Stories by Eugene
President Obama had the opportunity last week to make an irresponsible Congress face the consequences of its own dumb actions. For reasons I cannot fathom, he took a pass.
The nation demonstrated again last week how resolute it can be when threatened by murderous terrorists — and how helpless when ordered to heel by smug lobbyists for the gun industry. Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's deadly rampage through the Boston area provoked not fear but defiance. Even before one brother was killed and the other captured, the city was impatient to get back to normal — eager to show the world that unspeakable violence might shock, sadden and enrage, but would never intimidate.
I think I've figured it out. Republicans must be staging some kind of fiendishly clever plot to lure Democrats into a false sense of security. That's the only possible explanation for some of the weirdness we're seeing and hearing from the GOP. The party must be waiting to come out with its real candidates and policy positions at a moment when unsuspecting Democrats are in the vulnerable position of being doubled over with laughter.
Don't take anything for granted. The conservative activists on the Supreme Court may not be able to halt the inexorable shift toward acceptance of gay marriage, but we probably should expect them to try.
If Rep. Paul Ryan wants people to take his budget manifestos seriously, he should be honest about his ambition: not so much to make the federal government fiscally sustainable as to make it smaller.
The test of President Obama's seriousness about addressing climate change is not his pending decision on the much-debated Keystone XL pipeline. It's whether he effectively consigns coal-fired power plants -- one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions -- to the ashcan of history.
If George W. Bush had told us that the "war on terror" gave him the right to execute an American citizen overseas with a missile fired from a drone aircraft, without due process or judicial review, I'd have gone ballistic. It makes no difference that the president making this chilling claim is Barack Obama. What's wrong is wrong.
Republicans shouldn't worry that President Barack Obama is trying to destroy the GOP. Why would he bother? The party's leaders are doing a pretty good job of it themselves.
President Obama is set to begin his second term at a moment when the question is not what great things our nation can achieve but whether our government, in Obama's words, can "stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis." The jury is out, but continued dysfunction seems the most likely scenario. Obama's news conference on Monday -- his last scheduled encounter with White House reporters before Inauguration Day -- was a tutorial in low expectations.
Guns do kill people. Our national New Year's resolution must be to stop the madness.
We are not helpless to stop the massacre of innocent children. We must begin — today, right now, this minute — taking guns out of the hands of madmen, and the first step should be a ban on military-style assault weapons such as the rifle used to turn a Connecticut school into a slaughterhouse.
How dare he? President Obama, I mean: How dare he do what he promised during the campaign? How dare he insist on a "balanced approach" to fiscal policy that includes a teensy-weensy tax increase for the rich? Oh, the humanity.
I know it's early, but I have a sinking feeling the Republican Party is taking all the wrong lessons from the Nov. 6 election. Short-term, that's a boon for Democrats. Long-term, it's a problem for the country.
So much for voter suppression. So much for the enthusiasm gap. So much for the idea that smug, self-appointed arbiters of what is genuinely "American" were going to "take back" the country, as if it had somehow been stolen.
Back when he was being "severely conservative," Republican Mitt Romney suggested that responsibility for disaster relief should be taken from the "big, bad" federal government and given to the states, or perhaps even privatized.
Not a close call. President Obama won the second presidential debate as clearly and decisively as he lost the first. For anyone who disagrees, three simple words: "Please proceed, Governor."
When Michelle Obama called voting rights "the movement of our era" in a Sept. 11 speech, she didn't specifically mention the Republican-led crusade for restrictive voter identification laws. She didn't have to. Her audience at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual gala dinner fully understood the context. It's hard to believe that in this day and age, the right to vote is once again under assault from those who would prefer to keep minorities, the poor and the elderly away from the polls. But here we are.
Teachers are heroes, not villains, and it's time to stop demonizing them.
Republicans and Democrats are being equally nasty in their campaign rhetoric, but they're not being equally truthful. To cite one example, much of what the GOP is saying about Medicare simply isn't supported by the facts.
Mitt Romney's defiant secrecy about his personal finances looks like a cross Republicans will have to bear all the way to Election Day. To put it mildly, the burden seems to chafe.
Will we even pretend to do anything to prevent the next mass shooting by a crazed loner? I doubt it. We'll just add Aurora to the growing list — Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson — and wait for the inevitable.
Mitt Romney has every right to cloak his personal and professional finances in secrecy -- and voters have every right to assume he has something embarrassing to hide. If this seems unfair, Romney has only himself to blame.
The political impact of the stunning June 28 Supreme Court decision on health care reform is clear: good for President Obama and the Democrats, bad for Mitt Romney and the Republicans -- but fleeting, and thus secondary. More important is what the ruling means in the long term for the physical and moral health of the nation. All but lost in the commentary about the court's 5-4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. unexpectedly joining the majority, is that the Affordable Care Act was intended as just a beginning. We have far to go, but at least we're on our way.
Sí, se puede. Yes, it can be done. President Obama showed last week that it's possible to find a reasonable, humane solution for at least 800,000 young people who were illegally brought into this country as children. All you need is a moral compass and a heart.
Donald Trump has said he would be "open" to accepting a Cabinet post if Mitt Romney becomes president. Trump would prefer "a position where I negotiate against some of these countries, because they are really taking our lunch." So is he on the short list, perhaps, for secretary of state?
Republicans say they're eager for the presidential campaign to turn away from "distractions" and focus instead on the economy. Someone should warn them that if they're not careful, they might get their wish.
Economic austerity is a dangerous, self-defeating intellectual fad. Perhaps I should say that’s what it was, given Sunday’s election results in Europe. Perhaps I should also say good riddance.
Now that the immigration “crisis” has solved itself, this is the perfect time for Congress and the president to agree on a package of sensible, real-world reforms. It’s also the perfect time for pigs to grow wings.
Playing second fiddle to Mitt Romney won’t be easy, but somebody has to be his running mate. Let’s handicap the field:
The “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida and other states should all be repealed. At best, they are redundant. At worst, as in the Trayvon Martin killing, they are nothing but a license to kill.
Unless Ron Paul somehow wins the nomination, it looks as if a vote for the Republican presidential candidate this fall will be a vote for war with Iran. No other conclusion can be drawn from parsing the candidates’ public remarks. Paul, of course, is basically an isolationist who believes it is none of our business if Iran wants to build nuclear weapons. He questions even the use of sanctions, such as those now in force. But Paul has about as much chance of winning the GOP nomination as I do.
We’ve heard this quickening drumbeat before. Last time, it led to the tragic invasion and occupation of Iraq. This time, if we let the drummers provoke us into war with Iran, the consequences will likely be far worse. Rat-ta-tat-tat. Weapons of mass destruction. Boom-shakka-boom. A madman in charge. Thump-thump-thump. Mushroom clouds.
Republicans haven’t quite thrown away what they see as a winnable presidential election, at least not yet. But they’re trying their best. In GOP circles, there is more than a whiff of panic in the air. Unemployment is still painfully high, Americans remain dissatisfied with the country’s direction, even the most favorable polls show President Obama’s approval at barely 50 percent and yet there is a sense that the Republicans’ odds of winning back the White House grow longer day by day.
Criticism of Mitt Romney for lacking a coherent message is grossly unfair. He has been forthright, consistent and even eloquent in pressing home his campaign’s central theme: Mitt Romney desperately wants to be president.
When the polls closed in South Carolina on Saturday, I happened to be in a Charleston hotel lobby where elegantly dressed couples were filing past on their way to a black-tie event. A woman stopped and asked whether I had heard anything about the results. “Newt’s winning big,” I said. The woman’s face fell. “But if Newt wins,” she lamented, “then Obama wins.”
It’s going to be mean and dispiriting, this campaign. We’ll be assailed with talk of “European socialism” and “vulture capitalism” — not “hope” and “change” — and the months between now and November will seem an eternity.
Mitt Romney and his backers decided that to win in Iowa they had to destroy Newt Gingrich’s campaign. Now Gingrich looks eager — and able — to return the favor. Romney got his victory, but it doesn’t feel much like one. It’s embarrassing that the supposed Republican front-runner could only manage to beat Rick Santorum by eight votes out of about 120,000 cast in Tuesday’s caucuses. It’s troubling that Romney has spent the past five years campaigning in Iowa and still could draw just one-quarter of the vote.
It’s late at night when the phone rings at the White House: Kim Jong Il, the ruthless oddball dictator of nuclear-armed North Korea, is dead. His apparent successor is his 20-something son, about whom practically nothing is known. South Korean officials have rushed to put the nation’s military forces on high alert.
I guess I was wrong. I thought Republicans surely would have come to their senses by now. Instead, they seem to be rushing deeper into madness. With less than a month to go before the Iowa caucuses, Mitt Romney, the candidate shown by polls to have the best chance of defeating President Obama, evidently remains unacceptable to most of his party. He has spent the summer and fall playing second fiddle to a series of unconvincing “front-runners” who fade into the shadows once their shortcomings become obvious.
Don’t laugh too hard at Rick Perry for his mortifying episode of brain-lock at Wednesday’s GOP presidential candidates’ debate. His opponents managed to remember their lines, but didn’t do any better at making sense.
Just be patient and you, too, can lead the polls for the Republican presidential nomination. Witness the ascent of Herman Cain. Don’t laugh. “There’s a difference between the flavor of the week and Haagen-Dazs Black Walnut, because it tastes good all the time,” Cain told reporters this week. “Call me Haagen-Dazs Black Walnut.” All right, go ahead and laugh. Cain will surely respond with what has become his all-purpose retort: “As my grandfather would say, I does not care.”