WASHINGTON -- Imagine if I began a column about Attorney General Jeff Sessions this way: “I really am amazed that an attorney general who hails from a former Confederate state in the Deep South can issue a series of orders wrecking efforts to reform police practices, cutting back on voting rights and restarting the war on drugs.”
The ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Two issues are paramount in American politics. The first is whether President Trump will get away with his arrogant dismissal of the public’s right to a transparent government free of corrupting conflicts of interest. The second is whether those who would hold him to account remain focused, mobilized and determined.
They are ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- President Trump rose to power on a combination of meanness, incoherence and falsehoods. His strategy depended almost entirely on playing off the unpopularity and weaknesses of others.
Every aspect of his approach has blown up on him since he took office, but as is always the case with Trump, he will not take any personal ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- On Aug. 20, 1998, American Tomahawk cruise missiles hit sites in Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The targets of the assault, ordered by President Bill Clinton, were Osama bin Laden and his band of terrorists.
In light of what would happen three years later, on Sept. 11, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Why are Democrats filibustering Judge Neil Gorsuch? Because they’ve had enough with the politics of power grabbing and bullying.
At the root of this fight is a long-term conservative effort to dominate the Supreme Court and turn it to the political objectives of the right.
This is thus about far more than retaliation, however ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It is jarring to see pro-Trump conservatives indifferent or even hostile to investigations of Russian intervention in the 2016 campaign. Just a few years ago (it feels like an eternity), conservatives were jumping all over President Obama for his Russian “reset” and his first-term eagerness to negotiate with Moscow.
Even ...Read more
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Whatever happened to the interests of the working class? Weren’t they supposed to be front and center in the Trump administration?
Here’s one clue: When a policy that helps some corporate sector can be repackaged to make it look like a pro-worker move, President Trump will always hide his real purpose behind a phalanx ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I really miss liberal Republicans. People like Mitt Romney.
No doubt the former Massachusetts governor would be aghast at being called such a thing. Of course Romney is not a liberal in any conventional sense. But 11 years ago -- it now seems like a lifetime -- Romney acted in the great tradition of liberal Republicans. He saw a ...Read more
Resisting Elegy: On Grief and RecoveryJoel Peckham
In this thoughtful collection of narratives, author Joel Peckham explores the transformative power of emotional and physical pain from the vantage point of a husband and parent who lost his wife and a child in an accident that left him in chronic distress. Along the way, he fills a need for a...
WASHINGTON -- With a shrewdly calculated innocence, Judge Neil Gorsuch told a big fat lie at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Because it was a lie everyone expected, nobody called it that.
“There’s no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge,” Gorsuch said.
Gorsuch, the amiable veteran of many Republican campaigns, is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- President Trump might do the world a perverse favor. Voters in Western Europe appear to be looking at what America has brought upon itself and deciding: “We sure as heck don’t want to go there.”
Thus did the Netherlands slap back the ethno-nationalist far right in its elections last week. The forces of tolerance and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”
The novelist Anatole France’s mischievous observation came to mind when the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the Republican cut-taxes/gut-Medicaid bill and its ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- For opponents of President Trump, his first seven weeks in office went about as badly for the country as they expected. The pleasant surprise is their own capacity for resistance and political resilience. What some feared might be a Trump Juggernaut is instead the Trump Jalopy, a wheezing, unsightly contraption with grinding gears ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- We shouldn’t blithely move on to other matters until we deal with the institutional carnage inflicted upon us by Donald Trump.
The current president of the United States has accused former president Barack Obama of committing a felony by having him wiretapped. But Trump refuses to offer a shred of evidence for perhaps the most ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump shows us what happens when a healthy skepticism about politics gives way to a debilitating cynicism.
If democratic citizens come to see all politicians as liars, then lying can become the new norm. And those who regard their domestic political opponents as the greatest threat to the nation have little problem ...Read more
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The obsession with Donald Trump’s ability to spend one hour in a disciplined relationship with a teleprompter obscured one of his central goals on Tuesday night: He continued to try to scare the country to death.
Yes, he lived up to media expectations that he would finally attempt to look “presidential” and that ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Just when you despair that only chaos animates the Trump administration, along comes Steve Bannon, the White House ideologue, to offer the Rosetta Stone illuminating what this circus is all about.
And when you realize what Trump & Co. might really be up to, your despair turns to alarm.
There is no way of knowing how much ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The most striking aspect of the vast and swiftly organized movement against Donald Trump is how little it had to do with the Democratic Party. Whoever is elected to chair the Democratic National Committee this weekend should draw two conclusions from this, and they are in tension.
First, the anti-Trump effort, while broadly ...Read more
NEW YORK -- We buried one of my heroes on Friday. She was my mother-in-law.
In the case of Helen Boyle, hero might be a form of understatement. Rather than begin with gushing words and bloated adjectives, permit me to recite just a few facts about her 85 years on this earth.
She lost her father at age 5, and learned of his death from a kid on ...Read more
NEW YORK -- Let’s not mumble or whisper about the central issue facing our country: What is this democratic nation to do when the man serving as president of the United States plainly has no business being president of the United States?
The Michael Flynn fiasco was the entirely predictable product of the indiscipline, deceit, incompetence ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Steve Bannon disrupted American politics and helped elect Donald Trump as president. Will he disrupt the Roman Catholic Church by joining forces with right-wing Catholics who oppose Pope Francis?
Bannon’s dark vision contrasts sharply with the sunny disposition of a pope who has chided “sourpusses” and “querulous and ...Read more