TPM Cafe: Opinion

Earlier today, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced his resignation; after several years of facing a fiery, obstinate Congress, his relief was palpable. Boehner may very well go down in history as one of the most ineffective Speakers in history, but this kind of fervent opposition isn’t exactly unprecedented.

Consider two cases a century ago that make Boehner’s tenure look downright warm-and-fuzzy.

Read More →

On Thursday, in his speech to Congress, Pope Francis praised Dorothy Day—along with Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Thomas Merton—as one of four "representatives of the American people" whom he admired. Pope Francis was probably the first pope to mention Day's name in public. It is unlikely that anyone else who addressed Congress in the past had uttered her name.

Read More →

Kim Davis’s “religious freedom” justification for not issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses isn’t exactly the same as when a pharmacist refuses to fill a prescription for contraception because he doesn’t believe in birth control. But it’s not all that different, either. Sure, Davis is not a pharmacist at a Target or Walgreens; she’s a government employee who was elected into office. She also went further than pharmacists by forbidding her deputies to issue licenses in her stead. But with so-called “conscience clauses” being enacted at a rapid clip during the last few years, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we are not quite sure where or when the next Kim Davis is going to pop up.

Read More →

Everything Pope Francis does seems unprecedented and unmatched, but when he stands before the General Assembly of the United Nations this week, the image of another pope will intrude. The U.N. speech delivered by Pope Paul VI in 1965, almost exactly fifty years ago, resonated across the world. Closer to home, the Pope’s words opened a breach between me and my father, and though our situation was particular, our sad conflict was not unique, but typical of a generation. For people of a certain age, Paul VI at the U.N. remains the unlikely measure of the difference a pope can make, of the pain that can come when a pope speaks the truth, and of the tragedy that can follow when that truth is ignored.

Read More →

Last week, ten days after TPM published my investigative story about Bill Gothard and his Institute in Basic Life Principles, the controversial ministry to which the Duggar family belongs, Gawker took note of Gothard posting on his Facebook page for the first time in two years. “I am so thankful for the outpouring of thoughtfulness and support during the last 18 months as I have faced the greatest trials of my life,” he wrote.

Read More →

Just in time for Beltway chatter suggesting a second window of opportunity may be available to N.J. Gov. Chris Christie in the 2016 GOP nomination race (okay it was Mark Halperin, but still), attorneys for the two defendants in the federal Bridgegate case filed papers late on Monday demanding that the governor’s attorneys hand over notes gathered for an internal investigation of the September 2013 lane closures at the George Washington Bridge.

Read More →

In a development that surprised but did not shock most observers, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker consummated the downward trajectory of his 2016 presidential campaign by “suspending” his candidacy Monday afternoon. This makes him the second candidate to be “winnowed” from the vast field. But while plenty of people might have placed bets that Rick Perry would not make it to Caucus Night—the peak of his national political career remains, eternally, those first few weeks in 2011 when he went roaring and strutting around the country before quickly devolving from Sgt. Rock to Bobo the Simple-Minded—that’s not true of Walker, who seemed to have built a durable base in Iowa and whose mistakes were not exactly epic.

Read More →

This week has epitomized the bizarro world American politics has become. It’s a week during which the media and politicians have been enraptured by a debate over whether or not a Muslim could become president.

Never mind that no Muslim candidates are running. Never mind that this is, legally speaking, a settled question, as our constitution forbids religious tests for office. Never mind that the guy who claimed otherwise, Dr. Ben Carson, is a vanity candidate with no real chance of winning office. Never mind that his attempt to clarify his position involved invoking a hysterical right wing conspiracy theory about “sharia law” being imposed on the U.S., which is this century’s version of the old fluoride-is-mind-control John Bircher nuttery.

Read More →

I do not believe that Donald Trump really wants to be president.

In fact, behind all that arrogance and bravado, Trump is incredibly insecure and knows he's not prepared for the job. Nobody who talks so excessively about how rich, smart and lovable he is really believes it. I doubt Trump is very self-reflective, but even he knows he's way over his head, and he's more surprised than anyone that he's doing so well among Republican voters in the polls.

Read More →

Ed. note: explicit descriptions of rape and sexual violence

Men are the blank space in every rape story. The rapist can never bear witness to himself, or at least never as a rapist, and so instead the stories men tell about rape involve erasing themselves from someone else’s narrative. Owen Labrie, a New Hampshire prep school student who was put on trial for rape and avoided the most serious charges, testified that he decided not to continue his sexual encounter with a 15-year-old freshman even after having put a condom. He attributed it to “divine inspiration” instead of what prosecutor Catherine Ruffle described as “her physical conduct to let him know this was not okay.” Through this kind of thinking, rape becomes not a victimless crime but a criminal-less one.

Read More →
Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com
Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com

LiveWire