WASHINGTON—Crucial political decisions often concern which bridges to cross and which to burn. Donald Trump's dilemma is that he burns some bridges by the way he crosses others. His campaign depends on a low-probability event, and on his ability to cause this event without provoking a more-than-equal and opposite reaction.
WASHINGTON—Political conventions are echo chambers designed to generate feelings of invincibility, sending forth the party faithful with a spring in their steps and hope in their hearts. Who would want to be a wet blanket at such moveable feasts? Steve Munisteri would. Although he calls himself "the eternal optimist," he respects reality, which nowadays is not conducive to conservatives' cheerfulness.
WASHINGTON—Neither the unanimous decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, nor China's rejection of it, was surprising. The timing of it was, however, as serendipitous as China's rejection is ominous. Coming as Republican delegates convene on Lake Erie's shore, the tribunal's opinion about the South China Sea underscores the current frivolousness of American politics, which is fixated on a fictitious wall that will never exist but silent about realities on and above the waters that now are the world's most dangerous cockpit of national rivalries.
LOS ANGELES—The mills of justice grind slowly, but life plunges on, leaving lives blighted when justice, by being delayed, is irremediably denied. Fortunately, California's Supreme Court might soon decide to hear—four years after litigation began—the 21st century's most portentous civil rights case, which concerns an ongoing denial of equal protection of the law.
WASHINGTON—The report was so "seismic"—Daniel Patrick Moynihan's word—that Lyndon Johnson's administration released it on the Fourth of July weekend, 1966, hoping it would not be noticed. But the Coleman report did disturb various dogmatic slumbers and vested interests. And 50 years on, it is pertinent to today's political debates about class and social mobility. So, let us now praise an insufficiently famous man, sociologist James Coleman, author of the study "Equality of Educational Opportunity."
WASHINGTON—The progressive drive to broadly define and thoroughly eradicate political "corruption" has corrupted politics. But discord is not altogether pandemic in Washington, and last week a unanimous Supreme Court, in this term's most important decision, limited the discretion prosecutors have to criminalize politics.
"See that little stream? We could walk to it in two minutes. It took the British a month to walk to it—a whole empire walking very slowly, dying in front and pushing forward behind." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Tender Is The Night"
"There's an old adage about a vat of wine standing next to a vat of sewage. Add a cup of wine to the sewage, and it is still sewage. But add a cup of sewage to the wine, and it is no longer wine but sewage. Is this what Donald Trump has done to our politics?" -- Martha Bayles, in the Claremont Review of Books
WASHINGTON—The Caligulan malice with which Donald Trump administered Paul Ryan's degradation is an object lesson in the price of abject capitulation to power. This episode should be studied as a clinical case of a particular Washington myopia—the ability of career politicians to convince themselves that they and their agendas are of supreme importance.
WASHINGTON—Sen. John Cornyn recalls visiting a Texas prison where some inmates taking shop classes could not read tape measures. Cornyn, who was previously a district court judge and Texas Supreme Court justice, knows that prisons are trying to teach literacy and vocations, trying to cope with the mental illnesses of many inmates and trying to take prophylactic measures to prevent drug-related recidivism by persons imprisoned for drug offenses. "The criminal justice system," he says, "has become by default a social services provider."