Peter Dreier: Historians will no doubt view President Barack Obama’s announcement Wednesday favoring same-sex marriage as an equally historic statement, parallel to those of FDR on workers’ rights and LBJ on civil rights.
Steven Conn: As midterm elections approach, conservatives seek to return America to the way things used to be. Not so fast, argues historian Steven Conn, unless you really want racial segregation, child labor, voting discrimination, and all the other things that old-time conservatives once supported.
Berry Craig: When Reagan said he was a “states’ rights” guy, “he was elbow deep in the same old race-baiting Southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon” and “tapping out the code,” Bob Herbert wrote in the New York Times in 2007. “It was understood that when politicians started chirping about ‘states’ rights’ to white people in places like Neshoba County they were saying that when it comes down to you and the blacks, we’re with you. And Reagan meant it.”
Obama should let any Democratic foot-draggers know that if they do not get with the program, he will un-elect them and put in Democrats more in tune with his priorities. The threat would be credible, as he is one of the great campaigners of modern political history.