Archive

August 5th, 2016

Public bigotry creeps into private lives

    What's in a name? It's a measure of Donald Trump's insidious reach, and of the potency of the political virus he carries, that I was thinking about this lately.

    I'm hardly an obvious target of Trump's demagogy and contempt. I'm not a Mexican "rapist" who hopped a fence. I'm not a female "pig" whose dimensions don't conform to the demands of a pageant sash. I'm not a Muslim, accused by Trump of knowing, and keeping silent about, the murderous plans of home-grown terrorists. I have no physical disability capable of triggering Trump's unerring instinct for gratuitous cruelty.

    I'm a college-educated, white, heterosexual American male born in the latter half of the 20th century -- about the most privileged species on earth. Yet it occurred to me recently that the social toxins released by Trump's presidential candidacy can seep beneath even the most formidable social defense.

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!

Thanks, Obama

    It wasn’t easy for Barack Obama, a skinny newcomer to national politics with an exotic name and scant résumé, to overthrow the voracious Clinton machine.

    The 45-year-old had to turn himself into a dream catcher. He had to become an avatar of idealism and persuade Americans that he could take us to a political Arden beyond lies and vanishing records and money grabs and Marc Rich and Monica and Motel 1600.

    “We need a leader who’s going to touch our souls,” Michelle told a South Carolina rally in 2007. “Who’s going to make us feel differently about one another.”

    Obama was going to lift Washington to a higher plateau — not one where the president consulted a pollster to see where he should vacation or if he should tell the truth about his intern/mistress. The young senator from Chicago was going to prove that the White House could be a gleaming citadel of integrity and ethics and exemplary family life.

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!

Count on Trump to be a sore loser

    Of all the dangerous things that Donald Trump has said, perhaps the most concerning is his assertion that the election might be rigged. This irresponsible, unsupported suggestion augurs poorly for Trump's behavior in the increasingly likely event of his loss.

     "The election is going to be rigged," Trump warned at a rally in Ohio. "I'm telling you, November 8, we'd better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged," he told Fox News' Sean Hannity.

    Those comments set the stage for an explosive outcome the likes of which this country has never seen. It is not far-fetched to imagine Trump inciting his partisans against accepting the verdict of voters, further inflaming an already toxic political climate in Washington.

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!

Worthy of Our Contempt

    Donald Trump said some more disgusting things over the weekend. If this surprises you, you haven’t been paying attention. Also, don’t be surprised if a majority of Republicans approve of his attack on the parents of a dead war hero. After all, a YouGov survey found that 61 percent of Republicans support his call for Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton.

    But this isn’t a column about Trump and the people who are OK with anything he says or does. It is, instead, about Republicans — probably a minority within the party, but a substantial one — who aren’t like that. These are people who aren’t racists, respect patriots even if they’re Muslim, believe that America should honor its international commitments, and in general sound like normal members of a normal political party.

    Yet the great majority of these not-crazy Republicans are still supporting Trump for president. And we have a right to ask why.

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!

What we can expect from the Clinton vs. Trump fight

    The two party conventions are over. The first general election debate is in 56 days. The general election is 99 days away. Now, then, seems like a good time to look at what we know about the clash between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    Here are five things I think I know.

 

    1. There is no Trump 2.0.

    I've been saying this for a while now. There is no pivot. There is no new and improved version. There is just Donald Trump - take him or leave him. Ask yourself this: What successful 70-year-old man - in the immediate aftermath of one of the greatest victories of his life - decides to do things totally differently? The answer is no 70-year-old man, particularly one with the level of supreme confidence displayed by Trump.

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!

Russian hackers could target voting machines

    Russia was behind the hacks into the Democratic National Committee's computer network that led to the release of thousands of internal emails just before the party's convention began, U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly concluded.

    The FBI is investigating. WikiLeaks promises there is more data to come. The political nature of this cyberattack means that Democrats and Republicans are trying to spin this situation as much as possible. Even so, we have to accept that someone is attacking our nation's computer systems in an apparent attempt to influence a presidential election. This kind of cyberattack targets the very core of our democratic process. And it points to the possibility of an even worse problem in November - that our election systems and our voting machines could be vulnerable to a similar attack.

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!

Off to the Races

    Attending both political parties’ conventions last month, I certainly had some upside-down-world moments.

    The Republican convention featured a sprawling blended family, an LGBT first, and promises of a top-down government fix, while the Democratic convention showcased religiosity, patriotism, militarism, and American exceptionalism.

    The Republican convention pushed radical change while the Democratic one championed the more conservative tenet of unwavering consistency.

    It was enough to make my head spin.

    But beyond the oddity of the incongruities was the production itself. Modern conventions are all about stagecraft and television production. They are multimillion-dollar infomercials for the candidate and the party. There are few surprises and few flashes of unpolished candor. When such flashes do occur, they often come from people who are not practiced politicians.

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!

History shows Trump's wall won't work

    Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico to block the flow of migrants has been justly criticized on moral, economic and political grounds. But while the Trump Wall (as he has called it) is the most provocative proposal of the election season, it is not particularly original. Over the past five millennia, politicians have repeatedly turned to large walls to solve problems. We should look carefully at the track record of this ancient technology before we invest what some estimates suggest could be $25 billion in construction costs for a 2,000-mile-long wall, plus millions more in annual maintenance.

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!

Hillary Clinton takes on her own negative image

    Well into her acceptance speech on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton adroitly put her finger on what may be the major political challenge of her 2016 presidential bid.

    "The truth is," she said after reciting her lifetime in the political arena, "through all these years of public service, the 'service' has always come easier to me than the 'public' part."

    In other words, working in the vineyards of social change for her various constituencies was easier than selling herself to the American multitudes.

    In acknowledgment that polls place her on a low par with Donald Trump on likeability and trustworthiness, Clinton confessed that she hasn't gotten through to the American people, perhaps because she has allowed herself to be seen possibly as a cold policy wonk.

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 tale of three conventions

    The Democratic National Convention here was Broadway to the summer stock production that Republicans put on in Cleveland. The Democrats' show was polished and uplifting, while the grand spectacle Donald Trump had promised to produce was amateurish and angry.

    The chants of "USA! USA!" -- even if they were, at times, a device to drown out protests by Bernie Sanders' supporters -- and the impassioned  waving of flags, were more reminiscent of past Republican gatherings than the typical Democratic convention. You half expected Lee Greenwood, the country star omnipresent on the Republican political circuit, to pop up, joining Katy Perry in a "God Bless the USA" duet.

    Yet this was not simply the tale of two conventions. It was, rather, a tale of three: Republicans versus Clinton Democrats versus the Sanders wing.

    The Clinton team confronted the delicate task of presenting -- or re-presenting, or re-re-presenting -- their nominee to the country as an acceptable, if not exactly cuddly, alternative to the threat of Trump.

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!