“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.
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Paul Krugman: Wisdom, Courage and the Economy
It’s fantasy football time in political punditry, as commentators try to dismiss Hillary Clinton’s dominance in the polls — yes, Clinton Derangement Syndrome is alive and well — by insisting that she would be losing badly if only the G.O.P. had nominated someone else. We will, of course, never know. But one thing we do know is that none of Donald Trump’s actual rivals for the nomination bore any resemblance to their imaginary candidate, a sensible, moderate conservative with good ideas. [..]
Which brings me to my main subject: Mrs. Clinton’s economic vision, which she summarized last week. It’s very much a center-left vision: incremental but fairly large increases in high-income tax rates, further tightening of financial regulation, further strengthening of the social safety net.
It’s also a vision notable for its lack of outlandish assumptions. Unlike just about everyone on the Republican side, she isn’t justifying her proposals with claims that they would cause a radical quickening of the U.S. economy. As the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center put it, she’s “a politician who would pay for what she promises.”
Heather Digby Parton: Team Trump is a disaster: It’s not just the candidate — his entire staff is ill-equipped for a presidential campaign
Donald Trump says he isn’t running against crooked Hillary Clinton anymore, he’s running against the crooked media. This comment was in response to a couple of scorching articles by The New York Times and the AP over the week-end that featured off the record interviews with people inside the campaign making it clear that it’s in chaos with Trump himself having serious mood swings and refusing to listen to anyone. This seems obviously true judging by the “low energy” desultory performances in Florida on Friday followed by his highly agitated behavior in a rally in Connecticut on Saturday after the articles were published online. By Sunday he was refuting the notion that he’d ever agreed to follow the advice of his small cadre of political advisers, tweeting like Popeye: “I am who I am!”
It had been yet another bad week in which he pretty much stepped all over what was supposed to be his big economic speech. He’d gathered quite a group of big donors along with a few of the GOP old guard to pull together a policy designed to reassure contributors and confused normal Republicans that he had some kind of economic plan.
Though the speech was obviously conceived as a standard issue conservative economic manifesto, the Fact Checks were brutal which raises an interesting question. If that speech was a product of Trump’s team rather than his own off-the-cuff remarks at a rally, who are these people?
A. H. Neff: Voting Rights And Voting Wrongs – 2016 Edition
On July 29, federal courts invalidated portions of voter-suppression laws in North Carolina and Wisconsin. These decisions are important for a number of reasons. The Wisconsin decision has been stayed by a panel of the 7th Circuit, but it matters where these two cases and other recent voters’ rights decisions will go – not only in the next couple of months, but over succeeding election cycles and redistricting processes. [..]
Republicans have shown themselves to be very good over the years at broad-gauged message-management via bought and earned media, getting out their vote in off-year elections, taking over state governments, redistricting for partisan advantage, and obstructing and deterring Democratic voting. Yet, they haven’t figured out how to avoid leaving their DNA all over their voter-suppression crime scenes.
Robert Kuttner: Will Trump Fire Himself?
Don’t rule out the possibility of Donald Trump quitting the race. Republican officials keep leaking this proposition, and for the most part political commentators dismiss the idea as wishful thinking.
Trump, after all, abhors whiners and losers. But lately, he’s been sounding like a man resigned to the idea that he could lose big.
In a Thursday interview, he told CNBC, “I’ll just keep doing the same thing I’m doing right now. And at the end, it’s either going to work, or I’m going to, you know, I’m going to have a very, very nice, long vacation.”
But, hey, why endure eleven more weeks of humiliation? When you think about it, quitting beats losing. Trump’s entire history as a businessman is dumping out of business ventures once they start failing. Why not call it a day sooner rather than later?
If Trump continues being unable to discipline himself (as all signs indicate), and if Hillary Clinton keeps solidifying her lead, there is a plausible scenario in which his campaign enters a kind death spiral.
Jim Hightower: Grand ole highway robbery: How debt collection firms line GOP pockets to scam with impunity
Some corporations engage in such abusive consumer rip-offs that they’re just plain evil. But then there are some profiteers that dig even deeper into the dark void of their corporate souls to achieve the ultimate status: TRULY EVIL. [..]
To its credit, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently sided with the victims of this corporate thievery, proposing new rules to stop the outlandish abuse. The Trumpist Republicans have responded with outrage — not at the corporate outlaws, but at the sheriff! Their 2016 party platform advocates for abolishing the consumer bureau, calling it a “rogue agency” for daring to stand up to the real rogues that are openly robbing workaday Americans.
Why is the GOP so shamefully soft on crime? Because it’s not just small fry debt collectors involved in this outlandish shakedown of innocent borrowers, but such Wall Street powerhouses as JPMorgan Chase and Citibank — which are also generous political donors to Republican candidates.
Highway robbery is a crime … or not. Depends on who is robbing whom.