National Columns

Opinion: The ease of denigrating women

This is a column about some black people. Not all, thank goodness. Not even most. But if you watched the stunning recent Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which detailed decades of sexual assault accusations against the singer, surely you wondered about some of the black people ...

Opinion: Is Britain now leaping into chaos?

London — The poet Rupert Brooke voiced the exhilaration of those Britons who welcomed the war in 1914 as a chance to escape monotonous normality, “as swimmers into cleanness leaping.” They got four years mired in Flanders’ mud. In a 2016 referendum, Britons voted, 52 percent to 48 ...

Opinion: Teaching Democrats how to win

Washington — Donald Trump is giving an unintentional gift to the burgeoning field of Democratic presidential candidates: He is teaching them how they can win. Trump’s failure as president is that he hasn’t forged a governing party that can unite the country, pass legislation and address ...

Opinion: Donald Trump is no Earl Long

Shortly after the cooling of the earth, I was privileged to be given a firsthand look at a Louisiana statewide campaign. It was then that I learned about former Louisiana Gov. Earl Long, who was portrayed by Paul Newman in the movie “Blaze,” which allegedly told the story of the married ...

Opinion: GOP must condemn Trump’s bigotry

Washington — What happens when immense bigotry gets lodged in a small mind? Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is what happens. In a recent interview with The New York Times, King asked, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” It is ...

Opinion: Don’t ask government for love, Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson is completely right about one thing: The decline of marriage is a great challenge of our times. I’ve written a whole book about it. So, you’d think I would rejoice that Carlson’s rant-heard-round-the-right focused on it. Sorry, no. I’ve rarely seen such a cynical and ...

Opinion: It’s the border wall or bust, apparently

President Donald Trump’s Oval Office address last week was a total bust. His visit to the border fared no better. Trump predicted that his words and actions wouldn’t “change a damn thing” when he spoke to news anchors before the speech. He’s right — but not for the reasons he ...

Opinion: Ocasio-Cortez treatment not new

Haven’t we seen this movie before? Certainly, there is a sense of deja vu all over again as one watches the right wing hyperventilate over a certain freshman congresswoman from New York. The attacks on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have been frequent and furious, but also petty, silly and (in the ...

Opinion: Brexit shows hazards of direct democracy

“In my country the people can do as they like, although it often happens that they don’t like what they have done.” — Winston Churchill, 1946 London — During the Second World War, as U.S. power was eclipsing Britain’s, Harold Macmillan, a future prime minister, reportedly said, ...

Opinion: A case study in defending impulsiveness as strategy

Washington — So far: President Trump has announced a crisis that isn’t actually a crisis, requiring a wall that is not really a wall, funded by Mexican pesos that are really American tax dollars, to keep out murderous migrants who are (as a whole) less violent than native-born Americans, ...

Opinion: Saudi engine of repression rumbles on

Washington — One hundred days after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pressing ahead with anti-dissident campaigns and remains in regular contact with Saud al-Qahtani, the media adviser who the CIA believes helped organize Khashoggi’s killing, ...

Opinion: Obscenity is not just a set of words

As a general rule, I don’t curse a lot. I’ve found that I can usually express myself effectively enough without it. And it’s always seemed to me that foul language, used ubiquitously, loses its primary value, i.e., its ability to shock or to state a thing with force. How seriously should ...

Opinion: Opposition party a Rorschach test for Germany

Berlin — Armin-Paulus Hampel, a former journalist and commentator who now is a member of the Bundestag, is ebullient, affable, opinionated, voluble and excellent company at lunch. But because his party is Alternative for Germany, one wonders whether he is representative of it, and whether he ...

Opinion: Life without Mattis’ steadying hand

Washington — At home and abroad, people are now asking a question they’ve dreaded for nearly two years: How will the erratic presidency of Donald Trump function without the steadying hand of Jim Mattis as defense secretary? Life without Mattis is the scary reality of this new year. The ...

Opinion: Trump’s ‘authenticity’ is moral laziness

Washington — In the carnage of American civic culture, some of the damage is obvious: the dehumanization of political opponents, the devaluation of truth, the rise of conspiracy thinking. But other less evident shifts are no less troubling. One concerns the use of the word ...

Opinion: A U.S. agenda for the new year

President Donald Trump began the new year with characteristic bombast, blaming others for perceived failures, taking credit for nonachievements or those accomplished despite him, and dispensing misinformation like candy on Halloween. In his first Cabinet meeting, the president riffed for an ...

Opinion: The Massachusetts curse

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts became the first 2020 Democratic White House challenger to announce her “exploratory committee,” a legal device that allows candidates to receive donations and to hire staff in preparation for a full-fledged presidential candidacy. Make no mistake; ...

Opinion: The question of impeachment

Should Donald Trump be impeached? That he will be seems likely as Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, the chamber where impeachment proceedings begin. That he deserves to be is similarly self-evident. President Andrew Johnson was impeached after firing a member of his ...

Opinion: Today’s Germany is the best Germany

Berlin — In one of contemporary history’s intriguing caroms, European politics just now is a story of how one decision by a pastor’s dutiful daughter has made life miserable for a vicar’s dutiful daughter. Two of the world’s most important conservative parties are involved in an ...

Opinion: Evangelicals believe Trump is their champion

Washington — By all indications, the reluctant support by white evangelicals for Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton in 2016 has solidified into something like devotion. In his analysis of the 2018 midterm-election results, political journalist Ron Brownstein found many groups plagued by ...