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Former President Barack Obama address the participants at a summit on climate change involving mayors from around the globe in Chicago, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ** FILE **

On the run everywhere

The natives are restless everywhere, and they’re frightening the elites. The political parties of the social democrats, and even the Socialists, are crumbling all across Europe. A new version of class war is shaping a new kind of politics, and the implications are worldwide.

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In this Aug. 12, 2017 file photo, white nationalist demonstrators, right, clash with a counter demonstrator as he throws a newspaper box at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va. The deadly white nationalist demonstration in Virginia has brought new attention to an anti-fascist movement whose black-clad, bandana-wearing members have been a regular presence at protests around the country in the last year. Members of the antifa movement were among those protesting the Charlottesville rally last weekend. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Bad news for hooligans

The antifa movement has had a free ride in American public opinion since its hooligans first came to public notice in the riots at the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va.

2017 AP YEAR END PHOTOS - Opposition lawmakers brawl with pro-government militias who are trying to force their way into the National Assembly during a special session coinciding with Venezuela's independence day, in Caracas, on July 5, 2017. At least five lawmakers were injured in the attack. (AP Photos/Fernando Llano)

From revolution to ruin in Venezuela

Not so long ago Venezuela, which stumbles along as if on a national breadline, was the wealthiest country in Latin America. And why not? It has the world's largest proven oil reserves and abundant fertile farmland. Its governmental institutions were once efficient and largely free of corruption. With a few good funerals, times could be good again.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a gathering of Republican governors in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at the J.W. Marriott. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) ** FILE **

Discretion makes a comeback

That's Vice President Mike Pence getting the last laugh in the wake of the torrent of sexual-misconduct charges against Washington politicians, journalists and entertainment industry titans who are suddenly not so titanic.

ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, OCT. 29, 2017, AND THEREAFTER - In this Aug. 3, 2017, photo, packages pass through a scanner at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. While jobs have been lost in brick-and-mortar stores, many more have been gained from e-commerce and warehousing. Amazon accounts for much of the additional employment. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The automation nation

Human progress is bound only by the limits of human imagination, and the boundaries are disappearing at warp speed. Information technology is lending an invisible hand to major sectors of human activity, and robots are muscling in on the rest. Whether it's all, or just mostly, to the good is a subject for ethicists, philosophers and theologians. For everyone else, the challenge is simply how to adjust.

Police officers patrol by an entrance to King's Cross underground train station in London, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. More police officers were being deployed at transport hubs in London amid continuing fears of a terrorist attack, British media reported Thursday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Clearing up confusion

Some of our "genders" are out of control. It was never like this when everyone had not a gender, but a "sex," for better or worse. Anyone confused about which could look at a driver's license, or a student ID, and there it was, in black and white. But this was not good enough for the arbiters of political correctness.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., center, is flanked by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., left rear, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as the Senate Budget Committee met to work on the Republican tax bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A Christmas quarrel

Christmas lights usually signal a season of goodwill. But in Washington, they're more like the check-engine light on a dashboard, warning that time to fix the nation's finances is running out. Before the holidays give way to a new year, critical decisions on tax reform and budget levels must be made. The capital Christmas rush features a deathly struggle between congressional Republicans and their Democratic nemeses. Failure to reach a resolution would produce the sort of gloom that suffuses Charles Dickens' tale of Ebenezer Scrooge.

The fuel of holiday cheer

Black Friday is the holy grail of retail, but there's no day that the nation's cup doesn't runneth over with black gold. American oil and natural gas are flowing like rivers, poised to power the nation's economy to new prosperity. Having just given thanks for the nation's bounty, Americans are rushing into a high-octane season of gift-giving, with every reason to anticipate more prosperity in 2018.

People sit on an independence heroes' monument after watching a ceremony marking the 214th anniversary of the battle that led to Haiti's independence from France, in Cap Haitien, Haiti, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. During the ceremony, the Haitian president officially reintroduced the army some 22 years after the national army was disbanded. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

Going home to Haiti

How long is "temporary?" Like the answer to so many of life's questions, it depends. The man who sits down on a red-hot stove, "temporary" seating will be a very short time. "Temporary" applied to a government program can mean a very long time. The temporary buildings built on the National Mall to accommodate the federal bureaucracy during World War II, for instance, were not razed until the Nixon administration did it more than two decades later.

Pamela Bresnahan, Chair, Standing Committee On The Federal Judiciary American Bar Association, is sworn in during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on nominations on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A standard of fool's gold

Sen. Harry Reid's legacy as a Democratic majority leader is that he eliminated the Senate tradition of requiring two-thirds of the senators to confirm judicial appointees, making it easier for President Obama to pack the courts with liberal activist judges.

In this photo taken with light reflections on a pot German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Frau Merkel's migraine

The reckoning is at hand for Angela Merkel in Germany. None of the political parties came close to winning a majority in the September voting, and trying to put together a workable coalition has given Frau Merkel — and Europe — a headache the size of a continent.

Judiciary Committee members, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, talks with ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on nominations on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (Associated Press) **FILE**

'Packing' the judiciary

When what goes around comes around, only the quick and nimble escape a painful smackdown. The Democrats in California have had remarkable success over the years packing the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals with judges who have small appreciation for the Constitution as it was written, and now that may be changing.

Turkeys, worms and Schadenfreude

Republicans and other conservatives who are tempted to indulge excessive Schadenfreude over the woes of Charlie Rose, Al Franken and their sordid fellows, taking delight in their pain and humiliation, should remember Iron Law of Politics No. 3, that nothing recedes like success. Giving too many hoots and hollers at turkeys over this holiday season is great fun, but the universal truth about worms is that they eventually turn.

FILE - In this May 15, 2017 file photo, protesters hold signs during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, outside a federal courthouse in Seattle. A Somali refugee living in Washington state is asking a federal judge to let his wife and young children join him in the U.S., saying the Trump administration's indefinite ban on allowing the families of refugees to enter the country violates immigration law. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Bordering on Obama-era dysfunction

Fidelity is scarce in Donald Trump's Washington, except among the not so loyal opposition. Whether owing to compassion or incompetence, the Trump administration one year on has failed to replace holdovers, leaving in place Barack Obama's people who are dedicated to obstruction and delay of the new era. In some federal departments, the greatest danger a bureaucrat faces is a paper cut. But about immigration, it's whether the laws enacted to protect the American people will be enforced.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., center, arrives to speak to a large group of protesters rally against the Senate Republican healthcare bill on the East Front of the Capitol Building in Washington, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The season of the big slice

President Trump has something extra to be grateful for this Thanksgiving: a the long-awaited tax cut bill, passed by the House and en route to the Senate. As he marks the season with the traditional pardoning of the White House turkey, Republicans in line for similar clemency will get it only if the voters can find it in their hearts to forgive a plodding, inefficient (did someone say "incompetent"?) and lazybones Congress.

In this Aug. 10, 2017, file photo, a man watches a TV screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, right, during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

Back on the list of bad guys

You can't blame North Korea for playing American presidents for willing suckers. A succession of them applied for the job. President Trump didn't, and Monday restored North Korea to a deserved place of prominence on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

FILE - In this May 14, 2012 file photo, King Salman, left, speaks with his son, now Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, (MBS), as they wait for Gulf Arab leaders ahead of the opening of Gulf Cooperation Council, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The surprise dismissal and arrest of dozens of ministers, royals, officials and senior military officers by MBS late Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, is unprecedented in the secretive, 85-year-old kingdom. But so is the by-now virtually certain rise to the throne of a 30-something royal who, in another first, is succeeding his father. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

Interesting times in Arabia

If hard times can make a monkey eat red pepper, as the ancient saying goes, tough times might require Arab and Jew to join forces to bring home the bacon. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.) The reformation of Islam, which stalled in Spain in the 16th century, might be struggling for renewed purchase in Saudi Arabia.

In this April 4, 2012 photo made available by the University of Goteborg in Sweden, the Swedish research team practices before the operations to transplant wombs at the Sahlgrenska Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden. Nine women in Sweden have successfully received transplanted wombs donated from relatives and will soon try to become pregnant, the doctor in charge of the pioneering project has revealed. “This is a new kind of surgery,” Dr. Mats Brannstrom told The Associated Press. Brannstrom is leading the initiative at the University of Goteborg and will run workshops for other doctors on how to perform womb transplants later this year. “We have no textbook to look at,” he said.  (AP Photo/University of Goteborg, Johan Wingborg)

When two heads are better than one

China is thinking big. The Middle Kingdom has already built a small chain of islands in the South China Sea, fortifying them and bids to make them armed fortresses astride the sea lanes connecting Asia to the world. Leaders have to think big, and China obviously wants to replace the United States as the world's superpower.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai speaks to the Associated Press after giving a press conference at his home in Harare, Zimbabwe, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017.  Tsvangirai said President Robert Mugabe must resign and called for a negotiated, inclusive transitional mechanism as well as comprehensive reforms before elections. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Coup in Zimbabwe

"Every great cause begins as a movement," the television philosopher Eric Hoffer once observed (maybe), "becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket." There's some dispute about whether Mr. Hoffer ever actually said it, but there's no dispute that it's an accurate description of what happened to the Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe.