Politics, Moderate



How Democrats won the presidency

WASHINGTON -- Rarely, if ever, have so many presidential winners and losers been so incessantly chatty.

Hillary Clinton -- who lost the 2016 election, in case you weren't sure -- is on a book tour with her campaign memoir, "What Happened." (Hint: She's a woman, the Comey letter.)

Donald Trump -- who is still campaigning despite having won -- ...Read more

The worst is yet to come

WASHINGTON -- It has become axiomatic that when Donald Trump says or does something over the top or below the belt, beware the unseen.

His cunning use of distraction turns red herrings green with envy.

The template works like this: Trump says something outrageous that drives Washington's Bubble Belt wild. The media leap to outrage while ...Read more

The message in the storm

WASHINGTON -- Nobody wants to pick on Texas, or especially Houston, after a 1,000-year weather event that for several days turned the city into a lake and dispossessed thousands of their homes, belongings and, in some cases, loved ones.

The ultimate effects of the storm blandly named Harvey are yet to be fully understood. What is known is that ...Read more

To brother Cromartie, with love

WASHINGTON -- There is something eternally bonding about a shared near-death experience, which is how I first met Michael Cromartie.

This was 15 or so years ago, before I had moved to the nation's capital for an up-close look at power. Cromartie had called to invite me to one of the Faith Angle Forums he hosted for a select group of journalists...Read more

Robert Lee, no E.

WASHINGTON -- You know we've reached a point of -- something -- when a sports announcer named Robert Lee is reassigned from calling a University of Virginia college football game because of his contemporaneously unfortunate name.

Lee reportedly agreed with ESPN that he should go elsewhere rather than risk heckling, distraction or potentially ...Read more

So, nothing happened, right?

LINVILLE, N.C. -- During the past two weeks, I've been conducting an experiment.

I took a vacation.

A real one, meaning I did nothing. Intentionally, I avoided newspapers, television, radio, social media (mostly) and Wi-Fi, except to check the weather or the elevation of this or that mountain.

Of particular interest was nearby Sugar Mountain....Read more

Cosmopolitan with a twist

EDITORS: Kathleen Parker is taking a two-week vacation. Her next column will be sent Tuesday Aug. 22, for release Wednesday, Aug. 23. Note that our vacation-substitute policy has changed. Until Parker's return, you are welcome to run ANY of our other syndicated columns in her place, including by writers your publication does not subscribe to. To...Read more

What the world needs now

WASHINGTON -- Insidious is the force that causes us to dream of things we wish (or don't wish) were so.

Thus, on the eve of this column's creation, I dreamt of Donald J. Trump. We were seated at a dinner table for eight, but the other six chairs were empty. We spoke of many things, from education to globalization and the near-universal crisis ...Read more

Trump's curtain call?

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump had his worst day since he was elected president -- we'll just call it Friday -- and his worst week since the last one.

Things can only get worser and worser, as the Bard would permit me to say.

Let's start with the vote-a-rama and the "skinny repeal," which puts me in mind of a state fair ride and placing an order ...Read more

Poor everyone

WASHINGTON -- Eventually, everyone in this town seems to wind up with the word "poor" in front of his or her name.

Such a fate is especially likely if one has associated with Donald Trump. As in, Poor Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He is latest to the firing line that has included such formerlys as FBI Director James Comey, national security ...Read more

Homage to a great editor

WASHINGTON -- Behind every great column is a great editor -- a truism never more so than when Alan Shearer puts highlighter (not red pen) to copy.

Shearer, who has run the Washington Post's syndication operation the past 26 years, has managed to ignore the wailing, weeping and lamentations of his devoted cadre of columnists and cartoonists and ...Read more

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


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Nick Anderson Clay Bennett Chris Britt Gary Varvel Chip Bok Mike Lester