Best-selling author and steadfast conservative Tom Clancy died Tuesday, but his definitive views on politics, the military, and war will live on, immortalized in interviews past.
Clancy, 66, died Tuesday in a hospital in his hometown of Baltimore
, according to media reports. He was best known for his technical espionage and military thrillers, including "The Hunt for Red October," "Patriot Games," and "Clear and Present Danger."
Clancy was a lifelong Republican supporter and longtime member of the National Rifle Association. He often shared his opinions on politicians and war in interviews.
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Here are some of his most memorable quotes:
From a 2001 appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor":
On the difference between conservatives and liberals:
"The political left, they deal in symbols rather than reality. The general difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals like pretty pictures and conservatives like to build bridges that people can drive across. And conservatives are indeed conservative because if the bridge falls down then people die, whereas the liberals figure, we can always build a nice memorial and make people forget it ever happened and was our fault. They're very good at making people forget it was their fault."
From a 2010 press release announcing Clancy's "Send a Message to an American Hero" program:
On the U.S. military:
"The U.S. Military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it. The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they're protecting us."
From a 2008 interview with Foreign Policy magazine:
On Colin Powell:
"He's very smart; he's honest. When he cuts himself shaving he probably bleeds green. He's all soldier, and he's real smart. Maybe the best person I've ever met in my life. I've met a few smart guys in my time. Colin Powell is in the top five. Soldiers as a class of people, especially the four-star variety, they tend to be smart people. If he's ever said anything dumb, I’m not aware of it. Little George should have listened to him."
"I knew it had to be Muslims because they're the only people in the world who think there's something good on the other side of death. Osama bin Laden's not a religious figure; he's a politician, and a sociopathic one at that. We haven't gotten him yet, and with all those guys chasing him… I wouldn’t want those guys chasing my little white a—."
On Barack Obama (right after the president's 2008 acceptance speech):
"Obama gave a good speech last night. There's no way I'm going to vote for him. But he gave a good speech. How's he going to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil in 10 years? You don't vote for his skin; you vote for his brain. He gives a great speech, I'll grant him that. But what will he risk his life over? What will he kill over? He's a lawyer; all lawyers do is cut deals."
"Hitler was the perfect politician. Politicians are generally people who crave power, and people who crave power tend not to be very nice people. They think it's all their money and if they let us keep some of it they're doing us a favor. Politics is the application of one's aesthetic to the real world. The Soviet Union did that and look where they ended up. Unfortunately. Democrats, generally speaking, are the new Marxists."
On Joe Biden:
"I've met Joe Biden. I don’t think he's all that bright. He's pleasant but he's not bright."
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From a 2003 CNN interview:
On whether he thinks Osama bin Laden ever got any ideas from his books
(specifically 1994's "Debt of Honor," in which a crazed Japan Airlines pilot flies into the Capitol building):
"I haven't got any fan mail from Osama bin Laden. I have no reason to believe he reads my stuff… I'll never decide for commercial reasons to put something in that endangers our national security. You just can't do that."
From a 2004 "Deborah Norville Tonight" interview on NBC News:
On the cultural difference between the Middle East and U.S.:
"It's a core American belief that people are the same all over the world. Well, that's both true and false. Individually, we're all the same. You wake up in the morning, we all do the same thing when we wake up. In the Middle East, the culture is, however, different, partially because of the environment and the religious background.
"I mean, over there it starts a collection of tribal societies. Whereas in America we have a fairly firm national identity with only minor regional differences. So that's something we have to understand about that part of the world. It's not quite the same. We're still finding out who they are."
"America has a long tradition of not thinking wars all the way through. And we're carrying on that traditional today, unfortunately. Will Rogers said back in the '20s, America has got a perfect record. We've won every war and lost every peace. That's a tradition we ought to break and something we better break in a big damn hurry, because this terrorism stuff is a global problem. And we have to learn how to deal with it."
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