Miller Center

Riding The Tiger

“I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed.” Harry S. Truman

American Forum: Peter Baker on the View from the White Hous

Douglas Blackmon and Peter Baker on American Forum

In the next episode of American Forum, we get a view from the vantage of the White House.  Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for the New York Times, joined us to discuss the sea of 2016 presidential contenders, the final year of the Obama administration, and what lies ahead for the next president.

American Forum: Pamela Newkirk on the History Behind Racial Conflict in America

Douglas Blackmon and Pamela Newkirk on American Forum

In this week’s American Forum we go back more than a century in time to an era of bewildering optimism for most Americans—when Teddy Roosevelt swaggered across the national stage, electric lights, running water, telephones, automobiles and the promise of modernity began touching millions of American lives. Newspapers and the first electronic media were knitting together a new shared American identity and the United States was poised finally to emerge into what many saw as its destiny to be a great world power.

Republican Party’s Search for Foreign Policy: 2016 vs. 1952

Robert A. Taft

We like to say here at the Miller Center that history does not repeat, but rhymes. With the recent GOP debate, it was hard to find any candidate agreeing on foreign policy. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) advocated that the U.S. should not be the world’s policeman.

Jacqueline Kennedy: The First Lady Who Coined “Camelot”

The Miller Center's own, Barbara Perry, is featured in a new documentary about Jacqueline Kennedy on the Reelz Channel. Jacqueline Kennedy: Behind Closed Doors debuted Saturday, with additional showings on Nov. 10, 10 p.m., Nov. 12, 11 p.m., and Nov. 14, 12 p.m. In this post, Perry recounts the Kennedy mystique and the coining of the term, "Camelot."

American Forum: Cokie Roberts on Politics, Presidents,  Powerful Women and America

Douglas Blackmon and Cokie Roberts on American Forum

Legendary NPR journalist and best-selling author Cokie Roberts joined American Forum to discuss current politics, her new book on women in the Civil War era, and parallels to the status of women today.


American Forum: How Racial Voting is Reshaping U.S. Politics with Joy-Ann Reid

Douglas Blackmon and Joy-Ann Reid on American Forum

On this week’s American Forum, with the election of Barack Obama in 2008 many Americans were optimistic that the United States would become a post-racial society. But the barrage of devastating headlines from Trevon Martin to Walter Scott, and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, provide clear evidence that the country remains unable to fully reconcile with its troubled past. They also reveal a president who seems surprisingly reluctant to engage in a national dialogue on race.

American Forum: The Iran Nuclear Deal: Good or Bad for the U.S.?

Douglas Blackmon, Karim Sadjadpour and Michael Singh on American Forum

Where does the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal go now? Will it survive the next presidential administration—whoever is elected to the White House? What can we expect from the lifting of sanctions and the release of billions of dollars into the Iranian economy? What broader foreign policy strategy should the U.S. pursue in the Middle East?

American Forum: Kevin M. Kruse

Kevin M. Kruse and Doug Blackmon on American Forum

Our guest in this week’s televised episode is one of those new thinkers you need to know. Kevin Kruse is a brilliant young historian at Princeton University who’s pushing the boundaries of how Americans understand ourselves, our history, and what we’ve been taught was the bedrock of our national values. He’s the author of a new book, One Nation Under God, asserting that the concept of a “Christian America” comes not from the founding of the republic, but is a product of much more recent times and deeply influenced by corporate America and conservative ministers. 


American Forum: Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders and Doug Blackmon on American Forum

Tune in this week as Senator Bernie Sanders joins American Forum host Douglas Blackmon for an expansive dialogue on his aspirations for the country, his role as an American leader and an explanation of just how “socialist” he really is.

American Forum: Pamela Newkirk and the Astonishing Life of Ota Benga

Join American Forum next week as award-winning scholar and journalist Pamela Newkirk discusses the shocking true story of Ota Benga, a young Congolese “pygmy” who was displayed as part of an exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in 1904.  

American Forum: Ari Berman & Modern Struggle for Voting Rights

Douglas Blackmon and Ari Berman on American Forum

Tune in to American Forum this week as contributing writer for The Nation Magazine Ari Berman and host Douglas Blackmon discuss the dramatic passage of the Voting Rights Act and the turbulent forces it unleashed.

American Forum broadcasts nationally on more than 75% of PBS stations (check local listings) including their World Channel Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. EST.

Edward Kennedy, Bipartisanship, and Personal Friendships

Kennedy and Santorum

Senator Kennedy enjoys the spoils of victory after winning a friendly bet with Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA).

Last week, the Miller Center released the first batch of Edward M. Kennedy Oral History transcripts. Although touching on a wide variety of topics: civil rightsforeign policySupreme Court nominations, and health care, just to name a few, a common thread throughout nearly all of the interviews is a sense of Kennedy’s willingness to engage in bipartisanship.  Beyond making temporary legislative alliances, however, many of Kennedy’s acts of bipartisanship fostered deep and meaningful friendships across the aisle.  Figures as ideologically opposed to Kennedy, such as Trent Lott (R-MS) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), recounted their deep friendships with Kennedy, as shown in in the following excerpts.

Edward Kennedy and Refugees

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

In one interview for his oral history, Ted Kennedy simply says, "I have a commitment to being a voice for the voiceless." This commitment can be traced to his work on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Refugees and Escapees.

Public Service and the Speakership

Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) surprised the country by announcing his resignation from not only the Speakership, but also his seat in the House of Representatives. In doing so, he became the first Speaker to resign in the middle of a Congressional session since Jim Wright in 1989.

In this excerpt from a newly-released transcript from the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History Project, another former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, weighs on the honors and responsibilities of serving as Speaker of the House. 

Ted Kennedy’s Inspiration of American History and Immigrant Background

Listen to Ted Kennedy's Inspiration of American History and Immigrant Background: