By James A. Kidney Tuesday’s election results — President, Senate and House — freed liberalism from its shackles. The ransom payment is high. In the long run, it may be worth the price. The key is to put aside defeatism and start adopting new tactics now that the Democratic Party elite has been shamed and defeated by a horrible con man and his angry allies. Liberalism — by which I mean a set of political goals recognizing and trying to contain the power of the elite, bringing genuine equality of economic opportunity to those not sharing in the top five percent, and sponsoring a strong foreign policy using force as a last resort — has been treated by the Democratic Party for years as the smelly uncle at the dinner table who talks too much but contributes too little. Hillary Clinton embodied this party sentiment in her campaign, fully endorsed … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney One challenge in this vicious, unsatisfying presidential campaign is for the average voter to separate legitimate worries about either candidate from paranoia. The Trump side of the campaign thus far has had more trouble keeping to boundaries of reason than Clinton supporters. Egged on by Fox News and Trump allies from Breitbart News, as well as the Rasputins of Clinton conspiracies, such as broadcaster Alex Jones, right wing bomb thrower Roger Stone (who, like Trump, learned nastiness from the late Roy Cohn) and David Bossie (author of, among other things, Hillary: The Politics of Personal Destruction), the Trump camp is actively promoting long-time crazy notions such as that Clinton is responsible for the death of Arkansas state troopers and the suicide of White House aide Vince Foster. They also are supplementing the oldies but goodies with newer tropes, such as that Clinton failed to protect U.S. … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Now that the major party nominees are chosen, the economic pundits are making their recommendations on how to boost what remains a moribund economy. Despite recent months of reported job increases and a slight uptick in average pay last month, few believe the economy is robust or expected to be so. See also here (pay wall). The reasons — and proposed cures — depend on your politics, of course. Where the Candidates Stand Donald Trump this week proposed the usual failed trickle down policies. He wants tax cuts for the wealthy, including elimination of the estate tax (which effects about 0.2 percent of citizens). He would increase the earned income tax credit, which is a pure redistribution of a little income to the poor which does not create jobs. He would provide only a tax deduction for child care — which means you have to … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Whether you are a reluctant or die-hard supporter of Hillary Clinton, or even an increasingly rare “undecided” voter, take the weekend to savor the just-concluded Democratic convention. Enjoy your own post-convention “bounce”. Set aside your serious worries about the Republican candidate, though by-all-means enjoy the dark humor his candidacy has engendered. If you think about presidential politics at all, be sunny. If necessary, suspend your disbelief. The hard and fearful events of the campaign will come again soon, if they have not already begun. Savor the warm recollections of our gorgeous First Lady and her thanks to the American people for providing love and confidence as she, her husband and two beautiful daughters weathered vicious attacks on their Americanism, heritage and hope from politicians and people who have not a flicker of their good spirit. Remember the vice president’s speech. He knows the disappointments of life … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Friday’s New York Times coverage of Hillary Clinton’s critique of Donald Trump’s foreign “policy” — essentially that it’s a nutty barrage of insults and non-sequiturs devoid of substance but dangerous for the country — showed how asymmetric the press is in its disparate treatment of Clinton and Trump — to Clinton’s disadvantage. The main Times story on the speech was a workmanlike recounting of the highlights with perhaps too much inside baseball on how the speech came to be written. It also noted that “… the speech was devoid of new policy prescriptions, and she skipped over difficult episodes during her tenure as secretary of state . . .” In other words, where was the meat of foreign policy? This was accompanied by a list of ways in which the speech fell short on specifics about foreign policy written by Mark Ladler, a Times reporter who … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Among many lessons of this miserable 2016 presidential race, at least one is inescapable: Our current system of nominating candidates based on what is essentially a two-party duopoly has failed. We have two major party candidates, each of whom a majority of the voting public dislikes, whether they vote for the candidate or not. Other than the elections of President Obama, it is difficult to find a quadrennial campaign since at least 1992 in which one of the two candidates was barely tolerated by the electorate. Often, it has been both. Around the edge is the Libertarian Party, but history shows conclusively that third parties have not been other than mischievous, pulling votes from one party or the other, sometimes, as in 2000, with a direct impact on results, but usually to no effect whatsoever. Who awarded the Democratic and Republican Parties this plum assignment of … Read more of this post . . .