WASHINGTON -- Stranger things have happened in American politics, but the sudden surge of Democratic/Populist Bernie Sanders and Republican/Pompulist Donald Trump puts one in mind of alternate universes.
And I don't mean Miss Universes.
Both men are holding second place in some polls behind Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, respectively. And both ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- First-term first ladies are often shadows to their more-important husbands, dabbling in lite fare to avoid criticism and picking safe projects to shield them and their families from the inevitable slings and arrows.
The safest bet has been to keep interests close to hearth and home -- the universally approved place and role of ...Read more
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- By all appearances Friday morning, as thousands lined the street waiting (and wilting) for hours in 90-degree heat to enter the funeral arena where President Obama was to deliver a eulogy for state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, racial unity seemed a comfortable fact of life.
For many, no doubt, it is. And numerous conversations ...Read more
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Even as hundreds formed a human heart in Marion Square near Mother Emanuel Church, retailers and city residents were a little nervous about President Obama's arrival here Friday.
I say: "It's wonderful the way Charleston has come together."
They say: "Just hope it stays that way."
For shopkeepers along King Street, the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In a historic moment, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called late yesterday for removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the Statehouse grounds.
It was the right thing to do and, to many of us, long overdue.
Whatever arguments have been offered in the past for its prominent placement on government property, the massacre of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Unspeakable, unimaginable, incomprehensible and unthinkable are the words we've heard and used to describe the horrific murders of nine African-Americans as they prayed in a Charleston, South Carolina, church, shot by a hate-filled racist on a genocidal purge.
These are all we can summon to describe an event that is not human. The...Read more
WASHINGTON -- If anyone should be feeling an overwhelming sense of Groundhog Day this presidential election, c'est moi.
Frankly, I've been covering Bushes for so long, I feel like I ought to be parachuting out of airplanes. In fact, the arc of my career parallels the so-called Bush Dynasty, beginning in 1980 when I was a young reporter for the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It had a familiar ring: "I don't ever know what people's motives are," said former President Bill Clinton, prompting one to pause and consider just what the definition of "motives" is.
Indeed, one doesn't ever know. But when a country or a firm gives large sums of money to a charity founded by a former U.S. president, whose wife ...Read more
Charlie's TripsJack Felson
A futuristic and absurd version of The Wizard of OZ: a freak tornado snatches up a Midwesterner teenage soldier, who's hurled into space-time and ends up 21 years later, on the West Coast. He's found on a beach, alive but unconscious. As he emerges from a 3-day coma, he...
WASHINGTON -- Video imagery doesn't get much worse than a white police officer throwing an African-American girl in a bikini to the ground, kneeling on her back as she cries, and drawing his gun on other teens.
What in God's name is wrong with our cops?
I should say, what was wrong with McKinney, Texas, police Cpl. Eric Casebolt, the officer ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Barring a terror strike or an Ebola outbreak to distract us, the 2016 presidential election seems headed for a gender identity showdown.
Within days of Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover photo, Republican presidential candidates were being asked to comment, while conservative pundits were warning of a political apocalypse.
WASHINGTON -- It wasn't quite "Call me Ishmael," but "Call me Caitlyn" made a whale of a splash.
One could hardly find a news channel the past couple of days that wasn't touting the former Bruce Jenner for her courageous transgender metamorphosis or admiring her "gorgeous" new look.
Within moments of the release of Vanity Fair's July cover ...Read more
Washington -- Several years ago, I heard Republican strategist Karl Rove give a most eloquent answer to a question about his faith, rendered here from memory:
Faith is a gift that, unfortunately, I have not received.
I feel the same way about reality shows.
Whatever was given to the millions who delight in reality TV was not received ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- One can understand why The Weekly Standard's William Kristol would try to nullify Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, but smearing all baby boomers in the process seems a stretch of veracity in the service of a blank page.
In the June 1 issue of the conservative magazine he co-founded, Kristol writes that we've had enough ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Because so many Republicans want to be president -- or at least pretend they do -- debate organizers have decided to eliminate the least popular from the stage based on how they rank in the latest national polls.
Fox News, which is hosting the first televised debate Aug. 6, and CNN, host of the second on Sept. 16, have come up ...Read more
Trigger warning: This column will include discussion of ideas that may conflict with your own.
WASHINGTON -- Those accustomed to reading or listening only to liberal commentators may not be aware of "trigger warnings" and "safe zones" on college campuses.
It seems that mostly conservative sites and writers are concerned with the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- You know we're off to the races when the first slip of the tongue by the presumed Republican presidential front-runner consumes the news for days and launches the primary race in earnest.
Even if the presumed front-runner hasn't officially announced his candidacy yet.
Jeb Bush's first, second, third and fourth answers to the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It is nearly axiomatic that presidential contests tend to shine a harsh light on conservative Christians -- inasmuch as they are viewed as the Republican Party's base and are, therefore, deemed fair game.
Of course, religious folks come in a variety of stripes, checks and polka dots. Many are Democrats. But it is the members of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The recent spectacle of Pamela Geller, the erstwhile journalist who organized a provocative Prophet Muhammad cartoon-drawing contest in Texas, gives pause to even the most passionate defenders of the First Amendment.
Not since Westboro Baptist Church's "God Hates Fags" message -- and Florida's Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones -- ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Comments about recent events in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray provide a glimpse at perhaps one of our greatest challenges -- perception.
In this case, as in too many others involving police, perception seems to be black and white.
"I think that if you look at what's happened over the course of the last year, you ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The life of the wife of a presidential candidate can sometimes be like the government. Taxing.
You wake up and blink through that first cup of coffee, trying to register that the Politico headline blaring "How Rand Paul blew it on Baltimore" is about your husband.
Did Rand go to Baltimore? What did he blow?
Paul the ...Read more