Lyndon Johnson

Ross Douthat's Rule of Three
January 22, 2012

[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood] In his Sunday Review column “A Good Candidate Is Hard to Find,” Ross Douthat argues that successful presidential candidates must possess no fewer than two of three key characteristics. They need: “the gift of management,” the power of persuasion, and the ability to effectively demagogue opponents. Those who possess the “trifecta,” as Franklin Roosevelt did, are unstoppable. Those who master two of the three (Clinton and Reagan lacked management skills; Nixon was unpersuasive) do fine. Those who possess only one of the three (H.W.

Why a Gingrich vs. Obama Matchup Would Be Good For the Country
December 07, 2011

I sincerely hope Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination for president: It could bring a healthy candor to our politics and end up boosting the fortunes of liberalism as well. Now, I realize the former Speaker may not be able to convert his current polling spurt into triumph over his main rival, that dodgy I’m-all-businessman, whose too-perfect hair and smile remind me of a middle-aged Ken doll.

The Tragedy Of The Likudnik Freak-Out
May 20, 2011

The freak-out by the Israeli right, and supporters of the Israeli right, to President Obama's speech can be understood by Glenn Kessler's careful analysis explaining why Obama did break new ground. Previous administrations began from the premise that the 1967 borders had no validity and were militarily indefensible: [U]ntil Obama on Thursday, U.S.

Why Is the GOP Presidential Field So Terrible?
May 19, 2011

Newt Gingrich’s entrance into and Mike Huckabee’s departure from the 2012 race have both accentuated the flaws in the Republican presidential field, with numerous commentators viewing the current slate of candidates, in the words of one prominent GOP strategist, as the weakest since the one that produced Wendell Willkie. The Republicans’ mediocre field has been attributed to a host of factors, including timidity from stronger candidates wary of taking on President Obama as well as the GOP’s rightward movement, which has scared off or excommunicated electable centrists.

Why Ryan's Medicare, Medicaid Plans Are Radical
April 04, 2011

House Republicans are still finalizing their formal blueprint for government spending over the next ten years. But, on Fox News Sunday, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan confirmed what several media outlets reported last week: The Republicans will propose to transform Medicare from a government-run program into what most people would call a voucher system. They will also propose to convert Medicaid from an entitlement to a block grant. These would be huge, controversial changes.

How Do Long Wars Become So Long?
September 01, 2010

This is the summer we began calling Afghanistan “America’s longest war.” The new label has produced a dissent or two, since it assumes that the Vietnam war didn’t even start until Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 (at which point American soldiers had been dying in Vietnam for at least three years). But the “longest war” designation isn’t intended to resolve nitpicky historical arguments. Its real point is to get both wars—Afghanistan and Vietnam alike—firmly categorized in our minds as long, hard, unwinnable slogs.

How Bill Kristol Unwittingly Joined the Left’s Campaign Against Israel
July 21, 2010

Neoconservatism long ago ceased to have any meaningful ideological difference with just plain old conservatism. Perhaps the one remaining vestigial trait of the ideological tendency is a mania for forming committees and stuffing them with progenies (of both the ideological and the literal sort). The glory days of neoconservatism in the 1970s revolved around such committees as the Committee on the Present Danger and the Coalition for a Democratic Majority.

How Robert Byrd Won My Respect
June 29, 2010

The time was March, 1973, the place a Senate committee hearing where Robert Byrd was interrogating L. Patrick Gray, the head of the FBI. A series of probing questions from Byrd elicited an admission by Gray that he was taking orders from the Nixon White House in his conduct of the investigation into the attempted burglary of the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate. When John Dean, Nixon’s White House counsel, heard about Gray’s testimony, he realized the jig was up and that he had to confess his involvement to the United States attorney.

Today's Wehner Fallacy
February 19, 2010

National Review Editor Rich Lowry: Obama wouldn’t tame the impatient Left because he’s part of it. After he won in 1964, Lyndon Johnson told his aides he’d won by 16 million votes and would lose a million votes’ worth of support every month, so he had to act fast. Obama made the same calculation, but on behalf of an agenda that wasn’t popular. If people had been persuaded of its merits, Obama could have made Republicans pay the price for obstruction. “Public sentiment is everything,” Abraham Lincoln said.

Revisiting the Clinton-Obama Wars!
January 12, 2010

My friend, and TNR alum, David Greenberg writes in the Los Angeles Times: During the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama's campaign perfected a brilliant technique for gaining the upper hand in the short-term news cycle -- feigned outrage. In the Democratic primaries, Obama's team would alight on an ill-phrased but ultimately innocent choice of words by his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton or one of her surrogates -- like her claim that President Lyndon Johnson did as much as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.