Republican Island

People keep telling me it’s madness, this Republican effort to replace Obamacare with a toxic policy they know will cause human and political carnage. Why would a party want to pass legislation that promises to cost millions of people their health insurance while raising rates and denying benefits to tens of millions more? The answer lies in the structure of … Read More

Impeachment Will Not Fix This

I left Washington last week while it was in a state of suspended animation over former FBI Director James Comey’s upcoming testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Now that Comey has sworn under oath that the president is an untrustworthy liar who operates like the head of a crime syndicate, it’s not surprising that the I-word has begun to enter … Read More

It’s Either the Republican Party or the Republic

My second week in Washington played out against the dizzying backdrop of revelations that moved the Trump/Russia probe directly into the White House inner circle with allegations of espionage emerging from the lips of the talkers who populate cable news programming. Mounting evidence that the president is obstructing and undermining investigations into his relationship with Russia complement his bizarre embrace of Vladimir Putin at … Read More

They Don’t Know What To Do

Every spring for the past decade I have led a group of Villanova students through official Washington, and every year Washington feels a little different depending on the political circumstances of the moment. During my first trip in 2008, the Bush administration was winding down, twenty-somethings had replaced veterans in responsible jobs, and Republicans were on the market in anticipation … Read More

Enablers

Remember when the grown-ups in congress were going to check the worst impulses of the president? That was the rationalization offered to reluctant Republicans by those trying to unify the party around a presidential candidate with authoritarian tendencies. Sure, he’s reckless and crazy, but Trump will be kept in line by the adults in the legislative branch. In fact, there have been … Read More

Incompetence

Donald Trump is right about one thing: the 100-day standard used to evaluate presidential performance is ridiculous, an artifact of the landmark accomplishments of FDR’s first months when a national crisis and congressional supermajorities made possible a torrent of policy advances the likes of which we are unlikely to see again. But like it or not, those evaluations are coming … Read More

Accountability

Democracy dies without accountability. The democratic system is built on our ability to know what our representatives are doing and kick officials out of office as a corrective to poor performance. This is how the mechanism is supposed to work: Candidates tell us what they want to do if they are elected. They give us honest information about their platforms which we use to decide how to vote. In office, … Read More

The Obamacare Trap

After seven years of making Obamacare repeal their number one objective, Republicans have fallen into a trap of their own creation and revealed to the country that they are not prepared to be a governing party. This afternoon, they abandoned their repeal measure when they couldn’t assemble a winning House coalition despite the unanimous desire in their caucus to uproot President Obama’s signature … Read More

Governing Is Hard

Donald Trump recently discovered that reforming health care is complicated. And, wouldn’t you know, governing is complicated too, as Trump’s party began to recognize this week during its flailing first attempt to put legislative language to its longstanding promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Under ideal circumstances, making dramatic changes to a policy that deeply affects every American requires exceptional political skill, … Read More

Compassion

Donald Trump’s ticket to staying in power requires dividing the country into cultural, ethnic, racial, gender and religious groups and inciting conflict among them. The fate of the resistance movement requires bringing these groups together in common cause against someone whose values are antithetical to fundamental elements of American political culture. To succeed, the resistance needs to do more than … Read More

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