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.
The tea party Republicans should hang a Mission Accomplished banner across the House of Representatives. They could flank it with large portraits of Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who has in fact, if not in name, replaced John Boehner as speaker of the House. The right-wing extremists got exactly what they wanted. Now, what will the country do about it?
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.
You have to hand it to the gun manufacturers lobby. Children may be slaughtered, the death toll from firearms may keep mounting, but these guys are unrelenting and know how to play politics.
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?
The debate over Syria is a jumble of metaphors, proof that every discussion of military action involves an argument about the last war. Yet beneath the surface, the fight in Congress over President Obama’s proposed strike against Bashar al-Assad’s regime is a struggle to break free from earlier syndromes to set a new course.
Could this Labor Day mark the comeback of movements for workers’ rights and a turn toward innovation and a new militancy on behalf of wage-earners?
President Obama surely didn’t want to offer his commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on a day dominated by rumors of war. An armed conflict with the Syrian government, even of limited duration, was never part of Obama’s dream.
Are you ready for the Big Magilla of American politics? This fall, every important domestic issue could crash into every other: health care reform, autopilot budget cuts, a government shutdown, even a default on the national debt.
The things we forget about the March on Washington are the things we most need to remember 50 years on.
“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
Presidents are judged not only by the things they do but also by how successful they are in influencing the actions of the presidents who follow.
Pope Francis is proving himself to be a genuinely holy man, a brilliant politician and a leader who knows that reform requires a keen understanding of how creating a better future demands sophisticated invocations of the past.
Here is the sentence in the Declaration of Independence we always remember: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
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.