April 19, 2014

John Bicknell

Bio:

John Bicknell is the editor for opinion and special publications. Before joining Roll Call, he held several roles over almost 12 years at Congressional Quarterly, including co-editor of the 2012 edition of Politics in America, editor of CQ Homeland Security, defense and foreign policy editor, and social policy editor. He previously worked as an editor at the Bradenton Herald, then a Knight-Ridder newspaper, in Florida. He is a graduate of Indiana State University, with a major in political science and a minor in religious studies.

Bicknell no longer works for Roll Call.

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Stories by John Bicknell:

Levin's 'Liberty' Needs Less Utopia, More Whig

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.

An Honest Appraisal of Abe Lincoln by a Conservative

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.

Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly, Ron Barber to Confront Jared Lee Loughner at Sentencing

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.

Dirty Harry's RNC Speech Makes Twitter's Day

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.

Making a List, Checking It Twice

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, it’s 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.”

Democrats Play Hardball

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:

Paul in the Hall

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.

The World According to Arlen

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.

Bumper Sticker Bunkum

April 27, 2012

Conservative author Jonah Goldberg busts liberal myths in "The Tyranny of Clichés."

Capitol Formation

March 23, 2012

In his 1991 biography of Jefferson Davis, noted Civil War historian William C. Davis wrote that the future Confederate president’s 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.

Books Explore Republican Evolution

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.

Give ’Em Hell, Barry?

Jan. 6, 2012

There is talk that President Barack Obama plans to reprise President Harry Truman’s strategy from the 1948 campaign and run against the “do-nothing Congress.” After reading David Pietrusza’s “1948: Harry Truman’s Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America,” count me as skeptical.

Frank Wolf Calls for Action on Suffering Around the World

Oct. 24, 2011

In “Prisoner of Conscience: One Man’s Crusade for Global Human and Religious Rights,” Rep. Frank Wolf recounts instances in which words sometimes failed and sometimes made a difference.

Mitt Aims for the Mainstream

Oct. 17, 2011

“Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth” is the work of a frontrunner.

Cain’s Campaign Autobiography Goes Down Less-Traveled Roads

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.

Perry’s ‘Fed Up’ Takes on Liberal Governance

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 Perry’s “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington,” it’s pretty clear that the Texas governor and debate moderator Wolf Blitzer aren’t talking about the same “we.”

The Man Who Broke the Filibuster

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 Grant’s winning new biography, “Mr. Speaker! The Life and Times of Thomas B. Reed,” was the opposite.

Commission Report Weathers Test of Time

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.

Lieberman’s Sabbath Guide Worth a Look

Aug. 17, 2011

In this secular age, the idea of a Senator writing what amounts to a guidebook for observing the Sabbath might seem more than a little out of the ordinary. But Joe Lieberman has never seemed to mind being perceived as standing a bit off the beaten path.

Insider Proposes Changes for a Better Congress

July 19, 2011

Joseph Gibson has worked in Congress as a senior staff member. He has lobbied Congress. He knows how Congress works. And in "A Better Congress: Change the Rules, Change the Results," he has written a book offering a number of high-minded, idealistic and far-reaching proposals for changing the way Congress does business.

DeMint Tome Tracks Two Years of Tea Party

July 18, 2011

Sen. Jim DeMint alludes to the First and Second Great Awakenings of religious fervor in “The Great American Awakening,” his chronicle of the rise of the tea party movement.

One Great Player Could Mean Years of Baseball Victories

July 15, 2011

The Republicans are going to need some help if they hope to reclaim the coveted Roll Call trophy during what appears certain to become known in Congressional baseball lore as the Cedric Richmond era.

Historians Capture Tension of War

June 20, 2011

In “The Siege of Washington: The Untold Story of the Twelve Days That Shook the Union,” brothers John and Charles Lockwood covnvey the feeling of dread after the fall of Fort Sumter in April 1861.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Life Keeps Biographers Busy

June 6, 2011

For those interested in the broad sweep of Roosevelt’s life, full-fledged biographies abound. If a small slice of Rooseveltian life is more to your liking, plenty of those are available, as well.

McCotter’s Book Serves as a Call to Citizenship

May 23, 2011

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s new book on political philosophy doesn’t pull punches as the Republican Congressman takes issue with aspects of both parties.

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