Archive

October 8th, 2016

Pence’s Ugly Assignment

    Back when Mike Pence hosted a talk radio show in the 1990s, he described himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf.”

    For much of Tuesday night, he was like Forrest Gump on chamomile, squarely and steadily plodding forward, seldom tugged from his talking points and never particularly rattled. His expression was a sort of upbeat blur. His voice was a lulling drone.

    It wasn’t exactly a vivid performance, but it was an eerily consistent one, and it answered the question of how a man who supposedly prides himself on his virtue defends a running mate who is often bereft of it. He sets his jaw. He slows his pulse. He practices a bemused chuckle, perfects deafness to anything he prefers not to hear and purges from his memory anything he doesn’t want to own.

    That included the whole grotesque cornucopia of Donald Trump’s slurs and bad behavior, which Tim Kaine had studied up on exhaustively, knew by heart and kept throwing at Pence, pressing for the barest glimmer of shame or the slightest hint of apology. It was pointless — a point that Kaine himself made about an hour into this exercise in futility.

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!

Mike Pence just revealed the core weakness of Trump's candidacy

    Mike Pence put on a reasonably strong debate performance this week -- stronger, in key ways, than that of Tim Kaine. But in so doing, Pence inadvertently revealed the fundamental weakness of his running mate's whole candidacy. This weakness is surmountable, and Donald Trump could still win. But right now, it looks more likely that Trump won't surmount it -- and once you get past the noise and spin enveloping Tuesday night's festivities, what you see is that fundamental weakness sitting right there in plain sight once again.

    During the debate, by my count, Tim Kaine reminded the national audience of Trump's attacks on Mexican immigrants no less than five times. He revived Trump's attacks on a Mexican-American judge twice. He criticized Trump's misogynistic quotes twice and quoted Trump's suggestion that women should be punished for abortions once. He blasted Trump's birtherism three times, in one case flatly describing it as bigoted. And he aired Trump's plans for mass deportations five times.

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!

How to upgrade America's 'Third World' airports

    It's the one opinion that Donald Trump and his opponents seem to share: America's airports are so bad, it's like "they're from a Third World country," as Trump said in the first debate. Vice President Joe Biden used the same phrase to describe New York's LaGuardia two years ago. Much of the flying public seems to roughly agree.

    The sentiment is understandable if you've recently transited through a gleaming airport in Singapore, Dubai or Kuala Lumpur. Where LaGuardia has low-end souvenir shops, grim food courts and cramped concourses, these airports have butterfly gardens, jungle trails and sound-proofed, WiFi-enabled snooze cubes. It's enough to drive a frequent flier to distraction. And it makes you wonder why the world's biggest economy can't keep pace.

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!

Don't worry, millennial underachievers: It's always been tough to figure out your life

    Stepping into my college library one autumn Sunday, I heard an officer's police radio crackle to life: "Girl missing, left Manhattan dorm to teach class in Brooklyn this morning, never arrived." It took only a few seconds to realize the girl was me.

    The year was 1980, and I was a freshman. I had awoken earlier that morning terrified at the thought of going to my part-time job teaching 12-year-olds about the Holocaust at a Hebrew school in Brooklyn, a position I'd talked myself into in August but was utterly unqualified for. So I decided to skip work.

    That morning, I'd pretended to head to the job, bidding my roommates farewell with a backpack slung over my shoulder. But instead of catching the subway to Brooklyn as I normally did, I walked to a diner and lingered for hours at a scratched Formica table, eating scrambled eggs, sipping free coffee refills from a chipped ceramic mug and completing the easy answers in the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle, ones with clues like "________ the Hun."

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 Muslim politician's American dream is real

    Saad Almasmari is ready for another interview. We are seated in a tea shop in Hamtramck, Michigan, which made news a year ago when it elected the nation's first Muslim-majority city council. Across from me, next to Almasmari, is a gracious young Muslim-American student whom I also had expected to meet here. Next to me is an organizer for the Hillary Clinton campaign whom I didn't. Almasmari invited the Clinton operative for the same time and place, figuring he'd kill two appointments with one cup of tea. He's a busy man.

    Hamtramck is a small town carrying more fears and hopes than its two square miles really ought to shoulder. Islamophobes are hoping the hardscrabble city blows up like a Michael Bay blockbuster, thereby proving that Muslims are all treacherous and anti-American. Multiculturalists want to see the city's Bangladeshi, Polish, Yemeni and other communities live in a dreamscape of harmony and prosperity, proving, among other things, that Islamophobes are idiots.

    Almasmari, meanwhile, mostly wants to get ahead.

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 good fairy smites Trump

    Donald Trump, the master spinner of fairy tales, has become the victim of a good fairy. An anonymous source has bestowed on The New York Times strong evidence of how he managed for years to turn huge business losses into legal ways to massively evade payment of federal income taxes.

    A Times reporter received three photocopied pages of Trump's signed 1995 tax return declaring losses of $916 million. They provided the basis by which he may have legally escaped paying as much as $50 million a year in taxes for as many as 18 years.

    The Times, doing due diligence, tracked down the tax accountant who prepared Trump's returns that year. He verified the photocopies' authenticity, as the Republican presidential nominee continued refusing to release his full income tax returns.

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!

Pence’s Ugly Assignment

    Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency has been such a nonstop sequence of inane and insane moments that it’s hard to remember the outrages of a few weeks ago, let alone a few months back. So you may well have forgotten his introduction of Mike Pence as his running mate in July.

    I assure you that Pence hasn’t — because that was the harbinger. That was the clue. That was when and how he knew that he’d enlisted himself in an effort that was going to cause him significant heartache and boundless mortification.

    Trump took the stage in New York that day and digressed from the task at hand to sing one of those masturbatory arias — a Trump trademark — about his political success, his business genius and the unalloyed glory of all things Trump. This went on for nearly 30 minutes, while Pence waited … and waited … and waited in the wings.

    When he was finally summoned to the microphone, Trump didn’t stand beside or behind him but temporarily vanished. If the spotlight wasn’t going to be on Trump, what could possibly be the point of hanging around?

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!

October 7th

Trump's praise of Putin could cost him the election

    Donald Trump likes to mock Hillary Clinton for speaking to small crowds. So what was Trump doing last week giving a surprise speech to just 100 people in Chicago - a state he has zero chance of winning?

    Answer: damage control.

    Trump seems to finally realize that his bizarre embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and questioning of the U.S. obligation to defend its NATO allies, has alienated a critical voting bloc he needs to win the White House - Americans of Eastern European descent. So last week, Trump took a break from criticizing a former Miss Universe to give a speech to the Polish American Congress - the nation's most prominent Polish American organization - where he lavished praise on Poland. The fact that Trump is reassuring Polish American leaders less than 40 days before a close election shows he is worried about losing this voting bloc - and with good reason.

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!

Only you can prevent a Trump presidency

    I know, I know, the point I'm about to make is painfully obvious. But it is not in any sense trivial: If you care who wins the election next month, get off the couch, go down to your polling place and vote.

    National polls taken since last week's debate show Hillary Clinton with a solid lead over Donald Trump; a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Monday morning, for example, put the gap at 6 points. New polls in swing states, including some that once looked favorable for Trump, also report that Clinton is now ahead. There is every reason to believe that most Americans favor the former U.S. senator and secretary of state over the bigoted, clownish real estate mogul who claims he's worth billions of dollars yet apparently avoids paying federal income taxes.

    If you're tempted to think this is in the bag, however, look around.

    In Colombia on Sunday, voters narrowly rejected a peace deal intended to end a war against leftist guerrillas that has raged for five decades and claimed tens of thousands of lives. Supporters of the agreement were shocked because respected polls had shown it would be approved easily.

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!

Note to young voters: Giuliani was once admired

    Rudy Giuliani once captivated Americans with his take-charge leadership after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He was Time Magazine's man of the year.

    That's hard for most under-30 voters to grasp. The former New York City mayor has suffered one embarrassment after another ever since, and has become a staple of comedians' jokes.

    This was on display last weekend when, in his role as a leading surrogate for Donald Trump, he went on TV-interview shows to proclaim that the Republican presidential nominee was a "genius" for declaring $916 million in losses that he could use to legally avoid paying 18 years of federal income taxes.

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!