The death of George Shultz

Rereading Miami this morning, I underlined Joan Didion passage about the Office of Public Diplomacy, a knee-slapper of an org name given little of its business was public, let alone diplomatic. Although “under the aegis” of the State Department, Didion writes, the NSC and White House pulled the strings. Explaining how men in power tellContinue reading “The death of George Shultz”

Ranking reeking presidents

The latest presidential rankings suggest #metoo and a reckoning with the men’s prejudices affected several reputations, notably Andrew Jackson (out of the top ten and tumbling, thank the lord or Jon Meacham) and Woodrow Wilson’s (same). The late Poppy Bush, stretching his legs and aglow with the knowledge that obituary writers praised him as theContinue reading “Ranking reeking presidents”

Conservatism: the racism is the point

I’m not the only person who insists the GOP’s transformation into a racist death cult advocating tax cuts for the wealthy began on January 1981 when Ronald Wilson Reagan put his hand on the Bible. Too often Reagan’s bonhomie masked what Christopher Hitchens called a cruel and stupid lizard. I can’t wait for the RonnieContinue reading “Conservatism: the racism is the point”

What is a neoconf?

After reading W.E.B. Du Bois, Eric Foner, and Lawrence Goldstone, I’ve distilled decades of scholarship about the ways in which the Democratic Party looked the other way when the South defied the federal government and encouraged racist violence while maintaining a kind of apartheid. Starting in 1968, the two political parties switched its worst members.Continue reading “What is a neoconf?”

‘Perhaps in Iowa. Perhaps in fields of grain.’

Yesterday, Splinter News published Paul Blest, who wrote the best John McCain obit I’ve read to date. This afternoon, Splinter News published Peggy Noonan’s latest slash fiction: a masterpiece of unintended comedy, failed poesy, tolerance for sexism, and self-pity. Classic Noonan, but more. This is, after all, the writer who praised the beauty of RonaldContinue reading “‘Perhaps in Iowa. Perhaps in fields of grain.’”

Reflections of a Political Man

Besides chastisement in front of the class, Alex wasn’t allowed to Go Out and Play, my fourth grade class’ term for recess. Drawing a mustache on the vice president was an act of disrespect; that the Groucho face drag appeared on a Reagan-Bush ’84 campaign poster turned the defilement into an act of treason asContinue reading “Reflections of a Political Man”

‘A freeze is not a fix’

I confess to having little experience with unions, but judged from a distance the developments in the West Virginia teachers strike are quite new in the modern history of organized labor. The teachers have ground the state to a halt and have gotten even the state senate to scramble for ways to yield to theirContinue reading “‘A freeze is not a fix’”

Responses to violence

Julia Azari reviews the history of presidential responses to acts of violence on black citizens: In 1906, for example, a group of African-American soldiers in Brownsville, Texas, was accused of shooting multiple people. They were acquitted by a court and there was no real evidence of their guilt — but President Theodore Roosevelt issued aContinue reading “Responses to violence”

The modern roots of Charlottesville

On Sunday, Aug. 3, 1980, the Republican candidate for president made the following remarks at the Neshoba County Fair: Today, and I know from our own experience in California when we reformed welfare, I know that one of the great tragedies of welfare in America today, and I don’t believe stereotype after what we did,Continue reading “The modern roots of Charlottesville”