Politics, Moderate



Don't Do It, Paul Ryan

WASHINGTON -- The worst job in the world, it turns out, isn't the U.S. presidency but speaker of the House of Representatives.

"It's where you go to die," as one veteran Hill watcher put it to me.


In the wake of majority leader Kevin McCarthy's sudden withdrawal from his once-certain ascent to the speakership, several others are ...Read more

A Rose for Racial Reconciliation

OXFORD, Md. -- Long before there was a "Black Lives Matter" movement, there was Ruth Starr Rose -- an activist artist whose paintings nearly a century ago captured the dignity and spirit of America's black families at a time when stereotype and caricature prevailed.

It is fitting that an exhibition of her early 20th-century work should find its...Read more

The GOP (New) McCarthyism

WASHINGTON -- The lede to this column is a deep, guttural groan that originates in the throat and expands into the lungs before collapsing in the pit of the stomach.

How do you spell hmmmgrrrungh?

What else is there to say about House Republicans' inability to get something right? And I say this with compassion, I really do. Because ...Read more

The GOP Brat Pack

WASHINGTON -- The Republican Party's "Freedom Caucus," which has several less-charitable nicknames on Capitol Hill, is the dog that caught the car.

Now what?

Having (sort of) unseated Speaker John Boehner, these 37 or so uber-conservative House members are now scrambling for "a real leader."

Except that they aren't really because they have no...Read more

Yo 'Heart' El Papa

WASHINGTON -- "Oh, so you drank the Kool-Aid," my neighbor superciliously sneered from the stoop he occupies each afternoon to sip wine and critique people's parking skills on our beloved Olive Street.

I did, I confessed. I grabbed the pope's chalice, gulped it down and asked for more. It was magical. Palliative. Heavenly. For a few hours, I ...Read more

With Charity Toward Some

WASHINGTON -- In the spirit of charity prompted by Pope Francis' visit to the U.S., let's not call them bigots.

Let's just call them the clueless, the incurious, the moronic, the dull. In short, ignoramuses.

I refer to those Republican wits who unconscionably demonize a swath of Americans based on their religious views. Haven't we gone through...Read more

Money Quotes from GOP Contenders

WASHINGTON -- Sometimes what seems the least consequential detail tells the most about a person's character -- or at least his or her intentions.

Such was the case at the end of Wednesday's debate, the second for the GOP field of presidential candidates, with the "light" and irrelevant question of which woman's face they'd like to see on the $...Read more

Fairy Tales in Paradise

WASHINGTON -- Once upon a time in a twinkling city on a hill, little boys and girls were taught that anyone could grow up to become president.

The children all believed it and today many, many of them are trying to fulfill the promise. While it has been proved true that anyone really can become president, it has also been proved even more true ...Read more

Cretins and Squirrel Heads

WASHINGTON -- Some in the media were quick to dismiss Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's speech attacking Donald Trump as the opportunistic rant of a 1 percenter.

That is, as a presidential candidate whose poll rating hovers around 1 percent. The consensus was that Jindal was trying to hook his wagon to Trump's jet by calling him out, not to mention...Read more

Ode to Joy

WASHINGTON -- It's no longer enough to be a happy warrior; now our candidates must be joyful!

Oh, joie.

Jeb Bush started the joy bender last week when he told a New Hampshire audience that a conservative could win the White House by "campaigning with his arms wide open, with joy in his heart, speaking about the hopes and aspirations of the ...Read more

Trump's Tower of Babble

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump has a point when he talks about the need for immigrants to learn English.

"That's how we assimilate," he says. Which is true, as any visitor to Miami's Little Havana has observed.

You can spend an entire day in this mostly Cuban section of the city and hear nary a word of English. Many never bothered to learn English...Read more

Don-Don and the Trumpettes

WASHINGTON -- The Trump riddle continues to compel: How has he managed to successfully execute such a mass deception?

He's by no definition a conservative, and yet he continues to plow ahead of all but the other least likely presidential nominee, Ben Carson, who has tied Trump in Iowa. Straight talk? Old hat. Tall and commanding? So is LeBron, ...Read more

Time to Think

WASHINGTON -- It is that sane and glorious time when the nation's capital dispenses its human cargo to places of origin and locations of respite.

"I don't know why everyone leaves," I remarked to my neighbor. "There's so much great parking." (Don't muddle; it's a joke.)

There is, indeed, great parking, as well as less traffic. With the ...Read more

The Meaning of Trump

WASHINGTON -- It is perhaps time to stop wondering what The Donald's got that the others ain't got.

What he's got is conservative America's number, which has less to do with policy or political purity than with an evolutionary tic that's been developing for decades.

It also has little to do with social issues, other candidates might note, ...Read more

Making a Good First Impression

CLEVELAND -- Not to diminish the importance of the first Republican debate, but it felt like the first in a political survivor series.

The question wasn't so much who won the prime-time skirmish but who eliminated himself to make room for Carly Fiorina -- the hands-down winner of the "Happy Hour Debate," as she dubbed it, and maybe of the ...Read more

Pre-Debate Excitement Soars

WASHINGTON -- No doubt you have butterflies just thinking about Thursday's first GOP debate. I know I do.

Center stage will be the man who needs no further introduction. And the big topic will be -- are you ready for it? -- the Affordable Care Act. Can you hardly wait? I know I can't.

Any fresh opportunity to talk about repealing and replacing...Read more

Conception Deception

WASHINGTON -- It took three videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors and executives discussing the culling and retailing of aborted baby parts, but Hillary Clinton finally managed to say that she found the videos "disturbing."

For a professional politician like Clinton, whose every word is vetted by the vast right lobe of her brain, "...Read more

Obama's Truth Out of Africa

WASHINGTON -- It is good to be President Barack Obama these days.

In the midst of a visit to Africa, including Kenya, where Republican front-runner Donald Trump has insisted Obama was born, the president seems to have been liberated by events and circumstances to speak his true mind.

Events include the Supreme Court's favorable rulings on the ...Read more

Before We Lose Our Minds

WASHINGTON -- Current quibbling over what Jeb Bush meant when he said it's time to phase out and replace Medicare -- as opposed to "attacking the seniors," as one woman at a recent event bellowed out -- will soon seem quaint against the realities of our future.

Never mind projections that the program will only be able to finance 86 percent of ...Read more

Trumping Himself

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump can't help himself. Nor can we.

The "worse" he gets, it seems, the better we like it. Watching Trump is so deliciously awful, we don't hang on every word. We hang on the edge of our seats waiting for the next word. Whatever will this man say next?

Trump's list of quotables is long, but two stand out.

First, it was ...Read more

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