To me, it was a thunderclap. Years ago, when I was in Congress, we were in the midst of a tense, contentious debate. Members had gotten irritated, levying charges back and forth, and tempers were rising.

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As readers might surmise from reading the news about Illinois, our state is arguably embedded in a political culture (patterns of behavior) of corruption (unearned personal gain at public expense). This doesn’t mean that everyone in the Prairie State is corrupt, but that there is a learned d…

As the impeachment hearings concluded, committee chairman Adam Schiff discussed the difference between the Watergate scandal, which forced President Richard Nixon from office in 1974, and the current case against President Trump.

The 29 member states of "the most successful alliance in history" plan to meet to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Yet all is not well within NATO.

Representative democracy is based on a simple premise. It’s that ordinary citizens can make satisfactory judgments on complex public policy and political issues — or at least grasp them well enough to decide who should be dealing with them.

The focus here isn't President Donald Trump. He is a creature unto himself. Rather, this is about his spineless political party, which stands mute, or even supportive, as he breaks U.S. military discipline, morale and leadership.

As winter approaches, I find myself contemplating the impending death of my Great Pyrenees dog, Jesse — as magnificent an animal as I've known. Jesse's 14 now, elderly for a dog of his size, with ragged, thinning fur.

William B. Taylor has served his country for more than 50 years — first as an infantry officer in Vietnam, and later as a diplomat in perilous places like Afghanistan and Iraq. Today he runs the American embassy in Ukraine, and when he testified last week as part of the House impeachment inq…

Ask not why the Trump administration must dismantle America's environmental laws with such gusto. By now, that's a given. Instead, let's ask why some automakers, businesses that must plan years in advance, are siding with a president intent on sowing chaos in their own industry.

Some 100 members of an American Mormon community in northern Mexico, nine of whom — women, children, toddlers — were massacred a week ago on a lonely stretch of highway, just crossed over into Arizona.

As long as we're using Latin legal jargon to explain Donald Trump's odd adventures in Ukraine, there's an even better phrase than quid pro quo. It's cui bono, which translates roughly as "who benefits?"

One of the not-so-small gifts of living in a representative democracy is that you can’t accomplish things alone. Whether you’re trying to get a stop sign put up on a dangerous corner or to change U.S. policy on greenhouse gas emissions, you have to reach out to others. And learning how to pe…

After celebrating Tuesday's takeover of Virginia's legislature and the Kentucky governorship, the liberal establishment appears poised to crush its biggest threat: the surging candidacy of Elizabeth Warren.

If you live in non-metro or rural America, you’ve been left behind by the economic boom cycle that came after the Great Recession. You also endured a more severe recession than people who live in bigger cities.

Yogi Berra once famously gave this puzzling advice to a college graduating class, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” The quip became lore, along with other Yogi-isms attributed to the legendary baseball player.

What can you say about "sophisticated" investors who would pile billions into a startup whose 40-year-old founder walks the streets of Manhattan barefooted and says his company's mission is to "elevate the world's consciousness"? Did I mention that his enterprise has yet to turn a penny of profit?

If there's one thing Americans understand, it's TV cop shows. So here's the deal: Donald J. Trump isn't on trial, he's under investigation. And the first thing that happens during any serious probe is that detectives question witnesses separately so they can't cook their testimony.

WASHINGTON — Demography does not dictate any nation's destiny, but it shapes every nation's trajectory, so attention must be paid to Nicholas Eberstadt. He knows things that should occasion some American worries, but also knows more important things that should assuage some worries regarding…

WASHINGTON — It is President Trump's own fault that he got so lustily booed at the World Series game here Sunday night. When you publicly refer to people as "human scum," they are likely to return the favor.

"Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand," said President Donald Trump in an impassioned defense of his decision to cut ties to the Syrian Kurds, withdraw and end these "endless wars."

WASHINGTON — There are political moments, and this might be one, in which worse is better. Moments, that is, when a society's per capita quantity of conspicuous stupidity is so high and public manners are so low that a critical mass of people are jolted into saying "enough, already."

WASHINGTON — There are moments when the U.S. Capitol feels like a sanctified space, a holy temple dedicated to ideals that transcend the partisan squabbles of the politicians who work there. The enormous paintings that tell the story of America, normally like wallpaper to those who work in t…

WASHINGTON — As the 2020 election comes into sharper focus, one issue that seems to animate both sides — the Supreme Court — is once again taking center stage.

I muse widely, yet my knowledge base in quite narrow. So, I could sure use help from thoughtful readers who know more than I about the topics below, which I am beginning to explore for possible essays. If you have informed thoughts and links to good sources, please email at

What can you say about a political party that argues endlessly about how much they'd have to raise middle-class taxes to pay for a leading candidate's proposal? Elizabeth Warren has run herself — and much of the Democratic Party — into this political ditch.

With President Trump raging like Shakespeare's mad King Lear on the heath, it can be difficult for an entirely sane politician to get an audience. Assuming, that is, that any psychologically normal person would insert him- or herself into the bizarre spectacle that will be the 2020 U.S. pres…

WASHINGTON — Along the East River, which is not really a river (it is a 16-mile-long tidal estuary), perhaps 20,000 people actually chose to spend a gorgeous autumn afternoon last Saturday listening to socialist Bernie Sanders, who is not really a socialist — he just wants to confiscate capi…

WASHINGTON — Last week's viral photograph of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointing her finger at President Trump and reading him the riot act reflected a larger reality: If Trump won't responsibly lead the nation, Pelosi will.

WASHINGTON — Shakespeare long ago wrote that "truth will out," meaning that what's true — by virtue of its basis in fact and logic — eventually will conquer the lie.

WASHINGTON — "I am a classically trained engineer," says Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, "and I firmly believe in regression to the mean." Applying a concept from statistics to the randomness of today's politics is problematic.

WASHINGTON — The most powerful office in the world is occupied — and being abused — by a man who is entirely unfit and is spinning dangerously out of control. Everyone needs to stop pretending otherwise.

WASHINGTON — So let me get this straight: President Trump ordered the removal of American troops from northern Syria, knowing that Turkey would invade, seize and occupy Kurd-occupied land.

When it comes to chronicling the bumpkins of darkest Arkansas, New York Times magazine writer Monica Potts is working in a long tradition. Mark Twain got there first in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." His portrait of slack-jawed "Arkansaw lunkheads" watching dog fights in ramshackle ri…