Aug 10 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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Michelle Goldberg: The Pragmatic Left Is Winning

On Tuesday, Rashida Tlaib, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, won her primary in Michigan, and she is now overwhelmingly likely to become the first Muslim woman in Congress. In a referendum, people in Missouri voted 2 to 1 to overturn an anti-union “right to work” law passed by the Republican legislature. In an upset, Wesley Bell, a progressive city councilman from Ferguson, Mo., effectively ousted the longtime St. Louis County prosecutor, whom many civil rights activists say mishandled the investigation into the police shooting of Michael Brown, the African-American teenager whose 2014 killing set off riots. [..]

So it was strange to see headlines in the following days arguing that the left wing of the Democratic Party had hit a wall. “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s movement failed to deliver any stunners Tuesday night,” said CNN. “Down Goes Socialism,” announced Politico Magazine, despite the fact that Tlaib’s victory doubles the D.S.A.’s likely representation in Congress. “Socialist torchbearers flame out in key races, despite blitz by Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez,” said a Fox News headline.

Timothy Egan: Red, and Ready to Flip

It was titanic when the Speaker of the House, the Democrat Tom Foley, lost his seat in Eastern Washington State in 1994, a takedown that heralded a long winter for his party outside of coastal and urban enclaves.

So if an epic upset happens again in that same district, as seems possible after Tuesday’s primary, it will be because of party-flipping voters who haven’t given Democrats a sniff in a generation’s time. History is lurking again in the West.

I caught up with the potential giant-killer in Washington’s Fifth Congressional District, the Democrat Lisa Brown, just after the shame of Helsinki, when President Trump sided with the tyrant Vladimir Putin over his own country. While others were talking treason, Brown was sticking to basics in meetings with farmers and small-town residents. [..]

That’s the point Democrats in the other Washington should not miss as they look at a map that has upward of 60 House seats in play. Yes, a majority of Americans find Trump repulsive — his lies, his pathological narcissism, his lack of decency, his illiteracy of democratic principles. But more important, his policies are not popular.

Catherine Rampell: Three reasons Trump’s new immigration rule should make your blood boil

Once again, the Trump administration is looking to punish immigrants. And once again, innocent children are getting hurt in the process.

This time, however, many of those innocent children are likely to be U.S. citizens.

On Tuesday, NBC News reported that the Trump administration is readying a new rule that should make your blood boil. The initiative, in the works for more than a year, would make it harder for legal immigrants to receive either green cards or citizenship if they — or anyone in their households — has ever benefited from a long list of safety-net programs. These include the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), food stamps or even health insurance purchased on the Obamacare exchanges. [..]

Any policy that discourages, even a little bit, poor families’ use of such services is not just heartless. From an economic perspective, it is foolish. We need healthy, well-nourished, well-educated children to become healthy, well-nourished, productive workers.

But once again, children and the economic future they represent are the casualties of Trump’s casual cruelty.

Harry Litman: Time for Mueller to bring out the big guns

Even as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III marches forward with his prosecution of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and as the case that President Trump engaged in criminal conduct grows stronger, the president and his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani continue their tango about whether the president will deign to answer questions from Mueller’s team. [..]

Enough is enough. It’s time to subpoena the president.

Mueller has been extraordinarily deferential and patient while Trump and his representatives engaged in their scarcely credible gamesmanship. Notwithstanding Giuliani’s representations that Trump is pawing the stall eager to submit to an interview under oath, it has become increasingly apparent that neither Trump nor anyone in his orbit has any interest in his answering Mueller’s questions. In a word, they are playing Mueller, and in the process, playing the country.

Eugene Robinson: The president is on vacation. Democrats can’t afford to be.

For President Trump, this can’t be much of a vacation.

The onetime chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign, Paul Manafort, is on trial in federal court for tax fraud and other alleged crimes. The prosecution’s star witness in that trial is Rick Gates, the deputy chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee. The first sitting member of Congress to endorse Trump for president, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), was indicted on federal charges of insider trading. And Tuesday’s election results showed that Trump’s insurance policy — the Republican Party’s iron-fisted control of Congress — is in danger of cancellation.

Trump is at his New Jersey golf club , ostensibly relaxing but probably stewing. I’ll go out on a limb and predict a storm of angry tweets in the near future. [..]

Trump and his aides reportedly understand how grim the midterms look. The table is set for Democrats to take the House and at least hold their own in the Senate. But Democrats should act as if they’re behind, not ahead, because complacency would be politically fatal.

Democrats should assume that the president’s visit did boost Balderson’s vote, at least marginally, and that Trump will do everything imaginable to motivate his base. The Democratic base needs to be similarly fired up. Pedal to the metal, folks, all the way to November.