Dirty political attacks go back to the very beginning of the American Republic. What's different today, says historian Richard Norton Smith, is that television and the other electronic media have made our contact with the candidates so intimate.
Former political consultant Ron Susskind says that when he began in politics, he thought there was nothing lower than negative campaigning. But then in 1980 he learned that sometimes when your opponent attacks you, it can actually help you.
There is an entire class of consultant who does nothing but help people and companies that are under public attack. Eric Dezenhall is one of them.
Bill Bradley press secretary Julia Rothwax explains how a political crush works. This is a crush that wants only for a candidate to get elected to office.
Three days into the beginning of the new millenium, Kahari Mosley and Garcia Suzinko left home to do something they'd never done before: They took a twelve-hour bus ride to New Hampshire to volunteer for a Presidential campaign. What they saw...and what moved them to volunteer in the first place.
Unlike Reykjavik, some cities don't coddle citizens in their idiosyncratic beliefs about nature. We hear New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani react (with vehemence) to a man who believes New Yorkers should have the right to keep ferrets in their homes.
Host Ira Glass with former Congressman Daniel Rostenkowski. When Rostenkowski began a term in federal prison, he met for the first time people who'd been locked up under harsh drug laws that he'd voted for himself. "The whole thing's a sham," he declares.
We hear the history of why these drug laws were enacted from a firsthand witness. Eric Sterling was the lawyer in charge of drug laws for the House Judiciary Committee during the 1980s, when mandatory minimums were put in place.
Judges give their opinions of the drug sentencing laws. Terry Hatter is the Chief U.S.
Host Ira Glass describes the moment when black single mothers became a national political issue—and a national symbol. It was 1965, when a young Assistant Secretary of Labor named Daniel Patrick Moynihan issued a report calling for action on the issue of African-American single mothers, and black leaders, including the Rev.
Host Ira Glass with an idealistic would-be politician in California. The puzzle of American politics is that our political system is filled with idealistic people, but few of our candidates for top office seem either idealistic or capable of inspiring passion.
On the tenth anniversary of the crackdown at Tiananmen Square, we hear from Wen Huang, who was part of the student movement. He says that the students weren't fighting for democracy, at least not as it's been widely understood in the West.
More stories from Wen Huang that contradict what you think you know about the 1989 student uprising in China.
Modern-day fables of two different kinds of do-gooders during and after the 1994 genocide in the African country of Rwanda. Philip Gourevich, author of the book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, tells first about international relief workers who served as "caterers" to some of the Hutu powers as they continued their policy of ethnic cleansing after fleeing to refugee camps.
The story of a White House scandal from the year 1881. President James Garfield lay dying of a gunshot wound during that summer.
Ira reads from an editorial from a 1957 newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi. It tries to scare white southerners about the NAACP by describing a Chicago human rights campaign called "Take a Negro Boy Home Tonight." The idea behind the campaign? "Racism can be combated by intimate relationships between Negro boys and white girls." No such campaigns really existed in Chicago.
Now in exile, Jose Ramos Horta spent two decades as the leading international spokesman against the invasion of his country by Indonesia. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
In the early stages of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, there was a period when one of the questions raised by the whole affair had to do with monogamy. Around that time, Roy Romer, the Governor of Colorado and Chair of the Democratic Party, admitted that for 16 years he'd had a relationship with an aide that his wife and family knew about.
Host Ira Glass explains why some old answering machine messages from a decade ago have such power for him: there's a special power to recordings of phone conversations. The phone is intimate — more intimate than a photograph.
A communist, the filmmaker Marcel Ophuls, the band Camper Van Beethoven, and other people who may be stuck in the wrong decade.
More than England, or Japan or Israel.... When we think of South Africa, it's a more interesting mirror of the United States than nearly any country, because we glimpse a distant echo of the most frightening parts of American society — and the most inspiring.
Host Ira Glass explains that today's show begins in 1865 and ends today. Ira reads briefly from Lincoln's Second Inaugural address, which describes slavery as America's Original Sin of sorts.
Some stunning parallels between the political strategies of the two leaders, by John Matisonn.
Host Ira Glass wonders what the Democrats stand for, and then goes in search of an answer.