Jim Verhulst - Editorial Writer
Here’s what to read from the left and the right this week
Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.


From “Beyond Narcissism, Trump’s Other Personality Flaws Are Putting Americans at Risk,” by David Corn in Mother Jones.

The context, from the author: President Donald Trump’s obsession with revenge and his fatalism are endangering the nation.

The excerpt: The revenge-is-sweet wrath of Trump should not be a factor in how the federal government handles the coronavirus. But with a thin-skinned, can-never-rise-above-it president who is always bent on revenge at the helm, the government’s actions could well be influenced and hindered by this psychological addiction of his. As Trump openly threatened, if he is not treated kindly by those dealing with the horrific nightmare under way, he will hit back by withholding federal assistance.

From “Bailouts Are Coming. Here’s How to Make Them Fair,” by Bryce Covert in The Nation.

The context, from the author: If we are going to make taxpayers bail out big business, we need to insist that they keep workers on payroll — and pay them fairly.

The excerpt: Instead of showering cash on politically connected companies — our president, of course, once owned casinos and still owns hotels — the federal government needs to seriously consider which industries are vital to the continued functioning of our economy. It may be in our national interest to bail out some massive previously profitable sectors. But that money shouldn’t come for free.

From “Two Weeks in an Oligarchy,” by J.C. Pan in the New Republic.

The context, from the author: Let’s take a 14-day tour through government malice, open stupidity, and capitalist excess.

The excerpt: In the two weeks or so since the World Health Organization designated the coronavirus a pandemic, the disorder that’s ensued has exposed the frailty of American civic life and the vast gulf between the people who make or influence policy, and those who just have to live with it. The malfeasance of the ruling class has reached such a level of absurdity that it almost feels as if they’re trying to summon a mob.


From “Pandemics Are a Terrible Time for a Frivolous Spending Spree,” by Jonah Goldberg in The Dispatch.

The context, from the author: Just because we’re borrowing to get through a crisis doesn’t mean we can afford things like the Green New Deal.

The excerpt: If you want to convince normal Americans to take a crisis seriously, you have a moral obligation to act as if you take it seriously too. Using it as an opportunity to get things you couldn’t successfully argue for before the crisis tells people you’re not as serious as you expect them to be. And that is a surefire way to sow precisely the sort of partisan distrust you decry.

From “Ike’s Little Platoon,” by John A. Burtka IV in the American Conservative.

The context, from the author: What does the coronavirus mean for the future of conservatism?

The excerpt: In public school I was taught that FDR’s New Deal saved America from the Great Depression. What will our children be taught about Trump’s coronavirus relief bill that will cost over three times that of the New Deal programs in inflation adjusted dollars?

I pose this question as someone who is supportive of direct cash payments to working families, if not skeptical of the bailouts for major industries.

From “‘Sanctuary’ Cities That Rejected Federal Law Are Now Pleading For Federal Help” by Tristan Justice in The Federalist.

The context, from the author: Localities that declared themselves “Sanctuary Cities” to reject federal law and coordination in order to harbor illegal immigrants are now begging for federal help in the face of the Wuhan virus pandemic.

The excerpt: If states and cities are so eager to accept assistance from the federal government to combat the crisis, as they should, will they finally allow the feds to conduct federal immigration law?