The Accountable Presidency
February 01, 2010
Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush By John Yoo (Kaplan, 544 pp., $29.95) Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State By Garry Wills (Penguin, 288 pp., $27.95) I. In December 2008, Chris Wallace asked Vice President Cheney, “If the president, during war, decides to do something to protect the country, is it legal?” Cheney’s answer included a reference to a military authority that President Bush did not exercise.
Conservatism Is Dead
February 18, 2009
An intellectual autopsy of the movement.
July 01, 2008
Today marks the fortieth birthday of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, one of the most important pieces of paper the United States has signed in the last half century--and one of the most popular. Even Bush officials, who went on a treaty-killing spree during their first year in office, made an exception for the NPT. Why wouldn’t they? The NPT is one of the best deals the United States has ever made: It allowed five countries (including the United States) to possess nuclear weapons, but banned the rest from ever developing them.
Phyllis Schlafly And "Appeasement"
May 16, 2008
We're slamming Phyllis Schlafly for her role in the culture wars, but she was arguably more destructive during the 1950s, '60s and '70s--decades she spent facilitating Barry Goldwater's rise (authoring A Choice, Not An Echo), while agitating against arms control and "appeasement" of China and the Soviet Union. Campaigning for Congress in 1952 as a housewife enraged by Truman's pro-communist treachery--and later reprising those themes as a wildly successful political organizer--Schlafly wove together a grassroots conservative movement that only later pivoted from anticommunism to social issues:
March 26, 2008
In the last years of his life, William F. Buckley Jr., who died on February 27 at the age of 82, broke with many of his fellow conservatives by pronouncing the Iraq war a failure and calling for an end to the embargo on Cuba. He even expressed doubt as to whether George W. Bush is really a conservative—and he asked the same about neoconservatives. To Buckley's liberal admirers, these sentiments suggested that the godfather of the Right had, like Barry Goldwater, crept toward the center in his old age.
Maverick vs. Iceman
February 27, 2008
A couple of years ago, as part of his campaign to reassure conservatives of his ideological reliability, John McCain sat for an interview with Stephen Moore, a Wall Street Journal editorial writer and fervent advocate of supply-side economics. In the course of the interview, McCain acknowledged that not all his positions were acceptable to the right, but he hinted that further rightward evolution might be possible. "His philosophy is best described as a work in progress," wrote Moore somewhat hopefully. As McCain put it, "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do abou
Damn Dirty Hippies!
December 12, 2007
The key moment in the History Channel's "1968 with Tom Brokaw" comes when Brokaw interviews my onetime colleague, the historian Alan Brinkley. Brokaw prompts Brinkley, "The left went too far, excessive in its behavior on a daily basis?" Brinkley replies, obligingly, "Well, there were excesses on the left, needless to say--" and then: Wham! Down comes the editor’s digital X-Acto knife.
July 02, 2007
Jon Cohn on how Mitt Romney un-became his father.
March 19, 2007
Although he remains the most eminent conservative in the United States, his face and voice recognized by millions, William F. Buckley, Jr. has all but retired from public life. At the apex of his influence, when Richard Nixon and, later, Ronald Reagan occupied the White House, Buckley received flattering notes on presidential letterhead and importuning phone calls from Cabinet members worried about their standing in the conservative movement.
October 16, 2006
I have liked John McCain ever since I met him almost a decade ago. At the time, I was writing a profile of then-Senator Fred Thompson, who was rumored to be considering a run for the presidency. I had been playing phone tag with the press secretaries of senators friendly with Thompson and was getting nowhere. I decided that, instead of calling McCain's office, I would drop by. I spoke to one of his aides, who asked me whether I had time to see the senator then.