When President Obama first unveiled his gun control proposals recommending a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and better background checks, there seemed to be momentum behind the effort. But then the proposals ran into a wall.
Don't be intimidated by people who seem to be experts. Hear their points of view and get their judgements. But at the end of day, you've got to make a judgement because it's not their life that's going to be affected so much as your future.
Obama's endorsement of gay marriage is hardly as consequential as Johnson's legislative success on civil rights.
Racial segregation in the South not only separated the races, but it separated the South from the rest of the country.
Despite all the public hand-wringing about negative advertising, political veterans will tell you that it persists because, more often than not, it works. But tearing down the other guy has another attraction: It can be a substitute for building much of a case for what the mudslinger will do once in office.
Kennedy saw the presidency as the vital center of government, and a president's primary goal as galvanizing commitments to constructive change. He aimed to move the country and the world toward a more peaceful future, not just through legislation but through inspiration.
The Cold War is over. The kind of authority that the presidents asserted during the Cold War has now been diminished.
Truman is now seen as a near-great president because he put in place the containment doctrine boosted by the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan and NATO, which historians now see as having been at the center of American success in the cold war.
What I find so interesting is, Herbert Hoover in August 1928 said no country in the world was closer to abolishing poverty than the United States. And then, of course, we had the Great Depression.
William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia in April of 1841, after only one month in office, was the first Chief Executive to hide his physical frailties.
Joseph McCarthy and the John Birch Society launched an anti-Communist crusade that won the support of millions of Americans in the 1950s.
There's a certain clubbiness to the idea that you're an ex-president. You're no longer a politician. You're a statesman.
For those of us who cry out for gun control, our fears cannot be eliminated as long as the country remains an armed camp in which the most troubled among us can find ways to appropriate one of the easily available weapons in all our communities.
Public scandals are America's favorite parlor sport. Learning about the flaws and misdeeds of the rich and famous seems to satisfy our egalitarian yearnings.
Whatever the long-term legal prospects for same-sex marriage, President Obama's willingness to put the matter front and center in an election year can at least make him a candidate for inclusion in Kennedy's Profiles in Courage.
American politics is theatre. There is a frightening emotionalism at national conventions.
Clinton's egregious act of self-indulgence was outdone by an impeachment based not on constitutionally required high crimes and misdemeanors but on a vindictive determination to bring down a president who had offended self-righteous moralists eager to put a different political agenda in place.
Few American presidents are held in higher esteem than Thomas Jefferson. Though historians have scrutinized every phase of his long public career and found him wanting in a number of respects, he holds an unshakable place in the pantheon of American heroes.
The so-called second New Deal of 1935 - including the Works Progress Administration, Social Security and the Wagner Act legalizing union labor - represented an effort to meet the rising voices demanding a more aggressive government approach to the collapse of national prosperity.
In counterfactual history, nothing is certain.