- Go back to the presidential election of 1984, the rancor then over tax policy and federal deficits sounds eerily familiar to what we hear on the presidential campaign trail today.
- The 1964 race between Johnson and Goldwater was fought on the grounds of whether New Deal entitlements were financially sustainable, a debate that never seems to be settled.
- The relationship between the president and congress in 1948 parallels what is happening in Washington today. Issues such as the proper role of government and the question of free enterprise vs. government overreach were as key then as they are now.
If you are interested in some historical perspective on the nature of political division in the United States, pick up a copy of Ed Larson’s A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign. Gail and I got to know Ed while at Pepperdine University and this book will reveal that both partisan rancor and nasty, personal politics are a part of our country’s DNA. Later this year John Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power promises to shed some light on the origins of current debates on freedom, economic vibrancy, and the role of the state.