Mark Shields from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 22 Nov 2019 08:48:59 -0800 Mark Shields from Creators Syndicate 6aed550113c967a01078a58c53e78eff Will Democrats in 2020 Again 'Fall in Love'? for 11/16/2019 Sat, 16 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>There are large historical differences between America's two major political parties in how they choose their presidential nominees. </p> <p>Consider this: Since 1952, there have been 11 presidential elections where there wasn't a Republican president running for reelection. In 10 of those 11, the Republican candidate who led in the major polls in the year before the election went on to win the presidential nomination.<p>Updated: Sat Nov 16, 2019</p> f6c089ee45fa249b765609970f761de3 Mike Pompeo Was Definitely NOT a Marine Officer for 11/09/2019 Sat, 09 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has impressive credentials: He graduated third in his class from Los Amigos High School in California's Orange County before winning an appointment from his congressman &#8212; "B-1 Bob" Dornan, a conservative remembered for his unstinting support for the California-built U.S. supersonic aircraft &#8212; to the United States Military Academy.</p> <p>At West Point, in his 1986 graduating of 973 men and women, Pompeo finished first. He left the Army with the rank of captain after six years to go to Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review.<p>Updated: Sat Nov 09, 2019</p> 64946c1240b43af322e8fa6f45f63b3e Quiet Eloquence of Example for 10/26/2019 Sat, 26 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The 1994 funeral of former Speaker of the House Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill was truly memorable. To the same North Cambridge, Massachusetts, church, St. John the Evangelist &#8212; where O'Neill was baptized as an infant and had married his beloved Millie &#8212; came two former U.S. Presidents, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, scores of senators and members of congress. But more important to O'Neill, also filling the pews were nurses, waitresses, firefighters and nuns.</p> <p>That 1994 night, now-Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., reflected on the huge turnout for the late speaker and confided to me: "Every politician in the church today, Republican or Democrat, witnessing that incredible outpouring of love and gratitude for 'Tip,' had exactly the same thought: I'll never have a funeral like this. Damn it.'"<p>Updated: Sat Oct 26, 2019</p> d4cda77e8305604dcb0e1992d7ccda8f Why the Nationals in the World Series Is Good for America for 10/19/2019 Sat, 19 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For the first time in 86 years, a baseball team from Washington, D.C., is in the World Series. This is good news &#8212; obviously for the long-suffering Nationals fans in and around Washington, but also for every American who cares deeply about the survival of our republic.</p> <p>In spite of the semiterminal greed of multimillionaire team owners who feel they are divinely entitled to demand that ordinary Americans in the area pay higher taxes in order to build state-of-the-art stadiums, <span class="column--highlighted-text">baseball still embodies public virtues in desperately shorty supply in both the capital and the nation</span>.<p>Updated: Sat Oct 19, 2019</p> ff88385e72105dbcb5f2638c4911c499 Republican Sense of Humor for 10/12/2019 Sat, 12 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Twenty years ago, former U.S. Transportation Secretary, President of the Red Cross and future North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole was a decidedly long-shot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination &#8212; an honor her husband, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole had won four years earlier, only to lose in the general election to Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton.</p> <p>Then out of elective public office for the first time in 36 years, Bob Dole was most often seen as the television pitchman for a product promising to improve erectile function. Curious about why Elizabeth Dole, a certified dark horse, was running for the White House, I asked humorist Mark Russell, who explained. "If you were married to the test pilot for Viagra, you'd do almost anything to get out of the house."</p> <p>Bob Dole was that most special of political leaders who subscribed to John F. Kennedy's thesis: "There are three things which are real: God, human folly and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension, so we must do what we can with the third." Of all the politicians I have covered, none &#8212; certainly no Republican &#8212; has done more for and with humor than Robert J. Dole the favorite son of Russell, Kansas.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 15, 2019</p> 0caa11b5ad026113494c9f080d688f31 Joe Biden's Most Important 'Endorsement' for 10/05/2019 Sat, 05 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Let's repeat it together three times: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Preprimary polls testing would-be presidential nominees have all the permanence of numbers written with a stick in the wet sand at the ocean's edge just before the high tide comes in.</span></p> <p>Recent history confirms the unreliability of such polls. In October 2015, the respected Washington Post-ABC News Poll showed Hillary Clinton crushing Sen. Bernie Sanders 64%-25%. Not quite four months later, in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary, Sanders trounced Clinton, winning 60% of the vote to her 38%. In October 2015, the Republican leader was Dr. Ben Carson, and when Donald Trump was matched up, separately, against Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz, decisive majorities of GOP voters preferred Rubio and Cruz.<p>Updated: Sat Oct 05, 2019</p> 4f96e967446217890fdc661e164c8518 Time to Look at the Record for 09/28/2019 Sat, 28 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"History never looks like history when you are living through it" wrote John Gardner. "It always looks confusing and messy, and it always feels uncomfortable."</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Forty-five years after President Richard Nixon faced certain impeachment by the House of Representatives and Nixon, confronting an overwhelming Senate vote to convict him, resigned his office, Washington again faces the prospect of another profoundly grave and uniquely disruptive presidential impeachment.</span><p>Updated: Sat Sep 28, 2019</p> 12d482faaecb64f29fe63c21d6f4c647 He Walks Where He Chooses to Walk for 09/21/2019 Sat, 21 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Years ago, when the great American socialist Norman Thomas was speaking at the University of Virginia, he was cross-examined by a self-satisfied undergraduate who charged that Thomas' call for universal health insurance, federal civil rights laws and federal aid to education were all backed by the U.S. Communist Party. Thomas, a man of great dignity &#8212; and no communist &#8212; answered simply, "I walk where I choose to walk."</p> <p>I had lunch this week with an old friend who, very much like Thomas, walks where he chooses to. A 1968 graduate of the Naval Academy, as a Marine platoon and company commander in Vietnam combat, he earned the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts &#8212; the last for the wounds that left him with shrapnel in his body and a permanent limp. But that didn't stop him from finishing Georgetown Law at night, going on to write 10 books and become secretary of the Navy (under President Ronald Reagan), a successful screenwriter and an Emmy-winning journalist for his 1983 coverage of U.S. Marines in Beirut.<p>Updated: Sat Sep 21, 2019</p> 8db1d3e1f3275b2786074ed7771b724f No New Edition of 'Profiles in Courage' for 09/14/2019 Sat, 14 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Then-Sen. John F Kennedy wrote admiringly in his 1955 book, "Profiles in Courage," about Republican U.S. Sen. Edmund G. Ross of Kansas. In 1868, in a decision Ross knew would end his political career, he broke with his party to vote against the impeachment of then-President Andrew Johnson, the Tennessee Democrat who had succeeded the martyred Abraham Lincoln. By Ross's lone vote, the Republican Senate failed to convict and remove President Johnson. But Ross, who would never again win an election, understood what the vote meant for his own fate: "I almost literally looked down into my open grave," he would write.</p> <p>Based upon observing the Republican U.S. Senate in 2019, during the presidency of Republican Donald Trump, I can assure the American book publishers that, sadly, there is neither the subject matter nor the need for anyone to write a new edition of "Profiles in Courage." You will find no contemporary Edmund Ross in that body.</p> <p>In fact, after listening to the seemingly endless debate about national health care policy, about whether we need it, can afford it, deserve it or really want it, I am left with one question &#8212; inspired by the depressing sight of GOP senators rationalizing, ignoring and minimizing President Trump's actions, lies and insults: Does your proposed health care plan cover vertebrae transplants? Why? Because the Senate Republican Caucus desperately needs a backbone.<p>Updated: Sat Sep 14, 2019</p> 4a5500457808b8b6963773fe57b0e7a1 Politics as It Should Be Practiced for 09/07/2019 Sat, 07 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Back when Richard Nixon was president, a Washington saloon five minutes' walk from the White House named the Class Reunion was the go-to watering hole where press, politicians and real people could rub and bend elbows. To be candid, I was a regular at "the CR," as it was called, but frankly went there more for the uniquely bipartisan conversation and good-natured needling, which were the hallmarks of the place.</p> <p>One very popular Class Reunion regular was a Republican who, after handling the challenging job as press secretary for the failed 1980 presidential campaign of former Texas Gov. John Connally, went to work doing press for Ronald Reagan. Jim Brady's irrepressible wit occasionally got him into trouble with some of the Reagan high command. After candidate Reagan had, erroneously, announced in Steubenville, Ohio, that "trees cause more pollution than automobiles," Brady, as the Reagan campaign plane flew over an expanse of western forest, looked out the window and, in mock alarm, exclaimed: "Killer trees! Killer trees!"<p>Updated: Sat Sep 07, 2019</p> 34d144a7a72a9420f4774e62e8de2a2d Could the 2020 Election Be Another 1980? for 08/31/2019 Sat, 31 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The final results of the 1980 presidential election between the Democratic President Jimmy Carter and his Republican challenger, former California Gov. Ronald Reagan are rightly recorded as a landslide Republican victory. Carter carried just six states: his native Georgia; his running mate's home state of Minnesota; Rhode Island; Maryland; West Virginia; and Hawaii. The Democrat &#8212; by winning only 49 electoral votes to Reagan's 489 &#8212; suffered the most stunning defeat of any incumbent president since 1932, when Republican Herbert Hoover was trounced by Franklin Roosevelt.</p> <p>But the truth is that the Carter-Reagan contest had been close, with Carter leading between 4% and 8% in Gallup polls all the way to the final week of October, when the two men met in the campaign's only televised debate. After that Oct. 28 showdown, Gallup found Reagan moving to a 3% lead on his way to a solid 10% victory margin on Nov. 4. <p>Updated: Sat Aug 31, 2019</p> fa9e86e520639f11f00b403735e03cb9 Making Debates Really Matter for 08/24/2019 Sat, 24 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Presidential debates &#8212; even those featuring 10 or more candidates well over a year before Election Day &#8212; can tell us much about those self-confident enough to offer themselves as the nation's next commander in chief.</p> <p>For example, eight years ago, the candidates of the out party, running to challenge then-White House incumbent Democrat Barack Obama, debated in beautiful Ames, Iowa, where Byron York of the Washington Examiner asked an important question. At the time, there had been much arguing among politicians about proposed formulas for federal spending cuts to tax increases to reduce the expanding federal budget deficit. York asked former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, the eventual upset photo-finish winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses the following January: "Is there any ratio of (spending) cuts to (increase in) taxes that you would accept &#8212; 3-to-1, 4-to-1 or even 10-to-1?" Santorum answered, "No."<p>Updated: Sat Aug 24, 2019</p> 8ca18e484509e2edd4b82ac3f5fdd71a The Arizona Gift for 08/17/2019 Sat, 17 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It approaches a year since Sen. John McCain departed these earthly precincts. He is rightly missed for his principled leadership, for his maverick ways and for his &#8212; now increasingly rare &#8212; ability to reach out and collaborate effectively with senators across the partisan divide. I miss all those qualities, but I miss John McCain, too, for his quick and self-effacing sense of humor.</p> <p>McCain was first elected to the U.S. Senate from Arizona in 1986, succeeding the conservative legend Barry Goldwater, who chose to retire and served that year as chairman of McCain's winning campaign. As McCain told me the story, on election night, when his victory became apparent, he and Goldwater were together in a hotel room watching the returns, and Goldwater turned sentimental, telling McCain: "You know, John, if I had beaten Lyndon Johnson in 1964, you would not have spent all those years in that North Vietnamese prison." McCain, remembering the hawkish Goldwater's threats about taking the fight to Beijing, responded: "You're right, Barry. If you had won the White House, I wouldn't have spent all those years in prison in Hanoi. ... I would have spent them in prison in China."<p>Updated: Sat Aug 17, 2019</p> 69d76280e729549e9a473cb1311f66ff What Presidential Debates Teach Us for 08/03/2019 Sat, 03 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Listening to debates among presidential primary candidates invariably reminds me of the 1974 Democratic primary for New York governor. To set the scene: In November of 1973, Republican Nelson Rockefeller, four times elected chief executive of the Empire State who would later be chosen by President Gerald R. Ford to become the nation's 41st vice president, resigned his governorship.</p> <p>In short order, New York Democratic leaders &#8212; both regulars and reformers &#8212; confident they could win the governorship after a generation in the wilderness, made Howard J. Samuels, a self-made millionaire and the president of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation, their consensus choice for governor. But long-shot Democratic Brooklyn Rep. Hugh Carey would upset Samuels and the Democratic leadership in that Watergate election year with a memorable campaign slogan crafted by Carey's campaign consultant, David Garth: <span class="column--highlighted-text">"This year, before they tell you what they want to do, make them show you what they've done."</span><p>Updated: Sat Aug 03, 2019</p> aeec3f1c64e59f92b47f83c722e496c1 Can Democrats Ever Get to the Fourth Stage? for 07/27/2019 Sat, 27 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It is time to remind ourselves of the Four Stages of Political Defeat and whether the losing side &#8212; in this case, the Democrats who suffered an unexpected and stinging rebuke in 2016 &#8212; will be able to recover and compete.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Because political parties are composed of human beings, when a party loses a big election, there is an understandable human reluctance for the party and its members to accept their public rejection.</span> Other semi-plausible explanations must be found for why they lost.<p>Updated: Sat Jul 27, 2019</p> cbca50b6d9a2dcefe28e0d0be663a521 Stop Looking for a Democratic Donald Trump for 07/20/2019 Sat, 20 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Our vote for president is the most "personal" vote we Americans get to cast. We're far more likely to base our choice for the U.S. House or the Senate on issues &#8212; such as health care costs, immigration or the environment &#8212; than we are our presidential choice. In a presidential campaign, we voters are beneficiaries or victims of an information overload. We learn about each White House nominee &#8212; often from her or his siblings &#8212; whether Mom liked her best or whether the other kids in the family agreed he was a "teacher's pet" and, even worse, a sneaky "goody two-shoes." We form opinions on whether the nominee is capable of laughing at himself, someone we would personally like and, more importantly, trust in a personal crisis.</p> <p>But Democrats looking to 2020 appear unaware of this "personal" determinant in our presidential decisions. Many of them are instead, it seems, in search of some Democratic version of Donald Trump &#8212; a candidate who can go toe-to-toe, insult-to-insult with the bellicose Republican incumbent. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Nothing could be more disastrous for Democrats' victory prospects than to find and nominate their own practitioner of scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners politics.</span><p>Updated: Sat Jul 20, 2019</p> 3cf24710b95a0bb920864dfb03d198f0 Ross Perot, Truly One of a Kind for 07/13/2019 Sat, 13 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>As someone who was lucky enough to cover the 1992 presidential campaign &#8212;involving Republican incumbent President George W. Bush, Democratic challenger Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and the independent maverick, Texas billionaire businessman Ross Perot &#8212; from start to finish, allow me to make one semi-important point: Perot was not at all like anybody else who would, allegedly as a billionaire businessman, run for the White House as the GOP nominee &#8212; successfully &#8212; in 2016.</p> <p>Perot did not have an Ivy League pedigree. After two years at Texarkana Junior College, he won an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. There he was elected class president and met Goucher College student Margot Birmingham, who would in 1956 marry Lt. j.g. Perot. He fulfilled his four-year commitment to the Navy, and he and Margot were married for the next 63 years.<p>Updated: Sat Jul 13, 2019</p> 14d67ab9092988d4d49cad54b5f259f7 Unintended Consequence of Summer of '19 for 06/29/2019 Sat, 29 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>At least three score years ago, my savvy precinct committeewoman impressed upon me an immutable political truth: Every election is <i> not </i> about the candidate(s); no, every election is about the voters ... and about the future. I'm relieved that my precinct committeewoman was not around to hear the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates spend four hours of network TV time talking about each other and about themselves and very little about the voters.</p> <p>But while the Democrats were swapping boasts and brickbats in Miami, the man whose job they all covet was in Japan at the G-20 Summit, where he, the leader of the free world, joked with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Putin's government meddling in the U.S. elections. Asked by a reporter whether he had warned Putin not to interfere in next year's U.S. national election, Trump, with an unmistakable smirk on his face, answered, "Yes, of course, I will." Then he turned to Putin and added: "Don't meddle in the election, president." Putin, let it be noted, chuckled, as did U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.<p>Updated: Sat Jun 29, 2019</p> d367bc308564efb1fdb3638dbc5ac1ad The Circular Firing Squad for 06/22/2019 Sat, 22 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Mo Udall, the legendary Democratic congressman from Arizona, was brutally candid about his party's bad habit of succumbing to intramural recriminations that became the political equivalent of a civil war in the leper colony. "When Democrats organize a firing squad, they form a circle," Udall wisely observed.</p> <p>Politics, let it be noted, is a matter of addition, not subtraction. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Putting together a majority to pass legislation to aid widows and orphans or a majority to win elections requires winning converts to your side rather than hunting down and banishing heretics to the Outer Darkness.</span> Nobody understood this principle better or practiced it more successfully than the late "liberal lion of the Senate," Massachusetts eight-term senator Ted Kennedy.<p>Updated: Sat Jun 22, 2019</p> b24f6f7fcf12fafc6bc6ed67c7bc5d3d Lies the Liar Tells for 06/15/2019 Sat, 15 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When politicians talk in private, they regularly use a cruel shorthand. For example, a candidate who is uninformed, unreflective and uncurious is often branded a "lightweight," as in, "He is so lightweight he could tap-dance on a souffle." Conversely, a "heavyweight" would be a politician of some substance, some political clout and personal gravity.</p> <p>Al Gore &#8212; the Democratic presidential nominee who won 543,895 more votes than George W. Bush in 2000 but ended up losing the election in a 5-4 Supreme Court split decision &#8212; was regularly dismissed for being so unexciting that his favorite color was beige. The line at the time was, "Al Gore is so dull that his Secret Service code name is Al Gore."<p>Updated: Sat Jun 15, 2019</p>