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Jan 22 2018

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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Mary Ziegler: Roe v. Wade Was About More Than Abortion

The events planned to mark the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade have one main thing in common: They focus on abortion. In protesting Roe this year, March for Life celebrated a record low abortion rate, proclaiming that “love saves lives.” California lawmakers introduced a resolution last year describing Roe as “the cornerstone of women’s ability to control their reproductive lives.”

But as the nation again considers the legacy of the country’s best-known Supreme Court decision, issued on Jan. 22, 1973, we have mostly forgotten part of the story of Roe v. Wade — one almost entirely disconnected from abortion. In the 1970s and beyond, Americans used Roe to answer much larger questions: What does the right to privacy mean, and who can claim that right?

Charles M. Blow: Shutdown, Showdown, Sure Thing

It’s already tiring to watch the jockeying among the partisans over who is to be blamed for the government shutdown and who will likely face political consequences because of it.

There is absolutely no reason that a deal couldn’t have been reached on the Dreamers, something that the vast majority of Americans want. But Republicans used the threat of withholding the fix as a bargaining chip, and Democrats held to the fix as imperative.

Donald Trump proved himself both woefully inept at making tough deals and also demonstrated that his yearlong strategy of trying to govern to the exclusion of Democrats and playing to a narrow base is fatally flawed.

Trump is an unrepentant, unremitting liar. That makes deal-making impossible. His word is meaningless and his policy principles are murky. He is mercurial and inconsistent. This may well have worked in business, to keep people off kilter, but it won’t work in politics.

Richard Wolffe: With government shutdown, Republicans reap what they sow

Today’s Republican party is built on principle. As a matter of principle, the GOP believes it is the only party that can shut down government as a negotiating tactic. The Democrats’ job is to keep that government open and to cave in to its demands.

These truths we hold to be self-evident, after watching several rounds of this sad kabuki theater through the Clinton and Obama years.

Now that the Democrats have triggered a government shutdown, Republicans are outraged. Because of their principles, you know.

The ideologue responsible for Trump’s budget, Mick Mulvaney, put it best to reporters at the White House on Friday. Mulvaney, now director of the Office of Management and Budget, was previously a South Carolina congressman. In that role, he was one of the chief proponents of the last government shutdown because he opposed Planned Parenthood and Obamacare.

Now he says the Democrats have no right to do what he did because, well, that would make them unprincipled.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: Don’t buy the spin. Government works.

Government shutdown follies feed an ideologically loaded narrative that government is hopelessly incompetent and can never be counted on to do much that is useful.

President Trump and Republicans should bear the burden for Washington’s disarray because it was Trump’s erratic and uninformed negotiating style (along with his repeated flip-flopping) that made a rational deal impossible.

But even if he and his party are held responsible, episodes of this sort have the long-run effect of bolstering the standard conservative view of government as a lumbering beast whose “meddling” only fouls things up. The private sector is cast as virtuously efficient and best left alone.

The power of this anti-government bias is enhanced by our failure to revisit government’s successes. We don’t often call out those who wrongly predict that activist politicians and bureaucrats will bring on nothing but catastrophe.