Archive

February 16th, 2016

Quantity of candidates does not equal quality

    Maybe it's not us. Maybe it's the candidates.

    This election cycle is thrilling, but not necessarily in a good way. Tuesday's vote in New Hampshire lent support to the theory that both Republican and Democratic base voters have gone rogue. Think about it: The winners, by huge margins, were a billionaire reality-show host who has never held elective office and an aging socialist who promises a revolution. If you imagined this a year ago, I'm curious what you were smoking.

     It may be the case, as I have hypothesized, that both parties have lost touch with the nation they are supposed to serve. But at least part of the problem may be that voters are being asked to choose among candidates who are deeply flawed.

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!

Black votes matter to Clinton and Sanders

    Debating Thursday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hillary Clinton felt the fierce urgency of now. So did Bernie Sanders.

    With the Democratic primary campaign moving from Iowa and New Hampshire to Nevada and South Carolina later this month, and a bonanza of states in March, both candidates are fighting for support from black and Hispanic voters -- and will continue to do so as long as the contest lasts. Neither can win the Democratic nomination without these votes.

    "The stakes in this election couldn't be higher," the former secretary of State said campaigning Thursday. "African Americans can't wait for solutions. They need results now."

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!

Where Hillary goes from here

    It wasn't supposed to work out this way. After the perils of the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire was supposed to be a safe haven for Hillary Clinton. This is the state that brought her husband back from the political dead in 1992. This is the state that resurrected her own political campaign in an upset win over candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

    And New Hampshire's the state where Hillary's previous friends and supporters were supposed to rally behind her once again to crush Bernie Sanders and propel her forward into the upcoming cascade of primaries. Except it didn't work out that way. Bernie Sanders crushed her instead by a stunning 60-38 percent margin, beating her among men and women, young and old. The only two voter groups Hillary won were people over 65 and those making more than $200,000 per year.

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 messy election like Lincoln had in mind

    Responding to my column about Iowa and New Hampshire and how parties, not voters, determine nominations, a commenter wrote:

    "It's the parties choosing their candidate. In almost all other nations this is done quietly, and we don't pretend the people have a say. This is just more of a show to give the illusion of choice.

    "In the end, you have two choices: the person the Republicans pick or the person the Democrats pick."

    What he says about how most nations choose their leaders is correct. Sometimes only official party members have a say in nominations. Sometimes the parliamentary party chooses. Until very recently, only the U.S. had elections or caucuses open to all party voters or, as is the case in many states, any voter who wants to participate, and they are still very rare.

    But the U.S. system is not "a show to give the illusion of choice," despite the limited role of citizens who vote but otherwise don't participate.

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 better question about Clinton and Kissinger

    During Thursday's Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders attacked Hillary Clinton for boasting about the advice she's got from Henry Kissinger. He used Kissinger's actions in the Vietnam War era to make his point. Evidently, Sanders hasn't been following Kissinger lately: Things he said in Moscow last week could have provided him with better ammunition.

    The former secretary of state came to the Russian capital to honor the memory of his friend Yevgeny Primakov, the hawkish foreign-affairs guru who served as Russia's foreign-intelligence chief and later as prime minister. Kissinger took part in the opening of the Primakov Center for Foreign Policy Cooperation. Then he met with President Vladimir Putin and, separately, with Putin's chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov. The Kremlin did not release the minutes of these meetings, but Kissinger also delivered a public lecture that provides a glimpse into his conversations with the Russian leaders.

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 awful roads of the U.S. campaign trail

    After three weeks of chasing presidential candidates down the roads of Iowa and New Hampshire, I cannot help but wonder if they notice the quality of the roads their buses and cars drive on. One doesn't even have to listen to voters to see that neither the small- government, tax-cutting messages nor the lavish promises of infrastructure spending from either side's candidates mesh with reality.

    Last week, my flight to Manchester, New Hampshire, was cancelled because of a snowstorm, so I rented a car in New York and drove. The 250-mile drive is supposed to take 4 1/2 hours, not the 3 1/2 it would have taken in Germany, where I live -- the U.S. has significantly lower speed limits than do European countries; Germany has none on stretches of its autobahn system.

    I ended up driving for almost six hours because of the snowfall. I saw dozens of cars that had careened into snowdrifts by the roadside. Two jack-knifed tractor trailers narrowed the interstate to one lane.

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 politics of autism

    So far this election cycle, Hillary Clinton has been the only candidate to offer a detailed position on autism. Odds are she won't be the last, considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are more than 3 million Americans with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, and most of those people have families. That's a constituency worth wooing.

    But let the wooers be warned: Autism has its own politics, and they are fraught.

    Throughout the approximately 75 years that the diagnosis has been on the books, the "autism community" - a term suggesting comity, cooperation and cohesion - has time and again been roiled by dispute. In years past, the clash between those who believed vaccines caused autism and those who didn't reached epic proportions. And there has long been enormous tension between those who want to find a cure for autism and those who see autism as a neurological variation representing but one more way of being human.

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 campaign finance fight can't wait

    Bernie Sanders has made great strides casting doubt on the credibility of Hillary Clinton as an agent of change. How can you take on Wall Street if you take quarter-million-dollar speaking fees from its leading banks? How can you be a credible reformer if you have been so dependent on money from the status quo?

    But Sanders has his own credibility problem. It's called Congress. The Vermont senator's agenda is a "fiction," the Post editorial board declared, because there is zero chance it could get through the legislature, and not just because there are more Republicans than Democrats on Capitol Hill. Even when President Obama had a super-majority of Democrats in Congress, he couldn't get climate change legislation passed or a public option included in Obamacare. The threat of the powerful energy and health-care industries pouring millions of dollars into campaigns against Democrats was enough to get the leader of the last great "revolution" in U.S. politics to stand down. Until we change the way that money matters on Capitol Hill, the more sober-minded - they call themselves "realists" - will just roll their eyes at the fantastical promises of America's most authentic politician.

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!

On Economic Stupidity

    Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign famously focused on “the economy, stupid.” But macroeconomic policy — what to do about recessions — has been largely absent from this year’s election discussion.

    Yet economic risks have by no means been banished from the world. And you should be frightened by how little many of the people who would be president have learned from the past eight years.

    If you’ve been following the financial news, you know that there’s a lot of market turmoil out there. It’s nothing like 2008, at least so far, but it’s worrisome.

    Once again we have a substantial amount of troubled debt, this time not home mortgages but loans to energy companies, hit hard by plunging oil prices. Meanwhile, formerly trendy emerging economies like Brazil are suddenly doing very badly, and China is stumbling. And while the U.S. economy is doing better than almost anyone else’s, we’re definitely not immune to contagion.

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 Absurdity Of It All

    Having long complained about what we in the Western World pay for entertainment as compared to the necessities of life, I should not be surprised at the figures coming out of Super Bowl Fifty.  Nevertheless, it is mind boggling. 

    At this point I am not referring to the over the top amounts paid to the players but what would-be attendees do and pay to get tickets and the additional cost once inside. I can't help but think that the old saying of "more money than sense" applies.  It is reported that tickets valued at $500 were offered on line at $28,000. 

    My daily newspaper quoted a man paying $16,000 each for tickets for himself and wife saying that it was worth it for all the fun.  One luxury suit on the fifty-yard line rented for $350,000.

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!