From the Left



A Rising Storm of Ethnic Fear

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Let me tell you about my boat. It has a single mast and a cabin at the stern. It is painted white with a red stripe at the water line. I bought it in Denmark, at the port from where in 1943 Danish fishermen and others transported most of the country's Jews to safety in neutral Sweden. My boat measures 5 inches long. It is as huge as the human ...Read more

A Campaign That Cuts Down the Truth

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Monday was Parson Weems Day. This is my designation to mark the voting in Iowa as the end of the first lying season. The Rev. Mason Locke Weems (1759-1825) is the source of the story about George Washington and the cherry tree. When asked by his father if he had cut down the tree, the young Washington confessed. "I cannot tell a lie," he said. ...Read more

A Presidential Subway Series

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

NEW YORK -- Has anyone noticed? If the presidential race were baseball, then what's shaping up would be called a Subway Series. But instead of the Mets and the Yankees, we're getting Trump and (maybe) Bloomberg of Manhattan, Sanders of Brooklyn and Clinton who is headquartered in the same borough. New York is back -- once again the "mudder" of ...Read more

Clinton Needs More Than a Three-Point Plan

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Hillary Clinton is the Great Underestimator. Eight years ago, she underestimated Barack Obama and now she has underestimated Bernie Sanders. We know this not only from what happened in 2008 and what is happening now but from the pitiful confessions of her campaign staff who admit they never saw Sanders coming. That's understandable. It's not so ...Read more

El Chapo Couldn't Escape the Allure of Hollywood

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

"Nothing has hurt people more in this country than wanting to be in the movies." So said Edward Hayes, a sagacious New York lawyer who has been in some movies himself and been portrayed in others ("Bonfire of the Vanities"). He has also defended bad guys who have risked life, liberty and wealth (usually cash) in pursuit of stardom. To Hayes, El ...Read more

Playing the McCarthy Game

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

In 1949, Sen. Joseph McCarthy arrived in Columbus, Ohio, to make a speech but within an hour allegedly was shooting craps. "It was a disgusting sight," according to a source, "to see this great public servant down on his hands and knees, reeking of whiskey and shouting, 'Come on babies, Papa needs a new pair of shoes.'" What Papa really needed ...Read more

Obama's False Triumph in Syria

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

By his own estimation, Barack Obama may have finally earned his Nobel Peace Prize. Speaking to a small gathering of journalists last week, the president said that by not sending ground forces to the Middle East over the last few years he had saved 100 lives per month and many billions of dollars. The math is odd, but as long as he's at it, let ...Read more

The Unbearably Brilliant 'Son of Saul'

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Sonderkommando was the Nazi term for an extermination camp prisoner who was forced to help in the hard work of murder. Routinely, the Sonderkommandos themselves were murdered and new ones took their place. The film "Son of Saul" is about one of those Sonderkommandos, a fictional creation who thinks he comes across his own ...Read more

Personalizing the Politics of Guns

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Years ago, I rushed up the stairs to the Tobacco Institute in Washington and confronted the people working there: How could you? How could you lie to us about the dangers of smoking? Everyone there was smoking, I remember that, and I either referred to a mound of bodies outside the door or wanted to. Now I want to do something similar -- rush to...Read more

The President Who Lost His Voice

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

The presidency has changed Barack Obama. His hair has gone gray, which is to be expected, and he looks older, which is also to be expected, but his eloquence has been replaced by petulance and he has lost the power to persuade, which is something of a surprise. You can speculate that if the Barack Obama of today and not Winston Churchill had led...Read more

Understanding Woodrow Wilson

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

At Princeton University, the image and name of Woodrow Wilson could soon be erased. He was the school's president from 1902 to 1910, reforming it, transforming it and setting it on the path to academic excellence. He left the school and soon became America's 28th president -- a great one, some people believe -- but he was born in the pre-Civil ...Read more

Our Common Enemy is Intolerance

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

The eminent historian and public intellectual Niall Ferguson looked at what happened in Paris and somehow saw Rome. In his column for The Sunday Times of London, he conjured up Edward Gibbon, who wrote of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon said Rome fell to barbarians who "extended the promiscuous massacre to the feeble, the ...Read more

The Story of Ben Carson

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

I have come to the conclusion that Ben Carson is a bit nuts. I say that not because I disagree with him politically, but because he doesn't seem to know what the truth is. Donald Trump, in contrast, does. When challenged, he becomes more forceful. He exhales a gale of fibs and just shoulders his way through until his interrogator, some hapless ...Read more

Even When He's Wrong, Netanyahu Feels He's Right

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Who am I to interpret the words of Benjamin Netanyahu? I am not his friend, although we do know each other, and I don't often agree with his policies and sometimes find his rhetoric about Palestinians repulsive. Yet, behind his recent and widely condemned statement that it was a Palestinian who gave Hitler the idea for the Holocaust lurks an ...Read more

Paul Ryan's Too-Familiar Struggle

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Good luck to Paul Ryan.

I am not referring to whether he will get along with the Freedom Caucus, what with its insistence on a congressional version of Magna Carta (down with the power of the speaker, up with the power of the committee barons), but whether he can make it home on the weekend to be with his kids. Many a man has pledged such a ...Read more

In Defense of the Tip

From the Left / Richard Cohen /

Danny Meyer, the New York restaurateur, may have started something. Last week, he announced he would eliminate tipping at his 13 restaurants and raise his prices. There followed a plethora of editorials and op-ed articles, most of them in support of the new policy, some of them pointing out -- as you might have guessed -- that tipping is anti-...Read more

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