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The Price of Powerlessness

WASHINGTON -- This week Russian bombers flew out of Iranian air bases to attack rebel positions in Syria. The State Department pretended not to be surprised. It should be. It should be alarmed. Iran's intensely nationalistic revolutionary regime had never permitted foreign forces to operate from its soil. Until now.

The reordering of the Middle...Read more

To Each His Own Olympics

WASHINGTON -- You may be thrilled by the feats of Katie Ledecky, mesmerized by the grace of the women gymnasts, startled by Rio spectators mocking U.S. soccer star Hope Solo with chants of "Zika! Zika!" (the first recorded instance, noted one wit, of a stadium rocking to the invocation of a virus). Allow me, however, to interrupt the prepackaged...Read more

Donald Trump and the Fitness Threshold

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump, the man who defied every political rule and prevailed to win his party's nomination, last week took on perhaps the most sacred political rule of all: Never attack a Gold Star family. Not just because it alienates a vital constituency but because it reveals a shocking absence of elementary decency and of natural ...Read more

What's the Case for Hillary?

WASHINGTON -- "The best darn change-maker I ever met in my entire life." So said Bill Clinton in making the case for his wife at the Democratic National Convention. Considering that Bernie Sanders ran as the author of a political revolution and Donald Trump as the man who would "kick over the table" (to quote Newt Gingrich) in Washington, "...Read more

Notes from Cleveland: The Two-Part Rebellion

WASHINGTON -- The main purpose of the modern political convention is to produce four days of televised propaganda. The subsidiary function, now that nominees are invariably chosen in advance, is structural: Unify the party before the final battle. In Cleveland, the Republicans achieved not unity, but only a rough facsimile.

The internal ...Read more

Finally, a First Step to Resist the Revisionists

WASHINGTON -- "The most significant reinforcement of our collective defense any time since the Cold War," President Obama called it. A bit of an exaggeration, perhaps, but it was still an achievement: Last week's NATO summit in Warsaw ordered the deployment of troops to Eastern Europe, the alliance's most serious response yet to Russia's ...Read more

Comey: A Theory

WASHINGTON -- Why did he do it? FBI director James Comey spent 14 minutes laying out an unassailable case for prosecuting Hillary Clinton for the mishandling of classified material. Then at literally the last minute, he recommended against prosecution.

This is baffling. Under the statute (18 U.S.C. section 793(f)), it's a felony to mishandle ...Read more

Brexit: Sovereign Kingdom or Little England?

WASHINGTON -- Given their arrogance, pomposity and habitual absurdities, it is hard not to feel a certain satisfaction with the comeuppance that Brexit has delivered to the unaccountable European Union bureaucrats in Brussels.

Nonetheless, we would do well to refrain from smug condescension. Unity is not easy. What began in 1951 as a six-member...Read more

Hillaryism

"I believe in an America always moving toward the future."

-- Hillary Clinton, June 21

WASHINGTON -- This was not the most important line in Clinton's Ohio economic policy speech, only the most amazing. Surely there cannot be a more vacuous, meaningless piece of political rhetoric. Every terrestrial entity from nematode to the United ...Read more

Trump is Running as Trump. Surprise!

WASHINGTON -- When in his 1964 GOP acceptance speech Barry Goldwater declared that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice," a reporter sitting near journalist/historian Theodore White famously exclaimed: "My God, he's going to run as Barry Goldwater!"

Six weeks into Donald Trump's general election campaign, Republicans are discovering ...Read more

In the Matter of Paul Ryan

WASHINGTON -- The morning after, the nation awakes asking: What have we done?

Both parties seem intent on throwing the election away. The Democrats, running against a man with highest-ever negatives, are poised to nominate a candidate with the second-highest-ever negatives. Hillary Clinton started with every possible advantage -- money, ...Read more

Lovable Bernie Whacks Israel

WASHINGTON -- Part of Bernie Sanders' charm is that for all of his arm-waving jeremiads, he appears unthreatening. He's the weird old uncle in the attic, Larry David's crazy Bernie. It's almost a matter of style. Who can be afraid of a candidate so irascible, grumpy, old-fashioned and unfashionable?

After all, he's not going to win the ...Read more

Donald, Hillary and the Bernie Factor

WASHINGTON -- Among the abundant ironies of this election cycle, there is this: We are now in the eighth year of the most liberal administration since Lyndon Johnson's. The primary elections reveal a national mood of anxiety, apprehension and anger, in turn reflecting stagnation at home and failure abroad. Two-thirds of Americans think the ...Read more

The Earthquake and the Aftermath

WASHINGTON -- What lies behind Donald Trump's nomination victory? Received wisdom among conservatives is that he, the outsider, sensed, marshaled and came to represent a massive revolt of the Republican rank and file against the "establishment."

This is the narrative: GOP political leaders made promises of all kinds and received in return, ...Read more

The World According to Trump

WASHINGTON -- Foreign policy does not determine American elections. Indeed, of all Western countries, we are the least interested in the subject. The reason is simple: We haven't had to be. Our instinctive isolationism derives from our geographic exceptionalism. As Bismarck once explained (it is said), the United States is the most fortunate of ...Read more

 
 

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Clay Bennett Steve Breen Steve Benson Signe Wilkinson Gary Markstein Bob Gorrell