Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Rachel Maddow and Doris Kearns Goodwin discuss 2016 election in historical context

Rachel and Doris talk history in the NY Times coverage of a cool conversation. Here is the lead-in.

History offers strange consolation: No matter how alarming current events (or a presidential election) may be, historians can usually point to analogous episodes we survived in the past.

So who better to consult about our imminent election than the Pulitzer-winning presidential historian and biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin and the MSNBC host and political commentator Rachel Maddow?

Ms. Goodwin, 73, has written five critically acclaimed and best-selling presidential biographies, including “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” the basis, in part, for Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln”; “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II”; and “Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream,” which grew out of Ms. Goodwin’s tenure as a White House fellow at age 24. She worked directly with President Johnson in his last year in office and later assisted him with his memoirs. Ms. Goodwin received her Ph.D. in government from Harvard.

Ms. Maddow, 43, has hosted “The Rachel Maddow Show” weeknights on MSNBC since 2008. It is currently the network’s highest-rated program. Like other shows on MSNBC, it leans liberal. But Ms. Maddow has been praised by many for the civility with which she treats all guests, prioritizing information and context over the hysteria so often evident on cable news.

She is the author of the best-selling book “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.” Ms. Maddow earned a doctorate in politics from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes scholar.

Over an early lunch of eggs and toast at the Gotham Lounge in the Peninsula Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, a few days before the final presidential debate this month, the pair discussed the coming election in historical terms: the temperamental forebears of Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump among our presidential ranks, the ambitions of candidates and their skills for the job.

Now go read the interview.

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