History happens on a regular basis on UCTV with the long-running interview series “Conversations with History,” hosted by Harry Kreisler of UC Berkeley’s Institute of International Studies, and with the election just more than a week away, we’re making history fast.
This week, Kreisler welcomes Harvard University’s Theda Skocpol for a discussion of America’s political future. After reflecting on her intellectual journey, Professor Skocpol talks about her timely new books, “Obama and America’s Political Future” and “The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism” (co-authored with Vanessa Williamson) and shares her strategy in studying political and social transformations, her analysis of the Tea Party and its long term impact on the Republican Party, and the reasons for President Obama’s failure to meet progressive expectations after the high hopes generated by his 2008 campaign.
Fear of decline is one of the oldest American impulses. When we feel we are in decline, we sense that we have lost our balance. We argue about what history teaches us—and usually disagree about what history actually says. We conclude that behind every crisis related to economics and the global distribution of power lurks a crisis of the soul.
In E.J. Dionne’s talk, “Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent,” from UC Santa Barbara’s Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public LIfe, the Washington Post columnist argues that underlying our political impasse is a lost sense of national balance that, in turn, reflects a loss of historical memory. Americans disagree about who we are because we can’t agree about who we’ve been.
UC San Diego political scientist Sam Popkin knows what it’s like to face the wrath of the President of the United States. While working on Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign, it was Popkin who stepped into Ronald Reagan’s shoes at the podium during Carter’s debate prep sessions and, after 11 minutes of giving the president a hard-to-swallow dose of what Reagan was expected to deliver in the real debate, both Carter and his wife seemed ready to pounce.
In total, Popkin has served on five Democratic presidential campaigns. He’s also conducted extensive research on every campaign going back to World War II for his book “The Candidate: What it Takes to Win — and Hold — the White House.” As a result, he’s got plenty of insight, frank assessments and strong opinions about the saga that is Obama v. Romney, which he shares this week on “UCTV Prime Vote.”
There’s already more than enough heated rhetoric about Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) — or anything political for that matter — to last us until the 2016 election. Instead of partisan pundits and spokespeople, we really need to hear the calm, reasonable, rational voices of people who’ve spent their careers studying and interpreting public health policy, among many other issues.
That brings us to our latest installment of UCTV Prime Vote, featuring Janet Coffman, an associate professor of medicine at UC San Francisco. In her commentary “The Affordable Care Act is Good Enough,” Professor Coffman argues that voters need to understand what the ACA does in order to judge it properly. In her view, the health care law is not perfect, but it’s better than what we have now.
Share your response to Professor Coffman’s argument in the video’s comments section and, whatever you do, make sure your trip to the polls in November is an informed one. Stay tuned in September for more programs about the ACA and other important issues of our time.
We’ve got pundits, too! Next up on UCTV Prime Vote is UC Berkeley’s Lisa Garcia Bedolla with As Latinos Go, So Goes the Nation, in which she argues that Republicans will never become a majority party without support from Latinos.
Professor Bedolla joins faculty from throughout the UC system who present their views on issues relevant to the next election.