By Tom Johnson | October 4, 2015 | 1:18 PM EDT

Liberals and conservatives often differ over the concept of American exceptionalism, either on how to define it or whether there even is such a thing. Washington Monthly blogger Ed Kilgore recognizes a limited version of American exceptionalism, one which pretty much boils down to a mania for guns.

“America is mainly exceptional [italics in original] among advanced democratic nations not in our personal or economic liberty, but in our strange belief that letting everyone stockpile weapons is essential to the preservation of our freedom, and in the consequences of that strange belief,” wrote Kilgore in a Friday post that piggybacked on President Obama’s statement regarding the Oregon community-college shootings.

By Tom Johnson | October 3, 2015 | 11:17 AM EDT

In recent years, some advocates of increased gun control have called for repeal or revision of the Second Amendment, but Adam Gopnik believes that either would be superfluous.

In a Friday article, Gopnik asserted that “the only amendment necessary for gun legislation…is the Second Amendment itself, properly understood, as it was for two hundred years in its plain original sense. This sense can be summed up in a sentence: if the Founders hadn’t wanted guns to be regulated, and thoroughly, they would not have put the phrase ‘well regulated’ in the amendment.”

By Tim Graham | October 1, 2015 | 1:22 PM EDT

Longtime Washington Post book reviewer Michael Dirda broke out the superlatives on Thursday for communist screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, and the Bruce Cook biography that served as the basis for a new Trumbo-glorifying movie starring Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, geopolitically).

Dirda oozed “by the time of his death from lung cancer in 1976, Trumbo already seemed half-legend, half-saint: To Cook, he wasn’t just the Oscar-winner who broke the blacklist, he was a man who, no matter what, kept faith with himself, his friends and his ideals.”

By Matt Philbin | September 8, 2015 | 11:01 AM EDT

Example #547,282 why a modern liberal arts BA has all the inherent honor and usefulness of a fake phone number scrawled on a cocktail napkin: Michael Todd Landis writing on George Mason University’s History News Network proscribing language we are allowed to use when talking about the Civil War.

Landis, Assistant Professor of History at Tarleton State University, doesn’t really have much to say, and certainly nothing new. Mostly, his brief post reads like the work of an average faculty lounge lizard making sure his left-wing credentials are in order for the new school year.

By Tom Johnson | September 5, 2015 | 1:26 PM EDT

Gordon Gekko of Wall Street would be a popular choice of liberals for the 1980s movie character who best illuminated the supposedly ugly truth about the Reagan era, but he’s not Andrew O’Hehir’s choice. In a Monday analysis of the films of the late Wes Craven, O'Hehir stated that Freddy Krueger, from Craven’s 1984 movie A Nightmare on Elm Street, was “the most potent pop-culture signifier of the Reagan years.”

By Tom Johnson | August 23, 2015 | 12:39 PM EDT

Although the term “anchor baby” has been around for only a couple of decades, the concept is several centuries old, believes Chauncey DeVega. In a Friday article, DeVega contended that the earliest American anchor babies were born to colonists, and that the modern term “cannot possibly be separated from the nightmare of white supremacy, of a democracy where human rights and citizenship were based on a person’s melanin count and parentage.”

DeVega further argued that a much broader racial agenda is at work: “Movement conservatives’ eager deployment of the ‘anchor baby’ meme — and their solution of revoking birthright citizenship through a rewrite of the Constitution– is in keeping with the Republican Party’s assault on the won-in-blood freedom of black and brown Americans. The ‘anchor baby’ talking point is yet more proof that the GOP is a radical and destructive political force, one that actively embraces white supremacy.”

By Jeffrey Lord | August 22, 2015 | 9:53 PM EDT

The New York Times hates Donald Trump’s immigration plans. But back in the 1950s, they were solidly behind President Eisenhower's actions to deport illegal Mexican aliens.

By Tom Johnson | August 2, 2015 | 11:09 AM EDT

Arthur Chu, best known as one of the all-time biggest money-winners on Jeopardy!, is also a writer who frequently contributes to Salon. In a Thursday article, Chu saluted departing Daily Show host Jon Stewart for, among other things, keeping him sane during his college days. Unfortunately, recalled Chu, back then America as a whole had lost its mind.

Meanwhile, in the August issue of Vanity Fair, James Wolcott gave props to Stewart for “all that he’s been through on our behalf, subjecting himself to a radiation bombardment of mostly right-wing idiocy."

By Brent Baker | July 18, 2015 | 6:04 PM EDT

Watching the latest installment of CNN’s The Seventies documentary series, I learned President Gerald Ford was a “conservative” and President Jimmy Carter was a victim the misperception that he made mistakes, endured bad luck and inherited an “unmanageable” nation and world.

By Rich Noyes | July 17, 2015 | 5:03 PM EDT

Nearly 27 years before Donald Trump actually announced he was running for President, then-NBC News correspondent Chris Wallace pressed a younger, thinner Trump about his political ambitions during an interview at the 1988 Republican National Convention. Not surprisingly, Trump at that time said if he did run for President, “I’d have a very good chance....When I do something, I like to win.”

By Brent Baker | July 10, 2015 | 2:09 AM EDT

Reviewing Reagan: The Life, by historian H.W. Brands, USA Today White House reporter Gregory Korte recited tired anti-Reagan cliches favored by liberals as he complained about “some notable omissions” in the book. In his piece which appeared in the “Life” section of Thursday’s newspaper, Korte regretted that “Brands makes no mention of Reagan’s 1980 ‘states rights’ speech in Philadelphia, Miss.” and, Korte rued, “Also missing: Any mention of the apocryphal ‘welfare queens,’ the epidemic in homelessness during his presidency, or hot-microphone threats to start bombing Russia in five minutes.”

By Tom Johnson | July 6, 2015 | 10:02 PM EDT

Boldly combining the investigative techniques of David McCullough and Maury Povich, New York magazine’s  Chait has done a little historical paternity testing and determined that Andrew Jackson “is, clearly, the father of the modern Republican Party.”

Chait argued that Jackson’s status as “the progenitor of the Democratic Party” is based on “a myth.” On the other hand, Jackson “believed the Constitution prevented the government from taking an active role in managing economic affairs” and “was instinctively aggressive, poorly educated, anti-intellectual, and suspicious of bureaucrats,” all of which correspond to right-wing GOP behaviors and attitudes of today.