National Columns

Opinion: O’Rourke works to reelect Trump

Washington — Beto O’Rourke, innovative for interpreting a failed Senate campaign as a steppingstone to the presidency, is now famous for (1) his use of profanity on the campaign trail, (2) his pledge that “hell, yes” he wants to confiscate AR-15s and (3) his proposal to tax religious ...

Opinion: Ignoring arms control is a big mistake

Washington — Last week’s news that President Trump is considering abandoning the Open Skies Treaty probably brought a yawn from most observers. Arms-control agreements like this seem to many people like yesterday’s problem. But ignoring arms control is a dangerous mistake, especially ...

Opinion: A president who thinks he’s above the law

Donald Trump is testing whether he can claim immunity from the rule of law. That’s the plain meaning of the announcement that his administration will not cooperate in any way with the House impeachment inquiry. The letter released by White House counsel Pat Cipollone brands the impeachment ...

Opinion: It can happen right here in America

I was maybe 10 years old when this happened. Mom is driving, I’m in the back seat. It’s night. She’s trying to cross Vermont, a busy L.A. thoroughfare, from a side street. Southbound traffic is jammed, but a guy in a truck makes a hole and waves us through. We’ve almost cleared the ...

Opinion: Trump adds self-impeachment to his repertoire

Washington — Donald Trump, an ongoing eruption of self-refuting statements (“I’m a very stable genius” with “a very good brain”), is adding self-impeachment to his repertoire. Spiraling downward in a tightening gyre, his increasingly unhinged public performances (Google the one with ...

Opinion: The serious danger of politics as tribal conflict

“Civilization is hideously fragile. ... There’s not much between us and the horrors underneath. Just about a coat of varnish.” — C.P. Snow Washington — The most serious, practical, pressing problem with politics as tribal conflict is the inability to draw moral lines against ...

Opinion: Trump opens door for Islamic State

By acquiescing to Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria on Wednesday, President Trump has opened the door to what could become a genuine nightmare for the United States and its allies: the revival of the deadly terrorist organization that called itself the Islamic State. The danger lies ...

Opinion: One-way forgiveness is a problem

Here’s the thing about forgiveness. It’s not just something you extend to someone else. It’s also a gift you give yourself, permission to lay down the heavy burden of grudges and rage. And if you’re a Christian, it’s an obligation — albeit a hard one — of faith. One can ...

Opinion: College diversity tinkering: What a tangled web

Washington — The judge took 130 pages to explain that Harvard’s “holistic review” admissions policies — which include ascribing particular attributes to certain ethnicities, such as Asian Americans, and assessing the value to Harvard of those attributes — are, considering 41 years ...

Opinion: A plea to stand by our Kurdish allies

Washington — The commander of Syrian Kurdish forces didn’t use the word “betrayal.” But with U.S. troops withdrawing from the Turkish-Syrian border and Turkish troops poised to attack, he warned Monday morning that a bloodbath could be ahead — and pleaded for continued U.S. ...

Opinion: Biden’s most important ‘endorsement’

Let’s repeat it together three times: Preprimary polls testing would-be presidential nominees have all the permanence of numbers written with a stick in the wet sand at the ocean’s edge just before the high tide comes in. Recent history confirms the unreliability of such polls. In October ...

Opinion: Trump allies complicit in moral decay

Washington — When it comes to Donald Trump, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between a political strategy and a nervous breakdown. His tweeted trash talk, his meandering stream of consciousness press availabilities and his shameless embrace of sleaziness are not the signs of a ...

Opinion: President’s enablers bear a lot of responsibility

We’re all familiar by now with the reasons advanced for why elected Republicans shrivel like dry houseplants whenever they are asked to distance themselves from the president. They fear primary challengers. They dread his Twitter wrath. They like the judges. All true as far as it goes. And we ...

Opinion: Trump settling scores through Ukraine

Washington — Through all of President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, he has rarely focused on the job for which he was elected — steering the foreign policy of the United States. Instead, for Trump, Ukraine has been a continuing story of personal resentment and political opportunism. A ...

Opinion: How the times have changed

You may, if you are old enough, recall a TV actor named Foster Brooks. He was a guest star on such classics of boomer kitsch as “The Monkees,” “The Munsters” and “The Mod Squad.” But if you do remember him, it’s likely for one thing only: his imitation of inebriation. Brooks ...

Opinion: Court to decide if ‘sex’ includes orientation

Washington — The beginning of the Supreme Court’s term this week includes momentous oral arguments on Tuesday in two cases that illustrate clashing theories about how statutes should be construed. If properly decided, the cases will nudge Congress to act like a legislative body. At issue ...

Opinion: What follows Trump’s menacing rhetoric?

Washington — The rhetorical intensity of Donald Trump’s anti-impeachment campaign, measured on a scale of one to 10, has begun at 11.25. The whistleblower is “almost a spy” who may be guilty of “treason.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., should be ...

Opinion: Ways to get testimony, documents

After Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s angry refusal Tuesday to allow State Department officials to testify before a House of Representatives committee about Ukraine, congressional Democrats face a newly urgent question: What legal tools does Congress have to compel the Trump administration ...

Opinion: Trump raises spectre of civil war

“If Democrats are successful in removing the president from office (which they never will be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” — Donald Trump, roughly quoting Robert Jeffress, a conservative Dallas preacher What if he’s ...

Opinion: Korean Peninsula: A dangerous neighborhood

Seoul, South Korea — In 1950, when Han Sung-joo was 10, shrapnel from an artillery shell lodged in his hip. This happened as Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s troops, fresh from the bold Incheon landing, were retaking this city — it would be lost and retaken again — after North Korea’s June ...