The Lady Macbeth of Little Rock

By 11.20.15

At the Democratic debate last Saturday night, Hillary Clinton was caught in a political blunder — she brought up her radical days as a ’60 student activist. As it happens, there was a lot more where that came from, as Daniel Wattenberg’s seminal piece from the 1992 campaign captured for all time. She was in short never one to go soft. Again, from the August 1992 American Spectator.


Chancellor Schmidt in His Final Months

By 11.13.15

Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt died this week at age 96. In the late spring of 1982, several months before his ouster, his party's think tank invited a host of U.S. journalists to Bonn and Berlin in an effort to reassure Americans that Schmidt remained strong and true and the NATO alliance secure. Meetings with him and others left a different impression. This piece originally ran under the headline "A Separate Peace" in the August 1982 issue of The American Spectator.


In Honor of Fred Thompson

By 11.3.15

It was with great sadness that I learned of the death Sunday in Nashville of Fred Thompson. The actor, lawyer, and former U.S. Senator from Tennessee was 73. He died of lymphoma. TAS writer Aaron Goldstein gives the details of Thompson’s life in this obit Monday.

I enjoyed many of Thompson’s roles as an actor, particularly as the carrier skipper in The Hunt for Red October, and as Manhattan prosecutor Arthur Branch in Law and Order. The last probably abused the willing suspension of disbelief more than any of his thrillers. Who really believes that Manhattan voters would elect a slow-talking, Tennessee good-old-boy like Thompson? But if you could get over this — one can dream, no? — Thompson was good in the role.  

Red October was a fine movie, which can’t be said of every movie Thompson was in. But he was always credible, even in forgettable flicks. Ever the tough but fair straight-shooter who could express himself colorfully and economically. Many a veteran wishes his CO in service days had been like the guy Thompson played.


Squish List Republicans

By and 10.23.15

(From the July 1990 issue of The American Spectator.)

In the wake of what was once called the Reagan Revolution, free-market supporters are today waging a holding action in Congress, trying to resist the majority’s bent for re-regulation, higher taxation, protectionism, and increased spending. Not that the situation is necessarily bleak. To the degree that the White House will assist with the veto, all it takes is a committed one-third to sustain the gains of the late 1970s and early 1980s (such as they were).

Getting that third isn’t so easy, however, particularly when many members of Congress who could survive politically as principled foes of statism—even to the point of resisting pork-barreling for their constituents—nevertheless become creatures of Washington. What follows is an attempt to identify the most wasted opportunities on Capitol Hill: the politicians who could rise above baser considerations but don’t.


The Fall of the House of Windsor (From May 1992)

By 9.16.15

This piece is taken from The American Spectator's issue of May 1992, back when there was considerable doubt about Queen Elizabeth's institutional longevity. She is still with us, in a record way, perhaps because the family dramas and soap operas described below have quieted.


The Senator From MBNA (From Our January 1998 Issue)

By 9.4.15

This past week, in its ongoing effort to protect Hillary Clinton from any challenge from Joe Biden, the New York Times ran a major story entitled, “Banking Ties Could Haunt Joe Biden in a Race With Populist Overtones.” The Times was especially concerned with “Mr. Biden’s own history with the financial services industry, an economic power in his home state of Delaware.” Not to mention those “critics who saw him as too-close to credit-card companies.” You think so? It’s an old story, actually, at least as old as Byron York’s report in the January 1998 issue of The American Spectator.


Trump’s No Chump (From February 2000)

By 8.28.15

(This review is taken from The American Spectator’s February 2000 issue.)

The America We Deserve
Donald J. Trump with Dave Shiflett
Renaissance Books / 286 pages / $24.95

Reviewed by Dave Shiflett

Editors’ note: No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you: This review is indeed written by the writer who co-wrote the book under review. The age of New Politics demands new approaches. So enjoy this New Review.

President Trump—now there’s a bold concept for this new millennium.

It’s not for everyone. Donald J. Trump, the nation’s most flamboyant billionaire, has deeply alarmed the political class by threatening to wade into its most sacred process and buy its most exalted office-without its permission! Politics Inc. is outraged. Murdoch’s Beltway Standard goes so far as to call Trump a chump—on its front page! Other Toadtown analysts, including the Washington Post’s fashion writer, insist the man has no substance.


From 1987: Robert D. Kaplan on Robert Conquest

By 8.6.15

The great historian and long-time Hoover Institution scholar Robert Conquest died on Monday at 98. His definitive work on the Stalinist horror in Soviet Russia, The Great Terror, remains a companion to The Gulag Archipelago. But he also authored The Harvest of Sorrow, a groundbreaking study of Stalin’s famine war on the Ukraine in particular. It was reviewed in the April 1987 issue of The American Spectator by a rising major writer named Robert D. Kaplan. —Ed.


The Trouble With John Kasich

By 7.24.15

This article is taken from the November 1994 issue of The American Spectator.

On Sunday evening, August 20, as the House of Representatives was about to pass its final version of the crime bill, Rep. John Kasich of Ohio was in a state of high excitement—perhaps comparable to the time three years earlier when he let his animal spirits get the best of him and climbed onstage at a Grateful Dead concert at Washington’s RFK stadium. As ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, he had been assigned by minority leader Newt Gingrich to represent the party in round- the-clock negotiations with Democratic leaders and the White House. As he took the House floor, Kasich was ecstatic that he had wrung out so many concessions.