"The success of a party means little except when the nation is using that party for a large and definite purpose," said Woodrow Wilson in his first inaugural. "No one can mistake the purpose for which the nation now seeks to use the Democratic Party."
A generation ago, the national Republican Party was under the command of the late Lee Atwater. With its personal-political attacks on opponents, the GOP back then knew how to play the roughest brand of political warfare anyone could remember.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates leaves office this month as widely respected as any public figure in America today, appreciated for his willingness to return to public service at a moment of high danger in Iraq and to faithfully serve presidents of both parties.
Two years ago, in June 2009, the American economy emerged from recession, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. But as this week's Economist noted, with typical British understatement, "The recovery has been a disappointment."
The United States is a country that has been peopled largely by vast surges of migration -- from the British Isles in the 18th century, from Ireland and Germany in the 19th century, from Eastern and Southern Europe in the early 20th century, and from Latin America and Asia in the last three decades.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels did not attract as large a crowd when he spoke at the American Enterprise Institute (where I am a resident fellow) earlier this week as he did several months ago, before he disappointed admirers by announcing that he wouldn't run for president.
Napoleon is supposed to have said that the quality he most valued in his generals was luck. In the current race for the Republican presidential nomination, Napoleon's favorite would clearly be Mitt Romney.
The argument is being made in some quarters that, however unsuccessful Barack Obama's domestic policies have been, his record in foreign policy has been successful. But when you examine the claims of success, they seem a bit peculiar.
To win just under 40 percent of the vote in a primary with five active candidates is pretty impressive, even for a candidate like Mitt Romney, who started off with significant advantages in New Hampshire.
"Is our children learning?" as George W. Bush so famously asked. Well, no, they is not learning, especially the history of their country, the school subject at which America's young perform at their worst.