From the Left



Yes, Debates 15 Months Before Election Day Do Matter

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Presidential debates, even those with 10 candidates held some 15 months before Election Day, do matter. Just recall the Aug. 11, 2011, GOP debate in Ames, Iowa, when Byron York of The Washington Examiner, in discussing the proposed combinations of spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the federal budget deficit, asked former Sen. Rick ...Read more

The Importance of the 'Like' Factor

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Bill Cohen, the former three-term Republican U.S. senator from Maine who served as secretary of defense in Democratic president Bill Clinton's second administration, offered this key to the art of winning tough elections: "I don't care how great your ideas are or how well you can articulate them. People must like you before they will vote for ...Read more

The Trap of Becoming Only a Congressional Party

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In five of the past six presidential elections, the Republican Party has lost the nation's popular vote to the Democrats. In those same six presidential contests, 18 states and the District of Columbia, totaling among them 242 electoral votes (you need only 270 to win the White House), have voted every time for the Democratic ticket. This, ...Read more

The Personal Touch

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In the matter of selecting a 2016 presidential nominee, the Republican Party could go a lot farther and do a lot worse -- and almost certainly will -- than to choose U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

What sets Lindsey Graham conspicuously apart from so many of the merchants of venom currently infecting American politics is that ...Read more

Donald Trump: In the "American" Tradition

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Lately, blows have been dealt to the conventional wisdom surrounding billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. First, the smart money told us that Mr. Trump just enjoyed all the media attention a potential White House run brought his way, that he would never actually become a real candidate. Then after Trump's rambling ...Read more

Politics and Religion Make For an Uneasy Coexistence

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Regular readers may remember the "Shields rule," about the tension between organized religion and politics. It goes like this: With but one exception, ministers, priests, rabbis and imams -- men and women of the cloth -- should stay out of all partisan American politics. The one exception, of course, is any major political fight in which the ...Read more

Marco Rubio vs. The New York Times

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. -- who, according to polls of Republican voters nationally, wins higher favorable and lower unfavorable ratings than any of the potential 2016 presidential candidates -- has shown some real nerve and more than a little brass. After The New York Times reported on Rubio's unorthodox personal finances -- including his use...Read more

The Bush Who Got It Right

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Long before he, as President George W. Bush's first secretary of state, gave the world a detailed description of Saddam Hussein's weapons program, which did not exist, and made a persuasive case for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Colin Powell was a young Army officer who had served two combat tours in Vietnam. There he had held in his arms a ...Read more

Tap-Dancing on Immigration

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Let me begin by confessing my own prejudices on the matter of immigration: I never personally had any decision to make, but -- to my great good luck -- my ancestors made the bold decision to leave their homeland and be Americans. So I benefit, every day, from the precious and totally unearned gift of being an American citizen, not by any act on ...Read more

Not Your Father's Republican Party

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Let us stipulate that Republicans have consistently been a lot more orderly than the Democrats. For example, in the past 60 years, the Republican presidential candidate who was leading in the polls one year before the party's nominating convention has become the GOP's nominee 12 months later in 13 of the 14 elections. The lone exception was ...Read more

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

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