Defending the Founders

Down with “Hamilton”

Featured image Back in April I noted that the liberal culturati were unhappy over the success of the Broadway smash Hamilton, precisely because its multiracial cast and hip-hop format don’t conform to or reinforce the identity politics frame of the Left. Broadway is making a capitalist dead white guy look cool! Horrors! With Hamilton dominating the Tony Awards show last night, the New York Times returned to the theme as if to »

James Madison’s Ultimate Test

Featured image Given the lack of confidence in either of the two major party presidential presumptive nominees, earlier today I tweeted out the following thought-provoker: What prompted this was a passage from another old unpublished lecture of Harry V. Jaffa from 1996 that I happen to have found during recent book research: [Madison] believed that the statesmanship of the wise and the good that went into the architecture of the Constitution would »

Sanders Proves He’s a Democrat After All

Featured image Bernie Sanders’ appearance at Liberty University today made clear that he’s no independent socialist, but in fact a true-blue Democrat of the Stephen Douglas variety. John took note of these remarks already, but they deserves a bit more gilding: And I will also say, that as a nation — the truth is a nation that in many ways was created, and I’m sorry to have to say this from way »

The Jaffa-Berns Feud Revisited

Featured image When Harry Jaffa and Walter Berns died on the same day back in January, I wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal about how despite their bitter feud, they both deserve credit and praise for reviving some essential aspects of the American Founding. Their shared contributions were overshadowed by the rancor of their feud that spilled out from private letters into public forums. “In your present state of mind,” »

Today at the APSA!

Featured image For any of our Bay Area readers who are bored and looking for an anthropological diversion on this fine Labor Day weekend, the American Political Science Association is having its last full day of panels and silliness. You, too, can can enjoy panels such as: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Sexual and Domestic Violence in the NBA and NFL. Save up! But at 4:30 pm this afternoon I’ll be on a »

Exclusive: Should the GOP Steal Jefferson from Dems? [With Comment by John on Jackson]

Featured image One of my fellow cruisers on the Baltic Sea last week was Seth Lipsky of the New York Sun, who wrote a terrific column about 10 days ago for the New York Post arguing that since Democrats are giving up on Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson (because, at bottom, Democrats dislike and/or are ashamed of America’s history), Republicans ought to steal Jefferson away from them. Of course, Lincoln already did »

Peter W. Schramm, 1946-2015, RIP

Featured image Our great friend and teacher Peter Schramm passed away yesterday after a long struggle with cancer. We took note of Peter’s battle last month, and have featured our exclusive conversations with him here on Power Line before. Tributes are pouring in from everywhere today, from former students and colleagues and friends. As everyone who knew Peter will recall, this Hungarian-born American citizen fancied himself something of a cowboy, but that »

Time for Sachs to Get Sacked

Featured image If there’s anybody who can rival Paul Krugman and Tom Friedman for knowitall smugness, it’s Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs. We’ve taken note before of Sachs’s high self-regard (here and here) and even praised him once for taking down Krugman. Last month he wrote in the Catholic magazine America that his fondest hope for Pope Francis’s upcoming fall visit to the United States is that the Pope will try to »

Grand Theft Lincoln [With Update by Marco Rubio]

Featured image On this 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, the Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn performs a public service today rebutting the relentless liberal/“Progressive” attempts to pry Lincoln from the Republican Party and claim that Lincoln, were he alive today, would surely be a Progressive Democrat: On this the 150th anniversary of the day John Wilkes Booth fired his fatal bullet at Ford’s Theater, we have a consensus: Today’s Republicans have no »

A conversation with James Ceaser

Featured image In the latest of his Conversations, Bill Kristol draws out the eminent political scientist James Ceaser on the philosophy of constitutionalism on which the American experiment is founded as well as the development of American political parties with which it must live. The video is also posted and broken into chapters here; the transcript is posted here. The video continues here with Ceaser’s discussion of his teachers Harvey Mansfield, James »

Remembering the indispensable man

Featured image Today is the anniversary of the birth of George Washington. Of all the great men of the revolutionary era to whom we owe our freedom, Washington’s greatness was the rarest and the most needed. At this remove in time, it is also the hardest to comprehend. Take, for example, Washington’s contribution to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Washington’s mere presence lent the undertaking and its handiwork the legitimacy that resulted »

Chesterton on “The American Creed”

Featured image A lively discussion thread has broken out in response to Paul’s post immediately below about Donna Brazile’s call for scrapping the Constitution to save the country from conservatives. I’ll let that discussion play out there, but introduce here a new angle by way of following on my post invoking G.K. Chesterton several weeks ago that met with approval and calls for regular sequels. As it happens, one of our faithful »

Obama Versus America

Featured image I recall an episode during the Bush years when Vice President Dick Cheney took fire for wearing a parka and a ski cap during a solemn memorial ceremony at Auschwitz in Poland. “The vice president,” the Washington Post complained, “was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.  Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive »

Barron on the administrative state

Featured image Paul has been writing about the nomination of David Barron to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (here and here). I’ve been writing about the questionable status of the administrative state in light of the separation of powers under the Constitution. To the extent of my capacity to understand, Publius has been my guide and authority. Barron stands at the intersection of Paul’s and my interests. »

The Limitations of the Law, Part 2

Featured image In my obituary notice for Gary Becker the other day, I included this observation from Becker: “Government should do much less so they can concentrate on and do better with the tasks they are most needed for, such as police and military, infrastructure, safety nets, and regulation of activities with big externalities. Regrettably, I am not optimistic that much can be achieved quickly in slimming down governments, given the strong »

The Limitations of the Law

Featured image Scott and Paul rightly express skepticism over George Will’s optimism that the Supreme Court will follow the plain language of the Constitution’s “origination clause” when it comes to Obamacare’s “tax.”  I mean, after all this time, why start following the Constitution now? Whether and how the judiciary should be “activist” in defense of liberty is a question that divides conservatives and has a long history, but let’s step back for »

“Rights” of Obamacare

Featured image Abraham Lincoln’s argument with Stephen Douglas came down to a disagreement over the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln articulated this disagreement with special gusto in his critique of Douglas on July 10, 1858. According to Douglas, the teaching of the Declaration had no general applicability beyond the immediate situation that confronted the Founding Fathers. Restating and paraphrasing Douglas’s argument, Lincoln asked “in all soberness, if all these things, if indulged in, »