May 22, 1995
In the last four months, House Speaker Newt Gingrich has compared himself to a variety of Capitol Hill forebears: Nicholas Longworth, House speaker during the 1920s; Henry Clay; and the leaders of the Radical Republicans who dominated Congress after the Civil War. His press secretary, Tony Blankley, has likened him to Churchill, de Gaulle, Eisenhower, even Gandhi. (“I knew there would be snickering,” Blankley says.) Beneath the hyperbole, however, is an undeniable fact: undeniable by conservatives and liberals alike. The surprise of the 104th Congress is how effective an executive Newt Gingri
May 22, 1995
Fred Barnes on the rise and rise of Newt Gingrich.
The Air Around Tom Paine
April 24, 1995
Thomas Paine: Collected Writings edited by Eric Foner (The Library of America, 906 pp., $35) Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom by Jack Fruchtman Jr. (Four Walls Eight Windows, 557 pp., $30) Thomas Paine: A Political Life by John Keane (Little, Brown, 644 pp., $27.95) I. Every twenty-ninth of January, Thomas Paine's admirers assemble at his old farm in New Rochelle, New York, to celebrate his birthday and to lay a wreath on his monument.
Search and Seize
March 27, 1995
The Senate Judiciary Committee this week debated a bill that would abolish the exclusionary rule, which bars illegally seized evidence from criminal cases. Instead, the bill would let victims of unreasonable searches sue the government for tort damages. "This hearing is an interesting and worthwhile academic exercise," intoned Senator Joseph Biden, who proceeded to browbeat the Republican's star witness, Akhil Amar of Yale Law School. Amar, a liberal Democrat, wrote an article in 1994 that criticized the exclusionary rule as a betrayal of the original understanding of the Constitution.
July 13, 1993
"It is going to be impossible to defeat you in the Senate, because you have a way with words," Orrin Hatch told Sheldon Hackney during his confirmation hearings to head the National Endowment for the Humanities. Hatch was putting it mildly. Hackney's sins are not limited to his sophisms about the conflict between "openness and diversity" at the University of Pennsylvania. He should also be held accountable for defending speech codes a full year after the Supreme Court made clear that they are unconstitutional.
Washington Diarist: Up to Speed
July 31, 1989
The great Philadelphia Phillies amphetamine cover-up.
February 03, 1986
There was always a special patriotism to the speeches of Martin Luther King. No other American orator could bring audiences to their feet by reciting three full stanzas of "My Country, Tis of Thee." From there he often soared across the American landscape in perorations calling on freedom to ring "from the granite peaks of New Hampshire . . . from the mighty Alleghenies of Pennsylvania . . . from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado . . . from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee! Let it ring . . .
A New Deal Hero
July 01, 1985
Harold Ickes of the New Deal by Graham White and John Maze (Harvard University Press, 263 pp., $20) The title of this book gives the reader hope that the authors will open a window on the idealism, the accomplishments, and the significance of the people who made up the Roosevelt administration. But that hope quickly dims. The book presents only a minuscule part of the story of the New Deal that transformed the stark capitalism of the 1920s into the welfare state of the 1930s.
A Moral Revolutionary
September 13, 1982
Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Stephen B. Oates (Harper & Row, 416 pp., $18.95) When Robert Kennedy tried to get Dr. King to call off the freedom rides, he appealed to patriotism: "The President is going abroad, and this is embarrassing him." It is hard to remember how unthinkable criticism of America was as the 1960s began. William Buckley said the civil rights movement was de facto pro-Communist, since it gave aid and comfort to the enemy by admitting America was imperfect.
Ford At The Wire
November 06, 1976
Philadelphia--Six days before the end of this miserable presidential election campaign, Gerald Ford was half through a road trip that had turned out to be fundamentally phony. In glimpses caught on television screens at stops along the Ford route, Jimmy Carter appeared to be cautious to the point of fright and to be justifying the skepticism about him that reporters traveling with him reflected in published accounts and in conversations. A choice between this unimpressive pair being obligatory, I choose Carter.