National Columns

Opinion: Misconceptions about college abound

Now that we’ve all had a good airing of grievances about elite colleges and their attendant injustices, let’s get some perspective. While the number of high school graduates heading off to college has increased in recent years, the percentages graduating with a four-year degree have not ...

Opinion: How the corruption of America begins

When the history of the Trump presidency is written, one incident will be remembered as the beginning of the foul corruption with which a supremely unqualified and immoral man infected the office and parts of the American people. It began in Ames, Iowa, in July 2015, when then-candidate Donald ...

Opinion: Fire shows how amazing grace is

“...t’was grace that brought me safe this far” — from “Amazing Grace” I’ve always had this thing about fire. Maybe it came from that night as a boy when I saw flames towering out of a neighbor’s house. Maybe it was something else. All I know is, I’ve always had it. It’s ...

Opinion: Court should avoid politics of gerrymandering

Washington — If an adjective creates a redundancy, does preceding it with two other adjectives give the Supreme Court a reason to venture where it has never gone before? Come Tuesday, the court will hear oral arguments urging it to referee gerrymandering in the drawing of congressional ...

Opinion: Why should a Republican stay in party that has gone off rails?

Washington — A former Republican officeholder — who was highly effective at his job — recently asked me if returning to politics in the current atmosphere was worth the effort. Would being a GOP legislator in the Trump era involve too many sacrifices of principle? Does federal office even ...

Opinion: Are we entering the age of ‘hack back’?

Washington — When the debris settles after special counsel Robert Mueller completes his investigation into Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential election, America will still be left with the underlying problem that triggered the probe in the first place — the threat of malicious ...

Opinion: Real-life experience with body-shaming sheds light

Until this week, I’d never witnessed this on a plane. I’d read numerous stories and essays about passengers trying to shame seatmates for their weight, but I was not prepared for what that sounds like or how it looks. We were a full plane, except for a single open seat in first class. I ...

Opinion: The road goes where the road goes

People always seem surprised in moments like this. Always shocked. But they have no right to be. After all, the road goes where the road goes. If you travel southbound U.S. 1 long enough, you are not surprised to end up in Key West. If you stay on northbound Interstate 5 long enough, you are ...

Opinion: Novel will have you pining for Bush days

Washington — Nostalgia is what Thomas Mallon is counting on to help draw readers to his new novel, “Landfall,” which takes them on a long stroll down memory lane, back to the golden days of ... President George W. Bush’s second term. Really. So, if Mallon’s wonderfully entertaining ...

Opinion: Unrealistic promises may haunt Trump

Washington — When General Motors idled its auto plant in Lordstown, Ohio, this month, President Trump adopted a familiar strategy: He issued a nasty string of tweets blaming other people and promised, in effect, that he would restore the past. Trump’s angry, backward-looking approach may ...

Opinion: Desperation increases appetite for risk

Washington — As politics has become a religion in so many lives, political discourse has taken on theological overtones. I am not referring to President Trump’s accusation of a “witch hunt,” which places the FBI in the role of Puritan divines. This is merely an absurd metaphor. What I ...

Opinion: Democratic race taking wrong lessons from 2016

It is only March 2019, and I am already sick of the 2020 presidential campaign. Granted, not much is happening on the Republican side — everyone assumes President Donald Trump will sail to renomination — but there are so many Democrats running it’s hard to keep count. And for the life of ...

Opinion: Liars, cheats don’t prove system is rigged

Operation Varsity Blues has unleashed a veritable orgy of stereotypes. “Entitled white kids” have been trending, along with told-you-so’s about how the system is “rigged.” Several commentators have suggested that this scandal should quiet concerns about affirmative action because the ...

Opinion: A moral issue we should all worry about

If you think you’re angry now, wait till you read the court documents. Not that the summaries of a college cheating scandal so massive it briefly bumped Donald Trump from the “Breaking News” chyrons were not enough to make a nun cuss. Indeed, the story offered a perfect storm of ...

Opinion: How can conservatives back an unconservative president?

Washington — A friend just returned from some time with a group of wealthy conservative donors. “They were ambivalent about Donald Trump two years ago,” he said. “Now they are vociferously pro-Trump. There’s a psychological study to be done here.” Those in and around Republican ...

Opinion: If you want to be president, talk to journalists

Earlier this month, my husband, Sen. Sherrod Brown, went on a listening tour of four early-primary states as he considered running for president. I traveled with him to Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, as did a caravan of political reporters waiting to see if he would announce ...

Opinion: Pentagon can’t have everything it wants

Washington — Sen. Mark Warner is all for defense modernization. But just don’t touch those aircraft carriers, six of which are based in Norfolk. The Virginia Democrat had said a year ago year that rather than investing in 20th-century military technology, he wanted to discuss “a ...

Opinion: The right’s safe space from reality

So I go to my barber for a shave. While I’m waiting for her to finish the man ahead of me, this other guy and I get to talking about Donald Trump. He’s no more a fan of the boy president than I am, and pretty soon, we’ve got the whole shop laughing as we rip Trump’s idiocy. My barber ...

Opinion: Cover-up continues in Catholic sex abuse scandal

Philadelphia — “Horseplay,” a term used to denote child rape, is, says Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, part of a sinister glossary of euphemisms by which the Catholic Church’s bureaucracy obfuscates in documents the church’s “pattern of abuse” and conspiracy of silence ...

Opinion: Populists vs. traditionalists in both parties

Washington — Dick Cheney, the former vice president, made just about the nastiest crack a Republican could offer about President Trump’s foreign policy when he said it “looks a lot more like Barack Obama than Ronald Reagan.” Obviously, the comparison is flawed. But say this much for ...