tv Lee Edwards Just Right CSPAN January 14, 2018 3:10pm-4:16pm EST
wow washington journal "program, follow the tour and join us on wednesday at 9:30 a.m. eastern for our stop in raleigh, north carolina, own the guest is north carolina attorney general josh stein. good afternoon. i'm mike frank and i'm the director here at the washington, dc office for the hoover institution. welcome. we're having a discussion led by lee edwards, our honored guest today, of his latest book, an auto biography and the hoover institution point i'll make is that lee's papers, all his
official papers are at the hoover library archives on stanford university in palo alto, and lee availed himself of that obviously when he was writing the book, and in his acknowledgment makes the point there were some things he discovered in your own papers you fell were lost or had forgotten about. so as you talk about the book and your life, what is it like to go through all your archival papers and find things you completely forgotten about. >> it would scare me. bad and good. >> a fascinating -- >> sound stupid when i said that? >> so, lee edwards, those who do not know lee, is really the -- one of the great historians of he conservative movement. he has wherein over 25 books -- written over 25 becomes, great
biography of barry goldwater, written history of the heritage foundation where he is a distinguished fell flow conservative thought where i have got ton know lee and have come to admire him so much. one passion of lees that everyone should know about is going to come to full fruition next week. founded and is the board chairman of the victims of communism fund, which ended up getting a memorial here in washington, dedicated by president george w. bush and his passion, you can see that on the different pillars of conservatism, anticommunism, process sir vacation of liberty, that -- preservation of liberty, that boot sed of concerns us his real true, and if you look on the jacket, he has received awards from the captive nations who appreciated what he has done. anyone who next week is 7th,
8th and 9th of november, major program, library of congress at union station to look at and examine 100 years since the bolshevik revolution and it's one of those things where i think if we could all aspire to leave something behind, it's that kind of a legacy is sos a mr.able -- admiral and i appreciate. i. one scar on lee's biography, despite trying to avoid connection with ivy league institutions he was a fellow of politics at harvard university, jfk school. talk about your life and history and then turn to questions. >> wonderful, well, thank you, mike. it's so tip -- typical of you, you're so generous in your remarks. i appreciate them and i appreciate being here at the d.c. office of hoover. i did put my paper at the hoover
archives because says so many other conservatives and also anticommunists rat the hoover as well. so it's a rich, rich trove, and for those of you who are interested in writing about or learning more about communism and anticommunism, the place to go is the hoover institution. which was founded by herbert hoover in 1919, as a matter of fact. should know that the president's essay written by dr. fulmer at the heritage foundation is going to be on mr. hoover, herbert hoover, out in another month or so. so i've been helping doing some research and learning so much about herbert hoover, who was a mosts a admirable man but unfortunate was saddled with the idea he was personally
responsible somehow for the great depression. that's not the case. ladies and gentlemen, what i've tried to do with this book is to look back, particularly at some of the thing i've written and the people whom i've known, and if you think about it, there are really giants, conservative giants, who walked the earth in the last half of the 19th 19th century -- the 20th 20th century. those giants were in my opinion, ronald reagan, barry goldwater and bill buckley. and as a matter of fact, i wrote biographs of all three of them. studied them and so trying to sort of sumup what do they have in common? well, they consider charismatic leaders who could inspire an audience to action. they believed that free enterprise could bring more
prosperity to more people than any other economic system. they looked to a transcendent being for guidance and inspiration. they weren't believers. they were practicing men of faith. they hate communism. that was one of the reasons why i wanted to write about them. and every other form of tyranny over the mind of man. and they used the constitution as their north star. it wasn't just something they did on their own. barry goldwater. i think if i were to ask the audience, either here or watching and listening and oh was barry goldwater, thy might have some vague idea of who he was. but he was essential to the conservative movement and to what we call the conservative revolution. matter of fact he sparked the
conservative revolution by the most unlikely revolutionary. the grandson of a jewish peddler, who born and poland, his grandfather, made his way to san francisco during the gold rush, that did not pan out so well. and came next door into arizona, made his way down and wound up in phoenix, where he turned his little peddling operation into a leading department store in phoenix. goldwater was a college dropout. he did freshman year, and then that was it. what happened was his father died early, unexpectedly and he had to go back and help to run the business. although he was a college dropout, he wrote a little book called "the conscience of a conservative." 120 some pages. if you have not read it, i counsel you to do. so it sold 3.5 million copies.
published in 1960. still worth a read. still holds up very, very well. 3.5 million copies. only something i had written. i'd even settle for 100,000. come on. got to promote this book. never smoked a cigarette because of his mother's injunction. never had a cup of coffee, but he did keep a bottle of old crow in his senate refrigerator for after 5:00 sipping, and he would bring over senators from the other aisle, democrats and republicans, would sit down over a little old crow, little bourbon and water, maybe not too much water, and talk over things, and begin to form
relationships and friendships, and how i wish we could have more of that today. many what-ifs in politics but consider this. if there had been a president goldwater we can be sure of two things. the vietnam war would have been won in 1 months or else president gold would have brought the troops home, whether it was mining or bombing. no nuclear weapons. he made that clear during that campaign. about he would have said, either going to win this war in ha set time or we are going to come home, and certainly would have been no land war. he would take a lead from general eisenhower and generalling a arthur that said as a matter of principle america should not get involved in a land war in asia, and barry
goldwater took that counsel there would also have been no great society and so that trillion dollar experiment in welfarism would not have been attempted. i was the director of communications for the goldwater for president committee, but before that, i was also the news director for the draft goldwater committee. i was hired late in the year. matter of fact, consider this. my first day of work was supposed -- full day of work, i had been a volunteer assistant for months -- november 25, 1963. consider that date, november 25th. well, november 22nd came first. the day that kennedy was assassinated. i was the news director for the draft goldwater committee, and i ran back to the committee
headquarters, as soon as that announce was made, and i was in the eye of the storm. you can imagine handling inquiries from the press, from the media, after kennedy has been killed, because everybody's assumption was -- almost everybody -- who killed him? somebody on the right. so for about two hours there, there was no knowledge of who did it and, therefore, dallas -- it happen in dallas and one tv anchor said, well, this was the heart of goldwater land. that's how described dallas. we had people banging on the doors, yelling at us. assassins. murders. there was a bomb threat. we had to bring some police in and a dog. didn't find any bombs. but we were under tremendous pressure for those two hours, and then came the announcement that it was someone who had been with the fair play for cuba committee and we were so in a
essence relieved because we knew this was a pro castro, pro communist cuba front, and we could say that is was not one of ours. it was one of theirs who was responsible for the death. barry goldwater was a very blunt guy. spoke very directly. why he loved him as members of young americans for freedom, and i can see a couple of young people with their buttons, as a matter of fact. i can remember the first time that i had my first formal meeting with senator goldwater, as director of communications. i'd put together this comprehensive campaign. was going to be talking about how he had flown food and supplies to snow-bound navajos who otherwise -- who knows smooth hear perished. had been a member of both he urban league and the naacp in
phoenix. he had been pro civil rights. i had -- i was talking about how he had again down the columbia river in a wooden boat, flown over the himalayans during world war ii when that case dangerous. way two minutes into my presentation when all of a sudden this big hand comes out from the center, he says, lee, stop. if you try any of that madison avenue crap in my campaign issue will throw you out of this office and out of the campaign. is that clear? well, he was a or two star general. i was a corporal. and i said, yes, sir. yes, sir. he said this will be a campaign of principles, not of permits.
-- not of personalities. marvelous, but wrong. wrong. because if we had been able to talk more about the human side and the nonpolitical side of barry goldwater, it's possible people would have said she doesn't sound or look like a war mongerer or something that it is going to destroy social security, but he was going offer a conservative choice and not a liberal echo in that campaign. the other thing we should talk about is what happened in the last week. to a particular tv program called "a time for choosing." a number of california republicans had decided to buy time on a tv network, and to present "a time for choosing" by
ronald reagan, praising barry goldwater. the day before it was to be telecast, goldwater called reagan and i happened to be there when this is going on. and he says, ronnie, my staff here is not too happy about this tv talk of yours. talks about social security and we should put that to the side, and we road like to run something else etch want to rerun this half hour we have of me with ike at gettysburg, andonie says, well, gee, everybody seems to like the tv address. i've been giving it and people like it and you can't -- i can't help you. you have to talk to the people who put up the money for it. and then he said, well, barry, have you heard it? and he said, no, actually i have
not. i'll listen to it and call back. so they ran an audio version of "a time for choosing" and goldwater says, what the hell is wrong with that? run it. so he calls back and says, go with it. that tv program, that one program, made ronald reagan a political star, national political star, overnight. it raised easily $1 million within 24 hours, changed thousands of votes, and it led to a bunch of republicans coming to reagan and saying, we went you to run for governor the following year. that's how important that was. and political shorthand one can say no candidate goldwater, no president reagan. that's how important that speech was.
extraordinary. ronald reagan, my first meeting with him, serious meeting, was in october of 1965, and he had been spending the last several months testing the waters, as he said to see if the people of california wanted him to run. he had pretty much made up his mind. i called him up and i said dish was working on a profile of him for readers digest, and i said, can i visit you? he said, come on ahead. so for two days, myself and my wife, anne, traveled with him. she had been active in new york politics, and i invited her judgment and she also has been an editor and a fellow co-author with me, and so the there were four of news this limo.
the driver, anne, up in the front seat next to him, me in the back, and reagan over here, and between me and reagan was my tape recorder. now, don't get to to bet out an iphone. you know what an iphone is. had a woolen sock which is this big. it's like a piece of luggage. it's an old reel-to-reel, and i had that between us, a great big microphone and i was asking reagan questions. i asked about his political philosophy -- this is 1965. he quoted a 1947 interview in which he said that weather, quote, it comes from management or labor or government or the right, the left or the center, whatever imposes on the freedom
of the individual is tyranny and must be opposed. that was his philosophy, which he had come to over years of study and reflection and reading. well, at the end of that second day, -- we were convinced, ann and i both, he has it. he has really got it. and he said, well, come on up to the house, have some iced tea. give you some cookies. we end up pacific pal saids so their home, very modest home. not a great big sprawling mansion. filled with ge gimmicks bag he had been work with ge and the went with nancy do she kitchen and put us in the den, which was very small. looked over. here were all of these shelfs and shelves of books, so of course, what did i do? right?
got up, began looking at them. looking at the titles. history, politics, economics, volume after volume after volume, and i began looking at the titles. conservative classics, and there are four books in -- i'll mention. the road to cerfdom, witness, by whittaker chambers, and an extraordinary auto biography of an ex-soviet spy. and economics and hundred -- a lesson, a classic, and a back which i had not read, "the law." i said who is he? i learned later a 19th century economist, a free enterpriser, and someone who had influenced many, many people, including ronald reagan.
i said, okay, but maybe he hadn't read them. so i reached out and began taking the become out of the shelves. ann said, don't do that. to -- i said, it's okay. picked them up, opened them up, dog-eared, unlined, little phrases in the margins. he had read these -- i'm not saying he read every book that closely, but those classics i'm talking about, yes, he had. and here was a thinking, reasoning person, who had arrived at his philosophy the old-fashioned way, one book at a time. and i said right then and there that reagan is an intellectual. he is an intellectual. he is comfortable with ideas, understands the power of idea, and with that kind of
intellectual foundation, a political leader can do all kinds of marvelous things, which, as we know, is exactly what he did. in my last book i wrote -- i wrote four books about reagan. talked about various qualities he had. his courage and also his sense of humor, and i'd like to share with you, here was a bit of humor at a summit meeting he did with gorbachev. a story of the american and the russian. arguing about the freedom in their countries. the american said, look, i can go into the oval office, pound the president's desk and say, mr. president, i don't like the way you're running this country. the russian says, well, i can do that, too; you can? the american said. the russian says, sure, i can go
she kremlin, look interest the general secretary and say, mr. general secretary, i don't like the way that president reagan is running his country. now, it's a great story and funny as all get out. then you see, there's a moral, lesson here, something that reagan was trying to communicate to gorbachev. which is about freedom of expression, and how we must break down those barriers, if possible, between us. he had, as you know, rare ability to see what others could not. this is what we call a quality of wisdom. think about it. early 1980s, you had liberal intellectual liar arthur schlesinger, jr. and john ken
neglect goal breath who were visiting moscow and lauding the economic accomplishments of the soviet union and they were lauding it. we now know that the soviet union was an economic basket case . when gore chef came in 1985 a couple of years later he was horrified at the shape of the economy. they'd been spending so much money on arms and an arms race. so, what was ronald reagan saying at the same time that people like lessing erand golbraith were saying if was telling the british government that marxism and leninism was headed to the ash heap of history. you can fine that people were pooh-poohing that but he was absolutely right, and of course, before the end of that decade, and by the eastbound of that decade, the berlin wall was down and the soviet union in 1991 was no more. that sense of humor.
in december of 1981, -- i had rewritten my reagan byow again and i wanted to present a copy of it to him, and my publisher said, look, be sure and have a chapter in there about the attempted assassination, which i did. so i added that to this edition. and then said, have to do something special on the cover. so in black, big black letters on a yellow background, complete through the assassination attempt. very tacky. i don't like that. i don't like that. but this would be great for sales. complete through the assassination attempt. i went back and forth. and okay, so, come into the oval office and there is reagan. he had almost died in march.
this is december. he looked fabulous. looked like about 50. big smile, been building up his body. he looked strong, vital. he just made you feel so good. and i said, mr. president, here's a copy of the biography. oh, thank you. so it's a photo op and they're taking pictures and we're chatting back and forth, and he looks down -- i can see him -- at the cover, complete through the assassination attempt, and he raises his head and says, well, lee, i'm sorry i messed up your ending. [laughter] >> you know, who but reagan could make a joe out of member trying to kill him. amazing. bill buckley rescued me from myself. i'd been over in paris at the -- occasionally going to class but
spending time doing research at various cafes and testing the alcoholic content of various drinks. but i also was writing, and i thought i was going to be the next scott fitzgerald or ernest hemingway. i kept getting back rejection slips. i wrote a novel, wrote short stores, wrote poems, and i got very depressed and saying, what am i doing? i came back home, sitting in my parents' home, thinking, what am i going to do? write another novel? more short stores? what. i took time out to write an essay, short, about france, where i'd been living, saying that unless they elected a strong leader like a degaulle, they were headed for the bottom,
long ways from napoleon. and i said to -- i senting this off to "national review pie and i'd never met bill buckley but he accept it and published it. i said, oh, the market is telling me something. the market is telling me something. >> your first publication? >> ballistic first professional public, what in "national review." and so i put aside the novels and the short stories and the poems and began writing nonfiction, and thank heavens i did. as i mentioned -- i'll finish up -- one more thing about bill buckley. it's important. we may get a question about this. i think an important lesson to be taken from bill buckley's career in life is this. we need to practice fusionism.
when buckley started "national review," deliberately included on masthead, conservatives, libertarians and anti-communist, the three major strains of conservatism at the time. then richard people like richard and paul and others of the new right and the social conservatives, and then also welcomed irving crystal of the neocons-putting together a broad coalition that it assassinate you is what we need today, new fusionism, now, not easy because there are many more strains of conservativism today, not just four or five. maybe eight or nine or ten. i haven't read the post this morning so maybe there's knew one. we need that new fusionism. as i say, the all were
anti-communist and that's how i got a conservatism, was through anti-communize. i was there in pair paris in 1956 when he hungarian revolution occurred. i was so exhilarated, excited, because all of these young men and women, my age, were standing up against the soviets, and then, of course two weeks later, the soviet tanks came back, the troops came back and filled thousands of young people my age, thousands and tens of thousands of hungarians fled and i kept waiting for my government do something, and they didn't. it was some per -- per fung trimatter of fact station. resolved whatever i could do for the rest of my life to support those who were opposing communism, and opposing tyranny, i would do whatever i could to help them. coming out of that was the victims of communism memorial
foundation , and we founded and we dedicated that memorial in june of 2007, a decade ago. very fortunate in that president bush was there to accept it for the american people. we -- wasn't easy. took us 14 years. there are 24 steps which you must negotiate to build a monument in washington, dc. 24. and we went through all of them. since the dedication, dozens of national leaders have visited the victims of communism to lay a wreath and say a prayer. this past june, 22 embassies laid wreaths at our annual commemoration ceremony, and then we were joined by more than 20 ethnic groups as well,
particularly throws from china, korea, cuba, laos, and vietnam as well. we're going to continue to dissim nate the truth about -- disseminate the truth about communism, including china, vietnam, north korea, cuba, and laos, and as mike said, a week from today, we're going to have a -- an anniversary, not a celebration but a marking of the 100th anniversary of the bolshevik revolution, we look forward to the day when all the remaining captive people and nations are free and independent, we're sure that day will come because we know that the truth will make you and keep you free. that's what we are all about. thank you very much for
listening. [applause] >> thank you, lee. let me ask one question on a personal side. i didn't realize that the ph.d you have was something you pursued and acquired later in life. you had been living a full life, an activist involved in different aspects the conservative movement, and then decided to get a ph.d in history, i assume. >> politics. >> okay. that's a big decision. maybe -- give us a little background on that and also once you got into the thick of that, was there anything -- any intellectual tradition, any writers or thinkers you had not at that point become aware of but because of your studies you bill acquainted with. the intellectual journey. >> a political journey first because i'd had me own public affairs firm here in washington, working with conservative and
anti-communivity clients and todays, and i'd done the presidential campaign and i'd done -- bob dole was a client of mine, strom thurmond was a cleaned of mine and knob of congressmen and republican national commit me, the white house even so that was all great fun but i was burned out, frankly, after 20 years. i said, no mas. no more. that's enough. and i said, i've -- i've always wanted to teach, and i'd been writing all the way along, despite also ghosting for others, and i said if i want to teach, though, i must have a ph.d. and i gave a lecture, at catholic university on then 1980 election, and i predicted that reagan would win, and someone from the politics department said, why don't you come over and get a ph.d here at catholic university? so that encouragement, i did.
none of these reason why i did it was that our bookkeeper embezzleed, stole from us. several thousands and thousands of dollars, and people said, you really ought to declare bankruptcy. i said i'm not going to do that. i'm going to pay off everything we owe, it was considerable. that also persuaded me that perhaps it was time to close down the doors of lee edwards and associates which is what i did. intellectually i now had an opportunity to read in such depth. i read seriously "conservative mind." the road to cerfdom and then a whole array of bookses about foreign policy, international
relations and soing for and i just loved it and i began from that thinking, well, what kind of classes can i put together? i got that degree in '86 and began teaching at catholic university in '87 and just completed my 30th year of teaching at catholic university as an adjunct and i'm going to be doing the politics of the '80s in the spring. i had been doing the politics of the '60s but i'm going to try the '80s in the spring. >> host: that's wonderful. i admire that. you were able to make that transition and -- >> not have been possible except for my wife, ann, who let me do it, and our daughters. was doing things in the evening and on the weekends and so forth, and they backed me up, particularly ann, god bless her. things got tight there, shall we
say. a lot of hamburger helper, and -- >> prechick-fil-a. at this point, let's turn to the audience for questions. please -- the microphone in the back. christine brooks. >> thank you. lee, one of the stories i've hear you tell of couple of teams about going to political conventions which your -- with your father when you were 11 years old. i'd like to hear what you think about political conventions now as opposed to the ones you remember attending as a child. i'm sure they've changed significantly. >> well, political conventions -- i win to the first one in 1948 when i was, what, 15, 14, something like that. in philadelphia. and my father was with a reporter with "chicago tribune," political reporter. he covered white house,
washington, dc, in the 1930s to 1970s. and covered every president from fdr to nixon, covered every political convention from 1940 to 1972. and so he broth me along in 1948. what i remember, of course -- i would not still quite young -- just how noisy it was, how smoke-filled it was. i remember the smoke. this convention hall in philadelphia, you know. oh, you get high just on inhaling, and the lights. there was always something going on. it was bright it was vibrant. it was something vital going on. you could feel that. and my own personal first convention, 1960, win walter judd almost stampeded the
convention with his keynote address and almost forced richard nixon to take him as his running mate. if he had, nixon might have won. the convention is important because platforms are important. that's still my argument. they inspire, they inform, they lay down a foundation for the workers of the party, whether it's the democrats or the republicans so platforms are important they're formed at a convention, you don't have the smoke-filled room like i saw or smelled in 1948 that you did then because today we have the primary system, and so much of what is determined at a convention has already been determined by who has won this or that primary. frankly, i wish there were more of a balance. i think the wisdom to bring in the wisdom -- the collective wisdom of political leaders is important, and i wish dish -- i
don't want half a dozen people to make the choice but should be more input from them and i think this idea that it only depends upon what primaries determine. i think that's going too far. >> thanks, mike, and lee, thank you so much for your body of work and all you have done in the pursuit of liberty. we can't thank you enough for all you have done. just wanted to talk a little bit more about fusionism, and the fact that you hadn't read the post today of. there's a knew group that formed that include -- they've sent a letter to the hill, saying support the mueller investigation. how do we come black together as a conservative movement when there are so many different
factions now, people who want to kick out everybody in congress, people who want to support trump no matter what. it seems to be more divided than ever. how do you see that coming back together? >> well, fusionism was easy 40 years ago, 50 years ago, when bill buckley first conceived the idea with the help of frank meier. because only three strains. then along came the neoconservatives and then the social conservatives, the new right, gave you five. children children today you probably have maybe 10, who nice. bill crystal may do one more new one tomorrow, depending on the reaction to the one the tried launch today. that's all to the good. i don't mean to make fun of that because to my mind, although the mom has many more elements, many
more strains, no question about that. all of that to me is an indication of vitality. people want to be in a position to lead and to direct this movement in this direction or that direction. i mean, they're fighting over the control of something very important. not something unimportant or something that is ready to be interred. quite the contrary. what was vital seems to me in the first case, with the original fusionism, number one there was charismatic principled leadership in bill buckley, intellectually, and ronald reagan, politically, and then there was a external threat, the soviet union, and an internal threat, which was liberalism, as reflected in the great society. what we need today for our new
fusionism -- i'm written about this and will be in national affairs perhaps next issue or two -- in this new fusionism is to focus on one or two demonstrable, visible threats, and i think that we were reminded once again that the external threat today is radical jihaddism. as what happened in manhattan 0 couple of days ago. the heritage foundation did a study, published in the last week or two there have been 98 terrorist attacks since 9/11, 98. which have been prevented by our measures coming out of the patriot act. increased intelligence, more visible presence of police, the
fbi getting involved and so forth. so, that's the external threat. the internal threat is -- well, is -- i take bernie sanders' appeal very seriously, particularly among young people. young people think socialism is one more political philosophy. it's far more than that. far more than that. it's a direct threat to our way of life to our system of looking at economics. i was asked this question, what do we do about it? i said the next time a young person says, i don't see anything wrong with being a socialist, just say, would you like to give up any right to have anything personal that you own? just no longer can have anything personal that you can call your own. are you willing to believe that
the individual is not important, that only the group is important? are you willing to give up all of your individual rights? to the group? to the country? and finally, are you willing to give up ... god. leadership. it's that's not obvious but that will come to light because i don't think that we can just sit back and expect the conservative movement to do nothing.
i think quite the contrary. it's being challenged right now to come together to fuse itself, to begin to do what it has done in the past, and i think that day is sooner than perhaps a lot of people realize. >> yes, sir. >> hi. nichols, former yafer myself -- >> i say once a yafer, always a yafer. >> so, i was a yafer in undergraduate school in canada and it's an honor to meet someone who signed the statement. can you speak to the events that led up to that famous document in connecticut? >> uh-huh. well, the picture is 1960, and if you're a young conservative in 1960, what are your
alternative and you have john kennedy, who is obviously for the day liberal democrat, and you've got for the republicans a moderate, sometimes conservative, but really basically a moderate in richard nixon. so where do you go? what if you truly believe limited government? what if you truly believe in free enter entice, truly believe of individual freedom and responsibility, truly in a strong national defense? all these compromises which are going on within this party and that party. what you need is an organization committed to conservatism, not young republicans, but young conservatives. so, bill buckley said, that makes sense to me. i will be happy to host a meeting so about 90 of us showed up at sharon, his home, in september of 1960, to found young americans for freedom.
and you might be interested in -- there were two big basic arguments. number one was whether or not the phrase "god given rights pie should be in it. whether the phrase pow gate given "should be in the statement. we debated that. and there was a vote taken on it. and the vote was 44 to 40. to keep that vote libertarians at the beginning were there as part of that coalition that were putting together. that's how close it was. now, what did the libertarians do? did they walk out? no. they stuck around and said, well, this is the new organization. we'll sit around, debate, see writ goes and so forth, make a commitment. so they didn't walk out. the debate was over the name. the two possible names were
are you the one who came up with the bumper sticker, au h2o? >> no! that came out early by someone who had a scientific background, obviously. but people loved it because it was a different. and american politics, they were stickers and placards and so forth. >> i was eight years old and that was the beginning of my learning experience. the word conservative has taken on, terrible distinction. where liberal media has made it come across that way. and yet we now this word for liberal called progressive. any idea, how that happened?
>> liberals have always called themselves progressives going back to woodrow wilson. it is nothing new about this. it is just that they like and adopted, think it was fdr like the word liberal more so than progressive. and he wanted to go back to the origins, they were pleased to call themselves progressive. i have to respectfully disagree with you. we worked hard to make that would acceptable and i do not think we should give it up at all. it is a very honorable way. you can play around with it and talk about conserving things like the founding principles of the country, western civilization. all kinds of things. i think it is a good word. you have to get out of washington. >> my final question, i hope it is not embarrassing serious why haven't i ever heard of you? [laughter]
>> gee! mike, i will answer that. >> is one of those unanswerabl questions. he is also i think, in washington conservative circles he has been a major player. if you're right, like this behind the scenes, he is very modest. he is not one of those sharp elbowed type that walk into a room and wants everyone to know he is in there. he has accomplished what he has accomplished with grace and style, modesty and, he did a lot. >> clearly! [inaudible] >> that is why he has a great biography. [inaudible] >> i think he has to get out more. that is the message. >> and my invitation.
>> hello, i am a japan native us citizen. my question has nothing to do with what you are talking about today. pardon me for that. but, i can help. the president is leaving to asia pacific for a trip which is very important. if you have any opinion on that, it is kind of vague but i would appreciate it. >> i will say this. i have been there a few times over the years. i had a particular interest not because of a man named walter judd that was a very important advisor on the us asian relations in particular, china, for many years for a number presidents from truman to reagan, as a matter of fact.
i think it is a very important trip. we can see with the president is doing over in china, he is dating gary aggressive. he is challenging us and i think we have to be prepared to answer firmly and not belligerently. and for example, let this idea of the island out there in the south china sea and that cannot be permitted. the idea that we might be weakening our support of taiwan, that cannot g be allowe. taiwan and the republic of china. they are an important actor out there in that part of the world. if it is necessary, we need to encourage japan to develop appropriate weapons to counter north korea. i see where the president of south korea said yesterday, today, whatever that he is against developing nuclear weapons for south korea. i think it needs to be
rethinking that. i think there needs to be an open debate about that in korea and perhaps we can hope with that debate. i think this is a very important trip and yes, we have to be concerned about europe and but we are an asian power still. what happens out there can have an influence. not only today but tomorrow as well. >> thank you. i'm from italy. i just finished my phd. my question is, what great conservative of the past you mention reagan, with state of today's problems of -- we have an illusion of values around the world. poland, hungary, turkey and many others. we spoke about the italian
nationalism and the values in the western world. more than communist regimes in the last century -- today we have a big illusion and they talked about -- if you could imagine, the great conservative of the past and what they could say about this and what we should do to fight against this. thank you very much. >> i think we have to be very careful. about overreacting to certain actions which have taken place. in places like hungary and poland. i have talked to young people in those two countries. they are comfortable with a
nationalism as they define it. because they're still democracies. and criticism for example of hungary. but at the same time the people of hungary have given a two thirds majority in the parliament to the present party. majority party. the same thing in poland. the same margin but still considerable. i think we have to be very careful about this and dismissing quote - nationalism. nationalism within a democratic context it seems to me, is permissible. it is allowable. it is with the people want at this particular time. i think here at home it is the same thing. i think you have to be very careful.it is so easy to be distracted. by mr. trump, isn't it? and it is so easy to get caught up in what i call the twitter
game. i think that we should, with regard to mr. trump and follow two tracks. one is the more important, look at what he is doing. and as a conservative, i like very much denomination. i like very much his standing up against isis as we see how important it is given what happened in manhattan a couple of days ago. much his ry deregulation campaign and he is carrying out there. i like very much his tax cuts as a conservative. those are all good things. some of the other things, on trade and so forth, immigration, that is not something but on the other hand, the other track is the twitter track. and yes, you cannot ignore it but you cannot allow it to assume what is happening in the other track. let's focus on the more
important parts of this administration. what is being done and accomplished. maybe a little less on the rhetoric. maybe just sit back a little bit and try to enjoy it. it is some sort of game and some sort of thing he is doing maybe to smile at the outrageousness of it. >> therapists and scholars that write about democracy recession around the world and turkey as an example i think philippines and so on. is there a role i remember about one of the few programs that he usually supported and to resist any attempts to -- where public diplomacy elements of our state department and
other agencies that radio free europe in those kind of things. is there a role, is there any kind of soft powers for public diplomacy role to help citizens in those countries not see those countries fall under that sway of a authoritarian type of government? >> if you look back, he would talk about previous leaders. if i would ask reagan or walter judd with they would say today, they would not be for america first. davis said isolationism is not possible. they would say that freedom, the cause of freedom concerns us and we should encourage it. promote it. we should publicize it. wherever we can and however, we can. and that has to be done not only through the specific programs like you're talking about mike, but also has to be
done by our leader. and this is why i thought the president for this. and at the same time we can see that he is reaching out, going to asia, spending 10 days there. he has had meetings with leaders of other countries. so he ois not ignoring the wor and so, i think there is a balance there in which we say let's be concerned about what affects us first. we have to acknowledge at the same time what affects us. it is also the state of freedom around the world. and let's speak up. let's speak up as we see dangers to the freedom. whether it is in europe or asia or africa. whether it is latin america. it is a heavy burden but we still are the one sole superpower in the world. it carries with it very solemn
responsibilities that we cannot ignore. >> famous uncle bob. >> thank you for your book and your career. back to buckley, his only child chris buckley, wrote what many see as a devastating book about his parents. what was your reaction to it? >> well, i wish that chris had not written that book. i think it was added little to the life and career, really, and the impact of bill buckley. obviously though, he had to write it because it is something which he had to get off of his chest and out of his mind. out of the spirit. and so he did.
but what i can say, is although it was a devastating portrait, in the last year of bill buckley's life, chris and bill, father and son, were reconciled very chris moved into the home of their in stamford and that last year, he was with his father, night and day. he was there the day that he died. anything that says perhaps, more about chris in the book that he wrote about his mother and father. >> any more questions? okay. with that, please join me in a round of applause. [applause] do you have any time to sign books? >> i will sign books into my arm drops off! >> thank you for coming! [inaudible conversations]
>> here is a look at some books being published this week. an american -- founder of product veritas on how the public is misinformed by the media. investigative journalist david johnston explore the presidents political initiative and it is even worse than you think. in the square in the towel neil ferguson argues that networks of people have impacted history more than hierarchies. and black lives matter cofounder, patrice and journalist -- reflect on the birth and growth of the black lives matter movement and when they call you a terrorist. also being published this week, -- detailing the relationship between the late supreme court justice antonin scalia and legal expert, brian garner. former white house speechwriter david from with a critical look
at how the trump administration is affecting the political landscaping. and partisanship in the senate. and also how algorithms and automated programs have impacted the poor in automating inequality. look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for many of the authors in the near future on booktv on c-span2. [inaudible conversations] >> hello! that is loud! kind of scared me. thank you for joining us at powell's books.