On Ukraine, lend this savvy Soviet great-grandchild an ear

President Barack Obama is wise to reserve judgment on Vladimir Putin’s sincerity, but a betting man would do well to put his money on Nina Khrushcheva’s crystal ball. Her understanding of Putin’s psyche is several notches above the talking points that news consumers have heard repeated ad nauseam.

Nostalgia for disaster is found in Barry Goldwater race

The Republican Party needs internal debate and populist energy. The problem comes in viewing the events of 50 years ago, when presidential candidate Barry Goldwater objected to the extension of federal power in the the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as an example rather than a warning.

U.S. founding documents are the root of political divide

The fundamental division in American politics is between those who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom and those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected.

Fairness, not envy, drives the debate over money

If America’s distributional game continues to create a few big winners and many who consider themselves losers by comparison, the losers will try to stop the game — not out of envy but out of a deep-seated sense of unfairness and a fear of unchecked power and privilege. Then we all lose.

Overconfident liberals are blind to their biases

If all you have is a hammer,” the old saying goes, “everything looks like a nail.” Left unsaid is the fact that the real problem isn’t the possession of a hammer, but the certitude that all you need is the hammer. In other words, it’s a failure of the imagination — which is a kind of arrogance — that’s really to blame.

After horror and shame, education and healing

Through his conspicuous regret of U.S. inaction in Rwanda, former President Bill Clinton has affirmed a norm: Those who fail to act in the face of genocide are harshly judged, even by themselves. In fact, policy choices in such matters are generally complex, as in Syria and the Central African Republic today.

States could propose a change in the Constitution

The Goldwater Institute, the fertile frontal lobe of the conservative movement’s brain, would use the Constitution’s Article V to move the nation back toward the limited government the Constitution’s Framers thought their document guaranteed.

Populism has a record of checking the very rich

In the short term, McCutcheon v. FEC may make it easier for today’s robber barons to take over American politics. But by inviting them to corrupt our democracy so brazenly, it may also fuel a popular backlash leading to a new era of reform.

Diplomacy landscape is marvel of bleak futility

Secretary of State John Kerry’s crowning piece of diplomatic futility is his frantic effort to salvage the Arab-Israeli negotiations he launched, also against all odds and sentient advice. He’s made 12 trips to the region, aiming to produce a final Middle East peace within nine months.

Again, Christianity is the last to get it right

On issues where it should take the lead, where it should make noise and news, challenging the status quo, marching in the streets, actively advocating for human dignity, the great body of Christendom always seems to bring up the rear, arriving decades late to the place the rest of the nation has already reached.

Obama’s stand-up routine is laughable indeed

Perhaps the biggest irony is that the young people President Barack Obama had in stitches at the University of Michigan are being forced to pay too much for health insurance in order to subsidize health care for others. In other words, they’re laughing at the pickle, but the joke is really on them.

Sen. Harry Reid’s shameful comment about the Koch brothers

Yes, it was bad when right-wingers called Barack Obama un-American, but Obama is the most powerful man in the world and the rabble is just that. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid owes Charles and David Koch — and the American people — an apology for calling the libertarian billionaires un-American.

The great deliberative body is missing in action

The U.S. Senate, a venerable institution that Democrats control and Republicans covet, has lately been something of a circus. Since the U.S. Senate is America’s pinnacle of institutional self-regard — “the world’s greatest deliberative body” — its reputation has always had a long way to tumble.

Hobby Lobby’s slippery slope

There is nothing wrong with religious conscience, with saying there are things that, as a matter of faith, you will not do. But companies like Hobby Lobby do not get to make such decisions for everybody else.

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