Defending the Founders

The Unsolvable Problem of Executive Power

Featured image Since it’s still Presidents Days for a few more hours, it’s worth taking up a challenge from one of our good-natured liberal commenters, an old pal from high school (are you paying attention, Eric?), who posted a comment on an earlier PIG book post of mine raising the question of the constitutional issues raised in the Iran-Contra scandal.  Glad you asked.  In fact, the Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents »

A salute to Mike DeWine

Featured image Bradley Smith is the Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law at Capital University Law School in Columbus and one of the country’s foremost experts on the evils of campaign finance laws. He is the author of Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform. It was his distinguished opposition to campaign finance laws that got him appointed to a six-year term on the Federal Election Commission »

Celebrating the First George W.

Featured image People interested in a thoughtful observance of George Washington’s birthday Presidents Day next Monday might want to drop in (or tune in to the live webcast) AEI’s panel this Friday from noon to 1:30 (eastern) on the subject of “First Among Equals: George Washington and the American Presidency,” which will feature a reading of Washington’s Farewell Address from Leon Kass, and commentary from Richard Brookhiser, Diana Schaub, Harvey Mansfield, and »

Pub Day for Founders and PIGs

Featured image By sheer coincidence, today is the official publication date for my Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents, From Wilson to Obama, and Larry P. Arnn’s The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It, which fits since we were in graduate school together and tormented each other at the Claremont Institute back in the 1980s.  The two books »

Flying PIG, The Video

Featured image My PIG book isn’t officially out until Monday, but the Washington Times put out a favorable notice this week: Though the title might suggest a volume laden with slapdash doses of angry, ill-considered snark, Mr. Hayward has produced a lucid book that is scholarly but not pedantic; acerbic in its criticisms, but never coarse. Meanwhile, my peeps here at AEI have done this short (49-second) video promo for the book: Now off »

Liberals and the Constitution

Featured image Liberals typically erupt in outrage if you suggest they don’t respect or understand the Constitution, let alone defend it.  But then they let slip that in fact they really don’t respect or understand the Constitution, and would replace it in a heartbeat if they thought they could get away with it.  Think of Ezra Klein remarking a couple years back on how the Constitution is too hard to understand because, »

Deconstructing Romney: Maybe Mitt Should Get a PIG?

Featured image Okay, so as we saw with Romney’s off-the-cuff disaster about not being concerned about poor people last week, he’s not exactly another Great Communicator.   But if he wins, maybe he could do America and the presidency a service by shutting up.  From The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents: There are two main reasons for the development of the presidency as we know it today. The first is that the »

What would Plato do?

Featured image It wasn’t enought for President Obama to claim the endorsement of Judaism, Christianity and Islam for his policies of class warfare in his National Prayer Breakfast speech this past week. Obama also cited Plato as stating a version of the Golden Rule supporting his policies. Where’d he get that Idea? Apparently from a statement made by Socrates in The Republic, but no version of the Golden Rule lends support to »

PIGs Flying! (Off the Shelf, That Is)

Featured image February 13 is the official publication date of my Politically Incorrect Guide [hence PIG] to the Presidents, From Wilson to Obama, but Amazon has already started shipping.  Early adopters started getting their copies yesterday.  So order today and you can get the jump on your neighbors. I’ll roll out some excerpts and highlights from the book closer to the official launch date, but for today I’ll pass along one of »

Newt for SCOTUS?

Featured image One of Newt Gingrich’s unique talents is his ability to make a sensible or serious argument in an extreme way that raises everyone’s hackles.  I suspect he originally developed this trait on purpose, as a way of drawing the sharpest possible contrast with liberalism, which served his grand strategy well in his insurgent days in the House in the 1980s and 1990s.  Think of it as the conservative version of »

Eurocrash Update #1

Featured image So in Friday’s commentary on the Euro Zone crisis I observed that if the 27 members of the EU couldn’t abide by the precise terms of the EU Treaty, they would find a way to go around it, and mentioned James Madison’s discussion of the “delicate” problem of changing compacts with less than the unanimous consent required by the terms of the compact (in 1787, the Articles of Confederation; in »

1980: Sowell vs. Piven

Featured image Equality is the great theme of American politics, but is equality rightly understood as equality of rights or results? Equality of rights is deeply rooted in the foundational documents of the United States. It is, you might say, the American way. Equality of results is the great error that continues to exert its powerful attractions. In the Federalist Papers, Publius recognizes “the diversity in the faculties of men, from which »

Debating Obamacare

Featured image The Federalist Society — are you now or have you ever been a member? — held its 2011 National Lawyers Convention last week. One of the (many) highlights of the convention must have been the debate on the constitutionalilty of Obamacare between Harvard’s Carl M. Loeb University Professor Laurence Tribe and former United States Solicitor General Paul D. Clement of Bancroft PLLC. This is an excellent debate, must watching straight »

Reading the Tea (Party) Leaves at the Supreme Court

Featured image Between now and whenever the Supreme Court issues its decision on Obamacare (I predict the last day of the term in late June next year), there will be endless reading of the tea leaves, textual analyses of the briefs, the dynamic of the oral argument, and so forth. (Will the Court limit the number of amicus briefs it will take on this case?  America’s forests ought to be very worried »

The Extreme Supreme Court?

Featured image The news out today that the Supreme Court will hear the Obamacare case this term is not a big surprise (they might have punted on “ripeness” grounds, as more than one lower court judge argued), but Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute points out why this is no ordinary case–it’s beyond even an extraordinarycase: What was unexpected — and unprecedented in modern times — is that it set aside five-and-a-half »

The Farmer’s First Harvest

Featured image The first batch of letters—31 in all—from the Letters from an Ohio Farmer project that I’ve noted here a few times is now out in book form under the title A Constitutional Conversation. It’s available right away on Kindle, but also coming soon in traditional hard copy. These short essays are written in the spirit of the Federalist, intended to focus more seriously on the constitutional dimensions of our current »

Newt Notes

Featured image My note about Newt yesterday excited a fair amount of comment, and watching the GOP debate last night on CNBC it seems to me that everything I said was vindicated: Newt has hit his stride, and was consistently the most impressive and forceful person on the stage—and forceful without saying a negative word about any of the other candidates.  (Oh yeah, and Perry flubbed his lines badly.  Again.)  My favorite »