John C. Calhoun
The intellectual romance of the new right and the old south
The 21st-century GOP and the 19th-century Confederacy: An intellectual romance
I. The American dream of politics without conflict, and of politics without political parties, has a history as old as American politics. Anyone carried along on the political currents since 2008, however, might be forgiven for thinking that the dream is something new—and that a transformative era was finally at hand, in which the old politics of intense partisan conflict, based on misunderstanding, miscommunication, and misanthropy, could be curbed if not ended. After the presidency of George W.
Historical amnesia is as dangerously disorienting for a nation as for an individual. So it is with the current wave of enthusiasm for “states’ rights,” “interposition,” and “nullification”—the claim that state legislatures or special state conventions or referendums have the legitimate power to declare federal laws null and void within their own state borders. The idea was broached most vociferously in defense of the slave South by John C.
Here's Jonathan Cohn's essay against the practice, written long before it was a cool Democratic position to have: Fighting Bush's judicial nominees on the merits of their views will inevitably draw Democrats into at least a few cultural debates they probably don't want to have right now. But, in a sense, that's precisely the point. The filibuster has become a crutch for Democrats, a way to defend their programs and values without having to actually win over voters.
I. The Passions of Andrew Jackson by Andrew Burstein (Alfred A. Knopf, 292 pp., $25) Early in 1834, at the height of his war with the Second Bank of the United States, President Andrew Jackson received at the White House several deputations of businessmen, who pleaded with him to change course. Believing that the Bank was an unrepublican, unaccountable monopoly, Jackson had vetoed its federal recharter and ordered the government's deposits in it removed.