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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: The clenching of the Israeli fist

Someone once asked Frank Broyles, the celebrated football coach at Arkansas, the secret of the Razorbacks' remarkable goal-line stands. “Well,” he said, “it's not so hard if you can convince your defensive line that they're backed up against the edge of a cliff, and there's a bunch of hungry alligators down there among the jagged rocks.” Published February 10, 2009

PRUDEN: Now for something really different

The messiah of November has disappeared, gone off to winter somewhere in another galaxy and lounge among the stars. Who knows when (or whether) he'll return. He left a gloomy surrogate with a melancholy message. Published February 6, 2009

PRUDEN: Looking for change in unlikely places

Change is good. Everyone says so. But easier said than done. Just ask Barack Obama, who sold the prospect of "change" with the fervor of a patent-medicine salesman on the back roads of beyond. Alas, presidents, unlike medicine-show men, can't move on to suckers in the next town. Published February 3, 2009

PRUDEN: A Senate gobsmack for the Oracle

Al Gore came to Capitol Hill this week, all decked out in his earth tones, with an old scribe's tale of destruction, doom and disaster. He was rewarded not with questions worthy of the world's greatest deliberate body but with what our English cousins call a "gobsmack." Right on the mouth. Published January 30, 2009

PRUDEN: No easy sleep for mitigator in chief

Gone are his airy assurances that the rough places of the planet can be sanded smooth with a soaring speech, that an enemy's guns are no match for warm and fuzzy language. Maybe mere eloquence can't shame the troublemakers to silence after all. Neither will several verses of "Kumbaya." Maybe the world wants more than a Coke. Published January 27, 2009

PRUDEN: Making speeches to the Almighty

Some of our preachers are treating God as if He were a little slow. It's a puzzle. The essence of religious faith - all faiths, big and small - is the unshakable belief that the Lord of the Universe is all-knowing, all-caring and all-powerful. Nothing escapes His eye, which is on the sparrow and all other creatures great and small, including us. Surely He knows as much about what's going on in the world as politicians, professors and even pundits. Published January 23, 2009

PRUDEN: The honeymoon ends promptly at noon

Now we're about to see who Barack Obama really is. We won't any longer have to rely on parsing his speeches, looking for clues and deciphering the contradictions. We'll still get speeches - he delivers good ones - but presidents don't get to vote "present" when the question on the table is what to do about a collapsing economy or terrorists plotting mayhem on New York City. Published January 19, 2009

PRUDEN: Big wet kisses beg questions

The loyal opposition is loyal enough, but it's not much of an opposition. The Republicans in the Senate, with a dwindling number of honorable exceptions, are a soft and squishy lot. Published January 16, 2009

PRUDEN: That was then, not now

Barack Obama might take a caution from the story about the man who died and showed up at the Pearly Gates. Published January 13, 2009

PRUDEN: A great oak with nowhere to grow

The Terminator is bored and weary of California. California is bored and weary of the Terminator. Real life, it turns out, is more difficult than the movies, though in California it's often difficult to tell the difference. Published January 9, 2009

PRUDEN: The dirty joke from Minnesota

A lot of the venal sins of Congress could be judged pornographic, both politically and otherwise, but we've never had an Official Senate Pornographer before. Sen. Chuck Schumer says Al Franken will fit right in. Published January 6, 2009

PRUDEN: Oh, woe is us: A new year ahead

Welcome to 2009, the year when it's suddenly unpatriotic, or at least ill-mannered, to be an optimist. Franklin D. Roosevelt told us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself (cribbing Stonewall Jackson's warning to "never take counsel with your fears"), and Ronald Reagan reassured us that despite discouraging times, it's still "morning in America." Published January 2, 2009

PRUDEN: It's time once more to blame the Jews

The Israelis finally get enough of the constant rain of rockets on their border towns and villages, fired by Hamas thugs recognized by nearly everybody as international jackals, and strike back to stop it. Guess who the villains are. Published December 30, 2008

PRUDEN: Only 26 days left for Bush-bashing

With only 26 days left to harangue, mock and bash President Bush, some of our colleagues in the media aren't wasting a day. Bashing ex-presidents, except for the ex-presidents with shrill prominent wives, isn't nearly as much fun as bashing while he's still the real thing. Published December 26, 2008

PRUDEN: The amazing grace of Christmas morn

The malls and the Main Streets will soon fall silent. The ringing cash registers and the happy cries of children will be but ghostly echoes across silent streets as hearths beckon, gathering friends and families. Published December 23, 2008

PRUDEN: Ray of optimism in Big Easy

Everyone in New Orleans still has a Katrina story, and, like the old sailor in Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," everyone is still eager to tell it. Unlike the mariner, obsessed with his tale of a frigid land "of mist and snow" where "ice, mast high, came floating by," the obsession here is with tropical wind and wave. Published December 12, 2008

Stunning surprises in unlikely places

Louisiana, the late A.J. Liebling discovered when he ventured south for New Yorker magazine a generation ago, is not Southern at all, but Middle Eastern, riven with intrigue and studded with the unexpected. He would relish the latest returns from the state that only a few years ago sent a Klansman to Congress. Published December 9, 2008

PRUDEN: Impostor in the White House?

The Supreme Court will get a first look Friday at a little bomb with the potential to make a big noise. The operative word is "potential." Almost nobody thinks the justices, who can read election returns as well as the law, will light the fuse. Published December 5, 2008