My Books

Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater and the Ad that Changed American Politics (LSU Press)

The Walls of Jericho: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Russell and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Harcourt Brace)

A Grand Delusion: America’s Descent Into Vietnam (Basic Books)

Wartime Dissent in America: A History and Anthology (Palgrave Macmillan)

When Freedom Would Triumph: When Freedom Would Triumph: The Civil Rights Struggle in Congress, 1954-1968 (LSU Press)

Legacy to Power: Senator Russell Long of Louisiana (Paragon House)


  1. Professor, an interesting and enjoyable book to supplement those that were intended to be broader in scope. We would appreciate some thoughts on the following regarding political advertising more in general.

    1) Are the changes from the 60 second spots of earlier years to shorter spots today more of a reflection on costs or may it be attributed to a lessened attention span necessitating more direct singular issue negative spots?

    2) Is there any likelihood of a reincarnation of the biographical style spots such as Humphrey’s why Civil Rights talk in 68? We may be showing our age, but we always found those personal statement spots influential.

    3) Since candidates can distance themselves even further from material presented by Super PACs and non-profits than they could from the hatchet-men of old, will we reach the point where all political advertising is negative? Or is only our perception that the percentage of negative spots has been increasing?

    No disrespect intended for this work, and we understand the purpose was different, but in our opinion Legacy to Power is still your best book. No criticisms about the others since the bar was set high with Russell Long, but we’re just asserting that we hope you continue with the quality work. Best Regards Sir.

    1. Thanks for the comment and the kind words about my Russell Long book.

      I’ll try to respond quickly. Wish I had more time this morning to give this more thought.

      1. Actually, the 15-second spot isn’t new. Eisenhower did a series of them in 1952. His “Eisenhower Answers America” spots were great examples of how a message could be delivered in a concise way.

      2. Yes. I think those bio spots are still effective. Look at Clinton’s 1992 bio, “The Man from Hope,” which then became a 60-second spot. It’s amazing to me that Romney didn’t try this, when he needed it more than most candidates. Obama also did some very good bio spots in 2008. George H.W. Bush also did a great one in ’92, that is one of my all-time favorites.

      3. I don’t think you’ll ever see purely negative campaigns, although it sometimes looks that way. Candidates still have the need to frame their issues and sell their stories. My sense is that they will always want a healthy mix of positive and negative. And then there’s the whole line of thinking that it’s the negative spots that actually encourage engagement and are, in fact, more truthful. It’s counter-intuitive, but there are probably far more lies told in positive spots than negative spots.

      Thanks again for reading and for the comments.

    2. Bob, how do I communicate with you. I am trying to get you, Dan Borne and Richard Dunn together for a RBL Band of Brothers lunch meet-up in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, November 14, 2017. Please catch up with me.

      Richard Daschbach

  2. Sir, this comment was intended to be placed on your blog entry regarding the Daisy Girl commercial. I had too many windows open and obviously posted in the wrong area. My apologies and thank you for understanding.

  3. Glad I was able to find this blog as I was big fan of “Walls of Jericho”. I always wondered what Russell would’ve done had he lived another ten or twenty years, perhaps even into the Clinton years. It’s hard to imagine him expressing regret like Robert Byrd did, but I also can’t imagine the Democratic establishment tolerating his views too many more years without him either defecting like Strom Thurmond, or retiring like Harry Byrd Jr.

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