What Is The American Creed? Or Are We Headed Towards A New Civil War?

Trailer for "The American Creed," a PBS documentary. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, from remarkably different backgrounds, life experiences and points of view, joined together to host a spirited inquiry into the idea of a unifying American creed. This documentary frames the stories of a range of … Continue reading What Is The American Creed? Or Are We Headed Towards A New Civil War?

Hyper-Partisans Seek Certainty Where It Does Not Exist

Jon Allsop of the Columbia Journalism Review has a clear-eyed analysis of the problem of seeing current events through an entirely partisan lens. Partisanship prizes certainty, "even when there is none to be found," he observes. On the one hand, Democrats and Republicans finally finding common ground, Congress acting quickly to pass legislation aiding families … Continue reading Hyper-Partisans Seek Certainty Where It Does Not Exist

Covid-19 Ushers in New Era, So Far Characterized By Bipartisan Cooperation

One way of looking at the speed with which Congress and President Trump overwhelmingly approved the $2 trillion stimulus package to address the corona-virus crisis is that the times demanded bipartisanship, and Congress proved itself up to the challenge. The Senate voted 96 to 0 and the House voted by voice acclamation to approve the … Continue reading Covid-19 Ushers in New Era, So Far Characterized By Bipartisan Cooperation

The 6 or 7 Phases of U.S. Political Party Alignments

America’s political parties have undergone at least six phases or realignments in the nation’s history. Political scientists suggest the nation is overdue for another realignment as demographics and voting patterns change. The First Political Party System — consisting of the Federalists, created by Alexander Hamilton of New York, and the Democratic-Republican Party, created by Thomas Jefferson and … Continue reading The 6 or 7 Phases of U.S. Political Party Alignments

Incivility and Polarization in American Politics Have Been Much Worse

For all the incivility and demonization in contemporary American politics. there was a period when it was much more savage. Back in the 1830s through the 1850s, congressional battles over slavery descended into violence — duels, caning, pistol-whipping and threatening to slash an opponent with a knife. Of course, this was just prior to the … Continue reading Incivility and Polarization in American Politics Have Been Much Worse

Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Papers Are Resurrected During Trump Impeachment

US founder and famous federalist Alexander Hamilton has been front and center during the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Both supporters and opponents of impeachment are quoting from Hamilton's Federalist Papers 232 years after he published them. The writings were originally distributed to persuade the public to support ratification of the US Constitution, replacing the … Continue reading Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Papers Are Resurrected During Trump Impeachment

Why Do People Get Involved in Politics? Cynical Response

In the early 1990s, while reading a book called "Why Americans Hate Politics," by E.J. Dionne, I compiled my own list of cynical reasons not to participate in the political process, listing stereotypes of party workers: True believers, rigid ideologues, missionaries and theocrats eager to impose their own religious and political views and standards on … Continue reading Why Do People Get Involved in Politics? Cynical Response

On Impeachment, History is Clarifying

History has a way of clarifying things once personal ambitions and partisan agendas are no longer relevant. Impeachment is an example. None of the presidents who have been impeached -- Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton -- come off well in historical terms. Yet some Republicans now out of office who voted to impeach Clinton … Continue reading On Impeachment, History is Clarifying

FDR Resolved Question of US Economy: Mixed, Neither Rigidly Capitalist Nor Fully Socialist

It is generally acknowledged, by historians, both liberals and conservatives, ranging from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Newt Gingrich, that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, through his various programs during three full terms and 12 years in power, was  more pragmatic than ideological. He did a great deal to strengthen the American free enterprise system, the republican … Continue reading FDR Resolved Question of US Economy: Mixed, Neither Rigidly Capitalist Nor Fully Socialist