Jim Verhulst - Deputy Editor of Editorials
Here’s what to read from the left and the right | Column
Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
President Joe Biden poses for a photo after speaking about the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Joe Biden poses for a photo after speaking about the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) [ ANDREW HARNIK | AP ]
Published Sept. 17, 2022|Updated Sept. 17, 2022

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 “Biden Should Quit While He’s Ahead,” by Ross Barkan in New York Magazine.

The context, from the author: There are few presidents in modern times, Democrat or Republican, who can boast more tangible accomplishments, from a massive infrastructure bill to pandemic-relief legislation that filled the coffers of state governments, in one term.

The excerpt: It would be wise if (President Joe) Biden announced sometime after the fall midterms that he will not seek another term. Biden boosters and Democrats giddy over his reversal of fortune will argue that now is the time to announce his reelection bid, that Biden is the best person to top the ticket against Donald Trump or any other Republican. Their enthusiasm, if understandable, is misguided. When Biden ran in 2020, he promised to be a bridge to the next generation of Democrats. ... Stepping aside, he can declare his mission accomplished and pass the baton on to much younger candidates who will, in 2025 and beyond, be more able to govern the nation and make an affirmative case for the party.

From “The case against the Supreme Court of the United States,” by Ian Millhiser in Vox.

The context, from the author: The Supreme Court was the midwife of Jim Crow, the right hand of union busters, the dead hand of the Confederacy, and now is one of the chief architects of America’s democratic decline.

The excerpt: The Dobbs decision (overturning Roe v. Wade) is the culmination of a decades-long effort by Republicans to capture the Supreme Court and use it, not just to undercut abortion rights but also to implement an unpopular agenda they cannot implement through the democratic process. And the court’s Republican majority hasn’t simply handed the Republican Party substantive policy victories. It is systematically dismantling voting rights protections that make it possible for every voter to have an equal voice, and for every political party to compete fairly for control of the United States government.

From “Calling Trump the F-Word,” by Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker.

The context, from the author: What matters about identifying the Trumpist line as fascist is not that it allows for some kind of victory in name-calling. It’s that it is diagnostic.

The excerpt: Even Republicans brave enough to call the Trumpists out — Mitt Romney and the Cheneys, Liz and, it must be said, Dick, prominent among them — have not yet left the Party or formed one of their own. Nor have any of them taken the most minimal option of announcing unequivocally that they will never support Trump in the future. Some Republicans who genuinely do not want to be aligned with fascists or semi-fascists will apparently do anything to avoid that except to expel the fascists or semi-fascists among them.


From “The Democrats’ Empty Celebrity Candidates,” by Jim Geraghty in The National Review.

The context, from the author: Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have their share of celebrity candidates, but the Republicans’ celebrity candidates, if defeated, are likely to go away.

The excerpt: It is as if, for several years now, the national media have been telling us that, “You will love Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke.” And while a large portion of Georgia and Texas Democrats — as well as plenty of Democratic grassroots donors across the country — do love those candidates, the evidence indicates that they don’t have enough support in their home states to win election to statewide office.

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From “The Reason Social Justice-Infected Shows Fail Isn’t Racism, It’s Actually Much Simpler,” by Brandon Morse in RedState.

The context, from the author: Social justice shows, movies, comics, video games, and every other form of media are effectively just propaganda with a mask. Unlike a story made for the sake of a good story, propaganda has to follow certain rules. Social justice/woke entertainment is very rigid in the rules it has to follow.

The excerpt: Bottom line? Social justice storytelling is boring and tired. Not only is it uncreative, but it also requires that all criticism be met with accusations toward the viewers or the fandoms in order to protect and support the political message the show is infected with.

From “Make the 2022 Election a Referendum on Lockdowns,” by Jason Garshfield in The American Conservative.

The context, from the author: Democrats should not be allowed to bury recent history so easily.

The excerpt: As the midterms approach, it is remarkable just how much the pandemic has been scrubbed from public consciousness. One would expect the most important political issue in recent memory to be worthy of greater attention. For two straight years, it was all anyone talked about. During that time, we were told with overweening moral righteousness by Democrats and their media allies that they were justified in shutting down the country, while Republicans were endangering us all with their reckless push to reopen. If that was so, Democrats ought to be running in 2022 on their spectacular pandemic success. They should be shouting their records from the rooftops, reminding us all that they were on the Right Side of History once more.