Category Archives: National Columnist

Column: A South Carolina primer-y

Out on the hustings, people often ask me: “Can you explain South Carolina?” I just shake my head. It’s complicated, I say. The simple answer, eternal and everlasting, is anti-secessionist James Petigru’s remark: “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” For those keeping an eye on the… Continue Reading

Column: The progressives’ itch to regulate speech

Bernie Sanders, greedy for power to punish people he considers greedy, has occasioned 2016’s best joke (reported in Bloomberg Businessweek): “In the Bernie Sanders drinking game, every time he mentions a free government program, you drink someone else’s beer.” But neither Sanders’ nor Hillary Clinton’s hostility to the First Amendment is amusing.      … Continue Reading

Sanders and Trump: Magic sells

The New Hampshire results have solidified the reigning cliche that the 2016 campaign is an anti-establishment revolt of both the left and the right. Largely overlooked, however, is the role played in setting the national mood by the seven-year legacy of the Obama presidency. Yes, you hear constant denunciations of institutions, parties, leaders, donors, lobbyists,… Continue Reading

Readers share stock-up savings tips

Last week, I shared the story of a reader who needed help explaining why stocking up on multiple items is a good idea, as her husband wasn’t convinced that it would save them money. My readers have been sharing their own thoughts on stocking up and saving: “Dear Jill, I read with interest the letter… Continue Reading

Column: The utter nastiness of Ted Cruz

When Ted Cruz last month mocked Donald Trump’s “New York values,” it wasn’t entirely clear what he was implying. Last week, we got a clue: For Cruz, “New York” is another way of saying “Jewish.” At an event in New Hampshire, Cruz, the Republican Iowa caucus winner, was asked about campaign money he and his… Continue Reading

Column: In Iowa, signs of civil health

When Huck Finn asked Tom Sawyer what a Moslem is, Tom said a Moslem is someone who is not a Presbyterian, which is true, but not the whole truth. Donald Trump says he is a Presbyterian (“I drink my little wine … and have my little cracker”), which apparently was not good enough for enough… Continue Reading

The GOP establishment strikes back in Iowa

The establishment struck back. The headlines will show that Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses, but the more significant message out of Iowa was that Marco Rubio was neck-and-neck with Donald Trump for second place and within a few points of the lead: It showed that mainstream Republicans are, at long last, pushing themselves back… Continue Reading

Column: Trump shows his true colors once again

If you ask Donald Trump fans what they like about him, there’s an excellent chance they’ll say, “Because he’s not politically correct.” But this is only true if you misunderstand the meaning of political correctness, as Trump himself apparently does. Popularized in the ‘90s to mean overcorrection in language and policies to avoid offending any… Continue Reading

Column: Smart tax reform would ignite growth

Woodrow Wilson, who enjoyed moralizing about the mundane, called paying taxes a “glorious privilege.” In 1865, when there was a Civil War income tax, one taxpayer shared this sensibility, sort of. Mark Twain said that his tax bill of $36.82 (including a $3.12 fine for filing late) made him feel “important” because the government was… Continue Reading

The three-cornered fight for the soul of the GOP

It’s hard to believe that the United States, having resisted the siren song of socialism during its entire 20th-century heyday (the only major democracy to do so), should suddenly succumb to its charms a generation after its intellectual demise. Indeed, the prospect of socialist Bernie Sanders, whatever his current momentum, winning the Democratic nomination remains… Continue Reading

No governor, the failure in Flint is yours

Jeb Bush explained Sunday why he still thinks Rick Snyder has been “a great governor for Michigan” even after the mass lead poisoning because of tainted tap water in Flint. The disgrace over Flint’s water, the Republican presidential prospect told ABC’s “This Week,” “is related to the fact that we’ve created this complex, no-responsibility regulatory… Continue Reading

Column: Michael Bloomberg: an echo, not a choice

Michael Bloomberg’s epiphany about the 2016 presidential proceedings is that what is missing is a second bossy, big-government billionaire from Manhattan’s East Side — another candidate with malleable party loyalties. Bloomberg, whose net worth estimated by Forbes is $38.6 billion (eighth on the list of richest Americans), is again exploring an independent presidential candidacy. In… Continue Reading

Clinton’s cracked credibility

The first question to Hillary Clinton from an audience member during Monday night’s Democratic town hall in Iowa must have been a blow from one so young — a potential new voter — this close to the caucuses. The query came from a fellow who asked what her response is to his friends who say… Continue Reading

Column: The perpetual demand for villains

The latest tempest in a teapot controversy is over a lack of black nominees for this year’s Academy Awards in Hollywood. The assumption seems to be that different groups would be proportionally represented if somebody were not doing somebody else wrong. That assumption carries great weight in far more important things than Academy Awards and… Continue Reading

Column: Bonfire of the vulgarities

At first it seemed too weirdly awful to be true, but there she was: Sarah Palin standing next to Donald Trump last Tuesday and endorsing him for president. Like previously conjoined twins who had shared a brain before Dr. Ben Carson separated them, these two anti-everything, post-lamestream media instigators presented themselves as political doppelgangers, a… Continue Reading

Column: Trump’s conservative enablers

Late Thursday night, the National Review, the storied conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley, published an issue denouncing Donald Trump. “Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” the editors wrote. “Donald Trump is a… Continue Reading

Column: The GOP gets the Iran prisoner swap wrong

Give President Obama credit. His Iran nuclear deal may be disastrous but the packaging was brilliant. The near-simultaneous prisoner exchange was meant to distract from last Saturday’s official implementation of the sanctions-lifting deal. And it did. The Republicans concentrated almost all their fire on the swap sideshow. And in denouncing the swap, they were wrong.… Continue Reading

Column: The gospel according to The Donald

Two Corinthians, right? Two Corinthians 3:17. That’s the whole ballgame. … Is that the one? Is that the one you like? I think that’s the one you like. — Donald Trump, preaching the gospel at Liberty University. The front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination drew laughter from the evangelical students at Liberty University when he… Continue Reading

Daddy Trump is looking out for you!

So you say you want a daddy for your president? OK, so maybe you didn’t say it, but on a subliminal level, you may have felt it, especially if you’re a Republican primary voter leaning toward Donald Trump. Such is the finding of a recent national poll unveiled in the current issue of Politico magazine.… Continue Reading

Column: What are elections for?

After months of watching all sorts of political polls, we are finally just a few weeks away from actually beginning to see some voting in primary elections. Polls let people vent their emotions. But elections are held to actually accomplish something. The big question is whether the voters themselves will see elections as very different… Continue Reading

Column: Keep an eye on Chris Christie

Iowa and New Hampshire together have just 1.4 percent of the U.S. population, which is actually why it is fine for them to begin the presidential selection process: Small states reward an underdog’s retail politics. Chris Christie relishes such politics and has fresh evidence that voters are enjoying his enjoyment. Speaking last Wednesday by phone… Continue Reading

Column: Nikki Haley’s righteous gamble

By broad consensus, the winner of Thursday night’s GOP debate was Donald Trump, followed by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, with most of the post-game commentary focused on “the fight” between Cruz and Trump. Oh, how we love a good fight. But the real fight was revealed a couple of nights earlier when South Carolina… Continue Reading

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