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Cruz is all about that base

Now that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has thrown his cowboy hat into the ring for president, it’s time to start handicapping the candidates, even if some of us may wish that we had more choices.

The end of the White House’s insularity?

WASHINGTON — In the early days of the Obama administration, my Washington Post colleague Shailagh Murray and I used to trade tales of the arrogance of White House officials more interested in their insular club and the prestige of their positions than in the responsibility they had.

Remembrance of Clintons past

WASHINGTON — An abscess of anger seems to gnaw at Hillary Clinton, but the reasons for her resentments remain unclear. The world’s oldest party, which governed the nation during two world wars and is the primary architect of America’s regulatory and redistributive state, is eager to give her its presidential nomination, in recognition of … what?

Wacko birds nesting in U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama got it two-thirds right when he said that the delayed confirmation of his attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch, is owing to Senate dysfunction and Republican stubbornness.

Who says economics is hard?

WASHINGTON — Every day the Chinese go to work, Americans get a raise: Chinese workers, many earning each day about what Americans spend on a Starbucks latte, produce apparel, appliances and other stuff cheaply, thereby enlarging Americans’ disposable income. Americans similarly get a raise when they shop at the stores that made Sam Walton a billionaire.

How to block a bad deal with Iran

WASHINGTON — It is the common temptation of Republicans and Democrats to support a strong executive when it does things they like, and to condemn it when it does things they don’t. There is, however, a group of committed institutionalists that has gathered around the Bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, now scheduled for a vote of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 14.

The right’s word-deed problem

WASHINGTON — Briefly, there seemed a chance we might have a cross-party discussion of the biggest economic problem the country faces: the vexing intersection of wage stagnation, declining social mobility and rising inequality.

Social inequality’s deepening roots

WASHINGTON — The rate of dog ownership is rising ominously. How can a profusion of puppies be worrisome? A report from the Raymond James financial services firm concerning trends in the housing market explains: Increasing numbers of women “are adopting dogs for security and/or companionship,” partly because of “the great education divide.”

Kasich waits in the wings

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ideas fly from Gov. John Kasich like sparks from a flint. While explaining his prison reforms, he interrupts himself midsentence — his sentences, like some E.E. Cummings poems, are unpunctuated — to praise a Delaware church that buys prom dresses for low-income high school girls. His spirit would add spice and his policies would add substance to the Republican presidential contest.

The Export-Import Bank’s grip

Conservatives’ next disappointment will at least be a validation. The coming reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank will confirm their warnings about the difficulty of prying the government’s tentacles off what should be society’s private sphere.

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Why Obama’s budget matters

WASHINGTON — When President Barack Obama released his budget on Monday, the words “dead on arrival” were widely incanted because they are part of a quasi-religious Beltway ritual.

A season of wretched excess

WASHINGTON — Beer, Benjamin Franklin supposedly said but almost certainly didn’t, is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Without cannonballing into deep theological waters, perhaps Deflategate proves the same thing.

Bud Selig’s winning legacy

WASHINGTON — The business of baseball and the nation’s business used to be conducted in Washington with similar skill. The Washington Senators were run by Clark Griffith, who said: “Fans like home runs, and we have assembled a pitching staff to please our fans.” Today, however, Washington’s team is a model of best practices. The government? Less so.

The fight for the middle class

WASHINGTON — When you strip away all the layers of cockiness, preachiness and delusion in President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, you find more cockiness, preachiness and delusion underneath.

Vermont’s Sanders has mountains to climb

WASHINGTON — The young man who answered the phone in the Senate office of Vermont’s Bernie Sanders told the caller, a would-be campaign contributor, that it is illegal for funds to be accepted on federal property. He advised the person to contact Sanders’ political operation, which might become a presidential campaign.