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To the Best of Our Knowledge: Right Turn

Written by: Jim Fleming
Length: 52 mins

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Publisher's Summary

In this hour, when President Obama took office, the Democratic Party was riding high, and the Republican Party, some thought, was on its way out. No one paid much attention to the Tea Party. Times have changed. Keli Carender is a Seattle area blogger considered by many to be the very first Tea Party activist. She tells Steve Paulson what the first protests were like. One of the early signs of change in the political atmosphere came with "the rant heard round the world" from Rick Santelli. He called up the ghosts of the Founding Fathers in his outrage at contemporary American Government.

Next, Jill Lepore teaches American history at Harvard and writes for The New Yorker. In her new book, The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle Over American History, Lepore does a reality check on Tea Party claims to the founding fathers. She tells Anne Strainchamps about the moment they entered the Tea Party picture.

Then, these days it doesn't matter whether you are a conservative or a liberal, if you are looking for inspiration you look to Ronald Reagan. You don't have to like his politics, or even know much about them, to be aware that he's remembered as "the great communicator." Julian Zelizer is a presidential historian and professor of history and public affairs at Princeton. He tells Jim Fleming why Reagan's still so relevant today.

And finally, is the war of ideas between red and blue America something new? Columnist David Sirota says no, the war was won in the 1980. By the conservatives. In his book Back to Our Future Sirota says the proof is in the staying power of 80s pop culture. As an example, he tells Steve Paulson about the hit sitcom Family Ties. [Broadcast Date: May 25, 2011]

(P) and ©2011 Wisconsin Public Radio

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