Margaret Hoover Talks About Life on the Firing Line

William F. Buckley Jr.'s "Firing Line" returns to PBS to elevate political discourse about the important policy issues facing the nation.


Few TV shows—especially few political shows—can compare to Firing Line, the talk show hosted by William F. Buckley, Jr. In its original incarnation, it ran for 33 years and over 1,500 episodes and featured guests ranging from Muhammad Ali to Ronald Reagan to Jack Kerouac to Milton Friedman to Mother Teresa.

The show went off the air in 1999, but now it's back on PBS with Margaret Hoover in the host chair.

Born in 1977, Hoover is the great-granddaughter of Herbert Hoover, a former contributor to Fox News and CNN, and the author of 2011's American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party.

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Jim Epstein.

"Dark Fog" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license ( Source: Artist:

Photo Credits: The Hoover Library and Archives, Barry Schultz/ZUMA Press/Newscom, Richard Gilmore/ZUMA Press/Newscom, Brian Cahn/ZUMA Press/Newscom, Abaca Press/Van Tine Dennis/Abaca/Sipa USA/Newscom

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  1. You people sure do want to be in different circles don’t you?

    PBS sucks. William F Buckley was a neocon who supported Franco’s socialist regime in Spain.

    Someday Reason might showcase everything Libertarian or maybe highlight what the enemy of Libertarianism are up to.

    1. You’re offering yourself as an example of a libertarian?

      1. You know nothing Jon Snow!

    2. Leave Buckley alone

      1. I never understood why cosmo LINOs at Reason love Buckley.

    3. Franco was socialist? Didn’t he defeat the socialist rebels in a little thing called the Spanish Civil War?

      1. Lesseeee ….. Nazi = National Socialism, and it was based on Mussolini’s Fascism, so soon enough Nazis were Fascists. Since Nazis and Fascists supported Franco, ipso facto quod erat demonstratum eg, well, the results speak for themselves.

      2. Franco’s brand of Socialism was slightly different than German Socialism which was slightly different than Italian Socialism which was slightly different than Russian communism which was slightly different than French Socialism.

        1. an individual with reason and intellect you are… the comments are beginning to have some sort of coherency.

      3. Why would the Russian communists help the socialist republican government of Spain if Spain wasn’t socialist?

        Why would socialist Nazis help socialist Franco if Franco was not socialist?

        This was a battle of which socialist team gets to rule Spain.

    4. Da fuck ?

      He wasn’t a neocon…he was simply a “con”. He was one of the few significant voices arguing against the leftward tilt the US was making. As conservatives go, he had a libertarian-ish tilt.

      PBS sucks now, but it put out both Firing Line and Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose series that influenced a generation or three. We should be so lucky.

      For gods sake, libertarians have so many damn purity tests you can’t even acknowledge a positive force like WFB.

      1. It’s the 4-dimentional chess libertarians are playing now. Complain voraciously about SJWs while acting like them and hope some of the disdain for libertarians rubs off on them. Get on their level!

        Although it would behoove libertarians to make a compelling case without the smug or condesendtion, that seems to be the vocal flavor now.

        And if you simply think government is a little too overbearing and should be reigned in, you are not welcome to the club.

        1. Libertarains know who they are and should be prepare for attacks from the left and right.

          Buckley was a positive force for republicans maybe.

          Dude was over-rated.

      2. Buckley publicly supported francos socalist spain. I would love to hear how that makes him libertarian-ish.

        1. Hmm you keep coming back to Franco. if that’s the kind of purity test you are applying, it’s very hard to square with your defenses of Trump. In fact, it’s all but incoherent, and I confess made me chuckle.

          1. Some people can’t break out of their limited world view or become pragmatic when necessary.

    5. Neocon is not a synonym for “hawk”. It has a very specific meaning and he does not qualify.

      1. Neocon is a term for people who think that the usa should get into every others nation’s business and rarely do they meet a war they dont like.

        Buckley was CIA and openly praised clandestine interventions that later turned out to be huge neocon blunders for the USA.

        1. No you are wrong. That is not what a neocon is. It is a term for Ds and other left types who changed to “conservative” thru their hawkishness anti communism and belief in spreading democracy etc.

          WFB never made such a journey, as he was always anti communist. If you want to critique him, fine, but he was not a neocon. Jeremy is correct that term has a specific meaning.

  2. She should talk slower.

  3. Now I remember her book, and she’s pro abortion – or as she puts it, personally opposed but &c.

    If conservatives are to promote abortion, they deserve to lose.

    1. What’s the matter, Cecilia Richards wasn’t available to fill Buckley’s seat?

    2. Eddy wants to convene another meeting of Libertarians For Big-Government Micromanagement Of Health Care Facilities For Women.

      And why not? They’re nearly as popular as meetings of Libertarians For Authoritarian, Bigoted Immigration Practices.

      1. I have no interest in micromanaging health care facilities – I was alluding to abortion clinics.

    3. There’s a difference between “promoting abortion” and realizing that banning it is a cure worse than the disease.

      Whatever they “deserve,” Conservatives who lust to overturn Roe v Wade so they can prosecute doctors and their patients will lose.

      1. So why are we doing anything at all to honor the memory of that prolife loser, William F. Buckley?

        Just call the program “Better than Firing Line Because At Least We Don’t Prosecute Abortionists”

  4. The last time we gave the reins of the Republican Party to a big government hack named Hoover the world literally descended into madness. Never again.

  5. Hoover doesn’t seem very bright, and Gillespie acts like he knows it.

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