Ben J. Wattenberg

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Benjamin J. Wattenberg (born 26 August 1933) – known as Ben Wattenberg – is an American author, commentator and demographer. Associated with leading Democratic politicians in the 1960s and '70s, he has leaned increasingly conservative in recent years.


Early years[edit]

Wattenberg was born in The Bronx, New York, to Jewish parents, and went on to graduate from Hobart College in 1955, majoring in English. From 1955 to 1957 he was in the U.S. Air Force, based in San Antonio. He was an aide and speechwriter to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1968, and served as an adviser to Hubert Humphrey's 1970 Senate race and Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson's contest for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination, and Democratic Party presidential primaries of 1976, and served on the 1972 and 1976 Democratic National Convention platform committees.


Wattenberg came to national attention as co-author with Richard M. Scammon of The Real Majority, the 1970 analysis believed to have provided the basis for the campaign strategies of the Nixon administration in the 1970 congressional elections and 1972 presidential election.

He has been the host of a number of PBS television specials, including Values Matter Most, The Grandchild Gap, America's Number One, What Next?, The Stockholder Society, A Third Choice (about the role of third parties in American politics), Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, The Democrats, and The First Measured Century. He hosted the weekly PBS television program, Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg, from 1994 to 2010,[1] and previously hosted PBS series In Search of the Real America and Ben Wattenberg At Large.

Wattenberg is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. He has been appointed to various committees and commissions by Presidents Carter, Reagan, and Bush (senior), as well as by then-Speaker Tom Foley.

Personal life[edit]

Wattenberg is the son of real-estate attorney Judah Wattenberg and Rachel Gutman Wattenberg, and the younger brother of actress Rebecca Schull.[2] He has four children: Ruth, Daniel, Sarah, and Rachel.


  • This U.S.A., 1965
  • The Real Majority: An Extraordinary Examination of the American Electorate, 1970
  • The Real America, 1974
  • Against All Enemies: A Novel, co-authored with Ervin S. Duggan 1977
  • The Good News is, the Bad News is Wrong, 1984
  • The Birth Dearth, 1987
  • The First Universal Nation, 1991
  • Values Matter Most, 1995
  • The First Measured Century: An Illustrated Guide to Trends in America 1900–2000, co-authored with Theodore Caplow and Louis Hicks, 2000
  • Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future, 2004
  • Fighting Words: A Tale of How Liberals Created Neo-Conservatism, 2008



External links[edit]