E.J. Dionne
E.J. Dionne

E.J. Dionne to present 2015-2016 Manatt-Phelps lecture

Syndicated Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne will peel away the sundry layers of the 2016 presidential campaign when he presents the 2015-2016 Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Political Science on April 13 at Iowa State University.

Widely admired for his insights into the alarming polarization of our national politics, Dionne regularly debates David Brooks of the New York Times on NPR and appears frequently on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and MSNBC.

Dionne will provide analysis of the 2016 presidential candidates, the political parties and the road to the White House in a presentation titled “Our Divided Political Heart: Campaign 2016” at 8 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. The presentation is free and open to the public.

“We are thrilled that E.J. Dionne will deliver the lecture this April,” said Kathleen Manatt, who with her late husband Ambassador Charles T. Manatt established the lecture series in 2002 with Tom and Elizabeth Phelps. “We can think of no more astute observer of the American political scene, who bases his commentary in research and a deep grounding in American political history and culture.”

Dionne’s recent book “Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle of the American Idea in an Age of Discontent” was praised by political commentator Rachel Maddow as an “up-to-the-minute diagnosis of the weird and sudden turn we’ve taken in left-right relations.”

His other books include “Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism from Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond,” published in 2016; “Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics after the Religious Right”; “Stand Up, Fight Back: Republican Toughs, Democratic Wimps, and the Politics of Revenge”; and “They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era.” Dionne is also known for his coverage and commentary on polling, the media and politics, and the role of religion in public life.

“Students, faculty and staff at ISU and all others interested in E.J. Dionne’s talk will benefit from the insights he has to offer from his decades of experience with important issues of government, politics and society,” said Mack Shelley, university professor and chair of the Department of Political Science. “We look forward to hearing from this intelligent and articulate source.”

The Manatt-Phelps lecture was established to bring to campus a prominent practitioner or thought leader to address the community on issues of major significance to the United States and Iowa. “The lecture is intended to serve as a two-way experience – for the ISU community to enrich their awareness of the global political and economic environment and for the lecturer to spend time with Iowa State students and through ISU become somewhat better informed about Iowa,” said Tom Phelps.

Previous Manatt-Phelps lectures have featured distinguished leaders from America’s closest trading partners — Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Canada’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs — and distinguished ambassadors from crucial American allies and friends — France, Germany, India, Spain and Sweden.

The late Charles Manatt, former U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, gave the first lecture in the series in 2002. Other lecturers have included then-U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.); then-U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.); and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.).

The 2016 Manatt-Phelps Lecture is co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Department of Political Science; Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics; and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Student Government.