Oct 21 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media 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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Amanda Marcotte: Mitch McConnell admits he’s blocking coronavirus bill — will media finally stop blaming Democrats?

Republicans clearly never intended to pass a new relief bill — so why has the media consistently blamed Democrats?

For months, Congress has failed to pass a coronavirus relief bill, despite the widespread economic devastation and the fact that, under Donald Trump’s malicious mismanagement, the pandemic has spiraled out of control, infecting 8.25 million people and killing more than 220,000, as of Wednesday morning.

The mainstream media has firmly decided who they blame for the lack of a bill: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats who control the lower house of Congress. Blaming Democrats has been the dominant press narrative, even though it’s been obvious from the get-go that Republicans don’t want more relief legislation.  [..]

To anyone unburdened by the delusion that “balance” is a more important journalistic principle than truth, it was always obvious that Republicans were the reason no coronavirus bill was getting passed. For one thing, House Democrats already passed a robust relief bill in May, which Senate Republicans have basically ignored while avoiding any substantive efforts at negotiating a bill that can pass both houses. For another thing, there are obvious ideological differences between Democrats, where even the party’s “moderate” wing supports increased social spending, and Republicans, whose only real goal is moving as much wealth as possible from the hands of working people to the rich.

Heather Digby Parton: GOP’s invented Hunter Biden scandal isn’t going away: Are they shooting for 2022 already?

Republicans know they may face a sweeping defeat in two weeks. But their latest pseudo-scandal may keep hope alive

One of the many nerve-wracking questions Americans facing with the 2020 presidential election is whether all the bizarre conspiracy theories that have sprung up in the last few years will outlast the Trump administration. Are we in for a prolonged period of this level of lunacy in our politics? [..]

The fever may break once the chaos agent is out of the White House. As Bump pointed out in that Washington Post article, part of the reason some people gravitate to these elaborate conspiracies is because they need to feel that someone, somewhere, is pulling the strings because otherwise everything feels out of control. Perversely, if Trump loses, these people may actually calm down. Even if they don’t, what’s left of the GOP establishment is likely to distance itself as much as possible from the kookier conspiracists. It’s bad for business.

But that doesn’t mean that they’re going to give up conspiracy theories and pseudo-scandal-mongering altogether. It is, after all, one of their favorite political weapons. [..]

The Hunter Biden “scandal” has all the hallmarks of one of those patented GOP mudslinging operations. It’s not as wild as a pedophile ring in a pizza parlor, but it’s got lots of hurtful personal slander and ugly calumny to keep the folks entertained. That it has a Russia-Ukraine element makes it especially fun for those who want payback for Donald Trump being exposed as the most useful of idiots in the past four years.

Stuart Stevens, Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt and Reed Galen: Republicans, it’s time to choose between autocracy and a republic

Republicans Reed Galen, Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson are co-founders of the Lincoln Project. Stuart Stevens is a senior adviser to the Lincoln Project.

This is for the many men and women in Washington with whom we have worked over the past 30-plus years. Some of you hold elected office. Some are officials in the Trump administration. Many of you are members of the consultant and lobbyist class.

In two weeks, the most consequential election of our generation will come, and your time for choosing will arrive. As Republicans, will you stand with President Trump, or will you stand with, and stand up for, America? Will you protect democracy or protect a single person and his family?

We’re not merely talking about your vote.

We’re talking about what comes next.

Never before in U.S. history has an incumbent president refused in advance to accept the outcome of an election. In the days ahead, your party may call upon you to support efforts by a White House that refuses to transfer power after a loss at the polls. The weapons won’t be tanks but thousands of lawyers backed by an attorney general who works for the president, not the people.

This effort will succeed only if a Republican Party power structure offers blind allegiance to one man instead of the republic. Every Republican elected official, staffer, consultant, operative and sympathizer will face a choice: my party or my country?

Paul Waldman: Think things are ugly and divisive now? Just wait until 2021.

If they lose in November, the party of Donald Trump will only double down on divisiveness.

In our more innocent pre-2016 days, politicians often accused each other of being “divisive,” which often meant little more than “You’re advocating policies I don’t like” or “You’re criticizing me and I don’t like that either.” Donald Trump showed us what divisiveness really is, with two campaigns and a presidency devoted to fomenting hatred and resentment, all based on his belief that if Americans were at war with one another then he could profit from the conflict.

As he closes out his term, Trump is leaning ever harder on division, and other Republicans are enthusiastic participants in his project. But what if he loses? Will they decide that their path back to power might be found somewhere other than telling some Americans to focus their anger on other Americans?

The sad answer is no. This is driven home by a new report that you may have to read two or three times to actually believe it

Greg Sargent: Why Trump’s endgame is to rage at Lesley Stahl

Trump had hoped to wage this campaign in a fictional universe of his own creation.

Now that President Trump has gone on the attack against CBS’s Lesley Stahl, some observers appear puzzled: Why would Trump squander his final chance to close his big polling gap with Joe Biden on unhinged public fights rather than on winning back voters who’ve been alienated by exactly these sorts of meltdowns?

The fact that this comes after Trump waged a public assault on Anthony S. Fauci, his own leading infectious-disease expert, only seems to compound the folly here, since voters are surely looking to the popular Fauci for advice with the coronavirus again spiking around the country.

But in a very real sense people such as Stahl and Fauci actually are the chief opponents Trump must contend with in the campaign’s final days. They are the figures he perceives to be standing in the way of his effort to conduct this campaign in an entirely invented universe that he’d hoped to manufacture for this very purpose.