The Tea Party’s name was one of its organizers’ most brilliant choices. Furor at George W. Bush’s bank bailouts and Barack Obama’s electoral victory might have taken any number of forms less charged with history. It could have grown into a movement to Stop Paying Your Neighbor’s Mortgage, as CNBC’s Rick Santelli urged in the on-air rant that galvanized rank-and-file conservatives in early 2009. It could have harked back to the property-tax revolts of the late Carter years or to any of the loosely organized right-wing splinter groups from which so many Tea Party organizers were drawn. Some early organizers proposed to call this the Porkulus movement, with pigs’ heads and free government “pork” as its icons rather than the 1775 “Don’t Tread on Me” flags that soon dotted the protest rallies.
Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life by Adam Gopnik, Alfred A. Knopf, 211 pages, $24.95
The 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth is upon us, and the flood of Lincoln books has begun to crest. At least a dozen Lincoln books were released on Presidents' Day weekend. Meanwhile, the Obama camp has played heavily on Lincoln parallels since the campaign began. Conservative columnists chide that if Obama were really to act Lincoln's part, he would reach at once toward a bipartisan political center.
By Jean Bethke Elshtain. Basic Books, 336 pages, $20.00
The appellation "St. Jane" came early to Jane Addams. Florence Kelley, one of her closest comrades during the early years of settlement work at Hull House, once told Addams that if another woman called her a saint again, "I'd show her my teeth, and if that didn't convince her, I would bite her." But the label stuck. What else was one to do with Addams, a woman so out of place, so disturbing to the conventional wisdom, but consign her to the category of a holy fool, a modern St. Francis of the Chicago slums?