August 16, 2013
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OPINION: Outside groups are blanketing the airwaves with negativity
Structural changes in our politics are making campaigns more mean and personal than ever.
OPINION: ISIS may be a defining issue in New Hampshire Senate race
The campaign approach of former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire next month, reflects the GOP’s confidence that when the country gets scared of terrorism, it turns to Republicans.
OPINION: Resiging Attorney General Eric Holder says he was inspired by Robert F. Kennedy
If ever a public figure was exempt from Holder’s much contested depiction of our country as a “nation of cowards” on race, it was RFK, a man who was in constant struggle with his demons and his conscience.
OPINION: Blase Cupich, now bishop of Spokane, is seen as a moderate within the Catholic church
The appointment will have an impact beyond the Catholic Church because it reveals a great deal about the role Pope Francis wants the church to play in American life.
OPINION: Midterm elections should not affect debate on U.S. policy in the Middle East
We need a responsible Congress to begin the search for a sustainable foreign policy. An unconstrained debate after this fall’s campaign is the place to start.
OPINION: President Obama is pushing a tough-minded multilateralism
Two things are clear about where the public stands now: It is more ready to use U.S. power than it was even a few months ago. But it remains deeply wary of again committing U.S. combat troops to the Middle East.
OPINION: Moderate Republicans fuel independent challenges in Kansas and Alaska
The Republican establishment may have overcome many tea party challenges this year, but it is increasingly captive of the right wing.
OPINION: The president is working to build a broad coalition to roll back the Islamic State
In contemplating Obama’s foreign policy, Mark Twain’s reference to Richard Wagner’s music — it’s “better than it sounds” — comes to mind. His policy is better than he has articulated it, and it’s certainly better than his remark about strategy.
OPINION: Gubernatorial races will be the barometer for politics in the long run
The question to ask: Do voters begin to push back against the tea party tide that swept governorships and legislatures into Republican hands four years ago and produced the most radical changes in policy at the state level in at least a generation?
OPINION: Democrats have not recovered from President Obama’s llousy sales job for the Affordable Care Act
Democratic consultants say that candidates who explain what the Affordable Care Act does and stay away from the term “Obamacare” will fare better with voters.
OPINION: Neighborliness has evolved into leaving people alone
Individual choice certainly has big advantages over a rigid collectivism. But solidarity sure beats impulsiveness, self-involvement and fragmentation.
OPINION: Most Americans now disapprove of their own U.S. representative
The GOP talks a great deal about family values, but what, pray, is it willing to do to ease life for parents trying to make a living and do right by their kids at the same time?
OPINION: Republicans appear to be halfway there in gaining control of the U.S. Senate
Solving the country’s problems requires, above all, turning the Republican Party back into a political enterprise willing to share the burdens of governing, even when a Democrat is in the White House.
OPINION: Paul Ryan cloaks his retread idea with language of innovation
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan gave a well-crafted address at the American Enterprise Institute in which the centerpiece sounded brand spanking new: the “Opportunity Grant.” The problem is that this “pilot program” amounts to little more than the stale conservative idea of wrapping federal programs into a block grant and shipping them off to the states.
OPINION: By gutting the Affordable Care Act, two right-leaning judges have strayed from impartiality
Because the subsidies are established in a part of the law referring to state exchanges, the D.C. Circuit ruled that no one on the federal exchange is eligible for them. Poof! There goes the health law in most of the country.
OPINION: Our political debate in America is just plain stupid
The deaths of 298 innocent people transformed the battle for Ukraine into a global issue. President Obama now needs to offer the other side of his doctrine. The notion that the United States is retreating from the world is simply wrong.
OPINION: Do we rush to repeal commitment the moment it becomes inconvenient?
Unless the United States is willing to open its borders to all comers — a goal of only the purest libertarians and a very few liberals — we will face agonizing choices about whom to let in and whom to turn away.
OPINION: Unhappy voters results in election battle
Some elections are contests between voters who are happy and voters who are not.
OPINION: Because the Constition is a framework for government, it cannot answer every question in 2014
Progressives should think constitutionally themselves, thereby challenging conservative claims about what the Constitution really demands.
OPINION: In one way, the decision was a small win for socialized medicine
It’s unfortunate that the Obama administration’s initial, parsimonious exemption for religious groups helped ignite the firestorm that led to the Hobby Lobby ruling.
OPINION: There is no coherent middle party for those unhappy with left and right
Democrats’ prospects in November will depend largely on their ability to strengthen themselves among voters who are hurting economically.
OPINION: The GOP game plan for 2014 is do as little as possible
Since the party can’t agree to anything that would pass muster with President Obama and the Democratic Senate, it will bet that Obama’s low poll ratings will be enough for them to make gains in House races and could give them control of the Senate.
OPINION: Public discussion has been a strategic advantage for Republicans
Bread-and-butter concerns are the stuff of Democratic victories because the polls show that most voters still think of the GOP as more protective of the interests of the wealthy than of their own.
OPINION: The partisanship of the last week discredits constructive partisanship
Self-restraint and discipline were two early casualties of the reactions to the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five high-risk Taliban militants who had been held at Guantanamo.
OPINION: By resigning from Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki called the bluff of Congress
If there is any cause that should be bipartisan, it’s care for our veterans.
OPINION: On election night, Kentucky demonstrated all that is wrong in American politics
After defeating a Tea Party challenger, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took immediate aim at his Democratic opponent as being a lackey for President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
OPINION: It is unlikely that Sen. Warren will challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination
Sen. Warren contends that being pro-government doesn’t mean that she can’t also be pro-business.
OPINION: Democrats are espousing a difficult be-happy-but-worry theme
Democratic Party office holders worry that if they focus on good things that have happened over the past five years they’ll appear to be out of touch with reality to an America that, according to polls, believes the nation is on the wrong track under the Obama administration and moving further in the wrong direction.
Bragging about what they’ve achieved is what incumbent politicians do.
OPINION: Majority of Americans disapprove of Obama, but also favors Democrats
An important 12.5 percent of U.S. voters both disapprove of President Obama and support Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.
OPINION: New guns laws in Georgia are too permissive
While conservatives claim to hate the centralization of power, georgia’s new law wipes out a series of local gun regulations. The gun supremacists just don’t trust those pesky local elected officials.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says his biggest mistake has been underestimating those opposed to change
Mayor Bill de Blasio has fulfilled many of this campaign promises during his forst 100 days in office.
OPINION: Jeb Bush is exception to the general gloomy pessimism of the Republican Party
Jeb Bush is critical of President Obama, but he does not suggest, as so many in his party do, that because of President Barack Obama, the United States is on a path to decline and ruin.
OPINION: Voluntary service is something that should cross political divides
AmeriCorps gives mostly young Americans a chance to spend a year helping communities and those in need while also nurturing thousands of organizations across the country. Senior Corps provides Americans over 55 a chance to serve, too.
OPINION: Historians have taken a more positive view of President Lyndon Johnson
The Lyndon B. Johnson comeback brings with it a new appreciation of the durability of the reforms enacted on his watch.
OPINION: The Supreme Court chief justice and four others always side with the wealthy
If Congress acts to contain the power of the rich or to protect the rights of the minority, the Roberts court slaps it in the face.
OPINION: Hitting its 7 million sign-up goal should have been a moment of truth
By reaching the White House’s stated goal for sign-ups, opponents and doomsayers about the Affordable Care Act should be exposed for their false predictions.
OPINION: The value of work should unite all political ideologies
Many conservatives realize they need to embrace hardworking Americans, but the question is what they are willing to do about it.
OPINION: American bishops hoped Pope Francis would puch their respective agendas when meeting President Obama
While Francis has decidedly moved the church back toward the social justice Catholicism that Obama connected with as a young man, Francis’ worldview is plainly not American. Efforts to shoehorn him into American debates will always have a distorting effect.
OPINION: Affordable Care Act gets third chance to make good impression
If opponents of the ACA can discredit it, they can move on to demonize other necessary public programs — and undercut arguments for further government efforts to ease inequalities and injustices.
OPINION: The Russian president has united a deeply divided U.S. Congress
While members of Congress have been unusually united in denouncing Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea, polls show most Americans don’t want the U.S. getting “too” involved in the situation.
OPINION: President Obama and the Democrats are in danger of letting the GOP set terms of the mid-term elections
The most telling fact about the Democrats’ defeat in Florida’s special House election last week was the party’s failure to get its voters to the polls.
OPINION: Conservative conference has face-off between not surrendering and trying to win
Conservatives purport to be interested in new ideas, but it may be that they’re just trying to improve their image.
OPINION: Some Republican critcis of the president seem to have a case of Putin envy
Republicans blame past Obama failures for Russian agression in Ukraine even though the administration is following policies they prescribe for the situation.
OPINION: Though blasted by Republicans for using executive orders, President Obama has issued fewer than his immediate predecessors
Stymied by the House of Representatives, Obama’s supposedly aggressive measures have been rather restrained initiatives to achieve widely shared goals.
OPINION: Conservatives outlook the positives of raising the minimum wage
A higher minimum wage would promote work over dependency, reduce the cost of social welfare programs, foster economic growth and strengthen families.
OPINION: Conservatives of today in thrall to Austrian thinking
Popular measures such as raising minimum wage and extending jobless benefits are stymied by the assumption that people are better off if government stays out of the marketplace.
OPINION: Reaction to the CBO report on the ACA shows how willfully stupid the debate has become
Oppoents of Obamacare don’t look to the Congressional Budget Office report for enlightenment, but to twist the findings into dishonest slogans.
OPINION: The next issue coming up is immigration reform
The immigration principles House Speaker John Boehner announced at his caucus’s retreat last week in Cambridge, Md., are a breakthrough because they are potentially more elastic than they sound.
OPINION: President Obama makes case for restoring equality
In his State of the Union address, President Obama tries to move the national conversation to opportunity for everyone.
OPINION: In his State of the Union address, President Obama should look at effects years down the road
President Obama should focus on economic inequality and decling social mobility in his State of the Union address tonight.
OPINION: Sidestepping controversies, Chris Christie blasts U.S. approach to its drug problems
At his inaugural address, Chris Christie’s ideology came draped in anti-partisan, anti-gridlock fashion.
OPINION: The November elections will determine whether President Obama can make good on 2009 promises
As his administration enters its sixth year, President Obama has found the hope and change he promised strangled by politics.
OPINION: U.S. House is losing its Ted Kennedy to retirement
U.S. Rep. george Miller, D-Calif., has been true to his liberal ideals while knowing when to compromise.
OPINION: Gov. Christie condemned the bridge lane closure only after a smoking gun surfaced
Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t have the conservative base of previous Republican presidents to overcome the problems that have arisen in regard to George Washington Bridge political payback.
OPINION: The enforcement of marijuana laws is harsher for African Americans
The way America enforces its marijuana laws is unconscionable, with the arrest rates for possession astoundingly and shamefully different for whites and African Americans.
Unemployment insurance and minimum wage issues reflect a larger problem in American politics
A substantial section of the conservative movement is now determined to blow up the national consensus that has prevailed since the Progressive and New Deal eras.
OPINION: Humility defines the chasm between a living religious tradition and a dead traditionalism
Those of us who are Christian need to acknowledge that over the history of the faith, there have been occasions when “a supposedly changeless truth has changed,” as the great church historian and theologian Jaroslav Pelikan put it.
OPINION: Republicans are dealing with a showdown between two conservative power centers
Conservative fundraising organizations have morphed into an alternative Republican establishment.
OPINION: The FAMILY Act proposal would provide partial income during family leave
The FAMILY Act legislation would create an insurance program that would be funded by premiums.
OPINION: Moving from health care reform, the president focuses on economic immobility
A long trend that has squeezed the size of the American middle class is a growing inequality from a lack of upward mobility.
OPINION: Pope Francis taking a stand against economic injustice
Liberals who love Pope Francis also need to come to terms with aspects of his thought that may be less congenial to their assumptions.
OPINION: Gratitude is built into the structure of most forms of faith
If faith without works is dead, gratitude without generosity of spirit is empty.
OPINION: Nuclear option in the Senate derails Republican efforts to control federal courts
In the Obama years, conservatives have abused the filibuster in ways that liberals never dreamed of.
OPINION: The passion for public service and politics shown by JFK has not been duplicated
John F. Kennedy has come to represent a time of widespread confidence in the possibilities of America.
OPINION: Over the past three decades, America has made strides in combating lawlessness
Falling crime rates may lead to bipartisan cooperation on prison and sentencing reforms.
OPINION: Opposition to Affordable Care Act is more noise than substance
Affordable health Care opponents create noise to distract attention from their lack of a solution for reforming U.S. health care.
OPINION: Former President Bill Clinton says conservative ideology does not accomplish anything
Former President Bill Clinton tells Virginia voters that the electorate that goes to the poll in off-presidential election years is different from the one that votes when the White House is at stake.
Obamacare is working.
“Blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.”
The senseless government shutdown has led to a rout of the tea party, right-wing extremism and a Republican leadership that was cowed into a march toward oblivion. But a great deal hangs on what happens next
Seeing our government and our creditworthiness held hostage to the demands of a right-wing minority is infuriating. It is also heartbreaking because the only thing keeping our country from being its growing, innovative and successful self is genuinely and unnecessarily stupid politics.
If the nation is lucky, this October will mark the beginning of the end of the tea party.
As we face several more weeks of ludicrously irresponsible hostage-taking politics driven by tea-party radicalism, we would do well to study how postwar Germany — yes, encouraged by the United States — has embraced the sort of consensual, problem-solving politics for which we were once famous.
The public’s reluctance to support Obama’s effort to punish the Assad regime does not mean the American people want the United States to give up on its global role. But it was a cry for more time — and a demand that the case for American global responsibility be made afresh.
It was the last thing the Rev. Tim Ahrens expected to do during a chat in his book-lined office at the historic First Congregational Church at Columbus, Ohio: He expressed admiration for Gov. John Kasich.
The coming battles over budgets, the debt ceiling, a government shutdown and Obamacare are not elements of a large political game. They involve a fundamental showdown over the role of government in stemming rising inequality and making our country a fairer and more decent place.
Bill de Blasio, the insurgent and defiantly progressive New York City mayoral candidate, did not hold his Tuesday night victory party in one of those faux-ornate midtown Manhattan hotel ballrooms, the usual power venue for such festivities.
It was only a matter of time before our polarized politics threatened to destroy a president’s authority and call into question our country’s ability to act in the world. Will Congress let that happen?
“We are not a debating society. We are a political operation that needs to win.” Thus did Chris Christie offer one of the most pregnant statements yet in the ongoing Republican argument over the party’s future.
In thinking about inequality, we tend to focus on practical remedies such as raising minimum wages or supplementing the incomes of the working poor. We have far more trouble affecting that ineffable thing we call luck