Category Archives: National Columnist

Column: A peevish pack of GOP contenders

Has there ever been a more peevish pack, a more petulant populace, than the 2016 Republican presidential contenders? The complaining began hours before Wednesday night’s debate in Boulder. “I am now in Colorado looking forward to what I am sure will be a very unfair debate!” Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. Trump, the fading front-runner,… Continue Reading

The political reality of fantasy sports

Americans have been betting on sports since the first time a Puritan pilgrim boasted that his horse was the fastest in Massachusetts Bay Colony and another said, “Wanna bet?” But fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and government gotta fret about gambling on fantasy sports. Torrential television advertising by DraftKings and FanDuel is creating millions… Continue Reading

Column: Jeb Bush’s punchless campaign

The Bushes are burning as they consume the news. Bush family patriarch George H.W. Bush is alarmed, bewildered and irritated, The New York Times reported last weekend, that his son Jeb is doing so poorly in a Republican presidential primary battle dominated by Donald Trump. The 41st president summoned his son George W., the 43rd… Continue Reading

Column: Hillary 2.0: The saga continues

Many people may share Sen. Bernie Sanders’ complaint that he was tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s emails. But the controversy is about issues far bigger than emails. One issue is the utter disaster created by the Obama administration’s foreign policy in Libya, carried out by Clinton as Secretary of State. An even bigger issue… Continue Reading

Column: Fix the criminal justice system

The Republican Party, like Sisyphus, is again putting its shoulder to a boulder, hoping to make modest but significant changes in the Electoral College arithmetic by winning perhaps 12 percent of the African- American vote. To this end, they need to hone a rhetoric of skepticism about, and an agenda for reform of, the criminal… Continue Reading

Column: Candidates should choose their judicial muse

A supremely important presidential issue is being generally neglected because Democrats have nothing interesting to say about it and Republicans differ among themselves about it. Four Supreme Court justices are into the fourth quarters of their potential centuries — Stephen Breyer (77), Antonin Scalia (79), Anthony Kennedy (79), and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (82).  So, presidential… Continue Reading

The Benghazi panel unravels

If this were one of Trey Gowdy’s murder prosecutions, it would be declared a mistrial. For 17 months, the former prosecutor who leads the House Benghazi committee has labored to give the appearance of diligence and impartiality. But, in an inexplicable and ruinous outbreak of honesty in recent weeks, the thing is unraveling just in… Continue Reading

Column: Hillary Clinton: A woman in full

With the latest poll numbers tallied and political pundits having spoken, a consensus has emerged: Hillary Clinton won the first Democratic debate and, barring a Benghazi pinata exploding with revelations, has cinched the nomination. Reasons cited for Clinton’s superior performance have been well hashed by now. Her deft parrying placed her left-of-center but right-of-Sanders. She’s… Continue Reading

Column: Is economic equality really a moral imperative?

America is more distant from the 1933 beginning of the New Deal (82 years) than that beginning was from the 1865 end of the Civil War (68 years). Both episodes involved the nation’s understanding of equality: The war affirmed equality of natural rights, the New Deal addressed unequal social conditions. Today’s Democratic Party is frozen,… Continue Reading

Game over: Clinton has the nomination

I repeat: Unless she’s indicted, Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination. I wrote that six weeks ago, amid fevered dreams of a Clinton collapse and a Joe Biden rescue. That those were a mirage is all the more obvious after Tuesday’s debate. The reason, then as now, is simple: Clinton has no competition. She’s… Continue Reading

Column: Emanuel battles history in Chicago

A Midwestern humorist, Indiana’s Kin Hubbard, said people often confuse bad management with destiny. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel knows better. He must play the cards that fate has dealt him, and he is too polite, or at least too prudent, to say that another name for fate is Democratic rule of the city since 1931.… Continue Reading

Column: A (wo)man among boys

Hillary Clinton was a head shorter than her rivals when they lined up on stage for Sheryl Crow’s version of the National Anthem at Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate. But after that moment, she towered over them. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was preachy and self-righteous. Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb kept complaining that he… Continue Reading

The Sanders-Trump magical mystery tour

Barrels of ink and galaxies of pixels have been sacrificed to solving the mystery of the spectacular rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. People are angry. We get it. But there’s more at work than mere frustration. We are at a philosophical hinge point that feels more acute than in elections past. The equally… Continue Reading

Zealots need to deal in facts regarding gun control

President Obama’s intrusion into the mourning community of Roseburg, Oregon, in order to promote his political crusade for stronger gun control laws, is part of a pattern of his using various other sites of shooting rampages in the past to promote this long-standing crusade of the political left. The zealotry of gun control advocates might… Continue Reading

Column: Speaker of the House? Don’t do it, Paul Ryan

The worst job in the world, it turns out, isn’t the U.S. presidency but speaker of the House of Representatives. “It’s where you go to die,” as one veteran Hill watcher put it to me. Volunteers? In the wake of majority leader Kevin McCarthy’s sudden withdrawal from his once-certain ascent to the speakership, several others… Continue Reading

John Kasich may be the Jon Huntsman of 2016

On paper, John Kasich is a perfect candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. He has a long record as a fiscal and social conservative, and he’s the popular governor of Ohio, a must-win state for any Republican hoping to occupy the Oval Office. But the 2016 GOP presidential primary isn’t being fought on paper. It’s… Continue Reading

A Rose for racial reconciliation

Long before there was a “Black Lives Matter” movement, there was Ruth Starr Rose — an activist artist whose paintings nearly a century ago captured the dignity and spirit of America’s black families at a time when stereotype and caricature prevailed. It is fitting that an exhibition of her early 20th-century work should find its… Continue Reading

Joe Biden’s never-ending delay

Finally, it can be reported: Joe Biden is running for president, unless he isn’t. He will announce his decision this weekend, unless he doesn’t. Furthermore, Biden is approaching important deadlines for declaring his candidacy, unless those deadlines don’t matter. His advisers really want him to run, except those who don’t, and he has been sounding… Continue Reading

Charlatans and sheep

One of the many painful signs of the mindlessness of our times was a recent section of the Wall Street Journal, built around the theme “What’s Holding Women Back in the Workplace?” Whenever some group is not equally represented in some institution or activity, the automatic response in some quarters is to assume that someone… Continue Reading

Column: The GOP (New) McCarthyism

The lede to this column is a deep, guttural groan that originates in the throat and expands into the lungs before collapsing in the pit of the stomach. How do you spell hmmmgrrrungh? What else is there to say about House Republicans’ inability to get something right? And I say this with compassion, I really… Continue Reading

Column: Finding our place in the universe

Twinkling stars are pretty but, for astronomers, problematic. Twinkles are caused by the interference of Earth’s atmosphere with light radiating throughout the breathtakingly beautiful and unimaginably violent universe. In 1990, however, the Hubble telescope went into orbit 370 miles above Earth, beyond the atmospheric filter, peering perhaps 12 billion years into the past, almost to… Continue Reading

Obama outmaneuvered by Putin once again

“Russia hits Assad’s foes, angering U.S.” — Headline, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 1 If it had the wit, the Obama administration would be not angered, but appropriately humiliated. President Obama has, once again, been totally outmaneuvered by Vladimir Putin. Two days earlier at the United Nations, Obama had welcomed the return, in force, of the… Continue Reading

What kind of Navy do we want for America?

The Navy’s operations, on which the sun never sets, are the nation’s nerve endings, connecting it with the turbulent world. Although the next president may be elected without addressing the Navy’s proper size and configuration, for four years he or she will be acutely aware of where the carriers are. Today they are at the… Continue Reading

The GOP brat pack

The Republican Party’s “Freedom Caucus,” which has several less-charitable nicknames on Capitol Hill, is the dog that caught the car. Now what? Having (sort of) unseated Speaker John Boehner, these 37 or so uber-conservative House members are now scrambling for “a real leader.” Except that they aren’t really because they have no one with the… Continue Reading

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