Archive

September 14th, 2016

Silent vote won't get Trump to the White House

    There is talk among Republicans, and some trepidation among Democrats, that Donald Trump could benefit from a silent vote. Although these voters aren't captured by polls, the privacy of a voting booth or a mail-in ballot will allow them to vent their anger and resentments.

    The theory holds that in some circles it's not respectable to publicly support the inflammatory New York billionaire, but it's easier in private.

    This is a variation of the so-called Bradley effect: In several instances over recent decades, white candidates have outperformed polls when running against a black opponent. Something similar was at work in the U.K. referendum on exiting the European Union. To the surprise of financial markets and bettors, the "leave" camp won the June vote, which was interpreted as an expression of discontent with the elites.

    Similarly, in the U.S. presidential election, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter, claimed that "the average citizen will not tell pollsters the truth."

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!

Presidential debates should be moderated in the public interest

    After the "presidential forum" in New York last week, in which Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took questions in serial fashion but didn't appear together, much of the critical reaction fell not on them but on the moderator, NBC News' "Today" host Matt Lauer, who is known more for dealing with entertainment figures than with high-level politicians in the midst of a critical national campaign.

    Many critics argued that Lauer spent too much time pressing Clinton on her handling of emails when she was secretary of state, while he failed to push Trump on false assertions. One such was Trump's claim to have opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq from the start, in the face of evidence on a radio talk show that he actually had supported it.

    According to the website Buzzfeed, on the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks Trump told radio host Howard Stern (himself no paragon of journalism), when asked whether he was for such an invasion, "Yeah, I guess so; I wish the first time it was done correctly."

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!

September 13th

Spare me the phony outrage over Clinton's 'basket of deplorables' remark

    Donald Trump and his spinners are outraged -- and some reporters are murmuring their disapproval -- because Hillary Clinton said this at a fundraiser last night:

    "You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the 'basket of deplorables'. Right?" Clinton said to applause and laughter from the crowd of supporters at an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser where Barbra Streisand performed. "The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic - you name it."

    Let's stipulate at the outset that this kind of generalization is not defensible. Clinton should not have described "half" of Trump's supporters this way. People have all kinds of reasons for supporting their candidate - party loyalty; reflexive negative partisanship; genuine distaste with the alternatives; meaningful, legitimate support for certain aspects of the candidate's agenda, and not others; and so forth.

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!

Kerry brokers Trump's peace plan for Syria's war

    If Donald Trump wins the presidential election in November, he might want to make Secretary of State John Kerry his special envoy for U.S.-Russian cooperation in the war on terror. While the men disagree on many things -- from the Iran deal to the provenance of the Islamic State -- their Syria policy is on the same page.

    Just look at the cease-fire Kerry says he reached in Geneva on Friday night with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. If a cessation of violence holds for a week, then Kerry has committed -- over the overt skepticism of the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community -- to work with Russia's air force to target al-Nusra, the jhadist group that only recently claimed it was no longer al-Qaeda's franchise.

    The U.S. and Russia since November have tried to coordinate their air strikes over the crowded skies of Syria against the Islamic State. But that hasn't gone well. Russia keeps bombing U.S. backed opposition groups, civilian targets like hospitals and, in June, a U.S. special operations base.

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!

Gary Johnson's Worst Week in Washington

    Everything seemed to be coming up Gary Johnson when the week started. No one liked the two major party candidates. (OK, maybe not no one but lots and lots of people.) The first presidential debate was still almost three weeks off. It looked like there might be a real chance for Johnson to make the debate stage alongside Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump!

    Then Johnson went on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." And it all came tumbling down. Here's the exchange between Johnson and Mike Barnicle:

    BARNICLE: "What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo?"

    JOHNSON: "About?"

    BARNICLE: "Aleppo."

    JOHNSON: "And what is Aleppo?"

    And, scene.

    Aleppo, as you almost certainly know, is a city in Syria that has been at the heart of that country's ongoing civil war. It has been the epicenter of the refugee crisis. It is also the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.

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!

Europe's unsettling turn

    The surge of populist right-wing parties in Europe has now damaged the standing of the continent's most important leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Worse, the rise of movements fueled by nationalistic and racist programs signals that a core ethos of the European-American alliance vital to global stability for seven decades is threatened by extremist politics on both sides of the Atlantic.

    There are many tangible factors in the lurch to the narrow nationalism reflected in Britain's vote to quit the European Union, the defeat of Merkel's conservative forces by the three-year-old Alternative for Germany party in a key state election last Sunday, and the earlier rise of such movements in Poland, Hungary, France and elsewhere.

    These factors include a backlash to economic dislocation caused by globalization, the floodtide of refugees coming from Syria and other failed states on Europe's southern periphery, and the terrorist outrages committed by the Islamic State and other jihadist forces.

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!

Donald Trump's 'outreach' isn't working

    Last month, as Donald Trump showed his campaign manager the door (again) amid stalling poll numbers, the GOP nominee started trying to make amends for all the alienating things he had said about minorities and women. He apologized for causing "personal pain" with some of his remarks. He started courting black voters. He tried to "soften" his language on immigration. Finally, it seemed that Trump realized that he could not win in November with just the voters that had won him the primary.

    But Sunday's new Washington Post-ABC poll shows that with only two months to go, this outreach has not worked. Overall, Hillary Clinton leads Trump by 5 percentage points with likely voters -- a small drop from her 8-point lead just after the Democratic convention, but a formidable gap nonetheless given that the convention bounces have now faded. When asked if they think "is or is not biased against women and minorities," 60 percent of Americans say he is -- the same number as in the August Post-ABC poll and up four percent from the July poll.

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!

Trump’s Ideology of Applause

    Americans are such sticklers. Such poops. Sure, some of Vladimir Putin’s political opponents wind up in jail, while some of the journalists he dislikes end up in the morgue. Yes, his government is apparently committing cybercrimes to meddle in our election. And there was that small matter of invading and annexing one of Russia’s neighbors.

    But look at his numbers! What’s a little blood on your hands when you’re polling like that?

    “He does have an 82 percent approval rating,” Donald Trump said during the special “commander in chief” forum last week. It’s worth dwelling on that sentence, because it’s the key to what drives and guides his presidential bid. It’s the giveaway.

    For Trump, the whole point of political office is adulation, and adulation is the entire proof of a person’s worth. Rectitude pales next to ratings. Ethics are a sorry substitute for applause. And the methods by which a crowd is fired up don’t matter, so long as he can bask in the clapping.

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!

Trump is good news for Russia

    "A New York Times report sheds new light on the close ties between Donald Trump's campaign chairman and Kremlin cronies in Ukraine and elsewhere" - the Atlantic, Aug. 15. "U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections" - The Post, Sept. 6. "Wouldn't it be nice if we actually got along, as an example, with Russia?" - Donald Trump, July 27.

    Good grief.

    One of the year's most underreported stories is the Kremlin's covert efforts to influence our presidential election - a development with potentially far- reaching impact on our nation's security. That U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies are reportedly investigating this broad Russian operation in the United States is reassuring. Voters heading to the polls, however, ought to be aware of the threat.

    To be sure, my view of the former U.S.S.R. and today's Russian Federation is rooted in both my military service and my work as a sworn federal law-enforcement officer with responsibility for the security of State Department personnel and sensitive information.

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!

The 'Mad Men' days are finally waning

    Gretchen Carlson got something out of the settlement of her sexual harassment case against Roger Ailes that most women who make a claim against a powerful man don't obtain. Not the money - although the $20 million to be paid to the former Fox News Channel host is indeed eye-popping. Most women who bring successful sexual harassment claims do eventually receive some compensation.

    Carlson is different in another way: She emerged with her honor and reputation intact. In my experience as a lawyer who has represented hundreds of sexual harassment victims, that is rare.

    In the real world of sexual harassment cases that take place outside the public glare that accompanied Carlson's claims, many women forgo making solid claims because they know they risk being depicted as liars or sluts. They worry about being branded troublemakers and suffering harm to their ability to be employed in the future.

    Indeed, when Donald Trump, questioned about Carlson's claim, said a few months ago that a woman who experiences workplace sexual harassment should consider finding another job, or even another career, he had - sadly - a point.

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!