National Columns

Opinion: A president takes responsibility

In Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, as a humble private, I was taught that at the very top of the chain of command stood the president of the United States, who was then Dwight D. Eisenhower. As supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe, Gen. Eisenhower had made the fateful ...

Opinion: The Mueller report is still an indictment

Washington — A thought experiment. Suppose that on March 24 — the day Attorney General William Barr publicly summarized the Mueller report — all of the results of the special counsel’s probe that have dribbled out over the last two years had been revealed at once. Americans would have ...

Opinion: Moscow shouldn’t misjudge report

Washington — Russian claims this week that they’ve been exonerated by Robert Mueller’s final report make my skin crawl. But they highlight the critical question of how the U.S. and Russia can begin to move back toward a saner relationship. Frankly speaking (as Russians like to say), the ...

Opinion: ‘The price of freedom’ – really?

“This is the price of freedom.” — Bill O’Reilly on the Las Vegas massacre “Freedom to be afraid is all you won.” — Gil Scott-Heron from “Gun” Originally, this was going to be a column about Sydney Aiello. She was 19 years old, a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High ...

Step into batter’s box for George Will’s annual baseball trivia

Washington — When umpire Dutch Rennert blew a call at first base, then-St. Louis Cardinals manager Joe Torre trotted out and asked, “How come you’re such a good ball-strike umpire and such [expletive] on the bases?” Rennert, equally puzzled, amiably replied, “Isn’t that ...

Opinion: An annual invitation to refocus

Washington — A friend — reacting to the apparent thinness of Robert Mueller’s case against the president — told me: “This year, I’m giving up hope for Lent.” I, in turn, am giving up commenting on documents I have never seen. And so it might be more productive to focus on Lent ...

Opinion: Mueller’s report is a gift to America

Washington — Robert Mueller’s report is a gift to the nation, which now knows what was already a reasonable surmise: that its chief executive’s unlovely admiration for a repulsive foreign regime, Vladimir Putin’s, is more a dereliction of taste and judgment than evidence that he is ...

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 ...