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Michael Gerson

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MICHAEL GERSON: The invasion of artificial outrage

OPINION: In our politics, ideological assertions tend to gain an immediate, massive velocity

The use of apocalyptic language is often a form of self-elevation. It allows a politician to embrace the role of lonely truth seeker.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Republicans tread immigration minefield

OPINION: GOP presidential hopefuls avoid major miscues at Iowa summit

The greatest hazard to Republican prospects with rising demographic groups came in the form of an argument rather than an epithet.

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MICHAEL GERSON: The fight for the middle class

OPINION: State of the Union speech was layered with cockiness, preachiness and delusion

Presidential leadership on defense and foreign policy usually consists of preparing Americans for the unsought but necessary struggles of a dangerous world. Obama provides assurances of global progress and order at a minimal cost, so Americans can turn their attention within.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Terrorism can't be wished away

OPINION: The president continues to react poorly to terrorism threats

The situation in Europe reveals the line of argument that overreaction provokes terrorism is farcical. The French did not support the Iraq War. They did not engage in enhanced interrogation. They have been consistent supporters of the Palestinian cause. They have tried not to offend. But it didn’t matter.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Are Democrats stuck back in 1979?

OPINION: The White House has turned the clock back a quarter-century for Democrats

President Obama has now effectively undone everything that Clinton and the New Democrats did in the 1980s and ’90s. Issue by issue, today’s Democratic Party is about where it was in 1979.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Clear choice or clear trauma

OPINION: Ideological polarization has made stalwarts appear like centrists

A Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush presidential contest would be among the clearest choices in modern political history, but for some the contrast is not nearly vivid enough.

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MICHAEL GERSON: 'The Imitation Game' revives interest in Alan Turing

OPINION: The film is worth seeing, but too worshipful

The movie “The Imitation Game” has revived deserved interest in Alan Turing, the eccentric genius of Bletchley Park who helped create the marvelous machine that broke Nazi codes and hastened the end of World War II.

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MICHAEL GERSON: A global conspiracy of health

OPINION: Child survival rates worldwide have improved in 15 years

There are a variety of reasons for increased child survival, including improved prevention of malaria and HIV. But according to a recent report in The Lancet, about half of these gains came from reductions in pneumonia, diarrhea and measles — diseases addressed by vaccination.

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MICHAEL GERSON: For a politics of repair

OPINION: The ending of the 113th Congress was instructive

As a trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill trundled into law, the populist wings of both political parties declared themselves both revolted and in revolt.

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MICHAEL GERSON: The arrogance of liberal elites

OPINION: The problem for Democrats is Jonathan Gruber is not stupid

Jonathan Gruber recently appeared before a hostile House committee. The MIT economist played a significant paid role in producing and defending the Affordable Care Act, and later admitted the law was written in a “tortured way” to hide tax increases and other flaws.

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MICHAEL GERSON: An act of exceptional recklessness

OPINION: Will a future president or Congress attack drone program?

With the apparently imminent release of the Feinstein report on CIA interrogations of high-value terrorists a decade ago, let’s consider the situation of intelligence personnel who have been involved, not in that program but in drone strikes against terrorists, conducted in a variety of countries around the world.

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MICHAEL GERSON: President Obama influencing public debate

OPINION: On immigration, Obama circumvents deliberation

Obama’s action shows the power of even a weakened president to influence a public debate.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Leaving the harder path

OPINION: President Obama gives up on politics with power play

Obama has now officially abandoned the harder path — not because the issues surrounding immigration will never be resolved (a case no one has adequately made) but because he wants to be the president to resolve them.

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MICHAEL GERSON: The pope's human touch

OPINION: Pope Francis confuses Catholics about marriage

Francis is cultivating debate within the church about an essential social institution — and the value of relationships outside it — even as that institution is under assault by the world (at least in parts of the world where the sexual revolution continues its relentless march). In the middle of an important cultural conflict, Francis sounds an uncertain trumpet.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Our approaching storm

OPINION: Using executive orders will leave issues unrevolved rather than resolved

An ambitious executive order by Obama on immigration would result in an even greater ideological storm. Nearly all Republicans would have deep legal and procedural objections.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Ohio Gov. John Kasich ends up in national spotlight

OPINION: Governor says politics should not be a wrestling match

Ohion Gov. John Kasich is an exuberantly orthodox free marketeer who has balanced budgets, reduced business regulations, privatized government services and placed a relentless emphasis on job creation. “Let me be clear,” he told me. “Unless you build a strong economy, nothing else works.”

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MICHAEL GERSON: Bill Gates' moment

OPINION: The focus of Bill Gates' life -- preventable disease -- is now a world obession because of Ebola

Following the Ebola crisis, infectious disease should remain a focus for good reasons: Because dramatic gains are possible. And because losses can be sudden and deadly, affecting rich and poor alike.

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MICHAEL GERSON: A matter of ends

OPINION: We are humanized by closer acquaintance with the intellectually disabled

Those interested in the most efficient provision of social services would probably not design L’Arche — a program that lavishly invests a single life in a single life. Whether this is viewed as wasteful depends upon your ultimate goal.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Still in denial about Ebola

OPINION: The Ebola virus has multiplied in a medium of denial

The White House believes it has a management and communications challenge. But the problem is far larger — the inability (so far) to get ahead of the crisis in West Africa with decisive action.

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MICHAEL GERSON: For GOP, no victory lap

OPINION: Republicans controlling both houses of Congress has some downsides

The electoral map is favorable to GOP candidates, with battlegrounds located mainly in states Mitt Romney carried in 2012. Democrats can win only by running well ahead of President Obama’s approval ratings, which range from the 30s to mid-40s.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Ebola has been a brutal teacher

OPINION: For those treated very ill Ebola patients, danger of infection is dramatically increased

The federal response to Ebola has had serious weaknesses under stress. CDC officials wrongly assumed any large hospital would know what it was doing in isolating an Ebola patient, then allowed a nurse with an elevated temperature who had been heavily involved with a patient’s treatment to board a plane.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Two cheers for President Obama, not three

OPINION: The shift of President Obama over four months has been remarkable

For the first time during his stewardship of the war on terrorism — or whatever it is called nowadays — Obama at least sounds single-minded.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Introspection time for evangelicals

OPINION: It is fair to say that some cultural views traditionally held by evangelicals are in retreat

Even as some evangelical cultural views change along with broader norms, the Democratic Party is still viewed as a hostile instrument of secularization — a perception reinforced by the health care mandates of the Obama era.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Republicans have a tall order in 2016

OPINION: Big donors to GOP waiting to see what Chris Christie, Job Bush plan to do

Christ Christie and Jeb Bush are considered the most serious compeitors to presumptive Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. Donor checkbooks likely won’t come open until Christie and Bush make their intentions clear.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Belgium creates right of prisoner to government-assisted suicide

OPINION: Belgium officials determine mentally ill prisoner has right to cease to be a human being

The right to suicide adheres, in this case, not to all human beings but to sick and apparently flawed human beings. And such a “right” begins to look more and more like an expectation. A mentally or physically ill person can be killed, in the end, because they have an illness. A qualification can slide into a justification.

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MICHAEL GERSON: President Obama's careful war

OPINION: It's reasonable to question Obama's enthusiasm for a series of options he previously ignored, dismissed or even mocked

President Obama’s newly announced policy consists mainly of previously discarded policies that would have been easier to pursue in the past: Supporting moderate rebels in Syria. Asserting executive authority to bomb on both sides of the border. Actively cooperating with Iraqi and Kurdish forces to build their capacity.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Carrying the fight to the enemy

OPINION: President Obama is more likely to change his policy than his rhetoric

America has found that this ideological, political and military struggle continues, whether we participate or not. And periods of our inattention are periods of our enemy’s growth and success.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Response feeble to Ebola outbreak

OPINION: A human catastrophe looms is stronger action is not taken

In Liberia, the rate of new infections has probably already moved from a linear to an exponential curve. If not checked, it may pose a global health threat.

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MICHAEL GERSON: History ignored in reporting on Israel

OPINION: A former reporter for the Associated Press says his editors spiked stories that did not fit their narrative of opposed Palestinians

Historically, Jews have been a stateless entity on which people have projected their anger and resentments. With the advent of a Jewish state, those projections are focused on Israel, which gets disproportionate (and disproportionately hostile) attention as the embodiment of colonialism and nationalism — things that European and American liberals find offensive.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Too detached to lead?

OPINION: The problem for President Obama has come in managing the symbolic aspect of his office

The president is so aggressively indifferent to appearances that he doesn’t really seem indifferent at all. He appears to be telling the media, his political critics and the world: You can criticize me, vilify me, challenge me; but you are powerless, at least, to change my tee time. It shows resilience. Yet there is a fine line between not giving an inch and not giving a damn.

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MICHAEL GERSON: President Obama a rhetorical observer on Iraq, Syria

OPINION: Obama wants to keep strategic ambiguity at the heart of U.S. foreign policy

An American leadership “vacuum” (Hillary Clinton’s word) was not filled by the resolve of friends. It was filled by Iranian adventurism, by Russian meddling, by Bashar al-Assad’s mass atrocities, by Gulf state money flowing to disturbing places and by expansionist, ruthless, messianic Islamist radicalism.

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MICHAEL GERSON: The paradox of American diversity

OPINION: When an unarmed person is killed by police, the police have the burden of proving it was justified

The killing of Michael Brown is not primarily a symbol, an example or a wake-up call. It is a specific human tragedy, on a specific street, involving a serious factual dispute. It is the reality that matters most: the deadly struggle over a gun or the murder of a man with his hands in the air.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Smacked by reality in the Middle East

OPINION: Experiment ends with foreign policy collapse

In the absence of stabilizing American leadership, the Middle East has become a regional Sunni-Shiite proxy war in which the most radical and ruthless thrive.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Turning our backs on atrocities

OPINION: The Syrian conflict will be remembered as a strategic watershed for American foreign policy

President Obama has consistently complained about American powerlessness in Syria, and, through risk aversion and delay, has ensured that powerlessness.

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MICHAEL GERSON: The dystopia next door

OPINION: The Giver will provoke political commentary

This is fairly serious stuff for a summertime movie. But it is precisely what causes “The Giver” to transcend the genre of teen literature it created.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Corrupting citizens for fun and profit

OPINION: What’s it like from a legislator’s perspective?

The growth of payday gambling and the legalization of marijuana have two things in common.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Poll sheds light on Obama administration

OPINION: Obama’s presidency has changed the nation in more ways than one

The headline — “Poll: Obama Worst President Since World War II” — was both provocative and misleading.

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MICHAEL GERSON: Learning the American language

OPINION: Thomas Jefferson inserted an abstract truth into a revolutionary document

America could have been declared independent from Britain without all men being declared equal. The various “injuries and usurpations” relating to the traditional rights of Englishmen would have been enough. But something more ambitious and universal got planted.

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MICHAEL GERSON: The power of authenticity

OPINION: There are many ways to succeed in American politics, but most of them involve authenticity.

The implicit front-runners in the 2016 presidential race — Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush — are sometimes lumped together as candidates of the past, essentially the incumbents in the race. But if authenticity can trump incumbency, there is currently some distance between the two establishment options.

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MICHAEL GERSON: An arrogrant, lawless IRS

OPINION: If there was any political motivation for this abuse of power, it is a form of corruption

In recent congressional testimony, Koskinen admitted that the emails were irretrievably gone; that the “backup tapes” had been erased; and that Lerner’s hard drive was apparently destroyed in an aggressive act of recycling. With that settled, Koskinen expressed his “hope that the investigations … can be concluded in the very near future.”

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