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Eugene Robinson

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EUGENE ROBINSON: The long shadow of racism

OPINION: Fraternity video illustrates racism still thriving

Fraternities hotbeds of racism

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EUGENE ROBINSON: Democrats in need of rebuilding plan

OPINION: I didn't see the wave coming

Tuesday’s returns will be interpreted, reinterpreted and overinterpreted. Might Democrats make too much of this midterm? Yes, but that would be better than making too little of it.

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EUGENE ROBINSON: What would Republicans do?

OPINION: This year's campaign has been dull and disheartening

No matter how well Republicans do at the polls Tuesday — and my hunch is they won’t do as well as they hope — the GOP won’t be able to claim any kind of mandate. That’s because they have refused to articulate any vision for governing.

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EUGENE ROBINSON: The joy of the World Cup

The world’s game has taken center stage and had many surprises.

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ROBINSON: Tilting at windbags

If Putin is laughing, it’s at the windbags who want Obama to replace serious policy with empty threats.

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ROBINSON: Where is the Democrats’ outrage?

But while Congress inches forward, probably toward some kind of extension, lives are falling apart. All day, every day, Democrats ought to be making a loud and righteous noise over this disgraceful state of affairs.

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ROBINSON: How will voters treat Gov. Chris Christie after bridge-gate?

If Christie is truly in the mood for soul-searching, asking how his aides could tell him such lies should be secondary. The more urgent question is what Christie might have said or done to make these loyal lieutenants conclude it would be appropriate — and a lot of fun — to torment the people of Fort Lee because of the mayor’s refusal to pledge fealty.

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ROBINSON: The ACA is here to stay

Any existential threat to the Affordable Care Act ended with the popping of champagne corks as the new year arrived. That was when an estimated 6 million uninsured Americans received coverage through expanded Medicaid eligibility or the federal and state health insurance exchanges. Obamacare is now a fait accompli; nobody is going to take this coverage away.

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ROBINSON: A different choice for Person of the Year

I can’t think of any individual who had more influence in 2013. Edward Snowden is person of the year.

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ROBINSON: The Republican mainstream strikes back

If the Republican Party really intends to get back in the game, voters will be presented with two competing visions of how to move the nation forward — instead of one vision and one cartoon. If the progressive vision is to prevail, it needs to be fresh, vivid and clearly relevant to the moment. Same-old, same-old used to be good enough. It’s not anymore.

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ROBINSON: Nelson Mandela, the conscience of the world

After his tenure as president, Mandela acted as a global elder statesman, an adviser, mediator and honest broker in times of crisis. In his later years, he suffered from dementia. As long as he drew breath, however, he was a living symbol of hope and triumph. He will be desperately missed.

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ROBINSON: Drones morally questionable go-to weapon

In Afghanistan, it is hard to attempt a count because there is an actual war going on, with no agreement on who qualifies as a civilian. The Los Angeles Times wrote recently about a Sept. 7 drone strike in Kunar Province. U.S. officials told the paper that 11 people died, most of them Taliban fighters; grieving local residents, however, insisted that 14 civilians had been killed. When does a village cease being a village and become a “Taliban stronghold”? When we say so, apparently.

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ROBINSON: Our good old todays

This is not to say that the Obama administration hasn’t made mistakes. But by historical standards, the United States is doing well domestically and internationally. And by any objective measure, the trend lines are positive, not negative.

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ROBINSON: The out-of-control NSA

To me, all this is consistent with the NSA’s apparent goal of knowing, basically, everything. The agency collects information as massively and indiscriminately as possible on the theory that if you assemble a database of all the world’s communications, the few you seek — those involving terrorists — will be in there somewhere.

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ROBINSON: It's time for growth

Another target for economic growth is the energy sector. Because of the natural gas boom, the United States may soon be the largest producer of hydrocarbons in the world. Intelligent rulemaking can ensure that as the industry expands, parallel industries dedicated to safety, cleanup and alternative fuels grow with it.

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ROBINSON: The reality of ACA

Medicare guaranteed health care for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor. Obamacare begins to fill the remaining gaps. It will get better over time, but already — crashing websites and all — it’s a beautiful thing.

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ROBINSON: Warm enough for you?

Sea levels will continue to rise because of warming — water expands as it heats — and because of glacial melting. This has implications for coastal populations not just in places such as Calcutta or Dhaka but also in rich and powerful cities such as New York: Witness the massive flooding and storm-surge damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

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ROBINSON: Obama's reality check

I don’t mean to suggest that Obama would hesitate to order an attack on Iran, if all else failed, because preventing the mullahs from obtaining the bomb is one of his “core interests.” But the overwhelming public rejection of military action in Syria has to be seen as an instruction to explore every avenue of negotiation before resorting to force.

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ROBINSON: Obama needs to stand his ground

Republicans in the House are like a bunch of 3-year-olds playing with matches. Their hapless leaders don’t have the sense to scold them and send them to their rooms — which means President Obama has to be the disciplinarian in this dysfunctional family.

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ROBINSON: Not in the national interest

Are we really going to do this? Are we going to wade into a struggle we don’t really want to fight? Are we going to mire ourselves in a senseless, grinding conflict whose possible outcomes range from bad to worse?

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ROBINSON: Arbitrary, and uncalled for

Ending the presumption that African-American and Hispanic men are beyond redemption would be a powerful legacy for the first black president and the first black attorney general to leave behind.

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ROBINSON: A lack of spine on Egypt

U.S. officials can no longer harbor illusions about the nature of the Egyptian coup or the prospects for genuine democracy. President Obama should speak the truth and cut off military aid.

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ROBINSON: The new al-Qaida menace

Al-Qaeda turns out to be like a pool of mercury. Hit it with a hammer and you end up with ten little blobs instead of one big one.

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ROBINSON: Obstruction as the new normal

The bad news is that approval ratings for both the president and Congress are sinking, with voters increasingly frustrated at the bitter, partisan impasse in Washington. The worse news is that in terms of admiration for our national leaders, these may come to be seen as the good old days.

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ROBINSON: The words Obama had to say

Obama’s remarks last Friday — a surprise to reporters expecting the usual daily press briefing — were brief and informal. But they amounted to the most important speech about race our first African-American president has delivered in office.

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ROBINSON: For Obama, mum should be the word

We should talk honestly about unresolved racial issues, such as those exposed by the Trayvon Martin case, but President Obama is not the best person to lead the discussion. Through no fault of his own, he might be the worst.

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ROBINSON: Denied the right to be young

Justice failed Trayvon Martin the night he was killed. We should be appalled and outraged, but perhaps not surprised, that it failed him again Saturday night with a verdict setting his killer free.

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ROBINSON: The party of no

The party of no on immigration. Self-delusion is a sad spectacle. Watching Republicans convince themselves that killing immigration reform actually helps the GOP is excruciating, and I wish somebody would make it stop.. House Speaker John Boehner's unruly caucus has been busy convincing itself not to accept or even

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ROBINSON: We can handle the truth

WASHINGTON -- I don't believe government officials when they say the National Security Agency's surveillance programs do not invade our privacy. The record suggests that you shouldn't believe them, either.

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ROBINSON: Food for thought on Paula Deen

WASHINGTON -- Paula Deen needs to give the self-pity a rest. The damage to her carefully built image is self-inflicted -- nobody threw a rock -- and her desperate search for approval and vindication is just making things worse.

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ROBINSON: On DNA, Scalia was right

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court's ruling last week allowing police to compel DNA samples from persons arrested for serious offenses will solve cold cases around the country, putting dangerous criminals behind bars. But the court's 5-4 ruling was wrong -- and may be more far-reaching than we can now imagine.

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ROBINSON: GOP Too juvenile to govern

WASHINGTON -- With budgetary tantrums in the Senate and investigative play-acting in the House, the Republican Party is proving once again that it simply cannot be taken seriously. This is a shame.

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ROBINSON: Benghazi scandal looks like a witch hunt

WASHINGTON -- Those who are trying to make the Benghazi tragedy into a scandal for the Obama administration really ought to decide what story line they want to sell.

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ROBINSON: Obama goes wobbly instead using veto power

WASHINGTON -- President Obama had the opportunity this week to make an irresponsible Congress face the consequences of its own dumb actions. For reasons I cannot fathom, he took a pass.

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ROBINSON: Stains on a legacy

In retrospect, George W. Bush's legacy doesn't look as bad as it did when he left office. It looks worse.. I join the nation in congratulating Bush on the opening of his presidential library in Dallas. Like many people, I find it much easier to honor, respect and even like

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ROBINSON: Is this the best the GOP can come up with?

WASHINGTON -- I think I've figured it out. Republicans must be staging some kind of fiendishly clever plot to lure Democrats into a false sense of security. That's the only possible explanation for some of the weirdness we're seeing and hearing from the GOP.

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ROBINSON: Denying victims a vote on gun violence

WASHINGTON -- Shame on Harry Reid for killing any prospect of an assault weapons ban. I understand why he did it, but that doesn't make it right.

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ROBINSON: Questions from a 'Dirty War'

WASHINGTON -- They are impolite questions, but they must be asked: What did Jorge Mario Bergoglio know, and when did he know it, about Argentina's brutal "Dirty War" against suspected leftists in which thousands were tortured and killed? More important, what did the newly chosen Pope Francis do?

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ROBINSON: Rand Paul talks the talk

WASHINGTON -- Rand Paul was right. There, I said it. The Republican senator from Kentucky, whom I've ridiculed as an archconservative kook -- because that's basically what he is -- was right to call attention to the growing use of drone aircraft.

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ROBINSON: A power to act on warming

WASHINGTON -- The test of President Obama's seriousness about addressing climate change is not his pending decision on the much-debated Keystone XL pipeline. It's whether he effectively consigns coal-fired power plants -- one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions -- to the ashcan of history.

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ROBINSON: Wrong on drone hits

WASHINGTON -- If George W. Bush had told us that the "war on terror" gave him the right to execute an American citizen overseas with a missile fired from a drone aircraft, without due process or judicial review, I'd have gone ballistic. It makes no difference that it's Barack Obama doing it.

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ROBINSON: A solvable problem

WASHINGTON -- It was always clear that the 11 million people in this country without papers were not going to be rounded up and deported.

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ROBINSON: Questions that need asking

WASHINGTON -- Republicans wanted nothing more than to summon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Capitol Hill and grill her about the tragic fiasco in Benghazi. Sadly for them, they got their wish.

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ROBINSON: No impossible dream

WASHINGTON -- Don't listen to those who say President Barack Obama's bold plan to reduce gun violence -- including an assault weapons ban -- has no chance in Congress. I seem to recall that health care reform was deemed impossible, too. Until it happened.. I also recall that the health

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ROBINSON: Hot enough for you?

WASHINGTON -- All right, nowcan we talk about climate change? After a year when the lower 48 states suffered the warmest temperatures, and the second-craziest weather, since record-keeping began?. Apparently not. The climate change denialists -- especially those who manipulate the data in transparently bogus ways to claim

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ROBINSON: Our clown-around Congress

Congress makes a fool of itself on cliff deal. To say that Congress looked like a clown show this week is an insult to self-respecting clowns.. Painful though it may be, let's review what just happened. Our august legislators -- aided and abetted by President Obama -- manufactured a

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Are we still here? Happy Bak'tun

Are we still here? Happy Bak'tun. If you're reading this, the Maya were wrong. Rather, they would have been wrong if they'd actually predicted the end of the world, which scholars are pretty sure they didn't.. On the other hand, if there's nobody around to thumb through the morning newspaper

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ROBINSON: Wonderland on a cliff

WASHINGTON -- Are you as sick of the "fiscal cliff" as I am? Actually, that's a trick question. You couldn't possibly be.. Having to read and hear all the constant blather about this self-inflicted "crisis" is an onerous burden, I'll admit. But just imagine having to produce that blather

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ROBINSON: As an architect, Niemeyer soared

WASHINGTON -- Just this once, I wish I could write with pictures instead of words. That would make it easier to explain why the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who died Wednesday at 104, was one of my heroes.. Not for his politics, of course -- he was, to the end

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ROBINSON: A legacy we dare not leave

WASHINGTON -- You might not have noticed that another round of U.N. climate talks is under way, this time in Doha, Qatar. You also might not have noticed that we're barreling toward a "world ... of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions." Here in Washington

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ROBINSON: A new America speaks

WASHINGTON -- So much for voter suppression. So much for the enthusiasm gap. So much for the idea that smug, self-appointed arbiters of what is genuinely "American" were going to "take back" the country, as if it had somehow been stolen. On Tuesday, millions of voters sent a resounding message to the take-it-back crowd: You won't. You can't. It's our country, too.

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EUGENE ROBINSON: What America will we pick?

WASHINGTON -- This election is only tangentially a fight over policy. It is also a fight about meaning and identity -- and that's one reason why voters are so polarized. It's about who we are and who we aspire to be.

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ROBINSON: Why the chill on climate change?

WASHINGTON -- Not a word has been said in the presidential debates about what may be the most urgent and consequential issue in the world: climate change.

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ROBINSON: Debate gave Romney an opening

DENVER -- I would be careful about declaring the presidential contest "a whole new race" following Wednesday's debate. But make no mistake, it was a very good night for Romney -- and a bad one for President Obama.

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ROBINSON: Deluded by 'skewed' polls

WASHINGTON -- Conservative activist circles are abuzz with a new conspiracy theory: Polls showing President Obama with a growing lead over Mitt Romney are deliberately being skewed by the Liberal Mainstream Media so that Republicans will be disheartened and stay home on Election Day. This is denial and self-delusion.

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ROBINSON: Romney's class warfare

No doubt about Romney's class warfare. Now, at least, there can be no doubt about who is waging class warfare in this presidential campaign. Mitt Romney would pit the winners against the "victims," the smug-and-rich against the down-on-their-luck, the wealthy tax avoiders against those

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ROBINSON: No Gipper here

WASHINGTON -- Once upon a time there was a silver-tongued president. His foreign policy must have been seen by enemies of the United States as weak and feckless, because these enemies became emboldened. Mideast terrorists staged a brutal, bloody attack in which innocent Americans were killed. I'm referring, of course, to Ronald Reagan.

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ROBINSON: A tale of two conventions

A tale of two political conventions. CHARLOTTE, N.C.Judging by the party conventions, you'd wonder why this election is even close.. In Tampa, despite some unexpectedly amateurish stagecraft, Republicans put on a credible display of unity and resolve. No one could come away doubting that the party very much wants to

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ROBINSON: For GOP, storm has already gathered

WASHINGTON -- The uninvited participation of a hurricane at next week's Republican convention would be superfluous. Buffeted by powerful internal winds, the party may be flooded with cash, but it's already kind of a debris-strewn mess.

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ROBINSON: Facts get in the way

WASHINGTON -- Republicans and Democrats are being equally nasty in their campaign rhetoric, but they're not being equally truthful. To cite one example, much of what the GOP is saying about Medicare simply isn't supported by the facts.

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ROBINSON: The emerging 'drone' culture

The age of the drones has arrived. It's not possible to uninvent these Orwellian devices, but we can -- and must -- restrain their use.. As instruments of war, pilotless aircraft have already become essential. The Washington Post reported last year that more than 50 countries had developed or purchased

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ROBINSON: Bush and his open heart

WASHINGTON -- This is a moment for all Americans to be proud of the single best thing George W. Bush did as president: launching an initiative to combat AIDS in Africa that has saved millions of lives.

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ROBINSON: A brave and intrepid pioneer

WASHINGTON -- Bill Raspberry wore his eminence well. In a city full of preening, self-centered journalistic royalty, he was a warm and generous prince who never deluded himself into thinking he knew all the answers. He is desperately missed.

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ROBINSON: Joe Pa's shame

WASHINGTON -- Outside the Penn State football stadium stands a statue of legendary coach Joe Paterno, his arm raised in victory. Right next to it, university officials should erect another figure in bronze: A young boy crying out in anguish and being coldly ignored.

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EUGENE ROBINSON: The money manager

WASHINGTON -- You can conduct byzantine transactions through opaque investment accounts and private corporations in offshore tax havens such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Or you can credibly run for president at a time of great economic distress. I don't think you can do both.

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ROBINSON: Why does the war go on?

Some heard a declaration of victory, others an admission of defeat. The many contradictions in President Barack Obama’s speech about Afghanistan on Wednesday night were perhaps intended to obscure the bottom line: Tens of thousands of American troops will remain for at least three more years, some of them will be maimed or killed, and Obama offered no good reason why.

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ROBINSON: President Obama's Skywalker moment

With the nation transfixed by the daring raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the first GOP presidential debate transpired last week with relatively little notice. For Republicans, that’s the good news.

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America must be on right side of history in Egyptian uprising

The Obama administration has done a creditable job of gently edging Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak toward some sort of gilded exile. Now it’s time to push. Hard.

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ROBINSON: Guns and responsibility

WASHINGTON — We may not be sure that the bloodbath in Tucson had anything to do with politics, but we know it had everything to do with our nation’s insane refusal to impose reasonable controls on guns.

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ROBINSON: In search of justice, not convictions

Race still matters in America and justice is not completely blind. Anyone who believes otherwise should examine the case of Cornelius Dupree Jr., who was ruled innocent Tuesday after spending 30 years in prison — almost his entire adult life — for a brutal carjacking and rape that he did not commit.

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ROBINSON: Republicans must tip-toe through health care repeal

If the incoming Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is serious about trying to repeal health care reform, there’s only one appropriate Democratic response: “Make my day.”

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ROBINSON: Reality check for GOP

WASHINGTON — It’s been not quite two months’ time since Republicans won a sweeping midterm victory, and already they seem divided, embattled and — not to mince words — freaked out. For good reason, I might add.

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ROBINSON: Bad guys of the foreclosure crisis

Don't blame the lawyers. The crisis over faulty or fraudulent paperwork in mortgage foreclosures — which is either a big deal or a humongous deal, depending on which experts you believe — is the fault of arrogant, greedy lenders who played fast and loose with the basic property rights of homeowners.

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ROBINSON: The wave and the cold reality

I’m cautious about the conventional wisdom that the Democratic Party is about to get flattened by a Republican steamroller. Pollsters are less certain than they’d like you to believe about who’s a “likely voter” and who isn’t. It’s easy to imagine how Democrats, facing near-unanimous predictions of a wipeout, could bestir themselves to narrow the enthusiasm gap by just enough to turn a potential “wave” election into a regular midterm setback for the party in power.

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ROBINSON: Looney, and that's no debate

OK, I want to make sure I understand. Two years ago, with the nation facing a host of complex and difficult problems, voters put a bunch of thoughtful, well-educated people in charge of the government. Now many of those same voters, unhappy and impatient, have decided that things will get better if some crazy, ignorant people are running the show? Seriously?

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ROBINSON: The cash cow of anonymity

The Republican grab for Congress is being funded by a pack of wolves masquerading as a herd of sheep.

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ROBINSON: A mighty argument for marriage equality

The 14th Amendment is a mighty sword, and U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker used it Wednesday to slice and shred all the specious arguments — and I mean all of them — that are used to deny full marriage rights to gay and lesbian Americans. Bigotry has suffered a grievous blow.

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ROBINSON: America losing its way in Afghanistan

Could somebody please remind me just what it is that we’re achieving in Afghanistan? Don’t all speak at once. No, I mean what good things we’re accomplishing. Anybody? Hello?

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ROBINSON: The irony of Bishop Long

One of the small ironies of the Bishop Eddie Long scandal is the preacher’s self-pitying complaint, in a Sunday sermon vetted by his lawyers, that he feels “like David against Goliath.”

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ROBINSON: Republicans go from Party of No to Party of Nonsense

The Republicans were doing pretty well for themselves as the Party of No. So why did they decide to rebrand themselves as the Party of Nonsense?

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ROBINSON: The phantom sharia menace

Editor’s note: David Broder is on vacation. His column will resume next week.

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ROBINSON: Enthusiasm is required to beat the 'unelectable'

Not to spoil the fun, but Democrats shouldn’t take the Republican Party’s bitter internal warfare — and the inexperienced, flaky candidates who’ve emerged from the fray — as any kind of reassurance about November. Try as it might, the GOP probably can’t defeat itself. Not this year, anyway.

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ROBINSON: A 'framework' seriously bent

WASHINGTON — Just how corrupt is the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan? It should be clear by now that President Hamid Karzai doesn’t want us to know. He’d prefer that we just keep sending our troops and our dollars, and not ask too many questions.

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ROBINSON: Voters prepare to throw a big temper tantrum

According to polls, Americans are in a mood to hold their breath until they turn blue. Voters appear to be so fed up with the Democrats that they’re ready to toss them out in favor of the Republicans — for whom, according to those same polls, the nation has even greater contempt. This isn’t an “electoral wave,” it’s a temper tantrum.

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ROBINSON: Even Beck can't mar King's legacy

The majestic grounds of the Lincoln Memorial belong to all Americans — even to egomaniacal talk-show hosts who profit handsomely from stoking fear, resentment and anger. So let me state clearly that Glenn Beck has every right to hold his absurdly titled “Restoring Honor” rally on Saturday.

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