Conservatism

The case against a third party candidate (continued)

Featured image Two weeks ago, I argued that conservatives should not run a third party candidate if Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination. I wrote: If Trump loses in a race involving an independent Republican, those who backed him will be able to shift the blame for the defeat to those who backed a third candidate. The “stab in the back” will challenge (and perhaps replace) the “foolish (to put it mildly) »

Trump too shall pass — the case against a third party candidate

Featured image In 1872, the Democrats were in such disarray (taking the wrong line on the Civil War will have that effect) that they backed a lifelong Republican, publishing tycoon Horace Greeley, for president. Greeley was trounced. Four years later, the Democrats reverted to traditional Democrat Samuel Tilden, who won the popular vote but lost the election. In 1896 and 1900, the Democrats nominated prairie populist and easy-money man William Jennings Bryan. »

A word from Edmund Burke

Featured image In the spirit of Steve Hayward’s occasional blasts from the past, I offer these words that have been going around in my head over the past week: Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, — in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is »

A disappointing season for libertarians and “movement” conservatives

Featured image I’m guessing that few sentient conservatives are happy with the way this election season is going. Two brands of conservatives will be particularly disappointed: libertarians and hard-core (or “movement”) conservatism. The libertarian movement has been pushing to break through for years. This cycle, it seemed to have the ideal candidate to make a run at the presidency — Rand Paul, dubbed “the most interesting man in politics” by Time Magazine. »

The Rush Endorsement

Featured image I was driving in my car down the California coast this morning doing what any sensible person would do—listening to Rush Limbaugh—when all of a sudden I heard my name! RUSH: I ran into something I found from 1978, Steven Hayward over at Power Line found it, reprinted it, and it’s some guy from 1978 named Harry Jaffa, “How to Think About the American Revolution.” But it’s not what you »

The Character of Modern Liberalism in One Paragraph

Featured image The character of the modern Left, and the core of the censorious campus leftism at the moment, has seldom been better described than by this 1978 passage from Harry Jaffa in How To Think About the American Revolution. Most importantly he understands that the distinction between liberalism and radicalism had dissolved, which explains Bernie Sanders, among other things. I’ve added a few comments of my own along the way in »

Transforming America, One State At a Time

Featured image As regular readers know, I retired from the practice of law at the end of 2015 and, on January 1, 2016, became President of the Center of the American Experiment, a Minnesota-based think tank. Both Scott and I have long been associated with the Center. We wrote some of our early papers for the Center and its founder and long-time President, Mitch Pearlstein. Both of us have served on the »

More Sass and Sense From Ben Sasse

Featured image I think Power Line was among the very first outfits (after Mark Hemingway at the Weekly Standard) to take note of Ben Sasse of Nebraska back in 2013, when he was still in academia and a run for U.S. Senate was notional, but by now people are starting to wake up to the fact that he’s the real deal. In this 90-second clip, NBC’s Chuck Todd asks Senator Sasse to »

Mindless responses to National Review’s “Against Trump” essays

Featured image Fox News is a large outfit with plenty of on-air personalities. So it’s natural that some of them are pro-Donald Trump, or at least anti-anti-Trump, and that therefore some reacted negatively to National Reviews “Against Trump” issue. The problem is the mindlessness of some of the negative reactions. John Daly documents them at NR’s Corner. Take Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro. She said on Twitter: “The National Review needs »

Forrest McDonald, RIP [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Sad news yesterday of the passing of one of the great conservative historians of our time, Forrest McDonald, at the age of 89. He taught for many years at the University of Alabama, and was the author of several important revisionist works on American history, including a favorable biography of the great electric utility executive Sam Insull (one of the “economic royalists” that FDR hunted down with mixed success during »

Paul Ryan to push for Obama’s legacy “jail break” agenda

Featured image Paul Ryan has made it clear that he considers himself the Republican Party’s “shadow nominee” for president. As such, he’s trying to lock the contenders for the real nomination into positions he favors — positions that, in some cases, are out-of-step with those advocated by the GOP frontrunners and difficult to reconcile with conservatism as we have long known it. This, it seems to me, was the purpose of Ryan’s »

My New Job

Featured image As Scott was kind enough to preview, I have retired from the practice of law and have embarked on a second career as the President of the Center of the American Experiment, a think tank based in Minnesota. I have been associated with the Center for a long time. Scott and I wrote research papers under its auspices in the 1990s, before we started Power Line. In 1995, the Center »

What Happened to the Conservative Book Club?

Featured image Over the years the Conservative Book Club, now over 50 years old, has picked up several of my books as a main selection of the month, so I’m inclined to be well disposed to the CBC. But it is more than a little dismaying to see the CBC’s recent list of the “Top Ten Conservative Books of 2015” include this: I know the CBC, now a unit of Salem Communications, »

The Creaking Joints of Democracy

Featured image One of my favorite liberals, Philly magazine’s Joel Mathis (he’s one half of the “Red-Blue America” column with Ben Boychuk), offers up a conciliatory column in the spirit of Christmas today that I take at face value. A few relevant bits: Some of my best friends are conservatives. . . My life is immeasurably better and richer because of my conservative friends, starting with Ben Boychuk—no RINO he—and extending to »

The Great Republican Revolt: who benefits?

Featured image I’ve never read anything by David Frum, or had a conversation with him, without thinking that I learned something. There’s plenty to learn from him in this long piece called “The Great Republican Revolt.” The revolt, Frum says, is founded on the belief that the Republican party no longer has the interests of “Middle Americans” at heart. It is not really a conservative revolt. Instead, it is populist: [These voters] »

Which Republican has hurt conservatism the most?

Featured image By this time next year the answer might be easy: Donald Trump, if you count him as a Republican. For now, Paul Ryan ranks at the top of my list. Your answer will depend, naturally, on how you view conservatism. But when we look at Ryan’s omnibus spending bill, we see a nearly across-the-board sell out on issues that most conservatives view as fundamental. Rick Manning, President of Americans for »

The limits of the Buckley rule

Featured image The Buckley rule holds that conservatives should support “the rightwardmost viable candidate.” It’s a fine rule for conservatives to apply to races for Congress where the victor’s main role will be to vote on legislation that conservatives either favor or disfavor. The rule is more problematic in a presidential election (note, though, that Buckley formulated it in the presidential election of 1964). The president’s function isn’t just to formulate policy. »