Author Archives: Michael Winship

For America’s sake, we need answers about Russia now

These first weeks of the Trump White House have felt like one of those tennis ball machines run amok, volley after volley shooting at us in such rapid fire that often the only reaction is to grimace and duck. Outrage after outrage, imperial pronouncement after pronouncement, lie after lie; it’s just one damned, fast and furious, flawed thing after another. Continue reading

A great and joyful march, but it’s not enough

Saturday's protests were inspiring but just the first step in fighting back against those who would end democracy.

“Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.” Continue reading

Yertle, the Commander-in-Chief

Dr. Seuss taught me to read. My older brother brought Seuss books home to me from the local public library because I was too young to have a library card of my own. Continue reading

None of this is normal; all of it is un-American

Hate crimes after Donald Trump's election and his appointment of Steve Bannon to the White House aren't the way to bring America back together.

A friend of mine who has dual Israeli-American citizenship tells the story of entering an elevator in Jerusalem shortly after a bullying right-wing government had taken over the country. Continue reading

If Trump had been at Gettysburg in 1863

Unbelievable. On Saturday, there was Donald Trump desperately trying to jump on the coattails of Abraham Lincoln by delivering a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of the sixteenth president’s memorable address, one of the finest, most concise and genuine pieces of rhetoric in American history. Continue reading

Watching a dark debate from the City of Light

PARIS—If I believed there ever was any chance of escaping the US election by running away to France for a week of business meetings and a little off time, all hope was dashed the moment we stepped into a cab at Charles de Gaulle Airport and the driver immediately started grilling us about Donald Trump. Continue reading

At second debate, a monster calls

If there was the tiniest doubt left in your mind that Donald Trump holds no regard for the principles and ideals of a representative democracy—or that he views this country as anything more than a podium for his grandstanding ego, base dictatorial instincts and gutter mentality—Sunday night’s debate should have shot that shred of doubt straight to hell. Continue reading

You call that a debate?

Well, that was depressing. Continue reading

La Guardia’s the name and boy, could we use him now

Like Donald Trump, Fiorello La Guardia was supremely self-confident and brash, and loved publicity. But unlike Trump, this Republican backed up his big talk with action and genuine concern for his constituents.

One of the most awkward interviews I ever conducted in my life was with Marie La Guardia, widow of the late three-term mayor of New York City, the legendary Fiorello H. La Guardia. Continue reading

The tracks of John Boehner’s tears

There are a few certainties in this world: fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, John Boehner’s gotta cry. Remember how a year ago—just a year ago—the former speaker of the House wept when Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress? And then only a couple of days later announced he was stepping down as speaker? Continue reading

A good night for Hillary Clinton

Worries that Trump would bulldoze his opponent into submission were unfounded.

And so, after all the anticipation, the rampant sports metaphors and the breathless, sensationalized buildup (MSNBC’s headline in the minutes before the event was “Clinton/Trump Showdown”), the first debate is over. Continue reading

Greasing the outstretched palms of the candidates

The recipe could not be simpler. Mix cynicism with greed, quickly stir and voila! American politics and government served up on a platter to the highest bidder. Continue reading

Drugs and privilege: Big business, Congress and the EpiPen

Cash and carry has become nothing more than standard operating procedure in politics and government, and it’s wrecking the republic. The whole system is rotten to the core, corrupted by big business and special interests from the seventh son to the seventh son. Continue reading

Donald Trump has some explaining to do

First things first, Donald Trump: Release. Your. Tax. Returns. Continue reading

The Get-Off-My-Lawn Party meets in Cleveland

Oh dear. Watching C-SPAN and waiting for Tuesday’s roll call confirming Donald Trump’s nomination to begin, the house band there in the hall, led by GE Smith, formerly of Saturday Night Live, played covers of The Temptations’ “I Can’t Get Next To You” and other golden oldies. Many rhythm-impaired white people were dancing in the aisles and stands, a lot of them badly. And they kept doing it every time there was a lull in the action and the music started up again, like a high school 50th reunion run amok. Continue reading

I don’t know much but I know why black lives matter

Philando Castile and I share birthdays in July. This year, I celebrated mine with friends and family. But Castile’s friends and family are mourning his death, killed by a police officer in the St. Paul, Minnesota, suburbs after he was pulled over for a broken taillight. Continue reading

The Democrats ignore the 500-pound lobbyist in the room

In all of the 35 single-spaced pages of the Democratic Party’s platform draft, there is just one mention of lobbying. Continue reading

The GOP’s love affair with its ‘earthquake in a box’

Breaking up is hard to do and Republicans just can't seem to quit their presumptive presidential candidate.

Republicans, we know what you’re going through. Continue reading

All the presumptive nominee’s men

For a guy who yells about Washington and Wall Street money in politics, Donald Trump sure has a lot of insiders on his team.

Right after Barack Obama’s election in 2008, I flew off to Australia and New Zealand to attend a conference and take some vacation time. At the end of the long flight, when I got to Sydney, I picked up one of the local newspapers and read that the president-elect had chosen Rahm Emanuel, poster boy for corporate Democrats and the status quo, to be his chief of staff. Continue reading

The ghosts of ’68 haunt the election of 2016

A slender, long-forgotten work of fiction foresees the rage and frustration of Donald Trump's America.

Watching the mad, mad, mad, mad world that is the 2016 presidential campaign, I was trying to remember a presidential campaign that was as jaw-dropping, at least in my lifetime, and easily settled on 1968. Continue reading

The tyranny of Trump

Author and blogger Andrew Sullivan fears the Republican candidate's rise is ‘an extinction-level event’ for democracy.

A provocative, lengthy essay about Donald Trump in New York magazine by writer, former New Republic editor and blogger Andrew Sullivan has sparked discussion and debate around the country. Continue reading

May’s the month for protest; Daniel Berrigan would agree

May is historically a month for protests, and, first, I’d like to protest the fact that Rev. Daniel Berrigan died last weekend, just a few days shy of what would have been his 95th birthday on May 9. Continue reading

This election’s teaching our kids bad habits

The gutter-level of this year's campaign rhetoric is dragging all of us down—and that includes America's children.

On the day before Easter, PEZ Candy USA had to cancel its annual egg hunt in Orange, Connecticut. Adults rushed the fields where the eggs and candy had been put out, pushing aside and trampling the little ones in a mad scramble to grab the goodies for their own children. Noses bled, tears were shed and next time—if there is one—PEZ will have to have lots of security guards on hand to keep the grown-ups from behaving like idiots. Continue reading

Panama Papers offer more evidence that free trade isn’t really free

As much as President Clinton and President Obama like to talk about ‘free trade’ deals, the truth is that the working class ends up paying.

You might wonder what the connection is between a friendly game of golf last summer in Martha’s Vineyard and the Panama Papers. Read on. Continue reading

A bird, a plane? No, it’s superdelegates!

The Democratic Party's special class of entitled and unelected VIP delegates helps explain what's wrong with the way we choose our presidential candidates.

Last week, our suggestion that Hillary Clinton call for the resignations of her pals Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz got a big response. But a few people misunderstood what we were saying. Continue reading

When the poetry of campaigning becomes a cheesy, dirty limerick

For a politician or a journalist, there was a time when citing the classics—as long as it wasn’t done in a pedantic or pompous manner—was a mark of wisdom and experience. If a candidate or reporter does it today, there’s a good chance they’ll be trolled and ridiculed for high-handed pretension. Cue Donald Trump shouting, “Loser!” Continue reading

Does Mitch McConnell really give a damn about the Supreme Court?

Many years ago, I worked on a documentary about the how and why of political TV ads. The primary focus was on two media consultants: the late Bob Squier, a Democrat; and Bob Goodman, Republican. Continue reading

Maybe it is a single-issue election

Maybe it’s that 50,000-year-old, Neanderthal DNA scientists say a lot of us possess, but this feels like the most brutal, vicious and mendacious political year since the days when politicians traded jugs of corn whiskey for votes, fought duels, and flagellated opponents to near death with canes. Continue reading

The Kochs are ghostwriting America’s story

Progressives need to fight back with their own "metanarrative" against the tall tales of the right wing.

Gather round for the word of the day: metanarrative. Definitions vary but let’s say it’s one big narrative that connects the meaning of events to a belief thought to be an essential truth, the storytelling equivalent of the unified field theory in physics. Continue reading

Both parties agree: Selling out is worth it

The lobbying industry, despite a small decline in revenue, is still the fastest way to make big bucks in Washington.

Pity poor Washington. No doubt breaking the hearts of elected and appointed government officials, their staffs and hangers-on, the Open Secrets blog at the Center for Responsive Politics reports that the “influence industry appears to be contracting, and the trend continued in 2015.” Continue reading

The Christmas Day that peace broke out

As once again politicians seek to unleash the dogs of war, a one-man play recalls the brief holiday truce that marked the first year of World War I.

Last Friday night, I went to a small off-Broadway theater to see an engaging, poignant one-man show about the Christmas Truce of 1914. The title was Our Friends, the Enemy, written and performed by a young British actor named Alex Gwyther. Continue reading

In Congress, Christmas is a time of giving—and receiving

The one bipartisan thing on which both Democrats and Republicans agree: at holiday time a little something tucked away in legislation in exchange for campaign largesse is the greatest gift of all.

I was planning to write a festive poem to Congress as they approach their merry holiday recess but couldn’t come up with a rhyme for “dysfunctional.” Continue reading