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Monday, December 11, 2017
jamie stiehm
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets reporters on her campaign plane in White Plains, New York, United States September 15, 2016, as she resumes her campaign schedule following a bout with pneumonia. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Hillary Clinton Gets Stuff Done the Midwestern Way

Stoic Midwestern Protestants are not emotive. It’s hard for them to talk much about themselves in the Southern porch style. Unlike fellow Americans on the East and West Coasts, they don’t write urbane novels or make movies celebrating themselves

September 17, 2016

The Main Champion For Conscience: Senator Margaret Chase Smith

Her name was Margaret Chase Smith, a Mainer from small Skowhegan. Senator Smith to you and me, she was the first woman to run for president from a major political party. In 1964, the Maine senator lost the Republican Party nomination to right-wing Barry Goldwater, but not the respect she carried in Congress: eight years in the House and 24 years in the Senate.

September 10, 2016

The Summer-Ender Of 2016: Political Hurricanes And A Quarterback Tempest

As August exits, two political hurricanes, named Hillary and Donald, will hit landfall to slam a thousand towns. It’s not clear which gale force is strongest. What’s clear is, the electorate is cut apart along bright lines of gender, race and class, never more polarized.

September 2, 2016

How The 22nd Amendment Has Hurt Democracy: A Ramble

Bill Clinton was the best president in my life, a bringer of peace and prosperity in the 1990s. Many enjoyed his sunny exuberance, his talents in the same class as Republican Theodore Roosevelt. Now I’m going there, a place that plunges me into angst: Why couldn’t Clinton run for president again and perhaps again?

August 26, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign rally at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pennsylvania August 12, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

A Party Double-Cross In Troubled Times

“This is a time to stand up and be counted — just like supporters of the civil rights movement once chose to do,” says my newly liberal friend, cut free after an agonizing journey.

August 19, 2016
Former U.S. President George W. Bush visits Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Trump Likes Snub From Republican Elite

The neocon foreign policy elite vigorously embraced and enforced President George W. Bush starting three wars going into the 21st century: Afghanistan, Iraq and the global “war on terror.” Now these wise men are warning us against Donald Trump, 13 years after they swung the wrecking ball, many as W’s aides and appointees. Nice. Thanks, guys.

August 12, 2016
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Trump and the Traitor: A New York Tale

Along the way to the nomination, Trump alienated wide swaths of the populace, (like Muslims and Mexicans). But he just made a mistake the arrogant Arnold would not make: Trump belittled the Khans, a Gold Star family who had buried a son at war.

August 5, 2016
Commander-in-chief test

Pursuing Happiness In Philadelphia

Few in the Democratic Convention multitude knew, but Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love is known for Sisterly Affection. I wonder if Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominee, knows the city’s Quaker name. We shall see round midnight after an exhilarating but grueling four days.

July 30, 2016

Shining Light In A Political Storm

The incurable Donald Trump, party standard-bearer, can be seen as the opposite of a lighthouse. He brings out the darkness in people, leads the establishment to recklessly crash on the rocks and speaks to followers in the spirit of a mutiny. The way they talk could make a sailor blush.

July 23, 2016
Members of the group Black Lives Matter march to city hall during a protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Summer Of Our Discontent

The funeral of five Dallas police officers slain by a black former Army reservist was a solemn panoply of presidential unity. To comfort a country rocked by two years of police violence against black men, George W. Bush and Barack Obama led the grieving in the summer’s darkest hour.

July 15, 2016
Unions workers (front) and various supporters hold up signs before a U.S. Democratic presidential candidates debate in Milwaukee

A Bitter Political Summer In Wisconsin

The blue-leaning state of Wisconsin is already a major battleground in play in 2016, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump vying for very different voter bases. Clinton will court the two cities, Madison and Milwaukee, while Trump may concentrate on the rest of the state, branding and sneering at the city folk as elites and eggheads.

July 8, 2016
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks during an event to mark Nowruz on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at the White House in Washington, D.C. Nowruz is a holiday that is celebrated by more than 300 million people in diverse ethnic and religious communities across the Middle East, Central and Southwest Asia, and Eastern Europe. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Obama Good Not Great — Yet

Ask yourself this: What is Michelle Obama’s legacy? In the beginning, her projects included her vegetable garden for healthy eating and military families. Like anybody could argue with that? Childhood obesity: Who’s for it? Her early tiptoes into policy seemed poll-tested and bland.

July 1, 2016
A photo shot and tweeted from the floor of the House by U.S. House Rep. John Yarmuth shows Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Rep. Joe Courtney (L) and Rep. John Lewis (C) staging a sit-in on the House floor "to demand action on common sense gun legislation" on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, June 22, 2016. REUTERS/U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth/Handout

House Members Sit To Move America

Something’s happening here in the People’s House. What’s going down seems exactly clear: a stage of our democracy, men and women players speaking unscripted lines that could wait no more.

June 24, 2016
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (center L) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (center R) depart the Senate floor directly after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

More Than A Moment of Silence: A Late-Night Show

Senate Democrats are showing gumption and backbone over the Orlando bloodbath, the worst mass shooting in American history. You could read their faces: No surrender until two simple gun measures are voted upon.

June 17, 2016
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in New York

Hillary Thanks Our Foremothers

Hallelujah, we lived to see the day — as Hillary Clinton spoke with grace to claim her place in American history. Nothing’s over yet, but as the Democratic Party standard-bearer, Clinton is riding high. And she worked for it.

June 10, 2016
South Bay Boston

Sorry, Grandpa, Your Infrastructure Is Not My Infrastructure

Give me liberty and give me infrastructure. Don’t make me choose. What’s one without the other?

June 3, 2016
Franklin D. Roosevelt FDR 1944 Reelection poster

FDR Still Speaks Across the Ages, Trumping Trump’s Brand

“I never forget that I live in a house owned by all the American people and that I have been given their trust.” The simple beauty of the words, spoken in Depression darkness, still shine bright, as they did in a fireside chat that millions of Americans heard on the radio.

May 27, 2016
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S., May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Sisterhood: Feel the Burn

Given that most don’t know Clinton personally, and that her authenticity persists as an issue, she may do what doesn’t come naturally for a Midwestern Methodist. Let down her perfect hair and her high walls with the American people.

May 20, 2016
Andrew Jackson portrait by Thomas Sully, 1824, via Senate.gov.

Trump a Long-Lost, Not-So-Great Nephew to Jackson

Don’t do it, America. The Donald is like a long-lost, not-so-great nephew of the General — yes, the military man was always “the General,” even when he occupied the White House. To the restless young nation, Jackson was a bracing breeze after the cerebral, cloistered Harvard-educated John Quincy Adams.

May 13, 2016

Choosing A President In Uncharted Waters

The Republican Party lost its compass in another century when Newt Gingrich ruled the House. Now Donald Trump just crashed the party, breaking glass in a brazen takeover. He exposed how utterly empty the establishment is on the inside.

May 6, 2016
Harriet Tubman

The Way Of The World, Hamilton, Jackson and Tubman

One treasury secretary has saved another. Isn’t that the way of the world? History has its eyes on you, Jacob Lew.

April 22, 2016

Blumenthal’s New Book Reads A President Well — And Gives A Fair Shake To His Wife

It’s high Lincoln season, bittersweet as it can be in remembrance of the slain Civil War president. Into the spring mix, noted author and journalist Sidney Blumenthal brings a breathtaking new view of Abraham Lincoln in his forthcoming book

April 15, 2016
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks at a campaign event at Lakeside Plastics in Oshkosh, Wisconsin March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

Notes on a Wisconsin Political Season

Something is clearly going on, not just in Wisconsin: The 2016 wind of history is pressing people toward extreme points of view.

April 8, 2016
Cherry blossoms

A Political Heart To Heart: Hillary And Bernie

Under the cherry blossoms that hang on the bough, a woman and a man are taking a long walk.

April 1, 2016
U.S. President Obama arrives with Judge Garland and Biden prior to Supreme Court nominee announcement at the White House in Washington

Obama Keeps Rosy Eye On History With Thorny Garland Nomination

Gone is the genteel, sedate Senate. A handful will meet with Garland as a courtesy, as the outstanding judge walks the halls. That’s all.

March 18, 2016