WASHINGTON -- You have perhaps heard the joke about the liberal who is so open-minded that he can't even take his own side in an argument.
What's less funny is that on gun control, liberals (and their many allies who are moderate, conservative and non-ideological) have been told for years that if they do take their own side in the argument, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The surest sign a political regime is failing is its inability to do anything about a problem universally seen as urgent and that has some obvious remedies. And it's a mark of political corruption when unaccountable cliques block solutions that enjoy broad support and force their selfish interests to prevail over the common good.
WOOSTER, Ohio -- The split in American politics we may be missing is not left vs. right or pro-Trump vs. anti-Trump but normality vs. the Trump-inspired Washington circus.
If the doings in the nation's capital seem strange when you are there, they look positively lunatic at any distance from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
First, the entire White ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It's not easy being on the moderate left these days. Politicians and activists committed to defending both liberal democracy and a practical, socially generous approach to government find themselves constantly torn between short-term imperatives and long-term hopes.
This was brought home last week by two very different political ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Military parades, "treasonous" opponents -- do you sense a pattern here?
President Trump is such a master of the politics of distraction that everything he says and does is assumed to be a diversion from something more important, the Russia collusion issue above all.
It's certainly true that in Trump's exotic circus of scandal ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The autocratic leader lies and then falsely charges his opponents with lying. He politicizes institutions that are supposed to be free of politics by falsely accusing his foes of politicizing them. He victimizes others by falsely claiming they are victimizing him.
The autocrat also counts on spineless politicians to cave in to his...Read more
WASHINGTON -- President Trump leaned heavily on the stories of American heroes in his State of the Union address Tuesday night because he didn't have much else to say. From the Coast Guard, the fire departments, the shop floor and many other quarters they came, providing structural support for a flabby speech that was one of the least ...Read more
HONOLULU -- Gov. David Ige, who speaks in the quietly measured way of his engineering profession, likes to tout everything Hawaii is doing to battle climate change.
He lights up about the state's Early College initiative that allows high school students to take enough college courses to earn associate degrees along with their secondary school ...Read more
The lesson of the government shutdown is that it's really rotten to be the side with almost no power. If power corrupts, powerlessness leads to paralyzing recriminations.
Among Democrats, neither progressives nor moderates have fully come to terms with the box the party is in. If they continue to put their internal quarrels above finding a ...Read more
TROY, Mich. -- Episodes of congressional disarray feed an ideologically loaded narrative that government is hopelessly incompetent and can never be counted on to do much that is useful.
Even if President Trump and the Republicans ultimately come to bear the burden for Washington's disarray, episodes of this sort bolster the standard ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- If you are appalled by the chaos, division and meanness of the Trump presidency, if you are tired of the lies he and his apparatchiks tell, take heart. Most of your fellow Americans feel the same way.
There is a condescending habit in the nation's capital of seeing voters as detached and indifferent to the day-to-day workings of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- There is a reason bipartisan government is so hard these days. It's not because "both parties" are intransigent or because "both parties" have moved to the "extremes." It's because what were once widely seen as moderate, commonsense solutions are pushed off the table by a far right that defines compromise as acquiescence to its ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The most astonishing aspect of the response to Michael Wolff's book is that anyone is surprised. President Trump's unfitness for office was obvious long before he was elected. Once he moved into the White House, the destructive chaos of his administration was there for all to see. Future historians will scratch their heads to ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Can our government function normally when President Trump tweets about his "button" being bigger than that of an armed adversary? Can there be business as usual when the word "insane" is being applied with increasing frequency to his actions, and when one of his most loyal supporters has called a meeting between Russian operatives ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- With New Year's resolutions and almost everything else in life, it's essential -- and often extremely difficult -- to set priorities. This applies especially to politics, now dominated by the provocations and outrages that emanate daily from President Trump and his White House.
In 2018, Trump's abuses of power, his indifference to...Read more
My New Year's wish is for the health and resurgence of democracy. What follows is a slightly edited version of a morning prayer I offered last month at the Appleton Chapel of the Memorial Church at Harvard University.
Let us say a prayer for democracy. But let us do more than pray. Let's ask ourselves what it means to live by a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- When you ponder what Christmas celebrates, the holiday's claim is staggering.
N. T. Wright, the widely read biblical scholar and former Anglican bishop, captures its import by noting that the Gospels do not cast Jesus as "parachuting down from a great height to dispense solutions to all problems nor zapping everything into shape ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- December 20, 2017, will live on as a day of disgrace and dishonor.
It will be remembered as the date when a government of, by and for the people became a government of, by and for wealthy campaign donors -- and of, by and for wealthy Republican politicians themselves.
We thought the corruption, self-dealing and social ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The tax bill the GOP is trying to foist on the country is not only an unfair and deficit-bloating hodgepodge written on the fly. It is also deeply corrupt. No matter how much they wring their hands ahead of time, all Republicans who vote for this bill will be joining their party's festival of corruption.
Corruption is not a word ...Read more
Alabama. Who knew it would become one of the most beautiful words in American politics?
It turns out there could have been no better place to test the limits of indecency, the limits of Trumpism, the limits of Republican partisanship and, yes, the limits of racial subjugation. If the angry ideology of the far right cannot make it in one of our ...Read more