Of all the time-honored failings for which we criticize sitting presidents - by "we" I mean pundits, academics and other members of the chattering phylum - two charges stand out: imperialism and shrinkage. Usually it's one or the other.
WASHINGTON - Republicans have excelled at concealing their brilliance in recent years and Democrats have exalted in their own good fortune.
SAN DIEGO - Justice Sonia Sotomayor has injudiciously reignited the conversation over words used in the immigration debate just when the prospects for immigration reform in Congress are holding on by a thread.
WASHINGTON - In the ongoing saga of the Affordable Care Act, oddly referred to by Democrats as the law of the land even as it is amended at will by presidential fiat, we are beginning to understand the extent of its war on jobs.
WASHINGTON - It is easy these days to imagine that one is living in a fairy tale, albeit a dreary one.
SAN DIEGO - Unlike the theme of the hit television show he helped create, the brouhaha involving Jerry Seinfeld and comedians of color is not about nothing.
Of course it's too early to talk about 2016. Now that we've gotten that out of the way ...
SAN DIEGO - "People don't care about politics."
"Job-lock!" It's only February, but it's already my favorite word - or phrase, I guess - of the year. (Who knows, by December it may be shortened to "joblock.")
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama gave a lovely speech at the recent National Prayer Breakfast - and one is reluctant to criticize.
WASHINGTON - Swedish researchers report that antioxidants make cancers worse in mice. It's already known that the antioxidant beta-carotene exacerbates lung cancers in humans. Not exactly what you'd expect given the extravagant - and incessant - claims you hear made about the miraculous effects of antioxidants.
On my wife's side, I have a very large family in Fairbanks, Alaska. Culturally, Fairbanks is a lot further from New York City (where I grew up) or Washington, D.C. (where I live now), than the several thousand miles on the map might suggest.
WASHINGTON - We have officially reached the take-a-step-back moment in the unfolding - or unraveling - of the Chris Christie alleged bridge/political retribution/Sandy funds political scandal.
SAN DIEGO - When the topic is immigration reform, liberals and Democrats always manage to disappoint.
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's imaginary son is back in town and this time he can't play football.
By all means, let's destroy Islamic State, but let's talk about it first.
WASHINGTON - As a South Carolinian, it befalls me to examine the peculiarities afflicting our former governor and now-congressman Mark Sanford, who, contrary to decorum and taste, continues to demand attention.
WASHINGTON - In his Islamic State speech, President Barack Obama said many of the right things. Most importantly, he finally got the mission right: degrade and destroy the enemy.
"I should have anticipated the optics," President Barack Obama said by way of acknowledging that golfing right after making a statement about the beheading of James Foley looked bad. "Part of this job is also the theater of it," he said. "It's not something that always comes naturally to me. But it matters."
WASHINGTON - At his first press briefing after the beheading of American James Foley, President Barack Obama stunned the assembled when he admitted that he had no strategy in Syria for confronting the Islamic State. Yet it was not nearly the most egregious, or consequential, thing he said.
Several recent events in North Georgia involving government transparency - or the lack thereof - prompted friends and colleagues in other parts of the country to ask whether I am living in some 18th century time warp, as they frequently perceive this portion of the country, where absolutists reign with absolute disregard for their subjects.
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