National Newswatch

Charlottesville’s self-evident truths

Aug 16 2017 — Lisa Van Dusen — Like so many places in the American South, Charlottesville is beautiful and haunted. Thomas Jefferson haunts the iconic University of Virginia campus he designed like an invisible chancellor, just as Sally Hemings and hundreds of other slaves haunt Monticello as self-evident truths in the course of human events. In 2010, I took a guided tour […]

Donald Trump, disruptive surrealist

Jan 29 2017 — Lisa Van Dusen — Ten days into the previously unthinkable Trump administration, the outlines of a conceptual framework through which to view the new American president’s political philosophy are beginning to emerge amid the fog of confusion and perpetual avalanche of tweets. We can safely conclude that Donald Trump is not a realist, after a week that began with […]

Spooky Action at a Distance and the Redefinition of Power

Jan 9 2017 — Lisa Van Dusen — The Le Carré-ish tale of Russia’s narrative manipulation of America’s presidential election is more than a geopolitical inflection point, it’s an object lesson in the redefinition of power. In the two decades since the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution brought on by the internet, power has shifted from the post-Cold War status quo of […]

The Perfect Post-truth President

Nov 18 2016 — Lisa Van Dusen — Among the many unsettling developments of the incipient Trump era, Oxford Dictionaries this week declared “post-truth” its international word of the year. The term is defined by the dictionary as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” […]

President Trump? Everybody take a Valium

Nov 12 2016 — Lisa Van Dusen — The propulsion of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States has unleashed a sort of cognitive digestion process comparable to the five stages of grief that might be called the five stages of belief: astonishment, disorientation, stabilization, verification and panic. “Mixed feelings” doesn’t really begin to describe the cocktail of emotions that Mr. […]

Canada: The New Rogue State in a Crazy World

Oct 31 2016 — Lisa Van Dusen — In the single 24-hour a day multinational feed that is now the global policy universe, Canada has posted something distinctive in the content stream with the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). In a world where division, intractability, rejection, belligerence, xenophobia and protectionism have become the norm, Canada is the new rogue […]

Clinton and Trump Through the 2008 Looking Glass

Oct 25 2016 — Lisa Van Dusen — In the same way that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president of the United States can’t be judged without comparing her to the alternative, it’s impossible to watch this campaign without comparing it to another one that happened eight years, volumes of belligerent tweets and so many baskets of deplorables ago. In an era when change […]

Red Tories plan return from political wilderness

Oct 26 2015 — Lisa Van Dusen — As the Conservative Party scrambles to fashion a future without the leader that defined it for nearly a decade, its moderate, Red Tory wing is maneuvering to reconstitute the party as a centrist, national force that re-brands the Conservative label after years of what they describe as Stephen Harper’s toxic leadership. On Nov. 5, former […]

So who wants to be a senator? Anybody?

Aug 20 2014 — Lisa Van Dusen — When I was a 22-year-old press aide in Brian Mulroney’s PMO, the task fell to me one day to call Finlay MacDonald to have him approve the press release on his own Senate appointment. Finlay was one of those people — like Mike Duffy — who were already so widely referred to as “Senator” that […]