Hugh Hewitt to Draw on U.S. Political History and Reflect on Theme

Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt has conducted more than 10,000 interviews in his radio career — now, it is time for him to do all the talking.

As part of Week One’s theme, “Moments That Changed the World,” Hewitt will speak at 10:45 a.m. today, June 27 in the Amphitheater. Hewitt hosts “The Hugh Hewitt Show” on the Salem Radio Network, is an NBC News and MSNBC political analyst, a professor of law at Chapman University, Fowler School of Law and a contributing columnist for The Washington Post.

As a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, he began his career as a research assistant for David Eisenhower and then went on to join the staff of President Richard Nixon as an editorial assistant. He finished his government career in the Reagan Administration as deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Hewitt said in an interview with C-SPAN in 2013, that Nixon was the “best boss I have ever had.”

“President Nixon had been very good to me,” he said. “He would spend an endless amount of time answering questions. I wasn’t a very good writer when I started; I was a very good writer when I finished. He was a great editor — he taught me how to read, he taught me what to read; he invested a lot of time in young people who are still around.”

During a press conference at the The Richard Nixon Library and Museum, a reporter in attendance made a phone call to the program director of KFI, an AM radio station in Los Angeles, to tell him Hewitt was “pretty doggone good on his feet.” Hewitt landed his first radio job shortly after.

“I got a call out of the blue from a radio program director — it never happens in the major market — offering me a weekend talk show,” he told C-SPAN in 2013. “I said, ‘Well, I guess that sounds like it beats working.’ ”

In addition to his jobs in the media industry, Hewitt has also authored a dozen books and is a Constitutional law professor at Chapman.

“I just love the business of being around the Constitution when you have people who know what they’re doing with it,” Hewitt told C-SPAN. “I like to teach it and I love, very much, the fact that everything that happens in America can be taught in Constitutional law. There is not anything that doesn’t come through the Court, there’s not anything that doesn’t show up in opinion that is interesting for my students.”

Matt Ewalt, vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education, said Hewitt’s experiences with Reagan and Nixon made him a good fit for Week One’s theme, “Moments That Changed the World.”

“In our conversations about his lecture at Chautauqua, Hugh reflected on our weekly theme, explaining that there are moments we watch from afar, moments we read about and moments that we participate in,” Ewalt said. “And, indeed, in his career working in the Reagan administration and his leadership of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, Hugh has played a significant role in shaping and understanding American political history.”

Ewalt recognized that Hewitt is far more conservative than most lecturers at Chautauqua Institution. However, he thinks Hewitt’s lecture is a vital step in creating more “diversity of thought” on the platform.

“Throughout last summer, Chautauqua leadership engaged in conversation with community members around our renewed commitment to diversity of thought and pursuit of a mission that calls for an honest exploration of the world’s most pressing issues dependent upon welcoming critical voices from across the political spectrum,” he said. “Indeed, Hugh is a leading conservative voice in American politics, but equally important, someone who has demonstrated a deep intellectual curiosity and an eagerness to engage in conversation across difference.”
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The author Jamie Landers

Jamie Landers is entering her third season as a reporter for The Chautauquan Daily, covering all things music-related within the online platform. Previously, she recapped the Chautauqua Lecture Series in 2019 and the Interfaith Lecture Series in 2018. In addition, she is a rising senior at The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in Phoenix, Arizona, where she most recently served as a breaking news reporter for The Arizona Republic, as well as a documentary producer for Arizona PBS.