Category Archives: National Columnist

Trump’s rolling bluster not enough to win

Donald Trump looked like a fool and a fraud on Sunday. But what else is new? Even the most ardent Trumpistas would have to admit that Trump’s appearance at the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally was, as spectacles go, pretty pathetic. It was supposed to be a vast, multitudinous gathering on the plaza in front… Continue Reading

Column: An independence day for Britain?

Leaders of the campaign to end Britain’s membership in the European Union hope that next month’s referendum will make June 23, 2016, a date as luminous in modern British history as May 3, 1979, when voters made Margaret Thatcher prime minister. Michael Gove, secretary of justice and leader of the campaign for Brexit — Britain’s withdrawal… Continue Reading

The arrow of history

How do you distinguish a foreign policy “idealist” from a “realist,” an optimist from a pessimist? Ask one question: Do you believe in the arrow of history? Or to put it another way, do you think history is cyclical or directional? Are we condemned to do the same damn thing over and over, generation after… Continue Reading

Paul Ryan’s soap opera with Donald Trump

On Tuesday night, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump disparaged New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, probably the most prominent Hispanic Republican officeholder in America, saying at a rally in Albuquerque that she has a bad record and “she’s got to do a better job.” At the same rally, where windows were smashed and Trump and… Continue Reading

Britain at the crossroads

Sixty-five years ago, what has become the European Union was an embryo conceived in fear. It has been stealthily advanced from an economic to a political project, and it remains enveloped in a watery utopianism even as it becomes more dystopian. The EU’s economic stagnation — in some of the 28 member nations, youth unemployment… Continue Reading

The GOP’s lost hope for scandal

Everything Rep. Darrell Issa knows about impeachment he learned from Wikipedia. At Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing to consider the impeachment of Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, Issa, the California Republican and dogged investigator of the Obama administration, confessed he was relying on an open-source website. “You and I are not lawyers,” Issa told… Continue Reading

A trump too far?

If Donald Trump prefers combatants who aren’t captured, as he once mocked John McCain, he apparently doesn’t believe in taking prisoners, either. The exception to the rule is obviously truth. But then, veracity is no hindrance to the conspiracy-minded. Now, Trump points out he didn’t say this “because I don’t think it’s fair,” but lots… Continue Reading

What tax tricks doesn’t Trump want us to see?

A generation after Ronald Reagan denounced the “welfare queen,” the Grand Old Party is evidently on the verge of nominating its first welfare king. Four years ago last week, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, famously wrote off the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes. Romney, secretly recorded at a fundraiser,… Continue Reading

Election disaffection

On rare occasions, Americans coalesce around a common cause, usually following some calamity — a terrorist attack, a natural disaster or, say, during a presidential election. Take today. Or rather, take the past several months during which Americans have begun to face the likely probability that they’ll elect a president they don’t much like. Polls… Continue Reading

The inaugural address we won’t hear, but should

The mere possibility of a Donald Trump presidency — gold-plated faucets in the house first occupied by John and Abigail Adams — will perhaps have a salutary effect. It might demystify an office that has become now swollen with inappropriate powers and swaddled in a pretentiousness discordant with a republic’s ethic of simplicity. This wholesome… Continue Reading

Donald, Hillary and the Bernie factor

Among the abundant ironies of this election cycle, there is this: We are now in the eighth year of the most liberal administration since Lyndon Johnson’s. The primary elections reveal a national mood of anxiety, apprehension and anger, in turn reflecting stagnation at home and failure abroad. Two-thirds of Americans think the country is on… Continue Reading

Grim choices

We must frankly face the fact that the front runners in both political parties represent a new low, at a time of domestic polarization and unprecedented nuclear dangers internationally. This year’s general election will offer a choice between a thoroughly corrupt liar and an utterly irresponsible egomaniac. The Republican establishment, whose serial betrayals of their… Continue Reading

The dangerous insecurity of Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s opponents in the primaries were right to call him a con artist, a narcissist and a pathological liar. Just ask “John Miller.” That’s one of the names Trump used with journalists to burnish his status as a bold-faced Manhattan celebrity; he also called himself “John Barron.” Both personae were supposedly publicists who just… Continue Reading

Column: Due process is being kicked off campus

Academia’s descent into perpetual hysteria and incipient tyranny is partly fueled by the fiction that one in five college students is sexually assaulted and that campuses require minute federal supervision to cure this. Encouraged by the government’s misuse of discredited social science (one survey supposedly proving this one-in-five fiction), colleges and universities are implementing unconstitutional… Continue Reading

The GOP’s veil of unity

Save us all the faux drama. We already know how this star-crossed courtship is going to end: House Speaker Paul Ryan will decide that Donald Trump isn’t such an ogre after all, and they’ll live unhappily ever after. Ryan will be unhappy, at least. Trump has stolen his party, and there’s nothing Ryan can do… Continue Reading

Amtrak helps government ride off the rails

In 1906, Leonor Loree, an accomplished railroad executive, examined the dilapidated Kansas City Southern Railroad that he had been hired to rehabilitate. Dismayed, he permanently enriched American slang by exclaiming: “This is a helluva way to run a railroad!” Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation’s second-most important court,… Continue Reading

Farewell, grand old party

It wasn’t precisely an act of moral courage, but House Speaker Paul Ryan’s comment that he’s not ready to support presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump was at least … something. Whether it’s a start or a finish remains to be revealed, but it would seem that we’re witnessing the beginning of the end. To wit:… Continue Reading

Who will follow Trump off the cliff?

D onald Trump: “We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.” Washington Post: “How long would that take?” Trump: “I would say over a period of eight years.” — March 31 Fortune: “You’ve said you plan to pay off the country’s debt in 10 years. How’s that possible?” Trump: “No, I didn’t… Continue Reading

The earthquake and the aftermath

What lies behind Donald Trump’s nomination victory? Received wisdom among conservatives is that he, the outsider, sensed, marshaled and came to represent a massive revolt of the Republican rank and file against the “establishment.” This is the narrative: GOP political leaders made promises of all kinds and received in return, during President Obama’s years, major… Continue Reading

Column: Where two Corinthians gather

Every time Bob McDonnell talks about his corruption conviction in Virginia he mentions how Jesus Christ is sticking with him all the way, which surely is true. Jesus does not dump a guy just because he is sleazy. The Lord has always been there for thieves and malefactors but this is mercy, it doesn’t mean… Continue Reading

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