Pete Spiliakos is a columnist for First Things.

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Against Optimism

From Web Exclusives

Surely it is less important that a speech be optimistic or pessimistic, than that it be true to the realities of the moment, true to the capabilities of the government, and true to the responsibilities of the citizenry. Continue Reading »

We Have A Country

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It was never about small government. That is the bitter lesson many conservatives have learned, as they have seen Republican-leaning voters opt for a candidate who promises mass deportations and protectionism. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, when conservatives were winning, they were . . . . Continue Reading »

Persevere and Learn (and Persevere)

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The disaster of this presidential election is a long time in coming—it will spawn disasters beyond our imagining—and yet it remains our responsibility to persevere and make the best of our challenges and opportunities as they come upon us.The first thing is to steel ourselves for a disaster in . . . . Continue Reading »

Kempism is Dead

From Web Exclusives

The results of the New York Republican primary should be the final proof that conservatives should move beyond the Jack Kemp model of politics. But you shouldn't listen to me. You should listen to Jack Kemp's former constituents.Jack Kemp brought a great deal of optimism to the often dreary and . . . . Continue Reading »

Donald Trump and Plain English

From Web Exclusives

What is Donald Trump for? What is Ted Cruz for? The answer depends on who you are. For a person who pays close attention to politics, Trump’s positions can look like a tangle of contradictions, bluffs, and outright nonsense, while it is easy to check off Cruz's positions on abortion, gay marriage, . . . . Continue Reading »

Trump and the American Alliance System

From Web Exclusives

The cliché is that Donald Trump says what people think. On foreign policy, that cliché is actually true. Trump’s phone interview with the New York Times has been roundly mocked by political observers. In the transcript, he comes across more like a belligerent drunk than a potential president, . . . . Continue Reading »