Search Results for: Jason-Zengerle

The Audacity of Hope: A Reading List on Barack Obama

Image by Jason Taellious (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I’m not sure when Barack Obama first entered my consciousness: whether it was a 60 Minutes segment during the first campaign or reading about him in the July 10th, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone — which, albeit slightly crumpled — remains on our coffee table to this day.

The time leading up to his first election was the darkest period of my life to date and during those long nights in late 2008, I took strength from the enthusiasm surrounding him, his campaign, and his election. The optimism was part antidote to my troubles, part encouragement to move on. Of all the articles written about Obama over the years, the ones that intrigued me most were the ones that helped me get to know the man and what he stood for, just a little bit better.

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 is the last day in office for Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States. With this reading list we remember the man, his time in office, and take a peek at what’s in store after the White House.

1. “The Conciliator” (Larissa Macfarquhar, The New Yorker, May 7, 2007)

Macfarquhar reports on Obama in action with constituents before being elected president, observing his calm demeanor, “freakish self-possession,” and ability to connect with humans of every description. She describes a man who, early on, eschewed political outrage as an impotent, empty tactic — a distraction to achieving unity.

2. “A Conversation with Barack Obama” (Jann S. Wenner, Rolling Stone, July 10, 2008)

In this wide-ranging interview during Obama’s first bid for president in 2008, Wenner takes us back to the optimism surrounding the candidate and his campaign. They chat about Obama’s three favorite books, musical tastes, pop culture, getting endorsed by Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, and Obama’s overall approach to governing a nation.

3. “Obama’s Way” (Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair, October, 2012)

Michael Lewis spent six months with the president before Obama was elected to his second term in office. Lewis reports on the emotional demands of the presidency, avoiding distraction to save decision-making energy as commander-in-chief, the potentially disastrous human consequences of those decisions, and what the president does to soothe his soul after a particularly hard day.

4. “The way ahead” (Barack Obama, The Economist, October 8, 2016)

In his own words, Barack Obama examines the state of the U.S. economic union, positing that globalization, inclusion, and closing the gap between the richest and poorest Americans will aid U.S. prosperity.

5. “Barack Obama is Preparing for His Third Term” (Jason Zengerle, GQ, January 17, 2017)

Most former presidents avoid the spotlight to spend more time with family and maybe enjoy some golf. Even though Barack Obama is stepping away from political office, he’s gearing up to influence the direction of the United States by advising his successor.

Alan Abramowitz’s Model Has Correctly Predicted Every Presidential Election Outcome Since 1992

The election model that’s most in vogue — that scored the highest when applied to presidential elections since World War II, correctly predicting every outcome since 1992 — is one created by Emory political scientist Alan Abramowitz called “Time for a Change.” Abramowitz argues that the fundamentals in a presidential election are bedevilingly simple: the incumbent president’s approval rating in late June or early July, the rate of real GDP growth in the second quarter, and how many terms the party has been in the White House.

In 2012, for instance, Obama’s relatively lopsided victory may have shocked Republicans on Election Night, but by Abramowitz’s reckoning it was practically preordained. Although second-quarter real GDP growth was a relatively unimpressive 1.5 percent and Obama’s approval rating was a good-but-not-great 46 percent that June, he was seeking reelection, and, according to Abramowitz, “first-term incumbents rarely lose.” In fact, he believes that being a first-term incumbent is worth 4 percentage points. There was nothing in the Abramowitz model that looked good for John McCain in 2008 (bad economy, bad approval ratings of a second-term president from McCain’s party). In 1988, by contrast, George H.W. Bush was also running to give his party a third term, but Q2 real GDP growth that year was a booming 5.24 percent and Ronald Reagan’s approval rating was above 50 percent.

Jason Zengerle writing for New York about how Hillary Clinton stacks up as a candidate, and whether or not being a “good candidate” actually means anything in terms of winning the presidency.

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The Time Jason Zengerle and a Gorilla Stalked Michael Moore for Might Magazine

Longreads Pick

Thanks to our Longreads Members’ support, we tracked down a vintage story from Dave Eggers’s Might Magazine. It’s from Jason Zengerle, a staff writer for Politico and former contributing editor for New York magazine and GQ who’s been featured on Longreads often in the past.

Source: Might magazine
Published: Oct 2, 2013
Length: 18 minutes (4,685 words)

A Step Back for The Civil Rights Movement

Over the next three decades, Hank Sanders became a fixture in the statehouse, ascending to the chairmanship of the Senate’s Finance and Taxation Education Committee. From his expansive office just off the Senate floor, he controlled Alabama’s Education Trust Fund, the largest operating budget in state government. Sanders tried to exercise his power to represent people who were unaccustomed to having a voice in Montgomery—namely poor, black Alabamans. He helped bring more money to their schools and their hospitals, better infrastructure to their neighborhoods, and greater fairness to their tax bills. Thanks to Sanders and a growing caucus of African American legislators, many of whom also chaired crucial committees, it was a period during which black people in Alabama enjoyed their most substantive political representation since Reconstruction. And Sanders, an exceptionally large man who suffered from severe obesity and whose supporters called him “The Rock,” was the cornerstone of the black political power structure in the state. When Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton faced off in Alabama’s 2008 Democratic primary, both candidates sought the endorsement of Sanders’s political organization; it went to Obama, and Obama won.

Sanders told me the story of his remarkable rise to power earlier this year, but his tone was more wistful than triumphant. For so long, his life had been an uplifting tale of slow but seemingly inexorable progress—not just for himself, but for African Americans throughout the South. In recent years, however, the trajectory of Sanders’s story has been abruptly—and just as inexorably—reversed. In 2010, Republicans took over the Alabama Senate and Sanders lost his chairmanship; in the four years since, he’s watched as the new GOP majority has systematically dismantled much of his life’s work.

-Jason Zengerle, in The New Republic, on the plight of black politicians in the South.

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Photo: YouTube

The Time Jason Zengerle and a Gorilla Stalked Michael Moore for Might Magazine

Photo by Jimmy Hahn

Jason Zengerle | Might magazine | 1997 | 19 minutes (4,685 words)

 

Introduction

Thanks to our Longreads Members’ support, we tracked down a vintage story from Dave Eggers’s Might Magazine. It’s from Jason Zengerle, a correspondent for GQ and contributing editor for New York magazine who’s been featured on Longreads often in the past. Read more…

A Pivotal Early Moment for the Cheney Family and Gay Marriage

cheney-book

“In 2004, Mary contemplated quitting her job on the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign because of the president’s support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which proposed to ban same-sex marriage. As Mary recalls in her memoir, when she asked to discuss the matter with her father at the White House, Lynne and Liz joined them, and all three urged her to remain on the campaign—noting that they themselves disagreed with Bush on the issue. But they also told her they would understand and support her decision if she did resign. Mary chose to stay on and, later in that campaign, when Democratic nominee John Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, each separately raised the issue of her sexuality during the debates, the Cheneys were furious. Lynne declared Kerry was ‘not a good man’ and denounced his ‘cheap and tawdry political trick.’ When Edwards debated their father, Liz and Lynne went so far as to stick their tongues out at him, while Mary glared at the Democrat and, borrowing one of her father’s famous expressions, silently mouthed the words ‘Go fuck yourself.’”

Jason Zengerle’s in-depth background on the Cheney family, for Politico Magazine. Read more on gay marriage.

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Making the Magazine: A Reading List

Magazine nerds, here we go: A starter collection of behind-the-scenes stories from some of your most beloved magazines, including The New Yorker, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair and the New York Review of Books, plus now-defunct publications like Might, George, Sassy and Wigwag. Share your favorite behind-the-magazine stories with us on Twitter or Facebook: #longreads. Read more…

Longreads Member Pick: Jason Zengerle's First Assignment for Might Magazine

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This week, we’re thrilled to feature Jason Zengerle, a contributing editor for New York magazine and GQ who has been featured on Longreads many times. Our Member Pick is Jason’s 1997 story on Michael Moore for Might magazine: “Is This Man the Last, Best Hope for Popular Liberalism in America? And, More Importantly, Does He Have a Sense of Humor?”

Jason explains:

This was the first story I wrote that could qualify as a long read—and it certainly wasn’t by choice. I’d just graduated from college and was doing an internship at The American Prospect, but I spent most of my time daydreaming about being an intern at The New Republic, which hadn’t seen fit to hire me. Hoping to change their mind, I’d routinely pitch TNR freelance stories, and one day I got the idea to write a takedown of Michael Moore: I sent in at a tightly-argued, perfect-for-TNR 1,000 words; TNR sent back its customary 20-word rejection. That would have been the end of it, but I showed the piece to my friend Todd Pruzan, who offered to show it to his friend Dave Eggers, who was then editing a little magazine called Might.

It turned out that Eggers didn’t share my dim opinion of Moore, but he did see the potential for a fun stunt. He said Might would be willing to take my 1,000 words arguing that Moore was a hack, if I’d be willing to embed them in a much longer shaggy-dog story of trying to track down and meet with Moore himself. By now, of course, the idea of pulling a Roger & Me on Michael Moore is pretty played-out, but at the time, I don’t think anyone had thought of it yet. And so on MLK Day weekend of 1997, I took a Peter Pan bus from Boston to New York, rented a gorilla suit for my unemployed actor friend Morgan Phillips, and set off on our little adventure.

The rest is history. By the end of that year, Might was out of business. Eggers was writing A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and on his way to becoming the voice of a generation. And I was an intern at TNR.

Read an excerpt here.

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Photo by Jimmy Hahn

Longreads Member Exclusive: Jason Zengerle’s First Assignment for Might Magazine

Longreads Pick

This week, we’re thrilled to feature Jason Zengerle, a contributing editor for New York magazine and GQ  who has been featured on Longreads  many times. Our Member Pick is Jason’s 1997 story on Michael Moore for Might magazine: “Is This Man the Last, Best Hope for Popular Liberalism in America? And, More Importantly, Does He Have a Sense of Humor?”

Support Longreads—and get more stories like this—by becoming a member for just $3 per month.

Source: Might magazine
Published: Mar 15, 2013
Length: 18 minutes (4,685 words)