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FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2017 file photo Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam pauses during an interview in Richmond, Va. Northam said he favors stricter controls on gun ownership. He's backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's group as well as by former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was grievously wounded in a 2011 shooting. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A costly Democratic error

The public-opinion polls in the Virginia gubernatorial race are tightening. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democrat who had opened a comfortable lead over Ed Gillespie, the Republican, over the summer, has only a tiny lead in most polls now, and a new Monmouth survey puts Mr. Gillespie up by a point.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., walk to a news conference on the Republican tax and budget proposals, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

‘Divided we fall’

“United we stand, divided we fall” was a warning of the consequences of political fissures in the age of Lincoln, and it’s no less on point now. The United States is splitting in two along political lines, and the ominous trend could spell disaster one day soon enough. Unless Americans can set aside their differences and make common cause about something, the nation could fall into the widening gulf. America is the exceptional nation, but not a nation immune to all risks.

The decline of sanctuaries

Defiance can be noble, and it can be merely subversive. In the case of sanctuary cities, counties and states, there’s nothing noble about trashing the laws of an orderly society to shield uninvited intruders from justice. Jurisdictions that do so risk more than the loss of money. They walk a narrow path to anarchy.

7. Michael Bloomberg - CEO, Bloomberg. Ranked number 10 in the world with a net worth of  $50.5 billion

Thirst prevails again in Chicago

Michael Bloomberg, the super-rich purveyor of business news, fancies himself the Terminator. The food police took a knockdown last week in Chicago, when the Cook County board of commissioners repealed a tax on soda pop, but the former mayor of New York City promised defiantly, “I’ll be back.”

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Donald Trump's new guidelines for protecting religious faith restore justice

The Washington Times

Not so long ago, President Trump's new guidelines for the Department of Health and Human Services for protecting freedom of religious faith would have been superfluous and unnecessary. A casual observer might have read them in puzzlement, as if the government had reaffirmed its opposition to robbery or murder.

Vice president Mike Pence takes the stage to deliver remarks before assisting volunteers working on the relief effort for the Puerto Rico victims of Hurricane Maria, at the Iglesia de Dios church in Kissimmee, Fla., Thursday, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (Joe Burbank /Orlando Sentinel via AP)

No snakes in the grass

Sexual harassment is tacky and vile, ranging from a wink and a nod (usually a misdemeanor) to brute force (always a felony), and such misbehavior has been with us since Adam and Eve ruined paradise when Eve had an affair with a snake -- a real one, not the snake in the grass that can bedevil mere friendships.

President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The humiliation of the snobs

One rare nugget of good news from the roiling, boiling cauldron of controversy about everything is that there's a new recognition of the Constitution. Many Americans, ignorant of the how and why of the founding document, have learned, sometimes to their frustration, that it's relevant, after all.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands at the conclusion of their joint press conference at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. With Turkey's president by his side, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged Wednesday that they would ensure borders in the region remain unchanged after the recent Kurdish independence referendum in Iraq. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The romantic lure of secession

Break-ups break hearts, but sometimes the thirst for freedom cannot be denied. When the desire to end a bad relationship involves the peoples of a nation, the process can become a bloody one. Americans don't have far to look to understand that. A century and a half after Appomattox the wounds of a civil war have not yet fully healed.

Former President Barack Obama waves to spectators before the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Abuse by the administrative state

The spirit of the Obama administration lives -- only Barack Obama is gone -- in the bureaucracies that imagine they were established to harass taxpayers. One of these is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the CFPB, one of the toxic vegetables in Washington's alphabet soup. Protecting the bureau, as the bureau sees it, is Job 1.

Beep, beep

Islam, it now turns out, is more flexible than everyone thought it was. King Salman of Saudi Arabia signed a royal decree last week stipulating that allowing women to drive an automobile won't offend Allah, after all. The mutaween, the religious police assigned to promote virtue where they find it and eradicate vice anywhere, will soon inherit an easier work day.

Investigators work at a festival grounds across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Las Vegas. Authorities said Stephen Craig Paddock broke windows on the casino and began firing with a cache of weapons, killing dozens and injuring hundreds at the music festival on Sunday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Exploiting murder at Mandalay Bay

Exploiting a tragedy doesn't take long. It never does. Before the blood was cleaned from the pavement at Mandalay Bay Hotel predictable demands for more gun control lit up the media. Shooters who take the lives of the innocent are clearly deranged, and pols and pundits who immediately seize upon shootings to polish their attacks on the Second Amendment reveal their own cold inclinations. The rest of us are twice victimized.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand with vice president Mike Pence and his wife Karen during a moment of silence to remember the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A nation grieves again

We live in a monstrous time, with evil lying in wait to pounce upon the innocent and the unwary. The size and scope of the expressions of such evil, as at the massacre of dozens of men and women at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on Sunday night, overwhelms the ability of the language to describe it.

Bills are going before the Senate to effectively block President Trump from dismissing special counsel Robert Mueller from his investigations into election meddling. (Associated Press)

The clock pursues Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller is nothing if not relentless. Impatient with a fishing expedition that relies on slippery prey to swim into his net, the special counsel now dreams of besieging anyone at the White House who has so much as watched an episode of a television drama about Soviet spies in Washington. Scalps have to be taken because that's what special counsels, i.e., special prosecutors, do.

The freshman vanishes

Good news is beginning to seep from the campus, not much but some, a heartening prospect for those with the patience to look for it. Shame may be coming back from exile.

Gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam is part of the new trend for Virginia Democrats, who have found that their path to victory runs through the growing suburbs of Washington and Richmond, and the Tidewater area. (Associated Press/File)

Ralph Northam meets Willie Horton

The ghost of Willie Horton, who is not even dead, continues to haunt Democratic dreams. Many Democrats continue to contest the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election, and others, like Ralph Northam, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, are stuck in 1988, when Horton became a central figure in the campaign that put George H.W. Bush in the White House.

President Donald Trump points as he boards Air Force One, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Playing the Trump card

Promise them anything, but give them a tax cut. Republicans have a fleeting chance to clear the air of the odor of defeat by making good on a pledge that voters from towns big and small who have heard enough big talk won't easily forget. If Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can't deliver this time, these voters are likely to say, "forget you." Who needs someone who can screw up a slam dunk?

President Donald Trump pauses as he talks to the media after arriving on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, as he returns from Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Sovereignty at the United Nations

The abiding theme in the criticism of Donald Trump by his thoughtful critics is that the president has no gift for the subtle. That's fair criticism. This president does not do subtle. They cite his speech earlier this month to the United Nations General Assembly, where he told the world's freeloaders and troublemakers where to get off. The speech was vintage Trump of the kind that the world has to get used to.

President Donald Trump pauses while speaking about tax reform at the Farm Bureau Building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

At last, tax relief

It only took nine months, but at last we have a Republican tax plan. Cutting and reforming taxes was a central promise of Donald Trump and of nearly every Republican who sits in Congress. The party has an imperative to get this signed, sealed and delivered. This year.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., flanked by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, speaks to reporters as they faced assured defeat on the Graham-Cassidy bill, the GOP's latest attempt to repeal the Obama health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. The decision marked the latest defeat on the issue for President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Republican-controlled Congress. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Another funeral for repeal and replace

The Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare was dead and buried. The eulogies, such as they were, were over and the Health Care Freedom Act of 2017 was dispatched to a forgettable corner of the graveyard. But when a couple of senators noticed a twitch and heard a groan they pulled it out of its coffin and called the medics.

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Chinese checkers

President Trump still wants to call Xi Jinping a friend, but relations between Washington and Beijing have slipped in slow motion from tension to crisis. Mr. Xi got a brief holiday at Mar a Lago with several rounds of golf out of his summit with Mr. Trump, giving not much in return.

Once more, to protect America

Sometimes, the third time's the charm. At other times, it's three strikes and you're out. President Trump is testing those bits of ancient wisdom by implementing restrictions on travel to the United States from violence-prone nations. Though the nation has been free from recent terror attacks, for which we all give thanks, common sense dictates sober efforts to screen out evildoers before they reach these shores.

Dave Matthews delivers a speech at the start of the show after performing a solo song Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va. Thousands of people have packed a stadium for a concert intended to raise money for charity and promote unity in the aftermath of this summer's white nationalist rallies. Matthews, whose band got its start in the Virginia college town, hosted the Sunday show. (Zack Wajsgras/The Daily Progress/The Daily Progress via AP)

The threat to free speech

Readin', writin' and 'rithmetic have been the traditional elements of a fundamental education. Recently, if the front pages of the newspapers are an accurate reflection of the menu on many campuses, rant and rage have been added to the three r's to make five. It's clear that elemental civics should be added as well.

A vintage coal-fired steam engine pushes a passenger car up the Cog Railway on a 3.8-mile journey to the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Tourists visiting the northeast's highest peak were rewarded with summer-like weather on the first weekend of autumn. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Warmed again by coal

Gentlemen, start your thermostats. Ladies, too. The Obama war on coal, which cost Hillary Clinton the vote in once-reliably Democratic West Virginia, is over. Maybe the war on nuclear energy, too. Americans might soon heat their homes without choosing between the warmth and food and medicine.