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Julian Zelizer


  • Originally published 03/31/2014

    Julian Zelizer takes students to see Cranston play LBJ

    “There are different ways to learn about history; you could learn about it through textbooks, you could learn about it through lectures, you could learn about it through a senior thesis, but another way to learn about history is through popular culture.”

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Julian Zelizer: Crunch Time for Immigration, Budget Fights

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "Governing America." (CNN) -- August is going to be a crucial month for President Barack Obama.As the 113th Congress takes its recess, legislators will be returning to their states and districts to hear from constituents.The stakes are particularly high for Obama and Democrats, who have one last chance to sway the House Republicans before two hugely important issues are resolved: the immigration bill and the budget.As politicians in both parties begin to prepare for the 2014 midterms and think about the 2016 elections, this fall might be the last real opportunity for the president to win congressional support for these big measures....

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    Julian Zelizer: History, Literature, Civics and Arts on the Chopping Block

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "Governing America." (CNN) - Everyone talks about our broken political system. Washington is too polarized. Money dominates politics. Politicians don't know how to lead. Citizens are not as attentive to governance and public policy as they should be. Americans either ignore politics or see it is one more form of entertainment, "American Idol" on steroids.As a result, politicians get away with all kinds of misstatements and truths, in part because the electorate is so gullible.How do we make our democracy work better?Political reform will be essential to making sure that our institutions operate effectively. The news media needs to do a better job of separating truth from fiction and backing away from the increasingly partisan outlook of journalism. Civic organizations need to do more to make sure that voters are active in politics and, at a minimum, that they actually vote on Election Day....

  • Originally published 06/21/2013

    Julian Zelizer: George W. Bush's Legacy is on the Mend

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "Governing America." (CNN) -- Former President George W. Bush is enjoying another bounce in the post-presidential polls. First, the opening of his presidential library produced a spate of positive coverage about his time in office. Now, Gallup has released a survey showing that for the first time since 2005, more people approve than disapprove of Bush.This kind of shift in public opinion is likely to continue, with more upswings as well as downturns ahead. This is the nature of presidential legacies. They are a bit like what Mark Twain once said about the weather in New England: if you don't like it, just wait a second and it will change.Presidential reputations are never fixed in stone.

  • Originally published 05/30/2013

    Julian Zelizer: Fix Our Tax Headaches

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "Governing America."(CNN) -- Something good can come of the bad news about taxes. Last week there were more revelations about who knew what, and what actually occurred, when the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative organizations that were seeking tax-exempt status. Former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman told Congress he was "dismayed" about what had happened.Taxes were front and center once again when Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to respond to a congressional report that the company had avoided paying billions of dollars in taxes.The controversies generated a big stir in Washington and the news media, though it is unclear that the general public is quite as interested as the politicians and the reporters. Nonetheless, at least for now, both stories have produced intense congressional investigations to find out who was responsible for any wrongdoing.

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Julian Zelizer: What Happened to Obama's Promise?

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "Governing America." Princeton, New Jersey (CNN) -- On "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart captured the frustration that many of President Obama's supporters have felt over the past week as one scandal after another cascaded into the White House.After starting with a predictable riff accusing Bill O'Reilly of ignoring facts when attacking the Obama administration, Stewart turned to the IRS story, banged on his desk, and yelled out curses....Many liberal Democrats were frustrated and shocked that the administration had permitted the seizure of the phone records, the kind of activities they would certainly have railed against had they happened under President George W. Bush.

  • Originally published 05/17/2013

    Julian Zelizer: Chris Christie's Weight -- Why It Matters

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "Governing America." Princeton, New Jersey (CNN) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made headlines last week when one of his aides admitted that he had surgery to lose weight. Christie said that the surgery had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with his health and his family. Christie said: "It's not a career issue for me. It is a long-term health issue for me and that's the basis on which I made this decision. It's not about anything other than that."It is impossible to know whether we should take Christie at face value. Given that there has been ongoing speculation about his presidential aspirations for 2016, often coupled with discussions of his struggle with weight, it is certainly not unreasonable to wonder whether these are related.Why do Americans care about the weight of a candidate and why is appearance an issue in presidential elections? There is very little chance that the issue will go away. Certainly, old-fashioned bias has something to do with this concern....

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Julian Zelizer: History's Jury is Still Out on George W. Bush

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "Governing America."(CNN) -- On Thursday, President Obama and former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton are due to attend the grand opening of President George W. Bush's presidential library and archive in Dallas, Texas.The opening of the library offers an opportunity to think again about the legacy of the Bush presidency. As Obama and the former presidents look around the museum, they will see many exhibits that symbolize how the jury is still out on most of the major issues. Events in the coming years will play a huge role in how history is likely to remember Bush's White House.There are four big questions about his presidency.1. How effective and how just were Bush's counterterrorism policies? Bush came into office much more concerned about domestic issues like education and taxation, but after the 9/11 terror attacks, he invested a great deal of his power in the counterterrorism program.

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    Julian Zelizer: Health Care Will Be an Obama Legacy

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "Governing America."(CNN) -- The politics of health care is changing fast. President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care Act was vulnerable during his first term when Republicans demanded repeal of the law. Even after the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality, there were still many voices who objected to it.However, with each passing day, it appears that the program is in good shape, slowly becoming part of the fabric of American government.Last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of the main potential contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, said that his state would accept the Medicaid expansion that is part of the ACA. Christie had been one of the president's toughest critics, frequently lambasting the program as a prime example of big government liberalism. But he has changed his tune.

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Julian Zelizer: Obama, Think Big for State of the Union

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and of "Governing America." (CNN) -- President Obama is set to deliver the first State of the Union Address of his new term. On Tuesday evening, he will step before a joint session of Congress and a nation in difficult times.Unemployment rose in January to 7.9%. There are signs of economic progress, but millions of Americans are struggling to find a job while others are desperate to keep the one they have.Other kinds of economic challenges face many people. The Pew Research Center recently released a study showing the growing number of adults who are struggling to support grown children and their parents, the "Sandwich Generation" as they are called....It may be tempting to list a series of measures Obama wants Congress to pass, but the president should use this speech to do something more than provide a laundry list, and the historical record offers some guidance about how.

  • Originally published 01/15/2013

    Julian Zelizer: America Lives Under the Shadow of George W. Bush

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and of "Governing America."Although some Democrats are pleased that taxes will now go up on the wealthiest Americans, the recent deal to avert the fiscal cliff entrenches, rather than dismantles, one of Bush's signature legacies -- income tax cuts. Ninety-nine percent of American households were protected from tax increases, aside from the expiration of the reduced rate for the payroll tax.In the final deal, Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to preserve most of the Bush tax cuts, including exemptions on the estate tax.When Bush started his term in 2001, many of his critics dismissed him as a lightweight, the son of a former president who won office as result of his family's political fortune and a controversial decision by the Supreme Court on the 2000 election.

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