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tv   BOOK TV  CSPAN  December 12, 2015 12:38pm-2:31pm EST

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>> the most recent book 1932 the rise of hitler and fdr. give us a snapshot of what america was like. >> it was a mass. a great depression. people we're stopped from foreclosing on mortgages. rioting in some of the cities like philadelphia and new york city a bonus march and -- in washington and a march and it was this uninspiring figure herbert hoover in the white house said roosevelt moving up fast but there were questions is he the man for the job? is the light weight? not just republicans but prominent democrats or liberals.
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is see a light weight? that is what the campaign is about. and giving off conflicting messages. the democratic platform might be a good republican platform in 2016 talks about cutting taxes and spending and rock proceed in and gives a speech in pittsburgh to the right of herbert hoover in to the rights of calvin coolidge. and it might even head toward a dictatorship there is an army officer named white eisenhower. he writes in his diary they call me dictator i because that is what is needed to fix the country and he is not alone. >> host: germany 1932. >> it is worse.
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[laughter] not only do you have a depression and germany signed off with 3 million people in 1929 has sixers 7 million unemployed with the much smaller population base but the effects of a war, reparations, a resentment to against the allies. germany is a nation of sore losers and they're leaving the communist, of the republic and the jews that leads to adolf hitler. >> host: polling one year out of history is seems to happen. >> this is the fourth time i have done it ended 1920, 1960, 1948 by keeping it just to america and here we switch between europe and america.
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you see what is going on to find out how different things are. so if you see them as a straight line ideologically from the horizon all the way back to creation city think they have a certain position on the divinations door prohibition you are quite often wrong to see how things go. and to complain about the two-party system in america but when you have 51 parties getting votes and nobody is cooperating with anybody county your blessings america. >> duties to end up colliding in your book? >> not so much in the book
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1932 but there are connections that know it will come to a collision in 1941 and other careers parallel some crucial elections and of course, their death in early 45 within weeks of each other but i found out after words they found a copy of frank the roosevelt addition published for american readers published 1933. did he read it? yes. he put notes in the margin. they left out some stuff this is not the real stuff they are peddling which is interesting it indicates he is not the light weight some people think he is at the time. but he has probably read it
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before that our house would he know? probably in the original german in - - german he spent his summers in germany is that more time in germany they and adolf hitler. >> the most recent book 1932. booktv c-span2.
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>> from the scientists and engineers that i misspoke almost all of them talk about how they find the solutions and allows scientists to push science in a way they would not be allowed because it doesn't seem like such a good idea. lat program. this is live coverage on c-span2.
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>> i am happy to idu >> i am happy to introduce peggy noonan who was reagan's speech writer no one will ever forget the president's words after the challenger incident to help us cope with the tragedy. those words were authored by peggy. as any good journalist journalist, writer is extremely quotable this is one of my favorite. don't fall in love with politicians they're all a disappointment. they can help it. they just are. she is an author of eight books by from "the new york times" best-seller list and a weekly column for "the wall street journal" and a frequent guest on the sunday morning news shows. following your book the time
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of our lives it encompasses all of her writings in one volume. she chronicles a career in journalism the reagan white house and the political not only will you hear from peggy noonan but the acre for channel six you will be doing the question and answer and i promise it will be a delight it -- the life of our pay attention and do not forget because these individuals have played such an important role in a nation. [applause]
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[applause] >> thanks for being here. it is lunchtime. >> it is a great book if you don't have it yet you should. i finished it is an hour's. it is wonderful. >> thanks for coming to miami to grace us with your presence. >> thanks for giving me a saturday afternoon will have a sunday show you are a great broadcaster a number of things you could be doing this beautiful afternoon i am touched and honored you agreed to do this. we begged her and we're very happy she said yes. >> my pleasure. let's get started. do you remember this song? i may native new yorker.
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i have been reading so much about you and for whatever reason that came to mind because you are a tough cookie. >> i think that is fair enough i was born in brooklyn with big irish catholic family and moved to long island that five or six years old. island in northern jersey kickback to york but i am very flattered that you thought of that song. absolutely. >> when did you realize you wanted to be a journalist? >> i always knew i was a
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writer. i knew that from childhood i was a great reader. it occurred to me that i loved books. one of the beautiful things about the old culture it was so boring that reading books was fun that is what you did for fun. it occurred to me at some point somebody must be the person that makes up the story and i think out - - sitting dead found out that person is called a writer. it is in the book but it is a true story. what i was in the third grade i had a teacher named miss brown who told us one week before thanksgiving go home tonight to and read a poem about thanksgiving.
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i didn't always do my homework but i found this an exciting idea and i remember trying to describe how a house smells with the food and how nice it is to eat its progress and handed it in the next day. the day after that she says i will give everybody back their papers. she gave back everyone except me and i really thought i had so much fun i thought it was a good. but i got a feeling it wasn't and she has not given it back because she will
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have a private conference. instead she said it now before you go i want to read the poem that i liked best i want you to hear it. she read my palm and gave me the letter a. i thought after that i am a writer. it was a beautiful moment in my life to know what it was i didn't know what kind the the next 15 years i thought maybe a reporter or nurse or actress. or handicraft. i just knew would ever i would be. >> dash she knows she had this influence? >> she does not.
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only a few years ago did i try to find her and they're no longer with us. my friend tried to help me find a few people but we could not. >> you are considered a pioneer in this industry i cannot imagine going into this business 1970 and going to the white house. give us the description of what that was like especially in the '70s as a woman journalist. >> as a young woman in my 20s in the '70s i was part of bush huge wave of women just entering places like nbc or cbs or abc. we were shocking for the fellows ever of the desk the
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editors and producers. i came to learn in time i thought there were antiques because they were 57. [laughter] they turned out to be there merle boys that taught with ed murrow during world war ii had invented broadcast news writing and there'll literally broadcasting from europe and the lead up for world war ii some walking in with women we already had our first job you were informal, colorful tight jeans and boots, aviator
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glasses and various lengths of hair. they looked at us like we were debating marshall and army. but they taught us everything that they do. -- the new. it was a fabulous experience. they were tough. i cannot say they welcome us but they expected us and got to know less than we were friends that is how it went. >> did you work with dan rather? >> i started cbs right thing hourly radio news reports like the roundups i became an interviewer that i would write dan rather radio commentary every day for the
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three years before i left cbs to work for ronald reagan. >> i know i am jumping ahead before should but how do you feel what happened with him after the fiasco? >> dan rather was a great person to write for. in my experience he was completely fair and a great guy. i had to write his five minute commentary on the news that went up on the radio network 4:00 p.m. each day. was so much of the news even then was political. i perceive him to be the left of me. i was young woman having read the cannon i was
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politically conservative so a was a little awkward but it was a great job. he was just made that anchor of the cbs evening news. it was huge and that three networks universe so that was a fabulous honor but it was uncomfortable for cry went to him and said i feel i am not capturing your voice and use -- a view your liberal and i am conservative. he listened and did not say he was a liberal but he did admit i was politically conservative. [laughter] that made us laugh. he said this is how we will do the show. you will meet with me every morning at 3:00 in the
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morning we will choose a topic and discuss it is right or left how the conservatives feel and how the liberals field. at the end we will conclude where i stand because it is my show. i said that is fair. it had a huge following. conservatives were so surprised to hear their viewpoint fairly and accurately portrayed they thought it was a conservative show a liberals were so happy he was giving the case initially taking their side so they were happy. i'm so sorry i went off on the dynamic of forgot about the question. >> here is a moment that few
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people will have had in life in 1988 george h. to be bush's running for president. i supported him i thought he was the right man from those available during his campaign his speech writer i did enjoy a the white house after he won but one night i am at home i just had a baby so i'm doing most of the work at home. i am watching the news and suddenly dan rather is in the fight with george h. w. bush, my current boss i would say trying to mug him
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over a serious issue of his involvement of the iran contra asked to handle for cry about the funniest feeling in my stomach like i was a child and mom and dad were fighting upstairs. it was so personal. he had an issue with the bush a you may have been from texas air each on opposite sides i don't think there's that much of an area but i fink he made a bad mistake with his reporting with his military history and it was one of those unfortunate things.
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. . fabulous time. looking back on those days it was a fabulous time and i knew also, i could tell it was my sense especially if you are irish, every generation gets a president. every generation thinks that is my guy, my grandmother, it was franklin roosevelt, kept we do our part sign, more crumbling sign on the window of the apartment in brooklyn. long enough that i remember i remember seeing in it in the 1916s, and that means 20 years, jack kennedy all the way to jfk and for me it was reagan and i knew it was reagan. i was so excited to work, i had gotten the name at cbs, i am
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going to make this a very short story. i just wanted to be a speech writer on local radio. i thought his approach to the world was the correct one and constructive one. even though i was working for dan, when i would meet conservatives at cbs, on radio and tv, a visiting conservative would come in and be brought in and cbs in those days, everybody was politically conservative. if they asked me i would tell them. cbs was so sweet that a visiting conservative from washington came to the show the producers and writers, if i was in the news demands they put their arm
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around me and said this is peggy noonan, she is our conservative. the white house turned about me and the man who ran speech writing in the reagan white house had 20 years before been the conservative at cbs, worked a floor above me, and wound up working for reagan, he heard about me, he heard i loved reagan, he called me up and he said my name is ben, i run speechwriting at the white house, it is not easy to be conservative in the mainstream media, not easy to be where you are. i want you to know i admire it and keep on keeping on, if you ever come down to washington, knock on my door. at that point i did something totally unlike me in that it was
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deeply proactive and a total complete lie. i said i am coming to washington tomorrow. he laughed in my face, he just knew it was light. i guess you are coming down tomorrow and i took the eastern shuttle to d.c. and went to see him and i said this is who i am, what i'd do, i am not kidding when i tell you i give everything to be a speechwriter for president reagan. this began a process, when many months in which they've added anything i had ever written and which they had >> for the president. they offered me the job. i did a great show to deliberate
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about it. and in a serious role, he is not doing commentary, this isn't even a question. how many people in the history of the united states have been lucky to work in the white house for a president of the united states comment at most 20,000 possibly. you have to do this and of course i knew i had to and i did and it was fabulous. let's talk about the challenger explosion and that famous speech in the books as one of the greats. >> that was an interesting day, that was january of 1985.
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i am blocking. january of 1986. there is, in my book, a chapter called a lecture and what it is is a lecture that i gave to some students at harvard university a few years ago, they were members of a class on government, traditional in many members of that class go into government. i wanted to tell them as a visiting person about i wanted to tell them one thing and it was this, you are going to go into government and after a while your job is going to bore you. everyday is going to be the same. going to be the same old same old and you start to cut corners of a little bit or get a little bit lazy. let me tell you what government is like, something big is going to happen and it is going to explode and the world is going to turn upside down and on that
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day you are going to have to bring the best you have with the new to that moment. the best that they got, to meet that moment. that is what we did that day. >> i want to talk about the poem. >> so sorry. a terrible accident had happened, the challenger had blown up, we all watched it live on tv. the white house, when a tragedy like that occurs everything pops, everybody is on the phone, everybody is in a meeting, everyone has to have an urgent communication with somebody else. i removed myself from all of that and thought i know the president is going to have to speak in the next few hours because this was a huge tragedy and someone has to start working on that so i went to my boss and
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said i am going to start work, i sit in my office and start work as everything is exploding around me. at a certain point my bosses little girl meredith who for some reason had gone to work with him, walked into my office, my little friend, 7, 8 years old, she looked at the tv and looked at me and said quizzically the teacher was on the rockets. is the teacher all right? at that point i remembered every school child in america was watching the challenger go up because indeed there was a schoolteacher, public-school teacher, christa mcauliffe was on that space shuttle, she was there as an astronaut's, all the kids for watching it in assemblies, so it occurred to me the president is going to have to do a speech that is aimed at
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those who are 8 years old, those who are 18 and those who are 80 without patronizing anybody as we all do when we talk to the young and the old. from the national security council, just talked to reagan, and brought it in to me. that became the spine of the speech. at the end of the speech, i had been out of the corner of my eye watching cnn all that morning after the blow up and they kept at cnn showing of brando treaties for astronauts in a pair astronaut uniforms leaving beholding area and going to the space shuttle itself and as they left in their astronaut uniforms with their big heavy gloves and they waved goodbye to the
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television cameras in this jolly wave that said see you in a few hours or a few days. it was very poignant. watching that i thought of something i learned in seventh grade in long island in english class, a poem by john gillespie magee jr. about the joy of flying and this was written at a time when most people had not flown. it was the 1930s. he became a fighter pilot in world war ii as world war ii began and diet in the run up to the war but left behind this beautiful poem, it ended with the words and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of god. it just came to me. i just remembered it from seventh grade. here is the thing. i made that the end of the speech that there was a mystery. i knew that ronald reagan would only use those words if he knew
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that poem and if that poem meant something to him. and i hope he knew it and hoped it meant something but just to be careful the speech ended before that paragraph so it would be easier for the president to kill that paragraph and not say it. we got the speech done, there was no time to ruin it by which time normally presidential speeches are stacked out to hundreds of people who can't help themselves, they think defensively or they think aggressively, whatever they are doing, they don't know good from bad, take out something good and leave in something dumb so the staffing process can kill a speech, there was no staffing process essentials week, it would mean a small group around the president to the president, in a big white, and i put on the tv like everybody else, i watch
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reagan and indeed reagan looks very disappointed, not disappointed, he was sad. and he is dashed. he looked stricken. he did the speech. he did everything he wanted and at the end he quoted the john gillespie magee column. but he was the first time i could see ronald reagan was really upset and the teacher and in part about a dreadful tragedy, in part because he understood it was the height of the cold war. you have to let the world know a little bit. no soviet union, this is not quote make a military disaster. there was a lot going on. reagan left the oval office feeling it had not succeeded. in the words of abraham lincoln he felt it hadn't scoured, lincoln said a good speech
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scours, breaks up the earth these reagan did not feel the speech had met the moment. i came to think afterwards that he thought that in part because there is nothing you can say that could meet a moment that painful to the american people and to you. i picked up from watching reagan how he felt, everybody went home by that night feeling sad about what happened, the history that happened and reagan's part and my part feeling we had not met the moment, feeling disappointed in ourselves. however something changed overnight. people started reacting. the fresh started reporting. kid started talking. something happened overnight, when i got in to work the next morning i got the impression we were too tough, that speech did
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that job. tip o'neill called me. i was not well known back then. did o'neill was a powerful democratic speaker of the house of representatives. i was in an office in the old executive office building. tip o'neill bothered to find me, call me and thank me for the work i had done. it was really beautiful, things like that don't really happen these days but that happened then. george shultz called me, the president called me, he was totally honest about how he had -- had not worked for done what he hoped to do. before that he told me he said how did you know i knew that:? i said mr. president, i didn't know you knew the pelham, i took a chance, i hope you knew it, he said i did know it, of pelham
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had been written on a plaque outside his daughter patti's grade school and when he had dropped her off in the morning on the way to work he would stop sometimes end read the plaque so the poem was very well known to him and had meaning for him and really worked. then he very honestly told me he had not a originally thought the speech had succeeded in doing whatever should be done but came to believe by this morning that at and i said mr. president, what made you think that it worked? and there were a number of things that made him feel that it worked but the most striking one was he said frank sinatra wrote called me and frank sinatra didn't call me after its free-speech, let me tell you. rarely with reagan would you absolutely real bind, be reminded that reagan came up in
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show business and he knew when something landed and when something didn't and he knew to tell you when something worked and frank sinatra was one of his friends who would give it to him straight and tell him it would worked or not. that is my challenger story. the fact is all of us that hectic day, that crazy painful day, did the best that we could do and we all made it for. >> host: interesting story especially that frank sinatra validated the speech. >> guest: frank sinatra was telling him in show business terms don't worry, do you know that? did joke not land? what was your relationship with him after that with the president? >> with the president after the challenger speech, sometime after that, maybe six or eight months later i left, there was a little power collision in the
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white house where the people i had worked for who had hired me left and went on to other things. a fabulously colorful man named don regan came into the chief of staff for reagan and i have great affection for him but as chief of staff he didn't work, the people i did the mice, did not work well with speechwriting and i thought my work here is done. however at the end a beautiful thing happens, i went home, had a baby. reagan, three or four months before he left the white house, january of '89 asked me, this felt like the greatest honor, he asked me to work with him on his farewell address so i got to work a few weeks with a big successful american president on
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the meaning of his presidency. we worked on it very well and i worked very hard on it. i think reagan would say that is a speech of his that nobody talks about that was very important to ronald reagan and contained a lot of advice for the future. >> we only have a few minutes before we opened it up to questions, a question on politics as well. i love this section. i want you to give, when you write about in terms of hillary clinton in your opinion on hillary. >> guest: as i went through my work, i found i could isolate various themes and put them in various chapters and have a ball doing it. one of the chapters is called people imac, i will get your question in a second but it pleases me, people i met, about
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people i was lucky to know who i thought made a great contribution like joan rivers and tim russert, jackie onassis who i didn't know but had met and observe from afar, tennessee williams his work was great, there is a chapter about political disputes, i have been involved in big political arguments, i criticize somebody, they criticized back, this i consider, kind of a fun of talking about politics in real time in america, with mrs. clinton, i think -- i am blocking aid little bit about what i have about mrs. clinton in the book, i know it is plenty but it revolves around the 2008 election year when she ran against a guy nobody ever heard
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of named barack obama. obama, the insurgent goes up against hillary clinton and her fabulously funded, well oiled machine, and when happened between them was an epic event, i never saw a political demolish and like what barack obama did hillary clinton. there is plenty about mrs. clinton and plenty about mr. clinton too. >> host: when you look back at your time with ronald reagan which is one of the highlights as you mentioned do you see any reagan qualities in any of the nominees now for the presidential election? >> guest: that is a completely fair question and there are nominees on the republican side and the democratic side and i will tell you how i look at it. i never see john f. kennedyen qualities in candidates running for president, none of them ever
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reminded me of fdr. none of them remind me of ronald reagan and none of them remind me of lincoln. i see candidates as men and women responding to end living very much in their time. >> host: denied a your pardon? i have been talking too much the past few days. a response to and live very much in their times. i always hope for than that they will be great. i always hope for them that 20 years from now, we will say something like it will be the year 2014 or whatever it will be, let's say it is 24. i hope it back and say longingly of some candidate for president, but is he a marco rubio? do you know what i mean? but is she a hillary clinton?
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prius comes in real time but is only judged in retrospect and i never compare anybody in politics to anybody who came before them. i don't find it helpful and i don't find it clarifying. >> host: we will open up for questions. we have a quote that i loved tacked on your waltzes and not walk through time without leaving word the evidence of your passage. do you feel you left and impact? >> guest: oh my goodness. that beautiful quote was said, i went to the mass in which pope john xxiii was recognized or declared as a saint by the catholic church, that was a quote i saw and a template on the street in rome from john xxiii, do not go through life wartime, do not go through, do
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not go through time without leaving word the evidence of your passage that is written on an envelope taped to my door at my home in an office. i will admit to you one of the reasons i made that an epigraph of the book, i think writers hall, who are serious about it are trying to do constructive work and trying to be truthful, their efforts are ultimately an attempt to leave where the evidence of the passage. that applies to very many very many professionals in their efforts but was i trying to do that? yes. lighting is good advice? ensure do. that is why it is taped to the door of my office. >> host: i am sure you have a
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question. peggy noonan. [applause] >> in your column in today's "the wall street journal," you try to analyze what qualities a leader should have been in the post terrorist world and you end your column saying the next president should have a lot of confidence and that is a quality you feel perhaps the present president is lacking. given the candidates that are running and the fact there is one particular person whose name is donald trump, seems to be the one candidate who is campaigning all about confidence and he is confident he can fix everything in the world, could you comment on what you think a donald trump president might be like, would it be horrible? would it be acceptable? would it be something new and
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and lightning? >> interesting to ask that question in florida because you folks may decisively answer the question will donald trump be the republican nominee. in your florida primary, what you folks do with regard to marco rubio will be significant in the choosing of a republican nominee. i think donald trump is the result of many things, one of the things he is the result of in my view is at this. the american people, a lot of republicans, the american people have looked at the past, frustrating, painful, difficult 15 years and felt what have we had for 15 years from washington? two essentials be not won worse, middle east blowing up, economic
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collapse followed by an extremely feeble recovery, indications on education, all of them, a culture more bizarre, everything seemed to get worse, past 15 years who gave us that world? i know, the most credentialed, experienced, accomplished political figures in america gave us that world. i think republicans especially by saying to themselves without articulating it, oh oh, i think we are going to have to go outside the political world and judge the experience, accomplishments, background in history of others, just brought in the indicators of what you are looking for if you will. and a neurosurgeon, so does carly fiorina, a former ceo, in some respects controversial one.
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i think trump has a kind of natural hurt the political sense understood the moment we were in. and moved forward. i don't know what is going to happen there. i don't always know what to make of his confidence. i will end with this. because i have been out on a book for and worked for ronald reagan i get asked about him a lot but i get asked in a very specific way lately. people say ronald reagan was so successful because he was optimistic, he was such an optimist. wasn't his leadership optimistic? i miss his optimism and i will say to people actually, what you miss was not optimism. he was not always optimistic. believe me, this was a guy who took a stern look at the history of man and what it might produce. he was not a man who had optimism.
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he was a man who had confidence. he had confidence in himself and his abilities and powers and ability to think. he was confident in you, the american people. if he explained his case, would back him, he was sure. he had confidence in the american system. it could be made to work, the congress and the white house could be made to work together, the executive agencies could work. this was iron man who had confidence. you looked at him, you saw his confidence and it allowed you to feel optimistic. that is what was going on with ronald reagan. we will see, there are many candidates who feel certainly a personal confidence, confidence in their own abilities, we will see if they get to do the rest of the formula. >> good evening. my question i wanted to come back to the challenger speech. you spent a lot of time speaking
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about it. could you have written that speech and would you have written the same speech if george bush had had to give it? that specific part of it and the underlying part of it is to what extent when you are writing a speech as a speechwriter for a candidate or ceo or whatever do you have to take into consideration the thought that kept going through your mind, will this resonate with the speaker? if it doesn't it won't resonate with the audience. >> one of the easiest parts of speech writing is taking a chance. you may think the person you are writing for is going to respond very much to and relate very much to something specific that you put in and that is fine. you might be right and it will turn out great. and you may be wrong, the president, that is who you work for, will simply removed it. it doesn't matter. i tell young speechwriters for
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your best stuff, do your best stuff. if they don't like it they will take it out. all presidents know they rise and fall on their speeches, history judges them by their speeches. would challenger speech be different if it had been with george h. w. bush? i can tell you of course yes, george h. w. bush's comments in the oval office before the speech would have been recorded by the same person who recorded reagan's but would have been different thoughts because he was a different man so would have been a different speech but in a way i answered that but it is hard to answer. if you said to kids sorensen who worked with john f. kennedy and attempted to help lyndon johnson when johnson was president for a little while, are your speeches
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for jfk and lbj different? his answer, he was a friend of mine, i knew him well, cared about him a lot, i think his answer would be yes because lbj was not jfk, and they were just different human beings but his answer would be by the end of the day, kids sorensen was the writer so there would have been some similarities. is a complicated little dance. >> we have time for one more question. peggy will be signing books. >> as someone who spent several years working with president reagan to use eloquence to rise to the level of national crises, how would you assess looking at president obama in turkey after -- how would you assess his performance in terms of comments following the paris attack. >> very often.
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i don't see the world the way barack obama does so very often i feel different from him. i am in conflict with his thoughts. my thoughts are different, my convictions also but after paris i felt disheartened by him. i felt he had a kind of low in terms of missing what was needed. in his celebrated news conference in which he was challenged quite wonderfully in my view by cnn who said mr. president isis has done this, they have done that, they have done this, they are here, many americans are feeling frustration and thinking why can't we get the bastards? that was an honest -- you can get more blunt than that. the president, to my
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unhappiness, seem to response to that to be sort of intellectual the weary and frustrated that people don't understand the fabulous news of his strategy which he keeps explaining and don't you get it? he was the offensive, he was not someone who could explain to you, there is great absence when it comes to obama and isis and it is an absence of how he thinks about isis, not just what to do about it, what your strategy supposedly is that how should we think about it, how should we view it, how should we be preparing to meet that threat. what are the possibilities, he doesn't speak about any of those things which makes you wonder is seen not speaking because he doesn't know we need to hear from him? is he not speaking because he doesn't actually want to share his thoughts? because he thinks they will be
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unpopular which makes everybody uneasy. we are already uneasy enough with these messy horrible things. there is a president who is acting less like a presence and an absence. it does no good. it was very bad leadership. >> we are going to have to leave it at that. the name of the book, "the time of our lives: collected writings," ladies and gentlemen, peggy noonan. [applause] >> peggy noonan, this is from a column you wrote jan. twelfth 2015. lafayette, we are not here. here are the reasons the president of the united states, the vice president, should have gone yesterday and walked shoulder to shoulder with the leaders of the world, through his presence that the american people fully understand the
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import of what happened in the charlie hebdo murders, islamist extremists took the lives of free men and women who represented american western political freedoms. that was over -- nearly a year ago. >> guest: that was a column renton in the spirit -- that was a blog post written in the spirit of great indignation. i was interested after the charlie hebdo shooting that the west got together and marched in france, the great leaders of the west and outside the west, the civilized world protests this barbarian assault on speech freedom and i felt it was the moving march and it distressed me greatly as you can see that
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there was not top-level u.s. representation, so i intended to be stinging when i called the peace lafayette, we are not here. >> host: could have written written a week ago? >> guest: no. this paris atrocity will not be followed by a march. the civilized world has already expressed an will express again, how is feels about what is happening. my indignation more recently after this region event was that i feel the president has not been a certain trumpet with regard to how america sees this great challenge in the world and i wish the trumpet were more certain. >> host: there is a debate,
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maybe just a media debate, over whether the words radical islam should be spoken, whether it is important, etc.. do you use them in your column? >> guest: i do and i don't acknowledge it or consider it a debate. it is a debate in the president's mind and in the mind, i think i am correct in saying, former secretary of state clinton, but everybody in america and in the press names what the problem is. i just don't understand what our leaders think they gain by being unclear on this. i think they feel they are not potentially offending anybody -- hurting anybody's feelings. but something, i have a feeling those who are coming up against us in these violent ways do not respect you more if you cannot even define what they are. they say what they are, you
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know? is a quite understand what their intentions are and their own way of operating. they tell us about it all the time. >> host: what is the organization in "the time of our lives"? >> guest: the organizing pherae is i have written many columns and essays and commentaries overs years and i decided to finally sit down and pick out the one that i like the most, the speaker most to me, that were most important to me and i think also speak to the moment we are in so i got a bunch -- i found i kept almost everything i had written over the years professionally so i called great white cardboard boxes out of the backs of closets and attics and warehouses in queens, filled my apartment living room with them and literally went through everything i had written, maybe sensually three piles.
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i love this. i am not sure, oh my god, i hate this. is one kept growing. i hate this kept growing. but the i really like this kyle got fairly large also and we had to get it down, try to fit it into 500 pages, for me at least, to my mind at least, captured the way i had been thinking and what i had been writing about and talking about for the past 30 years. >> host: did you put any of the oh my god i hate this in the book? >> guest: no. if i hated it it didn't make the book. >> host: peggy noonan is our guest in miami. there is a myriad of topics we will talk to her about, put up the phone number so you can dial in and we will begin taking calls little little while. i went to go through some of the columns in the book and get topics on the table. john mecham has a new book on george h. w. bush, somebody you worked with a new.
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in 1992, here is what you wrote. as president mr. bush reverted to his behavior as vice president. he stopped seeing the connection between words and actions. he did not communicate. i used to wonder if traumatized by what he saw as the reagan white house's too great attention to the public part of the presidency, the rose garden backdrops and commemorative events, mr. bush concluded the public part was all show and not worthy of sincere and honest -- >> guest: there was a little to that. i think vice president george h. w. bush watched ronald reagan very closely and drew a surprising conclusion from president reagan's insistence on going forward, leading in a
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clear way, he didn't invade the soviet union, do you know what i mean? a public part of the presidency was more and symbolic, it was deeply information on part of his leadership. i think vice president bush looked at it and saw it as a business part of the presidency, related to being on the office, related to conclusions, and less a public showing of the role of the presidency, in some level it damaged him a little bit. >> host: john mecham had access to george w. bush, you saw -- was your initial reaction to seeing those quote, some of those appointees?
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>> guest: i had a stricter reaction than some people did. i wish you would share your thoughts and views on all of this, it is not too personal on a family affair, but also an american affair, with and have been bad to hear what your real views word during your son's presidency and that would have unleashed a lot of debate. >> host: i am sure viewers want to talk about presidential politics 2015-2016-style. a couple more issues before we go to the calls. this is from august 16th, 2013, the wall street journal, what we lose if we give up privacy is the name of the column, something we're talking about again today. privacy is connected, it has to do with intimate things, the innards of your head and hart, workings of your mind and the
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boundary between those things and the world outside. loss of the expectation of privacy in communications, a loss of something personal and intimate and it will have broader implications. >> guest: one thing i know was on my mind when i wrote that that i think of these i hear those words, in a way i was talking in part to the generation of those inert teens and 20s have so much less of a sense of privacy and their own dignity and stature as individual human beings from the other human beings, they give up a lot of themselves on facebook and here and there, they share a lot of their lives, they say things, they perish the saying from the past few years privacy is dead, get over it. privacy should never be dead. privacy is what you have a right
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to as a human being, as an individual soul living in this world. is a great concern i have had and certainly at that time in 2013 it was connected also to the revelations with regard to what your own government could do to you with regard to privacy. i took a very skeptical look at the idea that all of those in government at all times are circumspect and respectful and don't go too far. when they have all of these capabilities to find out what you are thinking, saying and doing. so i bring a certain liberty loving, privacy protection spirit to this whole issue. >> host: peggy noonan is our guests, "the time of our lives: collected writings" is the name of the book, phone-number 202-728-8200, east and central time zones 748-8201.
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for those in the mountain and pacific, if you want to send peggy noonan a text message you to do that as well. if you can't get through on the phone lines. 202-717-9684. that is just for a text messages, if you would include your first name and your city so we can identify you that way. peggy noonan, for those who don't know you, they may see one morning joy your column on saturday in the wall street journal, where did you get your start? when did you start writing? how did you become a writer? >> guest: at the miami book fair, so many young people, all sorts of americans, they all cared about books, authors are not necessarily used to lining people opt to hear it from, lining up for autographed books.
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and i said essentially, i knew he was a writer. and maybe if i am a lawyer i will be a lawyer writer. if i am a reporter i will be reporter writer. that was just sort of something that was cleared to me in part because i was the right reader and when you are a great reader as a child at some point it occurs to you somebody put those sentences in this book, somebody made up this fabulous story i am reading and i think i wanted to be the person who did the sentences and put the paragraphs together and i was very much in love with history and biography as a child and i can remember wanting to write biographies. >> host: how do you get from
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wanting to do that to becoming a presidential speechwriter for ronald reagan? >> guest: i went to college. i was a very poor student. sometimes i think i should not say that because it almost in carriages people to be for students when you had met i was awful but i was awful. when i got out of high school i didn't have the kind of grades that could get me into college, i did not have money eager so i worked a few years, went to college at night, in rutherford, new jersey, eventually graduated, studied history and english literature with a minor in journalism. i ran the student newspaper, had a great deal of fun doing that, 5 i might be a columnist sunday. got out of school in the mid 70s, america was in a recession, i tried hard to get jobs in various places, couldn't get them but i heard about an opening in boston, massachusetts
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at a little radio station, not so little but somewhat modest radio station that was inventing something new called all news radio and the thing they needed immediately was writers to write the overnight all news radio show so i auditioned and got the job. >> host: get us to the reagan white house. >> guest: that took me to cbs news in new york where i was a news writer and also did interviews with people and took the sound of those interviews and put them on the air. i produced shows, wound up after a few years writing and rather's daily radio commentary show. dan was than just taking the place of walter cronkite as the anchor at cbs all i became his daily radio writer. i had become a long away more and more, since maybe high school and college and years afterwards i was becoming
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politically conservative and identifying as a conservative which was a surprising thing. i came from a nice working class liberal democrat family to make this short, the white house heard about me for various reasons. the guy who ran speechwriting department called me up and said if you are ever near washington come by, knock on the door, i totally set iron coming to washington tomorrow, he laughed in my case and he said come by my door. and i told the white house all want is to be a speechwriter for ronald reagan. i want to work for him and all i can do is right. that is what i would like to be. they put me through my paces for a few months, looked through everything i had ever written to make sure i never for dan rather or anyone else had done a denunciation of reagan, they had the right make believe speeches for the president. the guy who hired me said right
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at 20 minutes speech, you figure it out. i had to work hard to get that job that offered that job and took it and went to washington d.c. in 1984 knowing no one. as i look back at my life one of the things that didn't astonish me at the time but astonishes me now is i left an entire career, started something new and did it in a town i did not understand and where i didn't know a soul. that was daring. i didn't think it at the time, didn't strike me as daring, it struck me as this is wonderful, this is great and it will all work out. >> host: one more quote from your book, being a political conservative member of the media, if you are a conservative you're considered by other conservatives rightly to be part of a minority within the
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mainstream press never let down your form but what if you have an opinion that is against the grain, you let down the team, you are a power. >> guest: it is a little bit complicated. i feel free as a writer and as a person who shares her opinions for a living, i feel completely free to and knocked the heck out of the republican party, a republican candidate, the democratic party, democratic candidate but that will be a frustration for 7 republicans and republican candidates and conservatives sometimes who feel you ought to stick with your side. my feeling about what i do for a living which is right at home is you have to try to look with clean eyes to the extent you can
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as clearly as you can end you have to call it as you see it and give your review. you are no good if you don't do it that way. it won't work. so there are columnists, we can probably think of a number of them who are liberals and see no enemies to the left, who are conservatives and see no enemies to the right. who never declare a position or a viewpoint of the you can discern it in time. there are all sorts of ways to do what i do but my way is simply do your best, tell the truth to the extent that you can see the truth and then duck. people are going to throw things at you because you have thrown a few things at them. now and then i had to duck under the desk in my office but so what? >> host: your column publishedes
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"the wall street journal" every saturday by 8:00 a.m. this morning it had already been posted on 3,225 facebook pages at that point. is it a grind? do you get a lot of attention? >> guest: is it a grind to write a column? >> host: on a weekly basis. >> guest: is always on my mind. i have been writing this column for 15 years. i was asked to write it in an almost light-hearted way by bob bartley who in those days ran the editorial page of the wall street journal. recalls me one day and said we have this thing called the internet. we will put up a wall street journal page on the internet. would you like to be a columnist? sure. light-hearted also. i did not know it would be as consuming as it was. i did not know it would become a is deeply important to me as it became. it became a passion and it strikes me as funny and ironic
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and typical of life that this big thing for me began -- neither of us understood the implications. it is very much a labor of love but sometimes love is hard. you know? >> host: peggy noonan is our guest and is your turn. mark in new york city, you have been very patient. go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: it is a pleasure to speak to you today. i enjoyed your column. i wanted to -- can you hear me? can you hear me? >> guest: yes. i am readjusting my earpiece. i hear you fine. go-ahead. >> caller: thank you very much. a couple of things. i am concerned about the republicans, conservatives as well, in relation to debating democrats, seemed to take an argument to a gun fight, the
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tepid this and nobility at the expense of winning is a big concern given the bogus nature and slandering of opponents, tired of losing. and the other thing in terms of educational system in the country, k-12 and colleges, antipathy towards america, inculcation of the leftist professors with absolutely no input from the students for any conservative thought were thinking has created a foundation in the country's it seems impenetrable by even the most brilliant conservative argument when trying to win an election given the fact that for 20 years all they heard and inculcated into is leftist and anti-american fought and the media -- >> host: i think we got a lot there for peggy noonan to react
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to. go ahead. >> guest: thank you for that. the educational part, it is important and opened a lot of eyes is the college protest movement that has been going on in missouri and yale and dartmouth. i think these young people, when i was 20, i was an idiot and always wanted to defend anybody who is 20 and give them some space to be an idiot. that having been said, these young people that seems to me are part of a serious censorship movement within academia in america, within our great universities where ideas and thoughts and language and words
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and provocations, where all those things should be comfortable in great universities and these great young people seems to me are against by being part of the censorship movement they are in perfect part of an anti first amendment, and i free-speech movement and i cannot help but think that they would not be like that if they had been taught accurately, adequately, even stirringly of american history, how america came together, what arrangements the founding generation decided were very necessary, why the first amendment which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion was not like the 1 fourteenthamendment but the first amendment, it was not an afterthought to the founders. it was primary to them. if you know these things and
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have been taught to have a just appreciation for the events of 1770 to 1800, the beginnings of our nation. then you will not likely be part of a censorship movement and anti first amendment movement, the young people going to grade schools tell me it has them but judged that they got wonderful grades and marks the other great schools, i got to wonder what kind of grade schools they were to produce some young people who look more like moroccan robespierre and shaken than honest inquiry students trying to learn things. second thing on your point on the republicans are worried this year that the 2016 cycle would turn into a bloody fight on one side versus a boring fight on
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the other. sometimes when is it bloody versus boring, people will think boring is better than bloody. the republicans inescapably are fighting about ideas and stands and different conceptions of what conservatism is. here is what i think is the most important thing happening on the republican side. this year. i will try to say it quickly. in 1976 to 1980, ronald reagan and gerald ford had an epic clash over a one question and that question was will the republican party be a conservative party? or will it continue as a moderate liberal conservativeish gerald ford party? reagan by winning fabulously impressive landslide in '80 and bigger landslide, 49 states in 84 answered the question for the
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republican party, the republican party will be a conservative party. what i think is happening in the 2016 cycle is that republicans with a certain inevitability, are trying to answer the question we are a conservative party, what does conservative mean? what does that mean with regard to how we deal with entitlements, is the conservative someone who says my goodness, the entitlements will bankrupt our children, we got to get control of that? or is a conservative someone who says the deal is a deal, the american people paid into those programs with a promise, we got to keep our promise. .. so we have to keep our promises there are a number of ways to the answer that so the party fights through these i think the fight is
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launched in 2016 it may be fought for a long time that the end of the day politics is the arena in which the questions must be fought out by respect the republicans for fighting them out and makes me think a little less of the democrats there have been a far less vigorous debate with a smaller number of people of the stage and a coronation looking inevitable. the fields and democratic -- undemocratic. >> host: day you know, donald trump? >> guest: i met him once i remember we have ata very large awards dinner he seemed very much like a real
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estate developer. a colored girl -- a colorful new yorker cry thought he should run for mayor. the bear right now is that the most popular in this city or in the world and republicans need is a self funding colorful definitive character as big as the city of new york with think that would be a lovely thing. >> host: name of peggy noonan new book is called "the times of our lives" dated from florida at the wellhead. >> caller: i am 100 miles up the coast. thank you. i have followed your career with the article about you in "esquire" magazine when
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u were a speech raider -- writer for president reagan and you never failed to write the pastor never disappoint. >> guest: faq. i thought you were saying the opposite. [laughter] >> caller: it got to the point of read my lips and speaking to it is great that finally the miami book fair has done on the liberal author speaking i did not see you this morning but i am glad to see were given a spot.
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thank you very much. >> guest: the audience was funny and delightful. >> host: there a few conservative authors? >> guest: does he have a question? that was very nice of him. that was very generous of him to call. >> host: you are one of the few conservative authors invited? >> guest: i had no idea. is that so? >> then there should be more. i have to read mitt that. -- admit that. i am very big everybody on the first amendment and free speech to jump into the pool i like when people declare where they stand in it is more fun and more vivid i
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don't like to debate pili when everybody is vigorously doing it but i had not noticed maybe i will speak to them to say we need more conservatives next year. >> host: here is a text message does your opinion of president obama changed and how? >> guest: it has. i thought that president obama when he came to the white house would have a judgment of the american people there was a lot of political division so i will try to hold this together with both hands. it was disturbing and disheartening for me when at two points clear of the early on in the first year of his presidency to a
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things happened one is that he passed a budget without any republican support and then more fatally in this segment administration he put through obamacare as it is called without a single republican vote. both of these were very sad every president in my lifetime has known any major american initiative initiative, especially something like obamacare needs to have at least the appearance of bipartisan support. you have to have some of it and sometimes make up painful compromise to get the other side to come with you but i argued he could have done that. it seems to read the obama of white house got carried away with the idea, i may be wrong but this is what i think. they got carried away that
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the republicans are in intransigent, one to hate them and kill them and will never give them an inch with a-rod a phone call that mitch mcconnell had in which he reportedly said to his supporters our number one is republicans the number one priority now is to defeat this president. i had been in washington long enough and also had readied of books and history to know that all parties say that about the new president every time there is a new president. that is how they talk that is politics. ronald reagan and the democrats wanted to take him down he wanted to star of the children that is what it was like when reagan came from the democrats and
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eventually make a deal you make it by becoming popular and supported by the american people put obama in the beginning was and then to reach out to see i know you're on the other party but what you need to make a deal because we will make it happen. we need the american people to know we can function together it is not divided. you have to be sophisticated to know that you meet the other party. when he did not know that or perhaps knew that or did not do it anyway i was disappointed and fought that is the central insight to know that even if there are only 22 you need some of them. >> host: from your column what america thinks about iraqi in 2014 that he is out
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of his depth he radiates us since he is not all that invested he doesn't drive himself to the golf course but play is it because at the end of the day all the other scandals are not making him bleed inside. oak park illinois you have been patient. >> caller: i have been watching you almost all day. i was born and raised in jordan and palestinian armenian descent and i am a christian. i feel this disturbs me very much. my ancestors escaped from turkey because of their religion help period at -- a
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river ideal christianity here and now i fear the same thing is happening to come out to say but it's happening right now with isis he identified but i have a huge problem but they are radicals. i think the identify them as such. i feel sometimes they are afraid to say i that you should be open to say things and that was what supposed to be so great about the united states so it surprises me how we got to this point so i don't
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understand if religion is brought up. >> host: let's leave it there to get a response. >> there is a lot of different angles. the only when people fight it out in terms of politics but it is fine when everybody talks about religion and faith and strength of religious faith with our life as a nation. america has always been a religious country full of people going to church and synagogue and also ironically was so easygoing
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about atheism and agnosticism we justin have to do anything we were allowed to do everything is my view. i was unsure if you were protesting too much for a place for religion where that has to much of a place in american life or that people speak to ultimately about religion and that gets me back to the first amendment amendment preoccupation that i have been political correct that makes everybody so nervous how they might zeta wrong thing. most people are not running around as ailing west as intellectuals to know exactly the right way to say
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things most people just do their best to express their thoughts and sometimes it is awkwardly or even in a way that hurts somebody else. we have to allow each other that room. the political correctness movement that we see over the last 25 years has become more radical in that time isn't helping us understand each other better or resolve our conflicts. it only makes us more inhabited and more resentful >> host: portland maine the a text message now that we have a perspective on reagan's presidency is a beginning of the end of the american middle class and the beginning of ill-advised wars for oriole overseas? i do. >> guest: no i don't.
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i got into a little twitter exchange the other day with somebody somebody was in the indignant mood and got a little bit angry to say that reagan was a warmonger and an empty suit. i said really? he defeated the soviet union and restored the american economy to help bring back united states military, lower taxes taxes, america is back as they said if that is an empty suit then more for president. to be more specific that mr. reagan's conservatism that says let's invade the middle east to get their oil. he used words margaret thatcher said he took the
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english language and sent it out to fight for us to use words to shame insufficient governments. but also a realist about the imperfections of million and of of governments. he was not a dreamy character about human nature or institutions. >> host: what are some of the words he used the you can take credit for? >> guest: i worked with him on various speeches in retrospect i felt i'm glad i was there i'm glad i was working on that but the closest i ever worked with him on the speeches -- a speech was his farewell address. we had a series of meetings by has in interviews that i said tell me but you think
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are the most major accomplishes - - accomplishments in briard as a country. as i look back to go over the notes that i had as i was putting together that speech, it resonates for me and speaks to the president watched that farewell speech he said some things interpreted lee even about political correctness the inability to transmit the real beauty of the american story. >> host: john in orlando florida you are on the air with peggy noonan with her book "the times of our lives." >> caller: good evening. ice appreciate all you have done it is full of clarity and understanding.
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>> guest: thank you sir. that was so nice. is that all? >> caller: i do have a question. as the author of a number one best-selling book that is also a conservative, i want to ask about the of president assertion that is the number-one problem in the world with an excellent article for "the wall street journal". >> guest: i take it almost stranger the practical view
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with the progressive left with that preoccupation with the issue of climate change that they used to call global warming. i understand there is scientific data to for were the of point of their concern with the information they find more reliable with the arguments that they find more compelling putting the whole issue aside, there are a media real specific concrete common dangers in the world that we live in right now. to show briefly with the
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regular folks on the streets look at this particular incident they are starting to say this will not stop of g heightism. there will have been in more places we have to deal with that. and focus on that. i believe that is how people are thinking now. with people are thinking there are immediate things and the leaders, for word of climate change that leader
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sounds like he is rattling around. and not aware how other people are feeling so it just seems to me there are immediate issues event what isis seems to me is pressing >> host: st. petersburg we have a few more minutes left with peggy noonan the last caller was from orlando you we're doing a book signing there tomorrow? >> guest: i am. my friend over here knows what time it takes place but i believe it is in the afternoon. 1:00 p.m.. thank you very much at
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barnes & noble. thank you. the volumes so excited to see those villages to look at the villages tomorrow morning the case you happen to be in the area. >> would you do speeches for him? with that hiv epidemic? dear thank you could relate to those black students and then to come outside.
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>>. >> i am sympathetic to everyone in america the has hard -- had a hard time with the race and gender and ethnicity. the with that diversity you cannot ask for sympathy to ask for the airing. en to have paid harassment on your own end of life is difficult for everybody. but is sympathetic asking for a hearing is much more helpful than the kind of
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thing we are seeing in the also don't like movements you cannot think things or say things you must do of my way. it will not succeed. i am very sympathetic to those in america who are black and have felt for a long time better under special scrutiny in this because a cop is suspicious eyes understand i am sympathetic but it shouldn't result in the movement i cannot remember.
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>> host: the fact that a lot of people say ronald reagan did not mention in aids and tell the very end until the epidemic started that is where my friend was going. >> i don't know if that was true. sometimes people played a finger at the reagan administration and to say hiv/aids is their fault because they did not do enough. that is probably obvious but sympathetically we have to understand that beyond of governmental it is a factor it is hard for people to understand what the heck is going on. it took ronald reagan in awhile to understand.
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>> host: do we project too much on the president? >> guest: yes we do. and we expect too much but it is easy when you cover politics in america and the easy path to success of the president to talk endlessly about his powers his background and personality and character his economy and everything. tuesday i created 5 million jobs. we are too obsessed with of presidency and the office of the executive we should pay more intention to congress
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country and i do something selenide with the founders that we so deified the president's and then to dominate the age and to come through their town i have seen presidential motorcades go from 10 cars that th 2at cars now like 100 cars and 40 ambulances and fire truck and the priest. [laughter] you know, what i mean? they bring everybody with them they are treated like kings. with the 14th would be amazed at the aura and mystique around the president we treat them like they are the emperor of china. the we are carried away.
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>> host: last call comes from new york. [applause] i was reading this afternoon i am delighted. >> caller: that people consider reagan's optimistic but the fact he was confident could you rethink the obamacare administration what does that mean for the next person?
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>> guest: eight you very much for that question there is two parts that is interesting which didn't happen in the '80s and '90s but in the 2000's when republicans started to think when is the last time we had a successful presidency? that was beginning of reagan nostalgia but i found on this book tour talking to people in the public that they would characterize as optimistic that was the source of his greatness i don't think he was that great optimistic but not sentimental or childish of human nature or human
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institutions but he was confident in himself and the american people that the political arrangements would allow progress you saw that and it made you feel optimistic i cannot say he is incompetent because he is quite taken with himself however a wish he would be more embracing or confident with this place that we have been the love of america that is a problem that can be turned around will be helpful with the ex-president. >> host: here is the book.
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