American politics

Andrew Johnson’s first day in the White House was less than promising. Whether, as his supporters claimed, he was suffering from illness and had attempted to self-medicate or had simply been celebrating his new position as vice president, Johnson was devastatingly drunk. It was 3 March 1865, the Civil War was rapidly drawing to a close, and the recently re-elected President Lincoln was to deliver his second inaugural address. In prose that would eventually be inscribed across the walls of his marble memorial, Lincoln reflected on God, war, and the emerging challenge of how to rehabilitate a divided Union. The vice president’s words that day were barely decipherable and after prostrating himself before a Bible and subjecting it to a long wet kiss, he was quickly ushered away.

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Andrew Broertjes reviews 'Richard Nixon: The life' by John A. Farrell

Andrew Broertjes
Thursday, 07 December 2017

Richard Nixon remains one of America’s most intriguing presidents (1969–74). Intelligent, shrewd, and possessing a keen sense of the public mood, Nixon represented the ideal presidential model. His grasp of foreign policy has been unmatched by his successors, and his domestic policies represented the last hurrah of ‘New Deal'...

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On 12 August 2017 a mob of neo-Nazis descended on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, chanting racial epithets while openly carrying rifles and pistols. Many of the participants were from groups that advocate not just racial supremacy but the end of the US federal government, which they see as tyrannical ...

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Letter from America

Beejay Silcox
Monday, 22 August 2016

Politics is personal in the United States, far more private than it appears from outside. When political allegiance becomes tied to character, revealing one reveals the other ...

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Billy Griffiths reviews 'Unholy Fury' by James Curran

Billy Griffiths
Wednesday, 29 July 2015

I have never met an Aussie I didn’t like.’ The half-compliment was the best President Richard Nixon could muster during a restrained exchange with Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in the Oval Office in July 1973. After the turbulent build-up to this meeting, rivetingly conveyed in James Curran’s history Unholy Fury: Whitlam and Nixon at War, one almost expe ...

Varun Ghosh reviews 'The Stranger' by Chuck Todd

Varun Ghosh
Wednesday, 29 April 2015

It is sometimes easy to forget that Barack Obama ascended from the Illinois state senate to the presidency of the United States in just over four years. It was a steep rise – exhilarating and unprecedented. Since assuming office in January 2009, the road has been rockier, and it is Obama’s seven years in office that form the subject of Chuck Todd’s The Stra ...

‘There’s a greater problem here. This is a president who won’t proudly proclaim American exceptionalism, maybe the first president ever who truly doesn’t believe in that … Look at his foreign policy. Doesn’t believe [in] America as a force for good, it doesn’t seem. Seems like instead, he believes in multilateralism as a goal, not a tactic. He allows f ...

The unusual case of David Hicks is one of the most spectacular and politically supercharged miscarriages of justice in Australian history. Like the infamous Boer War case of Breaker Morant, Hicks was politically scapegoated and grossly denied a fair trial. Unlike Morant – a war criminal who murdered prisoners of war – even Hicks’s accuser, the United States, n ...

November in America signals a time to gather in, take stock and breathe a little. The elections are done by the end of the first week. Thanksgiving beckons, the high holidays begin, media fever subsides – a little – and morphs into retrospective political analysis and projected anxiety about the future, especially, since 2008, the economic future.

It is ...

Morag Fraser on Obama's presidency

Morag Fraser
Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Immediately after the mid-term elections in November, Barack Obama left for a long-planned G20 gathering in Seoul and for meetings with heads of government in the nation states of India, Indonesia, and Japan. Nothing remarkable, you think? Exactly what one expects a United States president to do? Not in America.

The right-wing blogosphere went berserk. Miche ...