Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. “The Regular in Politics”

Firing Line Videos, Hoover Institution, taped on May 1, 1967, uploaded to YouTube on August 13, 2010.

Guest: Carmine De Sapio


De Sapio was the Tammany Hall “boss” defeated in 1963 by a young “reform Democrat” named Edward Koch. Buckley attempts in this hour to explore how party leaders actually wield their power, but De Sapio is wary and can’t be drawn. Buckley: “Suppose I had been a district leader and said, ‘Mr. De Sapio, I love you like a brother, but, in fact, I want Adlai Stevenson nominated [as opposed to John F. Kennedy].’ What happens to me? Do I get thrown in the East River?” De Sapio: “You are applauded for your candor.” Buckley: “You are not suggesting that you wouldn’t put . . . pressure on me? Unless you were in a position to put pressure on me, Mr. Kennedy wouldn’t be so concerned to get your support–isn’t that the way it works?” De Sapio: “Not necessarily.” Buckley: “I’m not necessarily against pressure, I just want to know more about the mechanics . . .” De Sapio: “I don’t think that’s the proper word; I think that a better word would be an understanding.”