Politics, Moderate



The gift of laughter and a father's legacy

WASHINGTON -- My father died with a smile on his face. But, of course, he would.

A few days earlier, as his wife, my sister and I gathered around his bed in the intensive care unit, I said, "I'll bet he's thinking right now, 'I wish these broads would go away and leave me alone.'"

Immediately, his face creased into his Hollywood smile and he ...Read more

Rapists' rights defy reason

WASHINGTON -- In Alabama, where a new law denies abortion to women even in cases of incest or rape, a rapist may still pursue custody rights of a child conceived during his assault.

I'll give you a moment to digest that sentence. It gets worse.

In a recent case, a young woman in Alabama sought help when she said her step-uncle, who raped her ...Read more

Terminate abortion, please

WASHINGTON -- The abortion issue is more divisive than ever, thanks to extreme anti-abortion legislation recently passed in some states and, lately, to Democratic presidential candidates seemingly vying to be the most pro-choicest.

The newest controversy swirls around the 1976 Hyde Amendment, named after the late Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., which ...Read more

Swamp things storm the palace

WASHINGTON -- If there was "great love all around" during President Trump's state visit to the United Kingdom, as he tweeted Monday, the participants royal and decidedly otherwise were deceptively discreet.

From the coverage, one might have thought that Madame Tussauds had teamed up with George Lucas to create a charade parade of mechanized wax...Read more

A living eulogy for Ollie Oops

CAMDEN, S.C. -- Eulogies, it has always seemed to me, are best delivered while the subject is living and can enjoy hearing the best version of him- or herself.

Thus, today's column is dedicated to Ollie the Blind Poodle, also affectionately known as Ollie Oops. A toy poodle born blind, Ollie sometimes bumps into things, whereupon his human (...Read more

Don and Kim in 2020

WASHINGTON -- As the 2020 election gears up, it seems apparent that Mike Pence's days as vice president are numbered. Trump's preference is obvious: Kim Jong Un.

The vice-presidential candidate often plays the attack dog in a campaign -- hurling invectives, slinging mud and taking the heat for expressing the id of the candidate, who can remain ...Read more

Crazy in Colorado?

WASHINGTON -- Driving along Colorado's scenic byways, one might be distracted these days by a series of billboards promoting safe abortions or, depending upon one's route, alternatives to abortion, as well as assorted child-rearing recommendations.

They make one wistful for the old crazy preacher shouting the Gospel from an overturned fruit ...Read more

Bats in the belfry

WASHINGTON -- When author Mark Childress penned "Crazy in Alabama," he wasn't just whistling Dixie.

"I haven't been quoted this much since Roy Moore," Childress recently told me, referring to last week's coverage of Alabama's passage of a law banning abortion in nearly all circumstances. Moore, of course, was the U.S. Senate candidate who lost ...Read more

Doris Day wasn't a que serĂ¡, serĂ¡ sort of gal

WASHINGTON -- Growing up in the 1950s and '60s, there was no avoiding the adorable Doris Day. She was cute as a bug, wholesome, winsome and adored, at least in movies, by the swooning-est leading men in Hollywood -- Rock Hudson, Cary Grant and Clark Gable, to name a few.

As a young girl, I simply loved her and, of course, wanted to marry Rock. ...Read more

The challenge for women who run is how to stand out

WASHINGTON -- Conventional wisdom in my inner circle of sorcerers and sources has been that the first female president will be a Republican. This is because America is still mostly a center-right country, and voters would feel more comfortable with a conservative-leaning woman. So goes the thinking.

Republican Nikki Haley, former South Carolina...Read more

The end of everything -- or not

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. -- A new United Nations report projecting the extinction of one-eighth of all animal and plant species should rattle the cages of any remaining skeptics regarding climate change and the central role humans have played in Earth's accelerating destruction.

The report is by far the most-depressing and frightening bit of news ...Read more

Empathy should be a factor in 2020

WASHINGTON -- In 2008, when Sarah Palin entered the stage to debate her fellow vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, she asked him first thing: "Hey, can I call you Joe?"

It was a charming moment. In Palin's aw-shucks manner, she not only neutralized Biden as a formidable foe but reminded folks watching at home that she was just a gal from ...Read more

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


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