A nostalgic look at the election of 1912, arguably the birth of the Bull Moose faction of the Republican Party, and proof that the answer is not starting a third party, but taking back our own (attention: John Huntsman!)

The History Nerd

Big election coming up later this year, I hear. Don’t want to get into that yet; let’s wait till the Republicans choose between Sick Rick and Ragged Mitt, though Mr. Remove-Silver-Spoon-and-Insert-Foot seems to have it locked up. Tonight’s results could spell the end for Rick, though the grossly self-righteous never seem to go away quietly.

No, today the History Nerd wants to look back to another big election, one from a century ago that at least one historian thinks changed America. The election of 1912 featured some heavy hitters, the caliber of which makes the current crop look like Doug Wilson and his cohorts in Agrestic (yes, I’ve been rewatching early seasons of Weeds).

The 1912 election was the only time in our history that three men who had or would sit in the Oval Office faced each other: the incumbent William “Big Boy” Howard Taft, former…

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What Santorum Got Wrong About JFK’s Religion Speech

The dangers of taking a politician out of context in the age of the internet should be self-evident. Apparently, Mr. Santorum left that out of his calculus.

Forget Kennedy’s party and religious affiliations. His words should bring discomfort to both the religious right and the deicidal left: whether our founders were closet theocrats or enlightenment humanists who wore the mantle of faith for convenience and social acceptance, the framework they put into place was about tolerance.

America is neither the last Christian nation nor the first Humanist one. It is a country where national identity operates outside the scope of such beliefs. Let it continue to be so.

Swampland

Writing in the new issue of TIME, Jon Meacham challenges Santorum’s account of Kennedy’s views on Church and State:

Santorum suggests that Kennedy offered a secular call to arms, banishing religion from American life in ways that believers like Santorum are still crusading to reverse. Kennedy’s address, however, doesn’t say what Santorum wishes it to have said. It called for an end to bigotry, not an end to faith in politics.

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