October 2009 Buzz Roundup: Taylor Branch’s The Clinton Tapes, Niall Ferguson & the Economy

HISTORY BUZZ:

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

BIGGEST NEWS STORIES:

  • Scholars comment on Taylor Branch’s work: The second forum in this issue looks back upon a notable achievement in the writing of recent American history, America during the King Years, by Taylor Branch…. – AHA Blog–what’s in the October issue of the AHR (10-28-09)
  • AHR Forum: Truth and Reconciliation in History: The forum “Truth and Reconciliation in History” deals with a global experience that both calls history into question and calls upon the participation of historians. Especially since the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa in 1995, after the ending of apartheid, several nations and groups have attempted to confront and possibly come to terms with their fractious and traumatic pasts…. – AHA Blog–what’s in the October issue of the AHR (10-28-09)
  • Accusation: Secret tapes say more about Taylor Branch than Clinton: I stopped cold on page 263 of Taylor Branch’s “The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President.” Try as I might, I haven’t been able to get past the revealing story the author tells about himself on that page. By now, everyone in political circles has heard about Branch’s book and the historical taping project this Pulitzer Prize-winning author and President Bill Clinton embarked upon in 1993. History will honor Clinton for caring enough about historiography that he allowed a professional to question him about events and policies during his presidency. Other presidential libraries are filled with oral histories undertaken years after an administration leaves office. And as valuable as they are, they lack the contemporaneous quality that only interviews given in the heat of governing and political battle can provide…. – The Buffalo News (10-11-09)
  • Bill Clinton’s Story, With a Few Pages Missing (book review): Jack Germond, for many years an insightful political reporter (and author of a memorable memoir, “Fat Man in a Middle Seat”), once expressed to me his regret that prominent elected officials were no longer willing to go out drinking with journalists. The words “off the record” had lost their meaning in post-Watergate Washington, Germond explained, and a politician could not take the chance of truly opening up with a reporter. As a result, journalists and, by extension, voters had less chance to really get to know the men and women in office…. – The Washington Post (10-4-09)

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    On This Day in History….This Week in History….

  • Steven Mintz: 150 years after his death, abolitionist still a hero to some, lunatic to others: John Brown has spent 150 years locked in our national attic, the mad uncle no one wanted to acknowledge but over whose corpse soldiers would sing praises during the war he triggered….
    “Normal people don’t produce social change,” said Steven Mintz, a historian at Columbia University and an expert on pre-Civil War reformers. “Well-adjusted people who see trade-offs in life, they don’t make social change happen. It’s often people like Brown.”… – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (10-18-09)
  • James Loewen battles over the Christopher Columbus legacy: James Loewen said Christopher Columbus discovered America the way the speaker discovered oregano. The historian and author of the book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, came to the Stamp Student Union yesterday for a different sort of Columbus Day celebration. His lecture, titled “Columbus Didn’t Discover Us,” revolved around what Loewen sees as lies and misinformation ingrained in U.S. history textbooks. The event echoed sentiments of one side of an ongoing debate over the legacy of Christopher Columbus…. – Diamondback Online: The University of Maryland’s Independent Daily Student Newsletter (10-13-09)
  • 1937 – the year that gives economists nightmares: What is the year haunting economists; the one they fear politicians are about to repeat? Not 1929 – we’ve already had our great crash. Nor 1933 – all those bank rescues, interest-rate cuts and emergency spending have staved off a depression. No, the year economic historians are talking about is 1937, when Washington declared the crisis over, began cutting spending and raising interest rates – and pushed the still- fragile US economy into a severe relapse… – guardian.co.uk (10-6-09)

IN THE NEWS:

  • Diaspora Armenian scholars on the historical commision – Armenian Weekly (10-30-09)
  • South Korea and Japan consider history textbook with China: … “It is a leap that Japan started talking about this issue publicly,” said Yang Mi-gang, who worked on a privately published Korea-Japan-China history book available in each of the countries. The book, “History That Opens the Future,” was written by several dozen scholars from China, South Korea and Japan in 2005, and revised in 2006…. – LA Times (10-30-09)
  • AHA reports a surplus of $431,861 in the operational account – AHA Blog (10-5-09)
  • History vanishes from one in 20 English secondary schools: Official figures show that in 131 state schools, not a single pupil sat GCSE history last year… – Telegraph (UK) (10-27-09)
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Gives Major Gift to National Museum of African American History and Culture – Smithsonian (10-15-09)
  • British army ‘did not gas Iraqis in 1920s’ says historian – Source: inthenews.co.uk (10-22-09)
  • Frank Pearce: War historian celebrates 100 years (UK) – Herald Express (10-22-09)
  • Field Study: Just How Relevant Is Political Science? NYT (10-19-09)
  • Jack Bohrer: Historian questions secret RFK-LBJ Vietnam huddle: “But a secret meeting never happened. Not in Kennedy’s book. Not in real life,” Bohrer writes. “In fact, the meeting the late Sen. Kennedy refers to in his memoir has been well-known, practically since the moment it happened.” – boston.com (10-20-09)
  • Susanne Muhle: Historian at WWU researches kidnappings by East German secret police – JuraForum (10-16-09)
  • Mikhail Suprun: Russian historian arrested in clampdown on Stalin era: A Russian historian investigating the fate of Germans imprisoned in the Soviet Union during the second world war has been arrested, in the latest apparent clampdown on historical research into the Stalin era by the Russian authorities. Mikhail Suprun was detained last month by officers from Russia’s security services. They searched his apartment and carried off his entire personal archive. He has now been charged with violating privacy laws and, if convicted, faces up to four years in jail. guardian.co.uk (10-15-09)
  • Mark Young: Mad Men nails its history with help from UH: Writers from the ultrastylish AMC series called the University of Houston historian in February, looking for specifics on Conrad Hilton and his hotel chain, circa 1963. “They wanted to know, was Connie Hilton a milquetoast, or was he charismatic and gregarious,” said Young, who runs the Hospitality Industry Archives at UH’s Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management…. – < Chron (Houston Chronicle) (10-2-09)

OP-EDs & BLOGS:

  • David Cesarani: history is too serious a matter to be left to comedians and politicians: We are going through another of those odd periods when corners of our daily newspapers look as if they are reporting things that happened over 65 years ago. There are rows over what the Latvians did or did not do in the second world war, arguments about why the German Luftwaffe bombed Coventry and, most recently, Stephen Fry has upset the Poles with a careless remark about Auschwitz. What all of these spats show is that history matters…. – guardian.co.uk (10-12-09)
  • Recession, You Look Familiar (book review of “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly”) – NYT (10-3-09)

REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • Roger Morris backs new book by Watergate revisionist Len Colodny in which Nixon comes off as a victim of neocons The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of Neocons, From Nixon to Obama Ryan Forman, HNN intern. (10-25-09)
  • Antony Beevor: Historian produces a new view of D-Day – thestar.com (10-20-09)

PROFILED & FEATURED:

  • Joan Waugh: UCLA historian attempts to revive reputation of Union general, Reconstruction president: “What Grant accomplished with Lincoln was incredible,” said Waugh, author of “U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth,” which is slated for publication Nov. 15. “In 1860, 4 million people were enslaved. But by 1863, emancipation had occurred, and by 1870, all male former slaves had the vote. Grant oversaw a social revolution that was unprecedented.”… – EurekaAlert (10-26-09)
  • Deborah Harding: Research digs up history of ex-slave, educator, Willis Carter – newsleader.com (10-25-09)
  • Historians Reassess Battle of Agincourt: No one can ever take away the shocking victory by Henry and his “band of brothers,” as Shakespeare would famously call them, on St. Crispin’s Day, Oct. 25, 1415. They devastated a force of heavily armored French nobles who had gotten bogged down in the region’s sucking mud, riddled by thousands of arrows from English longbowmen and outmaneuvered by common soldiers with much lighter gear. It would become known as the Battle of Agincourt…. – NYT (10-24-09)
  • Amateur historian rescues D.C.’s Wikipedia page – The Washington Post (10-23-09)
  • Joseph Massad’s Warsaw Ghetto Complex: The October 2 death of Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against the Nazis, is for Columbia University’s Joseph Massad yet another opportunity to equate Israelis with Nazis…. – Campus Watch Blog (10-12-09)
  • Sessions on great historian William Appleman Williams: William Appleman Williams, arguably the most influential historian ever to walk the halls of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s once-great history department, will be remembered at two events in Madison this week. Panels of former students and activist scholars will mark the 50th anniversary publication of his groundbreaking historical critique of U.S. foreign policy, “The Tragedy of American Diplomacy.” They’ll examine the impact of his career-long work exposing an often-avoided central element of U.S. history: the unfaltering quest for empire. The Cap Times (10-7-09)

QUOTED:

  • Rocco Landesman: NEA Chief compares Obama to Caesar, historians calls speach “bizarre”, Richard Brookhiser’s Comments: “Julius Caesar is historically the last person in the world that American presidents would want to be compared to,” said historian Richard Brookhiser, who has written widely on the Founding Fathers. “He tried to subvert the republic — that’s why he was killed.” “Caesar … was certainly the symbol during the whole founding period of the despot, of the aspiring despot,” said Brookhiser. “The Founders insulted each other by calling each other Caesar.” – Fox News (10-28-09)
  • Jonathan Sarna: Web helps U.S. Jews lose that loving feeling, says historian: “Sasson maintains that what we have today is not as much tension between American Jewry and Israel, but American Jews reflecting some of the same opposition [to Israeli policies] that you find in Israel. Indeed, many of them are reading Israeli Web sites and are influenced by them,” Sarna told Anglo File Tuesday in his Jerusalem apartment. He referred specifically to Haaretz.com, which he says often publishes articles critical of Israeli policies.
    “The Internet has made it possible for multiple voices to be heard,” Sarna said. He says that in the days when their sole source of news was the local Jewish paper, the “Jews of America spoke with one voice, mainly [belonging to] the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish organizations – which basically followed the Israeli government’s line.” Aware today of the full range of views expressed in Israel, he says American Jews no longer buy into the notion that “in Israel we’re critical but out of Israel we’re supportive.” – Source: Haaretz (10-9-09)

INTERVIEWED:

  • Joshua B. Freeman: Ask About the History of New York’s Working Class: This week, Joshua B. Freeman, a historian and the author of “Working-Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II” (The New Press, 2000), will be responding to readers’ questions about the history of the city’s unions, labor politics and changing work force…. – NYT (10-19-09)
  • Interview with Shlomo Sand: The new history of the origins of the Jews – NYUnews.com (10-21-09)
  • Historian Taylor Branch: Interview transcript on the ‘Clinton Tapes’ – PBS (10-12-09)
  • Tamás Fedeles: Interview With Historian about the ‘Dracula House’: The Hungarian historian who was reported to have ‘discovered’ a house belonging to the real “Dracula,” says the claims were inaccurate. Dr Tamás Fedeles says the cellar can indeed be linked to Wallachian Duke Vlad III, but not with any certainty…. – Digital Journal (10-13-09)
  • Shalem College takes off: Martin Kramer spearheads the first liberal arts college in Israel – Sandbox (10-12-09)
  • An Interview with Albert Axell: Remembering Russia’s sacrifice in World War Two – Russian Now (10-9-09)
  • Interview With Historian Tony Judt: ‘Dreaming About Washington Is One Of East Europe’s Great Mistakes’ – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (10-3-09)

HONORED, AWARDED &APPOINTED:

  • Obama archivist nominee on path to Senate approval: On October 28, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, by voice vote, approved the nomination of David S. Ferriero to be the next Archivist of the United States… – Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (10-28-09)
  • Oral history center gets grant (S. Dakota): The South Dakota Oral History Center isn’t widely known outside of academia, but the center, located in a basement, contains eyewitness accounts of history that, in many cases, have remained undisturbed for decades…. – Rapid City Journal (10-25-09)
  • Laurel Thatcher Ulrich: MHS Presents Kennedy Medal to Noted Harvard Scholar: Approximately 100 guests were in attendance on the evening of 14 October as Prof. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich was honored as the 10th recipient of the John F. Kennedy Medal of the Massachusetts Historical Society at the Harvard Club of Boston. Ulrich, a Corresponding Fellow of the MHS since 1991 and 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University, was presented with the medal as part of the Society’s 60th Annual Dinner. She addressed the Fellows and Members of the nation’s oldest historical society with a talk entitled “A Mormon Apostle in Boston: Sightseeing, Riot, and Martyrdom.” – The Massachusetts Historical Society (10-15-09)
  • Radoshes’ “A Safe Haven” Wins 2009 Washington Institute Book Prize: A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel,Allis and Ronald Radosh’s suspenseful, meticulously documented account of Truman’s controversial decision to recognize the new state of Israel, has won the Gold Prize — including a cash award of $30,000 — in The Washington Institute’s 2009 Book Prize competition, the research institution announced today… – The Washington Institute For Near East Policy (10-17-09)
  • Shortlist announced: Cundill International Prize in History at McGill – McGill Newsroom (10-19-09)
  • Neville Morley: University of Bristol professor awarded 450,000 pounds to study Greek historian Thucydides: Professor Neville Morley of the Department of Classics and Ancient History has been awarded around £450,000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for a four-year project on the Greek historian Thucydides (c.460BC – c.395 BC)…. – University of Bristol (10-9-09)
  • Edwin C. Bearss: Civil War historian to be honored in Miss.: A bust will be unveiled on Saturday to honor Edwin C. Bearss, a national historian who contributed to the restoration of the USS Cairo, a Civil War-era Union gunboat now preserved at the Vicksburg National Military Park…. – Miami Herald (10-2-09)

SPOTTED:

  • David Hackett Fischer “Historian explores secrets of presidential success”: America’s top presidents exhibited a style of open leadership and fairness that left a lasting impact, says one Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. Many historians rank George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt as the top U.S. presidents for their ability to bring in rivals and use their own principles to be successful, said David Hackett Fischer. Fischer spoke Thursday night at Union University as part of the 13th annual Carls-Schwerdfeger History Lecture Series. The author and professor’s topic for the evening was “Leaders in an Open Society: The Presidencies of Washington, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama.”… – JacksonSun.com (10-30-09)
  • Tom Devine: Scots urged to face ‘slave past’, Did Slavery Make Scotland Great? – BBC (10-21-09)
  • Jonathan Spence, Yale historian delivers 6th installment of Chinese history lecture series: Jonathan Spence, Yale historian and leading authority on China, delivered the sixth annual W. Bruce Lincoln Lecture Monday. Northern Star (10-19-09)
  • John Reed: Historian says Iraq is a 3-in-1 country – Deseret News (Utah) (10-17-09)
  • Gary Gallagher: Civil War Historian Gary Gallagher on Robert E. Lee’s Duty After Appomattox: Gary Gallagher, author of “Lee and His General in War and Memory” along with numerous other Civil War studies, presented the lecture at the annual “Remembering Robert E. Lee” program on Monday, Oct., 11, the 139th anniversary of Lee’s death Presented by the Lee Chapel and Museum, Gallagher’s presented as titled “Robert E. Lee Confronts Defeat: Duty in the Wake of Appomattox.” – Washington and Lee University (10-12-09)
  • Niall Ferguson: Harvard historian: China will be next superpower: Speaking at the 30th annual Bancroft Lecture, economic historian Niall Ferguson warned that China is about to overtake the United States as the world’s superpower. “The U.S. has fatally underestimated its biggest rival,” Ferguson said… – Hometownannapolis.com (10-8-09)

ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS CALENDAR:

  • New Founding Fathers Documents Available On-Line Through NHPRC Pilot Program: The ROTUNDA Founders Early Access project makes available for the first time letters and other papers penned by important figures such as James Madison, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. The Founders Early Access portion of the site allows users to read, search, and browse the newly transcribed documents, and is available at no cost to users. Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (10-28-09)
  • William Cook: Historian examines de Tocqueville’s ‘Democracy in America’: Democracy springs from the deepest precept of diverse religions — that all are created equal before God — and is destined to prevail throughout the world but in its own good time, according to history professor William Cook, who will give a presentation tonight at Southern Oregon University…. – Mail Tribune (10-28-09)
  • Historian Mick Hardy unveils Ryton war website (UK) – chroniclelive.co.uk (10-16-09)

ON TV:

BEST SELLERS (NYT):

COMING SOON BOOKS:

  • 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:

  • Swiss historian Jean-Francois Bergier, 77, passes away: Swiss historian Jean-Francois Bergier, who led a highly critical probe of Switzerland’s conduct during World War II, has died. He was 77. Bergier received wide renown for leading an international panel in a major study that in 2001 concluded Switzerland “got involved in (Nazi) crimes by abandoning refugees to their persecutors” even though the Swiss government knew by 1942 of the Nazis’ “final solution” and that rejected refugees would likely face deportation and death… – AP, 10-29-09
  • Ray Browne, 87, Founder of Pop-Culture Studies, Dies – NYT (10-27-09)
  • Obit on Merrill Peterson: Merrill D. Peterson, a historian who enlarged the scope of Jeffersonian scholarship with a pair of books, one tracing the various and often contradictory perceptions of Jefferson during the century and a quarter after his death and the other a magisterial biography, died Sept. 23 in Charlottesville, Va. He was 88…. – NYT paper edition (10-4-09)
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November 10, 2008: The Obama Transition & Historians Weigh in on the Moment

POLITICS & PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION WATCH:

Barack Obama before his news conference on Friday. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Stats:

  • A Breakdown of the Obama Vote:
    • 66 percent of voters under age 30.
    • 66 percent of Hispanic voters.
    • 68 percent of first-time voters.
    • 95 percent of Black voters.
  • A timeline of the Obama campaign – Newsday
  • Get to know the Obamas: Bios of Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha – Newsday

The Headlines…

    President-Elect Barack Obama Transition office: http://change.gov/

  • Obama Team Weighs What to Take On First – NYT, 11-9-08
  • Economy won’t stop Obama’s priorities, aides say – AP, 11-9-08
  • Obama already holds bully pulpit He’s moving fast to build his governing team, but wants to avoid endorsing the policies of President Bush, whom he visits Monday. – Christian Sciene Monitor, 11-9-08
  • Obama to use executive orders for immediate impact: President-elect Obama plans to use his executive powers to make an immediate impact when he takes office, perhaps reversing Bush administration policies on stem cell research and domestic drilling for oil and natural gas. – AP, 11-9-08
  • Transition, too, for Michelle Obama to first lady – AP, 11-9-08
  • Quotes by clergy members about Obama’s election – AP, 11-9-08
  • Obama likely to tap fresh faces, old hands – San Fransico Chronicle, 11-8-08
  • Like Lincoln and FDR, Obama faces nation in crisis – AP, 11-8-08
  • Palin Calls Criticism by McCain Aides ‘Cruel and Mean-Spirited’ – AP, 11-8-08
  • Obama, in His New Role as President-Elect, Calls for Stimulus Package – 11-7-08
  • President-elect Obama assembled his economic team Friday and soberly told the nation that strong action is needed to confront “the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime.” In his first news conference since being elected Tuesday, Obama called on Congress to extend unemployment benefits and pass a stimulus bill. But his more ambitious remedies, he said, must wait until he takes office Jan. 20. – AP, 11-7-08
  • Byrd will voluntarily give up chairmanship – AP, 11-7-08
  • Live Blogging the Obama News Conference – NYT, The Caucus, 11-7-08
  • Obama to center stage, promises action on economy: Inheriting an economy in peril, President-elect Obama warned on Friday that the nation faces the challenge of a lifetime and pledged he would act urgently to help Americans devastated by lost jobs, disappearing savings and homes seized in foreclosure. But the man who promised change cautioned against hopes of quick solutions. AP, 11-7-08

Political Quotes

  • John Podesta on Fox News Sunday: “Across the board, whether it’s national security; the economy; the senior leadership that will manage healthcare, energy, and the environment, [Obama] intends to move very quickly.” – Fox News, 11-9-08
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urges GOP to move beyond ideology: The governor told CNN’s John King that Republicans should not “always just say, ‘This is spending. We can’t do that.’ No, don’t get stuck with that. We have heard that dialogue. Let’s move on.” Schwarzenegger says it is important for his party to regroup and support spending on programs Americans want. – “I think the important thing for the Republican Party is now to also look at other issues that are very important for this country and not to get stuck in ideology,” the governor said in an interview broadcast on CNN this morning. “Let’s go and talk about healthcare reform. Let’s go and . . . fund programs if they’re necessary programs and not get stuck just on the fiscal responsibility.”….
    They should not “always just say, ‘This is spending. We can’t do that.’ No, don’t get stuck with that. We have heard that dialogue. Let’s move on.”…
    “I was touched by it,” he said. “Democrats and Republicans should do everything they can to help this man and his administration to be successful.” – LA Times, 11-9-08
  • Obama Apologizes for ‘Seances’ Remark: “President-elect Barack Obama called Nancy Reagan today to apologize for the careless and off-handed remark he made during today’s press conference. The President-elect expressed his admiration and affection for Mrs. Reagan that so many Americans share and they had a warm conversation,” said Stephanie Cutter, transition team spokeswoman.”In terms of speaking to former presidents, I’ve spoken to all of them that are living,” Mr. Obama said, before zeroing in on that fact that he had been asked whether he had spoken to living people. “Obviously, President Clinton — I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any séances.” – NYT, The Caucus, 11-7-08
  • President-Elect Barack Obama’s First News Conference: Transcript
    We are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime, and we’re going to have to act swiftly to resolve it….. A new president can have an enormous impact. I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead.
    Immediately after I become president, I will confront this economic challenge head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity. Some of the choices that we’re going to make are going to be difficult. It is not going to be quick. It’s not going to be easy for us to dig ourselves out of the hole that we are in.” But he said he was confident the country could do it. I think that the plan that we’ve put forward is the right one, but obviously over the next several weeks and months, we’re going to be continuing to take a look at the data and see what’s taking place in the economy as a whole.
  • Robert Byrd “Byrd will voluntarily give up chairmanship”:
    To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. Those Biblical words from Ecclesiastes 3:1 express my feelings about this particular time in my life…. I have been privileged to be a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee for 50 years and to have chaired the committee for ten years, during a time of enormous change in our great country, both culturally and politically. I have learned that nothing is quite so permanent as change. It is simply a part of living and should not be feared.

Historians’ Comments

  • Michael Beschloss: Presidential Historian: President Obama will face critical early decisions: Obama will quickly have to decide if he’s going to tackle the economy with a single-minded focus or puruse the agenda he and the Democrats laid out during the campaign, Beschloss said.
    “I can’t tell you what way he’ll go,” said Beschloss,recently named NBC News’ presidential historian.”In one year we will know the answer.”
    Beschloss said the greatest presidents made decisions they knew would be unpopular, citing George Washington’s decision to sign a treaty with Great Britain shortly after the Revolutionary War and Abraham Lincoln’s siging of the Emancipation Proclamation at a time he faced a tough re-election challenge. – The Jersey Journal, 11-9-08
  • Allan J. Lichtman “Americans will be looking to Obama to transform their country”: “I think the potential for Obama to be a transformative president is very great,” said Allan J. Lichtman of American University, author of several books on presidential history…. “Strike when you still have the mandate,” Lichtman said, citing Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. “Think big. Experiment. Don’t govern from the middle.”… “I think it’s riskier to opt for the middle of the road,” Lichtman said. “We remember … the bold presidents.” – Kansas City Star, 11-9-08
  • Gil Troy “Americans will be looking to Obama to transform their country”: “The crisis increases the chance for a transformative presidency,” said author and presidential historian Gil Troy….
    Troy: “Working against him are inexperience, a potentially arrogant Democratic Congress, and a series of foreign and domestic challenges that could crush him.” Kansas City Star, 11-9-08
  • John Baick “Obama’s campaign inspires U.S., but how long will it last?”: “Will they stay involved? Become town councilmen? Join their school boards? That will be the test,” said history Professor John Baick of Western New England College. “That happened with Kennedy. If it happens again, then you have a real movement. If not, you probably don’t.”…
    Historian Baick says the young people who voted for President Kennedy made a difference because they stuck around. They became part of the “political culture.” “We did not see that with either President Bush or President Clinton,” he said. But, Baick said, the Obama campaign already has made progress by directly communicating with this generation. “He has created, in 20 months, a new generation of networked and politically active people,” Baick said. “It will be normal for them to be involved in politics. They are getting e-mails and text messages from Barack Obama. That’s their normal.” – Arizona Republic, 11-9-08
  • Douglas Brinkley, the best-selling author and professor of history at Rice University “Historians, too, call Obama victory ‘monumental'”: “Monumental … a major shift in the zeitgeist of our times.”…
    Brinkley, the historian who edited the private White House diaries of Ronald Reagan, agrees that Tuesday’s vote marks “the beginning of a new era” in American politics not seen since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1932, or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in 1964. With Obama’s lopsided victory, and the wave that swept more Democrats into both houses of Congress, “a chapter has been closed on the Reagan era, meaning the days of rolling back the Great Society are over,” he says. “A new kind of progressivism will now be taking root.” “A Great Society ‘light,”‘ Brinkley postulates. “It won’t be quite as ambitious and sweeping as Lyndon Johnson’s, but it will probably focus on one or two big things, such as universal health care and major incentives for ‘green’ business.” — USA Today, 11-9-08
  • Joan Hoff, a former president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency in New York City “Historians, too, call Obama victory ‘monumental'”: “I can’t think of another election where the issues were two wars and a crashed economy. There just isn’t any historical precedent for this.”….
    In a globalized world with many newly emerging powers, “We may have to downsize our estimation of ourselves,” Hoff says, “and along with it goes a downsizing of our economic and military power.” That would mean the end of a “Cold Warrior” mentality that has existed in the White House since Harry Truman. Will Americans grasp such thinking? Will other nations? Ultimately, how Obama handles this will be, Hoff says, “what will really make this election unprecedented.” — USA Today, 11-9-08
  • James McPherson, the renowned author and professor emeritus of history at Princeton University “Historians, too, call Obama victory ‘monumental'”: “It’s an historic turning point … an exclamation point of major proportions to the civil rights movement that goes back to the 1950s.”…
    “Whether an Obama victory means that it will close the book on the Reagan era — I think it may be true, but I think it’s too soon to conclude that,” McPherson says. — USA Today, 11-9-08
  • Doris Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian and political commentator: “The racial milestone will be much larger than we’ve even imagined in the course of these last couple of years,” says Doris Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian and political commentator. Compared with other milestones that students of history read in American textbooks — Booker T. Washington causing a national uproar for having lunch at the White House with Teddy Roosevelt, Marian Anderson singing at the Lincoln Memorial after being barred from Constitutional Hall, Joe Louis knocking out Nazi Germany’s Max Schmeling for the heavyweight boxing crown — the concept of an African-American holding the nation’s highest office “is just enormous,” she says. –
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin “Harsh Words About Obama? Never Mind Now “: The presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said she was hard-pressed to find a similar moment when the tone had changed so drastically, and so quickly, among so many people of such prominence. “I don’t think that’s happened very often,” Ms. Goodwin said. “The best answer I can give you is they don’t want to be on the wrong side of history, and they recognize how the country saw this election, and how people feel that they’re living in a time of great historic moment.” – NYT, 11-9-08
  • Catherine Allegor “Michelle Obama blazes a new trail”: “This is an incredible rebirth of her life,” said Catherine Allegor, a first ladies expert and a history professor at California’s Claremont McKenna College. “I think she’s only limited to her imagination.” “If she said, ‘I’m going to fight against gender inequality,’ some people wouldn’t like that,” Allegor said. “So she says ‘working mothers’ and everyone’s OK with it.” Chicago Tribune, 11-9-08
  • John Sides “On Historic Day, Political Scientists Take the Long View”: “The models were correct in that they predicted an Obama victory, a Democratic victory, and that’s what resulted. So in that sense, given the state of the economy, given the popularity of the incumbent, you’d expect a Democrat to win,” said John Sides, a professor of political science at George Washington University. For all the talk about Hillary Clinton’s supporters shifting over to John McCain, for example, or McCain losing support within the Republican Party, both candidates ended up with roughly equal support within their parties. “We live in an era of very strong party loyalty, and this election is really no different,” Sides said. – Inside Higher Ed, 11-5-08
  • Taylor Branch disputes NYT’s rosy view of Obama’s election: “It’s a great milestone,” but it’s not an “explicit achievement or accomplishment in race relations in the lives of everyday Americans….I hope we don’t get into a tailspin where everyone calls this the racial promised land.”…”I am thrilled to tears. The resonance of it to me is enormous.” – NPR, 11-5-08
  • Manning Marable “Obama Sails To Sweeping, Historic Victory”: “It’s possible that he will be the reverse Reagan,” says Columbia University historian Manning Marable. Like Reagan, Marable says, Obama is a charismatic leader whose appeal transcends partisan politics. He says Obama has built his support on a “three-legged stool” made up of African-Americans, Hispanics and young voters of all races. – NPR, 11-5-08
  • Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph Historians Answered Your Questions on Obama’s Win, 2008 Campaign:
    Sen. Barack Obama will become the country’s first black leader after a campaign season that broke records and saw female candidates break new ground. Historians Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph answered your questions on this historic election. – PBS Newshour, 11-5-08

Democratic Convention Day 2: August 26, 2008

Day 2 Schedule

    Millions of Americans are struggling to get by. The failed policies of the last eight years have betrayed the country’s values and left an economy out of balance. Barack Obama believes a strong economy is unattainable with a weak middle class. Tuesday’s Convention program will feature the voices of Americans who share Barack’s concerns and strongly support his detailed economic plan to grow the economy, create jobs, restore fairness, and expand opportunity.

    Senator Hillary Clinton was the headline prime-time speaker and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner delivered the keynote address on Tuesday night. Pay Equity pioneer Lilly Ledbetter also addressed the Convention on Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton, shown here with her daughter, Chelsea, on Tuesday is set to praise her former rival Barack Obama tonight in Denver.

Hillary Clinton, shown here with her daughter, Chelsea, on Tuesday is set to praise her former rival Barack Obama tonight in Denver.

    Other Tuesday speakers included: Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana; Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts; Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona; Governor Joe Manchin of West Virginia; Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin; Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania; Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio; Governor David Paterson of New York; Governor Chet Culver of Iowa; Senator Bob Casey, Jr., of Pennsylvania; Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont; former Secretary of Energy and Transportation Federico Peña; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; House Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel; Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Assistant to the Speaker of the House; and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chair Chris Van Hollen, who will use his time to showcase his top candidates for change. Representatives Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mike Honda (D-CA), California Controller John Chiang, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, Change To Win’s Anna Burger, and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney also spoke. – DemConvention.com
Hillary Clinton after she spoke at the Democratic National Convention

Hillary Clinton after she spoke at the Democratic National Convention

Historians’ Comments

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”: Well, for decades, the Democratic Party has suffered from the perception that it is the party of special interests. For the second straight night, we see a party that’s trying to create a perception that it’s actually the party of universal interest, but universal interest in Technicolor. So I think that it’s been very effective in trying to embrace themes of patriotism and, really, small-d American democracy….
    I thought it was a remarkable speech. I think in a way some critics will say that she should have talked about Obama even more. But given the fact that she got 18 million votes, I think the self-referential nature of the speech was justified to an extent. At the same time, she tried to pass the torch to Obama and really tell her supporters that, if they want a different kind of America for themselves and their children, they should support Senator Obama’s candidacy…. PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”:: Well, I think, in a curious sort of war, she may have just saved the McCain campaign some ad dollars, because it’s awfully difficult to imagine them continuing as of tomorrow morning to run those ads that suggest that Senator Clinton is, in fact, a latent McCain supporter….
    You know, I think that’s, frankly, implicit. You know, we’ve all been caught up in this media melodrama for weeks. You know, basically, will she or won’t she? And tonight she answered that question I think pretty emphatically, with some poignancy and, I suspect, considerable persuasiveness. But, remember, there are still a lot of raw feelings among many of those delegates on the floor tonight. There’s a credibility test that this speech had to pass among some of her most dedicated followers. And I think, if she’d spent much of that speech, in effect, taking back some of the things she’d said rather than arguing the broad case — I agree with Michael, it was a broad, somewhat generic case — but that case certainly more than passed the threshold that had been raised over these last few weeks. – PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”:: Well, I think it’s probably the best written and best delivered speech I’ve heard her give. But I think you can criticize it on one ground, an Obama supporter might, and that is this is a dead-close election right now. Barack Obama, for Democrats who want to see him elected, is going to need all the help he can. She said some pretty brutal things about Barack Obama and his equipment to be — his experience to be president that are being aired in those McCain commercials. And so what she said for Obama tonight — you know, he’ll bring health care, he’ll do all these wonderful things — it was great, but it was pretty generic. She could have said those things about Chris Dodd, if he had been nominated. I think what it really needed more, if it was going to be really a huge help to Obama, would be, “I did say certain things early in the campaign, but because of what Obama has done in this campaign, I’ve seen him grow. I’ve come to question what I said against him. I have a new view that’s a lot more positive. – PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download
  • Robert Rupp: Hillary’s Speech Provides a Relief – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-27-08
  • Taylor Branch: Obama, Bill Clinton Remain Distant Despite Similar Stories, a Complex Relationship Taylor Branch, a noted historian on racial politics, King biographer and longtime Clinton friend, who is writing a book detailing his private White House interviews with Clinton, said the former president was distraught by the popular interpretation that he had used code language to diminish Obama. “He was particularly upset about the race card deal,” Branch recalled. “He said, ‘I hate that phrase anyway. It makes it sound like a game — playing a card — when race is not a game and never was. It is deadly serious.'” There is, from Branch’s historical perspective, a natural progression from Clinton to Obama that in other circumstances could have created a political bond. Had Hillary not been in the race, he surmised, “I could see that Clinton might have endorsed him. Obama has a lot of attributes he values.” – WaPo, 8-27-08
  • Douglas Brinkley: DNC bits: Charlize shows, Sean slouches, Rudy tours and Rather cries: Rice University history professor and talking head Douglas Brinkley and others — sat around the table on the top floor of the downtown Denver library talking about Hurricane Katrina. – The Denver Post, 8-26-08
  • Manning Marable, professor of history and public affairs at Columbia University and director of the Center for Contemporary Black History: The Democratic Convention Key Historic Moments Set The Stage For Obama – NPR, 8-25-08
  • Robert Dallek on “Biden to recast foreign policy from centre stage”: But Robert Dallek, professor of history at Boston University and the pre-eminent scholar on US presidents said yesterday that while vice-presidents never used to be important, “all changed in 1960 when Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate”. The subsequent trend culminated in Dick Cheney’s accumulation of immense power under George Bush. Dallek thought that the degree of power attained by Cheney “will make the next president cautious about giving the vice-president too much authority”. Guardian, UK, 8-27-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention Highlights Its History – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-26-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on William Jennings Bryan: Father of the Modern Democratic Party: “It’s hard to think of a single speech that did more,” said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. “On a personal level, it catapulted this unknown young congressman to the party’s nomination. On a broader level, it redefined the nature of what it meant to be a Democrat.” – PBS, 8-26-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Jackson Speech Sets Stage for Obama Run: Presidential historian Peniel Joseph explains how Jesse Jackson’s 1984 speech at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco introduced themes of diversity into the party and paved the way for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. – PBS, 8-25-08
  • Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence at George Mason University; and Peniel Joseph, professor of history and African-American studies at Brandeis University: “Historians Reflect on the Democratic Party’s Fractious Evolution” – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-26-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s almost as if — imagine the two parties swapping identities. First of all, this is the oldest political party in the world. It was for 100 years the party of Jefferson and Jackson, the party that said the best government is the least government. That began to change dramatically with William Jennings Bryan 100 years ago, here in Denver, who brought the populist strain, who became a champion of the dispossessed. And then, of course, Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s, transforming the role of government in the economy, and critically bringing African-Americans into this party after being part of the party of Lincoln… Well, no, absolutely. And, I mean, the last 40 years, frankly, since Richard Nixon’s election in 1968, broadly speaking, have been a period, a conservative period in American politics. We’ve had two Democratic presidents, both southerners, relatively speaking conservatives. This has also been a party torn apart more than once regarding American foreign policy. You know, there’s the Woodrow Wilson messianic quality — America, in effect, preaching to the world — and then, of course, Vietnam, which tore this party apart, brought us George McGovern and a host of reforms, which, in many ways, lead to the diversity that we see in this hall tonight…. Well, that’s fascinating, because this party looks much more diverse than it might have 40 years ago…. Ideologically, I think you could make a very strong case that it’s far less. And by the same token, the same thing applies to the Republican Party. For years there were people in this country who said, “We need a liberal party and a conservative party.” Well, guess what? You’ve got it. And it has led to all sorts of unintended consequences. So I think there is a much less degree of ideological diversity in this hall, which, as Michael says, leds to sort of head-scratching about the intensity of the Clinton-Obama fight. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: He was…because Roosevelt was liberal in all sorts of ways, but he sure wasn’t on civil rights. Roosevelt would not even support an anti-lynching bill; 1936, when Roosevelt was re-nominated, there was an African-American preacher who gave a prayer at the convention. Southern senators walked out. They thought this was outrageous that you would have an African-American on the podium. That all changed with John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, civil rights and voting rights, mainly Johnson. In 1965, Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act. He hoped that African-Americans would come into the mainstream in a big way. On that floor, 24 percent of the delegates are African-American…. And that’s the irony, because there should be no conflict here this week. You know, they’re not arguing over big issues. They agree on economics, Iraq, foreign affairs, all sorts of stuff. Yet we’re hearing about this roll call vote, and angry delegates, and factions, and all sorts of stuff. That’s so amazing that this long conflict between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has ended this way…. The people who voted for Hillary Clinton this spring are very different for the most part from the people who voted for Barack Obama. So the great irony is that, while ideologically Democrats think pretty much the same, those voters are in different enough groups that it’s a hard time getting them together. That’s what’s sad about that. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. Lyndon Johnson transforms the Democratic Party, especially in terms of racial diversity. 1964, at that Atlantic City convention, Fanny Lou Hamer and the African-Americans who came to represent the true interracial Mississippi, were actually disallowed from being seated. By 1984, Jesse Jackson delivers his very famous rainbow address, telling the party that diversity is actually its strength rather than a weakness…. Democracy is messy. So when we think back to 1948, when Truman supports a civil rights plank, the Southern Dixiecrats actually leave, and Strom Thurmond has a third-party run. 1968, the whole world is watching, according to the new left, and Mayor Daley actually calls in troops to basically harass and assault new left demonstrators. 1980, the very fractious convention between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy. But, again, by 1984 and ‘88, you have Jesse Jackson, who was the consummate outsider finally on the inside of the Democratic Party, and he’s actually invoking people like Fanny Lou Hamer and different civil rights activists…. Well, the liberal wing of the party reaches its heyday in the early ’70s, with people like George McGovern and people like Walter Mondale. So that liberal wing has really been — I don’t want to say beaten into submission, but certainly they’ve seen better days. In a way, Obama has written himself that people see him as a Rorschach, and they read whatever they want into him. So people who are liberals see Obama as a liberal in the party. Conservatives in the party actually say, “Obama’s on my side.” People who are moderates or centrists actually say, “Obama’s my guy.” So Obama actually has united, I think, a three-part party. It’s a tri-headed party of liberals, centrists, and conservatives who see in Obama a person who they can all appropriate. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08

The Speeches….

  • Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich:It’s Election Day 2008. We Democrats are giving America a wake-up call. Wake up, America. In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the neo-con artists seized the economy and have added 4 trillion dollars of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defense, three times more for gasoline and home heating oil and twice what we paid for health care.
    Rep. Dennis Kucinich gives a fiery speech at the start of Tuesdays program. (CNN)

    Rep. Dennis Kucinich gives a fiery speech at the start of Tuesday's program. (CNN)

    Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their health care, their pensions. Trillions of dollars for an unnecessary war paid with borrowed money. Tens of billions of dollars in cash and weapons disappeared into thin air, at the cost of the lives of our troops and innocent Iraqis, while all the president’s oilmen are maneuvering to grab Iraq’s oil.

    Borrowed money to bomb bridges in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. No money to rebuild bridges in America. Money to start a hot war with Iran. Now we have another cold war with Russia, while the American economy has become a game of Russian roulette.

    If there was an Olympics for misleading, mismanaging and misappropriating, this administration would take the gold. World records for violations of national and international laws. They want another four-year term to continue to alienate our allies, spend our children’s inheritance and hollow out our economy.

    We can’t afford another Republican administration. Wake up, America. The insurance companies took over health care. Wake up, America. The pharmaceutical companies took over drug pricing.

    Wake up, America. The speculators took over Wall Street. Wake up, America. They want to take your Social Security. Wake up, America. Multinational corporations took over our trade policies, factories are closing, good paying jobs lost.

    Wake up, America. We went into Iraq for oil. The oil companies want more. War against Iran will mean $10-a-gallon gasoline. The oil administration wants to drill more, into your wallet. Wake up, America. Weapons contractors want more. An Iran war will cost 5 to 10 trillion dollars.

    This administration can tap our phones. They can’t tap our creative spirit. They can open our mail. They can’t open economic opportunities. They can track our every move. They lost track of the economy while the cost of food, gasoline and electricity skyrockets. They skillfully played our post-9/11 fears and allowed the few to profit at the expense of the many. Every day we get the color orange, while the oil companies, the insurance companies, the speculators, the war contractors get the color green.

    Wake up, America. This is not a call for you to take a new direction from right to left. This is call for you to go from down to up. Up with the rights of workers. Up with wages. Up with fair trade. Up with creating millions of good paying jobs, rebuilding our bridges, ports and water systems. Up with creating millions of sustainable energy jobs to lower the cost of energy, lower carbon emissions and protect the environment.

    Up with health care for all. Up with education for all. Up with home ownership. Up with guaranteed retirement benefits. Up with peace. Up with prosperity. Up with the Democratic Party. Up with Obama-Biden.

    Wake up, America. Wake up, America. Wake up, America.

  • Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana :
    I’m a rancher who has made my living raising cattle and growing wheat, barley and alfalfa in Montana, a beautiful place with soaring peaks, pristine rivers and endless prairies. I’m probably a little biased, but I think it’s the best place in the world to raise a family, to start and grow a business, and to build a community.

    When I ran for governor of Montana, I had never before held elected office. I chose a Republican, John Bohlinger, to be my lieutenant governor, with the simple proposition that we could get more done working together than we could fighting. Because Montana really isn’t a red state or a blue state. As Senator Obama might put it, we’re a united state.

    And so in three-and-a-half years, working together-Republicans and Democrats in Montana-we have cut more taxes for more Montanans than any time in history, increased energy production at the fastest rate in the history of Montana, invested more new money in education than ever before and we created the largest budget surplus in the history of Montana. That’s the kind of change we brought to Montana, and that’s the kind of change President Barack Obama is going to bring to America.

    Like Senator Obama, my family has roots in the Great Plains. My grandparents were immigrants who came to Montana with nothing more than the clothes on their back, high hopes and faith in God. My family didn’t have much in our little house. But a few things stand out in my memory: a crucifix and, on our kitchen wall, a framed picture of President Kennedy. My parents never even graduated from high school, but President Kennedy’s idealism and spirit of possibility inspired them to send all six of us children to college. And when he said, “we’re going to the moon,” he showed us that no challenge was insurmountable.

    A generation later, we face a great new challenge, a world energy crisis that threatens our economy, our security, our climate and our way of life. And until we address that energy crisis, our problems will only get worse. For eight long years, the White House has led us in the wrong direction. And now Senator McCain wants four more years of the same.

    Can we afford four more years? Is it time for a change? When do we need it? And who do we need as the next President of the United States of America? That’s right. Barack Obama is the change we need!

    Right now, the United States imports about 70 percent of its oil from overseas. At the same time, billions of dollars that we spend on all that foreign oil seems to end up in the bank accounts of those around the world who are openly hostile to American values and our way of life. This costly reliance on fossil fuels threatens America and the world in other ways, too. CO2 emissions are increasing global temperatures, sea levels are rising and storms are getting worse.

    We need to break America’s addiction to foreign oil. We need a new energy system that is clean, green and American-made. And we need a president who can marshal our nation’s resources, get the job done and deliver the change we need.

    That leader is Barack Obama. Barack Obama knows there’s no single platform for energy independence. It’s not a question of either wind or clean coal, solar or hydrogen, oil or geothermal. We need them all to create a strong American energy system, a system built on American innovation.

    After eight years of a White House waiting hand and foot on big oil, John McCain offers more of the same. At a time of skyrocketing fuel prices, when American families are struggling to keep their gas tanks full, John McCain voted 25 times against renewable and alternative energy. Against clean biofuels. Against solar power. Against wind energy.

    This not only hurts America’s energy independence, it could cost American families more than a hundred thousand jobs. At a time when America should be working harder than ever to develop new, clean sources, John McCain wants more of the same and has taken more than a million dollars in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry. Now he wants to give the oil companies another 4 billion dollars in tax breaks. Four billion in tax breaks for big oil?

    That’s a lot of change, but it’s not the change we need.

    In Montana, we’re investing in wind farms and we’re drilling in the Bakken formation, one of the most promising oil fields in America. We’re pursuing coal gasification with carbon sequestration and we’re promoting greater energy efficiency in homes and offices.

    Even leaders in the oil industry know that Senator McCain has it wrong. We simply can’t drill our way to energy independence, even if you drilled in all of John McCain’s backyards, including the ones he can’t even remember.

    That single-answer proposition is a dry well, and here’s why. America consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil, but has less than 3 percent of the reserves. You don’t need a $2 calculator to figure that one out. There just isn’t enough oil in America, on land or offshore, to meet America’s full energy needs.

    Barack Obama understands the most important barrel of oil is the one you don’t use. Barack Obama’s energy strategy taps all sources and all possibilities. It will give you a tax credit if you buy a fuel-efficient car or truck, increase fuel-efficiency standards and put a million plug-in hybrids on the road.

    Invest $150 billion over the next 10 years in clean, renewable energy technology. This will create up to 5 million new, green jobs and fuel long- term growth and prosperity. Senator Obama’s plan will also invest in a modern transmission grid to deliver this new, clean electricity from wind turbines and solar panels to homes, offices and the batteries in America’s new plug-in hybrid cars.

  • Former Gov. Warner Addresses the Democratic National Convention in Denver: My fellow Democrats — my fellow Democrats — my fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, the most important contest of our generation has begun, not the campaign for the presidency, not the campaign for Congress, but the race for the future.And I believe from the bottom of my heart, with the right vision and the right leadership, and the energy and creativity of the American people, there is no nation that we can’t out-hustle and out- compete. And no American need be left out or left behind…We need a president who understands the world today, the future we seek, and the change we need. We need Barack Obama as the next president of the United States….

    But when we look around, we see that, for far too many Americans, that fair shot is becoming more of a long shot. How many kids have the grades to go to college, but not the money? How many families always thought their home would be their safest investment? How many of our soldiers come back from their second or third tour of duty wondering if the education and health care benefits they were promised would actually be there?

    Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner delivers the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008. (WaPo, AP)

    Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner delivers the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008. (WaPo, AP)

    Two wars, a warming — a warming planet, an energy policy that basically says, “Let’s go borrow money from China so we can buy oil from countries that don’t like us,” how many people look at these things and wonder, what’s the future hold for them, their children, their family, their country? How many?

    In George Bush and John McCain’s America, far too many….

    You know, folks always ask me, “What’s my biggest criticism of President Bush?” Now, I’m sure you’ve got your own, but here’s mine.

    It’s not just the policy differences. It’s the fact that this president never tapped into our greatest resource: the character and resolve of the American people….

    This administration — this administration failed to believe in what we can achieve as a nation when all of us work together. John McCain promises more of the same, a plan that would explode the deficit and leave that to our kids, no real strategy to invest in our crumbling infrastructure, and he would continue spending $10 billion a month in Iraq.

    I don’t know about you, but that’s just not right. That’s four more years that we just can’t afford….

    Barack Obama — Barack Obama — Barack Obama has a different vision and a different plan. Right now, at this critical moment in our history, we have one shot to get it right. And the status quo just won’t cut it….

    I know we’re at the Democratic convention, but if an idea works, it really doesn’t matter whether it’s got a “D” or an “R” next to it, because this election…

    … this election is not about liberal versus conservative. It’s not about left versus right. It’s about the future versus the past.

    In this election, at this moment, at this moment in our history, we know what the problems are. We know at this critical juncture we only have one shot to get it right. And we know that these new times demand new thinking….

    You know, as governor of Virginia, as governor of Virginia, it was humbling to occupy a position that was once held by Thomas Jefferson, almost as daunting as delivering the keynote address four years after Barack Obama…

    … or speaking before Hillary Clinton.

    Towards the end of his life, Thomas Jefferson, the founder of our party, wrote one of his frequent letters to his old rival, John Adams. He complained about the aches of getting old, but what was on his mind was, what would life be like for the next generation of Americans?

    As Jefferson was ready to go to sleep, he closed his letter by writing, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

    Jefferson got it right at the dawn of the 19th century, and it’s our challenge to get it right at the dawn of the 21st.

    This race is all about the future. And that’s why we must elect Barack Obama as our next president…

    … because the race for the future — the race for the future will be won when old partisanship gives way to new ideas, when we put solutions over stalemate, and when hope replaces fear.

    Tonight, looking out at all of you, and with a deep faith in the character and resolve of the American people, I am more confident than ever that we will win that race and make that future ours.

    Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Democratic Convention Speech
    Sen. Hillary Clinton calls for her party to fight for the future, and its a fight we must win together. (CNN)

    Sen. Hillary Clinton calls for her party to fight for the future, "and it's a fight we must win together." (CNN)

    I am honored to be here tonight. I’m here tonight as a proud mother. As a proud Democrat. As a proud senator from New York. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

    My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

    And whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can afford to sit on the sidelines.

    This is a fight for the future. And it’s a fight we must win together.

    I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family and fighting for women’s rights here at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander our promise of a country that really fulfills the hopes of our people.

    And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

    No way. No how. No McCain.

    Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president….

    I will always be grateful to everyone from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the territories, who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush administration.

    Hillary Clinton Supporters

    Hillary Clinton Supporters

    To my supporters, to my champions — to my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits — from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.

    Thank you because you never gave in. You never gave up. And together we made history….

    Jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices. The Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock and our government in partisan gridlock. The biggest deficit in our nation’s history. Money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis.

    Putin and Georgia, Iran and Iraq.

    I ran for president to renew the promise of America. To rebuild the middle class and sustain the American Dream, to provide the opportunity to those who were willing to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford the gas and groceries and still have a little left over each month.

    To promote a clean energy economy that will create millions of green-collar jobs.

    To create a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that every single parent knows their children will be taken care of. .

    We want to create a world class education system and make college affordable again.

    To fight for an America defined by deep and meaningful equality — from civil rights to labor rights, from women’s rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. And to help every child live up to his or her God-given potential.

    To make America once again a nation of immigrants and of laws….

    Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years. Those are the reasons I ran for president, and those are the reasons I support Barack Obama for president.

    I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that young boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?…

    We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a president who understands that America can’t compete in the global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a president who understands that we can’t solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in the new technologies that will build a green economy.

    We need a president who understands that the genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.

    Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. And he knows government must be about “We the people” not “We the favored few.”

    The crowds after Hillary Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention

    The crowds after Hillary Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention

    And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he’ll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, we did it before with President Clinton and the Democrats. And if we do our part, we’ll do it again with President Obama and the Democrats….

    Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend.

    He has served our country with honor and courage.

    But we don’t need four more years of the last eight years….

    Well, John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn’t think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it’s OK when women don’t earn equal pay for equal work.

    Now, with an agenda like that, it makes perfect sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they’re awfully hard to tell apart….

    These women and men looked into their daughters’ eyes and imagined a fairer and freer world, and found the strength to fight. To rally and picket. To endure ridicule and harassment and brave violence and jail.

    And after so many decades — 88 years ago on this very day — the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote became enshrined in our Constitution.

    My mother was born before women could vote. My daughter got to vote for her mother for president.

    This is the story of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.

    How do we give this country back to them?

    By following the example of a brave New Yorker, a woman who risked her life to bring slaves along the Underground Railroad.

    On that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice.

    If you hear the dogs, keep going.

    If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

    If they’re shouting after you, keep going.

    Don’t ever stop. Keep going.

    If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

    And even in the darkest of moments, that is what Americans have done. We have found the faith to keep going….

    We’ve got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.

    That is our duty, to build that bright future, to teach our children that, in America, there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great, no ceiling too high for all who work hard, who keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and each other.

    That is our mission, Democrats. Let’s elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden for that future worthy of our great country.

    Thank you. God bless you, and Godspeed.

  • Obama Praises Clinton’s Speech “That was excellent, that was a strong speech,” Mr. Obama said as he watched the speech from Billings, Mt. “She made the case for why we’re going to be unified in November and why we’re going to win this election. I thought she was outstanding.”
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