Politics, Moderate



Repeal and regroup

WASHINGTON -- It wasn't quite a wicked-witch-is-dead Munchkin happy dance, but the white noise of foregone conclusions drowned out Republicans' relatively muted regret over their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

It was never gonna happen. Not no how.

Partly this is because the GOP version of reform would have first done harm to our ...Read more

Trump's unique gift to America

BANNER ELK, N.C. -- Even the least popular presidents sometimes do great things.

What might Donald Trump's great thing be? He has unified a divided nation.

He has brought Republicans and Democrats together as only just wars can. He's brought women, scientists, minorities, teachers, journalists, professors -- and no, they're not all liberal -- ...Read more

We were told there'd be dirt

WASHINGTON -- That quaking beneath your feet is from shock waves in Washington where tipping points are merging with other tipping points to create the Mother of All Tipping Points.

Not only did Donald Trump Jr. meet with a Russian attorney who, he was told, had damaging information about Hillary Clinton, but there are emails indicating that he...Read more

The Trump-media tiff goes trans-Atlantic

WASHINGTON -- Many American journalists and others correctly objected to President Trump's lambasting of the U.S. media in his speech Thursday in Poland, noting that his words were damaging to our international status and democracies around the world.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted that Trump "dilutes ...Read more

Punch-drunk Trump

WASHINGTON -- As the nation was preparing to celebrate its storied independence from the British crown, the president secured his place as history's greatest jester.

Or America's first toddler president. Take your pick.

Trump did so by tweeting a doctored video clip of himself from several years ago in which he takes down wrestling magnate ...Read more

Indecent overexposure

WASHINGTON -- For months, Trump watchers have wondered: What will it take?

Meaning: What would finally force Republicans to face the fact, so obvious to so many, that Donald Trump isn't quite right? Not in the correct sense but in the head sense.

The answer, apparently, is Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"This is not normal," people...Read more

What's ailing health care

WASHINGTON -- The Senate health care bill, which was scuttled Tuesday until after July 4, was doomed by two narratives: Republicans are mean, and poor people would be dropping like flies.

Assisting the opposition was none other than President Trump, who called the earlier version passed by the House "mean." Trump met with Senate Republicans ...Read more

President Jujitsu and the art of the bluff

WASHINGTON -- Five months into Donald Trump's administration, only the unwise doubt the president's intelligence.

Just ask former FBI Director James Comey, who, in addition to being fired by Trump, has been redefined by the president as a dishonest leaker who might have lied were it not for nonexistent tapes of their conversations.

Wait, what?...Read more

Can words be lethal?

WASHINGTON -- Words matter, journalists are fond of saying.

This comes lately in the context of presidential tweets that conceivably could have serious repercussions. Otherwise, we seem conflicted about how much words should matter when used in a potentially consequential way among everyday people.

Political correctness, or ignorance, ...Read more

Our new life in the dugout

WASHINGTON -- Kelley Paul had gone to bed Tuesday night as usual, with her cellphone set on "Do Not Disturb," except for family and close friends whose calls would always go through.

That's why, when Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul tried to reach his wife early Wednesday morning using a borrowed phone, the call went straight to voicemail. Paul had left...Read more

In his head, not ours

WASHINGTON -- In one of Walker Percy's brilliant novels, "The Second Coming," protagonist Will Barrett keeps falling down for no apparent reason. He also suffers trances during which he contemplates existential questions.

Barrett comes to mind in the era of Donald Trump.

I'm not falling down on the golf course yet, as Barrett did, but I ...Read more

Wishing for a Trump Twitterectomy

WASHINGTON -- "If only he would stop tweeting."

Those words came from a friend of mine named "Jack," quite possibly President Trump's biggest fan. A former secret service agent, Jack is your typical die-hard Trump supporter.

That is to say, he's a white, Christian male, married with two kids. He's honest, hardworking -- a true-blue patriot, ...Read more

Trump's accidental call to action

WASHINGTON -- A curious thing happened on President Trump's way out of the Paris climate accord. American mayors, governors, corporate leaders and others immediately committed to meeting the agreement's terms, anyway.

All politics is local, they say, and personal responsibility begins at home. Hasn't this always been one of the operating ...Read more

Family politics

WASHINGTON -- The great thing about hiring family members: You can usually trust them more than others.

The really awful thing about hiring family members: You can't fire them. Unless, of course, you're Michael Corleone. Poor Fredo.

It's no mere coincidence that "The Godfather" comes to mind when considering the nation's first family and ...Read more

When push comes to shove

WASHINGTON -- The shocking thing about Greg Gianforte's assault on a journalist isn't that he body-slammed and punched a reporter but that it took so long for the inevitable to occur.

Such an attack was foreshadowed way back in March last year when tough-guy Corey Lewandowski grabbed a female reporter who, apparently, was too brash for the ...Read more

An orb, a sword and a slap

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- By now you're exhausted by all the head-swiveling news -- the terrorist slaughter in Manchester; the president's trip to Everywhere; and investigation upon investigation of the possible collusion with Russia, obstruction of justice, and liars by the dozen.

Which is why I'm sitting in Palm Beach practicing Lilly Pulitzer's ...Read more

Good luck, Mr. President?

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- So the pope, the president, a Muslim and a Jew walk into a bar ...

Surely, I'm not the only one to tighten the frame around President Trump's wildly ironic and ambitious foreign odyssey to promote "tolerance." Which, let's face it, would seem to be the joke. The most candidly intolerant president in history set out Friday on...Read more

Trump the truth-sayer

WASHINGTON -- One thing we've learned the past several weeks is to ignore the White House and wait for Donald Trump to spill the beans.

Invariably, the president contradicts statements from his communications team and other officials, and blurts the truth. As counterintuitive as it seems, Trump is a truth-teller among spinmeisters.

White House...Read more

A Trumpian world of shifting reality

WASHINGTON -- Facts aren't facts; truth isn't true; reality isn't real.

This is where we are.

It's no wonder that "Orwellian" is the most widely used adjective derived from the name of a writer. We are living in the most surreal of times.

But Orwell's days may be numbered as "Trumpian" has swiftly emerged to describe the president's apparent ...Read more

Do-right women in a do-wrong world

WASHINGTON -- For those lately bereft of leadership, the past few days have provided both a respite and a reason for hope.

Make that two reasons -- two women -- Sally Yates and Condoleezza Rice.

It's likely that neither would prefer to be singled out as women who are brilliant but rather as brilliant people who happen to be women. Nevertheless...Read more

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