Cover art for podcast My History Can Beat Up Your Politics

My History Can Beat Up Your Politics

193 EpisodesProduced by Bruce CarlsonWebsite

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

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The Cabinet, George Washington's Creation, with Lindsay M. Chervinsky

May 26th, 2020


George Washington did not get a Cabinet as President. He created it. His precedents forged the institution and the President's relationship to the Executive Departments. Washington didn't fire a cabinet member, but he …

What The Great Depression Felt Like, And Other Things

May 17th, 2020


What caused The Great Depression, did FDR do anything to fix it, and how does it compare to our recent recessions? A 2008 cast that holds up …

History's Nine Most Insane Rulers w Scott Rank of "History Unplugged" Podcast

May 12th, 2020


We talk about Idi Amin, Kim Jong-il and other despots with Scott Rank of History Unplugged Podcast.  He joins us to talk about his book History's …

Kent State: After the Bullets

May 3rd, 2020


We know that on May 4th, 1970, fifty years ago, four students were killed by the National Guard at Kent State in Ohio.  What is not always known is everything that happened after that.  Opinion wasn't universally with …

Measure Everything: Ark of Commerce Part 5

April 19th, 2020


An unknown man in a forgotten office develops a number that makes and breaks Presidents. A poet turns his song towards a metal object. Two 19th century men tire themselves out making machines They can't know their work …

Make It Stop: When Commerce Stopped (Ark of Commerce Part 4 Replay)

April 18th, 2020


When we aired this last year, the topic of commerce shutting down did not seem timely.  Thus a re-run of our fourth of a series on American commerce, a look at three instances of when U.S. commerce was stopped seems …

Truman, the Marshall Plan and the 1948 Election w/ A.J. Baime

April 2nd, 2020


A look at Truman,, the Marshall Plan and the 1948 Election.  Why Truman thought he won, and why his opponent Dewey thought he ended up losing.   How …

Stop Carter: A Story of 1976 Politics

March 23rd, 2020


The last-minute bid of California Governor Jerry Brown to unseat Jimmy Carter's nomination raised a lot of questions about politics that are still …

Swan Events: Democratic Debates, COVID19 and Other Topics w/ Chris Novembrino of Don't Worry About the Government Podcast

March 15th, 2020


Big discussion with Chris Novembrino of Don't Worry About the Government Podcast.  The Democratic campaign started with over 20 people but ended up in a retro pattern of two candidates by March, a virus has entered …

American Epidemic: Philadelphia's Yellow Fever of 1793

March 12th, 2020


Five thousand people died in Philadelphia, then the capital of the United States in just a few months.  Between August and November of 1793.  …

The Spanish Flu of 1918 and Its Aftermath - Conversation with Laura Spinney

March 2nd, 2020


We speak with Laura Spinney, science journalist and author of "Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World" and discuss the …

Disco Demolition and The First South Carolina Primary

February 23rd, 2020


A look at the first South Carolina primary in 1980 and its intended role at the time as a firewall for conservative politics. We also look at how …

Washington and The Bill of Rights: A Mystery

February 15th, 2020


George Washington was highly influential in constructing a Constitution, but less so when it comes to the Bill of Rights. A few of them he even found unnecessary. We just don't know which ones.

We talk about …

Iowa, Impeachment and the Universe

February 2nd, 2020


A stubborn impeached governor, odd caucus locations, real estate and politics. Bruce talks about the Iowa Caucus, how it works, changes in 2020, its …

The 25th Amendment, Section Four Explained, w/ Brian C. Kalt

January 21st, 2020


The Constitution contains two possible forms of presidential removal outside of election, one is the much-discussed impeachment process. The other is the 25th Amendment's fourth section. We discuss 25 Section 4 with …

Eyewitness to Kent State Shootings: Paula Stone Tucker

January 8th, 2020


The May 4, 1970 shootings at Kent State killed 4 students and wounded 9. Paula Stone Tucker was a student going through her work and studies on …

Unfriending From Jefferson and Adams, to today

January 1st, 2020


A look at the famous series of letters between Jefferson and Adams.  Friends as young diplomats, they 'unfriended' and 'refriended' from the time of …

Mister 22 and Mister 24: Grover Cleveland

January 1st, 2020


A look at Grover Cleveland, the only president in American history to serve two non-consecutive terms in office.

Impeachment - Conversation with David Priess and Bruce Carlson

December 2nd, 2019


It's all of those things.  Conversation with David Priess, MHCBUYP listener, COO of Lawfare, Author of several books - about impeachment and the decision to impeach, and the many sides to this question from Tyler to …

A World Disrupted - Interview w/ Charles Emmerson, Author of "Crucible - The Long End of the Great War and the Birth of a New World, 1917-1924"

December 2nd, 2019


The years from 1917 to 1924 are fractured yet formative for the world. After a terrible war, Germany, Russia and Ukraine are forever changed. New movements and scientific developments occur. We speak with Charles …

You Break Everybody's Back Part II: The 1988 Election

November 16th, 2019


Attack videos, apology tours, inoculation ads, presidential circles and glib phrases make up the scuttle for the Presidential race in 1988.  Part II …

You Break Everybody's Back: The 1988 Election - Part One

November 15th, 2019


The quote from Atwater sums up the race 31 years ago nicely. Gephardt eyes a rusty belt. Dole proto-snarks, Jackson thunders, Biden runs a post …

A Deep Dive into The Emancipation Proclamation

November 14th, 2019


What was the true function of the Proclamation and the context surrounding it?  How did people react at this time?   

Music from Chris Zabriskie, Chris Novembrino and Lee Rosevere on this episode. 

Switching VIces

November 11th, 2019


We look at vice presidential and vice presidential candidate switches throughout history.  And we speculate if a tactic last used in 1976 might find …

Butterfield: Nixon’s Watergate Frenemy

November 5th, 2019


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.   …

Stop Talking About Momentum: The Race for President 1984

October 22nd, 2019


It wasn't supposed to be a race.  Gary Hart, Walter Mondale, Jesse Jackson, John Glenn battle to take on Ronald Reagan in 1984.  As do some other candidates.  We look at the race that year and mine it for any insights …

The Mystery of Impeachment - How it Works, What Happened in 1868 and More

October 20th, 2019


Savior or scoundrel?  We look at the case of one of the most celebrated heroes of Presidential impeachment.  And in the course of that - we look at the  Chase, Clinton and Johnson precedents for attempted impeachment, …

Beam Me Up: The James Traficant Story w/ Alex Hastie of The Ohio v. The World Podcast

October 20th, 2019


We discuss the life and career of Youngstown, Ohio congressman James Traficant with Alex Hastie of Ohio v. The World Podcast. We rerun part of the episode from his podcast.   We hear from Eric Murphy, director of the …

Small Money and Big Hope / Dasher's Run

October 11th, 2019


A bit about small money donors in history, and about Jimmy Carter's (Code name Dasher) 1976 run.  A rebroadcast of an episode that seems apt as another campaign begins.  

Why is There an Electoral College?

September 24th, 2019


A look at the Senator who tried to end the Electoral College and the original reasons for it.  It has as much to do with 1969 as it does with 1787

Brexit, Boris and UK and Irish Politics w/ Steven Byrne from What am Politics

August 31st, 2019


We talk about the new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brexit, and Irish politics with Steven Byrne of What Am Politics Podcast.

How to Rank The Presidents, with Susan Swain and Brian Lamb of C-SPAN

July 24th, 2019


With C-SPAN's Susan Swain and Brian Lamb we talk Theodore Roosevelt and LBJ.  And we discuss their book The Presidents, and the unique ranking system they use to assess and order America's POTUSes.  e also talk abut …

The History of the Federal Reserve

June 18th, 2019


A Brief history of the Federal Reserve. 

The Ark of Commerce Part IV: Make It Stop

May 23rd, 2019


In our fourth of a series on American commerce, a look at three instances of when U.S. commerce was stopped, for a variety of reasons - from an offensive war effort, to a bid for peace, to a management of peacetime.  …

Sedition, Presidents and the Press

May 1st, 2019


From John Adams and the Alien Sedition Act, Lincoln's rage and FDR's giggling sidekicks, from JFK's light warnings to Trump and the press as the …

Surprising Facts About Accidental Presidents - Interview w Jared Cohen

April 19th, 2019


Surprising facts about the presidencies of John Tyler, JFK, LBJ, Chester Arthur and Millard Fillmore from Jared Cohen, author of Accidental Presidents, Eight Men Who Changed America. From Tyler's Grandkids, Arthur's …

The Myth of "The Founding Fathers Said..This or That!"

March 19th, 2019


In this episode we look at the concept of "Founding Fathers."  It's not a term common to use on this podcast, but it's not without any meaning either.  We look at the early Americans that helped to 'found' the nation. …

Woodrow Wilson Has No Friends: Wilson, His Politics and His Image Today with Patricia O'Toole

March 18th, 2019


Or so it seems these days.  Liberals, conservatives, anti-globalists, Fed haters, socialists, libertarians all have a bone to pick with him.  how …

The Slaughter Could Not Be Ignored -

March 15th, 2019


Rerun from 2013, but obviously seems very relevant now.  A look at this attempt at a single, fix it amendment, to get over a reluctant President, …

You Don't Know About Franklin Pierce

February 28th, 2019


The 14th President is among the most unknown, as he was when he won in a surprising election.  Yet he started with great promise.  Youthful, regal in …

LBJ 's Cell Phone and His Decision to Jump on the Ticket in 1960

February 20th, 2019


In answering a question about JFK's health and its role in Lyndon Johnson's decision to accept the Vice Presidency, Bruce takes a look at the people …

Nixon in Full

February 20th, 2019


A look at the life and career of Richard Nixon, from childhood to Presidency, originally aired in 2014 as 'Get Your Nixon On' This title feels more descriptive.  I don't know whether time has changed this cast, or if …

Interview with Sidney Blumenthal - Putting Lincoln in a Political Context, Stephen Douglas, Jefferson Davis, The Whigs and More

February 12th, 2019


We are joined by the author of Wrestling With His Angel: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln  Vol II, Sidney Blumenthal.  In this cast, he talks …

Etiquette and Social Media: Where are Our Manners? Social Etiquette from Ben Franklin to Dale Carnegie to Today, w Jessica Weisberg

February 1st, 2019


Jessica Weisberg has traced Ben Franklin's early advice-writing, read the "Lord Chesterfield" letters that early Americans read to learn how to act, attended Dale Carnegie workshops and spoke with Miss Manners all in a …

28 Minutes

February 1st, 2019


Carter Ford '76, and the Presidential debate snafu that lead to an unplanned moment of silence.  

Skokie, Neo-Nazis and Free Speech

January 16th, 2019


In the wake of the events of Charlottesville, a look at the Neo Nazi rally in Skokie, IL in 1977 and the resulting Supreme Court Case and the ACLU's …

Dueling -The Bad Side and The Secret Good Side to a Tragic American Practice

January 9th, 2019


The Two Hamiltons, and other Americans lost to the practice of dueling.  We explain what dueling is and what dueling is not and explore the issues around a practice that was common, if somewhat illicit in the time of …

Elvis Meets Nixon - The Insider Story

January 7th, 2019


A look at a frenetic day at the Nixon White House.  

The Shays Rebellion and Its Implications

January 5th, 2019


The history behind a rebellion against a state of the new United States, why it happened, its impact on our Constitution, and what it means today.   From a 2014 cast, but it's been a while. 

Our sponsor is Warby Parker …

Rules of Political Debate: Godwin's Law is Not a Law

January 2nd, 2019


Godwin's Law is Not a Law.  And yet, it probably should be followed in most cases.  (re-do of past episode that contained an error).  The surprising …

Investigating the Executive Branch: The Trial of Thomas Jefferson, Governor

January 2nd, 2019


"Public offices are, what they should be, burdens to those appointed to them which it would be wrong to decline, though foreseen to bring with them …

Economy and Jobs: Debunking "The Good Old Days" Argument with Gregg Easterbrook

January 1st, 2019


Was the past better?  Were the "Good Old Days" really all they are chalked up to be?   Gregg Easterbrook, author of It's Better Than it Looks: …

Searching for Eisenhower: Ike on War, Civil Rights, Big Government and Political Moderation (with William Hitchcock)

January 1st, 2019


We discuss all things Ike with William Hitchcock - author of "The Age of Eisenhower."  We talk about how President Eisenhower was a surprisingly good …

The Ark of Commerce, Part III: Loco

December 29th, 2018


A mysterious crash.  A strange contraption.  A fateful race, an outbreak of violent activity and a crafty watch-seller.  A look at the railroad …

LBJ and The Creation of Medicare - 50 Years Ago

December 28th, 2018


50 years ago, Medicare was created and some of it was recorded. We'll look at the original conversations that demonstrate LBJ's work on the bill, and compare the enactment of Medicare to the Affordable Care Act. And …

The Ark of Commerce, Part II: Two If By Sea

December 28th, 2018


A unique boat is built to overcome a powerful challenge in interstate water commerce.  a revolution is fed by fish.  A writer turns commerce into …

The Ark of Commerce - Part I: Crash Party

December 27th, 2018


In this look at American commercial history we discuss the Black Thursday Stock market crash, the early career of Thomas Edison, how a popular game …

The Craziest Speaker of The House Election, Indian Removal Petitions and Other Thoughts

December 25th, 2018


A few questions, some from an older cast that now bears repeating in the wake of a new speaker election, and others from the premium channel now …

Saturday Night Nixon: The Firing That Sealed Watergate

December 17th, 2018


The Saturday Night Massacre was the name given to the triple firing of a special prosecutor investigating President Nixon, the AG and the deputy AG on the same night in 1973. After the firing of the FBI Director by …

Twenty-Fifth Amendment: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the 25th Amendment, But Were Afraid to Ask.

December 11th, 2018


Chester Arthur's dilemma.  Woodrow Wilson's secret.  Robert Kennedy's concern.  The Framers of the Constitution and the unnerving though of a disabled President.  A look at the history of Presidential Succession, from …

George H.W. Bush, 03 30 81

December 2nd, 2018


We take a look at one day in the life and career of President George H.W. Bush - not in his presidency but in his vice-presidency.  That day revealed his leadership style and set future precedents, perhaps.  March 30, …

I Am James Buchanan

November 21st, 2018


He's the President that is on the bottom of most lists.  But why?  And is it fair?  What did he think about his place in history?  We talk about POTUS 15 and look at the events of the run-up to the American Civil War, …

Presidents After Midterms with Matt K. Lewis

November 20th, 2018


Bruce and Daily Beast/CNN correspondent Matt K. Lewis talk about midterms, and Presidents post midterms.  Bruce tells a story about Lincoln that he …

David Priess on the Realities of Impeachment and the History of Presidential Removal

November 14th, 2018


We are joined today by David Priess, former CIA intelligence officer and author about his new book on the history and the realities of impeachment, and the 25th, what people think it is, and what has really happened in …

Introducing: The City

November 5th, 2018


The City tells true stories of how power works in urban America. Season 1 begins in Chicago, 1990.

 After years of disinvestment, highways are …

Posse Comitatus and Billy The Kid

November 4th, 2018


A law that may have given Billy The Kid a few more months of life, long enough to build a legend is still a part of today's politics.  The rich …

Valley Forge Myth and Reality - Interview with Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, Authors of Valley Forge

October 21st, 2018


Separating truth from lore about what is perhaps the most important moment of American Independence, along with authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin.  A very different Valley Forge emerges than the one in the textbooks.  An …

Thomas Paine, Common Sense and The American Mind

October 16th, 2018


A look at one of America's earliest blockbusters, the little book that changed American minds: Common Sense, its author Thomas Paine, the impact it had at the time and what it might mean today. We also examine the …

About That Court-Packing Idea. SCOTUS Discussion Part II w/ Chris Novembrino

October 16th, 2018


With some fringe talk about adding members to the court, a look FDR's court-packing scheme of 1937, why it failed and why it is a cautionary tale of …

SCOTUS Discussion Kavanaugh, Abe Fortas, Nixon and LBJ - w Chris Novembrino Part I

October 11th, 2018


The Kavanaugh nomination and a bit of Supreme Court nomination history.  A discussion and at times debate with Chris Novembrino of Don't Worry About the Government podcast.  This one does get a bit opinionated. 


Healthcare: Doctor Nixon, President Nixon on Healthcare

September 18th, 2018


The views of the 37th President on healthcare, his reaction to Clinton's healthcare plan and his own 1974 healthcare plan.  Also: Nixon on Ike and Reagan. 

Republic vs. Democracy: Radical Revolution - The Pennsylvania Radicals and the State Constitution of 1776

September 8th, 2018


The Pennsylvania State Constitution of 1776, born in the fever of the signing of the Declaration and the radicalization of the city of Philadelphia expanded the rights of many but turned off a great many of those who …

Presidential Scandals: Watergate, Whiskey Ring and Others

September 3rd, 2018


All about Presidential Scandals.  From how Watergate may have seemed like in 1972 on Election night, to Grant and Carter's troublesome friends, to the Iran Contra story, we look at White House mess-ups and election …

Midterms: They Don't Always Work Out Badly for Presidents (But Mostly They Do)

August 6th, 2018


In the past 100 years, over 80% of the first term midterms went badly for Presidents, and their party lost seats.   But in a few cases they did not.  …

Statue Removal: National Valhalla: Statues, Confederates, Slaveowners, Washington, Trump, Memory and Time

August 3rd, 2018


From the early attempts to depict Washington, to the first Congressional attempts to block Confederate statues, to today's debate.  In this episode Bruce examines the history behind statues in America, and Bruce looks …

Protests: The Whole World is Watching - Chicago 1968

August 1st, 2018


In the wake of Occupy Movements, we took a look at what happened at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968.  

Presidential Scandal: Watergate, Whitewater, and The Rich Texture of Presidential Scandal w/ Leon Neyfakh of The 'Slow Burn' Podcast

August 1st, 2018


With Leon Neyfakh of The 'Slow Burn' Podcast, now in its Season 2,  (make sure to subscribe) we take a look at Presidential scandals and investigations including Watergate, Whitewater, the Travel Office snafu during the …

War: 1983 and How Close We Came to Nuclear War w/ Marc Ambinder

July 29th, 2018


Examining the moment in 1983 when nuclear war was possible with new research and stories from the Soviet side.  How close did we come to war?  And …

RFK Anniversary: Chris Matthews on Bobby Kennedy and the Missing Element in Today's Politics

July 28th, 2018


Chris Matthews of Hardball joins the program!! He has just finished his book Bobby Kennedy - A Raging Spirit.  Chris talks about RFK and how his history and childhood, and his relationship with Joe Kennedy Senior that …

Tariffs: Smoot - The Man Behind the Tariff

July 28th, 2018


You may know his tariff, but not him.  A look at the man behind the Smoot-Hawley Tariff.  Reed Smoot, Senator from Utah.  His history, his politics, …

Economy and Jobs: Dark Side of Booms Part 2: Wild Times in the North Dakota Bakken Fields w/ Maya Rao

July 22nd, 2018


All about the Bakken oil region of North Dakota and the recent boom.  Fast money and fast growth in a state that had peaked in the 1930's High volume …

Gerrymandering: Gerry and His "Mander" (from 2013, with an Update on Gerrymandering Supreme Court case)

July 18th, 2018


Elbridge Gerry lent his name to a tricky political maneuver.  Not that he wanted to, or perhaps, deserved it.  With gerrymandering of congressional …

Russia: Everything You Know About The Russian Revolution is Wrong - Russian Journalist Mikhail Zygar on 1917, History, Putin, Democracy and More

July 18th, 2018


Crushing myths about the 1917 Russian Revolution that both Russians and Americans still get from Soviet textbooks.  Understanding that is the key to …

Good Economic Times: The Dark Side of Booms: The 1920s

July 17th, 2018


Are economic good times always good?  A look at the 1920's and the other side of booming economic times.  This episode was recorded in 2014. 

Soccer and Repression: 1978 and the World Cup in Argentina

July 8th, 2018


The story of the 1978 World Cup, a cautionary tale about democracy.  The world spotlight on the junta that controlled Argentina that year helped …

Democracy: The Life, and Hopefully Not Death, of Democracy - A Conversation w/ Dr. Paul Cartledge

June 25th, 2018


We speak often of Democracy, but do we really know what it is?  We point to Athens as an example.  But what was Greek Democracy really like?  A …

Tariffs: Taft Walks Away - The Payne-Aldrich Tariff of 1909

June 10th, 2018


Taft fails in trying to lower tariffs, setting up his successor to do it.  In frustration, he walks away from the White House.  Meanwhile, his …

Generations and Politics: I Was Born in 1869: A Look at a Generation

June 6th, 2018


A generation defined by a technology that shook off the yoke of their parent's Civil War and took on the world, and took over the country by the turn …

Infrastructure: The Bad Side and Good Side of Infrastructure - Robert Moses and Other Tales with Greg Young of the Bowery Boys NYC Podcast

May 31st, 2018


Is infrastructure always good?  We talk with Greg Young of the Very Popular "Bowery Boys NYC" podcast, about infrastructure.  In particular the story …

US Intelligence Services: The Secret Intelligence of All The President's Men: Interview with David Priess on CIA Briefings, History, Trump, Mueller and More

May 14th, 2018


We speak once again to David Priess, former CIA Briefer and the author of The President's Book of Secrets.  While last time we spoke mostly about Presidents and intelligence, this time we get into the other people who …

Hungover at the Gettysburg Address, Fun with County Election Results, a 13th Reagan We Didn't Discuss? And More..

May 13th, 2018


Counties and the role they play in the election.  How they are over hyped in some memes but yet can provide some purpose as well.   Also in this …

Rigged Elections: That Time the DNC Rigged a Nomination

April 26th, 2018


A look at 1944 and how intrigue, manipulation, misrepresentation, a few martinis, a song, an axe, and a finger in the page of a book changed the …

Movies and Politics: Writing History With Lightning: The Controversial Mix of Movies and Politics and History

April 1st, 2018


from D.W. Griffith to today, we look at the controversial use of movies and film in politics.  And how using video instead of argument may be …

America and Rome: w/ Mike Duncan

April 1st, 2018


Populism, Corruption, Citizenship and Immigration.  Rome struggled with these issues in its Republic phase.  Bruce is joined by Mike Duncan, host of …

Political Alignments: Archie and Meathead America - w/ Chris Novembrino

March 21st, 2018


 We are joined by Chris Novembrino of The All in the Family Podcast and also Don't Worry About the Government Podcast.  We discuss All in the Family …

Presidential Power: Democracy's Diet? The Two-Term Presidential Limit of the 22nd Amendment

February 27th, 2018


With the leader of China erasing that country's 2 term limit, we are taking a look back at the 2 term presidential limit in the United States, how recent it is and whether it's a good thing.  This episode is from 2012.  

U.S.-Mexico Relations w/ Bob Crawford and Ben Sawyer of "The Road to Now " Podcast Live in Mexico

February 24th, 2018


The Mexican War, current U.S. politics, Mexican history are all topics Bruce joins Bob Crawford of the Avett Brothers and Dr. Benjamin Sawyer of …

Where's Reagan? Reagan in Our Politics Today - The Final of the Dozen Ronald Reagans Series - Episode Twelve

January 22nd, 2018


Where does Reagan fit into politics today?  Would he fit in the modern GOP?  Or somewhere else.  Can you compare and contrast Reagan and Trump in any …

Did Reagan Win the Cold War? A Dozen Ronald Reagans - Episode Eleven

January 21st, 2018


Did Gorbachev?  Did anyone?  Starting with the Reykjavik Summit of 1986 and a fly on the wall view of the events there, we look at the pro-Reagan and …

Year of the Missile: Reagan's First Term Cold War Steps - A Dozen Ronald Reagans, Part 10

January 20th, 2018


It's 1983 and the world is scared.  In answering the question of Reagan's credit for "winning the Cold War." it's necessary to break up the …

Shockwave 1981 - A Dozen Ronald Reagans Part Nine

January 11th, 2018


An Election Changes Everything...A Secretary of State Loses Favor with the White House...A President Defies Norms...Secretaries Make Shocking …

White House on Fire: Iran Contra - A Dozen Ronald Reagans Part 8 -REPLAY

January 9th, 2018


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 …

Reformation: Tax Reform , Immigration, S&Ls - A Dozen Ronald Reagans - Part Seven

January 6th, 2018


Reagan is not often seen as a reformer but in many cases, there were massive shifts on domestic policy in the 1980s and not all of them were to the …

Hands Across America:: A Dozen Ronald Reagans Part Six - REPLAY

January 4th, 2018


Homelessness, education, healthcare and other domestic issues under constant evaluation during the time of the Reagan Presidency. We look at the …

That "Other Part" of The Declaration of Independence: The Grievances and What They Say About Executive Power, Immigration, and Other Issues

January 1st, 2018


We know about the first half of the Declaration of Independence and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But the Declaration also contains a listing of facts submitted to a "candid world" detailing what was wrong …

Witches' Brew: Central America, Lebanon, Poland - A Dozen Ronald Reagans: Part Four

December 31st, 2017


James Baker called Reagan's foreign policy "a witches' brew." In one country, a longshot try for peace. In others, alliances with warmakers. In one …

Rubik's Cube: Two Reagan Mysteries Solved - A Dozen Ronald Reagans: Part Three -

December 29th, 2017


We seek to solve two puzzles: How did Reagan the Truman booster become Reagan the Goldwater acolyte? And when he entered politics, became GOP nominee …

A Taxing Second Year - A Dozen Ronald Reagans Part Two

December 26th, 2017


1982 doesn't go as well for Ronald Reagan as 1981 did.  Recession hits, a recession that challenges cuts of the previous year.  Compromises, new taxes, the reality of deficits hit hard.  David Stockman, the chief budget …

Rawhide is OK - First of Our Series on a 'Dozen Ronald Reagans' -REPLAY

December 23rd, 2017


Replay from 2016 as we prepare the last three eps in January. 

First in our series on Ronald Reagan that will have twelve episodes. The Presidency we discuss almost didn't happen. A look at the attempt on Reagan's life, …

Charles I, Monarchy and Mobs, 1640's Fake News and War on Christmas w/ Leanda de Lisle, Author of The White King

December 17th, 2017


Charles I of England was executed after losing the English Civil War to Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentary Forces. We take a look at his struggle with author Leanda de Lisle.  In her book, The White King, she …

Star-Spangled Banner History and Special Fundraiser Episode

December 6th, 2017


A bit of history about America's national anthem, and a special offer for the Premium Extra podcast - extra archive episodes for membership levels.  

Lincoln Faces a Blue Tsunami: The 1862 Midterm

November 21st, 2017


A look at Lincoln's first midterm, and the troubles he faced in trying to hold on to Congress in the midst of a war and an energized base in the …

William McKinley Got Us Here: Interview with Robert W. Merry about POTUS 25, American Expansion, Income Taxes, Presidents and Press and More

November 15th, 2017


He's more than the President that was shot in office, more than just the guy before Teddy Roosevelt.  And he wasn't handled by anyone.  William McKinley set in motion the America that we have now.  His views on …

Bruce Takes Twenty Questions on History and Politics

November 9th, 2017


Early colonial income tax, Pardons, Third parties.    Herbert Hoover.  The Grand Old Democratic Party?  Mexico's contribution to WW2.  The ERA, DNC …

President by Accident: Truman, Atomic Warfare, Russians and Trump w/ A.J. Baime

October 17th, 2017


In a day everything changed and a new President inhabited the chair in the White House.  The country and the world were anxious.  Russia and Asia …

Patrick Henry, Underrated Founder - Interview with Jon Kukla

September 5th, 2017


He was essential to the colonial resistance to the Stamp Act.  He was the bulwark of the American Revolution in Virginia.  He raised troops and …

The Split on The Left of Politics and Why it Matters, w/ Chris Novembrino

August 22nd, 2017


While so much attention is focused on splits in the GOP, there is a gaping split on the left that while, perhaps not large, is important to …

Elvis Presley and America

August 15th, 2017


On the 40th Anniversary of the rock star's death, We talk to Bob Crawford and Dr. Ben Sawyer of The Road to Now Podcast about the day Elvis died in …

Avoiding War Between the U.S. and China: Interview with Dr. Graham Allison of Harvard Kennedy School

August 9th, 2017


We discuss the "Thucydides's Trap" n this cast with Dr. Graham Allison, who has advised Defense Secretaries from the Reagan to the Obama Administrations.  He is the author of Destined for War: America, China, and …

Written Out of History? Robert Yates, Luther Martin, Mercy Otis Warren

August 1st, 2017


James Otis, Robert Yates and Mercy Otis Warren are not names that roll off the tongue, but they did make important contributions to Constitutional …

Charleston 1860 and Secession: Interview with Paul Starobin

July 22nd, 2017


Polarized politics, fear, a media with intent to inflame and make its owners famous, no budging on either side, confidence and even mania - that's …

John Jay's Horse , George Washington's Mill and the Emoluments Clause

July 8th, 2017


A trip to Mount Vernon through the eyes of visitors, and an examination of some old documents, provides rich insight into today's debate over the The …

Now on the Premium Podcast: Ford's Short and Difficult Tenure as VP, Plus Carlson Interview with DWATG Podcast

July 5th, 2017


Ford became the first Vice President to be appointed as a result of the 25th amendment, and his eight month long tenure as VP occurred during the …

Interview with Kevin Lacz, Decorated Navy SEAL and Star of "American Sniper"

June 23rd, 2017


In this episode, I interview decorated Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" Star Kevin Lacz. He is he author of THE LAST PUNISHER, A Seal Team Three Sniper's True Account of the Battle of Ramadi.  He served with Chris Kyle, …

Listener Questions June 2017 - The Unknown Noble, British History, Veeps, States from States and Textualism

June 21st, 2017


A French nobleman whose face adorns Congress never knew America.  But it's OK, most Americans don't know him.  We talk about Simon de Montfort.  We also talk about making new states, and textualism and Joe Biden.  Bruce …

Lincoln Over Easy: The Creation of a President's Image

May 20th, 2017


How does history create a Presidential image?  We try to answer this with a look at how Lincoln became an image.  Not only were historians involved …

Explaining Brexit and The U.K Election to Americans – Conversation with Stephen Byrne of WhatAmPolitics Podcast

May 16th, 2017


In this episode, we go ‘across the pond’ and think about politics, with our special guest Stephen Byrne from WhatAmPolitics Podcast, a listener to …

JFK at 100 – Searching for The True Kennedy (Interview with Thomas Oliphant)

May 9th, 2017


Will the real JFK please stand up.   What image should we have today of the 35th President.  Our interview with author and Boston Globe reporter …

Shockwave – A President Upends Politics in 1981 - Part Nine, A Dozen Ronald Reagans

May 2nd, 2017


A tremendous upheaval in politics occurred with a new President influenced by new media and speaking new political language, with a willingness to …

Bringing Texty Back? Gorsuch, Scalia, Hugo Black and the Words of Law

April 13th, 2017


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 …

The President’s Book of Secrets: Interview with David Priess

April 2nd, 2017


Presidents and Intelligence, from Kennedy to Trump.  With a particular focus on the PDB or the Presidents Daily Briefing with Dr. David Priess, the …

All Politics is Social - and Other Observations About The New Politics of 2017

March 27th, 2017


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. …

Labor Unions in Five Angles

March 16th, 2017


A look at labor unions from their historical beginnings and their height in the 30s to 60s to today.  

The Budget: Path of Extravagance?

March 14th, 2017


When congressmen complained about the size of the budget reaching a billion dollars for the first time, a Speaker of the House snarled - It's a …

The Dark Side of Rights

March 12th, 2017


It's always assumed that rights are a good, but as Bruce discusses in this cast, a replay of one of the most popular My History Can Beat Up Your …

Four Stories of #Resistance

March 11th, 2017


Looking at the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Freedom Summer, Mothers of the Disappeared and the American Revolution, we look at change, from despair to …

That Time When a Presidential Candidate Actually Was Bugged

March 4th, 2017


…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 …

Alcatraz: The American Indian Movement

February 21st, 2017


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 …

Interview w/ John Avlon, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast, Author of Washington’s Farewell

February 13th, 2017


George Washington is a distant figure.  Sometimes, because of the distance in time, he appears too ancient to influence America’s debates today.  But …

The First Hundred Days from Wilson to Trump

February 5th, 2017


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 …

How Mandates Were Invented

January 30th, 2017


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 …

Now on the Premium Cast: Thomas Eagleton and George McGovern 1972 More to the Story

January 28th, 2017


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 …

The Census - The Original Big Data

January 26th, 2017


Despite a tendency towards state action and small actions at the general level, even the early American government knew that data - seeking would …

The Power to Pardon

January 16th, 2017


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 …

The (Very Few) Rejected Cabinet Choices

January 11th, 2017


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? …

Fib That American President Creates Jobs

December 1st, 2016


Based on a new book by Bruce, a look at the myth that the President creates jobs, from Monroe to Kennedy to Trump

The 2016 Election, Taken with a Swig of History

November 10th, 2016


A look at the election of 1916, also a surprise to supposed-President Hughes.  And about 2016, how close all of us were and how far away, and what happens now.  

Bruce Carlson Interviewed on the Road to Now

November 7th, 2016


An interview with Ben and Bob (who turned out to be a fellow college grad of mine) of the excellent Road to Now podcast we discuss all sorts of …

The Real Story of the 1948 Election

November 1st, 2016


Was it a comeback, really, or did the polls just get what was going on wrong.  Days before the 2016 election, we looked at this question.

The History of Vice Presidential Debates

October 14th, 2016


From the first VP debate in 1976 to now, a look at the No. 2's and how their one big campaign moment can change things, or not.

Navy Blue Nixon and Other Stories

October 13th, 2016


The history of 2nd debates in American History.  Often this is where the action happens. In 1960, it changed the election campaign even if no one noticed.  

All That Stuff That Happens Before the Debate

October 6th, 2016


From negotiations, to locations, to dress - everything in a Presidential debate matters.  Why wouldn't it, when it was felt by many that the first …

1884: A Very Unpleasant Election - Cleveland vs. Blaine

October 2nd, 2016


Two candidates.  Both disliked by their parties.  Not loved by voters.  One maybe slightly better than the other.  Until a scandal breaks, making the election a squeaker.  

5 Factors for Trump, 5 Factors for Clinton

October 1st, 2016


Looking at historical trends for both sides of the election, Bruce finds five for Hillary, but also five for Trump and tells a story about how …

Walter Jenkins and the 1964 Election

September 29th, 2016


The October Surprise scandal that could have been, but almost brought down LBJ.  What it says about history and today. 

From Dump the Hump to Near Victory: The Final Days of 1968

September 15th, 2016


The wild last days of one of the closest elections ever.  


September 14th, 2016


The final speech of a candidate throughout history.  It's usually a smooth process, but sometimes there's a story.  

White House on Fire: Iran-Contra – A Dozen Ronald Reagans – Part Eight

September 12th, 2016


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 …

Reformation - Tax Reform , Immigration A Dozen Ronald Reagans - Part Seven

September 10th, 2016


Reagan is not often seen as a reformer but in many cases, there were massive shifts on domestic policy in the 1980s and not all of them were to the …

Hands Across America - A Dozen Ronald Reagans Part Six

September 9th, 2016


Homelessness, education, healthcare and other domestic issues under constant evaluation during the time of the Reagan Presidency.  We look at the …

A Dozen Ronald Reagans: Part Four - Witches' Brew

September 8th, 2016


James Baker called Reagan's foreign policy a witches brew.    In one country, a longshot try for peace.  In others, alliances with warmakers.  In one …

A Dozen Ronald Reagans: Part Three - Rubik's Cube

September 7th, 2016


We seek to solve two puzzles:  How did Reagan the Truman booster become Reagan the Goldwater acolyte?   And when he entered politics, became GOP …

A Dozen Ronald Reagans: Part Two - A Taxing Second Year

September 6th, 2016


Reagan's second year was much harder than the first - a look at 1982 and the compromises Reagan had to make, a midterm election and more.

A Dozen Ronald Reagans: Part One - Rawhide is OK

September 5th, 2016


First in our series on Ronald Reagan that will have twelve episodes.  The Presidency we discuss almost didn't happen.  A look at the attempt on Reagan's life, his first year and why the shooting was not an unimportant …

The Five Biggest Fibs in American Politics - Book Available

September 4th, 2016


Readings from Bruce's New Book, The Five Biggest Fibs in American Politics

Bob Seeger and the Steelworker - Manufacturing vs. Service in Political Debates

August 2nd, 2016


The debate rages over how to bring our factories back in the United States and in 2016, it crossed parties to the Republican side as well as the Democratic party side.  We look at the issues behind this debate. 

Top 10 Worst VP Picks in History

July 31st, 2016


Usually a choice at the top of the ticket helps.  But sometimes it doesn't.  Bruce goes into his  Top 10 Worst VP Picks.  

1840 -Clowns With Pink Noses and Lofty Tumbling

July 7th, 2016


Story of the zany election in 1840 which some felt was to "Pop" for its time.

Rottenborough Delegates

July 7th, 2016


Delegates to a party from a state that the party wont carry in an election.  (Vermont for today's Republicans, Alabama for today's Democrats). …

How Jimmy Carter Lost the Campaign and Won the Election

July 6th, 2016


The Story of Jimmy Carter's 1976 Campaign and how a primary candidate genius faced a real difficult fall. 

A Little Story About 1824

July 2nd, 2016


A Surprise populist candidate excites the electorate, and the attacks go back and forth.  He almost upsets a Secretary of State that is well in the …

The First Presidential Farewell

May 11th, 2016


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.

The History of Cinco De Mayo

May 5th, 2016


Not just a holiday.  We go to post-Civil War Mexico and find out the true story of a significant battle.  

JFK and The Story Behind the Berlin Speech - And Other Stories

March 17th, 2016


A mixed episode, what we call a 'hodge-podcast' of listener questions

The Fib That Your Side is Going to Win

March 9th, 2016


From 1812 to today, a lesson:  Neither side will win.  Your'e side probably won't win, not for long, per this episode.  It was recorded before 2016, and still I think it applies.  

Madison Can't Get a Seat at the Starbucks, and How to Read a Constitution

March 9th, 2016


How James Madison and Alexander Hamilton interpreted the Constitution, from a 2012 episode.

South Carolina Primary History - Helping Ronald, Helping Ourselves

February 16th, 2016


The story of the South Carolina primary is linked to Reagan's election as President, and a switch in its convention system to aid the conservative …

Huey Long and Trump, Vetoes, and Other Stories

January 19th, 2016


Bruce gives his best imitation of a PBS telethon and reveals a special offer for donors. Also Huey Long visits the show (well you know, not really) a discussion of vetoes and the naming of wars...and because not even …

Of Vice and Men

November 23rd, 2015


Everything about Vice Presidents running for President, why the office was almost eliminated after an election, a little about me, more about Nixon and Kissinger and a What If about the 1976 election.

The Man Who Saved Boston But Never Got Credit, Also - the Last Lincoln?

October 15th, 2015


A bit about Cotton Mather and the unknown man held in slavery to him (for a time) who saved Bostonians from smallpox.

The story is an odd mixture of …

Your TV Dinner Is Served -Mad Man Finale, 1980 Election and Many Other Side Dishes

May 20th, 2015


The 1980 GOP primary, a year with a large field of candidates- larger than remembered - makes up Your Tasty Entree in this delicious podcast of TV …

It's Not Common to Be Unconstitutional

May 13th, 2015


The rareness of SCOTUS actually finding laws of Congress unconstitutional might surprise some, though it does act in big ways when it feels it hast to.  That and SCOTUS judges who have surprised Presidents.  

The Craziest Speaker Election Ever and Other Ephemra

April 8th, 2015


There have been some pretty interesting elections for Speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States, but only one where the …

Social Security Had Its Glitches Too

December 25th, 2014


In the wake of Obamacare problems, we look at the frustrations of those attempting to implement Social Security.  The first consultant told Congress …

Why Cant We Lean on a Shovel?

March 16th, 2010


Would a WPA style program work in modern times?

Social Security, Civil War Pensions

March 16th, 2010


While Social Security was developed in the 1930's, it's possible to say that there were always some mechanisms for older persons, though not …

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