opinion

Opinion: Montana Special Election Unlikely to Predict Larger Political Trend
But get ready for a barrage of talking points

Democrat Rob Quist, right, is vying with Republican Greg Gianforte in the race for Montana’s at-large House seat. (Courtesy Greg for Montana, Rob Quist for Montana)

Sometime after 10 p.m. Thursday in Washington, everyone in politics will feign being an expert on Montana or, as they will call it with an insider’s flourish, Big Sky Country. The returns from the first statewide race of the Trump era will inevitably trigger the type of frenzied over-analysis reserved for special elections at moments of political turmoil.

If the Republicans hang on to the House seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the sighs of relief from imperiled GOP incumbents may set off every wind chime in the D.C. area. Greg Gianforte, who ran 47,000 votes behind Donald Trump in a losing 2016 bid for governor, brings to the race two decided advantages — he is rich (he sold his software company for $1.5 billion in 2011) and he is a Republican.

Opinion: Congress Needs to Raise Budget Caps
Economic and national security investments vital to our long-term success

Not raising the budget caps risks shortchanging the next generation by leaving behind an ill-prepared workforce, a crumbling infrastructure, and a stagnant economy, Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We begin the 2018 budget process facing arbitrary and irresponsible spending caps that threaten our security, our economy, and our nation’s standing as a global leader of research and innovation. Yet, the budget proposal put forth by President Donald Trump does not respond to this simple truth. In fact, it will take our country in the opposite direction.

The president would provide additional funds for one important aspect of government — defense — but would do so at the expense of all other investments. That’s not a responsible proposal — and it should not be treated as one. Even some of my Republican colleagues have criticized these misguided priorities of President Trump. House Budget Committee member Tom Cole, R-Okla., called the president’s proposed cuts “short-sighted,” saying, “These are investments the country ought to be making.”

Opinion: Where Will GOP Be When the Crazy Train Comes Off the Rails?
Republicans blaming Nancy Pelosi and Democrats will only get them so far

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and the Republicans can’t keep blaming Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats while ignoring President Donald Trump, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If you want to know how Republicans will campaign in the 2018 midterm elections, you don’t have to wait. House Speaker Paul Ryan gave an early preview Monday night at a rally for Karen Handel, the Republican candidate in the runoff for Georgia’s 6th District seat. 

If you’re just tuning in to the race, Handel is a former Georgia secretary of state and would be the first Republican woman elected to Congress from the Peach State. She is running against Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old Democrat and former Hill staffer who nearly won the seat outright last month, when he received 48 percent of the vote. The suburban district is wealthy, highly educated, and newly politically turbulent. The longtime GOP stronghold went for President Donald Trump by just 1 percent in November.

Opinion: Red-Scare Henchman a Role Model for Russia-Challenged President
Roy Cohn mentored Donald Trump

Roy Cohn’s aggressiveness, deceit and lack of a moral compass offers no formula for governing to President Donald Trump, Walter Shapiro writes. (Courtesy the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division).

Even before the president ominously hinted at a secret White House taping system, the supposed similarities between Donald Trump and Richard Nixon had all but made “Watergate Studies” a required course in journalism departments.

But as we grope to understand the 45th president and (to put it charitably) his erratic behavior, the best historical guide remains the life and times of Roy Cohn, Trump’s original mentor.

Opinion: Yes. Cancel the White House Press Briefing
How to tell when Trump aides lie — moving lips

Trump aides such as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sometimes are simply not effective at communicating the president’s latest fabrications, Jonathan Allen writes. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that, because his aides can’t speak with “perfect accuracy,” it might be best “to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy.”

I agree.

Opinion: Trump’s Reruns — ‘Slippery Ethics, Harsh Pronouncements and Shiny Gilt’
Comey firing just the latest episode

Instead of the hopes and dreams he promised to fulfill as a candidate, President Donald Trump has delivered the slippery ethics and harsh pronouncements, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Is everyone exhausted yet?

The one thing America could count on was that Trump, as promised, would put on a surprising show. But not even four months into the Trump presidency, the one surprise is how depressingly familiar the playbook has become. The hopes and dreams that candidate Trump promised to fulfill? Hold off on those.

Opinion: The Refrain Across Washington — ‘Not Since Watergate ...’
There are indeed similarities between Comey and Archibald Cox’s 1973 ouster

Richard M. Nixon, pictured here in 1971, fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973, an event that draws comparisons to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey on Tuesday, Shapiro writes. (CQ Roll Call Archive Photo)

The abrupt firing of James B. Comey as FBI director revealed an enduring truth about the next four years — there will never be a normal day as long as Donald Trump is in the White House. When things seem placid and uneventful in this administration, it is probably because we do not yet know about the abnormalities that are transpiring beneath the surface.

Tuesday seemed like an ordinary spring day in Washington. There were no high-octane congressional hearings, legislative showdowns or significant protests in the streets. Even the FBI director felt secure enough in his position to leave town to attend a meeting in the Los Angeles field office.

Opinion: The (White) Boys’ Club That’s Taking on Health Care
Senate health care working group is all men, all white

Maine Sen. Susan Collins wrote an entire health care replacement bill with fellow Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, but she’s not on the Republicans’ Senate health care working group. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Is there an Obamacare provision for self-inflicted wounds? If so, Senate Republicans should file a claim pronto before they repeal and replace the offending legislation. 

It’s hard to understand how the GOP leadership could run head-first into such an avoidable misstep. They appointed 13 members to the Senate health care working group last week, either not noticing or not caring that all 13 of those senators are white men.

Opinion: With Health Care Vote, House GOP Landed on Sitting Duck
Bill was legislative and political malpractice of the highest order

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, conduct a news conference after the initial rollout of the American Health Care Act the day before. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans would have been better off passing a blank bill than the rancid stack of used toilet paper that squeaked by, 217-213, on Thursday.

All we really know about this bill for sure is that it would strip insurance entirely from tens of millions of Americans; endanger minimum health benefits previously guaranteed; slash Medicaid for the poorest and sickest in our country; create a $138 billion slush fund for state health programs; and give healthy tax cuts to the investor class.

Opinion: It’s Huge — Few Presidents Have Praised Authoritarians as Much as Trump
But administration has little to say about police shootings

President Donald Trump may be trying to make a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while the Russian leader looks the other way when atrocities are committed by his allies in Syria — and when political opponents, journalists and whistle-blowers suffer suspicious deaths in his own country, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Adam Berry/Getty Images)

So what does a criminal look like, exactly? On the campaign trail, Donald Trump featured the moving stories of the grieving relatives of those who had been killed by criminals who were in the U.S. illegally. In a promise kept, the Department of Homeland Security has introduced the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office, or VOICE, housed within Immigration and Customs Enforcement. DHS Secretary John Kelly said: “They are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place — because the people who victimized them often times should never have been in the country.”

While Kelly assured this effort will aid victims of crime who also are undocumented, it comes as ICE has shifted its priorities when picking up the undocumented for deportation, sometimes going to courthouses and hospitals while immigrant activists protest that this prevents those in need from seeking help.