Opinion: As Trump Hangs Dan Coats Out to Dry, Russia Hacks On
If you really want to lose sleep at night, read a US-CERT report

If you looked carefully at the setup for the press conference with President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday, there was something off. Something big.

Standing before a row of alternating Russian and American flags, Trump stood squarely in front of a Russian flag, while Putin spoke with his own Russian flag over one shoulder and America’s stars and stripes over the other. With Trump praising Putin and Putin defending the American president as someone who — trust him — stood firm for his country in their two-hour private confab, it was impossible at times to figure out who was on Russia’s side and who, if anyone, was speaking for America.

Opinion: GOP Should Beware of Roe v. Wade Becoming the Fight
Republicans could lose the war for female voters for a generation

Now that we know President Donald Trump has settled on Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his next choice for the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans are poised to deliver on a promise they have been making to conservatives for decades.

In Kavanaugh, the GOP has both its biggest opportunity to move the court to the right for a generation as well as its biggest danger — months of unscripted moments when abortion, reproductive rights and women will be at the center of a heated debate that Republicans have proved uniquely terrible at navigating over the years.

Opinion: Where Have You Gone, Aunt Maxine?
Moderates and independents want to reclaim their country and they are looking for a way to do that

Oh, Aunt Maxine. You had us at “Reclaiming my time.”   

There was something so totally brilliant, inspiring and boss last August when Rep. Maxine Waters, sensing that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was trying to roll her during a Financial Services Committee hearing, decided she wasn’t having it. “Reclaiming my time,” she said once.

Opinion: Trump’s Gigantic Trade Straw Is Breaking the GOP’s Back
Republicans may need to finally stand up to Trump to defend their states

Donald Trump might be the first American to pick a fight with a Canadian in the history of the world.

After the G-7 meetings over the weekend, where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he found Trump’s trade posture toward Canada “insulting,” Trump tweeted Sunday that Trudeau was “very dishonest & weak.” Larry Kudlow, the president’s economic adviser, finished the pile-on by accusing Trudeau of “betrayal,” while Trump’s new trade adviser, Peter Navarro, said later on Fox News Sunday that Trudeau is a back-stabber who “engaged in bad faith” and deserves a special place in hell.

Opinion: The Wall or the Economy? Time for the GOP to Pick
Electoral certainties that once defined immigration debate for Republicans may be changing

If you were on the outside looking in, last month’s Republican primary for Georgia governor seemed to feature state Sen. Michael Williams, an immigration hard-liner, against everyone else.

Williams made national headlines when he kicked off his “Deportation Bus Tour,” promising to drive around Georgia, “fill this bus with illegals and send them back to where they came from.” But while Williams got a ton of press from his infamous deportation bus, he got almost no Republican votes. In the end, he finished second to last in the primary with 4.9 percent.

Opinion: Moms, Guns and 2018
GOP’s issues with women have nothing to do with Stormy, #MeToo or Russia

Women are coming for you, Republicans. That’s the message of 2018 so far, isn’t it? Between the record number of women running for office (mostly as Democrats), the record number of women winning primaries, and the enormous gender gap that shows up in polling everything from the president’s approval rating to generic House races, there’s a theme showing up — Republicans have a problem with women.

And they do. But from the conversations I’ve had with suburban women voters, and especially the mothers of young children I see every day as the mom of 5-year-olds myself, there’s much more to the story of the GOP’s trouble with women, and it has nothing to do with Stormy Daniels, #MeToo, Russia or the Resistance.

Opinion: I’m Sorry You’re Not Sorry
An apology is not a sign of weakness — even inside the Beltway

We all know that the fastest way to diffuse tension or end a fight is to say “I’m sorry.” Not “I’m sorry if …” or “I’m sorry that you …” Just a simple, clean, “I’m sorry.”

It’s obvious to nearly everyone that an apology would have been the fastest way to end the controversy last week over a head-snapping leaked comment from White House staffer Kelly Sadler, who said ailing Sen. John McCain’s refusal to support President Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director won’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.”

Opinion: The Case for Ugly Primaries
The process is messy, but it can reveal much

You can’t blame Republican leaders for trying to pick the winner of Tuesday’s West Virginia primary ahead of time when the words “prison” and “supervised release” show up in nearly every story about Don Blankenship. The Senate hopeful and former coal executive did a year behind bars recently for the dangerously unsafe conditions in his coal mines, but is now somehow surging in the polls.

Republicans want a strong general election candidate to take on Sen. Joe Manchin in November, and trying to block a jailbird from the GOP nomination seems like a no-brainer. Add to that Blankenship’s willingness to savage Mitch McConnell as “Cocaine Mitch” and call the father of his wife, Elaine Chao, a “Chinaperson,” and it would take a Herculean amount of strength for the Senate majority leader and his supporters not to get sucked into a fight against one of their own.

Opinion: A New Religious Schism — What’s the Chaplain’s Job?
Lawmakers need to leave politics out of the job

When Rev. Patrick J. Conroy was preparing to take over as House Chaplain in 2011 after being appointed by Speaker John Boehner, the Jesuit priest told The New York Times that he readied himself, in part, by reading “American Lion,” Jon Meacham’s biography of President Andrew Jackson. Conroy told the Times that reading about the vicious rivalry between Jackson and Henry Clay in Congress showed him that “it’s not an unprecedented thing in American politics for there to be recriminations and a lack of civility.”

That much has always been true. But what is unprecedented, seven years after Conroy accepted the job, is that the House chaplain himself is now at the center of the recriminations and lack of civility in Congress that he once sought to counsel members beyond. For the first time in history, the House chaplain has been asked to resign and nobody seems to know why.

Opinion: Negotiating Advice From Capitol Hill to Emmanuel Macron
The last shall become the first. And assume nothing

Bienvenue to Washington, Emmanuel Macron! You’ve got a lot on your plate, and we’re not talking about the jambalaya that’s on the menu for President Donald Trump’s first-ever state dinner that he’s throwing in your honor Tuesday night.

From convincing the president to stay in the Iran nuclear deal and Paris climate accords to making the case that new steel tariffs shouldn’t apply to the European Union and urging continued cooperation in Syria, there’s no shortage of items on your negotiating list.

Opinion: When the Party of Conscience Slinks From the Fight
What was supposed to be a power struggle for the ages has turned out to be more like a used-car sale

Ever since Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president, national headlines have predicted an epic fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party sometime in the very near future. In this corner is the big-mouthed New York billionaire untethered to any particular policy besides winning. In the other are the conscience-driven, high-minded intellectuals of modern-day conservatism, who see themselves as the keepers of the party flame.

Two ideologies will enter the fight, but only one can emerge, and the good money up to now has been on the conservatives. After all, they have the experience, the knowledge and each other to count on, while Trump has only himself.

Opinion: The Real Facebook Scandal
Congress has been unwilling to do anything significant to protect Americans

If Congress wants someone to blame for the massive data breach at Facebook that compromised 87 million users’ personal information leading up to the 2016 presidential campaign, it could start with Mark Zuckerberg, who will testify on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As the CEO of the massive social media company, Zuckerberg has engineered a platform that collects more information about more people than any entity or government in the history of the world and then sells access to that information for huge profits. Zuckerberg alone made $23 billion in the first eight months of 2017, including a $1 billion gain in a single day in August.

Opinion: It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Serve Your Country
Acting with integrity no longer a requirement for public service — and may be impossible

Do you remember the days when people in Washington used to say they were leaving their power jobs to “spend more time with their families?”

It was almost always a cover story for something less pleasant or more nefarious. But with a wink and a gentleman’s or lady’s agreement not to say more than necessary, the Cabinet secretary or member of Congress was gone like that.

Opinion: Will the Marches Make a Difference?
Marches are where change can start, but elections are where the change happens

The National Rifle Association went into the 1994 midterm elections with a plan: Target politicians who had voted for that year’s crime bill.

A Washington Post story just before Election Day detailed a granular and aggressive plan inside the NRA to unseat anyone who had failed to support the group’s position on the landmark legislation pushed by President Bill Clinton that included a ban on new sales of some assault weapons.

Opinion: Some Dems Want to Dump Nancy Pelosi. Are They Nuts?
Democratic leader a tough act to follow

I have often believed that Nancy Pelosi is the only real man in Washington.

She’s got skin thicker than a rhinoceros. She raises money like a hedge fund chairman. Her personal ambitions are as obvious as they are legendary and, unlike the male congressional leaders before her and around her, she never, never, never gives up.

Opinion: Why the Pennsylvania Special Election Is Not So Special
Such contests are more about storylines than winning

All elections have consequences, but on a scale of zero-to-life-changing, Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb has fewer real-world consequences than most.

You wouldn’t know it from the screaming national headlines or the colossal amount of cash both parties are putting up to occupy the seat for the next nine months (almost $12 million in ad spending alone), but the reality of special elections this cycle is that they are more about winning a storyline than about winning any House seat.

Opinion: Donald Trump Has Already Won His Trade War
President makes good on promise to people who put him in office

One dark, cold night in 2016, Donald Trump made a promise to 6,000 chanting fans and potential voters who had come to see him speak in an unheated, dirt floor rodeo hall in Pendleton, South Carolina.

“We’re going to make America great again. We’re going to make it rich. We’re going to bring our jobs back from China and Mexico.”

Opinion: Time’s Up for DiFi? Not If Democrats Are Smart
Veteran California senator fights a good fight

When Democrats chanted, “Time’s up! Time’s up!” at the California state convention this weekend, they weren’t protesting serial sexual harassers, as the Hollywood-based #TimesUp movement was founded to do. And they definitely weren’t calling for equal opportunities for women in leadership, the other goal of the Time’s Up movement.

Instead, the protesters were heckling Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior senator, as she walked off the convention stage where she made her case for re-election in 2018.

Opinion: Save the RINOs, Save Yourselves
Mitt Romney would add a voice of moderation

 

Mitt Romney is running for Senate. He found new political life by bashing President Donald Trump — who on Monday proceeded to endorse him anyway. (Even a candidate video that sideswiped Trump at least twice wasn’t enough to deter the president.)

Opinion: Meet the Deficit Doves
Deficit hawks soar like a rock

Do you remember the deficit hawks of the last decade, that breed of budget cutter so single-minded and focused on reducing, rather than growing, government debts and deficits that you knew what they were going to say before they said it?

Military spending needed a pay-for. Medicare Part D? Too expensive. For every legislative idea their congressional colleagues cooked up to solve a problem, the deficit hawks rightly pointed out that spending money the country doesn’t have is itself a problem, especially without a plan to reduce spending in the out years.