The Evil Empire

On the 25th anniversary of two famous Reagan speeches, the former Speaker of the House asks why we haven’t learned more from the 40th president

A quarter century ago, President Ronald Reagan delivered two masterful addresses within two weeks of one another: the so-called “Evil Empire” and “Star Wars” speeches. In them, Reagan laid out two great strategies for dismantling the Soviet Empire. He did it boldly without backing off, not permitting the economy, news media, polling numbers, or the permanent governing elite to intimidate him. Read more »

How Smart Should A President Be?

Smarter than stupid, of course; but does the intellectual tradition that began with the century suggest there is such a thing as being too smart for the country’s good?

The century now ending opened with a political situation that is both unusual and recurring: Intellectuals were somewhat firmly in the saddle. From 1901 to 1921 the White House was occupied by three authors—Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson. Taft and Wilson were ex-professors to boot. One of the powers of the Senate, Henry Cabot Lodge, was another author-professor.

 
 
Read more »

The Wrongdoers

One balmy summer morning this year the headlines sang a song of scandal. GINGRICH’S PAY TO AIDES IN 2 RACES RAISES QUESTION OF RULE BREAKING, said one. That’s the Republican whip of the House of Representatives they were talking about. He may have used federal money to pay his campaign workers; he may have taken improper contributions. Read more »