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Tom Brokaw on his book Boom! and the battles between old and new media

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
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HH: Tom Brokaw, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

TB: I’m very happy to be here. Thank you very much for having me.

HH: We’re talking about Boom: Voices Of The 60’s. It’s a very charming book. I had to wrestle the Fetching Mrs. Hewitt for this, and she asked me to relay to you the first question about Meredith Brokaw, and how she has put up with your schedule all these forty, fifty years. There’s a lot of Meredith in the book, but it’s, she must be a remarkable person.

TB: Well, she really is. And the other thing about it is that she caught of, kind of help set the wave, I suppose, because she became a very independent woman coming out of the 50’s, and had a chain of very successful toy stores here in New York, wrote a lot of children’s books. She was on the Gannett board for 18 years. She’s the chairman of a worldwide environmental organization, and now is a big Montana horseback rider, and wrote a wonderfully successful book about the Montana lifestyle a year ago. So she always had things to keep her busy, and we’ve been together for so long, and we know each other so well, and care about each other so much, that we find those times when we get together, where we want to go to some common destination.

HH: Do you, did you agree on the account of the 60’s, as you were writing this, does she remember it the same way you do? Not the personal details, but what mattered and what didn’t matter?

TB: Well, I think pretty much. We grew up in the same culture, and we’ve been together since 1962. She was not happy at first that I described the naked swimming party in which she just sat on the side of the pool and didn’t participate. She said it’s going to make me look like a square, and I said no, it’s going to make you look sensible.

HH: Yes, I think she comes off better in that account.

TB: Yeah, that’s right.

HH: I want to get into this in depth, because it really is, I’ve got my critiques of the book, but it’s very charming and very entertaining. But before I do that, since we’re talking on the morning after the YouTube debate last night, you know, I was watching it, and I couldn’t imagine you or Peter Jennings or John Chancellor or Walter Cronkite presiding over that carnival. What did you think of that last night?

TB: Well, you know, it’s a whole different world. And I’ll tell you what I do think without going into one specific debate, I think the country really is better off for the range of debates that we’ve had. When I was a young reporter, you’d have one debate in a primary season, and I remember Senator Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy got together in California, a pretty spirited debate on Sunday morning before they ran against each other on Tuesday. And then there was nothing again. That fall, Humphrey and Nixon did not debate. So we’re better off to take a long look at them. I’m not crazy about all the forums, obviously, but if they’re willing to play, you know, bombs away.

HH: Did CNN, though, when they let the Clinton campaign advisor ask a question, and a bunch of other plants get through, did they drop the ball?

TB: Yeah. I think you have to be very careful on that, and I…that’s something that is troublesome, but you know, we’re living in what I call the wilderness. We’re in this whole new information age, and there are so many ways to manipulate the arena online, on cable, on television. You have to be constantly on guard against that, otherwise it does become like a wreck ’em derby, you know, those old stock car races in which the last car standing was the winner.

HH: When you were running NBC News, obviously, you were in charge of what made it on the screen. Who do we look to at CNN for this? I don’t think it’s Anderson Cooper. I don’t think he has the same kind of authority that you had.

TB: No, Joe Klein. But they’ve got, they’ve got people who’ve come from CBS and other places, and you know, when you’re running 24 hours a day globally, you’ve got a lot of different editors and producers, but I’m sure that what they did was sit down, and they have been determined from the outset, during the campaign season, to take a different tack, if you will, on all of this.

HH: Well, let’s get back to the book, Boom. Frank Gannon was your editor. Now he was Richard Nixon’s principal ghostwriter on the memoirs, RN.

TB: Well, he was not my editor so much as he was a researcher and a great assistant to me. He did editing, and so did Liz Boyer, who worked for Hillary Clinton. So I always felt that we were appropriately triangulated. He worked with me on The Greatest Generation as well.

HH: Well, did Gannon ask you what you meant when you wrote, “I always believed that Nixon was a prisoner of Nixon,” or that…

TB: No, he got it. He knew.

HH: What do you mean by that?

TB: We’ve talked about Nixon for years. Well, I think that, I think Nixon was hostage to his own psyche. He had demons in him that nobody could completely plumb. Frank had been around him a long time, and we’ve talked about him, because he fascinates me, Nixon does, how a man who is so tortured, and so ill at ease in public, and so physically clumsy could almost beat John Kennedy, and then get elected twice on his own terms, serve eight years as vice president of the United States under Dwight Eisenhower. There’s no question that he had a steel trap mind when it came to international policies and American domestic politics. But he always let his dark side get the best of him.

HH: You know, I took over Diane Sawyer’s office at San Clemente when she left, to write The Real War with him. And when you write on Page 124, “Somewhere along the way, hate had become a fixed part of Richard Nixon,” you know, Tom Brokaw, I just never saw that. I mean, I saw incredible ambition and ruthlessness, but what hate are you referring to? And is it unique to him, or are you talking about hatred that all…

TB: No, you listen to those tapes, you know, listen to the unguarded conversations that he had that are on the tapes, and the anti-Semitism that comes through, and the profanity…and Alan Greenspan who knew him, he said he’d never heard such diatribes against people. I think it was built up over a long time. I really do. I think that he felt like he was never given his due. When you look at that tortured childhood that he went through, I can understand how he got to this deeply, dark, psychological state. It makes him endlessly fascinating to me, but I do think that there was an enormous wellspring of hate there that he would unleash from time to time.

HH: Andrew Sullivan has called Hillary Nixon in a pantsuit. Do you agree with that?

TB: No, I don’t (laughing). But that’s a pretty good line, though. I don’t. I don’t think she is as complicated as he was. She is as ambitious as Richard Nixon was, there’s no question about that. She has some of the same difficulties, I think, in her public persona, in conveying to people exactly who she is. But you know, you were around Nixon enough to know what it was like when he went out into public. He was constantly calculating and recalculating the effect of whatever it was he was going to say.

HH: And he was publicly quite awkward, very uncomfortable. And do you see that in Hillary as well?

TB: Less so. What I write in the book, which I think is true, is that you know, when I have seen her in smaller settings, she has, she’s completely at ease with herself. It’s when she gets into a larger setting that she takes on this kind of first in the Yale Law class persona, and charges out there. And her husband, on the other hand, he can rock and roll, whatever the setting is.

HH: Right. On Page 125, you write in Boom, “The presidential election of 2008 promises to be a climactic showdown between those political forces that were unleashed on the left and the right forty years ago.” I agree with that, but I want to make sure I know what you mean. Expand a little bit.

TB: Well, what I mean by that, with the exception of Barack Obama, and if he’s the nominee, he’s going to try to move beyond the 60’s, but everybody else in this race really made their political bones, in a way, coming out of the 1960’s. John McCain became famous and ran for office after he was a well known prisoner of war. Rudy Giuliani began to rise through the ranks of the Justice Department and formed his own political philosophy at that time. I met Mitt Romney’s father when he was the Governor of Michigan on the day that John Kennedy was assassinated. He was in Omaha, Nebraska, and Mitt Romney grew up in that straight arrow, moderate Republican kind of Mormon lifestyle that had almost nothing to do with the 60’s as they have been caricatured over the years. On the Democratic side, I don’t have to go through that crowd, because you know, Hillary Clinton gave that very pugnacious speech at Wellesley when she graduated. So a lot of the issues that are in play this year, and the political culture that is out there, came right out of the Petri dish of the 60’s.

HH: I do agree that Romney is really the anti-Boom candidate. Do you have a favorite in this race, Tom Brokaw?

TB: No, I don’t. I don’t do that. I’m what I call…when I make my public appearances and these questions come up, I say hey, look, I’m a sportswriter. I can tell you who’s blocking and tackling and running the open field well, because I look at it in a more clinical way than I do in a personal way. It doesn’t mean that I won’t vote for somebody, because I will at some point.

HH: Did you vote for Reagan?

TB: Did I vote…I never tell people who I vote for. You know, what I am…as a journalist for 45 years, I have been registered ‘decline to state’, and I don’t want to open those doors so people then begin to impose on me some kind of a filter that they’re going to make a judgment about, because oh, he said to Paul that he voted for Reagan, or he didn’t vote for Reagan. I don’t go there.

HH: All right. Let me ask you a different, approach it a different way. You write about Linda Greenhouse, the extraordinary Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times.

TB: Right.

HH: …and how she “abandoned her journalistic neutrality” when she attacked the Bush administration. Carole Simpson did that pretty recently, a colleague from the networks at ABC. Tom Edsall on this program, the old Washington Post correspondent, did the same thing. Has it ever happened that a big MSM’er has come out and abandoned their journalistic neutrality, and we found the hidden conservative within? It’s always, we always find the hidden liberal within, Tom Brokaw.

TB: Where do you find that hidden liberal in me? Where…

HH: Not in you, not in you. I’m talking about Edsall, Carole Simpson…

TB: Oh, oh, yeah. Well, you know what I’ve said over the years is, about that whole long-running debate, is that I think that one of the things that happens with journalists is they generally are trying to be out there to see what the downtrodden are…to make sure that the downtrodden are getting a fair voice and a fair representation in the larger scheme of things. And it sometimes comes off as liberalism. Some of my friends in journalism, I was talking with a friend the other day, and he went to Bob Jones University. He was one of my very best friends when I was in Washington. Now he changed over the years, but he never really changed from right to hard left. He’s much more of a centrist, much more of a pragmatist. And I’d like to think that that’s where most of my colleagues ended up. Some of them were quite open about their liberalism, but they were able to stand back and be professionals.

HH: Tom Edsall said on this program that nine out of ten people in the newsrooms of big media organizations are liberal left. He didn’t doubt that they could do objective work, but he just said as a factual matter, that’s who goes into our business.

TB: Well, I think, you know, I think that’s what attracts people to this business, you know, they’re interested in what’s going on beneath the surface, and they’re interested not in a conventional way of looking at life. They want to make sure, I always look at it a different way. When I go to the war colleges, I always say I know you’re going to hate to hear this, when I talk to these young Marine colonels, that warriors and journalists come out of the same gene pool We like unconventional lives, we like to catch the bad guys, we’re patriotic at the end of the day. So I suppose people who see as much of life from the ground up as journalists do, that they may form some journalistic liberal inclinations. But I’m always on guard against my colleagues, making sure that that doesn’t spill over onto the air.

HH: Now that’s very interesting, because Terry Moran on this program said there is a deep-seated anti-military bias in the media because of Vietnam. Do you…and most of this…

TB: I think that was true. I don’t think that’s true anymore. I think that was true for a time, and I think it was disgrace. And I don’t think it was, I don’t think it was…look, you know, I’ve been covering military affairs and wars for a long time, and here’s the essential truth. If you send a reporter off to a war zone, the farther they get out on the front lines, the greater the relationship that they have with the military commanders at the battalion level or the platoon level or the company level, because they’re in it together. When they’re back dealing with the Pentagon, and when all the kind of precondition ideas come into play, then it gets difficult.

HH: Let’s get back to the Boom! Stewart Brand, there’s so many fun portraits in here. I’m going to move around a lot.

TB: Right, I love Stewart Brand.

HH: Yeah, he founded the Whole Earth catalogue, and I’ll quote you now. “Essentially a fantasy for most of its middle class and student readers, they could imagine plowing the ground, developing orchards and raising pigs.”

TB: (laughing) Right.

HH: “But there is no way they could actually do it.” You know, I thought that was a metaphor, Tom Brokaw, for the entire generation. They all talked a great game, all hat and no cattle, in so many ways.

TB: (laughing) Right. Well, there’s some of that. I think that’s true. I was reading in the course of doing research, somebody on the 20th anniversary of the Columbia student uprising said well, by God, before we were here, they had student hours for the co-eds. And I thought well, is that what it was all about?

HH: (laughing)

TB: And I…any number of people have said to me, I was there in the 60’s. I said well, where were you? Well, you know, I spent 24 hours in the barricade at Columbia. And this is somebody who’s now an orthodontist, or a hedge fund manager, or a Wall Street establishment figure of some kind. It was a lot of role playing that was going on in those days.

HH: Now let’s get to the, I think, perhaps the most interesting chapter, is about James Taylor, because I grew up on his music, I still play it all the time, he’s this…I go see him whenever he comes to Southern California and I can get a ticket. And you quote him here, he’s almost the emblem of Boomer self-absorption. He says all the things we considered to be revolutionary were co-opted by the big corporations, our music, our radio, the record companies, our dress. You know, nobody made these rockers sell their records, Tom Brokaw.

TB: (laughing) No, that’s true. And you know, but that’s who James is. And I said to him later, I said James, these people who built these modern corporations and modern recording companies came out of your generation. They’re the people who learned how to organize student protests or rallies of one kind or another, and took those same skills into the marketplace. It was the age of entrepreneurialship as much as anything else.

HH: I continue to quote James Taylor here about his erosion of concern for the big issues, and sacrifice of personal freedom, and proportion for conventional matters. “Ten years after the 60’s, everyone who was there was worrying about mortgages and the thousands of little weights that had been added to their lives. They succumbed to the markets that were manufacturing trouble for them. You must have this or that or you will lead a vacuous life.” Tom Brokaw, that’s really elitist, if you read it a couple of times over. His disdain for his customers is immense.

TB: Well, but it is who James is, and he’s never hidden his political philosophy. And you know what? He still packs them in, because at his core, he is a musician, and he thinks through these issues. Jack Weinberg, who is at, I don’t know whether you’ve gotten to him yet in the…

HH: Yup, yup.

TB: He was a true social radical when he was at Berkeley. He has stayed true to those virtues that he had at that time. But he’s learned along the way. James, I don’t think this comes as any surprise to anyone. In any of his public appearances, and all of his interviews, this is exactly the kind of philosophy that he’s always embraced.

HH: What I kept running into, and on portrait after portrait, but especially in the rockers, is this sort of overarching, I don’t want to call it hypocrisy, but almost cognitive dissidence about their politics and their lifestyles. You write that Paul Simon flies in private jets, keeps a bit apartment in Manhattan, a large house in Connecticut, an estate on the ocean in the Hampton. All these rich rockers do, and yet they moan and groan about the vacuous lives of the middle class. It strikes me…

TB: Well, but you don’t hear Paul Simon doing that. Paul Simon is also, he puts his money where his mouth is. He is a huge supporter and principal funder of the Children’s Health Fund in the rural South and in urban America, where they take these mobile clinics and put them out into distressed neighborhoods to make sure that the children get the kind of health care that they need. And he shows up for autism benefits. He is constantly giving back to society. And obviously, he is enjoying the fruits of his success, but he doesn’t waive it around in a Don Trumpian kind of way.

HH: Thank goodness. We are taping this on the day that Rick Warren is launching his second big conference on AIDS. And Warren’s a Boomer, and so are Bill Hybels and Greg Laurie and Franklin Graham. But none of them are in this book, while all the pop stars are. And yet they have followings, I mean, Rick Warren’s probably the most influential Evangelical in the last fifty years with The Purpose Driven Life. Did you miss some of that when you put this together?

TB: No, I’ll tell you, I’ve been thinking about that. We obviously considered…what I said about that, and also about the gay liberation movement, by the way. And I’ve heard from some people active in that movement, that the Franklin Grahams and Reverend Warren and others came a beat later. You know, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were beginning to ramp up at the end of the 60’s, but they were really…came out of the late 70’s and the years of Ronald Reagan in the 80’s and the 90’s. Same thing, the gay liberation movement began the Stonewall riots in 1969, but didn’t get national traction until the 80’s and 90’s. So what I wanted to do was to deal with what I felt were the principal pillars of the 1960’s, and that would be civil rights, the war, politics, women, and race.

HH: All right. Now gay activist Frank Kameny is a greatest generation member, a combat veteran of World War II…

TB: Right.

HH: …has written an open letter to you. It says gay is good, you are not, Tom Brokaw.

TB: Right.

HH: He blasted you for de-gaying an entire generation. He pointed out there were five gay organizations in ’61, 50-60 by ’69, 1,500 in ’70, 2,500 in ’71, and he closes, “The whole thing is deeply insulting. As I said, you have de-gayed an entire generation. For shame, for shame, for shame.”

TB: Right.

HH: “You owe an abject apology to the entire gay community. I demand it, we expect it.” Have you given it, Tom Brokaw?

TB: No, I haven’t. But what I have said is that you know, he makes some fair points about not defining specifically enough, I suppose, the early activism of the gay movement. And I, by the way, I say to people who raise that with me, you know, I can make the same argument about the Evangelical movement, AIM, which is the American Indian movement. I grew up in South Dakota. They launched in the 1960’s as well. But as I just told you, I had to make some decisions here, and I decided that the big movements were the ones that I just ticked off for you. And the others started then, came later. We make, you know, in my discussion with Dick Cheney, I make it clear that because of the 60’s, his daughter, Mary, has a whole different life now than she would have had at that time. Linda Greenhouse, that you talk about, describes not having known anybody who was gay when she was in college. She goes for a reunion, and Colin Powell is going to be addressing it, and there’s this great movement, because it turns out there are a number of her classmates who were gay, and it was right after don’t ask, don’t tell, and they wanted to protest against him, and they had a very reasoned exchange about it.

HH: So it’s really not about…I think the confusion may come in that it’s not a book about the Boomers, because I’m a Boomer, but I’m born in ’56. I’m a late Boomer. It’s about the Boomers who were teens and colleged kids in the 60’s, isn’t it?

TB: You know what it is? It’s a book called a virtual reunion. I make that very clear at the beginning. You’re not going to be entirely happy with everyone who shows up. There are going to be some you’d rather have here who are not here. There are some here who are going to be here that you probably would not like to hear from. I don’t claim that it’s the divining history of the time. It’s the reflection of a group of people that we put together, to hear what they had to say about their own experiences, and what the lessons may be for today.

HH: There are 88 names in the table of contents, Tom Brokaw. 12 of them are instantly recognizable as right of center. Some very right of center. 55 are instantly recognizable as left of center. Do you think your virtual reunion is sort of like that 1976 New Yorker cover drawn from overlooking 10th Avenue and the Hudson, and minimizing the rest of the country?

TB: No, I think you’re playing a quantitative game with me. I think that there’s very strong voices in here, for example, when I talked with Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove, I think that they can hold their own. Look at all the Vietnam veterans who are in here, including James Webb. You can’t call him left of center, even though he’s now in the Senate as a Democrat.

HH: Oh, I think I can. He’s a friend of my brother-in-law. They went to the Academy together. And I think Jim Webb’s pretty much left of center. But putting that aside, it’s 55-12, though.

TB: Well, but that’s your judgment. I mean, I have a whole section in here on Vietnam veterans who are talking to each other about what they went through. And I think it’s very hard to characterize them as left of center. I think most of them are centrists, and they move back and forth across the political plane.

HH: Okay…

TB: And by the way, that’s part of the problem with the dialogue in America today. You know, we have people on the air saying oh, he’s left of center or he’s right of center, and therefore, this is completely out of balance, or it’s skewed one way or the other. If you stand back and look at the overall effect of this book, and I’ve had people on the right as well as on the left…Frank Gannon, who worked for Richard Nixon, as you know, was involved in this. They think at the end of the day, that it comes off as a balanced portrait of what was going on at that time, and the people who went through it.

HH: I think it’s a great portrait of part of what was going on at that time, but I’ll give you another example. On Page 202, you quote the immensely talented Nora Ephron as she’s going down to demonstrate on behalf of abortion rights before Roe V. Wade. And she’s shocked to see, “Oh, I don’t know, maybe 47 buses of pro-lifers.” And I put the book down at that point, and said I wonder if Tom Brokaw talked to anyone who was on those buses of the pro-lifers, because they’re just not here. It’s really kind of…

TB: Yeah, but what she was saying is that there was a full other movement.

HH: I agree.

TB: And they assumed that it was all going to go their way. And Roger Rosenblatt, at the back of the book, who you would describe as left of center, is saying where they went wrong is that they didn’t understand that there was a very difficult moral equation when you’re dealing with abortion here. And Pat Buchanan said is there anything good that came out of the 60’s? Are you kidding me? No.

HH: That’s what I was trying to figure, though, the balance…our understanding of the 60’s is that it was a time of immense creativity and liberation and all that. And you do put in some of the carnage. And I’m going to get to the carnage here, about the drugs and this. But generally speaking, I just, I don’t see a person who speaks for Laura Bush, for example, a person who speaks for the people who made choices in the 60’s that were not elite opinion approved, and you know, took up quiet lives, and supported husbands as was very traditional then. And I don’t want to be unfair to you. I just think it reflects Manhattan more than it does Ohio.

TB: All right, all that’s your judgment.

HH: All right, let’s go back to Hillary, Page 402. “No one knows better than Hillary,” you write, “how the left in the 60’s opened the door for the right wing in American politics. When I asked her did enough people on the left say hey, wait a minute, this is going too far? I was thinking,” this is your voice, Tom Brokaw, “of the conspicuous flag burning, the idolization of Ho Chi Minh in some quarters, and the dismissive attitudes towards anything resembling the establishment. She answered,” Hillary now, “I think a lot of people did just that through their own behavior. But as so often happens, the good was overlooked, and the problems were exploited for crass, political purposes.” What did she mean, Tom Brokaw? That’s not an answer, that’s mush.

TB: Well, what she meant was that a lot of the excesses and the squeaky wheel syndrome was in play in the 60’s, just as it is throughout history. But at the end of the 60’s, we’re a more tolerant nation. I think as most of the people that you read in this book, that you would describe as left of center, would say, as they do in the pages here, that we did go too far, what were we thinking when we didn’t get more involved in the election of 1968, I can’t believe we didn’t have staying power. Stewart Brand says that, Lawrence Kasden says that, Sam Brown says that, Carl Pope says that. They all knew that what they did, was out adult supervision. And Roger Rosenblatt and Allen Brinkley at the end make a very neat summary of the mistakes that they made at that time.

HH: Are they self-aware? You mentioned Lawrence Kasden. I was fascinated by that chapter. He’s a fierce Bush critic, as you note, and you write, “Kasden believes that the most important thing that his generation did was to challenge the culture, to force a fissure, as he puts it, in the old world so that a new world could grow out of it.” Well, they did force us out of Vietnam, but the holocaust in Cambodia followed. They had nothing to do with the collapse of the Berlin Wall. That’s Reagan and the conservatives. Are they aware of how out of sync they were with the forces of history that swept in their immediate aftermath?

TB: Well, I think that when you read Kasden carefully, that he’s being pretty honest. He says he hates the war in Iraq, but he goes to big dinner parties, drives a big car back to his big home, and worries about getting his kid into a good school.

HH: That’s what I mean. It’s that hypocrisy…

TB: Well, but what I’m saying is that he is being self-critical in the pages of this book, and the way he describes his reaction to it when I push him on it.

HH: I see that, but does it translate at any point to the reality in their lives, of either abandoning their pretentiousness, or changing their politics? It just seems to me like they’re stuck.

TB: Well, one of the things that Carl Pope says, and I think it’s thoughtful and useful, is that he said if our generation, at this stage in our lives, doesn’t try to close a generation gap that now exists, we’ll be wrong. And I write in here that if this generation doesn’t begin to deal with the harsh realities, for example, of the entitlement programs, it will be another blight on their record. So I think that they do understand it, and I…the big concluding point in this book is that we have not played out the 60’s yet, or this generation yet. So we ought not to be making any conclusive judgments about it.

HH: Well, I agree with that. That’s why, when I do politics, I’m so concerned that Hillary and her people would win, because I just, I don’t think they’re over the self-absorption yet. Let me ask you about James Fallows. In preparation for his Army physical, Fallows starved himself so his weight was dangerously low, and told an induction center inquisitor he had suicidal tendencies.

TB: Right.

HH: The Army decided to pass, so Fallows was free to return to the sheltered confines of Harvard Yard. Do you think less of him upon learning that, Tom Brokaw?

TB: No, I don’t. I really don’t. I think more of him for having written it as candidly as he did in the Washington Monthly, and the kind of quality of the work that he’s been doing since then, military analysis, now living in China. He has a great relationship with Jim Webb that grew out of that article that he wrote. Webb made him, in effect, a character in his book, Fields Of Fire, the man they called the Senator. And that’s how they got together. They didn’t get along at all at the beginning, but they have a true intellectual relationship on which they talk about the big issues that are before the country. And they don’t do it, by the way, in fixed, ideological fashion. They really bring their high bandwidth to these issues that we’re all going to have to deal with, and don’t start from a fixed left or a fixed right position.

HH: Do you think, though, that we’re playing out in our politics, and it really does distract people my age and younger, the psychological burden that this generation are dealing with, because in essence, they refused to fight, they let other people go in their place, there’s shame, there’s cowardice. How much of that is driving this weird psyche of the Boomers?

TB: Well, I don’t think that’s right, or then it would be driving George Bush and Dick Cheney, and the people on the right who didn’t go as well. You know, my own very strong impression is that the country is not, wants an end to these ideological food fights, and with all due respect, radio talk show hosts who go through a book and say you’ve got 55 on the left and 12 on the right, and make a big judgment. I think what they’re saying is we want solutions. We’re not looking to keep categorizing people way over here on the left, or way over on the right. What we’re looking for war people who can find their way to some solutions to these daunting problems that we have before us. And the people in this book, which was impressive to me, were honest in their own evaluations, where they went wrong, where they think they need to go to next. And what I was hoping to do here was to gin up a dialogue.

HH: Well yeah, but I’m struck that you’re a little sensitive on the 55/12 number there, Tom Brokaw. It’s…

TB: Well, because, because it’s not a grocery list. And you bring subjective judgments to it. For you to call Jim Webb left of center is astonishing to me.

HH: Well, I think objectively, if you go and look at how he has voted, and how he campaigned, and I’ve actually met Jim Webb and interviewed him quite extensively on this program, and admire him a great deal.

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