opinion

Opinion: Let the Senate Be the Senate Again
The alternative: Taking the road to irrelevance

From left, Sen. John Barrasso, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Thune conclude a news conference after McConnell announced there would be no vote on the health care bill this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

I have a question for the senators trying to decide whether to vote for the Obamacare repeal bill when it comes up in the Senate:

Did you really fly 1,000 miles in coach for this?

Opinion: Wanted — Three Senate Republicans to End the Mean Season for Health Care
GOP plan is a cure worse than the disease

The health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to push through the Senate needs a response — from three Senate Republicans willing to say no, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

In a January 2010 speech at Hillsdale College, Paul Ryan decried Barack Obama’s efforts to expand access to health care. The future House speaker declared in apocalyptic tones, “The national health care exchange created by this legislation, together with its massive subsidies for middle income earners, will be the greatest expansion of the welfare state in a generation and possibly in history.”

Then Ryan uttered the fateful words: “Our message must be, ‘We will repeal and replace this government takeover, masked as health care reform.’”

Opinion: What’s at Stake for McConnell, Conservatives and the GOP
Now or never for Republicans who want to repeal Obamacare

It’s now or never for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders who want to replace Obamacare, Allen writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican leaders have a once-in-a-lifetime shot to dismantle Medicaid, a costly entitlement program that provides health care for the poor and the disabled.

In what other scenario could Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell find themselves working with a president so totally focused on the optics of “winning” in the short term and so utterly unconcerned about the real-life and political ramifications of taking benefits away from his own voters?

Opinion: Of Shakespearean Lessons and Art That Makes Us Think
The president doth tweet too much, methinks

The artistic licenses taken by The Public Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” would be appreciated by the bard himself, Curtis writes. (Courtesy Public Theater)

When Barack Obama burst onto the national stage and consciousness with his eloquent speech of unity at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, listeners delighted at its deliberate thoughtfulness — the flip side of the George W. Bush “everyman” style. (And yes, that the polished orator was the child raised without a father and the other had a lineage of political privilege was part of the irony and appeal of the shiny, new package.)

President Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, was, as everyone knows, the opposite of all that — a man of immediate reaction and few, sometimes incoherent and contradictory words, often strung together in 140 characters or less. Those who favored this new style eventually read the former’s quality of reflection as indecision, and compared President Obama, often unfavorably, to “Hamlet.”

Opinion: Jon Ossoff and the New Breed of Yellow Dog Democrats
How politics in a onetime Southern GOP stronghold have changed

By the kind of campaign he ran in Georgia’s 6th District, Jon Ossoff is emblematic of a New Southern Democrat, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — It’s Election Day in Georgia, so this column goes to print before we know the outcome of the 6th District special election to replace Dr. Tom Price in Congress. But whether Karen Handel, the Republican, pulls off a win or Jon Ossoff, the Democrat, manages an upset, it is well-understood here that the politics of this once solidly Republican district have changed, almost overnight.

The fact that Ossoff became so competitive, so quickly in this race was almost entirely because of Donald Trump. Trump was certainly the reason Democratic activists across the country pumped $20 million into a district where the biggest tourist attraction is a giant red chicken in front of a vintage KFC. Trump was also the reason countless Ossoff volunteers told me they were working for him “because at least it is something I could do” after Trump won in November.

Opinion: Donald Trump — the Affirmative Action President and His Enablers
Different rules — or no rules — for different people

President Donald Trump is the guy who doesn’t bother to read the book but tries to bluff his way through the oral support, Curtis writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

House Speaker Paul Ryan offered the excuse “He’s just new to this” for Donald Trump after former FBI chief James Comey’s testimony that the president has done and said things that were inappropriate, even if they don’t turn out to be illegal. It sounded like something you would say in defense of a toddler who dives face-first into the birthday cake because he hasn’t yet learned what a fork is for.

President Trump is that guy — and it’s a guy 99 percent of the time — who doesn’t bother to read the book but tries to bluff his way through the oral report. Sometimes that guy is funny. When he is in a position to weaken long-held European alliances, jeopardize troops on a base in the Middle East or shred America’s safety net as well as ethical guidelines set by the founders in the U.S. Constitution, no one should be laughing. A “gentleman’s C” won’t cut it when so much is at stake.

Opinion: In Praise of Congressional Openness
Why the tension at the core of American democracy is worth it

An FBI evidence response team gathers outside of the Aldi grocery store near Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va., where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot during baseball practice on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In the tear-stained hours after the baseball field shootings, House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy sounded the right note as he said in his opening prayer, “We are blessed by a free and open society. … But once again, we are reminded there is a vulnerability that comes with that openness.”

That is the tension at the core of American democracy as we stumble through this terror-soaked century. How do we maintain the close connection between the government and the governed without elected officials having to don bulletproof vests every morning along with their American flag pins?

Opinion: Two Shootings in Less Than Seven Years Is Two Too Many
A lesson from Giffords, Scalise and Trump: tone it down

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords hugs President Barack Obama at his 2012 State of the Union address as then-Rep. Jeff Flake looks on. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call file photo)

I’ll never forget the moment when my sense of professionalism as a journalist failed me most.

It was Jan. 25, 2012. I had raced to the corridor behind the back door of the House chamber to catch a glimpse of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. A year had passed since a deranged lunatic fired a bullet into her brain and killed six others in a Tucson parking lot, and Giffords had just resigned her House seat.

Opinion: Republicans’ Biggest Problem in Georgia Isn’t the Special Election
Health care looms large in the 6th District

Whether or not Democrat Jon Ossoff wins in Georgia’s 6th District next week, health care could spell serious trouble for the GOP in 2018, Murphy writes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

ATLANTA — Of all of the numbers that should give Republican leaders heartburn in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, where a special election runoff is scheduled for next Tuesday, the most worrisome number might be in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll from last week.

That survey of likely and early voters showed Democrat Jon Ossoff leading Republican Karen Handel by 7 points. That’s not great news in the district where its former congressman, HHS Secretary Tom Price, won 62 percent of the vote just six months ago. But special elections being what they are, no one can confidently predict the result of this contest until it happens next week.

Opinion: Trump Should Come Clean, Ask For Forgiveness
If what the president did wasn’t illegal, it was certainly more than improper

President Donald Trump prepares to welcome President Klaus Iohannis of Romania to the White House for a “working visit” on Friday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Perhaps President Donald Trump didn’t technically obstruct justice when he fired Jim Comey, the FBI director who was investigating his associates and campaign. Maybe he did.

Either way, Trump’s actions were scandalous. Congress and the American public should expect a higher standard of conduct from the American president than the bare-minimum bar of “it wasn’t technically illegal.”