The Corner

Re: #POTUS and the Culture

I am grateful to both Stanley and Yuval for their kind reviews of my book (as well as to Kathryn and John for their interview and podcast, respectively). I wanted to respond to, but certainly not rebut, their posts. Yuval writes that “it is hard to leave his book without a sense that the long trajectory of our cultural history points downward.” I do consider myself an optimist, trained by the professional optimist Ben Wattenberg (who trained Jonah as well), but it is hard to disagree with Yuval’s observation. While the proliferation of new technologies in and of itself is a good thing, the offerings available on these technologies are not always admirable, and presidents do not always make the best choices from among the available selections. As to Stanley’s point about Republicans’ surprising ability to “handle the challenge of a popular culture at odds with their party,” that may be so, but there is also little doubt that Republicans need to do better on the cultural connectedness front than they have done in the last two presidential elections. I lay out rules for candidates who wish to engage with popular culture in the appendix to my book, and I recommend that the 2016 candidates — and their handlers — check out those rules before trying out some nifty current movie quotes on the stump. Again, I thank Stanley and Yuval for their thoughts, and look forward to future conversations about the impact of pop culture on our presidents.

Tevi Troy is a presidential historian and former White House aide.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Worst Cover-Up of All Time

President Donald Trump may be guilty of many things, but a cover-up in the Mueller probe isn’t one of them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attempting to appease forces in the Democratic party eager for impeachment, is accusing him of one, with all the familiar Watergate connotations. The charge is strange, ... Read More

Theresa May: A Political Obituary

On Friday, Theresa May, perhaps the worst Conservative prime minister in recent history, announced her resignation outside of number 10 Downing Street. She will step down effective June 7. “I have done my best,” she insisted. “I have done everything I can. . . . I believe it was right to persevere even ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Democrats’ Other Class War

There is a class war going on inside the Democratic party. Consider these two cris de couer: Writing in the New York Times under the headline “America’s Cities Are Unlivable — Blame Wealthy Liberals,” Farhad Manjoo argues that rich progressives have, through their political domination of cities such as ... Read More

The Deepfake of Nancy Pelosi

You’ve almost made it to a three-day weekend! Making the click-through worthwhile: A quick note about how National Review needs your help, concerns about “deepfakes” of Nancy Pelosi, one of the most cringe-inducing radio interviews of all time, some news about where to find me and the book in the near ... Read More