From the Left



One-Term Biden Could Prove Unbeatable

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Could Joe Biden be the man for this season?

The vice president has been running for president since Hillary Clinton was first lady of Arkansas. His first campaign, in 1988, fizzled over allegations of plagiarism.

His second, in 2008, limped to a humiliating close with Biden winning less than 1 percent of voters in the Iowa ...Read more

Stop Digging the Hole, Secretary Clinton

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Dear Secretary Clinton:

Your email problem has mushroomed from a self-inflicted nuisance to a self-inflicted wound. The reason is simple: At every decision point, you and your staff have made the wrong choice about how to proceed, erring on the side of secrecy and self-righteousness.

The damage can't be entirely undone. But some ...Read more

Trump Flunks Immigration

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's immigration proposal rests on three assumptions: that immigration hurts American workers; that illegal immigration, in particular, is linked to violent crime; and that illegal immigrants drain government resources. Each of these beliefs is belied by the available academic evidence.

(1) "The influx of foreign ...Read more

Fiorina's Flip-Flop on Clinton

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Carly Fiorina says some, well, interesting things while waiting to go on camera.

In 2010, the then-GOP Senate nominee went all middle-school-cafeteria on her Democratic opponent's hairdo. "God, what is that hair? Sooo yesterday," Fiorina, already miked up, commented, quoting an aide's assessment. Two years earlier, in the makeup ...Read more

Just Make Your Case, Mr. President

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- President Obama says those who oppose the Iran nuclear deal are either ideological or illogical. I support the deal, yet I think this assessment is incorrect and unfair. It diminishes the president's case for congressional approval.

That case is strong but not overwhelming; it is not, to use a loaded phrase, a slam dunk. ...Read more

Trump Doubles Down on Boorishness

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Everything that is wrong with Donald Trump -- that makes him such a danger to the Republican Party and to the country -- emerged in the opening minutes of Thursday's debate in his response to Megyn Kelly' question about misogyny.

"You've called women you don't like 'fat pigs,' 'dogs,' 'slobs' and 'disgusting animals,'" Kelly noted...Read more

Biden Can't Defeat Clinton--She Can Do That Herself

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Maybe Joe Biden can help Hillary Clinton get her groove back.

Or, get her groove at all. It's been sorely missing this campaign.

Clinton is at her best, or at least does best with voters, when she's down. See the misty-eyed moment in New Hampshire 2008. Clinton challenged and vulnerable is more appealing to voters than Clinton ...Read more

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


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