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Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, following a closed-door meeting with House Republicans to counter President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. The plan emerging Friday satisfies demands from the most conservative lawmakers and goes further than the approach initially discussed by some House Republicans. Many of the same House conservatives who voted against Boehner for speaker earlier this week in a failed overthrow attempt led by Gohmert, were declaring victory Friday at the shape the immigration legislation was taking.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Blowing smoke, preferable hickory

Congress last week finally turned to something genuinely important, when Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas blistered the Architect of the Capitol, the caretaker of the government’s buildings on Capitol Hill, for interfering with the preparation of his barbecued ribs.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks to reporters following the House Democratic Caucus elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, for House leadership positions. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, challenged Pelosi, but lost, 134-63. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Still out of step

“I have a special spring in my step today,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi exulted on being re-elected leader of the Democratic minority, “because this opportunity is a special one, to lead the House Democrats, bring everyone together as we go forward.”

In this Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents pass a section of border wall in Hidalgo, Texas. The idea of a concrete wall spanning the entire 1,954-mile southwest frontier collides head-on with multiple realities, like a looping Rio Grande, fierce local resistance, and cost. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Hell on the border

Barack Obama’s legacy, intended or not, is the hell on the border that he invited and nurtures. The crisis is darker than ever, and the Obama administration seems only to know how to make it worse.

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talks with reporters after eating dinner with President-elect Donald Trump at Jean-Georges restaurant, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Romney infatuation

Every president deserves a Cabinet of his own choosing, barring extraordinary circumstances, and that includes President-elect Donald Trump. Every president, after all, is held responsible for the success or failure of his administration, and he by right is entitled to choose his team. But even the most powerful man in the world must be wary of mortally offending the people who fought hard and long to put him where he stands. He will need them to fight with him again.

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. **File  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Hillary the conspiracy theorist

Politicians will say anything, but when Hillary Clinton took to the microphone last week in Reno to warn against a candidate who believes in paranoid conspiracy theories about the presidency, no one could figure out whether she was talking about Donald Trump or herself.

Huma Abedin, an aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, talks on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Fast and loose with secrets

Examples of the carelessness -- perhaps criminal carelessness -- of Hillary Clinton as secretary of State continue to leak from the thousands of emails just now coming to light. Some of the examples of carelessness are more, well, careless than others.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (Associated Press/File)

Protest without a point

The successful presidential candidate has to assemble a coalition with others with overlapping but rarely identical desires and interests, which means his most ardent partisans naturally see him as imperfect and inconsistent. Voters, alas, rarely get to choose between a candidate they admire unreservedly and a candidate they don't like at all.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks during an awarding ceremony for Russia's Olympians in Moscow's Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday attacked the ban on his country from the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics as immoral and inhumane. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

The changing Scandinavian tune

There's nothing like a slap across the face, or a splash of icy water, to get a sleepyhead's instant attention. Finland, like Sweden, has prized its neutrality, often with a self-righteous smirk at the rest of the West. But reality has wiped the smirk away.

Hillary Clinton appears in Puerto Rico during a recent campaign event. (Associated Press photo)

The threat to peace and security

Most Americans, according to the polls, think radical Islam is the greatest threat to America's peace and stability. It's the economy, too, as Mr. Stupid is forever trying to learn, but you can't enjoy a good job and a strong economy if you're dead at the hands of a religious fanatic.

Erika Davidson sets up voting booths at the Panama City Beach Senior Center on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, in Panama City Beach, Fla. (Heather Leiphart/News Herald via AP)

Leaving no voter behind

Democrats are poised to complement their celebration of diversity with an emphasis on indiscriminate inclusivity. Virginia voters on Nov. 8 might have unexpected company while they wait in line to perform their civic duty.

FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2016 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Philadelphia. More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money, either personally or through companies or groups, to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Honest lives matter

Virtue doesn't sell like it used to, and one variety in particular has been put on the back shelf. Billy Joel wasn't kidding when he sang, "Honesty is such a lonely word." Honesty only matters where truth is valued, and in the noisy cacophony of the digital age it's often difficult to recognize the genuine article. But it's still important to try.

A student teacher in the second-grade classroom of teacher Susanne Diaz at Marcus Whitman Elementary School, goes over lessons with students, in Richland, Wash. (Ty Beaver/The Tri-City Herald via AP)

Saving the public schools

Teacher tenure sounds like a good idea, and maybe in the Republic of Utopia it would be. But in the real world it can invite abuse. A group of students and their parents, backed by several philanthropists in Silicon Valley, are challenging the California teacher tenure system.

The climate blame began in earnest last week with former Vice President Al Gore, who described the deluge as an example of "one of the manifestations of climate change." Those remarks were followed by a rash of supportive articles. (Associated Press)

Al Gore's sugar daddy

The optimist sees the glass half full, the pessimist sees the glass half empty. George Soros sees the glass as the property of someone else so he knocks it over. By knocking it over he spills some of the dark secrets of his so-called Open Society Foundation, revealing how his vast fortune promotes misfortune in America.

In this photo taken on Aug. 18, 2016, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to media as she meets with law enforcement leaders at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Hillary and treason

In a remarkably shameless appearance Sunday, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told ABC News that "real questions are being raised" about whether Donald Trump "is just a puppet for the Kremlin in this race." Young Mr. Mook, like many of his generation ignorant of the history of his country, should be in serious trouble.

Chancellor Angela Merkel reads documents during an election campaign for the regional elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania , scheduled for Sept. 4,  in Neustrelitz, Germany. (Bernd Wuestneck/dpa via AP)

Headaches accumulate for Merkel

Resentment of open-door immigration is growing across the Western nations, and Hillary Clinton will get no tips, hints or reassurance from Angela Merkel. The German chancellor has unique immigration headaches, and they arrived through an open door much like the one that Barack Obama wants to leave as his legacy and that Hillary promises to keep if she returns to the White House, this time as the president.

Stickers for voters are seen on a table at a polling station Tuesday, April 26, 2016 in Wayne, Pa. Attention is shifting from a well-worn campaign trail to the voting booths as Pennsylvanians cast ballots Tuesday on presidential primary contests, including the first competitive Republican primary in decades, and races for Congress and state offices. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

No landslide in sight

It's only August, but if there's a conclusion that can be drawn already about the November elections it's that the voters seem in no mood to grant either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton a landslide. The partisans are too evenly matched, and nobody's in love with either Democrat or Republican.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton talks with media as she meets with law enforcement leaders at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) ** FILE **

Hillary's tainted campaign

The right to vote is both a right and a privilege, bought by sacrifice to be enjoyed by every American citizen. But the outcome of the 2016 presidential election could be affected — either directly or indirectly — by those who are not citizens. Americans who think their homeland is slipping away from them can thank the liberal Democrats (and alas, there are few of any other kind left in the party) for taking it away from them. When donkeys kick up their hindquarters, they break everything in sight.

Vice President Joe Biden addresses a gathering during a campaign rally with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, in Scranton, Pa. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) ** FILE **

Joe Biden's no-gaffe gaffe

Agaffe, so a wise man once said, is what happens when a public official inadvertently tells the truth. The scribblers in Washington, collectively known as "the Gaffe Patrol," are fond of collecting gaffes, scolding the gaffes, and congratulating themselves for once more acting as the republic's faithful watchdogs. Arf, arf.

Family members gather for a road naming ceremony with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, centre, his son Hunter Biden, left, and his sister Valerie Biden Owens, right, joined by other family members during a ceremony to name a national road after his late son Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, in the village of Sojevo, Kosovo, on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.  President Joe Biden is the guest of honor during the street dedication ceremony naming the national road Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III.AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

A mission to a mess

Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Turkey next week is likely to be critical, if not conclusive. Whether he can establish a new relationship with this important NATO ally, the ally with military resources exceeded in the alliance only by those of the United States, is crucial to just about everything in the Middle East.

Down the drain with Obamacare

Not for nothing is economics called "the dismal science," but more dispiriting still is President Obama's attempt to rewrite the principles of the science. The first principle is that the individual engages in economic activity to fulfill his needs, not those of someone else. Obamacare broke that rule by forcing Americans to subsidize the health costs of others, and it's Obamacare that's now going broke. Justice triumphs sometimes, after all. If supplicants come to Congress looking for a bailout, the only reasonable answer is no.

Donald Trump said that with interest rates so low, "this is the time to borrow" in order to pay for more than $500 billion in infrastructure he wants to build. (Associated Press)

Consensus in a bubble

Throwing rocks at the newspapers and television networks, however much many of them deserve to take a big one squarely on the snout, is a fool's game. Never pick an argument, as the saying goes, with a man who buys ink by the barrel.

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama signs the "Every Student Succeeds Act," a major education law setting U.S. public schools on a new course of accountability, in Washington. The lazy days of summer are ending for millions of children as they grab their backpacks, pencils and notebooks and return to the classroom for a new school year. No more staying up late during the week. Farewell to sleeping in. And, hello homework!  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Breaks for the undeserving

President Obama wants to be every felon's best friend. Whether locked up at Guantanamo Bay or a federal penitentiary somewhere across the America, every prisoner can hope that he, too, will escape the Big House. Mercy and clemency is the hope of every prisoner, and some deserve it, but not everyone to whom the president shows such mercy is likely to walk straight on the narrow from now on. Americans who live in a gated community or a big house with a platoon of armed guards are at no risk to suffer the consequences. The rest of us are.

Hundreds of civilians flee villages outside Mosul the day after Iraqi Kurdish forces launch an operation east of Islamic State-held Mosul on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. The Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga say they have retaken 12 villages in the operation in an effort to encircle the city. (AP Photo/Susannah George)

ISIS comes closer

The adage "the best defense is a good offense" is an old one and usually an accurate one. It's frequently invoked by sportswriters on the football beat, but it can apply to warfare, too. President Obama, a keen sports fan, nevertheless failed to understand this and now America's enemies are coming. Whether they can be stopped before they inflict further serious damage is a question we'll all see answered.

FILE - In this July 22, 2016, file photo, a hostess prepares for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Chengdu, in southwestern China's Sichuan province. China will propose a joint initiative to revive weak global growth at next month's meeting of leaders of Group of 20 major economies amid rising protectionist sentiment in the United States and Europe, officials said Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, Pool, File)

Bringing back 'stolen' jobs

The international economy is so interlocked that creating jobs in one national economy creates jobs in another national economy. That's why it's misleading to talk of the Chinese and other low-wage countries having "stolen" American jobs. It's not "just that simple."