From the Left



Is There Only One True Progressive?

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Mark Shields is off this week. The following is a column by Joe Conason.

In our polarized politics, the Democratic Party is trending leftward -- not as sharply or as rapidly as the Republican Party has turned toward the far right, but still the party is moving further left than a generation or even an election or two ago. The stunning rise of ...Read more

The Man Who Drowned Democracy With 'Sewer Money'

From the Left / Mark Shields /

This week marked the anniversary of the Citizens United decision, which exposed American democracy to increasing domination by the country's very richest and most reactionary figures -- modern heirs to those "malefactors of great wealth" condemned by the great Republican Theodore Roosevelt -- so it is worth recalling the false promise made by ...Read more

Campaigns Do Matter, but So Do Candidates

From the Left / Mark Shields /

If you've heard this story, please don't stop me. A major pet food company, after years of secret laboratory research by an expert crew of canine scientists, had actually formulated a new and manifestly better dog food. To introduce its creation, the company recruited an all-star marketing, packaging and advertising team. The label for the can...Read more

When Americans Really Were Exceptional

From the Left / Mark Shields /

David Brooks, a New York Times columnist and my valued colleague on PBS' "NewsHour," has told of having heard a rebroadcast of "Command Performance," a radio show that went out to U.S. troops everywhere during World War II. This particular show was aired on V-J Day -- when the Japanese surrendered, ending the war. David was impressed by both ...Read more

Clearing the Desk

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Here are a few admittedly random opinions and thoughts, more or less collected from my bedside table and pants pockets.

If the country in 2016 is to actually debate about whether to send Americans into harm's way in combat in the Middle East, let's remember the words of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who candidly wrote in "...Read more

Democrats' 3rd-Term Blues

From the Left / Mark Shields /

History tends to make Democrats nervous about the 2016 White House election. They know that since 1951 and the ratification of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- which limits a president to just two four-year terms -- there have been seven elections in which the party that has held the presidency for eight consecutive years has ...Read more

The 'Revenge' of Garrison Keillor

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Garrison Keillor is rightly known as an American author, storyteller and humorist who hosts the weekly radio variety show "A Prairie Home Companion," in which he gives his fictional hometown report from Lake Wobegon, "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and all the children are above average."

Obviously, all children ...Read more

In a World of Mercenaries, He Was a Missionary

From the Left / Mark Shields /

An oxymoron, as Miss White, my high-school English teacher taught us, is a combination of words that is self-contradictory, such as "fresh frozen," "found missing" or "guest host." But David Cohen, my treasured friend who died this week at 79, was indeed a noble Washington lobbyist who, through a lifetime of dedicated political advocacy, ...Read more

'Changing Places': The 2016 Election

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Since 1952, there have been 10 national elections in which there was no incumbent Republican president seeking a second White House term. In nine of those 10, Republican voters and the party settled early on a consensus favorite, who led the field in the Gallup Poll one year before the party's national convention, and then ratified their early...Read more

Early Returns From Ohio

From the Left / Mark Shields /

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- How important politically is Ohio? Of the nation's first 10 Republican presidents, seven of them -- from Ulysses Grant to Warren Harding -- were native sons of Ohio. In fact, no Republican has ever won the White House who did not first carry Ohio. And in the most recent 13 presidential elections, Ohio has voted for the winning ...Read more

Henry Hyde and the 2016 Republican Race

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Yes, it is true that, as a political reporter, you do find yourself liking some people you cover a lot more than you like others. For example, in my 50 years in Washington, of all the House members I have met, the late Henry Hyde -- a conservative Illinois Republican probably most widely remembered today for the amendment bearing his name, ...Read more

Improving Our Presidential Debates

From the Left / Mark Shields /

By wide consensus, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was one of the two breakout stars in the last Republican presidential debate (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was the other). Cruz is clearly a very smart man who is capable of saying some really stupid things.

The GOP griped about the CNBC debate format and questioning. During a debate recap on Fox News, Sen. ...Read more

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