WASHINGTON -- Forty-five years after Roe v. Wade was decided, the right to abortion that the Supreme Court discerned remains controversial and disputed.
The expectation of legal abortion is deeply embedded in American law and practice. Many states were lifting restrictions on the procedure even before Roe. Justice Blackman's landmark decision ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Sometimes it is necessary to begin with the obvious. The claim that America needs more Norwegian migrants and fewer Africans from "sh-thole countries" is racist. It is not the same as arguing for a higher-skilled immigrant pool. That argument might go something like: "We need a higher-skilled immigrant pool."
President Trump, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- White House staffers have two general objectives: to serve the president and to please the president. The two do not always coincide.
I can recall, as a policy adviser to President George W. Bush, sending him articles and columns (including some by Nicholas Kristof) savaging the administration's reaction to the unfolding Darfur ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Because of President Trump's absence of downward loyalty, his elevation of the morally impaired and his encouragement of staff factionalism, his administration will produce any number of damaging memoirs and leak-filled exposes. Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" is the latest in this genre, but surely not the last.
Yet what is most ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Though events in Iran are murky, their direction is historic.
The Iranian regime -- which has made a project of destabilizing others through terrorism and regional adventurism -- has been revealed as deeply unstable. Many Iranian citizens thought that the election of the "moderate" Hassan Rouhani as president would bring more ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "I, Tonya" is a movie that is, in places, very difficult to watch. But it is also impossible to look away.
This biopic about the briefly famous, then infamous Tonya Harding has offended some reviewers by putting child abuse and domestic violence in close proximity to comedy. But it would be difficult to tell Harding's story ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- One of the odder moments of the Christmas narrative -- often left out of pageants and children's storybooks -- is when Mary encounters Simeon at the temple. He is described as a devout man, but he is not a particularly cheery one. "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel," Simeon tells Mary. "And a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Vice President Mike Pence's obsequiousness at a recent Cabinet meeting -- "Thank you for seeing through the course of this year an agenda that is truly restoring this country ... " and on, and on -- might be appropriate at a Communist Party Central Committee meeting, or at a despot's birthday party. But it is not the language of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- A president with no concern for veracity or consistency has assured us he is not considering the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This does not make the prospect even marginally less remote. And it has done little to inhibit the attempt by some conservatives to discredit the investigation.
On a move against Mueller and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I find myself wandering in an unfamiliar place. As a pro-life conservative, I am honestly happy -- no, positively elated -- that pro-choice Democrat Doug Jones won Alabama's Senate election.
It is an odd position for me, and a complicated one. This change may impose costs to causes I care about. And Democrats did not make my shift...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Winston Churchill biopic "Darkest Hour" is a movie that should be seen, but not entirely believed. Gary Oldman's alternately fierce and vulnerable Churchill is a triumph of both acting and the cosmetician's art. Just hearing him deliver snippets of Churchill's speeches is worth the ticket price. (Am I the only one who tears up ...Read more
"'All this will I give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.'"
-- Matthew 4:9
WASHINGTON -- The prospect of Sen. Roy Moore has been both horrifying and clarifying. It would be difficult to design a more controlled, precise test of the moral gag reflex in politics.
In this political lifeboat dilemma, Republicans are ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Some political moments are like an X-ray -- revealing down to the bone.
Here were Senate Republicans, poised for their first (and only) real legislative victory of the year. Tax overhaul, they knew, would be their main shot at shaping public perceptions of the GOP in the Trump era. The bill they were in the process of passing was...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I am not in the "ignore President Trump's tweets because they are a distraction from important things" camp. His most recent micro-harangues -- accusing (without evidence) a news executive of wrongdoing, hinting that a television host may have been involved in murder and embracing the debunked anti-Muslim rantings of Britain's alt-...Read more
WASHINGTON -- America is currently cursed, not only with tribal politics, but with tribal morality. Some liberals tend to minimize or excuse offenses against a few women in the broader cause of women's rights. What is a politician's wandering hand in comparison to maintaining legal abortion? Some conservatives tend to minimize or excuse offenses...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Even in a political season of routine marvels, few developments are more spectacularly incongruous than this: America has seen a swift, dramatic shift in attitudes toward sexual harassment with Donald Trump as president.
It is sometimes assumed (including by me) that the presidency sets a moral tone for the nation, influencing ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I spent part of my convalescence from a recent illness reading some of the comprehensive timelines of the Russia investigation (which indicates, I suppose, a sickness of another sort). One, compiled by Politico, runs to nearly 12,000 words -- an almost book-length account of stupidity, cynicism, hubris and corruption at the highest...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Political commentators are supposed to be somewhat objective and analytical when it comes to tracking trends. In that spirit, I find the polling snapshot of President Trump at one year since his election to be interesting -- if "interesting" is defined as a downward spiral of polarization, pettiness and prejudice that threatens the...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Let's assume, just for a moment, that the great political leaders of the past were not cynical, deluded or deceptive when they talked about morality and religion. Let's posit that, at least in some instances, they were not just striking poses but making arguments.
Early in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his State of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- At our political costume ball, it is definitely '90s nostalgia night. A president obsessed with attacking all things Clinton stands accused of serial sexual harassment, sends out underlings to dismiss the accusers as liars, condemns a federal investigation as a politically motivated fraud and is attempting to destroy the reputation...Read more