from their critics. i say this because when you think of ronald reagan you think of a man who instinctively
6:38 pm
understood this prim of politics. the understood that the public spotlight maintain everything. he understood that in politics, that perception is reality. he understood that whatever he projected forward was what the american people were going to see. and perhaps most importantly, he understood that if he didn't do it, his enemies were going to do that for him. we remember how ronald reagan entered office in 1981. it was interesting because the -- his critics had two huge challenges that they were never able to overcome with him. the first one was that they never got their hands around the negative picture they wanted to draw of the man. they couldn't decide whether, a., he was an old dotterring, ignorant, class b, hollywood
6:39 pm
has-been nobody, or, b., doctor straininglove. the man with the ultimate plan to destroy the world. through a nuclear nightmare. and by projecting both they succeeded with neither. the second problem they had was the force of his personality. the more people saw ronald reagan, the more they saw that he was a genuine person, he genuinely kind, genuinely of good cheer, genuinely optimistic, genuinely loved his country, he was generally fun and what a sense of humor the man had. now, i say that for a reason. because when you think about bill buckley, and how he approached the political tribulations, he did it in
6:40 pm
almost the opposite fashion, because he had to. when bill buckley launched the modern conservative movement in the 1950s, you could fit the movement in a phone booth. they didn't have a lot of friends. one person told me once, we didn't have any friends. and, therefore, it didn't make any difference what you did. with bill it was bombs away. bill understood also, define or be defined, and he was going to define things his way. but he was going to define it in a battle-hardened manner. he was going to do it by attacking the other side. so, bill was bill. in the '50s and the 1960s. constantly on the move. constantly attacking, constantly assaulting institutions. oh, how he loved to challenge political correctness.
6:41 pm
oh, how he loved to take on the giants of liberalism. to him, every day was an adventure simply because politics was warfare and he knew he had bigger guns than the other side. and ultimately, when bill was blazing away with both guns, with his mouth gritting the knife that going to slice your throat there was a problem. there was that big dashing smile on his face while he was doing it. which ultimately i think was bill's undoing. because ultimately, as time wore on, and people came to know him better, especially his political enemies, the more they began to love the man. why? because the more they knew him, i believe they saw the very same
6:42 pm
qualities that we came to see in ronald reagan. they saw the kindness. they saw the good cheer. they saw the optimism. they saw the stability. they saw the gentleman he was. they saw the honesty in his views. and they saw the way with which he treated them. and ultimately what grew was beyond the respect, a friendship. it is interesting that george bush said, in mit midland, when he arrived on tuesday afternoon, he said, i know history is going to be written and i'm going to help write it in a book. ronald reagan understood that hoyt would be the ultimate judge of his work, not his contemporaries. i think bill understood that. and bill all along was an historian. if you look at the 50 odd books
6:43 pm
he wrote, i added it up and i added up 28 books which either were devoted entirely or partly to works of history. it seems like there's something complete that the final book was the historical book on ronald reagan. i checked with an historian yesterday and i asked him how many books had been written on ronald reagan. you're not going to believe the number. he said as of early last year, 900 books. so, i will submit to you that the reagan i knew is book 901. and if you ask yourself how you can make 901 unique books can the answer is you can't. but this one is unique and my other panelists i'm sure will follow up on this. it is, quite simply, professional love affair between two men. thank you. [applause]
6:44 pm
>> thank you all for coming out today. i can't -- don't want to lose the lectern here -- i can't be an unbiased commenter on this book. i worked for bill buckley for 39 years. he was my idol, my mentor, my friend, sometimes a royal pain in the ass, but mostly it was all those positive things. and ronald reagan was my first political idol. i voted for him every chance i got. nothing illegal. no chicago stuff. but every him chance to vote for him i took. i only met him once, and that was at a national review
6:45 pm
function. we had invited him to our 25th 25th anniversary banquet in 1980, and this story is told in the book in "the reagan i knew." although it's not told completely. bill sent reagan a letter in april of 1980 -- our banquet was in december -- he said, you simply must be there, could you come? well, in a campaign year, april is like decades before november. to say nothing of december. now, bill understood that so he also sent reminders to reagan. but he did them in a very bill-like fashion, which he does not -- he suppresses in this book, but i remember, he sent letters saying things like, cinderella waits for prince charming. all whimsical. so, reagan, or whoever was reading these letters, didn't know what they were talking
6:46 pm
about, and the reminders failed to remind, and i believe that was a factor in why reagan was unable to come to our 25th 25th banquet, and that was a bummer. but he said that he would come to the opening off our washington office, which i think was in '82, just two years later. that was his compensatory gesture, and a wonderful one it was. john mclaugh lip was our washington correspondent, and we had this little party down in washington, and president reagan came and all the senior editors got to meet him before hand and this is where i met him. shook his hand, and reagan's attention was a beam. it was like a warm bright beam. and then it passed on. and i think there were a lot of
6:47 pm
people who never quite got idea to that passing on part. brian mentioned that. edmund morris didn't get used to being passing on, but i did make reagan laugh because all the editors god to say a few words at the function before reagan, and i decided to play off new york snobbery, and i said, you know, we new yorkers really have a lot of trouble with washington. we think it's just inhabited by rubes, congressman, people like that. but that's not fair. that really isn't fair. there's a lot of interesting stuff in washington. there's a lot of good restaurants, good vietnamese restaurants, good afghan restaurant. lose a country, gain a restaurant. and just at that moment, lucas, our photographer of so many
6:48 pm
national review covers and was forking this event, and he snaps a picture of the podium, and i've just delivered that remark, and behind me are bill and reagan laughing. so, i treasure that because to make the funniest president after lincoln laugh, is something worth noting. what you'll find in this book -- you'll find a lot. there are wonderful letters to between bill and nancy reagan. very warm and flirtatious. just charming to read. there's to me a very moving letter between bill and patty reagan, when she was a teenager and was writing sort of angsty teenage poetry, and she sent some to bill, and bill responded like goodded it for. he gives her good advice and says he likes it, and he means that. and then the bill says, if you
6:49 pm
like i'll send it to hugh canner. now, hugh canner was like -- one of the heaviest duty critics of his generation, and bill would never have done that unless he thought the poetry was good. he would never have risked embarrassing another writer, especially a young writer, but if he thought you were good, thought you had something, then there was no limit. why not send it to hugh can center and that's so characteristic of him. another thing that the -- i offer this to our liberal friends now who are looking forward to the obama years. if you're expecting to have influence on a president, it's too late. the moment he takes that oath of office, it's too late. the wind -- window is shut
6:50 pm
because he is strapped to a to bag began for four years or eight years and every damn thing in the world is landing on his desk every day. it's too late. if you have had a chance at all, it's before that. it's when he is coming up. then you can get to him. national review, we like to think we got to ronald reagan, reached ronald reagan, the same way we reach our readers, despite doing our thing issue after issue, and we hope these readers will be active and engaged and then sometimes the three bells come up and you get ronald reagan as a reader, but the moment they been president, those days are done. they can still be polite and be your friend but that gate is closed. and bill doesn't recognize that expose -- explicitly but it is
6:51 pm
in the letters that go back and forth between the two men. a wonderful book. enjoy it. [applause] >> hi. thank you for the manhattan institute and putting this event on and to brian anderson. it's an honor to be here with brent bozell, tireless watchdog of the media, and you have to be tireless because the task is literally endless. brent, i'm curious about what you would have thought if you had known when you started your enterprise the media would be more biased than when you began. but we look forward to the media research center outlasting "the new york times." [applause] >> and it's an honor to be here with my colleague, rick
6:52 pm
brookhiser, a writer and history yap whose talents bill buckley absolutely delighted in. it's nice to be able to dwell on what was a happier time for the right, recounted in this book, after the '06 and the '08 election, we have had causes, consecutives to -- conservatives to recall the words of senator mo udall which were, the voters have spoken, the bastards. [laughter] >> in the brief time allotted to me this afternoon, i just want to share five thoughts occasioned by the "the reagan i knew" first, politicians are more populists than intellectuals but doesn't excuse politicians from being well-informed and well-read. an anecdote that bill idea to
6:53 pm
tell about reagan i remember vividly. they're on a vacation somewhere in a resort, i believe, and late at night, before bill retired one evening, they were having a discussion about inflation, and the discussion foreshortened, didn't entirely end. bill buckley went to bed and woke if the next morning with a hand written letter, several payments long, from ronald reagan, further explaining his views on the cp and i other issues related to inflation. so, yes, reagan was the populist, the man of action, he was the politician, but he was also extremely well-informed can he knew what he believed, and he knew why he believed it. and that is just an extremely important and indispensable thing. after reagan leftovers, one factor in the re-evaluation of him and his presidency that took place was the publication of
6:54 pm
reagan's letters and radio scripts and speeches that he had written over a period of decades, and i would argue that these years of writing were perhaps, perhaps as important as his time as an actyear to his plate -- actor to his political success because there's no substitute for writing as a means to spur thought and a means of honing your powers of expression. for better or worse -- i think mostly worse -- mike huckabee was the bust communicator in the field of republican presidential candidates a year ago. not just because he spent so much time preaching at the pulpit but because he had written his own sermons. barack obama, his powers of persuasion are related to his talents as a writer. it was a speech at the jefferson jackson day dinner iowa that really launched his candidacy, and the power of the speech came
6:55 pm
from the fact that he sat down and he wrote it and he thought his argument through from beginning to end. and no other candidate had done that. so, i'm biased as a writer, but i think when the right discovers the next ronald reagan it will be a write ore one who can rate. and point three, the disagreement between reagan and buckley. one famously, of course, over the panama canal, which will buckley was right about. he supported giving the canal back, ronald reagan opposed it. the other over the inf treaty near the end of reagan's president si, and reagan obviously supported and bill opposed, and reagan was right about that. these two disputes tell something about the differing roles of an intellectual and policy. on the canal dispute reagan was
6:56 pm
playing to the crowd. as a nonpolitician, bill buckley had the opportunity to step back and evaluate the issue on its merits. bill opposed giving back the canal until he went to panama and changed his mind. which is something that he had the independence to do that reagan couldn't. and when you read the book and the letters back and forth, it's obvious that bill takes pleasure in having bested reagan in the famous debate they had on the panama canal and a famous firing line episode, but also realizes reagan had the benefit of becoming president of the united states, which he wouldn't have if he had taken bill's position on the candle. on the inf treaty it was ronald reagan would realized that gorbachev was truly a departure and the time had come for the kind of arms control agreements that reagan criticized, and this
6:57 pm
was just a great act of intuition and flexibility on reagan's part, which are essential ingredients to statesmanship. so, in this case you had bill buckley, his intellectual friend, not realizing how much the world has changed and rehearsing the right0s old and typical arguments against this agreement, and it was reagan who realized the world has changed and was correct. point four, very quickly this, book is instructive for us on the right about how to debate each other. in the disagreement over the inf treaty bill wrote a letter apologize fog reagan over a piece that was written that bill thought was totally too harsh because it criticized reagan's intentions and bill notes in the letter, reagan is just playing for the history. just wants a nobel peace prize, and bell says that's never going to appear in the pages of national review because we won't
6:58 pm
question one another's intentions intentions and motives. and in this time of distress for the right, what i think is extremely important and health you for us to have free wheeling internaling -- internal debates, we shouldn't question one another's motives. name-calling is not appropriate or helpful. whether you're calling each other sellouts or everytime intellectual, -- or antiintellectual, and it's important to look to reagan and buck lee for examples of leadership but i warn against suffocating know stall gentleman -- know know know nostalgia. there are new challenges that face us now and as lincoln said, it is time to disenthrall ourselves and think anew, which doesn't mean we can appreciate
6:59 pm
their confidence any less, and over the last year since bill's passing, i've often gone back to the passage i read everytime i talk about bill, and it's a speech that bill gave about gratitude, and i think it's appropriate when we think bat -- back to reagan and buckley and this i what bill said. to fail to experience gratitude when walking through the corridors of the metropolitan museum, when listen to the music of balk or beethoven. when exercising our freedom to speak or give or withhold or assent to is to fail to recognize how much we have received from the great wellsprings of human talent and concern that gave us shakespeare, abraham lincoln, mark twain, our parents, our friends. we need a rebirth of gratitude for those who cared for us living and mostly dead. the high moments of our way of life are their gifts to us. we must remember them in our thoughts, and in our prayers, and in our deeds. thank you very much.
7:00 pm
[applause] >> we have plenty of time for questions. and i'd ask if you could wait for the microphone to come to you and identify yourself before starting to speak. ...
7:01 pm
the principles of ronald reagan, the values of ronald reagan are timeless. but the policies changed because, as rich said, politics changed in the world changed. you have to adapt to it. i think there are some things that were not completed during the reagan years. i think there were some things that he might of tackled but for higher priorities like the soviet and a disastrous economy. i think that you take those things aside and he might have looked at things like the culture in america. ron reagan would have been an extraordinary speaking out about the devastation of the popular culture. he never did. looking back at the anthology of ronald reagan and looking forward into the future to find the next great ronald reagan
7:02 pm
where every might be. many years. an admirer. he is gone in different ways. not your father's gop anymore. and he said, my father is 91 years old. the very high if the gop. miles from here, almost 3,000 a yorkers were murdered. and september 2001. and that is a whole new ball game.
7:03 pm
you know, i can say was that day, but that we can realize this is the rest of my life. this is the new 30 years' war. i will probably not see the end of this. whole new set of challenges and tasks. giving the briefing is now. and sure he had at least some inkling of what's out there. got speed to him, but new things come up. you just have to deal with it. >> i agree about our principles and values are enduring. if you look at the three key elements of conservatism in the market has the best way to allocate capitol, the world as a dangerous place require a tough-minded approach. libri ultimately depends on order and therefore traditional values probably.
7:04 pm
these things, we don't believe these things because they represent the three stools of the conservative movement, we believe these things because they're true. because they're true there will be enduring. different iterations and applications, but these truths are not going away. when people talk about the era of reagan being over, i think that's true because there has been -- it could be true and a disturbing sense because there's been a 25 your consensus basically about the economy. free trade, lower taxes, deregulatory environment. that consensus now is under obviously extreme stress and could be overthrown a paradigm shift. the figure is ultimately associated with them in history.
7:05 pm
as she points out, really the big break between coolidge and hoover arguably as opposed to hoover and fdr. an activist and interventionist in the economy before fdr was. if you look it reagan, deregulation and tax cuts were bubbling up in congress and implemented by carter before reagan took office. and now you see a conservative republican bailing of the auto industry and passing a $700 billion bailout and the financial industry before the liberal democrats actually get into office. [laughter] >> this john and over here.
7:06 pm
>> the when in afghanistan. would you care to guess? would they intend to win a prevail? >> there is this great line. i don't know if we put it in this book. reagan supposedly said to bill clark on the eve of his first election coming here is my idea for the cold war. they lose, we win. then certainly that was reagan's rhetorical and actual stance.
7:07 pm
if you get in a conflict, see it through, prevail. you have to an obviously he should estimate the situation, see what a reasonable goal would be. i think this was where the source of their disagreement about the panama canal and what it would take to prevail there if it ever became of violence trouble and would it be worth it. i think that was bill deciding that we should. you know, probably it even went back before that trip. the buckley family's long history in mexico. at think that was really the background for some of the thinking. the great correspondence for
7:08 pm
years. had to write under an assumed name. end up in the trunk of a car something. but i think their father also had been fond from people. and i think bill brought some of that to the panama situation. so here always judging on the basis of each case that comes out. serious reservations the conversation i had with them, his focus seems to be that he
7:09 pm
did not see the in the games. getting rid of terrorism was a nice thing, but have you do it? he was a very practical man. how are you really going to get it done? when he elected to it but think he liked it less as to how things are being done at the time. yes, i family was very close. just did not know how the fund revolution very well. >> i would say, supporters originally. a very quickly became disillusioned and was skeptical about an attempt to thoroughly remake iraqi political culture and society. now, i paid a lot of attention to what he said to be very uncomfortable editing is
7:10 pm
magazine in disagreeing with him, but the very last column hero expressed tentative support for the search. we were just beginning to really seize the returns on that policy but skeptical. i would think you would be doubly skeptical of succeeding in afghanistan. barack obama ironically is taking on the war that is harder to win without perhaps enough for thought. i think a lot of democrats just said, well, still down afghanistan. just because they had to be in favor of one. they wanted to lose. they had to be in favor of wedding summer. i'm not an expert on afghanistan by any means. a kind of people and rely on to be very well-informed military menace to optimistic in the deaths of the worst moments are quite pessimistic about whether we really have a winning way
7:11 pm
ford in afghanistan. >> yes. if we could get him a microphone. just one second. >> the president today telling republicans to have to stop listening to rush limbaugh. reminded me of you by 25 years ago congressional democrats pretty much telling ronald reagan is get to stop listening to bill buckley. one thought i had about bill and rush, they were personally friendly. the way in which they resemble each other is that each was the master of the media and the master of it. television and radio. it's kind of easier to figure out because he was a dj before restarted doing his political thing.
7:12 pm
he had trading. how bill massive tv was one of those fortuitous intersections. the right man at the right time for television at that moment, and he was just perfect for. you know, you look of some of those old firing lines that he and allen ginsberg or the people that he really hated by william consular, and is just wonderful. so it's a smart an interesting point. the talent and capability which each man has for the particular medium that he chose to work in. bill also of course was a writer and an excellent writer, but the problem, there are more good writers and good tv people actually. writing is dozens of years older, but bill certainly is
7:13 pm
uniquely capable of doing television. >> bill told me the story. a dinner party in stamford and build some, buckley, limbaugh, conrad black and henry kissinger . [laughter] apparently it was in the summer where russia's hearing was starting to fail before the losses terrier altogether. he had been fitted with a hearing aid, but he couldn't seem to get it right all along. all day long he was with his hand under the table fidgeting with the controls trying to get it right. he was assured that he had done the right. so after dinner for his people were saying their goodbyes he approached bill and said, bill, i have to ask you, i've got this
7:14 pm
problem with my hearing of that is come all the sudden. of that this new hearing aid. i've got these controls command had been working and the table trying to get it right now was wondering if the sound level was correct. bill looked at him and pull the his pocket a hearing aid and said, well, i've worked my this late. mine seems to work just fine. >> in mind works better two. working controls. >> this drolen right there. one second. just wait for the microphone please. >> arguably president reagan and bill buckley word to people with great senses of humor. ronald reagan used to get
7:15 pm
together with tip o'neill for drinks and jokes. what was the relationship between the two of them? >> well, it comes out in the book. the book is on sale. bill buckley took on the persona of ronald reagan's secret ambassador. after ronald reagan became president thereafter he addressed bill buckley as demister ambassador in the letters. simultaneously bill buckley created a love affair with nancy reagan. it would read each other about these flirtations and ships there were taking. it was a marvelous sense of humor was going on between these two men. that is one of the most endearing things about the book. >> one of my favorite stories, when he was governor of california in the 60's when
7:16 pm
protests were breaking out at a moment's notice anywhere he went to a meeting at the board of regents for the university of california. students gathered outside, screaming and yelling. taken out the back to avoid the crowd. reagan said, no, i'm going to go right through them. you want to him, got his car, and the students for bang in the car sort of harry, and waved protesters. chanting we are the future. we are the future. supposedly rate in rwanda-mccracken said, welcome in that case osama bonds. [laughter] there were three in pay its
7:17 pm
signs. the first said we built it. it's ours. and thereafter he would constantly teased reagan as to when he would give away eureka now. >> much maligned in the last several weeks, particular supply side economics, lack of government. could you just joe arguments against that? >> it is just the opposite. every republican presidential candidate ran trying to present himself as the most reagan like,
7:18 pm
including john mccain. that's a fact. a second fact, the one issue that mattered. tax cuts. barack obama, not john mccain. he spent $500 million. thus the long and short of his campaign. if you like every other economic reducing the deficit, never it might be, today the american people think the democrats said the conservatives. they she's.
7:19 pm
>> the people, and people are imperfect and have imperfect knowledge. bill buckley loved quoting the aphorism of one of the early editors. the only problem with capitalism as capitalists. the policy meant the bubble worse. dahlia beating greater. restraints, the incentives need to be properly aligned. i was reading the other night about alan greenspan. after the collapse of the soviet union and the privatization of all these soviet industries and privatization with euphemism for theft he said to my used to think that capitalism is human nature. now i realize capitalism is
7:20 pm
culture. capitalism depends on restraint and rules of a certain level. the trick going ahead is going to be putting up proper guardrails for our system and getting incentives properly aligned without throwing out the baby with the bathwater. >> time for a couple more questions. i wonder if you comment on the nature of the particular relationship with the liberal establishment and have evolved over his career. >> i don't -- i am not one to pass judgment but don't recall
7:21 pm
ever hearing from him a personal analyst toward a political foe. as a matter of fact, his brother has a debate which is absolutely correct. never did pay someone you don't respect. and i think he lived that. but i think what happened was that in time true friendships just simply emerged out of it. i don't think there was any kind of concerted plan. it's just in time. you think of the bill buckley of the 1960's. you think of the rapier wit, the attack dog mentality and now he relished it. they give him just kneecapping
7:22 pm
his opposition. think of him in the 70's and 80's. he mellowed some, slowdown some, but i think what also happened was that it became harder to really fight someone with him you have developed a warm that has grown beyond respect. >> many tasks, and one of them was to open the establishment. to make it a place that he could be part of and that other conservatives could be part of. and if you succeed in that to any degree, that's going to affect your role as the summer, the always ready to draw samara fighter. it would just have to.
7:23 pm
it was a complicated life the bill had been read a variety of tasks that he set for a self. you know, succeeding in some had impact on others. what he was saying, bill would always appreciate good writing and he would always appreciate humor. he tried for years to write for the national review. it was endless, just endless. say yes and then he wouldn't do anything. you can write on any subject at any length at any time. you know, completely open-ended. got a couple terrific book reviews by him. he wrote one, there was a review of the book.
7:24 pm
wilford. in his review, it makes me cry every time i read it. it was just glorious. but, you know, both a good writer and also had a wonderful humorous way of looking at the world. so those were also factors have worked on bel. >> to take his point, but the default stereotyped of the right from liberals and the establishment is that we are stupid and hateful. we have seen the stereotype come back with a vengeance of the last year so. the glory of bill buckley is the stereotypes could not be applied to him but because of his talent and his manner, but also because he was one of the establishment.
7:25 pm
a key thing. so i take your point, but it was also a key part of his accomplishment, i believe. >> we have time for one more question. >> the biography of bill which i guess had been in progress for quite a number of years. [laughter] >> as a biographer i would think that has to be such a task. i am told linda bridges would know, but bill's papers weighs seven and a half times. is that the correct figure? at is just how much they weigh. my god. >> well, sam did tell me once that the ark of whitaker
7:26 pm
chambers life was much simpler. i don't know what that meant for is progress on the but the biography. i think we can guess. >> it is sure to be a fascinating book. it is sure to be. maybe one more question. >> just wonderful. his relationship. a quarter-century ago. one of respect. >> i'll ask another question. could the buckley in the reagan exist in today's climate?
7:27 pm
could the message gets through? and i wonder about that. back in their day they had said deal with the likes of walter cronkite and david frost. today it is peak alderman and racial now. i wonder how they would handle it, i truly do. you were allowed to speak in a sound bite or three minutes later before times by commercials. back in their days they could speak for an hour a firing lines and have a conversation and thoroughly explore the subject and flesh it out completely. i wonder if bill would be interested at all in doing anything in the meet today? and no wonder if ronald reagan's message could get through in
7:28 pm
today's media? >> if elected today. i always thought he was very meyer full of this on presentation in his own life. very mindful of the. and whenever he was get that in terms of presenting himself he emphasized. but every was not get that he avoided. and there are certain people who just as politicians and also as he figures, and if you had that at a certain level it also means your adaptable. like water you will find the appropriate mes for yourself. yes, things are worse, but things are always getting worse. does that mean they're worse
7:29 pm
because of its one-third the life of the federalist papers? no, it just means they're different. talented people figure that out. >> such a generous figure. rick talks about water finding in space. it's the amount of space they occupy which is truly incredible at its height, crystal, an extremely important magazine editor was like the most important conservative columnist and the country. like the late tim russert, the most important tv interviewer in the country. he was like rush limbaugh, the most important conservative popularizer in the country. all of that thrown together with the bunch of stuff star on top of it, novelist, a harpsichordist, a sailor, and is just men like this don't come along very often. >> that's a very nice way to end
7:30 pm
our discussion. >> i think you all for coming on behalf of the manhattan institute. thank you. >> you're watching book tv, nonfiction authors and books every weekend on c-span2. >> you're watching book tv on c-span2. here is our prime time lineup for tonight.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on