What Would Harry Do?
September 21, 2009
A lot of people care about what happens to our health care system. But not a lot of people understand what’s actually being proposed--or even have time to figure it out. And even those who do follow the debate closely may not always know what’s important, what isn’t, and so on. (Even I get confused sometimes.) Part of the problem is that judging reform actually requires asking several different questions. There’s the economic security issue: Will it expand insurance coverage substantially--and make sure the insurance people have is good insurance?
Read the Speech Now
September 09, 2009
Excerpts of the president’s big health care speech have just been released.
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
Two Speeches And Two Attempts To Reach Our Better Angels
November 05, 2008
David Kusnet was chief speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton from 1992-1994. He is the author of Love the Work, Hate the Job: Why America’s Best Workers Are Unhappier than Ever.
That Which Must Not Be Said
April 04, 2008
Barack Obama is a liberal. Hillary Clinton wants you to know this now; if Obama gets the nomination, John McCain assuredly will, too. “Liberal” has had bad connotations ever since the Vietnam era, when conservatives successfully branded their opponents with the “amnesty, abortion, and acid” label. Now, the word “liberal”--or librul, in its nastiest form--has been cast to the bottom of the linguistic heap, to be avoided at all costs.
Experience vs. Change
March 04, 2008
With Barack Obama winning 11 contests since Super Tuesday, and appearing well on his way to winning a clear majority of elected delegates, it looks unlikely that Hillary Clinton could win the Democratic nomination without depending on the unelected party stalwarts (“superdelegates”) to push her over the top. History provides us with a test case of this scenario, in which a major party faced a choice between the managerial (but perhaps less than visionary) heir to a successful previous administration, and an inspiring, popular speaker.
The Party of Stinkin'
January 29, 2008
If the mixed results in the early Republican primaries--a Huckabee here, a McCain or Romney there--portends a split between the GOP’s religious, fiscally conservative, and security-state wings, it won't be the first time a national American political coalition has failed. But it will be the third time in a hundred years an apparently strong Republican majority cracked up due to the party's inability to govern.
January 29, 2007
From 2007, Richard Bushman denies that Mormons are uniquely predisposed to faith-based governance.
October 16, 2006
I have liked John McCain ever since I met him almost a decade ago. At the time, I was writing a profile of then-Senator Fred Thompson, who was rumored to be considering a run for the presidency. I had been playing phone tag with the press secretaries of senators friendly with Thompson and was getting nowhere. I decided that, instead of calling McCain's office, I would drop by. I spoke to one of his aides, who asked me whether I had time to see the senator then.
What's The Difference Between Progressives And Liberals?
September 25, 2006
by Eric Rauchway Over at Unfogged, the blogger LizardBreath1 asks an excellent question: "What's the difference between a progressive and a liberal?" Because I am a historian, I will take the liberty of posing one answer to this question by recasting it in the past tense: back when those terms really meant something, what was the difference between a progressive and a liberal? Let's begin with The New Republic's own Walter Lippmann, whose 1914 Drift and Mastery affords us a fine starting point in modern American political philosophy.