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Matthew Cooper

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Don't Jump to Conclusions About Boston Marathon Explosions

April 15, 2013 We don't know what happened. We don't know if they were bombs or boilers. We don't know if someone was angry at Boston in particular or at tax day or at anything else. The explosions at the Boston Marathon appear deliberate but we can't be sure yet and it's a ...

Analysis: Margaret Thatcher Was Tougher Than Reagan

April 8, 2013 Margaret Thatcher’s long twilight has come to an end and most Americans will view her through the lens of her ties to Ronald Reagan. After all, the relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher is probably the best known and most revered tie between an American president and a foreign ...

Why Washington Is a City of Snow Wusses

March 6, 2013 On Tuesday night at 9:30 PM, after listening to news reports that Washington, D.C., where I live, was due to get its first snowstorm of the season, I went to the Safeway. Despite the hour, the parking lot was full. Like the rest of the scared citizenry, I stocked up ...

The 6 Species of Secretaries That Will Define Obama's Term

March 5, 2013 The word “Cabinet” isn’t in the Constitution, but it has been a part of every presidency since George Washington. Cabinet officers are usually forgettable and occasionally defining—whether it was Alexander Hamilton at Treasury, Lincoln’s constantly-alluded-to “Team of Rivals,” or postwar icons like Bobby Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, and Hillary Clinton. So ...

Analysis: The Good Side of Sequestration

February 20, 2013 Everyone agrees that sequestration is asinine, but Washington is increasingly resigned to it. Other deadlines have been met by fevered last-minute negotiations and, mercifully, avoidance of calamity. This time there’s less urgency and more sighs. There is an upside to it, though: an abject lesson on what government does. At ...

The 9 Biggest Cliches in State of the Union Addresses

February 12, 2013 State of the Union addresses are rarely memorable, in part because they’re basically laundry lists of proposals combined with a memo about where the country stands. In fact, between Thomas Jefferson and William Howard Taft, presidents didn’t give a State of the Union speech. They just sent their assessment of ...

Ex-Benedict: Why Popes Matter to Presidents

February 11, 2013 The history of American presidents and popes is a curious one. No American president met with a pope until Woodrow Wilson did so in 1919, and after that there was no meeting for another 40 years until Dwight Eisenhower met with John XXIII toward the end of his presidency and ...

Analysis: Spending Cuts Stink, but They're Overhyped

February 7, 2013 If the country goes through with the insane, masochistic sequestration cuts, it’ll be ugly. The economy will shed jobs; GDP will slow. But it’s worth being skeptical about the sky-is-falling predictions you’ll hear about: an end to meat inspections, air-traffic control, federal prison guards, and so on. It'll be bad, ...

The Right and Wrong Ways to Change Your Politics

January 29, 2013 Political evolutions are commonplace. The liberal college student becomes a conservative adult. The conservative adult grows more liberal on gay rights. The French orator Francois Guizot said of the anti-monarchists of his day "Not to be a republican at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at ...

Analysis: Why Benghazi hasn't brought down Hillary Clinton – and won't

January 23, 2013 As Hillary Rodham Clinton marches up to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to testify about the Benghazi attack, it’ll be the last “scandal” of her 20-year run in Washington. The quotation marks are there for a reason. Most of what has exorcised the Hill and press corps about Hillary Clinton over ...