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Where does the buck stop?

WASHINGTON -- Some elections are contests between voters who are happy and voters who are not. This fall's elections are of a different sort: Since almost all the voters are unhappy with politics, the battle will be over which party gets the blame for dysfunction, inaction and disillusionment.

July 15, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Defending our progressive Constitution

WASHINGTON — You cannot talk for very long to a conservative these days without hearing the words "constitutional" and "constitutionalist."

July 07, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: How GOP incumbent reached out to Democrats and won

WASHINGTON — “There is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats.”

June 27, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Cheneys' chutzpah in recasting Iraq war story

WASHINGTON — The infinitely valuable Yiddish word "chutzpah" is defined as "shameless audacity" or "impudence."

June 20, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Eric Cantor rejected in Tea Party purge

WASHINGTON — In 1961, John F. Kennedy said: “In the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.”

June 12, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne: Bitter political battleground in Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Anyone with a weak stomach and refined sensibilities should stay out of Kentucky for the next six months.

May 23, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Supreme court misses chance on religious freedom

WASHINGTON — To understand why religious freedom matters, put yourself in the position of someone who is part of a minority faith tradition in a town or nation that overwhelmingly adheres to a different creed. Then judge public practices by how they would affect the hypothetical you.

May 09, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: State control: Georgia gun supremacists' folly

WASHINGTON — Have we gone stark raving mad?

May 02, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne: Democrats must find key to 2014

CHICAGO — The Democrats' biggest strategic challenge in maintaining control of the U.S. Senate involves motivating the party's base while simultaneously attracting swing and even Republican voters in contests being waged in conservative states.

April 25, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
E.J. Dionne: Why Paul Ryan should love Americorps

E.J. Dionne: Why Paul Ryan should love Americorps

WASHINGTON — We are at a point where we will soon have vicious ideological debates over motherhood and apple pie.

April 16, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Who cares about the value of work?

WASHINGTON — Finding a way out of our current political impasse requires some agreement on what problems we need to solve. If anything should unite left, center and right, it is the value of work and the idea, in Bill Clinton’s signature phrase, that those who “work hard and play by the rule…

April 04, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Stakes in ACA debate higher than health care

WASHINGTON — You never get a second chance to make a first impression. But at the end of this month, the new health care law will get a third chance to make a decent impression — finally.

March 26, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr: Francis introduces anti-imperial papacy

WASHINGTON — Religion makes a lot of mistakes.

March 14, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: GOP agrees with Obama strategy, but blames him anyway

WASHINGTON — Certain political cliches cry out to join the list of the biggest lies in the world. Today's candidate: Partisan politics stops at the water's edge.

March 07, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: How Arizona's anti-gay bill would have hurt religion

WASHINGTON — Social and religious conservatives should have been the first to oppose the Arizona Legislature’s effort to allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds.

February 27, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: No ground for 'stand your ground'

WASHINGTON — The law is supposed to solve problems, not create them. Laws should provide for as much clarity as possible, not expand the realms of ambiguity and subjectivity. Laws ought to bring about the practical results their promoters claim they’ll achieve. And at its best, the law can h…

February 21, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne: Discredited economic theories lead to government paralysis

WASHINGTON — One of my favorite moments during the 2012 Republican presidential contest came when Ron Paul, fresh from his strong showing in Iowa, triumphantly told his supporters: “We’re all Austrians now!”

February 11, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Must the Obamacare debate be stupid?

WASHINGTON — One of the best arguments for health-insurance reform is that our traditional employer-based system often locked people into jobs they wanted to leave but couldn’t because they feared they wouldn’t be able to get affordable coverage elsewhere.

February 07, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr: U.S. better off than 5 years ago, but not where Obama hoped

WASHINGTON — It was a bittersweet briefing that told us exactly where the Obama administration finds itself at the dawn of its sixth year.

January 22, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Traffic jam fallout increases Christie's conservative problem

WASHINGTON — What is the greatest fear of conservatives when they warn against the dangers of big government? It is that a leader or the coterie around him will abuse the authority of the state arbitrarily to gather yet more power, punish opponents and, in the process, harm rank-and-file cit…

January 14, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Marijuana injustices: Some penalized while others smoke free

WASHINGTON — I have no desire to smoke marijuana, partly because doing so might drive me back to the cigarette habit I broke two decades ago. I don’t want to be one of those “cool parents” who pretend to be as culturally advanced as their kids. In my case, that’s a ridiculous aspiration anyway.

January 10, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: America's hidden consensus for justice

WASHINGTON — Why are we arguing about issues that were settled decades ago? Why, for example, is it so hard to extend unemployment insurance at a time when the jobless rate nationally is still at 7 percent, and higher than that in 21 states?

January 07, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr: 2013: Not as bad as you think

WASHINGTON — “Has this been the worst year of your presidency?”

January 02, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr: Kentucky shows how Obama's bigger ideas can work

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The debate over the Affordable Care Act can stay small, focusing on website failures and other short-term difficulties facing the law. Or it can get bigger, with wider insurance coverage seen as part of a larger struggle for social justice in a nation growing steadily less equal.

December 06, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: The heart of Francis' 'Joy of Gospel' mission

WASHINGTON — Christianity has often been used over the centuries to prop up the powerful. But from the beginning, the Christian message has been subversive of political systems, judgmental toward those at the top, and demanding of all who take it seriously.

December 02, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: A nuclear end to Senate's era of denial

WASHINGTON — Those who lament the Senate Democrats’ vote to end filibusters for presidential nominations say the move will escalate partisan warfare and destroy what comity is left in Congress. Some also charge hypocrisy, since Democrats once opposed the very step they took last week.

November 26, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Obama needs to win his friends back

WASHINGTON – President Obama is furiously fending off those “winter of discontent” stories, and it’s not even winter yet.

November 18, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: What's the matter with motherhood?

WASHINGTON — If you’re a conservative strongly opposed to abortion, shouldn’t you want to give all the help you can to women who want to bring their children into the world? In particular, wouldn’t you hope they’d get the proper medical attention during and after their pregnancy?

November 12, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: American voters shift away from Tea Party

WASHINGTON — The center of gravity in American politics moved left in Tuesday’s off-year elections.

November 07, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne: Professor Clinton explains far right politics

DALE CITY, Va. — Bill Clinton, the nation’s politician in chief, is on a roll on behalf of his friend Terry McAuliffe, the front-runner in Tuesday’s election for governor of Virginia.

November 03, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr: Don't give up on the uninsured, fix the site

WASHINGTON — Obamacare is working.

October 25, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Heartbreak of extremism in the House

WASHINGTON — Seeing our government and our creditworthiness held hostage to the demands of a right-wing minority is infuriating. It’s also heartbreaking.

October 10, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Mission accomplished: The tea party shutdown

WASHINGTON — The Tea Party Republicans should hang a “Mission Accomplished” banner across the House of Representatives. They could flank it with large portraits of Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who has in fact, if not in name, replaced John Boehner as speaker of the House. The right-wi…

October 03, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Tea party Republicans' real shutdown goal

WASHINGTON — The coming battles over budgets, the debt ceiling, a government shutdown and Obamacare are not elements of a large political game. They involve a fundamental showdown over the role of government in stemming rising inequality and making our country a fairer and more decent place.

September 20, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Syria consultation sparks return of dissent

WASHINGTON — The debate over Syria is a jumble of metaphors, proof that every discussion of military action involves an argument about the last war. Yet beneath the surface, the fight in Congress over President Obama’s proposed strike against Bashar al-Assad’s regime is a struggle to break f…

September 06, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Obama's Syrian agony: Only military options remain

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama surely didn’t want to offer his commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on a day dominated by rumors of war. An armed conflict with the Syrian government, even of limited duration, was never part of Ob…

August 30, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne: Painful struggles surrounded MLK's dream of freedom

WASHINGTON — The things we forget about the March on Washington are the things we most need to remember 50 years on.

August 23, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr: Religion challenges political beliefs of left, right

WASHINGTON — Whenever I write sympathetically about religion, I get bombarded by tweets and notes from readers who normally agree with me but cannot abide the idea that religious belief should be seen as intellectually serious.

August 07, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Ending rancor: Can gays help save marriage?

WASHINGTON — The rapid evolution of attitudes toward gay marriage is a wonder to behold.

August 02, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne: Holder fighting back on voting rights restrictions

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder has opened what will be an epic battle over whether our country will remain committed to equal rights at the ballot box. In a display of egregious judicial activism in late June, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Right…

July 30, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Mayor, president understand painful paradoxes of race

WASHINGTON — “In the jewelry store, they lock the case when I walk in,” the young African-American man wrote. “In the shoe store, they help the white man who walks in after me. In the shopping mall they follow me. ... Black male: Guilty until proven innocent.”

July 23, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Politics for 2016: The quiet gender revolution

WASHINGTON — American politics has gone through a gender revolution that has barely been noticed.

July 16, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr: Obama should raise stakes on immigration debate

WASHINGTON — If you want to alleviate worries about the economic impact of immigration reform, increase the minimum wage.

July 12, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Dionne: Pope Francis' saintly politics

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis is proving himself to be a genuinely holy man, a brilliant politician and a leader who knows that reform requires a keen understanding of how creating a better future demands sophisticated invocations of the past.

July 09, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Boehner's House implodes with Farm Bill fiasco

WASHINGTON — The roof fell in on John Boehner’s House of Representatives last week. The Republican leadership’s humiliating defeat on a deeply flawed and inhumane farm bill was as clear a lesson as we’ll get about the real causes of dysfunction in the nation’s capital.

June 25, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Immigration: Time for lawmakers to choose sides

WASHINGTON — The future of immigration reform is, for now at least, not up to House Speaker John Boehner. It is in the hands of a group of moderately conservative Republican senators who have to decide whether their desire to solve a decades-old problem outweighs their fears of retaliation f…

June 21, 2013 12:05 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Great Gatsby economics: Why U.S. must grow from middle out

WASHINGTON — You don’t need me to tell you, but it’s a whole lot tougher leading a garage band than being a superstar.

June 18, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Time to lean more toward liberty

WASHINGTON — The hardest thing in an argument is to acknowledge competing truths. We know that our government will continue with large-scale surveillance programs to prevent future terrorist attacks. We also know that such programs have operated up to now with too little public scrutiny and …

June 15, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

E.J. Dionne: Political history exposes Libertarianism's Achilles' heel

WASHINGTON — In politics, we often skip past the simple questions. This is why inquiries about the fundamentals can sometimes catch everyone short.

June 10, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
E.J. Dionne: Father Greeley's legacy as a loving pugilist

E.J. Dionne: Father Greeley's legacy as a loving pugilist

WASHINGTON — You wanted Father Andrew Greeley as your friend and not your enemy. You got the sense he was born with his fists up and his loyalties fully formed. He was ready to do battle at the first signs of disrespect toward those he cared about.

June 04, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

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