Mary Grabar
Recently announced Vice Presidential pick Paul Ryan is being called a radical by the left for his fiscal policies. But no one would expect that anyone would imply that the Roman Catholic family man would be a Black Panther. Yet, the New York Times ran the headline "Paul Ryan, Black Panther?" on the day after the announcement was made. This was in a series called “Historically Corrected.”

(So when will the New York Times allow me to blog in a series titled “Why You Should Read George Orwell and Other Novelists”?)

This of course was false advertising, for anyone reading it could see that the three (three!) authors were stretching to make a connection between what Paul Ryan's father had often told him and a possible membership in the Black Panthers.

These three authors took a phrase that has over the decades become part of our everyday parlance--"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem"--traced its use back to Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, and speculated that Ryan had made the "Republicans' big tent a little bigger." Is it a joke, or do they really want to imply that the Republican Party welcomes the Black Panthers who did more than serve breakfast to poor children, like rape and murder, including their own members?

And the three authors are not the proverbial Tea Partiers sitting around in their pajamas blogging about various conspiracies--as the left so often characterizes conservative bloggers.

No, these three individuals are professors at Washington College, where they are affiliated with the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

The regularly featured New York Times blog post, "Historically Corrected," under which this post ran, is a project of the Center's faculty and students. These three authors of the 680-word blog post were assisted by two student researchers.

The eminent scholars are:

The Center Director, Adam Goodheart, a Civil War historian, who blogs regularly for the New York Times "Opinionator" series, as well as for such publications as the Atlantic and American Scholar.

Peter Manseau, Scholar in Residence, also a lecturer in English, who is working on his doctorate in religious studies. Most of his writing is in fiction and memoir. His scholarship seems to veer toward the creative and religous--and not to "historical correction."

Mary Grabar

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at Her writing can be found at