Election 2020

  • “They Bought Us Time to Do Better”

    One week before D-Day, on May 29, 1944, Britain’s air chief marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory approached General Dwight Eisenhower with a warning.  As commander of the airborne assault on D-Day, Leigh-Mallory’s paratrooper and glider units would be among the first to assault Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, and the British general was worried.  The Germans had been reinforcing parts of the region targeted by U.S. airborne forces.  By his calculations, glider forces would … Read More

  • Back to the Future

    Every four years we have a presidential election that sets the agenda for the country for the following four years.  Theoretically, the election is the culminating moment of a national dialogue.  In the ideal, the vote is an expression of the nation’s opinion, not necessarily on the fitness of candidates, but on the major issues of the day. Growing up, I loved campaigns because of that Capra-esque idealism.  I reveled … Read More

  • What If We Talked About Foreign Policy?

    Presidential campaigns are rarely won or lost on foreign policy.  In the last 50 years, probably only two—Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory over incumbent President Jimmy Carter and President George W. Bush’s re-election win against my old friend then-Senator John Kerry in 2004—would qualify.  In 1980, American hostages were held captive in the old U.S. embassy in Tehran following the Islamic revolution that swept the old, pro-American regime from power.  In … Read More

  • The Breakdown of Politics

    On the 22nd of May, 1856, Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina entered the old Senate chamber shortly after the Senate concluded its business for the day.  After sitting for a moment in an empty seat on the floor of the chamber, Representative Brooks offered to a member of the Senate staff that he hoped the attractive woman sitting just outside the Senate chamber would leave.  Despite such chivalrous concerns, … Read More

  • Power and Values

    We live in a cynical time. The president of the United States boasts that his pandemic response warrants a grade of A+ in the same week that deaths from the pandemic exceed 200,000 Americans. A GOP-controlled committee of the U.S. Senate released a preliminary report on an investigation into the son of Vice President Joe Biden that tracks with rumors spread by Russian agents the same week that the U.S. … Read More

  • Reporting on the Portland Protests with Noelle Crombie

    Air Dates: August 31-September 6, 2020 While national media coverage often swoops in to cover local stories with national significance, local reporters are typically there from the beginning.  They know the details.  They know the sequence of events.  And they know the community in which they are reporting.  Noelle Crombie knows Portland as well as anyone and she’s been reporting on the protests and violence in that beautiful city. Crombie … Read More

  • R.I.P. GOP

    Born of a righteous conviction that no person should be enslaved, the Republican Party died this week, a victim of its leaders’ lust for power and abandonment of the Union which Lincoln fought to save.  At its zenith, the GOP advanced a freedom agenda derived from the ideals of the American experience and the European enlightenment.  A commitment to free labor, free markets, free trade, and free institutions provided the … Read More

  • The Democrats’ “Radical Agenda”

    Like a lot of Americans, I’ve been watching the Democratic convention this week.  On the first night, I was flipping between the three major cable networks just to take stock of how each was covering the proceedings.  When I got to Fox News, I learned that the Democrats were in the midst of unveiling their “radical agenda” to “change America.”  And my first reaction was, “holy cow, did I dose … Read More

  • Stand Up and Be Counted

    On Tuesday, as we learned that former Vice President Joe Biden had selected Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, I saw a Tweet from Ron Klain, Biden’s former chief of staff.  It was a picture of the moment the vice president asked Senator Harris to join him on the ticket.  The picture is pretty straight forward: the vice president is in profile, holding a smartphone to his computer while … Read More

  • Narratives of Illegitimacy

    American politics are awash with narratives of illegitimacy.  We’re not just questioning the judgment of our rivals, we’re questioning their loyalty, their commitment to the rule of law and the Constitution, as well as their patriotism.  In other words, we’re questioning whether our political opposites are, truly, American.  It’s difficult to imagine a more serious threat to the American experiment. The playbook is familiar at this point.  Republicans—including then-citizen Donald … Read More