History

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 »

The Decline of the West in Four Sentences

Featured image News out of Stanford is that students have voted down a referendum on reinstituting a Western Civilization requirement that was abandoned in the 1980s by a margin of 6 to 1. Not sure just what to say about this, but after all Stanford is a junior university, so maybe that explains it. On the other hand, I’m not so sure this is a defeat for conservative education, given how badly »

Why we dropped the bomb

Featured image In the words of the Sam Cooke song, President Obama don’t know much about history. Here I cite my long post “Obama veers into the Daily Ditch,” discussing Obama’s almost unbelievably misguided discourse on Winston Churchill and World War II at his first presidential press conference. What Obama lacks in historical knowledge he makes up in the anti-American attitude of the old new left. David Harsanyi notes that “The Obama »

World War II death totals tell quite a story

Featured image Yesterday, Steve noted that President Obama is considering a stop at Hiroshima some time in the coming months, quite possibly to apologize for our ending World War II by dropping nuclear weapons on that city, as well as Nagasaki. I agree with Steve that Obama should not apologize. However, the main purpose of this post is to cite what I think are extraordinary statistics about comparative death totals from World »

Media Alert: CNN Preview of the Reagan Revolution Tonight

Featured image For those near a TV set around 3:45 Eastern (about one hour from this post time), I’m scheduled for a short CNN segment to comment on the CNN documentary on the 1980s airing this evening at 9 pm Eastern and Pacific time. Tonight’s segment is about the Reagan Revolution, and CNN taped me for two hours last fall for this installment. I haven’t seen the segment, so I’m not sure »

Should the GOP Nominate By Plurality?

Featured image To me, the nomination math is simple. As soon as one of the candidates receives the votes of a majority of the delegates (i.e., 1,237), either on the first ballot or on a subsequent ballot, he or she is the nominee. Until someone gets a majority of the ballots, the delegates keep voting. Historically, it has not been unheard of for 30 or 40 ballots to take place in political »

America First, how sweet the sound

Featured image I’m in the “relax and enjoy it” phase of Donald Trump’s candidacy for the GOP nomination. If he wins it, so be it. His prospects are certainly good, but I rate his chance of winning the general election as asymptotically approaching zero. All I can do is observe the scene honestly. I won’t enjoy watching the damage that Trump’s candidacy will do to the Republican Party in the general election, »

Can Donald Trump Order Pants Like LBJ?

Featured image One of Donald Trump’s more bizarre tweets was his attack on Jonah Goldberg for being a guy “who can’t even buy pants.” Jonah tells me he is been puzzling over this for a long time, because, he asserts, he is perfectly competent at purchasing pants without a personal shopper. His spouse doesn’t get panicky phone calls from Macy’s saying “Your husband is lost in Housewares again looking for pants!” Then »

Trump too shall pass — the case against a third party candidate

Featured image In 1872, the Democrats were in such disarray (taking the wrong line on the Civil War will have that effect) that they backed a lifelong Republican, publishing tycoon Horace Greeley, for president. Greeley was trounced. Four years later, the Democrats reverted to traditional Democrat Samuel Tilden, who won the popular vote but lost the election. In 1896 and 1900, the Democrats nominated prairie populist and easy-money man William Jennings Bryan. »

Homage to Catalonia, Washington Post style

Featured image In this obituary, the Washington Post celebrates Delmer Berg, the last known living U.S. volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. The Post’s Emily Langer informs us that Berg served in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. This unit “was named in honor of the 16th president,” she adds helpfully. The Communist Party’s appropriation of the Great Emancipator’s name was one of the most cynical public relations stunts ever. Other than Adolph Hitler, »

Nancy Reagan, RIP

Featured image News out in the last hour that Nancy Reagan has passed away at 94. I don’t have much to add beyond the obvious—that she was a significant influence on her husband’s career and course once in office, though I also think her influence was distorted or overstated in some ways. I didn’t write about her much in my two Reagan books in part because I became convinced that the most »

A word from Edmund Burke

Featured image In the spirit of Steve Hayward’s occasional blasts from the past, I offer these words that have been going around in my head over the past week: Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, — in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is »

Dirty Campaign? Puh-leeeze

Featured image Once again, our media betters were filling dead air on TV last night about how “dirty” the GOP campaign is getting—why it’s the wurst in history! Okay, so Rubio made a joke about Trump that might get him banned from Power Line’s comments, but seriously? Historian Tom DiBacco reminds us today in the Wall Street Journal that campaigns of the 19th century were just as nasty, of not more so, »

Come, ye puzzlewits and honeyfuglers

Featured image As the contest for the GOP presidential nomination continues after last night, Donald Trump will continue to dish out his carefully crafted insults to Ted Cruz (“Liar”) and Marco Rubio (“Little Marco”), and Senators Cruz and Rubio will be hitting back. Trump slammed Rubio in the course of his victorious press conference last night; Cruz and Rubio both slammed Trump in the course of their remarks as well. The insults »