History

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 »

Nathan Glazer, neoconservatism, and the new left

Featured image Steve’s tribute to Nathan Glazer reminds us that the neoconservatism movement Glazer helped found was more about domestic policy than foreign policy. It was based on the realization that government interventions were exacerbating many of the problems they were intended to redress. As Glazer put it: In our efforts to deal with the breakdown of. . .traditional structures, our social policies are weakening them further and making matters in some »

Campenni’s eye on “Black Eye”

Featured image William Campenni spent 33 years in the Air Force/Air National Guard. He served as a pilot alongside then Lieutenant Bush in the the Texas Air National Guard in the early 1970’s and has frequently commented on factual issues related to the Rathergate story, as he does in the new Fox Nation documentary “Black Eye: Dan Rather and the Birth of Fake News.” These are his comments on the documentary: Kudos »

Preview this

Featured image Below is a one-minute preview of the new Fox Nation documentary Black Eye: Dan Rather and the Birth of Fake News (courtesy of the producers, with a little technical help from Joe Malchow). The preview features our role in the Rathergate story. I thought readers might find it of interest and perhaps want to follow up with a look at the whole thing. I reviewed the documentary in “My eye »

My eye on “Black Eye”

Featured image The new Fox Nation subscription service posted the documentary Black Eye: Dan Rather and the Birth of Fake News at 6:00 a.m. (Eastern) this morning. The documentary revisits the Rathergate scandal from its origin in the 2000 presidential campaign to the 2015 film Truth and slightly beyond. I have now watched the documentary and want to offer a few notes with my impressions on it for what they may be »

A preview of coming attractions

Featured image Tomorrow the new FOX News online operation called Fox Nation will debut the documentary Black Eye: Dan Rather and the Birth of Fake News. John and I sat for the first interview that the producers conducted for the program. They made a house call on us in the Twin Cities this past August to ask about our role in the chain of events that led to the undoing of Dan »

Is character destiny?

Featured image James Piereson, a historian and fellow at the Manhattan Institute, takes on the claim that President Trump will fail because “character is destiny” and Trump’s character is abysmal. Piereson responds: The problem with this proposition, at least as it applies to politics, is that Machiavelli destroyed it five hundred years ago in The Prince, and thereby laid the foundations for modern politics. This is not to say that Trump’s character »

Remembering the Ryan Hotel: A personal note

Featured image The Star Tribune carries an interesting article by architecture critic and author Larry Millett on St. Paul’s long gone Ryan Hotel. The article runs under the headline “Lost Twin Cities: St. Paul’s Ryan Hotel was a Victorian masterpiece.” I remember the hotel well. My family owned it for several years before it was torn down and the property turned into a parking lot in 1962. I spent happy time there »

They Shall Not Grow Old (3D)

Featured image Last week we attended the afternoon screening of They Shall Not Grow Old at our local suburban multiplex. The movie is a documentary drawn from 100 hours of archival World War I footage held by the Imperial War Museum and accompanying audio drawn from 600 hours of museum interviews of British soldiers. Peter Jackson is the director of the film; the screening included a separate half-hour film of Jackson in »

William Shawcross: Let Kissinger speak

Featured image William Shawcross is the distinguished journalist and author of many interesting books. His father, Sir Hartley Shawcross, served as Great Britain’s Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. When Winston Churchill himself needed a lawyer after the war, he turned to Sir Hartley. Those of us of a certain age are probably most familiar with William Shawcross from his book Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia. Originally »

They Shall Not Grow Old

Featured image We attended the afternoon screening of They Shall Not Grow Old at our local suburban multiplex yesterday. The movie is a documentary drawn from 100 hours of archival World War I footage held by the Imperial War Museum and accompanying audio drawn from 600 hours of museum interviews of British soldiers. Peter Jackson is the director of the film; the screening yesterday included a separate half-hour film of Jackson in »

A Whitaker Chambers Xmas revisited

Featured image A friend asked me to recommend a book about Whittaker Chambers as a Christmas gift for her smartly conservative daughter a few years ago. Chambers stands at the center of an incredible drama and several fantastic books that I know of about him. There is still much to be learned from him and his case. I want to revisit and expand the list this year with a little help from »

Michael Cohen and the phony-tough

Featured image Forty-five years ago, in the wake of Watergate, Stewart Alsop wrote a brilliant column in which he distinguished between the crazy-brave and the phony-tough. Alsop was addressing the question of how reasonably intelligent people in Nixon’s circle could have approved, or failed to scotch, wild schemes including but not limited to the Watergate break in. Alsop’s thesis was that the crazy-brave Gordon Liddy intimidated phony tough guys like John Mitchell, »

George H.W. Bush and Dan Rather

Featured image George Will, whose tribute to George H.W. Bush appears in today’s Washington Post, once called Bush a “lapdog.” Bush responded that Will wasn’t exactly a linebacker for the Chicago Bears. Will reportedly was persona non grata at the White House during the Bush 41 presidency. And when former President Reagan suggested that Will help prepare Bush for his debates in 1992 (as Will had done for Reagan in 1980), the »

George H.W. Bush, RIP: One More Thing

Featured image Scott wrote here about our professional encounter with President Bush two years after he left office. My wife reminded me that we also had a more personal encounter with President Bush around 1999 or 2000. He was the speaker at Center of the American Experiment’s Annual Dinner that year. At one point he made his way past a line of people that included my wife and some or all of »

George H.W. Bush, RIP [With Comment by John]

Featured image President George H.W. Bush died yesterday evening at the age of 94. He led an almost impossibly full life, capped by his election to the presidency as Ronald Reagan’s successor in 1988. A good man and a good president, he was perhaps more than anything else a great American of the old-fashioned variety that is passing from the scene. I took my family to hear him speak at the annual »

Happy Birthday, Sir Winston!

Featured image Today is Winston Churchill’s 144th birthday, though any day is worthy of recalling what I have taken to using with students on the first day of my seminar on political leadership—Leo Strauss’s famous eulogy to Churchill in the classroom at Chicago: The death of Churchill is a healthy reminder to students of political science of their limitations, the limitations of their craft. The tyrant stood at the pinnacle of his »