Background Briefing: January 7, 2024

An Historian Who Had Lunch With the President on Wednesday Ahead of Biden’s Opening Campaign Speech of 2024 at Valley Forge

We begin with President Biden’s opening campaign speech in the 2024 election on Friday at Valley Forge, the historic site of the Revolutionary war in 1777 that was preceded by a lunch with a small group of historians at the White House on Wednesday. Joining us is an historian who attended the lunch, Sean Wilentz, the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1979. His books include The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008, Bob Dylan in America, and The Politicians and the Egalitarians. His latest book is No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding.


How Corporate America Caved After January 6 Pledges Not to Fund Congressional Insurrectionists

Then, following the recent anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, we will assess the cowardly caving in by corporate America and trade groups who three years ago pledged not to give campaign donations to insurrectionist members of congress who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election. Joining us is Anna Massoglia, a researcher, editor, and writer based in Washington, D.C. at the Center for Responsive Politics, where she studies foreign influence, digital and political ads, and is responsible for OpenSecrets’ Dark Money data as well as its Foreign Lobby Watch. Trained as a lawyer, she was appointed by the U.S. Treasury Department to be a member of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a Federal Advisory Committee to the IRS, and has held additional roles with the D.C. Superior Court Senior Judge’s Chambers, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Voting Rights Project, the D.C. Council Committee on Government Operations, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Sunlight Foundation.


A Wider War Looms as the US Gears Up To Retaliate Against the Houthis and Israel Provokes Hezbollah

Then finally we get an assessment of the growing possibility of a wider war in the Middle East as the US gears up to retaliate against the Houthis in Yemen and Israel provokes Hezbollah in Lebanon and speak with Dr. Trita Parsi, the Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He has served as a professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University and he is the co-founder and former President of the National Iranian American Council. His books include, Losing An Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy, and we discuss his article at The Nation, “Will Israel Drag the US Into Another Ruinous War?”