From the Left



Trump's personal politics mean a cruel April for American cities

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

President Donald Trump's mind does not work in mysterious ways. Facing a pandemic, the president's ways and words stayed the same, but with blunt force flattening the American people.

Crisis defines character. The president's personal politics enlarged in the month of March, shaping a jagged response to a dark hour of national need.

Some ...Read more

Notes from the new normal

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

"The old custom of shaking hands fell into disuse."

The line comes from Philadelphia in the 1793 yellow fever epidemic. No hand sanitizer was available. The city was the nation's capital. Many, like Thomas Jefferson, fled. In all my history books, that simple snippet ran right up to the present tense.

And we are tense as ever. In the privacy ...Read more

A bitter spring lies before us

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- Spring is famously sweet here. Daffodils and cherry blossoms paint the land in lush colors.

My March calendar was full of fun: a concert, a bar mitzvah, a birthday dinner, a trip to my college campus in Philadelphia, an English friend coming to visit.

Sigh. The coronavirus changed all that. It came crashing down on the country ...Read more

Cure for the blues: A historic veep pledge

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- March plans are gone with the spring wind, so I'm stuck "on the pavement, thinking about the government," as Bob Dylan's lyrics go. Me and many other blue women.

Amid fears of the coronavirus contagion, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's exit from the Democratic presidential primary spread psychic pain among many American females. The ...Read more

Alice Paul's spirit lights the House

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- It was the first ray of light in the House in the long impeachment winter of discontent -- the first time I'd seen smiles brighten faces in the hall and on the floor. Female members of Congress wore purple scarves over white ensembles as they headed for celebrations with out-of-town guests.

What was up?

Alice Paul, the suffrage ...Read more

How to beat the Bernie blues

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

The Democratic Party, to hear some tell it, got crashed by outsider Sen. Bernie Sanders, a crusty Vermonter and "democratic socialist."

Party insiders swear there's no way Sanders, the field front-runner after three contests, can beat President Donald Trump. They know these things, just as they knew Hillary Clinton would beat Trump in 2016. ...Read more

History belle shares her pick of presidents

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- So, here we are on Presidents Day in Washington, the city hushed on the holiday. Picture me on the porch looking over my personal A-list.

George Washington receives visitors at his Mount Vernon plantation by the river, but reader, he was never my type. George dresses and dances like a dream yet hardly murmurs a word in company or ...Read more

Pelosi and Paul: The art and arc of resistance

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- Women painted the House shining white the night the president came to call to give the annual State of the Union address. And at the evening's end, it proved the perfect shade for tearing up his speech.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and scores of Democratic women in Congress wore suffrage white to honor the fight and right...Read more

A union is broken with a Senate surrender

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON - "The state of the union is fractured, and the reason is all me, folks. I made it my job to tear America in two and did it better than anybody, better than Lincoln."

That's what we won't hear when President Donald Trump delivers the annual State of the Union speech to the assembled Congress, Cabinet, Pentagon brass, chief ...Read more

History has its eyes on you, Senate, and if you don't know, now you know

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- Aaron Burr famously foresaw it all, in the room where it happens one winter day in 2020: the Senate chamber.

The impeachment trial of President Donald John Trump happens here. The jury is 100 silent senators. We witness the trial in the press gallery. Things swerved when Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz entered the drama to defend ...Read more

Trump meets history twin Andrew (not Jackson)

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump boastfully likens himself to Andrew Jackson in the American pantheon of presidents, but he's swaggering, scowling Andrew Johnson all over again.

They are historical doppelgangers, or twins.

Jackson, a victorious general and populist president, was made of sterner stuff than Trump. Johnson was nobody's hero.

Johnson ...Read more

The Oscars honor our very own Joker

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- He's the true dark Joker, and I don't mean Joaquin Phoenix. The actor can't hold a candle to the president, a character whose lethal whims we fear in the new year.

Has Hollywood gone Washington, or has Washington gone Hollywood? That is the question.

The Academy Award nominations bestowed the biggest kiss on "Joker," a ...Read more

Biden has a flawed foreign policy resume

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Joe Biden is picking up speed in Iowa and New Hampshire polls as the clear Democratic primary front-runner, yet President Donald Trump just threw a wrench -- or a drone -- at his foreign policy record. The president's assassination of Iran's top military commander in Iraq cracked open a messy egg in the Middle East, even as he awaits a Senate ...Read more


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