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
Charlie's TripsJack Felson
A futuristic and absurd version of The Wizard of OZ: a freak tornado snatches up a Midwesterner teenage soldier, who's hurled into space-time and ends up 21 years later, on the West Coast. He's found on a beach, alive but unconscious. As he emerges from a 3-day coma, he...
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