From the Left



What Gerald Ford could teach Beto O'Rourke in 2018

From the Left / Mark Shields /

When people learn that I have spent the past 50 years either working in or covering the past 13 presidential campaigns, I'm often asked my opinion of what was the best-run national campaign.

My answer -- the losing 1976 Republican presidential campaign of President Gerald Ford -- surprises some people.

Consider the facts: On Labor Day 1976, ...Read more

The irrationality of baseball fans knows no bounds

From the Left / Mark Shields /

American philosopher Jerry Seinfeld famously exposed how irrational we American baseball fans must be: "Team loyalty is a kind of hard thing to justify, in the end. ... Every year, it's different guys. ... You're rooting for clothes, when you get right down to it. ... I want my team's clothes to beat the clothes from the other city. It's laundry...Read more

Timeless -- and wise -- advice

From the Left / Mark Shields /

On a Sunday morning two days before the crucial California presidential primary, hundreds of college-age volunteers crowded into their candidate's campaign headquarters on Market Street in San Francisco to get their marching instructions for getting every registered voter the campaign had identified as backing Sen. Robert Kennedy to the polls on...Read more

Why do I like Jeff Flake so much?

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Not for the first time, the criticism reads: "Why don't you admit it, Shields? You reflexively like politicians." It's true. I do like most people who dare to run for political office.

For me and most people I know, our lives are a succession of unpublicized setbacks and occasional wins. If you and I were the two finalists for the same ...Read more

In economic boom, how can Trump be a political liability to the GOP?

From the Left / Mark Shields /

The stock market has just hit a new historic high. Median household income in the U.S. is higher than ever. Fewer laid-off Americans are today forced to file for unemployment benefits than at anytime since 1968, when the U.S. civilian labor force of 81 million was one-half of today's 162 million. With the 2018 midterm elections only little more ...Read more

Downside of being right

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It is always dangerous to be right, noted Voltaire, in matters where the established authorities are all wrong. In 2002, barely a year after the attacks of 9/11, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, three papers that rarely agree editorially on anything more controversial than the observance of Mother's Day, all ...Read more

Not taking oneself too seriously

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Mostly missing from the moving and deserved tributes to Sen. John McCain was attention to McCain's gift for self-deprecating humor. When a Gallup Poll, during his last Senate term, showed that only 11 percent of the public had a favorable view of the U.S. Congress, McCain noted that when you're at 11 percent favorable, it basically means you're ...Read more

'Officers Eat Last'

From the Left / Mark Shields /

The Marine Corps lives by one hard-and-fast rule foreign to American corporate and financial life: "Officers eat last." Simply stated, the Marine officer in command does not eat until all the Marines he is responsible for -- beginning with the corporals and the privates -- have first been fed. This practice reflects another Corps value: ...Read more

A church lacking sympathy

From the Left / Mark Shields /

I can testify from a lifetime of personal experience that practice does not really make perfect. Since the presidency of Harry Truman, during which I had the honor of being the youngest altar boy in St. Francis Xavier Parish to serve the standing-room-only midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, I have been a practicing and manifestly imperfect Catholic...Read more

GOP Congressional Candidates ... on Their Own

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It's a safe bet that when President Donald J. Trump was a younger man, he never read "To Kill A Mockingbird," Harper Lee's American classic about a young child's awakening to racial prejudice in a sleepy little town in the pre-civil rights South. The admirable Atticus Finch teaches his young daughter, Scout, about empathy, saying: "You never ...Read more


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