Category Politics/Culture

The Perils of Patronization

That was quite the brouhaha during the Democratic presidential candidates debate the other night, when Elizabeth Warren mounted a seemingly choreographed attack against Bernie Sanders in response to a CNN report released a few days before the debate. In it, Warren alleged that Sanders had told her during a 2018 meeting that a woman could not be elected president. That led to the CNN panelist’s no-doubt eager follow-up question, given Sanders’s vociferous denials that he had said any such thing.

Oh boy, the prospect of fireworks and sniping, sneers, shouting and clenched jaws! (The entire series of debates having been entirely too civil for most media observers’ tastes.)

Warren didn’t disappoint, either during the kerfuffle over the Sanders comment or in the moment’s immediate aftermath...

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Impeachment’s Next Step: Ignore Oaths and Rule of Law

I will admit that I do not understand a key piece of the current impeachment battle that reached another milestone last night with the House of Representatives’ passage of two articles of impeachment against President Trump. I do understand the House’s action, which is to be followed by a trial in the Senate, as the Constitution requires. And that there is disagreement and high tension to be found in those matters, including squabbles between competing factions and viewpoints.

Messy business all around. Inevitably so.

But here’s what I do not understand: How can the putative jury foreman in that trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with at least one of his most ardent backers, Senator Lindsey Graham, take an oath at the beginning of that trial to serve as impartial jurors, but weeks before that even happens, they offer up the following statements:

McConnell, speaking to Fox News:

“Every...

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An Impeachment Week Lamentation

WOW. I’m tempted to end it there, maybe with a dozen more of them, followed by a few paragraphs of exclamation points as our country, at least those of us watching and absorbing the awful spectacle unfolding in front of our eyes and ears, takes its collective breath and returns, yet again, to the awful question facing us: Can the sordidness and corruption coursing through every vein of Donald Trump’s misbegotten presidency possibly get any worse, and possibly offer any more clear and compelling evidence for why he is so manifestly, perfectly unfit to be the kind of leader we need and deserve?

As clearly devoted and decent as Deputy Secretary George Kent and Ambassador William Taylor showed themselves to be on Wednesday in exposing the multiple ways President Trump has undermined American interests in pursuing Ukrainian assistance in bringing down Joe Biden, it remained for Taylor’s predecessor, the deposed...

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Fire, Rage and Hope 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same…
                                                —Rudyard Kipling 

We live in a time when meaningful commentary about the affairs of the day faces the challenge of being overrun by ever more head-shaking events—and by the 24-hour news cycle that barely has time to chronicle those events before a new one crashes in commanding our attention.

It’s like one of those diabolical amusement park rides that no sooner dumps you out from a screeching, white knuckle series of turns than it drops you and your stomach down a precipitous descent far speedier than gravity would seem to allow.

And then the speed and lurch build up much too quickly again and you find yourself praying for the end of the r...

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The Essential Impeachment Question

Is it permissible for a sitting president of the United States to bring pressure to bear on a foreign leader to investigate a political rival of the president for the sole purpose of casting that rival in a negative light?

That is the essential question members of the House of Representatives and Senate must answer for themselves as they confront the impeachment investigation now fully underway in the House. Those who have weighed in thus far on this point include a number of Republican legislators, including South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham (“If you bring articles of impeachment based on this phone call, I think you’re nuts”) and Iowa’s Joni Ernst (“I’ve looked at the transcript; I don’t see anything there”).

Note: Trump and his defenders never claimed that enlisting a foreign power to intervene in our elections was permissible—only that his campaign had nothing to do with it...

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