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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

Commentary: A Retired Professor’s Retrospective on How Academia and Society Have Gone Separate Ways

I landed in Washington, D.C., in 1965 as a graduate student. For a conservative, the landscape was barren.

There was no conservative administration, no national newspaper that competed with the liberal New York Times and Washington Post, no conservative think tanks that rivaled the Brookings Institution or Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and no conservative majority in Congress.

Over the previous 32 years, the Democrats occupied the White House for 24 years, and both houses of Congress for 28 years. For all practical purposes, Washington and national politics were a Democratic Party monopoly.

Read More

Commentary: The Left Can Never Forgive Nor Forget Phyllis Schlafly

The release of the Hulu-produced movie “Mrs. America” reminds us once again of CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie’s observation that Phyllis Schlafly may have been the most important conservative who was never elected to public office.

And, as Mr. Viguerie wrote on the occasion of Mrs. Schlafly’s death in 2016, it probably seems like ancient history or some obscure chapter of a long-forgotten college textbook to today’s young conservatives, but Phyllis Schlafly, perhaps even on a footing equal with Ronald Reagan, was the savior of the modern conservative movement.

The year was 1972, the month March, just three short months before the Watergate break-in that eventually brought down Richard Nixon, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) with substantial Republican support.

Read More

Commentary: Trump ‘Disdainers’ Are Worse Than the Haters, But Equally Irrelevant

While Donald Trump’s haters intrepidly maintain there are grounds to impeach the president, the mere Trump disdainers at times can be more tiresome, because they approve of Trump’s policies but do everything necessary to avoid being branded Trump apologists.

Read More

Commentary: From Bullets to Ballots, and Back to Bullets?

At the beginning of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln summed up the case against partisan impeachment when he reminded his countrymen that, “It is now for [Americans] to demonstrate to the world that those who can fairly carry an election can also suppress a rebellion; that ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets, and that when ballots have fairly and constitutionally decided there can be no successful appeal back to bullets; that there can be no successful appeal except to ballots themselves at succeeding elections.”

Read More

How Many Times Trump’s Predecessors Declared a National Emergency

by Fred Lucas   The push for a border barrier marks President Donald Trump’s fourth declaration of a national emergency—about a third as many as his three immediate predecessors in their two terms. The number of declared emergencies puts Trump on a par with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W.…

Read More

Commentary: Market Fundamentalism or Love of Country?

by Henry Olsen   Tucker Carlson’s much-discussed monologue last week leaves much to be desired. But factual errors or rhetorical excesses are not why it attracted vociferous criticism on the American Right. What really set the critics off is Tucker’s underlying moral premise: American republicanism sometimes requires public restraint of…

Read More

Commentary: Merry Christmas – We’re All Gonna Die (Again)!

by Thaddeaus G. McCotter   One of the less salubrious effects of the anti-social network is how everything and anything is deemed the end of the world and, logically, the end of humanity. True, to the Regressives, the end of humanity does not mean the end of the world but,…

Read More

Commentary: The George H.W. Bush Obituary You Won’t Read In The New York Times (Part Two)

by Richard A Viguerie   As the establishment media rushes to make the late President George H.W. Bush a saint of bipartisanship conservatives ought to remember the real George H.W. Bush and heed the political lessons available from an honest review of his record. Patriot, a public servant in the sense…

Read More

JC Bowman Commentary: Lives, Fortunes, and Honor

US flags w airman

JC Bowman writes: Freedom should never be taken for granted.  Today we are debating the very concept of what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America.  While many citizens are very passionate about our country, others seem disillusioned and some openly hostile.  It is why the Declaration of Independence is such an important document. It expresses what it means to be an American. 

Read More

Trump-Putin Summit Shows Why the President Is Ahead of the Curve

Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump

By Robert Romano   President Donald Trump will be meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland on July 16. There the two will discuss nuclear weapons and U.S.-Russian relations. This is not only the right time to cool tensions between the two foremost nuclear powers — who have clashed over Syria,…

Read More

Judd Matheny Gets Endorsement of Michael Reagan for Congressional Bid in Tennessee’s 6th

Judd Matheny, Michael Reagan

Conservative Republican Judd Matheny picked up a big endorsement this week when Michael Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan and a former nationally syndicated talk radio host, visited Tennessee to promote his campaign for Congress in Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. The August 2 Republican Primary will select a nominee to…

Read More