Historian Thomas Sugrue explains how Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck got it wrong on Detroit
Newt Gingrich and Glenn Beck weren't the first to blame Detroit's historic decline on Democratic policies, but their high-profile status has re-invigorated a debate over the political, social and economic factors that led to the city's many problems.
Beck, speaking in March on his now-cancelled Fox News show, compared Detroit unfavorably to Hiroshima, arguing the latter city recovered from an atomic bomb by embracing the free market while Detroit rotted under the weight of progressive policies, unions and a federal government that didn't allow the auto industry to fail.
Yesterday, we riled a few feathers by posting a quote from University of Pennsylvania historian Thomas Sugrue, a Detroit native who penned one of the definitive accounts of the post-war city.
He suggested that Gingrich oversimplified Detroit's decline -- and likely will continue to do so for political purposes -- arguing that suburban flight, the interstate highway system and the loss of automotive industry jobs played a larger role in determining the city's fate than party politics or entitlement programs.
Sugrue elaborated that position later in the day during an interview with Frank Beckmann on WJR-AM 760. Listen to the full interview in the embedded player or read on for highlights.
On Gingrich and Beck: "To explain Detroit's fate on food stamps, as Ginrich did, or the recent bailouts to the auto industry, as Glenn Beck suggested, is to really miss the long history that led to the problems Detroit is facing today. They go back way before the last 20 years. They really go back to the 1950's and the 1960's. Even before the urban riots and even before Detroit began losing jobs in big numbers."...
comments powered by Disqus
- Is it a reminder of Nazis or a historical object worthy of saving?
- Supreme Court reveals that the docket books of many justices survive -- and are being made available
- Poll: Majority Of Americans Say Obama Is Mixed Race, Not Black
- New technology helps paleontologists see Ice-Age bee in intricate detail
- History textbooks in crosshairs of Australia's curriculum wars
- She Came All the Way from Melbourne to Attend the OAH
- The 7 Most Popular HNN Videos from the 2014 OAH
- Jesse Lemisch’s up-from-below history is still strikingly original
- U.Va. Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War -- His second Pulitzer!
- UW Professor Stephanie Camp, 46, feminist historian, dies