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Protesters hold signs during a rally in support of transgender youth, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at the Stonewall National Monument in New York. They were demonstrating against President Donald Trump's decision to roll back a federal rule saying public schools had to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender identity. The rule had already been blocked from enforcement, but transgender advocates view the Trump administration action as a step back for transgender rights. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Free-for-all at the urinal

A visitor from Mars or Pluto could reasonably conclude that Earth is a weird planet indeed. “It’s a heavenly body of great beauty,” he might report back to headquarters, “where everyone is trying to change his and her sex but is so squeamish about talking about sex that they must coin euphemisms, such as ‘gender identity,’ to describe it.”

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on domestic and international human trafficking, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017,in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The comeback of coal

President Trump’s boisterous press conferences sometimes cast a shadow over one of his most important achievements so far: his executive order suspending runaway Environmental Protection Agency rules that all but bankrupted the American coal industry. Three of America’s largest coal companies declared Chapter 11 in recent years largely as a result of rules like the Clean Power Plant Act, a gift of Barack Obama.

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2017 file photo, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Financial Services Committee for the Fed's semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to Congress.  Federal Reserve officials earlier this month discussed the need to raise a key interest rate again "fairly soon," especially if the economy remains strong. Minutes of the discussions in minutes released Wednesday, Feb. 22  showed that while Fed officials decided to keep a key rate unchanged at their Jan. 31-Feb. 1 meeting, there was growing concern about what could happen to inflation if the economy out-performed expectations. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The regulator cometh, and maybe goeth

There’s a lot to be said about government regulation — and much of it not good. Some regulation, given that human nature is what it is, is necessary. But sometimes it seems there’s little difference between the government telling you how to spend your money and the government just taking it. Regulations are a lot like taxes.

Protesters of President Donald Trump's immigration policies chant across the street from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection station Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in McAllen, Texas. (Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP)

Immigration Order No. 2

The fight over who controls U.S. immigration policy is about to enter Round Two. President Trump pledges to come out swinging with a reformulated restriction on prospective immigrants. He seems deadly serious about defending the nation’s borders, and those who want to throw open the borders to everyone seem just as determined to stop him. The outcome will determine nothing less than who defines America.

Maple tree sap drips from a tap into a bucket, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in Brookline, N.H. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, led a discussion with maple syrup producers in New Hampshire about how climate change is impacting their industry. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Carbonated politics

Every problem in Washington finally finds a solution, and it’s usually called a tax. A group of policy mavens, eager to do something for everybody, proposes to tax carbon, the substance found in all forms of fossil fuels. It’s the fourth-most abundant element in the universe. The idea is that if there’s a levy on the carbon content of oil, coal and natural gas, consumers will use less of it. Presto! No more human-caused global warming. But it still smells like a tax.

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The resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has opened up a vicious fight over the integrity of the intelligence community. (Associated Press)

Finding the Flynn leak

Washington is aflame with speculation over who is responsible for the spy-versus-spy mischief that led to cashiering Michael Flynn, the president's national-security adviser. The president appointed Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his successor Monday, but the controversy over the Flynn episode will not go away.

President Donald Trump during a campaign rally Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Melbourne, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The premature obituary

Sometimes blood in the water is just the residue from a bowl of strawberries. When Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration as secretary of Labor last week, following the cashiering of Mike Flynn as the president's national security adviser, President Trump's critics were satisfied at last that the end was near, the Trump administration is collapsing and that there must be a miracle around the corner to deliver them from their broken dreams and gossamer wishes. The water had turned pink.

A large crowd gathers for the rally outside the Lackawanna County Courthouse in Scranton Pa., Sunday Feb. 19, 2017, to focus on protecting the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid. (Jason Farmer/The Times & Tribune via AP)

The rose by another name

The courts continue to wrestle with homosexual nuptials and the meaning of "participation." The Washington state Supreme Court last week held that a florist in Richland, Wash., had no right in the law to refuse to provide flowers to two men for their same-sex wedding because to participate in such a rite would violate her deeply held religious beliefs.

About 50 fast food workers protest the nomination of former Hardees CEO Andrew Puzder to lead the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, outside the current headquarters of the fast food chain in downtown St. Louis. Fast food workers claim Puzder is unfit for the position because of his policies toward employees as Hardees boss. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Trump's missing free market warriors

Andy Puzder's withdrawal for consideration as Donald Trump's secretary of Labor might have been premature but for the easy surrender of the Republicans in the Senate to a left-wing slander campaign. Mr. Puzder's replacement, R. Alexander Acosta, is a labor lawyer without any real-life experience in hiring workers, but he looks confirmable. However, this leaves the new administration with almost no sound voices for free-market ideas.

"I think it's very, very unfair what's happened to Gen. Flynn, the way he was treated, and documents and papers that were illegally, I stress that, illegally leaked," President Trump told reporters on Wednesday. (Associated Press)

The swamp strikes back

Hercules cleaned the Augean Stables by diverting the course of two rivers through the gates to carry off the grunge and dreck. Donald Trump will need more than a river to collect the dreck as he drains the swamp that is Washington.

Then-President-elect Donald Trump walks Labor Secretary-designate Andy Puzder from Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., in this Nov. 19, 2016, file photo. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Democrats finally get a scalp

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. And then try some more. The Democrats finally got a Cabinet scalp Wednesday, when Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration as secretary of Labor. Democrats had earlier unsuccessfully targeted Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for honorary termination with extreme prejudice, and missed.

Before the missiles whistle

The rogues are restless. The mischief of the bullies doesn't flag from one administration to the next. Projectiles light up the sky from remote launch pads in far-off places, and where there are missiles, there must be a reliable, extensive shield against them.

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, arrives for the President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joint new conference in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) ** FILE **

Flynn's out, but the moles are not

Michael Flynn is gone as the president's official national security adviser, and now the important back story moves to the front. What is this curious episode really all about? Nothing is ever as it seems in Washington.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants more specifics about the philosophy of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. (Associated Press)

Searching for departed Democrats

Democrats have been meeting over the past few days at "retreats" near Washington to figure out what happened to them last November. They're trying to plot a strategy to destroy the president they despise and to overcome a ballot-box disaster that has left them with fewer officeholders, from top to bottom and across the 50 states, than they've had in a century.

Vice President Mike Pence administers the oath of office to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, accompanied by his wife Betty, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017,  in the in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

No retreat from Obamacare repeal

He's not an obstetrician, but Dr. Tom Price better know how to deliver. The Atlanta physician and member of Congress survived a bruising confirmation battle en route to a 52-47 party-line Senate confirmation to become the new secretary of Health and Human Services. He's the point man for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, which was President Trump's most important domestic pledge to voters. Success or failure will determine soon whether the doctor -- and his boss in the Oval Office -- are heroes or goats. The clock is ticking.

President Donald Trump salutes back to a Marines honor guard member as he disembarks Marine One upon arrival at the White House in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, from a trip to Florida. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

No sanctuary for the money

Some of our big-city mayors are having a high old time on a play date, with demonstrations of piety and righteous indignation in a game of "you show me yours and I'll show you mine." They get to needle President Trump from a distance for his attempt to impose order on the rush of illegal immigrants into the United States.

President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn upon arrival at the White House in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, from a trip to Florida. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Mischief by the 9th Circuit

President Trump suggested strongly at the end of a tumultuous week that he might not appeal the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the trashing of his executive order limiting the admission of refugees from seven chaotic and terror-prone nations of the Middle East.