Lyndon Johnson

Will Obama Talk Turkey This Evening?
February 24, 2009

  In anticipation of President Obama's first "State of the Union-style" speech tonight, it might be worth spending some time on Speechwars.com--which allows graphical analysis of past presidents' SOTU speeches. Will Obama bring back long-lost traditions, such as the Gilded Age penchant for using the word "turkey" 4 or 5 times during the address? Will he talk about our "cities" more than Lyndon Johnson and Theodore Roosevelt? Or, as predicted, will he simply follow George W. Bush's lead and spend a disproportionate amount of his address discussing "money"? --Barron YoungSmith

This Won't Hurt a Bit
February 18, 2009

Health care reform for dummies.

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.

The President Who Wasn't There
September 24, 2008

When all the banks have been bailed out and all the debts paid off, the big takeaway for the historians from the financial crisis will be the complete and utter failure of President Bush as the nation's leader. Set aside the blame for the mortgage meltdown. Set aside whether the Paulson plan is a good idea. At a time when American taxpayers and global investors need to see a strong, confident president in the White House, they simply don't have one. This morning, finally, comes word that President Bush will go on television to address the country tonight.

Heir Time
July 23, 2007

At first glance, the Democratic nominee for president in 1960, John Fitzgerald Kennedy—the millionaire Caucasian war hero for whom I worked for eleven golden years—seems notably different from the most interesting candidate for next year's nomination, Senator Barack Obama. But when does a difference make a difference? Different times, issues, and electors make any meaningful comparison unlikely.

Binge and Surge
January 22, 2007

IN IRAQ, SADLY, the troop surge planned by George W. Bush probably won't make much difference. After all, the United States has already surged—the military sent several thousand more troops to Baghdadlast summer—and the violence only got worse. Moreover, theintellectual architects of a new surge—retired General Jack Keane and the American Enterprise Institute's Frederick Kagan—say itwill require 30,000 more troops over 18 months to have a chance of success.

The End of Deference
November 06, 2000

The Warren Court and American Politics by Lucas A. Powe, Jr. (Harvard University Press, 600 pp., $35) The presidential campaign this year, the discussions of the Supreme Court have followed a familiar script. The Republican candidate has promised to appoint "strict constructionist" judges who will interpret the law rather than legislate from the bench.

In Defense of Preference
April 06, 1998

  The battle over affirmative action today is a contest between a clear principle on the one hand and a clear reality on the other. The principle is that ability, qualifications, and merit, independent of race, national origin, or sex should prevail when one applies for a job or promotion, or for entry into selective institutions for higher education, or when one bids for contracts. The reality is that strict adherence to this principle would result in few African Americans getting jobs, admissions, and contracts. What makes the debate so confused is that the facts that make a compelling case

Celebrating Dr. King's Birthday
January 30, 1984

In his belated support for a day honoring Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan predictably recalled the man as an inspiring—and innocuous—advocate of good will, brotherhood, and harmony. Such a carefully cropped portrait of Dr. King has gained wide popularity, perhaps because it enables the nation to create a comforting icon out of the career of a political iconoclast.

Kennedy: Ifs, Ands, and Buts
June 29, 1974

At 10:45 the morning of June 4, Sen, Edward M. Kennedy's appearance at the back of the Fontainebleau Hotel ballroom set off a wave of excitement among the 1600 delegates to the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union annual convention. He had arrived in Miami Beach three hours earlier, having flown all night across the country from a day in Seattle at the national governors' conference. He looked fresh. He had had a quick ocean swim, a breakfast meeting with friends among the ILGWU leadership, a closed-door meeting with liberal critics of his health bill compromise.

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