OCT 6, 2016
This election year is memorable for many reasons but among the most important is showing Republicans the cost of their infatuation with “alternative” news sources.
OCT 6, 2016
Why is Donald Trump within a whisker of the White House? Two-thirds of the country can’t even name the three branches of government.
In struggling for some explanation for the inexplicable events of this election season — in particular, the fact that someone as unqualified and ignorant as Donald Trump is as close as he is to the most powerful post in the world — I keep coming back to a conversation that a friend had with her trainer at a posh gym in Manhattan. The New York City trainer is a bright and personable woman in her 20s. But when my friend casually referred to Hillary Clinton’s hearings on Benghazi, Libya, she was befuddled. Not just because she had never heard of the Benghazi controversy … but because she had never heard of the secretary of state, the State Department, or of U.S. ambassadors. She was just as blissfully unaware of the existence of the two houses of Congress, with each appointing committees to focus on matters of national concern.
The GOP nominee's debate responses on national security issues have to be read to be believed.
SEPT 27, 2016
Two of the most important qualities any president can have are the willingness to study hard to get up to speed on important but difficult issues, and the ability to stay calm and make sensible decisions under crushing pressure. John F. Kennedy showed both qualities during the Cuban Missile Crisis, often see as the exemplar of presidential crisis management. So did Franklin Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor, George W. Bush after 9/11, and Barack Obama after the financial meltdown of 2008-2009.
The GOP candidate’s reaction to terrorism — his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his misunderstanding of Middle Eastern politics — is exactly what extremists want in a U.S. president.
SEPT 19, 2016
Every time there is a terrorist attack attributed to Muslim extremists anywhere in the world, Donald Trump will rush forward to claim, as he did after an Easter bombing in Pakistan, that he alone can solve the problem of radical Islamic terrorism. His eagerness to score political points has come back to hurt him in the past, as when, following this summer’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, he sent a tasteless tweet bragging: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” He must have been deeply disappointed that the Orlando attack, which resulted in the deaths of 49 people, did not give him a boost in the polls. But, he apparently figures, there is still time to make political hay out of the suffering of others.
Anyone wondering how the bare-knuckle populism of Donald Trump’s campaign would translate to office should take a look at the Philippines.
SEPT 15, 2016
Listening to Donald Trump’s outlandish pronouncements, it’s all too easy to think: “He’ll never do that once in office. He’ll be restrained by wise advisors and act much more thoughtfully as president than he does as a presidential candidate.” Maybe so, but recent events in the Philippines demonstrate the dangers of voting into office an ignorant demagogue with a big mouth.
The new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte, caught the attention of Americans recently by referring to President Barack Obama as the “son of a whore,” but, in the greater context, that is the least of his sins. There is a reason he is being called “Duterte Harry” and the “Trump of the Philippines” — and those monikers are not intended as compliments. Duterte is showing just what bare-knuckle populism looks like in action, and it’s not a pretty picture.
SEPT 13, 2016
Donald Trump has gotten a lot of well-justified criticism for his paeans to Vladimir Putin, Russia’s anti-American dictator. Just last week Trump said that Putin has “very strong control over a country.… Certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”