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
WASHINGTON -- In all of rock 'n' roll history, one of the most misguided if entirely memorable refrains came in an otherwise excellent 1965 song by The Who. "I hope I die before I get old," they declared in "My Generation." I doubt that many people who joyfully sang along with those lyrics 50 years ago really believed them, except perhaps ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It's Hillary Clinton, not Jeb Bush, who will take former President George H. W. Bush as her role model. Her road to victory was blazed by Jeb's dad in 1988.
It would help a great deal, of course, if events also flowed her way, as they did for Bush 41. In 1988, gross domestic product grew by 4.2 percent. There's nothing like rapid ...Read more
DURHAM, N.C -- We are all obsessed with our brands these days, and no one more so than states competing fiercely for jobs and businesses. Some of them are quickly learning that being seen as anti-gay is dangerous to their images.
As controversy engulfed Indiana over its religious liberty law that would give legal recourse to those who ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is an acquired taste. It may surprise people outside of his Democratic caucus that many of his colleagues will miss him. But they will.
Charismatic he is not. He sometimes stumbles in his choice of words, and utterly fails a series of other Beltway tests. For example, our era claims to revere ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Wednesday was a hard day for pro-Israel liberals.
Some of the dejection arose from sheer surprise over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's victory, and especially the size of his margin. The pre-election polling -- by law, polls can't be published within five days of voting -- showed Netanyahu's Likud Party trailing Isaac Herzog's...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In September 2002, three Democratic congressmen visited Iraq in an effort to prevent a war they thought was a terrible idea.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said very little there, explaining afterward that his sole purpose was to tell Iraqi officials that "if they want to prevent a war, they need to prevail upon Saddam Hussein to ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It was disconcerting to watch Congress cheer wildly as a foreign leader, the prime minister of one of America's closest allies, trashed an American president's foreign policy. It was equally strange that the speaker of our House of Representatives interjected the United States Congress into an Israeli political campaign.
It fell ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It's a daunting challenge to spin the word "no" into a hopeful and forward-looking political battle cry.
There are, of course, circumstances when negative arguments can work. In obviously terrible times, voters are often content to take a chance on a barely sketched-out alternative. In midterm elections, which are like midsemester...Read more
CHICAGO -- The mayor is proud to tout his work expanding access to pre-kindergarten programs, raising the minimum wage, and making two years of community college available to everybody. He talks admiringly about his city's ethnic diversity and stresses his commitment to making it a place where "every resident in every neighborhood has a fair ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- After he won re-election last November, soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made two sets of comments reflecting the dueling impulses of the Republican Mind. Freud fans might refer to the superego, aka the conscience, and the id.
The Kentucky Republican got the most attention for gracious words to reporters the day ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In the days of the civil rights movement, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was focused not on the quest for justice but on his fear of Communists.
In "Parting the Waters," the first volume of his magisterial biography of Martin Luther King Jr., Taylor Branch tells of a 1956 Eisenhower administration meeting during which Hoover "...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Maybe we should just call off the National Prayer Breakfast and stop asking presidents to offer their thoughts about faith and religion. If they go beyond making all present feel good about how religious and upright they are, presidents can get into a lot of trouble.
President Obama's speech to the breakfast last Thursday did not ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I never knew how much fun it was to be loyal to a hated outlaw sports team until the whole world came down on my dear New England Patriots.
Having rooted over the years for Boston teams that many felt sorry for -- God help us -- and found psychologically interesting, it was a rush to hear MSNBC's Joe Scarborough the other morning ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The old culture war politics is dying but new culture wars are gathering force. The transformation of the battlefield will change our public life.
The idea of a "culture war" was popularized by Pat Buchanan in his joyfully incendiary 1992 Republican National Convention speech, but it was introduced into the public argument a year ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "This is good news, people."
With those five words, President Obama made clear that he thinks it's far more important to win a long-term argument with his partisan and ideological opponents than to pretend that they are eager to seize opportunities to work with him. He decided to deal with the Republican Party he has, not the ...Read more