From the Left



Trump has failed to meet our low expectations

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- As we cross the finish line of Donald Trump’s first 100 days, no leader in recent memory has benefited more from low expectations. A more typical president who tumbled from an approval rating in the high 60s to one in the low 40s would be in a political crisis. Trump’s current performance is only a slight dip from his divisive ...Read more

How can our political bubbles be popped?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In the category of argument by irresistible anecdote, David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report tells of meeting with a group of young Democrats in wealthy, suburban Northern Virginia. In the course of his presentation, he made reference to “Cracker Barrel voters” -- those in counties with Cracker Barrel restaurants (Donald ...Read more

Trump’s critics are playing into his hand

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

EDITORS: Note nature of quoted material at the end of the 7th graf.

WASHINGTON -- For those of us convinced that Donald Trump’s defects of character, lack of knowledge, encouragement of social division and disregard for democratic norms outweigh any good he may do -- the rough definition of being #NeverTrump -- these are confusing and ...Read more

Trump’s Hard-Hearted Budget Weakens American Power

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- There was an unseemly glee on the part of some Trump supporters in the use of the MOAB -- Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb -- against a target in Afghanistan. A powerful nation may possess 21,600 pounds of precision-guided death. A great nation uses it only in a spirit of grim necessity.

Yet -- considered along with 59 cruise ...Read more

The Hope of Pardon and Peace

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The story of Good Friday -- the garden, the bloody sweat, the sleeping friends, the torch-carrying crowd, the kiss, the slash of a sword, the questioning, the scourging, the mocking, the beam, the nails, the despair of a good man -- is an invitation to cynicism. Nearly every human institution is revealed at its worst.

Government ...Read more

The Struggle to Provide the Soul for a Soulless Presidency

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In a conversation with an ambassador from Asia a few years ago, I asked why her country was still more favorably disposed to the United States than to a rising China. “Because we know what you believe in,” she responded. Since World War II the United States has operated in the Pacific with a certain set of interests and values....Read more

Was Trump’s Syria Strike a Moral Impulse or a Policy Change?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- It is either a turning point or a welcome aberration that Donald Trump found the cruelly extinguished lives of Syrian children to be compelling (or at least contributory) in his decision to use force in Syria. The nerve gas attack by the Bashar Assad regime, he said, “crossed a lot of lines for me ... innocent children, innocent ...Read more

Fox Scandals are a Fetid Reminder that Sexism Lurks in the Workplace

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Reading the accumulated sexual harassment accusations against Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and former network executive Roger Ailes is like a quick dip in a sewage treatment pond. After even a brief exposure, the stench stays with you for days.

If the accusations of dozens of women over two decades are correct -- and it is hard ...Read more

This Presidency is Failing -- and Stunningly

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In the aftermath of the GOP health care debacle came a revealing act of candor. House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted that his party, which controls the House, Senate and White House, is not yet a “governing party” because it could not “get 216 people to agree with each other on how we do things.”

Since the rise of the tea ...Read more

How Trump can get his groove back

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The central promise of the Trump administration -- the repeal and replacement of Obamacare -- has failed. The central premise of the Trump administration -- that Donald Trump is a brilliant negotiator -- has been discredited. In the process of losing a legislative battle, Trump has lost the theory of his presidency.

It was a ...Read more

The Lies That Bind

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- It must be confusing to President Trump that the political system, the media and a majority of voters have suddenly called him on a deception, on a lie. It has seldom, if ever, happened before.

It did not seem to matter when he claimed to have evidence that President Obama was born abroad; or when he insisted that crowds of ...Read more

The World Watches the Shrinking of the American Presidency

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- It is difficult to overestimate the geopolitical risks of this moment -- or the (both disturbed and eager) global scrutiny now being given to the American president.

Aggression is growing along the westward reach of Russian influence and the southern boundary of Chinese influence. Intercontinental nuclear capacity may soon be in ...Read more

Trump’s Disturbing Fondness for Andrew Jackson

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- When Donald Trump recently laid a wreath at the tomb of Andrew Jackson, the 45th president was sending a message by choosing a hero.

It is difficult to imagine that this selection was the result of vast reading in presidential history. Rather, it was the appropriation of Jackson as depicted on the $20 bill -- the long-haired, ...Read more

Republicans Are Defining Lunacy Down

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The role of conspiracy theories has been consistently underestimated in the rise and appeal of President Trump.

Trump came to the political attention of most Republicans by alleging a conspiracy to cover up Barack Obama’s supposedly foreign birth. “How amazing,” Trump tweeted in 2013, “the State Health Director who ...Read more

Trump’s Speech May Have Been Coherent, but His Budget is Not

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- President Trump’s main achievement in his first address to Congress was to make the phrase “President Trump” seem more plausible to more Americans. The event had all the reassuring signs of normalcy -- the familiar ovations, the teleprompter (actually being used), the policy proposals, the attempts at inspiration. ...Read more

The Great American Ideal Will Not be Disrupted

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Two sets of remarks, a day apart, by two men more accustomed to being behind the scenes.

Stephen Bannon, appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), made the case for “economic nationalism” and called President Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership “one of the most pivotal moments in ...Read more

A Heartfelt Look at How Evangelical Gays are Finding Their Place

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- There will be no Academy Award for young filmmaker Stephen Cone’s considerable achievement: Best Movie Depiction of the Evangelical Subculture Without Lampooning It. Cone’s small, heartfelt film , “The Wise Kids” (available on Netflix and iTunes), gives conservative Christians a largely sympathetic but sharp-eyed treatment....Read more

Reality’s Revenge

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In mid-January, after the appearance of some embarrassing material or another (it is hard to keep track), President-elect Trump tweeted: “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

That charge has made escalation of the ...Read more

Trump May Thrive in Chaos, but the Presidency Cannot

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In early January, Speaker Paul Ryan met on the issue of tax reform with a delegation from the president-elect. Attending were future chief strategist and senior counselor Stephen Bannon, future Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, future senior adviser Jared Kushner, future counselor Kellyanne Conway and future senior policy adviser ...Read more

In a Time of Tragedy, Could this President Soothe the Nation?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Each day of the Trump era seems to bring strange new objects to the national punchbowl. The newly minted president publicly obsessed on his inaugural crowd size. He claimed pervasive voter fraud. He reviewed television shows. He attacked the independence of the judiciary. He has called into question the fairness and good faith of ...Read more

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