Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
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Watergate-era House Democrats hold out the possibility for overcoming initial divisions over their approach to impeachment.
Many Democrats are arguing harshly that the House is wasting an opportunity to open an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. Their point of support: Watergate-era House Democrats. In their telling, House Democrats were always united in support of impeaching President Richard Nixon.
But that isn’t true. I was there, and in fact initially they were as divided in their approach to addressing President Nixon’s conduct as House Democrats are today about starting an impeachment inquiry. [..]
Party unity coalesced only after House leadership authorized Peter Rodino of New Jersey, the Judiciary Committee chairman, to conduct a thorough, deliberate, six-month impeachment investigation.
Still, Democratic unity today remains unlikely — by all appearances, Ms. Pelosi has no intention of letting that process begin. It will take unforeseen events, or a pro-impeachment surge in public opinion, to change the current dynamic.
Charles M. Blow: Trump Detests Apologetic Men
To stay on the president’s good side, you must perfect the art of denial, deflection and discredit.
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta negotiated what many consider a sweetheart deal with Jeffrey Epstein over sex-crime charges years ago when Acosta was the United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
Acosta held a news conference on Wednesday to, presumably, calm calls for his removal now that Epstein has been arrested and charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors in New York.
The Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking is part of the Department of Labor.
The charges are absolutely disgusting. Epstein is alleged to have preyed on underage girls, some of whom he used as recruiters of other victims.
Donald Trump urged Acosta to publicly explain actions, or inactions, in the Epstein case, according to reports.
It remains to be seen whether Acosta’s news conference performance will save his job. As The New York Times reported, “Mr. Acosta’s appearance before cameras was seen as a crucial test of whether he will keep his job, with an audience of one as President Trump watched and weighed a decision.”
But that’s the thing that stops you: For Trump, this isn’t about the charges or the children. For him, this is about how men perform denial. In the mind of the misogynist, a man’s word is the weightiest thing in society, even when he’s lying. One’s test of survival and prosperity isn’t what you say, but how you say it. It isn’t what you do, but how you defend or deny it.
Gail Collins: Trump Doesn’t Know About Labor
Thank God we’ve got so many inept cabinet members.So, did you enjoy the parade for the U.S. women’s soccer team? People sure did seem happy. I believe this is partly because the players are terrific and partly because many Americans are desperate to think about something other than Donald Trump.
And, good Lord, his crack team of cabinet members. On Wednesday, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta tried to hold back the outrage that’s been building since people learned that, as a federal prosecutor in South Florida, he had brokered a very lenient punishment for Jeffrey Epstein, a rich guy who liked to have sex with underage girls.
Explanation: It was a good deal. You know how this administration feels about good deals.
Britain’s ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch, fell on his sword for his country by resigning Wednesday. President Trump had better hope that his hyperbolic and unjustified reaction to the contents of Darroch’s leaked diplomatic cables doesn’t make U.S. diplomacy any harder than it already is.
Whether Darroch’s assessments, which were often highly critical of Trump and his administration, were right or wrong is beside the point. As Britain’s representative, Darroch was obligated to provide his political leadership with a full and frank judgment. No one can deny he did precisely that.
U.S. diplomats have the identical task. They must provide Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with their candid assessment of divisions and rivalries in their host nations. Their cables presumably include honest opinions about contentious — and relevant — topics, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s true thoughts about the United States or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s internal political wrangles. Selective leaking of those communiques would cause Trump just as much embarrassment as Darroch’s leaked comments caused British Prime Minister Theresa May.
It’s not unreasonable to think that malign actors will now attempt to hack or intercept U.S. diplomatic cables or that anti-Trump career State department employees will be tempted to leak embarrassing tidbits. The motive to do so would be obvious: Sow division within alliances and force Trump to devote resources to something that doesn’t advance his direct interests. He has increased the risk to our own diplomatic corps by effectively forcing Darroch’s resignation.
There was a time when Republicans claimed they cared about making sure the once-a-decade census remained true to its constitutionally mandated mission of providing an “actual Enumeration” of the nation’s population.
“Conducting the census is a vital constitutional obligation. It should be as solid, reliable and accurate as possible in every respect,” House Republican leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) declared back in 2009.
Conservatives also used to raise alarms that a nosy federal government would go beyond the narrow mission the framers spelled out for the census.
As preparations were underway for the 2010 count, then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced: “I know for my family, the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home. We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.”
That, of course, was when there was a Democratic president in the White House. “Everyone knows that it is possible to organize a Decennial Census in a way that benefits one party or another politically,” warned Bruce Chapman, who had been head of the Census Bureau under Ronald Reagan.
Now, those concerns appear to have evaporated, as Republicans rally behind President Trump and his shifting, incoherent rationale for demanding that a citizenship question be added to the 2020 Census.