The Corner

In Memoriam: Peter Bis

Capitol Hill just lost an icon. Peter Bis, a garrulous homeless man who passed his time chatting up anyone who would listen from his seat on a crate under a tree outside the Exxon at the corner of 2nd Street and Massachusetts Ave., died of a heart attack last night.

Just about everyone who regularly passed him — and that was a lot of people, given his proximity to Union Station and Union Pub — had heard one or two of his stories or catch phrases. He liked to tell passersby (from tourists to interns to congressional staffers) how many days away the weekend was, and he made sure everyone knew not to go skinny dipping, sometimes yelling the warning to people across the street.

He slept in the gas station but kept a pile of belongings under the tree. And when the D.C. city government threatened to move his things, two dozen of his acquaintances — including lobbyists and hill staffers — signed a petition against it. His things remained unmoved, according to a piece from the Hill. He didn’t like the term “homeless,” preferring “political refugee.”

I got to know Pete while I lived for six months in the Heritage Foundation’s intern housing, which was next door to the gas station. When a friend visited, I thought it would be fun to give him a quick introduction to Pete — after all, I talked to this guy just about every day. Forty-five minutes later, Pete had dragged us into the Exxon to show us YouTube videos of a bombing in Russia, invited us to join him for a smoke break, and wept about the death of his ex-girlfriend, Princess Diana.

So he probably didn’t date Lady Di. But I’ve never heard anyone talk about a significant other with as much passion and kindness as Pete. He might have been delusional — his blog certainly suggests as much. But he was also open, funny, and warm. He’ll be missed.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Honest

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a story-telling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make it relatable. ... Read More
White House

More Evidence the Guardrails Are Gone

At the end of last month, just as the news of the Ukraine scandal started dominating the news cycle, I argued that we're seeing evidence that the guardrails that staff had placed around Donald Trump's worst instincts were in the process of breaking down. When Trump's staff was at its best, it was possible to draw ... Read More
National Review


Today is my last day at National Review. It's an incredibly bittersweet moment. While I've only worked full-time since May, 2015, I've contributed posts and pieces for over fifteen years. NR was the first national platform to publish my work, and now -- thousands of posts and more than a million words later -- I ... Read More
Economy & Business

Andrew Yang, Snake Oil Salesman

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and gadfly, has definitely cleared the bar for a successful cause candidate. Not only has he exceeded expectations for his polling and fundraising, not only has he developed a cult following, not only has he got people talking about his signature idea, the universal basic ... Read More

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Defense That Doesn’t Work

If we’ve learned anything from the last couple of weeks, it’s that the “perfect phone call” defense of Trump and Ukraine doesn’t work. As Andy and I discussed on his podcast this week, the “perfect” defense allows the Democrats to score easy points by establishing that people in the administration ... Read More