National Columns

Opinion: Unintended consequence of summer of ’19

At least three score years ago, my savvy precinct committeewoman impressed upon me an immutable political truth: Every election is not about the candidate(s); no, every election is about the voters ... and about the future. I’m relieved that my precinct committeewoman was not around to hear ...

Opinion: Trump’s hunch right; now what?

Washington — In dealing with North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un, President Trump should remember that he is a snake handler, not a snake charmer. (The same advice applies to Kim, but we’ll leave that to pundits in Pyongyang.) The baseline: Kim is a modernizing autocrat who believes his ...

Opinion: Nations exploit Trump’s narcissism

Washington — I worked for a leader who was sometimes accused of lacking in the smarts department. But no one I know who spent time with President George W. Bush was left with that impression. Bush took an almost gleeful satisfaction in picking holes in arguments, as any half-prepared briefer ...

Opinion: Why millennials may be conservatives at heart

Washington — Several current trends among millennials do not bode well for Democrats. Indeed, they suggest a greater affinity for (many) Republican policies, notwithstanding a, perhaps, contiguous dislike for the GOP’s leadership. Dare I say it: These trends may suggest a gradual ...

Opinion: Federal wealth tax is not the solution

With metronomic regularity, some well-motivated billionaire announces that he wishes the government would increase his taxes. The latest entrant is Eli Broad. Writing in The New York Times, Broad praises private philanthropy and the capitalist system “that’s yielded some of the greatest ...

Opinion: In the absence of GOP courage, more kids will die

It is 2:30 in the morning, and I should be sleeping. In a few hours, my 3-year-old grandson will be awake, and we have plans. “You and me, buddy,” I told him at bedtime. “We’re going to play all day long.” He is not why I can’t sleep. Across the hall from this guestroom, his ...

Opinion: President was right to reverse course

Recently Donald Trump suddenly reversed two major decisions. He announced he would not begin mass deportations of those who are living in the country illegally, which he previously threatened to do, and he pulled the plug on a bombing attack on Iran, even as the military jets were on the ...

Opinion: A tale of 2 immigration debates

“Wide open and unguarded stand our gates, And through them presses a wild motley throng ... O Liberty, white Goddess! is it well To leave the gates unguarded?” — Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1892) Washington — If you think we have reached peak stupidity — that America’s ...

Opinion: Evangelicals praise Trump at steep moral consequence

Washington — “There has never been anyone who has defended us and who has fought for us, who we have loved more than Donald J. Trump. No one!” This recent statement by religious right activist Ralph Reed is objectively true, at least when it comes to sloppy kisses for the president. ...

Opinion: The weakness in Iran showdown

Washington — Sometimes in foreign policy, the best course of action for a powerful country is the most limited, at least visibly. That may be the case now in America’s confrontation with a cornered but potentially venomous Iran. The U.S.-Iran showdown is a classic test between a strong ...

Opinion: Bribing the Palestinians won’t work

The Trump administration thinks appealing to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un by dangling promises of prosperity in front of him if he agrees to change his ways is the path to peace on the Korean Peninsula. So far there have been no agreements to build a Trump resort and Kim has made no effort ...

Opinion: Let flawed court precedent fall

Washington — The doctrine that court precedents should have momentum for respect — the predictability of settled law gives citizens due notice of what is required or proscribed — is called stare decisis. This Latin translates as: “To stand by things decided.” The translation is not: ...

Opinion: ‘Demon’ language is just divisive

Washington — When Paula White, who’s often described as President Donald Trump’s personal spiritual adviser, railed in her invocation at his reelection kickoff rally last week against “every demonic network who has aligned itself” against Trump, her words bothered me, personally and ...

Opinion: The circular firing squad of the Democrats

Mo Udall, the legendary Democratic congressman from Arizona, was brutally candid about his party’s bad habit of succumbing to intramural recriminations that became the political equivalent of a civil war in the leper colony. “When Democrats organize a firing squad, they form a circle,” ...

Opinion: Trump’s relentless assault on truth

Washington — When dealing with a political figure who faces allegations of sexual assault, financial misdeeds and obstruction of justice, it is difficult to sort out the greatest damage to our public life. But a strong case can be made that it is the assault on truth. This was again on ...

Opinion: Elizabeth Warren needs more than her plans

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is being lauded as the serious candidate in the race. Her motto, “I have a plan for that,” is accepted as proof that she is thoughtful and conscientious. That’s too generous. One should expect a grown-up to evaluate costs and benefits, to understand tradeoffs, and ...

Opinion: Boasting about ‘civility’ with a racist

In 1956, during the Montgomery bus boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mississippi’s senior U.S. Senator James O. Eastland spoke at a pro-segregation rally. Robert Caro, in his book “Master of the Senate,” describes Eastland’s racist rant to the crowd: “In every stage of ...

Opinion: An unimaginative echo of FDR

Washington — That the Democrats’ two evenings of dueling oratory snippets this week are called “debates” validates Finley Peter Dunne’s prediction that “when we Americans are through with the English language, it will look as if it had been run over by a musical comedy.” Already a ...

Opinion: On abortion, voters still lean to wobbly middle

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden is taking heat and light for his recent switcheroo on abortion rights. But Biden is hardly alone in his inconsistency on this volatile issue. Some of us remember how now-president Donald Trump made a famous abortion switcheroo too. Biden’s big ...

Opinion: Helping hope return for suicidal citizens

Washington — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report that is the closest thing we have to the quantification of despair. Between 1999 and 2017, suicide rates in America rose to their highest level since World War II. The increase can be found among women ...