The world looked upon the tornado-flattened landscape of Moore, Okla., with awe. The destruction was shocking, as were the personal losses. Many Americans in the audience also felt -- and this must be said -- some comfort. Here was a country of strong people rolling with some very serious punches. It still exists. On CNN, BBC or wherever, one heard plainspoken voices describing their ordeal with natural stoicism. These were victims (a word they might not apply to themselves) standing in front of the trash piles that were their houses. Some were bearing the death of loved ones, including nine schoolchildren. They spoke calmly of what happened and what they must do next.
This isn't just a case of people believing politicians always behave this way. Only 19 percent think the IRS usually targets political opponents of the president.
Skepticism is so high that few are convinced the IRS acted alone. Sixty percent believe that other federal agencies also were used to target the tea party and other conservative groups. Ominously for Democrats, two out of three unaffiliated voters share that view.
So, why hasn't it hurt the president's overall job approval? Some believe it has. The theory is that with a recovering economy, his ratings should be higher. Another possibility is that the president's base may have doubts, but they are still sticking by their man.
Would you like to have a "skinny" health insurance policy? Probably not. But if you're employed by a large company, you may get one, thanks to Obamacare.
No doubt the degraded quality of congressional oversight astonishes Thomas Pickering, the distinguished American diplomat who oversaw the State Department's Benghazi review board -- although he tries not to say so too directly. For his demanding and difficult effort -- only the most recent in a long history of public service under both Republican and Democratic administrations -- Pickering has found himself under sustained attack by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the excitable partisan who chairs the House Government Reform Committee.
My kids moved out! I have two empty rooms in my apartment. Maybe I can rent them? A tourist visiting New York City could have a different experience, and save hotel money. I'd make money. Wouldn't it be great?
Back in their day, the tea party folks were riding high, fueling indignation over alleged government-run death panels, a treasonous Federal Reserve and the like. They commandeered sparsely attended Republican primaries, managing to nominate for Senate seats a dabbler in witchcraft in Delaware, holders of strange views on rape in Missouri and Indiana, and in Nevada, a candidate suggesting armed insurrection if her people didn't win elections.
Chilling effect. That's the term lawyers and judges use to describe the result of government actions that deter people from exercising their right of free speech.
For years, conservatives have pushed for a health-insurance model emphasizing catastrophic coverage. It works as follows:
It's impossible to predict the lasting impact of the controversies now besetting the Obama administration, but the risks to the president's agenda are sizable.
Having served in Congress for more than three decades -- and in the upper chamber since 1996 -- Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden has established a reputation as one of the Senate's more serious and diligent members. Over the years on Capitol Hill, he has watched the Republican Party veer constantly further rightward, and yet he continues to believe against all evidence that bipartisan legislative cooperation is possible -- even likely. His habitual reaching across the partisan chasm has generated much controversy, notably when he floated a Medicare reform plan with House Budget chair Paul Ryan.