National Columns

Opinion: A Christmas story for 2018

“I’m a good Christian. If I become president, we’re going to be saying ‘merry Christmas’ at every store.” — Donald Trump, December 2015 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. ... Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in ...

Opinion: At every Christmas, there’s still a gift of hope

Washington — On no real evidence but with absolute certainty, I would submit that the defining emotion of our time is anxiety. Some anxiousness, of course, is natural to a species whose ancestors were hunted on the savannah. But now the economy seems to manufacture it. Rapid cultural change ...

Opinion: Our unforced errors in foreign policy

President Donald Trump’s behavior is unprecedented, but his decision to withdraw our troops from Syria, while unprecedentedly abrupt, is actually part of a tradition of unforced errors in American foreign policy. Out of spite, or sometimes as a smokescreen to evade responsibility, Congress ...

Opinion: What is border security?

It’s the phrase “border security” that freezes my soul every time I hear it uttered, every time I see it in print — so simplistically obvious, the equivalent of keeping your door locked. Did you ever have your cellphone swiped? If you’re careless about this, you’ll pay the ...

Opinion: Judge strikes potent blow for the rule of law

Washington — Judge Emmet G. Sullivan saw it coming. The veteran jurist presiding over Michael Flynn’s sentencing had seen the filing by President Trump’s former national security adviser alleging that he was essentially tricked into lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. No ...

Opinion: The loyal soldier reached his limit

During the past year, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has sometimes seemed to be running the Pentagon with clenched teeth. He kept quiet when President Trump made decisions that Mattis thought were wrong; he sat steely-eyed in White House meetings, refusing to indulge in the idolatry toward Trump ...

Opinion: Even if not illegal, actions still impeachable

Washington — As Mueller time approaches, it is likely that President Trump’s defense will consist of two phrases: “But that is not illegal” and “But that is not impeachable.” It is a strategy that prevails by the lowering of standards. Because Trump did not plot election fraud ...

Opinion: Most wasted of all days: one without laughter

Most American political leaders would agree with the poet e.e. cummings, who wisely wrote: “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” For example, then-presidential nominee George W. Bush garbled in La Crosse, Wis., on Oct. 18, 2000, “Families is where our nation finds hope, ...

Opinion: Syria withdrawal a scary mistake

Washington — President Trump’s abrupt decision to pull American troops from Syria is riskier than it looks. It ends a low-cost, high-impact mission and creates a vacuum that will be filled by one of a series of bad actors — Iran, Russia, Turkey, Islamic extremists, the Syrian regime — ...

Opinion: White churches have responsibility

In 2019, we will commemorate 400 years since the first 20 slaves were transported by ship from Africa by white slave traders and landed in Jamestown, Va. Now four centuries later, race still remains a central dividing line. Today, for example, the racial wealth gap exposes a stark difference. ...

Opinion: Russia’s dark internet arts

Washington — Imagine American politics for a moment as a laboratory experiment. A foreign adversary (let’s call it “Russia”) begins to play with the subjects, using carrots and sticks to condition their behavior. The adversary develops tools to dial up anger and resentment inside the ...

Opinion: The quality of our prisoners’ lives

Washington — Cleveland has written the latest chapter in the unfolding scandal of the American criminal justice system. A report by the U.S. Marshals Service details a series of failures and abuses in Cleveland’s jails: Overcrowding. Frequent lockdowns to make up for understaffing. Food ...

Opinion: The Senate’s rebuke of Trump

In what may be the most stunning rebuke to date of the Trump presidency, the Senate voted Thursday — unanimously — to rebuke Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his being responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi-born U.S. resident. With a 56-41 vote, the ...

Opinion: How does Secretary Acosta sleep at night?

Stephen King himself would be challenged to invent a fictional villain as monstrous as Jeffrey Epstein, but Epstein is real. And, despite mountainous evidence of stomach-churning crimes, today he is free as a bird — thanks to the man who now sits as the U.S. secretary of labor. It’s ...

Opinion: Taking back Trump’s trade power

“You’re the top! You’re an Arrow collar. You’re the top! You’re a Coolidge dollar. You’re the nimble tread of the feet of Fred Astaire, You’re Mussolini, You’re Mrs. Sweeny, You’re Camembert.” — A version of “You’re the Top,” Cole Porter (1934) Washington — ...

Opinion: What we need is a revival of humanism

Florence, Italy — A tourist in Florentine museums is like a skipping stone above unfathomable depths. Here a Botticelli. There a Donatello. A single room at the Uffizi that would reward a lifetime of study gets five hurried minutes before lunch. I have no intention of performing art ...

Opinion: Meeting illustrates a woman’s life

“Trump wants her to be speaker. It’s perfect for him.” — Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., of #FiveWhiteGuys fame, disparaging Nancy Pelosi in early November She looks so poised, so harmless, this 78-year-old grandmother with the soft voice, the easy smile. Such a smart strategy for the ...

Opinion: Democrats have a chance where GOP failed

Washington — This week was a vivid demonstration of the inability of conservatives to deliver results after the great populist revolts in 2016 in Britain and America. And it showed that there is a golden opportunity for liberals in both countries to tackle the public concerns that motivated ...

Opinion: A lefty who could win in 2020

“The money man dealing himself a hot royal flush. Then giving you and me a phony hand like a pair of tens or something.” — “Waiting for Lefty,” Clifford Odets, 1935 Washington — With his gravelly voice and his lack of senatorial sheen — even in a well-pressed suit he somehow ...

Opinion: Democrats now have a very sobering challenge

Yes, it’s true that their party just won the House majority and more House seats, 40, than in any election since 1974 (and with the increasing likelihood of a new election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District after confirmed reports of Republican election fraud there, maybe 41) ...