This effort cannot end with one burst of legislating. The commitment and the organizing unleashed on a vicious day in December cannot abate. Our discussion of guns finally reflects a sober national maturity. We cannot return to childish evasion.
The National Rifle Association is facing attacks from Gun Owners of America for being too soft on gun control. This is like a double cheeseburger coming under severe criticism for lacking enough cholesterol.
Is Congress on the verge of turning away from the lessons of the slaughter in Newtown even as Connecticut enacts sweeping laws to curb gun violence? Is the gun lobby hell-bent on aligning our country with such great friends of liberty as Iran, North Korea and Syria by opposing efforts to condition international gun sales on the human rights records of buyers?
Rebranding is trendy in the Republican Party.
The first and most important victory for advocates of sensible gun laws would, on almost any other matter, seem trivial. But when it comes to firearms, it's huge: Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, attention to the issue has not waned and pressure for action has not diminished.
To be deemed a serious analyst at the moment seems to require a lot of hand-wringing and sneering over how awful Congress looked over the last few days as it rushed a fiscal cliff deal into law.
An entirely new political narrative is taking shape before our eyes, yet many here are still stuck in the old one.
Here’s the first lesson from the early skirmishing over ways to avoid the fiscal cliff: Democrats and liberals have to stop elevating Grover Norquist, the anti-government crusader who wields his no-tax pledge as a nuclear weapon, into the role of a political Superman.
To say that the Belle Harbor neighborhood on New York City's Rockaway Peninsula was slammed by Hurricane Sandy understates the case. Like many other parts of the region, it has suffered the kind of devastation we usually associate with wars.
What is the point of Barack Obama's second term?
The 2012 campaign began on Aug. 2, 2011, when President Obama signed the deal ending the debt-ceiling fiasco. At that moment, the president relinquished his last illusions that the current, radical version of the Republican Party could be dealt with as a governing partner. From then on, Obama was determined to fight -- and to win.
Everywhere you turn, President Obama is accused of not offering a clear second-term agenda. It's not surprising that Republicans say it, but you also hear it from quarters sympathetic to the president.
Does our presidential campaign lack a moral core?
When even Scott Walker and Paul Ryan kind-of, sort-of side with labor against management, who knows what else is possible? Maybe they'll endorse tax increases and say nice things about teachers unions.
The most important issue in the 2012 campaign barely gets discussed: How will we govern ourselves after the election is over?
The man who ran on hope and change didn't walk away from them. He redefined them for the long haul.
If Paul Ryan were a liberal, conservatives would describe him as a creature of Washington who has spent virtually all of his professional life as a congressional aide, a staffer at an ideological think tank, and, finally, as a member of Congress. In the right's shorthand: he never met a payroll.
Here are the two great campaign mysteries at midsummer: Why does Mitt Romney appear to be getting so much traction from ripping a few of President Obama's words out of context?
It's good that conservatives are finally taking seriously the problems of inequality and declining upward mobility. It's unfortunate that they often evade the ways in which structural changes in the economy, combined with conservative policies, have made matters worse.
The path to the White House passes through the blue-collar communities in Ohio where President Obama campaigned last week -- and the middle-class suburbs of Colorado where he did well four years ago.
The Supreme Court's decision upholding the health care law is not only a huge victory for President Obama but also a moment of leadership for Chief Justice John Roberts.
If the United States were still governed under the Articles of Confederation, might California be in the position of Greece, Spain or Italy?
He had just been through the roughest patch of President Obama's re-election struggle and yet senior adviser David Axelrod seemed, if not quite serene, then at least amiably stoic.
The left will make a big mistake if it ignores the lessons of the failed recall of Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. The right will make an even bigger error if it allows the Wisconsin results to feed its inclination toward winner-take-all politics.
Recalls and impeachments are a remedy of last resort. Most of the time, voters who don't like an incumbent choose to live with the offending politician until the next election, on the sensible theory that fixed terms of office and regular elections are adequate checks on abuses of power and extreme policies.
There is a healthy struggle brewing among the nation's Roman Catholic bishops.
In this election, we're not having an argument that pits capitalism against socialism. We are trying to decide what kind of capitalism we want. It is a debate as American as Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, and Henry Clay -- which is to say that we have always done this. In light of the rise of inequality and the financial mess we just went through, it's a discussion we very much need to have now.
Can a Republican primary in Indiana have even the remotest connection to a presidential election in France?
We expect some hypocrisy in politics, but it was still jaw-dropping to behold Republicans accusing President Obama of politicizing the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
It turns out that there is at least one question on which Mitt Romney is not a flip-flopper: He has a utopian view of what an unfettered, lightly taxed market economy can achieve.
We are about to have the worst presidential campaign money can buy. The Supreme Court's dreadful Citizens United decision and a somnolent Federal Election Commission will allow hundreds of millions of dollars from a small number of very wealthy people and interests to inundate our airwaves with often vicious advertisements for which no candidate will be accountable.
It’s understandable if unfortunate that the controversy surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin has polarized the country along both racial and ideological lines. But there is one issue that should not have any racial connotations: the urgency of repealing “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Conservatives are not accustomed to being on the defensive.
Right before our eyes, American conservatism is becoming something very different from what it once was. Yet this transformation is happening by stealth because moderates are too afraid to acknowledge what all their senses tell them.
Clarifying moments are rare in politics. They are the times when previously muddled issues are suddenly cast into sharp relief and citizens are given a look behind the curtains of spin and obfuscation.
A crisis of capitalism is supposed to create an opening for the political left.
If the election were held right now, President Obama would likely win by about the same margin that propelled him into office in 2008. But how fragile are his current advantages?
When we talk about hypocrisy in politics, we usually highlight personal behavior. The multiple-married politician who proclaims "family values" while also having affairs is now a rather dreary stock figure in our campaign narratives.
Politicized culture wars are debilitating because they almost always require partisans to denigrate the moral legitimacy of their opponents, and sometimes to deny their very humanity. It's often not enough to defeat a foe. Satisfaction only comes from an adversary's humiliation.
What do Rick Santorum and Clint Eastwood have in common? Sorry Rick, you haven’t made it yet as an Eastwood-style make-my-day cultural icon. But in different ways, Santorum and Eastwood have demonstrated the limits of both an entirely negative slant on politics and a pessimistic take on America’s future.
Mitt Romney can argue that winning ugly is still winning, especially in a contest he could not afford to lose. But Romney's decisive victory in Florida came at a price.
One of Barack Obama's great attractions as a presidential candidate was his sensitivity to the feelings and intellectual concerns of religious believers. That is why it is so remarkable that he utterly botched the admittedly difficult question of how contraceptive services should be treated under the new health care law.
It was to be expected that in the course of his State of the Union address, President Obama would mention the killing of Osama bin Laden, whose death represented the culmination of the battle against terrorism that began on Sept. 11, 2001.
Members of the tea party insisted they were turning the GOP into a populist, anti-establishment bastion.
This is what progress looks like for a president named Barack Hussein Obama.
It isn't every day that political candidates get asked whether the 10th Amendment allows states to nullify federal laws, but that was precisely the question Rick Santorum faced at a forum here a few days ago organized by a libertarian-leaning group.
Four years ago this week, a young and inspirational senator who promised to turn history’s page swept the Iowa caucuses and began his irresistible rise to the White House.
Still, what’s most astounding is that a Republican contest characterized all year by melodrama and comedy now seems headed toward the most conventional and predictable conclusion possible. It’s hard to believe things will really end this way. The biggest upset would be no upset at all.
At a moment when the nation wonders whether politicians can agree on anything, here is something that unites the Republican presidential candidates — and all of them with President Obama: Everyone agrees that the 2012 election will be a turning point involving one of the most momentous choices in American history.
Is Rick Santorum the next non-Romney to emerge from the pack? Could he conceivably win Iowa?