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Brexit and Mob Rule

UK and EU politicians should ignore the Brexit referendum for what it is – a non-binding expression of opinion at a point in time.

Cooler, wiser, heads should prevail. Representative democracy has two words for a reason. We expect elected representatives and the institutions of government to provide stability in the face of the whims of the day and the emotions of the mob.

That is not to say politicians should ignore the results. There is discontent. However the hammer of Brexit is not the only tool in the chest. It is the only policy tool to reach the voters, many of whom cast votes of protest, knowing that Brexit is a singularly bone-headed, impractical and dangerous solution. Many will have voted Leave, anticipating it could never happen.

The UK should not trigger article 50. The EU should not force the issue. As one diplomat put it, “If they treat their referendum as a non-event, we will also treat their referendum as a non-event.”

That is the wiser course of action.

With the Republican Party unraveling, now is the time for the Big Tent of the Democratic Party to get bigger – to welcome in all Americans, especially main street, home town, traditional Republicans.

We have much in common – A distaste for incivility and vulgarity, a tradition of working together towards the common good, a history of compromise, policy driven by a vision what’s best for America, not merely what’s best for partisan electoral strategy, a working knowledge of history, respect for institutions, the Constitution, our international partners and allies, our treaty obligations, the full faith and credit of the United States, and more.

Sure, there are differences, but on what matters most, perhaps there’s more that unites than divides. Many Republicans will find their party’s nominee is far more alien to them than are many moderate Democrats.

Hillary should reach out to Republicans, as cabinet members, as voters, and possibly even consider a Republican as a running mate.

 

Trump on Women

Trump in his own words:

  • “Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father …” — Donald Trump on daughter Ivanka, Rolling Stone, September 2015, and “… she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
  • “It must be a pretty picture. You dropping to your knees.”, to Celebrity Apprentice contestant Brande Roderick
  • “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
  • “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes–blood coming out of her wherever.”
  • “Rosie’s a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie.”, an “animal”, “an extremely unattractive person”, and a “slob.”
  • Arianna Huffington “is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man—he made a good decision.”
  • “Like you wouldn’t have your job if you weren’t beautiful.”
  • “It’s certainly not groundbreaking news that the early victories by the women on The Apprentice were, to a very large extent, dependent on their sex appeal.”
  • “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
  • “[Angelina Jolie’s] been with so many guys she makes me look like a baby… And, I just don’t even find her attractive,”
  • “All of the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
  • “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
  • “While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct”
  • When lawyer Elizabeth Beck asked for a medical break to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old daughter, Mr. Trump said, “You’re disgusting,”.

Mr. Trump, Look in the mirror.

The train-wreck of the Republican Party begins.

  • In the New York Daily News, Rick Wilson: On Donald Trump, never means never.
  • “I… cannot in good conscience support Donald Trump because I do not believe … he displayed the judgment and temperament to serve as Commander in Chief” — Lindsey Graham
  • Trump “has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character. He has not displayed a respect for the Constitution. … These are all reasons why I cannot support his candidacy.”– Jeb Bush
  • “Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.” — David Brooks
  • “You could be living on a diet of lead paint, cheap vodka and Real Housewives and still know more than Trump does about, well, everything.” — Rick Wilson
  • “I just don’t think he has the character to be president of the United States,” — Bill Kristol
  • “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers.” — Mitt Romney
  • and, finally, Lindsey Graham again, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.”

It may be time to work for Donald Trump’s nomination. Trump’s catastrophic defeat in the general election is now sufficiently certain, his chances of fracturing the Republican party, and his chances of bringing in congressional Democrats on his negative coattails, that the patriotic thing to do may be to work for his nomination. Either Hillary of Bernie is likely to best Trump, unless, paraphrasing Governor Edwin Edwards they catch one of them in bed with a live boy or a criminal indictment. And Hillary may even be able to survive an indictment. She wouldn’t be the first Clinton to do so.

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, is a real electoral threat. Perhaps not as unhinged as Donald Trump, he represents a more classically Republican neoconservative danger to America. And his chances of beating Hillary are pretty good. Her average polling margin over Cruz is within the margin of error on most polls at the moment, so a tie. Florida recount, anyone? That’s a chance we can’t take.

paxromanamapDonald Trump wants to end Pax Americana because it costs too much. Countries protected by American military dominance must pay, according to Trump, because we can’t afford our present posture.

Contrary to Trump, we can’t afford to abandon defending others. The cost of our own defense would rise, and we would endanger ourselves, if we walk away.

There’s a quid pro quo in place. Everyone benefits. Especially America. If we stop providing global stability, others would need to see to their own defense, and the fundamental post-war deal would unravel. We would trigger a dangerous return to a multi-polar, unstable world. That kind of isolationism is dangerous and misguided.

By providing a security umbrella we save others money, that much is so. But we also save ourselves, and we increase our own security. Countries under our umbrella pose no threat to us, and they pose no threat to others. Thus our potential rivals face a simplified defense posture, and so do we. They need only concern themselves with a unified western world, and we need only concern ourselves with a few rivals.

Could we ask for more from our putative friends? Yes. Specifically, we must demand that the Saudis and others abandon tolerating and promoting religious fanaticism. Their cash and their troops are secondary. Trump should know this if he aspires to be President.

If Trump has his way, and we return to a multi-polar world, all military budgets would be larger, especially ours. Each country would necessarily go after its own parochial agenda, with our ability to moderate allies’ behavior greatly diminished. The risks of local tensions escalating out of control would be much greater.

Pax Americana remains a safer and cheaper situation for all. We must not abandon it, even if Mr Trump wins the election. He claims he listens to the best people. Let’s hope he does, before he triggers a of round regional conflict and global re-militarization.

Update: An editorial in USA Today concludes, “this prospective commander in chief’s views are not just irresponsible: they are cataclysmically dangerous.”

Marilynne Robinson on…

“Cultural pessimism is always fashionable, and, since we are human, there are always grounds for it. It has the negative consequence of depressing the level of aspiration, the sense of the possible. And from time to time it has the extremely negative consequence of encouraging a kind of somber panic, a collective dream-state in which recourse to terrible remedies is inspired by delusions of mortal threat. If there is anything in the life of any culture or period that gives good grounds for alarm, it is the rise of cultural pessimism, whose major passion is bitter hostility toward many or most of the people within the very culture the pessimists always feel they are intent on rescuing.”

— Marilynne Robinson in The Givenness of Things: Essays, October 2015

Do those in thrall to politicians peddling pessimism and panic recognize themselves in her words?