LAS VEGAS -- Nevada, which calls itself the "Battle Born State," actually was born prematurely because of Republicans' anxiety. Now, 152 years later, it again is a subject of their anxiety.
Entering 1864, Abraham Lincoln and his party were intensely, and reasonably, in doubt about his re-election. So, scrambling for every electorate vote, ...Read more
CHICAGO -- Seated in his office here, wearing neither a necktie nor a frown, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is remarkably relaxed for someone at the epicenter of a crisis now in its second year and with no end in sight. But, then, stress is pointless when the situation is hopeless. Besides, if you can ignore the fact that self-government is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Like shipwrecked mariners clinging to a floating mast, many Republicans rationalize supporting Donald Trump because of "the court." This two-word incantation means: Because we care so much for the Constitution, it is supremely important to entrust to Trump the making of Supreme Court nominations. Well.
In a Republican candidates ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In the 1870s, when Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall controlled New York City, and in the 1950s and 1960s, when Chicago's Democratic machine was especially rampant, there was a phenomenon that can be called immunity through profusion: Fresh scandals arrived with metronomic regularity, so there was no time to concentrate on any of them. The...Read more
WASHINGTON -- To gauge the opportunism and hypocrisy that define Donald Trump's Republican Party, consider this: Imagine the scalding rhetoric that would have boiled from the likes of Newt Gingrich, that Metternich of many green rooms, if Hillary Clinton had offhandedly undermined the collective security architecture of U.S. foreign policy since...Read more
PHILADELPHIA -- En route to fight one of his many duels, French politician Georges Clemenceau bought a one-way train ticket. Was he pessimistic? "Not at all. I always use my opponent's return ticket for the trip back." Some Hillary Clinton advisers, although not that serene, think her victory is probable and can be assured.
Her challenge is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Crucial political decisions often concern which bridges to cross and which to burn. Donald Trump's dilemma is that he burns some bridges by the way he crosses others. His campaign depends on a low-probability event, and on his ability to cause this event without provoking a more-than-equal and opposite reaction.
Extrapolating from...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Political conventions are echo chambers designed to generate feelings of invincibility, sending forth the party faithful with a spring in their steps and hope in their hearts. Who would want to be a wet blanket at such moveable feasts?
Steve Munisteri would. Although he calls himself "the eternal optimist," he respects reality, ...Read more
Flaherty's CrossingKaylin McFarren
Successful yet emotionally stifled artist Kate Flaherty stands at the deathbed of her estranged father, conflicted by his morphine-induced confession exposing his part in her mother's death. While racing home, Kate's car mishap leads her to a soul-searching discussion ...
WASHINGTON -- Neither the unanimous decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, nor China's rejection of it, was surprising. The timing of it was, however, as serendipitous as China's rejection is ominous. Coming as Republican delegates convene on Lake Erie's shore, the tribunal's opinion about the South China Sea underscores ...Read more
LOS ANGELES -- The mills of justice grind slowly, but life plunges on, leaving lives blighted when justice, by being delayed, is irremediably denied. Fortunately, California's Supreme Court might soon decide to hear -- four years after litigation began -- the 21st century's most portentous civil rights case, which concerns an ongoing denial of ...Read more
ST. LOUIS -- America's economy has now slouched into the eighth year of a recovery that demonstrates how much we have defined recovery down. The idea that essentially zero interest rates are, after seven and a half years, stimulating the economy "strains credulity," says James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. But last...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The report was so "seismic" -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan's word -- that Lyndon Johnson's administration released it on the Fourth of July weekend, 1966, hoping it would not be noticed. But the Coleman report did disturb various dogmatic slumbers and vested interests. And 50 years on, it is pertinent to today's political debates about...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The progressive drive to broadly define and thoroughly eradicate political "corruption" has corrupted politics. But discord is not altogether pandemic in Washington, and last week a unanimous Supreme Court, in this term's most important decision, limited the discretion prosecutors have to criminalize politics.
Former Virginia Gov....Read more
"See that little stream? We could walk to it in two minutes. It took the British a month to walk to it -- a whole empire walking very slowly, dying in front and pushing forward behind."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Tender Is The Night"
WASHINGTON -- The walk began at 7:30 a.m., July 1, 1916, when British infantry advanced toward German ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Leave campaign won the referendum on withdrawing Britain from the European Union because the arguments on which the Remain side relied made Leave's case. The Remain campaign began with a sham, was monomaniacal with its Project Fear, and ended in governmental thuggishness.
The sham was Prime Minister David Cameron's attempt to ...Read more
"There's an old adage about a vat of wine standing next to a vat of sewage. Add a cup of wine to the sewage, and it is still sewage. But add a cup of sewage to the wine, and it is no longer wine but sewage. Is this what Donald Trump has done to our politics?"
-- Martha Bayles, in the Claremont Review of Books
WASHINGTON -- Yes, as ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Months before the 1940 Republican convention nominated Wendell Willkie, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Theodore Roosevelt's waspish daughter, said that Willkie's support sprang "from the grass roots of a thousand country clubs." There actually was a Republican establishment in 1940, when GOP elites created a nominee ex nihilo.
WASHINGTON -- Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana and current president of Purdue University, knows that no one in the audience is there to hear a commencement speaker. When, however, he addressed his institution's class of 2016, it heard him distill into a few lapidary paragraphs a stance toward life that illuminates this political season...Read more
LONDON -- Of the fighting faiths that flourished during the ideologically drunk 20th century, anti-Semitism has been uniquely durable. It survives by mutating, even migrating across the political spectrum from the right to the left. Although most frequently found in European semi-fascist parties, anti-Semitism is growing in the fetid Petri dish ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Caligulan malice with which Donald Trump administered Paul Ryan's degradation is an object lesson in the price of abject capitulation to power. This episode should be studied as a clinical case of a particular Washington myopia -- the ability of career politicians to convince themselves that they and their agendas are of ...Read more