You don't have to be a member of the tea party to be outraged over the Internal Revenue Service's special and unwarranted scrutiny of conservative groups. I'm not, and I am.For four decades liberals have nursed hurts over the Nixon administration's use of the IRS to intimidate if not punish its political opponents. The very first item in Article II of the House Judiciary Committee resolution impeaching … More »CROSSING SACRED LINES
Opinion - David Shribman
Is the specter haunting today's Republicans ... Ronald Reagan?The 40th president has been dead for nine years. He hasn't been president for a quarter-century. The world he inhabited -- with the Soviets ruling the Kremlin, interest rates hovering in double digits, Michael Jackson performing on glittery stages and Ivan Boesky symbolizing Wall Street -- is gone, every shred of it, and now is studied in … More »HELD HOSTAGE BY REAGAN
You can hear the huffing from here. It began with the budget battle, reached a cruel crescendo with the gun vote and culminated in the question the president had to field at his press conference last week about whether he'd run out of "juice" to pass his agenda: Barack Obama isn't strong like Richard Nixon. He can't strong-arm like Franklin Roosevelt. He's afraid to pressure like Bill Clinton. No one's … More »THE LIMITED POWER OF PRESIDENTS
We needed this past week, with its moments of introspection, its reflections on national purpose, its symbols of national concord. Many of them, of course, occurred in Boston, site of terrorism in 2013. One of them occurred in Dallas, site of tragedy in 1963.The images of what happened in Boston already have been seared into the national psyche. The image of what happened in Dallas Thursday is fresher, … More »A GATHERING OF PRESIDENTS
Can it be that the Democrats are succumbing to the same sorts of intra-party tensions that have bedeviled the Republicans since the November election?Ordinarily it's the party that loses an election that dissolves into factions, with party members hurling intemperate charges against their putative allies, calling into question their colleagues' integrity and questioning their loyalty to long-standing … More »SOCIAL SECURITY, 21ST-CENTURY STYLE
DALLAS -- Tuesday is a day that will be marked by no one, and yet it is freighted with history.April 16 ties our era with the two landmark assassinations of the modern age, the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 and the murder of John F. Kennedy here in Dallas in 1963. Tuesday is an anchor that helps explain our time, giving meaning to our memories, providing perspective for the … More »FORTY-NINE YEARS, FOUR MONTHS, 25 DAYS
WASHINGTON -- What if they had a Senate race and nobody ran?Not as fanciful as you think. It's only April and already seven lawmakers have announced they won't run again in elections still 18 months away. Almost certainly more will join them. Last year, 10 senators shied away from running.Hardly anyone wants to be in the world's most exclusive club -- it's actually called that, though many describe … More »THE SENATE THAT WAS
In olden times, when people wrote on paper and employed postage stamps, letters created unlikely connections.The most remarkable set of correspondence in American history was surely the letters between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson after the two men left the White House.In England, there were the letters, written sometimes during Cabinet meetings, sometimes three times a day, between H.H. Asquith, … More »ON CONNECTIONS, PERHAPS COINCIDENCE?
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In this 150th anniversary season you can explore the Civil War by reading narratives, memoirs and letters. You can examine historians' visions and scholars' revisions. You can delve into the great speeches of the era, especially those of Abraham Lincoln. But perhaps the best, and most unexpected, thing you can do is to walk into the National Portrait Gallery and be stirred by the … More »WHERE PORTRAITS TELL THE STORY
He was getting older, he worried about losing his balance fishing on the end rocks, and his hearing was failing him. So was his short-term memory. He could recall, surprisingly vividly, how the bottom of his mother's feet looked, but he forgot the names of some of his houseguests. He was going to bed earlier, and waking up earlier, too. Three times people told him his zipper was undone.So George H.W. … More »ON LOSS, AND THE LOST ART OF LETTER-WRITING
WASHINGTON -- Nobody is going to win the Battle of Sequester Gulch. The Republicans are going to lose, the Democrats are going to lose, President Barack Obama is going to lose, the economy is going to lose, the nation's image is going to lose, and the entire political class is going to lose. It's not every day that Washington pulls such an arresting inside straight."Only Congress could find a way to … More »SALVAGED BY STUPIDITY
Maybe nothing much is going on right now in your hometown, but that's not the case in Batesland, S.D. (population 108), and in the Wisconsin towns of La Crosse, Fond du Lac and New London. They're all marking Aldo Leopold Weekend, and we should, too. ... More »WE SHOULD ALL CELEBRATE ALDO LEOPOLD
The last time the Senate met it actually came to a unanimous decision. It agreed that the traditional rendering of George Washington's Farewell Address, which for more than a hundred years has been read in the chamber on or around the birthday of the first president, would instead occur Monday, and that Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte would perform this commemorative act. That's a start.When she gets … More »OVERHAUL THE TAX SYSTEM
How did Barack Obama become, by Oscar Wilde's definition, a cynic?Last week, President Obama boasted in his State of the Union address that his administration was preparing tools so parents and students can "compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck." Part of a national movement to quantify the return on investment students get from college, … More »WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE WORTH?
You were thinking there was a war going on for the soul of the Republican Party. You were right, and it just went nuclear.First, Karl Rove, who until last week was no one's idea of a moderate, began an initiative to find Republican candidates with a good chance of winning in general elections, which is political Esperanto for Republicans without a hint of tea on their breath.Then L. Brent Bozell III, … More »THE WAR INSIDE THE GOP