Moments like this, with the press and the opposition party spinning furiously about "scandals," are always a little dispiriting for the party in the White House. Regardless of the merits of the latest exercises in Washington hysteria -- IRS, AP, and Benghazi -- you can't help but worry when the Washington Post runs headlines about the White House being back on its "heels."

But there are three reasons Democrats should be smiling through this moment:

1. It will pass. It may even be starting to pass, as everyone realizes these problems did not involve the President.

2. The President and his team are smart and famously calm. Remember when many Democrats panicked after the first debate with Mitt Romney? Obama and his team stuck to their game plan and managed their way through the perceived problem.

3. The big picture is what's important. Passing media scandals are nearly meaningless. What does have meaning is that the President was re-elected, the auto industry was saved, health care is being made more secure for tens of millions of Americans, the rights of gay people are being recognized, the student loan system was made better and fairer, cars are getting cleaner and more efficient, we are not fighting two wars anymore, and a host of other accomplishments that really matter to people.

So if you're a Democrat, don't get caught up in the spin of the moment. The important stuff is fine. And if you're a Republican, remember all this when one of your presidents is caught up in an over-hyped "scandal."  

Living in the moment is good advice for life, but not for analyzing politics. 

*With apologies to Ian Dury and the Blockheads

May 16, 2013

This week saw two highly predictable Washington events -- the Caps were booted from the NHL playoffs by the New York Rangers, and a second term President was caught up in media controversy. Of the two, the Caps loss was slightly more surprising.

Second term Presidents, for whatever combination of historical reasons, seems to run into this problem. Every two-term chief executive in my lifetime* has faced it: Nixon had Watergate -- the granddaddy of second term problems -- Reagan had Iran-Contra, Clinton had Monica Lewinsky, and Bush had...

May 15, 2013

The now familiar Red State, Blue State designations began during the 2000 presidential recount. Many of the news anchors covering the weeks-long escapade did so in front of color coded maps -- Gore states were blue and Bush states were red. 

I don't know that too much thought was put into assigning those colors, but I imagine it mostly centered on what looked good on television. Once red and blue were chosen, the party assignments were probably preordained. You could hardly give "red" to the Democrats, who had been slandered for decades as...

May 01, 2013

Presidents don't often get credit for what they don't do, but it's among the most important ways to judge their tenure. High on the list of things to avoid is unnecessary war.

If President Bush had chosen not to go to war in Iraq, and instead kept our military focused on Afghanistan, it would rank as his greatest achievement in office. Consider the thousands of lives and trillions of dollars that would have been saved, and the international alienation America would have avoided. Of course, our policy in Iraq is a complicated question -- it...

April 30, 2013