Stories by John Bicknell:
Sept. 23, 2015
The visit of Pope Francis this week has stirred up political debate. But it is nothing compared to the reaction another pope set off with a simple act of charity more than 160 years ago.
May 13, 2015
Before there were Capitol Police to protect Congress (and leave their guns stashed in bathrooms), lawmakers tended to their own security — and their own weaponry.
April 21, 2015
Two centuries before there were debates over insurance coverage for contraception or cakes for gay weddings, Congress spent two decades — off and on — debating religious freedom in a somewhat more esoteric context: delivery of the mail on Sunday.
March 9, 2015
Freedom of speech is much on our minds these days.
Jan. 20, 2015
The list of things President Harry S. Truman, presidential architect Karl Rove and alt-rock band They Might Be Giants have in common is probably a short one. But all three agree on one thing: James K. Polk.
Jan. 7, 2015
Modern elections for speaker tend to be clean-cut affairs. And though the re-election of John A. Boehner of Ohio this week was a bit messier than he might have hoped, the latest Republican speaker had a considerably easier path than the first.
Oct. 15, 2014
The haze of nostalgia often blinds people to the problems of the past. This is especially true in politics and journalism, where current practitioners love to wax rhapsodic about how great things were in the good old days, when everybody got along and drank whiskey with each other and were regular old pals.
Sept. 9, 2013
Utopian visions are typically the purview of the left. Conservatives, with their well-placed tendency to have less faith in the perfectibility of man, tend to steer clear of such things.
July 8, 2013
Any writer who presumes to make a political case that the Founders — or any other icons of American history — are on his side has a considerable burden of proof to meet. Few are up to the task.
Nov. 7, 2012
When Jared Lee Loughner appears in court Thursday for his sentencing, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) will be there to see it. Giffords’s husband, Mark Kelly, plans to directly address the man who seriously injured his wife and killed six people, ABC News reported Wednesday evening.
Aug. 30, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. — GOP convention mystery speaker Clint Eastwood may have inadvertently distracted web crawlers from staying tuned for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech.
July 17, 2012
The people choose presidents in the moment, but their choices are evaluated by history. That dichotomy some might call it a contradiction lies at the heart of the problem with most efforts to rate the presidents. When historians speak, they leave the people out of it. When the people look at their choices in the voting booth, its rarely with an eye on what posterity might think. Robert W. Merry tries to bridge that gap in Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians.
June 29, 2012
Republicans lost 5-4 in the Supreme Court on Thursday morning, but it wasn’t that close Thursday night in the 51st Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. A dominant performance by the Democratic bats combined with suspect pitching and defense on the part of the Republicans, resulting in an 18-5 crushing. For full coverage see:
June 25, 2012
Texas Rep. Ron Paul won’t be the Republican nominee for president in 2012, but he is getting a pretty cool consolation prize.
May 12, 2012
Former Sen. Arlen Specter's autobiography laments what he considers to be the death of the political center and points fingers at his former GOP colleagues and tea party activists for the partisan divide now gripping Congress.
April 27, 2012
Conservative author Jonah Goldberg busts liberal myths in "The Tyranny of Clichés."
March 23, 2012
In his 1991 biography of Jefferson Davis, noted Civil War historian William C. Davis wrote that the future Confederate presidents years as U.S. secretary of War generated nothing we remember or care about today. Davis the historian is one of my favorite writers, but in this case, he was dead wrong about Davis the secretary of War.
March 2, 2012
One wonders what might have happened to the notion of liberal Republicanism if its identity had been linked to President Dwight Eisenhower rather than New York Gov. and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.
Jan. 6, 2012
There is talk that President Barack Obama plans to reprise President Harry Trumans strategy from the 1948 campaign and run against the do-nothing Congress. After reading David Pietruszas 1948: Harry Trumans Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America, count me as skeptical.
Oct. 24, 2011
In Prisoner of Conscience: One Mans Crusade for Global Human and Religious Rights, Rep. Frank Wolf recounts instances in which words sometimes failed and sometimes made a difference.
Oct. 17, 2011
Believe in America: Mitt Romneys Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth is the work of a frontrunner.
Oct. 11, 2011
This Is Herman Cain! (yes, with an exclamation point, like a Broadway musical) is optimistically subtitled: My Journey to the White House. No one can accuse Cain of undue pessimism.
Sept. 20, 2011
The most important word spoken in the CNN/Tea Party Republican presidential debate this month was not Ponzi. It was we. In Rick Perrys Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington, its pretty clear that the Texas governor and debate moderator Wolf Blitzer arent talking about the same we.
Sept. 7, 2011
American politics is replete with practitioners who preach honest politics while failing to practice it. Thomas Brackett Reed of Maine, late-19th-century Speaker and the subject of James Grants winning new biography, Mr. Speaker! The Life and Times of Thomas B. Reed, was the opposite.
Sept. 6, 2011
The 9/11 Commission Report was that rarest of documents produced by a government body: People actually read it. It is the search for answers that stands at the heart of the success of the report, both in a stylistic and a popular sense.