Clarence Page is a syndicated columnist and Washington-based member of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board. Among other awards, he ...

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Clarence Page

Clarence Page

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Why Bill O'Reilly gets a whopper of a pass

Why Bill O'Reilly gets a whopper of a pass

March 3, 2015

Mother Jones, a feisty investigative magazine with a left-progressive slant, has been on the warpath lately in pursuit of Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. The charge: serial exaggerations and outright whoppers of a sort that brought punishment for NBC's Brian Williams.

  • Can 'Chuy' give Rahm a run for his money?

    March 1, 2015

    Four years ago, I was surprised by how early in the evening on election night President Barack Obama's former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel won the mayoral race in Chicago, a city whose elections are historically famous for long counts.

  • Questioning Obama's patriotism is just getting started

    February 24, 2015

    Was Rudy Giuliani playing a race card when he accused President Barack Obama of not loving America? No way, the former New York mayor said later, but his litmus test sounded like he needs an eye test.

  • How Democrats lost white voters

    February 20, 2015

    While talking to black and white Republicans recently about the Grand Old Party's outreach efforts to voters of color, I wondered: What are Democrats doing to reach working-class whites?

  • Can the GOP become a less-white party?

    February 17, 2015

    Republicans are starting to show some color again. The midterm election that swept Republicans into control of both houses of Congress also brought in the party's largest group of black lawmakers since Reconstruction: Three.

  • 'Fake news' never looked so good

    February 13, 2015

    "Did I die?" That's how host Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" opened his program on the evening after he announced that he was walking away from it after 16 years.

  • A surprising defender of Brian Williams

    February 10, 2015

    If anyone would be upset with Brian Williams, I figured that it would be Doug Sterner. The decorated Vietnam veteran has made a career out of tracking down heroes who deserve to be honored and exposing the "stolen valor" of phonies who don't.

  • 'Anti-vaxxing' pits politics and public health

    February 6, 2015

    Is support for childhood vaccinations a partisan issue? Polls indicate that it isn't, yet Republicans appear to be getting stung by this needle more than Democrats are.

  • College kids can't take a joke

    February 4, 2015

    Chris Rock has stopped performing on college campuses, he said in a recent interview, because college audiences are getting "way too conservative."

  • Anti-war, pro-troops in film and in life

    January 30, 2015

    I finally went to see Clint Eastwood's Iraq War movie, "American Sniper," after a partisan culture war broke out around it. If we had debated with this much gusto before we invaded Iraq, there might not have been a war to make a movie about.

  • GOP's new motto: Every silver lining has its cloud

    January 27, 2015

    Politics sometimes leads to poetic justice. Sarah Palin can no longer mock President Barack Obama's use of a teleprompter after her own teleprompter froze midspeech.

  • GOP tries a local yokel approach

    January 24, 2015

    During her live, nationally televised Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, inserted a cute story from her childhood that seemed to offer everything a homespun narrative should offer — except a point.

  • France's skewed view of free speech

    January 20, 2015

    For some Americans France can seem like a trip back in time, not always in a good way.

  • Ignoring the slaughter in Nigeria

    January 17, 2015

    Why should the world care about Nigeria more than its own president does?

  • Europe's lukewarm ethnic melting pot

    January 13, 2015

    In the language of headline writers, he is "Muslim Man," hailed as a hero for hiding hostages during last week's terrorist attacks by Muslim fanatics in France.

  • Sorry, I am not 'Charlie'

    January 9, 2015

    Je ne suis pas Charlie.

  • Internet age can threaten freedoms

    January 6, 2015

    When media guru Marshall McLuhan declared back in the 1960s that "Every innovation has within itself the seeds of its reversal," I had no idea what he meant. But, like his other catchy quotables — "global village," "cool media," "the medium is the message" — it stayed with me. Now, in the Internet age, I am seeing proof of his prophesy every day.

  • The GOP can't shake David Duke. Does it want to?

    January 2, 2015

    Just when I thought David Duke had gone the way of the Betamax, buggy whips and record stores, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, Republican politician and jailbird re-emerged to haunt the new Republican-controlled Congress.

  • 'Selma': As relevant today as in 1965

    December 30, 2014

    It is no crushing insult to Ava DuVernay's "Selma" that experts dispute its accuracy. In today's movie culture, accuracy only matters when the movie is worth arguing about.

  • 2014 took the 'awe' out of 'awesome'

    December 26, 2014

    It was an "awesome" year. In my annual search for a word that pretty much describes the past year, I have found that almost everything, everywhere, was "awesome."

  • Support police, fight bad policing

    December 23, 2014

    In an ideal world, there should be no contradiction between support for police and opposition to bad policing. But after the coldblooded murder of two police officers in New York, it has become too easy for some to confuse one with the other.

  • Are racial differences really worse under Obama?

    December 9, 2014

    Big city mayors have to stay as neutral as possible when asked about disputes between their citizens and the police. But New York Mayor Bill de Blasio found his voice in a profoundly moving way when he responded not as a mayor but as a parent.

  • When there's video, you are the witness

    December 5, 2014

    As the tragic chokehold case of Eric Garner illustrates, police body cameras are not the solution to all police brutality complaints. But they can bring a much-needed clarity to what we're arguing about.

  • Bill Cosby: Will we ever feel the same about him?

    December 2, 2014

    When asked about recent allegations against Bill Cosby, Chris Rock fell into what for him is an unusual position. He was at a loss for words.

  • Local racial clash, national tragedy

    November 28, 2014

    When my fellow critics of Ferguson, Mo., police are reduced to arguing not whether but how hard Michael Brown hit police officer Darren Wilson, I think it is time to rethink what this scandal is all about or, more pointedly, what it should be about.

  • If Obama can't bridge racial divide, who can?

    November 25, 2014

    After a grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the death of Michael Brown, President Barack Obama stepped up to perform his unofficial yet widely presumed role: racial explainer-in-chief.

  • Obama breaks through Congress' brick wall on immigration

    November 21, 2014

    Republican fury over President Barack Obama's drastic executive action on immigration distracts from the most obvious solution: the sensible compromise that senators from both parties passed more than 500 days ago, only to have it bottled up by Speaker John Boehner in the House.

  • Will Jonathan Gruber kill Obamacare?

    November 18, 2014

    Was Obamacare sold on a pack of lies or just political spin? Questions like that have turned Jonathan Gruber, who helped create President Barack Obama's health care plan, into a possible threat to its survival.

  • President 'No More Mr. Nice Guy' Obama

    November 14, 2014

    With only two years left in his final term — and after a stinging rebuke to the Democratic Party in the midterm elections — the president is showing a new attitude: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

  • Democrats need diversity too

    November 11, 2014

    Here we go again. Big election defeats inevitably are followed by major rounds of tooth-gnashing, shirt-rending, soul-searching, finger-pointing, self-flagellating and circular-firing-squad shooting.

  • Republicans shouldn't let victory go to their heads

    November 7, 2014

    Before the votes were cast, Tuesday's midterm elections were looking like a "Seinfeld" election. Like the quirky TV comedy show, the midterms didn't seem to be about anything in particular.

  • Inject some sanity into Ebola reaction

    November 4, 2014

    Nurse Kaci Hickox is still at large, despite efforts by two governors to put her back in captivity.

  • Election deja vu: Get ready for another Clinton-Bush faceoff

    October 31, 2014

    Are you ready for "Clinton vs. Bush 2.0"? My earlier prediction that Jeb will face Hillary in 2016 is looking more certain than ever.

  • Poor Barack? Just ask Bill Clinton about extreme partisanship

    October 28, 2014

    Bill Clinton doesn't get enough credit for what he achieved as president in spite of his fierce right-wing opposition. Just ask him.

  • All kidding aside, Jon Stewart's movie tackles torture

    October 24, 2014

    Comedian Jon Stewart's debut as a movie director entertains, enlightens and even inspires. But be warned, fans of "The Daily Show": In case you haven't heard, it's not a comedy.

  • Repeating the mistakes of the AIDS epidemic with Ebola

    October 21, 2014

    We must pay attention to the mistakes of history, some wise person once said, so we can do a better job of making them in the future. That's how I feel during the current Ebola crisis when I see how well we Americans seem to be repeating the mistakes of the AIDS epidemic.

  • Obama voters: The thrill is gone

    October 17, 2014

    As President Barack Obama heads into the final half of his final term, many of us Americans wonder: Whatever happened to the fresh promise of that cheerfully charismatic optimist who dominated the political stage back in 2008?

  • Collards are kicking kale off the table

    October 14, 2014

    Collard greens are "the new kale." So say the chic eaters. But some concerned cultural guardians fear a new social and economic menace: "food gentrification."

  • Ebola: Frustrating clash between leadership and nonsense

    October 11, 2014

    Sometimes it's hard to tell which is more terrifying: Ebola or the commentary about the virus.

  • Ferguson underscores how much elections matter

    October 7, 2014

    Voter registration has surged by more than 3,000 people in Ferguson, Mo., since Aug. 9, when the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a white police officer touched off sometimes-violent protests.

  • Obama's Keystone Kops

    October 3, 2014

    Let's hope the Secret Service snafus don't spark even more attackers — or maybe I'm being paranoid.

  • Help Islamic State destroy itself

    September 30, 2014

    How smart are the American people? Smart enough to be quite skeptical of President Barack Obama's vow to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State without putting American boots on the ground.

  • Eric Holder's mixed legacy

    September 26, 2014

    Departing Attorney General Eric Holder deserves cheers for his stance on civil rights, but bemused jeers for his assaults on civil liberties.

  • Obama's election did not improve race relations

    September 23, 2014

    Whatever happened to "Obamamania"? Recent polls suggest that race relations have gotten worse since President Barack Obama's 2008 election — or, at least, that more Americans think they have.

  • Do Biden's gaffes matter anymore?

    September 19, 2014

    Our famously gaffe-prone vice president, Joe Biden, has outdone himself. He stumbled through not one, not two, but three gaffes in less than 24 hours. For him, that's a personal best or, more accurately, a personal worst.

  • Is a spanking ever justified?

    September 16, 2014

    Retired NBA star Charles Barkley exposed a hazardous culture clash in the Texas grand jury indictment of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for child abuse.

  • Obama's fight with the Islamic State

    September 12, 2014

    As he offered to the nation his prescription for the Islamic State crisis, President Barack Obama reminded me of Michael Corleone in "The Godfather: Part III." "Just when I thought I was out," sighed the young mob boss about his efforts to leave the family business, "they pull me back in."

  • Men behaving badly

    September 9, 2014

    Men behaving badly rattle the sports world — again. NFL player Ray Rice tried to stay when he should have gone while NBA team owner Bruce Levenson left despite good reasons for him to stick around.

  • Virginia meets the Chicago Way

    September 5, 2014

    When their farfetched marriage-gone-bad defense failed to save former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, from guilty verdicts in their corruption trial, I could not help but wonder: Why didn't they take a plea deal when they had the chance?

  • Why we find comfort in our tribes

    September 2, 2014

    Americans need to get out more. We're not only divided into different political parties, polls show; we are becoming different Americas.

  • Obama's inner-Rev. Al

    August 30, 2014

    It's not hard to figure out why the Rev. Al Sharpton, of all people, receives a strange new respect in President Barack Obama's White House. Every president needs a good "anger translator."

  • Press freedom under fire in Ferguson

    August 26, 2014

    Journalists in Ferguson, Mo., don't face as many risks as our colleagues in Syria, but that's not much to brag about.

  • Forgotten lessons of '60s urban riots

    August 22, 2014

    Televised scenes of fires and looters ravaging storefront buildings in Ferguson, Mo., brought flashbacks in my memory to other urban riots a half-century ago — and to lessons that Ferguson officials failed to learn.

  • Obama's other role: An uncommon scold

    August 15, 2014

    Riots in Ferguson, Mo., draw President Barack Obama into a familiar, although unwritten, part of his job description: a blend of national healer and scold-in-chief.

  • Stop 'vacation-shaming' Obama

    August 14, 2014

    Sitting on a deck chair on the family-friendly boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach, Del., typing into my digital tablet, I am wondering why people are giving President Barack Obama such a hard time for taking a vacation.

  • 'War on whites'? No way

    August 10, 2014

    U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., claims liberals are waging a "war on whites." If so, Barack Obama must be at war with himself.

  • In Africa policy, let freedom ring

    August 6, 2014

    After leaders from more than 40 African countries gathered for President Barack Obama's historic summit, we should not forget that free speech and a free press are economic development issues too.

  • Rick Perry's border campaign for president

    July 23, 2014

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a response to the crisis of unaccompanied children crossing our southern border. He's calling up the National Guard. To do what? Provide day care?

  • Don't rush to criminalize bad parenting

    July 16, 2014

    After swinging away from the notion that mass incarceration can cure all social ills, the social pendulum appears to be swinging in favor of prosecuting parents.

  • Sarah Palin says 'Impeach Obama!' but other Republicans flinch

    July 13, 2014

    Sarah Palin has joined a rising drumbeat of Republicans who call for President Barack Obama's impeachment. Democrats can barely conceal their glee.

  • New border politics: Blame Obama first

    July 9, 2014

    As thousands of unaccompanied Central American children streamed across his state's Southern border, Texas Gov. Rick Perry took a paranoid turn.

  • Barking up the wrong 'Gotcha!' tree

    August 28, 2013

    To some people, it has been said, all black people look alike. These days all black issues seem to look alike too.

  • Right-wing reflex: Blame Obama first

    May 26, 2013

    Republicans are not alone in their outrage that the Internal Revenue Service singled out tea party groups for extra scrutiny to their applications for nonprofit tax status. Nobody likes to be profiled.

  • Is Obama Richard Nixon?

    May 22, 2013

    Despite what you may hear from some of his more fevered critics, President Barack Obama's recent scandal-quakes don't appear to fall anywhere near the level of Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal. But by another Nixonian yardstick, trying to muzzle on press freedoms, Team Obama appears to have surged into the lead.

  • Obama's 2nd-term blues?

    May 1, 2013

    Was President Barack Obama really joking at Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association dinner? Or was he showing, as I suspect, early signs of the second-term blues?

  • Where Obama should hear Paul: Legal pot

    March 27, 2013

    As the nation's capital prepares to open its first legal medicinal marijuana dispensary and Sen. Rand Paul's call for legalization basks in bipartisan praise, it's time for President Barack Obama to clear the air around his own passive-aggressive position.

  • Rubio vs. an invisible Obama

    February 20, 2013

    Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's manufactured outrage over President Barack Obama's leaked immigration proposal illustrates the GOP's dilemma: They have to sound like they're doing battle with this president even when they agree with him.

  • Obama's license to kill by drone

    February 10, 2013

    If you really want Washington's chattering classes to pay attention to something, an old saying goes, leak it to the media.

  • Obama: The sequel

    January 23, 2013

    President Barack Obama's critics are shocked, shocked to hear him sound in his second inaugural address like what he is … a liberal progressive. One wonders what they expected.

  • Hidden side of Obama's race gap

    November 4, 2012

    In his 2008 "A More Perfect Union" speech, presidential candidate Barack Obama declared, "Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now." Then he tried his best to ignore it.

  • Debate winner? Barack Obama

    October 14, 2012

    In the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and his Republican challenger Rep. Paul Ryan, the real winner was off stage: President Barack Obama.

  • Obama's second-term blahs

    October 6, 2012

    After scraping around for something — anything — good to say about President Barack Obama's debate performance last week, I came up with this much: At least he didn't look at his watch.

  • Page: Revisiting the 'truly disadvantaged' 25 years later

    September 30, 2012

    Twenty-five years after sociologist William Julius Wilson's important study on urban decline and vanishing marriageable men, poverty is still with us. And we're finding lots of new ways to argue about it.

  • Obama's border blues and 2012

    October 29, 2011

    It may not rank high in polls of voters' priorities compared to jobs and the economy, yet immigration has taken on a central role in the 2012 presidential campaign drama.

  • Rick Perry rides 'Ponzi' bull

    September 8, 2011

    Rick Perry's national debut sets him up to be the party's next Goldwater.

  • Obama's Worst Week Ever

    August 9, 2011

    It didn’t take much guessing to predict who was going to win – if “win” is the right word--the Washington Post’s weekly pick for "Worst Week in Washington": President Barack Obama.

  • Beautiful day couldn't distract Daley from the issues

    April 30, 2011

    My favorite Daley moment came on a beautiful summer day during the 1996 Democratic National Convention.



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