The Corner

Politics & Policy

Mr. Conservative

The historian George Nash on C-SPAN’s After Words in 2014 (C-SPAN)

Barry Goldwater was known as “Mr. Conservative.” Do you remember how Nixon introduced him at the 1964 convention? “He is the man who earned and proudly carries the title of ‘Mr. Conservative.’ He is the man who, by the action of this convention, is now ‘Mr. Republican.’ [That was the nickname of the late Senator Taft.] And he is the man who, after the greatest campaign in history, will be ‘Mr. President.’”

In a sense, George H. Nash is Mr. Conservative. A historian, he is one of our leading authorities on conservatism, and American conservatism in particular. He wrote the book on it, or one of them: The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945. He is also the preeminent biographer of Herbert Hoover. And a gent.

Mr. Nash is my guest on Q&A, here. We talk about his upbringing in Massachusetts. The beginning of his love of history. Then we talk about his higher education: at Amherst and Harvard. He studied with, among others, Henry Steele Commager, Bernard Bailyn, and Donald Fleming.

Then we talk about conservatism: What is it, and what isn’t it? Nash knows the ins and outs of conservatism, its 31 flavors (or more?). I also ask him about Hoover. One of my questions is unblushingly (or maybe a little blushingly) Oprah-esque: What is most misunderstood about Hoover?

Finally, we talk about a historical cast of mind. George Nash certainly has one. You will enjoy his company, and the tutorial that he offers. Again, here.

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