As he has grown weary of Washington, President Obama has shed parts of his presidency, like drying petals falling off a rose.
In recent weeks, and in very different environments, journalists have found themselves in the unusual position of becoming the subject of news stories rather than the people telling them. First, my Washington Post colleague Wesley Lowery and the Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly were arrested in a Ferguson, Mo., McDonald’s while covering protests against police brutality. Soon after, we learned that James Foley, a freelance journalist, was murdered by his Islamic State captors, an act that communicated the lethal tactics of that organization in the ugliest possible terms.
When a powerful denial-of-service attack brought down Sony’s PlayStation Network on Sunday, a group that claimed responsibility said it had acted on behalf of the Islamic State, the rapidly growing terrorist organization in the Middle East. Even if the “Lizard Squad” had nothing to do with it, the story was just another example of Islamic State’s devilish skill at promoting itself on social networks.
On Dec. 19, 1998, U.S. embassies across the Arab world felt the ire of residents outraged by U.S.-British airstrikes on Iraq. The most violent demonstrations occurred in Syria, where protesters stormed the U.S. and British embassies in Damascus. Protesters also destroyed the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker, who lodged vigorous objections with the Syrian government in response. I was among those protesters.
Of all the adventures my lucky children had this summer — swimming in two oceans, hanging out on their bearded uncle’s commercial salmon fishing boat, endless popsicles — the biggest one, they told me, was just 495 feet away in their own Washington, D.C., neighborhood.
“Conflict zones can be covered safely,” James Foley told students at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2011. “This can be done. But you have to be very careful.”
In this summer of President Obama’s discontent, and America’s discontent with Obama, it is easy to wax nostalgic for the jaunty, relentlessly upbeat president who lived and is buried here.
BY TOM KEANE
The Democratic Party has, for some time, enjoyed uncontested dominance in the debate over campaign finance reform. Yet Republicans have not ceded this debate because of indifference to public indignation. In the wake of several major Supreme Court decisions striking down campaign finance laws in deference to freedom of speech, the GOP has simply not had time to build consensus on policy proposals that both are antiseptic and comply with the First Amendment. As a result, the party lacks ideas on how best to address the abominable fact that both political parties depend deeply on the wealthiest Americans to fund their political messaging and campaign strategies.
How far would you go to stay out of jail? Would you publicly humiliate your wife of 38 years, portraying her as some kind of shrieking harridan? Would you put the innermost secrets of your marriage on display, inviting voyeurs to rummage at will?
In the original conception of our Constitution, the House of Representatives was to be the branch of government that best reflected the will of the people. House members cannot serve without being elected — vacancies are not filled by appointees — and they must face the voters every two years. Notably, the House holds pride of place as the first branch of government to be described in the Constitution. The framers move directly from “We the People” to the House, underlining the notion that, for our Constitution (and our government) to function, representatives must be accountable to the people.
Amanda Curtis, a 34-year-old high school math teacher, is now the Democrats’ U.S. Senate candidate in Montana. Finally, a strategy for bringing down the average age of a senator, which is around 62.
Gov. Bob McDonnell has, apparently, mistaken Judge James R. Spencer for his marriage counselor.
The word “spoiler,” when applied only to small-party candidates, is an epithet of political bigotry. It says to people who want to enter the electoral arena and talk about ignored but important issues that they should not do so.
The beheading of U.S. freelance photographer James Foley recalls the similarly gruesome murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. It should act as a reminder, too, that the Islamic State began as al-Qaida-in-Iraq and differs from Pearl’s killers only in tactics.