Author Archives: Michael Winship

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

The sound of the world’s smallest violin

I yearn for a society in which civility rules, but these are not civil times.

A number of years ago, at the height of the whole Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky insanity, a certain someone figuring prominently in the right’s exploitation of the scandal occasionally lunched with friends of theirs at a restaurant where I hung out on a near daily basis. Continue reading

Trump’s mean boy nation

Our “I alone can fix it” president has gotten us in another fix, all right. Continue reading

When it comes to the economy, Trump keeps two sets of books

The May jobs numbers were good last week—so swell, in fact, that our putative president couldn’t resist hinting about them in an early morning tweet last Friday morning, a major breach of confidentiality and protocol that instantly affected Treasury yields—basically, the interest rate at which the government borrows money. Continue reading

Point the trigger finger at everyone else

Friday afternoon, May 18, I was walking across my West Village neighborhood running some errands. Here and there my path crossed with college students in graduation gowns from NYU, Columbia and The New School. Continue reading

Mob rule at the White House

I blame Tony Soprano. Continue reading

Lest we ever forget, three lists for Donald Trump

You may know this famous old political joke, but please indulge my current fantasy. Continue reading

Trump’s witch hunt

Remembering two politicians of conscience as the president dismantles democracy.

What a petty, venal, corrupt and foul thing it is. More media-generated homunculus than man, every day, Donald Trump behaves more and more like the cornered animal desperately trying to save itself by viciously biting in every direction, pulling out every nasty trick that has worked for him before. But now he gnashes his teeth on a global stage so vast that the pettiness of his vindictiveness is unconcealed, cast in a spotlight that diminishes every American. Continue reading

The ‘pure madness’ of our vigilante president

Trying to write about the current resident of the White House and his odious pals is like being trapped in a warehouse, condemned to assemble endless Ikea products without instructions or that little hexagon key doohickey. The work never ends, you have no idea what goes where, illogic reigns and there always are extra parts left over. A screw loose, for example . . . Continue reading

Our new St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

On Wednesday, St. Valentine’s Day, I had just printed out an article from the CNN website headlined, “Exclusive: Gun lobbyist helped write ATF official’s proposal to deregulate.” Minutes later came news of gunfire at a high school in Parkland, Florida. By nightfall, 17 were dead. Continue reading

Take a memo, Devin Nunes

Watching the saga of the Nunes Memo and the constant Republican attempts to protect and cover for Donald Trump and his minions, no matter how great the purported crime, I keep thinking back to a 2004 movie that didn’t get the attention it deserved. Continue reading

Nevertheless, she persisted—by the millions

Back in 2007, just a month and a half after I was first elected president of the Writers Guild of America East, we and our friends and colleagues at the Writers Guild West were plunged into a strike against the networks and studios. For me, it was one hell of an initiation. Continue reading

There’s a White House—and GOP—fungus among us

Cruelty and recklessness—those are the two sins of which attorney Joseph Welch accused Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954 when, having had enough of the Republican’s redbaiting smears, Welsh famously asked, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” Continue reading

The tax bill is the Grinchiest Christmas gift yet

In 1814, First Lady Dolley Madison helped hide the White House’s famous portrait of George Washington from the British when they burned and sacked the capital. But if the current pack of brigands raiding DC has its way, by the time they’re done, that painting and every other piece of government property that isn’t nailed down will be stolen and put up for sale on eBay. Continue reading

Trump’s FCC wants to kill a free and open Internet

To understand why the Internet’s in big trouble again, first know this about how Washington works these days. Continue reading

Moore is less: Alabama, the Senate and the nation will suffer

Amid all the craziness surrounding Roy Moore’s race for the US Senate and the seeming willingness of Alabama’s likely voters to send a man of such dubious merit and morality to Capitol Hill (where, admittedly, the bar already is pretty damned low), I keep thinking of a line from the Randy Newman song “Rednecks.” Continue reading

Revenge is a rotten way to run a country

Looking back at the last tumultuous year, to me, one of the saddest aspects of the Trump candidacy and presidency is that both in part were built from one of the basest of human impulses: revenge. Continue reading

For Trump, words are stupid things

In Britain late last week, Conservative Member of Parliament Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill, described Donald Trump as a “daft twerp.” Continue reading

One nation, in sickness and in health

Time and again, "repeal and replace" has proven to be a farce. Let's focus on the hard work of true reform and get health care for all.

A couple of things observed after successful surgery and a week in the hospital: For reasons seemingly unrelated to your operation, you will find bits of surgical tape attached to odd parts of your body for days after your return home. Continue reading