National Columns

Opinion: The emperor’s new clothes, for real

If you’re going to lie, make it a good one. Meaning, put some effort into it. Make it convincing. Make sure the truth is not easily discoverable. Don’t just draw on a weather map with a Sharpie. That’s apparently what Donald Trump or someone in his employ did last week to prove he was ...

Opinion: Depression’s downward spirals can be deadly

Washington — There are alarming consequences for the survival of human beings and the success of the society they inhabit when the brain suffers without treatment. And it has become frighteningly common for Americans to find their way into despair and self-murder. More than 7% of American ...

Opinion: Clear policy vs. personal diplomacy

Washington — As we move into the fall, there’s one overriding foreign-policy priority for America: Find a strategy to deal with a rising China that protects U.S. interests but doesn’t subvert the global economy. China is the challenge of our time, and the risks of getting it wrong are ...

Opinion: The GOP is not tired of the dying

“I am tired of the dying,” said Greg Abbott on Sunday. And well he should be. The Texas governor was in Odessa, in the western part of his state, to preside over a mass shooting there: seven dead, not counting the shooter, and 22 wounded, one of them a toddler. This follows a May 2015 ...

Opinion: Why we’re losing information war with Russia

Washington — Richard Stengel, a former Time editor who became the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy, writes that he was once an information “idealist.” He believed that in the marketplace of ideas, the truth would ultimately prevail. Not anymore. “I think we all ...

Opinion: It’s still Biden’s race to lose

Washington — The big news in the Democratic presidential race is that not much has changed since Joe Biden jumped in. To be sure, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has steadily gained ground, according to polls. California Sen. Kamala Harris rose sharply after the first debate but then ...

Opinion: Trump’s weakness vividly on display

Washington — The outcome of the 2016 presidential election reinforced a certain lesson. No, not that the universe is a cold, empty, meaningless void, and that hope and justice are pretty lies told by self-deceived fools. I mean the other lesson: Don’t underestimate Donald Trump. All ...

Opinion: The importance of just showing up

How many times has this happened in the last two months? I’m not sure, but every time it still catches me off guard. In this particular moment, I was on a conference call when we took a break from the work and started talking about our summers. At some point, I just couldn’t keep ...

Opinion: Some clarity on Trump’s economic policies

It’s a fact that President Donald Trump has a remarkably large number of supporters among the voters and pundits who label themselves as “free market.” They usually say something like, “Sure, I don’t like his trade and immigration policies, but the rest are good.” I disagree. With ...

Opinion: ‘Normal’ is what got us here

“America’s present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy...” — Warren G. Harding, 1920 I like Joe Biden. His gaffes, his mistreatment of Anita Hill and even his kissy-face behavior with segregationists notwithstanding, I think he’s a decent guy. If he is the ...

Opinion: An all-too-real parable of ‘privilege-hoarding’

Washington — Nestled on the Front Range of the Rockies, the city of Crystal was a largely upper-middle-class paradise, chock full of health-conscious and socially conscious — meaning, of course, impeccably progressive — Coloradans. Then in slithered a serpent in the form of a proposal for ...

Opinion: Evangelical leaders tidying kitchen while house burns

Washington — Much white evangelical support for Donald Trump is based on a bargain or transaction: political loyalty (and political cover for the president’s moral flaws) in return for protection from a hostile culture. Many evangelicals are fearful that courts and government regulators ...

Opinion: Why Macron’s Iran gamble didn’t pay

Washington — What really happened in Biarritz last weekend, with the mysterious visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif? U.S. officials saw it as a bit of diplomatic freelancing by French President Emmanuel Macron that sought to foster negotiations but highlighted the obstacles ...

Opinion: Dems may change mind about popular vote

Washington — Let us now praise an insufficiently famous man, Nevada’s Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, who in May gave his party’s presidential aspirants a much-needed example of prudence. With the national media mesmerized by those aspirants’ festival of pandering, scant attention was ...

Opinion: Trump’s anti-journalism hit squad

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” So says Dick the Butcher in Shakespeare’s “Henry VI, Part 2.” Though often regarded as a Renaissance-era lawyer joke, the line is actually a backhanded compliment to the legal profession. Dick, a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, ...

Opinion: Is weary public tuning out Trump?

Washington — You could say many things to describe a week in which President Trump got in a snit about buying Greenland, called the Federal Reserve chairman an “enemy,” reversed his position repeatedly on China and rebuffed European allies by saying he’s ready to invite Russia to a ...

Opinion: How to make presidential debates really matter

Presidential debates — even those featuring 10 or more candidates well over a year before Election Day — can tell us much about those self-confident enough to offer themselves as the nation’s next commander in chief. For example, eight years ago, the candidates of the out party, running ...

Opinion: Don’t explain away Trump’s craziness

Washington — It is grotesquely fascinating to see Donald Trump’s apologists try to explain his most lunatic ideas and claims. It is a bit like watching someone choke down a sheep’s eye on a bet, then declare it fine dining. (Note to animal rights activists: This is a simile, not a ...

Opinion: Jewish liberals, Israel and ‘disloyalty’

President Donald Trump has opined that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats — as 79% did in the 2018 midterms — are demonstrating “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” At first, he didn’t say to whom. An eager Trump explainer, Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish ...

Opinion: If you’re a parent, know who has a gun

In 1984, an associate English professor at Suffolk Community College wrote a published letter to The New York Times that began: “Last Saturday night I drove home drunk or almost certainly that would have been the indication from any breath or blood test that I might have been required to ...