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Episode #25

George Will

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Monday, September 24, 2012

This week, Alec talks with Pulitzer-prize winner George Will, whose passion for politics began early: he remembers Truman’s election when he was seven years old. 

George Will is a political conservative, but he’s not afraid to direct criticism to the right. Will analyzes the current election for Alec – this isn’t a “slam-dunk for either side,” he says, and offers some historical perspective on the current animosity in political life. “We've been through really violent times,” says Will, “and we're in one of those periods now. And it will burn over.” With over 40 years in political journalism, George Will is a voice worth listening to.

READ | Interview transcript

Hosted by:

Alec Baldwin

Produced by:

Emily Botein and Kathie Russo

Comments [27]

kym from way down yonder on the Indian Nation

This interview reminded me of something Southern comedian brother Dave Gardner once said: "After reading Goldwater I began thinking Charles Dickens was a communist." I don't agree with George Will but he's always a gentleman and that's a rare commodity today.
I

Sep. 14 2013 01:03 AM

It's nice to have some really bright people on the show.

Perhaps some of the actors who think too highly of themselves will be humbled when they hear truly bright people speak. This way they are forced to gauge where they are on that continuum of intelligence and education.

Apr. 07 2013 03:18 PM
Christopher Springmann from San Francisco CA

Alas, so many of these comments were generated by an email blast to George Will haters, many of whom took the bait to respond. That's so unfortunate, as these clueless, alienated, reactionary folks are not the audience for Alec's commentary.

Feb. 04 2013 06:28 PM
Anne Kendall from Fox Point, WI

Did not read George Will's comment. editorials , etc. Just want to say that I heard him speak in either San Fran or Monteal @ the ISDA conference in late 80's early 90s. ( x-99%er..ha..no reallty), Love him & still follow as possible, sorry to say if " On Language" is still a thing in NYT. Anyway, on to Alex. Always a favorite of mine ( as sure as many are ( fragment?). This seems so lame, but will say anyway....you seem so happy & for that , i am exremely happy for you ( comic genius, et al). I met you briefly @ at lemonade stand in Anagansett ( circa 1987) & jogging occasionally during that "period" of time. Whatever, love you , love you,love you as an actor, ccomedian & human being. Have hubby, 2 kids, my own healh & welness business living in Wisconsin. Please keep acting. I love to laugh with you, I have had a few too many, so forgive..

Dec. 23 2012 02:37 AM
Ed Davis from Chapel Hill, NC

I cannot download this file either from your website or any of the podcast players on my iPod Touch. I have also notice that most of your other shows cannot be downloaded either. Help!!!

Dec. 02 2012 10:45 AM
Ken Moriarty from Valhalla, NY

Putting this in rhe most generous and non-pompous way possible, Will is an a••hole.

Nov. 23 2012 01:29 PM
mcmillan

You both are boring.

Nov. 10 2012 10:54 PM

Interesting interview. Alec wasn't able to ask a meaningful follow up question, perhaps because the references cited by Will were not fully known to Alec. He was a little out of his depth.

Nov. 05 2012 02:06 PM
Jared Hamilton

Mr. Will was disappointing. Here I was hoping for an intelligent conservative thinker. What I received was a sophist. Intelligent discourse is what is missing from American society - not the appearance of it. Check Will's belief in the inherent goodness of lobbyists and lobbying the government versus his belief that the acupuncture lobby is what is ruining health care. In this same argument, check his belief in dual sovereignty versus his belief that national competition is what will save health care. Check his belief that Obama should teach his own community and convince "negro" families to stick together versus his belief that single parent households are ruining communities the world over. Notice that his other example of the disintegrating family is Wales. The black population in Wales is less than 1%. Is it a black problem then? Going into the interview, I was really hoping to begrudgingly agree with Mr. Will, but his arguments squirt water the second you pour water into them.

Oct. 21 2012 01:56 PM
Vin

George Will argues that the Federal government has too much power and power should be at the state level. Yet, when asked about Healthcare, he states that we need a national system. Which is it Mr. Will?

Mr. Will also never states *why* power should not be concentrated at the national level. I know he is a student of history and often likes to equate modern issues back to a historical event, but just because he believes it does not make it right.

Oct. 20 2012 10:58 AM

I know Alec isn't running a 'grilling' type of interview show, but when George Will characterizes the Dems as the 'party of special interests', and Alec doesn't pipe up about the republicans, who are just as, if not more so, owned by oil, pharma, penal etc. industries, I get frustrated.

I mean. look at top climate denier James Inhofe, Republican senator from OK. he takes VAST amounts of money from the oil and gas lobby, and vociferously defends their scientifically untenable, cynical, specious arguments. he's bought and paid for, like most congressmen and senators.

The Dems certainly have no lock on special interest money. Of course, Will probably only sees Unions and environmentalists as special interests, not industry.

Oct. 14 2012 09:22 AM
H from San Francisco, CA

Hilarious to the comments from people who want to live in their own echo chamber. Goes to show that even Alec Baldwin is more open-minded than his typical NPR-esque listener.

Kudos to you Alec.

Oct. 07 2012 01:04 PM
Nick from Long Beach, CA

This interview was painful to listen to.

Oct. 02 2012 11:46 AM
Jason from Raleigh, NC

I think political media needs more conversations like this. I felt this way while listening to the Ed Rollins interview a while back also. The left leaning news outlets make the right side seem corrupt and/or idiotic and the right leaning media do the same to the left.
Baldwin's questions seem to be what a lot of left thinkers would want to ask but in giving the guest time to talk and room to argue, it humanizes the "other side" and allows them to raise legitimate questions about one's own political side. (I though the acupuncture/health care point was a valid criticism)
I don't think you get anything from people who make a living preaching to the choir but that's what most people want to hear nowadays. This was nice change and I hope to hear more interviews of this sort in the future.

Oct. 02 2012 11:11 AM
Tom Davis from Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

I long ago read Restoration, or was it Restorations, regardless, i have been wondering if Will had changed his mind about money in Politics. Clearly not. I can't imagine that transparency alone could cure our political woes, but little else has made it better. Throw in all the money you want, but you have to have your name on it at the end of the day....maybe so.

Oct. 01 2012 04:53 PM

This was a very painful and enraging interview. George Will is humorless and egotistical. I never really listened to him aside from a sound bite or two and have only read a few of his written comments. Now I know him better and I would characterize his political philosophy as right in the middle of Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas. I will add that there was not a single syllable from Will that I agreed with, even a little. Alec, please give us a break and try to get someone like Rachel Maddow or Melissa Harris-Perry or Chris Hayes on your show. Ask them the same questions you asked Mr. Will.

Sep. 30 2012 07:14 PM
JWW from Bradenton, Florida

Having had quite my fill of him over the years, I normally couldn't have cared less about an interview with George Will. But I thought in this one he might show other sides to himself and maybe lighten up a bit. Nope. Same insufferable, humorless thinks-he-knows-it-all as always. I bailed out about halfway through when he proclaimed about some political situation (I don't even remember what), "I can fix that in ten minutes." He has this air about him that says, "If all you idiots would just listen to me and do what I say, everything would be fine, because I'm the smartest guy around." What a boor. He even makes loving baseball look bad, which is damn difficult to do.

Sep. 28 2012 10:12 PM
Elle Kamihira

Oh what a disheartening interview. I guess, if a man speaks with enough erudition, authority and appearance of being reasonable, any outlandish ideas will lie there, unexamined and and un-challenged. I think the most revealing part of the interview is his attachment to baseball - drawing a straight line from that to his political writing and influencing, the genesis of his ideology for sure - American life is a great big game. Where there rightly should be winners and a whole lot of losers. Where we celebrate the very few who claw their way to the top of the heap and allow ourselves complete divorcement from compassion for the majority of Americans who have little to no access to opportunity. So much so that we allow the most competitive among us to freely plunder the less competitive. Competition over cooperation.

A unregulated market economy? Is he referring to the government-subsidized corporate/banking shanghai-ing we're currently experiencing? (study the law of incentives Mr. Will!) Single black mothers the ruin of society? (not survivors of a heartless society with its humanitarian values upside down?) The only thing Obama is doing right is being a good husband and father? Unlimited campaign financing? Down with egalitarianism?

If we are to defeat (and we need to defeat) this heartless, neo-fascist, arch-conservative ideology, we need to articulate a more muscular defense of the opposite - Cooperation over competition, equality, fairness, inclusiveness, what is good for the most amount of Americans is good for America, strong and smart representative government by the people, for the people. Robust regulatory systems on the economy that checks predatory behavior. Modern society needs laws and rules - and not for the poor (who are being incarcerated at record rates thanks to prison privatization and the 'war on drugs') but for the wealthy and powerful, as they are the likeliest to abuse on a much greater scale.

Sep. 27 2012 11:02 AM
clive betters

learned and delusional...

Sep. 26 2012 03:15 PM
J. from LI, NY

Interesting conversation between Mr. Will and Mr. Baldwin. Good to hear things from Mr. Will's historical perspective. Always enjoy listening to Mr. Will on tv on Sunday mornings.

Sep. 26 2012 03:06 PM
Mike Bryant from St cloud Minn

how long ago was this interview, it sounds like it was a little while ago as to the way the numbers are looking. Very good overall.

Sep. 26 2012 10:19 AM
Jason from Texas

George Will is a great man.

I'm not an Alec Baldwin fan - but thank you for this Mr Baldwin

Sep. 26 2012 01:44 AM
Logan

I am slobbering over this interview. I won't even bother with the "I don't always agree with him, but..." business (though in effect I just did); George Will is a high-wattage thinker and a contented soul. It's nice to hear him and Baldwin collide.

Sep. 26 2012 12:54 AM
angela

If so smart why does he need you???? too monotone even for you..Alec

Sep. 26 2012 12:43 AM
tom LI

Boggles my mind that he supports Americans United...amazes me.

Using that little box on our tax refund is such a specious argument.

Sep. 25 2012 05:50 PM
kevin from upper LS

this man is intelligent and sounds reasonable,yet still, makes not much sense.

Sep. 25 2012 05:36 PM
Nordite from Vancouver WA

Doris Kernes Goodman would have been much more interesting!

Sep. 25 2012 01:13 AM

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