opinion

Writing a speech for the boss? Two White House pros show you how to nail it
The best speechwriters are advocates for the audiences they’re trying to reach, Eric Schnure says

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “comfort level with who she is” comes across in her speeches, former Al Gore speechwriter Eric Schnure tells Murphy. President Donald Trump is another effective communicator, Schnure says, with his ability to speak “visibly.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photos)

OPINION — Most job interviews for Capitol Hill speechwriters go something like this:  “The senator needs remarks for tomorrow. You need to write the remarks.” No interview. No preparation. Just a last-minute assignment and an equally fast turnaround for a legislative assistant, a legislative correspondent or whichever press office staffer picked up the phone first.

Over at the White House, speechwriting jobs usually come with more requirements than physical proximity, but not always. Eric Schnure scored his first speechwriting job for Vice President Al Gore when he was working in the White House mail room and helping Gore’s understaffed speechwriter, Bob Lehrman, before and after sorting letters.

By writing off climate change, are Republicans writing off young voters?
Trump’s environmental moves could well be harming the GOP in the long run

Young people who are witnessing the effects of climate change in their own lifetimes should not be expected to move away from the fight, Curtis writes. Above, young climate activists rally in Washington on Sept. 13. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — It makes sense that young people, who will have to live with the consequences of decisions made by their elders, are becoming increasingly passionate about climate change and global warming. Once an afterthought on the list of issues at the top of voters’ concerns, the future of the environment is now the topic of candidate town halls, serious investigative reports and, on Wednesday, a congressional hearing featuring young people offering advice and warnings.

It’s hard to miss the extreme weather patterns that bring 500-year floods way too often. But are politicians missing the boat on an issue that could transform the voting patterns of a generation?

2020 Democrats may dream big now, but reality will bite them later
Maybe it’s time Warren, Sanders et al admit their plans are aspirational rather than legislative blueprints

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic presidential hopefuls are running on ambitious legislative agendas that would offer high drama on Capitol Hill in 2021 with little chance of success, Shapiro writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The bidding war that has defined the Democratic presidential race reached its apogee of absurdity earlier this month when Bernie Sanders had to explain that, no, he had no plans to erase voters’ credit card bills.

Questioned about his proposal to wipe away $81 billion in personal medical debt in a New Hampshire interview, the Vermont socialist told the Concord Monitor and NHTalkRadio.com: “I don’t believe we wipe out credit card debt. You want to buy… a yacht, and you go in debt, hey, that’s your decision.”

Joe Biden is old. Who cares?
Certainly not voters over 65, who were key to the Democrats’ midterm success

Attacking former Vice President Joe Biden for his age is just politically dumb given who the most reliable voters will be next year, Murphy writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Julián Castro wants you to know that Joe Biden is old. Or at least it seemed that way during last week’s Democratic presidential debate, when Castro told Biden six times that Biden couldn’t remember what he just said.

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro asked the former vice president. “Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that.”

Why the GOP victory in North Carolina spells disaster for Democrats in 2020
Republicans had a unified message with a unified focus, NRCC chairman writes

Republican Dan Bishop’s victory in the special election for North Carolina’s 9th District confirms the effectiveness of President Donald Trump as a GOP surrogate and the unpopularity of the Democrats’ socialist agenda, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Republicans’ special election victory Tuesday in North Carolina’s 9th District is the latest evidence that 2020 will be a very different election from 2018.

Rep.-elect Dan Bishop didn’t just overcome his Democrat opponent’s two-year head start and millions of dollars in out-of-state money. He also outperformed the GOP candidate’s 2018 efforts by 2 points — quite a different narrative from what the cable news pundits want voters to believe and great news for Republican prospects next year.

What a close Republican win in a North Carolina House race means (maybe) for 2020
Expect an emboldened Trump to remain the center of attention — just as he likes it

No matter how carefully GOP candidates calibrate their own campaigns in 2020, President Donald Trump is likely to remain the center of attention, just as he likes it, Curtis writes. (Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

[OPINION] CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Though Republicans tried to downplay the importance of an off-year special House election in North Carolina, President Donald Trump certainly thought differently. Why else would he have held an election eve rally alongside Dan Bishop, the GOP nominee in the state’s 9th District? And if that was not enough to belie the seeming lack of official party interest, Vice President Mike Pence also managed a North Carolina campaign trip the same day.

It paid off Tuesday, as Election Day turnout gave Bishop a 2-point win over Democrat Dan McCready. Bishop certainly credited Trump — the president, of course, took all of it — who helped the candidate overcome scandal over the race and his own controversial support of a “bathroom bill” that hurt business in the state. The newly elected congressman portrayed himself as Trump’s “mini-me” on every issue, from guns to abortion rights to immigration.

Debating 2020 Democrats should not ignore our exploding debt
Our nation’s security — and ultimately its freedom — are dependent on its bottom line

Democratic 2020 hopefuls would do well to remember that our growing debt burden could cancel every initiative of the next president, Minge and Penny write. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photos)

OPINION — Twenty current and former Democratic presidential candidates have now debated twice without any discussion of an issue that actively threatens our nation and ideals: our growing debt burden.

Out of 229 questions asked by the moderators, not one was about the national debt. While there are many important passion-arousing causes for candidates to discuss, “boring” fiscal matters, such as our nation’s exploding debt — and the spiraling interest that comes with it — could cancel every initiative of the next president unless she or he has a plan to address it.

As election security risks grow, Congress must get off the sidelines
Some Republican senators argue new legislation is unnecessary. They’re wrong

The work to address threats posed to our voting infrastructure is far from over, Waller writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Texas got some terrible news last month. Twenty-two municipalities in the Lone Star State were the targets of massive ransomware attacks — a kind of cyber kidnapping. According to the mayor of Keene, “Just about everything we do at city hall was impacted.” The Borger city government wasn’t able to process utility payments — putting residents at risk of losing access to running water or electricity.

If just a few attacks could debilitate almost two dozen cities in Texas, imagine the chaos if several hundred were carried out on our country’s voting infrastructure right before Election Day. To prevent this, Congress must pass legislation that deters future foreign interference in our electoral system.

Pelosi’s choice: cooperation or confrontation
Party progressives and 2020 hopefuls have put speaker in a predicament

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has to choose between cooperating with Republicans or confronting them, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — On ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday, Rahm Emanuel, one of the smartest strategists in the Democratic Party, had this to say of his party’s presidential hopefuls: 

“The person that appreciates, understands, and puts themselves most comfortably, based on their own history, where the voters have lived their lives, that’s going to be the candidate that shines over … the long term.”

Biden and Beto are like night and day — except when they’re potato-potahto
Just ask the Carolinas, where one woman says she’d ‘vote for a tree stump’ over Trump

Democratic voters have plenty of choices, as different as night and day — or Joe Biden and Beto ORourke. But to say the two candidates were on different tracks in their recent, though certainly not last, Carolinas swing does not tell the whole story, Curtis writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It was a difference in styles and generations. In a Carolinas swing, first there was Beto O’Rourke with a town hall at a brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina — more like an informal gathering among many new friends. The next day there was Joe Biden with a large crowd at a historically black college in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

It was a day and a world apart last week, though in both cases, supporters uniformly praised a certain quality in their chosen candidate — authenticity.