Campaign 2004

GOP convention grazed issues

September 2004

The word on the street is that the Republican convention was one for the moderates. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says calmly: That’s simply what the Republican Party is.

But if that were the whole story, where were Colin Powell, James Baker and other luminaries of moderation in the party?

Before we Americans get too excited about what we saw about President George W. Bush as presented in New York, we ought to get clear not only on what we’ve seen, but also about what we have not seen.

What else happened at the GOP Convention? Read more here.

Popular Culture and Cultural Politics

Chocolat: A gentle endorsement of change

June 2001

It is easy to view Lasse Hallstrom’s movie Chocolat as a light and tasty treat. It is a fanciful story about a 1959 traditional French village transformed by the opening of “Chocolaterie Maya.”

Well, it is simple—like a fairy tale. Taken for what it is, a morality tale with social types standing in for contemporary social issues, it is a charming fable with and easy-to-taste moral about the forces of modernization and the liberalization of tradition as the best response.

…read more by clicking here!

Campaign 2000

The personal is now political; let’s decide if it’s presidential

November 2000

“The Personal is Political” was a slogan that emerged from the cultural changes of the 1960s. It summarized the demand to take the realms of private life seriously as matters of political concern. In place of the traditional separation of public and private, the blurring of these spheres of life was at the root of many of the liberal and liberating movements of that era. The phrase first emerged from women’s liberation. While the old school maintained that the private sphere of women’s lives—including choices about work, marriage and children—was not even grist for public talk, the new consciousness found political consequences shot through all these decisions.

If you would like to read more of this piece, click here. 

Popular Culture and Cultural Politics

The Polarization of America: The Decline of Mass Culture

Pop culture is forever, but mass culture is only a few hundred years old and showing its age. Popular culture is just a big, loose term for things popular beyond the tastes and standards of small groups of elites. It’s always been around. Mass culture, however, requires mass communication across long distances.

Read on here!


1990s Politics, Campaign Watching

Presidential Affairs

February 1992

Dear Mr. Clinton,

Those of us who live beyond the grave do not, unfortunately, get very full news accounts. I just heard about your tabloid troubles—when I last heard, you and your fellow Democrats were accused of being colorless! The problem as I see it is not that you might have had that scandal with Gennifer Flowers, but that you never decided how to handle it. I should know: A scandal put its shadow on my campaign in 1884. It blew over, and I went on to win the election. So, from my experience, I may have a lesson or two for you.

If you are interested in the rest of this sage political advice, click here!