Monday, October 6, 2008

John Podheretz on Q&A

John Podhoretz, Editoral Director at Commentary Magazine. Interviewed by Brian Lamb for the C-Span show, Q&A, October 5, 2008.

This autosummary is adapted from the full
transcript. I removed all of Brian Lamb's questions to leave only the text of Podheretz's responses.

  • Autosummarized to 10%
  • Summary: 826 words in 39 sentences
  • Original document: 8,104 words in 316 sentences

”Commentary Magazine” was – is 62 years old. I mean there’s ”Commentary,” the
”Atlantic Monthly,” ”Harper’s,” and we have a – we have an extraordinarily
dedicated and committed audience and we’ve now expanded our brand, as people now
say, with a very lively Web site with a – with a very lively blog called the –
called Contentions. You know, small magazines move large mountains. I think if
you look at – if you look at the world overall from 1979 until his – until his
deposing in 2003, Saddam Hussein was the single most destabilizing force on the
planet Earth. That (INAUDIBLE) Iraq Freedom Act was passed by the House and
Senate, it was signed into law by a Democratic President, President Clinton.
When Bill Clinton talked about stopping Saddam Hussein before he would develop
really dangerous weapons in 1998, that was exactly the same rhetoric that was
used by George W. Bush in 2002 and early 2003. All conservative – all Jews who
are commentators who are on the right side of the discussion are asked by
curious Evangelical Jews and angry Conservative Jews why all Jews are liberal.
My personal short answer to that question is that – what is my personal short
answer? You tend to depersonalize people who disagree with you. You know they
live in their heads and they live and they don’t have much contact with people
with whom they disagree.

Chicago, the author of ”Closing of the American
Mind.” Your values are yours and my values are – who’s to say which values are
better than other values? Martin Sheen, the President, decides to appoint the
conservative and a liberal to sort of make a – make a deal.

You’d say
blah, blah, blah, and you’d say blah, blah, blah, and you’d say blah, blah, blah
– something like that.”

Someone I worked with at ”Insight,” which is a
magazine being published by the ”Washington Times,” sent my name in on a
postcard when they were having a contestant search in Washington. Oh, you know
here’s the interesting thing. The ”Standard” was my idea. I was then working as
the TV Critic for the ”New York Post.”

Have Bill talk to me. Well,
Rupert Murdoch is a conservative. He believes in the advocacy and expression of
conservative ideas and …

he also owns the ”New York Post,” where I was
working at the time. Rupert had occasionally had mild talks with the Korean
ownership of the ”Washington Times” in case they might want to sell it. Why did
he buy the ”Wall Street – because he likes to publish things, he likes to make
newspapers, he likes to make magazines. Right.

If the ideas that were
being expressed didn’t make sense, if the ideas that were being expressed didn’t
have purchase because of what was going on in the world and seem to be an answer
to them, you could spend $500 million and have every secret actor in the world
and they would get nowhere.

Yes, well, I started out not liking George
Walker Bush, and I – you know it’s interesting because I didn’t like him when a
lot of other people on the right liked him, and now I’m one of the few people
who, as an unalloyed supporter, I’m a defender of his. Right.

I’ve never
worked on a political campaign since I was 16 years old. I mean I worked on
campaigns as a kid. You know, I’ve never worked on campaigns, I don’t advise
people, I stand on the outside, I’ve no interest in being on the inside. Well, I
mean if – look, if the United States believes that it’s in the United States’
best interest to take out these nuclear facilities, which I do, then we need to
take them out if Israel is not going to take them out. McCain – Obama says he
wants that his overriding goal in Iraq, which is the major foreign policy and
military issue facing the United States, is the withdrawal of American forces.
McCain’s focus is victory. McCain, who is not – you know who is in no sense a
sort of radical unilateralist – he’s actually quite a conventional mainstream
Republican on foreign policy, nonetheless believes in the aggressive pursuit of
American interests.

And if you look at the world today, if you look at
the divisions between us and some of our European allies on an issue as critical
as Iran’s nuclear facilities, or if you look at the fact that it appears clear
that in Russia, Vladimir Putin has decided that he is an adversary of the United
States and wants to do things to impede us – to impede the United States and to
sort of work as a – as an antagonist towards the United States, the policy of
international consensus is a non-starter even before Obama would take office.

Giuliani was my favorite, oddly, by the way, because I think that McCain
ran the – ran the campaign that I thought Giuliani should run. Fifteen – small –
from small things come great …

In what sense?

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