From the Left



Francis' Antidote To Cynicism

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- This can be a very cynical city. Yet there were many moments on Wednesday when cynicism seemed to dissolve -- and I don't think I felt this just because I'm a Catholic who admires Pope Francis.

This city also rarely sees moments where Jim McGovern and Paul Ryan are genuinely happy about the same thing, McGovern being one of the ...Read more

Americans And The Needs Of Strangers

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Why should the United States take in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees? Should we make policy on the basis of searing pictures? How much suffering is never photographed or televised and therefore ignored? And what is our obligation to strangers?

Humanitarians might view such questions as a form of heartlessness. Yet those who ...Read more

A Pollster's Moral Core

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- On election night, 2004, George W. Bush seemed headed for re-election by a small but clear majority, and Andy Kohut was excited.

He and I were working that evening at NPR. Andy was then president of the Pew Research Center and his organization's final poll had Bush winning by three points over John Kerry.

Watching Andy's obvious ...Read more

The Right Question About Government

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

SAN FRANCISCO -- Many conservatives and most libertarians argue that every new law or regulation means that government is adding to the sum total of oppression and reducing the freedom of individuals.

This way of looking at things greatly simplifies the political debate. Domestic issues are boiled down to the question of whether someone is "pro...Read more

Iran And The Case For Realism

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Foreign policy debates rarely get away from being reflections of domestic political conflicts, but they are also usually based on unstated assumptions and unacknowledged theories.

That's true of the struggle over the Iran nuclear agreement, even if raw politics is playing an exceptionally large role. There are many indications ...Read more

Trump's Video Game Mastery

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- This summer's political madness was nicely captured by a confluence of events over the last few days: While global financial markets teetered, the campaign news was dominated by Donald Trump's personal feuds with journalists.

Trump's insults directed toward Fox News' Megyn Kelly and his confrontation with Jorge Ramos, Univision's ...Read more

When Yeats Comes Knocking

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- W. B. Yeats' "The Second Coming," written in 1919, is my nominee for the most cited poem in political commentary. The line invoked most -- "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -- is irresistible. It's always tempting to assume that the side we oppose brings vast reservoirs of demonic ...Read more

What Bernie's Moment Means

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The exhaustive and exhausting analysis of the Fox News debate promises to produce days more of Trump-mania. It's thus an excellent time to ponder the other big surprise of the 2016 campaign: the Democrats' extended Weekend at Bernie's.

No one is more amazed about the buoyancy of his presidential candidacy than Bernie Sanders ...Read more

Only Losers Out-Trump Trump

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The Fox News debate this week ought to be an occasion for the Republican Party's presidential candidates to put new and innovative ideas on display. At the center of the discussion should be last Friday's report about the historically anemic wage growth during this year's second quarter.

Here's guessing that the previous paragraph...Read more

Trump Has The GOP Establishment's Number

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The problems that bother us most are the ones we bring on ourselves. This is why Republicans are so out of sorts with Donald Trump. The party created the rough beast it is now trying to slay.

When Trump gave out Lindsey Graham's cellphone number on Tuesday at an event in the South Carolina senator's home state, he did it to show ...Read more

The Kasich-Walker Debate

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Republicans won't win the presidency in 2016 without making inroads in the Midwest. Happily for the GOP, two Midwestern governors are running for their party's nomination.

Both won re-election in 2014. The one from the state with more electoral votes won with 64 percent of the vote with wide appeal to Democrats and independents. ...Read more

Will Washington Blow Up Again?

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to politics, attention is now being lavished on the 2016 presidential campaign. When it comes to economics, the bright lights are on the Greek crisis. The nation's capital seems almost sleepy, a relief from the bitterness of manufactured showdowns and an actual shutdown.

All of which could be a false dawn of comity ...Read more

Liberated By Grace

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- For those who see religion as primarily an opiate, African-American Christianity offers a riposte. For those who see Christianity itself as a faith that encourages quiescence and conservatism, the tradition of the black church is a sign of contradiction.

Over the last few weeks, white Americans who never paid much attention to the...Read more

The Right To Be Free From Guns

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Advocates of a saner approach to guns need a new strategy. We cannot go on like this, wringing our hands in frustration after every tragedy involving firearms. We said "Enough" after Sandy Hook. We thought the moment for action had come. Yet nothing happened. We are saying "Enough" after Charleston. But this time, we don't even ...Read more

Charleston And The Politics Of Evasion

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- We Americans are exceptionally good at evasion when we want to be. Our skills in this sphere are particularly impressive on the matter of race and the subject of guns.

Nonsense, you say. Have we not been talking about race and racism for our entire history? Our conversations have been especially intense in recent years -- about ...Read more

Valuing The Family

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Between now and the 2016 election, we need to have a searching national debate over family values.

It will not be about whether we as a country are for them. We are. What's required is a grounded and candid discussion about what those words actually mean.

Note that I did not follow the convention of putting quotation marks around...Read more

The Politics Of You

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Whenever some new allegation threatened Bill Clinton's presidential candidacy in 1992, he had a go-to response throughout the campaign.

"This election isn't about me," he'd tell voters. "It's about you." He said "you" with such force that it would come out as a two- or three-syllable word.

Hillary Clinton, who has picked ...Read more

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