Commentary: The Destructive Generation Proves America’s Weakest Link

Burning American Flag draped over fence

Governor Ronald Reagan, in his 1967 inaugural address, famously remarked, “Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction.”

Reagan today might have expanded on his theme by declaring that civilization itself is both fragile and can lost by a generation that recklessly spends its inheritance while neither appreciating nor replenishing it—if not ridiculing those who sacrificed so much to provide it.

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Analysis: Trump Says Biden Is ‘So Bad’ That Every State Could Be Competitive

“As you can see today, we’re expanding the electoral map because we are going to officially play in the state of New Jersey—we’re going to win the state of New Jersey… We’re also looking… at the state of Minnesota, which hasn’t been won [by the GOP] since 1952 and we’re leading in the polls, and the state of Virginia and actually many other states, I don’t know, it could be all of them.”

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Commentary: If Republicans Want Better Legislative Outcomes, Trump Needs to Win Greater Majorities by Playing for the Popular Vote

Donald Trump at rally

Since 1960, Democrats have won the popular vote in 10 out of the last 16 presidential elections, and thanks to a combination of historical realignment (beginning during the 1930s), presidential coattails and the incumbency advantage, have also won U.S. House majorities in 11 out of those 16 contests, oftentimes with super majorities.

The modern story over U.S. House control, and therefore legislatively shaping the society of laws we live in presently, begins in 1932 when Franklin Roosevelt and Democrats utterly crushed Herbert Hoover’s reelection bid, winning 57.4 percent of the popular vote and 42 states to Hoover’s meager 39.6 percent and 6 states.

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Commentary: Free Markets are Necessary But Not Sufficient

Family Prayer at Dinner

For most of our lifetimes, classically liberal economics so dominated the Right that nobody wondered if conservatives were abandoning free markets. In recent years, though, a new generation of conservative thinkers—more traditionalist, populist, or nationalist than libertarian—has challenged the utility and even the morality of laissez faire economic policy.

We welcome their questions and critiques, as they have compelled American conservatives to have a long overdue conversation about the market, the family, and the state. But the blunt truth is the movement cannot abandon free markets. The moral and practical case for free enterprise is as necessary today as it was when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher used it to rescue their nations’ economies and win the Cold War.

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Commentary: The U.S. Defense Industrial Base

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, along with increased tensions in the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific region, has generated many debates. Debates about the stability of the international order, the cohesion of NATO, and many others. But for the United States, one significant debate regards the size and expansibility of the American defense industrial base. It’s a discussion that is well past due.

Last year, Under Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl testified to Congress that, “What the Ukraine conflict showed is that, frankly, our defense industrial base was not at the level that we needed it to be to generate munitions.” But the challenge with ammunition is more symptom than cause, in economic terms something of a “leading indicator.”

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Second GOP Presidential Debate Was Sloppy, At Times Chaotic, Ultimately Forgettable, Critics Say

Wednesday evening’s chaotic GOP presidential primary debate at times felt more like an episode of “Jersey Shore” than a showcase of the best and brightest minds in conservative politics.

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A Closer Look at Vivek Ramaswamy’s Bold Plan to Take Down the Administrative State

GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy proposed a plan on Wednesday to halve the size of the federal administrative state in his first year in office — should he be elected.

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Commentary: Is Former Vice President Mike Pence’s View on Conservatism Correct?

Former Vice President Mike Pence in a speech before the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College and in an article in The Wall Street Journal warned Republicans and conservatives about the danger of populism. The former Vice President argues, in echoing Ronald Reagan’s 1964 address, that it is “a time for choosing” for Republicans whether to continue to follow the “siren song” of populism or return to true conservatism. It is clear that Pence is not only drawing a line in the sand and forcing a debate over conservatism, but also distancing himself from former President Donald Trump and those who support his policies. Nevertheless, Pence fails to understand that the conservative populism he is denouncing is actually rooted within the American conservative tradition.

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Commentary: Why Not ‘America First?’

It’s challenging to say something original about the Ukraine war. It’s been debated now for more than a year, and it’s not over yet. But that’s bad news for those supporting the war. Most Americans’ interest in foreign policy matters is limited, and many expect quicker favorable results than are probably ever possible in war. A year of war in a far-off land – another war in another far-off land – is not something Americans are likely to support for long, especially if it’s led by a stumble-bum president who picks incompetents for cabinet secretaries, campaigned for a mentally challenged stroke victim, and may be compromised by his son’s business dealings. 

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Commentary: Six Bold Ideas for Trump, Republicans to Rebound from 2022 Midterms

After an underwhelming midterm election, the Republican Party and its enigmatic leader Donald Trump find themselves in a political wilderness, much like Ronald Reagan did after losing the 1976 nomination.

The Biden Democrats with hiding Kathy Hochul and hobbled John Fetterman seemed as beatable as bumbling Gerald Ford, and yet somehow the Reagan and 2022 GOP teams lost the process even though polling data showed they had won the hearts of the faithful. And the despair of knowing a far left regime (Jimmy Carter and Joe Biden) might rule for another election cycle led many to throw hands up and point fingers.

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National Archives Lawyer Central to Mar-a-Lago Raid Documents Sued Reagan While at ACLU

The general counsel for the National Archives and Records Administration, who was central to coordinating between NARA and former President Donald Trump’s attorneys regarding the documents at Mar-a-Lago, previously sued then-President Ronald Reagan in 1989 while working at the American Civil Liberties Union.

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White House Unveils Nancy Reagan Stamp, ‘Important Part of One of the Most Pivotal Presidencies’

Acommemorative postage stamp of former first lady Nancy Reagan was unveiled Monday in a White House ceremony attended by surviving family, historians and first lady Jill Biden who remarked of the portrait-size image on display, “Isn’t this stamp just beautiful.”

When the stamp officially goes on sale next month, Reagan becomes the sixth first lady to have one created in her likeness, following Eleanor Roosevelt, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison and Lady Bird Johnson.

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Commentary: Great American Stories Such as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Bert and Ernie

This week in 1946, “It’s a Wonderful Life” was screened for the first time at the Globe Theatre in New York City. Audiences weren’t quite sure what to make of the film, even though it starred Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed and was directed by Frank Capra. Perhaps the economic jeopardy of life in Depression-era small towns was still all too real. Or maybe the specter of sons and husbands returning from the front reminded audiences of how many American fighting men had not come back from Europe or the Pacific.

Stewart, the leading man who portrayed small-town savings-and-loan owner George Bailey in Capra’s movie, was such a charismatic leading man that when studio executive Jack Warner heard in 1965 about Ronald Reagan’s plans to run for governor of California, he quipped, “No, no! Jimmy Stewart for governor. Ronald Reagan for best friend.”

But casting in movies, as in life, can be deceiving. It was something of an in-joke, for instance, to have Jimmy Stewart play the older brother who flunks his Army physical in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and can’t go to war. In real life, Stewart and Frank Capra both enlisted in the military after making “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” together in 1939. The Italian-born Capra, then in his 40s, produced an evocative series of films for the military called “Why We Fight.” Stewart did his part, too, and then some. After winning Best Actor for his role in 1940’s “The Philadelphia Story,” Stewart had become the most bankable star in Hollywood. Nonetheless, by the time Pearl Harbor was bombed, he was already in uniform, pulling duty at Moffett Field, south of San Francisco, in the Army Air Corps. By the end of World War II, Stewart had flown 20 combat missions in a B-24, become a squadron leader, been awarded a chest full of medals, and risen in rank from corporal to colonel.

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Commentary: Revisiting Prudent American Realism

Donald Trump sitting at desk

I have long deplored the poverty of international relations (IR) theory, which pits “realists” of all varieties against “liberals” or advocates of “liberal internationalism” and its corollary, “cooperative security.” In essence, the debate between these two schools is a dispute between Thucydides and Machiavelli on the one hand and Kant on the other.

Realists argue that states are driven by naked interest. In a system of “international anarchy,” states face a security dilemma that leads to arms racing, offensive and defensive alliances, and ultimately war. For realists, the international system is conflictual. In contrast, liberal internationalists argue that the international system is potentially cooperative. Diplomacy trumps force. For realists, liberals are too abstract and place too much emphasis on the “good side” of human nature. For liberals, realists are too pessimistic and cynical. In addition, say liberals, realism is too parsimonious: it fails adequately to explain the world.

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Commentary: America Gone Mad

After three weeks in Europe and extensive discussions with dozens of well-informed and highly placed individuals from most of the principal Western European countries, including leading members of the British government, I have the unpleasant duty of reporting complete incomprehension and incredulity at what Joe Biden and his collaborators encapsulate in the peppy but misleading phrase, “We’re back.”

As one eminent elected British government official put it, “They are not back in any conventional sense of that word. We have worked closely with the Americans for many decades and we have never seen such a shambles of incompetent administration, diplomatic incoherence, and complete military ineptitude as we have seen in these nine months. We were startled by Trump, but he clearly knew what he was doing, whatever we or anyone else thought about it. This is just a disintegration of the authority of a great nation for no apparent reason.”

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Mollie Hemingway Commentary: Taking on the Establishment

Before the 2018 midterm elections, Trump’s political advisors were thinking about the president’s re-election bid and noticed a curious commonality among incumbent presidents who didn’t get re-elected: they all faced challengers from within their own party.

Five U.S. presidents since 1900 have lost their bids for a second term. William Taft lost to Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin Roosevelt, Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter, Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton. While each election is determined by unique factors, all five of these failed incumbents dealt with internal party fights or serious primary challenges.

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Commentary: Biden Will Prove Reagan Right About Big-Government Incompetence

Respected Washington Post journalist and CNN host Fareed Zakaria has thrown down the gauntlet by betting that President Joe Biden “can show us that Reagan was wrong” when the Gipper said that “government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem.”

The headline in the Washington Post was “Biden is showing government can work,” and this assertion was supported by a commitment from a Biden White House official that “For people like us who believe in government, task number one is to make government work.”

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