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Rick Perlstein
Rick Perlstein
Before the Storm
ISBN: 080902859X
Before the Storm
Before the Storm begins in a time much like the present—the tail end of the 1950s, with America affluent, confident, and convinced that political ideology was a thing of the past.

But when John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960, conservatives—editor William F. Buckley, Jr., John Birch Society leader Robert Welch, and thousand of students—formed a movement to challenge the center-left consensus. They chose as their hero Barry Goldwater—a rich, handsome Arizona Republican who scorned the federal bureaucracy, reviled detente, despised liberals on sight—and grew determined to see him elected President.

Goldwater was trounced by Lyndon Johnson in 1964. But by the campaign's end the consensus found itself squeezed from the left and the right; and two decades later, the conservatives had elected Ronald Reagan as President and Goldwater's ideas had been adopted by Republicans and Democrats alike.

The story of the rise of conservatism during a liberal era has never been told, and Rick Perlstein's gutsy narrative history is full of portraits of figures from Nelson Rockefeller to Bill Moyers. Perlstein argues that the 1964 election led to a key shift in U.S. politics-from concerns over threats from abroad to concerns about disorder at home; from campaigns plotted in back rooms to those staged for television.
—from the publisher

Before the Storm
Program Air Date: June 3, 2001

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 1936.
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 1994.
LAMB: Where?
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.'
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 conservatives.

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 career going?
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 left?
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.
LAMB: I mean, do you find that to be a reliable book on Barry Goldwater?
LAMB: Because some of the books, you don't; you're not that happy with.
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, actually.
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 beforehand.
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 wrong.
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.
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, yeah.
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, Indiana.
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?
LAMB: Yeah.
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 instrumental in.
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 you know?
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 Clarence Manion.
LAMB: You imply that he's the guy that started the whole Goldwater thing.
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.
LAMB: Called?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: "Conscience of a Conservative."
LAMB: Written--written...
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 publishing world.
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.
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 States," unquote.
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.
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 Goldwater?
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 this somewhere.'

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 civilization.
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 national figure?
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 taken?
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.
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 matter.

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 professor.
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 primaries...
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 Goldwater?
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 Massachusetts.
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 him out.
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 of California...
LAMB: What did that speech say?
Mr. PERLSTEIN: 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?
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 conservatives?
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 today.
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 we're right.
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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