Politics, Moderate



You Wanted Anti-Establishment? Hold On.

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- If you thought Donald Trump was the face of America’s anti-establishment movement, hold on to your chapeaus: A wild wind is rising.

Want to know what’s more anti-establishment than a president-elect who refuses to play by the rules? How about similarly spirited electors going AWOL and sending someone else to the Oval ...Read more

Trump’s Demagogic Illogic

WASHINGTON -- On the first stop of his “thank you” tour in Ohio Thursday, president-elect Donald Trump hit replay on several of his campaign tropes.

Among the crowd pleasers, he heckled the “crooked media,” prompting boos from the audience, and reiterated his pledge to criminalize flag burning.

And he’s not even president yet. More ...Read more

No Tears for Fidel

WASHINGTON -- Sometimes history doesn’t have to wait to judge -- and when it comes to dictators, even dead ones, we shouldn’t either.

With news of Fidel Castro’s death Friday -- finalmente -- world leaders began offering eulogies, some of which were so vapid or willfully ignorant that Castro might have written them himself. ...Read more

Trump’s Lovely Lies

WASHINGTON -- In this season of Thanksgiving, a quirky source of gratitude has emerged -- Donald Trump’s many campaign lies.

What else can one call the promises that he now treats as alien concepts? Almost daily, he reverses himself on a campaign promise, confirming what this column predicted: He would never keep his vows.

As a matter ...Read more

The Meaning of Mitt

WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump’s flirtation with Mitt Romney as a possible pick for secretary of state has injected a sliver of hope and change into an evolving administration that could use some.

If ever there were a rarer pair -- think Doberman and Labradoodle -- I can’t think of one. Then again, how better to present a ...Read more

Guess who's coming to the White House

WASHINGTON -- If you'd never heard of Steve Bannon before Tuesday, you have now.

All the world is suddenly abuzz with news that President-elect Donald Trump has named Bannon, formerly executive chairman at the right-wing website Breitbart News, as his chief White House strategist and senior counselor.

Alt-right "conservatives" and white ...Read more

On hallowed ground

WASHINGTON -- Witnesses who tuned in to Donald Trump and Barack Obama's post-election get-together can't have missed the change in the president-elect's demeanor and affect.

Quiet and reserved, he seemed almost chastened. Dare I say, humble, and deferential to the man whose citizenship he challenged for years leading up to his candidacy. ...Read more

The mourning after

WASHINGTON -- When I opened my front door Wednesday morning after little sleep and numb from a bad dream that wasn't a dream, a dreary rainfall glazed the sidewalk as two neighbors gazed blankly in my direction.

As I leaned down to pick up my newspaper, a Carole King song filtered through my pre-coffee brain fog: Something inside has ...Read more

America: Still Great

WASHINGTON -- You can feel the tension. Strolling down the street, shopping at the corner market, stopping for a bite at the local tavern, friends and neighbors greet each other as usual but avoid the elephant sauntering around like he owns the place.

It's best not to talk politics this close to the election.

But when an impudent columnist ...Read more

Perverting the Presidency

WASHINGTON -- The last place -- and I do mean the very last place -- any candidate wants to be is in the frame with Anthony Weiner.

This is especially true if you're Hillary Clinton.

Even worse than being associated with the infamous sexter this week is being FBI Director James Comey, the least-envied man in America.

Not long ago, Comey was ...Read more

Post-Election Rules of Reckoning

WASHINGTON -- One more week, give or take.

It seems nearly impossible that an election season that began approximately four years ago is nearing its end. After almost two years of speeches, rallies and raunch, this presidential campaign has become just another sound in the white noise of life. Like "Groundhog Day," or perdition, it seemed it ...Read more

The Celebrity's Apprentice

WASHINGTON -- The system is rigged and the polls are phony.

As E-Day draws nigh, Donald Trump and his spokesvolken have contrived every possible excuse for the Republican candidate's likely defeat. Unless, of course, lying has caught on "big league" and voters have followed their leaders' cue and given pollsters' incorrect answers.

Multiple ...Read more

You Can Dress Him Up, But Trump is Trump

WASHINGTON -- If Beltway insiders and other East Coast elites ever wondered why so many Americans prefer Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton, all they need do is watch a rerun of Thursday night's 71st annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.

There they were in their finery, A-listers from the once-cherished institutions of church, state ...Read more

How Trump Could Still Win

WASHINGTON -- As the final presidential debate looms like a Halloween pinata full of October surprises, voters may be less committed to one or the other candidate than the numbers suggest.

And this, my fellow sufferers, could bode better for Donald Trump.

Lest you suddenly seek the highest perch from which to hurl yourself, this is strictly my...Read more

The Greatest Fear of All

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- If I were to distill a recent public discussion about the state of our nation to one word, it would be "worried."

Not fearful, not angry, but worried -- about the future; about an election season that has made evil-clown sightings seem weirdly apt; but mostly about what will happen after the election. How do we mend the ...Read more

Who's the Worst Person in the World?

WASHINGTON -- It should surprise no one that this presidential election -- the first ever to involve a female nominee from a major party -- has devolved into a contest of man's ultimate metaphor.

I'm not referring to a spitting competition, if you're struggling here.

Rather, the race apparently is to determine which is the worst man on the ...Read more

Thinking Dangerously

ELON, N.C. -- When I first heard that some Elon University students were protesting my invitation to speak on campus and saying my thoughts were "dangerous," I was, of course, thrilled and immediately amended my bio.

No one has ever considered me dangerous that I know of, other than a couple of dozen ungrateful birds I mysteriously ...Read more

Whither, Comma?

ELON, North Carolina -- My favorite bumper sticker I've never seen: Commas matter.

So I've always thought, and do still believe with the passion of one whose knuckles were rapped for grammatical errors. I mean this only metaphorically -- no bloody fingers -- but using incorrect grammar was the Eighth Deadly Sin in my childhood home.

How ...Read more

Permission to dissent

WASHINGTON -- Only in the strangest-ever presidential election could a former beauty queen's weight be considered a deal-breaking issue of, if I may, gargantuan proportions.

Pretend it's two weeks ago: Who is Alicia Machado?

Now: How happy is Alicia Machado?

If I weren't paid by the word, I'd be speechless.

The former Miss Universe of 1996 ...Read more

Sniffles and The Cyber Go to Town

WASHINGTON -- My heart went out to Donald Trump Monday night when it appeared that he was under the weather.

What could be worse than to be sick, sniffling through his first presidential debate just days after he was challenging Hillary Clinton's health and, during the debate, taunting her lack of stamina. Trump's own stamina was not, shall we ...Read more

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