In “Many Things Considered” one-time journalist and full-time political analyst Marc Johnson applies his passion for context to connect current politics with political history. What are the links between the debacle of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign and the Tea Party movement? Did Alexander Hamilton foresee the partisanship that now surrounds judicial appointments? Why haven’t third parties had political success in America? Johnson weaves interviews, archival sound, humor and authoritative narration to connect political history to today’s political stories.
Episode 15: Mr. Speaker
The Speaker of the House of Representatives is quitting, not forced out by scandal or defeated for re-election, but quitting after only a little more than two years in office. In historical terms that is very unusual. In this episode Marc Johnson explores what has happened to the job of Speaker of the House, assesses Paul Ryan’s tenure and looks back at the last Speaker who tried to run “the people’s house” in a different way – Tom Foley of Washington. Guests are Charles Franklin, the respected head of the Marquette Law School poll and a close watcher of Wisconsin politics; Professor Josh Ryan of Utah State University, an expert on the job of Speaker; Jeff Biggs, who served as Foley’s press secretary and Seattle journalist Joel Connelly who covered Foley as Speaker and discusses his legacy. We’re all in the House on this one.
Episode 14: When Intelligence Was Bipartisan
More than 40 years ago Congress undertook two major investigations into the nation’s intelligence agencies – the House investigation became a political train wreck, while the Senate investigation, led by Idaho Democrat Frank Church, helped create the modern system of intelligence oversight. “When Intelligence was Bipartisan” revisits the Church Committee investigation with some of those involved, with Church’s biographer, Rod Gramer, and with Professor Jennifer Kibbe, an expert on Congressional oversight of the nation’s intelligence services. Representatives Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff may want to download this episode.
Episode 13: The Klan
Since the 2016 presidential election various groups that keep track of white supremacist political activity – the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for example – have reported a sharp increase in such activity. Some have suggested we have entered a new phase where white nationalism, a rejection of a racial diverse society and opposition to immigrants has again risen to the surface of American life.
A similar period occurred in 1920s America. The Ku Klux Klan in the 20s enjoyed a revival that saw upwards of 4 million Americans embracing the Klan as a kind of fraternal order driven by white supremacy and disdain for Catholics, Jews, immigrants and people of color.
I’ll talk with an official from the SPLC and with historians – David A. Horowitz, Tom Pegram and Darrell Millner – who have studied the KKK during the Jazz Age, particularly in the state of Oregon. It’s a history lesson from the 1920s that resonates in our time.
Episode 12: Big Oil and American Politics
American foreign and domestic policy is shaped by many factors, but perhaps none is more important or more pervasive than oil – Big Oil. In this episode three political stories from the past – Teapot Dome in the 1920s, Texaco’s role in supporting the winning side in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s and the oil crisis of the 1970s – that help shed light on the current state of Big Oil and American Politics. Marc Johnson talks with award winning author Adam Hochschild (Spain in Our Hearts), historians Brian Black (Crude Reality) and Meg Jacobs (Panic at the Pump) and with journalists Robbie Gramer and Mark Trahant. This is a slippery subject, but the historical perspective may help explain why an oil company CEO is now Secretary of State.
Episode 11: A Short History of Leaks
The business of leaking government secrets has a long, long history and the whole subject of leaking and leaks is complicated. Why do leaks happen? What motivates the leaker? Are leaks good or bad or sometimes vital? In this episode we consider two leaks from history – a pre-World War II leak of U.S. war planning and the celebrated leak of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Marc Johnson interviews historian Lynne Olson, Daniel Ellsberg biographer Tom Wells, Fredrick Schwartz of the Brennan Center and the Columbia Journalism Review’s David Uberti. Oh, yes, we offer a little current perspective, too. Leaking…a short history.
Episode 10: Fear Itself
Seventy-five years ago a president signed an Executive Order that resulted in the relocation and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese-Americans, most of them American citizens. The decision was justified by national security concerns, but we now know it was largely driven by racial animus and fear. Now another president promulgates Executive Orders that are also stoked by fear of others. This episode explores how the two events – 75 years apart – are connected and how they have intersected in a remote part of the American West.
Many Things Considered
Marc Johnson is true to form in his new podcast. I always learn something and his take on history and politics is unique in a world of redundant podcasts. Well done!
Excellent Story Telling and Guests
Many Things Considered has always been a must read...now it's a must listen for anyone interested in understanding the parallels between today's often complex political narrative and our political history. Well done!
Many Things Considered
Marc's continued efforts deserve rave reviews. His experienced focus bring current issues, at first blush obscured, into a new "light". I commend Marc's work to you, and all your cadre of friends!