Archive

October 12th, 2015

Million Man March, 20 Years On

    Saturday morning, with the crispness of fall in the air and wispy clouds overhead, an impressive throng of black bodies — and a smattering of other colored ones — gathered on the Mall, facing the steps of the Capitol.

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Putin's model of success

    Western officials who pronounce themselves puzzled about Vladimir Putin's intentions in Syria are missing some big clues. There is a clear model for the campaign Russia is pursuing on behalf of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, a legacy that is Putin's pride: Chechnya.

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Republican dysfunction engulfs process of choosing new speaker

    Fifty-three years ago, legendary baseball manager Casey Stengel famously asked of his New York Mets, who were in the process of losing 120 of its 160 contests: "Can't anybody here play this game?"

    The same query is appropriate today for the Republican Party, which has been tying itself in knots in both its quest for a 2016 presidential nominee and for a new speaker of the House of Representatives.

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The Crazies and the Con Man

    How will the chaos that the crazies, I mean the Freedom Caucus, have wrought in the House get resolved? I have no idea. But as this column went to press, practically the whole Republican establishment was pleading with Paul Ryan, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, to become speaker. He is, everyone says, the only man who can save the day.

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The two big problems hurting House Republicans

    Discussing the chaos gripping the House Republican caucus, Joe Scarborough put his finger on one of the major problems facing House Republicans: a lack of strategic thinking. The former Republican congressman from Florida mused last week on his eponymous MSNBC morning show that when he was in Congress in the late 1990s, then-Speaker Newt Gingrich would be in his Capitol suite plotting the caucus's next moves in the thrust-and-parry of governing with a Democrat in the White House.

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Which Republican presidential candidate will drop out next?

    Over the past month, the crowded Republican presidential primary field saw its first two casualties: former Texas governor Rick Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. These early exits surprised some. Walker was as an early front-runner in the polls owing to his conservative record and ability to win statewide office in a traditionally blue state. Perry was seen as a dark horse with untapped potential.

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Companies lie. Some get away with it.

    Why is it wrong for Volkswagen to lie (if it did lie) about whether its cars meet emission standards, but uncontroversial for HBO to lie (if it is lying) about whether Jon Snow is dead?

    Everyone knows what Volkswagen is accused of. If you're puzzled by the reference to Jon Snow, we'll get to him in a minute. But first, let me tell a brief story.

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How Kevin McCarthy predicted his own demise

    One group was not surprised by the collapse of Kevin McCarthy's campaign for speaker: The ultra-conservatives inside and outside the House who have made clear since the rise of the tea party that they have no use for politics as usual.

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October 9th

Hillary makes left turn

    You must admit: This is turning out to be one of the most entertaining presidential contests we've ever experienced. What's interesting about the Republican primary is the fact that three outsiders lead the pack. What's interesting on the Democratic side is how economic populism has become the dominant theme. Everybody's channeling Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, even Hillary Clinton.

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It’s All Benghazi

    So Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who was supposed to succeed John Boehner as speaker of the House, won’t be pursuing the job after all. He would have faced a rough ride both winning the post and handling it under the best of circumstances, thanks to the doomsday caucus — the fairly large bloc of Republicans demanding that the party cut off funds to Planned Parenthood, or kill Obamacare, or anyway damage something liberals like, by shutting down the government and forcing it into default.

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