Saturday February 13, 2016
October 16th, 2015
One of the side benefits of a well-watched national political debate is the exposure it brings to something obscure and forgotten — like Denmark. Who doesn’t love a country that gave us a dish of frikadeller and rugbrod to go with paid parental leave and universal health care?
Democrats have gotten themselves entangled in a nasty, complicated and ultimately unnecessary debate over an obscure financial law that Congress repealed 16 years ago.
The debate boils down to this: Did the elimination of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which erected a firewall between commercial and investment banking, cause the 2008 financial crisis?
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had an argument about financial regulation during Tuesday’s debate — but it wasn’t about whether to crack down on banks. Instead, it was about whose plan was tougher. The contrast with Republicans like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, who have pledged to reverse even the moderate financial reforms enacted in 2010, couldn’t be stronger.
Who "won" the Democratic debate? The Democratic Party won. All the presidential candidates, from the most flamboyant to the most contained, talked seriously about issues, even straying from liberal orthodoxy.
At some point during Tuesday night's Democratic debate, many people in living rooms across the country undoubtedly turned to each other with the same basic thought about Hillary Clinton: Oh, so that's why she's the front-runner.
I’ve written at least 75 columns on gun control over the years. It might have been as many as 100.
Every time some demented loser would haul a gun — usually some sort of automatic — into a public place and lay waste around him (it’s always a him), I would get on my soapbox and excoriate the National Rifle Association, gun dealers, and our cowardly politicians for letting this outrage go on unchecked.
If the self-styled Republican "Freedom Caucus" understood the first thing about the United States Constitution they profess to revere, they'd recognize that it's a conservative document purposely crafted to frustrate radicals like them. As men of the 18th century, the Founding Fathers were deeply suspicious of what they called "enthusiasm," most commonly defined as God-intoxicated certitude.
In the fall of 1991, a Democratic presidential candidate I was covering as he campaigned across New Hampshire had a line in his speeches that surprised me. He commended to his listeners something called the "Swedish active labor market" - a program, established by Sweden's Social Democrats as part of their full-employment policy, that trained unemployed workers at the government's expense and linked them up with available jobs.
What is it about whistleblowers that the powers that be can’t stand?
When I blew the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program, I was derided in many quarters as a traitor. My detractors in the government attacked me for violating my secrecy agreement, even as they ignored the oath we’d all taken to protect and defend the Constitution.
Bernie Sanders is passionate. He has lofty ideals. He has a vision of a better, more communitarian America where plutocrats are constrained and average people are elevated. And if Democrats want to make progress on achieving Sanders's goals, they will nominate Hillary Clinton for president.