From the Left



The age of Trump induces Reagan nostalgia

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. -- A Presidents' Day weekend visit to the Ronald Reagan presidential library here provoked an unfamiliar and unexpected emotion: Reagan nostalgia.

Seriously. I was a young reporter in Washington, fresh out of college, when Reagan was elected. It felt like nothing less than a hostile takeover of the government. The Reagan ...Read more

Trump's staggering dereliction of duty

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- National security adviser H.R. McMaster is in the news -- and apparently in the presidential doghouse -- for stating the obvious: that evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election is "now really incontrovertible." So it is appropriate to take, as this column's theme, the title of McMaster's book on the Vietnam war, "...Read more

Trump says he's concerned about due process. Since when?

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

Spare us, please, from listening to lectures about due process from President Trump.

"Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new," Trump tweeted Saturday morning, combining his trademark ignorance of proper punctuation with a strange echo of Dr. Seuss's "...Read more

Trump and Kelly deserve one another

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- In the spirit of the Olympics, it has long been clear who takes the gold medal for worst performer in the White House. (Hint: his office has no corners.) Now, it's time to award the silver medal to an unexpected choice: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Kelly's triumph, such as it is, comes after serious contenders were ...Read more

How was this man allowed to keep his White House job?

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Look at the picture. Really. Look at the picture. The women's eye socket is the sickly green-yellow of a healing bruise. Around the eyelid, and in a sickening swoosh underneath, there is the deep plum of blood pooling around broken capillaries.

The picture (, if you haven't seen it, shows Colbie Holderness, ...Read more

Don't insult Nixon by comparing him to Trump

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- "Nixonian" is not the right word to use to describe the behavior of President Trump. In important ways, that characterization smears Richard Nixon.

It is hard to believe I am writing this. But it is also hard to believe it has come to this: The president is in open warfare with his Justice Department and FBI -- asserting flatly ...Read more

How should we interpret Trump's reversal on his decision to fire Mueller?

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- There are two ways to interpret the reports that President Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller last June and backed down only after his White House counsel threatened to resign.

The first is with guarded optimism: The episode shows that, although Trump is mercurial and blustery, his worst instincts can be ...Read more

How Andrew McCabe voted was none of Trump's business

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- This is not the country I live in.

In my country -- in our country -- the ruler does not call in the head of the state police and demand proof of loyalty. That is because in our country the ruler is an elected, term-limited official, and the state police is, or is supposed to be, an independent, professionalized entity.

Indeed, ...Read more

Trump does not believe in America

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Even for those of us who braced for catastrophe, the first year of Donald Trump's presidency was worse than expected -- more divisive, mean-spirited, erratic, unhinged, incompetent and egomaniacal than could have been imagined. Any glimmer of hope for a better Trump after the election, any speck of it once he took his oath of ...Read more

A typical week in an appalling presidency

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- The past week of the Trump presidency felt like that point in a video game when you've reached a new level and the widgets suddenly start flying at you too fast to dodge. There was an attack on free speech. On an independent judiciary. And with the president's horrific reference to "shithole countries," on America's tradition of ...Read more

Ivanka Trump, stop the 'you go, girl' Oprah cheerleading. You're complicit.

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- The unceasing debate over Ivanka Trump is whether she is a clueless enabler or a savvy troll, jabbing her father with sly tweets. Whatever the answer to the Ivanka Trump riddle, whether she is a dupe or a nettle, it has become obvious that she serves no useful role in this administration. She has failed to temper any of her father'...Read more

What is Trump so desperate to protect?

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Why was President Trump so frantic to ensure that his attorney general would shield him against the inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election?

For all the unsettling questions swirling about Trump in recent days, this may turn out to be the most important and, for the president, the most ominous. The more information that...Read more

After a battering year, the American system still stands

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- As this appalling year limps to a close, with President Trump consistently underperforming even the lowest of expectations, a note of holiday cheer: Our country's institutions and values have, so far, proven remarkably resilient.

This outcome was not a given; complacency that it will continue would be dangerous. And yet, after ...Read more

Thank you, Mr. President, for unleashing my patriotism

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Here, for me at least, is the comforting paradox of the age of Trump: I have never respected a president less, nor loved my country more.

This sentiment may startle. It may rankle, even. It comes in a week that witnessed the passage of the worst domestic policy legislation of my lifetime, followed by the now ritual but always ...Read more

This accused federal judge has no business sitting in judgment of others

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Of the deluge of sexual harassment stories gushing forth in recent weeks, one of the most disturbing -- one of the creepiest, really -- has also been one of the least noted: the allegations involving federal appeals court judge Alex Kozinski.

There are, certainly, more egregious fact patterns: Kozinski's alleged abuse was verbal, ...Read more

Was Al Franken's punishment fair?

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- There's no doubt, in the case of Al Franken, that Democrats are better off with the Minnesota senator gone. There's more doubt about whether justice was done.

The political calculus is simple: Franken had to go. With the grotesque picture of him groping, or pretending to grope, the breasts of a fellow USO performer, he would have ...Read more

Why has Trump been so desperate to protect Flynn?

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- And so the special counsel's probe inches ever closer to the White House, and President Trump.

It is not possible for those on the outside to know just how close. But the move by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to plead guilty to lying to the FBI is an ominous sign for Trump and his circle. We knew this day was ...Read more

The end of shame

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- "I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed," Jonathan Swift observed. That was three centuries ago, so our current, degraded condition has deep historical roots. Yet it feels, more and more, that we are experiencing the end of shame.

Our sad national trajectory has been on display recently with ...Read more

Al Franken's defenders are right to speak up

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Last week it was seven women. This week there are 36.

No, not accusers of Sen. Al Franken but defenders. Seven women who had worked in Franken's Senate office came forward to say that the Minnesota Democrat "treated us with the utmost respect," and on Tuesday, 36 former Franken colleagues at "Saturday Night Live" described Franken...Read more

Are we now at risk of overreacting to sexual harassment?

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- The national debate over sexual harassment and sexual assault has reached an important and precarious moment as it shifts from what behavior is acceptable to what punishment is warranted. Having underreacted for too long, are we now at risk of overreacting?

The welcome news is that society seems to have reached closure -- if not ...Read more


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