By Tom Johnson | May 1, 2016 | 8:57 PM EDT

Several decades ago, there were plenty of right-of-center Democrats and left-of-center Republicans. These days, however, almost everyone agrees that the Democrats have become a distinctly liberal party and the GOP a distinctly conservative party. One who disagrees in part is writer Conor Lynch, who in a Saturday article claimed that Republicans have transitioned out of true conservatism and now are “extreme nihilists” who have “embraced Bolshevism of the right.”

Lynch noted that pundits such as George Will and David Brooks “have widely condemned Donald Trump as a fake conservative, and they’re not wrong. Trump is clearly not conservative—but neither is the Republican Party...[which] has become an increasingly friendly place for…the kind of characters who used to make up the John Birch Society…For the sake of John Boehner’s mental well being, he is lucky he got out when he did.”

By Tom Johnson | April 27, 2016 | 9:17 PM EDT

Last week, a long Vox essay by Emmett Rensin asserted that “contempt” for supposedly “stupid” blue-collar whites -- in response to the exodus of those voters from the Democratic party -- has become pervasive among liberals. The piece has gotten some pushback from lefty writers, including Slate’s Jamelle Bouie, who thinks that Rensin greatly overestimates the spread and influence of what Rensin called the “smug style in American liberalism.”

“The driving reason working-class whites abandoned the Democratic Party is race,” commented Bouie in a Friday piece. “The New Deal coalition Rensin describes was devoured by its own contradictions, chiefly, the racism needed to secure white allegiance even as the party tried to appeal to blacks…Pressed by those blacks, Democrats tried to make good on their commitments, and when they did, whites bolted.”

By Tim Graham | April 25, 2016 | 2:46 PM EDT

In a sure sign Obama is a lame duck, Sunday’s Washington Post carried a gushy article by assistant managing editor David Maraniss. The subhead was  “Obama set out to be a leader of consequence; From the Affordable Care Act to the opening of relations with Cuba, Obama will leave behind a legacy of liberal achievement.”

In a 2,863-word article that's overblown in length and historical scope, Maraniss said Obama ambitiously sought to be an ideological counter-balance to Ronald Reagan in the greatest-president category, and “It is now becoming increasingly possible to argue he has neared his goal.”

By Matt Philbin | April 25, 2016 | 12:20 PM EDT

As Bernie and Hillary continue try to outstrip one another in the Great Pander Off of 2016, it seems like an eternity ago that there was an actual grownup in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it was only in October that Jim Webb gave up his run. 

By Brent Bozell | and By Tim Graham | April 23, 2016 | 7:57 AM EDT

HBO should stand for History Bungling Office. Over and over again, they have abused their disclaimer that “This film is a fact-based dramatization.” They re-litigated Al Gore’s 2000  “victory” in Recount. They viciously cartooned Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential candidacy in Game Change. Now they’re smearing Clarence Thomas as a pervert and painting Anita Hill as a saint of sexual harassment in Confirmation.

The makers of this “fact-based” movie claim it’s balanced. Baloney. The advertisements give away the game. Over the face of actress (and executive producer) Kerry Washington playing St. Anita are the words “It only takes one voice to change history.”

By Tom Johnson | April 20, 2016 | 8:55 PM EDT

Eight Is Enough was a popular television series in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Dahlia Lithwick hinted in a Saturday article that a show about Republicans’ sour attitude toward the current Supreme Court situation might be called Eight’s Not Enough, with the key role played in absentia by Antonin Scalia.

Lithwick theorized that for Republicans, “the 2016 term was meant to be the Supreme Court’s year to destroy Obama…Had [Scalia] lived until July the docket was full of poisoned pills and silent time bombs that would have exploded in President Obama’s face this summer…GOP senators aren’t just angry about losing Justice Scalia’s seat. They are angry because the court as the weapon of choice to screw the president has been taken from them, and they want it back.”

By Tom Johnson | April 18, 2016 | 9:27 PM EDT

Confirmation, HBO’s new “fact-based dramatization” of the October 1991 Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill clash, reminded Jill Abramson, a former New York Times Washington bureau chief, managing editor, and executive editor, of “more recent congressional proceedings” that featured both “a lone woman witness” and copious Republican misogyny.

“Hillary Clinton was the star of this show trial, the Benghazi hearings last fall,” wrote Abramson in a Friday column for the U.S. edition of the liberal British newspaper The Guardian. “Both sets of hearings were billed as fact-finding exercises, but turned out to be poisonous displays of partisanship. The Republican attack machine was turned, full force, on both witnesses. With stoicism and poise, both Hill and Hillary withstood the onslaught to fight other, more important battles.”

By Christian Toto | April 16, 2016 | 6:55 AM EDT

 We're about to re-live the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings all over again, courtesy of HBO. The respected pay channel debuts Confirmation at 8 p.m. EST April 16. The movie casts Kerry Washington as Anita Hill, the law professor who claimed Thomas sexually harassed her in the work place.

Some of the real-life Republicans who played key roles in the film aren’t happy about the production. They cite an early version of the script they deemed unfair and floated potential lawsuits against its depictions. Who’s right? We won’t know until the film debuts, but here are four signs Confirmation may be heavily tilted in Hill’s favor:

By Tom Johnson | April 13, 2016 | 9:58 PM EDT

Author and former Fox News Watch panelist Gabler may or may not have a position on “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” but he does believe that when it comes to Hillary (and Bill) Clinton, “the scandals didn’t create the meme of untrustworthiness about them. The meme of untrustworthiness created the scandals.”

In a piece that ran Tuesday on Salon and was originally published at BillMoyers.com, Gabler contended that the MSM “should have been a firewall against…allegations” such as the Whitewater “non-scandal,” but “instead…were an accelerant." On more recent matters, Gabler wrote that Hillary has been “exculpated” regarding Benghazi and commented, apropos of the e-mail uproar, that “the media don’t want to kill the story any more than the Republicans do. It’s just too delicious.”

By Tom Johnson | April 1, 2016 | 12:14 PM EDT

Call it the golden mean or the vital center, Mother Jones blogger Drum is for it with regard to economic systems. Drum contended in a Tuesday post that “the mixed economy is the only way to run a modern country” since the other choices, a “pure free market” and “socialism,” have unacceptable consequences.

By Tom Johnson | March 29, 2016 | 1:51 PM EDT

Conservatives and liberals often agree that the media have played an outsized role in making Donald Trump the Republican presidential frontrunner but differ about how they’ve done it. (Here’s a view from the right.) Lefty Esquire blogger Pierce argues that the list of offenders in this regard is long; in fact, it includes every journalist who’s failed to point out over the last few decades that the GOP has been going out of its mind.

“You know who in the media really created He, Trump? Anyone who laughed at Ronald Reagan's casual relationship with the truth and with empirical reality,” declared Pierce in a Monday post. “Anyone who draped [George W. Bush] in a toga after 9/11. Anyone who cast Newt Gingrich as a serious man of ideas. Anyone who cast Paul Ryan as an economic savant…Anyone who watched the conservative movement, the only animating force the Republican party has, drive the party further and deeper into madness…Trump merely has taken the bark off ideas that were treated as legitimate for far too long by far too many people.”

By Tom Johnson | March 27, 2016 | 2:20 PM EDT

Conservatives have objected in droves to a remark President Obama made this past week during his visit to Argentina. Addressing a gathering of young adults, Obama said, “In the past there’s been a sharp division…between capitalist and communist or socialist…but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works.”

The right’s hostile response, contended The Washington Monthly's David Atkins in a Saturday post, is indicative of its longstanding “failure to acknowledge policy realities…The leadership and media organs of the conservative movement remain obsessed with promoting ideology over practicality so much that [Obama’s comment] somehow becomes a fundamental betrayal.” Long ago, wrote Atkins, “capitalism won the war of ideas and appropriately so—but that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect system. Modern Republicans have totally lost sight of that fact.”