Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Talking American Nations, WSCA, Portsmouth, NH today

For those in Seacoast New Hampshire and southernmost Maine, I'm the guest today on WSCA FM 106.1 in Portsmouth, noon to one.

I talk with host Burt Cohen about my new book, American Nations. The segment was actually taped yesterday, so it's not a call-in program as I understand it usually is. I gather some Public Radio International affiliates may pick it up in other parts of the country.

[Update, 2/1/2012: Here's the podcast of the show.]

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The New Republic on American Nations and the GOP Primaries

The New Republic's Alec MacGillis today offers this enjoyable piece which muses on how the winners of the Republican presidential primaries to date have each turned out to have each had a "national" home court advantage, as defined by my new book, American Nations.

Given the same assignment, I would have written almost exactly what MacGillis did. The pattern of national origins -- more or less -- has been hard to miss, but my paradigm is really about defining and explaining dominant cultures, not the individuals living within them (who may love, hate, or have mixed feelings about various aspects of the cultural atmosphere around them). Politicians are wonderful ciphers for understanding these cultures, but largely by dint of their policies having been accepted or rejected by the voting populace of a given regional culture. That, say, Tom DeLay was born outside of the Deep South isn't really of interest; that he was elected -- time and again -- by the people of a Deep Southern district very much is, because it is revealing of the dominant priorities of that area.

If cultural prerogatives continue to play out, Gingrich is likely to push Romney aside in Florida (because so much of it is in the Deep South), while Romney is going to have a leg up in Yankee Michigan.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Making of Paul LePage, Part II

The second and final part of my biography of Maine governor Paul LePage is in the new issue of the Portland Phoenix. The first part was last week's cover story.

Part II of "The Making of Paul LePage" traces the governor's life from his college graduation in 1971 to inauguration day 2010. It debunks rumors about his time in Canada, sheds light on the lessons of his business career, and traces how he came to be interested -- and succeed -- in politics.

My thanks again to the Fund for Investigative Journalism in Washington, D.C. for their support of this project.

And now, here's your photographic moment of zen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Making of Paul LePage, Part I

The first installment of my two-part, 10,000-word biography of Maine Governor Paul LePage is the cover story of this week's Portland Phoenix, which hit the streets overnight.

Part I of "The Making of Paul LePage" takes us from his sixth-great grandfather, the First Lord of Rimouski, Quebec, to his 1971 college graduation. Part II, out next week, brings us from Canada to inauguration day, one year ago this week.

My thanks to the Fund for Investigative Journalism in Washington, D.C. for their support of this project, which has been several months in the making.

[Update, 1/18/2012: Here's a link to Part II.]

Monday, January 9, 2012

Talking American Nations on NHPR, Primary Day, Jan. 10

Tomorrow, January 10, is the New Hampshire presidential primary. To mark the occasion, I'll be on New Hampshire Public Radio's call-in program, The Exchange, from 9 to 10 am tomorrow, talking about American Nations. Laura Knoy is the host. Call in, Granite Staters, if you're so inspired.

I did a little primary coverage this year, evaluating Jon Huntsman's effort to capture the hearts of Yankee Republicans to keep his campaign alive. Regional cultures, of course, figure into my thinking on the issue.

[Update, 2/1/2012: The segment is now available online as a podcast.]