De Pasquale’s Dozen: Monica Crowley
According to her sister’s husband, “Monica is beautiful, brilliant, and wrong. I could go on, but that would really anger my mother-in-law.”
It wasn’t hard to get Monica Crowley’s brother-in-law and Fox News sparring partner Alan Colmes, to say something nice about her. To further test my theory that Crowley is sweet and absolutely nice to everyone, I also asked Tony Maciulis, now a producer of the CBS’ “Evening News with Katie Couric” and who helped develop Crowley’s program “Connected: Coast to Coast” and served as senior producer and on-air analyst on the show.
Maciulis said, “Monica is one of the kindest, nicest people I have worked with. Beneath that blow dried blonde mane lives an incredible brain, and that is evident to anyone who listens to her. But you may not know she’s also really funny and cool. A woman whose grad dissertation was on foreign policy under Truman and Nixon doesn’t sound like the gal you’d cozy up next to at a cocktail party, but she has this whole other dimension to her as well. She has a freakish command of 80s pop culture.”
Crowley is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show that airs on Saturday and a frequent contributor for Fox News and “The McLaughlin Group.” She began her career working for former President Richard Nixon and has authored two best-selling books on her experiences with him, Nixon off the Record: His Candid Commentary on People and Politics and Nixon in Winter.
She is an expert in international relations and holds two Masters degrees and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, which makes me feel a lot better about us sharing a penchant for reality TV and 80s music.
1. If there were a television channel that only showed one movie over and over, what movie should it be?
CROWLEY: The Patriot. Every time I see it, it takes my breath away. Americans should constantly be reminded of the extraordinary circumstances of this nation’s birth: a ragtag band of farmers, blacksmiths, and country lawyers with few weapons and no money or uniforms defeated the world’s greatest army. Why? Because the young Americans were armed with something greater: the idea of freedom.
2. What’s one of your favorite movie quotes?
CROWLEY: It’s a toss-up between Mel Gibson playing the great William Wallace in Braveheart: “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!” And Reese Witherspoon playing the equally great Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: Warner Huntington III: You got into Harvard Law? Elle Woods: What? Like it’s hard?
3. In A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell is strapped in with his eyes propped open and forced to watch images until he was “cured.” If you could give President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid the “Clockwork Orange treatment,” what movie would you make them watch?
CROWLEY: I assume they are well-acquainted with The Distinguished Gentleman, The Manchurian Candidate, and The Godfather, so instead, I’d make them watch the HBO miniseries about John Adams to remind them about the Founders’ vision for America: limited government rooted in individual liberty.
4. What pop culture souvenir do you own that people would be surprised to learn that you cherish?
CROWLEY: A few years ago, I got to hang out with Duran Duran. We took some candid photos. I died. I still melt for Simon, Nick, Roger, John, and Andy.
5. What’s your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
CROWLEY: “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” I’m addicted to the antics of Kim, Khloe, and Kourt.
6. One mainstay in politics is the grip-and-grin photos that line people’s walls and desks. What grip-and-grin photo do you cherish the most? (And you can’t say President Reagan because that would be everyone’s answer!)
CROWLEY: I think I should get a special dispensation on President Reagan, and here’s why: when I was working for former President Richard Nixon in the early 1990s, President Reagan came to visit and strategize with RN. I took a photo with my arms around both of them. Heaven. On the photo, RN wrote, “To Monica: A future president between two presidents.” And Reagan wrote, “There you are—a rose between two thorns.” It’s one of my most prized possessions.
7. Many have said that Washington D.C. is like Hollywood for ugly people. How do you think D.C. is like Hollywood? How is it different?
CROWLEY: Both Washington and Hollywood are one-dimensional towns. D.C. is all-politics, all the time. Hollywood is all showbiz, all the time. They’re also places where people will lie to your face and not think twice. Hollywood dresses better. And their Tweets are far more fun (although Sen. McCain’s Twitter exhange with Snooki was epic.)
8. What was the first rock concert you ever attended and where did you sit and who went with you?
CROWLEY: Madonna at Radio City Music Hall in New York in 1985. I went with friends and we all dressed the wannabe part. I still have those black rubber bracelets somewhere.
9. What books are on your summer reading list?
CROWLEY: Since it’s August already, I think I’ve got time for one more: The Grand Jihad by Andy McCarthy. Nobody knows the Islamic jihadist enemy and its tactics better than Andy.
10. What was your first job?
CROWLEY: My first paying job was babysitting. My first real job was foreign policy assistant to former President Richard Nixon. Every day was a high-voltage adventure. Best learning experience of my life.
11. What’s the coolest thing you’ve been able to do because of your role in the political arena?
CROWLEY: When I was working for the former President, I flew to Washington, went to the White House, and hand-delivered a top-secret memo from Nixon to President George H.W. Bush. The memo detailed President Nixon’s advice on how to handle Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. I worried about getting mugged on the way there. Fortunately, I made it to the White House in one piece and got to spend some time alone in the Oval Office. I sneaked a sit-down in the big chair. For a second, I felt The Power.
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.
CROWLEY: In college I read one of President Nixon’s foreign policy books and it had such a tremendous impact on the way I thought about the world that I wrote him a letter dealing with the issues he had raised. A month later, I received a hand-written note from him, and that began a four-year odyssey serving as his foreign policy assistant. And that, of course, led to my careers in television, radio, and print. He wrote so compellingly about American foreign policy that I knew I wanted to make a career out of it, so I worked for him and earned a Ph.D. in International Relations. That book, and the letter I wrote, changed my life.