History

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 »

A conversation with Bill Bennett

Featured image In the latest of his Conversations, Bill Kristol draws out the eminent Bill Bennett on key moments in his distinguished career. Bill Bennett is a man who needs no introduction to Power Line readers. I will say only that this is great stuff. The interview is posted here, where it is broken into chapters. (It is also available in transcript or podcast form at the link.) My guess is you’ll »

George Washington: father of our country; symbol of its presidency

Featured image In simpler times, the holiday we will celebrate tomorrow was called “Washington’s Birthday.” In truly simple times, it was celebrated on February 22 (the actual birth date) rather than on the third Monday of February. It seems appropriate, then, to write about our first president. I will rely heavily on the great the conservative historian Forrest McDonald. In the preface to his book The Presidency of George Washington, McDonald writes: »

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 »

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 »

Obama again shows his contempt for America and the West

Featured image Earlier today, Scott posted President Obama’s statement about the barbaric murder by ISIS of the Jordanian pilot. Obama took the occasion to warn Americans not to “get on our high horse and think [what ISIS did] is unique to some other place.” It’s not surprising, given his view of our country, that Obama would deny that Americans ever have standing to get on a high horse. But if we can’t »

Barack Obama, a Moral and Historical Ignoramus

Featured image Scott wrote this morning about President Obama’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. I think Obama deserves another whack, so here goes. Much of the speech was fine. But the key passage was where he acknowledged the reality of Islamic aggression and terrorism, and then commented on it: But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon.  From »

Sir Martin Gilbert, RIP

Featured image Sad news from London this morning of the passing of Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill, and the author of something like 40 other books—many of them big, big books, some of them about Jewish history and the Holocaust. He began his career as a research assistant to Randolph Churchill, and after Randolph died succeeded him as the official biographer, going on to write six of the »

Another Reason to Home School Your Kids

Featured image A faithful reader passes along the snapshot of a high school world history textbook that notes the “fantastic economic results” of Stalin’s management of the Soviet economy back in the glory days of the successive Five Year plans. No wonder people fall for Elizabeth Warren. Here’s the text in case you can’t make out the photo: These forceful means of making the Soviet Union a modern industrial nation took a »

Churchill’s Death, 50 Years On

Featured image This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of Winston Churchill. The most moving account of the scene comes from the Hungarian-born historian John Lukacs, who traveled from the U.S. to London to attend. It was originally published in The American Spectator years ago (but seemingly unavailable online) and then subsequently included in his fine book, Churchill: Visionary, Statesman, Historian. The Los Angeles Times, of all publications, noted this »

The prophetic voice

Featured image When Martin Luther King, Jr., brought his nonviolent campaign against segregation to Bull Connor’s Birmingham, he laid siege to the bastion of Jim Crow. In Birmingham between 1957 and 1962, black homes and churches had been subjected to a series of horrific bombings intended to terrorize the community. In April 1963 King answered the call to bring his campaign to Birmingham. When King landed in jail on Good Friday for »

Will 2016 resemble 1968 for Democrats?

Featured image I’ve been dismissive of Jim Webb’s prospects for winning the Democratic presidential nomination. But Jacob Heilbrunn’s column on Webb, and Steve’s commentary on that column, made me take another look. On second look, I still don’t see Webb getting very far. Will female Democrats favor Webb — currently in his third marriage and the author of what some might consider a sexist novel — over Hillary Clinton? Not likely. Will »

The Collapse of the Democratic Party In South Dakota: What Happened?

Featured image 2014 was a terrible year for the Democrats nationally, but in South Dakota it was a catastrophe: Democrats hold only 20 out of 105 seats in the state’s legislature, all 13 officers and representatives elected statewide are Republicans, and in the race for Governor, the Democrats suffered the worst margin of defeat in the state’s history. This marked the nadir for a party that as recently as 1978 was riding »

What’s in a political name?

Featured image I am unenthusiastic about Jeb Bush as a presidential candidate for several reasons: his position on immigration reform, his position on the common core, and the fact that his last name will make him difficult to elect. Some conservatives have advanced another reason to be unenthusiastic: the fact that his father and brother have both been president. Political dynasties are unseemly, if not un-American, we are advised. To me, apart »

Did the Kennedy Administration Try to Drive Reagan Off the Air?

Featured image Ronald Reagan apparently detested Bobby Kennedy, another sign of Reagan’s good judgment since Kennedy was an awful human being. But this is something I hadn’t heard before: Michael Reagan says that Bobby leaned on General Electric to get Reagan off television: [A] few months after [subpoenaing Reagan before a grand jury], Kennedy tried to get him fired from General Electric Theater. Or, at least, that’s what Reagan believed. “Dad told »

Oral History of Clinton Administration Could Pose Problems For Hillary

Featured image The Miller Center at the University of Virginia has posted online more than 70 interviews that constitute the “William J. Clinton Presidential History Project.” The interviewees are for the most part members of the Clinton administration, or in any event sympathetic to it. Nevertheless, not all of the facts that the interviewees relate will be helpful to Bill Clinton’s memory or his wife’s presidential ambitions. I haven’t had time to »

New York Times Corrections, State Capital Edition

Featured image Today the New York Times published a correction to an op-ed that appeared in the paper on November 27. The op-ed, by Ned Blackhawk, was about the Sand Creek massacre, an evergreen memory for liberals who see only the bad in American history: An Op-Ed article last Friday attributed an erroneous distinction to the Union general Patrick Edward Connor and the Colorado governor John Evans, who were involved in massacres »