WASHINGTON — We Americans are exceptionally good at evasion when we want to be. Our skills in this sphere are particularly impressive on the matter of race and the subject...
WASHINGTON—How is it that Democrats forgot about the joys Santa Claus can bring? How is it that Republicans managed to steal the Santa idea from the party of FDR and never let go? Understanding why Bernie Sanders' presidential candidacy is important requires revisiting the politics of St. Nick. The senator from Vermont has little chance of defeating Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.
WASHINGTON—Am I am the only person outside the Bush family who has a smidgen of empathy for Jeb Bush's roller-coaster ride in trying to answer a straightforward question: Was going to war in Iraq the right thing to do? It's hard to go much beyond "smidgen" because it remains astonishing that Bush hadn't worked out long in advance how he'd grapple with an inevitable query about the invasion his brother launched.
WASHINGTON—The world's democracies, perhaps especially our own, face a peculiar set of contradictions that are undermining faith in public endeavor and unraveling old loyalties. There is a decline of trust in traditional political parties but also a rise in partisanship. A broad desire for governments to reduce the levels of economic insecurity and expand opportunity is constrained by a loss of confidence in the capacity of government to succeed.
WASHINGTON—Let us now praise Newt Gingrich. Yes, Newt Gingrich. There he was, the scourge of Big Government, on the op-ed page of The New York Times Wednesday calling for a doubling of the National Institutes of Health budget. "It's irresponsible and shortsighted, not prudent, to let financing for basic research dwindle," he wrote, noting that government investments in preventing and curing disease could save the government money in direct health care costs. Gingrich aficionados know that this is not a new position for him.
LOS ANGELES—Jim Brulte, California's Republican chairman, has sobering but useful words for his party's leaders and 2016 candidates: If they don't learn from what happened to the GOP here, they may doom themselves to repeating its decidedly unpleasant experience. "California is the leading edge of the country's demographic changes," Brulte said in an interview.
WASHINGTON—It's Hillary Clinton, not Jeb Bush, who will take former President George H. W. Bush as her role model. Her road to victory was blazed by Jeb's dad in 1988. It would help a great deal, of course, if events also flowed her way, as they did for Bush 41. In 1988, gross domestic product grew by 4.2 percent. There's nothing like rapid growth to incline voters toward keeping the same crowd in power. Relations with the Soviet Union were warming. That helped Bush Sr.
WASHINGTON—The problem with most discussions of political polarization is that they reach quickly for technical causes and solutions.
WASHINGTON—Deals involving limits on weapons, nukes or otherwise, are intricate and technical. Only a limited number of people among arms-control connoisseurs fully grasp the meaning of every detail. Yet in a democracy, these matters are and should be the subject of debate. Those engaged in the argument sometimes pretend to more knowledge than they have, tossing out a raft of numbers—readily available courtesy of your favorite newspaper—on centrifuges, enrichment and the like.
WASHINGTON—Briefly, there seemed a chance we might have a cross-party discussion of the biggest economic problem the country faces: the vexing intersection of wage stagnation, declining social mobility and rising inequality. Even the most conservative Republicans were starting to talk about this challenge in rather urgent terms. In a moment whose irony he noted, Sen.