American Politics: Political Analysis & Opinion | United States Politics
American Politics: Political Analysis & Opinion | United States Politics
There has always been a 'deep state' -- a predatory consensus of money and political ideology that serves only its own endless growth and functions in autonomy from democratic process. But, can we actually build a world that isn't run by its shadow interests?

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America has a serious 'we' problem -- as in, 'Why should we pay for them?' The question is popping up all over the place. It underlies the debate over extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and providing food stamps to the poor

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Disagreement over what constitutes a fair share of the economic pie continues amongst Democrats and Republicans. Democrats cast the so-called class war as the rich oppressing the poor. Republicans portray it as the takers against the makers

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I agree with those who think Obama should have done more sooner for young black men. In human terms it is obvious that the first black president of the United States -- raised by a single mother no less -- might have special standing with at-risk black youth

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It's not hard to persuade conservatives to turn against their own ideas, as soon as President Obama agrees with them. You see that in the chilly shrug from the political right are giving to the president's new 'My Brother's Keeper' initiative

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What on earth is wrong with the United States? Why can't it get its act together? Why has the world's only superpower suddenly become ungovernable? The liberal elite must give a little to end Washington's political paralysis

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The trend of abandoning Congress continues as Democratic Rep. John Dingell Jr. of Michigan has announced he will retire. He is going out with a bang, remarking that he finds 'serving in the House to be obnoxious' given the inability to work across party lines

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In his first weeks in office, President Barack Obama broadcast for all to hear the five commandments by which life in his new world of national security would be lived Five years later, How have he and his administration lived up to these self-proclaimed commandments?

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  • President Obama attacked Mitt Romney for daring to call Russia our leading geopolitical foe. 'Gov. Romney ... the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back,' Obama said. 'Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years'

  • President Obama entered office promising to restore the sanctity of science. Instead, a fresh war against science, statistics and reason is being waged on behalf of politically correct politics

  • If Arizona legislators were being perfectly candid, they would have labeled their so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act precisely what it was, the Right to Use Religion as an Excuse to Discriminate Against Gay Men and Lesbians Act

  • Future historians will likely be flummoxed by the moment we're living in. In what amounts to less than a blink of an eye in the history of Western civilization, homosexuality has gone from a diagnosed mental disorder to something to be celebrated -- or else

  • President Clinton? While the Republican faithful are split between a number of contenders and not particularly enthusiastic about any of them, a new poll finds Democrats overwhelmingly united behind a Hillary Clinton candidacy for 2016

  • There's a wide assumption among Democrats that the nomination is Hillary Clinton's for the asking. The assumption is somewhat predicated on an expectation that Vice President Joe Biden would step aside

  • The FCC has decided, at least for now, to withdraw plans for its proposed study of how media organizations gather and report news. The expressed goal of the survey was to determine if the "critical information needs" of the public are being met

  • Why on earth would anybody oppose raising the minimum wage in America to 10 bucks an hour -- a level no working adult would recognize as livin' large? I can think of two reasons

  • While other Republicans zero in on November's midterm elections in the hope of derailing the Obama presidency, the GOP National Committee is busy making plans for its 2016 national convention. Seven cities are finalists to host it, including three in Ohio

  • The political equivalent of schoolyard bullying seems back in vogue to a degree seldom seen since the days of the late Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, who used bare-knuckle intimidation to cow a whole country into viral anti-communism in the 1950s

  • Republicans have a lot of problems, but chief among them is that they are known more for what they are against. They hate President Obama, Obamacare, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. What and who do the Republicans like? What are the Republicans for?

  • Is it possible that the adults in Congress are finally taking over? That prospect has reared its head in the decision of Republican leaders to back away from another threatened government shutdown, by swallowing an uncomplicated vote to raise the federal debt ceiling

  • What you think of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas depends on who you believe. Is the freshman senator on an ego trip, putting himself before country, or is he standing on his principles?

  • The new economy has been harsh for the bottom two-thirds of Americans. It's not hard to imagine a coalition of America's poor and working middle class, bent not only on repairing the nation's frayed safety nets but also on getting a fair share of the economy's gains

  • Diversity has become corporatized, with scores of bureaucrats and administrators accentuating different ancestries. That's odd, because diversity does not mean any more 'variety.' Instead, diversity has become synonymous with orthodoxy and intolerance

  • Cancel the philosophy courses, people. Oh, and we're going to be shuttering political science and religion too. We'll keep some of the English and history folks on for a while longer. They're of no use anymore. We have the answers to the big questions

  • With less than a year left in her final term in Congress, it's a little early for an exit interview, but not too early to get the views of Michele Bachmann on issues dear to a 'founding mother' of the Tea Party and on how to beat Hillary in 2016

  • Of all the time-honored failings for which we criticize sitting presidents -- by 'we' I mean pundits, academics and other members of the chattering phylum -- two charges stand out: imperialism and shrinkage. Usually it's one or the other

  • President Obama faces a growing impression, fanned to be sure by his Republican critics, that he somehow has become irrelevant, especially in the wake of the Obamacare rollout fiasco

  • The nightmare societies portrayed in George Orwell's novels gave us the word 'Orwellian.' That adjective reflects a vast government's efforts not just to deceive people, but also to do so by reinventing the meaning of ordinary words while rewriting the past itself

  • For all the hysteria over former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new insider memoir of his tenure during the Bush and Obama administrations, the disclosures are more breaches of trust than earth-shattering revelations

  • Medical marijuana is on the Florida ballot, which is bad news for Governor Rick Scott and other Republicans who oppose any relaxation of the state's backward cannabis laws. They say medical use of weed is the first step toward legalization

  • At a time when Republicans have Democrats playing defense, the GOP is ceding political ground to the Democrats on an issue that can only provide more votes for that party and possibly lead to a permanent Democratic majority

  • Much is being made of Bill Clinton's swearing-in of New York's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, with Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo at their side. The cameo apparently sought to declare Democratic harmony in Gotham, that supposed bastion of liberalism

  • Apparently, the Constitution is powerless against Satan. Recently, the state of Oklahoma received a proposal from New York-based Satanists to build near the state Capitol a 7-foot-high statue of Baphomet, a goat-headed pagan idol

  • Chris Christie is our kind of guy -- media spectacle, bully, errand boy for the moneyed interests. His presidential aspirations may not survive 'Bridgegate,' but in his national prominence he sure defines the abject state of American democracy

  • Governor Christie enters the national stage under most unfavorable circumstances. Just as he was emerging as an early frontrunner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, largely on the basis of his involvement with Hurricane Sandy, along has come 'Trafficgate'

  • Not since Richard Nixon assured an audience of newspaper editors in 1973 that 'I am not a crook' has a major political figure so conspicuously defended his character as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has done in declaring, 'I am not a bully'

  • What kind of politician is Chris Christie? If you buy Christie's explanation, the New Jersey governor is a victim. He is the victim of a scheming, lying aide and a scheming, lying old high school friend he appointed to the Port Authority

  • Left-leaning Democrats and the establishment media see an opening to keep Christie from winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and are salivating because they think the Fort Lee controversy might harm his chances against Hillary Clinton

  • One of the best features in President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act is the freedom that it offers workers from 'job lock,' a job they can't leave for fear of losing their coverage. Yet Obamacare foes think that's a bad thing

  • Seldom has a domestic issue so dominated the political center stage as Obamacare did this year. The president's health-care insurance law has ridden a policy roller-coaster and will still have a huge question mark hanging over it

  • While the Obama administration offers life support to its Affordable Care Act, in the United Kingdom a growing number of people are asking whether it's time to pull the plug on the National Health Service, which is in critical condition

  • When will the insurers revolt? Articulating my sympathy for the insurance companies is difficult without the accompaniment of the world's smallest violin. But, still, I have to wonder, do those running these firms have no backbone whatsoever?

  • I have small suggestions for both the right and left in 2014. For liberals, accept the fact that you're not the non-conformists you think you are. And for conservatives, you're not necessarily the irrefutable voice of 'normal' Americans

  • 'All constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.' Unfortunately Dick Metcalf, who made the aforementioned observation, was not referring to the 1st Amendment or the 4th. No, he was talking about the Second. He's been out of work ever since

  • True confession: I like 'Duck Dynasty.' Yes, I know I'm not their target audience, as my big-city liberal, Volvo-driving, Chardonnay-sipping, friends are quick to remind me. So, Why, I am asked, would I watch a reality show about a family of self-described 'rednecks'

  • Normally at this time of year, the culture-war fight is over a guy with a white beard. That's true again this year. What's different is that Phil Robertson has taken Santa's place, and instead of a war on Christmas, we have a war on "Duck Dynasty"

  • If ever tyranny overtakes the United States, it probably won't involve government thugs rappelling down from black helicopters. Rather, it will involve a trade of sorts, an inducement to give up the reality of freedom for the illusion of security

  • The recent 'Faith and Freedom' Coalition gathering resembled many similar conservative assemblies: a mostly white, middle-age audience and mostly full of attacks on Obama, liberals, and Democrats. That is not a winning strategy for political victory

  • 'If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country ... is organized along libertarian lines?' Such is the philosophical poverty of liberalism that this stands as a profound question

  • Obama's second term is already beleaguered by the same barrier that stymied his first four years -- a Congress unwilling to get its most serious business done. He looks longingly toward the 2014 congressional elections to bring him a Democratic majority

  • More and more of us don't trust government. What has led to this distrust? The Benghazi cover-up, IRS fiasco, commandeering of phone records, data mining, kill lists, unrestrained spending and unending debt. This is federal government encroaching on our civil liberties

  • In the Dr. Faustus story, a young scholar bargains away his soul for promises of obtaining almost anything he wants. The American media has done much the same thing with Obama. In return for empowering a fellow liberal, the press gave up its adversarial relationship

  • During the Cold War, when a spy defected he was said to be coming in from the cold. In the evolving case of Edward Snowden, the self-described whistleblower on National Security Agency secrets, he seems to be having an uncommonly difficult time accomplishing it

  • The latest open debate over security and privacy is a welcome pivot from the irksome father-knows-best attitude that has prevailed too long regarding the government's contention of superior judgment in the realm of national security

  • Debatable as it may be, I don't find the the National Security Agency's massive surveillance and gathering of our phone records and email data to be as big of a problem as the secrecy that surrounds it

  • When is a scandal not really a scandal? Many are shocked to hear that the NSA, in its pursuit of terrorists as relentlessly as Wile E. Coyote chases the Road Runner, is massively snooping into our phone records and popular social networks without search warrants

  • The revelation that the federal government has spied on millions of supposedly private phone and Internet communications makes President Obama's headache over the IRS targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exemptions seem a passing migraine

  • There are two great centers of unaccountable power in the American political-economic system -- places where decisions that significantly affect large numbers of Americans are made in secret, and are unchecked either by effective democratic oversight or by market competition

  • Joseph Nye -- the inventor of the term 'soft power' -- shares his thoughts on on America's role in an increasingly affluent world, Russia's decline, China's own goals. America's challenge is to wield smart power, a combination of hard and soft power

  • It seems appropriate at this time for both Americans and those striving to become citizens, to recall and reflect upon the unique origins of this country. For all its faults, it has remained the residence and destination of choice for millions of the foreign-born

  • Judging from Republican House leaders' latest objections to the immigration reform bill, it looks like the Republican Party has not learned the lesson from its 2012 electoral defeat - and that they won't win a presidential election anytime soon

  • The Senate provided a rare and modest glimpse of bipartisanship in its passage of comprehensive immigration reform laboriously accomplished by the Gang of Eight. But overcoming the rigid and obstructionist partisanship of House Republicans is another matter

  • Republicans find themselves on the horns of a demographic dilemma: Should they support immigration reform and risk challenges from even farther right? Or should they oppose reform and risk the GOP's ability to win the White House or control Congress?

  • I don't know how Democrats do it. By comparison, while the GOP increasingly looks like the fight scene in the movie 'Anchorman,' the Democrats under New York Sen. Charles Schumer's leadership look like Snow White's dwarfs, whistling while they work

  • South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the bipartisan Gang of Eight seeking historic reform of American immigration policy, has warned his party colleagues they'd better get aboard or forget about electing one of their own to the Oval Office in 2016

  • It was bittersweet for the cause of human dignity. On one hand, the Supreme Court gave us reason for applause, striking down barriers against gays and lesbians. On the other, it gave us reason for dread, gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act

  • President Obama's latest changes in his top national security team seem more a shift to a stronger emphasis on human rights than a break with his long-range determination to keep the United States out of nation-building adventurism

  • The Republican right is giddy, hyperventilating and acting a little goofy at the troubles now plaguing Team Obama. Not that one can't understand their eagerness. It must feel like Wile E. Coyote finally nailing the Road Runner after years of failure

  • Who would have thought that Republicans would turn to Richard Nixon for political advantage? That's what GOP congressmen are doing in equating the Obama administration scandals with the vindictive behavior of our most disgraced president four decades ago

  • At some point, our margins of error will disappear and with them the indulgent toying with our freedoms, defense, education and food. Americans will have to reawaken and act like our no-nonsense predecessors -- if our successors are to inherit what we have taken for granted

  • When your grandmother gets some bad news, do you tell her: 'Well, at least you have your abortion rights'? Why not? Maybe it's because whatever you think of abortion, the right to have one is not synonymous with a woman's health. But don't tell that to Think Progress

  • Attorney General Eric Holder's meeting to discuss his Justice Department's handling of investigations that involve reporters with media rights advocates began in the way many Washington conversations do, with negotiations as to what was to be 'off the record'

  • Ever since President Clinton 'did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,' whatever remains of standards seem to have fallen even lower among people who hold offices and positions once thought to require good behavior and strong moral character

  • The annual ritual known as the Scripps National Spelling Bee came and went recently. There is a lesson to be learned from the success of these young people, including the ones who came close to winning but didn't. It is the value of persistence

  • Bob Dole -- former Senate Majority Leader and Republican presidential nominee in 1996 -- now approaching 90, surfaced on TV and in print as a reminder of the personal grit and determination that overcame his physical disability and achieved political success

  • Former Republican Senator Bob Dole is right about positive agendas, but why is it always Republicans who are seen as the impediment to progress? Why aren't Democrats labeled obstructionists or chastised for advocating policies that lead to escalating debt?

  • 'Could people like Bob Dole, even Ronald Reagan -- could you make it in today's Republican Party?' Chris Wallace of Fox News asked former Senator Bob Dole. 'I doubt it,' Dole replied. It is a silly question and an absolutely ridiculous answer

  • Ideas of the 1960s have now grown reactionary in our world that is vastly different from a half-century ago. Take well-meaning subsidies for those over age 62. Why are there still senior discounts, vast expansions in Social Security and Medicare, and generous public pensions?

  • Michele Bachmann's spectacular rise, only to flame out with her announcement that she wouldn't run again, offers a lesson in Twitter Age politics. It demonstrates how much leverage can be harvested out of other people's anger, fears and raging suspicions

  • If a twig falls in the forest, does it make a sound? In the case of Congresswoman and tea party champion Michele Bachmann, the answer is as loud as possible. Her decision not to seek a fifth term was newsworthy only in the sense of her pursuit of political notoriety

  • Jason Richwine is a type in American politics. He holds a doctorate from Harvard. He writes studies, appears at conservative conferences in suit and tie, and expounds the same old nonsense about immigrants

  • Deception is now institutionalized in the Obama administration. It infects almost every corner of government, eroding trust and sabotaging the public trust required for democracy itself. What went wrong with the Obama administration?

  • Our political culture is so obsessed with authenticity and hypocrisy, we think ideas are inextricably bound to the lifestyles of their authors. Private motives are interesting, but public arguments are what's supposed to matter in a democracy

  • As it must come to all American presidents, it seems, Barack Obama's policy agenda is being crowded out of the headlines by the imperative of damage control against administration scandal

  • Greater than the risk of being accused of criminality in the three scandals now gripping the Obama administration is the peril that the president's substantive agenda is being hopelessly knocked off track

  • What at first sight smacks of a combination of bureaucratic stupidity and a witless war on freedom of the press has thrown Obama and his merry band of do-gooders into a defensive tizzy, threatening to put his whole administration on the skids

  • Is the American body politic suffering from an autoimmune disease? If you think of bigotry as a germ or some other infectious disease vector, we live in an amazingly sanitized society. That's not to say it doesn't exist, of course

  • For years I have been writing about the failures of the UK's National Health Service as a warning for what the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) will do to health care here in the U.S. This is what is in store for us, if Congress does not repeal Obamacare

  • The debate over taxing Internet sales isn't about fairness, it is about spending, which is where the real problem lies. Government never seems to have enough of our money and doesn't appear to care whether we have enough

  • President Obama declared that history tells us the war on terror must end. As an objective statement of fact, that is of course true. The war on terror must end. But saying so doesn't make it so. Some things must end on their own timetable

  • The Boston Marathon bombers were probably 'self-radicalized.' That might well be true, but little comfort can be taken from it. Some of the most notorious acts of political violence were carried out by impromptu zealots who belonged to no organized cabal

  • In 1972, Republican partisans initially accused Democrats of wanting to destroy President Nixon, but most were forced to acknowledge his culpability in Watergate once the facts became known including Nixon's misuse of the IRS to undermine political enemies

  • The true core of the Benghazi story has nothing to do with media vanity or talking points -- or a political circus. The real issue is that for reasons yet to be determined -- politics? ideology? incompetence? all three? -- the Obama administration was unprepared

  • Clinton and Obama both swore oaths to support and defend the Constitution. But after failing to support and defend Americans left to die, they blamed the Constitution for their failure. That's what difference it makes

  • Despite vowing specifically not to make our military the world's policeman or to engage in nation building, American presidents have undertaken or continued such exercises. Obama has seemed determined to reduce America's role as the world's policeman and nation-builder

  • Unlike the medical and legal professions, which require their practitioners to have a degree and certification, anybody with or without a sane thought in his or her head can be a 'journalist.' It raises a legitimate question of who is one today and indeed what is journalism

  • The Obama administration has been made a laughing stock by the home-spun ethical stance of the high-school drop-out computer geek, Edward Snowden, who simply didn't believe that the U.S. should be intercepting the communications of all its friends as well as enemies

  • Just as they say that the poor are always with is, so it is with Richard Nixon, arguably the most tormented American president, who comes back to us in the new book 'Ike and Dick' (appropriately subtitled 'Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage')

  • After November's election, Republican hardliners were forced to accept that their opposition to reform was too costly. And then, Boston. The bombings are now a pretext for many Republicans to retreat from sensible immigration legislation

  • Deportation has become a near-taboo word. Yet the recent Boston bombings rekindle questions about the way the U.S. admits, or at times deports, foreign nationals. The current emphasis is on increasing legal immigration and granting amnesties

  • The president and a few other prominent Democrats are openly suggesting that Social Security payments be reduced by applying a lower adjustment for inflation, and that Medicare be means-tested. These particular pre-concessions are especially unwise

  • Citing significant concerns about long lines at airports and flight delays caused by the furlough of air-traffic controllers, Congress let the Federal Aviation Administration override strict sequestration rules and redirect funds within its budget

  • Conservatives in Congress decided the sequester was just fine as it was and allowed the cuts to go forward. Until they caved on air traffic. That's undoubtedly a precursor to well-lobbied government programs getting exceptions

  • We live in a society that requires enemies, and my guess is that, however much the promoters of drone technology extol the positive uses of drones -- finding lost children, rescue assistance, etc -- their primary use will be in us-versus-them situations

  • Over the last few years, the invariably unjustified rush to pin violence on the 'right wing' has reached the point of parody. The term 'right wing' is also routinely used to describe both terrorists and mainstream Republicans

  • The public debate continues as to whether George W. Bush was the worst of all American presidents, just one of the worst, or not as bad as he is generally said to have been. That broad blanket seems to cover the consensus of many academic scholars

  • Did you really call California Attorney General Kamala Harris, 'by far the best-looking attorney general in the country' at a Democratic fundraiser in the Bay Area? You weren't, like, nursing a cold and snockered on Robitussin or something?

  • As the nation's capital prepares to open its first legal medicinal marijuana dispensary and Rand Paul's call for legalization basks in bipartisan praise, it's time for President Obama to clear the air around his own passive-aggressive position on pot

  • Rand Paul, GOP senator from Kentucky, told the Christian Science Monitor that his recent visit to Howard didn't go so bad at all. He said any perception to the contrary was created by -- all together now -- the 'left-wing media'

  • Within hours after Sen. Rand Paul's news-making speech at historically black Howard University, someone posted on the user-driven Urban Dictionary website this new definition of an awkward-sounding but quite timely verb, 'whitesplain'

  • Are Brad Paisley and Rand Paul the bravest men in America? Er, no. At least not by my lights. But maybe the country singer and the first-term senator are contenders for that title according to the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder

  • Should government get out of the business of defining marriage? That's not a new question. But as conservatives appear to be losing ground in the same-sex marriage debate, some are showing a new interest in changing the rules

  • Who says American politics is gridlocked? It's nice to think logic and reason are finally catching up with our elected representatives, but the real explanation for these changes of heart is more prosaic: public opinion

  • Yes, Obama got elected and re-elected, and that's saying something. But whatever personal popularity the man has doesn't transfer to domestic policy. It's as if the American people are saying, 'Mr. President, we're just not that in to you'

  • We can imagine what lies ahead in 2017 -- no matter the result of either the 2014 midterm elections or the 2016 presidential outcome. That staggering deficit will force the next president to be a deficit hawk, both fiscally and politically

  • Even Supreme Court justices care what people think about them. In their current same-sex marriage cases, they fear a big public backlash if they overreach. But history also shows such fears to be greatly exaggerated when a controversial decision's time has come

  • There's a little known fact about guns in America, and it's one that the firearms industry and its political allies don't like to dwell on: The rate of gun ownership in America is declining. This has been the case for decades

  • Let there be no cheers for Rob Portman. The Ohio senator, a conservative Republican, did something conservative Republicans do not do. He came out for same-sex marriage. And what prompted this? The senator made his U-turn because of Will

  • Recently, politicians who helped craft the Affordable Care Act celebrated in self-congratulatory style the third anniversary of that monstrosity which will soon extinguish health care as we've known it

  • President Obama should listen to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the 'founder' of shuttle diplomacy. Kissinger sees little hope in the 'Arab Spring,' nor is he optimistic about peace in the region following the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood

  • Shouldn't conservative Republicans be ecstatic by New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie's record? Not the folks at CPAC, which decided not to invite one of the party's superstars to its annual gathering

  • What can you do with a man like Chris Christie? The answer, according to many with the conservative movement: Throw him overboard. The popular governor of New Jersey has certainly angered many conservatives

  • The Iraq war justifiably led to a lot of media soul-searching about how journalists were too credulous of the Bush administration's arguments. A similar discussion about how we got stuck in the Obamacare quagmire seems long overdue

  • After three months of licking the wounds of his defeat, Mitt Romney surfaced on Fox News with a somewhat unexpected rationale for his disappointing election outcome. What cost him the White House, he seemed to say, was Obamacare

  • In this era of debt and fiscal dysfunction, it's less than heartening to learn from the Congressional Research Service that the nation's four living former Presidents received $3.7 million in pensions and operating expenses last year from American taxpayers

  • We're back in 'Hooverville,' the name given to shanty towns that popped up during the Great Depression. It isn't that bad yet, though the Obama administration is forecasting gloom and doom if Republicans don't cave on another tax increase

  • Paul Ryan's revamped plan to balance the budget includes a pledge to 'repeal and replace Obamacare.' With slow economic and job growth continuing to plague the country, a decision to pivot back to that first-term battleground challenges common sense

  • Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, in an ambitious effort to direct a party makeover in wake of its defeat last November, has targeted the next presidential cycle's debates and primaries

  • In what unfortunately has been labeled an 'autopsy' of the Republican defeat last November, surgeons of the party establishment and its most conservative offshoot had their scalpels out recently, carving up the corpse

  • Will Republican leaders listen to their own report that calls for minority outreach? First, they have to convince their party's right-wingers to avoid making younger and nonwhite voters feel about as welcome as a cheeseburger at a vegan buffet

  • Among the casualties of the 2012 presidential election, along with Mitt Romney, was the vanishing breed of moderate Republicans of which he once was a star, until his embarrassing lurch into conservatism

  • Jeb Bush, has long advocated a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, roughly in line with current thinking of a bipartisan group in Congress. Yet in his new book, Bush has flip-flopped on the question of the path to citizenship

  • Libertarianism has a better brand name than conservatism these days, particularly among young people. Conservatives shouldn't be freaking out about this any more than libertarians should start a victory dance

  • At the end of 1995 and stretching into January 1996, the federal government 'shut down' because of an impasse between President Clinton and House Republicans. The issue was increased taxes vs. less spending. Sound familiar?

  • Given his track record, former President Clinton is not the person I would consult about 'committed, loving relationships.' Clinton used those words in a recent op-ed, urging the Supreme Court to overturn the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act

  • Jerry Brown, who first served at age 38 as California's chief executive (1976-83), has returned at age 74 in the third year of his third term (2011-2015), arguably going stronger than ever

  • California now works on the principle of the mordida, or 'bite.' Its government assumes that it can take something extra from residents for the privilege of living in their special state. Gov. Jerry Brown made that assumption explicit in his latest back-and-forth

  • You have to credit Rick Scott for coming around on Medicaid expansion. I never thought it would happen. Yet now Scott is one of eight Republican governors to announce their support for it. How refreshing to see fierce opposition give way to reasoned acceptance

  • Governor Rick Scott was one of those tea party stars whom voters believed had the courage of his convictions to block The Affordable Care Act. But recently, Scott made an abrupt about-face, embracing a three-year expansion of Medicaid coverage

  • In Florida, not much is asked of the lieutenant governor. It's a sham job, devoid of responsibility. Your typical day is spent attending dull functions that the governor chooses to avoid. Unless you end up like Jennifer Carroll

  • Perhaps it's time for both sides to consider an underappreciated fact of American life: The system we are trying to perpetuate was created for the explicit benefit of the so-called greatest generation, the most coddled and cared for cohort in American history

  • It is the very definition of liberalism run amok, a good idea (people should limit their intake of sugary soft drinks) driven headlong into the weeds of overkill, overregulation and basic preposterousness

  • After all the thunder and lightning signifying nothing but more Republican obstructionism, former Sen. Chuck Hagel has taken over at the Pentagon, vowing a realistic approach to America's military role in the world

  • Republicans and Democrats are blaming one another for cuts to the defense budget. But with annual deficits of $1 trillion and a total debt nearing $17 trillion, the United States was bound to re-examine its expensive overseas commitments and strategic profile

  • Obama takes a bunch of Republican senators to dinner and invites the losing GOP vice-presidential nominee to lunch. Meanwhile, a Republican filibusters for 13 hours against theoretical use of unmanned drones on our own soil. What's going on here?

  • If you took Rand Paul duck hunting, he'd probably shoot the decoy. That's the impression he gave when he took the floor of the Senate for a 13-hour rambling real-life imitation of Jimmy Stewart's filibuster in 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'

  • The overall failure of American foreign policy during the first Obama presidency was foreseeable. He appointed advisers from past administrations representing the conventional liberal views of the period. In military matters, he inevitably was the prisoner of the Pentagon

  • Whoever leaked the Justice Department's 16-page confidential 'white paper' memo on the use of armed drones to NBC News sparked a long-overdue debate about something that makes both political sides feel uneasy: targeted killings by drone

  • There hasn't been a huge outcry from those who attacked President Bush for his doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against terrorists. Recall, too, the vitriol directed at Vice President Dick Cheney for defending 'enhanced interrogation' techniques

  • 'Zero Dark Thirty,' the film about the hunt for and killing of Osama bin Laden, got a fresh infusion of buzz when outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta confirmed again that enhanced interrogation techniques aided the effort to find bin Laden

  • Our politics have become so polarized and corrupted that a president of the United States cannot even attend an event devoted to drawing people closer to God and bridge partisan and cultural divides without being lectured about his policies

  • In an earlier era, Dr. Benjamin Carson's speech before the National Prayer Breakfast last week would have been a really big deal rather than mere fodder for a brief squall on Twitter and cable news

  • The core issue as I see it is whether the government has the right to define a church as a building in which people congregate on Sundays and whether a private company headed by a religious person qualifies for conscience exemptions

  • A rare phenomenon occurred on Capitol Hill the other day when two ranking officials of the Obama administration testified that they had differed with the president they still served over providing arms to the rebels in Syria

  • I thought I'd give the GOP a little friendly advice. Some in the party leadership are preparing to woo Latino voters. They're fixing up a package of immigration reforms in the hopes of rekindling a relationship they dumped during the last election

  • Nothing about illegal immigration quite adds up. Conservative corporate employers still support the idea of imported, cheap, non-union labor -- in a strange alliance with liberal activists who want the larger blocs of Latino voters

  • House Republicans don't seem to get it. After getting pummeled by Hispanic voters in the 2012 election, they now want to create an underclass of 11 million people -- mostly Latinos -- by denying undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship

  • Senator Marco Rubio's manufactured outrage over President Barack Obama's leaked immigration proposal illustrates the current Republican dilemma: They have to sound like they're doing battle with this president even when they agree with him

  • Marco Rubio, the Republicans' big Hispanic hope for 2016, is a smart politician who might still make it to his party's presidential ticket, but he blew it big time during his nationally broadcast State of the Union rebuttal speech

  • South Floridians are accustomed to the sight of blue-jacketed federal agents swarming a doctor's office and marching out with boxes of files. Normally this is unpleasant news for the doctor. But it's even worse news for Senator Bob Menendez

  • '60 Minutes' is known for hard-hitting, aggressive journalism. The program on which Steve Kroft interviewed President Obama (at his request, no less) and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fell far short of that high standard

  • The anticipated verbal duel between President Obama and Republican Senator Marco Rubio was an obvious mismatch. It seemed a case of man vs. boy, and of a perhaps overly ambitious agenda for the future vs. the same old GOP naysaying

  • President Obama's first State of the Union address of his second term, following in the fashion of his second inaugural address, focused on the state of the nation at home

  • The proposed increase puts more money into the hands of families that desperately need it, allowing them to buy a bit more and thereby keep others working. A decent society should do no less. Some conservatives say decency has nothing to do with it

  • We are in the most anemic recovery in modern history. The president talks about boosting the economy and rebuilding the middle class, but Washington isn't doing squat. Apart from the Fed, the government is heading in exactly the wrong direction

  • There are a hundred places in the world that need the help U.S. power and money can provide. But we have to ask, how much can we do and how much do we have the will to do? How effective would diplomacy be?

  • International law progresses through violations. We invented targeted assassination and we had to push it. At first there were protrusions that made it hard to insert into the legal molds. Now, it is in the center of the bounds of legitimacy

  • The Distinguished Warfare Medal will recognize those whose ability to incinerate a designated target from the comfort of an office chair wasn't prohibitively affected by a jumpy trigger finger on the joystick from a mid-shift java jolt

  • The worst type of history is that inspired by political rivalry. The Iraq story is no exception; the received wisdom is largely shaped by Democrats vilifying the legacy of George W. Bush. The result is that most of the criticism focuses on the invasion itself and its aftermath

  • After eight years of tightened access to government records under the Bush administration, open-government advocates were hopeful when Barack Obama promised greater transparency

  • The Constitution mandates the president to address Congress on the State of the Union. But, what began as a handwritten note to Congress has evolved into televised political theatre in which a sitting president is nothing if not bold

  • President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Address -- the first of his second term in office. The speech to a joint session of Congress will be watched by millions across the nation and around the world

  • President Barack Obama has renewed his call for Republicans to work with him to achieve a large deficit reduction package, but says any deal must be balanced

  • A bipartisan group of senators has just lit a soggy fuse under the immigration debate. This manifesto of mediocrity fails to address the biggest immigration problems facing America -- starting with the question of 'Why?'

  • The GOP crack-up was probably inevitable. Inconsistencies and tensions within the GOP have been growing for years -- ever since Ronald Reagan put together the coalition. All Obama has done is finally find ways to exploit these inconsistencies

  • Some political commentators are dancing on what they believe to be the grave of the Republican Party, claiming that the only way the GOP can have a viable future is for them to behave like Democrats

  • It's that time again, so I've collected a few facts about presidential inaugurations. Maybe you can surprise your friends with them

  • The war on marijuana is going up in smoke, and it's about time. There is no bigger waste of money and resources in all law enforcement. Failure is too polite a description for the long campaign to eliminate the pot trade. A colossal flop is what it is

  • It's a myth that the right to bear arms stemmed from the Founders' wish that Americans be free to stage an armed rebellion against our own government, should it become tyrannical

  • President Obama tells White House reporters raising borrowing limit is necessary to meet bills nation has 'already racked up'

  • Despite Mitt Romney's heartless tendencies, President Barack Obama didn't get my vote either. I feel there are certain minimum standards that any president, regardless of party, should be required to meet

  • Raising the debt limit just allows the United States to pay our bills for money that Congress has already spent

  • Some say that money doesn't count all that much. Even though billionaires and big corporations poured huge amounts into the 2012 election, they lost big. They learned the lesson and won't try to buy another election. Baloney

  • Only a few days into the new year, the Grand Old Party has a huge political hangover from the events that rang in 2013. First came the escape from the fiscal cliff. Then the surrender of the GOP's never-new-taxes pledge

  • The United States Congress simply postponed its tough decisions on federal spending until March

  • Everything that everyone loathes about Washington was present in the 'fiscal cliff' bill just passed by Congress. It is 153 pages long. It was delivered in the middle of the night; and it was loaded with pork

  • While many spun the hurried late-night move as a victory for the middle class, it was a win paid for with new tax cuts worth hundreds of billions of dollars for America's wealthiest families

  • So we've come full circle. On it goes, battle after battle in what seems an unending war that began with the election of Tea Party Republicans in November 2010. The war isn't really over the federal budget deficit

  • Vice President Joe Biden, the Republicans' favorite punching bag, gave his critics nothing to laugh about as President Obama's ultimate fireman in rescuing the country from the fiscal cliff it teetered on as 2012 ended

  • Who won the budget standoff? In one sense, everyone scored a 'victory.' However, the real winners don't come into focus until we take in the big picture

  • By all accounts, President Obama won the fiscal cliff showdown. Why anyone would take much pride in this kind of 'win' is beyond me. It's a bit like being the least filthy toddler in the mud pit

  • President Obama has four priorities: immigration reform, stabilizing the economy through debt reduction and infrastructure repair, generating more energy production, and protecting the middle class from higher taxes

  • It would be nice to feel, after one of the most costly and abrasive presidential campaigns in our nation's history, that the fog has cleared from the miasma of the year 2012, revealing bright prospects for a better 2013

  • The year 2012 should have taught us that dreaming is no answer to reality; 2013 will determine how well we learned that lesson

  • One of my New Year's resolutions is to work harder to persuade ideological friends and foes alike that the way to reduce partisanship and maximize happiness in America is to embrace federalism

  • United States power is threatened by the decline of the middle class and the potential creation of two Americas without a common interest

  • With so many foreigners wanting to become U.S. citizens, it's still a shock to know someone who has relinquished his citizenship. It is another reason for simplifying the U.S. tax code

  • The United States is a nation of immigrants. That is the ultimate cliche and the absolute truth

  • There is a new-year stampede developing in the United States that we have not seen for a long time

  • Such is the state of American politics that the president and members of Congress fled home for Christmas Day as an brief escape from stalemate, rather than the customarily joyous return to their happy family hearths

  • John Boehner gambled that his House Republican majority would strengthen his bargaining hand by supporting his Plan B offer to have taxes raised only on millionaires. Instead, tea party loyalists and other unbending GOP tax cutters abandoned their leader

  • Most Republicans consider the whole idea of spending federal money to repair the nation's crumbling infrastructure nothing short of sacrilege. And yet they're perfectly happy to spend billions of dollars to build roads, bridges and schools in foreign countries

  • The big fight of the hour is over how best to deal with the self-made fiscal cliff crisis. Or is it a 'fiscal bluff?' Both sides know what they need to do, but, since all of the options will bring pain, each side drags its heels

  • There is now only one commandment in the new Kingdom of Fairness: Make less than $250,000, and the government will ensure that you get your fair share. Make more than that, and the government will demand that you pay your fair share

  • Strip away the false piety offered by Republican lawmakers rationalizing their decision to abandon a pledge that they will never ever, ever, ever vote to raise taxes, and that's pretty much what the explanation boils down to

  • President Obama has turned a corner from his earlier wishful thinking about playing nice with obstruction-minded Republicans in Congress. Now, to get his way, he needs to apply the Lyndon Johnson weapon of the iron fist in the velvet glove

  • Despite the partisan bickering and gridlock in Washington, I am encouraged by the surprisingly bipartisan coalitions that backed recent state victories. Maybe we can all get along

  • What a coincidence. It is intriguing to watch Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln' biopic about Abraham Lincoln at a time when the current president is receiving secession petitions via the Internet

  • The vote totals (Obama won by about 3.5 million) don't look like a blowout for liberalism. But it would be wrong to analyze what happened this election year strictly through lens of what happened on the presidential level

  • Conservatives have been dreaming that a political reincarnation of Ronald Reagan would lead them to an electoral promised land. Senator Marco Rubio closely represents the substance and style that made Ronald Reagan who he was is

  • There is one area where Obama could be transformative and bipartisan while helping both the middle class and the poor. He could show some leadership on the state of the black family, and the American family in general

  • There was a time when a president and the opposition party in Congress could agree on certain basics, such as the right of the chief executive to select members of his cabinet with no fuss or bother

  • Do race and gender bias fuel the raging Senate fight that has erupted for remarkably little reason over United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice's possible nomination to be secretary of state? I think not

  • Sometimes it takes the passing from the scene of a strong yet reasonable and accommodating voice to show how valuable and in short supply that commodity is in today's political discourse

  • Right now, many in Washington -- particularly the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus -- insist that Republican attacks on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice are racist and, yawn, sexist

  • I'm appalled by the carelessness and indifference of the BP executives responsible for the disaster. But holding corporations criminally liable reinforces the same fallacy that gave us Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

  • Of course it's too early to talk about 2016. Now that we've gotten that out of the way ... The most interesting dynamic about the 2016 presidential race so far is that the Democrats are behaving like Republicans -- and vice versa

  • As Chris Christie plays the victim in the George Washington Bridge scandal, betrayed as he puts it by underlings, much political crepe is being draped around his broad shoulders. But it doesn't necessarily have to be a shroud over his national ambitions

  • As Barack Obama struggles to gain political traction as a lame-duck president in his remaining three years in office, the two-term limit on service in the Oval Office has encouraged a premature public focus on the identity of his successor in 2017

  • As a recovering nicotine addict, the rising tide of local bans against puffing in public on electronic cigarettes makes me wonder what the lawmakers have been smoking

  • John Boehner says he and his fellow Republicans can no longer trust the president due to his repeated lies. House Republicans are not prepared to move ahead on immigration reform because they do not trust President Obama to follow the law

  • Mickey Kaus recently argued that we should focus on social equality instead of economic equality: 'When we think honestly about why we really hate growing inequality ... it won't boil down to economics but to sentiments'

  • With polls showing that a majority of Americans now believe inequality has grown over the past decade, and favor tax increases on the wealthy to expand help to those in need, conservatives want to change the subject

  • Hollywood has never been opposed to propaganda. When Hollywood's self-declared auteurs and artistes denounce propaganda as the enemy of art, almost invariably what they really mean is that it's 'propaganda we do not like'

  • All presidents at one time have fudged on the truth. Most politicians pad their resumes and airbrush away their sins. But what is new about political lying is the present notion that lies are not necessarily lies anymore

  • Whatever happened to American can-do optimism? Even before the Affordable Care Act covers its first beneficiary, the nattering nabobs of negativism are out in full force

  • The Obama administration's latest delay in fully implementing the employer mandate in its embattled health-care insurance law confirms the harsh fact that it remains a huge political albatross hanging around the president's neck

  • Obamacare has become the gift that keeps on giving -- to opponents bent on bringing down the President. Few could have imagined that nearly four years later, Obama would still be fighting to convince the nation that it was not a terribly divisive mistake

  • 'Job-lock!' The CBO issued a politically explosive report, finding that Obamacare will reduce the number of hours Americans work by 2.5 million full-time jobs. This is different than killing 2.5 million jobs, Obamacare defenders are quick to insist

  • Nine months before the midterm congressional elections that could make or break the final push for President Obama's legacy, he is revving up a broader outreach effort in the hope of reviving the support and spirit that brought him two terms in the Oval Office

  • President Obama's emphasis on getting American foreign policy off the military combat track after the nation's longest war, if he succeeds in doing so, may turn out to be the principal legacy of his presidency

  • My fellow Americans, the state of the Obama presidency is cautious? Defiant? Constrained? Humbled? How about all of the above? Compared to last year's State of the Union address, President Obama lowered his expectations this year

  • Suppose a president of the United States delivered a State of the Union address and nobody cared? Isn't that what happened when the increasingly irrelevant -- and, yes, boring Barack Obama -- droned on about predictable things in a predictable way?

  • It wasn't supposed to be like this. At the end of 2013, the Washington Post's electoral number-crunchers calculated that the Democrats had a 1 percent chance to win back the House. Now into 2014, that already seems pretty optimistic

  • Reaching across the aisle has been brought into question by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, kept on by Obama as a carryover from the Bush presidency. Gates' attacks on Obama have cast him somewhat as a silent fox in the chicken coop

  • A longtime Republican in a Democratic administration, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates believed Obama was 'right in each of his decisions' on the war in Afghanistan. But he singles out Joe Biden for having undue influence on Obama's military decisions

  • What a bizarre spectacle. Assuming he did not lie during his marathon news conference, the feeding frenzy surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be remembered as one of those incredibly odd moments of elite journalistic hysteria that are difficult to explain

  • Conservatives were wrong to suggest people who disagreed with them should leave America and Governor Cuomo is wrong now when he says -- in or out of "context" -- there is no place in New York for conservatives who oppose his social and political positions

  • On paper, 'liberal intolerance' is something of an oxymoron, like 'jumbo shrimp.' But what makes oxymorons funny is that they are real things. There are jumbo shrimp and liberals can be staggeringly and myopically intolerant like Governor Andrew Cuomo

  • When anything bipartisan comes out of a polarized Washington, one should be grateful. That's why a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the attacks in Benghazi progress of sorts

  • In his 1964 State of the Union address, President Johnson declared a 'war on poverty.' Today, with roughly the same number of people below the poverty level as in 1964 and with many addicted to government 'benefits,' it is clear that the poor have mostly lost the war

  • Some of the ideas that Republican presidential hopefuls offer for a conservative "war on poverty" aren't bad, although too many of the rest sound like a war on the poor.

  • What counts as poverty today would not have seemed so impoverished 50 years ago, when many of the poor lived without electricity and were no strangers to hunger. Today, the biggest health problems of the poor are more likely to stem from obesity

  • On almost every issue that divides Democrats and Republicans -- as well as Republicans themselves -- there is a neglected populist constituency. The result is that populist politics are largely caricatured and a voice for the middle class is largely absent

  • In an interview in Moscow, former National Security Agency surveillance operative Edward Snowden has claimed he's "already won" in his mission to throw the NSA on the defensive over its sky's-the-limit sweep of Americans' phone conversations

  • At the end of 2013, the federal government may not yet have Orwell's telescreens, but it does have the nonfiction equivalent -- data collection, drones and other technological invasions of privacy. Our government does have the National Security Agency

  • The outrage industry was in high dudgeon over remarks 'Duck Dynasty' family patriarch, Phil Robertson, made to GQ magazine about homosexuality. Outrage is the primary ingredient for political fundraising and political power. One must always have an enemy

  • I don't agree with Robertson's take on homosexuality. But what I find absolutely ridiculous is the feigned shock that an avatar of the redneck renaissance might actually have politically incorrect or just plain religiously orthodox views

  • House Speaker John Boehner who finally has gone Bulworth -- big time. In two recent news conferences, the Ohio Republican spoke out forcefully against the outside conservative groups that repeatedly have undermined his agenda and pulled Republicans into unwinnable situations

  • Amid all the talk -- and there's been plenty -- about whether Republican moderates can collar their tea party right wing, similarly impatient voices are rising on the left to remind us that Democrats don't always agree on everything, either

  • Private businesses are trying to block Obamacare on religious grounds? What do companies worship besides, perhaps, the almighty dollar? That's the question at the heart of two conflicting rulings from lower courts that the Supreme Court has decided to take up

  • Obamacare was sold on a trinity of lies. Most people know the first lie: 'If you like your health insurance you can keep it.' The second lie: 'If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.' But the third lie hasn't gotten much attention: Obamacare will save money

  • What, I wonder, explains the gender gap in political corruption? After all, analysis of data from countries around the world finds the gender gap in corruption to be an international phenomenon, interestingly in democratic countries more than in dictatorships

  • It didn't have to be like this. There were signs of Detroit's decline that began as early as the 1950s, but politicians don't like telling voters 'no' when it comes to government freebies and benefits. They want the votes

  • The Supreme Court's mixed bag of decisions in the session's final days, particularly on voting rights and same-sex marriage, seized the nation's headlines but did little to bolster its own clarity or credibility

  • Time for everyone to step away from their respective ledges. A few days have passed since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on one of the most effective pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The problem now is Congress

  • The Supreme Court's narrow 5-4 decision to strike down a central component of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is a welcome recognition that times have changed and that especially Southern states must not forever bear a 'mark of Cain' for past discrimination

  • The Supreme Court has narrowly, but effectively, removed another standard on the way to full acceptance of its right to redefine marriage and raise itself to a level higher than the Creator. What is to stop them? Various religious-political groups are in retreat

  • The Supreme Court decided to send Fisher v. the University of Texas to a lower court for further review. The conservative-leaning high court could have used the case to radically rule all race-based remedies for historic discrimination to be unconstitutional

  • There's little in President Obama that smacks of intimidating true grit. That at least is the critical assessment in some quarters in light of his disinclination to mount up and lead the charge for a roundup of Edward Snowden, the on-the-lam leaker of NSA secrets

  • When I say that Edward Snowden may be a fool, I don't mean he's stupid. I mean he may be a fool for love -- love of an idea. When you look back on the various spies and turncoats in U.S. history, many acted out of a foolish loyalty to an idea

  • We now know more than ever before that American society leaks like a sieve. Supposedly secret information pours out from government, from its hired contractors, from Congress, from giant corporations, from political parties, all in the effort to gain advantage

  • There is no reverse gear on the machine of governmental power. If power exists, it will be seized and exploited. To do what? That will be revealed in the course of this power's employment. Its potential uses will automatically be discovered by those who have it or seize it

  • It shouldn't come as any surprise that intelligence-leaking NSA contractor Edward Snowden -- with his lack of understanding of the intelligence apparatus, given that he's a tech guy and not an intelligence specialist -- would impress a significant portion of the general public

  • So far, Snowden's great contribution to collective 'freedom' is that we now know the U.S. government is involved in the passive collection of phone records and Internet data -- in case you had been living in a closet and didn't already assume this

  • The National Security Agency phone tapping news is just the latest example of how so much of Obama's 'change we can believe in' has really been 'continuity kept secret from us.' But after the schadenfreude wears off, the question remains: Is this bad policy?

  • As almost everyone knows by now, the GOP is on the wrong side of history. America is becoming more ethnically diverse, women are gaining economic and political power, and young people are more socially libertarian than ever before. Why can't Republicans learn?

  • Federalism is as old as the Republic, but not since the real Civil War have we witnessed such a clear divide between the states on such central issues affecting Americans. Some might say this is a good thing. But the trend raises three troubling issues

  • Once upon a time, not all that long ago, the highest levels of American government were capable of representing more than just the status quo, and were not irrelevant to real social change. Once upon a time, principles stood independent of politics

  • Absent a policy of total military withdrawal on terms that allow the atmosphere of violence to dissipate, the Obama administration appears condemned to indefinitely continue the present vain and provocative campaigns against individuals and jihadist groups

  • Many of you college graduates are determined to make the world a better place. Some of you are choosing careers in public service or or volunteering. But many of you are cynical about politics. You see the system as inherently corrupt. You doubt real progress is possible

  • There is something about the start of a second presidential term that induces speculation about the incumbent's eventual 'legacy.' Such notions are usually based on the president's accomplishments in the first term plus expectations -- or fears -- of what might yet come

  • The contradictions of the Obama presidency are finally out in the open. As a result, a man who came into office hell-bent on restoring faith in government is on the verge of inspiring a libertarian revival. There have always been at least two Barack Obamas

  • In this endless era of smash-mouth politics, nothing is plain vanilla anymore. What the ideologue either does not know, or does not care, is that this is not a game. There is a real-life consequence to spreading ignorance about matters of health

  • In Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, he ran to the left of Hillary Clinton as a moral reformer. Obama promised to transcend the old politics and bring a new era of hope-and-change transparency to Washington. Five years later, those vows are in shamble

  • President Obama gave two commencement addresses in one to graduates of Morehouse College in Atlanta. It would be easy for this conservative to critique the political and social elements of his speech. Instead, I choose to focus on the inspirational part

  • In response to the acknowledged abuses of his own Justice Department, President Obama has urged legislation for a 'journalist shield law.' And in typical Washington fashion, the proposed act would do nothing to prevent the abuses that supposedly make the law so necessary

  • The broad sweep of our government's counterterrorism policy on targeted killings by unmanned drones, coupled with the Justice Department's new aggressiveness against media leaks, makes me wonder whether we journalists should watch our step

  • President Obama's recent scandal-quakes don't appear to fall anywhere near the level of Richard Nixon's Watergate disaster. But by another Nixonian yardstick, trying to put a muzzle on press freedoms, Team Obama appears to have surged into the lead

  • By all means, journalists should be outraged by the president's attitude toward the press. But if you're going to call yourself a defender of the First Amendment, please defend the whole thing and not just the parts you make a living from

  • In President Obama's running argument with the Republicans in Congress over who's responsible for the legislative stalemate on Capitol Hill, he suffers self-inflicted wounds by continuing to run up the same white flag that undermined his own efforts in his first term

  • President Obama has one of the most hostile Congresses in history. Besides new issues, he still has to defend past successes. His headaches may well get worse after the 2014 midterms. No wonder this president is showing signs of the second-term blues

  • Ok, young'ns, here's your chance. In two consecutive elections, you've carried Barack Obama to victory. Well, here's your chance to prove it: Fork over whatever it costs to buy the best health insurance you can under Obamacare

  • Government is now so huge, powerful and callous that citizens risk becoming proverbial serfs without the freedoms guaranteed by the Founders. Is that perennial fear an exaggeration? Survey the current news

  • Probing questions at presidential news conferences sometimes have a way of getting their principals to reflect on their state of mind -- and at the same time the state their presidency, particularly when things aren't going well

  • The Democratic Party has cause to worry about the public perception of its brand. Beyond the image as an advocate of big government, the party now cope with a creeping reputation of excessive political self-preservation and even corruption

  • Although there's still a great deal to be learned about the scandals and controversies swirling around the White House like so many ominous dorsal fins in the surf, the nature of President Obama's bind is becoming clear

  • To all state and regional IRS managers: As a result of the critical government report about our agency's convention in Anaheim, California, the following changes are being implemented immediately

  • It was a political abuse of power on the part of the IRS. IRS supervisors were wrong to single out local tea parties when there's a host of flagrant, big-time violators controlled by supporters of both major political parties. And, it's also a total farce

  • No president can possibly be kept informed of everything going on in the vast bureaucracy that is his domain. But the supposedly astute political Obama operation should have recognized the potential for trouble in the IRS policing of the conservative applicants for tax relief

  • Republicans are not alone in their outrage towards the IRS. Nobody likes to be profiled. But the big question occupying Capitol Hill is, who is to blame? House Speaker John Boehner's remarks on the scandal reveal a familiar Republican reflex: BOF -- Blame Obama First

  • Of course the president deserves some of the blame. Yes, it's extremely unlikely he ordered the IRS to discriminate against tea party opposed to his agenda. And his outrage now is appreciated. But, throughout his presidency, Obama has set a very clear tone

  • Given the revelation that the IRS targeted conservative groups, it's worth recalling President Obama's Ohio State commencement address. The president decried 'voices' warning 'that tyranny is always lurking.' It's no longer lurking. It's here

  • After years of moaning, conservative activists finally have a real piece of evidence to take before the court of public opinion. Meaning, of course, the revelation that the IRS has been giving extra scrutiny to groups with the words 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their names

  • Whatever defenses there may be for the Iraq war, it was a staggering political disaster for the Republican Party. Is that fair? Maybe -- or maybe not. As a matter of analysis, fair doesn't have much to do with it

  • Chuck Hagel, the former Republican senator from Nebraska who survived a stormy confirmation hearing to become the new secretary of defense, had a coming-out party of sorts before the National Defense University

  • The sanitized narrative and images we have of Sandy Hook apparently aren't enough. After months of anticipation that now, finally, something would be accomplished on gun law reform, the Senate has deep-sixed a package of mild measures in an act of political cowardice

  • Inside Republican congressional leadership, celebrations are muted. This fight over background checks for gun purchases exposed a dangerous divide in the Grand Old Party's ranks that has opened up since the party's presidential election defeat

  • Marco Rubio showed his true yellow colors, joining 45 other cowards to defeat Senate legislation designed to stop criminals from buying firearms online and at gun shows. The vote was nauseating. So is Rubio

  • As a consensus has slowly built that Congress will at best settle for half a loaf on tough new gun-control legislation, President Obama continues to do a version of a Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope dance on the issue

  • Good guys vs bad guys, both sides armed to the teeth. That's how the NRA views the moral universe. Yes, the group admits, an epidemic of gun violence is plaguing our nation. The reason for it is that good people have disarmed themselves. The cure is to rearm

  • History is full of warnings about what happens when people follow public opinion instead of standing by their principles. Major media have whipped the crowd into its latest frenzy over same-sex marriage

  • There are many successful liberals, so why do so many of them wish to subsidize failure for the poor, instead of showing them how to succeed? That is precisely what the left does not want to do, because it would expose liberalism's failure

  • So far, the much-dreaded 'sequester' -- some $85 billion in federal spending cuts between March and September 30 -- hasn't been evident to most Americans. Take a closer look, though, and Americans are starting to feel the pain. They just don't know it yet

  • The new 'tougher' gun laws in Maryland and Connecticut appear to be the result of high emotion, not logic and clear thinking. We all ache for the Sandy Hook victims, but the Newtown tragedy shouldn't be used as a prop for anti-gun proponents

  • The bombs went off in the final stretch of the race -- which had been dedicated to the victims of the tragedy in Newtown. My God. Now another wound has opened in the social fabric. Another enormous question tears at our hearts. Once again we ask: Why?

  • It's a complicated mix, the history of American immigration, just as the future of American immigration doubtless will be. But creating two classes of Americans, foreign workers and real citizens, Americans first- and second-class, has never worked in this country

  • We're chasing infinity. We're ceding ever more ground but aren't the least bit safer than we were a decade or a half-century ago. Every high-profile act of violence is followed by some new security procedure and market opportunity

  • When seeking to place an attack like the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing into context, it helps to classify the actors responsible. Such a classification help us understand how it fits into the analytical narrative of what is happening and what is likely to come

  • In today's ever-growing coagulation of fact, fiction and rumor from print, digital and social media, where is the news consumer to look with confidence for the truth?

  • What's a fair interest rate to pay on a loan? If you think 300 percent is no big deal, you can stop reading. But if you'd be outraged to learn that some of the biggest banks charge exorbitant interest on their most vulnerable customers, you might want to read on

  • Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff wrote an economic paper that made champions of austerity happy. They did not discourage the austerians and basked in their global celebrity. Until a team of economists exposed their work as a sloppy scholarly fraud

  • As the economy twists downward for most of us -- as the politics of money tightens like a noose around everything we love -- I think about the disintegration of human values, which insane logic and the Republicans tells us we can no longer afford

  • Sometimes what I fear most is that the disintegration of public life -- indeed, the very idea of the public good -- is complete. The vultures and profiteers swarm around the carcass and make a profit and that's all that matters

  • We're still legislating and regulating private morality, while at the same time ignoring the much larger crisis of public morality in America. What powerful people do in their boardrooms is the public's business. Our democracy needs protection from the depredations of big money

  • The nation is once again polarized, but I don't hear our politicians talking about social justice or the public good. They're talking instead about the budget deficit and sequestration. At bottom, though, the issue is still social justice

  • There was a time when the lines between the practices of politics and journalism were clear-cut. Professional politicians did their thing; professional journalists did theirs. Seldom did the two meet in public opinion forums

  • Multiple-match public financing has the potential to deliver a government that takes the side of the people, not the side of money. On that hope alone, it's worth a try

  • Not everyone who depends on the federal government is suffering in these austere times. The USDA is on the verge of purchasing 400,000 tons of sugar in a massive bailout of domestic sugar processors. It's the sweetest of deals for the big companies

  • Whenever somebody says something like, 'Now, I know this isn't PC, but...,' watch out. It probably means they're about to say something rude. In the case of Dr. Ben Carson, the world-famous neurosurgeon, the rudeness was pointedly public

  • Just because things can be put on the same list doesn't mean they are necessarily similar. I bring this up for the simple reason that we're hearing a lot about how the GOP must deal with 'abortion and gay marriage' as if they are almost the same issue

  • Today's GOP believes its solemn duty is to mow down workers' rights and wage protections. The onslaught is incredibly well-organized, particularly at the state level, where the well-manicured hand of the American Legislative Exchange Council is all over it

  • The ruminations of Jeb Bush, son of one former president and younger brother of another, on maybe seeking the presidency in 2016 raises among other possibilities another campaign clash of the Bush and Clinton dynasties

  • For all the clamor from the White House and many in Congress to address the American scourge of gun violence, signs continue to point to a half-measure solution at best

  • A Democratic president clings to his constitutional right to rain death from the sky on American citizens drinking Frappuccinos, and conservatives attack the Republican senator who complains about it

  • Rick Scott campaigned for governor on the promise of running Florida like a big business, but the one big business -- Citizens Property Insurance Corp. -- that Florida actually runs is out of control

  • With the Iraq war fading into memory even as the country still simmers, the United States peace movement faces the need to reframe its message. The peace movement needs to make it clear not only what it is against, but what it is for

  • Sometimes Supreme Court Justice Scalia reminds me of the grumpy old cranks in the balcony of 'The Muppet Show.' And talk Scalia did during oral arguments over the survival of a controversial provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act

  • I can only hope that the scourge of racism is finally purged from the 10 New Hampshire towns covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires local officials to get permission on any changes to their election laws

  • Some years back, Detroit leaders announced a 'Renaissance' for the city. Detroit needs more than a Renaissance. It needs a revival, but that is not likely to happen as long as Democrats maintain their political stranglehold

  • The Maryland legislature recently voted to abolish capital punishment in the state, making Maryland the sixth state in the last six years to eliminate the death penalty

  • Now that they're facing Washington's first serious push for new gun violence prevention laws since the Columbine massacre, gun lobbyists are grasping at straw

  • In his first term President Obama was criticized for trash-talking the one-percenters while enjoying the aristocracy of Martha's Vineyard and the nation's most exclusive golf courses. Now, that paradox has continued right off the bat in the second term

  • A leaked United States Department of Justice white paper supporting the killing of terrorists overseas who happen to hold American citizenship is causing mass hyperventilation across America

  • Just as Lenin's body remains on public display in Russia, because one never knows when he might be useful to rally the masses, so, too, does the ghost of the late Joseph McCarthy remain a useful symbol for Democrats in Washington

  • Dear David from Georgia: I want to thank you for the email you sent me recently. It made me laugh out loud. It seems you are somewhat unhappy that I took a shot at Rush Limbaugh

  • The Republican Party, as presently constituted, is now widely perceived as a handy whipping boy for the Democrats. Why in the world would the Dems want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs? The GOP has been great at antagonizing significant parts of the electorate

  • Maybe the party is finally over. Meaning not simply the Grand Old Party, but more specifically the bacchanal of the bizarre and carnival of crazy to which it has lately devolved. Except now we see signs suggesting maybe a corner has been turned

  • Building roads and schools is a big reason why God created Democrats in the first place. And identifying the Next Big Thing -- and taking credit for it -- is something of a vocation for many liberal policymakers. But are these really the drivers of economic growth?

  • The first few weeks of the second Obama administration have signaled that a more assertive president now sits behind the Oval Office desk than the one who settled in there after his first inauguration four years ago

  • One of the great things about American politics is its capacity for punishing hubris. For the ancient Greeks, hubris was defined as taking too much pleasure in the humiliation of your foes. In its modern usage it usually means the pride that comes before the fall

  • Secret Valentine's Day memo to Senator Marco Rubio from the Strategy Office of the Republican National Committee on unorthodox rebuttal to the President's State of the Union Address

  • A blame-storm has broken out between Republican pragmatists who want to win elections and the zealots who love to argue. You can see that big divide most recently in the rebuttals to Obama's State of the Union Address

  • Ever since Mitt Romney lost, there's been a lot of talk about how the Republican Party needs to 'rebrand' itself. However, Rubio, Ryan, Jindal and Cantor are a pretty good counterargument to those who think the Republican Party is doomed

  • Of all the words spoken, written about, broadcast or even just mused over the President's State of the Union address, none were more pointedly delivered than his direct appeal for tighter gun-control legislation: 'They deserve a vote'

  • When you're a bigwig of industry, perched up high above the hoi polloi, maybe you really do think that the laws of politics, economics and even gravity are suspended, or are at least twisted, to your benefit. That's the only conclusion I can draw

  • Rush Limbaugh thinks John Lewis should have been armed. Right. Because a shootout between protesters and state troopers would have done so much more to secure the right to vote. Incredibly, that's not the stupidest thing anyone has said recently

  • Unlike the Sandy Hook School massacre, the horrific death of Hadiya Pendleton might not have been enough all by itself to spark Senate hearings on gun violence. Yet as an urban teen, her tragic case is sadly far more typical

  • If we are to free ourselves of this gun violence terror, we will have to change our minds. Victims of tyranny have three options. They can adjust, they can resent but turn anger inward, or they can resist and fight back

  • The state of the union would be much better if government were smaller and if people were allowed to keep and spend more of their hard-earned money. President Obama takes the liberal view; Marco Rubio the conservative view

  • It's sometimes said that a lame-duck president is a weakened leader from the first day of his last term. But President Obama has issued a blunt pushback against the lame-duck sentence

  • After losing the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, the Republican Party should be painfully aware of their need to step outside of the conservative bubble and talk to people who are not already voting for them

  • Since conservatives are losing the culture which in turn leads to losing at politics, maybe that money could be better spent on producing some cultural ammo of our own? It's a bad idea

  • The GOP has its troubles. Long-term demographic trends; often-irrational animosity; a thumbless grasp of the culture on the part of many Republicans: All of these things create a headwind for the conservative movement. But here's the weird part

  • Standing at Obama's side, even more visibly during the second inaugural festivities than before, has been Vice President Joe Biden, not merely in ceremonial roles but as a key supporting player in Obama's most prominent second-term initiatives

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's swan song before the House and Senate was in a sense a prelude to any future bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. It gave Republicans a last chance to cast her as irresponsible

  • It was darkly amusing to watch Republicans go after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Capitol Hill hearings about the tragic fiasco in Benghazi. But the Grand Old Party's attack dogs were barking up the wrong tree

  • In her recent testimony on Benghazi, Hillary Clinton brilliantly fudged, dodged and filibustered. Of course, she's a pro. Aided by a ridiculous format, she outfoxed most of the Republicans with ease

  • I don't expect you to vote Republican, never mind admit you're simply a liberal. But please stop preening about your fiscal conservatism, particularly as you condemn the GOP for not being fiscal conservatives

  • Obama was once right about the deficits. But the antidote for the profligacy of the Bush administration was not to increase the borrowing even more. What, then, explains the vast gulf between the prior Obama rhetoric and his current record on deficits?

  • As the son of a woman, the husband of a woman and the father of daughters and granddaughters, I celebrate the record number of females who are now United States senators. However, I do see some differences

  • President Obama has named Chuck Hagel as his nominee for secretary of defense. The interesting question is, why? Why waste the political capital? Why pass over more qualified candidates who would sail through confirmation?

  • President Obama's choice for secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel has a resume most politicians can envy: a clean senatorial record, no ethical lapses and two purple hearts. However, biography isn't policy

  • Some 46 million Americans live in poverty, about 15 percent of the population, levels not seen since before Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Can President Obama succeed in reviving the prospects of the poor?

  • The new Obama assertiveness may well turn out to be a formula for more of the same Republican obstructionism. He is clearly hoping that, by taking his case to the country campaign-style, he may break the legislative logjam

  • The 2012 election has shaken the GOP, as have the post-fiscal cliff polls. Yet, the Republican Party may not care what a majority of Americans thinks. The survival of most Republican members of Congress depends on primary victories

  • Recently, it was announced that a group of Republicans and Democrats agreed to get together once in a while and chat. This made news nationwide. Does that not tell you all you need to know about the sorry state of American politics?

  • The inauguration of a re-elected president should signify the country's satisfaction with his first term. Nevertheless, of the last seven presidential repeaters, arguably only two undertook another four years with wide public approval

  • President Obama's critics are shocked, shocked to hear him sound in his second inaugural address like what he is, a liberal progressive. In other words, how dare he wage a vigorous defense of what he really believes?

  • Bill Clinton's assertion in his 1996 that 'the era of big government is over' was a bit premature. In light of President Obama's Second Inaugural Address, the era of big government has just begun

  • The dawn is the symbolic beginning of the new day and thus, the symbolic end of the old. Keep that in mind as people parse Barack Obama's second inaugural address. Keep it in mind as they debate What It All Means

  • It's hard to recognize that the conservative movement's problems are mostly problems of success. The Republican Party's problems are much more recognizable as the problems of failure, including the failure to recognize its limits

  • The belief that the U.S. could and should assume such a global role and expect positive results derives from an invincible political ignorance and a credulous faith in an historical process leading ever upwards towards democracy

  • The United States is moving away from the view that it has the primary responsibility for trying to manage the world on behalf of itself and its allies. Instead, that burden is shifting to those who have immediate interests

  • The website is called the Sandy Hook Promise. It advances no particular agenda, except to proclaim the value of life. And in so doing, the site's organizers -- residents of Newtown wounded by the tragedy -- quietly insist that this matters

  • I don't think Obama gave a good inaugural address this time. I think it was a great one. After decades of being fed the lie that government isn't the solution but rather the problem, it was refreshing to hear a president sound like an unapologetic liberal

  • President Obama's second inauguration definitely had its high points: his uncharacteristically liberal speech and weather that broke 30 degrees. However, like Paul Ryan and Henry Marsh, I had a bad day on the mall

  • It was a liberal speech by a liberal president. That sums up the commentariat's assessment of President Obama's second inaugural address. However, his speech didn't satisfy liberal longings in some key respects

  • Forty years after the Supreme Court opened the door to legalized abortion, the number of aborted babies has reached roughly 55 million. Think of that. Fifty-five million potential what -- doctors, athletes, mothers and fathers?

  • A petulant and confrontational President Obama spoke like an emperor or supreme ruler. All that was missing was a scepter and a crown. This president exceeds even Bill Clinton in his ability to evade, prevaricate and dissemble

  • When President Obama told supporters that he would morph his campaign into a new nonprofit that would accept unlimited corporate donations, the announcement set off a familiar round of griping from campaign finance reformers

  • The latest effort to 'control' guns in America is as likely to deter someone intent on breaking the law as outlawing lust would affect one's libido. What's in a heart can't be controlled by restricting what's in a hand

  • First reactions to President Obama's package of gun control ideas seem to be criticism that it's too ambitious. Predictions are being heard that he will fall far short of his aspirations and even fail to restore the ban on assault weapons

  • It's only fitting that the NRA's biggest tool in Florida is Rep. Dennis Baxley, a Republican who does whatever the gun lobby wants. Baxley made headlines by suggesting that weapons should be carried by employees at public schools

  • For much of 2012, Obama waged a veritable class war against conservatives, as if they were all right-wing clones of Donald Trump and the Koch brothers. But modern Democrats are as likely to be very wealthy as are Republicans

  • So far, there is no sign of a shifting of the tectonic plates of the conservatism on which the tea party movement was built. Nor are there any indications that more moderate views will soon be prevailing in the GOP

  • It really is no secret that Republicans want to make it harder for people to vote. Some are even up-front about it

  • You'd think Republican leaders would comprehend the futility of sucking up to the beet-faced Limbaugh fringe and pushing an agenda that most Americans viewed as extreme, exclusive and intrusive

  • In the scramble to make the GOP more diverse, a lot of people are looking at Asian Americans, whom many believe are a natural constituency for the party. But, the challenge for Republicans is harder than many appreciate

  • I expected to see Republicans make some changes. But even I have been surprised to see so many changes so soon, beginning with the Grand Old Party's brand new vigor for making new amigos with Hispanic voter

  • Listening to Senator Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican and of late the GOP vice presidential candidate, I sensed more than a generational shift in party leadership. It was a 'back to the future'

  • To understand why Republicans have a 'branding problem,' you first need to understand how the system is rigged against conservatives. Such is the schizophrenic dysfunction of our politics

  • Politicians often use the phrase to justify policies to their liking. It can also be applied to the latest in a long list of their outrageous behaviors, as well as to those of President Obama

  • After 24 years in the United States Senate, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the first and only Jewish politician nominated to a national major party ticket, in 2000, had some advice for his colleagues in his farewell speech on the Senate floor

  • In a profession like politics and in a town like the nation's capital, the decision of Republican Jim DeMint of South Carolina voluntarily surrendering his seat for a think-tank job would have been unthinkable some years ago

  • Words have power. If anyone wonders whether conservatives have taken the lead in effective political catch phrases, the term 'right to work' should remove all doubt

  • When will liberals stop living in the past? Specifically, when will they accept that they aren't all that stands between a wonderful, tolerant America and Jim Crow?

  • Just wait until corporate executives finish slashing the hours of their workers to under 30 per week. By slighting workers the hours they need to make any kind of decent living, employers will be able to dump their health insurance obligations

  • The 'fiscal cliff' isn't nearly the biggest cliff we face -- if we're talking about dangerous precipices looming on the horizon. While the so-called 'fiscal cliff' could be dangerous, these other three cliffs pose far greater perils

  • America's children are shortchanged on almost every issue we face as a society. Not only are we failing to protect our children from deranged people wielding semi-automatic guns, we're not protecting them from poverty. And we're not protecting their health

  • If President Barack Obama appoints John Kerry as secretary of state to replace Hillary Clinton when he starts his second term next month, as some administration officials anticipate, you may see a somewhat greater U.S. focus on Latin American affairs

  • Like things you spot in your side-view mirror, many of the budget numbers flitting around the debt talks are larger than they appear

  • The 'fiscal cliff' is a manufactured panic that is all about politicians and corporate interests getting things they want -- things that don't have much to do with the 'crisis' anyway

  • They say that Social Security is the third rail of American politics: Touch it and you die. That dictum extends to Medicare and Medicaid. I'd like to take this opportunity to remind President Obama and Congress of why that is

  • The White House and Republican lawmakers are furiously negotiating a 'grand bargain.' Unfortunately, their deal may include unnecessary and arbitrary Social Security and Medicare cuts

  • The GOP seems to be obsessed with Talmudic interpretations of Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge. You see, if the Bush tax cuts expire, we'll all pay a lot more in taxes. But letting them expire wouldn't violate the pledge

  • As official Washington nervously ponders the approaching fiscal cliff and the potential economic chaos it entails, President Obama faces a precipice of his own in the challenge of making use of his re-election victory

  • The pressure is growing in the face-off over the so-called 'fiscal cliff' in Washington. The president put his plan on the table. Republican Speaker John Boehner rejected it out of hand. And then . . . and then nothing

  • Don't fall for the hype. The fiscal cliff is not a product of nature. Essentially, Congress is threatening to blow up the economy unless Congress agrees not to blow up the economy

  • Congress returned to 'work' to complete its lame-duck session before taking another holiday. Their task is to avoid the 'fiscal cliff,' a geological construct of their own making

  • As President Obama and Republicans in Congress approach the much-feared fiscal cliff of automatic deep budget cuts by year's end, his re-election victory may be his best trump card to get new revenue and avoid calamitous hemorrhaging to the social safety net

  • You don't need smarts, courage, or vision to change history. You just need a ton of money, the sort of fortune that 86-year-old Peter Peterson has amassed over his years wheeling and dealing on Wall Street

  • Obama was re-elected by painting his Republican opponents as heartless in favoring lower taxes for the rich; as nativists for opposing the Dream Act amnesty for illegal immigrants; and as callous in battling the federal takeover of health care

  • As Hillary Clinton nears her promised resignation at the end of the first Obama term, and absent any Sherman-like statement that she will not run for president again, she'll be leaving the administration at a peak of her popularity

  • Having just come through a bruising national election when it felt at times like the future of the Enlightenment was at stake, there is nothing like finding refuge and diversion in a darkened theater and its typically too-cramped seats

  • His critics could not have made a better case that Romney is as an out-of-touch rich guy. No wonder major Republican political figures lined up to denounce him and write off any future for him in the party

  • Opportunity for everyone is fast becoming Hollywood fiction. Ironically, Hollywood may be one of the few pockets where upward mobility is based on merit. Silicon Valley is another. But for the vast majority another story is emerging: a new plutocracy of the super-wealthy is cementing its hold on the top

  • Papa John's and other employers are punishing their workers for President Obama's re-election victory

  • A major player in the debt crisis debate is a new corporate coalition called 'Fix the Debt.' They've recruited more than 80 CEOs of America's most powerful corporations and raised $60 million for a big media and lobbying blitz

  • The Pentagon's budget has plenty of fat, but cuts need to be targeted. We can easily spend much less on our troops, wars, and military research without becoming less safe

  • Our lawmakers have an opportunity to negotiate a better budget deal for this country

  • Normally, the need to amass campaign war chests naturally makes candidates tone down rhetoric that might offend their deep-pocketed supporters. But this year the visceral anger that so many voters felt towards the 1 percent escaped the normal, 'acceptable' bounds

  • Republicans and billionaires expected better returns than Karl Rove pulled off on Election Day 2012