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Wesley Pruden

Wesley Pruden

American journalist legend and Vietnam War author James Wesley Pruden Jr. is Editor Emeritus of The Washington Times. Mr. Pruden’s first job in the newspaper business dates back to 1951 as a copyboy at the now defunct Arkansas Gazette where he later became a sportswriter and an assistant state editor. In 1982, he joined The Washington Times, four months after the paper began, as chief political correspondent. He became assistant managing editor in 1983, managing editor in 1985, and editor-in-chief in 1992. He retired in January 2008 and became editor-in-chief-emeritus. Mr. Pruden is known for his coverage of President Ronald Reagan. In 1991, he won the H.L. Mencken Prize for excellence in writing and commentary. Mr. Pruden writes a twice-weekly column on politics and national affairs for The Times.

Articles by Wesley Pruden


PRUDEN: Romney waiting for the big cupcake

Mitt Romney is dispatching a gallery of rivals, none of whom has ever looked particularly presidential. Can anyone actually say out loud, without a wince, "President Gingrich"? Or "President Paul" (who sounds more like a pope than a president), or "President Santorum"? Nice guys, maybe, but we know where nice guys finish. Published February 7, 2012

PRUDEN: The Gaffe Patrol abandons Newt Gingrich

Mitt Romney seemed to be asking for a visit from the Gaffe Patrol this week when he told a cable-TV interviewer that he "wasn't concerned about the very poor" because they have "the safety net," the middle class doesn't, and the rich don't need one. Taken in the context of the interview this was unremarkable stuff. Published February 3, 2012

PRUDEN: When the Earth refuses to warm

Global warming: Been there, done that. Forward-looking folks are adjusting their fretting machinery now to something called Cycle 25. Button up your overcoats. Ice is on the way. Published January 31, 2012

Bob Dole

PRUDEN: Off to the moon with randy Newt Gingrich

The great entertainers of our time turn out to be presidents and the men who would be president, and this week most of them are in Florida. This is as good as vaudeville ever was. Newt Gingrich, under siege by ex-wives and trying hard to keep track of the various versions of an autobiography-in-progress, nevertheless soldiers on in his mission to restore family values and "morality" to the nation. Published January 27, 2012

Nelson Rockefeller

PRUDEN: Newt Gingrich and the 'moral thing'

Politicians can't any longer talk about "moral character" without sounding like a stuffy Baptist deacon or a stiff Presbyterian elder. "Moral character" is no longer important in a presidential campaign, even to many conservatives and evangelicals. If it is important anymore, it is only as a talking point. Published January 24, 2012


PRUDEN: A soap opera for our time

This hasn't been much of a presidential primary campaign, but even yellow-dog Democrats have to concede that it's a first-class soap opera. We haven't had sexy scenarios like this since Bubba was a boy. Published January 20, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

PRUDEN: Another grovel, not a rebuke

Where's a Porta-Potty when a few good men need one? This is the question Leon Panetta, the secretary of defense, ought to concern himself with, instead of trying to top Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, with over-the-top "outrage" over a Marine patrol taking a leak on the bodies of several freshly killed terrorists in Afghanistan. Published January 17, 2012

George McGovern

PRUDEN: A crawl through the fairy dust

No one has accused Ron Paul of being a crawler, but he sometimes channels Mr. McGoo with his angry rhetoric against the wars in the Middle East. If he were president, he said last summer, he would bring home the new generation of grunts from Afghanistan "as quickly as the ships could get there." Ships would find it hard going in land-locked Afghanistan, but we take his point. Published January 13, 2012

President Obama

PRUDEN: 'Obama' is how you spell relief

Conservatives are fractured, split and mad at each other, brawling like Democrats. There's only one man who can unify the movement. Fortunately for the Grumpy Old Party, Barack Obama is available, ready and eager. Published January 10, 2012

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

PRUDEN: More than Iranian malarkey in the Strait of Hormuz

It isn't saber-rattling by Iran that's making noise in the Middle East, but rhetoric-rattling. Nobody does it better. The latest purveyor of big malarkey is the chief of the Iranian navy, who would execute the Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz in answer to the Western sanctions against Iran for its work on a nuclear weapon. Published December 30, 2011

Mark Twain

PRUDEN: A little humility at the 'climate research' crossroads

"Climate research," the New York Times confidently assures us, "stands at a crossroads." This means that a lot of research scientists are standing at the crossroads, holding out paper bags like trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, standing in line for taxpayer largesse to fill 'em up. Published December 27, 2011

John Newton

PRUDEN: The amazing grace of Christmas morn

The strip malls and the Main Streets will once more fall silent. The ringing cash registers and the happy cries of children will be but ghostly echoes across silent streets. But the Christ child born in a manger 2,000 years ago lives, liberating the hearts of sinners and transforming the lives of the wicked. Published December 23, 2011

Kim Jong-un

PRUDEN: Kim Jong-il: Sharing a grave with evil aplenty

History loves irony, as Professor Gingrich could (and no doubt will) tell us. Two men renowned for their deeds die more or less on the same day on opposite sides of the world. The bad guy gets the big headline, the good guy makes the front page one last time as a footnote to the times. Published December 20, 2011

Abraham Lincoln

PRUDEN: GOP debate pundits: Fluff, trivia and the real thing

If we can get through the last of the Pundit Primaries, the actual Republican voters can get on with the business of choosing the man to liberate America from Barack Obama. But the path to presidential power is strewn with little rocks who imagine they're mighty boulders. Published December 13, 2011

Leon E. Panetta

PRUDEN: Deadly peril in a fantasy world

If only those pesky Jews would shut up and submit, all would be right with the world. Allah could be praised. Such is the emerging Democratic strategy for making peace in the Middle East. Only this week, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, and Leon E. Panetta, the secretary of defense, sent reassurances to the region that they're eager to see Israel brought to heel. Published December 9, 2011

Polar bears are depicted on a Coca-Cola can.

PRUDEN: A marketing lesson for Republicans

There may even be lessons here for the political parties and the voters who make the final judgments of politicians. The Democrats have a particularly sorry record of tweaking ineffective "brands," sending the likes of Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry into the November marketplace. The Republicans have a sorry record, too, tweaking the likes of Bob Dole and John McCain, and now seem to be flirting with sending Newt Gingrich into the highest-stakes game in town. You can't always freshen up the label, no matter how hard you try. Published December 6, 2011

Teddy Roosevelt

PRUDEN: Stricken by an excess of excess

The Christmas season is hard upon us and it's time to be happy and gay. (Uh, better make that cheerful.) But it won't be easy. The culture has been poisoned by an excess of excess. Published December 2, 2011