Peter M. Robinson

Murdoch Distinguished Policy Fellow
Biography: 

Peter M. Robinson is the Murdoch Distinguished Policy Fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he writes about business and politics, edits Hoover's quarterly journal, the Hoover Digest, and hosts Hoover's video series program, Uncommon Knowledge™.

Robinson is also the author of three books: How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life (Regan Books, 2003); It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP, (Warner Books, 2000); and the best-selling business book Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA (Warner Books, 1994; still available in paperback).

In 1979, he graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, where he majored in English. He went on to study politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford University, from which he graduated in 1982.

Robinson spent six years in the White House, serving from 1982 to 1983 as chief speechwriter to Vice President George Bush and from 1983 to 1988 as special assistant and speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan. He wrote the historic Berlin Wall address in which President Reagan called on General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!"

After the White House, Robinson attended the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. (The journal he kept formed the basis for Snapshots from Hell.) He graduated with an MBA in 1990.

Robinson then spent a year in New York City with Fox Television, reporting to the owner of the company, Rupert Murdoch. He spent a second year in Washington, D.C., with the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he served as the director of the Office of Public Affairs, Policy Evaluation, and Research. Robinson joined the Hoover Institution in 1993.

The author of numerous essays and interviews, Robinson has published in the New York Times, Red Herring, and Forbes ASAP, the Wall Street Journal, and National Review Online. He is the editor of Can Congress Be Fixed?: Five Essays on Congressional Reform (Hoover Institution Press, 1995).

In 2005, Robinson was elected to serve as a Trustee of Dartmouth College.

Robinson lives in northern California with his wife, their children and their dog, Crusoe.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

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Recent Commentary

Where’s the Rest of Him?

by Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, January 30, 2000

Just how bad is Edmund Morris’s new biography of Ronald Reagan? Very, very, very—well, you get the idea. Hoover fellow Peter Robinson weighs in.

Sincerely, Mom

by Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 30, 1999

Grandma gets e-mail. By Hoover fellow Peter Robinson.

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Faith and Reason, Together Again

by Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 30, 1998

Who says it’s possible to believe in science and God? Scientists do. Hoover fellow Peter Robinson reports.

Triple Threat

by William J. Perry, George P. Shultz, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, July 30, 1998

Hoover fellows William J. Perry and George P. Shultz—the former secretaries of defense and state—recently spent a morning talking with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson. Asked about three security concerns—Russia, China, and terrorism—the former secretaries were reassuring, but only on two out of three.

Thomas Macurdy

Is Welfare to Work Working?

by Thomas E. MaCurdy, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 30, 1998

Two years after Congress passed welfare reform, are we any nearer to seeing the end of welfare as we knew it? Hoover fellow Thomas MaCurdy recently gave Hoover fellow Peter Robinson an early assessment.

Kenneth Arrow

Rich Man, Poor Man

by Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth L. Judd, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 30, 1997

The difference between the income of rich and poor in the United States is growing--and growing dramatically. In talking recently with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson, two experts, Stanford professor and Nobel Prize–winner Kenneth Arrow and Hoover fellow Kenneth L. Judd, agreed about the reasons but disagreed about whether anything should--or could--be done.

Ronald Reagan in Berlin

Tearing Down That Wall

by Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 30, 1997

In 1987, President Reagan stood before the Berlin Wall and addressed a challenge to the general secretary of the Soviet Union: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this Wall!" Ten years later, Hoover fellow Peter Robinson, who drafted the historic address, tells how the speech came about.

Campaign Finance: Roll Back the Reforms

by David Brady, Nelson W. Polsby, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Hoover fellow David Brady and Berkeley political scientist Nelson W. Polsby believe we need fewer limits on political contributions, not more. An interview by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson.

John Shoven

Geezer Boom

by John Shoven, David A. Wise, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Hoover fellow David Wise and Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences John Shoven recently spent an hour discussing the effects of Social Security on the aging baby boom population. Their conclusions? Without radical reforms, Social Security won't work. And without Social Security, a lot of boomers will go bust. An interview by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson.

At the United Nations, We Should Pay Up and Behave

by Charles Hill, Stephen Stedman, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 30, 1997

Two experts on the United Nations, Charles Hill, a Hoover fellow, and Stephen Stedman, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, recently spent an afternoon talking about the relationship between the United Nations and the United States. They argue that the United States has spent the last few years shoving the United Nations around. Hill and Stedman answered questions from Hoover fellow Peter Robinson.

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