Woodrow Wilson

A Moral Foreign Policy? Get Serious.
July 21, 2010

My last post, suggesting it might be morally problematic for a commander-in-chief to persist in waging a war to which he is less than fully committed, drew this response from Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security: Bacevich wants us to consider foreign policy decisions black-and-white moral affairs. Bush, he argues, reliably chose the wrong option out of two available but was at least guided by a flawed moral compass. Obama, Bacevich argues, is amoral. This is absurd. In matters of war, leaders at all levels make hard moral choices involving sin and virtue.

Why Brandeis Matters
June 29, 2010

Louis D. Brandeis: A Life By Melvin I. Urofsky (Pantheon, 955 pp., $40) I. In 1916, Herbert Croly, the founder and editor of The New Republic, wrote to Willard Straight, the owner of the magazine, about the Supreme Court nomination of Louis Brandeis. Croly enclosed a draft editorial called “The Motive of Class Consciousness,” and also a chart prepared by a lawyer in Brandeis’s office showing the overlapping financial interests, social and business connections, and directorships of fifty-two prominent Bostonians who had signed a petition opposing Brandeis’s nomination.

The Search For Foreign Models
June 22, 2010

Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review: The American Left has shared this maddened perplexity at its country’s character and this hope for its effacement. Marxists at home and abroad were always mystified by the failure of socialism in the U.S. They thought that, as the most advanced capitalist society, we would have had the most restive proletariat. Instead we have had a broad and largely satisfied middle class. Even our unions, in their early history, were anti-statist, their radicalism anarchistic rather than socialist.

Confirmed Liberal
May 21, 2010

Soon after this magazine was founded, the editors joined with relish a fight over President Woodrow Wilson’s nomination of Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. Defending Brandeis against his Boston enemies—the financial oligarchs whom he had attacked in his book Other People’s Money—we championed his vision of liberal judicial restraint: namely, the view that courts should defer to progressive laws and regulations enacted by the states, Congress, and federal agencies.

Confirmed Liberal
May 20, 2010

Soon after this magazine was founded, the editors joined with relish a fight over President Woodrow Wilson’s nomination of Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. Defending Brandeis against his Boston enemies—the financial oligarchs whom he had attacked in his book Other People’s Money—we championed his vision of liberal judicial restraint: namely, the view that courts should defer to progressive laws and regulations enacted by the states, Congress, and federal agencies.

Who's Smarter, Obama Or Bush?
April 14, 2010

Former Bush aide Tevi Troy's essay in National Affairs, "Bush, Obama, and the Intellectuals," is kind of strange. It begins by promising to confound the popular impression that Barack Obama is an intellectual and George W. Bush is not: America's intellectual class seems to adore President Barack Obama nearly as much as it reviled his predecessor. While George W. Bush was routinely derided for his purported lack of intelligence and learning, Obama has been embraced by the intellectuals as one of their own — to a degree unmatched by any president since perhaps Woodrow Wilson.

Neo-Confederate History Month
April 08, 2010

As most readers have probably heard, Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell got himself into hot water by declaring April “Confederate History Month,” in a proclamation that did not mention the rather pertinent fact that the Confederacy was a revolutionary (and by definition, treasonous) effort to maintain slavery against even the possibility of abolition. After the predictable firestorm of criticism, McDonnell allowed that it must have been a mistake not to mention slavery in his proclamation.

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.

Taking Ideological Differences Seriously
December 16, 2009

The latest intra-progressive dustup over health care reform displays a couple of pretty important potential fault lines within the American center-left. One has to do with political strategy, and the role of the Democratic Party and the presidency in promoting progressive policy goals and social movements. Like others engaging in the traditional year-end essays, I'll be writing about that subject extensively in the coming days. But the other potential fault line is ideological, and is sometimes hard to discern because it extends across a variety of issues.

Anti-Statism in America
November 11, 2009

Anyone who has followed closely the debate over national health insurance has probably noticed some peculiar inconsistencies in Americans’ attitudes toward the legislation. A Pew Poll released on October 8 found “steady support” for specific elements of the health care plan, including the public alternative to private insurance, the employer mandate, and the requirement that everyone have insurance. Nonetheless, popular support for the plan itself was declining, with 34 percent “generally [in] favor” and 47 percent “generally opposed.” What accounts for this disparity?

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