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Opinion: Not So Fast, Democrats. You Had a Good Day, but Now What?
Party needs to focus on a clear message

Democratic leaders such as Charles E. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi may be celebrating the GOP’s recent health care debacle, but they need to focus on making sure that Americans know what they stand for, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Republican Party has learned, it’s much easier to be the party of “no” than to actually have a plan to lead. So while Democrats are celebrating a GOP in disarray, the party out of power needs a message and a plan.

Understandably, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosicelebrated as the GOP’s new-and-improved health care plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed. But long term, she must truly want to experience a return to the speaker’s post. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer knows just how to rile Donald Trump, his fellow New Yorker. But he still has to call Trump Mr. President.

Opinion: Can Trump Learn From His Own Bay of Pigs?
JFK wrote the script in how to deal with early setback

President John F. Kennedy’s response to the 1961 Bay of Pigs debacle offers lessons for President Donald Trump after the collapse of Trumpcare, Shapiro writes. (Getty Images File Photo)

The fledgling president, ridiculed for his inexperience during the recent campaign, had just suffered a stunning setback less than 100 days after taking office. He ruefully admitted afterward, “No one knows how tough this job is until he has been in it a few months.”

Talking with a friend, the embarrassed president raged over his gullibility in accepting the advice of his top advisers. As he put it, “I sat around that day and all these fellas all saying, ‘This is going to work.’ … Now, in retrospect, I know they didn’t have any intention of giving me the straight word on this thing.”

Capitol Ink | Beep Beep

Opinion: Trump Needs to Reread ‘The Art of the Comeback’
The president’s political embrace and his threats are both equally empty

President Donald Trump waves to the crowd after addressing a joint session of Congress in the Capitol's House Chamber, February 28, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After just nine weeks in the Oval Office, Donald Trump is already forced to resort to his third book, “The Art of the Comeback.”

From James Comey’s artfully cloaked shiv in last Monday’s congressional testimony to the head-for-the-lifeboats abandonment of Trumpcare on Friday, it is hard to recall a president who has had a worse week without someone being indicted.

Opinion: The GOP’s Big Health Care Winner — Mitch McConnell
House in flames but crisis avoided in the Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remains untarnished by the GOP effort to repeal the 2010 health care law, Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There’s exactly one big winner in the Republican leadership right now: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

The Kentucky Republican, long known for his sixth-sense acumen as a political and legislative strategist, completely avoided the direct and collateral damage of the GOP health care debacle of 2017.

Opinion: Art as Soul Food – A Tough Yet Essential Case to Make
President Trump’s proposed budget cuts are ill-advised

Funding for humanities programs, such as the National Endowment for the Arts, is only a fraction of the federal budget and should not be cut, Curtis writes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Most critics expressing outrage at President Donald Trump’s proposed budget have focused on cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program that funnels money to Meals on Wheels. And who can blame them? 

If you’re looking for allies for your cause, that’s the narrative you want — one that sets up clear-cut heroes and villains, especially with budget director Mick Mulvaney, sent from central casting and all but twirling a mustache as he says, “We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” or “There’s no demonstrable evidence” that after-school programs that also feed children are actually “helping kids do better at school.”

Opinion: Are Republicans Storming the Castle or Walking the Plank on Health Care?
Upcoming health care vote could have consequences for 2018

Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, was singled out by President Donald Trump at Tuesday’s House GOP conference meeting for not yet voicing his support for the Republican health care plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are getting leaned on, hard, to vote for the GOP health care bill. First came the invitations to the White House Bowling Alley. Then the lunch dates. Still hunting for votes over the weekend, President Donald Trump flew members to Mar-a-Lago. But by Tuesday, with a floor vote looming, President Trump was naming names at the GOP caucus meeting. “Mark Meadows?” the president said, looking for the leader of the Freedom Caucus, who has still not said he’ll vote for the bill. “Stand up, Mark. … Mark, I’m going to come after you.”

The White House later said that the president was “just having fun” at the caucus meeting. But when a White House goes into full whip mode, which this White House obviously has, it’s time for the members on the sharp side of the whip to ask themselves whether they’re being asked to storm the castle or walk the plank. In other words, will their vote on health care this week help deliver a successful, necessary legislative victory, or are they being asked to support a bill that may not pass, may not work, or may cost them and their party their seats in two years’ time.

Opinion: James Comey and the Art of the Shiv
FBI director has the credibility to oppose the White House

In his testimony Monday, James B. Comey dropped enough bombshells to solidify his reputation as the most significant FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Late in Monday’s marathon hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey reminded the nation that he was something of a hostile witness, reluctantly summoned to talk about Russia, Donald Trump and the 2016 campaign.

“I’d rather not be talking about this at all,” Comey said. “Now we are going to close our mouths and do our work.”

Opinion: Echoes of Watergate Could Spell Danger for Trump
But the bar for impeachment is high

Bipartisan consensus on impeaching the president, as was the case with President Richard M. Nixon’s Watergate scandal, can be reached only if the American people demand it, Holtzman writes. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Richard M. Nixon, the only impeachment effort to force a president from office in our country’s history. Today, many Americans, alarmed at President Donald Trump’s conduct, want him to be impeached and removed from office.

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, I found that impeachment was not easy or quick. Still, that impeachment effort may provide a useful road map for how to proceed today.

Opinion: Trump, Yul Brynner and a Results-Free Presidency
Like the King of Siam, Trump is lionized by his fans as ‘a man who tries’

In President Donald Trump’s world, talking a good game matters more than tangible accomplishments, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At the core of Donald Trump’s Friday press conference with Angela Merkel was a theme that he has been harping on since he became a candidate — America is being played for a patsy on the global stage.

Sure, now that he is president, Trump feels compelled to ritualistically affirm his “strong support for NATO.” But at the press conference, a German reporter challenged Trump over his “isolationist policy.” The president pointedly responded, “The United States has been treated very, very unfairly by many countries over the years. And that’s going to stop. But I’m not an isolationist.”