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  1. A president can start a war under relatively specious circumstances, and once American soldiers are under fire, Americans will support the soldiers and support the president.
  2. The candidate who promises the most has the best chance of winning.
  3. Members of Congress are somewhat reluctant to tangle with a president who seems to have the backing of the American people.
  4. The stories that I tell, the topics that I choose to write about, usually are suggested by something that I’ve done before.
  5. Most presidents have not considered 100 days a significant milepost.
  6. Abraham Lincoln spoke out against the Mexican War. But once Americans were under fire, people who were on the fence felt obliged to support it.
  7. When a president doesn’t know the policy, it doesn’t make for a very effective leader.
  8. The Tea Party loves Reagan because he said exactly what they want to hear.
  9. When you’re actually president, the spin matters a lot less.
  10. Our love for the Founders leads us to abandon, and even to betray, the very principles they fought for.
  11. The president was not the most important political player in the 19th century. Besides Jefferson at the beginning, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, the center of politics was Congress.
  12. Politics is not something most people have to do every day. Their daily lives are much more influenced by job opportunities, whether the country is in a recession or a boom period. If you really want to understand what drives American history, look at the economic… side.
  13. On style points alone, Donald Trump makes GWB look magnificently presidential.
  14. The president is the one person who potentially could be the unifying figure in the country. And if the president or a presidential candidate basically writes off 40 states, then how in the world do the people in those 40 states feel like they have a stake in that person or that election?
  15. Previous candidates who get elected are almost always sobered by the office and the responsibility they take on. Donald Trump shows no evidence of that. He’s the same Trump that he was when he was host of his reality TV show. He’s the same Trump that he was when he was a candidate.
  16. There is a certain kind of sobering, civilizing effect that being president imposes on people. There is a certain kind of dignity with which you comport yourself. As an observer of the presidency, I have to wonder if Trump would follow that pattern.
  17. I’ve been writing American history for a long time, and I’ve had a hard time finding strong, interesting female characters. There are women, of course, in American history, but they’re hard to write about because they don’t leave much of a historical trace, and they’re not usually involved in high-profile public events.
  18. Booker Washington was branded an accommodationist by many of the people who criticized him.
  19. President Obama ran a campaign in 2008 that was entirely expected from a non-incumbent. You promise, and you imply that if you elect me, everything good is going to happen.
  20. To me, the puzzle of Ronald Reagan is how a comparatively ordinary man, someone with not extraordinary talent, accomplished such extraordinary results. At the age of 50, no one expected that this was going to be the guy who would become, at least in my interpretation, one of the two most important presidents of the 20th century.



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