Author Archives: Scott Johnson

Remembering Mr. Lincoln

Featured image Today is of course the anniversary of the birth of America’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom at the exact moment when the country was on the threshold of abandoning what he called its “ancient faith” that all men are »

A genius for friendship

Featured image Abraham Lincoln stands not only as America’s greatest president but also as its greatest lawyer. At the time of his election to the presidency in 1860 he was the most prominent practicing lawyer in the state of Illinois. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom »

Thinkin’ about “Lincoln” again

Featured image We’ll be celebrating the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth tomorrow in the usual way, but I wanted to warm up with this look back at the 2012 film Lincoln. Until reading David Brooks’s obtuse column about the film, I was unsure that I knew enough to comment intelligently about it. Brooks persuaded me that I know at least as much as he does, however, and accordingly prompted me to offer the »

The Lebron James of BS

Featured image Barack Obama is not just a BS artist of the first rank; he is the gold standard in BS. He’s not so good that anyone who knows what Obama is talking about would fall for his act, but we must give credit where credit is due. When it comes to BS, he never lets his guard down. I think it’s because he even dishes it out to himself. Thus he »

One pillar of unwisdom revisited

Featured image Perhaps the most dispiriting element of President Obama’s Vox interview with Matthew Yglesias is Obama’s likening of terrorism to a problem of domestic law enforcement. Obama draws an analogy between terrorism and crime control. We need to keep the lid on and do our best to reduce it. But we’re not in a war where the enemy is recognized or the object is victory. Terrorism is one of those things »

Cotton on Gitmo, take 2

Featured image Senator Tom Cotton is not impressed by the argument that our detention facility at Gitmo is a recruiting tool for terrorists. Indeed, he thinks the argument is a pretext for the pursuit of Obama’s world-turned-upside-down views (as it obviously is). Senator Cotton made his point in dramatic fashion in the Senate Armed Services Committee last week as he interrogated Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Brian McKeon about Guantanamo »

A PSA from hell

Featured image Our Dear Leader popped up on the CBS broadcast of the 2015 Grammy Awards last night in a prerecorded public service announcement (video below). What do you think when ODL makes a surprise appearance at a nonpolitical event? CBS is joined at the hip with Obama, but I wonder why the recording industry thinks it a good idea to let him intrude. There is no escape. I could say he »

Imagine there’s no media bias

Featured image I think it is impossible to imagine what our political landscape would look like in a world where the mainstream media were fair and impartial. Unlike the utopia conjured by John Lennon, it’s “not easy if you try.” It would take someone of Ray Bradbury’s capacious imagination to formulate this particular alternative universe. In his important 2011 book Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind, Professor Tim »

The circle game

Featured image Tom Rush made his name in the sixties folk revival; he is a peer of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Eric Andersen, and Judy Collins. Today he turns 74. I’ve loved his music for a long time and want to take the occasion to celebrate his birthday with previously posted notes from my 2011 interview with him. I hope readers who may have missed the interview might find the notes of »

NSS 2015

Featured image The White House has just released our National Security Strategy 2015 and posted it online here. National Security adviser Susan Rice gave a speech touting the strategy that is posted here. It’s the first update to our national security strategy in five years. Rice insists that things are getting better all the time; I think the deterioration has steadily proceeded under Obama’s leadership. Quotable quote: “[T]oo often, what’s missing here »

Brian’s big fog

Featured image On FNC’s Kelly File last night Megyn Kelly interviewed Stars and Stripes reporter Travis Tritten about NBC News anchor Brian Williams’s tall tales (video below). The interview proceeds methodically to trace Williams’s adornments and refinements to a tall tale he has been telling for more than ten years, capped off by a mendacious apology attributing his fabrications to the “fog of memory.” Kelly pierces the fog in this lucid interview. »

Rather symmetrical

Featured image Dan Rather is either a little lacking in self-awareness or he wants to pound the final nail into Brian Williams’s coffin. Yesterday Rather spoke up for Brian Williams as Williams seeks to withstand the critique of his Big (Oft-Repeated) Lie. Politico’s Dylan Byers reached out to Rather for comment and obtained this gem: “I don’t know the particulars about that day in Iraq,” Rather told POLITICO. “I do know Brian. »

Man on a high horse

Featured image Barack Obama speech to those assembled at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday represents the nadir of his presidency. The White House has posted the text of the speech here. John and Paul have provided devastating assessments of Obama’s speech here and here, respectively. I can’t improve on them. I want only to add this note. We see events spinning out of control in the Middle East. We see our efforts »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll returns. She titles this column ADVENTURE! or YOU DO IT; I’LL WATCH! She writes: A few weeks ago, Mr. Ammo Grrrll and I had the pleasure of meeting some new friends from Florida who are fans of the Power Line boys and devoted readers of Thoughts From the Ammo Line. Abby and Ken were in Arizona for their delightful tradition of spending New Year’s Eve in the Grand »

Cotton on Gitmo: Let them rot

Featured image Senator Tom Cotton is not impressed by the argument that our detention facility at Gitmo is a recruiting tool for terrorists. Indeed, he thinks the argument is a pretext for the pursuit of Obama’s world-turned-upside-down views (as it obviously is). Senator Cotton made his point in dramatic fashion in the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning as he interrogated Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Brian McKeon about Guantanamo »

Obama drones on

Featured image It’s not exactly more mush from the wimp, because Obama is something worse than a wimp. He’s perfectly cold-blooded about the partnership he’s forging Iran’s finest murderers. See, e.g., Lee Smith’s important column “Nuclear dreams.” Yet Obama sounds like a pantywaist. He’s serving up mush. He droned on with the usual blatherskite that he read off the Teleprompter at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning (video below). You wonder how »

Rather insane

Featured image I have (at least) one more (forgive me!) note on Rathergate as I prepare for my talk next Thursday at Lyon College on “Rathergate Ten Years After.” Rereading Peter Wallsten’s September 20, 2012, Los Angeles Times article identifying Atlanta attorney Harry MacDougald as Buckhead, the guy who played a key role in the chain of events leading to the downfall of the story, we can observe the Democrats’ secondary response »