The Corner

POTUS and the Culture

Everyone should read everything that Tevi Troy writes, so it goes without saying that his new book, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted, is well worth your while. The book is not only overflowing with fascinating stories that every political junkie will love, it is also full of insight about how politics and culture are deeply interconnected. Tevi is both a historian and a former senior White House staffer, so he’s uniquely suited to understanding what matters most in the story he relates. His book describes both how presidents have been shaped by the culture of their times and how they have tried to use popular culture to their advantage (mostly clumsily and unsuccessfully, but not always). 

Tevi is also a conservative, cultural and otherwise, and so it is hard to leave his book without a sense that the long trajectory of our cultural history points downward (or as he puts it, “from Cicero to Snooki”). But he’s a conservative with a genuine appreciation of genuinely popular culture, and with a sense that high and low culture (like high and low politics) coexist and always have. It’s that very sense, I suspect, that enabled him to write a book that is both deep and fun.  

Do read it.

Yuval Levin is the editor of National Affairs and a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Most Popular

Elections

The Democrats Made Two Joe Biden Miscalculations

I think it's safe to say that there are many, many progressive Democrats who are more than a little surprised -- and a lot chagrined -- at Joe Biden's polling dominance. Look at FiveThirtyEight's polling roundup. Aside from a few high and low outliers, he leads the race by a solid 20 points (at least). Even ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More