National Columnist

The right’s poisoning of patriotism

June 14, 2013

A number of libertarians and conservative populists have found data collection by the National Security Agency to be the final confirmation of their worst fears about Barack Obama and modern government. It is an attempt, according to Ron Paul, to “deliberately destroy the Constitution.” To radio talk show host Mark Levin, it reveals “the elements Read More

Snowden’s NSA leaks are backlash of too much secrecy

June 13, 2013

Keep your distance: The director of national intelligence is having intestinal distress. “For me, it is literally — not figuratively, literally — gut-wrenching to see this happen,” James Clapper told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell over the weekend, referring to leaks about the government’s secret program to collect vast troves of phone and Internet data. There Read More

Crisis of faith in government

June 12, 2013

It is reassuring that in the midst of so much government dysfunction, the IRS has resolved the question of when and whether to tax tanning beds under the Affordable Care Act. Do not be concerned about that giddiness you feel. You are not having a nervous breakdown but are suffering a symptom commonly associated with Read More

A power of conviction on human rights

June 11, 2013

President Obama’s newly designated national security adviser, Susan Rice, and his proposed United Nations ambassador, Samantha Power, are political loyalists. They are also known as liberal interventionists — emotionally seared by American passivity during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, and advocates for military action to prevent a Libyan bloodbath in 2011. So the question arises Read More

Obama in a hot spot on trafficking

June 7, 2013

When President Obama goes to Africa at month’s end, the first African-American president will have a rare opportunity to spread American values to that continent. It would be a shame if his trip instead validated slavery. By selecting Tanzania as one of three African countries that will receive a presidential visit, the Obama administration is Read More

A message from Qusair

On Wednesday, Qusair fell to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. Qusair is a strategic town that connects Damascus with Assad’s Alawite heartland on the Mediterranean, with its ports and Russian naval base. It’s a major strategic shift. Assad’s forces can now advance on rebel-dominated areas in central and northern Syria, including Aleppo. For the Read More

Republicans are acting like it is 1999

June 6, 2013

It’s beginning to feel like the late ’90s all over again. Then, congressional Republicans howled themselves hoarse about Clinton administration scandals. But the indicators kept pointing to a booming economy, and support for President Bill Clinton climbed steeply through 1998 as House Republicans marched toward impeaching him. Now, after a long economic winter, green shoots Read More

May 31, 2013

Bob Dole must be some kind of prophet. Not 72 hours after Fox News aired the former Republican leader’s suggestion that the GOP put out a “closed for repairs” sign, Michele Bachmann announced that she’s going out of business. Just like that, the Republican conglomerate got an unexpected chance to shutter one of the balkiest Read More

The Dorothy doctrine of the Obama administration

“This war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises …” — Barack Obama, May 23 Nice thought. But much as Obama would like to close his eyes, click his heels three times and declare the war on terror over, war is a two-way street. That’s what history advises: Two sides to fight it, Read More

Droning about the end of war

May 30, 2013

It’s good to know that the war on terror is finally over. It was all so ugly, what with the beheadings and bombings. Wait. Weren’t we just talking about the IRS targeting conservative groups and the Justice Department secretly seizing reporters’ phone records? Weren’t we just talking about how no effort was made to rescue Read More

The bullying pulpit

May 29, 2013

We have truly entered the world of “Alice in Wonderland” when the CEO of a company that pays $16 million a day in taxes is hauled up before a Congressional subcommittee to be denounced on nationwide television for not paying more. Apple CEO Tim Cook was denounced for contributing to “a worrisome federal deficit,” according Read More

Ending corruption would help Washington, D.C.’s, case for local control

One of many exciting things about living and working in the capital is that you never know just what the District of Columbia government will come up with next. A month ago, D.C. officials declared that they were prepared to end the city’s tradition of many-hued cabs by requiring that all taxis be painted red Read More

Dark details behind family portraits

May 28, 2013

Women’s reproductive rights have enjoyed a half-century or so of well-defined proponents and opponents, but the recently flourishing fertility industry, from egg harvesting to surrogacy, has produced fresh and surprising alliances among former foes. Feminists, traditionalists, Catholics, evangelicals, ethicists and atheists alike have united to combat what many convincingly view as the exploitation and commodification Read More

The other IRS scandal

May 24, 2013

Let us stipulate that now might not be the best time — with IRS officials exposed for abusing power, caught in self-serving deceptions, invoking their constitutional right against self-incrimination — to dramatically expand the authority and size of their agency. But this is what Obamacare requires. Thousands of new IRS agents will implement 40-odd provisions Read More

Where money talks

On Thursday, senators held a confirmation hearing for President Obama’s nominee to be secretary of commerce: a billionaire who benefits from offshore tax havens, whose family owned a failed savings and loan, and who is accused by unions of mistreating workers. Turns out the wealthy didn’t lose the 2012 election; rather, the Republican rich lost Read More

Rigid ideology no substitute for generosity

While listening to an NPR report out of Moore, Okla., this week, I was genuinely shocked. Not by the scale of the devastation or the tenacity of people who have grown stoically accustomed to the damage tornadoes can do but by a political sentiment that, in almost any other era, would not have been surprising Read More

There’s a fly in my soup

“Horrible customer service.” That’s what the newly fired IRS commissioner averred was the agency’s only sin in singling out conservative political groups for discriminatory treatment. In such grim proceedings one should be grateful for unintended humor. Horrible customer service is when every patron in a restaurant finds a fly in his soup. But when the Read More

An Alabama senator’s lost cause

May 22, 2013

Not since George Wallace, perhaps, has an Alabamian taken as passionate a stand for a lost cause as the one Jeff Sessions is taking now. Bipartisan immigration legislation is making its way inexorably through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although its ultimate fate is unclear, its passage by the committee is assured, and conservatives on the Read More

The loss of trust

May 17, 2013

Leaving aside the seriousness of lawlessness, and the corruption of our civic culture by the professionally pious, this past week has been amusing. There was the spectacle of advocates of an ever-larger regulatory government expressing shock about such government’s large capacity for misbehavior. And, entertainingly, the answer to the question “Will Barack Obama’s scandals derail Read More

The heavy hand of the U.S. government

So, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has investigated the IRS investigation of conservative groups. And the FBI has launched a criminal investigation of the IRS. And the State Department’s Office of Inspector General is investigating the Accountability Review Board that investigated the administration’s response to the Benghazi terror attack. And House committees including Read More

Not such strange bedfellows

May 15, 2013

Breaking news: Conservative organizations suddenly have found common cause with one of their favorite objects of contempt — the benighted Mainstream Media. Or as the tea party queen and former Alaska governor likes to put it, the “lamestream media.” In a twist of irony, the two groups have coalesced around a common enemy: the U.S. Read More

The IRS needs an audit

May 14, 2013

Suppose that the Environmental Protection Agency were to admit offhandedly that the fluoridation of water had only modest communist mind-control effects. Or the United Nations were to concede it has been running fleets of black helicopters over American cities, but only in the course of conducting extensive good will tours. The IRS has managed a Read More

Dishonest differences about Libya

There can be honest differences of opinion on many subjects. But there can also be dishonest differences. Last week’s testimony under oath about events in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 makes painfully clear that what the Obama administration told the American people about those events were lies out of whole cloth. What we were told Read More

Benghazi redacted

May 10, 2013

Mistakes were made. This, we are supposed to accept, is the conclusion to be drawn about the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, despite congressional testimony Wednesday suggesting that significant efforts were made to camouflage those mistakes. As Democrats and Republicans alike know all too well: It’s always the cover-up. Yet in this case, where so Read More

The president’s pink line over Damascus

You know you’re in trouble when you can’t even get your walk-back story straight. Stung by the worldwide derision that met President Obama’s fudging and fumbling of his chemical-weapons red line in Syria, the White House leaked to The New York Times that Obama’s initial statement had been unprepared, unscripted and therefore unserious. The next Read More

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