Author Archives: Michael Winship

A US foreign policy in three simple words: do no harm

When it comes to the worldwide destruction of democracy, Trump is the enabler supreme.

“The global trend is sour.” So says Larry Diamond, senior fellow at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution. Continue reading

The curse of Donald Trump

Our ex-presidents should come forward to try to break the spell

I know that everyone’s talking about the final episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones and some are comparing our current woes to the battle for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. Continue reading

The anniversary waltz

In these turbulent times more than ever, memory is a blessing and a curse.

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, the saying goes, but as you get older, milestone years become more significant and resonant, especially if your own memories of them remain vivid. Continue reading

Impeach his sorry ass now

The GOP is the party of overlook; Democrats must be the party of oversight.

Over the course of my dusty television career, I have from time to time run into situations where a certain Hollywood celebrity type will make a threat—not to do interviews or make public appearances on behalf of a show, for example—unless some egregious demand of his or hers is met. Continue reading

Michael Copps thinks Trump is trying to put FCC out of business

Former commissioner says there’s no democracy without honest news and an open Internet

Michael Copps is a former FCC commissioner who at one point served as acting chair of the Federal Communications Commission. A former deputy assistant and assistant secretary of commerce, he holds a PhD in United States history, is one of our most articulate public interest advocates and currently leads the Media and Democracy Reform Initiative at Common Cause. Continue reading

‘Feckless’ Trump and the immigration maelstrom

In January, I was in Washington for a couple of days and early on a Saturday morning took a Lyft car from Capitol Hill to Georgetown for a meeting with friends. The driver and I began to talk. Continue reading

Trump of Toad Hall

He is not only the carrier but also a symptom of the greater disease that infects the republic

If you believe in Old Testament-style omens, please note that a plague of poisonous toads has infested the Florida town of Palm Beach Gardens, about 15 miles from Mar-a-Lago. And they’re on the move. Continue reading

School daze: Use that bribe scandal to fight for debt-free college

This will come as no surprise to most sentient human beings but we have an education crisis in this country that begins with the Cheeto Benito in the White House and trickles down all the way to households in which a child has never had a storybook read to them. Continue reading

Don’t let the Ilhan Omar fight hide two essential truths

The other night, I was watching an NBC News report on the thousands of endangered red-crowned cranes whose migration route takes them through the DMZ between North and South Korea. Amidst land mines and other dangers, they somehow manage to survive. Continue reading

Michael Cohen and the devil in the details

My writer friend Gail, who lives in London but is fluent in all things American, has been closely following our daily travails. We’re in touch often, sharing our mutual, grim, and often bleakly funny stories about Trump here and Brexit there. Continue reading

An “exciting but dangerous moment” for Medicare for All

All human beings have a right to healthcare, but powerful forces remain dead set against it. An interview with PNHP president Dr. Adam Gaffney.

Dr. Adam Gaffney is the brand new president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), the national, Medicare for All advocacy group of medical professionals and others committed to single-payer universal healthcare “provided equitably as a public service rather than bought and sold as a commodity.” Continue reading

Trump is our one-man national emergency

The fact that his predecessor was a smart, witty and popular black man makes Donald Trump crazy. Especially the black part. Continue reading

The state of the union in six words: Donald Trump is full of it

Watching Donald Trump’s State of the Union Tuesday night, I kept flashing back on the routine I saw a talk show host perform years ago at the Kennedy Center in Washington—God help me, I think it was David Frost—in which he imitated a politician giving a speech that was one endless, meaningless string of empty, non-sequitur rhetoric. Continue reading

Trump is the real anchor baby in America

A president who does not know what he does not know.

Donald Trump is the real anchor baby in America—childish yet so outsized and unwieldy that he doesn’t hold the ship of state upright and in position like a good anchor should but causes it to sink like a stone. Continue reading

Trump puts the white in the red, white and blue

WASHINGTON, DC—As the old saying goes, putting a shoe in an oven don’t make it a biscuit. Continue reading

Another day, another disaster. And another, and another . . .

It’s as if the country’s being run by Beetlejuice.

I’ve been trying to write something about the events of the past few days for the last week and a half, and every time I set out to achieve editorial brilliance, or at least try to keep typos and the splitting of infinitives to a minimum, something else wacky happens and it’s back to square one. I’d say it’s Sisyphean if only I knew what that meant. Continue reading

Something that doesn’t love a wall. A president who does

Crazed and fear-fueled ideology runs rampant over reality.

In 1961, the poet Robert Frost was asked to recite one of his works at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. At the ceremony, as Frost tried to read the poem he had written for the occasion, “Dedication,” the sun was so bright and the text on the page so faint that it was difficult to see, even when Vice President Lyndon Johnson handed Frost his silk top hat to shield the glare. Continue reading

Trump’s Oval Office address was a sham and a disgrace

I come to you more from sorrow than from anger, President Trump seemed to be trying to say when he addressed the nation Tuesday night. But he was lying, of course, and the effect was more like that of the Big Bad Wolf dressing up in grandma’s nightgown than a person truly concerned with the fate of anyone other than himself. Continue reading

Where there’s smoke, there’s Boehner

There was a time when, once they left the job, a former cabinet head or member of Congress would find employment back home casting their seeds of knowledge and experience in the local groves of academe. Or return to naps on the cracked leather sofa at his or her old law firm in South Bend or Twin Falls or Toledo. Continue reading

The precarious promise of Joe Kennedy’s ‘moral capitalism’

We are a nation that was founded in opposition to hereditary rule. The founders rejected the notion of a king and embraced the principle that there were to be no royal families who generation after generation governed on the assumption of divine right. Continue reading

The president isn’t orange; he’s yellow

Our president is a coward. Continue reading

Being thankful for William Goldman, RIP

‘Movies are a very, very odd way to make a living.’

I remember the first time I saw a movie that was written by William Goldman, the great screenwriter and author who died last Friday. Continue reading

This was no vote accident

But New York, too, has ‘retrograde voting laws and practices.’

Here in the West Village, in beautiful downtown Manhattan, Election Day morning was overcast, with an autumn chill and some mist in the air. It was early and I was surprised by the number of people waiting to vote—a line about as long as in 2016—which was great but seemed a little odd because in this very, very blue neighborhood there were plenty of names on the midterm ballot but no contests of any great contention. Continue reading

Vote against the litany of lies

The GOP is openly talking about gutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the programs you’ve paid for throughout your working life.

Here’s my closing argument. Continue reading

Trump’s trick or treat

The president's games of Let’s Pretend and vilification have dire consequences.

This is not who we are. We are better than this. Continue reading

Doubt it can’t happen here? Tell it to Berlin

BERLIN—On the last full day of two weeks spent in this city, the requisite visit was paid to Checkpoint Charlie, the spot at the Berlin Wall where, from 1961 to 1989, allied forces and other foreigners crossed the uneasy border between East and West Berlin. (Germans had designated checkpoints of their own.) Continue reading

In Germany and America, invisible walls

Visiting Berlin for two weeks, and in the evening I go to bed in a small hotel room, tuning the radio to a German-language station. I understand barely a word but it features a strangely compelling, eclectic mix of Bach, Brubeck and Tim Buckley, unfortunately sometimes interrupted by electronic dance music, the dreaded EDM. Continue reading

Brett Kavanaugh, the All-American, privileged boy

Thursday’s Senate hearing with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh brought back memories. Continue reading

The grumpy old men of the Senate: Time for this movie to fade to black

Call me a sentimental fool (pipe down out there) but I keep waiting for the big Frank Capra moment that, rationally, I know may never come—you know, like the climax of Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington when the corrupt, patrician senator played by Claude Rains, finally undone by the truth told by Senator Jefferson Smith (earnestly played by Jimmy Stewart), tries to shoot himself. Continue reading

The ‘No IDC NY’ state of mind

A coalition of young, committed activists has turned New York Democratic politics on its head.

Part of my awkward youth was spent in service of the New York State Democratic Party, an act of true hubris if you grew up, as I did, in rural upstate, where it was easier being a Menshevik than a Democrat. Continue reading

Where do we get such men?

Back in 2004, I was involved in giving John McCain an award for his stand against media consolidation. There were several times after that when something outrageous he said or voted for or against made me regret I’d ever been involved! Continue reading

Mayhem is our president

I know that some find it odious to compare Donald Trump to Adolph Hitler, that doing so violates what’s known as Godwin’s Law. That’s the idea first put forward in 1990 by author Mike Godwin that morphed into the notion that in an argument, whoever first compares someone or something to Hitler, loses. Continue reading