Edward Packard
Daily Blog

Editorial Note: The software program for this blog is pretty primitive, and when the word count reaches a certain level, it both screws up the format and stops working until I remove a lot of it. To tame it, I've removed and archived all postings prior to Feb. 1, of this year..

 

 

February 18, 2019  


Democrats: Progressives and Centrists  


A possible pitfall for Democrats during the months of political jockeying leading up to the Democratic nominating convention is clashes between progressives and centrists that undermine the common effort to depose Trump at the ballot box. Internecine warfare can and must be avoided.

The progressives are basically right, but it’s critical for them to be meticulous in constructing policy proposals that are impregnable against charges that they are irresponsible, dreamy, and even dangerous. Centrist Democrats will be drawn to progressive proposals that are pragmatic, morally just, fiscally responsible, and clearly laid out and will join their proponents in supporting them. Most independents will be drawn to them as well. If Democrats don’t self-destruct, they can win resoundingly in 2020.  


February 17,  2019

 

 Race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination.

 

  Every Friday the Washington Post releases its power ranking of candidates to run against Trump in the next presidential election. I liken this to a horse race. Some horses tend to be early leaders; others are stretch runners. There’s nothing close to a clear favorite in this one, and it has hardly begun. Old hands at the track know that the lead can change wildly during the course of the race like this. At the three-week mark, Kamala Harris is holding the lead. Amy Kobuchar is running second by a neck. Joe Biden, who hasn’t yet announced that he’s in the race, is nevertheless running third. Elizabeth Warren is edging up along the rail

 

 There are four women among the ten leaders in the race.  I bet that one of them will be on the the Democratic ticket as either the presidential or vice-presidential nominee. 

 

 February 16, 2019  

 

Republican Challenges to Trump 

 

It’s good news that a prominent Republican, former Massachusetts governor William Weld, intends to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination, though Weld says he’ll have to raise a considerable amount of money before undertaking an all-out campaign. Let’s hope other Republicans follow his example or run on an independent ticket, pledging to restore traditional conservative principles –– honesty, decency, competency, fiscal responsibility, and sound judgment –– to the White House.  Whether they think they can win the nomination or the election should have no bearing on their decision. The only question they need to ask is whether they can weaken Trump politically and increase the chance that he’ll lose in the general election. That is a noble goal in itself.

 

February 15, 2019

 

The Democratic Presidential Primary Debates

 

Upwards of 20 Democrats have either entered the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination or are expected to. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has announced how it will run the primary debates in a way that is fair, democratic, and doesn’t result in a ludicrous numbers of aspirants on the stage at once. There will be two heats –– two nights of debates. Lots will be drawn to determine which night and with which other candidates each candidate will debate. No more than 20 candidates will be allowed to debate; no more than 10 will be on stage at either of the two nights of debating. To make the cut a candidate must rank high enough in polling or have secured at least 65,000 "grass-roots" donations. The first debate will be held this June, sooner than I would have thought likely.

 

 

February 14, 2019

 

Tell the Truth 

 

Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler has documented thousands of lies Trump has told since he took office. Trump is a pathological liar. His supporters resort to a time-proven method of dodging the ugly truth that Trump’s habitual lying is indefensible by from time to time catching a Democrat making a misstatement. Kamala Harris, who is one of the leading aspirants for the Democratic nomination, earned “4 Pinocchios” from Kessler by suggesting that, because, on average, tax refunds were down, tax liability had increased for middle class Americans.” This was not case. 

 

Harris had plenty of reasons to attack the Republican tax cut, which was designed primarily to benefit for the rich and especially the super rich, but she carelessly seized on a specious argument. Now we’ll be hearing endlessly from the right-wing media that Harris is a notorious liar and totally untrustworthy.

 

Democratic candidates have a special obligation to be scrupulous about being factually accurate. Our nation’s survival as a democracy is at stake. 

 

 

February 13, 2019  

 

The Limit  

 

By agreeing with Democrats on a compromise that would increase funds for border security but rebuff Trump in his demand for 5.7 billion dollars dedicated to his Wall, Senate Republicans displayed that there is, at last, a limit to how much damage they’re willing to inflict on the country to please the Trump and his deluded and cynical supporters. The result, Jennifer Rubin notes, is that “Trump is left with his cultlike followers, vague threats to 'finish' the wall regardless of Congress, his mindless chants and his sycophantic right-wing media.” It’s a hopeful development, but as long as Trump remains in office, our country remains in peril.

 

 

February 8 - 12, 2019 

 

Traveling 

 

I'm traveling and suspending this blog until Wednesday, Feb. 13th.

 

 

February 7, 2019 

 

The Right Candidate to oppose Trump 

 

 Jennifer Rubin suggests that a good choice would be someone “youngish, knowledgeable, idealistic, empathetic, and high-energy,” to which could be added honorable, all qualities that Trump lacks. In the course of the campaign the contrast would become evident to all but the most deluded and cynical, which there’s reason to hope doesn’t comprise more than 40% of the population.

 

February 6, 2019 

 

he Tragedy of Our Times

 

Headline: “The United States will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between Russia and the United States.”  As Katrina vanden Heuvel observed in a Washington Post column yesterday, it’s an act that initiates a new arms race. Consider Trump’s rationale for this decision, bestowed on the world last fall: “we have more money than anybody else by far. We’ll build it up until [China and Russia] come to their senses.” 

 

That, as I recently read, 88% of Republicans support Trump, is the tragedy of our times.

 

 

February 5, 2019

 

Trump Delivers a Devastating Attack on Himself

 

One of Jennifer Rubin’s columns in the online Washington Post yesterday had the effect of being a devastating attack on Trump. Rubin said very little. Most of the column consisted of a verbatim transcript of remarks Trump made in the course of being interviewed by Margaret Brennan of CBS. Trump’s own words –– a stunning display of appalling ignorance and incoherence –– were more revealing of his gross unfitness to hold office than anything any critic could say against him.

 

February 4, 2019 

 

Universal Access to Basic Healthcare

 

Nearly every advanced democracy assures all its citizens access to basic health care.  Everyone in our country should have access to basic health care too. Opponents falsely claim that it would be too expensive.

 

The U.S. spends more on healthcare per capita than any other country. That’s not because people in the U.S. are getting better health care. It’s because our health care system is so inefficient. We would spend less on a well-planned, well-administered universal health care system than we spend under our present system. 

 

Prospective Democratic presidential candidates haven’t been getting that message across. Right-wing attackers have been shrieking that universal access to health care would bankrupt our country. As a result, some proponents of universal access to basic health care have gotten skittish and have been backing away from it. Instead, they should marshal credible and accurate studies and data showing what can be accomplished and what the savings would be and hammer it it in until most people realize that everyone in the U.S. can and should have access to basic healthcare too.

 

February 3, 2019

 

Klobuchar 

 

Senator Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, a former prosecutor, is experienced, smart, compassionate, tough-minded, pragmatic, honorable, competent, and likable. The Washington Post’s perceptive columnist, Jennifer Rubin, has commented on Klobuchar’s “emotional equipoise, a blend of relaxation and concentration, stamina leavened by cheerfulness.”

 

I can think of political drawbacks or personal deficiencies in the case of every one else I’ve seen mentioned, who is running or thought likely to run, but none in the case of Klobuchar. It’s too early to endorse a particular candidate, but there’s a good chance that a year from now I’ll be arguing that Amy Klobuchar should be the Democratic nominee.

 

 

February 2,  2019 

 

The Early Line 

 

Recently and unoriginally, I likened the competition among aspirants for the Democratic presidential nomination to a horse race. I predicted that Kamala Harris would be one of the front runners.  In the same vein, the Washington Post has begun rating people who are have already entered the race or appear likely to do so. The ratings reflect the consensus of Washington Post columnists. They are ranking candidates in order of strength, by which I think they mean likelihood to defeat Trump. Leading the field out of the gate are Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Sherrold Brown, and Beto O’Rourke in that order.  Howard Schultz, running as an independent and who should have been scratched, is running 11th. Keep your eye on Amy Klobuchar, in 7th and moving up on the outside.

 

February 1, 2019

 

What Shultz Thinks 

 

Howard Schultz thinks that if his personal platform is conservative enough, he’ll get a huge number of Republican votes because Republicans know in their hearts that he would be a much better president than Trump; that he’ll get practically every independent vote because he is a quintessential independent and is running on an independent ticket; and that he’ll get a lot of Democrats votes because he’s basically a liberal, has been "a life-long Democrat," and because, as is well known, liberals like lattés.

 

Schutz is deluded. Most Republicans will dislike him for fracturing the Republican party by opposing Trump. Anti-Trump voters –– nearly all Democrats and most Independents –– will see him as a catalyst that would cause the horror of Trump’s reelection. Third party candidates don’t win presidential elections. Schultz has demonstrated that he’s politically naive. He is not going to be the exception. He’s an example of a man consummed by vanity.