History

When Elvis met Nixon

Featured image With his superb two-volume biography of Elvis — Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love — Peter Guralnick has made himself the essential chronicler of Elvis’s story. Guralnick of course tells the true story of the day in December 1970 when Elvis met Nixon in the White House. The story of the visit provides insight into Elvis’s patriotism as well as comic relief in the denouement of Elvis’s life. The »

Ice Age Europe: More Dramatic Than You Thought

Featured image From the Washington Post: Take Ice Age Europe, for example. A new study of genetic material from the period reveals a continent roiling with change. First, an upstart band of modern humans arrived, slowly pushing their ancient predecessors out of existence. But soon that new lineage was swept aside by a group of big game hunters. For the next 15,000 years, the older community lay in wait in a remote »

Recalling Harry Jaffa on the Radio

Featured image Seth Leibsohn of the great Patriot Radio KKNT in Arizona graciously hosted me for an entire hour last night to talk further about the wisdom of our teacher Harry Jaffa. It’s pretty tricky trying to do deep-dish political philosophy on the radio, but we gave it a shot. We were pretty hard on Republicans and conservatives not merely for failing to “communicate” what is wrong these days, but for failing »

Yale: Beyond parody

Featured image Yale University President Peter Salovey solemnly addressed “the Yale community” by email in the early evening hours last night. He had a portentous announcement. Among other things, Yale has reached a decision on whether to retain the title “master” to refer to the teachers taking up the mantle at Yale’s residential colleges. You can feel the brain cells sloughing off as you read the deliberation that went into taking the »

That Hamilton man

Featured image Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton is a phenomenon. Twelve years after its publication in hardcover, it’s number 2 on this week’s New York Times nonfiction paperback bestseller list. Yet there is nothing dumbed down about it. It is a work of popular history, to be sure, but it is a lengthy tome for serious readers on one of our most challenging founders. Lin-Manuel Miranda was one such serious reader. »

Epstein’s Law applied to “Confirmation”

Featured image Edward Jay Epstein is in my opinion our greatest living journalist. Given his three books on the Kennedy assassination, I don’t think there is anyone who knows more about the subject than he does. As I saw what Hollywood did with Rathergate in the film Truth this past fall, and how credulous reviewers took it at face value, it occurred to me to ask Ed what he made of Hollywood’s »

William Seward, Harriet Tubman, and the Twenty

Featured image William Seward is in the news these days. He was the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 1860 and had the most first ballot votes, but was surpassed in later voting by Abraham Lincoln. This saga is cited as precedent (and there is much other) for denying the nomination to a candidate who comes to the convention with the most delegates. As I have noted, though, there were no »

The Cold War Never Ended

Featured image A lot of conservatives have expressed shock and disorientation at the revival of enthusiasm for socialism, not to mention the shattering of the consensus for free trade, low taxes, open markets, freedom of expression, and so forth. It is clear—and I wrote a long memo about this at AEI about five years ago that I cannot now find—that we all made a major mistake in the early 1990s when the »

Harriet Tubman? Seriously?

Featured image I have mixed feelings about the Treasury Department’s substitution of Harriet Tubman for Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Some have made the best of it by pointing out that Tubman was a gun-toting Republican. Well, fine. But she was a minor figure in American history. Jackson, on the other hand, was of towering importance. He was the first populist American politician and the founder of the modern Democratic Party. »

Bullish on the Bard

Featured image Today is the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare (it may also be his birthday; his standard biographies merely say he was baptized on April 26, with his exact birthday uncertain), and while the Left has been trying to kill off Shakespeare for a long time now, they haven’t succeeded. I argue that the best insights on Shakespeare today are to be found from . . . conservative political »

Photo of the Week

Featured image Talk about strange bedfellows: This is Cornel West and Robert P. George—Princeton’s conservative—holding Harriet Tubman’s Bible: And here’s Robbie being sworn in as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom by Chief Justice John Roberts while West holds the Tubman Bible: West may be a hard lefty (though a curious and occasionally interesting and independent-minded one—that’s why he hangs out with Robbie), but I’ll bet he doesn’t join »

Leftists Lose Their Lunch Over the Tubman 20

Featured image After years of complaining that America’s paper money featured only dead white guys, a lot of folks on the Left are in a snit that Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the face of the twenty-dollar bill. You can practically hear them: “We didn’t mean a gun-toting, Bible-believing Republican black woman! We meant Angela Davis!” Take in someone who goes by the name “Feminista Jones” (described as »

Park Ranger mocks Constitution while leading tour of Independence Hall

Featured image Mary “Missy” Hogan, a National Park Service employee who gives guided tours of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, stunned a group of tourists this week by telling them that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were the product of “class elites who were just out to protect their privileged status.” Christian Adams has the details at PJ Media. Hogan isn’t just a park ranger. She’s the chief of Operations for »

A New York state of mind

Featured image Michael Barone anticipates the result of today’s New York primary in his column “New York exceptionalism and Donald Trump.” Barone seeks to capture the New York state of mind that Trump represents. It’s a characteristically excellent Barone column. I’ve been thinking about the New York state of mind while reading Lynne Olson’s Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941. I recommend the book unreservedly. »

Confirmation Bias, Part Two

Featured image In a post called “Confirmation Bias,” I discussed “Confirmation,” an HBO film about the 1991 hearings on Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court, and Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against him. When I wrote the post two months ago, Senators John Danforth and Alan Simpson, two moderate Republicans who supported the Thomas nomination, had complained about the script they saw. Simpson called it a “seriously distorted” version of the »

You Knew This Was Coming—Hamilton Angst [Updated]

Featured image UPDATE: No sooner do I send up this post then news breaks that Lin-Manuel Miranda has won a Pulitzer Prize for Hamilton. That’s going to cost him some college speaking invitations! One of the delicious and predictable spectacles that has come out of the runaway success of the Broadway rap musical Hamilton is the identity politics left losing their lunch over it. Even though Hamilton was created by and stars a »

Why Do Democrats Hate Their Own Presidents?

Featured image It has been widely observed that Hillary Clinton is having to repudiate the policy legacy of her husband’s tenure in the White House in the 1990s, which is extremely telling about how far down in the deep end Democrats are today. After all, Bill Clinton’s tenure coincided with robust economic growth, a balanced budget, and expansion of free trade. It also saw two of the greatest social policy achievements of »