William Jennings Bryan

Matthew Bowman looks at the link between Mormonism and progressivism in this 2011 article.

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Yup, Rick Santorum went there. The former Pennsylvania senator, known for his less-than-enlightened views on gay rights, has opted for the “Some of my best friends…” approach. Earlier this week, when CNN’s Don Lemon asked him if he had any gay friends, Santorum replied enthusiastically: “Yes! In fact, I was with a gay friend of mine just two days ago. So, yeah, I do. And they respect that I have differences of opinion on that. I talk about these things in front of them, and we have conversations about it.

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Louis D. Brandeis: A Life By Melvin I. Urofsky (Pantheon, 955 pp., $40) I. In 1916, Herbert Croly, the founder and editor of The New Republic, wrote to Willard Straight, the owner of the magazine, about the Supreme Court nomination of Louis Brandeis. Croly enclosed a draft editorial called “The Motive of Class Consciousness,” and also a chart prepared by a lawyer in Brandeis’s office showing the overlapping financial interests, social and business connections, and directorships of fifty-two prominent Bostonians who had signed a petition opposing Brandeis’s nomination.

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Does the Constitution Follow the Flag?: The Evolution of Territoriality in American Law By Kal Raustiala (Oxford University Press, 328 pp., $29.95) In 1898, American and Spanish officials signed the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War. Spain ceded Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and other colonial possessions to the United States. The Spanish-American War had been fought in the name of Cuban freedom, and sentiment in the United States favored Cuban independence.

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Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch By Eric Miller (Eerdmans, 394 pp., $32) In a moving tribute to Christopher Lasch written shortly after his death in 1994, Dale Vree, a Catholic convert and the editor of the New Oxford Review, wrote that “Calvinism was his true theological inspiration.” Lasch was certainly not one of the faithful.

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As most readers have probably heard, Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell got himself into hot water by declaring April “Confederate History Month,” in a proclamation that did not mention the rather pertinent fact that the Confederacy was a revolutionary (and by definition, treasonous) effort to maintain slavery against even the possibility of abolition. After the predictable firestorm of criticism, McDonnell allowed that it must have been a mistake not to mention slavery in his proclamation.

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Palin and McCarthy

A new Washington Post poll of Republicans records the remarkable extent to which today's rank-and-file GOPers can't identify much in the way of any clear-cut Republican leaders.

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Against Common Sense

Conservatives would have us believe that they hold a monopoly on common sense. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and many other right-wing rabble-rousers regularly portray themselves as defenders of the good, old-fashioned common sense of average Americans against an out-of-touch liberal elite.

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David Kusnet was chief speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton from 1992 through 1994. He is the author of Love the Work, Hate the Job: Why America's Best Workers Are Unhappier than Ever. “This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign,” Sarah Palin said of Barack Obama in her acceptance speech Wednesday night.So here’s another word-count: Palin used the word “reform” at least seven times in her remarks.

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While it may have seemed innocuous, John McCain's answer to last night's debate question, "Would Ronald Reagan endorse you?" should be enough to unnerve (though perhaps not surprise) any Cold War historian not firmly committed to Reagan Victory School-hackery. When asked the same question, Romney took the chance to preen about immigration and Mike Huckabee talked about sunny optimism. McCain, however, harped on two important but relatively obscure episodes in the annals of U.S.-Soviet arms control negotiation: "Ronald Reagan came with an unshakable set of principles, and there were many times

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