From the Left



Touching the Nation

From the Left / Mark Shields /

She was born into comfort in Manhattan and raised in Rye, a leafy, exclusive suburb in New York's Westchester County. She would leave college before graduating to marry. She never had a career beyond wife, mother and citizen. But her death, in her 10th decade, evoked an almost spontaneous national yearning for what she and her husband had ...Read more

Paul Ryan Is No Margaret Chase Smith

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Shortly after Hawaii and Alaska joined the Union and I was still a semi-young wiseguy, smugly sure that a celebrity candidate whose prospective campaign had sparked public interest would become a serious White House challenger, a grizzled political reporter brought me up short with this practical advice: "If a candidate gets measurably louder ...Read more

Republicans and Patriotism

From the Left / Mark Shields /

The election night words of the long-shot Republican candidate after his upset victory remain with me to this day: "I learned long ago that serving only oneself is a petty and unsatisfying ambition. But serve a cause greater than self-interest and you will know a happiness far more sublime than the fleeting pleasure of fame and fortune."

That...Read more

Helpful Hints for Candidates

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Successful politicians, those who have won election and re-election to office, almost always have an extra olfactory nerve that somehow endows them with the ability to smell which way the political winds will blow in a given election year -- and whether a gale-force blast is forming that might sweep them out of office in November. That could ...Read more

Liberal Conscience AWOL?

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In one of the most closely watched 2018 congressional campaigns, avidly followed nationally as a potential predictor of November's midterm elections by both increasingly apprehensive Republicans and guardedly optimistic Democrats, there was only one candidates debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, between the challenger -- the ...Read more

Losers Blame the Voters

From the Left / Mark Shields /

On Nov. 4, 2008, American voters faced the happy task of choosing between two popular presidential nominees, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, both of whom, according to the last pre-election Gallup Poll, about 3 in 5 Americans regarded positively. In stark contrast, the 2016 Election Day exit poll of voters revealed an ...Read more

50 St. Patrick's Days Ago

From the Left / Mark Shields /

After a lifetime spent in the company of the rogues, the rascals and, yes, the phonies of politics, I have concluded that American voters are searching for one of two presidential types: a warm conservative with a generous heart or a tough liberal with a steel backbone. As the late wise conservative leader Jeffrey Bell once said admiringly of ...Read more

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Pelosi: 2 Real Professionals

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Former President Ronald Reagan is hands down the most electorally successful American politician of the post-World War II era. As the outsider nominee of the nation's then-decidedly minority party, nobody has ever come close to matching his back-to-back 44-state and 49-state landslide White House victories. Acknowledged as a conviction ...Read more

Underestimating the voters' intelligence -- and paying for it

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Politics can be both cruel and unsentimental. Consider the case of Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., known on Capitol Hill -- since his first election to Congress in 1972 -- for his civil and amiable treatment of others, irrespective of party, and, as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for securing federal billions for his small, poor ...Read more

Finally, a Unifying Theme for 2018

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Democrats whom I talk to confess privately that despite President Donald Trump's unpopularity and the fact that nearly all polls show their party with a lead over Republicans when it comes to the upcoming midterm elections, they are increasingly nervous about 2018. Fueling the Democrats' anxiety is the growing perception that their party is ...Read more

False humility is better than none at all

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Thanks to the reliable American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which keeps careful track of such information, we know that in 2000, President Bill Clinton gave -- at one hour and 28 minutes -- the longest State of the Union address. In marked contrast, to deliver his own 1986 State of the Union, President ...Read more

Patriotism on the cheap

From the Left / Mark Shields /

For the first two centuries of U.S. history -- while Americans were proudly winning a war for independence, founding a nation, abolishing slavery, settling a continent and winning two world wars -- the patriot was that admirable fellow citizen willing to sacrifice his own individual well-being for the common good or to sacrifice her own personal...Read more


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