Margaret Hoover

Photo: Charles Bogel

Today’s Republican party has a problem attracting young voters. But it’s not a new problem.

More than a decade ago, conservative commentator and author Margaret Hoover — great granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover — recognize the problem.

I met her in 2011 when we talked about her book American Individualism.

And as you listen in the next few minutes, you may recognize some familiar themes that permeate politics to this day, including the Republican identity crisis Margaret Hoover talks about.

So here now, from 2011, Margaret Hoover.

Margaret Hoover is 45 now. She is host of “Firing Line” on PBS.

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Lani Guinier

In 1993, the term “woke” had not been invented yet. But a prominent law professor nominated for a high position in the US government Saw her nomination done in by what we would now know as “anti-woke” sentiment.

Her name was Lani Guinier. President Bill Clinton nominated her to be assistant attorney general for civil rights.

That’s, of course, when closer scrutiny of her past writings began. And, she says, that’s when the misrepresentations of her writings began.

Guinier was a strong advocate of voting rights, and a strong believer that all minority voices should be heard in a democracy.

Ultimately, her voice was drowned out by her critics’ voices, and President Clinton withdrew her nomination.

I met her the following year, when she was on a book tour. So here now, from 1994, Lani Guinier.

Lani Guinier died last year. She was 71.

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Robert Bork
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Al Gore

In the summer of 1992, then US senator Al Gore from Tennessee was thrust into a much more visible public role, when Bill Clinton selected him as his running mate on the Democratic ticket.

That was also about the time Gore published his first book about the environment, a volume called Earth in the balance

And that’s how I met Al Gore, just a few weeks before he was nominated to be vice president.

The day I interviewed him if he had any indication that he was about to be nominated to be on the Clinton ticket, he did a really good job of hiding it.

So here now, from 1992, senator Al Gore.

Al Gore served as vice president under Bill Clinton for 8 years, before seeking the presidency on his own in 2000. He lost that election by a razor thin margin to George w. Bush. Since then, Gore has cemented his reputation as a leading advocate of environmental causes.

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John Dean

Fifty years ago this week, a botched burglary at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, DC touched off a criminal conspiracy that eventually brought down the president of the United States, Richard M. Nixon.

It’s the scandal that to this day is simply known by the name of the office complex where the burglary occurred: Watergate.

All this week on Now I’ve Heard Everything we’re featuring interviews I’ve done with figures connected to Watergate. Our last episode featured former Washington Post editor Ben Bradley. On Friday, my conversation with the mastermind of the burglary, G. Gordon Liddy.

One of Nixon’s loyalists at the center of everything was his White House counsel, a young lawyer named John Dean.

As the investigation into the cover-up began to widen, Dean quietly began cooperating with prosecutors.

Later, famously, Dean was heard on a White House tape telling the president:

Dean recounted that episode in his congressional testimony:

After serving a brief prison sentence for his role in Watergate, Dean wrote several best-selling books, and his political views changed, as well.

And in the last 20 years, Dean has become a strong voice against what he sees as the authoritarian nature of the modern conservative movement – Republicans, in particular

In 2005, Dean wrote a book called Worse Than Watergate, which was followed in 2006 by one called Conservatives Without Conscience. And that’s when I met him.

And then we talked again a year later, when he wrote what was the third book in his trilogy.

So what you’ll hear now is first an excerpt from my 2006 interview, then after a short break, my 2007 conversation with John Dean:

John Dean is 83 now. His last book, Authoritarian Nightmare, was published in 2020.

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Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich was first elected to Congress from George’s sixth district in 1978. By the end of the 1980s, he had risen to a position of leadership in the House GOP.

In 19 for Gingrich was a leader in the Republican wave that took over the house, and Gingrich became the first Republican house speaker in 40 years.

But by 1997 infighting in the party put Gingrich on the defensive.

Gingrich himself help fan the flames of discontent when, in late 1997, he almost single-handedly shut down the federal government. It was a squabble over a continuing resolution to keep the government funded. And Gingrich was upset because he had apparently been snubbed on a flight on Air Force One.

In 1998 Gingrich wrote a book he called Lessons Learned The Hard Way.

So here now from 1998, Newt Gingrich.

Newt g resigned from the house in January 1999. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Gingrich is 78 and remains active in Republican politics. His new book Defeating Big Government Socialism: Saving America’s Future will be published in July.

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Jane Byrne

Photo: Alan Light

For 21 years, from the mid-1950s to the mid ’70s, mayor Richard j. Daly ran the city of Chicago. And I mean he ran the city.

One member of Daley’s cabinet was a woman named Jane Byrne, who was Chicago’s Commissioner of Consumer Sales.

Not long after Mayor Daley’s death in 1976 Byrne left her city job, and ran for mayor herself in 1979. And against the odds, Byrne won. She became not only Chicago’s first female mayor, but the first woman to be elected mayor of any major U.S. city.

But 4 years later, when she ran for reelection, the tide that had swept her into office swept her back out again.

In 1992, Jane Byrne wrote a political memoir, and that’s when I have the chance to meet her.

So here now, from 1992, Jane Byrne.

Jane Byrne died in 2014. She was 81.

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Gary Hart

Photo: Kenneth C. Zirkel

As many others of his generation were, former Colorado, senator Gary Hart was inspired to get into politics by John f. Kennedy, and Robert f. Kennedy, and their contemporaries in the 1960s.

By 1972, hard had established himself as a rising star in the Democratic party, and ran George McGovern’s unsuccessful campaign for president.

Two years later, heart ran for US Senate from Colorado and one. He was reelected in 1980. But he had his sights set on higher office.

He ran for president in 1984, narrowly losing the nomination to Walter Mondale. And he ran again in 1988, until his candidacy was done in by allegations of sexual misconduct.

I had the chance to interview Gary Hart several times during the 1980s and ’90s, including the interview you’re about to hear. Heart had just written another book reflecting on his years as someone who tried to be a political reformer .

For context, this interview was conducted less than 6 months after Bill Clinton was first elected president. And no one, including Gary Hart, knew exactly what the next few years would bring.

So here now, from 1993, Gary Hart:

Gary Hart is 85 now and remains active in public service.

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Sen. Robert Byrd

For over half a century Robert Byrd served the people of West Virginia in Congress, first in the House of Representatives, then in the United States Senate. He was, in fact, the longest serving US senator ever, until Michigan’s John Dingell surpassed him.

And if you think West Virginia’s current Senator Joe manchin has outsize influence, he’s nothing compared to what Byrd had.

The one and only time I had a chance to meet Senator Byrd was in 2004. It was just a couple of months before the presidential election, in which George W Bush was running for re-election against Democrat John Kerry..

Byrd had written a book obviously intended to help carries effort, in which Byrd scathingly criticized President Bush for the Iraq War.

That’s the background on the context. So here now, the interview. My 2004 conversation with Senator Robert Byrd.

Senator Robert Byrd died in 2010. He was 92.

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Al Franken

Al Franken has had several careers. He was one of the original writers and cast members of Saturday Night Live in the mid-1970s. In fact, he was with the show for 15 years.

Later he became a liberal commentator, with his own radio show.

Then there was a short-lived NBC sitcom called Lateline..

And then, in 2008, he ran for the United States Senate from Minnesota. And he won. Six years later, he was re-elected.

But he was forced to resign his senate seat in early 2018, after allegations of sexual misconduct.

Al Franken is now 70 years old. He can be heard Saturday mornings on Sirius-XM Radio. And he’s currently on a 15-city live tour.

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Peggy Noonan

In the mid-1980s one of President Ronald Reagan’s favorite speechwriters was the talented wordsmith Peggy Noonan.

She crafted some of Reagan’s most impressive speeches, including the one he delivered on the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, as well as his televised message to the nation after the Challenger disaster in 1986.

And then, working with the presidential campaign of Vice President George HW Bush, Noonan came up with even more phrases that have stuck in our memories.

Along the way, Noonan became an accomplished speaker in her own right, and in 1998, wrote a book to help others facing the prospect of speaking in public.

She and I had many conversations over the years, of which this was one. So here now, from 1998, Peggy Noonan.

Peggy Noonan is 71 now, and still writes, speaks, and is often seen on TV. And, I suspect, she still gets butterflies or stomach.