Bob Schwartz

Tag: Ronald Reagan

You Can Stop Worrying About Trump Being the Republican Nominee. But You Can’t Stop Worrying.

New York Daily News - Trump for Prez

If you were worrying about Donald Trump being the official nominee of the Republican Party, you can stop worrying about that, no matter what the results of Super Tuesday voting.

I have predicted for months that the GOP would never allow him to be its standard bearer, no matter what the delegate numbers. Whether that means changing the nominating rules, or splitting the party, or whatever, that part isn’t as clear. But the party of Lincoln and Reagan was never going to be Trump’s to represent.

The party will find a way to deny him its blessing. And then Trump will execute what has always been his contingency plan: amass as much support and publicity as possible, and then run as an independent candidate. Or maybe run as the candidate of a portion of the split Republican Party. And then win the presidency with a plurality of votes.

That’s where your worrying shouldn’t stop. Forget all the talk about people flocking to Trump because of their frustration and anger about political gridlock and ineffectiveness. You don’t have to take a deep dive into the research to see that tens of million Americans want to roll back progress not to the Reagan years, but to the years before civil rights and other modern principles of tolerance and equality. (My sad favorite remains the Trump supporter wearing a baseball cap saying “Make Racism Great Again!”).

These people may not be your friends, but they are your neighbors and fellow voters. Whether there are enough of them to elect a President of the United States is an open question. It certainly would be easier if they had the passive imprimatur of the Republican Party. But it finally appears they will not. Which is a good thing.

Unless we do have a multi-candidate election. And one of them is Donald Trump. Because one of them will win.

Bernie Sanders Is Barry Goldwater

Bernie Sanders for the Democrats is what Barry Goldwater was for the Republicans.

In the short run that might make the current generation of Democrats unhappy. In the long run, they should ask the Republicans how that turned out.

This is how it turned out. An unlikely, marginalized, and idealistic candidate tried to remind a party of its deepest philosophical roots. He won the party’s nomination for President, against all odds and against the wishes of many in the party, who believed he would lead them to total and inglorious defeat. Which he did.

Barry Goldwater also won. It is understandable that the Republican Party lionizes Ronald Reagan as its hero, model and godfather, since Reagan went on to serve two inspiring terms as President. But it was Goldwater, that embarrassment to some in 1964, who inspired Reagan himself and that first young generation of modern Republican conservatives (including Hillary Clinton, who began her political involvement as a Goldwater Girl).

We don’t know how the Bernie Sanders adventure turns out, either in the upcoming caucuses and primaries or at the convention. He is just as unlikely, marginalized and idealistic as Goldwater, and maybe less likely to win the nomination.

But in the long run, progressives who have been sidelined by the siren song of unwavering pragmatism—politics as the art of the possible—may be the winners. A new generation of genuine and fearless progressives may be born, even as the unlikely messenger is pushed aside.

In the words of Barry Goldwater, and as Bernie Sanders might also say:

“And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”

What Must Todd Akin Think of Sarah Palin?


What must Todd Akin think of Sarah Palin?

Todd Akin has lots of opinions about the ladies, inside and out. As for the inside, he has apparently been graced with some sort of revelation—dare we call him a prophet?—about a previously undiscovered physiological process whereby a woman’s body “knows” whether a rape is the kind that should or should not allow a resulting pregnancy. He has been asked to write a monograph about this process, profusely illustrated, but he has been otherwise occupied with his race against Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri. It is a loss for medical science, but maybe he will have lots more time after the election. Citizens and gynecologists can only hope.

His views about the outside of women came clear after his debate with Sen. McCaskill, when he said:

“I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike, but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”

A review of Sen. McCaskill’s debate performance shows that she was thoughtful, firm, politely aggressive, and unrelenting—which is exactly what you would expect and hope for from a former prosecutor and current United States Senator.

When it comes to men dealing with women in politics—as candidates and voters—there are two ways of looking at it. One is external and pragmatic. Whether those men are saintly idealists or craven devils, women can play a role in their obtaining and maintaining power—given that women have had the vote for almost a century, and have held public office even longer.

The second and more fascinating view involves what’s going on inside—inside the heads of those men. This political season, something that got touched on in the 2008 campaign is now even clearer. It’s something that can be said about some small number of men who have been complicit, as actors or fellow travelers, in what for a while this cycle was called the “war on women”:

They don’t understand women.
They can’t control women, at least not easily.
They fear women, because they don’t understand them and can’t control them.

Keep these in mind and much will make sense.

What doesn’t make sense is what Todd Akin must think of Sarah Palin.

There are a thousand things to say about Sarah Palin, and particularly about her controversial role in the 2008 election. One thing is certain: she does not fit Todd Akin’s idea of “ladylike.” She is happy to be the pitbull with lipstick. Think of a political woman who is ambitious, confident, outspoken, and likely to dismember the man or moose who crosses her. Quick: Is that Sarah Palin or Hillary Clinton? Exactly.

In America, women have failed to reach their deserved heights and presence in many fields. Elective politics, particularly at the national level, is one of them. By definition, the U.S. Senate can’t be the world’s greatest deliberative body, overstuffed as it is with men. And it certainly won’t be enhanced by Todd Akin’s membership; just ask most Republicans who nearly killed him over his “legitimate rape” remarks.

Conservatives worship Margaret Thatcher. Some of them no doubt hold out hope for the love that dared not speak its name, the hope that the obvious affection between Thatcher and Ronald Reagan went all the way, and that one day, not long from now, the offspring of that union will arrive in our political life as a savior.

If it’s a son, that is. If it’s a daughter, we might still have a problem.

While we are playing with ridiculous fantasies, here’s another one. Suppose that instead of Claire McCaskill on an open stage, Todd Akin had to face Maggie Thatcher, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin behind closed doors to explain his visionary, man-centric thinking.

It wouldn’t be ladylike, and it would be worth paying to see.