From the Left



This Awful But Illuminating Campaign

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

I have a man in mind. He is in his 60s, successful, handsome in his way with a commanding voice, an apartment in the city, a place in the country and a driver to take him there. Before I had ever met him, I knew him by reputation. So, in a far different way, did lots of women. At a dinner party, his hands roam under the table.

After I learned ...Read more

Trump Files for Moral Bankruptcy

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Over the weekend, Donald J. Trump did what he always does when things go south for him. He walked away. He announced he is not the man at 70 he had been at 59 when he had boasted of sexual assault, and he pledged "to be a better man tomorrow." With that, he effectively declared moral bankruptcy, paying about a dime on the dollar of sincerity.

...Read more

Obama Can Still Act to Quell the Syrian Horror

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

The New York Times' David Sanger had an interesting observation in a recent article on Vladimir Putin's bizarre foreign policy. Russia, Sanger wrote, is a "declining economy with the gross domestic product of Italy." So how come it manages to push around the United States, which has the world's biggest economy and, as President Obama put it just...Read more

Aleppo is the Lesson the World Always Seems to Forget

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

In April of 1937, the war planes of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy chose a market day to bomb a Basque town, one of the first times a civilian population was deliberately targeted. Pablo Picasso, a native of Spain, quickly reacted by depicting the horror in his famous mural named for the town, "Guernica." It was finished by June. If he were ...Read more

A Frightening Precedent for Trump's Disregard of the Truth

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

The Economist, a fine British newsmagazine, is rarely wrong, but it was recently in strongly suggesting that the casual disregard for truth that is the very soul of Donald Trump's campaign is something new under the sun. The technology -- tweets and such -- certainly is, but his cascade of immense lies certainly is not. I'd like to familiarize ...Read more

Clinton's Lack of Transparency Could Prove Fatal

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

NEW YORK -- Frank Luntz, the Republican political consultant, is a master of the political epigram. Under his tutelage the estate tax became the death tax and global warming became climate change. So Luntz, once again going to the heart of the matter, recently put an either-or question to a group of about 50 people: What would you rather see, ...Read more

Trump's Check to Voters Will Forever Be in the Mail

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Some time ago, the public intellectual Milton Himmelfarb put his finger on what the current presidential campaign is all about. Referring to his fellow Jews, he said that they "earn like Episcopalians, and vote like Puerto Ricans." Never mind the rearview mirror of PC tut-tutness, what Himmelfarb had observed was that not all the people all the ...Read more

The Alchemy of Turning Bribes Into Gifts

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Back when I worked for the claims department of a major insurance company, I got stuff. Some of the stuff consisted of tickets to Broadway shows and sporting events and sometimes I got bottles of booze, Canadian Club being a popular choice for some reason. These items were tendered to me by auto appraisers, repair shops and other firms, large ...Read more

Trump's Hollow Yet Damaging Charge of Fraud

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

At the time Germany signed the armistice ending World War I, no battles had been fought on its territory and no foreign army had invaded it. The German people suffered greatly -- food shortages and the like -- but defeat to many did not seem to come from the battlefield in front but from traitorous civilians from behind. This came to be known as...Read more

Has Trump Jumped the Shark?

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

The other night, I went to a dinner party. The guests were all friends of mine -- a scattering of writers and some business people -- and we talked about the ouster of Roger Ailes amid a sexual harassment scandal and wondered why he was awarded a multimillion-dollar settlement and we talked about the travails of his boss, that incredibly ...Read more

My Trump Addiction

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

PARIS -- I awake to brilliant sunshine. It is a glorious day here on the Left Bank, a short walk from the storied cafe Les Deux Magots where I'm told Hemingway has preceded me. What shall I do today? There is a wonderful exhibition of Picasso sculptures at the Picasso Museum and one of contemporary Chinese art at the Louis Vuitton Foundation and...Read more

Trump Dishonors the Ultimate Sacrifice

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Donald Trump betrays the betrayed.

In his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Trump accurately and forcibly identified his core constituency and explained his candidacy:

"Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored and abandoned. I have visited the ...Read more

If Hillary Clinton Were a Man

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

What if Hillary Clinton were a man? What if she were a 68-year-old man rather than a 68-year-old woman? Would we think differently of her? Her raised voice would be lower. She would be better at physically commanding the stage. Her indomitability might be seen as manly. If she were taller and bigger, might she have been able to get away with ...Read more

Pining for Obama

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Calvin Trillin, the Mark Twain of our times, once wrote that sooner or later in a new administration, he starts to miss the preceding one. I know precisely how he feels. I already miss the Obama administration.

I am not being precipitous. The next president of the United States is going to be Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Neither one has ...Read more

Clinton Survives Another Salem Trial

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Just as there was never any doubt that Bill Clinton had sex with "that woman," there was never any doubt that Hillary Clinton mishandled her emails. And just as there was never any doubt that the Republicans overreacted to Bill Clinton's shenanigans, so too is there no doubt that they have done the same over Hillary's server. Something about the...Read more

Butterfly Wings That Didn't Flutter

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

What shall we call the butterfly?

The butterfly I have in mind is the one that illustrates chaos theory: It flutters its diaphanous wings, stirring the slightest breeze, which connects with others until, thousands of miles away, it forms the essential ingredient for a hurricane. Can we call this butterfly Brexit?

I mean, why not? It qualifies....Read more

Trump Ain't Got No Class

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

For the Trump kids, it may be time for another meeting with dad. A previous one resulted in the canning of Corey Lewandowski and his exiling to CNN. Since then, the plight of the Trump campaign has become even more dire: Donald Trump has fallen in the polls and he made a perfect fool of himself in Scotland, possibly a personal best. Now, though,...Read more


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