Reflecting our national inclination both to romanticize what is past and to criticize what is current, Marines will regularly gripe that there is no duty station better than the one they just left and none worse than the one they’re presently at.
It’s an established American tradition to call people what they wish to be called. That’s why after he converted religions, nearly everyone — except a few die-hard bigots — called the heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali instead of Cassius Clay. Marion Morrison chose to become John Wayne. Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov would later become Dame Helen […]
That leader was summoning those within the sound of his voice to self-sacrifice. Contrast that with another leader’s explanation, some 25 years after the fact, on why he, a Yale alumnus, had chosen not to answer his country’s draft call to serve in the U.S. military and join his contemporaries then fighting and dying: “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.”
You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to know that American air travel has become increasingly miserable for the public. For paying passengers, there is the discomfort of ever less legroom and ever smaller seats. The luggage space shrinks, while the cost of it climbs. If farm animals were this crammed, the PETA people would be picketing.
Shortly after the cooling of the Earth — when I was still a young man — I worked around the country in political campaigns. One of the first rules of politics, my sainted precinct committeewoman had taught me, is that there was no such thing as a bandwagon effect in campaigns. She was right. Still, […]
Robert D. Novak, a great and controversial political reporter, judged Eugene McCarthy’s nomination of Adlai Stevenson at the 1960 Democratic convention in Los Angeles to be “the greatest national convention speech I ever heard.” The Minnesota senator’s words echo in my memory: “Do not reject this man who, his enemies said, spoke above the heads […]
Fans of both men will be upset, but the political similarities between the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, and 2012 Republican presidential front-runner, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, are more than striking. True, Dukakis, a self-proclaimed “card-carrying member” of the American Civil Liberties Union, was a cerebral reformer, embraced by reformers and […]
Jon Huntsman, the former Republican governor of Utah and more recently U. S. ambassador to China, has had his true-believer GOP credentials openly questioned by the Conservative Police. True, Huntsman believes in evolution and accepts the reality of climate change, while supporting civil unions for gay couples. But what made Huntsman suspect was his statement […]
There still is, we learned this week, genuine hope for the human race. It was not to be found here in Washington, where noisy public squabbling over whether to take the United States into Chapter 11 or to raise the nation’s legal debt limit has continued to dominate. No, hope came to us in the […]
Since 1944, exactly one Democratic U.S. president has been re-elected to a second White House term. So when the one man who has accomplished that feat — Bill Clinton — says of the incumbent president, Barack Obama, “I’ll be surprised if he’s not re-elected,” you know he’s speaking as somebody who personally knows more than […]