Dr. Lee Edwards is the definitive biographer of the conservative movement. He has written or edited over 20 books, including biographies on Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, and The Conservative Revolution: The Movement that Remade America. His newest book is William F. Buckley: The Maker of a Movement. Also, my sources tell me that Dr. Edwards will make his acting debut in the upcoming movie, Life Fine-Tuned. (For the record, my source is my assistant who plays the leading lady’s love interest!)
In addition to giving us a historical account and primer for the next revolution, Dr. Edwards, who is currently the Heritage Foundation’s distinguished fellow in conservative thought, has been at the forefront of recognizing the victims of communism. Thanks to his efforts as chairman of the Victims of Communism Foundation, the Victims of Communism Memorial now sits within view of the Capitol at the intersection of Massachusetts and New Jersey Avenues and G Street. It was dedicated on June 12, 2007, the 20th anniversary of President Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” speech.
In 2009, Dr. Edwards launched the Global Museum on Communism to “honor the more than 100 million victims of Communist tyranny and educate future generations about past and present Communist atrocities.”
As conservatives gear up for the November election, it’s especially helpful to draw on the victories that inspired the Reagan Revolution. We often forget that today’s “Old Guard” were our age when they campaigned for Goldwater and Reagan, organized the very first CPAC and wrote books like God and Man at Yale. And they did it all without Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the Internet.
Dr. Edwards has written about conservative leaders and their impact. The next volume on the conservative movement must include Dr. Edward’s role in ensuring their stories inspire the next generation.
1. If there were a television channel that only showed one movie over and over, what movie should it be?
EDWARDS: Yankee Doodle Dandy
2. What’s one of your favorite movie quotes?
EDWARDS: “Where’s rest of me?” from King’s Row. (Reagan found it in politics, thank heavens.)
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?
4. What pop culture souvenir do you own that people would be surprised to learn that you cherish?
EDWARDS: All 40 of the Oz books, among the very first books that I read.
5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
EDWARDS: “Castle” (ABC).
6. Does an actor or actress’s political beliefs keep you from enjoying their performance? Is there anyone you won’t watch?
EDWARDS: Only the ones who cross the line, like Danny Glover, who really should move to Zimbabwe where he would learn to appreciate the freedoms he enjoys here.
7. What was the first concert you ever attended and who went with you?
EDWARDS: When I was about 10, my mother took me to an open air performance in Washington of “Faust.” I loved Gounod’s music and the devil getting his comeuppance in the last act.
8. One mainstay in politics are 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!)
EDWARDS: Bill Buckley and me at an anti-Communist rally in the mid-70s (My real first choice is President Reagan and me in the Oval Office but you denied me that.)
9. What are your two favorite non-news websites?
EDWARDS: I have none - my two favorite news websites are Heritage and NRO.
10. What’s the coolest thing you’ve been able to do because of your role in the political arena?
EDWARDS: I was Barry Goldwater’s traveling press secretary in the 1964 New Hampshire primary—grassroots politics at its most elemental.
11. What books are on your summer reading list?
EDWARDS: The Greatest Game Ever Played (the story of Francis Ouimet’s incredible win of the 1913 U.S. Open); The Polish Officer by Alan Furst, as brilliant a writer of political novels as there is; Gone With the Wind, which I have never read.
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.
EDWARDS: I was just back from living in Paris and politically unconnected when M. Stanton Evans persuaded me to join the D.C. Young Republicans. He said he needed my vote—he was running for vice president—and he assured me there were lots of pretty girls in the club. He was right about the girls, but he lost the election. I subsequently wrote an article about DeGaulle for National Review and was then offered a position as press secretary to Sen. John Marshall Butler of Maryland. I’ve been in the political/public policy arena ever since, but never as a candidate.