It was Associate Justice Elena Kagan, former solicitor general, former Harvard Law School dean and brilliant liberal, who raised the question during Wednesday's United States Supreme Court argument on the latest travel ban. It's the same question I used to raise with my students whenever they jumped too quickly to the conclusion that a restriction imposed by us against them was justified.
"S---hole countries": I didn't say it; the president did. And it wasn't even in some closed-door meeting with aides who leaked the quote to the press. He said it in a meeting with congressional leaders. If you parse his tweets, he goes on the attack toward anyone reporting what he said, but never quite fully denies it. And Dick Durbin, the Democratic senator who confirmed the reports, is as trustworthy a second or third or fourth source for these stories as you can find.
Moscow's favorite: That used to be us Democrats. We were the ones who had to worry—and we did, every four years—about being tagged as "soft on Communism" and paying for it at the polls. The Republicans were the party of the "bear in the woods." If you're not familiar with it, "Bear," its official title, is one of the most famous ads in recent political history. The 1984 ad was in support of Ronald Reagan and against Walter Mondale. It's all about whether there is, or isn't, a bear in the woods. It went like this: "There is a bear in the woods.
There's an old saying that if you wait long enough, every historical figure gets rehabilitated—or at least outdone, in the worst ways, by their successors. But if you'd asked me a few months ago for an exception to that rule, I would have cited former President Richard Nixon, forced to resign in disgrace for obstruction of justice and brazen contempt for the Constitution. And then along came Donald Trump. Firing the attorney general for standing up to the president? Check. Attempting to interfere with a Justice Department investigation? Check.