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Nov 21 2017

Pondering the Pundits

“Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: Lies, Incoherence and Rage on Tax Cuts

One thing you can count on in 21st-century U.S. politics is that Republicans will lie about taxes. They did it under George W. Bush, they did it under Barack Obama and they’re still doing it under Donald Trump.

Yet this time is different. It’s not just that the lies have gotten even more brazen. There’s now a combination of incoherence and rage that we, or at least I, haven’t seen before. These days, they can’t even seem to get their fake story straight — and they literally start yelling obscenities when someone tries to point out the facts.

G.O.P. lies about taxes generally involve two issues: who is hurt or helped by tax changes, and what these changes will do to the budget.

Eugene Robinsom: The only way to defeat Roy Moore

Can the descent of American political culture into ugly tribalism be halted? Alabama voters will give their answer when they decide whether to send Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate.

Moore, 70, has built a long, disgraceful career out of smarmy religiosity spiked with tribal grievance. Having posed for years as the most pious of Christians, he now stands accused by nine women of shockingly un-Christian behavior: They claim convincingly that Moore, when he was in his 30s, aggressively pursued romantic or sexual relationships, including with teens barely half his age. [..]

The problem with tribalism is that it is absolute. In Rwanda in 1994, you were either identified as Tutsi or as Hutu; there was no in-between. For Moore, you are either among the good people or among the evil.

Moore’s philosophy is properly seen as Manichaean, not Christian; it has no room for universal love. The fact that most of his supporters, thus far, are sticking with him — enough to cow the state Republican Party into sticking with him, too — means he has convinced many Alabamians that child molestation is a lesser sin than believing in the Constitution’s separation of church and state.

Katrina vanden Huevel: Anti-Trump fervor can’t fully explain what happened this month

After Republican candidates got clobbered this month in Virginia and elsewhere, a new narrative quickly took hold. It was all about the president, as usual. “It’s hard to have Trumpism if you don’t have Trump,” the New York Times concluded. “Trumpism without Trump didn’t work,” CNN concurred.

Clearly, President Trump’s historic unpopularity less than a year into his presidency hurts his party’s electoral prospects. It’s also encouraging that Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie failed to win over Virginia voters with Trump-style rhetoric and naked appeals to racism. Yet while the notion that anti-Trump fervor doomed the Republicans may be tempting, particularly to Democrats who would rather avoid debates about the party’s direction, that’s an incomplete explanation of what happened this month in elections across the country. This wasn’t just a Democratic wave fueled by opposition to Trump. It was specifically a progressive wave fueled by bold, progressive candidates down the ballot, working with grass-roots activists and organizations, who inspired voters with campaigns based on economic fairness and social justice.

Michelle Goldberrg: When Our Allies Are Accused of Harassment

Last Thursday, after a photograph emerged of Senator Al Franken either groping or pretending to grope a sleeping woman, Leeann Tweeden, with whom he’d been traveling on a 2006 U.S.O. tour, I wrote that he should resign. Almost as soon as it was published I started having second thoughts. I spent all weekend feeling guilty that I’d called for the sacrifice of an otherwise decent man to make a political point. [..]

Yet I am still not sure I made the right call. My thinking last week, when the first accusation emerged, was: cauterize the wound. It doesn’t matter that Franken’s transgression wasn’t on the same level as the abuses that the Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore or Donald Trump have been accused of. That photo — the unconscious woman, the leering grin — is a weight Democrats shouldn’t have to carry, given that they’ve lately been insisting that it’s disqualifying for a candidate to grab a woman sexually against her will. It seemed cruel to expect Democratic women to make Jesuitical arguments that the shadows under Franken’s hands meant he wasn’t really touching Tweeden’s chest. Especially since, with a Democratic governor in Minnesota, the party would maintain control of Franken’s seat.

 
Catherine Rampell: The GOP readies itself to welcome Roy Moore

Fun fact: Under U.S. law, sexual assault allegations are now adjudicated by political election.

Don’t believe me?

Just ask White House officials, Republican lawmakers and right-wing pundits, who lately argue that an electoral win provides absolution for any past sexual misconduct.

This troubling claim is being applied to (who else?) our president. But it also sets a terrible precedent for what happens if alleged child molester and sexual predator Roy Moore wins an Alabama Senate race.

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