From the Left



The Largest Failure of the Obama Era

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- One little boy in a red T-shirt, lying face down, drowned, on a Turkish beach, is a tragedy. More than 200,000 dead in Syria, 4 million fleeing refugees and 7.6 million displaced from their homes are statistics. But they represent a collective failure of massive proportions.

For four years, the Obama administration has engaged in ...Read more

Trump Declares War on Demography

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- "I don't want it to be about me," Donald Trump explained at a recent event in Nashville. In other news: War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

The Trump campaign is emphatically about Trump, in a manner typical of populism from Huey Long to Hugo Chavez. The people are infallible, but they require someone who ...Read more

Trump's Ideological Nitroglycerin

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- What is Donald Trump's secret? He is a "joyful warrior" who understands the "entertainment value" of politics. He is "outrageous" and "spontaneous" and "fun to watch." Bryan Cranston, the star of "Breaking Bad," finds Trump's "I don't give a s---" attitude a "surprise benefit to the country" and "refreshing."

"I am Batman," Trump ...Read more

A Clinton Campaign Drained of Idealism

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- When the Clinton campaign stirs and moves, it is the sound of a thousand focus groups buzzing, a thousand memos fluttering, a thousand consultants consulting, a thousand talking points repeated in singsong unison. It advances like a big push at the Second Battle of the Somme -- idealism long gone, but grim duty remaining. The ...Read more

Hunting For a Miracle On Global Warming

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In recognition that Internet questionnaires get more eyeballs than earnest columns on energy policy, here is today's quiz on obscure presidential history: When President George W. Bush met Bill Gates for the first time, the topic of discussion was (A) nuclear power, (B) rural Internet access, (C) global health, or (D) all of those ...Read more

Help Trump Marginalize Himself

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In the first Republican debate, the klieg light that Donald Trump always carries around with him revealed four or five presidential candidates who, under the right circumstances, could beat Hillary Clinton. (Trump was not among them.) But there was also a moment that could predict the defeat of the GOP in 2016.

No, I'm not talking...Read more

Obama's Bitter Endgame On Iran Deal

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- President Obama's closing argument in favor of the Iran nuclear deal has become so exaggerated, so bitter, so simplified, that it risks parody.

He accuses his opponents of wanting another war -- like the last one they caused in Iraq -- and "making common cause" with Iranian hard-liners who chant "Death to America." This goes ...Read more

Congress Needs to Vote With Open Eyes

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The realist's argument for the Iran nuclear agreement is that it is the least bad deal that a conflict-weary America could secure. Now, with the nuclear issue parked (at least for a decade), we can get down to the business of strengthening friends in the Middle East and pushing back against Iran's regional ambitions.

A variant of ...Read more

A GOP Led by Trump Will Fail, and Deserve It

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- At this point in the 2016 presidential campaign, the noble, elusive stag of political rhetoric is pretty much road kill.

This judgment is unfair to a few candidates -- Rick Perry, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio come to mind -- delivering thoughtful speeches. But in portions of the Republican field, the normal limits of civility have ...Read more

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

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