It is one of the true delights of a bizarrely entertaining Republican presidential contest to watch the apoplectic fear and loathing of so many GOP establishmentarians toward Newt Gingrich. They treat him as an alien body whose approach to politics they have always rejected.
It was gratifying to hear a despotic leader blame the United States for the rise of a democratic protest movement against his regime.
President Obama has decided that he is more likely to win if the election is about big things rather than small ones. He hopes to turn the 2012 campaign from a plebiscite about the current state of the economy into a referendum about the broader progressive tradition that made us a middle-class nation. For the second time, he intends to stake his fate on a battle for the future.
The contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination has been described as a reality show and a circus. But what’s happening inside the GOP is quite rational and easily explained.
Two politicians from different countries and with very different political pedigrees made news this week. Both spoke difficult truths and reminded us that we shouldn’t use the word “politician” with routine contempt.
The deficit that should most worry us is a deficit of reasonableness. The problems the United States confronts are large but not insoluble. Yet sensible solutions that are broadly popular can’t be enacted.
If the administration is pressured into refusing any accommodation on the contraception rules, the people who will be undercut most are progressive Catholics who went out on a limb to support the health care law and those bishops holding the line against the Catholic right by standing up for the church’s commitment to social justice. This will only strengthen the most conservative forces inside the Catholic Church. That can’t be what advocates of reproductive rights really want.
Everyone on the left side of American politics, from the near end to the far end, has advice for Occupy Wall Street.
Conservatives need to contemplate what the Rick Perry and Herman Cain stories say about the state of their movement and the health of their creed.
That useful warning aside, Tuesday’s results underscored the power of unions and populist politics, the danger to conservatives of social-issue extremism and the fact that 2010 was no mandate for right-wing policies. They also mean that if Republicans don’t back away from an agenda that makes middle-class, middle-of-the-road Americans deeply uncomfortable — and in some cases angry — they will lose the rather more important fight of 2012.
We have embarked on yet another presidential campaign in which religion will play an important role without any agreement over what the ground rules for that engagement should be.
We may be reaching an inflection point, the moment when the terms of the political argument change decisively.
Will we soon see a distinguished-looking older man in long white robes walking among the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in New York’s Zuccotti Park? Is Pope Benedict XVI joining the protest movement?
It’s one of the strangest things in our politics: The only “big” ideas Republicans and conservatives seem to offer these days revolve around novel and sometimes bizarre ways of cutting taxes on rich people.
In their time, the abolitionists were radicals, too. Lincoln, a shrewd politician, understood that public opinion in the North did not fully embrace their cause but was moving in their direction. Lincoln remained at heart a moderate, but he abandoned moderation on slavery when this proved to be morally and politically unsuited to the imperatives of his moment. By following Lincoln’s example and acting against the injustices of our time, Obama could also come to occupy the high ground.
Lost in the hubbub over Herman Cain's love affair with the number nine during last week's Republican debate were some compelling observations by Rick Santorum about "the breakdown of the American family" and its relationship to poverty.
So let’s see: The solution to large-scale abuses of the financial system, a breakdown of the private sector, extreme economic inequality and the failure of companies and individuals to invest and create jobs is — well, to give even more money and power to very wealthy people, to disable government and to trust those who got us into the mess to get us out of it.
Maybe only a really, really rich guy can credibly make the case for why the wealthy should be asked to pay more in taxes. You can't accuse a big capitalist of "class warfare." That's why the right wing despises Warren Buffett and is trying so hard to shut him up.
Yet if conservatives see New York 9 as further evidence that Obama is a pushover, Rick Perry — if he doesn’t self-destruct — will be able to tell them he is the guy who can destroy the Great Society, the New Deal and the Progressive Era with one decisive blow. And no establishment will be there to stop him.
Our political system is not accustomed to the kind of battle that is going on now. President Obama has been slow to adjust to it. The voters are understandably mystified and frustrated by it. In the meantime, the economy sits on the edge between stagnation and something worse.
We tend to honor the Martin Luther King Jr. we want to honor, not the Martin Luther King Jr. who actually existed.
The question comes to mind in the wake of the Libyan rebels' successes against Moammar Gaddafi. It's remarkable how reluctant Obama's opponents are to acknowledge that despite all the predictions that his policy of limited engagement could never work, it actually did.
Obama should not be constrained by what the tea party might allow subservient Republican leaders in Congress to do.
For President Obama, these are the days of never hearing an encouraging word. Not since his own supporters were losing faith in his presidential campaign in the summer of 2007 has Obama confronted so many bad reviews and such widespread frustration and angry criticism from his own side.- E.J. Dionne, syndicated columnist
The first week of August 2011 will be remembered as a singularly irrational, wasteful and shameful moment in the political and economic history of the United States. It reflected much of what is wrong with the priorities of our political elites and the obsessions of those who now hold effective veto power over our government.- E.J. Dionne, syndicated columnist
What the country yearns for is moderation. What we hear about is the political center. But centrism has become the enemy of moderation.
True, Obama has to govern and Romney doesn't. But for now, Romney is making the most of a mess his party helped create but from which he will try to keep a happy distance.
Republicans need to decide whether they want to be responsible conservatives or whether they will let the tea party destroy the House that Lincoln built in a glorious explosion. Such pyrotechnics may look great to some people on the pages of a novel or in a movie, but they're rather unpleasant when experienced in real life.
The House Republican strategy to link a normally routine increase in the nation's debt limit with a crusade to slash spending has already had a high cost, threatening the nation's credit rating and making the United States look dysfunctional and incompetent to the rest of the world.
The unseemly love affair of some American politicians with the death penalty is bad for justice and bad for our country's standing in the world. It inflicts a wholly unnecessary moral stain on a nation that rightly preaches the rule of law to everyone else.- E.J. Dionne, syndicated columnist
I'd actually feel bad for Boehner -- an old-fashioned sort who'd normally reach for a deal -- if he and his party had not shamelessly stoked the tea party to win power. The GOP is now reaping the whirlwind, and Boehner may be forced to choose between his country and his job.
Our nation confronts a challenge this Fourth of July that we face but rarely: We are at odds over the meaning of our history and why, to quote our Declaration of Independence, "governments are instituted."