Crisis of the Conservative Intellectual


A few years before he became president, Ronald Reagan appeared on Firing Line. The topic of the January 13, 1978, episode of William F. Buckley Jr.’s long-running debate show were the treaties by which the United States relinquished the Panama Canal to its host country.

Reagan had been against the treaties for years, using them to catch up with President Ford during the 1976 GOP primary. And Buckley had been against them, too, until a visit to Panama changed his mind. What might first appear as a trivial issue at a time of economic stagflation and diminishing American power was in fact incredibly meaningful to large numbers of voters, especially conservative ones. “Certainly it was of major consequence in my own career as a conservative,” Buckley wrote later.

You Have Entered the Donald Trump Zone


Moments before the debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton began, people remarked how surreal the experience would be. Who would have thought, a year ago, that the first presidential debate would feature Hillary Clinton versus, of all people, Donald J. Trump? It is a feeling that Republicans and conservatives have experienced since Trump descended from an escalator in one of his skyscrapers more than a year ago. The dream-like quality of having a piece of the popular culture embed itself in politics is disorienting, disrupting. Tonight the world knows what it’s like.

Donald Trump and Conservative Dogma

New Trump in Fredericksburg, Va. / AP

How conservative is Donald Trump? It’s a question that’s been asked frequently since he entered the presidential race last June, but no one seems to have agreed on an answer. Many of Trump’s primary opponents criticized him for not being a “true conservative.” Even today, his critics note, positively or negatively, his departures from American …

The Great Boor of the Galaxy

Star Trek TV Series (1966-1969)

Get a Star Trek fan talking—and believe me, we love to talk—and inevitably you will hear about the television and movie franchise’s optimistic portrayal of the future. The twenty-third century depicted in the series is a liberal utopia. There is no racism, no poverty, no war, no pollution, and no money. Instead there is world government.

Conservatism Trumps Populism

Paul Ryan, John McCain, Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio is not exactly Mr. Personality. He’s not a culture warrior or a populist firebrand. He’s a soft-spoken wonky Baby Boomer interested in budgets, finance, and taxes. He won’t be seen with Donald Trump but welcomed former boss George W. Bush to a private fundraiser last month. Also, he enjoys a significant lead over challenger Ted Strickland.