I’d look for whoever in the administration most vociferously denounces the author of the op-ed. My advice is based on my own experience. I have to be a little vague about this. In the late ‘90s, I was given by a second or third hand source a document showing that the Clinton administration had seriously misled the public.
I don’t mean to add another obituary of John McCain, but only a footnote about an aspect of McCain’s background, character, and politics that the obituaries I’ve read has ignored. McCain was a member of America’s upper class and had the sensibility of a certain wing of that upper class. That’s important to understanding his contribution to American politics and his contempt for Donald Trump.
When I start railing about Israel’s government — he’s “Netanyahoo” as far as I am concerned — some of my co-religionists chide me for singling out Israel and exempting Putin’s Russia or Xi Jinping’s China from my complaints. My usual reply is that as a Jew I feel morally complicit in what Israel’s government does; I don’t feel that way about what Putin or Xi does.
I am of Trump’s generation, and I grew up with the sentiments that he expressed about Haiti and African countries. When I was a kid, one of the hit songs in 1948 was the Andrew Sisters’ “Civilization.” You can click here to listen to it. Here’s a stanza:
So bongo, bongo, bongo, I don’t wanna leave the Congo, oh no no no no no
Bingo, bangle, bungle, I’m so happy in the jungle, I refuse to go
Don’t want no jailhouse, shotgun, fish-hooks, golf clubs, I got my spears
So, no matter how they coax him, I’ll stay right here.
So to many people of, say, sixty years or over, what Trump said resonated. It was all very familiar. So what? you might ask.
I am trying to write a book, but I keep getting diverted by events in my hometown. The latest is the furor over Michael Wolff’s portrayal of Donald Trump and Trump’s break with his former aide Steve Bannon. I have three marginal reflections about this that have to do with Trump’s physical and mental state and with the way he governs.
I am not a fan of the new tax bill that the Republican Congress passed. It will widen the gap between the wealthy and everyone else and increase the likelihood over a decade or so of another crash. And it contains all kinds of unpleasant ancillary provisions, such as the one killing the Affordable Care Act’s mandate. But I don’t buy the argument – voiced by Democratic pundits, political consultants, and even a few economists – that the bill will doom the Republicans to defeat in 2018 and even 2020. Like many things I read or hear these days from liberals, it’s wish fulfillment disguised as analysis.
In Austria’s legislative elections, from which a Chancellor will be chosen, the free market People’s Party (OVP), campaigning on a promise to reduce the number of refugees (primairly from the Middle East) and to limit benefits for immigrants, led the field with 31.6 percent. The Social Democrats (SPO) came in with 26.7 percent, which is a postwar low for a party that has been in power, or shared power, for most of the last 70 years. And the Greens, whose candidate had won the presidency last year, came in at 3.8 percent, less than enough to qualify for parliamentary representation.
The German election, like the earlier election in the United Kingdom, leaves the country without a clear direction or mandate. Most of the post-election stories have highlighted the showing of the Alternative fur Deutschland, the rightwing populist party that by winning 13 percent has become Germany’s third largest party. That’s certainly worrisome, but I’d give equal billing to the revival of the Free Democrats (FDP), which could doom any prospect for economic reform in Europe.
There have been several articles by liberals warning against the embrace of Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan, the latest version of which he will unveil today. To wit: it’s politically dangerous because it would require large tax increases; the opposition from the insurance/hospital/medical/pharmaceutical lobbies would be ferocious; and we can get to the same destination through less controversial incremental reforms of Obamacare. I’ve made some of these arguments myself. But I want to make the opposite case for the moment. Here’s why Sanders’ approach makes sense: