Opinion & Analysis

When Spike Lee’s Art Is More Real Than a White House Reality Show
It’s a contrast that will reverberate all the way to, let’s say, November

He should have seen it coming, Curtis writes. So why don’t the loyal aides still surrounding President Donald Trump seem to realize that Omarosa’s book is a perfect next episode in this reality show presidency? (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — It was deliberate and fitting that “BlacKkKlansman” opened a year after the deadly march of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is not too much of a spoiler to say that director Spike Lee goes there in the telling of the improbable true story of an African-American police officer who, in the late 1970s, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado.

The film brings the lessons of the not-so-tall tale up to the present, to this 2018 moment. That includes an appearance from a youthful David Duke, who still appears whenever and wherever racial hate rises up.

Instead of Oversight, This Congress Believes in Under-Sight
Omarosa saga reminds us that no Trump offense is so big that the GOP can’t ignore it

President Donald Trump talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Whip John Cornyn after his State of the Union address in January. No offense by the president and his administration is so big that it can’t be ignored by Republicans on the Hill, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In “Dr. Strangelove,” Stanley Kubrick’s scabrously funny 1964 sendup of nuclear war, a fanatical anti-Communist general starts pummeling the Russian ambassador for taking photographs in the inner sanctum of the Pentagon. The hapless president breaks up the scuffle by saying in an outraged tone, “Gentlemen. You can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”

If only Kubrick were still around to do justice to Omarosa Manigault Newman taping her own firing by John Kelly in the White House Situation Room. Even the fanatical Gen. Jack D. Ripper couldn’t match the deranged fury of Donald Trump’s Tuesday tweet calling Omarosa “a crazed, crying lowlife” and viciously likening her to a “dog.”

7 Ways the Senate Can Spend the Rest of August
A few real problems have bubbled up while senators were away

There’s no shortage of things for senators to do while in town this month, Murphy writes. Above, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives at the Capitol for a vote in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Welcome back to the grind, senators and staff. If you were only watching cable news over your abridged recess, you might have been lulled into the idea that the only messes in Washington you would come back to were Omarosa’s habit of recording conversations in the Situation Room and what we’ve learned so far about Paul Manafort’s choice of outerwear from his trial — ostrich. So gross.

But while some in the D.C. media were caught up in the Trump train wrecks of the day, a few real problems bubbled up while you were gone. Somebody has to deal with them, so as long as you’re here — why not you?

Parsing Ohio’s 12th: Neither Party Should Rush to Conclusions Just Yet
A lot more can still happen three months out from November

If Republican Troy Balderson holds on in Ohio’s 12th District, it would look more like a sequel to the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, perhaps with a happier ending but hardly the stuff of a “red wave,” Winston writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In 1982, as a young opposition researcher at the National Republican Congressional Committee, one of “my candidates” was an equally young John Kasich running in Ohio’s 12th District.

He was the only GOP challenger to win in that first off-year election of the Reagan presidency, and Republicans have held the seat ever since. With my background in the district, I had more than a passing interest in the outcome of Tuesday’s special election there.

Trump’s Culture War Is Entering Its Scorched-Earth Phase
Will weary voters resist his tactics in the midterms?

LeBron James, shown here in 2016, was the target of a Trump Twitter attack last week. Slamming one of Ohio’s heroes right before a special election in the state may not have been the savviest move on the part of the president, Curtis writes. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

OPINION — President Donald Trump is crediting his raucous Ohio rally for propelling Troy Balderson over Democratic challenger Danny O’Connor in a U.S. congressional special election that is officially still too close to call. But what if his fiery rhetoric and the image of a sea of angry faces, attacks on the media and signs supporting the murky QAnon conspiracy actually derailed what should have been an easy Republican victory?

Republican candidates have signaled they will ride the Trump train, with their fearless leader promising to stoke the outrage all the way to the November midterms to persuade the base to show up. The Republican Party is Trump’s party now, so those wanting to win or keep office may not have a choice.

Why the Mueller Investigation Is the Wobble of Neptune
Nixon comparisons may be premature, but things can be anticipated before they are observed

President Richard Nixon says farewell to White House staff gathered in the East Room in 1974. Comparisons between Nixon and President Donald Trump may be premature, but Trump has good reason to be insecure, Shapiro writes. (Courtesy the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

OPINION — It was the summer of “Chinatown” and Elton John’s best-selling album “Caribou.” Top-rated TV shows like “All in the FamilyM*A*S*H” were in rerun season. But August 1974 was not lacking in drama cut with pathos.

On Aug. 8, Richard Nixon spoke to the nation, announcing his surrender in the battle of Watergate because “I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort.”

Capitol Ink | Too Close to Call

Why Democrats Need the ‘Dannycrats’ in Ohio’s 12th and Beyond
They have a chance to be the “adults in the room” who value diverse views

Ohio Democrat Danny O’Connor’s only path to victory in the 12th District is by winning over enough “Dannycrats,” some of whom backed the president in 2016, Murphy writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

OPINION — Do you know what a “Dannycrat” is? Spenser Stafford does. That’s because she’s a registered Republican who is planning to vote for Danny O’Connor, the 31-year old Democrat running in Tuesday’s special election in Ohio’s 12th District. Also, she is engaged to marry O’Connor after the election.

“Somebody said, ‘Oh, are you a Democrat now?’” Stafford told CNN. “And I was like, no, I cannot identify as a Democrat. I’m a Dannycrat!”

Change the Rules Already, So We Can Get Back to the Congressional Chicken Caucus
Problem Solvers’ proposal is the best idea to reform Congress in years

GOP Rep. Tom Reed joined with a Democratic colleague in the Problem Solvers Caucus to introduce a plan to “break the gridlock,” and it’s a pretty great idea, Murphy writes. But since when does problem-solving need its own support group? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It’s not often that I hear about a proposal coming out of Congress and think immediately, “Wow — that’s a great idea.” (No offense, Congress.)

But a recent move from Reps. Tom Reed and Josh Gottheimer was one of those moments. The pair is calling for changes to the House rules to incentivize bipartisanship and consensus-building over the gridlock and tribalism that we’ve all seen growing for the last 15 years or so.

Is Jeff Sessions’ Religious Liberty Task Force More Politics Than Faith?
Evangelical Christians feel more persecuted than any other religious group, and the attorney general knows it

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ new religious freedom task force looks a lot like a policy without a problem, Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In January 1959, in a Virginia courtroom, Mildred and Richard Loving pled guilty to “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth,” and accepted a cruel sentence that spared them jail time but separated them from their families.

The judge’s opinion — pronounced in the Lord’s name without a shred of irony — was based in his definition of faith: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. … The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

What If Trump Is Trying to Throw the 2018 Elections?
President could blame a Democratic House and Senate for everything

A Democratic House and Senate would allow Trump to blame them for everything from North Korean nukes to Chinese tariffs on Congress, Walter Shapiro writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

OPINION — In this time of tumult, political truths are being knocked off their pedestals faster than Confederate statues. But even now, it seems ludicrously self-evident that a president wants to elect a Congress of his own party.

Donald Trump, however, is a president who marches to a different brass band. Consider what he has done in just the last week.

Second Quarter GDP Numbers Show Tax Cuts Deliver
Strong state of economy could help GOP mitigate midterm disadvantage

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and congressional Republicans celebrate the passing of the tax overhaul in December 2017. The anti-tax cut narrative pushed by Democrats is contradicted by the strong economic growth of the last few quarters, Winston writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — No release has been more highly anticipated this summer — with the possible exception of “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” — than the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ second quarter GDP numbers.

Washington and Wall Street, with a lot on the line, have been anxiously awaiting the federal government’s quarterly report card on economic growth, billed as the first really big test of President Donald Trump’s economic policies.

Capitol Ink | Moving the Goal Posts

Why Party Brand Matters
Both major parties have a product to sell, but neither is doing a good job selling it

People want to vote “for” someone or something, but what they get from the two major parties has more to do with why the other side is so bad, Winston writes. Above, balloons drop at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Why do some companies seem to make Barron’s and Fortune’s annual “Most admired” and “Most respected” lists year after year? Why are most of them iconic brands, whether it’s newer tech giants Apple and Alphabet or generational companies like Johnson & Johnson and Walt Disney?

Successful companies build their brand based on three key fundamentals: innovative products that meet people’s needs, strong values that drive company decision-making, and a responsiveness to changing times and changing customers.

Obama’s Push for More Female Leaders Gets Help From Men Acting Out
“Men have been getting on my nerves lately,” ex-president says

Former U.S. President Barack Obama, shown here with former first lady Michelle Obama when their official portraits were unveiled earlier this year, wants more women to take leadership roles.  (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Former President Barack Obama has not been a headline fixture since he left office. In fact, with a few exceptions, the opposite has been true, maybe because he feels it’s better to keep his political distance in this partisan time or because he’s holding off in order to make a greater impact when he decides to speak up. But last week, Obama did make a bit of news when he encouraged more women to take leadership roles because “men have been getting on my nerves lately.”

Obama certainly could have been talking about certain men who were particularly vexing during his own time in the White House, and have continued to bedevil Democrats (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for starters).