Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Jamie Stiehm
Firing Comey

Comey Plays Cordelia To Trump’s Lear: A Political Tragedy

The scene was straight out of Shakespeare. FBI Director James Comey played Cordelia at the loyalty dinner with President Trump, one week into his White House reign. Comey and the stage character Cordelia get punished severely for speaking truth to power’s face.

May 20, 2017
Trump, Democracy

Trump and American History: The Wrong North Star

American history is a grand sprawling canvas. Scholars spent their lives writing about the Civil War. But Trump has given us a whole new window on it. He clarified that we needed a tough Southern slave plantation owner to hold things together. President Jackson has become his north star in a sea of ignorance. After visiting the National Archives on the National Mall, where Trump’s tweets will join the Emancipation Proclamation, my father asked me, “How many of these Smithsonian museums do you think he’s visited?”

May 5, 2017
Trump, Intelligence Briefings

Kennedy Leaves Trump And O’Reilly In The Stardust

A word of advice to gruff billy goat Trump, 70, and pal Bill. Go back to graceful Jack Kennedy, who charted courses for the country, but never combed gray hair. Self-deprecating wit is the secret sauce to disarming people. Try it sometime. Though it might be easier for these men to land on the moon. Yet it works wonders.

April 21, 2017
Gorsuch filibuster

The Senate Changes Its Ways For Gorsuch

Murphy declared the center of the Senate might not hold any more, if the rules were changed for Gorsuch to be railroaded through. Once the rule changes, it is permanent. The rules changed by a series of votes Thursday. The final Gorsuch vote will move ahead Friday night — before they break for Easter and Passover.

April 7, 2017
Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon listens during Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's round table discussion on security at Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Bannon Getting Even With the Yankees

In fact, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, a son of the South, lost no time in waging war on the federal government from within. Wielding the budget knife at the National Institutes of Health, the State Department and National Endowment for the Arts are skirmishes in what will soon be a siege.

March 31, 2017
Gorsuch, Gun Lobby

How Neil Gorsuch Snowed One Side Of The Senate Aisle

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) noted that millions of “dark” dollars had been raised to buttress the nomination of Gorsuch, without names attached. “They obviously think you will be worth their money,” Whitehouse said bluntly.

March 26, 2017
Former U.S. President George W. Bush visits Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Don’t Paint President Bush In Rose Colors

You see, he was rough-hewn, but Bush belonged to the political establishment as a genial governor when he ran. Trump is such an angry outsider that you can sense Washington wishing for the good ol’ days. Back then, presidents didn’t accuse others in the elite club of wiretapping.

March 17, 2017
Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass: Bookends Of A Great American Life

Douglass, striking in appearance and speech, became the first public speaker to tell the story of American slavery from personal experience. After his spellbinding oratory on Nantucket Island, Douglass became a sensation on the anti-slavery circuit.

March 11, 2017
Presidential, Trump

Hold The Presses: Trump Tries To Act Presidential

The fancy joint session address to Congress is not a place you can lead chants like, “Lock her up.” Best to avoid the word “carnage” if possible. If you’re the American president, please act like one. For the first time in a long life, Trump tried to do that. Fake gravitas does not become him, but his slick performance fooled half the people.

March 3, 2017
Democratic, healthy, resistance

How Healthy Are We The People?

When Congress returned home, Republicans got clobbered at town hall meetings. These scenes made me check up on our democracy’s wellness. Bad news: The body politic’s muscles got flabby in the last 16-17 years. Blood pressure up, and too many Cheetos, not enough kale.

February 25, 2017
Obama

Imagine If Obama Offered Trump Advice From His Island Paradise

I heard your voice like a firebell in the middle of the night — from that beautiful phone — but you know, I can’t be at your beck and call. Here I am on an island in the blue, taking time out from writing timeless prose from the chamber of my mind. The world is waiting for another memoir. Michelle’s here, but she does not send her regards. My wife has serious issues with you, and says Melania does, too.

February 18, 2017
Resistance, Women's March, Princess Leia

The Sisterhood Stands Against Trump

Oh, brother — civil war is churning and burning, and an awakening is in the air after a deeply wrong election, which the loser won. Yes, sisters are stepping up to save the day. That’s what President Trump hates most: when women judge, challenge, or dare to defy him — or get three million more votes on Election Day.

February 10, 2017
Congress, Trump, Obamacare

The Senate Must Light The Way

Our light, illuminating a separate branch of government, is not yet extinguished. Under the Dome, Congress is scurrying to find its place in the presidential matrix. As disempowered as minority Democrats are, Republicans are wandering the wilderness, too. The establishment lost the election. In politics, which operates on a thousand personal bonds, Donald Trump is an unknown.

February 3, 2017
Trump, Allies

Trumped Up: The First Seven Days In Trumplandia

Authoritarians love walls. That will be his scrawl across America. It will make an enemy of our neighbor, Mexico, but who cares? That may be his foreign policy in a nutshell. We’re living in Donald Trump’s reality now, and the “truth” is what Trump says it is.

January 28, 2017
U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House during his departure for Canada, in Washington, U.S. June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Obama’s Best (And Worst) Of Times

As the Barack Obama presidency dwindles down to the last day, there’s no silent amen. Donald Trump people are swarming the streets around Union Station. These Republicans seem to have come from the country to claim the country, what’s theirs. The barricades and bollards surround the beloved Capitol, the place looks like a police state. The citadel of democracy looks captured.

January 20, 2017
President-elect Trump

‘Unpresidented’: A Sign Of The Times

Are we living history backward? A swaggering new president who lost the people’s vote may mimic Julius Caesar’s Rome, changing from a republic to an empire. Caesar conquered Gaul. Trump conquered Rockefeller Center, where NBC made the mogul’s reality show, “The Apprentice.” It feels “unpresidented.”

January 13, 2017
Obama

Obama Made America Cool Again

With a few exceptional scenes, as when he sang “Amazing Grace” at the funeral of nine murdered churchgoers, Obama’s persuasion aims to connect with minds — sweet reason — more than hearts. And will we ever miss him when he’s gone.

January 6, 2017
Trump, King Henry VIII

Trump Is Like King Henry VIII Revived — Without The Charm

The 45th American president, Donald Trump, is reminiscent of one English Tudor king, known for his reddish hair, huge body heft, six wives of various nationalities and, um, forceful personality. Yes, Trump is like King Henry VIII revived — without the charm the early Henry famously had. Trump has neither poetry nor music to compensate for his rough edges.

December 31, 2016
Obama's legacy

Not A Lot Of Comfort And Joy As Obama’s Legacy Starts To Go Dark

Here’s the thing making Republicans joyful and triumphant, and Democrats dark on the winter solstice: Obama left his legacy undefended on the field. There’s nothing to stop President-elect Donald J. Trump from knocking it down like a house of cards — with pleasure.

December 23, 2016
Trump, Electoral College, Illegitiimate

Will The Electoral College Save Us From A President Trump?

Now and then, the Electoral College deals a deathblow to democracy. Under the unfair system set up more than 200 years ago, the state results “trump” the national popular vote.

December 16, 2016
The press post-mortem, CNN

The Press Needs Pressing After A Hard Presidential Season

All the press buzz is about the press itself lately. It’s no secret, the Fourth Estate didn’t bring its A-game to covering the 2016 presidential campaign.

December 9, 2016
Harry Reid

The Three Senate Ds: Leaving Vigor And Voices Behind

Three great Democratic players are taking their last bows. Their vigorous voices will be missed in the fight against President Trump. There’s nobody quite like this trifecta, all proudly from humble origins.

December 3, 2016
Those were the days

Those Were The Days On Nantucket Sound

The new memoir about the Kennedys, “The Nine of Us,” is a lyrical looking glass into a time that feels forever lost — when the richest class felt a deep obligation to give back to the people, to serve in the military and politics.

November 24, 2016
Women's Suffrage Parade in New York City, May 6, 1912.

Women Go Marching On Washington

Women feel dashed, a keen loss, knowing we may not live to see the first woman president. We’re going to grief counseling. But that’s not all. Ladies, let’s march. A million will mobilize. The dream shall never die. Abraham and Martin will be expecting us at the Lincoln Memorial.

November 18, 2016
How Clinton lost the 2016 election

Why Hillary Clinton Lost Her Chance To Break American History

There are two Americas. Women leaned toward Clinton. Black women were her strongest supporters. But men elected Trump — meaning mostly white men, with some help from Latinos. Sex, power and privilege. That’s the deep story of this election.

November 11, 2016