National Columnist

Celebrities are paid what the market will bear

July 16, 2014

Talons drawn, the media have descended upon Chelsea Clinton. Again. Not for her frizzy hair, now smoothed with a killer blowout, or for that preteen metal mouth, now braces-free and pearly white. This time the attacks are over how much money she makes — for her network television fluff pieces and well-attended gigs on the Read More

Lawsuits and impeachment

July 15, 2014

Whenever Democrats are in real trouble politically, the Republicans seem to come up with something new that distracts the public’s attention from the Democrats’ problems. Who says Republicans are not compassionate? With public opinion polls showing President Obama’s sinking approval rate, in the wake of his administration’s multiple fiascoes and scandals — the disgraceful treatment Read More

The immigration no-brainer

July 11, 2014

As is his wont, President Obama is treating the border crisis — more than 50,000 unaccompanied children crossing illegally — as a public relations problem. Where to photo op and where not. He still hasn’t enunciated a policy. He may not even have one. Will these immigrants be allowed to stay? Seven times was Obama’s Read More

Obama’s aggressions must be challenged

June 27, 2014

The Supreme Court this week admonished the Environmental Protection Agency for overreaching in regulating greenhouse gases. The Clean Air Act covers polluters that emit 250 tons per year (or in some cases, 100 tons). This standard makes no sense if applied to greenhouse gases. Thousands of establishments from elementary schools to grocery stores would be, Read More

Abdication has a price

June 20, 2014

Yes, it is true that there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq when George W. Bush took office. But it is equally true that there was essentially no al-Qaeda in Iraq remaining when Barack Obama took office. Which makes Bush responsible for the terrible costs incurred to defeat the 2003-09 jihadist war engendered by his invasion. Read More

How Eric Cantor’s defeat will strike other Republicans

June 13, 2014

The morning after, at breakfast at the Republicans’ Capitol Hill Club, Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte was, as befits one of Washington’s grown-ups, measured in his reaction to what 36,120 Virginia voters did the day before. It would, he says, be wise “to take a step back and a deep breath until we find out how Read More

No way to fix the problem of billionaires buying elections

June 6, 2014

I agree with Ted Cruz. Before you stick a thermometer in my mouth or suggest that I up my meds, let me assure you that much of what the Texas Republican said at Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was just as wacky and reckless as usual. Cruz alleged that Democrats, in proposing a constitutional amendment Read More

Free him, then try him

What is it with Susan Rice and the Sunday morning talk shows? This time she said Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had served in Afghanistan “with honor and distinction” — the biggest whopper since she insisted the Benghazi attack was caused by a video. There is strong eyewitness evidence that Bergdahl deserted his unit and that the Read More

Obama is President Passive on VA scandal

May 23, 2014

It doesn’t inspire great confidence that President Obama, on the day he finally decided to comment about excessive wait times for veterans’ medical appointments, showed up late to read his statement. The White House briefing room is about 100 feet from the Oval Office, but Obama arrived 13 minutes after the scheduled time for his Read More

Lyndon B. Johnson’s bifurcated legacy

May 16, 2014

Standing on his presidential limousine, Lyndon Johnson, campaigning in Providence, R.I., in September 1964, bellowed through a bullhorn: “We’re in favor of a lot of things and we’re against mighty few.” This was a synopsis of what he had said four months earlier. Fifty years ago this Thursday, at the University of Michigan, Johnson had Read More

Eric Shinseki should go, too passive on scandals

Eric Shinseki served his country honorably as a twice-wounded officer in Vietnam, as Army chief of staff, and finally as President Obama’s secretary of veterans affairs. But his maddeningly passive response to the scandal roiling his agency suggests that the best way Shinseki can serve now is to step aside. Reports have documented the deaths Read More

Benghazi: How to do the hearings right

May 9, 2014

The Democrats are portraying the not-yet-even constituted House Select Committee on Benghazi as nothing but a partisan exercise. They are even considering boycotting the hearings to delegitimize them. Fine. Although this would give the Obama-protective media a further reason to ignore Benghazi, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is whether the committee produces new, important Read More

High cost of liberalism: income inequality

April 25, 2014

Editor’s note: This is the last in a three part series entitled “High cost of liberalism.” Income inequality has long been one of the liberals’ favorite issues. So there is nothing surprising about its being pushed hard this election year. If nothing else, it is a much-needed distraction from the disasters of ObamaCare and the Read More

Overseas, President Obama projects a whole lot of nothing

President Obama landed in Japan on Wednesday night and delivered an important message on behalf of the American people. “That’s some good sushi right there,” he said. Indeed it was. The president had just dined at Sukiyabashi Jiro, where the Michelin three-star chef, octogenarian sushi master Jiro Ono, was featured in the documentary “Jiro Dreams Read More

Republicans kiss votes from women goodbye

April 11, 2014

This was not the way Republican leaders had planned to observe Equal Pay Day. On the eve of Tuesday’s commemoration — the day symbolizing how far into 2014 women must work to catch up to the wages men earned in 2013 — a small newspaper in Louisiana, The Ouachita Citizen — reported that its congressman, Read More

Anticipating November, Democrats act desperately

April 4, 2014

H.L. Mencken gets a workout in election years when voters are reminded by pundits of the curmudgeon’s observation that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. Mean. But true? If you’re a Democratic strategist, this seems to be the motto operandi. If you’re a Republican strategist, you’re thinking: Better dumb Read More

Latest Benghazi hearing is another Republican flop

House Republicans on Wednesday held Benghazi hearing number 1,372,569, give or take, and this time they were determined to find the proof that had eluded them in the previous 1,372,568: that Obama administration officials had put politics before national security. Alas for the accusers, this hearing went the way of the others. Lawmakers had another Read More

Obama vs. Putin: The mismatch

March 28, 2014

“The United States does not view Europe as a battleground between East and West, nor do we see the situation in Ukraine as a zero-sum game. That’s the kind of thinking that should have ended with the Cold War.” — Barack Obama, March 24 Should. Lovely sentiment. As lovely as what Obama said five years Read More

Political skills for divine purposes

When a pope meets a president — and the Vicar of Christ gets pulled into political coverage — trivialization ensues. As a reporter, I covered the St. Louis meeting between Pope John Paul II and President Bill Clinton in January 1999, not long after Clinton admitted to “inappropriate, intimate contact” with Monica Lewinsky. There was Read More

America’s own mystery flight

March 21, 2014

It took off with a clear destination but then veered off course and disappeared. Several countries joined the search for answers and offered conflicting theories about what went wrong. I speak, of course, of the U.S. attempt to keep Vladimir Putin from taking Crimea. Any resemblance between Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian province and the Read More

A half-century in denial

Critics of Rep. Paul Ryan’s remarks about cultural factors in the persistence of poverty are simultaneously shrill and boring. Their predictable minuet of synthetic indignation demonstrates how little liberals have learned about poverty or changed their rhetorical repertoire in the last 49 years. Ryan spoke of a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in Read More

The Ukranian invasion will be catered

Early in the Ukraine crisis, when the Europeans were working on bringing Ukraine into the EU system and Vladimir Putin was countering with threats and bribes, one British analyst lamented that “we went to a knife fight with a baguette.” That was three months ago. Life overtakes parody. During the Ukrainian prime minister’s visit to Read More

How to stop — or slow — Putin

March 14, 2014

The president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council challenges critics of President Obama’s Ukraine policy by saying, “What are you going to do, send the 101st Airborne into Crimea?” Not exactly subtle. And rather silly, considering that no one has proposed such a thing. The alternative to passivity is not war but a serious Read More

Midterms an Obamacare referendum? Not so fast.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.), the man in charge of House Republicans’ 2014 campaign, told a roomful of reporters at the National Press Club that they shouldn’t read much into that day’s special election in Florida to fill the seat of the late GOP congressman Bill Young. “Whether we win it or Read More

Obama’s inaction enables Putin’s grab for Ukraine

March 7, 2014

Vladimir Putin is a lucky man. And he’s got three more years of luck to come. He takes Crimea, and President Obama says it’s not in Russia’s interest, not even strategically clever. Indeed, it’s a sign of weakness. Really? Crimea belonged to Moscow for 200 years. Russia conquered it 20 years before the U.S. acquired Read More