Columns

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming

America squandered an important national moment. Judge Brett Kavanaugh wept. On national TV. For 45 minutes. The startling visual of a top-tier political figure quaveringly weaving between the emotional cones of anger, embarrassment and despair had the potential to launch a national conversation about masculinity and society’s response to men who lay bare their emotions. […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: How Brett Kavanaugh Framed Himself as a Martyr to the #MeToo Movement

Innocent until proven guilty. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell floated a lot of arguments to defend Brett Kavanaugh, but that’s the one that carried the day: “We owe it to the American people to underscore that you’re innocent until proven guilty.” The Kavanaugh confirmation battle was a grenade wrapped in an onion covered with more […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Trump Has Revolutionized Politics. Can Democrats Catch Up?

Donald Trump may last; he may go away. But the influence of his revolutionary approach to American politics will endure. What he learned and taught about campaigning will be studied and emulated for years to come. Social media matters. In 2016 his free Twitter feed defeated Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion fundraising juggernaut. Foot soldiers don’t […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Brett Kavanaugh Sex Scandals Teach Us That Extremism, Even Supporting Torture, Are A-OK

What is wrong with us? Specifically: what is wrong with liberal Democrats? Liberal Democrats are out to get Brett Kavanaugh. They are right to be; he is dangerous. Confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court would lock in a right-wing majority for a generation. Abortion rights would be imperiled, true, but his rulings would also impact […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From

Christine Blasey Ford accuses Brett Kavanaugh of trying to rape her during a party while they were in prep school. The political stakes are high: if Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote fails in the Senate and Democrats win the body back in November, conservatives will watch their dream of a solidly reliable 5-4 majority go up in […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: All the Anonymous B.S. That’s Fit to Print: Self-Serving Newspapers Like the New York Times Ditch Their Own Ethics Rules

The most disturbing aspect of the New York Times op-ed by an anonymous “senior official in the Trump Administration” isn’t its content. The content isn’t significant enough to make an impression. “Meetings with [President Trump] veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: If You Don’t Hate the Government You’re Not Paying Attention

Imagine a store that makes its customers miserable. This interior is ugly and uncomfortable. At best the staff is indifferent and slow; at worst rude and incompetent. You pay sky-high prices for inferior goods. Often you pay full price yet leave the place empty-handed. You don’t have to be a marketing expert to guess what […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Please Speak Ill of the Dead

“Too soon!” That was a standard response to my criticisms of John McCain following his death. My cartoon and social media posts reminded readers that McCain had volunteered to bomb innocent civilians in an illegal war of aggression to prop up a corrupt and reviled regime at the time of his capture. The real heroes […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Don’t Fall for the First Amendment = Free Speech Trick

Like climate change, this is one of those problems I keep expecting people to wise up about but — because they never do — it keeps getting worse. Thus this tutorial. The problem is that too many Americans conflate the First Amendment with free speech. You see it when people discuss the current social-media crackdown […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Is Trump a Brand-New Weird Existential Threat to the Republic? Not Even Close.

This past week more than 300 American newspapers colluded — if the word fits… — to simultaneously publish editorials declaring themselves, contra Trump, not “the enemy of the people.” Shortly thereafter the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution declaring that it too did not consider the press to be, in a phrase that evokes the […]