Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today on Kresta - June 23, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 23
Guest Host: Paul Kengor

3:00 – High court rules narrowly in voting rights case

The Voting Rights Act, the government's chief weapon against racial discrimination at polling places since the 1960s, survived a Supreme Court challenge yesterday in a ruling that nevertheless warned of serious constitutional questions posed by part of the law. Major civil rights groups and other defenders of the landmark law breathed a sigh of relief when the court ruled narrowly in favor of a small Texas governing authority while sidestepping the larger constitutional issue. We explain the case, the ruling, and the impact with Abigail Thernstrom, vice-chair of the Civil Rights Commission.

3:20 – American Progressivism / Social Justice and the Religious Left
In the wake of the 2008 election and the aggressively liberal thrust of the Obama Administration, many pundits, conservative as well as liberal, are declaring that the era of modern Conservatism, launched under Ronald Reagan a quarter of a century ago, is over. The country is no longer “America the conservative,” one progressive trumpeted, but “America the liberal.” Another gloated that Obama’s election marked “the collapse of conservatism.” Displaying more than a little panic some conservatives are urging the Conservative Movement to forget Reagan, abandon “old-fashioned” ideas and adopt a “new” Conservatism relevant to our times. Is Conservatism headed for the ash heap of history or can it rise from the ashes as it did after the crushing defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, Reagan’s failure to capture the presidential nomination in 1976 and Bill Clinton’s surprising victory in 1992? Joe Postell, at the Heritage Foundation is with us.

4:00 – Iran: What’s The End Game?
Iran's top electoral body said today it found "no major fraud" and will not annul the results of the presidential election, closing the door to a do-over sought by angry opposition supporters alleging systematic vote-rigging. Iranian government officials have repeatedly suggested that a revote is extremely unlikely. However, today’s announcement by Iran's top electoral body, the Guardian Council, was the clearest yet in ruling out a new election. The announcement on Iran's state-run English language Press TV is another sign the regime is determined to crush the post-election protests — the strongest challenge to its leadership in 30 years — rather than compromise. We talk with Middle East expert Jim Phillips.

4:20 – The Faith of the Founders
Religion has been a major part of the presidency since George Washington's first inaugural address to Barak Obama’s Trinity United background. Despite the mounting interest in the role of religion in American public life, we actually know remarkably little about the faith of our presidents. Was Thomas Jefferson an atheist, as his political opponents charged? What role did Lincoln's religious views play in his handling of slavery and the Civil War? How did born-again Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter lose the support of many evangelicals? Was George W. Bush, as his critics often claim, a captive of the religious right? Gary Smith answers these questions and many more. He takes a sweeping look at the role religion has played in presidential politics and policies. Drawing on extensive archival research, Smith paints compelling portraits of the religious lives and presidencies of eleven chief executives for whom religion was particularly important. We will examine what each of its subjects believed and how those beliefs shaped their presidencies and, in turn, the course of our history.

5:00 – Paul Kengor Commentary

5:20 – Politics for the Greatest Good: The Case for Prudence in the Public Square
With a level-headed voice, leading policy strategist Clarke Forsythe speaks clearly into the fray of political striving. He is here to campaign for a recovery of a rich understanding of the virtue of prudence, and for its application by policymakers and citizens to contemporary public policy. As Forsythe explains, prudence, in its classical sense, is the ability to apply wisdom to right action. In this book he explores the importance of applying the principles of prudence--taking account of limitations in a world of constraints and striving to achieve the greatest measure of justice under current circumstances--to the realm of politics, especially that of bioethics. In particular, Forsythe applies these concepts to the ongoing debate among pro-life advocates regarding gradual versus radical change as the most effective way to achieve political and legislative goals.

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