From the Left



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

The Dreamers deserve compassion -- and a legislative compromise

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

"The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

-- T.S. Eliot

WASHINGTON -- We have every reason to assume the worst when it comes to President Trump's motivation in rescinding DACA -- the program allowing undocumented immigrants to live and work openly if they came to the United States as children. ...Read more

Arizona's 'Flake primary' will reveal much about Trump's political influence

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

PHOENIX -- We know that Donald Trump is a virtuoso at the politics of resentment. But does he lead a movement?

That is the question to be tested in next year's Republican Senate primary in Arizona. Pro-Trump forces are wiping the drool off their ties while contemplating a humiliating primary defeat for Trump critic Jeff Flake -- the Republican ...Read more

With the Arpaio pardon, Trump deepened the moral damage to the GOP

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Repetition is the enemy of maintaining proper distinctions. It is a short road from being serially outraged to being slightly bored to being completely inured.

Thus many are likely to find the pardon of former Arizona county sheriff Joseph Arpaio to be just another ... something. Just another public feeding of Donald Trump's base;...Read more

The consequences of Trump's rhetorical schizophrenia

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- And so, on one day, we had an unhinged and divisive rant by Donald Trump in Phoenix. Then, the next day in Reno, a call for national unity and reconciliation. Multiple political personality disorder. Rhetorical schizophrenia.

The gap between Trump extemporaneous and Trump scripted is canyon-like. The normal role of a speechwriter ...Read more

'America First' is a gathering moral and strategic disaster

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- We are seeing the sad effects of President Trump's renunciation of moral leadership on America politics and culture -- the waning of civility, idealism and respect, and the waxing of contempt, prejudice and racial division. But how is a similar moral abdication -- summarized as the doctrine of "America First" -- influencing America...Read more

How can you stand by a president with no heart?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

"O mother

What shall I cry?

We demand a committee, a representative

committee, a committee of investigation


-- T.S. Eliot, "Difficulties of a Statesman"

WASHINGTON -- Many have asked with rising hope in their voices: Will Steve Bannon be fired?

It would certainly be ironic for the alt-right conscience of the White ...Read more

Trump babbles in the face of tragedy

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- One of the difficult but primary duties of the modern presidency is to speak for the nation in times of tragedy. A space shuttle explodes. An elementary school is attacked. The Twin Towers come down in a heap of ash and twisted steel. It falls to the president to express something of the nation's soul -- grief for the lost, ...Read more

For wisdom on North Korea, Trump should pay a visit to the White House library

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump doesn't spare much time for reading. "I never have," he explains. "I'm always busy doing a lot."

But what he is now busy doing is managing a global crisis with nuclear dimensions and historical precedents. One adviser, Sebastian Gorka, has said, "This is analogous to the Cuban missile crisis." Which demonstrates how a...Read more

Tillerson has been an ineffectual and destabilizing force at the State Department

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- If Cabinet members are to be judged by the gap between expectation and performance, Rex Tillerson is among the worst. He was supposed to be one of the adults in the room, a steadying force. But Tillerson has managed to be both ineffectual and destabilizing -- unfamiliar with the workings of government, unwilling to provide ...Read more

With his blistering book, Sen. Flake shows the 'conscience of a conservative'

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- That sound you hear is the wall of elected Republican support for Donald Trump beginning to crack.

There was Sen. Lindsey Graham warning that firing special counsel Robert Mueller would be "the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency." There was Sen. Charles Grassley warning that if Attorney General Jeff Sessions were fired ...Read more

At Dunkirk, the deliverance of a nation

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- That one of the greatest victories of World War II was a mass evacuation -- more than 300,000 British and French troops taken off a beach at Dunkirk -- was a preview of the industrial nature of that conflict. Feats of organization -- such as the return of Allied troops to other French beaches on D-Day -- took precedence over ...Read more

Trump's problem is not communication. It's leadership.

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Scaramucci's rollout as Donald Trump's new communications director received mainly good reviews. He is, as any White House job in the current administration requires, a skilled sycophant. His on-air abjection -- including a Sunday talk show apology for past disloyalty made directly into the camera -- smacks of self-...Read more


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