From the Left



The powerful waging war on the weak

From the Left / Mark Shields /

The story is as timeless as it is ugly. The names of the actors change, but the plot remains the same. The powerful -- whether the undocumented maid's employer, the factory owner who signs the teenage worker's paycheck or the producer who can cast an aspiring actress -- are in control, and the weak are, too often, at their mercy.

Henry ...Read more

First 'pre-mortem' of the 2018 elections

From the Left / Mark Shields /

American voters, almost invariably dissatisfied with the political status quo, generally endorse change. In 2016, Donald Trump was certainly the candidate of change, and Hillary Clinton, seeking a third consecutive Democratic term in the White House, represented continuity. Voters' enthusiasm for change, in the abstract, often cools when they're...Read more

To be a great president, you first have to like politics

From the Left / Mark Shields /

On the consensus list of the most significant American presidents following George Washington, there is a common trait. Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and Harry Truman -- each of these great leaders was first a very good politician who actually enjoyed politics.

Lincoln, who served four terms in the ...Read more

An American president and the world

From the Left / Mark Shields /

The release by the Trump administration of thousands of pages of classified documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy brought to mind two anecdotes about the 35th president and his legacy.

After the shock of Dallas, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was then an assistant secretary of labor and would later become a ...Read more

Who will not be the 2020 presidential nominee

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In 1963, the legendary Russell Baker, writing in The New York Times, explained how we in the press, years before the nation's next presidential campaign, are miraculously able to agree upon who qualify -- and, perhaps more importantly, who do not qualify -- as plausible White House contenders. Baker identified the "Great Mentioner" as the ...Read more

War is not a spectator sport

From the Left / Mark Shields /

On Oct. 15, 2010, a father who knew from painful personal sacrifice the terror and the loss of combat, wrote to his son, who was at that moment leading a Marine platoon enduring almost relentless combat: "I know you guys have taken some licks in the last few days. ... Robert you will likely lose one or more of your precious Marines if you haven'...Read more

Democrats, don't blame the voters who are not racist

From the Left / Mark Shields /

One of the great fringe benefits of working around American politics during the past 10 American presidencies has been the colorful characters I've gotten to meet. Characters do not come more colorful than Dick Tuck. Having just learned that he had lost a California state Senate primary, he was asked by a Los Angeles radio reporter for a ...Read more

Three men who saved baseball from itself

From the Left / Mark Shields /

From Aug. 10, 1994, to April 25, 1995, Major League Baseball went on strike. The 1994 World Series was canceled. Fans, furious at both management and the players, voted with their feet by staying away afterward. Average attendance at games fell by more than a fifth, and -- of more urgent concern to the owners -- total revenues dropped by one-...Read more

The Vietnam War 2017

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Three aging U.S. veterans of the war in Vietnam, each of whom still bears the scars of battle, took their seats on the stage of Washington's Kennedy Center on a cool September evening. They were there to discuss Ken Burns' historic 18-hour PBS project, "The Vietnam War," which will deservedly earn the nation's attention. The three -- John ...Read more

Happy New Year

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Labor Day has already come, and summer is all but over. Autumn -- with shorter days, cooler nights and a new school year -- is upon us. Now -- in beautiful September and not in the dead of winter, overshadowed by Christmas -- ought logically to be New Year's Day, which means resolutions and predictions.

I personally resolve to break my bad ...Read more

Reprimand to Trump from Pittsburgh Voters: 'It's Not About You'

From the Left / Mark Shields /

On a late summer night, some 230 days into the Trump presidency, a dozen Pennsylvania voters gathered around a conference table in Pittsburgh and were asked by respected Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart to just give "a word or a feeling about Donald Trump."

The answers from this group -- five of whom had voted for Trump in November -- ought ...Read more

Needing an 'Enemy'

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Eric Hoffer, a San Francisco longshoreman and philosopher who died in 1983, the year President Ronald Reagan awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, could have been analyzing contemporary American politics when he wrote, some 66 years ago, that "mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a ...Read more


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