Lawrence Glickman Profile picture
Historian at Cornell University. Views expressed here are my own.
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11 Nov
I disagree that Trump ran as an "economic populist" in 2016. He called for tax cuts for the rich, opposed increasing the minimum wage (@PeterBeinart says otherwise), & called for eliminating health care for millions. The populism was purely performative.…
Here's a good @washingtonpost roundup on Trump's minimum wage claims during the 2016 campaign. /2…
Trump said a bunch of bs stuff about how his taxes would go up, but his proposed plan made clear that it benefitted the wealthy, that it was a typical Republican plan./3…
Read 10 tweets
26 Oct
The irony of the 60 Minutes interviews is that Biden faced much tougher questions. They asked him, and not the guy who recently bragged about acing a dementia test, whether he was senile. They asked him, and not the guy who just got out of the hospital, about his health. /1
When Trump couldn’t name a policy priority, rather than zeroing in on his inability to do so, Stahl changed the subject to “Who is our biggest foreign adversary?” Other than COVID, she didn’t ask him to defend or explain any of his policies or about his personal tax avoidance./3
To be fair, Stahl had more questions that she didn’t get to ask because he walked out early, but there was nothing about his threats to free and fair elections, about about kids in cages, or about tax cuts for the rich, about corruption in his administration, or climate change./3
Read 9 tweets
24 Oct
This piece is incredibly credulous about Trump's approach to the economy and in accepting the myth that, prior to Trump, the GOP embraced "sacred verities about government debt."…
First, the record over the last forty years makes it patently obviously that the GOP only embraces these "sacred verities" when a Democrat holds the presidency. /2
It quotes an AIE economist saying that Trump has "completely moved the Republican Party away from reducing Social Security and Medicare spending" but not Trump's own claim that he would consider cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his second term./3…
Read 16 tweets
18 Oct
One problem with this article is that it does not explore the long history of the term "white supremacy," which arose in the Jim Crow and was proudly and frequently used by white politicians and other thought leaders. /1…
The people who first embraced it were not critics but self-defined white supremacists, as in this claim by Georgia Senator A. O. Bacon in 1904. /2
At the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901, the attendees, who bragged "there is not a representative of the negro race among its one hundred and fifty members," framed the Civil War/Reconstruction era as a time of "negro supremacy." /3
Read 11 tweets
8 Oct
Lee's statement that "we are not a democracy" has a long genealogy on the American right, and is not that different from what others have said recently. /1
Remember that in 2016, Trump economic advisor, Stephen Moore, said, "I'm not even a big believer in democracy." /2…
As Lisa McGirr shows in the "Preface to the New Edition" of her classic study of conservatism, Suburban Warriors, such statements are not uncommon. In 2014, Tea Party Rep. Fred Yoho confessed to "radical ideas of democracy" by limiting voting rights to property owners (p. xxi) /3
Read 9 tweets
29 Sep
I love this story so much because it replicates the story I tell to begin Chapter 4 of FREE ENTERPRISE: in 1948 the 15 y.o. son of DeWitt Emery, a leading free enterpriser, has to write an essay explaining free enterprise but can't find a definition for it any reference work. /1
Emery was so upset by this that he sent his secretary to the Chicago Public Library, where, despite being assisted by three top-notch reference librarians, she was unable to find a definition of free enterprise either./2
This set off what I call in my book a "free enterprise freakout," a periodic condition of free enterprise discourse, the first of which happened in 1943, when a Gallup Poll revealed that only 3 in 10 Americans could define the term "free enterprise."/3
Read 11 tweets
27 Sep
Echoes of Louis Hartz: "We are a country founded along the contours of a philosophy...liberalism...that underlies our founding documents and our national ethos of individualism, self-reliance, liberty, equality and tolerance."…
Since Hartz wrote THE LIBERAL TRADITION IN AMERICA, scholars have challenged this view of a triumphant and monolithic liberalism, as well as the idea of "national ethos."
What about the competing traditions of civic republicanism or producerism, to name only two? What about the re-evaluation of Locke's work in the scholarship of the late Richard Ashcraft and many others?
Read 4 tweets
13 Sep
Excellent article by @KBAndersen but I think it is a misinterpretation, though a common one, to say that the Powell Memo was the "founding scripture for an economic crusade to discredit the New Deal consensus and rewrite the social contract." /1…
In my book, FREE ENTERPRISE, I wrote that "the document is less important because it was original than because it synthesized so many elements of a pervasive free enterprise discourse" that had been around since the start of the New Deal. /2
What was different was less than the text than the _context_. Although the Powell Memo didn't say much that was new, it said it at a time when the New Deal order was beginning to fall apart and an emerging conservatism was becoming more popular. /3
Read 7 tweets
10 Sep
Whereas Trump thinks the way to reduce "panic" is to lie, in his First Inaugural, FDR, who also wanted to reduce "fear" and "terror," said in the 3rd sentence, "This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly."/1…
In that speech, FDR claimed (with considerable exaggeration, it must be said) "In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor" has been met with the "understanding and support of the people."/2
Moreover, FDR didn't say the problem would magically go away. Instead, he offered a diagnosis of the problem and a series of proposed solutions: "Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously."/3
Read 10 tweets
3 Sep
No matter how often it’s repeated, it is not accurate to suggest that non-college-educated whites make up the entirety of the category of “blue collar workers.” The latter category includes many people of color.…
There is a frustrating slippage throughout Sandel's article. For example, he writes, "In 2016, two-thirds of whites without a college degree voted for Mr. Trump, while Hillary Clinton won more than 70 percent of voters with advanced degrees."/2
Shouldn't he be comparing _people_ without a college degree versus those with advanced degrees? Why does he only include "whites" in that category, particularly when we know that, since 1964, a majority of whites have supported the Republican in every presidential election. /3
Read 6 tweets
31 Aug
Thread: I have a new piece in the @washingtonpost about why Ronald Reagan’s laughably bad prediction that the passage of Medicare would destroy freedom is frequently recycled by conservatives, most recently by Eric Trump at the RNC. /1…
Here’s a link to Reagan’s 1961 speech./2…
As I show, Reagan’s 1961 prediction was itself recycled from anti-New Dealers who made similar incorrect predictions about being “the last generation to receive and cherish the legacy of liberty,” as one New Deal critic put it in 1936./3
Read 11 tweets
30 Aug
This piece about liberal condescension says immigrants who were naturalized at the RNC were “clearly moved and gratified by the attention.” On what basis does Massing make this claim? They did not know they were to be going to be used as political props.…
According to this piece in @washingtonpost, "Awadelseid said she signed a media privacy release but was not aware how the ceremony would factor into the convention" and "she did know it would become a featured segment " of the RNC.…
The statements I've seen from the participants run along the lines of "Awadelseid said she did not mind that the ceremony had been featured in a political format." A politic comment but hardly evidence of being "moved and gratified by the attention."
Read 5 tweets
24 Aug
This is a terrific piece by @TimAlberta about how the GOP has become the "very definition of a cult of personality." But I think there is more continuity than he allows. A short thread./1
First, I think it's well past time to stop speaking about "the supposed canons of GOP orthodoxy" such as "fiscal restraint," when, since Reagan, that has only been a "canon" when a Democrat has been in the White House./2
Second, I think Alberta's statement about the Trump era GOP--"It stands for no special ideal. It possesses no organizing principle. It represents no detailed vision for governing"--makes the party seem ideologically promiscuous rather than consistently conservative./3
Read 10 tweets
23 Aug
Yes, Trump ran against "elements of movement-conservative orthodoxy," but Douthat overstates the extent he did so. He ran on tax cuts for the rich, repeal of ACA, guns, anti-abortion, calling climate change a hoax, & tough guy foreign policy. /1…
His "populist" feints were obvious bs. He had no universal health care plan (unless "remove the lines" is a plan), he opposed raising the paltry minimum wage, he proposed a huge tax cut for the rich and corporations (still, his only signature piece of legislation)./2
Douthat risibly refers to the "populist pieces from his tax bill," one that even Forbes! said "helped billionaires pay less tax than the working class." /3…
Read 5 tweets
18 Aug
This is a terrific essay by Victoria De Grazia on fascism as "historical phenomenon" versus as "political label." It raises a question for me about criticism of contemporary usage of the term./1…
One could make a similar distinction about other terms that we use in our everyday political language, such as "populism." Or "New Deal." Or "Popular Front," a term that De Grazia employs at the end, when she calls for us to summons "Popular Front forms of collective action."/2
It strikes me that there is much more gatekeeping around the contemporary use of "fascism" than of other "historical phenomenon" that have become "political labels." /3
Read 9 tweets
12 Aug
The GOP playbook since the New Deal has been to label pretty much every Democratic presidential candidate a "socialist," no matter how ridiculous the charge. /1
I'll remind everybody that President Ronald Reagan in 1988 called the centrist Dukakis/Bentsen ticket as "far-out left" and "liberal, liberal, liberal." /2…
In 1994, Jeffrey Hart called Bill Clinton both a "liberal thug" and a "socialist." /3…
Read 8 tweets
9 Aug
This is a great piece of reporting by ⁦@elizabethjdias⁩. What stands out most are the intense and generalized feelings of victimization, which is a common thread among Trump voters and conservatives more generally. But why do they feel this way?/1…
This part, for example, highlights feeling “like your freedoms kept getting taken from you” and the view that “it was dangerous to voice your Christianity” under Obama, but then specifies “white believers.” /2
This section, unlike much of the rest of the article, offers two specific examples of why they feel besieged. One is the charge that “we were viewed as bigots, as racists” and the other is that “Obama wanted to take my assault rifle.” /3
Read 13 tweets
7 Aug
As with Douthat's column the other day, David Brooks massively overstates small differences among Republicans and the degree to which some are "breaking free from old orthodoxies." /1…
The 4 GOP Senators he singles out--Rubio, Cotton, Hawley, and Sasse--as representing the "Republican future" have voted with Trump 84.6% or more, about the same level as the sycophant Lindsey Graham./2…
To take one example, the "populist" Josh Hawley opposes a minimum wage increase, worked hard as Missouri AG to take away health care from struggling people and now as Senator supports repeal of ACA, and supported (as did the other three) Trump's tax giveaway to the rich./3
Read 14 tweets
1 Aug
Reading @zachdcarter's wonderful book on the Age of Keynes inspired me to write this essay, which offers both an appreciation the book and reflections on the benefits of other modes of intellectual history. Thanks to @LDBurnett and @Ideas_History for posting it on the blog./1
Thinking about some recents posts as well as some of my own work, I wanted to call into question Keynes's notion about how ideas travel, by showing that the ideas of "practical people" (JMK said "men") can sometimes proceed those of "economists and political philosophers." /2
I encourage everyone interested in questions about approaches to intellectual history to follow @AAIHS @BlkPerspectives @JHIdeas @Ideas_History (just to name a few) as well as the many scholars/writers who are expanding the boundaries of intellectual history. /3
Read 4 tweets
23 Jul
This piece takes Trumpism to be a total rejection of “traditional” GOP orthodoxy and does not reckon at all with how the Party laid the groundwork for Trump./1…
The idea that Trump “came out of nowhere” and “violated the party’s supposed orthodoxies” ignores the long-term trends that led to the embrace of Trump by GOP voters and most of the establishment./2 Image
Other than trade, he ran, as I showed in this piece from Fev 2016, on a standard conservative platform: anti-abortion, pro-gun, tax cuts for the rich, anti-minimum wage increases, eliminate the debt, repeal Obamacare, intense xenophobia, being “tough.” /3…
Read 8 tweets
21 Jul
Trump has ignored or exacerbated the Coronavirus pandemic at every turn, a combination of incompetence, malevolence, & pretending it’s not happening. Yet the ⁦@washingtonpost⁩ refers here to Trump’s “front-and-center approach” to the virus. What? /1…
It’s actually worse that that. They borrow the framing of the Trump campaign and contrast Trump’s “front-and-center” approach with Biden’s “more low-key campaign” and then they extensively quote a Trump official saying this. They never define or explain what this phrase means. /2
The phrase makes no sense as a description of Trump’s “approach,” if we can use such as a term for Trump’s narcissistic, unempathetic, incompetent response. The piece notes that Trump has basically stopped taking about it in recent months and has taken no useful actions. /3
Read 6 tweets