Prof. Hart Profiled in the Valley News

The Valley News has an excellent profile on Professor Hart in today’s paper.


Lyme — Jeffrey Hart sat at his kitchen table in slippers, reading Barack Obama’s words aloud. The retired Dartmouth professor, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, wore on his shirt an artifact of the 1900 Republican presidential ticket — a McKinley-Roosevelt pin.

“I am not opposed to all wars,” Hart intoned, quoting a 2002 speech before the Illinois State Legislature in which Obama, then a state senator, had warned of the perils of invading Iraq. “I’m opposed to dumb wars.” Looking up from the page, Hart nodded his approval.

“Very Burkian,” he said, referring to the 18th century Irish political writer Edmund Burke, hailed by many as the founder of modern conservatism. “Prudential. A sense of history, and what we’re up against there.”

Hart wore another campaign pin on his shirt: It displayed a now-familiar rising sun, and the words Obama ’08.

The 2008 presidential campaign has not been short on surprises, some of which have confounded the physics of the political universe: former Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman endorsing GOP front-runner John McCain, or Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Capitol Hill veteran, spurning the Clinton machine to support Obama’s upstart candidacy.

But even in this unsettled campaign season, the conversion of Hart — speechwriter for two Republican presidents, former writer for the National Review, and patron saint of the notorious Dartmouth Review — to Obama’s banner is cause for a double take. Nancy Hart said she believes her husband is emblematic of a larger class of old-school Republicans disenchanted with the status quo.

“People who are disgusted with Bush,” she said. “A lot of them are.”

I encourage you to read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Numerous blogs take notice. Andrew Sullivan, Andrew Samwick, Snarksmith, The New Republic‘s Plank, and the Drudge Report.

UPDATE: The guys at Powerline reminisce about Prof. Hart.