Jul 02 2019

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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Paul Krugman: The Moochers of Middle America

The Democrats aren’t radical, but Republicans are.

Last week’s debates clearly weakened Joe Biden and increased the odds that a more definitively progressive candidate — probably Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren — will win the nomination. And you can hear the wailing from much of the Beltway, the claims that Democrats are moving too far left.

So it’s worth parsing those claims. In what sense are the Dems moving too far left? What I’m seeing are three fairly distinct claims. First, that the party is endangering its electoral prospects. Second, that the party is being fiscally or economically irresponsible. Third, that Democrats are unfairly proposing to redistribute income from those who create wealth to those who don’t.

So you should know that the first claim is probably wrong, the second is definitely wrong, and the third ignores the extent to which we already do a lot of redistribution in this country — with Republican voters some of the biggest beneficiaries.

Michelle Cottle: Hey, Democrats, What About the Senate?

If the party is interested in restoring some semblance of good government to Washington, it needs to think about more than winning the White House.

Round 1 of the Democratic presidential primary debates is history, leaving the public with much to chew over. So many candidates. So many promises. So many governing visions for where to take the nation.

Here’s the stark reality: Regardless of who captures the Democratic nomination, and possibly the White House, next year, his or her grand plans will be for naught unless there is a shift in the United States Senate.

There will always be squabbling, showboating and foot-dragging in the upper chamber. That is how the founding fathers wanted it. The current majority leader, Mitch McConnell, however, has devoted much of his career to perfecting the art of obstructionism, weaponizing Senate gridlock like no one before him. He calls himself the “Grim Reaper,” having turned his chamber into a legislative graveyard.

When it comes to putting the interests of himself and his Republican Party over that of the public, he has no scruples. Just ask Merrick Garland.

A telling moment from Wednesday’s Democratic debate was when the candidates were asked how, as president, they would prevent Mr. McConnell from jamming up their Supreme Court nominations like he had Judge Garland’s. None had a good answer.

To be fair, there is no good answer. Restoring sanity to the Senate requires removing Mr. McConnell from power, either by unseating him or by stripping him of his majority.

Michelle Goldberg: The Welcome Humiliation of John Bolton

A warmonger is the latest to lose his dignity to Donald Trump.

Say this for Donald Trump. He may be transforming American politics into a kleptocratic fascist reality show and turning our once-great country into a global laughingstock, but at least he’s humiliating John Bolton in the process.

Many people who get involved with this president end up diminished, embarrassed or, in quite a few cases, indicted. Rex Tillerson, once known as a corporate titan, will now be remembered for his brief, ineffectual record as secretary of state. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, and Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager, are in prison.

Bolton’s comeuppance is of a different kind. By taking to Fox News to kiss up to Trump, he became national security adviser, a job that no other president would have ever given to a discredited warmonger. His reward is that, after devoting his life to the expansion of American power globally, he’s a hapless party to its contraction. For a person to sell out his putative ideals for such a hollow victory would be like a Greek drama, if the Greeks had written dramas about such small men.

Eugene Robinson: Never Trumpers have a decision to make

Never-Trump Republicans and independents may be shocked to hear this, but the Democratic Party is likely to nominate a Democrat for president. That means they’re not going to nominate someone who thinks exactly like a Never-Trump Republican.

Break out the smelling salts. I think several refugees from the GOP, pontificating on Twitter and the nation’s leading op-ed pages, just fainted dead away.

I, for one, have pretty much had it with the chorus of center-right voices braying that the Democrats are heading for certain doom — and the nation for four more years of President Trump — if the party picks a nominee who actually embraces the party’s ideals. Elections are choices. These Never Trumpers will have to make one.

Anyone who watched last week’s two-night candidates’ debate should be confident that the eventual Democratic nominee is virtually certain to support universal health care, comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform, reasonable gun control, measures to address climate change and bold steps to address income inequality. No, this is not a Republican agenda. Outcasts from the GOP will have to decide whether to accept it, in the interest of ending our long national nightmare, or reject it and stick with a president who kowtows to Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.

Michelle Goodwin: Alabama Isn’t the Only State That Punishes Pregnant Women

Across the United States, pregnant women’s lives, rights and dignity matter less and less.

Last week, the world learned the chilling news that Marshae Jones, a 28-year-old woman who was five months pregnant when shot in the stomach, has been charged with manslaughter. When a grand jury failed to indict Ebony Jemison, the woman who fired the gun, the police in Pleasant Grove, Ala., sought someone else — and landed on Ms. Jones, whom they now blame for the altercation that led to the termination of her pregnancy. To the police, if Ms. Jones had not picked a fight, her fetus would have survived. [..]

Let us be clear: Anyone who thinks it is the recently passed Alabama abortion law alone that sets the state apart on reproductive health is wrong. Alabama police and prosecutors strategically wield power and influence with hospitals and medical clinicians to ferret out women who “endanger” their pregnancies. By one count, there have been 479 arrested in Alabama for endangering their pregnancies and charged under the state’s chemical endangerment statute.

But make no mistake, fetal protection prosecutions are not confined to Alabama.