Politics, Moderate



It's a dog-eat-dog White House

WASHINGTON -- No sooner had I ordered the 2011 book "Less Than Human" for a late-summer read than President Trump called Omarosa Manigault Newman a "dog" and a "lowlife." Those two slurs fit nicely into author David Livingstone Smith's philosophical study of man's capacity to inflict cruelty by first dehumanizing the "other."

Trump's personal ...Read more

Trump and Putin's do-si-do

WASHINGTON -- It's a given that political candidates will target each other with as much oppositional propaganda as they can get away with. But with the Kremlin now playing a third-party shadow role in U.S. elections, the usual game seems to be shifting from blood sport to cold war.

Given Russia's well-established preference for Donald Trump ...Read more

Uncle Rudy rattles the rafters

WASHINGTON -- Thank God for Uncle Rudy.

You know Rudy -- the eccentric, sometimes batty, uncle who lives in the attic? One thing about Rudy, he always seems to know when family gatherings are becoming tense and descends to the rescue with some gibberish to lighten the mood.

What would we do without him?

Uncle Rudy used to be New York City ...Read more

In defense of poodles

WASHINGTON -- It didn't take long after the Helsinki summit for European and American media publications to declare Donald Trump Vladimir Putin's pet dog.

Britain's Daily Mirror used "Putin's poodle" in its next-day coverage. Other European and American outlets referred to the president as "weak" or "submissive."

CIA Director John Brennan said...Read more

Born to fly, bound to run

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- Republican Ashley Nickloes is the only woman in a seven-way primary race to fill a congressional seat held by one family for five decades. She's also the only military pilot in the race, running against a litany of odds, including the strong possibility that she'll lose to a popular career politician who hunts Bigfoot and ...Read more

Helsinki hath no fury like a nation scorned

WASHINGTON -- Surely, now, we can concede that letting Trump be Trump has exhausted itself -- even among the smugly credulous.

For a year and a half, we've heard his supporters say: Watch what he does, not what he says. Sure, he's rude and crude, they said, but he's going to make America great again.

No, he's not.

Nor was he ever, ...Read more

Saving NATO from Donald Trump

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to President Trump, it's hard to pick his worst decision from the plethora he has provided.

His most recent -- to brazenly insult our NATO allies -- surely ranks among the top three in my book, the others being his romancing of Russia without commensurate leverage and, likewise, rushing to legitimize North Korean ...Read more

At Marquette, conservatives got it wrong

WASHINGTON -- Free speech won; decency lost.

This has become such a common observation that it hardly merits a headline. But in a Wisconsin Supreme Court case resolved Friday, the plaintiff was that rarest of victors these days -- a conservative professor defending his freedom of speech rights against a university.

Sounds delicious, doesn't it...Read more

Supreme hysteria

WASHINGTON -- If Chicken Little and Cassandra had a baby, they'd name him Jeffrey Toobin.

Anyone watching CNN lately has probably heard Toobin's prediction that if a conservative fills the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the departing Justice Anthony Kennedy, abortion is dead.

No more reproductive choice; no more equal protection for the ...Read more

Fearing the worst

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- It was far too easy to assume the worst -- that the inevitable, finally, had come to pass.

When news broke Thursday afternoon that a shooter had opened fire in an Annapolis, Maryland, newsroom, more than a few minds converged on the same thought: Donald Trump. The mythmaker-in-chief, who has demonized the media almost daily ...Read more

The Max vs. The Don

WASHINGTON -- If I were a cartoonist ... , I would often say to my friend Doug Marlette, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist who died 11 years ago. He'd listen patiently as I described my vision for his work, whereupon, he'd occasionally sometimes say, "Not bad."

Today's inescapable image show pugilists Donald Trump and ...Read more

The crying-child Rorschach

WASHINGTON -- Is there a psychiatrist in the house?

Like so many Americans, this columnist longs for the voice of another, the great and good Charles Krauthammer, who died last week, leaving us mortals to plod through the darkness without the light of his reasoned guidance.

A revered Washington Post colleague, Krauthammer was a psychiatrist as...Read more

Donald Machiavelli no habla espanol

WASHINGTON -- Cracking down on illegal immigration was never going to be pleasant, but this?

It's worse than you think. The travesty of separating children from their undocumented, migrant parents was less about cracking down as a policy than about Donald Trump's bet-winning. If Niccolo Machiavelli hadn't been born, Trump would have ...Read more

Inhumanity rules the border

WASHINGTON -- Put yourself in the room with immigration officials and try to imagine exactly which argument would convince you that separating children from their migrating parents would be a good idea.

Would it work for you because you're a stickler for obedience to rules -- no exceptions? Would it be OK because the U.S. must convey to others ...Read more

Art of the deal: Nukes for condos in North Korea?

WASHINGTON -- Well, it happened: The president and the dictator met, shook hands, looked each other in the eye, smiled for the cameras -- and lied through their teeth.

The visuals, we witnessed; the lies we infer -- from experience, history and redundant prescience.

But the summit was definitively historic. Let us count the ways.

Donald Trump...Read more

My dear Charles

WASHINGTON -- Charles Krauthammer, a man who has beaten unbelievable odds and overcome obstacles that would defeat most mortals, has finally encountered one foe over which he says he can't claim victory.

In a note to readers Friday, he announced that he has only a few weeks to live following a battle with cancer.

The nobility with which ...Read more

A Bee in Barr's bonnet

WASHINGTON -- Call me naive -- I've been called worse -- but it never occurred to me that Roseanne Barr's firing would be viewed by some as a political statement.

Alas, it seems I'm a mere babe in the thicket.

When I recently wrote about Barr's racist Twitter attack on Valerie Jarrett, I was commenting on why this particular event was so foul....Read more

Planet of the racists

EDITORS -- Note quoted material in penultimate sentence of 8th graf.

WASHINGTON -- Roseanne Barr's appeal has so long eluded me that her further fall from disgrace has failed to dislodge even the slightest pebble of pity, though pitiful she is.

It seems too facile to call her merely racist, which her recent tweet about former White House ...Read more

Putin's mind in your brain

WASHINGTON -- Facebook ads purchased by Russia during the 2016 campaign, and released by Congress earlier this month, reveal a clear intent to create havoc in the U.S. -- and should make Americans both wary and embarrassed.

They also sent a clear message to Americans compliments of Russian President Vladimir Putin: You mess with me, I'll mess ...Read more

Philadelphia's unnecessary war on Catholics

WASHINGTON -- At a time when more than 400,000 children are in foster care nationwide, the city of Philadelphia is threatening to cut ties with Catholic Social Services because of the group's policy against placing foster children in same-sex households.

On the surface, one might say this is a classic case of state vs. church: The city must ...Read more


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Chris Britt Gary Markstein Clay Bennett Nick Anderson Lisa Benson Signe Wilkinson