Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Time for Wasserman Schultz to Show Some Class

Whatever you may think of the job that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has done as chair of the Democratic National Committee for the past several years, it's clear that things have gone seriously off track during the Presidential campaign. Bernie Sanders doesn't believe she has been an honest broker of the competing interests of his and Hillary's campaigns. He is so convinced of it that he has endorsed her primary opponent for her seat in the House of Representatives. According to some insiders, there are talks of some kind of coup to remove her from her position.

Regardless of whether Sanders' beliefs are justified, he is the candidate of a large and important wing of the Democratic Party. The last thing the Democrats need is a bitter split when they're about to go against the greatest threat to the Republic in 150 years.

Every day that is wasted on this business is a disaster. It will not end until Wasserman Shultz is either removed or steps down. And that's what she should do: step down.  I've prepared a statement for her:

Over the past several months it has been clear that a significant group of people in the Democratic Party do not believe I have served as a neutral actor in the Democratic primary process. I strongly disagree. I have worked hard always to provide fair treatment, without prejudice, to all of the candidates' campaigns, and I believe that fairness has been reflected in every word I have spoken and every action I have taken.

My desire and instinct are to carry on as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee in this extremely important election year. However, my obligation is to do what is best for the Democratic Party and, therefore, I believe, my country. I am now convinced that the distraction from the important job before us that would result from continuing to serve as chairwoman would be detrimental to the prospects of our eventual nominee. It is, consequently, my duty to resign the position and find other ways to serve my country and my district.

Although I am personally deeply saddened by this turn of events, and, I will admit, feel considerably misused, I ask – beg! – that my supporters and detractors put their disagreements on my actions aside until after the election. We have an important job in front of us; upon our success may depend the safety of the Republic. This is no time for personal squabbles. 

My resignation will become effective as soon as a replacement is named by the Democratic National Committee. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Authoritarianism and Donald Trump

Thought you might enjoy this little video that describes an analysis of authoritarianism in America by political scientists.  It includes some of Trump's Greatest Hits.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Gerson Gets His Head Back on Straight

A few months ago, we had great fun reading a Michael Gerson column that blamed the craziness in the GOP on ... are you ready? ... Obama! It was a uniquely non- introspective column.

Gerson, whom I've always held in high esteem despite his conservative stances, seems to have regained his senses:
Make no mistake. Those who support Trump, no matter how reluctantly, have crossed a moral boundary. They are standing with a leader who encourages prejudice and despises the weak. They are aiding the transformation of a party formed by Lincoln’s blazing vision of equality into a party of white resentment. Those who find this one of the normal, everyday compromises of politics have truly lost their way.
This is not even to mention Trump’s pledge to limit press freedom, or his malicious birtherism, or his dangerous vaccine skepticism, or his economic plans that would bring global recession, or his lack of relevant qualifications, or his temperament of brooding and bragging, egotism and self-pity, or his promise to emancipate the world from American leadership, or his accusation that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved with Lee Harvey Freaking Oswald.
Some are trying their best to act as though all this were normal. But we are seeing, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, “lunacy dancing in high places.” None of this requires a vote for Hillary Clinton. But it forbids a vote for Donald Trump.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Pithy Quotes

E.J. Dionne had some accurate observations in today's column: The Irony of Celebrity Populism:
We need to think hard about the multiple weaknesses Trump is exposing in our politics. How has he been able to convert fame and outrage into votes without even a moment of apprenticeship in public service?

One reason is the anger in a large segment of the Republican Party that has been stoked by its leaders. You might say they have now lost control of the beast they were feeding. There is also the utter contempt toward government that their ideology encouraged. Trump has played on the fragility of our media system, which, in its search for ratings, can’t get enough of him, and on a pervasive pain among the many who have been cast aside by our economy. They had been ignored by elites of all kinds.


... a phony celebrity populism plays well on television at a time when politics and governing are regularly trashed by those who claim both as their calling. Politicians who don’t want to play their assigned roles make it easy for a role-player to look like the real thing and for a billionaire who flies around on his own plane to look like a populist.