Opinion & Analysis

Opinion: Montana Special Election Unlikely to Predict Larger Political Trend
But get ready for a barrage of talking points

Democrat Rob Quist, right, is vying with Republican Greg Gianforte in the race for Montana’s at-large House seat. (Courtesy Greg for Montana, Rob Quist for Montana)

Sometime after 10 p.m. Thursday in Washington, everyone in politics will feign being an expert on Montana or, as they will call it with an insider’s flourish, Big Sky Country. The returns from the first statewide race of the Trump era will inevitably trigger the type of frenzied over-analysis reserved for special elections at moments of political turmoil.

If the Republicans hang on to the House seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the sighs of relief from imperiled GOP incumbents may set off every wind chime in the D.C. area. Greg Gianforte, who ran 47,000 votes behind Donald Trump in a losing 2016 bid for governor, brings to the race two decided advantages — he is rich (he sold his software company for $1.5 billion in 2011) and he is a Republican.

Opinion: Congress Needs to Raise Budget Caps
Economic and national security investments vital to our long-term success

Not raising the budget caps risks shortchanging the next generation by leaving behind an ill-prepared workforce, a crumbling infrastructure, and a stagnant economy, Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We begin the 2018 budget process facing arbitrary and irresponsible spending caps that threaten our security, our economy, and our nation’s standing as a global leader of research and innovation. Yet, the budget proposal put forth by President Donald Trump does not respond to this simple truth. In fact, it will take our country in the opposite direction.

The president would provide additional funds for one important aspect of government — defense — but would do so at the expense of all other investments. That’s not a responsible proposal — and it should not be treated as one. Even some of my Republican colleagues have criticized these misguided priorities of President Trump. House Budget Committee member Tom Cole, R-Okla., called the president’s proposed cuts “short-sighted,” saying, “These are investments the country ought to be making.”

Capitol Ink | The Solution

Opinion: Trump Troubles Not an Excuse for Hill GOP’s Failures
Republicans on the Hill should be desperate to strike some deals

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., holds his weekly news conference in the Capitol on Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The distractions of Donald J. Trump are creating opportunity as much as crisis for Capitol Hill Republicans — even if they’re unwilling to seize it.

By now, it’s conventional wisdom in Washington that the Trump agonistes have frustrated the GOP agenda. But like much considered and collective inside-the-Beltway thought, that argument is pure horse hockey.

Capitol Ink | Surprise Witness

Opinion: Trump Policies on Voting and Criminal Justice Quietly Move Country Backward
Plans proceed despite chaos in the White House

President Donald Trump’s policies threaten voting rights and criminal justice reforms, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the Trump administration is in a state of perpetual turmoil, some of its promised policies are proceeding as planned. Support from a Republican Congress is softening with each cringe-worthy headline about slips, leaks and feuds; still, its members, mindful of the president’s loyal base, are proceeding with caution.

And when you step back from the chaos, don’t expect to see any progress on other issues — such as voting rights and criminal justice reform — that once promised a bit of bipartisan cooperation. 

Capitol Ink | The Latest Intelligence

Opinion: Where Will GOP Be When the Crazy Train Comes Off the Rails?
Republicans blaming Nancy Pelosi and Democrats will only get them so far

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and the Republicans can’t keep blaming Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats while ignoring President Donald Trump, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If you want to know how Republicans will campaign in the 2018 midterm elections, you don’t have to wait. House Speaker Paul Ryan gave an early preview Monday night at a rally for Karen Handel, the Republican candidate in the runoff for Georgia’s 6th District seat. 

If you’re just tuning in to the race, Handel is a former Georgia secretary of state and would be the first Republican woman elected to Congress from the Peach State. She is running against Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old Democrat and former Hill staffer who nearly won the seat outright last month, when he received 48 percent of the vote. The suburban district is wealthy, highly educated, and newly politically turbulent. The longtime GOP stronghold went for President Donald Trump by just 1 percent in November.

Capitol Ink | President Cartman

Opinion: Red-Scare Henchman a Role Model for Russia-Challenged President
Roy Cohn mentored Donald Trump

Roy Cohn’s aggressiveness, deceit and lack of a moral compass offers no formula for governing to President Donald Trump, Walter Shapiro writes. (Courtesy the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division).

Even before the president ominously hinted at a secret White House taping system, the supposed similarities between Donald Trump and Richard Nixon had all but made “Watergate Studies” a required course in journalism departments.

But as we grope to understand the 45th president and (to put it charitably) his erratic behavior, the best historical guide remains the life and times of Roy Cohn, Trump’s original mentor.

Capitol Ink | James Comey and the Cherry Tree

Opinion: Yes. Cancel the White House Press Briefing
How to tell when Trump aides lie — moving lips

Trump aides such as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sometimes are simply not effective at communicating the president’s latest fabrications, Jonathan Allen writes. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that, because his aides can’t speak with “perfect accuracy,” it might be best “to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy.”

I agree.

Capitol Ink | Occupational Hazard

Opinion: Trump’s Reruns — ‘Slippery Ethics, Harsh Pronouncements and Shiny Gilt’
Comey firing just the latest episode

Instead of the hopes and dreams he promised to fulfill as a candidate, President Donald Trump has delivered the slippery ethics and harsh pronouncements, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Is everyone exhausted yet?

The one thing America could count on was that Trump, as promised, would put on a surprising show. But not even four months into the Trump presidency, the one surprise is how depressingly familiar the playbook has become. The hopes and dreams that candidate Trump promised to fulfill? Hold off on those.

Capitol Ink | Executive Decision