GOP Women on ‘Firing Line’

(Above: Margaret Hoover. Source: Wikimedia)

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover, the reincarnation of conservative William F. Buckley, Jr.’s public affairs show on PBS, will air two 30-minute specials about female Republican candidates running for office in 2020.

(Above source: PBS)

“Rising Stars” premieres tonight at 8:30 ET and “Newcomers” premieres Tuesday, June 30 at 10:30 pm. (check local listings for exact day/time in your area). You’ll also be able to stream the show via PBS.org and PBS apps.

In tonight’s episode, Hoover interviews Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), the youngest GOP woman ever elected, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3), the only Hispanic Republican woman in Congress, and Sen. Joni Ernst (IA), the first female combat veteran in the Senate.

Elise Stefanik on Firing Line with Margaret Hoover
(Above: Elise Stefanik. Source: Wikimedia)

On June 30, Hoover will talk to three women seeking a first term in Congress: Young Kim (CA-39), Ashley Hinson (IA-1) and Lisa Scheller (PA-7). They discuss their motivations for running, policies and visions for the Republican Party.

Although a record number of women were elected to the current 116th Congress, only 13 female House members are Republicans. That is the lowest number in 25 years. This year, however, more than 220 Republican women have filed to run for the House of Representatives, which is a record. 

“I looked around and it was just not reflective of the American people,” says Stefanik about the new Congressional class. “Some of my colleagues were taken aback. They weren’t expecting that comment, but it really spurred in me a call to action that we have to do better.”

“Let’s be frank.In the past, the Republican Party has not done as good of a job of encouraging and recruiting women to run for partisan offices,” says Kim. If she wins, Kim will be the first Korean American woman in Congress.

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover is entering its third season on PBS.

Firing Line with William F. Buckley, Jr., which aired from 1966 to 1999 (first on New York’s channel nine — now WWOR — and then on public television), was the intellectual voice of American conservatism for more than a generation. Buckley, the founder of the influential National Review who also once ran for Mayor of New York City, sought to tug at the strands of his guests’ arguments, sometimes while flashing a toothy grin and slouching in his chair. He sparred with academics (Noam Chomsky, Allan Bloom), writers (Christopher Hitchens, Norman Mailer), politicians (Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon), religious figures (Billy Graham, Dalai Lama) and entertainers (Groucho Marx, Woody Allen).

To underscore Buckley’s erudition, the program opened with a movement from Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major. Buckley also wielded an impressive vocabulary, punctuated with a sonorous patrician accent, and was widely recognized – and occasionally satirized – in American popular culture. Here is Robin Williams as Buckley, with Eddie Murphy, on SNL:

And here Buckley explains the appeal of Firing Line:

You can find more classic Firing Line episodes on YouTube.

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A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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