Archive

February 5th, 2016

Republicans have the toughest road to unity

    Iowa has exposed the schisms in both political parties. They are deeper, and probably more durable, among Republicans.

    As the caucuses kick off the 2016 presidential race Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a small lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders -- 45 percent to 42 percent -- though both candidates are very popular among the state's Democratic caucus-goers, according to the Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll published this weekend.

    Among Republicans, billionaire Donald Trump is leading with 28 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has 23 percent and Florida Gov. Marco Rubio, 15 percent. But the divisions are more pronounced than for Democrats: Trump gets negative marks from supporters of the other leading contenders.

    "On the Democratic side, you just have a lot of mutual respect, says J. Ann Selzer, whose Iowa-based Selzer & Co. conducted the poll.

    "The Republican side is more of a bitter war," Selzer said.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Political establishment can learn a few things from hockey's all-star enforcer

    Does this scenario sound familiar? In a popular uprising, voters rally behind an insurgent outsider candidate. The establishment panics and tries to quash the outsider's campaign. But voters are undeterred, rallying around their candidate by the tens of thousands and leading him to an upstart victory.

    Bernie Sanders? Donald Trump?

    Nope.

    I'm talking about a professional hockey player named John Scott.

    For those who don't follow hockey, Scott is a National Hockey League enforcer who was elected in a grass-roots revolution as captain of the Pacific Division team in the 2016 NHL All-Star Game.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

In Iowa, a final push of sheer raw emotion

    With candidates in both parties racing toward photo finishes in Monday's Iowa caucuses, the issues have receded from view. Instead, the final push is a contest of raw emotion, war, sports, animal magnetism and last-minute gimmicks. I've seen election campaigns up close in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and other European countries, but I've never seen one get so personal.

    I wouldn't go so far as to predict the outcome, but the last pre-caucus poll, commissioned by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg, meshes with my impressions.

    The final poll has usually called the winners correctly. This year, though, the spread between the leading Democratic candidates is within the 4 percent margin of error, and the top two Republicans' support differs by just 5 percentage points.

    Further data gives an edge to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump, which fits what I've seen and heard on the campaign trail in these last frantic days.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

'Hand on the Bible' time for these climate deniers

    On behalf of a planet and its species, I’m asking a certain Texas grand jury if it still has time on its docket.

    I speak of the Harris County grand jury that turned the tables on hucksters who conspired to paint Planned Parenthood as a law-breaker.

    Instead of indicting Houston Planned Parenthood, the grand jury indicted two conniving videographers. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt now will be tried for painting a lie about Planned Parenthood with their video-editing toys.

    Those of us who applaud this decision, just as we applaud the amazing work of Planned Parenthood, hereby ask the grand jury to consider another case. This, too, involves the same types of players: skilled ideological hit men.

    I got the idea from a piercing Washington Post commentary by Robert Brulle, professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University.

    Brulle says guileful energy industry players who have seeded so much doubt about climate change and man’s role in it should be investigated.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

'Establishment' as a dirty word in politics

    Is Planned Parenthood part of the Establishment with a capital E? It's a signal of the upside-down nature of the current political campaign that Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had a dust-up over exactly that question. Their dispute carries a lesson about how desperately we long to believe that we're all outsiders.

    The whole thing began last month when Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Clinton for president. In response, Sanders huffed, "Some of these groups are, in fact, part of the establishment." The Clinton campaign hastened to assure Democrats that the groups were nothing of the kind: "If an organization like Planned Parenthood really were part of the establishment, Democrats wouldn't have to work so hard to defend it against Republican attacks." Sanders responded by insisting that his reference to the Establishment was only to the groups' leaders responsible for the endorsement.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Dear Trump supporters: Hear me out before you vote. Yours, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    Dear Trump supporters:

    America hears you.

    You are angry with the gridlock caused by the petty bickering of professional politicians more interested in being lackeys to lobbyists and other big-money donors than in improving the lives of average wage-earning Americans. Money, jobs and opportunities seem to flow upstream to those who already have everything, rather than downstream to those most in need. Truly, this is how most Americans feel.

    The question for this election is: Which candidate will actually do something about it? Who will be our champion? Your passion for Donald Trump, an outsider to governing, is proof that our political system, though sometimes infuriating, is as noble, contradictory and inspiring as America itself.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Clinton may lose battles but win the war

    Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination. I've been saying that for a year. Despite Bernie Sanders's impressive campaign, nothing really changes that.

    Democratic party actors are close to united behind her. In presidential elections, that kind of support -- not polls, money or even results in early states -- is what best predicts who gets the nomination.

    Still, plenty remains at stake for Democrats in the vote in Iowa, where the former secretary of State remains a narrow favorite. The final Bloomberg/Des Moines Register/Selzer polls gives her a three- percentage-point lead, close enough that it wouldn't be a surprise if Sanders, the Vermont senator, comes out on top.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

A German lesson for Clinton's email scandal

    The more threatening Hillary Clinton's alleged mishandling of classified information becomes to her chances at the presidency the more I think the story has a relevant precedent.

    In 1974, 12 days after it was revealed that his personal assistant had been an East German spy, Willy Brandt, the chancellor of West Germany, announced his resignation. While Britain's Profumo affair had disastrous consequences for the government of Harold Macmillan in 1963, I can't think of another example of a leader of this caliber being brought low by being too careless with secret information, and there are important similarities -- and differences -- in the Brandt and Clinton cases that are interesting to consider.

    First, the similarities.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Iowa’s Black Caucusgoers

    On Monday, Iowans will become the first people in the nation to officially express their choices for the next president of the United States.

    But what interested me in particular was that a subset of those voters will be black. And since black voters in national polls are overwhelmingly Democratic and overwhelming prefer Hillary Clinton to her rivals, it seemed important to explore how these voters are processing this election cycle and its candidates.

    Over three days in Des Moines — from Friday to Sunday — I interviewed more than 30 black people, and spoke briefly to many more at a black church, a black-owned barbershop, a popular soul food restaurant and at African-American social events.

    My first impression from these conversations was that there existed a staggering level of ambivalence and absence of enthusiasm. A surprising number of people said they were undecided and started an answer with the clause, “If I had to choose ...”

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

February 4th

Wind, Sun and Fire

    So what’s really at stake in this year’s election? Well, among other things, the fate of the planet.

    Last year was the hottest on record, by a wide margin, which should — but won’t — put an end to climate deniers’ claims that global warming has stopped. The truth is that climate change just keeps getting scarier; it is, by far, the most important policy issue facing America and the world. Still, this election wouldn’t have much bearing on the issue if there were no prospect of effective action against the looming catastrophe.

    But the situation on that front has changed drastically for the better in recent years, because we’re now achingly close to achieving a renewable-energy revolution. What’s more, getting that energy revolution wouldn’t require a political revolution. All it would take are fairly modest policy changes, some of which have happened and others of which are underway. But those changes won’t happen if the wrong people end up in power.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!