Opinion & Analysis

Capitol Ink | Pardon Party

Opinion: The Freewheeling John McCain — An Appreciation
Flawed, but still the embodiment of honor, civility, patriotism and bipartisanship

Arizona Sen. John McCain deserves to be ranked among the two or three leading Senate figures of the last quarter-century, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all their outward cynicism, campaign reporters tend to be closet idealists who dream of covering a candidate who will summon forth the better angels of the American people. Such a mythic candidate is not aloof like Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, but rather is a flawed figure who transforms himself in the act of running for president.

The doomed Bobby Kennedy of 1968 was that kind of uplifting candidate for an earlier generation of reporters. For a few short months during the primaries, Kennedy rose above his life of privilege and his reputation for ruthlessness to become the tribune of the poor and the dispossessed of all races.

Opinion: For Whom and What Do Faith Leaders Pray?
White evangelicals still strongly in president’s corner

President Donald Trump attended a worship service at the International Church of Las Vegas in October as a candidate. He reached out to evangelical Christians for support during the 2016 campaign. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Were their prayers answered?

White — most of them, anyway — evangelicals, recently photographed laying hands on President Donald Trump perhaps were praying that the proposed Senate health care bill, the one estimates predicted would result in millions losing care or Medicaid coverage, would fail.

Opinion: Meet the New President — All 50 of Them
Governors filling void created by a distracted Trump

The nation’s governors, including Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, left, and Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe, are stepping into a leadership void created by a distracted President Donald Trump, Murphy writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

There was a time very recently when governors ran the states and the president ran the country. For every ribbon-cutting and fish fry a governor attended in his home state, the president was doing the big stuff — signing on to international accords, negotiating with world leaders, and leaning on Congress, especially the senators of his own party, to push through his policy agenda on Capitol Hill.

But those days are over, at least for now. While President Donald Trump has become engulfed in questions about his campaign’s associations with Russia and more focused on his Twitter feed and widescreen TV than the mundane, sustained work required to move an agenda, the governors of America have stepped into the void.

Capitol Ink | Energizer Mitch Bunny

Opinion: History Lessons — Ted Kennedy, Watergate and the Bravest Senate Vote
And stay tuned for a fake news alert …

Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s death in 2009 and the subsequent election of Republican Sen. Scott P. Brown in 2010 prevented the Democrats from refining the 2010 health care law, Shapiro writes. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

John McCain’s surgery for a blood clot serves as a reminder that the fate of health care legislation is yet again being shaped by the frailties of the giants of the Senate.

Had Ted Kennedy lived long enough to see the victory of what he called “the cause of my life,” congressional Democrats would have been able to refine the Affordable Care Act. Instead, the victory of Republican Scott Brown in the January 2010 Massachusetts special election to fill the Kennedy seat (effectively a family fiefdom since 1952) deprived Democrats of their filibuster-proof majority.

Capitol Ink | On Thinning Ice

Opinion: Trump Is Losing the Republican Congress
But don’t expect impeachment any time soon

After the recent revelations of the Trump Tower meeting last June, defenders of President Donald Trump can no longer dismiss evidence of Russia collusion as circumstantial, Allen writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump is losing the Republican Congress.

The June 2016 meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, among others, underscores what was obvious to anyone paying close attention to the election before ballots were cast: Russia wanted Trump to win, and Trump wanted Moscow’s help.

Capitol Ink | National Maul

Opinion: The New Senate Health Care Bill — A Little Bit Louder and a Little Bit Worse
Republicans violating the ‘first, do no harm’ principle

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken on the role of drum major leading the Republican march of folly on health care, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

 

The single number that Senate Republicans should dwell on before they vote next week on health care will not bear the imprimatur of the Congressional Budget Office. Rather the most relevant statistic comes courtesy of the Gallup poll: Democrats hold a 19-point edge (55 percent to 36 percent) as the party most trusted to handle health care.

Analysis: Health Care Insiders Are Outside Looking In

Capitol Police officers move in to arrest health care protesters from Nevada outside of the office of Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., in the Hart Senate Office Building on July 10, 2017. Heller is among the senators being lobbied hard by the health industry to oppose the bill as well.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Perhaps the health care industry has lost its lobbying mojo.

Despite a mystique that K Street controls the unseen levers of power in Washington, a contingent of well-known and flush-with-cash groups representing doctors, hospitals, patients and seniors appears so far unable to kill — or significantly alter — a bill its members despise.

Opinion: Demanding Dignity From Leaders Comes With a Complicated History
But it’s worth a try...

Our slave-owning third president, Thomas Jefferson, is a reminder that our leaders have always been flawed, Curtis writes. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The room — 14 feet, 8 inches wide and 13 feet long — has no windows. It had been a restroom at the Monticello home of Thomas Jefferson in Virginia. But now, the small room adjacent to Jefferson’s, the one historians believe once belonged to Sally Hemings, will be restored and given its due, as will the enslaved woman who evidence indicates was the mother of six children of the third president of the United States.

As the current president, Donald Trump, is often lambasted for lowering the dignity and honor of the office, the news coming out of Monticello — where the role of its enslaved people is belatedly a part of the historical presentation to visitors — is a bracing reminder that our leaders have always been flawed. Founding Father Jefferson wrote stirring words of equality while owning fellow human beings.

Capitol Ink | Mister Softee

Opinion: Don’t Skip the Recess, Skip the Games
It’s time to change the dynamic in Washington, not the calendar

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can blame his own party for slowing down progress on the health care bill, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced to his members Tuesday that he’s canceling the first two weeks of the August recess to plow through a pile of undone business, including passing health care reform, a debt-ceiling increase, the Department of Defense authorization bill, and a Food and Drug Administration user authorization bill.

It’s easy to see why McConnell decided to push back the recess. For one thing, the rowdy town hall meetings in some senators’ home states last week were probably unpleasant enough to convince anyone that August in Washington is totally underrated. Two more weeks in the swamp? Great!

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