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Handcuffs used on men arrested for prostitution solicitation sit on a table at a hotel in Minot, N.D., on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 in this file photo. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine) **FILE**

The myth of the happy hooker

The state has tried to eliminate, regulate and exploit the oldest profession for centuries, and no one has come up with a lasting formula. But now the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has cleared the way for “prostitution activists” to proceed with a lawsuit in a lower court to overturn the California law banning the trade, and the suit may have constitutional consequences.

Participants in the annual Trick or Treat Main Street go from business to business for candy and other items during the evening Halloween celebration, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Pittston, Pa. (Dave Scherbenco/The Citizens' Voice via AP)

Ghosts on the run

Having given the back of the hand to Christopher Columbus, the snowflakes have gone to work on another suspect holiday, this one the preserve of ghosts and goblins. Just when everyone thought it was safe to be dead, pious ire of the politically correct is turned toward the Eve of All Hallows.

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.

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Radio host and National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch appears on Fox New Channel's Tucker Carlson on July, 6, 2017. (YouTube, Fox News Channel) ** FILE **

Traffic on a one-way street

Returning to "civility," another word for "good manners," is a great idea, and we recommend it to one and all, with a reminder to our liberal friends that civility is not a one-way street reached only by a sharp left turn.

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) kneels in front of teammates during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday. Reid was an early protester during the national anthem, joining former San Francisco teammate Colin Kaepernick last season.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Uniformed, but uninformed

Retaliation isn't always out of bounds. With their pre-game kneeling ritual, National Football League players have put a big hurt on their teams — and the fans — who pay their enormous salaries. Fans from coast to coast have responded with a forearm to the league's all-important TV ratings, leaving the muscled men flat on their backs, looking at the sky and wondering what hit them. The NFL is the king of sports entertainment, for now, but it's reassuring that when their favorite stars sneer at their country, Americans will still show where their hearts are.

In this Sept. 29, 2017, file photo, California Gov. Jerry Brown gestures while speaking in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, file)

Cracking down on pronouns

There's something about the Left Coast. Maybe there's something in the salt water besides the makings of taffy. California was once derided as "the land of fruit and nuts," and the nuttiness has spread northward along the coast. Just when Gov. Jerry Brown of California had outgrown his reputation as Gov. Moonbeam, he does something to reclaim it.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, file photo, former President Barack Obama speaks during the Goalkeepers Conference in New York. Obama is set to return to the campaign trail for the first time since he left office with a rally to help Democrat Ralph Northam in Virginia's closely watched race for governor. The Northam campaign announced Wednesday, Oct. 11, that the lieutenant governor and Obama will appear together at an event in Richmond on Oct. 19. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

The Iran nuclear agreement finally gets a skeptical eye

Maximum hot air, minimum bottom line. That's the prospect for the world over the next few weeks in the wake of President Trump's Friday declaration that he won't certify that the Islamic mullahs in Iran are living up to their end of the deal they made with Barack Obama. This was the one-sided agreement by which the mullahs would give up their quest for nuclear weapons.

In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, producer Harvey Weinstein attends the New York premiere of "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" in New York. Weinstein faces multiple allegations of sexual abuse and harassment from some of the biggest names in Hollywood. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

Democratic politicians look for ways to express high dudgeon on the cheap

Nearly a week went by before Hillary Clinton pulled together a statement about Harvey Weinstein's abuse of women. Hillary's against abusing women and it turns out that she took so long to say so because she was trying to find the words to describe how deep her outrage runs. Abuse of women, and even credible accusations of forcible rape, are not unknown in Hillaryworld. Perhaps she hoped to draft Bubba's help to describe her outrage. Bubba's good with words. Or perhaps she was so busy tabulating good ol' Harvey's contributions to various Clinton "charities" that she just didn't get around to it sooner.

Efrain Diaz Figueroa talks to volunteers from "Caritas" at the remains of the house of his sister destroyed by Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. Figueroa, who was visiting for a month at her sister Eneida's house when the Hurricane Maria hit the area, also lost her home in the Arroyo community. He waits for a relative to come from Boston and take him to Boston. He says that he is 70 years old and all his life working can't continue in these conditions in Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Exploiting aid to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a mess. But it was a mess before Hurricane Maria swept through with new misery three weeks ago. Electricity is still at a premium. By one estimate, electric power has been restored to only 10 percent of the island's customers.

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)

The Democratic dilemma in Virginia

The race for governor of Virginia looked like a slam dunk for the Democrats only a fortnight or so ago, and now it doesn't. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democrat, is still the betting favorite (for people who do that sort of thing), but his double-digit lead in the public-opinion polls has been cut in half.

President Donald Trump gives thumbs up as he boards Air Force One as he departs Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as he travels to Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Unplugging the Obama power scheme

New ideas sell better than old, and the trendy idea at the moment, the equivalent of that aroma that comes with new cars, is climate change. Or more precisely, global warming. (New labels are prescribed for fads getting soggy around the edges.) Then along came Donald Trump, who was unafraid to ask the simple question that Al Gore and his anvil chorus dreaded someone asking: Is the current view of how climate works actually accurate? The next generation deserves an honest answer.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., questions Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer and President Timothy Sloan as he testifies before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Where disaster lurks online

The Democrats pretend to be the party that knows all about high tech. But some of them would get lost on a leisurely Sunday-afternoon drive through Silicon Valley. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, whom the Great Mentioner has suggested for consideration as the Democratic nominee for president, circa 2020, has inserted a couple of provisions into the National Defense Authorization Act which, if enacted, would put in jeopardy just about every Pentagon computer system and leave the country less safe, but — and here's why the Warren mischief is so attractive to Democrats — make the bureaucracy much bigger.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a keynote conversation at the 2017 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

Hell on the (Canadian) border

Canada is experiencing a sharp surge of illegal aliens, and they're not just a few angry Hillary voters making good on their bluster about moving north if Donald Trump won the election.

A man is detained by Border Patrol officials after breaching border fencing separating San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in San Diego. The man, who said he was from Chiapas, Mexico, was detained by agents as they prepared for a news conference to announce that contractors have begun building eight prototypes of President Donald Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Stalling the wall

There's something that doesn't love a wall, wrote the poet Robert Frost, and that something for the moment is comprised of Democrats. President Trump's long-promised wall along the U.S. border with Mexico is slowly rising from the desert floor and his noisy political opponents are mounting a campaign to bring it down.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah waves to the media as he arrives to head the Cabinet session in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' former official resident in Gaza City, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Hamdallah has held the first government meeting in the Gaza Strip as part of a major reconciliation effort to end the 10-year rift between Fatah and Hamas. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

Less than meets a wary eye

The deal between Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority on the West Bank and Hamas in the old Gaza Strip is considerably less valuable than it looks. Although Mr. Abbas' West Bank authority will assume civilian responsibilities there, Hamas will remain in control of security, and will neither lay down its weapons nor dismantle its security forces and militias. Hamas has received arms from Iran in the past and now threatens the entire region.

In this Oct. 7, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before leaving the White House in Washington for a brief stop at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., on his way to Greensboro, N.C. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Nixing the Iran nuclear deal

You have to give a little to get a little. That's the art of the deal. But when Barack Obama bargained with Iran's mullahs over their nuclear program, he gave away the store — including the cash drawer — and only got a little time in return before the advent of the Islamic bomb. Buying peril on the lay-away plan does the world no favors. President Trump calls it "the worst deal ever negotiated," and he wants to alter it. To act in the interest of the United States, after all, is his sworn duty as president and commander in chief.