From the Left



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

'Always proud he was my President'

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, who created the international scholarship program that bears his name and that has produced 59 Nobel Prize winners among its estimated 360,000 alumni, was not, for entirely legitimate reasons, a humble man. Admitted to the University of Arkansas at 15, he would become a star halfback on the school's ...Read more

A prophet who deserves a little honor

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Anyone who cannot resist the temptation to offer public predictions about public events invites and can expect public ridicule.

Even pre-eminent 20th-century American columnist and public intellectual Walter Lippmann, who was courted by presidents and prime ministers, is regularly remembered for dismissing in print then-New York Gov. Franklin D...Read more

Our Sore President

From the Left / Mark Shields /

During his winning campaign to capture the White House, Democrat Barack Obama was harshly critical of the White House record of his predecessor George W. Bush. But once in office, Obama -- like nearly all presidents before him -- heeded the sage advice of a great chief executive also from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, who, when faulted for ...Read more

Resolutions and Predictions

From the Left / Mark Shields /

The calendar reminds us that it's that special time of the year to make reckless predictions and fleeting resolutions. So let us do a little of both.

I predict that with history and national poll numbers warning them daily that 2018 is shaping up as a truly bad year electorally for Republican candidates, there will be a sharp increase in the ...Read more

Normal Speech

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Contrary to what my beloved junior high coach taught us, defeat does not build character. However, defeat can often reveal character. So, too, can victory reveal character, as it seemed to do late on a December Tuesday night in a raucous ballroom at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel.

There we saw a happy winner who declined to pump his fist in ...Read more

Francisco Franco and the 2018 Republicans

From the Left / Mark Shields /

To understand the discouraging plight for Republicans heading into the 2018 midterm elections, it might help to recall a joke popular in Spain in 1975, when Generalissimo Francisco Franco, that nation's long-ruling and ruthless dictator, lingered for endless weeks on his deathbed.

Alejandro: "There is good news, and there is bad news."

Carlos:...Read more

Understanding Republicans

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It's important for us to remember that even though President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, successfully lobbied the nation and eventually signed into law the historic civil rights laws a half-century ago, a higher percentage of congressional Republicans than congressional Democrats voted for those bills. By then, the Republican Party, which ...Read more

'Punching up' is American; 'punching down' is not

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Americans have traditionally responded more positively to humor that "punches up" rather than "punches down." To "punch up" means to make a joke at the expense of those who have more power, privilege or property than the audience or the humorist. "Punching down" is the opposite -- mocking or disparaging someone or some group that is less ...Read more


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