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Introducing…Myself!

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So by popular acclaim, I’m now a bonafide member of Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Many thanks to SEK, Robert Farley and the gang for having me on board, as well as those members of the Lawyers, Guns, and Money community who lobbied for my hiring.

Before I get fully into the swing of things, I thought I’d start with a brief introduction about who I am and what kind of things I plan to write about. So the short version:  born in California, grew up in and went to college in New York City, went back to California (so yes, bicoastal member of a transatlantic family, so the rootless cosmopolitan stereotype is in full effect). Got into politics after the 2000 election and promptly backed nothing but losing campaigns: worked for Bill Bradley for President (bit of a mistake there), Bob Reich for Governor (came achingly close to ending Mitt Romney’s career there), and Howard Dean for President (was in Keene, New Hampshire working the phones at the exact moment when the Dean Scream sent our voter commit numbers into free-fall). Then came out to California, where I learned how to actually win and win for the right reasons (turns out that party central committees are important for progressive change, and the meat and potatoes work of collective bargaining and grievance-handling can change institutions – more on this later). And after eight years, I’m finally a PhD in the History of Public Policy, and looking for work.

So what am I going to be doing here at LG&M? Most of you probably know me from the Game of Thrones podcasting, which SEK and I will continue just as soon as we work out our schedules – I’ll leave most of the Game of Thrones writing for my other blog, Race for the Iron Throne, but I will link stuff now and again for the people who enjoy that sort of thing. What I will be writing about is the intersection of history, politics, and pop culture, which you’ve already gotten a bit of a taste of with my essays about the politics of Captain America and the podcast I did about the links between the X-Men and the civil rights movement.

I’m also going to be writing about my area of expertise – the history of public policy, specifically the history of American social and economic policy from the 1930s through the 1970s. I’m especially interested finding lost or forgotten approaches to social and economic problems (unemployment, poverty, inequality, and the like) and the knowledges and ideologies that inspired them.

In turn, my historical research has fed an interest in modern public policy. I’ve written a little bit about this here, but once upon a time I wrote about public policy in some detail over at a little-read blog called The Realignment Project, before the pressures of finishing my dissertation forced me to put that on the back-burner. Now that the dissertation’s done, I’m going to get back into the habit of doing public policy again.

Once again, thanks for hiring me and I look forward to arguing with all of you.

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