Jim Lardner

Jim Lardner is a journalist and political activist.

Recent Articles

Have Democrats Forgotten How to Do Oversight?

Some advice from old pros on how—and why—to go after the myriad misdeeds of Trumpworld

J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press It’s time for House Democratic leaders to map out a coordinated and thoughtfully sequenced series of hearings and investigations into President Trump’s crimes. August has arrived, and not a moment too soon for the Democrats of the House of Representatives. Let us imagine them making the most of it. Picture this recess as their chance to examine past mistakes and present circumstances and to ask themselves, now that their dream of a deus-ex-Mueller has been dashed, how they might finally begin to use their own powers—the powers of the unit of government they control—to illuminate the crimes, misdeeds, and maladministration of Donald Trump, his family, his campaign, and his gang of appointees and accomplices. Let us certainly hope that question is on their minds. Meanwhile, I have posed it to a range of experts on congressional oversight, and their answers add up to something like a consensus judgment on how the Democrats...

Have You or a Loved One Embarked on a Futile Bid for the Presidency?

Has your campaign begun to attract the scorn of family, friends, pundits, and public alike? We’re here to help.

When you’re ready to reach out for help, we invite you to contact the trained professionals at Timber Hollow. We understand the hopelessness, the shame, the self-loathing, and the miscellaneous lesser feelings that have swept you into the ranks of brazenly unqualified and woefully uninspiring contenders for the highest office in the land. Call 1-800-DONTRUN for a free telephone assessment! Selecting a treatment facility is never a decision to be made lightly. At Timber Hollow, you will be entrusting your care to our world-renowned faculty of psychiatrists, social workers, nurse-plumbers, asbestos removers, chemical weapons specialists, and lepidopterists. We will partner with you to develop a customized recovery plan that, depending on your medical history and presenting symptoms as well as who happens to be working the front desk at the time of your arrival, can include group and individual counseling, bovine therapy, high-voltage acupuncture, and filtered waterboarding. The...

What? No Harvard?

Passed over in the admissions fraud story, the college on the Charles must deal with its disappointment.

Conspicuously absent from the list of colleges implicated in last week’s epic admissions scandal was my alma mater, Harvard. The story continues to unfold, of course. Perhaps in time, the Harvard community will learn of an underachieving child of privilege or two who did gain entry into our school through the good offices of William “Rick” Singer of Newport Beach, California, and his system of phony test scores, coach-bribing and manufactured records of athletic accomplishment, carried out under cover of a counseling firm called The Key. For now, however, it appears that Harvard, unlike Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, Wake Forest, and USC, was not considered worthy of the trouble and expense. I don’t know how my fellow alums are feeling. Personally, I’m disappointed. When I hear about TV stars, Wall Streeters, corporate executives and a vineyard owner spending megabucks to get their offspring into prestigious institutions of higher education and then...

How Many Manaforts Will Never Be Indicted?

Big-time white-collar larceny is seldom prosecuted. Manafort’s mistake was hooking up with Trump.

Pleading for leniency in a federal courtroom Wednesday, Paul Manafort’s lawyers pointed out that he would never have been charged in the first place “but for a short stint as campaign manager in a presidential election.” That is sadly true, and a point worthy of our attention. Manafort pled guilty to bank fraud, tax fraud and multiple counts of conspiracy after netting more than $50 million for ten years of illicit services to overseas dirtbags. And yet, had he merely resisted the temptation to offer his talents to Donald Trump in 2016, he would very probably be a free man and still in possession of most of his homes, vehicles, clothes and the other accoutrements of what Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson called an “ostentatiously opulent and extravagantly lavish” lifestyle. The “but for” scenario failed to move Judge Jackson, who added another 43 months to Manafort’s previous (and widely decried) sentence of 47 months on weightier charges...

On Beyond Howard: Let’s Think About Bigger Things than a Schultz Candidacy

Our real challenge is to come out of 2020 with a progressive government.

It’s been fun, the Howard Schultz blowback. Sources close to Schultz say he was seriously unprepared for the experience of being called an egotistical billionaire asshole by just about everyone he had not hired to help his presidential candidacy boot up. Perhaps the response will lead the Starbucks founder to decide he is not our great national savior after all. I join with many others in wishing him a speedy journey to that conclusion. That said, I suspect there is a warning here not just for Schultz but for us, his critics. To begin with, we should watch out for the danger of thinking small—of approaching the 2020 election from a place of fear. Behind the anti-Schultz mobilization lies the nightmare of another close contest in which victory is undone by the combination of third- and/or fourth-party candidates and a less than ideal Democratic nominee. Memories of 2000 and 2016 make that scenario vivid. Anticipation of a second Donald Trump term makes it horrifying.But a...