As a political commentator, I’ve reported on a lot of remarks by presidents of the United States, from State of the Union speeches, to Oval Office addresses, to comments on the South Lawn. I’ve heard presidents speak from the mind, and sometimes from the heart. But I never heard one speak raw from the gut – like Joe Biden did this week.
How times have changed.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a Republican congressman from Iowa named Steve King. An outright racist, anti-Semite, and white nationalist. He denounced immigration as a threat to Western civilization: “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” He slammed Democrats for electing...Read more
There are few events that fundamentally shake the entire body politic, but last week’s leak of Justice Alito’s draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, reportedly already signed onto by four other justices, is definitely one of them. It’s changed the way we think about many things.
We used to think the rights we fought so hard for, once ...Read more
So what do we know after the big Supreme Court leak of Justice Alito’s draft majority decision on abortion? When all the dust settles, we know three things.
One. We know that whatever legitimacy the Supreme Court once held is gone, perhaps forever. It’s no longer a revered, independent institution that soars above politics, trusted to ...Read more
Did you miss me? Whether you noticed or not, I’ve been gone for a month, taking advantage of an incredible opportunity to spend a month as a resident scholar at the wonderful American Academy in Rome.
The Academy’s a great institution, located on top of Rome’s Janiculan Hill, which brings together an exciting mix of people — artists, ...Read more
Editor's note: While Mr. Press is away, Robert Koehler is filling in.
As wars rage, as cruelty shatters lives across the planet -- as nuclear Armageddon remains a viable option for all of us -- I think it's time to claim some stunning awareness in this regard.
The human race is evolving in spite of itself -- evolving beyond war, beyond...Read more
Last week, Texas gave us a glimpse of the future. It was not pretty.
It seems that on Thursday, a 26-year-old woman was arrested and charged with murder. Specifically, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Department in tiny Starr County on the Mexican border, Lizelle Herrera “intentionally and knowingly” caused “the death of an ...Read more
Editor's note: Mr. Koehler is filling in while Mr. Press is away.
Americans “need to imagine their vote has an impact on policy, an illusion the media encourages them to believe in.”
Peter Isaacson, writing in Fair Observer, seems to be saying . . . oh my God, democracy is a cliché, a big sham. I stand up, put my hand on my ...Read more
Last week, two events involving the U.S. Supreme Court occurred.
First, four days of hearings surrounding the nomination and possible elevation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the nation’s highest court.
Second, 29 dangerous and wacky emails sent from conservative activist Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to ...Read more
Watching the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court this week, I was overwhelmed with sadness. Not just at watching Republican senators launch such vicious, baseless, personal attacks on Judge Jackson. But at watching the ruins of what used to be a noble institution.
The United States Senate is...Read more
It’s one of the first political adages I heard: “Politics makes strange bedfellows.”
And it’s proved true on many occasions, like 1996 when, as Democratic state chair of California, I campaigned with California’s Republican chair, against Proposition 198, which allowed voters of any party to vote for any candidate in primary elections...Read more
A few weeks ago, I recommended that you read “Unthinkable” by Congressman Jamie Raskin, his powerful new book on a double tragedy: the loss of his son to suicide and the near loss of our democracy on January 6. Here’s another must read: “Shackleton” by Ranulph Fiennes, the positively gripping account of the explorer’s three ...Read more
In these tough times, the American people needed a shot in the arm — and we got one with President Biden’s first State of the Union address.
I admit, I was a little nervous going in because, let’s be honest, when it comes to speechifying, Biden’s no Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama. But he rose to the occasion this time with...Read more