Category Archives: conservativism

June 2, 2013, 2:55 pm

Gossip Girl: Hedda Hopper’s Conservative Empire

Jennifer Frost, Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood: Celebrity Gossip and American Conservatism. New York University Press, 2011. 281 pp. Index. B & W illustrations. Hardcover $31.50; Kindle $15.12.

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Hedda Hopper makes the cover of Time in 1947.

Every once in a while you read a book that is pure joy, and Jennifer Frost’s Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood hits all the right notes. It’s got movie stars, it’s got intrigue, and it’s got humor, it’s got a light but effective theoretical frame. Best of all, it’s organized around a driven, ambitious woman who — if she hadn’t played herself in any number of films — could have been played by Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, or Barbara Stanwyck. If they had dared.

Born Elda Furry in 1885, the butcher’s daughter who became Hedda Hopper fled industrial Altoona, Pennsylvania, with a suitcase…

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April 18, 2013, 10:43 am

Can the GOP Walk the Walk With Black Voters?

Senate Leaders Speak To Press After Weekly Policy Luncheon

Our guest blogger today is Leah M. Wright-Rigueur, assistant professor of History and African American Studies at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT.  She is currently finishing a book, The Loneliness of the Black Conservative: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power, which documents Black conservatives’ attempts to work within a Republican Party structure that increasingly invested in its relationship with white voters after World War II.

Last week, Senator Rand Paul visited Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C.  Pundits and journalists across the media spectrum lampooned and critiqued Paul’s visit as a silly effort given the history of African Americans and the Republican Party.

Most people assume that the relationship between black voters and the Republican Party is a hostile one. To some extent, that’s correct – black voters…

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January 9, 2013, 8:21 am

Calling Irving Kristol! Where Research and Blogging Converge

Would Irving Kristol still think the GOP a party of ideas?

I skimmed Kim Phillips-Fein’s Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan (Norton, 2009)* when it first came out. I settled in yesterday to read it, cover to cover, and it’s really a marvelous book. I think it would have been a good idea if Romney, Rove, et. al. had read it too, prior to developing a Presidential campaign strategy that revolved around the glorification of unfettered wealth.

Two thirds of the way through, I encountered a gem about Irving Kristol’s conversion to conservatism and his efforts to develop a capitalist ethic that could move mass politics to the right in the 1970s. What is remarkable about it is how it anticipates the error of articulating the wealthy are makers and the workers as takers…

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December 10, 2012, 3:05 pm

Why Teach the History of Modern American Conservatism? Because It’s Fun

One of Professor Radical’s Dirty Books

I first discovered the pleasure in teaching conservative political history almost a decade ago. A student I had never met before asked me to advise his senior thesis on Ronald Reagan’s 1966 gubernatorial campaign.  At this time, political historians were just recovering from the shock and awe of the 1980 Reagan Revolution, and Lisa McGirr had just come out with Suburban Warriors: the Origins of the New American Right (2001).

However there was, as yet, very little to read about the resurgence of conservatism even though the research was well underway and the literature would soon begin to explode.

Therefore, part of the reason we had so much fun in the thesis tutorial was that the research was all about the primary sources. The thesis writer toodled out to the Reagan…

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August 13, 2012, 12:15 pm

American Bromance: Paul Ryan, the Tea Party and the Recent History of Political Conservatism

Romney and Ryan: “I’ve got the money, honey, but you’ve got the brains.”

I felt so lucky to have read Ronald Formisano’s The Tea Party: A Brief History (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), since those of us who receive smartphone pushes from Politico.com woke up Saturday to a GOP conservative bromance of epic proportions. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, had at last decided on a running mate: it’s the cute little brother with a big mind, Paul Ryan.

As Yale political scientist Chris Lebron said on Facebook, “The most striking thing about Romney’s VP pick (and indeed Romney’s own candidacy) is not the nature of Ryan’s politics but the fact that it illustrates the GOP’s continued faith in, reliance upon, and commitment to the authority of white men. It’s 2012:…

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March 31, 2012, 4:20 pm

Republican Policy for Higher Ed: Starve It, Bleed It — While You’re At It, Build A Football Stadium

Those of you who have friends at Rutgers University, New Jersey’s flagship R-I, know that, like many public institutions, it has had to absorb deep cuts in state funding over the past few years:  last year it lost 15% of its budget.

Those of us who have been in the position of managing cuts at the departmental and divisional level for the last few years have all kinds of stories to tell. Personnel cuts are often directed at the most vulnerable workers: remaining secretarial staff and administrative assistants have to take on more work; food, sanitation and maintenance services get “outsourced” to for-profit companies; and the adjunct teaching force is cut (see how flexible it is to hire faculty by the course?  Milton Friedman told you this was a good idea!) Best case scenario for all non-administrative staff is that positions vacated through retirement or other voluntary means (this…

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March 9, 2012, 9:58 pm

Campus Report: When Students Protest Speakers On Human Rights Grounds…

Maybe students at Cambridge and Zenith should have had a Tea Party instead?

…They usually get squashed, whether the protests are violent or non-violent.

British university students, who revived their reputation for radicalism last spring after unprecedented budget cuts and tuition increases, took it to the streets again today to make a point about sexual violence and women’s rights. The Cambridge University’s Women’s Campaign staged a large demonstration outside the Cambridge Union during a speech given by former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was accused last year of raping a hotel chambermaid in New York.  Perhaps because of elaborate security precautions, the protest turned violent:  two students were arrested in scuffles with the police, and two other…

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December 16, 2011, 7:07 pm

Update On The Ryan Gosling Meme, and Other Blog Bites

Tenured Radical has been laid up for few days.  I was riding over to Historiann‘s place, where we were planning on roping, tying and branding a few menz. You know, just a casual feminist afternoon activity to pass the time before final papers come in. But as I was coming round the canyon wall I ran into a few conservative bloggers rustling the herd.  Needless to say there was an exchange of words, and then BLAM! I got gut shot by a law professor.  A few stitches and I’m fine:  I’ll tell you the rest of the story later.

Meanwhile,  a few things have come across the transom.  First of all, check out the contribution to the Ryan Gosling meme designed by a reader at Rice University.  Much hotter than my Ryan who looks, come to think of it, a little like a lesbian.   (more…)

November 2, 2011, 9:56 am

Q: Can You Be A Sexual Harasser and Still Be President of the United States?

I have to give you the short answer, because my internet is still in and out due to the Halloween Nor’easter:

You betcha.

For all the women who wanted to have sex with the prez pictured at left, how many do you think pushed away a groping hand? Or went along for the ride, whether they wanted to or not, at a moment in history when any man could have a job for which a more skilled and intelligent woman would not even be interviewed? At a time when one of the best political jobs most women could hope for was running Jackie’s schedule? (more…)

May 31, 2011, 3:57 pm

Are Students A Captive Audience? Constructive Disagreement And Classroom Politics

The perfect teacher.

Recently I was reading a discussion of the relationship between campus speech codes, sexual harassment, and free speech doctrine.  Because I am not a legal scholar I won’t dwell on the details, but the dilemma for educational institutions is this:  how might one seek to regulate classroom expression that creates a hostile environment for students in a protected class without infringing on freedom of speech? Such utterances by a teacher or another student might include:  “Students of color are only here because of affirmative action;” “Tammy sure is easy on the eyes;”  or “Learning disabled people get extra time for the test, but I don’t believe that anyone deserves accommodation.”  (I made all these up, but I once knew a male prof who was famous for saying to any female student who had a hyphenated last name:  “Your mother must be one of those feminists.”)

The answer…

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