My History Can Beat Up Your Politics
By Bruce Carlson
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Since 2006, bringing historical context to the politics of today. TV pundits discuss politics in a vacuum. Cable news tells you everything is 'breaking news' but in most cases, events have long roots in history. In this podcast, we smash and bash the politics of today with a healthy dose of history
||CleanBringing Texty Back? Gorsuch, Scalia, Hugo Black and the Words of Law||The textualism of conservative Justice Scalia and liberal Justice Hugo Black is contrasted and compared as we anticipate the arrival of Neil Gorsuch to the Court. Gorsuch is a committed textualist. What does that mean? We look at that, we look at al||4/13/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe President’s Book of Secrets: Interview with David Priess||Presidents and Intelligence, from Kennedy to Trump. With a particular focus on the PDB or the Presidents Daily Briefing with Dr. David Priess, the Author of The President’s Book of Secrets. We discuss: Tension Presidents and The CIA, In History and||4/2/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAll Politics is Social (and other observations)||It’s a crazy time, but Bruce’s Fourteen Points about Politics in 2017 seeks to provide some clarity on what’s going on and where both parties stand. The points include going Back to the Past, Clarity on Reelections and Midterms, About T||3/26/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanButterfield: Nixon’s Watergate Frenemy||Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy COS who revealed the existence of the taping system in the White House, gets only a small mention in Watergate history but he has a lot to contribute to the understanding of it. He recently spoke to Bob Woodwa||3/18/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanNow on the Premium Cast: Thomas Eagleton and George McGovern 1972 More to the Story||Thomas Eagleton was selected as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Democrats and candidate George McGovern. It seemed like the right choice. Then everything went wrong. Yet there is more to the story than most know, and a recent book has revealed new||3/15/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFour Stories of #Resistance||Looking at the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Freedom Summer, Mothers of the Disappeared and the American Revolution, we look at change, from despair to anger to moderation. These stories are used to answer the question – What does political change take?||3/11/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThat Time When a Presidential Candidate Actually Was Bugged||…and probably for a good reason. 1968 and an announcement of a bombing halt over Vietnam by LBJ in the last week of the election has all sides moving in many directions. Evidence points to Nixon campaign involvement in scuttling talks through a thir||3/4/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean25, 17, 21, 7, 45 and Other Presidents (Bruce Carlson Interviewed on ‘The Road to Now Podcast)||Who is the Most Underrated President? What was FDR’s Waterloo? What is an Executive Order and how are they used? How has the concept of Executive Power changed? A President’s Day conversation with Bob Crawford and Ben Sawyer from ‘Th||3/1/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAlcatraz||The 1969 occupation of the former federal prison by Native American activists was the beginning of a movement and a shift in perception that lives on today. http://www.myhistorycanbeatupyourpolitics.com/alcatraz.mp3 We discuss: Why Alcatraz? The 1973 Stan||2/20/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanInterview w/ John Avlon, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast, Author of Washington’s Farewell||George Washington is a distant figure. Sometimes, because of the distance in time, he appears too ancient to influence America’s debates today. But he was a real person, and he was involved in politics and dealt with partisanship. He also left be||2/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe First Hundred Days from Wilson to Trump||Not everyone can be an FDR, but everyone tries. A look at the American tradition of 100 days – the period in which the President, supposedly, must get everything done. A White House mastering it, and another White House, besieged by the press, not||2/4/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHow Mandates Were Invented||The concept of a President earning a right to govern and direct the agenda on behalf of the People is, in historical terms, a new concept. No such concept is present in Constitution, nor does it appear, was imagined by Constitutional supporters or o||1/29/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanWhite House on Fire: Iran-Contra – A Dozen Ronald Reagans – Part Eight||In the eight part of our series on the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, we look at the scandal that engulfed his administration, and management style mistakes that may have led to it. In the course of doing this we peel back a few layers, including the Wals||1/19/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Power to Pardon||One of the President’s greatest and least checked powers is designed to overcome unfortunate guilt, legal error, or to take some action for national good. A look at what Alexander Hamilton called “the benign prerogative,” and its histor||1/16/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe (Very Few) Rejected Cabinet Choices||From Roger Taney to Charles Warren (pictured) to John Tower, the few and the not so proud perhaps. It is rare for the choice of a President not to get their choice. But there have been a few rejections. And why? Were they rejected for great reas||1/10/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe First Presidential Farewell||As President Obama offers his farewell commentary, a look at our 2012 cast on George Washington‘s Farewell Address and a few other timely thoughts. http://www.myhistorycanbeatupyourpolitics.com/farewell.mp3||1/8/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanUnfriending, from Jefferson and Adams to Today||For the final cast of 2016 we look at Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and their period of estrangement and renewed correspondence. Their story is very well known, but a few less commonly known points -such as Abigal Adams’s role in the story ̵||12/29/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanGeeks, Orcs and Herbert Hoover||Christmastime, New Years are upon us, and so a fun-little episode I enjoyed recording on the history of radio from the start as geek fare to big business The history of radio and Herbert Hoover’s role in speaks a bit to the debate over ‘fake||12/24/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanCongress Counts: The 1876 Election’s Lasting Impact||The disputed election between Hayes and Tilden in 1876 is an infamous part of American history. It created a tense environment where both sides talked of a return to war. While war didn’t come, and perhaps was not going to come in an environment||12/15/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanYou End Up Becoming Yourself -Bruce Carlson Interviewed on Don’t Worry About the Government Podcast||Where do both parties go from here? Maybe nowhere, Bruce Carlson suggests. Everybody to your corners and be who you are. Also What will Trump be like as President? John Edwards as a damaged prophet? Snippets of a conversation with Bruce Carlson||12/10/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
Interesting, balanced and well-spoken
A friend of mine who is -- let's say slightly right of center -- recommended this podcast to me, so I expected a fairly conservative bent to it. To my surprise, it appears to be that most rare of specimens: the intellectually sharp but politically neutral commentator. Add a pleasent speaking voice and some apparently well-prepared subject matter and you have an overall winner.
Stodgy Old-School History, In the Worst Way.
I used to subscribe to and love this podcast. Despite the sloppy presentation and poor editing, I felt Bruce was doing a great job. And then, in a recent podcast, he ended by saying that people should go out and read History books. As a PhD student in history, my heart rose. And then it plummeted when he went on to say that, essentially, if a history book wasn't written 30-50 year ago or more, it's not real history. Not only did I take this personally, as someone writing a history book myself, but it suddenly pointed to some real problems in the podcast-- Bruce's overstating the import of Political and Diplomatic History, his ignorance of a lot of the historical work of the last forty years-- Social History, Cultural History, Labor History, Black History, Women's History... This podcast, despite its self-styled liberalsim, is about rich white men making all the decisions and having all the power. And when he steps outside those bounds, he often gets stuff wrong. I used to forgive it, thinking that he has his own interests, like anyone else. Now that I know it's a willful ignorance, I'm personally unsubscribing.
This is a Great Podcast
From beginning to end. I learn something new with every episode. The grounding of modern day political situations in a historical context is great for anyone, whether a studen of history or a studen of politics. I've subscribed (and unsubscribed) from a number of historical podcasts, but I've never left (and will never leave) this one: Bruce Carlson knows his stuff. More importantly, he knows how to communicate what he knows. Anyone who is a fan of British documentarian James Burke's "The Day The Universe Change" style of linking one historical event to another across the decades and even the centuries, providing a context for those events you had never had before, will appreciate Bruce Carlson. He brings that sort of sensibility to American history, and can deftly explain how Thomas Jefferson's campaign against John Adams is playing out in campaigns even today, or how Harry Truman is connected to the war in Iraq. Carlson is brilliant. The episodes of the podcast would make for a great political history book, with each episode being a chapter. Yet, here it is, all for free: some of the best historical analysis of world politics I've ever encountered. If you haven't subscribed yet, do yourself a favor. There may be bigger names in political podcasts out there, but there is no better podcast out for giving you political history, in context, and showing the connections from one era to another.