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National Columnists

Can America do it all?

In fiscal year 2020, which ended on Sept. 30, the U.S. government set some impressive new records. The deficit came in at $3.1 trillion, twice the previous record of $1.4 trillion in 2009, which was set during the Great Recession, and three times the 2019 deficit of about $1 ...

Can Joe Biden be trusted?

It was President Richard Nixon who said in the midst of the enveloping Watergate scandal: “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I earned everything I’ve got.” That standard should be applied to Joe Biden before the election. He ...

2020 Campaign: Shortages of Wit and Wisdom

This bizarre presidential election year has suffered from acute shortages of both wit and wisdom, a fact that was highlighted for me by the passing of Roberta McCain, the remarkable 108-year-old mother of the Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee. A few years back, when ...

A tale of two camps

When COVID-19 hit, I quarantined in Eastern Massachusetts. Biking around the woods, I noticed something strange. There are two campgrounds near my house. One is full. Lots of people pitch tents or park trailers at a place called Maurice’s. A short bike ride away is a much bigger ...

Stocks fall on Wall Street as hopes for new virus aid fade

Stocks gave up some of their recent gains Monday as hopes faded on Wall Street that Washington will come through with badly needed aid for the economy before Election Day. The S&P 500 dropped 1.6%, its worst day in more than three weeks. The benchmark index had been up 0.5% in the early ...

If Trump loses, it’s on Trump

Joe Biden is a terrible candidate. He is 77 years old; he is incoherent; he has called a “lid” every other day of his campaign to avoid serious questioning. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, is so unpopular that she dropped out of the Democratic primaries before they even reached her ...

Conservative answers for poverty

The Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett provide a fitting warmup act to the presidential election that will follow in a few weeks. The rancor pouring forth from this confirmation flows from the very deep divide in the nation — conservative versus liberal — ...

Fear and loathing in the Democratic Party

For the past four years, the national story about the Republican Party has been that President Donald Trump has damaged it, if not destroyed it; that it is in utter disarray and rife with internal dissension; that its voters are fleeing; and that the party must distance itself from Trump if it ...

Breaking news: Not everything is terrible

We devote a lot of mental energy to things that are going wrong or could go wrong. It’s human nature. As the sociobiologists teach us, our ancestors were not the ones who heard a rustling in the grass and figured, “Eh, it’s probably nothing.” We are descended from the ones who said: ...

Racial deception

During slavery, many black women, often in a forcible union with a white man, bore mixed-race children. Based on their percentage of white blood, they were deemed “mulattos,” “quadroons,” “octoroons” or even “hexadecaroons.” Depending on skin color, they could pass as white and ...

Social media censorship — fact-checking your news source

There are no laws to shield people from misinformation. So, as the nation chugs toward the final stretch of the presidential campaign season, Americans need to take a good look at where they gathered the information that forms their political opinions. If your news flows primarily from ...

Is war with China becoming inevitable?

"The Indians are seeing 60,000 Chinese soldiers on their northern border,” Secretary of State Michael Pompeo ominously warned on Friday. He spelled out what he meant to commentator Larry O’Connor: “The Chinese have now begun to amass huge forces against India in the north. ... They ...

Amy Coney Barrett hasn’t been nominated for health care czar

Amy Coney Barrett has accomplished many things in her career. Becoming an authority or a policy maker on health care isn’t one of them. At Notre Dame, she was a professor at the law school, not at the Eck Institute for Global Health. She’s written for the Cornell Law Review, not The ...

Painfully public and publicly painful

When I was a younger man — shortly after the cooling of the Earth — I worked in and managed political campaigns. In addition to Ohio Gov. John Gilligan and Boston Mayor Kevin H. White, I worked on the presidential campaigns of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York, Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, ...

Trump’s order discourages discussion of race and gender

"I didn’t know.” Those were the first words my friend, a white guy named Dave, spoke to me the day after the first episode of “Roots,” which depicted the capture and enslavement of an African boy named Kunta Kinte. This was 43 years ago. So you can perhaps imagine my frustration ...

Fake fact-checking

Recently, I released a video that called California's fires "government fueled." A few days later, Facebook inserted a warning on my video: "Missing Context. Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead." Some of my viewers now feel betrayed. One wrote: "Shameful, John... ...

Pelosi’s devilish demands

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump called off negotiations over a stimulus bill until after Election Day. Blame House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's outlandish demands for the delay. Pelosi has been urging Republicans to pass her $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill to "crush the virus so that we ...

Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis gives him one last chance to reset his campaign

President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis is a blessing in disguise, because it has given him one last chance to win over millions of reluctant voters who approve of his policies but not of him. His illness has created a moment of sympathy, and with it an unexpected opportunity for a reset. ...

Innovation’s secret sauce: freedom

Matt Ridley, the British writer, calls himself a "rational optimist," which today probably strikes many people — their health and finances threatened, their equanimity destroyed by the horrors of close confinement with family members — as an irrational coupling of adjective and noun. ...