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Julian E. Zelizer
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Julian E. Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a fellow at New America. He is the author of The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society (Penguin Press).

Entries by Julian E. Zelizer

Why I Invited Marc Maron to Speak at Princeton University

(0) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 9:24 PM

Several months ago, I decided to invite the comedian Marc Maron, host of the popular podcast WTF and the star of the television show Maron, to speak at Princeton University. The popular stand-up comedian might not be the most predictable choice to deliver a lecture in our public event series....

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Real Change Comes From Outside Washington

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 8:05 AM

Today we live in an era when Washington seems to be totally broken. The chances of passing any major piece of legislation are slim. Though we have had some moments of breakthrough, such as the passage of the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank, we have not experienced anything as transformative...

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Learn From History Mr. President: Articulate Your National Security Vision Or Pay the Political Price

(11) Comments | Posted January 25, 2010 | 8:50 AM

President George H.W. Bush once admitted that he was not good at the "Vision Thing." He was not able to convey a broader agenda that outlined the direction in which he wanted to move the country.

President Obama has suffered from the vision thing as well, both on national...

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Senator Kennedy and Legislative Liberalism

(17) Comments | Posted August 29, 2009 | 4:42 PM

Today President Obama honored the late Senator Ted Kennedy by calling him "the greatest legislator of our time." These were fitting words for a man who demonstrated just how much can be accomplished by learning the ways and means of Congress.

President Obama's words were a reminder that losing the...

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Zelizer's Book Corner: Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism

(2) Comments | Posted April 17, 2009 | 11:54 AM

One of the most dramatic moments during the 2008 campaign occurred when then-candidate Barack Obama traveled to Germany and spoke before an estimated crowd of 200,000 adoring Europeans. The enthusiasm for Barack Obama and what he promised was overwhelming, and was palpable to anyone who was watching. On the night...

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Zelizer's Corner: Kim Phillips-Fein, Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement From the New Deal to Reagan

(8) Comments | Posted March 16, 2009 | 12:20 PM

It takes money to build a political movement. But progressive Democrats are not always comfortable with this reality. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama's campaign was able to raise massive amounts of cash -- funds that proved pivotal to fending off the Republican attacks in the final month of...

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Zelizer's Book Corner: Jason Scott Smith, Building a New Deal Liberalism

(1) Comments | Posted February 12, 2009 | 12:00 PM

Public works frequently get a bad rap. Ever since Congress and pundits debated the economic recovery legislation that President Obama proposed in January, bipartisanship collapsed. Among their many complaints, Republicans railed against the program as a classic big government spending measure that would fuel pork-barrel projects without doing anything to...

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Zelizer's Book Corner: Frank Lambert's Religion in American Politics

(44) Comments | Posted January 14, 2009 | 9:50 PM

When Reverend Rick Warren handles the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration next week, the day after we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, many Democrats will be disappointed and hurt, even with the recent announcement that the progressive minister Sharon Watkins will give the sermon at the national prayer service...

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Zelizer's Book Corner -- Anthony J. Badger's FDR: The First Hundred Days

(8) Comments | Posted December 11, 2008 | 7:40 PM

There are two myths circulating in Washington. The first is that current economic conditions are too dire for the White House to undertake major initiatives beyond stabilizing the economy. The second related myth is that President-elect Barack Obama will be a political pragmatist and therefore avoid expansive and controversial proposals.

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Zelizer's Book Corner: Can We Move Beyond Polarization in Washington?

(6) Comments | Posted November 13, 2008 | 11:53 AM

Sean Theriault Party Polarization in Congress (Cambridge University Press)

Can we move beyond polarization in Washington?

Every election season, we ask this same question. Politicians promise that conditions will be different once they are in power, people will get along and civility will be restored. "I work with Republicans and...

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Let's See That Audacity In Action

(26) Comments | Posted November 10, 2008 | 7:50 AM

Democrats in Washington are juggling their policy lineup. In preparation for January, President-Elect Barack Obama and the congressional leadership must decide which issues to roll out first and which should be left for another time.

The urban crisis should be at the top of their list. Much of this campaign...

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One Party Government Does Not Equal "Extreme"

(25) Comments | Posted October 30, 2008 | 7:51 PM

Republicans have unveiled their closing argument. Desperate to prevent a huge Democratic landslide, Republicans warn that one-party government under Democrats would surely mean liberal extremism.

Raising the specter of an "Obama, Pelosi and Reid" government, Sen. John McCain refers to the combination of Sen. Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi...

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Taking It To The People

(15) Comments | Posted October 29, 2008 | 7:21 PM

There has been a lot of buzz today that Barack Obama is going too far with his thirty minute television commercial. Reporters have speculated about whether it shows Obama's arrogance, or extravagance, and if this move is just overkill. Will Americans react badly to thirty minutes of Obama? Why is...

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Jimmy Carter's Big Management Mistake

(6) Comments | Posted October 27, 2008 | 5:29 PM

In business and government, executives benefit from nurturing strong constituencies so that when times get rough they have enough support to carry them through. This is an obvious point, but it is a lesson too often forgotten, even by U.S. Presidents. Jimmy Carter is a case in point, a powerful...

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Zelizer's Book Corner: Larry Bartels' Unequal Democracy

(18) Comments | Posted October 14, 2008 | 6:15 PM

The current financial crisis has caused American voters to think hard about which party can best deal with the current economic downturn, a decline which has the potential to become a global depression.

Traditionally, voters have tended to trust Democrats more than Republicans when faced with difficult economic times. One...

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Reagan's Blues

(57) Comments | Posted October 10, 2008 | 12:16 PM

This has been a terrible week for conservatives. Since the financial crisis began, McCain's support has been plummeting in the polls. The most recent data also suggests that the election might result in a Democratic landslide for Obama and also in the congressional races, potentially giving Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate....

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Democrats Should Ignore the Palin-Biden Debate

(14) Comments | Posted October 2, 2008 | 2:07 PM

Everyone will be watching the Biden-Palin vice presidential debate. This is an eagerly awaited event, with predictions that Americans will tune in high numbers to see whether Palin can handle the tough questions and if Biden puts his foot in his mouth, once again.

Democrats need to be very careful....

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A Lesson For McCain and Obama

(2) Comments | Posted September 29, 2008 | 3:53 PM

Everyone is scrambling to blame somebody for the collapse of the financial bailout legislation earlier today. Both parties will find plenty of people to blame. House Republicans will blame Speaker Pelosi for making a speech that was allegedly too partisan. Democrats will blame House Republicans for sticking to a dogmatically...

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Congress Taps Forgotten Power

(1) Comments | Posted September 25, 2008 | 5:58 PM

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, looks like a giant these days. As the financial markets have plummeted and President George W. Bush is proposing sweeping legislation to bail out Wall Street, Frank is a key point man, attempting to strike a delicate balance between...

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How About Bailing Out The Election System?

(11) Comments | Posted September 25, 2008 | 4:28 PM

Although Congress is now preoccupied by the massive bailout of the financial markets that might cost $700 billion or more, government officials should also be willing to devote some attention and funds to the challenges of the electoral system.

The 2000 election taught us many things. The main lesson...

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