U.S. Politics

Dark Election

Dark Election

Dark Election

Dark Election

Dark Election

November 17, 2014
November 2014
Dark Election
In 2012, when Barack Obama won reelection, an odd but thrilling metaphor engulfed me. The election was like the climax of one of those early Howard Fast novels. After enduring months of derision of their leader as somehow unAmerican and countless maneuvers to curtail their right to vote and incessant tirades against the poor for taking, not giving, after enduring all the despicable attempts to belittle and suppress them, the poor and the blacks and the Hispanics and the young and the women united and arose to defend their hero and astound and frighten all the smug fat cats. “What a wonderful thing is metaphor,” wrote Christopher Fry in one of his plays. Well, so much for metaphor...

My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960

My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960

My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960

My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960

My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960

December 22, 2012
December 2012
My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960
While reading The Passage of Power, the fourth volume of Robert A. Caro’s formidable biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson, I found myself recalling my role in the election of 1960 when Senator John F. Kennedy defeated Vice President Richard Nixon for president. I was a junior member of the Washington staff of the Associated Press then but nevertheless landed some juicy assignments. Since my role has been ignored by biographers and historians, from Theodore H. White to Caro, I thought it might be helpful to set down some of the details...

A Hopeful End to a Shameless Campaign

A Hopeful End to a Shameless Campaign

A Hopeful End to a Shameless Campaign

A Hopeful End to a Shameless Campaign

A Hopeful End to a Shameless Campaign

November 11, 2012
November 2012
A Hopeful End to a Shameless Campaign
The reelection of President Barack Obama is provoking an avalanche of punditry that does not need more from me. I just want to note a handful of highlights that may get lost in the avalanche. Most important, the result averted a calamitous injustice. If Obama had lost, it would have been a victory for obstruction, lies, distortion, deceit and racism. A cynical and shameless campaign, concocted four years ago by Republicans obsessed with dishonoring the new president, would have succeeded. Supporters of Romney even put forth a campaign argument that amounted to blackmail: since the stubborn Republican House of Representatives would never work with Obama, they said, the good of the nation demanded Romney as president...

Race and the Election

Race and the Election

Race and the Election

Race and the Election

Race and the Election

September 7, 2012
September 2012
Race and the Election
It must have been galling for the Republicans to see so many blacks voting for their own in the 2008 presidential election. The returns must have struck many Republicans as unfair, even undemocratic. Nothing else can explain the way the Republicans have allowed racism to stain their campaign against President Obama for a second term. No one likes to throw around so nasty an accusation, but I don’t know what else it is...

The Intellectual Congressman

The Intellectual Congressman

The Intellectual Congressman

The Intellectual Congressman

The Intellectual Congressman

August 25, 2012
August 2012
The Intellectual Congressman
If American elections made sense, the selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as the Republican vice presidential candidate would be universally regarded as about as foolish a move as the selection of Sarah Palin four years ago. By no stretch of logic can any reasonable analyst justify the choice. Mitt Romney is so bland and clunky a candidate that for a long while we all have had a tough time figuring him out. He has been running around crying out that he is a rip-snorting genuine extreme conservative, but it was hard to take him at his word. It all sounded like election hooey. After all, he was a somewhat decent governor of Massachusetts who gave us Romneycare the model for Obamacare. A lot of people felt that once elected he would revert to his innate blandness. They also probably felt that his innate blandness might even turn into innate goodness. The embrace of Ryan changes all that...

Washington Out of Whack

Washington Out of Whack

Washington Out of Whack

Washington Out of Whack

Washington Out of Whack

August 4, 2011
August 2011
Washington Out of Whack
My wife says that President Obama’s negotiations with Congressional Republicans reminded her of the story of my bargaining session with a merchant on the island of Zanzibar more than forty years ago. I spent two hours bargaining with him for a Zanzibar chest and ended up paying more than he originally asked. It’s not an unfair comparison. The tawdry turmoil of the last few weeks over an increase in the national debt ceiling left me with some broken images. One is the weakness of what we all used to regard as the most powerful office in any democracy on earth. Has it become so weak that it can be held hostage by an imbecilic faction in the Republican Party? I suppose so...

Belated Thoughts on an Awful Election

Belated Thoughts on an Awful Election

Belated Thoughts on an Awful Election

Belated Thoughts on an Awful Election

Belated Thoughts on an Awful Election

November 14, 2010
November 2010
Belated Thoughts on an Awful Election
Losing the House so badly was a Democratic disaster of the highest magnitude. No rationalization of the defeat, no pipedream about the future will change that. Despite what happened on November 2, incumbents rarely lose office easily. Even a decisive Obama victory in 2012, powered by a recovered economy, is unlikely to dislodge so many Republicans. Some of the Know Nothing Tea Bags will probably be around for a while. Obama does have a communications problem. He reminds me of Pierre Trudeau, the great prime minister of Canada...

The Filibuster in the Broken Senate

The Filibuster in the Broken Senate

The Filibuster in the Broken Senate

The Filibuster in the Broken Senate

The Filibuster in the Broken Senate

March 7, 2010
March 2010
The Filibuster in the Broken Senate
It is hard to disagree with Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana about the sorry state of Congress. It is gripped by “institutional inertia,” it is not doing “the people’s business,” and it “must be reformed.” But his decision to run away from the Senate will not ease the paralysis. In fact, if a Republican takes Bayh’s seat, the woes will probably worsen. In a piece for the New York Times, Senator Bayh listed a host of congressional problems, including ultra partisanship, campaign financing, gerrymandering, lack of personal contact, and endless filibusters. The last problem, surely the most outrageous, should be the easiest to fix. Yet I am not sure there is much of a chance to do so...

Very British Republicans

Very British Republicans

Very British Republicans

Very British Republicans

Very British Republicans

December 28, 2009
December 2009
Very British Republicans
How can we understand that stalwart band of forty Republican nay-sayers in the Senate, determined to prevent health reform no matter how necessary, determined to embarrass their president no matter how much they embarrass their country? The Republicans are behaving as if they have lost their way and somehow turned up in the British parliamentary system. They are like mean kids who show up for every baseball game with no gloves or bats but only skates and hockey sticks. The Republicans have deluded themselves about the American way of legislating for some time...

Inaugural Fog

Inaugural Fog

Inaugural Fog

Inaugural Fog

Inaugural Fog

January 31, 2005
January 2005
Inaugural Fog
I have finally read the complete text of our 43rd President’s Second Inaugural Address. Although I had not seen the ceremony on television, I had tried to read the speech a couple of times the day after but found it impossible to penetrate the fog of glitter that enveloped his words. I was put off, I think, by the gnawing conviction that I must be reading the valedictory speech of some high school senior. The words were highfalutin, the themes were lofty, and the concoction bore no relation to the world around us. Each paragraph vanished in my mind as I tried the next. So I gave up...

Bitter Returns

Bitter Returns

Bitter Returns

Bitter Returns

Bitter Returns

November 3, 2004
November 2004
Bitter Returns
In 1952, the first time I ever voted, I cast my ballot for Adlai Stevenson. Since then my presidential choice, always a Democrat, has lost more often than not. But no loss has been as dispiriting and bitter as this one. It is hard to take. The Iraq adventure is a catastrophic failure, launched on arrogance and faith, managed with ham hands and closed minds. The cost has been awful. Yet the know-nothings who launched and managed it have received a resounding endorsement. Bush and his ideologues will face no accounting for failure and stupidity...

The Hidden Bush

The Hidden Bush

The Hidden Bush

The Hidden Bush

The Hidden Bush

August 10, 2001
August 2001
The Hidden Bush
I have been reading No Ordinary Time lately, Doris Kearns Goodwin's marvelous history of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt during World War II. There are so many reminders of my childhood, so many names of long forgotten officials like War Production Board chief Donald Nelson that we used to memorize from My Weekly Reader. Goodwin describes the remarkable ability of President Roosevelt to unify the nation and mold public opinion...

Reflections on the Election of George W. Bush

Reflections on the Election of George W. Bush

Reflections on the Election of George W. Bush

Reflections on the Election of George W. Bush

Reflections on the Election of George W. Bush

December 18, 2000
December 2000
Reflections on the Election of George W. Bush
I'm hesitant about adding to the cacophony over the elections, but I do have a few reflections. These bear no hallmark of objectivity. I do not like the strutting George W. Bush and can not conceive of him growing into greatness à la Truman. What if? I have toyed with this a lot. What if Governor Jeb Bush of Florida and his henchlady Katherine Harris had announced from the beginning that, in view of the closeness of the machine recount, they had ordered a hand recount of all the votes of Florida...

Some Reflections on Impeachment

Some Reflections on Impeachment

Some Reflections on Impeachment

Some Reflections on Impeachment

Some Reflections on Impeachment

January 1, 1999
January 1999
Some Reflections on Impeachment
I covered the House of Representatives for the Associated Press for a year or so during the 1960s and left with profound respect and affection for what is really a unique American institution. For years as a foreign correspondent I would extol the genius of our House against the lap dog role played by Houses in the parliamentary system used by democratic countries in Europe and former British dominions like Canada...

The Monica Affair

The Monica Affair

The Monica Affair

The Monica Affair

The Monica Affair

September 28, 1998
September 1998
The Monica Affair
Since I usually write about foreign affairs, I have not covered much of the Monica story. I did have to whip out color on the first day she showed up at the federal courthouse to testify in secret before the grand jury. The frenzy of the photographers and the glee of the television performers and the gawks of the tourists made the story feel even more unwholesome than usual...

The Impact of Medicare

The Impact of Medicare

The Impact of Medicare

The Impact of Medicare

The Impact of Medicare

May 3, 1965
May 1965
The Impact of Medicare
This article focuses on the Medicare bill that has been proposed in the U.S. Congress. Medicare - as passed by the House - would discourage hospitals from making arrangements that would draw specialists into a comprehensive medical center. Every hospital under Medicare would have to follow the lead of the most progressive hospitals, and appoint a committee to review cases periodically, to see that no doctor was keeping his patient in the hospital too long. Another provision on the bill allows federal pressure on medical practices.

The Two Goldwaters

The Two Goldwaters

The Two Goldwaters

The Two Goldwaters

The Two Goldwaters

October 29, 1963
October 1963
The Two Goldwaters
The article presents information about U.S. politics. The Republican candidate Barry Goldwater presented his precise views on the problem of civil rights. First, he made it clear that he considered States' rights the cornerstone of the republic. He did not see any conflict between States' rights and civil rights. On any particular issue, either one or the other counted, never both. Voting, for example, was clearly a civil right, and no state had the right to take this away from an individual. Goldwater stayed with these views as late as the University of Mississippi crisis last year.

Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'

Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'

Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'

Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'

Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'

August 29, 1963
August 1963
Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'
No Evidence of Any Effect on Congress - The historic civil rights march on Washington - massive and orderly and moving - has dramatized the wants of Negroes in America, but leaders still faced the task today of trying to turn drama into action. Speaker after speaker told the 200,000 Negro and white sympathizers massed in front of the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday that their demonstration was no more than a beginning. 'Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content,' said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., 'will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual...'

Blowing Barry's Horn

Blowing Barry's Horn

Blowing Barry's Horn

Blowing Barry's Horn

Blowing Barry's Horn

July 27, 1963
July 1963
Blowing Barry's Horn
This article reports the National Draft Goldwater Independence Day Rally, staged by the National Draft Goldwater Committee, held on July 4, 1963, in Washington, D.C. This Republican national convention was held for convincing every participants, specially politicians and reporters, to nominate Republican Barry Goldwater. The arranging Committee was headed by Texas Republican Chairman Peter O'Donnell, Jr. The main focus during the convention was on youths. The young people much preferred to think of their so-called hero, Goldwater. The rally was much dominated by youth and Dixie.

President Kennedy Appeal to Nation to End Racial Discrimination

President Kennedy Appeal to Nation to End Racial Discrimination

President Kennedy Appeal to Nation to End Racial Discrimination

President Kennedy Appeal to Nation to End Racial Discrimination

President Kennedy Appeal to Nation to End Racial Discrimination

June 11, 1963
June 1963
President Kennedy Appeal to Nation to End Racial Discrimination
President Kennedy outlined a broad legislative program on civil rights tonight and asked the American people for help in ending racial discrimination and in stemming "the rising tide of discontent that perils the public safety." The President spoke to the nation after Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama bowed to federal pressure and stepped aside so two Negro students could register at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. In his radio-television talk, the President cited the Alabama crisis in making his appeal and outlining his legislative program...