History Buzz: July 2009

History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

July 27, 2009: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s Arrest, President Obama and Race in America

HISTORY BUZZ:

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

BIGGEST NEWS STORIES:

  • Henry L. Gates,Jr. 911 call: Witness not sure she sees crime: - AP, 7-27-09
  • Obama Tries to Move Past Gates Furor: - WSJ, 7-26-09
  • Obama, Gates and the American Black Man: NYT, 7-25-09
  • Gates Says ‘Yes’ to Beer With Crowley: It was very kind of the President to phone me today. Vernon Jordan is absolutely correct: my unfortunate experience will only have a larger meaning if we can all use this to diminish racial profiling and to enhance fairness and equity in the criminal justice system for poor people and for people of color…. – Henry Louis Gates in The Root (edited by Henry Louis Gates) (7-24-09)
  • Black males’ fear of racial profiling very real, regardless of class- LAT, 7-24-09
  • Case Recalls Tightrope Blacks Walk With PoliceNYT, 7-23-09
  • Obama doesn’t regret ‘acted stupidly’ remark about Henry Gates Jr. arrest- NY Daily News, 7-23-09
  • Cop who arrested black scholar is profiling expert- AP, 7-23-09
  • Police Chief Responds to Obama’s RemarksWSJ, 7-23-09
  • “The good news about the Henry Louis Gates fiasco”James Hannaham at Salon.com, 7-22-09
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and the Police in “Post-Racial” AmericaBrandon M. Terry at the Huffington Post, 7-22-09
  • If it can happen to Skip Gates….- Inside Higher Ed, 7-22-09
  • Skip Gates and the Post-Racial Project: - Melissa Harris-Lacewell in The Nation, 7-21-09
  • The Root Editor-in-Chief Henry Louis Gates Jr. talks about his arrest and the outrage of racial profiling in America: I’m saying ‘You need to send someone to fix my lock.’ All of a sudden, there was a policeman on my porch. And I thought, ‘This is strange.’ So I went over to the front porch still holding the phone, and I said ‘Officer, can I help you?’ And he said, ‘Would you step outside onto the porch.’ And the way he said it, I knew he wasn’t canvassing for the police benevolent association. All the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, and I realized that I was in danger. And I said to him no, out of instinct. I said, ‘No, I will not.’…. – Henry Louis Gates Jr. in The Root, 7-21-09
  • Police Drop Charges Against Black Scholar- WSJ, 7-21-09
  • Gates chastises officer after authorities agree to drop criminal charge: “I believe the police officer should apologize to me for what he knows he did that was wrong,” Gates said in a phone interview from his other home in Martha’s Vineyard. “If he apologizes sincerely, I am willing to forgive him. And if he admits his error, I am willing to educate him about the history of racism in America and the issue of racial profiling … That’s what I do for a living.”… – Boston Globe, 7-21-09
  • Henry Louis Gates Jr. ArrestedNYT, 7-21-09
  • Black scholar’s arrest raises profiling questionsAP, 7-21-09
  • Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrested outside his home, calls Cambridge police ‘racist’NY Daily News, 7-21-09
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Harvard professor arrested, racism accusationsAFP, 7-20-09

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    On This Day in History….

    This Week in History…. July 27-August 2, 2009

  • 10 Reasons Why Apollo 11 Moon Landing Was Awesome: Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Forty years ago mission commander Neil A. Armstrong and lunar module pilot Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr. walked on the moon while command module pilot Michael Collins orbited above. Today however, marks the 40th anniversary of the day people really reacted to what just happened. As with all major events in time, there is always a day of reflection…. – Wired, 7-21-09

IN THE NEWS:

OP-EDs & BLOGS:

REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • James MacGregor Burns: Judicial Roulette PACKING THE COURT The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court - NYT, 7-26-09
  • James MacGregor Burns: PACKING THE COURT The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court , Excerpt – NYT, 7-26-09
  • Rich Cohen: A Land and a People ISRAEL IS REAL An Obsessive Quest to Understand the Jewish Nation and Its HistoryNYT, 7-26-09
  • Allis Radosh and Ronald Radosh: Zionist in the White House A SAFE HAVEN Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel – NYT, 7-26-09
  • Richard Brookhiser: MEMOIR Conservatively Speaking RIGHT TIME, RIGHT PLACE Coming of Age with William F. Buckley Jr. and the Conservative MovementWaPo, 7-26-09
  • Bradley Graham: MILITARY HISTORY A Warrior Fighting the Wrong War BY HIS OWN RULES The Ambitions, Successes and Ultimate Failures of Donald RumsfeldWaPo, 7-26-09
  • Art Historian Anthony Blunt: Memoirs of British Spy Offer No Apology – NYT (7-23-09)

PROFILED & FEATURED:

QUOTED:

INTERVIEWED:

  • Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze: Historian discusses new book on an academic exodus that saved lives and changed mathematics Mathematicians Fleeing from Nazi Germany: Individual Fates and Global Impact Inside Higher Ed (7-27-09)
  • Robin Hood Discovery: An Interview with Julian Luxford – www.medievalists.net, 3-25-09

HONORED, AWARDED &APPOINTED:

  • Marvin Dunn: Historian digs for stories of black settlement and its massacre (Rosewood) – Miami Herald (7-24-09)

SPOTTED:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

EVENTS CALENDAR:

  • Woodrow Wilson Center Holding Summer Institutes for High School Teachers: U.S. and the Cold War: THE UNITED STATES AND THE COLD WAR July 26-July 31, 2009 – Press Release (7-25-09)
  • Woodrow Wilson Center Holding Summer Institutes for High School Teachers: U.S.-China Relations U.S.-China Relations July 26-July 31, 2009 – Press Release (7-25-09)
  • August 1, 2009: An Evening with Ken Burns: Kens Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of Burns’ films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.” This evening will afford Chautauqua an opportunity to hear one of the most influential documentary makers of all time. Chautauqua Institutition. For more info 716-357-6200. – Jamestown Post-Journal, 5-21-09
  • Inaugural Semester-long seminar on Constitutional History offered at N-Y Historical Society this fall: Lincoln’s Constitution will be taught at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The seminar will be held on September 17 and 24 and on October 1, 15, 22, and 29, 2009. NYHS Press Release (7-20-09)

ON TV:

  • BBC to launch new series on history of Christianity – Religious Intelligence, 6-19-09
  • C-SPAN2: BOOK TV Weekend Schedule
  • PBS History Detectives: Mondays at 9pm
  • History Channel: Weekly Schedule
  • History Channel: “Hippies” – Monday, July 27, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Sex in ’69: Sexual Revolution in America” – Monday, July 27, 2009 at 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Return of the Pirates” – Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Life After People & That’s Impossible: Eternal Life” – Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Moonshot” – Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Art of War” – Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT

BEST SELLERS (NYT):

COMING SOON BOOKS:

  • Gil Troy: Reagan Revolution : A Very Short Introduction, July 30, 2009
  • Constance Rosenblum: Boulevard of Dreams: Heady Times, Heartbreak, and Hope along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, August 1, 2009
  • David Freeland: Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattans Lost Places of Leisure, August 1, 2009
  • William A. DeGregorio: The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Seventh Edition, August 15, 2009
  • Brooks D. Simpson: The Reconstruction Presidents (Paperback), August 18, 2009
  • Richard C. Hoagland: Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA (Revised), September 1, 2009
  • Douglas Hunter: Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World, September 1, 2009
  • Noah Andre Trudeau: Robert E. Lee: Lessons in Leadership, September 1, 2009
  • Annette Gordon-Reed: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Paperback), September 8, 2009
  • Jon Krakauer: Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, September 15, 2009
  • Dean C. Jessee (Editor): The Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations, Volume 1: Manuscript Revelation Books, September 2009
  • James Patterson: The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King – A Nonfiction Thriller, September 28, 2009
  • Timothy Egan: The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America, October 19, 2009
  • Gil Troy, Vincent J. Cannato, eds.: Living in the Eighties, October 23, 2009
  • L. Fletcher Prouty: JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, (Paperback), November 1, 2009
  • Edward Kritzler: Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom–and Revenge, (Paperback), November 3, 2009
  • Anthony Haden-guest: Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night (Paperback), December 8, 2009

DEPARTED:

  • Lionel Casson: Who Wrote of Ancient Maritime History, Dies at 94 – NYT (7-24-09)

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 1:08 AM

July 20, 2009: 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 & the 1st Moon Landing

HISTORY BUZZ:

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

BIGGEST NEWS STORIES:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

IN THE NEWS:

OP-EDs & BLOGS:

  • Julian E. Zelizer: What Jimmy Carter had right: On July 15, 1979, President Jimmy Carter delivered one of the more controversial speeches in recent presidential history. When Carter delivered what would come to be known as the “malaise” speech America was in bad condition. Inflation was devastating the economy. Unemployment rates were high. OPEC had increased oil prices several times within a few months. With his re-election on the horizon, Carter watched his approval ratings plummet to below 30 percent…. – Politico, 7-15-09

REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • Craig Nelson: Apollo 11′s Bright Glare ROCKET MEN The Epic Story Of the First Men On the MoonWaPo, 7-19-09
  • Hobson Woodward: Shakespeare’s Storm A BRAVE VESSEL The True Tale of the Castaways Who Rescued Jamestown . . .WaPo, 7-19-09
  • Lynn Hudson Parsons: Power to (Some of) the People THE BIRTH OF MODERN POLITICS Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams and the Election of 1828WaPo, 7-19-09
  • Thomas Levenson: HISTORY A New Newton NEWTON AND THE COUNTERFEITER The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest ScientistWaPo, 7-19-09
  • Martha A. Sandweiss on W. Ralph Eubanks: The Family That Rejected Jim Crow THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE ROAD The Story of Three Generations of An Interracial Family in the American SouthWaPo, 7-19-09
  • Greg Grandin: UTOPIAS Welcome to the Jungle FORDLANDIA The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle CityWaPo, 7-19-09
  • Richard Holmes: Science and the Sublime THE AGE OF WONDER How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of ScienceNYT, 7-19-09
  • Richard Holmes: THE AGE OF WONDER How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science, Excerpt – NYT, 7-19-09
  • David Kennedy on Margaret MacMillan: What History Is Good For DANGEROUS GAMES The Uses and Abuses of HistoryNYT, 7-19-09
  • Margaret MacMillan: DANGEROUS GAMES The Uses and Abuses of History, Excerpt – NYT, 7-19-09
  • Greg Grandin: Dearborn-on-Amazon FORDLANDIA The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle CityNYT, 7-19-09
  • Greg Grandin: FORDLANDIA The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, Excerpt – 7-19-09
  • Alistair Horne: Got Your Back KISSINGER 1973, the Crucial YearNYT, 7-19-09
  • Alistair Horne: KISSINGER 1973, the Crucial YearNYT, 7-19-09
  • Larry Tye: A Fastball Wrapped in a Riddle SATCHEL The Life and Times of an American LegendNYT, 7-19-09
  • Larry Tye: SATCHEL The Life and Times of an American LegendNYT, 7-19-09
  • James Gavin: No Prisoner of Love STORMY WEATHER The Life of Lena HorneNYT, 7-19-09
  • James Gavin: STORMY WEATHER The Life of Lena Horne, Excerpt – NYT, 7-19-09
  • Jackson Lears continues his search for the origin of our times – John Summers in Book Forum (7-17-09)

PROFILED & FEATURED:

QUOTED:

  • David Garrow “At 100, NAACP debates its role”: David Garrow, a civil rights historian, says there has been a shift from the traditional notion of black civil rights because of steady growth in black civic participation and decline of civil-rights-era protest groups…. – Chicago Tribune, 7-13-09
  • One Step Was Plenty First Man to Walk on the Moon Stoically Backpedals on Earth: Forty years ago today, Neil Armstrong became the most famous man on the planet by taking a short walk off of it. Since then he’s tried to live with that fact, and also live it down. – WaPo, 7-19-09

INTERVIEWED:

  • Charles W. Eagles: Author discusses new book on James Meredith and his battle to enroll at the University of Mississippi The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole MissInside Higher Ed (7-14-09)

HONORED, AWARDED &APPOINTED:

  • Jonathan Brent: Former editorial director of Yale University Press and general editor of its celebrated Annals of Communism series is now in charge of one of the world’s most important archives of Jewish life – Chronicle of Higher Ed (7-15-09)

EVENTS CALENDAR:

  • August 1, 2009: An Evening with Ken Burns: Kens Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of Burns’ films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.” This evening will afford Chautauqua an opportunity to hear one of the most influential documentary makers of all time. Chautauqua Institutition. For more info 716-357-6200. – Jamestown Post-Journal, 5-21-09

ON TV:

  • BBC to launch new series on history of Christianity – Religious Intelligence, 6-19-09
  • C-SPAN2: BOOK TV Weekend Schedule
  • PBS History Detectives: Mondays at 9pm
  • History Channel: Weekly Schedule
  • History Channel: “Beyond the Moon: Failure Is Not an Option 2″ – Monday, July 20, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: Apollo 11 Specials – Monday, July 20, 2009 at 4-11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Live from ’69: Moon Landing” – Monday, July 20, 2009 at 8:30pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Moonshot” – Monday, July 20, 2009 at 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Last Days on Earth” – Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Journey to 10,000 BC” – Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters: New York City Hurricane” – Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters: San Francisco Earthquake” – Friday, July 24, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld” Marathon – Friday, July 24, 2009 at 4-6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Stealing Lincoln’s Body” – Friday, July 24, 2009 at 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Ancient Aliens” – Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT

BEST SELLERS (NYT):

COMING SOON BOOKS:

  • Buzz Aldrin: Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon, July 23, 2009
  • Alice Morse Earle: Child Life in Colonial Times (Paperback), July 23, 2009
  • William A. DeGregorio: The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Seventh Edition, August 15, 2009
  • Douglas Hunter: Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World, September 1, 2009
  • Annette Gordon-Reed: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Paperback), September 8, 2009
  • Jon Krakauer: Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, September 15, 2009

DEPARTED:

  • Civil War historian Kenneth Stampp dies at 96 – HNN, 7-13-09

Posted on Monday, July 20, 2009 at 5:10 AM

July 13, 2009: Obama Discusses the Presidency with Beschloss, Brands, Brinkley, Dallek, & Kearns Goodwin

HISTORY BUZZ:

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

BIGGEST NEWS STORIES:

  • Obama’s Secret Meeting With Historians: The president held a dinner at the White House for leading presidential scholars
    Obama held a dinner at the White House residence with nine such scholars on June 30, and it turned out to be what one participant described as a “history book club, with the president as the inquisitor.” Among those attending were Michael Beschloss, H. W. Brands, Douglas Brinkley, Robert Dallek, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Obama asked the guests to discuss the presidencies that they were most familiar with and to give him insights into what remains relevant to the problems of today. – Kenneth T. Walsh in US News & World Report (7-10-09)

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

IN THE NEWS:

OP-EDs & BLOGS:

REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • Kevin Mattson: Thirty Years Later, in Praise of Malaise WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU UP TO, MR. PRESIDENT? Jimmy Carter, America’s “Malaise,” and the Speech That Should Have Changed the CountryWaPo, 7-12-09
  • Shaun A. Casey: RELIGION AND POLITICS Faith in the Electorate THE MAKING OF A CATHOLIC PRESIDENT Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960 WaPo, 7-12-09
  • Richard Wrangham & Tom Standage: Cooking Up a Pot of Civilization CATCHING FIRE How Cooking Made Us Human, AN EDIBLE HISTORY OF HUMANITYWaPo, 7-12-09
  • Tom Standage: AN EDIBLE HISTORY OF HUMANITY Chapter One THE INVENTION OF FARMINGWaPo, 7-12-09
  • Margaret MacMillan: Getting History Right DANGEROUS GAMES The Uses and Abuses of HistoryWaPo, 7-12-09
  • James Scott: HISTORY Misguided Missiles THE ATTACK ON THE LIBERTY The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy ShipWaPo, 7-12-09
  • Larry Tye: BIOGRAPHY ‘No Man Got to Be Common’ SATCHEL The Life and Times of an American LegendWaPo, 7-12-09
  • Larry Tye: SATCHEL The Life and Times of an American Legend Chapter One Coming Alive – WaPo, 7-12-09
  • Gavin Mortimer: HISTORY The Wright Stuff CHASING ICARUS The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American AviationWaPo, 7-12-09
  • Craig Nelson, Andrew Chaikin with Victoria Kohl: Giant Step, Full Stop ROCKET MEN The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon, VOICES FROM THE MOON Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar ExperiencesNYT, 7-8-09
  • Craig Nelson: ROCKET MEN The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon, Chapter Seven A Way to Talk to God – NYT, 7-8-09
  • Elijah Wald: Roll Over, John Lennon HOW THE BEATLES DESTROYED ROCK ‘N’ ROLL An Alternative History of American Popular MusicNYT, 7-10-09
  • James MacGregor Burns: New Book on Supreme Court by Historian Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Courtiberkshires.com (7-6-09)
  • James MacGregor Burns says Supremes Really Govern America Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme CourtMICHIKO KAKUTANI in the NYT (7-6-09)

PROFILED & FEATURED:

QUOTED:

INTERVIEWED:

  • Immanuel Ness: You Say You Want a Reference Book About Revolution? The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, 1500 to the PresentInside Higher Ed (7-8-09)
  • Michael Oren: Israeli Ambassador in conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg (video) -
    youtube.com (7-2-09)

SPOTTED:

EVENTS CALENDAR:

  • August 1, 2009: An Evening with Ken Burns: Kens Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of Burns’ films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.” This evening will afford Chautauqua an opportunity to hear one of the most influential documentary makers of all time. Chautauqua Institutition. For more info 716-357-6200. – Jamestown Post-Journal, 5-21-09

ON TV:

  • Niall Ferguson: The Ascent of Money Brings The Economic Crisis Down to Earth on PBS each Wednesday in July – About.com, 6-29-09
  • BBC to launch new series on history of Christianity – Religious Intelligence, 6-19-09
  • C-SPAN2: BOOK TV Weekend Schedule
  • PBS History Detectives: Mondays at 9pm
  • History Channel: Weekly Schedule
  • History Channel: “The Exodus Decoded” – Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters: San Francisco Earthquake” – Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld: New York: Secret Societies” – Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Antichrist” – Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Angels: Good or Evil” – Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Lost Worlds: The Real Dracula” – Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “True Story of the Bridge on the River Kwai” – Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Lost Pyramid” – Friday, July 17, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “UFO Files: The Pacific Bermuda Triangle” – Friday, July 17, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Kennedys: The Curse of Power” – Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy” – Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 10pm ET/PT

BEST SELLERS (NYT):

COMING SOON BOOKS:

  • Roger S. Bagnall: Oxford Handbook of Papyrology, July 14, 2009
  • David Maraniss: Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics That Stirred the World (Reprint), July 14, 2009
  • Buzz Aldrin: Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon, July 23, 2009
  • Alice Morse Earle: Child Life in Colonial Times (Paperback), July 23, 2009
  • William A. DeGregorio: The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Seventh Edition, August 15, 2009
  • Douglas Hunter: Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World, September 1, 2009
  • Annette Gordon-Reed: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Paperback), September 8, 2009
  • Jon Krakauer: Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, September 15, 2009

DEPARTED:

Posted on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 3:33 AM

History Buzz July 6, 2009: Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard President’s Tough Choices & July 4th Myths

HISTORY BUZZ:

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

BIGGEST NEWS STORIES:

  • Drew Gilpin Faust “Harvard President School has tough choices in decline”: Drew Gilpin Faust started as Harvard’s president when the university’s prosperity seemed limitless. With its ballooning wealth, Harvard planned almost frenzied growth, from a building boom into Boston to vast increases in student financial aid. Billions of lost endowment dollars later, though, Faust faces a much different reality. “We can’t have chocolate and vanilla and strawberry. We have to decide which one,” she said… – AP, 7-5-09
  • Peter de Bolla “Expert: Fourth of July lore not accurate”: Cultural history Professor Peter de Bolla of King’s College at Britain’s Cambridge University said in a Los Angeles Times story published Saturday that while the Fourth of July is commonly tabbed as Independence Day, July 2 would actually be a more accurate day to celebrate. July 2, 1776, was the day colony delegates voted at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to seek independence from Britain, de Bolla said. The history professor said July 4, 1776, was simply the day officials from the 13 colonies chose to make their July 2 ruling public…. – Times of the Internet, 7-5-09
  • Ken Davis “Fun Fourth of July Facts: A Pop Quiz!”: Author Ken Davis Tests “The Early Show” Anchors’ Knowledge of Independence Day – CBS News, 7-3-09

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

IN THE NEWS:

OP-EDs & BLOGS:

  • Harold James: Who is to Blame?: Now that the economic crisis looks less threatening (at least for the moment), and forecasters are spying “green shoots” of recovery, an ever more encompassing blame game is unfolding. The financial crisis provides an apparently endless opportunity for unmasking deceit, malfeasance, and corruption. But we are not sure quite who and what should be unmasked…. – IBTimes, 7-2-09
  • SARAH VOWELL: A Plantation to Be Proud Of – NYT, 7-5-09

REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • John Ferling: First in War, First in Peace, First in Hogging the Credit THE ASCENT OF GEORGE WASHINGTON The Hidden Political Genius of an American IconWaPo, 7-5-09
  • Raymond Arsenault: CIVIL RIGHTS Let Freedom Ring Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened AmericaWaPo, 7-5-09
  • Raymond Arsenault: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened America, First Chapter – WaPo, 7-5-09
  • Jeffrey Rosen on James MacGregor Burns: THE LAW Black Robe Politics PACKING THE COURT The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court WaPo, 7-5-09
  • Alan Brinkley on Richard Brookhiser: God and Man at National Review RIGHT TIME, RIGHT PLACE Coming of Age With William F. Buckley Jr. and the Conservative MovementNYT, 7-5-09
  • Richard Brookhiser: RIGHT TIME, RIGHT PLACE Coming of Age With William F. Buckley Jr. and the Conservative Movement, Excerpt – richardbrookhiser.com
  • Jackson Lears on D. D. Guttenplan: Paper Trail AMERICAN RADICAL The Life and Times of I. F. StoneNYT, 7-5-09
  • Henry Waxman with Joshua Green: POLITICS Moustache of Justice THE WAXMAN REPORT How Congress Really WorksWaPo, 7-5-09
  • Vladislav Zubok: HISTORY Breaking the Bloc ZHIVAGO’S CHILDRENWaPo, 7-5-09

QUOTED:

  • Doris Kearns Goodwin “Barack Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard days to come”: The Obamas face a similar situation that the Clintons did: Neither have their own vacation home or estate. “Unlike FDR, who had Hyde Park, or Lyndon Johnson or George W. Bush who had their own ranches, they need to find a place where they can relax, which the others did by going to their own homes,” said author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. The presidential getaway is no small matter: The off-hours have given shape to the imagery of the presidency. Ronald Reagan cultivated a sun-baked masculinity by spending time at Rancho del Cielo, his California ranch. “Once, when an aide told President Reagan that it might be better if he didn’t go to his ranch so much, he said: ‘You can tell me a lot of things, but you can’t tell me that,’” said Goodwin…. Politico, 7-5-09

PROFILES & FEATURES:

  • Peggy Noonan calls David McCullough our greatest living historian: On David McCullough: … He is America’s greatest living historian. He has often written about great men and the reason may be a certain law of similarity: He is one also…. – WSJ (7-3-09)

INTERVIEWED:

  • Greg Grandin “Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City”: The book tells the story of Henry Ford, the richest man in the world in the 1920s, a nd his attempt to build a rubber plantation and a miniature Midwest factory town deep in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. Democracy Now, 7-2-09
  • Johann N. Neem: A nation of joiners, an interview – Boston Globe (6-28-09)

HONORED, AWARDED &APPOINTED:

  • John W. Hall in place as the first Ambrose-Hesseltine Professor in U.S. Military History: University of Wisconsin at Madison hires military historian – Inside Higher Ed (7-2-09)

EVENTS CALENDAR:

  • W.Va. Civil War group debuts at Harpers Ferry Sesquicentennial of John Brown’s Raid kicks off – Journal News, 6-26-09
  • August 1, 2009: An Evening with Ken Burns: Kens Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of Burns’ films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.” This evening will afford Chautauqua an opportunity to hear one of the most influential documentary makers of all time. Chautauqua Institutition. For more info 716-357-6200. – Jamestown Post-Journal, 5-21-09

ON TV:

  • History Channel:
  • Niall Ferguson: The Ascent of Money Brings The Economic Crisis Down to Earth on PBS each Wednesday in July – About.com, 6-29-09
  • BBC to launch new series on history of Christianity – Religious Intelligence, 6-19-09
  • C-SPAN2: BOOK TV Weekend Schedule
  • PBS History Detectives: Mondays at 9pm
  • History Channel: Weekly Schedule
  • History Channel: “MonsterQuest” Marathon – Monday, July 6, 2009 at 2-5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Crime Wave: 18 Months of Mayhem” – Monday, July 6, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Crumbling of America ” – Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters: San Francisco Earthquake” – Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Ancient Aliens” – Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Crime Wave: 18 Months of Mayhem” – Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld: 13 – Underground Bootleggers” – Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Art of War” – Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Secrets of the Founding Fathers” – Friday, July 10, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Presidents: 1977-Present” – Friday, July 10, 2009 at 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Rumrunners, Moonshiners and Bootleggers” – Friday, July 10, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Expedition Africa” Marathon – Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 8-12pm ET/PT

BEST SELLERS (NYT):

COMING SOON BOOKS:

  • Mike Evans (Editor): Woodstock: Three Days That Rocked the World, July 7, 2009
  • Roger S. Bagnall: Oxford Handbook of Papyrology, July 14, 2009
  • David Maraniss: Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics That Stirred the World (Reprint), July 14, 2009
  • Buzz Aldrin: Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon, July 23, 2009
  • Alice Morse Earle: Child Life in Colonial Times (Paperback), July 23, 2009
  • William A. DeGregorio: The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Seventh Edition, August 15, 2009
  • Douglas Hunter: Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World, September 1, 2009
  • Annette Gordon-Reed: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Paperback), September 8, 2009
  • Jon Krakauer: Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, September 15, 2009

DEPARTED:

  • Togo W. Tanaka dies at 93; journalist documented life at Manzanar internment camp: In 1942, Togo W. Tanaka and his family were evacuated to Manzanar internment camp, where his “rich daily accounts of everyday life” and his unflinching support of the United States “got him into a lot of trouble,” historians say. Many of his reports were critical of camp administrators and the policy that led to the internment of 10,000 people of Japanese descent, most of whom were U.S. citizens from Los Angeles County. – LAT, 7-5-09
  • Alice L. Cochran: historian and professor at Webster University, dies – www.stltoday.com, (7-2-09)

Posted on Monday, July 6, 2009 at 10:02 PM

July 22, 2009: President Obama’s Press Conference on Health Care Reform

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President Obama held a prime-time news conference on health care reform More Photos >

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • FACT CHECK: Obama’s health care claims adrift? President Barack Obama’s assertion Wednesday that government will stay out of health care decisions in an overhauled system is hard to square with the proposals coming out of Congress and with his own rhetoric. Even now, nearly half the costs of health care in the U.S. are paid for by government at all levels. Federal authority would only grow under any proposal in play…. – AP, 7-22-09
  • AP-GfK Poll: Great hopes for Obama fade to reality: An Associated Press-GfK Poll shows that a majority of Americans are back to thinking that the country is headed in the wrong direction after a fleeting period in which more thought it was on the right track. Obama still has a solid 55 percent approval rating — better than Bill Clinton and about even with George W. Bush six months into their presidencies — but there are growing doubts about whether he can succeed at some of the biggest items on his to-do list. And there is a growing sense that he is trying to tackle too much too soon…. – AP, 7-22-09
  • Obama’s Sinking Approval Ratings Are Even Worse Than They Look: Having come into office with an ambitious agenda to remake America, Barack Obama is discovering that time is not his friend. According to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, Obama’s approval rating has dropped by nine points, down to 55 percent from where it was when he first entered the White House six months ago….
    The decline in Obama’s job approval number is matched, overmatched really, by a significant increase in the number of people who disapprove of the job he is doing as president. That number is up 16 points—to 41 percent—from the first time the survey was taken during the Obama presidency. – US News, 7-21-09

THE HEADLINES….

The news conference was held in the East Room of the White House.
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times The news conference was held in the East Room of the White House.
  • Obama Moves to Reclaim the Debate on Health Care: President Obama tried on Wednesday to rally public support for overhauling the nation’s health care system and said for the first time that he would be willing to help pay for the plan by raising income taxes on families earning more than $1 million a year…. – NYT, 7-22-09
  • Live Blogging Obama’s News ConferenceNYT, 7-22-09
  • Obama rallies support for struggling health revamp: Six months in office, President Barack Obama sought Wednesday night to rally support for sweeping health care legislation he’s struggling to push through Congress, expressing support for a surtax on families making more than $1 million a year to help pay for it. Under pressure from Democrats to weigh in personally on the details of legislation, Obama also vowed at a prime-time news conference to reject any measure “primarily funded through taxing middle-class families.”… – AP, 7-22-09
  • Pelosi: House Dems have the votes on health care: Democrats command the votes needed to pass a sweeping health care bill through the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday, an unexpected statement that quickly drew a biting response from conservative members of the party’s rank-and-file demanding changes in President Barack Obama’s trademark legislation…. – AP, 7-22-09
  • Conservative Democrat says US health bill not ready: A stalled healthcare overhaul bill in the House of Representative should not move forward without firm numbers on cost savings, and it is unlikely to win enough votes to pass in current form, the leader of a group of conservative Democrats said on Wednesday. – Reuters, 7-22-09
  • Obama’s Policy Hurdles Rise After Six Months of Record Spending: President Barack Obama in his first six months got a $787 billion economic stimulus package and asked Congress for $750 billion for the financial crisis along with a down payment on a $1 trillion overhaul of U.S. health care. The next six months may be more difficult…. – Bloomberg, 7-22-09
  • Obama: No time for delay on health care: President Barack Obama remained on the offensive Tuesday on the pace and shape of legislation reinventing health care, against stiffening opposition from Republicans and growing wariness among rank-and-file congressional Democrats…. – AP, 7-21-09
  • Democrats irked by Obama signing statement: President Barack Obama has irked close allies in Congress by declaring he has the right to ignore legislation on constitutional grounds after having criticized George W. Bush for doing the same. Four senior House Democrats on Tuesday said they were “surprised” and “chagrined” by Obama’s declaration in June that he doesn’t have to comply with provisions in a war spending bill that puts conditions on aid provided to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund…. – AP, 7-21-09
  • Abortion Compromise Considered For US House Health-Care Bill: An anti-abortion Democrat on Monday said he is negotiating a compromise aimed at resolving concerns that House health-care legislation would allow federal funding of abortions…. – WSJ, 7-20-09

POLITICAL QUOTES

DESCRIPTION
Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times The news conference on Wednesday night was the president’s fifth in total and the fourth held in prime-time.
  • Obama Makes Fresh Appeal on Health Care at Prime-time News Conference: …Six months ago, I took office amid the worst recession in half a century. We were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month and our financial system was on the verge of collapse.
    As a result of the action we took in those first weeks, we have been able to pull our economy back from the brink. We took steps to stabilize our financial institutions and our housing market. And we passed a Recovery Act that has already saved jobs and created new ones; delivered billions in tax relief to families and small businesses; and extended unemployment insurance and health insurance to those who have been laid off.
    Of course, we still have a long way to go. And the Recovery Act will continue to save and create more jobs over the next two years – just like it was designed to do. I realize this is little comfort to those Americans who are currently out of work, and I’ll be honest with you – new hiring is always one of the last things to bounce back after a recession….
    That is why I’ve said that even as we rescue this economy from a full-blown crisis, we must rebuild it stronger than before. And health insurance reform is central to that effort.
    This is not just about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance. Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick, or lose their job, or change their job. It’s about every small business that has been forced to lay off employees or cut back on their coverage because it became too expensive. And it’s about the fact that the biggest driving force behind our federal deficit is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid.
    So let me be clear: if we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit. If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket. If we do not act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day. These are the consequences of inaction. These are the stakes of the debate we’re having right now.
    I realize that with all the charges and criticisms being thrown around in Washington, many Americans may be wondering, “What’s in this for me? How does my family stand to benefit from health insurance reform?”
    Tonight I want to answer those questions. Because even though Congress is still working through a few key issues, we already have agreement on the following areas:
    If you already have health insurance, the reform we’re proposing will provide you with more security and more stability. It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it. It will prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get too sick. It will give you the security of knowing that if you lose your job, move, or change your job, you will still be able to have coverage. It will limit the amount your insurance company can force you to pay for your medical costs out of your own pocket. And it will cover preventive care like check-ups and mammograms that save lives and money.
    If you don’t have health insurance, or are a small business looking to cover your employees, you’ll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan through a health insurance exchange – a marketplace that promotes choice and competition Finally, no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition.
    I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade – and I mean it. In the past eight years, we saw the enactment of two tax cuts, primarily for the wealthiest Americans, and a Medicare prescription program, none of which were paid for. This is partly why I inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit.
    That will not happen with health insurance reform. It will be paid for. Already, we have estimated that two-thirds of the cost of reform can be paid for by reallocating money that is simply being wasted in federal health care programs. This includes over one hundred billion dollars in unwarranted subsidies that go to insurance companies as part of Medicare – subsidies that do nothing to improve care for our seniors. And I’m pleased that Congress has already embraced these proposals. While they are currently working through proposals to finance the remaining costs, I continue to insist that health reform not be paid for on the backs of middle-class families.
    In addition to making sure that this plan doesn’t add to the deficit in the short-term, the bill I sign must also slow the growth of health care costs in the long run. Our proposals would change incentives so that doctors and nurses are free to give patients the best care, not just the most expensive care. That’s why the nation’s largest organizations representing doctors and nurses have embraced our plan.
    We also want to create an independent group of doctors and medical experts who are empowered to eliminate waste and inefficiency in Medicare on an annual basis – a proposal that could save even more money and ensure the long-term financial health of Medicare. Overall, our proposals will improve the quality of care for our seniors and save them thousands of dollars on prescription drugs, which is why the AARP has endorsed our reform efforts.
    Not all of the cost savings measures I just mentioned were contained in Congress’s draft legislation, but we are now seeing broad agreement thanks to the work that was done over the last few days. So even though we still have a few issues to work out, what’s remarkable at this point is not how far we have left to go – it’s how far we have already come.
    I understand how easy it is for this town to become consumed in the game of politics – to turn every issue into running tally of who’s up and who’s down. I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to “go for the kill.” Another Republican Senator said that defeating health reform is about “breaking” me.
    So let me be clear: This isn’t about me. I have great health insurance, and so does every Member of Congress. This debate is about the letters I read when I sit in the Oval Office every day, and the stories I hear at town hall meetings. This is about the woman in Colorado who paid $700 a month to her insurance company only to find out that they wouldn’t pay a dime for her cancer treatment – who had to use up her retirement funds to save her own life. This is about the middle-class college graduate from Maryland whose health insurance expired when he changed jobs, and woke up from emergency surgery with $10,000 in debt. This is about every family, every business, and every taxpayer who continues to shoulder the burden of a problem that Washington has failed to solve for decades.
    This debate is not a game for these Americans, and they cannot afford to wait for reform any longer. They are counting on us to get this done. They are looking to us for leadership. And we must not let them down. We will pass reform that lowers cost, promotes choice, and provides coverage that every American can count on. And we will do it this year. And with that, I’ll take your questions…. – PBS Newshour, 7-22-09
  • Excerpts of Obama’s Remarks Released – NYT, 7-22-09
  • Obama says healthcare overhaul needed to curb deficits: “If we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit,” he said after another day when leaders in Congress struggled to find common ground on the cost and scope of a healthcare plan, Obama’s top legislative priority.
    “We are now seeing broad agreement thanks to the work that was done over the last few days. So even though we still have a few issues to work out, what’s remarkable at this point is not how far we have left to go — it’s how far we have already come,” he said. – Reuters, 7-22-09
  • Obama Criticizes Arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates : President Obama bluntly accused the police of acting “stupidly” by arresting the Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. last week after an officer had established that Mr. Gates had not broken into his own home in Cambridge, Mass. Mr. Obama stopped short of accusing the police department of racial profiling, as Mr. Gates has done. But during a prime-time White House news conference that was otherwise largely devoted to health care, Mr. Obama weighed in full bore on the Gates case and suggested that the police should never have arrested him. “There’s a long history in this country of African-Americans being stopped disproportionately by the police,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s a sign of how race remains a factor in this society.” – NYT, 7-22-09
  • “If they try to fix our healthcare system like they’ve tried to rescue our economy, I think we’re in really, really big trouble,” said House Republican Leader John Boehner. – Reuters, 7-22-09
  • Inside Blue Dogs’ W.H. meeting: Following their meeting with POTUS Tuesday afternoon, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee … … and Blue Dog Coalition spoke with reporters at the White House. “We had a very constructive meeting,” Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said. “Members of our Energy and Commerce Committee who are also members of the Blue Dogs had great concern on cost of the legislation … it’s not just theirs but ours as well.” – Politico, 7-21-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON HEALTH CARE AND THE SENATE VOTE ON F-22 FUNDING Rose Garden: But I reject the notion that we have to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on outdated and unnecessary defense projects to keep this nation secure. That’s why I’ve taken steps to greatly reduce no-bid defense contracts. That’s why I’ve signed overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation to limit cost overruns on weapons systems before they spiral out of control. And that’s why I’m grateful that the Senate just voted against an additional $1.75 billion to buy F-22 fighter jets that military experts and members of both parties say we do not need….
    We’ve agreed that our health reform bill will extend coverage and include unprecedented insurance protections for the American people. Under each of these bills, you won’t be denied coverage if you’ve got a preexisting medical condition. You won’t lose your health care if you change jobs, if you lose your job, or if you start a business. And you won’t lose your insurance if you get sick…. – White House, 7-21-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON HEALTH CARE Children’s Hospital Washington, D.C.: …And we can’t afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care. Not this time. Not now. There are too many lives and livelihoods at stake. There are too many families who will be crushed if insurance premiums continue to rise three times as fast as wages. There are too many businesses that will be forced to shed workers, scale back benefits, or drop coverage unless we get spiraling health care costs under control. – White House, 7-20-09

HISTORIANS’ COMMENTS

The President speaks on health reform

  • JAMES MORONE, Brown University “As Deadline Nears, Obama Steps Up Health Care Push”: With the days ticking down until President Obama’s target date for a deal on health care reform, the White House is pushing to convince the public and Congress that swift action is necessary
    We’ve been doing this since 1935. Harry Truman ran on this in 1948, that great come-from-behind victory, and he encountered the exact same thing. We always have these enormous problems. And what’s so striking is how similar the kinds of debates are. Just one quick example: In every scene in this movie, we’ve had the same idea of people coming in and saying, “Look, we just cannot afford this.” So that’s a very old story. Lyndon Johnson, when he passed Medicare, we just found some newly released tapes of him complaining to newly elected Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts that those fools in the budget office went and projected the costs of Medicare six years down the line. “I’m losing votes.” Bottom line: If we had had good cost projections for Medicare, we believe it would never have won…. Accurate projections. Actually, accurate projections for the costs down the line. LBJ might have known, but he managed to hide them….
    It’s hard for a number of different reasons. For the profession itself, what we’re doing is taking — every year, we’re spending a little bit more of our economy to health care. Anything that threatens to stop that is going to gore an awful lot of sacred cows. Secondly, this is a major battle for control of the high ground in American politics, and everybody in Washington knows that. If Obama gets this through, Roosevelt fails, Truman failed, Carter, Clinton, they all failed. If Obama wins, he’s on an extraordinary roll. If he’s defeated, this is a major defeat for him and a victory for the Republicans. Combine the sheer difficulty and the politics, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble….
    Yes, there are many lessons, and one goes directly to what Amy just said, and that’s the lesson of speed. Lyndon Johnson gathered all of his advisers in a room after his huge 1964 landslide victory — second largest in Democratic Party history — and he said, “Look, every day I lose power. Every day I lose votes. You’ve got to get Medicare fast.” In that sense, Obama has learned an important lesson from history when he says, “Do it by August.” …Eevery day, he loses a little bit of the luster. And six months from now, you know what “Nightline’s” going to be covering: the midterm elections. That’s going to make it almost impossible. One lesson: speed….
    What he needs, what he has to find a way to get is a movement going. Look, this is very scary for Congress… for a lot of congresspeople, particularly in swing districts. If they don’t get a whole lot of Tweets, a whole lot of e-mails, a whole lot of phone calls, this isn’t going to go anywhere. So what Obama needs to do more than getting into the weeds or answering critics is generating excitement that translates into stuff in congressional in-boxes. Without that, it’s never going to win. – PBS Newshour, 7-22-09
  • Julian Zelizer “LBJ Arm-Twisting? Not Really Obama’s Style”: Obama, says Julian Zelizer, a political historian who teaches at Princeton University, “does need a little LBJ in him.”…
    Roosevelt was masterful, Zelizer says, at “living with what was possible instead of what was perfect. For many liberals, this was frustrating.” By using that strategy of relentlessness and occasional compromise, Zelizer says, Roosevelt was able to push through social safety-net legislation. “It paled in compared to Europe’s social security plan,” he says. But it was pretty progressive for the American system at the time.
    Zelizer does say that Obama needs to avoid the pitfalls of Johnson. And of Jimmy Carter. “President Carter had more trouble working with Congress,” Zelizer says. “He had no relationship with Capitol Hill.”
    In the end, Zelizer says, Carter was “too esoteric.” He had great vision when it came to a national energy policy or the SALT II nuclear arms talks. “But he just couldn’t put it together for legislation or the treaty,” Zelizer says. “He just couldn’t articulate his vision.”
    Using his own methods, relying on his own political personality, will Obama be able to sway enough people to get the necessary votes to achieve 1965-style results with 2009 technology? “The jury,” Zelizer says, “is still out.” – NPR, 7-21-09
  • Ted Widmer “LBJ Arm-Twisting? Not Really Obama’s Style”: Plus, the two men “are pretty far apart in most people’s minds, and certainly in [Obama's],” says Ted Widmer, a fellow at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank. Between 1997 and 2001, Widmer served in the Clinton White House as a foreign policy speechwriter and senior adviser to the president.
    “There have never been stories of personal intimidation from Obama,” Widmer says, “and most of the persuasion arts that are used at the moment deploy indirect forms — texting, e-mail, phone messages — rather than in-your-face, LBJ-style orders from on high.” – NPR, 7-21-09
  • Allan Lichtman “LBJ Arm-Twisting? Not Really Obama’s Style”: Johnson as role model for Obama poses other problems, as well. Presidential historian Allan Lichtman, who teaches at American University, points out that “despite his mastery of the legislative process and enormous harvest of domestic legislation,” Johnson is “a tainted example because of Vietnam.”
    Lichtman and others also suggest alternative role models for Obama — former presidents who knew how to negotiate the shoals of Congress yet didn’t get mired in bad choices.
    Perhaps the best beacon would be Woodrow Wilson, Lichtman says. “Wilson was a major legislative craftsman, with deep knowledge of how Congress worked from his studies as a political scientist. He revived the tradition, dormant since Jefferson, of giving the State of the Union speech in person to Congress as another means of outlining and pushing his agenda.”
    During this first two years, Lichtman says, “Wilson succeeded in reforming the protective tariff, establishing the Federal Reserve System. He gained passing major antitrust legislation, a graduated income tax, and limitations on the use of court injunctions against labor unions.” – NPR, 7-21-09
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