From the Left



The wider Trump scandal

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- President Trump's budget demonstrates the costs of accepting lies as a normal currency in politics, broken promises as a customary way of doing business, false claims of being "populist" as the equivalent of the real thing, and sloppiness as what we should expect from government.

Trump's fiscal plan was described as dead before ...Read more

Can the pope save Trump?

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- If anyone ever needed a conversion experience -- and fast -- it is President Trump. The issue here is not switching religions. What he could use is an honest examination of his conscience, his attitude toward himself and others, and his approach to what it means to be a leader.

Even to suggest such a possibility seems absurd, more...Read more

A quick end would be better

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- There is really only one issue in American politics at this moment: Will we accelerate our way to the end of the Trump story, or will our government remain mired in scandal, misdirection and paralysis for many more months -- or even years?

There is a large irony in the politics behind this question. The Democrats' narrow interest ...Read more

The autocrat returns

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- President Trump's opponents have spent his administration's first month engaged in an unusual but important debate: Is Trump a problem because he is incompetent or because he harbors autocratic designs that threaten American democracy itself?

At the end of his first 100 days, the debate was tilting toward ineptitude. Trump didn't ...Read more

Trump's Comey misfire

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is one of the shrewdest politicians of his generation. But by speaking Wednesday on the Senate floor in defense of President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, McConnell made what is likely to stand as the most important mistake of his long political career.

McConnell, who is ...Read more

Macron won -- now comes the hard part

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The voters of France acted responsibly and decently on Sunday. But they also sent a warning.

France's new president-elect is Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old centrist whose 2-to-1 victory over the National Front's Marine Le Pen offered yet another sign that the rise of President Trump is not the harbinger of a new and unhinged form ...Read more

The Anti-Health-Care Bill's staggering indecency

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- We should never forget May 4, 2017.

It should forever be marked as the day when the House of Representatives descended to a new level of cruelty, irresponsibility and social meanness.

The lower chamber has always claimed to be "the people's house." No more. It should now come to be known by other names: the house of selfishness, ...Read more

Jimmy Kimmel's philosophy lesson

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Those of us in the world of column-writing and policy wonkery ought to be humbled: It often takes a celebrity, preferably a comedian, to break through with an argument that transforms public understanding.

In particularly successful cases, the celebrity demolishes conventions and blurts out a deep truth that only occasionally ...Read more

Trump’s true 100-day achievement

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- In the outpouring of commentary on President Trump’s first 100 days in office, his greatest single achievement is almost never mentioned, which is itself a sign of what a major triumph it is: We are not talking much about whether Russia colluded with Trump’s campaign to help elect him.

Our distraction was not inevitable. ...Read more

Sessions’ island of reaction

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Imagine if I began a column about Attorney General Jeff Sessions this way: “I really am amazed that an attorney general who hails from a former Confederate state in the Deep South can issue a series of orders wrecking efforts to reform police practices, cutting back on voting rights and restarting the war on drugs.”

The ...Read more

Our government is not a Trump property

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Two issues are paramount in American politics. The first is whether President Trump will get away with his arrogant dismissal of the public’s right to a transparent government free of corrupting conflicts of interest. The second is whether those who would hold him to account remain focused, mobilized and determined.

They are ...Read more

Trump: Now it’s Bannon’s fault

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- President Trump rose to power on a combination of meanness, incoherence and falsehoods. His strategy depended almost entirely on playing off the unpopularity and weaknesses of others.

Every aspect of his approach has blown up on him since he took office, but as is always the case with Trump, he will not take any personal ...Read more

Syria and the Obligations of Trump’s Critics

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- On Aug. 20, 1998, American Tomahawk cruise missiles hit sites in Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The targets of the assault, ordered by President Bill Clinton, were Osama bin Laden and his band of terrorists.

In light of what would happen three years later, on Sept. 11, ...Read more

The Supreme Court as Political Machine

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Why are Democrats filibustering Judge Neil Gorsuch? Because they’ve had enough with the politics of power grabbing and bullying.

At the root of this fight is a long-term conservative effort to dominate the Supreme Court and turn it to the political objectives of the right.

This is thus about far more than retaliation, however ...Read more

Trump and the Bear in the Woods

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- It is jarring to see pro-Trump conservatives indifferent or even hostile to investigations of Russian intervention in the 2016 campaign. Just a few years ago (it feels like an eternity), conservatives were jumping all over President Obama for his Russian “reset” and his first-term eagerness to negotiate with Moscow.

Even ...Read more

Drowning Out the Working Class

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Whatever happened to the interests of the working class? Weren’t they supposed to be front and center in the Trump administration?

Here’s one clue: When a policy that helps some corporate sector can be repackaged to make it look like a pro-worker move, President Trump will always hide his real purpose behind a phalanx ...Read more

The GOP’s Lost Health Care Conscience

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- I really miss liberal Republicans. People like Mitt Romney.

No doubt the former Massachusetts governor would be aghast at being called such a thing. Of course Romney is not a liberal in any conventional sense. But 11 years ago -- it now seems like a lifetime -- Romney acted in the great tradition of liberal Republicans. He saw a ...Read more

Gorsuch’s Convenient Untruth

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- With a shrewdly calculated innocence, Judge Neil Gorsuch told a big fat lie at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Because it was a lie everyone expected, nobody called it that.

“There’s no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge,” Gorsuch said.

Gorsuch, the amiable veteran of many Republican campaigns, is ...Read more

‘Trump’ Doesn’t Translate into Dutch

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- President Trump might do the world a perverse favor. Voters in Western Europe appear to be looking at what America has brought upon itself and deciding: “We sure as heck don’t want to go there.”

Thus did the Netherlands slap back the ethno-nationalist far right in its elections last week. The forces of tolerance and ...Read more

Health Care and ‘The Virtue of Selfishness’

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

The novelist Anatole France’s mischievous observation came to mind when the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the Republican cut-taxes/gut-Medicaid bill and its ...Read more


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