From the Left



Are the Castros Willing to Confess?

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Who am I to tell the pope how to be, well ... the pope? But after President Raul Castro of Cuba, an observant communist for most of his life, said he was so impressed with Francis that he was considering returning to the Catholic Church, I would have liked for the pope to first have handed him a list of political prisoners, adding, "Free these ...Read more

First Lady's Critics Have Much to Learn

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Sometimes I think that Rush Limbaugh is the dumbest man in America. This happens whenever I take him at face value and forget that he is basically an entertainer with contempt for his audience. He will tell them anything. Last week, as if to validate my opinion of him, he went after Michelle Obama for playing the "race card" at the dedication of...Read more

A Return to Nixonland?

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Rick Perlstein prefaces his book "Nixonland" by noting that in 1964 Lyndon Johnson, the liberal Democrat, won one of the biggest landslides in American history. Eight years later, Richard Nixon, the conservative Republican, won a similar landslide. What had happened in the intervening years? Quite a bit, actually -- and some of it is happening ...Read more

If Trump Runs, Others Win

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Where's the Donald?

Where is Donald Trump? He has sort of hung around presidential candidate events and even launched a presidential exploratory committee, but when the media's lists of GOP contenders are printed, the name of Donald Trump is usually nowhere to be found. The man can't get no respect.

To show you what I mean, I have in my hand ...Read more

Criticism of Comey's Comments Misguided

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

In the category of "no good deed goes unpunished," we now have the speech of FBI Director James Comey at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He said some remarkable things. The first is that he requires all his agents and analysts to visit the museum so that they can acquaint themselves with evil. The second is that he personally is so "haunted"...Read more

Being Hillary

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Ten days after I wrote a column in 2013 that was headlined "Just being Hillary Clinton isn't enough," I ran into her at a social event. She was on the way out and I was coming in and so we just chatted briefly. Referring to my column, she said, "Richard, I will have a message" and then quickly added, "If I run." Well, she's running, and ...Read more

Ol' Blue Eyes Still Sparkles

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Frank Sinatra would have been 100 years old by the end of this year (Dec. 12) and already the commemorations have begun -- an exhibition at the New York Public Library, a two-part documentary on HBO and the reissuance of several books. The music endures, but so does the dirt.

Of the dirt, there is plenty. Sinatra was lousy to his first wife, ...Read more

Lee Kuan Yew's Culture of Discipline

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Whatever the eulogists of Lee Kuan Yew told you about the Singapore he created or the Asia that seems resurgent, the praise of him says just as much about America. In editorials, essays, television commentaries and just plain conversations, we appear to be suffering from an acute case of authoritarian envy.

Lee was a disciplinarian. He ran ...Read more

When Facts Are Eclipsed by Passions

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Ferguson has become the liberal Benghazi. It is more of a cause than a place, more of an ideological statement than an incident. Ferguson was not the racist murder it was thought to be, and Benghazi was not an incident in which the Obama administration's incompetence or timidity allowed four Americans to die. The facts argue otherwise.

Both ...Read more

Hillary, in Need of An Opponent

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

In John F. Kennedy's first political race, he faced about nine opponents for a House seat. One of them was named Joe Russo, and he supposedly had the ethnic Italian vote locked up until someone else jumped into the race. By the sheerest coincidence, his name was also Joe Russo. According to "The Patriarch," David Nasaw's wonderful book, some ...Read more

Still Haunted By Our Past

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

SELMA, Ala. -- On one of my flights here, sheer luck took a liking to me. I got seated next to Thelma Adair, a 94-year-old black woman coming down from New York City for the Jubilee. It had been 50 years from when civil rights marchers were beaten bloody by the police wielding truncheons and the entitlement that comes from centuries of racist ...Read more

Israel's Moral Argument is On the Line

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Back in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party have run a campaign ad reminding voters of another time when the U.S. and Israel differed. That was 1948 at the very creation of the state. Harry Truman was the U.S. president and George C. Marshall was the secretary of state. Truman was being lobbied to recognize Israel. ...Read more

A Label's Dangerous Cost

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Looking around the world, I see little but debacles. Vladimir Putin has his way with Ukraine, treating Europe and the United States with the contempt they have so assiduously earned. Libya, where NATO intervened, is now one vast gang fight, tribes against tribes -- massacres, beheadings and widespread looting. Shall we press on to Iraq, Syria, ...Read more

Scott Walker has Questions to Answer

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

If I were a Republican, I think I might have supported Scott Walker for president. The man has a nice smile, nearly flunked French in college (so did I) and, most important, has fought for what he believes. What he believes, I must emphasize, is not what I believe but I nevertheless could respect his tenacity and adherence to principle. Until ...Read more

The Universality of Evil

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

In 1916, a man by the name of Jesse Washington was accused of rape and murder and swiftly convicted. Washington was black and the woman was white and the location was Waco, Texas, a state that in the memory of men then alive had bolted from the Union over the issue of slavery. Washington was instantly seized by a mob. In front of schoolchildren ...Read more

Anti-Semitism: The Most Durable Conspiracy Theory

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

The title of my recently published book is "Israel: Is It Good for the Jews?" When I started writing it I did not know how I was going to answer that question. The more I delved into the subject, the more I read and did research, the more I concluded that the answer is yes. The recent events in Paris make me even surer.

In the long and blood-...Read more

Netanyahu's Contempt for Obama

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

It would not surprise me if at the next Republican National Convention Benjamin Netanyahu took a seat in the delegates-from-abroad section. The Israeli leader has both allied and associated himself with congressional Republicans who differ with President Obama over whether to impose additional sanctions on Iran and who also -- let's not beat ...Read more


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