Abraham Lincoln

When Barack Obama announced his presidential candidacy on February 10, 2007, he did it in Springfield, Illinois, in the same place where Abraham Lincoln had made his historic challenge to slavery in June 1858. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” Lincoln had declared, conveying his conviction that the union could no longer countenance the existence of a slave-owning South.  This speech, Obama said, was the basis of his candidacy: “And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a divided house to stand together, where common hopes and common dre

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When Zvika Kreiger profiled Jon Huntsman two years ago, it not only assumed that Huntsman would not run for president in 2012, it built the case in compelling detail why he could not possibly win the nomination. You should read the entire compelling profile if you're interested at all in Huntsman, but here's the nub of it: Huntsman, who was elected in 2004 as a fairly conventional Republican campaigning on a platform of economic development, first began breaking with his party over environmental issues--for instance, signing the bold Western Regional Climate Action Initiative.

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Once upon a time—in the era of Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957), say—Robert Redford’s The Conspirator could have been the kind of movie that liberal high-school teachers expected their students to see. It’s good for you.

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President Obama's speech today was about policy and politics. But it was also about principles, as Obama made clear early in his remarks:  From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity.

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1. That was a clear, unambiguous, morally grounded defense of the welfare state--as strong and stirring as I've seen from this president. 2. Obama made the case for more revenue, which is the biggest political challenge Democrats face when they talk about deficit reduction. And he sounded more determined than before to block extension of Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. That's promising. 3. My two biggest misgivings are on policy: Obama called for more taxes on the wealthy, not the middle class, and wants an unbalanced approach that favors spending reductions over revenue increases.

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Paradox Now

Washington—Be ready for the paradoxical phase of Barack Obama's presidency. Many things will not be exactly as they appear. Paradox No. 1: Because over the next two years he can't get sweeping, progressive legislation through the Republican-led House, Obama will be doing far more to make the core progressive case that energetic government is essential to prosperity, growth, and equity. Paradox No. 2: His talk about the new, the bold, and the innovative is in the oldest of political traditions.

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Discovering Equality

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery By Eric Foner (W.W. Norton, 426 pp., $29.95) I. As we begin a raft of sesquicentennials that will carry us through at least the next half-decade—the secession of Southern states, the formation of the Confederacy, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, Appomattox, and so on—I confess to feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation. These are all signal events in our history, the roadblocks and thoroughfares in the making of modern America, and at a time of general crisis they are especially important to revisit.

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More than candidates are defeated in elections. So are ideas. The Democrats’ heavy losses in the midterm elections may now force a reassessment and overhaul of the Barack Obama political experiment. Whether the president has the dexterity and fortitude to navigate through the harsher Washington political environment of the next two years will determine his survival. Clearly, the hopes and dreams that propelled Obama to the White House are in disarray.

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Rush Limbaugh asks: Looked at within the prism of liberty and freedom, as our founding documents spell out, the Declaration, the Constitution, in nowhere in any of our founding documents was it ever said that people earning X would be punished for it.  It was never said in our founding documents that people earning X would share a greater burden of funding the government than people who didn't.  Where does all this talk start? Andrew Sullivan replies that it started with Abraham Lincoln: When the Civil War erupted, the Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861, which restored earli

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WASHINGTON—President Obama decided this week to raise the stakes in this fall's election by making the choice about something instead of nothing but anger. In the process, he will confront a deeply embedded media narrative that sees a Republican triumph as all but inevitable.

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