tv Michael Smerconish Clowns to the Left of Me Jokers to the Right CSPAN July 29, 2018 7:30am-8:01am EDT
brother or sister isseriously ill. what you can do to make that process go better. and i started in on that and i think it's going to be great to finish . >> send us your summer reading list at instagram or facebook. book tv on c-span2, television for serious readers. >> ladies and gentlemen, i was -- i was for the iraq invasion but i am against the cuban embargo. i've supported capital punishment but i think
there's too much lightning in hockey. i was for profiling at airports post 9/11 and i supported interrogation conservative stuff but i believe in the legalization of pot and prostitution. i want to end the sat, this elastic aptitude test but i think we need to continue teaching cursive writing two high school students. i'm for breaking up pennsylvania's date monopoly on the sale of alcohol but i'd like to see the u.s. treasury discontinue the manufacture of the copper penny . those are all my opinions. or at least they were at one time as expressed in columns that i've written. maybe at this point i should be saying i should approve this message. but it's hard to classify,
don't you think? and yet itexplains the title of the book i'm launching today, clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right . yes, i borrowed with permission 1972 steelerswheel hit song that is also the opening every hour for my serious xm radio program. i should point out i'm not making a penny , copper or otherwise on this project . i'm thrilled that all proceeds will benefit the children's crisis research center which provides postal services to kids who are the victim of trauma unethical cause all of you are supporting by being here today. >> my wife lavinia who is here has been on the ccpc board tonight, i applaud her work and the work of everybody else involved in that cause. so the book is a collection of 100 of what i consider to be my more memorable columns
published from the 1047 by my count of the philadelphia daily news andinquirer between 2001 and 2016 . i am grateful to the daily news and inquirer for giving me permission to publish this work and i am very grateful to templeuniversity press, now that you see it, they did a spectacular job . thank you inquirer, thank you daily news. i have added a fresh afterword for each one of those hundred columns in the book and i have recorded both the columns and the afterwards for release by audible which comes out friday. look out, if my radio producer ever releases the outtake reel i will be done. i remember being so honored in 2001 when zach solberg first offered me a column the
news and likewise years later when brian tierneyinvited me to come over to the philadelphia inquirer . i majored in government and journalism though it felt like a natural calling for me. i also remember the newspaper having fun at the expense of my last name the time of launch itch i think was a play on mcdonald's you want that supersized. getting a column however was actually not the first time that i wrote for the philadelphia daily news and do some things that i'd forgotten until i climbed through the archives of the newspapers is that back in 1985, at the conclusion of my first year of law school at penn, i published an essay in the daily news under the headline america offers opportunity to those who work . in the book i revisit that essay like i revisit everything else that i publish. you might be interested to
know that i take issue with some of what i wrote even back in 1985. i still think america is a land of opportunity but luck has a lot to do with the equation. that was a lot of fun for me, exploring opinions, revisiting them and determining which i thought the test of time. i joined immediately after september 11 and the events of 9/11 occupy more of my time in the ensuing 15 years than any other singular event . my very first column argued rudy giuliani was well suited to be the nations secretary of homeland security. i now disagree with that opinion having nothing to do with his representation of the president but but in recognition of the fact i thought tom riggs was hell of a secretary and ourown governor in pennsylvania to boot . writing a column i learned is more difficult than you might think when you spend a couple minutes quickly reading the end product. my work on radio and television tends to be more
free-flowing, organic, extemporaneous but writing a column has forced me to be more deliberative and in reflecting on 15 years worth of columns, here's what i've come to recognize. i have been right, i have been wrong, mostly i have been fortunate and some of things i've nailed it. i wanted us to invade the sovereignty of pakistan long before we knew bin laden was hiding there. i called duke from the get-go. in 2012 i wrote chris christie better run for president quickly or he will flame out and that was before bridging . there's been plenty i've gotten wrong. i once entertained a conspiracy theory about the bombing of the morrow building in new york city. i was convinced they had
support from the iraqis. my first reaction to the citizens united case was positive. and ladies and gentlemen, i said many times in print, radio and television donald trump would never run, much less win the presidency of the united states. here's something about writing a weekly column. you have to weigh in on everything. women and what their tattoos to say,what to build at ground zero,kids in their trophies , scandal at church . even the zoo balloon. i was never a fan. too many delays attributable to the balloon. the boy scouts, carry shiloh's end-of-life. summer jobs. permitting the barnes foundation to move into the city and what's the best location for the rizzo statue. i've weighed in onall of it and there are some things i have no idea what i was thinking . what does that even mean?
i once took umbrage with a move to make the miss america pageant more about scholarship than beauty. long before the era of me too i may or may not have written these words. if the patent wants to become a televised mensa meeting, that's their choice but i have a hunch america wouldn't mind more of an old-fashioned beauty pageant, bring back a busty baton twirler. until then burke parks will continue to roll over in his grave. sometimes i had the privilege of breaking news. i was honored when the father of a fallen marine asked me totell his true family story . this is lance corporal matthew snyder. he died in 2006 in operation iraqi freedom. i remember this after matthew died, members of the
so-called westborough baptist church showed up at his funeral holding despicable signs saying things like god hates fags. his father out snyder had to endure those thoughts while burying his son and maintaining a secret of his own and that is that now he is gay, a fact known to his now deceased son. he kept that secret all the while he fought through the supreme court of the united states against westborough baptist and i felt humbled that he allowed me to tell that story. this is how with his then partner walt, the two sat together at the supreme court of the united states while that debate was argued.walt passed soon after. my friend out snyder is here tonight, there he is.thank you for allowing me to tell the story. i really appreciate it. like i said, right, wrong and
fortunate. right place, right time. sometimes i even felt for us to go and there were many back stories that never made their way into print. i was fortunate in january 2002 to accompany senator arlen specter to cuba for a meeting he was having with fidel castro. my observations from that trip were a week long daily news feature that began with a cover story. look carefully and i think chain inspector gets the photo credit. who would have thought? you missed your calling. castro may have served me my first movie but we argued about world events and what i most remember is not published in the daily news. at the end of the night knowing that i'm a cigar smoker he presented me with a box of my favorites which at the time were trinidad and then he signed the top of the box. when i got home i showed it
to my wife. lavinia was ecstatic, i couldn't understand why and he said the kids school option is coming up, this will be fabulous. i had to explain to her that it was then the most valuable item in my estate and probablystill is . i conducted president barack obama's radio interview from the white house. that was great column fodder. i've been promised 30 minutes one-on-one and my radio interview would be televised live on fox. many suggested questions that i should ask of the president i thought i prepared for every eventuality i overlooked one. that is that the president of the united states would arrive early, putting me in the position of having to make small talk because as we say you don't want to leave it in the locker room. i reflected on the fact that the night before at family dinner one of the boys, and all three of them are here
tonight dad, make sure you ask the president about the book of secrets and i said remind me. you know dad, when a president gets elected he gets the desk and the book of secrets which explains who killed kennedy, what's in area 51 and did we land on the moon? i said i'll try to work it in and i don't know that i have the opportunity. the president sits down, i say mister president, what's in the book of secrets and he responds i'd tell you but i'd have to kill you. the interview then proceeds and i achieved my purpose. i did not create any youtube moments. at home with my head held high that i could not wait to see after 30 minutes of substantive dialogue with the president of the united states what will the print coverage be like? the associated press had
somebody in the room the whole time and here was their headline. obama mom on book of secrets and that was the account totality of what they wrote about that encounter. election night 2016, spent nine hours on the nn set as a panelist with anderson cooper . 13 million americans watched us. that's more than the ford bronco chase, more than michael jackson's acquittal and the campaign ended, i joked with sean spicer that i had gotten him his job as white house press secretary and he knew what i spoke because we often sparred on saturday mornings and i knew and could document the presidents having watched those episodes. that's why it was interesting that on a friday morning, 9 am, about one year ago, spicer invited me into the white house to visit him in the west wing or an off the record conversation. i remember upon entering his
office he made it clear that 10 am he had an appointment with the president of the unitedstates . we had a pleasant conversation. i knew it was time to leave when tara huckabee centers hoped her head into the room, extended readings, left and by the time i got back to my hotel, there was breaking news, legitimate breaking news that sean spicer and either just been fired or he quit, meaning that i was the last appointment he had in the white house. get more good column fodder. a year ago i conducted bill cosby's only pretrial media interview before trial number one. the interview generated huge attention. the biggest revelation media picked up on and i wrote about was the fact that bill cosby revealed to me he would not take the stand in his own defense which turned out to be true but more interesting
and not revealed in the column was what happened before the interview. the invitation to interview cosby had come out of the blue when one day i was standing in a cvs line to pick up a prescription for my father so when the call came in i explained to his pr flat i couldn't speak because i was picking up a prescription for dad. there were two people at the other end ofthe line . bill cosby and his public relations person. cosby wishing to ingratiate himself to me began to lecture me on how to properly medicate someone who's older. consider the irony, he was about to go on trial. you'll be interested to know that doctor huxtable is a fan of oatmeal traffic remedies or so he told me. many celebrity moments have been column worthy and i have most enjoy writing about characters, many from philadelphia and when i use it it's a term of endearment
and i enjoyed writing about plain old everyday folks like my friend stephen singer who i don't hate and together, selling never forget, 9/11 never forget pins one at a time we've raised 500,000+ dollars for 9/11 charities. that is stephen presenting a check to ellen sarah cini who is the widow of victor, the captain of united flight 175 and i'm thrilled that you are here tonight. thank you so much for being here. i feel the same way. he was here earlier but he had to leave. my broadcast mentor larry kane in miami as a cover reporter with the beatles on their first tour of the united states. my favorite part of thestory,
larry had to be coaxed into making the trip . you know how long we have known each other? we've known each other so long i was in high school delivering chlorine to his house as a summer job. i'm the guy on the right. it has been such a privilege for me to know and to write about on multiple occasions the legendary syd mark who is here with his lovely wife. thank you for being here. by the way, it's also his birthday. happy birthday, sidney. he's like me, he doesn't come out to play all that often so it means a great deal that he made that trip. another good friend, pennsylvania's longest-serving united states senator arlen specter. i so miss the man. his intellect and his ethical code especially at a time in which we are now living.
he was fodder for so many columns that i wrote . 022 other mentors, james e beasley net esquire, the namesake of the school of law mentor me in a legal sense and someone else right here in this building, city council and after long strap with whom we sent so many fun moments. you might want to start with my tribute to thatcher. it's all about a practical joke that together we play there i mentioned him, dave singer. his ccd here? i have to make sure that column made the cut. it's a hell of a story, i really enjoyed it. i wrote about the day i decided i needed to call looking joe frazier to tell him what he meant to me as i was growing up. but like i said, even though i've written about a lot of celebrities, often a private
citizen who has a story to tell that i most enjoyed sharing with readers like bud yocum family. right, claire and their quadruplets. are frank and claire here? how great is that? the help the quiznos version of the story. look at that picture?in a post-9/11 world after a high risk presidency, pregnancy, they were flying back to the philadelphia era. it was arizona and what in what i regarded as the ultimate case of dreaming stupidity, the newborns were disrobed not only of their clothing but the medical devices keeping them alive. here's the best part, also in the book. take a look at them today. isn't that the greatest? i love telling that story. i also wrote about a junior
high school classmate today, a farmer in buckingham who grows the best tasting tomato number after summer. that made for a great labor day weekend profile. bill, that was one of the favorite things i've been privileged to write. i'll never forget this part, freddie told me the secret is that his plants have brains. who am i to argue with him? those who are not household names are often the best fodder like another woman i was able to write about. grace nag who worked for our family in a domestic capacity for 30 years and then and she was sick late in life experienced a role reversal. we became her caretakers. grace 's cousin and so is here. wait in the back, thank you for being here and allowing me to tell a brief story about grace. grace was from omega.
helped to sing a red red wine while doing the laundry. now her three sons may not care to admit this, sometimes drop socks on grace when they sang and they had this ongoing banter back and forth. as i wrote about grace while she was still alive, when she thinks i'm too involved with affairs on the home front she will call me an anti-man. the here grace pronounce it if anti-man. she had a head full of violent sayings like you don't know if the roof leaks until you live inside. i was proud to pay homage to her and that column struck a chord. it's interesting what readers responded to. they loved hearing about grace and it was a reminder. here's what 15 years of writing a column has taught me. often it's not the political. it's not the front page news
that seems to strike a chord with people. when readershave stopped me to talk about my work it's often to discuss the stuff about life . seinfeld or larry david curb your enthusiasm moments i've been able to tap into which are really not columns about nothing if you remember seinfeld but they are columns about everything . the fabric of our lives not separated by political divide like family fast for summer camp or holiday decorations, each of which i've written about but with regard to the latter, readers deemed struck by my assessment of what the color of your christmas lights says about you. i once wrote that i grew up in a color like family, big colored christmas lights. they were red, green, orange, blue. they were everywhere. they were beautiful, they were christmas but then i noted that as an adult, my
house was bigger than the one in which i was raised. my car is larger than anything ever driven by my father. i wear close more expensive than what my parents owned. somewhere along the way we've decided that we are white lights people. the teeth, not offensive, uniform white lights. the lights of suburban ãand glamour and then i shared an admission as i wrote . my white lights are boring. white lights are sedate. white lights are for fakers. white lights are on christmas. i resolved as i was returning to my color like roots, i went home and my wife waved archery and all white lights but it made for a greatcolumn .
folks, finally, i want to say that it is sort of column i've written that has driven meaningful response. those subjects about which it seems everybody has an opinion but not one based on party affiliation or ideology but something that unites us even when it divides but with today's headlines it's so easy to forget our commonalities but they are there and what i found anecdotally response to my writing is supported in the political science and that this, that the typical democrat or republican has not drifted far away on the issues from the opposition. they have not become more extreme.sadly, what has happened is that many of us are thinking worse of the other side it's become personal along the way. don't misunderstand, i'm acknowledging our political
disagreements but at our core we are interested in and to strive for the same things as americans . good health, a long life, the ability to prosper, except for our kids, a few laughs, be left alone to worship or not and we want good things for our country. and when i say we want good things, i mean those of us who are democrats, republicans, conservatives, liberals, blue states and red states. that's the lesson that i hope you will take away from the book. i have so many today. i fear if i tried to do so here tonight i'm going to leave someone out. i don't want to risk doing that for so many in the room provided me with such help and guidance but i acknowledged all those names at the end of the book . thank you so much for being here and to support the launch of the book. i have one more piece of business and that is to ask tony valdes cctv to come up and join me. [applause] so two things i
want to say, i'm sorry it's so hot in the room. the first is this is a check or $10,000 to cctc because i want to make sure everybody knows i mean what i say. i noticed that through a applause let's see if i can do better . i mean, i want to make another announcement. i think you know part of this but i did something for the last two weeks on the radio on the potus channel on sirius xm that i'm proud of not so much for myself but for my listening audience. there's a website called charity buzz and charity buzz as celebrity moments. i don't think it's gone all the way to my head but the liberty moments where these so-called celebrities contributes an experience and the benefit is they write a
check to the charity so it's win-win aslong as you have a celebrity willing to do something and a person willing to write acheck , everybody benefits . two weeks ago on the radio i want the charity buzz option and here it was and they tried to talk me out of it initially but they were unsuccessful. the opportunity was that instead of you coming to me and taking a studio tour because i do that often, i said i would come to your book club anywhere in the united states at my expense for whoever the highest bidder is and secretly and tc my producer could tell you this, five is my number. i thought five grand. my book club numbers are here tonight. you have gotten the alarm call if one needed to be made but one didn't need to be made and today when the hammer fell, if you can believe this, the city of dallas texas paid $25,000 for me to come to her book club
and wait till you hear this, and there was another better at 24 five who got edged out. charlie from long island. i can't completely commit to this, you got the 25. you got the 10 and 25 but i can't commit but i think charlie from long island as i told him, i'm coming to your house to and i spoke to him and he told me he would do it. i have to tread lightly and wait for charity to make that'll happen so i would love to think that today was a $60,000 day for the cpc because of all of your support. thank you for being here. [applause]
>> book tv visited capitol hillto ask members of congress what they are reading . >> one book was well mentioned and i am reading to others. the book i finished is, we tend to get the sweden norway thing but it's about an author at a hockey team in a small town, just a really good fiction book that i enjoyed. a friend of mine gave me a copy of republic in peril it is basically the argument about the post-world war ii global order and how it's fallingapart, what are we replacing it with ? then i'm rereading on girl
based on my wife's recommendation. we read fiveyears ago . >> book tv wants to know what you're reading. send us your summer reading list on twitter, instagram or facebook. book tv on c-span2: television for serious readers. >> thank you for coming. my name is mark bonanza and i'm the author of this book. >> .. but there is much more. he is clearly bound