As a public intellectual, a Democratic Party stalwart, and a renowned American historian, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. plunged into the ideological battles of his day in an effort to push for progressive changes during a professional career that lasted from 1945-2005.
If anybody can tell me that there are another two syllables that can express what lies just beneath the consciousness of most Americans at this minute -- and all Americans when they know what they are angry minute about, I want to know what that is.
A highly polarized country. A savagely partisan Congress. A brutal presidential race, which ended with the Democratic incumbent defeating his Republican challenger, an ex-businessman. This was America in 1940 and early 1941.
The 2012 election resembled Harry Truman's come-from-behind "Give `em Hell" campaign of 1948. That year, too, Republicans could almost taste victory. But Truman was a scrapper. He didn't mind winning ugly.
Only 19 U.S. presidents have been elected to a second term. Out of those, only seven avoided a troubled or failed second term. Should this second-term curse enter into the decision to vote for Barack Obama?
Simply put, the LBJ I knew hungered for power, and knew he knew how to use it. The Kennedy I knew grudgingly but genuinely admired LBJ's ability. Robert Caro's book reminded me of a sad conversation I had with LBJ during the time he was languishing in the vice presidency.
Whatever your political affiliation, this election season will be both virtual and geographic ground zero for making one's voice heard. The objective as always will be to make the message attract as much media and Internet attention as possible.
Imagine giving our Founding Fathers, some of the most learned and intelligent men in history, a tool like Twitter. Would humility win the day or would the draw of casting immediate stones outweigh etiquette?
Our minds -- and those of politicians -- feed on overconfidence. We want to believe not only the promise but that the person who made it can deliver. A recent book by Nobel-winning economist/psychologist Daniel Kahneman helps explain this.
It was Winston Churchill who first used that term, "the crunch," in that way. It means, of course, that crisis when a leader has to make a judgment. It is when lives, perhaps millions of them, hang on the outcome of the decision the leader makes.
With the assassination of JFK, the resignation of Nixon, the near-assassination of Reagan and the impeachment of Clinton, the question of presidential "succession" looms larger than ever. And as a result, voters and the national media are scrutinizing VP qualifications like never before.
It is rather arrogant and contradictory to run for Congress, proclaiming one's hatred for the institution that is Washington, D.C., vowing not to compromise, while promising to change the political tone.
Perhaps multiple reasons are to blame for the uncertainty of the GOP today and the likely forced marriage that will prevail. But, in the end, this is our system, which is still the greatest in the world. It isn't perfect and will continue to evolve as it has since the founding of our country.
If we think the products of past brokered conventions were good for America, good for good for the conservative cause, or even good for the Republican Party, we should think again. A brokered convention could only leave us all, well, broker.
Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul all have reasons to not drop out. With each passing primary, there's a chance the Republican nominee will have to deal with the fallout from the first brokered convention since primaries and caucuses became the critical method of choosing nominees.
If Obama makes his campaign about jobs and debt reduction, he can seize the center and win the bulk of independent voters, and thus stands a good chance of not only winning reelection, but doing so by landslide margins.
Do most citizens have a fully reasoned view of what we want government to actually do? Is that at the root of the polarization poisoning American politics? Perhaps a little thought experiment would help.