BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Rick Perlstein, what is in your book, "Before the Storm," about Barry Goldwater?
Mr. RICK PERLSTEIN (Author, "Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater"):
Well, the second half of the book is a blow-by-blow account of the
1964 presidential election, all the drama therein. And what happens
in the first half is I tell kind of two intertwined stories. The one
is the rise of the conservative movement from something that was
really marginal in American politics in the '50s to a movement that
had basically taken over its own political party, the Republicans, by
1964. The other kind of braid in the argument is how America changed
in the process, how America changed from a country of what I would
call a consensus, or what at least prominent people believed was
consensus, which most people agreed with each other on the broad goals
of society, on the broadest kind of political questions, to one that
we're more familiar with when we think about the '60s, in which the
nation is one that's divided against itself.
LAMB: Who won in 1964? And who ran against...
Mr. PERLSTEIN: This was the Goldwater-Johnson election, Goldwater
against Lyndon Johnson. And Barry Goldwater lost in the biggest
popular landslide up to that point, even worse than Alf Landon in
LAMB: How many--how many states did Barry Goldwater win?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Barry Goldwater won six states. He won quite
comfortably in five states in the Deep South, which I'm sure we'll
want to talk about. He won Arizona, his home state, only by a
whisker. And, of course, the guy who beat him was Lyndon Johnson.
And after the election passed and it's the Wednesday after the
election, people were saying conservatism was finished for good; that
we now lived in a liberal republic; that if the Republican Party ever
veered from the center and embraced conservatism as its organizing
principle, there wouldn't be a Republican Party, and there might not
even exist a two-party system. That's how kind of discombobulating
this whole thing was in American history.
LAMB: When did you first think about doing a book like this?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: You know, I came to New York from graduate school in
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Graduate school at the University of Michigan. I
went to college at the University of Chicago. I'm a native of
Milwaukee. And I decided to strike out to the big city. Academia
seemed a little too confining for, I think, what were my political,
social, intellectual ambitions. And I got a job at a magazine called
Linguafranca. Do you know that magazine?
LAMB: What's it stand for? What does Lingua...
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Linguafranca: The Review of Academic Life. It's
been described, a little uncharitably, as the academics' People
magazine. But it's--it's--it's more like a general interest magazine
for academics. It has articles about new intellectual trends,
university controversies. It's a fun magazine written in a general
interest tone that deals with what happens in universities, and that
was a really important experience for me.
But that was right around the time of the 1994 mid-term congressional
elections. I had come from a campus-based environment in which a lot
of the thinking was quite conventionally left-wing, at least in the
humanities department I was in. And I had come right from college. I
hadn't seen too much of the world. And that 1994 election really
startled me. It just startled me to realize how much grassroots anger
there was at ideas that I took almost for granted; not for granted
because, you know, my family's relatively conservative, and, you know,
I certainly knew Republicans and conservatives. But it still came as
a surprise to me, and the anger and the passion. And then not too
many months later was the Oklahoma City bombing. And the idea
that--that people could get so passionate about these right-wing
ideas, you know, no reason to--to--to--to equate what Timothy
Mc--McVeigh did with what Newt Gingrich was up to, but I just remember
before that bombing listening to t--right-wing talk radio, which I
started doing, and just being astonished at how much anger there was,
and really kind of coming around to the idea that people can really be
politically incommensurate, I mean, absolutely be coming from exact
opposite directions when confronted with the same set of facts.
LAMB: So you're in New York City working at Linguafranca.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah. That's it.
LAMB: And why Barry Goldwater, again? Where did you get to him? And
have you ever met him, or did you ever see him in your life?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, I--I--I--I paid supplication at the foot of his
driveway in--Paradise Valley in Phoenix. He passed away while I was
researching this book. In fact, I was at the Lyndon Baines Johnson
Library in Austin when I heard the news. And so I never got a chance
to meet him. He was basically not well enough to--to be interviewed
by the time I got around to this project.
But why Barry Goldwater? I started reading books about conservatism.
I didn't even know conservatism even had a history. I mean, it seemed
to me that there had always been these conservatives, and they'd
always fought liberals. And the liberals were the Democrats, and the
conservatives were the Republicans. And immediately when I started
reading a bit of history and seeing just how marginal this movement
was in the '50s, I began pursuing just the plot, basically; how did
conservatives become more powerful. And every road led to Barry
Goldwater and this 1964 campaign. It was the glue that tied together
hundreds of disparate elements.
LAMB: There's one note in the back, though, that kind of connects all
this in your acknowledgments, kind of a...
Mr. PERLSTEIN: The one about my dogs, right?
LAMB: Yeah--no, not the dogs, although the dogs were interesting,
Buster and Checkers. It's the note about, `the review is written for
Sue and John Leonard at The Nation.'
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah.
LAMB: John Leonard that we see on CBS on Sunday morning?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's the guy, yeah.
LAMB: Sue, his wife?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: His wife. She's a history teacher at a prep school
in--in New York, and they were the literary editors of The Nation.
So, I mean, maybe you're getting at the fact that I'm a left-winger.
I'm a confirmed--I don't even call myself a liberal. I'd even
consider myself a little bit to the left of liberal. And, you know,
that I spent, you know, all this time writing this 700-page book, four
years of my life, immersed in the arcane of the conservative movement.
LAMB: It's really not what I was getting at as much as that John
Leonard used to be with National Review.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yes, that's right. Do you remember--I write in the
book about National Review in the mid '50s basically being the most
exciting thing on the literary scene, in a lot of ways, because it
really was this kind of Eisenhower conformist time. And Bill Buckley
was a hellion. I mean--I say that Yale hadn't seen a crew as reckless
and--and kind of off the wall as his until 1968. You know, he would
do things, like he would go to a George--a Henry Wallace rally with
his friends and plot to release a flock of pigeons, you know, into the
amphitheater as--as Wallace spoke about appeasement with Russia, you
know. This kind of anarchic, counterestablishment spirit was
something that resided in National Review and attracted a lot of
talented young writers who wouldn't necessarily go on to become
One of them was John Leonard; another was Joan Gideon; Arlene Croce,
the dance critic at the--The New Yorker; and, most interestingly--he
even wrote a memoir about it--Gary Wills.
LAMB: So why a review in The Nation? What did that have--what did
that have to do with, again, getting this book going, getting your
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, that--that was--that--the--the--the review was
of a big novel that you might remember called "Infinite Jest," by
David Foster Wallace. It was like a 1,500-page novel. And I guess
I--you know, it just--it--it caught the eye of some people, and one of
the people it caught the eye of was the guy who ended up becoming my
editor at Ferar, Strauss and Girioux, a friend of mine, Paul Ely. And
he just called me up and said, you know, `Want to have lunch? Are you
working on a book?' And that was really one of the things that got me
started, for all practical purposes, on, well, that little thing
you've got in your hands there.
LAMB: Now there's a n--well, let me ask you this. Did--did the--the
conservatives you talk about--How many people did you interview?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: About 50, but I'm kind of counting my in-laws. So,
you know, maybe 40 or 50.
LAMB: Why did you interview your in-laws?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: My in-laws were members of Young Americans for
Freedom. They were from Jersey City. And one of the kind of
off-the-beaten-track stories that I tell in the book is how a lot of
kids growing up in towns controlled by corrupt, Democratic machines
kind of became Republican out of that same kind of an--anarchic, kind
of anti-establishment spirit. They saw the rep--the Republicans as
the rebellious party in a place like Jersey City or maybe Chicago or,
you know, Tammany Hall in New York. And they were so disgusted by the
Kinney machine in Jersey City, and, of course, they had conservative
instincts, that they embraced this movement.
LAMB: And what--what are your--your in-laws name--names?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: They're the Guyers, Hank and Kathy Guy--Hank and
Patty Guyer. My--my wife's name is Kathy. We're actually getting
married in two weeks.
LAMB: What did they tell you? What did you learn from them?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, I learned a couple of things. First of all,
that they were the only two people in their precinct to vote for Barry
Goldwater--in their whole precinct in Jersey City. And second of all,
my father-in-law, Hank, was basically an accountant in Korea in the
early '60s when the Vietnam War was still very much a kind of
fugitive, underground subject that wasn't being kind of discussed in
public. And he was wondering why he was asked to sign off on all
these requisitions for helicopters that they never saw. They were, of
course, being diverted to help our, you know, "advisers" in Vietnam.
LAMB: Did--did you--did you--the people you talked to--the
conservatives you talked to know that your politics were over on the
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, that was always fun. I--I--I--I would always
straightforwardly describe my project and would kind of--you know,
I--I'm not one to--to, you know, hide my light under a bushel, but I
didn't, you know, run out there and say, `Well, you know, I'm--I'm for
socialized medicine,' or anything like that. So I'd go in and see a
conservative like Richard Viguerie, the guy who co-founded the Moral
Majority. And after interviewing him about his experience--and he was
the guy who basically took the direct mail list from the Barry
Mold--old--Goldwater campaign and turned it into this activist tool.
They say a lot of conservative mailing lists still are kind of based
on the spine of that one master mailing list that people gave money to
Barry Goldwater. I go into his office in Virginia; we talk for an
hour, whatever, and he says, `Well, it's just--you know, it's so
great, the young people are following up on the history of our
movement.' I didn't say anything.
Another fellow I interviewed named Lee Edwards--he's a Heritage
Foundation guy. He wrote a biography of Barry Goldwater. And I think
he--he caught me staring longingly at a--a kind of a left-wing poster
that he'd ironically put up at the wall, and he had me pegged. And at
the end, he said, `I wish more of our young conservatives were as
interested in the history of our movement as you are.'
LAMB: You--you did say in here some nice things about Lee Edwards,
though. You say that you recommended that people read his book,
basically, in the notes.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Sure.
LAMB: I mean, do you find that to be a reliable book on Barry
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah.
LAMB: Because some of the books, you don't; you're not that happy
Mr. PERLSTEIN: No, that's--that's a pretty reliable book, yeah,
although I found myself forced to also say some not-so-nice things
about Lee Edwards, to be perfectly frank, because in the historical
sources I was looking at, he was very young and in--inexperienced at
the time. And...
LAMB: When he worked for Barry Goldwater?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: When he worked for Barry Goldwater as a publicist in
1964, and he made some youthful mistakes; perfectly understandable.
But that was more of an indictment of the general kind of shabbiness
of the campaign, its disorganization, its vacuum of leadership at the
top, which is probably the--you know, a funny part of my book more
than--more than, you know, anything aimed to--at, you know, taking on
anyone, living or dead.
LAMB: It was this sentence that I wanted to ask you about: `The
breakfast David Keene...'
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: `...set up for me with a cadre of conservative movement
veterans at the Capitol Hill Club was very helpful and very cool.'
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah, that was the last time I wore this suit,
LAMB: Normally we don't find you in a suit and tie?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: No, in my overalls or sweat pants, you know, over the
computer. But conservatives were extremely forthcoming and generous
with their recollections. People turned over their files to me. One
guy, you know, let me roam through his storage room for, you know, a
couple days. David Keene set up this breakfast. I have no idea if he
had any clue about my political leanings; he never asked. And he
arranged a breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club, which is h--habituated
by Republican p--politicians and Capitol Hill staffers. And so I got
to sit there and eat breakfast with him, who--he's the head of the
American Conservative Union--long-time conservative activist, since
1964--and Alfred Regnery, who's the conservative publisher; Alan
Riskin, who is a long-time editor of Human Events, the conservative
magazine; and a couple of people kind of drifted over who they didn't
know to offer their own rec--recollections about Barry Goldwater.
LAMB: Th--th--then you say, `Those who went beyond the call of duty
include Jamison Campaign Jr...'
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: `...who gets triple recognition for opening his storehouse of
papers to me...'
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's the guy, yeah.
LAMB: `...and for publishing so many of the biographies and memoirs
of conservative figures that I relied upon.' Ottawa, Illinois.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: You know him?
LAMB: I've never met Jamison Campaign, but I know Ottawa, Illinois.
It's the first Lincoln-Douglas debate site.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah, it's--it's--it's...
LAMB: Have you been there?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah, I--I'm--like I say, I'm originally from
Milwaukee. Took my parents' car and drove down there one day. He is
a pretty remarkable guy. He's a true-blue movement conservative who
believes in the maximalist conception of conservatism, uncompromising.
And like a lot of conservative activists, he's an ideological and
cultural entrepreneur; started his own publishing company. And
it's--you know, they're in Ottawa, Illinois. He publishes all these
memoirs and biographies of conservative figures. People like F.
Cl--F. Clifton White, who was a big moving force in the Goldwater
organization. Glenn Campbell is his newest book. His memoirs are
coming out very soon. He was the head of Hoover Institute. All kinds
of--Richard Kleindienst, who you probably knew, the--the Nixon
attorney general, who was also a--a great friend of Barry Goldwater's.
And, you know, he--in the same storehouse where he keeps these spare
books, he has these piles of moldering reams of documents. And so,
you know, he was good enough to just let me root around there for
three or four days.
LAMB: Did he know your politics?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, he came to knol them--know them, because I
also--we had several extensive interviews. He may have even known
LAMB: Did he care?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, I tell a story in--in--in the book about how
Young Americans for Freedom members in New York City, the--you know,
the conservative firebrands and the--the remnants of the--the Young
Socialist League used to get together at the White Horse Saloon--you
know, the famous bar where all the Bohemians used to hang out. And
they would--they would go in the back room and argue politics and then
drink beers and then sing old socialist songs. And what they said
was--in this kind of conformist kind of age in which the politics
is--is--politics are so far from the center of people's passions, they
were the only people we could find to talk to. And I think people who
love politics, people who love ideological politics and politics
driven by ideas and principles and passions, you know, they--they like
to mix it up. They think politics is fun. So I never had any problem
having a great conversation, a--a fruit con--fruitful conversation
with any conservative.
LAMB: So when you wrote the book, did you approach it some way to
either put your views in or not put your views in? What--what's--what
was your approach to it?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: It's kind of something that the reader has to judge.
My main approach was literary. My style of writing political history
is quite literary in the sense that I--I try to craft the sentences in
ways that are rhythmic and, you know, introduce themes and--and
character and psychological motives. But on the same--at the same
time, I try and allow the reader--a novel is something you complete as
you read. You know, there's no one interpretation of it. And I try
and leave some room for ambiguity about what I think and what I
believe and try to kind of have my political points kind of waft up
gently from the text rather than explicitly stated. So it will be a
matter of judgment for the readers how much of my politics come
through. Some have got it right, some have got it wrong. No one has
said, `Oh, he's a liberal; he shouldn't be doing this.' People have
been very accepting. But the main enemy in my book, after all, isn't
really conservatives. It's kind of boring--boring, snappy pundits,
and people who, you know, take it upon themselves to explain America
to America and often do it--do so with, you know, honest blinders on.
LAMB: As a matter of fact, you quote pundit after pundit, and most of
them known in--in the history of punditry as being liberal, being
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah.
LAMB: And you start off your--your book by quoting a couple of
these--see, I'm trying to find a well-known--Scotty Rustin.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: This--it's the first paragraph of the book.
LAMB: Yeah. I got it.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: It's the preface.
LAMB: In the pre--is it--yeah, here it is. `He has wrecked his party
for a long time to come, and is not even likely to control the
wreckage.' Richard Rovere.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah.
LAMB: The New Yorker. `The election has finished the Goldwater
school of political reaction by every test we have,' declared James
MacGregor Burns, one of the nation's esteemed scholars of the
presidency. This is as surely a liberal epic as the late-19th century
was a conservative one.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah, isn't that something?
LAMB: Actually, the first quote was from Scotty Rustin.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's right.
LAMB: `He has wrecked his party for a long time to come.'
Mr. PERLSTEIN: And one more from Arthur Schlesinger quoting--quoting
Governor Dewey, saying that if the parties realigned along ideological
axis left and right that the Re--the Democrats win every election and
the Republicans would ler--lose every election. Every one of them,
180 degrees wrong.
LAMB: Why do you think they got it so wrong?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, I actually published an article on this very
subject. It was the cover article of the April 23rd issue of The
Nation, which some of your logier newsstands may still have. And, you
know, I--I make a pretty strong argument about why they get things
wrong. Mainly, it's for daning to try and predict the future in the
first place. But I think kind of pundits have kind of a structural
bias in favor of pretending to this level of authority and knowledge
that they couldn't possibly have. It's kind of how they gain the
illusion of authority.
And, you know, I mean, in my opinion--you know, this is an argument I
make--I think it's a little bit of an abuse of authority. And I think
it does damage to democracy. And the--the predictions that pundits
tend to make tend to have a certain structure. They tend to always
prevail towards the center rather than any ideological extreme.
Ideological extremes tend to get discounted as, you know, just really
not worthy of the American creed. And, unfortunately, the only time
American history tends to change is with a boot from an ideological
extreme left or right. I mean, that's just an historical fact.
LAMB: In the back--one last note on the acknowledgments--you--you
thank the National Endowment of the Humanities.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: What did they do for you?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, big government. They handed me a very generous
check as part of their independent scholars program. I applied for a
year's fellowship that entails writing up a pro--prospectus of your
project and getting recommendations from professionals. I--I got
recommendations from a historian named Michael Kaysen, an historian
named Nelson Lichtenstein and an historian named Tom Segroup; all of
them scholars of post-war American history. And they saw worth in my
project and gave me enough money to cover my income for a year.
LAMB: You think your own politics have anything to do with why they
gave you the money?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: I don't think there was any indication of what my
politics were in the--I mean--well, I shouldn't say that, because, you
know, grantsmanship is a pretty political game, and all these
historians that happened to recommend me are associated with the left.
Really, I don't--I don't--I don't care to speculate. I just, you
know, was glad to get it. And I think that it's a democratically
accountable process. You know, in this kind of conservative age, we
forget that the civil servants are basically people we indirectly hire
and fire. And, you know, that was part of the--part of the decision
people made in November of 2000. If they thought, you know, the
Democratic regime was giving grants to wild-eyed liberals, maybe that
was why they voted for Bush.
LAMB: Let me go back--when I was 18 years old and worked at a radio
station in Indiana, I used to have to push a button. I don't remember
what night it was, maybe Sunday night, and the next thing you heard
after I pushed the tape to run, the Manion Forum.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: You--you--you carried it? Your station carried it,
LAMB: The station I worked at carried it. And it was Dean Manion,
and I don't--I must say, I didn't know much about Dean Manion at those
days. I knew that--the only thing I knew is he was from South Bend,
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Uh-huh. You know far too much now.
LAMB: Dean Clarence "Pat" Manion. Who was he and why does he matter
in this book?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's right. Well, he is--there he is--he's a
figure that's been obscured by history. He was a law professor at
Notre Dame, a former New Deal liberal who really made a quite dramatic
conversion to conservatism in the '40s. Kind of the br--his bridge to
conservatism, ironically enough, was that he was anti-interventionist.
He didn't believe America should get involved in World War II. And
that was kind of a--that was both a left-wing and a right-wing kind of
movement. You know, some of his friends in that movement were people
like Robert Maynard Hutchins, the head of the University of Chicago
and a prominent liberal. You know, A.J. Muste, the--the--who would
later go on to become a prominent, you know, anti-Vietnam activist.
But he really was influenced by people like Colonel McCormick, the
publisher of the Chicago Tribune, into basically hating the New Deal
and all its works.
And he just became more and more convinced of this calling to spread
the gospel that the New Deal was this cancer on American society and
that internal subversion from communism and the McCarthy mold was
rotting America from within, that he became more and more activist.
He retired as dean from the Notre Dame Law School. He started this
radio program that you refer to, the Manion Fro--the Manion Forum of
the air, and he just preached the conservative true religion to
whatever stations would take him. He would have guests like Barry
Goldwater and, you know, segregationists from the South. And he just
kind of became more and more driven by the idea of winning
conservative political power.
LAMB: Now he had to--I remember he had to pay to get on the station.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Did he?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's new to me. I'm not surprised, though. He had
lots of--he had lots of backers among this certain kind of
corporation--a small, family owned manufacturing corporation that
tended to be the social base for the conservatives of the '40s and
'50s. And they--you know, he--he was a master fund-raiser.
LAMB: Did you listen to any of the Manion programs?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Oh, sure. I have some in my home. Yeah.
LAMB: What did you hear from him? What'd h--what'd he sound like?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: What did he--what did he sound like? You mean, the
grain of his voice? I mean...
LAMB: I mean, just basically when you listened to him, what did
you--Was he--Was he a Carl MacIntyre type, that you mention in the
book, the old preacher?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: He wasn't a hellfire and brimstone guy. He--he
sounded very quiet, reasonable. He--he was an intellectual. You
know, he--he--he--he framed himself as an intellectual. And I think
that was his particular power. I mean, the hellfire and brimstone
guys had their own power, but his power was convincing people who were
out there that this wasn't just the province of nuts. And already in
1956, he's backing a presidential candidate, this guy who used to be
the IRS commissioner for Eisenhower, but came out against the income
tax and ran a third-party presidential campaign that Manion was
LAMB: And his name? Coleman Andrews?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Coleman Andrews. Yeah.
LAMB: Whatever happened to Coleman Andrews?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: What happened to Coleman Andrews? I don't know. Do
LAMB: I mean, did he run? Did he win? Did he get any votes?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Oh, he ran, yeah. He ran in 1956. You know,
the--you know, basically every four years there was always some kind
of third segregationist challenger to the two parties. Sometimes they
get 1 percent; sometimes they get 2 percent; sometimes they get 3
percent. Kind of like the Nader movement today. I think that Coleman
Andrews got less than 2 percent; he got maybe 7 percent or 8 percent
in Virginia. But the idea wasn't necessarily to give him 50--51
percent of the vote. Manion was a strategist. He knew that if he
could deny, in 1956--in the case of 1956, Eisenhower on the one hand
and Stevenson on the other the majority of Electoral College votes,
then the election would be thrown to the House of Representatives.
And if--if--if this guy, Coleman Andrews, who believed in abolishing
the income tax and was a segregationist, won a single electoral vote,
they could use that vote to barter for concessions from the Democrats,
from the Republicans, whoever.
LAMB: But--but you--really, I mean, you lead off your book with
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah.
LAMB: You imply that he's the guy that started the whole Goldwater
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well--and this is how he started it: He was--he
was--he--he set the bomb in that they're casting about for someone to
run in 1960. He comes to like Barry Goldwater and he comes up with
this idea, `Why don't we have Barry Goldwater--why don't we ghostwrite
a book for Barry Goldwater, put his name on the cover?' They talk to
Goldwater; he says, `Well, whatever. Do it. If I like it, I'll sign
off on it.' And, you know, doesn't think much of it because people
were always coming to him with these crackpot schemes. This was just
one more crazy idea. And they literally put this s--this book
together on a shoestring, guys who had never been involved in
publishing, made all kinds of mistakes. There were, you know, comic
mistakes. You know--you know, Keystone Kops mistakes. And--but the
book came out. They actually called it a pamphlet.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: "Conscience of a Conservative."
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Within a few years, it had--it had--it had--it
had--it had sold 3.5 million books. Shepherdsville, Kentucky, where
the printing plant happened to be, suddenly became the center of the
LAMB: You say it was 127 pages.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Very slight, yeah.
LAMB: Sold for how much in those days, do you know?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: I think that the hardcover sold for $3. A dollar
went to the Goldwater--Draft Goldwater for President campaign in 1960.
A dollar went to whatever guy happened to sell it, whether it was a
bookseller or a--a--a conservative activist who might sell, like--buy,
like, 10,000 copies and give them out to his friends and put the
dollar in the--you know, the kitty anyway and a dollar went to, you
know, this publishing company.
LAMB: And who wrote that book?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, that was written by L. Brent Bozell.
LAMB: Now we have a Brent Bozell in American politics today.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's right. That's Brent Bozell III. The guy who
wrote "Conscience of the Conservative" was a National Review editor,
Brent Bov--Bozell Jr. from Brent Bozell II, William F. Buckley's
best friend. He married William F. Buckley's sister. And, you know,
for there--those who care to follow these--these matters, his ideology
was a little different from that of the Manion conservatives. The
Manion conservatives still had this one foot in isolationism, which
was really being rolled over by the juggernaut of history.
LAMB: Let me read what you wrote about Clarence Manion.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Sure.
LAMB: You say--you write, `He dunned friends, friends of friends and
friends of friends of friends and mostly family owned manufacturers.'
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Like I say...
LAMB: Then there's a quote, "The left-wing, please, remember, ran his
pitch, is strong, well-organized and well-financed. Many gigantic
fortunes built by the virtue of private enterprises
under the Constitution have fallen under the direction
of is--internationalists, one-worlders, Socialists, Communists. Much
of this vast horde of money is being used to socialize the United
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah. And if you had one person in mind for that
indictment, it would have to be Nelson Rockefeller, the guy whose--you
know, whose--whose grandfather created the greatest oil fortune in
history, billions of dollars, and his ancestors promptly come along
and support all kinds of welfare state measures, you know, all kinds
of foreign aid, the kind of things that were really anathema to Manion
and his circle.
LAMB: So you--here you have Clarence Manion with his radio program.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Right.
LAMB: And how many radio stations? Did you ever find out?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah. There were several hundred, growing all the
time, you know, growing all through 1964 and--and beyond. He was on a
couple of television stations as well.
LAMB: And you had "Conscience of the Conservative" sold 3 1/2 million
copies, written by Brent Bozell.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Total stunner. You know, it was supposed to be...
LAMB: With Barry Goldwater's name on it, though.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah. I mean, people thought it would sell 10,000
copies. William F. Buckley said, `Well, Robert Taft's book didn't
sell anything, so why should Barry Goldwater's book sell?'
LAMB: And you had the National Review.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's right. Which had a circulation of maybe
100,000, but, you know, a very active, passionate subscriber base.
LAMB: What was the relationship between Bill Buckley and Barry
Mr. PERLSTEIN: I would have to say that it's a complicated one.
Bill Buckley really counted himself as kind of a political pragmatist,
and his great goal in founding National Review was to create a
conservative platform on which a presidential candidate could run. He
just didn't think Barry Goldwater was the guy. He had distrust in
Goldwater's abilities. In fact, he was buttonholed that--by a--by a
Time magazine reporter at a party who said, `You don't really believe
that Barry Goldwater could actually be a successful president?' And
Buckley said, `Well, of course not.' And he almost threw a little cold
water on the whole Barry Goldwater campaign in 1964 as it was gearing
up. He saw it as a an--a--as a lot of people involved did, as not an
attempt to win the presidency so much as to build a movement that
could lose, but go on to fight a hundred battles more.
LAMB: The cover of your book has this picture on it of Barry
Goldwater. Where'd you get it?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That? Well, I mentioned all the--the conservatives
who so generously got in touch with me. I took out one of those
little ads in The New York Times Book Review, said, `I'm writing a
book about Barry Goldwater. Recollections, documents, whatever
are--are welcome. Send to this address.' One of the things I got in
the mail was a black and white picture that had been cut out from an
issue of People magazine from a guy named Andrew Zantin who is right
now collaborating with cu--Senator Ed Brooke, the lat--not the late
senator, but the former Massachusetts senator, on his memoirs. He
sent it to me, said, `I saw this. This is a great picture.' I filed
it away, didn't think anything more of it. When it came time to talk
to the designers at the publishing company for what the book was going
to look like, I dug up this picture. I said, `Well, maybe you can use
It turned out to be this glorious, transcendent, just incredibly
welcome pose, color picture and one that serves one of the arguments
in my book quite well.
LAMB: Which is?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: You see Barry Goldwater. You see his cowboy hat, you
see his suede jacket, his blue jeans, the--I don't remember if it was
a rifle or a shotgun--someone--someone made the correction for me--on
his knee. Camelback Mountain, that great, beautiful element in the
Phoenix landscape in the background. It looks like he's, you know,
the Marlboro Man. But if you look carefully between the white star in
the middle and his blue jeans, you can see his pool furniture. Barry
Goldwater was a pretty self-dramatizing guy. He really bought into
the mythos of the West and the individual conquering the frontier.
But, of course, he hadn't done any conquering himself. By the time he
came along, his father was a millionaire. You know, he--he--he
gambled around Phoenix and didn't have to carry any money, because
every store would just charge whatever he wanted to his father. You
know, he was--he was a rich, comfortable man. And, in fact, the
Goldwater fortune, as I go to great lengths to--to recall people to,
was really--wouldn't have existed if it weren't for strong, federal
intervention into the economy of Arizona.
So one of the goals of the New Deal was to--to--to economically
develop the South and the Southwest. And one of the ways the party of
Franklin Roosevelt was later rewarded was that the South and the West
largely turned against the New Deal and the government programs that
had been so instrumental in turning these areas from wastelands
without electricity and water into, you know, worthy parts of American
LAMB: Barry Goldwater had how many different offices in the public
world over his lifetime?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: He was--he had two. He was a--a member of the
Phoenix City Council in the '40s and later became the chairman. He
was elected by his--his colleagues as the chairman. And he was the
senator from Arizona, elected on two different occasions, in--first in
'52, served until 1964. He had to leave the Senate to run for
president, and he won his seat back in 1968.
LAMB: Now why would Clarence Manion be interested in Barry Goldwater?
Or why would Bill Buckley? How--at what point did he become a
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, he really emerged as a national figure in 1957
and 1958. And that came through a highly published and dramatic
showdown with the union leader Walter Reuther, a--a self-professed
Socialist or Social Democrat in the union--in the European mold who
really, more than any union leader before him, saw the goal of the
union movement as sharing in state power and working tirelessly for
the promotion of a left-wing social agenda.
LAMB: What's this we're looking at?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's great. It says, `Know your opponents. Here's
the labor slate. Study it carefully. Walter Reuther for president,
Walter Reuther for vice president, Walter Reuther for attorney
general.' Because of his politics and because of what seemed like the
rising power of the union movement, he was basically seen as a
potential totalitarian dictator of the United States by the kind of
people who listened to Clarence Manion.
LAMB: Where is this picture of Barry Goldwater taken? Where was it
Mr. PERLSTEIN: I don't know exactly where it was taken.
LAMB: What's it symbolize?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: But it symbolizes Barry Goldwater was an--he
had--he--he--he was a member of the Air National Guard and he was a
jet pilot, and he was damn proud to be a jet pilot. He loved to tool
around in the latest planes that the--that the defense contractors
were building. And that was part of this image that made him so
attractive to the likes of Bill Buckley and especially Clarence
Manion. Conservatives were steen as--seen as stodgy, old, fat,
greedy. He was young, youthful, attractive, well-spoken, adventurous.
And another thing that made him attractive to Clarence Manion was you
had--on the one hand, you had Southern segregationists who weren't
particularly economically conservative and you had Northern
Republicans who might be conservative, but the Republican Party was
just so hated in the South, so they couldn't decide whether their
conservative candidate would be a Democrat or a Republican. But then
as Barry Goldwater won his re-election in 1958, in a year when most
Republicans had lost resoundingly, he emerged as this kind of
Republican hero. And one of the things he started doing was speaking
down South at meetings of these nascent Republican Parties in Southern
states like South Carolina and saying, `Well, I don't think Brown vs.
Board of Ed--Education was such a good idea. You know, maybe you guys
in the South have it right. Maybe the federal government shouldn't be
meddling in states' rights.' That was new. That was a--a new--a
new--a new concept, a Northern Republican who appealed for popularity
in the South.
LAMB: Your book is about 650 pages long, and it's impossible for us
to get to it all in this hour, but I--there are a number of little
things I want to ask you about.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Sure.
LAMB: A name you see throughout the book is currently chief justice
of the United States. William...
Mr. PERLSTEIN: A segregationist.
LAMB: William Rehnquist.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's right.
LAMB: How did you find him in this story?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Oh, well, he was great friends with Barry Goldwater.
He was a leader in the Phoenix Republican circles. I mean, one way to
find him is to look at the transcripts of his confirmation hearing as
chief justice. They went to great detail about his activities in the
Republican Party in Arizona. In 1962, he was part of a crew that
harassed black and Hispanic voters to try and lower Democratic totals.
And he was one of the most prominent segregationists in Phoenix.
LAMB: How do you know--how do you know that?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Barry Goldwater...
LAMB: I mean, how do you know he's a segregationist?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, Barry Goldwater was not a segregationist. He
was a man who--who--who, you know, really saw, `Everyone isn't equal.'
Extremely honorable in his personal dealings on matters of race. And,
in fact, one of the things he worked for was an open housing law in
Phoenix. That same law, Rehnquist testified against, a local lawyer.
He said, `Our aim should not be to have an integrated society or a
segregated society, but a--a free society.' He thought people should
be able to rent to people for whatever reason they chose, including
their race. Barry Goldwater thought that was abhorrent, but he also
thought that the federal government shouldn't have any say in the
How do you know Bill Qu--Bill Rehnquist was a segregationist? Well,
he stood up, for the record, before the Phoenix City Council and
said--well, OK, he wasn't an integrationist. Whether he was a
segregationist, that's a matter for semantics. But he said, `We
shouldn't pass any anti-segregation laws in this city, Phoenix,
because it's morally wrong.'
LAMB: How much impact did he have on Barry Goldwater in the campaign?
What role did he play?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, one thing that happened during the campaign
that was particularly historic was the debate over the 1964 landmark
Civil Rights Act. It was voted on, I believe, June 19th, not long
before the Republican Convention was set to go into session. And
Barry Goldwater was extremely torn. It was a time of enormous racial
tension. The Southerners were filibustering the bill, and
African-Americans were outraged. It really looked like kind of a
Civil War situation. And he had to decide whether to buck his
constitutionalist principles and vote for a law that he really thought
was unconstitutional because it dictated the behavior of private
business. Under the--Title VII of the civil rights law, employers are
not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, but Barry Goldwater,
like a lot of conservative businessmen of the period, thought that
people should be able to hire whoever they want. And he thought that
that would take a poli--a--a federal police force to enforce the law.
He envisioned it as making America an ugly place, a--a distrustful
place. And he had to decide whether to vote for a bill that he
probably knew would improve the conditions of blacks or uphold his
kind of abstract principles. And he really did agonize over it. And
one of the things that helped tip the balance was a memo from his
friend, Bill Rehnquist, who said, `You should have no hesitation about
signing--voting against the civil rights bill.' Another guy who wrote
him a 75-page memo was Robert Bork, another friend of his, a Yale
LAMB: In '64?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: In 1964.
LAMB: And where was Robert Bork then?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: He was a Yale professor, I believe.
LAMB: You sa--you say that 3.9 million people worked for Goldwater,
which was twice the number that worked for L.B.J. in 1964.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's right. And, of course. L.B.J., got, you
know, half again as many votes.
LAMB: How was he able to do that? Barry Goldwater--how could he find
that many people to work for him?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, it's the difference between a political
campaign and a political crusade. Conservatism was a crusade. It was
a struggle for the soul of Western civilization. And though Lyndon
Johnson--going back to those pundits in the beginning, Lyndon Johnson
might have had a mile wide of popularity, but it really was ultimately
an inch deep, whereas people would send Goldwater telegrams, you know,
as he was, you know, preparing for the convention. You know, `I'd
give my marrow, my bones for you. You know, I'll--I'll stand by you
like a soldier in combat.' These were people who believed that
liberalism had to be stopped, that we needed to take a firm,
belligerent stand against the Soviet Union. We hadn't talked about
that. And didn't think it was just a matter of personal preference,
but a--literally, a matter of lit--matter of the survival of Western
civilization. If you believe that, you have no problem licking a
couple of envelopes to help the cause.
LAMB: You--you say that in '64, it was Barry Goldwater in the--in the
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Scranton,
George Romney, Richard Nixon and Margaret Chase Smith.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Margaret Chase Smith. Yeah. The first woman to run
for a--a major party presidential nomination.
LAMB: Did Henry Cabot Lodge ever really want to run himself?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, you know, when you write a book and it's
between covers, you can't really change it. I have since found out
from a guy who's done research in Henry Cabot Lodge's private papers,
who's also doing a book on the 1964 election--his name is Casey
Johnson--that Henry Cabot Lodge was secretly dictating a campaign that
he was supposed to have nothing to do with. He was writing
hand-written notes to his son that read, `Destroy after reading,'
dictating exactly how his campaign strategy should work. And to the
pu--for--for all the public knew and for all even Teddy White knew in
making the president in 1964, the people who were running him for
president were doing it as a lark without his permission.
LAMB: Have you gotten any feedback on your book from conservatives?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Oh, lots, yeah. A lot of my most generous reviewers
have been conservatives. Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard--he
reviewed the book in The New York Times Book Review. He said, `You
know, time flied while I was having fun,' or something like that. He
thought it was a fun book.
LAMB: What did you think of that?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's great. I want to make people smile, I want to
make people laugh. Politics is fun. And, you know, I got a--a
generous review from William Rusher in the National Review.
LAMB: He's in your book throughout.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: He's in my book throughout.
LAMB: Did you talk to him for the book?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: He was--he was very generous with his time. Sat and
wa--we talked while he had a cigar at his club in San Francisco. And
he really opened up his--his memories to me in a way that was quite
generous, I thought.
LAMB: Did you change your mind on anything conservative, as you went
through this process?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, I respect conservatives. But the main way I
respect them is as political strategists and technicians and as people
who had the courage to break out of kind of centrism and timid
politics and fight for what they believe. I mean, I argued that this
was a '60s movement. What that means is that like the new left that
came along later, these were people who were taking risks for what
they believed in, weren't afraid to break a few eggs in the process.
And, you know, my personal opinion is, you know, we could use a little
more of that these days.
LAMB: You write, `History humiliated Lyndon Johnson.'
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yes, it did.
LAMB: In what way?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, one of--one of the things Lyndon Johnson used
to say on the campaign trail--in fact, he quoted it, you know, in this
grand speech on the steps of the Texas state Capitol in Austin was
that, "Government is not the enemy of the people. Government is the
people." He had an unbounded faith in the--the--the capacity of
government to create not just--you know, to run society, but to create
a great society, one that would--would--would--would--would bring us,
you know, unspoken of bounty in terms of personal fulfillment.
It--the--the rhetoric is beautiful. But, you know, by 1994, they're
taking polls and people are saying--like 70 percent of people are
saying they don't trust the government to accomplish anything.
You know, he lived--What?--till 1971, and it was all--you know, for
his vision of politics, which was twofold. First, that there was no
disagreement that was too great that it couldn't be negotiated behind
closed doors in an amicable part of--kind of way. He loved to quote
that Bible verse, `Let us reason together.' And his belief in activist
liberal government, which turned out to become less and less popular.
He would have--if he hadn't have died, you know, when he did, he
certainly would have died of a political broken heart.
LAMB: Now in your book, when you look back on it, did you do--what's
the breakup--or the breakdown of how much of this is--you learned from
other books and how much of it you learned from interviews? And your
own--and your own...
Mr. PERLSTEIN: And archives. Yeah.
LAMB: And archives.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: I would say that this has, with all due modesty, a
pretty high percentage of original research.
LAMB: Like tell us what areas that you think you...
Mr. PERLSTEIN: The stuff--all the stuff about Clarence Manion has
only been glanced at before. I--but I went down to Chicago and...
LAMB: Where is it?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: ...went through all his letters at the Chicago
Historical Society. For anyone who wants to study conservatism in the
'50s and '60s--and now in the graduate schools, there are a lot of
them--a great place to start is Clarence Manion's archives at the
Chicago Historical Society. You know, that's--that's--that's one of
the major chunks that's new. Certainly, I did a lot of primary
research on the Draft Goldwater movement between 1961 and 1964, the
conservatives who almost within--without Barry Goldwater's knowledge
at first and certainly without his blessing, started scooping up all
these precinct organizations in state after state.
But, you know, I really stand on the shoulders of some really
strong--both scholarship and journalism. You know,
I--when--when--whenever--whenever someone writes about--mentions the
book these days, they seem to say, `Rick Perlstein argues that X.'
Well, people always said X, but now I get credit for things that are
not necessarily new.
LAMB: What about John Birch Society and Robert Welch? Did you find
out anything new about that, and what was the relationship of--of the
John Birch Society to Clarence Manion, to Bill Buckley and to Barry
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, I'm probably the only left-winger in the United
States who's read four or five books by Robert Welch.
LAMB: Who was he?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Robert Welch was--he was--wow. He was a child
prodigy, graduated from college at the age of 13 or 14. I didn't
believe that. I didn't trust that, so I called the registrar at the
University of North Carolina and, you know, nailed down the fact. He
wa--came from a rural family. He was an intellectual prodigy who
failed in a few endeavors as a writer, as a law student, and
eventually took up a position in his brother's candy company in
LAMB: The Welch Candy Company?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: The Welch Candy Company. I think they made some kind
of Daddy or Mother or Sugar-something. And he found his calling there
in sales. He was not only a passionate salesman of--of--of the
product he was selling, but he was a passionate salesman for his
vision of absolutely, unadulterated, free-market capitalism. He--he
thought--he wrote a book called "The Road to Salesmanship" in which he
said that, `Salesmen are more important to American society than
doctors or lawyers or--or anyone, because they were the people
who--they were the people who--who--who stimulated people to want
more, and when you want more, you work harder,' and this kind of
Calvinist idea of virtue through work and self-improvement.
And then, you know, of course, once--once--once World War II ends and
people start focusing on the A-number one threat to this idea which
was, of course, Soviet Communism, he becomes absolutely obsessed by
it. And he builds this absolutely fantastic intellectual system on a
foundation of toothpicks; the foundation being that everything that
happens that goes against unadulterated, free-market capitalism
probably had something to do with a conspiracy by Moscow agents
working in the United States.
And he got a surprising following by starting this John Birch Society,
because there was so little outlet for expression for people who
believed in free-market capitalism. It was such a kind of a marginal
idea in this ti--time of consensus when people accepted Keynesian
ar--economics, the liberal welfare state, that, you know, people
joined up this group. The media got wind of it. They got wind of the
fact that he had written that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a
conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy. They looked at all these
members he had and all these followers and said, `This is really
scary. We might have a fascist revolt on our hands in America.'
LAMB: What was his relationship to Manion and Buckley and Goldwater?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Manion was a supporter down the line. He was a
member, member of the board, although William Buckley has actually
denied that, but I think, historically, that--it doesn't hold water.
William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater were very much part of a
movement to write him out of the center of the comu--conservative
movement. I mean, that's one of the dramas in the book, how they
tried to, you know, pick him up by the lapels and just, you know, kick
LAMB: Another drama of the book is this picture. It's the last
picture in the book. Where was it taken?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That is what they call a video capture; played a
videotape and, you know, got an image from it. The videotape was of
Ronald Reagan's October 27th, 1964, speech, nationally televised, on
behalf of Barry Goldwater.
LAMB: Days before the election?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: A week before the election. And there was all kinds
of Sturm und Drang within the high circles of the Goldwater campaign,
whether they should al--allow this crackpot actor to take their
precious television time. Basically, all of Goldwater's biggest
California funders threatened to basically withhold their money unless
they put Reagan on the air. He was their hero. And...
LAMB: Henry Salvatore...
Mr. PERLSTEIN: That's right.
LAMB: ...and Holmes Tuttle?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: The same people who--who came to be called Reagan's
kitchen cabinet when he became governor. And they were Southern
California conservatives, often from Orange County. And Ronald Reagan
went on the air, and he just spellbound the nation. People would call
their conservative friends the next day--day and say, `You know,
you've been talking all this crazy talk for the last, you know, months
about Goldwater. I've seen this Reagan guy, and I finally understand
what you're talking about.' The--the--the--the Republican Party was
really looking to end the campaign with a rather profound economic
deficit, but so much money started pouring in after Ronald Reagan went
on the air that they ended the campaign in surplus.
LAMB: What did that do to Ronald Reagan?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Well, it made him the man of the hour. It--he was
able to inherit these armies that were built up in the process of
trying to nominate and elect Barry Goldwater. He won the governorship
LAMB: What did that speech say?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: ...in 1956. Well, it said things that were similar
to what Barry Goldwater was saying, but he had a sparkling--he was the
Great Communicator. He was able to use these metaphors that connected
with people, whereas Barry Goldwater kind of assumed that people
already knew what he was talking about. He was used to talking to
Republicans, used to talking to conservatives. He didn't really think
he had to meet people halfway. He--he was a good speaker to
conservatives; he was a poor speaker to a general audience. And one
of the things the speech said was that Social Security should be made
voluntary. Goldwater had said that early on in the campaign, in the
New Hampshire primary, and that had done so much political damage to
him that he never mentioned it again. But Ronald Reagan was able to
explain it in a way that it didn't sound crazy anymore.
LAMB: Is--where did you find out that Barry Goldwater never called up
either Ronald Reagan or Nancy Reagan and thanked them for that speech
and--and the money that was raised?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: I'd have to check the footnote. That might have been
in Nancy Reagan's memoir.
LAMB: Were you surprised to--to hear that?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: No.
LAMB: And did that track with Barry Goldwater's personality?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Barry Goldwater could be petty. He was pretty much a
large-souled man. But--look, I mean, place yourself in Barry
Goldwater's shoes, which is something, you know, I've been doing all
this time. He has suffered the vilest possible abuse for months and
months, totally unfair abuse about how he's going to blow up the
world. I mean, that's what most people remember about the Barry
Goldwater campaign, how hated he was. He was seen as a fascist, an
American Hitler. And he busts his hump for months and months to try
and get his message across. And suddenly in comes this guy on a--you
know, on a magic carpet and seems to be scooping up all the
hard-earned, organizational support that, you know, he had helped
build with his hands.
LAMB: And then there's this quote from Lyndon Johnson on October the
21st in Akron, Ohio, you put in your book. "We are not going to send
American boys 9,000 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian
boys ought to be doing for themselves."
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Yeah. Well, let's remember what he said next. He
always balanced his statements of those sort. He would say that, and
then he would say, `But if anyone messes with America, you know, we'll
be on their tail.' But at the same time, as we all know--and this is
another fact that I get credit for bringing up, but really was, you
know, kind of floating around for a long time--he was, you know,
planning the bombing of North Vietnam when he was saying those things.
LAMB: Where's your home originally?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: I grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee.
LAMB: And your parents, you mentioned, they were--are they
Mr. PERLSTEIN: I think they're--they're politically idiosyncratic.
My mom--they're--they're not--they're not pol--political. They don't
read books on politics, although they've read this one.
LAMB: Now that--now that the book is over, define your politics
Mr. PERLSTEIN: I am a European-style Social Democrat. I proudly
identify with the left-wing tradition that has given America universal
education, the--the progressive income tax, some kind of old-age
insurance. I think that leftists have nothing to be ashamed of. We
can march in the future, and we--I--I believe that we can actually
take back the center of American politics from conservatives because
LAMB: Rick Perlstein has written this book--here's the cover--it's
"Before the Storm" all about Barry Goldwater and the 1964 campaign.
We thank you very much for joining us.
Mr. PERLSTEIN: Thanks for having me.
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