Politics, Moderate



We're coming to the season for porch talk

CAMDEN, S.C. -- With the arrival of spring and the advance of summer, American life shifts toward the porch -- at least for those lucky enough to have a sheltered outdoor space, preferably attached to the front or back of one's home.

That all people seem to love a porch and the conversations and activities that transpire there, it's a wonder ...Read more

It is finished

WASHINGTON -- Good Friday provided the language for a week that began with the terrible fire at Notre Dame Cathedral and ended with the long-awaited Mueller report: Jesus' final words before perishing on the cross: "It is finished!"

The fires have been extinguished and the great cathedral's two towers still stand. After nearly two years, ...Read more

Trump's banal tweet about tankers of water banal to the extreme

WASHINGTON -- At least he recognized the urgency.

As the world gasped in horror at the sight of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral burning in a cataclysmic moment, the president of the United States imparted these words of wisdom: "Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!"

Well, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Could we ...Read more

How will we deal with the Julian Assange problem?

WASHINGTON -- They say that guests are like fish; after three days they become a bit whiffy. By this measure, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange smelled like an overladen fishing vessel adrift in the searing sun.

Upon his arrest Thursday by British authorities, ending his nearly seven-year asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, revelations ...Read more

Whither the philosopher-president?

WASHINGTON -- In his most famous dialogue, "The Republic," Plato, via Socrates, explored the idea that a just state would best function under the leadership of a perfectly just philosopher-king.

That is, an intellectually curious person who pursues knowledge, is intelligent, reliable and wise, and embraces the simple life. To test the ...Read more

Kiss me, kiss me not

CAMDEN, S.C. -- At a recent brunch here preceding the Carolina Cup steeplechase race, the host gave me a gift of hometown recognition and, though we are friends, extended his right hand as I approached him.

As the gathering looked on, I ignored his hand and gave him a warm hug, which he returned. It was a natural thing for me to do because I'm ...Read more

Can I call ya Jo(k)e?

WASHINGTON -- It may be a truism-in-the-making that one's political career is over when, as a candidate, you must first apologize for your sex and race, which can mean only one thing: Young or old, you're a white guy.

Heaven forbid you should also be long of tooth and taupe of hair.

The Old White Men meme, usually used to describe the ...Read more

Surprised by the conclusion? Shocked? Hardly

WASHINGTON -- Cathartic, it was not.

The relentlessly plodding Mueller report finally ended after a 22-month whodunit that climaxed to the sound of pffft.

There is no evidence of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign, special counsel Robert Mueller concluded. But, just in case Democrats needed a crumb to ...Read more

Too rich to run in 2020

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump has given success a bad name.

That is, the president's much-boasted-about wealth has soured many Americans' taste for even the Horatio Alger bootstrapping stories. These days, as income inequality has become a leitmotif of Democratic politics, being rich is a liability.

So, who's too rich for democracy these days? ...Read more

Hasta luego, Beto

WASHINGTON -- It must be a grown-up thing, but every time I see Beto O'Rourke, I want to fix him a hamburger. He's precious.

And, if my eyes serve me, he's hungry.

Call it maternal instinct; call it age. But, let's call the Texas Democrat's nascent presidential campaign what it is: a youthful folly. If only the media machine weren't already ...Read more

Thank you, Bubba and Tuck

WASHINGTON -- Some days you wake up and think, "Nope, not getting up." I call these column days. Then, there are those other times when you practically hurl yourself from the sheets in a grande jete because: Bubba the Love Sponge and Tucker Carlson.

I call these proof of the deity.

Bubba is a radio shock jock in Tampa, Florida. And, Carlson, ...Read more

Don't tell Martha McSally she can't

WASHINGTON -- Last December, I asked a question related to Martha McSally as she was about to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the late John McCain: "What more could you want in a senator?"

Having known McSally during her two terms in the House of Representatives, I was impressed with her spunk and courage, as demonstrated during her 26 ...Read more

Yes, Virginia, it's offensive

WASHINGTON -- When Virginia first lady Pam Northam handed out raw cotton last month to African-American students on a governor's mansion tour and asked them to imagine being slaves picking the crop, she inspired a whirlwind.

What in the world was she thinking?

Northam quickly apologized after one of the students' mothers complained, but it was...Read more

There's lies, damned lies -- and Donald Trump

WASHINGTON -- If he were alive today, Mark Twain might say the following: "There's lies, damned lies -- and Donald Trump." The president of the United States not only lies routinely, but he believes other people's lies without a modicum of skepticism.

This past week, the liar in question was North Korean President Kim Jong Un, who claimed to ...Read more

Drafting women to end all wars

WASHINGTON -- Last week, a district court judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for only men to have to register with the Selective Service, opening the possibility that women might also have to register.

The ruling may be fair in principle, but does it make sense? Would a universal draft best serve the security of the United States? Or ...Read more

The MAGA curse

WASHINGTON -- Humans do the strangest things.

In two recent why-dunits, the curious have wondered why: (1) a successful TV star would allegedly orchestrate a fake, hate-inspired attack on himself, and (2) a Coast Guard officer would allegedly plot a mass-murder attack on American Democrats and journalists.

In the first instance, prosecutors ...Read more

Our political identity needs to be American first

WASHINGTON -- There's identity -- and then there's identity politics. The difference between them may well be the crux of our next presidential election.

Identity is, obviously, who we are -- the sum of our sex, race, religion (or lack thereof), experiences and heritage. Identity is essential to our sense of self, our relationship to others and...Read more

The three amigas

WASHINGTON -- By the Republican response to the three most-famous Democratic freshmen in Congress -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC) of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan -- you'd think these women were Shakespeare's Three Witches rather than the three amigas seen chumming and laughing in countless photographs.

...Read more

Bezos v. Pecker: A complexifying situation

WASHINGTON -- As stories go, the face-off between Jeff Bezos and David Pecker (paging Charles Dickens) has all the elements of a 21st-century battle royale between good and evil, represented by the richest man in the world, who happens to own The Washington Post, and the pied piper of sleaze, respectively.

Thank you, God.

Such is the stuff of ...Read more

Yearbook politics of the once young and foolish

WASHINGTON -- In 1983, just before winning a third term as Louisiana's governor, Edwin Edwards famously said the only way he could lose the race was "if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy."

Presumably, no one checked his yearbook.

Given today's mounting pressure on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign due to a photo in ...Read more


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