Our own Steve Hayward (@stevenfhayward) wears his learning lightly, but he is a learned man. Putting my insomnia to good use last night, I revisited Steve’s interview with Bill Kristol on Ronald Reagan and the study of statesmanship (video below, about 65 minutes, transcript posted here).
Watching the interview this time around I was struck by the books mentioned in the course of the discussion. Steve’s own books — Churchill on Leadership and his two Age of Reagan books are of course prominent among them. Steve briefly explains how Greatness grew out of his work on Reagan. Steve’s imminent (you know what to do) Patriotism Is Not Enough is also implicit in the discussion.
Other books that come up include Winston Churchill’s Marlborough, Lord Charnwood’s Lincoln, Arthur Schlesinger’s Age of Roosevelt, Harry Jaffa’s Crisis of the House Divided, Whittaker Chambers’s Witness, and Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty.
I think the interview is one of the best in Bill’s excellent series of Conversations. There is much to be learned here and all of it is timely.
Quotable quote: “[A]n awful lot of people who nowadays claim to be ‘following the legacy of Reagan,’ to my mind, have spent very little time studying him closely to realize why he was so successful. It wasn’t just that he was optimistic about America – that’s sort of the Sean Hannity talking point, unfortunately. It was a lot more than that. He was a very disciplined person, thought carefully and seriously about his political rhetoric, worked very hard – and part of his hard work and discipline was concealing how hard he worked, right? That was part of his shtick about, ‘They say hard work never killed anybody, but I say why take chances?’ Right? That was part of the old line that people always understood, that he believed that being underestimated could be to his advantage, so he did play that very well….I think the subtleties of the man – the discipline of him, the depth of his thinking, how much reading he did – I think that’s missing or not appreciated by a lot of people today who look to him, rightly, as a great model to follow. As I say, haven’t done their homework.”