1. The Language That Divides America: From Red And Blue To Percents

"[The] red-blue distinction came about as pure serendipity. During the marathon battles over the recount in the 2000 election, those just happened to be the colors the media were using for the broad swaths of states that went for Bush or Gore. But the colors instantly became a proxy for all the differences in values and lifestyle that seemed to be cleaving the country into warring tribes.
That picture really had its roots in the ’70s, when we all took to using marketing jargon like “upscale,” “yuppie” and “lifestyle” itself to map out our cultural geography, and we suddenly discovered a nation called Middle America sitting in our midst. For the right, it was an occasion to brand liberals with the consumer choices that revealed them for the poseurs they were. Liberals drove a safe but ugly car built by the socialist Swedes. They consumed Chardonnay and Brie, and they followed sports that didn’t require helmets or gasoline.” 
- Geoff Nunberg, linguist


Chart via NYT View in High-Res

    The Language That Divides America: From Red And Blue To Percents

    "[The] red-blue distinction came about as pure serendipity. During the marathon battles over the recount in the 2000 election, those just happened to be the colors the media were using for the broad swaths of states that went for Bush or Gore. But the colors instantly became a proxy for all the differences in values and lifestyle that seemed to be cleaving the country into warring tribes.

    That picture really had its roots in the ’70s, when we all took to using marketing jargon like “upscale,” “yuppie” and “lifestyle” itself to map out our cultural geography, and we suddenly discovered a nation called Middle America sitting in our midst. For the right, it was an occasion to brand liberals with the consumer choices that revealed them for the poseurs they were. Liberals drove a safe but ugly car built by the socialist Swedes. They consumed Chardonnay and Brie, and they followed sports that didn’t require helmets or gasoline.” 

    - Geoff Nunberg, linguist

    Chart via NYT

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  1. As He Considers A Run For President, Rand Paul Tries to Rebrand Himself


Terry Gross: With the war against ISIS now, [Rand Paul] has shifted his views on that, so what did Rand Paul initially say about dealing with ISIS and what is he saying now? 
Ryan Lizza: His position on what to do about ISIS has been confusing and maybe hasn’t shifted as much as we all thought, but it sounds like he’s shifted. Let me try and take you through it. When I was interviewing him over the summer, he was going on, at length, about why the United States should never be involved in the Syrian civil war and stating all the contradictions of the war—we’re against [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad, we’re also against ISIS, which is Assad’s enemy, talking about the failures of the Iraqi army and how could you send American GI’s back to Iraq to defend territory that the Iraqis can’t defend, making a fairly good case against intervening in a pretty chaotic place. …
That was in July, what happened in the subsequent weeks of course was that the brutality of ISIS became an international story. The beheadings dominated the news and there was a real movement among conservatives to do something about it. … Rand Paul responded … by coming out with a statement saying that he now believed that the United States should destroy ISIS militarily.  Now, if you think of what follows from a statement like that, that’s a pretty serious statement—that means all-out war against ISIS. And that’s the point where me and others thought, “Wow, this is a huge shift in policy. If you’re really for destroying ISIS militarily, you are for a serious intervention in Iraq and Syria.” When it came down to it, there was not as much follow-through, there was no plan from Rand Paul to go over there and destroy ISIS militarily, and in fact he voted against the legislation to arm the moderates, the so called “moderate” opposition to Assad who are also fighting ISIS. 


Read Lizza’s latest piece in the New Yorker, The Revenge of Rand Paul 
Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images View in High-Res

    As He Considers A Run For President, Rand Paul Tries to Rebrand Himself

    Terry Gross: With the war against ISIS now, [Rand Paul] has shifted his views on that, so what did Rand Paul initially say about dealing with ISIS and what is he saying now? 

    Ryan Lizza: His position on what to do about ISIS has been confusing and maybe hasn’t shifted as much as we all thought, but it sounds like he’s shifted. Let me try and take you through it. When I was interviewing him over the summer, he was going on, at length, about why the United States should never be involved in the Syrian civil war and stating all the contradictions of the war—we’re against [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad, we’re also against ISIS, which is Assad’s enemy, talking about the failures of the Iraqi army and how could you send American GI’s back to Iraq to defend territory that the Iraqis can’t defend, making a fairly good case against intervening in a pretty chaotic place. …

    That was in July, what happened in the subsequent weeks of course was that the brutality of ISIS became an international story. The beheadings dominated the news and there was a real movement among conservatives to do something about it. … Rand Paul responded … by coming out with a statement saying that he now believed that the United States should destroy ISIS militarily.  Now, if you think of what follows from a statement like that, that’s a pretty serious statement—that means all-out war against ISIS. And that’s the point where me and others thought, “Wow, this is a huge shift in policy. If you’re really for destroying ISIS militarily, you are for a serious intervention in Iraq and Syria.” When it came down to it, there was not as much follow-through, there was no plan from Rand Paul to go over there and destroy ISIS militarily, and in fact he voted against the legislation to arm the moderates, the so called “moderate” opposition to Assad who are also fighting ISIS. 

    Read Lizza’s latest piece in the New Yorker, The Revenge of Rand Paul 

    Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

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  1. Today we talk to Matt Bai, author of All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid.  The book centers on Gary Hart’s 1987 sex scandal that destroyed his political ambitions, and how it was a turning point in how the media cover politics, emphasizing quote character issues, over political experience.  
'All The Truth Is Out' Examines How Political Journalism Went Tabloid

Dave Davies: Historically, before 1987 [and the Gary Hart sex scandal], what were the standards employed by journalists in covering politician’s private lives? 

Matt Bai: It’s too facile to say that private lives were never in issue in politics or presidential politics. You certainly can’t say that character wasn’t an issue, we always cared about these things. But by and large, if you’re looking at 20th century politics, let’s say, and even going back before then, the personal lives or private or marital transgressions of national candidates became germane to the debate only when they burst out into the open and affected your political standing. So if you look at someone like Nelson Rockefeller, who in the 1960s divorced his wife, married a much younger staffer, it was quite scandalous, particularly in the Republican Party—that affected his standing with republican voters, it was a political story and it was covered. Chappaquiddick, of course, we all know. Ted Kennedy’s marital troubles, his wife’s issues, all of those things were covered in the context of political standing and how it affected your campaign. 



What we didn’t have were journalists going out and playing detective or playing private investigator and trying to bring into the public arena what were considered private behaviors that were generally off-limits.  So that in the case of say a Franklin Roosevelt, a John Kennedy, a Lyndon Johnson, all of whom we now know were not angels in their private lives, by the standards most of us have for our marriages, but none of that was considered news. Even later when it was understood that John Kennedy had not only extramarital affairs but associations in terms of the mafia and a mafia mistress, that were really, I would consider quite reckless and I think most people would—most of that was treated as something separate from his presidency. He still gets very high marks as a president. 


Photo: Marilyn Monroe and JFK, via JKFlibrary.org  View in High-Res

    Today we talk to Matt Bai, author of All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid.  The book centers on Gary Hart’s 1987 sex scandal that destroyed his political ambitions, and how it was a turning point in how the media cover politics, emphasizing quote character issues, over political experience.  

    'All The Truth Is Out' Examines How Political Journalism Went Tabloid

    Dave Davies: Historically, before 1987 [and the Gary Hart sex scandal], what were the standards employed by journalists in covering politician’s private lives? 

    Matt Bai: It’s too facile to say that private lives were never in issue in politics or presidential politics. You certainly can’t say that character wasn’t an issue, we always cared about these things. But by and large, if you’re looking at 20th century politics, let’s say, and even going back before then, the personal lives or private or marital transgressions of national candidates became germane to the debate only when they burst out into the open and affected your political standing. So if you look at someone like Nelson Rockefeller, who in the 1960s divorced his wife, married a much younger staffer, it was quite scandalous, particularly in the Republican Party—that affected his standing with republican voters, it was a political story and it was covered. Chappaquiddick, of course, we all know. Ted Kennedy’s marital troubles, his wife’s issues, all of those things were covered in the context of political standing and how it affected your campaign. 

    What we didn’t have were journalists going out and playing detective or playing private investigator and trying to bring into the public arena what were considered private behaviors that were generally off-limits.  So that in the case of say a Franklin Roosevelt, a John Kennedy, a Lyndon Johnson, all of whom we now know were not angels in their private lives, by the standards most of us have for our marriages, but none of that was considered news. Even later when it was understood that John Kennedy had not only extramarital affairs but associations in terms of the mafia and a mafia mistress, that were really, I would consider quite reckless and I think most people would—most of that was treated as something separate from his presidency. He still gets very high marks as a president. 

    Photo: Marilyn Monroe and JFK, via JKFlibrary.org 

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  1. TUESDAY - How American politics went tabloid.   The new book All The Truth Is Out, is about how the Gary Hart sex scandal in 1987, ended his presidential candidacy, and was a turning point in how the media cover politics, emphasizing quote character issues, over political experience.  We’ll hear form the book’s author, Matt Bai, former chief political correspondent for the New York Times Magazine. View in High-Res

    TUESDAY - How American politics went tabloid.   The new book All The Truth Is Out, is about how the Gary Hart sex scandal in 1987, ended his presidential candidacy, and was a turning point in how the media cover politics, emphasizing quote character issues, over political experience.  We’ll hear form the book’s author, Matt Bai, former chief political correspondent for the New York Times Magazine.

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  1. The three things that you want to try to do in a campaign… is define yourself—meaning you define the candidate before your opponent defines him or herself. The second is define your opponent before the opponent defines himself or herself and the third thing is you define the stakes of the election. You make the election about something most beneficial to you.

    — 

    Neil Oxman, Political media strategist 

    Oxman is the founder of The Campaign Group, which has managed ad campaigns for more than 700 races around the country. Ahead of the Congressional elections, he joins Fresh Air to talk about what works and what doesn’t.

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  1. New York Times congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman joins Fresh Air to talk about the “least productive Congress in history.” 

"If you turn on C-SPAN now, in the United States Senate, you’re more likely to see nothing—nothing is happening. They’re just running out the clock for the latest judge to be confirmed and it has completely turned the Senate into a joke. It’s a silent chamber."


Photo - JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images View in High-Res

    New York Times congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman joins Fresh Air to talk about the “least productive Congress in history.” 

    "If you turn on C-SPAN now, in the United States Senate, you’re more likely to see nothing—nothing is happening. They’re just running out the clock for the latest judge to be confirmed and it has completely turned the Senate into a joke. It’s a silent chamber."

    Photo - JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images

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  1.  Rick Perlstein, author of The invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan spoke to Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies about how Reagan’s stories did not withstand scrutiny: 

"I say that Ronald Reagan could not have survived the age of Google. … He’s telling a story about out-of-control federal bureaucrats and how they even want a tourist paddle wheeler that plies the Mississippi River to get the same kind of fire insurance that commercial ships have, even though this paddle wheeler is this ancient — not a real ship, right? He says, "It has not even had a fire in its entire existence." All I have to do is Google the name of it … and find out that it had a fire two years before he spoke.
He found moral truths in the stories that he told. As people discovered when he was president, they often didn’t withstand scrutiny, but as they also discovered when he was president, it was always hard to make this criticism of Reagan stick. They called him “The Teflon President.” And his ability to make people feel good — to kind of preach this liturgy of absolution in which Americans were noble and pure and could absolve themselves of the responsibility of reckoning with alleged sins in America’s past — that was to me the soul of his appeal.”


Photo:
Ronald Reagan waves to the crowd on the final night of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 19, 1976 in Kansas City, Missouri. By David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
View in High-Res

    Rick Perlstein, author of The invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan spoke to Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies about how Reagan’s stories did not withstand scrutiny: 

    "I say that Ronald Reagan could not have survived the age of Google. … He’s telling a story about out-of-control federal bureaucrats and how they even want a tourist paddle wheeler that plies the Mississippi River to get the same kind of fire insurance that commercial ships have, even though this paddle wheeler is this ancient — not a real ship, right? He says, "It has not even had a fire in its entire existence." All I have to do is Google the name of it … and find out that it had a fire two years before he spoke.

    He found moral truths in the stories that he told. As people discovered when he was president, they often didn’t withstand scrutiny, but as they also discovered when he was president, it was always hard to make this criticism of Reagan stick. They called him “The Teflon President.” And his ability to make people feel good — to kind of preach this liturgy of absolution in which Americans were noble and pure and could absolve themselves of the responsibility of reckoning with alleged sins in America’s past — that was to me the soul of his appeal.”

    Photo:

    Ronald Reagan waves to the crowd on the final night of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 19, 1976 in Kansas City, Missouri. By David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

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  1. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stopped by Fresh Air on her national book tour for her new memoir, Hard Choices.  In the interview Clinton explains how she was treated as an “honorary man” while traveling as Secretary of State:

When you’re a Secretary of State, as [Condoleezza] Rice and Madeleine Albright and I have discussed — it’s perhaps unfortunate, but it’s a fact — that you’re treated as a kind of an honorary man or a unique woman who comes from another place outside of the religion, outside of the culture.
I never ran into any personal problems with that. I had very frank discussions on a full range of issues in a lot of countries where women were denied their rights. But I always raised women’s rights, so it could not be said or assumed by the leader that I was happy with the position of being the “honorary man,” the representative of the government of the United States. And I think you’d hear the same from Condi and Madeleine.
You know full well, your eyes are open, you’re going into this and the reason they’re receiving you — and you don’t have your head covered and, in my case, I’m standing there in a pantsuit and I’m shaking their hand and it’s going to be on the front page of their newspaper — that they see that as an exception.
And I keep trying to demonstrate they can learn from our experience in our country, where over the long history of the United States we keep trying to make a more perfect union, and of course that includes trying to ensure the full participation of women.

Photo: Clinton meets with delegates from an Afghan women’s civil society during an international conference on the future of Afghanistan in 2011 via Human Rights Watch  View in High-Res

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stopped by Fresh Air on her national book tour for her new memoir, Hard Choices.  In the interview Clinton explains how she was treated as an “honorary man” while traveling as Secretary of State:

    When you’re a Secretary of State, as [Condoleezza] Rice and Madeleine Albright and I have discussed — it’s perhaps unfortunate, but it’s a fact — that you’re treated as a kind of an honorary man or a unique woman who comes from another place outside of the religion, outside of the culture.

    I never ran into any personal problems with that. I had very frank discussions on a full range of issues in a lot of countries where women were denied their rights. But I always raised women’s rights, so it could not be said or assumed by the leader that I was happy with the position of being the “honorary man,” the representative of the government of the United States. And I think you’d hear the same from Condi and Madeleine.

    You know full well, your eyes are open, you’re going into this and the reason they’re receiving you — and you don’t have your head covered and, in my case, I’m standing there in a pantsuit and I’m shaking their hand and it’s going to be on the front page of their newspaper — that they see that as an exception.

    And I keep trying to demonstrate they can learn from our experience in our country, where over the long history of the United States we keep trying to make a more perfect union, and of course that includes trying to ensure the full participation of women.

    Photo: Clinton meets with delegates from an Afghan women’s civil society during an international conference on the future of Afghanistan in 2011 via Human Rights Watch 

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  1. Fresh Air’s Dave Davies spoke to New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore about how special interest groups are creating single-party states. Here he explains why funneling money into local and state races can be a better investment for donors: 

Look to Washington and you’ll see that there’s not much happening there. It is ceaseless trench warfare where neither party has an advantage and there’s lots of money and lots of special interests trying to dig in.
What’s different at the state level is that cash can go further if you’re a donor or a special interest. You can put some money into the states and see huge return in the partisan tilt of the government and, therefore, in the policies it pursues. So the return on investment is really quite good. There’s more of a chance to have a one-party situation in the state capitols, where both houses — the assembly and the state senate —and the governor’s office are all controlled by the same party. Once you have that, it’s amazing what a Democratic Party or a GOP in a state can accomplish on policy.



image of the Texas state capitol 

    Fresh Air’s Dave Davies spoke to New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore about how special interest groups are creating single-party states. Here he explains why funneling money into local and state races can be a better investment for donors: 

    Look to Washington and you’ll see that there’s not much happening there. It is ceaseless trench warfare where neither party has an advantage and there’s lots of money and lots of special interests trying to dig in.

    What’s different at the state level is that cash can go further if you’re a donor or a special interest. You can put some money into the states and see huge return in the partisan tilt of the government and, therefore, in the policies it pursues. So the return on investment is really quite good. There’s more of a chance to have a one-party situation in the state capitols, where both houses — the assembly and the state senate —and the governor’s office are all controlled by the same party. Once you have that, it’s amazing what a Democratic Party or a GOP in a state can accomplish on policy.

    image of the Texas state capitol 

  2. fresh air

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    new york times

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  1. New York Times political correspondentJonathan Martin joins Fresh Air to talk about the “civil war” going on in the Republican party and how the internet has made politics more uniform across state lines:

You have to point to the power of technology and the rise of the internet. It really has made the world more connected and changed the way politics happen… The states themselves are no longer islands that are driven by their own quirky traditions and their own culture, it’s a much more homogenous political culture, people, especially the political activists who participate in the primaries, they watch the same channels, they read the same publications online, and they’re driven by similar factors if they’re in Concord, New Hampshire or if they’re in Waterloo, Iowa, and I think that to me is the biggest difference. The walls have come down. People now operate much more uniformly across the country in terms of their political actions.


Read more highlights and hear the full interview here View in High-Res

    New York Times political correspondentJonathan Martin joins Fresh Air to talk about the “civil war” going on in the Republican party and how the internet has made politics more uniform across state lines:

    You have to point to the power of technology and the rise of the internet. It really has made the world more connected and changed the way politics happen… The states themselves are no longer islands that are driven by their own quirky traditions and their own culture, it’s a much more homogenous political culture, people, especially the political activists who participate in the primaries, they watch the same channels, they read the same publications online, and they’re driven by similar factors if they’re in Concord, New Hampshire or if they’re in Waterloo, Iowa, and I think that to me is the biggest difference. The walls have come down. People now operate much more uniformly across the country in terms of their political actions.

    Read more highlights and hear the full interview here

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    interview

    jonathan martin

    new york times

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  1. Tomorrow: News anchor and political commentator Chris Matthews joins us to talk about his book “Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked," and to reflect on his own interview style, as well as his Catholic faith. 
When interviewing Matthews likes to, “race them a little, get them working a little faster than they like to think out loud, so they begin to think just on their feet and they have to answer more impulsively, and that way you can get closer to the truth.”

    Tomorrow: News anchor and political commentator Chris Matthews joins us to talk about his book “Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked," and to reflect on his own interview style, as well as his Catholic faith.

    When interviewing Matthews likes to, “race them a little, get them working a little faster than they like to think out loud, so they begin to think just on their feet and they have to answer more impulsively, and that way you can get closer to the truth.”

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  1. Jonathan Weisman, congressional correspondent for the New York Times talks to us tomorrow about “the underachieving 113th [congress]”:

Terry Gross:  So what did the Congress accomplish so far this session?
Jonathan Weisman:  Almost nothing. This is a remarkable Congress.  The 113th Congress has passed about 13 public laws. By the end of this week maybe there will be a 14th…but right now their rate of passing laws is about half the 112th Congress’s rate, and the 112th racked  up fewer laws than any Congress since World War II, so we are really on pace to have one of the least productive, if not the least productive Congresses in history.”


image via abc news View in High-Res

    Jonathan Weisman, congressional correspondent for the New York Times talks to us tomorrow about “the underachieving 113th [congress]”:

    Terry Gross:  So what did the Congress accomplish so far this session?

    Jonathan Weisman:  Almost nothing. This is a remarkable Congress.  The 113th Congress has passed about 13 public laws. By the end of this week maybe there will be a 14th…but right now their rate of passing laws is about half the 112th Congress’s rate, and the 112th racked  up fewer laws than any Congress since World War II, so we are really on pace to have one of the least productive, if not the least productive Congresses in history.”

    image via abc news

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    new york times

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  1. Chris Hayes tells Terry Gross about how the last decade affected his politics:

My disposition as a human being is kind of a go-along-to-get-along person. I tend to trust authority. I tend to think people in charge broadly know what they’re doing, don’t lie to you, aren’t going start wars for no reason and, you know watching Iraq happen and then watching the financial crisis happen and then Katrina in the middle of that, you know, you turn around and, you think, ‘Wait a second: No one is on top of anything. Who the heck is in charge here? These people who say that they know what they’re doing don’t know what they’re doing. I’m not going to trust them the next time they tell me they know what they’re doing.’ It’s a radically unmooring feeling to recognize that people that you just figured kind of had it under control don’t have it under control and might be totally incompetent or completely corrupt or totally self-dealing.

Image of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina by greenmanowar

    Chris Hayes tells Terry Gross about how the last decade affected his politics:

    My disposition as a human being is kind of a go-along-to-get-along person. I tend to trust authority. I tend to think people in charge broadly know what they’re doing, don’t lie to you, aren’t going start wars for no reason and, you know watching Iraq happen and then watching the financial crisis happen and then Katrina in the middle of that, you know, you turn around and, you think, ‘Wait a second: No one is on top of anything. Who the heck is in charge here? These people who say that they know what they’re doing don’t know what they’re doing. I’m not going to trust them the next time they tell me they know what they’re doing.’ It’s a radically unmooring feeling to recognize that people that you just figured kind of had it under control don’t have it under control and might be totally incompetent or completely corrupt or totally self-dealing.

    Image of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina by greenmanowar

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  1. theatlantic:

    2 Stunning Photos of Senator Daniel Inouye’s Casket Lying in State

    [Image: Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

  2. Daniel Inouye

    The Atlantic

    politics

  1. There is probably no politican of any competence whatsoever who isn’t good at that because that’s in fact what politics is. It’s not about purity. It’s about compromise and strategy and making things actually happen in real time on this earth as opposed to a metaphysical realm.

    — Tony Kushner on Lincoln’s political savvy and what it takes to be a good politician

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