Trump legacy of fall, not wall

WASHINGTON — When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me,” he inadvertently foreshadowed the government shutdown of 2018-19.

Democrats have their Thatcher in Elizabeth Warren

Margaret Thatcher’s description of herself as a “conviction politician” alarmed some Britons but delighted others because her convictions were incompatible with the flaccid centrist consensus that had produced their nation’s 1970s stagnation. In 1979, voters rolled the dice, sending her to Downing Street. In Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrats have their Thatcher, if they dare.

Parker: Era of jumping to conclusions

WASHINGTON — When a white, Catholic-school boy wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap is shown staring down a Native American Vietnam War veteran, sending the media scrambling for their pitchforks and torches, one might want to pause and stroke one’s chin.

Editorial: Response to opioids epidemic should be modeled on response to AIDS epidemic

What a grim sign of the times: According to the National Safety Council, Americans are now more likely to accidentally die from an opioid overdose than an automobile wreck. The council’s analysis of preventable injury and fatality statistics from 2017 concluded that Americans had a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an accidental opioid overdose over their lifetimes. The odds of dying from a motor vehicle accident were 1 in 103.

Trump is an almost inexpressibly sad specimen

Half or a quarter of the way through this interesting experiment with an incessantly splenetic presidency, much of the nation has become accustomed to daily mortifications. Or has lost its capacity for embarrassment, which is even worse.

Editorial: The shutdown isn’t just hurting workers. The entire US economy is faltering

The longer the shutdown continues — it’s entering its fifth week, with no end in sight — the tougher it is for the roughly 800,000 unpaid federal workers and an estimated half a million unpaid federal contractors to make ends meet. Yet those of us who are still collecting wages in the private sector are being hurt too, and to a much greater extent than the Trump administration had previously acknowledged.

Trump-Russia conspiracy unlikely to pan out

Before we get to the question of whether the president of the United States is a Russian asset, let’s consider another question: When was the last time a popular and contentious conspiracy theory turned out to be true? Not a little true, but, like, really true?

Media must do better in 2020 coverage

WASHINGTON — The belief that constitutional democracy is superior to other forms of government rests in part on its capacity to encourage open debate and thus social learning.

That stupidity of the wall

As The Wall dominated the week’s news, a pitiful juxtaposition of two realities — one the hard truth, the other a lie — emerged to clarify the destructiveness of the American president’s toxic narcissism.

New age of political ‘authenticity’ alarming

WASHINGTON — In the carnage of American civic culture, some of the damage is obvious: the dehumanization of political opponents, the devaluation of truth, the rise of conspiracy thinking. But other less evident shifts are no less troubling. One concerns the use of the word “authenticity.”

Today’s Germany is the best Germany the world has seen

BERLIN — In one of contemporary history’s intriguing caroms, European politics just now is a story of how one decision by a pastor’s dutiful daughter has made life miserable for a vicar’s dutiful daughter. Two of the world’s most important conservative parties are involved in an unintended tutorial on a cardinal tenet of conservatism, the law of unintended consequences, which is that the unintended consequences of decisions in complex social situations are often larger than, and contrary to, those intended.

Parker column: This guy wants to build a reef

CAMDEN, S.C. — Tom Mullikin is that guy — you know, the one who finishes Christmas dinner, then takes off to scale Mount Everest, conducting business by satellite phone to check progress on his plan to build an ocean reef upon his return.

Useless knowledge begets new horizons

In October 1939, as Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin were plunging the world into war, an American educational reformer named Abraham Flexner published an essay in Harper’s Magazine under the marvelous title, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge.”

Trump’s loneliness of leadership in an uncertain 2019

In the days before Christmas 2018, President Donald Trump was alone in his home/office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Someday, future historians will picture Trump sitting at his desk and perhaps commiserate if he felt those oval walls of his famous office were closing in on him.