WASHINGTON -- This is the cost when institutions have lost public trust.
The United States Senate is supposed to be a deliberative body, protected by extended terms from contracting the political fevers of the day. This role assumes a certain level of competence, collegiality and goodwill among its members.
None of which has been ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It is difficult to comment on an unfolding news story, but this one demands it. It is hard to write about someone you know and like, especially concerning matters of character. But sometimes there is little choice.
In the case of Brett Kavanaugh vs. Christine Blasey Ford, the moral issues are not fuzzy or unclear. It is seriously ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- A surefire ideological Kool-Aid test? Those who think Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was wounded during his hearings have heavily imbibed.
Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee set out to prove that Kavanaugh is a mendacious political hack with the strategy of acting like mendacious political hacks. Sen. Cory ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Since the Council of Nicaea, Christians have been prone to issue joint statements that are designed to draw the boundaries of orthodoxy -- and cast their rivals beyond them. Another one, not quite in the same league, was recently issued by a group including John MacArthur, a prominent (and very conservative) evangelical pastor and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- One of the major problems with President Trump's impulsivity is its utter predictability.
A recent op-ed in The New York Times by an anonymous administration official accused the president of impetuous, reckless rants, and Trump responded with impetuous, reckless rants ("Treason?"). Bob Woodward's new book "Fear" recounts a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- One of the unpleasant surprises of your 50s (among many) is seeing the heroes and mentors of your 20s pass away. I worked for the late Chuck Colson, of Watergate fame, who became, through his work with prisoners, one of the most important social reformers of the 20th century. I worked for the late Jack Kemp, who inspired ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The presidency held by a cruel bigot. Many evangelical leaders parasitic on his power. The current and previous pope, along with a generation of bishops, implicated in the cover up of sexual abuse. Moral authority pulverized into dust.
This is the cynic's finest hour.
The unlikely symbol of this spiritual collapse is former ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Whatever day you are reading this, it is June 1973 in Washington. A lawyer close to the president has turned decisively and damagingly against him. Testifying before a Senate committee investigating the Watergate scandal, John Dean described a high-level cover-up, including the use of hush money, designed to influence the outcome ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The breakthrough Hollywood film about the Asian experience, told from an Asian perspective, featuring an Asian cast, could have been about the cruel exploitation of Chinese workers in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. It could have been about the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese laborers from the U.S. ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- From the beginning of the American republic, its founders obsessed about how it all would end. "Democracy never lasts long," said John Adams. "There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide."
George Washington used his farewell address to warn that partisan "factions" could tear the country apart. The Federalists ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- University of Chicago researchers -- who clearly have a lot of time on their hands -- have found that the use of certain brands and products is a good predictor of your level of affluence. This is an exercise in the obvious when it comes to a $1,000 iPhone. But the same proved true with Ziploc plastic bags, Kikkoman soy sauce and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It is more typical for a prospective defendant to admit nothing rather than publicly justify everything, but Donald Trump is an innovator. His practice of doubling down on errors while denying they are errors has worked to solidify his political base. We will soon see how it fares as a legal strategy.
Obstruction? "Attorney ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Passions on the left against Brett Kavanaugh are running high. But the main lines of argument against his confirmation to the Supreme Court have pretty much crumbled.
Hasn't the nominee promised to protect President Trump from legal accountability? Rubbish. Kavanaugh has argued that Congress should pass a law that would defer ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- One of the current complaints of the Trump right concerns the treatment given to Alex Jones by Facebook, which has temporarily banned the radio host for videos that violated "community standards." According to Lou Dobbs of the Fox Business Network, "freedom of speech [is] under attack." Fox News television personality Tucker ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In the early 1930s, one of America's leading eugenicists, Madison Grant, received a letter thanking him for writing his book "The Passing of a Great Race," which the letter's author called his "Bible." The compliment came from Adolf Hitler.
And no wonder. In "The Passing of a Great Race," Grant wrote: "Mistaken regard for what are...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I would not normally recommend a book on the history of the universe as beach reading. But David Christian's "Origin Story" is a welcome exception.
Christian has achieved something remarkable: an engaging guide to the physics, chemistry, biology, anthropology, linguistics and sociology that constitute the story of history itself. ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Setting aside the issue of whether the president is wittingly advancing the interests of a hostile power -- a qualification that is only imaginable in the Trump era -- what is happening to the direction of American foreign policy?
I'm on record saying that the collection of impulses, deceptions, assertions, retractions, revisions ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Defining a foreign policy theory that might merit the title of "doctrine" is difficult in the Trump administration, which is dismissive of reflection, consistency and precedent. But in practice, it is the replacement of national pride with personal vanity.
Any diplomatic outcome -- no matter how useless or harmful -- is claimed by...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is not known for its consistency, but some contradictions are too revealing to ignore.
In nominating Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, President Trump has chosen a jurist who is deeply committed to the Bill of Rights and the rule of law. Kavanaugh -- with whom I worked at the White House -- is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- There is always a secret relief -- even, I imagine, among his supporters -- when President Trump does not do something random and imprudent. And we can be thankful for the selection of a Supreme Court nominee that did not involve a Ouija board spelling out the name of a Fox News personality.
But this is one area in which even the ...Read more