Franklin D. Roosevelt
The Imperial Vice Presidency
November 19, 2008
Angler: The Cheney Vice PresidencyBy Barton Gellman (Penguin Press, 384 pp., $27.95) As Americans prepare to choose a new president, it may seem a curious exercise to rehearse the manifest failures of the current one. But either Barack Obama or John McCain is going to be stuck with the burdensome legacy of the Bush years, and the rest of us will be too--possibly for a long time. The war in Iraq is still with us. So are Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The Wall Street cataclysm will ramify, locally and globally, for many months, perhaps years.
Run Like It's 1932
October 10, 2008
WASHINGTON--Hope versus fear, new versus old: Barack Obama and John McCain have placed their bets. These are the terms on which the 2008 presidential campaign will be decided. That's why it's unfair for political bystanders to attack Obama and McCain for offering few specifics as to how they'd fix an ailing economy.
September 10, 2008
Why political oratory sounds so weird.
Secrecy and Safety
August 13, 2008
Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice By Eric Lichtblau (Pantheon, 384 pp., $26.95) I. In May 1940, defying a congressional ban, President Franklin D. Roosevelt secretly authorized warrantless wiretapping inside the United States. His attorney general, Robert Jackson, had ordered a halt to the wiretapping a few months earlier, after the Supreme Court made clear that the Communications Act of 1934 prohibited it. But when J.
N.H. Speech Recap: John Edwards
January 08, 2008
When the discussion turns to John Edwards, the cable news pundits call him “angry” and a “class warrior.” But, in conceding his third-place showing, Edwards was more the “happy warrior” (as Franklin D. Roosevelt described Al Smith in 1924). Far from packing it in, Edwards delivered the latest, best version of his stump speech--an upbeat populist message that, if he’d delivered it several months earlier, might have appealed to a wider swath of the electorate.
September 10, 2007
"Here should be an objective of Government itself, to provide at least as much assistance to the little fellow as it is now giving to the large banks and corporations."--Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 7, 1932 The burgeoning home-mortgage crisis of 2007 bears an eerie resemblance to financial conditions 75 years ago, when FDR realized that only the U.S.
October 30, 2006
Last September, Hurricane Katrina revealed a Bush administration studded through and through with hacks. These cronies exhibited the quality made infamous by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Michael Brown: a loyalty to party and president that could overcome the kinds of issues that would give lesser governments pause, such as insufficient experience or a sketchy diploma.
October 16, 2006
Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War By Robert L. Beisner (Oxford University Press, 768 pp., $35) I. "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." The speaker could have been Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, or Bill Clinton. In fact, it was George W. Bush, in his second inaugural address; and what he said is what historians will probably remember as the Bush Doctrine.
The Hero Myth
May 24, 1999
David Grann profiles then U.S. Republican Presidential candidate, John McCain.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Thomas Jefferson
March 10, 1997
Thomas Jefferson a film by Ken Burns (PBS) The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800 by Conor Cruise O'Brien (University of Chicago, 367 pp., $29.95) Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy by Annette Gordon-Reed (University Press of Virginia, 279 pp., $29.95) American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis (Knopf, 351 pp., $26) I. Especially during his troubled second administration, Thomas Jefferson received a lot of hate mail.