Politics, Moderate





The GOP’s Top Priority is in Trouble

Despite Republican control of the White House and both houses of Congress, the party’s top priority -- sharp, deep, down-to-the-bone tax cuts -- is in trouble.

And the chaos over the Obamacare repeal is largely to blame.

Tax cuts (specifically, tax cuts for corporations and the rich) may be the only thing that Republican moderates and more ...Read more

For the Trump Administration, An Operatic Start

AMSTERDAM -- Many people do crazy things in middle age. I decided to write the libretto for an opera about Niccolo Machiavelli. It’s called “The New Prince,” premiering here this weekend at the Dutch National Opera.

When I began work on this project in 2014 with composer Mohammed Fairouz, the possibility that Donald Trump would be ...Read more

206 Pivot Counties Voted Twice for Obama Then Switched to Trump

There are 3,088 counties in America and only 206 of them voted for the winner in each of the last three presidential elections. In other words, these Pivot Counties voted twice for President Obama before switching sides to vote for President Trump in 2016.

The Pivot Counties had an outsized impact on the election results. Despite casting only...Read more

Hispanics Show a Diversity of Opinion --Iincluding on Trump’s Border Wall

CHICAGO -- There was a moment in the now-defunct Fox animated sitcom “Bordertown” when the protagonist, a Mexican immigrant named Ernesto Gonzalez, rails against newcomers.

Ernesto, a successful landscape business owner, is bemoaning unlawful immigrants sidestepping a newly built border wall to move in and take his lawn-mowing jobs when all...Read more

Mattis and Tillerson, Secretaries of Stabilization

WASHINGTON -- The House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday marked the end of the opening installment of “The President,” the must-watch reality/horror show that has transfixed the nation and the world. Now the plotline gets more serious, perhaps darker, with some new characters likely to emerge in key national-security roles.

...Read more

Neil Gorsuch Steals the Week

WASHINGTON -- Watching the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, one might easily find oneself wishing he were president of the United States.

Alas, he’s not. But Gorsuch’s selection to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia is the sanest act committed by a president whose first 60 days have left him with an ...Read more

Waiting for the Bottom to Drop Out

WASHINGTON -- The uncertain future of Obamacare isn’t just wreaking havoc for insurers, hospitals and other companies in the health care ecosystem.

It’s paralyzing the lives of millions of regular Americans, too.

These are people who have made major, hard-to-reverse life decisions contingent on the health care system we have today -- ...Read more

President Tightwad makes out like a bandit

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

President Donald Trump is a very rich man.

Don't take my word for it, take his.

"I'm really rich," he said when he announced his presidential run.

"I've made billions of billions of dollars making deals all over the world," he said at a presidential debate.

A financial disclosure report for Trump said his net worth is "in excess of 10 ...Read more

Making Medicaid Great

WASHINGTON -- It’s time to take control of Medicaid before it takes control of us. Unless we act -- and there is little evidence that we will -- Medicaid increasingly becomes another mechanism by which government skews spending toward the old and away from the young. In the raging debate over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), this is a ...Read more

Death by a Thousand Cuts

WASHINGTON -- From Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen” to Donald Trump’s “Detroit single mom,” the unmarried mother remains a constant fascination to Republicans wielding budget-cutting scalpels.

Whereas Reagan was propagating a stereotype of the fraudulent abuser of public largesse when he popularized the term in 1976, framing welfare ...Read more

Put Down Your Device and Try Talking with Someone

CHICAGO -- Voices from all walks of life are uniting to spread the word about the importance of getting back to more face-to-face conversations and fewer “likes” and tweets.

The rebellion against our addictions to the smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and activity trackers that avert our gazes from people’s faces, crosswalks or the ...Read more

Republican Plan: Help the Poor Get Poorer

WASHINGTON -- Sorry, poor people of America. Republicans are quietly sealing all the exits on the poverty trap.

It’s a four-part process, in which officials at all levels of government are taking part:

First, reduce poor women’s access to the reproductive services they need to prevent unintended pregnancies, so they have less control over ...Read more

The Next Big Threat: War in Space

WASHINGTON -- Among the memorabilia in Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein’s office is a fragment of the Wright brothers’ first airplane. But the most intriguing items may be two small plastic satellites on sticks that can be maneuvered to simulate a dogfight in space.

Space is now a potential battle zone, Goldfein explains in an ...Read more

To See Future of Auto Industry, Look Away From Washington

One fact consistently forgotten by political activists is that politicians don't lead the nation, they lag behind. The culture and technology lead us forward.

A great example is the automobile industry. While regulations have a big impact in the short term, reality is ultimately driven by other factors. For example, when the price of gas ...Read more

Despite How the Census Bureau Now Treats It, ‘Hispanic/Latino’ is Not a Race

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Census Bureau has been experimenting with alternate versions of the race and ethnicity section of its National Content Test Research Study. The bureau hopes that by the next census in 2020, it can more accurately tally Hispanics and other newly prominent minority groups.

Basically, the bureau found in its recently released ...Read more

Hacking is the Digital World’s Oldest Profession

WASHINGTON -- WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange’s revelation last week of the CIA’s arsenal of hacking tools had a misplaced tone of surprise, a bit like Claude Raines’ famous line in “Casablanca”: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

The hacking community, of which WikiLeaks and the CIA’s ...Read more

Yelling Racist in a Crowded Nation

WASHINGTON -- “Culture and demographics are our destiny.” Stop.

But Iowa Rep. Steve King didn’t stop there. He continued to feed his foot deep into his gullet: “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

Well, now. Let’s pause to parse.

First, one never speaks of “somebody else’s babies” except to ...Read more

Rep. Steve King Shows it's Time to Deport Certain White Men

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

It's never easy to be a truth-teller, but as a white man I feel it necessary to say what many in this country are thinking: It's time to start deporting certain white men.

Not all of them, of course. Some are quite good.

But people like Iowa Rep. Steve King have got to go -- for the good of our culture, our demographics and our civilization.

...Read more

The ‘Trumpcare’ Trap

WASHINGTON -- What we learned from the latest “score” by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) of Obamacare and the Trump administration’s “repeal and replace” plan is what we should have known all along.

To wit:

If people have health insurance, they will use more health services -- visits to doctors’ offices, more tests, ...Read more

The Trump Administration Dons a Tinfoil Hat

Time to trade in those red #MAGA caps, Trumpkins. If you want your headgear to fit in with the latest White House fashions, invest in some tinfoil.

From top to bottom, this administration has been infested with conspiracy theorists. Most appear to be true believers. Take Stephen K. Bannon and his anxieties about the “deep state,” or the ...Read more