Tag: LBJ

Presidential Greatness: A List to Ponder

Presidents Day apparently was a prime time to release the new rankings of presidential greatness. Who is judging which president is greater than another, you may ask. The answer: 170 members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. You may ask further: what are the political leanings of these 170 members? The answer with respect to political party: 57.2% of respondents were Democrats, while 12.7% were Republicans, 27.1% were Independents, and 3% selected Other… Read more »

A Historian’s Perspective on Bad Times in American History

I don’t think there’s really any disagreement about how pessimistic the majority of Americans are about the future. Currently, all the polls reveal that pessimism.  As I survey the scene—the spiritual/moral, political, and cultural aspects [what does that leave?]—I have grave concerns as well. I’d like to offer a historian’s perspective. Since I teach American history, I have a more in-depth knowledge of what has transpired previously. I can imagine myself transported back into earlier eras and think about how… Read more »

Sabbatical Update: Texas

Periodically, I’ve been providing updates on my sabbatical year. Those of you who have kept up with this know I’m working on more than one project. One, though, has kept me moving across the country to different presidential libraries as I examine documents related to spiritual advisers to presidents. I’ve already gone to Wheaton College–back in August–and researched in the archives of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, since he is the premier spiritual adviser for a number of presidents since… Read more »

The Productive Year Ahead

Later this week, I’ll begin showing students around some of Virginia’s best historic sites. I’ll be staying in Williamsburg, one of my favorite places on the planet. The historic colonial area always attracts me. We’ll also tour Jamestown’s original site, the re-created Jamestown settlement, Yorktown, Monticello (Jefferson’s home), Mt. Vernon (Washington’s home), and sites in Richmond (Virginia capitol, John Marshall’s house, St. John’s church, where Patrick Henry delivered his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” oration). That’s just the… Read more »

The Sabbatical Year

I received a tremendous blessing recently: Southeastern University awarded me a sabbatical for the upcoming academic year. Once the current spring semester ends in May, I will have until the beginning of the fall semester in August 2015 to research and write. In tandem with a colleague in the college of religion, I will have the opportunity to delve into the subject of spiritual advisers to presidents. Our goal is to begin with a couple of articles on the topic,… Read more »

The Selfie President

I’ve written more than once about my belief that President Obama is a confirmed narcissist. Every time there is a special commemoration of some kind, his White House releases a picture of him, as if he is “the” participant in a historic event. It has happened with Rosa Parks, Pearl Harbor, and numerous other occasions. This fascination with himself has gone well beyond such photos. Shortly after taking office, he sent a gift to Queen Elizabeth—audio of his speeches. Before… Read more »

On Clowns, Presidents, & the First Amendment

I always prefer to write about truly significant events or great insights offered by the wisest people. Then there are days that simply dictate what needs to be written, whether significant or not. This is one of those days. I have a difficult time believing I have to comment on what a rodeo clown did last week, but the story refuses to die. You probably already know what happened, but for the few who live in a monastery somewhere carefully… Read more »