Nov 12 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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Charles M. Blow: You Have a Right to Weariness

Do we have a right to weariness in an era of animus? More precisely, can we afford it, or is exhaustion a luxury reserved for those whose wealth, privilege and status insulate them from the losses the rest of us could suffer? Does patriotic defense of country require perpetual, obsessive vigilance, or is it permissible to retreat occasionally for one’s own mental and spiritual health?

These are questions I ask myself regularly, and ones that are frequently asked of me, if not in those exact words. People are trying to figure out the proper posture to take in a world riven by deceit and corruption, a world in which the leadership of the country represents an assault on decency.

This is a conundrum, I must confess.

I, as much as anyone else, feel trapped by our current predicament. I would love nothing more than to write about other things, worthy things, more intellectually stimulating things. But for more than two years, I have written almost exclusively about Donald Trump.

Tim Wu: Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, an urgent question presented itself: How can we prevent the rise of fascism from happening again? If over the years that question became one of mostly historical interest, it has again become pressing, with the growing success of populist, nationalist and even neofascist movements all around the world.

Common answers to the question stress the importance of a free press, the rule of law, stable government, robust civic institutions and common decency. But as undoubtedly important as these factors are, we too often overlook something else: the threat to democracy posed by monopoly and excessive corporate concentration — what the Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis called the “curse of bigness.” We must not forget the economic origins of fascism, lest we risk repeating the most calamitous error of the 20th century.

Michelle Goldberg: The Resistance Strikes Back

In April 2017, progressives across America turned toward Georgia’s Sixth District for the race to fill the House seat vacated by Tom Price, who’d become President Trump’s (short-lived) secretary of health and human services. That affluent, highly educated district in Atlanta’s northern suburbs had been solidly Republican for decades; Newt Gingrich had held it for 20 years, and Price won his 2016 election by more than 23 percentage points. But Trump had prevailed there only narrowly, and Democrats dreamed of using the special election to rebuke him.

A great many local women, some awakened from political indifference by shock and revulsion at Trump’s victory, threw themselves into his campaign. Money poured in from all over the country for the Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff. It became the most expensive House contest in history.

He lost. Afterward, people complained — often on cable TV — that Democrats had squandered their money. But last week, some of that investment finally paid off.

Paul Waldman: Accountability is finally coming to the Trump administration. Its members should be terrified.

Democrats won’t actually take control of the House until January, but they’re ready to hit the ground running:

Fresh off a resounding midterm elections victory, House Democrats on Sunday began detailing plans to wield their newfound oversight power in the next Congress, setting their sights on acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker while rebuffing calls from some liberals to pursue impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

As the article above explains, multiple Democrats who will be chairing committees in the new Congress made clear that they already have a clear idea of the matters they’ll be investigating and they’re ready to use their subpoena powers if the administration refuses to cooperate. You can be sure that when all this begins, Republicans will portray it as madness, a chaotic eruption of politically motivated probes with no legitimate purpose. The truth, however, is that Democrats seem to know exactly what they’re doing.

Lawrence Lessig: Beto O’Rourke’s biggest blind spot cost him Texas. Democrats, take note

There is an uncertain hopefulness among Democrats just now about the party’s victories on Tuesday. All are relieved that Democrats captured the House, though many are puzzled that even this was so difficult. Beyond the House, the victories were even less certain. There are seven more Democratic state legislatures, but at least four fewer Democratic Senators. And none of the most prominent candidates in this cycle – at least among those facing an opponent – are certain to have won. Beto O’Rourke conceded in Texas. Only Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams are still fighting for victory.

Yet just below the surface of these moderate gains hides a truth that the Democrats need to understand – and quickly. There is a clear model for victory going forward. It is not the model being promoted by the most active and vocal Democrats just now.

According to the most progressive, the formula for a blue wave is for Democrats everywhere to become more bold and more progressive. The weakness of the party, this faction insists, is that it isn’t extreme enough. What would guarantee victory, these sorts say, is a stronger and more vibrant left. America would rally to the likes of Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – if only the Democratic party would give them the chance.

Tuesday is strong evidence that this strategy is just wrong. And exhibit A is the extraordinary candidacy of Beto O’Rourke.