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We break from precedent this week and present a conversation recorded twenty years ago with a part-time lawyer and even more part-time academic who, at the time, aspired to enter political life in the Illinois Legislature and, incidentally, to sell a book. A standard step on that route was, and remains, to do some “talk shows.” I had never met him before he showed up at the studio but had heard a little about him (though nothing about his “politics”) from Law School friends at the University of Chicago.
In Macbeth, King Duncan complains that “there is no art to read the mind’s construction in the face.” Is there such an art as regards talk-show performances? I found this moderately attractive young fellow quite interesting but otherwise rather unexceptional. My producer, a bright, perceptive and ordinarily somewhat cynical recent graduate of Yale, had a very different reaction. As the guest left the studio the producer said, “I don’t know where he’s going but I want to go there with him.” What did he sense that I didn’t? What do you note as you listen with the presidency-to-come now in mind?
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