From the Left



Thank you Arizona for your unique gift

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It approaches a year since Sen. John McCain departed these earthly precincts. He is rightly missed for his principled leadership, for his maverick ways and for his -- now increasingly rare -- ability to reach out and collaborate effectively with senators across the partisan divide. I miss all those qualities, but I miss John McCain, too, for his...Read more

What presidential debates teach us

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Listening to debates among presidential primary candidates invariably reminds me of the 1974 Democratic primary for New York governor. To set the scene: In November of 1973, Republican Nelson Rockefeller, four times elected chief executive of the Empire State who would later be chosen by President Gerald R. Ford to become the nation's 41st vice ...Read more

Can Democrats ever get to the fourth stage?

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It is time to remind ourselves of the Four Stages of Political Defeat and whether the losing side -- in this case, the Democrats who suffered an unexpected and stinging rebuke in 2016 -- will be able to recover and compete.

Because political parties are composed of human beings, when a party loses a big election, there is an understandable ...Read more

Stop looking for a democratic Donald Trump

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Our vote for president is the most "personal" vote we Americans get to cast. We're far more likely to base our choice for the U.S. House or the Senate on issues -- such as health care costs, immigration or the environment -- than we are our presidential choice. In a presidential campaign, we voters are beneficiaries or victims of an information ...Read more

Ross Perot, truly one of a kind

From the Left / Mark Shields /

As someone who was lucky enough to cover the 1992 presidential campaign --involving Republican incumbent President George W. Bush, Democratic challenger Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and the independent maverick, Texas billionaire businessman Ross Perot -- from start to finish, allow me to make one semi-important point: Perot was not at all like ...Read more

Unintended consequence of summer of '19

From the Left / Mark Shields /

At least three score years ago, my savvy precinct committeewoman impressed upon me an immutable political truth: Every election is not about the candidate(s); no, every election is about the voters ... and about the future. I'm relieved that my precinct committeewoman was not around to hear the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates ...Read more

Democrats are organizing a circular firing squad

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Mo Udall, the legendary Democratic congressman from Arizona, was brutally candid about his party's bad habit of succumbing to intramural recriminations that became the political equivalent of a civil war in the leper colony. "When Democrats organize a firing squad, they form a circle," Udall wisely observed.

Politics, let it be noted, is a ...Read more

Lies the liars tell

From the Left / Mark Shields /

When politicians talk in private, they regularly use a cruel shorthand. For example, a candidate who is uninformed, unreflective and uncurious is often branded a "lightweight," as in, "He is so lightweight he could tap-dance on a souffle." Conversely, a "heavyweight" would be a politician of some substance, some political clout and personal ...Read more

'We' once did fight wars

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Beneath the perfectly manicured lawns and under the pines and elm trees at the Normandy cemetery lie 9,388 Americans who died during D-Day or in the liberation of France that followed. Among them is a most unlikely combatant, a 56-year-old Army officer who was a wounded veteran of World War I also suffering from a heart condition and arthritis. ...Read more

Understanding why Donald Trump loathes John McCain

From the Left / Mark Shields /

The guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, "Big Bad John," was christened in 1992 in honor of the U.S. Navy's first father-son duo of four-star admirals, "Slew" and Jack. On July 12, 2018, their son and grandson respectively, retired Navy captain and U.S. Sen. John S. McCain III was added to the official namesake of that Navy ship in a ...Read more

Remember: American politics is very imitative

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It's a better than even bet that in Massachusetts today there is more than one ambitious young Democratic candidate running for local office who is deliberately pronouncing the word "again" so that it rhymes with "a pain." Why, you logically ask? Because that's how the martyred John F. Kennedy pronounced "again." American politics and campaigns ...Read more

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