We're pleased to announce that the Ben and Joel Podcast is becoming the City Journal Books Podcast! Although our name and home base may be changing, the content of the program will remain the same. We'll continue to offer 21st-century conversations for listeners with 19th-century attention spans with authors of books we think are interesting, enlightening, and particularly relevant to the public discourse.
In this episode, City Journal associate editor Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, a national affairs columnist for Philadelphia Magazine's The Philly Post, talk to Charles R. Kesler about his new book, I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism. Kesler is the Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government at Claremont-McKenna College, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, and editor of the Claremont Review of Books.
Among the questions we discuss:
• What ideas motivate Barack Obama?
• Who's the audience for this book? How should a liberal engage this book?
• Do conservatives know more about liberals' political history than liberals do?
• How did Woodrow Wilson's "New Freedom" reshape American politics?
• How did Franklin Roosevelt inexorably tie liberalism to the Democratic Party?
• How did Lyndon Johnson outdo FDR and Wilson?
• Does Obama represent a "fourth wave" of liberalism?
• What do American progressives owe to the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel?
• Did history end for American conservatives in 1787?
• Do conservatives unknowingly accept liberal premises?
• And much, much more!
Please visit and "like" Ben and Joel and City Journal on Facebook to comment on this interview, as well as to receive regular updates about the podcast and links to our weekly syndicated column with ScrippsHoward News Service. You'll be glad you did!
Programming note: Let's call this one the last episode of "The Ben and Joel Podcast" and the inaugural episode of the "City Journal Books Podcast." Upcoming guests include: Stephen Knott, Greg Lukianoff, and Richard H. Immermann.
On this edition of the City Journal Books Podcast, Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis discuss presidential power with Stephen F. Knott, author most recently of Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics (University Press of Kansas). Knott, a professor of national security affairs at the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, contends that historians have done a disservice to their profession by judging President Bush's record too harshly, too soon. His previous books include Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth, Secret and Sanctioned: Covert Operations and the American Presidency, and At Reagan’s Side: Insiders’ Recollections from Sacramento to the White House.
Among the questions we discuss:
• How did George W. Bush's national security decisions differ from former presidents?
• Do historians give some presidents a pass on abuse of power more than others?
• Is the role of Congress in wartime to write checks and shut up?
• Should Congress have formally declared war on the Taliban in 2001?
• Have the courts carried out a "quiet constitutional revolution" in the way presidents may handle national security?
• Did the Bush Administration's wiretapping program go too far?
• Did Bush invite the judgment of history?
• And much more!
Please visit and "like" Ben and Joel and City Journal on Facebook to comment or to share this interview. There you will also receive regular updates about new stories from City Journal and City Journal California, along with links to Ben and Joel's weekly syndicated column with ScrippsHoward News Service. Thanks for listening.