Sep 04 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.
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Paul Krugman: Get Sick, Go Bankrupt and Die 
very orthodox Republican, toeing the party line no matter how irresponsible it became. Think of the way he abandoned his onetime advocacy of action to limit climate change.

But he redeemed much of that record with one action: He cast the crucial vote against G.O.P. attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That single “nay” saved health care for tens of millions of Americans, at least for a while.

But now McCain is gone, and with him, as far as we can tell, the only Republican in Congress with anything resembling a spine. As a result, if Republicans hold Congress in November, they will indeed repeal Obamacare. That’s not a guess: It’s an explicit promise, made by Vice President Mike Pence last week.

But what about the problems that sank the repeal effort in 2017? Surely Republicans have spent the past year rethinking their policy ideas, trying to come up with ways to undo the A.C.A. without inflicting enormous harm on ordinary Americans, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions. Right?

See, I made a joke.

Eugene Robinson: Why Trump is so frantic right now

President Trump’s incoherence grows to keep pace with his desperation. These days, he makes less sense than ever — a sign that this malignant presidency has entered a new, more dangerous phase.

I can’t be the only one who thinks he sounds less like an elected official than like the leader of some apocalyptic cult. Look at the way he rails against the news media at his revival-style campaign rallies. In Indiana on Thursday night, he seemed obsessed with news stories that had described empty seats and a subdued crowd at a West Virginia rally several days earlier. He claimed those reports were “fake news,” although they were demonstrably true. [..]

But although Trump’s rant was divorced from reality, it was also coldly calculated. He has waged a relentless campaign to persuade his staunch supporters to believe his words over the evidence of their own eyes and ears.

This is an astonishing thing to have to say about an American president, but Trump is taking a page from the playbook of totalitarian dictators: Believe only me. Reality is what I say it is. Anyone who claims otherwise is an Enemy of the People .

Jennifer Rubin: Support for Republicans and for Kavanaugh crumbles

The Post-ABC News poll has more dreadful results for Republicans. Democrats’ lead in the generic polling is 14 points (52 percent to 38 percent). (A new USA Today/Suffolk poll puts Democrats’ margin at 11 points.)  The Republican Party as a whole gets poor marks for “being in touch with most people’s concerns” (31 percent say in touch, 63 percent say not), including 69 percent of independents. Democrats’ numbers aren’t great, but are substantially better than Republicans’ — 40 percent say in touch, 51 percent say not. As for President Trump, specifically, 63 percent say he’s out of touch. Among independents, 67 percent say he’s out of touch. Even Trump’s two groups of core voters think he’s out of touch — white non-college-educated (50/47) and rural voters (53/44). (Interestingly, 72 percent of respondents say that if Democrats win the majority, they will try to impeach Trump. Democratic lawmakers insist that they haven’t made up their minds.)

Trump and the Republicans aren’t doing a very good job scaring Americans about illegal immigration. Trump is too harsh on illegal immigrants, according to 56 percent, 11 percent say not tough enough and 31 percent about right. If Democrats are elected, a narrow plurality (47 percent) say they’ll be tough enough, while 43 percent say not tough enough.

The most consequential part of the data might be the response to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Only 38 percent think the Senate should confirm; 39 percent do not.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Andrew Gillum’s rise shows the strength of the progressive pipeline

Last Tuesday, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum defied the odds and won the Democratic primary for governor in Florida. He had neither the biggest name nor the most money, and still he emerged as the clear winner. Gillum is now, along with Stacey Abrams of Georgia and Ben Jealous of Maryland, one of three black candidates for governor who could make history this year.

The gubernatorial election in Florida will be a test of progressivism vs. Trumpism. On one side we have Gillum, a 39-year-old with strong grass-roots support and bold progressive stances on issues such as establishing Medicare for All, abolishing ICE in its current form, reforming the criminal-justice system and ensuring a living wage. On the other is Ron DeSantis, a Trump devotee.

But that’s only part of the story. Gillum’s victory is not simply a reaction to the Trump administration, nor is Gillum an overnight sensation. His success is a long time in the making as he has worked his way through the leadership pipeline for progressive candidates. Strengthening this pipeline will be critical for the progressive movement to sustain victories such as his in the years to come.

Catherine Rampell: Trump promised farmers ‘smarter’ trade deals. Now he has to bail them out.

“Trade, not aid.”

That’s what farmers, ranchers and their elected officials keep telling the Trump administration they want. They have worked hard over the years to grow their export opportunities, forging critical relationships in China, Mexico, the European Union, Canada and other markets. Customers around the world have gobbled up U.S.-produced pork, soybeans, fruits and other goods.

Yet in a matter of months, President Trump has managed to fray — and possibly sever — many of those ties.

For bogus “national security” reasons, among other rationales, he has provoked nearly every one of our major trading partners into slapping retaliatory tariffs on tens of billions of dollars’ worth of American-made agricultural products.