Saturday, October 30, 2004

How did We Come so Far? The Meaning of Tuesday's Election

With two days to go before the election, the evidence is mounting that the United States faces the third great turning point in its history as a nation. As William Strauss and Neil Howe have pointed out in their vitally important works Generations and The Fourth Turning, great crises in American political life occur roughly every eighty years—first in the era of the Revolutionary War and the Constitution, then during the Civil War, and then in the Depression and in the Second World War, which created the now-vanishing world in which every American under 62 has spent his entire life. (For more on their theories and their books, see www.fourthturning.com, where I have been a frequent contributor.) The election pits two entirely different philosophies against one another. On the one hand, the Democrat John Kerry wants, essentially, to continue building upon the achievements of Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson, with a nod to Bill Clinton’s remarkable budget-balancing achievements. On the other, George W. Bush wants almost entirely to undo the work of the twentieth century, vastly reducing public services, effectively ending environmental regulation, reducing or eliminating progressive taxation, privatizing social security, and essentially substituting faith for reason as our guide. Abroad, meanwhile, he has already junked 60 years of multilateralism and commitment to international law in favor of a belief in the efficacy of unbridled American force. These changes are so dramatic that many in the major media refuse to believe they are taking place. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post has expressed astonishment at his many friends who see catastrophe lurking if Bush should be reelected, and when Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind told Chris Matthews that many Bush supporters see the President as a messenger from God, Matthews exclaimed, “Oh, come on!” –prompting Suskind to exhort Matthews to get out of Washington and see what was happening in the rest of the country.
The wholesale repudiation of the beliefs of our educated elite at the highest levels of our government—amply documented in Suskind’s recent New York Times Magazine article—does come as a shock, but Strauss and Howe’s historical scheme helps understand how it has happened. Nor is it without precedent in western history, as something quite similar happened in Great Britain at the end of the eighteenth century. Every great crisis has winners and losers—and losers, as every sports fan knows, have longer memories and bigger incentives than winners. Bush, Karl Rove and the rest of the Republican establishment have managed to forge a coalition of the losers in both of our last two national crises—the business interests who resented the New Deal, and the white Southerners who have never been fully reconciled to the effects of the Northern victory in the civil war. Meanwhile the bi-coastal elite has made the natural but critical mistake of taking its parents’ victories for granted and assuming that nothing, really could change very much. The new conservative coalition, which initially emerged between the 1960s and the 1980s, now may be poised to set the direction of American life for most of our children’s lifetimes.
The New Deal, combined with the Second World War, created the most progressive tax structure in American history, and in the 1950s and early 1960s—a period of sustained economic growth—the top marginal income tax rate had reached 90%. Meanwhile, labor unions dominated the industrial work force and insured, until 1973, that workers’ income would continue to increase relative to the rest of the population. Corporate America had to live with these changes, and some more enlightened business leaders accepted them as the price of civic order, but by the 1970s the top rates had fallen and a tax revolt was beginning. Foreign competition was also making heavy inroads in critical areas like automobile production, and this in the long run was going to weaken the standing of American workers. But the real corporate offensive against both taxes and workers’ rights began, of course, in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan, and the erosion of the union movement has been dramatic since then. The US Government had been pushing free trade since the late 1930s, when the United States was industrially supreme, and in the 1990s further extensions of free trade, most notably through NAFTA and agreements with the Chinese, essentially destroyed much of our high-wage industrial economy—and the most important part of the New Deal voting coalition along with it. With three days to go to the 2004 Presidential election, Michigan has become a toss-up—something that would not have happened, in my opinion, if Democratic legislators and administrations had done more to prevent the collapse of American industry that Michael Moore documented in Roger and Me. Accustomed to ruling and comfortable in Washington, the Democratic leadership apparently forgot where its votes came from.
Republicans, meanwhile, could not openly repudiate the principles of the New Deal—that the government owed the people the assurance of jobs that paid living wages. Supply-side economics came to the rescue, arguing not that great fortunes merely represented the survival of the fittest (the view of post-Civil War Republicans), but that they would benefit the rest of the country. (The Republicans’ need to pretend that their policies have the opposite effect that they actually have is one of the chief causes of the degradation of American political life. It has culminated in George Bush’s campaign stump speech, which argues that all the beneficiaries of his tax cuts are job-creating small business owners.) Officially we are seeking the same goals by more efficient means. Actually both the relative and the absolute bargaining power of working-class Americans are continually eroding, and the gap between executive pay and worker pay has increased by one or two orders of magnitude. Meanwhile the economic rights of retirees are being stripped away as well, as guaranteed pensions are eliminated from most private employment. Ironically, the diminishing resources of the elderly are bound to create a crisis in the economy of the Republican Sunbelt eventually, but that may take another decade or two.
Corporate America is now stronger in Washington than it has been since the 1890s, and stands for the most part firmly behind the Administration. The broadcast media are either firmly in the Republican camp or too intimidated to take it on directly. The print media, where rationality is still prized, remains more faithful to earlier traditions, and Kerry commands far more newspaper endorsements, but even there, several publishers (such as those of the Denver Post and the Chicago Tribune) have overruled their editorial boards and insisted on backing Bush. The corporate elite has been doing what it naturally does, trying to amass more wealth—and the restraints against it have gradually come down. It has now become the biggest single pillar of the Republican Party.
While corporate America funds Bush (and is rewarded in return), the foot soldiers who provide the votes come, in their largest numbers, from the white South and (in smaller numbers) from the Plains states. To understand how this has happened we must go back even further, to the aftermath of the civil war.
Few historical forces equal the strength of bad conscience. In the aftermath of the Civil War, the white elite of the Confederacy sought both to re-establish its power and to prove the justice of its principles by keeping freed slaves in a position of permanent civil and economic inferiority. But the southerners continued to see themselves as the exploited losers in the conflict, and between 1933 and 1945 they aligned themselves with northern workers as part of the New Deal coalition. In return, Franklin Roosevelt made no major moves to challenge white supremacy. And the South benefited considerably from the Second World War and the Cold War, since senior southern legislators managed to make sure that a substantial part of the new military-industrial complex was located inside their region.
The northern Democratic embrace of the civil rights movement in 1948, of course, began to crack the solid South, beginning with the candidacy of Strom Thurmond. But the Democratic retreat became a rout, as President Lyndon Johnson privately predicted, after the voting rights act of 1965. Since then only two Democratic southerners, Jimmy Carter (once) and Bill Clinton, have managed to win any southern electoral votes at all—and Al Gore, another southerner, was unable to repeat that performance in 2000. Johnson was right—by signing the Voting Rights Act, he turned the South over to the Republican Party for a generation.
These results suggest an unpleasant truth—that the whites of most of the old Confederacy have never accepted full equality for black citizens. But the civil rights movement has had other sad and ironic results as well. Because many southern whites refuse to send their children to school with blacks, segregation is at near-1950s levels in much of the rural south, such as the Mississippi Delta. Because white voters apparently are disinclined to fund public black schools as well as private white ones, spending on public education remains very low, and the anti-tax movement is extremely popular in the South. And that philosophy has now been introduced into our national life by the Bush Administration. The underfunded No Child Left Behind Act, as currently administered, will result in the discrediting of thousands of public schools and accelerate a movement towards private ones among better-off Americans. Meanwhile, the testing movement, by focusing on math and reading, seems designed to produce a generation of poorer children whose intellectual skills will be just sufficient to hold down jobs at Wal-Mart. The cost of higher education has increased by 2.5 times, controlling for inflation, in the last forty years. All around the country, even once-great state universities like Michigan and North Carolina are being crippled by budget cuts.
There remains, of course, the third pillar of the new Republican coalition, the cultural one. This too is a key to Republican strength in the South, the Midwest and the Plains states, and it has been the hardest for blue-zone Americans to take seriously. Much of it has come in reaction to the sexual liberation of the last few decades, which a vocal and increasingly powerful minority of Americans have never accepted. But more generally, the Republican cultural assault involves a new emphasis on faith and an attack on science and rational analysis in general that seems to have reached the highest levels of the government. George Bush’s disdain for factual analyses is well known, and American scientific authorities have frequently branded his whole Administration as unwilling to acknowledge accepted science in a variety of fields.
The United States was a child of the Enlightenment and has traditionally valued its trust in science and inquiry, but reason, alas, seems destined to remain what David Hume (himself an Enlightenment figure) called it more than two centuries ago: the slave of the passions. Reason, indeed, which was probably never more supreme in American life than around 1950 or so, has been under attack in the academy since the 1960s, with fairly disastrous results in the humanities and social sciences. If postmodernists no longer feel bound by objective truth, why should their counterparts on the right? As I pointed out in my last post, reverence for truth was a casualty of the Left’s war on the establishment in the Vietnam era—which divided the left, perhaps fatally, for the rest of our lifetimes. (To be sure, the establishment discredited its own respect for the truth by beginning and continuing the war in Vietnam, but the younger generation went much further down that path. )The Right has followed along, with devastating impacts on American life.
Who can be surprised, really, that so many Americans are no longer voting with their heads? In 1932 both Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt made long speeches of astonishing factual complexity to show that they understood the country’s problems. During the last thirty years we have steadily sunk into a sound bite culture. How many Americans know how much the federal government spends every year, or what the deficit is? How many have a real sense of the recent economic changes in American life? How many could name the leaders of Congress, or actually follow the progress of legislation? In a famous and telling moment late in the 2000 campaign, Cokie Roberts suggested that Al Gore’s reference to the Dingell-Norwood Bill would turn off voters, because it was “Washington speak.” A well-known journalist for a major network, whose father had been a Congressional leader for decades, now regarded a knowledge of what was actually happening in Washington as something for a candidate to hide. With such opinion leadership, we cannot expect much from the American people.
And thus, it is possible, though hardly certain, that a Bush victory on Tuesday might indeed usher in an entirely new era in American life—one marked by an increasingly weak state, a shrinking safety net, a return of elderly poverty on a large scale, and a division of the country into a rich elite and a mass of insecure workers that would bring a smile to the face of Karl Marx. It would not be the first time that a western nation had taken a big step backward. Eighteenth century England had established the rights of man and a form of religious toleration. Its social life was frankly hedonistic and licentious; its politics, though largely limited to the aristocracy, were extraordinarily free; and religious belief had become a mere formality. Many leading Englishmen wanted to move towards democracy in the mid-eighteenth century, and but for George III, they might have. His rule, however, and the general reaction to the American and French revolutions, led England away from democracy and open inquiry and towards tighter aristocratic rule, a far greater role for the Church of England, and a more rigid and unequal class structure than ever in the first half of the nineteenth century, as the effects of the industrial revolution were first being felt. Only the Union victory in the American civil war, which the whole western world saw as a victory for democracy over aristocracy, reversed the trend.
It is possible that we are not destined for a new Victorian age. Even without a Kerry victory on Tuesday, Democrats and rationalists may yet find new energy and manage to reverse the tide. But to do so, they will need causes to rival the economic and religious totems of the Republicans. Merely standing for the status quo of the second half of the twentieth century is not enough. The losers in our last two crises have been in the ascendant for twenty years because they cared enough to do anything to win. That is the eternal advantage of those who have been denied victory for too long, and it is a far more powerful influence in history than we have generally recognized.

Note to readers: This rather lengthy post shall be the last one for at least two weeks. By then things shall look considerably different.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

George W. Bush--Man of the Sixties

George W. Bush—Man of the 1960s

President Bush likes to contrast himself and his policies with the 1960s. “We’re changing the culture of America,” he says, “from one that says, ‘If it feels good, do it,’ and, ‘If you’ve got a problem, blame somebody else,’ to a culture in which each of us understands we’re responsible for the decisions we make,” (When Dick Cheney used the language of the 1960s in the face of an opposition U.S. Senator and defended himself because he “felt better,” the irony got less attention than it deserved.) Culturally, of course, the President rejects the sexual liberation of his youth, and portrays himself as a reformed sinner. Politically, as a conservative, pro-war Republican whose father had campaigned against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he was certainly out of step on the Yale campus of 1964-68. All this is, however, entirely misleading—and the country, particularly its younger voters, should try to understand exactly who and what they are voting for before the election. George Bush and his Administration actually represent the worst of the late 1960s—a terrifying certainty determined to repudiate the past, disrupt the present, and risk the future for an ideological ideal. His certainty is not merely, as Ron Susskind argued last in last Sunday's New York Times, a question of his faith—it is all too characteristic of his entire generation.

As George W. Bush’s college years drew to a close, the most visible political faction on most campus was the Students for a Democratic Society, which took over the main Adminstration building, provoked a police bust, and temporarily halted instruction at my own school, Harvard, in the spring of 1969. They were distinguished more than anything else by a complete rejection of everything our parents stood for. In their eyes, the Cold War’s “defense of freedom” was greedy imperialism; civil rights laws simply masked enduring American economic racism; marriage and family were outdated bourgeois conventions; and democracy was a sham. They and they alone knew good from evil, and they had less than nothing to learn from the past. Even within their own ranks, they had contempt for democratic processes. In April of that memorable year, a vote of the SDS turned down a proposal to occupy University Hall by a vote of about two to one—but the next day, the losing minority faction undertook the occupation anyway, dragging their colleagues (and eventually most of the student body) in their wake.

A similar omniscient spirit has dominated the Bush Administration from the day it took office. One by one, the achievements of our parents’ generation—who occupied the White House from John F. Kennedy through George H. W. Bush—have been gleefully tossed aside: the ABM Treaty, the rigid separation of Church and State, overtime protection for workers, environmental protection, and especially the spirit of compromise and civic responsibility that allowed Republicans and Democrats to work together for the good of the country from the 1950s through the 1980s. In foreign policy they have even repudiated, in effect, the NATO Alliance and the United Nations. Events in the fall of 2002 were particularly revealing. Prodded by Colin Powell, who remembers the 1950s, the Administration sought a second Security Council resolution to authorize war against Iraq, but when they found they had only two other votes on their side, they simply disregarded the opinion of the world in the same way that the SDS disregarded the majority vote the night before the occupation of University Hall. Meanwhile, our Boomer-crafted new National Security Strategy gives the United States both the right and the duty to decide what nations shall possess what weapons, and summarily to remove hostile regimes. My Harvard classmate Elliot Abrams opposed SDS’s attempt to rule Harvard University according to their lights, but he is now enthusiastically doing his part to assure that he and his Administration colleagues rule the whole world in the same way.

Other memories from the Vietnam era come to me these days. One Saturday afternoon in 1970, I sat in a packed Harvard Square theater watching Sam Peckinpaugh’s The Wild Bunch. Midway through the movie, William Holden (himself a member of what we now call “The Greatest Generation”) tried to explain to his fellow gang members why Robert Ryan was now working for the other side. “He gave his word,” Holden said, speaking for an older America. “It’s not whether you keep your word!” one of his companions shouted. “It’s who you give it to!” The audience went crazy with delight. Isn’t that the same spirit in which the Bush White House has patronized the scurrilous, baseless campaign of the Swift Boat veterans? John Kerry is on the wrong side; therefore, he can’t be a war hero. And such is the partisanship of our times that even Bob Dole and George H. W. Bush Sr. have joined this campaign—although John McCain, significantly, refuses to do so.

Reality, of course, is a casualty of classic Baby Boomer thought. SDS members truly believed in 1969 that workers and students were going to overturn the established order—because it was right. In the same way, George W. Bush, in defiance of mountains of evidence that Iraq is disintegrating and that our intervention has reduced our standing in the Arab world to new lows, repeats that Iraq is on its way to a democratic transformation that will spread through the region. Freedom, he explains, is the Almighty’s gift to every man and woman on this planet—an homily which leaves a calmer observer wondering why the Almighty has been so stingy about bestowing it in so much of the world for so many centuries, or whether the President believes that he is fighting Satan’s evil presence on earth.
Caught between ideology and reality, the Administration constantly resorts to Orwellian language. A loss of jobs becomes economic progress, less health care means more, opening national forests to logging becomes “The Healthy Forests Initiative,” and so on. In the same way, the SDS explained to us that dictatorship of the proletariat was the only true democracy. And the Administration cares nothing about federalism, because federalism could stand in its way. In 1960, when Kennedy and Nixon debated federal aid to education, Nixon argued that federal money would eventually mean federal control. Now a new Republican generation is using federal money to discredit and weaken public education through the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Bush Administration and its supporters are usually less obvious than their leftwing contemporaries were about their repudiation of our parents’ works, but the other day, Grover Norquist—the anti-tax activist who has bragged about his close relations with the White House for four years—let the cat out of the bag in an interview with a Spanish newspaper. The Weekly Standard has printed quotes from the tape of the interview. Here is now Norquist assessed the coming election.

And we've had four more years pass where the age cohort that is most Democratic and most pro-statist, are those people who turned 21 years of age between 1932 and 1952--Great Depression, New Deal, World War II--Social Security, the draft--all that stuff. That age cohort is now between the ages of 70 and 90 years old, and every year 2 million of them die. So 8 million people from that age cohort have passed away since the last election; that means, net, maybe 1 million Democrats have disappeared…
This is an age cohort that voted for a draft before the war started, and allowed the draft to continue for 25 years after the war was over. Their idea of the legitimate role of the state is radically different than anything previous generations knew, or subsequent generations. . . . Very un-American. Very unusual for America. The reaction to Great Depression, World War II, and so on: Centralization--not as much centralization as the rest of the world got, but much more than is usual in America. We've spent a lot of time dismantling some of that and moving away from that level of regimentation: getting rid of the draft . . .

Norquist, a younger Baby Boomer, has actually hit the nail on the head. The twenty million men we drafted to win the Second World War (a conflict he apparently regrets) deserved, and got, their countrymen’s reward, in the form of the GI bill, 4% mortgages, generous Social Security benefits, and real pensions. Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower confirmed the government’s responsibility for their well-being and that of their families. Such policies have now become “un-American” as the Bush Administration leads us towards their New Jerusalem—really a new Gilded Age. Norquist is actually exalting the collapse of civic virtue and mutual responsibility that he has helped to promote during his political career. Younger Americans should understand one thing: our current leadership is impervious to facts. Ultimately, like so many of my contemporaries, they care less about any specific changes they make at home or abroad than about simply proving to their own satisfaction that they are right and everyone else is wrong. They have already left the nation and the world a dangerous legacy.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

What "War on Terror"?

The "War on Terror" and American foreign policy

In Wednesday's third debate, John Kerry quoted President Bush (accurately, although the President quickly denied it) as having said, early in 2002, that he was not very concerned about Osama Bin Laden anymore, because Bin Laden was no longer running a country. During the past three years, while Bin Laden hides in what is supposed to be a major non-NATO allied nation, Pakistan, we haven't been able to find him. Instead, we conquered Iraq.

The President and Vice President explain, again and again, that the most dangerous "nexus" today is the possibility that terorists might get weapons of mass destruction from a state. Based on their policies and strategies, I think it has become quite clear that they don't see that as the most dangerous threat, they see it as the only threat. This is parallel to how successive Administrations (Johnson and Nixon, mainly) approached the Vietnam War: the threat was the state of North Vietnam and could be solved by going after it and its armed forces, to persuade it to stop sponsoring revolutions. Of course, under the Bush/Cheney doctrine, we don't try to persuade hostile states, we destroy them.

It is really not clear how much we have done to stop attacks within the US. Although we have heightened airport security we don't seem to be very interested in the kind of attack that actually killed 3000 Americans in 2001. We do not seem to be very interested in what small groups of terrorists could do. Our policy shows no conern for public opinion in the Muslim world, where the growth of terrorism is blamed on us. (See today's NY Times article about Saudi Arabia: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/14/international/middleeast/14saudi.html?oref=login. It doesn't matter how many millions of people hate us, apparently, provided no state exists that could give them weapons. We are, of course, trying to create a friendly democracy in Iraq, but the recent attack in the Green Zone, which killed seven people, show that secure areas there have shrunk, literally, to zero. (Reporters have been telling the same story.)

In fact, the Bush Administration's "war on terror" has simply become a convenient excuse to pursue the essence of neoconservative foreign policy (developed during the Cold War) more vigorously. The neoconservative approach targets hostile states, which must be intimidated or brought down by a mixture of relentless hostile propaganda, superior weaponry, and either arms races or, if the state is sufficiently weak, conquest. Those in charge of our foreign policy have been shaped by the Cold War as they saw it--a drama in which Ronald Reagan's rhetoric and arms build-up somehow forced the Soviet Union to collapse. Even before that happened, they had become wedded to the idea of missile defense, which could theoretically enable the U.S. to disable a hostile enemy with a first strike.

To many Americans, most foreign policy professionals, and even the first President Bush, the end of the Cold War seemed to usher in an era of peace and true international cooperation. To neoconservatives--led by Paul Wolfowitz of the first Bush's Defense Department--it removed any obstacles to American worldwide supremacy. By preventing the emergence of a peer competitor, Wolfowitz suggested, the United States could indefinitely dominate the world. We no longer needed either to rely on interational coalitions or to respect the deterrent powers of other states. Any hostile regime could simply be removed from the scene. Out of power in the late 1990s, the neoconservatives began to identify Iraq--which we know now had been weakened by sanctions and inspections to the point where it no longer posed a threat--as the target for a new American offensive. Once in power in 2001, as Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill have both confirmed, they immediately began planning to implement this agenda.

A less ideological and more realistic approach would suggest that the real achievement of the Cold War period was to maintain a relatively peaceful world--a task in which the two major victors of the Second World War, the United States and the Soviet Union, actually collaborated. Athough the two superpowers inevitably competed for power and influence as well--often foolishly, especially in the Third World--they respected one another's vital interests, and, in very different ways, kept their spheres of influence under control. Now we need a new structure for peace, and the United States does not have enough power or enough ground troops, in particular, to impose one. (Our population is much smaller relative to the world's than it was in 1941, and even in the Second World War we only created a new world order with the help of the Soviets.) A successful structure for the future can only be a multilateral one.

Terrorism, as Clarke shows very clearly, was not initially a priority for the Adminstration, and it ignored the most explicit warnings the intelligence committee could draw up. But 9/11 immediately became an excuse to proceed, first against the Taliban, and then against Iraq. Even before the Iraq war we had also identified Iran and North Korea as the next targets.

The results of the Iraq war have been catastrophic because this policy essentially destroys for the sake of destroying. The Administration, to be sure, has emphasized the need to build democracy in Iraq, and President Bush himself, I think, takes this goal seriously. But had Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, John Bolton and the rest of the war planners really believed in it, I do not think they would have so fatuously disregarded all available advice on the size of the force that would be needed to occupy and rule Iraq in the meantime--one at least double the number of troops that we have put there. (The best source on this fiasco that I have found was written by James Fallows in the January/February Atlantic and can be purchased online.)

The situation in Iraq seems to be much worse than most people realize. We have enough troops there for various insurgencies to mobilize against, but not enough to occupy and control territory. Our troops are too stretched to protect themselves, and Senator Patty Murray has just written the Defense Department on behalf of a Washington unit that has asked for, and been refused, more troops to guard the huge supply base it occupies, which has taken numerous casualties from rocket and mortar attacks. Nor have we been successful in recruiting a cadre of Iraqis who share our views about the country's future that could contend with the insurgents--the topic of a later post on Iraq and Vietnam.

What the Bush Adminstration's policies have done is to create anarchy within an oil-rich nation of 25 million people. Should Bush be re-elected, we shall very likely see a new war against Iran or North Korea--but this time, I suspect, without any ground troops at all. This time we shall simply use precision weapons to take out nuclear facilities. Under Bush's leadership, the United States, which as the richest nation in the world has the greatest interest in a peaceful world, has begun smashing the international order and promoting international anarchy. This is a catastrophic policy that neither we, nor the world, can afford.




Welcome

As a full-time history teacher and author whose work has contemporary implications, I frequently try to put the day's news in varoius broader contexts. Occasionally I have been able to do this in op-ed or Sunday pieces in various newspapers, but such pieces have become increasingly hearder to place, and finding a home for them takes longer than writing them does. I have therefore decided to open this blog, which I hope to contribute to about once a week. I plan to discuss long-term trends in American foreign and domestic policies as they relate to specific recent events.

Visitors may be interested in what I have written. My books are:

Economic Diplomacy and the Origins of the Second World War (Princeton, 1980).

Postmortem: New Evidence in the Case of Sacco and Vanzetti (co-author William Young) (Amherst, Mass., 1985).

Politics and War: European Conflict from Philip II to Hitler (Cambridge, Mass., 1990).

Epic Season: The 1948 American League Pennant Race (Amherst, Mass., 1998)

American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War (Cambridge, Mass., 2000).

All but the first are still in print.

My first post will appear very shortly.