Past episodes
About Uncommon Knowledge

For more than a decade the Hoover Institution has been producing Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, a series hosted by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson as an outlet for political leaders, scholars, journalists, and today’s big thinkers to share their views with the world. Guests have included a host of famous figures, including Paul Ryan, Henry Kissinger, Antonin Scalia, Rupert Murdoch, Newt Gingrich, and Christopher Hitchens, along with Hoover fellows such as Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz.

Uncommon Knowledge takes fascinating, accomplished guests, then sits them down with me to talk about the issues of the day,” says Robinson, an author and former speechwriter for President Reagan. “Unhurried, civil, thoughtful, and informed conversation– that’s what we produce. And there isn’t all that much of it around these days.”

The show started life as a television series in 1997 and is now distributed exclusively on the web over a growing network of the largest political websites and channels. To stay tuned for the latest updates on and episodes related to Uncommon Knowledge, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Uncommon Knowledge by topic: Politics, U.S.

April 25, 2012 | Recorded on February 29, 2012

Pat Buchanan on Suicide of a Superpower

Pat Buchanan on Suicide of a Superpower

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, author and commentator Pat Buchanan discusses the disintegration of the United States as a superpower and a united nation.
“Why are you bringing in each year one million people to work in the United States when we have twenty-three million people who are unemployed or underemployed. What are you doing to your own people, black, white, Asian, whatever, by bringing in new workers when you have this enormous unemployment problem. It does not make sense.” (1:00:41)

April 11, 2012 | Recorded on February 29, 2012

Charles Murray on Coming Apart

Charles Murray on Coming Apart

This week, on Uncommon Knowledge, longtime American Enterprise Institute fellow Charles Murray discusses his controversial new book, Coming Apart, about what America was, is, and will become. He also reveals his personal score on his now famous “bubble quiz.” Take the quiz here.
“If you were a guy [in 1963] and you were in your 30s and 40s, you either were working or you were looking for work, or you had better have a really good excuse like being completely, totally, physically incapacitated. If you were not working and not looking for work at that age group, you were a bum. Your parents would tell you that. Your siblings would tell you that. Your wife, if you had one would be appalled at it. That was all very simple then.” (47:35)

March 30, 2012 | Recorded on March 30, 2012

Uncommon Knowledge special audio edition: Senator Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum
Image credit: Gage Skidmore

A short audio interview with Senator Rick Santorum on the campaign trail in Wisconsin.

March 28, 2012 | Recorded on February 28, 2012

Mitch McConnell

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell

This week, on Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell discusses why the glacial pace of deliberations and decisions in the Senate is a feature, not a bug.
“Once it was clear the president was going to try to turn us into a Western European country as rapidly as he could, about the only strategy you have left when your opposition has a forty-seat majority in the House. . . . We knew we couldn’t stop the agenda. But we thought we had a chance of creating a national debate about whether all of this excess was appropriate. And the key to having a debate, frankly and candidly, was to deny the president, if possible, the opportunity to have any of these things be considered bipartisan.” (37:41)

March 14, 2012 | Recorded on February 28, 2012

Decision 2012: Above the fray with Michael Barone

Michael Barone

This week, on Uncommon Knowledge, Michael Barone, American Enterprise Institute fellow, author, and senior political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, explains where the Republicans are headed, how Obama operates, and what’s at stake in the 2012 election. (52:46)

February 17, 2012 | Recorded on February 15, 2012

Uncommon Knowledge special edition: Newt Gingrich

Uncommon Knowledge Special Edition: Newt Gingrich

The 58th Speaker of the House and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich makes the case for his candidacy, explains why he's not a Washington insider, and describes his vision for his first term: gaining energy independence, ending the war on religion, balancing the budget, and repealing and replacing ObamaCare and why he is temperamentally suited for the highest office.

February 8, 2012 | Recorded on February 2, 2012

Church and state, Newtzilla, social media, and the second favorite flavor

Jonah Goldberg on Uncommon Knowledge

This week on Uncommon Knowledge columnist, scholar, and social media maven Jonah Goldberg discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, the unconstrained vision of the left, the problem with Romney, the reality of diversity, why vanilla is every one’s second favorite flavor, and offers some wise but unpalatable advice to conservative voters.
“I do not think they hate Romney that much... Vanilla is everyone’s second favorite flavor. And so they do not hate him, but they do not love him. And they really want to love someone. They want to be in love with a candidate. And they have these sorts of tawdry affairs with everybody else, other than Romney this entire primary season.” (53:10)

January 25, 2012 | Recorded on January 19, 2012

Obamacare and the Supreme Court with Richard Epstein and John Yoo

The law with Epstein and Yoo

Richard Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University Law School, and John Yoo, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley law school, examine the merits of various constitutional arguments for the Supreme Court’s striking down Obamacare.

November 28, 2011 | Recorded on November 11, 2011

The conservative newsroom

Gerard Baker and Andrew Ferguson on Uncommon Knowledge

Gerard Baker is deputy editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal and Andrew Ferguson is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard. His most recent book is Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course at Getting His Kids into College. They discuss, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, journalism: its creative impulses, profit margins, and the monochromatic newsroom.

October 3, 2011 | Recorded on September 27, 2011

Paul Ryan—Fixing Government and Not Running For President

Congressman Paul Ryan

Congressman Paul Ryan discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, the importance of repealing Obamacare.