Columns

The Blessings of Baseball

Column: Professional sports and the return to normalcy

Baltimore Orioles v Washington NationalsNo sport is as over-intellectualized as baseball. It’s the favorite pastime not only of America but also of America’s writers. Perhaps it’s the wealth of data, the length of the season, the nuances of the craft that invite curiosity, inspire comment, and engender lyricism. Whatever the reason, scribblers can’t stay away. Red Smith, Tom Verducci, Roger Angell, Thomas Boswell, George Will, David Halberstam, Michael Lewis, Charles Krauthammer—the pantheon of baseball laureates is grand. And imposing. Lesser pundits are wise to avoid the subject.

The Winds of Woke

Column: Can Joe Biden withstand the storm of political correctness?

Joe BidenBefore this morning I had not heard of Thomas Bosco, and I am willing to bet you haven’t heard of him either. He runs a café in Upper Manhattan. From the picture in the New York Times, the Indian Road Café is one of those Bobo-friendly brick-lined coffee shops with chalkboard menus affixed to the wall behind the counter and a small stage for down-on-their-luck musicians to warble a few bars of “Fast Car” as you sip on a no-foam latte while editing a diversity training manual. It looks pleasant enough. “Local writers, artists, musicians, and political activists are regulars,” writes metro columnist Azi Paybarah. “And for years, two drag queens have hosted a monthly charity bingo tournament there.” Drag queens! You can’t get more progressive than that. Bosco seems like a noble small businessman making his way in a turbulent world.

The Virus Rules

Column: How a microbe will decide the 2020 election

President Trump Meets Polish President Andrzej Duda In The Oval OfficeOn March 18, at a press conference flanked by high-ranking officials, President Trump described himself as a “wartime president” fighting an “invisible enemy” known as the coronavirus. The president, it seemed, was beginning to reckon with the extent of the economic, epidemiological, social, and psychological damage the pandemic would cause, and to act appropriately. “We must sacrifice together,” Trump said, “because we are all in this together, and we will come through together.”

The Seattle Soviet

Column: The tragicomedy of Free Capitol Hill, CHAZ, and CHOP

Protests Continue Across The Country In Reaction To Death Of George Floyd"What," Marx asked, "is the Commune, that sphinx so tantalizing to the bourgeois mind?"

Flight of the Superpower

Column: America accelerates its withdrawal from the world

Protesters Demonstrate In D.C. Against Death Of George Floyd By Police Officer In MinneapolisAmerica is contracting. It pulls back from the world, its people pull away from each other. Last week’s Wall Street Journal report that President Trump ordered the withdrawal of slightly more than a quarter of our troops in Germany went unnoticed amid the domestic unrest following the police killing of George Floyd. The truth is that the two stories, foreign and domestic, are related. They are dual aspects of a loss of national self-confidence, an outbreak of intellectual and moral uncertainty, and an unpredictable, erratic, and easily piqued chief executive. Violence—here, there, and everywhere—is the result.

American Civilization and Its Discontents

Column: Civil unrest and the birth of a new progressive morality

protestsIn 1969, Irving Kristol was appointed Henry R. Luce professor of urban values at New York University's Stern School of Business. He delivered his inaugural lecture the following spring. Its title, "Urban Civilization and Its Discontents," a play off of Sigmund Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents, guaranteed the audience a typically wide-ranging presentation from a New York intellectual in the middle of a journey from anti-Communist liberal to neoconservative godfather.

Trump in Trouble

Column: Why Republicans are worried about November

President Trump Delivers Remarks On Protecting Seniors With DiabetesPresident Trump was disappointed. Bad weather on Wednesday forced a delay in SpaceX’s planned launch of the Dragon spacecraft, robbing the president of a prized photo opportunity. He plans to attend the next launch window, scheduled for May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, but the spoiled visit to Florida punctuated another week of foreboding news from the campaign trail.

Biden’s Progressive Gamble

Column: Will Americans sign up for fundamental transformation?

Joe BidenA few hours after this column appears on the internet, more than 30 liberal activists will meet online to plan your future. The gathering is called the "Friday Morning Group." It comprises, according to The New York Times, "influential figures at labor unions, think tanks, and other progressive institutions." These influential figures, the Times goes on, believe that when Democrats last had full control of the federal government, between 2009 and 2010, they did not "take the initiative in specifying plans for achieving large-scale change." They hope to correct this mistake. What happens on November 3 might give them the chance.

The Teflon Campaign

Column: Why nothing sticks to Donald Trump or Joe Biden

It was congresswoman Pat Schroeder, Democrat from Colorado, who labeled Ronald Reagan the "Teflon" president in a fit of exasperation in August 1983. What frustrated Schroeder was that nothing "stuck" to Reagan—not the recession, not his misadventures in Lebanon, not his seeming detachment from his own administration. Reagan's job approval had plunged to a low of 35 percent in the beginning of that year, but his numbers were rising and his personal favorability remained high. "He is just the master of ceremonies at someone else's dinner," she said.

How America Arrived at the Cruel New Normal

Column: Here comes the 'dumb reopening'

Newsom Hogan Northam DeSantisVery soon, you and I will have to figure out how to navigate a semi-open America where coronavirus is a terrible fact of life. The lockdowns and stay-at-home orders that state and city governments announced in March are breaking down. This is not red-versus-blue. This is reality. Two weeks ago, Georgia's Republican governor Brian Kemp faced widespread criticism for his easing of restrictions on business and outdoor activities, even as Colorado's Democratic governor Jared Polis did the same thing. Now most states are joining in.