WASHINGTON -- W. B. Yeats' "The Second Coming," written in 1919, is my nominee for the most cited poem in political commentary. The line invoked most -- "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -- is irresistible. It's always tempting to assume that the side we oppose brings vast reservoirs of demonic ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The exhaustive and exhausting analysis of the Fox News debate promises to produce days more of Trump-mania. It's thus an excellent time to ponder the other big surprise of the 2016 campaign: the Democrats' extended Weekend at Bernie's.
No one is more amazed about the buoyancy of his presidential candidacy than Bernie Sanders ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Fox News debate this week ought to be an occasion for the Republican Party's presidential candidates to put new and innovative ideas on display. At the center of the discussion should be last Friday's report about the historically anemic wage growth during this year's second quarter.
Here's guessing that the previous paragraph...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The problems that bother us most are the ones we bring on ourselves. This is why Republicans are so out of sorts with Donald Trump. The party created the rough beast it is now trying to slay.
When Trump gave out Lindsey Graham's cellphone number on Tuesday at an event in the South Carolina senator's home state, he did it to show ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Republicans won't win the presidency in 2016 without making inroads in the Midwest. Happily for the GOP, two Midwestern governors are running for their party's nomination.
Both won re-election in 2014. The one from the state with more electoral votes won with 64 percent of the vote with wide appeal to Democrats and independents. ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- When it comes to politics, attention is now being lavished on the 2016 presidential campaign. When it comes to economics, the bright lights are on the Greek crisis. The nation's capital seems almost sleepy, a relief from the bitterness of manufactured showdowns and an actual shutdown.
All of which could be a false dawn of comity ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- For those who see religion as primarily an opiate, African-American Christianity offers a riposte. For those who see Christianity itself as a faith that encourages quiescence and conservatism, the tradition of the black church is a sign of contradiction.
Over the last few weeks, white Americans who never paid much attention to the...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Advocates of a saner approach to guns need a new strategy. We cannot go on like this, wringing our hands in frustration after every tragedy involving firearms. We said "Enough" after Sandy Hook. We thought the moment for action had come. Yet nothing happened. We are saying "Enough" after Charleston. But this time, we don't even ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- We Americans are exceptionally good at evasion when we want to be. Our skills in this sphere are particularly impressive on the matter of race and the subject of guns.
Nonsense, you say. Have we not been talking about race and racism for our entire history? Our conversations have been especially intense in recent years -- about ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Between now and the 2016 election, we need to have a searching national debate over family values.
It will not be about whether we as a country are for them. We are. What's required is a grounded and candid discussion about what those words actually mean.
Note that I did not follow the convention of putting quotation marks around...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Whenever some new allegation threatened Bill Clinton's presidential candidacy in 1992, he had a go-to response throughout the campaign.
"This election isn't about me," he'd tell voters. "It's about you." He said "you" with such force that it would come out as a two- or three-syllable word.
Hillary Clinton, who has picked ...Read more
BOSTON -- Consider the stunned disbelief, perhaps of a somewhat aggressive sort, that would have greeted anyone who might have told a tavern crowd in Dorchester or Southie three decades ago that Ireland would be the first nation in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote.
It is a mark of how much has changed in such a short time that ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Scott Walker insists that when he changes his positions, he is not engaged in "flips."
"A flip would be someone who voted on something and did something different," the Wisconsin governor explained last week on Fox News. His altered views on immigration don't count because he is not a legislator. "These are not votes," he ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Will we regard poverty as a haunting national problem, or will the focus groups continue to tell politicians of all stripes to talk only about the middle class because mentioning the poor is politically toxic?
Might the condition of low-income Americans galvanize religious people to see alleviating poverty and righting social ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Prime Minister David Cameron's surprising success in winning an outright majority of seats in Britain's Parliament is the result of a paradox: The center in Britain held and flew apart at the same time.
Neither the polls nor the pundits predicted the extent of Cameron's triumph in Thursday's voting. While they have something to ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The violence that has engulfed Baltimore is visible and heartbreaking evidence of a city that has been under siege for decades.
The obvious flashpoints involve race and policing. But since at least the 1970s, the economy's invisible hand has also been diligently stripping tens of thousands of blue-collar jobs from what was once a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The world's democracies, perhaps especially our own, face a peculiar set of contradictions that are undermining faith in public endeavor and unraveling old loyalties.
There is a decline of trust in traditional political parties but also a rise in partisanship. A broad desire for governments to reduce the levels of economic ...Read more