History

Remembering the indispensable man

Featured image Today we celebrate 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 »

A genius for friendship

Featured image Abraham Lincoln stands not only as America’s greatest president but also as its greatest lawyer. At the time of his election to the presidency in 1860 he was the most prominent practicing lawyer in the state of Illinois. 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 »

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 »

1619 and the Oscars: Fit Companions

Featured image Needless to say, I didn’t watch the Academy Awards show last night. In fact, I didn’t know it was on: Hollywood and I parted company a long time ago. But I was surprised to learn from a friend that the New York Times ran an ad, during the Oscars show, for its 1619 Project. This seems unusual. How often does a paper advertise one of its “news” projects on national »

“Numerous historians and legal experts” are wrong about impeachment

Featured image Among those who write for the Washington Post’s news pages, Philip Rucker is arguably the most vicious and dishonest when it comes to President Trump. Rucker’s latest anti-Trump article is called (in the paper edition) “Probable acquittal [of Trump] will have long-term effects.” The subtitle is “Senate lowering bar for presidents’ permissible conduct, historians say.” In the body of the article, Rucker claims that this view is supported by “numerous »

“Fight House,” Tevi Troy’s superb history of modern White House infighting

Featured image I admire people who do things I couldn’t do. I don’t admire people who do things I wouldn’t do. In some cases, depending on what the “things” are, I have contempt for such people. Cabinet members and high level White House staffers do things I couldn’t do. In most cases, that’s one reason why they get as far as they do. Unfortunately, some cabinet members and high level White House »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 166: America’s Revolutionary Mind, With C. Bradley Thompson [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Prof. C. Bradley Thompson of Clemson University has written a superb new book, the first of two volumes, about the American Founding, America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration That Defined It. In my opinion this book deserves to take its place alongside Bernard Bailyn’s Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and Gordon Wood’s Creation of the American Republic as one of the indispensable »

Dems then & now

Featured image If there is anything in the sordid impeachment saga that is laugh out loud funny, the video compiled for White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s closing argument on behalf of President Trump in the Senate this afternoon might be it (below). In the video somebody seems to have opened the door of the Dem clown car — the car carrying the once and future Dem clowns — and sent them out »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 164: Special Impeachment Edition!

Featured image This special edition of the Power Line Show offers a panel discussion on impeachment that I hosted and moderated yesterday before a packed house at Berkeley Law School. Its purpose was not to rehash or thrash out the specific issues of the Trump impeachment as much as to illuminate what the founders had in mind when they wrote impeachment into the Constitution, and what we have learned from the two »

Hillary Doesn’t ❤️ Bernie

Featured image Last week I mentioned the possibility that Michael Bloomberg is setting himself up to run as an independent in the fall. Today we should entertain the possibility that Hillary is itching to run again, and hoping to be “on call” in case of a deadlocked convention. Why not? She’s tanned, rested, and ready! Did you hear there is a documentary hagiographic film about Hillary coming out soon on Hulu? (Of course, it »

The Power Line Show, Ep 163: Martin Luther King Jr., Yesterday and Today

Featured image This special edition of the Power Line Show uses the  Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as the occasion to ponder his legacy in light of the lengthening of history and the dramatic changes in the poisonous racial politics of our moment. And who better to comment than “Lucretia,” Power Line’s international woman of mystery, along with special guest Peter C. Myers, who is professor of political science at the University »

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 »

Feel Good Stories for Today

Featured image Today’s email brings this hysterical warning from the good folks at The Nation: Trump’s attacks on public radio are sickening. Trump’s new budget will literally END funding for Public Radio! Public Radio is SO important for millions of Americans. It provides accurate journalism and high-quality educational programming. Trump knows these cuts mean less educational programming for rural Americans, but he doesn’t care. Could there be anything more cheering and cockle-warming than hearing that the Federal government »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 162: Stephen Knott on “The Lost Soul of the American Presidency”

Featured image This week’s guest is Stephen F. Knott of the Naval War College, discussing his terrific new book, The Lost Soul of the American Presidency: The Decline into Demagoguery and the Prospects for Renewal, just out from University Press of Kansas. Knott, one of the nation’s pre-eminent scholars of Alexander Hamilton, thinks the American presidency has slipped from the modest republican design of the Founders almost from the very beginning, starting with »

Most-read at the New Criterion

Featured image Over the weekend Roger Kimball sent out an email to New Criterion subscribers flagging the magazine’s top 10 most-read articles in 2019 (not all were published in 2019). The top three are all by Northwestern University Professor Gary Saul Morson and generally accessible. Indeed, I think we featured the top two on Power Line. They represent profoundly humane learning and reflection. In case you missed them, here are all 10 »

Biden rewrites history

Featured image President Trump’s decision to take out terrorist mastermind Qassem Soleimani has had the predictable effect on Democrats. Where once they derided him for weakness and sought to impose the vision of Benghazi on the assault on our embassy in Baghdad, they now criticize Trump for his bad manners. They say that politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is insane. Joe Biden joined the Democrats’ parade on behalf of Soleimani. He »

Gertrude Himmelfarb, RIP

Featured image The great historian Gertrude Himmelfarb died on December 30 at the age of 97. Known to many as the widow of Irving Kristol and the mother of Bill Kristol and Elizabeth Kristol Nelson, she was renowned in her own right. Her death represents an enormous loss beyond her family circle. Sohrab Ahmari briefly recounted her life in the New York Post column “One of America’s greatest minds.” The Wall Street »