Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media 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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John W. Dean: Trump Has Been Comparing Himself to Nixon. That’s Hooey.

The former president could only dream of wielding the police powers Mr. Trump has seized for himself.

President Trump has been comparing himself to Richard Nixon, tweeting “LAW & ORDER,” and claiming he learned a lot from Nixon. Others have been comparing Mr. Trump’s handling of civil disorder to Nixon’s. No one will ever tag me a Nixon apologist, but in Nixon’s defense these claims are hooey. [..]

From his first day in office, Nixon faced huge demonstrations, which he instructed his White House counsel to monitor closely. When I was appointed to that post 18 months into his presidency, I discovered that all of the key intelligence agencies reported domestic and related foreign intelligence about disruptive protests, demonstrations and civil unrest occurring throughout the country to the counsel’s office, where we digested and shared it with the president and senior staff.

For some thousand days I had an exceptional overview of what was being done by Nixon and his aides to deal with often violent unrest, particularly that provoked by those strongly opposed to the war in Vietnam. Nixon’s behavior was vastly different from Mr. Trump’s.

Never once did I hear anyone in the Nixon White House or Justice Department suggest using United States military forces, or any federal officers outside the military, to quell civil unrest or disorder. Nor have I found any evidence of such activity after the fact, when digging through the historical record.

Paul Krugman: The Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue

Trump is the kind of boss who can’t do the job — and won’t go away.

Every worker’s nightmare is the horrible boss — everyone knows at least one — who is utterly incompetent yet refuses to step aside. Such bosses have the reverse Midas touch — everything they handle turns to crud — but they’ll pull out every stop, violate every norm, to stay in that corner office. And they damage, sometimes destroy, the institutions they’re supposed to lead.

Donald Trump is, of course, one of those bosses. Unfortunately, he’s not just a bad business executive. He is, God help us, the president. And the institution he may destroy is the United States of America.

Has any previous president failed his big test as thoroughly as Trump has these past few months? He rejected the advice of health experts and pushed for a rapid economic reopening, hoping for a boom leading into the election. He ridiculed and belittled measures that would have helped slow the spread of the coronavirus, including wearing face masks and practicing social distancing, turning what should have been common sense into a front in the culture war.

The result has been disaster both epidemiological and economic.

Amanda Marcotte: Republicans would rather destroy the country than ease up on brutal class war

Republicans would honestly rather burn it all down than admit that poor and working people aren’t lazy parasites

The wildest thing about the stalled negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over the competing coronavirus relief packages is how little Republicans seem to care about whether this country plunges into a severe depression, one that might rival the Great Depression of the 1930s. Every move Republicans have made this week suggests total indifference to whether or not the U.S. economy, which is already in deep distress due to the coronavirus pandemic, collapses completely. Their only real concern, it appears, is to make sure that they use this crisis to put the screws even harder to working people and poor people. It’s a goal Republicans seem willing to sacrifice just about anything to achieve.

This isn’t just about the unwillingness of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to work with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to negotiate in good faith, stalling progress on a package of financial relief to address the pandemic-related economic crash. It’s also that the bill Republicans themselves have proposed is a joke. If it were to pass in its current form, it would pretty much guarantee economic carnage on a scale that could make the 2008 economic crash look like a minor historical blip.

The sole reason for this is that Republicans would rather drive this country straight off a cliff than pass up an opportunity to undermine and disempower a workforce that is already overworked, underpaid and unable to better their personal economic conditions, no matter how hard they work.

Timothy Egan: Trump, Please Quit Before You’re Fired

By walking away, he can save the lives of supporters who have listened to his lethal quackery.

It was clear when President Trump woke up on Thursday morning, with no pollster left to lie to him, and not enough Fox News sycophancy to fill his cereal bowl, that he would have to play one of the last tricks in the dictator’s handbook.

He floated the idea of breaching the Constitution by illegally delaying the national election. It follows his logic on a pandemic that has taken more than 150,000 American lives. If there were less testing for the coronavirus, cases would go down. Ergo, if there were no election on Nov. 3, he couldn’t be booted from office in a wipeout. The stable genius strikes again!

Here’s a better suggestion: As a mortal threat to those looking for life-and-death guidance from the White House, he should do humanity a favor and surrender now. He can quit while he’s only behind by 10 points or so. More important, by walking away today, he can save many lives of supporters who have listened to the lethal quackery from the presidential podium.

Eugene Robinson: Trump (again) uses housing as a racial wedge

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted what may be the most nakedly racist appeal to White voters that I’ve seen since the days of segregationist state leaders such as Alabama’s George Wallace and Georgia’s Lester Maddox:

“I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood. . . . Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!”

Many people probably don’t know what the “Obama-Biden AFFH Rule” is, but its roots are in the 1968 Fair Housing Act, specifically its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision. That section of the law required federal agencies that deal with housing and banking to pursue their missions in a way that would actively desegregate housing. In 2015, the Obama administration spelled out how communities should measure their progress, or lack thereof, in eliminating housing bias, and tied federal funding for housing and urban development to those measurements.

Trump’s tweet is a promise not to actively enforce that provision. And it’s a message to White people they can go ahead and do whatever they feel is necessary to keep Black people and Latinos from moving into their neighborhoods.

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