Politics, Moderate

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Politics

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

Our new life in the dugout

WASHINGTON -- Kelley Paul had gone to bed Tuesday night as usual, with her cellphone set on "Do Not Disturb," except for family and close friends whose calls would always go through.

That's why, when Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul tried to reach his wife early Wednesday morning using a borrowed phone, the call went straight to voicemail. Paul had left...Read more

In his head, not ours

WASHINGTON -- In one of Walker Percy's brilliant novels, "The Second Coming," protagonist Will Barrett keeps falling down for no apparent reason. He also suffers trances during which he contemplates existential questions.

Barrett comes to mind in the era of Donald Trump.

I'm not falling down on the golf course yet, as Barrett did, but I ...Read more

Wishing for a Trump Twitterectomy

WASHINGTON -- "If only he would stop tweeting."

Those words came from a friend of mine named "Jack," quite possibly President Trump's biggest fan. A former secret service agent, Jack is your typical die-hard Trump supporter.

That is to say, he's a white, Christian male, married with two kids. He's honest, hardworking -- a true-blue patriot, ...Read more

Trump's accidental call to action

WASHINGTON -- A curious thing happened on President Trump's way out of the Paris climate accord. American mayors, governors, corporate leaders and others immediately committed to meeting the agreement's terms, anyway.

All politics is local, they say, and personal responsibility begins at home. Hasn't this always been one of the operating ...Read more

Family politics

WASHINGTON -- The great thing about hiring family members: You can usually trust them more than others.

The really awful thing about hiring family members: You can't fire them. Unless, of course, you're Michael Corleone. Poor Fredo.

It's no mere coincidence that "The Godfather" comes to mind when considering the nation's first family and ...Read more

When push comes to shove

WASHINGTON -- The shocking thing about Greg Gianforte's assault on a journalist isn't that he body-slammed and punched a reporter but that it took so long for the inevitable to occur.

Such an attack was foreshadowed way back in March last year when tough-guy Corey Lewandowski grabbed a female reporter who, apparently, was too brash for the ...Read more

An orb, a sword and a slap

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- By now you're exhausted by all the head-swiveling news -- the terrorist slaughter in Manchester; the president's trip to Everywhere; and investigation upon investigation of the possible collusion with Russia, obstruction of justice, and liars by the dozen.

Which is why I'm sitting in Palm Beach practicing Lilly Pulitzer's ...Read more

Good luck, Mr. President?

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- So the pope, the president, a Muslim and a Jew walk into a bar ...

Surely, I'm not the only one to tighten the frame around President Trump's wildly ironic and ambitious foreign odyssey to promote "tolerance." Which, let's face it, would seem to be the joke. The most candidly intolerant president in history set out Friday on...Read more

Trump the truth-sayer

WASHINGTON -- One thing we've learned the past several weeks is to ignore the White House and wait for Donald Trump to spill the beans.

Invariably, the president contradicts statements from his communications team and other officials, and blurts the truth. As counterintuitive as it seems, Trump is a truth-teller among spinmeisters.

White House...Read more

A Trumpian world of shifting reality

WASHINGTON -- Facts aren't facts; truth isn't true; reality isn't real.

This is where we are.

It's no wonder that "Orwellian" is the most widely used adjective derived from the name of a writer. We are living in the most surreal of times.

But Orwell's days may be numbered as "Trumpian" has swiftly emerged to describe the president's apparent ...Read more

Do-right women in a do-wrong world

WASHINGTON -- For those lately bereft of leadership, the past few days have provided both a respite and a reason for hope.

Make that two reasons -- two women -- Sally Yates and Condoleezza Rice.

It's likely that neither would prefer to be singled out as women who are brilliant but rather as brilliant people who happen to be women. Nevertheless...Read more

The win-win twins

WASHINGTON -- Actors Charlie Sheen and Donald Trump are like twins separated at birth. Both became rich and famous -- by hook in one case and by whatever in the other -- each to his own mind born to win.

"You decide to win and you win," said Sheen in a 2012 interview following his Vesuvian meltdown.

"We will have so much winning ... that you ...Read more

A confederacy of dictators

WASHINGTON -- It should have been obvious, but I missed it: Steve Bannon has been banished and Dennis Rodman is whispering in the president’s ear.

OK, maybe not, but it could explain Donald Trump’s sudden admiration for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom he recently identified as a “pretty smart cookie.”

Rodman, you’ll recall, ...Read more

Shutdown showdown -- again

WASHINGTON -- As Donald Trump approaches the 100-day marker of his first year in office, he has defined himself not as the Dealmaker in Chief but as The Backdown President.

What a deliciously strange irony that until Monday night he set the stage for a government shutdown over, of all things, his campaign centerpiece -- The Wall.

Strange ...Read more

Donald Jong Un

WASHINGTON -- Foreign leaders and local interlocutors, aka pundits, might as well take a vacation for the next few minutes until Donald Trump’s next foreign policy “strategy” surfaces from deep within his amygdala.

For to presume a strategy when Trump toys with potentially lethal nations -- threatening to tear apart the nuclear agreement ...Read more

Murder While You Watch

WASHINGTON -- The Facebook video of a homicide was surely inevitable.

This isn’t the same as saying that video murders soon will become all the rage, but it was more likely to happen eventually than not.

Forget the suspected killer Steve Stephens, who took his own life Tuesday after a brief police pursuit. If not he, then someone else would ...Read more

Low-Rent for Big Bucks

WASHINGTON -- Despite recent revelations that Fox News and anchor Bill O’Reilly had settled five complaints of sexual harassment against him to the tune of millions -- his ratings went up.

A few days later, a United AirIines passenger was dragged from an airplane to make room for crew members on a full flight -- and United’s stock initially...Read more

The Obfuscation Game

WASHINGTON -- If there is one operative rule in this city’s left-right paradigm, it is to shift the focus of any conversation that seems at risk of revealing something approximating truth -- a game at which the current administration and its media surrogates happen to excel.

Thus, the focus early this week was on the “unmasking” of Trump ...Read more

A Tragic Hero Takes His Leave

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- People who experienced the phenomenon of Charles D. “Pug” Ravenel can’t have helped wondering what might have been -- if only he had won.

But Pug, who died last week, didn’t win. In his political career, he lost and lost -- and then lost some more. Which surprised everyone who knew him because Pug had always been ...Read more

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