History

Praise for Tevi Troy’s “Shall We Wake the President?”

Featured image Jeffrey Gedmin at the Weekly Standard has written a highly favorable review of Tevi Troy’s excellent book Shall We Wake the President?: Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office. We have discussed the book here. Stanley Kurtz praised it here. Shall We Wake the President also made Yuval Levin’s list of best books of the year. Here is what Yuval said: This is a book about the president’s »

Patriotism is plenty

Featured image Our colleague Steve Hayward is the author of a brand new book called Patriotism Is Not Enough. I finished a pre-publication copy this weekend and strongly recommend it. Patriotism may not be enough, but it is plenty — at least in Poland. The Washington Post has a story about the alleged evils inflicted by Poland’s populist government. The Post’s Anthony Faiola bills what’s happening in Poland as “a harbinger of »

Trump can’t help it; he prefers extremely successful people

Featured image The mainstream media seems upset with Donald Trump for picking very rich people and successful generals for key positions in his administration. Where are the lawyers, the college professors, the public administrators, and the activists? In a more rational world, it would be hard to argue with Trump’s preference for people who have been extremely successful in the business world and the military. These backgrounds are no guarantee of success »

Pearl Harbor remembered

Featured image One hundred and three year-old Pearl Harbor survivor Jim Downing was serving on the USS West Virginia at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. On CNN, Jake Tapper invited former Lieutenant Downing to discuss the Japanese attack on the American fleet on the 75th anniversary. Downing testifies: “It’s frozen in our minds the destruction that took place that morning…Somehow that image of the attack is frozen in »

Remembering Roddie Edmonds

Featured image Steve Hayward’s book Patriotism Is Not Enough is forthcoming on February 14, 2017. The book is rich in reflections occasioned by a close reading of the intellectual history Steve takes up. In the introduction Steve quotes Walter Berns’s understanding of the Founders to the effect that “the making of patriots cannot be left to chance.” Later in the book Steve writes that “the tyrant of the ‘liberated self’ cannot be »

Dayton’s stormy Tuesday

Featured image In 1994 or so one of my daughters was in school with one of Mark Dayton’s sons. Dayton was serving his last year as state auditor. At a silent auction to raise funds for the school, Dayton contributed Power Lunch for 2 with Mark Dayton at the Minneapolis Club. As the auction was winding down, I noticed that not a single person had entered a bid on it. So I »

Justice Stras remembers his grandfather

Featured image The Twin Cities Cardozo Society is an affinity group of Jewish lawyers and judges who contribute to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation or the United Jewish Fund and Council of St. Paul. Its annual dinner has turned into a great event that features awards to two attorneys for personal and professional excellence. It also traditionally features a nationally renowned keynote speaker. This year’s speaker was a little different thanks to of »

Happy Thanksgiving

Featured image We pause to give thanks Sarah Josepha Hale, the 74-year-old magazine editor who wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, »

CRB: Voice of civilization

Featured image We conclude our preview of the Fall issue of the Claremont Review of Books today with the essay by Algis Valiunas on Edward Gibbons’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Algis is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor to The New Atlantis. Algis is also a learned essayist whose work regularly appears in the CRB. His essay on Gibbon »

First Lady-elect meets First Lady

Featured image Melania Trump met yesterday with Michelle Obama at the White House. I doubt that two more physically attractive women have ever met in this context. The meeting went very well, according to all accounts. I suspect that’s what “all accounts” would say regardless of how the meeting actually went. However, I’d be very surprised if Michelle Obama was other than gracious and helpful to Melania Trump. The First Lady has »

Hayward unbound

Featured image Below is the complete video of Bill Kristol’s conversation with Steve Hayward about the study of Ronald Reagan and statesmanship. The video is also posted here at Conversations with Bill Kristol. The transcript is posted here. Listen and learn. If you dropped an obnoxious comment about Bill Kristol or Steve Hayward on Steve’s post of the video, I have banned you as a commenter. The same applies here. Quotable quote: »

Your Pre-Election Diversion

Featured image Bill Kristol kindly invited me to sit down recently for one of his “Conversations with Kristol” series to talk about the enduring lessons of Ronald Reagan, and the hows and whys of studying statesmanship. Just the thing to take your mind off the election for a little while, as we don’t talk about Trump or Clinton at all. It’s divided into two segments, each about a half-hour long. Enjoy! And »

Marc Rich revisited

Featured image In his excellent Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents: From Wilson to Obama, Steve Hayward observes of Bill Clinton: “Clinton’s most flagrant abuse of his constitutional power was the pardon.” As Steve recounts, the pardon of Marc Rich represented abuse of authority, gross corruption and ruthless prevarication all in one tidy package. It signfies! With the return of the Marc Rich pardon to the news — courtesy (ahem) of the »

How Do Democracies End?

Featured image Our philosophical-historical lesson for today comes from the late John H. Hallowell, the long-time professor of political science at Duke University. Among his other fine writings is The Moral Foundation of Democracy, published in 1954. In the last chapter of the book, Hallowell reflects on Socrates’s critique of democracy in Book VIII of Plato’s Republic: The transition from democracy to tyranny is described by Plato as a process of both »

What goes around comes around

Featured image A reader points out the irony of Hillary Clinton complaining about timing of the reopening of the FBI investigation. In 1992, the reader reminds me, President Bush was gaining on Bill Clinton as Election Day approached. But just four days before the election, the special counsel, Lawrence Walsh, obtained a new indictment of former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger had been indicted earlier in the year. But the new »

Stalin? Whodat???

Featured image I think the study of ancient history extends to the advent of the first Clinton administration in 1993 or so. As we all know, and as former Latin students might say, ancient history has fallen into desuetude. I think this may explain the finding reported in Jamie Gregora’s Daily Signal story “This is the percentage of millennials who believe George W. Bush killed more people than Stalin.” I’m sure millennials »

Trump’s refusal to commit to “accepting” defeat — some historical perspective

Featured image Ignorance and anti-Trump bias continue to prevail in the denunciations of Donald Trump’s statement that he doesn’t know yet whether he will “accept” the result of the presidential election. For example, Michael Gerson asserts that Trump’s lack of belief in the fairness of our electoral system “is disqualifying” in a presidential candidate. Gerson notes that the fairness of our electoral system has been “hard-won through a long history of strife »