When you win the White House, you get to pick the team you want. Sure, that sounds simple and doesn't need any clarification, but it's clear that simplicity and clarity is lacking in Washington, D.C.
On Sunday, Fox News' Chris Wallace spoon-fed former GOP Sen. Bob Dole one of the media's favorite questions: Could Ronald Reagan - or Dole - make it in today's Republican Party? "I doubt it," Dole answered. "Reagan wouldn't have made it. Certainly, (Richard) Nixon couldn't have made it, because he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it."
After a British soldier wearing a Help for Heroes charity T-shirt was run over, stabbed and slashed with machetes and a meat cleaver, and beheaded, the Tory government advised its soldiers that it is probably best not to appear in uniform on the streets of their capital.
No, this is not Watergate or Iran-Contra.
I hate Apple. There was a time when I would look at my iPhone, and my heart would skip a beat. With its stylish white-and-gray cover, it felt like a luxury car I could hold in my hot little hand. It told me things I didn't know. It told me how to get where I wanted to go. It was exciting. It purred cute little noises that let me know I was wanted, desirable, in demand.
Whenever one of our cities gets a star turn as host of some super-sparkly event, such as a national political gathering or the Super Bowl, its first move is to tidy up - by having the police sweep homeless people into jail, out of town, or under some rug.
How can it be that with Washington simmering in scandals, with Republicans (not to mention talk-show hosts) using the "I" word (impeachment) with abandon, with calls to bring back Ken Starr (of Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky fame), President Obama's job approval rating is holding steady at around 50 percent, thank you very much?
Gov. Jerry Brown recently stepped in it when a reporter asked him about the Bay Bridge. In March, 32 of 96 key rods in the under-construction eastern span cracked after they were tightened. Dao Guv -- who, as Oakland's mayor, helped delay construction of the new span to win a tony, world-class design -- gave the wrong answer: "(Scatological stuff) happens."
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom likes to be out front on issues. As San Francisco mayor, he approved same-sex marriages in City Hall even though they weren't legal. He pushed for a first-of-its-kind ban on city pharmacies selling cigarettes. Likewise, he signed the Special City's first-in-the-nation ban on groceries giving away plastic bags.
It is that time of year again.
When you get right down to it, the political targeting and stalling of tax-exempt applications by the IRS was an effort to defund the tea party. Rick Santelli, one of the tea party founders and my CNBC colleague, was the first to make this point. I've taken it a step further: The IRS was taking the tea party out of play for the 2012 election, as it looked to avoid a repeat of 2010 and another tea party landslide.
My state of Texas seems to have an inordinate share of nincompoops in public office. But it's only fair that office holders from other states be considered before deciding which one is the nincompoopiest of all.
"The American people are weary. They don't want boots on the ground. I don't want boots on the ground. The worst thing the United States could do right now is put boots on the ground in Syria."
As a journalist, I am not supposed to admit this, but: I sympathize with the Obama administration's frustration over national security leaks. After a spate of leaks last year - notably, The Associated Press' reporting that national security officials foiled an underwear bomb 2.0 attempt last May - Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein joined Republicans to denounce the Beltway's proclivity for leaking classified information. "This has to stop," quoth DiFi. "When people say they don't want to work with the United States because they can't trust us to keep a secret, that's serious."
The Obama scandals started piling up on top of each other in the last few days. The civil servants who testified on Benghazi were heartbreaking. Then the IRS admitted a punitive agenda against tax exemptions for groups with "tea party" in the name or groups that "educate about the Constitution."
If I were governor of New Jersey and really wanted to know whether my staff had any involvement whatsoever in a nasty political prank that closed lanes and gridlocked traffic on the George Washington Bridge in September as payback for the Fort Lee mayor's refusal to endorse me, I would not do what Chris Christie did. That is, wait until December and then tell staffers that if they knew anything about the bridge mess, they had one hour to inform not me but my top underling or chief counsel.
In the wars she has fought, America has often allied with regimes that represented the antithesis of the cause for which we were fighting.
Take a moment and look around you. Look up. The sky hasn't fallen, has it? People in Colorado are buying marijuana - legally - and civilization hasn't come crashing to its knees.
My wishfully thinking Democratic friends are hoping that Bridgegate will sink the presidential ambitions of "frontrunner" Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor whose independent streak and straight-talking authenticity have earned him the mostly meaningless crown three years out.
CNN's Candy Crowley seems absolutely, positively astonished that Republicans could oppose raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits.
It's still a mystery how Santa Claus got it down the chimney, but Bastrop got a Christmas present boys can only dream about: a big honking, steel-clad, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) truck.