Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right: American Life in Columns

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right: American Life in Columns


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 Opinionated talk show host and columnist Michael Smerconish has been chronicling local, state, and national events for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer for more than 15 years. He has sounded off on topics as diverse as the hunt for Osama bin Laden and what the color of your Christmas lights says about you. In this collection of 100 of his most memorable columns, Smerconish reflects on American political life with his characteristic feistiness. A new Afterword for each column provides updates on both facts and feelings, indicating how the author has evolved over the years, moving from a reliable Republican voter to a political Independent.  
Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right covers the post-9/11 years, Barack Obama’s ascension, and the rise of Donald Trump. Smerconish describes meeting Ronald Reagan, having dinner with Fidel Castro, barbequing with the band YES in his backyard, spending the same night with Pete Rose and Ted Nugent, drinking champagne from the Stanley Cup, and conducting Bill Cosby’s only pretrial interview. He also writes about local Philadelphia culture, from Sid Mark to the Rizzo statue.
Smerconish’s outlook as expressed in these impassioned opinion pieces goes beyond “liberal” or “conservative.” His thought process continues to evolve and change, and as it does, he aims to provoke readers to do the same.
All author proceeds benefit the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, a Philadelphia- based, private, nonprofit agency that provides behavioral health services to children and their families.  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439916360
Publisher: Temple University Press
Publication date: 03/20/2020
Edition description: 1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 279,629
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Michael A. Smerconish is a SiriusXM radio host, CNN television host, and a former Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News newspaper columnist. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Lehigh University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, he is of counsel to the law firm of Kline & Specter. He resides in the Philadelphia suburbs, where he and his wife have raised four children.

Table of Contents

Foreword David Axelrod xiii

Introduction xv

Guest Opinion

America Offers Opportunity to Those Who Work 3


High Fidelity: Daily News Columnist Gets Up Close and Personal with Castro 7

A Politically Incorrect Extravaganza 12

Kobe? He's Not One of Us 15

Gay Numbers and 9/11 18

The Sins of the Father … and Mother 21

That Apology?-It's Bunk 23

Rebuild 'Em! 26

Want Ratings? Bring Back the Beauty 28

Conspiracy: The Oklahoma City-September 11 Connection 30

Suspensions: A Wake-up Call for Parents 34

C'mon, Mr. President, Show Us the Evidence 37

Two Good Reasons to Oppose Tort Reform 40

I'll Miss the Merry Prankster 44

Summer and Smoke: My Gay Epiphany 48

Robbing Dr. Barnes's Grave 51

Maureen Faulkner, Still on the Job 54

One Voice for Katz 57

Dreaming of a Non-white Christmas 61

Tough Questions from Tough Guy on 9/11 Commission 63

How to Get Quasimodo a Date 70

A Brush with Greatness, Thanks to a Little Truancy and Some Connections 73

Jim Beasley, the Peoples Lawyer 76

Dreaming of a White (House) Christmas 79

Cos Case: It's Kobe All over Again 81

Air-Travel Screening Stupidity-Times 4 86

Postcard from Gladwyne 89

Good with a Pen, as well as a Football 92

Small Gesture for a Real American Hero 95

Duke Case: Revenge of the Nerds 98

Setting the Record Straight 101

A Dog Named Winston 104

Roger Waters: The Pinko in Floyd 109

The Garden of Eternal Vigilance 116

Manhunt for Osama Dropping on U.S. Agenda? 119

Should Free Speech Allow Holocaust Denial 122


Guilty as Charged: I Don't Support Imus's Firing 131

The War Comes Home 135

Unexpected Memorial Day Lesson from Decorated Marine 138

The World according to Bruno 142

An Immigrant's Dream Still Means Something 145

Proof a Son's Head Is Far from Dismal Adult Events 149

A Navy SEAL'S Gut-Wrenching Tale of Survival 152

"Anti-Semitic" Label Curbs Talk about Israel 155

The Face of September 11, 2001 159

How Rush Became the King of Talk 162

Why Rudy Wasn't in Iowa on Tuesday 166

Specter Practices-and Endorses-Civility 169

Mr. Chrome Dome Gets Fuzzy 172

Obama Sees Route to Righteousness 175

How I Got the Bird 178

Russert-Brand Discourse vs. Cable Carnival Shoutfest 181

Requiem for an Era 184

McCain Fails the Big Five Tests 186

Their Stanley Cup Runneth Over 189

My Dinner with Pervez 192

Jack Kemp's Winning Game Plan 196

Checking in with Smokin' Joe to Thank Him for His Dignity 198

1-800-Political-Venom 201

Sorry, but for Me, the Party Is Over 204

Yard Sale 101 208

The Power of Pin Money 212

Farewell My DN Friends 216


Investment Giant on Living Well-and Madoff 221

A Lesson in Gumption, and Its Rewards 225

Can You Imagine How Christie's Son Feels? 227

"Mormon Issue" Still Handicaps Romney 230

9/11 Generation Is Highlight of Speeches 233

It's Time to Break the Mold on Talk Radio 236

Lessons from the Cheap Seats 240

Bursting a Class Bubble 242

A Shattered Spirit 245

Warren's Shaky History 248

Zeppelin Communication Breakdown 251

The Teacher Who Opened a Mind 254

Unpaid but Richly Rewarding 257

Pennsbury Grad Makes a Splash in D.C. 261

Nightmare on Health Site 265

Secret Facet of Westboro Case 268

SATs Don't Always Mark a Successful Path 272

Worthy Subject of Protest May Target Workers 275

Mystery Tip that Broke Sandusky Case 279

Recalling Gary Hart, Debating News Policy 283

Overreaction in C.B. West Hazing Case 287

Cat Stevens's Politics 290

Go Old School on Drinking? 296

My Dinner with Roger Stone 301

Family Farmer Whose Labors Never End 305

A Subject's Portrait of the Artist 308

Take Note, Candidates, of Reagan's Words 313

In Philly, Sinatra and Sid Mark Play On 316

Trump's Candidacy Is Right out of Seinfeld 321

A Must in Life; Try, Try Again 324

My Heimlich Maneuvering 329

The Right Spot for the Rizzo Statue? Right Where It Is 333

Civility Wins if "Comments" Unplugged 337

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: Larry Kane, Fab Historian 340

Births to Illnesses, Our Life with Grace 345

Trump Not My Fan, but Quite a Loyal Follower 348

A Changing of the Guard in Gladwyne 352


In 2017, Getting to Know the Other Half 357

Acknowledgments 363

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