"From the Left" Has Left


Before there was cable tv, there was Crossfire on the radio. To this day no one has ever done political debate shows better than Tom Braden & Pat Buchanan. It used to be more fun because the two hosts weren't necessarily sparring only with each other. They'd have an interesting guest and both go at him --one from the Left and one from the Right. It was more interesting and you learned more.

Braden played the establishment liberal -- a Rockefeller, Kennedy man, and Buchanan played the Goldwater, Nixon man.

"He was a cantankerous character," Buchanan said. "He really didn't like conservatives, especially the new breed. It made for great chemistry and opposition."

But the dislike didn't get personal. "He would laugh at something that was at his expense if it was a good line. That's what you need in the show. An appreciation if the other guy scores a good point."

Tom Braden was better known for "Eight is Enough," but for pleasant accompaniment while I was setting the table and helping Mom with dinner during my childhood years, I feel fond of the fellow. Jay Nordling captures the impact of Crossfire pretty well.