Saturday November 22, 2014
November 20th, 2014
For Democrats, looking for any good news out of the midterm election results is like the ghoulish old joke: "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?" But, believe it or not, shining among the rubble are a few nuggets of good news -- mainly at the state, not federal, level.
A bit belatedly, Democrats have detected a deficiency in their 2014 midterm campaigns: They didn't really have an economic message.
There's this game in American politics where folks who fancy themselves conservative often condemn programs that they in fact want very much. Obamacare is one such example.
We face a possible moment of truth in a case now before the U.S. Supreme Court. If the justices rule a certain way, Americans in the 36 states covered by the federal exchanges would lose their federal subsidies.
It's easy to be cynical about summit meetings. Often they're just photo ops, and the photos from the latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, which had world leaders looking remarkably like the cast of "Star Trek," were especially cringe-worthy. At best - almost always - they're just occasions to formally announce agreements already worked out by lower-level officials.
Republican leaders in the House and Senate have made clear that they'll deploy every weapon in the legislative arsenal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They'll try to chip away at the taxes that support it and abolish the mandates that make its insurance markets work.
They might even stand on their heads and stop breathing if that would do the trick.
For all the millions spent on advertising in both parties for the midterm elections, voter turnout was the lowest since World War II, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida.
The deplorable news only demonstrates the ineffectiveness of unrestricted campaign giving to broaden the electorate, and instead magnifies the power of the dollar to persuade those who do show up at the polls.
No matter how it pans out it is going to be a long rough two years waiting for the next election. It is reasonable to expect it to be an awakening for those who could not be bothered to vote or, just as bad, succumbed to the advertising purchased by those untraceable dollars.
The minute we glimpse a flicker of hope in the fight against climate change, Republicans in Congress announce their intention to snuff it out. Fortunately for the planet, it seems they can't.
Let's play: So You Think You Can Make Tax Policy!
Really, it's going to be exciting. Along the way we will get to discuss the latest exploits of the billionaire Koch brothers, machinations by possible presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, and gossip about at least one entertainment celebrity.
No consequence of the Berlin Wall's crumbling on Nov. 9, 1989, is more astonishing than that hideous structure's conversion from a source of German shame to a source of German pride. Formerly obsessed with the sad fact the Wall ever went up, Germans spent the 25th anniversary of its fall trumpeting the fact that they tore it down.