Category Archives: National Columnist

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

What to watch for in US election’s homestretch

The U.S. presidential campaign seems to have been going on for an eternity. The Labor Day holiday on Sept. 5 marks the start of the final stretch. Here are some leading indicators to determine whether Donald Trump will make this a competitive contest or whether Hillary Clinton can build on her current advantage to open… Continue Reading

Misleading statistics

Mark Twain famously said that there were three kinds of lies — “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Since this is an election year, we can expect to hear plenty of all three kinds. Even if the statistics themselves are absolutely accurate, the words that describe what they are measuring can be grossly misleading. Household income… Continue Reading

Reality interrupts the Trump Show

It looks more and more as if Donald Trump’s reality show isn’t going to be renewed for another season. I’m not talking about “Celebrity Apprentice,” the NBC show Trump turned into a classic of the reality genre; that show is now in the strong hands of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The show that’s in trouble is the… Continue Reading

The only immigration solution

The one great service of Donald Trump’s extended peregrinations on immigration policy is to have demonstrated how, in the end, there’s only one place to go. You can rail for a year about the squishy soft, weak-kneed and stupid politicians who have opened our borders to the wretched refuse of Mexico. You can promise to… Continue Reading

A ‘slush fund’ by any other name

Because truth in labeling laws are among the laws from which Washington feels exempt, the titles of congressional legislation often take liberties with the facts (e.g., the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). The Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act, however, precisely names the ailment for which it is the remedy. The Justice Department has negotiated… Continue Reading

Trump can’t fake love of ‘the blacks’

When Donald Trump says he has a great relationship with “the Blacks,” I wonder if he also gets along well with the Smiths. We know he’s tight with the Whites. But what’s with the definite article? During a brief dalliance with Google, I learned that Trump has used “the” before whites at least once —… Continue Reading

The devolution of the GOP

Friday started as it usually does: an early wake up call, an interview with the next president of the United States and a hateful personal attack from Donald Trump. Such is life during these dog days of August in a nasty presidential campaign not even near its ugly end. These days, a rudely out-of-bounds Trump… Continue Reading

Clinton must learn from her mistakes

Much of the criticism of Hillary Clinton over her emails and her family’s foundation is unfairly harsh. But the Clintons themselves invite such scrutiny and suspicion. First, the emails. Months of investigation turned up essentially nothing worthy of being called a scandal. Unless you doubt the integrity of FBI director James Comey — and I… Continue Reading

Column: The GOP’s Trumpian deflation

Donald Trump. Would that it were unnecessary to mention his name except, say, as a Viagra pitchman. Despite such casting perfection, this isn’t intended as a personal metaphor for the man, though it is for the GOP. Cue sound of balloon losing vigor. The erstwhile party of Lincoln has rendered itself impotent by its clammy-handed… Continue Reading

The bribery standard in national politics

Bernie Sanders never understood the epic quality of the Clinton scandals. In his first debate, he famously dismissed the email issue, it being beneath the dignity of a great revolutionary to deal in things so tawdry and straightforward. Sanders failed to understand that Clinton scandals are sprawling, multilayered, complex things. They defy time and space.… Continue Reading

Is Jill Stein the Ralph Nader of 2016?

Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential nominee, favors alternative energy — and she leads by example. On Tuesday, she burned one of her own supporters. Stein, making an appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, took her campaign on an unexpected detour when she accused the famed leftist Noam Chomsky of being cowardly. The… Continue Reading

Hillary’s heel

When I wrote the headline “Hillary’s heel,” I was thinking of Achilles, not Bill, though the former president is usually within nipping range of his wife’s pantsuit hem. Hillary Clinton’s Achilles’ heel is her very Clinton-ness. Just as her husband was willing to parse the meaning of the word “is” rather than admitting his foibles… Continue Reading

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