Skip to main content

tv   Open Phones with Peggy Noonan  CSPAN  December 25, 2015 1:34pm-2:31pm EST

1:34 pm
can't we get the bastards? that was just an honest, straight -- you don't get blunter as a question than that. and the president, to my unhappiness, seemed in response to that to be sort of intellectually weary and frustrated that people don't understand the fabulousness of his strategy, which he keeps explaining, and don't you get it? he was defensive. he was not someone who could explain to you -- there's a great absence when it comes to obama and isis, and it is an absence of how he thinks about isis. not just what to do about it. what your little strategy supposedly is but how should we think about it? how should we view it? what kind of threat is it? how should we be preparing to meet that threat? what are the possibilities? he doesn't speak about any of
1:35 pm
those things, which makes you wonder, my gosh, is he not speaking because he don't know we need to hear from him or is he not speaking because he doesn't actually want to share his thoughts? because he thinks they will be unpopular, which makes everybody uneasy. so we're already uneasy enough with these messy, horrible things, and now there's this -- now there's a president who is acting less like a president than an absent. it does no good. it was very bad leadership the past week. >> we're'll have to leave itself at that. the name of the book, "the time of our lives," peggy noonan. thank you! [inaudible conversations]
1:36 pm
>> peggy noonan, from a column you wrote january 12, 2015, lafayette, we are not here. here are the reasons the president of the united states, or at least the vice president, should have gone yesterday to the paris march and walked shoulder-to-showered with the leaders of the world, to show through his presence that the american people fully understand the import of what happened in the "charlie hebdo" murders, which is that islamist extremist took the lives of free men and women who represented american and western political freedoms, including freedom of speech. that was over a -- nearly a year ago you wrote that column. >> yes. yes. that was a column written in a spirit -- actually i think that was blog post written in a spirit of great indignation. i was very moved after the "charlie hebdo" shooting that
1:37 pm
the west got together and marched in france, the great leaders of the west to say the civilized world protests this barbarian assault on speech freedom, and i thought it was very moving march, and it distressed me greatly as you can see that there was not top level u.s. representation, and so i intended to be stinging when i called the piece, lafayette, we are not here. >> host: could that have been written a week ago? this column. >> guest: no, because this paris atrocity will not be followed, i don't suppose, by a march. the civilized world has already expressed and will express again, i'm sure, how it feels about what is happening.
1:38 pm
my indignation more recently after this parissan event was that it feet that the president has not been a certain trumpet with regard to how america sees this great challenge in the world, and i wish the trumpet were more certain. >> host: there's a debate, maybe just a media debate, but aday bait over -- debate over whether the words radical islamist should be spoken, whether it's important, et cetera. you use them in your column. >> guest: i do and i don't even acknowledge it or consider it a debate. i think it is a debate in the president's mind, and in the mind of -- i think i'm correct in saying, former secretary of state clinton, but everybody in america and in the press names what the problem is. i just don't understand what our
1:39 pm
leaders think they gain by being unclear on this. i think they feel they are not a potentially offending anybody's -- hurting anybody's feelings, but something dish just have a feeling those who are coming up against us in these violent ways do not respect you more if you cannot even define what they are. they say what they are, you know? they quite understand what their own intentions are and their own way of operating is. they tell us about it all the time. >> host: what's the portion in the "time of our lives"? >> guest: the organizing theory was, i have written many columns and essays and commentaries over the years, and i decided to finally sit town and pick out the ones that i liked the most, that speak most to me, that were most important to me, and that i think also speak to the moment
1:40 pm
we're in. so i got a bunch of -- i found that i had kept almost everything had written over the years professionally, and so i hold -- hauled boxes from the back of basements and warehouses and queens, filled my apartment living room with them and went through everything i'd written, made three piles. i love this -- i'm not sure, or, my god, hate this. this one kept growing. i hate this, kept growing, but the -- i -- the, i really like this, pile got large also and we had to fit into it 500 pages. sort of for me at least captured the way i had been thinking and what i'd been writing about and talking about for the past 30 years. >> host: did you put any of the oh, my god, hate this in his book. if i hated it, it didn't make
1:41 pm
the book. >> host: peggy noonan is our guest in miami and there's a myriad of topics we'll talk to her about. we'll put up the phone numbers so you can go ahead and dial in. we'll take the calls in just a little while. i still want to go through some of the columns in the book and get more topics on the table. john meacham has a new book out on president george h.w. bush, somebody you worked with and knew. in 1992, here's what you wrote: as president, mr. bush reverted to his behavior as vice president. he stopped seeing the connection between words and action. he did not communicate. i used to wonder if traumatized by what he saw as the reagan white house's too great attention to the public part of the presidency, to the rose garden backdrops and the come enemy a testify event -- commemorative event, he concluded the public show was not worthy of a sincere and
1:42 pm
honest man. >> guest: i think there was a little to that. i think vice president george h.w. bush watched ronald reagan very closely, and drew a surprising conclusion from president reagan's insistence on going forward, leading in a clear way, putting his emphasis on speaking, after all he didn't invade the soviet union, she just spoke the truth to and about the soviet union. so to reagan, the public part of the presidency was more than symbolic. it was deeply informational and part of his leadership. i think vice president-then bush looked at and it saw it more of the show business part of the presidency, which he didn't relate to. he related to being in the office, talking to our allies, coming to conclusions, being with his aides, and so he was
1:43 pm
less of a public shower of the role of the presidency, and i do think on some level it probably damaged him a little bit. >> host: job meacham has access to george h.w. bush, you have seen some of the quotes. what was your initial reaction to seeing those quotes? kind of trashing his son's -- some of his appointees. >> guest: i had a little bit of a stricter reaction than some people did. my strict reaction was, mr. president, george h.w. bush, i wish you would have shared your thoughts and views on all of this earlier than you did. i'm sure he felt that he could not, that it was simply too personal on a family affair, but it was also an american affair. wouldn't have been bad for us to hear what your real views were. during your son's presidency, and that certainly would have unleashed a lot of debate. >> host: well, i'm sure our viewers will want to talk about
1:44 pm
presidential politics 2015-2016 style itch want to get a couple more issues on the table before we good to calls. this is from august 16, 2013, "the wall street journal," what we lose if we give up privacy i the name of the column, something we're talking about again today. privacy is connected to personhood. it has to do with intimate thursday, the innardses of your head and heart, workings on our mind, and the boundary between those things and the world outside. loss of the expectation of privacy in communications is a loss of something personal and intimate and it will have broader implications. >> guest: yeah. one of the thinks i know was on my mind when i wrote that and that i think of as i hear the words in a way i was talking in part to the generation of this in their teens and 20s, who have so much less of a sense of
1:45 pm
privacy and of their own dignity, of their open stature and apartness as individual human beings from the other human beings. they give up a lot about themselves on facebook and here and there. they share a lot of their lives. they say things. they parrot that saying from the past few years, privacy is dead, get over it. privacy should never be dead. privacy is what you have a right to in part as a human being, as an individual soul, living in this world. so it's a great concern that i've had and certainly at that time in 2013, it was connected also to the revelations with regard to what your own government could do to you with regard to privacy. i took a very skeptical look at the idea that all of those in government, at all times, are circumspect and respectful and don't go too far. when they have all of these
1:46 pm
capabilities to find out what you're thinking, saying and doing. so i bring a certain liberty loving privacy -- privacy-protecting spirit to the whole issue. >> host: peggy noon unanimous is hormes, the phone number is 202-748-8200 on the east and central time zone. 748-8201 for those in the mountain and pacific. now, if you want to send ms. noonan a text message, you can do that as well. if you can't get through on the phone lines. >> host: for those who don't know you, who may see you on morning joe or something, or see your column on saturdays in "the wall street journal," where didout -- did you get your
1:47 pm
start? when did you start writing? how did you become a write center. >> guest: it's funny. we were talking about that at the miami book fair earlier today. i love this book fair. so many young people, all sorts of americans, all cared about books, all lining up to get in to hear authors, authors are not necessarily used to people lining up to get to hear them. and lining for autographed books so really delightful. i was asked how i became a writer. i was asked actually how i knew i was a writer and i said since i was in grade school i knew i was a writer. didn't know what kind of writer i would be. that was -- i just didn't know. but i thought, well, maybe i'll become a lawyer, but if i'm a lawyer,'ll be a lawyer writer, and if i am a report, i'll be a report writer. so just -- that was just sort of something that was clear to me. in part because i was a great reader and when you're a great reader as a child, at some point
1:48 pm
it occurs to you-somebody put those sentences in this book. somebody made up this fabulous story that i'm reading. and i think i wanted to be the person who did the sentences and put the paragraphs together and i was very much in love with history and biography as a child, and i think i can remember wanting to write biographies. >> host: how do you get from wanting to do that to becoming a presidential speech writer for ronald reagan? >> guest: well, i went to college -- i was very poor student. sometimes i think i should not say that because it almost encourages people to be poor students when you admit, oh, my god issue was awful, but i was awful. when i got out of high school, i didn't have the kind of grades that could get me into a college. i did not have money, either, so i worked for a few years, went to college at night in rutherford, new jersey, eventually graduated. i studied history and english
1:49 pm
literature. with a minor in journalism. i ran the student newspaper. had a great del of fun doing that. thought i might be a columnist some day. so that happened. who knew. got out of school in the mid '70s, america was in a recession. i tried hard to get jobs in various places, couldn't get them. but i heard about an opening in boston, massachusetts, at a little radio station -- actually not so little but a somewhat modest radio station that was inventing something new called all-news radio, and the think they needed immediately was writers to write the overnight, all-news radio shows, and i went and auditioned and got the job. >> host: again. >> ta-da. >> host: get us to the reagan white house. >> guest: oh, sorry. that took me to cbs news in new york, where i was a news writer, and where i also did interviews of people, and took the sound on the air.
1:50 pm
i produced shows. i wound up after a few years writing dan rather's radio show. he was just taking the place of walter cronkite as the anchor at cbs, so i became his daily radio writer. i had become along the way more and more -- since maybe high school and college and years afterwards i was becoming a politically conservative, and identifying as a conservative, which was a surprising thing. i came from a nice working class liberal democratic family. to make this short, the white house heard about me for various reasons. i, who ran the speech writing department, called me up one day at cbs and said if you're ever near washington, come by, knock on my door. i totally said, i'm coming to washington tomorrow. he laughed in my face and said, then come by my door. and they -- i told the white
1:51 pm
house, all i want to do is be a speech writer for ronald reagan. i want to help them. i want too work for him, and ail can do is write. so that's what i'd like to be, and they put me through my paces for a few months, looked through everything i'd ever written to make sure i'd never -- for dan rather or anybody else, denunciation of reagan. they had me write make-believe speeches for the president. the guy who hired me said go write 20 minute speech. i said on what? he said, you figure it out. so i had to work very hard to get that job. got offered the job, and took it, and went down to washington, dc in 1984, early in 1984, knowing no one. as i look back at my life, one of the things that didn't astonish me at the time but astonishes me now is, wow, left an entire career, started something new, and did it in a town that i did not know, did not understand, and where i didn't know a soul.
1:52 pm
that was daring. so, i didn't think it at the time. didn't strike me as daring. struck me as, oh, this is wonderful, just great, and this will all work out. it will be okay. >> host: one more quote from your book on being a political conservative member of the media. from your book. i if you're a conservative you're considered by other conservatives, rightly, to be part of a minority within the mainstream press and you never let down your minority group. what if you have an opinion that is against the grain or surprising? readers may not like it you let down the team, you're a coward. that's from the introduction. >> guest: yeah. it's a little bit complicated. i feel free, as a writer and as a person who shares her opinions for a living, i feel completely free to knock the heck out of
1:53 pm
the republican party, a republican candidate, the democratic party, a democratic candidate, but that will be a frustration for certain republicans and republican candidates, and conservatives sometimes, who feel that you ought to stick with your side. my feeling about what i do for a living, which is write a column, is that you have to try to look with clean eyes to the extent that you can, as clearly at the world around you and what is happening as possible, and you have to call it as you see it, and you have to give your view. you're no good if you don't do it that way. just won't work. so there are columnists and we can probably think of a number of them -- who are liberals and see no enemies to the left, who conservatives and see no enemies to the right. who never declare a position or a viewpoint so you can discern
1:54 pm
it in time. there's all sorts of ways to do what i do, but my way is simply, do your best, tell the truth to the extent that you can see the truth, and then duck. off know what i mean? people are going to throw things at you because you have thrown a few things at hem. so now and then i've had to duck under the desk in my office, but so what. >> host: your column publishes every says, "wall street journal," by 8 amt this morning, it had already been posted on 3,225 facebook pages. at that point. is it a grind? and do you get a lot of attention for that column? , it a grind write the column. >> host: on a week live -- week live basis, yes sunny will tell you it's always on my mind. i've wherein writing the column for 15 years. i was asked to write it in an almost light-heard way in the year 2000 by bob bartley, who
1:55 pm
ran the editorial page of "the wall street journal." he called me up and said we've got this thing called the internet and we're going to put up a "wall street journal" page on the internet. would you like to be a columnist? i said, sure. i did not know it would be as consuming as it was. i died not know it would become as deeply important to me as it became. and it became a passion, and it just strikes me as funny and ironic and typical of life that this big thing for me began so lightly, neither of us, neither bob nor i understood the implications. it's very much a labor of love but sometimes love is hard. >> host: peggy noonan is our guest. now it's your turn, and mark in new york city you have been very point go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: hi, peggy. it's a pleasure to get to seek to you today. i've enjoyed your column. thank you. and.
1:56 pm
>> guest: hello. >> caller: i wanted -- i wanted to -- can you hear me? >> guest: yes, i, a. i'm sorry. i'm adjusting my ear piece if hear you fine. >> thank you very much. a couple of things, i'm concerned about the republican and conservatives in well in relation to debating democrats, seem to take a argument to a gun fight and the ten pitness -- tendness and nobility -- is a concern because of the vicious nature of opponents. i'm toured of losing, and the other thing in terms of educational system in the country over the last 30 years, k through 12 and colleges, the an tippi toward -- antipathy forwards america, the incull indication of leftist professors with absolutely no input for the students from any conservative thought or thinking, has created
1:57 pm
a foundation in the country that seems impenetrable by even the most brilliant conservative argument when trying to win an election given they fact that for 20 years all they've heard and been inculcated into, is antiamerican thought and also the media -- >> host: mark, i think we got a lot there for peggy noonan to react to. >> guest: yeah. >> host: go ahead. >> guest: mark, thank you for that. the educational part, i think something that is going on right now in america that is important and that is opened a lot of our eyes is the college protest movement that has been going on in places like famously in miss sue and -- mizzou and really and dartmouth. i think these young people -- i always say this but i mean it -- when i was 20 i was an idiot and always sort of wanted to defend anybody who is 20, and give them
1:58 pm
some space to be an idiot. that having been said, these young people, it seems to me, are part of a serious censorship movement within academia in america. within our great universities, which ideas and thoughts and language and words and the provocations of a different idea, where all those things could be comfortable in our great universities, and these young people, it seems to me, are against -- by being part of a rein her toship movement they're in effect -- censorship movement they're in effect part of an antifirst amendment, antifree speech movement, and i cannot help but think that they would not be like that if they had been taught accurately, adequately, even stirringly, of
1:59 pm
american history, how america came together, what arrangement this founding generation decided were very necessary, why the first amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion, was not like the 114th amendment but the first amendment. it was not an afterthought to the founders. it was primary to them. if you know these things and if you have been taught to have a just appreciation for the events of 1770 to 1800 to the beginnings of our nation, then you will not blightly be part of a censorship movement and an antifirst amendments movement. that these young people are going to great schools, tells me that it has been judged they got wonderful grades and marks that other grade schools and i got to wonder what kind of grade schools they were to produce some young people who look more
2:00 pm
like jacobians than honest inquiry students trying to learn things. that's one. the second thing on your point on the republicans, i worried this year that the 2016 cycle would turn into a bloody fight on one side versus a boring fight on the other, and sometimes when it's bloody versus boring, people will kind of think boring is better than bloody. look, the republicans inescape blue are fight about ideas and stands and different conceptions of what conservatism is. here's what i think is the most important thing happening on the republican side this year. i'll try to say it quickly. in 1976 to 1980, ronald reagan and gerald ford had an epic clash over one question, and
2:01 pm
that question was, will the republican party be a conservative party? or will it continue as a moderate liberal conservativish republican party, gerald ford party. reagan, by winning fabulously impressive landslide in '80 and a bigger slappedslide, 49 states in '84, answered the questions for the republican party. the republican part will be a conservative party. what think is happening now, in the 2016 cycle, is that republicans are, with a certain inevitability, trying to answer the question, okay, we're a conservative party. what does conservative mean? what does that mean with regard to how we deal with the entitlements? is a conservative someone who says, my goodness, the entitlements will bankrupt our children, we have to cut that,
2:02 pm
get control of that, or is it a conservative someone who says a deal is a deal. the american people paid into the programs with a promise. we have to keep our promises. there's a number of ways to answer that question on only the entitlements. foreign affairs also. what it's conservative. the party is fight through the things. i think the fight is launched in 2016, mr. trump helped launch it. it may be fought for a long time but at the end of the day, politics is the arena in which these questions must be fought out. i respect the republicans for fighting them out, and it makes me think a little less of the democrats that they are having a far less vigorous debate with a far smaller number of people on the stage and a core -- coronation looking inevitable.
2:03 pm
it looks democratic small d and large d. >> host: do you know trump? >> guest: i met him once to my memory. i remember meeting him at a very large awards dinner of some sort. and he seemed exactly like a real estate developer. like a colorful new yorker. i have a sense with trump that he really ought to be running for mayor of new york, you know? doesn't that sound right? bill de blasio is the mayor right now, not the most popular person in the city or the world, and what republicans need is a self-funding, colorful, definitive character as big as the city of new york, so that i kind of think that would be a lovely thing if he did that. >> host: the name of peggy's book is "the time of our lives."
2:04 pm
david in florida, you're on with peggy noonan. >> caller: good even, peter, and thank you for c-span. >> host: hi. >> caller: miss noonan, i have followed your career ever since i saw that article about you in "esquire magazine" while you war speech writer for president reagan and you never failed -- never fail but to just write the best. you never disappoint. i still remember these -- >> guest: thank you. i thought you were saying the opposite. >> caller: i thought i was about to also? i'm sorry. >> i stopped myself. i stopped myself. these are the men of point to read my lips, and it's just
2:05 pm
great, speaking to you and also great that finally the miami book fair has a nonliberal author speaking. i didn't see you this morning, but i'm glad to see that you were given a speaking spot at the miami book fair. so, thank you very much. >> guest: i had a lot of fun. the audience was funny and delightful. >> host: you are one of the few conservative authors down here, though? thanks, david. >> guest: will he have a question? >> host: no. i think you just -- he was pretty well done. >> guest: very nice of him. very nice and generous of him to call. i'm sorry, i'm not sure what you asked. >> host: you're one of the few conservative author invited to the miami book fair. >> guest: i had no idea. is that so? i think perhaps there should be more conservative authors at the miami book fair. i hadn't noticed.
2:06 pm
you know, i am very big on everybody -- well, i'm big on the first amendment, free speech, and everybody jump into the pool. i like it when people declare what their thoughts are and where they stand, and i think it makes life more fun and more vivid and i like debate. i like to watch debate. i don't necessarily like to do it but i like it when everybody is vigorously doing a to and fro. i think i will speak to them and say we need more conservatives next year. >> host: mike texts to you: has your opinion of president obama changed over the last seven years? if so, why? >> guest: it has. i hope but also thought that president obama, when he came into the white house, would have a judgment of the american
2:07 pm
people that would be -- they're very divided. a lot of political division here. i'm going to try to hold this thing together with both hands. it was disturbing for me, it was disheartening for me, when, at two points fairly early on in the first year in his presidency, two things happened. one is that he passed a budget without any republican support, more fatally, not in the first year but i think perhaps the second year of his administration, he put through obamacare as it is called, without a single republican vote. both of these things were very bad. every president of my lifetime has known that any major american initiative, especially a new initiative like obama cad, needs to have -- own kaz, needs to have at least the appearance of bipartisan support. you got have some of them.
2:08 pm
and you got to make very tough, sometimes painful compromises, to get the other side to come with you, but i argue the president could have done that. it seems to me the obama white house got carried away with this idea. i may be wrong about this, misjudging it. the obama white house got carried away with this idea that the republicans are intransgent, hate them. want to kill them, and will never give them an inch. and they based that feeling on a goofy phone call that mitch mcconnell apparently had, i think it was phone call in which he reportedly -- and i think believably -- said to his supporters, well, our number one as a republicans -- our number one priority now is to defeat this president. i had been in washington long enough but also had read enough books and read enough history to
2:09 pm
know that all losing parties say that about the new president. every time there is a new president. that's how they talk. that the tough-guy talk of politics. reagan, the democrats were going to take him down he was trying to starve the children, he was a dunce and an imbecile. that's what it was like when reagan came in from the democrats. eventually you can make a deal. you make that deal in part by becoming very popular and supported by the american people, as obama in the beginning, was, and having confidence to reach out and say, buddy, i know you're in the other party but what do you need to make a deal with me? i'm going to make it help happen. i need the american people to know we can function together. this is not a divided country. it is not hopeless. you have to be sophisticated and know you need the other party to make a good of it. when he did not know that, or perhaps knew it but didn't do it
2:10 pm
anyway, i was disappointed and thought, oh, bad stuff will follow this. it's a central insight to know you need the other party. even if you only have a dozen of them or 22 of them. you need some of them. >> host: and from your column, what america thinks about iraq, in 2014: he is out of his depth. amazingly he radiates a sense that he isn't all that invested, he doesn't drag himself to in golf course to get a break and maintain balance but plays golf because at the end of the day, iraq, like other problems, challenges and scandals isn't making him bleed inside. that's from peggy noonan's knew book. "the time of our lives" and kathy in oak park, illinois, you have been so patient. we're listening. you're on booktv. >> caller: hi. i'm glad to be talking to both of you. i have been watching you almost all day. i have to describe whoa i --
2:11 pm
whoa i am. i was born and raised in jordan. i am palestinian. and i am christian. and what i see right now does disturb me very, very much. my ancestors escaped from turkey because -- so that -- for their religion. however, i feel that christianity was hijacked here in the '80s and now i see the same thing is happening with islam. even king abdullah came out and said that what is happening right now with isis -- he identified that isis is a huge problem, so we have to address that they are radicals, and, yet i think a lot of people here are afraid, identify them as such, and i feel that sometimes they wear kid gloves, they're afraid to -- say the same thing about
2:12 pm
race and i don't understand that. i thought in the u.s. that you should be open, be able to see things and speak out, and i don't buy it, and that was is supposed to be so great about the u.s. so, in the struggle between the democrats and the republicans, i think that we all wish for the same thing, and it surprises me how we got to this point, from 1968 to now, it's -- i see we have regressed and i don't understand when religion is brought up in so many occasions. we should be just away from that. and i just don't understand it -- >> all right, cathy, let's leave it there and get a response from peggy noonan. >> guest: i guess there's a lot of different angles to the question. i not only like it when people sort of fight it out some thrash it through in terms of politics, but it's fine with me when everybody talks about religion and faith and the place of
2:13 pm
religious faith in our political life and our life as a nation. i mean, america has always been a religious country, a country full of people going to churches and synagogues and also ironically a country that in the past was so easy-going about atheism and agnosticism. you didn't have to do anything but you were allowed to do everything in america is my view of it. if you -- i wasn't sure if you were protesting too much of a place for -- i don't know if you were protesting that religion has too much of a place in american life or that people speak too timidly about religion and other things. that gets me back, guess to the
2:14 pm
first amendment preoccupation that i have and my dislike for an air of political correctness that has made everybody so nervous about how they might say the wrong thing. most people aren't running around as linguists linguists aw chomsky and intel electric -- intellectual what know the right way to say thingsful most people are just doing their best to express their thoughts and sometimes will do i walkedly ore inelegantly or even in a way that hurts somebody else. we have to allow each other the room. the political correctness movement we see that's been cropping up for 25 years, and has become more radical in that time, isn't helping us understand each other better and isn't helping us resolve our conflicts. its only making us more inhibited and therefore more resentful.
2:15 pm
>> host: this is mike portland med via text. now that we he perspective on reagan's presidency, do you think it was the beginning of the end of the american middle class and the beginning of ill-advised wars for oil overseas? i do. >> guest: no, i don't. i got into a lovely twitter exchange the other day with somebody -- somebody was in an indignant mood and a little angry and said, oh, that reagan, the war monger this and that what an empty suit. and i said, really? okay. well, defeated the soviet union, restored the american economy, helped bring back the u.s. military, lowered taxes, america is back as they said in those days. if that is an empty suit, then,
2:16 pm
fine, more empty suits for a president. i don't think, to be more specific, that mr. reagan's conservatism is rightly understood to be a conservatism that says, let's invade the middle east and get their oil. reagan used words. margaret thatcher said he marshaled the english language and sent out to fight for us hitch used words to beat back tyranny and to shame insufficient governments, but he was also, i think, very much a realist about the impesks of man and the imperfections of the government's man. he was not a dreamy character about human nature or about human institutions. >> host: what are some of the word head used that you take credit for or can take credit for? >> guest: i worked with him on
2:17 pm
various speeches that in retrospect i felt, i'm glad i was there and i'm glad i was working on that. but you know, the closest i ever worked with him on a speech was on his farewell address, and we had a series of meetings about it and i had in effect a series of interviews with the president in which i said, tell me what you think are the most major accomplishments. what needs to be accomplished. where are we as a country? and as i look back and go over some of the notes that i had towards putting together of that speech, it resonates for me. it speaks to the present, actually. i would tell everybody, go back and watch the farewell. he said some things, i think implicitly even about political correctness and its inability to transmit the real beauty of the american story. >> host: john in orlando,
2:18 pm
florida, you are on with peggy noonan. we're talking to her about her newest book "the time of our lives." >> caller: good evening. my wife and i really appreciate all you have done over the years. we love your column. full of clarity and understanding. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: thank you for all you have done. >> guest: thank you, sir. is that all? that was so nice. >> caller: i do have a question. >> guest: yes, sir. >> caller: as an author of a number one best-selling climate book called "dark winter," also a conservative book, i want to ask about the president, center kerry and bernie sanders series that climate change is the number one problem in the world, especially in view of your other
2:19 pm
excellent article for this saturday's "wall street journal," where you talk about some very obvious perilous times as you call them. are they -- >> guest: i understand -- >> caller: -- is there something more important? >> host: thank you, john. >> guest: i take it an almost strangely practical view here, i think. i understand the progressive left's interest in and preoccupation with the issue of climate change, which they used to call global warming. i understand it. we all have things we worry about. i understand that they are serious. i understand that there is scientific data they use, believe in deploy to forward the point of their concern even as conservatives have the information that they find more reliable, and others find
2:20 pm
information and arguments that they find more compelling. i understand that but just put the whole issue aside for a second. there are immediate real specific, concrete, coming dangers in the world we live in right now, and i would say briefly that when something like paris happens, when the regular folks of europe on the street in europe, and regular folks on the streets in the united states, look at this particular incident, they have to -- they -- i believe they are sort of starting to say to themselves, you know what? the headline here is, this isn't going to stop. violent radical extremist jihaddism isn't going to stop. it's going to happen in more places. we have to deal with it. it's concentrate on that and
2:21 pm
focus on that. i believe that is how people are thinking now. i agree with them. it is also how i am thinking. when people are thinking there are some immediate things that are a frightening through o threat ahead of them and their leaders come forward and speak after paris, of climate change, as the big issue, that leader who does that will sound like he is presidentling, rattling around in his own world, not aworry how other people are experiencing the world and not aware of how other people are feeling, including what they are fearing. so just seems to me there are immediate issues we ought to be dealing with. climate change as a debate will continue for a long time but what to do about isis seems to me quite pressing. >> host: tom is in st. petersburg.
2:22 pm
we have a few more minutes left with our guest, peggy noonan. that last caller was from orlando and you're doing a book sinning there tomorrow can correct? >> guest: yes, i am, and i'm very excited about and it my friend over here knows exactly what time it take place and i don't but i believe it's in the afternoon and i believe it's at 1:00 p.m. in orlando. >> host: at the barnes & noble in orlando. =y sir. aren't you good. >> host: prior to that the villages on the way up. >> guest: , which i'm excited about seeing. it's a myth thick place in american politics. >> host: at the villages in florida tomorrow morning, and orlando in the afternoon in case you happen to be in the area, and tom is calling from st. pete, florida go ahead, tom. >> caller: peggy, it was nice to hear you talk about reagan there. were you doing speeches for him when he was discussing the hiv
2:23 pm
and aids epidemic, and then i hard you mention the university of missouri do you think you could relate to those 100 or 200 black students who feel that the police want to harm them every day they come outside? and i'll hang up and listen to your answer, thank you. >> guest: i am sympathetic to everybody in america who is going through a hard time or who has had a hard time or feels that a hard time is coming for no reason other than race, gender, ethnicity. i understand that. but you cannot stop a great university over your issue. you can ask for sympathy and ask for a fair hearing and ask for an airing, but you should not lapse into a sort of bullying attitude. you should not do any sort of
2:24 pm
harassment on your own, especially if you yourself feel harassed. so, i must tell you, i think life is difficult for everybody, and i can't help but think a sympathetic hearing of everybody, but a sympathetic asking for a hearing is much more helpful than the kind of thing we're seeing, and i also don't like movements that tell americans, you can't think things or say things and you must do it my way. it's not good, and it will not succeed. i am very sympathetic, that having been said to those in america who are black and who have felt for a long time that they are under special scrutiny. there's the phrase, driving
2:25 pm
while black, that a young black man riding around in a car, innocently, may have be pull over by a cop because a cop is suspicious of him. i understand this. i'm sympathetic but but shouldn't result in a movement that is aggressive some -- and that is hostile to free speech. i can't remember what the -- >> host: the fact that a lot of people say that ronald reagan and perhaps it's true -- did not mention aids during his administration until the very end, even though the epidemic started during his administration. i think that's where our friend was going. >> guest: i don't actually know if that is true. it is often -- it is sometimes people point a finger at the reagan administration and say, hiv aids is their fault because they didn't do enough. i'm sure not enough was done but
2:26 pm
you have to sympathetically understand also that, a., beyond governmental incompetence, which is always a factor in things like this, it is hard sometimes for people to understand what the heck is going on, and if it took ronald reagan a while to fully understand, then it took thyme whale to -- took him a while to fully understand 0. >> host: do we project too much on our presidents? yes, we do. >> host: help me with that. that wasn't a very good question. >> guest: we expect too much and we make the presidency to magical. it is easy when you write or cover politics in america -- it's the easy path to obsess on the president, to talk endlessly about his powers. his authority, his history, his background, his personality, his character. >> host: his economy. >> guest: his economy. his everything.
2:27 pm
his tendency to say, i created five million jobs. you didn't create one job. the american people did it. you either took steps that made it easier or harder for though do it. we are too obsessed with the presidency and with the office of the executive. we ought to be a more, pay attention to congress country, and we should not be -- there's something not quite in line with the founders' thinking about america that we so defy and also damn presidents. they get way too much attention. they're way too much in our faces. they way too much dominate the age. they all good in there wanting it to be called the obama era or the bush era. if they come through your town, i have literally seen presidential motor candidates go from -- motor candidates go from ten cars to 20 cars to now 100 cars and like 14 ambulances and a fire truck and a priest. you know what i sunshine they
2:28 pm
bring everybody with them and stop traffic. they're treated like great kings. louis 14th would be amazed at the aura and attending stuff around a president. we treat them like they're the emperor of china, and the occupant of the peacock throne. we're cared -- we're carried away. >> host: last call from jim in cooperstown, new york. jim, you're on booktv. we are listening. >> caller: hi, peggy. i was reading your column this afternoon, at cassidy's diner richfield springs and i had no idea i'd be talking to you this evening and i'm delighted. >> guest: hey. what a country. >> caller: yes. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: very interesting -- >> guest: very interesting what? >> caller: formulation that people consider reagan
2:29 pm
optimistic. you said that in fact he was confident and that allowed the rest of to us be optimistic. to take that a step further could you rethink the obama administration and how it would have been different if in fact that confidence had been there and what does that formulation mean for the next president? how should that be applied? thank you. >> guest: well, it's interesting -- thank you very much for that question. i wanted to talk about -- theirs two parts of the talking -- there's two parts about the talking about reagan is interesting. one is reagan nostalgia when happened in the 2000's one round started to think, my god, this isn't working. when is the last time we had a successful presidency it? was him. that was the beginning of reagan nostalgia. i found on this book tour when i've been talking to so many people, been out in public a lot, not at home doing my work, i found that people kept
2:30 pm
characterizing reagan another optimistic, so great, that was the sewers of his greatness and i say, no, actually, i don't think he was that optimistic. he was a sunny natured person but not sentimental or childish about human nature or human institutions. ...


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on