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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at Central College, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Pella, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The low vulgarian and his high-minded critics

- The Washington Times

The establishment Republicans are having a high old time beating up on the lesser breeds under the tent, if not the law. The establishment Republicans, for whom politics does not come easily, pay their tribute to Ronald Reagan's famous eleventh commandment, that Thou Shall Not Speak Ill of Another Republican.

Martin Luther King Jr. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

The hero buried in the marble man

- The Washington Times

Transforming a man of flesh and blood — warts, moles, scars and all — into a man of cold marble enables lesser men to think they can make of him what they want. The real man disappears under the sculptor's chisel. There are marble men all over Washington, their humanity buried under the patina of the years we cannot truly understand.

U.S. sailors in the custody of Iranian naval forces. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

The befuddled president without a clue

- The Washington Times

Every president is entitled to the confidence of the nation that he means well. That includes Barack Obama, even when he retreats to his other home in a universe far, far away. He just doesn't understand what's going on here on Planet Earth, where the rest of us live. Meaning well is not enough.

"While I was proud of our candidates and the way they handled tonight's debate, the performance by the CNBC moderators was extremely disappointing and did a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. (Associated Press)

The evolution of the Grand Old Party

- The Washington Times

The Republican elites who only weeks ago played a game of "can you top this?" to see who could come up with the meanest put-downs of Donald Trump, are one by one quitting that game. It's time to hedge bets. Nobody any longer promises to retire to Timbuktu if the Donald is the nominee.

Clinton/Clinton 2016? Hillary Clinton admits she has mulled the possibility of including husband Bill Clinton on a presidential ticket. (Associated Press)

The past, never dead, gains on the Clintons

- The Washington Times

Compassionate conservatives, should in the fading spirit of the season just past, spare a tear or two for Bonnie and Clod. They look out on the world of cash and celebrity they created for themselves, and the thrill is gone. The past is gaining on them and the future suddenly doesn't look a lot better.

Justice Antonin Scalia. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

The angry man for all good reasons

- The Washington Times

Antonin Scalia is a Supreme Court justice for grown-ups. This irritates the child-like who think the law and the courts are places to take their wish lists, dreams of a summer night and cherished fantasies. Justice Scalia is their Scrooge for all seasons.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton may have an asset or liability in her husband, former President Bill Clinton. (Associated Press)

Bonnie and Clod ride again

- The Washington Times

Ol' Bubba is the gift that keeps on giving. Just when he thought it was safe to hit the road again, Hillary reminds a new generation of voters why wise and prudent men lock up their wives and daughters when Bubba's in the neighborhood.

The amazing grace of Christmas morn

- The Washington Times

The malls and the Main Streets have fallen silent. The ringing cash registers and the happy cries of children are but ghostly echoes across the silent cities.

Winston Churchill (Associated Press)

Surviving the season of the sophomores

- The Washington Times

The year 2015 will be remembered as the season of the sophomores. With their new learning, sophomores can correct all error, make all rough places plain, and fix everything that isn't working right.

Jeh Johnson (Associated Press)

The deadly dereliction of duty at the top

- The Washington Times

Franklin D. Roosevelt told a frightened nation on the eve of World War II that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself," and it was a message everyone understood. Fear paralyzes even the strong. The United States had a war to win, and paralysis doesn't win wars.

Ross Perot (Associated Press)

The pariah at the Republican funeral

- The Washington Times

The Republican elites sound like the man who was so beset by troubles and miseries that he hitchhiked to New York because there wasn't a building in his hometown tall enough to jump from.

President Obama mostly watched as the Islamic State, defeated by U.S. forces in 2009, reassembled the old al Qaeda in Iraq leadership apparatus across the border amid the turmoil of the Syrian civil war. (Associated Press)

President Obama lets a tragedy go to waste

Barack Obama can't help being who he is. He knows the words but he doesn't hear the music of America. Some of us hear it, and some of us don't. Mr. Obama doesn't want to be a wartime leader -- Washington at Valley Forge, Lincoln at Fort Sumter, Roosevelt at Pearl Harbor -- but there he is, like it or not. Everyone, friend and foe, knows he doesn't like it, and that makes him a leader who can't lead.

"We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world," President Obama said. (Associated Press)

A nation in search of leadership, not mush

- The Washington Times

Barack Obama and the Democrats have their words to live by, as set out by Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago: "Never let a tragedy go to waste." The massacre at San Bernardino is made to liberal order.

Robert E. Lee. (Associated Press)

The showboating student, hard at work

- The Washington Times

There is much to do for the student with awakened conscience. Scrubbing out the moral stains on America, to make the grove of academe the bright spot of the fruited plain, is a job bigger than anyone first imagined.

George H. W. Bush   Associated Press photo

Weak, confused and 'unable to grasp'

- The Washington Times

Many bad things happen when a leader is weak, confused and forever in search of a credible reason to do nothing. For all his softness on Islam, Barack Obama has little insight into the men who send out mobs to cry "death to America." He can't imagine that men can listen to the call to evening Muslim prayer, which so captivated him as a boy growing up in Indonesia -- "the prettiest sound on Earth" -- and be inspired to dream of bringing down death on America.

Former President George W. Bush speaks at the George W. Bush Institute at Southern Methodist University in Dallas on Feb. 19, 2014. (Associated Press) **FILE**

How Obama cooks the terrorism numbers

- The Washington Times

Barack Obama has given an eloquent testimony to a Christian faith, but his sympathies are always with Islam. He insisted from Asia that "99.9 percent of Muslims worldwide reject terrorism," and that's good news, if true. But it clearly is not.

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