Rick Perlstein Profile picture
There’s always more, and it’s always worse. But it’s never new. Writer, jazz pianist, angler, Chicagoan, political volunteer, prez of In These Times magazine.
@reenum Profile picture eDo Profile picture artofstark Profile picture Mark Toner Profile picture dj lane Profile picture 7 added to My Authors
Oct 4 16 tweets 3 min read
Morning riff:

The way young people are saying NO to gender binaries is a miraculous advance for human freedom and dignity. 1/x Like the cracking open of heteronormativity by a previous generation--something many conservatives now accept; this is how social change works-- it is a profound force that is doing away with a colossal amount of unnecessary misery in the world. 2/x
Oct 3 20 tweets 2 min read
"Sneakers" slaps. When Redford does roguish charm: gets every time. Snappy, classic 1940s screwball-comedy level timing. High-level shit.
Sep 30 13 tweets 6 min read
For friends across the pond; also historians too ready to draw lines between books politicians claim to have read and those books' "influence" thereupon. Also #liztruss, the latter-day milk-snatcher who tells all and sundry of her "favorite historian": ME.
spectator.co.uk/article/liz-tr… Liz. Can't. Read (Rather, let's viralize that shite: #LizCantRead.)
Sep 18 5 tweets 1 min read
Hey @LoriLightfoot,, maybe it's not crime that's driving people (and corporations, who some say are people too...) out of Chicago as much as the daily nickle-and-diming speeding tickets that show up in the mail almost daily for going 41 mph in a 35 mph zone? "Just go the speed limit"? Often, then, you would be more likely to cause an accident. This is the reason humans, not robots, should enforce traffic laws.
Sep 17 4 tweets 2 min read
I've taken some really silly swipes about @samadlerbell and @matthewstitman on this platform in fits of twitter brain and the narcissism of small differences that I feel terrible about, because now that I'm delving deeply I cherish @knowyrenemy so deeply. Listening them think and feel together represents the fruits of humane learning at its very finest.
Sep 15 6 tweets 2 min read
As I've noted, the tactic of our more fascist state governors' petty little ethnic-cleansing exercise resembles nothing so much as... npr.org/2022/09/15/112… ...the 1961 racist trolling project known as the "Reverse Freedom Rides." npr.org/sections/codes…
Sep 14 5 tweets 2 min read
Am I misreading or is @Timodc on pp. 11-12 of "Why We Did It" slyly insinuating that Mike Pence is a closet case? "...the brainteasers I was playing with closeted myself parallel what I saw in my future corner GOP friends during the Trump Era. I would see relief on the faces of people who left his orbit and come clean, just as clearly as the pain on the faces of peoplelike Mike Pence who..."
Aug 9 4 tweets 1 min read
Reminds me of what happened when news leaked that the wartime Office of Strategic Services was becoming permanent as the CIA. One GOP rep: "This is another indication that the New Deal will not halt in its quest for power. Like Simon Legree it wants to own us body and soul.” 1/x Another called it “another New Deal move right along the Hitler line." The reactionary Chicago Tribune editorialized that it would be a U.S. "gestapo."
Jun 14 7 tweets 1 min read
I found this article thoughtful, fair- minded, and productive. theintercept.com/2022/06/13/pro… The smartest part of the article is the point that trashing culture is destroying the strength of activist organizations at just the moment many ARE being led by women and POC, with see-no-evil critics of the phenomenon thus abetting their disempowerment: tbe Glass Cliff.
Jun 13 5 tweets 1 min read
In Oakland in the 60s, it was common practice for cops to in Black neighborhoods to apprehend people on Friday evenings outside the bars that served as banks where factory workers could cash their checks, to shake them down for cash--straight up. Mike Davis and Jon Wiener's A People's History of Los Angeles present excellent documentary evidence that a major function of the police was preventing Black peoples from being in "white" areas outside of certain hours, in just the way South Africa's passbook system functioned.
May 31 5 tweets 2 min read
So fascinating how cunningly Reagan's economic ideology encodes in aristocracy in the guises of liberty. "U.S. tax policy... is restraining business growth because it attempts to redistribute earnings from the most productive to the least” means the rich are rich ONLY... ...by dint of their superiority, the poor are poor ONLY by dint of their inferiority. And if we try to tinker with that natural order, we'll ALL be poor, by dint of restrained growth. (Fascinating source, account of a 2/79 speech in an alt-monthly covering Montana.) Image
May 21 11 tweets 2 min read
A "savvy" acquaintance of mine notes this news, describing it as an "own goal" by the Church. My response is the opposite... theguardian.com/us-news/2022/m… This is how an institution behaves when it's serious about power and changing the world: the way, on certain core principles, the Democrats SHOULD behave. The Church has been working this strategy...
May 19 7 tweets 2 min read
Today's Infernal Triangle 2000-24 watch, media incompetence corner: in 2006, mainstream political media figures began describing to onslaughts of factual debunking of Bush from progressive blogosphere as "reverse Fox." David Broder takes the lead that June: “The blogs I have scanned are heavier on vituperation of President Bush and other targets than on creative thought. Fortunately, there are others that these ‘net roots’ activists working on the challenge of defining the Democratic message.” tampabay.com/archive/2006/0…
May 12 6 tweets 1 min read
So I can better advance my SECRET SURPRISE PROJECT, turning off Twitter for the day, with one more reflection about why Randall Balmer's paradigm distorts understanding of how American right-wing theocracy advanced in 70s-8os... In places like Memphis, Xian schools destroyed court-ordered integration by giving white public school parents an alternative to integrated schools. AT THE SAME TIME as the city's biggest Christian school... actually an entire school system
May 12 5 tweets 1 min read
So the head of the Anti-Defamation League begins this interview going on and on about what a nobly universalist anti-racist organization he runs. Down lower, he's asked about his insistence that anyone who opposes Zionism is an anti-semite. newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/i… Question: "Is creating a secular state destroying it? A state for Jewish people, but not a Jewish state, if that distinction makes sense."...
May 11 4 tweets 1 min read
Truly the most influential wrong article in popular history. NYT's The Daily repeats it today. Most Christian schools weren't segregationist by the late 70s, and that's not why they went after the IRS. And... politico.com/magazine/story… ...they didn't make abortion their main organizing/cover issue. Anti-gay fears--including a Q-like theory that the gov would force gay teachers in their schools--was MUCH more prevalent. Also generalized conspiracy theories about "secular humanism."
May 4 7 tweets 2 min read
We really have to force ourselves to come face to face with the insane level to which the U.S. has sunk. Watch this. Really. Trump read in his newspaper that a bunch of historians were having a conference on him, so demanded they give him an audience... findingaids.princeton.edu/catalog/MC230_… He patiently lectured them for close to an hour about all the ways he's a superhero, including... (19:40)
May 2 9 tweets 2 min read
More stunning normalization of authoritarianism: "historic patterns" are the reason Dems need from 5-10 percent more votes than Republicans to win Congress--not the systematized democracy theft known as partisan gerrymandering. But you know this, @peterbakernyt. How it worked happened in 2010: "Karl Rove ducked in on one of the pitch meetings: "=;People call us a vast right-wing conspiracy, but we're really a half-assed right-wing conspiracy. Now it's time to get serious.'" newsweek.com/how-republican…
May 1 10 tweets 2 min read
Shocking/not shocking. One of RWR's besties, famous for his far-right lunacy and the leverage he deployed as publisher of NH's only statewide newspaper (tho he didn't live there) to destroy the presidential candidacies of Rockefeller (64), Muskie (72), and GHWB (80). I mean, these people! Note his go-to move for destorying reputations was to impute sexual impropriety: Rockefeller for divorcing his wife and marrying a younger woman; Phil Crane for supposedly being into orgies. (Related: Muskie for not being able to "control" his wife.")
Apr 28 4 tweets 1 min read
Perlstein's Corollary to Godwin's Law? That if we can't, as an intellectual resource, find a way to use the parts of Naziism antecedent to the "taking over the world" and "incinerating millions in death camps" parts, we're at a loss in explaining the contemporary GOP. Example: ...All the people telling me about consuming the Nazi-propaganda section at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in D.C., slack-jawed at the realization that if you changed the word "Jew" to "immigrant" (et al), you can hardly tell the difference.
Apr 26 7 tweets 1 min read
I just got an interview request from a reporter at an agenda-setting DC publication. It began, "I'm working on a magazine story about political buzzwords (i.e. 'critical race theory,' 'equity,' 'cancel culture,' etc.)"—then went on... "...and how liberals and conservatives ascribe different meanings to them. I'm not as much interested in who's more 'right' about what something like 'critical race theory' means, as the ways in which the definitions differ depending on who you ask..."