Politics, Moderate



Cry Havoc, Followed by Milk & Cookies

WASHINGTON -- It would be easy to call protesting college students crybabies and brats for pitching hissy fits over hurt feelings, but this likely would lead to such torrents of tearful tribulation that the nation's university system would have to shut down for a prolonged period of grief counseling.

Besides, it would be insensitive.

Instead, ...Read more

Fear and Loathing in America

WASHINGTON -- We shouldn't be surprised that many Americans fear the fresh arrival of Syrian refugees in the wake of last week's Paris slaughter by jihadists, including at least one who appears to have entered Europe posing as a refugee.

It's pretty natural. Horrified by the savagery perpetrated on hundreds of civilians enjoying a Friday night,...Read more

True Trump

DES MOINES, Iowa -- You can't drive far in these parts without seeing Ben Carson on a billboard, looking more like a man of the cloth than of the operating room.

There's something vaguely beatific in that face and beaming smile. "Run Ben Run!" reads the text on one sign. The moviegoer's mind can't escape the immediate association.

"Run, ...Read more

Bushes Unleashed

WASHINGTON -- If the truth sets us free, then Bush family members should be warbling from rooftops.

At least one Bush, patriarch George H.W. Bush, has been singing his heart out with author Jon Meacham, whose biography of the 41st president will soon be released.

Early excerpts and reviews already have wags talking and tails wagging for more ...Read more

Channeling Cassandra

WASHINGTON -- As Republican presidential candidates debate the debates, roiling and railing against the unfairness of it all, campaigns have been busy rebooting candidates and crafting fresh slogans.

But whether Jeb can fix it, or Trump can build it, or Ben can cure it matters little in the global scheme of things. For globally we must think ...Read more

Clash of the Floridians

WASHINGTON -- Soon after Wednesday night's Republican debate, the phone rang: "Did the fat lady sing?" asked the voice on the other end.

"Probably," I said.

Meaning, it is probably over for Jeb Bush.

The erstwhile front-runner had performed weakly, which was compounded by his recent promise to shed his Mr. Nice Guy persona. Instead, he seemed...Read more

Jeb's Fight Club

WASHINGTON -- When all else is failing, reinvent yourself.

This is the new strategy of Jeb Bush's campaign. He's not going to be so nice anymore.

Emerging from a weekend confab with family and donors, Bush is ready to rumble, loaded for bear. He'll dance like a butterfly, sting like a ... WASP?

When Donald Trump goads him about his brother's ...Read more

Paging Sidney Blumenthal

WASHINGTON -- Who the blast is Sidney Blumenthal?

Doubtless many watching Thursday's House select committee hearing on Benghazi must have wondered the same. This obviously important person's name was mentioned so many times, it was challenging to remember that Hillary Clinton, not he, was the one on trial, for lack of a more-accurate word.

...Read more

Jeb, Jeb, Jeb

WASHINGTON -- It might be time for Katie Couric to ask Jeb Bush what he reads.

Not this column, obviously, where last May I sagely, if humbly, urged him to hug and then walk away from his brother, to whom he should refer to as President George W. Bush.


He can't seem to stop talking about the sibling who beat him to the White House. At ...Read more

A Woman in Full

WASHINGTON -- With the latest poll numbers tallied and political pundits having spoken, a consensus has emerged: Hillary Clinton won the first Democratic debate and, barring a Benghazi pinata exploding with revelations, has cinched the nomination.

Reasons cited for Clinton's superior performance have been well hashed by now. Her deft parrying ...Read more

The Sanders-Trump Magical Mystery Tour

WASHINGTON -- Barrels of ink and galaxies of pixels have been sacrificed to solving the mystery of the spectacular rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

People are angry. We get it. But there's more at work than mere frustration. We are at a philosophical hinge point that feels more acute than in elections past.

The equally irascible but ...Read more

Don't Do It, Paul Ryan

WASHINGTON -- The worst job in the world, it turns out, isn't the U.S. presidency but speaker of the House of Representatives.

"It's where you go to die," as one veteran Hill watcher put it to me.


In the wake of majority leader Kevin McCarthy's sudden withdrawal from his once-certain ascent to the speakership, several others are ...Read more

A Rose for Racial Reconciliation

OXFORD, Md. -- Long before there was a "Black Lives Matter" movement, there was Ruth Starr Rose -- an activist artist whose paintings nearly a century ago captured the dignity and spirit of America's black families at a time when stereotype and caricature prevailed.

It is fitting that an exhibition of her early 20th-century work should find its...Read more

The GOP (New) McCarthyism

WASHINGTON -- The lede to this column is a deep, guttural groan that originates in the throat and expands into the lungs before collapsing in the pit of the stomach.

How do you spell hmmmgrrrungh?

What else is there to say about House Republicans' inability to get something right? And I say this with compassion, I really do. Because ...Read more

The GOP Brat Pack

WASHINGTON -- The Republican Party's "Freedom Caucus," which has several less-charitable nicknames on Capitol Hill, is the dog that caught the car.

Now what?

Having (sort of) unseated Speaker John Boehner, these 37 or so uber-conservative House members are now scrambling for "a real leader."

Except that they aren't really because they have no...Read more

Yo 'Heart' El Papa

WASHINGTON -- "Oh, so you drank the Kool-Aid," my neighbor superciliously sneered from the stoop he occupies each afternoon to sip wine and critique people's parking skills on our beloved Olive Street.

I did, I confessed. I grabbed the pope's chalice, gulped it down and asked for more. It was magical. Palliative. Heavenly. For a few hours, I ...Read more

With Charity Toward Some

WASHINGTON -- In the spirit of charity prompted by Pope Francis' visit to the U.S., let's not call them bigots.

Let's just call them the clueless, the incurious, the moronic, the dull. In short, ignoramuses.

I refer to those Republican wits who unconscionably demonize a swath of Americans based on their religious views. Haven't we gone through...Read more

Money Quotes from GOP Contenders

WASHINGTON -- Sometimes what seems the least consequential detail tells the most about a person's character -- or at least his or her intentions.

Such was the case at the end of Wednesday's debate, the second for the GOP field of presidential candidates, with the "light" and irrelevant question of which woman's face they'd like to see on the $...Read more

Fairy Tales in Paradise

WASHINGTON -- Once upon a time in a twinkling city on a hill, little boys and girls were taught that anyone could grow up to become president.

The children all believed it and today many, many of them are trying to fulfill the promise. While it has been proved true that anyone really can become president, it has also been proved even more true ...Read more

Cretins and Squirrel Heads

WASHINGTON -- Some in the media were quick to dismiss Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's speech attacking Donald Trump as the opportunistic rant of a 1 percenter.

That is, as a presidential candidate whose poll rating hovers around 1 percent. The consensus was that Jindal was trying to hook his wagon to Trump's jet by calling him out, not to mention...Read more

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