David Greenberg

David Greenberg, a professor of journalism and media studies and of history at Rutgers University, is the author of Nixon's Shadow and Calvin Coolidge.

Recent Articles

Father Figured

George Herbert Walker Bush (Penguin Lives Series) By Tom Wicker, Lipper/Viking, 228 pages, $19.95 Who would have thought just a few years ago that George Herbert Walker Bush would, to put it a bit cruelly, be relevant again? When he left office in January 1993, ceding the White House to a new party, a new generation, and a new governing philosophy, Bush seemed to slink off into the cavernous warehouse of history, settling into a nook alongside the undistinguished presidents of yesteryear. Undermined by the political right, abandoned by his predecessor's "Reagan Democrats," routed by the youthful, can-do Bill Clinton, Bush by the end was fatalistically watching the sands run out on his own tenure. James Carville compared him to an old calendar. By the time of Bush's departure, Americans had practically forgotten his justly celebrated expulsion of Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait two years earlier. Bush himself had fed this amnesia by failing to bring the tyrant to justice. More...

Goldwater's Glitter

Conservatives hail Barry Goldwater as a forerunner; liberals appreciate his belated moderation. But Goldwater wasn't the paragon a new biography makes him out to be.

Work Discussed in this Essay: Robert Alan Goldberg, Barry Goldwater (Yale University Press, 1995). S enator Barry Goldwater strode to the convention podium. "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!" he declared, sending the assembled delegates into a frenzy. The scene was not San Francisco, 1964. This was Dallas, 1984. "Members of the convention, we have a leader, a real leader, a great commander-in-chief," Goldwater continued. "President Ronald Reagan. And in your hearts you know he's right." Goldwater was returning a favor to Reagan, who had delivered a key television endorsement 20 years earlier. Yet he was also burnishing his own mythic status. By repeating his patented slogans, Goldwater was drawing a link from his own quixotic crusade to his successor's triumphant coronation—and, in so doing, claiming for himself a belated public vindication. That Goldwater was a seminal figure is beyond dispute. Pat Buchanan calls him "our John the Baptist"; Bob Dole paid a visit...