William Bennett
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William John Bennett (born July 31, 1943) is an American
conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of ae ...
politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or honor, or a person seeking or being considered for some ...

politician
and
political commentator A pundit is a person who offers to mass media opinion or commentary on a particular subject area (most typically politics, the social sciences, technology or sport). Origins The term originates from the Sanskrit term pandit ('':wikt:पण् ...
who served as
secretary of education An education ministry is a national or subnational government agency politically responsible for education. Various other names are commonly used to identify such agencies, such as Ministry of Education, Department of Education, and Ministry of Pub ...
from 1985 to 1988 under President
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
. He also held the post of
director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is a component of the Executive Office of the President of the United States The Executive Office of the President (EOP) comprises the offices and agencies Agency may refer to: * a governmen ...
under
George H. W. Bush George Herbert Walker BushSince around 2000 he was usually called George H. W. Bush, Bush Senior, Bush 41 or Bush the Elder to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American p ...

George H. W. Bush
.


Early life and education

Bennett was born July 31, 1943 to a Catholic family in
Brooklyn Brooklyn () is a borough A borough is an administrative division in various English language, English-speaking countries. In principle, the term ''borough'' designates a self-governing walled town, although in practice, official use of the te ...

Brooklyn
, the son of Nancy (''
née __NOTOC__ A birth name is the name of the person given upon their birth. The term may be applied to the surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name 300px, First/given, middle and l ...
'' Walsh), a medical secretary, and F. Robert Bennett, a banker. His family moved to
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscape ...
, where he attended
Gonzaga College High School Gonzaga College High School is a private Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπ ...
. He graduated from
Williams College Williams College is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
in 1965, where he was a member of the
Kappa Alpha Society The Kappa Alpha Society (), founded in 1825, was the progenitor of the modern fraternity A fraternity (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was origin ...
, and received a
Ph.D. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'' ...

Ph.D.
from the
University of Texas at Austin The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin, UT, or Texas) is a public university, public research university in Austin, Texas, founded in 1883. The University of Texas was included in the Association of American Universities in 1929. The i ...
in political philosophy in 1970. He also has a
J.D. JD or jd may refer to: Arts and entertainment * JD (film), ''JD'' (film), a 2016 Bollywood film * J.D. (Scrubs), J.D. (''Scrubs''), nickname of Dr. John Dorian, fictional protagonist of the comedy-drama ''Scrubs'' * JD Fenix, a character from t ...
from
Harvard Law School Harvard Law School (HLS) is the law school A law school (also known as a law centre or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education Legal education is the education of individuals in the principles, practices, and ...
, graduating in 1971.


Career


Educational institutions

Bennett was an associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts at
Boston University Boston University (BU) is a Private university, private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is nonsectarian but has a historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. It was founded in 1839 by Methodists with ...
from 1971 to 1972, and then became an assistant professor of philosophy and an assistant to
John Silber John Robert Silber (August 15, 1926 – September 27, 2012) was an American academician and candidate for public office. From 1971 to 1996, he was President of Boston University (BU) and, from 1996 to 2002, Chancellor (education), Chancellor. From ...
, the president of the college, from 1972 to 1976. In May 1979, Bennett became the director of the
National Humanities Center The National Humanities Center (NHC) is an independent institute for advanced study in the humanities. The NHC operates as a privately incorporated nonprofit and is not part of any university or federal agency. The center was planned under the auspi ...
, a private research facility in
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily news ...

North Carolina
, after the death of its founder
Charles Frankel Charles Frankel (December 13, 1917 – May 10, 1979) was an American philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, ...
.


Federal offices

In 1981 President Reagan appointed Bennett to
chair One of the basic pieces of furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furn ...
the
National Endowment for the Humanities The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency of the U.S. government, established by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 (), dedicated to supporting research, education, pres ...
(NEH), where he served until Reagan appointed him secretary of education in 1985. Reagan originally nominated
Mel Bradford Melvin E. Bradford (May 8, 1934 – March 3, 1993) was a conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well a ...
to the position, but due to Bradford's pro-Confederate views Bennett was appointed in his place. This event was later marked as the watershed in the divergence between
paleoconservative Paleoconservatism is a political philosophy and variety of conservatism in the United States stressing American nationalism, Christian ethics, Regionalism (politics), regionalism, and Traditionalist conservatism in the United States, traditionali ...
s, who backed Bradford, and
neoconservative Neoconservatism is a political movement A political movement is a collective attempt by a group of people to change government policy or social values. Political movements are usually in opposition to an element of the status quo  and a ...
s, led by
Irving Kristol Irving Kristol (; January 22, 1920 – September 18, 2009) was an American journalist who was dubbed the "godfather of neoconservatism". As a founder, editor, and contributor to various magazines, he played an influential role in the intellect ...
, who supported Bennett. While at NEH, Bennett published ''"To Reclaim a Legacy: A Report on the Humanities in Higher Education"'', a 63-page report. It was based on an assessment of the teaching and learning of the humanities at the baccalaureate level, conducted by a blue-ribbon study group of 31 nationally prominent authorities on higher education convened by NEH. In May 1986, Bennett switched from the
Democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: Politics *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people ...
to the
Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have similar ideas about polit ...
. In September 1988, Bennett resigned as secretary of education, to join the Washington law firm of Dunnels, Duvall, Bennett, and Porter. In March 1989 he returned to the federal government, becoming the first Director of the
Office of National Drug Control Policy The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is a component of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. The Director of the ONDCP, colloquially known as the Drug Czar, heads the office. "Drug Czar" was a term first used i ...
, appointed by President
George H. W. Bush George Herbert Walker BushSince around 2000 he was usually called George H. W. Bush, Bush Senior, Bush 41 or Bush the Elder to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American p ...

George H. W. Bush
. He was confirmed by the
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in a 97–2 vote. He left that position in December 1990.


Radio and television

In April 2004, Bennett began hosting ''
Morning in America "Prouder, Stronger, Better", commonly referred to by the name "Morning in America", is a 1984 political campaign television commercial, known for its opening line, "It's morning again in America." The ad was part of that 1984 United States president ...
'', a nationally syndicated radio program produced and distributed by
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-based
Salem Communications Salem Media Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SALM; formerly Salem Communications Corporation) is an American Radio broadcasting, radio broadcaster, Internet content provider, and magazine and book publisher formerly based in Camarillo, California (moved mos ...
. The show aired live weekdays from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, and was one of the only syndicated conservative talk shows in the morning
drive time Drive time is that daypart in which radio broadcasters can reach the most people who listen to car radios while driving Driving is the controlled operation and movement of a vehicle, including cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and bicycl ...
slot. However, its clearances were limited due to a preference for local shows in this slot, and the show got most of its clearances on Salem-owned outlets. ''Morning in America'' was also carried on Sirius Satellite Radio, on Channel 144, also known as the Patriot Channel. Bennett retired from full-time radio on March 31, 2016. In 2008, Bennett became the host of a
CNN The Cable News Network (CNN) is a multinational news-based pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The ...

CNN
weekly talk show, ''Beyond the Politics''. The show did not have a long run, but Bennett remained a CNN contributor until he was fired in 2013 by then-new CNN president,
Jeff Zucker Jeffrey Adam Zucker (born April 9, 1965) is an American media executive. He previously served as president and CEO of NBCUniversal NBCUniversal Media, LLC, traded as NBCUniversal (formerly known as NBC Universal, Inc. from 2004 to 2011), is a ...
. Bennett has been moderating ''The Wise Guys'', a Sunday night show on
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, since January 2018. Carried on
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as well, participants include Tyrus,
Byron York Byron York (born December 5, 1955) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly kno ...

Byron York
,
Ari Fleischer Lawrence Ari Fleischer (born October 13, 1960) is an American media consultant and political aide who served as the twenty-first White House Press Secretary, for President George W. Bush, from January 2001 to July 2003. As press secretary in the ...

Ari Fleischer
,
Victor Davis Hanson Victor Davis Hanson (born September 5, 1953) is an American conservative commentator, classics, classicist, and Military history, military historian. He has been a commentator on modern warfare, modern and ancient warfare and contemporary polit ...

Victor Davis Hanson
, and others.


Author, speaker, and pundit

Bennett writes for
National Review Online ''National Review'' is an American semi-monthly conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the p ...
, ''
National Review ''National Review'' is an American semi-monthly conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the p ...
'' and ''
Commentary Commentary or commentaries may refer to: Publications * Commentary (magazine), ''Commentary'' (magazine), a U.S. public affairs journal, founded in 1945 and formerly published by the American Jewish Committee * Caesar's Commentaries (disambiguatio ...
'', and is a former senior editor of ''National Review.'' Bennett is a member of the National Security Advisory Council of the Center for Security Policy (CSP). He was co-director of Empower America and was a Distinguished Fellow in Cultural Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Long active in United States Republican Party politics, he is now an author and speaker. Bennett was the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute. He was also a commentator for
CNN The Cable News Network (CNN) is a multinational news-based pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The ...

CNN
until 2013. He is an advisor to Project Lead The Way and Beanstalk Innovation. He is on the advisory board of Udacity, Udacity, Inc., Viridis Learning, Inc. and the board of directors of Vocefy, Inc. and Webtab, Inc. In 2017, Bennett launched a podcast, ''The Bill Bennett Show''.


Political views

Bennett tends to take a conservative position on affirmative action, Education voucher, school vouchers, curriculum reform, and religion in education. As education secretary, he asked colleges to better enforce drug laws and supported a classical education. He frequently criticized schools for low standards. In 1987 he called the Chicago Public Schools system "the worst in the nation." He coined the term "the blob" to describe the state education bureaucracy, a term which was later taken up in Britain by Michael Gove. Bennett is a staunch supporter of the War on Drugs and has been criticized by some for his views on the issue. On ''Larry King Live'', he said that a viewer's suggestion of Decapitation, beheading drug dealers would be "morally plausible." He also "lamented that we still grant them [drug dealers] habeas corpus rights." Bennett is a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and was one of the signers of the January 26, 1998 PNAC Letter sent to President Bill Clinton, which urged Clinton to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power. Bennett is a neoconservative. Bennett was an advocate for the Iraq War.


Controversies


Gambling

In 2003, it became publicly known that Bennett - who had spent years preaching about family values and personal responsibility - was a high-stakes Gambling, gambler who lost millions of dollars in Las Vegas Valley, Las Vegas. Criticism increased in the wake of Bennett's publication, ''The Book of Virtues'', a compilation of moral stories about courage, responsibility, friendship and other examples of virtue. Joshua Green of the ''Washington Monthly'' said that Bennett failed to denounce gambling because of his own tendency to gamble. Also, Bennett and Empower America, the organization he co-founded and headed at the time, opposed an extension of casino gambling in the United States. Bennett said that his habit had not put himself or his family in any financial jeopardy. After Bennett's gambling problem became public, he said he did not believe his habit set a good example, that he had "done too much gambling" over the years, and his "gambling days are over". "We are financially solvent," his wife Elayne told ''USA Today''. "All our bills are paid." She added that his gambling days are over. "He's never going again," she said. Several months later, Bennett qualified his position, saying "So, in this case, the excessive gambling is over." He explained "Since there will be people doing the micrometer on me, I just want to be clear: I do want to be able to bet the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl."


Radio show abortion comment

On September 28, 2005, in a discussion on Bennett's ''Morning in America'' radio show, a caller to the show proposed that "lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years" could preserve Social Security (United States), Social Security if abortion wasn't permitted following ''Roe v. Wade''. Bennett responded that aborting all African-American babies "If you wanted to reduce crime, you could—if that were the sole purpose—you could abort every black baby in this country and the crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down." Bennett responded to the criticism saying, in part: :A thought experiment about public policy, on national radio, should not have received the condemnations it has. Anyone paying attention to this debate should be offended by those who have selectively quoted me, distorted my meaning, and taken out of context the dialogue I engaged in this week. Such distortions from 'leaders' of organizations and parties is a disgrace not only to the organizations and institutions they serve, but to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, First Amendment.


Books

Bennett's best-known written work may be ''The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories'' (1993), which he edited; he has also authored and edited eleven other books, including ''The Children's Book of Virtues'' (which inspired an Adventures from the Book of Virtues, animated television series) and ''The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals'' (1998). Other books: *''First Lessons. A Report on Elementary Education in America'' (co-authored in September 1986, as Secretary of Department of Education) *''James Madison High School: A Curriculum For American Students'' (December 1987, as Secretary of the Department of Education) *''James Madison Elementary School: A Curriculum For American Students'' (August 1988, as Secretary of the Department of Education) *''The De-Valuing of America: The Fight for Our Culture and Our Children'' (1992) *''Moral Compass: Stories for a Life's Journey'' (1995) *''Body Count: Moral Poverty ... and How to Win America's War Against Crime and Drugs'' (1996) *''Our Sacred Honor'' (1997, compilation of writings by the Founding Fathers) *''The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators'' (1999) *''The Educated Child: A Parent's Guide from Preschool through Eighth Grade'' (1999) *''The Broken Hearth: Reversing the Moral Collapse of the American Family'' (2001) *''Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism'' (2003) *''America: The Last Best Hope (Volume I): From the Age of Discovery to a World at War'' (2006) *''America: The Last Best Hope (Volume II): From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom'' (2007) *''The American Patriot's Almanac: Daily Readings on America'', with John Cribb (2008) *''The True Saint Nicholas'' (2009) *''A Century Turns: New Hopes, New Fears'' (2010) *''The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood'' (2011) *''The Fight of our Lives,'' co-authored with Seth Leibsohn (2011) *''Is College Worth It?'' with David Wilezol (2013) *''Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America'', with Robert A. White (2015) *''Tried by Fire: The Story of Christianity's First Thousand Years'' (2016)


Personal life

In 1967, as a graduate student, Bennett went on a single blind date with Janis Joplin. He later lamented, “That date lasted two hours, and I’ve spent 200 hours talking about it."https://historicalmeetups-blog.tumblr.com/post/3143052945/william-bennett-conservative-icon-us-drug-czar Bennett married his wife, Mary Elayne Glover, in 1982. They have two sons, John and Joseph. Elayne is the president and founder of ''Best Friends Foundation'', a national program promoting sexual abstinence among adolescents. Bennett is the younger brother of Washington attorney Robert S. Bennett.


See also

*Legalized abortion and crime effect *List of U.S. political appointments that crossed party lines *Race and crime in the United States *Roe effect


References


External links


Morning in America

Best Friends Foundation
*
Interview with Bennett on ''Book of Virtues''
''Booknotes'', January 9, 1994
Interview with Bennett
''In Depth'', July 4, 2010 * , - , - {{DEFAULTSORT:Bennett, William 1943 births Living people 20th-century American non-fiction writers 20th-century American politicians 20th-century American male writers 21st-century American non-fiction writers 21st-century American male writers American political commentators American political philosophers American political writers American talk radio hosts Chairpersons of the National Endowment for the Humanities CNN people Directors of the Office of National Drug Control Policy George H. W. Bush administration personnel Gonzaga College High School alumni Harvard Law School alumni The Heritage Foundation National Review people New York (state) Democrats New York (state) Republicans Politicians from Brooklyn Reagan administration cabinet members United States Secretaries of Education University of Texas at Austin alumni Washington, D.C. Democrats Washington, D.C. Republicans Williams College alumni Writers from Brooklyn American male non-fiction writers