Some scattered thoughts as I'm on my way out the door for a weekend in the Magic City (that's Billings, Montana, if you didn't know):
Republicans are in perfect position now to repeal Obamacare, and repeal it they will—although pundits say the repeal itself won’t take effect for two or three years, during which time the rest of us, I guess, are expected to just hope for the best so far as the “replace” business goes. In any case, once they’ve repealed the ACA, Republicans will immediately (a) take credit for any good healthcare news (“We told you that repealing Obamacare would be a good thing!”) while (b) continuing to blame any bad healthcare news on Obamacare (“If only we could have repealed it sooner! But alas, Obama messed up the greatest healthcare system in the world.”)
It’s fascinating to see Republicans in favor of having a President (or a President-elect) interfere, via threats and/or inducements, with the workings of the free market. Had President Obama laid down the law or handed over a bag of tax breaks and other goodies to Carrier Industries, I daresay we’d have heard cries of “Tyranny!” from the Right.
I would not have expected to hear a good word about Fidel Castro from anyone at First Things, but editor R.R. Reno shows himself sympathetic, not so much to Castro as to the idea of Castro:
It’s only in retrospect that I fully understand Fidel’s allure for the West: He reassured us that we had real and profound political choices to make. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave effusive tribute to Fidel, as “remarkable” and a “larger than life leader who served his people.” Trudeau was horsewhipped on social media for ignoring the dictator’s tyrannical rule. But this reaction probably misconstrues Trudeau’s sentiment. Fidel appears “noble” insofar as he represents a determined refusal to accept the inevitability of the status quo.
We should not underestimate this appeal. Pope Francis sent an unobjectionable fraternal message of condolence. But I’m willing to bet that in unguarded conversation, the Holy Father would express himself even more effusively than Trudeau. Again and again, Fidel put a stick in the eye of the Americans, who dominated the Western Hemisphere. His defiance thrilled and inspired Bergoglio’s generation of Latin Americans. In view of the pope’s harsh words about the American-led neoliberal consensus dominating global capitalism, it seems likely that he still thinks that way.
To a certain extent, I’m sympathetic.
Imagine if Hillary Clinton had won the election and then declared that she would eliminate any concerns about Clinton Foundation “conflicts of interest” by turning the Foundation over to her daughter Chelsea: do you think that would have sufficed in the eyes of the media or of government watchdogs?
When Bernie Sanders says (on Democracy Now) that his goal in working with Democrats is “to try to do everything that I can to create a party which represents working people and not just the 1 percent,” he is implying that the Democratic Party under Barack Obama (and in the candidacy of Hillary Clinton) has represented “just the 1 percent”. That, of course, as they say in Vermont, is a pile of maple syrup; I bet the folks on Fox News can’t get enough of it.
Oh, and the segment where Amy Goodman and Bernie chastise Hillary Clinton for her private e-mail server, for her deleted e-mails, and for conflicts of interest due to the Clinton Foundation: yeah, that’s just what we need to hear right now. Thanks, Bernie; you've been ever so helpful.