From the Left



Republicans are failing the Roy Moore test

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

"'All this will I give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.'"

-- Matthew 4:9

WASHINGTON -- The prospect of Sen. Roy Moore has been both horrifying and clarifying. It would be difficult to design a more controlled, precise test of the moral gag reflex in politics.

In this political lifeboat dilemma, Republicans are ...Read more

With tax bill vote, Senate Republicans revealed their inner plutocrat

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Some political moments are like an X-ray -- revealing down to the bone.

Here were Senate Republicans, poised for their first (and only) real legislative victory of the year. Tax overhaul, they knew, would be their main shot at shaping public perceptions of the GOP in the Trump era. The bill they were in the process of passing was...Read more

Don't let Trump gut AIDS program

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- I am not in the "ignore President Trump's tweets because they are a distraction from important things" camp. His most recent micro-harangues -- accusing (without evidence) a news executive of wrongdoing, hinting that a television host may have been involved in murder and embracing the debunked anti-Muslim rantings of Britain's alt-...Read more

How tribal politics curse us with tribal morality

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- America is currently cursed, not only with tribal politics, but with tribal morality. Some liberals tend to minimize or excuse offenses against a few women in the broader cause of women's rights. What is a politician's wandering hand in comparison to maintaining legal abortion? Some conservatives tend to minimize or excuse offenses...Read more

A reminder of America's capacity for moral renewal

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Even in a political season of routine marvels, few developments are more spectacularly incongruous than this: America has seen a swift, dramatic shift in attitudes toward sexual harassment with Donald Trump as president.

It is sometimes assumed (including by me) that the presidency sets a moral tone for the nation, influencing ...Read more

Russia investigation includes spectacular level of lies

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- I spent part of my convalescence from a recent illness reading some of the comprehensive timelines of the Russia investigation (which indicates, I suppose, a sickness of another sort). One, compiled by Politico, runs to nearly 12,000 words -- an almost book-length account of stupidity, cynicism, hubris and corruption at the highest...Read more

A year after Trump's election, both parties are morally and intellectually exhausted

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Political commentators are supposed to be somewhat objective and analytical when it comes to tracking trends. In that spirit, I find the polling snapshot of President Trump at one year since his election to be interesting -- if "interesting" is defined as a downward spiral of polarization, pettiness and prejudice that threatens the...Read more

America must recapture its democratic spirit

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Let's assume, just for a moment, that the great political leaders of the past were not cynical, deluded or deceptive when they talked about morality and religion. Let's posit that, at least in some instances, they were not just striking poses but making arguments.

Early in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his State of ...Read more

The perils of the Republican partisan in the time of Trump

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- At our political costume ball, it is definitely '90s nostalgia night. A president obsessed with attacking all things Clinton stands accused of serial sexual harassment, sends out underlings to dismiss the accusers as liars, condemns a federal investigation as a politically motivated fraud and is attempting to destroy the reputation...Read more

Elected GOP critics are heroes of sanity and principle

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The objections of some Trump critics to Republican politicians attempting to join them -- they awakened too late, they are risking too little, their words are not direct enough, they are halfhearted hypocrites -- are pure lunacy. Do Never Trumpers actually enjoy their righteous irrelevance? Do they fear being soiled by association ...Read more

Conservatives' disappointing defense of our post-truth president

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- A common defense of President Trump points to the positive things he has done from a Republican perspective -- his appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch and other conservative judges, his pursuit of the Islamic State, his honoring of institutional religious freedom. This argument is not frivolous. What frustrates is the steadfast ...Read more

Education must mean more than the avoidance of offense

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The desire to protect young people from offensive ideas and words is an understandable instinct. In the context of bullying, it is a requirement. In the context of great literature, it is nearly always mistaken.

The distinction between the language of the schoolyard and the language of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" has ...Read more

The religious right has become a tribe of sycophants

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- At the Family Research Council's recent Values Voter Summit, the religious right effectively declared its conversion to Trumpism.

The president was received as a hero. Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka -- both fired from the White House, in part, for their extremism -- set the tone and agenda. "There is a time and season for ...Read more

America needs Republican vertebrates

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In the midst of a governing crisis, House Speaker Paul Ryan has once again risen to his role as the voice of bland complacency. Concerning the open warfare between President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Ryan advises "these two gentlemen to sit down and just talk through their issues."

But what are Corker's "issues"? He has ...Read more

Thankfully, America rises above its grievances

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Who is left to defend the simple, often admirable, sometimes disappointing, American experience?

Our politics seems deeply divided between those who think the country is going to hell in a handcart and those who believe the country is going to hell in a handbasket.

Some of the tenured class that sets the intellectual tone of the ...Read more

The GOP desperately needs the charisma of conviction

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Not long ago, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., -- the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee and a man physically incapable of hyperventilation -- questioned Donald Trump's "stability" and "competence." Now he has said that chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are the "people ...Read more

How we should pray

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- One thing we learn from tragedy: that there is always more to come.

We experience the death of a loved one, the suicide of a friend, the suffering of a child, and the harshness and pain of the world break in, unannounced and unwelcome. Few have been spared, and then only temporarily.

But sometimes there are moments when we ...Read more

Judge Moore's zealotry presents a challenge for the GOP

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- So the systematic confirmation of toxic GOP stereotypes continues. Nativism? Build that wall. Misogyny? Grab that ... woman. Racial bias? Equivocate about white supremacists. Religious intolerance? Enter Roy Moore, likely to be the next senator from Alabama.

Moore's victory against a more mainstream candidate in Alabama's Senate ...Read more

Wielding both ignorance and malice, Trump further divides the country

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- It is often difficult to determine if Donald Trump's offenses against national unity and presidential dignity are motivated by ignorance or malice. His current crusade against sideline activism at professional football games features both.

Protests by players during the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" are misdirected, but ...Read more

When will GOP leaders admit that backing Trump was a losing bet?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Paul Ryan promised Obamacare repeal, funding for the wall and tax reform, all by the end of August. For the GOP, it is now September, both literally and metaphorically.

In the spring of their hopes, Republican leaders placed a bet -- which seemed reasonable at the time -- that they could contain President Trump and ...Read more


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