Emmett Tyrrell

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Emmett Tyrrell
Born Robert Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
(1943-12-14)December 14, 1943 (age 72)
Chicago, Illinois, United States

Robert Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. (born December 14, 1943) is an American conservative magazine editor, book author and columnist. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator. He writes under the byline R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. He has written for Time, the Wall Street Journal, the London Spectator, the London Daily Telegraph, the London Guardian, The New York Times, and the Washington Post. He was also a media fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Life and career

Tyrrell was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Indiana University, where he was on the swim team[1][2] under the notable coach James "Doc" Counsilman. While at Indiana University, he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi, living in a chapter house where Steve Tesich resided. He also has a master's degree in American Diplomatic History.

In 2000, government investigations of The American Spectator caused Tyrrell to sell the magazine to venture capitalist George Gilder. In 2003, Gilder, having a series of financial and legal setbacks, resold the magazine to Tyrrell and the American Alternative Foundation, the organization under which the magazine was originally incorporated, for a dollar.[citation needed]

Arkansas Project

Tyrrell was one of those behind the Arkansas Project, financed by Richard Mellon Scaife, to improve the Spectator's investigative journalism. He has explained the Project's purposes and accomplishments in his 2007 book The Clinton Crack-Up: The Boy President's Life after the White House.[3][4]

Books and views

Other books by Tyrrell include Public Nuisances in 1979, Orthodoxy: The American Spectator's 20th Anniversary Anthology in 1987, The Liberal Crack-Up in 1984, The Conservative Crack-Up in 1992, Boy Clinton: The Political Biography in 1997, The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton in 1997, Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House in 2003, The Continuing Crisis: As Chronicled for Four Decades in 2009, After the Hangover: The Conservatives Road to Recovery in 2010 and The Death of Liberalism in 2011.

In his book, The Clinton Crack-Up, Tyrrell "follows the boy president's wayward trail from Washington to Harlem, from Chappaqua to Hong Kong, from his double-wide presidential library with the penthouse on top in Little Rock to the moneychangers' dens of Dubai." He "reveals the real Clinton, a Clinton rarely reported: easily distracted, easily seduced, and a prodigal child of the Sixties as prone to squander his potential as an elder statesman as he was while ensconced in the West Wing."

Tyrrell said he wrote Boy Clinton: The Political Biography because he notices that Bill Clinton was a 1960s generation politician – a vision of endless ambition and narcissism with a general ineptitude of the serious aspects of politics. "He was great at the superficial," Tyrrell said. "But he was a basket-case on the serious." He added that Hillary Clinton was a "hustler, and on important matters – inept."

The Liberal Crack-Up and The Conservative Crack-Up were intended to, predominantly, discuss the differences between two points of view. Tyrrell considers liberalism to be a true ideology, whereas conservatism is a philosophy. Where liberalism is never satisfied with its achievements because the definition of success continually changes, conservatism, according to Tyrrell, can reach a satisfaction with life. Tyrrell writes, "Liberalism is politically more engaged, yet less satisfactory, to normal people."

In his most recent book, The Death of Liberalism (2012), Tyrrell posits a transformation of the 1960s generation of liberalism from a somewhat reasonable system, to an endless quest for power that ultimately destroyed liberalism. The old liberalism was, according to Tyrrell, succeeded by "Obama and his friendly fascists or crony capitalists", which resulted in an absolute break with what liberalism once was.

Personal life

In 1972, Tyrrell married his first wife, Judy Mathews Tyrrell, with whom he had three children, including Anne E. Tyrrell, a company spokesperson for Blackwater, the privately held military contracting company. They divorced in 1988 and Tyrrell married a second time in 1998 to Jeanne M. Hauch. Tyrrell is a practicing Catholic. Tyrrell is a 1961 graduate of Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois, where he was on the swim team.

Tyrrell is the great-great-grandson of Patrick D. Tyrrell, an immigrant from Ireland and a detective in the United States Secret Service in the 1870s, involved in foiling the plot to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln in 1876.[5]

In 1975, Tyrrell received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[6] In 1978, he received the prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Men in America award. He now serves on the Board of Selectors for Jefferson Awards.[7]


  1. Spectator Sport; R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., The New York Times, July 3, 1994
  2. "Indiana Daily Student: :: Swim team's legacy continues". Idsnews.com. Retrieved 2015-05-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. [1] Archived May 18, 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Arkansas Project Led to Turmoil and Rifts, The Washington Post, May 2, 1999
  5. [2] Archived August 1, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "National". Jefferson Awards. Retrieved 2015-05-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. [3] Archived August 22, 2014 at the Wayback Machine

External links