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  1. I do appreciate you alerting me that I've been insensitive. Apparently, I have a blind spot here. For me to avoid repeating my error, I need to understand why it's offensive for me to say that progressives (I understand that I should have said 'some') hate Trump. You even said that you have "hatred for Trump". Why is it insensitive for me to mention that? How is that an insult?
  2. The sensible ones, maybe. Not the partisans with blinders on. They'll tell you Trump is the best President since Reagan. They love the man. Many moderate Republicans should agree with what I wrote for moderates in general. Moderates are still in power...for now. But, every election is a separate thing and President is the single most important selection that we make. Moderates see how the media has made AOC spokeswoman for the party. It reminds of when the media tried to make Palin spokeswoman for the Republicans. I think there's plenty to be nervous about. Over a period of time (within 8 years) I think it's inevitable that progressives will take over. It happens with every generation. In his time, even Biden was probably a progressive. Don't forget about all the regulatory agencies. So much of what our government does involves federal agencies interpreting vaguely written laws. Think about Trump's EPA, for example. Probably not "big fans". But, they will be fearful of change. Most folks are actually satisfied with their healthcare. A Gallup Poll from December says: - Majorities rate quality (80%) and coverage (69%) as excellent or good - Americans rate coverage and quality in the U.S. in general less positively - Majority satisfied with cost of their personal healthcare It will be an uphill battle to convince these people to support a President who wants to take this away. What do you think about John Delaney's ideas on this subject? I understand why they exclude pre-existing conditions. Normally, I pay my own dental bills without insurance. My teeth are good, so I'd be paying more than I get from a dental insurer. But, now my wife has decided she wants implants. Wow....big $$$$. So what do I do? I go looking for dental insurance. I don't feel like an immoral person, but I'm exactly the kind of person who the insurance companies have to look out for. I'd sign up, get my wife's implants, and then cancel. Objectively, that's bad and wrong. If I'm willing to do that, I bet most others would as well. So, that's a good argument for having the government handle these things. If everyone is insured all the time, this issue goes away. Now the issues become things like cost, capacity management, and doctor/hospital compensation. I'd just like to see some details on how it would all work so I could feel comfortable with it. There are so many ways they could get this wrong, it scares me. I have a lot of experience with the government and I'm not willing to just trust them to get it right. Yes. This bi-partisan bit of socialism is popular with everyone. I really don't understand why we can't do something like that with healthcare. I really believe that if both parties would work together they could get it right. How did we manage to select better politicians in 1935 than we do today?
  3. The sleeping habit reference is a figure of speech. It isn't meant to imply that progressives literally lose sleep over Trump. It's a way of saying that many (this time I'll be literal) hate the man to the point that they oppose everything he says or does and anyone who associates with him or even fails to condemn him publicly. If you don't believe many progressives hate Donald Trump, then I'm not sure we're living in the same country. I'm not commenting on whether the hatred is justified...only observing that it exists and that many moderates don't share it. As with any group, progressives are individuals. This was a general observation I shared with you as it was relevant to your post. There was nothing there for you to take personally. I judge the general progressive opinion of Donald Trump as 'hatred'. Do you think that's too strong of a term? The dictionary says "hatred: intense dislike or ill will". That seems accurate to me. Are you telling me that you don't personally feel an "intense dislike" for Donald Trump? That's absolutely a fair request. But, just as some Bernie backers refused to support Hillary (Newsweek), the reverse could also happen. I think the Democratic party is somewhat divided right now between its moderate and progressive wings. Hopefully, the eventual nominee will be someone who can unite the party. My evaluation would take too long to write here. I started and it just got too complex. Overall, I believe it's clear that he's been a very poor President, though not as bad as GWB. And remember, GWB got re-elected. I agree with your article. But, I don't put all this on Trump. All politicians are ready to take on debt for their favorite policies. Republicans are complete hypocrites on this. They tout financial responsibility when Democrats are in power, then spend like drunken sailors (that's a figure of speech...sailor's please don't take offense) when they're in power. They say that this spending will yield dividends from economic growth. Liberals aren't that different. If it's something like free education, we believe it'll pay us back in the long run, so it's OK to run up the debt. I don't think many of our leaders really appreciate the dangers highlighted in your article, to our peril. Awesome! The reparations issue, in particular, gets me incensed. It would be interesting for me to discuss that issue with someone who supports reparations. From listening to the debates, it sounds like there are options other than just writing a check to folks who claim to be descended from slaves. Maybe there's a proposal I wouldn't be so opposed to. This, I don't understand. He doesn't like Trump and refuses to vote for him, no matter what. So, he's hoping the Democratic nominee will be closer to his moderate positions. If the eventual Democrat is also unacceptable (to Brooks), how is he a hypocrite for choosing not to vote? Not liking a progressive candidate isn't the same thing as liking Trump.
  4. You're putting a lot of faith in the "I'm not Trump" issue motivating moderate voters to get out and vote. If the Democratic nominee is from deep in the progressive wing, I'm not sure that will be enough. The moderate voter (Brooks, for example) really doesn't like Trump, but they don't feel the burning hatred that keeps progressives up at night. The moderate voter doesn't see him as a threat to democracy as we know it. They don't even see him as the single greatest threat to our nation. They believe he's incompetent, uncouth, and lacking strong morals, but that's not exactly unique among politicians. True, he's taken those faults to a new level. But, they can see that he's been President for 4 years and nothing truly disastrous happened (nothing as bad as GWB's Iraq war and the great recession). If the Democrats nominate someone who wants to end private healthcare, pay reparations for slavery, and make guns illegal while prioritizing anything and everything ahead of jobs...some moderates just might decide to stay home or vote 3rd party. Maybe those votes matter to the outcome; maybe they don't. Sounds like a veiled threat. I don't think it's a threat. It could be a warning. But, to me, it sounds more like a plea or maybe well-intended advice.
  5. This is true. Hillary's positions were spot-on. And, given Trump's personal qualities, it's hard to understand how anyone could select him over her for personal issues. I think moderates are very sorry they let this happen. Given the chance, perhaps they would correct this mistake? If folks are embarrassed by Trump, whether they're moderate or conservative, let's give them someone they can vote for and show them that the earth won't open up and swallow them if they vote for a Democrat. They might decide they're not conservative after all.
  6. Of course there are moderate candidates. What he's pondering is whether the final nominee will be too liberal/progressive for him. I think he should have said "nominee" instead of "candidate". Yep. I think that's what he's saying. Or, he might intend to vote for an independent or third party . That seems like a good point, but it's almost impossible to get press coverage for a sensible, well-balanced proposal these days. AOC got massive coverage for the "Green New Deal", mostly because those on the right were holding it up for ridicule, which obligated the left to defend it as a litmus test of their true liberal credentials. Unless your proposal is 'out there', the press couldn't care less. Political coverage these days is largely tabloid style with misleading headlines and cherry-picked quotes intended to inflame...and attract eyeballs so money can be made. The point has been made that Biden leads because of name recognition. That's a fair and true point. But that's also why the most progressive (and unrealistic) proposals poll so well. Those are the proposals that get all the press coverage. Once voters find out the details of these proposals, they may not like them so well. If the press spent as much time talking about sensible ideas as they did the unrealistic, they'd certainly poll better. I think what he's saying is that the farthest left voters/activists/candidates are the most committed, loud, aggressive, and energized. Those with a more calm, practical, incremental approach don't want to anger this group. But, the fear is that these energized voters still only get one vote each in November. It's a trade off. We need the energized and aggressive folks to run a campaign. But, we also need a good number of the less progressive 35% to come out and vote.
  7. I was only able to watch the first hour so far. In order, thought Booker, Gabbard, Klobuchar, and maybe Delaney did well. Blasio, O'Rourke, Inslee, and maybe Warren...less well. I'm not really thinking about previous positions as I say that, just reacting to what I was feeling as they were talking, based on what they said in the debate. The only 'format' comment I have is a suggestion that they have a separate debate in Spanish instead of mixing it back and forth.
  8. Absolutely. I forgot that one, and probably many more.
  9. There are soooo many reasons America became great. My thoughts... We started off with English laws, language, and civility. We had unmatched work ethic and self sufficiency. Settlers on the frontier, which at one time was places way out west like Ohio and Tennessee, had no government and very few fellow citizens to depend on. You worked your ass off or you died (and many did die). They died early even when they did work their ass off. We were largely 'good' people who either aspired to heaven or feared hell. Many people never locked their door. When Andrew Jackson was inaugurated, there was an open house at the White House. The nation was founded in rebellion against an overbearing government and so it constitutionally limited it's own government to the bare minimum while establishing numerous rights for citizens. We were blessed with a group of people who somehow managed to set aside their personal interests and make compromises for the good of the nation. Our land had boundless untapped resources. We faced little interference or competition from other nations as we were protected by two oceans that took weeks to cross. Over time, we came to recognize mistakes (slavery, mistreatment of the Indians, women's suffrage) and correct them. A man (and mostly they were men because we were sexist) could become as rich as his talents would allow. The government protected earnings while making few demands in the way of taxes. Entrepreneurial spirits ran wild. We became prosperous. With prosperity, we began to create a safety net for the elderly and the sick. When the rest of the world needed us, we bled for them, and made the world a safer place. Our history is nothing to be ashamed of. People did amazing things given their situation, history, and technology. We should be proud of where we came from. At the same time, we need to continue to evolve. What worked in 1800 won't work in 2020. We are not the best we can be. If we are to remain 'great', progress must continue to progress.
  10. I believe good people do bad things with good intentions. Take gerrymandering for example. Their logic is...'my party' (whichever party that might be) does good things for the country. If they didn't believe that, they wouldn't be a member of that party, right? So, if they gerrymander the state so that their party's electoral chances are improved, they have a better chance of being in power. If they're in power, they can do more good for the country. It's the age-old moral trap of the ends justifying the means. In my opinion, both of our major political parties fall into this trap. That's probably the main reason I refuse to be a member of either. We need people who will put the country ahead of the party. I see much less of that these days. I don't believe most people want that. I certainly don't want that. But, I won't deny that the other side has sincerely held core values (independence, self-sufficiency, hard work, etc.) that lead them to take positions that are different from ours. Then, once they've decided to join the group, they put the team first fall into a 'group think' trap where they buy whatever leadership is selling with little critical thought. I share many of their core values, as I'm sure we all do, but I have come to recognize there are other values (empathy and compassion, for examples) that also need consideration. Once you've joined a team, there's tremendous pressure to accept and espouse the same views as your other teammates. Many will internalize those views. No matter what group you choose to be part of, always examine every single decision and action with a critical eye. The prospect of 30+ million American voters (44 million Democrats, 32 million Republicans) agreeing on every single issue is ridiculous. So, if you find yourself in lockstep with the leadership of a political party on hundreds of policies, votes, and actions, you just might be letting someone else do your thinking for you. Just because it's good for the party doesn't mean it's good for you or good for the country. It's easy to see this when it's the other guys. It's a little more challenging when you've joined a party and see yourself as a member of the team.
  11. I'm not seeing much in the way of qualifications. UBI is a nice issue for him, but I'd prefer a more experienced candidate to lead the charge. His web page says: "Any change to the Freedom Dividend would require a constitutional amendment.". Why? does he plan to offer the Freedom Dividend as a Constitutional amendment? That would seem to limit it's chances of passage. Since he doesn't have much of a track record or qualifications, I went to his website and read several of his other policy statements. The ones I saw could be paraphrased like this: "This is bad. The government should do more." That's it. For example, on equal pay, he spends a few sentences acknowledging the problem, and then says: "The federal government must do more to ensure that anyone performing the same work in substantially similar situations should receive equal pay." Like what? Beyond enforcing the existing law, what would he like to do? It's the same on just about everything I looked at. On border security, he concludes with: "When searching for solutions, we need to work with border security experts, immigrant advocates, and the Mexican government to provide effective, secure, humane border security." On the high cost of prescription drugs, his policy is: "We need to put pressure on these companies to get their prices under control, and more in line with the rest of the world.". On the student loan issue, he says "We need to create a clear path out of this crippling debt." and then he doesn't offer any path, clear or otherwise. I'm sorry, but I don't consider statements like these as "policy proposals". His values and goals seem to be on point, but we need more than that. I know it's early and none of the candidates are being very specific right now, but I think the long shots are under more pressure to step up with something concrete. He needs more than being a well-spoken, likable guy.
  12. Why is this a first? Theoretically, every budget of every democracy prioritizes the well-being of it's citizens. Different leaders just go about it in different ways, pleasing some citizens and pissing others off. The citizens elect representatives who then act on their behalf. If representatives fail to act in the best interest of the, they are replaced. There has yet to be a government that didn't say they were acting to improve citizens' well-being. So, I fail to see what's unique or original with New Zealand. It's just a way to brand their platform. I notice that every single item on that well-being agenda has a dollar-sign attached to it (as expected since it's a budget). The bottom countries on the 'happy list' might have a similar list of priorities...if they had a larger Gross Domestic Product. Interestingly, one of the inputs to the happiness ranking is GDP per person. The USA gets 10.92 points for GDP while Venezuela gets 9.27 (it's a log scale). Russia gets 10.13, UK gets 10.60 and Slovakia gets 10.35. So, a nation could improve their standing on the happy list by improving their GDP. Some of the ratings are based on respondents' subjective feelings. For example, the USA gets 0.31 points for confidence in national government (up from 0.30 in 2016) while Afghanistan gets 0.36 and Ethiopia gets 0.88, Uganda 0.50 and Turkey 0.51. UK gets 0.42. I'm sorry, but any survey that rates the government of Uganda above the government of the UK is flawed. Perhaps it doesn't make sense to compare nations using subjective data? A person in Uganda might be very happy with their government, based on their culture and history, whereas a citizen of the UK might have higher expectations. Not everything can be credited/blamed to a President. Between 2007 (we were top-5 back then) and 2016, the USA dropped like a rock in these rankings. The rate of slide has actually slowed recently. What has changed since 2007? Obviously, there was the great recession. But, this report gives only small weight to GDP per person. Plus, our GDP score has gone up since 2007. I think our state of relative unhappiness is due to our subjective perception, rather than the objective reality. Things (real incomes, social justice, environmental) aren't really bad (objectively, historically), but we feel like they're bad. Why? One reason, I think we project more 'evil' on others. We assume the neighbor is a child molesting pervert (won't let kids play outside unsupervised). We assume the guy wearing a hoodie is a criminal. We assume the CEO is acting against the workers. We assume the workers are lazy. We assume Republicans/Democrats are stupid or evil. We assume all politicians are lying crooks. How can anyone be happy when they assume they're surrounded by people like that? Politically, both parties make their living by telling you how the other party is driving the nation to hell in a hand-basket. That's not new. Maybe they're just getting better at it in the information age.
  13. I disagree. After 4 years of Trump, people don't want "new or fresh or exciting". They want a return to normalcy. It's a mistake to see Hillary's defeat as a rejection of Obama. Hillary lost for several reasons, but not because of her positions on issues. Biden isn't "Hillary all over again". He's far more popular and (even though he's not an angel) has less baggage. With 20+ major candidates to pick from, I'm open to the idea of someone other than Biden (one I like polls <1%). However, I would hate for the Democrats to select a candidate that appeals to the left-most 55% of the party because such a person will galvanize the other side while failing to attract that tiny minority (~12%) of Americans who are still independent. Most of all, it hurts to see liberals coming at Biden with sharp knives. If you want to tell me why I should support your guy/gal, I'm ready to listen. But, I'm completely put off by those who are digging up every bit of mud they can find in a 40-year career just to damage the candidacy of someone who's been a lifelong ally. I could easily reply with a half-page of dirt on Bernie, but I don't think that path is the best way to defeat Trump. Biden isn't your favorite candidate...I get that. But, let's keep it real. Comments like "He will ... continue in the footsteps of Trump." are misleading, inflammatory, and not helpful.
  14. I try not to use words like 'always' and 'never'. I like to consider each situation on its own merit.
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