Opinion: When the Party of Conscience Slinks From the Fight
What was supposed to be a power struggle for the ages has turned out to be more like a used-car sale

Ever since Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president, national headlines have predicted an epic fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party sometime in the very near future. In this corner is the big-mouthed New York billionaire untethered to any particular policy besides winning. In the other are the conscience-driven, high-minded intellectuals of modern-day conservatism, who see themselves as the keepers of the party flame.

Two ideologies will enter the fight, but only one can emerge, and the good money up to now has been on the conservatives. After all, they have the experience, the knowledge and each other to count on, while Trump has only himself.

Opinion: The Real Facebook Scandal
Congress has been unwilling to do anything significant to protect Americans

If Congress wants someone to blame for the massive data breach at Facebook that compromised 87 million users’ personal information leading up to the 2016 presidential campaign, it could start with Mark Zuckerberg, who will testify on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As the CEO of the massive social media company, Zuckerberg has engineered a platform that collects more information about more people than any entity or government in the history of the world and then sells access to that information for huge profits. Zuckerberg alone made $23 billion in the first eight months of 2017, including a $1 billion gain in a single day in August.

Opinion: It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Serve Your Country
Acting with integrity no longer a requirement for public service — and may be impossible

Do you remember the days when people in Washington used to say they were leaving their power jobs to “spend more time with their families?”

It was almost always a cover story for something less pleasant or more nefarious. But with a wink and a gentleman’s or lady’s agreement not to say more than necessary, the Cabinet secretary or member of Congress was gone like that.

Opinion: Will the Marches Make a Difference?
Marches are where change can start, but elections are where the change happens

The National Rifle Association went into the 1994 midterm elections with a plan: Target politicians who had voted for that year’s crime bill.

A Washington Post story just before Election Day detailed a granular and aggressive plan inside the NRA to unseat anyone who had failed to support the group’s position on the landmark legislation pushed by President Bill Clinton that included a ban on new sales of some assault weapons.

Opinion: Some Dems Want to Dump Nancy Pelosi. Are They Nuts?
Democratic leader a tough act to follow

I have often believed that Nancy Pelosi is the only real man in Washington.

She’s got skin thicker than a rhinoceros. She raises money like a hedge fund chairman. Her personal ambitions are as obvious as they are legendary and, unlike the male congressional leaders before her and around her, she never, never, never gives up.

Opinion: Why the Pennsylvania Special Election Is Not So Special
Such contests are more about storylines than winning

All elections have consequences, but on a scale of zero-to-life-changing, Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb has fewer real-world consequences than most.

You wouldn’t know it from the screaming national headlines or the colossal amount of cash both parties are putting up to occupy the seat for the next nine months (almost $12 million in ad spending alone), but the reality of special elections this cycle is that they are more about winning a storyline than about winning any House seat.

Opinion: Donald Trump Has Already Won His Trade War
President makes good on promise to people who put him in office

One dark, cold night in 2016, Donald Trump made a promise to 6,000 chanting fans and potential voters who had come to see him speak in an unheated, dirt floor rodeo hall in Pendleton, South Carolina.

“We’re going to make America great again. We’re going to make it rich. We’re going to bring our jobs back from China and Mexico.”

Opinion: Time’s Up for DiFi? Not If Democrats Are Smart
Veteran California senator fights a good fight

When Democrats chanted, “Time’s up! Time’s up!” at the California state convention this weekend, they weren’t protesting serial sexual harassers, as the Hollywood-based #TimesUp movement was founded to do. And they definitely weren’t calling for equal opportunities for women in leadership, the other goal of the Time’s Up movement.

Instead, the protesters were heckling Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior senator, as she walked off the convention stage where she made her case for re-election in 2018.

Opinion: Save the RINOs, Save Yourselves
Mitt Romney would add a voice of moderation

 

Mitt Romney is running for Senate. He found new political life by bashing President Donald Trump — who on Monday proceeded to endorse him anyway. (Even a candidate video that sideswiped Trump at least twice wasn’t enough to deter the president.)

Opinion: Meet the Deficit Doves
Deficit hawks soar like a rock

Do you remember the deficit hawks of the last decade, that breed of budget cutter so single-minded and focused on reducing, rather than growing, government debts and deficits that you knew what they were going to say before they said it?

Military spending needed a pay-for. Medicare Part D? Too expensive. For every legislative idea their congressional colleagues cooked up to solve a problem, the deficit hawks rightly pointed out that spending money the country doesn’t have is itself a problem, especially without a plan to reduce spending in the out years.

Opinion: Crumbs? ‘I’ll Take It!’ And Democrats Should Too
Tax cuts are showing up in paychecks, and that’s definitely not hurting the GOP

Democrats could not believe their luck this weekend when House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted — and then deleted — a boast about the $1.50 raise a high school secretary received as a result of the GOP tax cut bill that President Donald Trump signed at the end of the year.

“She said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year,” Ryan tweeted.

Opinion: Why Democrats Are Desperate for Some Kennedy Dazzle
The JPK3 boomlet is upon us, and it starts with the State of the Union

It’s hard to describe the full swoon among progressives that’s been underway since House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi announced that Rep. Joe Kennedy III, known among liberal super-fans as “JPK3,” had accepted the deceptively difficult task of delivering the response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

“My God, he looks like a red-headed Ted,” wrote a contributor on The Daily Kos, the website that re-established itself in 2017 as a hugely influential forum for progressive activists.

Opinion: Women Played a Key Role in Harassment Bill
In the #MeToo era, some lawmakers may be scurrying for cover

When people talk about women running for office, we hear a lot about numbers. X-number of women are running. Women make up y-percent of Congress or elected officials. When x and y are equal, then we’ll finally see a difference in our government.

But beyond the numbers, if you really want to see the difference it makes to have women from both parties at the table when legislation is drafted, look no further than the bill introduced last week to finally begin to change the way sexual harassment has been dealt with in Capitol Hill offices since the Congressional Accountability Act passed in 1995.

Opinion: Welcome to S-Town
Congress should try fixing problems instead of creating them

You have to wonder what’s going through newly elected Sen. Doug Jones’ mind as he experiences his second full week in the Senate. Can you imagine winning an election against an accused pedophile, only to arrive in the one square mile of America that is crazier than the circumstances that brought you here?

What about Sen. Tina Smith, who replaced Al Franken after he voluntarily resigned for sexual harassment he said he mostly never committed?  Congress made even less sense on Tuesday, when the prevailing debate among senators was not about Korea or nuclear war or the economy or education, but over whether President Donald Trump had called Haiti and all of Africa a “shithole” or a “shithouse” in a meeting with senators last week.

Opinion: The Women Who Could Take Back the House for Democrats
Trump presidency a catalyst for action

In a typical election cycle, EMILY’S List hears from 900 or so women who are interested in running for political office. As of this week, less than a year after President Donald Trump took office, more than 25,000 women have reached out to the group, whose goal is to help elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.

That unprecedented number tracks with what I’ve seen covering special elections for the House and Senate in 2017. Particularly in Alabama and Georgia, I kept seeing female voters showing up in huge numbers to work for Democratic candidates, even when the women themselves weren’t Democrats, or had never been particularly political at all.

Opinion: Democrats’ Picks to Repeat Alabama Upset in the South
Some feel good about their chances in the 2018 midterms

When Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race last week, Jones became the first Democrat to be elected statewide there since 2006. When he is sworn into the Senate a few weeks from now, he will notice he’s not like the others, since he and Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida will be the only two Democrats to represent states in a deep red swath of the Deep South from Texas to North Carolina.

But a combination of the Jones victory, along with a group of unusually promising candidates and a polarizing president in the White House, has Democrats in the South feeling genuinely decent about their chances in the 2018 midterm elections. They’re not exactly whistling Dixie, but they are humming a different tune for once.

Opinion: The Real Year of the Woman
Female lawmakers are playing outsize role in sexual harassment debate

It takes a special kind of depravity for a congressman to suggest to a female staffer that she carry his child for $5 million and then retaliate against her when she declines the offer, as former Rep. Trent Franks reportedly did last year.

Nobody is winning a profile in courage award for asking female staff members to cuddle with him in his apartment and then firing them after they refuse, as former Rep. John Conyers Jr. was accused of doing before he resigned in disgrace. And you’d think that voters would somehow weed out a senator who apparently had a groping habit before he was ever in politics, but former Sen. Al Franken proved that conventional wisdom wrong.

Opinion: Wall Street’s Moral Superiority
Private companies act quickly while Congress dithers

When Wall Street, Hollywood, cable news and even Silicon Valley are beating you by a mile on the road to dealing with questions of morality, respect and human decency, you can rest assured you’re doing it wrong.

Washington, you’re doing it wrong.

Opinion: Ethics Committee Investigation for Harassment Is Not ‘Zero Tolerance’
Referring sexual misconduct allegations to panel is as good as doing nothing

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi had a profoundly terrible appearance Sunday on “Meet the Press,” when, among other things, she defended Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving Democrat in the House, in the face of multiple sexual harassment allegations against him from former female staffers.

First, Pelosi made a call for due process, which is always important, of course. But then she got into the weeds. “Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two?” she said to NBC’s Chuck Todd. “I think there has to be — John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women.”

Opinion: Time to Investigate Members for Sexual Harassment
Congress needs to root out serial offenders

This is not a #MeToo column about sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. I worked in the Senate for nine years and never experienced anything other than professional conduct and opportunities for advancement in my own offices. I was once told my salary would be less than my male predecessor because I wasn’t “a powerful man,” but that’s another issue for another time, and a moment I wish I could go back to again and again, because I know now I could have argued for more and won.

This is a #GetReal column about sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, because now that the longtime problem of sexual harassment on the Hill has been acknowledged, even by members like Rep. Jackie Speier and Rep. Debbie Dingell, it’s hard to believe that the only solutions being proposed are mandatory sexual harassment training or legislation that continues to rely solely on the victims of harassment coming forward to address this embedded cultural disease.