David Stokes

Posted October 25, 2012

Though he doesn’t talk about it much these days, when Barack Obama was ramping up his campaign for the White House five years ago, there was a deliberate attempt to conjure up images of John F. Kennedy and Camelot mythology. JFK’s daughter Caroline and her uncle, Teddy, were early boosters and certainly helped put the then relatively unknown junior senator from Illinois into that political season’s starting lineup of presidential hopefuls.

Posted October 18, 2012

Forty years ago, an incumbent president was cruising comfortably toward a massive November mandate and a second term. He did this while what was later referred to as a “cancer” was already eating away at his presidency—and eventual legacy.

Posted October 05, 2012

I will come to what I mean by the title of this column in a second—the connection between this year’s first presidential debate and the first ever such televised event more than five decades ago. But first, by all accounts, even those shared grudgingly, Mitt Romney left the University of Denver stage following the debate the other night as the clear winner. There was no knockout, but it was a lopsided decision on most scorecards.

Posted August 28, 2012

The world will be watching this week as Mitt Romney receives the Republican nomination for the presidency and has his moment to speak to history. Hurricane Isaac notwithstanding, this convention, like most in recent memory, has been orchestrated to somehow give a foregone conclusion a hint of drama. It’s a tough sell.

Posted July 16, 2012

It’s a predictable mantra as speculation mounts about the identity of the person who will occupy the number two spot on the 2012 GOP ticket: The most important thing for a VP selection is that it be someone who is prepared to be president.

Posted May 28, 2012

It was high political drama more than six decades ago—controversial and polarizing. A Harvard trained and highly ranked member of the Federal Government charged by a self-confessed former Soviet spy of being a partner in those very same nefarious enterprises.

Posted March 30, 2012

The dialogue sounds a bit like something out of a Cold War spy novel, especially the part where outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

Posted December 09, 2011

The earth moved the other day. The shaking was felt from Long Island to Michigan and was triggered by two giants turning over in their graves.

Posted November 26, 2011

In the spirit of the recent holiday, among the many things for which Americans should be thankful is a political decision made more than 67 years ago as the Second World War was beginning to wind down and as the nation’s voters prepared for a presidential election. It was one of Franklin Roosevelt’s finest moments of decision, though admittedly, one he exercised reluctantly.

Posted August 12, 2011

A major political question in the run-up to the 2012 election is: How effective will the Christian Right be? The recent mass-prayer rally in Houston led by Texas Governor Rick Perry is the latest indication of the potential potency of the union of politics and faith.

Posted July 30, 2011

Many years ago, when I was finishing work on my graduate degree in political science in New York, I took a course on international affairs. The professor was a Muslim man from Beirut, Lebanon. One day for some reason he was talking about Pope John Paul II and he paused and looked over at me and asked: “What is the pope like personally?”

Posted June 17, 2011

What all of this suggests is that there is no clear connection between personality style and actual governance. Charismatic leaders have at times been effective, especially during times of great crisis. But their great shining moments have often been tempered with brevity.

Posted June 17, 2011

What all of this suggests is that there is no clear connection between personality style and actual governance. Charismatic leaders have at times been effective, especially during times of great crisis. But their great shining moments have often been tempered with brevity.

Posted June 03, 2011

Mitt Romney has inherited much from his late father, most notably a mind for business and a flare for politics. Now in the race for the GOP Presidential nomination, he is by most accounts the front-runner. But that was also his dad’s position at just about this point in the run up to the historic election of 1968.

Posted May 15, 2011

As the GOP presidential dance card continues to fill up, with former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich’s hat now in the ring, many stalwarts have serious concerns about the actual electoral prospects for 2012.

Posted May 07, 2011

When U.S. Presidents leave office, the sudden shift to retirement is often difficult. Some find ways to make the most of it, reinventing their persona—as in the case of Jimmy Carter (though he does seem determined to undermine himself by meddling too much in foreign affairs).

Posted April 24, 2011

There are moments in time and space when transitory issues fade in significance as things that seem to matter so much are trumped by what really matters most.

Posted April 10, 2011

Unceremoniously cancelled earlier this year by The History Channel as not a good “fit” for “the History brand,” the project was controversial almost from its inception. This had to do completely with the hypersensitivity of a vast array of myth-guardians who stand perpetual watch over the Kennedy family, as well as the career and legacy of America’s 35th President.

Posted March 27, 2011

On March 25, 1911—exactly 100 years ago—approximately 500 workers were crafting “shirtwaists,” blouses with puffy sleeves and tight waists.

Posted March 06, 2011

I wish the collectivist left would make up its mind. One the one hand, we have been bombarded for the past few years with the emergent doctrine that the government is the answer to just about everything.