D.D. Guttenplan is The Nation‘s Editor-at-Large. His book American Radical: The Life and Times of I.F. Stone was awarded the Sperber Prize for biography. He also produced of the acclaimed documentary film Edward Said: The Last Interview, and wrote and presented War, Lies and Audiotape, a radio documentary about the Vietnam War for the BBC. His latest book, The Nation: A Biography, is available in print or as an e-book at TheNation.com/ebooks.
Benn represented not just Labour’s conscience, but its soul—a living link to the radical England of the Levellers, the Chartists, the Suffragists and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Fiorello La Guardia also took office in a time of crisis—and he was open to new ideas and bold reforms.
While the politics of the smear are straightforward, the cultural meaning is more complicated—and much nastier.