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?
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.