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

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.

Back to the Future

by Edward Teller, Edward Neilan, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 30, 1997

Hoover fellow Edward Teller became a central figure in President Reagan's effort to develop a defense against ballistic missiles-the Strategic Defense Initiative, or, as it was quickly nicknamed, Star Wars. Recently, some in Congress have once again begun to urge the deployment of a space-based missile defense. Teller is right back in the middle of the controversy.

We present a brief appreciation of Teller by Hoover media fellow Edward Neilan. Then we present an interview with Teller himself, who talks with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson.

Rose and Milton Friedman: Our Early Years

by Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, April 30, 1996

"If you don't want to be forgotten," Benjamin Franklin wrote in Poor Richard's Almanac, "do something worth the writing, or write something worth the reading." Rose and Milton Friedman decided to do both, leading extraordinary lives, then composing their memoirs, on which they are now working. Here they pause from the hard labor of writing to talk with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson about their early years.

Shelby Steele: The Content of His Character

by Shelby Steele, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, April 30, 1996

Hoover fellow Shelby Steele talks about his opposition to affirmative action, his upbringing, and his hopes for black Americans. An interview with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson.

Books

Can Congress Be Fixed? (And Is It Broken?): Five Essays on Congressional Reform

by Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Institution Press
Sunday, June 25, 1995

A collection of thought-provoking essays on congressional reform. In February 1994, the Hoover Institution held a conference on Congress, inviting more than two dozen scholars, journalists, and members of Congress to participate in an array of panel discussions. The conference asked, in effect, "Is Congress working as it should? If no, how should Congress be reformed?"

“Are You Part of My Tribe?”

by Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest

David Mamet is one of this generation’s most acclaimed playwrights—and, as of an intellectual conversion just a few years ago, also one of its freshest political thinkers.

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