From the Left



Chris Christie Channels Ralph Perk

From the Left / Mark Shields /

History, just by what it selects to remember, can indeed be cruel. Consider, for example, Republican Ralph Perk, who, during the 1970s in heavily Democratic Cleveland, was elected mayor three times. But what Mayor Perk is mostly remembered for was that day in 1972 when, while using a blowtorch to cut the steel ribbon to ceremonially open the ...Read more

Surviving Graduation Day

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It's graduation time once again. And by some unwritten but strictly enforced law of nature, every graduation must have a speaker. Before I gave my very first graduation speech, some 25 years ago, I was frankly nervous. But the advice of a priest friend calmed me down. Remember, he counseled, that the role of the speaker at any graduation can ...Read more

Answer to One Question Unnerves Democrats

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Hillary Clinton, according to the reliable Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released earlier this month, defines the 2016 presidential race. A plurality of voters now find the former secretary of state being "knowledgeable and experienced enough to handle the presidency," "effective" and able to get "things done," "willing to compromise and ...Read more

Voters Prefer Governors Over Senators for White House

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In the past 94 years, American voters have elected a total of two United States senators -- John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Barack Obama -- president. By contrast, before Obama, four of the past five men elected to the White House -- Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- were either sitting or former governors.

Why the ...Read more

A Brother's Death

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Tom Shields, my big brother, lived a long and good life. When he died earlier this month, he was widely -- and deservedly -- praised for generously giving millions to fund struggling inner-city Catholic schools and scholarships for hundreds of kids who hadn't been so lucky in life's lottery as he, our wonderful sister, Ann, and I were to be ...Read more

Wisconsin's Semi-Favorite Son

From the Left / Mark Shields /

MADISON, Wis. -- Why, during a recent visit here -- while asking some trusted Wisconsin sources for their candid assessment of Scott Walker, the state's governor, an undeclared but leading 2016 Republican presidential candidate -- did I keep thinking about a conversation I'd had 17 years ago with one of my favorite American politicians and the...Read more

The Clinton Record Unmasked

From the Left / Mark Shields /

About the time the Dodgers abandoned Brooklyn for Los Angeles, my savvy precinct captain drilled into all her workers this rule: A week is a lifetime in politics, and a month is an eternity. This should be a warning for all wise people handicapping the 2016 presidential race who have already conceded the Democratic nomination to former ...Read more

Stop Invoking Reagan; Start Heeding Him

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It was not a pretty sight. Republican officeholders in Indiana and Arkansas, having been charged by not just their political opponents but also their strongest corporate allies (think Wal-Mart and NASCAR) with damaging the states' images and the business climate by passing legislation to effectively give legal sanction to discrimination ...Read more

Drop-Out from the Electoral College

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In the cliffhanger presidential election of 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford, the Republican president, the margin of victory in 20 states (totaling 299 electoral votes) -- including California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Hawaii -- was less than 5 percent of the vote.

In 2012 when President Barack Obama ...Read more

Laughter, Still Pretty Good Medicine

From the Left / Mark Shields /

"There are three things which are real," said John F. Kennedy, "God, human folly and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension, so we must do what we can with the third." As a national candidate, the then-senator did just that. Sensitive to the charge that his multi-millionaire father was trying to buy the Democratic presidential ...Read more

Wanted: An Emotionally Secure Leader

From the Left / Mark Shields /

The late Rep. Morris Udall of Arizona, who finished second in the campaign for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination, warned his fellow citizens with the wisest of advice: "Beware of the presidential candidate who has no friends his own age and confidants who can tell him to go to hell."

That same year, an emotionally secure President ...Read more

Irish Eyes -- Not Always Smiling

From the Left / Mark Shields /

There was a lot more drinking in Washington, D.C., before May 15, 1978. That was the date, as of this writing, I had my last drink. This may help explain why I, as an Irish-American, so dread March 17 and St. Patrick's Day, which has regularly been turned into an excuse for officially sanctioned public drunkenness, forced gaiety and throwing ...Read more

Correcting the Record

From the Left / Mark Shields /

An incorrect statement left uncorrected leads often to deception, disillusion and dishonesty. Take this hypothetical: I've agreed to speak at a local event, and the emcee, in her introduction, says something like, "Mark Shields went to the University of Notre Dame, where he played basketball." It's true that Notre Dame is my alma mater and ...Read more

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