Separation of Parties, not Powers?

Both George and Greg suggest that my separation of powers argument concerning Biden’s air strikes doesn’t square with the fact that political parties have replaced the separation of powers. I agree with them that this has now become the conventional opinion regarding the separation of powers. And, as they rightly note, the dominance of parties over powers is especially clear during unified control of government. The majority party in Congress doesn’t assert its institutional rights very strongly if it also controls the Presidency. That being said, I think this argument is somewhat overstated. Ultimately, it depends some on thinking of … Continue reading Separation of Parties, not Powers?

Syrian Air Strikes and Presidential Authority

In the wake of Biden’s air strikes against Syria, many of his opponents are returning to statements he and Kamala Harris made critical of Trump for similar kinds of strikes. Although I understand the inevitable politics of these things, I would suggest that we’re witnessing the separation of powers succeed. As President, Biden has a different set of responsibilities than he did as a presidential candidate or as an opponent of the past President. Given this difference, it shouldn’t surprise us that he is behaving differently. The Constitution itself induces and even encourages such hypocrisy. Senators have certain kinds of … Continue reading Syrian Air Strikes and Presidential Authority

The Danger of All-or-Nothing Elections and the Claremont Message

Milikh’s message might still make Laura uncomfortable but, to the extent that it is political rather than doomsday-ish, I think it a very important advancement. Our democracy depends on an intelligible conservatism that isn’t flirting every four years with rhetoric about the death of all civilization. Continue reading The Danger of All-or-Nothing Elections and the Claremont Message

University Press of Kansas

Below you’ll find a letter written recently by the American Political Thought section urging the continued funding on the press. Here is a link to a change.org site where you can sign a petition: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-kansas-save-university-press-of-kansas. We might also be able to add your name to the letter. If you’d like to do that, just put your name in the comments section of this post. Continue reading University Press of Kansas

A Definition of the New Conservatism and Claremont’s Role In It

Laura Field recently posted a summary of and links to the discussions of Trump by those affiliated with the Claremont Institute. Their unabashed and even enthusiastic support of Trump has perplexed many who were sympathetic to and even supportive of Claremont’s mission prior to their Trumpian term. Why were they supporting a man who seemed so contrary to their prior celebration of and veneration for the American tradition of prudence as represented by someone like Abraham Lincoln? I suppose Lincoln and Trump both believe in America…but what else do they have in common? Why were they defending a man who … Continue reading A Definition of the New Conservatism and Claremont’s Role In It

Article about the Jack Miller Center (our sponsor)

This is a very good article about the Foundation which sponsors theconstitutionalist.org . They show it’s possible to be a partisan of the American tradition without being a partisan for either political party now. They’re doing it the right way. Investing in professors committed to teaching these things in a way that doesn’t become indoctrination. Building programs on campus through the professors with whom they have relationships. Continue reading Article about the Jack Miller Center (our sponsor)

Varieties of Trumpism and the Class Divide

Dan McLaughlin at the National Review has this piece breaking down the varieties of Trumpism and what they mean for the future of the Republican party. It’s a helpful typology, indicating both where Trumpism has a future, even one that is politically salutary, and where it does not. I found his discussion of “common-man Trumpism” especially illuminating. He writes: ‘The divide in class attitudes is much starker than in the social-egalitarian world described by Alexis de Tocqueville in his travels across 1830s America, and many educated, professional Americans don’t even see it.” This is the aspect of Trumpism that isn’t … Continue reading Varieties of Trumpism and the Class Divide

Why only one Article of Impeachment?

Although much of the case against Trump rests on more than just his incitement of the attack on the capitol, the House only brought over one Article of Impeachment all of which revolves around the incitement charge. In their case to the Senate, they show all of the other things Trump did leading up to that day and in its aftermath later in the day. His complete failure to mobilize any response to the attack is one of the most obvious cases of dereliction of duty by any President ever. My Constitutionalist colleague Jeff Tulis and his co-author Bill Kristol … Continue reading Why only one Article of Impeachment?

The Constitutionality of Post-term Impeachment

As we’ve seen in the legal briefs leading up to this impeachment and now in the debate itself, precedents matter in these kinds of issues. The question whether a President could be impeached after his term was over hadn’t been answered by prior precedents. Hence it was a question now. The Senate just voted 56-44 affirming the constitutionality of Trump’s impeachment after he left office. That vote likely means he will not actually be convicted. But it also means that, if some future President decides to incite riots at the very end of his term, this precedent has established that … Continue reading The Constitutionality of Post-term Impeachment

A Defense of Moderation

Aurelian Craiutu and Constantine Vassiliou have an excellent article articulating, defending, and pleading for us to turn from a politics of warfare to a politics of moderation. As Craiutu and Vassiliou argue, for both sides politics has become a zero-sum game in which they either win completely or the other side wins completely. This explains why presidential elections have become so important. We think the defeat of the other side in a presidential election is a matter of life or death. They attribute part of the problem to social media: “There is a significant difference between executing an idea and … Continue reading A Defense of Moderation