For the last few weeks I’ve been writing at my new home PoliticalStorm.com on Trump’s rhetoric, including what the larger meaning of his Twitter addiction, and most recently, what his candidacy means for movement conservatism. This is a theme that I, and some of my (more conservative) coauthors have been beating the drum about for years — these chickens are now roosting.

Beyond my own two cents is The Conservative Case for Voting for Clinton from David Frum, W’s speechwriter — and also a keen observer of American Culture (his book on the 1970s is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand modern popular and political culture). I quoted a Frum tweet that blipped across my feed during the final debate, quoting a French Enlightenment thinker: “Le style c’est l’homme même.” The style is the man himself. Frum’s larger argument is worth the read, regardless of your own political predispositions.


I recall another candidate for the Republican nomination who once wrote, “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser — in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man.” These came from notes on a lecture he gave years before the presidency. Something he thought, and wrote, deeply about if one sees quite clearly by reading his correspondence.

I had the honor of studying with a great Lincoln scholar, William Lee Miller, at the University of Virginia, from whom I learned much about our perhaps greatest president, and so think I may have some remote credibility to say that our first Republican chief executive would have wanted nothing to do with this man. We can’t go back in time and ask, but we can compare notes. Historians know this; it’s the best we can do at offering advice from our perspective. While working with Miller at the U.VA.’s Miller Center, I had colleagues including Tim Naftali, who were working on deciphering tapes of President Kennedy during moments of crisis.

Rereading Lincoln’s notes from 1850, or other years in which Dr. Miller and I studied his speeches, is no more or less a historical task than trying to figure out exactly what Richard Nixon was saying in 1973 on his taping system, as Dr. Naftali, or John Dean — who was often there in the room — can attest. We can’t hear voices from 1850, but we can hear messages.

A question I, and many of my friends in the conservative movement have is: Let us agree that Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with the current GOP nominee for president.



Four years ago, I ran a blog dedicated to Donald Trump running for the presidency — in part because it was such a shot that only a few of us who study conservatism though he was worthy of any attention. Four years later, here we are. I have written about Trump, sometimes with conservatives friends and coauthors, in articles posted in this blog. I am not affiliated with any movement. I post the Trump MSNBC mostly here as a matter of satire. We laugh so we cannot cry. The great Republican Party is being highjacked. I don’t know how it will work out in the end, if there is a contested convention, and neither do any of the other pundits. I’m a professor. So watch this and see what it makes you think. Thanks John Heilemann (and your editor) for sending this along.


My latest op-ed is at The Washington Examiner, considering the rather serious implications of a Trump nomination for the conservative movement. Not just its recent incarnation, but the entire postwar conservative intellectual project. My co-author, David Frisk, is biographer of William A. Rusher, Bill Buckley’s longtime partner at National Review. 

_84725864_hi028468657Following the first (and second) GOP primary debate(s) in Cleveland, here is our first installment of the Debate Awards. Due to the volume of candidates, not all nominees were able to receive an award. This is not intramural middle school soccer. Sorry, moms and dads! Not all of your children are superstars.

If Archie Bunker Had A Gold Plated Lay-Z-Boy Award: Donald Trump

Elmer Gantry Sanctimony Award (shared): Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee

Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner Award: Rand Paul

Christine Todd Whitman “It’s My Party Too” Award: John Kasich

Randy Newman/Momma Told Me Not To Come Award: Jeb Bush

Norman Vincent Peale Power of Positive Thinking Award: Marco Rubio

Fair-Weather Fan Award (a/k/a I Chose Bon Jovi Because The Boss Was Playing Jon Stewart Out): Chris Christie

Orphan Black/Ronald Reagan’s 7 Previously Unknown Grandchildren Award: Scott Walker

Gory Abortion Imagery Wins Elections! Award: Rick Santorum

Rudy Giuliani-Joe Biden Noun-Verb and 9/11 Award: George Pataki

Carpathian Kitten Loss Award: Lindsey Graham

Running Like It’s 1979/Thatcher and Carter and Reagan, Oh My! Award: Carly Florina

Captain of the JV Cheerleading Team: Rick Perry

You’re Getting Verrry Sleepy Award: Dr. Ben Carson

Admiral Stockdale Memorial Award (shared): Jim Gilmore, Bobby Jindal, Others Already Fading From Memory.

My latest at Real Clear Politics, co-authored with conservative historian David Frisk.

QV073CCOT703IJFE-cp0x140x1280x860-rsz640x360-cp0x0x640x360My thoughts here, not on the legal or Constitutional questions of Watergate, but the cultural impact of how our conceptions of privacy changed 40 years ago. With all of those Expletives-Deleted….was Richard Nixon our first Facebook president?