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Politics

Sanders and Trump: Magic Sells

WASHINGTON -- The New Hampshire results have solidified the reigning cliche that the 2016 campaign is an anti-establishment revolt of both the left and the right. Largely overlooked, however, is the role played in setting the national mood by the seven-year legacy of the Obama presidency.

Yes, you hear constant denunciations of institutions, ...Read more

The 'Establishment' Nonsense

WASHINGTON -- The reigning idiocy of the current political season is the incessant tossing around of "establishment," an epithet now descending into meaninglessness. Its most recent abuse is by Donald Trump supporters rationalizing his Iowa defeat with the following consolation: If you tally up Trump and Ted Cruz (and throw in Ben Carson), a ...Read more

The Three-Cornered Fight For the Soul of the GOP

WASHINGTON -- It's hard to believe that the United States, having resisted the siren song of socialism during its entire 20th-century heyday (the only major democracy to do so), should suddenly succumb to its charms a generation after its intellectual demise. Indeed, the prospect of socialist Bernie Sanders, whatever his current momentum, ...Read more

The GOP gets the Iran Prisoner Swap Wrong

WASHINGTON -- Give President Obama credit. His Iran nuclear deal may be disastrous but the packaging was brilliant. The near-simultaneous prisoner exchange was meant to distract from last Saturday's official implementation of the sanctions-lifting deal. And it did. The Republicans concentrated almost all their fire on the swap sideshow.

And in ...Read more

The State of the Presidency: Spent

WASHINGTON -- President Obama's Tuesday night address to Congress was less about the state of the union than the state of the presidency. And the state of this presidency is spent.

The signs of intellectual exhaustion were everywhere. Consider just three. After taking credit for success in Syria, raising American stature abroad and prevailing ...Read more

Defy America, Pay No Price

WASHINGTON -- If you're going to engage in a foreign policy capitulation, might as well do it when everyone is getting tanked and otherwise occupied. Say, New Year's Eve.

Here's the story. In October, Iran test-fires a nuclear-capable ballistic missile in brazen violation of Security Council resolutions prohibiting such launches. President ...Read more

Space: The Visionaries Take Over

WASHINGTON -- Fractured and divided as we are, on one thing we can agree: 2015 was a miserable year. The only cheer was provided by Lincoln Chafee and the Pluto flyby (two separate phenomena), as well as one seminal aeronautical breakthrough.

On Dec. 21, Elon Musk's SpaceX, after launching 11 satellites into orbit, returned its 15-story booster...Read more

Food Fads: Make Mine Gluten-Full

WASHINGTON -- When the federal government's 1980 "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" warned about the baleful effects of saturated fats, public interest activists joined the fight and managed to persuade major food companies to switch to the shiny new alternative: trans fats. Thirty-five years later, the Food and Drug Administration finally ...Read more

Legacy or Bust

WASHINGTON -- Last Saturday, Barack Obama gained the second jewel in his foreign policy triple crown: the Paris climate accord. It follows his Iran nuclear deal and awaits but the closing of Guantanamo to complete his glittering legacy.

To be sure, Obama will not be submitting the climate agreement for Senate ratification. It would have no ...Read more

Why Take the Trump Stunt Seriously?

WASHINGTON -- So how exactly does this work, Donald Trump's plan to keep America safe from Islamic terrorism by barring entry to all Muslims? He explained it Tuesday on TV. The immigration official will ask the foreigner if he's a Muslim.

"And if they said, 'yes,' they would not be allowed in the country?"

Trump: "That's correct."

Brilliant. ...Read more

The Syrian Immigration Cul-De-Sac

WASHINGTON -- The Syrian refugee debate has become a national embarrassment. It begins with a president, desperate to deflect attention from the collapse of his foreign policy, retreating to his one safe zone -- ad hominem attacks on critics, this time for lack of compassion toward Syrian widows and orphans.

This, without a glimmer of ...Read more

Obama's Phony War

WASHINGTON -- Tell me: What's a suicide bomber doing with a passport? He's not going anywhere. And, though I'm not a religious scholar, I doubt that a passport is required in paradise for a martyr to access his 72 black-eyed virgins.

A Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the terrorists. Why was it there? Undoubtedly, to back up ...Read more

The Most Revealing Debate Yet

WASHINGTON -- The Republican debate on CNBC was riveting, the way a train wreck is riveting -- you can't take your eyes off it. The Fox Business Network debate was merely satisfying. A serious political discussion requires a bit more work, but it repays the effort.

The CNBC affair was a contrived food fight during which substance occasionally ...Read more

Take the Winnings and Run

WASHINGTON -- Where do Republicans get that special talent for turning gold to dross? They score an electoral "massacre" (The Economist) in 2014 and, a year later, what do they have to show for it other than another threat to shut down the government? Hillary Clinton is caught in email flagrante and Benghazi mendacity and yet, with one Kevin ...Read more

Skip the Investigations, Win the Election

WASHINGTON -- At a certain point, you have to realize you can't hit a fastball. House Republicans don't quite get that they are hopeless at oversight hearings. They keep losing -- and now the chairman of the House Oversight Committee has just introduced articles of impeachment against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

I'm sympathetic to the GOP ...Read more

Iran Marches, Russia rules, Obama Watches

WASHINGTON -- Guess who just popped up in the Kremlin? Bashar al-Assad, Syrian dictator and destroyer, now Vladimir Putin's newest pet. After four years holed up in Damascus, Assad was summoned to Russia to bend a knee to Putin, show the world that today Middle East questions get settled not in Washington but in Moscow, and officially bless the ...Read more

Game Over

WASHINGTON -- I repeat: Unless she's indicted, Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination. I wrote that six weeks ago, amid fevered dreams of a Clinton collapse and a Joe Biden rescue. That those were a mirage is all the more obvious after Tuesday's debate. The reason, then as now, is simple: Clinton has no competition.

She's up against...Read more

 

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