Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- four-term U.S. senator from New York, ambassador and White House adviser -- was that rarest of combinations: a gifted public intellectual and a talented, practical politician. He alone, in January 1980, during the depths of the Cold War, dared to say, "The defining event of the decade might well be the breakup of the...Read more
When Democratic presidential candidates have campaigned in Los Angeles, it has usually been around a private fundraising event featuring Barbra Streisand or Steven Spielberg or George Clooney -- or some combination of the three. What it has not been about -- especially some 15 months before Election Day -- is a long-shot, underdog candidate's ...Read more
John P. Sears, before he was manager of Ronald Reagan's 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns, had spent the years from 1965 through 1970 working as a top political aide to Richard M. Nixon. Sears, a bright and witty man who found Nixon both complicated and fascinating, spoke about accompanying Nixon, then an unannounced presidential candidate,...Read more
Presidential debates, even those with 10 candidates held some 15 months before Election Day, do matter. Just recall the Aug. 11, 2011, GOP debate in Ames, Iowa, when Byron York of The Washington Examiner, in discussing the proposed combinations of spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the federal budget deficit, asked former Sen. Rick ...Read more
Bill Cohen, the former three-term Republican U.S. senator from Maine who served as secretary of defense in Democratic president Bill Clinton's second administration, offered this key to the art of winning tough elections: "I don't care how great your ideas are or how well you can articulate them. People must like you before they will vote for ...Read more
In five of the past six presidential elections, the Republican Party has lost the nation's popular vote to the Democrats. In those same six presidential contests, 18 states and the District of Columbia, totaling among them 242 electoral votes (you need only 270 to win the White House), have voted every time for the Democratic ticket. This, ...Read more
In the matter of selecting a 2016 presidential nominee, the Republican Party could go a lot farther and do a lot worse -- and almost certainly will -- than to choose U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
What sets Lindsey Graham conspicuously apart from so many of the merchants of venom currently infecting American politics is that ...Read more
Lately, blows have been dealt to the conventional wisdom surrounding billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. First, the smart money told us that Mr. Trump just enjoyed all the media attention a potential White House run brought his way, that he would never actually become a real candidate. Then after Trump's rambling ...Read more
A terrible tragedy devastates Jackson Fitzgerald's world: the murder of his wife brings him close to insanity. Accompanied by friends, he undertakes one last effort to reshape his life in a journey that brings him to Glendale Plantation.
But there he is tormented by memories and ...
Regular readers may remember the "Shields rule," about the tension between organized religion and politics. It goes like this: With but one exception, ministers, priests, rabbis and imams -- men and women of the cloth -- should stay out of all partisan American politics. The one exception, of course, is any major political fight in which the ...Read more
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. -- who, according to polls of Republican voters nationally, wins higher favorable and lower unfavorable ratings than any of the potential 2016 presidential candidates -- has shown some real nerve and more than a little brass. After The New York Times reported on Rubio's unorthodox personal finances -- including his use...Read more
Long before he, as President George W. Bush's first secretary of state, gave the world a detailed description of Saddam Hussein's weapons program, which did not exist, and made a persuasive case for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Colin Powell was a young Army officer who had served two combat tours in Vietnam. There he had held in his arms a ...Read more
Let me begin by confessing my own prejudices on the matter of immigration: I never personally had any decision to make, but -- to my great good luck -- my ancestors made the bold decision to leave their homeland and be Americans. So I benefit, every day, from the precious and totally unearned gift of being an American citizen, not by any act on ...Read more