From the Left



The End of the Cold War and 2017 American Politics

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In 1988, a full year before the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet empire broke up, Georgy Arbatov, a Soviet expert on the United States, offered this prophetic prediction about how the end of the Cold War would change the United States: "We are going to do a terrible thing to you. We are going to deprive you of an enemy." He was right. ...Read more

No Man Is Above the Law

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Do you remember Zoe Baird? In 1993, President-elect Bill Clinton nominated Baird, a prominent lawyer, to be the first female U.S. attorney general. Baird had told the Clinton transition team that she had, in violation of the law, employed a couple, both undocumented immigrants, to work for her family as chauffeur and baby sitter and that she ...Read more

Exposing Republican Code-Speak

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In his first television interview since taking office, Vice President Mike Pence, with apparent sincerity, emphasized to "PBS NewsHour's" Judy Woodruff just how committed he and the White House are to "working right now with the Congress," "working very closely with leaders of the House and Senate" and earning "bipartisan support." If Pence ...Read more

It's the White House Calling

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In this era of tweets and texts, the White House of President Donald Trump, ever respectful of tradition, is bringing back the personal phone call. For example, Steve Bannon, the president's chief strategist, by telephone told The New York Times' Michael Grynbaum that his paper and "the elite media got (the 2016 presidential election) dead ...Read more

The Opposition's Very Wrong First Step

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan instructed Haley Barbour -- his White House political director and a future Republican Party chairman and governor -- on building a winning coalition: "The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally -- not a 20 percent traitor." By practicing what he preached, the Gipper ...Read more

Challenge Us; Don't Coddle Us

From the Left / Mark Shields /

The late William Safire, a certified wordsmith who had been a speechwriter for President Richard Nixon before becoming a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, concluded, after reading 56 of them, that there had been only four great presidential inaugural addresses: Abraham Lincoln's first and second, Franklin Roosevelt's ...Read more

For Republicans, the Year of Living Nervously

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Outspent by nearly a 2-1 ratio by Hillary Clinton and conspicuously not endorsed by the two most recent Republican presidents or the two most recent Republican presidential nominees, Donald Trump was still able to capture six states Democrat Barack Obama had twice carried -- Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- and the ...Read more

Did I Say That? I Apologize

From the Left / Mark Shields /

For your semi-faithful correspondent, 2016 has been a 12-month exercise in humility. I apologize to you, gentle reader, for the errors -- all unforced -- to which I subjected you.

My introduction to the 2016 campaign was to endorse the timeless wisdom of former Sen. Bill Cohen, a Republican from Maine who never lost an election: "I don't care ...Read more

Like Charity, Patriotism Begins At Home

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., holds an office higher than the presidency. John McCain is a patriot. Like his fellow warriors, he does not talk about the horror and the pain he endured and he lived with. The memories must no doubt be too personal and too powerful.

McCain, the most recent military veteran to be nominated for president by a major ...Read more

John Glenn, the Genuine Article

From the Left / Mark Shields /

If you were old enough to tie your shoes Feb. 20, 1962, then you almost surely remember Marine Col. John H. Glenn Jr. entering the history books by becoming the first American to orbit the Earth.

During that flight, Americans, watching on their black-and-white television sets, held their collective breath after reports that there was trouble ...Read more

Marines Invade Washington

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Every year, when he was commandant of the Marine Corps between 1995 and 1999, Gen. Charles Krulak and his wife would spend the week before Christmas baking hundreds of cookies, which they wrapped in small packages. At 4 a.m. on Christmas Day, Gen. Krulak would begin driving himself to every Marine guard post in the nearby Washington-Maryland-...Read more

Peace Begins With a Smile

From the Left / Mark Shields /

What do the following smile-worthy lines spoken by American politicians of the past all, surprisingly, have in common?

Rep. Brooks Hays of Arkansas used to tell about the temperance advocate in his home state who wound up, in an impassioned speech, endorsing Prohibition this way: "I'm a minister of the Gospel, and I would rather commit ...Read more


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