I can testify from a lifetime of personal experience that practice does not really make perfect. Since the presidency of Harry Truman, during which I had the honor of being the youngest altar boy in St. Francis Xavier Parish to serve the standing-room-only midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, I have been a practicing and manifestly imperfect Catholic...Read more
It's a safe bet that when President Donald J. Trump was a younger man, he never read "To Kill A Mockingbird," Harper Lee's American classic about a young child's awakening to racial prejudice in a sleepy little town in the pre-civil rights South. The admirable Atticus Finch teaches his young daughter, Scout, about empathy, saying: "You never ...Read more
As was wisely observed inside the world of renowned philosopher Peter Pan, "All this has happened before, and it will all happen again." Never is that more true than when American voters choose our presidential nominees. Recall 1976, when, after the criminality, corruption and involuntary resignation of President Richard M. Nixon -- arguably the...Read more
In a scene in the 1933 film "Duck Soup," the character played by Chico, the most underrated of the funny Marx Brothers, is dressed like another character, and when the other man leaves the room, the woman who remains is surprised to see Chico. She tells him she saw him leave. Chico's response remains a classic in the annals of truth evasion: "...Read more
Benjamin Disraeli, a 19th-century British prime minister and writer, shrewdly advised that to be a successful political leader, a man (even though it was the Victorian era, it was still a man's game) must first know himself and then know and understand the times in which he lives.
Whether would-be national leaders can pass the Disraeli test ...Read more
Thanks to President Donald Trump's 2017 tax cuts, we learned this week from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, an additional $2.3 trillion (with a "t") will be added to our national debt over the next decade. Soon, for the only time since World War II, nearly three-quarters of a century ago, the nation's debt -- what we and our ...Read more
Alan Baron, who was a wise and witty man of politics, used to tell this true story to remind those who worked in politics like he did that in some election years, the outcome is determined by events and forces completely beyond any candidate's or her campaign's control.
As a 21-year-old, Baron was managing in his heavily Republican hometown of ...Read more
After Election Day in 1964, when Lyndon B. Johnson won a landslide victory over Republican Barry Goldwater and Democrats procured a 68-32 majority in the Senate, the Democratic Caucus of the U.S. Senate met in private. Rightly confident -- they now had the numbers needed to pass Medicare, Medicaid and the Voting Rights Act -- euphoric Senate ...Read more
We have serious shortages of jobs, dollars in the federal treasury and registered nurses. But when it comes to polls, there is not only no shortage; there is a glut. Every cable news show, weekly Neighborhood Shopper, AM radio station and news website seems to have its very own public opinion poll. Humorist Bob Orben once asked: "Did you ever ...Read more
On Sept. 26, 1960, when Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy and his Republican opponent, Richard Nixon, met in the first ever nationally televised presidential debate -- watched or listened to live by some 60 percent of adult Americans -- there were no overnight polls or sophisticated voter focus groups to tell the press or the public who had won...Read more