Politics, Moderate





Reality checks in with congressional fresh(wo)men

WASHINGTON -- As the new freshman class of congressional women bopped, hopped and doo-wopped into town, old sourpusses smirked -- they'll meet reality soon enough.

Actually, 'twas I who said this to herself. And, well, not to brag or anything.

The gals were barely through orientation before the powder room became a powder keg, with some...Read more

Castro's a 'nice guy,' so is he doomed to finish last?

CHICAGO -- It's possible that the worst legacy of the last three presidential elections is that we now expect our candidates to be Washington outsiders and "rock stars."

Like overstimulated children who have been battling aliens on the Xbox all day and are resistant to a peaceful bedtime story, we seem to now be programmed to look for celebrity...Read more

Turns out Republicans don't care about the dignity of a paycheck after all

WASHINGTON -- One useful development has come out of this pointless shutdown: It has revealed how little Republican politicians actually care about many of the principles they claim to champion.

Eliminating "waste, fraud and abuse"? You'd never know this mattered, given their insistence that Democrats agree to spend "only" $5 billion on a wall ...Read more

The risks of a recession are rising -- and Trump might be to blame

WASHINGTON -- Presidents get too much credit when the economy is good, too much blame when the economy is bad.

That has been my mantra for months and months whenever people ask about unemployment, stock markets or any other economic or financial measure, and how President Trump stacks up to his predecessors. Presidents can't power-steer ...Read more

What Americans are fighting for in Manbij

WASHINGTON -- If you wonder what the four Americans who were killed Wednesday in Manbij, Syria, were doing there, let me describe a few images from a visit to that city last February that illustrate their mission of helping stabilize this area after the Islamic State was expelled.

Think of a covered market thronged with shoppers: Until the ...Read more

To understand election 2020, watch America, not the politicians

Election 2020 is still 22 months away, but the political world can't wait.

A decent number of Democrats have already announced their decision to enter the race, a couple of dozen others are coming and pundits are busily assessing the chances of each new candidate to win the nomination.

One of the early questions is whether Democratic voters ...Read more

How to fight back against your own hypocrisy

CHICAGO -- Hypocrisy is a human condition. Everyone -- no matter how kind, respectful or generous -- occasionally engages in some form of it, either for his or her own benefit or because there are few, if any, alternatives.

I had two moments of facing my own hypocrisy last weekend as I stood in front of my beloved childhood Sears. Shuttered and...Read more

Will the global credit boom go bust?

WASHINGTON -- We are in the midst of a worldwide credit boom that may be without precedent. The debt explosion suggests that the global economy -- all the national economies combined -- is being driven heavily by massive government and private borrowing.

Is this debt buildup stable? Or is it the harbinger of a sharp economic slowdown or crash? ...Read more

Trump has squandered the opportunity his populist campaign offered

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump is giving an unintentional gift to the burgeoning field of Democratic presidential candidates: He is teaching them how they can win.

Trump's failure as president is that he hasn't forged a governing party that can unite the country, pass legislation and address America's problems. He has succeeded in creating an ...Read more

What did they do with Lindsey Graham?

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- If loyalty only goes so far, Sen. Lindsey Graham's goes every which way -- depending on the day, week, month -- or proximity to Election Day.

One day, he may think Donald Trump is a "kook." That was Graham's description of Trump in 2016, shortly after he'd ended his own campaign for president. Or, he may think Trump is "...Read more

What Sears and GE's decline teaches us about capitalism

WASHINGTON -- General Electric and Sears have fallen on hard times, and that tells us a lot about U.S capitalism. Both were once great enterprises -- symbols of American ingenuity and imagination. The temptation will be to blame their troubles on mismanagement. The real lesson is starker. It is that no business, no matter how historically ...Read more

That stupidity of the wall

WASHINGTON -- As The Wall dominated the week's news, a pitiful juxtaposition of two realities -- one the hard truth, the other a lie -- emerged to clarify the destructiveness of the American president's toxic narcissism.

Federal workers facing their first payday without a check were selling their possessions on social media so they could pay ...Read more

Michelle Obama's success came from hard work, perseverance -- and plenty of luck

CHICAGO -- You may have heard that Michelle Obama's best-selling book "Becoming" is a well-written and fascinating story of a working-class Chicago girl who overcame obstacles to make it to the White House.

I'm not here to say otherwise -- I unabashedly loved this book.

But I did love it critically. Rest assured, the criticism isn't for ...Read more

The Saudi engine of repression rumbles on

WASHINGTON -- One hundred days after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pressing ahead with anti-dissident campaigns and remains in regular contact with Saud al-Qahtani, the media adviser whom the CIA believes helped organize Khashoggi's killing, according to U.S. and Saudi sources.

The Saudi crown prince, ...Read more

There's more to governing than government

Republicans and Democrats are carrying on in Washington as if the fate of the world depends upon how they resolve the partial shutdown of the federal government. But let's be honest, this is not the Cuban Missile Crisis.

A more realistic assessment of the situation suggests that the elected politicians are merely confirming the low opinion ...Read more

Despite her haters, youth is not wasted on Ocasio-Cortez

CHICAGO -- It must be true that the widest cultural gulfs have always been due to age.

This is the only charitable way to explain the simultaneous reactions of fanatical adoration and pearl-clutching disgust over a tweeted video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing in college.

Not dirty dancing, mind you. Not suggestive or scantily clad or...Read more

Why China clings to state capitalism

WASHINGTON -- American officials traveled to China this week in an effort to end the bitter trade war between the two countries. The main obstacle to a settlement is natural rivalry: The United States is trying to protect its position as the most important superpower; and China is serving notice that it covets that status for itself.

What ...Read more

Life without Mattis' steadying hand

WASHINGTON -- At home and abroad, people are now asking a question they've dreaded for nearly two years: How will the erratic presidency of Donald Trump function without the steadying hand of Jim Mattis as defense secretary?

Life without Mattis is the scary reality of this new year. The president may have tired of the careful, battle-hardened ...Read more

Dealing with identity theft during the shutdown

WASHINGTON -- I'm betraying no secrets by observing that the government shutdown provides a window of opportunity for identity and electronic theft.

Trust me, the crooks already know this. And, unfortunately, so do I.

Short story: I decided to start collecting Social Security (even though I couldn't possibly be old enough) and created an ...Read more

Team Trump should be careful what it wishes for on China

ATLANTA -- For months, President Trump's economic advisers have cheered Chinese economic suffering, celebrating every sign of weakness -- in stock markets, manufacturing, retail sales, investment -- since it surely means China is on the verge of a humiliating capitulation to Trump's demands.

Now might be a good time to put the schadenfreude to ...Read more


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Mike Luckovich Paul Szep Chip Bok Ken Catalino A.F. Branco Steve Breen