Politics Doesn't Have to Be This Way
That respect that people had for each other's office, Chris Matthews says, is completely missing today. It doesn't have to be that way.
The political cartoon above depicts an incident in 1856 in which the South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks nearly killed the Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with a cane a few days after Sumner delivered a fiery anti-slavery speech.
After this incident, Senators were accustomed to carrying canes and revolvers with them at the Capitol in order to protect themselves.
We have since abolished slavery, but you wouldn't know it if you listened to some of the crazy charges and overheated rhetoric coming out of Washington these days. Some conservatives have compared Obamacare to slavery. Some liberals have compared Republicans to Civil War Confederates.
It hasn't always been this way.
In a speech at The Nantucket Project, a festival of ideas on Nantucket, MA, MCNBC host and former political operative Chris Matthews describes what it was like to work as a top aide to Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill at a time when Democrats held the House of Representatives and Ronald Reagan was in the White House.
Matthews says he has a nostalgia for "those two big Irish guys" - Tip and the Gipper - who used to fight with each other every day. Their dispute at the time was "the pure question of the role of government in our lives," a debate that Matthews says American democracy will always be renegotiating, along with the question of what our role in the world should be.
For six years Matthews worked behind the scenes with O'Neill as the two plotted their moves in the media war between Reagan and O'Neill that Matthews has recounted in his book Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked.
What Matthews feels nostalgia for, more than anything, was a time when politics had rules, or simple constraints that he says both men followed. When they crossed the line, they tried to correct the mistake. For instance, in 1981, Reagan called O'Neill a demagogue. O'Neill said "Don't call me a demagogue, I'm the Speaker of the House." The next day, Matthews says, Reagan was on the phone apologizing.
That respect that people had for each other's office, Matthews says, is completely missing today.
It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.
- The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
- The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
- Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.
- A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
- This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
- The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
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