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Politics

Coronating a Wounded Queen?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The most surprising revelation in recent presidential polling is not that Donald Trump has low favorability in key states -- a welcome indicator of national sanity -- but rather that Hillary Clinton's numbers are almost as bad. Put another way: A vacuous, gaffe-prone, xenophobic, conspiracy-minded reality television star whose ...Read more

Perry Emerges as a Responsible Voice

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In the early days of the 2016 Republican campaign -- an unusually important period, in which the viability of the GOP is being defended against a toxic form of populism -- some of the clearest leadership has emerged from an unexpected source: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Those Republican candidates and commentators who sought to ...Read more

Doctor's Appalling Trivialization of Life

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- At first, it seemed like an Internet hoax. A doctor, over a glass of wine and a salad, coldly describes the extraction and monetization of fetal body parts. Surely this is some kind of sick parody.

But it is not a hoax. It is Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, Deborah Nucatola, caught in a sting video by an ...Read more

Obama Plays the Lottery in the Middle East

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- As the world and the U.S. Congress examine the Iran deal's fine print, the strategic large print is clear enough. "Obama wants this [deal] as a centerpiece of his legacy," an anonymous American diplomat is quoted, "and he believes a peaceful Iran could be a bulwark against ISIS in the Middle East and the key to peace there."

The ...Read more

Defrauding the Nation's Poor

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In that portion of the presidential field that does not view self-government as a stage for self-promotion, prejudice and blithering ignorance, one of the more encouraging trends is an increasing seriousness about the issue of poverty.

Events in Ferguson and Baltimore have focused the public mind, just as the consequential ...Read more

Trump and the GOP's Dividing Lines

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Attempting to analyze political statements by Donald Trump is often a high dive into a shallow pool. But a number of conservative commentators are making the jump, discerning hidden virtues in his depiction of marauding immigrants intent on crime and rape.

While finding Trump's words "crude and reprehensible," The Weekly Standard'...Read more

Congress' Iran Moment

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Late in the evening on April 13, speaking to a meeting of about 55 senators, Secretary of State John Kerry argued against passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, claiming it would complicate negotiations. (The White House had already issued a veto threat.) At about 11:30 p.m., Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign ...Read more

Religious and Gay Rights Must Coexist

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- It is often the fate of conservatives to be concerned about the fire code and occupancy limit at someone else's party. Never more conspicuously than concerning the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, Obergefell v. Hodges.

With many friends and relatives celebrating the outcome, judicial conservatives are generally anxious about...Read more

You Can't Fight Climate Change With Denial

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Reducing Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si" to a white paper on global warming is, in George Weigel's fitting analogy, "akin to reading 'Moby Dick' as if it were a treatise on the 19th-century New England whaling industry." The whole spirit and story of the thing is missed.

The pope's sprawling, ambitious statement -- setting ...Read more

The 'Strength to Love'

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- When many relatives of those cruelly murdered in Charleston -- by a man who talked and prayed with his victims for an hour before systematically gunning them down -- publicly offered their forgiveness, it was stunning and admirable in many ways. Not least of which, it provided a contrast to our political culture. So many are ...Read more

A Campaign of Bombast and Ridicule

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump has already succeeded by provoking this column. Any form of public communication that puts "Donald Trump" within five words of "president" -- which, darn, I just did -- is a victory for the reality TV star turned presidential aspirant.

But Trump, it is now clear, will not go away by being ignored. If polling support -...Read more

The 2016 Campaign Has Truly Started

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Stealthily demonstrating one of Jeb Bush's more controversial policy views -- the need for Common Core history standards -- an "anonymous ally" is quoted in The New York Times as saying that "the culture of the Bush operation will now be a Pickett's Charge engagement with his main opponents."

Republican politicians have generally ...Read more

The Myths of Man

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- About 2 million years ago, a genetic mutation resulted in the human species -- social, restless, but consigned to the middle of the food chain, breaking open the bones of carrion for marrow after the lions left. As a species, we were pretty slow starters. For most of the first 2 million years we used the same stone tools, entirely ...Read more

Rand the Reckless

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Rand Paul's presidential campaign, by many recent accounts, is sputtering. The candidate, according to The Atlantic's Molly Ball, is "flailing." His campaign, reports National Journal's Josh Kraushaar, has been called a "disaster."

These judgments, even if true, are provisional. Pretty much any candidate in the Republican pack is ...Read more

The Call of the World's Broken Places

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

KUAJOK, South Sudan -- It is difficult to imagine a place more physically and psychologically removed from the world economy, from centers of global influence such as Washington or London -- than Warrap state (whose capital is Kuajok).

Here, wealth and status are counted mainly in cattle, which are essential for dowries (a reasonably desirable...Read more

In South Sudan, a Betrayal of Promise

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

KUAJOK, South Sudan -- "I wish," a South Sudanese female aid worker said to me, "they had waited five or 10 years before resuming the war." This is what passes for hope in South Sudan.

It was only two and a half years after independence in 2011 that war resumed. "They" are President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar, whose ...Read more

Our Hesitant Talk on Mobility

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- For both parties, the emerging theme of economic mobility is often a reluctant, second choice.

Deep down, many Democrats would prefer to focus on economic inequality. But while Americans have theoretical concerns about the income gap, they are consistently skeptical about government's role as leveler. Explicit talk of ...Read more

Religious Conservatives' Shifting Role

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The Roman historian Tacitus described Emperor Nero's persecution of Christians: "In their very deaths they were made the subjects of sport: for they were covered with the hides of wild beasts, and torn to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when the day waned, burned to serve for the evening lights."

In spite ...Read more

The Clintons' Cloud of Deviancy

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- I recall the moment when the press finally turned against Bill Clinton.

In 1998, I was a junior writer at U.S. News & World Report, then (for the children in the audience) an actual, physical weekly magazine, useful for pressing leaves or as packing material. When the word came that there was a blue dress stained with actual, ...Read more

War Lessons for the GOP

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The exhausting, occasionally horrifying experience of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars still makes it difficult for political figures to say obvious things about the past.

At the time, almost everyone supported the Afghanistan invasion -- as close to a unanimous national decision as we've seen since Pearl Harbor. At the time, based ...Read more

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