You want to be president? Send me your resume, and maybe I’ll get back to you…

We may joke around, but here's one guy I can take seriously. Have the others drop off their resumes...

We may joke around, but here’s one guy I can take seriously. Have the others drop off their resumes…

One of the most maddening parts of my job working for James Smith was the way the SC press went gaga over anything having to do with anyone who might be running for president in 2020.

It was one of several irrelevant things that they often preferred to write about instead of what they should have been writing about. Others included campaign finance, ad strategy, and occasionally really off-the-wall stuff like Brett Kavanaugh or abolishing ICE. What should they have been writing about? Things that would help voters decide whether James or Henry was better qualified to be governor. Period. If you’re not providing that service to the voters, then the First Amendment has no purpose. And there was far too little of it.

(Oh, and don’t go, “Aha! Now that you’re on the other side you see how awful the press is!” Wrong. This kind of stuff had been driving me nuts for at least 30 years. It’s one of the reasons I made the transition from news to editorial back in 1994 — looking for a situation in which I could do journalism that meant something. And my alienation from the way political news is done increased enormously after that transition. Reading the paper every day as an opinion writer was painful. I’d start reading a story wanting to know one thing that would help me — and the readers — decide what to think of that particular news development, and not only would the information be missing, but I’d see no evidence that it had even occurred to the writer to ask the question.)

But maybe I’d better get to the point.

As I said, reporters got really excited about people who were looking at a 2020 run (clicks, baby!). And they’d want to interview us about them, apparently presuming we were excited, too. What do you think of this national celeb who’s coming to help your campaign? Yeah, right. They were coming to help themselves. There was only one 2020 poss about whom we cared — Joe Biden. Joe is a mentor of James’, and we very much looked forward to his coming to help us with a fund-raiser. Which he did, on Oct. 13. It was a big day, a highlight of the campaign for us — not because he might run in 2020, but because he was Joe Biden, and we loved the guy. Having him in our corner said things about us that we actually wanted said.

I’m going to get to the point, I promise…

Here it is…

We live in a country, in a world, in which the about only qualification needed to be a candidate for president (and therefore for any other office), and to be taken seriously by an alarming number of people, is to be presumptuous enough to put yourself out there. Well, that, and the ability to get some people to pay attention to you when you do.

Whom does this describe? Lots of people. To mention a few — Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, and the granddaddy of them all, Donald Trump. I could mention other Republicans, but then I’d have to stop and think, and it’s the Democrats who are irritating me the most right now, on account of my recent campaign experience.

Oh, and yes, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Those two will really get a rise out of people, because they’ve been taken seriously by so many people for so long now that their candidacies seem inevitable. And I’ll grant you that Sanders has at least demonstrated one necessary capability, as counterintuitive as the fact is: the ability to get actual people to actually vote for him.

So what are my criteria for taking someone seriously for the nation’s highest office? There are a number of them. Some are intangible, like the ability to inspire or simply being a person well matched to the moment — and some of you will say some of the above fit one of those criteria. But particularly this far out, when we are first deciding whom we might take seriously, the number-one thing I’m looking at is résumé. (Sorry, Doug, but it’s one of those posts.)

What I mean by that is, when I read this person’s bio in Wikipedia or some other bland, relatively impartial source, does it say to me, “Obviously, the next step for this person is to run for POTUS?”

Joe Biden’s does, of course. Over on the GOP side, John Kasich’s looks pretty good, which is one reason why I voted for him in 2016 — if not exactly awesome. (The biggest weakness in Kasich’s bio is lack of experience in foreign policy, which of course is the most important part of a president’s job.”)

Of course, résumé isn’t everything, and it’s possible to have a thin one and still be a pretty good president — JFK and Barack Obama come to mind. But those were extraordinary individuals of great intellect and almost superhuman oratorical skill, and they both fit into the “being a person well matched to the moment” category I mentioned earlier.

And some people with good resumes are simply not politically viable. I’d put Lindsey Graham in that category. On paper, he looks good — legislator, congressman, senator, longtime leader on issues ranging from national security to judicial confirmation, now chairman of Senate Judiciary. But he’d never get elected, and not just because he’s gone off his trolley on Trump.

Once, you generally had to have a great resume to be considered at all. Look at Lyndon “Master of the Senate” Johnson, or Nixon, or George H. W. Bush. Even Reagan, whom I regarded as a lightweight at the time, had been governor of our largest state. Eisenhower, of course, had no electoral experience, but his diplomatic chops holding the Allies together in Europe were pretty awesome, and of course there was that saving-the-world-from-Hitler thing. (Harry Truman was of course an anomaly. His resume was so unimpressive that he shocked everyone with how good a job he did.)

That has changed because of all sorts of things — the decline of parties as entities that certified qualifications and suitability, the rise of uncurated media, celebrity junk culture, other things. Now, if you can generate some buzz on social media, at least some people will take you seriously as potential leader of the Free World. Even if you lack any qualification for the job — in fact, even if everything that is known about you loudly proclaims that almost anyone in the country would be better suited than you. Doubt me on that? Do I have to bring up Trump’s name again?

So anyway, forgive me if I fail to get excited when the next “2020 hopeful” comes to town. Just ask them to drop off their resumes while they’re here, and if those look good, I’ll get back to them and assess them for other qualifying factors.

Sure, dismiss me for being even more presumptuous than the wannabes themselves. But you know what? While it’s far from perfect, I guarantee you that would lead to a better field of candidates than the current non-process for identifying this week’s “it” candidate….

We love the guy, and were happy to be seen with him...

We love the guy, and were happy to be seen with him…

89 thoughts on “You want to be president? Send me your resume, and maybe I’ll get back to you…

  1. bud

    Classic Brad. He writes this long, rambling column full of contradictions. Then expects people to be persuaded. Brad, not sure I quite get your dislike of Elizabeth Warren. She is absolutely qualified to be POTUS, with her long tenure in the senate. I happen to like the fact that she’s not a war monger.

  2. Doug T

    Brad loves Joe? Wow. We DO have something in common.

    Run Joe run. Please. Dems should not get too cute and veer far left (McGovern 1972?) and provide a path for you know who get re-elected.

  3. bud

    I like Joe too but he really is too old and has a history of health issues. Besides, there are better options. It’s way past time to move on from the cold war era thinking. Beto O’Rourke has the potential to be the next JFK. With any luck Trump’s government shutdown will completely destroy the Republican party and Democrats will cruise in the next election. Perhaps a new Republican party will rise up like the Phoenix and replace the thoroughly odious current iteration of what used to be the party of Lincoln.

  4. Harry Harris

    Biden at the helm with one of the top options as VP would ready the new option and allow Biden to use his skills and bridge-building to heal some needed divisions. My VP choices would be Booker, Castro, Harris, and Mitch Landrieu in that order. I like Warren and Sanders as senators doing what they know and advocating for reform from those posts.

  5. Mr. Smith

    You failed to include Lincoln in your list of the under-qualified. And of course there’s the list of the well qualified who turned out to be duds, or worse. See: James Buchanan.

    Your reaction to the election of the current president (and, believe me, I’m equally appalled) has led you to overrate the importance of a long resume. How else explain the rather insulting lumping together of Gillibrand or Booker with him. They at least start with SOME experience in governing.

    The electorate is at least as much the source of the problem as the candidates, maybe more. Many voters simply don’t take electoral politics very seriously. They relate to it the way they do to a reality TV show, focusing on personality and effect rather than substance.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “The electorate is at least as much the source of the problem as the candidates, maybe more.”

      Absolutely. But what will it take to restore sanity to the electorate? A lot of things, but one of them is better leadership — leadership that people can respect and admire and believe in. It’s not everything — I don’t think any leader can alone turn the Zeitgeist around. But as long as Washington seems a carnival of dunces, I don’t think the country can get back to believing in itself…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Also, about Lincoln…

        Lincoln had pretty much spent his life preparing for the role of president, from reading by firelight as a boy to studying the law to his first runs for office, there was a consistency of purpose in his life.

        That’s one thing I’d say about that. Here’s another: We’re talking about the middle of the 19th century. Look at any area of human endeavor, back then when the world, our government, our technology, our economy were less complex. People reinvented themselves, or leaped into roles for which they may have seemed unprepared, and managed to pull it off.

        That doesn’t happen as easily now, if at all.

        Also, folks… read over what I said. I didn’t say resume is all. But I do see it as a convenient way of culling the hucksters and hustlers from the field so we can concentrate on the qualified people.

        I look at the people whose names get mentioned in all seriousness, and the justifications for their candidacies are pathetically thin. We’re not talking about extraordinarily gifted people, like a Lincoln or a JFK or an Obama — or even a Reagan or a Bill Clinton. These are celebrities of the moment, and what is that celebrity based upon? What capabilities have they demonstrated? What natural gifts that belies their thin resumes? Perhaps you can point them out to me…

        And let’s not argue about Sanders or Warren. Those people stir passions. Tell me what O’Rourke, Booker, Gillibrand or Harris have to recommend them? Tell me about their accomplishments and gifts — aside, of course, from looking good on TV…

        1. Mr. Smith

          “Also, folks… read over what I said.”
          Did that: “…the number-one thing I’m looking at is résumé.”
          You may have had more in your head. But nobody’s a mind reader.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            You didn’t have to read my mind. You could just have read this in the initial post:

            “Of course, résumé isn’t everything, and it’s possible to have a thin one and still be a pretty good president — JFK and Barack Obama come to mind. But those were extraordinary individuals of great intellect and almost superhuman oratorical skill, and they both fit into the “being a person well matched to the moment” category I mentioned earlier.”

            1. Mr. Smith

              Ok, so the whole thrust of your original post wasn’t that experience is paramount.

              Thanks for the clarification!

        2. Mr. Smith

          “Perhaps you can point them out to me…”
          You’re arguing backwards from a conclusion. You may want to stop for a moment to consider whether those special skills were readily apparent to everyone prior to those figures becoming what they eventually became. Some people rise to the challenges they face and the responsibilities of office. The same may hold true for one or more of the candidates you currently disparage. Or do you have some sort of special future vision that the rest of us don’t possess?

        3. Mr. Smith

          “Aside from looking good on TV.”

          Sounds like you’re doing what you say others shouldn’t: judging a candidate by personality and appearance, but turning it on its head:
          They “look good on TV,” so there must be less than meets the eye.
          Have you actually examined the record of any of the candidates you’re disparaging?

          And before you jump to other conclusions, I’ll just add that I could see myself voting for Biden.
          But I’d really like to see how others do and what they have to say before committing whole hog the way you have by declaring Biden or Bust!

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Here’s what I said, and what I’m saying…

            If you want to make my short list, let me see the resume.

            Of course, I’m sort of using figurative language there, saying “resume.” The thing is, if you’ve got the background that prepares you for the job — a good bit of which would be in the national spotlight — I’ll know about it without looking it up. Everyone who follows national and international affairs will.

            I’m also saying — and I think I’ve mentioned this now more than once — that it’s possible for you to have a light resume and still make the list.

            Obama did. You know how he first grabbed my attention? I was listening to NPR one morning two or three years before the ’08 campaign got rolling, and they ran a long clip of a speech he was giving in New Hampshire. I missed the beginning, so I didn’t know who it was. And of course he has that accentless raised-in-Hawaii speech pattern, so I really couldn’t tell you anything about him. Couldn’t tell what part of the country he was from, or for that matter whether he was black or white or anything. Just that he was a man, and something about his voice made me want to listen to him. So I did, and I was impressed — by the calm intelligence of what he was saying, and how he said it.

            Obviously, this was an extraordinary person speaking. Then at the end, they said who it was, and I thought, “Oh, yeah — that guy with the odd name who spoke at the Democratic convention last time around.” I had not heard that convention speech, but I had heard a lot of people say how impressive it had been, and now I could well believe that.

            So anyway, I started paying attention to him, and continued to be impressed. Which is why he made the short list, in spite of his light resume. And we ended up endorsing him in the primary…

            1. Mr. Smith

              And, apparently, you already know all you need to know about all the announced candidates — based on who has or hasn’t gotten your attention up to now.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I know that I haven’t seen anything that tells me they’re ready for the job. Perhaps I will at some point. But I haven’t yet. And I know that before it’s over, I will be exposed to a tsunami of info about them.

                It seems that something I have said is ticking you off. What was it?

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I ask that because it seems like maybe you see something you like in one or more of these candidates.

                  If so, let me know what it is about that candidate(s) that says, “I’m ready to be president.”

                  Let me know what it is I’m missing…

                2. Mr. Smith

                  None of the candidates deserves to be lumped into the same category with the current president, as you did with several of those who’ve recently announced. That shows either a lack of good judgment or a blind urge to find false equivalencies. Because nobody running or thinking of running is even close to being as unfit or unready for the office as he was and is.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  No they aren’t, which is why with regard to lack of qualification, I called him “the granddaddy of them all.”

                  And here I thought I would mollify Democrats by mentioning him, too (and alluding to how much worse he is) — so I wouldn’t be just picking on Dems. Apparently it had the opposite effect…

                4. bud

                  That shows either a lack of good judgment or a blind urge to find false equivalencies.

                  It’s the latter. And it’s not just Brad. The false equivalency crowd is a big part of the problem. They definitely share much of the blame for Donald Trump.

  6. Doug Ross

    I’ve said it before but want to remind people – Biden would be older if he took office in 2021 (78) than Reagan was when he left office after two terms (77). That alone should give people enough pause to think about someone else.

    Interesting that Brad did not mention that Democrat with the longest resume. Until Hillary declares that she will not run, she still has the capacity to suck all the air out of the primary. Her resume could not overcome her personality and her poorly executed campaign.

    2020 will be an interesting year to determine what Democratic Party values are. Don’t underestimate the power Trump has to sit in the catbird seat tweeting about various candidates to stir things up. He will be able to drive the narrative on a daily basis with just a random adjective attached to the name of a candidate. I don’t think he can win again and I certainly would never vote for him, but Democrats are good at blowing elections with their own infighting. 2020 will be the old guard vs. the new guard more than any other time in history.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      As for Joe being old, you should have been there with us on October 13. I was up at the crack of dawn to go prepare an OTR at Page’s Okra Grill. When Joe and our candidates finally arrived, it took Joe at least 20 minutes to work his way into the building and across it to where I had the media people positioned at the takeout counter. Then, probably another hour in which he interacted with EVERYBODY in the place, from the huge crowd of customers to every worker in the kitchen, in addition to making unscheduled time for the media.

      I would have been ready for bed at that time.

      And we hadn’t even gotten to the day’s scheduled events. The main deal back downtown was our fundraiser at the American Theater on King Street. He breezed through that, speaking to the crowd, working it with pausing for selfies with everyone, then the formal shots backstage with the high-rollers.

      And his energy and enthusiasm never flagged for a moment.

      And he wasn’t done. He had a deal with Joe Cunningham after ours. And when he left Charleston, who knows what he had going after that?

      It was pretty amazing…

      1. Doug Ross

        His inauguration would be two years from now after what would likely be a daily grind for 1.5 years of campaigning. Followed by 4 years of the hardest job in America. I don’t want to see 82 year old Joe Biden at the end of his first term. No way. He has had a brain aneurysm in the past. He’s too old. Simple as that. He can be Secretary of State under a younger President.

        I bet if I had to list the candidates Trump would most like to face, it would start with Warren and Biden.

        1. Doug Ross

          Who would you choose – Biden or Hillary (if she decides to run) ?

          And I assume you would still pull the handle for Warren or Sanders if they were against Trump?

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “Who would you choose – Biden or Hillary (if she decides to run) ?”

            You asking ME? What a question! Biden every time!

            Hey, I was for Biden in 2008, except he dropped out before the primary, so we endorsed Obama. We might have considered Hillary if she’d come in to talk with us, but she didn’t. And while we would have CONSIDERED her, we still would almost certainly have ended up going with Obama.

            And I wanted Joe to run in 2016, but he didn’t, with terrible consequences for the country.

            As for your other question, you know I don’t like those people, so you’re asking me to pick my poison. I would never, ever vote for Donald Trump under any circumstances whatsoever.

            And I also think Warren, and especially Sanders, are unsuited to the job. So I’ll be rooting for someone else to oppose Trump. That’s all I know at this point.

            Except for this: The Trump era must end. But the Trump era is about more than Donald Trump. And I’m afraid the divisions in this country that led to the current madness would continue unabated if anyone from the Democrats’ left wing replaces him….

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              It floors me that anyone would seriously consider Bernie Sanders to be POTUS. He has ZERO interest in international affairs, to the extent that it’s like a hemisphere of his brain is missing.

              And of course, that’s what the job is mainly about — and really the only area where the president has any room to act, since domestic policy is stymied by the congressional logjam. (Think about it: Aside from Obamacare, what has been accomplished domestically since LBJ?)

              Bernie’s people about had a stroke when CBS proposed that a debate deal with — gasp! — foreign policy right after the Paris attacks late in 2015. That was so unfair to Bernie, they moaned. I’m sure he was much happier at a later debate with Hillary in March, when over the course of two hours, national security didn’t come up once…

              1. bud

                Brad, would you actually vote for Lindsey Graham over Elizabeth Warren?? If so that would be the most outrageous admission I’ve heard this year.

  7. bud


    Presidents with long resumes:
    Bush Sr.

    Presidents with thin resumes:

    Not sure resume is a good predictor, either way, of Presidential performance.

  8. Doug T

    Which Dem can attract Rust Belt blue collars that defected to Trump and snatched away an almost sure thing? …and also can bring out the rest of the base?

    Warren? Um, well
    Beto? Don’t think so.
    Joe? You bet.

    We Dems can’t blow this election. 80 is the new 70 😉

  9. bud

    Another strike against Biden – he has this touchy-feely persona. Twenty years ago that might have been considered endearing. Not anymore. In the “Me Too” era any hint on sexual impropriety is toxic.

    1. Clark Surratt

      Are you saying he can’t succeed in this Democratic wave of identity politics? Who best fits in that line of appeal?

      1. bud

        Sorry Clark, you don’t get to choose my words.

        Biden has 3 pretty significant strikes against him.

        1. His touchy-feely persona will not play well with many voters. Fair or not that’s just where we are.
        2. Biden is old and has had major health scares. No, 80 is most assuredly not the new 70. I’ve known many healthy, active 70 year olds that were not physically or mentally fit by 80. Age does catch up with you and voters, especially young voters, are going to consider that.
        3. Biden is from the old school cold warrior era. We really need to move beyond that outdated relic of yesteryear.

        Biden has run for president several times in the past and has always come up short. Politicians are not like wine; they do not get better with age.

  10. bud

    Another gigantic strike against Biden – he voted for the AUMF (Iraq war funding authorization). That alone pushes him to the bottom of my consideration.

    I’m still mulling the field right now but Elizabeth Warren has my initial support. Beto looks good too but perhaps needs a few years in the senate first. Kamala Harris just announced and she too looks like someone I could strongly support. Amy Klobuchar, and to a lessor extent Cory Booker, looked good in the Kavanaugh hearings. I hope Bernie doesn’t run again. His moment has come and gone. The Democratic field really is an embarrassment of riches for 2020.

    On the Republican side I don’t really care who runs other than who can weaken Trump the most. Assuming Trump is around that long.

  11. Doug Ross

    Seeing on Twitter today some excerpts from previous Biden speeches where he was calling for a stronger borders to stop “narcocriminals”… the language *was positively Trumpian.

    From 2016:
    Biden supports the Bush immigration plan, with both its “amnesty” for existing undocumented residents and its big border fence to keep new ones out.

    Q: Would you allow “sanctuary cities” to ignore the federal law and provide sanctuary to these immigrants?
    A: The reason that cities ignore the federal law is the fact that there is no funding at the federal level to provide for the kind of enforcement at the federal level you need. This administration’s been fundamentally derelict in not funding any of the requirements that are needed even to enforce the existing law.

    Q: So would you allow those cities to ignore the federal law?

    A: No.

    Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border.

    Within 18 months, achieves operational control over U.S. land and maritime borders, including:
    systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology; and
    physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That language couldn’t be LESS “Trumpian.”

      He’s asked whether he would let people violate the law, and he says “no.”

      He doesn’t rant and rave about it. He doesn’t launch into paranoid babbling about how they’re all rapists and murderers, or about what a horrific crisis this is, how it’s the most serious issue facing America, or that everything, including shutting down the government, should be done in order to implement his own personal preferred method of meeting this terrible emergency.

      Finally, it’s not an incomprehensible word salad.

      You see the difference, don’t you? It’s pretty huge. Like, pretty close to 180 degrees from “Trumpian” language …

      1. Doug Ross

        It’s the message that matters, not the messenger. Biden favors walls and is opposed to sanctuary cities. Biden voted specifically for those measures. This apparently is not a big deal to you because he has a resume that is 47 pages long. The details don’t matter as much as the tenure.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I think you’re beginning to understand.

          I’ve been watching Biden for decades and am able to make a judgment about him based on the totality of what I’ve seen — good, bad and indifferent. And that judgment is that I’d trust this guy in the job.

          It’s silly for you or anyone else to grasp at straws and say, “Look! Here’s a bad thing about Joe,” as if that will tilt the whole mass of things I know about him to the point where I conclude he’s unworthy of the job.

          It’s just as silly as if I were to mention one GOOD thing about Joe, and expect you to decide he’s wonderful on the basis of that. I wouldn’t presume to do that.

          “The details don’t matter as much as the tenure.”

          Here we are again for the hundredth time at least. Of course the details matter — in the aggregate. I’m a guy who looks at forests, and talks about forests, and compares one forest to another, and you’re complaining that I don’t get excited about the individual trees. Well, I’m not going to do that. My mind doesn’t work that way.

          1. Doug Ross

            “Straws” apparently equals actual votes and campaign statements. Oh yeah, I forgot – what they say on the campaign doesn’t actually have to match their beliefs. Should we go back to Clarence Thomas era Joe Biden to see how well he leads? Lots of forest there to chop down. Or how about plagiarizing Joe? Or “grab a handful of young girl” Joe?

            I’ll just settle for saying no to Old Man Joe… a relic of days gone by.

  12. Bart

    Trump, Pelosi, and Schumer are playing a game of political “chicken”. Trump is driving at breakneck speed toward the vehicle driven by Pelosi and Schumer is the passenger. But, the real victim is standing in the middle of the road and is about to be destroyed no matter which way it tries to turn to escape the oncoming tragedy. The victim represents the federal employees on furlough and who will be laid off after 30 days of shutdown. The other victims that are affected are the ones who work as contractors to the victim and all of the support services the victim needs to be able to function.

    It is not the 800,000 federal employees alone, the other victims need to be added to the body count and just speculation, that could entail millions of individuals and their families. Eventually the reckless behavior of Trump, Pelosi, and Schumer will have a devastating impact on the 2020 elections. Which way, I don’t know and all I can say is anecdotal at best. Based on conversations with a few people who are very intelligent and basically conservative, Trump is viewed as the main reason for the shutdown but the flat out refusal by Pelosi to even discuss the latest offer by Trump is not playing well either.

    I support moderates and if moderates were in charge, I suspect the shutdown would be over by now but moderates are not in charge. If anything, the extremists on the right and left are calling the shots and I read comments from both sides and neither side wants to give in. The problem is that the extremists do not make up the majority of the citizens of this country but given their influence and power, one would think otherwise.

    The demands to “build the wall” ring very hollow and as one very intelligent conservative remarked, “the damn wall won’t keep illegals from coming into the country so why stand firm on something that will waste money and not solve the problem?” The “War on Drugs” has been a miserable failure along with most other “wars” of its type. Education about the harmful effects of drugs seems to fall on deaf ears and idiots keep on indulging. Immigration laws are being ignored and sanctuary cities are springing up across the nation to protect illegals in direct conflict with federal law. Some new members of Congress ran supporting sanctuary cities so what does that tell us?

    Frankly, not one announced candidate on the Democrat side nor Donald Trump will get my vote in 2020. And I may end up voting for every Independent on the ballot instead of a Democrat or Republican. Both parties are a parody of civility and common sense, they don’t give a rip about the average citizen who lives on Main Street America.

  13. Doug Ross

    If you support the existing 580 miles of wall on the Southern border, it is simply a matter of negotiating how much many more miles to extend it. Maybe do half this year and come back next year to debate the other half.

    But that is not what this is about. This is solely about being opposed to Trump. Don’t give him anything. He’s made attempts to deal and Pelosi has refused to do so. Trump may have caused the shutdown but Pelosi bears more than 50% of the blame for it continuing. She thought she played Trump with her disinvite to the State of the Union. Maybe she learned sitting on the tarmac for her P.R. junket that Trump is not going to roll over like other politicians. Until she comes to negotiate, it’s on her.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Doug, you say this a lot: “But that is not what this is about. This is solely about being opposed to Trump.”

      You’re wrong, in that it’s not solely that. But you’re RIGHT if you’re picking up on the fact that opposing Trumpism is imperative.

      I just have to shake my head when I hear people say, “But look! This or that person who criticizes Trump once said something favorable about a wall!” As if that means anything. It means nothing.

      The wall isn’t the point. The point is that there is a very, very ugly element in this country that despises foreigners. They despise foreigners — especially if they look and sound different from us — so much that in the last couple of years, some of them have become bold enough to be open about the fact that they want to limit LEGAL immigration as well, stripping away the “illegal” fig leaf they had previously used to demonstrate that they weren’t nativists.

      It’s a mentality that denigrates the “other” to the point of dehumanization.

      And this attitude now has its very own president of the United States, in the person of a guy who elevates his wall to the point that it is SO important that he will shut down the government to get his way, to cater to the base that wants to keep those subhumans out of this country.

      And yeah, that guy has to be stopped. Anyone who would do such a thing, who would try to use his power to make his own highly dubious proposal more important than anything else the government does, MUST be stopped. Far more importantly, the world view that he embodies — Trumpism — MUST be unequivocally rejected by this country, if America is to continue to be what it’s supposed to be.

      It’s not about a stupid wall, and even Trump knows that. He was perfectly willing to give up on it until he saw that it would mean losing his grip as leader of this sick movement. It’s his key to power, and I expect anyone who believes in saving America to do what they can to frustrate this perversion of our politics.

      It’s possible for a decent, intelligent person to make an argument in favor of a wall here and there, and to do so in a way that doesn’t make it imperative to oppose him.* Bob Samuelson has done so. Tom Friedman, whom I greatly respect, has advocated for a “high wall with a big gate.” Of course, the saving grace there is the big gate.

      The POINT is that these people approach it in pragmatic terms, as a way to achieve a sensible policy goal — NOT as the expression of a hateful world view that drags our country into the sewer.

      * Here’s where Doug, and probably Bud, complain about Brad not caring about substance, but only about style. Which is a complete misunderstanding of what I’m saying, but I know we’ll end up there because have so many times before. I don’t know what to do about that. There is no greater cognitive divide than that between people who are an extreme N on the Myers-Briggs scale and those who qualify as an extreme S.

      Doug dismisses Trump’s manifold sins — and they are manifold; the man has no “good side” to balance his wrongness — as just “words.” Well, again, words are THE JOB when you’re president. And that’s why there are two categories of presidents in our history: 44 of them who are scattered across a wide spectrum of different degrees of suitability, and Trump. And just about every word out of his mouth drags the country further down…

      1. Doug Ross

        The guy who said the talk about illegal immigrants were racists is now pushing for that wall. Your buddy, Lindsey. Who is worse? Lindsey flipping based on what suits him or Trump pursuing EXACTLY what he said he would do if elected? And he was elected so he has all the reason in the world to pursue it regardless of whether it is the best idea or not.

        All this situation has done is expose the hypocrisy of career politicians. Nobody has done anything yet that surprises me. They are all living up to my long held beliefs.. every day… in every way. Self absorbed, self interested, and without an ounce of integrity. At least Trump will be gone in 2 or 6 years. The rest of those losers will be around long after Trump is gone.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I couldn’t be more upset than I am over Lindsey’s behavior.

          Unlike you, though, I don’t consider inconsistency — which you dub “hypocrisy” — as the greatest sin.

          Lindsey does the wrong thing part of the time. Frequently during his career, he has courageously stood up to do the right thing, even if it got him pilloried by his own party in his own state. Lately, he has lacked the courage to do that, and become a toady.

          But I’ll take Lindsey over Trump — a guy who occasionally takes a risk to do the right thing, over a guy who ALWAYS does the wrong thing deliberately, and relishes it, and brags about it.

          As for campaign promises, you know me — I don’t put any stock in them, and I’d rather politicians just not make them. (I realize that, since most voters aren’t like me, politicians have to make “I will…” statements, but I prefer they keep it to a minimum.) It’s not a virtue to promise to do a bad thing, and then do it when you get elected. I’d much rather be lied to, or have the person MEAN to do it but then chicken out, than see that happen.

          I believe in right and wrong as things that objectively exist, regardless of what we think of them (unlike Trump, who believes a “good thing” is a thing that benefits Trump). And it is not good to promise to do a bad thing and then do it. Period…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Another way to think of the way I think of campaign promises is suggested by Jesus’ parable in Matthew 21:

            “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
            He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
            The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.
            * Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.

            I’ll go with the guy who said he would do wrong (say, promised to build a wall during the campaign), but didn’t…

            OK, so the analogy isn’t perfect — the other guy lied, too. But it still reminded me of the parable. It would work better for my purposes if BOTH had refused the father, but one changed his mind and did not fulfill that campaign promise…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Yeah. Exactly the same thing. One guy wants to impose a great shame upon the country, an unnecessary evil that shows Americans at their historical Know-Nothing worst. The other wants to erase the greatest shame of South Carolina of the last few years — a persistent evil that shows us to be idiots, saying, “Take our federal tax money and give it to other states. We’d rather see that happen than see one more member of the working poor get health care.”

                Yeah, just alike. Like two peas in a pod….

                1. Doug Ross

                  It was a promise that Smith made to his base that had he not fulfilled it would have been embarrassing AND a reason to not vote for him again. Smith foolishly made it the centerpiece of his campaign in a state where Republicans who control the state already said no. It was a bad move politically. Certainly didn’t help him get crossover votes he desperately needed to even have a chance.

                  Trump promised the wall to the people who voted for him. He is pushing to deliver on that promise.

                  Calling it a “shame” is silly hyperbole. We already have a wall. Unless you feel that wall is a shame as well (and you might, considering your open borders philosophy).. then extending the wall isn’t a shame, it’s a construction project. There is enough justification to extend it to make it open to negotiation… It’s a decision to strengthen the border – something Joe Biden is for (when he’s not against it for political reasons)…

                  It’s a shame because it’s Trump for you… that’s all.

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I’m just going to give up trying to explain it…. No. I never give up….

                  James didn’t do anything “foolish.” He said he would do the right thing, which also happens to be the non-stupid thing. The incumbent is for continuing to do the stupid, wrong thing.

                  The wall was the centerpiece of a xenophobic, nativist, hateful, Know-Nothing campaign that deliberately appealed to the very worst in a subset of Americans. (A campaign that should make decent people who happen to care about border security want to disassociate themselves from it with all their might.) That is the respect that makes THIS wall morally reprehensible, however many other walls may have been built, in this country or any other.

                  Opposing this wall and the context in which it was proposed is a moral imperative. This wall is about redefining our country, and anyone who does not want our country redefined in that way must oppose it.

                  And I’m sorry you don’t see that.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Oh, and as for this: “It’s a shame because it’s Trump for you.”

                  Doug, we wouldn’t be talking about it if anyone but Trump were president. Because no one else in our nation’s history would be shutting down the government to try to make Congress build a wall.

                  I mentioned earlier that people I respect have proposed a wall. Tom Friedman wants “a high wall with a big gate.” I take his point, but I don’t agree that we need an actual, physical wall — and I don’t think he does, either. And since he’s a rational human being, I don’t think he would propose to spend the billions it would take to build Trump’s wall. And even if he DID, he wouldn’t see it as such a priority that he would shut down the government over it. Why? Because he’s not a malevolent idiot. He wouldn’t believe that his wall was more important than everything else the government does — which is what the shutdown says.

                  Basically, you can’t divorce this situation from Trump’s involvement in it. You can’t say, “Brad would be for it if it was someone else,” because we would never be in this situation with anyone but Trump.

                  Do you see what I’m saying here?

                4. Doug Ross

                  Nope. I’ll see your billions wasted on the wall and raise you the trillions spent on useless wars. Any other time you claim to not care about money.

                  A 580 mile wall or 1000 mile wall doesn’t redefine America. Now, allowing people who entered illegally and get to stay WOULD redefine what America stands for. We are supposed to be a nation of laws.

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Doug, the REASON for building the wall redefines America. It’s NOT about the money — although if you want to talk about wasting money, this takes the cake — or about the physical wall itself or the hammerhead proposing it. It’s about the INTENT.

                  You want secure national boundaries? Let’s start paying the Coast Guard:

                  We know what the wall is about. It’s not about a more secure America…

          2. Mr. Smith

            “As for campaign promises, you know me — I don’t put any stock in them”

            Not if you see them as “promises.” Nobody can promise things they don’t control.
            But that’s not what they are.
            They’re policy proposals. And policy proposals should be taken seriously.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Right. And I had nor him for breaking in. The only thing he did wrong was to make the promise in the first place. People who want to serve in office shouldn’t tie their hands in advance…

      2. bud

        Brad you are mostly right about Trump. He really is the leader of the “sick” movement. I suspect Doug knows it too but just enjoys yanking your chain. But you don’t go far enough. Not nearly far enough. Why doesn’t Mitch McConnel sit down wit Nancy Pelosi and work out a deal to reopen the government that is veto proof? Shouldn’t be that hard. But even if that falls short it would send a message that hostage taking is unacceptable. But noooo. It’s not just Trump it’s the GOP as a whole that is the “sick” movement. It is so disheartening to see so many people putting blame on both sides. This really is the fault o Republicans. Democrats can’t be blamed for resisting this hostage approach. I applaud Nancy and her colleagues in the House. They are the real patriots in this ugly affair. The false equivalency crowd? Not so much.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Well, as I say, the problem isn’t Trump, but Trumpism — the sickness in our body politic that allowed him to be elected, something that could never have happened at any other time in U.S. history. The -ism existed before Trump’s candidacy. It’s what made his candidacy possible, or at least what made it viable. The fictional Will McAvoy was kind of talking about it (which is to say, Aaron Sorkin was writing about it) in his famous rant back in 2012. For my part, I was seeing it at Tea Party events a couple of years before that.

          That manifests itself in a lot of ways, such as McConnell’s cowardice.

          In the end, that’s probably what will happen — the two parties in the Congress passing something and daring him to veto it. It’s what should have happened a month ago. The reason it didn’t is that Republicans are scared to death of that mob that backs Trump.

          And while people will howl at me for bringing up the Nazis, looking at exaggerated extremes from history can be a useful way of thinking about phenomena that seem too subtle in other contexts. And here I’m reminded of the way the Establishment in Germany originally thought they could control Hitler. But gradually, they didn’t dare try, because they were terrified of the mob behind him. If they summoned the courage to oppose him, they were killed.

          What Republicans today fear is political death, not literal death. But the way the mechanism works is the same…

        2. Doug Ross

          Not yanking any chains.. what I write is what I believe and have believed for most of my adult life. I had zero respect for Pelosi before Trump and feel she is as much, if not more, responsible for the state of American politics today than Trump is. She is a terrible person with no ethics whatsoever. A pure political creature like McConnell, Schumer, Lindsey Graham, et al. They are the reason we have Trump in office.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I’m not a fan of Nancy Pelosi, but I sort of go “whoa!” when I read, “She is a terrible person with no ethics whatsoever.”

            That’s an interesting assertion. Let’s have some particulars on that indictment.

            I think this is an important point, because I think one of the reasons why you don’t see what’s so bad about Trump is because you have such an extremely low opinion of anyone who has dedicated himself or herself to public service.

            You think that if they’ve been on the public scene for more than a brief period, they’re bad people. Worthless.

            So, when someone comes along that that description actually fits, a man who actually is a terrible person with no ethics, a person who truly does look at EVERYTHING in life in terms of how it will benefit him or not, someone who cares nothing for codes of ethics or laws or anything outside himself, you don’t understand why the rest of us are upset about it.

            The reason is that we have never seen anyone who answers that description rise so high in American life before, and we love our country, and so it’s extremely upsetting that the country has sunk so low that it would elect such a person.

            But you don’t see that. Because you don’t see the difference between him and others in politics…

            1. Doug Ross

              Check out her use of military planes for personal purposes…

              “Judicial Watch, through FOIA, continues to pursue other records related to Pelosi’s use of Air Force aircraft.Previous documents obtained by Judicial Watch show the former Speaker’s military travel cost the USAF $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008 included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.Judicial Watch also previously uncovered internal Department of Defense (DOD) documents email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes. For example, in response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one DOD official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” ”

              She lives the high life on the public dime and has done so for decades. That alone makes her unethical.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Oh, two more points:

                — Want me to join you in decrying the unnecessary expense on that trip? I’m with you, although I’m never going to feel passionate about it. I’ll say, “Yes, Nancy, I think it’s important to visit Baghdad, but let’s see you do so a bit more economically. Oh, and Bacardi light rum? The Black is the only stuff worth spending a penny on.”
                — Beyond that, what I care about is policy. Let our elected representatives have a frat party every night, far as I care, as long as they 1. Get us back and into TPP, 2. NOT hand Syria to the Russians, 3. Expand Medicaid in South Carolina, 4. Stop the stupid trade war, and so forth…

                But that’s me. I care less about elected officials’ expense accounts than I do the policies they pursue in office..

              2. bud

                Really Doug? THIS is what you have on Pelosi? She spent $2 million dollars on trips to Baghdad and that equates to some immoral monster?? Come on, this is really trivial compared to Trump’s outrageous behavior and staggering excesses while in office. Perhaps the biggest outrage is her choice of beer. Corona is a Mexican beer. Many American craft beers to choose from and she selects Corona?

                1. bud

                  $ = Pelosi Trips to Baghdad
                  = 1/6 of Trump’s border wall

                  Really Doug, your argument is just sad.

                2. Doug Ross

                  Check out the times she flew her grandson with her on the public dime.

                  If you’re fine with them spending $100k on booze, because “Trump is worse”, that’s up to you. I expect public officials to be better than Trump.

                  She is a pure political animal raised in the bastion of liberal excess. A rich woman pretending to be fighting for the little guy. There isn’t any amount of other people’s money she isn’t willing to spend.

                  And would you say she’s been an anti-war proponent or a supporter of the status quo? That alone makes her a fraud for the Democratic Party.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  To answer your second paragraph:

                  1. I’m not “fine” with it. But as I say, I carry more about what policies people pursue in office than I do their expense accounts.

                  2. Of course Trump is worse. He’s worse than anyone who’s ever held high office in this country. But let me restate the point: He’s bad for the policies he pursues, and the reasons he pursues them.

                  3. I expect everyone, including public officials, to be better than Trump.

                  I didn’t understand your point about being anti war…

                4. bud

                  Doug when you find a tape showing Pelosi bragging about grabbing people’s genitals get back with me. Otherwise all you have are a few examples of teeny tiny wastes of government money.

                5. Doug Ross

                  Ha ha.. that’s the way liberals work. As long as it is someone else’s money, a couple million here or there is no big deal. If she steals a dime, she’s a crook.

                  For the millionth time, I didn’t vote for Trump and never will. He’s a buffoon. But he won the election — fair and square – so he’s President.. and has the right and obligation to pursue the policies he feels are right.

                  The wall will cost citizens far less than the egregious Obamacare debacle costs us by hundreds of billions. Obama got what he wanted and held his breath until he got it. It was a travesty of excessive regulation, partisanship, and payoffs to the insurance/pharma industry in order to get a couple things that could have been written on the back of a napkin.
                  It’s just that Barry is the cool guy and Trump is the New Yorker with a big mouth. Each had their objectives and are doing what they feel they need to do to achieve them.

                  The wall isn’t about race. It’s a wall. An extension of a wall we already have in place. Big deal…

    2. bud

      Trump isn’t negotiating with the Democrats, he’s hostage taking. Trump submitted a budget that the senate passed in December. The Ann Coulter hollered about the wall. Then demanded $5.7 billion for a wall AND took credit for shutting the government down. Democrats in the house have passed bills to reopen the government. Mitch won’t bring those up for a vote. This isn’t about compromising. It’s about hostage taking. And Pelosi is having none of it.

  14. Bart

    When is it time to concede when the hostages start to die? The time will be here soon and federal employees and the others affected will reach critical mass. Who will blink first or who will remain too stubborn to give enough so the federal government can reopen? Which side has more to lose, Democrats or Republicans? Trump is not a Republican, he never has been, he is a snake oil salesman and has nothing to lose by not conceding anything. After 2020, he will go back to his life and as usual leave behind an absolute disaster that can be compared to “Idiocracy”.

    Unfortunately, Democrats who decry their compassion and humanity are playing the same game and won’t budge. Even though the damn wall is not necessary, one needs to ask a serious question. In the overall scheme of things and the out of control budget, what is another $5.7 billion if it will stop the madness? Why not at least attempt to meet with Trump after his “offer”? By refusing before his offer was made, it sent a signal that Trump has suckered Pelosi and Schumer into playing his game and it is a dangerous one.

    Democrats have a golden opportunity here to be the bigger and better part of America by agreeing to the $5.7 billion or a counter to his last offer but letting everyone know they are looking at the larger picture and future for this country. This game needs to come to an end and soon.

    This is not hostage taking, it is still a game of chicken between Trump and Pelosi and Schumer and the radical factions on both sides. I really don’t care who doesn’t agree with me, this is my view from the middle.

  15. Karen Pearson

    Building a wall has been shown by history to be an expensive and ineffective way to keep out the “bad guys.” The great wall of China, Hadrian’s wall, and the Maginot line are examples of walls built to keep out invaders. They all failed. The only walls I can think of that have worked have been the Berlin wall, and the one dividing North and South Korea. Those have worked, not because they are walls but because tremendous, continuous military force has been expended to ensure that they were effective, much to the detriment of their respective countries. And the money spent to maintain them, and the armies backing them up has impoverished the citizens of those countries. I think that we should be a bit smarter in controlling our borders, not to mention a bit more compassionate toward desperate people.

    1. Harry Harris

      Maybe meant in jest, but crude and unhelpful. Mean-spirited people like Stephen Colbert who insist on spiking the ball and taunting are detrimental when dealing with a prideful, narcissistic President who has shown a willingness to strike out even when it’s dangerous and harmful.

      1. bud

        Harry I’d love nothing more than a respectful discussion about issues, especially this wall thing. But this has to work both ways. But it’s also fair to allow for a bit of good natured ribbing given the rather significant victory scored by the Dems. Going forward let’s debate this with facts and leave the ad-homonym attacks behind.

        1. Harry Harris

          I certainly didn’t say anything negative about you, but characterized your statement as crude. I also think it exhibited the kind of gloating that is counterproductive with a person with President Trump’s dishonesty and lowbrow approach to discourse.
          I am wholly with you in desiring a fact driven debate on issues. Of course, we can agree that neither Prez Trump nor his minions and allies would stand for such debate. He would rather fight on his favorite territory – the gutter. He has no chance in the realm of fact-based discourse.
          I thought Nancy Pelosi did a good job of giving him a way to become more tethered to reality, and that Chuck Shumer did well standing back and backing-up the play. I’d say it is smart to give him a chance to swallow some of his pride in private before offering up a big helping of crow to stuff down his throat.

          1. bud

            Harry I totally agree that the level of discourse has gotten out of hand in the political arena. But I maintain that the right has been far worse about this. I’ve been called a libtard on more than a few occasions. The urge is to respond in kind which is not helpful. I would also suggest we shouldn’t have such thin skins that we can’t appreciate some good natured political humor. Stephen Colbert is a comedian. His “gloating” as you call it is part of his routine. SNL is generally regarded as a pretty liberal show. But there have been no shortage of parodying liberals. Kate Mckinnon does a terrific Hillary Clinton. So let’s all take a chill pill and move on to a dignified, but not overly stuffy, discussion.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              “But I maintain that the right has been far worse about this. I’ve been called a libtard on more than a few occasions.”

              But does that matter? All you can control is what YOU do. And more to the point, all I can control is what I do.

              And it is incumbent on each individual with a conscience to do what he can to improve the conversation, not make it worse.

              There are a lot of stupid, belligerent people out there who are not receptive to that message. I’ve always wanted this blog to be a place that can attract more reasonable people, a place where we can have more constructive conversations…

    2. Doug Ross

      Just wait Bud. You’re sinking to his level and he can go lower.

      Democrats are proving exactly what they care about. Politics.

      I would be embarrassed to claim Pelosi as my hero as you seem to be doing. But embrace her… She’s a paragon of virtue.

  16. Doug Ross

    The infighting in the Democratic Party is going to be far, far worse than it was for Republicans in 2016 was if the past week is any indication. Each time a new candidate declares, he or she gets hammered by some segment of the party zealots. Bernie: “Not a Democrat” Harris: “Too tough on crime” Gabbard: “Asaad lover” “Hates gays!” Then Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says he MIGHT run and the Democrats go apopletic: “RICH GUY! HOW DARE HE TALK ABOUT NATIONAL DEBT!!! HE’LL GIVE THE ELECTION TO TRUMP!!!!” While doing his book tour, one loser felt it was his job to heckle and curse out Schultz yesterday. Trump has got the entire Democratic Party to sink to his level now…

    The way the messages get propagated among the lemmings so quickly is fascinating… it’s almost as if they (like rabid Republicans) are brainwashed to have a knee jerk response to EVERYTHING instantly. It’s going to be a bloodbath over the next 18 months because the only way for a no-name to make headlines will be to attack one of the front runners. And in the end Democrats will put the least worst candidate up against Trump…

    I have already donated to Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign. So far, she has seemed the most reasonable. Her positions from Wikpedia: “She supports abortion rights, Medicare for All, opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has called for a restoration of the Glass–Steagall Act, and changed her stance to support same-sex marriage in 2012. She is critical of aspects of U.S. foreign policy regarding Iraq, Libya and Syria. She opposes removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power by force.”

    Can’t say I support all of it, but someone who has served in Iraq and is also critical of our policies is a good start. Medicare for All should be an absolute given at this point for any Democrat. A litmus test as strong as the abortion rights stance,

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I agree with you completely on this:

      “The infighting in the Democratic Party is going to be far, far worse than it was for Republicans in 2016…”

      So far, it’s a sorry spectacle. Aside from the infighting, the whole crowd is pretty much charging off in entirely the wrong directions.

      I was wondering who this “Gabbard” person was until you elaborated… yeah… sorry, but there’s not much to like there from my perspective. I’d dismiss her on the basis of opposition to TPP alone, without the other stuff.

      Actually, after typing the above, I went and looked at said Wikipedia page. Soon as I saw the picture, I thought, “Oh, yeah. Her.” I looked her up some months ago when someone — possibly Doug — brought her up. Having read about her positions then, I pretty much forgot her quickly.

      We’re just going to have to look back on 2018 as the one moment when Doug voted for the ticket I supported. It was nice, but I couldn’t expect it to last… :)

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Actually, I should probably say that while it was highly gratifying that Doug voted for (and contributed to) James and Mandy back in the fall — however reluctantly and despite all his reservations — probably the biggest meeting of the minds we’ve ever had on this blog has been his decision over time to back single-payer.

        As does this Tulsi Gabbard person, apparently. But that’s not enough, not for me…

        As Doug says, that should be minimal for a Democrat…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Speaking of which, now that I’m actually ON Medicare, I’ve been meaning to write a post about what it’s like to finally have what everyone in the country should have.

          There’s good, and there’s bad. But mostly good. The best thing is knowing I can’t lose my insurance if I change jobs. Which is one of the strongest, if not THE strongest reason we need a national health system.

          Yeah, I know — Medicare was conceived as something for retired people. But for me — seeing no possibility of retiring completely in my future (thanks to having my finances eviscerated by being laid off from my profession) — it just means that as I decide what kind of work I do going forward, I don’t have to sweat the insurance part. Which is liberating…

          And having a nation full of people who don’t have to worry about that aspect would be liberating to our economy, freeing up creativity and encouraging entrepreneurship. No longer would people be terrified of quitting their jobs to try something new, just because they need the insurance that comes with their dead-end positions…

          1. Doug Ross

            My approach to single payer would be a phased in process. Start with covering all kids age 0-21 plus age 60+. Bump up the Medicare tax for everyone, not just the “rich” to cover it — along with shifting any current Medicaid funding that goes to kids and 60-65 to Medicare. Then see what happens over four years. If things are going well, modify the age range to under 25 and over 50. That leaves a group of people age 26-49 who can be supported by the private insurance industry as they currently are… plus Medicaid for those in that age range who can’t work. Let that play out for another decade and then have a national conversation about whether to shift to full Medicare for All.

            This just makes too much sense to me… Who says no to insurance for all kids? Who says no to insurance for age 60+ adults who likely are the largest consumers of healthcare dollars?

            Now the toughest nut to crack will be Big Pharma. We can’t make all drugs free but there has to be something done to reduce the monopoly control they have. Shorter patent terms, negotiated prices at the Federal level…

      2. Doug Ross

        Don’t minimize the fact that she is telegenic and has an interesting biography. Military service helps, right? Do any of the other female candidates have that?

        I can’t see myself donating money to anyone else in the race so far. Too many red flags on all of them.


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