Category Archives: National Columnist

When facts, logic and history don’t matter

And now, less than six weeks from the election, what is the main event of the day? A fight between the GOP presidential nominee and a former Miss Universe, whom he had 20 years ago called Miss Piggy and other choice pejoratives. Just a few weeks earlier, we were seized by a transient hysteria over… Continue Reading

Trump’s rise reflects American conservatism’s decay

Looking on the bright side, perhaps this election can teach conservatives to look on the dark side. They need a talent for pessimism, recognizing the signs that whatever remains of American exceptionalism does not immunize this nation from decay, to which all regimes are susceptible. The world’s oldest political party is an exhausted volcano, the… Continue Reading

Clinton delivers a beat-down

Donald Trump just got roughed up, and badly, by a girl. On Monday night, at the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton made her opponent look ignorant, unprepared, egotistical, childish, petulant, impatient and at times totally incoherent. How bad did it get? At one point, as Trump was groping blindly across the minefields of foreign policy,… Continue Reading

Sniffles and The Cyber go to town

My heart went out to Donald Trump Monday night when it appeared that he was under the weather. What could be worse than to be sick, sniffling through his first presidential debate just days after he was challenging Hillary Clinton’s health and, during the debate, taunting her lack of stamina. Trump’s own stamina was not,… Continue Reading

‘Favors’ to blacks

Back in the 1960s, as large numbers of black students were entering a certain Ivy League university for the first time, someone asked a chemistry professor — off the record — what his response to them was. He said, “I give them all A’s and B’s. To hell with them.” Since many of those students… Continue Reading

Trump’s primary tactics failed him against Clinton

Donald Trump was trying very hard to be on his best behavior. In the opening minutes of the first presidential debate Monday night, the Republican nominee began an answer by saying, “In all fairness to Secretary Clinton” —then turned to his opponent with exaggerated cordiality. “Yes? Is that OK? Good. I want you to be… Continue Reading

Column: The difference between the Bushes and Trump

It’s hard to be a Bush these days. Liberals still condemn the most recent President Bush for “lying us into war” in Iraq. Even if you credit George W. Bush with benign intentions, his record is undeniably grim. In foreign policy, fiscal policy and much else — including its catastrophic inattention to the aims and… Continue Reading

What if infrastructure were actually planned?

If there’s one thing that seemingly every politician can agree on, it’s the awesomeness of infrastructure. But this conversation is often distressingly vague. We do not, after all, build “infrastructure”; we build roads, tunnels, bridges, power plants, water projects, sewers and rail systems. Each of these has individual costs and benefits that must be weighed… Continue Reading

George H.W. Bush’s defection is a big deal

George H.W. Bush is planning to vote for Hillary Clinton. That’s not considered major news by most mainstream outlets. But it should be. The story, first picked up by Politico late Monday night from a Facebook post by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the former Maryland lieutenant governor, got almost no play, for example, from the New… Continue Reading

Wells Fargo: Too big to fail, too arrogant to admit it

The 2008 financial collapse was eight years ago this month — and the big banks are back to their old shenanigans. Venerable Wells Fargo has engaged in behavior that would have made a robber baron blush: It pressured low-wage workers with unrealistic sales targets, so these workers created 2 million bogus accounts over five years,… Continue Reading

The Trump letters — consensus of a nation

As the first presidential debate approaches, fists clench, jaws tighten and invectives giggle in anticipation. Game on! To half the country, it’s a sure win for Hillary Clinton, who will expose Donald Trump’s shallow store of knowledge, his intemperate habit of insult and insouciance, his division of diversity into us and them. To the other… Continue Reading

Our political predicament

There is no point denying or sugar-coating the plain fact that the voters this election year face a choice between two of the worst candidates in living memory. A professor at Morgan State University summarized the situation by saying that the upcoming debates may enable voters to decide which is the “less insufferable” candidate to… Continue Reading

Trump frees Republicans from rigid litmus tests

Over the span of two days, the Republican nominee for president has proposed new child-care subsidies, new mandatory benefits to be provided by business, the removal of millions of families from the income-tax rolls, and an on single people making from $112,500 to $190,000 a year. Oh, and he put in a good word for… Continue Reading

This year’s most consequential Senate race

From Erie in the west to Scranton in the east, Pennsylvania is flecked with casualties the stubborn economic sluggishness and relentless globalization have inflicted on industrial communities. But in this middle-class Philadelphia suburb, Tom Danzi knows that the economy is denting even his business repairing damaged cars. His Suburban Collision Specialists once had 27 employees… Continue Reading

Column: Harry Reid’s bountiful bile

NASA scientists may have noticed a wobble in Earth’s axis Tuesday morning. Harry Reid, the irascible top Democrat in the Senate, had shown contrition. The day before, Reid had attacked the integrity of Republicans, including the majority whip, John Cornyn, suggesting they were doing the bidding of the billionaire Koch brothers. But Tuesday, Reid began… Continue Reading

Putin’s post-factual politics

“In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. … Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building. … For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes.” — George Orwell, “1984” Documents inconvenient to the regime went into the Ministry of Truth’s slits and down to “enormous furnaces.” Modern tyrannies depend on state… Continue Reading

Hillary’s deplorable basket case

She didn’t want to say she was sick. Hillary Clinton, that is, who recently has suffered coughing fits followed Sunday by a near collapse during New York’s 9/11 memorial ceremony. She left the ceremony early, claiming over-heatedness, and appeared to weave, lose her footing and pitch forward as she approached her car, as captured on… Continue Reading

Trump has big fans in one crucial Ohio county

O ver the past half-century, few places have been more in sync with American presidential politics than Ottawa County, Ohio. Located southeast of Toledo, the county runs along the southwestern shore of Lake Erie, encompassing resort towns along the lake as well as farmland to the west. Its population of 41,000 is almost entirely white,… Continue Reading

Column: The IRS commissioner merits impeachment

Republican congressional leaders ardently want conservative members of the House to not force a vote on impeaching the IRS commissioner. The public does not care about John Koskinen’s many misdeeds. And impeachment will distract attention from issues that interest the public. And because Democrats are not ingrates, the required two-thirds of the Senate will never… Continue Reading

Column: The week that was … embarrassing

America has had better weeks than the one just past. Only days away from the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates convened for what was dubbed the “Commander-in-Chief Forum,” sponsored by NBC News and hosted by “Where in the world is Matt Lauer?” Indeed. And then there was… Continue Reading

Trump is without sense or sensibility

The most revealing moment in the presidential candidates’ first joint forum Wednesday night came when Donald Trump told the world how much he admires Vladimir Putin. Never mind that the Russian strongman invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea. Never mind that he supports the butcher Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Never mind that so many of his… Continue Reading

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