opinion

Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez need a ‘chief of change’ or a change of staff?
Who is calling the shots in New York Democrat’s office?

By going after Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats, Saikat Chakrabarti, left, chief of staff to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, broke a cardinal rule of the unwritten Hill staffer code, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Mention the name Saikat Chakrabarti to Democratic chiefs of staff on Capitol Hill, and you’ll get an array of fed-up responses to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s high-profile top aide, from “Ugh” to “What the (expletive)?” to “He’s got to go.”

Although staffer feuds are not uncommon, the Harvard-educated former tech executive who leads AOC’s office has recently committed the two great sins against the unwritten code of Capitol Hill staffers. The first is to never upstage the boss.

Will America ‘go back’ to where it came from?
Trump himself is a newcomer — and he refuses to acknowledge the country’s true patriots

President Donald Trump has an ultimatum for the people of the United States: Love it or leave it. He seems to have forgotten that dissent is as American as apple pie, Curtis writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

OPINION — It’s an inside joke I’ve told the last couple of years.

My ancestors on both sides have been in America for generations — men, women and children whose blood, sweat and grit drenched the Maryland soil they cultivated and farmed and lived on. Originally brought by force, they claimed their place proudly and served the country’s ideals admirably. In contrast, my husband, second generation to these shores, on both sides, is an American-come-lately. But because his grandfather sailed into New York harbor on a ship that set off from Kristiansand, Norway, he is our president’s dream (Scandinavian) citizen.

It’s time for a cease-fire in the latest war of words
President, Democrats would be wise to focus on what really matters to voters — the economy

From left, Reps. Ayanna S. Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib at a Monday news conference. The latest firestorm involving President Donald Trump and the four House progressives is all about politics and positioning, and voters know it, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — It’s been a rough week in Washington, and it’s only Wednesday. The president created a firestorm over the weekend, lobbing rhetorical bombs at “the squad,” the four House Democratic freshmen whose heated comments and extreme policy proposals have created one fire storm of controversy after another.

Now, the president’s getting return fire from Democrats and the media and some Republicans for his tweets, while the House floor Tuesday devolved into a war of words. I suspect most people would be grateful for a cease-fire from the increasingly personal attacks and almost hand-to-hand combat over everything from impeachment to immigration to congressional investigations.

U.S. health care would collapse without foreign-trained nurses like me, so why did the House vote to ban us?
Fairness Act is anything but fair for immigrant nurses and their patients

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would only exacerbate America’s nurse deficit, Roy writes.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — America’s population is growing, its workforce is aging and its health care system is straining under the weight of both. At the intersection of these trends is the very practical question of just who’s going to care for all these new patients.

Increasingly, the nurse answering that bedside call looks and sounds a lot like me, a first-generation immigrant.

The Democratic field is trying to win over black voters. Cory Booker already knows how
But there are only so many barber shops a bald man can visit in South Carolina before the voting begins

Presidential candidate Cory Booker waves as he marches in the Boulder City Damboree Celebration in Nevada on July 4. Many of those who meet him are invariably won over, Murphy writes, but with 24 candidates in the race, how do you scale that kind of in-person connection? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Any presidential candidate who wants half a chance of winning the South Carolina primary in 2020 knew to show up to Rep. James E. Clyburn’s World Famous Fish Fry in Columbia last month. In fact, 22 of them did. But only one — Sen. Cory Booker — also knew to go see Clyburn’s barber, Herbert Toliver, the next morning.

At Toliver’s Mane Event on Columbia’s North Main Street, Booker showed up with a broad smile and a dad joke — the best way, it turns out, for a bald New Jersey politician to break the ice in a South Carolina hair cuttery. “Do you have anything to GROW hair?” he asked, to the roar of 20 or so men already at Toliver’s for their Saturday cut. And with that, the senator dove into an hourlong give-and-take with a collection of dads, police deputies, postal workers and Toliver’s regulars, executing his campaign’s early state strategy to win over voters over one by one.

Kentucky Senate: Seriously, are we doing this again?
Amy McGrath is giving Democrats hope. They should know better

Amy McGrath is running for Senate in Kentucky, hoping to topple Mitch McConnell. But the fundamentals of the state make it a difficult task for her. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — I understand Democrats’ frustration with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as their desire to send him into retirement in the 2020 elections. But once again Democrats have gotten ahead of themselves in their optimism that they can defeat the Kentucky Republican.

Six years ago, Democrats and many in the national media gushed about the prospects of Alison Lundergan Grimes against McConnell. Grimes was young, articulate and personable, and she was the state’s sitting secretary of state.

Why big yellow buses are the big red herring of 2020
Buses were never the problem, and Biden and Harris know it

When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris clashed over the history of busing, it was hailed as a pivotal moment in the Democratic race — but all it revealed was their reluctance to talk about the present, Curtis writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

OPINION — Ed Sanders was both unique and ordinary. He became, in his own way, a hero just for doing his job.

When Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools integrated in North Carolina, if you can call it that, by allowing a handful of African American students to attend schools formerly reserved for whites only in September 1957, Sanders was principal of Central High. He had to smooth the way for Gus Roberts, its first black student, in a city still segregated in everything from housing to swimming pools to bathrooms.

Biden still leads the pack despite a bruising debate performance. Thank African American voters
It’s a lone bright spot in a bleak month for the former vice president

Former Vice President Joe Biden came under attack in last month’s debate over his civil rights credentials, but post-debate polls show he still maintains an edge among African American voters, Winston writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Round One of the great Democratic primary debates is over. The consensus delivered by the political class seems to be that former Vice President Joe Biden underperformed, generally failing to meet expectations. So did Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a good night, albeit only sparring with the second tier for the most part with her main competition for the far left vote, Sanders, not onstage.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg held his own. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro had a good night, while the rest of the field tried but failed to gain traction. But if polls taken since the debate are right, it was California Sen. Kamala Harris who emerged as the big winner with her surgical strike at Biden’s civil rights history and credentials.

Why Kelly Craft is the right person for UN ambassador
There’s nothing partisan about her commitment to human rights and diplomacy

Democrats should be able to get behind Kelly Craft’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations given her commitment to diplomacy and defending human rights around the world, Greenwood writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It was Eleanor Roosevelt, an icon of my Democratic Party, who summoned the energy and conscience that inspired a young United Nations to produce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights out of the rubble of World War II. The declaration built on the U.N.’s founding promise to promote and encourage “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms,” ideals that sadly, 70 years on, are being casually violated, from the reeducation camps of Xinjiang to the gulag-like jails of Moscow and Cairo.

So at a time when leaders who should be Roosevelt’s spiritual heirs are mostly missing in action, it was heartening to hear a member of the Trump administration publicly pledge to “reinforce the values, our values, that were central to the U.N.’s founding.” That’s what Kelly Craft told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month during her confirmation hearing to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She promised to do the job with “an unwavering commitment to universal human rights and freedom” and vowed to “tackle human rights abuses every day.”

Are we in this American experiment together? A July Fourth question to contemplate
Backlash from Harris’ debate performance shows the country still has a long way to go

Reactions to California Sen. Kamala Harris’ performance in last week’s Democratic debate have exposed the divide between those Americans allowed to express and feel pain and those expected to grin and bear it, Curtis writes. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Who doesn’t love Cary Grant, the debonair British-born, American acting legend, who wooed leading ladies, including the Hepburns, Katharine and Audrey, as well as generations of moviegoers? 

But he was not so charming when his submarine commander character in 1943’s “Destination Tokyo” said: “The Japs don’t understand the love we have for our women. They don’t even have a word for it in their language.”