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July 23, 2014
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The Last Days of Democracy

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Heart of Darkness

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katatonia82 / Shutterstock.com

Will Flight 17 Sober Us Up?

American politics was trundling along on its usual unserious and trivial trajectory when news of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine shook the world. Suddenly, the stakes in public life and foreign policy were very high.

Posted on Jul 21, 2014 READ MORE



Photo of Glenn Beck by Gage Skidmore. (CC-BY-SA)

Bordering on Heartless

Glenn Beck says he has come under fierce attack from some of his fellow conservatives for a grave transgression.

Posted on Jul 14, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Where Does the Buck Stop?

Some elections are contests between voters who are happy and voters who are not. This fall’s elections are of a different sort: Since almost all the voters are unhappy with politics, the battle will be over which party gets the blame for dysfunction, inaction and disillusionment.

Posted on Jul 9, 2014 READ MORE



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Our Progressive Constitution

Many kinds of conservatives contend that everything they believe is thoroughly consistent with the views and intentions of our 18th-century founders.

Posted on Jul 7, 2014 READ MORE



Dirk Loop (CC-BY)

The Vital Incoherent Center

Here’s one political paradox: A substantial majority of Americans do not fit neatly into the conventional “liberal” and “conservative” boxes, yet there is no coherent political center. Those who dream of a middle-of-the-road third party are destined to be disappointed.

Posted on Jun 30, 2014 READ MORE



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Thad Cochran’s Democratic Campaign

“There is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats.”

Posted on Jun 25, 2014 READ MORE



A Year of Living Negatively

The prospect of months of attacks and more attacks reflects the depth of disillusionment with Washington.

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 READ MORE



Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

Dick Cheney’s Chutzpah

It’s not every day that a leader of the previous administration suggests that the current president is a “fool” and accuses him of intentionally weakening the United States.

Posted on Jun 18, 2014 READ MORE



Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com

Where’s the Bread and Butter?

The 2014 campaign is being waged against a backdrop of national news dominated by everything except the core economic worries of most Americans.

Posted on Jun 16, 2014 READ MORE



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Eric Cantor and the Tea Party Purge

In 1961, John F. Kennedy said: “In the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.”

Posted on Jun 11, 2014 READ MORE



White House/Pete Souza

Seeking Sanity on Sgt. Bergdahl

It’s hard not to be cynical after the display of rancid partisanship that greeted the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after five years as a Taliban-held prisoner of war. The Greatest Generation would not have acted this way.

Posted on Jun 9, 2014 READ MORE



U.S. Navy/Chief Hospital Corpsman Josh Ives

Will Congress Be as Brave as Shinseki?

If you want a prime example of what’s wrong with our politics, study the response to the veterans’ health care scandal. You would think from the coverage that the only issue that mattered to politicians was whether Gen. Eric Shinseki should be fired.

Posted on Jun 2, 2014 READ MORE



White House/Pete Souza

Obama Comes as Close as Ever to Explaining His Doctrine

By laying out a long-term foreign policy vision in a speech at West Point on Wednesday, President Obama challenged his critics, at home and abroad, not to speak in vague terms about American “decline” or “weakness” but to answer the question: Exactly what would you do differently?

Posted on May 28, 2014 READ MORE



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A Brief History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a peculiarly appropriate holiday for our times. Its origins lie in the Civil War, which resulted from the failure of a deeply polarized political system to settle the question of slavery.

Posted on May 26, 2014 READ MORE



Gil C / Shutterstock.com

The Two GOP Establishments

The language commonly used to describe the battle going on inside the Republican Party is wrong and misleading. The fights this spring are not between “the grass roots” and “the establishment,” but between two establishment factions spending vast sums to gain the upper hand.

Posted on May 15, 2014 READ MORE



White House/Pete Souza

The Democrats’ Strategic Ambiguity

Bragging about what they’ve achieved is what incumbent politicians do. But as Democrats struggle to hang on to the Senate this year (and try against the odds to take over the House), they are not in the usual boasting mood.

Posted on May 12, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

A Missed Chance on Religious Freedom

Religious liberty in the United States is a gift, based, as Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent to Monday’s public prayer decision, on “the breathtakingly generous constitutional idea that our public institutions belong no less to the Buddhist or Hindu than to the Methodist or Episcopalian.”

Posted on May 7, 2014 READ MORE



JStone / Shutterstock.com

The Hillary Difference

President Obama’s difficulties do not appear to be hurting Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency in 2016.

Posted on May 5, 2014 READ MORE



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The Gun Supremacists’ Folly

Have we gone stark raving mad? The question is brought to mind by the new gun law signed last week in Georgia by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Posted on Apr 28, 2014 READ MORE



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The Key to 2014

The Democrats’ biggest strategic challenge in maintaining control of the U.S. Senate involves motivating the party’s base while simultaneously attracting swing and even Republican voters in contests being waged in conservative states.

Posted on Apr 23, 2014 READ MORE



John Caballero (CC-BY-SA)

Bill de Blasio, Unbowed

New York’s new mayor offers no apologies for waging war on economic inequality, for taking his time in making key appointments, or for riling advocates of charter schools.

Posted on Apr 21, 2014 READ MORE



By Frank Wolfe (LBJ Library) via Wikimedia Commons

LBJ’s Way

The Johnson comeback brings with it a new appreciation of the durability of the reforms enacted on his watch.

Posted on Apr 11, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Party Loyalty: Why the Supreme Court Is Wrecking Our Democracy

It’s a shame that the Republican majority on the Supreme Court doesn’t know the difference between an oligarchy and a democratic republic.

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 READ MORE



txking / Shutterstock.com

When Obamacare Was ‘Doomed’

Is there any accountability in American politics for being completely wrong?

Posted on Apr 2, 2014 READ MORE



Senate Democracts (CC-BY)

Who Cares About the Value of Work?

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., favors a minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour, but she also has other ideas that would help Americans at the bottom of the income structure to earn more.

Posted on Mar 31, 2014 READ MORE



neneo / Shutterstock.com

The Pope Isn’t a Party Boss

President Obama’s first salary as a community organizer was paid by a Catholic group and his earliest social justice work was rooted in Catholic social doctrine. So why don’t the bishops like him?

Posted on Mar 26, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Health Care’s Real Stakes

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. But at the end of this month, the new health care law will get a third chance to make a decent impression—finally.

Posted on Mar 24, 2014 READ MORE



plavevski / Shutterstock.com

Will Putin Bring Us Together?

Vladimir Putin’s grab of Crimea has exposed the paradoxes in American attitudes toward foreign policy.

Posted on Mar 19, 2014 READ MORE



White House/Pete Souza

No Hope Politics

Listlessness is bad politics. Defensiveness is poor strategy. And resignation is never inspiring.

Posted on Mar 17, 2014 READ MORE



neneo / Shutterstock.com

Francis’ Anti-Imperial Papacy

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope a year ago, only a few expected that he would confront so many challenges simultaneously.

Posted on Mar 12, 2014 READ MORE



Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

The Right’s New Clothes

Are conservatives interested in new ideas, or are they merely infatuated with the idea of new ideas?

Posted on Mar 10, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Closing the D.C. Reality Gap

To understand the country’s frustration with politics, we shouldn’t focus primarily on “gridlock” and “polarization.” The larger problem is a disconnect between what the nation’s capital is talking about and what most citizens are worried about.

Posted on Mar 3, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

No Ground For ‘Stand Your Ground’

The law is supposed to solve problems, not create them.

Posted on Feb 19, 2014 READ MORE



An Idea Conservatives Should Love

Raising the minimum wage achieves many of the goals conservative politicians regularly extol.

Posted on Feb 17, 2014 READ MORE



Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

John Boehner’s Sunshine Band

From now on, it’s the Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah House.

Posted on Feb 12, 2014 READ MORE



Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

How a Couple of Austrians Messed Up Washington

One of my favorite moments during the 2012 Republican presidential contest came when Ron Paul, fresh from his strong showing in Iowa, triumphantly told his supporters: “We’re all Austrians now!”

Posted on Feb 12, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Must the Obamacare Debate Be Stupid?

By broadening access to health insurance, the Affordable Care Act ends the tyranny of “job lock,” which is what the much-misrepresented Congressional Budget Office study of the law released on Tuesday shows.

Posted on Feb 5, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Is the GOP Giving Up Tea?

Republicans are so confident they can ride anti-Obamacare sentiment to electoral victory that they’re growing ever-more impatient with the tea party’s fanaticism. Immigration reform may be the result.

Posted on Feb 3, 2014 READ MORE



White House/Chuck Kennedy

The President and the Post-Obama Era

President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday is about more than the final three years of his presidency. Its purpose should be to influence the next decade of American political life and begin shaping the post-Obama era.

Posted on Jan 27, 2014 READ MORE



Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

Chris Christie’s Dual Political Personalities

It’s rare that you can look at your television screen and see not only what is happening but also what might have been.

Posted on Jan 22, 2014 READ MORE



AP/J. Scott Applewhite

The Toughest Liberal in the House Is Retiring, Worries About ‘Dark Money’

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., hails from a time when liberals didn’t apologize for trying to make the country fairer and notes that he won his first race on the basis of only two promises: “to end the Vietnam War and to enact single-payer health care.”

Posted on Jan 16, 2014 READ MORE



AP/Richard Drew

Why Chris Christie Is Conservatives’ Worst Nightmare

What is the greatest fear of conservatives when they warn against the dangers of big government?

Posted on Jan 13, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Marijuana Injustices

I have come to believe that we should legalize or at least decriminalize marijuana use. The way we enforce marijuana laws is unconscionable.

Posted on Jan 8, 2014 READ MORE



White House/Amanda Lucidon

2013: Not As Bad As You Think

Something else happened this year that may, over time, prove far more important than the great website flop.

Posted on Dec 30, 2013 READ MORE



Shutterstock

The De Blasio-Bloomberg Paradox

The standard line on New York City’s Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who takes office next Wednesday, is that he’s the antithesis of outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg. That’s not quite true.

Posted on Dec 26, 2013 READ MORE


The GOP’s Fight Has Just Begun

The Republican civil war, like all civil wars, is even messier than it looks.

Posted on Dec 19, 2013 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Family Values Hypocrisy

Politicians talk about family values but do almost nothing to help families. They talk about parental responsibility but do almost nothing to help parents. They talk about self-sufficiency but do precious little to make self-sufficiency a reality for those who must struggle hardest to achieve it.

Posted on Dec 16, 2013 READ MORE


The Inadequate, Necessary Budget Deal

It’s a sign of how far to the right House Republicans have dragged governance in our country that the very conservative budget deal reached by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray will need many liberal and Democratic votes to pass.

Posted on Dec 11, 2013 READ MORE



Shutterstock

The Return of the Working Class Hero

For more than three decades, working class Americans receded as cultural heroes, replaced in the popular imagination by swashbuckling entrepreneurs, brilliant innovators, and shrewd investors who make millions at the touch of a computer key.

Posted on Dec 9, 2013 READ MORE


Obama’s Bigger Playing Field

The debate over the Affordable Care Act can stay small, focusing on website failures and other short-term difficulties facing the law. Or it can get bigger, with wider insurance coverage seen as part of a larger struggle for social justice in a nation growing steadily less equal.

Posted on Dec 4, 2013 READ MORE


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