Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Jamie Stiehm

August Farewells To McCain — And Another Great, Too

Lightly smiling, McCain tapped in Morse code on the elegant lunch table, to show how he communicated with other prisoners of war in the Hanoi Hilton. I couldn’t get over his cheer.

September 1, 2018

The Beautiful American — And The Ugly One

Simply, she’s the best of times, the spring sun. He’s the worst of times, the darkness before the dawn.

May 25, 2018
McCain, Trump, Dictators

An Officer, Gentleman, Senator

Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., showed his press secretary and me how he communicated with other prisoners of war in the Hanoi Hilton: Morse code. And he smiled impishly.

May 11, 2018
Obama, Farewell Speech, GOP

Trump Can’t Charm, Not Even For One Spring Night

I’m getting dressed in blue rags to go to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. It’s the annual April spring thing. Black tie in a ballroom. Usually the president sits at the head table and acts like Prince Charming. He stands up and makes jokes at his own expense in a monologue that brings the house down. That would be Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton bringing their best game of bonhomie.

April 28, 2018
Comey under fire by media

The Big Chinks In Comey’s Righteous Armor

America is living a Greek tragedy, because of a freakishly tall man who thinks he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. His name is James Comey; his brand-new book title is “A Higher Loyalty;” he’s here to say that Donald Trump is “morally unfit to be president.” As if we didn’t know. The irony of his ink runs deeper than the well.

April 21, 2018

Uncle Joe, Let It Go

In certain circles in Washington and Hollywood, you hear a lot about the virtues of Joe Biden running for president in 2020. Chris Matthews, the MSNBC pundit, and Donna Brazile, the former Democratic National Committee chair, as well as actor George Clooney, have been counted as supporters of Biden.

December 31, 2017

Trump Tax Bill Is Thin Gruel For Middle Class

President Donald Trump’s America desperately depends upon passage of radical tax code change. Much is at stake, namely, the fundamental fairness in the taxation system President Clinton put in place in 1993. But a massive redistribution of wealth is under way — just so “the rich can get richer”…

December 1, 2017

JFK: When The Light Went Out Of The Sky

John F. Kennedy was the American president on a bright morning in Texas. He was murdered at midday in Dallas, in 1963. The world’s heart stood still before it broke. Beyond our borders, Berlin and Dublin wept because Kennedy won over their citizens. He built goodwill abroad and spoke in German: “I am a Berliner!”

November 24, 2017
Time Travelers

How Social Change Comes In Twos, And History Rhymes

Go down, Harvey Weinstein, down to Alabama and campaign for cowboy Roy Moore, the Republican rocking Washington the way you roiled Hollywood. The dirty river of sexual harassment finally rose to claim and name each of you — and more. Comedian Louis C.K., you can go, too.

November 18, 2017
Remains of trees in a coastal ghost forest display rising sea levels on Assateague Island in Virginia, in this October 25, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Virginia, A Ray Of Light On A Rainy Day

Forgive my blue gloom. Clinton was for all seasons — first lady, senator, secretary of state. She deserved better: a fair chance, not to be run down in the mud of her opponent’s misogyny. Her defeat was a defeat for every woman and girl who avidly supported her. My sister and her girl campaigned door to door in Las Vegas.

November 11, 2017
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence holds a joint news conference with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) (not pictured) following a House Republican party conference meeting in Washington, U.S. September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Mike Pence Ready For Presidential Broadway

Primed and ready, Pence is acting presidential, learning his lines, much like the senior statesman he never was. Donald Trump’s reign, volatile and fragile, has left an opening for mild-mannered but ambitious Pence, 58, to seamlessly slip through.

November 8, 2017
General John Kelly

Kelly’s White House Tirade Snuffed A Candle Of Hope

As the days passed this bleak week, Kelly kept a silence, hardened into ice. He failed to apologize to a Democratic congresswoman of color for speaking poorly and falsely of her in a national media moment. Nor did he have a kind word for a pregnant Gold Star widow whose husband died in Niger. Even while saying women were “sacred.”

October 29, 2017

It Happens All The Time: Hollywood, Washington, The Old South

The free-fall from movie pharaoh to industry pariah brought a breeze of vindication. Weinstein’s life crumbled in such cinematic style that a plot point was born: a flood named #MeToo. The hashtag sprang up for legions of women who vividly reported sexual assault and harassment. They voiced their experiences online, breaking silences on social media.

October 22, 2017

Our Free Press Endured Worse Than Trump — And Triumphed

Now we live in a time when the 45th president insults and threatens the press as his daily bread. The press has taken his verbal abuse on the chin. On Donald Trump’s first full day in office, he called the press his “enemy” at the CIA. In a Nixonian move, Trump just tweeted that NBC’s license might be revoked for a report on enlarging the nuclear arsenal. Yet Nixon hated the press privately. Trump is poisoning the public well of ink and airwaves.

October 15, 2017

The Senate: A Country For Old Men

The reason the Senate moves glacially is because its arteries are clogged — literally. Under the shiny white Capitol dome is a country for old men. The body politic needs an infusion of fresh blood. The old nickname, “the Plantation,” still fits.

October 8, 2017
Patriots Stun Falcons in superbowl

Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport

Teach your children. Nonviolent resistance opens a way out of the dark. The legions of kneeling NFL players, whom President Trump tongue-lashed like a plantation overseer, should be congratulated, not condemned. They created a public stage of protest to be seen and witnessed. They moved the ball of progress forward.

October 1, 2017
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Hillary Making Medea Rounds

But this is a different version of Herself — ahem! — herself. Ironically, this is the winning version, much more true and real. It’s a shame she didn’t show up at the carnival — ahem! — the campaign. She’s here to tell us “What Happened,” the title of her new tome. It may make you weep, but a good cry never hurt anybody.

September 17, 2017

Tennis Greats Ashe and King Showed We Are Created Equal

Arthur Ashe, the late champion of infinite class and grace, was my favorite male player. I knew his life story, or thought I did. Ashe broke the color barrier in American men’s tennis and Davis Cup competition, overcoming a youth spent in segregated Richmond, Virginia, where Confederate statues lined Monument Avenue.

September 8, 2017

What A Difference A Leader Makes In Crisis

Confronted with the catastrophe still unfolding now, Turner sticks by his story. His defiant tone, under duress, falls flat. It seems clear now that those living in Houston’s 100-year floodplain should have been strongly encouraged to flee their homes, ahead of time, in an orderly process. That’s emergency preparedness 101.

September 5, 2017

What’s Written In The Stars

Here in the nation’s capital, it was the happiest thing to happen in seven months. Looking skyward, people were moved to see the moon cover the sun almost totally. Strangers passing the time of day in Georgetown, and then passing a pair of eclipse glasses around, melted into mere fellow earthlings. It sparked a sense of oneness, just us and the cosmos.

August 26, 2017
White Genocide, Neo Nazi, White Nationalist

Country To Confederacy: Be Gone With The Wind

The Virginia tragedy is the knell. It shook America with street scenes of violent white male supremacists. Young hooligans claimed the life of a young woman and injured other brave resisters. It was a terrible thing, made worse by the president’s defiant defense of new Confederates.

August 19, 2017
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the media regarding donations to veterans foundations at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Republican Discontent With Trump Rising Like A River

With crisp stage timing, Senator Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, is making media rounds for a new book denouncing Trump, “Conscience of a Conservative.” (He took the title from a famed Arizona conservative, the late Barry Goldwater.) Flake, 54, is the first senator to speak out strongly, painting the president as an unclothed emperor.

August 5, 2017

On Madison, Trump And Other Presidents Who Burned The White House

Sad to say about the American president, but you can’t take him anywhere. Trump needs a tete-a-tete with his best friend on the world stage, President Vladimir Putin, the spymaster who loved him. There’s a lot of stuff to talk about. It’s a secret no more that Russia influenced the 2016 election and attacked American democracy to help his victory.

July 7, 2017
Obama, Trump

Strange, What Trump And Obama Have In Common

Strange thing passing, but the Republican repeal push on health care echoes Obama’s efforts to get it passed in the first place, six or seven years ago. First, neither the 44th nor the 45th president have strong ties or friends in Congress. Lacking discipline for unity, Trump will remain an obstreperous outsider to the political establishment; that’s what he ran on.

June 30, 2017

Obamacare: Will The Senate Let It Live?

The body is still warm, though President Trump is gleefully pronouncing it dead. We are talking about President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act. And part of this is personal. Repealing Obamacare, dealing a lethal blow to Barack Obama’s legacy, is truly the best part of the Republican fun.

June 23, 2017