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tv   Panel Discussion on William F. Buckley  CSPAN  December 27, 2015 1:31pm-3:16pm EST

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spread sheet that's a trillion by a trillion, right? the human brain cannot do that. that's not what it's built to do. we have to figure out how to interpret those numbers, and we don't know yet. it's not magic, right? so i think a lot of people will have an interest in making it sound like we really understand how to deal with that data, how to make good inferences from it. i don't think we do yet. i hope we will. >> host: we've been talking here at the university of wisconsin with mathematics professor jordan ellenberg, "how not to be wrong," is the name of the book, "power of mathematical thinking." this is booktv on location in the madison on c-span2. [inaudible conversations] >> you know, perhaps, that i have the record for the longest single answer to a question on book, you know -- [laughter] so you cut me off if i --
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actually -- >> okay. if i could have your attention, we'd like to get started. i'm brian anderson, i'm the editor of city journal. i'd like to well i don't mean cow -- welcome you all today on behalf of the manhattan institute to what will be a fascinating morning of discussion devoted to the classic book, "the unmaking of a mayor," which has just within released -- been released in a 50th anniversary commemorative version. crime and drug abuse were rising alarmingly, murder was up more than 30% since the beginning of that decade. and by some estimates as many as 80,000 addicts were living in the city. more than 500,000 people were on welfare. businesses and residents were running for the exits seeking
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cheaper and safer locations in the suburbs. the two mayor candidates that year, abraham beam and john lindsay -- the eventual winner -- proposed nearly identical solutions to this crisis; higher taxes, ramped-up social spending and more federal aid. tin cup urbanism, as it came to be called. to william f. buckley, the then-39-year-old editor of the conservative magazine national review which he had launched a decade earlier, this approach was doomed to fail. indeed, it would only worsen the crisis, he believed, since misguided inwillal policies were large -- liberal policies were largely to blame for new york's plight. he decided to run for mayor in the ticket of the then new conservative party. his book remains strikingly relevant, for its insights into urban politics and what kind of policies help cities flourish. some of which new york would adopt beginning in the mid '90s, turning the city around dramatically which may be under
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threat again today. so thanks for coming again, and let me turn the mic over to my friend, jack fowler, national review's tireless publisher. [applause] >> thank you, brian. i just may be the tired publisher, i don't know about tireless. good morning. a few brief remarks. we all have our fears. my big one is this: that a major anniversary will have passed without it getting due attention. and to my relief, more than in the nick of time, a couple of years back i realized that 2015 would mark the 50th anniversary of bill buckley's historic mayoral run. mike long, chairman of the new york state conservative party, is here, so i will be in trouble if i did not mote that bill buckley -- note that bill buckley was the conservative party candidate. i'm going to check that box, mike. i'm happy to be in the company
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of so many people who believe bill's political foray proved to be something of real, lasting importance, of major consequence. and here we are today to mark that, to note that, to celebrate that. before we do, a few things. to roger kimble and the good people at encounter books who were quick to say yes to the idea of republishing bill's classic memoir, "the unmaking of a mayor," which many believed to be one of the premiere political works. we thank joe scarborough for his afterword of the new edition. to my friend, lindsay craig, president of the national review institute, and which holds in it mission the portfolio to protect and enhance the buckley legacy. nri cosponsors this event. to the other cosponsor, the
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manhattan institute, it is a great institutional friend of national review and a great friend of all who want to see our cities thrive. i'd like to offer special congratulations to brian anderson is and his team for the premier publication, city journal, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary. it is a tremendous, tremendous issue. so is the 60th anniversary issue of national review. so is every issue of national review. [laughter] edited by my friend and colleague, rich lowry. tomorrow is national review's 60th anniversary. hooray. [applause] sixty years young, our wannabe mayor would have been proud. thank you to c-span for being here and sharing today's reflections on candidate buckley with its wonderful audience.
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before i close, in this audience before me there are two people i'd like to recognize. one is ed ca pan know, my predecessor as publisher, who toiled at n.r. for some 26 years and who was there way back in 1965, smack dab in the middle of all the buckley hoopla and madness. we celebrate our 60th anniversary at national review in no small part because of ed's leadership. and then there is a man who has too many titles; judge, ambassador, senator, sometimes that is qualified as the sainted junior senator, author. he is one of the great public servants of our lifetime and the man who, as campaign manager of buckley for mayor, led the intrepid editor politician to a third place finish. [laughter] but the most important third place finish ever. i'm thrilled that he is with us today, the honorable james buckley. [applause]
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and now my good friend who will moderate and introduce the first panel, the senior editor of national review and the author of the acclaimed new work "children of monsters," jay nordlinger. >> thank you. [applause] well, we have before us a splendid couple. i was at a dinner not long ago, about 0 people, and we were -- 20 people, and we were to inintroduce ourself -- introduce ourself. he belongs to her too. midge directer is a famous writer and editor, the author of several books and hundreds or thousands of articles. one thing, one of the many things i like about midge is that she was, as you may remember, the executive director
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of the committee for the free world in the last stage of the cold war. when that war was won, she dissolved the organization which neff happens, because -- never happens, because they go on and on with other excuses. she said, we won and stopped. but, of course, there's always a need for a committee for the free world. midge's memoir is an old wife's tale. norman pot hour relates, editor of commentary for 30 years -- >> 35. >> beg your pardon. >> 35. >> 35. 1960-'95. got it. working on my math. [laughter] speaking of math, he has written a great many books including three or four memoirs, all of them masterly. and i'd like to mention a book that's one of his, i would say, least known or celebrated books, "why we were in vietnam." it's a very important book, and it answers that question. it helped me a great deal.
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finally, i will say and, norman, please shut your ears, because i always say this when i introduce norman, the two people most responsible more my political -- for my political formation are bill buckley and norman. but they're not to be held responsible for my errors. so, midge, we're back in 1965. you're just a slip of a girl from minnesota -- [laughter] and i want to know where were you politically? or as we sid in the '70s, where was your head at we used to say in 1965 politically? were you migrating left to right or what? >> well, i was, but i didn't know that i was. i thought where i was, i was a devotee of the labor movement because it seemed to me they were the only really reliable anti-communists in the country. and that was a leading passion.
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was anti-communism. and one was hard put to come by people who really felt the same passion except on left, actually, on the near left. so there i was. i'll let him talk about his leftism. mine was slightly different because i came from minnesota, and we are very stupid. [laughter] >> you're not speaking to the election of al franken, i trust. >> well, happily, i was not there when that happened. [laughter] but it could have happened when i was there. so where was i? i was a big liberal. i had not the faintest idea that
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somebody named ronald reagan would come along and lift my heart. not then, not this those days, i didn't want. and -- i didn't. and i had -- my primary loyalty was really, i think, to the labor movement, the left, the anti-communist, socialist left. >> midge, the year before goldwater had happened, he ran for president, and the right said in your heart we know he's right, and the left said in your guts, you know he's nuts. where did you stand on goldwater? >> i sood with the left. i stood with the left. i could not believe in the goldwater candidacy. i couldn't even believe in the reality of the goldwater candidate -- candidacy. that's where i was then. but there was one thing that, in the end, saved me.
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and that was that i knew that there was something wrong with the left. i was a member of it but always ill at ease, and especially in '65. i mean, that's when our wonderful children, the great young -- remember the young people? our wonderful young people were rioting in their universities and everything. it was clear that that was bad news. but the only way you could hang on to the left was through the labor movement, because it was anti-radical. >> midge, in 1965 did you have the sense that new york was going to pot?
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would that come only later? >> oh, boy. that certainly -- it didn't come later. it was already gone to pot as far as people like us were concerned. we were living on the upper west side, and it wasn't safe. and there was crime in the streets, and if you, if you were going to work and then you had a plan for the evening, you did not go home because that would require a trip back to the neighborhood and then another trip down. [laughter] you had to be very careful. so things are really, really bad. and from my point of view, the worst of it was, of course, we had children. and if you had children, there was the schools question. and everything you did, i mean,
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we worked -- the two of us worked three jobs each in order to pay due -- to pay tuition for three children in private school and then, ultimately, four children in private school. because you could not send your children to the public school. not where we lived, you couldn't. >> so in 1965 bill buckley's been editor of this magazine, national review, for ten years. norman's been editor of commentary for five. were you working at harper's? >> not yet. >> okay. did you know, bill -- the firing line -- >> no. >> the firing line started in 1966, you didn't know bill yet. >> did you, norman? had you met him? >> i must have, because something very peculiar happened. when the campaign for mayor was over, he called me out of the blue, and he said something like i'm thinking of writing something about my midsummer
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madness, i think he called it, and would you be interested in publishing it? and although i was very much on the left, i have a weakness for a pretty sentence. [laughter] i admired buckley as a writer. something people don't stress enough. so i said, sure, by all means. and the article never materialized, because it became the book. so that was my contact with him. in later years when i got to know him well and i confessed rather sheepishly that an article in commentary -- incidentally, it's also commentary's 70th anniversary -- >> yes. >> another one. when i was a junior editor at commentary in the late '50s, we ran an article which i had actually commissioned from dwight mcdonald about the first whatever it was, issue of the national review. it was very severe.
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and i, i confessed to bill that i was the author of the title of that piece which was "scrambled eggheads on the right." [laughter] and i don't think he ever quite forgave me for that. [laughter] the other thing he never quite forgave me for was something i did to the sainted junior senator. when pat moynihan, who was in those years a very close friend of mine, ran for senator, for the u.s. senate in new york in 19, what was it -- >> '76? >> '76, yeah. and i was what somebody once called the -- [speaking in native tongue] [laughter] of that campaign. i'm not going to translate it. [laughter] you don't get it, that's just too bad.
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[laughter] and i was, i was, we were very close personal friends, and i was helping him to the extent that i could. and he had just won the primary against the abominable bela -- [inaudible] by a hair, by one point, something like that. >> she wore a hat on her head. >> she always did. and here we were running against jim buckley. and in a speech that he gave, i don't think i wrote it, but i read it and edited it. i suggested that we say we've just beaten the radicalism of the left, and now we're up against the radicalism of the right. and i later learned that bill buckley, probably not the sainted jim because he doesn't get angry at things -- >> he's too pure. >> too pure. >> yeah. i see him grinning now. >> bill was furious at the, at
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calling his brother a radical of the right. but -- >> you were soon to be called a radical rightist yourself. >> that's right. and there's some people who think that there is no position to the right of me. >> yeah. [laughter] >> except they don't know my children. [laughter] so it's to our mutual surprise in later years, i don't remember exactly when it happened, bill and i became very close friends in the last, what, 20 year of his life? >> yeah, something like that. >> 15, i don't know. but it was a very warm and cordial friendship. >> norman, when you became a famous writer, i think the new york public library came to you and said would you participate in this series, why don't we go back to your old neighborhood in brooklyn where you grew up, and we'll take some photos and so on. and you said i wouldn't go back there unless in a tank. >> right. [laughter] >> try to remember in 1965, the neighborhood you grew up in. was that neighborhood then
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relatively peaceable, or had it become something like a war zone? >> no. the neighborhood was brownsville in brooklyn, and it got worse and worse and worse and worse, and i believe today it and the neighboring neighborhood, east new york, have the record in the history of the world for the number of murders per population. >> but when you grew up, were you care-free on the streets, or was it dangerous? >> oh, no. it was dangerous. yeah. i myself got beaten up a few times, once very seriouslyily by a black schoolmate -- seriously by a black schoolmate, actually. i wrote about this in a notorious essay that appeared in 1963. i can describe feel of, anymore talked about the upper west side not being safe. well, we had a car at one point,
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and the nearest garage was on 100th street and broadway, the east side of broadway. we lived on 105th street between broadway and west end. so if you parked your car, as i often had to do at midnight or thereabouts, and walk from there, from 100th street, across the street and up to 105th street, it was like traversing a minefield. you'd say, well, is the gang hanging out over there more dangerous than the one over there? where do i cross? which one do i take a chance for in and that was about -- >> did you think about decamping to washington or elsewhere way your friends, the crystals were, or were you just bound to be in new york come hell or high water? >> well, that's true. but the exodus from new york to washington irving crystal and others, took place later. >> okay.
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>> and things got worse in new york. >> midge, back to '65. were you a lindsay man, so to speak, or a bean man or neither? you didn't vote for bill, i imagine. or did you? >> no, no, certainly not. i don't remember. probably i didn't even vote. >> norman? >> but if i had, it would have probably been reluctantly been for bean, because what could you do? >> i think i probably voted for lindsay, i don't remember. i never liked him. >> personally? >> no, as a figure. i knew something about him that put me off. >> he was very aristocratic, was he not? handsome guy. >> yeah. handsome and, yeah. the portrait of lindsay in the book, "the unmaking of a mayor," is the best thing about that book, in my opinion. it's just delicious. bill never ran out of clever epithets and turns of phrase -- [laughter] to describe, you know, one
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abomination after another that lindsay committed during the campaign. >> he later, in a kind of gesture, late in his life bill or late in lindsay's, i can't remember, bill invited him to cruise with him. i don't think it came off. [laughter] >> yes. well, his fire was mostly directed at lindsay, not at beam. >> he wanted an intra-republican fight, so to speak. >> well, he was trying to establish that this liberal republican was more liberal than republican. >> yes. >> and that there was, basically, not a dime's worth of difference between lindsay on the republican ticket and beam on the democratic ticket. and that's true. they had virtually the same, the same platform. and bill was partly to establish the credentials of the conservative party as a genuine alternative. not necessarily just in that election, but as a force in new york state. and also to dispel any confusion
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out there that might attend the nature of lindsay as a political figure. and bill was right. i mean, he -- lindsay became a democrat eventually and did very, very badly in his quest. what did he run for, governor? as a democrat? senator or governor, i don't remember. >> yeah, he definitely turned which i think was honest of him. >> coe, yeah. he -- oh, yeah. he made an honest man of himself. >> midge, it's been a long while since i read bill's books. i think i devoured them in my 20s and 30s. and i remember thinking that i thought the "the unmaking of a mayor" was the best nonfiction book. i think my favorite novel was "stained glass." but do you have a view of this? do you remember reading "the unmaking of a mayor"? >> i don't remember reading -- i've read it now. i don't remember reading it at the time. >> i think i read it 25 years
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ago. does it dazzle still? >> oh, yes. it cause cannings, but -- dazzles, but i don't find it more dazzling than -- >> everything else. >> -- than anything else written by bill buckley. dazzle is the word. >> i think it's one of my, forgetting bill's books, i think it's one of my favorite american political books. he was not just literary, he was a political animal, wasn't he? certainly in that book and in that period. >> yes. and he was, he was in the end in my own life he was the kind of political animal, he was what one would consider a political animal which is to say he translated into thinking about things what his sensibility had known all along, if i can put it
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that way. but that -- it took me a long time to get there. really not until really, i mean, certainly i was against the left, and i knew that that was bad news but was fishing around for alternatives. so there was, as i said, the labor movement, then there was something called the social democrats u.s. which was a splipter off the socialist -- splinter off the socialist party x. if you were looking for something unfindable, as i was doing, you ended up with splinters of splinters until, and i have to say it was not buckley, it was ronald reagan who came along. and by then one knew that one had found one's political feet.
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>> well, midge, i often quote you about something, so if i'm wrong, i have a lot of apologizing to do. but i believe when you were asked to become a trustee of the her package foundation, the -- heritage foundation, the conservative think tank in washington, you said there comes a time to join the side you're on, is that true? >> yes, except if i can correct you -- >> please, please. >> you must always join the side you're on, is what i said. >> ah. >> and by then i was on, certainly on that side. but that was quite late. that was 1980. >> norman, do you have a favorite buckley book? >> yeah. trouble is i can't remember the name of it. [laughter] >> i the can tell -- well, maybe i can help you. i want to hear you speak about the unmaking, but i remember you wrote a sterling defense of bill's memoir "overdrive." >> that's the one. that's the one. >> and bill quoted you at
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length, of course. and i think the foreword to his next edition. >> yeah. that's the, that is my favorite book -- >> "overdrive." >> it's the most eloquent tribute to the virtue of gratitude that perhaps has ever been written. and the lack of gratitude is, i think, the besetting sin of our culture. and the reason i wrote that opinion to it, a lot of people said i was crazy, was that it had been attacked. i mean, in the most disgustingly vulgar terms. >> yes. >> oh, this guy rides around in a big limo, and, you know, it was just -- >> it was the limo scene that really killed people. >> well, see, but the thing is one of the things bill was saying all along was that every one of his blessings is something for which he was grateful, including the stretch
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limo. that was what was so -- >> you know what especially killed them? he described his indoor pool, a little pool -- >> beautiful this side of pompei. >> the most beautiful pool this side of pompei. just killed people. [laughter] >> but it was, that absolutely is my favorite. and i must confess i reread "the unmaking of a mayor" in the last week or two, and i was disappointed in it. and i shouldn't say that on this occasion -- >> you're an honest critic, always have been. >> well, it has its long nerves. and particularly in the amount of, which i didn't remember, the amount of wonkery that's in it. a big, long section in the middle summarizing the 12 positions -- >> he's still campaigning, yeah. >> i found that a little tough to get through. but almost everything else is just delicious. and the wit is about, is at its height, and you could see, in
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fact, i remember this happening, some of the press falling in love with him in spite -- despite their best efforts to hate him. .. myself, a sucker. >> as you remember, his most memorable campaign was demand a recount.
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quoted so often the bill later along with the one, he referred to one of the other of these lines as his prelude in c sharp minor. had written this prelude along with many other things, but it was so famous , they demanded that he plated and he was weary about it. whenever he heard demand a recount he rolled his eyes and said my prelude in c sharp minor. >> there was another one almost as good. >> exactly. >> he had a lunch with the editor of the new york times command when he emerged they gave him a hard time. a lot of reporters and they said to him again, well, what would you do if you were elected? first thing you can do a
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string in that under the window to catch them as they were jumping out. >> he was a compassionate conservative. so in 1965 i wonder, how vulcanized was new york politics? the jews and the italians and blacks and hispanics, and it was a balkan situation. i am sure that has passed, but was the truth to it? >> there was undoubtedly choose to it. i don't think it was so much some ethnic, although it was certainly racial. and it was a think to the extent that that hispanics
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had taken over there and that are creating problems. i don't know. we lived in the heart of the hispanic community. >> upper west side. >> upper west side. >> a hundred and 50th street between broadway in amsterdam. excuse me. >> we are getting old. the main -- if i think back, as i was thinking back about it and reading the book is i had not read the book, bill buckley's book at the time it was published. last week i was reading it. the main preoccupation for
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me and i think from my neighbors and most of the people around was the school , and the school oddly enough the only people who were talking and making sense really than being led by a man named albert shanker it was a very sensible person unlike his professor who made it public enemy number one. but what one thought about all the time was where you going to send your kids to school? where your kids go? how did you solve this
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problem? and i think that problem is still around. >> you mentioned how shanker when i was transitioning from left to right long ago for a few days i wanted to hang my hat on people like shanker. you just couldn't. >> let me get in on the perspective. >> do. >> one of the things i was surprised to find the frequent references to a book called beyond the melting pot written by nathan glazer. well, i have published three chapters in the book and commentary before the hardcover edition came out. this is an extremely important book, and bill recognize the importance. he was not aware of how vulcanized they were
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running. he makes a lot of fun of the food you have to eat. for the jews it was punches, that is what they fixated on. i remember accounting for the absence. the far reaches where there was an uneaten blitz. [laughter] anyhow,. [laughter] >> that really belongs in the golden. >> he cited the book a lot. and rightly so. this book challenge the idea that america had successfully melted into at the groups, one composite american and was one of the
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earliest books, there was a stage beyond the melting pot , the rise of ethnic consciousness. >> he did not like melting pot.pot. he inflicted upon us the phrase gorgeous mosaic. >> right. moynahan and glazer did not exactly take a position in favor of the emergence of ethnic consciousness. and diseased mutation that we lived through the became multiculturalism caliphate that was part of the future. bill shape some part of this campaign in the light of what he had learned from the book. >> 1993 comes along and things are so bad new york that people in their
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desperation turn to this republican prosecutor for mayor, giuliani, giuliani renaissance, 12 years where he continues and is even fortified, this 20 year golden age, and then the election of deblasio. when hedeblasio. when he was elected i was talking to myron maginn on a podcast. i said myron, surely you mean small. support of the sandinistas, honeymooning castro's cuba and so on. do you have that, is a déjà vu all over again? >> zero, yes. >> you go 1st. then we will end with major in turn to the audience for a few questions. >> very much so. deblasio and his administration resembles that. though we don't have a giuliani challenging, i
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wrote a peace. i have forgotten. i looked it up. before giuliani. >> i was thinking of a later one. >> and it began with something like nothing legal is happening in new york city. and the evil that i was talking about was the attack on the police. déjà vu all over again. every effort is made to hamstring the police. the number of lives that have been saved by the various police tactics and so on. and that was basically when the exodus from new york begin. that very piece, i think it was called my new york. >> that was at the end of giuliani.
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you should speaking of them are evil are reached for the strongest of all of the tabs. >> yeah. >> minch, do you have that 1970s feeling all over again? surely it is not that bad. >> i think it's worse. >> really? >> i think it's worse 1st of all because there was the 1970s and we had gone through that experience and come out the other side with giuliani. i myself don't think that giuliani successor is altogether. i don't think that that was -- i think that there was a kind of slip. there was a slippage. but okay. nevermind that.
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this is absolutely intolerable, and i think it will not be tolerated. but how much damage has to be done before we get ourselves out of this situation. >> maybe the editor of national review will have to run for mayor next month. let's have a few questions. don't be shy. raise your hand. yes, ma'am. >> thank you. jan rosenberg recovering sociologist and real estate broker. and i here the question that mixed-race all the time, the concern about school,school command i would say that that is a major preoccupation of families i meet everyday improvement looking for home. in the differences, it is not déjà vu all over again because now we are forbidden
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by law to mention anything about public school in the area in which. that is to prevent a kind of steering, casting aspersions on local schools. and so it is even worse in some sense, and parents are thrown back on the resources on the internet and so forth networks of information. but that is hard to come by if you don't know people in the neighborhood. >> indeed. >> it is a paradoxical situation. >> yes. next, who else? this? >> and appropriately helpful. but since giuliani it has robbed subsequent matters of
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the excuse that new york is ungovernable. >> does anyone see this as a possible way of hope and deblasio will be a onea one term mayor? >> well, that is such a good. we know the city is not ungovernable. reagan proved that the united states was not ungovernable. >> well, deblasio is not a one term mayor. deblasio is not a one term mayor. new york city will deserve everything it gets. and what it will get -- >> one more please. >> thank you. troy murdoch, national review online, atlas network. i was surprised to hear your comments about looking around. the they would have started
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later. >> me to. >> back 50, maybe 40 or 30. are you just concerned about safety? and was that a part of the mail? >> i assume you are addressing this question to me. it was a question of both. and the schools were not particularly safe once i served on a commission of the governor of new york state to discuss youth violence. >> is there any other kind? >> in one of the things we did was visit schools in brooklyn and albany and all
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over the and we went to school in brooklyn and there were cops outside the front door and kids had to go through a gate, and the cops would stop them. so it was an issue of safety , but it was also the fact that the level of instruction in new york public schools which had once been very high was abominable. that is thethat is the only way to describe it. awful. terrible. and so, i gave the public schools a try with one of my children. we have four. this was number three. there was a very pretty looking school building so i took her they're and i went to visit one day and said, i can't.
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sheshe was just sitting there looking out the window while some moron woman was directly the teacher. and that, the teachers union had by then if noel shanker himself was a good guy. you couldn't. it was not fair to send your kids to public school. in manhattan command we did not live in the worst part of manhattan. i cannot imagine what parents who lived in harlem went through when they send there kids to the neighborhood school. >> no one will talk like this. makes me kind of sad because you are unique. let's wrap up with this.
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did bill buckley make you laugh? did you ever fight with them? did you mainly just read with him? 's. >> by the time i was on speaking terms i thought he was simply wonderful. i mean, there was no difficulty. i was several times on his television show. >> remember well. >> and that was really something wonderful to watch. he never ever, the slightest disturbance. [laughter] or you take the next one because i can handle it.
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this went on. >> examiner of the program. >> i was. >> from him it was always missed actor. >> and we would guess about it afterwards. he was so -- he was so dreamy a person have a regular relationship with. >> norm, did you joust and in-person? >> is a matter of fact, i did quite a lot. and often through letters. and one of the last letters kemal long letter i had written. chiding and for column, and i was expecting a detailed response, i had gone into
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minute particulars. he sent me back an e-mail saying it always saddens me when i displease you. [laughter] how do you like that one? >> who could ever think of such a thing. >> just one other little anecdote, one year the builder verse. >> you are one of those? >> what happened was, in any case it was being hosted by conrad platt. conrad looked at the guest list and saw there was not a single conservative in their he rounded up the conservatives he might be able to include, and that added up to bill buckley and so we went there, and it was
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incredibly boring. crown heads and prime ministers and foreign ministers and ceos and at one point the seats which she had been assigned to me came over me and he was hysterically laughing. i said what's the matter comeau what happened. happened. i won't tell you the name of the person. very, very eminent person said to bill, you know, i have been, he said probably can't every one of these for 44 years. the idea of thinking it was wonderful. it was like anyway, he was, as everybody knows, a lot of fun. apart from that dismissive e-mail i got. and we did joust,
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tête-à-tête and i'm not saying this for my humility. i will brag and say ii think i had some influence on him over certain issues. >> i know that's true. we are going to have a shift change and shift panels. it won't take very long. thank you so much to the stellar couple. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> we will begin our panel in half a minute. take his seat. you have seats up front anyone in the back please feel free to come up front. in our 2nd panel will be moderated by the editor of national review. >> good morning, everyone. before i doi do anything else i want to thank the manhattan institute and counter foot for republishing and our esteemed publisher jay
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mentioned in passing the possibility of me running for mayor the chairman of the conservative party suggested it's a me a long time ago now. a man of many good ideas. we think about it and they gave me a little insight and output to the professional politicians operate. the only conservative who lived in my building and a
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little bit mad. she regaled me with all these conspiracy theories about clinton most of which i agreed with and that the this conversation was going quite well. as we are about to park she asked me, what is your position on rent control and is anyone who is a good rear of city journal knows, his father were socialist boondoggles known to man, and i was about to explain this to her when she said in the only reason i ask is because i live in a rent-controlled oppose rent-controlled will never, ever get my vote. i knew i was losing my only voter manhattan. i said, rent-controlled is a very complicated issue. i think we really would need to form a blue-ribbon commission to study the issue and certainly if there will be any changes you
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would have to grandfather and everyone, and she was quite satisfied with this answer. i walked down the street to the subway quite pleased with myself a little like barack obama. i got game baby. i'm lebron. and then ii realized, i've been thinking of running for office for 72 hours and have already sold out. that is when i realized politics is best left to the professionals. one of the things that must have been so electrifying about the buckley for mayor campaign is that it was an introduction for so many people to bill buckley's dazzling personality. personality. we believe in ideas and think rightly that ideas move the world but there is no underestimating the effect in public affairs.
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it's all these prized positions. a little something to it. he may not have been a foot taller, but he felt that way. i ran out and had to get a copy. i started smuggling national review and my high school classes the most well-adjusted american teenager of that era, national review was to me.
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one of the most amazing things about the campaign the issues in the book are so familiar. your attemptedyour attempted to believe they had not made any progress at all. crime and welfare and the cecily trying to preserve and exploit the monopoly. and of course media bias. years ago i 1st learned buckley was on top of much of conservative policy issues, and advocate of bike paths. i remember howard dean 2004
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explain that he left his church, the episcopal church in burlington because he had opposed to bike path. what is god's position on bike path. if there is a verse that i miss that explains what that is, but every times almost run down by a biker on the bike path in new york city i kind of think, couldn't you have gone the full buckley and made the damn thing elevated? we are going to talk about how pressing bill was. on one thing maybe he was not so pressing. he writes how the republican party intentionally to dissolve into factions that
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would be adamantly doctrinaire,doctrinaire, inadequately last, insufficiently thoughtful, improvidently angry, self-defeating the sectarian. we all agree there is no way that can happen. we are joined this morning my two wonderful urban experts call public intellectuals and contributors to what i fondly consider the 2nd finest publication in the english language, city journal, steve malinger and fred steagall. could not be with us because he had to tend toattend to business in washington. who will talk about the political and policy consequence the politics and policy. >> one thing i would like to start with, he talked a lot
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about the political setting and also simply the mood of new york city, but it is important to understand the national setting and the national mood at the same time because buckley's buckley's book is actually managing to be about services at the national and local level. the thing when i read and reread this i am astounded at how want to she was on local liberal policy, but there was a dramatically different picture nationally. johnson had been reelected with a strong majority. this is the beginning of the war on poverty, there were two father was aa sense that we could spend money and solve any particular problem , very different approach the new york. 1965 was the year of the passage of medicare, inflation of the national endowment for humanities and the arts and the forerunner
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of the legal services corporation which created 262 public lawyers who would go around the country suing public officials. moynihan called this the beginning of the professionalization of reform. today we might call the institutionalization of wolinsky. the national wolinsky. the national mood is comeau we were going to fix everything including the cities. sergeant shriver predicted the could give her the poverty within ten years and lbj said we will invest in urban renewal and create cities of spacious beauty. the thing is, when i read the book i always think, what has me more worried about the fact that lindsay might succeed in new york and become a national figure and drive the party i was he more worried that lindsay
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would become mayor and become totally inadequate for the job and destroy the city. one of the things that lindsay almost created really which is the most disturbing thing is the sense that the problems of american city, the problem of american cities can only be fixed by interventions of the federal government and state and the notion of the indomitable city rose out of that. this reverberated all the way down and became a platform for people to blame republican presidents for not doing enough for the city and it was giuliani who began to reverse that by saying the cities of the center of integration systems. why can't they solve their own problems? buckley actually mightily fought mostly about that. if you look at it, he said
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that the agenda was nothing more than the federal government bailing out the states. as indeed before lindsay was elected mayor state and federal aid was 27 percent of new york city's budget. byby the time he was on it was 50 percent. and the irony of course is that none of the social problems talked about it. and the city was broke to boot. it was a double bogey. instead talked about local solutions to a degree that anticipate much of what giuliani did. i wrote down some of the items of his agenda to give you some quick ideas. they will seem awfully familiar. i was surprised. but he talked about one,
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expanding the case force, tightening provision. the civilian -- civilian review board. talked about welfare to work including for people to work which is exactly what giuliani did find a vigorous campaign to and verify welfare eligibility, this is something that giuliani did. clearly by asking people to come in and verify that they were who they work hundreds of thousands of people dropped off the welfare rolls. buckley did other things, too. freeing taxes but opting out of federal urban redevelopment, housing a
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monopoly of building directly many of the people. they resonated. but what buckley said about schools was number one, we ought to have local control. maybe that will give you an idea, that was number one. schools should not be essentially for experimentation and kids should not be subject to social engineering. essentially integrate the schools.
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but otherwise much of what we see as the urban agenda is actually the nucleus of it is in buckley's book, and he articulated kind of a strategy, he articulated strategy for conservatism and struggled, as we all have sense to kind of have a philosophy which does not focus on giving things. how do you respond to that? and one of the things, the way he described it was, my agenda is guided by the principles of a freea free and compassionate society, free and compassionate society respect for the rights of human individual the limitation on government and the needs of the community. that describes what we try
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to communicate. son just going to stop there. >> not asking you to explain to us the image of the bill buckley from mayor campaign, but if you talk to certain urban experts would you have heard of these ideas? or they had all out in the ether, or is this bill buckley's intuition? >> two things, obviously all ideas have a background in a certain kind of philosophy. but one buckley talks about things, crime is a crucial issue right now. you can have a city where people are afraid in the 1st order of government is civic order. that was something that was more widely accepted then that sometimes subsequently.
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in the late '80s and 90s you are accused of essentially promoting line order. one of those things that i know that lindsay denigrated people who used terms like law and order including buckley. he compared the people who are trying to bring a spring to america and al adjust between the soviet army moving into czechoslovakia and occupation in our neighborhood. this was at a time when lindsay took over there are 680 murders in new york, 302 in 1965. by the time he left office there were 12. so we continually kind of undercut the police with
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this kind of philosophy of reacted passive policing. what buckley did was in some ways talk plain sense. the differences his solution was a free market solution which struck people as unusual. how can we govern using the principles of market? >> if i were a conservative and i decided to think really hard about urban problems when i be likely to come up with something like this agenda prior to the advent? >> well, you know, the irony is that i think institutions like the manhattan institute , otherwise there to put these ideas forward, reemphasize them over and over again until the time is right.
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again, what i would say is half of buckley's ideas in 1965 just seems sensible which is one of the reasons why reporters came to like them because he was talking sense, especially about crime. his responses, lindsay, the most vacuous agenda that you could imagine. some of the time that you have to see his agenda, not the reason. and then he said, i love this line. he was quoted by literary critic, looking to try to see, you know, thought and logic in his agenda, you're going to have to settle.
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>> a large element was just rejecting society at the time in favor of what was widely recognized. >> absolutely. and one of the things that is most stressing, by the late 1980s common sense, the 1st job of government to ensure civic order where have become codewords. so they just made sense. >> let's get you. if thoughts on the impact. >> it is important to remember that the buckley campaign follows. conservatism is in the tanks it is collapsed. the republican party has collapsed. buckley was a pick me up. his attitude way he carried himself, wonderful tonic for
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people watching. but i think the important thing is to understand the existence of the world and no longer exists, world of technocratic liberalism. the assumptions were at experts could solve virtually any problem under the sun. and if you did not agree with those experts you are racist. during this campaign, a lot of it is common sense, they competed with each other in describing buckley is a kind of neo-nazi, they always pointed to the fact that buckley opposed the 1964 civil rights act, his opposition was based on the federal government. but the city is not blow apart and time does not explode until later.
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lindsay intentionally expands the welfare role. we have a black male unemployment, 4 percent. imagine that? he wanted it to be much higher. the creation of a welfare culture and the underclass. the other thing that not occur is multiculturalism. i should say poisoned fruits had not yet blossomed. the school conflict tour the city apart. it was little like the civil war. i won't bore people explaining how he oppose this, but it could have occurred anywhere. what happens people are forced to choose sides. most intellectuals chose the side of the black nationalists who had taken over the school, fellow who
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went on to a long and distinguished career, full professor at the university of massachusetts because he had done so well in new york he was thought to be ideal to teach other people and do it. when it took place it was simply -- i have toi have to acknowledge, at that time i am living in new jersey. it is not so far away. i still have relatives. i am trying out for the college football season. i was larger than. but i felt when they got on the subject from the center of the table and the subject came up, people cannot speak to each other civilly. and the idea that white
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teachers were purposefully miss educating african-americans to keep them down to a cold. it is still there now. can i jump? let me jump overall disasters. >> too much ground to cover. >> city lost half a million jobs. half 1 million jobs. the sludge in the population of most american cities. some people argue at 600,000. an enormous sum. there is a quadrupling of welfare in schools collapse. it was quite an accomplishment. now, the campaign for me was just a lot of fun. i was the editor of the city journalist working on the giuliani campaign. the issue of the city
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journalist, i would run over in my hands handing out read this read that. people wouldpeople would sit down and talk. it was enormously exciting. a lot of the people were talking about came out of the buckley campaign. some things have changed. it exacerbated the problem of race in the city. riots, some call them. i think they are accurate. it was there but you. people were sitting around the table talking about the welfare, you have to remember, in 1994 said he was on the verge of bankruptcy, literally on the verge of bankruptcy. dickens had brought the city to bankruptcy when he threatened mario cuomo if
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you love the financial control board to take over all play the race card. and so cuomo backed out in giuliani was handed -- the giuliani had to move quickly on welfare as a fiscal matter. people like to a buckley said, the idea of welfare reform, but it was not a matter of a nice idea. it had to be reduced. the city budget had to be reduced. this is just informal. people sitting around talking. things that got the most excited the fact that buckley talked about the fact that new york sit more to washington than he got back. this is a revelation. washington was a source of
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some of free money. welfare workers did better on this to the city as a whole. so the interest groups. there's a wonderful metaphor going one place to another. the conference call yesterday but what is become people were talking about: of the things, this fantastic chart listing all the antipoverty agencies in
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washington. over 800 of them. trying to figure out how they relate to each other. look at the giuliani people, why we're doing this, we have to solve our own problems. and that made liberals absolutely crazy. i say this on the basis of personal conversation command of being on platforms. they didthey did not quite blue me, but they hissed. >> i will try harder. >> let me ask you one race, race relations better or worse today? obvious they are better but we seem to be talking ourselves and convincing ourselves that there worse. >> i think that is right. contrivance of ideological, crises of her nonexistent rape epidemic on campus,
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these are contrived controversies created by the end of the obama years. the sense is if we don't get it done now it will never get done. there is no more continuity here. because in each case there was a source of liberal empowerment. i want to disagree a little bit. the city as a whole, crime had risen but nothing like five years later. the reason i say this is the "herald" tribune in 1964 ran an articlearticle on how new york was a disaster, get out now. and it was a contrivance.
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but that helped elect the fazio. he got elected, all the articles in the new york times by stopping frisk even though stopping frisk had already been dramatically reduced. paragraph 29 page 32. the reforms and largely already taken place, letting off steam. lindsay won narrowly. deblasio won narrowly. three-way race. there really was no general election and never will be. let me explain why.
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a master at deconstructing technocratic liberalism. that liberalism does not exist today. they could prove there programs work. they don't do that. they accuse people who oppose them. but you have today followed buckley calls the versions. the left today is very much like the john birch society. famous. best things he ever did. how do you define the birch
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fallacy? fallacy is the assumption. the president of the united states wished china to fall. today their suffering. another version i don't know how many people are aware of this. way to the left. hanging on by a thread. corollary it holds in the city council is the doctrine of implied suffering. if they are suffering, is
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there because rich lowry in the national review, the city journal one of the suffering to take place. you can argue with it. so what i would say is he was bringing it rational enlightenment version. that is not exist anymore. and timeline. the crazies on campus. there is no rationale. you have no rational basis for coming judgment. they are right is that flow from my identity. so i think buckley would be
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puzzled. he was a master. of the past 20 years another kind of liberalism, doctrine and demography. created a new kind of liberalism that is national which you don't have to make arguments that you have to argue in terms of your view -- your virtue. so you notice these issues on campus somebody did not do enough. implied racism because he did not react forcibly enough. forget about the fact that there might be a mismatch.
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all that is out the window. what i would argue, new bill buckley. a guide for the giuliani. that bill buckley does not apply. you would not have anyone argue with. i will end with this: black lives matters marching. my youngest son has through good police work figure that the black lives matter people for the people shoving told the cops, kill the cubs. so i thinki think i will talk to these people. i talked to them and say you know the number of african-americans killed by
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the police has declined dramatically. why do you think this is such an issue now. their response was, does not matter. i feel that. i don't care what he is saying. there is nothing to see here. move along. it was terribly upsetting. but you cannot argue. and this goes back to the double game of postmodernism. and what that ends up with this okay, i will compose myself by virtue. not necessarily armed force but the force of dysregulation. now i will shut up. >> thank you so much. i will throw one more
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question. hearing you and fred talk about the rise of giuliani makes me wonder, is it true you have to have a crisis in new york to get good governance? the slow, steady descent doesn't scare the horses. >> you know, 1st of all the population turns over very quickly. people forget, those of us who have been there remember vividly, but what happens it young people simply don't know. and those are the same people who describe what they are learning in our educational system comeau what feels good to be the policy.
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again, the thing that i find so interesting, trying to struggle to say this is why conservatives make sense. well, he is not saying it in that way. people who promise to give you stuff, so becomes obvious. always look a gift horse in the mouth. so this is the problem. what you just said, right to have good governance. what i would say is that's what i worry about. very difficult. it will tell you.
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it is very difficult. clearly forgetting many things. and i don't know the solution that is to just keep saying look at how things work. all those movies, escape from new york. that is one of the most terrifying portraits. but clearly this is what we face. trying to describe undermine people what the world is like. >> question. yes, sir. >> herb london.
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>> thank you. change that has occurred and the way in which liberals tend to respond. the point that when you knew buckley. response to the post structural and two. i am curious because it seems to me if there is a new argument what is the new argument? the liberal agenda, no longer rely on evidence. what is the argument smack ..
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>> but they don't want homeless people urinating in front of their porch. and they want, they want something done about it. and so then there's the common sense question, why has this happened? arguing back from policy to a common sense argument, an empirical argument, an enlightenment argument, a modernist argument. but i think it's very difficult. i think when we get to the national stage, it would be very difficult for anyone to lay out a kind of buckley-esque critique because the specific policy failures of the current national administration are so massive that they're probably going to
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be tied to the specific phase; obamacare, or syria, iran, etc., etc. but if i had my druthers, i'd want a local and a national buckley, somebody who could conduct themself with wit. i still remember my relatives. we're all to the left of john lindsay. my relatives thinking, my god, this guy is witty, this guy is funny. i enjoy -- this is a little bit of what we see with donald trump. donald trump is a reagan democrat's bill buckley, if you understand what i mean. [laughter] his version of humor doesn't have any of the wit of bill buckley, but it's sort of talking against what is taken to be the revealed wisdom of the moment. and so -- and i'll shut up in one second. so this attempt -- >> keep talking as long as you don't say anything in favor of donald trump again. [laughter] [applause]
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i'm just kidding. just a joke. [laughter] i love donald. [laughter] >> i think he's the greatest vaudevillian ever to run for president. [laughter] i'm sorry, i lost it. >> could i just add something? i think that, actually, the response is easiest at the local level. so i'm going to spend a lot of time looking at state and local government. the government you want to work is local government. when bad policy threatens you at the local level, that is a time when you get reform first. and i would posit that we have seen this around the country. it is not coincidental that there are 30 republican governors, or 31, republican governors that, what, 22 states now have republican governors and legislatures. what, you know, what's closest
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to people is the level of government -- we see more reform at the local level in this country than i think people would imagine. translating that into reform on national issues is harder, but one of the ways you do that is you have a party that actually captures 30 statehouses. i thought that going into this election. maybe not. i think things change first at the local level. it's from the ground up. i don't know if that's a high-acting view or just me. >> there questions? all the way in the back. >> hi. victoria geller. i wanted to ask for someone who's a conservative with libertarian leanings, who -- those of us who feel that the rights of the individuals where we're concerned about civil
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asset forfeiture and the arming of the federal bureaucracy with s.w.a.t. teams and the searches that happened, warrantless searches and who were saying, wait a minute, what's happening with our police departments, and we're having those concerns trying to say, well, where are the rights of the individual? they're getting out of control, and then the black lives matter and those folks come along and sort of squash with their rhetoric and their terms they're using, sort of what you were saying, the job butcherrism of that side of the left. and now all of a sudden as a law and order person, yes, i'm in favor of the police, yes, i was always brought up to respect the police, but i have these concerns. where does that leave those of us who want to see some reform with sort of a police state, with especially on the federal level and with these warrantless searches?
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you know, now we're -- where does that leave us? because we're not with that -- we want to defend the police with the black lives matter crew and with this anti-police movement, but yet, you know, there's some reforms that are needed. we can't have all these warrantless searches and throwing stunt grenades that land in babies' cribs and maiming small children and shooting dogs and what's happening with uncovering what was happening in wisconsin with the police and the prosecutors against scott walker's political supporters. where does that leave us? how do we counter that? >> right. so where can a civil libertarian land between the status quo and black lives matter? >> first of all, buckley actually handles this in the book when he talks about the rise of civic disorder in new york. he talks about the surest way for people to lose their rights and for rights to be trampled on is, in fact, when government doesn't do its job, and we have
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civic disorder. there is a balancing act. if you read the united states constitution, it actually has -- it grants emergency powers in cases of emergencies. so the surest way to lose our civil rights is in the situation where we don't govern effectively, and the people call for those kinds of emergency measures. and buckley talks about that in particular. look, neither the left, nor the right has, i think, any exclusivity on trampling on rights. we're seeing it from both directions. good, solid governance is one of the things -- sensible governments that, for instance, doesn't look -- you know, it was very interesting. a writer for mother jones, of all people, kevin drum, made the point we should stop laughing at republican governors who say right now we have to reconsider the immigration issue because sensible americans look at what's happening in paris and say maybe we ought to at least
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ask, are we screening these people? maybe we ought to stop and check. maybe that's what makes sense. that's what sensible people think. so, you know, we could write endlessly about both sides of the equation in one form or another wanting to trample on rights. this is, i think, what good, sensible government is meant to avoid. and even the founders put, you know, wrote into the constitution emergency powers. so, you know, and buckley clearly was worried about the dissent of new york -- descent of new york into disorder. and he addressed that specific issue. if you think, because lindsay was constantly bringing this up, if you think that what i'm talking about is trampling on rights, wait until you see what happens when crime gets out of control in new york. >> can i ask you both something else, and we'll conclude. it hasn't come up yet, we have another anniversary this year, the moynihan report. do either of you have any hope
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that we can check the unraveling of the family? which has -- >> yes. well, first of all, lindsay buried moynihan for the second time. we all know what the response to moynihan in '65. four years later when nixon is elected, he makes daniel patrick moynihan his urban adviser and tries to revive this idea. lindsay comes out and says the notion that illegitimacy and the breakdown of the family causes crime is ridiculous. helps to bury moynihan's report for the second time. we are, you know, fred, you can say much more about in this. we are at the point now where we are beyond just simple solutions to this. this is a cultural revolution that is no longer about the black family as we know. it's about the hispanic family and the white family. charles murray's book on this is, i think, illuminating. and there's no, there's no
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government solution to this. there is, rather, a recognition of the problem and a sense that this is bad for society and for kids. it's a big, big, long, long road back. the '60s legacy of the underclass is very much about what happened among the upper classes first, okay in and they have the resources to recover. but the younger class, and i would now add the blue collar middle class, don't have the resources to recover from things hike broken families -- like broken families. and we're seeing the impact of this. so i think it's unquestionable, but it's astounding that we still debate this issue rather than trying to address it. >> fred? >> the ironic situation is that upper middle class refuses to preach what it practices. what it practices is strong
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families, enormous attention to children. but it won't preach that, because to preach that is to be critical of someone else. and that would indict them and, you know, again, one of the racism, sexism, etc., etc. so the most important thing that's going to happen that might provide some salve for this bleeding is the deconstruction of this postmodern frame which so much of the upper middle class has bought into. the other thing that comes out of this, and the lady from wisconsin reminded me of it, is the intense polarization this produces. the democratic party could not win without the votes of single women. that was the cartoon about julia last time. essentially, welfare mothers are married to the government. it's a kind of serial monogamy that they engage in.
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the people who live in states where married families are still predominant -- wisconsin -- they're moving -- utah -- are moving in the other direction. so we're having this terrible polarization. because we didn't, we weren't able to to deal intelligently and honestly with the moynihan report. and here let me bring up a word that hasn't been mentioned. i see my wife over there, and the word is feminism. poem nhl has certain -- feminism has certain virtues. she kept her name when someone asks for mrs. see get, i say there is no mrs. siegel and hang up. [laughter] but feminism is another basis for not being able to talk honestly, not being able to talk about empirical outcomes. in wisconsin, i don't know if people realize this, the legacy of progressivism was this
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commission brought together to investigate election fraud. and the name of that commission, they had, you know, midnight raids on, you know, knocking down the doors. and they've come up with nothing. but the only one who's covered this is "the wall street journal." what's this about? if it's been in "the new york times"es, i've missed it. i admit, i read the times less and less as i've shifted to an online subscription because i couldn't bear to pay them so much. the -- if these things come to the fore, we have a chance of achieving some progress. i worry that hillary clinton is elected, all of the problems that steve and i talked about will be baked into the body pollic for a long time to come. i worry about it for myself, but i worry about it for my grandchildren. >> thanks, fred. i just want to leave everyone with one last buckley quote. he wrote in a letter to henry
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kissinger what must have been a fairly despairing moment in the cold war that our task is to bring hammer blows against the bell jar that protects the dreamers from reality. the ideal scenario is that by pounding from without we can affect residences which will one day crack through to the latent impulses of those who dream within, bringing to life a circuit that will save the republic. and 50 years on, our task is still to bring those hammer blows, and please thank steve and fred for joining us this morning. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations]


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