From the Left



Defunding Planned Parenthood Would Increase Abortions

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- I have to admit that my first reaction to the Planned Parenthood videos was to cringe and try to avoid the topic.

Even for those who support abortion rights, there is a stomach-churning aspect to the surreptitiously taped conversations with Planned Parenthood officials -- the coldblooded discussion, between bites of salad and sips...Read more

Clinton's New Email Fuss is No Scandal

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- The latest controversy over Hillary Clinton's emails -- the allegation that classified information was improperly transmitted on her private email server -- is, or should be, a non-scandal.

Clinton has only herself to blame for a lot of the email mess. She should have behaved like other government officials and used an official ...Read more

Trump's Anger Appeal

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Do not worry about Donald Trump becoming president. Worry, instead, about what his current -- emphasis on current -- stratospheric standing in the polls says about two things: the Republican Party and the other GOP candidates.

Granted, the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll has Trump at 24 percent among Republican and Republican...Read more

Another Civil Rights Struggle in the Carolinas

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- For all the understandable attention devoted to removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House, a civil rights struggle with far more practical consequences is playing out one state away.

In a trial that just began in a federal courthouse in North Carolina last week, lawyers for the Justice Department and civil ...Read more

Lindsey Graham is Refreshingly Unfiltered

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Ask Sen. Lindsey Graham his greatest political accomplishment, and the South Carolina Republican does not point to any individual piece of legislation. Rather, he says, it is that "I have not become job scared. I have not been so enamored with the job that I'm scared to lose it."

It is possible to respond to this with a shot of ...Read more

Two Tales of Quiet Heroism

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Heroism tends to be understood as a matter of public display -- the bystander racing into a burning building, the soldier braving fire to rescue a comrade. But there is heroism, as well, of a quieter, more self-effacing variety -- the unintentional hero, quiet but determined, who acts in the vacuum of others' complacency.

This is ...Read more

No Backlash, Mr. Chief Justice

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Writing a judicial opinion can be like fencing. One of the most effective ways to jab at an opponent is to use his -- or her -- words to make your own case.

Thus, Chief Justice John Roberts, warning in the same-sex marriage case about the harmful results of the court's intervention:

"There will be consequences to shutting down ...Read more

Justice Roberts' Constitutional Consistency

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Chief Justice John Roberts knew a torrent of conservative invective was headed his way, so perhaps praise from a left-of-center columnist is the last thing he needs.

Sorry, chief, here goes.

Roberts saved the Affordable Care Act, a second time, for the man who voted against confirming him. It was the right decision, a wise one, ...Read more

Nearing The End, Obama Finds Candor

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Forget all the focus on the one ugly word President Obama used. Pay attention, instead, to the rest of the words in his podcast interview. They offer a remarkable self-portrait of a president in the second half of his second term, both chastened and liberated.

I must confess a sniffy preference for presidential sit-downs with ...Read more

Fixing the Presidential Debates

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- The sloping red line offers a sobering prognosis for American democracy. Contained in a new report on improving the presidential debate process, it charts the precipitous decline of viewership: from above 60 percent of the voting age population in 1960, when the first televised debates were held, to under 30 percent in 2012.

In ...Read more

Clinton's Two-Step On Trade

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- On Saturday, I was impressed with Hillary Clinton. On Sunday, I was disappointed. Something tells me that the rest of this presidential campaign is going to be more of the same roller coaster.

First, the peak. Clinton's roll-out speech laid out an overarching rationale for her candidacy -- as a fighter for the middle class. She ...Read more

A Cry for Help From the FEC

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- It has come to this: The chairman of the Federal Election Commission and a fellow Democratic commissioner have filed a petition asking their own agency to do its job.

Don't hold your breath.

It's not news that the campaign finance system is out of control. It's not news that the FEC has watched, haplessly, as candidates and their...Read more

The 'Stress Cost' of the Empty Next

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- "The Stress Cost of Children."

It's all in the headline -- or, in the case of academic papers, the title -- and this one, released recently by the National Bureau of Economic Research, somehow was more alluring than its competitors coming to my attention: "Does Exporting Improve Matching? Evidence from French Employer-Employee ...Read more

For Prosecutors, Two Questionable Calls

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Not every bad act is a crime. Not every bad act that can technically be categorized as a crime should be pursued by prosecutors. And not every bad act that clearly amounts to a crime should be pursued by prosecutors in the United States.

Those thoughts are sparked by the recent indictments of international soccer officials on ...Read more

Candidates, What Do You Propose?

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- It's far too early in the campaign season to bemoan the absence of serious policy proposals from the presidential candidates -- but not too soon to set out some parameters of what those proposals, whatever the candidate's ideology, should be expected to address.

Issues of character and judgment matter, whether they involve Hillary...Read more

Clinton's Compulsive Speechifying

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Again with the speeches. The gross excessiveness of it all, vacuuming up six-figure checks well past the point of rational need or political seemliness. The ceaseless drip of information that ought to have already been released, now being presented with a self-serving back pat over transparency.

I wasn't planning to write, again, ...Read more

Bogus Case Against the Trade Deal

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- One of the most seemingly compelling arguments against the free trade legislation now before Congress turns out to be largely bogus.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), opponents contend, is being hammered out behind closed doors, a backroom deal rigged in favor of corporate interests. While the public is kept in the dark, this ...Read more

The Proof is In The Answers

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Let us talk about answering hypothetical questions, gotcha-type questions and no questions at all. That is, let us talk about Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton.

Bush first flubbed his answer Monday to a question from Fox News' Megyn Kelly about the war in Iraq.

Kelly: "Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized...Read more

A Woman Unqualified to Be President

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- How depressing is it that, out of the more than a dozen announced or prospective Republican candidates for president in 2016, only one, Carly Fiorina, is a woman. Even more depressing: that Fiorina, as long-shot as her candidacy is, would not be taken even semi-seriously were it not for her gender.

This is a tough and ...Read more

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- The quarterback arrived at Salem State University by helicopter to adoring, cheering crowds. "Most famous witch hunt victims in Salem?" read one sign. "Bridget Bishop. Rebecca Nurse. Tom Brady."

Oh please. I don't care much about football in general or Deflategate in particular. At least I hadn't until Wednesday's report ...Read more

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